Links 12/30/2020

This African Gray Parrot Is the First Animal To Ever Ask an Existential Question My Modern Met (David L)

NEW YEAR DIET? Greedy pet ‘ruins Christmas’ after eating Prestwick family’s ENTIRE roast bird – before collapsing on the floor unable to move The Sun (furzy)

A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia Siberian Times (guurst)

Croatia earthquake: Seven dead as rescuers search rubble for survivors BBC :-(. I visited Croatia twice, and on one of trip, went through Glina.

The World’s Oceans in Distress Der Spiegel (resilc)

These Are 7 of The Strangest Experiments Humans Have Ever Done in Space ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

The International Space Station microfarm can now grow radishes InputMagazine

Boston Dynamics robots can now dance better than you can The Verge (David L)

Blame not the robot but the human behind it Financial Times (David L)

Well they can’t very well go after the UK without going after the US. Wall Street Journal

Brain imaging study pinpoints neurotransmitter that may be responsible for yoga’s mood-boosting effect PsyPost (David L)

Irish Book Reviews Dublin Review of Books. Anthony L was disappointed that no one was interested in a fine article on nihilism yesterday. Maybe the one-word title was too spare.


The Cruise Ship Suicides Bloomberg :-(

Australia just recorded zero cases of COVID-19 again after a big spike last month in Melbourne. What can the US and the rest of the world learn Quora (furzy)


Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine approved by UK regulator CNBC

China’s Sinopharm says its Covid-19 vaccine is 79% effective Financial Times

ER nurse tests positive for COVID-19 eight days AFTER he received Pfizer vaccine Daily Mail. Experts saying this sort of thing is expected, he’d had only only shot…

Doctors discovered a new way to tell which coronavirus patients will get worse BGR (ma)

Explanations for ‘long Covid’ remain elusive. For now, believing patients and treating symptoms is the best doctors can do STAT. Finally some data:

A survey conducted in the U.K. concluded in November that 1 in 5 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) suffered from symptoms lasting five weeks or longer; 1 in 10 said their problems lasted 12 weeks or longer.

Characterizing Long COVID in an International Cohort: 7 Months of Symptoms and Their Impact MedRxiv (preprint). dk:

Not a great study, basically a survey of online support group members self-reporting symptoms. But it’s extensive and well compiled and visualized. Chronic Lyme’s disease was also discounted for decades before eventual clinical confirmation.


NHS could face ‘horrendous choices’ over who gets coronavirus care Guardian (Kevin W)


First Case of New Coronavirus Strain in U.S. Reported in Colorado Wall Street Journal. Patient didn’t travel. I bet skiing was the vector. My youngest brother in Florida went to Utah to ski in December, I kid you not….then a bit later in the month drove 17 hours to Long Island to have dinner with one set of inlaws, lunch with another set, drove to Philly to have dinner and overnight with some friends, then drove to Virginia to see his three daughters, all adults, meaning three bubbles….and actually a fourth there, since they’d spent Christmas with their mother, his first wife. He reported this all cheerily as if we should envy him. With people like that, who needs super spreader events?

Luke Letlow, Louisiana congressman-elect, dies of covid-19 at 41 years old Washington Post (furzy)

State reports 2,201 new coronavirus cases Seattle Times. Furzy; “WA state not slowing down at all, after all this time….”

‘Like a bathtub filling up’: Alabama is slammed by the virus Associated Press (resilc)

The US is vaccinating people way too slowly. A top doctor says the federal government is to blame. Business Insider (Kevin W)

A California woman in her 30s who said she’s a Disney employee said she got the coronavirus vaccine, while the state is being overwhelmed by a surge in cases Business Insider (Kevin W)

Biden offers sober warning of road ahead on coronavirus The Hill

Wealthy hospitals rake in U.S. disaster aid for COVID-19 costs Reuters (resilc)


Push for $2,000 stimulus checks hits Senate buzzsaw following McConnell blocks vote on $2K checks, signals new package The Hill. This account appears to miss the point. Yes, it would be an uphill battle to get this passed; you need more defectors than just Josh Hawley. However,the Dems (or at least the ones not of the Pelosi cut of cloth) win even if they lose if they keep this issue in play and make the Rs look like greedheads. The question is whether McConnell overplays his hand, setting up a filibuster would keep the payment in the press, making Rs look bad. Rs voting down the $2000 or attaching too many corporate extras would be a big talking point in the Georgia Senate races. Yes, the R candidates there are saying the support the $2000, but so what if their ratfaced party succeeds in nuking it or giving out more in pork after poormouthing? The obvious retort is the Rs need to be voted down to assure McConnell is no longer Majority Leader.

Georgians Are Starving, Their Millionaire Senators Refuse To Force A Vote David Sirota and Andrew Perez


Apple’s longtime supplier accused of using forced labor in China The Hour (resilc)

China Eyes Shrinking Jack Ma’s Business Empire Wall Street Journal

China’s P2P purge leaves millions of victims out in the cold, with losses in the billions, as concerns of social unrest swirl South China Morning Post (furzy)


Banks Pile Into Government Debt, Setting Up ‘Doom Loop’ Sequel in Europe Wall Street Journal

UK parliament gears up to fast-track Brexit deal Politico. Subhead: “Britain never sought a ‘rupture’ with Europe, Boris Johnson to say as MPs prepare to back his Brexit deal.”

The Brexit deal calls for DNA profiles to use a 20-year-old email app The Verge (BC)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible Craig Murray. UserFriendly: “Well they can’t very well go after the UK without going after the US.”

The American System is One Big Grift American Conservative (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

She didn’t know her kidnapper. But he was using Google Maps — and that cracked the case. NBC (furzy) A reason to love your information overlords.

Trump Transition

Donald Trump’s influence will evaporate once he leaves office. Here’s why Guardian (ChiGal). Awful early call. He’s thinking about having a new TV show…


Biden’s Incoming National Security Adviser Faults Pentagon’s ‘Obstruction’ NPR

Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence Antiwar (resilc)

Complaint targets group challenging Georgia voters Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Black Injustice Tipping Point

How the Police Killed Breonna Taylor New York Times. Impressive reconstructive

Louisville Police To Fire 2 More Officers Involved In Death Of Breonna Taylor NPR

The Columbus, Ohio, officer who killed Andre Hill has been fired CNN (fresno dan)

Nashville explosion: Woman warned MNPD Warner was building bomb in 2019 Tennessean

Our Famously Free Press

Real Journalism: Vanessa Beeley Exchanges With Chloe Hadjimatheou on BBC White Helmets/Mayday Rescue Cover-up BSNEWS (Chuck L). Wowsers.

Nashville bombing froze wireless communications, exposed ‘Achilles’ heel’ in regional network USA Today (dk). Ahem, Verizon and AT&T have been ripping out copper when they install fiber to escape common carrier regulations.

Thousands of Colorado residents without heat after attack on gas service ABC (Kevin W)

The SEC’s “token” enforcement action against Ripple for XRP Francine McKenna

Class Warfare

Corporate Power and the Future of U.S. Capitalism Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan, Capital as Power

Why Larry Summers MUST Believe $2,000 Checks Are A Bad Idea Ian Welsh

Antidote du jour. mgl:

This lamb’s name is Bronwyn (or, Bronwyn-Muffin), orphaned at two weeks of age. As seen in an obscure location in New Zealand in November. The back-story is both hilarious and fascinating. Too long for this caption. She has a love/hate relationship with her saviours; well, they have such a relationship w/her. She just loves them.

And a bonus. I have to confess to having a soft spot for cross species friendships:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Jesper

    About the USD 2,000:

    The outcome so far appears to be that Congress has been shown for what they are, Congress was left alone without pressure from the president and the original proposal was what Congress wanted it to be. Once presented and the feedback was that the proposal wasn’t very good then the defense presented by Congress (or at least the supporters of the Democratic leadership) is: Trump didn’t stop us so therefore it is his fault for not stopping us from making this proposal.

    The legislature looks captured and due to the system of first by the post it also looks like it will be forever captured. The only hope for change is then what? No hope or the hope of the authoritarian leader? The authoritarian leader looks to be held away by the checks and balances so what is the likely outcome?

    1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      Increasing efforts by capital to hold things in stasis until we inevitable rupture, resulting either in revolution from below or repression from above.

    2. Myra

      God awful hair pulling, complicated finger pointing sideshows, meanwhile Americans starve.

      The Michael Hudson interview yesterday is a simplified user’s manual to understand American political economy. Listen to the audio while you do your chores, save the text and get your friends to read it. That guy should start a new political party.

      “That’s the irony of what’s happening now, but it’s what’s in store for the economy. In just one more month when the Biden administration comes over, the evictions begin, the foreclosures begin, and the medical deaths are going to be increasing.”

    3. Skip Intro

      Can the democrats allow Bernie to succeed in forcing it up to $2k? I wonder what Senators Warren and Harris think.

      1. Skip Intro

        Answer: No
        Democrats = Washington Generals, earning a living finding new and entertaining ways to get dunked on.

  2. CanCyn

    Give me Willow and Coulton (dog and donkey friends in bonus antidote) over dancing Boston Robotics robots any day! The Black Mirror episode that features terrifying, relentless warehouse guarding robots that are like Boston Robotics’ Spot has been discussed on NC before. General consensus seemed to be that they are scary. If I had to guess, some marketing genius at Boston Robotics tasked the engineers with making the robots more likeable – and now they can dance. The choice of song that they dance to seems most appropriate …”you didn’t even want me around” …. “do you love me now that I can dance?”
    Bloody chilling IMO.

        1. CitizenSissy

          The point is not to pay us, period. Don’t have to deal with HR, remote work, and benefit drama. Because efficiency.

          Happy New Year, Wuk and commentariat!

