Links 12/21/2020

Jupiter and Saturn ‘Christmas Star’ to Coincide With Winter Solstice, Ursid Meteor Shower Newsweek

The financial system after Covid-19 Bank of International Settlements

Central banks to walk tightrope on communication in 2021 FT

At Banque Havilland, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Was Known as ‘The Boss’ Bloomberg

A tale of two SEC enforcement actions, Part 1 – GE and Luckin Coffee Francine McKenna, The Dig

Tesla’s rise made 2020 the year the U.S. auto industry went electric Reuters

Tesla’s Elon Musk asks about converting ‘large transactions’ to bitcoin Channel News Asia. Oh.


Mutant coronavirus in the United Kingdom sets off alarms but its importance remains unclear Science. Good information on this fast-breaking story.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution algorithms may cement health care inequalities VentureBeat. Of all places.

Why Two Vaccines Passed the Finishing Line In a Year and Others Didn’t, and a Month 12 Roundup Hilda Bastian, “Absolutely Maybe,” PLOS. Excellent review of the bidding.

What the Vaccine’s Side Effects Feel Like The Atlantic

Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science British Medical Journal

Why many countries failed at COVID contact-tracing — but some got it right Nature

The Vast Majority of America’s Cities Qualify as ‘Sustained Hotspots,’ New Federal Covid-19 Data Shows Public Integrity

A Shock to the PPE System: New Method for Recharging N95 Masks to Meet COVID Demand SciTech Daily

The Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be the Ultimate Gateway Drug Bloomberg


China’s stunning export comeback has factories scrambling for workers Reuters

Amid Coal Crunch, Cities Limit Power to Businesses, Factories Sixth Tone and Australia forecasts drop in coal output under pressure from Chinese curbs Reuters

Engineers of the Soul: Ideology in Xi Jinping’s China by John Garnaut Sinocism (from 2019, still germane. Recommended by China Law blog).

Singapore Hotel Used for Quarantine May Have Spread Infection Bloomberg

S.Korea’s capital Seoul to ban gatherings of five people or more -mayor Reuters

Thailand Considers More Lockdowns as Seafood Workers Hit by Virus Bloomberg


Farmer unions announce relay hunger strike on Monday, observe ‘Shradhanjali Diwas’; Amit Shah hints at resumption of talks Times of India. Relay hunger strike: “a form of protest in which a number of persons go without food by turns” (Gene Sharp #159b). Some tactical advantages here.

Facebook removes official page of Kisan Ekta Morcha, restores it after outrage India Today

Is the Sub-Classification of Scheduled Castes Justified? The Wire


Wakashio Shows Need for Spill Response Plans in Western Indian Ocean Maritime Executive


EU countries ban UK travel and limit Channel freight over Covid variant FT

Emergency talks to prevent Christmas food shortages after freight hit by border closures Sky News

Extra police are deployed at train stations in bid to stop non essential Tier 4 trips and halt spread of mutant Covid strain, as Matt Hancock slams travellers fleeing London as ‘totally irresponsible’ Daily Mail. What did the Government expect when they announced a lockdown?

Germany and Europe Could Fall Short on Vaccine Supplies Der Spiegel (Re Silc). They’re supposed to be better than we are….

Pandemic exposes the vulnerability of Italy’s ‘new poor’ AP

Poisonous politics lurk behind the EU recovery fund FT

Trump Transition

Congress seals agreement on $900 billion COVID relief bill AP. Commentary:

This Deal Is Good Enough Editorial Board, NYT. Nothing too meh for our working class!

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

Bring Back the Superdole! Jacobin

Surgeon general: Immigration status should not be barrier to receiving COVID-19 vaccine The Hill

Unlearning The Constitution: University President Declares That Biden Can “Unpardon” Trump Jonathan Turley

Intelligence Community

Democrats cry alarm over proposal to split up NSA, Cyber Command amid hacking crisis Politico

Biden Transition

The diversity of Biden’s cabinet will be just for show if it ends up promoting bad policies Business Insider

For the First Time, a Woman Will Take Command of an Aircraft Carrier This hardy perennial:

Misting the White House between administrations won’t kill Covid-19 — and it could be harmful, experts say STAT. Great theatre though!

Boeing 737 MAX

European regulator says Boeing’s 737 Max is safe BBC

Congress on the brink of major FAA oversight reform in wake of Boeing 737 MAX crashes Seattle Times

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The truth in Black and white: An apology from The Kansas City Star Kansas City Star

Guillotine Watch

Birx travels, family visits highlight pandemic safety perils AP (MV). This keeps happening (and it’s bipartisan).

Class Warfare

The first global event in the history of humankind Branko Milanovic, Social Europe

Hospital Ceos Have Gotten Rich Cutting Staff and Supplies. Now They’re Not Ready for the Next Wave. The Intercept

AOC Said “Sex Work Is Work” in Response to New York Post Hit Piece on a Paramedic With an OnlyFans Teen Vogue

Crime Shouldn’t Pay: Why Big Tech Executives Should Face Jail Matt Stoller, Big

John Rawls: can liberalism’s great philosopher come to the west’s rescue again? Guardian

Antidote du jour (via Steve McManus in Galion OH):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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. Lex

    ‘What The Vaccine’s Side Effects Feel Like’

    Should be followed by ‘- The Atlantic’ – since that’s where the link goes?

    1. needalawyer

      just remember that if anything bad happens, surely the company or the government will have you covered!

  2. zagonostra

    >John Rawls: can liberalism’s great philosopher come to the west’s rescue again? vs. Yves

    The article concludes:

    “[John Rawls] remains an inspiration to those of us who believe that it is possible to reason together about the meaning of justice and the common good, at a time when we seem to despair of the possibility of doing so.” The spirit of his work is summed up in the injunction that we should “agree to share one another’s fate”. This, says Sandel, “is an enduring moral argument against inequality. And a reminder that the world is not necessarily the way it has to be.”

    Unfortunately I think the more clear-eyed view is that expressed by Yves.

    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…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.

    1. a different chris

      We were done (and so is China) when we minted our first billionaire.

      I dunno if the tables say that having a 100 million in, say 1925 is the same as being a billionaire today, they probably do.

      But my argument is back then Richie Riches didn’t quite have the world-spanning powers of the jet airplane, the radio waves, topped off with the internet. And of course the US military, which has taken the Spanish-American war theory to heart.

      1. Jessica

        The Richie Riches then had powers just as large compared to what everyone else had, but they also had a purpose: to develop the plant and infrastructure and skilled work force necessary for a prosperous society. They actually did this job. Well, they made everyone else do it. And with needless brutality and stunting of human development. But there was a point to the whole exercise.
        Now there is none. That is the difference.

        1. Pelham

          100% agreed. But when did that switchover happen? My guess is the 1990s. A commenter here, I believe, has referred to the “China class” that has developed since then, and I think that term hits home more squarely than “globalists.”

          Once our Richie Riches could pile up wealth investing here. Now it’s somewhere else, notably China but also through exotic financial instruments. There’s a new book that explores the many secession movements that have sprung up across the country over the decades in response to concentrated money in the East treating the rest of the country like a colony. Now they’re basically done with the continental colony and looking elsewhere.

          So? What’s the remedy? Whatever it is, it needs to be simple, sudden and stupendous to overwhelm and outflank a very nimble bunch of moneybags.

      2. Mikel

        They are pulling out all the stops to subsidize the creation of trillionaires all over the world and some idiots think this is something to cheer for.

      3. Tony Wikrent

        Every encounter I have with Rawls leaves me more and more impressed with the poverty of his philosophy. He appears to have ignored the entirety of Judeo-Christian humanism: No Augustine, no Machiavelli, no Dante, no Erasmus, no Thomas Moore, no James Harrington, no Algernon Sydney, no Mather. My inchoate feeling is that Rawls tried to create a moral philosophy for Western elites who wanted to claim some moral grounding while exploiting and killing millions of non-elites and non-Westerners. I’ve never firmly grasped the supposed differences between Aristotelians and Platonists, but I suspect that Rawls is an example of what you get when you embrace the former and ignore the latter.

        What particularly strikes me is that Rawls’ ideas do not address the reality of human nature and its dual capacity for unspeakable evil and ennobling good and beauty. This is the key to understanding the creation of the United States as a republic: the Enlightenment reasoning that understood the potential for evil, and went about rationally designing a government of laws, checks, and balances to counteract it.

        More importantly – and this is the crucial piece missing from Rawls and others on the left right now – is the understanding that, at the same time, government must actively promote and encourage the good: “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty” “in Order to form a more perfect Union.” Perfection – you can’t reach it, but you have to strive for it. This is the philosophical point where capitalism is seen as the threat to democracy and liberty that it truly is. No, it is not a good idea to allow a clash of self interests in some supposed disinterested free market. The role of government is to encourage the best of human nature and to suppress the worst. And the profit motive is not the best of human nature.

      4. Bazarov

        Big difference between China and the United States vis-a-vis billionaires:

        The United States has never executed a billionaire, for any reason.

        China executed 14 from the early 2000s to 2011. In 2015, Liu Han (another billionaire) was executed.

        Recently, Gao Junfang–the “vaccine queen” billionaire at the head of the company embroiled in the tainted vaccine scandal–was arrested. Wouldn’t be surprised if she got the axe.

        Numerous Chinese billionaires have gone to jail for life. For example, the billionaire Wu Zing (who originally had been sentenced to death) had her sentence commuted to life in prison. Other billionaires have faced very stiff sentences (10-20 years).

        Note finally how the CCP is more than willing to humiliate even its most “iconic” billionaires (see Jack Ma and the ANT Group IPO) in order to put them in their place. Ma had to grovel!

        It seems to me that China knows how to discipline its billionaires, implying strongly it’s the party that’s in control, not the billionaires. In America, the state is not in control–it’s the billionaires that humiliate the politicians and make them grovel, not the other way around.

        We could learn a thing or two from China.

        1. JBird4049

          True, but China is run by an authoritarian, maybe even a blossoming totalitarian, nightmare police state in which human “rights” don’t exist. Is that what we want in our society, let alone anywhere else in the whole of Western Civilization??

          1. Bazarov

            We got to the totalitarian surveillance state before China did! It’s just privatized here.

            And don’t forget: America has run the world’s greatest gulag for decades now, sustained by a justice system where prosecutors win 98% percent of cases and where the right to trial is a fantasy (unless you’re rich, cases end in “deals” where you admit guilt because you have no hope of beating the prosecutor, and if you tried, the prosecutor would throw the fucking book at you for forcing him into the courtroom).

            If that’s the “rule of law,” I’ll take “authoritarianism”!

            If you asked: “Who would you rather rule this totalitarian surveillance state: a handful of billionaires or the CCP, which has 90 million members?”–the CCP starts to look attractive.

          2. Massinissa

            This comment basically has no merit. You can’t just avoid talking about anything China may do more correctly than we do simply because they have an abusive government. Yes, everyone knows they have an authoritarian government. No, that doesn’t mean they’re incompetent and automatically do everything worse than we do. This logic is beyond faulty.

          3. kgw

            You are apparently unaware of the nature of outcomes…It is exactly what “we” have in our society, run by commodity fetishists as it is.

            1. JBird4049

              Okay, let’s see. China is better or maybe should emulated because it does evil better? IIRC, in China everyone’s case is predetermined, including the powerful, which is guilty as charged. In the United States, most people are screwed, blued, and tattooed as well, but some do have the power to defend themselves.

              In China, it is total information control, which is why COVID got out of control there at first. The medical workers weren’t just fired. They were arrested and all mentions of the disease were censored in the media both news and social. All that mattered was getting rid of the embarrassing news or individual regardless of importance. At least in the United States there is some success in spreading information that the government does not want you to hear.

              I do not quite see the exact equivalence of having an authoritarian/totalitarian nightmare state in which the government has no problem to literally disappear someone just to to save face because there is no effective law except what the government decides or the near authoritarian/totalitarian nightmare state which has some slight problem dealing with you because the rule of law does still slightly apply.

              I bring this all up because one of the reasons the growth of corruption, the control and elimination of knowledge as well as the growth of an all powerful, or at least trying to be, police state is due to the elimination of the rule of law. No rule of law means no justice at all. The United States is still, barely, democratic, still somewhat has the rule of law, and I can still buy almost any book I want, even the (re) publishing of bothersome books has been constrained for decades. (We do have censorship of the printed word. It is just softer than in other oligarchies and dictatorships.) I cannot say the same for China.

              So why should I want a system in which billionaires are routinely destroyed? That means a system almost any Joe Mayor can have the police “fix” someone like me for any reason because there is no rule of law, no civil or human rights.

              It sucks, more it is wrong, but at least a white fool like me can, if I survive the experience, often get justice or at least recompense after the fact because of the rule of law. If I am very lucky, I can even get some embarrassing news stories and maybe, just maybe get someone fired or not elected. There is still a small space for justice here. A crack to wiggle through, maybe even expand. Say that to the Uyghurs.

