Links 12/29/2020

Dear patient readers,

I imagine those of you who are a bit flush have made your year end donations (funny how that is a ritual even if the tax law changes make the deduction not useful). But if not, be sure to include food charities! So many people are hungry this year. I always give to some and made sure to give more this year. And I have to confess that on my list of regular causes is snow leopards. It would be perverse for us to adorn our Tip Jar with snow leopards and not try to help them.

And if you can’t make a monetary contribution but do have some time and enough gas money to drive locally, many groups are in real need of volunteers, provided you can help out on a regular basis.

They’re Among the World’s Oldest Living Things. The Climate Crisis Is Killing Them. New York Times (David L)

Miniatur Wunderland largest model railway / railroad of the world YouTube (furzy)

Discovery Supports a Surprising New View of How Life on Earth Originated SciTechDaily (Kevin W)

Weather Service faces backlash after launching ‘slow,’ ‘unusable’ radar website Washington Post (bob)

Japan developing wooden satellites to cut space junk BBC (David L)

How scientists manipulate research Lars P. Syll

Nihilism aeon (Anthony L).

#COVID-19

Russia admits COVID death toll third-worst in the world Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Science/Medicine

Covid vaccine OVERDOSE puts eight care home workers in hospital in northern Germany Daily Mail (Kevin W). Not as dire as headline but still not a good look.

Impact of Sex and Metabolic Comorbidities on COVID-19 Mortality Risk Across Age Groups: 66,646 Inpatients Across 613 U.S. Hospitals Oxford Clinical Infectious Diseases. Accepted for publication.

COVID Tied to Rare But Severe Eye Infection WebMD

‘Super Gonorrhea’ is spreading like wildfire thanks to COVID-19 BGR (dk)

COVID-19 diagnostic testing and viral load reporting VoxEU. Note the PCR test is quite accurate with symptomatic patients; it’s the asymptomatic (which does include pre-symptomatic) one where the results are less reliable. The suggestions about reporting viral loads could go a long long way toward properly calibrating test results.

These nursing home chains have the highest COVID-19 death rates in Ontario, data analysis finds CBC. DK: “Seems to me that the difficulty fundraising that non-profits must undertake to expand capacity can be contrasted to the ability of for-profits to raise money as investment for additional profit. The profit motive introduces a perverse incentive.”

UK/Europe

Covid-19: Concern at ‘unprecedented’ infection level in England BBC

Cramped housing has helped fuel spread of Covid in England – study Guardian

In Spain a “register” for those who refuse the vaccine: “It will be shared with EU countries” L’Unione Sarda.it

US

Hiding Covid-19: How the Trump Administration Suppresses Photography of the Pandemic Intercept

The mistakes and the struggles behind America’s coronavirus tragedy New Yorker (Kevin C)

A Los Angeles hospital is so overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases it’s been forced to treat some patients in the gift shop Business Insider (Kevin W)

COVID’s ‘untold story’: Texas Blacks and Latinos are dying in the prime of their lives Dallas News

Finance/Economy

House passes bill to increase $600 stimulus checks to $2,000. It now goes to the Senate. Business Insider (Kevin W)

Republicans Threaten To Deny $2,000 Checks To Their Own Constituents David Sirota (Glenn F). *Sigh*. Assumes Rs don’t know exactly what they are doing.

Bernie Sanders threatens to filibuster defense bill unless Senate allows vote on stimulus payments MarketWatch

More Rent Relief and a New Eviction Moratorium on the Way for New York Tenants THE CITY

Covid exposes capitalism’s flaws Financial Times. Gee, we figured this out months ago….and I am sure we were far from alone.

China?

Tech Giants Are Giving China a Vital Edge In Espionage Foreign Policy

Japanese government has approved a hike in military spending to address an “increasingly tough” security environment Agence France-Presse. From last week, still germane

Brexit

Brexit deal leaves much unchanged, institutionally Financial Times. Confirms what Richard North said over the weekend. Wowsers, Barnier and his side were total poker faces. Did Johnson and his team not get what they were agreeing to? Or did they not care? This now makes Macron’s recent antics look exceedingly clever as opposed to petulant. If France didn’t like the proposed deal, how bad could it be?

Never mind Brexit. Britain and France are condemned to work together Politico

The Complex Post-Brexit Path of Pecorino to London Restaurants Bloomberg

Brexit deal paves way for further conflicts WSWS. Beg to differ on the actual significance of Biden winning. Congress had repeatedly made clear there would be no trade deal for the UK if it messed with the Good Friday Agreement. And more generally, Congress is Ireland’s ally, and by extensions the EU’s due to Ireland having gone to great lengths to curry friendships. Trump could do very little unilaterally for Johnson, even if Johnson didn’t get that.

Trump Transition

House votes to override Trump veto of defense bill Politico (Kevin W)

Biden

President-elect Biden Delivers Remarks on Foreign Policy and National Security YouTube (Kevin C)

Biden calls out transition ‘roadblocks’ in remarks on national security The Hill

There’s a Way Biden Can Raise More From the Rich Without Higher Taxes New York Times. UserFriendly: “File under things that won’t happen.”

New York Post’s Hunter Biden Laptop Source Sues Twitter for Defamation The Verge

Turnout among young voters key to Georgia Senate runoffs Christian Science Monitor

The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump Glenn Greenwald (UserFriendly)

Neera Tanden and Antony Blinken Personify the ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party Norman Solomon, Common Dreams

Black Injustice Tipping Point

George Floyd hoped moving to Minnesota would save him. What he faced here killed him. StarTribune (UserFriendly)

How Kelly Loeffler’s WNBA Team Became Her Most Passionate Opponent BuzzFeed

Order: Mayberry v. KKR. This was a very long time in coming. 1. AG intervention approved as expected. 2. Denies Plaintiffs (with some swapped out and some swapped in to address issues with Supreme Court dismissal) filing a Second Amended Complaint. However, one careful attorney argued that there’s no bar to the plaintiff’s side filing a new complaint to deal with the issues raised by Judge Shepherd in nixing the Second Amended Complaint. We’ll see soon enough if the legal team on the case reads the filing the same way. Either way, this case looks to be finally proceeding to discovery.

FAA to allow small drones to fly at night, over people in step toward broader deliveries The Hill. Kevin W: “I grew up near an airport but at least the planes stopped flying in at night. Will people have to get use to the sounds of drones flying overhead at night?”

Flying During Christmas Travel Period? Still in Collapse Mode Wolf Richter

The OCC Is a Problem Agency Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. From earlier in the month, still germane.

Guillotine Watch

Nantucket, One of America’s Richest Islands, Got Pummeled by COVID. Then the Warring Started Daily Beast (Bob H)

Class Warfare

Neoliberal Champion Larry Summers Opens Mouth, Inserts Both Feet Matt Taibbi

The Unspoken Premise Of Modern Capitalism Is That The World Will Be Saved By Greedy Tech Oligarchs Caitlin Johnstone

Antidote du jour. David H: “From the end of my tractor trailer”:

And a bonus, from reader tomofthenorth. Filmed by drone near Duluth. The bobcats are so gorgeous!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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278 comments

  1. zagonostra

    >Meet The Pseudo-Left Imperialists Fighting Against Universal Healthcare – Mintpressnews

    I know that forcethevote will not succeed in swaying progressive members of congress to hold up nominating Pelosi as Speaker. And NC commentariat are tired of my post about it. But you have to admit that it has succeeded in clarifying and calling out the faux progressives ( I don’t like the term “progressives,” or “Left”, it muddles one’s understanding of the underlying class-based nature of politics but it will have to do..) The ruling elites have both sides of Congress covered. The fight between the two parties is what is actually performative in terms of radical and desperately need change.

    Jimmy Dore’s proposal to many is a quixotic blip that has garnered some dust-up, 35K signed petition so far, and it will blow over. As events unfold and people become more desperate some stirring will take its place and it won’t be coming from comedian.

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/meet-the-pseudo-left-imperialists-fighting-against-universal-healthcare/273923/

    Reply
    1. timbers

      Wow. We’ve lost AOC, now an open supporter of Pelosi and her neoliberal policies.

      I’m writing her off as now being a worthy member or future member if she’s not now, of the Progressive Caucus, and The Democratic Establishment.

      I predict she has a bright future.

      And hopefully, the hate Jimmy Dore is getting from the Democratic Establishment types is a good omen for his future.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        My perspective on this is a bit different. I don’t think it makes sense to think of her as being on our side or having sold out. She needs a push, like anyone else, to rediscover the bravery that we know she has.

        I think she’s had a number of moments where she was prepared to fight, but found herself alone and isolated. Her CARES act speech was supposed to be a rallying cry, but she’s in a lefty caucus that is weak and divided and absurdly deferential (under people like Mark Pocan) and needs new leadership and direction post 2020 presidential campaign failure.

        Reply
          1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

            The entire edifice is thoroughly rotten and people from across the political landscape are withdrawing support from the regime. Things could get really interesting really fast.

            Reply
          2. JohnnyGL

            Steve Bannon got outmaneuvered and outplayed by the establishment, and it wasn’t even close.

            But, I’ll give him credit in that he comes across as motivated to fight. That, in itself, is valuable. Progressives don’t even have that going for them.

            Reply
              1. Mattpretz

                Joe Crowley..? The literal financier of the mainstream dems..? All the these lefties have is media and narrative. I see Bernie as AOC’s leadership – but as the above have identified – that is too much in the bipartisan fantasy land. Get bitter at what the patronizingly referred “squad” is doing and observe how carving out classed based policies is still in its infancy. Gotta crawl before we run bubs. I don’t see that as waiting.. that is just Growing. And I’m sorry but the common worker and laborer today who just sees unearned taxes out of their bottom of the barrel wage are not Political.. yet. That kind of waiting needs Narrative/time for narrative to reach/run to them.

                Reply
              1. timbers

                Yah I wouldn’t describe help getting Trump elected among other things, as the establishment outmaneuvering Bannon.

                Reply
                1. JohnnyGL

                  And, yet, Bannon was tossed out within a year or two, and has since ceased to be relevant.

                  Trump’s major legislative accomplishment was a massive tax cut.

                  US troops are still in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, S. Korea, Japan, and Germany.

                  They also got Trump out of office after one term. Maybe Mitch McConnell likes it better that way?

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuXuzA_xJ-w
                  Ryan Grim: Did Mitch McConnell Want Trump To Lose?

                  It looks to me like the establishment got the last laugh.

                  Reply
                  1. timbers

                    And yet,

                    Neither has AOC. But you praise her. Why? What has she accomplished that even remotely approaches Bannon’s impact?

                    You’re still missing the point: Bannon stood up to the establishment and ousted some them.

                    Please explain how the establishment “outmaneuvered” Bannon by Bannon helping electing Trump?

                    AOC doesn’t even dare. What’s the point of AOC if she’s just another neo-liberal supporter and enabler?

                    No point at all, I say.

                    Reply
        1. Fireship

          In other words, they are completely useless. In America, everything is a grift and everyone has their price. Welcome to late stage capitalism. It is baked into the cake at this stage, folks. Sorry, I wish I had a nice happy ending for you, that there was some rabbit that could be pulled out of the hat. Nope. Na ga happen. I can only offer the bitter pill of reality.

          The question now is, does America become another Brazil or another India? Does it break up into more logical political units, some of which may have to capacity to become social democracies? Does it go out with a bang or a whimper. The only realistic options at this stage are to join secessionist movements, adopt the new monastic option or emigrate.

          Reply
          1. Baz

            India. Our highest High Caste Indian, Harris, born out of the thousand year old traditions of discrimination and loathing for the Untouchables, among other perceived subhumans over there, has now ridden the “of color” coattails, to the top, and is about to take over power from the tottering relic of the 1970s.

            Segregationist movements might be a more viable, and already existing option for many Americans than secessionist.

            Reply
          2. Peerke

            Recognizing that one effective way to get a Congress critter to vote for a given policy is through lobbyist largesse (“bribery”), then perhaps the best way to get M4ALL is to buy it. We need a one issue special interest group funded by the donations of the people (not corporations or billionaires) that singlemindedly buys votes in Congress and senate. I’m imagining some Silicon Valley tech types helping out here and coming up with a suitable online platform to collect and control the donations. The corruption endemic in the US political system is both a weakness and a strength at the same time. Everything is for sale. I know the current situation is not great for collecting donations however. Thoughts.

            Reply
            1. Tom Doak

              I am sure there will be plenty of Silicon Valley types willing to help “collect and control the donations” but good luck ever putting them to use!

              Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              The CanadaCare opponents have more money than the CanadaCare supporters.
              If CanadaCare supporters want CanadaCare for all Americans, they will have to find some other battlefield other than the one dollar one vote moneyocracy.

              Reply
        2. km

          If the establishment is good at nothing else, it is good at figuring out whom to co-opt, whom to marginalize, whom to neutralize.

          Reply
        3. ArvidMartensen

          I cannot imagine anybody saying that Ghandi found himself alone and isolated so needed a push to rediscover his bravery to do what was right and necessary. Or Churchill. Or Lenin. Or Mao-Tse-Tung. Or any of the world’s dictators.

          The hallmark of a great leader is that they persevere even when everybody around them gives up and skulks away.

          AOC sadly seems to have morphed into just another politician. But maybe she always was only that?
          Time has a way of showing whether a person is an opportunistic weathervane, or somebody of integrity and resilience.

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            “The hallmark of a great leader is that they persevere even when everybody around them gives up and skulks away.”

            No, that’s misleading. For every person that makes a breakthrough, 1000 others fail because they refused to adapt and adjust.

