Links 12/13/2020

How a New Hampshire libertarian utopia was foiled by bears Vox. “It turns out that if you have a bunch of people living in the woods in nontraditional living situations, each of which is managing food in their own way and their waste streams in their own way, then you’re essentially teaching the bears in the region that every human habitation is like a puzzle that has to be solved in order to unlock its caloric payload.”

The US government wants to break up Facebook. Good – it’s long overdue Matt Stoller and Shaoul Sussman, Guardian

‘It’s Hard to Prove’: Why Antitrust Suits Against Facebook Face Hurdles NYT

The US Treasury market is facing a train wreck FT

Breakingviews – AstraZeneca’s $39 billion deal is bold as well as big Reuters

Christopher Nolan Calls Warner Bros.’ Shift To Streaming New Movies ‘A Great Danger’ NPR

UK Supreme Court enables $18.5 billion class action against Mastercard Reuters

Here’s what happens to your credit card debt when you die CNBC

Bandwidth Limits at National Weather Service Could Hobble Our Weather Apps Gizmodo


First Covid-19 vaccines to arrive in states Monday, marking a pivotal moment in the pandemic response STATl. See Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Dashboard (tableau map) Benjamin Renton. Compiled from local news reports.

Experts warn of low Covid vaccine trust among Black Americans NBC

COVID vaccines: the world’s medical regulators need access to open data Nature

* * *

Evidence of Long-Distance Droplet Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by Direct Air Flow in a Restaurant in Korea Journal of Korean Medical Science. From the Abstract: “A total of 3 cases were identified in this outbreak, and maximum air flow velocity of 1.2 m/s was measured between the infector and infectee in a restaurant equipped with ceiling-type air conditioners. The index case was infected at a 6.5 m away from the infector and 5 minutes exposure without any direct or indirect contact. Droplet transmission can occur at a distance greater than 2 m if there is direct air flow from an infected person. Therefore, updated guidelines involving prevention, contact tracing, and quarantine for COVID-19 are required for control of this highly contagious disease.” Handy diagram (case B at top right is the index case):

Lambert: My understanding of droplets v. aerosols (and “airborne”). Two aspects: Size and behavior. Droplets, due to size, behave ballistically, like spray; gravity causes them to fall onto surfaces (hence fomite-fighting injuctions like hand-washing and cleaning). Aerosols, due to size, float; they are borne on the air, like cigarette smoke. So when the article says air flow due to air conditioning transmitted “droplets” 6.5 meters, I think aerosol. (There is also no evidence that the index case coughed or sneezed, actions that do spray droplets). The issue is institutionally charged (see here) because if SARS-COV-2 is “airborne,” hospitals — among other players — might have to put some of their capital budgets toward HVAC. Paradigm shifts are hard. I don’t think any of these semantics* need affect personal behavior (and definitely keep washing hands and cleaning surfaces); although one author of the study has “developed a strange, if sensible, habit: whipping out a small anemometer to check the airflow.” NOTE * Yes, one can regard droplets to aerosols as a continuum; but that doesn’t help with the institutional issues at all.

Genomic epidemiology reveals transmission patterns and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Aotearoa New Zealand Nature. From the Abstract: “Despite its remoteness, the viruses imported into New Zealand represented nearly all of the genomic diversity sequenced from the global virus population. These data helped to quantify the effectiveness of public health interventions. For example, the effective reproductive number, Re of New Zealand’s largest cluster decreased from 7 to 0.2 within the first week of lockdown. Similarly, only 19% of virus introductions into New Zealand resulted in ongoing transmission of more than one additional case. Overall, these results demonstrate the utility of genomic pathogen surveillance to inform public health and disease mitigation.”

* * *

Mass testing for COVID-19 The Lancet. Slovakia and the UK.

‘Influenza permitting’: What happened when Christmas went ahead during the Spanish Flu pandemic iNews

Deadliest place in America: They shrugged off the pandemic, then their family and friends started dying USA Today. Commentary:


Experts: evidence to support search warrant on Rebekah Jones’ home flimsy Florida Today. From May: Fired scientist defends her COVID-19 data role, portrays Florida Dept. of Health as corrupt.


The top buzzwords of 2020 in China: from the country’s fight against Covid-19 to how a person shows off on social media South China Morning Post

China pulls back from the world: rethinking Xi’s ‘project of the century’ FT

China Has Politics Too Kevin Rudd, Asia Society Policy Institute

China’s Radical New Vision Of Globalization Noema

Drone attacks in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict ‘a warning for Chinese military’ South China Morning Post


Farmers’ Protest Highlights: Farmer union leaders to sit on hunger strike on Dec 14 Indian Express

Why are Indian farmers protesting, and what can Modi do? Agence France Presse

From Segregation to Labour, Manu’s Caste Law Governs the Indian Prison System The Wire


New Documents Show How The British Government Secretly Created ‘Regime Change’ Protests In Lebanon Moon of Alabama


The British Establishment’s Forever War Against Jeremy Corbyn and Corbynism Lost Because We Didn’t Transform the Labour Party Jacobin

Bosses at French construction firm shun Grenfell inquiry citing obscure law used just once in 52 years as evidence reveals they knew flammable cladding was ‘substandard’ Daily Mail

Despite U.S. Sanctions, Gazprom Resumes Work on Nord Stream 2 Maritime Executive

France to ‘keep calm and carry on’ as UK readies navy to protect fishing rights France24

Antisemitism claims mask a reign of political and cultural terror across Europe Jonathan Cook


Brexit: No-deal navy threat ‘irresponsible’, says Tobias Ellwood BBC

Brexit: Government releases details of no-deal planning as talks reach final hours Sky News

Brexit: EU offer ‘unacceptable’ as trade talks continue BBC. As of this writing…

International Observers Present Report on Venezuelan Parliamentary Elections Venezuelanalysis

New Cold War

Russian submarine test-fires four nuclear missiles in western Pacific Euronews

Kremlin Sounds Alarm Over ‘Doomsday Plane’ Robbery Moscow Times


Another Trump-Appointed Judge Rejects Another of the President’s Meritless Post-Election Lawsuits Law and Crime. Here is a copy of Trump-appointee Judge Ludwig’s decision, which I skimmed.

Lambert here: Our electoral system tends to produce close elections (shifts of a few thousands votes in a few districts determined both 2016 and 2020). It follows that both parties (and their consultants and donors) are heavily incentivized to exploit weak points in the system by any means necessary. If I were to design an electoral system that positively encouraged phishing equilibria (“if a system permits fraud, fraud will already have happened”), it would look a lot like the system the Wisconsin Election Commission — with the best of intentions, under pressure of a pandemic — came up with, as detailed by Judge Ludwig. “Curing” a voter’s address through personal knowledge of the registrar? Really? That might work in a small town… Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, it’s not sufficient to prove that election fraud could have occurred, or even (by the logic of phishing equilibria) that it must have occurred. They must show that it did. This they did not do. As I keep saying, one of my greatest fears for 2020 is a binary thinking-driven discrediting of all the hard work done over the years by analysts who have shown how broken our electoral system is, once that work was seized upon by Trump-suppporting opportunists (“Election 2020 was completely clean, so carry on! And if there’s any hacking in the future, we can rely on the intelligence community to tell us about it!”).

How Sara Gideon Lost to Collins the Day After She Entered the Race Mainer. Brutal. Like Amy McGrath, a vanity campaign where millions went to enrich out-of-state, DNC-favored consultants.

Internal audit of 2020 Iowa caucuses points blame at national Democratic Party for delayed results KCRG. “The reporting app performed as intended.” Commentary thread:

How Private Money From Facebook’s CEO Saved The 2020 Election NPR. From last week, still germane.

Trump Campaign to Run Ads Promoting Effort to Overturn Election Bloomberg. Hopefully this won’t go on as long as RussiaGate did.

4 Stabbed and One Shot as Trump Supporters and Opponents Clash NYT

Biden Transition

Email to Hunter Biden raises fresh questions about his tax dealings NBC

Biden Sees the A-Team. I See the Blob. Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

Analysis: Senate ‘gangs’ show Biden what’s possible, and not AP

Special Report: Supplying Accountability and Demanding Change The Caravel. Georgetown’s University does some actual reporting on Biden’s CEA appointment, Heather Boushey, a story otherwise conspicuously absent from major venues.

Biden starts countering Trump’s messaging on vaccine Politico.

To counter skepticism, Biden is giving leading roles to public health figures like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, whom he named chief medical adviser on Covid-19 and Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale expert on health disparities who was named his Covid-19 Equity Task Force chair, with a focus on ensuring minority communities have access to the vaccine.

Let me know how that works out (see Paul Romer on “expert exhortation” here).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

42-year-old protest leader Kris Smith shot and killed Friday, chaplain says Courier-Journal. Two in one month. Hmm.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Our Elites Couldn’t ‘Reset’ A Wall Outlet, Let Alone The Global Economy The American Conservative

Imperialism 2.0: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

Guillotine Watch

Vogue Story Spotlighting Vineyard Wedding Is Quickly Taken Down Vineyard Gazette

Class Warfare

US service workers face a grim winter as more job cuts loom FT

‘We’re already too late’: Unemployment lifeline to lapse even with an aid deal Politico

Paid leave provisions are expiring, bipartisan proposals are missing the point The Hill

Newly elected representative of MO-01:

If you want to look at this pandemic as a natural experiment in the upward transfer of wealth, 2020’s Covid was even more successful than the very successful Crash of 2008.

New US cricket league aims to crack world’s largest sports market FT. Cricket is cool, maybe even cooler than baseball.

Chrome is Bad Chrome is Bad. Commentary:

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. ACF


    Part of what is important to understand about the Wisconsin Trump litigation is everything‘s timing.

    The rule about adding details of witness addresses is actually from 2016 and was instituted with republican support on the commission.

    The idea that a clerk adding details about witnesses address to a ballot makes the ballot fraudulent presumes that the voter wasn’t a legitimate voter and the witness therefore was not a legitimate witness simply because the witness omitted some address details.

    Those premises don’t hold water. But there is a different kind of argument that simply says we don’t care if the ballot is valid in the sense that the voter is eligible to vote the vote was expressed with the voters intent clear and the vote was cast on time. The rule that was used violated the statute and therefore the vote is illegal and therefore even though it is otherwise valid it should not count. That claim may have real merit, in a statutory interpretation sense.

    So then the question becomes how should the court behave when the plaintiff did not challenge the statewide rule when winning four years ago and did not challenge the rule what it was used during elections in April and August in Wisconsin but did challenge the rule only in two counties that it was used in, counties that he lost.

    Note: The case also does not consider what is supposed to happen to the down ticket races voted on those same ballots. The ballot is invalid on such grounds for the presidential it is invalid for the rest of the races too.

    Note also: The rules that the plaintiffs have challenged are all like this none of them are instant quick fixes aimed at a pandemic, except for the democracy in the park events that are as legal under Wisconsin law as any ballot dropbox is although there is a statutory interpretation of argument that drop boxes are illegal. But drop boxes were used in Wisconsin pre-pandemic, simply not at the scale that they were used during the pandemic.

    I think the best case scenario from Trump‘s point of view that he could hope for in a normal legal world would be a 4-3 decision that declares certain of the rules illegal as violations of statutory interpretation but for reasons of equity the results of the election will not be overturned.

    Another possibility is a 4-3 decision that upholds both the rules and the election results. In that case Wisconsin’s highly gerrymandered, extremely partisan legislature is likely to pass laws changing the rules.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I do not like this comment. At all. And I cannot say why because it is so complicated and that is why I hate it. Laws are made by lawyers so stupid people like me need them to understand this babbling nonsense. The rule is; if you need a lawyer you were messing in something you should not have messing with.

      So all this comment does is embiggen the lawyers and validates a unnecessarily complicated process. But democracy was invented by lawyers so I am just staying out of it all because I can’t afford lawyers. I’ll let the silly folk kill each other in the street and die over COVID.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        I appreciate what you are saying here Krystyn and would argue that everything was working fine in Wisconsin until Scotty W got elected with a Rep legislature and they took after the voting process with a vengeance and made it very complicated. The system has always been very well run. Thousands of local clerks run their jurisdictions and the training is constant. The big problem now is nothing ever stays the same, so there is constant chaos.

        On the correction of the absentee ballots. The clerks are doing this as a service. So let’s walk through what happens. The ballot comes back sealed in the certification envelope. By law, the voting of the ballot has to be witnessed by another eligible elector and that elector have to sign, date and provide their address on the outside of the envelope. The most common deficiency is that the address is missing. How does a clerk fix this? They call the voter. This means they have to have the voter’s telephone number. Where do they get that? From the voter’s registration form. When a voter registers all this information is checked.

        So they are going to call and talk with that voter. My goodness, this is actually an additional step that VALIDATES that the person DID vote that ballot. And that is why the WEC was fine with the clerks correcting the deficiency in this way.

        This is a political theater designed to destroy people’s trust in government.

      2. Whistling in the Dark

        “So all this comment does is embiggen the lawyers…”

        We should all use such cromulent vocabulary

    2. Samuel Conner

      Thanks, ACF, for this background. It reminds me a bit of Lambert’s comment yesterday that the DJT campaign is (in some of its cases) contesting outcomes only in those locations it needs to change in order to change the statewide outcome, rather than a consistent system-wide challenge in the states where those locations are located — you add the detail that the selectivity of the challenge is temporal as well as geographical. They (the Rs — but I don’t imagine for a moment that the Ds think differently in the same circumstances) don’t want to fix the system, they just want to use it in whatever way is most advantageous for the needs of the present moment.

      1. ACF

        There is no question that every single lawsuit the Trump campaign has filed has been based on an interest in overturning the election not defending the integrity of the election.

        I agree that is the normal motivation when candidates file election lawsuits.

        There is also no question that 99.9% of the lawsuits the campaign has filed have been without even the barest fig leaf of merit covering the naked effort to change or at least undermine the election outcome.

        Because of the nature of the Wisconsin state supreme court, and the nature of the statutory interpretation claims in Wisconsin, the arguments in this lawsuit that entire categories of votes were cast according to illegal procedures statewide are not lunacy. But that does not mean that the votes themselves were cast by people who were not entitled to cast them or that who they voted for is uncertain or that the votes were cast too late to count.

        Even if the Trump campaign were behaving with greater integrity and were challenging the rules statewide rather than in these two counties in particular, the objective of throwing out hundreds of thousands of votes cast in good faith by legitimate voters following the directions of election officials who thought they too were acting legally in good faith in how they were conducting the election, is just wrong. To me, at least. I can find no justification for throwing out the votes.

        I am concerned that this court will decide that some categories were illegal and will not throw them out because doing so is just wrong, and then people looking for a claim that the election was stolen from Trump will point to Wisconsin even though he could lose Wisconsin’s electoral college votes and would still lose the election.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Again, thank you!

          The thought occurs that a push for what Lambert calls “international gold standard” voting procedures — hand-marked paper ballots hand-counted in public — might come from the Right flank of the Rs more than from anywhere else (Lindsey Graham’s warning that without change, Rs never again win the top of the ballot). It would sort of be like the possibility of a somewhat public-spirited (in terms of top-line policy, if not motivation) populist being more likely from among the Rs (perhaps Hawley?) than from among the Ds. The Rs seem to be less effective at corralling and controlling, by any and all means, their primary voters than the Ds are. Perhaps reform will arise from the Right.

          Or maybe I’m just high on hopium vapors.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Does anyone think ‘Murkans have the right to know how the machines used in 27 states operate? Inquiring minds may wish to investigate. Warning: you will need to penetrate The Great Firewall to obtain the information you are seeking.

          Here are a few questions you might ask:

          1. Do the machines enable remote operators to change the tallies? (Y). Were the machines recorded communicating with overseas IP addresses? (Y) Were tallies observed being changed during the 2020 election? (Y).

