Links 12/2/2020

Liquidity Risk at Large U.S. Banks NBER. “For 2019 Q4, the revised tests suggest it is unlikely that any of the six banks would survive a liquidity crisis for 30 days. This negative finding is most clear-cut for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.” Oh.

Fed Chair Powell: Stimulus legislation deserves ‘lion’s share of the credit’ for economy rebound, more would help Yahoo Finance

The City of London’s Supremacy Goes Very Deep Bloomberg


Covid Pfizer vaccine approved for use next week in UK BBC

First U.S. COVID-19 shots could be given 24-to-48 hours after FDA nod, health official says Reuters

How COVID vaccines are being divvied up around the world Nature

Trump administration leaves states to grapple with how to distribute scarce vaccines Politico

* * *
Airlines face ‘mission of the century’ in shipping vaccines Stars and Stripes

UPS amps up dry ice production to ready coronavirus vaccine distribution Supply Chain Dive

Dry Ice Will Help Keep COVID-19 Vaccines Cold JStor Daily. A brief history of dry ice.

* * *
States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders ProPublica (Re Silc). As for example

Rapid COVID-19 tests can be useful – but there are far too few to put a dent in the pandemic The Conversation

Flavonols as potential antiviral drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2 proteases (3CLpro and PLpro), spike protein, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and angiotensin-converting enzyme II receptor (ACE2) European Journal of Pharmacology. From the Abstract: “One of the promising therapeutic approaches is the search for bioactive molecules with few side effects that display antiviral properties in natural sources like medicinal plants and vegetables. Several computational and experimental studies indicated that flavonoids especially flavonols and their derivatives constitute effective viral enzyme inhibitors and possess interesting antiviral activities. In this context, the present study reviews the efficacy of many dietary flavonols as potential antiviral drugs.”

* * *
Opinion: To stop the next pandemic, we need to unravel the origins of COVID-19 PNAS

Like Typhus, but also Not London Review of Books

What the coronavirus vaccine shows about the potential for innovation Ryan Cooper, The Week

When specialty cheesemaking becomes a quarantine pastime Popular Science

A light shines in the gloom cast by Covid-19 FT


Is China ripe for a subprime crisis? Regulator sees bank property loans as ‘biggest grey rhino risk’ for financial system South China Morning Post. Commentary:


Cash Squeeze at Small China Banks Is Warning Sign for Market Bloomberg

World’s largest free trade pact South China Morning Post

China’s moon mission makes a lunar touchdown, ready for Chang’e 5 to collect rocks and soil South China Morning Post

Vietnam postpones commercial flights to repatriate nationals amid fresh Covid outbreak VN Express

Malaysia reports 1,472 new COVID-19 cases, majority of infections linked to Top Glove cluster Channel News Asia


Over 250 million workers join national strike in India IndustriAll

What is Farm Bill and Why farmers fear losing MSP under new laws: Explained Times of India

“This Is a Revolution, Sir” Jacobin


On Russia’s flank, a small war heralds big changes Christian Science Monitor

In Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Deal, Putin Applied a Deft New Touch NYT


Light in the tunnel or oncoming train? Adam Tooze, Social Europe

Peru Needs a New Constitution Foreign Policy

The Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Puerto Rico has collapsed Space


Barr taps Durham as special counsel, pushing probe into Biden era Politico. “Tapped,” on October 19:


“Additional evidence”:


Trump Transition

Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils $908 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill. Pelosi the master legislator:


Leverage James Kwak. “[T]he Democratic leadership in Congress seems inclined to give up the potential chance to write their own appropriations bill in January in exchange for a bill that they have to negotiate with McConnell and . . . Donald J. Trump.”

Lawmakers Unify To Give Corporate Donors A License To Kill You Daily Poster. What, again?

Poll: Trump’s job approval ticks up to 50 percent post-election The HIll. Hill-Harris.

Another Official Is Ousted From the Pentagon NYT

Argument analysis: Justices send mixed messages on corporate liability for allegedly aiding child slavery abroad SCOTUSblog

Donald Trump is once more walking away from failure at a profit New Statesman


Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud AP

Rep. Mike Kelly asks Supreme Court to nullify Biden win over Trump in Pennsylvania as he challenges mail-in ballot rule CNBC

Biden Transition

Six Stupid Arguments Against Forgiving Student Loan Debt The American Prospect

economics truly is a disgrace Claudia Sahm, macromom blog. On Heather Boushey of Equitable Growth. Their response:


Deese to be Biden’s top White House economic adviser Politico

Realignment and Legitimacy

In the Time of Monsters Midwest Socialist

The Democratic Party Will Keep Betraying Labor. It’s Time to Launch a Workers’ Party vs. Don’t Abandon the Democratic Party—Take It Over The Nation

We Can’t Vote ‘Em Out Lee Camp, Consortium News

The Streetlight Effect: When People Look Within The System For Solutions To The System Caitlyn Johnstone

Health Care

Ambulance companies at ‘a breaking point’ after receiving little Covid aid NBC

Good question:


Black Injustice Tipping Point

Reckoning with slavery: What a revolt’s archives tell us about who owns the past The Conversation

Class Warfare

The real class war is within the rich FT

The Archetypical Cycle of Internal Order and Disorder Ray Dalio (DD).

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. zagonostra

    >The Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Puerto Rico has collapsed

    Can anyone ask for a better metaphor than this to apply to the U.S.’s overall state of infrastructure and standing in the world? Yes, “it’s a question of money” whose expenditure redounds to the common good instead of personal aggrandizement and enrichment.

    [awesome pic du Jour that obviously is full of symbolism]

    “Obviously, we’d be in favor of finding a way to either repair it, rebuild it, whatever that happens to be, update it,” Lu said. “That is a question of money.”

    “But sometimes, sometimes, if you don’t make the investment, you’re sorry about it later.”

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I thought a better metaphor was; “The time for looking outside of ourselves to fix our problems is over. Time to start looking inside.”

      1. edmondo

        How about putting all your hopes and dreams in the hands of a 78 year old corporatist who can count the number of TBTF bank heads he has on speed dial?

      2. Rod

        On the Arecibo Observatory collapse.
        I had the same insight trying to puzzle through the tea leaves of this last several months.
        Guidance foreshadowing??

    2. The Rev Kev

      If you think that this story is sad, then you may have not heard about what is happening with the International Space Station. It is starting to show its age and realistically may have only about five more years left in it before it will have to be brought down into the Pacific. The US is not interested in funding it beyond their obligations going to 2025 and they want to depend on private investments to fund a commercial replacement. So they will let the ISS die and buy a pig in a poke of billionaires coming to save the day-

      1. Carolinian

        The ISS does what exactly? When it was proposed back in Reagan time it was widely seen as a make work project for NASA. Presumably the argument is that it gathers data for future human space travel to, say, Mars which is itself somewhat dubious (while providing fodder for various Hollywood movies). In any case by now all the biology experiments that they can think of have surely been done.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not just biological experiments. You have to live there in order to learn how to live in space. Trying to replicate the experience in swimming pools just does not cut it. There was an American astronaut that was using a spanner to do up a bolt. As he tightened it, his whole body revolved in the other direction. So from that they learned that for such a simple operation that you have to brace yourself. But it is more than that.

          The ISS is just a shadow of what it should have been. It should have been a space port where ships were assembled for flights to the moon and beyond without needing fuel to blast into orbit. We could have had families living there. Hotels, restaurants, observatories, satellite repair stations. You name it. But we spent the money on Wall Street instead because that was where the quick bucks could be made and ended up with a station that could never fulfill its promise.

          In idle moments, I wonder what would have happened if Europe had had MBA business managers back in the 1500s. Probably they would have cut any budget for ships to North America as costing too much with too many failed colonies to justify any further expenditures. The returns to them would not have justified any further expenditure of funding and they would have sat around hoping for some wealthy prince to fund ships of exploration for them.

          1. Carolinian

            And what they found out was that living in space is very damaging to your body. You probably know about the twin astronauts where one spent months at the ISS and had a great deal of trouble on returning. It’s not just the muscle atrophy from no gravity but there’s considerable question whether long term space living can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Meanwhile computers and automation have made giant strides since the 1980s and the science on other planets can just as well be performed by robots.

            So your Columbus analogy doesn’t apply at all. We are still doing a great deal of space exploration–just not by humans.

            The simple fact is that space travel is still too dangerous to be “normalized” and attempts to promote space tourism for millionaires don’t seem to have gotten very far. We all celebrated Apollo 11 last year but those brave men thought they had maybe a fifty fifty chance of just surviving the mission. The Chinese spacecraft currently on the Moon is probably accomplishing the same result.

            1. HotFlash

              A lot of indigenous peoples probably would have been quite OK with European colonists not showing up.

            2. D. Fuller

              Why bother with exploration and advancement at all then? Let us just stick to “good enough”. That what we have today is it. We will never go any further.

              Space travel is still to dangerous. So is sailing if you ask some. We do it regardless.

              Sure there is radiation and health effects during space travel. Will we ever beat those? Never know unless we go, those few pioneers.

              1. campbeln


                If we give up exploration, then what are we, really? Spaces pushed our boundaries, and NASA’s research has brought us countless innovations that have directly paid off “in the real world”.

                But if you only ever look to this quarter and next…

            3. D. Fuller

              Here are but a few examples of how space travel has improved life.

              10 Ways Space Exploration Has Helped Launch Modern Technology

              There is no telling what future advances in technology and understanding life, that will occur because we chose to risk going to space. That is true for earthbound science also. We don’t know what we will discover, whether or not we go to space, or remain earthbound.

              The more relevant question is: What won’t we know if we don’t go to space?

              The countries that choose to invest in space travel and advancement, win. Those that don’t? Follow. Same goes for the Green New Deal.

              The Green New Deal is not only about reducing carbon emissions. The Green New Deal is about the technology and advancements that will occur. The United States either gets on board? Or becomes a has-been, servants to those countries who do win the technology race that the Green New Deal IS.

              Either advance, or stagnate while becoming irrelevant. Either leaders or consumers beholden to other countries.

              All those who say space travel (or the Green New Deal) isn’t worth it? Choose to be servants to those who will invest and win. The servants are the losers.

              Which do you choose? Winner? Or Loser?

            4. The Rev Kev

              December 2, 2020 at 10:28 am

              You bring up fair questions so let me say that we are still working out how to keep humans safe in space which is a big job (but don’t listen to Musk here). I believe that here on earth that the first few colonies in California starved to death and yet look now. With space, you can use human and robots – sometimes together – depending on what is needed and right now there is a Chinese robot on the Moon collecting samples. But that remains a random sampling of one small area and humans can do a superior job here. Have you ever heard of the Genesis rock?

              So with the astronauts Apollo 15, the astronauts were taught to be passable field geologists under the tutelage of “Lee” Silver, a prominent CalTech geologist. One thing that he asked them to keep an eye out for was a piece of anorthosite which would probably be from the original crust. While on the moon on their field trips one of the astronauts spotted a piece and said “Oh man! Guess what we just found! Guess what we just found! I think we found what we came for!”

              The point is that a robot doing random sampling on the moon would never have spotted which was the important rock to pick up. For that you need a man – or a woman. That rock that was picked up was so important that they called it the Genesis rock for what it could tell the scientists. So it is not a binary thing. You need both robots and humans in space all depending on what needs to be done-


          2. KLG

            As an embodiment of the so-called imperative for exploration, the ISS can be justified, even it it isn’t “boldly going where no human has gone before.” You never know, so that is why you go. Which is also why you do the experiment…to find the answer. Serendipity is a thing in science, and it could have been for the ISS.

            Nevertheless, the “science” done on the ISS has about as much usefulness as sending John Glenn aloft on the Space Shuttle so we could compare his “data” from Friendship 7 in 1962 with his data in space as an “old person” in 1998, 36 years later. NASA has been a bureaucracy in search of a budget since the cancellation of Apollo 18 and not much more than that.

            1. D. Fuller

              There was not enough investment in the ISS. As there is not enough investment in NASA. To realize gains sufficient enough to justify either’s existence. The ISS does a little more – depending on investment by member nations – than simply study human biology in space. New manufacturing methods, potentially superior to what we have now, can also be studied.

              Private corporations are very happy to use the knowledge and infrastructure – such as the ISS – that taxpayers paid for, to realize their own profits. Imagine if private corporations had to fund their own research and development, from scratch. The ISS would have never been built. Indeed, Elon Musk’s fortune rests on taxpayer subsidies.

              One interesting piece of technological development that private space “entrepreneurs” want taxpayers to pay for, before they claim it is their own? An advancement in rocketry that is far more efficient than anything SpaceX or the other “entrepreneurs” – sponges on the taxpayers – are currently developing?