  3. Fireship

    > The American System is One Big Grift American Conservative

    This is what I have been banging on about all the time: the whole American project is rotten; there is nothing to save. Arguing over the kayfabe of Jimmy Dore vs AOC is just playing the part of the rube. You got hustled. Again. Just like you always do. As George Carlin pointed out, it’s not the politicians that are the problem, it’s you: “The public sucks”. A system built on 400 years of exploitation and hustling cannot be changed at this stage. The best thing you can do is to help it to die. Dreams of being a martyr and trying to change it are as futile as the White Rose resistance in WWII Germany. And about as realistic at succeeding.

    The question is, “can you face reality?” The reality pill is bitter, but ultimately liberating. Faced with reality (hint: you are not getting M4A, Green New Deal, affordable education, etc), what choices remain? Join a secession movement. Retreat to a monastery (literally or figuratively), emigrate or instead do you join in the grift, remain a rube praying for St AOC to make it all better or some other deluded progressive believe (it’s about as realistic as QAnon) or anesthetize/euthanize yourself through drink/drugs/dating/shopping/tv etc.

    “America is a mistake. A gigantic mistake it is true, but none the less a mistake.” – Sigmund Freud.

    1. Mummichog

      In my over thirty years of reading about and watching the US metastasizing Crime Wave, now vividly displaying itself in Medicine, I have yet to see any major article about this by any notable or famous Criminologist. Like the Plague of Epidemiologists, there are legions of Criminologists roaming about and pontificating about Street Crime and the odd corporate fraud. They seem to be in oblivious ignorance of all the massive crime going on under their blocked noses. No Sherlocks in this group.

      Which raises this question: is the real indicator that one is living in a Criminal Society the fact that the real crimes are never prosecuted?

      Here’s a good indicator of our criminal society from a Federal Judge no less:

      ““It’s not surprising that a criminal like Trump pardons other criminals,” senior U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt of the Southern District of Iowa told The Associated Press in a brief phone interview Monday. In a bit of humor, he said: “But apparently to get a pardon, one has to be either a Republican, a convicted child murderer or a turkey.””

    2. Oh

      Now I realize that the Green New Deal was just a ploy, distraction and grandstanding. Good job AOC! If you could reach that high on such a unrealizable goal why can’t you try to dethrown Pelosi (Gelato Queen) instead of making excuses?

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Australia just recorded zero cases of COVID-19 again after a big spike last month in Melbourne. What can the US and the rest of the world learn from this? ”

    I have literally no idea what Quora is talking about. There is another outbreak based in Sydney that is slowly starting to get out of control. It started in Sydney’s northern beaches area and has now spread to Croyden in inner Sydney, Wollongong down the coast and at least one case in the Blue Mountains. There are some cases in other States that trace back to Sydney. Nearly all the other States slammed shut the borders on Greater Sydney a coupla days ago in response having no faith in the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. With all the mass events based around Christmas and New Years, the NSW Premier decided on a set of half-measures to deal with this outbreak. There is a charity cricket match which will go ahead at the Sydney Cricket ground but in a half-measure, only 25,000 people will be able to go instead of a full 50,000. When asked about the wisdom of this, The NSW premier replied ‘Nah, it’ll be fine.’ Meanwhile NSW doctors are demanding that all the other States open up their borders with NSW. We may be seeing the beginning of another Victorian cluster here.

    1. The Historian

      Thank you for keeping us informed about what is happening in Australia. Too many ‘talking heads’ creating their own realities out there!

      1. norm de plume

        I grew up in the Gong and Mum and Dad are still there. In their 80s now so hunkering down until it (hopefully) blows over.

        Complacent Premier Gladys has ridden her luck (wringing her hands but acting only with reluctance) and I do hope her charmed run continues, but if it doesn’t she will be held culpable for not enforcing mask wearing and for locking down too late.

        This outbreak was driven by lax policing of incoming flight crews, and unfortunately we are seeing too much of this sort of thing.

        Billionaire media owners like Kerry Stokes and A-list celebs like Nicole Kidman you kind of expect, but C-listers like Minogue sœur?

    2. BobW

      Anyone can post questions on Quora, so the default reliability of the site is the lowest common denominator of the internet. Eventually bad posts can get feedback and may approach reality, but you might have to follow a thread through dozens or hundreds of answers.

    3. curlydan

      I think it was an older article. It’s hard to tell a post date, but the author’s imploring us to get rid of the current U.S. President seemed to me to be a tell that it was older than early November.

      I do agree with the author that locking any and all international travelers in hotels for 14 days (with significant fines for infractions) is the way to go. Wouldn’t make much of a dent due to internal transmission, but at least it might show we’re serious about something. Of course, we don’t have the people or will to make that happen here.

      1. Jeff W

        I think it was an older article. It’s hard to tell a post date…

        The earliest responses appear to be from 1 November so the post date is no later than that.

  5. Charles D Myers

    There are many people where even $2000 isn’t enough.

    Small businesses and unemployed.

    There are tons of people recieving the $2000 as a luxury.

    Government workers for instance. Amazon and Walmart.

    Tons of small businesses are shut down. This is a stimulus for Walmart and Amazon.

    The money needs to be more targeted.

        1. bob

          It’s always a dirty term. Always and everywhere. Proved again by the fact that your statement assumes a zero sum.

          Your non-argument is just an extension of the welfare queen fallacy. The people in the ghetto are taking welfare meant for the white people who need it.

          Just stop.

    1. The Historian

      I don’t think the point of the $2000 stimulus is about who is ‘deserving’ – as though that is something we could ever figure out – I think it has more to do with who will spend it and hopefully feed Main Street’s economy, not just Walmart and Amazon.

      If I got the $2000, it would probably go towards something like a new roof on my house – meaning that a small roofing company would have some work.

      1. Wukchumni

        If the stipend comes through, i’m investing heavily in zinc (Cents are 97.5% zinc) futures to ward off Covid, with 200,000 of them standing guard for thee.

    2. PeterfromGeorgia

      Agreed. I am a single parent (Mom’s got mental health issues and has not been in the picture for years, God bless her, not her choice) to two middle schoolers. Our savings were wrecked by one income living and the divorce but we were just squeaking by through frugality (rental home, eat out twice a month, older used car and I do basic repairs, clothes from Marshalls if we get them at all, camping for fun – forget about anything involving a hotel stay).

      I am also an attorney, a second career as I got my license at age 39 in 2014. I started 2020 shifting from working for a firm to to working for my own firm. Then Covid hit in March and the Courts closed down and the schools and summer camps stayed closed so I HAD to watch my kids and try to work cases in Federal Court. I settled one in May so I at least had some money come in ($10,000, the only reason we are not in a tent). Unfortunately, with the state courts closed I cannot hustle for work and the fed cases I do (wage and hour and employment discrimination), the defendants have all dug in so I expect a 2 to 3 year plus litigation cycle, possibly longer. As a result, there is little chance of having money come in through my lawyering in the near future.

      I applied for Georgia UI but as I resigned my last job it was a no go (but a necessary requirement to apply for PUA). My PUA application was denied in November as I “did not lose my job due to Covid” and I am appealing the denial but that could take months (and no guarantee of success). As a result, of these delays I took the last asset I had, $30k in a 401k, and liquidated it in late July. After taxes I had $20,000. But with all expenses – rent, utilities, debt payments, insurance at $350 a month but can’t afford to use, putting $ towards cases, etc. – we are down to our last $500 after all payments for January. I am looking at selling my plasma at $50 a visit and delivering pizzas two nights a week, even though it means leaving a 12 and 13 year old alone from 4-10 pm two nights a week.

      The whole matter of stimulus makes me furious. We are literally at the point of being homeless in a few weeks if money does not start coming in immediately. We cannot cut anything and while I could pawn some electronics, it would not bring in more than a couple of weeks of expenses and leave us without a tv and stereo (entertainment) or family computer (school and entertainment). I would rather be working and, quite frankly am very embarrassed to be in this situation and depressed by this whole shebang. I completely understand why folks would want to vote in a charismatic tyrant and the longer this goes on the more likely I will be to do so out of sheer anger at this whole matter. Trillions for companies and we got nothing!

      We need targeted stimulus, NOW.

      1. bob

        “My PUA application was denied in November as I “did not lose my job due to Covid” and I am appealing the denial but that could take months”

        You have been means tested. AKA targeted

        1. Massinissa

          What Bob said. Not only has he been ‘targeted’ by the system, any kind of ‘targeted’ relief under a Biden administration would probably avoid him by some other measure. Maybe he had too much income last year, etc etc etc.

          His entire comment is amazing until the last sentence, which is borderline nonsensical. I would like to ask, what kind of targeting, specifically, does he think will help him over another check? If they were excluding people by income, it would probably be 2019 income or some similar nonsense that will exclude him ‘accidentally’ (I.E., essentially on purpose).

          Good luck to Peter either way and I wish him the best.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        I hope for the best for you and your family – keep going!

        (Not sure why it has to be targeted, though – wouldn’t a universal stimulus be just as helpful for you? And it would put more people on your side.)

      3. furies

        I wonder about the part of your being an ‘attorney’ and your wife being ‘crazy’.

        A familiar scenario to this ‘crazy ex-wife’…

      4. notberlin

        This story breaks my heart, and of course makes me incredibly angry at the “system.” I myself have been there, so I feel it and know the pain and stress all too well. My younger brother is an attorney as well and has been homeless off and on (and divorced as well —he also is trying to survive major trauma from serving in the military). They can bail out basically criminal operations known as banks, or airlines, or cruise ships (not all are “criminal,”, I know), but to assist a family that is trying to survive, and a parent that is willing to work and NOT asking for much, is verboten. It’s not by accident; it’s by design.

        Thank you for sharing your story, that took a lot of courage. My hat is off to you and wishing you luck in everything.

      5. John Anthony La Pietra

        Sympathies added, from a fellow attorney who’s living on some surviving savings from a few good years — and his wife’s paycheck as a night-shift manager for a nearby WalMart.

      6. Oh

        Sorry to hear about your plight. Unemployment Compensation should kick in as soon as you lose your job for whatever reason. When you were laid off or resigned you still are without a job. The State should not be the one who provides the compensation but it should come directly from the Feds in the form of a Universal Basic Income. All you would need to do is fill in a one page application that will be used to confirm the loss of your job. There are too many bureaucrats who make it their job just to deny benefits.

