Links 12/31/2020

Rare Bald Eagle Perches Regally In Central Park: See It Upper West Side, NY Patch (nvl).

Employment recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic Monthly Labor Review. Worth reading in full. Handy chart:

Looks V-shaped, though I bet disaggregation would show a K. All other things being equal, it looks like we’re topping out at a level equal to the depths of Obama’s recesssion in 2009, as shown by the famous “scariest jobs chart ever.”

Corporate America experiences ‘K-shaped’ recovery FT

In a year of pain, one silver lining: fewer mass shootings AP. Most American headline ever.

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

Pope formally strips Vatican secretariat of state of assets ABC

#COVID19

Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine NEJM. Moderna. For grins, I downloaded the PDF and checked out the internal reference to the protocol:

Progress (one might almost think somebody at NEJM reads NC; here and here). Of course, the URL should be hot-linked in the PDF, and NEJM should simply include the Supplementary Material in the downloadable version of the PDF, because — follow me closely, here — more bits cost almost nothing, unlike more paper. But progress. Unfortunately, the editorial accompanying the article, which IM Doc assures us is essential and to be read first, is paywalled. From NEJM on their Coronavirus (Covid-19) page: “All Journal content related to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available.” So which is it?

Warp Speed chief: U.S. won’t get AstraZeneca vaccine until April Politico

Vaccinated U.S. nurse contracts COVID-19, expert says Pfizer shot needed more time to work – ABC. Reuters Commentary:

Our 21st century version of “If it bleeds, it leads.” To be fair, there’s rather a lot of bleeding about.

* * *

America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster New York Magazine. Distributed v. administered:

‘No vaccine should be kept in reserve:’ State officials pushing for quicker shot administration to healthcare workers, Texans over 65 KBMT. The logic would seem to be that the reserve is kept for the second shot, if Texas hospitals are thinking like the UK.

Elderly Florida Residents Camp Out Overnight In Line For COVID-19 Vaccine HuffPo (MN).

Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines JAMA. “Mandates may be useful in the future, but their implementation among any population that does not widely support vaccination could be counterproductive. The purpose of risk communication is to inform decision-making, respecting individual choice. Mandates fundamentally alter this dynamic by overriding personal autonomy. Furthermore, although employers, health care, and educational institutions can monitor conformance with mandates, there are no clear mechanisms to enforce population-wide vaccination requirements.”

* * *

The U.K. Coronavirus Mutation Is Worrying but Not Terrifying Scientific American. An alternative, less sanguine discussion of which is more dangerous: Increased fatalities or increased transmissibility:

That said, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve read “terrifying” in a headline from the U.S. press in 2020 — and remember, editors write the headlines, so these are conscious choices to shape coverage — I’d be a wealthy man. While fear is adaptive, obviously, I would urge that the constant invocation of terror is numbing, and may even (assuming good faith) produce effects opposite to that intended: Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero (for example) on the one hand, or hypervigilance on the other.

* * *

A pandemic atlas: How COVID-19 took over the world in 2020 AP. Useful country summaries.

Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us The Atlantic

Interview: Dr. Akiko Iwasaki Noahpinion

Vaccine Nationalism Will Prolong the Pandemic Foreign Affairs

Emotional headlines have an impact regardless of the credibility of the source (press release) Humboldt University

China?

China promises free jabs for all as Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine approved South China Morning Post

CUHK China studies center co-director quits after abrupt restructuring Apple Daily

The think tank behind Australia’s changing view of China Australian FInancial Review

Commentary: How a catchphrase shaped Japan’s COVID-19 response – for the better Channel News Asia. Also kanji:

Syraqistan

Covid-19: UAE rolling out Chinese vaccine to all citizens and residents Middle East Eye

Brexit

Exit from single market closes a chapter UK did so much to write FT

Parliament’s role in scrutinising the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a farce Hansard Society

Gibraltar Braces for Brexit Disarray Without a Spain Accord Bloomberg

Haggis will cost more to export from Friday because of Brexit The Scotsman

UK/EU

How Students Beat the System in 2020 Tribune

Argentina Kicks Off Vaccination Drive With Russia’s Sputnik Bloomberg

Biden Transition

McConnell and GOP reject House’s $2,000 stimulus checks Politico

Trump Transition

Trump’s Foreign Policy Explained Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

Trump ends Obama’s 12-year run as most admired man: Gallup The Hill

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell Not ‘Fully Candid’ on Finances, Judge Says Bloomberg

Our Famously Free Press

Merry Christmas – Your Account Has Been Suspended: Update & Cry for Help Nina Illingworth Dot Com

Black Injustice Tipping Point

There Goes the Neighborhood: What really caused the decline of 18th & Vine Scalawag

Louisville police move to fire officers in Breonna Taylor case who got warrant, fired fatal shot NBC

How the Police Killed Breonna Taylor NYT. “The Times’s visual investigation team built a 3-D model of the scene and pieced together critical sequences of events to show how poor planning and shoddy police work led to a fatal outcome.” Impressive.

Justice Department officially closes case involving Tamir Rice without bringing charges against police officers Cleveland.com

Police State Watch

FBI Agent Shot Man On Metro After ‘Verbal Exchange,’ According To Police DCist

Legitimacy and Realignment

Forget the conspiracy theories — here are the real election security lessons of 2020 Politico. My worst nightmare is coming true. The reaction of the political class to Republican bungling and cray cray on election fraud will legitimize digitial voting; note the section on risk limiting audits. Unfortunately, as Philip B. Stark, their inventor explains, using risk-limiting audits is “meaningless” in a jurisdiction that, like Georgia, uses ballot marking devices (BMDs). This objection appears to me to be insuperable:

I believe that a well designed and perfectly functioning BMD can help a voter avoid undervotes and other errors as long as the device is trustworthy. The problem is that no computer can be trusted to be running the software it is supposed to be running, nor can any software be trusted to be bug-free, especially in a high-stakes “critical infrastructure” role such as recording and tabulating votes…. BMDs have all the security and configuration vulnerabilities of the direct-recording electronic (DRE) devices currently used in Georgia.

This is especially important when the device’s code cannot be checked becuase it is proprietary. But now because of the horns effect, Trump’s RussiaGate is causing years of careful work by voting activists to be filed under “CT” and wiped out. Well done, all.

