Links 12/27/2020

The Tramp’s Last Bow The Wire

15 Surprising Facts About Reindeer TreeHugger

Ephemeral edible: gingerbread monolith appears on San Francisco hilltop, then collapses Guardian (The RevKev)

Christmas in the grip of the Spanish Flu: As shops removed blackout curtains for the first time in four years in 1918, war-weary Britons faced the difficult decision over whether to see family during global pandemic that killed 50million  Daily Mail

22 photos reveal what Christmas looked like around the world in 2020 Business Insider (The Rev Kev)

A Great Deaf Bear London Review of Books

Quantum philosophy: Four ways physics will challenge your reality ScienceX (chuck l)

Ads All Tell Us To Kill Our Future. Worth Discussing? Counterpunch. Lee Camp.

Through a Lens Darkly: A Photographer’s Journey Through Los Angeles Capital & Main

Japan adopts green growth plan to go carbon free by 2050 Politico

Parthenogenesis: How females from some species can reproduce without males Ars Technica

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Modeling Themselves After the Obamas After Leaving Royal Life Marie Claire

Japan’s ‘onsen’: A hot bath every day keeps doctors away Deutsche Welle

Navy Warship’s Secret Mission Off West Africa Aims to Help Punish Venezuela NYT

The End of Efficiency (david l)


Mother, 29, given TWO free homes worth $409K by ‘Nashville bomber’, 63, says she had no idea he signed property over to her a month ago – as Feds probe if he blew himself up because he feared 5G is spying on Americans Daily Mail

Nashville: officers raid a home as a person of interest reportedly linked to Christmas Day blast Guardian (Bill)


A deepfake Queen is more truthful than the real one – how ironic! RT (The Rev Kev)


EU member states begin process to approve Brexit trade deal FT

Brexit: back on our heads

Brexit: Firms warn ‘clock is ticking’ to keep goods moving BBC

Businesses Brace for Disruption Despite Post-Brexit Trade Deal WSJ


Covid-19 learns from experience – unlike Boris Johnson and his crew. We are paying for their mistakes Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Coronavirus: Cases of new variant appear worldwide BBC

U.K. variant puts spotlight on immunocompromised patients’ role in the COVID-19 pandemic Science

Germany and Europe Could Fall Short on Vaccine Supplies Der Spiegel

The Gift of a COVID Vaccine? Project Syndicate Jayati Ghosh.

The first Covid vaccines were triumphs. What if the next are only OK?Politico (Bill)

Could AstraZeneca’s COVID Vaccine Still Succeed? The Motley Fool (Bill)

Hong Kong faces public scepticism over mainland Chinese jabs FT

A ‘duty to warn’: An ER doctor, shaped by war and hardship, chronicles the searing realities of Covid-19 Stat

If Covid-19 vaccines cause side-effects, who pays: makers or governments? SCMP

The drug that gives ‘instant immunity’ to coronavirus? UK trials new antibody therapy that can stop people who have been exposed to COVID becoming ill and it could save MILLIONS of lives across the globe Daily Mail

You thought coronavirus is our newsmaker of 2020? No, it’s science-made mRNA, its nemesis The Print

Fauci admits to LYING about Covid-19 herd immunity threshold to manipulate public support for vaccine, moves goal post to 90% RT (The Rev Kev)

‘No other case like this’: 3-year-old in Missouri had stroke after Covid diagnosis, doctors say NBC

LA’s Covid ‘tsunami’: inside the new center of America’s raging pandemic Guardian

Los Angeles County reports nearly 30,000 coronavirus cases over a two-day period LA Times

COVID-19 patient charged with murder in deadly beating of fellow patient at Lancaster hospital ABC

Biden Transition

Joe Biden Is Turning Out to Be Exactly Who He Told Us He Was Jacobin

The Triumph of Lunacy White Hot Harlots (UserFriendly)

Challenging police violence … while Black Reuters

Jon Ossoff has raised more money than any Senate candidate in US history in heated Georgia runoff election Business Insider (The Rev Kev)

Trump Transition

Can Donald Trump pardon himself? The raging political debate goes on The Hill

Trump refuses to budge over aid bill, imperiling jobless benefits for millions Reuters

Waste Watch

2020 shapes up as major year for M&A, consolidation in waste and recycling industry Waste Dive

Class Warfare

Life In The Christmas City American Conservative. My MIT roommate hailed from Bethlehem, PA.

Coronavirus stalls long-awaited day in court for historic opioid lawsuit WaPo

Congress Ends Penalty That Kept A Million Americans From Getting COVID Relief Funds Marshall Project

She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired ProPublica

Payday Helps Laid-off Real News Staffer Win Better Severance on Christmas Eve Payday Report


Resilience of Farmers Protesting on Delhi’s Borders Instils Hope in India’s Future The Wire

Virus trains?: Busting the myth that Shramik Specials were the reason Covid-19 spread through India Scroll

Watch | ‘India’s Not in Recession but Govt Refusal to Stimulate Will Create Financial Crisis’The Wire

Turkey pivots to the center of a New Great Game Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Julian Assange

Melzer Asks Trump to Pardon Assange Consortium News

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Tom Stone

    I keep seeing headlines about how Trump needs to OK the “Stimulus ” bill as is to avoid a disaster…
    but I have seen nothing in the MSM about the fact that Congress could add those $2K checks and get it signed.
    Nope it’s Trump, Congress isn’t involved.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And if they could also cut out all that pork from the bill, most of which is intended for overseas, it would actually be revenue neutral in effect. How about that.

      1. Drake

        More importantly, is their a list of those that voted for this?

        “The $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding is a 10-year defense agreement that was signed under President Barack Obama and which went into operation in October at the start of the last fiscal year. In the MOU, the United States set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in foreign military financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next 10 years.

        Israel has less than ten million inhabitants. Is my math wrong, or are we taxpayers handing handing at least $3,800 to every Israeli man woman and child?

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Israel has less than ten million inhabitants. Is my math wrong, or are we taxpayers handing handing at least $3,800 to every Israeli man woman and child?

          I doubt very much the money is evenly distributed. But I take your point.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      You’re really not supposed to notice that. Something about the foundation of our very democracy being at stake.

    3. The Historian

      My question is: Where was Trump when this bill was being worked out? He could have made his desires known at that time and perhaps actually made a difference – but he didn’t, did he? So now, he’s holding up this even small amount of relief for many Americans? Seems to me that he doesn’t care about Americans – he only cares about spite.

      1. timbers

        The lobbyists Nance & Mitch had write the bill, didn’t call him, I expect. The elitists at NPR are doing a swell job telling the ignorant peasants with too much leisure time on their hands who haven’t learned how to savior a shit sandwich, to just shut up and take their crumbs so that the pork can flow to the war and aggression industry and corporate America.

        There be nations to overthrow, donchta know, and wall street billioniares to be made whole..

        1. Phacops

          Haven’t listened to NPR for decades after I saw their refusal to examine the falsehoods by people they used to create the impression of being balanced.

          Alas, I know people who smugly opine about ATC as if it was the word of god rather than some stenographer with an agenda.

        2. Pavel

          How’s this for a simple proposal:

          All proposed legislation must be read in its entirety by the authors of the bill, in one sitting, with a quorum of the house or senate present, before being voted on.

          I suspect that might lead at least to shorter bills. They would still be drafted by the K Street lobbyists, of course.

          1. timbers

            Yes. 2 words to add…read OUT LOUD in it’s entirely.

            Don’t want to give these folks any wiggle room. Before you know it, they will claim to be speed readers and say they DID read it in seconds…if not made to do it out loud.

          2. Janie

            Best proposal ever. It’s like this site – read the article before commenting; you think it would be as obvious as “don’t use the hair dryer while you are showering”.

          3. WhoaMolly

            You are on to something here. I read novels at about 300 words per minute, nonfiction at about 100. Let’s be charitable and give the “time required” to read legalese is about 75 words per minute.

            At 5,000 plus pages, average 300 words per page double spaced, that’s about 300×5000=1,500,000 words (roughly)

            At a reading speed of 75 per minute (very speedy for this type stuff) it would take 20,000 minutes to read, or 333.3 hours. Since this is legalese with implications, let’s say it takes as much time to consider the implications as to read the doc. Add another 333.3 hours. We are now up to a *minimum* of 666.6 hours to read and digest such a bill.

            How then to read and digest in a timely manner?

            A few (probably bad) ideas
            Put the bill online and let 100 people read 6.6 hours each, and comment?
            Hire ten readers and ask each one to read 66.6 hours? Then compile a and publish report two weeks after beginning of reading?
            Hire 10 “blue” readers and 10 “red” readers and publish duelling reports in 2 weeks?
            Send the bill to the Congressional Budget Office and ask for a report. Don’t allow voting into law until the report is delivered and read into the congressional record?

            Perhaps in the future maybe we say that during the time it takes to read and understand such a bill, perhaps all congress critter’s pay, benefits, and bank accounts will be frozen. But let’s not be unreasonable. Provide them unemployment and Medicare to live on for the months required to finish the reading and summarizing.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        My question is: Where was Trump when this bill was being worked out?

        Same place he was when he proposed the DOUBLED package before the election–two months ago–that nancy nixed because she didn’t want him signing any checks that might get him reelected.

        C’mon, man.

      3. edmondo

        Maybe Trump is just trying to show AOC what a negotiation looks like.I used to think that Mitch McConnell was some kind of parlimentarian genius who would spend time negotiating a hammer into a bill so he could beat you to death with it later. Then i realized that he was just taking whatever the Dems offered and said “That’s not enough,” and the Dems would offer more. Joe Biden may ask for assisted suicide after a couple years of this.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          “Maybe Trump is just trying to show AOC what a negotiation looks like”.
          Good point. It is easier to negotiate when you have obtained a position of power.

        2. Oh

          Pelosi and the Dems are from the Obama school of negotiating, Give the other side more than they ask for in the first round and even more in the second round of negotiations. AOC is learning from the best!

      4. Noone from Nowheresville

        It’s only been days, not months.

        How does your tar criteria brush judge the Dems? Pelosi and her quiver had a supposedly better compromise bill prior to the election. The legislature & president even managed to pass a funding bill through mid-December. So if politicians had willed it so, Americans could’ve gotten relief months ago.

        Using your criteria, do Pelosi et all care about Americans? How does your criteria judge their actions over the last nine months since the CARES Act became law? What have any of them done, regardless of party affiliation, to minimize the pain of closing down the economy and not providing direct support?

        Has any politician covered themselves in glory? If so, which one should be used as a model for the rest?

        1. The Historian

          I am NOT letting Pelosi or McConnell off the hook for this shoddy bill – but right NOW people need some help – even a modicum of help.

          Trump has been President over the past year – where was his push to get a good stimulus bill out then? He could have leaned on McConnell and the Republicans if he wanted – just like he did with all this election BS, but he didn’t, did he?

          I’m sorry but we have NO politicians willing to help Americans right now. And your comment: “It’s only been days, not months.” means you don’t understand what some Americans are facing right now. Perhaps you don’t know what happens on Dec 31st. Some Americans just can’t wait ‘months’.

          And I am NOT willing to accept all the ‘rationalizations’ about Trump. He could just sign the damn bill and then politik later before people get thrown out of their homes and lose what little unemployment they now have. That is what a responsible President would do.

          I am sure he is eventually going to sign this bill – but what he is doing right now is holding up badly needed aid for purely political reasons. And just because Pelosi was an a$$ and did that does NOT make it ‘OK’ for Trump to do the same. Isn’t he supposed to be ‘different’? Or is what you want a carbon copy of Pelosi in a Trump suit?

          1. bob

            “He could have leaned on McConnell and the Republicans if he wanted – just like he did with all this election BS, but he didn’t, did he?”

            So then he’s set for a second term, right?

            You’re a hack. I doubt they even pay you for your talking points. You’re volunteer labor for your awful overlords.

            1. Lex

              I’ve rather enjoyed The Historian’s contributions to the discussions here. We need to know where we’ve been to see more clearly where we’re headed.

            2. Geo

              Your tinfoil hat is on too tight. Might need to take it off for a bit so you can hear some voices outside your own head.

              The insults toward Historian are completely uncalled for.

              1. bob

                This is so polite you didn’t notice it?

                “Perhaps you don’t know what happens on Dec 31st. Some Americans just can’t wait ‘months’.”

                Not only is noone stupid, but they also wouldn’t care that people are going to die because they don’t agree with historian.

                Stockholm syndrome-


                “Just do what they say! Otherwise they’ll get mad and take more from us and it will be all your fault! I warned you! I’m sorry you can’t see this. It’s been that way forever”

            3. ambrit

              Ditto to the above. Historian often puts forth reasoned arguments for a point of view not particularly “liked” by the vocal part of the commenteriat. That’s his or her right, and, more importantly, our task to listen to, for many logical and ethical reasons.
              As I said to an earlier comment on another thread, we must beware of creating an “echo chamber.”
              If you disagree with a point someone makes, argue with it, the point, not the person putting it forth.

              1. bob

                It’s not a well reasoned argument. It’s exactly what you would hear if you turned on MSNBC right now. It’s not new or insightful or intelligent. It’s apologia.

                “no one likes it, but we need to pass it!” taking away any agency from the people who actually made all the decisions that led to this point.

                Not only is it taking away agency from the people making the decisions, it’s applying some sort of agency to anyone who disagrees with this very polite apologia. None of the people who are party to this discussion have any sort of power over what has happened or what will happen. Getting mad at a person who doesn’t buy this is scapegoating. It’s all my fault that people aren’t going to get unemployment!?

                It’s a complete deflection– Status Quo.

                1. ambrit

                  There you go. This is the response you should have given to Historian.
                  The concept of “agency” is one that I wrestle with myself. How much should a commenter be considered responsible for an argument he or she puts forth? We all occasionally recognize the deployment of “talking points” in an argument. That, by itself is not proof of T—-dom. A consistent string of such usages could be construed as proof of such. Even in such a situation, the occasional T—- can be instructive, in that the arguments proposed by that person will be indicative of a meme being propagated by secondary ‘actors.’ In this way, the aims and strategy of one’s “political opponents” can be ‘reverse engineered.’
                  The above is a long winded way of saying that exposure to differing points of view is educational.

            4. Janie

              Bob, I believe your response qualifies as ad hominem. This is a high-class hangout; let’s keep it that way.

            5. IM Doc

              Your comments are not in the spirit of this website. My old philosophy professor used to say when you have to resort to name-calling, you have already lost.

              The moderators of this blog do a great job of weeding out the chaff and pointing out when people are true hacks. I am very happy to let them do it.

              1. bob

                Historian wasn’t accusing Noone of being slow and mean-

                “Perhaps you don’t know what happens on Dec 31st. Some Americans just can’t wait ‘months’.”

                Gimme a break. The propriety police are no better than enablers in this mess. You just didn’t notice the abuse.

                My point still stands Historian is pushing the same PR as everyone on MSNBC. I don’t think they are being paid. I don’t think they are good enough at this to get paid.