      1. tegnost

        yeah, I’m pretty sure some of the opposition to 2000 is because it will make walmart, amazon and uber drivers, the low income ones at least, quit. At least for a while. Picture a multi person household of low income workers who have their hours throttled by an algo for the 24 -28 hr/wk sweet spot. Say 4 people, 6-800 per month pay, so the entire household budget goes from give or take 3000 to 8000. They don’t love wally world or mcdonalds. They’re going to give them the johnny paycheck routine.

        This,IMO, is the great fear.

    3. DJG

      CDM: Yep, note the other comments here. The point of $2,000 during an emergency is to give it to everyone, regardless. And fast. Don’t engage a bureaucracy to go through everyone’s tax filings, “eligibility,” and worthiness. People have bills to pay.

      I am already seeing threads like this on FBook, and I’m not inclined to think of them as benevolent. I am seeing a mixture of mean-spirited U.S. puritanism and vestigial Calvinism. The language is usually made to look like “but one must be thrifty.” The result will be “let ’em starve.”

      So what if some “undeserving” person gets $2,000 in an emergency? The government should just send the money.

      And the “deserving”? So what if the deserving buy a box of Fannie May chocolates or a bottle of bourbon?

      Give the money. Give the money. Give the money. Stop looking for strings to attach to it.

      1. bob

        It’s much easier to look at *the other guy* and claim they are undeserving. We have entire bureaucracies dedicated to this. And they still let the undeserving though after 5 years of paperwork and humiliation. Could we means test the means testers? We’ll have to work it out in committee and come back next year with a plan for legislation that the CBO can put a price on and after that we might see a house vote in 2 years?


        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          It’s much easier to look at *the other guy* and claim they are undeserving.

          In my family we call this game: “I have the courage of my convictions. You have a stubborn streak. They are pig-headed fools.”

      2. JTMcPhee

        A bunch of “undeserving” squillionaires have gotten what now, $14 trillion of “the people’s money,” not counting prior excrescences from the political choices of “our” UNrepresentatives over a couple of centuries now. Which money only exists in that quantity because of the net total aggregate of the US economy and its still-unlooted natural resources. “Full faith and credit” money is the result of a widely held belief that the labors of the mopes will keep generating the GDP that undergirds everyone’s belief structure that a dollar is worth much more than the paper or bits it’s printed on. At least that is how it works as far as I can tell. Money is a belief structure. Daring to enter the thorny thicket of “what is money,” of course…

        Yeah, buy gold, even if it is only the minuscule flakes in that expensive schnapps Wukchumni chortled about yesterday… the buzz from that will no doubt fix everything. If OxyContin ™ is not available.

        1. Wukchumni

          Placebo placer is probably your best bet, and I prefer gold wrapped bouillon ingots over other strategies, not that I have a beef with any of them.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        If money went to the “undeserving” like Larry Summer, the obvious solution is the t word after the fact. If a 90% wealth tax was administered on Jeff Bezos, no one would notice in which case people might get ideas, leaving Bezos only a single billion dollars.

        Now we have this moral panic about money being wasted and sent to people who don’t need it or will it spend it on Tbone steaks and such.

      4. Carla

        U.S. Congress has just handed $3.8 billion to Israel, for the next 10 years.

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

    4. will

      Punish those who have worked through the pandemic by giving everyone else free money? You already have that in the form of expanded ui.
      An extra 2400 per month unemployment for months on end, while those who put food on your table took home in some cases less than that working full time and overtime.. MEANS TESTING INDEED.

      Next time eat your ideals. 2000k for everyone is a start at what would be fair.

      1. Alternate Delegate

        It’s becoming clearer and clearer that we are moving towards Universal Basic Income.

        It’s universal. It’s basic. It’s income.

          1. Massinissa

            What “No Landlords Now” said. I half expect initiating UBI will give the government an excuse to get rid of every other welfare that isn’t UBI.

            I’m not against the concept of UBI, but I don’t trust the US government to do it in a way that isn’t stridently Neoliberal.

            1. Alternate Delegate

              Of course capitalism and existing government institutions will line up against UBI and will do anything they can to sabotage it. I understand that.

              I nevertheless think UBI is the correct mental wedge to help people crack neoliberal thought-cages. There is momentum behind UBI right now because people’s basic economic needs aren’t being met, even though the necessary basic wealth continues to be produced.

              The job market is less and less capable of supplying our basic needs because the job market simply doesn’t need us – or, at least, not so many of us.

              Automation and productivity are capable of producing wealth, but they require less and less traditional “work”. In fact, they are OVER-producing on a small planet, and they need to shrink. Resource allocation is becoming more and more critical. Our environment needs us to be less productive, use fewer resources, and de-grow our economy.

              This is why a jobs guarantee goes in the wrong direction. It would sure be popular with those people who want to allocate other people’s labor to their own pet projects – which is why I say the outcome would amount to a lot of harmful guard labor and PMC heaven.

              But the main problem is that a jobs guarantee distracts from the core issue: we need LESS productive labor for wages, and we need to put that effort into our own lives instead.

              There will be few traditional jobs in the future, but there will be production sufficient to meet everyone’s basic needs. A citizen’s dividend (UBI) is the fundamental way to organize this new economy. It won’t be a capitalist economy.

              1. Massinissa

                I was going to comment on this… But Yves kinda covered my opinion better a few comments down than I would probably be able to.

                At least for me, I remain to be convinced by UBI. I suppose I would support it over… nothing. And right now we are getting nothing. But I’m honestly under the impression that a functioning JG would be able to help society while also not destroying the planet the way Capitalism is. Things like growing trees and plants all over the country, doing more care for the elderly and children, etc etc, seems like there’s plenty of work that Neoliberal Capitalism just doesn’t bother to pay people to do.

          1. Upwithfiat

            A UBI may or may not be a bad idea but it’s undeniable that ALL fiat creation for private interests such as for the banks and for the rich be abolished.

            Instead, all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare should be via an equal Citizen’s Dividend that may or may not be a UBI but at least it does not violate equal protection under the law as the current system does.

          2. Alternate Delegate

            Wrongo. Federal Jobs Guarantee = guaranteed to be jobs federally spying on everyone.

            Excess productive labor is not needed in this economy, and a FJG certainly won’t be productive labor. It will be an explosion of pointless and unnecessary guard labor.

            More means-testing, more strings attached, more alienated labor, more social control, more “labor discipline”, more PMC employment – guaranteed bad all around.

            Keep it simple. Keep it UBI.

            1. tegnost

              ubi creates an entire sector of “useless eaters” who will be disenfranchised then disembodied. In todays world ubi will come in the form of an amazon gift card, as a gift to amazon, and it won’t alter any of the current dynamic, while jobs guarantee competes directly with bezos et al. Realistically neither of these things will happen as all’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds…

            2. JWP

              The spying happens regardless of whether UBI or FJG is implemented. “excess productive labor” is an oxymoron for it ceases to be productive when full employment is exceeded. Currently, the private sector provides extremely low skill, often gig jobs that produce low to no benefits, low mobility, and at low wages. UBI does nothing to change that other than provide more incentive for the private sector to cut wages and benefits because people are getting a “handout.” UBI then becomes unproductive fiat because it is not targeted as purchasing a wage our infrastructure nor is it tied to resources and labor like what Alaska has. This perpetuates the financial suppression of workers.

              1. Upwithfiat

                UBI does nothing to change that other than provide more incentive for the private sector to cut wages and benefits because people are getting a “handout.” JWP

                1) Minimum wage laws.
                2) Even if wages were lowered, this would INCREASE the amount of new fiat that could be distributed to counter price deflation.

                Not that I argue for a UBI but for a Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation for private interests such as for the banks and asset owners.

                Besides, a JG is going to look increasingly ludicrous and unjust as automation eliminates more and more real jobs. What kind of endgame is that?

                1. Alternate Delegate

                  UBI is not Speenhamland.

                  You can call it a Citizen’s Dividend if you prefer. Same thing.

                  Speenhamland was a disaster precisely because the means testing undercut wages. That’s NOT the dynamic of a Citizen’s Dividend. There is NO means testing, and no connection to wages.

                  (See Karl Polanyi’s “The Great Transformation” on Speenhamland, but read carefully in order to understand the distinction.)

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    If you think a UBI won’t undercut wages, you’ve lost your mind. The Silicon Valley squilloniares are behind it (and they are explicit about this) because then they’ll not have to pay people who work in their incubators anything.

                  2. Alternate Delegate

                    I guess I’ve lost my mind then. Or maybe the squillionaires know less than they think they know?

                  3. Upwithfiat

                    You can call it a Citizen’s Dividend if you prefer. Same thing. Alternate Delegate

                    Not really:
                    1) A Citizen’s Dividend would replace all fiat creation for private interests such as for the banks and asset owners – this is just equal protection under the law.
                    2) A Citizen’s Dividend would be metered to just counter price deflation – so it could not be accused of being inflationary.
                    3) During financial crisis, if desired, an equal CD could be used to ETHICALLY provide liquidity.
                    4) A CD may or may not be sufficient to provide a basic living because that’s not its purpose. Its purpose is to ethically produce fiat so as to counter risk-free gains from fiat hoarding.

                    That said we need land reform too to end the problem of rentiers.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      If you keep saying things that are non-sensical or uninformed, your privileges will be restricted.

                      Fiat is created by net government spending, not by banks. If you keep going on misinforming readers with your false narrative about who creates fiat, none of your comments will be approved.

      2. Procopius

        Not “giving everyone else free money,” “giving everybody free money,” including “those who have worked through the pandemic.” By the way, are you saying they were punished by not being laid off/fired? And that “extra 2400 per month” ended several months ago. Try to keep up. It’s moot anyway, because the result of trying to change the $600 to $2000 means nobody gets anything until at least sometime next month, if ever.

