Links 12/14/2020

Losing Count​: The Sordid Business of Bookkeeping The Drift

EY fraud unit found ‘red-flag indicators’ at Wirecard in 2018 FT


First trucks with Covid-19 vaccine roll out of Pfizer plant in Michigan NBC

Operation Warp Speed head says 40M doses of vaccine will be distributed by end of the month The Hill

Healthcare Workers Have 7-fold Increased Risk of Severe COVID-19 MedScape

Four months that will decide America’s future NBC

Pressure won’t help build vaccine trust: OPINION ABC

Coronavirus, l’Italia rinasce con un fiore: lo spot della campagna per i vaccini La Repubblica (DJG). Click through for the Italian vaccine rollout video, whose tone is a little different from what we see over here…

‘The country needs me’: cleaner in Chicago’s COVID wards proud to fight pandemic (photo essay) Reuters (Re Silc).

‘A slap in the face’: Yuma hospital fires ER doctor for talking about COVID-19 in Arizona AZ Central. Looks to me like the staffing company for the hospital did the deed….

Vaccines Bring Home the Failure of Herd Immunity John Authers, Bloomberg

NCHS Mortality Surveillance Data CDC


Reading China’s State Capitalism Adam Tooze, Chartbook

How Covid-19 has worsened China’s growing north-south economic divide South China Morning Post

In the Time of COVID-19, China Could Be Pivotal in Swapping Debt for Climate and Health Action World Resources Institute. Handy chart:

Obvious when you think about it:


Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approved by Singapore, first shipment expected by end-December Channel News Asia

New businesses mushroom in Malaysia despite Covid-19 pandemic gloom Straits Times


Farmers’ protest highlights: Heads of all farmer unions, Kejriwal, to go on hunger strike tomorrow Indian Express

‘We Won’t Get Scared’: The Spirit of Farmers’ Protest Is Inescapable in Punjab The Wire

And you thought it’s only about farmers? People’s Archive of Rural India

Workers riot at India iPhone factory over ‘exploitation’ claims Agence France Presse

Facebook reportedly hesitated to remove Indian extremists over risk to staff Engadget

Mumbai Police Arrest TV Chief as Media Dispute in India Intensifies NYT

Robo-surveillance shifts tone of CEO earnings calls FT

The Koreas

South Korea’s Third Wave, a thread:


S. Korea sets up free Wi-Fi networks on buses in operation across nation Yonhap News Agency. How a First World country does it.

Families marry off daughters to ease finances amid COVID-19 AP


Singapore oil tanker hit by explosion caused by ‘external source’ off Saudi Arabia CNN

RenovaBR: The Privatisation of Brazilian Politics Brasilwire


Jeremy Corbyn: Why I’m Launching a Project for Peace and Justice Jacobin


Brexit deal LIVE: Talks could go on past Christmas as UK and EU agree to ‘go the extra mile’ Evening Standard. Oh, ffs.

Don’t stockpile food, minister tells British shoppers Reuters. Narrator: “They stockpiled food.” Where are the Pythons when we need them:


Brexit: the information paradox

My Brexit hell The Critic

New Cold War

Ramstein Air Base In Germany Experiences Potential Incoming Missile Scare The Drive

Trump Transition

US orders emergency action after huge cyber security breach FT. From WaPo‘s lead, the sourcing: “People familiar with the matter.” So that’s alright then.

Trump Says He’s Nixing Plan For Early Vaccinations At The White House HuffPo


Trump Allies Eye Long-Shot Election Reversal in Congress, Testing Pence NYT

A Stunning Passage from the Latest Court Rejection of Team Trump Andrew McCarthy, National Review. Ludwig’s Wisconsin decision.

A Political Obituary for Donald Trump The Atlantic

The GOP’s Minority Rule Caucus reveals its contempt for democracy E.J. Dionne, WaPo. “At least the Confederate secessionists acknowledged that Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election. The 18 Republican state attorneys general and 126 Republican House members who asked the Supreme Court to throw out the results of the 2020 election may thus be more impudent than the Civil War seditionists in whose steps they followed.” “Impudent?!”

* * *
Pro-Trump Protesters Chant “Destroy the GOP,” Boo Georgia Senate Candidates at Rally Slate. Well, if the Republicans copy the Democrats and fire their base, they won’t have to fear them any more, will they?

Group burns Black Lives Matter banner taken from DC’s oldest Black church during MAGA protest WUSA

1 person shot in Olympia during clashes between pro-Trump demonstrators and counterprotesters Seattle Times

Biden Transition

Hunter Biden subpoena seeks info on Burisma, other entities AP. “The breadth of the subpoena, issued Tuesday, underscores the wide-angle lens prosecutors are taking as they examine the younger Biden’s finances and international business ventures.”

On Immigration, Activists’ Demands May Exceed Biden Realities NPR. “[A] person familiar with transition discussions… told NPR that the Biden campaign and then the transition team felt that immigration activists had become too adversarial.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Rage Kapital notesfromdisgraceland. For real banks, the author accepts the debunked loanable funds theory. But for “rage banks”?

Intelligence Community

‘Under the rug:’ Sexual misconduct shakes FBI’s senior ranks AP

Our Famously Free Press

Sinister sounds: podcasts are becoming the new medium of misinformation Guardian. Another liberals calls for censorship.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

‘I sat on Andrew’s lap… Ghislaine put the Spitting Image puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast. Then he put his hand on mine’: Duke’s visit to the puppet master Epstein’s mansion… this time for the night Daily Mail

Groves of Academe

Bob Shepherd: How “Reform” Ruined Teaching Diane Ravitch

Health Care

How CBO Analyzes the Costs of Proposals for Single-Payer Health Care Systems That Are Based on Medicare’s Fee-for-Service Program: Working Paper 2020-08 Congressional Budget Office. “The increase in demand would exceed the increase in supply, resulting in greater unmet demand than the amount under current law, CBO projects.”

Why Americans love the ACA (1):


Why Americans love the ACA (2):


Guillotine Watch

GOP Megadonor Celebrates His Profits From “Huge Increases In Rents” As Millions Face Eviction Daily Poster

COVID-19: Demand for underground bunkers soars over fears of coronavirus pandemic Sky News

Immigration and use of public spaces and food stores in a large city: A qualitative study on urban health inequalities Journal of Migration and Health

Class Warfare



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. Cocomaan

      I like the thrust of the guys idea – that patience is needed and that minority communities are some of the most skeptical of vaccines – but good god, the rest of his article was a word salad sandwich with a topping of spilled ink sauce.

      Expertise should speak for itself and not need dozens of platitudes. If you really trust the FDA panel, explain why, don’t beat around the bush. Showing your work will get you partial credit.

    2. chris

      I don’t think minorities are going to be the biggest problem here. All of my very nice, upper middle class, Christian, white friends with kids are taking the wait and see approach. They have all told me that they don’t want to take the vaccine until there’s some solid history of it not causing side effects. In my peer group that’s a 50 people in 4 states.

      So the people who are most likely to be out and about, the same ones who had the passports that let them go all over the world and bring this home, the ones with healthcare and benefits most able to weather any issues, the ones who most likely can choose to stay home if needed…are refusing to take the vaccine. But they’re enthusiastically supporting minorities taking it first.

      I’m waiting to see how many of my friends try the lines about equity and equality after this. You don’t get to mouth virtue signals about seeing things through the “lens of equity” while trusting in a brown skinned shield for your kids health.

      1. Robert Hahl

        As usual with medical interventions there a risk/benefit judgement to make. If you are in a low risk situation for contracting Covid-19, it makes sense to wait a few months and see if there are many side effects. At least that is what I intend to do.

        1. Louis Fyne

          that. if one is over 70 (and particularly in home care or see care workers) and really want to be social again, strongly look at taking the vaccine.

          kids just don’t have enough ACE2 receptors…and on the spectrum of risk can wait, barring one beats the odds in an unfortunate way

  1. Krystyn Podgajski

    I don’t remember reading about the SolarWinds hack and malware problems here but wow, is this Trump’s way or leaking the classified docs he tweeted about the other day?

    And do the hacks have anything to do with Google being down hard today? I mean my friend texted me said he tried to login and it said “This account does not exist”. It would be crazy if someone managed to make all those accounts disappear or impossible to access…

      1. Randy G

        Krystyn — Thank you for the link!

        I detest the U.S. National “Security” State and the techno-corporate oligarchy to such an extent that I found the article cheerful reading.

        The more headaches for the arrogant bastards the better.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I know there are billions at stake ensuring that the Earth stays flat, but…

        Dominion uses SolarWind:

        I don’t know how Dominion works. You don’t know how Dominion works. But this woman does, she’s a Democratic Senator from Georgia. She covered the bases quite nicely in the distant past (2019):

        Q: Do Americans have the right to know how the software used to select their leaders operates? The legislators don’t think so. The courts don’t think so. Do you?

        We have the report, read it and the Tweets above before The Lords of Permissable Knowledge take them down. The allowable error rate established by the FEC is 0.0008%, the observed error rate was 68.05%.

        Cue P. Cross with the ad hominems, take it away Phil!

        1. Aumua

          At some point one has to realize that chasing down all these tweets, and official sounding documents to pick apart the assertions and underlying assumptions and try and cross reference the stated facts just to find out that they don’t really add up to whatever it is they are claiming is a huge waste of time. Because ultimately the purpose behind all this is not to ensure election integrity. It’s to change the result of the election.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            In this case those two may go hand in hand, and you are basically arguing we deserve neither. I say let’s find out, so we can have a representative democracy based on the consent of the governed. What portion of the document “doesn’t add up to whatever they are claiming”? Is it the percentage of votes that went to unmonitored, unaudited and unauditable “adjudication”? Is it the fact the machines would not comply with the basic security standards for a simple government desktop computer? Is it the HTTP connections into the Election Management System? Is it the video of the “administrator” voting and then counting a blank ballot? I think a boat just got to the horizon and didn’t fall off.

            1. Aumua

              Exactly. It is all of those things, and more that may indicate problems with our voting system, but don’t necessarily add up to a stolen election.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Exactly exactly. We seem to be skipping to the “let’s install the winner” before we resolve the “who was the winner” part. My view is that this, like The Biden Family hi-jinks with the CCP, is going to come out. Very disruptive, but wouldn’t it be better if it was before, not after, the consequence. Unless it becomes one of those “no consequence” crime sprees like 2009, The Panama Papers, and Jeffrey Epstein, in which case we can just answer Founding Father B. Franklin directly: “we couldn’t”.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  It’s hard to keep up, Barr is gone, were there any crimes he did prosecute? He was controlled by the old Bush/CIA/FIB faction, the Hilary faction controls Joe and it looks like he will go soon enough. I guess that leaves The Mellifluous Melanoderm running Kamala:


                  I wish it was like the good old days (Moscow 1985) when you could just check to see which commissars were airbrushed out, and which general was standing next to which “cultural attache”.

                  Maybe I’m wrong, fake voting is perfect for this form of government

                  1. Phillip Cross

                    It’s hard to know why you are pining for DJT so much.

                    Even you admit that he was such a poor chief executive that throughout his tenure, he employed multiple stool pigeons, controlled by the old Bush/CIA/FIB faction, at the highest levels in his cabinet.

                    Judging by the congressional record, it looks like the only legislation his administration got passed was that which the old Bush/CIA/FIB faction would have wanted, as well.

                    DJT seems to have done their bidding every step of the way. If they are “The Baddies” in your reality tunnel, what are we missing out on with him gone?

                2. wilroncanada

                  To open…Hal
                  Were you making the same compaint in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016? That was when virtually ALL the voting and vote tallying machines were owned by major donors to the Republican Party. The fallibility of those machines was widely reported. The organization (if you can call it that) Black Box Voting, has been active as a result, trying fruitlessly to get major media, as well as both political parties, to pay attention.
                  Lambert’s maxim still applies: voting using paper ballots hand counted in public.

                3. Aumua

                  We need to fix the system, I agree with that 100%. How about hand marked paper ballots hand counted in public, for one? How about an official federal election protocol in place of a patchwork of different state processes?

                  You think the Trumpians really care about actually implementing these kinds of changes? They don’t. What they care about is changing the result of an election that has already occurred, or at the very least throwing all kinds of doubt on it. Oh so now that we’ve lost the election we suddenly need to fix the election system, and we need to do that before we officially decide who won? What a bunch of dishonest bullsh*t. You may be actually interested in fixing things Hal, I don’t know. But your information sources are primarily just spinning narratives.