Into the Unknown Region Ecosophia.  “The corporate media and the scientific establishment in general have nailed what little remains of their fraying credibility to these vaccines. A great many people no longer believe anything that the authorities say about health care, and they have good reason for their disbelief—do I really have to remind anyone of the way that Barack Obama insisted that the ACA would make health insurance prices go down, and of course you’ll be able to keep your doctor and your existing plan? If one of the current crop of coronavirus vaccines turns out to have harmful or fatal side effects, the massive crisis of confidence in establishment science and medicine that has been building for decades now may just go kinetic—metaphorically or otherwise. But we simply don’t know.”

How obscure parts of the world suddenly became very important to US security in 2020 Responsible Statecraft

Imperial Collapse Watch

No, these Space Force uniform concepts aren’t real Task and Purpose

Guillotine Watch

Carpe diem should be the name of the app:

What pandemic? Luxury home sales in Texas topped $10 billion despite COVID. Here’s why Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sure, pandemics are bad, but what do we replace them with?

Class Warfare

Living and Dying in America in 2021 Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Project Syndicate

How the pandemic is worsening inequality FT

NY eviction ban: Tensions rise between Syracuse landlords and tenants, as rent help sits unspent Syracuse.com (Bob). “As of mid-December, 2,200 households had applied for rent relief to Onondaga County’s Department of Social Services; just 16 had received the help.” Cf. Portland:

I think there is, pace Yasha Levine, local politics. It may not be recognizable as “politics,” may not be covered by our famously free press, and will certainly not be aggregated so we can see the scale.

Talk Less, Listen More The Reformed Broker. “Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang…bang…bang bang bang bang…”

Twenty-Four Ways to Turn Outdoor Passions Into Citizen Science Smithsonian

Antidote du jour (via):

The Owl of Minerva looks quizzical. The Penguins of Minerva, on the other hand:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

256 comments

  1. cocomaan

    About that Party Finder app: it’s easy to criticize people that are going to flaunt the regulations to have a good time. But asking young people to put another year of their life on hold for a virus that doesn’t kill them is absurd. Do remember how long a year lasts when you’re 19? You change as a person in an entire year.

    A public health response that makes sense would appreciate human nature and ethics. Our public health response in the USA has been technocratic and dehumanizing. And then we wonder why we get bad results.

    1. Lawrence Mulcahy

      The app just removes friction from what’s already happening. Surging numbers in Massachusetts show that. We have very good mask compliance, excellent social distancing, fairly restrictive (and even more so now) capacity requirements on businesses and yet the numbers don’t hold. People miss contact so much, so a gathering here and there seems harmless until it isn’t.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The app just removes friction from what’s already happening.

        Yes, that’s a big problem with apps in general. Covid seems to do the same, so it’s a two-fer.

    2. D. Fuller

      While it may not kill them – the young infectees, at least… not all fo them… there are other side effects that can and will shorten many of their own lifes. NC has performed an excellent job of informing readers of how Covid-19 affects the vascular system, causing damage. Damage that won’t be apparent until later in life when people start dropping dead. How many of those young people will have their lives cut, decades short? We won’t know. Their death certificates issued after their very early deaths will list causes such as stroke, heart attack, etc.

      Also, those young people can become infected and have spread Covid-19. How many people have died from contracting Covid-19 from a “healthy, young adult” who is “immune” to Covid-19? Probably too many.

      Our public health response was ultimately driven by business interests. The US leadership made it all about the Benjamins, money, cash, stock prices. The Administration’s round table was headed ultimately by business leaders whose penultimate concern was and is? Dollars. They were advised by health professionals. Advice which was seen through the lens of business interests.

      The US is simply led by a sclerotic, senile, incompetent leadership – government and business.

      Was it incompetence however? Or was the plan to infect everyone – initially suffering an untold number of deaths with more to come in the future – in the quest for “herd immunity”. To draw out the response to Covid-19 for so long that people became de-sensitized to the half-measures, to grow weary of the half-measures; that they would give up. Well, that part – de-sensitizing the public – worked.

      Business leaders and political leaders driven by the profit motive, allowed an uncontrolled pandemic to occur. A combination of incompetence and willfulness. The working class in America has been sacrificed. In America, a person’s worth is only measured by how much they have in assets. The fewer the assets, the less they are worth. They, the working class – real people – are disposable in the eyes of American oligarchs and political leadership.

      There is no other conclusion to be had.

      The genius of American oligarchy is that they have so many of those disposable workers arguing in the favor of American oligarchy. When a leadership drives people to desperation; that leadership can then offer solutions to the liking of the oligarchy. Covid-19 just so happened to be a fortuitous opportunity for American oligarchs and their political leadership that they pay very handsomely; to advantage themselves to.

      American leaders’ response – both political and business – has simply been one of premeditated murder. To hasten the spread of Covid-19. People have been sacrificed to the burning altar of Mammon.

      This is no longer Disaster Capitalism. We live in the age of Murder Capitalism. We don’t blow up Brown people in America to expand our Imperial Capitalism across the globe. Disease will do just fine to kill off the poor who lack access to proper health system. For the wealthiest, they have the best health care in the world. They can afford it. Sure, some of them may die. A cost of doing business. One oligarch’s death is another’s opportunity to seize more.

      Does anyone think those vaccines are free? Well, private health care CEO’s, board members, managers, and their investors will be counting your money.

      1. Wukchumni

        All the short term vacation rentals in town are chock a block full of potential carriers from afar although the law claims that they may only be rented to essential people, making money negates that.

        And like a funnel, they’re all here because most every other form of doing something outdoorsy is verboten elsewhere~

        I’m increasingly getting the willies about this here Elysian Fields

        1. kareninca

          Wasn’t this predicted by doomers? That in the case of a pandemic or similar disaster, the hinterlands would be jammed by infected people fleeing the cities?

          Another doomer prediction is that one’s food supplies in such areas are only as safe as one’s ammo supplies. But maybe that one won’t come true.

          1. Massinissa

            I mean, its basically a record year in ammo sales, and from a broader variety of people than usual.

            1. rowlf

              “As a result by NSSF’s count, there are 7.7 million new gun owners in America who are breaking the stereotype of the gun owner as a white, middle-aged suburban man.

              “We did a survey of our retailers this summer that found 40 percent of people buying guns for the first time were women, which is double what is has been,” Oliva said. “But the biggest demographic jump was a 58 percent increase in African-Americans buying guns for the first time.”

