Links 12/18/2020

Prague zoo’s month-old Sumatran orangutan finally has a name AP (Vlade). Must read, at least as far as paragraph five.

He Was a Stick, She Was a Leaf; Together They Made History NYT. “The augmentation of the complexity and intensity of the field of intelligent life.” –Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness.

Stablecoins: risks, potential and regulation (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

Repealing Section 230 as antitrust Interfluidity


Will the U.S. Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Vaccine Victory? Zeynep Tukecki, Insight

Second COVID vaccine recommended for emergency use in US, FDA says. What to know McClatchy

Pfizer says ‘millions’ of vaccine doses are waiting to be shipped — but the government hasn’t told them where to go The Week

Sweden’s king says country’s coronavirus strategy has failed FT

2 strip clubs can stay open and set own COVID rules, California judge rules CBS. It’s madness to be closing businesses by social function, instead of by epidemiologically-relevant criteria that affect transmnission like ventiilation, square-footage, average length of stay (and masking enforcement) — especially because we’re not incentivizing improving the built environment along those criteria!

Comparing bad apples to orange soda: Flaws and Errors in an Estimation of Years of Life Lost Associated With School Closures and COVID-19 deaths by Christakis, Van Cleve, and Zimmerman (preprint) OSF Preprints. Big if true, but above my paygrade. Readers? Yves interjects: More confirmation here, for instance: Can We Really Compare Covid-19 School Closures To Life Expectancy?

Autoantibody Problems Derek Lowe, “In The Pipeline,” Science

Japan OKs building of 2 Aegis ships as alternative to on-land system Kyodo News

US should permanently place a new First Fleet in Darwin: Babones Sky News. Maybe check with the Northern Territories on this.


Exclusive-U.S. to blacklist dozens of Chinese firms including SMIC, sources say Reuters

US-China tension: Pentagon’s 2021 maritime strategy has Beijing’s South China Sea activities in its sights South China Morning Post

China Is Not The Big Bad Guy In This Story The American Conservative

China to Provide Financial Support to Key Foreign Companies Bloomberg

Washington’s ploy to drive wedge between China and Mekong neighbors: China Daily editorial China Daily

She wants out. He’s not sure. Hong Kong splits apart as China tightens its grip. NBC

Drip irrigation emerges to solve rice paddy problem Reuters

The Koreas

1000 cases a day, hoo boy:


Whenever I see a photo of a Covid test in Asia, the swabbing is done by mouth, as in the picture above, and not through nasal brain-stabbing, as done here. Do they have alien technology we do not?

How Multiculturalism Has Fared in South Korea Amid the Pandemic Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Daily COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila may reach 4,000 if no safety compliance– experts The Rappler


After years fighting them, Milley talks peace with Taliban AP

Unlike the UK, many African nations have an effective test and trace system – this is why Independent (Colonel Smithers).

A Merc for ‘the movement’ – Zuma’s PA at Luthuli House, ANC fundraisers and the R800K SUV bought with Prasa locos money Daliy Maverick


Brexit trade talks buffeted by EU Covid relief state aid row FT


Socialists Will Not Be Driven Out of the Labour Party Jacobin

How the Black Blocs seized French streets Unherd (DC).

“Strategic Partners”: Britain’s secret lobbying of Bolsonaro for Big Pharma, Oil and Mining BrasilWire

The Semblance of a Bolivarian Bureaucrat Venezuelanalysis

New Cold War

How Russia Wins The Climate Crisis NYT. I don’t see what the problem is, as soon as we invade Canada, send their water southward to Las Vegas, and fortify the Artic circle. Ha ha, only serious.

* * *
US says cyber hack poses ‘grave risk’ to critical infrastructure FT

Russian Hackers Have Been Inside Austin City Network For Months The Intercept

Candidates for censorship (1):


Candidates for censorship (2):


Secret, Invisible Evidence Of Russian Hacking Is Not Actually Evidence Caitlin Johnstone. Cf. Heb 11.1.

Trump Transition

Snags on US COVID-19 Relief May Force Weekend Sessions VOA. Remember when $600 was $2000? Good times.

U.S. Republicans seek firm end to Fed’s coronavirus loans, complicating aid talks Reuters. Austerity, here we come. Well done, all.

Biden Transition

House Democratic majority will be 3-vote margin after Biden picks Haaland for interior post CNN. Options for the sc-called Squad, should they decide to exercise them.

Biden’s foreign policy team is full of idealists who keep getting people killed WaPo

Democrats in Disarray

I should probably say en dishabille instead of “in disarray.”

Congressional Democrats Are Raking in Huge Donations from War Profiteers Jacobin. Film at 11.

Our Famously Free Press

Why Speech Platforms Can Never Escape Politics National Affairs

Platform Civics: Facebook in the Local Information Infrastructure Digital Journalism

Dawn Scalici: Government Global Business Director Reuters

Guillotine Watch

Sacklers Deny Wrongdoing During House Panel Over Purdue Pharma Oxycontin Sales NPR

‘You will own nothing, and you will be happy’: Warnings of ‘Orwellian’ Great Reset Sky News

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. John A

    RE Democrats in Disarray

    I should probably say en dishabille instead of “in disarray.”

    Is this a sign of the emperor’s new clothes?

    1. montanamaven

      I always like the phrase “The DNC is a roach motel. Movements check in but they don’t check out”. Where movements go to die.

      1. km

        Supposedly, the goal of writing a really killer piece of software is not to start a business so that you can start a business that will take over the world, but to start a business so that you will be bought out by a Microsoft or Google.

        I have said before that if the Establishment is good at nothing else, it is good at deciding which threats to co-opt, whom to buy off, whom to promote, whom to neutralize or marginalize.

        Witness how so many Civil Rights-era protest leaders, people who did noble deeds, genuinely heroic things and who faced down death threats, Bull Connor and his dogs, were transformed overnight into Team D flunkies and corrupt machine politicians.

        Firebreathing Sixties radicals became mild-mannered academics and neutered foundation apparatchiks.

        For that matter, (and I know that this isn’t popular around here) how the energies of the Tea Party was hijacked and that movement as vealpenned into a wholly owned subsidiary of Team R.

        1. ambrit

          The last assertion is quite within the bounds of “good taste” around here. Why ascribe to the DNC, a level of nefariousness that more properly should be credited to the RNC as well? Both organizations follow the Laws of Institutions and are shaped by the same sets of ‘influences’.
          The predilection to co-option and neutering is not either DNC nor RNC, but rather to be ascribed to both as members of a class. That class determines the actions of the sub-units, and we ain’t in that class.

          1. Synoia

            Its almost as if the two parties are rival gangs, and only favor their “Bros”.

            And overlook gang loyalty, as a significant number of “Bros” contribute to both the R and D gang coffers, and R & D parties.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I still like In Cahoots. Because they are all working with eachother ( except the Squad) and they are all designing what they want and getting it.

