2:00PM Water Cooler 12/16/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Case count by United States region:

A tiny drop. Looks like the Midwest did it, from the regional data. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

The Midwest in detail:

Test positivity by region:

Now the west catches up. Data issues?

Nowhere near 3%, though.

Hospitalization by region:

Distinct flattening. Hospitalization is also discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate by region:


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Democrats in Disarray

Horrible but true:

“Congressional leaders close to COVID-19 relief deal that includes stimulus checks for Americans” [ABC]. “Congressional leaders on Wednesday morning were close to a nearly $900 billion COVID-19 relief deal expected to include a second round of stimulus checks for lower-income Americans, according to several Capitol Hill officials. Negotiators were finalizing an agreement that would include a new round of stimulus checks, enhanced federal unemployment benefits, and other avenues to deliver aid to states, localities, territories and Native American tribes. The agreement is not expected to include liability protection for businesses, according to a person familiar with negotiations. The source added that conversations continue on these issues and more.” • Commentary:

Transition to Biden

“Biden’s Risky Peace Offering to Republicans” [Jeet Heer, The Nation]. “Speaking to supporters on a call on Monday, Biden said, ‘I predict to you, and I may eat these words, I predict you as Donald Trump’s shadow fades away, you’re going to see an awful lot of change.’ He added, ‘I know I’ve been criticized heavily for saying from the beginning, we’ve got to unify the country. I think you’re going to be surprised. It’s going to take six to eight months to get it under way but I think you’re going to be surprised.'” • In a good way, I hope!

“Scoop: Biden eyes last-minute Republican pick” [Axios]. “President-elect Joe Biden is considering some well-known Republicans — think Meg Whitman types — for Commerce secretary as a way to signal to red-state Americans he understands their concerns and plans to address them… While Biden and his team are working hard to satisfy all interest groups, the intensity of some of the advocacy — and a dwindling number of seats — may keep him from having room for a Republican in his Cabinet.” • Like the left? Who’s the nominee to satisfy the left? Neera Tanden?

“Inside Biden’s Struggle to Manage Factions in the Democratic Party” [New York Times]. “Mr. Biden’s aides have privately been working to salve wounds by telling them there will be turnover in the top jobs soon enough. ‘I keep saying: The second wave will be earlier than you think,” said one senior Biden official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about private conversations with cabinet hopefuls. “Go deal with your city, your state for now.'”

UPDATE Klobuchar on Mayo Pete’s cabinet post:

Comment: “Minnesota nice doesn’t mean what people think it means, and I say that as a Minnesotan.”

UPDATE Fundamentally, nothing will change:

Transition from Trump

UPDATE “Barr’s escape hatch isn’t enough to shake Trump’s stigma” [MSNBC]. “Barr’s intentions, whatever they may have been, never involved being the sort of fierce, independent leader the Justice Department needs at all times. He never felt the gravitational pull of departmental tradition and integrity that would, we assume, have led him to avoid even the appearance of impropriety as he conducted department business. Instead, Barr charted a course toward actual impropriety. And in his resignation, Barr shamelessly defended his actions in a manner that would likely have made even President Richard Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, blush.” • I dunno. I haven’t followed Barr all that closely, but it looks to me like, for whatever reasons, Barr managed to deep-six both a DOJ investigation of Hunter Biden, and the Durham Report. You’d think MSNBC would show more gratitude to Barr for squelching two October surprises.

Election Legitimacy

“Former Houston police captain charged with attacking man falsely accused of voter fraud” [NBC News]. “According to the district attorney’s office, [former Houston police captain Mark Anthony] Aguirre said he conducted ‘surveillance’ on a [local repairman] for four days in the belief that he had 750,000 fraudulent ballots in his truck. Authorities alleged that he ran his SUV into the back of the man’s truck and forced the man to the ground at gunpoint, which was captured on an officer’s body camera.” • It has occurred to me that conservative Republican embubblement culminates in assaults on material objects or persons — the repairman, here, or a pizza parlor — whereas liberal Democrat embubblement consists in symbol manipulation. Now ask yourself which is more important and effective for warmongering….

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Retail: “Headline Retail Sales Decline in November 2020” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales modestly declined according to US Census headline data. The three-month rolling average improved. Year-over-Year growth remains in positive territory. Retail sales have fully recovered their pre-virus levels overall. However, there is still year-over-year weakness in restaurants, department stores, clothing stores and gas stations. There was a downward adjustment to last month’s data. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which modestly improved. Overall, this report is considered weaker than last month.” From the Times, “U.S. retail sales declined more than expected in November”: “The uncertainty around holiday spending has been exacerbated as retailers pushed annual sales events into October, in a bid to jump-start the season and prevent crowded stores and shipping delays in November. Many major chains reported sales gains in October, but they were not certain about how it would affect spending in November and December. Mr. Faucher also noted that the boom in shopping this spring after the restrictions were lifted and stores reopened reduced ‘the need for purchases at the end of the year.'”

* * *

Debt: “Bets on World of Negative Interest Rates End With Capitulation” [Bloomberg]. “At the height of the pandemic, it seemed only a matter of time before negative interest rates — the last resort of central banks — ruled global markets…. Traders now see a sub-zero move as increasingly unlikely, with policy makers largely favoring a ‘new conventional’ mix of bond purchases and sector-specific aid programs.”

Commodities: “Traders now see a sub-zero move as increasingly unlikely, with policy makers largely favoring a “new conventional” mix of bond purchases and sector-specific aid programs” [Reuters]. “But refining profits for the fuel surged to multi-month highs in all key trading hubs in December on hopes of higher demand in 2021, with U.S. and European margins underpinned by a recovery in air cargo volumes and Asian margins also by a rebound in domestic travel and heating consumption.”

The Bezzle: “Subway sandwich scam mystifies loyalty card users” [Naked Security]. “Subway customers in the UK and Ireland were swamped with scam emails yesterday in a phishing campaign that aimed to trick recipients into downloading malware…. As phishes go, this one isn’t terribly sophisticated or believable, and the scam itself requires several clicks, each one more suspicious than the last…. The bad news is that we can’t yet tell you where the email list used in this scam came from, or whether all the recipients were Subway customers. We also don’t know how or why the crooks ended up using the same newsletter service that Subway is said to use. Nevertheless, the advice given in Subway’s autotweet messages is perfectly sound, and is your first and easiest defence: delete the email.”

Tech: “Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine” [The Atlantic]. “The giants of the social web—Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram; Google and its subsidiary YouTube; and, to a lesser extent, Twitter—have achieved success by being dogmatically value-neutral in their pursuit of what I’ll call megascale. Somewhere along the way, Facebook decided that it needed not just a very large user base, but a tremendous one, unprecedented in size. That decision set Facebook on a path to escape velocity, to a tipping point where it can harm society just by existing. …. The cycle of harm perpetuated by Facebook’s scale-at-any-cost business model is plain to see…. Every time you click a reaction button on Facebook, an algorithm records it, and sharpens its portrait of who you are. The hyper-targeting of users, made possible by reams of their personal data, creates the perfect environment for manipulation—by advertisers, by political campaigns, by emissaries of disinformation, and of course by Facebook itself, which ultimately controls what you see and what you don’t see on the site. Facebook has enlisted a corps of approximately 15,000 moderators, people paid to watch unspeakable things—murder, gang rape, and other depictions of graphic violence that wind up on the platform. Even as Facebook has insisted that it is a value-neutral vessel for the material its users choose to publish, moderation is a lever the company has tried to pull again and again. But there aren’t enough moderators speaking enough languages, working enough hours, to stop the biblical flood of shit that Facebook unleashes on the world, because 10 times out of 10, the algorithm is faster and more powerful than a person. At megascale, this algorithmically warped personalized informational environment is extraordinarily difficult to moderate in a meaningful way, and extraordinarily dangerous as a result. These dangers are not theoretical, and they’re exacerbated by megascale, which makes the platform a tantalizing place to experiment on people.” • I think we should simply eliminate social media and return the Internet to the state it was in back whenver Google returned a list of Blue Links, and social media didn’t exist.

Manufacturing: “Carrier Goes From Spinoff to Top Industrial Stock During the Pandemic” [Bloomberg]. “But as 2020 ends, Carrier is the best-performing industrial stock in the S&P 500—by a long shot…. Carrier, which traces its roots to 1902, is credited with inventing modern air conditioning… Its heating and cooling systems… have become an asset for hospitals, hotels, and office buildings in the fight against the coronavirus, a largely airborne pathogen that passes most easily between people in poorly ventilated spaces. No air conditioning system can replace masks and social distancing, but adjusting the controls to allow for more outside air to flow into buildings and cleaning or upgrading filters can help prevent the virus from spreading. Carrier’s portable OptiClean machine can be used to scrub air or to create pressure that keeps air from moving between one room—say, an office bathroom or a hospital room—and another…. Carrier says it expects interest in improving indoor air quality to endure even after the pandemic passes; it has sized this new market at about $10 billion for the overall industry, including $165 million of opportunities the company is already broaching with customers. In preparation for a vaccine, Carrier introduced mobile freezer pods enabled with its Sensitech monitoring technology. It’s also working with Amazon.com Inc.’s web services arm to connect its cold-chain storage operations to the cloud and use the collected data to reduce vaccine waste.”