              The aerospike engine. Funding was initially pursued with development by NASA. The so-called “entrepreneurs” at SpaceX and elsewhere are just waiting for taxpayers to pay for the perfection of the aerospike engine. So they can claim it as theirs. That, “they did it”. Unfortunately, that piece of technology that would further the United States in maintaining leadership? Is not being funded in current public budgets.

              People see how private corporations snap up taxpayer intellectual property for their sole benefit. From drug development to LED technology to – now – space rocketry.

              Private corporations were so damn lazy that we did not even develop a national highway system. Until it was funded by taxpayers. Oh, corporations were happy to jump on the bandwagon of national highways as soon as they realized that they could profit off of such. At taxpayer expense.

              Such as been the way of private corporations, as government created and supported entities. The earliest modern corporations were extensions of the State.

              1. RMO

                NASA’s budget has been at around one half of one percent of the federal government budget for decades. At it’s highest it reached about one percent. Bernie Madoff’s scam involved a sum about two and half times an average yearly NASA budget. American usually spend over four times NASA’s budget every year on tobacco. It’s not a question of funding NASA or helping homeless people, protecting the environment, getting people out of poverty – those aren’t mutually exclusive.

                Not being able to maintain a valuable site like Arecibo to the point where it ends up collapsing is just one sign of a dying empire. There are a lot more out there, many right outside your door.

          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            I would rather the state spend the money housing the homeless, not as a symbol, but as a true act of how the state can be a force for good.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          There is work and there is work on something transcendent. The Space Race, including — the ISS — represented work on the transcendent, our version of pyramids and Cathedrals. More practically and profitably, it was an excuse to justify spending money on basic research, education, and libraries, including the necessary understated military ‘justification’. Space technology viewed in a military context has proven far more ‘useful’ militarily than all the spending on building missile silos and more and more bigger and better bombs and ballistic missiles. Toward the end of its life the ISS itself represented international cooperation on a project of transcendence. At its end of life, the ISS and the decline of the US participation has become just one more example of the decline and decay of our Empire as Neoliberalism throttles the life out of our economy and polity.

          1. Carolinian

            Well space cooperation doesn’t seem to have done much for terrestrial relations between the US and Russia. And don’t forget that one reason for the sixties space race was to improve our missiles so we could put atomic weapons on them. Also the obsession with landing on the Moon was greatly driven by a desire to beat the Russians to the punch for propaganda purposes.

            Your analogy of pyramids and cathedrals is interesting though. It would be nice to think that grandiose technological gestures could knit the world into a more peaceful place. But it doesn’t seem to have worked back then either.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Didn’t work, reportedly, for another ancient aspirational project, the Tower of Babel.

              Anyone into “space,” and the military aspirations and profit-seeking that seems to be its framework, knows that jargon and acronyms flood the brain space and no doubt lead to Babelization of the whole.

              Amazing the enthusiasm of fanboys and fan girls over the exploits (in all senses of the word) of Musk and Bezos with their phallic products littering the sky with ever more satellites and space junk. But even I get a kick out of watching the Starship escapades, lofting giant water towers on pillars of burning methane and oxygen… can hardly wait to see where this leads. Likely not to “star baby,” a la “2001…” but much more prosaic looting and shooting. I’d say that if the “science” delivers a terraforming project on Mars and “bases” and mining and extraction out among the asteroids and outer planets, the social structures and tensions and war depicted by “The Expanse” franchise is pretty likely, given our priors.

            2. ambrit

              I will observe here that the construction of the Pyramids and the later Cathedrals were the outcome of already existing cultural ‘systems.’ Both were motivated by society wide religious impulses. The Pharaoh was a God, and G-d in His Heaven smiled down in approval of our concrete expressions of mystical fealty. The Moon Race was a similar process, with the religion being exalted being Science.
              All three impulses were expressions of extant social systems, their ‘Crowning Glory’ as it were.
              In support of my contention concerning Science as a religious impulse, do notice that we have already entered a period of “Post Science Belief.”
              Yet another form of ‘Anti Intellectualism’ has taken centre stage.
              Be safe.

              1. Carolinian

                Apollo 11 was our pyramid and it did bring the world together for a week or two. Meanwhile I’d say most of the world probably doesn’t even know the ISS is up there. It really is a make work project for NASA and the aerospace industry.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Unlike the pyramids and other crowning glory achievements of prior civilizations, when we regress to the mean, there will be no evidence that we ever left this orb among the doubters in the year 2525, if man is still alive.

                  1. GC54

                    There will still be footprints of an extinct bipedal species in the lunar dust at a half-dozen spots, for a few million years anyway.

              2. Jeremy Grimm

                I suppose some have people have acquired a “Post Science Belief.” But the Neoliberal purchase of Science has rotted the core meaning of what the “Science Belief” had been. A “Post Science Belief” is better labelled a “Post ‘science’ Belief” as the meaning of Science has been so greatly debased through its acquisition [I am not sure whether it was a friendly or unfriendly takeover]. Although I do agree with your notion of a certain degree of religiosity tied to the motivations of the Scientists and Engineers who worked on the Space Race I believe the desire to do something larger than themselves was the strongest motivator.
                Mark Watney [“the Martian”]: “I love what I do and I’m really good at it. And … I’m dying for something big and beautiful and greater than me.”

                To what extent might this desire to transcend derive the religious impulse rather than derive from the religious impulse?

            3. D. Fuller

              Material science advancements introducing new methods of manufacturing now in every day household items to advancements in pacemakers, illustrates the extent of contributions NASA has made to private enterprise here on Earth. Private enterprise run by Capitalists too lazy to do the work themselves.

              From spoons to pacemakers and much, much more

              If NASA had ever been allowed to profit off of intellectual property developed by the taxpayer? NASA would be self-funding and then some.

              Elon Musk? A punk supported by taxpayers, acting like he knows everything. Musk blew up a rocket by using a flawed design that NASA warned him about. While Musk is given sweetheart deals on taxpayer space infrastructure, to reinvent the wheel.

              Indeed, if royalties on intellectual property paid for by taxpayers was ever claimed by taxpayers? Our national debt would be paid off. Yesterday.

            4. Jeremy Grimm

              I believe the international cooperation, of which ISS was a part, was working too well to please the MIC in the US and Russia. There is too much money to be made building weapons. Improving the missiles with atomic weapons may have been a military purpose for the Space Race. While useful to the MIC I don’t believe the Intercontinental missiles or the rest of the Triad were especially useful militarily. I believe the spy satellites and GPS provide more utility for military purposes. Earth monitoring satellites have also contributed to understanding the extent and spread of Global Climate Chaos.

              There were many motivations for the Space Race and competition with the Russians was one of those reasons. Although consider how the Russians were inflated to support US spending and effort.

              If you ever met and talked with some of the engineers who worked in the Space Race you would discover a very different motivation driving their efforts. They were reasonably well-paid but what motivated their efforts was the powerful desire to work on a transcendent project. They were committed to the work. I suspect more than a few were aware of the precarity of their jobs. Pink slips were already going out as the LEM made its excursion on the moon. Anyone who followed the up-and-down of employment at Boeing or GD Convair knew what was coming, whether they allowed themselves to be fully aware of the future layoffs clearly written on the wall as they stepped up to their heavy steel desks.

        3. Glen

          I would flip that question around.

          Space exploration – what BAD does it do?

          It explores space.

          And juxtapose –

          A DoD funded larger than the rest of the world COMBINED – what bad does it do?

          IT MAKES WAR.

          So I’m not saying we might or might not have better places to spend our money than exploring spare, I’m just suggesting we have much, much, much better places to defund and fund rebuilding America, especially since what we spend in space is quite literally peanuts. We have much larger low hanging fruit.

          NASA History and Spending:

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I fell compelled to admit I have competing interests partially motivating my defense of the Space Race — and the ISS — which began this discussion.

            I follow NASA Tech Briefs each month and have for many years, enjoying thinking about the problems space presents, and the many creative solutions NASA and the contractors they support and have supported present in Tech Briefs. I sleep on a foam cushion and pillow on foam originally developed for space missions. I follow the many patents and ultrasonic devices invented for drilling rock … or smashing kidney stones. I came into engineering in the mid-1970s after the great layoffs but while a few survivors remained to convey to me their true passion for what they did helping put human footsteps on the moon.

            I have fallen in love with glass and anxiously follow the devices and strategies for maintaining the operations of a lander on Venus. The temperatures match the lower end of temperatures in a glass furnace, the lower end of annealing temperatures, but within temperature ranges which might be maintained inside a hotter furnace using some of the techniques and components used to keep a controller running inside a Venus lander.

            I admit there are better ways we might spend the languishing pittance spent on NASA — but I cannot think of many.

            1. Glen

              I too am an engineer that has subscribe to NASA Tech Briefs for years, and remains in complete awe of what NASA accomplished in the space race.

              Most people remain blissfully unaware of how much the technology that runs today’s world was developed for the American government for use in space. Silicon Valley came into being to develop the transistor and microelectronics and the single largest customer by far, especially in those early critical days when device and development costs were very high, was the U.S. government. It also helped that Lockheed Missiles and Space, and NASA are right there in the middle of the valley.

              And at heart, I remain a believer in science’s ability to solve problems, but I am also a realist that it’s GOVERNMENT FUNDED SCIENCE that solves 99/100’s of the real problems. Especially today with Wall St calling the shots, corporate R&D in America is a sick joke.

              So, cut DoD funding in half and use that to fix America? Totally on board.

              Cut NASA funding? Cut NSF funding? No, I think we need to expand funding especially if it makes good American jobs. Part of the Green New Deal is developing the technology and manufacturing base for our future, and the people at NSF and NASA are the people we need to do that.

        4. wilroncanada

          That data includes Chris Hadfield singing ‘Ground control to Major Tom” indicating that playing guitar in space takes a lot of pluck.

        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The ISS does what exactly?

          Idealistically, I think anything that enables us to see the planet Earth as the beautiful whole thing that it is, is Good (caps intended.)

          That said, I also question whether we as a species deserve to get off-planet, even 100 miles up, let alone the Moon or Mars.

    3. TheMog

      Another interesting way to look at this – as a friend of mine pointed out to me, the design lifespan for the radio telescope was something like ten years, with the assumption that at that point, something better would be built at that point in time.

      Instead it’s been limped along for 50+ years in what seems to be a chronically underfunded way until it finally called it quits.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I didn’t see this thread when I posted a comment below, but the neglect is truly disgraceful.

        The Hubble telescope was maybe the last truly great scientific endeavor from the US, and that was 30 years ago. When launched in 1990 after much fanfare, it didn’t work. In 1992, Congress defunded the Superconducting Supercollider with the usual suspects decrying it’s uselessness, etc. and maybe they had the Hubble’s failure in mind when doing so. But shortly after that, NASA sent a mission to fix the Hubble and it worked! People walked in outer space and fixed an extremely complex scientific instrument and it seemed like a miracle to me at the time. The universe was opened up like never before. The Hubble is still in operation and has been well past its originally intended lifespan. The Hubble deep field is truly a wonder to behold.

        Part of the reason for that extended lifespan is that the Webb telescope, the long planned replacement for the Hubble, has been delayed for years and years and I’m not sure when it will ever be launched.

        We used to do great things as a nation, scientifically at least, to further the knowledge of humankind and also just because we could. Now we don’t do anything unless we can guarantee a foreigner like Elon Musk a few billion in profits first. And while there is some innovation going on, there is also a lot of reinventing the wheel from Musk, not to mention completely cluttering the view of the night sky with his Starlink atrocity. Glad the Hubble took its photos when it did, because with Musk junk littering the sky, we may never have the chance to see sights like that again.

        But hey, who needs to see the stars when there’s billions in profit to be made?

      2. Samuel Conner


        This reminds me a bit of the original 300 foot diameter fixed-azimuth dish at the Green Bank (WV) Radio Observatory. It was an admirable design, constructed at very low cost by present-day standards (a story I heard was that it was designed quickly and built with surplus funds; those were the days of US supremacy in engineering ingenuity), and served well for decades. It collapsed without warning in the early ’90s and was replaced by a somewhat larger but much more expensive fully steerable dish.

        Perhaps Arecibo will be rebuilt with the science community wraps its head around MMT. And perhaps maintenance will be adequately funded.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t worry it could a PPP. Basically, a fee could be levied on Puerto Rico residents with KFC funding the rest through a generous tax subsidy with KFC splitting the profits. If the telescope doesn’t get built, ,KFC would be the beneficiary of the fines.

      Also, a grant would be made to help raise awareness of KFC.

    5. DJG

      zagonostra: Well, it is one more report from Can’t-Do America.

      But the National Science Foundation reached out (arrggh) to us customers with an ooshy tweet:
      “NSF is saddened by this development,” the agency wrote in a tweet. “As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”

      saddened…move forward…looking for ways… waiting for the barbarians.