              1. skippy

                I’ll be short … how many decades in the ME or South Central America, 14 city occupy crack down, millions kicked to the curb and no criminal charges control frauds post GFC, and now the handling of covid – even more transfer of wealth to the top after the GFC ….

                Framing the topic in terms like freedoms and totalitarianism seems a fraught endeavor.

                1. JBird4049

                  >>>Framing the topic in terms like freedoms and totalitarianism seems a fraught endeavor.

                  Yes, it is. But so is, in my view, asking for competent dictatorial rule against this incompetent and extremely troubled democracy of ours. Strongman rule which could morph into the boot on the face of humanity. It’s almost a cliche, but it’s so for a reason.

                  The Uyghurs are being genocided at least culturally, perhaps biologically, behind a veil of lies and brutality for the crime of being different. While the United States has practiced eugenics on Americans and ethnic cleansing on the natives, for now, it is not.

                  I am emotional on the subject because some are looking for a the savior, the strongman to save them. Understandable when tens of millions are malnourished, even when employed, and facing homelessness. People are desperate for something or someone to save them.

                  For now we do not have an FDR, not even an LBJ. Even Richard Nixon and certainly Dwight Eisenhower would be a serious improvement. No, we have our Newsoms, Pelosis, McConnells, and Beidens. Political, emotional, and moral midgets all pretending to be adults like children wearing their parents’ clothing.

                  Meanwhile the Orange Bad Man is probably looking for a way back to Mount Doom. He is a narcissistic twit, but he might yet get his One Ring of Power. If a competent Thulsa Doom ever shows up… I rather fear that even jokingly favorable comparisons to China will help make the idea of Mordor less phantastical. Enough people could become willing to give complete control over their lives to another. Paranoiac of me true, but we are living in interesting times.

          4. Procopius

            China has a very different legal philosophy than “The West.” The Legalist school, which set government policy since Qin Shi Huang unified the country, held that people are basically bad and only fear of punishment, harshly enforced, would keep them from committing crimes (disobeying the Emperor was a crime). People learned to avoid the courts as much as possible, because even the victim of a crime or the plaintiff in a suit could be punished at the whim of judges, to include being beaten in the courtroom. There was an excellent book, The Chinese Looking Glass by a guy named Dennis Bloodworth which describes Chinese culture. Alas, it seems to be out of print. The legal system actually seems to be better under the Communists than it used to be. Also, too, the Chinese are used to living in a totalitarian system. After all, that’s what the Empire was for 2,500 years; only the ruling families changed. Much more civilized than the roving war bands that developed into the European states.

  3. Wukchumni

    A Shock to the PPE System: New Method for Recharging N95 Masks to Meet COVID Demand SciTech Daily

    Guess I had around a dozen N95 masks in my pre-Covid stash (used exclusively when weed-whacking so that grass divots don’t go up my nose) and we’ve been rotating them for months now, but kept one pristine blue N95 for ‘dress’ occasions, which I wore for my pre-op consultations.

    Now, I really shouldn’t have been on the receiving end of compliments from a couple of RN’s on my $2 mask, but they were quite effusive in their praise for my nose & throat gear, and related that they have to wash theirs repeatedly and have been using the same one for about a month now.

    That ain’t right…

    1. CuriosityConcern

      Pre-op? Related to the one sided vision problem you wrote about? Don’t want to be intrusive, but was it fully treatable? Not the problem you mentioned your brother having?

      1. Wukchumni

        It turned out to be several tears on my retina, had surgery this past Thursday and am a most happy couch potato @ present. I should be back normal in 4-6 weeks from now.

        Doctor Wukchumni’s (online expert since late 2020) earlier diagnosis was harmful and i’m considering a lawsuit to stop this trend in knowing it all about stuff you had barely heard of a week prior.

        1. CuriosityConcern

          Good to hear you will recover, sorry to have brought up what are probably tough memories around the holidays. Wasn’t thinking beyond the curiosity.

        2. Jeff W

          Tears on the retina are probably easier to repair than a retinal detachment. It’s great that you’ll be back to normal in 4-6 weeks. (Full recovery following retinal detachments can be a much longer slog.)

          Just generally: when a retina tears, it may release a gray pigment into the vitreous cavity so if you experience something like murky gray dishwater (or a sudden loss of contrast) in your vision, it’s probably good to have it checked out pronto. (I had a retinal tear with a loss of contrast and the gray dishwater effect; it was misdiagnosed—I didn’t know about the gray pigment at the time—and it progressed to a retinal detachment a day later, which was ultimately—and successfully—repaired.)

        3. HotFlash

          Seems you are in good spirits, and may I say, it is an honour and a pleasure to be looked down upon by you. Pip pip, as ambrit might say.

        4. Jeremy Grimm

          I am most glad you could have your eye repaired before its impairment became a more permanent annoyance. “Go carefully” — as they say on Kataan.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “What the Vaccine’s Side Effects Feel Like”

    Nice bit of PR on the part of the Atlantic but I think that there is a major omission. They should be telling people not to drive after having their shot. Most people would have heard about that nurse in Tennessee who was being interviewed after having her jab when she collapsed while live on camera-

    So I was thinking what would have happened if she had been driving home after that jab and went unconscious. Not a good outcome that. I use to be a blood donor once and they use to get you to sit around and have a cuppa after donating blood to make sure there were no immediate problems.

    But now? Who is willing to sit around in a room full of strangers in the middle of a pandemic for half an hour or so? How is that going to be handled? A barman can get into legal trouble for letting a drunk person go driving. Will people giving jabs be legally liable if those people get into a traffic accident? Inquiring minds wish to know.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Reporting says that the corporate liability shield that Bidness and its best friends in the legislature were demanding did NOT make it into the final legislation. Remains to be seen what the various pieces of the thrown-together sausage actually taste like. Cynical me, i suspect that there are a number of ugly sleepers in the text, which of course hardly had any more careful reading than the ACA. “We won.t know what’s in the bill until after we pass it,” you can bet lobbyists had a large hand in drafting.

      I once applied for a job with the former Wisconsin Legislative Executive Counsel (Acronym was OLEC, as I recall.) Even took the Wisconsin bar exam, to get myself qualified for the position. That office was tasked with drafting all legislation desired by the elected representatives. The staff was very careful to advise on all the implications of text language, as best anyone could, with a liberal education and adherence to former liberal tenets, anticipate. It produced some pretty good, populist legislation over the years, and its mission resonated with my own still-starry-eyed belief in the ability of a “system of laws to serve larger human needs. But I ended up pleasing an ex-wife by taking a job with a Big Law Firm in Seattle (another bar exam — sheesh, that made three.)

      Congress has access to similar assistance, , but of course the corporate capture of “our” institutions renders it nugatory — business interests write the laws to suit their pleasure, and their well-bribed legislators just add their imprimatur to “make it all nice and legal, see?”

      And the Wisconsin OLEC got trumped by ALEC and Scott Walker and the fecklessness of the Democratic Party in WI. Hard to beat the people motivated by greed, as opposed to trying to do the right thing against the tide of greed and lust for power. Populists just do not seem to have the drive, and if they develop it, they turn into just more of the worst of us. So the looters and pirates continue to have the upper hand, because they are focused and organized. Like Lewis Powell and John D. Rockefeller and the rest understood.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Citizens just don’t have the same time to fight organizations that can pay full time wages for multiple people and law firms / consultants plus bonuses.

        And the other side is relentless. Citizens win. Other side comes back with a new wrinkle. Citizen win. Other side comes back again but this time they manage a little chip. Plus they’ve pealed off some of citizens. Rinse repeat. Then a new side comes in to attack the same issue but from another seemingly unrelated direction.

        Or they do like Walker & the Wisconsin legislature did, they pass laws revoking the previous laws and all the compromises / negotiations that took years to develop without any real re-negotiation or even publicity until after the fact. Walker didn’t invent the tactic but he used it well.

        1. Arakawa

          I suppose a horrible drinking game would be to read aloud a random page from the COVID bill and take a shot if it has nothing to do with COVID. I tried it minus the actual drinking and with a 5593-sided die courtesy of

          page 3091 describes “Requirements and authorities for Director of Central Intelligence Agency to improve education in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.”
          page 3843 conveys the “Sense of Congress on Arctic Deep Draft Port Development”
          page 2171 talks about loan refinancing — finally COVID related (I assume)
          page 3303 amends the definition of an “Advanced Nuclear Reactor” in Section 951(b)(1) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005
          page 3562 is about emissions reduction — only take a sip out of reverence to the gods of climate change

          That’s three shots and a sip in five pages. It’s maybe unfair to call the omnibus appropriations bill a COVID bill, but the current situation just adds scrutiny to the fact that the legislative process is out of control and routinely relies on voting through a bloated 5000-page meatloaf no one even pretends to have read. (Can’t really call it a sausage anymore.) When they get together and vote on this thing, who in the room actually even knows why the definition of “Advanced Nuclear Reactor” is being amended on page 3303?

    2. Arizona Slim

      Thank you, Rev. And what about the lines people form in order to get these shots? How socially distanced are they?

      1. The Rev Kev

        That only begs the question. If she really had a syndrome that caused low blood pressure and fainting, then why would she have been pushed forward to be one of the first to take the vaccine. And live on camera for the whole nation at that? Her story makes no sense.

        Meanwhile, I see that there are some politicians who have jumped to the head of the vaccine line to get their jab in spite of downplaying the virus the whole year. People like Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. Yeah, Graham is old and thus vulnerable but Rubio is only 49 years old-

        1. verifyfirst

          Quick, what do Rupert Murdoch, AOC and Dr. Sanjay Gupta have in common?

          They all got their shots already. AOC practically sprinted to get hers once she found out she could. I like the response of the House member from South Dakota:

          I think AOC should have said: I will use up a shot for my low-risk self AFTER every EMT, every retail worker, every hospital employee , every nursing home resident in my district has received theirs. I hope she gets a lot of flak for her evident selfishness in this issue.

          I know Lambert wants all the pols to eat their own cooking on this issue, but the House and Senate pols had nothing to do–other than funding–with developing the vaccine, or the individual state’s responses. The people I would like to see eat their own cooking on the vaccine are the execs of the drug companies who are getting exceedingly rich off these vaccines, and also the shareholders of those firms, who will likewise profit nicely.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > practically sprinted

            Needs evidence. I’m betting if she had followed your suggestion, she would have been accused of grandstanding. One could just as well, for example, frame the Republican Senator for moral cowardice and failing to lead by example. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I know a dogpile when I see one. Incidentally, Congress is not a completely safe working environment: “In all, 105 representatives and senators self-quarantined or took other action, or no action, after coming in contact with someone with COVID-19 or testing positive for COVID-19 themselves — some multiple times.”

            1. verifyfirst

              Well, here is what she said:

              “The Covid vaccine became available to members of Congress last night and we are urged to take it as part of a continuity of governance plan so I’m heading on my way there (sic),” Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 31, said…..

              “I was actually surprised by this too — I was expecting that we were going to get it a lot later,” she said, …….

              “But when it comes to Congress’s access, it’s due to something known as ‘continuity of governance’ planning,” she explained. “Basically, there are national security politics on the books to ensure continuity of governance during national emergencies.”


            2. JBird4049

              Sweet, 1/5 of Congress has been exposed. Sounds like the rest of America. So, I guess I can say these bums are not complete hypocrites.

              1. verifyfirst

                I imagine Congresscritters have vastly more control over their work environment than most workers, in terms of who they have to come in contact with and under what circumstances. It would not surprise me if most of their Covid exposures were not at the Capital, but in their home states as they were running for re-election, for example. So how many of their infections were Republicans behaving recklessly is an interesting question. And even within “The Squad” there is difference of opinion–Ilhan Omar says “full stop” Congress people should NOT get vaccinated first…..

        2. Carolinian

          Lindsey just doesn’t want SC to be deprived of his distinguished services.

          I’m trying to secure a place at the back of the line.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        I have this ‘syndrome’. Vasovagal syncope is the formal term for it. Even when lying down I can pass out, pee myself, and mildly convulse after an injection. That’s what happened in 1997 when got one of my HepA vaccinations. In 2003 I managed to get a DT booster without incident. I had it happen after a couple of biopsies, but took myself to the floor before fainting. Blood draws are less dicey, but I need to be prone for them.

        Generally if you wait >20’ after a shot it will not occur. This nurse probably thought she was past the time for it to kick in, but failed to reckon with performance anxiety. It hits extremely fast.

    3. Ahinsa

      To not let people drive after receiving the vaccine just because a single person of the two million vaccinated fainted, will certainly ensure, that no member of the working class can take the vaccine, as this will impose needless economic burden.

  5. zagonostra

    >Jimmy Dore is “Millionaire” don’t trust his motives

    Remember when it was being widely circulated in the MSM during the 2020 Dem campaign that Bernie Sanders owned three houses and was a millionaire? Reading through all the comments yesterday someone who is honest and admits he/she likes the JD proposal mentioned but doesn’t like the “personality” that is JD, mentions in passing, that he is a millionaire.

    Obviously you know that when people are unable to appeal logic, history or the moral force of an argument, they go ad hominem.