                  And yes, I’m aware that the Democrats pulled all kinds of other dishonest b.s. themselves after the 2016 election.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Aumua, I think I’ve probably spent much more time listening and talking to the deplorable Trump hopers and I think you would be amazed to learn to what extent they simply want every legal vote counted. It’s not alot to ask. And I’m not sure how a technical analysis of how these ridiculous machines operate is “spinning a narrative”. If the “election that already occurred”, placing a man with no apparent followers who did not bother to campaign or canvass, was not just marginally fraudulent but massively so, then I would hope you would want the same result: overturn it.

                    For Wilron, every election ever held in human history has had fraud, for me it’s the potential scale this time around. As far as “what I want” goes, I want freedom of speech, less foreign war, and less job offshoring, infuriatingly that puts me in today’s “R” camp. But the real glimmer I see is the chance for the deplorables and the Bernie Bros (basically the 99%) to get political representation. Bernie and Josh Hawley co-sponsoring may be the first inkling of that:

                    1. Aumua

                      Ok, but I’m not necessarily talking about you or most normal everyday people, when I say dishonesty. I’m talking about the sources of the propaganda. I’m talking about Trump himself, his inner circle and his media mouthpieces: Hannity, Levin, Beck etc. and beyond that the more fringey alt-sources: QAnon, Alex Jones, /pol/. This is where the hard right propaganda is coming from, and it is brainwashing. They’re not speaking for the people. They are disseminating their narratives to the people. It’s the same points hammered over and over and over again, day after day, the same points I hear coming from the mouths of normal, everyday people including yourself.

                      And yes I am aware that the mainstream media does the same thing on behalf of the liberal elites. See for instance, Russia Russia and everything is always Trump’s fault.

                    2. marym

                      Maybe take the time to read the National Review article in the links.

                      “Judge Ludwig…gave the campaign the hearing they asked for — the opportunity to call witnesses and submit damning exhibits. Yet, when it got down to brass tacks, the morning of the hearing, it turned out there was no actual disagreement between the Trump team and Wisconsin officials about the pertinent facts of the case. The president’s counsel basically said: Never mind, we don’t need to present all our proof . . . we’ll just stipulate to all the relevant facts and argue legal principles.”

                      The order:

                      The machines are a point of potential vulnerability, but there was no good faith attempt to investigate them, before or after the election.

                      The Georgia full hand recount of ballots matched the machine count, with a few explained discrepancies. Other states do selected recounts, which may or may not be sufficient.

                      Possible good argument: Is a hand recount of X% of votes for Y races in Z precincts a sufficient test of the machines?

                      Unhelpful argument: “Spikes” from densely populated jurisdictions that always (not just this year) take a long time to count and submit totals in batches; and states (WI/MI/PA where Republican legislatures deliberately chose to count absentee ballots after in person votes.

                      The unnamed voting machine cyber “expert” in some Trump-aligned cases turned out to be this guy: “Sidney Powell’s secret “military intelligence expert” witness never worked in military intelligence” (WaPo article paywalled) Excerpt from paywalled article:

                      You and others may well have an honorable definition of potentially “illegal” votes. Trump has been explicit, not just this year, that it means votes that weren’t for him and that come from demographics that he demonizes generally.

                      Those are the votes that have been the focus of most of the questioning taking place in twitter and non-mainstream media. To the extent that this interpretation has also taken place in public documents and hearings, it hasn’t held up under scrutiny.

                    3. marym

                      Here are more links to public evaluations:

                      Critique of credentials and supposed analysis of Trump-aligned purported experts (finding vote “spikes” and unlikely vote patterns) (court document)

                      From a meeting of GA legislators: (video)

                      Judge’s review of affidavits submitted re ballot counting in MI:

    1. Glen

      I’m trying to even figure out what the SolarWind Orion software does other than “network monitoring”.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        In a nutshell, that is what it does. It’s basically used to monitor potential points of entry to a network for unauthorized access, as well as keeping an eye on various system resources to make sure things are running as they should, that hard drives aren’t running out of room, that you don’t have processes hogging system resources, etc. etc. It all depends on how someone wants to use it and what all they want to use it for. It’s pretty standard IT software.

  2. zagonostra

    >CBO Analyzes the Costs of Proposals for Single-Payer Health Care Systems

    I think this is worth quoting in greater length. We seem to forget that the gov’t’s raison d’etre is to make life better for it’s citizens. Instead we’ve been propagandized into believing that the the market left to it’s own “natural” inclinations is best, with the least amount of absolutely necessary accommodations.

    The facts are in, the Market has not and will not solve the endemic perpetual Healthcare crisis in the U.S. The problem is that it NOT a crisis to the ruing elites and those that serve/profit off the current system. Indeed, it perpetuates the control of corporations over their workers, their freedom of when to quite, when to retire, whether to relocate, etc.

    Jimmy Dore has been on a rampage against AOC and other supposed progressives to hold their vote to make Pelosi speaker again until she concedes to bring up M4A for a vote. His reasoning is sound and it seems to be gathering some steam. I hope it succeeds, the issue of healthcare in the U.S. is THE issue which to my mind is the measure of life either getting better in the U.S. or the continued demise the quality of life and life expectancy for the 99%ers.

    The supply of health care would increase because of fewer restrictions on patients’ use of health care and on billing, less money and time spent by providers on administrative activities, and providers’ responses to increased demand. The amount of care used would rise, and in that sense, overall access to care would be greater. The increase in demand would exceed the increase in supply, resulting in greater unmet demand than the amount under current law, CBO projects.

    1. Katiebird

      Have any of the supposed Progressives responded directly to him? I’ve followed the issue in Twitter but things move so fast I could easily miss it. Also, I’m not sure I am following all of them directly. I should.

      1. carl

        That’s one of their gripes. AOC will go on Fox, but not respond directly to Jimmy Dore. She’s claiming that the progressive Congresspeople have been negotiating many important things behind the scenes, i.e., committee chairmanships, etc., that are more important than a symbolic vote.

        1. zagonostra

          She won’t respond to JD,even though he was the first person with any sizable internet audience to interview and promote her- she can’t handle non-watered down questions. However, she did respond to JD’s M4A vote initiative by responding to NFL’s Justin Jackson on Twitter. Consequently, Jackson appeared on JD’s show which resulted in AOC being deconstructed in true “Dorean Mode.”

          @Carla: Jackson’s mother died of cancer and he remembers the struggle his father went through trying to get treatment for her and staying out of bankruptcy, very poignant in the clip referenced below, sorry about your lose.

          1. Laputan

            When Dore was first starting to get some traction on this a couple weeks ago, I thought to myself, “If the media establishment ever picks this up, it’ll be about how Jimmy is a white man ordering around a WOC instead of offering a solution to millions who are out of work and, consequently, without healthcare.” And here comes Joy-Ann Reid, cannonballing in with a completely bad faith endorsement, as expected:


            I wish it were possible to be both cynical and wrong about political prognostications as least once.

            Jimmy may not be pursuing the best tack but I don’t blame him for trying to get the squad to at least die on their sword. They were put in there to fight for progressive values, not assimilate.

            1. Massinissa

              I’m getting to the point where I sort of am seeing the Progressive Caucus as a velvet glove over the establishment’s fist…

          1. JohnnyGL

            I found this issue quite interesting for a few reasons. Stoller’s right that there are better things that could be negotiated besides a symbolic vote, but, of course, he’s always heavily leaning towards his own focus of anti-trust (rightly so, it’s a good place to focus).

            The grassroots activists find a symbolic vote helpful because it gives them a target list ahead of 2022 midterms.

            AOC popped up lower in the thread saying, “we’re negotiating out of public view and there’s lots of things under discussion, like PAYGO, and lots of factions are fighting for various things and withholding votes to get those things”

            I would weigh in with my own pithy quote of “if the squad is negotiating behind closed doors, then the squad is losing.”

            The squad is 4 reps, soon to be 8-10 with the new congress. Behind closed doors, that’s all they are. But, when they’ve got the public megaphone and media access, they’re a lot stronger. They have the power to embarrass dems. Dems HATE looking bad in public.

            Of course, the first thing dem leadership does is demand “secrecy” during negotiations. Right there, they’ve already forced the squad to disarm and demobilize their most powerful weapon.

            Of course, the retort to that is that the rest of the party HATES the grassroots and will just exclude the squad entirely from negotiations and all the leverage that comes from being in the room.

            That’s probably true, but then the challenge lies in making use of that power of the public megaphone to put fear into their colleagues, without getting cut out of the process entirely.

            AOC said PAYGO rules are under discussion. That would have been an excellent thing to instruct a staffer to make a phonecall to politico, HuffPo, Sirota, Dave Dayen at the American prospect, etc.

            Headline should have been “dems have audacity to consider re-instituting obnoxious PAYGO rules to restrain our ability to help the public in a pandemic and a depression”

            AOC and squad need to re-shape the negotiations more to their liking. Making PAYGO toxic with public leaks would be a good start.

            I don’t pretend to think I’m savvy and that this is an easy thing to do, but progs/squad aren’t using activist energy effectively on their behalf. The activist world is thus getting agitated and turning on the left wing for exactly that. Activists need leadership from congressional reps, without it, everyone is just getting impatient and frustrated.

            1. JohnnyGL

              To illustrate my point about dems hating being embarrassed in public, here’s Hakeem Jeffries (aka Pelosi’s hatchet man) throwing a fit about leaking to the press.


              AOC and squad need to make note of those pain points….and put them to good use!!!

              My advice, from a place of complete ignorance, would be to cultivate 13 different ways of leaking embarrassing things to the media and selectively using them to keep people like Jeffries in full freakout mode.

        2. anon in so cal

          Someone on twitter summed her/them up re: “negotiating many important things”

          Negotiating her tickets to Davos….

        3. neo-realist

          It seems to me that to negotiating things like committee chairmanships that slowly but surely start to bore in some semblance of progressive influence in government is a good thing. I believe that they are playing the long game of increasing influence rather than risking stalling it by shaming Pelosi on a vote that won’t bring about M4A and angering her into freezing the progressive block out of committee chairs that not only starts the ball rolling on increasing political power, but provide them an effective pulpit of sorts to publicly advocate and fight for those issues that progressives want pushed.

            1. neo-realist

              There may be some apples and oranges here- I suspect the big donors, Wall Street, etc, did not want Sanders at the table as far as a cabinet position with Biden. On the other hand with congress, you do have somebody like Katie Porter, who isn’t in the squad, but her positions on meat and potato issues are very much squad adjacent, has committee positions in financial services and oversight and reform. Hopefully with the deals being made, you will see people like Cori Bush and Jamal Bowman rise up the food chain into these committee positions and start raising the issues before the public.

              1. nycTerrierist

                The problem isn’t public opinion —
                overwhelmingly, the public favors Medicare for All, especially
                now, mid-pandemic. The problem is getting so called activists like AOC to do something to move the ball forward.
                Even if a House vote likely fails, those voting against Medicare for All will be on notice. There is no downside to putting a vote on record.

                1. nycTerrierist

                  another plus to Dore’s plan: pressuring Pelosi from the left,
                  forcing her to earn their support rather than take it for granted.

                  Pelosi needs every vote in January to be re-elected speaker,
                  with such slim margins, this is a rare moment for the left in congress:
                  they have leverage and they should use it.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Yeah, keeping their powder dry and sh!t like that… bearing in mind the admonition to Trump not to piss off the Deep State/Blob, because they have nine million ways to screw your over.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        There’s not an american politician anywhere in government today with the stones to take on the medical-industrial complex by forcing a vote on national “healthcare,” or voting in their constituents’ best interests where “healthcare” is concerned, and that includes the big-talking, gimmick-wielding “squad.”

        If this is ever going to happen, it’s going to take some candidate to come out of nowhere, who doesn’t give a shit about “norms,” “decorum” or his/her political “career” to bulldoze it through.

        The in-your-face censorship and outright lying in the “media” and on tech platforms that’s been normalized and even welcomed since Trump was elected is going to make finding and elevating that person harder than ever.

        Eighty million people supposedly just chose to go back to the status quo instead of supporting the interloper. You can’t have it both ways.

        1. Aumua

          Obviously, Trump was all about all that free healthcare and other social programs to help the working class. He just needed another term for his truly progressive side to emerge.

          I mean interloper status is interesting, and kinda cool I guess but that doesn’t earn my vote by itself. Disclaimer: I didn’t vote for either of those a-holes.