            Most decent biographies of movement leaders (MLK, Gandhi, etc) go through the agony of wrestling with whether they should push harder, or back off? Should they switch tactics, or persevere?

            Life is complicated, and so is challenging power. Anyone who tells you that the ‘great’ leaders never had doubts or made changes/adjustments is wrong.

            Reply
            1. ArvidMartensen

              They might question and agonise and doubt, but they don’t change sides or capitulate to the forces of greed, power, racism and authoritarianism .

              MLK might have doubted his tactics, but he didn’t start voting for the oppressors of black people. Voting for the Cares Act is not a tactic, it’s a massive capitulation.

              Where is the line between choosing to “adapt and adjust” and becoming indistinguishable from one of “them”?

              Reply
      2. Dugless

        I think many on the left are expecting way too much from AOC. IMO, she is clearly not a supporter of neoliberal policies but she is a very junior rep in the House with pretty limited power or support from the Democratic establishment. She has very few like-minded colleagues. If she is going to pick a sword to fall on, it better be worth it because she will only be further marginalized. I think progressives make a huge mistake attacking her on this one issue instead of supporting her general fight against the neolibs. She needs as much public support as possible if she is to gain any traction at all with her so-called colleagues in the House. I despise Pelosi but voting against her won’t really accomplish anything.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          She’s between a rock and a hard place — has to work with Pelosi everyday, so any action she supports against the speaker will turn against her if/when it fails.

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            Dugless, lordkoos,

            You guys are killing me with your ‘expectation lowering’.

            Pelosi could likely be toppled if AOC and, say, 10 of her best buds in congress (like the 10 that Dore’s crew have pointed at) were to vote against her. It depends on the number who vote “present” so it’s hard to pin down the exact number. https://www.rollcall.com/2020/12/02/with-historically-narrow-majority-pelosi-can-only-afford-a-handful-of-defections/

            AOC was the star of a documentary called “Knock Down the House”. Maybe she should get started by knocking off the speaker of that House?

            Reply
          2. HotFlash

            If she is going to pick a sword to fall on, it better be worth it because she will only be further marginalized.

            Perhaps she does have to work with Pelosi everyday, esp if she (AOC) votes for her (Pelosi) for speaker, but how ‘further marginalized’ can AOC get? She will not get on any plum committees this round, she certainly will not get any chairmanships *ever*. The idea (excuse) of her protecting her ‘career’ is bs, it’s just that ol’ Dem ‘keeping powder dry’ when what could be a better time to use it?

            But more to the point, she was not elected to have a career in Congress, she was elected to represent her constituents. She ran on a platform of concrete material benefits for them, this was her campaign ad, I draw your attention to 1:38, “Medicare for All”. She has proved that she doesn’t need the DCCC for $$ or ‘consultants’. So, what is she waiting for?

            Reply
            1. Young

              At this rate, she will become a senior member in the future to do good stuff for “our children.”

              The establishment has probably planted somebody to her staff to steer her such that, with her experience level, she does not even notice she is being handled.

              Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I think we need a comedian that does stand up politics, and its refreshing to see somebody that won’t profit a penny from their pontificating.

      That said, it’d be interesting to see my ignoramus of a Congressman be the leader of the pack. Not gonna happen though, as he got turned down by the GOPhova Witnesses a few years ago, and he’s only got 3 weeks of Trump Super-Aficionado power left before the party pounces on him as the Palooka to blame the ex-Pres on.

      Reply
      1. none

        I think we need a comedian that does stand up politics,

        Al Franken’s exit from the Senate was ridiculous, but he wasn’t that great while he was in it.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Al Franken is an acquired taste, the kind of comedian that laughs at his own jokes, and then he was elected Senator and ceased being so-called humorous and threw it all away on a cheesy photo of him pantomiming grabbing some hawtie’s breasts from afar on board a plane, he didn’t even get a feel.

          Reply
          1. Oh

            That ass##%# Bill Maher thinks he’s a comedian and talks politics all the time but he’s with the DimRat and Obama crowd. So nobody complains about him.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember reading an article in the New Yorker about how a lot of that “testimony” was both false and fake, including the testimony engineered after the fact by the deep ” MeToo” cover Republican complainant.

            Franken wanted a Wall To Wall ethics hearing before God and CSPAN but the rest of the Senators were too afraid of the weaponised MeToo mob to grant him that.

            Reply
        2. CanCyn

          Comedic as much of politics can be, I don’t think you can compare Franken and Dore. Franken gave up the comedy profession to become a politician, Dore is still a comedian.
          That said, I like the idea of some wealthy do-gooder helping to fund a lobbying campaign to ‘pay’ for support for M4A. If nothing else it would be clarifying to know just how much it would cost to outbid big pharma and the insurance companies for the souls of Congress.

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘it has succeeded in clarifying and calling out the faux progressives’

      That is the point of the whole strategy. Both parties will work in lockstep to vote down any healthcare relief for Americans but this way, it will flush out all those that have a public and a private position like Hillary said that she did. Remember how the CARES Act passed in the Senate unanimously while in the House they used a voice vote to hide who voted what on it? Some of the Progressives admitted they voted for it while AOC’s office merely said that ‘she would have voted against it.’ As has been said, if Progressives once in office vote in lockstep with corporate interests, what is the point in having them there? To protect their careers? Puh-leeze.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        The lefties in congress don’t know how to fight. They have to learn. You can only learn how to fight by…..well, fighting and getting your fair share of W’s and L’s.

        Bernie and Warren don’t have much to teach the newly electeds. They aren’t that great at this stuff.

        Warren is too out of touch and does too much back-stabbing and cozying up to establishment, even if she’s a sharp policy wonk.

        Bernie’s understanding of how to gain power with an inside/outside strategy doesn’t involve enough of the ‘inside’ work. It’s almost like he thinks the ‘insiders’ should just be able to crowdsurf on a wave of activism all the way to victory. Sorry, Bernie, you need to work the halls of congress and make more friends and allies and punish your enemies.

        For the handful of really good examples of bi-partisanship like the recent work with Hawley or the anti-war stuff with Mike Lee, Bernie has never shown the ability to organize a group of say, 10 senators and partner with 20-30 House colleagues to organize a block to change legislation. We need someone who can orchestrate that kind of insider power.

        Also, if you show that you can organize your colleagues in congress, that shows the public you are a serious power player to be reckoned with. I think a big part of Bernie’s inability to seal the deal in the presidential race was that he had his reputation as an isolated gadfly who was right about things, but not seen as someone who was a real force of influence in the legislative process.

        What we need to see from the ‘lefties’ in congress is that they need to talk to each other and come up with an agenda and plot a path to get that agenda enacted. I don’t mean a list of policy wants. I mean things like “we will stop a defense appropriations bill until we get $15/hr min wage”.

        AOC’s arguments/responses to the ‘force the vote’ efforts show that the left isn’t even organizing among itself, let alone, with additional colleagues.

        Lefty media talks about the ‘squad’ (the original 4) and the additional elected members (maybe 8-10 now) as if they’re a block, but they don’t act like it themselves. They don’t vote together, they don’t hold press conferences with agenda items like the Tea-party types did.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Sorry if the above comment got a bit long-winded, but I think the outside pressure on lefties to “DO SOMETHING” may have good results if it makes them start thinking and talking to each other about how they want to exert influence. They need to act in concert to generate power for themselves and they’re plainly not doing so.

          The insider-y battles for committee seats aren’t going well. It’s time to try something new.

          Reply
        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          +1000

          You’d think an organization called “The Progressive Caucus” would be doing this kind of stuff, but alas. It’s pretty apparent to me that until Jimmy Dore started the ball rolling on #forcethevote, no one was even thinking in this direction. To me, that’s the part of this whole thing that people ought to be really upset over. As Dore points out, this is Politics 101. Assuming good faith on the part of these politicians, I can not understand how they hope to accomplish anything without organizing and using strength in numbers.

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            Ryan Grim looked into the Prog Caucus awhile ago. It’s barely even a thing. It’s basically a bunch of reps that simply choose to identify as ‘progressive caucus’ members. There’s no criteria for joining. No requirements on voting patterns or campaign contributions or committees or anything. They’ve only recently taken the slightest hints of moves to impose conditions. This is where Matt Stoller gets mad and just calls this a ‘lifestyle brand’.

            The blame here has to be on Pocan and Jayapal. Pocan seems undeserving of any leadership role. He may like lefty ideas somewhat, but he seems committed to being Pelosi’s pet and nothing more. Jayapal can write legislation, but she needs to show leadership. She’s failing thus far.

            AOC’s original response was basically along the lines of “we’re negotiating for committee seats” and it can be presumed that it was done through Jayapal.

            It’s not working and these reps need to understand that it’s not working for them.

            Reply
            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              Supposedly the Progressive Caucus is “nearly” 100 members strong. Surely they could have “power” should they actually want to do more than talk about their “promise.” The insider “code” words don’t leave me with a lot of hope as it appears more “cancel culture” talk / divisions than class-based policies.

              The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is made up of nearly 100 members. It is chaired by Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), alongside CPC First Vice Chair, Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17), and CPC Whip, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN-05).

              Here’s their spiel:

              The Progressive Promise
              The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our Progressive Promise is rooted in our core principles: (1) Advancing justice, dignity, and peace for all; (2) Tackling systems of oppression and dismantling structural racism and discrimination; (3) Taking on systems that privilege the wealthy and powerful to demand a government and economy that works for the people; and (4) A commitment to sweeping, transformative change.

              Reply
              1. JohnnyGL

                Yeah, that’s a very mushy spiel.

                Stoller’s sarcastic remark about progressivism being a ‘lifestyle brand’ really looks accurate.

                Reply
            2. Dr. John Carpenter

              Again I agree totally. I’ve seen some of those reports too. To use a cliche, no matter how cynical I think I am, I just can’t keep up with reality.

              And committee seats seem to be one step more effective than “sternly worded letters.” But given that AOC lost hers to someone who actually did threaten to withhold their vote for Pelosi*, it’s kind of irrelevant anyway.

              * Who said irony was dead? I feel most of us would take that as a teaching moment, but most of us aren’t elected progressives.

              Reply
        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          They also need the Heart full of Hate that Newt Gingrich had. But I don’t know how that can be “learned”. One either has it or one doesn’t.

          Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        I think this is less about who is ‘principled’ and who is a ‘sellout’. I think it’s more about…

        1) bravery
        2) strategy/tactics/insider organizing

        Right now the lefties in congress aren’t talking to each other and aren’t organizing as a coherent block to do anything.

        I actually think a sports analogy works. Each individual is losing. Are they just content to be on the field and lose? (by lose I mean exert no power and no influence). The team is losing. They don’t even think of themselves as being on a team at all, it seems! Those individuals need to start thinking like a team. Right now, they’re playing like 5 individuals on a basketball court or 11 individuals on a soccer/football field. They need to play like a team and act with unity of purpose.

        The outside pressure should be seen as a messenger of “Hey, you guys are LOSING! Do SOMETHING so that you don’t keep losing”.

        Without that pressure, it’s entirely possible that these individual members of congress will just learn to be content to be on the playing field and not worried about whether they’re winning or losing. Of course, if you’re not sweating whether you’re winning or losing…..no surprise, you end up losing!

        There’s a real opportunity here, Pelosi is very clearly a weak leader. She’s just not facing any real opposition. I think she’d actually be pretty easy to topple.

        Reply
    4. JohnnyGL

      “I know that forcethevote will not succeed in swaying progressive members of congress to hold up nominating Pelosi as Speaker.”

      I think it’s the most fascinating and hopeful thing we’ve seen since the Bernie campaign ended in a shambles in the winter.

      Cori Bush and Jamal Bowman were just on CNN and refused to commit to voting for/against Pelosi. I don’t think that happens without the activism that’s been on display thus far.

      Thus far, there’s been no price to pay for supporting Pelosi for any democrat in congress, even though she has a disastrous record as leader.

      I also think the swift pounce of dems to launch a quick vote on the $2,000 checks is very unusual for the slow, ponderous dems and might also be related to leadership feeling a bit insecure about things.

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        “I think it’s the most fascinating and hopeful thing we’ve seen since the Bernie campaign ended.”

        I agree(d) but I think I’m of not as sanguine as I was a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen the report DNC/IOWA investigation come out and all it got was a one big collective yawn.

        A modern state in in the digital age in the face of Hate Inc. will not be able to reach a consensus on anything that disturbs the powerful. They have what it takes to mount counter measures, sow dissent and doubt, create confusion, and pay-off the politicians. The competing clashes of economic interests that jostle for public support, when they need that support, is only part of the dramaturgy, rarely yielding permeant improvement for the vast majority of plebs. I’m starting to think that Dante was right when he wrote De Monarchia and that as Aristotle pointed out much earlier, Democracies always devolve into Oligarchies or Plutocracies.

        Reply
        1. Bazarov

          It’s important to remember that for Aristotle the polity organized by *voting* people into powerful positions is aristocratic or oligarchic in character. It’s the polity organized by selecting officials by *lot* that is democratic in character (again, per Aristotle in his ‘Politics’: “I mean, for example, that it is thought to be democratic for the offices to be assigned by lot, for them to be elected oligarchic”).

          Elections are by their very nature oligarchic in that they burden candidates with the necessity to deploy enormous resources and to have had suitable rhetorical training to be successful on the campaign. The nature of the campaign itself ensures almost all candidates will hail from the aristocratic or moneyed classes, and in the odd event of an outlier candidate, the demands of the campaign will require that candidate to seek out aristocratic and moneyed allies. Those allies will then seduce the outlier with all the trappings of wealth and privilege, melting down the outlier like so much gold and directing it into the proper mould–truly remaking the outlier in their image.

