Links 12/25/2020

Merry Christmas, for those who celebrate it! And regardless, hope you have a relaxed day and get some good grub!

We’re having a cold snap here in Alabama, and even some snow flurries in the area! How about you?

Portugal outrage after Spanish hunters massacre 500 wild animals BBC (resilc).

The Butt Pajamas Will Follow You Forever Gizmodo (dk). I have yet to see this ad and I look at hundreds of sites a day. Hope it stays that way.

The Tasting Menu at the End of the World Eater. Glenn F: “Quite an amazing article about resilience and not giving up in the face of climate change.”

The Army’s New Howitzer Just Hit a Target 43 Miles Away. On the Nose. Popular Mechanics: “But can’t fix the algorithm to deliver Covid vaccine.”

Scientists set a path for field trials of gene drive organisms | PhysOrg. Chuck L: “What could go wrong?”

In exile from the dreamscape aeon


Coronavirus: Hong Kong imposes 21-day COVID-19 quarantine for visitors Al Arabiya


Africa CDC: New virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria Associated Press (J-LS). Yes, folks. Possible third new variant.

New study shows coronavirus capable of entering the brain, has similarities to HIV StudyFinds

What’s Your Risk of Catching COVID? These Tools Help You Find Out Scientific American (Robert M)

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may cause side effects for those with cosmetic facial fillers: FDA Fox

Study investigates effects of COVID-19 vaccine on male fertility Local10. Watch anti-vaxxer make hay with this.


Covid: France rewards frontline immigrant workers with citizenship BBC


Dark days: Experts fear the holidays will fuel the US crisis Associated Press. Resilc: “It amazes me to see the airports full, although 70mil + did vote for Trump, and there are lots of Demozzz flying too.”

U.S. to Require Negative Coronavirus Tests for Airline Passengers From U.K. Wall Street Journal. Both PCR and antigen tests accepted.

US coronavirus death toll could reach 731,000 by April if states ease mandates but up to 45,000 lives could be saved by vaccine rollout, IHME predictions show as a record 120,000 patients face Christmas Day in hospital Daily Mail

Hospital Workers Start to ‘Turn Against Each Other’ to Get Vaccine New York Times

Early access to the coronavirus vaccine sparks lobbying from companies and unions Washington Post

Texas National Guard Sent to Overwhelmed El Paso COVID Morgues

L.A. County records 140 COVID-19 deaths in one day, a new record MSN (J-LS)

Locked-down California runs out of reasons for surprising surge Politico (J-LS)

As temperatures plummet and pandemic rages, homelessness in Michigan poised to explode WSWS

Black Doctor Dies of Covid-19 After Complaining of Racist Treatment New York Times

California man ‘kills fellow Covid patient with oxygen tank’ BBC

Nursing homes face daunting task of getting consent before they give coronavirus vaccines Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Dr Anthony Fauci turns 80 – and even his birthday surprise obeyed Covid rules Guardian

U.S. states enlist medical, nursing students to give out COVID-19 vaccine Reuters (resilc)


House GOP rejects unanimous consent on $2,000 direct payments The Hill

‘Complete clusterf—’: Trump leaves Washington in limbo Politico

Veto Corleone Heisenberg Report (resilc)


The Guardian view on a Brexit deal: relief that leaves a bitter taste Guardian (Kevin W)

This Brexit deal does not bring real sovereignty – whatever Boris Johnson wants you to believe Independent

Britain and the European Union agree on the hardest Brexit Economist

Brexit trade deal: 11 curious and awkward details emerging from the small print Express. Consistent with our 50,000 foot take.

She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One New York Times (UserFriendly)

New Cold War

Russian and Chinese bombers fly joint patrol over Pacific Associated Press

With Hacking, the United States Needs to Stop Playing the Victim New York Times


President Trump Threatens Iran Over Baghdad Embassy Attack Antiwar (resilc)

Iran Unveils Own Oil Tanker In “Goodbye Party” For Trump OilPrice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Dozens sue Amazon’s Ring after camera hack leads to threats and racial slurs Guardian (resilc)

The ACLU Is Suing For More Information About the FBI’s Phone-Hacking Lab Verge

Trump Transition

Inside Trump and Barr’s Last-Minute Killing Spree ProPublica (Dr. Kevin)

Opinion: Trump pardons corrupt lawmakers, but the real scandal is that the capital is still a swamp MarketWatch (resilc)

Blackwater, Iraq and President Trump’s Pardon New York Times. Resilc: “Just to open the door on bombing Iran.”


Biden says he’s ‘unlikely’ to cancel $50,000 in student debt, dispelling notion of leading ‘most progressive’ administration RT (Kevin W)

No, Joe, Don’t Roll out the Red Carpet for Torture Enablers CounterPunch

A perfect end to 2020 for the left Yasha Levine

She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired ProPublica (resilc, Dr. Kevin). Just like CalPERS. PR is more important than stopping incompetence and abuses.

Hyundai purchases the company behind the world’s most famous robots DriveTribe (resilc)

Laptops, Desktop Sales See ‘Renaissance;’ Shortages Won’t Ease Until 2022 Reuters. Maybe Apple will have to reconsider ruining the experience for laptop customers.

We’re Outsourcing Our Self-Awareness to Silicon Valley New Republic (resilc)

XRP Cryptocurrency Crashes Following Announcement of SEC Suit Against Ripple TechCrunch

Facebook Managers Trash Their Own Ad Targeting In Unsealed Remarks Intercept

Is Amazon the next anti-trust target after Alibaba? Asia Times (Kevin W)

Guillotine Watch

Bill Gross’s Playing of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Muted by Judge Bloomberg (Marshall)

Hackers Threaten To Leak Plastic Surgery Pictures BBC

Class Warfare

The Dark History of School Choice Diane Ravitch, New York Review of Books

A ski resort, a dream and greed: How a $350M fraud happened in Vermont’s poorest region Burlington Free Press (David L)

A Hard Look at Rent and Rent Seeking with Michael Hudson & Pepe Escobar YouTube (ca)


Antidote du jour. mgl: “My friend’s pet (possibly rescue) donkey in New Mexico”:

And a bonus from reader Teton Time: “Taken in the National Elk Refuge just adjacent to Jackson Hole”:

And I am very fond of this little ad, which I remember from my childhood. Flora posted it in comments:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Colonel Smithers

    Dear Yves and the team, a big thank you for hosting us and keeping the NC community informed, sane and safe.

    To the NC community, merry Christmas. Joyeux Noel et joyeuse fete.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Philipp Heimberger
    ‘One of Germany’s most prominent economists, Hans-Werner Sinn, warns of hyperinflation’

    Excuse this economic illiterate but I thought that I heard that having hyperinflation in an environment of zero interest rates is not possible. I think that it was in a video with Mark Blyth talking to another economist that I heard it. But I always stand ready to be corrected on facts.

    Cute image of those Barn owls by the way. Their colours certainly make them look very attractive. Puts me in mind of a short video clip of a baby Barn owl that heard thunder for the first time in it’s life- (22 secs)

    1. timbers

      Better to say: There can’t be measurable inflation as long as the U.S. and EU keep doing what they are doing…giving $trillions$ of free money to rich folks. Because what they spend their money on is not part of basket full of deplorable items we deplorables buy and are used to measure officially reported inflation.

      It’s a great con game: Fed eternally worries that it can’t make inflation go up to a normal rate and fears deflation, so it must therefore eternally do what it can to normalize inflation by giving more and more and more free money to rich folk.

      Forever and ever.

      And ever.

      1. Halcyon

        This is what made it click for me: of course there’s inflation when you have monetary policies like QE which tend to favour the wealthiest; inflation for things that rich people buy a lot of. That would be equities, venture capital bubbles, and property. Billionaires aren’t buying a billion loaves of bread: that inflation is never going to “trickle down”.

    2. Massinissa

      You actually are not wrong. That’s why that tweet thread, which was composed of over a dozen tweets, spent alot of time debunking Hans-Werner Sinn’s claims. Sinn is basically fearmongering in order to achieve… something. I don’t know enough about Sinn to know what Sinn’s angle is here. Probably some political objective or another.

      1. RepubAnon

        The “OMG, helping the poor will cause [insert doom of the day here]!” crowd typically think that society’s woes can be solved by returning to a medieval structure of serfs and hereditary nobility. (Us lucky duckies get to be the serfs, the 0.1% are reluctantly called to be the hereditary nobility.)

        They’re not quite so explicit about it – but that’s how their policies work out. Combine the “non-Ivy League graduates need not apply” policy for key jobs with non-compete clauses in employment contracts forbidding people to get jobs with one’s employer’s competitors, and one gets to about the same end result – without tying up capital in owning one’s employees.