        2. polecat

          EVERYTHING with regard to the highered Govern-mentals is as a Performative act .. often verging on the partisan pornographic – rarely truly productive where the voters, NOT the KSTREET volken – the VOTERS! .. currently standing in as the citizenry ununited ….
          So, as you may have alluded to, Katie’s (though, I’m Not Sure … ‘Ouch’, that hurts!), we’ll sooner or later, get the real deal Caesar to stir up some sh!t n stuff, casting some mighty portentous spells, as we slide some notches down the rollercoaster!

    2. Carla

      “the issue of healthcare in the U.S. is THE issue which to my mind is the measure of life either getting better in the U.S. or the continued demise the quality of life and life expectancy for the 99%ers.”

      This has been true for many decades now. In 1994 I married a man who had a “pre-existing condition.” He was able to get health insurance from only one organization: Kaiser Permanente. Although he had had two separate heart bypass surgeries (resulting in quadruple bypass), when he experienced heart failure symptoms in 1997, his Kaiser gatekeeper primary care doc refused to refer him to a cardiologist, saying he just needed to get his blood sugar under control. My husband DID get his blood sugar under control, and died of a heart attack a couple of months later, never having been referred to cardiology care.

      U.S. “health insurance” is nothing but a criminal conspiracy. In 1998, I became a single payer activist and a few years later became a dues-paying member of Physicians for a National Health Program ( — which anyone can join and support.

      Well, y’all can see how far this has gotten me. But all of the $$ and energy I spend on Expanded, Improved Medicare for All (as in HB 1384) is in memory of my late husband and all the millions of other Americans our Medical-Industrial Complex has wantonly killed.

      Medical care in this country is an ongoing crime scene. The coronavirus pandemic has merely kicked up the pace.

      1. carl

        So sorry you had to lose your husband to this criminal enterprise. Sounds like you woke up to it about 10 years before I did. I share your sense of futility. We will be moving to Europe as soon as it’s practicable; I can’t stay here as an older person and rely on good luck to keep away from the healthcare system.

        1. Count Zero

          Do you think you are entitled to free health care in Europe?

          Different European nations have different methods of funding health care, usually combinations of public funding out of tax and health insurance. All British citizens contribute to the NHS, for instance. We pay something called National Insurance, extracted directly from our wages alongside — & in addition to — tax. Like all insurance it is based on cooperation. Young people pay in and take very little out. Older people take more out. I have been paying a % of my income into the NHS for over 50 years and I am lucky enough never to have made any great demands on it. I am probably a net contributor. Others are not — but that’s how it works. The NHS is free at the point of need but it is not “free”.

          1. D. Fuller

            Calling it “free health care” is something the Radical Right and Corporate Democrats use to smear M4A and other Universal health care systems. “Socialism” being the other fear inducing word appealing to the lizard brain of voters. Even though most are too ill educated to define Socialism properly or to even realize whose Socialist system they wish to discuss. Then there are the majority on The Right who wrongly confuse Reagan trickle down (p*ss on people) economics with MMT.

            M4A is paid through taxes. M4A is not free. The issue is economic. Good jobs are needed. Well paying jobs. When American Capitalist vultures on Wall Street are on a rampage to reduce wages. While for 40 years they have invested in China using the profit motive to line their pockets. The greatest national security threat in existence.

            Those good jobs where shipped elsewhere. In the name of The American God, Profit. The only True God most Americans worship – willingly or unwillingly. Leaving tens of millions of American workers stuck in low wage jobs, unable to afford health care. For them to pay taxes? They would no longer be able to afford living in America. They would be better off illegally immigrating to Mexico.

            Wall Street Capitalists and their pets in Government have made little attempt to conceal their true designs for American workers. A society of perpetually impoverished, mobile throw away workers; the ultimate disposable work force. Where a dead worker is a statistic.

            M4A goes against The True American God, Profit. And its herald, Dollar.

            There are those who say Government is the problem. They personify Government as an actual living being. They are mentally ill. Government is a fiction we subscribe to. Government institutions are staffed by people that give government, agency. Those government workers and leaders determine if the fictional “person” of government is good or I’ll. The very people that whinge and shriek, “Gubmint bad, M’kay!” are voters who vote for the very people who represent Government.

            How ironically ignorant of them.

            What is “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” without health? It is nothing. It is a reality for many in America, today.

            The world’s wealthiest society is $30-$40 trillion in debt and routinely f***s up even basic functions. All in the name of The True American God, Profit. Why? More money to be made.

          2. Pat

            7 to 8 percent of my wages have been going to health insurance for most of my adult life. I have used very little of it. Since I have not been in that job, I have either gone without insurance or paid over 10% of my income to an insurance company. During that period I had one trip to the emergency room for stitches when I gashed my arm in a fall. Since my coverage was largely catastrophic, my copay was about a quarter of what I would have owed outright. I didn’t even go back to a doctor and removed the stitches myself. Because I would owe that bill outright, deductibles you know.

            Please don’t tell me I haven’t been paying towards healthcare, I have. And I have also been a net contributor my entire life. But unlike you I do not currently have any healthcare because quite frankly I cannot afford the bill on top of my insurance, and by the way that doesn’t count my portion of employment taxes that is a Medicare contribution. And that is the case for a significant portion of Americans who have insurance. And how do I blame anyone who doesn’t have insurance because they are trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table and won’t be able to afford to use it anyway because of deductibles and copays and surprise billing and…

            Americans pay more, get less and most would get a break even with higher taxes. They also could go to a doctor if they got sick. Something a whole lot of us do not do now. I get that we do have to pay for it, but believe it or not most Americans would not actually pay more in taxes if the companies they work for were required to use the money they now use for insurance premiums for the employee’s increased MFA contribution. There is a portion of The populace we need to support, that are currently uncovered and ineligible for subsidies, but the savings we would see would cover that. Yes, we spend so much more, studies by opponents have had to admit this.

            What I am dismayed about is that our grifter class has infected your country on this and done their best and continue to work hard to crapify the NHS so you can also pay a lot for little or nothing in return.

            1. D. Fuller

              Nice comments.

              People who love the ACA or HMO systems rarely know that they pay for the uninsured through their insurance. The uninsured who visit hospitals, who then can not pay… the hospitals rarely eat those costs. They renegotiate higher prices with private insurance companies. Those costs are then passed on from the private insurance company to their consumers.

              When an insured person seeks and receives health care, the costs are – many times – more than they pay into their health insurance. Instead, other people pay those costs from the pool of money generated through insurance subscribers (consumers paying premiums) to private health insurance. Literally, no one pays the full costs of their health care. M4A removes the private bureaucratic costs and CEO pay and investor dividends from the costs of health care.

              NC has also well documented the medical billing scam.

              Best of luck to you. In Poland, I paid around $50 (2010 prices) a month, had a choice of all doctors in the region as my general physician and never had to wait. Unlike here in America with private health insurers dictating which doctors – frequently forcing their subscribers to choose other doctors when contracts run out. And the horror of surprise medical billing.

              Here in America, I have VA. Even they took 9 months to get back to me about having a simple blood tests – oh, the good old days of only waiting 45 days (which I never experienced). Now, I have an issue where the VA “accidentally” dropped my enrollment from the clinic. If the VA administrator had been successful, I would have had to wait a further 6 months just to be re-enrolled. I suspect that the underfunded VA clinic closest to me is maxed out capacity.

              Something about private insurers and health care providers also. Jared Kushner and his Florida privatizers crew has done wonders of incompetence at VA.

              Wall Street did not invest in expanded capacity. Government officials destroyed subsidized education in America, meaning less nurses and doctors. Wall Street consolidated and closed hospitals. Centralized them. In the name of the True American God, Profit. To cut costs in the name of their False Demi-God, Efficiency – who is quite the opposite in being un-wholly inefficient. The MBA-Priests of the True American God, Profit and its heralds Dollars and Efficiency have decreed it to be so.

              1. fajensen

                I took my dog to the vet for something serious ((inflamed uterus), they ask if I have a pet healthcare insurance. Which I don’t, so I have to pay 1300 EUR for the dog emergency on the credit card. OK. They “fix it”, dog is home the same day. It is what it is.

                Now, from some people who have a pet healthcare insurance, I heard that they pay up to 3500 EUR for the same emergency, their dogs had to stay at “pet hospital” for 3 days and how they were very grateful that they had the insurance(!). Hmm?!

                The thing is, my dog is a Flat-coated retriever, happy, fast, and insensitive to pain, quite capable of partially skinning itself on a barb-wire fence it wants to get through or impaling itself on a stick. And it is trained, for a long time so one just doesn’t easily get rid of it!

                The pet insurance is therefore expensive, about 500 EUR per year. Thus, by saving 500 EUR per year in an account, one is already well ahead if nothing happens to the dog for 3 years!

                I am quite sure the vet bill matches what the pet insurance will cover.

            2. Count Zero

              Yes — to a British person the US system of “healthcare” seems brutal and insane. As you say, you pay a lot more and you get a lot less!

              But there are plenty of people in Britain (& the US) itching to get their sticky fingers on healthcare in Britain, privatise the NHS and turn it into an inefficient but profitable business. I fear that eventually they will succeed. There’s already considerable creeping privatisation at the margins.

              There’s nothing so relentless, day and night, week in and week out, as the greed of owners of capital in pursuit of profit. They never give in and they never rest. It’s a hunger that can never be satisfied. They want MORE and they want EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.

              1. D. Fuller

                Scotland NHS had a private contract cost them three times what it would have cost, for a hospital. The contract would have been cheaper if they would have done it themselves.

          3. fajensen

            But, still, I pay about 38% total on my income in various taxes and that is *it*.

            The numbers I hear quoted for various American health insurances are at about the same magnitude as my total monthly tax bill, and that tax bill covers also: University, University for my kids, School fees, Basic social security, Property taxes, … and so on.

            I think Americans are being robbed blind! Even in Switzerland the mandatory health insurance is cheaper than it is in the USA (and taxes are lower too)!

            1. Pat

              Not just premiums, but also deductible, maximum out of pockets, etc are lower. I researched Switzerland’s plan as the ACA aka Romneycare aka Dolecare aka the Heritage Foundation plan is ostensibly based on it. Which is frankly BS. They took the worst Aspect of the Swiss plan and stripped out everything that keeps its costs from being onerous.

              But then the Swiss actually think there should be some healthcare included not just ACCESS to health insurance no healthcare required.

          4. Janie

            Count Zero @11.51. of course health care does not fall for free out of the sky. If an uninsured person is hit by a car, he is taken to hospital and treated; the city, county pays (that means you the taxpayer). If an uninsured person keels over with a heart attack, she gets taken to the hospital and, same story. For the insured, it’s a constant battle. Is it covered, who’s the primary, is the medi-cal sticker for the right month.

            My point is adminstrative costs for our system are absurd. Our billing, collections accounts receivable staff outnumbered the actual technical side. This can be cured by a simple national system like the rest of the world enjoys.

          5. carl

            quote >Do you think you are entitled to free health care in Europe?<

            Of course not. Who said anything about free? If I am taxed in the EU, I'll happily pay, knowing my payment would be going towards something other than the armament industry and corporate welfare.

      2. John

        Treating health care as a commodity to be sold for all the market will bear, to maximize profit as the sole aim of a business entity, as Milton Friedman put it, is to exacerbate, if not create, its state in the USA today. I cringe every time I hear the phrase “health care industry”. Autos are an industry. Cement is an industry. However frivolous, television is an industry.

        Matters of health, life, and death are not in the same universe and it is obscene to treat them as if they are.

        1. antidlc

          I cringe every time I hear the phrase “health care industry”.

          I cringe every time I hear the phrase “health care consumer”.

          1. jrkrideau

            “health care industry”

            AHA, I have not felt right about using the term “health care system” when talking about the USA. This is the perfect term.

      3. Oh

        Medical care in our country is run by crooks in hospitals, aided and abetted by crooks in the Pharma and medical device and insurance industry and most of all by the biggest crooks of all in CONgress.
        We need a housecleaning in CONgress first and then we can reform Medical care in the USA.

        1. freebird

          No, first we need free and fair mass media, because without it the duopoly will continue to bamboozle the masses and stay in office.

      4. fajensen

        In “Radicalised“, Cory Doctorow has written his take on what it will take to get a normal, 1’st world, health-care system in America.

        I think “They” agree and that’s partly why “They” keep stirring the pot on issues that does not matter to anyone in any material way, like id-pol and trans toilets!