    A really good discussion on the JD proposal, where he talks about his motivations (and you can judge for yourself if he is a “grifter” or is like Michael Savage, as some of the Commentariat her suggest, is true, is in a live stream that was recorded at the Grayzone with Aaron Maté and Ben Norton. Good discussion on Venezuela too.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Being a millionaire isn’t what it used to be. Have a small bungalow in a neighborhood that rich people with more money than good sense start eyeing and you’re already half way there.

      An artsy in-law with unregular employment in LA owned one, maybe around 1000 sqft, and I think it was going for around $600K and that was several years ago. Doesn’t do you much good though when it costs even more to move into something else.

    2. Basil Pesto

      His schtick is hate, basically. Makes you wish there had been a longform analysis on the topic by a perceptive media critic. oh.

      (yes, I’m aware of the irony of him being hosted on Useful Idiots)

      A key difference is that Bernie’s 3 houses aren’t really intrinsic to his shtick. I mean, next to the ice cream queen he’s a veritable Warren Buffet. On the other hand, Yves pointed out that on a good day Dore has 1/10 the viewers of Tucker Carlson, which might seem paltry, but when you figure out what people like about your entertainment and pursue it doggedly (righteous anger expressed via rants, which is certainly red meat but ultimately pretty bland as far as comedy goes, imo), then growing your audience to a tenth Carlson with room to grow (the US is, after all, full of justifiably angry people) is pretty canny stuff.

      If the activist wing of that media operation is to paint politicians who seem to be fundamentally (not just relatively) decent as Left Quislings in need of a good purging at all costs, well, I reckon I prefer the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. About as effective, but funny.

      I don’t doubt his sincerity, btw. But if he’s *gasp* wrong then his sincerity isn’t worth a damn, really (idk if he’s wrong, I defer to the commentariat here and follow the discussion with interest. Mostly he annoys me because he isn’t funny despite his go-to “i’m just a dumb widdle comedian” line, and I don’t need him for analysis of USPol because that’s what Lambert is for (with apologies to Lambert for making him sound rather… utilitarian)).

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        If the activist wing of that media operation is to paint politicians who seem to be fundamentally (not just relatively) decent as Left Quislings in need of a good purging at all costs…

        I think that might be called “poisoning the well,” which is a variety of ad hominem.

        You sound triggered.

        1. zagonostra


          “His schtick is hate, basically.” Yes, hate for the duplicity, the mendacity, the cruelty, the immorality of what is the U.S. healthcare system. I assume you don’t much care for Cornel West either. West went on JD”s show and encouraged him not to water-down his rage because of people like you (no disrespect intended).

          “Dore has 1/10 the viewers of Tucker Carlson.” What you were expecting the MSM and corporatist to draw attention to a JD or someone of his ilk that calls them out. It’s amazing that he hasn’t been completely squashed, though that will come in time.

          I understand de gustibus non est disputandum, but not liking his comedy is not what this is about.

          1. JohnnySacks

            Should we just listen to the polite, kind, and diverse pundits of MSNBC and the like? The reason the Dems are such pathetic losers in positions of perpetual defense is that they don’t seem to have any desire to use the same tactics that the right has used to eat their lunch for the past few decades. They’re embarrassing, and their strategy choice is lazy and deliberate. As far as I’m concerned, we need to bring on a wave of Jimmy Dore types to constantly and mercilessly rage against them in a fashion that makes the Tea Party appear sane.

            1. Gulag

              On the other hand–from Caitlin Johnstone:

              “Ultimately their efforts to work within the official political system to implement economic justice fail because that system is set up to preserve economic injustice. It is not ultimately about this or that political faction or any one particular politician, its 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.

              American leftists and progressives will keep crashing into the wall over and over and over again, every time they try to work within the official U.S. political system to ease the crushing poverty and inequality in the wealthiest nation on the earth. 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 would could disrupt the global world order which depends on endless warmongering that benefits zero ordinary Americans.

              Americans will never succeed in fighting economic injustice by appealing to the official U.S. political system, no matter how many charismatic lefty politicians they find and no matter how energized their grassroots compaigns are.”

              1. JBird4049

                Okay, but suggest that the only way to successful reforms is by feeding the Tree of Liberty again.

                The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
                –Thomas Jefferson

                Here’s to hoping that Thomas Jefferson was not too prescient for I rather hope that the reforms needed for are very survival are done without violence or at least bloodshed.

          2. Basil Pesto

            it’s not fair, I don’t think, to say “people like me” when I described JD’s audience (and, therefore, JD himself) as ‘justifiably angry’. That doesn’t really temper my general cynicism, or negate my criticism of JD as a media product. The media dynamics of hate, as criticised in eg Hate, Inc., are still in play. Whether the hate is actually, truly justified in the case of Dore and his viewers but not Maddow or Hannity and theirs is not the point. The question is whether that hate, channelled as it is, is good for the polity, or good for The Jimmy Dore show. I’m not convinced as yet that it’s anything but the latter.

      2. Dan

        I’d like to see straightforward video breakdowns like Jimmy does without his anger or language. I wrote this once before, and I feel even stronger about it now: Many of Jimmy Dore’s videos could be used in a classroom setting – sans the language and celebrity of course – to show how the media and politicians operate. It’s akin to a “Manufacturing Consent” for the modern era, and in many ways it’s better, because it’s for the layperson.

        Personally, I can handle Jimmy, but I understand why he turns so many people off. And I get mad at him because his need for celebrity (which he admits) takes away from the crux of his work, which is urgently necessary now, and which no one else is doing nearly as effectively.

        1. HotFlash

          I’d like to see straightforward video breakdowns like Jimmy does without his anger or language. I wrote this once before, and I feel even stronger about it now: Many of Jimmy Dore’s videos could be used in a classroom setting – sans the language and celebrity of course – to show how the media and politicians operate.

          Excellent idea, Dan. Go for it!

      3. Mark Gisleson

        I’ve probably seen a couple dozen clips of Dore, including a few efforts to actually watch his show. I can’t get past his delivery (and I’m speaking as someone whose factory nickname was a 12-letter word you can’t say on a family blog so this is not about the swears).

        He always ratchets up the volume as he makes his main points, then stares into the camera intensely.

        Limbaugh would pause and do a moment of dead air.

        It’s stock in trade for high-pressure sales folks, demagogues and on-air propagandists.

        I’m not saying Jimmy Dore’s politics mirror Limbaugh’s, but every time I hear Dore, I find myself thinking about Limbaugh.

        1. zagonostra

          What about the substance? Are you so caught up in his delivery/style?

          I’m not saying Jimmy Dore’s politics mirror Limbaugh’s, but every time I hear Dore, I find myself thinking about Limbaugh.

          It doesn’t matter if you preface with “I’m not saying” xyz. You never stated your position on whether you agree with his proposal or not. If Limbaugh came out and advocated for M4A, I’d support him, at least on that specific issue.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Substance means nothing without intelligent action. While Twitter was on fire (thanks to Jimmy), we got crappy stimulus and (just announced by TechDirt) more copyright usury.


            Sorry, I just see a guy stirring the pot while failing to move the ball forward. If he had anything like an actual plan I’d feel differently but until then this seems to be more about his feelings about things and I already have more feelings than I know what to do with.

            1. ArvidMartensen

              Actual plans since Covid. 1. Rent strike. 2. Bring on vote for M4All, using as leverage Nancy’s obsessive desire to remain as Speaker. Because we are like, um, in the middle of a pandemic, and ordinary people are suffering and dying.
              Sound like plans to me. With context.

              An 60s science fiction show, the Twilight Zone, had an episode about alien lizards disguised as human beings replacing the President and members of Congress, FBI etc.
              One actual human being had a seizure and from then on saw the lizards undisguised. He got to out them on tv so that viewers could see the lizards. Great metaphor.

              Jimmy is that tv guy, telling people to see the lizards as they truly are. A bit of hyperbole and swearing is fine, if it means he breaks the hypnotic spell and people get to see that those in power are gradually replaced by the equivalent of alien lizards eg AOC.

              Also, Jimmy gives a run to those brave commentators who shine a light on the “elites” (as they like to be known), and the lies, scams, half-truths and spin they use to grow their power and wealth. So, Jimmy is a public service too.

            2. zagonostra

              So you are conceding there is “substance” to this tactic but not “intelligent action?” I don’t understand. What do you expect from a comedian with a Y-Tube channel?

              “If he had anything like an actual plan?” He has a plan, that’s what stirring the “pot.” Do you not understand the gist of his proposal?

              If I hear what you are saying sub rosa, maybe we should just lay the blame of the “crappy stimulus” on JD instead of those who voted for the CAREs Act.

              I get it that JD is persona non grata for many, but I truely don’t get this dumping on him instead of the weak-kneed progressives politicians to get a spine.

              1. Procopius

                What “substance” does this tactic have? Threatening to withhold your vote is meaningless unless there is an alternative you are willing to accept if the person you’re trying to pressure doesn’t give in. It doesn’t matter how bad the other person is, or that they won’t implement your demand, either. The point is, if TINA, then you’re not scary. I haven’t heard who are other candidates for speaker. And always remember, “If you go at the king, you best not miss.”

            3. The Rev Kev

              At least you have him trying whereas both political parties literally could not care how many Americans are immiserated and left homeless in the streets. I use to think that Dore’s thing was anger but now I don’t. I think that it is outrage. Sheer, unadulterated outrage. Imagine if you could get an average American from the 50s and show him what America has become since his time. I think that you would get the same level of anger and outrage here. Dore is saying that no, it is not our job to go quietly into the night.

          2. Basil Pesto

            What about the substance? Are you so caught up in his delivery/style?

            Well, if we’re discussing Jimmy Dore as a media personality à la Maddow/Limbaugh, which is what I was doing in my post, and which is all that he is, then yes. As I alluded to, I get more and better substance at this very blog and its commentariat. So

            1. Dore has next to no value (to me) as an entertainer, which is what he professes to be

            2. Dore has limited value (to me) as a social critic

            I’m sure I’m not alone in that, and I bring it up to point out that those that feel the same way about him might feel that way not out of a fight-the-power insufficiency, but because of what they consider to be his limitations, however good his shtick makes people feel (in a similar fashion to Maddow and Limbaugh, which is why I brought up Hate, Inc. The commenter who brought up the kindness, politeness, and diversity of MSNBC pundits (a questionable premise in itself) completely missed the point)

        2. Daniel

          That 12 letter word is actually just punctuation for some.
          Can’t resist:
          Man tells his wife that their child’s a genius “He said a word!”
          She says “He’s only 14 months old, what word?”
          “Well, OK, he only said half a word; “Mother…”

    3. HotFlash

      So true! I own a small 2-story house (~1000 sq ft) on a tiny lot in a gentrifying area of Toronto. I bought for low 10’s of thou 40 yrs ago. Neighbours across the street sold their 1 1/2 story cottage two summers ago, it went for a cool million on the first day. House looks about like this, but no acreage, garage, driveway, nuthin. My two-doors-down neighbour greets me while we are taking out our garbage, “Hi, millionaire!”

      1. Geof

        Exactly. Here Vancouver (and many surrounding municipalities), anyone who owns a house outright is a millionnaire. If you owned a house ten years ago, even if you have a large mortgage, you are also well on your way.

        It’s obscene that I know working people who will probably never be able to afford cars, never mind houses. But a lot of people are middle class, and a lot of people – on paper at least – are millionnaires.

      2. Copeland

        Yep, agreed, been there too, but down here in the states, one major medical crisis and poof, gone…completely gone.

      3. Tom Bradford

        Same down here. House prices through the roof (so to speak) with quite ordinary ones topping $NZ1 million in the cities – way beyond reach of young people starting out.

        We – as I’m sure is the same in most places – have the ‘retirement village’ industry latching on to it like vampires. Luxurious villas with just a right to occupy and weekly maintenance charges to cover the lawn-mowing, medical facilities, dementia units and hospice all on site to leech onto the capital released when you pay the final mortgage payment on the family home and retire, all designed to suck it up leaving nothing for the kids to get onto ‘the property ladder’ with.

    4. Aumua

      I don’t know why you’re calling me out here instead of responding to my post in yesterday’s thread. Or maybe I do know, and maybe it’s because there’s no Jimmy Dore link today and we have to go on about Jimmy Dore and his wonderful plan every day now, in every thread. He’s like the new Trump around here. It’s all Jimmy Dore, all day, every day.

      Anyway you put a bunch of words in my mouth here as well, and completely fail to address any of the logic or arguments I did make in my post, to instead zero in on my closing jab at Dore’s net worth as if that was my whole point. This is not good faith discussion my dude, and I don’t feel much need to defend positions I wasn’t even taking in the first place.

      1. zagonostra

        Below is what you said in part, full link included.

        I make no apologies for being zealous when it comes to M4A. I know it irks you when you see I have multiple posts. You, and those who try intimate that JD is some sort of Limbaugh or Michael Savage, get my goat. I try to stay on topic and leave the ad hominums out.

        As for responding to your post, I’m glad that you support JD’s initiative even though you dislike him, that is more than some are able to countenance. And, I look forward to being corrected and set straight when I veer off topic.