          Our system was never democratic in that it has always depended on the election as the principle vehicle of power delegation. The American republic was always oligarchic–it cannot degenerate into what it already is. Rather, I see the post war “Golden Age” as a special, abhorrent circumstance caused by unheard of plenty, which gave our nation the illusion of democracy by virtue of general prosperity.

          If anything, the past 50 years is the story of America beginning to look like its old self again. The veneer of prosperity is gone–exposing the old wood beneath. And I’m afraid that wood runs through to the root.

          Reply
      2. chuck roast

        Never having been there, I would say that there is a definite price to pay for not playing along. Do you want a decent office or a broom closet? What if the Speaker decides to chop your admin. funds? What if you get crappy committee assignments that limit your political impact or have no effect on your constituents? These types of things influence the quality of staff that are willing to work for you. It’s in the interests of the party leaders to keep all of their members isolated from one another and beholden to them. The Freedom Caucus was pretty large, and they were defanged and co-opted. I expect the same thing to happen to these pseudo-leftists.

        Reply
    5. DJG

      zagonostra: The word to retire is “progressive.” This word is being used by liberals, in particular, to cover over all kinds of cosmetic stances and posturing. Kente-cloth scarves = progressive.

      I’m sure that the progressives make sure that there is a vegetarian option at Democratic party meetings. So what?

      The three-way division advocated by Lambert Strether explains much: The neoliberal wing is (1) Democratic liberals and the (2) current mainstream of the Republican party. These two wings of neoliberalism operate separately because of differences over cultural issues and over plain capitalistic meanness. As in, $600 $1200, or $2000 as a one-time payment. Their politics are not class-based.

      Then one has the left, which has based its politics on a class analysis for an understanding of who has economic and political power.

      Somewhere out there are still the paleoconservatives, who recognize class, but would rather not talk about it.

      You notice that the word “progressive” is not needed to describe the threefold division of The People, No, liberals, the nihilism/apocalypse Lite mainstream of the Republican Party, and the left.

      “Progressive” is just branding. Think: Mayor Pete. He likes progress!

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        I don’t think the world is necessarily a problem. The fact that it’s basically meaningless is a problem. When Hillary Clinton calls herself a progressive and no one in congress responds and says, “no you’re not. Here’s our criteria in congress and you don’t meet them”

        Matt Stoller mockingly calls this a ‘lifestyle brand’, because there’s no real meaning and no lines drawn.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        for a long, long time, i called myself a “Liberal”…and where i was all that time, i may as well have said “pinko commie babyeater”.
        Billary is where i learned the distinction between Liberal and Left.
        since then, the need for a new taxonomy has been pretty evident, to me…but somehow less and less evident to “progressives” and “liberals” and “lefties”…but then IdPol started making it’s way into the collective mind, and all was even more confused .
        without some actual lefty media juggernaught that can’t be easily ignored, i see no way forward…the various iterations and flavors of the 50 year Mindf*ck have been too successful.
        I could likely gin up a populist red/brown coalition locally….but stuff only gets done these days at the state and national level….largely due to the source of money.
        that said….in my low density , ostensibly Red county….we’ve had a quietly activist city government for 20 years.
        replacing the water and sewer pipes, upgrading electrical system, repaving the roads, and with the county, making a new landfill happen.
        they also ginned up a recycling center and a movement to go along with it(now of unknown use or future).
        quietly applying for grants galore to pay for all this…but also raising taxes slightly.
        now the most right wing city council person campaigned on a city/county owned solar farm….sewer socialism at it’s finest.
        if they could do local healthcare, they would…and to applause from the self-identified “conservative”(if largely nonvoting) population.
        in the event of balkanisation and collapse of the federal union, i’ve got a lot of stuff printed in a file about things like local currency, autarky and “lifeboats” ready to go…for whatever it’s worth.
        i wish that i could have such conversations now(or for the last 20 years)…because things like a seed bank, and a distributed system of medicinal gardens, and a million other things, really need to be set up beforehand,lol.
        my point in this tangential wander is that local is possible…even in a very red place….but there are hard limits on what can be accomplished at that level.
        if i thought we had time, i’d say that such local rabble rousing/organising is the place to start to take over the rest of the country…but i don’t think we have that time, any more.

        Reply
        1. zagonostra

          What I see as hopeful for a low density “red county” I see as hopeless for those metropolitan areas where most people live.

          I’m reminded of the description that Robert Pirsig gives in Lila. An Inquiry into Morals when he looks out at NY city from on an upper floor of some swank hotel. He called it a “Giant.” You don’t talk to giants, he doesn’t have a name, or an address, you don’t know his kids, his thoughts are alien. His metaphor for modernity or post modernity, something Rick Roderick also wonderfully describes in one of his lectures on Baudrillard is not human, it’s more of a process that seems to be guided by forces all to remote from my ever diminishing contact with neighbors.

          Reply
      3. ArvidMartensen

        Fifteen or twenty years ago, an article came out saying that the demographic in the USA was changing in such a way that the “liberals” would hold power in the future as the dominant force.
        I looked forward to a thousand flowers blooming culturally, the end of Guantanamo, the end of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, more social justice, more racial justice, more environmental protection with the US as the leader.

        The oligarchy was way ahead of me of course. So we got Obama. Now we got Biden. No flowers, just more and bigger wars and an accelerating slide into poverty, correct thought, authoritarianism and environmental destruction.
        So like it was said in the olden days, “The End is Nigh”

        Reply
    6. Oh

      I for one is not tired of your post about the forcethevote stuff. We need to keep it in the front and center. I’m quite concerned and disappointed with the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House.

      Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    They’re Among the World’s Oldest Living Things. The Climate Crisis Is Killing Them. New York Times
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The southern groves of Giant Sequoias really took a beating in the Castle fire, and aside from a relative few areas where there is private ownership (i’m less than a mile from the Federally protected Atwell Grove in Sequoia NP in the summer) every one of them is owned by us collectively.

    To my way of seeing things, we allowed lesser tree species to infiltrate within their perimeter in the past 180 or so years since Zenas Leonard chronicled seeing them in 1833 when he was with the true pathfinder in the west: Joseph Walker.

    Lightning strike fires happen all the time in the Sierra in the summer, and used to come through the groves here about every 20 years, never allowing non-Giants to get any purchase, but that was then and this is now.

    I’m no arborist, but what gave the Brobdingnagians such staying power, was their socialistic tendencies to bully out lesser trees by playing Big Shade in massing together, along with the idea that a 20 year old White Fir was only 25 feet tall, well below the lowest branches on the bigguns, and scant threat in the scheme of things, when fire came.

    Cut down the lesser trees too close in, and create the same conditions for the groves as it was before our meddling. How far do we go in doing so?

    I’ll leave that for somebody more qualified, to figure out.

    There’s about 65 groves worth to work on.

    This account from 1839 is one of the earliest and finest chronicles of exploration in the west, worth your time!

    Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard

    http://mtmen.org/mtman/html/leonintr.html

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link Wuk and I will be reading it tomorrow. Been wondering how the big fellas have been going lately and just had an idea. You know what is really needed? Bounties, but for trees. If there are trees of a certain type in a zone or region, the government should but a bounty on them. Certainly that should be done for Eucalyptus trees in California. Those Giant Sequoia groves that you talked about? Put a bounty on any tree that is not a Giant Sequoia in that grove. Yeah, you would have sever penalties and prosecutions if any Giant Sequoia was cut down or damaged in those operations but once they are cleared out, it would be a simple matter to cut down any little ones trying to grow back before the big fellas can put any shade on that move.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Sounds good, but what Sequoias need is fire in order to germinate, so we could do two tasks at once by cutting down lesser trees (I know, another tree elitist in our midst) swamping the fallen soldiers and burning them right in the groves, and this wouldn’t be a 1-time gig, you could come back through every 20 years and do more burning.

        As most of them are on Federal land* it gets tricky about who you let do what, and i’d only allow the elite lumberjacks to be ok.

        *BLM has jurisdiction over the lions share** of the Case Mountain grove here, their only holding of Sequoias.

        ** we have a couple of Adirondack chairs made of Sequoia wood from fallen trees in the privately owned part of the grove.

        Reply
        1. Darius

          The US Forest Service spends hundreds of millions every year on putting out wildfires but almost nothing on prescribed fires that would make wildfires manageable. “How are you going to pay for it?”

          As a recovery effort, we should put thousands to work on controlled burns. The sequoia groves should get the treatment first. Every one of them is precious.

          Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I thought that they were relatively calm as they did not run away. If that had been three people, a drone flying in so lose to continuously check them out would have freaked most people out. But they were very beautiful cats.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Bobcats are kind of punk rockers with those Jheri curl sideburns of sort-all spiky.

          They’re really similar to a longterm feral tabby living rough that wants nothing to do with you, exit stage left.

          I don’t think i’ve ever had an encounter of any length, maybe 10 seconds?

          Reply
      2. crittermom

        I had a different take on them, as I saw them as curious cats. I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of them had jumped up & knocked it down to further examine it. Cats will be cats!

        Beautiful video.
        While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I fear drones will put an end to us nature photographers who use actual cameras.

        Reply
        1. TomOfTheNorth

          Re: ‘an end to us nature photographers…’, I wouldn’t think so. Maybe some day but not for the time being. Especially not in heavier foliage such as we have inshore here in the northwoods. We had a search & rescue call recently and used two (different agencies’) drone teams. They were useful in covering larger areas faster, however given current drone limitations, we were still required to thoroughly hike all of the search area consisting of dense woods, swamps & thickets. And I hadn’t thought about it previously but extreme cold really shortens their battery life.

          Reply
    1. Knifecatcher

      The highlight of our Christmas this year was watching a pair of bobcats saunter down our driveway in the Colorado mountains.

      Our German Shepherd mix desperately wanted to go outside and play with them but I don’t think that would have gone well for him, even though he had a decent size advantage.

      Reply
      1. petal

        My younger lab wanted to do that with a mother black bear(the famous Mink of NH) who had 3 cubs following her. It was all I could do to hold on to the leash. Figure he saw big furry black dog-shaped creatures, so why not run after them and play?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          In theory it’d be possible for a Lhasa Aspo to chase a bear up into a tree, as they’re pretty spooked by them in my experience.

          There was this slight lightly smaller than usual Irish Terrier @ the Silver City Resort who was a mighty chaser with maybe 100 bears treed a season, probably more of a game in that the latter can easily dispatch worry of most anything by climbing, and they’re good at it. In a series of grappling moves with fore and back legs in unison, i’ve seen bruins shimmy up to the crown of a 100 foot pine in 10 seconds flat many times.

          Reply
    2. Brian (another one they call)

      those bobs; reminds me of the Steve Martin routine on SNL; “What is that?”
      when it flies, comes toward you with no fear, and makes weird sounds it isn’t a bird but a plane.

      Reply
    3. JTMcPhee

      The video of the bobcats was clearly gotten from a camera on a small drone, a pretty high-end one with HD video and gyro and GPS position control. An “unmanned aircraft system” like that, here in the US will now, per the final rule just adopted by the FAA in the US, have to be fitted with a GPS receiver that will send out to the world the unique identifier number you have to register. Also altitude, heading, speed information, and the name, address, registration number and other data on the “owner” of the drone. All new drones will, after a brief phase-in be required to have that system built in and certified by the manufacturer, and registered and licensed by the FAA.

      This rule, which garnered almost 60,000 negative comments in its draft phase, essentially outlaws my collection of radio-controlled model airplanes, which I build and fly as a hobby shared with millions of Americans, along with many of the little Christmas present ‘drones” that are flown recreationally by tens of millions more. My planes range from small ones weighing a few ounces to one with a 48” wingspan weighing about 4 pounds. I’ve flown these in complete safety for over 50 years, and there are practically no incidents of any significant injuries or property damage from all the tens of millions of flights by myself and my fellow hobbyists. The rule claims it is risk-based, but doesn’t bother to recite the risks other than citing “security” and “safety,” with no showing how this dragnet approach protects either.

      I am registered as a UAV pilot and owner but now if I want to fly, I have to be at one of a limited number of approved flying sites which as time goes by, and as urban and suburban sprawl eats them up, will not be replaced. I will have to buy an add-on device to report that GPS information, one for each of the planes, and that will cost thousands of dollars I don’t have.

      A lot of noted astronauts and scientists have gotten into their fields via building and flying model aircraft as a youthful hobby. That is going to end as a pathway into STEM.

      Uninformed reporters are pretty universally hailing this rule as somehow going to stop the occasional stunts and potential illegal and foolish use of various types of drones and model aircraft. Just like traffic laws and licensing and registration stop the illegal use of automobiles and, with a lot of actual dead people and property damage to show for it, manned aircraft.