    5. HotFlash

      Isn’t the point of a stimulus is to , er, stimulate the economy, not necessarily to save individual ‘people’. In fact, the less that a person needs that $2,000 for rent, food, credit card payments, car payments, and other dire necessities, the more that $2,000 can be spent back into the rest of the economy, such as with those small businesses that are hurting. A reader here posted a week or so ago that since her family didn’t need the $$, they have been donating it. That’s another thought — people can help family, friends, charities such as the over-burdened food pantries, IOW, redistribute the $$ to where they are needed. That way, everyone will win.

  6. crittermom

    >”New Year Diet?”

    A similar thing happened to me one Christmas when I was working a security job with my huge, beloved Airedale.

    I’d stopped at the grocery and bought an entire roasted chicken to take to work that Christmas Eve since it would be an extra long shift, planning the leftovers for future meals.

    It was night and I got out of my car to ‘do rounds’, completely forgetting about it sitting on the floorboard. On that occasion I’d (stupidly) left my dog in the car.

    I came back not more than 5 minutes later, only to discover he’d eaten the entire chicken! He even licked the container so clean it appeared new. (Despite his very large size, he was not a huge eater– with exception of that night. Chicken was always his favorite).

    The worst part was the affect it had on him. Terrible gas and diarrhea.
    Thereafter, when he looked at me and his eyes appeared to cross, I knew it was time for both of us to bail out of the car quickly! (I had to then carry a shovel for a while, to clean up any evidence before the workers started shift and stepped in it).

    Those affects lasted for days, until I finally called my vet, begging for a solution. (Just two meals of plain, long-cook white rice was the remedy).

    He never got as bloated as poor Bubba in that story, however.
    But I’ll never forget that Christmas!

    1. DJG

      crittermom: A friend of mine used to tell the story of his dog Max, then a half-grown and large puppy, who was left in the car for a few minutes with a bag of groceries, who pulled out a sizable chocolate bar, and ate it. We all know the supposed effects of chocolate on dogs–not on Max, though.

      What healthy Max didn’t know is that he was scheduled to go the vet to get fixed a couple of days later.

      My friend always wondered if dogs don’t understand coincidence, or if they have their own ideas about cause-and-effect. Let’s just say that Max wasn’t happy that week.

      1. crittermom

        I suspect Max never got into another bag of groceries. Oh, such consequences!

        The only other time I can remember Shiloh (my Airedale) got into food was once again working security.
        I’d left a Big Hunk bar (chewy white taffy) in the car while I used the restroom.
        When I returned he wouldn’t look at me, so I knew something was up.

        I finally got him to face me, only to discover that in the dark he appeared to be wearing a huge white smile.

        Yup. He had the entire bar in his mouth, with all of his teeth stuck firmly in it!

        I let him remain in his state of embarrassment for a couple minutes, before finally helping him release by prying both his upper & lower teeth from it.

        Airedales. King of terriers. Clown of dogs.
        He was definitely my clown!

    2. fajensen

      I keep one or two jars of asparagus handy for exactly those occasions. 

      The asparagus fibres are supposed to wrap around the bone splinters and help them “pass though”, saving one of us from a vet bill (at 4x the normal rate because the dog likes the vet and subliminally knows the best times to eat poultry).

      1. John A

        The headline is misleading. If you read the story in full, the dog ate a turkey breast, not an entire turkey.

      2. crittermom

        Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep that in mind (though I never intend to leave any dog with such a temptation again).
        I was fortunate that the bones never caused him trouble.

        Years later, when he was old, sick, and I had to put him down, I bought him a chicken dinner on the way to the vets, for his last meal. We sat on the grass under a tree, as he enjoyed it.

        At that point I figured it couldn’t hurt, and it was the least I could do for my best friend of over ten years.

    3. Maritimer

      Your dog may have saved your life or at least your intestinal tract, as you say: “Terrible gas and diarrhea.” I have always looked at those Stuporstore pre cooked chickens, particularly those kept warm under lamps, with a jaundiced mouth. At the local SS, I once witnessed staff unpackaging fish that had been on the shelf and then putting it on an ice bed to be offered as Fresh Fish!

      Maybe you could hire Rover out as a Taste Tester for a Despot. Contact Mar a Lardo.

  7. Wukchumni

    A friend skied @ Squaw Valley this past weekend and related that not only did it resemble a vertical ice rink with scant cover, but the weirdest thing was how empty the mountain was, while lift lines and the slowing of loading chairs thanks to Covid, required 20 to 30 minutes of waiting that wasn’t all that different in distance from years prior, with everybody’s visible frozen breaths all too evident, lingering.

    He took a couple of runs and called it quits, for the season.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      What you in the west call a vertical ice rink with scant cover, we in the east call a ski slope ;)

      Not that accomplished of a skier myself, but I learned on the crusty slopes of New England. I worked at ski areas in CO and CA for a season each and always chuckled at the west coasters who would only hit the slopes if there was at least several inches of fresh powder, something rare to nonexistent back east. My favorite skiing days in the west were the ones that followed a thaw and freeze the day and night before. The powder bunnies would stay home and the slopes were left to the brave and foolhardy. Grab a pair of 210s from the rack, sharpen the edges and look out below! Top of Vail mountain to the base lodge in about a minute and a half, and only that one dislocated hip that one time. Good times, good times.

      1. Wukchumni

        My wife grew up skiing back east and has regaled me with tales of braver than I types walking the planks…

        My parents named me after a ski deity, so I had no choice but to accede to their demands of hurtling myself down steep embankments repeatedly, but never with any hurt in maybe 600 days on the slopes.

        This will be my first winter without since the 70’s.

      2. petal

        lyman alpha blob, eastern loud powder! My college bf grew up racing on VT boilerplate(and a speed specialist, no less). I grew up racing on beautiful lake effect powder that would get refreshed at least a couple times a week. Spoiled rotten. I remember ruts practically hip deep by the end of training some nights. Our racers would have to adjust when they went east, took some time to gain experience on the ice. Being in NH now, I can’t imagine paying all that money these days to ski on boilerplate, I don’t think I’d find it pleasurable, and my knees wouldn’t survive.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Luke Letlow, GOP congressman-elect from Louisiana, dies of covid-19”

    Does this mean that Louisiana will have to hold another election or will Republicans be allowed to nominate a candidate from their ranks? With so much bad news, I think that a lot of people will be glad to see the back-end of 2020. Earlier today I was musing about what possible bad news could force its way into the headlines before the year runs out and then it came to me-

    ‘Breaking News: In announcing the start of the 2020 Presidential elections, it was discovered that a key document had never been signed and dated. This means that the entire 2020 US Presidential elections will have to be run all over again in a do-over which will start on January 1st, 2021. All Candidates are being contacted to see if they still wish to participate. All Democratic voters are informed to be ready for the 2021 Democratic National Convention after voting takes place once again for all the State caucuses.’

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Per the Constitution, they’ll have to hold an election. Senators can be appointed but not members of the House.
      Am I right that if it had been a Dem who died it would put the squad in a position to deny Pelosi the Speaker’s chair?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that. You would think that the Democrats could nail the Republicans in Georgia and now Louisiana about holding up those $2,000 checks and pushing their own candidates forward but then again, perhaps they are still listening to their consultants. Or their donors.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Democrats might be gaining one House vote in Minnesota. Newly reelected Rep. Jim Hagedorn just had a cancerous kidney removed. At the very least he won’t be in DC to vote on the Speakership (I think I read that votes for the speaker must be in person and not virtual).

          1. Brunches with Cats

            Yep, but they might lose a seat in New York. NY-22 is still in court, with results as of today favoring the odious GOP challenger by 29 votes. The “count” is officially done, but when court resumes on Jan. 4, the judge will rule individually on some 2,500 challenged ballots, and it’s anyone’s guess how that will go. Regardless of the outcome, it doesn’t seem likely at this point that the losing campaign will accept the results, so more than likely there will be a recount.

            Anyone interested in the U.S. electoral process needs to read what’s gone on in this court case. Among other things, it shows the potential for the count to be manipulated without evidence of fraud. In fact, the judge said explicitly of the un-[family blogging]-believable screw-ups by county BOEs that there’s “no evidence of fraud.” NCers know this isn’t the same as “no fraud,” but now we’ve got real-life examples to show the difficulty of proving fraud in an electoral system that supports gross incompetence. This case also is a sober testament to why paper ballots are essential. Without a paper trail, there would have been no way to prove that “mistakes were made.”

            Meanwhile, until the case is settled, NY-22 will be without representation — although Tenney would be worse than nothing for anyone who didn’t vote for her. Unlike “mangy Blue Dog” incumbent Anthony Brindisi, Tenney apparently doesn’t feel obligated to serve anyone who didn’t vote for her. She routinely blocks D constituents on Twitter and FB, and never bothered to return my phone calls or emails. The only reason the race is this close is that she rode Trump’s coat tails in a reliably red district. Predictably, she and her supporters are blaming election fraud, with some charging that the long court process has been a deliberate cover to manufacture votes for the Democrat. The facts show otherwise, but you have to be prepared to put in the time examining eye-glazing minutiae.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Not “donors” — OWNERS or BRIBERS. Maybe co-conspirators and partners in crime. There’s not a scintilla of “donative intent” in money delivered by special interests to the members of “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

  9. Howard Beale IV

    In the state of Michigan, AT&T got legislation passed where they no longer were required to provide copper to residents, leaving you at the mercy of your local cable company or cellular, which is a real crapshoot depending on your distance from your nearest carrier tower and what band you are connected to, and whether you are inside a residence or not. At least every recent phone supports WiFi calling, which ameliorates some of the cellular services.

    1. Phacops

      Meanwhile, we have been paying fees that started under wired telephony a long time ago and were meant to fund access in rural areas. Verizon technical service, in dealing with the exceptionally poor service, pushes the blame to everybody but their network failures. Interesting how my reps keep on telling me that kBs speeds are broadband. Crapification marches on. Isn’t technology wonderful?