        1. Kfish

          John Ruskin reasoned this out in Unto this last: Rich people need other people to work their assets, and you can’t hire someone unless they’re poorer than you and therefore need the money. Therefore, wealth depends on having a steady supply of desparate labour.

      2. Skip Intro

        Weimar is the last refuge of MMT opponents. There should be a corollary to Godwin’s law for this.

        1. Wukchumni

          When I went to Europe a lot in the 1980’s & 90’s, one thing i’d always want procure before going was a brand new bundle of 100 banknotes from the latest hyperinflationary epoch, and there were always plenty of countries going into the drink back then, as so much of the money was physical.

          Ideally you wanted 100x Polish 10,000 Zloty notes for say $12, or some other high face value loser, and they were always seemingly priced the same from $10-15 a hundred.

          Now, where am I going with this?

          Europe was always aces for people watching, and its train stations the perfect venue to plant said banknotes and watch for reaction, which varied greatly. You almost always have time to kill waiting around anyway, make hay!

          Stick one the top of where you put your hand on the escalator going down, and watch at the bottom for highjinx, it never failed. On some of the larger notes (I’m looking at you Bolivia) you could render an almost decent paper airplane out of it, and send the moolah airmail down towards the farmers market.

          Weimar is a lazy person’s hyperinflation, Venezuela is now in its 37th year of it, and what about Israel’s bout?

          1. Duck1

            Oh, let us belittle those who did not win the Anglo-Saxon Empire game with all the pink on the world map. The Indian calico weavers bleaching on the plains after the mechanization in England of production of said fabric, a small price to pay and we think it was worth it.

    3. David

      This kind of thing drives me nuts. I’m not sure what it is about economists, but they seem to think that experience in their discipline entitles them to sound off about anything. Personally, I think economists should have to get a special licence before being allowed to write and speak outside their own speciality. Anyway, it’s Christmas, so I’ll limit myself to a couple of withering comments.

      Sinn appears to believe that “the German people elected Hitler as Chancellor.” No, really. The Dummy’s Guide to the Third Reich would have told him that the Chancellorship was not an elected position. About one third of the German electorate voted for the Nazi Party, (not the same thing) in the November 1932 elections, down from their previous score. Because the Nazis were the largest party, Hitler was offered two Cabinet posts, and held out for Chancellor as one of them, which he got. The Nazis were already in decline and effectively bankrupt, and might well have disappeared as a major political force if Hindenberg and Papen had held their nerves. But they were frightened of the threat from the Left, especially from the powerful Communist Party. Oh that’s interesting isn’t it? Could it have a contemporary relevance?

      Second, the great inflation didn’t result in any increase in the Nazi vote, which jogged along at a pitiable 2-3 per cent for years afterwards, until the effects of the 1929 crash, started to have an effect in Germany, exacerbated by austerity policies. Good heavens, that might have a relevance to today’s world, mightn’t it?

        1. Duck1

          Instead of bagging Russian troops at Tannenberg he bagged the crack smoking untermenschen in Baltimore and similar venues. He has appointed as VP ? (Invoking Godwin’s Law here)

      1. notberlin

        Anyway, it’s Christmas, so I’ll limit myself to a couple of withering comments.

        Anything that follows that line, you know it’s likely to be real.

    4. rhodium

      Definitely not impossible. There are numerous ways to measure money supply, but basically it takes a sustained rapid increase in the money supply combined with (or temporarily just because of) increasing money velocity to get hyperinflation. The govt may be going nuts right now, but they’re not yet pushing at hyperinflation levels. To get money velocity increases, everyone ( and that means poor, middle, and rich) would have to start spending their money much more quickly and thoroughly. The poor and middle already does this to a large extent. Most of the money is going to the rich however. They squat on it or immediately buy “investment” assets which is why unless that changes it is unlikely or impossible to see hyperinflation in consumer products. The inflation will be in so-called assets as the wealth transfer continues. Low interest rates merely eliminate certain asset classes as truly viable, so I say that’s propaganda and has nothing to do with it.

      1. Grant

        That is a massive simplification. You seem to think that inflation, and hyperinflation in particular, is entirely an issue with the amount of money in the economy. Michael Hudson, for one, wouldn’t agree with that at all. Inflation is never just about money creation. It is also connected to goods produced. There are many scenarios you could imagine where the stock of money in the economy actually declines, but inflation explodes if there is a total collapse in the amount of goods and services available to buy. You could see a large increase in they money supply and an even larger increase in the amount of goods to buy, which could result in deflation. If the amount of money in the economy leads to inflation and hyperinflation, how do we explain the Fed creating tons of money after the 1929 crash and deflation setting in? Then there is the fact that private banks, not the state, create most of the money we use. It is possible for the state to increase spending through the Treasury, but for private banks to create less money that more than offsets state money creation.
        The state could create a ton of money, that money could be money that banks use to settle their balances with one another, and that money isn’t supposed to enter the wider economy. The state can create a bunch of money, and it may not circulate the economy for many reasons, maybe it sits in the savings account of Bill Gates, gets used to speculate on derivatives, or maybe leaves the economy via imports. From where I am standing, inflation could increase because of a collapse in the amount of goods available to buy, which seems a possibility given the preciousness of effective demand. Heck, given inequality, it could be theoretically possible for the super rich to buy up most goods, and then sell the goods back to everyone else at a massive markup. That could increase prices too.

        This argument is an argument for the state to do nothing to benefit the poor and working people, per usual. We need for the state to take a far more active role in spending decisions (especially in regards to the environmental crisis) and I personally agree with Ellen Brown, we need public sector banks so that the Fed can distribute money into the real economy without going almost entirely through parasitic private banks. I do think we need to discuss who creates most money (private financial capital) and what the societal impact of that is.

        And I fully agree with Joan Robinson when she said that the true value of a degree in economics is to not be deceived by economists. This is one of the most important economics sites because it does in fact explain many of the fallacies that economists create with their nonsense models. I still don’t understand, for example, how people like Paul Krugman can explain state money creation if they believe in the loanable funds model. But, I don’t teach at an Ivy League school, and so I am sure that I am not smart enough to connect the dots…

        1. Gulag

          The state does appear to be taking a more and more active role, not in spending decisions to benefit the deplorables but in continual political decisions, through the Federal Reserve and Congress, to secure and maintain high rates of return for large private capital players. Just recently (March of 2020) our Federal Reserve through its intervention in the U.S. treasury bond and U.S. corporate bond market was able to stop a flight to safety that put pressure on equities and corporate debt and could have turned into an uncontrollable dash for cash by Hedge funds, mutual corporate bond funds and foreign holders of U.S. treasuries.

          The end result is that raw political power, rather than investment or accumulation is now playing an increasing role is securing acceptable rates of return for capital.

    5. Wukchumni

      In past hyperinflation episodes, there had to be a physical host, initially debased coins and then the all too familiar oddles of banknotes worth about bubkis, but that was then and this invisible is now.

      What does the next incarnation of hyperinflation look like, and in lieu a slow sucking chest wound that allows you have a financial heart attack of sorts and lets you start over fresh, things seem like they’d go right into the crapper from the get-go, not the usual year or 2 of living dangerously with a ticking time bomb of a financial instrument in your midst that every country has experienced, including us twice.

      1. jsn

        Supply shocks:
        Weimar, France occupied the Rheur valley where German industry was based;
        Zimbabwe, govt expropriated ag land and redistributed it to subsistence farmers.

        Growing money supply and shrinking goods supply are both required.

    6. Glen

      Back in the day, economics were called POLITICAL ECONOMICS so that EVERYONE clearly understood that they are PUSHING POLITICAL VIEWS dressed up as the “science of economics”.

      It is COMPLETE BS. Economics is NOT SCIENCE. There are people doing work to more accurately model economies like Steve Keene, Mark Blythe and the MMT people. But the whole Chicago School of Economics, Milton Friedman, Larry Summers, and so on are CON ARTISTS inflicting neo-liberalism on the world. They have WRECKED AMERICA.

      If engineers were as accurate as economists, airplanes would routinely fall out of the sky, bridges would collapse daily, and skyscrapers would blow over in a storm.

      1. Glen

        My apologies for not including Micheal Hudson, Yves Smith, Lambert, and the whole NC crew and commentary into the reality column. They have enlightened me and for that I am grateful.

        Merry Xmas all!

  3. Amfortas the hippie

    howdy, and merry christmas to you all.
    i’ve been avoiding news as best i can for a while…and happy belated Solstice(monday at 4 am central time)
    sunday, lots of beer and noble weed and a world tour of indigenous music…clearing turkey pear from a fenceline and burning it….sun bright and at the lowest angle, watching the smoke in my best Druid interpretation.
    caused everyone to toss a scrap board with MMXX painted on it into the fire…youngest and wife missed fire completely, and i took the iron pitchfork and made sure their offering burned away(scry: they’ll need my help getting past this year) eldest also missed, but thought to take the pitchfork himself, and maneuver the MMXX into the hottest part of the fire(Scry: will be more resilient)
    next morning, more fire, bright, slanted sunlight, and Mozart( and Mushrooms…seeking visions(indeterminate:”the Dark Side clouds Everything!”-Yoda)…
    regardless, days will get longer, sun will get higher…and “This, too, shall pass…”.