          2. Do the machines allow access to ballots after they have been run through, so they could be run through multiple times? (Some do and some don’t).

          3. Do some versions of the machines enable brand new ballots to be created? (Y)

          4. Are votes tabulated as lists of numbers? (N, they are calculated, with resulting 3-digit “scores” including one digit to the right of the decimal).

          5. Have machines been observed using a calculation algorithm to “weight” votes for one candidate? (Y)

          6. Are certain state legislators fighting alongside Dominion to “protect their IP”, including vote calculation methods and vote scores, in court? (Y)

          7. Are the Smartmatic and Dominion companies one and the same? (Y, the Smartmatic chairman is on record stating this to Philippine legislators investigating election fraud there).

          8. Was the Smartmatic chairman appointed as Head of the Soros Global Initiative last week? (Y).

          Tip when researching all of the above: enter the search term, then scroll past the first 15 links to “fact checking” websites operated by persons with a financial interest in the election outcome.


          Maybe we should have a neutral space where these items are entered as “evidence” and persons from both sides can challenge the evidence and the witnesses. You could call such a space a “courtroom”.

          1. Harry Shearer

            Gee, I think the courtrooms have been open, and receptive to whatever evidence a plaintiff might choose to present, as long as they have standing to file an action. Failing that, a perspicacious plaintiff (or his/her surrogate) could even publish such evidence on a website like, say, this one, rather than merely assert its existence.

            1. Phillip Cross

              When trying to portray a “crazy coot kind of character”, like our resident performance artist “Hal” is here, it’s much funnier for the audience if he uses a capital Y after wild assertions, in the place of a link to actual evidence.

              1. ambrit

                Ad hominems are not cool to this audience Sr. Cross.
                Sowing division among the “hoi polloi” is classic ‘cointelpro.’
                Up your game, please. (With apologies to Henny Youngman.)

                1. Phillip Cross

                  Are you seriously trying to tell me that this relentless, daily outpouring of old cobblers isn’t a gag?

                  Come on, man!

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Wouldn’t it be fun to find out for sure in, you know, a court of law, where they would hear the stuff known as “evidence”? But this has not happened.

                    Meantime while The Lords of Permissable Knowledge still allow it you can view a Democratic State Senator from Georgia in 2019 stating the bleeding obvious. Enjoy!


                    And for Harry, yes, standing. The states may not have had it, that’s fine. But I continue to be shocked by people who do not want to do *everything*, or even *anything*, to try and learn what actually went down. And those only wishing to go part way through The Great Firewall might try this site:

                    1. Phillip Cross

                      I thought the National Review / Andrew McCarthy story in today’s links was interesting.


                      (Try googling the headline if you cannot read the whole article)

                      He has been in Trump’s corner throughout the Russiagate hoax, so he is hardly a Trump antagonist.

                      You should read the whole thing as he is covering the things you are interested in, with a level of legal experience and expertise that allows him to fairly appraise the Trump campaign’s various legal claims.

                      He concludes, “It has become an article of faith among ardent Trump followers that the election was stolen. The president continues to insist that this is the case, and these flames were further fanned by 19 Republican-controlled state governments, along with 126 Republican members of Congress, who joined the meritless Texas lawsuit, tossed out by the Supreme Court on Friday. The rationalization behind that stunt was that the president has been denied his day in court. But every time a court offers him an opportunity to establish by proof what he is promoting by Twitter, Team Trump folds. Why is that?

                      When you are finished, have a look at some of his other articles for more info on other cases.


      2. Geoffrey Dewan

        Yes- And note that Al Gore in 2000 only called for a recount in the five Florida counties he thought might produce a winning result. Stupid politically and stupid morally.

        And we ended up paying the price.

        Thanks, Al.

        1. m

          Poo poo Hal’s comments, yet right there in the links and well after the primary comes an article about how the DNC with the help of Mayor Pete cheated Bernie in Iowa.
          Hate or love Trump. It amazes me all the people putting on their rose colored glasses and welcoming a guy with dementia along with token, wall str approved President Kamala. Look at their gang of third way flunkies getting to get the USA respectable again.
          For decades people have been saying these machines used in elections are garbage, hopefully the one thing that will from this is that we get rid of them.
          In the mean time I need to plan my taxes as to avoid the healthinsurance mandate.

    3. fresno dan

      December 13, 2020 at 7:34 am

      Thank you for that comment – knowledgeable with a good critique of the system.
      OR as I would note, in 2016 after EIGHT YEARS of the Obama administration, the dems tell us how screwed up the election system is….
      In 2020, after FOUR years of the Trump administration and control of many state governments, the repubs tell us how screwed up the election system is…
      BOTH parties – designed and crafted to be a day late and a dollar short.
      CONSENSUS – maybe designed to make sure no 3rd party can prevail…

      1. rowlf

        That’s going into my notebook with correct attribution. That’s right up there with seeing former US Presidents at John Lewis’s memorial stating something has to be done about racism and noting the speakers were all two term presidents who did exactly what on the issue while in office? Nothing but sweet words.

      2. Odysseus

        CONSENSUS – maybe designed to make sure no 3rd party can prevail…

        I’d have a lot more sympathy for this argument if we had any competent third parties. And yes, I voted for Perot.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The rule about adding details of witness addresses is actually from 2016 and was instituted with republican support on the commission.

      You are correct; I should have added language to the effect that the problems didn’t begin in 2020.

      > The idea that a clerk adding details about witnesses address to a ballot makes the ballot fraudulent presumes that the voter wasn’t a legitimate voter and the witness therefore was not a legitimate witness simply because the witness omitted some address details.

      If you don’t see how a clerk adding details based on their personal “recollection” creates a risk of election fraud then there’s probably not much I can do to help you. In my home town, the ladies at the precinct know my name and my address (and my parents, too). That won’t be the case in a large city. Please reread the section on incentives and phishing equilibria.

      1. ACF

        The ballot has been cast, witnessed (as the witness signature shows), and timely returned.

        How does a clerk adding a deliberately, completely fictional address for the witness (not the accusation but the most extreme version of what could possibly happen under the rule) make the vote fraudulent? By fraudulent, I mean a vote that the person casting it had no right to cast it.

        1. Yves Smith

          Help me, we need to explain this to you? Even slipshod CalPERS would never never never tolerate a process like this. This level of obtuseness screams bad faith.

          If people can make up an address, one that does not even exist how can you verify that the voter is entitled to vote, or not using a fake address to submit duplicate votes?

          And you have clerks knowingly enabling fraud. What kind of message does that send to them about what other chicanery is OK?

          1. marym

            The address of the witness, not the voter, is at issue in this particular dispute about WI ballot envelopes. If I’m reading the documentation correctly the request to receive an absentee ballot requires that the voter is registered. This is similar to how it works in IL where I vote – the request has to include the requestor’s voter registration name and address. A registered voter wouldn’t be able to request multiple ballots. (In IL no witness signature on the envelope is required, just the voter’s signature and other validation information attested by the voter.)

            1. Yves Smith

              Were you asleep during the mortgage crisis? A phony address by a witness, which means we have zero basis for knowing if said witness even existed, is no different than a fake affidavit. If the affidavit is fabricated, how can you trust anything in the entire process? You can roll the frauds up from this one.

              1. marym

                I was kind of asleep in the early days of the financial crisis, but woke up eventually with the help of NC and few books… so I’m trying to keep an open mind on this.

                Not saying fraud isn’t possible, but in this case wouldn’t there have to be collusion between the registered voter who requested the ballot, and the clerk who received it unopened, and chose to fake a witness address? It would be even more complicated if it were a fake ballot, as there are procedures for matching ballots sent and received. I also wasn’t able to figure out from the documents if even a fully filled in witness address was evaluated further. Maybe it’s a more a burden than a necessity.

                Browsing inexpertly through the court cases and allegations for this election, it’s clear the processes have many points of vulnerability to error or fraud, though not necessarily those which would likely be widespread.

                It would be great if these vulnerable points were evaluated from a perspective of improving the process. Unfortunately I expect the outcome, as with other unsubstantiated claims through the years about widespread voter fraud, to be attempts to promote procedures to make voting more difficult, not more secure.

              2. ACF

                The clerk is not allowed to add the voter’s address/details about the voter.

                The eligibility of the voter is verifiable on the terms of the ballot regardless of whether or not the ballot is witnessed.

                The only part at issue in this rule is the witness’s address, or any part thereof

                A voter receives their ballot in the mail. They cast it, put it in the oath envelope, both steps (though not the actual vote) in front of a witness, seal the envelope, sign the envelope, give the witness the envelope, the witness signs the envelope, and then is supposed to add their address. The voter returns the ballot in its double-signed envelope on time to the clerk.

                The clerk looks at the envelope, sees the missing address. They contact the voter and say, hey, your witness left off their address. Where do they live? The clerk then adds that information to the envelope. The challenge was to that act–writing in the address of the witness, which unless bad faith by the clerk is assumed, will be an address they get from the voter. So I said, let’s assume bad faith from the clerk–the clerk is lazy and doesn’t want to ask voters where their witness lives, so the clerk just fabricates the witness’s address.

                a) the content of the vote has not changed
                b) the eligibility of the voter has not changed (the voter’s eligibility was verified before the ballot was sent to them through the application process)
                c) the voter signed the envelope where and how they were supposed to
                d) the witness signed the envelope where and how they were supposed to, meaning the key act: witnessing that the correct person cast the vote, sealed it and signed the envelope, occurred.
                e) the witness need only be 18+ and a citizen; they need not be a registered voter or even a Wisconsin resident. The witness could be an out of state friend or relative that happens to be visiting; the voter could be temporarily out of state (e.g. a snowbird) and using a neighbor where they are; or even an overseas/military voter. So realize: no one is verifying the witness’s address. The action is verifying that the address of the witness has been filled out.

                This, according to statute, is what is on the envelope (includes the witness info):

                [STATE OF

                County of]


                [(name of foreign country and city or other jurisdictional unit)]

                I, , certify subject to the penalties of s. 12.60 (1) (b), Wis. Stats., for false statements, that I am a resident of the [ ward of the] (town) (village) of, or of the aldermanic district in the city of, residing at* in said city, the county of, state of Wisconsin, and am entitled to vote in the (ward) (election district) at the election to be held on; that I am not voting at any other location in this election; that I am unable or unwilling to appear at the polling place in the (ward) (election district) on election day or have changed my residence within the state from one ward or election district to another later than 28 days before the election.

                I certify that I exhibited the enclosed ballot unmarked to the witness, that I then in (his) (her) presence and in the presence of no other person marked the ballot and enclosed and sealed the same in this envelope in such a manner that no one but myself and any person rendering assistance under s. 6.87 (5), Wis. Stats., if I requested assistance, could know how I voted.

                Identification serial number, if any:

                The witness shall execute the following:

                I, the undersigned witness, subject to the penalties of s. 12.60 (1) (b), Wis. Stats., for false statements, certify that I am an adult U.S. citizen ** and that the above statements are true and the voting procedure was executed as there stated. I am not a candidate for any office on the enclosed ballot (except in the case of an incumbent municipal clerk). I did not solicit or advise the elector to vote for or against any candidate or measure.

                (Printed name)


                * An elector who provides an identification serial number issued under s. 6.47 (3), Wis. Stats., need not provide a street address.

                ** An individual who serves as a witness for a military elector or an overseas elector voting absentee, regardless of whether the elector qualifies as a resident of Wisconsin under s. 6.10, Wis. Stats., need not be a U.S. citizen but must be 18 years of age or older.

                ** * If this form is executed before 2 special voting deputies under s. 6.875 (6), Wis. Stats., both deputies shall witness and sign.

                SO again I ask:
                How does a clerk adding a mythical address to an already cast, sealed, witnessed and returned vote render the vote fraudulent? And again, only a bad faith clerk would be adding a mythical address.

    5. marym

      Thanks for this clear statement of the issues.

      If I’m reading the documents correctly, the clerk also has to initial the update to the witness address, so there’s a record; and these envelopes are not opened till election day and not opened by the clerk.

      It’s one thing to argue that a process should be more stringent. That will no doubt happen in the next phase, using aspects of the current situation as excuses for more voter suppression practices going forward.

      Claiming this would have resulted in fraud on such a scale, involving so many people, as to justify invalidating the outcome of the election (well, somehow the only part of the outcome Trump cares about) just shows contempt for election workers and voters, and is itself a contemptible way to maintain power.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Christopher Nolan Calls Warner Bros.’ Shift To Streaming New Movies ‘A Great Danger'”

    I’m not sure what director Christopher Nolan expects. Does he really want crowds packing into movie theaters again like it was 2019 all over again? I can see it now. To prove how safe it is, Christopher Nolan goes to a movie theater packed full of people while streaming it all online. People in the audience clap and cheer him for all the work that he has done for which he bows magnanimously. The lights go dim as people settle into their places with their snacks and as it goes dark, everybody looks forward to seeing ‘Wonder Woman 1984″.
    (cough, cough, cough)

    1. SOMK

      The existential threat is many fold, from the filmmaker’s point of view any creative worth their salt will tell you playing to the audience is the worst thing you can do, especially if you want to make anything even vaguely original, its bad enough you have to surrender you work to the whims of producers and audience test scores, but they may only ask for alternations after the fact (and there’s always the option of the director’s cut) merging production and distribution and shifting them online amplifies that and then some, everything gets increasing measuredly and cultural output gets even more cookie cut (you think it’s bad now??!!!).

      What would have been a sharp one and a half hour doc becomes a four, one-hour episodes because that’s what the algorithm says gets the optimum engagement. Like imagine turning around to the Beatles and saying “hey fellas that Sgt. Pepper is great, but can you pad it out into six, forty-minute chunks?” The experience of a film on your own is far less pleasant, less rich than the experience of a film with a crowd of people (assuming good behaviour). And one of the most satisfying things for a filmmaker is to experience the reaction to their film of a live audience (not the applause), knowing what’s coming up, anticipating the reaction, the satisfaction of seeing something you’ve lived with for months even years, driven friends and family mad talking about (to the point you can barely even see the film as a film, let alone appreciate it) finally fully realised, that’s the moment when it all feels worth it, when you know it works. Not the adulation or pats on the back.

      The whole industry risks getting turned into a Techno-Taylorist fever dream banging out algorithmic determined chunks of processed culture (it’s not far off that already of course). I think it’s fair to call that bad for cinema and bad for culture in general.

      Then again you could argue the creative industries exist less to enable creativity than to suppress it (MFAs were essentially invented to professionalise the creative classes after an alarming number of them became political radicals in the 20/30’s), so maybe its all for the best.

    2. Carolinian

      If you read his “think of the little people” appeal in the NPR story you’ll learn this is really an argument about money and his and the DGA objection is that they were not consulted and contracts have been violated. The objecting directors would presumably prefer that the studio sit on its large investments until the pandemic is over so that audiences and the revenue stream can return to as per normal.

      While without a doubt ATT is probably the worst company ever to own a movie studio (or anything), the reality is that the pandemic has dealt a big blow to exhibition and one from which it may never recover. Disney has said they are all in with streaming as well and are doing much better with their Disney Plus. Netflix has become a major player. While Nolan has many fans some of us see the demise of the “tent pole” model as scarcely to be mourned. I haven’t seen Tenet but a friend says the story is incomprehensible and it is all eye candy. Nolan’s schtick is being threatened and he expects the rest of us to object.

      1. Wukchumni

        The last movie we saw on the glorious big screen was in Westwood Village near UCLA, Nolan’s Dunkirk some years ago.

        The film was nearly all visuals (there might be a few hundred words of dialogue) and it was magnificent in scope when viewed in such a format.

        We trending towards geezerhood all grew up with theaters that showed one film at a time on a large screen, and then like everything, how much more can we squeeze out of this place, led to octoplexi and worse, itsy bitsy screens in cloistered quarters, no thanks. Add in formulaic CGI fare to dull the taste even further.

