Links 12/16/2020

When Usually Solitary Octopuses Get Together, Odd Things Happen Atlas Obscura (furzy)

‘Hug-buddy’ is Flemish word of the year Politico

Kangaroos can learn to communicate with humans, researchers say Reuters

Monarch butterflies denied federal protection as California population plunges Merced Sun-Star (David L)

A palm oil alternative could help save rainforests BBC (furzy)

All the Stuff Humans Make Now Outweighs Earth’s Organisms Wired

‘We’re getting Europe’s waste?’ US hit by plastic debris lost from UK ship Guardian

Small Modular Reactors Produce Clean Hydrogen Popular Mechanics


Covid-19 vaccine stickers could encourage people to get vaccinated CNN (Kevin W). Sigh. Psychological research finds that presenting people with information that contradicts their priors only leads them to double down.

Don’t Force Employees to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine Bloomberg

Santa likely delivered coronavirus to nursing home, infecting 75 people Boing Boing

Saudi begins registering people for COVID vaccination Al Jazeera (resilc)

Singapore to open travel bubble as it prepares to stand in for Davos Reuters


America Is Running Out of Nurses New Yorker

FDA Authorizes 1st Home Coronavirus Test That Doesn’t Require A Prescription NPR

Moderna submits data to FDA showing vaccine can potentially prevent infection, not just severe disease CNN

Moderna vaccine appears to protect against coronavirus infection NBC (furzy)


COVID-19: For the first time in its history UNICEF will help feed children in the UK Sky

Coronavirus: France replaces lockdown with evening curfew BBC

Covid Second Wave: Sweden Offers Hard Reality Check Ahead of Christmas Bloomberg (furzy)


Hunger spikes, demand rises for US food banks BBC

Hunger in America, Covid-19 and the Nightmare of Food Insecurity TomDispatch

Fridges Feeding the Hungry Weather Growing Pains With Creative Alliances THE CITY

Amazon ecourages California warehouse and Whole Foods workers to get weekly Covid tests CNBC


Locked Down and Broke: 20,000 Vermonters Could Lose Unemployment Benefits Seven Days Vermont (resilc)

Sanders, Hawley embrace odd couple status in push for stimulus checks The Hill

Confirming our cross post yesterday:

TOM CURSE Raging Tom Cruise warns Mission: Impossible crew they’re ‘f***ing gone’ if they break Covid rules on set The Sun


Revealed: China suspected of spying on Americans via Caribbean phone networks Guardian. Resilc: “Sort of like Walmart, Amazon, Google, NYTimes, Fox, Home Depot?”

China Attempts to Cap Soaring Coal Prices as Imports Tumble Caixin


Progress on Brexit issues, next days critical, EU says Reuters. Wowsers, is the press desperate to amplify any scrap of positive news. Other headlines more boosterist, when von der Leyen almost exactly repeats Barnier’s early “narrow path” formulation.

Global Britain ditches EU for an Asian future Asia Times (Kevin W). Good luck with that.

Facebook To Move UK Users To California Terms, Avoiding EU Privacy Rules Reuters

Mexico lashes out at U.S. with law expected to harm cooperation on drug fight TheHour (Kevin W)


Iran’s Pres. Rouhani to Biden: We will Fulfill our Nuclear Obligations on Day One if you Return to 2015 Deal Juan Cole

Camp closures force Iraqi families back to shattered homes Associated Press

Imperial Collapse Watch

French and Russian Trolls Wrestle For Influence In Africa, Facebook Says Reuters. But American trolls receive no mention.

Trump Transition

President Trump to veto national defence bill, White House says Al Jazeera. Subhead: “Broad support in Congress for bill containing language that would impose limits on US troop withdrawals from overseas.”

William Barr: The Carl Schmitt of Our Time New York Review of Book (resilc)

DeVos urges career staff to ‘be the resistance’ as Biden takes over Politico


Biden Taps Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary New York Times (Kevin W)

Lindsey Graham: Big ‘threats to conservatism” are election officials helping people to vote, and social media disinformation crackdown Boing Boing

Republicans Will Take Their Assault on Democracy to Congress—and It Will Be Awful Nation (resilc)

I’m sure you can find a way to avoid ActBlue:

Paris city hall fined for putting too many women in senior roles Guardian (Kevin W)

FDA funding study around blood donations from gay men: report The Hill (UserFriendly)

Police State Watch

Defund Campus Police Slate

It’s Not Just You, USPS Packages Are Massively Delayed Again Vice (resilc)

Walmart Will Use Fully Driverless Trucks To Make Deliveries In 2021 The Verge

Trump Financial Regulator Quietly Shelved Discrimination Probes Into Bank of America and Other Lenders ProPublica

Class Warfare

Pay gap in Britain between executives and workers ‘obscene’, says union Guardian

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus from furzy. Don’t try this at home!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. cocomaan

    Article on Barr and Schmitt (B&S, sounds like the name of a brand of whiskey)

    As much as he was part of the nazi movement, Carl Schmitt’s assertion that “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” still rings true. It gets right to the heart of how the FDA can suspend years long approval processes to rush a vaccine out for the benefit of sharehold-oh, sorry, for the benefit of the average citizen. It’s the reason that governors have started to matter so much under covid.

    If a democracy can be circumvented in the event of an emergency, sovereignty is no longer with the people. Political philosophy post-Schmitt is difficult because we know the truth of jurisprudence, which is that it’s all bunk if enough people can convince others that they are under immediate threat.

    barr was a pretty poor Schmitt.

    1. shtove

      That article is from the start of the year, and drew this rebuttal:

      I imagine Barr is more Hobbes than Schmitt – however distasteful the notion of Leviathan, it’s a big leap to the notion of war for the sake of war. Mind you, there is often that urge in Protestantism to look to St Paul’s katechon – a violent authority that restrains the anti-Christ and puts off the end of days. Religious people tend to tell you who they are, so he may well have included the prospect of Apocalypse in his political view but without attracting the attention of those who don’t get that kind of gruesome sincerity.

    2. David

      I don’t know much about Barr (and the NYRB wants money to let me read the article) but Schmitt is an interesting and formidable character, whose ideas deserve to be taken seriously. He’s often dismissed as “Hitler’s lawyer” (as though Hitler had any interest in the law) but his brief flirtation with Nazism is actually consistent with his earlier views. Schmitt was not exactly a democrat (he thought Hobbes was far too indulgent) and he saw absolute rule by a Sovereign figure as the only guarantee of the safety of the people in a world where, as he said, the fundamental question is “who is my enemy”? Schmitt initially saw Hitler and the Nazi party as this guarantor of safety, though he quickly changed his mind when the regime started persecuting its own people and attacking him personally.

      Schmitt has what the French call a sulphurous reputation, but there’s no doubt that he put his finger on a couple of important and sensitive points. One is that (liberal US academics notwithstanding) there are many situations in different parts of the world where people will happily give their allegiance to absolute power in exchange for protection. The other is your point about the State of Exception. As Giorgio Agamben shows in his book on the subject, since the beginning of Constitutions, they have always had sudden-death clauses, enabling them to be suspended in whole or in part in emergency situations. This has two awkward consequences. One is that it matters very much who decides which laws and safeguards apply and which are suspended. The other is that so-called “constitutional safeguards” only last and apply as long as those in a position to revoke them choose not to do so.

      1. cocomaan

        Indeed, I read a lot of Agamben back in grad school! Homo sacer is one of my favorites. We were particularly looking at Schmitt in the context of the War on Terror, when the unthinkable was happening, like torture.

        But then this brinksmanship of the immediate survival of everyone was played out again during the financial crisis and now during the Covid crisis.

        Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine is the less theoretical approach.

      2. shtove

        Schmitt did not have a flirtation with the party – he was part and parcel of it. He did agree with Hobbes on the diagnosis of war of all against all, but disdained mere absolutism in favour of self-preservation through destruction of the enemy. Plenty of sulphur to go around.

      3. km

        Somewhat off-topic, but this is also why one can have republic of laws, or an empire (which is in a constant state of exception, as the response to exigencies cannot be restricted by laws), but not both.

      4. Bazarov

        Schmitt has an interesting theory of mass psychology: that the masses want “protection” first and foremost and will pay for it by acceding power to the few or the one.

        I think the masses are more sophisticated, less interested in “protection” and more interested in favoring that which can govern the totality to that which cannot govern the totality. Failure to govern the totality enough certainly can open the masses up to danger, but it can also disrupt fundamental meaning-making by rendering the answers to questions like “Who am I? Where do I live? Where am I going? What is the world?” difficult or bewildering.

        As conditions of governance degenerate, as the totality begins to slip into chaos, it requires an increasingly centralized, unified, and forceful governing actor to tame it.

        Ancient Constitutions having “sudden death” clause were a clever way try to balance A.) the need for more unified and centralized governance when the totality is in flux with B.) the desire of the people not to lose their freedom forever. Hence, the ancient Roman republican constitution allowed for the election of the Dictator, who had ultimate power over life and death. But it was only a temporary position, and the dictator could be held to account for his actions once his term expired.

        Of course, eventually the republican system became so decrepit, corrupt, and unwieldy in the light of Roman expansion, it became impossible to return to the old system, resulting in its permanent overthrow.

        So, by their nature, tyrants (the few) often prove an attractive alternative to “freer” systems that lose their grip. But it’s not an inevitability that that’s the case–I think the dictatorship of the “many” can be an equally effective centralizing influence. Majoritarian direct democracy–the “dictatorship of the assembly” populated by lot–can be frighteningly decisive and adaptive, as the story of ancient Athens show us.

        Though Sparta came out on top in its conflict with Athens, for much of the war Athens had the advantage because the Spartan government–and its alliance–was so divided and unwieldy. Two kings? Fractious Ephors? Sparta oligarchy often lost its grip on the totality, and if it wasn’t for the decisive entry of Persia on the Spartan side (and certain dumb mistakes by Athens like the Sicilian expedition, though it nearly succeeded!), Athens would’ve won the war.

        I guess my point is that the alternative to a government that can’t govern need not necessarily be to turn to the few. Instead the people (or the majority, rather) can turn to themselves in favor of a radically democratic, central “tyranny of the assembly.”

        1. Massinissa

          “Though Sparta came out on top in its conflict with Athens”

          To be fair, Sparta finally won the Peloponnesian war because Athens had a massive plague that made it lose a substantial part of its population. Before that they had been at a stalemate for some time. Honestly, like you say, the Spartans had a better hand than Athens did from the start and *still* barely won.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And then they only won because they got resources from an outside superpower – Persia. But with the end of the war, they found that they had to honour those promises to Persia which was awkward as that involved handing over Greek city states to Persia. They took over the Athenian Empire and turned it into a Spartan Hegemony but the inflows of money corrupted Sparta itself and weakened it long term. Before too long, they too were put back in their box.

    3. Ignacio

      Correct me if I am mistaken but so far the Pfizer vaccine has been approved only for emergency uses (EUA). I have read this FDA page on EUA approval that states the subjects can accept or refuse being vaccinated. I thought it would be the same when and if it obtains regular approval so I don’t see the difference. Is the difference that while in ‘EUA status’ rules that force ‘voluntary’ vaccination cannot be passed?

      1. cocomaan

        Theoretically, yes. Although everyone is treating an emergency vaccine as the real thing.

        I doubt that the vaccine will ever be mandatory, but a cooperative of businesses will just make life intolerable without it.

      2. Phacops

        An important issue, that if you look at the Moderna submission highlighted yesterday, is what is called Chemical Manufacturing Controls (CMC). Moderna disposes of this in one sentence that the CMC is consistent with investigational manufacturing. During all phases of INDs the full validation of all processes, including distribution, is not accomplished and manufacturing procedures in common with approved biologics are merely followed. In an emergency use, manufacturing still occurs at that level.

        One also has to remember that under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 210 and 211, the operating principle is compliance to regulation. Quality engineering, as in demonstrating statistical process control within parameters of Quality, Safety, and Efficacy, is not required. So, at minimum I want to see the complete validation package, which will not be forthcoming until the manufacturers go for a normal distribution license.

        Too many gaps in review!

    4. km

      I have said that the Constitution has been a dead letter for a long time now.

      All that is necessary is to say the magic words “National Security” and poof! The Bill of Rights just disappears.

      1. Fraibert

        While your point is well taken, I think it misses a part of the larger picture. Since the New Deal Era, all the federal government has to do is say “interstate commerce” and it can regulate more or less anything. This is wholly inconsistent with the Constitution’s design and (while many agree with ithe result) arguably represents the largest federal power grab in US history.

        1. km

          Not arguing there, but I’m not sure that “because interstate commerce” was ever used as a pretext to gut the Bill of Rights.

          1. Bruno

            The War on Drugs is nothing but a perpetual war against the Bill of Rights, and its sole pseudo-constitutional justification is “Interstate Commerce.”

            1. Procopius

              +1 The War on Drugs has normalized practices that are obvious and open violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The Sixth Amendment (right to a lawyer) has never really been followed anyway.