    6. rd

      A key line form the coronavrus innovation article in The Week is: “And the various scientific teams have built on years of past work developing a basic format for messenger RNA vaccines, which is what the first two vaccines use.”

      When people talk about innovation, there is usually a small team of researchers somewhere that has been plugging away in a corner on what could be a dead end for 10-20 years. All of a sudden, there is a moment in time where all of that goes from “Why in the world are we spending money on this?” to “This is a triumph of Western Civilization that we were able to innovate so quickly.”

      RNA vaccines delivery, Arecibo, Fleming’s accidental discovery of penicillin are all of this type of basic research where people are plugging away for an entire career. Many of them are in dead ends, but you can’t predict which ones in advance.

      As a society, we just need to budget a certain amount of money for bright people to be able to study things to see what they can find. Faraday plunked away in his laboratory for decades slowly proving that electro-magentism and light were part and parcel of the same thing. Maxwell used that experimental body of knowledge to derive the equations that governed these phenomena and now drive the modern world. Einstein built on all of that work with some thought experiments a few years later and opened up the cosmos. None of that happens in a world where the bookkeepers are just focused on maximizes transactional revenue from the research within 5 years.

  2. UserFriendly

    Re Heather Bushey, a comment and a little bit more info:

    “Claudia writes that she was fired because she outed Larry Summers for his own ongoing abuse, recently, not just back when he said nasty things as President of Harvard. Heather & Larry have a sick symbiotic professional relationship, which I will elaborate on below. /1”

  3. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Six Stupid Arguments Against Forgiving Student Loan Debt”

    Hardly an analysis without an agenda, statistical cherry-picking/twisting/contorting topped with a healthy dose of condescending tone. Could rip into all of the counter-arguments (to supposedly stupid arguments), but it just becomes a contest of who is the loudest. Which brings me to a quote from a colleague – “Don’t talk to me about college loan forgiveness. You went to college. You are supposedly smarter than me. You figure it out without my tax money”. As bad as the democrats are, putting fuel on the fire behind sending voters in the lower economics tiers over to the Republicans, is probably not a good idea….

    1. fresno dan

      Mr. Magoo
      December 2, 2020 at 7:29 am

      So I was talking to an old friend, and after I had had enough of how Trump was being cheated out of the election, which I noted is exactly what Hillary said about her election, I changed the subject to his 3 children. I have to admit, I was flabbergasted at the cost of their college educations. These children didn’t go to Harvard.
      When I attended college in Fresno after my time in the service, I was able to afford to go to community college, and than the State college (which changed while I was attending to a University). My rent off campus was 90$ a month, and my books and fees were paid for by the GI bill with money left over. I worked part time as a security guard for beer and massage money (I needed the massages for … relaxation).
      What are they learning that is soooo expensive???

      1. Phillip Cross

        What are they learning that is soooo expensive???

        “Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning”

          1. tegnost

            Yes. I always thought the real reason for student loans was to give the haves an advantage. Competition is for little people see college admissions scandal

        1. Foy

          According to the unis in various lawsuits against them, students don’t go there to learn, rather they go there to ‘acquire credentials’. Costs a lot of money to acquire credentials these days.

    2. Unsympathetic

      The reply to this colleague peddling their own ridiculous argument should be “Nobody’s using your tax money, they’re using the future taxes from the people whose debt they’re forgiving.”

      A red herring argument deserves a red herring response.

      1. TMoney

        Perhaps, however, optics matters, because other people opted NOT to go University because they judged (probably correctly) that they couldn’t afford it. There is the opportunity cost of “being responsible” for some people. These people don’t get a do-over on the basis of those choices.
        Make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. Make future tuition free. Stop interest on the loans. Max repayment at 1.5 times the borrowed amount. But what about material benefits for the working poor as well ? If you address the very real student debt problem in isolation you setup a big group of people to have deep resentment – I paid my loans / I didn’t get to go. You will drive them to a future Trump.

        It’s bitter if your working class and went to work to watch the middle class kids just get another huge handout, while you got nothing – again.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Yes. The age of the commentariat at NC is never more evident than when “student loan forgiveness” is under discussion. Student loan debtors now are disproportionately young people who’ve attended community colleges, third tier state colleges like the kind with ‘Polytechnic’ in their names, and for-profit scam schools. Where they tried to get credentials for jobs that probably should not need them, and that would have been no-college, “working class” jobs when these commenters were that age.

            Most really strapped, really beat down student debtors are the effing working class. The next generation thereof. They just aren’t the over 50 type that still believe there are rafts of jobs out there for young people without family business connections or credentials.

            Crushing student debt now = a 26 year old guy working as a paramedic, or his wife who is still studying to be a dental technician. Not art majors from Bennington or Reed.

            1. wadge22

              Student loan debtors now are disproportionately young people who’ve attended community colleges, third tier state colleges like the kind with ‘Polytechnic’ in their names, and for-profit scam schools.

              What exactly is the disproportion here? That word always gets me on edge, because it allows one to make an argument which sounds too much like a completely different argument.
              It sounds like you’re saying “the working class has lots of people with student debt.”
              What you really are saying is “people with student debt could well be in the working class.”
              True, but less useful if you want to convince me student debt forgiveness is pro worker.

              Most really strapped, really beat down student debtors are the effing working class.

              But are most members of the working class student debtors? That seems more relevant to me (and also less probably the case, if we were looking at actual data with numbers in place of the ‘most’s and ‘fair amount’s).

              In any case, are you trying to say that you think the resentment among the working class would not be so prevalent? Or merely that you think it would be unjustified?

              1. JBird4049

                In the 60s college was essentially free.

                In the 1990s, it was manageable.

                Into the 70s, maybe the 80s, getting a good job did not require a college degree.

                Most jobs that pay anything now require a degree.

                The better the job, the higher and more expensive the degree is.

                Getting into the highest levels of finance or law just about requires an Ivy degree.

                The working and middle classes now have to have those degrees to have a chance, just a chance at a good life.

                Any mistakes or bad luck, like an injury from a accident, cancer, job loss, whatever can mean debt peonage for life and complete ruin.

                So, in the past forty years getting any job that pays a living wage increasingly requires a degree, a degree that is increasingly expensive, increasingly hard to get, increasingly requires near perfection in the getting and paying for, and the debt is almost undischargeable.

                More and more Americans at all ages are being just grounding into the dirt. Disposed of because they ain’t rich or ruthless and lucky enough to join the Professional Managerial Class. Too many supposed adults want to use the conditions of the 1960s when college was nearly free, the economy was booming with jobs for almost anyone, to justify not forgiving student loans. Ask yourself, what are the conditions like today? Across the entire country?

                At some point, it becomes not only generally unfair, or insane, it starts becoming an evil, and I have no truck with people complaining that since they weren’t helped, or because of some sort of morality, or because of taxes, that tens of millions of Americans should be disposed of.

            2. TMoney

              You won’t get an argument from me on any of the points you made and the longer the student debt scam continues, the less relevant my argument becomes. The more people mired in student loan debt, the less resentment forgiveness generates.

              Scam Schools debt should be uncollectable – it’s a fraud paid for by the victim – in fact the fraud doesn’t end until the debt is paid. Madness.

              Credentials for jobs that probably should not need them is the next nastiest part of the student debt complex. Companies now expect employees to train themselves at their own expense.

              The reason the student debt crisis has been ignored for so long is because the number of student loan debtors grow by only 1 or 2% of the workforce per year, and at least 30 years ago the total for each individual was almost manageable. Over time, the total debt per “student done with school” group for each year has grown ever faster. We now have 40-50 years old still paying on their debts as their kids go to school. It takes a long time for a large enough cohort of suffering to bring about reform. I should also report that the at least 25 years ago, (YMMV) the more successful working class kids stuck with the localU, the ones who went away for “college” life mostly came back broke and broken.

              In my own PMC-hood, I also see the kids college choices becoming more limited as even here the sticker cost means StateU and not out-of-StateU and LocalU not StateU. Perhaps my PMC-hood is downwardly mobile.

              Finally…Q. For ALL Potential Future Students: How much student loan debt can you afford to pay as % of your paycheck ?

              Figure it out before you go !

              My Ready Reckoner…
              200K in the hole for 50K job doesn’t work.
              100K in the hole for 50K job doesn’t work.
              50K in the hole for 50K job doesn’t work.
              25K in the hole for 50K job MIGHT work.

              Mind you that means most people can’t afford to go…..

          2. Felix_47

            Where I went to Junior College there were a large number of young women with children. In the introductory courses the majority were people of color. Since people of color don’t have high paying jobs and can’t really pay the child support needed for a mother to raise children the mothers would enroll in the Junior College and the loans would then cover a car payment, apartment, child care and everything else. None of my classmates seemed to think they would ever repay them… was a government benefit they could get to survive. Since these women are raising the future population of US I always looked at the loans as a sort of federal child support program which I think makes sense. It is unreasonable to expect people of color to bear the bulk of child bearing and raising for the future of the nation and not provide decent paying jobs for their men or them and not compensate them so they can survive. The child support system impacts minorities terribly and the amount of money extracted from minority men is minimal and pain from the state maximal up to and including jail. If the government wants to have the population have babies the taxpayer should subsidize it and if the taxpayer does not want to pay there should be mandatory birth control. Over half of the children born in the US are on Medicaid meaning they are in financial stress and will have a very limited future. Student loans up to a certain amount… exclude loans for law school or med school or chiropractic or podiatry or any graduate school……should be forgiven. And in the future we need a national child support program. All mothers should get perhaps 4000 per month per child until they are 18 (the child….not the mother) and end the student loan scam.

        1. pasha

          in fact, most student loans are repaid, and interest is deductible from taxes.

          for those who cannot repay, discharging student loans in bankruptcy (same as almost every other debt) is equitable to all concerned. the execrable 2003 bankruptcy act revision preventing bankruptcy has disrupted the logic of lending, removing the moral hazard if a bank guesses wrong

          1. tegnost

            the moral hazard was removed. banks don’t have to guess one way or another on a guaranteed loan. Student loan debt keeps rising, 1.56 trillion now. so how is most being paid? It’s not. Lot’s of interest is being paid though, lots of social security is getting garnished. the ultimate sub prime market, zero barriers to entry, and you can never leave….bankster heaven.

    3. The S

      If the past 40 years have taught us anything, it’s that the people who went to college are certainly not smarter. Look at how they’ve run the country into the ground. The farmers and factory workers whose coordinated mass rebellions earned the New Deal and the only decent era of general economic prosperity in U.S. history weren’t college educated. The college educated wrecked it all deregulating everything, advancing usury, selling fraudulent financial crap, and undermining any peaceful working class protest or electoral movement. Petit Bourgeois are still Bourgeois and they serve the uber-wealthy that they hope to become one day.

    4. D. Fuller

      American supremacy, in the past?

      High taxes and subsidized education.

      Now? America in decline. We subsidize our wealthy and pay the price.

      Simple statements with a firm basis in reality.

      1. Geo

        A great premise for a Matrix parody film!

        Morpheus: Just click the blue button Neo and you will know the truth.

        Neo: I don’t see a blue button.

        Morpheus: It says “This is the revolution”…

        Neo: That one is gray. I can’t click it. I can click the red button that says “Go back to sleep.”


        CUT TO: Morning light shines through the window as Neo wakes from a good night’s sleep.

        Neo: What a strange dream. (He looks at the time) Oh, I’m late for work!

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    dont know if these 2 have been linked…i’ve had them open for a couple of days:
    “s typically recounted, the story of the twentieth century goes something like this: after briefly uniting to defeat fascism, the United States and the Soviet Union turned the rest of the century into a clash of ideologies, one that always threatened to erupt, but never quite did, into outright great-power war. With nary a shot fired, free-market capitalism won out, thanks to the hearts and minds won by the power of television, cheeseburgers, and convenient home appliances.