    Y’all hang in there.
    and remember to feed someone who’s hungry….because that Jesus guy was a hippie, and that’s what he would do.

    1. John Zelnicker

      @Amfortas the hippie
      December 25, 2020 at 8:18 am

      Thank you for bringing your unique perspective to NC’s Comments. I have always enjoyed and frequently learned valuable insights from your posts.

      I’m still an unreconstructed hippie from the ’70’s, and your stream of consciousness way of writing speaks to me in a powerful way, perhaps due to our similar experiences with mind-altering substances.

      Once upon a time, I hoped to spend most of my life much as you describe yours.

      Ahhh, but we are not completely masters of our destiny.

      Best wishes for the holiday season to you and yours. Stay safe.

      1. ambrit

        Complete agreement with you from this quarter Mr Zelnicker.
        We’re both hippy ‘refugees’ as well. Our histories show the same trajectory as you and amfortas. Needs must, but the ‘inner life’ remains free and open.
        Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!
        Everyone stay safe and vigilant!

    2. DJG

      Amfortas the Hippie: It was bright, cold, and calm here this morning in Chicago, so I took my morning walk, my glasses frosting over only twice. It may be the big blue sky today–or it may be Gramsci’s adage, Pessimism of the intellect, Optimism of the will–but I felt as if the sun had kept its warmth and that I perceived the lengthening by two or three minutes of the daylight hours.

      This put me in mind of the Green Man. Lo and behold, it seems that you are engaging the Green Man.

      Scry: Let the wood offerings burn, and let the great turning of the year continue.

      All the best.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “We’re Outsourcing Our Self-Awareness to Silicon Valley”

    ‘Amazon’s new fitness bracelet, Halo, will tell you how you’re feeling.’

    The development program for this surveillance device encountered some major set-backs and difficulties at first. Virtually every single reading that they got from hundreds of test Halos came back with ‘stern’, ‘discouraged’, ‘restrained and sad’ and ‘afraid, panicked or overwhelmed.’ No matter how many times they adjusted the algorithms, they continued to get back these dark readings and the research team was at its wit’s end. It was only when some bright spark asked just who was wearing these test Halos that they realized that all of them were being tested on Amazon office workers or Amazon Fulfillment Center workers. When tested on students and people off the street, they worked just fine.

      1. Tom Doak

        Just imagine if the mood ring was hooked up to the internet to let it know when you were most vulnerable to their various sales pitches.

  5. Carla

    Here in NE Ohio, it’s been snowing steadily since yesterday afternoon. With blowing and drifting, it’s hard to tell, but I would guess we have about 10″ on the ground now, and it’s forecast to continue all day and into the night.

    It does look very Christmas-y! Warm wishes to all…

    1. petal

      Carla, I am envious of your snow. We got that big storm(21″ at my house) but it’s been raining hard since last night and in the 50s. Only about 1″ left where their aren’t piles. Reckon it’ll be gone by end of the day. Flood and high wind warnings out.
      Happy Christmas!

      1. Tom Stone

        It’s raining (Finally!) here in Sonoma County and the fire season has oficially ended.
        47 degrees at the moment and I decided to stay warm today and bugger the cost.

    2. carl

      We were down in the 30s last night, but the high today in sunny South Texas is expected to reach 70 or so. You have to kind of work at it to get into the holiday spirit when it’s this warm.

    3. ambrit

      We were down in the mid-twenties last night, with a steady, moderate wind blowing. The high today in the mid-forties. The same is predicted for tomorrow, then a warm up.
      One thing not usually encountered here in the NADS is the cost of heating the dwelling. The lower need for heating must be a big reason why living down here is considered the ‘frugal’ way to go. When you are living paycheque to paycheque, an extra hundred dollars on the monthly bills for the extra electricity and natural gas is a big hit.

      1. Carla

        NADS? I’m sorry, ambrit, I don’t recall your location…

        Question: does a greater need for air conditioning cut into that lower cost of living in the summer?

        1. ambrit

          You can do without air conditioning here in the North American Deep South. If you can find shade and any air flow, you can get by. In a northern winter, doing without at least some heating looks to be very problematic. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere blessed with those new fangled conveniences the Industrial Revolution brought us, running water and sewer, then you also have to worry about frozen piping. In many places, that means heated interior spaces.
          I am amenable to correction by commenters living in the “Great White North.”
          Well pardner, you certainly seem to have us by the “short and curlies.”
          As the character says at the end of the original “The Thing From Another World,” “Watch the feet everywhere. Keep looking. Keep watching the feet!”

    4. Tom Bradford

      Here in NZ temps are in the low 20’s c. during the day to a comfortable 10 – 12’c at night, cloudy with occasional light, dust-laying showers and intermittent sunshine.

      Sixteen hours of daylight makes a mockery of Christmas, tho’. Fairy-lights and decorations are pale, naked and sad until long after the kids have gone to bed, the store Santa making promises sure to disappoint is sweating under his red costume, white fur and beard while carols about snow and cotton-wool on shop displays sound and look as farcical as they are.

      “Christmas’ is a thin Christian mask trying to hi-jack Saturnalia and mid-winter celebrations of light beginning to prevail over darkness the world over. Celebrating it in mid-summer is a travesty I’ll have nothing to do with. Instead I Raise a Glass to the promise of returning summer on my wife’s birthday on June 29th.

      Still, happy Saturnalia to all wrapped in winter’s darkness.

      1. Wukchumni

        My memories of xmas on the South Island are all about Russell lupins, extensive many pastel colored fields full of infidels.

  6. Tom Stone

    The article on Alice Stebbin’s firing won’t surprise anyone familiar with the CPUC, it makes CalPers look good…
    PG&E’s pleading guilty to 85 cases of Manslaughter comes to mind…
    Marcie Frost knows how the game is played in Sacramento, clearly Ms Stebbins does not.
    Competence and integrity are NOT desired in such posts, getting along by going along is.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      I read until I was sick. It appears an enormous slush fund and bribery scheme is going to take down a lot of people. Unless the state covers it all up. I would bet that now the worms will turn and the government of California is going to be reduced to cleaning toilets in prison. Until I had to quit reading for the sake of my misguided sense of right and wrong, I saw several CA governmental bodies named that from the appearances of what Stebbins said shows a web greater than anything but the CA government itself. Then again, it could be larger than just the government because it involves everything they regulate as well. The activity reads as an analog to what Yves has discovered about CalPers, only it is government wide and everyone knows.
      If this doesn’t convince a person to get out of the way of the crime engine that is government, nothing will.
      but of course, the FBI won’t investigate, California won’t investigate, the UN won’t investigate.

      1. JBird4049

        I have to share your pessimism the CPUC, including its antecedent organizations, has been corrupt since before the First World War, IIRC, and nothing every changes except for some cosmetic rearranging. For example, renaming the regulatory agencies and shifting some of their responsibilities on the org. chart, but that’s it. Oh, someone might go to prison, and a few resign, but the rest of the weasels remain like termites in the woodwork, slowly eating away the whole thing.

        It would have to take some sustained, organized action on the scale of the Progressive Movement to actually fix it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          You can’t fix the FIX. Corruption you have always with you. Best you can hope for is some dusting of the stalls in the Augean Stable, maybe washing a couple of windows.

  7. CoryP

    Didn’t even need to click on the link to know I’ve seen “The Butt Pajamas” constantly for the past couple weeks. Probably here since I block most other sites’ ads.

    1. Dan

      Yes, it is from Naked Capitalism that I learned about these amazing garments. For some reason all the ads I get served here are for slightly odd ladies’ fashion, though I am neither a lady, nor fashionable!

    2. Paul O

      Yes, I have been getting them, particularly on this site, for the last two weeks. Haven’t given in and bought a pair yet.

  8. Mr Magoo

    Re: Hyundai purchases the company behind the world’s most famous robots

    I thought Boston Dynamics was doing defense contract work? Even if not, how can these companies be allow to be sold to foreign entities?

    1. hunkerdown

      You know how some people make a kid to try to fix a broken relationship? South Korea is open and friendly but finds US relations onerous. The US needs South Korea to share in a valuable, expensive, exclusive commitment with the US to keep the family together and keep the relationship with the DPRK from thawing in ways detrimental to the USA.

  9. km

    Re: Biden. I see that The Grinch has arrived, right on schedule.

    The fun part is watching Team D lackeys and tribalists make excuses for the man. Lord knows they had eight years of Obama for practice.