Concentration: “Amazon won’t comply with California subpoenas on COVID-19 safety, attorney general says” [Sacramento Bee]. “Amazon has yet to let the state know how many of the company’s workers have been infected by or died from COVID-19, despite subpoenas filed months ago, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a petition to the Sacramento County Superior Court on Monday. The company also has not provided information about how it’s trying to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including with regard to sick leave policies and cleaning procedures, Becerra said. He is asking the court to order Amazon to comply with the state’s subpoenas and provide that information. The petition comes months into the state’s investigation into Amazon’s workplace safety practices. It also comes two months after Cal-OSHA levied $1,870 in fines on two Amazon warehouses in Southern California for failing to provide sufficient safety training for employees. The company is appealing those fines.”

Concentration: “Hackers used SolarWinds’ dominance against it in sprawling spy campaign” [Reuters]. “‘We don’t think anyone else in the market is really even close in terms of the breadth of coverage we have,’ [SolarWinds Chief Executive Kevin Thompson] said. ‘We manage everyone’s network gear.’…. Now that dominance has become a liability – an example of how the workhorse software that helps glue organizations together can turn toxic when it is subverted by sophisticated hackers.” Now note the qualifiers. More: “Three people familiar with the investigation have told Reuters that Russia is a top suspect, although others familiar with the inquiry have said it is still too early to tell… Cybersecurity experts are still struggling to understand the scope of the damage.” • There’s been an upsurge of national security goon-driven stories recently….

The Economy: “America’s Economy Faces a Zombie Recovery, Even With Vaccine” [Bloomberg]. “Much of the economy remains in suspended animation—a zombie recovery—that masks how much the crisis has curtailed ambitions and how much depends on a new injection of government aid that has languished for months in a partisan Congress…. The U.S. economy is likely to end the year almost 3% smaller than at the start. That’s not bad considering where things stood in the second quarter, when output collapsed at an annualized rate of more than 30%. [But for many] business owners who went into 2020 thinking they’d be riding an expansion, it feels worse.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Day Two of Missing Fear & Greed Index [CNN]. Last updated Dec 16 at 11:32am.

Health Care

“Dry ice and millions of secret chickens” [Olivia Webb, Acute Condition]. “This looks to be the state of the dry ice market. According to Thomasnet.com, an online platform for product sourcing, there are just a few major producers of dry ice in the U.S…. These producers are used to making a set amount of dry ice every year, and they may very well struggle to meet the increased demand of the pandemic. The dry ice shortage is likely to be exacerbated by the pandemic; apparently the carbon dioxide used to produce dry ice is typically captured as a byproduct of ethanol processing for fuel. And because Americans are using far less fuel during the pandemic, the rate of ethanol processing has gone down. (A side note: I haven’t been able to figure out if medical dry ice production has different suppliers or sources—sometimes the medical industry requires an additional layer of sterility, but I’m not sure if that applies here.)” • So, both concentration and our horridly distorted energy policies (since ethanol is, sadly, a farm state scam, even if it did seem like a good idea at the time).

“Feds rebuff Pfizer’s pleas to speed up supplies of COVID vaccine raw materials: reports” [Fierce Pharma]. “Pfizer could provide more than the 100 million doses it promised in its original contract with the U.S. government in the first half of next year—but only if Trump administration officials demand that suppliers of raw materials quickly fulfill the company’s orders. And CEO Albert Bourla is calling on the government to use the Defense Production Act to do just that…. The Trump administration hasn’t done so yet because they’ve focused on providing those materials to vaccine makers that did take federal R&D funding, like Moderna, according to unnamed sources who spoke to the New York Times… Pfizer requested early on that the government award it ‘favored status’ with suppliers of raw materials, but officials were afraid that would damage competing vaccine programs that did take federal R&D money, according to the Times report. Among those companies is Moderna.” • If it weren’t for the importance of the vaccine program, I’d call this chutzpah.

“Infected Santa, Mrs. Claus could have exposed 50 children in Georgia to COVID-19” [The Hill]. “The Long County Board of Commissioners chairman confirmed the positive test results following Thursday’s event in a statement posted on the board’s website… [Chairman Robert Parker said:] ‘My children both had their picture made with Santa, and their smiles were bigger than any day when they head off to school, where the same risk of exposure exist. I want to further emphasize that no children were forced to attend the events and that choice was left solely in the hands their parents,’ he said. Parker added that this particular Santa and Mrs. Claus consider the job the ‘most important of their lives.’ ‘Without them filling these roles locally, I know there are countless underprivileged children who would never have experienced the joy of meeting Santa Claus,’ he said. ‘My family and the community are praying for a speedy recovery for the ‘Clauses’, and are looking forward to many more years of the joy they bring to our county.'”

It does seem that polio had different effects on McConnell and FDR:


“The Keefe Report: Where’s All The Ammo?” [American Rifleman]. “I’ve spoken to the top three manufacturers, and if you were/are having difficulty finding ammunition, it’s not because they aren’t trying to keep up with demand. Each one of them reports that they have produced record amounts of ammunition this year. … A friend at Hornady recently reached out to me to ask that I spread the word. What’s going on with ammunition is nothing sinister, nor a conspiracy. It is simple supply-and-demand….. Your fellow gun owners’ buying habits have changed. I watched a guy who typically buys ammunition four or five boxes at a time take cases of Winchester White Box out of the Chantilly, Va., gun show with a dolly so loaded, the frame was buckling…. I have spoken with representatives of every major ammunition company in the United States, as well as quite a few importers. It’s not that they aren’t trying to meet the demand. It’s just the demand is so high that as soon as product enters commerce, it’s gone. There’s an insatiable appetite out there now, and once rumors about ammo being in short supply start leaking out, much like the many primer scarcities we’ve had over the years, the demand increases. Panic begets more panic.” • Interesting picture of the guns and ammo market.

Book Nook


Groves of Academe

“UM Fires History Professor Who Criticizes ‘Powerful, Racist Donors’ And ‘Carceral State'” [Mississippi Free Press]. “Felber is known for being vocal about prominent university faculty members and organizations. In December 2019, he kicked off the “Making and Unmaking Mass Incarceration” conference at The Lyric near the Oxford Square by revealing that it was originally supposed to be at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. But organizers moved the conference, Felber said, due to the center’s namesake, who teaches journalism at the university, being on the board of directors of CoreCivic, the nation’s second-largest for-profit private-prison company, since 2001. Felber projected images of Overby and information about CoreCivic onto the large overhead screen.” • Whoops.

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Chris Arnade: Dignity, Poverty, Faith, & Seeking Respect in Back Row America” (podcast) [The Moral Imagination]. “In the second half of the conversation we discuss faith, redemption, and atonement, and how the front row’s empiricist, cold, secular rationalism scientific doesn’t do justice to the complexities of human life, suffering, and the desire for meaning, dignity, and respect. Arnade argues that ‘atheism is an intellectual luxury that is wrong’ and that ‘front row’ scientism lacks epistemic humility, and has a false view of science and certainty. Arnade shows that each person, no matter our state, is a subject, and not simply an object to be manipulated or problem to be solved. And that many of our deepest problems cannot be solved by technical means alone, but are philosophical and cultural problems—not of the poor—but of the elite.”

News of the Wired

The Department of Transportation (1):

The Department of Transportation (2):

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PM writes: “Fungus in the park.”

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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. Carolinian

    I think we should simply eliminate social media and return the Internet to the state it was in back whenver Google returned a list of Blue Links, and social media didn’t exist.


    Also it turns out investigative reporting still exists including this look at Monsanto–aka Big Pharma for plants.


    The story talks about how herbicide drift is hurting other farmers and even trees and lawns and how the EPA allowed it to happen.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Also it turns out investigative reporting

      Thanks for this link. There is a ton of great stuff out there, but it’s not possibly to find through search; curation is needed. That was why the blogosphere was so great, and why it was cannibalized by social media.

        1. Tom Stone

          Krystyn, I’m respond to your remarks about ‘Power Seekers” this morning.
          Power is addictive, it is in fact the most addictive thing known to Humankind.
          There isn’t enough of it, no matter how much you get your hands on, you need more.
          Anyone who has worked with alcoholics or addicts will recognize the behavior of Politicians.
          Trying to fill the hole on their insides with something from the outside, at any cost.

      1. Carolinian

        The current EPA just allowed five more years of use but the USG has been playing footsie with Monsanto since long before Trump.

        In 2014, Monsanto had significant dicamba damage at a training facility in Portageville, Missouri. Even in its own promotional videos, Monsanto couldn’t prevent non-dicamba tolerant soybeans from showing symptoms of damage.

        The EPA took note of an incident where, through volatilization, dicamba turned into a gas and apparently floated more than 2 miles away, much farther than it was supposed to. During that incident, no one had measured how badly the crops had been damaged and the EPA was unable to definitively determine the symptoms were caused by dicamba. The EPA decided that was an “uncertainty” and approved the use of the weed killer with a 110-foot buffer zone.

        The article says the reason they are now turning to this older and more powerful weed killer is that years of Roundup have produced super weeds that are resistant.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Thanks for this. It cries out for reply, but I can’t think of anything useful to say that would help anything in any way.

        2. Steve

          The same problem with Bayer’s corn rootworm pesticide. Continuous use led to rootworms developing immunity to the chemical and now the rootworms thrive.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Now here’s a comment I think I can offer a useful reply to. Some years ago I amateur-attended a conference about ag-GMO and problems it can cause and lead to.