                1. The Historian

                  bob, I am not accusing anyone, except Trump, of anything and I don’t watch MSNBC so I am not sure what you are referring to.

                  Yes this bill is crap and it only gives scraps to Americans who need so much more. But right now I would rather those scraps be given to those Americans than to let them suffer without anything. The fate of some Americans in need right now is too great to be playing politics with and I won’t let my personal ideologies get in the way of helping Americans who need it. I don’t want to see people kicked out of their homes and I don’t want to see people whose only lifeline is unemployment insurance be cut off.

                  Yes, I would prefer a much better stimulus package – Trump still has about three weeks to get one going before he is out of office and if he is serious, then that is what he should be working on. But he needs to sign this bill now so that at least a little bit gets out to the people who need it as soon as possible. And that is the only point I am making.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    For someone like me, not working nor on government assistance, our political leaders came through with about $6 a day in pandemic aid since the checks finally arrived in June for my wife and I.

                    Now it appears that the best I can hope for is about a buck fifty a day for the next year.

          2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

            600 dollars is basically nothing. It’s going to be even less than nothing if it doesn’t get mailed out until after all the people that need it after kicked out of their homes and have no address to pick it up at, or bank account to transfer it to. Trump at least wanted to send people unused money while congress was dickering over ice cream how little the proles deserved. Trump isn’t the bad guy here and him rushing to sign this garbage bill isn’t helping anyone.

            1. Oh

              Pelosi didn’t take go through with her previous offer; she was busy with getting gelato from the fridge.

          3. PressGaneyMustDie

            “I am NOT letting Pelosi or McConnell off the hook for this shoddy bill – but right NOW people need some help – even a modicum of help.”

            But Pelosi and McConnell ARE precisely the Congressional leaders who control the flow of legislation through committees that result in a bill that lands on Orange Dude’s desk.

            So yes, you are making excuses.

            1. bob

              I don’t like your tone. It’s not very nice when you use their words and actions against them. It’s not fair.

              This is the “work” that the legion of DC people worked months to get. Now, they can’t be held responsible for any of it, but everyone else must hurry up and vote yes before the demons rise up from the earth again and take more from everyone. We need sacrifices!

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                TIL about this corporation. Thanks to you both!

                (Is this close to what you two are talking about?)

          4. lyman alpha blob

            You have a very short memory –

            He did lean on the Republicans according to none other than MSDNC and Pelosi rejected it because she didn’t want Trump’s name appearing on checks just before the election –

            September 16
            President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republicans to go for the “larger amount” that includes $1,200 stimulus checks. His stance on the matter is expected as another round of direct payments would likely help his chances of re-election in November.

            Pelosi reminded Republicans and Trump that a deal would need to have more than just “Trump checks.”

            “All they want is to have the President’s name on a check going out. That’s all he really cares about,” she said. “We have to do more than just have the Republicans check a box.”

            The House Speaker also dismissed a new relief framework introduced by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which proposed a slimmed-down $1.52 trillion. While $1,200 stimulus checks were included, Pelosi stood firm behind her decision to hold out for a larger price tag for the overall relief package.

            Bang up job, Nan!

              1. ShamanicFallout

                The point is we could have had 1200 checks in October, not 600 in late December. This is like the George Costanza negotiating effort for the Seinfeld episode ‘show about nothing’. He held out for less! Hilarious on a TV show, but not in real life

                  1. marym

                    A timeline would have other elements too.

                    For example: for a long time McConnell was supposedly holding out for a liability shield for employers, and Pelosi for state and local aid. In the end they compromised on neither.

                    There was a moment (12/8/2020) when a WH proposal included both, and also $600 checks, and lower unemployment benefits than they had proposed before the election; while Trump was “privately indicating a willingness” to send $2K checks.


              2. GF

                Didn’t Nancy and the Dems in the house pass the Heroes Act which was $3.3 trillion? The Republicans refused to even consider it. This was in July. This situation is 100% on the Republicans and Trump – he obviously did not push the Republicans hard enough. That’s why it would be interesting to see a list of congress critters who are opposed to the $2,000.

                “After the bill’s passage in the House, Republicans in the Senate called it “dead on arrival”, saying it was “unrealistic” and a “partisan offering”.[6] It was given a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on July 23, 2020, but no Senate vote was held.”


            1. JTMcPhee

              And folks here are focusing on the amount and timing of checks. Let us remember that this bill is a sh!tpot of special interest pork, the product of a “legislature” that does little more than aggregate the delights of K Street lobbyists into these “legitimized” looting exercises.

              Mopes do not matter in this charade. Unless and until that likely chimaerical tipping point is reached, when direct action to readjust the system gets taken. But our mope-wide tolerance for getting repeatedly crushed, and our aptitude for punching sideways and down in the wish that will “better” or at least cement our own position in the food chain, and collective inattention to stuff that really matters, like eco-collapse and who the real villains are, makes this chatter about who’s more to blame, Trump (the whipping boy de jour) or “our (sic) representatives,” all pretty silly ad stupid.

            1. marym

              There’s always a villain available at any point in the rotation.

              Pelosi has been wrong on not pushing the issue forward when Trump has “called for” sending checks. Trump and Republicans have been wrong at many points in the mostly performative negotiations too.

              At the same time that Trump “called for” checks again in October, and Dems “called for” a larger stimulus package, Trump also “called for” stopping further negotiations.

              “Hours earlier, Trump threw cold water on the stimulus talks in a series of tweets.

              I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” he continued. “I have asked Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.”


          5. Noone from Nowheresville

            The Historian
            December 27, 2020 at 10:00 am

            The problem I have with the argument presented is that it never had to come to this. Days… months. More game playing by all.

            Americans are where they are because those with the power to make policy have purposefully chosen this path. As far as I can tell, they haven’t wavered from their initial policy choices.

            As far as the Trump rant is concerned, I think you’re pulling my leg. What’s true right now, was true when the legislature stopped negotiations prior to the election. Hell, I’d argue that they stopped doing much of anything after the CARES Act passed back in March. Well, they were highly successful at fundraising in 2020.

            To me, it looks like all sides agreed that Americans were disposable.

            Even if Trump had signed the bill last week, I doubt the checks would’ve arrived before January and, if it’s at all like the CARES Act distribution, it will be months in the making. Anyone who was counting on Dec 31st help was basically SOL unless that legislation passed PRIOR to the election.

            Pelosi & McConnell still have the power to negotiate. We’ll see what happens next.

            1. The Historian

              I agree with you mostly. It never should have come to this. But it has, and to deny Americans even this tiny bit for political reasons – well……

              There were so many missed opportunities to help Americans, from the Heroes Act to the Pelosi Mnuchin talks, etc. – in my mind the Democrats and the Republicans were all bad actors. I can’t let them off the hook and I am not going to let Trump off the hook either, especially since the ball is in his court right now.

              1. Noone from Nowheresville

                @The Historian
                December 27, 2020 at 5:00 pm

                Brinkmanship is distraction. All sides have been playing this game. They don’t consider this a crisis, even though they’re the ones who have engineered it to be one.

                I imagine we’ll know what’s what by the end of the week. What’s interesting here is that there’s still an election to have which will determine the Senate’s majority party. How does Trump’s latest monkey wrench impact those Senate seats and the game going forward?

                Why isn’t president-elect Biden calling for bigger stimulus checks, even if it’s only to undercut Trump’s play?

                Build. Back. Better. Build. Back. Better.

                Let’s hope the political class, their donor class brethren, and the TPTB have over-estimated their Build Back Better schemes.

                Otherwise this brinkmanship, by all sides, seems like just another tacitly understood policy brick to be taken out of the wall in order to burn the place down.

              2. Noone from Nowheresville

                I made a longer comment in moderation but I wanted to add

                The ball is in the legislature’s court unless Trump decides to undercut his own play.

                Yep. Never should’ve come to this. I’ll also agree that the political class has all kinds of room to turn this tragedy around or at least help more non-corporate people.

                But the empire has spoken…

                They just aren’t that into us.

          6. chuck roast

            IMO Trump’s entire professional career has been about brinkmanship. He has never had any interest in negotiations. His “people” negotiate. Then he shows up at the eleventh hour and bullies and threatens for a favorable deal. The cops call it an MO. The chumps on the other side of the table threaten to end the negotiations and quit the deal, but they have so much time, energy and money invested in it that they fold and give Trump what he wants. Three or four years later they are all either bankrupt or they have unloaded the crap onto some greater fool. It always was, and it always will be.

          7. Parker Dooley

            He only has until Jan 4 to sign the bill. Otherwise, it is a pocket veto and has to be renegotiated in the new Congress, which convenes on Jan 3 .

      5. D

        he would have had neither influence nor attention if he did it in time for Congress to be able to schedule an over-ride of a normal veto…

      6. bob

        Giving people $2000 in the middle of a pandemic and a recession is spite?

        There is no downside for anyone except apparently for the dems who think that Trump winning is bad. That’s spite.

        You really take the dem strategy of accusing your opponent of exactly what you are doing. How long do you think that lasts?

        1. The Historian

          Perhaps you need a reality check?

          It wasn’t the Democrats that shot down the $2000 stimulus – it was the Republicans in Congress.

          A bill has to be signed by Dec 31st – that’s this Thursday – before people get evicted and unemployment checks stop – and before the government shuts down. Congress is on recess – do you think McConnell is going to call back Congress for something he’s already rejected? And if he did, what is the first day they could meet? Tuesday? Do you think they could write a bill and get it through both houses of Congress in two days?

          1. The Historian

            My mistake. Congress is going to be in session this week but their objective is to override the Defense Bill veto. Do you think the Republicans will allow a vote on Trump’s $2000 stimulus? Let’s wait and see!

          2. Tom Doak

            As soon as you start using the brinksmanship of negotiations as a lever for people to come over to your side, you have given up the high ground, and just telling people to smile as they settle for less.

            1. Procopius

              Wait … what? High Ground? As in high moral ground? Of course, in negotiations you want people to smile as they settle for less, because it shows they got at least the minimum they really wanted, and maybe more. That’s what winning looks like. I don’t think high moral ground has much to do with the world I live in.

        2. marym

          It’s doubtful the Democrats care any more about people’s lives than Republicans or Trump.

          However, instead of pretending history started a few days ago when Trump “called for” $2K, let’s pretend instead it started Friday.

          The House Dem speaker and majority leader “called for” unanimous consent for $2K. The Republican minority leader said no. The chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee said it can’t get 60 votes.

          1. flora

            “Unanimous consent” was Pelosi’s poison pill. When I heard that requirement I knew it wouldn’t pass the House. The Dems could have passed it on their own without that requirement.

            1. marym

              Agree. Not defending Pelosi. Pick a moment in time to blame one more than the other, but none of them care about people’s lives, D’s, R’s, or Trump.

            2. Donna

              +1 Flora is right about that. Sirota explained the process the day Pelosi decided to use unanimous consent.

            3. Randy G

              flora — Exactly. Unanimous consent was to make sure it was impossible to pass and she could pretend she was for it, confident that the deluded who listen credulously to NPR, etc. will fall for it. And they have.

              She is still insisting on all that extra pork in the bill that is designed for foreign destinations — not for helping Americans.

              Pelosi turned down the 1.8 trillion BEFORE the election in order to help Slow Joe get elected. She has well over a 100 million in net worth and freezers full of ice cream so she is all set.

              “The measure to boost the check size to $2,000 by unanimous consent failed due to the Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s, R-California, objection. The vote occurred during a rare Christmas Eve session of the U.S. House of Representatives.

              Rep. Rob Whitman, R-Virginia, brought a competing motion to strike spending measures for foreign aid that the president cited as wasteful in the bill. Democrats similarly blocked that motion.”


              1. marym

                Of the $2.3T spending in the combined bill, the foreign aid was part of the $1.4 annual government funding package, not the $9B pandemic relief package, and and included items that were in Trump’s own budget proposal.

                It’s not as though Trump just became president last week and didn’t know all this before the current hostage taking.

              2. Oh

                Looks like everything went according to plan between The Dims and the Repigs. The people were left out in the cold. I want to get more gelato!

                The Congress is not accountable to the people. With automatic payraises, a fat salary ($174K), comfy retirement and health care packages, money from their donors that they can keep when they ultimately retire, cushy jobs waiting as lobbyist, why care about the people? Every 2, 4 or 6 years, make speeches and run commercials with false promises and finger pointing will get them in again! Rinse and Repeat. What? you peole want $2000 in relief? Get outa here!

              3. Procopius

                I’m going off on a tangent here, but the mention of Kevin McCarthy reminds me. If just two members of The Squad (or any other Democrats) vote for the alternative to Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House for the next Congress will be Kevin McCarthy. If one Representative and one Senator object to one slate of electors (probably Arizona, since the votes are announced in alphabetical order) on January 6, then the electoral count is stopped and the two houses separate to debate the objection. What I expect to happen is that the House will vote to override the objection and the Senate will support it, so the slate of electors certified by the governor is accepted. However, if the either house does not end their debate before January 20, the speaker of the House becomes the Acting President. Here’s something for you to add to your worries. There is a remote chance the Speaker might then be Kevin McCarthy.
                ETA: It would not surprise me if one Representative and one Senator object in writing to every slate of electors voting for Biden, so look for a long process for counting the electoral college votes next year.

            4. pasha

              the “unanimous consent” end run tactic was used because there wasn’t a quorum present. had there been no objection, the $2000 provision would have passed without a quorum call. the objection forced the chair to be made officially cognizant that there was no quorum and thus insufficient members present to pass legislation.

              1. JTMcPhee

                A long time ago my parents took us to Washington to see the Great Capital of Democracy. We sat up in the high seats in the House chamber, where the speaker pro tem was up there droning on and on, reciting the names of bills up for votes, then gaveling them into law on one voice vote after another, “The ayes have it.” My sisters and I kind of marveled that what we had been taught was the world’s greatest deliberative body seemed to lack even close to a quorum of representatives. One also marvels that only certain bills seem to require the presence of a quorum of members, mostly for optics purposes.

                This is how I understand it works:

                The Constitution requires that a quorum must be present on the floor when the House is conducting business. In the House, a quorum is a majority of the Representatives; in Committee of the Whole, it is only 100 Members. However, the House has traditionally assumed that a quorum is always present unless a Member makes a point of order that it is not. The rules restrict when Members can make such points of order, and they occur most often when the House or the Committee of the Whole is voting. In the House, for example, a Representative can object to a voice or division vote on the grounds that a quorum is not present and make that point of order. If a quorum is not present, the Speaker automatically orders an electronically recorded vote during which Members record their presence on the floor by casting their votes. The issue is decided and a quorum is established at the same time. A voice or division vote is valid even if less than a quorum participates in the vote so long as no one makes a point of order that a quorum is not present. For this reason, Members can continue to meet in their committees or fulfill their other responsibilities off the floor when the House is doing business that does not involve publicly recorded votes.