        Going to the movies was not just fun, but also a conversation starter with everybody you knew, who all had a snared experience in that world before the internet made such things not so important anymore, and people stopped going as much.

        I guess people watch movies on smartphones now, how sad.

        1. The Rev Kev

          In our parent’s day a one and a half hour film would take a bum-numbing three hours to see. Why the difference? Because you got a package deal. Not only would you see the film but apart from ads, you would have a news reel telling people what was going on around the world. You would have cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker. You would have special featurettes talking about new films coming soon to the theater. To go to the films was a real night out with a smorgasbord offered. Nowadays not so much.

      2. Acacia

        Saw Tenet twice in theaters. Second time on the biggest IMAX screen I could find. Probably, I will see it again, too. The effect of this film is very powerful, and I can tell it would not be the same in my home theater. There’s a lot to say about this film, but that’s for another time and place.

        Nolan is unquestionably one of the important living directors who is deeply dedicated to the possibilities of cinema. I’ll listen to what he has to say any day over a bunch of studio bean counters.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          When online piracy became a thing, movies changed. They strategically began using lots of very dark scenes. Why? Because anything less than a perfect rip makes the scene murky and hard to decipher. Such scenes also need perfect viewing conditions: large screen, darkened room. Not made for TV (or monitors). Nolan’s movies often look like crap when streamed because they require a big and well lit screen (if you live in a non-major city, chances are excellent theaters are underlamping the movies you see to save money which is why dark scenes are SO DARK).

          But Hollywood’s not about to go broke by streaming and the NBA is showing how.

          In smaller markets NBA fans are being given only two choices this year: their regional Fox Sports CABLE channel or AT&T (Dish TV). YouTube and SlingTV can no longer carry games. For fans of a single team who do not care about other channels, the cost is over $7 a game over the course of a season.

          Love Star Trek? Subscribe to CBS and pay for all their online content. Into the Arrowverse? They did a couple of cartoon series you can only see on certain channels.

          Instead of choices, the future is being balkanized to maximize profits. Brilliant from a business perspective but for everyone else this is the worst of all worlds.

          1. Carolinian

            Piracy is probably a big reason why the studios have stuck with the movie theater model for so long. Once it’s on the web it’s also on the Darknet. Theaters turn a movie into an event not unlike sports (who wants to watch the rerun of a baseball game?). Piracy of projected movies doesn’t work very well and can even get you prison time if caught–not that I have any interest in trying it. Personally I’m perfectly happy to wait for the disc release where I can watch on my own home projector and its plenty bright enough bulb.

            For those of us who think movies are about acting and story then a thirty foot wide screen isn’t necessary and, as you say, the standards of projection across the land have always been flaky at best although at least there are no more scratched prints now that everything is digital. It’s only the artificial scarcity of that “release window” that has kept movie theaters alive up to now.

            And finally Warners did say the simultaneous streaming release was only temporary and they would return to the big screen model as soon as possible. But the dam may finally be breaking for all those antique Nickelodeons.

            1. Acacia

              Cinema is pretty clearly about more than just acting and story. If that were true, the “Nickelodeons” that you clearly loathe would never have vanquished vaudeville. Historically, though, they did.

              You can take sides with the bean counters and studio bosses against exhibitors, directors, and workers, but don’t expect the film business to produce too many interesting movies in the future.

              1. Carolinian

                Cinema as you describe it is anything the ticket buying public want it to be. Historically Nolan’s movies have made lots of money and that is another reason why the movie theater model has persisted. But as a practical matter and now as a health matter theaters are on shaky ground. Their demise has been predicted often in the past and perhaps once more they will survive.

                My argument is that artistically all of this is irrelevant. In my old college drama course we were told that the Greeks considered spectacle to be the lowest form of entertainment and movies that are more like theme park rides fall into that category. Oddly some of the greatest movies ever made managed to do quite well without THX or IMAX. Here’s suggesting directors and their ego trips are only marginally about art.

                1. Acacia

                  Cinema as I’m describing it is an art form that historically distinguished itself from the stage, and the ticket buying public followed. Did the public determine the art? No, obviously it was the directors, actors, writers, technicians, etc. It is true that Aristotle in the Poetics lists spectacle as the least important element of tragic drama. The most important, for him, was plot. His book on tragedy is read as a statement about drama in general (the book on comedy was lost), and he is read as a proxy for all Greeks, though as far as I know we have little historical evidence of their collective views on the art of tragedy. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that the reason Aristotle gives for denigrating spectacle was that he didn’t think it was even necessary to watch a play. It could be read as a text and fully appreciated in that way. This makes sense, because his idea of tragic drama is that it’s essentially poetry, and the writer of tragedies is above all a poet. In any case, much has changed since Aristotle, and however important his thought is in the history of drama (it has often been said that the Poetics is one of the most important books on drama ever written), I don’t see that it really accounts for the phenomenon of cinema, or can be held up as some ultimate arbiter of what is or is not artistic about cinema.

                  Finally, this is pretty far from the issue at hand, which is whether we listen to people like Nolan and Villeneuve when they express concern about the state and future of cinema, or whether we side with studio bosses against them.

                  1. Carolinian

                    The film business is an industry and not just a form of personal expression and when your artwork cost several hundred million dollars it’s not just about you.

                    So sorry but I’d say the bean counters have every right to have a say. This isn’t exactly “two planks and a passion.”

                    But as to the subject at hand, home viewing is now–potentially, technologically–just as advanced as what movie theaters do with their own digital projectors. Theaters these days really are about size and spectacle rather than content or even visual quality. They still exist for financial reasons, not artistic, and rightly so since running them is very expensive. And as I said in my original comment the argument made by Nolan, the DGA and the other directors is more about money. I like Villeneuve, am unimpressed with Nolan, but don’t think either of them are going to have much of an effect despite their complaints.

                    1. Acacia

                      You are coming down on the side of capital, but you also seem to want good movies, under some anachronistic neo-Aristotelian definition of “good”. I don’t see how that works out, I guess. Your reduction of cinema as an industry, films reduced to story and acting, and this thinly-veiled contempt for exhibitors and now film directors also reflects this. Already long ago, cinema was understood as an industrial art, neither purely art, nor purely industry. You can of course dismiss this dynamic, ignore the lengthy discussion about this in the last century (e.g., what is cinema and why was it named the seventh art?), side with the interests of capital against those focused on the craft of making films, and write off the broader aspects of cinema beyond your living-room experience, but that doesn’t strike me as a path towards seeing good movies in the future.

                      NC has extensively documented the negative effects in a business or field of production, when the interests and logic of capital become predominant. Is the film industry somehow special? Is cultural production exempt from these processes? You may disagree, but I don’t see that it’s really different. Rather, I’d say it’s also a good example of crapification. The pernicious effects of capital in the film business have been widely discussed elsewhere. Maybe we just disagree on the nature and causes of the crapification. I don’t blame theaters or directors for this, I guess.

                      Imagine the film business had a colossal melt-down, most theaters in the US closed permanently (but continued operating normally in other countries), movie theaters became the equivalent of Broadway, with $150 tickets, and your options for home viewing were a balkanized space of expensive streaming services. Cinema as a social experience (i.e., out in the real world, beyond your living room), becomes something that only the über-wealthy can afford. Unless your movie diet were only Disney or Netflix films, you’d have to subscribe to a number of different services, some favored by your ISP and others throttled (net neutrality being out the window). The Bezos and Eisner ownership class would be happy with their new media silos, but would this work to advance cinema either as art or social experience? It sounds pretty dismal to me, tens of millions of filmgoers becoming silo-dwellers, but it seems like you’d welcome that.

    3. Keith

      I think the issue is money. Remember how music went to a streaming format? It results in the artists making a fraction of a penny for a play. It was great for consumers and the corporations, but bad for the musicians, themselves. Movies risk the same issue, I suspect, especially when you factor in the massive flops that studios end up making with many overpaid actors and directors.

      For music, I think the tipping point was reported to be Bachamarama, an infamous one hit wonder whose one hit could only be purchased by buying the entire album and not the one song people actually wanted.

      Piracy/digital theft of the music also played a part, e.g. Napster.

    4. Keith

      I think the other issue is people don’t really want to be in the group setting, as a whole. Complaints about overpriced treats (due to overpriced movies), people talking, cell phones and pee breaks can dampen the enjoyment. Now couple that with home systems getting cheaper and better, you can actually have a better experience at home, at least imho.

      1. MJ

        I can’t remember the last time I was in a movie theater. I stopped going because they crank up the volume to the point of pain. Too bad. Some movies are meant to be shared.

      2. RMO

        Keith, I’m sure it was just a typo for “Bananarama” but damn, would I ever like to hear the trainwreck that “Bachamarama” makes me imagine. Stock, Aiken and Waterman turning J.S. Bach’s music into a late 80s/early 90s dance hit complete with Linn drums, the Fairlight and maybe even a Yamaha DX-7 all over it.

          1. RMO

            Wow… autocorrect really went out of bounds with that one! Chumbawamba was a one-hit wonder in the US but they were a real band with a long career.

          2. sj

            I loved that whole album. The music was startlingly, sneakily sophisticated while still being catchy . It was also carefully crafted — changing the playing order of the songs to random lessened the experience.

            In fact, I think I’ll put it on right now.

      1. Wukchumni

        Black bears are definitely liberate-tarians…

        The most important thing about them is their divine sense of smell, 6x as strong as that of a bloodhound, nothing gets by their nostrils.

        ‘A Fed Bear Is A Dead Bear’ is one of the curt but accurate signs & notices you’ll see here in Sequoia NP, where in the Giant Forest from the 1910’s to the 1940’s there was a place called ‘Bear Hill’ where bruins were fed leftovers from the restaurant, with 4 grandstands set up to allow park visitors to see bears, who didn’t disappoint because a bear’s diet is largely vegetarian (they’ll kill young deer occasionally, and are only too happy to indulge in whatever a cougar has dispatched or dead stock in the backcountry) and once you taste our food, ripping apart a rotten log to munch on grubs & insects within seems like a lot of work.

        To this day some 80 years since Bear Hill stopped serving diners, if you leave food unguarded anywhere in the Giant Forest and in particular @ Lodgepole campground, you’re practically begging for larceny to happen.

        Conversely 25 air miles away in Mineral King, bears were never fed, and if a problem bear made a nuisance out of itself back in the day when it was part of the Forest Service’s domain, they were dealt with from a projectile emanating from the end of a barrel.

        Break ins by bears in MK are both rare in the cabin community and in the backcountry as well, they’re cool with their usual bruin fare.

        The biggest advance in these matters was the introduction of ‘bear boxes’ @ car campgrounds, along with ‘bear canisters’ for use by backpackers.

        The bear boxes in the backcountry of Sequoia NP have been there since the early 1980’s and are still on the job working like a charm.

        These tend to be placed at popular camping destinations and I prefer unpopular destinations, so the old tried and true method in this case is what is called ‘counter balancing’ and the way it works is you are looking for a limb on a tree about 15 feet up that goes out a way, and preferably a dead limb, as your adversary is likely a bear cub sent out by Boo-Boo to make off with your hang.

        The hang is 40 feet of parachute cord, and your first step is to tie a small rock or a piece of wood to one end, and then throw it over the lower branch, and sometimes it takes a dozen attempts to get it over, especially if alcohol is involved or doing it after twilight’s last gleaming.

        Once you’ve done that, you take a couple of stuff sacks or compression sacks and fill them with equal weight amounts of food, hoist one bag all the way to the branch and then secure the other bag as high up as you can on the cord (make sure there isn’t any dangling cord-stow it way in one of the bags) and then even the bags out so that the holy grail is about 10 feet up, sorry Boo-Boo nothing on the menu tonight or the 1,001 nights i’ve bear bagged, it simply never fails if done right.

        Bear canisters are required for overnight travel in the backcountry, and they work great, but are unwieldy, and will only contain around 4-5 worth of food, toiletries and other smelly stuff, and they add about 3 dead pounds to your pack weight.

    1. Slaves to Individuality

      This libertarian story is just priceless! Slap stick comedy at its best. Also, a powerful counter-argument to all those saying that “communism is great in theory but doesn’t work in practice”: Here you have a tried-and-tested implementation of libertarianism.
      I guess that most libertarianist are kids to really rich people that imagine libertarianism as their right to buy everybody else and to use them as slaves, rather than an equal opportunity for pure individuals like this experiment.

    2. Darius

      So now they have trained the bears to think of human habitations as pantries that are easy to knock over. So New Hampshire saw the first bear attacks on humans in a hundred years. And it is spreading to other towns. Nice work, human ideologues. Now you’re going to have to institute harsh controls on garbage disposal, as well as stricter building codes and other measures to retrain the bears not to think that boldness and aggression will not result in a banquet. The opposite of what the libertarians apparently intend, to the extent that group intentions are possible among such people.

      1. RMO

        I’m looking forward to an update on that tech-libertarian old cruise ship/seasteading project in Panama I read about here a few months ago. “The Crypto Cruise Ship” You just know that one is going to make for a schadenfreude filled read someday.

    3. KFritz

      By conformation, that may very well be “Chunk” the “Champion Fat Bear” of Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park.

  3. Bob Hertz

    This is a superb collection of links. Thanks for the effort and for the great choices of articles.

    One suggestion though is to not link to the Financial Times. It is quite securely gated, so always a disappointment to me when I try and follow up your leads.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      [lambert blushes modestly].

      We must include the FT. If you Google the headline, the full article will generally appear. If it does not, clear “” from your browser’s cookies.

  4. timbers

    Corbynism Lost Because We Didn’t Transform the Labour Party Jacobin


    How Sara Gideon Lost to Collins the Day After She Entered the Race Mainer.

    “It’s an axiomatic fact that Schumer and other top party officials will not back candidates who openly disagree with their policies or are likely to challenge their leadership. Adherence to the party line on big issues like health care and the climate crisis are unspoken prerequisites for a DSCC endorsement. So, unsurprisingly, Gideon did not support popular ideas championed by fellow Democrats, like a Green New Deal or universal health care. Even Democrat Jared Golden, who represents Maine’s conservative 2nd Congressional district, supports “Medicare for All”

    Plus Bernie 2016 and 2020. Gonna take a stab at making sense of these happenings. We are probably still at the stage of having to kick the card table over in mid game and trashing the place and refusing to play by rules we’ve been given, because the rules we’ve been given won’t work for us.

    So that probably means more Trumps, more burning down the system, pillaging it’s foundations and heaping scorn upon it and trashing the establishment.

    1. Carla

      I agree. It’s a shame, but DJT apparently wasn’t bad enough for the DNC misleadership class. Not nearly.

      1. timbers

        And don’t you just love how nobody but nobody is even mentioning reversing all those gigantic corporate tax cuts? None of those “news” stations mostly owed by hedge funds (as Paul Jay podcast noted yesterday).

    2. edmondo

      Jared Golden does NOT support M4A and never has. According to his website, ” Jared has been a staunch defender of the Affordable Care Act and expanding access so that every American can have health coverage….”

      Hooray! More Access to healthcare. Like a doorman?

    3. KLG

      Schumer Pelosi Clinton Obama & Biden LLC continue to straddle the Mendoza Line as congressional campaign mavens and still reign over this abomination of desolation…Is this a great country or what?

    4. Daryl

      RE: A small portion of the campaign funds being passed on to charity. I’m curious what statewide and federal limitations there are on handing out gifts. In Texas, I’m often feted with offers of free food on election day, a practice which I assume is legal. I wonder what would happen if you just spent that $60 million on fixing people’s brake lights and giving them food…

  5. Robert Hahl

    Speaking of contagion, my wife apparently caught a cold from her doctor, who displayed no symptoms other than having a young child at home with a cold.

    The doc wore a procedure mask and gloves. My wife was unmasked only two minutes for examination of a blocked salivary gland. The whole visit lasted 20 minutes. Airborne transmission is surprisingly effective. Let’s be careful out there.