    1. John Wright

      The difference with Obama was that he did not have much of a prior history, so I would hear supporters suggest (and some still do suggest) that “Obama wants to do the right thing, but the Repubs block him”.

      Libya, prosecuting whistle-blowers, droning people to death, avoiding prosecution of financial crimes and promoting the TPP were actions that the Republicans didn’t force Obama to do.

      Biden has a long prior history, with many people remembering his past actions.

      It appears the hope for America (and the world) is that the diminished capacity version of Joe Biden will be better than his past would indicate.

      Not much to hope for as Joe has surrounded himself with people that will tell him what to do.

      I’ll continue to follow my policy of not listening to speeches, as I avoided Obama’s last 6 years and all 4 years of Trump.

      Praise be to NakedCapitalism for shining light in the dark corners of our so called “government for the people”.

      1. anon in so cal

        Yes, Biden had many priors, including pushing the Iraq war years before GW Bush.

        As head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Biden pressured other Democrats to support the war. Biden knew in advance the WMD story was a lie. Years later, he said he “knew Saddam did not have WMD.” After the war started, Biden lied and said he opposed it.

        UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, knows the full history.

      2. Procopius

        I do remember there was some effort to spread the insight that Obama was not doing what he was doing because he hoped to get support from Republicans. Only a stupid person would believe that the Republicans would ever cooperate with him, and whatever he was, Obama was NOT stupid. It was wonderful cover for him. Obama was pushing the policies that he wanted, and I was grateful to the Tea Partiers for saving us from The Grand Bargain. I think that was something he really wanted, because there was a (possibly apocryphal) story in January 2009 that he hosted a dinner with conservative columnists, and told them that he was sure that “entitlements must be reformed.”

    2. Lost in OR

      “It amazes me to see the airports full, although 70mil + did vote for Trump, and there are lots of Demozzz flying too.”

      And another 75mil voted for Biden. Hard to know who made the worse choice.

        1. DJG

          Arizona Slim: Same here. I voted Green for president and also for some down-ballot races for the metropolitan water reclamation board (a big deal in Chicago, what with the lake, the river, the constant rain).

          No regrets at all.

        2. Aumua

          Yes, I can already tell that my decision not to vote for either one of those a-holes is going to age like fine wine.

        3. Massinissa

          This is the third time I had to put Green at the top of the ticket, though this is the first time I had to write in the Green candidate. They made it to the ballot the last two times.

  10. timbers

    House GOP rejects unanimous consent on $2,000 direct payments The Hill / And Complete cluster Trump leaves Washington in limbo Politico

    Don’t you just love how someone you never heard of can bring Washington to a stand still? As long as it serves the right cause, anyways. Funny how Sanders or Gabbard or someone on the other side of the aisle who might be against war spending aren’t allowed to do that.

    NPR had to interrupt their regularly scheduled Russia bashing to be outraged at the mostest-trashing-the-place-est ever, on his way out, Trump is.

    But NPR did include a topic that was a real winner: Leisure time, how much is enough, how much is too much, is it quality time, does it need to be quality time, is it ok to be thankful you can afford a sandwich and savor it as you chew and swallow it and think of that as quality down time?

    When I was a child, we used to call that poverty and unemployment, not leisure time and wonder if we have too much or too little. Congratulations, NPR. You have hit upon the method to obliterate the concepts of poverty and unemployment form our discourse. Perhaps we can rename the unemployment rate the “Leisure Index” and the poverty level the “Quality Time Level”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      From what I heard, it was a bipartisan effort. The Republicans voted down the increase of payments on the grounds that most Americans would waste it or put it into bad investments. Also, spending money on food & rent is always bad for the economy. The Democrats supported the GOP as they wanted all the pork kept in the bill like building Jordan a great wall, paying down Sudan’s national debt, diversifying the intelligence community or Pakistan gender programs. Predicting now that there is going to be a banquet of consequences for what Washington has done this year or rather, not done.

      1. JBird4049

        As oppose to the “pork” in for the desperate, the hungry, the cold, and the homeless? That’s funny, but I guess the United States Congress doesn’t work for the American people. Just who do they work for? It is like we do not exist, nor suffer want like human beings do, but are like a bad smell instead.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      And why no mention in the media of what is absolutely transparent, that taking the path of unanimous consent was a way to guarantee no $2k checks?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So, setting aside the title of the article which is “House GOP rejects….,” here is a quote from that same article:

      Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who was presiding over the House, shot down the floor requests from Hoyer and Wittman, a move that was expected.

      She said that under House guidelines, legislation can’t be considered by unanimous consent unless there is bipartisan approval from House floor and committee leadership.

      In other words, the whole exercise was, how shall I say this…oh, wait, I know….”performative.”

      1. furies

        Thank you for this, Katniss.

        No bread, but the circus continues unabated~

        and some circuses are better than others, amiright?

    4. marym

      It’s not someone we never heard of in this case. It was three people:

      The House minority leader taking advantage of a speaker’s policy that unanimous consent requires pre-consent by the speaker and the minority and majority leaders

      The speaker not changing the policy.

      The president not bothering till the last minute to pretend to want $2K, and not even pretending to care if the unmployment and eviction protections from the first inadequate bill expire while everyone’s squabbling.

      None of them care whether people are starving or homeless.

      1. timbers

        Interesting. Will pay attention to that as it develops.

        If it turns out something like you suggest, perhaps the United Nations can issue a request for China and Russia to help out these potential moderate rebels with their air forces and conduct a bombing campaign directed forces loyal to the Trump/Biden regimes.

        1. JBird4049

          With apologies to Mr. Belloc, I keep thinking about this little thing when people wonder why American territory has so rarely been attacked directly:

          Whatever happens, we have got
          The Maxim gun, and they have not.

          Just replace the Bomb with Maxim.

      2. anon in so cal

        October 7, Trump asked for a “stand-alone” second stimulus of $1200 per person.

        “More stimulus checks are probably a long shot now, Hoagland said. One key reason: Pelosi and the Democrats are not likely to approve checks with Trump’s name on them right before the election, he said.”

        Oct 17 Trump offered higher than $1.8 trillion GOP had offered Pelosi, who favors a $2.2 trillion plan: Trump: “if you said 2 trillion, if you said 2 trillion-two–many numbers–I’m willing to go higher than that.” Pelosi / Manchin stalled.

      3. neo-realist

        McConnell may care if he wants those two GA senate seats. He supposedly wants them bad, and now he’s in this position where he may have to support a $2K one to help them get elected since those candidates have been taking a beating over the lack of an aid bill.

    5. John Zelnicker

      December 25, 2020 at 9:26 am

      There’s a part of economic theory, rational expectations/maximize utility, that posits that unemployment is the rational choice of individuals who decide that the “utility value” of leisure time is higher than the “utility value” of the employment available to them, considering pay rates and other benefits. Thus, they refuse the employment offer in favor of sitting on the beach contemplating their navels or some such.

      Therefore, any government attempts to reduce unemployment are destined to fail. The only way to change the “rational” decision in favor of leisure is to increase the pay and benefits offered. Employers won’t do that because it would reduce their profits. Besides, there are always those whose “rational” decision will be to accept the employment at the pay level on offer.

      Sadly, these ideas continue to infect orthodox economics, in spite of the fact that anyone with a modicum of common sense will realize that rational expectations theory has no relationship to how actual people think about their choices. (Are your decisions always rational? Mine certainly aren’t. I don’t believe any human is always rational in their decision making.)

      NPR is just promoting, even if indirectly, an easily debunked economic theory that does just what you say, “obliterate[s] the concept of poverty and unemployment…”, and puts the blame for poverty on the impoverished.

      [Family blog] them.

    6. Grant

      Pelosi did unanimous consent because she doesn’t want it to come up for a vote (many in her own party wouldn’t support it, so she is protecting them too). She knew that someone would object, and she knew that it would not then be up for a vote. So, she could “support” it without actually supporting it. Typical Pelosi, typically horrible. She is a huge reason why this bill is so bad. Shame on Democratic voters for voting so many into office just like her.

    7. Rod

      Agreed, watching this sausage being made is toxic to the spirit, as both articles describe.

      NPR had to interrupt their regularly scheduled Russia bashing to be outraged at the mostest-trashing-the-place-est ever, on his way out, Trump is.

      Steady Listener from the late 70’s and past supporter. Been playing a little game with myself trying to guess when–Lede/Mid/Sum– of story they kick the sleeping dog (sincerest apologies to all my furry relatives), and who might double kick.
      Every Day. It is too predictable and as KE would conjure–too performative.
      A twisted version of an Employment Performance Evaluation where Employees know the Metrics?

      When I was a child, we used to call that poverty and unemployment, not leisure time and wonder if we have too much or too little. Congratulations, NPR. You have hit upon the method to obliterate the concepts of poverty and unemployment form our discourse.

