Links 12/20/2020

Alien Hunters Discover Mysterious Signal from Proxima Centauri Scientific American

Forests in Brazil emitting more carbon than they absorb due to climate change: Study ABC

Australian ‘super seaweed’ supplement to reduce cattle gas emissions wins $1m international prize The Hill


‘I failed’: Operation Warp Speed leader takes responsibility for Covid-19 vaccine distribution confusion STATS. Political class: “What is this responsibility of which you speak?”

A side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines STAT

FDA investigating five allergic reactions after Pfizer shot in U.S. Reuters

African-American Resistance to the COVID-19 Vaccine Reflects a Broader Problem Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

Health Canada announces that dudes who wear shorts all winter will get vaccine last The Beaverton

* * *

Preliminary genomic characterisation of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 lineage in the UK defined by a novel set of spike mutations (dk). From the Abstract: “Preliminary genomic characterisation of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 lineage in the UK defined by a novel set of spike mutations.” And from the body of the paper: “Although we speculate here that chronic infection played a role in the origins of the B.1.1.7 variant, this remains a hypothesis and we cannot yet infer the precise nature of this event” (see the section under “Lineage-defining mutations & rate of evolution”; this paper doesn’t need a translator, mostly).

Here’s what you need to know about the new coronavirus variant, now confirmed in SA Business Insider. South Africa’s variant, not the same as the UK’s.

Antibody-Dependent Enhancement Derek Lowe, “In the Pipeline,” Science. Interesting.

* * *

Long-distance airborne dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 wards Nature. From the Abstract: “Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in central ventilation systems, distant from patient areas, indicate that virus can be transported long distances and that droplet transmission alone cannot reasonably explain this, especially considering the relatively low air change rates in these wards. Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 must be taken into consideration for preventive measures.” Important caveat: “Infective ability of the samples was assessed by inoculation of susceptible cell cultures but could not be determined in these experiments.”

There should be one of these at every entrance to every public building:

If there’s one surface where aerosols (spoken) transform into fomites (touch), it would be the surface of cellphones. Although I can’t recall a study on this.

* * *

COVID-19 outpatients: early risk-stratified treatment with zinc plus low-dose hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: a retrospective case series study COVID-19 outpatients: early risk-stratified treatment with zinc plus low-dose hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: a retrospective case series study International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. We ran this in October as a pre-proof; this is the published version.

* * *

Tucker Carlson: Public confidence in the coronavirus vaccine won’t be achieved by Big Tech censorship FOX (MV).

‘Do as I say’: Anger as some politicians ignore virus rules AP


Invincible empire? Bloomberg

Coronavirus: China to vaccinate 50 million people for Lunar New Year South China Morning Post (Re Silc).

Why Health Is The New Luxury In China Jing Daily

No ‘Negative’ News: How China Censored the Coronavirus NYT

‘On notice’: Sydney braces for lockdown to contain COVID-19 outbreak by Christmas The Age

First major COVID-19 outbreak hits Thailand as South Korea sets infection record Channel News Asia


India hits 10m Covid cases as tough measures fail to halt spread FT

The Remedy to the Agricultural Crisis That No One Is Talking About The Wire

Thousands gather in Sacramento, block traffic on Highway 50 to protest India farming laws Sacramento Bee


MOL Releases Internal Investigation Report on MV Wakashio Accident gCaptain. With excerpts from the report.


London Begins Emergency Lockdown as U.K. Fights New Virus Strain Bloomberg

Grenfell Tower inquiry: ‘Whistleblower’ refusing to give evidence BBC


Brussels faces fishing backlash as Brexit talks drag on FT

Brexit to send price of dildos and butt plugs soaring, sex toy company warns Yahoo News

Meet the toilet barons of Brexit Wired (Colonel Smithers). Where there’s muck, there’s brass.

Operation Amazônia: Brazilian Army “simulates war” with Venezuela Brasilwire

New Cold War

U.S. State Department Closing Two Consulates In Russia NPR


Former CIA and Pentagon Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash: This is an epic national security crisis MSNBC. Solarwinds123Gate?

Trump Transition

Trump To CIA: Say Goodbye To Your War On Terror The Intercept. That’s a damn shame.

Pence announces that Space Force personnel will be called guardians CNN. “Awesome Mix Tape no. 1” playing during the presser, no doubt. (This is Pence, willing executioner for Hitler, who was handed the Space Force chew toy by Pelosi, one can only presume to advance the strategic goals of defeating facism and restoring “our democracy”).

Congress reaches deal on new economic-relief bill, $600 stimulus payments AP. $600 is what rich people think the working class thinks is a lot of money.

The questionable integrity of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara The Komisar Scoop

Biden Transition

Biden Goes To Bat For BlackRock, Stays Vague On Direct Aid To Struggling Americans David Sirota and Walker Bragman, The Daily Poster

Biden introduces his environment team, calling climate change ‘the existential threat of our time’ Fortune

Health Care

A New Congressional Budget Office Study Shows That Medicare for All Would Save Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Annually Jacobin

Our Famously Free Press

We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists Neiman Labs

Readers, have any of you had this experience? Thread:

I mean a material, explosion-level event, not just something that should have been reported and wasn’t, like corruption.

Police State Watch

Bodycam Video Shows ‘Mob Mentality’ of Boston Police Who Responded to George Floyd Protests, Lawyer Says The Appeal

Class Warfare

Why They’re Denying You Healthcare And Financial Support During A Pandemic Caitlin Johnstone

‘Nothing under our tree’: millions in US cope with financial misery during holiday season Guardian (Re Silc). “Santa Claus is coming to town” seems more than usually ironic this year; Santa, after all, is not the only one coming to town.

Impatience: a deep cause of Western failure in handling the pandemic? globalinequality

The Art of Losing—Three Poems for the COVID-19 Pandemic JAMA

On the allure of people singing together Dorchester Reporter

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. Henry Moon Pie

    Unreported boom–

    It made me chuckle a little. Here on the East Side, all kinds of interesting events go unreported. It’s doubtful that our local TV or shell of a newspaper will report that back-and-forth gunfight that took place last night within a block or two. It wasn’t as loud as a few years back when two guys armed with an AK and a 9 mm (according to the cops we watched pick up the shell casings from the street 15 feet from my BR) when it was like someone was pounded the walls of the house with a sledge hammer, but it was second only to that. Two distinctly different gunfire sounds. Couldn’t tell if either shooter was moving. Don’t ask me what I saw, because all I could tell you was what I saw from the floor. At least the cops did come by and patrol the neighborhood for a while afterward.

    Mad Max may be coming to a lot of neighborhoods, but it’s pretty well arrived here already.

  2. Anonymous

    Love the antidote! Notice the baby they are protecting?

    From the Tweeter feed:

    I’ve seen this happen. Surreal experience. Not pictured a lioness lying in the grass 50 yards away.

    Message to the lioness: Not today, not forever – stick to dead meat.

    1. Synoia

      They are probably females. The young males hang around the periphery of the herd, and are truly dangerous.

      They will charge if one gets between to males, or between a young mane and the herd.

  3. bassmule

    ‘Do as I say’: Anger as some politicians ignore virus rules.

    Leading by example? That’s so 20th Century.

    1. solstice time

      Speaking of hypocrisy, last June RI Gov Raimondo spoke at a large BLM rally without wearing a mask and was videotaped standing shoulder to shoulder with other maskless protesters. She later said she forgot to bring it. Uh huh.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Why should politicians “lead by example?” “Voters” have proven time and again that they are eager to forgive and forget. It’s why cheap sales slogans like “Look forward not back” are invented, even as other cheap sales slogans like “Hope and Change” left-handedly acknowledge shitty past performance.

      Why, I’ve even heard of a case where 47 years of political betrayal and abuse magically morphed into a story of selfless service and “integrity” due to the remarkably widespread, forgiveness inspired masochism of the american “voter.”

  4. The Rev Kev

    Readers, have any of you had this experience?’

    Yeah, I did as a young teenager. In Sydney there is an area called Botany Bay where there is a lot of heavy industry and which includes chemical production and this must have happened in the early 70s. There was a massive fire and my dad took us kids out for a drive where from a vantage point we could see massive flames rolling into the sky. It was big.

    The next day I picked up the two major newspapers serving Sydney to see what the deal was & what caused it and there was not a single, solitary mention of any fire. The local rag had a bit about the fire but it was not much. It was at that early age I picked up a serious distrust in the media which has served me well ever since.

    1. Jesper

      Yep, things happen and then not reported. Possibly due to decline in local reporting and possibly for other reasons.

      when Windscale No1 Pile caught fire in October 1957, it was hushed up so well that even with 11 tons of uranium ablaze for three days, the reactor close to collapse and radioactive material spreading across the Lake District, the people who worked there were expected to keep quiet and carry on making plutonium for the bomb.

      My personal experience is more boring. I’ve seen heavy police presence with major roads blocked off by the police causing big disruptions in traffic and then when I checked the local news I couldn’t find anything about it. Possibly/probably nothing news-worthy.

    2. Pelham

      Spooky. This and Sexton’s tweet thread bring to mind Don DeLillo’s “airborne toxic event” from his ’80s novel “White Noise.” The event is massive and ongoing but never explained despite a cacophony of media.

      Sexton’s thread draws a nice link between Gingrich’s nationalization of narrative and the demise of local news. One statistical confirmation of the consequences I read about just a few years ago found in a survey that people in towns that lose local newspapers tend to feel threatened and become more distrustful while everything associated with city government mysteriously becomes more expensive. That latter point is significant, but I think the ongoing and building dread is more consequential and, as Sexton notes, meshes nicely with right-wing propaganda, including the finger pointing at the inexplicable surge in immigration.

      OTOH and on that subject, the sudden swell of immigration since 1965 is a real concern, something that Americans for many years opposed in poll after poll but which never abated — whether legal, illegal or in the form of perpetual indentured servitude via work visas. So there actually is something for the rightists to point their fingers at. And it’s a hearty perennial bipartisan phenomenon.

    3. LaRuse

      In the last 18 months (maybe longer? time has gotten a little stretchy lately) I saw a massive black plume of smoke coming directly from the very large coal-fired power plant that is a mile (as the crow flies) from my place of work – I didn’t drive down the road to see if it was from the massive coal piles outside the plant or from within the plant. I didn’t want to be any closer than I was to whatever there was burning out of control.
      It lasted for a couple of hours. Now I know I work in a heavily industrial area and sparsely populated part of a county so it isn’t like this was in the middle of a bustling metro, but that plume of smoke signaled real trouble to me and to the co-workers I pointed it out to.
      Not a single word, tweet, comment, or even acknowledgment publicly that it ever even happened.

      1. Alex Cox

        I would be more interested in this story if Jared Yates Sexton told us where he lived. Or are we expected to know that?

        1. pricklyone

          “Huge explosion” is relative to where you are standing, of course. I had “neighbors” who stacked up multiple Tannerite targets, and shot at them. If you were in my house, you would have thought a blitzkreig was on. Not so much “up the hill”.
          When I was young ( early in the 70’s) we exploded quite a number of homemade explosive devices within city limits, without any news reports being generated.( We always checked). Mostly in a small wooded area within sight of houses and a hospital! The woods however, were adjecent to a small limestone quarry, which almost every day blasted new rock. Everyone was used to small blasts, so our louder blast did not register alarm.
          In order for local news to cover something, it has to be brought to their attention, somehow. I wonder if Jared made a phone call to authorities, or the local news outlets?

        2. epynonymous

          It’s not just local. The national media failures just slide into the memory hole.

          Macy’s day parade accidents, the SIDS scare, killer bees, killer bees 2.0. …. Ah the hubris.

          It’s not china either. Regans vice-president Bush (the first) getting a pass on CIA connections is my earliest personal example. Now it seems every other freshman congress critter is from the intellligence services.

  5. zagonostra

    >A New Congressional Budget Office Study Shows That Medicare for All Would Save Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Annually – Jacobin

    “Overall, the study confirms what serious Medicare for All analysts have known for some time now.

    And this Jacobin article only confirms what everybody already knows already:

    I think Caitlin Johnstone is more helpful here than Jacobin.

    …the US left needs to address the problem of establishment narrative control first, before any change can even begin to occur. This can happen by way of a grassroots information rebellion with a sufficiently forceful push to help their countrymen realize that they are being propagandized,

    So Jacobin why are you not 110% behind the Forcethevote push? Why are you purposely misconstruing what the forecthevote push is all about by stating that:

    But democratic-socialist politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t the ones standing in the way of an American welfare state. Let’s figure out how to actually build working-class power and win change.

    Dosen’t Jacobin freking get it? That this is is exactly what is happening right, now? Is it because it the leadership for this is not coming from a “serious” leftiist, that the approach is not based on some analysis of “historical materialistism” and critique of “capitlism”. Jacobin, and any other progressive source that places hope for change in appealing to an “ism” is dead right from the start.

    The change is going to come from the most unexpected origin (otherwise it will have been crushed or coopted beforehand), it has to be organic, and it has to deal with the mass media that run interference for the ruling elites. CJ summarizes it nicely:

    People are prevented from using the power of their numbers to force real change by a highly sophisticated domestic propaganda operation controlled by the media-owning plutocratic class and heavily influenced by sociopathic government agencies. As long as people are being successfully propagandized by mass media manipulation into accepting the status quo, they will never rise up and make it change.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Imagine writing for years, pining away for the romanticism of a mass movement that will bring public pressure on the govt to change.

      Then, when one starts to gather force, deciding that you don’t really like this one very much. Ascribing some kind of pathology to it. And then…going back to pining for more mass movements that are more to your liking.

      These are the kind of leftists matt stoller is always complaining about.

      Movements require leadership. If the purported leaders don’t provide leadership to direct the frustration in a particular direction, that energy is going to find a leader who will provide that direction.

      If they don’t want jimmy dore (flawed as he is) being a leader, someone else needs to act like a leader and get people on board to do something.

        1. Kouros

          and then declared the dictatorship of the proletariat and annihilated any soviets daring to be democratic in manifestation…

      1. Oh

        I agree with your comment but I don’t think JD is flawed at all. His language may not be what some people like but he tells it like it is!

        1. nycTerrierist

          + 1

          JD is a great communicator — I don’t get why some find him offensive —
          reminds me of attempts to smear Bernie, not on policy,
          but because he waved his hands too much:

          “Sorry, we can’t have health care bc, um, Bernie talks too loud…”

          But Biden can brazenly lie to our face and offers nothing but corruption,
          more war and misery

          1. Procopius

            I found him offensive because he laughs at his own jokes. I prefer the Jack Benny approach. In this case, I’m strongly in favor of forcing a vote, but I think his tactic is infeasible. “Withholding their vote” doesn’t do anything, unless the result is to put someone other than Nancy Pelosi in as Speaker.

            There’s a passage in one of Terry Pratchett’s novels where one of the witches is negotiating passage on a coach and the driver is resisting.
            Witch: “How would you like a cure for an embarrassing social disease?”
            Driver: “I don’t have an embarrassing social disease.”
            Witch: “How many would you like?”

            Do they have the numbers to put someone other than Nancy in the job? If their defection causes someone else to get the job, is that going to be somebody Jimmy Dore will like?

            1. nycTerrierist

              the point of a vote is to get people on record: yay or nay for
              Medicare for All

              Nays can get primaried

              A forced vote also lets gatekeepers like Pelosi know they can lose their
              job if they continue to ignore the will of constituents

              not least, a forced vote shows that the left can disturb business as usual
              with more tk

        2. anon

          I don’t think Dore is problematic either. He tells it like it is and that is always a problem for the establishment and their supporters. Dore has a large following because the majority of Americans have had enough. People are dying in a pandemic and don’t have food or jobs, yet Dore’s critics want him to be calm and patient? More people should be as outraged as Dore and fighting for M4A. Wealthy politicians need to be held accountable, even AOC, who is also now a wealthy politician in Washington.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        “If they don’t want jimmy dore (flawed as he is) being a leader, someone else needs to act like a leader and get people on board to do something.”


        I really think this is the issue. I don’t think Jimmy set out to be a leader or really wants to be. He’s just fed up with the excuses and the “no we can’t.”