        I think Jimmy Dore likes to be right…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. witters

        Aumua feels JD is asking our representatives to ‘risk everything’, at least ‘a lot,’ and that’s unfair on them.

  6. Wukchumni

    I heard Nancy wanted to give out gelato exclusively in the relief deal, but said vaccine had to be delivered below 32 degrees, and hell would freeze over before she did anything for the American people.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Back in the punk era a friend bought some opium and we all gathered round excitedly to try some.

          It was immediately obvious to all of us but the buyer that we were smoking opium-scented incense.

          I think about that everytime I see the word “hopium.”

          1. crittermom

            Your comment brought back memories…

            Same thing happened at the first annual Goose Lake Pop Festival (1970) in Michigan I attended with friends. Someone hopped on our converted school bus excited to share what he thought was opium, only to be quite upset when we informed him it was incense.

            So that was still going around in the punk era? Wow.

    1. polecat

      She’s too busy giving more than just ‘gelato’ to her donors, to place much worry on any perceived frigidity .. as it pertains to us’ans who reside in LowerMokestan!

      600 squatloos – What a Deal! .. as she sings along with Mitch.

  7. GramSci

    re: Xi Jinping and “Engineers of the Soul”

    Be sure to also read Tim Clissold’s comment on traditional Chinese socialism.

    1. dftbs

      I really found this analysis wanting for coherency. It’s even broken at the anecdotal level: Mao is at once such a voracious reader that two thirds of his bed is covered in books; but he doesn’t have the patience to “wade” through ML analysis. The past Sino-Soviet split was ideological, the present Sino-Russian reconciliation is practical. Doesn’t this belie the claim that Xi is motivated by ideology?

      Western analysts grasp for different costumes to which to throw on China, dynastic imperial, Stalinist totalitarian, all the while they ignore the elephant in the room: materially beneficial. However they wish to classify the Chinese system, the truth is that it has done in 70 years what the West never could (and continues to fail at), eradicated absolute poverty for its people.

      Analysts/journalists/propagandists like John Garnaut would be better served by some critical introspection upon our own society. Perhaps, where they see China trapped in an embryo of dynastic-Stalinsim, they would see a West drowning in malignant individualism. Where values such as “human rights” are neutered from material reality and wielded in contradiction to their meanings. Where liberal values can only be exercised as consumer choices.

      Our reaction to Chinese ascendancy does more to define us, than it does them. We are happy to let our people die of plague and starve, while we send our youth off to sail in billion dollar obsolete war machines, just to let the other guys know who is boss.

      1. Lee

        When I was a kid I was encouraged to clean my plate because kids in China were starving. And back then it was true. Nowadays I read in the news that 1 in 4 kids in America are food insecure malnourished.

        I feel more imperiled by our own elites than I do the latest iteration of Yellow Peril panic. My main gripe against China is their part in labor arbitrage. But kudos to them for using it to raise their people’s standard of living. Wall Street and concomitant U.S. policy, OTOH, have used outsourcing to immiserate their own working class.

      2. WillyBgood

        The last two paragraphs sum up the gist, which I read as “The challenge for us” . . blah, blah, blah is ” preserving the integrity of our democratic system”. Obviously these quotes are taken out of context but that’s how I read it, and laughed out loud.

        1. Kouros

          At least Australia has mandatory voting and some form of proportional electoral system…

          Nevertheless, the caliber of politicians and governments they manage to put together, especially on the right, make series like ‘Rake” and “Dreamland” fact based documentaries…

      3. Josef K

        I can tell you from pretty extensive experience in China that the situation is much more nuanced than the 16 shades of grey analyses presented here, here being Western commentary, long-form or in conversations on websites like this one.

        To be sure, hundreds of millions of people were pulled out of abject poverty by China’s decades-long economic boom. No small part of that was intentional, but an equal or greater factor was a rising tide raises all ships, as well as some dinghies. Also, the baseline this is measured from was very, very low, and the mismanagement prior to Deng as obviously so as could be.

        There are an astounding number of Chinese people who have just gobs of money–they opened a factory selling the right widgets (popular widgets that sold by the millions or billions); or a relative did that. When you’re the factory for the world, a lot of people will make money. Maybe they then went on to open a bank or other financial shop. Or they worked in finance–I was told of people skimming 100s of millions that way.

        However, the vast majority of Chinese people are still struggling greatly, or are working poor who have to watch every yuan. China’s Gini coefficient is pretty high, I find it interesting this is rarely pointed out by Westerners looking at it with rose-hued glasses while training a laser-like glare at this country’s shortcomings (which are many).

        The other factor, also rarely addressed except in a general way about “freedom” and the lack thereof, is the oppressiveness of living in a political system like mainland China, lacking the rule of law. Dan Harris’s view on this comes through clearly in his dispatches and his choice of topics. Having crossed the Shenzhen/Hong Kong boder countless times from the ’80s on, there’s an ineffable feeling of lower pressure on the psyche when crossing that border into HK; in the other direction, a subtle pall seems to have descended on one’s view, even before the accosting by unliscenced drivers, SIM sellers, and other vaguely unsavory hucksters begins, IOW within a second or two of exiting Shenzhen station. One could say freedom does have a smell (as much as I loathe to refer to Ronnie Raygun in any positive way).

        There’s a reason Hong Kongers (mostly) protested so forcefully against further integration into mainland China. I think proximity to a populace that doesn’t even desire to “breathe fresh air” anymore, now that their cages have double-glazed windows and HEPA filters on the aircon, gives them insight we can only lack.

        It’s my own over-simplification to say so, but the praising of the CCP in contrast to our (yes very) corrupt political class is akin to Stalin whitewashers in the ’30s. Corruption in mainland China is on a scale commensurate with the size of their cities, bridges, and that large stone wall. IMO China at this juncture has managed to retain, or return to, the worst of Maoism-Leninism politically, while creating a uniquely dystopic state-managed yet ultra-capitalistic economy that rewards self-dealing and corruption. A number of the Chinese people I knew personally while there were aghast at what’s developed over the last 10-15 years, never mind the last few.

        One could add in a toxic nationalism that’s even worse than here in the US, that’s quite an achievement, though this is not so apparent, of course, from within China, unless you’re not Chinese and, I expect, speak the language so you can hear their thoughts (including when they think you can’t understand).

        1. pasha

          Josef K
          thank you for sharing your insights. there must be many facets to a culture of nearly 1.5 billion people, of a complexity difficult to comprehend for citizens of a country less than a quarter its size.

          it does seem that everyone i know who has lived or worked there has a slightly different take

          1. Josef K

            What I wrote is not my complete “take” or view of China, it was weighted towards some problematic aspects of a large and complex society, not by any means the whole picture, or again my whole view of it, that would be a great oversimplification.

            I do think the particular historical circumstances of its more recent history are relevant, but again it’s a complex picture.

      4. Tom Stone

        I believe “Ford” class Aircraft carriers cost $8 Billion Dollars.
        And don’t work.
        There are major problems with the Propulsion system, the catapults and the elevators used to move airplanes to and from the flight deck.
        There’s also the not so small fact that supercarriers have been obsolete since the Falklands war.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “AOC Said “Sex Work Is Work” in Response to New York Post Hit Piece on a Paramedic With an OnlyFans”

    Reporters: ‘AOC! AOC! Can you comment on the movement to force a medicare for all vote on the floor of the House?’

    AOC: ‘Look! Over there! Sex Workers!’

    1. Wukchumni

      Politics is just barely the world’s 2nd oldest occupation, and if you are a fancier of the art, the Donkey Show always puts on a good act where in lieu of performance art, it turns out their true strength lies in money laundering donations, premature hijackulation if you will.

    2. a different chris

      Oh yeah, Dore is just brilliant. Sigh:

      Dore has argued that there’s an urgent imperative to demand a floor vote now. “In two years,” he says, “the Democrats are going to get wiped out in the House. They will lose their majority and their speakership.” As such, this is the only time the Squad can force a Democratic speaker to hold such a vote. “If it loses,” he’s argued, “we can put a marker down” and identify those who vote against it, so voters will punish them in the future….. Once everyone was forced to put their cards on the table, “no” voters would “be forced to justify their position to primary challengers in 2022.”

      So vote for Medicare-for-All which can’t possibly happen in 2 years even if it passed which he expects it won’t, have a bunch of left challengers maybe win the primaries to then get routed by Rethugs per Dore’s own prediction . Rethugs that will repeal even the pathetic ACA and leave the country with nothing but $100million healthcare executives.

      And then Pelosi et al can say “see left ideas will never, ever win”.

      WTF. Let Dore run for office if he has such great ideas. See how that goes.

      1. tegnost

        I for one welcome their demise. What part of dissing your base do you not understand? Also, the dems in the current duopoly are really, historically speaking, as in compared to reagan, are at best centrist republicans who use the current power dynamic to squelch the left. I’m fine with repealing the ACA, it’s just a necessary incremental step to destroying the status quo. Remember, the ACA was really designed to control the insurance cost to those who can use it., on the backs of those who can’t. Let them eat gelato.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I do not get this insane need to shield the democrat party from any tiny “challenge,” real or imagined, by those it has abused, betrayed and exploited for decades–otherwise known as the democrat “constituency.”

          Gotta be Stockholm Syndrome. I can’t think of any other explanation.

        2. Mikel

          The UBI idea (in the USA) is really nothing more than a way to subsidize the private health insurance industry in an era of disappearing jobs.
          It’s the only reason you hear some of the establishment pondering the idea.

      2. taunger

        Thanks you. Even this back of the envelope analysis is more than I have seen, even on this site, in the arguments re dore proposal. I don’t see how it helps win. Maybe others can educate me, but this seems to be a left circular squad forming, and not a good one.

        1. Mikel

          There’s already a circular firing squad: the elected officials and their big donors surrounding the pleebs.

      3. grayslady

        It took John Moss ten years of constantly bringing up bills for the Freedom of Information Act before he gained enough legislative support that LBJ was forced to sign the bill. The Dems haven’t even started the battle. Jimmy Dore is correct. This is Politics 101. Demand something for your vote and then keep demanding it. The forces arrayed against M4A are powerful and wealthy. Time to use some guerilla warfare and spark the public discussion.

      4. Dan

        We’d still be trying to pass the Civil Rights Act with this attitude. And that’s just one example among many.

      5. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        Biden as the heralded Obama Admin part 3 will be like the reverse of the old adage:
        “first time farce. second time a tragedy”

    3. The Historian

      You should have read the article. It is about a NY medic being shamed by the NY Post because she needed a second job to make ends meet.

      And yes, AOC is right, sex work is work. If you are a laborer, does it matter which part of your body you use? You are still getting screwed.

      1. cocomaan

        I mean, the NY Post doing something offensive is like a cow farting in the wind.

        There’s a lot bigger things to worry about than a rag publishing something obtuse.

        1. The Historian

          It may not matter much to you but apparently it went viral in NY. Kudos to AOC for defending this medic!

          1. cocomaan

            I’m sure it went viral among the Twitterati. And I’m sure they felt strongly about it. But the point still stands that getting bogged down in commentary on what the NY Post is doing is a waste of time when there’s seriously awful things going on for families in her district.

      2. Eclair

        “If you are a laborer, does it matter which part of your body you use? You are still getting screwed.”

        OMG! Amen, Historian!

    4. Darthbobber

      On a symbolic m4a vote at this time, what I see is hardly a “movement”, but a fraction of public figures within a movement disagreeing over tactics. And while I understand Dore and cos. view of the matter, I don’t find it particularly compelling.

      I’m also inclined to doubt that reporters are exactly camped outside of AOC’s door with this question at the top of their agenda.

        1. Darthbobber

          I think that if their advice were followed it would produce no ground gained what so ever. Battle of the Somme redux.

          1. HotFlash

            Easy there, Darth. AOC and The Squad aren’t going to die. She and the other progressives won’t really be risking much, maybe come committee assignments that they are not going to get anyway. I like the idea because 1.) it would put the Dem mafia on notice that progressive congresscritters don’t need them, they need the voters (what a concept!) 2.) it would show that the proggies mean business (if indeed they do), and 3.) that secret or voice votes for House Speaker or M4A or *anything* don’t cut it. More than that, the voters could see whether their ‘critter is willing to put their *public* vote where there mouth is. The mid-terms are coming up actually rather soon, and it takes a while to find and fund candidates who are *actually* on record as for M4A. Which 80% or so the the voters/population (not sure which) are in favour of. Might just prevent a sweeping-out of Dems?

            This is feet, being held to the fire. High time for it, too.

      1. Aumua

        I’m pretty sure there was no such actual exchange between AOC and reporters. It’s just a little story for us to get mad about. A “what if” scenario, if you will. Because God forbid that AOC talk about anything besides Jimmy Dore’s wonderful plan to use her and her cohorts as a dagger for Pelosi. She (and all of us, apparently) is only allowed to talk about that now, or be smeared as a fraud.