      What is really happening is that a hobby activity engaged in by millions, with a sterling safety record, that might in some tiny way intersect with the “droning” of commerce, here and in other Anglo countries that have adopted similar Draconian regulations, will be directly or de facto outlawed, to serve only the interests of Amazon, Fed Ex, Walmart and the like, who want free rein to their autonomous drones, zipping overhead to deliver Chinese junk (and, of course, “desperately needed medications and transplant organs,” to pluck the heartstrings and cloud the issue) to your front door. Of course, these drones will weigh closer to 100 pounds and travel a lot faster than my little models, and of course there will never be glitches or problems with the complex guidance and power systems that will be operating them…

      Amazing how even a little bit of savor in life gets extinguished by the Looters, in pursuit of profitssss…

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > Of course there will never be glitches or problems with the complex guidance and power systems that will be operating them

        And the drones won’t be running cameras all the time to suck up data and sell it, especially not identifiers for all the devices they fly by, like cell phones, WiFi routers and modems, computers, FitBits, Apple watches, and so on.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Glad you grok the scam. Hoping for the people who built the Blue Boxes to defeat the M Bell long-disrance ripoffs might up their game to address the coming airborne assault forces. Of course that will just deget an arms race, like the various flavors of “hacker” vs. the security efforts of the rest of us, good guys and bad…

          Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              The potentials for “hostage taking” of a techno revenue stream are enormous — like hackers opening and starting and driving and maybe crashing “autonomous” vehicles— hot stuff like Teslas, including the trucks and semi-tractors, and of course delivery drones. The bad guys will know what the cargo is, and can re-route to their favorite secret location, in addition to simply shooting down the drones themselves… Ransomware being just one of many such opportunities.

              One hopes for competent Luddites with good hearts and pure motives, like these folks, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/08/hacker-group-anonymous-returns/615058/ who must really spend a huge amount of energy protecting their anonymity from the “government” and the corporate posses like Academei, but at the large scale, that ain’t in the cards, obviously.

              I wonder where the equilibrium point is in all the interlocked dependencies and vulnerabilities? Lack of mutual vulnerability, in the absence of any sense of comity and commensalism to push in the direction of healthy positive-feedback loops, isn’t much of a base for this infinitely complex and vulnerability-ridden political economy, with its poisonous disconnects to the natural world, now is it?

              That was an interesting tidbit in the news stream recently, the study finding that the sum total of all human-created “stuff” outweighs the total of all living things on the planet, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2020/12/human-made-materials-now-equal-weight-of-all-life-on-earth/

              Next stop, “WALL-E,” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/, without the happy ending…

              Reply
  3. cocomaan

    NPR: ‘Toxic Individualism’: Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns

    https://www.npr.org/2020/12/28/950861977/toxic-individualism-pandemic-politics-driving-health-care-workers-from-small-tow

    Fear porn special from National Pentagon Radio. My wife found a story with two stats and an interview with one disaffected person that is called a death spiral.

    Merrett says towns that let pandemic politics drive medical professionals away are choosing what he calls “toxic individualism” over the common good.

    Toxic individualism is the newest in woke politics! My wife made the point that if these administrators cannot understand their own communities, they shouldn’t be there. Or are they on a civilizing mission to “reform” those poor rural rubes?

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      Health care professionals want cities and civilization–something about education? My northern California county seat Eureka, with 30,000 people, a state university nearby and more great recreation than you can shake a paddle at, struggles to retain doctors as (“non-profit”) neoliberal administrators undermine their underlings. My little town’s urgent care facilities employ end-of-career global vagabonds, no recent grads have stuck around. And we’re a hip-neck community without much performative toxic individuality, just not enough civilized amenities either.

      Reply
      1. Glen

        Great observation. I totally agree with your assessment of your community – a very nice one. (As long as one stayed away from the cash crop hidden in the woods.)

        Why do you think it’s so hard to attract docs? Is it because the younger docs are all hip deep in debt? Or is it because that healthcare has been financiallized and bought up by mega corps?

        Reply
        1. Oh

          I know doctors who are hip deep in debt but live and work in outlying communities in Kansas and they actually benefit from a lower cost of housing and such and are able to save a bundle for the future. The ones who choose to live and work in the expensive suburbs of big cities have their priorities backwards, choosing the more expensive lifestyle in their younger days.

          Reply
        2. furies

          As a former Humboldt County resident of 34 years; Eureka is a pit of despair. 101 runs thru the middle of town, tweekers everywhere, homeless camps galore. The poverty is shocking everywhere in Humboldt.

          The reason Northern Humboldt can’t retain MDs is because their wives don’t have enough ‘shopping opportunities’…

          per the NOrth COast Journal some years ago

          Reply
    2. neo-realist

      If the rural rubes are going to reject mask wearing when its been proven to be effective in minimizing transmission of covid-19 and make themselves part of the growing sick population problem that the hospitals are overburdened with then I don’t blame health care professionals for leaving people that are a lost cause to their ideology, arrogance and stupidity.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve oft related the tale of just about the only sit-down restaurant here in town that has no mask policy and that includes cooks, servers, busboys, the lot.

        How they can be allowed to be the bad example in town seems like a no brainer if you were the County, but nothing has happened.

        On the other front, my buddy lives in the only ‘suburbs’ in town, and knows all the AirBnB homes in his hood and he told me this morning they’re all filled up, with the highlight being some galoot with tire chains affixed to the correct axles sitting in the driveway, albeit at least a dozen miles from snow, oh boy!

        Why are short term vacation rentals allowed to be rented to anybody?

        I suspect it all boils down to tax receipts…

        Reply
  4. farragut

    From the Al Jazeera article on Russian COVID cases & death toll:

    [Russia] has been criticised for only listing COVID-19 deaths where an autopsy has confirmed the virus as the main cause.”

    Sorry, I’m late to the party on this issue and missed the explanation on this if/when it was given, but why isn’t this the standard (ie, COVID was the ‘main’ cause of death v. ‘contributing’ cause)?

    Reply
    1. Eduardo

      I believe that the unusual bit is: where an autopsy has confirmed, and not: ‘main’ cause of death v. ‘contributing’ cause.

      Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t know whats normal in Russia, but most deaths are not subject to autopsy, just a doctor signing off the cause of death (this changes from country to country, one reason why comparing causes of death is so difficult).

          In most countries, they take the ‘if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its a duck’ approach to deaths like this. Insisting on autopsy results is really just a roundabout way of massaging the figures downwards, especially when so many victims are already elderly and unwell.

          Reply
          1. farragut

            Thx PK. I know you know this, but I’m just musing out loud now: How can we mount an effective counterattack on a disease if we’re not even able to obtain–or are even concerned with obtaining–an accurate cause of death?

            Reply
            1. Romancing The Loan

              Cause of death is listed in order of immediacy on death certificates and they’ll list multiple contributing causes – it doesn’t mean they don’t know what killed the person or aren’t concerned with finding out.

              For example, if I’m an old man with diabetes who gets covid, which then develops into pneumonia and sepsis, which kills me, then the death certificate is going to read sepsis, pneumonia, covid, and sometimes even diabetes too. But obviously it was the covid that killed me.

              So if you only count “covid deaths” as deaths where only covid is listed on the death certificate (like some pandemic deniers in the US) or only count deaths where there was an autopsy (russia) you’re going to massively undercount. But there’s no mystery what’s killing these people.

              Reply
            2. Count Xero

              Well in many of these cases it will be difficult to decide what the precise cause of death was. Perhaps in many instances there is a combination of causes. How do you decide which was the overriding cause?

              There used to be a clever advert for Australian beer on British tv. Two hardened old geezers loaded up hundred of cans of beer on the back of an ancient unstable wagon. As it creaked and wobbled a woman added a bottle of Sherry. There was much grinding and the back wheels of the wagon collapsed in a cloud of dust. “Bit heavy on the Sherry there,” one of the old geezers observed.

              Reply
          2. grayslady

            but most deaths are not subject to autopsy

            That may be the case today–I don’t know. I do know that when my father died in 1982, an autopsy was required because he didn’t die in the hospital. It could have been a county or state regulation, but I can see the value from a law enforcement perspective. Perhaps Covid has changed all that.

            Reply
          3. Polar Socialist

            According to the interim instructions by the Russian Ministry of Health, any patient that dies in hospital while diagnosed with or suspected of having coronavirus infection has to have a “dry autopsy”. That is, samples from lungs and other relevant tissues are biologically secured for transport and sent for histological analysis to check for morphological changes.

            It says nothing about calculating statistics, though. It seems to be more about finding out how the virus killed the patient.

            Reply
            1. Polar Socialist

              Also in the same instructions ministry states that in a death certificate the instructions of WHO should be followed, even if and when they conflict with “principles of pathology”. They also address the issue of Russian death certificate not having columns for multiple ICD-10 codes, so reporting Covid-19 as co-morbidity requires a ‘standardized’ non-standard way to filling the form.

              Here’s the document

              Reply
  5. Halcyon

    Biden would rather be hamstrung by a Republican senate so that he can alternately claim to be “reaching across the aisle” and then blame Obstruction Turtle for his lack of action on any of the pressing problems facing the US, so that he can continue to enact a grim neoliberal agenda.

    There is no other explanation for him not being vocal about $2k.

    Here’s your Georgia message: I want $2k, you want $2k, the Dem House wants $2k, the Dem Senate wants $2k, heck even Trump wants $2k. The only person who does not want $2k is Mitch McConnell. If you don’t flip Georgia’s senate seats he will family-blog you relentlessly for the next two years at least.

    How anyone can claim he is somehow influenced by the progressive wing when he seems more concerned about MUH DEEP STATE DEFENCE ESTABLISHMENT right now as opposed to this shit that actually affects people, I am baffled.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      It has been suggested that, if Ds do win narrow control of the Senate in the GA runoffs, Joe Manchin will cross the aisle. I wonder what the prospects are for a D opponent in 2024.

      Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          No one to run against him, but it’s not 1994. A nutter will simply win in the primary. Threatening to switch will make Manchin the center of DC. Maddow will probably give him 15 minutes a show to gripe about people on twitter.

          Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        i predict he stays.

        in that scenario, Joe Manchin has more power staying with Dems.—and being the perpetual sword of Damocles over Schumer

        And Dems. are always craving that patina of geographic diversity and legitimacy that Manchin’s WV seat gives

        ymmv.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Given the power of the individual senators, the GOP caucus won’t be eager to move over for Manchin. Swapping the minority to majoroty status isnt that big of a deal considering what Biden is, and the 2024 dreamers will want to run against a bungling, Team Blue Congress and WH. Then there are the GOP voters who largely believe the election was stolen by Demmiecrats. Bringing in Manchin might not be warmly welcomed.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            Minority status does not keep them from controlling the Senate. That’s what drives me crazy about the people crying, “But Obama had a majority in both houses.” Yeah, he did, but he only had enough to control the Senate for about six weeks in 2009, and even that depended on Weepin’ Joe Lieberman, who campaigned for McCain in 2008. I also hate the revised meaning of “supermajority.” To me, a supermajority is 67, that is, enough votes to override a veto or convict an impeached President. I see so many people calling 60 a supermajority, just because that lets them end a filibuster.

            Reply
      2. nippersdad

        Lieberman didn’t bother, I doubt Manchin would either. Having both houses of Congress is when we most often get to see the parade of rotating villains strategy in action.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          Right — those who go against their own party’s vote make sure that they do so in a year where they aren’t up for reelection. By the time election rolls around much of their constituency will have forgotten.

          Reply
      3. JTMcPhee

        Interesting that this gaming says Manchin would be in a position to force his preferred, corporate-friendly policy choices by straddling and withholding his vote, and that’s ok. But the “progressive caucus” does not seem to have any idea how to apply the same kind of leverage.

        And I guess legislation-by-deadline will still be the norm, where the Fokkers can load up the “necessary” budget appropriations in the rush to adjourn…

        Reply
      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        I know I recently suggested here in these threads that if the 2 Dems win in Georgia, that Manchin will switch to R . . . IF! the Republicans give him enough.

        I would then go on to wonder if a series of falling domino switches and reaction-switches would then commence.

        If the two Georgia Dems win and Manchin goes R if rewarded handsomely enough, will Sanders go “D” to counter-act Manchin? If he does, which Dem Senator will the Republicans be able to pay to go R after Manchin? If they find one, will Angus of Maine then go D if paid enough?

        And onward and downward.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Why would Bernie go Dem? What matters is not the label, but his actual vote. He’s voted reliably with Dems on all but a handful of votes his whole career. FDR had to make some awful compromises because the Dixiecrats would vote with the Republicans if he didn’t. The fact that they were formally members of the national Democratic Party made no never mind. This is not a parliamentary system, where party leadership can just assign people to whatever district they like or deny people the chance to stand for election.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If Bernie were to change his Senate Party Label to ” Dem” , then the Dems would have a bigger number, and the party with the bigger number gets to have the Majority Leader in the Senate . . . who controls what votes come up when, or how, or even if at all. If Bernie wants the Dem Sens to be the majority, he could achieve that by changing his label to Dem, which would add one number to the number of Dems in the Senate.

            I don’t remember when it was, but I remember Senator Jeffords of “New England” somewhere, changing from Repub to Dem, changing the balance of power in the Senate. So it mattered then, and could still matter today.

            Of course Bernie might find that too cynical, and he might be too precious to do something that cynical. Or even just rude and crude and mean, hard and tough.

            Reply
    2. Glen

      I have complete faith in Biden’s stated and proven ability to maintain the neoliberal horror show no matter how the vote in GA goes.

      The only significant change I see is that he gets the Republicans to co-operate with him when he defunds Social Security and Medicare, oh, I mean gives the funding to Wall St to “SAVE IT.”

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      The image on that page showed that Hill was walking towards that cop with his mobile held out. I wonder if he was recording everything at the time or just using it for a light to see who it was approaching him in the dark? What did happen to that mobile?

      Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      From the article –

      Coy fatally shot Hill, who was Black, last Tuesday…

      ~snip~

      “This is what accountability looks like,” [police chief] Quinlan said, adding that Coy will now have to answer to state investigators regarding Hill’s death.

      ~snip~

      Coy has not been charged.

      Sorry, but murdering another human being in cold blood and a week later all you’ve lost is your job is not what would constitute accountability in most people’s minds.