        But to his critics, JD is an uncouth outsider who isn’t going through the proper channels and doing things the normal way. Many of his blue check critics have said as much. Not that they have presented an alternative, mind you. Or at least not an alternative that is more or less maintaining business as usual.

        This all sounds very familiar, for some reason. Here’s hoping the end is a little better this time.

      3. Foy

        And Jimmy Dore just called out Matt Stoller for not supporting #forcethevote in this video where he was talking with Matt and Katie Helper, where Matt backed the mainstream Democratic approach.

        Matt is using all the standard “they are negotiating things behind closed doors” blather and then says “that the “mainstream democrats share the same worldview [as us]”

        Jimmy takes off his glasses gets one inch away from his webcam and says “WTF, are you on drugs, are you sh*tting me saying mainstream corporate democrats that the regular corporate democrats and us share the same worldview?!”

        Matt said “Yep”. Jimmy then went off his nut, and rightly so. Even Matt doesn’t get it.

        Keep going Jimmy.

    2. Massinissa

      “But democratic-socialist politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t the ones standing in the way of an American welfare state. Let’s figure out how to actually build working-class power and win change.”

      Ah yes, the welfare state. Supposedly radical Jacobin now thinks the best we can get is a welfare state? You know, the system pioneered by the right wing Otto von Bismark in order to curtail Socialist movements in Germany, and which has pretty much been serving that function world wide ever since? Aren’t we supposed to start the bargaining with something more radical than that so as to be able to get a welfare state or something similar through haggling? If we tell the government we want a welfare state as our starting demand they’re going to try and give us another check that can’t pay for the month’s rent and then say they went ‘halfway’.

  6. Cocomaan

    Regarding the death of local news and random explosions:

    A few years ago in a suburban county of Philadelphia, there were months of random explosions that scared the living family blog out of people, including some of my relatives.

    I remember the local news reporting being sluggish on it. Same with local PD. Finally someone called in the feds after this went on for several months. Eventually it was discovered that some crazy guy and his girlfriend had made a habit out of building explosives.

    1. Louis Fyne

      It’s not just explosions.

      Crime, muncipal-state corruption/self-dealing, performance of school districts, pollution, etc.

      the current status of local news makes whatever was the norm 30 years ago seem like it was the Golden Age of local reporting.

      My hometown’s newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, once had its own network of foreign and domestic news bureaus—-now it’s AP-NYT-Bloomberg wire reports + hyperpartisan columnists. + sports + no critical pushback against local officials.

      And blame is on all sides: part of it is the decline of classifieds/change of news consumption, part MBA bad decisions, part m’eh demand for local news coverage unless it’s about sports or in a breakfast show TV format.


      1. jefemt

        Why support local news? Subscriptions cost $.

        One can get on a computer or gizmo and go seek the comfort of a siloed, limited-perspective source, for FREE?

        (sarc never off, but now on mute)

      2. Otis B Driftwood

        I am old enough to remember the Chicago Daily News, an afternoon paper that my family got for a short time. A full newspaper.

        I liked the comics. ;)

        We also had two semi-weekly local papers in my suburb. The father of one of my buddies was an an editor for one of them.

      3. Pelham

        Yes, I remember the Tribune. The Trib typically maintained about a dozen foreign correspondents. If you read them regularly — particularly Paul Salopek, Liz Sly, Chris Spolar and Tom Hundley — you’d get a markedly different and often more insightful take on world events than the usual stuff served up by the East Coast papers and other big-deal media.

        And for a while the Trib had an indispensable Washington bureau chief (his name escapes me now) who repeatedly called out the horrid and deeply compromising conflicts of interest common across the various big-name DC columnists and media figures who raked in money from speaking engagements and the like for monied interests. Of course, the Trib eventually dispensed with him. But it was nice while it lasted.

        The sad thing about all this, as far as I could see, was that readers just didn’t care.

        1. Another Rev

          You might be thinking of Peter Lisagore, who was actually with the Chicago Daily News. He was also a regular on Washington Week in Review on PBS.

          1. Pelham

            Thanks, but the guy was of more recent vintage. And the name comes to me now. It’s James Warren. Lisagore, however, was a figure to be reckoned with, too. As was the Chicago Daily News.

            As for the Tribune, even as late as the 1990s there were many top-notch journalists there, as one would know if one read the paper carefully and regularly. They certainly had the potential to contribute to the national conversation but just didn’t have the platform. This was true of the Los Angeles Times as well, and probably a number of other papers that maintained at least a few independent-minded people in a Washington bureau.

            But their platforms fell short of their talents. It wasn’t their newspapers’ fault. Still it’s a shame that all we’re left with now of any consequence is the New York Times, the Washington Post and maybe the Wall Street Journal — all East Coast institutions with quite naked fealty to the blob, as is true as well for the major TV and cable news networks. It’s sickening.

        2. Duke of Prunes

          The CWBChicago blog does a decent job of covering local crime, at least on the north side. They also report on some corruption from time to time.

      4. bob

        Crime reporting is now reporting press releases from the police and publishing mug shots and police blotters.

        “officer involved shooting” makes me wince typing it

    2. Polar Donkey

      Death of local news- You should come to Memphis. Massive car chases, shootouts, and wrecks through residential neighborhoods with no mention in media. Closest thing to documentation is on Next door. This happened in my neighborhood and most people I know have similar experiences in their neighborhoods. It has gone mad max-ish here over the last few years. Guns, dodge chargers/challengers and ford mustangs causing havoc. It is bizarre and makes you want to run from the city.

    3. bob

      That was a meteor that started as a bunch of reports. The local news followed up and found out what happened. It was large enough that it was able to be seen in the daylight, there are videos.

      Theres also a link to a site that tracks those reports. Its worth checking.

      That local story is very well done. I bet they could do a lot more than they do if they weren’t worried about getting sued or making the wrong pol mad.

      1. bob

        Here’s another report of a big boom. I’ve always thought it was most likely a military jet when I’ve seen reports like this but the meteor explanation could be something to look at in the future. There isn’t any way to track military jets other than to call around to bases and hope someone might talk to you.

        American Meteor Society website-

    4. M.

      Yesterday, in Pennsauken NJ.

      10+ police cars and ambulances. Buses and regular traffic diverted from a huge artery. NOTHING on Twitter or Reddit, let alone the local media.

      My guess is that it was a gas leak or explosion due to the cold weather, but the cops cordoning off the area said they “weren’t allowed to say.” Even though I live a block away and am clearly in the blast radius….

    5. Heidi's walker

      We used to see reporting of drive by shootings etc. on the local TV news. Our local paper is all but defunct. No one turns to them anymore. There are however facebook groups for each of our neighborhoods. People post and get their local news there. These fb groups have helped the police apprehend criminals many times

    6. Dirk77

      Jared Yates Sexton appears himself to be an example of the dearth of non-MSM reporting: his twitter thread about this devolved into a talk about white rural people turning away from the good path, so to speak. Looking up his bio, he not surprisingly is IdPol liberal.

    7. Louis Fyne

      you might want to get in touch with your local ham radio community (assuming your local emergency services still broadcast on unencrypted channels).

      Some of the best public safety local reporting in my neck of the woods is from a retired firefighter who monitors the local emergency channels, drives to the scenes, and posts the stories on his blog.

      1. Pelham

        Good idea! Glad these ham guys are still around. I’ll also bet they’re a good deal better informed on such matters, more sober and reliable than most of the people tapping away on internet platforms.

  7. fresno dan

    Trump To CIA: Say Goodbye To Your War On Terror The Intercept. That’s a damn shame.

    Last week, news broke that Trump’s acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, sent a letter to the CIA notifying the agency that the Pentagon would review the terms of its military support to CIA operations.
    But as with all things in the Trump administration, chaos reigned, and the tension between Trump’s policy-by-tweet and his national security officials, including those he once fawned over, caused constant confusion and internal conflict.
    So this happens with about 4 weeks left of the administration….
    So, is Trump just incompetent or is this just Kabuki to hide the fact that Trump in no way, shape, or form ever intended to diminish the empire?

    1. rowlf

      Was Trump ever actually in the driver’s seat, or did he get parked in a kid’s seat with a fake steering wheel and a horn? Outside of being a fierce user of Twitter, what did he actually get his hands dirty with compared to what got hung around his neck? What did he sign for?

      1. lordkoos

        Reminds me of the story about the Beach Boys, who were originally managed by Brian Wilson’s father Murray Wilson. Murray attended recording sessions and liked to be involved in the production, but Capitol Records quickly figured out that Brian was the person responsible for the hit records. They gave Murray a small mixing desk that wasn’t connected to anything so that he could twiddle the knobs all day without changing the sound.

        1. jonboinAR

          Then Mike Love somehow managed to take over and, as I read somewhere, turn the Beach Boys into the greatest Beach Boys hits-from-the-early-60’s cover band. He insured his goal, to make sure the band remained a cash-cow for the decades to come, but destroyed the creative spirit that seemingly was about to burst forth. I mean, Brian Wilson was being compared to Paul McCartney as a song-maker. Then he seemed to give up and kind of lose his mind.

      2. jonboinAR

        That’s it right there. Trump never seemed to try to accomplish much that required more work than a burst of tweets and firing somone. His main value for anyone desiring change was his propensity to stick monkey wrenches here and there, sometimes into machinery that actually did need to be stopped as a first step. He also would dance naked (figuratively speaking, but you’re welcome for the visual) in front of processes that were meant to operate silently in deep shadows. He was actually pretty good for that type of stuff, and it seems like that was more than we had previously.

        1. marym

          His 2 best accomplishments – not starting a new foreign war and not joining the TPP – required no work at all. Unfortunately the monkey wrench landed in places like the postal service, the census, and labor and environmental protections.

          1. jonboinAR

            Those first two were the things to not do though, and he didn’t. So I credit him there. I’m certain he resisted, or just ignored, some kind of pressure. Yes, all of the Trump goodness I can think of was of a negative sort, as in refraining from an action that a more active executive may well have taken.

          2. Michaelmas

            marym wrote: Unfortunately the monkey wrench landed in places like the postal service, the census, and labor and environmental protections.

            There’s a reason for that.

            One of the many things the MSM didn’t report on because they were too busy with Russkiegate etc. was the fact that not just Pence, Pompeo, Mark Meadows, and Kellyanne Conway, but something like 60 percent or more of the Trump administration’s grunt-level staffers came out of the Koch machine.

            Because of course Trump had no competent political people when he started running. It turns out, at this point most of the competent people in and around the Republican party are Koch people. So that’s who any Trump campaign and administration had to recruit. Subsequently, those who were there brought in others — Kelly replaced by Meadows, Tillerson by Pompeo, and so on down the line.

            Furthermore, the Koch machine has resources beyond its people. Charles Koch isn’t some garden-variety Wall Street FIRE-sector grifter or a blowhard pretend-scientist like Elon Musk. He’s highly intelligent, with two MIT masters degrees, in nuclear and chemical engineering, and back in the 1960s-70s, the Koch corporation was one of the first U.S. corporations to use computers extensively and systematically. So the same thing applied in Koch’s political operation. He’s had a data science and campaign analytics organization called i360–


            — far in advance of anything the Republican party itself has, and doing all the things Cambridge Analytica was accused of since before that latter even existed.

            And so, forex, the administration’s attack on the Post Office, the very first government entity Koch went after a half-century ago. So, too, the response to COV19, where Pence was head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, and the Trump administration’s staffers worked at every stage actively and quite competently to obstruct competent federal or state government responses to the pandemic.

            Trump seems to have been too stupid to realize it. But much of how the Trump administration proceeded has been shaped by Charles Koch’s long-term game plan to re-engineer U.S. society.

    2. km

      If Trump really wanted to diminish the empire, he *could* give the troops the order to come home, immediately and without conditions, and leave it for Biden and his surrogates to explain why the forever wars really have to go on forever. Something something because credibility.

      Not only that, but Trump is the only one who can currently give such an order.

      Of course, he doesn’t do so.

      1. rowlf

        Who would send out Trump’s order? How many other Colonel Vindmans and James Jeffreys are surrounding the President to keep him from causing trouble?

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      What inflation? Obama did not give a COLA increase to disability the whole 8 years he was in office! ;)

      When I tell my friends (who either do not read the news or only watch CNN because none of them report this) how much other countries have given during the pandemic their jaws drop.

      I cannot tell you how afraid I am where we are headed. Trump is already planning a January 6th protest in Washington. By this time people will be hungry and homeless, and who will they blame?

      1. Arizona Slim

        A January 6th protest?

        Come on, Trump. That’s my late mother’s birthday.

        How can I drink a proper toast to her memory when you and your fan club are raising a ruckus?

        1. Wukchumni


          January 6th in Humordor is about the same time Christmas is celebrated in Russia…

          Coincidence, I think not~

          1. ambrit

            That does seem to be the orthodox point of view.
            Our “new” iconoclast leaders would beg to differ, but they prefer to order to differ.
            Is “Three Kings Day” now going to have to be renamed a more LGBTQE2 friendly appellation?
            Heaven save us from a ‘Woke’ Christmas!

    2. edmondo

      AP. $600 is what rich people think the working class thinks is a lot of money.

      When half the citizens in the greatest country in the world can’t come up with $500 for an emergency without getting a 22% car title loan, are they wrong?

      So once they agree to the $600 anti-guillotine payment, they are going to cut the checks and Fed-Ex them to al the recipients in time for Christmas? What complete and total cluelessness on behalf of our “leaders”.

      1. petal

        That magical $400 they can’t come up with in an emergency plus an extra 200. They’ll be rolling in it. What more could they possibly want? /s
        Was discussing with a friend last week about how ugly/worse it’s going to get soon between waves of evictions, joblessness, no money for food or anything else, etc.

        1. chris

          There has been a lot of discussion about this on here and with my friends. So much that’s just wrong and awful has happened and millions aren’t getting any Christmas and will be out on their freezing butts come New Years and yet… no anger in the streets. We had months of rioting and “mostly peaceful demonstrations” and examples of people taking over sections of cities but now, nothing. I really thought that people would have looked at what’s happening, Biden’s empty rhetoric, and the lack of any help coming from DC and began to get creative with fire around Thanksgiving. That didn’t happen. So I can only conclude that it won’t be happening until something else occurs. I don’t know what that could be?

          1. petal

            I said to my friend give it another month; and wait until Biden is in and things continue to worsen. It hasn’t quite hit the boiling point/correct mixture yet.

          2. polecat

            Maybe if/when groups of mokes drop – wounded, and,or dying like flies – shortly after receiving the mostest, greatest untested ‘poke-in-the-arm’ Evha!

            *…. enough casualties so that the bought n paid for media can’t hide behind their malicious lies!

            orrrrr … those for whom no jab means becoming a non-person through forced financial ‘unobtainium’!

          3. Aumua

            I think wintertime has a lot to do with it too. Protesting and/or rioting typically happen in the summer, when people want to be outside. The low sun angle and short daylight hours have something to do with it psychologically as well I’m sure.

            I’m all for a march on Washington though! Let’s set a date and get the word out. Who’s with me?

            1. Massinissa

              “I’m all for a march on Washington though! Let’s set a date and get the word out. Who’s with me?”

              Wonder what Washington is going to replace the cavalry they used to charge the homeless veterans in the 1932 Bonus March with (The last Cavalry Charge in US History! ‘MURICA F YEAH!) when encampments of homeless come back to Washington. Think they’ll use armored SWAT cars this time? Could be like the OWS crackdown but more brutal. Not saying its a bad idea… The Bonus March was a real watershed moment in the Great Depression.

              1. Janie

                And who was the commanding officer? Why, the great American hero Douglas MacArthur, assisted by Patton.

                1. Procopius

                  That actually made him incredibly popular. The vast majority of unemployed weren’t eligible for any kind of bonus and resented the hell out of the veterans. It put MacArthur in a position where Roosevelt said the two most dangerous men in America were Huey Long and Douglas MacArthur.

                2. Massinissa

                  To be fair, the first part was called for by Hoover. Then Hoover told McArthur to stop and McArthur was like ‘Nah, I’m going to charge the encampment across the river too even though you just told me not to.’