  2. zagonostra

    I didn’t see any Health Care Section in today’s links so I’ll insert my two cents worth.

    It was through someone’s comments here at NC that I stumbled onto Jack London’s the “Iron Heel.” Last night I read his “War of the Working Class” and he wrote something in the introduction that made me think of Jimmy Dore’s M4A vote initiative.

    Only dangerous things are abhorrent. The thing that is not dangerous is
    always respectable. And so with socialism in the United States. For
    several years it has been very respectable,–a sweet and beautiful
    Utopian dream, in the bourgeois mind, yet a dream, only a dream. During
    this period, which has just ended, socialism was tolerated because it was
    impossible and non-menacing.

    As long as Single Payer healthcare is a distant possibility it gives those backing it legitimacy. When the possibility of actually getting a vote (symbolic or not) then it becomes “dangerous.”

    I was also thinking back to the Dem primary in Arizona and the dust-up with the union representing service workers. I think initially they came out against M4A. I’m still not sure where “labor” stands on this issue. I thin that starting with Samual Gompers, the unions have not been friends to a national healthcare system. At a meeting of The American Association for Labor Legislation (AALL), in 1906 which I think was the first organization that was lobbying for a national healthcare plan this is what Gompers had to say:

    “I need scarcely assure you that I am in sympathy with the purposes of
    the meeting” to establish the organization.67 Yet when the philosophy
    behind the AALL came to show itself fully, he could not have been
    more fundamentally opposed. Gompers believed in an economic
    order defined by negotiation between interested parties, who had a
    right to deliberative self-determination – not by a cadre of experts who
    could reach special knowledge through special training. He advanced
    personal rights claims against social justice claims.

    So it seems to me that Labor, even in the attenuated form that it exists today, has not been a friend to the push for M4A type legislation.

    Which lead me to the conclusion that unless a third party forms around this issue, it has little hope of coming to fruition. What at Theodore Roosevelt stated 108 years ago still rings true today.

    Our fight is a fundamental fight against both of the old corrupt party machines, for both are under the dominion of the plunder league of the professional politicians who are controlled and sustained by the great beneficiaries of privilege and reaction…

    Neither the Republican nor the Democratic platform contains the slightest promise of approaching the great problems of today either with understanding or good faith…

    At present both the old parties are controlled by professional politicians in the interests of the privileged classes…

    Democrat and Republican alike, professional politicians in the interests of the rich few. This is class government, and class government of a peculiarly unwholesome kind…

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Not true. Labor leaders with integrity have said that a single payer system would allow them to focus on pay and working conditions and no longer worry about members losing health care during labor disputes. Leaders like Sarah Nelson.

      The problem is there are many without integrity, like Randi Weingarten.

      1. ed g

        Please show what the Sarah Nelson’s in the labor movement are doing to push SP in their own unions, the rest of the labor movement, and the public? Nothing. Because doing anything more than speechmaking and angry tweets would actually entail practical tasks to push their own members forward and disrupt the status quo of the dead wood business unions and compromised Democrats. Talk is cheap and it’s a nice cover for the politically naive who also worship the same 100+ fakirs in Congress who say they favor M4ALL but also do nothing to move the process forward. Even with 70% public acceptance they have no courage. Happy to have their hands tied by the real masters: the corporations, Pelosi’s, Bidens and Schumers of the world.

      2. Baby Gerald

        For every Sarah Nelson, there are two or three Dennis Rivera types.

        ‘Who’s he?’ you ask. Denis Rivera was the president of 1199SEIU – the largest healthcare workers union in the country back when Obama was talking up what eventual became the ACA. When Obama was meeting with ‘experts’ to figure everything out. Rivera was one of them. In fact, rumor has it Rivera’s name appeared most frequently in the White House guest book during this period.

        Recall how the public option was quickly cast aside for the taxpayer endorsed insurance subsidy that we have today. I am under no illusion at all that Rivera was pushing for anything more than what we got. How can I feel that way? His union is also a health insurance provider to his members. They are the middleman that would normally be occupied by companies like Aetna, Blue Cross, etc. Union members get their insurance exclusively from the union itself. Wage increases are continually sacrificed to the increased cost of healthcare. Why would he cut off this cash cow?

        Big unions often have very different goals from that of their membership.

      3. km

        I suspect that you will find that most labor leaders see the DNC as their real constituency.

        For example, I recall labor leaders warning Bill Clinton in 1996 that they might not be able to stop their rank and file members for voting for Pat Buchanan, were he to get the Team R nomination. Because that’s whom they really serve – not their members, but Team D.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        “Carbon Fiber Heel”, “Carbon nano-tube heel”, “Titanium Heel”, “Achilles Heel”, “We’ve been brought to heel”?

    2. 430MLK

      A Free Soil party for the 21st century push to get universal medical coverage, regardless of wealth, race, gender or national origin.

    3. Mel

      The way I remember the scene in Nevada, early last election campaign, the union leaders objected to M4A. But when the question got to the members, they approved of it. It seemed that the union had negotiated a very, very good health insurance plan, and the leaders might not have wanted a nation-wide plan diluting their achievement. The members were more of a mind “this plan is excellent, everybody should have it this good.”

      1. CitizenSissy

        Doesn’t matter how good the plan is, if the plan is tied to the job. Union member or not, I’d be very skittish if I were employed in the airline, hotel, theatrical or any hospitality industry. IMHO we need to get past healthcare being tied to employment. The WW2 historical fluke isn’t working, and needs to be updated. Lowered medicare eligibility age is a good start, for example.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The committee assignments were the real vote on single player, but I think a vote on Biden’s “robust public option” would be better. The people opposed to single payer are opposed to a public option, but they are on the record. The problem we have is too many Democratic party voters believe Pelosi et all are fighting the good fight.

        The votes for a public option actually exist. Let Mayo Pete types explain why they now oppose this.

        Guys like my two Virginia Senators won’t vote for either. They have no excuses or lies for a public option vote.

      2. Oso_in_Oakland

        As much as one can support an elected member of congress, i support Barbara Lee. she’s remained true to her roots here her entire time in office. unlike Pelosi, she actually has human feelings.
        good dialog with Buttar.

    4. nippersdad

      “Neither the Republican nor the Democratic platform contains the slightest promise of approaching the great problems of today either with understanding or good faith…”

      Which reminds me of something I read this morning about the guy who wants to bring back civility and restore the soul of the nation:

      “President-elect Joe Biden went on a rampage early this morning, lashing out at critics within his own party who say his appointments so far lack ideological and demographic diversity and hinting that lawmakers who cross him can expect retribution once he moves into the White House on Jan. 20…

      Biden, an obsessive Twitter presence under normal times, went beyond his own flamboyant standards with a series of tweets that began shortly after midnight and then picked up again at 5:30 a.m. in what was apparently an effort to drive early coverage on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” With his trademark alliteration, he lambasted “loony left losers” for their second-guessing of his transition moves and called his fellow Democrats “pathetic” and “SAD!” President-elect Joe Biden went on a rampage early this morning, lashing out at critics within his own party who say his appointments so far lack ideological and demographic diversity and hinting that lawmakers who cross him can expect retribution once he moves into the White House on Jan. 20.