              An activist for a leading gun-violence-prevention group agreed that fear for personal safely is likely driving the record gun sale activity in Connecticut and across the country.

              The NSSF uses a proprietary formula that extracts records from the FBI data to more accurately approximate gun sales. For example, the NSSF formula estimates there have been 19 million actual gun sales in the United States through November — a figure that breaks the previous record of 15.7 million gun sales in 2016.

              The federal data is widely used over NSSF data, because the FBI data is an independent indicator of the gun industry’s overall health.

              With the Nov. 3 election of a Democrat, industry observers expect gun sales to surge through the holiday season and into the new year, Oliva said.

              The reason: President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to “end our gun violence epidemic,” with “bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” an end to “online sale of firearms and ammunitions,” a push for universal background checks, and a repeal of a 1995 law that shields the gun industry from most liability when its firearms are misused, among other measures.

              “Biden is pushing for far-reaching measures for a presidential candidate,” Oliva said. “People are watching that and are acting on it.””

              http://www.ctinsider.com/news/newstimes/article/Gun-sale-activity-in-2020-has-already-set-a-15777237.php

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                It would appear that many African American citizens have decided that Black Guns Matter.

      2. Carla

        @D. Fuller: I agree with much of your analysis, but in limiting the blame to business and government “leaders,” I think you miss another large, influential and very culpable group: the university presidents, faculty, and researchers who do the bidding of those “leaders” — all while enjoying the impenetrable veneer of “expertise.”

        1. anon in so cal

          Back in April, this article presented an overview of the many various organizations, institutions, government officials, universities, etc. that bungled the response to Sars-CoV-2, either wilfullly or through ineptitude. CDC, Congress, Media, WHO, White House, are among the culprits:

          https://www.epsilontheory.com/first-the-people/

          Separately, this LA Times article explains California Governor Gavin Newsom’s links to Jason Kinney of Axiom Advisors. Newsom attended Kinney’s birthday party at the French Laundry. Kinney’s clients include Netflix, one of the Hollywood and TV production organizations Newsom exempted from Covid lockdowns.

          https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-31/questions-linger-newsom-french-laundry-lobbyist

        2. D. Fuller

          Entirely correct to point that out. However, since many universities are ran as businesses, I should have been more clear.

        1. D. Fuller

          You need to look at it from a business perspective. Older Americans dying from Covid-19…

          Commissioned study found smokers’ early deaths helped Czech Republic
          https://money.cnn.com/2001/07/16/companies/czech_morris/index.htm

          …improves the solvency of Social Security in the short term. Though young people (now) who will die earlier thanks to residual complications from Covid-19 may have some slight impact on Social Security as their wages will no longer contribute to Social Security. That’s a long term issue that may or may not affect the Social Security fund.

          What does not bode well for Social Security are the business leaders and their politicians, who see Social Security as their rightful money to play with.

          Now, we have a President-Elect and his coterie who just so happen to not like Social Security all that much. As long as it remains a political third-rail with Republicans and Democratic politicians playing chicken with each other as to which party will lead the cuts to Social Security? Both parties have not the stones to go directly against Social Security. Though, there have been various small tweaks meant to weaken SocSec & Medicare done, especially under a Republican Congress and a certain President Obama.

          1. Wukchumni

            My dad was 20 when the war at last was over for him in Prague, and he told me the only currency of value really during the six year saga, was cigarettes.

            The Nazis were all about replacing conquered countries currencies with coins made out of junk metal, and really nothing in the way of paper money, while the Japanese were the other way around, kings of folding fiat in the Pacific.

            1. Robert Hahl

              I heard about a Mad Max war game in which the most valuable currency turned out to be printed pornographic pictures.

              1. D. Fuller

                Soda and pornography were currencies when we were doing field training exercises at places like Fort Irwin. We actually had a vehicle load out plan that included four cases of Pepsi and one TOC dedicated to video entertainment, the beat meat shack.

                When you spend 30 days out in the field surrounded by men… people have urges.

                People may laugh at that. Human needs do not stop and it is recognized as being unhealthy – mentally and physically – to not seek relief for some urges.

                A lot of my fellow soldiers who would visit prostitutes after rotating back to the real world, would not even have sex with prostitutes. They just needed to be held. A reality and illustration of the toll that combat takes on a person.

                Too many think that just because one goes to war, that they somehow don’t need the soft touches and humanity.

          2. Lex

            I made a similar suggestion about the upside of Covid from the perspective of the Social Security pool of money, to which Ives replied, ‘Factor in the financial costs of all those long-haulers claiming disability, and then if still alive drawing Social Security.’

            On balance, will all these deaths really add up to a cost savings?

            In the ‘Recovered’ column this morning: 12,004,898
            In the ‘Critical’ column: 27,191

            https://ncov2019.live/

          3. rhodium

            They probably hope that social security is eliminated and the few Americans who try to compensate with their own saving efforts will buy more stocks. As you know, they’re not overvalued enough what with bond utility being destroyed by 0% interest. It’s never enough, but the current goal is to have at least 10 Jeff Bozos funding their own personal NASAs by the end of the decade. Elysium here we come.

    3. Walter

      At 19 you can; vote, get married, join the military, drive a car, have children, in some places in the world drink alcohol, and work. Why do we allow 19 year old’s to have these privileges and responsibilities but somehow think it’s ok to absolve them of any responsibility for accepting and following guidelines needed to save the lives of other members of their families and communities. Seems to be we have it all back to front.

    4. timbers

      When I was young and beautiful (late 30’s) I bartended weekends at a popular gay club in Boston. It opened my eyes to the “party crowd” especially since I was so not that in my youth and matured into a home nester and serial monogamist and have never really liked traveling by plane. But I turned heads well into my 40’s and beyond so party doors opened for me. I received numerous invitations to “after hours house parties.” They wanted to have fun, often did drugs. They were not malevolent they just want to party. It’s a huge priority in their lives. A story became small legend: Two known party guys so many of us knew, were in a car accident. Car was totaled. Their first priority wad how to get to the party on time and just leave the vehicle.

      Kids are going to party no matter what. Don’t ever think that can be stopped from happening.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yuuuuuup.

        Been there, totaled a few cars…

        Blaming young people isn’t gonna solve anything. Blame the college administrators!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Blame the college administrators!

          And the liquor stores. And the party house landlords. And the frats. And the dealers. And marketers. The entire party-industrial complex.