    But programs like Operation Condor cast that history in a very different light. With them in mind, that triumph looks intensely violent — one in which the US government swiftly allied with autocrats and even fascists to attack democracy and brutally put down people’s movements of all kinds the world over, lest their goals of a more just, egalitarian world threaten Western strategic and business interests. And with that economic system now sputtering under the weight of several crises, the repressive measures long reserved for the rest of the world are becoming more visible at home, as an agitated US public turns ever more unruly in the face of their own long-declining living standards.”


    iran contra was the first time i remember really paying attention to the news…and hungering for more information about what it felt like they were leaving out.
    the left out parts i would eventually find in head shops north of houston. they had books, in addition to “water pipes for display” and “cigarette papers” .
    i learned enough from them to know that it was us…the “shining city on a hill”…that was the real evil empire.
    early open internet and foia docs filled it all in, and i’ve never seen anything the disabuse me of that initial impression.
    all summer, with Q and proud boys abd boogaloo, i’ve been thinking about Operation Gladio and “stay behind armies”…and extending those thoughts backwards to Tea Party, and even to the “militia movements” of the 80’s and 90’s.
    having read, during these 30 years of rummaging around in the “other side of the story”, things like the US Army field manuals on counterinsurgency, nothing that the goons and sspooks have done domestically has really shocked me all that much.
    what’s shocking is how the tale of all that evil done in our name abroad…and now being brought home, is still largely unknown to random people on the street…and often as not discounted out of hand as something that couldn’t happen…especially not “here”.
    all the way back to the White Army in the russian civil war, the “west”, for all it’s pretensions of enlightenment and goodness and light, has subverted and destroyed democracy and human rights.
    now that the Empire, itself, is falling apart for it’s own people, the strategy and tactics learned throughout the third and second worlds is being increasingly applied to us.
    when i see hopeful things like the links in the Realignment and Legitimacy subhead, and consider what happened to Occupy and even someone as more or less mainstream as Bernie, i shudder to think of what’s to come.
    sorry for the tangential wander, here…i finally got around to Branko’s things while waiting for Links.

    1. fresno dan

      Amfortas the hippie
      December 2, 2020 at 8:01 am

      I think people who are curious and intellectually honest always have some publication that is the great epiphany or road to Damascus moment in how they view the USA. For me, it was Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent which I read years after it came out.

      An old friend called me last night to discuss politics. A guy I used to think was quite good at seeing through all the political and corporate BS – rah-rah USA and capitalism. I didn’t mind what he had to say about “old sleepy Joe” and that most of his points came directly from FOX, after all, most of them are true enough – but I found it disappointing that he so mimicked the Hillary argument about losing an election – nefarious forces must be at work…and you can’t believe a democrat by virtue of the fact that they are a democrat…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The last line is why the fantasy of the GOP doing all the work for Biden, trust me, it’s not his age, was always a waste. If the GOP didn’t hate Obama because he was black, they would hate him for being in Team Blue. Back in 2008, I seem to recall the push to win big was the GOP would simply claim anything less than a blown out was a stolen election with shouts of Daley 1960. Even without Fox, this is exactly where the party of Reagan would have landed.

        Though rationally, the fantasies of “centrists” are so bizarre and fantastical, they really can’t be trusted.

        1. jsn

          Imagine if LSU thought if they played more like Alabama, Alabama fans would root for them.

          That’s our Democrats.

    2. Phillip Allen

      I remember thinking, back when Reza Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, that just like when several years earlier the US had evacuated in panic from Vietnam, that their legions of torturers and counterinsurgency murder teams they’d trained up over the years had to go somewhere, and a great many would end up being given sanctuary here. I recognized that sooner or later the skill sets represented would find their way into daily US life.

      1. Phillip Cross

        “We live in a dirty and dangerous world,” Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham told a gathering of CIA recruits in 1988. “There are some things the general public does not need to know, and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows

          This is actually better than what we have now….

    3. Watt4Bob

      I for one, do not think your comment “tangential wander” it seems to me it’s a succinct summation of our history, and resulting situation.

      The beatings will continue until morale improves.

      While Biden’s team has been eagerly awaiting their turn at rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, Trumps team has thrown them overboard.

      Neera Tanden announces a new Public-Private Partnership to build new chairs.

      All is saved!

      I think the situation you describe is ultimately why this blog has come into being.

    4. pjay

      Thanks very much for this.

      When I read ‘In the Time of Monsters’ in today’s Links, something about it bothered me greatly. The article, from the ‘Midwest Socialist,’ made a number of useful observations about Trump, corporate Democrats, the rural working class, etc. But a big part of the picture was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I went to the Midwest Socialist “Who We Are” page. They are a collective of Midwestern DSA chapters. The picture on the page is of a large group of earnest looking young people. It took me back to my college days nearly 40 years ago when I was a young, earnest, DSA member at a Midwestern university.

      When I read your comment, it hit me. Most of these kids, like most of us, really have no idea what we are up against. We talk mainly about surface phenomena, the tip of the iceberg. There is very little awareness of the deeper evils – the real Monsters – that lie beneath. As you point out, they have been around for quite a while. And wherever they are, they do what they need to do. It puts our little debates about the Donald Trumps and Neera Tandens in proper context. Thanks for the reminder.

    5. Tom Stone

      Amfortas, for me it was seeing Cointelpro in action personally and the finding a copy of “The Politics of Heroin in SE Asia at Shakespeare and Co bookstore on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley in 1973.
      Yup, I’m old enough to remember seeing the boys from Stanford handing out legal LSD from the back of their baby blue pick up truck in early ’63…
      And it has come home, with a vengeance, “Gorgon Stare” is currently deployed here in the USA and Habeas Corpus has gone the way of the Dodo.

      1. Janie

        Vietnam War, know as The American War in Vietnam, was it for me, too. We lived in the midwest, where support for the war was strong and no anti-war voices were heard. (It’s like living in Trump country today.) From ’68, the truth began to leak out – body counts, five o’clock follies, Walter Cronkite, Kent State. McNamara, The Best and the Brightest, our postman’s son died there. So much for blind patriotism.

        1. Fireship

          Yes, it is often forgotten that the slaughter of yellow people in Asia was wildly popular in America as long as it was a turkey shoot. Once Charley turned out to be actually able to fight back and started blacking Uncle Sam’s eyes from the Tet offensive onwards, American ardor cooled somewhat.

        2. psv

          Janie, the other day there was a mention of journalist Diana Johnstone’s new book, Circle in the Darkness, which I recently finished. She was an anti-Vietnam war activist in Minneapolis in the late 60s, and among other things was an organizer for a group of Minnesotans which went to Paris to meet Vietnamese counterparts. As a midwesterner you might find her recounting of those times, as well as more recent ones, worthwhile.

        3. pasha

          i was high school class of 1965, the class supplying the greatest number of draftees.

          a college deferment followed by a high draft number (349) saved me, but i was shocked to learn than 9% of the males in my class died (mostly in southeast asia) after being drafted. vietnam, laos, and cambodia took a toll that cannot be measured

    6. skippy

      “Fog of War’ dinner table … McNamara poses question to opposite number – we offered you everything but you sided with the Chinese – sigh …

      NVC opposite number responds … that we take CCP military support as an ends to a means does not invalidate we have been fighting them for 2000 years … nor our fight for self determination against any imposed occupation.

      Precious moment on McNamara’s face as cognitive gears buckle.

      I always hear Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime when reviewing such matters:

      I still ponder what yours and others response might have been on the Ergodicity link from P. Syll, especially the fork in the road historical moment.

  5. timbers

    In Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Deal, Putin Applied a Deft New Touch – NYT

    This article was written by Anton Troianovski. His position as a Moscow correspondent for The New York Times and previously as bureau chief of The Washington Post makes him a perfect match and model of the recent add shared here of the NYT seeking employees who believe and support the US propaganda and against Russian.

    Example of Anton Troianovski pushing fake news against Russia from this article:

    “It was Mr. Putin, the Russian president, who by all accounts stopped the war that killed thousands this fall in the fiercest fighting the southern Caucasus has seen this century. But he did so by departing from the iron-fisted playbook Russia has used in other regional conflicts in the post-Soviet period, when it intervened militarily in Georgia and Ukraine while invading and annexing Crimea.”

    So the mystery is this: Why is Anton Troianovski now casting Russia/Putin in a somewhat new and different light, as in following more cooperative policies than the past? We know Russia’s past polices are not as Anton Troianovski claims. But why is he now changing his tone a bit? Is it to open a door for Dems/Biden to walk thru, of less confrontation with Russia?

    If Troianovski is going off script even of only a bit, it would be interesting to know what it is.

    1. Randy G

      Timbers —

      I stopped reading the article after the ‘sub-heading’: “The iron-fisted tactics used against Georgia and Ukraine seem to have fallen out of favor, replaced by a more subtle blend of soft power and an implicit military threat.”

      This was akin, in the NYT’s inflammatory cant, to — ‘Vladimir Putin, a well-known serial killer, did not immediately slash the throat of his latest teenage victim….”

      Personally, I don’t have time or patience for NYT propaganda memos— especially in this phase of the terminal decline of American corporate “journalism” — as it is now exhausting and ubiquitous.

      You deserve some sort of redeemable gift coupon for plowing through their hackneyed and highly predictable narrative fiction!

      Ironically, post WWII Sovietologists allegedly spent vast amounts of time pouring over Pravda looking for small changes in messaging that might imply shifts in the Politburo — who was on the way up, who on the way down, and which Soviet policy ‘changes in course’ might be expected, etc.

      Amusingly, you are now using exactly the same methodology to analyze the unofficial propaganda organ of the U.S. State Department and CIA to try to grasp possible shifts in U.S. foreign policy. A stalwart ‘Americanologist’ pouring over subtle shifts in tone and substance in the NYT’s propaganda that might augur subterranean policy shifts!

      The New York Times: the prestigious voice of the CIA— but now with wonderful fashion tips and restaurant reviews, too!

      1. John A

        For me, a big tell for western anti-russian propaganda is spelling Kiev as kyiv. Ludicrously they have even taken to calling chicken kiev chicken kyiv. As soon as I see kyiv, I stop reading.

  6. Larry

    Re: Midwest Socialist Estimate

    Is the rural class worth pandering over? Estimates of rural populations across the US suggest roughly 20% of Americans live in rural areas. Rural areas are not exclusive to states that gave all their electors to Trump and Pence, New York and California have plenty of rural spaces. Rural/suburban/urban just doesn’t matter as a descriptor and should be stopped. 8,000 people voted for Biden/Harris while 3000 people voted for Trump/Pence. My town is not rural by any stretch, but Trump’s message resonated quite strongly in this town. While Trump/Pence stood no chance in Massachusetts overall, it says a lot about the ultimate base of voters who don’t care about decorum and respond to the Republican parties messaging.

    And Midwest Socialist misses the entire function of parties, which is to entrench the power of party loyalists. Both parties play us for fools, because they don’t actually have to do anything for us to win elections. They can actively spit in our face and laugh at alternative choices. Trump was surprising because the Republican party’s primary system turns out to be less in the control of the party dons than the Democratic party’s primary system, which proved effective at stopping Bernie from advancing too far and changing party power.

    Two examples of how the parties only need be responsible to their own internal needs in the absence of a legitimate third party challenge or internal party coup:

    1) Wisconsin barely, and I mean barely tipped blue. The government of Scott Walker has been a disaster for the state and Trump attached his name to the Foxconn debacle that promised to restore jobs there. For God’s sake, Trump is there with Walker with a shovel trying to take credit for this totally failed project!
    That alone should have completely torpedoed his chances in Wisconsin, but it did not. Why would Republicans do anything differently?

    2) Prop 22 passing in California. California is the poster child for Democratic party depravity and this case really drives that home with Kamala Harris’s own family being involved in the drive to crush labor rights. No prominent California Democrats (least of all Kamala from her Democratic party pulpit) campaigned seriously against this draconian measure that will now be the play for rolling out similar measures across the land. No serious action is happening in California to overturn this disaster. And for shame on California’s supposedly progressive voters for enabling this disaster for workers everywhere. The Democrats stand for capital and lining their pockets. And they convinced a plurality of people in their most liberal and powerful of states that labor isn’t worth a damn.

    I’ll agree with Midwest Socialist on one count though. America is waiting for some sort of sea change, what that will be I can’t say. Bernie’s popularity indicates one side of that coin, while Trump’s late stage clown show dictator play represents the other possible side. For now, the two major parties work to ensure that there won’t be significant change while millions of Americans suffer and die.

    1. a different chris

      >For God’s sake, Trump is there with Walker with a shovel trying to take credit for this totally failed project!

      That’s a great image to bring up to your Democratic friends, and when they nod in amazement — ask how the modern Democrats would be doing anything different?

      “Shoveling” money to sketchy foreign companies in hope that they will trickle down something so people can pay the rent (mortgage, hah – and even if you find an affordable house you can’t both take on a mortgage *and* do the dreamy cross-country job-chasing all the New Thinkers espouse) is the New Dems response to everything. Give the plebes healthcare directly? LOL no. Jobs? Government must be right-sized which means smaller and smaller. Housing? Well when you get a job in the warehouse RitchyRich is going to build on this greenfield you get “access” to all that!


      1. Larry

        Well, right. That’s why I pointed out the disaster of Prop 22 in our most “liberal” of states. I point out both examples to get my friends to vote for good candidates of either party.