                  So its not like Hoover is blameless here. But yes McArthur was as much a part of the problem here as Hoover was.

      2. carl

        I’m going to have to slightly disagree with the “this is what rich people think poor people think” formulation. That $600 is a clear message: “get back to work, because nothing else is coming.”

        1. The Historian

          Oh, they know the jobs aren’t there. This $600 was a calculated guess as to what they thought was just enough to forestall the ‘revolution’ – more to protect themselves than to help anyone.

            1. chris

              That right there is the biggest problem.

              We’re rolling up the usual jobs to even get people back in the workforce now. The mechanisms we could have relied on to jumpstart things are gone. I can’t even shop local for most of the things I want to buy if I try. There isn’t any local. When I was stuck in quarantine, sick with COVID, and isolated from my family, what was I supposed to do? Call ten different shops that might not deliver and arrange for a friend to go to all of them to pick up my orders? Or I could just order from Amazon and get them all delivered to my house? Even if I had an option, why would I take it compared to that level of control and convenience?

              I have friends who are union organizers and their social media feeds are full of how awful Amazon and Walmart are. I agree. But it’s not the wealthy that are stuck shopping at Walmart. It’s the people who have no options living in places where there isn’t a convenient grocery store besides Walmart in many cases. So my union friends are really just scolding poor people that they’re not willing to inconvenience themselves more for a failed cause.

              And where are the jobs that low skilled people or those who have been out of the workforce can use to rejoin the economy and earn money?

              Janitorial positions – gone, outsourced to regional service companies, or crammed down on to retail cashiers.

              Check out staff and stockers – gone, outsourced to regional service companies, or optimized and minded with cruel staffing policies and self check out kiosks.

              Building and equipment maintenance – gone because the budgets have vanished, outsourced to regional service companies, added to retail staff responsibilities.

              Construction – it’s winter, so we’re at a seasonal low anyway. In top of that, you need money from the state or the feds to do anything because most people don’t have the resources to pay for projects right now. If they do, they don’t want to be out of their house during a pandemic!

              Travel, tourist, vacation related jobs – don’t make me cry. They’re just gone.

              Restaurant positions – fighting for a gasping breath with the lock down rules in palce.

              Business services – becoming highly optimized because budgets are tight.

              Manufacturing – of what, for whom? Who is going to make large capital purchases in this environment? And so what if they did, what portion of that would help our domestic economy?

              Teaching – so many public schools are still shut down and laying off staff due to budgets.

              I don’t see how we have any ability to spend any money to help the current situation short of giving it to people directly. Our leaders refuse to do that. We’re going to be stuck here for a long time until people either start rioting or something else big happens. I have no idea what that could be right now.

                1. sd

                  Not just performing arts, trade shows, conventions, symposiums, general assemblies, conferences, boat shows, car shows, anything that draws crowds to civic center, auditorium or conventional hall – gone.

                  1. Massinissa

                    American Capitalism is basically collapsing in front of our eyes. I don’t even *like* Capitalism, but you would think all the politicians would *do* something to prevent the system they supposedly think is so important to the ‘American Way’ from imploding in on itself while they diddle around and act like its impressive they’re giving working people some loose change out of their pockets. The vaccine is coming too late to avoid economic hemorrhaging. I’m not even sure 2021 won’t see more layoffs than this year did, due to economic fallout and decreased consumer spending. At the very least we’re going to see more evictions next year than in any time in living memory. This is how revolt starts. People act on the internet as if 2020 is just a weird year and everything will go back to normal in March. Not happening. This is the new normal for at least a few years.

                    1. Noone from Nowheresville

                      @Massinissa December 20, 2020 at 2:59 pm

                      American Capitalism is basically being restored. Workers will feel rejuvenated once the old American Gilded Age rules are back in place.

                      Imagine the chaos, the money yet to be created and the wealth soon to come.

                      Sorry, not for workers. Lambert’s Rule no. 2 still applies.

              1. Sailor Bud

                It’s not just the convenience of location with grocery stores vs Walmart.

                Walmart will undercut, by whole dollar amounts, large numbers of individual bulk groceries compared to local supermarkets. I’ve shopped there just because of this, and I hate it completely, but it’s money, which is getting tighter and tighter.

                They and their kind own the Earth, and they want you to know it.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          Yep.. the $600 is like getting a fruitcake of the month club membership instead of a Christmas bonus.

          It also shows how weak they think the working class is, thinking they can be bought so easily.

          I am trying to think of what to do with this money that doesn’t funnel it back into the current financial used stricture. Local charity or food cooperative for next year maybe.

          1. ambrit

            I read somewhere recently that the ammunition manufacturers were running their production lines flat out and still couldn’t keep up with demand. There are a lot of people becoming very “gunned up” in our fraught times.

            1. Kurtismayfield

              But the ammo won’t be aimed up.. the ammo will either be aimed at people who are tools of the state, or their neighbors.

            2. Massinissa

              I’ve heard that gun buyers have been more diverse this year as well. Alot more black people and other people of color been buying guns and ammo this past year apparently, according to some statistics I saw a few months ago. Not really sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

              1. rowlf

                It’s a good thing, since they’re citizens too. (Search I often answer questions or provide assistance at the range when asked. Most times it is couples and families. The firearms training classes around here fill up quick with the new owners.

            3. rowlf

              In the last nine months there were also a lot of new firearms owners that don’t fit the stereotype. Add them to the ammo purchasing. It will be interesting how the new firearms owners respond about gun control plans proposed by the Biden campaign being applied to their legally owned firearms.

            4. marku52

              True that. There hasn’t been a box of 9mm HP on shelf around here since way back in June or so. I thought that would clear up as time went on, but no.

      3. g

        What continues to blow my mind is the amount of people I know that think they are “wealthy” and “comfortable middle class”. Most of the time this means they have inherited money or property from their parents.

        But the reality is most of them are one job loss or one big hospital bill away from losing everything, but they have been so taught and trained that they are doing fine while being deep in debt.

        Even the strained remnants of the “middle class” are a shockingly hollow shell of it’s former self.

        1. rowlf

          Around 2009 one of my sons was invited to a birthday party of one of his second grade classmates. Maybe six kids showed up, and I was the only father there of the invited kids. The family that was having the birthday party lived in 2/3rds of a mobile home in the back corner of the trailer park due to a streak of economic bad luck. We all helped to make the party go well but having come from a family where we were on food stamps for a while, drinking powdered milk and getting school meals, I am haunted by that party and how fast I could be in the same spot.

          The mother of the kid having the party did her best to have a good party with their modest resources. I could never figure out any way of helping her besides being as helpful as possible during the party, as anything I came up with outside the party that day would likely be taken as an insult or a slight. She had a ton of grit and determination that they were going to be able to climb out of their situation.

      4. dcblogger

        AP. $600 is what rich people think the working class thinks is a lot of money.

        not enough for rent in any city that I know of, certainly not DC. So Biden will begin his administration amidst millions of evictions. Why isn’t Biden working the phones to get people AT LEAST $1,200? How can he not know that this is a disaster for him? This is why I think that the republic will implode into full scale revolution.

        1. Tom Doak

          The image of Biden “working the phones” has got me giggling and I just can’t stop.

          It’s probably a rotary dial land line and there is no way to plug it in anymore.

      5. Phacops

        America has become cruelty itself in both its domestic and foreign policy. I continually wonder when the point will be reached when there is a consensus that our government has little legitimacy except for the damage it can inflict. Our decline will be most terrible when the peoples we abused will grease the skids for our plummet to hell. Yet, I fail to see how America will dissolve or what forces will come into play.

        1. Kouros

          For years I kept saying on various blogs, when harping against interventionist, illegal (UN Charter) US wars, that what the US establishment wants and tries to do abroad is something that they would really like to also do at home…

    3. Sutter Cane

      It’s not just them being out of touch because they are rich, but also because we are living in a gerontocracy. All our leaders are pushing 80 and they probably still think a cup of coffee costs a nickel.

      1. edmondo

        Some of them know how much a pint of gelatto costs. FUN FACT: It’s cheaper to have a baby in Canada than it is to buy a pint of Nancy’s mint chocolate chip gelatto.,hundred%20dollars%20for%20private%20rooms.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      “The measure [COVID-19 legislation] is being added to a $1.4 trillion spending bill” which contains all kinds of other stuff waiting for a properly serious crisis. “It would be virtually impossible for lawmakers to read and fully understand the sprawling legislation” … to say nothing of the impossibility that the Populace might know what the bill contains.

      The deliberately inadequate and tightfisted $600 and little mention of what happens to renters and others standing on air past the edge of the cliff holds our attention and diverts it away from what the rest of the bill contains.

    5. Mikel

      The definition of inflation must be it’s only inflation if you print money and give it to the less well off.
      Inflation is an ideology. It should be clear now.

    6. D. Fuller

      What is even worse? The BLS says that $600.00 in 2008 now buys $742.71 worth of goods in Dec 2020.

      Which would mean that there is negative inflation over the last 12 years. Delusional. A gallon of milk sold for an average of $2.69 in 2009. My local grocer sells milk at $4.29 a gallon. If the CPI calculator from BLS were accurate? Milk would cost less today than in 2008/9.

      In other news, the wonderful State of PA is now reported to have made their CARES Act rental assistance application so onerous that they had $108 million in leftover funds. The program expired on November 30th, 2020. The $108 million is now? Being redirected to The PA Department of Corrections to shore up that budget. PA is going to need it when they start arresting homeless, starving families.

      Pa. misses deadline to spend $108M in rent, mortgage relief from CARES Act

      This is criminal. The misuse of funds from CARES Act to assist families and avert homelessness, is criminal. They are assisting in CREATING a crisis for some odd reason.

  8. cnchal

    > Solarwinds123Gate?

    . . . the DHS’s cyber wing issued an emergency directive that stated the only way to mitigate damage was to airgap devices and uninstall affected Orion software. . . .

    With tens of thousands of organizations affected and infected, the odds are zero the airgap plan will work.

    We’re fucked. And we’re fucked by people making far more money than we are who take our security far less seriously than we do. Say what you will about the security ambivalence of the general public, but it’s the “experts” who endanger us with lax security measures who do the most damage. If Joe Blow fails to secure his email account, he’s probably only going to hurt himself. When a multinational vendor can’t be bothered to gin up a decent password, entire government agencies become a plaything for malicious hackers.

    If this really was the way it hasppened, it’s like a bank with the doors open and directions to the open vault posted at the entrance with an invitation to help yourself.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If this really was the way it hasppened, it’s like a bank with the doors open and directions to the open vault posted at the entrance with an invitation to help yourself.

      It’s a self-licking ice cream cone. I’ve gotta admit, I can’t bring myself to dig into this. So far as I know, we don’t know whodunnit, although the usual suspects are all yammering RussiaRussiaRussia, so I apply the most obvious hermeneutic of suspicion and assume its warmongers in the intelligence community jockeying for money and power in the incoming Biden administration.

      1. Glen

        I’ve been investigating, if I turn up something compelling I will provide a link, but so far I feel more like we’re in our own version of Casablanca, and Claude Rains has just order his squad to round up the usual suspects:

        Casablanca (1942) Round Up The Usual Suspects

        So my analogy would be that just like America has ignored it’s crumbling infrastructure (because it’s expensive and billionaires don’t care if our bridges collapse – they use helicopters), that behind closed doors, the PMCs have been ignoring the dire warnings of IT professionals that our IT infrastructure is pretty crappy. (This ignores the fact that maybe even sitting in that same meeting is the NSA that WANTS to keep our IT security sorta crappy so that they can get information easier.) So, yeah, our national computer security is crappy because we wont spend the time and money to fix it, BUT per the shock doctrine, we could use this as a way to expand our already grossly oversize defense budget by blaming a nation state, and expanding the “War On Drugs”, and the “War On Terror” to now include the “War on Data Packets”.

        Fun times.

      2. Captain Obious

        If the warmonger-in-chief decides for a Christmas surprise to eliminate Israel’s greatest enemy, wouldn’t this Farsi speaking nation want to have all its ducks in a row for the only response that can immediately and completely bring the United States to its knees for a long time, even if Iran becomes “an ashtray.” Their computer skills are formidable.

      3. cnchal

        > . . . assume its warmongers in the intelligence community jockeying for money and power . . .

        Dawgs that didn’t bark, either due to being inept, as in this “hack” went undetected since March, ffs or knew and refused to even whimper about it..

        This is as bad as it gets. Tech is a wasteland.

      4. D. Fuller

        How about intentionally creating an application process that is so onerous, that funds meant for averting homelessness, are now redirected to another agency, the Department of Corrections. For budgetary reasons. In effect, assisting in creating a homeless crisis here in Pennsylvania. Which is exactly what Tom Wolff(D) & the PA legislature – Republican controlled – have done.

        Pa. misses deadline to spend $108M in rent, mortgage relief from CARES Act

        It is nowhere near believable that PA State officials did not know what they were doing. The Prison-Industrial Complex is going to need that money for COLA pay raises and for when homeless, starving families start stealing just to eat.

        Wealth transfer – if PA has private prisons – and theft from the public, public corruption, and fraud.

        How many other States have done something similiar? That’s a good question. Relief aid has become just another form of theft.

    2. ewmayer

      MoA had a good article on the hack last week, “Media Blame Russia For Cyber Intrusions Without Providing Evidence”.

      Quite a bit of detail, but the punchline is toward the end – ha, ha, you just can’t make this sh*t up:

      Security researcher Vinoth Kumar told Reuters that, last year, he alerted the company that anyone could access SolarWinds’ update server by using the password “solarwinds123”

      MSM: But only deplorable Rooskies with super-hacking powers are capable of such Eeevil hackery of our great democracy and theft of our precious bodily fluids! Someone get the incoming president the nuclear codes now, so he and Kamala can do the whole 2-key-failsafe thing and give lead evildoer Ras-Putin a righteous nucular what-for!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Pence announces that Space Force personnel will be called guardians”

    Guardians? Guardians? As in ‘…of the Galaxy?’ They could have gone with all sorts of other names such as Starship Troopers, Space Cadets, Jedi Knights or even Space Marines but went with Guardians. OK. Some people pointed out that as Marvel is a subsidiary of Disney Studios, this might end up in legal land as Disney has never been shy about protecting their property so one guy on Twitter put out the shout-

    ‘Lawyers Assemble!’

    1. edmondo

      It’s the Biden Administration coming in. They don’t fight for anything. How about the federal government just turns over a couple hundred million dollar “royalty” directly to Disney every year for using the name? Federally sponsored corporate ownership: It’s how America is great again.

      1. polecat

        They’re BOTH taking us mokes for a ride! …. minus the safety restraints.

        Assume your crash positions

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Makes sense.

      Team Blue embraced “the resistance” just after the first of the newest Star Wars came out, and Team Blue is an incoherent mess, relying on nostalgia and trotting out increasingly older actors for returns.

      While the GOP goes with the brainless Marvel movies with their flashy presentation and nothing else, relying on increasingly more obscure characters.

      Both are under the Disney umbrella.

    3. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      In the old Robotech cartoon their space force was called the Spacy which always seemed appropriate to me.

  10. Krystyn Podgajski

    My roommate asked me a question after reading an article that said the Pfizer vaccine can give you “flu like symptoms”. She asked; “Why do you feel like you have the flu when there is zero virus in the shot, only the part that causes the virus to enter the cell?”

    It dawned on me how brainwashed and misled we are by doctors and researchers. So let me set the record straight; You do not get sick from a virus, you get sick from your body trying to fight a virus. Specifically, we are trying to fight the container of the virus. If this were not the case there is no way you could have flu symptoms from the mRNA vaccine. (Note that this is less true with virii that get inside the macrophage which is why there is no HIV vaccine, but the premise is the same.)

    Since the mRNA vaccine does not contain the virus, we are only exposed to a small amount of the envelope. If you give people too much of that envelope they will die, just like they would die from having the live virus. Think about that! Just injecting someone with the spike protein can kill them! Give someone 100 shots of the Pfizer vaccine and they will die!

    The only purpose of the virus is to replicate the envelope and it is the envelope that makes us feel sick!