          I suppose I’m becoming reactionary in my old age. I’m with Michael Pollan that humans have a natural desire to intoxicate themselves. And I’m also reacting to images — much like the telephoto images of beach-goers — that are designed to draw a shaming reaction. Still, but the Daily Mail and the Vybe images look, to me, sad and lost if anything, underneath it all. We ought to be doing better for young people in every aspect, even intoxication.

          1. Tinky

            Way back in 1972, Andrew Weil articulated the same basic theory (as Pollan), in his first book, The Natural Mind. I recall, among other interesting observations, his simple and effective example of children seeking dizziness through games like Ring Around The Rosie.

          2. JWP

            An overlooked part of the partying is doing so because we are headed towards the abyss. There’s just zero feelings of hope in entering the workforce and in being able to live a happy life among people in college and of that age. The result, partying because what else is left? What’s a few days in bed and a gamble with long term effects if the only time where one is able top fully let loose is dwindling and gone? There’s no stopping it.

          3. JWP

            Also, weed is pummeling booze among young people in terms of popularity lately. People would much rather be euphoric than depressed from a substance, especially now. too bad in half the country you go to jail for it.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Especially when government clearly doesn’t give a damn about them. Team Blue already dropped a viable strategy to get $2k checks out, which given everything is a joke. Relying on people with under developed frontal lobes may seem better than the octogenarians with minds wrecked by leaded gasoline, but it’s not a strategy for success.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        It wasn’t a joke, it was the plan. The Wall Street string-pullers of both parties, who are one in the same, only grudgingly acquiesced to the $600. They’re drooling to get on with the foreclosure fest and the bigger the payment the smaller and more drawn out the feast. So the puppets were instructed to put on a brief production in the political theater.

          1. JTMcPhee

            You still working? Do the vendors you frequent still let you take stuff out of the store and still provide you services in exchange for your likely more than adequate personal supply of the money you get for your work, or from your investments or pension payments?

            Hey, maybe you should be investing in truckloads of cigarettes. To go with the bags of gold, of course.

            1. Wukchumni

              Hey, aren’t the cigarettes they smoked in Atlas Shrugged stamped with a gold $ sign?

              Next thing you’re gonna tell me is your AR 16 was made of Rearden Metal.

            2. Wukchumni

              p.s.

              I’m leaching off my old lady who robbed the cradle in claiming her SS payment, although i’m bearing down on nearly 999 days til the promise sorry note comes due.

    6. lordkoos

      Perhaps you missed the news that children who have tested positive for COVID show damage to their vascular systems.

      https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/12/10/children-covid-blood-vessel-damage/

      “Early on in the pandemic, it looked like children might escape COVID-19 relatively unscathed, but now we’ve learned that kids can get infected with the coronavirus, spread the virus even without symptoms and, in more than a few cases, get seriously ill and even die.

      Now, a new study in the journal “Blood Advances” finds that a high proportion of children infected with this coronavirus showed elevated levels of a blood marker tied to blood vessel damage — and not just kids who were sick with COVID.”

      1. K.k

        A couple days ago on Npr , they had a similar discussion about surprising consequences for children that contracted the virus, had mild symptoms and got over it. Weeks after supposedly getting over the virus , a 12 or 13 year old, sitting on the couch drops an adult tooth from his mouth due to potential vascular damage. The dentists were shocked and stumped by the fact there was no blood loss when there should have been a pool of blood from losing a tooth. Apparently the mom went online, and found other parents discussing similar things happening with their kids!

        1. JBird4049

          An adult tooth at twelve? That’s some seriously bad stuff. It makes me wonder what else is wrong inside him. Despite reading all the comments and postings on the hidden damage from COVID especially in the young, I think we might be still underestimating greatly the future cost.

    7. dcblogger

      But asking young people to put another year of their life on hold for a virus that doesn’t kill them is absurd.

      covid kills

    8. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the identities of everyone who uses that Get Your Rebel On app can be doxed for all medical-health-system personnel, then all those people can also be put on a ” do NOT treat for covid-if-infected” list. Because anti-public-health rebels should pay the full price of their rebellion.

      Dead serious. Not sarc.

    9. Yves Smith

      Don’t spread disinformation. Covid kills young people too. One of our aide’s SO has three relatives under 40 who died of Covid. No older relatives perished. That aide has 2 of her relatives who were hospitalized, for over a week, both under 35. They probably would not have made it absent ICU care….which is on its way to being rationed in a lot of locations.

    10. Basil Pesto

      seemed to be okay in Australia, which has a pretty large tertiary student market. The youngs seemed to get with the programme like everyone else, which of course meant that people could go to parties sooner and worry-free once the virus came under control (this happened at different times in different states). I myself went to two parties on Dec 30 and NYE, though the NYE party had its capacity halved in the leadup (30 to 15 ppl), as the state gov’t mandated such during the day in response to an emerging new cluster. This was stressful for the hosts but they ended up splitting the party instead of breaking the (to my mind, ostensibly illogical) new rules. We’re older than college students, though. But yes, one wonders if this is a Young People problem, or a Young People in America problem 🤷🏻‍♂️

  2. chris

    That Majority Report YouTube clip…wow. I wonder if that kind of thing will spread to places outside of Portland? I also wonder what will happen if landlords begin to believe that the local police and sheriffs can’t evict people? I know how angry I would have been when we had a renter if we had been told there was no way to evict for lack of payment. I’ve been wondering where the crazy rising up in the streets went. I guess this is it!

    1. The Historian

      I see rent strikes as a positive thing and I do wish they would get more coverage. Landlords have options – they can always sell their property as many around here are doing. But what do the renters do? Rents have been pushed up extremely high – not because the apartments are any better, but because the landlords could! So renters were already being squeezed before this pandemic. Is it no wonder they are in dire straights now?

      It is time for some trickle-up economics. Make sure that the renters CAN pay their rents and then everyone is happy.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the continuing saga comparing the Bizarro World collapses of the Soviet Union & United States…

        Nobody owned real estate in the USSR, and then when the curtain fell, Russians all of the sudden owned their properties.

        Could we see the reverse happen here?

        All it would really take is a severe bout of hyperinflation to render yearly leases into mere pittances not only for the renter, but the landlord as well. There would be no reason to be the latter anymore, and ownership murky.