                Just a nice example of the Iron Law of Institutions, in the rotting flesh. How Imperial capitols have always worked, of course. How much visceral anger does it take to get the mopery to the point of some spasm of probably ill-targeted action? The elite do fear the rest of us, and have worked diligently and covertly to dissipate that focused anger.

                Not “doing the people’s business,” but “giving the people the business…”

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            Yes. Let’s not “pretend.”

            Less than a year ago the democrats impeached the president without a single republican vote. Obamacare became the law of the land without a single republican vote.

            But now we are supposed to believe that republicans are holding up $2000 payments that the democrats cannot pass without them.

            See today’s Lunacy link: “This is what happens when a movement places zero value upon honesty and decency.

            1. The Historian

              Well, to be fair, ACA passed because the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. That impeachment passed because Democrats controlled the House. They didn’t need to control the Senate. Yes, those were two completely lousy actions by the Democrats that hurt us more than they helped, but they could do it because of the control they had.

              To pass the $2000 stimulus bill, the Democrats would have to control both the House and the Senate – but they don’t! So even if the Democrats wanted to do this – which is extremely doubtful at best, they can’t. The Republicans who currently control the Senate aren’t going to allow it.

              1. flora

                But they could have embarrassed the GOP Senate and created a campaign issue for 2 years from now, but they didn’t do that either.

              2. Procopius

                No, they did not “control the Senate.” They had a small majority in the Senate, but it was not enough to end a filibuster. Indeed, there was only a period o about six weeks in 2009 when the Democrats had even 58 Senators, so they always were dependent on the two Independent Senators, one of whom was Weepin’ Joe Lieberman, who had campaigned for McCain. The reason they were able to vote for ACA was because at the beginning of the year they had declared it a revenue bill (because it involved spending money) and subject to the special procedure called “reconciliation,” which allowed them to vote on it with only a majority. It was pointed out at the time that this also prevented the bill from being changed in the joint committed to compromise with the House version, so the House had to vote to accept the Senate version as it was, with all the poison pills the Republicans had inserted.

            2. Aumua

              But now we are supposed to believe that republicans are holding up $2000 payments that the democrats cannot pass without them.

              Strangely, I do believe that if congressional Republicans decided right now to pass the bigger checks that it would be passed in short order. Yes Democrats are far from blameless here, but I don’t know how you can think otherwise.

              What I find interesting about the news articles is that they don’t mention Congress, but specifically they don’t mention congressional Republicans as holding up the funds. That would seem to be at odds with the narrative of a Democrat controlled MSM. So I mean, who’s really pulling the strings?

      7. marym

        Trump chose not to participate in the process or make any demands. See yesterday’s links for links and comments.

        “The development stunned lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who had expected the president to sign the legislation given the White House’s public statements on it. Trump had largely delegated relief negotiations to Congressional leaders for months.”

        This is a combined “omnibus spending bill” and pandemic relief bill. The “pork” Trump complained about is from his own budget proposal.

        Not signing the bill means provisions from the last pandemic bill expire: Unemployment yesterday, eviction ban at the end of the month; and a government shut-down starts Tuesday.

        There are provisions in the pandemic relief portion of the bill for vaccine and supply redistribution, rental assistance, SNAP and food banks, schools, childcare.

        Trump doesn’t care any more about people’s lives than Congress does.

        Link from Links:
        Summary of pandemic provisions:

        Republicans in the House stopped u

          1. PressGaneyMustDie

            “ Trump chose not to participate in the process or make any demands. See yesterday’s links for links and comments.”

            Not a Trump fan but given the absolute unreliability of so much of the news coverage of thing Trump or non-Trump, we really don’t know. I suspect if Team Trump was distracted from this bill it was ensuring his heirs doesn’t get the Game of Thrones “Raines of Castemere” treatment.

            1. marym

              Yes, mainstream media is untrustworthy, but there have been no signs from Trump, Republicans, or Trump-aligned media that he’s been working on pandemic relief.

              If the cared about pandemic relief, or the other spending issues, he had a job to do. He didn’t do it. There’s no more reason to make excuses for him than for anyone in Congress.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              If Trump had been active in crafting this bill we would have heard about it during the preceding weeks if only in twisted, propaganda-laced articles. Most politician in Washington can labor extensively without coverage (and they usual prefer to). But presidents get covered, and Trump in particular, get coverage every time he so much as passes wind. This extensive CBS news article from late November,


              does in fact contain lengthy descriptions of the interaction between the Executive and Legislative branches on this bill. But it refers to the “Trump administration” and “Mnuchin” not the president himself. If he had been at all active on the bill during this time, he would have been mentioned in an article written the way this one was.

              He delegated the entire effort to others. And then undercut them after the fact. It’s how he’s worked for decades. And everyone who has ever worked with him knows this.

            3. dcblogger

              Trump is in Mar-a-Largo. There is plenty he could be doing to get this passed. Had he done this last March he would have been reelected.

            4. Dirk77

              I think we can at least be certain that Trump wants more relief than what is in the bill now. Ian Welsh was arguing yesterday that when Trump leaves, Biden signs the bill and the suffering gets worse, what people will remember is Trump asking for more and Congress refusing.

              1. FluffytheObeseCat

                Yes that is my take too. The weird thing is seeing some voice admiration for him over this last minute, sure-to-fail splendidly, Hail Mary pass.

                Trump is finally acting – loudly – on behalf of the little guy….solely for personal positioning, and the pleasure of screwing with over-important members of the Beltway elite.

                If you are looking out for yourself, your family, your peers, and your nation you’d want to despise a leader who does this. Not give him even one iota of even backhanded respect for it. We are very unlikely to see a few extra bucks due to his demand, and if we do, it will be largely by accident.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Trump chose not to participate in the process or make any demands.

          “Trump again calls for $2000 checks as covid aid bill remains in flux….”

          Oh, brother, what’s the use?

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Well, the squad jumped on board PDQ, and nancy had to embarrass herself by first claiming that she’d been for it all along, and then nakedly using unanimous “consent” to make sure it didn’t happen, fooling absolutely no one except maybe The Historian and marym in the process.

              For someone who’s not in any pain, she’s doing a pretty good legislative imitation.

              1. marym

                I’ve tried to be consistent in expressing my opinion that none of them (D’s, R’s or Trump) particularly care whether or not people get checks of any amount or any other assistance.

                We’ll see next week if Trump was effective in getting Pelosi to follow up with a regular vote in the House, and what happens in the Senate. Maybe they’ll make it $2300 to add in the unemployment benefits workers lost because of the delay.

        2. bob

          “Trump chose not to participate in the process or make any demands.”

          The Process got us to this point. A relief package that is, by some measures, half of what it was when The Process began. Why is participating in The Process a good thing?

      8. Oh

        They know that Trump is on the way out. Why ask him? The benefactors are in the Congress (Mitchell and Pelosi). I noticed how the story left out how much money is in the bill for aid to other countries (for offensive actions) as well as more for the already bloated “defense” budget. The MSM is so concerned about the unemployed – false sympathy to make Trump look bad for refusing to sign. If the Congress would provide at least $1000 per month for common folk (not the rich) until the pandemic is under control (like other countries), it would go a long way.

      9. Cas

        Steve Mnuchin represented the White House in the negotiations. But, yes, Trump doesn’t care about Americans. Neither does McConnell nor Pelosi. Personally, I’m enjoying Trump’s parting shot showing the vileness and hypocrisy of our elected officials.

      10. dcblogger

        Where was Trump when this bill was being worked out? He could have made his desires known at that time and perhaps actually made a difference – but he didn’t, did he?


      11. wilroncanada

        They’re not his desires. Like everything else he does, it’s a grandstand play. First, he
        Trump absolutely MUST be headliner in every newscast, always. The $2000 was pulled out of his a$$ after McConnell committed treason in Trump’s mind by admitting Biden won the presidential election. The Republicans in the senate carved down $1200 proposed by Sanders and Hurley to the $600 in the omnibus bill. Pelosi negotiated it all the way up to $600 from the zero proposed by McConnell. It’s typical of her kind of “fight”; lead with half and call it a win when you get it. (learned at the knee of the Prophet Obama.)
        So, to assuage his ego, Trump is pissing on the Republicans, and possibly pissing off enough Georgia voters to gift the two runoff elections to the right-win democrat machine, though one of the two democrat candidates might turn out to be somewhat progressive.

        1. Aumua

          The $2000 was pulled out of his a$$ after McConnell committed treason in Trump’s mind by admitting Biden won the presidential election.

          You know, you do have a point there.

          1. Bob


            The congress critters and our dear leader look only to cement their income (bribes) from the lobbyists.

            The bill although it includes desperately needed relief is a grab bag of give aways for the congress critters.

    4. Wukchumni

      We use 5x as much resources as the rest of the world and have 5x as many infected from Covid as any other country, which is now struggling to give each of it’s citizens a stipend of third world wages @ a little over a buck fifty a day over the course of 2021 (should we hire on Sally Struthers to further our cause?) and can’t even pull that off.

    5. a different chris

      >about the fact that Congress could add those $2K checks and get it signed.

      Because “2K will be a disaster” – that is, it will add to the national debt and also teach people irresponsibility and etc. – is what these people in Congress, or at least the people that do the thinking for them, really believe.

      Summers literally said pretty much that. And he was President of Harvard, so he must be right!

      Yes, I’m still pounding my recently discovered “our so-called representatives really believe this crap, they aren’t just being well-paid stooges for rich people” realization.

      I could almost respect them given my previous view. Now I know they are just idiots.

      1. fwe'theewell

        Summers is right, from his POV. I doubt he’s a brainiac, except in his capacity as functionary to capital. He can be simultaneously dull and dastardly. He “lost” a bunch of Harvard’s money. Where did it go? He succeeded in removing hot breakfasts and public service scholarships; the brainiac also wished to remove humanities. That would serve his masters and be foolish in one fell swoop. He is very similar to Epstein but from the other side of the tracks. Austerity/ loss/ bare pantry / liquidation of public goods is just the other face of / counterparty to extreme wealth extraction/ privatization/ high stakes strategery.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        how many are simply “rich” people? Or plan to be “rich” people? How many are part of what would be considered the donor class or the part of the educated support staff / bureaucracy to the donor class?

        How many have already been received education / training for certain beliefs / “progress” ideas before the lobbyists or the money even knocks on the door?

        How much wealth equals “rich” these days?

        1. Massinissa

          “How much wealth equals rich these days?”

          I think its supposed to be making 200k a year or something, but that seems pretty low to me. IMO that’s well-off rather than rich, but I guess it doesn’t matter that much.

    6. RepubAnon

      There’s lots of stuff in the press about increasing the disaster relief (aka “stimulus”) checks – both on efforts by Democrats to increase the size of those checks, and how Republican legislators have thwarted those efforts.

      Nancy Pelosi is bringing it up for a vote in the House on Monday – my guess is that only Democrats will vote to pass it – and that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans will ensure that it fails in the Senate.

      Democrats Try and Fail to Push Through $2,000 Stimulus Checks

      Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the Democratic majority leader, tried to get a stand-alone bill approved that would have provided $2,000 payments to Americans. Republicans rejected the move even though President Trump had proposed it.

    7. Noone from Nowheresville

      @Tom Stone
      December 27, 2020 at 7:12 am

      Notice too how the Trump Administration & Congress quickly & proactively worked together to save the stock market, wall street, the global empire, upward transfer of wealth, etc. In return, some peoples got real and necessary benefits. Not equal to the moment but it was a necessary something and the very least Congress, the Trump Administration and the fed could do. I suspect if we look more fully at the states, we’ll find similar scenarios. I do wonder which state governments put the people at the top of their priority lists, whether or not they will be punished for their activism and which states and / or their politicians will be rewarded as we move forward.

      Notice that when it doesn’t matter, or more accurately not a crisis to them and theirs, that they play brinkmanship.

      The Dems can blame the Reps. The Reps can blame the Dems. while the people suffer and the economy burns down (don’t worry: it’s to be built back better).

      1. JTMcPhee

        And that is always the question and test that drives the deliberations of the ruling class in DC and elsewhere: “What is the very least, the absolute minimum, we have to do for the mopes, to keep them from getting dangerously restive?”

    8. Richard Borschel

      Congress can easily over-ride a veto as more than 2/3 voted for it yet this is never mentioned. I wonder why this is?

    9. Glen

      Hey, they got trillions to the billionaires and Wall St a long time ago.

      Now, we’re just watching “The Apprentice – All Americans Are Getting Fired Edition”.

      The next President will do pretty much the same thing, but have a different excuse.


  2. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Germany and Europe Could Fall Short on Vaccine Supplies” article at-

    Maybe they could see if they could get some of that Sputnik vaccine under license from Russia. Nah, Mama Merkel would never allow it. And that is a great looking bird in today’s Antidote du Jour by the way.

    1. Ignacio

      I very much dislike an article that I consider stupid in its entirety, garrulous, parochial and ill-informed about a vaccine that was developed in Germany. I wouldn’t expect that from Der Spiegel.

      To begin with who is Der Spiegel to decide when there are ‘not enough vaccines’? Do they know what is the best vaccination policy with the existing availability of largely under-researched candidates still on trial? Are they implying that every German should be vaccinated with something that hasn’t undergone the whole research process? Have they for a single moment thought twice about what we have in our hands? Do they really believe time has come to throw all the Germans under the vaccine bus without knowing how does it work? Have they at least read ECDC’s Key aspects regarding the introduction and prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccination in the EU/EEA and the UK? Do they understand why it is not advisable to go for a broad scale vaccination program right now?

      Disheartening to see how bad is the reporting. Too bad and too late they say. On the contrary it is too soon and it could be really too bad to be beaten by the hysteria.

      1. flora

        The article reads like a sales pitch: “Hurry! Get yours now! Supplies limited!” We’re seeing the same sort of sales pitch here in the US – in addition to the botched rollout of the pfizer vacc. my 2 cents.

        I’m not on the ‘front lines’ and will wait quite a while before getting the vax for all the reasons you state.

        1. flora

          adding: the ECDC’s list you link to, of who to vaccinate first, for what reasons, and how to equitably distribute vaccines as they arrive is very sensible, imo.

          One reason I’m pushing back against the alarmist “shortage of vaccines” in media stories is because such stories seem likely to create a “stampede” effect, where those most in need of a vaccine are shoved aside by people less in need of the vaccine but determined not to wait their turn. We’ve already seen ‘shoving-to-the-front-of-the line’ behavior at Stanford Medical Center in the US.

          1. Ignacio

            Interestingly they state that the priority should be given to HC workers, first responders and social care workers plus, to people with underlying conditions with increased risk of severe Covid and then to socially vulnerable groups (that for some reasons are more exposed).
            After this, focus on age groups sice age is by itself a risk factor, but then the ECDC recognizes there is scarce data on vaccine safety: However, before pursuing this approach, acceptable levels of vaccine safety and efficacy need to be demonstrated among older adults. At this stage, this information is not known. So please, stay calm don’t call for ‘too late and too little’ the next day the vaccination program started.