      Biden, an obsessive Twitter presence under normal times, went beyond his own flamboyant standards with a series of tweets that began shortly after midnight and then picked up again at 5:30 a.m. in what was apparently an effort to drive early coverage on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” With his trademark alliteration, he lambasted “loony left losers” for their second-guessing of his transition moves and called his fellow Democrats “pathetic” and “SAD!”

      “He’s out of his mind with rage,” said one close adviser, who was granted anonymity because the person is not authorized to speak about the president-elect’s psychological state. The aide said the fury is complicating the selection of an attorney general nominee, because Biden is eager to name a choice who will use the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial powers to intimidate critics such as Sen. Bernie Sanders or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      Rage tweeting in the middle of the night, trying to push the news cycle, intimidation and retaliation. Sounds familiar. One has to wonder if there was an actual point to this election.

      1. Jonhoops

        Did you read the article or just the first paragraph that you reposted? It was not real, they just replaced Trump with Biden to make a point.

        They then went on to say it was impossible for Biden to act like Trump, and that it was poor Biden who was being victimized by criticism from the left.

        1. deplorado

          Yes. I at first thought it was the Onion.

          They continue:
          “Alas, as Biden is showing, it is not so hard to imagine the opposite phenomenon: Democrats bullying their president. ”

          Oh the poor president, being bullied! Boo-hoo….

          These people have no shame nor dignity.

        2. Aumua

          It’s clearly some kind of bad satire, but it almost seems better if he would start acting that way, instead of the stone cold aloofness and machine like calculation with which the Biden corporate seems to be performing this transition.

        3. nippersdad

          Sorry, just saw this.

          Actually, I had read the entire article. What I was responding to was how thin skinned Biden has shown himself to be, and how much moreso he is undoubtedly going to become. Aside from his performances during the primaries (calling people fat or ignorant, all of those he just told to vote for Trump or who weren’t really black), the way he patronized the civil rights leaders on that Zoom call the other day shows us all we need to know about him.

          Yeah, I imagine that he HAS done more to for the underprivileged than any other member of Congress, and don’t disagree or you will get an earful.

          As an aside, I remember how Anita Hill was treated by his Judiciary committee and all of the excuses he has made since then for that behavior. You can go to YouTube and pull up his floor speeches about how the crime bill practically made jaywalking a hanging offence, and one can also see how he elected to get a cop in his Administration that was responsible for keeping non-violent offenders in prison so that they could have cheap labor. I was one of the people who helped with the NAACP reception here in West Georgia for Shirley Sherrod after she was fired for something that Breitbart invented. I have also seen how he has characterized that as “a mistake.” Well, doing unpopular stuff and then lying about it afterwards sounds very Trumpian to me.

          How they managed to keep straight faces when he told them how much he had done for the underprivileged communities they represent, and how he ignored the very specific requests they were making tells me that he is going to be very Trumpian in the way he governs.

          I can very easily see him rage tweeting in the middle of the night, intimidating and retaliating….and I really don’t see much from his record that would be any different from what Trump has done. So tell me, what was the point of the exercise, again?

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        The Politico link brought to mind Will Rogers’ remark:

        “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Gompers was a very early labor leader. I wonder what the labor leaders of later decades would have thought about National Health Care? Or even CanadaCare for All? I wonder what the CIO leaders would have thought about it?

      I can see one reason to be suspicious of “M4A” in the present time. If “M4A” really means Crappy Obamaplan BronzeCare For All, then it is hardly worth having, and would be a step backwards for at least a hundred million people who are at least covered ” better than bronze”.

      That’s something the M4A community might think about.

  3. John Beech

    She wants out. He’s not sure. What’s the point of this article? To show how couples everywhere may have political differences? So what? I know a couple where he’s pro-Trump and she is pro anybody but Trump. They manage to rub along despite their differences.

    Or is it to register disapproval of China vice Hong Kong, where again I say, so what? Honestly, is it any of your business how China manages Hong Kong? I don’t feel it’s any of mine, either!

    And I’ll extend the thought to include how it’s no more so for America than it is for China to intrude in the politics between the USA and Manhattan. My advice? Everybody should mind their own business. Be a better world.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      james carville and mary matalin turned it into a schtick and made bank on it for years. I understand that now they’re New Orleans royalty as a result.

    2. Oh

      John, but you forget that Americans are exceptional. We must bash others (see South Korea Multiculturalism story) to feel good. /s

      1. Synoia


        1. forming an exception
        2. extremely good or impressive in a way that is unusual

        And which meaning do we refer to today?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe its interesting in that the stakes ( she wants to leave/ he wants to stay) are near-immediate short-term survival for Hong Kongers based on who is right and who is wrong.

      The ChinaGov may extend a grace period for all malcontents to leave the City. After that, they may build a Great Berlin Wall of China around it. When that happens, it will be too bad for anyone who decides they want to leave after that point.

      Meanwhile, if the AmericaGov keeps insisting on making America function as a “Great Power”, they will end up with an America not even a “Middle Power” and maybe not even One Country in a couple of decades.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “How and why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China, and at what risk?”

    Unintentionally funny this. So Darwin in the Northern Territory has been trying to get the Federal government to invest in a port for years but the answer was always “Nah!” This is because the federal government wants such a port to open in the nation’s capital of Canberra instead, despite the problem of it being inland (Canberra wants every organization based in it). Australia had already leased a port to India for 99-yeras so Darwin said right, let’s go with China which makes business sense when you think about it. But there is a problem which the author of this article does not mention.

    For the past few years Scotty has been building up a base for the US Navy and has spent $715 million to build it out and the US military is spending a quarter of a billion dollars as well. Where is this port? Why at the Larrakeyah Defence Precinct – in Darwin. Awkward. Scotty’s plans are to turn the Northern Territory as a military district to be used against China and actual trading ports to improve the region are not on his radar-

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Few people are mentioning that Obama’s transformational “pivot to Asia” was Joe’s deal, and after much puffery and several big announcements had the grand result of moving *one* brigade of American troops to Australia, because that’s all his paymasters in Beijing would permit. But at least he, James, Sara, and Hunter got a truly amazing Bohai Harvest, so there’s that.