        2. vlade

          Actually, one could succesfully argue (and many do) that the real federal power grab was during and post ACW, way before New Deal.

          See Amendments 14 (US citizenship granted by the US, not the state, and superior to the state), 16 (federal income taxes), 17 (changing the way senators were elected, from state legislature to popular election), National Bank Act (1862) etc..

          Anything that come after this was IMO not really breaking new ground, but more of moving the (before ACW deemed fairly immutable) boundaries.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Singapore to open travel bubble as it prepares to stand in for Davos”

    Was just thinking about the mechanics of holding the annual World Economic Forum next May and its good to see that there will be a pilot short-stay facility near the airport. A case or two has popped up here in Oz that resulted from a driver coming into contact with a pilot who was infected. Maybe the easiest way is to have two facilities. One would be for the Singaporean team that would quarantine themselves in the fortnight before the Forum and the fortnight after the Forum. The second facility would be for all the guests, representatives, etc. and they would be in their own ‘bubble’. When the Forum is over, they could send teams in to do a deep clean and let it sit there for a fortnight empty. It would be cheaper doing it this way than risking an infection getting loose. It would be like a temporary leper colony. So yeah, the Forum could go ahead but you couldn’t pay me to go to the Tokyo Olympics. That is a disaster in the making.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the idea: Davos=Leper Colony, is exactly the kind of thoughtvirus we need in the world, today.

        1. edmondo

          I don’t think you have to worry about that. You would think that they would be exhausted from screwing us.

          1. chris

            Hey, let’s make it a two-fer, they can travel to Davos in exile, get COVID-19, become impotent, and then they won’t be able to pass their horrid ideas on to anyone else…

    2. Arizona Slim

      Rev, I know an American commercial pilot who’s flying freight runs in and out of Sydney. He is NOT allowed out of his hotel room in Sydney. The only way out is to get back on that plane and fly back to the States with the rest of his crew.

      1. ArvidMartensena

        But he is probably driven to and from the airport and its one of the drivers who caught it. Enclosed vehicles are supposed to be perfect spread environments.
        As is hotel aircon if not up to standard.
        Another commentator called this the “honey badger” virus because it is almost impossible to keep a determined honey badger caged.

  3. Mikel

    Re: “Don’t Force Employees To Take Covid Vaccine”..Blloomberg
    “For instance, nearly two-thirds of tech workers surveyed say they won’t go back to the office unless their companies require all employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.”

    People are brain dead to go down the road of forcing people to ingest any type of product where the manufacturer is shielded from liability for what hapoens to you.

    The tech world is full of authoritarian loving idiota.

    1. Mikel

      And I have to add this.
      I don’t believe their polls.
      And now they are playing the “you don’t want to be like THOSE people” game to sway more people who would rather wait or not take it.

      1. Ignacio

        The problem I see here is trying always to think ahead of the problem. There is now way that employees can demand forcing vaccination if in the first place there is not a vaccine that has undergone the process of approval (just for emergency, thus without safety issues solved). This is stupid, leave it for when there is a vaccine that the FDA has already approved.

            1. Mikel

              Survival instincts. Look before you leap…doesn’t mean you don’t leap, but you look first.
              I will keep wearing masks and social distancing where necessary.

          1. Procopius

            Since 9/11 (and maybe before, I just wasn’t paying close attention) the media have been dependent on filling every news cycle with FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) as if they were either certainties or already accomplished. It’s been magnified a hundred times since 2016 with the advent of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). I think at least 20% of the stories I see daily which predict doom include the phrase, “… may have a risk of …”

          1. Procopius

            cuibono – How about anticipating a rather unlikely outcome? Or a very unlikely outcome. I sure see a lot of that every day.

      2. Geo

        But, they’re considering giving out stickers to those who take the vaccine. Stickers!!!

        They really do treat us like children. And sadly many of us are. My Trump-loving neighbor still has her “I Voted” sticker on her car next to her NRA window sticker. This proposed vaccine sticker will become just another virtue signal identity totem. I expect to see social media filling up with proud selfies showcasing their new stickers just as it did at election time with “I Voted” sticker-selfies.

        Maybe instead of stimulus checks and unemployment our government should just give out stickers to the citizenry like kindergarteners who have done well on a spelling test or behaved in class. Could help quell the discontent.

    2. lb

      “For instance, nearly two-thirds of tech workers surveyed say they won’t go back to the office unless their companies require all employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.”

      This screams of push-polling to set a new framing. Who the hell thought that exact question was needful? Mandatory vaccination wasn’t a talking point until very recently. Everything I see regarding doses and prompting people to take them has a plausible social welfare argument (more immunity!) but simultaneously a plausible profit-maximizing argument (guarantee all doses that can be produced are taken and paid for ASAP before the cheaper alternatives are tested, approved and produced in quantity).

      I’d also point out that this is a lead balloon given that any sizeable (or even small) tech company probably has a contingent of employees who will reject such a demand. A chunk of them will be libertarian “you can’t make me” sorts, a very strident bunch. A chunk of them will be those who distrust the vaccines until there’s a lot more data. Forcing vaccination and alienating a chunk of the labor force isn’t the sort of disruption most tech companies are likely to seek. This is all before we even discuss employees with conditions (HIV, weakened immune systems, obesity, what have you) that are either very scary in combination with vaccine regimes, or which require a fair deal more waiting on vaccination outcomes/complications as the conditions were willfully excluded from trials thus far.

      1. fajensen

        All of that special talent are just about find out the hard way that they are just “Hands”. Just like everyone who ever worked for a salary.

        “Tech” is just the next version of the factories run by the old robber barons, now with “extras” like bosses in sweaters and corduroy trousers, open space offices, clean floors, ergonomic furniture, lilac walls, pizza, laundry service, gaming nights, maybe even a bar, and of course table football.

        The general idea being that the tech-employer assumes and replaces the position of “family and friends” in the minds of the tech workers, who in return feels very precious, special and loved like every spoiled child since forever.

        There are lots of libertarians in tech because “the family” of course indulges the overly clever children – for as long as they are only discussing principles. When something is about to happen in the physical world, the “daddy” of the happy, colour-coordinated, modern, tech family will rise up and they will get a hard backhander right across the face!

        This will be a shocking experience for them.

        I.O.W:, it will go something like this:

        They will “recommend” that everyone attending the office be vaccinated unless excused on medical grounds (with an actual doctors certificate). Everyone going to conferences will be vaccinated because otherwise the airlines won’t take them. Then they will start holding the important meetings in-person. After a year or so, “the people who matter” are on-site, they people who don’t are off site. The off-site people will get a pipeline of tasks, but have no say in what the company decides. Possibly, they will do that little number where people have to apply internally for working on company projects. Eventually, HR will begin to work on renegotiating the contracts for the “off-siters” into something like gig-workers, which is what they are becoming at this point.

        A few are of course sure to start screaming on the internal company bulletin boards and they will get the straight sack in return. Since “tech” believed in their own uniqueness, unions are not “a thing” so there is nothing anyone can do, except shut up and get to work as The Boss says!

    3. Tom Doak

      Maybe they just want to keep working from home, and they know it’s impossible to get everyone to take the vaccine anytime soon. I’ve talked to a number of other white-collar workers [stockbrokers especially] who say they are NEVER going back to the office, because working from home gives them much more free time.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      It’s a tough call due to the expedited process but once everyone who wants to receive the vaccine of their choice among the available candidates has had that opportunity, I strongly feel employers, schools and especially businesses where Covid spread has been a known risk should be not only allowed but strongly encouraged to make proof of vaccination, with limited exceptions for valid medical reasons, a condition of employment. I’d also at that point when vaccinations are universally available like the freedom as a consumer to patronize businesses where I can be certain I won’t be forced into close contact with unvaccinated people or forced to practice onerous social distancing requirements as an indulgence to those who freely make the choice to be unvaccinated and thus present a public health threat to the general population. Let the anti-vaxxers and skeptics freely gather in their own segregated spaces where they can continue hard social distancing or take that risk without doing so. I respect other’s freedoms but at the same time don’t want the exercise of those freedoms to threaten my own freedom of/from association, or my health or safety in ways I have little or no control over.

      1. tegnost

        I’m still wondering why, if you take the vaccine, you care that other people don’t? The only way your argument makes sense is if you don’t want to take the vaccine yourself, but you do want others to take it

        1. Cuibono

          herd immunity.
          got to get 70-80% uptake perhaps…
          like with measles.
          if the vaccines worked perfectly well. this would never be an issue.
          they do not.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          At least two obvious reasons: because the only (humane) way to end the pandemic long-term is get almost everyone vaccinated and people refusing to be vaccinated represent a deadly risk to everyone’s health as well as their ability to make a living, and secondly because no vaccine is 100% effective and being in close proximity to unvaccinated people is still massively riskier than being around vaccinated ones. As long as a significant number of unvaccinated people are allowed to mix freely with the rest, social distancing and lockdowns will continue to be necessary for all. I don’t really care if people want to go unvaccinated, I just don’t want anyone else to have to pay any price in terms of either their health or their right to earn a living needlessly being put at risk by anti-vaxxers. The exact same reason unvaccinated people are rightly barred from attending schools or some international travel; by making that choice they put an unfair burden on the rest of society. Therefore those who choose to go unvaccinated have to be prevented from many social activities that carry a risk of contagion.

          I’d like to see both a carrot and a stick employed. Pay people to be vaccinated *and* restrict the access unvaccinated people have to situations with significant contagion risks to others. I do think people have every right to choose not to be vaccinated, but that right ends at other people’s noses.

        3. fajensen

          Reciprocity – I take a personal risk by having the vaccine, I expect others to do the same for me!

          If they won’t, I.M.O, they are arseholes and I am going to think about how to pay the dis-favour back.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            First, there is no evidence that the vaccines reduce contagion, so your ire is misplaced. Experts have warned that a vaccine against a respiratory disease is unlikely to achieve the gold standard of sterlizing immunity. It hopefully will reduce the spread by greatly reducing the viral load of anyone who is infected while their body is mounting an immune response, but we don’t know that.

            And if you quit wearing a mask before the impact on contagion of the various vaccines is known, you could be making matters worse. The Atlantic and others have written entire articles on this risk. Because I am time stressed now, I am being lazy and not running them down.

            As long as people wear masks, you really can’t finger-wag.

            1. fajensen

              I am not going to quit wearing a mask just yet. I happen to live in a stupendously stupid country, with scores of unmasked morons still cramming themselves into every shopping centre or crowd there is!

              The result is that emergency services are already swamped, now, and by February-March more people will have died than they killed in the first wave!

              I personally wear a mask because my wife works with preschool children, whatever she gets, I get. Also, I want to opentype signal that I am not with Them, AKA Stupid!

              PS – I don’t think that COVID-19 is as a normal respiratory disease. It seems to be more like an infection involving the blood and the blood vessels. And as a side effect of that also damaging the respiratory system, like lungs.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Did you manage to miss that there is no evidence for either of the vaccines approved under the EUA of reduction of infection? So there’s no proven benefit to anyone other than the recipient to getting vaccinated. Yet you are eager to have employers compel workers to be vaccinated? That’s just abusive, particularly given than the mRNA technology have never been used in humans (save ~120 participants in a Zika vaccine trial, and that did not result in an approved vaccine). Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have generated Bells Palsy to troubling degrees, for starters.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          It’s literally impossible to statistically prove a genuinely new vaccine protects from contagion within the expedited time frame. The lack of evidence that these new vaccines protect from contagion isn’t in any way anomalous, alarming or surprising; it is in fact 100% inevitable. How many vaccines have come before that provide 90%+ prophylactic protection to the recipient but at the same time allow contagion to continue unabated? We don’t know if a year after vaccination, the people dosed won’t turn into turtles either. You can say it’s highly unlikely, but you cannot prove it won’t happen. I’m confident enough to make a substantial monetary bet that the vaccines will all turn out to substantially prevent contagious spread. Anyone out here who feels equally confident in their doubts? Anyone?

          And even if one or even all of the mRNA vaccines turn out to be in some way significantly flawed, what is the likelihood that all the others like the Oxford or the more traditional Chinese whole-virus jab will be as well? At some point even the hardest line skeptics will simply run out of evidentiary ammunition. I’m not going to use the tripwire word with two “x”es here, but almost no amount of evidence of safety and efficacy will or can satisfy those dispositionally determined not to be satisfied. Even the safest and most efficacious drugs and treatments will *always* have potential and sometimes serious side effects and contraindications.

          I want people to have a choice, I don’t want people who aren’t confident in the novel mRNA vaccines for instance to ever be forced or compelled to go that specific route, but once people have had an opportunity to choose a vaccine among several approaches that meet all the criteria to be widely distributed, at *that* point, we just have to accept that there is a population that simply cannot be convinced and at that point, segregate those people in the same way we correctly and wisely segregate students whose parents refuse to vaccinate them in schools and move on without them.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The mRMA vaccines are so different in their operation from traditional vaccines that your claim they are similar is spurious. The fact that they’ve been under study for 20 years and never approved till now isn’t an encouraging data point.