            1. flora

              Interesting C19 story from the UK about an RTC that shows good results for treatment with Dexamethasone in a large a RTC.


              In the US, the FLCCC group headed by Dr. Paul Marek has been pleading with the NIH, the WHO, and other govt agencies to run a RTC on the existing med Ivermectin as a therapeutic drug for C19. No response so far from the US agencies’ “great and good.” I would really like them to run a random controlled trial on this drug because the observational studies look promising.

  3. timbers

    Nashville: officers raid a home as a person of interest reportedly linked to Christmas Day blast Guardian (Bill)

    “the FBI are working on tips that Warner was paranoid about the idea that Americans are being spied on using 5G, which could explain why the RV exploded outside of an AT&T transmission center.”

    Wheeuu. That’s a relief. We can all tack solace and breath a sign of relief, because someone spying on us is just an “idea” which makes one “paranoid.” .

    Like all those ex Obama officials who publicly contradicted the President when he told us no one is spying on Americans, after Edward Snowden showed us it’s happening.

    I was getting worried. Now we can all relax.

    Anyone else have any other “ideas” you’d like to talk about so we might help make you feel better?

    1. Acacia

      BTW, if you point Google street view at the address of the “person of interest” (helpfully provided by the media), and then slide the date back a few years, the “RV of interest” can be seen in the rear parking.

      But google isn’t spying on anybody. Absurd, that.

      1. fajensen

        Every place where a fibre is terminated is a NSA data splitter site! Has to be (or backbone routing tables will conveniently point out to adversaries which sites to infiltrate, bomb or hack)!!

        I do wonder how they do the data filtering and the backchannel to the NSA though. It seems to me that there must be some pretty interesting technology involved in first finding and extracting “items/flows of interest” from GBit/s data streams and then winnow down that flow to something that can be piped into NSA data centres.

        The bandwidth of the internet is growing at a larger exponent than that of the CPU’s and memory systems needed for the detailed processing and eventual archiving.

        Therefore, It can’t just be “stupidity and brute force” like, maybe, tripling the optical frequency and sending it back down the fibres, to optical switches and routers owned by the NSA, now can it?

        1. barefoot charley

          As a good citizen I pay no attention to details, but I recall years ago after Assange and Snowden made clear what the NSA actually did (Total Information Awareness, it was called in the olden days), the NSA and Congress blushingly ordained, “Fine, no more universal back-up storage for NSA–instead we order the telecoms to store everything themselves, and NSA et al just request (or dip in) for whatever they want, so your security is secure, suckers.” I’m sure they’re still storing everything too, because why not? But the telecoms became fatter nodes of the Panopticon than originally intended.

        2. Michaelmas

          fajensen: ‘Every place where a fibre is terminated is a NSA data splitter site! Has to be (or backbone routing tables will conveniently point out to adversaries which sites to infiltrate, bomb or hack)’

          Correct. And not just for the relatively theoretical reason you cite.

          When all voice telephony, just like video and everything else, is transmitted as photons in internet packet mode over fiber-optic cable 99 percent of the way — and packets of the same message/call/transmission may get broken up and routed different ways around the planet — they have to collect it all before they start filtering it.

          To be clear: practically speaking, there’s no other way to do it. There’ve increasingly been no ‘wires’ except over the last mile, since not long after the Church commission, when Edgar Hoover was still alive, for heaven’s sake. Thus, no one-to-one ‘wiretapping’.

          When the NYT did its supposed exposé back in 2005-2007 about how the U.S. government was engaged in ‘warrantless wiretapping’ etc, therefore, the NYT was lying.

          Having Americans think of surveillance in terms of an entirely inaccurate, decades-vanished technological paradigm — ‘wiretapping’ — helps TPTB hide the scale of what’s necessarily involved, So in 2020 electronic surveillance law is still framed as ‘warrantless wiretapping’ law and the NYT is still lying about it —

    2. Tomonthebeach

      Looking at all the factoids, yesterday on the NewHour page, I pegged the bomber as a nutjob; not a terrorist. I might have been off on the trigger being domestic, but the sexy 29-year-old house recipient min today’s story leaves that door open. The 5G paranoids will get some mileages off the coincidence of the building being a telecom office.

      11:16 p.m., Saturday Dec. 26

      Only slightly off topic, my theory is that this was a murder suicide and the guy just picked a deserted place on a quiet street to off his wife (maybe already dead) and himself. He broadcast the warning to warn off innocents and had no idea his homemade bomb would be so powerful (probably overlooked that the LP tank and gas tank would amplify the boom).

  4. KB

    “The Triumph of Lunacy”…..thank you for that link, userfriendly!…the best I have read on the subject matter so far…
    We met at NC meeting in Richfield years ago…I raised the matter then, to many stern glares of eyes…Not yours of course.

      1. IdahoSpud

        Indeed. The corporate version of this Lunacy is only barely less repulsive.

        Annually everyone is forced to undergo mandatory online sensitivity training. The training contains handy definitions of newspeak words like “microaggressions” and “triggering”. It’s intended to enlighten crass, uneducated, working-class people such as myself on how to behave around minorities. I surely wouldn’t know any better unless a HR type patiently explained this to me.

        Training that said “treat your co-workers with kindness” would be too short, and likely wouldn’t justify a big fat paycheck for a woke PMC. Come to think of it, most of the worst treatment I’ve received at work was at the hands of PMCs – because they could absolutely get away with it.

        A PMC might get red in the face over something outside your control and scream at you, but that’s OK, because you aren’t a minority – ergo, your feelings don’t exist. The sensitivity training is handy for us low-IQ deplorables, because it also provides helpful examples of what *not* to do if you happen to find yourself working near a minority person.

        Oddly though, this sensitivity training is presented as though hurt feelings can only happen to women or minorities, and not to someone who might be beauty, hair, weight or height challenged. Those people can go family blog themselves, apparently.

        Annually everyone plays along, answers the quiz questions, jumps through the hoops, signs the document. That’s because everyone recognizes the reality: The avoidance of homelessness depends on demonstrating for HR that you understand that “racism will not be tolerated here at XYZ”. The underlying assumption is that us rubes are barely-in-the-closet racists, who need the PMC to ‘splain compassion to us. If anything, the reverse is true.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      …A left that had not been trained to hate itself would not have voted for Joe Biden.

      This is what happens when a movement places zero value upon honesty and decency…..


    2. Arizona Slim

      Great link. One of the best I’ve seen in a long time.

      My prediction: This lunacy will provoke the same backlash that political correctness did during the 1990s.

    3. fajensen

      This whole mentality sounds similar to what happened in China, when the “Gang of Four” assumed power and started their “Cultural Revolution” …

  5. QuarterBack

    Re Fauci lying to manipulate public actions, this a perfect example of the type of behavior that has brought us to our state of “why don’t people trust science?”, or doctors, politicians, vaccines, or fill-in-the-blank. I would argue that this behavior also contributes to our increase in suicide and random acts of violence.

    Friends in mental health have taught me about the concept of “core beliefs”, which are the fundamental building blocks that form a person’s behavior and the belief systems form assumptions that people construct their life upon. Amongst the most universal are things like: my parents love me and will always love me, I am safe in my own bed, and doctors, police, teachers, clergy, and scientists are always noble and are the gold standard of trusts.

    As we go through life, we encounter cases that undermine these beliefs and make us more cynical of the world, and less inclined to stay within our own moral and ethical boundaries. Occasionally, some people encounter betrayals of core beliefs that cause cognitive dissonance so severe that they act out in extreme ways; sometimes suicidal or homicidal. Betrayals of core beliefs are also life changing, because one shattered core belief must be replaced by another.

    I’m not saying that Fauci’s ‘(self perceived) ‘white lies’ are high crimes, but they are on the spectrum of behavior that rips at the core belief fabric that holds our personal and collection psyches together.

    We would be best served by demonstrating that we consider this behavior abhorrent and shameful. Fauci’s admission goes against another universal belief; that those who do shameful things will feel shame. It is important to take every opportunity (especially when small) to demonstrate that trust in our core beliefs matters, and we will not accept their betrayal as a means to any end.

    1. divadab

      Fauci is a top level operator in the federal apparatus – iirc he is the third-highest paid federal employee (vague recollection – do your own research). And, since the federal apparatus is, at least at the highest, most political levels, utterly corrupt, it stands to reason that he sees nothing wrong at all with lying publically – the ability to do so is a personal essential in that corrupt environment.

      Anyhoo, it is hard to consider Fauci as a reliable source of information. Terrible state of affairs.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The triumph of lunacy”

    The next four years are going to be interesting as social justice warriors go after anybody that criticizes Biden at all and seek to have them silenced on the net, no matter what he does. Old Joe has already said that those kids in cages are just going to have to stay there for a while. And why not? It was old Joe and his boss Barry that built those cages and want to see them used. But the real eye opener in this article was a linked tweet about a Nevada student that is suing his school as after administrators threatened to deny him graduation because he refused to call himself racist. it is not to be missed and the whole thread is worth reading. This is how you get the 1619 Project implemented and now coming to a school near you-

    1. Foy

      Wow that thread really is something Rev. The copies of the slideshows from the uni course and its ideas is stuff I’ve haven’t seen before, that is way out there. I’m trying to picture myself in uni sitting through that. I think I’m getting a clearer understanding of how odd ideologies in previous times managed to garner a foothold and some level of success across the masses. We live in strange times, but then again we have probably always lived in strange times.

      1. Massinissa

        “uni course”

        This isn’t a university course. This is non-university public school (I can’t remember which grade), seeing as how the defendant is Nevada Public Schools. I assume if it were a university course they would be suing a specific university.

    2. Aumua

      Awww poor kid. What a victim.

      I have a little different take, I guess. I look at these slides from the class and I don’t see something nefarious to be “deeply concerned” about. I pretty much agree with everything that is written there. However, if these ideas of internalized or institutionalized oppression/privilege are true at all then they would seem to preclude the effectiveness of trying to make anyone accept them. In fact they would predict the exact reactions that you see in the tweets here, on this site here and in society at large. Trying to pressure or force people to behave or believe the way you think they should is counterproductive at best, and a very slippery slope at worst. I agree with that part 100%. But I also think what the class is teaching and what the slides say is essentially the truth.

      1. Massinissa

        Some of this stuff I agree with, some of it I don’t. But I don’t see why this has to be taught in public non-university schools as ‘fact’ that can’t be challenged or questioned. Some of this stuff I agree with, but I’m honestly glad this lawsuit is happening. This should be a university level thing: I don’t think having to learn this as a high schooler and being completely unallowed to question it at all is at all constructive. This almost doesn’t even seem to be a dialogue, but something the school is forcing the students to agree with.

        Honestly I’m still trying to figure some of this stuff out. How exactly is being Bisexual both oppressed AND unoppressed? Is it because they like the opposite sex in addition to liking the same sex? Shouldn’t it count as an oppressed group? From my personal experience, even some gay people treat Bi people as if they’re different. I don’t really understand how Bi can be considered partially unopressed when the B in LGBT is for Bi people. And this is just one example.

        1. Aumua

          It’s entirely possible for an individual to suffer oppression based on a characteristic, and to benefit from privilege of having some other characteristic.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > It’s entirely possible for an individual to suffer oppression based on a characteristic, and to benefit from privilege of having some other characteristic.

            I’m imagining an app — call it Ntersectionality™ — that broadcasts the ascriptive identit(y)(ies) of whoever is bearing the phone, and in turn collects all the ascriptive identities broadcast by those in the immediate area also using the app, nets them out, and then presents a number that indicates the bearer’s rank in the local hierarchy of oppression. Then if conflict arose over who was more oppressed, the disputants could simply show each other their ranking on their respective phones.

            Of course, there’s a chicken or egg problem here, since the net figure is only accurate if all those in the immediate area are using the app. This can be solved simply by having H.R. require its use.

            1. Aumua

              I know you’re being snarky here, but personally I think there really is a kind of hierarchy of oppression and some would have more to gain, and other would have more to lose if it were to be dismantled.

          2. Massinissa

            No, you don’t understand what I’m saying, I think. Yes, I agree with you on that. But on one of the slides, they do a teacher with 7 characteristics that get rated. Under sexuality, it says Bi: Both privileged and oppressed. On a different slide it says that being gay is being oppressed. How the hell is being bi privileged AND oppressed at the same time? Because its half straight, its now half privileged?

            I agree with the attempt of this to some extent. But a lot of the stuff in those powerpoint slides were downright nonsensical.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Good thing that before posting a comment that you don’t have to list your racial, sexual, gender & religious identities and what privileges & benefits that you have as a consequence. And maybe having a way to examine every single post that you ever made here and on social media to make sure that it was ‘acceptable.’ Somebody might get offended.

        This workshop is forcing kids to accept who they are based on secondary factors instead of what is really important, what Martin Luther King called the ‘content of character.’ Remember that? That kid was suspended and accused of being a racist which has the potential to destroy his life. You down with that? Because I’m not. If this sort of workshop becomes standard, then you can kiss your First Amendment goodbye.

        1. Aumua

          Yeah, well keep in mind that you’re looking at a lawsuit here, written by lawyers. I would venture that there’s probably a good deal of spin being put on what exactly happened. I mean the kid refused to do the class assignments because he and/or his parent did not agree with what the course was teaching.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Personally I thought that it was funny how that course “Democracy Prep” encouraged radical activism against existing school policies (by for example occupying a school cafeteria or staging a walkout) but when he resisted this course, they retaliated against him, branded him a racist and then had him expelled.

            Sounds like parents let their kids go to this workshop but were unaware that a different course had been slipped into it. I can’t see any parents agreeing to let their kids go to that course if they had seen some of the material that was being taught.

            1. Aumua

              I believe the school’s name is Democracy Prep, and the class is a required course in the curriculum, not a workshop.

              1. The Rev Kev

                The class may be a required course but it appears to be run like a workshop as they contain breakout sessions. And that course was slipped in the back door when “The generic name and syllabi provided to parents remained the same,” and “parents were not made aware of the ideological turn in the curriculum.” If that was supplied goods or services there would be consumer laws that would apply here. And what sort of school course “repeatedly threatened (students) with material harm including a failing grade and non-graduation if (they) failed to comply with their requirements”?

                1. Aumua

                  The material harm referred to appears to be failing the course and/or not graduating. And the kid was suspended but I feel like something is missing about that story too. They’re seeking damages here, and so the language of the lawsuit reflects that. I just don’t take Mr. Twitter’s analysis at face value, and I definitely don’t take the lawyers story at face value. I don’t know the real story, but like I said I do think it’s wrong to try and make people accept a point of view. The class should probably be more of an elective or something.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Let’s get down to it. This is bullying of kids by adults who have an ideological axe to grind. And using their power to threaten these kids if they do not hew to their high-order crap. But it is still bullying and if there is one thing that I have learnt to despise, it is bullying.