      2. edmondo

        Landlords have options – they can always sell their property as many around here are doing.

        That’s what you do when your tenants won’t pay the rent. And how many people do you think want an investment that costs them more money with no income.

        The3 problem is that the federal government is actively working against half the business owners in this country in order to help other business owners who are their donors. I am going to go out on a limb here. The disillusionment that came to the Weimer Republic is coming to a country near you soon. They got Hitler eventually. We willk too.

        1. Pelham

          Agreed. While some landlords are just jerks, others may be in precisely the bind you describe. Your assessment of the situation is certainly borne out by the facts.

          I suppose someone less inclined to conspiracy thinking than I am might say that it’s just unintended (or even 18th-century designed) dysfunction at the federal level that’s leading to such cruel and unnecessary consequences. And that may or may not be.

          But it’s more useful, I believe, to assume intentionality behind the government’s actions so we might begin to formulate an active, organized response.

        2. a different chris

          >Make sure that the renters CAN pay their rents

          Screw that. They also have another option: re-negotiate the rent.

          We have people who suddenly can’t pay their rent, so they won’t. They are unlikely to be replaced with people who can given the economy. Maybe they never will be.

          We then have people who own rental properties, once upon-a-time expecting to make X dollars. If they don’t have renters, they will make 0 dollars (actually less with maintenance, taxes etc). Suddenly we find we have a common interest.

          So there is some rent reduction factor “y”, less than 1.0, where somebody who was living there and paying rent for a long time can maybe get out from underwater.* The renter class would then be getting y*X which I have no doubt still will be a profit for most.

          Now, not all, the renter class maybe have mortgages because they got talked into this thru one of those scam artists. Ok, so now it bumps up the ladder to the mortgage company. They have to adjust to the new reality. No renters, no mortgage payments at all. Well, guess what? We are now at the banksters level, so the level above them, the Fed, will make them whole no matter what they do. So they rewrite the mortgage, whine to the Fed about what they “lost” and the problem is solved with a few keystrokes.

          This is like the world’s most solvable problem and the fact that we are talking about it still is… unbelieveable.

          * (simple example: person is unemployed for a year, returns to previous income the next year, if y=0.5 then everything works out. And maybe they can scrape up y=0.25 just to help meet landlord’s expenses the first year and of course do y=0.75 the second year).

          1. Rod

            I think you are really thinking about the solution(s). Because there are Solutions available–just outside of our paradigm. Thanks for putting it out there.

          2. chris

            Fellow Chris, Is there any basis to suggest that’s a possible approach? I thought what we saw post Great Recession is that your typical securitized mortgage contract and the people who service such things would rather sell their mother’s kidneys to cover their losses than modify the mortgage? I also thought we learned that even when we get lukewarm protections to allow such modifications everything gets slow walked or rejected such that they never occur in practice. So while it is an “option” in theory in practice why would we have any confidence that it would be followed through differently this time as opposed to last time?

            I do agree that there are many different ways such a problem could be solved. I agree that there are options which are available to landlords at this time that many are choosing not to take advantage of for whatever reason. And I’ll throw in that a rental property is an investment and I don’t recall anyone guaranteeing positive net income from investments in this country. If you can’t take a loss on your investments without becoming Insolvent then you really should evaluate the risks before you make that decision.

            In our case, we had bought property as a main residence during a challenging time in an awful market and there was no way we were going to find a buyer when we needed to sell. We could cover expenses when the renter didn’t pay and a few times helped them out, while never raising rent because all we wanted was for the property management fee, taxes, and mortgage to be covered. We didn’t need to make a profit. So we rented the property that way for several years. At one point the renter we had told us that they had better things to spend their money on and stopped paying rent. They also damaged the property and refused to pay for the damages even though they exceeded the security deposit. When they finally left they vanished and I have zero confidence we will ever recover the thousands of dollars they owe us. But it was such a relief to finally sell the property and not have to deal with being a remote landlord that I’m pretty sure we came out ahead psychologically if not financially.

            Anyway, given what’s happened in the last 20 years, and my own experiences, I think there’s more than anecdotal data that there are many people with mortgages in similar situations to what we experienced. In those cases you really are crushing families during this time. Ideally we’d have some kind of system that would take these facts into consideration. Instead I think we’ll see Black Rock swoop in again and become owners of a lot more housing stock that they they rent out because so many will default on their loans or sell at bottom prices during this time. The renters clearly aren’t going to get any help which is tragic.

            1. a different chris

              Is there any basis to suggest that’s a possible approach?

              Of course not. I am just ranting. But not because it is functionally doable, but because:

              I thought what we saw post Great Recession is that your typical securitized mortgage contract and the people who service such things would rather sell their mother’s kidneys to cover their losses than modify the mortgage?

              Bingo.

              Good comment, I wonder if Black Rock is actually going to win big, this time? Our MasterClass will eventually have pulled these stunts once too often, and maybe this will be it. Aka The Golden Goose story yet again.

            2. Yves Smith

              This is big time Making Shit Up.

              If the property owner lied and represented their rental property as owner-occupied, too bad, so sad. That’s fraud on top of stupid.

              The protypical small landlord (1-4 houses) is a non-market for securitization. That would be a bank-owned loan. Banks will renegotiate.

              1. Objective Ace

                1-4 units are almost always purchased using conventional loans backed by fannie/freddie (even if purchased as an investment). There’s a number of things that could happen to these loans after theyre made, but the standards freddie/fannie impose makes them candidates to be standardized. Even if they stay on fannie/freddie books, any negotiations would end up being subject to politicization, which as we saw in 2009 not work out so great for home owners. Worked out great for Blackstone which swooped in and bought at firesale prices

                Not really relevant, but its not fraud to legitimately buy a property to live in, and then move when life’s circumstances change and start renting it out as an investment property

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            How many landlords are lumpenlandlords? How many are just barely petite landlords?
            This analysis and solution is probably illusory for most of them.

            Their best option will probably be plausibly-deniable fires for the insurance. Failing that, just walk away and let the buildings become South Bronxified. Which will probably be the real world response to applying that ” just renegotiate the rent” approach to the lumpenlandlords.

      3. Oh

        Selling off their property will only result in new rentiers who’ll squeeze the tenants even more. How ’bout the rentiers going broke after losing out? Then perhaps they’ll know how the real free market works.