            The toxin in the “insecticide-on-the-inside” corn was the so-called “BT” toxin, named for the bacteria species Bacillus thuringiensis it was originally discovered in. The dried spore form of the bacteria itself were used in organic agriculture to kill moth-family plant-pest caterpillars. The spores were dusted onto the target plants. If the caterpillars ingested any of the spores, the spores would “hatch out” and come to life and multiply inside the gut of the caterpillar. Their toxin would derange the caterpillar’s
            alkaline gut and make the caterpillar stop eating and digesting and die. If birds, mammals, etc. ingest the spores , ” our” acid to hyperacid stomach will destroy the spores. So we are not harmed.

            The GMO-lords injected the gene sequence for making-the-poison into the corn itself. So now instead of spot-focus application of spores only where caterpillars are a problem, millions of acres are wall-to-wall BT-toxin corn. That’s enough corn to find and favor the one-in-a-billion caterpillar who is immune to the toxin. That caterpillar will live to reproduce and so will others like it. The poison corn has become a darwin filter to permit the survival of immune caterpillars who then multiply on the feast of not-poisonous-to-THEM-anymore corn laid out before them. So the endo-poison corn doesn’t work anymore.

            The best part is . . . that the Certified Organic-Safe BT bacteria spores themselves won’t work any more either now, because the immune caterpillars find and like the organic corn plants just as much as the GMO corn plants. And the organic grower has been denied a Certified Organic-Safe caterpillar killing tool and can’t protect herm’s crops that way any more. Try telling me the GMO-lords didn’t consider that a secondary payoff.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Of course, with no social media, there would have been no way for the George Floyd cop’s knee killing to have been seen by anybody and kicked off a long wave of protest and actionism.

      No more social media means no more visual exposure of police atrocities.

      Maybe ad-supported social media could be abolished and destroyed and a space created for subscription-for-membership no-ads-allowed social media for people who want to pay to use. That could be a social media without the problems built into FaceBook, for example.

      1. Tiago

        While protests might look different without social media, it is incorrect to assume they would not occur. The Civil Rights Movement and protests against the Vietnam War, as well as the rise of much more radical organizations than anything we see today, such as the Black Panther Party, whose members were acutely aware of police atrocities, happened before people could even dream of social media.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That’s because the unfavorable footage from Vietnam and the anti-Civil Rights March suppression efforts made the major media. Would any major media allow such scenes onto the screen today?

          And of course the major media never did show any scenes of the steady drip-drip-drip of police torturism and terrorism and murderism against targeted categories of citizens. That stuff only became visible to the non-targeted majority because of cell phone video and social media platforms for it to spread over like runaway viruses. I have read that black people themselves have even said that. Now the non-persecuted majority can SEE the police in action against random members of the targeted demographic groups.

          Abolish the social media and it all goes back to being an unseen secret. Police may claim ” we never do that anymore now” and there will be no social media platform on which any cell phone video can spread to show different.

          I would rather see a successfully exterminated-from-existence FaceBook replaced with a zero-advertising pay-to-use Shinola Search and Social Service than replaced with nothing at all.

  2. antidlc

    Alaska Health Worker Had a Serious Allergic Reaction After Pfizer’s Vaccine

    The person did not have a history of drug allergies. Two similar reactions happened last week in Britain.

    A health worker in Alaska had a serious allergic reaction after getting Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday and was hospitalized, according to three people familiar with official reports of the person’s health. The person was still in the hospital on Wednesday morning, under observation.

    Government officials were scrambling on Wednesday to learn more about the case. The worker had no history of drug allergies but it was unclear whether he or she suffered from other types of allergies, according to one person familiar with the case.

    With millions of Americans expected to be vaccinated by the end of the year, the incident is likely to prompt federal officials to be even more watchful for any sign of serious side effects. The Alaska recipient’s reaction was believed to be similar to the anaphylactic reactions two health workers in Britain experienced after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week. Both of them recovered.

    1. IM Doc

      I was in a Grand Rounds webcast this AM –

      There is a theory this is happening because of the PEG (polyethylene glycol) fat envelope. I repeat – a theory. PEG is a very common thing in many products – make-up, cosmetics, toothpaste. And there are random patients out there who have pretty severe allergic reactions to it when they put it on their face in the form of makeup. Now imagine a bolus in your veins – and you can see the possible problem.

      There are of course countless other issues that could be going on. Have immunologists studied this? I do not know. From the very best I can tell online, the lipid coats are proprietary. Are Pfizer and Moderna going to do a Jonas Salk impression and let the world know their exact make-up for the case of patient safety? Have they already done so and I just cannot find this fact online? I do not know.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I would suggest a new phrase to go along with “phishing equilibrium”. I suggest the phrase “darwin filter”.

        Putting information just-barely-out-there in a way that a tiny minority of the most determined people can either find it or at least adduce its existence by its “dark mass gravitational effect” in the information we DO have . . . . is a way of allowing most people to passively die for lack of having that information. Those few who DO have it, or can adduce it to exist, may well be able to avoid falling prey to whatever that information is about.

        In this case, a “vaccinoid” which will weaken or sicken enough people badly enough to make them more likely to die of something else. And anyone who declines to take any of the mRNA vaccinoids will have successfully passed through that particular darwin filter.

    2. grayslady

      What bothers me about these continuing reports of anapylaxis is that fear of discouraging people from taking the vaccine seems to be overriding common medical precautions and analysis. As someone who suffered anaphylaxis from the flu shot two years ago (quadrivalent variety), I was naturally curious as to how common my reaction was. Turns out that the old adage “one in a million” is actually true for the flu vaccine: the likelihood of anaphylaxis from the flu vaccine is literally one in a million. That’s why other than warnings about egg allergies or G-B Syndrome, flu vaccines are considered to be among the safest vaccines.

      Compare this with the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine. How many shots have been given so far, whether in Britain or the U.S.? A few thousand? Ten thousand? I haven’t been able to find the numbers anywhere, but it certainly isn’t anywhere near 1 million. And yet you already have at least three reported instances of anaphylaxis. Common sense says there are unexplored issues with the Pfizer vaccine, especially since we now have a case of anaphylaxis with no allergic history, and that we need far more honesty from our officials and public press.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      when me and mine say “allergies” it means allergic to stuff in the air, from mold spores after a rain to that damned “cedar fever” we all get out here from october to march.
      my youngest had them really bad when he was tiny…enough to where we’d pull him out of kinder and drive 50 miles to the nearest hospital once a week to get an allergy shot.
      so i had a 5 year old boy, rolling on the floor of the infusion lab, entertaining the chemo patients.
      they’d make us wait for 30-40 minutes before leaving…and we carried an epi pen, before medicaid stopped paying for them.
      is this sort of “allergy” included when they say people with allergies should be careful, or are in the exclusion group?

      1. IM Doc

        This is a very nebulous point at this time.

        The exclusion criteria from the Pfizer trial in the literature was limited to allergies to vaccines and vaccine related chemicals – and any known allergy to a constituent of the actual vaccine in the study. How people were to know that is unclear.

        Once the 2 UK issues occurred, it was broadened out to “severe” allergies in general – if not by pfizer itself by multiple experts – those links have been posted in the past few days. It is still not really clear from Pfizer – at least that I can tell.

      2. Tom Stone

        Anaphylaxis is no joke, I would have been in deep trouble if it hadn’t occurred in a Medical Clinic.
        In my case a severe reaction to a Monoclonal antibody, Rituximab.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Your comment brings up another potential red flag — where and by whom are these shots going to be administered? I’ve learned that Rite Aid, Krogers and CVS are among the sites where shots will be available. Will the people there be trained and ready to deal with severe adverse reactions? TBD, apparently.

  3. foghorn longhorn

    A ‘gun’ is nothing but a Billy club, without ammo.
    Stocks are still decimated here in the hinterlands of ne tejas.

    Toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaners are still available in abundance tho.
    Made a pantry run this a.m. and nothing was really sold out, with most canned goods and stuff on sale. Buy one, get one, etc.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. I’ve been unable to find .4440 (for my Win 1892–saddlering and everything. my favorite rifle) for months.
      shot the last round into a rabid skunk dancing creepily in neighbor’s pasture yesterday.
      all the ammo shelves everywhere i’ve been for several months, from Brady to San Antone, are mostly barren…22 ratshot is still to be had, though. Feedstore guy is working on it. he says he can’t keep ammo on the shelf, and that it’s alot like toilet paper in april.
      like with things like canned goods and dry beans, we’re stocked up on the less esoteric ammo. (.22, 12 ga, 30-30, 30.06, 270, 357, .410)
      in any event, glad i have a recurve bow and extra strings and a bunch of arrows(and a bolo, and a blowgun i made, and that old atlatl me and the eldest made when he was 5…just in case)

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Model 88 here, Amfortas…yep, my grandfather’s and for the last 10 years, my favorite. Straight as hell.
        Recurves are TOUGH…got one with a 50lb pull and a much easier compound.

        Guess I should be working on the blow darts… :)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          my blowgun…also from when my eldest was small and into all things Indian…is a 5 foot section of ordinary 1/2″ copper tubing…hammered straight in a wooden miterbox jig built for the purpose, with a formed duck tape mouthpiece.
          “darts” are a case of those really long bamboo skewer toothpick things, left from my cafe, with wads of cotton saved from pill bottles.
          will penetrate an old basketball at 15 feet, but accuracy is an issue.

          and as for accuracy,lol…for whatever reason, i can’t hit a thing with a compound bow(possibly the luddism, again), but am as Orion, himself with a recurve.
          Mines 70#.
          I rarely do any hunting any more…..preferring fishing, if i could get anyone to carry down to the river(see: Roi pêcheur(!))