                    And no good making it an elective either as it will be made that if you have not punched your ticket by doing this course, it will look like all sorts of bad on your resume. And certainly a school like that will find a way to make your permanent record look not so good because of this.

                  2. Massinissa

                    The lawsuit is mostly complaining that the child was forced to self-identify that stuff in class where there were other students. I actually read the entire tweet thread with the powerpoint from the course and read the first few pages of the lawsuit.

                    You’re just assuming things without reading any of the relevant material.

                    1. Aumua

                      I did in fact read the whole thing. It was a big waste of time. The class exercise referred to is on one of the slides. So one of us is assuming here, but it’s not me.

          2. Massinissa

            The tweet thread literally has the entire powerpoint listed so you can read it yourself. Its like a twenty slide powerpoint.

            Maybe next time you should read the relevant material before casting judgement? If they didn’t present the entire powerpoint from the course I might agree with you.

            1. Aumua

              Yes, and the slides don’t show the level of of horror and abuse presented by Mr. Twitter and/or the lawsuit. Not to me, anyway. That’s been my point the whole time.

              So you can stop telling me I didn’t read the stupid thread.

  7. timbers

    Joe Biden Is Turning Out to Be Exactly Who He Told Us He Was Jacobin

    2 years from now, there will be elections. How will Biden’s likely policy of austerity shape the political landscape by then? Granted, it takes time to for austerity to kick in. And that’s probably the most Biden has going for him. And how about 4 years of austerity?

    All things being equal, Joe’s slide in the polls will likely be to sink lower than Obama’s. But maybe the tumble will not be as stark only because Obama had many fans who thought he was the opposite of what he governed as. Obama’s mid terms were a disaster. What will Biden’s be?

    Obama had a group of Team Blues that could hear no wrong about Obama, so much so that Dick Nixon’s ACA was the greatest thing evah and he withdrew us from Iraq and Afghanistan and fixed Libya into a liberal democracy and didn’t bomb anyone and Republicans made him take away Habeas Corpus.

    Biden has none of this type of loyalty among the peasants.

    It’s been said Obama was the best thing that happened to Republicans, elective office wise. Will Biden be similar?

    1. edmondo

      All things being equal, Joe’s slide in the polls will likely be to sink lower than Obama’s.

      I am willing to wager that Joe Biden will be losing hypothetical head-to-head matchups against Trump within one year of his inauguration.

      1. Skip Intro

        You think he’ll still be president after the ides of March? It will be Harris losing those matchups. Did you notice how they slipped Mayo Pete into the cabinet so he could take Kamala’s place without fuss?

      2. Pelham

        That’s probably a good bet on your part. At this point, although I loathe Biden/Harris with every fiber of my being, I’m still willing to give them 100 days past Jan. 20 to prove me wrong. And that’s based on just the faint flicker of a notion that sentient beings still have the ability to look around them and understand the severity of multiple crises swirling ever larger and threatening to form one stupendous s—storm unless radical action is taken.

        1. Pat

          Even when Joe wasn’t being kept away from people he failed to see the hideous results of things he actively helped foist on America and the world. See, the Patriot Act, the Crime bill, the invasion of Iraq, bankruptcy reform, etc etc. Hell his beloved Beau faced a mountain of medical debt and he still could not figure out that ACA was a bust. Not even a pandemic has managed to be worrisome enough for Joe to let public good outweigh the personal profit he gets supporting insurance companies, big Pharma and for profit health investors.

          But you give him the benefit of the doubt.

      3. Glen

        The quicker and lower Biden goes in the polls is the best possible outcome. If he totally tanked, that would at least be a signal to Democratic leadership that they are going to be destroyed in 2022. But the honest truth is that DC is totally controlled by Wall St and the billionaires with either party in charge. Concerns about Americans getting food or having homes is not a priority in DC.

        We will not be that lucky, not with the complete power of the MSM to put a rosy glow on a complete pile of Shit.

        We will continue a constant slow slide into neo-liberal paradise.

    2. The Historian

      Nobody is going to like what Biden is going to do. He is a neoliberal to the core and will do whatever his ‘friends’ want of him. That does not bode well for the rest of us.

      So now progressives have a massive opening – if they will just get off their purity kicks and work together – making the economy their objective. I’m not sure who said it – Marx maybe? – that you cannot have political or social equality without economic equality. Otherwise, I agree, it will be a boon for the Republicans.

      1. Oh

        Don’t hold your preath for the Squad (Rashida Tlaib excepted?) to use the opening. They’re busy having a gelato fest with Nancy!

      2. Montanamaven

        “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident.” FDR in the 2nd Bill of Rights.

    3. Pat

      Perhaps on a local level, Congressional incumbents could be facing an uphill battle, regardless of party. No matter how hard the media is trying to play it thatTrumo is the big bad regarding Covid relief, he has said the unthinkable out loud, Congress is more interested in other countries than it is in providing adequate relief to Americans. No matter what goes down in the next days, the inadequacy of their relief will be obvious to most Americans before Joe Biden loses the “elect”.Trump’s present to Congress is making them own that inadequacy.

      I have no doubt that Biden could not just be the least popular President ever by midterms, but could be on track for being the worst President ever according to both sides of our not so bisected media. Even if thar doesn’t happen, it will be bad enough that I will spend a lot of time reminding people that Obama helped make him happen AND I told them to reject both bigoted octogenarian conmen by voting third party or write in.

      1. polecat

        Ain’t it just !grand! that those that ‘represent’ us can now ZooM their way out of responsibility, never to set forth inside a live public venue, to air their ‘town hall’ views in the flesh?

        It’s now phoned in, or .. as I stated above, viewed on a screen, from far-away – safe from any and all rage or pointed questions, by those who deserve honesty, integrity, and courage.
        How f#cking convenient is THAT???

        And the really sad thing about it all, is that our singular area (Countywide) ‘newspaper’ constistently laps up, and reformulates the condescening gubspeak spewed by our elected betters as cover – Hell, not even the pleasure of reading comments, since Those have been ‘missing for almost a year now .. heavens No! … No hard lobs. In fact I’d venture to offer, that our vaunted journalistic institution has only the softest of Balls .. as if it has any at all!

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Beautiful bipartisanship brought us this beauty.

          Ehrlichman: “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

          President Nixon: “Fine.” [Unclear.]

          Ehrlichman: [Unclear] “… and the incentives run the right way.”

          President Nixon: “Not bad.”

          1. The Rev Kev

            Only took him ten years to admit it. Maybe in ten more years he will admit that he got Romneycare from the Heritage Foundation.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Dick Nixon’s ACA

      The ACA stems from a Heritage Foundation proposal explicitly designed to head off single payer. See NC here.

      And just to quote myself:

      In other words, all the Republican policy changes can really do is tinker round the edges. ObamaCare was a (very successful) political ploy to head off single payer. Single payer is, of course, a “universal benefit,” Medicare for All. To make ObamaCare “politically feasible,” it to must be seen to be (if not be) universal. But a market-based solution can’t provide a universal benefit. And so we got kludges: Means-tested benefits for those who can’t afford to enter the market is one kludge. Means-tested subsidies plus a carefully rigged “marketplace” are another. The mandate is yet another. The “metals” (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and IIRC Platinum plans) are still another. And all the kludges add up to a ginormous and rickety Rube Goldberg device that randomly sends some people to HappyVille and some people to Pain City, and it’s not really a universal benefit at all. So the Republicans could replace one kludge (the mandate) with another (continuous coverage). Now, people hate the mandate — who wants to be forced to purchase a defective product? — so maybe continuous coverage would be better and more popular policy, but it’s got its own problems, and in any case a kludge is a kludge is a kludge. You can’t buff a turd, as they say.

      One of the good things Trump did was axe the mandate. Turns out all the wonks were wrong. Fancy that!

  8. Ignacio

    Wrong link to:
    If Covid-19 vaccines cause side-effects, who pays: makers or governments? SCMP
    This is the correct link:

    Which is a difficult question because once a vaccine is approved, and particularly when these are approved fast-track the responsibility for previously unknown side effects is in the side of the institution that approved the vaccine knowingly and not following the standard procedure. The designer and maker would face responsibility for manufacturing errors and as long as some characteristics of the formulation and the vaccine itself were undisclosed or some fudge revealed in the process of approval.

    IMO, while the vaccine is in emergency or conditional phase, the deployment should be linked to informed consent forms signed by the subjects. In such forms all the unknowns should be signalled in a comprehensive and understandable manner as well as an explanation on the risk/benefit calculations that recommended the vaccination to each particular subset of subjects.

    1. mnm

      Every other vaccine you would sue HHS, your lawyer vs DOJ.
      In the case of this vaccine the payout for an adverse event has been capped to a very small amount, you have a year to file and must use your own health care coverage first. I don’t remember the article where I found the info (at Children’s Health Defense?), but if you have had a life altering injury it would not even come close to covering costs for care. Maybe get a physical at the time of the shot, tell your PCP to throw in a neuro exam and baseline markers for autoimmune disease just in case.

        1. Cuibono

          “In 2010, the legislation established a compensation fund for people suffering adverse side-effects, which has since paid out on 29 of the 499 claims filed, with 10 cases still under medical review, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration.

          Given the low approval rate for claims, legal experts have questioned the worth of the scheme, Reuters has reported.”

    2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      Most Americans don’t even know what a virus is. How could they possibly give informed consent of.its treatment with an experimental mRNA therapy, that they also have never heard of, when the long and short term effects are years or even decades away from being fully understood? How “all the unknowns” possibly be signalled, being as they are in fact unknown?

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Japan’s ‘onsen’: A hot bath every day keeps doctors away Deutsche Welle

    There is lots of recent research indicating that sauna and other forms of extreme heat have very good health benefits – some indicate that a sauna session is the equivalent for your body of an intense gym workout. Many Japanese are surprisingly physically inactive, but are usually slim and fit – it would certainly make sense that their fondness for onsen and domestic hot baths contributes to this. Having had more than one Japanese housemate over the past few years, I can confirm that my hot water bill shoots up when they are home.

    1. Oh

      I don’t know if it’s the onsen habit or not but the Japanese eat a lot less compared to us USAins and they consume a lot less sugar.

    2. Wukchumni

      I’ve long been a fancier of natural hot springs and there’s something incredibly primal about them, especially so the ones where money won’t buy admission, only your legs pumping up and down en route in anticipation of finally being in their presence.

      Every one is different in location, smell, water temp and more, with one of our favorites being Sespe hot springs which requires a nearly 20 mile walk to be in it’s presence.

      Sespe is the hottest from the source of any in California @ 190 degrees as a slightly molten waterfall emanates out of the side of a hill 30 feet up.

      Anything over 110 is pretty much a no-go zone for me, and the trick with this one is to follow the hot creek until you can soak, and at one point we found what I felt was nirvana where when you immersed your body it seemed as if every particle of my inner and outer body had been warmed up, although only fleeting as we could only spend 3 or 4 seconds in the 112-ish water. By comparison only another 100 feet down the stream, we hung out for 10 minutes in the more comfortable 108 degree confines.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        Went to the boiling river north of Yellowstone National Park one chilly fall night (it wasn’t open we snuck in) and it is still one of my most memorable experiences. The smell! Heavenly earthy fragrance. And complete body relaxation with the head out in the cool night air. I dream of doing this in a snowstorm.

    3. Bazarov

      Don’t the Japanese walk a lot?

      I remembering hearing that was the case–but perhaps things have changed.

    4. fajensen

      FWIW: My heart rate will go up to 135 beats/minute when I spend about an hour in my sauna at 80 degrees centigrade, that is about the same heart rate and duration of a 40 minutes “medium intensity run”, according to my sports watch and fitness tracker app :).

      I could imagine sauna is especially good for older people with rickety joints and failing balance who can’t exercise so readily.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Christmas in the grip of the Spanish Flu: As shops removed blackout curtains for the first time in four years in 1918, war-weary Britons faced the difficult decision over whether to see family during global pandemic that killed 50million.”

    A hard choice back then and a hard choice today. Back then people were impatient as they had not seen loved ones for four years because of the war. These days people are impatient because it has been four days since they went to McDonalds. I found the photographs in that article intriguing and imagined what it would look like in colour. I wonder how many people reading that article may be unknowingly descended from the children in those photographs. One thing that did click. In those photographs, we are seeing a world without plastic. Yes, there were minor usages of plastics coming into use but in everyday life, those photos appear to show none. Clothes were of linen, cotton, wool and leather. If we had to more or less ban general usage of plastic, I wonder if we could go back to such materials again.

        1. hunkerdown

          Fortunately, we can mix and match technologies to a great extent and keep what’s useful while leaving the rest behind, without the permission of the bourgeoisie demanding period-consistency for the sake of their selfish aesthetics (and their manager jobs, forgive me for noticing).

  11. Carolinian

    Re Chaplin–what the article doesn’t talk about is the degree to which silent films were an international art which is why Chaplin was able to go overseas and meet all those famous people. Ironically a medium that once found an international audience through humane, some would say too sentimental pantomime has once again turned to international distribution by loading its films with action and violence. The rise of CGI has given Hollywood a particular advantage in this re-emphasis on the visual. Even a supposedly children oriented animation like Disney’s new live action Mulan focuses on fighting but without the gore.

    One questions though the article’s assertion that

    The zeitgeist of the 1930s permeates the film more fully than it perhaps has done with any other single work of art.

    Talking brought wisecracks and screwball comedy whereas Victorian sentimentality was on the way out. A more iconic 30s comedy would be the great It Happened One Night.

    1. Geo

      “Ironically a medium that once found an international audience through humane, some would say too sentimental pantomime has once again turned to international distribution by loading its films with action and violence.”

      Not necessarily a new thing. Serials had a level of consequence free violence to them. Westerns were notoriously crass – yet bloodless – with their violence. Our movies (and TV) have always been purveyors of such themes – even with the draconian decency laws that kept naughty things like co-habitating married couples sharing a bed, toilets being flushed, or other horrific abominations from interrupting the shooting and stabbing.

      The CGI has made it more over-the-top but the messages, themes, and iconography have barely evolved. Mainstream media has rarely been humane. And when it has, it’s often because it is too vapid to contain any moral message of any worth.

      Just another (among many) reason(s) to boycott Hollywood films and stick to indies and foreign for your entertainment needs. And even then, there’s tons of propaganda and vapidness to go around. Seems a lot of governments and militaries are getting into the filmmaking business for marketing purposes.

      1. Carolinian

        Pauline Kael named one of her books Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Think what I’m saying is that, yes, there’s always been violence but these days visuals and action have come to predominate over other elements for the big movies that the movie studios depend upon to pay the bills and a lot of that money comes from overseas. On my library’s movie shelves the foreign film section barely seems to expand these days.

        1. Geo

          Very good point. Sort of the infamous Scorsese comment last year about comic book movies being theme park rides. All spectacle and very little substance.

          When a character’s mortality is based more on and actor’s contract than character arc, and themes can’t offend oppressive governments or fat cat investors (at home and abroad) we do end up with some pretty bland and useless movies. But, these bland and useless movies also make $billions.