  9. LaRuse

    Re: Brix travelling
    I am tired of being scolded by people making the same difficult decisions we are. The family travel thing is extraordinarily complex.
    We will have Christmas eve dinner at my Mother in Law’s house, even though it has considerable risk. Why? She is 81, survived COVID over the summer, and thinks she is immune now and even if she isn’t, she doesn’t care anymore. She declared recently that she would “rather die” than not go to church and see her few remaining friends. I hate to say it, but she is also selfish enough not to be concerned about exposing the rest of us. Despite her experience, there is an unreality about COVID to her.
    Because of her age and lung damage from COVID, her longevity is questionable and my husband deeply feels it could be her last Christmas. He lost his dad to COVID and sincerely feels that the risk is worth spending a few hours with his remaining family on Christmas eve. I know…the apple and the tree and all that.
    This is not easy. It is fraught with anxiety in our house, but this is the decision we have made. I remind myself that I gamble every time I get behind the wheel of a car, even with precautions such as a seat belt, careful driving, etc. It’s not the same, but it sort of is, just a little bit.

    1. Fireship

      I find the American Death Cult fascinating. The World’s wealthiest country but also the most miserable. All those big houses, big cars and skidoos and yet the highest rates of mental illness in the World. Endless war, a bizarre gun fetish, serial killers, mass shootings, violent cops, deaths of despair… and now deliberately spreading a killer disease. It is like as if the country is subconsciously realizing that the whole American project was one big empty, meaningless waste of time and that the only place left to go is into the abyss. How sad.

      1. Carla

        @Fireship, re: “All those big houses, big cars and skidoos and yet the highest rates of mental illness in the World.”

        It’s important to realize that all those big houses and cars belong to the top ten percent, and yes, those people are stark raving mad. The rich and the PMC.

        Everybody else is going crazy because they’re scrambling, losing their jobs or mom ‘n pop businesses, lacking healthcare or losing what they had, getting foreclosed on or evicted, getting sick without “access” to a healthcare non-system that is collapsing anyway…

        I concur: “the whole American project WAS one big, empty meaningless waste of time.”

        This morning I stumbled across this disgusting web site:

        The firm is headquartered in Chagrin Falls, a rich suburb located just inside the lines of the one of the poorest counties in Ohio: Cuyahoga.

        Talk about a perfect item to go under the Guillotine Watch heading…

        1. Phacops

          Holy (family blog)! That kickemoutquick is one of the most disgusting things I have seen in a long time. I have frequently opined that America has become cruelty and this has not disuaded me from that view.

          Even as I remain comfortably able to stay safe in my rural area and are not insecure (especially with a freezer full of fresh venison) I am well aware that a full 30% of my neighbors in the county do not have adequate resources to afford the necessities of life (the ALICE project; Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), and I have family struggling and am in a state of anxiety about helping them. It appears that our legal system and government are entirely unconcerned about the impact they have on our society. I cannot see how we can maintain a cohererent nation under such stress.

          1. flora

            Market worshipers, neoliberals, claim the market makes everything more efficient, profitable, and therefore better.

            Destroying the finances, jobs, and health of over half the people in the country doesn’t seem all that efficient and better for the country even though it’s profitable for the Capt. Ahabs in the neoliberal thought collective: The U.S.(S.) Pequod.

      2. Keith

        Regarding the mental illness issue, I think for a lot it is people joining a victim fad so they can complain how hard their life is, which is ratified by being able to pop a Rx pill. That being said, the materialistic side does result in many of these usually suburban types wallowing in their pity party. As for the deaths of despair, many of those people have lost hope for a decent life and gainful employment, so might as well go with a smile.

        I read somewhere (here maybe?) that serial killing in on a downslope, along with violent crime as a whole in the US. An interesting thing was one of the reasons listed- internet porn. It seems these actors are able to live out their fantasies by the porn on the internet, and the likelihood of the more and more extreme it has begun.

        There are many people that are happy. There are also many people that choose to live their lives. After a lot of traveling this holiday period, we have decided to use COVID as an excuse to stay home for Xmas. You can live your life in fear, but what good does that do? Death comes in all kinds of ways, and the death rate from COVID is incredibly low. On a personal scale, I have only known one person who got it, got over it and is fine. It was a co-worker in another state I interacted with due to telework. So, I guess that does make me a bit skeptical and one who is concerned that these cures, e.g. rushed vaccines, shutting down small businesses, putting people out of work, is much more worse than the disease.

        1. Carla

          @Keith — re: “serial killing is on a downslope, along with violent crime as a whole in the US.”

          In my city and many, many others, gun violence is sharply up in 2020. Sales of guns and ammunition have skyrocketed. Senseless homicide is rampant, along with homicide for all the usual pathological reasons…

        2. Aumua

          You present a concise list of bullet points that have been circulated in right wing/libertarian circles since this thing started:

          * It’s my choice to live my life however I want.
          * Observing mitigation measures is living in fear.
          * We’re going to die anyways.
          * Death rate of covid is incredibly low.
          * I don’t know anyone who has gotten it, or else suffered any adverse effects.
          * The mitigation measures are what is causing suffering and disruption of people’s lives (not the pandemic itself).
          *It’s all big conspiracy or scam to grab power (from your post below).

          1. Keith

            Well, mitigation in the form a recommending masking is one thing, looking down cities and putting the population under house arrest is another. Another problem is picking winners and losers, namely COVID restrictions focused on destroying small businesses while giving Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot a monopoly is problematic, especially from a liberty standpoint.

            As for the conspiracy comment, there is more value in a person’s actions than there is in a person’s words.

            1. jsn

              House arrest? Really?

              This country no longer has that operational capability.

              Robbing people of their income? That it can and does do. Both parties agree that’s how to control the mob: starving in isolation.

    2. Arizona Slim

      My heart goes out to you. The last of my close relatives died last year. (Miss you, Mom!)

      Many have been the times when I have said that it’s better than they died when they did. If they were still alive, it would be living hell for all of us.

      1. Phacops

        I concur and feel sad at the stress many families have had to suffer!

        Lost my mom to a severe stroke in June. Luckily a friend of the family had sheltered and looked after her from March until then. Traveling to take care of her was immensely stressful on all the family but we came together over this. That in itself was comforting. We were able to give her the comfort she desired of dying in her home rather in the hospital. Most of the share that I receive from the sale of her home will go those friends who are struggling.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      At some point, if it isn’t already the case, it’s going to seep into the public consciousness that those in power, who are pushing these lockdown measures but not following them themselves, don’t really believe their own hype.

      I’m nowhere near as concerned about Birx setting and “example” as I am about her risking near certain disability or death by covid for her family and two geographic communities plus the white house “to deal with the winterization of the property before a potential sale,” an imperative she’d been “too busy” to handle before the holiday.

      What does she know that she’s not telling the rest of the country? How is it possible that real estate transactions are even a consideration given the alarm bells she’s been hysterically ringing for nearly a year now?

      1. Keith

        Those are my thoughts. The people in charge with the most access to the info, including medical types, ignoring the dictates being issued. If they are in the know and don’t bother acquiescing, why should I put my life on hold for over year? It is probably not as bad as the media hypes it to be, and the credibility of the media as whole is a whole other topic.

        1. barefoot charley

          Things haven’t much changed since Boccaccio. The poor die, the rich evacuate, sending their help into the street to shop for them, and the rich will avoid their kitchens. It’s a simple fact that the Birxes of the world are far more insulated from covid or Black Death exposure than the little people whom they order about. So they make their decisions from a different factual basis than they describe for the majority. In that light, I completely understand the ‘selfishness’ of the mother at the top of this thread. Risks are as relative as justice. And avoiding risk many months on end grinds the soul.

    4. Lee

      My adult son, who lives with me, has been agonizing over whether or not to have Christmas dinner with his mom and her next lucky guy current husband. Much to my relief, he just now informed me that he would not be joining them. We are having quite the Covid spike here in CA and it didn’t take much of an argument to convince her that at this point anyone might be a vector and that it would be a dirty rotten shame to drop dead with a possible endpoint to the pandemic in sight.

  10. Richard H Caldwell

    RE: Kansas City Star.
    Impressed, I am, and gratified by the story of reflection and realization. To encourage other news outlets to do the same, I think the proper incentive is to take out a subscription. Added benefit — an ongoing window into the world ourside NYC and DC.

    Perha;ps a campaign is in order?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “For the First Time, a Woman Will Take Command of an Aircraft Carrier”

    I’m not sure that the fighter jocks will be happy if Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt gets command of a carrier. No, no, not because she is a woman. The Navy has several hundred women pilots and this year took in their first black female tactical jet pilot. No, the reason is that her background is helicopters, not jets. I’m not sure how well that may go down. All pilots are not the same when you get down to it.

    As an example, one fighter jock said that the motto of his squadron was ‘We can beat any man in any land for any amount that he can count’ and got a shock when after landing at a base of transport pilots, found a motto on the wall saying ‘The difficult we approach with caution. The impossible we do not do at all.’ He thought at first it was a joke until he realized that it was dusty with age. So it will be interesting to see how Bauernschmidt fares if she gets the job. She may be a good pilot but will she be regarded as an aviator?

        1. ambrit

          You are both wrong, it will be Herr Fritz “Klammer” Todt. F-35 production is slated to be moved to the Auschwitz Aeronautical Assembly Area. Reportedly, the move there is based on what is being described as “insanely cheap labour.”

    1. GF

      Other options for watching the event – weather permitting.

      This one is located at Exeter University in Devon UK and starts broadcasting at 11:15 AM Eastern time today. The closest approach will be approximately 11:45 AM Eastern time:

      YouTube Channel:

      This one will be later today starting at 7:00 PM Eastern time from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff AZ:

      YouTube Channel:

    2. polecat

      I’m hoping the current Pacific FireHose looses enough pressure for a decent show of tonight’s celestial event, here in the far PNW.

      Keeping fingers in the crossed position.

      Oh, and a fine winter solstice to all!

    3. ewmayer

      I’ve been watching the ever-closer pairing on my evening walks the past month, caught them in my little scope last couple nights, but they set behind the nearby hill by 6pm so 30-45mins after sunset is probably best time to catch them. Jupiter is the bright one, if you put it at the center of an imaginary watch dial Saturn was at 12 o’clock yesterday, fainter and less than a third-lunar diameter away. In my little scope 2 nights ago Saturn was about the same (apparent) distance as the outermost of the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter – should also be nicely viewable in a decent pair of binoculars. Very cool sight and an interesting way to mark the shortest day of the year.

      If cloudy where you are, don’t worry! They’ll simply be moving slowly apart over the coming weeks, should remain – guesstimating – within around 1 lunar diameter’s apparent separation thru end of of the year.

  12. Alternate Delegate

    The AP article on the COVid relief bill mentioned “surprise billing relief” in passing, without offering details, but I did not see any statement as to whether this does or does not include the “corporate liability shield” sought by McConnell.

    I was hoping for more information on those two critical points.

      1. Susan the other

        If we had universal health care, single payer, a liability shield for negligent corporations would be a non-starter because the medical side of the damages of their malfeasance would be paid for by the government (all of us, each for the other) and corporations would have long since been forced to meet a standard of corporate care and responsibility that would minimize the harm done. Either that or they would be put out of business.

    1. neo-realist

      The corporate liability shield was dropped, from what I understand. Aid to cities and states also dropped in late night compromising.

    2. Alternate Delegate

      Neither the Guardian nor CNN is telling me whether McConnell got his corporate liability shield. I would love it if that got dropped, but I haven’t been able to find anything about it.

      I suppose I’m gauche for asking and I should just assume of course McConnell got what he wanted?

      CNN did give me a couple of important facts:

      “The bill would extend until January 31 the eviction protection set to expire at the end of the year.”

      “The final deal does not contain any direct aid to state and local governments”

      And CNN gets credit for giving me some actual details on the Surprise Medical Billing provisions:

      “All the efforts have protected patients, who would pay the same amount they would have if the providers were in-network. But who covers the rest of the tab is in dispute.”

      “Out-of-network providers would be prohibited from billing a patient for the balance unless they provided notice of their network status and an estimate of charges 72 hours in advance, and the patient consents to receiving out-of-network care.”

      “Insurers and providers would resolve the remaining bill through negotiation or an independent dispute resolution process.”

  13. Mikel

    RE: “Tesla’s rise made 2020 the year the U.S. auto industry went electric” Reuters

    Software with glitches, hackable, and inappropriate times for updates.

    Just an aside:
    One of the feelings getting behind the wheel of a car, one that made it so entertwined with culture, was that feeling of control.
    The feeling one gets these days about the software used, no matter how deftly, is a felling like being at the mercy of.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here’s my knock against the Tesla car line:

      It’s boring!

      I’ve seen quite a number of them in Tucson, and they don’t stand out amidst the hordes of Nissans and Toyotas. They just don’t.

      Besides, if I were ever to buy a car, I think I’d want to purchase one from a company that knows how to manufacture. Say what you want about the Big Three, but they do have some experience in this area.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Manufacturing???? So ten minutes ago. Now it’s always about the “software.”