      Definitely a far cry from how the cops held ex-policeman Christopher Dorner accountable a few years back. Always worth reminding people of that incident so it doesn’t just go down the memory hole.

      Reply
      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Don’t forget also that many cops who are “fired” are quietly reinstated later after their union intercedes on their behalf. If coy is not criminally prosecuted and convicted he may well be back on a police force somewhere in this country.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          A national bad cop blacklist would help. So would breaking and crushing and de-certifying police unions.

          Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      Also, where is LeBron James or any other NBA players on this? They were all set to strike and put the hurt on some billionaires a few months ago until Obama talked them down. I do remember James saying they reserved the right to change their minds and strike again if things didn’t improve. Well they haven’t improved. Meanwhile James regales us with the importance of playing an NBA game on his birthday! He was named athlete of the year by both Time and the AP – I guess for backing down when it really counted?

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        Obama has done a lot of bad things but for his phone call to the NBA players really sticks in my craw… it could have been the high-profile start of a real general strike had he not intervened.

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          He’s still working for “the owners” post-presidency. Gotta keep those book deals, film and tv production deals and board of director offers coming in. Tamping down the “fire down below” gets him paid.

          Reply
          1. Oh

            He’s bought two homes, has his mausoleum in the works and he’s galliwanting with the rich and famous. All this cost money, ya know.

            Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        They still feel their unrequited racial love and loyalty for Obama. They still think he achieved something on their behalf somehow because ” first Black President”.

        Meanwhile, Obama keeps on laughing at them, all the way to the bank.

        Reply
  6. timbers

    House passes bill to increase $600 stimulus checks to $2,000. It now goes to the Senate. Business Insider (Kevin W)

    At work, the hope of $2,000 was the most mentioned topic in my ear range.

    But not at NPR, (co worker has it on all day) where it only received perfunctory mention in brief news updates, while the guest commentaries were devoted heavily on Trump’s pardons as being truly unique never before happened ever because they are The Most-est Worst-est Ever-est in all history.

    Guess there is a least 2 Americas out there.

    Reply
    1. Glen

      It’s amazing how that works: what people know is important, and what the MSM reports.

      I remember walking the factory floor during one of the Democratic debates, and asking someone who was watching on his phone who was winning the debate – his simple summary – not us!

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        That sounds about right. Like a George Carlin type riff, we have representational government in the US, but they don’t represent us.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Weather Service faces backlash after launching ‘slow,’ ‘unusable’ radar website”

    Just to see how a different country does it, here is one for the region that I live in in Oz. I use it often, especially during storm season, as my religion states that ‘Though shall not use thy computer during a storm less the wrath of the lighting surge destroyeth thy motherboard.’ As I type this, I see rain activity in the area-

    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR503.loop.shtml

    Reply
    1. bob

      The old site worked very well. Extremely quick to load on a computer or tablet. The had a moblie version that would load a current animated loop on my old, bad phone in less than a second.

      The radar stations haven’t changed, just the way the data is delivered. Very bad. Everyone talking about it is now giving out suggestions for other 3rd party apps, which probably use the same data from the same stations, only with much higher overhead and lots of ads.

      It’s probably the best thing that’s happened for the rest of the commercial weather world.

      Reply
      1. dk

        From the article we can see that this happened because of the end of support for Adobe Flash Player. Many other services, public and private, were or will be forced to develop new front ends.

        Buchanan said the National Weather Service cannot bring the old site back. “It is not possible to restore the previous radar website because it used Flash Player, and Adobe will end support of Flash Player at the end of this month,” she wrote. “The legacy software and hardware for the original radar site reached end-of-life support and could no longer be maintained and secured.”

        Also, the NWS site is being hosted on NWS’s “own hardware” and not on scalable cloud services like AWS or Azure.

        I can recommend https://www.wunderground.com which uses “crowdsourced” weather stations for source infor (and NWS and other sources too). Very accurate in most Us locations (ymmv). Site is a bit clunky but IBM recently purchased the company and has made some improvements.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          I agree they had to change due to adobe, but they did’t need to overload the site with national radar, regional worked fine for most of us, I mean, I don’t need to know it’s snowing in kalispell, I need to know if it’s raining in the strait of juan de fuca. Senselessly overloaded, but somehow I assume the new site makes life easier for the platforms to sell crap and collect data…

          Reply
          1. bob

            They were able to do ALL OF THAT with the old, outdated site. Not only were they able to do it, it worked and it worked very quickly.

            “somehow I assume the new site makes life easier for the platforms to sell crap and collect data…”

            I think that’s it entirely. It probably makes things easier for the commercial sites to scrape the data and offer it their overloaded ad based apps and sites.

            Reply
        2. lordkoos

          For whatever reason, I’ve noticed that commercial online sites (like weather underground etc) consistently report and forecast higher temperatures than the NOAA site. I find the NOAA site to be the most accurate still.

          Reply
        3. bob

          I did read the story. As with most press releases, I doubt most of it. I’m also very familiar with weather sites, data and how the data is distributed behind the scenes. NWS/NOAA does 90% of all weather for everyone.

          The part that used flash was very small. Most of it wasn’t flash. I used it a lot. I know exactly what it was.

          “Also, the NWS site is being hosted on NWS’s “own hardware” and not on scalable cloud services like AWS or Azure.”

          It’s funny how they didn’t need that before, when things were working well. Oh, by the way, Bezos owns the WP, where this is being reported. They just have to pay AWS and all will be fixed.

          Weather underground was bought by weather.com and it really stinks. They keep making things worse and adding more junk and ads. Whatever it may have been once, it’s not anywhere close to that anymore. I cannot recommend that. I still would recommend NWS for everything but radar.

          All of the weather apps and sites use NWS/NOAA as their primary source. Forecasts, radar etc. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. All of the hard stuff is done by gov. Third parties (weather.com, accuweather, etc) just take public content, paid for with tax dollars, and privatize it so that they can then sell it back to you. It seems like the move to the new, very bad radar site is just another move down that path.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            I lament the downfall of the Wunderground! The blog there was one of those bastions of the Internet of high quality information and discussion, of which I was an active part since 2004. it wasn’t just the main blog and comments though, it was a whole ecosystem of user blogs as well as photo collections of weather and the natural world. Then the seemingly inevitable happened: Dr. Masters sold the company to weather.com, somehow IBM because involved, the blog was systematically crapified and dismantled. First user blogs were removed, then the comments were moved to Disqus, and then finally it was gone, and nothing else exists to replace it.

            Reply
        4. John Anthony La Pietra

          WUnderground claims to have COVID-19 stats by county, allegedly updated daily — but its figures for my home (Calhoun County, MI) have been going unchanged for weeks at a time. Are they like that for anyone else?

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        I use NOAA and it is slower if more detailed and graphically pleasing. Seems like they could have simply kept the faster version for those who prefer it.

        Reply
      1. bob

        Yeah, everyone keeps saying that. It says it in the story too. I read it. I don’t believe it. Most of the old radar site didn’t use flash.

        If flash is so bad, and so outdated, why was it able to do everything so much better than anything that they spent millions to develop more recently?

        Because they didn’t pay amazon for hosting?

        The new site is not usable.

        Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    In Spain a “register” for those who refuse the vaccine: “It will be shared with EU countries” L’Unione Sarda.it

    Its somewhat ironic that those countries were are told that were successful in combating Covid by imposing authoritarian constraints (China, Vietnam) or who have allegedly passive, disciplined populations (Taiwan, RoK, Japan) are now among those been much more cautious about the roll out of vaccines, while the ‘freer’ countries that screwed up controlling Covid in the first place are rushing to impose it on populations through coercion or straight up mis-truths (see Fauci’s latest porkies). It won’t be long now before anyone who questions a rapid mass vaccination is accused of being an anti-Vaxxer or anti-science (as I’ve already been accused of by people I know).

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      I live in Korea and I think passive and disciplined could not be applied to the Koreans. Probably not to the other two countries either (but I can’t say).

      The first two outbreaks here were caused by people doing stupid things with zero consideration for other people.

      However the level of testing here is way above most Western countries. Think this made the difference.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, said ‘allegedly’, because I hear it often said that the Koreans are inherently more obedient to authority, when in fact that really isn’t the case (except in certain social conditions). I think the key point about the success (so far) of the RoK approach is that the government acted rapidly and decisively, and communicated well with the public and so took the majority of people (with the exception of the politicised evangelical Churches) with them.

        Reply
        1. Anthony G Stegman

          For anyone who knows history – at least 20th century history it is clear that Americans are far more passive than are either Koreans or Taiwanese.

          Reply
    2. Synoia

      I tell people I want a vaccine shot (preferably the Oxford one), and that I volunteer to be one of the first in the second one hundred million to get the shot.

      Reply
    3. Kurt Sperry

      I think the fact that measures like hard lockdowns, testing and tracing, and enabling economic mitigations here in the West were seldom sufficiently applied, mishandled and underfunded so abysmally put us in the situation where we are forced to rely on mass vaccination as the only realistic and timely path out of the pandemic. Asian countries that got the initial response so much more correct than we did aren’t under the same pressure to rush mass vaccination.

      The hard truth is that the only realistic way the pandemic will be brought under control in reasonable time frame in N.America and Europe is to push hard to get the populations mass vaccinated to the threshold that will bring infection under control. We’ve already burned our alternative approaches through lack of political will, selfish individualism, denialism, and ignorance.

      People choosing not to be vaccinated will be an enormous public health problem and I think there will need to be consequences for those who refuse vaccination, similar to how unvaccinated people frequently cannot attend public schools or freely travel internationally. Public health must continue to be prioritized over individual freedoms—as it commonly already is.

      I think people must be free to refuse vaccination for personal reasons but also that both public and private institutions must be equally free to restrict access based on refusal to be vaccinated and the public health risks that entails as well. People who refuse vaccination don’t deserve a special, protected status, free from the foreseeable and inevitable public health consequences of that decision.

      Reply
      1. Cuibono

        your argument assumes a few things;
        1) the vaccine prevents transmission well.
        2) the vaccine saves lives of those most at risk
        3) the vaccine is long lasting

        none of these three conditions have been met

        Reply
      2. drexciya

        I disagree with you on the way of getting this under control. The only proper option, now that it has become endemic, is the following approach:
        – Use preventative measures, like vitamin D, and other supplements, to decrease the number of people who get ill to begin with. Lifestyle and dietary choices are a thing, and I cannot help but observe (in the Netherlands), that people were not only buying toilet paper, but the potato chips shelves were emptied as well. Also, even this afternoon, the frozen pizza’s were discounted, as they often are. Why aren’t we taking this opportunity to focus more on disease prevention?
        – Use aggressive treatment, based on the, by now, established protocols that use Ivermectin.
        – Do something about the aerosol based spread, like fixing ventilation problems.

        Vaccines won’t save the people that are currently ill with Covid-19, so we need to do something about that to begin with. The whole focus on vaccines, instead of direct treatments, has caused needless suffering and death.

        And let’s not forget that the current approach to the crisis has caused a K-shaped recovery. This is simply unethical. Note that hardly anyone even dares to talk about the social-economic effects of the current measures. The lower social classes are hit way harder by the economic crisis (which was already in full swing before the Covid measures made everything much worse).

        The premise of denying access to certain aspects of society, based on not being vaccinated is really really scary. The current mRNA vaccines are rather dubious, and I don’t want to get anywhere near them for at least a year. Why should people be forced to be vaccinated with a poorly tested vaccine? That is very unethical, and it’s a really disingenuous way to get people to get vaccinated.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          Agreed. And here’s a story from the Arizona Slim file:

          A local acquaintance’s mother was a toddler during the 1918-20 flu pandemic. She was one of 13 children, and she was quite eager to check on her ailing siblings. So, she hopped from bed to bed.

          At the end of that pandemic, my acquaintance’s mother was one of only three children. That’s it. The others died.

          Now, wouldn’t it have been interesting to know how and why this little girl stayed healthy in a house where 10 others died? That would have been an excellent medical research topic. IMHO, it still is.

          I also agree with what you say about preventative measures. I’m of the mind that lifestyle and dietary choices will keep us out of a lot of trouble. Not to mention keeping one’s mental outlook on the positive side.

          And, to your point about the aggressive treatment, here’s a website that may be of interest:

          https://covid19criticalcare.com/

          From this website:

          We would like to emphasize that the FLCCC Alliance is not opposed to vaccination and furthermore supports policies such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene to prevent the further spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our treatment proposals are designed first of all to mitigate the effects of the pandemic until it is overcome and to allow for an earlier return to daily life.

          Reply
        2. Anthony G Stegman

          There are ethical challenges in forcing healthy people to be vaccinated, especially if the vaccine was developed rapidly using new technology and rushed into production without adequate testing. Safety testing of new vaccines can take years. It cannot be rushed since the human body will respond as it will in its own time.

          Reply
        3. Kurt Sperry

          I authored a long reply but it (as is quite usual for me) disappeared without so much as a Your Comment is Awaiting Moderation message. Just reloaded the page and took me back to the top. If I’d saved the text and resubmitted it, I would probably have been tagged as a spammer. No win situation.

          You have been spared an unpopular contrary viewpoint.

          Reply
          1. Alternate Delegate

            I doubt you would have been blackballed for resubmitting. I try to keep a copy of everything in a plain text editor because this has happened to me as well.

            Better luck next time!