          With all the hype around WW84 lately I decided to dive back into comic movie world after avoiding it for a few years and watched both Birds of Prey and Joker. BoP is one of the dumbest, laziest films I’ve seen. Joker was a big budget student film made by an angsty kid who doesn’t like the system but hasn’t learned enough to know why yet. That these are considered the better of the comic genre is depressing. Haven’t watched a Marvel movie since Civil War. They’re literally soap operas with punching. Nothing that happens in them means anything at all.

          It’s depressing because our media consumption drives so much of our social narrative. While one movie can’t change the world, the ideas they put out do have impact. That these Ayn Randian wet dreams are the mainstream of our cultural conversation is downright dreary.

          1. ambrit

            I do remember thinking something along those lines when I stepped back and considered all those “chases” in Spielberg movies, etc.
            Then I began thinking about the Disney Method; construct a movie by committee. (Look at the mess they made out of John Carter!)
            Ah ha! Phyl wants the computer! I hear and obey! (Just call me Stripey.)

          2. Massinissa

            Er, pretty much nobody likes BoP. Not quite sure why you mentioned it as one of the ‘better’ comic book films when it bombed financially because nobody was interested.

            I think your comment on Joker is pretty accurate though. I think the fact that it made a billion dollars is because “I hate society but I don’t really understand why I hate society” is probably becoming a more common stance, due to shit like decades of neoliberalism.

            1. JBird4049

              This is going off into a different direction, but Neoliberalism does not encourage thinking for it’s political regime pushes a kind of Newspeak; like newspeak, modern American English is being stripped of complexity, nuance, and ideas. Part of the process includes disappearing much of our volcabulary into the national memory hole or more destructively, distort their original meanings into new meanings that removes the old meaning from use. It makes creating new kinds of thoughtcrime easy. It doesn’t have to be the government. Elites, their tools among the literati and the Professional Managerial Class. It completely legal, nationwide censorship. Add in the expanded national Two Minute Hate between the Blues and the Reds and towards the ostensibly senior leaders like Pelosi and McConnell. So, yes someone can get stinking rich, which all right thinking American aspire to, and hate society without having the ability or even desire to understand why they hate society.

  12. Wukchumni

    LA’s Covid ‘tsunami’: inside the new center of America’s raging pandemic Guardian

    Los Angeles County reports nearly 30,000 coronavirus cases over a two-day period LA Times
    A giant albeit largely anonymous American city where privilege trumps all else often.

    You can almost hear the pithy excuses being bandied about ‘but, but Tony’s if not the best grip in the industry, he’s right up there-and deserves care more the people of lesser ability.’

      1. Wukchumni

        About 20 years ago maybe the most beautiful woman i’d ever known passed away from meth. She in no way, shape or form resembled the pretty lass who brightened the room by merely her presence, but there was ample evidence of her priors in glamorous head shots and a series of roles of no significance along the way. In death she looked like just another drug addled loser in the City of Angles-maybe worse, sad.

        Local tv news made a cause celebrity out of her for a spell with regular updates on the case of selficide, always showing that 1985 photo.

        Looks are everything in tinseltown…

        1. JBird4049

          Every time I’m there LA has always been a strange land. I wondered about it for years. It is in the same state I was born in, but nowhere else in this state feels so different. Then one time, having flown in to see my Dad, it’s like a cliched lightbulb moment. I am sitting in a restaurant having the local “Mexican” food and I realize that everyone especially the staff look like Barbie Clones. Men and women. Young and old. Maybe it was just unusually intense there with it being, IIRC, a local upper middle class restaurant. The type of people full of everyone trying to beat the Jones in the looks and fashion department as well as the latest car. Perhaps showing off their plastic surgeon’s latest work. It makes a narcissistic place like the Bay Area deep. It just took me decades to see it!

          The city is a big place place and the center of a very large metropolis. It has its wealthy, middle class and working class areas as well. It also has some areas that seem worse than some third world countries. Interesting that.

          It has been over ten years since I have been there. From what I read, the homeless population is steadily increasing. Too bad all the local industry that used to be in places like South Central are gone. That is why Blacks moved there. It seems to me that like in San Francisco, the place transmogrified into a theme park with all the media telling you to look at the beautiful places with hardly a word about places like the Tenderloin. Everything that makes a city a city has been torn down but the facades are there as well as the people. If there is any coverage, it’s lacking in depth or detail with hardly a mention of why the millions of Californians who used to have good lives now live in their cars, the encampments, or among the excrement on the streets.

          Oh look it Newsom! (Let’s forget about how the already inadequate funding for services of all kinds often disappears by by being spent on everything but services. We are the United States in small form)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just noticed last night that one term that you do not hear about New York earlier this year and California now is the term ‘hot zone.’ When I think back, I have never heard this term used to describe what is going on the past few months now, almost if it was an editorial choice. Maybe a case of another dog not barking?

  13. CH

    Between a terrorist attack aimed at 5G networks, those photos from LA, and a deepfake message from the Queen, I’d say that we’re actually living in the nightmare cyberpunk dystopia that writers predicted decades ago. It’s like they were mailing postcards from the future. And today’s headlines didn’t even feature the DoD hack, climate change, food banks, Amazon warehouses or Bitcoin billionaires.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Pity that it looks no where near as stunning as Blade Runners 2019 LA or Akira’s NeoTokio.

    1. Phacops

      Thank you for this. After the 2016 Trump win our local Dem party had a review. While I was pounding on the economy and healthcare, many younger (20s to 30s) in that session were adamant that the Dem establishment has demonstrated their unwillingness to fight for ANYTHING. What came out of all this was the conviction by the dunces in the party, followers of political numerology, that the major issue was lack of . . . drumroll, please . . . messaging.

      That was when I was finally convinced that I am no Democrat.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I read Brie Brie Joy’s piece. It’s good. I also liked Firestone’s chart. If the framing is “Let’s heave Pelosi over the side” I’m all for it. Even with a more conservative House Leader the squad would show some power. I don’t buy the #MedicareForAll framing at all, though. I also think Yasha Levine’s perspective that (summarizing) this is a tempest in a teapot in DC because Democrats are overly focused on DC is useful.

      Beijer’s last paragraphs is interesting:

      You know who never gives up? Bernie Sanders. Even in the Senate, where he’s forced to work largely alone, Bernie Sanders has managed to do more to alter the two-party dynamic than anyone else on the left. Sanders recognized that Republican Senator Josh Hawley is anxious to prove to voters that he cares about working people. Sanders used this to get Hawley to support stimulus checks, and by leveraging Hawley’s support he was able to attract more Republicans to the idea. The resulting checks are too small–$600 for those earning less than $75,000–but the more Republicans become reliant on working class voters the more opportunities there are to cleverly influence their behavior. There’s a path to a bipartisan approach which leverages the anti-establishment elements within both parties against the entrenched elites, but we need left-wing politicians, activists, and voters who are willing to use it. If we wait for the Democratic Party to embrace us, we’ll be waiting until we’re too exhausted to stay politically engaged. Progressive commentators accuse Dore of demobilizing Millennials, but it is their inaction which is killing the movement. Without left leadership, anti-establishment sentiment will continue to be wielded by right-wing politicians to serve their aims, and the future will be full of Trumps.

      I wonder what Dore would think of it?

      1. Phacops

        Gotta agree that Dems are overly concerned with DC. Here in rural N MI the Dems, and despite poverty at 30%, the state house candidates talk mealy-mouthed aphorisms, failing to offer anything concrete to their constituents . . . and continue to lose. Once one knows to understand the meaning of “access to . . . ” it is galling to hear Dem candidates discuss material benefits in those terms.

        1. Massinissa

          “Once one knows to understand the meaning of “access to . . . ” it is galling to hear Dem candidates discuss material benefits in those terms.”

          As someone living in Georgia, I cringe every time I see that Ossoff ad where he says “We have to fight for an America that has ACCESS to AFFORDABLE healthcare!”. I voted for him because its either that or, well, not vote, I guess. At least the Dem ads all try and be positive: The Republican ads are all “THE DEM CANDIDATES ARE EVIL RADICAL SOCIALISTS WHO HATE THE MILITARY AND WANT TO DEFUND THE POLICE!!1!”. As an *actual* socialist its pretty depressing nonsense. Also the Warnock ads seem rarely fair and balanced: Some of the Ossoff ads make me go kinda squick. Not sure he’s much different than say, Mayo Pete. I mean I’m not sure about Warnock either but at least he doesn’t seem particularly nauseating.

      2. grayslady

        I wonder what Dore would think of it?

        I suspect Jimmy Dore would approve. He simply came up with one very obvious idea to wield power; that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to other ideas. IMNSHO, Dore’s strategy showed that “The Squad” consists of a bunch of Twitter posers who aren’t prepared to launch the guerilla warfare they promised their constituents when they were running. They just gamed Obama’s playbook. As Dore has said repeatedly, politicians are not your friends–they are in D.C. to represent your interests. Feel free to yell at them if they don’t do what they said they were going to do.

        As for Medicare for All framing, there’s a very specific reason that term is being used: it’s the only universal program for health insurance that covers everyone over age 65. You don’t have to be a veteran to use it. You don’t receive less care if you enroll at age 62, because you can’t enroll at age 62. Most importantly, regardless of some of the program’s shortcomings, most Americans look forward to being able to get on the program and save thousand of dollars on medical insurance costs. (My premium costs, including drug coverage, for 2021 will be approximately $2100 annually.) The marketing for a “socialist” health care program has already been wildly successful with Medicare. Does Medicare need major improvements? Absolutely. However, Medicare is not an amorphous term like “universal health care” that lends itself to all sorts of shabby attacks and interpretations. Personally, I would have preferred “Improved M4A”, but I can live with M4A as a method of disarming the opposition in advance.

        1. KB

          I get your point but your amount for premiums is low compared to Medicare…I pay $2974.80 to be exact for Part B premiums and Part D….this doesn’t count the 150 or so per month they take out of Social Security for Part A.

          Yes, Medicare needs improvement but be prepared to pay more than you expect I guess.

          1. grayslady

            Perhaps I wasn’t clear: I am on Medicare. I paid for Part A during all my working years. I can’t afford a supplement such as Medigap, and I would never use Medicare Advantage, which is just privatization of Medicare. As a side note on health insurance inflation, forty years ago I paid $2500 annually for a very generous private insurance plan that covered all medical plus dental.

        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          What would you say to taking a cue from the old interstate highways project and renaming the proposal the “National [or “American] Health Defense Act”?

      3. The Rev Kev

        Well pulling back for the big picture, Bernie does give up – for the systematic problems. Those stimulus checks that everybody are arguing about. They are arguing about the size of a band-aid on a sucking chest wound. Even if people did get the full $2,000, it would only be a temporary fix. So this is an answer to current problems (even though it will not improve for a very long time) and this is temporary. A systematic problem is for example having healthcare tied to your job that you have and has failed catastrophically. Medical health programs for all citizens like the rest of the world has is an even bigger one which would solve a lot of critical problems for America. But Bernie gave up on that entirely in April and does not talk about it anymore. So excuse my cynicism for fighting for band-aids while ignoring the major surgeries that have to be done.

      4. lordkoos

        Dore has been a very harsh critic of Bernie Sanders this year. I feel like asking Jimmy, what have you done lately? It’s easy to be critical when you stay on the sidelines as an arm chair general.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Let’s see – trying to help organize a People’s Party, trying to get a campaign going to force a vote on M4A on the House floor, trying to warn people that certain people are not who they claim to be, pointing out how liberals will sell you out each and every time, how progressives will never challenge power. I have a very hostile view on Biden for example. You wanna know why? Jimmy Dore.

          No, it was really nothing his said. He showed videos of Biden taking in the past being a blatant racist, about trying to sell his office out as soon as he got it (he was told to come back when he was forty), multiple times saying he wants to cut back on SS and medicaid, boasting of putting “those people” in prison, campaigning for a Republican against a Democrat because he was paid $200,000 to, his demonstrable dementia, etc.

          Dore has been consistently correct in his evaluations so I do not care if he swears, I do not care if he rants, I listen to what the man has to say because he is giving a correct evaluation of the situation like few others are. If I had listened to Cenk & TYT team for example, I would be a Russiagater from way back so more the fool me. Just try listening to what the man has to say. Forget the cover and listen to the book.

          1. Yves Smith

            The issue is that Dore is an armchair general and it shows. What is the point of launching a floor vote on M4A in a lame duck Congress? Getting Covid relief, whether it’s hard cash or some sort of eviction relief is vastly more important now. In times of want, voting patterns move to the right, not the left. The odds of getting M4A under Biden are zero. He’d veto it. He’s even said during his campaign he was opposed to M4A and he was elected. From his perspective, he has voter confirmation that they don’t want M4A. And you can therefore also be assured Biden and Pelosi would whip against it. So what is the point even if a vote could be forced to have Team Dem deliver a big defeat in the House to show the Squad and M4A advocates who is in charge?

            If you are going to shoot at a king, you must kill him. They can maybe take out Pelosi and that would be a serious show of power. Going for M4A is an attack on Biden and they don’t being to have the horsepower for that. They should wait until Biden is wounded by Covid to decide what opportunities present themselves.

            There is a remote possibility he’d support some stimulus that helps the plebs when the economy starts coming apart and it’s clear Magical Covid Vaccines won’t solve that.

            The fact that Cenk is wrong just means Cenk is wrong. That does not make Dore correct.

            And what good did all of those actual depictions of what a schmuck Biden is before the election do, pray tell?

            And as dcblogger (who unlike Dore has done actual hand-on organizing) said, the Peoples Party is the Greens without a ballot line. Depicting them as an actual or potential political force is delusional.

    3. Chas

      The Studebaker piece is excellent analysis. I agree with his statement that it would be an effective tactic to even support a Republican for house speaker until the corporate democrats agree to a floor vote on M4A. Whenever I read a Studebaker piece I’m reminded of the time in the early 60s when I was a kid and my Uncle Joe and Aunt Thelma drove up from Florida in their Studebaker which had been souped up with a big Cadillac engine. They called it a Studelac, if I remember correctly. This piece by Benjamin Studebaker is the best analysis on the AOC v. Dore clash I’ve seen and makes me think Benjamin is becoming a souped up Studebaker.

        1. Oh

          I remember the Studebaker model that looks the same from the front and back – sortof like our fake progressives. We don’t know if they’re coming or going! The DimRats would love that model.

        2. ambrit

          I remember a little old lady, (a real one,) who had, and drove around town for shopping and whatnot, a Silver Hawk. She knew what she had. It had been her late husband’s pride and joy. She was one of those “well balanced” people you only occasionally meet anymore.

    4. Oh

      Thanks for the link. It’s a well written piece. This stood out:

      If progressive Democrats are willing to weaken the Democratic Party to punish it for ignoring their demands, the party establishment will have to work much harder to frustrate their careers. Behind the scenes, people like AOC are offered opportunities to move up if they use their clout among progressive voters to push those voters to be “reasonable” and continue supporting Democrats. Progressive credentials become a currency which these Democrats can trade in for career opportunities…..