    So don’t be foolish and depend only on vaccines to save you. By all means get a shot, I am not saying vaccines do not help, but they are the product of immature thinking. People get sick from viruses for three reasons; lack of nutrition, genetics, and lack of immunity.

    Lack of adequate nutrition affects the later two, so if we keep letting health professionals tell us that vitamins and diet changes are useless we will always be sick and dependent on them. They would rather give you vaccines than adequate and healthy food! When you go to your doctor, demand nutritional testing! Learn about your family’s traditional heritage and diet and keep notes on how you feel after you eat certain foods.

    People died needlessly because the medical industry (capitalism) does not care about getting you low cost and nutritious food.

    1. carl

      To your last sentence, the medical industry apparently does not care about an effective early treatment with a couple of established medications (azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine) either. Sorry for all the deaths! Maybe next time!

    2. Arizona Slim

      Thanks to Krystyn and other NC-ers, I’ve been supplementing my diet (which I try to keep as healthful as possible) with vitamins C and D3 and zinc. Also making sure to get plenty of exercise out there in the fresh air and sunshine.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I think that rule #2, as summarized previously at NC (Lambert correct me if my ageing memory fails at this point) is actually

          “Die more quickly”

          It’s sort of the neoliberal health-policy counterpart to the Silicon Valley start-up cash-burn theory “fail quickly”

          1. Samuel Conner

            Ah! Here it is:

            a (almost) haiku for success in modern entrepreneurship:

            Fail fast and cheap,
            Fail often. Fail in a way
            that doesn’t kill you.


            It almost works within the context of Rule# 2, except for the very last part.

    3. Lex

      It’s not the medical industry’s job to get us low cost nutritious foods, and where’s the profit in it? There has been a shift in the produce sections of our stores here (even Costco) toward organic, where customers have paid more for less (weight-wise). The number of customers choosing organic is growing and the price gap between organic and conventional is getting smaller. Demand/supply? For a few cents more, better to buy the organic apples. Probably.

      The only way to know for sure that the organic apple to better is to have it analyzed in a lab. Organic standards vary from state to state. We just have to take on faith that the apple is at least pesticide-free and from a tree grown in soil that is tested and amended. I’m seeing some remarkably perfect looking food in the organic produce sections these days. Organic and conventional side by side, the only clue I have besides the tape around each piece is that the organic is slightly smaller. For everything else labeled ‘organic’? As Mulder would say, ‘I need to believe’.

      The medical industry also hasn’t been very interested in nutritional testing. Twenty years ago I was paying out of pocket. Now our insurance will pay for some testing, where we’ve each been told things like we’re low in zinc and Vitamin D. We both take Vitamin D daily even though we live in one of those Sunshine States. Neither of us has been retested yet to see if supplementation has been effective. A little surprising, because there’s profit now in nutritional testing. Personally I prefer to take a cup of tea outside with me and stand facing the sun for half an hour while sucking in fresh air.

        1. Captain Obious

          I suspect the medical-pharmaceutical industry is quite happy with the American food industry (especially fast-food.) It’s almost like a conveyor belt system right to the hospital or doctor’s office..

    4. Phacops


      Pathogens cause disease through many mechanisms, and viruses are masters at hijacking the biochemical machinery of cells, interfering with homeostasis that has nothing to do with the immune response. That vaccine allows the mRNA (containing pseudouridine, a post transcription alteration) to hijack cell biochemistry in like manner and I have yet to see if the symptoms are the result of that activity or due to the (artificial) viral envelope.

      Viral functional alteration of cells as well as apoptosis creates real damage. Should your thesis be correct then rabies damage to nerve signal transmission, hiding from the immune system through cell junction transmission, would require an immune response to be deadly.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        “Viral functional alteration of cells as well as apoptosis creates real damage”

        Virii do not alter cells or cause apoptosis. Our own immune system is responsible for that response.

        Let’s look at how misleading this all is. Here is Wikipedia:

        Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals

        How does the rabies virus “create inflammation”? Does it make cytokines? It does not. The body creates the inflammation in a last ditch attempt to clear the virus from the brain. The only reason we die from rabies, like HIV, is that we have little natural immunity to it and it evades the early immune response. But did you know not everyone dies from rabies? And that in South America there are people who are naturally immune to it?

        If the rabies virus is cleared from the body before it gets to the brain you survive.

        And this part:

        Pathogens cause disease through many mechanisms, and viruses are masters at hijacking the biochemical machinery of cells

        Name one of these mechanisms that is caused BY the virus and not actually from a RESPONSE of our immune system. Rabies does not “hide” and it is the immune response which is deadly. Rabies does not cause a large immune response because it is great at immune evasion until it gets to the brain. It is there when the inflammation casues encephalitis. You you know what else causes encephalitis; autoimmune diseases!

        I know you are shocked because this is such a blow to think that our body can actually kill us in an attempt to save us, but it is the truth.

        1. Yves Smith

          You need to stop. This is Making Shit Up, a violation of our written site Policies. You are not an MD or cell biologist or microbiologist. ewmayer already called out one medical misrepresentation by you. This is a second one in a day.

          See here from Virology:

          One explanation for viral virulence is that it facilitates transmission. However, a comparison of infections caused by two enteric viruses, poliovirus and norovirus, does not support this general view. Both viruses infect the gastrointestinal tract and are spread efficiently among humans by fecal contamination. However, norovirus infection causes vomiting and diarrhea, while poliovirus infection of the intestine is without symptoms (the rare invasion of the nervous system, and subsequent paralysis, is an accidental dead end). Both viruses have successfully colonized humans for many years, so why does only one of them cause gastrointestinal tract disease?

          Two recent studies of bacterial virulence provide some clues about the evolution of virulence. In one a commensal strain of Escherichia coli was serially propagated in the presence of macrophages, which are cells of the immune system that take up and destroy the bacteria. After many such passages, bacterial clones were isolated that escape phagocytosis and killing by macrophages. These clones had also acquired increased pathogenicity in mice. In other words, the genetic changes that allowed the bacteria to evade the immune response also lead to increased virulence.

          In another example of evolution to virulence, it was found the the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa can sense the presence of competing gram-positive bacteria because the latter shed the cell wall component peptidoglycan. In response to this molecule, P. aeruginosa secretes proteins that kill the other bacteria. These secreted proteins also make the bacterium more virulent in a host – in their absence, the bacteria are less virulent. In other words, P. aeruginosa damages its host in an attempt to remove nearby bacterial competitors.

          In both bacterial examples, virulence can be viewed as collateral damage: the consequence of evading the immune response, or killing off competitors. Being virulent was not the primary goal. This explanation for bacterial virulence is straightforward and compelling: virulence is not directly selected for during evolution but comes along for the ride. Can it be applied to viruses?

          All eukaryotic viruses must encode at least one protein that antagonizes host immune responses, otherwise they would be eliminated. These immune evasion proteins are certainly virulence factors: in general, when they are deleted or altered, the capacity of the virus to cause disease in a host is reduced. Like bacterial virulence, viral virulence might be collateral damage incurred by having to evade immune responses. This hypothesis is attractive but seems overly simplistic. If the ubiquitous and benign circoviruses did not evade host responses, then they would be eliminated from the human population.

          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            I posted the above response before ewmayer so I have had no warning before seeing this. I did not even have a chance to respond to ewmayer.

            It depresses me that you left off the last paragraph of the page you linked to:

            The reasons why some viruses are virulent and others are not remain elusive. It is possible to reduce viral virulence by mutation, but this type of experiment does not reveal why viruses cause disease. The inverse experiment would be more informative: to select from a population of avirulent virus those that can cause disease. The results of such an experiment would help to identify the selection pressures that allow viruses to evolve to virulence.

            They say they do not knwo why viruses cause disease. So my thoughts are as good as any, yes? Please see my other response to ewmayer. Because I am only repeating what is out there.

            1. Yves Smith

              You are now engaging in two bad faith argumentation strategies.

              You’ve shifted goalposts. You started out with an utterly astonishing assertion, that the damage from viruses, inc particular inflammation, was due solely to the immune system response. You’ve now abandoned that position and are instead trying to pretend a discussion of virulence, an entirely different topic, somehow supports the position you’ve actually abandoned.

              Second, you reveal in a section you asked me to remove that your “what is out there” is an argument from authority…when no one would recognize your source as an authority, consistent with you being unable to provide substantiating links. One top of that, even if she were, you are not a scientist despite making considerable efforts at self-education. In any representation of another person’s VERBAL opinion, which is what you are relying on,the odds are good of noise creeping into the signal, particularly on a highly technical topic.

        2. Yves Smith

          Pharcops is an MD. You are way over your head.

          Inflammation results from damage to a cell. Are you seriously about to tell me that the swelling from a bruise results from an immune system response?

          “Virii do not alter cells….” That is flat out false. Viruses do alter cell function, fer Chrissakes. That’s how they operate!

          Viruses are like hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This can kill, damage, or change the cells and make you sick. Different viruses attack certain cells in your body such as your liver, respiratory system, or blood.

    5. ewmayer

      Wow – you just managed in 1 post to get wildly wrong just about every single key aspect of viral pathology and antiviral vaccine action. No time/inclination to do a blow-by-blow debunking, so let me just address your opening anecdote: FOR A VACCINE TO WORK, IT MUST STIMULATE AN IMMUNE RESPONSE. An ideal perfect-world vaccine will accomplish this with minimal overt symptoms, but when people talk about “flu-like symptoms” vaccines they are refering to said induced immune response. But pathogenic viruses are quite capable of causing symptoms all on their own, e.g. by way of massive host cell death and lysis. Ebola would kill you quite effectively even if were you to follow your own advice and take measures to eradicate your own immune system to prevent yourself from “get[ting] sick from your body trying to fight [the] virus.”

      The fact that as I write this only a single reader pointed out the wrongheadedness of your post is … deeply worrisome. One can have a healthy skepticism of Big Pharma without trading in ridiculous and potentially dangerous counterfactual nonsense-spreading.

      1. Michaelmas

        Thank you to Yves, ewmayer, and whoever else for running up the sanity flag there.

        I saw KP’s nonsense and started to wade in. But in the end it was just another guy being wrong on the internet and I knew he gets breaks around here — and rightly so — because he’s had hard times (and he’s correct about the vitamin D thing, for however far that goes).

        But boy I was annoyed for a second.

        Ebola was my first thought, too. There, the virus reproduces so extensively that something like 10-20 percent of the victim’s body tissues literally get replaced by Ebola virus, with human immune systems having no sway either way.

  11. timbers

    A New Congressional Budget Office Study Shows That Medicare for All Would Save Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Annually Jacobin

    But my dentist says “I don’t think we can afford Medicare for All.” As he had his hands in my mouth I was unable to respond at that time. He was just repeating the Fake News that the Fake News channels – CNN, MSNBC. FOX – give him.

    I saw a few examples of Bernie handling questions “how are you going to pay for Medicare for All?”

    IMO he handled them extremely poorly. Like RussiaGate, he implicitly accepted the false premise of the question (Medicare for All will cost not save money) and thus immediately lost the argument by default.

    He also committed a MASSIVE political blunder by proposing a tax increase to “fund” Medicare for All – immediately dooming it. Why would you propose tax increases for a program that reduces govt spending? That’s Political Suicide 101.

    And by proposing a completely unnecessary tax increase, he muddied the waters for folks like me by forcing to waste time responding to questions like “then why did Bernie say we need to raise taxes for Medicare for All?”

    Keep it simple. Voters don’t care about deficits or “wonkish”…..

    “We save $2 for every $1 we spend on giving every single American Medicare for All and we save 100,000 lives every year we do that.”

    Do not deviate from that line. Shut down every single cost/tax question and go back to above sentence just keep rephrasing it. Stay on message.

    1. Dan


      Stay on message. Keep it simple. Constant ridicule (of the establishment) and appeals to conscience. Rinse, repeat.

    2. Zagonostra

      Where is Bernie on forcethevote? Seems the me he is AWOL on what was the major platform of his candidacy.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I would imagine he is, as was AOC, waiting for Committee assignments. No point wasting being ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee on a piece of political theatre to satisfy Jimmy Dore stans, as AOC naively did.

        1. edmondo

          AOC got nothing for her vote. That’s political malpractice. When the only success progressives have had this year is to “get a friend of a friend” into the White House, anything that projects strength ought to be cherished and nurtured. If the point is to have AOC in Congress for 22 terms then we’ve already lost.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Less than nothing. She has been fudging and making all sorts of excuses why it would be bad to call a vote and here is her reward. She just lost an important Committee seat, probably through Pelosi’s dealings. Progressives are going to get zip in a Biden Presidency. You watch what happens to them in the mid-terms-


            I personally find it hilarious that there are supposed to be a hundred members of the Progressive Caucus in Congress. Obviously this is a novel and new definition of the word “progressive” that lets you include war-mongers and neocons. Don’t Americans realize that the middle of a pandemic is no time to call for M4A?

        2. Zagonostra

          In other word he better play nice or mommy and daddy beat will be upset? In other words, Committee seat is more important then energizing the depressed spirit of his national base.

        3. Geo

          They’re turning on every leftie with any sort of prominent voice. It’s getting wild. It was Cori Bush a few days ago. Now they’re turning on Nina Turner before her campaign has even started because she’s running as a Dem and hasn’t condemned Pelosi in the last 24 hours.

          This isn’t about M4A anymore. It’s a frustration with politics (rightly so) being directed at the few prominent voices on the left. They think Bernie/AOC/Bush/Turner and everyone else is a sellout because these few people haven’t magically overpowered 535 other votes to implement a leftie revolution.

          I agree with many of this movement on sentiment (been a third party voter for well nearly two decades now) but I never blamed Nader or Kucinich or Wellstone or Grayson for being unable to win often lonely battles. Don’t know why this sudden purge movement is expecting a handful more lefties in power suddenly has the power to overwhelm the system. I get being tired of losing but seems this has turned into a political suicide pact more than a movement building attempt.

          1. Zagonostra

            You don’t understand the logic of the proposal. It’s not about ‘turning’ on anyone. It’s about deploying a tactic that requires courage. It’s not about calling anyone a sellout. If any of the individuals has a plan let them come forth. As long as they have a way forward, to get the momentum back to passing single payer, I think the forcethevote folks would jump on board.

            1. Aumua

              It’s not about ‘turning’ on anyone.

              I’m not sure if that’s really true. I like the proposal. I think it’s a good idea, but it’s the attitude behind it that I don’t know about. I think Jimmy Dore likes to be right, and at least part of his purpose behind this is to show that he was right, that the progressives are hypocrites.

              The attitude of ‘unmasking the frauds’ that is evident in the tweets above just turns me off. Do we really need another witch hunt? Do we need to purge the party of the false leftists? Then what will we be left with? Centrists and right wingers.

              I think that Sanders, AOC and the rest are well aware of the compromises and limitations that come with being a politician in the U.S. today, and their own partaking in that system. Jimmy Dore might have a good idea there, but the point seems to me to be to unmask, expose and purge more than to change anything. I’m not down with that. Maybe that’s the way to push for revolution, but in that case i hope Dore is ready to give up his million dollar net worth for the cause.

          2. Cuibono

            “this sudden purge movement ” brought to you by some very clever people imo who support the status quo and know the first rule of winning is always ‘DIVIDE AND CONQUER”

      2. Geo

        He’s been a bit busy trying to gather support for a measly $1200 check for people who are losing homes and can’t eat. Since he can’t get many of his colleagues to support such a small gesture of compassion for humanity in a time when almost 90% of Americans support the idea, he’s probably not going to be focusing on M4A. When our elected reps don’t care about poor kids starving in the streets do you really think M4A has a chance?

        Biden won. America (and the Dem Party) spoke and M4A lost. If we want to know who to primary it’s easy: Anyone who didn’t endorse Sanders. He was the only presidential candidate serious about M4A. If we want to be angry about this then the people to direct that anger at are those who voted/campaigned against Sanders in the primary. Those are the people who crushed M4A’s chances of happening anytime in the next generation.