      5. Wellstone's Ghost

        Ms. Carla,
        If you don’t tweet, you should.
        “U.S. Healthcare is a criminal conspiracy” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard regarding the profit care industry in America.

    3. Yoghurt

      I appreciate Dore’s effort in getting the progressives/squad to demand something. I think medicare-for-all is a poor choice. While largely popular, there are a lot of skeptics on M4A. It will lose for certain in a house vote.

      Better to get something that is winnable. I think the better demand is to vote on the surprise/balance billing bill by levering it out of the ways and means committee. Many house members have already said they’d vote for it. And surprise bills are like telemarketing – as popular as cancer. Even republican voters have no problem hating surprise bills. This would more deeply embarrass Nancy Pellosi and Richie Neal and cause them real grief with their sponsors.

      1. Carla

        “Better to get something that is winnable.”

        Yeah, yeah, yeah. Politics is the art of the possible. Which is how we got the Affordable Care Act.

        Settle for eliminating surprise billing, and yes, you get rid of one small part of the obscenity, while leaving the structure of the criminal enterprise intact to devise new wrinkles with which to torture us.

        One thing I appreciate about Jimmy Dore is that his anger is genuine and almost as great as mine. Another is that he grasps the importance of systemic change, not just tinkering around the edges and calling it progress. It ain’t.

      2. neo-realist

        I suspect people in the progressive block of congress believe they can better achieve systemic change by not biting the hand that feeds them valuable committee chairmanships and increasing their ability to entrench themselves in government with the committee positions doled out by Pelosi in order to gradually create such change and increase the stature to wield more power in a government that has been compromised by entrenched money power interests, where progressives are outnumbered and outgunned by those interests and requires a lot of sausage making deals to get any progress done.

        1. Socal Rhino

          That does sound a bit like keeping their powder dry but time will tell if they are executing effective strategic timing.

        2. John Wright

          One can be concerned that the progressives will be later captured by their “hand that feeds them”

          Are there many examples of politicians who became more progressive rather than less progressive as they advance in their careers?

          Maybe LBJ?

          It seems to me the transformation of a politician is to become more conservative, as the youthful Vietnam war protesting John Kerry morphed into the Iraq War supporting John Kerry.

          The “systemic change” you mention might be that which occurs to the progressives themselves over time.

    4. Glen

      I think going “all-in” for some form of Universal Healthcare at this point is very important, and this is based on observations of how the 2008 crisis played out.

      So in 2008 all the Wall St corruption and fraud finally crashed the global economy, and the US government responded by bailing out the wall St banks that caused the problem and sending NOBODY to jail. The Fed responded by doling out trillions in free money since then and to this day.

      So what did 2008 teach our country? That when financial trouble hits, Wall St, corporations and billionaires get trillions. Even worse, the reality is they have been getting trillions since 2008 all along and it’s now normal. That nobody goes to jail. That Americans will put up with it. And we have seen this play out so far. The 2008 gang of crooks immediately got trillions after a bad week on Wall St. Americans got pretty much nothing.

      But we are in a pandemic too. And what will our leaders learn? That they don’t have to provide healthcare. That Americans are willing to pay what it takes until they are broke/dead.

      But this is crazy you say. The cost of health care is spiraling out of affordability to everybody. Yes, it is, but if you MAKE a billion a year from the healthcare insurance industry, you can afford to SPEND a million a year for the coverage so American health care will get much, much worse before any of the elites really have to care. And by then, it will be unaffordable to the majority of Americans. (I would argue it actually already is.)

      I don’t argue the morals of people like Stoller, Sirota, and the rest. But even they are detached for the lived reality of Americans. They will not see what is coming until it’s over, and then they will sadly inform us that health care reform is not possible.

    5. Yves Smith

      I really don’t buy this. How many people in America get reasonable preventive testing? One of many examples: Insurance won’t pay for Vitamin D tests any more so most MDs quit ordering them, since patients bitch about the $60+ unreimbursed cost. I don’t get tested since I take supplements and had fine Vit D levels in the past, but given the suspicion that bad Covid cases result at least in part from low Vit D, this seems nuts.

      In other words, the CBO looks to be confusing more MD visits with higher costs. The higher MD visits would likely reduce the frequency of more costly interventions later.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    S. Korea sets up free Wi-Fi networks on buses in operation across nation Yonhap News Agency.

    I’m surprised South Korea hasn’t had it already – wifi and 4G is outstanding all over South Korea, even the smallest town has a superfast connection. But free wifi on buses has been standard in most countries for many years, it was universal on all buses in my city since around 2012.

    1. Carolinian

      Here in third world SC buses have had wifi for some time and that’s probably true of most US cities. The only news in the S. Korea story is that they don’t already have wifi on buses.

      Of course in the US public transportation is often for the poor who probably can’t afford our overpriced internet access. It’s the same reason our library has internet access computers.

      1. Rod

        Here in third world SC buses have had wifi for some time…
        The Great State
        some since, at least late April or May or June or whenever since, the Districts discovered not everyone has the internet.

        Read it and Weep–devil in the details

        Act 142 directs the Office of Regulator Staff (ORS) to fund free hotspots and monthly internet access through December 2020 for poverty student households as part of that response. The ORS has also negotiated similar pricing for district-funded purchase of hotspots and internet for any households not eligible for the free offer and for the period January to June 2021.
        Of course you need to Qualify–if the Taco Bell signal is too spotty.

        It is December now–hear the push back to the classrooms from your porch. Henry says TINA (because TINA, of course)

    2. Ook

      Not sure about Korea, but in the east Asian countries in which I have lived, most people are on cheap plans (I’m paying about $25/month for unlimited 5G data, first year free on sign-up) that rendered wi-fi unnecessary, basically not worth the trouble of the login.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Sinister sounds: podcasts are becoming the new medium of misinformation”

    Yeah, this is a call for censorship under the guise of ‘moderation.’ It takes an extremist – Steve Bannon – and tries to lump him in with Joe Rogan whose views are not liked in certain quarters. If you read through to the end, you will find that it was written by Ariel Bogle who is a journalist and analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Who are they when they are at home? Why, they are a think tank that receives funding from the Australian government and ‘some funding from the Embassy of Japan and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia, as well as from state governments and defence companies, such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Thales Group, and Raytheon Technologies. It is also funded by the Australian and foreign governments such as the United States State Department as well as by military contractors.’

    And I notice that she retweets stuff from Eliot “Bellingcat” Higgins in her twitter feed too. To me, that is guilt by association.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      One of the key features of the new administration will be the suppression of any dissent. Essentially; status quo power consolidating that power. These actions will, of course, make the situation on the ground much worse. That won’t matter though as long as the appearance of a given definition of normalcy is maintained.
      As a system neo-liberalism is now in the throes of the thanatos drive.

    2. cocomaan

      I don’t think people like Bogle understand that by driving these people underground, they will just form a new playground to play in. Rogan already is vociferous about why he left California and moved to Texas, for instance, and that’s a physical move, not a medium move. Alex Jones is still on the air, just using old fashioned tech, and has a huge following. Rush Limbaugh reaches more people in a week than the Guardian will in a month.

      Bogle will then migrate over to the new gathering place and complain about that, too.

    3. Randy G

      Hoping bogus journalists like Bogle (anti-journalists, actually) will get around to calling for censorship of The Guardian itself — which has a stellar record of spewing disinformation and misinformation in regards to the Ukraine putsch, Crimea, Russiagate, Syria, Julian Assange, etc etc etc etc.

      One of the best things they could do at the Guardian to control disinformation would be to encase Luke Harding in 3-tons of cement and drop him into the Mariana Trench. That would demonstrate sincerity.

      Despite having an immense corporate/state stranglehold to amplify their ‘narratives’, they are horrified that people might find a little ‘peephole’ where they can peer into the inner workings of the Matrix.

      Hence, they are feverishly seeding the ground to justify techno-censorship of unofficial boat-rockers and dissidents. In their shriveled little hearts it turns out they are not really ‘liberty lovers’ and idea ‘free marketeers’ (blah, blah, blah) at all; they are intellectually flabby totalitarians.

      1. John A

        LOL, you are so right. Today Harding has copied and pasted a Bellingcat (NATO paid for propagandist) ‘investigation’ proving (sic) that Navalny was shadowed here there and everywhere by big bad Russian agents and then poisoned by the self same villains.

  5. Louis Fyne

    at a time when pundits called Trump the next 1930’s German, PR China used authoritarian and coercive measures to combat covid that made FDR’s internment of the Japanese-Americans look like a summer camp.

    Then add their lack of transparency re. the origin of the virus.

    And now apparently PRC’s response is to be lauded?

    South Korea-Taiwan are the best democratic national responses to Covid.

    And seeing SK’s third wave, I absoluely believe Chinese data is fake.

    But hey, PRC marathons are back, so all hail Xi and the CCP

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the Chinese were simply lucky that they were standing at the exact center of the (pandemic) explosion.

    2. Cuibono

      “China used authoritarian and coercive measures to combat covid that made FDR’s internment of the Japanese-Americans look like a summer camp.”
      got Hyperbole much?
      I have close friends in China who have described the lockdown in detail. They did not find it fun, but compared tho those I know who lived in the internment camps it was a walk in the park

    3. curlydan

      Uh, no. If you’d like a detailed, insider view of China, read the following report from Wuhan at the bottom of this comment.

      The Chinese are set up very well to control the virus through extensive neighborhood committees, effective lockdowns upon entering the country, and extensive testing for anyone coming in or out.

      I’ve been to China many times, and I’ve been hectored by grandmas, people at the airport, and others for things as minor as not “dressing my child warmly enough” on a 50 degree day in Guangzhou. The Chinese are quite good at persistently getting in your face and making you follow the rules–which by the way are rarely that hard to follow.

      We on the other hand let everyone set their own course in the name of “freedom”. While you may see a couple examples of trying to upbraid a non-mask wearer, we mostly just let it pass–wouldn’t happen in China.

    4. Astrid

      If a month long quarantine is worse than Japanese internment, then what do you call hundreds of thousands dead, national medical system in collapse, and tens of millions losing jobs/businesses/homes? Oh, and the ones lucky enough to still have jobs will likely be compelled to take a rushed vaccine in 2021 to keep their jobs.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Reading China’s State Capitalism Adam Tooze, Chartbook

    This is a must read – what happens in China the next few years will be crucial in setting the direction of the world economy and climate, and Xi is enacting very radical changes. China is a fundamentally different country now than it was just 5 years ago, and it will change even more very soon.

    The aim is not to create a mass of stagnant state-owned monopolists, but to inject new dynamism into the economy as a whole. As the Economist puts it: “The idea is for state-owned companies to get more market discipline and private enterprises to get more party discipline, the better to achieve China’s great collective mission.”

    China is, in other words, becoming a corporatist state. Private companies and private cash are being reigned in, while the still enormous State owned sector is being given far more freedom (as always, within the context set by the Party). If this succeeds economically, then it will supercharge China’s growth push it into the ranks of developed countries. If it doesn’t…. well. As Michael Pettis elsewhere has been consistently pointing out, China is getting less and less bang for its buck for investment spending and is rapidly reaching a crunch point. It needs more domestic consumer spending, but doesn’t seem to know how to go about achieving that…. yet.

    There are of course other things going on. China is also much more notably nationalist and authoritarian under Xi, and cares much less what other countries think of it. And the neighboring countries are noticing. China may well decide to give Biden an early test over Taiwan.

    1. Louis Fyne

      the F a s c ism word gets thrown around too flippantly by pundits, except for the one area it’s totally applicable.

      PRC is a literal textbook F-word state….the fusion of state and corporate power. (so is LDP Japan)

      1. edmondo

        Have you ever been to the United States?

        The newest pandemic relief bill has a zero dollars stimulus check in it but somehow managed to throw in a $6 BILLION gift to the airline industry so that no airline executive is left behind. I can’t believe that Congress is going to pass this atrocity.

        1. JBird4049

          Just because a third of the country is some combination of one or more of the following unemployed, destitute, hungry, ill, or homeless while actual trillions of dollars are given to the corporations and the wealthy during our forever wars while under the benevolent protection of our alphabet agencies, the military, and the local gendarmes does not mean that we are living in a fascist state.

          Since we do have some slight vestiges of a functioning democracy in which the powerful very occasionally truly lose, we are merely living a proto-fascist state. Just give it a liiittle more time.

          Thirty years ago if anyone had said that what has and is happening was going to occur I would have called him either a tin foiled paranoiac or extremely pessimistic. Today, I find might to have been a optimistically deluded idiot.