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        It’s a thought that helps explain why almost everyone in the primaries was claiming some kind of progressive bonafides or another, regardless of how far from reality the label was. It also helps explain the 100-some-odd member “Progressive Caucus” who are anything but.

    5. KLG

      Something national “Democrats” completely fail to understand, mostly on purpose:

      If you are not willing to engage in a fight you might lose, you will never win a fight when it counts the most…Never.

      How long did the Republican Rump lose after Dewey-1948? After Goldwater-1964? And then, shortly after being nominated in July 1980, Ronald Reagan gave a speech on States’ Rights in Neshoba County, Mississippi, original resting place of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. Politics ain’t beanbag, said Mr. Dooley.

  14. Phacops

    Liked the “A Duty to Warn” article. Usually I don’t bother with such pieces, however, this, and other pieces I’ve read in the past makes me wonder how is it that our military sometimes sees the value in POC who our society would otherwise just discard?

  15. SomeGuyinAZ

    “Fauci admits to lying…” – again? I’m sure it was another “noble” whopper and he’ll be put up on an even higher pedestal.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I miss the days of the 99 cent Whopper….many was the afternoon or evening I mowed down a pair of those gut bombs while studying, working on a paper in college…or else between breaks at my early employment doing physical labor.

        Out of curiosity I plugged in $1 in 1985 dollars to an inflation calculator, and found that in 2020 that had inflated by 141.8%, to yield a new price of $2.42.

        I checked online, and it says the current price of a Whopper is $4.19.

        Talk about losing the Mandate of Heaven! ノಠ_ಠノ

        Perhaps it is only Costco dogs that still stand between us and the Red Turbans?

        1. Milton

          Since the whopper has been upgraded with imported sesame, kosher pickles, grass-fed beef, and double secret sauce inflation for the Whopper is non-existent.

  16. JEHR

    RE: U.K. variant puts spotlight on immunocompromised patients’ role in the COVID-19 pandemic

    The above article is the scariest thing I have read about the variants of the virus found in different countries. As it happens, I am one of those patients who is immuno-compromised in one of the ways described in the article in that I am being treated for lymphoma of the spleen with rituxan (rituximab). The article talks about how the virus may evolve (in such patients undergoing these types of treatment) in order to become more infectious, which strikes some researchers as very dangerous for the future. The research on this viral development is one that I, for one, will be following closely.

    1. Thomas R Stone

      JEHR, good luck!
      I was treated with Rituximab for stage 4 Lymphoma earlier this year and the results were good.

  17. crittermom

    Thank you for the article containing Reindeer facts. I learned several interesting things.

    Most of the news highlights the evils of mankind and can be very depressing, even thought it’s important to stay informed.

    Animal articles such as that are a nice window into the beauty of this world, which is much needed during these troubling times.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Just to add a touch of silliness:

      I’ve learned that Rudolph and Santa’s other reindeer might have been girl reindeer.

      Other than that, I agree with crittermom. Animal articles are quite nice although sometimes there’s a lot of sadness sprinkled within the stories.

  18. Lambert Strether

    Style Note

    I’m seeing a number of comments that address members of the commentariat (“A”) rather than the member’s comment (“this comment”) or the substance of the member’s comment (“the idea that ___” or “the strategy of ___”).

    I know where that ends up, and sure as shooting people will start taking comments personally, and then there will be an enormous dust-up, and then Yves will decide to shut the comments down for a cooling off period (and the holiday we moderators really, really want to take).

    Yves asked:

    Please behave nicely, since our wanting to minimize comment moderation in the interest of getting some R&R is likely to bias us at the margin toward not approving comments as opposed to releasing ones that are iffy and having a go at them in a reply.

    Please allow me to operationalize “behave nicely,” and ask that commenters try to minimize addressing other commenters personally (except to express sympathy or pay compliments, of course).

    NOTE One might feel that “NC would be so much better if only this fool were purged.” Who among has not been that fool at one point in our lives? In any case, that determination is up to the moderators. Let it go.

    1. Geo

      I’ve been that fool many times! Thanks for the note.

      “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” – Words I should really try listening to sometimes.

    2. Carolinian

      Some of us old timers remember the flame wars. Nasty! Also kind of boring. You can disagree without getting personal.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’ve been on blogs that degenerated into an us versus them morass, and it’s kind like watching a familiar pet going through the death throes, they’ve stopped eating, except each other. The last one was the Calculated Risk blog which went off the rails oh so quick after having a productive cast of characters who had gelled well prior.

      Lets not go there.

      1. polecat

        I try my best to keep any ‘inhouse’ crit tongue in cheek- softens the noodle blows .. It’s generally quite enough for moi to fire any Blam!-Blam! blame cannons toward our ever worsening ‘Betters’.

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    > The End of Efficiency
    Skidelsky questions whether economic efficiency should be treated with the peculiar worship our culture gives to “efficiency” in almost complete unconcern for other qualities. He points out several flaws in this value placed on efficiency. I broadly agree with Skidelsky. However this link called to mind a paper Mirowski reposted a couple months ago. It’s a slow day — so …

    A 1994 paper by Weintraub and Mirowski, reviewing the Bourbaki influence on the Cowles Commision’s branch of the Chicago School of economics — a Neoliberal variant — suggests a more damning indictment of economic efficiency. The later half of this paper discusses the contributions of Debreu, a French mathematician, who frustrated in his desire to study physics found a place in economics instead.

    [ref. The Pure and the Applied: Bourbakism Comes to Mathematical Economics, Weintraub and Mirowski, ].
    “Debreu is perhaps best known for his 1954 joint proof with Kenneth Arrow of the existence of a general competitive Walrasian equilibrium (Weintraub 1985), and his 1959 monograph The Theory of Value, which still stands as the bench-mark axiomatization of the Walrasian general equilibrium model.” [p. 13 in pdf p. 257 in the journal]

    Much of the magical efficiency attributed to economics results from the “analogy between extrema of field theories in physics and constrained optimization of utility in neoclassical economics”.” But the optimums — the “equilibrium” of the Walrasian models — though possessing mathematical existence, those equilibrium points have a little problem:
    “Debreu, as noted above, has never seemed very interested in describing the dynamics of convergence of an economy to Walrasian equilibrium. The issue of motion could not be avoided forever, however, and there was a long interval in the postwar period in which “dynamics” were redefined to mean “stability” within the mathematical economics community (Weintraub 1991). In that context, the question was posed by Hugo Sonnenschein whether the basic “structure” of Walrasian general equilibrium models placed any substantial restrictions on the uniqueness and stability of the resulting equilibria, and he proposed the startling answer: no, outside of some trivial and unavailing global restrictions. The devastating effect this had on Debreu’s older “structural” program has been nicely captured by his major protege, Werner Hildenbrand.” [p. 23 or the pdf, p. 267 in the journal].

    If Neoliberal Market equilibria are neither stable nor unique — assuming the actual existence of a Neoliberal Market — Sonnenschein 1972, Mantel 1974, and Debreu 1983 Chapt. 16 — then claims of “optimality” and hence “efficiency” grow dubious.

    1. skippy

      Kenneth Arrow was brought around some years ago after a meeting was arranged, very back door stuff, 3 hours of discussion was required, but at the end he agreed.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I am very surprised anyone bothered to read this comment. I regard Kenneth Arrow in a way that I don’t regard Debreu — a lack of regard intensified chiefly as a result of my dislike for Neoliberalism and the effects of the Bourbaki on mathematics. Thank your for your comment. My respect for Arrow increased exponentially on reading that he was swayed to agree after three hours. That is a tribute to Arrow and to whomever swayed his opinions.

    2. Massinissa

      The entire concept of ‘efficiency’ is nuts on the face of it. How is an economy focused on consumer goods and entertainment ‘efficient’? ‘Efficient’ at WHAT? Why does the economy essentially rely on advertisements for things people don’t even want before they see the advertisement in order to not have economic collapse? I don’t quite understand why mainstream citizens never ask who the economy actually benefits. Sometimes its feels that even people who havn’t taken economic college courses just assume the economy appeared one day Ex Nihilo with no intervention of other forces.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Though the concept of “economic efficiency” is nuts on its face, I too remain amazed by how few people … outside the readers and commenters to this blog … will reach that conclusion.

      2. HotFlash

        Way back in 1973, two years after the Powell Memorandum, a British economist named Schumacher (German born) published a series of essays in which he explored the purpose of economics. The title alone is a neoliberal’s worst nightmare, but I have found it useful to reset the occasional conversation, esp the subtitle. “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered”.

        It didn’t exactly change this old hippie’s life, but it certainly clarified a lot.

        If you are not familiar with this man’s work, this book is available free at

        1. The Historian

          Wow! That brings back memories! I read the book after it first came out but I think I was too dumb about economics to understand at the time. I’ll have to get it again and re-read it!

    3. KLG

      Late to the party again due to post-Christmas Day, outdoor-at-a-reasonable-temperature, socially distanced Christmas with the kids:

      This rang a bell…
      “In other words, the model bears perilous little resemblance to any world of commerce that we will ever see. What follows from Arrow-Debreau is absolutely nothing: Arrow-Debreau leaves you just as in the dark about whether markets clear in real life as you were before reading Arrow-Debreau.”
      Italics in the original

      Yves Smith, ECONNED, p. 47 (pb edition, October 2011; Chapter 2, “Blinded by Science”)

      Anyway, as far I’m concerned, the best service Kenneth Arrow ever did was his (late) review in Partisan Review of The Twilight of Capitalism (1976) by Michael Harrington.

      Be nice to everyone, everybody! Cheers!

    4. Kevin Carhart

      Not an emblem of a slow day in my world, but I am a flippin Mirowskiite and nerd. And Nik-Khahist, and finished Science Mart a few days ago. (I highly recommend it. It ends talking about Schleifer & Summers – I wanted to chime in on the post, but didn’t have anything to add except for “coincidentally I was just here.”)

      I wish I knew what to do about the staying power of the walking dead economics that is incredibly stubborn. I’m more commenting on the Skidelsky than on your Mirowski & Weintraub which I haven’t read yet. But I’m not surprised there are more ways of poking holes. There’s the lift from physics thesis in the first place, followed by a 20th century being defensive and stubborn, endlessly insisting that the “tinkertoy” model can accomodate everything. “Protecting neoclassical from Keynes”, “Protecting neoclassical from the computer/cyber ideas.” And protecting “efficiency” and equilibrium from contingent and pragmatic considerations, sustainability, or from considering a longer history than a present moment.

      Mirowski and associates are endlessly salient in my opinion. One of the most recent additions to the canon that I have been listening to in 2020 is Nik-Khah’s talk on the ‘marketplace of ideas’ idea.

      I’m as bad as F. Beard with one preoccupation, but it’s because there are so many hooks back and forth with real life that “ring true”. They are some of the best thinkers around.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I do not understand your comment. Who is ‘good old’ Fuzzy? I cannot get past sticking on Mr. Fezziwig from “A Christmas Carol”. I am also not sure what comrades we should toast.

          I am not entirely clueless … but almost. Please indulge my ignorance and curiosity. [No sarc or snideness intended and I hope none received. I really am clueless.]

            1. skippy

              Yes its a referral to the beard, same bloke that used theological authority to promote his own special economic outlooks. Actually a bit of a mishmash of AET and neo Classical with booming voices from above.

              Kinda guy that referenced a discredited astrophysicist using his degree to validate his theological beliefs, spreading sky’s and CDs with videos of chariots at the bottom of the red sea.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I have not read “Science Mart” but should. I have the essays/papers collection “The Effortless Economy of Science” but I have only read part of it. Mirowski is very difficult for me to read and understand, although every effort I have made to read Mirowski has been richly rewarded. I am certain I need to re-read “Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste” … most especially as we enjoy the benefits trickling from the ongoing drawn-out series of “CARES” acts and as we regard the mountains of pork those pittances wrap.

        I will listen to Nik-Khah’s talk. Thank you! for the reference. I am not at all familiar with Nik-Khah and would welcome another voice to add to that of Mirowski. I have not yet listened to the Nik-Khah talk on the “marketplace of ideas” — but if the talk expresses anything like the ideas I have picked up from what reading I have done of Mirowski, I think we [I hope you will chime in!] might have some interesting discussions exploring the import of those ideas in a comments-give-and-take with Lambert who has in the past expressed a very positive view of open-access journal articles and of course with others in the commentariat. While I too appreciate open-access — especially as our libraries clear their shelves, I am wary of the poison pills they wrap. I especially appreciate open-access after paying for only a couple of journals at a retired person’s price and after watching the physical shrinkage of my Science magazines and after observing some of the results of the much touted review processes practiced by the most prestigious journals supported by their tremendously over-priced subscription fees [thankfully waived for sharing Corona pandemic related studies]. Reading and downloading open-access articles — I feel as unclean as I do after transactions with Amazon [for some things they have become the only source I am aware of — third-party sales of used special-title old DVDs for example].

        1. Kevin Carhart

          Thanks Jeremy. It would be great to keep this up in comments threads. It’s been a strange time to read Science Mart, but it’s definitely relevant to Covid discussion. Like “Never Let”, some chapters are more and less dense. Once you get to the illustrative-examples chapters, it’s a page-turner. There’s the Oncomouse, there’s the Material Transfer Agreement, there’s the biotech startups, there’s the Contract Research Organization, there’s the journals. There’s the story of the “race” between Celera and the Human Genome Project which is reminiscent of the “race” for vaccines as well as the endless public-private partnerships.

          You can also look at Mirowski’s talk at the Boundary2 conference in 2017, “Hell is Truth Seen Too Late,” if you want to get into what he thinks the open science is about.

          One thing about that MOI audio on soundcloud is that Nik-Khah’s method is to bring out particular lines of reasoning, even between certain Mont Pelerin economists at one particular meeting, in a very clear way. So, their writing can be difficult but the various recorded talks have been utterly terrific and a gateway drug into the related book or article. A good and relevant article by Nik-Khah is “Smoke and Thalidomide.” I think one of their basic points can be summed up as Stigler, Stigler, Stigler. (Nothing to do with avuncular Joe Stiglitz, a totally different guy.) There’s so much Friedman, and so little Stigler, when people tell the neoliberalism story based on heads of state and institutions.

          Nik-Khah (and also Mirowski in Never Let) speak at length about how Friedman and Stigler had a tactical disagreement. Friedman (and Buchanan) is more likely to advocate something garish like “get rid of the FDA.” Stigler is more likely to found an outside audit organization (one form of the think tanks) that hounds the FDA by releasing papers and materials that criticize what they do based on affordability or profitability. “To invent measures of regulatory performance,” Nik-Khah said on a Marin radio show you can find on “And they were so effective, in fact, that the FDA has taken a number of these measures on board and uses these measures in order to, in effect, critique themselves and evalulate their own performance.”