  5. Toshiro_Mifune

    Secret, Invisible Evidence Of Russian Hacking Is Not Actually Evidence

    No, it isn’t. The Intercept article previous to Caitlin Johnson is completely lacking in any actual evidence of who is perpetrating these attacks. Most of the the articles the Intercept cites further lack any actual investigations which provide any technical details other than “sources said”. I didn’t follow all the links however.
    1 of the links (below) did provide technical details on a DOCX file attached to one of the “spear phishing” attempts .Short version; The DOCX once opened attempts to contact an external IP and downloads template/s which contain scripts or macros to harvest data. So the actual email attachment has no malicious code to detect, that’s all stored elsewhere. Fun part; The researchers found a phishing tool using the same specific Relationship ID and largely doing the same exact exploit on GitHub (the GitHub version used TCP connection on port 80 rather than an SMB connection on 445 as in the exploit they were investigating).
    So, fiendishly clever Russian hackers… using off the shelf exploits…. which anyone can use.
    Note; the Talos Intelligence blog post makes no claims as to nation of origin of the attacks.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I should also add… Why are you allowing internal IP sources access to external destinations via SMB?

      1. a different chris

        And finally, if I were a bored kid in Russia without a girlfriend what *else* would I do except try to hack The Shining City On The Hill?

        “Russians” means nothing in an interconnected world.

    2. fajensen

      So, fiendishly clever Russian hackers… using off the shelf exploits…. which anyone can use.

      Which is Generally a good idea.

      Hackers who tags their attacts tends to get jailed in proportion to the number of “tags” found. It is Better to use something boring, grey, unremarkable; “Anyone could have used this Proof of Concept with MetaSploit”-script kiddie stuff. Most of the IT-infrastrucure is garbage anyway, where faults known for years are sitting exposed to the internet so in a way productivity is being harmed by creativity :).

      “Russian Hackers” is liberal code for “Emmanuel Goldstein”! Everyone *knows* what it means and what to do when it is spoken!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “Russian Hackers” is liberal code for “Emmanuel Goldstein”! Everyone *knows* what it means and what to do when it is spoken!

        Get with the program. There are Biden administration appointments to be bad, and budgets to bloat. Also, if we’re lucky and clever, a war!

        1. fajensen

          There is already a Cyber-war. Started with the hack on the Iranian centrifuges. The thing is, it is very cheap to run such a war, just about everyone can afford to participate, the icing on the cake is that the most technologically advanced country will also have the most targets and the juciest ones too.

          It’s kinda like Nixon wanting to nuke Vietcong.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            We may end up having to strip the digital cooties out of all our survival-critical infrastructure. Back to the Analog Future.

            In which case, digital cootie technology will be reserved for non-essential entertainment functions.

    3. Procopius

      Toshiro_Mifune +1. I looked at March Wheeler’s summary of The Evidence to Prove the Russian Hack a couple of days ago. I believe from other comments she’s made that she believes 100% in “the Russian Hack,” but as far as I can see it all comes down to accepting the CrowdStrike report, which they admitted is only supported by circumstantial evidence from their previous experiences.
      ETA: I think I wasn’t clear. My link is about the older Russiagate scandal, but my point is they have never given evidence. As Goering pointed out, it’s easy to bring your people to support a war — “Tell them they’re being attacked.”

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Unlike the UK, many African nations have an effective test and trace system – this is why”

    That’s all very well and true but I ask you – where are the contracts for government-private partnerships? How is a government able to control each and every part so that jobs can be rewarded to friends and political enemies punished? Where are the exclusive deals to be made? How is Silicon valley able to insert themselves into every transaction for profit and data spying? It just won’t work I tells ya. We should send teams of consultants to Africa to teach them how it should be done.

  7. underlaborer

    “Whenever I see a photo of a Covid test in Asia, the swabbing is done by mouth, as in the picture above, and not through nasal brain-stabbing, as done here. Do they have alien technology we do not?”

    Testing is done mostly through the mouth in Germany, too.

    1. John A

      In England, they use one single swab that they stick in the back of your throat and then deep in both nostrils.

    2. marcyincny

      I also read the story of a student who returned home to South Korea last spring who went to the appointed testing site where he was swabbed twice, throat and nose.

    3. Carolinian

      Just now driving along and I saw a sign that said “Free oral Covid 19 testing.” Didn’t investigate.

      1. edmondo

        I went through there. They take your temperature, someone sneezes on you and if you report back in two weeks, the sneezer was covid-free.

        It only costs $99.00 per test.

  8. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Autoantibody Problems

    Since there has been zero headway in 40 years treating autoimmune diseases, maybe we need to change our perspective on what causes them?

    It appears that the more severe a coronavirus infection a patient has, the better the chances that they show a wide variety of autoantibodies towards their own cell-surface and secreted proteins.

    Correlation is not causation, right?

    This flawed view is hinted at when he goes on to say;

    Interestingly, about 15% of the antibody titers seemed to decrease over time, and I’m not sure what to make of that.

    Autoimmunity is a healthy response to another *cough* zinc *cough* problem.

    I am saying this as someone who was on track to be diagnosed with Lupus (consistently high ANA and Anti-dsDNA) but who does not show a positive test anymore.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      It would be very nice if all autoimmune problems might be alleviated using zinc. After reading about some of the signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré, I was struck by the similarity of some of the symptoms to the side-effects of some anti-psychotic drugs. I will see what I can do to make sure my son receives a zinc supplement. Please tell me again what supplement you would recommend. I like simple solutions to a problem.

      Set aside the importance of zinc for a moment and suppose there might be other factors involved in autoimmune problems. While “correlation is not causation” — is there causation without correlation? A study like that Derek Lowe proposes might add in measures of other factors like zinc levels and get a more complete picture of the biochemistry of a human population and its relationships with autoimmune disease and response to vaccines, viruses, and other foreign proteins.

      My first response to this opinion piece was to wonder at how much we do not know about the processes operating in the immune system. This ignorance is not a consequence of any lack of adequate tools or highly trained scientists. But the last paragraph of this opinion piece riveted my attention:
      “There are already several mechanisms known for such tolerance failures, but it’s for sure that there’s a lot more to learn, and I would think that a good-sized longitudinal study might have a lot to tell us. (Of course, I’m not the person who has to go out and get funding for it, so that’s easy for me to say!)”

      The US Government has dumped billions of dollars onto Big Pharma to create a vaccine so everything can go back to ‘normal’. But judging from this last paragraph, research dollars to support grants for basic research are scarce.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I would strongly advise a serum zinc and serum ceuroplasmin test (copper) before having your son take anything. There could be a chance that too much zinc could make him worse. In fact, you should petition your doctor or a nutritionist to give him a full nutritional workup. That is from my personal experience. The replenishment dose of zinc is high and only give for a short time. 240mg zinc sulphate for 2 weeks.

        There are psychiatric symptoms associated with Guillain-Barré so your insight is spot on.

        Any infection will shunt tryptophan from making serotonin into another pathway that leads to psychiatric side effects. This came out yesterday:

        A lack of zinc will cause the same issue.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you for your advice and the reference. I didn’t realize the full complexity of assuring my son’s nutrition and mineral levels. Unfortunately my son remains in a state psychiatric hospital where I have little or no infuence on his medications or the tests they will perform. I had hoped I might be able to push for a zinc supplement which based on your advice sounds like it might not be a good idea for the present. It has proven difficult to convince the psychiatrist handling my son’s case that the side-effects he is suffering are real and not part of his psychosis — even though the side-effects are noted for the drug in question on the government’s Medline page and also have been experienced and reported by other patients my son has spoken with.