        1. zagonostra

          No, you’re wrong. His leverage from a rhetorical standpoint on this issue is immense. He is, are at least was, the most popular politician in the country. Before there is a coalescing there has to be an heightened awareness that penetrates CJ’s Narrative Matrix. Bernie, could, granted at great personal cost to himself, be that catalyst.

          Does he have the courage, no. Would I in the same circumstance, probably not. It takes an extraordinary person to go up against evil, MLK knew he would be assassinated and spoke out anyway.

          1. Yves Smith

            Bernie had power because he was a Presidential contender with a solid chance of becoming the nominee. He also could do rallies, which were very effective in showing and galvanizing support, and had a strong ground operation in many states. He has none of that now. He’s one Senator who is being kicked in the teeth daily by Biden via his insulting Cabinet picks. Not a single concession to Sanders voters. The press correspondingly is ignoring Sanders. How does he have leverage if the press won’t cover him? Dore on a best days has less than 1/10th Tucker Carlson’s viewership. And Fox only caters to about 15% of the voters and lost share in the 2020 elections.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      I disagree. Sanders isn’t committing a blunder, he’s pushing forward a distracting and dividing narrative while seemingly doing so on the people’s behalf.

      I’ll take what I can get via whatever “good” works Sanders manages to “get.” (not holding my breath) Other than that I no longer trust his narrative or the so-called “Overton Window” movement people associate with him. Although dawg help me I still want to believe. More sucker I.

      1. Keith Newman

        Noone: Interesting point. I’m not convinced it was deliberate. Never underestimate the power of confusion and stupidity. Nonetheless I was puzzled by Sanders’ tax-related statements re M4A which made arguing for it needlessly difficult. The US spends 6-7 percentage points more of GDP annually than any other developed country for health coverage (doctors, hospitals, drugs) while giving nothing to at least 20% of the population. Those other countries cover 100% of their population. So the US is wasting at least 1.2-1.4 trillion dollars every year. I believe M4A covers dental and long term care (not sure) so that would increase the cost but it certainly wouldn’t be more than 6-7 percentage points of GDP. These numbers are available from the OECD and are well-known to people familiar with the issue.

        1. Janie

          And I’ve been preaching it for 40 years. Some tell me that our professionals are light years ahead of those in other countries. I had a friend who has occasional medical flareups; she was afraid to go to Germany with her band group. Someone in our group in China passed out from the heat at Tienanmen Square and was astounded at the good care she received – for $30. Others just day I must be mistaken.

        2. Noone from Nowheresville

          @Keith Newman
          December 20, 2020 at 12:48 pm

          Medicare 4 All was one of his primary presidential platform planks. Primary debates started in 2019. We’re 9 months into a pandemic and an economic meltdown. Austerity appears to be on the horizon.

          How does one, who’s serious about the issue, still get tripped up by the same basic “everyone knows they’re coming” interview questions? Again two years plus the time before that helping to shape various Senate bills, assuming he had any part in creating or tweaking those bills.

          Nine months into a pandemic, where’s the cohesive sales pitch that counteracts the multi-decade cultural messaging that says no, we can’t? The messaging that directly speaks to the “us” instead of moralizing to the politician / donor class or even the PMC.

          If not now during a pandemic / economic freefall, then when?

          So, yeah, for me, I hafta’ go with deliberate.

          I don’t think M4A is about the money. It’s about control.

          1. Michaelmas

            Noone from Nowheresville: I don’t think M4A is about the money. It’s about control.

            It’s about both.

            Healthcare is 20 percent of the U.S. economy currently.

            For comparison, healthcare in the UK, provided by the NHS through tax payments like the police force or the public libraries, generally comes in at less than 10 percent and produces superior outcomes overall.

            So that’s 10 percent of the U.S. economy that the owners and shareholders of the U.S. medical-industrial complex as it currently stands are creaming off for themselves.

            Not only is that not chump change, but lots of aristocratic elites through history would have loved such a predatory deal.

      2. dcblogger

        right now covid relief is THE fight, winning this is the difference between millions of Americans have a home or getting evicted. 3 cheers for Bernie and AOC for devoting all their energy on what is clearly THE current priority and shame on Dore and all his enablers for distracting from that.

        Mark my words, when Bernie, AOC, et al do renew the fight for Medicare for All we will find that Jimmy Dore will be hyping some other issue. Dore is a troll.

        1. Zagonostra

          You are way off base. It’s the pandemic atmosphere that strengthens the M4A diehards. Your characterization of Jimmy Dore is spurious and an ad hominem. The man nearly died and went financially banckrupt. Is he zealous of course? Of course.

          1. Yves Smith

            Don’t agree. It’s even more of an uphill battle to get big social programs approved in times of perceived want. You assume people care about community and the collective. They mainly don’t. Times like this, people are forced to fall back on family and if you are lucky enough to have them, lovers. The rich are happy to have this level of desperation because it increase their leverage.

            Americans did go to the streets this summer, and that’s the only thing that could change this dynamic. But it wasn’t about economic issues, so TPTB didn’t feel terribly rattled. If anything, sadly, the spectacle of property destruction increased Trump turnout.

            1. YetAnotherChris

              Americans did go to the streets this summer, and that’s the only thing that could change this dynamic. But it wasn’t about economic issues, so TPTB didn’t feel terribly rattled.

              With respect, I saw a different scene in Minneapolis this past summer. There’s a reason Wells Fargo and the Lake Street Target got torched. Granted, much of the destruction was wanton and senseless, and far less precise in its symbolism. And in some cases it was instigated by agents provocateurs (Umbrella Man). But the rage that erupted was very much about economic issues, the same concatenation of forces that ignore fraud and usury against communities of color but bring a murderous police response to a suspect $20 bill.

              1. Yves Smith

                The issues were not articulated by protestors as economic issues. How many signs were there about wages and worker rights and taxes? You may have interpreted them that way, as others did, who said that so many people having time to protest was due to elevated unemployment. But it was the spectacle of a police station in flames that got national attention, and then the looting, and not so much the particular objects of the looting.

                1. YetAnotherChris

                  But it was the spectacle of a police station in flames that got national attention, and then the looting, and not so much the particular objects of the looting.

                  I guess I was a little too close to the action. I remain skeptical of “national attention” and its POV. Wells Fargo burned because people in that community had been deeply wounded by that criminal enterprise masquerading as a bank. Not every protester was on the same page, and the critical mass assembled spontaneously in the wake of Floyd’s murder. So, no points deducted for not having the apposite signs about wages and worker rights and taxes. And the Third Precinct stood as a notorious locus of economic inequity, as in “You’re spending the weekend in jail unless you come up with $500.” I stand by my earlier comment.

                  1. Yves Smith

                    Sorry, you’ve actually proven the point. Ferguson is the only well-recognized case, on a national basis (outside podunk towns in the South) where police were known to work with courts to fleece the minority, and in Ferguson, it was mainly through fines, not bail. The “Black Lives Matter” focus of the protests (and in NYC, the nearly daily marches were all BLM/stop police thuggery themed) meant burning the police station was seen as a repudiation of police violence, not economic exploitation.

                    Similarly, the abuse that Wells is famous for is stealing from deposits, so no one outside the community would see torching a Wells branch as anything more than looting the bank that happened to be in the wrong ‘hood. The idea that a bank would steal from deposits, even in small amounts but over large number of people, is heinous. But Wells (as disgustingly sanctimonious as they were) was not the worst mortgage servicing abuser. BofA was way in front in terms of numbers, although some of Well’s practices (like pyramiding fees) were on the nastier end of the spectrum.

                    Most people don’t recognize cash bail as a predatory practice, and most would not connect it directly to the police, since as crime shows regularly show, it’s prosecutors who ask for bail to be set at a certain level and judges who approve or modify that.

                    And all over the US, what made protests start or restart? New acts of police brutality against people of color, not economic abuses. The record is crystal clear.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > here’s a reason Wells Fargo and the Lake Street Target got torched.

                Yes, this happened in Minneapolis, but IIRC this was spontaneous and “from below” as it were (and covered by the press as looting rather, than, say, retaliation). This was not part of the “Defund the police” message to the slightest degree. Nor was it carried over to the Seattle protests, especially when the, as it were, torch was passed to the anarchists and, surprisingly, suburban leaf-blower dads and moms.

                “Rage” is not a message! Or, for that matter, a strategy. Frankly, Occupy did a lot better on both, with the the message of the 99% and the focus on seizing and holding territory, as opposed to “shield walls” and so forth.

                1. YetAnotherChris

                  I don’t know why you’re quoting “Defund the Police” or “shield walls,” whatever those might be. Neither of those phrases are germane to my comment. I don’t live in Seattle and have offered no opinions on the situation there. I’ve lived in Minneapolis for thirty years and have offered honest commentary on the situation here, which might look different through a different lens. Honestly, NC is my favorite site on the web and it feels weird to get bad-faith rebuttals from admins who ought to know better than to double down on a mistaken position, i.e.: “[I]t wasn’t about economic issues.” With respect, I stand by my original comment.

        2. Geo

          I can see why Dore and Cenk got along for a while. Both have a similar tactic of shouting angrily as a means of making their views seem righteous. Cenk always reminded me of a leftie Rush Limbaugh (have bad memories of hearing Rush yell on the radio from the livingroom for hours while at a friend’s house in my teens). Dore seems to have taken that model and is going the Michael Savage route. It’s makes for a devoted fan base but the problem with movement building is, unlike those righties, the left doesn’t have billionaire backers like the Kochs and Mercers to prop up these movements. We have the outrage that lead to the Tea Party but not the institutional support and because of that it will fail from exponential divisions of ideology. Instead of the leftie movement gaining mass its dividing into small pockets and adversaries fighting impotent battles with itself. Maybe the “force the vote” side just doesn’t want to admit M4A isn’t happening for another generation? I get it. It sucks a lot but don’t see how tearing down the few allies we have is going to make it happen any sooner. But, like you said, there’s more urgent and realistic fights to have right now.

          1. Zagonostra

            Comparing Savage to Dore? You obviously wouldn’t appreciate a Jonathan Swift nor the fefficacy of comedy.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Caitlin also said on her Twitter account-

              ‘Now is not the time to push for Medicare for All. First you must wait until all the Blue Dog Dems are primaried, then you must wait until Dems have a veto-proof supermajority in the House and Senate, then you must wait until a fake MSM-led antisemitism scandal takes it all away.’

            2. Aumua

              Well, who’s feet are we holding to fire here? I don’t think anyone meant Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders or Ilhan Omar’s feet when they said “hold their feet to the fire”. But that’s what Dore is trying to do, to make them hold Pelosi’s feet to the fire. I submit that that is ultimately still holding the wrong people’s feet to the proverbial fire.

          2. Oso_in_Oakland

            “Maybe the “force the vote” side just doesn’t want to admit M4A isn’t happening for another generation”.
            brilliant, Geo. wait for 20 years then hold someone’s feet to the fire. cause a pandemic is no time to rock the boat.

        3. caitlinjohnstone's narrative reality

          Dore has said repeatedly that he hopes he is wrong and will eat his words gladly if what you say (“Mark my words”) comes about. However past evidence suggests to him (and me) that they will NOT fight effectively for M4All at some unknowable time in the future- after COVID, after the next midterms, after the next presidential election, after Pelosi dies of an ice cream headache, etc. We need M4All NOW during this COVID crisis, and we need to expose those who are pretenders to the M4All fight. “Wait, I am very hopeful they are working on this secretly” doesn’t cut it.

        4. furies

          I most vehemently disagree.

          JD is doing what our ‘pols’ are *suppose* to do: fight for US.

          There is nothing at all that Jimmy is saying that isn’t 100% true.

          We don’t have 100 years to wait…

            1. The Rev Kev

              To get corny about it, I think that Jimmy Dore is a traditional American who is outraged at what has been done to his country. At this point, he has had a gut full.

              1. furies

                This is my impression as well.

                “Advocate” for citizens ?? Why the hell not? We certainly don’t get anyone advocating (fighting for) us NOW.

                How is this wrong? Isn’t politics ‘strategy’? This is what Jimmy’s pushing…something those in office never seem to do for US, the CITIZENS.

                JD’s delivery isn’t polished but he sure isn’t Pete Buttigeg, either. I think he’s sincere and trying to do the right thing *for the country*. He has an ego like any performer. So what?

        5. Oh

          Bernie’s always a devotee of the DimRat machine. I’m reserving my judgment on AOC as to whether she’s been captured. JD is the only guy who keeps hammering on the things that people want like M4A. I don’t believe he’s a troll.

        6. ShamanicFallout

          Oh gawd, just no. Behold, the “shame” trope. We’ve seen, and I believe we have maybe heard this from you, that we need to elect good Dems and then “push them left, holding their feet to the fire:”
          But when the push left comes, it’s “NO! Not like that”.

          And then you hear something ludicrous, like this from Geo just below in this thread: “But, like you said, there’s more urgent and realistic fights to have right now.”

          What?? If healthcare during a pandemic is not urgent, the word ‘urgent’ has no meaning.

        7. Noone from Nowheresville

          December 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm

          Nine months since the CARES Act was signed into law. Nine months. The NC community had comprehensive discussions re: possible real people outcomes would be. A lot of those predictions came to pass. If we could guess at outcomes, then surely professional politicians could more than guess at them.

          What action examples do you have from the last 9 months which makes you believe that the “fight for et al” team will achieve anything other than developing more “fight for” messages?

          1. furies

            Holding their feet to the fire *IS* what ‘fighting for’ means–to me, anyway.

            How is this wrong?? Isn’t that what CAMPAIGNS do??

            Why can’t we have a campaign to force our representatives to *gasp* ACTUALLY represent us?

        1. Phillip Cross

          No, the problem is not government spending. The problem was with this statement, “Why would you propose tax increases for a program that reduces govt spending?”. Surely that does not apply to m4a, because it does not reduce government spending. Even if overall costs are reduced, government spending balloons.

          1. timbers

            Yes, M4A DOES reduce govt spending at the state, local, and federal level, and when added to private cost savings resulting from disappeared insurance expenses, it very large:

            1). It might be a wash or close to even funding, on federal govt spending – ACA (Obamacare) would be gone as it would be inferior to M4A, and other federally funded healthcare programs.

            2). State and local govt would make out like bandits as they would no longer have to pay for their employee healthcare. Big big savings for state and locals.

            3). Hundreds of millions of individuals and business would reap a windfall because they would see their health insurance premiums disappear.

            1. epynonymous

              The budget matters to conservatives. Except for prisons and war.

              Not a rigorous intelectual position, is it?

              1. Massinissa

                You forgot they and the Democrats also thinks giving billions of free money to the countries biggest corporations and banks with no strings attached is a good idea.

            2. Noone from Nowheresville

              December 20, 2020 at 1:26 pm

              Nah, M4A doesn’t reduce federal spending. Politicians will “spend” or create fiat as they will. We see their priorities with what / who they “spend” it on and what / who they tax to destroy said fiat.

              I agree savings for individuals, businesses and states are biggies. One would think we’d have a cohesive universal healthcare sales pitch which cut through the crap by now.

              ETA: Something bigger than the best M4A proposal. We’re living through a pandemic and an economic freefall. Jayapal’s version of M4A is the absolute least we should be asking for.

          2. Noone from Nowheresville

            @Phillip Cross
            December 20, 2020 at 1:18 pm

            Agreed. The question becomes how do we counteract this entire federal tax / spend false narrative? Which leads to: What other programs or priorities for real people could breaking this narrative also serve?

            Knowing of course that they have other narratives ready to go.

      1. timbers

        How would it reduce govt spending?

        1). It might be a wash or close to even funding, on federal govt spending – ACA (Obamacare) would be gone as it would be inferior to M4A, and other federally funded healthcare programs.

        2). State and local govt would make out like bandits as they would no longer have to pay for their employee healthcare. Big big savings for state and locals.

        3). Hundreds of millions of individuals and business would reap a windfall because they would see their health insurance premiums disappear.

        4). But you do have a point. The savings for the FEDERAL govt might fall short of the added expenditure of covering M4A.

        That however leaves the original selling sentence 100% accurate:

        “We save $2 for every $1 we spend on giving every single American Medicare for All and we save 100,000 lives every year we do that.”