          1. Massinissa

            “Today, I find might to have been a optimistically deluded idiot.”

            On the contrary, I think a true idiot is one who never realized they may have made a mistake in their prior judgements.

            You know, like most of the political class who have been pushing neoliberalism for their entire lives at this point.

        1. Glen

          The US is using prisoners to move around the dead bodies from the pandemic piling up in freezer trucks brought in as temporary morgues.

          I found that … disturbing.

    2. Glen

      Hasn’t Pettis been expecting the collapse of China “any day now” for like, forever?

      Isn’t it more likely that we’re dealing with the fact that economics is junk science? China seems to be doing fine.

      They made the horrible, horrible mistake of building real things during the 2008 implosion rather than bailing out zombie banks. And what did they get? A functioning construction industry, cities, roads, railroads, brand new infrastructure. Gee, where could they have thought of that? Maybe they decided what FDR did with the New Deal was smart.

      1. Massinissa

        China is a curious case in that regard. I don’t predict they will explode or not, but if for whatever reason they did explode, they would probably explode BIG. Too much of Chinese history has sudden explosions of revolt once the bureaucracy stops working effectively. Yellow turbans, red turbans, Taiping Rebellion, et cetera et cetera.

        Whether or not there is any crisis like that at all, I think depends on whether the Chinese people feel decently treated or not. Say what you will about Chinese psyops and propaganda and the like, alot of that is true, but the CCP knows, first and foremost, that if the populace ends up losing faith in the regime, things could get very explosive there very quickly. Though you know, that only happens every two or three centuries or so, so it might not happen in our lifetimes. Which might be a good thing, because I would prefer not to see a civil war in a country with 1.5 billion people and nukes. The 20-30 million dead in the Taiping Rebellion around 150 years ago that happened at the same time as the American Civil War makes the latter conflict, and for that matter, the Chinese Civil War from the 20th century, seem relatively civil in comparison, and there have been multiple older conflicts in China that have killed similar proportions of the population. (the An Lushan rebellion, etc, etc)

        Again, it only happens every so often, so the chances of something like that happening in our lifetimes might be very slim, or at least, I certainly hope so…

      2. Ted Steipke

        Pettis never said China would collapse, and regularly expresses irritation at people who can’t differentiate between identifying an unsustainable dependence on debt and predicting financial crisis. He thinks it is incredibly unlikely China will have a crisis and says he has to go out of his way to say so because there are so many like you who can’t tell the difference. What he really said is something else. Until it rebalances, Chinese growth requires too much debt, and this is unsustainable. Once the debt can no longer grow, he says Chinese growth will drop close to zero for a decade or more until it can work out its debt problem.

        So far he has been right. China isn’t doing “just fine”, or at least very few of its economists and leaders think so. As for your comparison between China and the New Deal, the difference is that the US increased investment for a few years while China increased investment at the fastest rate in history for four decades. Just because a certain amount of investing can be positive for growth, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is linear, or that it must remain positive forever. Are you also saying that Japan or the USSR didn’t have problems with malinvestment because they were just following FDR?

      3. PlutoniumKun

        As Ted above says, Pettis has never been a China pessimist. He has argued that the internal debt load and the declining return to investment will result in a very significant slowing down of growth, but he’s repeatedly argued that Beijing has both the willingness and the ability to prevent a full scale financial crisis.

    3. Bazarov

      If China wants more consumer spending, why not just raise wages?

      Or put X digital yuan in every working class person’s digital pocket and say “This yuan expires in one year. Spend it.”

      I have a feeling China/Xi/CCP, if they want to raise domestic spending and consumption, will achieve it. They have a lot of levers they can pull and strategies they can try that would get no hearing at all in the west.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its not that simple (apart from anything else, if you give money to people, they may just save it, not spend it). There is little doubt that Xi is aware of the problem and what is needed, but sometimes economic momentum takes on a life of its own. China can very easily divert money to regular citizens, but that has to be at the cost to other sectors – most notably the construction industry and the export industry. Both are immensely powerful and have no interest in losing that power and influence. Hence the contradictory nature of China’s Covid response – Pettis has written about this in some detail.

        1. Bazarov

          Yes, I imagine the political terrain concerning the construction and export interests would make such a shift politically difficult, but from what I’ve read recently (from Tooze and others), Xi is in a strong position, likely to achieve his goal of staying in office for life. I’m sure, given the consolidation of his power, he could get away with a lot.

          As for saving, that’s why I mentioned China could do something innovative that the west would not entertain. I know, for example, that China’s been showing great interest in a digital currency system, which has interesting possibilities for stimulus. For instance, the state could issue digital currency that expires after a year if it isn’t spent. That way, people can’t save it. They must spend it at least once.

          “Expiring currency” is an economic idea with an interesting history–Bertrand Russell was a proponent of it in the early 20th century (he raises the idea in Proposed Roads to Freedom, if I’m remembering correctly, as bulwark against hoarding/inequality by allowing hoarded currency to expire).

  7. LaRuse

    There is a seriously dystopian feeling in the air today. Google is down – and as such, my daughter cannot attend her remote schooling and cannot even work on outstanding assignments, and my husband, who works for a non-profit associated with education cannot work – all their work is done through GoogleSheets.
    It is disgusting to me that these most basic functions of my family’s life can be brought to an utter standstill because Google is having a bad day.
    Toss in the Electoral College vote, the federal hack job, and a solar eclipse, and today feels downright ominous.

    1. cnchal

      A few weeks ago I read an article that a criminal gang has been able to compromise computers to the point that even a clean reinstall leaves that computer still compromised. The best and brightest joined hands to attempt to clean them out and failed.

      Best and brightest = Microsoft, Oracle and others

      What these criminals do is ransom ware. How long before Bezos gets a demand for billions or else AWS gets bricked?

      Tech is a wasteland.

      1. tegnost

        As soon as AWS is in charge of .gov tech infra bezos will demand billions or else he’ll brick the country. It’s not out of the question that it’s an internecine rivalry between relentlessly greedy tech barons,but of course everyone knows it’s the russians…/s

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      It is disgusting to me that these most basic functions of my family’s life can be brought to an utter standstill because Google is having a bad day.

      The extent of “harm” done by a google outage should be prima facie evidence in any antitrust action against the “company” that the government should care to take.

      Of course judging from the way the courts are “working” these days, they’d probably find a reason that such evidence was “inadmissable,” or the people who couldn’t go to work or school lacked “standing” by some obscure legal “reasoning.”

        1. polecat

          Maybe it’s a CME .. brought about because our solar fusion reactor is tired of all the lack of commons sense emminating from Planet Derth!

    3. cocomaan

      One thing that’s become clear is how much of working life today is petting, preening and otherwise caring for our pet devices. Like the old Tomagochi units that were a must have back when I was a kid.

      I have a remote desktop in another county that I’m currently locked out of due to weird MS config issues. My apple laptop doesn’t work well with other people’s devices, including formatting issues with photos. There’s a constant battle with Zoom among certain people, consuming hours of time each day. A guy who works for me is our database manager and much of his job is just dealing with an archaic system that I am convinced could vaporize in an instant.

      It reminds me of a sci fi book Yves and Lambert recommended and I adored (so would many NC readers I think), A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge, where there’s an entire discipline/function of data archaeology, with different layers of archives working and not working, and ships are a patchwork of these different data epistemes, waiting to be unearthed.

    4. Oh

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re not able to connect to work and school. Maybe these institutions should rework their systems to NOT be dependent on Google, Zoom and other corporate monsters. We as people too, need to get away from using Google related services such as gmail, etc.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Ramstein Air Base In Germany Experiences Potential Incoming Missile Scare”

    I have no idea of Russian military capabilities but as a guess and if it was a real attack, I would expect all the computers and monitors to shut down instantaneously in their operation centers and all their radars to go down as well. Or alternatively, maybe the terminals that you see in that operations room in that article would suddenly display the following-

  9. PlutoniumKun


    I hesitate even to mention the word. Its become the seventh circle of hell. The absolute, absolute absolute deadline has just gone past and they are still talking, still apparently ‘making progress’ on things that don’t really matter.

    Its become clear that Johnson really wants a deal and is terrified at the consequences of formally ending the talks, if he really wanted to walk out he would have done it last week. And the EU has decided that it will not be the one to end them. So they will keep talking, despite it almost certainly being too late to put even the flimsiest of deals to bed before the end of the month.

    1. David

      I had the same feeling. Paradoxically, Johnson’s reportedly stupid behaviour on Wednesday – trying to get von der Leyen to sideline Barnier – is actually evidence of his desperation. He’d convinced himself, at least in part, that Barnier was the problem, and that if he could only negotiate with vdL herself, he could get “a deal.” No, I don’t know how he could possibly have thought that.

      Deadlines are funny things, not least because there are real ones and fake ones, and sometimes the difference between the two is rather blurred. A fake deadline is where you take the latest feasible date and hold a gun to your head, threatening to blow your brains out if you don’t succeed. This was ultimately a fake deadline, in the sense that the UK doesn’t definitively leave for a couple more weeks, and that neither side actually wanted the talks to fail, nor to be seen to be responsible for that failure. This is one of those cases where Something (Anything) is better than Nothing, and I think we’ll get Something before the end of the year, which will be hailed as a victory even if it is essentially meaningless. There is already talk about provisional application with ratification in 2021: as I’ve said before, if the will is there (in this case the will to avoid disaster) you can move mountains. If the will isn’t there, the smallest molehill will stop you.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I think there will be ‘something’, not least because everyone involved must be desperate to have a Christmas break. From Barniers comments today it looks like there has been movement on conflict resolution in the event of regulatory divergence, with nothing on fisheries (I think the UK thinks that fisheries is its main card to play, and so aren’t yielding). My guess is that they will kick a can of fish down the road and sign up on the level playing field and related issues.

        1. Gordon

          Ah, yes. Fishing has been the subject of much Brexity grandstanding in the last few days. The Royal Navy will be deployed to keep French fishermen out of British waters.

          But… aggrieved French workers have a longstanding tradition of taking direct action – blocking ports for instance.

          My guess is that if French fishermen aren’t happy with the outcome not much freight will move through Calais until Boris surrenders.

      2. fajensen

        … that Barnier was the problem, and that if he could only negotiate with vdL herself, he could get “a deal.” No, I don’t know how he could possibly have thought that. …

        I think from the very first day, every UK negotiator as well as Boris Johnson and his Merry band of Swivels, felt it was a deliberate insult to The Empire that the EU handed over their side of the negotiations to a mere bunch of “techies” and not to people of an “equal position” as the UK side.

        The UK side never respected their opponents, showing up unprepared and outnumbered on several occasions, then later kept on insisting that the EU should “make them an offer”, and then asking “to see a Manager” every time there was something they didn’t like. It was only with David Frost that they finally engaged.

        Secondly, I think the UK side always assumed that the EU was divided internally and the UK could get a deal with someone “flexible” and then use that as a wedge to get concessions from the rest of the 27.

        Except, the EU predicted that (the EU itself knows very well that there are some bad apples in their little flock) which is precisely why they selected a negotiating team with a fixed, commonly agreed-upon mandate, and they managed to “sell it” to the members – not a bad feat of Brussels either!

        I think Boris Johnson would just love to walk out for the attention and drama, except I think he has handlers and maybe “found dead in a ditch” is more than the funny quip, that “Boris” thought it was the first time he heard it from someone. Perhaps that was recently explained to him in a way that made an impression. He certainly seems to dither a lot more than is reasonable for a “leader”, like there is a communication delay in his C3-link (to Russia, Langley ..?)!

  10. Party on

    At the end of September, 2020 the total debt outstanding in Canada (bottom line of the Statistics Canada credit market summary data table) was $9.336 trillion. At the end of September, 2019 the total debt outstanding was $8.567 trillion. In the 1 year period from the end of September, 2019 to the end of September, 2020 it increased by $769 billion. This is an increase of 8.9%.

    Update on the total (household, business, and all levels of government) debt numbers in Canada and the size of the Bank of Canada’s balance sheet

  11. Screwball

    “re: First trucks with Covid-19 vaccine roll out of Pfizer plant in Michigan”

    I first learned of this when I was talking with some Michigan people. I thought it was good news, but some of those Michigan people didn’t see it quite the same as me.