  6. James E Keenan

    “How Sara Gideon Lost to Collins the Day After She Entered the Race”: We need more journalism like that that explain the bankruptcy of the mainstream Democrats’ campaign strategies.

    1. timbers

      Why do we even have “candidates” if they can’t choose what their positions are? Let corporations run for public office. They are people, after all. Maybe a mandatory write in box should be inserted in every ballot, prompting folks to choose which corporation they want for office instead of the carbon based candidates running.

      1. Carla

        @ timbers — It’s de facto already there. Tick DNC or RNC — the two chosen corporations that are allowed to play.

        1. Anonymous

          Better yet, do away with the national elections as follows:

          Flip the house every two years,
          Flip the presidency every four years,
          Flip the senate every six years.

          Let DNC and RNC assign every seat to their stooges when it’s their turn to fill each entity.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Shouldn’t have been surprised to learn the reasons for Gideon’s loss. I read several accounts how massive sums of money went into Maine to unseat Collins which should have done the job. But then the Democrats and their consultants stepped in. Wouldn’t it be interesting if consultants only received their pay if their candidate actually won? Give them a bit of an incentive that. As it is, if the candidate wins, loses or ends up in a draw, they still get to make bank. I’m gunna bet that a much smaller, more local campaign might have toppled Collins. They would have been more strategic with their spending and would have been flexible to local demands. I wonder if a local independent could do the job next time around.

      1. edmondo

        Money doesn’t win elections. Amy, Jamie and Sara just proved that. Lack of money will cause you to lose but the message still means more than how widely it is promoted. Bernie 2016 had zero cash and almost won by running like a human being; in 2020 he had more cash and no message and his campaign looked like amateur hour.

        1. Wukchumni

          The Donkey Show is merely a money laundering cartel and a good one. Holding biannual tell-athons, those saps who sadly identify with them, feel as if its their only chance ‘to change the system’ and then the fool lucre gets laundered through campaign funds and despite high hopes they lose again to the Pachyderms.

          We’ll gettem’ 2 years from now! is the popular refrain, please give, operators are standing by…

          1. edmondo

            I don’t have to work for Neera to know that Bernie 2016 was not the same as Bernie 2020. And it’s sad if you think they were.

          2. Oh

            You don’t have to work for Center for American Progress to figure out that Bernie cheated his supporters by quitting when he could’ve stayed in the race. Since then Bernie’s been a shill for demented Joe.

      2. Samuel Conner

        That’s a superb proposal — “contingent consultant compensation”. The consultants might develop more interest in GOTV efforts, and less in the costly “air” campaigns that generate the big fees.

      3. a different chris

        It was an interesting juxtaposition with the tweet from Cori Bush.

        I bet somebody like her could have taken Collins down.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          There was a very good independent candidate, Tiffany Bond, who doesn’t take any money, but she couldn’t make the ballot because of the strict nomination paper requirements. (I think they have to be notarized!) On Twitter @tiffanybond. She ran for Congress in 2018 and with rank choice voting, she is the reason Jared Golden won.

          Tiffany is a really smart, funny woman who is a family lawyer and her insight on what life is for most people in Maine (and really much of the country) is deep and informed. She was on Pantsuit Politics last week.

          I so wish we could get the obscene money out of politics. BTW, Tiffany asks you to give money to the people in her jurisdiction by supporting small businesses or giving to food pantries, homeless shelters. She promotes teacher’s requests on Donors Choice. She is doing Georgia teachers right now and clearing some most every day, it is small amounts, but hey, that $$ is doing something for real people not just going into the pocket of some consultant.

      4. Tom Doak

        Lambert has been wondering who those “five consultants” were that Hoovered up hundreds of millions spent by the Clinton campaign in 2016. Perhaps one or two of them were named in this article? Or are those consultants retired to the Cayman Islands and these are the next in line?

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Russian submarine test-fires four nuclear missiles in western Pacific”

    I think that this was Russia sending Biden’s incoming team a message that tearing up treaties can have consequences. So these four missiles traveled 5,500 kilometers (over 3,400 miles) away before hitting their targets. What that means is that you could have a Russian submarine fire off a missile 1,000 kilometers off the coast of New York city and that missile could hit Los Angeles or San Francisco.

    1. David

      They’ve been able to do this since the 1980s. These are test firings, presumably to validate the launch of the missile from the new Borei class submarine.

      1. a different chris

        Nice though that the newsmedia, who is going to literally click-bait us to death, was careful to call them “nuclear missiles” just to make sure we were properly concerned.

        1. polecat

          Yes. ‘Capable’ is the word that appears to be missing from the headline .. PRESS!

          either that, or some machine learned editing-bot can’t tell the difference …

      2. Polar Socialist

        According to Russian media, it was a test of salvo launching. The submarine was Vladimir Monomakh, which has previously test-fired two missiles at a time.

        Now they know they can dispatch the complement of 16 Bulava-missiles in four salvoes without any issues. I can only assume slinging 40 tons of ballistic missile out from a submerged vessel is a violent event even when everything works as intended…

        1. David

          Yes, this is one of the keys to a secure second-strike capability. It’s a bit hard to hide the launch of a ballistic missile from patrolling attack submarines, and the faster you can get the missiles into the air the stronger your deterrent posture. Thus salvos. My recollection is that old Soviet SLBMs, especially the liquid-fuelled ones, were launched one at a time, in which case it was almost certain that the submarine would be destroyed before it could launch its full complement.

    2. Bill Smith

      The Russian’s have had missiles that could reach the US from their berths at dockside in their home ports for some decades.

      That they had 4 successful launches in few minutes is impressive.

      Under the radar (pun) is last months successful hit by an SM-3 Block II-A launched from a Aegis destroyer on an ICBM target. It has been maybe 4-5 years since I saw the first position paper saying this should be possible. The paper mentioned stationing a Aegis equipped ship in the Great Lakes combined with space based radar would enable the US to suddenly jump up its missile defenses (against a limited strike).

      The space based radar would cue the SM-3’s to the incoming target location long before the ship’s radar would see them. This is just follow on from the ability I saw back in the early 1990’s while on board the USS Gettysburg on the US East Coast for a junket. They told us they had remoted the radar view from a sister ship in the Sea of Japan into the Gettysburg’s CIC.

      Yeah, I know not a realistic test, etc., etc. And would likely only work well (as well as it could) until the EMP from the nuclear explosions starts limiting bandwidth.

      I suspect if the Russians were trying to make a point it was that we can overwhelm any US defense system.

    3. Glen

      We lived with a much hotter cold war for a long time. I honestly doubt this will change much of anything. The American healthcare system is a much more dire threat to the average American’s life.

      Now, if we actually have a separate place for all the billionaires to live – then I would worry more, but right now if we have a nuclear war everybody loses which translates to no war. The billionaires are raping the world so “peace” will continue until they have drained the last drop of blood from us all.

  8. jlowe

    Evidence of long-distance droplet transmission: one line of evidence not discussed in the paper was how many air changes with outdoor air occurred in the building. An HVAC system that’s recirculating a high proportion of the air flow being delivered to the interior space, a common practice to reduce the energy cost of conditioning outside air, is not providing much reduction in aerosol concentrations. Measuring carbon dioxide concentrations throughout the day is one method for determining how much outside air is being delivered into an indoor space.

    1. chris

      That’s a really good point.

      ASHRAE recommends a minimum of 6 air changes per hour (ACH) to mitigate airborne infectious disease transmission. More would be better, approaching the limit of your being outside in an open space with an infinite volume of unconditioned air. But as you say, the higher the ACH and the faster indoor air is replaced by fresh air the higher the cost to maintain the desired indoor conditions. It also requires a good testing and balancing program be performed when the building is commissioned and checked up on regularly to make sure the pressure balance from space to space is maintained. No doors that slam shut or fans that burn out from over use for instance. It also means building owners have to be careful about using economizer operations because those could represent an accumulation of viral particles depending on the system. All of this is to say that there are many possible issues with any building’s HVAC system that could make transmission worse, all of them cost money to mitigate or understand, and establishments like restaurants are unlikely to do anything about them unless forced by the authority having jurisdiction.

      Another point to consider, a lot of people are doing things like upgrading their filters and assuming that will help with viral particle transmission. But many HVAC systems can’t accommodate the increased pressure drop that develops from a better grade of filter. You’ll burn out the fan or not provide the design airflow to the spaces that need it. And any filter these days should probably be treated as a biohazard. More costs to establishments that no one has money these days.

    2. twonine

      If the air from the ceiling air conditioners had been 100% outdoor air at 6 air changes per hour, the high velocity air current or about 240 feet per minute (about 5 times what it should be), would still likely have delivered a high viral load (aerosol AND droplets) directly between those in question.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Our Elites Couldn’t ‘Reset’ a Wall Outlet, Let Alone the Global Economy”

    ‘So back to year zero and all that.’

    I wonder if that was deliberate that phrase describing what the elites have in store for us. Back in 1975 Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia and declared that the nation would start again at “Year Zero.” That didn’t turn out well for most people-

    1. Wukchumni

      Panic in the Year Zero is a pretty cheesy post H-bomb film starring Frankie Avalon & Ray Milland. Its timing was good though, coming out in later 1962, just before the Cuban Missile Crisis

      The ‘toughs’ in the flick almost seem strait-laced compared to their contemporaries today, and you keep expecting Annette Funicello to show up, but no dice.

    2. edmondo

      If our “elites” have proved anything over the past few decades, it is that they don’t give a flying (family blog) about anyone other than themselves. Pandemic? You’re on your own. And please don’t forget to pay your rent at the end of the month. Brexit? Hey! You better stock up on everything you need for the next three years because we’re not really sure how this is gonna turn out.

      It’s time to start sharpening the guillotines.

      1. chris

        I would not be surprised if we do see something like that. How down and out do you have to be to get a hundred of your friends and storm some fancy house having a holiday party while you’re all shivering in the streets? How many guns and clubs would you need? How much resistance do you think parking attendants and rent a cops would put up in that situation? How long would it take police departments who are already stretched thin to respond to frantic calls from the same wealthy donors who wanted to defund them this summer?

        What was lost in the fracas over the idiotic St. Louis couple flagging protestors outside their mansion is that they had good reason to think that they would not be safe if they stayed inside and let hostile strangers go all over their property. They had commented that there were prior reports of such groups lighting houses on fire and then barring exit from the property. Now, were those rumors spread about by the wealthy to justify extreme measures? Probably. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen and wouldn’t be a good tactic to use.

        You’d think our ruling class would start to think about some of this now that winter is here, people are angry, and nothing has been done to help anyone struggling with loss of income and housing. But these people really don’t feel any shame or obligation to their fellow citizens. I guess we’ll get to see how far you can push a society before it breaks?

        1. Fireship

          We must have seen different videos of the event. I saw no evidence of anyone being in danger, except the people they were recklessly waving guns at.

          1. chris

            Agreed. I saw two fools flagging each other and a crowd. But what they said in articles after that was that they went outside because they were concerned about what could have happened if the strangers were allowed free rein over their property. That’s not an unreasonable fear! How they handled it was unreasonable.

            My point is that I don’t know what it would take for starving, cold, angry, forgotten people to take up this tactic. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable concern. And because it seems possible to me I would have hoped that the potential targets of such a tactic would be doing more to foster goodwill so that they don’t find out how long it takes an overburdened police department to respond under such conditions.

      2. CanCyn

        ‘Sharpening the guillotines’ – I amazed that there hasn’t been violence and vandalism in wealthy neighbourhoods. Political assassinations or attacks on billionaires would not surprise me. I often wonder what it is going to take. Some days I am braced for the whole thing to just blow.
        My in-laws used to winter in Fort Meyers, Florida. They lived in one of those gated golf communities. The first time I visited, I was amazed to drive through a very poor neighbourhood right around the corner from their ‘compound’. Even back then, long before BLM or Occupy, I wondered what stopped people from attacking out of sheer frustration with the obvious inequality.
        I’ve long thought that a good movie script would involve someone carefully and judiciously murdering billionaires with the goal of getting the remaining ones to change their ways.

        1. Lex

          I live in a golf course community. Crime here is rare. There was a time more than 20 years ago when some of the residents would leave their garage doors open overnight. Some stuff was stolen. The residents close their garage doors now. They also have Ring doorbells and a few have security cameras. Every movement up and down these streets is recorded and stored in The Cloud. And, of course, we’re well insured.

          On Friday I picked up a handful of gift cards to give away to our various regular service providers throughout the year. We take good care of the people who take care of us. We’re generous tippers. There are small gift bags for neighbors during the holidays. We keep an eye on each other’s houses when someone goes out of town. We give to many and various charities. Why would anyone attack us?

          We do these things because half the fun in having more than we need is in giving it away. We give back to our community and foster goodwill. We file a simple 1040 every year and take the standard deductions.

          On the other hand, the best offense is a good defense. You know that saying about holding your friends close?

          1. chris

            I hope your generosity and your safety continue. That sounds great. But why would you assume the threat would come from someone who you know?

            As to why someone might come after you in your golf course community, you need to start thinking more like a predator to understand it. Your community sounds like a bunch of easy marks to me. It’s also possible you’re taking some of your safety for granted. This article from Tampa should give many of us pause because I know a lot of my neighbors have not thought of even basic safety precautions when it comes to attempted burglary or someone trying to violently gain entry.

            1. Lex

              Pick a billionaire, any billionaire. Try to get close enough to do them or theirs harm. There are whole layers of people who will mark you for a stranger and question your intentions, before they’ll even confirm your target is in the building. You’d better have some pretty good answers.

              Similar layers that protect the rich protect most of us. We call them ‘community’; we’re all stakeholders. When that community fails, we see bars on the windows and doors, and strangers as suspect as friends. In neighborhoods where bars aren’t necessary, only the people we know or at least recognize are left. There are no strangers here. Our attention to what goes on around our houses is our investment in our mutual safety. That’s not to say we don’t have solid doors, door frames, dead bolts, hand guns, and large dogs… just in case. We do, but their efficacy will never be tested.

              Perhaps you’re wondering what happens to those who fail this compact. I can think of three in the twenty years we’ve lived here. It takes a few years but eventually they move someplace else, usually out of state. I know it sounds real Children of the Corn. There’s always a kernel of truth in horror, that’s why we scream.

        2. Oh

          The movie where crooked politicians meet the same fate might be popular, although it might be a better one if they’re tarred and feathered and eventually sent to jail.

      3. Specialty Manufacturer

        Mister? Edmondo,

        Stock up now, no kidding. We buy various items all year long to incorporate in our products. There is a huge back order of essential products and it’s getting worse every week.

        We buy what we can and more of it than we need to avoid going out of business. Tires and auto parts are in short supply as are some specialty and even off the shelf items. Buy what you will need now, or you will be sorry, at both the wholesale, retail and personal consumption level.

  10. Wukchumni

    New US cricket league aims to crack world’s largest sports market FT. Cricket is cool, maybe even cooler than baseball.
    They’re both dead boring with occasional flashes of brilliance, and in cricket the ‘pitcher’ is encouraged to adulterate the ball in any fashion he chooses, whereas in baseball it’s forbidden to do such practices such as ‘spitballs’ or rubbing it against a clandestine small piece of sandpaper hidden somewhere, or a dab of vaseline under the bill of a cap.

    The Caribbean supplies more talented players in both pursuits than other regions, as its largely the same skill set needed~

    My first visit to NZ came about a week after this event on the pitch that was definitely ‘not cricket!’

    The infamous ‘underarm incident’

    T-shirts reading ‘Aussies have an underarm problem’ were a hot seller in Auckland. It was all a little too weird for a 20 year old yank who never made it past little league to take in at the time, ha!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In cricket the ‘pitcher’ is encouraged to adulterate the ball in any fashion he chooses

      Plus the pitcher sprints at the batter and hurls the ball at the ground so it bounces up at the batter! It’s wild!