            And contrary to your assertion, it IS possible to have evidence on the impact on transmission. The press report on the Oxford/AstraZeneca said the data pointed to a reduction in transmission, when we’ve seen nothing of the kind with respect to the mRNA vaccines.

            We also have the issue of the super cold storage requirement for the Pfizer vaccine, and that it can be held at refrigerator temps only for 5 days. And readers have suggested that there aren’t loggers (temperature monitors) on the market that go cold enough to validate that the vaccine has been kept cold enough during shipment. There also aren’t many of the super cold fridges around, whose prior use was storing embryos and they are super expensive, and they are unreliable, so you need redundancy So outside major hospitals, you aren’t likely to find them. That means we will have a largely improvised supply chain with a lot of just in time deliveries to end points. And that also means places that are rural or far from major medical centers will have more supply chain risk.

            A microbiologist reader stressed this point:

            …the logistics of keeping the material so cold are daunting. Unless the shipping container still has visible dry ice when opened by the user, the vaccine cannot be assumed to be functional. It then must be immediately stored at -70C or below. Very few medical practices outside of teaching hospitals attached to a medical school are likely to already have these freezers, which are expensive and not particularly reliable…

            A “rich” institution has one empty -80C freezer for every 4-5 that are full…spare for the inevitable. I can’t count the number of times (on a Saturday night when the alarm called the campus police who then called me) I have scrambled to move irreplaceable items from a warming freezer to the emergency spare or into a friendly colleague’s freezer that is not full (good luck with that; not the friend, the half empty freezer). If this thing requires this level of frozen chain-of-custody, it. will never work. Pfizer can build all the freezer space it wants to, but we cannot drive to Kalamazoo for our shots

            No one has said what happens to the Pfizer vaccine if it gets too warm. I assume that it becomes ineffective. So given this fragile and novel supply chain, and 2 shots, let’s assume 5% gets too warm. 95% x 95% = only about 90% get 2 good shots. We’ll assume no one is super unlucky and gets 2 dud doses. One dose has 50% efficacy.

            So you have 95% efficacy for 90% of the population and 50% for 10%, which gets you to 90.5%. Still pretty good, but if the super cold storage fares any worse than that, I would expect that to be the cause if we see differences in real world v. clinical trials.

            Oh, and we have this major “WTF?” re the efficacy stats, from the FDA, and oddly nowhere to be found in the NEJM encomiums on the Pfizer vaccine:

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


            These #s are an order of magnitude higher than the cases determined to be cases for the purpose of determining efficacy. So why weren’t these cases assessed? Running them down could have made a huge difference in the efficacy figures.

            And in fact experts have already said that it is pretty unlikely that any Covid vaccine could achieve the gold standard of sterlizing immunity because that hasn’t been achieved with other vaccines for respiratory diseases and is likely unattainable for them. In oversimplified terms, the vaccine rallies the immune defense inside the body, and not in the respiratory system, which is where the vaccine enters and the channel by which it spreads to others. We already know that people can and do spread the vaccine when they are presymptomatic.

            And we don’t know how long these vaccines confer immunity. I saw yet another study indicating that immunity from contracting Covid looks to be short-lived, say six months to a year. There is some hope that the vaccines elicit a stronger immune system response and hence longer-lived immunity, but no one knows that either.

            I’ve had MDs email me privately and say they aren’t taking any vaccine till it’s been out at least six months. Some say even longer. The track record even with regular drug development has shown them that waiting is prudent, and this was a bloody EUA, which has NEVER been the basis for introducing a medicine to a large population. The whole thing is remarkably slapdash, and you are OK with that?

            1. Kurt Sperry

              I composed a reply but instead of giving me the boilerplate “Your comment is awaiting moderation” message that any but the briefest and most perfunctory comment almost inevitably elicits, upon hitting the reply button I was redirected to the “Do Billionaires Destroy Democracy and Capitalism?” post.

              In any case, even when commenting goes smoothly it is well-nigh impossible within a busy life to have more than the briefest of dialogs in the comment strings of this, or indeed any, daily blog as unless all the participants in a discussion are all present on the site and commenting nearly contemporaneously the focus will have moved on and nobody, including any participants, will be reading yesterday’s postings. I suspect most of the commenting regulars are retirees for this reason.

              Very, very briefly then: I never claimed nor consciously implied that mRNA vaccines are similar in action to conventional vaccines. The high cost and daunting supply chain logistics of these will probably relegate them to stopgap status until more practical alternatives can be brought on stream.

              I’m sure you could find a significant minority of US-based MDs with strong reservations about the expedited vaccine approval process, but I’m equally sure you could find similar minorities of MDs who believe that Joe Biden represents a socialist menace, that a national universal health care program will cost massively more than the US status quo, or that (take your pick) either the 2016 presidential election was stolen by Russian interference or that the 2020 one was stolen by massive voter fraud.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                You are really off base in insinuating that doctors who have reservations about the Pfizer vaccine are right wing cranks. In fact, this claim is bizarre given that the vaccines were able to get fast approval due to Operation Warp Speed, a Trump initiative.

                I got this e-mail yesterday from Dr. Harvey Risch, Professor of Epidemiology at Yale’s med school:

                I read your essay from the internist critical of the vaccine data and policies that have come out so far. I strongly share his/her concerns. I have been working in Covid early outpatient treatment since March of this year and you are probably aware of the massive propaganda war being conducted against outpatient treatment by pharma companies, vaccine companies, FDA, NIH, WHO, as well as the numerous academic pontificators who have never treated even one Covid outpatient.

                I am involved in two private email groups comprised largely of MDs discussing evidence for Covid early outpatient treatment. We have published a number of papers (e.g., as well as op-eds…

                Because of the mainstream media censorship of our position that early outpatient treatment is safe, successful, inexpensive and would largely solve the pandemic without necessity of or even better than vaccines, most of our messaging has appeared on the political right. However, we span the political spectrum as can be seen by a recent article here:


                We posted early on that UCSF had identified 47 old medicines that looked to have treatment and/or prophylactic potential. Oddly that effort seems to have gone silent.

                So medical reporting has now become highly politicized and you are falling for that in your reactions.

    5. Aumua

      Instead of a punitive approach of punishing people who don’t take it, I think rewarding people who do take it would be far more effective. Like a nice fat check, as has been suggested here. Give people a $5k to $10k windfall and you’ll see a lot less complaining and resistance. But of course that’s just a fantasy cause they can never put that money into the hands of normal everyday people, and the new stimulus has to be under $1 trillion for some reason that’s never really talked about.

      1. polecat

        Oh C’mon! What good is a 5k -10k ‘windfall’, if you have to blow it on medical interventio resulting from the bad effects of some janky BigP promoted ‘laudinum’!

  4. cocomaan

    Global South Countries, WTO patent rules, and Covid-19 vaccine

    I’m not sure if NC reported on this before, but China intends to broker deals with global south countries to give up the tech behind their vaccine candidates in exchange for using foreign citizens as test subjects, since China’s citizenry is mostly safe from the virus at this point.

    But China isn’t just seeking promising venues for clinical trials. Not urgently needing the vaccines at home to fight a virus it has largely quashed, it is playing a global game by pledging to send any proven vaccine to countries that are conducting trials for its candidates, or to share the technologies behind them. “They know they don’t need a vaccine to contain the epidemic in China,” Yip says. “They can take their sweet time.”

    Yanzhong Huang, a global health specialist at both Seton Hall University and the Council on Foreign Relations, says the country is “actually using the vaccine to promote the diplomacy of foreign policy objectives.” This “vaccine diplomacy” he says, contrasts starkly with Warp Speed’s “vaccine nationalism” and aims to “fill in the void left by the United States.”

    This is in line with China’s moves in east Africa and other areas to use tech and infrastructure as a loss leader for better relations with these countries.

  5. zagonostra

    >M4A, Jimmy Dore, and the fractured alt-left Media

    It’s very interesting how the TYT Anna Kasparian and Tim Black’s of the Y-Tube Universe are reacting to Jimmy Dore’s proposal to force a M4A vote. Jimmy has obviously ruffled a lot a feathers but it’s sad to see how personal feelings and dislike of personalities influences judgement.

    The headlines/links change from day-to-day. Public focus and attention is always shifting, political outrage is channeled here and there, from 4 years of Trumpisms/Russiagate/Ukraingate/Pee Tapes to OBiden/Hunter Tapes/Cabinet Picks and before you know it another 2 years will go by and 2024 Election cycle will suck up all the attention and focus and thousands more will die from lack of affordable healthcare.

    Without a sustained day after day focus on forcing one issue non-stop, relentlessly, nothing will improve. Jimmy’s proposal is not “performative” as Sirota describes it. It is not a empty “slogan” as Matt Stoller describes it. Seeing how your putative representative votes on this will be, or could be if casuistry doesn’t win the day, the vote that would at least show that there exists a linkage between voter preference and policy. Right now that relationship is performative.

    I know electoral politics is not the solution. That it will take blood, death, and destruction to bring about substantive change. But that blood is being shed by the uninsured, death is being experience by the indigent, and destruction of the rot and corruption that is corporate control of the gov’t remains to be ignited.

    If you live in a location that has one of those 15 progressives, or any Dem House member, call them, let them know that a vote for Pelosi without putting M4A to a vote will mean withholding your future support.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Just picked up the phone and called Rep. Raul Grijalva’s office. Since it’s early in the morning, I left a voice mail message.

      For other NC-ers in southern Arizona, the number to call is 520-622-6788.

      1. edmondo

        Good luck with that. Between the 2nd and 3rd Congressional District, the liklihood that one of them is, or should be, at Betty Ford means that one or neither of them are “available to their constituents”.

    2. The Historian

      “If you live in a location that has one of those 15 progressives, or any Dem House member, call them, let them know that a vote for Pelosi without putting M4A to a vote will mean withholding your future support.”

      I see the progressive circular firing squad is up and running again. That has always been a problem with progressives – when they find someone who represents most of their views, they shoot him/her in the head because he/she doesn’t represent ALL of their views. That happened with Bernie, and I see it happening with Nina Turner now.

      No elected official is going to be perfect – they are going to have to make compromises that you don’t like. That’s politics.

      I have no problem with holding elected officials feet to the fire and I have no problem with Jimmy Dore’s crusade, but I am NOT willing to ‘withhold future support’ from those people who are working to get at least some progressive policies in place simply because we don’t feel they can do everything we wish they could do. If you ‘withhold support’ from these people, do you think you will like whomever replaces them any better?

      AOC is just starting to get a little power – is that why progressives are turning on her? Progressives seem to have a disdain for power, but somehow they think that their candidates should be able to overturn ‘the power that be’ by………what? I’ve never been able to figure that one out.

      1. marym

        Re: “No elected official is going to be perfect – they are going to have to make compromises that you don’t like. That’s politics.”

        People who run for office have chosen to some extent to work within the system. The revolutionary changes we need require a movement well beyond the current established political structure.

        During her 2012 campaign Jill Stein said something that stayed with me. It may not be a unique perspective, but what do I know?

        She was speaking to a group of people who were protesting or striking. She said (paraphrase) the country needs a broad-based social movement to address all the issue we face. You’re part of that movement. The movement also needs a political arm. I’m not running to lead the movement, I’m running to represent the movement in electoral politcs.

        There has to be a movement putting pressure in many ways – on elected officials such as they are, and with organizing, community service, solidarity activities, and protests on many issues.

        1. edmondo

          Historian is right. If you demand something then you might get it. It’s better that we hope that Nancy incrementally changes so that when she retires in 2021 we can say how awesome it was that we almost got a vote on M4A

          Oh, and keep sending in those $27 donations, OK?

          1. Procopius

            Krystal and Saagar at The Rising had an interview with Brihanna Joy Gray the morning of the 16th, and the point came up that if you’re not willing to actually accept the alternative to getting Pelosi as speaker, then you don’t really have any leverage at all. This goes along with the old proverb, “If you’re gonna go at the king, make sure you kill him.” There are going to be consequences for threatening Nancy Pelosi, and at the moment there isn’t any obvious alternative. The DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) members, going back to 1983, have not nurtured replacements for themselves, with the result that younger members of the Party don’t have a base to rally. If you aren’t willing to have a Republican as Speaker, you can’t realistically threaten to withhold your vote from Pelosi.

      2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        It’s just so like progressives to demand some type of progress from the people promising them progress. When are they ever gonna learn???

      3. zagonostra

        @The Historian – “No elected official is going to be perfect – they are going to have to make compromises that you don’t like. That’s politics.”

        There are issues that cannot be compromised. Slavery is wrong, rape is wrong, unprovoked war is wrong, etc. There are no compromises when it comes to supporting a healthcare system during a pandemic (or any other time) that requires a father/mother to go bankrupt when bringing their child into an emergency room or innumerable other instances that are the brutal, harsh, and sick system that is healthcare for the non/under insured.