          My son called as I was writing this comment. Based on what he told me and based on a half-hour phone conversation with my son’s psychiatrist I am growing concerned by what I can grasp of her thinking and motivations in how she treats my son.

          1. furies

            Hi Jeremy

            Psychiatry has a dark past…that has carried into the present.

            I strongly suggest you check out
            A website questioning the validity of our current ‘mental health’ system.

            Personally; I have never been so crazy as when I was prescribed psych drugs for trauma. Getting off them was another whole story…

            I still don’t understand how Krystyn can afford all those labs? I would never be able to get any kind of nutritional test from my provider–ever. And I sure don’t have thousands of dollars to PP.

            I have autoimmune Hashimoto’s. After getting a grip on my food sensitivities, antibodies down by *lots* after elimination diet.

            Good luck to all

            1. Krystyn Podgajski

              Agree with furies recommendation. If people knew about the biochemical actions of these drugs there would be outrage.

              I am on disability age get medicare and I constantly hound my doctors to look deeper. It took more sheer grit than money to get the tests, but I do have, ad my only debt, a small medical debt that I pay off $10 a month to stop the hassles.

              Regarding autoimmune Hashimoto, I have a friend with it, and have her genetics. We determined it was from a need for selenium and P5P due to a couple of genes that control the metabolism of H2O2.


              See, when the body does not get rid of H2O2, that H2O2 is used by Thyroid Perioxidse to make more Thyroid hormone. As a response to stop the high thyroid, the body makes antibodies against the
              Thyroid Perioxidase enzyme to lower thyroid levels.

              Basically it is a disease of oxidative stress.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Aaron Mate tweet

    So anyone who “voted” against Trump just to make it stop……miscalculated.

    Now git back under that bed. The Russians are still comin’. The “flawless” election was a head-fake.

    1. Phillip Cross

      When they said they wanted “it” to stop. I think many people meant, “Seeing and hearing that orange buffoon, and his maga cultists, every day”.

      1. ambrit

        And what did ‘they’ want to replace the MAGA cultists with? Oh, yeah, to do brunch once a week with the ‘cool kids.’ But, the ‘cool kids’ don’t want to know you now that you have done your “job” for them. It’s back out on the street for you, back down, where you “belong,” with those self same MAGA cultists.
        The ‘Karens’ of this world remind me of the Steely Dan song, “Show Biz Kids.”
        Hear, (NSFW,):

        1. dcblogger

          Trump was replaced with a man who will refrain from inciting violence against Americans and will not encourage his supporters to come to DC and attack churches. It is a low bar but here we are.

          1. edmondo

            Biden response to M4A begs to differ with you. He will kill us all to save his base (the corporations in this case). He’s Trump’s policies with better PR.

            You made a bad trade but that was all that was available.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well, if Joemala restores some governance capacity to the agencies and bureaus like EPA, we may get some counterpollution and pro-conservation from some of those agencies and bureaus again. So there may be that.

              And given the violence Trump probably planned to encourage all his militias . . . Proud Boys and such . . . against whomever they liked, it is probably good to have that particular danger reduced.

              But yes, we will have many bad Side Effects from the Joemala Administration.
              Not least of them being the revival of Barak Obowelmovement’s Catfood Conspiracy against Social Security.

          2. Pat

            It will still be there it will just be subtler. He’ll use legal powers.

            That man has been waging a war on Americans for decades by giving Banks and police and the intelligence services powers they were never meant to have.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              For the history books, the chapter “How It Went Down”, in the “Huge If True” category (and very difficult to corroborate).

              Chief Justice Roberts, overheard when the SCOTUS was deciding not to take the Texas case:

              “I don’t give a #@&^ about ‘Bush v. Gore’… at that time we didn’t have RIOTS!”


              A nation of men.

              The speculation on the rest of what Roberts said range from “Besides, I have big plans over the holidays” to “That yellowed paper with the flowery signatures is stupid anyway”.

              Meantime, those needing to sustain the CNN line “There was no fraud!” will definitely want to stay away from this link, a summary of the 2,000 unseen affidavits, from the unheard witnesses who made them under penalty of perjury, with the unviewed videos, unexamined forensic evidence, and unconsidered data analysis. One in a quadrillion.


                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Unfortunately I think we’ll never know, as the Election 2020 shenanigans go down the same bottomless memory hole as 9/11, 2009, The Panama Papers, and the lovely Jeffrey E. The demand this time is for some transparency on how the consent of the governed is determined, and to count only legal votes. Outrageous! I wouldn’t mind so much if the incoming team was first advancing the interests of the working stiffs of a nation that starts with the letter “A”, but the abundant evidence is they’re not. Oops, there’s that pesky “e” word again, paging Chuck Grassley…

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    No we’re not talking about his back taxes, or about trivial sums in deals that weren’t quite kosher. A quote from an email to Hunter on March 30, 2017 at 9:20AM, from his accountant Eric Schwerin, when asked for a list of his various deals:

                    “That’s the easiest $500 million dollars you ever made!”

                    Turns out that selling your country is a very lucrative business indeed.

                    Chuck, probably to his embarrassment and horror, has the receipts. Time stamped bank wire transfer slips recorded on the central bank of the United States of America FedWire system. That’s why he was compelled to release the interim report from his Senate Subcommittee last week, citing “extreme criminal financial, counterespionage, and extortion concerns”. As disgusting as it is, we can have the guts to face up to this (with a tree and a rope handy), or we can decide that instead of a country, we can just go straight to the “every man for himself” system. RICO Act indictment (reportedly one is being prepared) and a special prosecutor. Or what, exactly? Gun battles with your neighbor for your cut of the grift?

                    How much would I rather be discussing the Bernie/Tulsi cabinet picks. As someone reared on the politics of Watergate, sometimes you have no choice but to cut a cancerous tumor out, no matter how painful that is. Get the family in a courtroom, review the evidence, and apply the law.

                    (And BTW I think Bernie should have appointed Pete Buttigieg Assistant Animal Control Officer for The City of South Bend, Indiana).

          3. ambrit

            I’ll not dispute your “low bar,” it has merit. However, I will note that we are captive to a class of persons who maneuvered the election process so as to deny us a viable “progressive” candidate in favour of the mediocrity we are saddled with now.
            As for the “..refrain(ing) from inciting violence against Americans..” I must disagree, but with the caveat that the ‘new’ administration will be much more subtle about it. Way back in 1993, a Democratic Administration waged war against a “church” in Waco, Texas. The end game of that process killed 76 people. That was but a part of the continual “violence against Americans” perpetrated by the government over the decades. With the militarization of the domestic police now ongoing, expect the tactics and mindsets perfected “in the field” in places like Afghanistan and Irak to be deployed operationally here in the Homeland. This is not a matter of personalities, but a function of organizational design.
            Ah well, I too wish for ‘normalcy’ and peace. Alas, I fear that the “new normal” will be continual low level war, here at home. Watch your political “friends” just as closely as your political “enemies.”
            Stay safe and be vigilant.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Russia appears to have used Austin’s network as infrastructure to stage additional cyberattacks.”