      Granted, I’ve only watched video clips….

      1. Wukchumni

        It is wild-and becomes normal if you’ve watched enough, but the action is slow paced and if you go to a 4 day test and it’s a draw, it’s a drag.

        1. Oh

          The One Day Internationals (ODI) are quite exciting and fast paced because they are played against time and number of overs!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Twenty20 is not cricket. Imagine if Major League Baseball games were going to be modified from nine innings to five innings because of commercial reasons? A real cricket games goes for five days. A day-nite match goes on long enough that you need meal breaks and half the game is played under floodlights. Twenty20 is cricket for people who scroll though their phones while watching it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Khmer Rouge murdered at a minimum two million people out of a population at the time of 7.5 million. To them, the elite was anybody that could read or had an education. This is the place where the term the Killing Fields came from.

      1. Phillip Cross

        Yes, my point was that it wasn’t the elites doing the killing. The Khmer Rouge started by killing the elites, and then their 10% enablers.

        Can you imagine how big the killing fields would be if a movement ever took action against nebulous ideas like ‘elites’, ‘1%’, ‘I.C.’, ‘M.I.C.’, or ‘P.M.C.’ in the US?

        1. Sailor Bud

          I would resist it. We don’t want to kill them, and there are far more entertaining ways to punish the elite for their transgressions.

          It’s better to give them their own little plot of land to fight each other over, and decide between themselves who owns it, who works the fryers, and who gets to give and take orders. Then we could have a new reality show called “Keepin up with the Joneses,” and see how their little society is progressing each laugh-filled week.

          1. Phillip Cross

            I am not advocating anything at all, but it seems to me that since they own and control almost everything, they would use their goons, the media and finance system to stop any uprising long before it got enough momentum to succeed. You would be demonized in the press and ruined financially, and that’s just for starters. When it comes to our state’s capabilities for violence, BLM have gotten off very lightly, so far.

            The ruling classes aren’t going to let themselves get voted out, or just go quietly for the greater good. You would have to destroy their whole rotten edifice, or they would destroy you. There aren’t enough shovels and lye in this country to deal with the enormous numbers it would entail. Better the devil you know.

            1. Sailor Bud

              Sure. I’m no pitchfork-wielding maniac. It was part of the point of my post.

              Really, characterizations of left as violent are just as two-faced and facile as any of the others. I remember a time when we were being told not to be such sweetlings about war, and that singing kumbaya won’t solve the problems, and sometimes, little snowflakes, we have to kill the bad guys.

              And then when the suggestion from the left is to help people, the Stalin talk comes out, kumbaya is not a thing, and the left are all going to put up gulags and death camps.

              1. Massinissa

                “Really, characterizations of left as violent are just as two-faced and facile as any of the others.”

                Perhaps there are countries where it is so, but in most countries I know of the left isn’t the side that’s violent, so I agree with you. And then there’s all sorts of stuff like Operation Gladio, where Italy had violence systematically orchestrated so as to blame on the nation’s left, whereas there is essentially no evidence of something like that being done by the left in right wing circles.

          2. fwe'theewell

            PBS had a show called Manor House where people were randomly assigned upstairs or downstairs, and quickly molded to their roles’ confines. I can’t remember if the Stanford Milgram experiments have been debunked or nuanced, but it reminds me of that.

        2. The S

          To make that comparison apt, first the U.S. would have to be carpet bombed by B-52’s for years, killing a tenth of the population, then experience a famine resulting from the devastation.

          One must also remember that the US covertly supported the Khmer Rouge as an antagonistic force against the Vietnamese, who had just driven off the US invaders. Thus the many cross-border attacks on the Vietnamese by the K.R.

          1. km

            Henry Kissinger said something to the effect that “We couldn’t openly support [the KR] but China could and we could support China.”

  11. SD

    I’m fascinated by anti-maskers (and non-maskers), what motivates them, and how to solve this problem.

    It seems that for many anti-maskers it is humiliating to wear a mask. People who view themselves as perennially under assault by their “betters” are going to be reluctant to strap the equivalent of an “I surrender” flag over their faces. Expert exhortation–and McMillan Cottom’s assessment amounts to that in my view–is only going to make that anti-masking resolve stronger.

    I think of the non-maskers, as distinct from the anti-masker, as a different group more akin to non-voters. There’s a fatalism here: ‘It doesn’t really matter.’ Expert exhortation doesn’t work with non-maskers either, of course.

    I’m certainly no expert, but I don’t think McMillan Cottom gets it right when she describes what’s going on as a “slow-moving mass suicide.”

    1. Wukchumni

      A certain segment of non mask wearers are doing it to be seen, as they dominate the market in face time in a see me-dig me fashion. I mentioned the other day that I have great difficulty differentiating when I run into somebody I know randomly, without a face everybody seems similar to me.

      Seeing a bare face in these times in a store is oddly unsettling at once and a fallback to the way we were this time last year.

      Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol

    2. carl

      To your last point, it may not be an individual conscious decision, but as a group, the effect is the same (along with taking a few more people down with them).

      1. lcn

        Interesting. It all boils down, I suppose, to the age old problem of human telos. If life has no discernible meaning or purpose and it’s filled with all sorts of pain and suffering anyway, why bother continuing with the madness?

        1. fwe'theewell

          Maybe. Cottom’s judgment that these aren’t deaths of despair or ignorance reminds me of the refusal to see economic anxiety rather than racism in the Trump phenomenon.

        2. Massinissa

          “If life has no discernible meaning or purpose and it’s filled with all sorts of pain and suffering anyway, why bother continuing with the madness?”

          Under the current system, the discernible purpose and meaning of life (regardless of the type of lifeform) is how much value can be extracted from it to benefit the select few. Kind of reminds me of that picture I saw at NC a couple years ago with Aztec blood sacrifice captioned with the word ‘Austerity’.

          1. lcn

            On the flipside, the view from the top is:

            If life has no discernible meaning and purpose and we are all going to die anyway, why bother with trying to alleviate or give justice to the pain and suffering of those below the economic ladder? I’ll just horde as much wealth as I can and live like god in the short cosmic time that I’m here and to heck with those proles.

            The work dedicated to attain social and economic justice must be directly connected to humanity’s collective search for life’s ultimate meaning and purpose.

            If we can’t agree on what that is, or, there’s no such thing as purpose (telos) anyway, it will be nearly impossible to attain a regime of social justice.

            1. Massinissa

              I’m not really sure I understand what you’re looking for, to be honest. I suppose you mean something similar to Humanism. Because most societies have had religions that purport to do those kinds of things that you mention, but few such beliefs have ever really made a dent in the oppressiveness of ruling structures throughout history, in many times essentially existing to better shore up such structures. Though I suppose it could just be my being something of a Marxist making it more difficult for me to understand the sort of thing you’re referencing.

              For better or for worse, I do wonder sometimes if the the fact that socialism has often been closely tied to secularism might be part of why it’s been relatively uncommon. Then again, the decline of organized religion in the west hasn’t quite stopped Capitalism from functioning yet, so maybe that was the association of that kind of thought with a militant atheism is just a coincidence. I don’t know enough about that kind of subject to say.

              1. lcn

                Apologies for being so muddled. Let me try one more time and after this you can just ignore me.

                Assuming there’s no successful revolt from the proles that would force the 1% to democratize wealth, what would incentivize the wealthy to make common cause with the rest of the population?

                My guess : nothing.

                There is nothing that binds the wealthy with the rest of humanity.

                So, unless there are Martian invaders descending on our planet, the rich will just continue to live in their walled bubble, social order is maintained and the proles will continue to be proles.

                Why? Because there’s no common purpose that could unite us and/or figure out what this short conscious life is all about.

                Nihilism for the rich, fatalism for the rest.

                1. Massinissa

                  “Assuming there’s no successful revolt from the proles that would force the 1% to democratize wealth, what would incentivize the wealthy to make common cause with the rest of the population?

                  My guess : nothing.

                  There is nothing that binds the wealthy with the rest of humanity.”

                  You’re right, actually. Even the religious ones in the 1% probably all think heaven is for them and hell is where all the proles go. Maybe the proles can buy indulgences or something with the money they don’t have. I agree with everything you have said now that I understand more accurately what you meant.

    3. marym

      Most people never come in contact with those who from whom they’re perennially under assault. The anti-maskers, like the election fraud-proclaimers, are expressing disdain and willingness to harm workers of their own class and community.

    4. Keith

      Inconsistencies in masking can also be an issue, like with knitted masks, men with heavy beards, or people using a face shield as an option. If others aren’t doing it right, why bother, especially if you are in a store a while wearing winter clothes with the heat blaring.

      Add in other inconsistencies and hypocrisies, and you start to build the case for non compliance. If you cannot trust this or that statement or source on a certain topic, why trust them on this piece?

      1. flora

        Only for the little people of course. For the rich and powerful? An elite US destination wedding for the rich breaking all the C19 travel rules? No problem. Closed dining and limited or no seating or large private gatherings? Same. Add Gov Newsome and French Laundry. Closed hair salons. Same. Little people out, Nancy in. The ‘do as I say (you little people), not as I do (with my rich and powerful set)’ is much too clear by now. The hypocrisy has an effect. Maybe it shouldn’t have an effect but it does. If nothing else, it makes it look like masks and gatherings and travel aren’t really a big deal, not if the rich and powerful continue in those practices, and one assumes they’d only do what they think is safe.

        1. Maritimer

          It’s a Two Tier Pandemic. The Elite and their human infrastructure will be the last to be Big Pharma guinea pigs. They are laboring to count their Pandemic Winnings.

          Meanwhile, in aisle 2 of the Stuporstore: “Where’s your mask?” Every crisis needs Scapegoats.

    5. shinola

      I find McMillan Cottom’s attitude, as expressed in her tweet, disturbingly callous. I would guess her to be a life long “city slicker”.

      Is there not despair in watching your way of life slipping away, seeing the young people leave never to return? I would think this would induce a certain amount of fatalism in just about any population.

  12. jr

    Interesting similarities between the COVID struck town in Kansas and the bear incursions in New Hampshire. Patently irrational notions of freedom, of the primacy of the individual over the community, and willing blindness in the face of existential doom. Death by COVID sucks but man I’d take it over being eaten by a bear anyday.

    At the same time, I am not convinced by Cottom’s crisp comments about “choice”. It’s a loaded word, to put it mildly. Choices were made but that is often used to imply a moral responsibility and that’s where it gets tricky. Sure, people chose not to mask up in Kansas (and still are according to that thrift shop photo) and those boobs in N.H. chose to feed 400 lb. omnivores whose species have been eating us for tens of thousands of years but the why of the choices can be very complex sets of ideas. Or more basic emotional responses that defy ideation. Moral responsibility can be darned hard to pin down. That being said, in such instances I’m all for clamping down on such behavior and letting the philosophical considerations be hashed out later.

    1. flora

      Does anybody think Newsom, Pelosi, Cuomo, the CA and NY sociey sets, the rich are going to be clamped down on? Anybody? ;)

      1. ambrit

        Considering the misery, with concomitant rage and fury the elites are creating, if I were an elite, I would worry about being clamped down on from below.

      2. jr

        I guess we will see. I’d love to see a “clamp up” from below per ambrit’s comment but perhaps they are setting themselves up for a clampdown from a new set of elites, one’s riding to power on the waves of revulsion and anger these parasites are generating. I’m not making an argument for the righteousness of such a development or whether it would improve things for the 99% but gee, I’d love to see Newsom get a, umm, haircut…………………..

    1. Paul

      More CIA stenography From the New York Times about buried treasure on the beach in Venezuela:

      “To obtain any gasoline for their boats, the villagers have to sell half their sardine catch to the government at a set rate equivalent to just 1.5 cents for a pound.
      “The government doesn’t care about us at all,” said José Campos, a sardine fisherman.”

      Gasoline costs a couple of cents a liter in Venezuela.

  13. Pelham

    Re the peril of expert exhortation: Paul Romer makes good points, including the one about experts needing to earn back the respect they once had.

    I would only add this: The experts I tend to hear from and occasionally come into contact with are members of the Professional Managerial Class. And PMC members, by definition, work for somebody. Those somebodies are the oligarchs who, collectively, may be described now as part of the China class (a term I ran across recently and found compelling.)

    There’s a new book that reviews the history of many secession movements in the US, many of which can be traced to the fact that much of the expanding country at various stages of development was treated pretty much like a colony by monied interests in the East. Naturally this was resented, and secession was at least a minor theme from time to time and place to place.

    Now that much of the wealth extraction across flyover has been exhausted, the latest batch of oligarchs has shifted its collective attention — to a proliferation of fanciful financial instruments, wealth extraction from an influx of indentured servants in the form of captive work-visa holders, and China. Wealth extraction from the latter is a top priority. And this is who a very large contingent of PMC experts has been serving for the past few decades, tainting the entire class of experts.

    So the first order of business for experts as they try to recover their dignity and the respect they once deserved should be to cleave themselves publicly from these odious oligarchs and the China class.

    How they might go about doing that I can’t say. I’ll leave it to the experts.

    1. jr

      “ And PMC members, by definition, work for somebody.”


      Sometimes you know something and then someone says it a certain way and it hits you all over again. Revealing, thanks.

      1. Count Zero

        “ And PMC members, by definition, work for somebody.”

        Well some may do. But many are self-employed or are running businesses — legal firms, medical practices, advertising agencies and so on. They are not directly employed by somebody selling their labour-power by the hour for a wage — unless at the beginning of their careers or in the lower echelons. They have a lot of capital tied up in their profession and often diversify it into other forms of investment.

        They do have clients, of course. But their work relationship to them is complex and contractual — a kind of relationship of equal parties to a contract. So they do work for somebody but the PMC are not working class. Check out what their parents, their brothers and sisters and their children are doing too. That’s a quick way of seeing social patterns.

    2. cnchal

      > So the first order of business for experts as they try to recover their dignity and the respect they once deserved should be to cleave themselves publicly from these odious oligarchs and the China class.

      . . . but then they would starve. It’s much better to have peasants starve, than themselves.

        1. Charger01

          The Yuppie Nuremberg defense “I just need to pay the mortgage” – Thank You For Smoking (2005)

          This is the PMC creed, do what you must to sustain your lifestyle.

          1. km

            It has been written that “debt is discipline”..

            This is true for most of us, most of the time. Just that sometimes the discipline is not in a good cause.

            1. Massinissa

              Ah yes, we need Margaret Thatcher to tell all these people recently made jobless by the pandemic that they are lazy slobs who need to work harder and stop being ‘dependent on government support’.

              Pretty much waiting to see how long it will take Biden to get into blame-the-victim mode once he becomes president.

              1. Glen

                I predict he will go there for his inauguration speech.

                But this assumes we ignore the many. many times he has gone there in the past.

                After all, 2008 was not about corruption and fraud on Wall St, it was about all those people not reading the fine print in those 100 page contracts.

  14. jr

    “ I don’t know what species of brain worm it is that makes people think if you oppose western imperialism it means you love the governments who are being targeted by western imperialism, but it would be good if it went extinct”

    Amen to this, Caitlyn. This kind of polarized thinking is everywhere these days. If you despise Biden you support Trump. If you demand that others mask up, you hate personal freedom. If you don’t allow bears to wander your town freely, you are want to tell other people how to live their lives. Didn’t someone famously use the phrase “the death of nuance” relatively recently? If not, I am. Not up implies down, not left implies right. This is why critical thinking should be taught in schools and this is also why it isn’t. Maybe this species of ape should have stayed in the trees. Darn those Others with their genetic meddling, go pick on the dolphins…

    1. carl

      I seem to remember it starting with GWB: “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.” Which of course makes no sense in international affairs, but plays well at home.