        No, there are times to take a stand on an issue. This is a good start. It has the advantage of cyrstal clear transparency, no obfuscation. Pelosi shouldn’t the Speaker, period. But this is a good test case to see if supporters of M4A are disingenuous, like Kamala proved to be. No I say, keep pushing on this one, no compromises.

        1. The Historian

          I am not against a vote but then what happens next? They will be forced to support Pelosi, won’t they? That is the bad thing about ultimatums – sometimes you are on the losing side. Do you think Pelosi will ever forget? And like it or not, she holds way more power than the gang of 15 right now, doesn’t she?

          Now is the time for progressives to be building their movement and their power – not taking on fights they can’t win and which will ultimately destroy any power they do have.

          Vote or not – we won’t be getting M4A any time soon.

          1. tegnost

            we won’t begetting rid of pelosi either. Where are those increments supposed to come from that made a biden vote of such epochal importance?
            What if trump had been re elected? Would we maybe have more chance for crumbs then?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              White is black, up is down, and the sun rises in the West. Joe was very clear where he stood on this before people (supposedly) pulled the lever for him: he said he would veto it. But we’ll hear that’s because he has a plan for really great much better super good health care reform, and he has created a task force of pharma execs, insurance billionaires, and private equity specialists to roll it out starting in 2027. Meantime Hitler Trump had to run roughshod over Big Pharma money to get the drug price cut, but everybody knows he’s controlled by Putin. Memo to Team Blue: when you pick up a gun you’re supposed have the end where the bullet comes out aimed away from you, not right at your chest

          2. Adam

            It is Nancy Pelosi’s job to stop any legislation that might cost her donor class any money. Nancy Pelosi already isn’t going to forget this regardless, and as well as this is true, she’s going to look at this gang of 15 with disdain.

            No one is expecting this vote to “win.” The purpose of this vote is to force enemies in the House to either reveal themselves or cost themselves some corporate money to stay hidden. If people think the progressives in Congress have little willingness to fight hard fights, the movement is going to build even more slowly.

          3. zagonostra

            @The Historian -Yes they will support Pelosi if she puts M4A on the floor. But they would have anyway, nothing lost. Courage is about standing up to power.

            Pelosi won’t forget, neither will I or all the other voters who support progressives who stand and fight.

            This is about a prolegomena to a “movement.” Just like Bernie and Hawley may have succeeded in pushing the Senate to accept a $300 weekly increase to UI, the minority/progressives in the House should also push against the established party “leaders.”

            I’m not expecting M4A to pass anytime soon, and I thank the good Lord I am employed and have HC ins. It’s really not about me, rather I hope my children or their children will inherit a less brutal country, I’ll settle for that.

      4. Milton

        I want you to help me. I’ve been trying to find 3 examples of legislation-initiated by the progressive caucus-that has been passed and made life better for the majority of workers. I find Obama’s minimum wage hike in his first year omitted auto escalators championed by some progressive voices (not in congress). Then there’s the passage of marriage equality, though not really an economic issue and , oh wait, it wasn’t even on the progressive platform. Marriage equality came about because two Republican lawyers challenged the right to marry whomever up the chain of courts. I guess that leaves the magnificent steaming pile-everyone’s favorite progressive piece of legislation-the ACA as the shining beacon to which progressives can point and say “see, elect us and we will make society less crushing on you poor saps”. So yes, I guess there are some reasons to continue following the same script as worker’s lives are so much better because progressives refuse to make life a little uncomfortable for madam speaker.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          this right here.

          like “lesserevilism”, it’s still evil.
          people like pelosi ain’t gonna budge unless they’re threatened in some way.
          they all say, loudly, that they work for their constituents…make them prove it.

          to be fair, i’ve never had a representative at any level who wasn’t a republican(rural texas)…but i’ve called and yelled at the representatives i have…including the Whore Cornyn and Crazy ted.
          (cornyn’s people don’t appreciate him being called a prostitute, but i provided links)
          my “representaives” in gooberment …again, all right wingers…even feel compelled to answer me, sometimes.
          make enough noise, and all.
          “it ain’t a spectator sport”.

          also to be fair…after doing the above for decades, i’m much more focused on the extremely local things i can do.
          influencing local policy, local attitudes towards autarky, food, tolerance…
          all that (secular, political)evangelism i’m always on about.
          even in spite of the re-launched-by covid culture warrior bs, the local is where you can see more immediate results.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama’s minimum wage hike? I mean he voted for it as a Senator, but I don’t recall him being a leader on the issue. In 2010, Pelosi had to remind a freshman congressman that the frosh wasn’t actually there for the vote on the minimum wage.

        3. Geo

          “3 examples of legislation-initiated by the progressive caucus-that has been passed”

          This is the same point made by CNN/MSNBC to claim Bernie never accomplished anything in his years as a senator and congressman. It is disingenuous when they do it and not much better when coming from our side. Just as one lone guy talking about the tragic outcome that would come from the Invasion of Iraq to an empty congressional floor while his colleagues are all away at MIC fundraisers is not to be faulted for the corruption and evilness of the others in that congressional body, blaming a few progressives because they alone can’t overpower the hundreds of other corrupt elected reps is not a reason to blame them.

          Maybe it’s the other 530 corrupt representatives elected by our idiot/ignorant public that are the ones we should be upset with and not the four or five impotent progressives who would pass progressive bills if they actually had the power to do so?

        4. D. Fuller

          Oh, just some Dems just need to come out and say it… the status quo is the bestest.

          From ACA protecting CEO profits, surprise billing, high drug prices…

          Love the Wall Street bailouts. Thanks Bush and Obama and Trump. Soon to be Biden.

          Who do we thank for turning brown children into pink mist with drone strikes? Bush and Obama and Trump. Soon to be Biden.

          Love how Nancy Pelosi has shown her corporate Yellow stripes with austerity badge. Caving from $3.8 trillion to $181 billion in new spending as Covid relief, after being offered $1.8 trillion by Republicans as tens of millions of families face eviction in the f***ing middle of winter. Wait, it is not really caving to show one’s true intentions after months of hollow grandstanding. America just needs gelato and everything becomes Mayberry again. FFS.

          Which Democrats have consistently f***ed Americans in obscene ways through legislation? Pelosi, Biden, Schumer, etc. How many? Subtract 15 from the total number of Democrats in Congress to know beyond a shadow of a doubt how many Democratic politicians f*** Americans in obscene ways through legislation. Along with their slightly worse Republican inbred cousins Democrats routinely sleep with…

          Oh, but Centrist Democrats are not Trump! Trump is gone. Democrats have no platform after Jan 20th. They will be too busy whoring out Americans on Main Street, for their masters on Wall Street.

          But 15 Progressives in Congress can not get legislation passed. Is the reasoning. Got to start somewhere. Or roll over and offer up your children to corporate slavery. Hail ACA! Open enrollment is soon closed. The RWNJ health care plan brought to us by SPINELESS DEMOCRATS(R). Making Republicans look like Samson from The Bible.

          Has Pelosi or Biden mentioned an eviction moratorium yet, or are Biden’s chapped lips still attached to Black Rocks nether regions? Praise be Black Rocks CEO for seeing increased profits from evictions.

      5. Randy G

        “Historian” — I think you’re right.
        It is silly to actually expect “progressives” to demand anything ‘progressive’ in regards to policy; the important thing is they think ‘progressive’ thoughts and express them sincerely on Twitter from time to time.
        Heaven forbid voters should demand any sort of action from them as this would certainly be nothing more than a “circular firing squad” and all sorts of unpleasant words might follow.
        Nothing urgent in the United States that sloth and business as usual can’t fix given enough time and earnest compromise. Just politics — please don’t be a scold and expect your politicians to do anything that will actually improve your life.
        AOC should be fully ensconced and comfortable with her “little power” kingdom, and ready to pounce by about 2035. Patience and forbearance should be our guiding motto as polite ‘progressives’.
        Again, nothing urgent, no need to rush or ruffle feathers; we have all the time in the world. Catastrophic climate chaos, mass poverty, mass evictions, medical bankruptcies, declining life spans, plague, endless wars … these are just vague concepts and really, again, there’s nothing urgent in the list.
        Wise words indeed.

        1. The Historian

          Do you think progressives are the new Tea Party? That they can throw their weight around to get what they want? If so, I think you need to get out a bit more.

          Sure, what Dore wants will be a real good feel good for progressives – but will it change anything except to ensure that the DNC cracks down even harder on those 15 ‘radicals’?

          The progressives have to build power first and you don’t do that by going into battle before you are ready. The Art of War has a lot of wise words: ““Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

          “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”

          1. Geo

            Well said. I’m curious how some expect four or five progressives in a congressional body of 535 members is to overwhelm the other 530 members of that body.

            The Tea Party had Fox News, the Koch’s and Mercer’s funding, Breitbart, and an massive infrastructure built up to propel their insurgency. Progressives have… what? TYT, for whatever that is worth? The MSM all trashes them. Right wing sends them death threats on social media. Then they have their loudest voices in the online left media ecosystem trashing them because they don’t dogpile Pelosi and toss her in the alley with the trash.

            This ain’t the movies. There are no Harry Potter/Neo “chosen ones” that can battle evil forces with magical abilities. We have a corrupt and bureaucratic system designed to maintain power and these progressives are inside that system trying to accomplish whatever small things they can despite having no billionaire donors to build their movement, no media to sell their message, and apparently no base that supports them unless they can change the whole system overnight and on their own.

            I get the anger and outrage at a corrupt system. Been feeling that strongly for a few decades and proudly vote third party in elections. Wish more people did so. But, it’s obvious people like us are a very slim minority and it’s not helpful to tear down the few we have that try to represent us in elected office.

            1. zagonostra

              You are setting up a straw man or you don’t understand the Dore proposal. It’s not about a few progressives “overwhelming” anything. It’s about strategic obstruction of the normal rubber stamping that has become Institutionalized.

              As Mario Savio stated so eloquently.

              There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

              1. Lambert Strether

                Which makes it all the more odd that Dore is chewing Sirota’s ankles, because the additional forms of strategic obstruction besides the floor vote seemed quite reasonable to me.

                1. zagonostra

                  They were reasonable, and Dore said so when he had DS back on the show to explain the latter’s position (DS can throw out the F-bombs with the best of them)

                  JD is a comedian, he is not coming at this from the same perspective as DS. Both perspectives/approaches serve a useful function. I think it was DS’s tone of suggesting it was useless theater (“performative”) that got under JD’s skin.

                  But what I’m coming away from this whole initiative is how little I know about the Speakership as an institution. There is nothing in the Constitution that rests the organization of the House in the hands of the majority party. It evolved by tradition.

                  I think of the billions spent on this past Presidential election and how much public focus was spent on Trump/Biden. With the Speakership we allow the sausage to be made in relative darkness. I need some schooling on this. I’ll have to see if local library can get me a copy of the book referenced below.

                  Jeffery Jenkins and Charles Stewart show how the speakership began as a relatively weak office, and how votes for Speaker prior to the Civil War often favored regional interests over party loyalty. While struggle, contention, and deadlock over House organization were common in the antebellum era, such instability vanished with the outbreak of war, as the majority party became an “organizational cartel” capable of controlling with certainty the selection of the Speaker and other key House officers. This organizational cartel has survived Gilded Age partisan strife, Progressive Era challenge, and conservative coalition politics to guide speakership elections through the present day. Fighting for the Speakership reveals how struggles over House organization prior to the Civil War were among the most consequential turning points in American political history.


                2. Lee Too

                  Sirota did use the term “performative” to describe just the Med4All piece of his list of possible demands. I think that would be worth at least a nip at an exposed ankle.

          2. tegnost

            “That they can throw their weight around to get what they want? If so, I think you need to get out a bit more.”

            It’s called holding bidens and his dem enablers feet to the fire, and if it burns thats too bad.

        2. Lemmy Caution

          Well said Randy G!

          After all, support for M4A among Americans stands at a paltry 70%. Sure, M4A would cover everybody — including the millions that are underinsured or are without any insurance at all — while also costing billions or even trillions less than our current system.

          But if those are your only arguments, then those are thin reeds on which to hang your hopes of anything ever getting accomplished in your lifetime.

          Much better to slowly, incrementally (infinitesimally) move toward a future when we can consider whether we might want to propose that we explore a possible strategy for determining when might be a good time to draw clear battle lines on M4A.

          In this measured, thoughtful way, it should only take a few more generations — four or five, tops — to finally provide healthcare to every citizen in the U.S.

          As I said, I’m with you on this Randy.

          1. Carla

            @Lemmy Caution — and think of this as a bonus: without M4A, those 4 or 5 generations are sure to be short ones.

            Zagonastra said it beautifully:

            “Without a sustained day after day focus on forcing one issue non-stop, relentlessly, nothing will improve.”

            To get the M4A 70% of Americans want, here are the operative concepts:
            sustained – focus – forcing – non-stop – relentlessly.