      I have never gotten the taste of Poverty out of my mouth, like my Mother could never get the Depression out of hers, and it colors all I eat and all I say–or so say those that love me the closest. It could be worse.

      I have been waiting for the NPR to Lay one off so they can report first hand on something never before experienced–filing and collecting the UI. I bet they invoke the trigger warning to be safe.

      Earlier in the broadcast a NPR reporter discovered– for the first time– that dry ice does not melt( no, really??) And because I’ll double kick on NPR: So, Like, I am really tired of the Hosts repeating their Guests answers–like I wasn’t listening to that answer– for , for, for, like, whatever reason.

    8. Aumua

      I believe the only thing that is going to work is for us to show up at their gates and go “WHAT’S UP? Time to do your jobs now and represent us! Quit screwing around.”

    9. Wukchumni

      Computers may have the Y$2K bug inserted into them, which if activated brings salaries up they were worth on a what it can buy basis in 1970.

  11. Annieb

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from sunny but chilly Colorado. Sending my appreciation to Yves and Lambert, as well as to all the readers for offering thoughtful comments and helping me stay informed and somewhat sane during this stressful year. Wishing a happy new year to all!

  12. Fireship

    > A perfect end to 2020 for the left Yasha Levine

    This should be today’s must read:

    : Turns out that Bernie’s “revolution” was really nothing other than an electoral campaign, after all — and that campaign and all the organizational energy it harnessed dissolved immediately with his candidacy. What did it leave behind? Not much, other than huge platforms for a few top influencers and political operatives who leveraged the Bern into lucrative Patreon and Substack careers.

    Who am I talking about? Well, people like David Sirota, who seems to have taken his official Bernie campaign Substack newsletter and privatized its massive email list post-election for personal profit. Or his comrade Briahna Joy Gray, who just launched a podcast with a Chapo cohost that’s already raking in more than $35,000 a month. Meanwhile, the people whose interests these two Bernie operatives had represented — the millions who gave Bernie a few bucks — are being immiserated more and more. David and Briahna are now on different sides of the Force the Vote fight, arguing endlessly on platforms with multi-tiered subscription offers. And what service do these leftwing influencers provide to the people? As far as I can tell, not much other than distraction and politics-as-entertainment. It’s all very fcking grim. :

    There is no “left” in America, folks. It’s all a big grift. Even Angela Davis has launched a fashion label. Jimi Dore is a grifter, AOC is a grifter, the Chapos are grifters. All grifters, folks. 400 years of grifting since the Jamestown grifters and here we are. Merry Griftmas.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The Army’s New Howitzer Just Hit a Target 43 Miles Away. On the Nose.”

    After reading this article, I hope that the US and the Russians are also paying attention to defenses against drones and loitering munitions. The recent war that Armenia experienced show what happens when you do not-

    1. JTMcPhee

      Thanks for the war porn this holy night. Of course the youtube is packed with US imagery of Hellfire and 30mm cannon damnation, complete with voice-over by Our Troops talking about how you can see the body parts in the air after the explosion, and yukking it up about Christmas (and other holiday) surprises. GIs did not like having ISIS, e.g., zapping them with their own drones, “Hey! No Fair! We are supposed to be the ones doing the blasting, and you are supposed to be the ones getting blown to bits!”

    2. Pelham

      In general, there seems to be a lot of progress on offensive weapons recently (hypersonic cruise missiles and howitzers, for instance) but not much progress on defenses, which also tend to be far, far more costly. Where is this leading?

    3. Polar Socialist

      Russians have lately improved their AU-220M anti-aircraft module with “smart” munitions. The module itself is an improved version of 60s 57mm AA gun for naval use by Burevestnik Co.

      In 2015 or so they designed a module that could be installed on any chassis from PT-76 to BMP-3 and even in the most modern BMPT Terminator, Armata T-15 or Kurganets 25 platforms.

      It’s assumed that experiences, and tests, in Syria led to a new 57mm shell with proximity fuse and apparently at least some laser beam riding capability both needed against small, agile targets. A.k.a. drones.

      The AU-220M module uses only passive sensors (excluding the laser) to keep it ‘hidden’ as long as possible. High muzzle velocity combined with proximity fuses doesn’t give the targeted drone much time to evade.

      There are also stories from Ukraine saying that Ukrainian army can’t really use drones against Donetsk militants, because the militants have received enough EW equipment from Russia to render the drones useless. Somehow I doubt Russia would allow The West to study their best EW stuff this way, though.

      1. km

        The Ukrainian Nazis have used drones from time to time, but I have not seen any recent use

        If latest generation Russian EMF weaponry is anything as good as it’s cracked up to be, it would render about any drone swarm useless.

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      From the “The Army’s New Howitzer Just Hit a Target 43 Miles Away. On the Nose.” link this caught my eye:

      A longer barrel allows expanding gases triggered by the shell powder to act upon the projectile for a greater period of time, increasing velocity.

      In the March 1964, because the Army had been getting flack from Congress Critters about assigning draftees with science degrees to grunt jobs, I was sent to Rock Island Arsenal after basic training and assigned to work in an instrumentation lab. The main project going through RIA at the time was the M105 howitzer, the major design objective of which was to make one ton lighter than its World War II era predecessor, the M1A1 105mm gun, and thus be air-mobile when slung beneath a helicopter. RIA’s part of the project was the recoil mechanism. There was a proving ground on the post which was located at the northeast end of the island. But because the government-owned island then and now is literally in the middle of a metro area of several hundred thousand people, we could do the tests with only by shooting sand-filled (i.e. non-explosive) rounds into a sand pile within a band shell like structure that was no more than 150 feet down range. Furthermore the tube and recoil mechanism were always mounted on a purpose-built concrete pedestal. This was adequate early in the project for stand-alone testing of the RM, but test firing on a carriage and/or with explosive rounds had to be done elsewhere.*
      In the summer of 1965 a complete prototype was shipped to Ft. Sill, OK, the home post of the Artillery arm, for testing in field conditions with live ammunition. It was a sobering site when it arrived back several weeks later. The tube was longitudinally split like a banana someone tried to peel starting in the middle, and the breach block was no longer attached to its back end. Plus the various parts were generously covered with blood stains. The detailed analysis of what happened would be done at RIA.
      The plan had called for test firings throughout the design range, which meant different amounts of propellant would be put into the breach behind the round. All we were told was the accident happened during a test of the maximum range of the gun and the zone 8 propellant charge caused the high-explosive round to detonate half its way out of the tube, and that three of the gun crew were killed and others injured. One of the fatalities was decapitated, probably by the breach block. By the time I was separated from active duty a few months away no word as to the root cause of the premature explosion had trickled down to my humble level.

      I hope this sad memory hasn’t ruined your Merry Christmas celebrations. If so, my apologies.

      * A few hundred yards beyond the sand-pile-in-a-a-band-shell target and 50 or feet higher was the toll booths of the I-74 bridge over the Mississippi. People unfamiliar with the area who happened driving the booths at the moment of a test firing not only would be surprised by the sound of the report but might also feel their car rock a bit from the pressure wave generated by the higher zone charges.

    5. Ander

      From what I’ve been reading (and I am no expert by any means) the US has been innovating in combat against drones. Electronic countermeasures, infantry and pilots trained to look for and respond to drones, communication, and a defense in depth strategy may be key to defeating less advanced drones. How top-tier militaries will adept to more sophisticated drones remains to be seen. Having minimal casualties against ISIS’s commercial drones is a good thing, but totally different from fending off swarms of coordinated UAV’s, or cutting edge military ones.

      Easy to imagine a world where units have flocks of friendly drones circling to identify and kill flocks of enemy recon and suicide drones.

      I think this was posted earlier this week, and it was an interesting read.

  14. Alex morfesis

    Merry Christmas to the not ready for prime time players of the world’s greatest peanut gallery and the troubadours that keep this wonderful Christmas star purring…

    And does anyone know of anyone who has actually ever purchased anything from a farcebook ad ??

    Just asking for an old friend of the fish-baxxxx who is hoping for a post holiday short-fest…

    One can dream…

    1. ambrit

      Curious, I have also never purchased anything from an online ad. Too, I notice that many of the online ads I do see are for items I have already purchased over the internet. (A day late and a bitcoin short.)
      ‘Moderne’ Times.

      1. Oh

        Those ads probably followed you whatever web page to went to!

        One of the evil web sites has sold my e-mail address to the spam ad mailers and I keep getting e-mail for K95 masks, LED lighting, etc. I’ve devised a way to find out who’s selling my e-mail address and they’re going to hear about at customer service!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          so long as i never get popups(i don’t, somehow), i can easily ignore ads on the sidebar for camo miniskirts and all in one mcgyver tools that wouldn’t be caught dead with in my tool box.
          what irks me is the constant phone calls i get about my vehicle warranty…because i’ve never, ever had a new vehicle, let alone one with a warranty.
          how do these people make any money doing this?
          been getting them for going on ten years, now….and often from a local-looking number. We’re a very small community…low population county…so i do reverse look ups, and know immediately that the address listed for these cylon ladies oh so concerned about my vehicle warranty are in actuality pastures, with nothing but cows, or a few goats.
          i often call them back and push a random sequence of numbers and #’s, etc to try to get a human to yell at.
          I think that it’s, rather, like the old Numbers Stations on shortwave.