    2. rowlf

      There was a Boeing engineer on a motorcycle forum that used to have great rants and took delight in eviscerating poor thinkers. He went by the name of Jinx and tried to go to Daily Kos as Renzo Gasolini maybe around 2006 but didn’t fit in. This posting by him seems applicable.

      Cake or Death?

      Rant on:

      OK, I make no pretenses of knowing what life is all about. But I have spent a enough time on this spinning blue ball to tell you what it is not:

      Life is not Cake or Death.

      There are nuances, shades of gray, degrees of risk, sides of a story, and more than one way to skin a cat.

      But try to talk to people about politics, and it always gets resolved to either “Cake or Death”

      Try to talk to a politician about policy, and it always gets resolved to either “Cake or Death”

      Try to talk to a Preacher about religion and our place in the Cosmos, and it always, as sure as Buddha rose on the third day and saw his shadow, gets resolved to either “Cake or Death”

      And God help you if you ever have to talk money with a bean counter, because “Cake or Death” is the motto of every MBA program on the effing earth.

      Not following this? Fine, let me ‘splain it. Not every decision can be made so effing lead pipe simple that the only choice is a beacon to the blind, a symphony to the deaf, or hot fiery awful death. There is no intelligence in “Cake or death”. Monkeys could make the call and be a damned sight quicker about it. Offer a spider monkey some delicious bund cake, and a ball of vipers, and see what happens. That’s right, the cake is gone and the snakes get an aversion complex. Maybe they would like some cake until they get over it?

      If I am forced to walk this earth surrounded by only cake picking monkeys, than so be it. Monkeys are fairly entertaining, or at least they are when you tease them. But Noooo! I have to drag this earthly bondage along to God knows what end surrounded by people that claim to be intelligent, and whose only response to a complex issue is to ask “can you give me the Cake or Death version?” AUUUUGGGGGHHHH!

      Hey, I like a rigged game as much as the next guy. You know, “heads I get cake, tails you lose your cake to me”. Go ahead, flip a coin. Be daring. Sport.

      I curse the life that is “Cake or Death”, and all that sail in her.

      Rant off

      (There’s also Eddie Izzard on “Cake or Death” – “I’ll have the chicken.)

      1. jr

        This is interesting and fun, rowlf, thanks. It’s no wonder the guy didn’t like Kos, I visited there once or twice. A hive of imbeciles, by and large.

        1. newcatty

          “Ice Cream or Hunger”

          Yeah, more recently it’s letting “the people” hear about their caring leader eating ice cream…not even letting them eat it, instead of bread.

          1. newcatty

            The above mentioned leader will also be known as ” Nancy Antoinette”.

            When I saw a news shot of a very long line of cars snaking through a huge parking lot recently , I thought it was showing people waiting to get their virus test. Sigh…It was people waiting to get their ration of food in a bag.

        2. rowlf

          I wish I could share more of what he wrote on the motorcycle forum, as he was a hoot. I collected about thirty of them before he shut down his account and went briefly to Kos, where he had two posts before he quit (maybe 2006 or 08, and I could never find them again). I suspect what happened was he could not tolerate Blue or Red Non Playable Characters. I hope he didn’t self-destruct.

          My experience over the years with Blue or Red NPCs has been frustrating. You can carefully get them to loosen maybe one or two fingers on a belief and then something will frighten them or a fellow NPC will show up and the deathgrip on the belief reestablishes itself. All seem to require that there be someone they are better than so they can exist.

          Crabs in a crab bucket being crabs. Oh well, I have a really good Gallic Shrug that’s mostly shoulders taught to me by a French airport worker during an Air France strike, and a Native American Mogadishu veteran taught me how to Give The Fish Eye.

          1. rowlf

            (Thanks NC staff. I was afraid NPC was a verboten concept/term but appreciate you considering context.)

      2. Glen

        I gave on Daily Kos LONG AGO, but now, I think I’ve been blocked from commenting on MR YouTubes because I make the fatal error of pointing out that both Republican and Democratic leaders DO NOT CARE about average Americans.

        I mean, look at what’s going on, is that even debatable anymore?

  15. Tertium Squid

    Fascinating interview about the New Hampshire libertarian utopia. I shall read the book, ironically from my taxpayer-funded local library. It certainly did not work out as planned, but I admire people who try to change the world through how they act, rather than trying to change the way other people act.

    Makes me think of the “United Order” Mormon communities in the west that were attempted on a Christian Communalism basis. The communities succeeded in the end, but they all transitioned back to the more familiar profit motive in relatively short order.

    And whether it’s based on wise or foolish principles, it’s a skin-in-the-game act of bravery, for we only have one life to experiment with. It works or it doesn’t but either way you are a valuable example for others.

    1. Wukchumni

      In my travels around Utah, the one thing you see there in little towns are really old orchards i’d imagine were a group effort in maintaining back in the day, and even in places such as Capital Reef NP, there’s one that to me would seem like a fool’s errand to pull off being where it is, but there you are.

      the Mormons were tenacious and had been scarred by starvation early in their saga, determined not to ever have it happen again.

      There’s a good reason they’re the only cult really ready for something wicked this way comes, food-wise.

      1. Massinissa

        The mormons are a strange thing to me. As many problems as I have with some of what they believe, at the same time they’re a lot more sensible than they seem at first glance. You know, as opposed to other (usually smaller and less successful) cults like Scientology which are a complete joke and do nothing but exist like a social parasite on the world at large. The Mormons as a group are just really good at certain things, and that’s admirable, regardless of how one feels about some of the more doctrinal stuff.

        Among other things, I’ve never quite jelled with how they don’t let non-mormons come to their weddings, for instance. That’s uh, that’s one of the many multiple reasons it can probably still be termed a cult despite having more members than some smaller religions (not that the term ‘cult’ necessarily has to have a negative connotation anyway.).

        1. Late Introvert

          I didn’t know that about Mormon weddings, but we were invited by the family of my daughter’s friend Annika to her baptism, which was in 2nd grade. Her father was with her in a large tub, and there was a mirror on the ceiling so the audience could see the ceremony. That was fun.

          And they are the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, generous to a fault.

        2. LifelongLib

          I’m not Mormon, but have attended a Mormon wedding (my nephew’s). It was held outside on the Mormon temple grounds. It’s true that non-Mormons are not allowed to enter temples (or at least some areas of them).

    2. Kurtismayfield

      It is not skin in the game if they can move into an area, change things for the worse, then pick up and leave when the bears take over. It’s malicious destruction.

      “But we didn’t know that slashing money going to public works would create a sanitation and garbage nightmare” is an excuse for being ignorant of thousands of years of human history. These people are morons.

      1. Glen

        Think how much this same effect is magnified if you are a libertarian US Senator or a libertarian US billionaire.

        I have no problem with somebody that wants to go into the woods and be a libertarian, but as you correctly point out they made a huge mess that somebody else gets to clean up. So libertarianism failed, and they failed.

        But we have Senators, and billionaires that say they believe this when really all they do is make a huge mess and then dump it on everybody else to clean up. The Koch brothers managed to make a majority of Americans no longer believe in science or that climate change is real because they run refineries and wanted to make more money. They may have changed the fate of civilization as we know it – and not for the better.

  16. Carolinian

    This is an interesting story about L.A.’s bid to house the homeless in “shed camps” featuring small 8 by 8 ft huts that are costing a bundle to install.

    After all the bureaucratic construction and health code niceties they are running $130,000 apiece.

    The sheds don’t sound much nicer than those Walmart tents that are allegedly being filched by the indigent and those go for less than $100 apiece. But it’s the principle of the thing apparently. The shed camps will have proper (communal) bathroom facilities and supervisors to keep order.

    1. Wukchumni

      We suffered from a lack of public bathrooms for the longest time, and the big drop was about $400k, thanks to CEQA. The project was opened just in time for it to be closed thanks to the pandemic. Presumably, people still do their business somehow in our town.

      Can’t you build a pretty fancy home including toilets for 400 large?

  17. Boomka

    That one Brexit link about Britain threatening to use the navy to patrol the waters doesn’t quite do justice to what was happening. For about a day every major news outlet in UK carried a front page story about it, and many in several variations. None portrayed that as the infantile farce that it is, as far as I could tell it was delivered as a straight face story everywhere. Even more telling is the language used, as they wouldn’t just say navy or ships or patrol boats. No, the word they put on the front pages was “gunboats”.

    This gunboat diplomacy incident is probably all you need to know about where this future relationship is headed.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I have become quite a cynic when reading these stories (sadly with plenty of justification). From the no deal prep one:

      The government said it had practised “every single foreseeable scenario” with different ministers responsible for a variety of issues a no-deal Brexit might throw up.

      Any scenario that doesn’t begin with Boris stretching his hand out over the Channel like Moses, parting the waters and the regulations, and opening a clear passage to France will be classified as ‘unforeseeable.’

      “We’ve chosen to stage the introduction of our new border requirements – but the EU has not…”

      We’re going to pretend that it’s the requirements that are new rather than the border, and act offended when the EU expects us to play by the same rules as everyone else.

      1. Count Zero

        But in that case the aggression was initiated by Iceland to extend its fishing rights and force British fishing boats out. This may have been justifiable and it succeeded in preserving the waters around Iceland for their own fishing fleet. In British eyes the Cod Wars of the 1970s set a precedent. If Iceland fishing rights are recognised, as they are, does Britain have no fishing rights in its own waters? No doubt other commenters here can make a more informed contribution to this issue.

    2. Ignacio

      This, if anything, demonstrates the kind of nationalist populism the current UK Government is willing to play. In this case directed to coastal populations with some employment in fisheries, fish processing etc. I am quite sure it will have a dividend measurable by MP sites for the Tories in some constituencies. I’d argue that one of the problems playing with this is that at the same time they are giving good reasons to play the same by Scottish nationalists. The second problem comes when people start to believe that nationalism is the solution to their problems.

  18. Charger01

    Truly, it would not matter if you had wall-to-wall coverage of the DNC and their leech-like consultants failing since the 90s. They have a duolopy in our political system, and they know it. “They’ve got no where else to go” is/was a popular phrase for Dems.
    I’m reminded of the podcast, episode 636, of this american life, in the aftermath of the 2016 election. They profile Cheri Bustos, then chair of the house Dems re-election committee (50 states strategy…yeah right), using the same old pivot to the middle, courting suburban republicans and PMCs, trying for the 50+1 playbook to narrowly win since the clinton era. They constrast that with Bernie and Keith Ellison, espousing a progressive agenda with direct material support by M4A and regulation of Wall Street.
    As an epilogue, Bustos resigned in disgrace as the Dems lost 10 seats in a crisis election. Bernie demurred and lost, Ellison quit and returned to Minnesota as state AG.

    The fundamental idea is this: Democrats firmly believe that they do not need to change, full stop. Status quo is what they (and their donors) desire. No one within their party will push them until their leadership (and faulty neolib ideas) die.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Neera Tanden is young. So is Mayo Peetiepoo. Obama is only middle-aged. Kamala Harris is still almost young. Simply waiting for such people to die is a decades-long wait.

  19. Hank Linderman

    Re Chrome and Macs:

    I have no doubt that Chrome is bad x10 or 1k, but the person who removed Chrome and associated stuff to see an improvement in Mac performance should have reinstalled Chrome to confirm it was the problem. I would also have tried not logging in to Google to see if that changed things.

    Unfortunately, Chrome is the only acceptable Mac browser for some sites, like my state’s unemployment portal. I suppose you could uninstall it after each required use.


    1. Alternate Delegate

      This seems at least partially connected with the forced update process, which should be optional. There are ways to turn it off on Mac and Windows, e.g., 7 Ways to Disable Automatic Chrome Update.

      I second the recommendation for the Vivaldi browser. It’s chromium-based and pretends to be Chrome, which is probably good enough to get past dumb websites like your state’s unemployment portal.

  20. Wukchumni

    We’re already too late’: Unemployment lifeline to lapse even with an aid deal Politico

    I heard things are so wretched this xmas that kids can plan on getting digital lumps of coal in their stockings, no matter if naughty or nice.

    Is Oprah available?

    You get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!
    And you get a $car!

  21. Lunker Walleye

    Iowa Caucus Audit

    There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.
    ― George W. Bush

    DNC to Court: We Are a Private Corporation With No Obligation to Follow Our Rules

    I felt the fool role, having banked on Sanders twice. This has been a heart-breaking year for people who wanted a presidential candidate who stood for something — rather than an equivocating used car salesman (no offense to those who sell vehicles for a living). Now let’s have an investigation into the failure of the DM Register to release its final pre-caucus poll. The poll, taken immediately before the Iowa Caucus for over thirty years, has correctly predicted the caucus winner. I’m betting the winner was Bernie and the DNC played a role in the Register’s decision not to publish the winner of the poll. But the DNC can do whatever they like (or maybe Obama called up the publisher or charmed the editorial staff). No wonder people become apathetic about voting.

  22. Lemmy Caution

    Regarding First Covid-19 vaccines to arrive in states Monday, marking a pivotal moment in the pandemic response
    Can we trust the FDA’s guidance on the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine?

    After two hospital workers in the UK had severe allerigic reactions to the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine, their version of the FDA changed its guidance on who should receive the vaccine. In a statement on, Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said:

    “Any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. A second dose should not be given to anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis following administration of the first dose of this vaccine.

    In the U.S., the FDA had a different take on the issue, saying that most people with allerigies should get the vaccine.

    Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, quoted in a Business Insider article, said:

    “Even people who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to food or to something in the environment in the past should be OK to get the shot.”

    Marks went on to explain the rationale behind the decision:

    “1.6% of the population has had a severe allergic reaction to a food or something in the environment. We would really not like to have that many people not be able to receive the vaccine.”

    That’s why, the article goes on to say, that after careful consideration, the agency decided not to include a warning about allergic reactions.

    If I’m interpreting that correctly, the reasoning is not that so few people will be more likely to have a severe reaction that we shouldn’t worry about it; it’s that the number of people more likely to have a severe reaction is so large that we shouldn’t worry about it.

    Rather idiotically, Marks sums things up by saying that if you are allergic to the Covid-19 vaccine, or any of its ingredients, then you shouldn’t get vaccinated.

    Seems like the FDA is just crossing its fingers and rolling the dice, hoping the big vaccine trial that starts tomorrow doesn’t blow up.

    1. Mummichog

      Dr. Peter Marks:“Even people who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to food or to something in the environment in the past should be OK to get the shot.”

      Just incredible that a Doctor would ever say such a thing. Is that the standard of care that he would wish for his own family? I doubt it.

      Just more evidence that this is the New Medicine: there is no longer any individual care and consideration of a patient’s health situation, risks and circumstances but one-size-fits-all. Herd Medicine.

      Meanwhile, in Tier 1 Covid news, fifty private planes flew into LaGuardia….

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Somewhere else in that briefing he said something like, “We’ll continue observation of the vaccine roll out and change our guidance if we need to.” That’s a paraphrase, but that was the gist. Reassuring!

  23. DJG

    Today being Saint Lucy’s Day, I link to one of the many masterpieces by John Donne:

    Saint Lucy, who is from Syracuse in Sicily, is a local girl who made good. From Wikipedia: “Eutychia was persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, in hopes of a cure. While there, St. Agatha came to Lucy in a dream and told her that because of her faith her mother would be cured and that Lucy would be the glory of Syracuse, as she was of Catania.”

    Eutychia is Lucy’s mother and, presumably, Greek. Her father was Roman / Latin.

    In Syracuse, she has a basilica and a church–and a holiday. Under the Julian calendar, the winter solstice had migrated to her day, 13 December, which is convenient indeed for a saint whose name derives from the word for light in Latin.

    And, now, back to reading the articles about institutional corruption.