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Jesus, tough to hold 70# at draw!
            My recurve’s an old Bear at 70#, the compounds at 50 but such a reduced load at draw.
            I haven’t had enough repetition to smooth draw and fling with the recurve with good accuracy…*
            The Win’s a .284, flat and solid.
            Can silver dollar at a hundred and fifty yards…
            Back when America made stuff to work and last..

            And yeah, still fish 2x what I hunt.
            Just had a buddy gift me 4lbs of fresh caught dungess for the holidays!

            * #NewYearsresolution

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      In “Metro 2033” bullets were currency. Maybe some of the bullets are like buying gold, but for an unusually harsh downturn.

    3. Wyoming

      Hmm not that I care that much, but I live in one of the highest gun density places in the country and there has been zero shortage of ammo where I usually buy it. It has certainly gone up in price but there has never been an actual lack of supply except at the bottom end – i.e. practice ammo. And those kind of shortages happen like once a month at any time of the year. High quality ammo is always available as far as I have seen. But then no one goes out and shoots a couple of hundred rounds of that stuff anyway. (we’re saving that for the zombie apocalypse when it really counts :)

      But ymmv

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    American truck culture is completely insane
    Its not just truck culture. Go compare a mid-late 90s Accord to a modern one with regards to size. Copy/Paste for the Corolla/Civic/etc.
    American vehicles have become preposterously large. That modern Accord, especially the Sport, is easily the size of a late 90s 7 series.

    1. Keith

      Also, look at the beds of the two trucks, essentially the same size. The increased size has a lot to do with creature comforts and going from a two seater to a four seater (Oh, those two seaters w/o an extended cab are very uncomfortable, imho). I have a four door Frontier, which I needed as we were going to have kids. I requested an extended bed option, but the dealership advised they were incredibly hard to come by, so five feet it was.

      Other side of that equation, I had wanted another Xterra, but Nissan had discontinued them due to CAFE issues, pushing me into a pick up truck.

      Last thing, buying more vehicle than you need is a good idea, that way you can grow into it, rather than having to trade up and taking on more payments. In my case, 6k lbs of towing is nice, but not if I want to pull an RV trailer, which is something I am looking to do.

    2. Carolinian

      Well there have been some mpg improvements. My current car is one size up from the previous–which was no slouch at mileage–and yet gets 42 mpg highway.

      But the proliferation of large pickup trucks is indeed out of control–at least where I live. Clearly there’s no guilt about AGW when you drive a Ford 150.

    3. RMO

      Small cars just don’t sell all that well in North America. Here in Canada we usually buy somewhat more of them but not a lot more. If you get a chance to see a modern full-size pickup (or even the new Ranger) next to a late 50s-60s full size American car – the ones we all thought of as immense land yachts – it’s amazing how modest those cars look in comparison. Personally what I miss most about the compact trucks that were available up through the end of the 90s is the low bed height. That makes it so much easier to load and unload stuff.

      The current Accord is the same width as an E38 7 series but has a shorter overall length and wheelbase. It’s also hundreds of pounds lighter which is impressive considering the safety standards the new car has to meet. It’s far bigger than the first Accord that’s for sure. It seems like every manufacturer does this. The car gets bigger with each redesign and eventually they make a new model to slot in to the small size category that the old one grew out of.

      1. Keith

        Additional weight can also be a result of govt regulations for safety. The more they need to put into the vehicle from cameras, airbags, sensors, etc, is going to add more weight. Plus there are crumple zones, too. Then factor in that cars and trucks can do a lot more today then back in the day, it does make sense they are bigger and heavier. Whether that is a good thing is up for debate.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that it is more a trend. Back when the first Ford Mustang came out back in the early 60s it was small and compact. But over the next few years it ballooned out in size and weight. So then Ford came out with a smaller version of the Mustang and fairly soon this one grew in size and weight as well. No cameras, airbags, sensors back then to explain it except for the desire for Bigness whether their customers wanted it or not.

          I note as a side-note that the docks were full of small Japanese cars that were slow to move until the oil embargo in ’73 when virtually the whole lot disappeared overnight, such was the demand for fuel-efficient cars. But then things went back to “normal” under Reagan paving the way for the appearance of SUVs.

          1. John A

            Same in Europe. Compare the original Mini to the current version. Or the new Fiat 500 to the original version. The original Ford Puma vs the new one. The new ones look all pumped up with steroids.

          2. Procopius

            Yeah, and the management geniuses in Detroit didn’t learn the lesson at all. I think an even bigger factor was quality control. Even back in the ’70s people were angry with Detroit for their lousy quality, and the attention the Japanese makers paid to worker input would have been was unimaginable in Detroit. Now that I think about it, those [family blogs] are as evil as Monsanto or Turing Pharmaceuticals in their disregard for externalities.

    4. Glen

      I owned a 1986 Ford Ranger, a 1991 Ford F-150, and just got a 2020 Ford F-150. They were all BIGGER. The Ranger was the mid sized truck, and quite frankly I once overloaded it with three or four railroad ties. The 91 F-150 was much harder to overload. I once put 2350 pounds of gravel in the back (it was only rated for 1250 pounds), but that was not something you could do and expect to go very far. This new truck is the largest and is rated for 1950 pounds. This new one is completely set up for towing with all the electrical connections integrated into the rear bumper, and a hitch receiver under the bumper.

      I always buy the SMALLEST and MOST STRIPPED OUT F-150 since I want a work truck, and don’t need all the fancy stuff, but this new one is larger than the last one. It sits higher, and seems to be about a foot larger in every direction, but there is less space inside.

      I really wanted to get a full size EV truck, but those are extremely expensive.

  5. bassmule

    This is a story about young adults being more susceptible to the coronavirus than previously thought. I don’t disagree with anything here, except that I have always thought young adulthood started at 18. But all the references are to the age group 25 to 44. You may think I’m nit-picking or nuts, but one of the big concerns around the country is the possible re-opening of college campuses in January. So 18 to 22 is a group I’m very interested in, given that I live in a college town. And I would really like to know how the researchers came up with the 25 to 44 range.

    People Thought Covid-19 Was Relatively Harmless for Younger Adults. They Were Wrong. (NYT)

  6. IM Doc

    I felt like I should make a little comment here about the new info coming from the Moderna trial and yet another issue that I think is being irresponsibly handled by our media.

    As I was in the Doctor’s Lounge – I heard the following on TV – “What do you say about these vaccines causing Bell’s Palsy?” This is totally irresponsible.

    I have heard this described in the past 24 hours as a trend. Again totally, irresponsible.

    I have also heard minimization of this from the pro-vaccine crowd. Basically stating nothing more than the usual background noise. I do not believe this is actually the case. I need to really look into the incidence of Bells’ palsy, but this incidence of 7 patients out of the size of these cohorts seems a bit excessive to me just on the face . At this point we have disparate data points in 2 studies who do not really have enough subjects to make any conclusions at this point. No one should refer to this as a trend, yet. And there is certainly no evidence yet of causation. Small cohort sizes make it very difficult to ascertain safety issues like this, important conclusions cannot be made from these small cohorts, and this issue and likely others will now be evaluated on the American Public.

    I have not formally read the Moderna study, but it seems to me from overviews that we are determining success by the same metric as the Pfizer study – which is case numbers. Basically flu-like illness. Again, far too rapid studies to determine mortality or morbidity, unfortunately, and case numbers are a fuzzy mirror. I see nothing in the study following other symptoms or manifestations of this disease after the initial illness of flu-like symptoms. I cannot stress too much, in my world, this post-COVID syndrome is becoming a much bigger problem daily. Much much more common than death. I am seeing many Post-COVID patients with a severe fatigue problem, neuro or cardiac issues, or profound depression. And blood clotting issues. I knew about this type of thing in July – these studies were enrolling after that. It would be nice if they would allow their data sets to be opened to see if their vaccines had any effect on these symptoms, or if there was any incidence/prevention of them in the cohorts after the first blush of symptoms. That would be confidence building.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      I have been looking forward to hearing from you on the Moderna study.

      I’m trying to decide for myself and my family if and when to get vaccinated, and it seems like there is a full-court press from big pharma, government and media to minimize the unknowns about how safe and effective these fast-track vaccines are.

      Getting an assessment from someone like yourself, who is fluent in the langauge and interpretation of these reports, is very helpful.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, I have decided that I won’t take any of the mRNA vaccinoids. I may take one of the more classical vaccines after they have passed enough mass-customer beta testing.

      2. Lins

        I would “consider” the vaccine only IF Bill Gates, Albert Bourla, Nancy, Chuck, Mitch etc get one first.

    2. SE

      Yes, we are being asked to believe in the positive results based on small numbers, then the small numbers of side effects are being used to push what could very reasonably be vaccine reactions into the ‘background rate’. (granted, these numbers are even smaller, but…)

      I noticed this relating to the way that the Pfizer study mentioned the two 40 degree C fevers as a single comment noting that there were 2 such fevers in the placebo arm, and two in the trial arm, implying no difference from the background rate. And yet we know from a narrative account that one of these fevers was caused by vaccine.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        The Pfizer Phase III trial lasted two months, not the 1 to 4 years the FDA says would normally constitute a Phase III trial. If I’m not mistaken, what is going right now is a continuation of a Phase III trial, only on a massive scale. Instead of 43,000 people, the test group is 300,000,000, give or take. And that’s just the U.S.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          300 million minus one…cuz i ain’t taking either of these experimental vaccines.
          isn’t there usually a Phase IV part of a regular trial, too?

          i saw a comment, somewhere, that they’re testing these things on us, because africa has a relatively low incidence of the virus, so far.
          echoes of Constant Gardiner, and all.

          when’s an old fashioned killed virus version supposed to arrive?
          i haven’t seen anything.