      2. marym

        There was a study done in 2002 that some of us referenced in discussing M4A during the Obama failures. The authors said that public funding was nearly 60% of total US spending on healthcare, an amount that would be sufficient to pay for a national universal health insurance system.

        I don’t know how the calculations would add up now (add ACA subsidies, for example), or compare to the CBO calculations, but the numbers it used for government spending were “(1) direct government payments for health-related activities (for example, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ and mili- tary health care, subsidies to public hospitals, and public health and research pro- grams); (2) government payments for health benefits for public employees; and (3) tax subsidies for the purchase of health insurance and health care.”

        2002 – sigh…and here we still are.

          1. marym

            The laptop where I had my often-repeated M4A links failed, but a few key words from a remembered topic plus PNHP in a web search argument usually gets results.

        1. Michaelmas

          marym wrote: The authors said that public funding was nearly 60% of total US spending on healthcare

          Yup. And since the U.K.’s NHS produces better outcomes and costs about 10 percent of U.K. GDP, whereas U.S. healthcare as currently constituted eats up 20 percent of U.S. GDP, then the 60 percent of total U.S. healthcare already covered by public funding is more than the Brits pay for their whole national healthcare system.

          So, yes: nationalized healthcare could theoretically reduce U.S. government spending on healthcare.

        2. Carla

          Ah, yes, the olden days of 2002… I became a single-payer activist in 1998… after for-profit healthcare killed my husband in 1997.

          Since then, things have only gotten unbelievably worse. And here we are, up the shit’s creek of a pandemic without a paddle.

          In 1947, NYC vaccinated 5 million people against smallpox in TWO WEEKS:

          Just one small, enraging example of how far we have fallen.

    4. shinola

      Perhaps my memory is faulty but when was the last time anyone heard the “How are we gonna pay for it?” or “We’ll have to raise taxes to pay for that” argument applied to the (annually & routinely increased by Billion$) “defense” budget?

      1. Glen

        Funny enough the “reverse” discussion NEVER happens when we are cutting taxes – what are we going to STOP paying for?

        Every time we cut taxes we are implicitly saying –

        We are going to stop spending money on Medicare.
        We are going to stop spending money on Medicaid.
        We are going to stop spending money on public health.
        We are going to stop spending money on infrastructure.
        We are going to stop spending money on schools.
        We are going to stop spending money on basic research and development.

        1. larry

          What you are saying is not necessarily true. With the present government and the upcoming one, it may well turn out that way. But the way a fiat currency system works means that the government can cut taxes and pay for all the programs you mentioned without getting up a sweat. This is because taxes do not fund anything. They are effectively balance sheet exercises by the Treasury and the Fed.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19 outpatients: early risk-stratified treatment with zinc plus low-dose hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: a retrospective case series study”

    So let’s look at the basic conclusions-

    -First COVID-19 outpatient study based on risk stratification and early antiviral treatment at the beginning of the disease.
    -Low-dose hydroxychloroquine combined with zinc and azithromycin was an effective therapeutic approach against COVID-19.
    -Significantly reduced hospitalisation rates in the treatment group.
    -Reduced mortality rates in the treatment group.

    Very interesting that. So, are people still going to be censored on social media for pointing out this report? Will Fauci recant his statements against this treatment? Will its use be de-criminalized in countries like Australia? Or maybe as there are profitable vaccines being deployed now, nobody cares anymore.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So, are people still going to be censored on social media for pointing out this report?

      The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents is peer-reviewed and published by Elsevier. n = 141. If the methodology holds up — I wish one of our specialists would take a look — this HQ article really ought to be sending out shock waves.

      Regardless of vaccination, treatment is important. For one thing, we don’t know how long the vaccines last.

      1. carl

        Here is a statistical analysis of COVID death rates in countries where early hydroxychlorine/azithromycin/zinc was widespread vs. countries where such treatment was limited:
        Short answer: it reduces the death rate by a statistically significant percentage.

  13. verifyfirst

    Quick–what do Rupert Murdoch, AOC and Dr. Sanjay Gupta have in common? They all got their shots already. Which I guess makes sense, since they are all working in Covid ICUs 18 hours a day.

    I hope it occurs to someone to give AOC the flak she deserves for sprinting to get her shot. Truly clueless.

      1. pricklyone

        I would add public vaccination of all pharma execs.
        In the total numbers, the shots given to pols are but a small fraction. May as well let them be guinea pigs, as it really does not take much away from anyone else, anyway.
        If they are confident enough to get it first, that is the very definition of “lead by example”!
        Public figures = visible test data. If this lot has problems, you will surely hear about it, at length.

      2. Pat

        I second that.

        In fact I want the Congressional leadership to get vaccinated with BOTH the Pfizer and the Moderna experiments. (I would include their loved ones, but since I have come to the conclusion they are all sociopaths that wouldn’t mean anything to them.)

      3. Jeff W

        “…the first test subjects…”

        Whatever the order of our elected officials getting one (or both) of the COVID-19 vaccines, I think the many thousands of people who participated in the various clinical trials were the first test subjects.

  14. 430MLK

    Enjoyed the Covid-related loss poems. Here’s another Covid-related one, a bit darker, though composed a month or so into the U.S. shutdowns:
    “There is no peace in wild things”

    Our city had an explosion the other day! It was covered by local media; it occurred as part of what I think may have been a hospital expansion in what counts as our city’s exurbs.

    1. Michaelmas

      Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold,
      Death’s great black wing scrapes the air,
      Misery gnaws to the bone.
      Why then do we not despair?

      By day, from the surrounding woods,
      Cherries blow summer into town;
      At night the deep transparent skies
      Glitter with new galaxies.

      And the miraculous comes so close
      To the ruined, dirty houses—
      Something not known to anyone at all,
      But wild in our breast for centuries.

      – Anna Akhmatova

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘On notice’: Sydney braces for lockdown to contain COVID-19 outbreak by Christmas”

    Sydney is going to end up in a helluva mess again and for that I blame Premier Gladys Berejiklian. During the last outbreak in Sydney, she was demanding that all the other Sates keep their borders open with New South Wales to little avail. That is why this time around the other States are not waiting but are slamming the door shut. The lesson from this pandemic is to go in early and go in hard but Gladys is saying ‘Nah, it’ll be fine!” My grand-kids were getting ready to fly down to Sydney but in less that an hour’s time, Queensland will be shutting their borders to anybody from greater Sydney so it looks like that trip is out. Thanks 2020!

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I live in Sydney so I’ll bite.

      Total Australian Covid deaths in 2020 = 908. I do believe we count them accurately, unlike the US where gunshot and auto deaths can apparently also count, depending on the state. But the total Australian 2019 flu season deaths were 841. The median Covid death age here is 83.

      So in a nation of 25 million people we decided to close 40% of the nation’s businesses, borrow tens of billions from our kids and grandkids, and give up all of our civil liberties, in order to give 67 elderly people the chance to die of something else in 18-24 months (life expectancy here is 82).

      So let’s imagine you decided that would be a clever thing to do anyway. You would need to know whether people have this new bug. How? Well currently we do that by administering people a test (PCR) that The Australian Government Department of Health says: “The extent to which a positive PCR result correlates with the infectious state of an individual is still being determined.”, and “There is limited evidence available to assess the accuracy and clinical utility of available COVID-19 tests.”

      The Nobel Laureate who invented the test stated the following:

      “With PCR you can find almost anything in anybody. You can amplify one single molecule up to something you can really measure, which PCR can do, then there is just very few molecules that you don’t have at least one single one of in your body. It allows you to take a miniscule amount of anything and make it measureable and then talk about it. PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.”

      So they accomplish the rest through semantics. What is a “case”? What has that term been used to signify down through the ages in medicine, all the way up until 2020? If you make a new definition of a “case” that says a case does not refer to someone who is ill, then what does it now mean? I can be a Covid case, even though I am not ill, and I do not have enough virus in me to enable transmission to another person. So why stop there? Why don’t we have an H1N1 lockdown, since that pathogen can currently be detected in more than 50% of humanity?

      I do believe it’s a serious bug. Like the serious bugs our immune systems have been amazingly dealing with for, say, a few million years. And we’ve not only blown the reaction up to such hideous proportions, we’ve set a precedent for next year. What reason would there be for next year’s seasonal pathogen, Covid 20, not to get us scurrying back to self-incarceration, unemployment, and despair? As of midnight last night it is no longer legal for me to sing a song. Is talking next? Will someone be allowed to sing a song of sanity to these no doubt well-intentioned but deluded politicians and health people strangling our society with safetyism run mad?

      1. eg

        Um, no. Precisely zero of the medical professionals I know personally would agree with you.

        An overwhelmed medical system means neither healthy employees nor customers. The economic argument is nonsensical without a healthy populace.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just to understand, those medical professionals would argue with the (AU) top government health body and with the inventor of the test? Honestly trying to understand here. What facts in my post were wrong?

          And in my view the “economic” argument is the opposite of “nonsensical” if the subject is “health”. The WHO states this quite clearly on their website:

          “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

          Hard to argue that “social well-being” now means being unemployed, confined to your house, unable to see your family, and maybe even contemplating suicide as a result.

          And if the argument is “we need to reduce deaths!” then maybe we can see two charts side by side: one with Covid deaths and one with lockdown deaths. The UN stated very clearly that 125 million additional people are now at “imminent risk of starvation due to the economic effects of lockdowns. Projected additional deaths of children under age 5 from economic dislocation due to lockdowns are at least 425,000”.

          As I said, I’m perfectly willing to be convinced it’s all “worth it”. Right now I’m not.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              It’s pretty boring, Phil, if and when you come up with something even marginally substantive to add, then maybe you can post that, I don’t think your constant ad hominems are having the effect you think they are, fyi

          1. Basil Pesto

            hard to believe from someone carrying on with the “about as serious as the flu tho innit” meme in December. 10 months of substantive socratic dialogue on NC and its comments alone should’ve put that one to bed.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Hi Basil, my comments were referring to the situation on the ground here in Australia, and the actual numbers here. I realize other places are very different. But with the situation and numbers we have here I do not believe the public health response should be the same as those other nations. And while the virus may have long-term consequences for some of those unlucky enough to catch it, the loss of a life’s work for the 40% small business owners, and the loss of everyone in society’s civil liberties, are permanent.

        2. skippy

          You can also add on the questions about long term morbidity which would be long term unknown cost.

          All this in light of what works like here in Qld.

      2. lordkoos

        I’ve seen this meme about COVID deaths being falsely declared by various entities (hospitals, agencies etc). Is there any evidence at all that this is taking place on a significant scale?

      3. Basil Pesto

        borrow tens of billions from our kids and grandkids

        what are you talking about? Do you ever actually read this site?

        I went out and enjoyed some drinks on Sat night in Melbourne btw, with absolutely zero concern about getting sick. Feeling very strangled by all this ~safetyism~

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I was told yesterday that I should not leave my house without one of four reasons or I would be fined $1000. 40% of businesses say their closure is permanent. The government can now enter my house if I post Covid information they do not care for. Sure, it’s awesome.

          And do you honestly think they just print these dollars up in the basement of the RBA? :

          FYI, they don’t. They borrow them from you and me.

          1. Basil Pesto

            No, they absolutely do not

            It’s hard to know which specific piece on Billy Blog to link to, as he has about 10 years worth of somewhat repetitious content debunking this exact point, though that one is from this year at least. I’d heartily recommend a perusal.

  16. larry

    The article on porta loos selected by Col. Smithers is hilarious. It illustrates the complete incompetence of this government. It is a practical example of the more general discussion by Andrew Rawnsley in today’s Observer. Rawnsley writes: “The wrong criticism of his performance is to say that he has made mistakes. Confronted with a novel disease for which the country was unprepared, any prime minister would have made errors. The correct criticism is that he has failed to learn from his mistakes and egregiously repeated them. There is a pattern from the prevarication over ordering the first lockdown, to the bout of indecision over the second, to last night’s sudden cancellation of Christmas relaxations and imposition of a Yuletide lockdown on London and the southeast.

    The pattern is one of resisting taking the necessary steps at the time when they would have been most effective and then being compelled to implement them late and with more damaging effect.”

    You can see this pattern in the way the government is dealing, or not dealing properly, with the upcoming porta loo issue. While the government incompetence in this area is rather amusing, it is also deadly serious. As Rawnsley says, “[F]ew dispute that Mr Johnson appointed one of the weakest cabinets in modern history. Given his lack of dedication to detail and the hard grind of delivering competent government, he needed a capable cabinet. Feebly fearful of having any substantial figures around the top table who might challenge him, he instead surrounded himself with a cabinet characterised by Tory MPs as “lightweight”, “talentless”, “loyalist duds” and “nodding dogs””.

    What are these private companies supposed to do? The Col. has highlighted in a practical setting serious government failings that seem to be able to be dealt with only by a complete overhaul of present government personnel. I.e., get rid of this government. The day after New Year’s Day would probably be the earliest opportunity for ‘getting this done’.

    1. Carla

      How would a totally incompetent executive ever be able to appoint capable cabinet members? That’s just nonsense. Garbage in, garbage out…

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Invincible empire? Can China’s neighbors resist its overwhelming power?”

    You go through this article and it basically says that China is on the rise because ‘China is just so damn big.’ So the only thing that China’s neighbours can do is to get a gang together to isolate China by not trading with it, form blocks to harass it diplomatically and also form alliances to militarily block it in at sea. But the only way to get this to work is to convince the US to somehow join in because normally they do not like this sort of involvement internationally as that is akin to meddling.

    While thinking about this idiotically dangerous idea, I had a thought. Suppose that about 1865 the British Empire had the same idea about a newly reunited America. Looking at the expertise Americans had acquired in the Civil war and considering all the natural resources within its borders, they would have concluded that the US was the rising power of the 19th century that would one day surpass the entire British Empire. In short, they had to be stopped.

    Using the ideas in this article, London would have formed alliances with Canada and Mexico to enable British warships to patrol the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines constantly. A North/South American trade-block would have been set up but without the US so as to deny it any local markets for its goods. Mexico would have been encouraged to demand the rights of all those people who had their territory taken in the Mexican war from 30 years earlier and now lived in places like New Mexico, Arizona, California, etc. Canada would have demanded compensation from the US for all those Loyalists who had lost property and wealth after fleeing to them when the American Revolution was over. You know what? That would make a great alternative-history novel that.

    1. Massinissa

      “Mexico would have been encouraged to demand the rights of all those people who had their territory taken in the Mexican war from 30 years earlier and now lived in places like New Mexico, Arizona, California, etc.”

      Germany essentially told Mexico to do that when they sent the Zimmerman Telegram in WW1. Even if the message hadn’t been intercepted, the Mexicans were sort of busy, what with them having a civil war and all.

    2. skippy

      Yeah but Rev Kev …

      Today’s peoples did not do those things and as such are not responsible for them, so they get a free hall pass to add their – own – chapter to the saga … rinse and repeat …

      BTW it feels fairly surreal living in Queensland and everything else is a galaxy far far way …

      1. ambrit

        Count your lucky stars mate. ‘Things’ are getting downright scary here in the States.
        Now, if the incoming administration were to gin up a war somewhere….
        No one seems to think about the fact that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by a gang of amateurs. Who dares imagine the same tactics being carried out by a state actor, under cover?

        1. skippy

          As noted before in my unfiltered social media wanderings … vibrating like its the big one [second coming] …

          All when just the opposite is needed, like some really bad 70s/80s disaster movie – made for TVeeee.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So if you are an American that is having problems in Vladivostok, you will have to travel to the US Embassy in Moscow some 5,600 miles away to get any help. Sounds legit.

      1. ambrit

        That’s the reverse of the journey the Czech Division made in the 1920’s. Something alluring about that.
        The other component of this is the loss of “listening posts” for the ‘on the ground’ espionage agencies. Remember the dreaded “commercial attache” of Cold War days?
        Oh well, time to do the grocery shopping. Sunday morning seems, so far, to be the least congested time of the week to go to Bigg Boxx Stores.
        Stay safe!