          1. Procopius

            For what it’s worth, I recently tried switching to Firefox because I heard it was more privacy-enabled. I also installed extensions Privacy Possum and Privacy Badger. I got tired of all the pop-up ads I was getting and returned to Chrome after a week. Very disappointing. I think Firefox worked better on Linux, which I was experimenting with last month (you can install Linux on a bootable 32G USB stick). I’ve never bought anything from a Facebook ad either, and just kind of tune out ads automatically.

    1. GF

      This interview with Michael from Wed. at (Paul Jay’s venture) is also a must read although it is a tad depressing. Michael makes his points very clearly and is easily understandable for the non-economist.

      “And you don’t want to, in principle, make money off crime. But in America we’re privatizing the penal system, the jail system. So you have increasing pressure on government, on governors, to arrest people, put them in jail especially on drug use, where you can employ them at 10 cents an hour. And lease them out to companies as low priced labor. ”

      “And the taxes have been shifted off real estate, off of finance onto labor and industry. So you have America really being unable to revive its industry today. Because how can you create an export industry or even compete with foreigners when you have to pay such high housing costs, such high medical insurance and healthcare costs instead of the government taking over, such high debt service. If you got all of your clothing and food and basic needs for nothing you still couldn’t compete with foreigners because of all of these FIRE sector – finance, insurance and real estate – costs.”

      1. Oh

        “Money made by money should be taxed at the same rate as money made by men.” – George McGovern, Aug 1972

    2. HotFlash

      Yes indeed. Don’t think I have ever had so many dots connected and learned so much in an hour and a half. Gonna check out the Paul Jay interview now. After which, I will probably be too smart for my own good and cause my immed family roll their eyes.

      It will be worth it.

  15. Wildlife Biologist

    To Yves and your entire team –
    Have a blessed and wonderful and hopefully restful Holiday.

    I am a retired wildlife biologist and was in the National Park Service my entire career. I was stationed in the Tetons on multiple occasions. I know the general area where your picture from Teton Time was taken. It is truly a spectacular site to see all those tens of thousands of elk in that valley in feet of snow in the winter. In the summer, it is some of the best wildlife photography on earth.

    I would also say that entire area of our country is a blessed gift from our ancestors. It is a shining example of the ideals of this blog – an economic and political system that actually works for the citizens. Through much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, that entire area of Wyoming was purchased and saved for all time by government officials, and the elite of the time ( especially the Rockefeller family). Had they not done so, the plans were laid out to turn that entire valley into the next Denver or Salt Lake. Instead, it is the wildest place in the Lower 48 – the envy of the world. It has a nickname: “The American Serengeti”. We should all be “merry” when we think about what we can do together.

    To the owners of this blog, and all the amazing commenters who make this the best website on Earth – Have a Blessed Holiday.

    1. Glen

      Dear WB,

      Thank you FOR YOUR SERVICE. Recently, I saw a National Park Service ranger wearing her uniform while she shopped for food, and I was very temped to stop her and say – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. But’ it’s covid and all so…

      But now, I can say THANK YOU for your service. You have spent your career preserving that which is our heritage and may yet save us, from our stupidity, our folly. I did fifteen years serving God and country, protecting my country, but I now know you were looking forward, and seeing further towards what would protect us. THANK YOU!

      Someday our country will know and respect what you have done with the full gratitude of an informed nation.

  16. Lex

    If there were five gorgeous owls snuggling up in my backyard, the problem would not be getting me to go outside. The problem would be getting me to ever come back in. I spent so much time watching a downy woodpecker at the feeder this morning, the cup of hot tea in my hand was stone cold by the time I noticed it again.

    The little guy was very hungry.

  17. Pelham

    I’ll partly agree with Yasha Levine on the importance of building a progressive movement at the local level. But as an MMT’er and a believer in powerful, compelling leaders, I think there’s a good deal to be said about focusing at the national level on the currency issuer. That’s where the money and is. And if there’s not enough of the lubricating stuff to go around at the state and local level, political contests there will amount to rearranging the rubble.

    Incidentally, given the now long-established record of Washington and Wall Street teaming to dismantle flyover, should those of us in this deplored region begin thinking about setting up our own currency and banking system, entirely separate from the dollar?

    1. Massinissa

      I’m not even sure what local governments are even going to be able to do going forward. Tax revenue for a lot of cities and other places are getting completely hammered right now. Alot of them will take quite some time to recover. I’m sure there’s *something* local governments can do to make things somewhat less terrible for people, but local governments have even less money to do that with than they did last year. Most of the power to do that, as you say, is at the national level.

      1. Daryl

        At least in Texas, every local progressive thing (fracking bans, plastic bag bans, any attempt to enforce social distancing) is immediately quashed by the small government party of liberty in charge of the state.

        1. Pelham

          Good point. And it keeps happening, as Lambert would say. I wonder how the so-called liberty party squares this circle.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          aye! about the only time i bother calling my texas lege critters any more is to yell at them for their hypocrisy, regarding their “small government”, and “local control” rhetoric, while they undermine those things at every turn.
          sin verguenza at it’s finest.

          the only redeeming thing about state lege creatures is that they are more easily yelled at than the national bunch.
          find an ear to piss in…it’s fun, too:

          i’ve got all mine in my fone, for easy access.
          i’ve been “On a List” for so long i don’t even worry about it any more.
          Now,I figger if you’re not “On a List”, you’re not doing the Republic Thing right.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              when i was pretty much laid up all the time for six+ years waiting on my hip. i called all those F^%$^*rs all he time…whitehouse right on down to state rep(lives one county over).
              yelling about healthcare, mostly.
              i genuinely suspect that ted cruz’ office actually had my number blocked.
              all my critters are goptea, leaning towards the lunatic side.
              I was rarely polite, and consider them all bad tenured employees whom it is impossible to fire.
              many calls ended with me saying something akin to “f&&king reptile!”
              very cathartic.
              and in a certain sense, that’s what we pay them for.

    2. occasional anonymous

      He’s not wrong about everyone grifting. Sirota at least produces worthwhile reporting. Briahna Joy Gray is the one that really pisses me off. She and the Chapo parasite (sorry, I know they’re liked by our hosts here, but all them are effectively useless with the exception of Amber, who actually goes out into the real world regularly and organizes) are pulling in more money in a month than many people make in an entire year. Just to talk for a few hours a week. That isn’t work.

      What a shameful end to a ‘revolution’.

  18. Brian (another one they call)

    The links today have never been better! I love that some fashion designer has recreated the union suit and left the butt flap off. When I first saw it I suspected it was a new “orgy wear” making the most of convenience and access. These modern folks sure have great ideas eh? Going to have to fancy up butt plugs and other accessories for this new look.
    Purcashing via an internet add; Does anyone really do that? It is the easiest way to have your identity stolen there is. Why would your first look lead to being fleeced. Say, a fleece verion of the butt pajamas may be in my future after all.
    Happy Holidays to all and to all a good grief!

  19. timbers

    Couldn’t help sharing this from Yahoo News:

    Trump Legacy Presidency
    The most improbable of presidents, Donald Trump reshaped the office and shattered its centuries-old norms and traditions while dominating the national discourse like no one before. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    Norman must be very important person in Washington.

  20. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Ha! I seen those Butt Pajama ads. Definitely in my Yahoo email account. And I think on Naked Capitalism!

    Thank you all of you for the incredible work you do here. I would be one of the uniformed masses without you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  21. Montanamaven

    Christmas movie watching. As a kid we always watched “A Christmas Carol” with Alistair Sim. As an adult, I now always watch “Christmas in Connecticut”. By far the best Christmas movie IMHO; about a working girl (in 1945) who pretends to be a Martha Stewart type homemaker who writes a food column for a famous magazine. But then she is asked to host a war hero at her “country farm house” which, of course she doesn’t have and she also doesn’t know how to cook. Barbara Stanwyk stars. A true farce with a lot of heart and a glimpse into WW II America. Another sly indictment of war is the post war movie “It Happened on Fifth Avenue” with squatters living in a 5th Ave Mansion. Also germane for now. There were quite a few post 1945 movies that definitely had a very leftist view of how shabbily the US treated its veterans. And movies like “My Man Godfrey” that showed how awful the Haves were to the Have Nots. Don’t make ’em like they used to. These kind of writers are rare in Hollywood these days. Oliver Stone still plugs along, but he is still swimming upstream.