            We can at least ACQUAINT our “progressive” representatives with them.

          2. cuibono

            “Much better to slowly, incrementally (infinitesimally) move toward a future when we can consider whether we might want to propose that we explore a possible strategy for determining when might be a good time to draw clear battle lines on M4A. ”

            Isn’t this moving a bit too fast? I mean i hardly know you!

        3. Pookah Harvey

          Here are two outcomes Dore doesn’t consider:
          1; For “bipartisanship” Repubs provide the 15 votes for Pelosi to be elected. We can only guess what she will give in return.

          2. When John McCain was a real maverick he demanded a vote on campaign finance reform which had as much public support as M4A has now. Republican leadership was forced to put a vote on the floor. Knowing the vote would be used in elections they didn’t put out one bill but three. Every Congress Critter could vote “yea” on one bill but “nay”on the other two. By coordinating the vote every bill was defeated but every critter could point to his “yea” vote to show he supported reform.

          The Historian is right: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Sun Tzu also said: “In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack–the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.” Dore and many progressives seem to understand only one method.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war…..”

            I don’t know what you call 70+% of americans demanding a national healthcare system if not a “win ‘first’.”

            What does Sun Tzu say about “warriors,” having already won the battle, refusing to fight it?

          2. tegnost

            I’m more than happy to have pelosi win with republican votes. It’s basically the same thing. Revealing. Voting for something one opposes is tacit approval. Or maybe you separate out bernie voters or any others (OMGTRUMP!!!) who voted for biden with the exhortation to “hold his feet to the fire!”, but not now we’ve got to solidify our unstated goals before making any performative hand waves towards those barefooted hippies!. Speaking of unstated goals, in water cooler today “…It’s going to take six to eight months to get it under way but I think you’re going to be surprised.’” • In a good way, I hope!”

            And what, pray tell, is this grand plan? And just as importantly, (there was just an election where policy proposals might normally have been put forth) why haven’t we heard what it is yet, and why do we have to wait 6-8 months further?

            Lamberts aside makes me wonder if he’s macro dosing today (on vitamin D of course! Get your minds out of the cow patty. Geez.)

      6. FluffytheObeseCat

        Thank you Historian.

        The ‘withhold all future support’ proponents are invariably safe from immediate harm themselves. Circular firing squads are for people who just don’t have that much to lose. For people who have the choice of failing to understand the rudiments of power. The choice to feel virtuous….. and continue losing with heart-breaking beauty for the foreseeable future. In other words, forever.

        Progressive elected officials are conspicuous by their absence at the federal level. The few we have lack seniority. They are rarely in a position to truly threaten the leadership. It’s a real shame that many commenters are all butthurt about the indignity of this, but their furious sarcasm will not impact legislation or power dynamics in Congress any time soon. Or ever, giving their dainty unwillingness to grapple with power as it really is, rather than as they believe it ought to be.

        1. furies

          Just how will you be hurt if Pelosi gets kicked to the curb?

          I really want to know!

          I’m with Jimmy myself. (This is exactly how Trump happened.)

      7. Oso_in_Oakland

        “I’ve never been able to figure that one out”.
        not difficult. the system is corrupt, and AOC’s a part of that system, as were Pelosi et al. we’ll have to wait and see on Cori Bush. she’ll either do like AOC did or she’ll get the Cynthia McKinney treatment.

        you can patiently wait for change, as the Democrats move ever rightward. Those of us whose neck both parties stands on have been waiting a long time with nothing to show for it. Join us.

      8. Glen

        You know what’s going to happen with no vote? Democrats gets flushed out of power in 2022, and out of the WH in 2024. And that is what you want. Because NOTHING WILL EVERY GET DONE.

        This is about much more than an M4A vote, this is about stopping the destruction of the Democratic party in 2022.

        But apparently you want to keep doing what we have been doing for thirty years now, and you are setting up a scenario to do it for thirty more years.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      What link are you referencing?

      At any rate, it seems to me that “alt-left” media personalities like Sirota, The Young Turks and even the Rising pair have carved out careers pushing “progressive” agendas without having given much thought to how those demands will be realized. It’s as if they thought that all they’d have to do is support Bernie’s candidacy and he would just figure out a polite, “civil,” inoffensive way to completely restructure a politically powerful, massively profitable, criminally exclusive, highly credentialed and entitled, elitist “industry” that controls 20% of the american economy.

      Jimmy Dore is doing what needs to be done and saying what needs to be said. The “unfortunate” part is that this is only a minuscule opening salvo, and it’s only going to get a lot uglier if things are ever REALLY going to change.

      Considering their reactions to Dore, it’s doubtful that some of these “progressives” have the stones to see it through. Or even start, for that matter.

      1. D. Fuller

        15 Progressives are more than enough to stall any House legislation that Republicans do not support. Will they do it? Remains to be seen.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          be an immovable object wherever possible, if ya got no other power.
          similarly, i hope bernie becomes a rock, again, like he said he would on the idiotic defense contractor support initiative.
          for a long while, there, the mainstream gop was terrified of the beast they had unleashed in the tea party.
          and yes, i know that was an astroturf project almost from inception…but those rabid nutters escaped the paddock for a time and ran wild…up to and including(in my mind’s taxonomy) trump the orange.
          the dem establishment doesn’t fear their base, or the squad…and that needs to change, post haste.
          how many actual true believer team blue people are there?
          enough to win an election?
          i’ll never vote D, again…until they prove to me that they’ve come over to my side of things.
          multiply me by a million, and they might take notice.

    4. a different chris

      I am just playing with counter-advocacy here, so not sure.

      But is it not going to be “performative”?? A lot of Dem reps are on their way out, Pelosi can let them and just enough of those who are going to still be there vote “for” to lose.

      We’ve seen it again and again. “We hear you but not enough votes!” Why would this be different?

      1. edmondo

        Because you can primary any Democrat who opposes it. My Congresswoman ran as the only candidate in the primary who did NOT support M4A. She won with 36% of the vote. The other three candidates whio did support it, got the remaining 64%. Of course she is a co=sponor of Jayapal’s billl but for some reason she votes against it in committee. Out these people.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        From Jimmy Dore on this:

        In December 1923 at the start of the 68th Congress, when Republican Frederick H. Gillett needed nine ballots to win reelection.

        Progressive Republicans had refused to support Gillett on the first eight ballots.

        Only after winning concessions from Republican conference leaders did they agree to support him.

        There is no rule that the only congressional votes taken are the ones with a predetermined, guaranteed first ballot outcome, and everything else is “performative.” That seems to be a characteristic of a bought and paid for congress, full of lifers, where constituents are nothing more than a means to an end.

        Jimmy also provides a montage of AOC clips that show she got her considerable notoriety advocating for the very approach he is demanding.

    5. D. Fuller

      Any idea of forcing a vote for M4A is useless right now. Unless Democrats control Congress with at least 57 Senators in The Senate.


      If Republicans retain the seats in Georgia? Democrats in The House and Senate can simply mask their abhorrence for M4A by voting for M4A. Counting on Republicans to kill M4A in The Senate. Say there are a few Republican defectors willing to support M4A. Blue Dog Democrats, 4 or 5 of them, can then vote against M4A.

      It is no secret that Centrist Right Wing Democrats abhor M4A. The donor money from Private Health Industry & Big Pharma is simply to great a prize for them to risk. Does anyone doubt that Pelosi and Schumer and Biden oppose M4A? Those doubts are unwarranted. CENTRIST DEMS – MOST DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS – OPPOSE M4A, FULL STOP.

      Nothing gets solved. The snakes in the Democratic Party who oppose M4A will stand unrevealed. They will even add some street cred to their “Progressive” propaganda. “I voted for M4A. How can you not call me Progressive?”

      1. Cas

        Quite true on how they operate. Remember, Kamala Harris was a co-sponsor of Bernie’s M4A bill. Gee, now that she’s VP, I guess M4A is a slam dunk!
        p.s. I agree with Amfortas, we can effect change at the local level. It’s a good place to put your energy. National politics is theater (except for the consequences being real).

        1. chris

          I disagree. I think pushing for something worthwhile is important. I think putting people publicly on the record is important. And I don’t understand where we got this idea that legislation is only good if it can pass the first time? We should have our representatives vote on the bill we have right now and push it as far forward as they can. I’m tired of hearing how they are ready to “fight for me” when they’re too cowardly to even step in the ring and take a hit.

          1. D. Fuller

            The issue is, that with Republicans in The Senate blocking any M4A legislation, RW Centrist Business Democrats in The House are free to vote FOR M4A and then hold it up before voters… making their votes, FAKE.

            Normally, there are 4 to 5 Blue Dog Democrats in The Senate who are tapped to block such legislation. With 57 Senators(D)? Democrats would have to expose themselves for the anti-M4A party they are… by finding additional Democrats to vote against M4A in the Senate.

            House Democrats who hate with abhorrence, M4A? Would vote for it, knowing that it would be defeated by Republicans (if they hold Georgia). Thus concealing their true nature. Handing anti-M4A Democrats who voted for M4A – only to see it defeated in the Senate by whatever method – election year propaganda to use against their challengers. Be the challanger Progressive or Republican.

            Not something anyone wants to do. And it exposes few for what they are.

    6. Aumua

      Dore is sure good at punching left, he’s proved that by now. Not saying he is necessarily wrong, just that it’s kind of his shtick now. I mean we finally have a few reps who are at least talking about the right things… so let’s march them to the front, put a gun to their head and demand they perform a miracle! And shoot em if they don’t do our revolution for us. Soon we’ll be back to all centrists, all day.

      1. Zagonostra

        You are being disingenuous or have not understood the tactics JD is employing. It’s not about performing a ‘miracle,’ that is a total mis characterization. It’s about being courageous and doing what you said you would do if elected.

        1. Aumua

          Eh, potato, potato. You got your facts, and I got mine. I’d like to see a campaign promise from any of them that they were going to take down Pelosi if she did not comply with their wishes.

          Suicide bombers are what you want to see.

          1. zagonostra

            I am now enlightened, “your facts are not my facts and courageous principled politicians = Suicide bomber.

            Seriously, give below video a view. JD just uploaded a couple of hours ago and it’s a good summary of the tactic and who is supporting it. If you still think this is a bad strategy, I may be missing something. I’ve read all the comments and I still think JD’s tactic is a good one even though no one expects M4A to pass without a whole lot of blood letting and struggles ahead.

            Suicide, no a martyr on the scale of an MLK, maybe.


              1. The Rev Kev

                “Fellow Traveller”

                noun: fellow traveller; plural noun: fellow travellers; noun: fellow traveler; plural noun: fellow travelers

                A person who is not a member of a particular group or political party, but who sympathizes with the group’s aims and policies.

                “he was certainly a fellow traveller—in the political context of the Thirties this was unremarkable”

                1. Aumua

                  I mean it’s not a horrible idea or anything, but I guess you’re right. I don’t like Dore’s attitude these days. I’ve watched dozens of his videos and enjoyed them in the past, but now all he seems to want to do is use his power, influence and platform to criticize and make demands of the mostly brand new and laughably small leftist contingent in our government.

                  So yeah, I can admit I don’t like the idea cause it’s Jimmy Dore’s idea, cause [family blog] him that’s why.

          2. ShamanicFallout

            Aumua, sorry but wrong. As I said above, Dore et al are doing EXACTLY what AOC has been asking people to do:

            AOC complained that ‘we can’t even get a floor vote on M4A?’ She also said we need to ‘start bringing the ruckus on the Democratic Party’ and on M4A, we ‘need to force it to happen’?

            What is a ruckus? What is forcing a vote? It’s certainly not the fabled ‘sternly worded letter that’s for sure



  6. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Breaking point ?

    ” But increasingly, staff are so desperate for some real time off that they see resignation as the only way out, Ms Ribeiro said. A survey by broadcaster TV4 showed that in 13 of Sweden’s 21 regions, resignations in the healthcare profession are now up from a year ago, at as many as 500 a month “.

    November 1st was the date when Sweden’s top banker Carina Akerstrom praised the response to virus.

    1. Winston Smith

      No shit.
      Why stick to a dangerous, thankless and trauma-inducing job? No it is not the nurses’ job to pick up the pieces of the disaster inflicted by widespread human stupidity that endangers their lives and sanity (and that of everyone else)….

      1. carl

        After neoliberalism destroyed people’s joy in their work, now it’s just another “market decision” to quit your job. Sorry, extreme capitalists, you can’t have it both ways.

          1. CitizenSissy

            True that. Noted many times that cash rarely accompanies the lip service. TPTB often fight tooth and nail NOT to shell out the cash while installing “Heroes Work Here” signs.