      2. Procopius

        After 1949, the State Department fired most of the people who knew anything about China. The rest they reassigned to places like Tavuatu or Lichtenstein. After that nobody was ever assigned to any ranking post in Asia if they knew anything about it. That, and the Dulles Brothers, is basically how we got into Vietnam (see Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest). I think that’s been U.S. foreign policy ever since, although I must say they’ve sent some excellent ambassadors to Thailand; people who knew the history and spoke the language. Somehow the people in charge are just unable to resist touching wet paint.

        1. The Rev Kev

          At least they never did anything as stupid again. No wait, they did! When Bush’s regime were interviewing candidates to be part of the civilian occupation force in Iraq – the Coalition Provisional Authority – they had their own criteria. If you knew anything about the region or the history, your resume was put at the bottom of the pile. If you could actually speak the language, your resume went straight into the shredder. But it was not uncommon for candidates to be asked how they felt about the Roe-Wade decision.

          And that was a major reason for the catastrophic administration by the Coalition that fueled the resistance. You had a 25 year-old kid virtually straight out of college given the job of setting up Iraq’s Stock Exchange with dodgy electricity supplies.One ex-cop from Wisconsin I think it was, was given the job of reforming Iraq’s traffic rules. So he downloaded those from his State and attempted to push them onto local conditions which Iraqi drivers proceeded to ignore. It was a clusterf*** across the board.

        2. rowlf


          The US Ambassador to Thailand in the early 2000’s got a lot of Hmong out of Thailand when visas from the Middle East got reduced. Good on him!

    2. John

      Remember the book and movie The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! That was a farcical romp, but I have heard the RUSSIANS DID IT! so many times that I tune it out.

      Those who are, for reasons I cannot fathom, actually afraid of things Russian baffle me; those who cynically promote such fear are contemptible.

      This is not to say the Russia has the best interests of the USA at the top of their list, but could we deal with the world like realistic adults for a change. It has become tiresome.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but if the population of America began to act like “realistic adults,” the Empire would not last very long at all.

      2. Carolinian

        Well in the 60s you had your farcical Hollywood romps and also your millions dead in Southeast Asia not so farcical romps. It’s true that back then we had a much more active peace movement (the draft and The Bomb having much to do with this) but the elites were just as nuts and killed a lot more people. Given that the insanity continues even though Communism defeated and the Domino theory no longer a thing suggests it was never about ideology anyway. LBJ said he wasn’t going to be the first American president to lose a war (on the theory that we always win wars) and the explanation could be as simple as that. Hubris precedes nemesis. .

        1. jonboinAR

          The elites were just as nuts, but Ronnie Raygun had not come along yet and convinced the average Joe that “government IS the problem.” It seems like folks were more interested in making the government work for them. After a few years of Reagan many of my contemporaries had nihilistically checked out. Everything nationally was ceded to the neoliberals who privatized everything for profit and the neoconservatives who raised havoc basically unmolested in the Middle East and such. Oh, yeah, before that, all the violence supported by the state in Central America in the name of defeating communism. I don’t know, but I’m thinking that Reagan’s philosophy was instrumental in getting my contemporaries to ignore what was going on. Maybe it was just those in charge (cynically maybe?) ending the draft that did it. I don’t know. Reagan, though, really encouraged everyone to abandon the idea of using government for any positive objective. I think that has helped nefarious forces to work more undisturbed than they otherwise might have been able to.

          1. Carolinian

            The press hated Carter and sold Reagan to the public. That the public was willing to buy simply illustrates how superficial our politics are most of the time–often not much more sophisticated than “I like Ike.” The Kennedy cult showed that this didn’t just apply to the right.

            That said there was a lot more of the left still around in the eighties than these days. Jesse Jackson was way more radical than Sanders.

      3. montanamaven

        Norman Jewison directed “The Russians are Coming…..” This was not a romp but a dark comedy about the foolishness of war, cold or hot.. Newison later directed “In Country” (1989) about a Vietnam Vet returning home to his Kentucky home. He directed “In the Heat of the NIght” with Sidney Poitier as a black police officer come to work in a small Southern town. “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” Jewison was a serious and important film maker. And I remember “The Russians are Coming….” with Alan Arkin and Eva Marie St. Serious actors.
        They wanted Arkin to play the Carl Reiner role but he wanted the role of the Russian Sub commander. “Emergency, Emergancy, Everyone to get from street.”

      4. anon in so cal

        Russia is perhaps the only counterweight to U.S. NeoCons’ plans for endless regime change throughout the Middle East. For example, were it not for Russia coming to the aid of Syria in its attempts to vanquish U.S.-, Turkey-, and KSA-funded and armed jihadis, regime change would have succeeded.

        Biden plans to escalate in Syria and in Ukraine. The new anti Russia allegations are a preamble.

        1. rowlf

          If the goal of the US in Syria was to wipe out ISIS, since the Syrians, Iranians and the Russians did much better against ISIS what was the point in the US sticking around?

          1. Procopius

            The goal of the U.S. in Syria was not to wipe out ISIS. The goal was to replace Assad with a KSA-sponsored Wahhabi salafist. ISIS was an interference, kind of like Covid-19 interrupted Trump’s excellent adventure. I don’t think anybody has any idea what our goal is now, unless it’s to steal the oil.

            1. rowlf

              Got it! I need to patriotically support KSA-sponsored Wahhabi salafists. I can’t wait for my kids to enlist. /s

              Hessians and other auxiliaries really lacked good marketing.

  18. dk

    “high-tech handwashing stations”

    Talk about burying the lede, I want to hear more about their amazing shrink-ray tech!

  19. IM Doc

    A few words about your link about “Antibody-Dependent Enhancement”

    My thinking process about COVID vaccines is definitely affected by my access to all kinds of conferences and emailed insights from previous academic colleagues all over this country. Not unlike AIDS during the 1980s, there are fathoms that we simply do not know about this virus. And unfortunately, unlike AIDS, we now have the internet and social media that can spread things not proven or true like wildfire.

    This concept of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) is one such issue. I am seeing this twisted into Armageddon all over the place online – and I wanted to give at least some persepective.

    I think this article you linked is as accurate as we can be right now based on what I have been reading and listening to from people who know. And it has the benefit of not being written in medical jargon. I encourage everyone to read it.

    Since the beginning of this Operation Warp Speed, I have heard the same three large concerns from specialists from vaccinology, virology, immunology, and infectious disease. There have been many other concerns about the vaccines and our approach – but these three distill all the important stuff.

    — The rapid fire testing is likely going to lead to severe safety issues some expected and some out in left field. We have got to get the doctors of America ready for this. ( A CLEAR FAIL – so far).

    — This applies only to the mRNA vaccines- they have failed in all previous human trials, PHASE I Zike and Influenza, because of the predilection to produce anaphylaxis and other allergies in a statistically significant number of subjects. If this begins to happen immediately upon deployment, we know that we may have a problem. This is important – Because of the nature of this emergency, the risk/benefit ratio may very well be skewed toward continuing forward – only time will tell. And this should be a society decision based on transparent and correct data points.

    — Thirdly, ADE is indeed a very real concern, and has scuttled coronavirus vaccines in the past in animals, and most certainly was responsible for the DENGIVAX disaster a few years ago. This problem will require already vaccinated patients to come into contact with the wild virus. It will take likely months for us to have enough of a cohort walking around to know if this is a problem. I want everyone to understand, there are immunologists and virologists everywhere working tirelessly to see if evidence of this is emerging in tissue samples and immunologic evals already. Again, only time will tell. But this is not going to be immediately obvious like the anaphylaxis issues already are. What is of concern to many informed people, is the fact that we are seemingly immunizing our entire health care system. If this ADE problem does come to the fore, we could be in big trouble. Those who are recommending holding back a portion of the health care workers are being opposed by those who are concerned this holding back will alarm the public and drop already weakened vaccine confndence in the general public. (These issues are profoundly difficult to understand and to explain for everyone). This is a Gordian Knot – and I am not certain anyone has the answer.

    Bottom line – that ADE article is very good – it is comprehensive – and will keep people informed at least where we are now. When I was in medical school, the immune system was treated as a turnip. It is becoming increasingly clear that it may be the most complicated biological system in the universe. It makes your eye, for example, look like a 5 year old’s Lego set.

    Have a Wonderful Holiday Week everyone.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > it has the benefit of not being written in medical jargon. I encourage everyone to read it.

      Derek Lowe is very good, and he writes in English. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a newsletter, so I have to remember to go check him.

    2. Cuibono

      one thing. ADE is not the only concerning immune reaction that we need to pay attention to. In fact others may be more problematic.
      ADE in respiratory infections is included in a broader category named enhanced respiratory disease (ERD), which also includes non-antibody-based mechanisms such as cytokine cascades and cell-mediated immunopathology

  20. Wukchumni

    My retinal tear surgery went well, and things are looking down for me in a good way. (part of the rehabilitation process to allow a gas bubble inserted to dissipate over the next 10 days)

    My mom told me her mom went blind in one eye in the 1940’s, and she thinks the culprit was also a retinal tear or detachment that didn’t get taken care of, and that’s all she wrote, joining the Braille club. I was able to save my eyesight, in comparison.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > explosion-level event

      Congratulations! “Gas bubbles” sounds more advanced than the “scleral buckle” they installed on me. And yes, two eyes are definitely better than one, even if one is not very good.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for all of your thoughts, it means a lot~

        I’m ensconced in what I feel certain is an Abu Ghraib inspired bit of torture that allows me to be the hunchback of Notre Dame, and it comes with this nifty mirror that allows me to watch some NFL, and i’d be remiss in not mentioning my Bills finally won their division again after a quarter of a century spell of utter futility, sadly eyewitnessed by me.

        It also gives you the feel of being a U-Boat captain, ‘flood tube 1’

    2. Anonymous 2

      Good to hear this. I had the same happen to me in 2003 and 2008 (one eye at a time). I imagine you should expect you will need a cataract op in due course. But the outcome in my case has been truly excellent. I am nearly 70 but in many ways my eyesight is like a 5 year old’s. Modern technology sometimes is truly wonderful.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Been thinking about you, mate. Take care and take it easy with your eyes until they are good to go again.

    4. larry

      Glad the op went well. You have been through the wars with this, as it were. The very best wishes to you on your recovery.

  21. KLG

    Regarding Gavin Newsom et al., where is Leona Helmsley when you need her? Rules, they are so for the little people!

  22. Lee

    The Great Vaccinator (Radiolab, 45 minutes)

    “Until now, the fastest vaccine ever made – for mumps – took four years. And while our current effort to develop a covid-19 vaccine involves thousands of people working around the clock, the mumps vaccine was developed almost exclusively by one person: Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman cranked out more than 40 other vaccines over the course of his career, including 8 of the 14 routinely given to children. He arguably saved more lives than any other single person. And through his work, Hilleman embodied the instincts, drive, and guts it takes to martial the human body’s defenses against a disease. But through him we also see the struggle and the costs of these monumental scientific efforts.”

    If one considers the financial resources and worker hours devoted to Covid-19 vaccine development, as compared to those devoted to the mumps vaccine development, their relative time scales seem much less surprising.

  23. Daryl

    > I mean a material, explosion-level event, not just something that should have been reported and wasn’t, like corruption.

    I was in rural Colorado two years ago when I heard what must have been every fire engine in the county, possibly a wider area going by over a course of hours. Figured a whole building must have been burning down or the forest was on fire. Nothing on twitter, nothing on local news. I did find some nice pictures of the mountains on Twitter though.

  24. pricklyone

    >>>”If there’s one surface where aerosols (spoken) transform into fomites (touch), it would be the surface of cellphones. Although I can’t recall a study on this”<<<

    I can't follow the logic here… Are people in the habit of sharing cellphones with other, possibly infected individuals? Aerosols from my breath on my cell, transformed into fomites, would reach to others, how? I cannot shed virus and infect myself, and unless someone else is using my phone, what is the transmission path?
    It is a common strategy to disinfect landlines shared by whole families, in flu season. That made some sense. Aren't cellphones a much more personal item for most?
    I do know older couples who share a cellphone, as an emergency item, as they use a common landline at home, but this seems to be outside the cultural mainstream…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I am picturing particles inhaled through the mouth exhaled onto the cellphone’s surface, and then being transported to the face by touch. I believe the nasal pathway to infection is the most important — one tends not to rub the phone with the nose, hence the importance of a “high touch” phone.

      1. pricklyone

        .Thanks for clarifying your thought process, Lambert.
        Since inhaled particles already have a direct path to the nasal passages, how great an increase in risk would be involved? It is all kinda academic if your phone, like mine, lives at home.
        Just mulling it over, not trying to argue the point.
        We all gotta figure it out for our own circumstances.

  25. DJG

    Caitlin Johnstone makes a good diagnosis of the endless inept melodrama that is U.S. politics: “If by some miracle they are able to overcome all the many, many, many obstacles built into the plutocrat-controlled system and put themselves in a position to implement policies of economic justice by following all the rules to a ‘t’, there will be an antisemitism scandal. There will be a Russia scandal. Someone will say they were raped. Whatever needs to happen to keep the people from obtaining wealth and power which could disrupt the global world order which depends on endless warmongering that benefits zero ordinary Americans.”

    I recall that when I lived in a North Shore suburb, quite temporarily, here in Illinois, the dominant ethos seems to be genial incompetence. Everyone is more or less polite but has no intention of doing the work. They already are rich and white–so why bother. So you add up scandals as tactics + genial incompetence = the stagnant waters we find ourselves in

  26. Emmanuel Goldstein

    With all the discussion about the insulting $600 for the serfs I have not yet seen any commentary about what appears to be a total capitulation by Schumer to Toomey and the GOP senate on the shackling of the Fed and the prohibition on the municipal bond facility liquidity program. The only news I have seen on the issue characterizes the late-night agreement as a “compromise,” but I cannot for the life of me understand why this was anything but a total capitulation by the Democrats. Any time Congress agrees to something late at night you know it is going to stink.

    For months, the only visible disagreement by the parties appeared to be the direct aid for state and local government issue that the Democrats wanted versus the liability waiver sought by the GOP (gross negligence standard plus DOJ fines for “meritless” cases). Those issues get dropped last week for a compromise bill and then Senator Toomey (who is not running for reelection) plays the sacrificial lamb for McConnell and stakes out the elimination of the special facilities authorized by Congress in March as a hill to die on – something that they would stake the entire legislation over.

    I will be the first to admit that those in need are not helped by the Fed purchasing corporate bond etfs or direct purchases of corporate bonds. (I chafe at the notion that Janet Yellin as the Treasury Secretary is our progressive savior.) But the municipal bond facility (MLF) seemed to be the only way that state and local governments would see any relief by being able to finance debt shortfalls resulting from lost tax revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis. Now that the Democrats have given up on direct financing for state and local governments the MLF was the only thing left to address the issue. And Schumer just gave that away last night. That puts Democrats in a worse position than they were in before March because at least before then there wasn’t legislation explicitly removing the Fed’s power to provide liquidity to municipalities.

    So now the GOP has the austerity straight-jacket locked up tight. There will be no direct financing of state and local governments AND the Fed will not be able to use the one monetization facility that could actually benefit people. Every piece of funding legislation. Every debt ceiling debate. Everything will be a new opportunity for the GOP senate to starve the beast a little more in exchange for doing something they would have done anyway with a Republican in the White House.

    My take-away on this is that the GOP are the Harlem Globetrotters and the Democrats are the Washington Generals. I can’t wait to see Biden “reach across the aisle” to give the GOP a Grand Bargain in the middle of a depression and a pandemic.

    1. ambrit

      Yep, seeing Biden et. al. ‘reaching around’ the aisle to do a “Grand Bargain” is my fear too.
      This issue has been called the “Third Rail” over the years for very good reason. The older cohorts of the populace are the main recipients of the largesse, and are also the group that votes at the highest percentage of all age groups.
      When you screw your major support, expect fireworks.

    2. neo-realist

      If Warnock and Ossoff both win in the GA runoff next month, then hopefully the strait-jacket will un-zipper a bit and the cities and states will hopefully get some $$$, but wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it. When you’re the minority party, it’s tough to call the tune. At least the immunity waiver for the corporations got dropped.