      1. Carla

        Thanks for these links. NC Links often include items from the excellent World Socialist Web Site ( which is asking for end-of-the-year donations. I am grateful to be reminded and just made a modest contribution.

  22. ShamanicFallout

    I read recently that the British American Tobacco Co received the OK to test a vaccine on people. I don’t know about these things but they describe it as plant-based (tobacco obviously). Apparently it’s stable at room temperature and they can produce it in six weeks. I can’t find much more info on it. Does anyone know anything about this? Were they working on something else and thought “Hey wait, maybe this tech will work for a coronavirus?’ Is it related to those stories we read earlier about tobacco and nicotine being possibly prophylactic? At any rate it seems strange coming out of the source and not the usual ‘Big Pharma

  23. juno mas

    RE: We’re having a cold snap here in Alabama, and even some snow flurries in the area! How about you?

    Many are going to think I’m gloating, but— it will be sunny and 70 degrees this Xmas day, here on the “American Riviera” on the northern arc of the SoCal Bight (Pacific Ocean from Point Conception in the north to San Diego in the south). The ocean temp at my swim beach will be 57 degrees; and I’ll be wriggling into my wetsuit to do a 2K ocean swim in about an hour. Tomorrow will have similar conditions. Sunday night we’re expecting about 1/2″ of rain (overnight) and daytime temp will be ~55 degrees.

    The brightest part of this Christmas Day is the time spent exploring stuff on NC. Merry Christmas to you All.

  24. Wukchumni

    It was figuratively colder than a witch’s tit here, so much that I had 8 ears of yawn furniture draped all over me this nippy Christmas morn.

    Still in the opening innings of my recovery from eye surgery, and I got marching orders to only do 4 hours of looking down a day from my doc. Couldn’t see a plugged nickel held in front of afflicted eye, but in few weeks time the vision will start coming back, the best gift I ever got for xmas, except for maybe that 1972 Schwinn Sting-Ray with banana seat, monkey handlebars & sissy bars, back slick tire-knobby front tire, astride on which I felt certain to be the next Evel Knieval

    It really feels as if i’ve been on a tryout for a couch potato team, and I think I made it…

    Thanks to all that make the NC universe exist, along with all the well-fitted misfit toys & resourcers apprentices in the comment section, and Merry Christmas to all!

    1. skippy

      “1972 Schwinn Sting-Ray with banana seat, monkey handlebars & sissy bars, back slick tire-knobby front tire, astride on which I felt certain to be the next Evel Knievel”

      Was that the one with a 3 speed shifter on the top frame bar – ?????

    2. HotFlash

      “8 ears of yawn furniture draped all over me”

      I put that into the babblefish, which returned, “4 cats”.

  25. Eclair

    RE: Tweet on Human Wine Decanting.

    Please, add a warning label on this one: Content may be distressing.

    I clicked on it, thinking, gosh, this might reveal some possibly unsanitary practices that take place during the production of cheap wines, my drink of choice. Unless someone else is buying.

    Now I have that image of ….. eeuuwww …. you don’t want to know … burned into my brain. Isn’t this type of partying the kind that Caligula or Nero or the effete aristocratic buddies of Marie Antoinette would have indulged in? At least, refile under Guillotine Watch.

    1. Wukchumni

      You of course have no idea when you’re born that bottles of alcohol from your year are considered exemplary compared to others, but I caught a good one, and not to queer the deal, but so did Obama.

      That said, i’m your basic $6 a bottle Malbec drinker…

    2. newcatty

      Merry Christmas and to a peaceful turning of the year. It’s cold and brilliant with sunlight here in central north country AZ. We are hoping for snow in a few daze.

    3. pricklyone

      And no references in PubMed or other sources, per the Infectious Diseases journal from whence it came.(one source, and anecdotal)
      Was hearsay, backed by Urban Dictionary entry. (There’s a reliable source)

      Seems like BS social media fiction, only thing I am distressed about is that it will be repeated until people believe it.
      Really bad attempt at anti-gay propaganda? I dunno.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that’s what i thought, too…like the Gerbil Mania of yore.
        or Jenkem

        similar to the obsession with cannibalism and satanic rites.
        …as well as the “they get abortions for fun!” trope from the 80’s.
        i could prolly roll a fat enough hogleg to properly psychoanalize this sort of nonsense, but why ruin a relatively peaceful day?

        just keep in mind that the folks who are prone to such fantasies about their opposition think that joe biden is currently leading a Chicom insurgency.
        and that hillary is a Communist Mastermind.

        to wit: comment on brietbart story about the nashville rv bomb:”why are liberals so violent?”…answered with references to the Weathermen, 60 years ago.

        mindfuck is very effective.

  26. Ping

    Re: With RNA vaccine, inflammation with cosmetic fillers “revving up” the immune system to go after foreign material in body.

    Can anyone explain how RNA vaccine, which Dr. Hotez– expert talking head and Pfizer CEO predict needed repeated boosters and vaccines, is not “crack for the immune system” leaving it depleted and more susceptible to everything.

    And again, I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I was vaccinated twice in the last 5 years.

    1. Cuibono

      “Can anyone explain how RNA vaccine, which Dr. Hotez– expert talking head and Pfizer CEO predict needed repeated boosters and vaccines, ”
      Link please?

  27. pricklyone

    The Bill Gross story serves to remind us once again why the “masters of the Universe” make huge multiples of the ordinary mortals income. They work so hard! No time at all for foolishness….
    We must have tort reform to discourage frivolous lawsuits against their business interests.
    Gosh, I’m sure glad the adults are winning.

    1. Mummichog

      Just the behaviour one would expect from someone running a company called PIMPCO.
      He should have just sold those annoying neighbours some of those toxic bonds he peddles.

  28. Tomonthebeach

    Betsy DeVos is inarguably the Wicked Witch of the West. Her pushing charter schools and private schools just institutionalizes inequality in so many ways. Research has shown that, by and large, charter schools are not superior to public schools in terms of achievement tests, college admissions, and other measures.

    I attended K-PhD at private schools. My education was similar to what I would have obtained for less at public institutions – with one exception. My Catholic prep school was life-changing partly because we had to pass an aptitude test to get in (motivation to be there), and partly because the priests who taught us made an effort to build a community of boys with a service orientation (caring about other people). It is not surprising that 80% of us wound up retiring from service-oriented careers as doctors, educators, lawyers, mental-health professionals, and clergymen. Our influence on one another created life-long bonds and enabled us to over-achieve as adults. Some of us even went on to become priests like our role models. One of us is now the Cardinal of Washington DC.

  29. Wukchumni

    Sports Desk:

    Just 3 regular season games left in the NFL will the league be flagged for unsportsmanlike infection in the fortnight following today?

    Its been a joy watching a quick study tear up the league, the Rightpaw from Firebaugh-Josh Allen.

    He’s got it all, size-running ability-poise and a cannon for an arm that can hit accurately from what seems like 43 miles away.

  30. Wukchumni

    It was with much caution that Whistling Dick slid back the door of the box-car, for Article 5716, City Ordinances, authorized (perhaps unconstitutionally) arrest on suspicion, and he was familiar of old with this ordinance. So, before climbing out, he surveyed the field with all the care of a good general.

    He saw no change since his last visit to this big, alms-giving, long- suffering city of the South, the cold weather paradise of the tramps. The levee where his freight-car stood was pimpled with dark bulks of merchandise. The breeze reeked with the well-remembered, sickening smell of the old tarpaulins that covered bales and barrels. The dun river slipped along among the shipping with an oily gurgle. Far down toward Chalmette he could see the great bend in the stream outlined by the row of electric lights. Across the river Algiers lay, a long, irregular blot, made darker by the dawn which lightened the sky beyond. An industrious tug or two, coming for some early sailing ship, gave a few appalling toots, that seemed to be the signal for breaking day. The Italian luggers were creeping nearer their landing, laden with early vegetables and shellfish. A vague roar, subterranean in quality, from dray wheels and street cars, began to make itself heard and felt; and the ferryboats, the Mary Anns of water craft, stirred sullenly to their menial morning tasks.

  31. Anne

    “Gene drive organisms”

    In your mouth? Synthetic Biology is the latest wave in genetic engineering, and describes a number of new technologies that are being used to produce compounds that taste, feel, or smell like familiar substances, but don’t actually come from a natural source….the technologies used to create these GMO products, like CRISPR, are largely untested for safety. Though these technologies are being used to alter the DNA of plants and animals, we have very little understanding of the long-term impacts they might have on organisms or ecosystems.”

  32. polar donkey

    The Nashville AT&T building bombing is very strange. Someone wanted to blow up the building with minimal casualties, but why?

    1. ambrit

      Phyl’s first reaction to the news was that the perpetrators had wanted to bomb the Court House building up the street but couldn’t make it that far. Her fallback theory was “false flag” operation.
      My theory is “blowback” in action.
      America has been promoting ‘domestic’ terrorism in far flung climes for years. Now it is “their” turn.