  10. Carla

    Glad to see that Cleveland Clinic is a poster child for the Reuters article on the richest non-profit hospital systems siphoning off federal Coronavirus aid.

    The story provides a great snapshot of what neoliberalism vomits up on a daily basis: “non-profit” institutions that beg for donations while actually rolling in dough; health care that is really wealth care; and in the case of the Cleveland Clinic, all of this thriving in one of the most poverty-stricken cities in the country.

    But no worries. I’m sure Joemala will sort it all out.

    1. Arizona Slim

      That clinic used to raise money from my father. Oh, did it ever. To the point where he even got an award certificate, which he taped to the wall.

      In actuality, my father had dementia and had no reason to give a dime to the Cleveland Clinic. It was yet another sender of the fundraising mail that stuffed my parents’ mailbox for years.

      My opinion of the Cleveland Clinic cannot be shared on this family blog.

      1. Another Scott

        How non-profits raise money from the elderly is outrageous. When my grandmother started suffering from dementia, she donated money to some charity, and then she started to get inundated with mailers. She needed the money more than they do. When she moved to assisted living, the mailers mostly stopped as my father had mail sent to his house instead, but he still receives occasional requests even though she died last September.

  11. Wukchumni

    Thousands of Colorado residents without heat after attack on gas service ABC (Kevin W)

    Bad link on this story, and a saga of the have nots (they quickly went to the eco terrorist angle…) throwing spanners into the works.

    Interestingly, no mention of the giving of firewood to those frozen out, only electric space heaters.

    1. jefemt

      Here’s a different link same subject. My dear old oil-trash lawyer dad used to opine on the obvious hypocrisy of anti O & G ‘enviros’. He loved the outdoors, mountains, skiing…. built a shack in Aspen with college pals and other former 10th Mtn Division crony veterans in the late 1940’s…

      “Let the bastards freeze in the dark”.
      This incident appears to be what he called an oppo, a poop— turned inside-out.

  12. fresno dan

    The announcement came five years after an Ohio grand jury cleared two Cleveland officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, of state charges of wrongdoing in the death of Rice, who was shot in a playground while holding a toy gun capable of shooting pellets.
    Even after a Municipal Court Judge determined that there
    was probable cause to charge the officer who had shot Rice, the prosecutor delayed further
    before bringing charges, and then apparently manipulated presentations of evidence to the grand
    jury to undercut claims that the killing was unjustified.
    Predictably, the grand jury did not indict.
    This prosecutor did not want an indictment, but also did not want to take responsibility for that
    decision himself. Instead, he used the grand jury as a convenient tool to take responsibility for
    the decision; at the end of the process, he could disingenuously point to the grand jury as
    evidence that no charges were appropriate in the case.
    Apparently, grand juries can indict ham sandwiches, but never police…
    Unfortunately, I did not keep an article from a police expert on all the errors that were committed in how the police handled approaching Tamir Rice. Hard to escape the conclusion that most municipalities think shooting black men first is the preferred policy…

    1. wadge22

      “most municipalities think shooting black men first is the preferred policy”

      Not to quibble, (and I don’t doubt that what you said is true) but let’s remember that Tamir Rice was a child. So obviously it extends beyond just black men.

      1. fresno dan

        December 30, 2020 at 10:58 am

        I would quibble with myself too – I think sometimes emphasizing the racial aspect distracts from the overall over reliance of violence against all people in the US by the police, whatever their race. I should have said it’s truer to say that shooting first is the preferred policy, with exculpation of the police with nominal investigation of what actually happened the typical outcome with no serious repercussions no matter how incompetent or malicious the police shooting.

      2. Procopius

        Furthermore, Ohio is an open carry state, so the cop was unjustified in even stopping to investigate the complaint.

    2. K.k

      “shooting black men first is the preferred policy”,

      Or black children, Tamir was only 12 years old.

      I personally witnessed something that could have had a similar outcome nearly 15 years ago, with an elderly man. It was in a working class, predominately Mexican American neighborhood in Chicago. As i walked home from the train stop late at night i saw a man waving a large revolver in the middle of the street, he was obviously drunk, it being late there was very little traffic. Needless to say i ducked being a car as a police car came flying down the street. The officers stopped the car a great deal of distance away from the armed man, jumped out behind their opened doors and started yelling commands at him to drop the weapon. The man fortunately was not drunk enough to not recognize what was about to happen and within seconds tossed the gun to the ground and the incident was over within a couple minutes of them arriving.
      Then 15 years later i see this video of how some heroic cops rolled right up on a child in a park with no other people around him that could possibly justify their response and shot the 12 year old child as the officer is still in the process of getting out of the car. Just heartbreaking.

  13. Tom Lewis

    “China Eyes Shrinking Jack Ma’s Business Empire”
    Jack Ma is shrinking? Are there no editors any more? Anywhere?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Chinese love of ambiguity?

      Interesting. In China’s mixed economy ( I think that’s what it is) the government can remove wealth from the squillionaires and apparently is ready to do so, but in our wholly-owned corpocracy-mit-kleptocracy, Heaven Forfend! Nothing of the sort is even conceivable let alone possible. Maybe excepting Bernie Madoff.

      Of course, I’m sure the whole situation is far more complex than that.

  14. Ekatarina Velika

    Re Croatia earthquake – I live about 150 km away from the epicentre and yesterday’s quake was a really poweful one even here. The tremors seemed to go on forever (although they probably lasted only about 30 seconds) and I have never seen the trees outside sway so violently…
    Poor people of Central Croatia, really. The devastation from the quake combined with the effects of another one just a day before has just piled a new set of problems on top of the already unfavourable economic situation plus the ongoing pandemic. My heart goes out to them, hoping for a speedy recovery…

    1. The Historian

      2020 is the year that can’t seem to stop giving. Stay safe and my heart also goes out to them.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “2020 is the year that can’t seem to stop giving”
        ain’t that the truth,lol…
        not as bad as all that, but we’re getting a blizzard/ice storm/”significant winter weather event” for the last day and a half of this terrible year(west central texas/hill country).
        last time we had similarly dire winter weather was some years ago, so no one out here is in any way used to it.
        I’ll mandate that everyone stays home as of this evening…but i expect the scanner to be lively, given that it’s new year’s eve, and all.

        recent bugchasing for jesus events have caused an outbreak of covid, here…enough so that the county judge has been forced to abandon his long term efforts to artificially lower the official case numbers

        (he’s admitted to this openly to at least 7 people we trust—all so we didn’t exceed 20 cases, which trigger mandatory masks, etc, per Gov Abbott’s orders. County Judge didn’t want to deal with the magamobs storming his office/accosting him in the produce aisle if he were forced to mandate masks, or occupancy limits)

        our one doctor in the county, who doubles–poor soul— as the “County Health official”, called wife(they played tennis together for years), and offered her one of the 100(one hundred) vaccine jabs they had received.
        but our oncologist is on a much needed break, so we had to decline.
        this 100 doses…the pfizer one…are for a county of around 4400 people, 30% of whom are over 65….and 18% of whom were below the poverty line in 2019.
        it will be interesting to hear how many try to get a vaccine…as well as if any of those magamobs manifest.

        39 hours left to this year.
        good frelling riddance.

        1. pricklyone

          Amfortas, Texas may be “a whole ‘nother country” in their ad slogan, but I don’t think they are over the date line…NYE is tomorrow, not this evening. This is the 30th.
          Possibly, I misinterpreted your phrasing…

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yeah. weather will extend from this morning through new years day, until a couple of hours into the new year.
            but it’s close enough,lol.
            (i’ve already done the Solstice, after all…and i’m pretty timeless.)
            we’re hunkered down, with woodstoves and drawn curtains…dropped from 65 at 4am to about 32, right now…heavy, slow rain(which we desperately need), and dark and grim.steady 25 mph north wind, gusts at 40.
            I am not cold tolerant at all(wouldn’t last in some place like Michigan,lol)
            we watered and fed the chickens when it was still almost balmy…they are hunkering down, too…by my decree, so we don’t have to herd them this evening.
            regardless, its a fitting end to 2020.
            we only rarely get snow…and then, usually the wet messy kind. NWS is saying 6 inches of “powder” by tomorrow afternoon.

        2. Massinissa

          “it will be interesting to hear how many try to get a vaccine…as well as if any of those magamobs manifest.”

          Forgive me, but is is a ‘magamob’? I assume it involves MAGA hats, but I don’t personally remember there being large angry mobs of them.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            15 red faced angry rednecks in the county judge’s tiny office, yelling about having to wear a mask, or not go to a bar and lick each other, counts as a Magamob out here.
            the flying spittle only amplifies the effect.

            i don’t envy any of our local public servants during this mess.
            there’s literally no way for him/them to win…if he does what’s necessary, re: pandemic, suddenly he’s a communist, or something…and if he does very little, the bug spreads and sickens/kills off a bunch of his constituents, friends and neighbors…which is what’s happening right now, per the scanner.
            he(and the rest of the local officials) can’t hide from this dilemma, given the tight knit, interrelated nature of this community.
            even i have the Judge’s cell number,lol.

            these sorts of mobs(would be minimobs anywhere else) spring up from time to time…usually have nothing to do with trump or national political teams…and often involve perceived slights someone’s little darlin received at school(usually as a direct result of not doing their homework)
            the trumpian covid policy solution has merely amplified this phenomena, and directed it to bits of cloth and the admonition to refrain from coughing on each other.
            during the obamatime, such mobs were directed at serving vegetables and such at school(because Michele said “eat yer veggies”, it was imperative that all red blooded americans resist)

    2. Phacops

      My sentiments too. The common construction of masonry buildings exacerbates damage.

      However, the economic challenges of what I saw as a highly educated population are terrible. I worked for just over a year as part of a team building a biosimilar facility at the Pliva site N of Zagreb. Hard work, but I was able to mentor some of the Quality personnell effectively and we turned in good work. I found that the work ethic and commitment to quality results mirrored my ethic.