          1. Procopius

            I think the Chinese vaccine will be available next year, probably around May or June. Thailand is buying the Oxford/AstraZenica one for its initial tranche, but I’m hoping they’ll at least allow the Chinese one. Since I expect the U.S. to slap sanctions on any country that dares to buy the Chinese one, the Thai government may not dare, but China is a bigger trading partner than the U.S. now. Interesting point I saw (maybe it was in links), the Chinese are offering to sell the vaccine to the (developing) countries that provide subjects for the Phase III testing, since the virus is so well contained in China they don’t have enough people being exposed to it to determine effectiveness. They may even make the technology available to those countries, so they can make the vaccine themselves.

          1. curlydan

            “The Phase 3 clinical trial of BNT162b2 began on July 27 and has enrolled 43,661 participants to date, 41,135 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 13, 2020.” 3 month trial?

            1. Yves Smith

              Read the Pfizer paper. Efficacy data was based on 37,000. Apparently the disparity is explained somewhere but certainly not easy to find, and it should be.

              Also more trouble is this:

              Among 3,410 total cases of suspected but unconfirmed COVID-19 in the overall study population, 1,594 occurred in the vaccine group vs. 1816 in the placebo group.


              I don’t see how the efficacy data makes any sense in light of this. They didn’t test all the suspected cases, and the #s way higher than actual cases?????

              1. Lins

                I believe Page 6 of 13 (NEJM article) explains the missing participants. “At the data cut-off date of October 9, a total of 37,706 participants had a median of at least 2 months of safety data available after the second dose and contributed to the main safety data set.”

        2. IM Doc

          A point of correction, the way I see it.

          The Phase III trials at least the ones already completed in the past few weeks and reported and voted on by the FDA – are OVER.

          You could never ever be giving meds or vaccines or anything to the general public in a PHASE III trial. They require an IRB oversight and an investigator.

          This is also not a PHASE IV trial – that is a post marketing study – and the patients still need to be enrolled in a trial. I have no idea how you do a PHASE IV trial in the setting of an emergency use authorization. I do not believe it can be done. I would defer to research gurus that really know how to set up studies.

          This is implementation to the public on an emergency use authorization. This has not received formal approval from the FDA in the standard sense. You are correct that side effects and problems are now going to be followed on the public at large. This EUA is unique in that it encompasses all of us. Before this year, I had always pictured these being used to speed things up for critical cancer drugs, etc.

          1. Lee

            My guess is that from the point of view of the elites, it is the economy as it is currently organized that is being critically threatened and in need of emergency care rather than the health of the general populace.

            If, temporarily at least, we were to adopt a command economy model, limiting economic activity to the essentials while providing the essentials to all, and I believe we are materially capable of doing so, we could have limited the extent of disease transmission and bought more time for vaccine development.

          2. SE

            Right, right, I know it is not technically phase IV, and that there is no phase IV. I am using that a bit ironically since I am in a category for which this vaccine has not been tested, and I feel like I’m being asked to enroll in a trial without being offered informed consent. But your clarification is important, did not mean to muddy the waters that are already muddy enough.

            I think most people don’t understand the difference between the EUA and an approval, and that creates a false sense of security.

          3. KLG

            Precisely. Without that new cancer drug that is having a remarkable effect on the patients in the trial (who don’t get the placebo) you will die. With the new cancer drug you just might live a while longer. Maybe. And even enjoy the life you are given. This does seem a bit different…

        3. SE

          Well, it is kind of like phase IV because no exclusion criteria and no exclusion criteria no informed consent for people in categories were the safety profile hasn’t been tested at all.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            thats what i was getting at…perhaps too obliquely…and with not total cynicism and snark.

            they’re finishing their “trials” with the USA as the Lab.

            I am somewhat biased against pfizer, i admit.
            i have a long institutional memory is the problem.

            i suppose that…like in the Primaries…it’s regarded as somewhat uncouth to look at a person’s(ha!) record.

    3. TroyIA

      I’m not a doctor but thought I would share this link about Bell’s Palsy.

      The most potent risk factor in the development of Bell’s palsy is diabetes mellitus. Other risk factors include lyme disease, arterial hypertension, autoimmune inflammatory disorders, viral infections and lipid disturbances.

      For the doctors, since the MRNA vaccines are wrapped in lipid nanoparticles could this create enough of a disturbance in select individuals, especially those with other risk factors, that Bell’s Palsy develops?

      1. IM Doc

        This is really very unlikely going to happen.
        No matter if it was pure lard, there is simply not enough fat in an injection to make any difference in the Lipid Panel. Furthermore, the lipid disturbances they are referencing are very remote, very rare lipid problems. I see about 1 Bells Palsy patient every other year or so. It has in my life been diabetics that are out of control that are the primary victims. I honestly do not recall anyone with an inflammatory Bells Palsy. – It is in the textbooks, just not common enough that I would have seen it in 30 years of practice.

        I would also caution you to be very careful about assuming that the vaccine caused the Bells Palsy in these test subjects. That has not been shown to be causative yet at all. There are simply not enough patients in the cohorts.

        1. SE

          The incidence is between 15-30 people per 100k per year, more or less. Given about 30 to 40 k people each trial, 7 isn’t a crazy number of cases. But some priors would be helpful. Did any of the affected people have diabetes? How long after the first or second shot did the palsy appear? I would expect more of this to be available.

    4. JBird4049

      Is it possible that some of the post COVID issues is “just” sheer exhaustion and wear on the body? Even though it has been in the States since before March that is still less than a year. Could the actual length for a complete recovery just be very long?

      I ask because I had “only” pneumonia when I was thirty. Three-four weeks of trying to breathe and mostly not eating or sleeping followed by at least two months of slowly getting my energy, stamina, and mental clarity back after I had “recovered.”

      Honestly, I was too exhausted during the illness to even have the mental energy to worry about survival. I don’t think it did anything permanent damage. It just used up all of my body’s resources, which I then had to spend months getting back admittedly while working full time in retail. Fun times.

      1. IM Doc

        I am beginning to think that the virus is able to cause diffuse widespread damage at a micro level in a lot of people.

        I do not think they are worn out in any traditional sense. I think people have been literally damaged. I have one too many 30 year old jock types who cannot get out of bed. They would normally have recovered from regular types of infection in no time.

        This is very troublesome to me. It is way more common out there than death or hospitalizations.

  7. John

    In re Mitch McConnell and polio: I had polio when I was 8 years old in 1944. It was a painful experience while the overt symptoms lasted, but the after effects were and have been all but unnoticeable.

    There is likely an explanation for the differences, but them Co-Vid ranges from asymptomatic to fatal in its effects.

      1. Hepativore

        Oh, come now…he would be well on his way to picking up where Obama left off in securing the Grand Bargain, laying the groundwork for a war with Iran, and making sure that he wastes no opportunity in snubbing the left at every turn.

        1. neo-realist

          Grand Bargain, yes, considering his willingness to make peace with Republicans, but laying the groundwork for Iran???? Who threw out the nuclear deal, initiated blockades of Iranian cargo, and assassinated a top Iranian General, all of which has encouraged the Iranians to start enriching uranium??? The Orange baby going “waaah, I won the election.

          1. Hepativore

            Both the W. Bush-era neocons and the Clintonite/Obama wing neoliberals have been itching for a war with Iran for awhile now as have the military and defense industries. Trump’s various war-baiting attempts have been just the latest incarnation to start something with Iran.

            The problem is that with Biden in charge, those very same defense industry personnel that have been pushing for war at every turn have been selected for Biden’s cabinet and looking at his picks for foreign policy advisor and so on, I think it is safe to say that the Biden administration is going to continue down the same path only with more of a veneer of “civility”.

            1. neo-realist

              Biden has demonstrated a willingness to go back to the nuclear deal, with a caveat for restrictions on ballistic missiles. The pentagon knows that it’s something akin to WWIII to go to war with Iran. While there are some hawks in there, the pragmatists tend to outnumber and or overrule the hawks when it comes down to brass tacks vis-a-vis Iran. The defense industry likes the threat of war, so they can move merchandise, much more than the real mccoy.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Won’t work that as a caveat on ballistic missiles is basically a demand for Iran to make itself an easier target for an attack. In any case, Iran would say that as you showed zero faith with the first treaty, why would we sign up for a renegotiated second treaty when you are incapable of fulfilling the first. More pragmatically, to renegotiate a treaty could take months if not years to accomplish because of the number of partners. Democrat thoughts of adding a Saudi and UAE contingent to negotiations is an absolute no flier. At this point, a new Brexit treaty stands a better chance of being negotiated that a new Iran nuke deal. Which leaves signing up again to the original deal – and sticking to it.

              2. Procopius

                Minor quibble: Biden has said he’s willing to go back to the JCPOA. He hasn’t done anything to demonstrate a willingness to do that. For example, he hasn’t said he will cancel all U.S.-imposed sanctions, which is a non-negotiable requirement on Iran’s part. His Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have not (as far as I know) said they are willing to go along. Remember that Bolton and Pompeo cooperated to undercut the Korea rapprochement. Presidents (and even kings) can’t do anything if their subordinates won’t cooperate, which is why his choosing people he considers reliable is so important. Trouble is, I think they’re reliably wrong.