          Stigler believed Friedman was barking up the wrong tree in addressing the public rather than doing more of the “audit society” approach.

          (The endless audit also sounds a little like how Kelton has described the CBO – pricing the hell out of any good idea.)

          There’s a lot more of course…

  20. John Jenkins

    “”She Noticed $200 Million Missing””

    Perhaps rate payers in California should refuse to pay the worthy portion of their utility bill dedicated to blind, disabled and other persons until the utility proves, on their website, that they have actually forwarded the money to the PUC?

    A general observation, Republican governors in California have sometimes been corrupted by private business, but Democratic governors, like Gray Davis, (successfully recalled by the voters), 4 term Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom, (about to be recalled), have and are corrupting regulatory and public agencies with their appointments. Newsom was first appointed to a political sinecure by Kamala Harris’ boyfriend and first appointer, speaker of the California legislature, Willie Brown.

    And are these appointments expensive. For example, for example,Mary Nichols, chairthing of the California Air Resources Board, costs the taxpayers a quarter million a year:

    Look up any California state employee salary/pay here:

    She was in the running for Biden’t choice for EPA until this tweet of hers surfaced:

    “California Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) (a black man) went off on California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols Monday night after she posted an unbelievably self-serving and stupid Tweet:
    “‘I can’t breathe’ speaks to police violence, but it also applies to the struggle for clean air. Environmental racism is just one form of racism. It’s all toxic. Government needs to clean it up in word and deed. We who do climate and environmental…”
    And then her Tweet was deleted.

    The California political circus is moving into the second ring…it’s going to be interesting.

    1. fwe'theewell

      Quarter mill and you’re up in arms. Public salaries are orders of magnitude smaller than private ones for the job of extracting value from the public. Perfect example of that cartoon where we monkeys fight over dollar bills as the big boys egg us on, while stuffing our commonwealth down their pieholes. Disgorge!

      1. Yves Smith

        Yes, the way Singapore assures clean government is to pay top officials, like the head of agencies, on the level of top private sector professionals (think top partners at big law firms). Stuff like that $200 million or those horrible PG&E fires are way more costly than paying people well so they don’t have incentives to sell out the public to curry favor with private sector businesses. Oh, and Singapore also has tough internal audits.

      1. Wukchumni


        I urge a visit to Pompeii & Herculaneum, but you can’t get there from here now, so go to our country’s version in Chaco Canyon instead.

      2. The Rev Kev

        How about ‘I’ll have a Biggus Maximus’ to go, thanks. Is that buy one, get one slave free offer still on?’

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Esto Ultra?
        Fac Ultra?

        I can’t remember the “rules” as such as they are, but I think Ultra would be at the end if we are trying to make the equivalent of a brand motto.

        I think the “to be” verb is more fitting as it makes it its own entity, truly supersizing the product.

  21. Pat

    Our facile and surface press at work:

    Per Reuter’s the loss of unemployment benefits sends millions hurdling over the edge, all with photo of Trump.

    Yes the loss of benefits, even if temporary, probably is the last stone killing many lying in society’s square after taking so many other hits. But how many are months behind in their rent, car payments, etc, How many are struggling to keep the lights and heat on, how many do not have enough food even with that unemployment?

    Screw the idea that it is only Trump causing this suffering. There should have been a second Covid relief package with extended and expanded unemployment, multiple thousand dollar checks, a doubling or tripling of SNAP benefit levels with an easing of requirements in May. And a repeat in July and in November, if our sociopaths in DC couldn’t bring themselves to just admit this a huge ongoing problem. But they, a collective THEY btw, were too busy playing tootsie with donors, insider trading, using public well being as a football in their personal games.

    People were going over the cliff with or without this flaming piece of Manure pretending to be a relief bill. Sure it would delay the crash on the rocks for a few more weeks, as our “leaders” dealt with things they considered more important than real life economic disaster for much of the population. Sure there would probably be another even more meager relief bill at the last minute because important people would start fearing the crash and/or the media couldn’t ignore stepping over homeless families sometime in February or March. But the cliff and the rocks are still looming, now and in the months ahead, without real help they are unwilling to give.

    Every single political leader in DC is evil and has the blood of millions on their hands, and yes that includes both the current and future President. Too bad the circular firing squad is a metaphor.

    1. Gabriela

      “Meghan Meyer, a single mom from Lincoln, Nebraska”

      Just like the “homeless” are supposed to be called “the unhoused”, can we please call “single moms”

      “the unspoused” or “the unmarried”? Or, how about “Unwed mothers?”

      1. Pat

        Doing that might need much more information for instance: Meyer, who’s deadbeat ex disappeared in the night, or widowed Meyer whose husband never came home from Afghanistan, or who after putting her husband through school was only awarded a hundred dollars in child support, or…. Or….We certainly should add in the status of the other parent(s), because despite our society’s penchant for making value judgments regarding children about only the mother, the last I heard it did take a male to have them.

        People, men and women, are single parents for a multitude of reasons. And none of them have anything to do with being unemployed because a pandemic has upended whole areas of the job market wholesale.

      2. Massinissa

        Unspoused might work. I think you could argue that someone who got a divorce could have become ‘Unspoused’. Unmarried and Unwed might not work because alot of them would be previously married and previously wed.

    1. Glen

      And a follow on as to the discussion that America has the most to lose if a :hacking war” breaks out. Yes, America would be the big loser.

      1. Wukchumni

        If the computer systems that bring water from afar to the SoCalist movement were to be hacked and delivery unavailable to 20 million suffering from drymouth, polite society on the left coast corner pocket would quickly fall apart in a matter of days.

    2. Daryl

      The idea of this as a Russian hack has already fully spread everywhere, unfortunately. Even among people I would consider qualified to evaluate objective evidence of such… if we’d been provided any.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        When I heard of this, my immediate response was “I wonder how long until they blame it on Russia?” What I fear is, they’ve used that trope so many times, and it’s been uncritically accepted by so many, that people will just assume it was the Russians even before the allegations get out.

        1. Skip Intro

          And they just trotted out the old ‘Cozy Bear’ (APT-WTF). They didn’t even take time to come up with something plausible. Massive IT infrastructure experts laid low by the most famous hack of 2016! Sounds like extreme negligence.

  22. antidlc

    CDC issues new guidance about vaccinations for people with underlying health conditions

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday issued a new guidance stating that people with underlying health conditions can receive a coronavirus vaccine.

    The CDC explained that people with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses or medication may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but they should be aware that limited safety data is available on the effects of the vaccines on these individuals.

    Additionally, while people living with HIV were included in clinical trials, safety data for this group is not yet available.

    The CDC also stated in its Saturday guidance that individuals with autoimmune conditions may take the vaccine, although there is no data currently available for the safety of the vaccine in this demographic.

    More at the link.

    Link to the CDC guidance:

    Gee, this announcement is supposed to instill confidence?

    1. Cuibono

      i can’t decide if this is meant to scare the crap out of me, or reassure me.
      Same goes for pregnant women.
      Same goes for those already who had covid.

  23. Wukchumni

    A fair number of landlords have been licking their collective chops in rote anticipation of kicking out the losers that haven’t paid them thanks to forebearance, nor have the wherewithal to make amends in making them whole, it’s all about cutting losses for the former, living somewhere else for the latter.

    There’s a few week window to make it happen before the Donkey Show does something like string out landlords further, and don’t you know an awful lot are going to make hay while the sun shines on the front porch, belongings strewn along the street?

    1. polecat

      Thing is, that window is quadruple pained. All that draft expounded by Cold bowl Nancy, assorted RhiNOs, &Co. … will befall on the ground-up floored usians.. What’s to rain down upon LowlyMokestan is referred to – by the those GlitteryAnnointed$ in those brunchy penthauses – as Iced Pelteds!

      They Kill on Compact!

      1. Wukchumni

        Its all coming at once, the worst stretch of the pandemic so far, a lack of willing in terms of strangers allying against debts payable en masse.

        I’m hesitant to call it a perfekt storm of events, but there you have it.

        At the end of the day though, the landlords win out if only a Pyrrhic victory, as who is flush with first last and security payments about now, in order to take advantage of a sudden rash of occupancies?

        1. Daryl

          > At the end of the day though, the landlords win out if only a Pyrrhic victory, as who is flush with first last and security payments about now, in order to take advantage of a sudden rash of occupancies?

          Evictions all the way down…

          1. polecat

            and P.O.ed Zombies all the way up!..

            I hear tell, that Rentier pound-o-flesh is in no way tasty … however, it tends to pull apart quite well ….

  24. Wukchumni

    The auto industry used to go to bed for the holidays as it was the deadest period of the year by far, and then about 20 years ago they came up with tv commercials of people buying each other gifts of new cars as a matter of fact, to the point where it almost seems normal.

    If my wife came home with a $35k debt I didn’t need as a gesture of holiday cheer, i’d probably wring her neck, as she’d do to me if I ever contemplated the same action.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      $35k? Around these parts a pickup truck or full-size SUV sets you back $60,000 to $80,000 when equipped with even a moderate amount of bells & whistles. Heck, what’s another $800 or $900 a month for five or six years? It’s the patriotic thing to do!

      1. Wukchumni

        A new double cab Tacoma 4×4 truck is $35k MSRP, but I still need to get another 150k miles out of the old one.

        Plus with all the brush marks, minor gouges and other injuries wholly cosmetic on the current one, i’d worry myself silly over the first parking lot cart bang in the door with a new ride.

        1. ambrit

          My old Datsun/Nissan pickup truck was so beat up, the coppers in a certain Louisiana metropolis would pull me over “on suspicion.” It seems my truck “fit the description.”
          When we lived down on the Gulf Coast, one of our neighbors, he lived two or three blocks away from us, was a “Recreational Pharmaceutical Entrepreneur – Retail Division.” He drove a two year old Nissan Sentra for work purposes. He always dressed like a lower level PMC and was never flashy or loud. I figured it out one evening when I looked into his car while it was parked in front of the local Quick-E-Mart. He had a barely concealed AK sitting on the passenger seat. He saw me start at seeing this and looked at me squarely in the eyes and smiled. I did my best to smile back. For a number of years, that man ran his business with no friction with the locals. Like Mao said, “Swim with the fishes.”

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      One of the few funny* SNL bits I’ve seen in ages is a more realistic take on the car companies holiday season commercials:

      * they still manage to over egg the pudding and don’t know when to end the skit.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Funny you should say that. There is a car ad on in Oz where this wife is driving home while talking to her husband on the mobile. When she gets home, the husband bemusedly asks ‘What did you do?’ when he sees her brand new orange car. She then see he has brought the exact same model car but in blue and he says ‘Yeah, me too.’ Who are these people? Who are they supposed to represent? Do they have the wealth where getting a car is on level with getting a new pair of shoes without having to mention it to you partner? But you will be glad to know that it was a racially diverse couple.

      1. ambrit

        Even ‘Down Under,’ establishing an outrageous baseline with which to “shame” the ‘consumer’ into aspiring to unrealistic wants is a norm in advertising.

  25. Cuibono

    Odd, these NYT articles on the vaccine, (the one about Fauci and goal post moving, and the one about game theory, make no mention of one critical question: do the vaccines stop transmission and if so, but how much?

    without that one detail, all the rest is hand wringing.

  26. Wukchumni

    The Masked Dancer premiers tonight on Fox, the telly commercial blares at me, this coming after the success of the The Masked Singer, and the lack of mask on many of their viewers.

  27. upstater

    A link from Wolf Street, maybe worth a posting on Links or WC on Monday:

    Railroads Slashed Jobs Again in Nov, to Lowest in Many Decades, Traffic Down 17% since 2006, Stocks Soared to Record High

    Executives and their toadies stuff their pockets with stock options, particularly after the fed props up the rotting mess. “Precision Scheduled Railroading” is a crack-pipe pushed by Wall Street and has now been adopted by the entire industry. It relies upon asset stripping down to the bare-bones, slower service, abandonment of entire classes of customers and take-it-or-leave it pricing for customers. Unfortunately Hubert Horan thinks all this was great stuff…

    I spent 9 years at Penn Central and Conrail, then was forced out in 1982 after Carter/Reagan deregulation and went back to school (did very well… eventually… a very painful 15 years). Needless to say, PC and Conrail devalued, dehumanized and disrespected their unionized employees — it was insulting to work there. I cannot imagine what it is like today with management Nazification.

    Deregulation has only served to empower the trucking industry and screw businesses when had been rail dependent. The environmental and climatic consequences are rather obvious now, 40 years later.

    1. ambrit

      Ah, trying to read Trump’s mind is, as usual, a bootless endeavour. Still, he will be remembered as having tried to get better terms, no matter the truth or falsity of the underlying details.
      If anything else, this last few weeks of Trump’s administration has ‘outed’ the national political parties as the craven bootlickers they are.

  28. Lambert Strether

    One more point on comments:

    Do not submit the same comment multiple times (even if slightly altered). If you do, you are training Akismet to classify you as a spammer, because that’s what spammers do. Once Akismet thinks you are a spammer, there’s nothing we can do.

    This is explained at greater length in our Site Policies.

  29. Lambert Strether

    > The Triumph of Lunacy White Hot Harlots (UserFriendly)

    This blog reminds me of the late-lamented Media Wh*res Online, although with different and more contemporary targets of opportunity.

    It’s also interesting that it uses Tumblr (now owned by the owners of WordPress after being horridly brutalized by Yahoo and then Verizon. It’s funny that the current hot blogging platform, Substack, seems to be winning by (a) making monetizing easy and (b) treating each blog as an entirely separate vertical that cannot interact with or correct to any other blogs (except via an HTML link, of course). No Blogroll, no built-in ability to quote, etc., the reverse of Tumblr’s philosophy.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I find the lack of interaction by substack to be quite weird, almost the opposite of what the internet is supposed to be about. In many ways, we are back to the 18th Century, when righteous independent thinkers (or wannabies) printed off their thoughts on pamphlets and sold them by hand in coffee shops and pubs.

      I’m amazed that existing blog platforms have allowed themselves to lose out so badly – I assume there is a reason why they haven’t allowed individual monetisation, I’d love to hear from people who know why….

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    That ” The Triumph of Insanity” article could just as well be titled ” Heart of Wokeness”. It reveals the core essence of what Wokeness is all about, both voluntary and imposed and extorted. The Wokeness, the Whole Wokeness and Nothing but the Wokeness.

    And the Professional Wokeness hustlers and Wokeness racketeers will get as many people persecuted and fired and socially-canceled as they can, in order to keep their revenue streams streaming for as long as possible.

    Resistance will be made very dangerous, perhaps suicidal, unless/until a critical tipping-point massload of UnWoke people adopt a posture of Mass Militant Anti-Wokenism.

    I know the right thing to say if I am forced into this Confess Your White Privilege Sins corner . . .
    ” My name is Drumlin Woodchuckles and . . . YOU will NOT coMMAND ME.” But will I dare to say it?

Comments are closed.