    Et tu, Intercept? Look, if the powers that be want to get into Russia’s face, let’s do it then. Get it over and done with I say. How? Glad you asked. For a start – launch a few dozen missiles at their bases in Syria to put them on notice. Blockade the Black Sea so no Russian ships can get out. Do daily practice bombing runs on the Kaliningrad Oblast. Maybe shoot down a few of their aircraft patrolling their borders to prove the superiority of our planes. Side-swipe a few of their Navy ships to show them who rules the waves. Board their cargo ships and saying that you are ‘inspecting’ for terrorist-related equipment. Shut down their entire power grid via cyber-hacking. Shut them out of the SWIFT network and all dollar-related transactions. Pretty soon they will get the message and back down and retreat back to their borders so then we can concentrate on China. It’s not like anything can go wrong, amiright? Ronald Reagan knew how to deal with them-

    1. Duke of Prunes

      But first, they have to crank up the scary Russki narratives so we’ll all go along with this. Got to keep the red blooded youngsters rolling in to the recruitment offices. Of course, keeping the economy down probably helps just as much, but you can never be too safe.

  11. Terry Flynn

    Re years of life lost due to covid. These articles frankly verge on arguing the number of angels on a pin. What is far more interesting is what ISN’T there: adjusting life years for quality. The quality adjusted life year (QALY – or its “mirror”, the “disability adjusted life year” – DALY) is incredibly controversial in the USA because it is intrinsically associated with systems rooted in (or closely associated with) socialised medicine.

    I have my own set of problems with the QALY (rooted in MMT) but if you’re going to adopt a “mainstream” approach to this issue then having not a single discussion of QALYs/DALYs will instantly make most health economists and associated policymakers in Canada, Australasia, Europe and elsewhere rip you a new one.

  12. a different chris

    >The species has been drastically reduced by hunting and by destruction of its forest habitat.

    Who the frell hunts orangutans? And of course, it doesn’t matter since we’re going to wipe out every habitat on Earth one way or another, but still so weird.

    1. Lee Bronock

      Sorry to tell you, but in large parts of the world, monkeys of all sorts are hunted for food and also for primitive “medical” purposes. There is a section of the film “District Nine” that deals with this phenomenon. “Sympathetic Magic” is still considered a reasonable method of diagnosis and treatment in many areas.

        1. ambrit

          Taking it a step further, it also happens that “Sympathetic Magic” is a core tool in “Moderne” economics and politics. What else is the concept of a “Hidden Hand” but an appeal to supernatural forces?
          Humans are obviously not a rational species or else we would already be colonizing the nearer star systems. (Of course, there is at present no evidence to contradict the theory that humans have already done so in the middle range past.)

  13. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Re: Trump transition/Fed programs being shut down

    Color me skeptical that any of those programs helped anyone but the investor class. Lending to “mid-size businesses and facilities for municipal bond issuers and corporate credit and asset backed securities.” Sounds an awful lot like the kind of liquidity buffer that should not be needed anymore with markets shooting to the moon.

    And remind me, how many oversight hearings did Congress have on these Fed programs to make sure they really helped the middle class and not the Buffetts and Ray Dalios of the world?

    1. edmondo

      THat’s why the Dems are so upset. It was their donor’s turn at the trough. Paul Pelosi needs another refrigerator. What’s the point of “investing” in a candidate if there is no reward?

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Sacklers Deny Wrongdoing During House Panel Over Purdue Pharma Oxycontin Sales NPR

    Another candidate for the “Film at 11” category.

    1. edmondo

      Did Biden name a new head of the FDA yet? We have people here with pharma experience and know how the world works.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘You will own nothing, and you will be happy’: Warnings of ‘Orwellian’ Great Reset”

    This agrees with a trend that I have seen with corporations. The old days if you brought it, you owned it lock, stock and barrel. Nowadays? Not so much. The idea seems to be that only corporations can own property – and people can only license it. If you want a quick example, there are all those farmers who paid good money for a John Deere tractor and discovered that the onboard software meant that basically John Deere still owned the tractor at their whim. You use to buy something like Microsoft Office but now they want you to subscribe to Office 365. Look at those Smart Home. Who is really in control of your home here? The list goes on. But there is a rub. Humans are territorial by nature. They want to tailor their office to suit themselves (which was why ‘hot-desking’ was so hated). Where you live tends to reflect who you are as a person. So how does owning nothing fit into that and renting/leasing everything in your life instead. If you can afford the fees. Answer is that it can’t.

    1. a different chris

      Yes and that is all true. But – and he’s your bloke, so maybe you know better than I – it sounds to me like he’s just another “ruin the planet but you (some of you, anyway) will get to keep your little toys” type. If I know his type, he’s the last person in the world to stand up to John Deere.

      I mean the people who keep railing against Big Gummint for over half my life keep winning elections, and the more they win the more the “rich have everything” scenario comes to be.

      I’m not a fan of Big Gummint myself but these people are the opposite of my friends.

      1. Fireship

        The phrase “big government” is a meaningless Reaganite brain worm infection. Government can be good or bad regardless of “size” whatever that metric might mean.

        1. Oh

          Reagan kept railing against Big Gummint and the people who nodded their heads did not realize that he was part of it. Now the CONgress crooks use the same meme to get elected and most people don’t realize that these guys are the problem.

          1. Synoia

            There was a crooked man who walked a crooked mile
            And he found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
            He bought a crooked cat who caught a crooked mouse
            And they all lived together in a crooked little house.
            But the crooked man was sad and once he had a thought.
            Why should he be honest, when others, they were Bought?

    2. Jesper

      Yep & another example of the territorial nature is how reluctant the highly paid are to pay taxes. Once they see/have the money then they will do whatever they can to keep it from being taxed away. Best way to deal with such situations is to not allow them to have the money in the first place.
      The only way I can see where the current rentiers get less is if their bargaining power is reduced and they know it – that is why they propose policies that are strengthening their own bargaining power and reducing the power of others.
      Occupy Wall Street was crushed as it was a uniting movement. Other movements with focus on dividing are not crushed and some of those movement are even supported.
      The (few that think and are aware in the) Professional Managerial Class know that what they have is closely tied to maintaining the status quo so therefore their territorial nature makes them support the status quo. Interestingly enough it looks like the territory of the PMC is shrinking, their options might be to fight internally among themselves to keep what they have or to pick a side. My guess is they’ll fight internally, they’d never seek allies among the ones they see as beneath them.
      Our masters know, understand and use, possibly even exploit, human nature. Anyone wanting a change must also know, understand and use, possibly even exploit, human nature.