            Reply
          2. tegnost

            Hitting the back button and scrolling to the bottom can find/salvage the comment, but it won’t be re postable without changes

            Reply
      3. Massinissa

        I’m no anti-vaxxer but I have to agree with Drexiya. Remember that 20% of people who take this vaccine will probably get Covid anyway, since that’s how it works with other vaccines. Even if the Vaccine worked 100% of the time, we don’t really know the long term effects of new type they’re using.

        I think I’ll probably get the vaccine after its been around for at least 3 months (I never leave the house right now anyway). But I still don’t think people should be penalized for not taking it, or at least not taking it soon. There’s too many unknown unkowns with this thing. Also I’m not sure mandating it will do any favors for the PR of these things when alot of people are already skeptical of them.

        Reply
  9. farragut

    From ‘Hiding COVID-19″ article:
    a key Trump administration goal: keeping public attention away from the death toll, which has surpassed 300,000 souls.”

    This is nothing new and certainly not unique to Trump. A few examples from memory (OK, I had to google the dates, lol) include the 1991 ban on photos of returning military coffins at Dover Air Force Base (which was lifted in 2004 I believe), the steady push since 2013 to criminalize the filming of animal cruelty inside factory farms, the incessant & baseless ‘Russia-is-evil’ hype from the MSM, and the daily manipulation of search results by Google to advance or hinder certain narratives.

    Reply
  10. CitizenSissy

    Thank you, Yves, for your always sage comments – and I second the bobcats! Very much appreciate your input about food banks, and the demand is enormous. In addition to food, donations of cleaning supplies (especially detergent), personal care items (including diapers) and pet food are very much welcomed.

    My church runs a food cupboard which serviced, pre-COVID, 100 families per month. Now 75 per week seek assistance. Dire doesn’t sufficiently describe the situation.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I just paid for a year’s worth of food by writing a check for car insurance.

      A year from now they’ll hit me up for a couple grand and i’ll meekly pay it again, while getting nothing from last year’s effort (hopefully) and that’s the way insurance works, but not if you play the food storage game where initially its a policy against hunger, and then as the best-by dates come close, you donate it to your local food bank.

      A win-win deal, and can you claim any tax wins from the gig?

      Don’t know, but your conscience wins.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        Well said, Wuk.

        Regarding car insurance, how many know that if you have bad (or no) credit, your car insurance is considerably higher?

        Since my (illegal) foreclosure, my credit tanked & I now pay much more for the same vehicle (which is now 34 years old).

        Another example of ‘hit ’em while they’re down’, I suppose.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Seconded. I have been with USAA since they opened it up to military dependents and have had good service with them when problems come up. The only downside is they dropped motorcycle insurance in the early oughts when the military veterans were wadding themselves up on motorcycles when they got stateside. I am still grandfathered in with my motorcycle but if I ever drop coverage I will need to insure the motorcycle with another company.

          It used to be fun in the late 1980s when the insurance companies would call on landlines and I would say I am with USAA and they would admit they couldn’t beat them.

          Reply
  11. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit deal leaves much unchanged, institutionally Financial Times. Confirms what Richard North said over the weekend. Wowsers, Barnier and his side were total poker faces. Did Johnson and his team not get what they were agreeing to? Or did they not care? This now makes Macron’s recent antics look exceedingly clever as opposed to petulant. If France didn’t like the proposed deal, how bad could it be?

    I plead guilty again for not having the fortitude to wade through the agreement itself in any detail, but looking at the dribs and drabs coming out from those who have looked at it in areas of their own expertise, it is becoming clear that the UK has been, as Johnson might himself put it, mightily rodgered by the EU. Johnson conceded nearly everything on his own red lines, while the EU budged not a millimetre on theirs. The deal seems full of tripwires designed to give the EU power to restrict the UK whenever it is in its interests. Just to give an example, on food, the EU can impose phytosanitary restrictions on UK food exports – this gives a huge disparity in market power to EU dairy and other food manufacturers in being able to sell to the UK, while tripping up any EU attempt to muscle in to EU markets. This gives Ireland and France in particular a big boost.

    Another key area, fundamental to services, is mutual recognition of qualifications. There seems little in this for the UK so far as I can see – this will make life very difficult for a huge range of service based companies (domestic to the UK as well as those with foreign customers), in addition to its education industry. The EU has the power to gradually restrict UK lawyers, architects, engineers, etc., almost at will. It will create a huge problem for any individual or company seeking to get liability insurance, and without this, you just can’t submit bids.

    Ireland is a massive winner from this. It has the Irish Sea border, it has the land bridge to Europe, it has no significant checks on the border within Ireland, and it has even managed to look magnanimous by funding Erasmus grants to Northern Irish UK citizens. It also hasn’t given up much in the way of fish. The Irish food industry, which has a huge stake in the UK business, is looking very smug. The DUP seem stunned and speechless at how they’ve been outmanoeuvred in every way. Their embrace of Brexit has undermined their precious Union and their supporters can now see it all too clearly.

    EU politicians have been very quiet over Christmas – including Irish ones. I can only assume this is because they don’t want to appear excessively triumphant until after the cage on the UK has been firmly locked.

    Maybe there are some hidden victories in the document for the UK I haven’t seen yet, but I’d be amazed if Johnson wasn’t shouting them from the rooftop if there were. The only victory for the Brexiters is that Britain is now firmly outside the UK and in the cold, where presumably they wanted to be. I hope they enjoy it there.

    Reply
    1. David

      I haven’t been able to get through the Great FT Firewall but this is very much the impression I got from skimming through the text. The text reflects the reality: the UK is the demandeur, and had a weaker negotiating position, plus it didn’t really know what it wanted. For everything mentioned in this mammoth text, and a lot of things yet to be decided, Europe will give the UK what it feels like giving it and no more. As I said a couple of days ago, the beginning of the document, read carefully, implies that the EU is intending to construct, over time, a massive treaty and institutional apparatus which will reduce the UK to subordinate status, requiring continued goodwill from Brussels to maintain a very one-sided and delicate relationship.

      How did we get to this point? We’ve been over it often enough, but I think it’s now clear that what the two sides wanted was never remotely the same. The EU wanted maximum protection against the consequences of Brexit, combined with a future relationship with the UK which was as much to their advantage as possible. The UK just wanted to get out of the EU, for entirely political reasons, at virtually any price. Often, such divergent positions are incompatible, but here they were sickeningly aligned. In some way, each has got what it really wanted, but the UK has forgotten the first rule of negotiation: beware what you ask for, you might get it.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        There is a small amount of history between the British and the French to consider.

        When I was an expat child, the local French expats said they they were looking forward to the day when Britain was just a small Island off the coast of France.

        I never imagined that it would come to be in my Lifetime.

        Reply
        1. David

          Have a read of John Lichfield’s very good piece linked to above. Yes, there’s a lot of silly posturing by both sides, but in my experience, when politics doesn’t get in the way, the two can cooperate very well on the basis of mutual self-interest. We’ll have to hope that that’s the case over the next few years.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            As an Irish person, I confess to never having really understood the British (or to be precise, English) attitude to France. The simultaneous contempt shown for France and the French politically, along with the obvious love of all things French, including of course the dream of living in the Dordogne or Province, has always confused and intrigued me. In my limited experience (limited by my poor command of French), the French themselves always seem to quite like the English and admire them, at least compared to other Europeans (while in truth, not apparently thinking too much about their neighbours across the channel). I have met some very openly Anglophile French, but they were without exception very right wing libertarians.

            Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks David, you express what I was trying to say far more eloquently than I did. Those two paragraphs of yours summarises the end of the Brexit negotiations much more clearly than anything I’ve read in the mainstream media.

        Reply
  12. farragut

    On my first business trip to Memphis, TN, years ago, I recall getting an absolutely fantastic rate at the Marriott Courtyard Airport hotel. I got very little sleep that night and some of you knew the reason why the moment you saw ‘Memphis’….

    Reply
    1. The Historian

      I was fortunate enough to have been able to watch FedEx’s operations at night a couple of times and it is truly amazing how they get those planes in, unload them and reload them and get them out in record time. But, yea, very noisy between 11 PM and 2 AM. And yes, like in Castaway – the clock is VERY important!

      Reply
  13. Tom Stone

    The behavior of Congress can best be described by a legal phrase some might not be familiar with, “Depraved Indifference”.

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    Working (and translated) link for the “In Spain a “register” for those who refuse the vaccine: “It will be shared with EU countries” article at-

    https://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=https://www.unionesarda.it/en/articolo/news/mondo/2020/12/28/in-spagna-un-registro-per-chi-rifiuta-il-vaccino-sara-condiviso-c-137-1098221.html&prev=search&pto=aue

    Will those that refuse a vaccine be in the same database as potential terrorists?

    Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Republicans Threaten To Deny $2,000 Checks To Their Own Constituents David Sirota
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Trillions for defense of illionaires!

    $25 out of a $30 monthly salary of a young man in the CCC went back to his family, and its hard to imagine now, but once upon a time people felt shame for accepting alms without working for it, and FDR had it pegged perfectly.

    If i’m successful in becoming a Thousandaire twice over, my monthly stipend will be around $150 for doing nothing, and seeing as a 1933 buck is now worth $20 in buying power, they’ll buy me off the equivalent of $8 a month if it was the dirty thirties.

    I never knew just how cheap I was…

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Yeah Wukchumni, but when you don’t know where the next week’s food is coming from, that $150 a month is gold to you.
      Another part of the CCC experience, one not generally talked about in ‘polite circles,’ is that those young men sending $25 a month home were being removed from the pool of potential revolutionaries.
      Starving people can be led in almost any direction that promises a full belly. $2000 per person now will save untold millions in policing costs ‘down the road.’

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m glad that this modest stipend will allow many to keep on keeping on for a short while with no plans of more beyond this conquest.

        In comparison to our CCC camps, they had what were called ‘Relief Camps’ in Canada, and the men were paid a miserly 20 Cents a day with nothing going home to the family.

        Literally the flipside of our excellent facilities and management in every way, just like now with us playing dirty thirties Canada, ouch.

        Reply
      2. rowlf

        Two other features were that the CCC used US Army officers for leadership which also gave the officers experience in who and how they would have to lead later on. Nutrition and education programs were supported by these military leaders so they could have a larger pool of recruits if needed. The concept at the time was to have a small core army and then quickly raise a citizen army.

        A second nugget was I love a California highway engineer years ago comparing contract built highway bridges to the CCC built bridges in his area. The engineer said the CCC built bridges needed the least or no maintenance compared to the contract built bridges.

        Reply
      3. Alternate Delegate

        Image living in a country that actually did something for you when you needed it …

        The Germans didn’t have that. The veterans of WWI told the ones going to WWII: “Be brave, join the infantry, and surrender to the first American you see.”

        I get tears in my eyes whenever I see the sign at an old CCC camp.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I read that US Marines in WW2 had few illusions about how long the war would last before they could go home and what it would be like for them when they left service when they said-

          ‘The Golden gate in forty-eight,
          the bread line in forty-nine.’

          Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      And your net worth and income stream are what, again? Compared to the millions with no jobs (not for lack of trying), no savings, precarious food and housing, no health care? For whom, if it passes the Senate, will be but a frail bit of flotation in a sea of greed and imposed debt?

      Maybe they should have bought gold, instead of basic foodstuffs?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Maybe they should have bought gold, instead of basic foodstuffs?

        Why not do both?

        Goldschläger is a Swiss cinnamon schnapps (43.5% alcohol by volume or 87 proof; originally it was 53.5% alcohol or 107 proof), a liqueur with very thin, yet visible flakes of gold floating in it. The actual amount of gold has been measured at approximately 13 mg in a one-litre bottle. As of December 2020 this amounts to €0.64/US$0.78 on the international gold market.

        Reply
          1. newcatty

            Considering the desecration and pollution of much of our country’s public potable water, which many of those who rely on for their sources of drinking, cooking and bathing water; it is tiring to hear cleaver, and self-referential,let them “do both” replies. People who really do need the $150.00 a month are also unlikely to bay kind of “bottled” water. Well, let drink leadened water. While those with means drink sparklingor fruit infused waters.

            Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                p.s.

                I like my elitist H20 to come with a small but discreet warning on the bottle, like it says on every Topo Chico

                Handle with care. Product has high carbonation

                Reply
  16. Jason Boxman

    Interesting breakfast discussion on reviews this morning. Mostly lamenting the crapification of supposedly durable and consumer goods since the 1950s, when Craftsmen tools had a lifetime warranty and things supposedly lasted for decades. Having grown up during crapification, this is mostly astonishing to me.

    I need to take my 2k cost Apple laptop in for repairs because the ultra-thin battery is again expanding and at risk of fire; and there was a recall for this, completely paid for, but this second replacement might not be. Clearly it is a design flaw, like the keyboard issues.

    So reviews like “didn’t shrink in the wash” or “still works after a year” are somewhat comical and might have been unnecessary decades ago.

    Was this so for consumer and durable goods 50 years ago?

    Reply
    1. marieann

      It’s not just from the durable goods from the 1950′. They are still being crapified. I had to buy a new sewing machine recently, the motherboard died and they no longer make them. This was a fancy,dancy computerized thing with an embroidery unit.I got it in 2001….so almost 20 years

      I bought what I thought was a fairly good machine with most of the same features……the quality in this one is pathetic, I can feel the difference in the plastic and parts. I just hope this one gives me 20 years.

      I have stopped buying appliances because they are all crap, I get what I need at thrift stores-as long as it’s the older models.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Agreement about shopping at the thrift shops for small household appliances. Several of my small electric hand tools now are thrift shop items. The new ones in the Bigg Boxx Stores really are [family blog].