    After saying “great news” I was gobsmacked at what I heard next. “The vaccine shouldn’t go to any state that tried to overturn the election in Michigan” with another replying “It should go to the blue states first.” Of course I shouldn’t be surprised as these same people have in the past wished “Trumpers” dead and all other sorts of bad things.

    I understand this works both ways as well, but this is where we are in the hyper-polarized political climate we live in today. How utterly depressing.

    1. The Historian

      I’m not sure why you are so ‘gobsmacked’. Did you think all Michiganers would have been happy with people trying to interfere in their elections? This is a reaction to what has been happening lately – and it wouldn’t have happened without all the attempts to deny their votes.

      “I understand this works both ways” is kind of an odd statement to make about this unprecedented attempt to overthrow our elections, isn’t it?

      But don’t worry – these people aren’t in control of the roll-out and so far the vaccine doses seem to be being delivered fairly to all states.

      1. screwball

        What does ones political beliefs have to do with denying someone a vaccine? I don’t like many peoples political beliefs but I don’t want to put them in danger just because they don’t agree with me.

        And no, works both ways is exactly the point. People hate each other because of their political leanings. In this case, right or not, some think the election was rigged. Just like the other side thought Russia rigged the last one. They can think what they want – I don’t care – but let’s not wish to kill them just because we think they are nuts. Good grief.

        1. The Historian

          Do you have a short memory? If so, let me remind you:

          Weren’t those comments political and don’t you think there might have been some adverse reaction to them?

                1. Screwball

                  Thank you

                  When we as a society have become so polarized we wish pain, despair, and even death on others we don’t like – we are at a point of no return I’m am afraid.

                  I don’t see how we put the toothpaste back in the bottle, which is desperately needed to heal the divide in this country.

                  Ain’t – gonna – happen; no matter what endless streams of platitudes are spewed forth by the powers that be (new or old).

                  I think the term FUBAR says it best. Good luck all.

                2. FluffytheObeseCat

                  Your revision of the argument is disingenuous. The Historian made it clear that he was referring to but not praising the natural desire for paying people back when they attempt to screw you, and how it unsurprisingly plays into a malicious desire to hoard vaccines.

                  Michigan citizens who voted by mail-in ballot for Biden were certainly threatened with disenfranchisement by the SCOTUS suit pursued by Texas and other ‘red’ states. The Texas leadership made their utter contempt for the franchise (when exercised by what they see as unter-menschen Merkins) quite evident. Rage in the face of this contempt is not ridiculous.

                  The desire to withhold a vaccine from them is stupid, however. While some of the highest Texas political elite will undoubtedly get their hands on vaccines sooner than they deserve, they will be a tiny minority within a highly deserving group. The first vaccines, even in Texas, will largely go to healthcare workers, specifically hospitalists and front line personnel. Many if not most of whom are not strident Republican egotists. The idiots screwball heard this from should already know this, if they are, as they clearly believe, members of the “reality-based community”. While stupid, their rage is understandable. And I didn’t see The Historian claim otherwise.

                  If you constantly knuckle under to bullies, you damage yourself, and, more critically, the lives of others who depend on you. Trump Republicans thrive on that kind of weakness masquerading as decency.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    I would like to see medical treatment for covid withheld from people who deliberately refuse to take corona-spread-reduction-actions and precautions.

                    No mask for you because . . . FREEDOM?
                    No treatment for you because . . . RESPONSIBILITY.

                    1. apleb

                      While I understand why you want this, it’s a slippery slope there.
                      Treatment for smokers, alcoholics? Drug users? Extreme sports?
                      The infamous preexisting conditions are already more than questionable.

                      There are good reasons why healthcare is not supposed to have prerequisites for treatment.

        2. freebird

          Some of these folks may have had relatives die from this disease, and they may want to lash out at people who have been anti-maskers, led by a president who has been an anti-masker, all of whom have prolonged and enlarged this plague because of their ignorant ‘beliefs’ and general idiocy. I don’t blame them for wanting to lash out or get even one bit. Yes it will be the high ground to be impartial, but, it’s not like the ‘other side’ has been kind or merciful to the rest of us.

          1. Glen

            So as someone in that boat, and for my part – no, I don’t want to lash out. I don’t want them to go through what my family has been through. It’s been a very, very bad year.

            But we are all dealing with this based on the hand we have been dealt, and the information we trust. That we have managed to screw up our national response like this is the end result of being lied to by our leaders, and our media for a long, long time. Long before Trump.

            Do I hate what has been done to our country? Yes. Am I happy with our leaders? No. Do the people not wearing masks feel the same way? Yes. Good, now we have something in common.

      1. Screwball

        I’m sure they do. And that works both ways too.

        That is my point – the hyper-polarization – has turned into so much hate.

        This will not end well – for either tribal faction nor us in the middle who despises both tribes.

        1. The Historian

          I agree with you – this is not going to end well. It would take the combined efforts of both sides to de-polarize, but I just don’t see that happening any time soon, especially when those who control both parties have so much to gain from this polarization.

        2. Massinissa

          I’m so saddened by all the hate. As a person who doesn’t like either party, I just wish they could see that BOTH sides are the problem. It takes two to tango, but each side thinks its the other side that’s responsible for the dance not working, and neither is actually articulating solutions, just more and more blame on the other side. I’m sick of it.

      2. Phil in KC

        So it’s possible that one tribe will vaccinate and one won’t, which conjures up some interesting scenarios. If the vaccine doesn’t eliminate asymptomatic carrying of the virus to others, then the vaccinated tribe would infect the unvaccinated. And the unvaccinated tribe would have a much higher fatality rate while using more medical and hospital resources. So,who wins in the short-term and who wins in the long term?

        Looking down thread, I agree with those who lament the hatred and bile emanating from the fringes. We need a strong center with a loud voice to drown out the extremists. But I believe a poet in the last century made an observation about the center that still seems pertinent.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Yes, the poet Jim Hightower, who in the 1990s famously said:

          There’s nothin’ in the center of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.

  12. Rtah100

    Tinfoil alert – biosurveillance. In bus wifi will more accurately locate passengers with the vehivle., for contact tracing and for tracking them.

    Contrarian view: we are already monitored like this in the Five Eyes’ lands but without the corresponding public health benefit. GCHQ should have been able to tell NHS Test and Trace the answers without all the call centre staff ringing people up. Otherwise, what exactly are we paying for?

    1. fajensen

      Had a colleague working for GEC-Marconi way back in the days of Trident. His expert pub opinion was that the “National Secrecy Act” was primarily there to prevent taxpayers from working out how much they were being screwed over by the defence industry and also how bloated and almost useless every “high tech” defence system was!

      Cost-plus contracts it was, back in the day: The more lard in the system recipe, the more pork in the barrel!

      Basic principles has not changed just because we went COTS, FOSS and Cyber!

      I.O.W. – None of that super-smart tracing tech actually works as advertised!

  13. Jay

    Re the Bob Shepherd article. He “flash forwards 25 years” past his time in education publishing. Maybe he could write about how his “tripled salary” job in that industry also helps contribute to the current education system’s problems. My feeling is a big company can make a lot of money publishing a guaranteed-to-meet-standards textbook, so they are happy for the reforms he says are problematic. I think textbooks from just a few companies gobble up a large amount of the, sigh, market share.

    1. jr

      Spent a couple of years in adult “education”, basically preparing students for a lifetime of semi-employment as janitorial staff. Same situation there: standardized testing that taught nothing at all, basically filling out paperwork to show the state or feds so that the “institution” running the charade could get their money for the coming year. Oh, yeah, also to boost employment numbers. Just as in public ed, the teachers were strongly discouraged from deviating from the program, even if it meant making the dreck information more interesting to accomplish the low bar goals. And low they were, out of a class of 15 to 17 students I was expected to help on 3 to 5 pass the also useless GED test that most employers knew to be useless. A gigantic waster of time from top to bottom, led and administered by smooth-brained MBA’s and Masters in Social Work. Few if any trained educators in the upper echelons and the one’s that were there were careerists. Poverty pimps, as the labor organization I used to volunteer with named them.

  14. jo6pac

    Does anyone know how long Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will last in the human body. I found a lot info but all different time lines.

      1. jo6pac

        Thank you every one

        TroylA Thanks I guess we’ll find out the hard way.

        Katniss Everdeen That’s for sure

      2. SKM

        it`s natural for antibody levels to fall off after infections. More to the point T cell responses were still there 17 years later in people who had recovered from Sars. Sorry I haven`t a link but the info is easily found.

        Thanks for posting the link re corbyn`s new movement for peace and justice. I`ve signed up – also to show some support for him personally…

        Thanks for the italian vaccine “spot” – yes, very Italian. Let`s hope all of us will “rinasce come un fiore”….. che bello!

      1. Michaelmas

        they all claim the new vaccine will effective against it without one bit of evidence.

        The first two vaccines out the gate are the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. They were designed to give an individual’s immune system samples of the COV19 protein spike mechanism — rather than of the virus itself — to recognize.

        So yes, all the indications (the evidence) are that they’ll be effective — if they’re effective at all — against all strains of COV19 that maintain the spike protein mechanism. That mechanism is how the virus invades human cells, so any mutation that doesn’t have those spikes is not going to be a successful one. (Unless nature really surprises us.)

        1. Mikel

          Nature is full of surprises…like apparently this virus itself considering the way it was prepared for despite thousands of years of evidence of deadly viral outbreaks.

      2. rusti

        Does anyone know how it going to work against new fast spreading strains?

        I don’t think SARS-COV2 has any widely recognized different “strains” in the sense of mutations that can be discerned to have different virulence or transmissibility. There are mutations that behave differently in lab cultures but as Michaelmas says both the leading candidates (and almost all the others I think) are targeting spike.

        The mink mutations in Denmark are troubling because they seem to have mutations of the spike specifically, but I think they haven’t seen any descendants of those ones circulating in people for a long time despite lots of sequencing. So it seems likely that whatever mutations derived from that may have attenuated the transmissibility from human to human.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘I sat on Andrew’s lap… Ghislaine put the Spitting Image puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast. Then he put his hand on mine’: Duke’s visit to the puppet master Epstein’s mansion… this time for the night.”

    ‘This was the Duke in the world of Jeffrey Epstein before the advent of #MeToo.’

    Say, whatever happened to #MeToo? According to one source, when Joe Biden was accused of a credible sexual assault, virtually the entire #MeToo movement gave him a pass and expected Tara Reade to take one for the team – along with all those other women and children that he got handsy with over the years. After that, #MeToo’s credibility went into a toilet and you never really hear from them much anymore.

    1. Screwball

      Yea, funny that.

      I expect many things going forward will find its way to the toilet known as “we can’t cover that.”

    2. jr

      Let’s not forget Kamala Harris dropping the case against the pedo-priests, I haven’t heard a fresh mention of that the entire campaign/election. Cannot say it enough times.

      1. Redoable

        ‘Before Harris was elected San Francisco district attorney in 2003, a U.S. Supreme Court decision made it impossible to pursue criminal prosecutions of child sexual abuse cases after statutes of limitation had expired. For many victims, that left lawsuits in civil court as the only path for seeking justice.
        After Harris took office as DA in 2004, attorneys representing abuse survivors in civil cases asked her office to release church records on abusive priests that had been gathered by her predecessor, Terence Hallinan.

        Harris refused, a decision her office said was intended to protect the identities of clergy abuse victims. “It would be virtually impossible to release records without compromising the identity of the victims,” two of her top aides said in a joint letter. Victims and their attorneys scoffed at the explanation, contending it would be a simple matter to avoid identifying the victims. “What she was saying was utter nonsense,” said Meadows, the Bay Area attorney. “All she had to do was redact any identifying information.”

        Victims’ lawyers said Harris’ office also resisted informal requests to help them with their cases, at a time when other district attorneys or their staff members were making themselves available.
        “Of all the DAs in the Bay Area, she’s the only one who wouldn’t cooperate with us,” said Rick Simons, an attorney who was the court-appointed coordinator for clergy abuse cases filed in Northern California, as well as Piscitelli’s personal lawyer.”

  16. Wukchumni

    Just as the odometer reading hit 21,550 days on my chassis, the warning light came on indicating:

    “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    In plain english, a few days ago my left eye got a bit cloudy on me to the point where I have difficulty putting in a gas permeable contact lens, I can’t see much directly when looking close up in the mirror, and have to fumble around with my fingers getting it into position. Walking and driving have been ok so far, but the 3 R’s: reading writing & reporting, are real problematic as I greatly favor my right eye which is the same as it ever was, a faithful orbit.