        Read a story several weeks back, maybe here, maybe ZH, that new Teslas were being delivered with bits of dust and human hair embedded in the exterior paint. Somehow people have managed to convince themselves that that level of attention to “detail” was immaterial to the function of that huge, expensive, computer-controlled hunk of nuts and bolts formerly known as a “car.”

        1. Carolinian

          Durability and build quality is so last century. When your car firmware goes out of date (or you plow into a highway barrier) you’ll need a new Tesla anyway. The rich people who buy these cars can throw them away like tissue.

          1. JWP

            It’s increasingly not just the rich. Those buying their first car are also seeking to buy a tesla, especially the model 3. It’s on trend and no one seems to care whether or not it will take control of itself and crash into another car or if the manufacturing is shotty, it’s “cool.” Not a good sign the next wave of working class is being trained to buy products with short lifespans and too much tech. I can’t wait for the “Amazon Home” where entire houses and neighborhoods become commercial products for tech companies/

      2. DJG

        AZ: I don’t own a car anymore, but I do use a car-sharing service. The last car that I owned was a Honda Civic, which held up for 21 years. Easy to drive. Zippiest gas pedal in the business. Great sight lines. Accessible dashboard and light stalk. Also: Easy and cheap to maintain and repair. (I *did* use a legendary mechanic, though.)

        Every time, I choose a Honda for a car-share, I get into the car and think to myself: Damn, these people know how to design a car.

        1. curlydan

          I like Hondas a lot and loved my 93 Civic that I easily put 200K miles on. The main annoyance with Hondas is that they’re loud which is annoying on long car trips.

      3. Robert Hahl

        “It’s boring!”

        Two years ago at an airport car rental desk the clerk said, What do you want to drive? And I said, a Tesla. He shook his head apologetically, because he knew I wasn’t kidding.

        This is fun, about a guy who bought and restored one after it was flooded.

        Why Rich Benoit Works on Teslas | Joe Rogan

      4. Pelham

        And what about battery recycling? That’s one gigantic pile of toxic mess that’s like to be left once the batteries need replacing.

        I’m rooting for Carbon Engineering, which has a technology that draws carbon out of the atmosphere and turns it into any kind of liquid fuel — ideal for my beloved international combustion engines. The current cost is about $4 a gallon, but with scale that could come down. Four bucks is a lot but perhaps tolerable for net-zero transportation (assuming CE’s plants are all powered by sustainable energy sources). And the federal government could step in with subsidies, just as it’s doing for EVs.

    2. Glen

      I’ve just bought a new truck, and was concerned about all the connectivity BS embedded into today’s vehicles -I don’t want any of it.

      So I am happy to report that at least 2020 Ford F-150 configured as an extreme low end work truck has none of it. No embedded SIM card to send data to Ford, no smartphone linking, no voice commands, no cameras all over the place (except backup camera so your tailgate costs a fortune – remember to keep it locked or it will get stolen).

      I’m sure it’s recording data that can be downloaded when connected to an analyzer, but that’s been required for thirty years so that’s nothing new.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Tesla’s Elon Musk asks about converting ‘large transactions’ to bitcoin”

    Maybe Musk should do other stuff before playing around with things like Bitcoin. Like paying his bills first. Tesla had to stop construction at its Berlin Gigafactory a coupla days ago after he failed to pay a €100 million security deposit in time. And back in October, the Germans shut off the water supply to this same construction site after he didn’t pay his water bill-

    Was he waiting for a local politician to come forward with a bag of taxpayer’s money to bail him out lest that factory not go ahead? I’m not sure if Germany works that way.

  15. Tom Stone

    I was thinking about corruption and Wolf’s WTF chart of the year came to mind.
    Making Tesla part of the S&;P 500 is jaw droppingly corrupt, there is no correlation between Tesla’s stock price and any conceivable economic value of the Company.
    I also took a look at the wine list at the French Laundry with that $600 payment in mind.
    Champagnes up to $8,600 per bottle, reds to $15,000 per bottle.
    There were 12 people at that table, how many bottles of wine?
    Let’s say you are a successful and well established lobbyist with deep connections to the California Medical Association , you’ve been making out like a Bandit during the pandemic and it’s your BIRTHDAY!
    And of course, it’s also an opportunity to market your services by demonstrating your connections.
    Having Gavin Newsome seated between the head lobbyist for the CMA and his chief assistant was a nice touch.
    And of course it was a business expense, just took at the guest list if you don’t believe me…

    1. Mikel

      Economists and bankers are tripping over themselves trying to come up with justifications for laughably high priced stocks. Priced for a higher growth future that only exists in their imagination.
      And at the end of the day, the reasons they come up with are only to distract from the bad business models, high-debt, lack of profit, and over dependence on financial engineering of so many companies.
      But now they know it’s like the Asch Conformity Study….people will deny the evidence before their eyes if everybody around them repeats the same lies.

      So now this is the greatest sucker bubble ever and they are now just wanting to see how high they can cash out on some greater fools.
      Can you imagine sitting there on stocks and all you have to do is turn up the propaganda on the news (for older people) and the memes online (for younger people), have the middle-man market makers bid it up too…and just wait to sell out on (dunk on) some fools?

    2. Mummichog

      “I also took a look at the wine list at the French Laundry with that $600 payment in mind. Champagnes up to $8,600 per bottle, reds to $15,000 per bottle.”

      You should watch SOUR GRAPES available at your local Torrent Dealer. About a big wine counterfeiter. Very enlightening. I am currently listening to an audiobook on Olive Oil Fraud called Extra Virginity.

      As Powell, Mnuchin et al dole out the Treasury to the crooks, they must seek new fields for Fraud and Profit. The ever expanding crime, fraud wave.

      Another big one is Art. Provenance is bought and sold in this racket. Just like those Bonds and MBS on the Street. Same “business” model!

      Anyway, maybe stick to Ripple for your next bit of grape! True and reliable.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “China’s stunning export comeback has factories scrambling for workers”

    Remember when there were politicians that were chortling at the virus running rampant in China and screwing up Chinese production? They thought that this effect would last years and give them a chance to reconfigure their own production lines to pick up the shortfall – to China’s cost. It was only several months ago this. Good times.

  17. Wukchumni

    I’ve oft mentioned my over the hill group of skiers who ply their traits on the slopes of the High Sierra, and we’re from 57 to 71 in age-everybody has 40-50 years of experience resort skiing, and a typical trip to Mammoth has 6 to 8 of us squeezed in cheek by jowl in a circa 1971 rental condo 100 yards from the Eagle chairlift.

    It’s how you do it on the cheap, as we make all of our meals in the condo & brown bag lunches with us when skiing.

    A typical day on the slopes (we all have season passes) lodging, food & booze runs about $100. Last year the price for a walk-up daily pass was $189, to give you an idea how bare bones we do it, and it has been the best skiing of my life as we all compliment one another in ability and ski almost as a team of sorts, as we’ll get off a lift, somebody will say lets do Patrolmens and meet at chair 12, and within a few minutes of one another we’ll meet at the bottom of the lift, only to repeat this Skisaphus task all day, its what we do.

    I was the only one who didn’t buy a season pass this year, as I figured i’d wait it out, there was ample time to get one.

    Our first planned trip is to Lake Tahoe on January 10th, exactly a few weeks after xmas, and that ain’t no bueno, and aside from a husband & wife component who swing right politically and are skeptical that Covid is anything other than a bad flu, nobody else wants to go.

    And so it goes.

  18. Darthbobber

    Looks like they “covered” the $600 stimulus checks by reducing the duration of the unemployment boost from 16 weeks to 11. Ho Ho Ho.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Looks like a great performative bill.

      Hardly surprising given last March’s CARES Act. Yes, there were pieces which helped greatly for many real peoples, but gosh the giveaway was huge in comparison.

      So with CARES $250 – $360 billion cash payments depending on which site one accesses. Cut to $125 – 180 billion. Still not nearly enough. Wonder if that “money” is coming from the expiring CARES Act as opposed to newly created fiat.

      Anyone remember the COBRA help and the 99 weeks of unemployment insurance, 2% fica payroll tax reduction from 2010? Of course we “paid for” that with by letting the Bush Tax cuts expire. Oh, wait, they didn’t expire. We must have “paid for” that with all that foam on the financial runway. Wait… wait. paid for paid for. My definitions are all so very wrong. /sarc yeah, I really got nothing here.

      Just shows what their priorities are and how hollow their rhetoric is. The Great global empire reordering continues.

    1. Randy G

      lyman…a… blob —
      Thank you for the recommendation. Just saw Briahna Joy Gray for the first time on the Jimmy Dore show a week ago, and she was very articulate and charming. (Of course Jimmy beat her to a bloody pulp with a spiked baseball bat… you know, because… he’s all about hate and ‘circular firing squads’ and all that stuff that might cause dyspepsia at a liberal’s brunch. Nah, he didn’t.)

      Definitely watch the Riley interview tonight.

  19. William Hunter Duncan

    Clearly Congress thinks rent is only like $50/mnth for most people, health care is like $17/mnth, a vehicle is like $14/mnth and food is about $3 per person per week.

    Yer good until Spring, you filthy animals…

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I can see the gold domes of Moscow from my position…

      Come Spring…once the mud and ice recedes, perhaps we can get the supply lines restarted for the offensive. If we just economize, use our check wisely, hold the line. Give up no ground.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        To restore the Stuarts? But we already have a budding aristocracy, weaponizing gender and critical race theory to entrench their Socialism for the Rich and cutthroat Capitalism for the masses.

        No divine right of kings in America, or Totalitarian rule by descendants of Stalin, please and thank you.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          I’m the guy at the Cascadia Nominating Convention – in the back row w/the Black Blocs, in Western Washington State, circa 2025, after Tom Cotton has been elected President of the Restored United States of America, who is screwing up the vote count because I keep dropping in an envelope nominating Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern, as the rightful Stuart King and proposed Protector Plenipotentiary, of the Federation of Cascadia.

          Don’t worry, I get voted down repeatedly, and eventually get sent to the front lines against Idaho for ‘reeducation’. I perish in the Omak Offensive of 2026, but I do manage to get the Bunn Smart coffeemaker working again, so there’s that.

          I may have done too much LSD back in college…..

          1. ambrit

            That or not enough. Today’s zeitgeist is very “trippy.”
            How’s about the restoration of the House of Windsor to sovereignty of the United Colonies of North America?

      2. Randy G

        JacobiteInTraining —

        Appreciated the Guderian quip.

        It doesn’t appear the U.S. military Empire is built for a 1000 years of mileage either.

    2. Wukchumni

      Clearly Congress thinks rent is only like $50/mnth for most people, health care is like $17/mnth, a vehicle is like $14/mnth and food is about $3 per person per week.

      In my ongoing Bizarro World comparison of Soviet Union and United States collapses, those costs you mention are about what it cost to live in the Soviet Union, in terms of Rubles that weren’t worth anything hardly outside of the bloc party.

      The trick would’ve been finding a flat, car or reliable food source…

    1. Dirk77

      If people are making recommendations…I came upon this recent podcast interview of Chris Arnade by Michael Matheson Miller (via Ian Welsh): Dignity, which talks about Arnade’s book of the same name. After listening to it, I thought NC certainly must have covered it already, and digging I find Lambert did indeed last year. I found it discussing thoughts that have been circling in my head for awhile now, no doubt influenced by NC. It seems appropriate for the holiday season, so I mention it hear especially.

    1. Wukchumni

      Half a year, half a year,
      Half a year onward,
      All in the valley of debt
      They spent the six hundred.
      “Forward, the Light Brigade!
      Charge for the guns if you still have credit!” he said.
      Into the valley of debt
      They spent the six hundred.

      1. Upwithfiat

        Actually, inexpensive fiat ALLOWS private debt to be paid, for people to remain sheltered, etc.

        And so long as price inflation is not a problem, then endless amounts can be created to keep an economy going.

        Note that the gold worshiping Austrian econs think deflation and misery are the solution.

        Sure you want to be mistaken for one?

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m just hoping to become a 6/10’s Thousandaire, and my potential to grow the economy, which is what makes fiat glorious.

          1. Upwithfiat

            What makes fiat glorious is that it can be created and used ETHICALLY – unlike a scarce shiny metal.

            1. Wukchumni

              These must be heady times for you, the full faith of a fiat accompli, salad days if you will, and waiter-none of those little stale bits of bread, on mine.

        2. farragut

          And so long as price inflation is not a problem, then endless amounts can be created to keep an economy going.

          That is a very BIG if (OK, technically it’s a ‘so long as’ but you get my point). I have yet to see any evidence that .gov can manage fiat creation/distribution (or any program) efficiently, economically, or to the benefit of the 99%.

          1. Upwithfiat

            Well, it doesn’t help that huge amounts are created for the banks and asset owners but that’s a fault of our obsolete, inherently corrupt Gold Standard fiat creation/use and banking models.