      2. PressGaneyMustDie

        “ Why stick to a dangerous, thankless and trauma-inducing job?”
        Because I love the practice of nursing and am lucky enough to live in a part of the US where the pay is good in proportion to the cost of living. But I’m sitting out Covid even though I could command in excess of $2000 US a day on contract. I’m hiding out as a psych nurse and resuscitation/critical care instructor. A real “hero” in all of this would be a hospital or nursing home housekeeper, nursing assistant, sterile processing technician, X-ray technician, etc. They get as much disease exposure for less money and social adulation.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “TOM CURSE Tom Cruise Covid rant – star warns Mission: Impossible crew they’re ‘f***ing gone’ if they break rules on set”

    Never really like Tom Cruise as an actor but he does have a point here. He is filming in a country where the virus is running rampant and the article said that he personally paid £500,000 (US$677,000) for an old cruise ship for the cast and crew to isolate on. You only need one jack-a** playing loose with the rules to have the virus get in and run through the crew and slam production to a complete stop. That would set back production by months and such a virus could rage through that liner that the cast & crew are on. The budget would get blown to hell and any future contracts with future films would get thrown into doubt. Yeah, I gotta give him a pass here.

    Gotta admit too in passing that the links were very depressing as I scrolled down them but when I came to furzy’s Antidote du jour, I had to break out in laughter. That cat is hilarious.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I was so impressed with that rant I almost forgot he was a Scientologist. But seriously, it revealed a very compassionate side of him that was refreshing.

      1. apleb

        For the same reason anyone else is going to work: to earn a living.
        Not necessarily Mr. Cruise himself, but all the people working behind the camera which usually aren’t multi millionaires as he is. All those stage hands, grippers, assistants, etc. must work.

        I read about his production being sort of a pilot project, at least according to Mr. Cruise himself: if he does it do well, it shows other film projects how to shoot in a pandemic. Which would be important if what he claims true, so the movie industry world wide can go on and not shut down.

        There is a lot of valid criticism against the movie industry but it does employ people and the audience obviously wants the product. Noticed how few new shows there are on TV this fall, how late they are? The closed/empty movie theaters are obvious.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Or if Tom Cruise cares so much about the livelihoods of those movie workers, maybe he could donate a small fraction of his personal fortune to them so they can afford to stay home during the pandemic?

          1. apleb

            Hollywood is literally a billions dollar industry. No single actor, not all actors combined could actually make a dent in the needs of the hundreds of people working on a movie besides them. Actors and some directors get paid the most by far but it’s not enough for all of them.

            Pandemic relief is a government job and it’s the government to fail as it does. I agree the stars, like all the other rich people should pay more taxes, especially in all kinds of capital gains to finance among other things this pandemic relief, but it’s not his job to do the job of the government. Philantrophy (pseudo) is no replacement for a functioning government.

            1. bob

              Tom needs to yell more at the crew.

              “Pandemic relief is a government job and it’s the government to fail as it does.”

              That would make a great headline over a picture of him the US weekly. Now get back to work.

        2. Dr. John Carpenter


          As someone who used to stagehand, I know from talking to people still in the biz Covid has been brutal on the behind the scenes people, as you’d expect. Since the government isn’t willing to help people out, I don’t know what the alternative is.

          1. bob

            The government isn’t helping, so why not make people come back to work so that they can be lectured by a multi-millionare gasbag about “safety”.

            He should go ask Oprah about all of this.

      2. lyman alpha blob


        Rather than threatening those who make a fraction of what he does, maybe hold off on filming an 18th sequel of an already way past its prime movie franchise until after the pandemic, and spend the time advocating for paying people who aren’t already squillionaires to stay home instead.

        Wasn’t one of the main rona prevention measures avoiding unnecessary activities? Pretty sure there are any number of rotten Mission Impossible movies I could watch already if I were really in a masochistic mood.

        1. ambrit

          Look into the “philosophy” behind Scientology and you’ll understand better why Tom is ‘entitled’ to make the movie now.
          (It really is related to Krystyn Podgajski’s ‘reptilian’ comment above.)

      3. Geo

        Can’t speak for his film but I directed a small indie film a few months ago. Main reason I did it was because I know a lot of people falling behind on bills and no good options coming up. Was able to hire 70+ people over four weeks of filming. We followed strict protocol and no one got sick. All were happy to comply with safety protocols (except one who was promptly fired).

        It’s not ideal but a lot of people in the film industry are having their lives wrecked during this lockdown. Very few are actually wealthy or even middle class. Most had jobs in service industries to get by between occasional film gigs and that work has gone away too.

        I debated heavily if it was irresponsible to make a film in our current climate but I chose to do so because so many I knew needed and wanted to work. I got many thank you notes after filming from people grateful for the work and how diligent we were about safety. So, personally, I feel the risk was worth it.

        Again, I can’t speak for other films but that is my personal take on it.

        1. bob

          The next time you feel like displaying your privilege in order to defend the privilege of Tom Cruise, go ahead and explain to us why he, or you, can’t just give the money away.

          “I got many thank you notes”

          Good for you. You saved them all. They probably don’t know how well off you are that you even had a choice about this. Most of them probably didn’t. You should keep telling everyone, all the time, about the massive amount of privilege that you have. Don’t let them forget for one moment. Take every bit of a chance you can to tell them about how lucky you are!

          If anyone gets sick of listening to you and your self-referential soliloquy, make sure to explain to them how much better you are than than them. After all, you had the choice to make people work. Do they want to chose to be fired?

          1. ambrit

            Oh my, another “responsible rugged individualist” rant.
            Geo doesn’t have any money of his own. Most films are “produced” by investors. So, Geo was spending other people’s money to make a film. Investors in the film industry are gambling, and know it. The trick of making a money losing film is an old time tax dodge. “The Producers” was based upon just this idea. Thus, a savvy investor will win out either way the fortune cookie crumbles.
            Now, compare Geo’s compassion, no other word fits, with the brutalism that passes for an ideology on the right in America today. Without further government intervention, people are going hungry, losing shelter, and otherwise sinking into Dickensian squalor.
            Tom Cruise giving money away to random strangers? Maybe he does, but doesn’t publicize it. Maybe he helps other Scientologists.
            I remember the “Faith Based” charities that helped us during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. They were living out their “privilege” too. In this case, and especially in Geo’s case, it is the ‘privilege’ to help others.
            I suggest that the next time you pass by a beggar, you don’t giver him or her a quarter. Go for broke and make it a whole dollar.

            1. bob

              Imagine being the guy who hears Tom Cruise yelling at a film crew and then getting on the internet to yell at someone who doesn’t think what he is did is the best thing ever.

              I thought the Elon fans were perverts…..

                  1. bob

                    How do you listen to Tom Cruise yelling at the film crew and think it’s a good thing?

                    Further, you think that it’s not only a good thing that he yelled at his crew like a madman, that he should be congratulated for it?

                    No one should ever talk to anyone like that. That anyone can think that Tom cruise is anything but and entitled brat after hearing that is nuts.

                    Woke? how about we start with decency.

                    And yes. He did think he should be congratulated-

                    “I debated heavily if it was irresponsible to make a film in our current climate but I chose to do so because so many I knew needed and wanted to work.”

                    That’s pure job creator nonsense. He should not be thanked. He should be held to account for making that decision. Everyone is responsible for the spread of Covid except for the people who are actually making the decsions. That’s how things seem to be going right now.

  8. Krystyn Podgajski

    Regarding AOC and all these backtracking “progressives”; I hate it all, but what did you expect? People who do anything to get power will do anything to keep it. People like AOC, who are so driven to get into those ivy league schools, she did that, not for others, but for herself, for her own power. She was trained as a power seeker since High School and she is still playing by the same script. These people are successful at dominating the game we need to take apart. This was the same with Obama. We need to stop holding these people up as standards and see them for what they are, power seekers.

    And do not even get me started on Mayor Pete…

    Is 0830EST too early for a shot of vodka?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s 11:30 at night here. Does that count? Seriously, save the hard stuff for when the sun goes down. As for Mayor Pete, I see that he is going to be in charge of transportation. I was reading this novel set in WW2 where an officer is mentioned. He was a total incompetent that one day accidentally put in real ammo in an artillery training exercise and absolute caused chaos. So they ended up putting him in charge of the one thing that he could not do much damage to – transport.

        1. The Historian

          I don’t think anyone is pushing Mayor Pete. I think he made a ‘grand bargain’ with the DNC to get out of the race during the primaries and he has refused all job offers until Biden came up with a job that Pete feels was worthy of his part in the bargain.

            1. The S

              Oh he can see Black People. That’s why he’s the Transportation Secretary now, so he can gentrify the country like he did South Bend. Methinks more than a few highways are going to get built right through Black neighborhoods.

              1. Tom Doak

                Well, you have to. The property values are lower so we can afford to compensate them through eminent domain. Couldn’t afford to put a road through a nice white neighborhood. He’s only being practical. /s

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          And whatever happened to ambassador to china to hone his foreign policy chops and groom him for the oval office?

          Transportation. Hmmm. Does self-driving vehicle technology have anything to do with this?

          1. Tom Doak

            Ugh. That probably is the real reason . . . so he can rubber stamp all these companies sending autonomous vehicles out on delivery.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Like the Sgt. Bilko character in the old 1950s Phil Silvers Show, in charge of the army base’s motor pool.

      2. Keith

        Transport can be a real money maker, with all the highway and various construction contracts. There was a reason Emanuel wanted it. Could also help him build a donor list while staying under the radar.

      3. Maxwell Johnston

        Transport in the military is no joke. Logistics matter, especially if the war drags on. Brave warriors and good weapons are useless without ammo, fuel, and water (the holy trinity). USA/UK botched their logistics in France 1944, causing major delays even though the Wehrmacht was hanging by a thread. But the Soviets were little better on the logistics front; after destroying Army Group Center their pursuit was delayed due to lack of the aforementioned. That said, I have no idea as to Mayor Pete’s competence in such matters. But in general, you want bright eager types running your logistics.

        1. D. Fuller

          To be fair, the US & UK did not have the large capacity deep-water ports (after D-Day) to properly supply a lightning advance across France as German defenses collapsed. Which is why Antwerp was so vital in invading Nazi Germany proper. There is only so much men & material that can be stuffed through lower capacity ports until a high capacity port becomes available. Imagine the Port of LA suddenly being unavailable while reducing all other ports by 9/10ths of their current size. The US economy, as reliant on logistics as it is, would suffer a huge blow.

          The Soviets, with their doctrine of “Deep Battle”? Their offense against Nazi German followed the rail roads and what few roads were capable of supplying their armies. After the destruction of Army Group Center… The Soviets paused to regroup and resupply after advancing 300 miles in 5 weeks. Within reach of Warsaw. Closer to Berlin than any other Allied army.

          The poor development of roads and railroads East of Poland, the destruction wrought after 5 years of intense fighting begun in 1939; hampered all armies – German and Soviet – throughout the war.

          As for Mayor Pete? The Peter Principle + Dunning-Kruger rules Washington DC.

    2. John

      Did you get your education for others or for yourself? I must be obtuse but I fail to see how one is trained to be a “power seeker”.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I was not talking about her formal education.

        The system trains you to be a power seeker, and it chooses who it trains.

    3. Worf's Prune Juice

      Pretty sure AOC went to BU, not an ivy. The more important point though is that putting her in the same bucket as Obama or the other “meritocratic” Dems is just wrong. In what way was her working as a bartender for years part of the high school power seeker script? Of course, this doesn’t mean that her role in Congress and national celebrity couldn’t corrupt her – hence the importantance of holding her to account and not just giving her a free pass because the rest of her party is largely terrible. But lumping her in with Mayor Pete? C’mon man!

      And no, 8:30 AM is not too early for a shot of vodka. If you put it in your orange juice you’ll also get some vitamins!

      1. Romancing The Loan

        Yeah I was going to chime in to defend/trash our alma mater. The closest we Boston University students got to the Ivies was throwing ourselves at Harvard and MIT students after crashing their parties.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Power changes you. As an example, when Joe Biden first became a Senator back in 1972, he did so on ‘a platform focused on withdrawal from Vietnam, the environment, civil rights, mass transit, more equitable taxation, health care, and public dissatisfaction with “politics as usual”.’

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Knowing what you know about biden after nearly 50 years of “public service,” what makes you think that power “changed” him?

          As I recall, the “policy” positions you mention were pretty easy to take in 1972, particularly opposition to the Vietnam war.

          As I also recall, he burst onto the national political stage lying through his teeth about his educational record in the same shouting, hectoring, finger-jabbing style that he still employs, albeit more feebly today. The only thing that’s “changed” is that, back then, the media was willing to call him out on his bullshit. And there was plenty of it, which kept him relegated to Delaware, one of the tax evasion capitals of the world.

        2. D. Fuller

          Ever notice how Centrist Dems, right after losing Congress… suddenly start spouting Progressive agenda talking points as if they were all Sanders… yet as soon as they come into power? All that talk suddenly disappears. And now that Biden is President and there is a vaccine, according to Pelosi (and Schumer and Mitch) Americans do not need all that much in Covid relief after all.

          The Biden Presidency will be one of the most vapid, soulless performances since Obama. Dull and boring. Status quo.