    I’m very nearsighted which was a great attribute when the object of your desire is rarely more than 2 inches wide, and my headlights served me well, as I could see details close up better than any mere mortal with boring 20/20 vision, a weird superpower to possess, but there you have it.

    About a decade ago I went to get my eyes checked, and the optometrist told me that with my eyes, I would have been in much demand in long since past days of old for intricate detail work such as doing scroll work on books before Gutenberg, as it was as if I had on magnifying glasses in terms of natural vision.

    Not too dissimilar from Burgess Meredith in the Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last I thought I had all the time in the world to read and now i’m not so sure, as just typing these words brings on not quite a headache, but lots of misspellings and frustration. Wish it wasn’t so but there you have it.

    Is it Glaucoma or something more sinister?

    I’m going in to have it checked out soon…

    That bible quote above in the first paragraph probably seemed odd to you, what’s he on about now?

    My brother’s eye got cloudy on him in the early 90’s, and when he went to get it diagnosed it turned out he had brain cancer, and somehow lived another 25 years miraculously, but in greatly diminished capacity, and he passed away 3 years ago at about my age presently.

    I’m worried and at one point long ago considered trying out for the US Olympic team in the jumping to conclusions event, but wasn’t good enough.

    In any event no matter what, my time here will be lessened quite a bit as the strain is too much and i’m only a few days into the saga.

    1. petal

      Wuk, I second what Janie said. Please don’t wait. Whatever it is, earlier is better. Sending good thoughts.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yep, it’s all about Boston brand solution for RGP’s. I tried soft lens contacts but didn’t like them. Been wearing RGP’s for 45 years now.

    2. mle

      Oh, Wuk, we’re thinking of you. Keep us posted. I hope while you’re waiting for the ‘check out’ you can go out and sit in the sun with your eyes closed, recalling all the books you have read.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Go get checked by an ophthalmologist as soon as possible and get a referral to a specialist with equipment for checking your retinas. Get your eye checked in the next few days. Sooner isn’t just better — it could be the difference between regaining vision in your left eye or losing it.

      1. Anonymous

        Jeremy is right. Extreme nearsightedness is a major risk factor for a detached retina, which is absolutely an eye emergency and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

        Best of luck.

        1. Wukchumni

          Thanks for all of your concern, it means a lot to me…

          So here’s the story of getting a simple eye exam in our times of Covid.

          I called about a dozen ophthalmologists in Visalia, Fresno and Bakersfield, and each of them could get me in for an exam in early February, except one in Bakersfield that can do it tomorrow, I knew B town would come through for me!

          When I got hit with the February blues, I asked what’s up?

          Each of them told me that they are limited to just so many patients a day under the current Covid health aegis, and are working on a large backload of patients when they were closed for Covid, in addition to new clients.

          Isn’t that something!

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Make the physician you call aware you have what is a probable emergency condition [I don’t think it’s a conditions to take to a hospital emergency room]. You are not trying to get a regular eye exam. If your retina has detached and depending on how — mine tore — you about two weeks at most to get it repaired or the chances for a successful repair are not promising. From what I could gather retina repair is not a surgery ophthalmologists are normally certified to perform. It is a specialty within a specialty.

            1. Wukchumni

              Thanks for the tip, and you might be right as it doesn’t hurt and a lot of the symptoms fit.

              Wish I could do it today, and it must be a localized Central Valley thing, as my sister in Denver called around there, and could get same-day appointments, no problemo.

              I’ll be sure to bring it to their attention!

      2. polecat

        I just love all the resultant suggestions that basically, for many – myself included – lead to this conclusion : See Your Doctor, whom you cannot trust … let alone afford, Today!

        Wukchumni, I do wish you well on your diagnosis, and treatment if/where necessary – truly! .. but tis a luxury that exceedingly more are finding to be outta their grasp! So whenever I hear such exhortations, I shake my head disparingly .. thinking by what to pay such ‘services’ with .. Indenture? blood? blind unquestioned obedience to the State?? .. cuz it most certainly won’t be, as in my case, Money!

        I have several family members who’ve had cataract surgeries ALL paid for through their union sponsored ‘health plans’… something I didn’t bootstrap for, obviously ..
        So, for moi, things will most likely fuzz-out .. if something doesn’t kill me first.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Loss of the sight in even one eye is serious. You need the peripheral vision in both eyes to drive safely. Cataracts are different. You will have trouble seeing at night, things grow more and more blurry over time, but you still have your vision albeit clouded and gradually occluding. You can get it taken care of eventually. Cataract surgery is a common procedures with few risks.

          A detached or torn retina left untreated can lead to a permanent loss of vision. Getting it repaired is not an elective procedure.

          1. Wukchumni

            Yes Polecat, we & and our modern first world problems that money is good at fixing, ha!

            JG, i;m getting scared with all this torn retina talk, and will get it taken care of toot suite, tomorrow.

            1. polecat

              I had a ‘poke in the eye – elbow style’ as a youngin, nearly detached retina – so I was told, by the occular doc… lucky to be left with only permanent ‘floaters’ in that eye, for life. So yeah, get it checked out if you can.

              Wasn’t trying to be glib, but trying to convey that most often, wishes, prayers, and ‘Hope’ do not materialize into beneficial concrete outcomes, at least for the non-ferengi amoung us. For the rest, who still can take advantage of Lagacycare, it’s mostly a case of .. ‘crickets’ ..

              Barack, in his deep-spaced ‘logic’, would no doubt agree!

    4. The Rev Kev

      Late to comment here. Stay on top of it Wuk. Eyesight is nothing to ignore or go screwing around with, especially when there is a deterioration. Thinking of you from 10,000 klicks away.

  17. hollis

    No mention of the hack against FireEye and Solarwinds that has apparently resulted in a full organizational compromise at the US Department of Treasury?

    I’m expecting this to be big news in tech today because regardless of whether the attribution is accurate (APT29/’Cozy Bear”) the amount of access gained through the attack is pretty much “game over” for any security controls.

    Even no Treasury systems were changed, the amount of uncertainty created by a full compromise reminds me of the shenanigans about what was actually in the Royal Mint’s collection of control samples for produced currency in Stephenson’s “The System of the World.”

  18. Hank Linderman

    What? No one is curious about a moose in a living room wearing a covid mask??

    We really are shell shocked…


    1. edmondo

      You don’t have one? They are considered good luck charms. Like super-charged rabbit’s foot. No wonder you lost the election.

    2. anon y'mouse

      not just a living room. a highbrow fancy living room. gawk at the furnishings & fittings, ye proles, and despair. even Bullwinkle lives better than you do.

      1. The Historian

        And true to the cluelessness of the elite, Bullwinkle is wearing a diaper over his nose instead of a mask.

    3. CuriosityConcern

      I’d be more impressed if the moose were loose in a caboose, I’d tell it to leave by saying vamos. But that would just be obtuse.

    4. jr

      I F’ing hate taxidermy, black magic converting living things into totems for savages. They should be burned in a bonfire.

      1. jr

        And let me clarify that I don’t mean heavily regulated hunting for meat or for culling diseased animals, I’m still not cool with the taxidermy but that’s different. Trophy taxidermy jobs. Where the hunter feeds off of the power of the act. You don’t have to be a bad person to engage in black magic. It’s everywhere. It’s easy.

  19. Antoine LeDada

    Here in Quebec we are among the first to vaccinate in North America: a senior care facility in Montreal. The staff and the residents had two hours to sign consent (!) and 95% of the residents accepted the vaccine. Only 40% of the staff though.
    I’m not surprised. I’m not too eager myself to be part of Pfizer’s phase 3 experiment.
    Source (in french, english media are mum on this):

    1. Maritimer

      “Only 40% of the staff though.”
      Forget reading all the studies etc. just look at two facts and then decide:

      1. What is the uptake on this vaccine by Medical Professionals? (Unfortunately, they will not publish this, a sure tipoff!)

      2. Pfizer is a criminal organization:

      Me, I am not an anti-vaxxer just a critically thinking decision maker.

  20. 1 Kings

    Wow, read that GOP Super Donor story about Blackstone and his King Louis of France moment. At a Goldman Sachs conference(no less) he’s bragging about how much he is screwing people over, and how the Covid is going to give them even more more more. He must feel very secure in his position out in Goldman Versailles..
    Oh and don’t be fooled about his GOP cred and his buddy’ship with the Donald, he loves and donates just as much to the Donkeys.

    1. RMO

      Gotta love what old Joe says in that teleconference quoted at the end:

      “corporate America has to change its ways, it’s not going to require legislation — I’m not proposing any.”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Don’t stockpile food, minister tells British shoppers”

    You think that the British remembered the Government’s advice back in March about not stockpiling masks?

    1. Skip Intro

      You would think that individual stockpiles would be a natural and valuable part of the ‘just-in-time’ supply chain that you would want to encourage.

      1. George

        Lots of bare shelves and back orders in hardware, plumbing supply and electrical stores stores. This means production machinery cannot be repaired, which means retail supplies stop cold.

        Word to the wise, stock up now

        1. RMO

          Well, Londoners were initially forbidden from using the Underground as a bomb shelter during WWII. They were sensible enough to ignore that.

  22. Clive

    DEM Megadonor Celebrates His Profits From “Huge Increases In Prexisting conditions premiums” As Millions Face Higher Health Insurance Costs

    a.k.a. “Access to health care”, @Nancy Pelosi

      1. Screwball

        I get a kick out of the way they name these bills. Like the ACA. Affordable? No. Care? No. It’s almost like we should read the name and understand the bill does the exact opposite. This is not the only example.

        Maybe we don’t give the CONgress clowns enough credit. /s

    1. Glen

      IS CV a “pre-existing condition”? seems like they are going to make oodles of money off a pandemic.

      How lovely!

  23. Roquentin

    Re: Losing Count​ | The Sordid Business of Bookkeeping

    I’ve recently gone back to night school for a second bachelor’s in accounting. The eventual goal is to become a CPA. I don’t really have any interest in working for the big 4, and most of the talk I’ve heard about working there hasn’t been good (low pay, ridiculous hours, not much opportunity to advance). Young people mostly talk about “putting in their time” like it were some sort of prison sentence and getting out at the first opportunity. My plan revolves around working my way up to being a Controller of a company in the not too distant future.

    The article was really good, and it got me thinking about the absurdity of much of today’s left calling for financial reforms. They might have the right idea ethically, most of the time anyway, but they have no clue what they are up against or any kind of a plausible plan to achieve half the things they want. Tax and accounting regulations are dry and hard to understand, definitely not the sort of thing which makes for sexy political slogans and catch phrases. I think stricter regulations around financial reporting, accounting standards, and auditing would have the form the bedrock of any serious attempts at economic reform. I know, fat chance of that happening under this or any other likely presidential administration.

    1. Divadab

      Speaking as a retired cpa who trained with Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young) – it was a miserable time of exploitation (unpaid overtime expected and billable hours expectation 2400 p.a!) . However it was an unparalleled education in the practicalities of the business world and automatic credibility and access to higher – level jobs. My advice, fwiw, is that personal morality and ethics may put you in a difficult position in the short run (I’ve been fired for refusing to book an illegal entry) – but over your lifetime, being honest and ethical and having that reputation makes you a better person and a worthy member of your community. The cpa should be the person who declares “this is the truth” and is believed.

      And when public lying and deception are normalized it’s even more important.

      Good luck in your career!

      1. Conrad

        I also enjoyed this article immensely. It brought together a lot of things I was already familiar with into a coherent narrative.

        I came away feeling even more convinced that the corporatisation of the professions was a terrible mistake. One which I hope I get to see reversed. And also a firmer conviction that all the financial information which supposedly underlies the investment decisions and valuations is most probably a tissue of lies. I’m expecting some epic frauds to come to light in the near future.

  24. Halcyon (formerly AnonyMouse)

    Weird news coming out of the UK. Alongside justifying tighter restrictions in London and the South East, Matt Hancock suggests that it is due to discovering a “new variant” of COVID-19.

    Quotes from Parliament via the BBC:

    “Over the last few days, thanks to our world-class genomic capability in the UK, we have identified a new variant of coronavirus which may be associated with the faster spread in the South of England.”
    “Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants. We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the south of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas. And numbers are increasing rapidly.”
    “I must stress at this point that there is currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease and the latest clinical advice is that it’s highly unlikely that this mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine, but it shows we’ve got to be vigilant and follow the rules and everyone needs to take personal responsibility not to spread this virus.”