  7. fresno dan

    Dry ice and vaccines.
    I remember very early in my FDA manufacturing review and inspection career an incident I was involved in. Long story short, a vaccine that was in a long process of formulation that included being frozen while in milk cans* in a bath of dry ice became contaminated because the crew that had done that job (shoveling dry ice into the ice bath) for decades all retired, and that the replacements were never trained to make sure that the level of the dry ice bath was not so high as to allow the dry ice bath liquid to get into the milk cans.
    Turns out, no one paid much attention to the cleanliness of the dry ice process, so it was ripe with bacteria, and of course, a good number of the bacteria were spore formers, which survived being in dry ice very nicely.
    Now, I don’t think this is applicable to the Covid vaccines, but it is something that instilled in me an appreciation of the fact that things can go wrong in TOTALLY unanticipated ways.

    * no, I didn’t start my biologics career in 1910 – there was the idea in CBER that if “its not broke don’t fix it” because a lot of “improvements” to processed turned out to have deleterious effects upon the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
    I think the lesson is that any job, if not done right, can lead to disaster. It brings to mind Ben Franklin’s parable of the nail.

    1. petal

      fresno dan, there’s a lot that can go wrong with dry ice shipping. Have had it happen. Packages arrive with the dry ice having totally evaporated(sometimes due to delay or not enough having been put in), or there’s a little left so it’s not at the correct temperature. Boxes arrive looking like a gorilla had their way with them. We’ve also had shipping problems with UPS for years. They’re awful. To see they are involved doesn’t inspire confidence. They can’t even do a good, consistent job shipping run of the mill research materials.

      1. STEPHEN

        I ship deep freeze packages chilled with dry ice for a pharma client I won’t name.

        The lifespan of the ice is a strict 72 hours. If we encounter any unexpected delays – ie missed cutoff for a flight, rolled booking, etc – we re-ice the carton with another 28 kgs. The timing between collection, transfer, loading, unloading, and delivery is all very carefully calibrated to ensure smooth handoffs at each point. We move them on dedicated reefer trucks to control thw ambient temperature.

        Temp control air freight is not simple, or cheap.

        1. Winston Smith

          The question here is, would that be sufficient for vaccines(in a regulatory sense)? particularly for the Pfizer vaccine (-80C storage)

          1. STEPHEN

            Well, they are small cartons, about 15 inches square. Each contains roughly 30kgs of ice, which is sufficient to maintain inner temps at -80 for 72 hours. How that scales…

            I just jotted a quick followup note about the movement of deep freezers we’ve seen lately as well. Those will apparently be utilized heavily.

            The major reefer ULD manufacturers do market units that can transport down to -70. Vac-q-tec being an example. Those units would extend the life of the ice.

            We’re having a series of internal calls on it…the sort in which a person in my position does not speak but listens.

            1. Winston Smith

              Thanks for expanding on this, I think the key is the word “regulatory”…I would imagine that given that the matter at hand is vaccines, not samples or medicines, that the bar would set pretty high in terms preserving the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. need a specialist to answer such a question

        2. STEPHEN

          Sorry, want to expand on this a bit.

          I have in recent days shipped an unusually large large volume of ultra low temperature deep freezers, capable of storing goods down to -80. Destinations throughout Europe and Asia. Consignees have been logistics companies of various sorts.

          1. rowlf

            I used to work for an airline with a mixed fleet of 50 or so 747s, with the freighters being actual nose door 747s. The freighters ran as scheduled service and were the highest priority flights for us. If a freighter went on delay all effort went to getting the freighter flying again. I miss it as it was Formula 1 intense. Consider that at the time a 747 passenger airplane delay was at $100K/hour. The freighters spent more time in the air than on the ground, and I always liked spotting the east flying aircraft that would log 28 to 30 flight hours in a single calendar day.

            Now we are using widebody airliners to cover for the decrease in self-loading freight by flying regular freight.

              1. wilroncanada

                “Self-UNloading freight” is even better. Open the bomb bay doors, Hal! We don’t want to waste time landing.

      2. Ford Prefect

        We are in a good place. Louis DeJoy is going to ensure that all of this shipping is done efficiently and cost-effectively.

    2. Lee

      To your point on dry ice and another one raised by the linked article’s failure to credit China as a potential major vaccine provider: How COVID vaccines are being divvied up around the world Nature

      Although China has promised millions of coronavirus vaccines to countries globally. And it is ready to deliver them CNN

      Not only is the Chinese vaccine storable at normal refrigeration temperatures, it uses an older, tried and mechanism of action.

      Mechanism of Action (MOA) of the COVID-19 Vaccine Frontrunners

      “COVID-19 vaccine (CoronaVac) developed by the SinoVac Biotech company entered its phase-I human clinical trials in April, and after showing promising results in the initial 2 phases, the company started phase-3 trials in Brazil and Indonesia. This vaccine uses an inactivated virus, a proven strategy that has been traditionally used for vaccine development, and such vaccines have been found to be safe and effective for influenza and polio. For this type of vaccine, the specific virus or bacteria is killed or inactivated, and its dead cells are introduced into the body. Even though the pathogen is dead, the immune system can still learn from its antigens how to fight its live versions in the future.”

      While disinclined to look favorably on products made in China or the Chinese government, I am only slightly less skeptical of our own elite’s motives and proclivities. I’m wondering if we are being siloed for either geopolitical or commercial reasons. On this point, Oxford/AstraZeneca seems to have taken the non-profit moral road. But they’re use of “cutting edge”, that is unproven over a significant period of time, does give me pause. But as Lambert as observed, the Chinese government seems to be more afraid of its people than does our own. So, there’s that.

      1. edmondo

        I guess I am getting all tin foily again – you just can’t be too cynical these days – but I suppose since the shipping is so time sensitive and the only way to serve the entire country is through air travel – doesn’t it make sense that we have to bail out the airlines to the tune of another $100 billion? It’s a matter of national security of course. I’d bet the ranch on it.

        1. tegnost

          yes to this and adding that first link
          “NBER. “For 2019 Q4, the revised tests suggest it is unlikely that any of the six banks would survive a liquidity crisis for 30 days. This negative finding is most clear-cut for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.” Oh.”

          The investment banks are setting themselves up for a spell at the trough as well.
          Some people just can’t get enough.
          So I have to wonder why you think it’ll only be 100 billion, seems kind of light…

      2. ProNewerDeal

        In terms of vaccine approach maturity, my layman understanding from a few articles is that

        1 mRNA (Pfizer, Moderna) extreme immature, never done before
        2 Viral Vector (Oxford/AstraZeneca) immature but used in Dengue & Ebola vaccine development. Unsure if these Dengue/Ebola vaccines actually were admistered & how many after Clinical Trials
        3 Inactivated Virus (CoronaVac) – extremely mature used in Polio/etc for decades

        AFAIK here in Murica only Pfizer, Moderna, & Oxford/AstraZeneca have been ordered. I am of general status, unlikely to be eligible to receive the vaccine earlier in the intial “Tier 1x” like healthcare workers or 65+ age cohort. My layman take is to take the Oxford/AstraZeneca, even if this means a relative say ~3 months delay from when Pfizer/Moderna becomes generally available. And if somehow Murican Elite unexpectedly puts Corporate Puppetry & Geopolitical Risk game w China aside for once in this case, & orders an Inactivated Virus vaccine like Coronavac, I’d take that one.

        But I am open minded to any take from an bio/med Professional like Ignacio on this US vaccine issue. “What do ya think?” (c) Ed Schultz

        1. Lee

          I am in a high risk tier because of age, so I’d qualify to get the vaccine earlier than most. But my situation is complicated by my having an autoimmune disease. I have over the years tolerated the older type of vaccine, such as is being produced in China, and should it prove safe and effective, like you I would prefer it. I wonder if we will have that option.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          i’m of the same mind.
          i’ll not be a guinnea pig for pfizer or moderna, thank you.
          that tech would be awesome if it works…sort of dial-a-vaccine, if i understand it right…but it doesn’t appear ready for prime time.
          I’ll take the oxford one…but i’d really prefer the chinese killed virus vaccine, all things considered.

          i remember things like vioxx and my own experience with “wellbutrin”(last time i tried to stop smoking…had a frelling seizure,lol), and a bunch of other adverse events(sic) out in the herd due to rush to market and regulatory capture.
          FDA lost my trust during Billary’s time, when they pushed through the deregulation that had been in the gop wishlist since the ford administration.
          i have been superconservative(small-c) with medicine ever since…my doctor laughs at me, asking for all these old, tried and true alternatives to whatever the hot, hot, hawt drug rep is pushing(funny, i’ve never seen a not-hot drug rep in his office).
          this is what a legitimacy crises looks like.
          well done, all.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            The CARES Act included a section adding further FDA latitude in approving medicines for the Corona pandemic.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Will there be some method of tracing the temperature of each parcel of vaccine as it wends through the supply chain? One that is not easily spoofed? And what happens to the super cold vaccines if they warm? Just become ineffective? Or something worse? And why would I want a shot of mRNA, touching up my personal genetic material, if the bits that would reduce the symptoms of pneumonia (which I read is all these vaccines do, no effect in the upper respiratory tract and no shield against any infection, just boosting the recognition once you are infected) do not even do the job?

    4. Maritimer

      “the crew that had done that job (shoveling dry ice into the ice bath) for decades all retired, and that the replacements were never trained to make sure that the level of the dry ice bath was not so high as to allow the dry ice bath liquid to get into the milk cans.”

      What a great example of the Complexity of Modernity which some believe will do Humanity in.

      This mechanical example similar to the digital case where ancient software runs but the original programmers are long gone. The new generation does not really know what the software is doing or how.

  8. Lex

    ‘The Streetlight Effect’ – Caitlin Johnston

    I’ve stopped waiting for leaders to lead. We have a political system; someone should be elected to occupy those chairs, I suppose. But we don’t need to wait for them to commit to some action, to head in what we think is the best direction. We’ve always had sheer numbers working in our favor.

    To me the hard part is walking on ‘the road less traveled by’. I can’t see who else is there. There are few accommodations and little real conversation. It’s a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage, a leap of faith. It’s easy to get lost.

    1. km

      That is one thing I appreciate about NC and similar groups. I’m not the only one.

      Highly paid, highly credentialed, highly respected subject matter experts all insist that His Majesty is wearing a pinstriped Zegna suit, but it is good to know that I am not the only one not an obvious nutbar who can see that the Emperor is in fact, buck naked.

  9. CuriosityConcern

    Flavonols- There is a reason for the folklore about garlic. I believe those stories from eastern Europe(or my understanding of the bastardized versions that made it to the west via Hollywood) are attempts by our ancestors to say “Hey, this worked for us like magic”. Not saying it has direct bearing on COVID but I turn to herbs for non urgent health maladies.

    1. jefemt

      Oil of Oregano, Zinc, and Magnesium are all high up on the list of a segment of my acquaintance group….

  10. Chris

    With respect to Mr. Stein’s tweet and the comments by chairman Powell, Slate has got us covered: ”It’s OK if the Democrats fold on checks…”

    So glad we cleared up the problem of the economy. According to Slate’s writers, everything is going so swimmingly that we don’t need more stimulus!

    I expected stupid stuff like this once Biden was in office and we were told that our old time religion of deficits are bad, federal debt is bad, and austerity is good, was back en Vogue. How stupid of me to think these people would wait that long!

    1. .Tom

      The wonderful pun in the headline is also reassuring. Slate wouldn’t make that kind of fun if it were really serious.

    2. jr

      “But in the end, the economy has improved enough since March that sending around 80 percent of tax filers another cash infusion just doesn’t make much sense in a world with spending limits“

      Coffee-spewing line of the day for me. A “world of spending limits”. I would bet with a modicum of effort, the hacks at Slate could have produced a list of government expenditures that could be safely trimmed in order to assist the people with another check. These dirtbags are already normalizing Biden’s coming austerity. The shelves are bare, etc.

      1. chris

        They really are setting the deck for TINA to Austerity. I’m seeing more and more articles praising Ms. Tanden as a progressive pick for OMB too. It’s incredible. I don’t know what’s going to come of this kind of “rejoice comrade!” style of propaganda. It’s winter, so maybe when the little people who worked so hard to put Biden in office realize they wont get any help it will be too cold to riot?

        1. jr

          Their schwein-hunds on Twitter and related garbage juice spigots are already on the job; it may have been noted here that one mid-level apparatchik was decrying efforts to pressure Biden because he had “just landed the job” or some such crap. That >is< the job, to have a plan ready to address the issues at hand, it’s the F-ing Office of the President of the United States not a mid-level office management position. As always, the pressure is to keep lowering the bar, keep lowering expectations.

        2. jr

          And all those little people who worked so hard for team Biden are going to find that the only thing on the menu to alleviate their hunger is their hunger. Like all those little people who gave their last 20$ bill to “Uncle Tom” Sanders…

          1. edmondo

            That $20 bought you access to a guy who “has a friend” in the White House. As soon as he can get an appointment, he’ll tell Joe all about you little people.