      1. Lex

        I say ‘human nature’ when what I’m really talking about, as far as I know, is American culture. We have no sense of ‘enough’. We’re born with carrots in front of our noses and I don’t mean orange boobies. Can we assume every human being/culture is as fond of carrots as we are? I’d agree that once humans achieve increased social/economic status, they’re very reluctant to give it up. Perhaps it’s the value of status we should re-examine. Let’s give bragging rights a rest.

        In this household we achieved ‘enough’ long ago, but money keeps rolling in. We give it away and still there’s plenty. It’s a tougher problem than it sounds, and yes, everyone should have this problem. I’m up against my lower middle class roots, an insufficiently grand imagination (Diamonds? Sure, but why?), and the increasing certainty that more won’t make me or us happier. Also the uncertainty of retirement and old age. What can we do that would actually be helpful? I read NC rolling the many facets of this problem round and round. Lots of bitterness here, not many answers.

        Just the facts, man.

        1. Rod

          I’m up against my lower middle class roots, an insufficiently grand imagination (Diamonds? Sure, but why?), and the increasing certainty that more won’t make me or us happier.

          Truly frustrating, in American Culture, to have ones Consumption Constrained by ones own Values and Knowledge ;-}

          1. Lex

            In Lex World the cotton is high and the livin’ is easy; it’s always Summertime. I’m spoiled rotten; this worries me.

  16. 430MLK

    Thanks for the link on “Platform Civics: Facebook in the Local Information Infrastructure Digital Journalism.” Interesting piece. My takeaway quote from it:

    “We observed substantial tension across these organizations between their desire to provide civic information to community audiences, but also to be a positive, engaging, non-controversial voice on Facebook. As citizens communicate their expectations for non-news organizations via engagement (or non-engagement) with content, and organizations read that feedback through analytics dashboards, a subtle bias against posting political content emerges. These organizations have learned that controversy interferes with their instrumental goals for using Facebook—including audience building and engagement, but also reputation enhancement and fundraising.”

    This kind of jives with how I see the posting actions of my nonprofit leaders, who are highly connected to our flagship media journalists and the bigger local politicians.

    1. mle

      Thanks for this comment, 430MLK, I’m working my way through the article now. I was struck by your highlighting of “instrumental goals,” the last goal being the most important, obviously.
      I’m no longer on Facebook, not wanting to sell my grandchildren’s souls to the Zuckerborg, but it is clearly great for groups and small businesses — I do miss that.
      There’s this argument for Facebook to be a public utility. Maybe we the people could could buy it, and do without a few fighter jets for a few years. But see also Malka Older’s Infomocracy trilogy.

  17. Darthbobber

    So the “evidence” of things Russian seems to be no more than pushing that inference from the “patience, operational security and tradecraft” exercised.

    Though when a vendor is sufficiently feckless that this is done by installing malware through their own updates, one could be pardoned for wondering how much of that is really needed.

    We also don’t seem able to make up our minds about the Russians’ actual possession of these key attributes. After all, the Skripal, Navalny, and other narratives rely on Russian lack of even basic tradecraft or operational security to achieve even surface plausibility.

    Semi-unrelated, one CNN piece, in the course of answering the obvious question of why key US agencies are relying on private vendors for basic operational security of mission critical systems, blithely opines that the government is literally incapable of achieving the capacity to do such things itself. This incapacity is quite obviously by design and preference rather than for purely technical reasons.

  18. bob

    Candidates for censorship

    The MSNBC and CNN media cohort know that Biden will be bad for business. No more trump. They have to sell something to the olds so that they can continue to justify their viewers needing diapers. It can’t possibly be that they’re just old and incontinent. “No, it’s the russians! They’re pooping in my diaper!”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “After years fighting them, Milley talks peace with Taliban”

    After twenty years I think that the idea is gradually sinking in that perhaps they can’t win there. So I was thinking of what it might require to have a chance at ‘winning’ in Afghanistan. For a start, have a few million Americans move over to Afghanistan so they they become essentially one of their tribes. The technology means that they will be the most powerful tribe of course. Send the actual best and brightest to man the top administrative, military and economic positions there. Have the Pashto language taught in every major educational facility to proved a steady stream of recruits who can speak the language. Set up an Academy that teaches a 3 or 4 year course in Afghanistan culture, customs, laws, etc on par with West Point and Annapolis. You do this for a generation or two and you might, might have a shot at it. Otherwise forget it. Go out partying instead.

    1. VietnamVet

      Unless the mRNA vaccines work, Brazil is a template for North America’s future as a number of failed states. A decade or so ago, Brazil also tried to implement COIN in the favelas. One soldier/policeman for every 40 people. It failed. Instead of jobs, education, healthcare and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, the returning Mercenaries will have a go against the homeless in Trumpville slums and opposite the Proud Boys in the Heartland with David Petraeus as the corporate consultant. It will fail, once more.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: After years fighting them, Milley talks peace with Taliban AP

    Speaking in the same interview, Ross Wilson, the ranking American diplomat in Kabul, said he also sees growing risk from Taliban violence. He said it has created “an unbearable burden” on the Afghan armed forces and the society as a whole.

    Miller said he was saddened by what he called the Taliban’s deliberate campaign to damage roadways, bridges and other infrastructure as part of an effort to limit the Afghan government’s ability to reinforce its troops.

    “Military commanders on the ground are now starting to do things that are not conducive to peace talks and reconstruction and stability,” Miller said. “Clearly, the Taliban use violence as leverage” against the Afghan government.

    Damn, I really wanted to make a snide comment, but when a “news” source like ap actually prints something like this, after 19 years, what’s the use?

  21. John

    “Evidence” of Russia hacking cannot be revealed because … well, just because.

    Sounds similar to double secret probation to me.

    Is the idea to keep putting forth these tedious and unsupported claims to the point that it is impossible to believe anything the MSM and the US government say? If so, it’s working.

    1. LawnDart

      Russia doesn’t send our young people to die in illegal wars.

      Russia doesn’t starve and render homeless millions of our people.

      Russia is not responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died of Covid-19.

      Russia is not responsible for our failed health system and broken infrastructure.

      Russia did not create this utterly corrupt government that systematically preys upon the middle class and the poor.

      Russia did not do this to us, and Russia is not my enemy.

      But if Russia finds cause to vaporize a city on the Potomac and all of the criminals in it, I would not disapprove, only a bit saddened by some of the collateral damage.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hackers (1995)

      I feel the focus on the Russians by skeptics is the response hoped for by the “intelligence” agencies. As the date from the linked IMDB page indicates, the warnings about “hackers” (my roommate loved this movie) has been out there for decades.