    I don’t really understand this in all honesty. It was my understanding that there were thousands upon thousands of genetic variants of COVID-19 which mostly seemed to behave in an indistinguishable way – people keep track of the genetic sequences of them to figure out where outbreaks began, for example – but I was not particularly aware of any consensus that there was indeed variants that might behave differently epidemiologically. This has not appeared in any literature to my knowledge and seems to be breaking news from the Health Minister.

    I trust both the scientific literacy and the truthfulness of this government about as far as I can throw the whole lot of them. So it could just as easily be a misinterpretation of some early results. Or something that is not really of much significance but that’s being seized on to justify unpopular restrictions in the capital “ah, it’s back, and even scarier!”

    Or, alternatively, it could be a real issue. Because, frankly, it seems odd to me to reassure people that it does behave differently epidemiologically but there’s no evidence that it is more (or less) lethal, and that it is more (or less) resistant to vaccines; surely that needs, at the very least, empirical study. Even if it may seem likely based on what they know about the genetics.

    1. SKM

      Virologists seem adamant you can`t deduce functional change from genetic variations like this. It also seems really premature to say that the variant is more infectious – all sorts of things determine spread. His statement makes me suspect he hopes it will scare people into obeying the rules (which anyway are being loosened, inexplicably, for Xmas).
      Did anyone see the trashy treatment of one of the doctors presenting a (sensible) protocol designed to help people in the vital early (viral) phase NOT to end up critically ill. He insulted and slandered the doctor accusing him and his team of things that the protocol clearly showed were not true. The main point (apart from vitamin D etc) was the increasingly compelling evidence of the efficacy of Ivermectin (and in all phases of the illness!!)……. so again, an agenda??

      1. Halcyon

        Right. I don’t understand the causal inference between a particular strain being more prevelant and spreading quicker accompanied with an argument that it doesn’t behave any differently to other strains of COVID once inside the body. That seems illogical to me. What if it’s simply that this “strain” is the marker of some superspreader event a few weeks ago that has now grown to 1,000 cases… and, of course, the fact that it is conveniently first announced by a politician as he undertakes unpopular measures in this lying government of all governments gives you pause

    1. Wukchumni

      For what it’s worth dept:

      A Doré bar is a partially refined gold ingot, atypically made up of scrap gold in jewelry form in a melange of different karats, the first step before refining it into ne plus ultra karats.

  25. flora

    re: Bob Shepherd: How “Reform” Ruined Teaching – Diane Ravitch

    Great link. If any college profs wonders what’s happened to incoming freshmen for the last 10 years, it’s this. If any hiring firms wonders what’s happened to the recent college grads they hire, it’s this.

    Teaching English as if it is simple parsing, grammer, and context is, imo, teaching English as if it is only computer code. That makes sense if the idea is making tests conform to what computerized testing can measure, (state high-stakes testing), but make no sense in terms of reading comprehension and meaning.

    9th graders assigned to read the entire ‘Odyssey’? That’s crazy. Silicon Valley is driving this computerized test mania. Silicon Valley has a large libertarian contingent of ‘rulers’, neoliberals in govt think markets are the answer to every problem, and perhaps coincidentally this mania of teach to the test is designed more to destroy public k-12 schools than to foster learning.

    1. jr

      “Teaching English as if it is simple parsing, grammer, and context is, imo, teaching English as if it is only computer code”

      This, I think, is a big part of it, along with the profiteering in education at all levels. The technological fetishization of everything education, healthcare, social interactions, you name it. It makes it easier to quantify things, even if those quantifications are completely removed from reality, numbers on a page are so much easier to kick around. It’s related to the polarization of thinking in general, it just easier for an increasingly illiterate or semi-literate population to work with. This includes the ruling classes; I briefly attended an elite institution and believe me for all the money they dump into private day care where they study French from day one critical thinking skills are in short supply to put it mildly.

      Tech fetishization is also dehumanizing and that’s a feature, not a bug. Much as the Nazi’s “banality of evil” or the human medical experiments in the internment camps in Japan circa WW2 who were referred to as “logs”, seeing everything through the lens of technology diminishes the human. Easier to ignore, exploit, and kill them that way. Bad, bad times ahead. The world is going to burn, literally and figuratively.

    2. CallMeTeach

      I’ve actually been told to do worse than teach grammar and read the entire Odyssey…to NOT teach grammar and only read portions of any text. In my not so very humble English teacher opinion, only reading portions of works confuse students and don’t build the stamina needed to tackle more difficult and complex texts. And grammar has been abandoned (or more accurately, not taught because some teachers don’t understand it themselves.). Students genuinely don’t comprehend the parts of speech, which are building blocks for the common language needed for improving writing. Trying to teach incorrect pronoun referents is difficult when students don’t understand pronouns or how sentences are formed. I was always struggling to fill in the gaps created by a system of pass them on anyway and textbooks chosen by admin who don’t teach the subject matter.
      And you are 100% correct about teaching to the test. It’s about destroying public education.

  26. gc54

    Re the ridiculous difference in ACA income-based subsidies in the links tweets:

    last wk my younger daughter entered expected income $12,000 for 2021 because she felt it will be a conservative and plausible # as the Harris/biden depression unfolds. System indeed then reported no subsidies because like the tweet her income was too low. BUT ALSO it then told her that if she revised the number SHE WOULD BE FLAGGED FOR FRAUD. A cce $$

    1. Bill

      Re Harris/Bidepression reasonable expectations, has she filed an exemption from withholding with her employer?
      It’s better to owe them at the end of the year than to have to plead for your own money back. Plus, that was/is/may be the only way the individual mandate fine was collected, they withhold it from your refund.

  27. Glen

    Why are house cost and rents so high? Wall St:

    Krystal and Saagar: Wall Street CEO BRAGS About Hiking Rents During Pandemic

    “Steve Schwarzman publicly celebrated his Wall Street firm’s profits off ‘huge increases in rents at a Goldman Sachs conference.”

    Ah, nice for them to confirm what I suspect has been happening for a while now. Wall St can really no longer make money just investing in companies, so they buy everything YOU NEED and jack up the price.

    1. Lex

      Just out of curiosity, sometime last year I took a look at Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, to see what they were invested in that made them so rich, and what, if anything, they had in common.

      Of the top twenty, they were each white, male, pudgy, and middle-aged. They were all monopolists and they preferred to invest in those things people needed, or had been convinced that they needed. It’s a guaranteed revenue stream. Of the women that made the Top 100, they inherited their money.

      There’s an avenue of commonality I’m still trying to track down, such information is difficult to find. I was betting they had been born late in their biological mother’s lives. One or both parents were good at math, sciences or the arts, and that their billionaire sons came from (enough) money. A rags-to-riches story was unlikely.

      They are by their neurological nature, problems-solvers. Great wealth is not what moves them; it’s a by-product that takes on a life of its own. By middle-age they’ve gone on to new problems, new challenges. The business they started and are invested in fund their curiosity. Lieutenants run their companies… the wannabes.

      Neurotypes have a way of finding each other’s company.

      1. Glen

        That all sounds great.

        How does the Fed is handing out trillions and I can use that to buy every house in the US, and jack up rents and prices because everybody needs a house?

        I think a 15 year old that played Monopoly could figure this out and do it if they had access to trillions. It’s all about the access to the Fed.

      2. Massinissa

        “They are by their neurological nature, problems-solvers. Great wealth is not what moves them; it’s a by-product that takes on a life of its own. By middle-age they’ve gone on to new problems, new challenges. The business they started and are invested in fund their curiosity. Lieutenants run their companies… the wannabes.”

        You uh, you lost me here. It begins to sound like hagiograhy, unless you actually have statistics to support this bold claim that all of them are unusual personality cases? Perusing most of the richest 100, I’m not even sure that holds true.

        1. Lex

          Neither admire or hate. On lazy days it would be easy to morally judge them, or offer unqualified psychoanalysis and just dismiss them as nutters or sociopaths. If there was hard evidence, someone would have written a book or two, or hundreds. But there is a loose pattern that tells me they have more in common than ridiculous amount of wealth and it began early in their lives, possibly from birth.

          The bigger question for me is, does it matter?

  28. bob

    “Sinister sounds: podcasts are becoming the new medium of misinformation Guardian. Another liberals calls for censorship.”

    “i hate you! I hate you! I hate you!

    They really do not like Joe Rogan! The bad picture of him in front of a background that says SYFY is the editoral board equivalent of – “i hate you! I hate you! I hate you!

    So petty. The media class Really Cannot Stand For Anyone who walks around their velvet ropes.

    1. Michaelmas

      Joe Rogan interviewed Sir Roger Penrose in December 2018..

      No joke. Not only did it happen, it’s one of the best interviews of a high-level scientist/mathematician I’ve seen.

      Rogan had enough sense to ask a few basic questions (mostly non-cheesy), then shut up and give Penrose the time to answer for as long as he needed. Penrose is used to writing books to try to explain his work and thinking, and wasn’t in the least patronizing. (Also, any of us should be as sharp at 87, as Penrose was when he did the Rogan interview).

  29. DJG

    Investigating sexual misconduct at the FBI. The article starts by mentioning “at least” six cases but then goes into detail of many more. What concerns me here is that we are seeing sclerotic U.S. politics in action: The FBI deserves a thoroughly cleaning out for its many years of sheer lawlessness. What may (stress on the unlikelihood of this “may”) happen is that the charges of sexual misconduct will throw out a few of the most egregious employees.

    Maybe it is the revenge of the physical world. The FBI won’t reform itself, so untoward behavior has to push it slightly. I am reminded that Dianne Feinstein is now hanging on to the shreds of her career with the shreds of her mind.

    If this were still a nation of laws, change wouldn’t be so difficult. If this were a nation of laws, we wouldn’t have to have flareups of scandals to induce change. If that’s what they do. That remains to be proven.

    1. Michaelmas

      If this were a nation of laws, we wouldn’t have to have flareups of scandals to induce change. If that’s what they do. That remains to be proven.

      Oh, I think the evidence is in on that. Joe Biden is president of the U.S.A.

      Joe Biden: father of Hunter Biden, epicenter of the Biden graft complex, senator from MBI, and vice-president of the Obama administration with its unmatched criminal complicity with Wall Street after the 2008 GFC.

  30. Mikel

    Electoral college votes

    Why does it take weeks to get the electoral college votes counted in DC with the speedier delivery systems we’ve had since the early 20th Century? (Clownface emjoi)

    1. Glen

      I think the system was set up when we used horse and buggies to get around, and we haven’t changed things up much. Maybe once to allow for trains and the fact that roads became usable year round, but that’s about it.

  31. RMO

    “The increase in demand would exceed the increase in supply, resulting in greater unmet demand than the amount under current law, CBO projects.”

    i read the link itself. It is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have read this year.

  32. ArvidMartensen

    The intricacies of politics and diplomacy are sold as being too complex for the deplorables to ever understand and so they should just let the most intelligent (such as Harvard, LSE, Oxford etc grads) run the world. But this is just spin by those who like to be known as “elites”.

    The rules for ruling are very simple, but not simplistic.
    The “elites” are a combination two drives in varying combinations: insatiable for power and insatiable for money – currently, in the main, alpha males.

    # Those who rise to the top in business have an insatiable drive for money. Life goal: To get more money. Tactics: Anything that works, including lawless behaviour. They sacrifice their lives.

    # Those who rise to the top in politics have an insatiable drive for power. Life goal: To get more power. Tactics: Anything that works, including lawless behaviour. They sacrifice their lives.

    So, that’s all we need to know about our “elites”.

    Some use politics to enrich themselves. Bidens. Obamas.
    Some use wealth to get power. Trump,
    Anyone can play, although it helps to have a head start (powerful, wealthy, well-connected parents).Gates.
    Sometimes wealth and power are inherited and built on. Trump.
    Sometimes the offspring don’t have the insatiable power and wealth drives and are cheated out of their wealth.

    These rules can be applied within any organisations, businesses, even charities. Those who rise to the top are the most driven at power moves and money scrabbling.

    Which is why the only organisations that work for ordinary people are the ones that are governed by the grassroots, and they only work for a while. Because, the sad fact is that those who are insatiable for power and wealth gradually rise even in grassroots organisations, and then these become vehicles to enrich the insatiable.

    Anyone who aspires to leadership is the very person who must not become a leader. There are a few exceptions,(FDR?) but so rare.
    Is there a solution? Perhaps all organisations have a disband date. The Swiss model of direct democracy might be ok, but that’s a superficial conclusion.

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