            1. jr

              An image comes to mind of Sanders, crumpled hat in hand, waiting outside the Office and avoiding the icy glares of the secretaries…

              1. edmondo

                While Joe and Jill are at the Comcast HQ asking which one of their lobbyists they want appointed to the FCC. The best way to ignore Bernie is to make him Secretary of Labor so Neera Tanden can oppoose his nomination.

      2. JWP

        What improvement are they seeing? After months of “The stock market isnt the economy” pieces, they have reverted back to using it as a gauge to justify austerity. Chances are 80% of SLate’s readers have more concern about their dog’s christmas card than an eviction, so the stock market and quarterly GDP lines are eaten.

  11. The Rev Kev

    Michael Pettis was saying that ‘since at least the Roman financial crisis of 33 AD (and probably earlier), nearly every major financial crisis in history was ultimately driven by a collapse in real estate.’ I just checked up on that one and it was more a credit crisis as creditors called in loans all at once to buy land due to a revived law-

    As for a collapse in real estate, if prices are way over the top for real estate and then they go back to a realistic pricing, is that really so bad? Should there not be laws to stop such over-valuations? I read once that when Japan was going like gang-busters back in the 80s, that the estimated valuation of Tokyo’s CBD was worth more than the total real estate of the continental United States.

    Yes, people are entitled to their delusions but the problem was that Japanese corporations had raised loans based on the valuations of land that they owned in such areas so you can guess what happened next when the economy went south.

    1. Larry

      Agreed that it would argue for other economic models to prevent the FIRE sector from creating destructive financial bubbles. The ideas of Henry George come to mind in this space.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The problem for China is that property is less about ‘a home to live in’, than a store of value and savings for hundreds of millions of people, mostly because other forms of saving have been suppressed. So far more ordinary people will be hurt than will benefit from a major crash in values. Much more so than in, for example, Japan, where relatively few people were personally overextended.

      As Yves has pointed out previously, the story about Tokyo’s CBD value was overstated as it wasn’t always appreciated how little property changes hands in Japan – culturally, people and investors tend to hold property and not treat it like a semi-liquid asset. So the insane values was as much notional value as it was a ‘real’ value or debt. Its also I think true to say that the Japan crisis was a general one of overvalued assets, not just property. But unquestionably the property bubble had a big impact – not just directly through land value, but through billions upon billions of yen being invested in worthless development projects based on insanely optimistic projections. Even thirty years later, Japan is littered with the remains of those projects. China to my eyes looks very much like Japan, late 1980’s. Both countries also, incidentally, have the same demographic issues which means not so much demand long term for new housing. And this means less demand for the investment, even when cheaper.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem for the USA is that property is less about ‘a home to live in’, than a store of value and savings for hundreds of millions of people, mostly because other forms of saving have been suppressed.

        Fixed it for you ;)

      2. David

        Yes, although my recollection is that Japanese accounting rules, at least in the 80s, enabled companies to claim any increase in the value of their property holdings as profit. The converse, of course, also turned out to be the case.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Don’t Abandon the Democratic Party—Take It Over”

    This is seriously self-delusional. How can you take over a party that makes the rules? They will just keep on changing the rules to keep themselves in power, even if they do not follow the rules themselves. Want an example? During the Democratic debates, Tusli Gabbard qualified to be included as she won in American Samoa. That meant that she would take part with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in the next major debate. So then the DNC changed the rules so that suddenly she did not qualify anymore and the rest is history. It was just in your face. This is the party too that went into a court and before a judge, argued that they could pick whichever candidate that they felt like and supporters had absolutely no say in it whatsoever-

    So I ask you. What is the point?

    1. jr

      I question the authors argument that the Tea Party provides an example of a way forward for a real progressive/Left movement. A quick glance at the Wiki-net lists Tea Party priorities as less government spending, less regulation, greater “liberty” for both you and the gigantic mega-uber-corporations. So I think it’s fair to say that these are notions that support entrenched power, whereas a truly pro-Left-ive movement would challenge them. In essence, the dupes in the Tea Party were calling for a tightening of the screws. No wonder they found a lot of traction in the party of…..tightening the screws. But the good guys would be demanding more of the system, not less, something which neither wing of the corporate party is interested in surrendering. I think Smucker is striking a kind of false balance on the warped scale of American politics: the Tea Party, the Republicans AND the Democrats are all on the same tray.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I assume the reference to the Tea Party is not approval of their policies, but to point out that a takeover of one of the major parties by radical outsiders is possible and feasible.

        1. JWP

          The author is advocating for a “takeover” by playing from within the view of the party like the tea party. Seeing as the Dems actually have no policy aside from upholding past policies (Obamacare, abortion, bailouts, undoing whatever trump did) i’m not sure where there is basis for something even remotely close to a tea party takeover. The progressive takeover of gov is better done from outside the confines of the DNC because they are not even “radical outsiders,” rather a different breed and party altogether.

        2. jr

          Agreed PK: I didn’t state my ideas very clearly. I was proposing that the Tea Party, as radical to the establishment Republicans as they may have been, are still far more in alignment with the powers that be than a truly Left/progressive movement would be vis à vis the Democrats. In other words, the Baggers were, to toss out a number, 30 degrees away from the establishment Republicans while a real progressive/Left movement would be unquestionably 180 degrees away from the Democrats. So Smucker’s notion that capturing the Democrats would be as handily accomplished at the Tea Party’s coup seems specious to me.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I thought the Tea Party was just Astroturf laid down by the Kochs and others. Hardly a model for “takeover,” since that is exactly what has happened to the Dems — wealthy interests supporting “activists” who ensure that no “populist” policies or personalities have any air to breathe.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > the Tea Party was just Astroturf laid down by the Kochs and others

              You are correct as to funding. I think Rick Santelli’s initial rant — against foreclosure relief (!!) — on CNBC was spontaneous, but quickly seized upon by funders like the Koch Brothers.

              Regardless of the Tea Party funding and leadership, I don’t see the Tea Party troops as being particularly domesticated. There’s a reason the saying is “The Democrats hate their base*, the Republicans fear theirs.”

              NOTE * Certainly when the Democrat base was the working class….

      2. km

        To be fair, during the GFC, I don’t think too many plutocrats were opposed the bailouts. At least not the ones I encountered. Nor were their MSM mouthpieces. They were watching the stock market crash and getting the vapors.

        “Liberating capital” is great and all during good times, but when storms come up we gotta be saved and we gotta be saved first and most, because job creators or something.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Unless I misunderstand that lawsuit (which is entirely possible), I am baffled as to how people think taking over the Democrats is possible. It seemed to me like they asserted their right to a nuclear option if they didn’t like the way the winds are blowing. And, as the convention this year showed, even members of the alleged opposition party will hop across the isle to help keep any insurgency quashed. They’ve also got a million and one other ways to keep candidates they don’t like out as you noted. The Dems are playing Calvinball and the left (whatever that is) seem to be about 100 years too late and still think this is politics as they were taught in school.

      1. jr

        Yeah, as if when a slate of young progressive upstarts come banging on that Big Club door, the blue cysts will suddenly dig themselves out and hop into the bio-hazard bag of history without a whimper. One has to wonder what Smucker’s aspirations are in all this. I don’t honestly know to be fair but it wouldn’t be the first time an “activist” came sniffing around looking for a gig…

    3. mary jensen

      Tony Benn’s 5 Essential Questions

      “What power have you got?”

      “Where did you get it from?”

      “In whose interests do you use it?”

      “To whom are you accountable?”

      “How do we get rid of you?”

    4. chuck roast

      Here’s a look at our local Dems. Read it and weep. Things will only change for these people when economic or environmental catastrophe are inflicted upon them. The only issue for them is inclusion.
      It’s a big club, and…

    5. .Tom

      Macro N Cheese – Debt Deflation and the Neofeudal Empire with Michael Hudson Oct 5 2020

      Hudson (36:29): Here’s the problem. The reason you cannot vote your way out under the current system is that there’s a two party system in the United States, and it’s basically the same party with a little ethnic difference between them, but economically it’s the same party and there cannot be any alternative to this monolithic – we’ll call it the Republican Party with Democratic cheerleaders – there cannot be any progress made until you break up the Democratic Party.

      That became apparent not only when they cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination four years ago, but this time, when Obama came up and stacked the deck and did everything he could to organize a stab in the back against Sanders. And Bernie Sanders showed himself to be a social democrat. And he said, “Well, I’d rather help my own career by helping the Democratic Party. It’s a gang, but I’d rather be a gang member than take on the gang.”

      And so he’s dropped all of his support for public healthcare. He’s dropped all the social views and he’s joined the Democratic gang. What I would have liked to have seen him do, would be to say, “I will not support the Democratic nominee. I realize that it is awful to have to elect a Republican again, especially a Republican like Donald Trump, but no progress can be made until we remove the current Democratic Party leadership and take it over and make it a labor party. And we cannot do that until they realize that they will lose every single election until they give up and join the rest of the Republican Party.”

      So I guess the point is that with a 3rd party approach, you are facing two political opponents that make the rules, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. I think the experience of the last 5 years is that an insurgency within one of the parties can work.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ballot access, media access,and money access.
        all 3 are necessary…sine qua non-necessary…to any viable third party emerging.
        the monoparty has all 3 sewn up tight…by law, even.

        like i told my brother…when he asked, incredulously, “how do we get rid of the democratic party that doesn’t ever do anything for us?”
        i said :” well, first, you stop voting for them.”
        we need evangelists in every feed store and five and dime and walmart parking lot, bringing the “Good News” of a New New Deal, and educating the masses….since we don’t have a mass media, really, that means One Mind at a Time.
        this has probably never been harder….and, by all rights, should have been begun 30 years ago….but there’s likely never been a better time than the next year or so.
        many, many people will be falling on black days…bereft of purpose or explanation…without an explanatory narrative framework that encompasses their new state of being….
        “strike while the iron is hot”, and all.
        provide that narrative framework…endure the eye rolling, confusion, and studied ignorance and denial….endure the inevitable hostility, as well.
        remember that these neuveau peasants are bewildered by what’s happening to them, and have compassion.
        but talk to them.
        start with “both parties are for shit”.
        works really well in my red rural environs.

        and a caveat: working people(or recently working people, i suppose)…not the comfortable.
        our target audience is decidedly the Uncomfortable.
        the veil is rent asunder, hopelessly marred.
        “Now is the time….and we Know the time.”-Dean Moriarty

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > we need evangelists in every feed store and five and dime and walmart parking lot, bringing the “Good News” of a New New Deal, and educating the masses….since we don’t have a mass media, really, that means One Mind at a Time.

          Like Populist lecturers (who I think can be seen as circuit riders).

      1. km

        I don’t think that means “cooperate with your enemies to the maximum extent humanly possible, help them achieve their goals at your expense, roll over to their every demand and also let them cheat you, marginalize you and gratuitously insult you and the poor saps who believed in you, to boot.”

  13. weimer

    This would explain why my cousin had a positive test, with no symptoms and no illness, only two weeks off work (luckily paid for by the government):
    “A peer review of the paper on which most Covid testing is based has comprehensively debunked the science behind it, finding major flaws. They conclude it’s utterly unsuitable as a means for diagnosis – and the fall-out is immense.”

    1. Phillip Cross

      The article states, “a large number of false positives – up to 97 percent, according to some studies.”.

      If only 3% of cases are real, wouldn’t that mean that Covid-19 is ~30x as deadly as has being reported?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        If only 3% of cases are real, wouldn’t that mean that Covid-19 is ~30x as deadly as has being reported?

        It stands to reason that if the covid “cases” aren’t “real,” then the “deaths from covid” aren’t either.

        And then there is that Johns Hopkins analysis of “excess” deaths due to covid that had to be retracted recently because people were drawing the “erroneous” conclusion that there weren’t any.

        1. Phillip Cross

          Well kinda sorta… but what they retracted was a paper by an economist that questioned the total excess deaths. They did it because “coverage of Genevieve Briand’s presentation “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data” has been used to support dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic.”

          Isn’t there a site policy regarding ‘making stuff up’. The one which you seem to regularly flout with total impunity.

          1. Katniss Everdeen


            On the other hand, with regard to

            “erroneous” conclusion that there weren’t any [‘excess” deaths]” and “dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic”–

            Potato, Po-tah-to.

            How about addressing my original point–if only 3% of covid cases are real, are all the deaths attributed to those fake cases still “real” leading to a 30X increase in lethality?

            1. JTMcPhee

              Where do you get the notion that only 3 percent of Covid cases are real? The discussion about failures of the testing processes might point to a potentially large error in the test results, but if the test mechanism is so flawed, how can anything other than epidemiological data be useful at this stage to discuss the effects of Covid? And where I live, Tampa Bay Area, a lot of people are getting very sick and dying from “something.”