        Reply
        1. Phacops

          And not just hand tools. Tools like the old table saws with solid iron tables and robust arbors and fences for true cuts are increasingly hard to find unless one buys from specialty woodworking shops. My father in law had a small table saw that looked more like the portable tables one sees in the big boxes, except that it weighed about three times as much and had roller bearings supporting the arbor.

          I recently invested in a granite block and a Veritas MkII Honing Guide to sharpen my wood chisels and plane irons. An exceptional quality tool. Now I’ve got to start a project to justify getting a good set of wood chisels.

          Reply
    2. Phacops

      Yes, I have seen crapification but I think it is the result of many forces, sometimes the introduction of complexity that leads to introduction of cost savings in other parts of a product, or the arbitrage of manufacturing and labor to caveat-emptor societies in asia where manufacturers will unilaterally change materials without the buyer’s knowledge.

      Riding a motorcycle and in the past making the mistake of price over quality, I’ve seen crapification of leather goods. From asia one frequently sees poorly tanned leather with thread of marginal quality. I had things start falling apart as thread decayed, from Red Wing boots to a jacket. Luckily near me is a great leather shop who are skilled in doing effective repairs (and learned about tanning and thread from them) I eventually had the money to buy from Schott and Fox Creek Leather and their apparel will last multiple lifetimes.

      But then, aren’t Americans trained to value style over quality?

      Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. most things suck, today…for power tools(drills, and such) i spend the extra on dewalt, because they’re the only one’s so far that last more than a year.
      i kept all the old power tools for the little bushings…but haven’t ended up using them, because other parts wear out first(how many times have i needed a sander/drill/etc and found the switch dead, and replaced it with a frelling light switch because i needed the thing RFN?). This keeping old ones is out of habit…it was one of my jobs at grandad’s medium sized sheet metal shop to keep all that stuff in good order, back when things were still repairable.
      we replace box fans every other year….while i’ve got my great grandma’s floor fan right over there from the 30’s…replaced the cord a couple of times(because even the cords are crapified, now(!!))
      first walk behind string trimmer(only thing that really works out here for precision mowing on my place) we got, 25 years ago, lasted for 10 years…next one for 5, next for 3, next for 2(maybe)
      first one was easily repairable, and easy to get parts…both qualities declined in similar stepwise fashion.
      and remember, i frequent the dump…especially the metal pile.
      in this tiny, unpopulated place, you’d be astounded at what i find down there,lol…bunch of useful stuff, as i’ve documented…but also a bunch of irreparable crap…ikea, and walmart cabinets and drawers and tables…particle board galore…
      and right over there is an 100 year old hand made chest of drawers, made by my grandad when he was young and didn’t really know what he was doing yet…made out of cast off shipping boards he scrounged somewhere. i couldn’t dismantle that thing without a chainsaw.
      i can go on and on, of course…and have many examples, because my grandparents never forgot the Depression,and how they got through it due to the frugality and creativity of their parents… so it’s tradition to save and scrounge and repair and reuse.
      my parents generation(b 1942) got way from all that…I’m just returning to mean.

      Reply
    4. Synoia

      Clearly it is a design flaw, like the keyboard issues.

      Err No. It is planned obsolescence. It is deliberate.

      Lucas in the UK was famous for planned obsolescence with car parts. The Nickname for Lucas was “Prince of Darkness” as a result of its skill in making lights for cars.

      Reply
      1. Alternate Delegate

        “Why do the British drink warm beer?”

        “They have Lucas refrigerators.”

        (Told me by a guy who ripped the entire Lucas electrical system out of his UK sportscar and manually replaced every last bit with German wiring.)

        Reply
        1. RMO

          Kind of amusing considering the durability of BMW, Mercedes and VW/Audi electrical and electronic components in the past couple of decades…

          Reply
        2. Rtah100

          This is onsidered to be step 1 of restoration standard operating practice for UK classic cars. Look for every part with Lucas on it and replace it with somebody else’s!

          Reply
    5. carl

      I have the written warranty for my 1952 Chambers stove: 25 years. It still cooks better than anything but a professional stove. I have two fridges from the 30s and 40s that still work, as well as a 1955 freezer which is finally going the way of the buffalo.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        mom has her mother’s Chambers stove, which was a wedding present, circa 1938, i think.
        mom had it taken apart and cleaned when she moved up here, otherwise nothing.(they did change the little nipple things from butane to propane)
        dern thing is heavy, though.
        i cook on it all the time.

        Reply
    6. Lee

      My 20 year old dishwasher gave up the ghost 2 years ago. The motor finally wore out. So based on Consumer Reports ratings and reviews, I replaced it with one made by Bosch. After 19 months, although mechanically in brilliant working order, the digital control went kaput for no discernable reason. That was back in August. Over the next several months the authorized repair service guy came out four times to no avail, complaining that Bosch was sending him faulty after market parts. Finally, a few weeks ago, Bosch authorized a replacement machine per their 5 year prorated guarantee on their machine’s electronic components. A refund was not part of the deal, or I would have opted for it.. So, for $250 I’ll get another Bosch dishwasher sometime in January….maybe; their supply chain is at present unpredictable.

      Reply
      1. Lex

        We bought a Bosch, even after our dentist told us the story of how their Bosch caught on fire while everyone was out of the house at a soccer game. They were in a rental for a year while their house was being remodeled. Although most of the house was unscathed by fire, the smoke and water damage was so extensive they had to throw away most of the possessions. After the fire they found out that their particular model had been recalled, but they were not sent a notice.

        Our dishwasher did not catch on fire and our house with it. It sprung a leak… twice. I was in the house, here at this desk, thinking the dishwasher sounded “off”. I had just started a load and couldn’t tell if the difference was because of the dishwasher or if there was something different about the load itself… I was listening with my ears but also my nervous system… when I saw some movement that also wasn’t normal out of the corner eye and turned my head to the left. It was water that had overflowed the cabinet under the sink spreading out over the living room floor (and gushing down into the basement!). By the time I got the water turned off the damage was extensive. We were months fixing the floors. The kitchen floor, that had been cork, had to be replaced entirely and most of the hardwood too.

        That was a hose connection the contractor had put in 20 years earlier. The second leak was the hose splitting. That one I caught much sooner, when it had merely flooded the cabinet alone. I’ve been wondering why the brand Bosch is held is such high esteem ever since. They are wonderfully quiet though; they’ve got that going for them.

        Reply
        1. Carla

          I have a 25-year old Bosch dishwasher. The heating element hasn’t worked for years, so I run the hot water to get it good and hot before starting it, and when the cycle is over, I open the door to let the dishes air-dry.

          When it was new and for the first few years, it was very quiet. Now it makes quite a racket. But what I like most about it (other than that it’s still running after a quarter century) is that the full cycle only takes about half an hour. Allow another half hour for the dishes to air-dry, and you’re done. The new dishwashers have cycles of from 90 minutes to two hours and even longer. What’s up with that?

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my dishwashers(yes, i have 2) take about 15 minutes, unless i’ve been being a chef or something.
            of course, you could say that they’re sort of expensive to maintain, what with the video games, food, and such.
            the bigger one even has a car.

            Reply
    7. lordkoos

      One of the few consumer products that has improved greatly compared to the 50s and 60s would be the automobile. Unlike the Toyota I recently sold, I never got 285,000 miles out of a General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler product.

      Reply
    8. Glen

      I was roto tilling the yard about thirty years ago to put in a garden, and up popped a heavily corroded Craftsman combo wrench. Went to Sears, told the guy behind the counter what had happen and he grinned and handed me a new one.

      End result – twenty five years ago my son got a complete Craftsman tool set when we towed home his first vehicle.

      I cannot think of any national American store or brand that comes close to that now-a-days.

      Reply
    9. Yves Smith Post author

      My apartment in NYC had a Royal Rose gas stove….which stopped being made in 1963. Worked like a champ. So it lasted ~60 years and I am sure had at least 10 more years in it. I am sure it got ripped out after I left.

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘A @BurnetInstitute
    study found mandating masks in Melbourne led to usage increasing from 43 per cent (when recommended but not mandated) to 97 per cent. This was associated with a decrease in the rate of infections by between 22 and 33 per cent. | OPINION’

    Of course a $200 (US$150) fine for not wearing a mask in public certainly was a great encourager for following that mandate.

    Reply
  18. Jason Boxman

    So is anyone else seeing “un” showing up everywhere. Here it is today for insurance:

    Mr. Bruenig said he was struck by how many low-income people remained uninsured, a sign, he said, that the new system [Obamacare] was not yet reaching everyone it was designed to help.

    “There’s a lot of uninsurance at the bottom, more than you might think,” he said. “Because for one reason or another, people are not getting on these plans.”

    I’ve never seen “uninsurance” before. Lately I’m seeing “unhoused”. “Unbanked” has been around for a bit now.

    Has “unfed” made an appearance yet?

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Might the uninsured be having some difficulty affording the copays and deductibles that are baked into those Obamacare policies?

      Reply
      1. Dean

        Low income families should not have difficulty paying deductibles and copays. They should be eligible for government subsidies to pay the premiums, deductibles, and copays. Those subsidies run out for families with income greater than 4x poverty level.

        It is the middle class that can’t afford the premiums, deductibles, and copays.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          yep, one of the perverse incentives of the glorious ACA, don’t make more than 11,000 a year or you’ll lose your free medical dental and ocular insurance.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Low income families may not have Internet. You have to shop for these damned plans, remember?

          Have you missed the stories about low income families having trouble with remote learning due to lack of access?

          6% “lack access” meaning no broadband in their area.

          https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/reports/broadband-progress-reports/eighth-broadband-progress-report

          Annoyingly, the Census reports results by state, with NO total!!! But eyeballing, the actual looks worse than 6% (and includes all internet access, including smart phones):

          https://www.statista.com/statistics/185552/percentage-of-americans-not-using-the-internet-by-state/

          Reply
        3. bob

          “Low income families should not have difficulty paying deductibles and copays. They should be eligible for government subsidies to pay the premiums, deductibles, and copays.”

          This is welfare queen BS. While you may get some sort of means tested tax credit subsidy to offset a premium, there is nothing to help with deductibles and copays.

          “It is the middle class that can’t afford the premiums, deductibles, and copays.”

          No one can afford them!

          Reply
    2. Carla

      “Has “unfed” made an appearance yet?”

      Horrors! Never in America! In the land of the free, people aren’t hungry, they’re FOOD INSECURE.

      Reply
    3. Bazarov

      How very Shakespearian of us!

      The Bard was enamored of the “un” prefix (which he may have invented, though I find that very unlikely; more likely he’s the only surviving antedate we have for the promiscuous ‘un’ prefix–I would bet that in Shakespeare’s time, the ‘un’ prefix was common to the ‘low,’ slangy speech of the theater), giving English such notables as:

      “Unhand”
      “Undress”
      “Uncomfortable”
      “Unreal”

      Etc.

      Reply
  19. HotFlash

    “Certainly ownership is a factor and we’ve known that for a long time,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that all of the for-profits are terrible or that all of the government-owned ones are wonderful, but the pattern has been pretty consistent for quite a while now.”

    Non-profits had an average of 2.8 deaths per 100 beds while municipal homes averaged 1.4. The average death rate in for-profit homes is 5.2, one chain clocked 9 deaths per hundred patients. The profit motive will certainly result in much cost-cutting, from staff to PPE to diet. Another factor, IMO, is that staff at municipal homes are union members, with contracts that govern working conditions, including hours, workload, PPE, etc.

    I have noticed that here in Toronto the places which have a strong union, eg schools, the public library, The Beer Stores, our LCBO liquor stores, chain drugstores and, to a lesser extent, the chain grocery stores, are generally *much* better at protecting not only their staff but also their customers by setting up and enforcing good protocols. Provincial and city laws mandate that number of customers inside is strictly limited (calculated by sq footage), everyone inside wearing masks covering nose to chin, one-way aisles, 2-meters marked out for outside waiting and check-out lines, yada.

    The regular small stores, not so much. They may have the arrows and such, but don’t enforce. I have given up shopping at a couple of my favourite local stores, incl the excellent little health food store whose owner I first met when he opened nearly half a century ago and the Polish bakery and deli because I just don’t feel safe.

    Why do I think it’s the unions? A lady I know at the LCBO was told back in Feb, while the Province was still downplaying Covid, that she could not wear a mask at work. She stayed home and her union filed a grievance. She was reinstated, *with* a mask and with back pay — try that at your local Circle K. My local Beer Store was he first place I ever saw the acrylic shields around the checkouts. The guys told me the union demanded it. You have a good union, you have some clout.

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    Been watching a fair amount of pre-code movies as of late, and they’re quite biting, my favorite being Baby Face with a wonderfully wicked Barbara Stanwyck.

    Any pre-code favs you can recommend?

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Wukchumni
      December 29, 2020 at 10:30 am

      You can’t beat Tarzan and His Mate….for good clean swimming. Though I have to say, after hours of careful examination, that scene where they are in the hut with the “civilized” guys, I am of the mind that Jane wasn’t wearing any underroos.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Pre-Code Hollywood Wikipedia

        Pre-Code Hollywood was the brief era in the American film industry between the widespread adoption of sound in pictures in 1929[1] and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, popularly known as the “Hays Code”, in mid-1934.

        Reply
        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          She was the kind of girl my mother always warned me about.
          She was the kind of girl I always wanted to meet.

          …or words to that effect.

          Pip-Pip!

          Reply
      2. Janie

        Also know as the Breen code. It’s why married couples in films and early tv had twin beds. It’s why scenes of couples kissing fade to black.