        1. Objective Ace

          How is it free market if the government doesnt let you sell your good at the market rate, or in this case not at all. Its legitimate short-term nationalization

    2. Wukchumni

      Portland is at the forefront of foment, and even anticipating what could transpire in the video wasn’t nearly enough as to what went on when the coppers backed down.

      The only sheriff here in Mayberry is the son in law of friends and we’ve been to Thanksgiving with him & family a number of times, and really nothing ever happens here, so he’s kind of Barney Fife totally cognizant that if the proverbial shit hit the fan, he’s just another fellow in civilian clothes all of the sudden.

    3. JacobiteInTraining

      I’m thinking people realize this…but just to clarify: that particular P’land anti-eviction clip was specifically about the Kinney’s and the ‘red house on Mississippi’ thing – a situation previously linked here a week or 2 ago. So – for now – it isn’t a generalized (or should i say ‘totally organic’) anti-eviction action showing this type of thing happening generally in P’land area.

      Very much specific to a specific group, a specific issue, a specific house, and a specific subset of P’land radicals…with some locals mixed in.

      I haven’t heard of that scene being repeated anywhere else *except* that house, and also not heard of similar types of actions (certainly not of the kind that actually cause the cops to retreat) up here where I am based in the Puget Sound.

      I’m fairly involved with local far-Left (West WA State) issues, with a fair bit of Native American groups in particular due to the ethnicity of the adopted kids…and lets just say there is a little controversy/skepticism about that P’land thing (indigenous rights aspects in particular – not all are pleased they seem to be bringing a heavy ‘sovereign citizen’ vibe to the table)

      In any case, not gonna say I don’t like seeing the cops get forced to retreat now and then whilst they try and ‘protect and serve property’ – and also expecting that similar scenes *will* become more common over 2021…just that people shouldn’t get the idea that *currently* that type of action is occurring anywhere ubiquitously in this neck of the woods.

      1. martell

        I suspected that was a Red House clip, and I agree that, as of today, it was a one off as far as Portland eviction protests go. That said, the city government backed down and, to the best of my knowledge, that group of so-called radicals still exists. So, I would expect more of the same in the coming weeks and months.

        The indigenous rights angle is interesting. In spite of all the very recent BIPOC talk, I’d not thought too much about how Indians (aka indigenous people, Native Americans, or any number of other inappropriate names) figure in the recent conflict. That began to change when some group (perhaps the same group as that involved with the Red House) swept through my part of town a few weeks ago, smashing windows and tagging buildings, including the place occupied by a small, struggling Indian (of the subcontinent) restaurant. The latter was tagged with “LAND BACK” (as well as “ACAB”). I wondered what surviving members of the tribes who once inhabited this region would think of that. If I understand correctly, many if not most of those people currently live on the Warm Springs reservation in central Oregon. Now I’m wondering what people living in that community, which is perpetually economically severely depressed, would think of this sovereign citizen business. My guess is that there would be mixed feelings about Portland radicals making demands on their behalf but without permission. I would also guess that at least some descendants of the people who once lived here would prefer to improve the condition of extant Indian communities within existing legal frameworks, including those which make for community sovereignty, rather than chucking it all in favor of individual interpretations of something called common law. Then again, I don’t have a very good handle on this whole sovereign citizen business. Perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center is being unfair when they claim that the movement is rooted in racism and anti-Semitism and when they characterize the belief system as a conspiracy theory.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Very much specific to a specific group, a specific issue, a specific house, and a specific subset of P’land radicals…with some locals mixed in.

        As is most everything from Portland, I think.

    4. dcblogger

      landlords have trade associations. they could have insisted last March on $2k monthly relief payments for everybody. that way they would have had their rent and tenants would be secure. but they thought that they could protect their interests separately from their tenants. this is what happens. Here in DC we have had scattered rent strikes and some landlords have even forgiven unpaid rents, in at least some of their buildings. In any case, who are you going to rent to? No one has any money, and those of us who can pay our rents are in no mood to move.

      1. Objective Ace

        Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing any landlord trade groups are dwarfed by other lobbying groups like arilines and banks. The most powerful “landlord” groups are actually most likely private equity holders like Blackstone which would happily give up some current income in exchange for picking up assets at firesale prices again like in 2009. They can easily ride out the storm and forgone rents unlike the little guy.

    5. Glen

      We’re all getting played. PE firms are going to swoop in with unlimited Fed bucks and buy up everything local, and jack rents through the roof. Then it’s all the money leaving the local economy as it slides into super slum status – a whole nation of Detroits:

      Decline of Detroit
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Detroit

      Start thinking local, and start getting serious about who runs for sheriff and mayor, and who they will represent, some billionaire that sucks all the money and life out of your town or the people that live there.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “No, these Space Force uniform concepts aren’t real”

    Good think that this is not the real deal – yet. Hugo Boss may have called them out over this and the concept shown here may simply have been the Pentagon floating a trial balloon. But damn, it reminds me of “Starship Troopers”-

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120201/mediaviewer/rm2016228608/

    Needless to say, Twitter was all over this straight away-

    https://twitter.com/MalRoadkill/status/1344008486473109504

    https://twitter.com/DwayneFuhlhage/status/1343959127702331392

        1. D. Fuller

          Well, that is one way to win a war… by having your opponents die of laughter on the battlefield.

          Add in some very large cod pieces and entire countries would surrender without firing a shot. Large codpieces apparently used to be a thing in the past.

  4. Wukchumni

    Twenty-Four Ways to Turn Outdoor Passions Into Citizen Science Smithsonian
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I have a very long baseline of observing the southern Sierra Nevada-inhabitants, flora & fauna. There’s an awful lot of techy stuff in the article, although I rely upon my senses in lieu of.

    Oral history comes into play as well, and i’m lucky to know oldtimers who can impart their observations into the equation, with a few friends that worked for over 4 decades on trail crew in Sequoia NP every summer, moving camp deep in the wilderness 3-4x, allowing them to have ample time to better know their surroundings year after year, all without the burden of being accessible to the public, as would befit a backcountry ranger.

    The doyen in particular is a friend named Billy who started working in the early 70’s and he has a TL-30 safe for memories lodged in his brain, all you have to do is ask the right question, to unlock the combination.

    Some years back over a campfire, I asked him what is the most profound difference he’s seen in terms of climate change, and he thought about it for a spell, and then told me: high country meadows used to stay wet til August when he started working way back when, and now they’re dry by July, sometimes June.