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                My use of 3% was in response to Phillip Cross in his response to weimer’s comment / link.

                I and others have posted here recently on the extremely high incidence of false positives generated by the PCR tests as they are being used to identify covid “cases” worldwide and quantify the extent of the pandemic. I won’t recap since I’ve not saved them. As has been noted, even the sainted dr. fauci has been quoted as saying that the PCR tests, as they are conducted and counted, at 40 amplification cycles, are likely only identifying “dead nucleotides” and calling them “positive.”

                Here is a quote from a nyt article, of all places, that suggests the problem and the “science” behind it:

                The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.

                This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

                In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.

                I’d also recommend weimer’s link if you are interested. Plenty of links to research from these articles.


            2. Phillip Cross

              You do have a point, from an epistemological perspective. What can we possibly know for sure? Maybe the moon is made of cheese too! Hard to disprove without going there myself to taste it, and even if i did, would you find my conclusions credible?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is the original paper. It presents a “workflow” for diagnosis, not a means of diagnosis (a test, for example). I took a quick look at the paper challenging the original, which RT links to. From that paper:

      According to BBC News [4] and Google Statistics [5] there were 6 deaths world-wide on January 21st 2020 – the day when the manuscript was submitted. Why did the authors assume a challenge for public health laboratories while there was no substantial evidence at that time to indicate that the outbreak was more widespread than initially thought?

      Most of the paper is above my paygrade, but this claim has the whiff of CT. NC’s first post was on January 23, so the authors of the paper were in no sense surprisingly early, especially given the body language out of Wuhan. Taleb et al. published their first paper on Covid as a multiplicative process on January 26, so again, the authors of the paper were not “premature anti-covid.” I’m too lazy to find the links, but there are also plenty of anecdotes about alarmed pandemic specialists well before January 23.

      So I would wait for the response to the challenging paper before propagating it.

  14. John Emerson

    Pennington’s covid/typhus article misses the fact that Ireland exported food during the “potato famine.” There was not enough “effective demand” for food, ie., the starving had no money.

    Mike David, “Late Victorian Holocausts”.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “The starving had no money.” Sounds distressingly contemporary, no? “No stimulus check for you.”

    2. Count Zero

      All this is true, yes. But geography is important too. Much of the export of food was along the east coast of Ireland. Much of the famine was in the far west. It doesn’t seem far today but in the 1840s 100 miles or more along bad roads could take several days. Of course, a concerted effort by the authorities could have got food to hundreds of thousands of starving people. But the British government was committed to free markets and low taxes. And Irish farmers in eastern counties were not inclined to donate their profitable crops to hungry people. Sound familiar?

  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Puerto Rico has collapsed

    Truly a national disgrace but not at all surprising, as the US has not been supporting science for decades now. Congress squashed funding for the SSC decades ago while CERN completed the LHC in Switzerland. We’re hitching rides to the ISS with the Russians, who are absolutely terrible people bent on our destruction except when we need a lift. The new Webb telescope, set to replace the aging Hubble which was arguably the last truly great scientific achievement by the US, has been delayed, delayed, and delayed some more. And now rather than decommissioning and replacing an aging telescope, we let it crumble and collapse in front of the entire world.

    Pretty fitting metaphor for our nation as a whole.

    1. petal

      Our area was one of eight sites under consideration for the super collider. We would’ve lost our farm that had been in the family over 100 years. I remember going to a protest as a kid. It was scary and touch and go for a while. It was a real threat and we’d have lost our home and what little we had, and it would’ve destroyed our community. Cuomo was a real schmuck.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        While I would have liked to see it built, displacing people from their homes wouldn’t have been the way to go about it. But of course politicians want to bring in the money to their own states, the people living there be damned, as we’ve seen with fracking projects, Obama libraries etc. If it were a choice between the SSC and my own family’s farm of 100 years, I would have picked the farm too.

        But if one were to approve a project like this for purely scientific reasons, it’s not like there aren’t literally millions of square miles of the US without much going on at all where this could have been built without inconveniencing anybody at all except maybe some tumbleweeds.

        1. petal

          Yeah it would’ve pretty much wiped two historic towns (with top notch fertile soil) on the shore of Lake Ontario off the map while the richer Rochester suburbs next door were left alone and profited. We were/are a science family, so it’s not like we aren’t in favour of research-there were better, more appropriate places for it to be built. Really funny you brought it up-I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. Can’t describe to you the fear back then, what it felt like to maybe lose your home with no say.

  16. Martin Oline

    Thank you for today’s Hawk-Snake picture. I love it when the pictures are the right aspect ratio for background on my computer. My grand daughter also enjoys seeing the constantly changing backgrounds of flora and fauna when she visits.

    1. jr

      Years ago, while stationed in a nuke unit nestled in the mountains of Central Germany, I was on foot patrol near the deep woods that bordered our unit. As I looked up, what I believe to be a hawk flew overhead. In it’s talons was a large snake, even at a distance I could see the poor thing writhing and coiling. I’ll never forget that image.

      1. Rod

        Guarding the trucks, pods, and EL?
        Me–15E10/30–56th Brigade–3/84th FA–Pershing 1a–Artillery Kasarne–Neckarsulm WG–73-75
        The Unit Patch is striking, no?

        1. Rod

          FWIW–I didn’t realize how formative it would become to my world view, to have my hands on a ‘real Big bomb”.
          Unintended pun in prior comment, I guess.

          1. jr

            59th Ordnance Brigade, 557th USAAG (Nike-Pershing) here, or as we used to say the “59th Bored, 557th Useless!” I’m not familiar with your patch but ours resembled a head-on shot of the, umm, 69th:


            I was in Commo so I spent most of my time on duty, asleep, or drunk. Sometimes all three. Never got near the warheads, which I’m totally fine with.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i see that prolly more often than most…especially when neighbor is cutting hay.
        the hawks and eagles and kestrels and such will grab the snake and race up real high and drop it, and only then go down and peck at it’s head, while it’s stunned from the fall.
        on shiner vacation days(which are spent outside…so…not today(high north wind, 45 degrees)), this is quality entertainment.
        when neighbor gets a late cutting in…say, in october…it sometimes coincides with the hawk/eagle migration, in which case there will be hundreds of large raptors swooping and dodging. I put the chickens up right quick when that happens.
        those are bad days for voles,lol.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Thank you for today’s Hawk-Snake picture.

      I’m glad readers like it. We tend to view “Nature red in tooth and claw”-type images as anti-antidotes, but I thought this one was so gorgeous as a photograph…

  17. Alex Morfesis

    2023…the year of the flood ?? Do trumpistani and burnykratz send off a small branch to form a new party base and we end up with a pseudo parliamentary republic with 5 or 6 different interest groups counting votes and the two party system fades as is happening in germany ??

  18. PlutoniumKun

    The real class war is within the rich FT

    This article is about Peter Turchin’s theory of ‘elite overproduction’ leading to instability as there are too many 10%ers to fit into the 10%.

    This article, among many others, emphasises the uniqueness of this theory, but it seems to me to just echo any number of 18th and 19th Century novels and cultural histories, with their near obsession with people on the fringes of the elite desperately trying to cling on, by way of marriage, war, or theft, to some sense of prestige (not just in Europe, this resonates in Japan as well, and I would imagine in most other societies). It particularly applies to the younger children, on the assumption that the older boy gets the inheritance and the older girl gets the best choice of suitor.

    Its long been theorized by some historians that the whole point of warrior elites was to find some way of making use of/getting rid of, the younger boys of the middle to lower levels of the upper classes. What better way than to pack them off to war? If they win, everyone is richer, if they lose, then you have fewer aggressive young men to deal with. Similarly, religious orders, in particular those with vows of chastity, have been a way in many societies to give something useful for second sons, and somewhere respectable to put their less desirable daughters.

    So maybe the solution is to start a few wars, led (as used to be the case) by the sons of the lower level elites). WWI and WWII were very efficient at culling these out. Failing that, it looks like a resurgence in catholicism or buddhism might be in order.

    1. Carolinian

      Interesting comment. Unfortunately the elites no longer seem much interested in martial glory as in all those nineteenth century novels.

    2. Adam1

      It should be of no surprise that as more people become precarious in their lives that it includes more people on those fringes of the elite. What would be interesting is it that do the elite fringes become the source of revolutionary elites? I suspect it’s higher than most elite would want to fathom…. America’s founding fathers, Simon Bolivar to name a few.

    3. Alex

      I’ve learned about Peter Turchin’s work recently from some blog post and then read his Secular Cycles and was quite impressed by it, it sounds really convincing and gives one a very valuable perspective on history different from traditional wars-and-kings one and also different from various small-scale studies.

      I wonder what caused the hype around his work *now* (Secular cycles are 10 years old and Age of Discord, where he tries to apply the same logic to the modern society is 4 years old).

    4. km

      That was one of the social functions of the New World, and also for some time, Tsarist Russia.

      The difference between a settler colony (place where you sent nonconformists and religious types) and a slave colony (where you sent younger sons of minor nobility and get rich quick artists) is also relevant here.

  19. zagonostra

    >Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud – AP

    I don’t know what to make of Barr. I’m still waiting to find out what happened to Epstein, has Barr concluded that investigation? Are we just to believe it was suicide, the cameras randomly went down, etc…Is his investigation of election fraud of the same ilk?

    The Dominion server crash during recount in Fulton County, PA ballots being counted after deadline, and a whole lot of anomalies as listed in below link make me think that Barr is an unknown quantity and who the heck knows what game he is playing.

    I don’t know who to trust anymore (Neil Young – ” A man needs a Maid”).

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Must have been the shortest, most close-to-the-vest kept federal “investigation” in history. Personally, I don’t see how something like this, from your link, doesn’t even raise an eyebrow in what is supposed to be a maximally “data-driven” environment:

      We are told that Biden won more votes nationally than any presidential candidate in history. But he won a record low of 17 percent of counties; he only won 524 counties, as opposed to the 873 counties Obama won in 2008. Yet, Biden somehow outdid Obama in total votes.

      Sundance, over at has maintained for a long time now that bill barr is, more than anything, a creature of the swamp who is dedicated to protecting that swamp and all his fellow swampers at any cost.

      PS. biden is apparently considering sally yates, one of the biggest Russiagate conspirators to be attorney general! Bye bye, Durham.

      Sundance’s latest criticism is of barr’s claim to having “elevated” Durham to “special prosecutor” status to “protect” that long overdue investigation. According to Sundance, the change in status may, in fact, preclude any Trump effort at declassification of Russiagate documents before he leaves office, as well as opening the entire investigation to challenge by a biden “justice” department since “special prosecutors” are supposed to come from outside the government.

      The arguments are persuasive. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Barr says no evidence of “voter fraud,” a significantly different issue than “election fraud.” The former is votes being cast illegally by individuals, the latter the wholesale switching, discounting of manipulation of votes by the vote counters and the machinery they use.

      Far as I can tell, not even cursory efforts by the supposed investigatory agencies in looking at the latter. “Nothing to see here, use the touch screen and move along…”

    3. diptherio

      Fun fact: William Barr’s father is the one who gave Jeff Epstein his job at the Dalton School, despite his notable lack of credentials.

  20. Oh

    Antidote du jour

    Great pic. Made me think of this. Can we have huge eagles to pickup and carry away the following snakes? Buyden, Chameleon, Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrooks.

    1. DJG

      NTG: Just let him keep talking.

      Every page is turning out to be another, “Bring me a glass of that water.”

        1. jr

          Yes, “Bring me a glass of that water.” sounds too patrician, “Can I get a glass of water?” in his faux-pleading, regular guy voice is much more in tune with the audience’s norms. Always Be Selling…

  21. Wukchumni

    In my quest for the vitamin D grail, I spent 7 hours in the Sun hiking on the Ladybug trail yesterday where the Castle fire held sway a few months ago…

    The idea was to get to the Homers Nose grove @ Cedar Creek and the 30 or so Giant Sequoias there-which are from 500 to 1,000 years old. Not far from the grove is a forest of mere mortal baums, and it easily was the most affected by the fire, really nothing left standing alive, just potential hazard trees that will be all horizontal in time, hopefully not falling when anybody’s around, that’d leave a mark.

    All of the Sequoias seen in the Homers Nose grove have been through the fire drill before, and the lowest branches on any of them are around 60 to 80 feet up, which is a good thing as every last one of them had scorch and burn marks around the periphery of their trunks going up 30 to 40 feet-and none of them were goners, they’d just been through a war of sorts-licking assorted wounds, and every step taken in the area was tantamount to walking on the Moon, deep loomy grey ash where one sank 6 inches with every step. This grove had relatively few young Giant Sequoias heretofore, but with the fire opening up cones from the elder statesmen there, should see lots of new young trees in years to come mingling with the oldsters. Earth abides.