            1. Susan the other

              International trade is one of the biggest culprits and always gamed by insiders. They all want a strong currency to protect the spread (aka carry trade) and the “exchange rate.” But if most nations were reasonably autarkic and produced everything they needed except rare earths and maybe some unique luxury items, etc. then every nation would have a balanced economy: jobs and incomes for the required manufacturing. Such a simple balance. We make the blatant mistake of thinking that exo-profits create an “economy”. They just create slow motion negative critical mass for a privateer paradise. As does the practice of externalizing and socializing costs while privatizing profits. How did we get this stupid?

  20. Mikel

    RE: “Why many countries failed at COVID contact-tracing — but some got it right” Nature

    With the fairly systematic reporting of age groups and locations, where is the systematic reporting of cases and deaths with occupations listed?
    Wouldn’t need names for even the consistent publication of occupations along with ages to give people more information about how to keep themselves safe.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Why many countries failed at COVID contact-tracing — but some got it right”

    Maybe the reason they succeeded is that they were not wealthy. As this was the case, they used the simple tools that were available to them which included contact-tracing. They did not put that on hold while they were pouring money and resources into a you-beaut mobile app. They weren’t fudging their responses while they waited for a vaccine to bail them out. From what I have seen, poorer societies can have stronger communal bonds which would have made the job of the contact-tracers easier. I am beginning to actually wonder if the reason that the west has handled this virus so poorly is to large part because we thought that it was just a matter of throwing our wealth and resources at this pandemic to make it go away.

    1. K.k.

      I hope you will humor a bit of long response.
      This is something that has been bothering me for a bit. The only thing that makes sense to me is that in places such as the u.s and the u.k the responsible authorities understood well enough just what we were dealing with back in January.
      My current interpretation of events is that the relevant authorities by mid January in u.s understood the virus was already in the country as the illness and the small number of fatalities were occurring in the u.s in December and were being absorbed into flu and pneumonia statistics. I’m hoping that some of the physicians that offer their much appreciated and invaluable insights on this site can chime in . If you all recall we were being told aggressively to get ready for a severe flu season. Add to this how for months there was constant talk about vaping related pneumonia in the news.
      My question is if the virus as we understand it now was likely in the u.s (see link below) in November but in very small numbers, how easy would it have been for it to have been missed by the the entirety of our medical system and the system in place with the cdc to catch a viral outbreak? How easy would it have been for our overworked and exhausted physicians , nurses, and medical staff around the country to see someone with flu like symptoms and immediately ask if they were vaping , and if not, chalk it down to the aggressive flu season and send them home. And what is the likelihood that potentially dozens of fatalities from the virus were occurring weekly in November and December and were being coded as cardiac arrest, flu, pneumonia, etc.? From my understanding flu tests are not administered routinely , instead a physician typically looks at the symptoms, please correct me if this is incorrect. I have also included a link below to cdc to all case mortality, flu, and pneumonia statistics by week. Please take a look at excess deaths in November and December (2019)and compare to previous years. With the exception of 2018, which was an extreme flu season, the numbers are quite high. Now I’m not all proposing those 1 to 2 thousand excess deaths weekly were from covid in the u.s, that would be absurd. Rather I’m raising the question of weather potentially dozens of fatalities in the u.s weekly in November and December could be overlooked all the while a less virulent strain of the virus was spreading without filling up icu’s till the new strain hit new york from Italy in march forcing the hands of ny politicians thanks to the teachers union to finally shut the city down.

      As the npr link from 3 weeks ago points out the blood samples taken by red cross show antibodies from sar-cov2 in over 100 samples from around only 7,000 they tested from 9 different states. A number of these samples with the antibodies were collected around mid December. As we now know the incubation period, this would mean the virus was certainly circulating in the population in the u.s in November in at least 9 states. How many mores samples does the red cross have? Going how far back in time? Are they being tested? How sound is this science ? It seems to be much more conclusive than the studies on sewage samples from Europe.

      To a lay person not blinded by national chauvinism, it seems likely the virus was already circulating in the world and all the systems supposedly in place within the u.s to catch a viral outbreak were a complete failure. And the Chinese , thanks to a single doctor raising the alert, managed to identify and contain it, albeit with their own obvious serious criminal mistakes and attempts to downplay it initially.
      Looking back at the timeline and how different countries responded and the steps they took in January are revealing. The genome of the virus was made public by the Chinese scientists in mid January. Supposedly this was all the information that was needed for Moderna and the rest to get to work on the vaccine immediately and that is the reason we have the vaccine at this point and not several months from now? By the end of January, countries such as Vietnam were sending in military personnel into factories to help produce masks, by mid February they were distributing masks in the countryside. Yet, during this time period it seems to me even though the authorities around the world knew better, we were being told there was no risk unless you were at the seafood market in Wuhan. This deception (i don’t use this word lightly) went on for a full 50 days, as they pretended to not know or deemphasize possibility there was human to human transmission. Yet, clearly countries were quietly taking action, i.e. Vietnam, understanding the very real possibility there was human to human transmission. So for the united states to sit on its hands till march and pretend we did know the virus would be transmissible and that it was out in the world makes no sense. As if virus such as this are a new phenomenon and we dont live in truly globalized world with non stop flow of human travel. This inaction was possible with the deception and the intense focus on the “wet market” in Wuhan. January 23, Wuhan, city of 10 million, was sealed off, and the province Hubei went into severe restrictions. Again in truly globalized world where 125 million Chinese citizens travel all over the world, the anemic response (banning travel from china feb 1) from the u.s makes no sense. So we are expected to believe that the relevant authorities along with the powers and resources of the most massive national security surveillance state in history, came to the conclusion we only had just a few dozens cases in January and there was no danger to the u.s.

      Im proposing the countries that took action early knew they could not afford not to.
      Im beginning to think shot callers (bi-partisan affair) decided early on that instead of taking a huge hit to the gdp by attempting to contain and eradicate it they opted for mitigation, by effectively allowing a controlled spread of the virus in the u.s and the u.k in hopes that as it spread through the population it would mutate into a less virulent strain and fizzle out as has occurred with other viral outbreaks in the last 25 years or we could get closer to natural herd immunity (cost hundreds of thousands of lives in u.s) and then close the gap with a vaccine. And in the meantime they would focus on therapeutics and a vaccine.
      This is the only way i can make sense of the supposed bungled response with testing in January and rest of the seemingly bungled response to this pandemic in places such as the u.s and it little junior partner in crime , the u.k.
      Finally i would like to point out that governments around the world are actually quite fragile and afraid of their own people. Can u imagine if China responded in the way u.s has. They would already have a million plus dead, an overwhelmed hospital system and huge segments of the economy reeling from country wide shutdowns instead of the most aggressive measures that were limited to Hubei province. The Chinese population is far more combative than people understand. This could have become an existential threat to the the Chinese state. Whereas in the u.s this whole episode was brilliantly politicized in manner in which much of the population was turned against each other.
      I understand I’m writing this from a place of deep ignorance on these matters and am happy to be set straight.

      1. fwe'theewell

        Seems legit. Obviously I am not qualified to comment on the scientific aspects of your statements, but your actually-very-moderate conclusions make sense to me.

        So we are expected to believe that the relevant authorities along with the powers and resources of the most massive national security surveillance state in history, came to the conclusion we only had just a few dozens cases in January and there was no danger to the u.s. …

        This could have become an existential threat to the the Chinese state. Whereas in the u.s this whole episode was brilliantly politicized in manner in which much of the population was turned against each other.

      2. VietnamVet

        I agree. I self-isolated on February 3. 2020 with the first death in Maryland which was hard to hide. I tend to think that the technocrats are so dependent on their paychecks that they dared not be the messenger of bad news to the Elite. Nothing was done until mid-March when NY hospitals started to fill up. Then it was too late. There was a conscious decision to pass the buck to the 50 states, implement local half ass lockdowns and stop international flights. There were those (like myself) who roughly calculated a death toll in the USA at half a million. It is well on its way towards this number.

        Neoliberal America is so unequal and unjust (funded by vampire capitalism) that restoring a functional public health system with healthcare for all which could eradicate the virus was never considered. Instead the decision makers implemented Operation Warp Speed with billions of dollars for profit making vaccines including Modera’s that was developed with Pentagon funding.

    1. Carolinian

      Your link

      The RT folks may have been shocked out of their skins that a certified “friend” like me could say this, but when they tuned into Euronews this morning they’d have found that my conclusion from this identification of the Russians was right on the money: there will likely be no sanctions against the Russians over this because the overriding message of the hacking, the purpose of the whole exercise, apart from possibly stealing information about the actual numbers of US warheads in inventory to be used in any upcoming START negotiations, was to demonstrate capability of utterly destroying the United States in any war that Washington might be foolish enough to provoke.

      In this sense, it aligns completely with a couple of statements that Putin made in his annual press conference on Thursday which I think not too many people in the West picked up on. First, when asked if it was true that Russia could obliterate the USA in 30 minutes, he said “No, quicker still.” And when asked about the alleged poisoning of Navalny with Novichok by Russian agents, he said ‘if our security offices wanted to kill Navalny, they would have succeeded.”

      Mentioned the other day that I had seen the HBO Chernobyl series which seems dedicated to the proposition of (Soviet) Russian incompetence, all round malevolence and crushing totalitarianism. While it may be true that the Soviets were obsessed with not being shown up by the Americans it seems these days we are the ones obsessed by not being shown up by a “gas station with nukes” (Obama, I think). In the opening scene of the show the lead character says “when everything is lies there’s nothing left but stories.” How true, how true. Will our American elites go the way of the commissars?

      1. farragut

        The US govt should hope Americans don’t Google Russia; they might realize they’ve been lied to.

        Russia is in an enviable position. Ample natural resources, energy rich, Top ten country in GDP PPP metrics, burgeoning R&D, virtually no public debt, growing non-USD central bank reserves, and in what should be a national embarrassment given how much sh!t US leaders talk about Russian, Roscosmos has been lifting US astronauts to the ISS since… 2011.

        1. Michaelmas

          Farragut: Russia is in an enviable position.

          In many ways. In 2019 Russia also supplied 10-13 percent of total world grain exports and 20-23 percent of total wheat exports, which accounted for 80 percent of Russia’s total grain exports.

          The wealth of The World’s Richest Country ™ is meanwhile mostly founded on vastly inflated notional valuations for financial assets and real estate (1,800 sq.ft houses that in the 1960s cost $25 thousand and now cost $1 million, mcmansions, office RE — see Wolf Richter’s post yesterday), with actual wealth-producing U.S. industry moved overseas.

          The 2020s will be interesting times.

          1. JWP

            “The wealth of The World’s Richest Country ™ is meanwhile mostly founded on vastly inflated notional valuations for financial assets and real estate (1,800 sq.ft houses that in the 1960s cost $25 thousand and now cost $1 million, mcmansions,”

            Does this mean our GDP has taken over the role as the main inflationary statistic? I sense the ridiculous valuations of real estate and financial products means inflation only shows up in stock prices and GDP figures and not as the $1,000 loaves of bread people fear. Just as bad in the long run.

    2. farragut

      He makes a sobering point. Let’s hope US leadership understood the implications (assuming this was a legit hack and not some PR stunt to ensure tensions remain high between the two countries). Thx for this.

    3. pjay

      It is an interesting take. But so far, I have seen no evidence presented that Russia was behind the hacking; just assertions from the usual suspects. Further, in contradiction with the early breathless MSM coverage, the breach of SolarWinds apparently did not require massive resources of a nefarious “State actor,” given the company’s ridiculously weak security. So are there any *facts* behind Doctorow’s beliefs here? If not, it’s just another fact-free assertion, even if there is a better message behind it.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Short of catching a foreign agent walk up to a computer to launch an attack — computer attacks should be regarded as either gray [no deliberate spoof of origin] or black [deliberate spoof of origin]. Even the supposed white hack by a foreign agent caught in flagrante can be a ruse since foreign agents can double and spoof allegiances.

      I am skeptical of Doctorow’s suggestion the latest computer attack was a warning shot from the Russians. Without knowing more about the details of the attack I am also skeptical of his argument that the scale implies a government operation. Deciding which government based on (?) coincident sword rattlings and posturings by favorite enemies is dubious at best. The famous Sapphire Worm [aka SQL Slammer] of a couple decades ago “pwned” almost all vulnerable systems on the Internet in what was later estimated to be less than 15 minutes. Later analysis of the attack indicated the attack originated as a single packet fired into the Internet. Some analysts suggested the packet originated-escaped from a computer in Hong Kong, possibly a student project that got away.

      Besides this, the scale of the hack could just as readily indicate that it originated from a criminal organization. The beauty of a large scale attack moving lots of data is how easy it is to hide a lot of little devils in the flack of details. If criminals were behind the attack I doubt they would waste the attack on proving a point and I suspect the US Government may discover and hide the discovery of those devils. The apparent lack of obvious damage from the attack may just that — apparent for now.

      My favorite example of gray propaganda is a 1 Yuan note some Chinese engraver made in 1938 for the Japanese during their occupation of China. [After the notes were in circulation and the Japanese took a closer look at the note, they were unable to locate the Chinese engraver who made the plates for the note.] “Hidden turtles and rude gestures in World War II-era Chinese banknotes”

  22. Count Zero

    “Airlines and other industries are experimenting with digital equivalents of immunity certificates.”