        Reply
    2. Phacops

      Animal Crackers, A Farewell to Arms, Death Takes a Holiday, It Happened One Night, The Millionaire, The Public Enemy (classic Cagney), Topaze, Little Ceasar, I am a Fugitive From the Chain Gang.

      But thinking of things and crapification (in an earlier thread), have you seen episodes of the old TV show Omnibus? In 2018 TCM aired those shows by Bernstein in celebration of his centenary. The level of discussion was extraordinary and I have yet to see anything like it today (but then, I’m a fan of Battle Bots to sate my lowbrow entertainment).

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        How about the foreign contributions of Ingmar Bergen ….with slight changes:
        The Aerosols of our Love
        The Seventh Respirator
        Scenes from a Semi Mortuary
        It Can’t Happen Here, Sincerely, Donald
        The Magic Mask

        Reply
    3. lovevt

      Recommend Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock, mid 50’s.

      “Nicholas Schenck, president of Loews Incorporated, MGM’s parent company at the time, nearly did not allow the picture to be made because he felt that the story was subversive. The film was seen as a veiled criticism of McCarthyism and the unconstitutional internment of American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II.[12] “

      Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      Was watching a few of those pre-code clips on YouTube myself and they are amazing. They treated movie-goers as adults who were not petrified at the thought of some risque film. Never realized it before but after that code came in, gays and lesbians disappeared from the screen as in you never saw them for decades after. But in those pre-code films you would see them being, well, gay. And some of the stuff that they had in those B & W silents was really censorship free.

      Reply
  21. mrsyk

    I see the good people of Nantucket are blaming laborers (skilled and unskilled), college students, and restaurant workers for their COVID woes. They must not have any homeless because they didn’t make the list.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      ISTR reading about similar sentiments when polio epidemics were stalking the land. Polio was thought to be a disease of the poorest. And then FDR got it.

      Reply
  22. fresno dan

    The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump Glenn Greenwald (UserFriendly)

    The hysterical Trump-as-despot script was all melodrama, a ploy for profits and ratings, and, most of all, a potent instrument to distract from the neoliberal ideology that gave rise to Trump in the first place by causing so much wreckage. Positing Trump as a grand aberration from U.S. politics and as the prime author of America’s woes — rather than what he was: a perfectly predictable extension of U.S politics and a symptom of preexisting pathologies — enabled those who have so much blood and economic destruction on their hands not only to evade responsibility for what they did, but to rehabilitate themselves as the guardians of freedom and prosperity and, ultimately, catapult themselves back into power. As of January 20, that is exactly where they will reside.

    The Trump administration was by no means free of authoritarianism…. With rare exception, the lawless and power-abusing acts over the last four years were ones that inhere in the U.S. Government and long preceded Trump, not ones invented by him. To the extent Trump was an authoritarian, he was one in the way that all U.S. presidents have been since the War on Terror began and, more accurately, since the start of the Cold War and advent of the permanent national security state.
    ===============================================
    And so I’m offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-two, Although It’s been said, many times, many ways, so I’m saying it to you, Merry Trump hysteria-mas to you.

    Reply
    1. Tomonthebeach

      I have read several articles this week asserting that Trump is not a fascist because he missed many Reichstag-like opportunities that Hitler or Mussolini would have seized upon to take over the government.

      Of course, those click-bait articles merely demonstrate that Trump was an incompetent fascist, not that he did not want to take on the mantle of authoritarianism.

      Reply
  23. Tom Stone

    Unemployment figures for Gig workers ( Such as myself) are seriously understated in California and probably elsewhere.
    I have been attempting to sign up for it since August with no success.
    UI online won’t work if you are a 1099’er, emails are responded to by a ‘bot that tells you to file online and provides you with a link to UI online.
    Which does not work for 1099’ers.
    Local phone #’s are disconnected, the offices are locked and no one responds if you knock on the door vigorously.
    The cops do after about 5 minutes, I’m glad I’m white.
    There are 3 toll free #’s which I have called at least 5 X a day for more than 3 months, you get a 4 minute recording that tells you that due to the high volume of calls they are unable to help at this time.
    “Please try again later”.
    I tried a registered mail letter “Help, I’m being held hostage by a deadly virus”.
    No response.
    Between the food bank, a friend who crews on a commercial fishing boat and small game I haven’t gone hungry yet.
    Many have.
    A $2K check would be nice, I haven’t been able to work at Real Estate since my health went to shit in late 2018, the Cardiac ablation last december worked, as did the Chemo I completed in May 2020.
    Absent Covid I’d have resumed work in June…
    As it is it won’t be until I recieve an effective vaccine that I can risk returning to RE sales.
    And I’m doing better than many millions of Americans.

    Reply
    1. mrsyk

      My eldest son has had a similar experience in NY, in this case after losing his job as a swim instructor. He completed the online form in September, no luck, no call back, no raising a live person on the phone. I feel like this is the state saying “We have no money, sorry.”.

      Reply
    2. Carla

      @Tom Stone — I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. My niece, my daughter, and so many others in their generation (X, I believe) and those younger are gig workers in the same boat with you. My $1,200 went straight to my daughter, as will any forthcoming government checks…

      Reply
  24. farmboy

    encountered “political psychiatrist” for the first time https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/deep-story-trumpism/617498/
    good dive into trumpsim.
    “The fiscal response will likely be one of the lasting legacies of the pandemic–after decades of widening income and wealth inequality Congress is debating how much direct support to give to middle class households. People now know it is possible & will start to demand it…”Dr Julia Coronado
    overton window anyone?

    Reply
  25. Carla

    Re: Mazzucato’s “Covid reveals capitalism’s flaws” — although of course NC has been reporting on this for months, I am still glad to have it. I have friends and relatives who would never read anything called “Naked Capitalism” but may read an opinion in something called “The Financial Times.” It’s good to have something to send them, so thank you!

    Reply
  26. rowlf

    I’m looking forward to the Georgia run-off elections to be over. Every day I get five or more mailings to vote and the over the air television news ad time is mostly all political ads. Some serious cubic money being dumped on all this where the choice is between being screwed or being screwed with the addition of sweet words.

    I will say the Warnock campaign makes some good ads but I may be biased by my negative response to any fear marketing. My wife also got a hand written postcard asking her to vote, which blew me away. My son and I examined it closely to be sure it was written with a ballpoint pen instead of printed by a machine. We also had a Republican group of young adults canvas the area a few weeks ago.

    Reply
  27. K.k

    Why is COVID-19 causing heart inflammation, or myocarditis, in athletes? Experts weigh in.

    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/why-is-covid-19-is-causing-heart-inflammation-or-myocarditis-in-athletes-experts-weigh-in-211509372.html

    My apologies if this was already linked in the past week.

    These young men at the prime of their lives are suffering from these effects and it seems its only being noticed since they are extremely valuable labor for the sports business world and are therefore closely monitored. The rest of you proles, nothing to see, its just the flu, get back to your amazon warehouse gigs and stop your bellyaching.

    I shudder at the thought of the idea this virus may stick around the body similar to herpes or chicken pox and cause other health issues later down the line when the virus becomes active again due to stress or environmental factors.

    Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        The shortened lifespans could also be theirs. The ruling class cannot isolate forever, even with sub-rulers to do their bidding. Their bolt-holes are not impregnable to a virus. Nor is it impregnable to less nutritious food, or uninspected medications.

        Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville ninety-nine that day;
    The score stood 2,000 to 1 against Mitch with but one inning more to play.
    And then when hope died at first, and charity did the same,
    A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty stimulus has struck out.

    Reply
  29. Lex

    ‘…the Summers/Rubin types have a third dependable quality, a total inability to hide their most regressive ideas. They’re immensely proud of their intellects and have a tendency to brag about their jerkiest thoughts to the public, doubling down 100% of the time in response to criticism.’

    Larry Summers lifetime of insulation from social consequences began at birth, way before a later preference for the company of Rich People.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Summers
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Summers

    Question 1: Who were Larry’s parents and what did they do for a living? Question 2: How old was Larry’s biological mother when he was born? (Anita Summers, according to Wiki, was 29 but of Jewish immigrant descent and that’s where epigenetics kicks in.) I knew the answers before I looked up those links. I could hear my father saying, ‘He let his alligator mouth overcome his hummingbird brain’. But in Larry’s case it’s more like his great intellect overcomes his social sense, which he doesn’t have much of and considers of little importance, even while interfacing daily with actual human beings.

    An aside: I got called in for jury duty and interviewed… and wasn’t chosen as usual. The charge was some kind of sexual harrassment/sexual misconduct, against a young man who looked to be in his early thirties. The prosecutor spoke first, saying the defendant’s behavior crossed a line. The specifics of the line would be revealed later. The defense attorney got up next and said, ‘My client is a jerk. He needs counseling, not jail’. First thought as I looked back at the defendant: ‘What kind of jerk?’ Not all jerks are the same, but they may be held equally accountable in the eyes of the law, just not the Larry Summers of the world. They’re insulated by money and powerful connections no matter how they behave. Bet they were bullied as children though. Bullying, if it doesn’t kill you, can give you strong sense of foresight. I was guessing the defendant was a) intellectually stubborn (he doubled down); b) not rich; and c) an Incel*. The deep pockets were his parents. I have no idea if he was found guilty or innocent, but having listened to the answers the other prospective jurors gave to the interview questions, I didn’t like his chances.

    *Involuntarily celibate and pretty chuffed about it. The more they’re rejected, the more they feel entitled. At no point do they take rejection as a legitimate criticism of their sexual attractiveness or suitability as a life partner.

    Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    Black Bear Lives Matter dept:

    Seeing as i’m going nowhere soon, the total sightings on the year came in @ 10, typical of the post-drought collapse in population numbers.

    A couple of trios of mom & cubs made up 6/10’s of sightings, one of them freakish to me in that mama bear was only about 50% larger than the siblings.

    Hard to believe I saw 54 in one year a decade ago, with number counts in the high 20’s to low 30’s often yearly prior to that.

    More importantly, had a most excellent face to face mountain lion encounter less than 10 feet away one early August morn @ about 4:20, with another the same size 20 feet further away. The claim is we taste like chicken.

    Reply
  31. Josef K

    So while Elon “Android Musk is loading up NEO with satellites, Jeff “Bezosabub” Bezos et al will load up the skies with drones. Seems like it’s about time for personal anti-drone technology to step up to the plate. Interdiction zones over private property sounds like a partial solution.

    Isn’t the airspace over one’s property defensible against intrusion? Such intrusion could be dangerous, drones can fall out of the sky especially considering advances in anti-drone technology and tautology.

    Reply
  32. qmess

    per the NWS radar ‘upgrade’
    I feel very strongly about this failure.
    been using the site daily for my work, for many years
    the new radar is basically useless
    cloaked in blaming Javascript may be better
    than the covid excuse but
    bottom line, it encourages pay-for sites
    another public / private partnership
    where the public suffers and the private gets richer
    the steady takeover of govt. functions by corporate interests

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Reply
    1. VietnamVet

      What happens when Donald Trump’s horrible downgrade of postal service to degrade mail-in voting doesn’t improve? A week later a package from Best Buy in Arizona just left Oklahoma. I’m near the point of having to write the check and returning the bill as soon as I get it in the mail in order to avoid a late fee.

      Reply
  33. Tomonthebeach

    Larry Summers just demonstrated on Bloomberg that that, to paraphrase Mark Twain; there are lies, then there are damned lies, and then there is macro-economics.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      “Lightbulb” Larry’s job is to carry water for the political establishment. He is thus the Gunga Din of Wall Street.

      Reply
  34. ArvidMartensen

    I wish I knew what was said to Bernie in the lead up to the election to make him so docile. Promises of a plum post maybe? He just rolled over in the face of every Democrat humiliation and provocation.

    Maybe Bernie is back to his old self now that it’s very clear that he was played for a fool a second time. He was a contender, he coulda been the champion.

    Reply
  35. rjs

    i tried to continue using the National Weather Service radar after the new version was rolled out but ultimately had to abandon it when i noticed that it had made my browsing history almost useless; if you’re on the website, everything you touch generates a new url and hence a new history entry, and if you’re not using it still reloads itself every couple minutes, also with a new url….i count 45 nws browsing history entries in 6 minutes on sunday…all that extra work also slows down my old PC….

    Reply
  36. David McCann

    Re your comments on Vaccine Roll out: unfortunately, the fractured shape of US Healthcare, is a direct by product of the country’s total inability to agree on a national healthcare policy. Sad reality is, as called out in American Nations and American Character, two books by Colin Goodard, is that the US is a sad collection of 9 ” regional value systems” that can’t agree on much, inside a constitution designed to prevent much being “national policy”. So you get a patchwork quilt of state level decisioning. Depts of Health and Governors, per state, decide where vaccines go, not the CDC. That’s just state level government in action. And 80% of hospitals are not for profit, and 20% are for profit. That’s the US system. The US is not Europe. You are right. Local autonomy is “chaos” at a national level. Americans won’t vote for anything else. Not across 50 states. Trapped in mediocrity. Perhaps it’s time to break the country up. It doesn’t function as a country , well. Let the south be the south. Let Texas be Texas. And let the west coast states unify into ” Cascadia”. And the NE be ” Yankeedom”.

    Reply
  37. David in Santa Cruz

    In regard to the Kentucky Retirement System litigation, I agree with the lawyer who thinks that Judge Shepherd left the door wide open for the plaintiffs and causes of action that the original plaintiffs attempted to add via an amendment to the original complaint, to file a complaint of their own — the statute of limitations being tolled in the interim.

    Pass the popcorn…

    Reply

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