  22. petal

    Another update on the Utah monolith
    “An adventure tour guide and a daredevil dubbed ‘Sketchy Andy’ who identified themselves as two of the culprits responsible for demolishing the Utah monolith have been dubbed ‘desert Karens’ as backlash mounts against them online.

    Guide Sylvan Christensen and extreme sports pro Andy Lewis both took responsibility for removing the 12ft sculpture in seperate social media posts on Tuesday, four days after the obelisk disappeared from the Canyonlands National Park.

    In a statement to, Christensen explained that he, Lewis and two other accomplices decided to destroy the structure on Friday because the remote stretch of desert it had been erected in was being overrun by tourists who were ‘destroying’ the land.”

    1. Wukchumni

      They left a big clue as to why they did what they did when they mentioned ‘Leave No Trace’ which is essentially a byword for Burning Man, and big in the ethos of everything there. Rarely did I ever encounter any MOOP (matter out of place) anywhere on the playa, as the LNT sentiment was so strong there.

      1. diptherio

        “Leave no trace” is also a Boy Scout thing, take it from this Eagle Scout. Pretty sure it’s also a Forest Service thing. So no, it’s definitely not a byword for Burning Man…it’s a byword for someone who has received an education in wilderness ethics. And frankly, if a formerly remote place in my neck of the woods was being overrun by tourists because someone had decided they had a right to place their crappy piece of art there, I would have removed it too. Good for them.

        1. pasha

          kudos on persevering to become an eagle scout. it is a pretty arduous path, must be accomplished by age 18, and fewer than one percent of scouts have the tenacity to achieve this honor. i have known several over my decades, and each was a standout, refreshingly self-sufficient both emotionally and intellectually.

    2. Carolinian

      There’s also a thing where people like to stick crosses out in the middle of public land and dare anyone to take them down. I’d say these vandals have a point. Nature doesn’t need our “improving.”

  23. Jason Boxman

    What the coronavirus vaccine shows about the potential for innovation: It turns out human society can achieve a lot if we just try really hard. Who knew?

    Puts the lie to liberal Democrat fetishism with defeatism and small thinking. You can make the claim that massive federal spending contributing to two vaccine candidates in record time. I don’t expect Republicans to point to this as an example of victory for industrial policy to be replicated nor would Democrats, were they in charge.

    And in 2024, we’ll be treated to another liberal Democrat presidential (and Congressional) campaign about what isn’t possible, and by the way Republicans are bad. I can’t wait. (Republican counter: Because of us, there is a vaccine.)

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The title of this link begs the question whether a corona virus vaccine has resulted from the Warp Speed effort. How effective, safe, available … is this corona virus vaccine or vaccines that have been developed? I intend to wait and see and wait a while longer for side-effects to be reported — and here I beg the question whether they would be reported if there were side-effects.

      I think you would do well looking for other examples to argue for industrial policy. I suggest [following J.K. Galbraith] you might try World War II instead. And beware the notion that throwing money and effort at a problem can always speed results. The classic example is trying to hire nine women to have a baby in a month — from the book “The Mythical Man-Month”.

      But I agree with your basic premise that the US needs an industrial policy and your idea that federal spending can be beneficial — even do things like stimulate a collapsing economy if the spending is ‘well-done’ as opposed to pork and support for looting the treasury aka. the CARES Act.

  24. steve

    Today’s Antidote, Ray Dalio’s article and the air of everything going to sh!t brought to mind the Lament of Hermes to Asclepius:

    “Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to heaven ; the pious will be deemed insane, and the impious wise; the madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be esteemed as good.”

    The Great Wheel turns, its unfortunate we are in the declining stages.

    1. km

      I read the Dalio piece and concluded that The Sage of Bridgewater had, wittingly or not, recapitulated much of Marx’ views on history.

  25. Paul

    ‘economics truly is a disgrace”

    Lack of diversity? Baseball statisticians from the City University of New York with ancestors who lent money have a lock on it.

    1. John Wright

      I thought the article would highlight all the policy advice from the economics profession such as “no real limits to economic growth” or “always grow the human population as it can always be accommodated” that look unwise with impending climate change.

      Instead, the article was about lack of diversity, racism, sexism and a culture of elite protecting their access to the powerful academic and government economics jobs

      No mention of how much harm has been abetted by the economics profession as it gives cover to actions the wealthy want to do (globalization, free trade, financialization, decimating US manufacturing, and remove financial regulations to name a few…).

      Economics is truly a disgrace.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Yeah. I don’t think she understands how deep the rot goes. The problems she describes are symptoms.

  26. Wukchumni

    Day 30 of the ‘I Ran Hostage Crisis’

    It goes without saying that a naysayer has no place in the White House for Xmas parties during this most festive of times, you might say that he was Barr’d from the place for inappropriate comments, but who can really tell in this cockamamied up administration where nothing is what it appears to be?

    And about those superspreader parties?

    1. ambrit

      We in America have two ‘superspreader parties.’ One’s name begins with a D, and the other’s name begins with an R.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The link you referenced was fairly vague about everything except the growing crime rate in Seattle and a suggestion the mayor intended a far-reaching re-organization of the police force. How much will police budgets be cut relative to other city budgets? What are the relative levels of expenditure in the city budget? How much is the cut in the police budget related to the efforts to defund the police — which was suggested but I didn’t see it detailed? And if the police budgets are cut as part of the mayor’s efforts to achieve a re-organization of the police force, are there corresponding increases in funding for the changes the mayor intends to implement?

    2. Aumua

      Oh don’t worry, I’m sure police budgets will be the last thing to be cut, as they have pretty much only monotonically increased both in dollar amount and percentage of the total budget for the vast majority of U.S. cities in recent decades.

      And God forbid that they should ever go down.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have a theory. Here it is.

        The police are well known to have “informants” on “the street”. I think the police to informant-to street pipeline works both ways. Information flows up and instructions can flow down.

        When the police feel threatened, or even just offended or insulted, they instruct their informants to instruct ” the street” to start committing as many crimes as possible while the police are stood down
        (“de-policing”). The police instruct the criminals to commit as many crimes as possible in order to teach the citizens to never ever dare to question police authority or budgets again.

        Any counter-police plan will have to account for that basic fact, if my theory is correct.

        1. Aumua

          Yeah and also if at any time the police for any reason want more protests/rioting/civil unrest then they know just how to get that too, don’t they? Pretty convenient for them to apply pressure on various levers of power and to control narratives.

          It’s the cops who control the situation, and it’s they who are out of control and above the law, not the people.

  27. jr

    Re: Jalapeno Popperular Science

    I never was a big consumer of Pop Sci but was it always this bad? First of all, my phone screen is flooded with ads that you can barely shut down and stuffed with embedded ads that keep the screen reloading over and over, absolutely guaranteeing that I will never, ever purchase what they are hawking. They continue to crop up when you go to the publication Saveur, who was kind enough to lend? sell? the article to Pop Sci because only writers for food magazines could be obsequious enough to cover this jacka$$ properly.

    Then, this nauseating hagiography of some middling-minded bull$#!+ purveyor, complete with photos of his chalet as well as a portrait shot of him deep in deep thoughts and his attempts at art. The portrait blurb informs us, for no reason other than to note that the guy can afford regular trans-Atlantic travel, that he regularly engages in trans-Atlantic travel. The grandfather illustrator must have burst from his tomb in a rage to have his name linked to this guy as a fellow artist. Tons of false modesty, class identifiers, and humble-bragging. This line almost made me lose my egg burrito:

    “Once the Tomme de Savoie “Ferme La Praise” (the name of his chalet) came of age in June, Ricardou personally delivered each wheel by bicycle”

    Oh, how very French. Was there a squeeze-box playing somewhere off screen?

    Then of course we come to the science of cheese-mak…..oh, wait, there is no discussion of that at all other than the comment “controlled rot”. And that it requires the “patience and dedication of a monk”…or a parasite with money to burn.

    Controlled rot, indeed.

  28. Mikel

    RE: “We Can’t Vote ‘Em Out” Lee Camp, Consortium News

    When they hold an election and no one shows up, will the swamp still be trying to tell the rest of the world what “democracy” is?

    Total delegitimizing by refraining from voting may be the ultimate message….will see.

    1. JTMcPhee

      You know that in this place there will never be an election where no one shows up (I guess you mean “to vote”). Even if no individual natural person casts a vote, the totals showing the Monoparty with a winning margin will be dutifully reported.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If nobody else votes, the Koch Brothers family of political groups will send their Flying ALEC Monkeys out to vote regardless.

    2. Oh

      I wish that day would come soon. Unfortunately, there are people who think they should vote for one or the other of the duopoly.

    3. apleb

      Elections have no quorum.
      It would be enough for only the candidates to vote for themselves to get elected.

      1. hunkerdown

        Elections have no quorum, but they do confer legitimacy and consent only in proportion to participation. Articles 1 and 20 of the Grundgesetz are no different than any other human agreement. When there is no popular pressure remaining to defend them, they go away just like any other law. Dual power is real.

        1. apleb

          The only time a governmental system goes away is by ousting them directly. Not with ignoring the ballot box.

          You ignore the decrees of the government, you don’t ignore the voting box. If you ignore the voting box but still follow the decrees of the legislative which is backed up be executive, what’s the point of ignoring it?

    1. Jeremy Grimm


      Is it really too much trouble to suggest what the link is and why you think we MUST read it?

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I read the link and … WHY!? Why did you think this link required reading!!!!!? Suppose the Corona virus came from bats or pangolins or what have you? It first appeared in China. The US has little/NO influence over what the Chinese people and Government does. Is the virus escaped from a lab, not stated but I believe implied, a bio-weapons research lab? If the lab is in China the first objection applies and if not, which cannot be determined any better than the source of a computer hack [think Russiagate et al.] what value is there in the notion we should hop on
      “…a path to greater clarity. It requires scientific rigor, forensic approaches, deliberate methods, transparency,and cooperation” to find the lab?”
      Do you believe the Chinese will report on that lab if it’s theirs any more than the US will step up and claim credit for the Corona pandemic if it came out of a US bio-lab?

      Did you look at the bona fides of the opinion’s ‘author’?:

      “Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305; Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305;
      ==> Center for International Security and Cooperation Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care”<==

      Do you think this guy is truly without "competing interests" as he declares? If so, I can tell — you have never worked in or with the US Government.

      1. Cuibono

        So you are of the opinion that trying to better establish the origin of the virus is not worthwhile…

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          That is correct. I believe searching out the origin of the Corona virus is primarily a finger-pointing exercise. I also believe the tracking of a Corona virus origin would be about as accurate as attempting to track the origin of a hacker attacker.

          I also believe the origin of new viruses is general and reasonably well-known: large populations of different species mixed together and able to share viruses across species barriers seems to work pretty well at making interesting new viruses and diseases. Large crowded populations of relatively unhealthy people seems to work pretty well also. If those populations and practices are in the US we could do something but if they are elsewhere there is far less the US could do without kicking in some money. Right now the US needs to do something about its own growing homeless and the spread of old diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, and cholera, with their new and improved resistance to antibiotics.

          1. Cuibono

            well you are entitled to that opinion no doubt.
            But ignoring the possible origin of these viruses when we know that GOF research was underway and funded by our own govt sounds like you favor less than full transparency…
            what line of work are you in ?

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    “States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders
    Lax states are attracting shoppers and students from stricter neighbors — and sending back COVID-19 cases. The imbalance underscores the lack of a national policy.”

    Really? Well . . . . yes and no. But mostly no.

    What is really happening is that citizens from the tighter restriction states are voluntarily choosing to go TO the looser restriction states and voluntarily CHOOSING to get infected and BRINGING the infection back WITH them. It is not the looser restriction states which are spreading it. The looser restriction states ( at least according to this article) are NOT sending infection-spreaders into the tighter restriction states to spread the disease.

    The tighter restriction states are sending THEIR citizens INto the looser restriction states to FIND and BRING BACK the disease. If the tighter restriction states want to solve this, they will have to find a way to stop their citizens from going to disease zones to find and bring back disease. Or find a way to prevent their citizens from re-entering their states once those citizens have freely CHOSEN to enter a disease-zone state.

  30. ambrit

    Somewhat of a Zeitgeist Watch item, but also perhaps a threadjack.
    Have others reading here seen a sudden spike in spam phone calls starting at Thanksgiving? Neither of us can think of any particular action that would have exposed us to a greater than ‘normal’ number of robocallers. Can the economy of phone scammers also be suffering from the effects of the Dreaded Pathogen, and thus promote a stronger ‘response?’

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I suspect you are correct that phone scammers are suffering with everyone else, but also around the holidays you have Black Friday and Monday and people looking for Holiday gifts and ready to open their wallets.

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