    1. Eclair

      Yes, DJG, local girls making good when ‘good’ entailed being a virgin martyr, killed in a particularly gory manner: the staple of my childhood reading, growing up Catholic. In Sweden and here in the US, in the Swedish-American communities, the festival of Santa Lucia is huge, involving the choosing of the girl who will play the saint, preferably one with long blond hair, on whose head the moms carefully set the wreath of live candles. Everyone in church holds their breath …. and looks out for the fire extinguishers, as Lucy walks sloooooowly down the aisle, followed by a cohort of white-gowned little ‘star boys’ in pointy wizard caps.

      Almost a decade ago, for a Christmas Party at the Catholic Worker House, which happened to take place on December 13th, attendees were asked to bring or write a poem. I produced this one (apologies to Donne!):

      How does a Sicilian girl … dark, hollow-boned like a tiny bird,
      bred from centuries of Greek sailors and Ethiopian traders …

      Who walked the hot, dusty Siracusan roads
      Wrapped in a cloak that covered loaves of bread
      And round goat cheeses
      And a few pickled fish to feed the local outcasts –
      Who happened to be Christians

      How does she find herself in a frozen forested land
      Floating between fir trees and ice bound lakes
      Bringing breakfast cinnamon buns
      To big-boned blondes
      With IKEA furniture
      And national health insurance?

      The Sicilian girl – who crept down into tunnels hollowed out in rock –
      With burning lights tangled in her black hair
      So her hands were free to carry food to the terrorists
      who gathered there to talk dissent and sedition against the State.
      The Emperor is not a god….
      The armies of Rome can not impose their will on conquered peoples
      Love thy neighbor
      Blessed are they who feed the hungry, aid the immigrant Samaritan,
      hunger and thirst for justice sake ….
      Such treasonous talk would be the death of her
      While she babbled on how you can’t kill an Idea whose time has come
      As the flames refused to burn her
      And finally – to shut her up – a Roman centurian plunged his sword through her throat

      Her voice was silenced
      For a bit
      Until she found herself in the North
      Where the children of Viking marauders – Odin knows-
      Needed help to make it through the endless nights of winter
      The year’s deep midnight
      When the sun disappears for weeks
      And ice grips the land

      She feels a little foolish though in a blonde wig-
      Crown of battery-operated candles
      And pristine white robe
      Parading through shopping malls
      Which in their frantic attempts to mask the rot with spectacle and gold
      Remind her of Roman temples and her own amphitheatre at Syracuse
      And she wonders if the time has come for yet another Idea.

      1. DJG

        Eclair: Thanks. Your ending is very strong. Worth contemplating:

        Which in their frantic attempts to mask the rot with spectacle and gold
        Remind her of Roman temples and her own amphitheatre at Syracuse
        And she wonders if the time has come for yet another Idea.

  24. Mark Gisleson

    Thanks for the Cook link which I will be sharing with others for quite a while. Strikes a perfect balance while exposing the horrorshow.

    Reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about this quote: “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Not a perfect fit, but close enough to make me feel uncomfortable.

  25. Wukchumni

    Sports Desk:

    Like all pro sports, but with no excuses as to a shortened season or played out of season, the NFL isn’t attracting viewers like it did once upon a time before the pandemic. Add in the cavalier yet strict Covid ethos of the league and it’s all over the place, half a million $ fines for coaches on the sidelines not properly masked up, and yet the players act as if it’s 2019 with no penalty for glad handing or getting into the other guys face, as that’s what the game’s all about, intimidation.

    It had strikes against it (every game I watch with my wife, i’ll exclaim a few times a contest that a certain hit a player endured on the telly, would leave me laying on the floor and not getting up anytime soon, the savagery has lessened, but is still visibly vicious in intent and follow through) before the virus came calling, CTE and horrible injuries now & later- was among it’s charms, and was losing favor as far as teenagers playing (this offer void in Texas) and I could sense that it had peaked as America’s game, long after wresting MLB’s claim to the sobriquet.

    Covid only exacerbated issues from earlier and now viewers are staying away in droves, despite being locked down with no particular place to go.

    1. fresno dan

      December 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Good points.
      How many people watch the Superbowl for the commercials?
      Quote from Mom, “Why do you that (i.e., football) all they do is fall down.” Well, they used to show the cheerleaders at least…
      I wonder how much of the diminished interest in football can be attributed to the empty stands? That a lot of the popularity of football is due to a “Emperor has no Clothes” mindset, where football is watched because supposedly every body else is watching it, and it is popular because everybody thinks it is popular.
      I used to watch an inordinate amount of football. I used to drink a lot of beer. I think people of my age have consumed enough football and beer. I outgrew it. I think young people have other entertainment options…
      Half the country used to watch I Love Lucy – maybe a quarter watched Mash. Seinfeld I believe got 10%
      There are other options…

    2. fresno dan

      December 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      OK Wuk, I was just pulling your chain in that previous posting. The REAL reason NFL viewership is down? FAKE SCORES
      Sportsmax, a portion of the Newsmax empire, rips the bandaid off the festering conspiracy to deprive the awesome NY Jets of their rightful birth in the SUPERBOWL

      IRRETUTABLE EVIDUNCY that Jets are the greatest team EVAH

    3. Oh

      It’s amusing to see the NFL ads that support BLM and racial equality while the multi-million $ salaried players (at least some of them) don’t put their money where their mouths are! And it makes me sick for the NFL to pretend to care about cancer with all the hoopla of pink sneakers and fancy ads.

  26. Mikel

    How about that massive protest/riot at the iphone factory yesterday?
    People haven’t been paid. Think that is what Apple is coming out with stuff like near $600 headphones? To pay those workers?
    Funny how they say if they have to pay workers more the cost of their products will increase. They increase when people are not getting paid.

    1. jr

      I’ve come to believe that the high prices of iCrap is not only profiteering on the part of Apple but a near sexual fetish on the part of the privileged consumers who can, or wish they could, afford it. Another form of primate display behavior, they may as well be huffing and beating their chests. I say this as an iPhone user who buys the oldest models available and whose last iPhone was used until it literally wouldn’t boot up regularly. They have me in their Cloud/web no doubt but I don’t jump in happily.

      1. skippy

        Veblen good w/ a side of prices are administered and not a function of supply and demand when the market sets the price thingy …

      2. Oh

        Not booting up regularly after a couple of years is a built in feature so that you’ll be forced to buy the newest model.

  27. semiconscious


    These aren’t deaths of despair or deaths of ignorance. This community chose how it wanted to kill each other. There is no other way to understand this but as slow-moving mass suicide. Which is their right, I suppose.

    — Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd) December 12, 2020

    such a sweetheart…

    completely uncalled for heartlessness/callousness. of course, she could’ve chosen to simply say nothing. but, no. these people just can’t stop themselves. must be wonderful being so wonderfully self-righteous…

    1. jr

      Othering is such a sweet poison pill to swallow, I find myself doing it a lot as well. Not the other Others, that’s something different, the human others…unless the Others are humans from a different time.

      It gets complicated.

    2. Synoia

      Is what she wrote false?
      She did not threaten or punish, but bluntly stated what appears to be a harsh criticism.

      As all children know, the truth hurts.. One hopes it is a lesson, a harsh lesson, for all.

      I have a neighboring family, whose Father/Grandfather is adamantly opposed to Masks, Social Distancing and Lock Down, on the basis that is affects him. I said, the actions mandated are to maintain the health system and protects it from overload, to ensure it would be there if any of us needed it.

      I pointed out that the 1666 Black death plague did not have a lock-down, and the result was carts in the street picking up the dead on a daily basis.

      I was blunt. Possibly more than slightly rude by US cultural norms. it was not a personal attack, but a statement of my understanding for the State Government’s actions.

      1. ambrit

        The actions taken do influence outcomes. It sounds trite, but it is true.
        Have people forgotten the principle of “Cause and Effect?”
        In Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year,” he mentions the practice of infected houses being sealed off by municipal order. The shenanigans came in with the soon evolving practice of “paying the lockdown monitors” versus “bribing the lockdown monitors.”
        The really effective lockdowns were where entire villages sequestered themselves. No one in, and if you left, it was for good.

        1. JBird4049

          Sometimes nearby villages would help the quarantined village by leaving food and whatever else in a nearby agreed upon field. Of course, the people involved would only show at very different times.

          And I don’t think that people have forgotten cause and effect, I think that they don’t want it to affect them. So they ignore it. That it might hurt others is conveniently ignored as children like to do.

          However, on this current pandemic, I personally do not trust the self-centered, mendacious twits running things. Honestly, the adult children ignoring things like masks and social distancing can point the elites ignoring them or at all the elite survivors of COVID not thinking of the medical care, especially medicine, available to them that is not available to the unwashed. “Well governor, president, actor, VIP are ignoring the rules and having parties, why shouldn’t I?” Then out comes these vaccines, which are important, but their possible lack of safety is brushed off with questionable studies.

    3. flora

      The harshest moralizing seems always aimed at the little people. Wonder what she said, if anything, about elite destination weddings, or ski trips, or large birthday gatherings by the powerful, etc. that break the rules. Would she call those ‘mass suicide’ events? Of course not. But claiming an entire area and town has a death wish because of some people refuse to wear masks and get political about it? No problem condemning an entire town of little people, not for her.

    4. anonymouse

      There was a lot of heartless, callous behavior described in the article. How do you explain it? What do you suggest we do about it?

    5. Glen

      I think she may be right, but she hasn’t thought it all the way through.

      Trump and Guiliani got CV and were given treatments not available to the general public and recovered.

      Does she think SHE is going to get treated like that? Is she in her own little way just as stupidly “doing the best she can” without being willing to acknowledge that she will NEVER get that type of care if she gets really sick?

      Those people are doing the best they can with the hand they have been dealt and the information they trust.

      I think she is naive. I think she is floating in her own little boat not too far away from the people she is commenting on floating in their little boat. And she is not going to get anything better until she leans out of her boat and starts talking to all the other little boats floating around her to work together and get something better.

  28. Wukchumni


    Event though it’s seemingly not possible to downgrade something in Fresno, the impossible happened when MLB threatened to leave town unless the Fresno Grizzlies accepted a demotion to Single A ball, after having been Triple A for eons before.

    Pro sports is eerily similar to what the CEO (pro athletes) makes versus the grunts in the lower echelons of a Single A dugout, on a not so Elysian Field somewhere.

    Fresno officials announced Wednesday that the Fresno Grizzlies will remain a minor league club affiliated with a Major League Baseball (MLB) team.

    The city announced that the Grizzlies organization accepted a invitation from MLB for a license. The Grizzlies will be the Low Single-A team affiliate for the Colorado Rockies. The move is considered a demotion from the Triple-A Pacific Coast League to the California League.

    The license will extend for 10 years.

    On Nov. 25, MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem sent a letter to the City of Fresno requesting its consent to accept a team at the Low Single-A level and drop any potential legal challengers or go on without an affiliated team.

    “If, however, you inform us by no later than Monday, November 30, that the Grizzlies and Fresno will accept a Single-A affiliation and will agree to release any legal claims they believe they may have against MLB or any of its Clubs concerning the decision not to offer a Triple-A affiliation, we will gladly reconsider,” the letter said.

    1. fresno dan

      December 13, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Whoo Hoo – maybe some of the savings will be passed on to the fans, and the 18$ small cup of beer will be reduced to 14$ ….whoa, I wrote that after taking some psychedelic’s, now that I’m coming back to reality, there will probably be a 5$ a beer surcharge for fees, charges, and extraneous and sundry gouging of the fanbase to defray the cost of the downgrade…
      One good thing about attending a Grizzly game, is that they practiced social distancing before social distancing was a thing, as only about 20 people showed up at a game…

    2. ambrit

      Here in the NADS, the college teams serve the purpose filled by the Minor League ball clubs elsewhere.
      Dad used to prefer College Football to the pros. More interesting and unpredictable was his verdict.
      Any chance of Fresno picking up one of the proposed Cricket Clubs? That happening would bowl me over.

  29. Wukchumni

    Talking to friends around town, we are all in agreement that the acorn drop this year was exceptional, and the Native Americans who lived here would be exulting over their good fortune that the oak trees shared so much bounty with them, and seeing as they had crude but effective storage methods, nobody would go hungry from a lack of acorn this and acorn that, as it made up 2/3rds of their diet.

    …not one will be harvested by a human this year though

    1. ambrit

      Next year could be different. Fragile supply chains and all that.
      Do invest in a book on cooking those acorns. When you’re hungry, anything is a meal.

      1. Ed Miller

        Re: Acorns and Native Americans’ good fortune. I read that as Wukchumni saying the squirrels are happy, also bears and other native creatures.

        “not one will be harvested by a human….”

    2. JP

      Must be a localized phenomena. Us Yandanchi one watershed south of you had an enormous drop last year but not so much this year. My experience is that acorn fed pork is the best.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s all altitude based, tons of acorns around 1,000 feet +/-, but progressively less as you go higher, as I saw fewer @ say around 2,000 feet.

  30. rowlf

    I woke up this morning thinking about looking up what Thailand was doing to handle Covid-19, as in the past Thai doctors and researchers always struck me as objective, practical and resourceful. Thailand also has government pharmaceutical manufacturing and the Thai culture has a strong sense of community. In the past I have followed Thai HIV medicine developed to help Thai patients that international pharmaceutical objected to, which led to the Thai developers telling the outsiders to go climb a tree and that helping fellow Thais was first and foremost.

    So what I am getting at is, like Singapore taking the best of all the cuisines around them, the Thais are aware of all the medical developments going on in Asia, Europe, Americas, open minds and an interest in finding what works best for the Thai people rather than what fluffs someone’s stock portfolio. Where I ran into a problem was trying to find research results for various medicines and strategies Thailand has come up with for Covid-19. Vaccines are being looked at as well as other medicines like Ivermectin but my search-fu wasn’t working to give me confidence inspiring results so far.

    I guess I was trying to escape from the US media bubble (The Muffled Zone) and see what else was going on for Covid-19 research and treatment.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thailand Medical News might be the source for you. My impression is that although Thailand does have a small vaccine program going, it is not a hub for medical research (although the health care system is very high quality). I understand that contact tracing is still working.

      1. rowlf

        Thanks Lambert. I ran across Thailand Medical News too and while it seems ok, being an old prankster I don’t trust anything until I can check it a few different ways. Again, I think what Thailand is doing is good to watch as they often try everything to see what works and may have different or less biases than US researchers.

        The herbal ad on the website reminded me of some of the medicine shows at church for dietary drinks and supplements. “Drink this stuff that looks like pond water and you will be cured.” My response: “The Abbot said Monk X had to go back home for surgery and treatment. Are you sure this stuff works?”

        Normally we get about 30 – 50 monks every year at the Rains Retreat but this year only two came due to the pandemic. A shame as a new dormitory had been built and received its certificate of occupancy.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The same has happened in Malaysia. So far however, Thailand has not reached community spread. And plenty of powerful people are very unhappy about that porous border, and are the sort who will share their unhappiness with others.

  31. Wukchumni

    Field notes from lockdownist #38596-357-284b

    I’m doing ok as it seems like I was in training for a pandemic all along, little did I know. Lots of things to do on the all cats & no cattle ranch and the neighbors continue to stay at least 100 yards away from us as is their habit.

    What I wonder about is a fellow lockdownist, albeit in apartment 284b in a Big Smoke somewhere.

    How are they faring?

  32. Alex Cox

    Your observation re the “close run” aspect of recent elections bears elboration. We have become accustomed to votes where the outcome is quite marginal – 51 to 49, say – and the winner takes all. For example, Brexit or the US swing states.

    Such incredibly tight margins seem to occur with great frequency these days – though not a few decades back, if I recall correctly. Are voters in the US and UK really so tightly polarized? Or is some technology delivering these outcomes?

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      IMO it’s due to triangulation — going only just as far into “enemy territory” as you (think you) have to for victory. . . .

  33. Lemmy Caution

    Re> Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Dashboard
    Judging by the estimated December allocation of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccination doses, it’s gonna be a long winter. It looks like most states will receive only enough doses for 1%-6% of their population by the end of the month.