  8. boots

    The Solarwinds hack is absolutely fascinating, not only due to the dangers of concentration or the return of unfounded attribution of a hack to cozy bear to the media. Hackernews has been following it closely, from the initial FireEye announcement to the Treasury and Commerce announcements to analysis by Brian Krebs. There’s been a lot of insider shop talk and expressions of professional frustration with a wide range of workplace security issues.

    I think FireEye discovered the compromise while investigating the exfiltration of some of their red team hacking tools, and discovered that the Solarwinds hack had also affected Commerce and Treasury.

    Solarwinds provides network monitoring to 18,000 clients who use Office365, including over 400 of the Fortune 500, all 5 branches of the US military, all cable and cellular providers, Treasury, Commerce, the White House staff, etc. In March, malicious code inserted into their product was deployed to at least 10 of their clients. The code allows remote actors to access networks through Single Sign On as *any* user or administrator.

    The shop talk at HN notes that in 2017, Solarwinds client data was being widely sold on darkweb forums, that last year it was discovered that they allowed a master account with insecure shared password solarwinds123 to push anything to the servers that clients download software updates from, that this year clients complained that the hash for downloaded updates didn’t match what it should have been and were told that it’s a known problem so they should install anyway, and that the compromised updates have not been removed from Solarwinds’ update server yet.

    The actual hack was done by getting credentials using spearphishing/ social engineering. Several people who read the code said that it was not extraordinarily complex or elegant, and well within the capacities of a non-state actor. A commenter noted that he had used similar spearphishing techniques to insert similar malicious code during a routine security drill at his work.

    The most compelling argument so far that it was a state actor is that they targeted ~10 of Solarwinds’ clients instead of all 18,000. I’m not certain that even that has been well established yet. A Solarwinds exec said, ‘the scale of the compromise may never be known.’

    What I wonder us what someone would want out of Treasury and Commerce. I don’t understand those departments well. Tax returns?

    1. apleb

      Treasury: actual US fiscal policy down to individuals and companies as opposed to official fiscal policy from various mouthpieces. Stuff like Trumps elusive tax returns is the least important of those.
      Commerce: all trade related info. It’s nice to know what the other side does before they approach the table in treaty negotiations.

      1. boots

        Useful to know! In coverage I read, there was absolutely no curiosity or speculation about this question. If the attacker left FireEye alone, they’d still be capable of getting the goods on highly granular fiscal policy and trade info. Thank you for the civics education!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The Solarwinds hack shares some features with the plot of the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie “the Net”. Is there a Greek pi symbol in the lower right corner of a Solarwinds page?

    3. Heruntergekommen Sein

      The National Telecommunications and Information Administration overseen at the cabinet-level by Cypriot hamburglar, Wilbur Ross. The minimum disclosed damage, SAML code compromise, means somebody gave themselves admin privileges at the root of every US government network and every internet exchange point around the world. Anything with a country-code top-level domain [ccTLD], generic top-level domains [gTLD] or infrastructure top-level domains [.arpa] that uses public-key encryption [DNSSEC]. — Bear in mind, the current administration habitually jettisons out of the airlock cyber security experts and homeland security advisors at the very whiff of duty-bound competence. So, was this a coincidence? Gee… I don’t know.

      1. tegnost

        cyber security experts and homeland security advisors
        omg! you mean the people who are hacking our phones and spying on us got pushed out of the airlock? That sounds bad /s

    4. Procopius

      Having seen commentary on the NSA and CIA hacking tools released into the wild back in 2017 I wonder why I should trust FireEye any more than I trust CrowdStrike. The biggest difference I see easily is that FireEye does not seem to have an immediate financial incentive to lie, but there is plenty of social pressure (since their clients include so many people who have a stake in Russiagate). I hope that they end up providing some evidence to back up their claims. If Kaspersky comes out and says they have proof it was Russian state agencies I’ll be a lot more ready to take their word for it.

  9. marym

    Election Legitimacy
    From the NBC link: “The district attorney’s office alleged that Aguirre was being paid $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country.”

    More on that:
    “Prosecutors say Aguirre’s election fraud claims were baseless and that he was paid $266,400 by the group Liberty Center for God and Country, whose CEO is prominent Texas right-wing activist Steven Hotze.

    Hotze was among a group of Republicans who unsuccessfully sued to have nearly 127,000 Harris County ballots tossed out this year. He was also among Republicans who tried — and failed — to stop Gov. Greg Abbott from extending early voting during the coronavirus pandemic… “(Link)

    As has been the case for decades, unsubstantiated allegations of fraud are a tool to promote Disenfranchisement Legitimacy.

    “On Monday, U.S. Sen. David Perdue said two things worth noting during an interview on Fox & Friends. The first was in reaction to a statement from Stacey Abrams over the weekend – that 85,000 absentee ballot applications have already been made by voters who didn’t vote in the Nov. 3 election. Said Perdue:

    “We’re trying to segregate all the people who registered after the November election and have gotten an absentee ballot. We want those treated as a provisional ballot to make sure.”” (Link)

    Segregate all the people…

    1. Procopius

      I’m wondering who Perdue is referring to as “we.” Is the Secretary of State of Georgia included? The Governor? How does the Senator have authority to interfere with administrative processes at the state level? I’m also curious what was the second thing he said worth noting, but I’m not going to follow the link. Life is too short.

    1. dcblogger

      of course there is something other than baseball driving this. Racism does not just evaporate. It takes activism. The Negro leagues existed because of racism, and pushing that back requires recognizing their contribution to the game.

    2. Wellstone's Ghost

      Rest assured, the quality of play in the Negro Leagues was as good or better than the play in the Honky Leagues.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    a sort of housekeeping question, i guess: is Texas in the South, the West or the Midwest for the purposes of the covid charts up at the top?

    historically, i’ve found it included in all 3…for weather, or linguistics, or whatever.

  11. chris

    This is a fascinating analysis article from the Guardian on inequities in the US healthcare system. And by fascinating I mean they diagnose dozens of issues and yet fail to mention M4A once.

  12. zagonostra

    >Bernie Sanders and Progressives in Our Winter of Discontent – Norman Solomon

    I think Solomon, even though he tends to lay to encomiums down a bit too heavily for my taste, is right that the progressive “movement” needs a new national leader. Right now, there is no one that comes close to Bernie’s stature.

    Away from Capitol Hill, many progressive organizations are regrouping while “the Bernie movement” evaporates. Coalescing in its place are a range of resilient, overlapping movements…Bernie Sanders was the catalyst for galvanizing the grassroots progressive power that propelled his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns…As this century enters its third decade, the torch needs to be grasped by others to lead the way.


    1. Massinissa

      “Right now, there is no one that comes close to Bernie’s stature.”

      I agree. And before anyone mentions AOC… Not happening. She seems to become more moderate essentially every month at this point. She’s better than nothing, I guess, but she’s getting moderate enough to as to be questionable that she would really be more than a lady version of Obama if she entered the office. Then again… I guess she would still be better than the alternatives, at this rate. Sigh…

  13. tegnost

    You’d think MSNBC would show more gratitude to Barr for squelching two October surprises

    They have a public position and a private position, nudge nudge, wink wink…

  14. You're soaking in it

    I haven’t seen much coverage of this, but some people I know have not had Social Security taxes withheld from their paychecks since a while, as part of Trump’s poison pill attempt to buy votes. Since it looks like his show is going into cancellation , these “loans” may actually need to be paid back. These are all people on hourly wages and I’m pretty sure many haven’t been thinking much about this beyond “worry about it later”. I would have imagined this to be part of any bailout/stimulus bill, but haven’t heard anything about it. If not, I’m pretty sure there are going to be another contingent of working people hurting badly when this starts coming out again.

    1. JBird4049

      Oh goodie! Poor people get nailed and Biden gets the blame. Perhaps he should though if he does not extend or cancel it. If the economy is going to remain as bad as I think it will, any extra money from any work people can get would be very welcome.

    2. VietnamVet

      These little incidences of incompetence and weird anomalies are starting to show up. I got a letter from the VA saying I must pay $281.54 by January because pharmacy co-payments were deferred due to the pandemic. But, no bill yet. Why restart now in the middle of the pandemic’s long dark winter? It must be another dirty trick on the Biden Administration. But this really screws the just evicted out of work Vet. Then it crossed my mind that I’ve paid thousands of dollars for medical, dental and car insurance that I haven’t used being isolated in suburbia since February 3rd but necessary in case of illness and leaving the house. Somebody is being screwed as others get rich. The New World Order is at work.

  15. Geoffrey Dewan

    Wow- this great! Only ONE Friedman Unit until all the Republicans gather around Uncle Joe’s campfire and sing Kumbaya.
    I can’t wait….

    1. edmondo

      “President-elect Joe Biden is considering some well-known Republicans — think Meg Whitman types — for Commerce secretary as a way to signal to red-state Americans he understands their concerns and plans to address them…

      I admit that I do not know every person who voted for Trump but I know enough of them to know that NOT ONE of them would look at a billionaire like Meg Whitman with anything but utter disdain. Making the woman who destroyed tens of thousands of American jobs when she was a captain of industry the new Secretary of Commerce is so amazingly ill-advised that I think they are just trolling us now. It’s like a giant, unfunny practical joke.