      Actually it was the most enjoyable foreign assignment in my life and enjoyed my downtime in Zagreb and the infrequent vacation.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible”

    Obviously Craig Murray never got the memo about the International Criminal Court. To get there, you either have to be a black African or else come from the Balkans. Once you remember that, everything comes into focus.

    1. David

      Murray’s basic argument is that, although the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over crimes of aggression (or didn’t have at the time to be precise) we nonetheless should pretend that it does, so that Tony Blair can be put on trial there, after which presumably he’ll be happy. It’s an … interesting …. argument which could lead to all sorts of Courts doing all sorts of amusing things. Vladimir Putin indicted for the Crimea, Julian Assange indicted for high treason (yes I know, but let’s pretend…), Juan Guaido indicted for aggression and war crimes against Venezuela (let’s pretend again …). But either you have laws that you follow and courts that act within their powers or your don’t, and you accept the consequences. After all, the next victim could be you. The Tabloid urge to bend laws and invent rules so that people you don’t like can be locked up is one that civilised societies have to resist. Part of growing up, after all, is the recognition that you can’t always have what you want.

      The ICC was intended from the beginning to have what’s called “complementary jurisdiction”, which is to say it’s only involved by exception, where there’s no court able and willing to exercise jurisdiction over the area concerned. It was recognised in the negotiations at the time that anything else would be impossible, and countries with functioning judicial systems had to be left to investigate things themselves. All this was known and accepted at the time when Murray was in the Foreign Office, and it’s surprising that he wasn’t paying attention at the time.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’d say your argument trips up on the reality that “law is only for the little people,” the ICC is just kind of a Hail-Mary attempt to bring at least a modicum of what might pretty generally be recognized as justice among the unwashed. Yeah, leave countries to investigate things themselves, like the US with respect to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, etc. Maybe the ICC was created just as a way to slap down black Africans and people from the Balkans — keep the mopes in check. And the US, of course imposes sanctions extraterritorially under what laws, again?

      2. Donald

        False. Murray’s argument is that in reality Great Britain is not prosecuting its own war criminals. And what is Assange doing in your scare list? He exposed war crimes.

        I remember this issue coming up in the US during the Clinton era, I think, and stupid conservatives worried that Americans would be dragged in front of some foreign court, while stupid liberals said it wouldn’t happen for precisely this reason— we have a functioning judicial system and can investigate ourselves. Sheer idiocy at best, hypocrisy at worst. Yes, some generally low ranking people or mercenaries might be convicted ( and later pardoned). But no high ranking Western politician ever need fear being dragged into court like some deposed and no longer useful dictator.

        The idea that courts can dispense anything resembling justice to high ranking war criminals is a destructive fantasy— all they do in practice is reinforce the convenient fiction that high ranking war criminals are only to be found among dictators who are either opposed to us or who have ceased to be useful.

        I think Murray was a bit silly to think otherwise, but his article was useful. Your comment seems more like apologetics, as though being upset by murderous hypocrisy is something that adults should outgrow. In the real world Blair is safe, while Assange is prosecuted for exposing war crimes. And I see liberals happy that Assange is being tried who never say one word about the crimes of the liberal politicians they support

        1. David

          True actually , I’m afraid. Whether the UK should prosecute individuals is a question, although a different one. Whether the Iraq war was wrong (yes, in my view) is another question, but there’s no court before which somebody could be accused of that. But the vindictive attempt to misuse the law to prosecute people because you don’t like them is yet a third question, and a very dangerous idea. This time it may be people you dislike, OK. Next time it may be people you admire. Oh dear. The time after that it might be you. Too late then.

          1. Donald

            I think you are using a bad argument there. Western governments already go after people like Snowden and Assange. If we had a justice system that went after the powerful when there was a plausible case to be made against them, that would be a positive development. I don’t want to see Bush and Blair and Obama and Trump prosecuted because I don’t like them, but because two started an unjust and illegal war and because the other two are complicit in Saudi crimes in Yemen.

            People in power should have to face consequences.

            This is, of course, a fantasy. But it makes no sense to oppose this because if Blair were held accountable, innocent people might be jailed for no good reason. It’s a non sequitur.

  16. Mikel

    RE: “Bosyon Dynamics robots can now dance better than you can” The Verge

    That wasn’t dancing. Those were programmed combat moves and field manuevers set to music. (Turn the music off and watch).
    They did not improvise or even look at each other.
    These aren’t your “friends”.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      almost like one of those Polynesian Haka/war dances.
      the Uncanny Valley is a lot wider and deeper than i thought.
      So, i assume the Second Amendment covers directional EMP devices?
      otherwise, there’s always 12 ga buckshot, i guess.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’ve been marginally interested in certain….countermeasures….for a long while.
          ever since our 7 year prowler problem(former Tunnel rat neighbor went nuts, but hid it well, snuck around our place at night doing crazy things)
          i built traps, and bought night vision, and experimented with all manner of things.
          cops were more likely to arrest me than him, of course…so i thought about them, too.
          here’s a HF RF gun…illegal for civilians in the USA:

          i think this just begs for a Scotus challenge,lol.
          especially when amazon really gets rolling…and selling all the video they “accidentally” take of people in their back yards.

          here’s more:(scroll down to the “Bird of Prey” option,lol):

          i live way out in the middle of nowhere…and will not hesitate to do a little skeet shooting if one of these things attempts to linger.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            I am not *remotely* interested in any of this stuff. Not at all. i absolutely will not* surreptitiously research anything you have mentioned. :)

            Once, in a past life, my best friend and I had loads of fun with roman candles, and a ‘broken’ shipment he had of mini/medium sized drones that had to be written off anyway. He mixed and matched parts to get a subset of them running again. At relatively low altitudes, they are very effective…and tend to blind cameras to boot.


            Not sure the fine/criminal mischief charge for this would be any more or less then a 12 gauge but, well….alternatives, yay!

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              but for the prowler experience, i wouldn’t be either.
              later, when we lived in the Barrio, katty corner from a mexican mafia guy who’s younger brother was a thief for fun, i needed to protect the few tools in the shop out back. some skulls and feathers and runes, and a printed sign saying beware the brujo in spanish…and another that said “painfield; do not enter”…and i never had any problem.
              once we came back out here, had a little extra cash and bought a pain field generator….to go with the sign, that came with us.
              $90. fit in my hand, had a fob to turn it on.
              I tested it on myself…makes ya sh^t yer pants and run away…truly. nothing you can do to stop it; one’s will is as nothing before it: you are instead a bunch of buttons to push, and it pushes one of them.
              so i didn’t need to finish the walls on my shop, after all(sort of like Elrond’s forge, with the tree and all)

              this is, of course, perfectly legal.
              2 of eldest’s buddies are related to above mexican mafia guy…didn’t believe the sign, insisted i turn it on for them to prove it. hilarious,lol…and very effective.
              mythology about me among the local criminal element is that i am a powerful wizard who can make you sh^t yer pants and run away.
              i reckon this as a good thing…and it precludes the need for defensive violence.

              …and i’m already “on a list”. since at least 2003.
              local cop element knows me, and can…hopefully…fill out the details in whatever profile exists:
              i.e.:all of this is pretty low on my “think about” list…i’m much more concerned with food production and being a good neighbor and being otherwise left alone….harmless unless poked, and helpful otherwise.
              defensive considerations should be included in any planning for the aftertimes.

  17. Lex

    ‘Irish Book Reviews’

    I attempted to read the article on Nihilism, because who can resist an article with a title like that? But it was 5 a.m. and the subject was getting denser (as was I) with every paragraph. Meant to circle back. Didn’t.

    1. David

      I thought it was interesting enough when I originally read it in Aeon. The point is that, unless you subscribe to a religious faith or a political doctrine which provides you with absolute assurance about all epistemological and moral questions, then you have to recognise that all of our attempts to make sense of the world are to some extent provisional, and that we can never be sure that we have found the final truth of anything or the right thing to do. But whether this situation really counts as “nihilism” I’m not sure. I don’t like the assertion that there is something called “passive nihilism” which means you just accept what you’re told: it’s much more than that. Most organisations and societies develop rules for their own management which work pragmatically, even if they can’t be philosophically justified beyond all question. So most societies have laws against theft and murder because (irrespective of rational proof or supernatural belief that they are necessary) living in society would be impossible if they didn’t exist. That seems to me a much more reasonable (sic) conclusion.

      1. Dirk77

        I think you give a good summary. Trained in the sciences, it seems obvious to me that all of our understanding is tentative. That’s what inference, as opposed to deduction, is all about. You still function and go with your “best” understanding bc that is what humans do. But you do it knowing it’s still tentative. I can dimly relate to Nietzsche and the people he must have must have been arguing against, as I can dimly relate to my younger self. But I had thought we’ve gone beyond all this, showing in a way that our understanding of the world can improve.

        One beef with the article: I think the author confuses knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is facts of reality – in any way you want to interpret that. Understanding is our inferences about those facts.

      2. Procopius

        … all of our attempts to make sense of the world are to some extent provisional, and that we can never be sure that we have found the final truth of anything or the right thing to do.

        Heck, I learned that from Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of the Mind, published back in 1972. Most important point, “Science doesn’t prove anything.” The character in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance didn’t get that. Currently, the existence of dark energy and dark matter is being disputed, as well as the Newtonian and Einsteinian formulas for gravity.

    2. The Historian

      I also read that article on nihilism and I rather liked the author’s take on passive and active nihilism, but I need to mull it over first. When dealing with Nietzsche, one needs to stretch one’s brain considerably, and I have been too busy with the mundane to give the article the attention it deserved. No comments doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about it.

    3. Lee

      I just read the Nihilism article and for the most part it refreshed my admiration for Zen’s impatience with metaphysics and abstruse abstraction. Nothing wrong with that kind of thinking that a good smack up side the head won’t cure.

      There was one assertion that irked me: that active nihilism is an attempt to escape the constraints placed upon us by society. If there is one thing I claim to know with absolute certainty, is that both materially and psychologically we are irrevocably social. Without the nurturance and support of parents or their surrogates during our tediously long period of absolute dependency, and the labor of others throughout our lives, none of us would be here to either celebrate or complain about society.