    1. The Historian

      Every time I look, the number of doses Pfizer claims it is going to ship goes down. First it was 100 million, then 50 million, then 25 million and today Pfizer says it is going to ship 2.9 Million. It ‘hopes’ to be able to ship about 40 Million in a month.

      Yep, it is going to be a loooong winter!

  34. fresno dan

    So back in November I almost forgot to pay my bank credit card on time. So I decided that maybe, just maybe, I was becoming a dotard…(Shout out to the North Korean tyrant for expanding my lexicon!)
    So I decided to institute automatic credit card payment. I had two choices:
    1. minimum amount due
    Well, I wasn’t going to pay credit card interest rates on the balance for decades. No way.
    2. FULL statement amount due. Pay off the complete balance every month, like I do now. Fantastic!
    So being the cynic, and wanting to check my funds, as I just bought the crown for a tooth implant, and having the mold taken to fit the crown – which was pretty neat – you could actually see the threads on the x-ray, and the dentist UNSCREWED the interior of the implant and screwed in the permanent screw for the crown, made the impression, than re-screwed in the temporary implant screw. The whole thing was painless.
    But I digress. So I’m checking my credit card automatic payment service, and I come to find out that what I thought was FULL STATEMENT AMOUNT DUE and what the FULL amount ACTUALLY due was NOT one and the same thing. The amount (i.e., Full Statement Amount Due) being applied to my total credit card charges was considerably less, apparently so that credit card interest could be charged on the unpaid amount (in this case thousands of dollars cause getting a dental implant is EXPENSIVE). There were only two options for automatic payment, and as far as I could see, completely paying your credit card balance was not an option.
    If that isn’t Clintonesque, I don’t know what is.
    I guess I’ll keep the automatic payment and hope I remember to pay the FULL amount due the day before…

    1. fwe'theewell

      Predatory yet “rational” for the company to do this (and somebody got a bonus for making it happen). I have several credit cards and they have different treatment for various situations. Room for trickery in the chinks.

      1. fresno dan

        December 13, 2020 at 2:14 pm

        Its a Visa card that I get through Union Bank. I’m guessing Union Bank is more responsible for this scam than Visa, but who knows?
        Since I retired and came back to California, almost ALL the banks I dealt with have been execrable.
        1. Wells Fargo – I was a victim of that Wells Fargo scam when I lived in Sacramento upon first retiring – they put me into an extra account and than didn’t make sure funds were transferred to my checking account like I specifically asked about and they assured me that would happen. I didn’t lose any actual money, Wells Fargo paid the laid check fees. Coincidently, a week ago I got a judgement of 69.74$ from the class action suit against Wells Fargo (how many years has that been???). Whoo HOO!
        2. United Bank – actually its OK. When I moved from Sacramento to Redding I went with United Bank, but when I moved from Redding back to Fresno, there were no United banks on the ground branches and I wanted an actual physical bank near.
        3. Bank of the West – 1st bank I used in Fresno. My credit card was suppose to be free when I maintained minimum balances. I maintained such balances with thousands to spare. Upon renewal, I was charged a 50$ fee. I brought this up with the bank branch twice (they couldn’t do anything about it). I brought it up with the main headquarters bank, and they didn’t do anything about it. For me, 50$ is a piddling sum, but it was the principal of the thing and the IGNORING of me. So off I went to Union bank. By the way, Union is ALSO playing the free credit card if certain balances are maintained, and now charging me…guess the amount – yup, fifty bucks when it is suppose to be free if certain balances are maintained.

        I am running out of banks. It is a pain to have my pension, and soon my social security check transferred to automatic deposit at new institutions. Not to mention doing all the automatic payments for water, trash, utilities, Netflix and I don’t know what else off hand.
        I really don’t think I am some insane old man – all I want is what THEY say the DEAL is – but they constantly break it. The sums aren’t the problem – its the constant lying and finagling. Credit card companies make astounding amounts on every purchase – but its not enough – they have to cheat.
        I will not reward thieves.

          1. harrybothered

            I got screwed over by Chase in 2001 and switched to the UGA credit union. Every time I’ve moved I’ve gone to the university CU, or a local one. Only had troubles with one of them and I’m on my 5th now (I move a lot.)

    2. meme

      That’s how my Bank of America card worked. Since I’m not too good about remembering when to log in to pay the full statement balance each month, I ended up having interest expense.

      I ended up closing that account and getting a second Chase card. As much as I hate Jamie Dimon, I have to admit that Chase is always on top of the technology end of things. I’ve been able to do automatic payment for the full statement balance with Chase for decades.

  35. ambrit

    Re. “..getting a dental implant is EXPENSIVE.)”
    Boy howdy, dental indeed is expensive. Any dental work. And try to get an appointment less than a month away. Here, for some fillings, (Phyl had her past appointment cancelled due to a passing hurricane,) Phyl now has to wait until the end of March of next year.
    We have gotten into the habit of physically writing bill due dates up on a wall calendar in the kitchen. I am now leaning towards putting up Red Letter pre-due date warnings on those self same calendars.
    Stay safe!

    1. fwe'theewell

      Something like $6-or-8000 in the PMC suburb and $16-1800 in the Chinese hood when I got one a few years ago (a grinder here). My hood Chinese lady dentist, originally from Beijing and a USC alum, told me how much she disliked the program that management consultants pitched to her, and preferred to do things her way. She has gorgeous cars, clothes, hair-n-skin-n-bod, successful kids, and a suburban house from which she sees the sunrise from her balcony every morning.

      Hey by the way, we need (not an assignment!) to talk again about how dental is key to general health and a low cost high multiplier investment. /off to read about it

      1. fresno dan

        December 13, 2020 at 1:59 pm

        I’m beginning to think I was scammed just by having a dental implant. what did they do 50 or more years ago when there was no such thing as dental implants and they extracted a tooth? This was the last tooth on the right side of my jaw. I am beginning to suspect I could have easily lived without it.
        As economists say, never ask a barber if you need a haircut…

        1. kareninca

          Be glad you got the implant. It will keep your underlying bone from melting away in that location.

          You know when you see photos of old rural ladies who look like they have pursed lips? It is not just because they lack teeth; it is also because once a tooth is gone there is no pressure on the underlying bone there and so the bone goes away. Dentures do not exert enough pressure to prevent this; neither do bridges (though they are better than nothing).

          Also, since it was one of the far back teeth in your case, that is really a tooth that you want (real or implant form) in case you need something to base a bridge off of. And if you had skipped it and decided you wanted it later, you couldn’t have gotten it, since there wouldn’t be enough bone to set the implant in (except maybe with a LOT of bone grafting).

          I just spent about 10k on an implant here in Silicon Valley. I’m just glad I could manage it.

          1. Yves Smith

            An implant isn’t bridged. The implant is screwed into the jawbone and the restoration is hung off an abutment, which is similar to a post in a root canal.

            1. kareninca

              I know an implant isn’t itself bridged; I just had an implant. What I meant is that if you need a bridge later to cover other empty spots, the wires of the bridge can be attached to the implanted fake tooth. The implanted tooth is a stable item to attach things to. If you don’t get the implanted tooth, then you have nothing there to attach something else to.

    2. Yves Smith

      Come to Alabama!

      $200 max for the extraction if no gas

      $1800 for the implant if no gas. Yours truly banters with the oral surgeon, which freaks them out. As long as they have really numbed you up, this is just carpentry, albeit in your mouth.

      Don’t let them do a bone graft unless they have evidence your bones are bad. Total ripoff and makes the process take much longer, which increases odd of your other teeth moving about.

      $1200 to $1800 for the restoration.

      1. ambrit

        Ye gods!
        It looks like every state has it’s very own proprietary set of medical costs.
        Could we consider driving to a neighboring state a form of “Medical Tourism?”
        Glad to hear that you have found amenable dental services there.
        Stay safe!
        (Oh, just found out that the middle daughter is recovering from Covid. She lives near Baton Rouge. The ex-husband, a classic mask denier, caught it first, gave it to the children who transferred it to their mother. [Joint custody, another unexpected transmission vector.] She has spent the last two weeks at home quarantining from the outside world. Now she tells us. Typical kids. Sounds like a Scooby Doo plot element. Her not being able to make it over here for Thanksgiving was a ‘blessing in disguise.’)

      2. kareninca

        Wow. That is worth considering, once travel is okay.

        Sometimes a person does need grafting; I genuinely have huge amounts of bone loss so the grafting was actually necessary. It did make the process take longer.

      3. harrybothered

        Wow! I just got a bridge because I was told an implant would be $6000 here in the Bay area. I grew up in Birmingham and still have family there. Next tooth I lose I’ll hit my brother up for free lodging in Auburn.

  36. Mikel

    Re: Brexit: No-deal navy threat ‘irresponsible’, says Tobias Ellwood
    “This isn’t Elizabethan times anymore, this is global Britain – we need to be raising the bar much higher than this,” he said.

    As if they weren’t that global in their imperial Elizabethan era….

    Re: Brexit: EU offer ‘unacceptable’ as trade talks continue
    “The EU is determined to prevent the UK from gaining what it sees as an unfair advantage of having tariff-free access to its markets – not paying taxes on goods being bought and sold – while setting its own standards on products, employment rights and BUSINESS SUBSIDIES.”

    No limit of course on the corporate bond buying subsidies and bank subsidies for the bigger economies in the EU. And then see this….
    “A French minister said on Thursday that France would compensate its fishermen and take other measures to help them if talks on a trade deal collapsed, in an effort to avoid clashes at sea….”

    I guess they plan on subsidizing that sector as much as the rest of the EU allows?

  37. Mikel

    Re: “Our Elites Couldn’t ‘Reset’ A Wall Outlet, Let Alone The Global Economy” The American Conservative

    How about that? The AC nailed it here on a number of points.

  38. Mikel

    RE: ‘Influenza permitting’: What happened when Christmas went ahead during the Spanish Flu pandemic” iNews

    Is it possible WWI made the flu worse in other ways? There was a documentary where they read accounts of by doctors and nurses which described the ailments produced by the “Spanish Flu”. They said the ailments weren’t like other flus they had encountered. A lot of them were like the conditions of soldiers exposed to chemical warfare. Could the virus have mutated with the chemical agents in some of the poisonous gases? Would that be possible?

  39. rowlf

    I tend to have Flightradar24 on a big screen to watch air traffic around me. It’s fun to see my airplanes going places, it reminds me of when I helped an avionics company prototype ADS-B installations in 747s, and if I run out of my house and wave to some airplanes they will do aerobatic maneuvers for me.

    I have been spotting US military airplanes flying and today one is up that reminded me of military stories of being nice to the planning staff or you will be issued a sucky call sign to use during the flight. Today GUMP06 is up and flying. It makes me wonder on the series of events leading up the call sign being thought up.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I have been spotting US military airplanes flying and today one is up that reminded me of military stories of being nice to the planning staff or you will be issued a sucky call sign to use during the flight. Today GUMP06 is up and flying. It makes me wonder on the series of events leading up the call sign being thought up.

      That’s excellent

  40. Mikel

    RE: “Trump Campaign to Run Ads Promoting Effort to Overturn Election” Bloomberg. Hopefully this won’t go on as long as RussiaGate did.

    Will probably go on as long as they can raise money from it.

  41. jr

    I don’t use Twitter so I can’t check directly but the word on the street is that Dore is trending #1 in politics with his demands for AOC and the Squad to deny Pelosi their votes unless she brings up Medicare for All for a vote. Here is Dore on the Richard Medhurst show talking it up:

    1. Lemmy Caution

      He’s on fire on this one. Make Pelosi bring a floor vote on M4A in exchange for the squad’s vote for her Speakership re-election. Get on the record every Dem that votes no and separate the wheat from the chaff. As he so rightly says, if not now, when?

    2. ShamanicFallout

      It’s really hilarious. And clarifying re the Democrats. We hear it said: “We need to elect Dems and then ‘push them left, holding their feet to the fire'”. But then, Progressive (in this case Dore) pushes said Dems ‘left’- they say “NO! Not like that!”

  42. edmondo

    “Trump Campaign to Run Ads Promoting Effort to Overturn Election” Bloomberg. Hopefully this won’t go on as long as RussiaGate did.

    Did you forget about these”

  43. chuck roast

    Special Report: The Caravel

    Yikes! I knew that the stratosphereic reaches of the Economics profession was made up of mostly “high” school, orthodox males, but this post and its sublinks revealed more a barrel of monkeys then a can of worms. So, anyone (that would be a white male one) that would pretend to ascend to the highest levels of the profession of Economics must have demonstrated that they have not only attended but have gained the most superior levels of achievement at the exclusive Lawrence Summers School of Charm and Social Grace.

    I saw a right whale up off Campobello Island some time back. It was surrounded by porpoises and seals. Eagles, sea gulls and a whole variety of sea birds were flying around and floating around in the water. The water was roiling, and all the sea-side critters were enjoying the remains of the meal. The noise of the barking and squaking was incredible. Much like this little window into the awe inspiring natural world, this young woman Claudia Sahm has provided us with a similar window into the rot and corruption that underly the Neoliberal Project.

    IMHO Ms. Sahm is naive in the extreme to expect collegiality, caring, assistance and understanding from this den of thieves and miscreants. Let us remember that capitalism has been accurately deconstructed as being anti-social to the very core. Why would one expect the high priests of the discipline of capitalism to display the sort of behavior not in keeping with their sermons? Ms. Sham can now go on to carve out a place in a profession that is a little less mentally debilitating and soul destroying. Good luck to you my dear, and thank you for this peek into the most corrupt of professions.

  44. MarkT

    Re Genomic sequencing of Covid in NZ

    Thanks for the link! Fascinating what can be inferred by these techniques.

    I’ve encountered comments about NZ being isolated and having had that in its favour re Covid. The reality is that NZ has a sizeable diaspora relative to its small population, so things like viruses travel quickly. In this case, largely from the USA (according to the article). A wedding in a rural part of the South Island became a “super spreader” event. Thank goodness for the hard lockdown.

  45. Rob Chametzky

    Wrt “Chrome is Bad”: if one’s Mac has been slowed by Chrome and Keystone,
    but one uses gmail, can one somehow keep gmail while deleting all the other
    Google folders etc as is outlined? I’d ask Mr. Brichter directly, but I cannot find
    an email address for him and I do not use “twitter”.

    –Rob CHametzky

    1. Procopius

      Oh, yes. You can access all the Google “services” through any HTML-compliant browser. By the way, Chrome doesn’t install kestone.viewer.exe on my Windows 7 PC. If you just like the Chrome interface, there’s a program called Chromium which is open source, i.e. free, that has pretty much the same look and feel. I know it runs on Linux, so I would expect a version to be available for iOS.

  46. VietnamVet

    The primary tenet of the Neoliberalism is to never discuss it. Deregulation, privatization, fees for service have turned society upside down. The For-profit Healthcare System can’t fight the coronavirus pandemic since to do it effectively requires money for stockpiling, testing, contact tracing and isolation which eats into corporate profits. Likewise, charter schools and government student loans profitize education.

    The 350-million-dollar donation from Facebook to state and county election offices means that employees know where part of their salary comes from. It is not the taxpayer. Like the Pentagon Revolving Door, money buys contacts and influence. Fees for service inevitably corrupt. Private Public Partnerships never work. The New State Capitalism never serves the people.

    This is evidence that US elections are corrupted but is denied by the winners. Also, if the Republicans say it is rigged, they should know. They required in Wisconsin, for example, that the absentee ballot must be voted in the presence of a witness, who signs an affidavit on the absentee ballot envelope, in order to discourage mail-in voting in the middle of a pandemic.

    1. MarkT

      My take is quite simple: you can’t have the worst amongst us in charge of things, without very careful regulation of their behaviour. Else they damage the rest of society.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I plan to take advantage of this to make my first trip to NZ as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of summer before the golf season ends on the south island

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