  16. Wukchumni

    Notes on a scarecard: Covid testing edition

    Went in and got my Covid test which was negative (thank goodness-if i’d have tested positive, my surgery would be major complicated) and was ready for ‘Big Nostril’ but it was barely invasive and over and done in a jiffy.

    The staff tells me that Kaweah Delta hospital is now using regular patient rooms-not just the ICU ward rooms due to the influx of people testing positive, and that in the past week, the number of people testing positive has gone up markedly, was what I was told.

    1. chris

      I’m so glad to hear you don’t have covid. It sucks… the testing is easy. The hard part is getting the results and all the data out of the test. Most places don’t offer the CT count on the PCR test or the details from the rapid test. They just say you get positive or negative on either.

      It’s also a nightmare getting even the positive or negative results these days because they’re so backed up. We’ve been waiting for my kids results since last Thursday. 2 out of the 4 in my family know they got negative results. The other two are unknown. All 4 were tested at the same time. The results are probably out there but they haven’t updated the app data for us and they haven’t updated the website and we can’t get thru to anyone on the phone so…we wait.

  17. Pelham

    Re Covid relief checks: Isn’t the elite’s unspoken argument against this just a return to moral hazard, the same concern that barred relief for homeowners during the financial crisis? Tim Geithner back then, I believe, said any attempt to help ordinary people would generate a kind of “sugar high” for the economy.

    OTOH, although I’m a fan of MMT, I suppose from that perspective Geithner may have had a point. There’s always a danger of spurring inflation by giving money to the sorts of people who might actually spend it, thus putting a strain on productive resources. (Although with so much manufacturing capacity offshored, I wonder whether this still applies.)

    Another commenter here made what I thought was a relevant and insightful point a couple of days ago, He posited that Congress’ refusal to provide much in the way of direct relief would serve as a cue for the Fed to step in with additional measures that would have the effect of further pumping up the stock market — and Congress critters’ portfolios. Maybe that’s a factor, too.

    1. Mel

      Heh. They gave money instead to the sorts of people who boost asset prices, and now they’re having to depopulate San Francisco to put people in apartments that anybody can afford. Housing being that one awkward place where asset values and the price of living overlap.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. they’re all worried sick about us getting a sugar high, while they’re ass-up in Hunter S Thompson’s trunk.

      “Moral Hazard”,lol.
      do these people have mirrors?…or are like my dad’s cockatiel(Chief) who thought those reflections were somebody else?

      on a related note: anyone have some kind of real time(or at least not 3 years old) crime tracker? especially theft, burglary and shoplifting?
      I reckon that would be a great economic indicator for how things are going with the collapse.

      in my county, i’ve got a pretty good anecdotal thumb on that scale(we hear about such things almost immediately=Chisme)

    3. The Rev Kev

      The $5 trillion given to the wealthiest individuals and corporations back in March did have the effect of a “sugar high” but only on the stock market but as there is a major dislocation between it and the real economy, it had no real effect on main street. But note that there was no surge in inflation at all as in nada. Inflation these days is just a bogey man and with virtually zero interest rates, I am not sure that it actually can be. As it is, those productive resources are spinning in the wind as the pandemic and lockdowns have shut down a lot of the demand. And as the pandemic eventually passes, they will be gone. But the moral question remains. Who do you send money to – Jeff Bezos or a few million people relying on food banks to feed their families?

    4. Glen

      Looks like the Military Industrial Complex got some stimulus money. They sent an email to the Senators they OWN in DC a couple days ago probably complaining that the near trillion they just gave to the DoD wasn’t enough.

      Stimulus Bill Has Defense Industry Bailout But No Stimulus Checks

      Wow, all while “We, the people” are being left to starve, lose jobs, lose business, lose homes, get sick/die.

  18. Pelham

    Re Barr’s resignation and his squelching of two October surprises: I wonder whether as a more conventional Republican he wanted to see Trump out the door while also keeping two big barrels loaded and aimed at the incoming Biden administration. A hobbled Biden begging for bipartisanship might be the best outcome for the non-Trump GOP.

  19. converger

    RE: “Biden eyes last-minute Republican pick”

    Come on. On what planet is Meg Whitman, or any other corporate Republican, considered a diversity hire who cares about 90% Trump supporters?

    For someone who goes on about healing all the time, Team Biden has a tin ear when it comes to appointing people who might actually influence business as usual.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      “On what planet?” . . . On the Planet of the PKKK Democrats. That’s what planet.

      Megan Whitman may be a Goldman Sachs feminist. She certainly exemplifies the type. Picking her is putting another Goldman Sachs feminist through the Tiffany Glass Ceiling.

      10 million PKKK Democrats would squeal in delight.

  20. flora

    re: “He added, ‘I know I’ve been criticized heavily for saying from the beginning, we’ve got to unify the country. I think you’re going to be surprised. It’s going to take six to eight months to get it under way but I think you’re going to be surprised.’” • In a good way, I hope!”

    Here’s hoping a national unifying event doesn’t include a tall building or a new war.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I think he’s going to be surprised too. He honestly seems to buy the bs he’s peddling. It’s going to be a shock to him when the Republicans won’t return his calls and don’t respond to his bluster.

      1. Massinissa

        I mean, to be fair, going back a couple decades, I think he has always believed the BS he says. I don’t think that’s a new thing but rather something that has accompanied him most of his life.

        I mean, that made him perfect to be Obama’s VP, considering Obama did the same thing. People aren’t joking when they claim this administration is going to be Biden 2.0.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, it’s a talent that has served him well over the decades. The rest of us, not so much.

          As he was recorded saying on the leaked audio from the meeting with black organization leaders, “I mean it when I say it.” And I’m sure he kinda does, even when he winds up doing the opposite…

        2. Procopius

          As he put it himself a couple days ago, “I mean what I say when I say it.” He seemed to think that was a reason to believe he is sincere. I think it means something else. I try not to think that I know what someone believes or thinks. I can only know what they say, and too often I forget that, but I try to always come back to it. Any time you see an article that says some person or group of people “think” or “believe” or “hope” or “assume,” mentally edit the page to change those words to “said.” This is really compounded if they say, “Wossisname believes there is a risk of …” Sure tell of BS.

      2. Samuel Conner

        > won’t return his calls and don’t respond to his bluster

        I imagine that if they retain the Senate, the Rs will be investigating Hunter until JB leaves office.

        Maybe that trip to GA actually is intended to help the D candidates.

  21. Otis B Driftwood

    Hawley is going to be elected President in 2024. And at the rate the Dems are going, I will be one of those estranged Democrats who vote for him.

    1. curlydan

      If it weren’t for Trump, I’d agree with you. But I suspect Trump will hold the Repubs hostage and run again in 2024. I do think Hawley has a great chance of being President in the future.

      1. Massinissa

        Trump v Hawley primary? Would be FUN! Hell, I’d vote for Hawley over Trump in a primary if Hawley keeps this up, and I’m neither a Republican, or a Democrat that has TDS, though I’d vote in the primary at all partially because we all know there won’t be a major primary challenger to Biden.

        I do agree that Trump would probably be able to muscle him out in 2024, if Trump even wants to run again. What comes after that, who knows.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, Trump could pick Hawley for VP running mate. And if Trump/Hawley got elected in 2024 and Trump resigned half-way plus-one-day into his Presidency, then Hawley could be President for 2 years minus a day. And maybe for 8 more years after that.

    2. LilD

      Just want to be on record in agreement so I have “I told you so” rights.
      Hawley is MAGA with some political skill and an understanding that delivering benefits to the people is actually popular.

      While self-righteously satisfying to smugly say I told you so, I’d still rather have a good outcome.

      But it’s not going to be good. Cassandra is just a whiny negative Nellie

      1. Pat

        Probably. But since you are going on the record, tell us one possible Democrat who has even that much going for them please.

        Personally I am of the belief that 2021 is going to be enough of a cluster*family blog* that 2022 is going to make 2010 look like a really good year for the Democratic Party. Unless they get their heads out of the donors’ derrières and find some of that political skill a whole lot of Democrats are going to find themselves out of a job. And a MAGA with it will eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner. So much, they also won’t have either the Presidency or a compliant media in 2024.

        1. neo-realist

          I’ll have to be a smoother MAGA without the overt racism to beat the dem in all likelihood. If not, such a candidate will draw out the black vote en masse and some moderate and liberal whites to vote against him or her as they did against Trump.

          I’ll definitely be on the dems in 2021 if they win the Senatorial runoffs in GA, which would give them a bare majority to do stuff for people, but do the same old austerity.

          1. HotFlash

            All that the Hawley has to do is promise Medicare for All. I think he might, he’s that savvy and that ambitious. If so, it’ll be goodbye to the once-upon-a-time party of FDR for a loong, long time. Hey, wait, wasn’t Lincoln a Republican?

            1. neo-realist

              A lot of people on this blog keep projecting a republican promising M4A. THEY NEVER DO IT BECAUSE IT GOES AGAINST THEIR DARWINIAN IDEOLOGY. GIVE IT UP ALREADY. For them, it’s like promising free stuff and the people, in their eyes, aren’t entitled to affordable to free health care that improves their lives.