      I’ve been watching the TV series Alone in which contestants, using their acquired outdoor skills and a few basic tools, some provided and some made in the field, seek to live off the land and survive the longest. Even in this pared down version of human existence it is obvious that these rugged individuals are relying for their survival on an encyclopedic store of know-how acquired and passed down over untold centuries by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The psychological effects of prolonged isolation also figures large in the contestant’s abilities to persevere. The notion that we can be free of society is bull shit. Maybe we can change it but survival without it is nihilistic illusion.

  18. Wukchumni

    NOAA is talking about a potential flood here next week, which would pretty much wipe out the Ladybug & Garfield trail systems in Sequoia NP, from all the fire damage on hillsides and nothing to keep the soil from mudscating all over the place.

    The ECM solution hints of an atmospheric river pattern
    setting up over central California by then. If this pans out, it
    could lead to significant hydro impacts throughout our district
    during the middle of next week, especially over the foothills,
    mountains and the Sierra burn scars. Stay tuned.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Real Journalism: Vanessa Beeley Exchanges With Chloe Hadjimatheou on BBC White Helmets/Mayday Rescue Cover-up”

    Man, this is well worth reading through this exchange. Beeley plays it wary considering that it is the BBC while Chloe keeps on asking Beeley to do her research for her. I would have terminated that conversation myself with the suggestion that she does her own research. In the end she manages to flush Chloe’s intentions out in a series of wild accusations made by Chloe against Beeley including the accusation that Beeley is guilty of war crimes. That part got real ugly. Of course Beeley’s caution was warranted as the whole thing was a set up to discredit Beeleys reporting. I had a hunch and went to Chloe Hadjimatheou’s Twitter account where I found that her tweets are protected. Why am I not surprised?

    1. DJg

      The Rev Kev: The piece is well worth reading. Chloe H starts off apologizing and asking a series of reasonable questions, some a tad weird, like all about Beeley’s father. One reads along through various misunderstandings and interruptions–and all of sudden Chloe H pretty much tries to lay a multipart criminal indictment on Beeley. Then the piece ends by creepy-crawling away. Wowsers, as we say around here.

      1. pjay

        Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to propaganda in the Western media. But I have to say that the anti-Syrian campaign in Britain has been quite extraordinary. I’ve been interested in the Syrian situation for quite some time and have followed it pretty closely. Though there is a lot of competition (Iraq, Russiagate and all things Russian, the Skripals, China, etc.), the level of resources and viciousness employed in this propaganda effort may be unparalleled. It has been pretty bad in the US as well (and Biden’s getting some of the old team back together). But it has been something else over there.

        1. Procopius

          They’ve been batshit crazy for years now. You know the Skripal poisoning case? There’s an English guy who used to blog about it. Absolutely nuts. Makes Russiagate look well supported. Craig Murray wrote a post about “Pure Ten Points I Just Cannot Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative,” but I don’t want to put another link in my post — that’s the title so you could google it if you wanted to.

    2. Grebo

      I listened to Hadjimatheou’s 11 part series. It was one sided to say the least, though it did have some interesting nuggets. Apparently the house that Vanessa Beeley sold to fund her work was in the same French village that Le Mesurier lived in, which is a bizarre coincidence.

      One thing I found so intriguing that I googled it was a credit right at the end: “Narrative Consultant John Yorke.”

  20. Kurt Sperry

    Irish Book Reviews Dublin Review of Books. Anthony L was disappointed that no one was interested in a fine article on nihilism yesterday. Maybe the one-word title was too spare.

    I liked and shared that piece and got good feedback doing so. I just didn’t post that I did, thank you Anthony L!

  21. Wukchumni

    The Grift of the Magi

    Twas the night before New Years, and although Della was overburdened with wealth that didn’t mean she lusted any less for lucre, and her beau Jim-a hedge fund manager, felt the same way. It was their way of keeping score, and even if you win a baseball game 14-3 where it wouldn’t have made any difference if the tally was instead 1-0, all they wanted was more.

  22. Knifecatcher

    I wouldn’t be so sure that ski resorts were the vector for the Colorado COVID case. Elbert county is on the great plains, more like West Kansas than the CO Rockies. I suppose he could have traveled to Vail or Breck 2-3 hours away but haven’t yet seen any reporting stating that’s the case.

    1. Lex

      First this:,+CO/@39.2151868,-104.7491881,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x876d2322bbfdaf3b:0x7e5966caf4fe9b77!8m2!3d39.3537004!4d-104.1930918

      Second, this:

      Traveling south down I-25, you can see what’s northeast of Colorado Springs… a whole lotta nothin’, until you reach their high-tech companies and ‘burbs north of the city. Highways converge just beyond the east side of county at Limon; the beginning of I-70’s straight shot across the Colorado plains to Kansas and more of the same until you hit those rolling hills* on the eastern side… around Manhattan maybe. (For years that drive stayed in the #1 spot for most boring drive I’ve ever been on. It was bumped by Havre, Montana to Medicine Hat. Take drugs before crossing the border. That drive can make you cry with despair.)

      My theory will be that the kid didn’t need to travel in to the Rockies. The virus came to him via one of those bases. International crossings much closer to home; not all of them have been grounded.

      *think biiiiiig roller coaster for small children… weeeeeeeee!

      1. Lex

        I left out Denver International Airport just north of Elbert County. Same theory though; the virus came to him.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      It’s more like western Kansas in culture and habits as well. As in plenty of mask denial, and slipshod use, with noses sticking out, etc. Blaming the MAGA hat worldview makes more sense for this occurrence, despite the pleasure it gives us to bash the spoiled elite that frequents overpriced ski hubs like Vail.

    3. Milton

      From Twitter, via a weather blog:
      Colorado’s state epidemiologist just revealed that the confirmed and suspected cases of the UK COVID-19 variant are *Colorado National Guard members* working to support a nursing home with an outbreak in Simla.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I am aware that the case identified is too far from the ski area for him to be likely to be a worker or skiier. However, I still maintain the ultimate origin was likely to be skiing. Why would someone from the UK go to Colorado otherwise? Yes, perhaps Christmas travel but skiing more likely. Since we have very inadequate testing, you have a lot of potential vectors, like person working at airport or ski resort or restaurant or as taxi/Uber driver getting Covid from traveler, and having a SO or even relative they saw for Christmas dinner as a nursing home worker.

    1. TBellT

      Can we hope that people are starting to see the Black Jesus for what he really is?

      When most of that was Obama’s standing in this poll now being split to him and Biden, not sure we can bet on that.

    2. flora

      T is pushing for a $2000 stimulus check for everyone. O’s mini me is pushing a $600 stimulus check for those who pass eligibility requirements, and he’s a bit grudging even about that low number.

  23. flora

    re: Ahem, Verizon and AT&T have been ripping out copper when they install fiber to escape common carrier regulations.

    I still have a copper line. My state has rules about how telecoms must proceed if they want to switch copper to fiber. One of the rules is that telecoms must tell people what the difference in service is, and the person must request the change, not the telecom. So, a couple weeks ago I get a call from supposedly ATT’s customer loyalty outfit offering to lower my monthly bill by 20%. Great, what’s the catch? No catch, they claim, we’re just lowering your bill, and we’ll need to send you a receipt for the change that explains how your service is changing. Wait, you just said nothing is changing. We know, but we have to send you a receipt to your cell phone explaining the changes. And, oh, by the way, is your landline connected to a medical device or used to send data? ( That’s a tell in the copper to fiber difference.) Lot’s of fast talking. (red flags are flying like crazy by this time.)

    It was clearly an attempt to fool me into agreeing to change my copper landline for a fiber line connection by claiming nothing would change, just my bill. right….

    ATT’s grand plan was to switch all copper landlines to fiber in 2020. Hasn’t worked out like that in many places. The switch to fiber in CA has been a disaster during the wildfires and power outs.

    And this story about ATT DSL is interesting.

    1. fajensen

      Everything is so complicated in the USA. Here in Scandinavia they just leave the old copper to rot.

      There exists a service obligation that telephone and fax shall work, but people forget that those will still work as specified when the network quality regresses to how it was about 1910.

      Eventually, customers will come to want a data service that actually works, if nothing else so they can watch TV, and they order fibre.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    I have to take two issues with the headline about the referenced parrot being the first animal to ask an existential question. Let me preface my issues by saying I believe far more species in the animal kingdom are sentient than humans have given credit and the parrot in question may well have been capable of existential thought. However, homo sapiens sapiens are almost assuredly animals, so there’s that. Also, I take issue with whether the question, “What color?” is indeed an existential question. It is a descriptive question. To ask, “Why am I?” is an existential question.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I would agree with you on animals not being given enough credit & am reminded of Roger Penrose referring to the behaviour of African wild dogs in how they plan hunting trips by splitting into to 2 groups in order to ambush antelope. Something that requires understanding, which for example is not possessed by a computer playing chess based only on calculation.

      As for calculation – I found myself the other evening with my beautiful loser’s little dog named Molly gazing at me while lying on my chest – this was while I was studying a photograph on the PC of Ex Goldman Sachs Richard Sharp who will be the new chairman of the BBC. I imagine that he is a great calculator but judging from his eyes in particular, if only from a photograph & probably just my imagination there doesn’t appear to be very much there except hardness. Turning to meet Molly’s gaze as always made me smile & I somehow know that there is something that is far from hard coming from that direction.

      Us humans do appear to be very good at raising ourselves by lessening others.

  25. Tom Stone

    I finally got through to the California EDD after making multiple calls daily for 3 months.
    An hour and a half on hold…then informed that the program for gig workers expired last Saturday.

    Funding is expected again “In a few weeks”.

    I’m going for a walk.

  26. Halcyon

    What kind of a world have we allowed ourselves to fall into here?

    People see weakness and they hide a smile behind their hands, knowing that you won’t be competition, that they don’t need to feel intimidated by you, feeling better about themselves as a result. That is, the ones who aren’t performatively displaying their vulnerability to all and sundry in a way that makes it seem like just another lifestyle choice.