    This could turn into another complete mess. In the UK, those people claiming they had a medical condition that prevented them from wearing a mask could go to the NHS website and print off their own certificate! This was very helpful, I’m sure. But then it wasn’t even necessary because the word came down from on high that nobody was allowed to ask any person not wearing a mask to show their certificate. In other words, you were required to wear a mask — on trains and buses, inside shops and other premises — unless you decided that this requirement did not apply to you.

    This meant that people who were vulnerable on the basis of age or medical condition could not safely travel on public transport or safely use shops. One person’s freedom to not wear a mask deprived other people of the freedom to use public transport. I foresee precisely the same situation in 2021 with vaccinations.

    This is the libertarian utopia I suppose. I can do what I want and (family blog) the rest of you.

  23. Lemmy Caution

    Today marks another big day in the fight against the Covid-19 virus. The first trucks filled with the newly authorized Moderna vaccine left distribution centers yesterday, fanning out to hospitals and clinics across the country. The first administration of the Moderna vaccine could start as early as today in some locations.

    We already know from the Moderna trials that its vaccine is much more likely to trigger adverse reactions than the Pfizer vaccine.

    According to a summary of the Dec. 17th meeting between the FDA and the Advisory Board:

    Documents released Tuesday by the FDA in advance of the meeting showed the Moderna vaccine appeared to be more reactogenic — that is, it was more likely to induce side effects — than the Pfizer vaccine. Nearly 16% of participants in the vaccine arm of Moderna’s Phase 3 clinical trial developed what is known as a grade 3 reaction — severe but not severe enough to be hospitalized.

    However, we also know the Moderna vaccine is very effective, while posing fewer logistical problems than the Pfizer vaccine, so let’s hope the unpleasant surprises are as few as possible. Time will tell — by the end of the week probably – just what kind of issues arise from the vaccine in the general population. Unless things go catastrophically wrong, the vaccines will probably continue to be administered because of the nature of the pandemic.

    As IM Doctor said yesterday in a comment, as he was talking about one of the issues that medical and academic specialists have regarding the fast-track development and testing of the mRNA vaccines:

    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.

    I think he is right – the risk/benefit ratio may very well be skewed toward continuing forward. Two decisions by the FDA about what kind of risks they are willing to have others take gave me the chills when I stumbled across them in the last week or so.

    The first example occurred Dec. 12, right after reports surfaced of two nurses in the UK who had anaphylactic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine. The UK immediately recommended that people with known allergic reactions, even common ones such as allergies to pollen, food, pets, etc, avoid the Pfizer vaccine.

    The FDA decided not to include a warning about allergic reactions, outside of those to the vaccine itself and its components.

    Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said that “1.6% of the population has had a severe allergic reaction to a food or something in the environment.
    “We would really not like to have that many people not be able to receive the vaccine,” he said.

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but the reasoning seems to be not that so few people are allergic that we shouldn’t worry about, but that so many people are allergic we shouldn’t worry about.

    Maybe I’m misreading it, or maybe Marks’ wording wasn’t quite what he meant, so maybe he gets a pass.

    The next example, however, gave me real chills.

    The summary of the FDA’s meeting with the Advisory Board revealed that Moderna officials want to unblind the trial participants and give the placebo group the vaccine. 90 people in the placebo group tested positive for Covid during the trial, several – I think it was 6 or 9 – developed severe Covid and 1 participant died of Covid during the trial.
    The Stat summary includes this paragraph:

    But the FDA and the advisory panel continued to express resistance about offering volunteers the vaccine too soon. Companies have said that they feel an ethical obligation to deliver vaccine to placebo recipients; the FDA and experts at its advisory panel have debated whether this obligation even exists. Instead, they argue, offering vaccine to volunteers receiving placebo limits the quality of the data about the vaccine’s long-term efficacy and side effects.

    Moderna officals even argued that they could modify the trial by keeping it blind, but giving the placebo group their first dose of the real vaccine and the “vaccine” group a placebo shot.

    The FDA and advisory panel were resolute though that the trial continue as designed. In other words, the placebo group will not know if they have received a safe and effective vaccine, and they won’t get one until the follow-up portion of the study concludes as designed.

    Now, if that’s the FDA attitude toward the placebo group – when the safety and efficacy of the Moderna vaccine has already been established to the point that the FDA gave it an emergency authorization – then I think that helps the general public have a better understanding of what kinds of risks/rewards trade-offs might have been explored with respect to the wide release of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

    This is some cold-hearted stuff, but we’re all big boys and girls. I would think that any double-blind study has the same ethical considerations. Are the ethics different in a pandemic? I don’t know.

    But it’s just something to keep in mind as you sift through the official narrative and try to decide what to do about the vaccine.

      1. Michaelmas

        jeremyg wrote: Michaelmas made this comment (about) what mRNA vaccines are designed for

        Eh. Well then, two additional comments —

        [1] I only knew the history of mRNA at Moderna at that point, which was — yes — cancer vaccines. For a fuller account, it turns out some people are still capable of great reporting because STAT has this —

        [2] That said, great reporting as STAT is doing (subscription is $35 monthly, so there’s journalism’s future now Google and Facebook have eaten up 80 percent of its former ad revenues) the graf where the story tries to describe the specifics of how Moderna analyzed the COV19 virus and constructed its vaccine is a bunch of handwaving that suggests someone at STAT didn’t understand the biotechnology.

        Might be the writers, might be the editors rewrote it when the writers gave a more accurate account that the editors couldn’t get their minds around. The point is, this isn’t too surprising. STAT’s primary expertise is as a pharma, life sciences, and medical outlet. And what’s becoming possible with synthetic biology — automated DNA synthesis and sequencing, primarily — is at this point still somewhat orthogonal to traditional medical, Big Pharma, life-science expertise.

        For instance, I went to a conservation biology conference a few years back when someone did a presentation on what synbio-based bioengineering could do for conservation biology. It was fascinating. Some of those conservation biology professors and experts knew less and perhaps had less ability to get their minds around what they were told than the average intelligent man in the streets, precisely because of their existing expertise and orientation.

        Same thing with many of the currently-existing medical establishment right now. This isn’t to say their expertise is invalid, but rather that synbio-based bioengineering often puts them in the position of regular normies. And normies have no idea — mRNA vaccines are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s now possible.

        What is now possible? For a broad overview, see forex —

    1. Cuibono

      curious why the two MRNA trials showed such different results. Not in efficacy but in terms of severe disease?

      1. Lemmy Caution

        From what I understand, the ingredients of the two vaccines and the way they work are very similar, but there are some differences.
        The term they used to describe the Moderna reactions was “grade 3 reactions,” which is a severe reaction that doesn’t require hospitalization.

          1. Lemmy Caution

            There are slight differences in the makeup of the vaccines. Perhaps one of the small differences in the Moderna vaccine is problematic

  24. antidlc

    NIH seeking individuals for study on severe allergic reactions to Pfizer vaccine

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is searching for participants in a study of rare but severe allergic reactions to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

    Daniel Rotrosen, director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post that researchers need people who have a history of severe anaphylaxis.

    “This is not a simple study design,” Rotrosen said. “We expect to be looking at highly allergic individuals. They will be not necessarily so easy to recruit, either. A lot still needs to be done to be sure we have the optimal study design. That said, we’re trying to move as quickly as we can, for obvious reasons.”

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Maybe as a bonus to encourage volunteers, they’ll offer to pay half of the additional medical expenses a little allergic reaction might incur, or maybe burial or cremation benefits?

  25. stedmu

    Every time I see Jimmy Dore and #ForceTheVote I think of Monty Python’s Life of Brian when Judith bursts into the PFJ committee meeting. “It’s happening, Reg! Something’s actually happening, Reg!” Progressives have an opportunity to capture that energy and they’re going to talk themselves out of it.

    Life Of Brian PFJ meeting to take action

  26. Pat

    Yesterday I was discussing the totally inadequate Covid “Relief” bill being debated in Congress.
    Their Pollyannish response was “It’ll get better in January”. Mine was I was sure the guy who has been trying to cut Social Security to pieces for decades was going to recognize and get a bill passed that actually provided real relief to people rather than crumbs as a front for more corporate welfare. They didn’t appreciate my cynicism.

    I don’t know if I will make it through years of brunch. I like a good Eggs Benedict, but I wasn’t able to ignore the continued assault on the American public by both parties before Trump took office. I don’t think the despicable Joe Biden is remotely capable of acknowledging the failures of the American government to consider and protect anyone incapable of throwing a $10,000/plate fundraiser for his entire political life and changing course. Having a D after his name doesn’t mean diddly.

    1. urblintz

      capable of acknowledging? Biden is personally responsible, a 40 year political hack who has spearheaded legislation that directly hurt the working class. everything he touches turns to shit.

  27. Ella

    Off topic but these politicians getting the vaccine on tv? How do we or would we know they are actually being injected with the vaccine? Seems like all optics to me.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Seems like you have trust issues regarding the selfless and noble politicians holding our democracy together against the Corona threat. [/s]

  28. polecat

    Yes, I think you’re onto something there … Ops for Tic(k)$, indeed – sounds like a hellish holiday charity drive. Most Definately a wool puller!.

  29. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Woke Eats Itself, Chapter 397.

    Time magazine cancelled Helen Keller last week, saying she benefited from “white privilege”, like all those others who committed the original sin of being born with that skin tone.

    Keller was:
    A Socialist
    An early supporter of the NAACP
    A suffragette
    An advocate of birth control
    The founder of the ACLU
    Investigated by the FBI because of her extreme left views.

    Nope. Not good enough.

    I can only live in hope that now that this simultaneously highly dangerous and utterly ridiculous mental pathogen is headed to The White House in full force, the only ones remaining standing will be little blobs of quivering ectoplasm. Until The Ectoplasm Liberation Army arrives that is, and we will finally get The Cancelling of the Cancelling.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Isn’t that the only chance these days, lob up a Hail Mary and see if it clears the UniParty Policy and UniThink Tech Censor defenders? Their first try at taking Helen down may not have succeeded but stay tuned. I happen to think some very important and very binary stuff is at stake, like freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of religion, and it’s the Two Minute Warning or the home team goes home

    1. Massinissa

      I read the article just now and I’m not sure that’s what it says.

      “However, to some Black disability rights activists, like Anita Cameron, Helen Keller is not radical at all, “just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person,” and yet another example of history telling the story of privileged white Americans. Critics of Helen Keller cite her writings that reflected the popularity of now-dated eugenics theories and her friendship with one of the movement’s supporters Alexander Graham Bell. The American Foundation for the Blind archivist Helen Selsdon says Keller “moved away from that position.”

      It seems to have been criticizing the criticism of Keller that some other people have had recently. I mean, the name of the article is “Co-Founding the ACLU, Fighting for Labor Rights and Other Helen Keller Accomplishments Students Don’t Learn in School”. Seems like a pretty standard, borderline hagiographic article to me. I don’t think this is actually an anti-Helen Keller piece, or at least, it doesn’t seem that way to me. I see that there’s been an outrage about this piece on some parts of the internet for somehow being anti-Keller, but having read the whole thing, it seems pretty normal-ish gushing about how great she was to me.

  30. Dan S

    RE Pa. misses deadline to spend $108M in rent, mortgage relief from CARES Ac – the GOP-controlled Pa legislature actually sat on $1.5 billion of CARES funds until it was too late to help anyone with utility or other bills. Then they (legally) used the funds to plug the hole in the state budget. So, no new taxes or debt created and everyone pats themselves on the back for not causing any issues with the state budget. Too bad for the hundreds of thousands of folks behind on rent and utility bills. I know there were several bills introduced to get that money to ratepayers or utilities on the ratepayers behalf. The Dems also proposed issuing low interest bonds to fund some stimulus to people behind on bills. All went nowhere. Every state is going to have folks either with their utilities shut off or having a large arrearage on multiple utility bills when the moratoriums expire or are repealed. Frankly I don’t know how most folks aren’t out there rioting in the streets.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am ignorant of details … which is to say I might be talking through my hat. However … I wonder to what extent you should blame your state compared with the blame that should fall on the Congress and ‘their’ [or perhaps more accurately words provided to Congress by outside interests ‘helping’ to draw up the CARES Act — or perhaps even more accurately pushing for the wording carefully crafted and waiting on a shelf for the CARES Act ‘opportunity’]. I have the impression that a lot of the funding ‘bonanza’ in the CARES Act arrived with complex language and rules more than adequate to fluster and demoralize all but the most determined and daring or the best lawyered [well-to-do] applicants.

      I can only imagine the irrational exuberance of the police serving and protecting the Populace may explain how most folks aren’t out there rioting in the streets.

      1. Dan S

        Every state was given a large pot of money that they could use to help residents and small businesses. One allowable use was to help with utility bills. There were several bills sent to committee that would have done that fairly painlessly with state agencies and utilities basically doing the work. Not a heavy lift. One on the order of $125 mil to help with utility bills. SB 1234. Went nowhere. Small business help with all the shutdowns? Outa luck.

Comments are closed.