              1. BlakeFelix

                Hawley and Sanders ARE the guys calling for free stuff. I don’t see why a functional health care system (like Nixon and Trump have called for(thanks, Ted Kennedy)) is a bridge too far.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Who the hell was that CBS interviewer carrying water for by saying to Hawley that aid would be “expensive’? Was he told to say stuff like that? I guess that Hawley could not say so but you just wish that someone would say to that suit, ‘Hey what about the trillions of dollars given to the richest corporations in the country. Do you think that that was expensive? How about the tens of billions wanting to go to bail out airlines executives while food banks are buckling out the seams. You want to explain that to hungry kids? Nice suit that you got on by the way, buddy. Tell me that it did not cost you four figures.’

    4. Samuel Conner

      It would be extremely interesting to know if Hawley understands MMT.

      We know that the Rs aren’t concerned about deficits when they are in power.

  22. occasional anonymous

    >Arnade argues that ‘atheism is an intellectual luxury that is wrong’

    Years ago I read Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945. One of the interesting bits of information in that book was how widespread atheism was among the Red Army soldiers. Many of the veterans the author interviewed maintained that they were still atheists. The experience of some of the worst, most brutal fighting in human history did not drive them to embrace the supernatural as an emotional and psychological crutch. There were, in fact, plenty of atheists in foxholes.

    1. RMO

      “Atheism is an intellectual luxury that is wrong” That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve heard this year, and there was some pretty stiff competition. I say this as someone who (to his surprise) was baptized into the Antiochian Church a few of years back after a life of being an atheist. Some of the finest people I have ever known were atheists and some of the worst were devoutly religious (a number of religions, not just Judeo-Christian). The same applies looking through history. People are people and no matter what philosophy they profess to follow some of them will be absolute monsters.

  23. Mikel

    So the Google crash left “smart” home users in the dark yesterday (clownface emjoi).

    And that’s the tip of the iceberg for the “smart” (clownface emjoi) product users.

    Remember this article:

    “Requests are rising from law enforcement for information on the devices, which can include internet queries, food orders, and overheard conversations.”

      1. chris

        Theres an interesting point in that thread which I hadn’t considered before, will we run into the mess of needing to lock down at the state level but being unable to do so because there’s not enough money to cover so many people on UI and other benefits at once? It seems like that’s the kind of statistic we should hear about along with statewide hospital capacity, right?

  24. edmondo

    Just out of curiosity, why does Joe Biden need $100 million for an inauguration? Doesn’t the government pay for the Chief Justice to show up and swear him in? Isn’t the whole thing virtual? A hundred million for what? A Zoom subscription costs $59.95 a month. Is the rest for Hunter’s hookers and blow? Beau’s mausoleum and Cancer Center?

    Nothing did change, did it?

    1. nycTerrierist

      great catch — seems even more brazen this way, without shmancy parties etc.

      how do they even spin this?

    2. bob

      It’s a way for big donors to get around what little law there is already.

      Campaign finance laws end when the campaign does. It’s a way for them to bribe Joe with as much money as possible.

      Some might call it a wedding gift for his daughter

  25. Pat

    Biden and his team seemed to believe the left should be happy with Tanden, so it makes sense they think the Rust Belt would like a former tech CEO and globalist like Meg Whitman. They so have their fingers on the pulse of America.

  26. flora

    This is a very ,*very* long article about medical science, pharma, money, and politics. It covers a lot of ground. It’s written by a layman, not a Dr., who simply looks at what’s been happening and asks questions. I thought it was very interesting, especially in the second half where he writes about the amount of money Gilead pharma spent on lobbyists and other donations, something that gets almost no MSM attention. He ends with a scathing rebuke of any scientists who would willingly fit their test results to the results desired by the funder or by politics.


  27. Chaco52

    As to the two parties embubbled hysterics, the notion that “liberal Democrat embubblement consists in symbol manipulation” blithely ignores the Democrats tacit support for a violent Antifa and an irresponsible BLM who support looting violence. Somehow one or two over-enthusiastic and violent right wing nut jobs pales in comparison to supporting multiple, months long planned violent actions by the Dems surrogates.

    1. Massinissa

      “Democrats tacit support for a violent Antifa and an irresponsible BLM who support looting violence.”

      Is this a joke? They don’t support Antifa or any kind of left wing movements like that at all, and BLM isn’t even an organization, its a grassroots movement, which categorically can’t support a single thing, and I don’t even many BLM groups even supporting that. Can you actually justify either of these assertions?

      “Somehow one or two over-enthusiastic and violent right wing nut jobs pales in comparison to supporting multiple, months long planned violent actions by the Dems surrogates.” This is even more absurd. Armed right wing groups like the Proud Boys completely outnumber, and more importantly out-organize, any kind of militant left wing groups. Whatever few armed left wing groups exist in the US are unorganized. The reality is pretty much the opposite of what you just asserted. There is very little evidence to support any of your claims.

      1. Massinissa

        And for that matter, neither left wing OR right wing militant groups in the US are organized or centralized enough to become a violent paramilitary like you describe. You’re bordering on conspiracy theory here.

      2. CNu

        What is grassroots about BLM? https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/warren-buffett-black-lives-matter

        Alicia Garza now a WEF recruit? https://www.younggloballeaders.org/new-class?utf8=%E2%9C%93&region=a0Tb00000000DC9EAM

        As for Antifa, if I recall correctly, out of 12,000 plus protests, ~370 became violent. Of those arrested for violence, something approaching 50% of the arrestees were public school employees.

        The NEA and the AFT make the Fraternal Order of Police look like small potatos in terms of $$$, political influence and sheer numbers.

        I don’t think there was anything grassroots about any of the protests taking place in a small percentage of protest sites across America this year.

    2. ambrit

      Oh my. Here we go again.
      What don’t you understand about the concept of “uncivil unrest?” Nothing else has done any good so far, thus, on to step two, making the lower level ‘establishment’ “uncomfortable.”
      Secondly, oppression by physical intimidation has been a long standing tactic of the right. Coppers beating up peaceful protestors is as American as guns, Mom, and apple pie.
      Now, some are finally waking up to the fact that the “Authorities” can maintain their monopoly on violence only as long as the people let them.
      You think the last two or three years have been bad? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

      1. chris

        And yet we haven’t really seen this yet at any significant scale. I keep thinking we will but we haven’t. I feel like Wile E. Coyote at this point, stomping on the rock that I expect to fall because we’ve kicked out all support, only I don’t know if it will crush me when I take it for granted. And now I hear that the poison rider of corporate immunity won’t be in the compromise stimulus bill!? What gives? I want my apocalypse dammit! Lol.

        I hope things don’t get so bad that we see mass unrest. I hope our elected leaders are successful and do help our citizens. Especially those in need. I hope we come through the rest of this crazy pandemic with the least amount of suffering and death. I hope the poorest among us who have suffered so much already get the help they desperately need as quickly as possible. I even hope ol’ Sleepy Joe is successful and accomplishes some real things that make Obama and Kamala stew in their own juices. But most importantly, even if it seems a small, naive thing – I hope.

        Let’s see what happens next and if we can try to make it better :)

    3. tegnost

      a link to “BLM who support looting violence” please
      also I think BLM support dwarfs (oh crap i’m gonna’ get cancelled)
      antifa support

      1. ambrit

        “…I’m gonna get cancelled..”
        What, again?
        And as to ‘cancelled’ as a theme, this suggests that there is some sort of “Woke Passport” where various situations and ascriptions get ‘cancelled,’ like travel visas. (Fellow Traveler is not far behind.)

        1. tegnost

          oops, I meant dwarves, and sure it’s ok for BLM to support dwarves,but to compare the support of antifa to dwarves dwarfs dwarves, if I think that might be what I’m saying…?
          anyway BLM does not support looting. Wall St.owns that territory and there’s a vig or something and if you don’t want cement shoes you just let them have it, I guess…

          1. RMO

            When it’s spelled “dwarves” it usually refers to mythical creatures and you really don’t have to worry much about offending them. If the dwarves from mythology were real, then yes it would be a good idea to avoid offending them. A really good idea. “Dwarf” is widely accepted when talking about humans who are under 4’10” due to genetics or for other medical reasons. “Midget” which was used in show business to refer to people with proportionate dwarfism is the term that’s considered somewhat offensive.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      How do I know the so-called “antifas” weren’t really secret agent MAGA’s in false-flag antifa disguise tasked by TrumpCo Central with creating telegenic video footage for Trump to run tough-on-crime against?

      1. The Rev Kev

        You have a point. We don’t really know who those antifa goons were or who was paying them. It’s not like the police could have kettled a whole bunch of them, arrested them, took them downtown for interrogation and identification with a task force set up to finding out who is behind them. That would have been beyond police capabilities that. Well, unless antifa was saying that they should Occupy Wall Street. Then it would have been possible.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s something interesting I just saw on the reddit.

    ” Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to Block Abortion of Fetuses Capable of Feeling Pain”

    Here is the link.

    Is Tulsi Gabbard getting revenge on the Democrats for what they did to her all through the primaries and against her in Hawaii? Is she the sort of person who believes that revenge is a dish best served over . . . and over . . . and over again?

    1. Massinissa

      It might simply be part of her belief system, being a devout Hindu and all. Anti-Abortion stances are pretty common to many religions. Hard to tell if its a sincere belief thing or something to attack Democrats with, but I’m pretty sure its the former.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The article itself noted that she had voted against such legislation two times in the past in Congress.
        If that is correct, then actually sponsoring or offering such a bill now looks like the first footstep in a Long March of Vengeance to me.

        But we shall see. She is still young. Let’s see if she re-enters politics and if so . . . under what party label?

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