    1. Phacops

      In Michigan there is MiCorps, the Michigan Clean Water Corps, that engages people, usually through our Conservation Districts, to do stream and lake monitoring. Twice a year there are macroinvertebrate collecting days at multiple sites on our streams that are followed up by identification to the family level, categorization for sensitivity to pollutants, etc., and entry into the state’s database. As I explain to people, data costs money.

  5. Lex

    ‘The Penquins of Minerva’

    Kinda makes me want to give the idea of reincarnation a second look. Also, karma.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Had to go find out that question about that owl as I have seen images of that coin before. Turns out that it is the Little Owl (Athene noctua), also known as the owl of Minerva-

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_owl

      Why the big eyes, grandma? Maybe because ancient Athens was an informer State so those eyes are there to remind you that ‘We are watching you!’

      1. Wukchumni

        I bought and sold lots of those, and a numismatist I knew used to call it a ‘stoned owl’ especially after partaking in ‘copper coins’*

        * Numismatist coin show jargon 1980’s:

        Copper coins was slang for marijuana, silver coins meant cocaine.

  6. ex-PFC Chuck

    “Haggis will cost more to export from Friday because of Brexit”

    And that’s a bad thing because . . . ?

    1. Lex

      Man, I love me some stinky food, but I simply can not get haggis past my gag reflux. Really more the idea of haggis than the haggis itself.

      1. a different chris

        I love haggis.

        But it was eaten fresh in Scotland so I can see it not exporting well.

        The funny thing was I ordered it as a challenge. I was going to try it, and my equally curious companion (daughter) would share her food with me if I couldn’t gag it down.

        It was so good. Of course she wanted to try a bite, I claimed it was terrible and she shouldn’t subject herself to it, but she got suspicious almost immediately as I wolfed away at it and made me share.

        We both ate haggis almost every dinner the rest of the trip. I would not even try it canned or whatever, for sure though.

  7. urblintz

    Unlike the Politico headline, David Sirota’s tells the bigger story:

    Senate Democrats’ Motion To Concede On $2,000 Checks
    How Democrats and Beltway pundits just helped Mitch McConnell undermine Bernie Sanders’ push for direct aid to millions of Americans facing eviction, starvation and bankruptcy.

    https://www.dailyposter.com/p/senate-democrats-motion-to-concede

    “Liberal Economists And Pundits Gave McConnell His Talking Points
    McConnell’s crusade to stop direct aid was abetted not only by Senate Democrats’ surrender, but also by media elites who loyally represent the party’s corporate wing and who began promoting canned talking points to undermine the direct aid.

    First came a barrage of attacks on the $2,000 checks initiative from Summers, a former hedge fund executive who as President Barack Obama’s national economic director stymied the push for more stimulus after the 2008 financial crisis.

    Then the New York Times’ Paul Krugman pretended the wildly popular initiative is “divisive” and said “the economics aren’t very good.” Timesman Tom Friedman, who married into a real estate empire, called the idea “crazy” and fretted that checks might go to “people who don’t need the help.” The minions of billionaire Michael Bloomberg joined in with a house editorial demanding Congress block the checks. “

  8. flora

    Dems at work:

    Senate Democrats’ Motion To Concede On $2,000 Checks

    How Democrats and Beltway pundits just helped Mitch McConnell undermine Bernie Sanders’ push for direct aid to millions of Americans facing eviction, starvation and bankruptcy.

    And capitulation became even more likely when Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, corporate Democratic pundits and billionaire-owned elite media outlets began parroting a series of eerily similar let-them-eat-cake talking points against the survival checks — which McConnell promptly used to bludgeon proponents of the bipartisan initiative.

    But even appreciating all of this — and also knowing that many Democratic leaders still cling to an outdated austerity ideology — the sheer scale of Wednesday’s Democratic surrender was truly a sight to behold. And it probably ended the chance for more immediate aid to millions of Americans facing eviction, starvation and bankruptcy.
    ….
    …Democratic senators in fact provided the majority of the votes for the measure that lets the defense bill proceed without a vote on the $2,000 checks.

    https://www.dailyposter.com/p/senate-democrats-motion-to-concede

    There ya go. Pelosi killed aid in late summer, killed aid this month, and Schumer finished it off in the Senate. Happy New Year

    1. Pat

      Summers, Krugman and Friedman on the “so called liberal” media side, and Schumer and Harris on the Democratic leadership side worked hand in glove with McConnell. There’s a shocker. (That it also served a defense spending bill that requires we keep troops in the Middle East is just icing on the cake.)

      We are well and truly screwed.

      1. The Historian

        We are only well and truly screwed if we allow ourselves to be.

        The Democrats have been using ‘the orange man’ to cover a multitude of sins. Now that ‘the orange man’ and all his chaos is gone, the Democrats are going to have to stand on their own two feet, aren’t they? And you and I both know that nobody except the elite are going to be happy with what Biden does. So now is the time for all those Democrats out there to start doing a bit of self reflection and look at what they elected.

        And now is the time for progressives to start organizing all those unhappy people. If that doesn’t happen, then yes, we are well and truly screwed.

        1. edmondo

          the Democrats are going to have to stand on their own two feet,

          The Dems are at brunch. Wake them in September 2022 when they need a trillion dollars to run in the midterms.

          1. The Historian

            The Democratic elite are at brunch – the Democrats in the field who voted for them are suffering along with everyone else. It’s time the progressives capitalized on that!

          2. wilroncanada

            The Democrats are going to have to stand on their own three feet. That’s the height of mediocrity.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          So now is the time for all those Democrats out there to start doing a bit of self reflection and look at what they elected.

          O. M. F. G.

          1. flora

            …or look at what the computerized voting process elected. (see the Iowa Dem app computerized caucus for details. ;) )

          2. The Historian

            Why are you so surprised? I’ve been saying all along that I had no illusions as to what Biden was.

            You can’t build a house in the middle of a hurricane and with all the chaos Trump was causing, there was no way for progressives to get a good foothold. But now with Trump gone they have a chance – if only they would stop eating each other and take it!

            So now is the time to put their money where their mouths are! Let’s see if they can!

        3. upstater

          “organizing all those unhappy people”

          When FB is the largest single source of “news” for Americans and all the various filters in place by the tech companies, “organizing all those unhappy people” aint gonna happen. There are no popular organizations or media platforms where this can happen.