          1. LilD

            Dull and boring is definitely the upside. We should be so lucky as to get dull and boring…

            I foresee bad days before the Biden administration ends

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Indeed. Dull and boring is what we are meant to see. A continuation of plausibly deniable, think-tank insidious, corruption is what we will get.

        3. Cas

          I think Biden was an apparatchik from the start. One of his favorite stories is about the death of his wife and child, how he was in the hospital, ready to quit his Senate race, overwhelmed with grief, when Dem party people came into the room and told him he couldn’t quit, they needed him in the Senate. As they say, the rest is history.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      No one who is a threat to the status quo makes the covers of magazines and gets a Netflix documentary.

      1. Worf's Prune Juice

        Not sure I fully agree here. Status quo institutions don’t just ignore potential threats, they also try to seduce/corrupt them in an attempt to minimize the threat. And magazine covers and TV shows don’t mean the same thing today as they did when magazines had millions of subscribers and there were only 3 TV channels. There’s plenty of manure on Netflix to drown out the clicks for AOC.

    5. marym

      She went to Boston University. Also, she started a program to provide free weekly online tutoring sessions to kids in her district. 1,300 people have signed up to tutor.

      I know you’re on the road, so it may not be feasible, but those of us who can, if we’re not in NY-14 or Vermont, should be making demands of our own Congresspersons.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        It’s programs like “Homework Helpers” that are the do gooders do nothing plan. I do not want her wasting her time on that and instead fighting for the structural changes so kids do not need it as all. The guy says on the video fo Homework Helpers; “Instead of depending on a government to help us…that abandoned us…”

        She is only helping prop up a failed system. When did these programs ever lead to systematic or even temporary change? It’s the same neoliberal bs. Did people vote for her as a politician or a volunteer organizer?

        Ivy or not, BU is ranked #42 in the country and costs about $60k a year.

        1. Wukchumni

          Sorry, but every college & university is in the I.V. League now, with a constant student loan debt drip.

          1. polecat

            That’s part of the medicine -The s-body incessantly trialed with experi-mentaled interfearedon.

            .. especially so, with those high dosages of critical T-celled id-polbusybodies.

            No fix for that, to be sure .. cept for maybe radiation treatment… from parental orbits!

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      This is out of line.

      AOC didn’t go to an Ivy League school.

      She did real front line activism, as I recall protesting against the DAPL. That’s foot soldier stuff, not hunger for power.

      She was a fucking bartender. If she wanted power, she would have found a way from Boston University to get hired by a think tank. She was discovered by Justice Democrats.

      Now I agree she’s too accommodative but in general she’s punched way above her weight for a newbie Congresscritter.

      To compare her to Mayo Pete is so off base I don’t know where to begin.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      The question is, power for what? To achieve what with it?

      The two Roosevelts were power seekers and political operators, but their achievements and legacies are considered by most people to be beneficial to most of those most people.

  9. Synoia

    Small Modular Reactors Produce Clean Hydrogen Popular Mechanics

    This article appears to contain no discussion about nuclear waste disposal for the “small” 250 Mega Watt, reactors.

    Nuclear reactors are in no way “Clean.”

    1. Solar guy

      We are out of time. We have to get carbon not just down but negative if we want any kind of chance at a future.
      Yep nucs are not that good but they are carbon free.
      We are in the time of all of the above. Not
      the Obama BS, but carbon free all of the above. Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, nuclear, etc.

      If you think we are making significant headway with renewables, I understand why. The media keeps pushing that narrative.
      Here is the reality: the USA installed about 30gw ( billion watts of renewables last year). We need over 250gw per year for 10 years just to offset what we use in electricity right now, not taking into account population growth etc.

      And we have to deal with winter, limited sun, cold etc. solar/wind really struggles with doing that. We need base load and also lots more production so we can start doing carbon capture.

      If we don’t get this happening soon, yesterday, then the geo engineering people we be in charge, it’ll be sold to us as cheap and the only hope we have to trying to keep the temps down.

      1. James

        “but they are carbon free”

        Sure they are, if you ignore the carbon and fossil fuels needed for mountain removal, mining of uranium, processing, trucking, further refining, guarding, building the plant to build the nukes, the elimination of thousands of square miles cumulatively around the mini-nukes for safety distancing, the, anti-terrorist provisions to guard the nukes so they don’t become mini 9/11 dirty bombs, the waste storage, trucking waste under guard, final storage of waste, provisions for hundreds of thousands of years of half life contamination, the removal of the mini-nukes after metal embrittlement, the permanent storage somewhere of the nukes.

        And of course, the free market will determine the price of liability insurance for the mini-nukes. After that, they are carbon free.

        No thanks, I like my reactors 8 million miles away, free for the taking, blasting the earth with free energy 24/7/365, no liability insurance needed.

        1. a different chris

          And the sun comes up every damn day.

          Unlike our continual scramble (“fines are 1 million/day,* better get that working!”) to deal with planned reactor outages, let alone unplanned ones.

          *Probably much more now

        2. foghorn longhorn

          “When a drum containing radioactive waste blew up in an underground nuclear dump in New Mexico two years ago, the Energy Department rushed to quell concerns in the Carlsbad desert community and quickly reported progress on resuming operations.

          The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.

          But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania….”

          Doesn’t look so carbon free from this angle.

      2. a different cris

        But again, “we” -not me!- failed grievously to put in a new nuke plant, V.C. Summer, in South Carolina. Why do people who keep telling us that we “need nuclear” also just blithely ignore this?

        I could be an NBA star if I could dribble, shoot, and was a half-foot (at least) taller. But I don’t talk about my career being mysteriously ignored. That’s because I can’t do any of that.

      3. fajensen

        Another Reality: Someone has to create a religion around tendering to the nuclear waste we have already produced; Because religion is the only known human enterprise that has demonstrated it’s ability to run for the 2000 years or so that the most active waste will need cooling for!

        The “Small Modular Reactors(tm)” versus “(Huge) Conventional Reactors” is the olde Blockbuster Bomb versus the more modern Cluster Bomb: The dispersion of smaller devices leads to a more efficient use of the active material by spreading it’s effects more evenly (and providing more failure points, technical and commercial, for Government to clean up once the “nuke-bros” have had their fun with it).

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        If we used less electricity, we wouldn’t need to make all the electricity we make now.

        So ways to permit or facilitate people using less electricity would be useful and helpful. Not “no” electricity. But “less” than what we use now.

  10. Mikel

    RE: “Joe Biden has created the most diverse cabinet in the history of Goldman Sachs

    — Fishbones (@Fishbones2)

    Since “diverisity” is what the establishment uses for cover as the conditions get worse for the majority of people, it’s going to be pretty bad. The Biden administration is using the super-power diversity shield for the nightmare that must be coming.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Skin diversity. Skin deep diversity. Racially genderful diverse oligarchs. A rainbowligarchy.

  11. Chas

    There is someone else deserving of a presidential pardon besides Assange and Snowden. How about a pardon for the longest serving political prisoner in the United States — Leonard Peltier of the American Indian Movement? When the FBI attacked their reservation in 1975 the Sioux fought back. Two FBI agents were killed. Federal prosecutors, with flimsy controversial evidence, charged Leonard Peltier with murder and the all-white jury agreed. When exculpatory evidence emerged after the trial, the judge declined to re-open the case. Occasionally Peltier sends messages to the public from prison and signs them “In the spirit of Crazy Horse.” That spirit is sadly missing in the USA these days.

    1. nn

      I wonder what would happen if somebody told Trump that pardoning all weed prisoners would give him the black male vote in 2024.

  12. polar donkey

    Mississippi CDC study- About a week and a half ago, the teachers at a middle school in north Mississippi had a Christmas party. High degree of covid skeptism among these teachers. Well, teachers got each other infected and went back to school. 120 students them had to get quarantined because of contact with the teachers.

    1. anon y'mouse

      another example of (what passes for) education doesn’t make you smart.

      forwarded the recent link about the ruination of the schools to mom-in-law. as i’ve maybe said before–she worked in all aspects of schools throughout all ages and levels from preschool to advanced degrees, as teacher, principle and admin up to untenured professor for master’s degree seekers in Ed. Admin (most of whom taught for less than 3 years in class, and who needed remedial english writing–her speciality).

      her response “it’s all about the admin & their salaries!”

    2. Wukchumni

      Mississippi is a ‘show me’ state more than Missouri, and still my go-to when playing states liar poker.

      1. ambrit

        If you want to learn how to really play “Show Me,” then I suggest you come on down and attend a few ‘personal redemption sessions’ with a church Pastor or Deacon.
        Missouri is too urban and ‘advanced’ a state to be classed with the other NADS. It has Saint Louis and Kansas City, both big honkin cities. It was considered a “Border State” during the past Unpleasantness for a reason.

          1. ambrit

            Oh, I’m so sorry! A 9 high is such a seductive hand to try and fill.
            A ‘flush’ with Ace, King, and Jack is nowhere near a “straight” anything round here.
            You take it easy on your eye for the next few weeks Wukchumni. I’ll cut down on the ‘sniping’ and assorted high jinks.
            Be safe!

  13. Jack White

    “Running out of nurses” Even before the corporate takeover of health care, nursing shortage was predicted for 2020, based on recruitment rates. When health care was charity managed, that charity management would recruit, train, and employ likely young women to nursing, proactively, housing included, continuously. Corporate does not do this. Efforts to train nurses must be taken by communities and individuals now. Corporate health care HR departments have been relying on travelers for about forty years. It’s payback time for “just-in-time” thinking in staffing, just as it is in PPE supply.

    1. Wukchumni

      Friends here became RN’s about a decade ago, she was all about from here to maternity, while he got into the ICU ward without serious health mishap in the process. We liked to say ‘they were coming & going’.

      She lasted a couple years, as she felt that 4 out of 5 deliveries weren’t of the ‘We’re so glad wee’re having a baby’ nuclear family types, more the single mom on welfare-the husband in prison or simply nowhere to be seen, the drug addicted mom, and I could go on, but you get the idea.

      He took to the profession like a duck to water and is highly valued by the hospital, but is clearly wearing down from the onslaught of Covid, I can see it in his eyes.

      1. furies

        Post partum was for me was just as you suggest; most nights I wanted to take those newborns home with me knowing the vast dysfunction they were born into and would replicate. (not that I’m so ‘functional’ heh)

        Helping people die was tons more rewarding…

    2. The Rev Kev

      I suppose that in the past that if there was a shortage of nurses, that some could be simply imported into the country from other countries by offering good pay and the right visa. Lots of countries do that – poach from other countries. But with a world-wide pandemic on, that option is now shut. All that lack of investment in healthcare and training of medical personnel is coming home to roost for a lot of countries. Cutting hospital beds – and the attendant medical workers – to a just in time approach according to the best MBA principles has proven totally inadequate when faced with an emergency. But I think that when this pandemic is finally over, a lot of those nurses will be sacked – particularly the ones who got he virus as they may have future health problems. And it will be done on the grounds that medical budgets have to be balanced once more.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        To a large extent, this is the long term failure of national leadership. Only the federales have this kind of power and resources to organize systems to handle this. The states really don’t without the Federal government ending unfunded mandates and reassuming activities they pushed on the states so Clinton and Reagan could make news about cutting the budget.

        For profit monopolies certainly won’t.

    3. Dr. Strangelove

      What’s more is the over credentialization. My bartender is studying to be a nurse. He has to learn calculus to get into nursing school. This is ridiculous. Hospitals prefer RNs with a BS in nursing. Again, ridiculous. LPNs are just fine for many of the jobs. Also, the cost of school is outrageous.

      1. RMO

        Dr. Strangelove: That’s pretty much how colleges and universities work for any degree – the number of unrelated classes you need to take to complete anything can be mind boggling. Frequently they’re hard to get in to, or require some prerequisite classes that are also hard to get. Or you mess up in one class and it impacts your GPA to the point where you have grind your way through multiple classes to get it high enough to let you apply to those mandatory classes. When I was going for a business degree several of my fellow students were in that boat. I had to fight tooth and nail to get my university to allow me to use my previous time as a music student to satisfy the generic liberal arts credits they required for the business program as for some reason they specified those credits didn’t count.

    4. polecat

      JIT thinking

      Right up there with ‘efficiencies’ as they relate to lower ‘bed’ inventories …

    5. m

      Don’t they say there is a stem shortage in USA so they need more HB1 workers. My engineer friends have a hard time finding work, a good paying job because they bring in foreign workers for cheap.
      There is no nursing shortage. There is a nurse hiring shortage. They push out older experience nurses in sneaky ways, like giving them really brutal assignments so they get discouraged and retire.
      Then there are the foreign nurses, don’t get me wrong they are awesome, but when I hear about their contracts I feel pretty bad for them.
      It is all about money, more nurses means less managers.

  14. Wukchumni

    Had my first contact with somebody who had Covid, one of the women that work for the ophthalmologist got it a month ago from her husband who works in the hospital @ Corcoran state prison. She’s in her early 50’s and told us her temp got up to 104 in the worst part of her bout, and breathing was so very hard for a spell as well.