      Like the refusal to publicly discuss hand marked paper ballots, Congress is discussing something other than the widespread incompetence and inability of the MIC to “protect the homeland” by their own admission. These people missed the cyberattacks in the first place. Why would they be trusted to even determine who was responsible?

      1. Massinissa

        I love how everyone is now believing the biggest threat to the US is a nation with a GDP roughly equivalent to Italy’s and whose population growth essentially stopped 30 years ago.

    3. Procopius

      I’m sorry to say that, based on comments I read on other blogs, millions, maybe tens of millions, of people believe every damned word of these stories and elaborate on them. They need to prove that they are Big-Endians (or Small-Endians). Their lives are enhanced by inventing third-grade insults of the hated opponent. Sometimes I sensibly close the tab and find something else to read. Other times I’m just fascinated by the vitriol, contempt, and hatred. I’m talking about anti-Trumpers, of course. I can’t bring myself to read places like 8kun or even some reddit threads.

  22. fresno dan
    White House aides reportedly had to intervene to stop President Donald Trump from issuing a public demand for $2,000 stimulus checks Thursday—a move they feared would blow up delicate relief-package negotiations.
    Hmmmm…one would think with all the repubs terrified of Trump, and all the dems biting at the chomp for relief that it should have been easy peasy to send out two thousand dollar checks. And Trump who can say anything – but oddly restrained and circumspect. Reported to say, but somehow UNABLE to say publicly
    A cynic knows not to listen to what they say, but watch what they do…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think Trump is like Shrub in that the last person in the room who strokes his ego wins the debate. When Trump had an idea probably matters as much as anything as he’s not exactly a coherent actor.

      1. a different chris

        Yes “had to intervene” does not mean, when Trump is concerned, some sort of hostile confrontation.

        it means distracting the kid with a different toy.

      2. Pat

        Funnily enough, he has been pretty consistent about relief. No money for the states, people need money, halt evictions, extend unemployment, small business help.

        Now I believe that comes because as a real estate guy, not an investment hack, he actually gets that large scale evictions, homelessness and nobody with jobs hurts his business. (The money to the states thing is petty punishment, but everything else is not just common sense economically it also is good for Trump industries.)

        1. Procopius

          That’s the point that I don’t get. In normal times, landlords evict people for non-payment of rent so they can bring in new tenants who will be able to pay the rent. I know there is going to be a vast army of people who need housing, but they aren’t going to have money to pay the rent, so landlords are just going to end up with empty properties, and vacant houses deteriorate pretty fast. It’s probably just my lack of imagination, I’m sure they have a game plan to make lots and lots of money. It’s the same way I don’t understand how Uber figures they’ll make more money with driverless cars — they’ll have to provide all the stuff their drivers bring with them now and they’ll have this huge investment tied up in their fleet.

          1. HotFlash

            It’s a land grab. Buy everything, then wait. Corps can wait forever, but humans need food (3 times a day, ideally), water, and shelter. So you tell people they can’t work, kick ’em out of their homes — and forsake them. It’s like owning slaves, but you get them to pay you.

            I wonder how long the governed will continue to give consent.

  23. polar donkey

    Update of 2 year old left at Goodwill. Story is worse then you can imagine. A man and woman agreed to watch the 2 year old for the mother. Mother was going to Nashville on overnight trip. Mother and woman knew each other. Once couple had child and mother in Nashville, man demanded mother become a prostitute and sell drugs. Man said mother owed money. Man said he and woman would leave child with police/fire department, etc if mother didn’t pay. Couple dumped child.
    This is the world that unfortunate kid was born into.

    1. John

      Randian neoliberal story to the core. Would have been perfect if they had tried to sell the child instead of giving it away. “There is no such thing as society” Margaret Thatcher

  24. Mikel

    RE: ‘You will own nothing, and you will be happy’: Warnings of ‘Orwellian’ Great Reset” Sky News

    I bet in the USA they still plan on you “owning” insurance…

    1. Duck1

      Quite fascinating, but of course such creatures have to have some sort of utilitarian value as a “carbon sink”, luckily they are not considered a carbon “sewer”. I suppose the billionaires can now send out tankers full of herbicides and harvest carbon credits because they don’t kill all the seagrass in a billionaire hostage taking sequence.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I checked and the course is public access and has quite affordable green fees. The architect is decent and the course looks halfway decent too, if overly shaped, which is surprising because most courses that are part of a residential package in the US suuuuuck. Hopefully they can keep the green fees low.

  25. Kouros

    “I don’t see what the problem is, as soon as we invade Canada, send their water southward to Las Vegas, and fortify the Artic circle. Ha ha, only serious.”

    Oh, the pleasure of being a sniper, targeting American soldiers in their eyes…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It won’t be a few American soldiers coming to Canada. It will be a hundred million American climate refugees coming to Canada. Plus another hundred million Mexican, Central American and Caribbean Islands climate refugees coming to Canada.

      You will run out of bullets before we run out of climate refugees.

  26. Maritimer

    2 strip clubs can stay open and set own COVID rules, California judge rules
    I read another story about the Judge’s ruling in which he said that the State had not offered evidence for its restrictions. Governments should not be allowed to do anything just because they say it’s an Emergency while scaring the murphy out of citizens to get compliance and complacency. After months and months of this Emergency, the Government must have copious amounts of evidence for its draconian rulings. If not……..

    In my jurisdiction, the Government is required to prove its case regarding its emergency rulings and mandates. The Government here is completely opaque regarding its evidence and justification for mandates. There are court cases challenging the Government in the pipleline now but slow to be heard.

    I can think of numerous holes in any Government Emergency case starting with testing methodology, means and locations for covid spread, the failure of Governments to control critical vectors like airports, etc. Hopefully, there will be some courageous Judges who will fairly hear the evidence, if it actually exists.

    Otherwise as this quote from the story predicts:
    “What’s going to happen next when there is some greater emergency? Are we all going to be under house arrest? Are we going to even have a Constitution?” said Saccuzzo, the Pacers lawyer. “I fear that we may end up in a country that we don’t even recognize.”

    Just the fact that we rely on Strip Clubs to protect our rights shows how far the country has fallen. Where are all the civil rights groups and progressive activists?

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    I read the article on ” How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis”. Assuming the RussiaGov accepts this analysis, the RussiaGov will do whatever it can to keep warming the global and preventing anyone else from applying coherent plans to dewarm the Global.

    The next-to-last laugh will be on Russia when several hundred million Chinese and several hundred million Indians/Bangladeshis/Pakistanis insist on moving to Russia. Does the RussiaGov plan to kill them all?

    The last laugh will be on Russia when it turns out the global doesn’t magically stop warming when the climate in Siberia and Far Eastern Russia reach their Goldilocks Optimum. The global will keep on warming past that point and agricultural compromise and then non-inhability will move into large parts of Russia itself. And between a melting permafrost zone and rising sea level, a million or more square miles of Northern Siberia will go under a rising ocean.

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