    I don’t particularly fancy making it through another year for the sake of it, and I don’t want to go on SSRIs, so what are my other options here?

    1. furies

      Move your body.

      Take epic walks…take Vitamin D. Find someone to talk to regularly. We all need connection to be healthy. “Professionals” not needed. SSRIs are still being promoted for correcting ‘chemical imbalances’ which is a lie. SSRIs *cause* chemical imbalances. Getting off them safely is a challenge to many.

      Spring is coming. Hang on until it all changes again… Be well~

    1. edmondo

      Seems obvious doesn’t it? I wonder why none of our progressive chanpions came close to thinking this?

  27. another David

    “Dwelling Portably” by Bert and Holly It’s old but full of tips on a very simple life style.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia”

    I keep on hanging out for the day that they will find a body in this region – and it turns out to be a Neanderthal who decided to do an Ötzi. Tough luck for him but a scientific bonanza for us.

    1. Jack Parsons

      Better, the mythical Denisovan. All we have are a few teeth.

      One big mystery: Neanderthals had a noticeably different body shape than us, and (I can’t remember if this was confirmed) matured much faster than us. What’s the story here with Denisovans? Were they four feet tall? Eight?

      1. JBird4049

        Mythical!?!? ;-)

        Seriously, IIRC there has some more Denisovian remains found although it’s not much. There has also been found a mixed Neanderthal/Denisovian girl. Much of the confirmation comes from genetic studies and not physical remains.

        Those two groups were closer to each other than to the Cro-Magnons that came out of Africa. More like very close and similar cousins. IIRC, modern Europeans got something like 5% Neanderthal genes. Sometimes more and often much less. Those going east got the same in Denisovian genes. Weirdly, the Italians got the greatest percentage of Neanderthal and the Taiwanese have the greatest in Denisovian. sub-Saharan Africans have almost nothing of those genes.

        There is also a fourth group of unknown ancestors in our DNA but nobody knows who, where, or when. It’s just there.

        I just have to get back to anthropology sometime. It’s one of my first loves. However, it is just about the worst degree job wise even if it is about understanding everything that human. No value there I guess.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            both my boys, and my cancerwife, have covid.
            somehow, i test negative(PCR).
            due to holiday closures and general incompetence, she was unable to get the vaccine(before we knew) and the monoclonal antibodies9after we knew)
            they’re rationing both…and they’re rationing the tests, too.
            boys are asymptomatic…wife has had a 100 degree fever…week apart , and brief…plus what we otherwise would have attributed to normal january sinus infection.
            day after xmas, against my decree…they went to an outdoor, masked gathering, with the familia.
            i reckon : masks= low viral load.

            thank goddess that she’s been sans chemotherapy since the first of december…due to clerical confusion and chaos, and thus has a functioning immune system.
            I tested negative…somehow….from a test i took not an hour after theirs’.
            if wife didn’t have cancer, none of us would have been eligible for a test.
            because of scarcity.
            a year into a pandemic.
            in the richest country in the history of the world.

            1. Cuibono

              Prayers with your wife Amfortas
              what you describe is utterly incomprehensible. to call it third world would be an insult to the nations we conceive of in that status. this country is a mess

            2. Noone from Nowheresville

              I feel ya, Amfortas. I feel ya.

              Keep strong, know that my thoughts are with you and your family.

              Same goes for the rest of NC’s community.

              Never fear, when it’s time, Yves & company will bring regular commenting back. Although I miss the community, a momentary breath has probably done all / most / some of us some good. Certainly the moderators deserved the rest / break.

            3. The Rev Kev

              Unwelcome news that, Amf. Hopefully you guys will get over it quickly and it certainly was lucky that your wife still has a working immune system when you got hit by it. You might miss out on your dose of this virus for now but wishing you and your family the best from this part of the world. Keep us all posted.

            4. ChiGal in Carolina

              Pretty sure you’re not the culprit, not your style. Very sorry to hear the virus got to your family despite your vigilance. May your wife recover quickly ??

            5. Bazarov

              I’m so sorry, Amfortas.

              My thoughts go out to your wife and your boys. I hope they all recover quickly and easily.

              I always enjoy reading your comments.

            6. ambrit

              I’ll dodge the “comment holiday” and add to the above. We hope that you all get through this intact. With a fairly “natural” diet and exercise, your family’s chances should be better than ‘average.’ Very good that your wife has had a chance to let her body rebuild some immunity before this assault on her ‘corporeal integrity.’
              You pace yourself through this ordeal. (Ordeal is the best term I can think of to describe the conditions we all are having to live through. I foresee a major shift in the Zeitgeist when the effects of all this begin to sink into the Community Psyche.)
              Thank whatever mythical entity you bow down before that you don’t need to go to the hospital. Inside information tells me that our two local hospitals are running full out and close to the edge of their capacity. Like your area, tests are still being rationed here and we hear literally nothing about vaccines in the local ‘media.’
              Be strong!

  29. ChiGal in Carolina

    With apologies to Yves, just waah! I miss the commentariat.

    Hopefully going through events like Cosplay at the Capitol without this oasis of sanity will be a reminder to SOME of us that we ALL suffer when folks get to Making Shit Up!

      1. Big Tap

        I suspect the comments will come back before the month is out. Jimmy Dore seemed to be in MHO a trigger for the most recent suspension. I believe the site administrators don’t like him so I’m done bring up his name.

        1. JBird4049

          Perhaps. I think that the current complete insanity, IRL what with the economy, political system, social system, and climate in various levels of increasing dysfunction, makes being consistently reasonable, empathetic, and polite hard for people. See stupid stuff hit the berserk button and the Mild Mannered Poster becomes incandescently enraged. Joy.

          Moderating both their own stress as well the tension, anger, even despair that inevitably has to flow into the site from the posters because we are all marinating in it must be “interesting”.

          Personally, I want to get gallons of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or some serious pints of beer like Chimey right now. The whole DC thing is just nuts, goofy, and sad.

  30. Stephen Verchinski

    Regarding needing nuclear. Not just no, but heck no. The complete subsidization by the taxpayer for the 5 teams working on new reactor designs to fast track is reminiscent of this atoms for peace history of this industry. The facts are they are the most expensive electric power source, they have a waste management problem in the billions placed on the backs of taxpayers and their only rallying cry is that they are (somewhat) carbon free. Which has been shown time and again to be a lie.
    I do agree wiith Yves that radical conservation is kept off the table and will continue to be till Greens are in the House and Senate in the USA. In the 1990’s I showed that a 50% reduction in carbon emissions outputs was completely feasible for many households. People just need the time to think, the guidance to school themselves on good options and the tools and money to get it done. It is not impossible.

    As for these “new” reactors I would encourage readers to look into the past history of their approach. We have had the concept shuttered in Germany after they spent hundreds of millions of dollars and ran operational for under 2,000 hours. Then there were the Hanford site failures. IMHO throwing any more money at this when the safety insurance is still borne by taxpayers in the Price Anderson Act, the industry still cannot clean up it’s mess at Fukushima, Church Rock and scores of other contaminated sites is foolishness. To borrow the turn of a phrase used by those opposed to fracking, No Nuking Way.

    1. C Schmidt

      This comment demands a rebuttal. I am no expert in nuclear energy, just an interested bystander. But I can read technical papers, and I am satisfied that nuclear power is not only desirable, but actually offers the only safe solution to decarbonisation, and CO2 drawdown essential for reversing global heating.
      Safety: Nuclear is the safest form of energy generation globally (Anil Markandya and Paul Wilkinson “Electricity Generation and Health,” Lancet 370 (2007): 981). I recommend Wade Allison’s 2012 book “Radiation and Reason” to understand nuclear safety.
      Practicality: France generates around 80% of its electricity from conventional nuclear, built over a couple of decades, without undue haste. Sweden combines 40% nuclear with hydro. (Goldstein, Qvist, “A Bright Future” 2019). Sufficient conventional nuclear can be built.
      CO2: Nuclear is the best of current scalable technologies. Full energy chain CO2 equivalent emissions by primary energy source: nuclear is lowest (30 / 9 g/kWH indirect / direct) vs the next best (wind: 75 / 11); solar is 279 / 30; but it is a stretch to call these “scalable”, given the diffuseness of solar and wind energy. More importantly, nuclear offers the possibility of CO2 drawdown and direct fossil fuel replacement (~USD1.60/L synfuel from seawater), to the extent actually required to reverse climate change. (Davis et al., “Net-zero emissions energy systems”, Science, 2018.)
      Sustainability: Conventional reactors only extract about 1% of the potential energy from uranium, leaving long-lived radioactive waste. Current commercial breeder technologies (BN600, BN800; Russia) are reliable (74% load factor). They promise close to 99% efficiency with a closed fuel cycle due to spent fuel reprocessing (not yet achieved in the Russian reactors), leading to short lived (100 year half-life) waste. The Integral Fast Reactor in the USA was designed to provide a completely closed cycle; the program was limited by Carter and shut down by Clinton. Concerns that these reactors would contribute to nuclear weapon proliferation or terrorist actions appear to be completely misplaced. Given the relative inexpensiveness of deriving Uranium from seawater; it has been proposed that nuclear be defined as “sustainable” in the sense that usage is balanced by recharge due to erosion.
      Cost: A “negative learning curve” is apparent in the USA, but South Korea’s manufacturing costs have gone down with experience. Globally conventional nuclear power sells at a competitive rate, including waste storage and decommissioning costs, but before taking into account the severe externalities associated with fossil fuels, and the transience of wind and solar. More importantly, nuclear uses far fewer resources (concrete, steel) per unit energy than any other technology.
      Energy return on energy invested: for nuclear seems to be difficult to quantify; values from 5-8 (Gupta and Hall, 2020) to 75 are quoted; the true efficiency of any source needs to take into account whether storage (buffering) is required. In any case, nuclear appears to offer the highest EROI if storage is taken into account.

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