    We got to talking about the convicts, guards and staff, and she said it’s completely taken over the prison, and she was wondering why not give the convicts the first vaccines?

    You’ve got them in a controlled situation where you can easily document side-effects and whatnot, the perfect closed study.

    It felt weird being in her presence, post plague across the desk from us.

    Going to get my first ever Covid test at the hospital in Visalia today, as they test everyone before you’re allowed to have surgery, and a week ago if you had told me i’d be going to the hospital twice in a week, I would have said no way, but i’m looking forward to this case of sleight of sight being so over, things change.

    1. Maritimer

      “We got to talking about the convicts, guards and staff, and she said it’s completely taken over the prison, and she was wondering why not give the convicts the first vaccines?
      You’ve got them in a controlled situation where you can easily document side-effects and whatnot, the perfect closed study.”
      This could be done by former workers at Abu Ghraib or Guantanomo. What a great advancement for Medicine and Humanity!

      1. Wukchumni

        Her point was…

        Seeing as the unincarcerated citizens of the country have no recourse in the case of a bad vaccine, what difference does it make if the prison population were to be given the vaccine first and then carefully monitored. There isn’t another control group like it in these United States.

  15. Tom Stone

    When I read about the treatment of Assange I am reminded that “The purpose of Terror is to Terrorize”.
    Remember when the UK and the USA made a pretense of being “Free”?
    Good times, long gone.

    1. WhoaMolly

      The treatment of Assange looks like an attempt to kill him. Constant psychological and physical stress, poor medical care, isolation, and poor nutrition,

      1. ambrit

        Yes. Belmarsh Prison, where Assange is presently being held is called “England’s Guantanamo.”
        Winters in the south of England, especially close to the Thames mouth are generally cold and damp. The perfect conditions to ‘run down’ a person’s physical stamina. That and the fact that the staff at Belmarsh have a particularly bad reputation concerning violence to inmates.
        I am personally amazed that Assange was not “shot while trying to escape” when the bobbies went into the Ecuadoran embassy to arrest him.

        1. ambrit

          Oh blast! Belmarsh Prison is in Woolwich, which is south of London proper, but not at Thames mouth. I still stand by my characterization of the miseries of English winters. (One of my very earliest memories of life is of snow and snowman building at the house we had near Shepperton.)

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Hunger spikes, demand rises for US food banks”

    America is supposed to be the wealthiest country in the world. And yet there are now permanent food shortages in many places. But not once in all those aid bills passed did I hear about food distribution in them. The government is supposed to be the purchaser of last resort so perhaps they can purchase food from all those farmers and food manufacturers and then distribute it across the States. Everybody wins with that one. But what happens when the food banks run out? Will we see flash mobs come together and strip food out of supermarkets? Will we see food truck’s cargo hijacked? People can get pretty desperate but more so when their kids are starving.

    1. Wukchumni

      An awful lot of the food grown here is pretty much for export, we went from a few million almond trees 30 years ago to around 200 million, and aside from early overproduction issues (at one point around 20 years ago, the growers had TV commercials practically begging Americans to eat a can of almonds a week) everything has gone superbly, the stanza corresponding in tandem with the rise of China & the rest of Asia, where many of our almonds end up.

      I’ve never seen soybeans on the menu in a diner, but we grow a veritable shitlode of them, all for export.

      1. polecat

        What’s not to like? Wurst come to shove, we could ALWAYS resort to eating $audi exported Alfalfa, in petrol-e-Yummm form .. so there’s that ..

        Eat your dirty Green$!!

    2. Oso_in_Oakland

      The Rev Kev well said. for those getting items from the Food Banks/Docks to distribute to others (here in Oakland) pre-Covid there were basically corridors to set up in as distro points. where folks from the projects, working poor, homeless congregate. often near public transportation. with lockdowns and fear those areas are only spottily busy now. Now we have to go all over to find folks to help out, becomes an all day task. Not complaining, fortunate to be healthy and able to do it. Part of the Covid reality these days I guess.

    3. Eclair

      Rev Kev, like inequality, hunger/famine is neither economic nor technological, it is ideological and political. (T. Piketty) In a wealthy society, we make a political choice to let people starve, or to simply provide enough for stunted growth.

      Mid-19th century Swedish crop failures and ‘famines’ sent thousands to the parish fattighus (poorhouse), or to flee to America, or, like the evicted and jobless farm-worker spouse of my husband’s great grand aunt (and father of newborn twins as well as two toddlers), to slog cross-country through the February snow and throw himself in front of the Stockholm-bound train. Yet, Sweden continued to export tons of grain to England, to feed the draft horses in London.

      The clusters of tents in our neighborhood parks, the rows of campers permanently parked on the less-traveled streets, these are our ‘poor houses.’ But there are no more Americas to flee to. No more ‘free’ land. The commons have been enclosed and even the airwaves and our genomes have been privatized. Decision time: do we share? Or do we lockdown, slam the gates, consign the unlucky, the unloved, the ‘undeserving,’ to a living hell?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hadn’t heard that story about Sweden but would you believe that as a million Irish starved to death, that Ireland was still exporting food to England because of contracts? An earlier famine was averted when Ireland forbid exporting food but the mercantile class was more in charge of England by the 1840s so the exports were kept up.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    Thanks for the octopus link – it’s an excerpt from a new book by Peter Godfery-Smith. Another to add to the reading list! His last one on cephalopods, Other Minds, was quite good.

    If there is reincarnation, being a cephalopod in Octopolis seems like it would be nice.

  18. antidlc

    Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Volunteers Note Occasional Harsh Side Effects
    Most report mild side effects, but those experiencing worse still recommend the shots

    Jocelyn Edwards wasn’t sure she got Moderna Inc.’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine or a placebo when she received her first of two doses in August. Hours after the second shot, she said she was sure it was the genuine article.

    “I woke up around midnight freezing,” said the 68-year-old retired nurse. “For the next 24 hours I had intense chills, serious neck pain, headache, all my joints were aching.” She had a fever that peaked at 102.4 and poured out so much sweat that she lost 3 pounds, she said. The following day she woke up and felt fine.

    Ms. Edwards, like the other 30,000 volunteers who took part in Phase 3 clinical trials for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, wasn’t told whether she got the vaccine or a placebo. However, she said a trial researcher attributed her symptoms to her body mounting a strong immune response to what was most likely the vaccine. “It’s better having 36 hours of feeling really rough than getting Covid,” she said.

    Moderna declined to comment for this article.

    1. Cuibono

      see, nothing to worry about! A couple days of misery and it is clear sailing. we are lucky to be living in a time where the glories of scientific technology seem unassailable.

  19. Brooklin Bridge

    FDA Authorizes 1st Home Coronavirus Test That Doesn’t Require A Prescription NPR

    Why am I not surprised the test goes to a smartphone to give results. I was thrilled up until that. It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of other tests out there that would do the same thing for less money and without informing the mother ship, though granted surreptitious data peep is an assumption.

    Still, the public at large seems to be delighted to give away any information whatsoever for the mere sake of convenience, so perhaps other than the production issues (no where near enough, no where near fast enough and expensive to boot, unless you can use it over and over) this will fly.

    An alternative – and it’s not been blessed by the ptb almost certainly because it’s too cheap. This has been linked to in links as well as other comments but once again.

  20. Duck1

    Not sure why the Nation is doing all the pearl clutching about some Republicans raising objections when the electoral college vote comes to Congress. Seems like it has been fairly common, Barbara Boxer even did it once, but often it isn’t paired with a supporter in the other house, so no debate happens. Are the Democratic skins so thin that they can’t handle this sort of procedure, which is outlined in the Constitution, involving debate and voting by a joint session?

    1. polecat

      Their skins are totally, transparently, Thin .. as in like a jellyfish, spineless! .. limp, unable to stay firm and worthy, instead to slither – deck to deck.

      I mean, just look at em! Like they all washed up from some deep abyssal trench, ready to disincorporate at a moment’s notice.

      *apologies to any deep abysmal lifeforms that I may have offened.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      As globalists drive for final victory in their jihad against all things national, there is some interesting housekeeping that must be performed before the handing over of the nuclear football to their man of the hour.

      Obviously the man with said briefcase in his possession must be completely vetted before the nation’s most sensitive secrets are handed over. Luckily the law is quite clear on how this is accomplished under Executive Order #12968:

      (b) An employee may not be granted access, or hold a position designated as requiring access, to information described in subsection (a) unless, as a condition of access to such information, the employee:
      (1) files with the head of the agency a financial disclosure report, including information with respect to the spouse and dependent children of the employee, as part of all background investigations or reinvestigations

      These procedures will obviously need to be amended for the installation of The Manchurian Candidate Joseph R. Biden. They could simply amend the law to say that “it is permissible for the employee and his immediate family to have extensive financial and business dealings with the intelligence agents and the armed forces of foreign powers”.

      And presumably it will fall to the CIA and the FBI to conduct this comprehensive vetting, so another remedy would be to simply rename those organizations and update and re-align their missions. With the decline of the “nation-state” construct (evidenced by the incoming leader’s repudiation of his predecessor’s antiquated “America First” policy), the old “national” missions of those institutions have become obsolete. A simple renaming of The CIA to GIA (Global Intelligence Agency) and FBI to GBI (Global Bureau of Investigations) would accomplish this, and would more accurately reflect those agencies’ longstanding operations in support of the objectives of the trans-national corporations that make up the “rules-based order”.

      At press time it was not clear which set of objectives and policies would govern the ultimate use of the football procedures, but a special conference was convened in The Cayman Islands to make that determination.

      1. RMO

        Well thanks to 2016 and its fallout about half the Hillary voters are convinced that Russia actually directly “hacked” and changed the votes so that trump would win. Now 2020 will probably have at least half the Trump voters convinced that the Dems and Venezuela directly changed the votes so Biden would win. So a large amount of US citizenry is already convinced the whole system is outright fraud. I’ve said it before, a nation is just a shared act of the imagination (or an illusion if you want to be really cynical). Once enough of the citizens stop believing in it nations tend to fall apart rapidly and messily.

        I’ve also said that once the wings and empennage break away from the fuselage it doesn’t much matter who you put in the pilot seat. One of the tasks of future historians, if indeed we have a future where historians are even possible, will be to pinpoint when that happened to the US. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, though in my more pessimistic moments I think it may have occurred when Bush II won a second term.

        1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          OK so nothing on the substance, we’ll give the pigskin to a man whose family a Senate subcommitte said last week posed “severe financial crime, counterterrorism, and extortion concerns”. Good idea.

          And I peg the start of WWIII at 9/11, coincides nicely with the sale of the country’s economic base.

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            Sorry, the report cited “counterespionage” not “counterterrorism” concerns. And I should have finished “…sale of the country’s economic base by the persons about to re-enter The White House”

            Its time to decide which side of the football you are on, America or something else.

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

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

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

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

  22. cuibono

    It is interesting to note that despite cases soaring compared to the spring, thus far the deaths are MUCH lower than they were. Time will tell of course. Perhaps deaths will lag a bit longer, as could be expected.
    Or perhaps those infected this go around are just much healthier.
    I say this not to excuse Sweden. As anyone reading my posts for the last 9 months will remember, I see no reason to excuse a country that suffered 10X the mortality of its immediate neighbors. Sure, some demographic differences with more immigrants blah blah blah

    1. RMO

      Here in BC the majority of cases are no in the 20-29 age bracket whereas in the spring the majority were in the 50-59. The rest of the cases skewed older back then and younger now too. Treatment is also a lot better now as we know more about what to do. The deaths seemed low at first in the fall wave but they appear to have picked up again.

    1. polecat

      Money funnel for the D N C, maybe …. ?? You know, those fine blu ishvolk who grift, as they nonchalantly toss you a cracked empty bowl of Cold Nancy ..

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        Ahhhh…Got it.

        I’ve found the same with direct contributions, probably via the NGP-VAN jerks.

  23. ewmayer

    Still a couple hours before midnight in central Europe, but allow me to wish a happy 250th birthday to Ludwig van Beethoven!

    It never ceases to amaze me that the greatest symphony of all time was written by someone who, at that point of his life, was profoundly deaf and only hearing the music in his head.

    (But I’ll be listening to the great Alfred Brendel, who himself turns 90 on January 5th, playing one of the piano sonatas to honor the occasion, myself.)

    1. polecat

      ‘Bu bu but that’s verging on racist indoctrination!’ “How DARE You!” – said the Critical Theorist …

      Ludwig v. is cool, anywhere in my book.

  24. John d

    Interesting. The allergy issues should really have been picked up with proper trials. I know 3 people who have been Pfizered. All fine apart from one sore arm . Front line healthcare workers in Northern Ireland.

    Some of the hospitals starting to really struggle. Certain political ideology has resulted in lack of lockdowns, but i can’t believe that it is at the level it is

Comments are closed.