    2. Heruntergekommen Sein

      Location of an internet “backbone”. NashIX, carrier-neutral, open-access peering network, internet exchange point and fiber optic hub at 185 2nd ave in Nashville. Maybe I’m reading too much into the location. There’s also a Hooters on the corner and plenty of available parking.

  33. Wukchumni

    Is it just more sad irony that Boxing Day in the states coincides with the start of evictions, as in pack your boxes and get the f$5& outta here, you got 20 minutes and don’t make me send in the K-9’s.

  34. Mummichog

    The Tasting Menu at the End of the World Eater. Glenn F: “Quite an amazing article about resilience and not giving up in the face of climate change.”:

    “While SingleThread’s $375-per-person dinners and rooms starting at $1,150 a night cater to well-heeled diners from the Bay Area and beyond, the lack of distance between its farm and its tables means that the Connaughtons have a limpid view of the challenges that climate change will pose for virtually every restaurant and its suppliers in the coming decades, a perspective that is at once zoomed in and panoramic.”

    Wonderful to know that there are such people dedicated to exquisitedly feeding the “well-heeled” Elite and their minions. The Elite’s food hedonism should be amply satisfied by these folk doing God’s Work. Hopefully, a well nourished Elite will be better able to prey on the nutritionally deficient remainder of the population so that the Elite may fulfill the destiny of Humanity. Pass the Tenuta Di Capezzana, please.

  35. kareninca

    This pandemic can degrade you as a human. Today I took my dog out for a Christmas day ride here in Silicon Valley. There was a homeless person crossing El Camino who looked pretty bad in one of those mummy outfits with several rolling carts but the main thing was that her face was very swollen (I actually thought it was a man until I heard her voice). So I got turned around and found her at the bus stop and opened my window to pass out cash – that should be fine I figured since we were both masked and it was just my hand sticking out. But in the course of things the tip of my pinky touched her mitten. So I spent the drive home rubbing the tip of my pinky against various surfaces in the car, in case I had been contaminated – by some poor woman, how gross of me to think of another person as a bunch of germs but there I was.

    1. JBird4049

      Don’t blame yourself. You still have compassion despite efforts by others to kill it. Just acknowledge these thoughts and feelings that have been imposed on, or better say infected, you by the whole damn system. A system in which humility, compassion, and empathy has been deemed for fools and chumps.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      please don’t beat yourself up over this.
      (and don’t you carry hand sanitizer around with you everywhere?lol.–i have a little bottle of it that came in a grabbag from a charity thing years ago…local caritas or something. dug it out and refilled it starting in feb. clips to my mojo necklace. makes shopping easier)

      once upon a time, i knew and interacted with quite a crew of homeless folks in austin…mostly veterans with varying degrees of mental illness.
      through no fault of their own, they can be quite nasty. one of the more sane ones would crash on our couch on cold nights. when we learned that he’d brought in lice, he was mortified, but helped us deal with it.
      not his fault…rather, the fault of the civilisation we both share.
      i’m a part of that civilisation, and did my bit at mitigating some tiny part of it’s dysfunction.
      sounds like you did, too.
      that’s a good thing…even if you showed yourself to be a human, too.
      we need more of that.

      1. kareninca

        I take bigger risks; I’m taking food to a shelter this month and I have to touch door knobs and breathe air in a hallway for a minute or two. So I go home and wash my hands and I don’t think much about it. It was because I touched her, and she looked sick. It was not rational; it was not more dangerous than what I do without worrying. I am not a germaphobe by nature at all; quite the opposite. It wasn’t the germs; it was the sick person.

        This is the sort of homeless person you see in Oakland. Not here, at least not until now. Someone who has been homeless for a long time.

    1. 1 Kings

      I thought Viking Econ 101 was slaughter the males, ‘take’ the women, steal the land and then declare “We’re open for business”..
      Wait, that sounds like neo-liberalism.

  36. Offtrail

    Yves and Lambert, I appreciate the personal notes in your postings over the past few days. A warm Merry Christmas to you, and to everyone reading this.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i’ve spoken before about my dad’s experience at nasa, that he only talked about once(part of the coverup)
      because of him, i’ve always had a soft spot for high strangeness(wife and i’s first several dates were watching XFiles on her mom’s couch)
      so when i finally got the intertubes, i went crazy with the grey aliens and cia ops and whatnot(along with loads of foia docs and church committee minutes)
      back then, if i would have entered “cia plan alien invasion”, bibliotopocadyes(sic) would have been on the first return page.
      just a minute ago, that search returned 2 pages of links to the actual CIA.
      (not about ufo’s, btw)
      i remember mention of a “plan” wherein, if the bewildered herd got too uppity, they would project jesus in the sky, and sort of fake the second coming/Childhood’s End(AC Clarke)
      can’t remember the name of the “plan”.(hence the search,lol).
      strange days, indeed.
      “most peculiar, mama”.

      1. jr

        I do remember the outlines of your dad’s story and thanks again for sharing that. I’m certainly not ruling anything out but if it is some intel operation thing they have a wide reach. Strange reports come in from all over the globe, civilian, military, and governmental sources. Other governments have had investigative programs open for years. France stands out.

        I hope the F they are here, according to some reports they know exactly where everyone’s nuclear assets are and they have tampered with the launch systems. Some have interpreted these actions as a message. I would definitely put my money on an alien intelligence being more interested in my long term survival, if only as a curiosity, than the humans with their fingers on the button.

        I look at the skyline out my window sometimes and imagine ships hovering over the city. Why the hell not? Just think how deliciously strange it would be to see them, moving and communicating but utterly different. Worth all of this muddle to see that. But I wonder. If they are waiting for us to grow up as the Israeli space guy says, I’m heartbroken cause that isn’t happening in my lifetime.

  37. VietnamVet

    Happy Holidays NC

    “California runs out of reasons for surge.” My Aunt lived in Napa and then Sausalito and I visited her there so I think I am familiar with CA. I don’t see any difference with WA, OR, VA and MD (states where I have lived) except Jefferson Davis Highway which was renamed since I last drove on it. Instead, I blame neoliberalism and its hidden consequences:

    1) There is vast inequality. I can shelter at home and not jeopardize my 4.8 Substantially elevated John Hopkins COVID-19 Mortality Risk if I go out in public as long as food and goods are resupplied, the electricity and water keep running, my pension is deposited, and I don’t get ill.

    2) Government was intentionally dismantled to increase corporate profits and no longer functions. The 2001/2002 CA electricity crisis was a harbinger of what was coming in 2020. Larry Summers and Harvard Boys are involved throughout.

    3) Living wages were ended to stop inflation and increase profits. Multi-generational families are increasing. California is #2 and Texas #3. Kids and young adults are likely to infect the elderly.

    The dystopian 2020 can only get worse in the New Year unless the New Deal and the national Public Health System are restored. Vaccines alone are a risky gamble to save the future of the USA. The only reason it is being taken is profiteering.

  38. Pat

    I have to admit that off and on today I have been mulling the question of hyperinflation. Oh not the ludicrous idea that giving the people enough money to feed and house themselves in a crisis is going to cause it, but rather after having twisted the system for decades so inflation doesn’t officially exist how will they be able to tell.

    Is there some factor in the measurement system which will trip OMG Inflation!!! signal? Say the cost of pate, for instance. Or will things that haven’t seemed to be counted for years suddenly factor into the calculations. I admit to being perplexed.

    All I know is my rent goes up. My utility costs go up. My transportation costs go up. My food costs fluctuate with the seasons but there is still a general upward trend. My health insurance costs go up. And yet every year I am told that there is little inflation. Seriously, if there were hyperinflation how would they know?

    Tomorrow’s ridiculous question: if the federal budget really is like a household budget what is the equivalent of Chained CPI?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i seem to remember that they exclude both food and fuel from their calculations, so Pate’s price is immaterial.

      i’ve often said that i keep Mario Puzo on the economics shelf in my library, right next to Smith and Marx.
      but i think that southpark nailed it more:

      the rules, metrics and especially the mirrors* of the econ “profession” have been ludicrous and insane for decades, now.
      as well as shamelessly self serving.

      when we were moving to town for a few years, i found a receipt from walmart from 1995, when i first moved here.
      cat food was the most interesting item.
      i’ve since kept that rct. …tucked in the pages of “Wealth of Nations…”, to compare every so often what the CPI, etc say, and what the current cost of catfood is.
      (figuring in changes like bag size, weight, quality(per the Cat, himself), etc—many paths to jiggering numbers)

      (* Mirrors= ability and habit to scrutinise oneself…sorely lacking, even now…witness the exhumation of arthur laffer, peddling the same nonsense, in (i think) The Hill, the other day)

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