      From the Biden administration standpoint, it lessens the poopshow they inherit in the form of a little less destitution and homelessness for the unemployed.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If they both win, Manchin will devote himself to voting against them in every Senate vote. If that is not enough to stop any Dem-Agenda laws, then Manchin will re-register as Republican if the Republicans pay him enough.

  27. Carolinian

    Re impatience and the pandemic–this is just the usual complaint that the US didn’t do a Wuhan as though there were no real world barriers (and not just political) to that happening. Of course America isn’t run by a central committee and health care here is the province of state governors, legislatures and constitutions–all fifty of them. And a lockdown doesn’t do much good as long as the disease can still enter via borders that are thousands of miles long. Here’s an article on how Belarus in fact did control its borders and keep their death rate to one tenth of ours. Worth a look despite the belligerent headline.

    In a nutshell, they quarantined the entire country while allowing life inside the country to continue as normal. But that wouldn’t have worked here either and arguably what those Asian countries have done will only work as long as the disease is soon conquered via a vaccine or mass infection in the rest of the world.

    1. Maritimer

      Impatience: a deep cause of Western failure in handling the pandemic? globalinequality
      Numerous tomes have been written about the modern impulse for instant gratification.

      In terms of impatience, I see distinct parallels to 1.) 9/11, Afghanistan-Iraq War,and 2.) Wall Street 2008 (and after) Bailout. Gotta do something right now, right away. Can’t wait, the disaster is upon us and will only get worse if we do nothing. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.

      Well, we all know 20 years later, how 1.) is a never ending Disaster and then, of course, 2.) is just another never ending Disaster.

      This does not bode well for the consequences of US knee jerk, fix it now strategy as regards Covid.

  28. Pat

    Not only is the “Russians did it” an excuse for overt military action, it is also a very convenient distraction for how insecure our technological infrastructure is.

    We have done things so on the cheap, that infiltrating one company with a technique available to script kiddies provided a means to infiltrate masses of companies both in the government and with ties to the government. This company Had been informed that they had problems, but hadn’t addressed it in any comprehensive manner. And to add insult to injury, the moves made after the infiltration were not genius master level hacking either.

    Forget Russia (and not just because it is BS). Real leaders would be all over the obvious security failures, but that would mean spending that might not be quite so enriching for donors. Nor would it provide an overused distraction that we are under attack and have to ignore deep problems in this country because WAR!

    Sadly it may work again. But maybe not because they have let things get so bad. We will see.

  29. Tom Stone

    Global conspiracies (The real thing) have been around for Centuries.
    We have an outpost in Sebastopol that has practiced ritualized cannibalism and the institutionalized rape of children for decades, they paid a large fine for the latter transgression a few years ago but the former practice is still respectable.

    1. Maritimer

      Good for you, JEHR.

      I have felt for a long time that cheap and rapid Testing was a possible solution. Much cheaper, predictable and manageable than this Whiz-Bang Confusollopus they have created. Billions, if necessary, should have gone into this rather than to corrupt Big Pharma.

      NC should take a hard look at the Testing Alternative and other Alternatives to the mismanaged Covid Crisis. They do exist.

  30. Eustachedesaintpierre

    An interesting 24hrs here in the UK, starting with the Boris press conference on the new strain, followed by some hasty evacuations from London by plane, train & perhaps also automobile. It appears to me anyhow that the Gov’s juggling act has resulted in turning the country into a giant petri dish & sadly it is likely that this new strain as it is stated as being 70% more infectious will repeat it’s predecessor, by increasing the diameter of it’s spread, particularly upwards into the already badly hit North.

    Quite a quandary for the Irish government as it is reported that around 400,000 Irish people work in the UK, very many of whom will be looking to return to Ireland for the Xmas break, while within London there are likely to also be many Eastern Europeans & other nationalities including Americans. On a personal level it means that as planned post-Xmas I will very likely not be able to visit my family in ROI who I have not seen for 12 mths at this point in time. Listening to Matt Hancock spouting off his often repeated We have to get on top of this new variant platitude, while thinking that if anything the earlier less virulent version managed to get on top of the Gov & it’s preferred experts, whose version of the science happens to suit them most. His almost pleading for people to adjust their behaviour for the sake of the vulnerable, NHS etc being somewhat ironic & would require society / community which his party & Blair’s have spent decades unravelling.

    I hope the new strain doesn’t make it over the Atlantic as it is obviously already very tough enough for you guys & my main worry now is that if the Gov here doesn’t get it’s clown show together with vaccines, which they appear to have bet the house on – what would happen if the new stain beget another one ?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its just been announced that there is a 48 hour ban on all flights and trains from the UK into the Republic. I strongly suspect that it will be extended. I can’t really seen any way around keeping a ban on all travel until they know the nature of this new strain.

      And Brexit negotiations are (once again) extended past the absolute, absolute, deadline. I think that even if there is a deal tomorrow or the next day its quite likely that the European Parliament will refuse to vote on it before January, its just too little time for them to debate it. There are already strong signals that several EU leaders think Barnier has conceded too much.

      The logical thing of course would be for the UK to request an extension of a couple of months. But its highly unlikely this will happen. If it does, it means there is panic in No.10.

      This is the perfect storm hitting all at once. Stay safe.

      1. Irrational

        Even if the UK asks for an extension, we will just repeat the “to the wire” experience just before the next deadline. It seems truly pointless.

  31. danpaco

    With a Brexit deadline looming Mother Nature sure has a wonderful sense of timing/humour introducing a new Covid strain in London. Or, perhaps the powers that be have a different definition of “new Strain”.

  32. Mikel

    RE: “Brexit to send price of dildos and butt plugs soaring, sex toy company warns” Yahoo News

    Let’s hope people don’t improvise. Don’t need hospital emergency staff overwhelmed in these times.

    1. Massinissa

      I’ve never even quite understood what a butt plug even is or what specifically its used for.

      I suppose I would rather not actually know. Ignorance is bliss?

      1. Janie

        Do NOT google it; you’d get all sorts of ads, I would imagine. Actually, I don’t want to imagine…

    2. Synoia

      They will have to revert to “Old Fashioned Methods” or Abstinence.

      Or DIY tools.

      PS Don’t use wood. The splinters are difficult to handle.

    3. ewmayer

      “Let’s hope people don’t improvise.” — Indeed, DIY buttpluggery is the very last place one wants a cartoon-style “lightbulb moment“. (Readers queasy about following the link should cursor-hover-over it to see the underlying URL first).

    4. ambrit

      If you do know any hospital ER medical staff, do ask them about “midnight extractions.”
      My Mom’s best friend for years was the head nurse at a local hospital ER. Some of her stories about late night “anal emergencies” buggered belief. One of her best stories involved two very frightened young men, an older man, a station wagon with the tailgate down, and a coat rack. Part of the denouement involved a dremel tool.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Decades ago in Bellevue Hospital in New York, they use to keep a trophy board of various implements that men and women had inserted into themselves and were unable to extract.

  33. Jeremy Grimm

    > “The Remedy to the Agricultural Crisis…”
    I believe this link may be too kind toward Modi. As described in the link, the agriculture laws seem designed consolidate Indian agriculture much as agriculture has been and is being consolidated in the US or had been done through similar but different and more openly harsh means in Stalin’s USSR.

      1. HotFlash

        Absolutely! Earl Butz, Nixon’s Sec Ag, famously told farmers to ‘get big or get out’. That did not work out well for, unh, actual farmers, esp family farms. Meanwhile, Cargill, AMD, and any corp with a big soy or corn subsidy are very happy.

        Sounds like Modi is saying that to Indian small-ish farmers now. If so, I stand with the farmers.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It must be a neoliberal belief that in getting big or getting out. Clinton told that to Pentagon contractors which is why there are only a few big ones now and the same happened under Clinton too where scores if not hundreds of media companies amalgamated to the present six under his laws.

  34. Massinissa

    So ah… Do we know if the vaccines are going to work on this new strain of Covid? Or do we have no idea as usual? Hopefully these vaccines won’t need to be yearly like a flu shot…

    1. ambrit

      Well, one of the prior virus related scourges mentioned in comparison is HIV/AIDS. Over several decades, the best anyone has managed, to the best of my knowledge, is a palliative treatment regime.
      Also, if the Covid ‘works’ like other viruses do, it will mutate regularly.
      I don’t see any “silver bullet” on the horizon for this.

    2. HotFlash

      Massinissa, it hasn’t even been demonstrated that the vaccines work on the *old* strain of Covid.

      Provide immunity? Maybe. Not proven, though.

      Prevent transmission? Dunno, apparently not even checked — but we will need that for ‘herd immunity’. If vaccinated people can transmit, we are no further ahead. And that is not even beginning to look at the down-the-roads — long term side effects? protection against reinfection, whether from original or later strains? how long does immunity last? does vaccination make us more/less subject to later infection? See Sanofli-Pasteur’s Dengvaxia.

      1. Yves Smith

        Your statement is over the top. Pfizer presented evidence. One might dig into the weeds and argue that the way Pfizer defined who was to be tested as a possible Covid case and not mentioning the 20% false negative rate on the suspected cases (did get a severe respiratory infection, did get a negative on the PCR test) which IIRC were 1594 among the vaccinated and 1834 among the non-vaccinated (v. 8 official cases in the vaccinated and 168 in the non-vaccinated) means the FDA not doing its usual deep dive on the clinical (as in patient) data gives reason to have doubts about their data.

        To make the point more tersely, one could do some back of the envelope math with the “suspected cases” and guesstimate that the Pfizer vaccine actually has unimpressive efficacy, although it could also reduce mortality and morbidity.

        I haven’t yet looked at any detail on Moderna. If they tested everyone every week, as is AstraZeneca, their data would be a lot more solid than the Pfizer data.

  35. MarylouParsons

    Grenfell Tower inquiry:

    “Last month, Mr Wehrle told the BBC, working jointly with CBS, that he could not speak without permission from Arconic’s lawyers. Arconic says that is not true.

    Though Mr Wehrle no longer works at the US company, when contacted by phone in November in France, he claimed that law firm DLA Piper was influencing his decisions.

    “DLA Piper is handling everything,” he said. “Everything has to go through them.””

    DLA Piper, where Mr. Kamala Harris worked and made his billions.

    “Kamala Harris, For The Right People”

  36. Louis Fyne

    Re. the UK Home Counties lockdown….

    Lockdowns don’t work if you give people notice. See the traffic/transport jams leaving London. But no notice would be “tyranny” especially if the media generally dislikes the leader regardless.

    PRChina doesn’t have the freedom versus public safety dilemma/spectrum that the democratic West does.

    Lockdowns don’t work if you have occupations like realtors, coffee shops, film/TV production (and others) deemed as “essential” (such as in my state and likely yours too).

    Just saying. ymmv.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, they should have learned by now. Giving notice is giving license to party and travel until the cut-off date. Its hard to pick a winner among ‘most incompetent government when faced with Covid’, but the UK is definitely a contender.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        I imagine that what Boris imagined to be his future when he became PM, did not include becoming a worthy leader of the latest holder of the award of sick man of Europe.

        You stay safe too.

  37. Rod


    it’s the fact that there’s a massive amount of power riding on the ability to keep Americans too poor and powerless to interfere in the operation of the nation which serves as the hub of a massive global empire.

    I think that impatience can be related to ideologies and corresponding policies that have erected economic success, ideally achieved as fast as possible (“make a quick buck”), as the most worthy objective in one’s life. It is reflected in the role that financialization had in the UK and the United States at first, but then spread elsewhere. Unlike a slow and patient effort to build things, financialization often relies on “tricks”, as shown before and during the 2007-08 financial meltdown. Its main driving force is cleverness and speed, not endurance and constancy. We crave quick success and what is quicker than becoming rich through a financial manipulation?

    I am thinking these are related–but have not reconciled why yet, but am thinking on it.

    As far as unreported news

    Well, Campus Police found a body at the local Universities recreational area four days ago (Campus Police Report) but that hasn’t made its way into the Local Papers Print or Online Copies( yes Federal Law requires any Educational Body to file an Official Public Report of violence, assault, or injury)
    and this
    Turns out the Novant HC Local Hospital’s ICU is over capacity, they have stopped admitting patients, and are referring patients to Hospitals in the adjoining State–since this past Monday.
    Again, nothing reported in print or online from the Local Newspaper–I heard about it on an adjoining State’s Public Radio Station ‘Week in Review’ hour long session on Friday morning.

  38. Ohnoyoucantdothat

    Loud explosion = Sonic boom. Russian jets do that over our town sometimes. Everything shakes. Sounds like huge explosion. One time saw jet contrails streaking across sky.

  39. Wukchumni

    One day what looked to be a red-tailed hawk was chasing it’s prey, both streaking against the sky, the smaller bird acutely aware of the danger, and then it was over in a flash, with a light sprinkling of feathers from the fallen fluttering to the ground.

    Not a peep of this happening in the local newspapers or tv stations.

    1. ambrit

      The hawk was just “feathering it’s nest,” a perfectly respectable pastime in the Capitalist world, and thus, not newsworthy.
      Eyes on your feet buster!

  40. chris

    Maybe I’m missing something or I’m just not any good at playing 11 dimensional chess…but where’s the compromise here? It seems like Toomey got everything he wanted and Schumer set us up to have to back to go back to congress for anything else we need in the way of stimulus. Even the Fed is limited now. And we gave back CARES act funds! Am I missing something here?

    Also, I really don’t understand the logic behind what we’re doing. If there’s 330 million people in the US, giving each person 2k$ is 660 billion US$. Way less than we’re talking about here. So what is going on?

  41. The Rev Kev

    A coupla months ago the name Kimberly Klacik came up in Links or Water Cooler when she did a walk through Baltimore and saying that ‘Black Lives Don’t Matter to Democrats.’ Here is that ad in case you forget it-

    Well now the mask has dropped since she lost and is now coming out with tweets like the following-

    ‘Mitch McConnell’s wife is Chinese.
    I just post facts.’


    ‘Mark Zuckerberg’s wife is Chinese.
    I just post facts.’

    Forgetting the fact that that McConnell’s wife is from Taiwan and Priscilla Chan was actually born in the US, this is pretty ugly stuff. I think that the people of Maryland just dodged a bullet-

    1. ambrit

      Yes, but, this is just one public manifestation of the ugly mood building up in the populace today. Nothing works better at distracting an angry public like some good old xenophobia.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I watched Kim’s ad and I thought that it was pretty good. Especially the part about asking African American residents of Baltimore if they wanted the police defunded. The answer was a resounding “NO!”

        If I asked the same question of my elderly AA neighbors, who have lived her for decades, I’d get the same response. If anything, they have been pleading for more police protection.

  42. VietnamVet

    “Job Creators” won the propaganda war. The prime oligarch desire is to end taxes and regulation. They’ve done well with the privatization of transportation, healthcare and education. Those who need government services pay fees for it i.e., Lexus Lanes or Student Loans. The US federal and state governments simply do not function well anymore from the surging coronavirus pandemic in California to the construction of the Purple light rail line in Maryland that the state has had to take over.

    Medical Care for All is a vital component of a public health systems like South Korea, Thailand, Australia or Taiwan who eradicated coronavirus and continue to battle new introductions of the virus into their nations. This is impossible in the current system in the USA because it requires taxes for management, testing, contact tracing and isolation plus healthcare for all. Instead, the Aristocracy in the new Versailles on the Potomac are betting the bank and their heads that for-profit vaccines will end the pandemic depression.

  43. John Anthony La Pietra

    Another belated note — this time a stray thought.

    There’s been talk that “Medicare for All” is a bad brand name to try to sell to those who’ve had bad experiences with “Medicare for Some” (if you’ll pardon that phrase in passing). Likewise some discussion of “health insurance” vs “health care” vs just “health” (not to mention the magic word “access”).

    Well, it just occurred to me that, if we really want to sell the product in this neo age (h/t Tom Lehrer), maybe we could follow the example of another nationwide project. Starting 64 years ago, Congress billions of dollars (back when that was real money) were willingly spent on transportation infrastructure — under a brand name that also invoked national security: the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act.

    So . . . what say you all to making the new brand name “National Health Defense”?

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