          Herding of cats and snowflakes does not work. All going according to plan. We’ll be like Brazil, Mexico or South Africa sooner rather than later.

          1. Arizona Slim

            We might have to go back to phone trees. Remember those? You’d get a call from someone about some upcoming demonstration or other event, and then you’d call at least one other person.

            Oh, here’s another thing I’ve been seeing here in Tucson: Posting flyers on telephone poles. That still works.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              or…ahem…talking to people, as in my feed store.
              if i can evangelise a new new deal out here, in red rural texas,, there’s really no excuse anywhere else.
              i’ve only been strangled that one time(2004), and that was about lil george and war crimes.
              start at your door, and move outward.
              bring beer and snacks, if necessary.
              all that agitation that enabled and/or forced the original New Deal didn’t rely on a platform.

              1. Arizona Slim

                Ahem is right! Thank you, Amfortas, for bringing this one up.

                Talking to people. I overlooked it, and you didn’t. Thank you again.

              2. Swamp Yankee

                Congrats on doing the evangelizing for the New Deal, amfortas — I have been doing similar things in this red corner of Blue Massachusetts. Food, shelter, and healthcare are actually pretty popular.

                Quick point of clarification — the New Dealers did have a proto-platform of sorts, the Populists’ 1892 Omaha Platform from their national convention. Calls for things that only get enacted much later in the New Deal era, like public ownership of utilities, cheap currency, and others. A graduated income tax gets put in by Wilson in 1913. So I think we could use the original New Deal as our own version of the Omaha Platform.

                People like social security, the TVA, the CCC, the WPA, and so on.

              3. Montanamaven

                Jamie Kilstein on “The Rising” weighs in on how much easier he finds it to talk to conservatives now that he moved out of his liberal bubble in LA and into Arizona. Jamie Kilstein on The Rising
                It’s time to reread Christopher Lasch. His time has come.

      2. D. Fuller

        Quite frankly, Congress may be overstepping the Constitutional powers as the President is Commander-in-Chief. Congress does hold the purse strings. However, Congress Members may be overstepping their Constitutional powers – separation of powers – by interfering with the Presidential role as Commander-in-Chief.

        One solution is to simply rotate the troops out and never send replacement units. Of course, that would cost billions of dollars in equipment, etc, that can not be easily transported out of the theater.

        While Congress holds the purse strings? They are not delegated the role of Commander-in-Chief, which they quite plausibly could be usurping. The US military can not survive 535 political commissars pretending to be Commanders-in-Chief.

        Congress is now on the path to causing a rupture within the ranks. Of setting the military rank-and-file against them. Not in a passive way, either. As the rank-and-file go, so to do the officers go. Until eventually, politicians find themselves without a job, by the barrel of a gun. Not something anyone wishes ever.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And from the politico link “detailing” the goings on titled McConnell and GOP reject House’s $2,000 stimulus checks:

      Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans finished off any imminent chance of approving $2,000 stimulus checks on Wednesday, ending a push from President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders to approve bigger direct payments as the congressional term comes to an end.

      But Democrats indicated they would not abandon their efforts. Andrew Bates, a spokesman for President-elect Joe Biden, said he supports the House bill and said “it’s imperative that we build on the bipartisan stimulus downpayment.”

      Please, abandon your “efforts” already. We can’t take much more and it’s not even January.

      Is it just me, or does politico not want readers to know what really happened?

    3. Mikerw0

      Why is anyone surprised by any of this? They continue to serve the donor class. Being a professional politician in the age of dismantled campaign finance laws and Citizens United is a very expensive proposition. (In fact, while he wasn’t a total outsider, I wonder if under today’s finance requirements if Reagan could have secured the nomination in 1980 against the establishment. When Trump did it he leveraged a highly fractured field and massive amounts of free airtime.)

      I have been pondering the many fine pieces on NC the last few days. Have felt for way too long the need to overthrow Neoliberalism. The issue I face is how do you explain to the masses a program that replaces it in a few succinct actionable items. Back to Reagan, whether right or wrong, his agenda was to get the economy going with tax cuts and deregulation. It was simple, easy to relate to and in many ways easy to implement. If the progressives want to restore industrial capitalism, albeit with a very green component, it needs to put forth 3-4 non-threatening, easy to understand things it will do — that actually will work. Otherwise, a la FDR, history tells us we need real collapse to temporarily end the current power of the donor class.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Otherwise, a la FDR, history tells us we need real collapse to temporarily end the current power of the donor class.

        What does a real collapse look like when the legislature and administration branches with a major assist by the FED use the tools in their toolkits to create fiat for those deemed worthy?

        Approx. 3 million in the US top 1%, how many would need to be impacted (and how) before another FDR could establish a multi-decade multi-class power base? Or would we need to look at numbers within the global empire instead?

        1. Wukchumni

          It feels to me as if we’ll repeat 1931 starting tomorrow, people still had illusions that everything was ok in 1930, but this was the true start of the Great Depression.

          Read all about it in a critical thinking Youngstown, Ohio attorney’s diary entries from 1931 to 1941

          The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth

          1. Massinissa

            I’m not super sure 2021 will be 1931. I think it might be 1930

            1929/2020: the initial economic and social upheaval
            1930/2021: Bulk of unemployment and business collapse happens here.
            1931/2022: People in the previous two years think everything will go back to normal after the crisis is ‘over’. Turns out its a new economic normal in the medium term. At least. This is the part where people start to freak out.

            I might be biased here: I think alot of the economic fallout will happen next year rather than this year. It is of course possible that the worst is behind us and 2020/2021 will ‘only’ be as bad as 2008. I pray to god things don’t get worse than that. But I am not convinced.

      2. Pelham

        Given what was offered in the miserable two-choice presidential cafeteria last month, perhaps the best thing progressives could have done was vote for Trump as a final repudiation of neoliberalism. Maybe some did.

        1. neo-realist

          A lot of progressives did not because as bad as Biden may well be, they were at risk of imprisonment and fines under RICO statutes and similar repressive McCarthyite measures from a 2nd Trump administration with no limits.

          1. tegnost

            only nixon could go to china neo. If you can’t see the totalitarian capacity of your preferred side of the duopoly then you’re not looking.

          2. ambrit

            Biden is quite capable of being a competent authoritarian leader, thank you. He has already reassembled the Obama Drone War Cabinet.
            My only glimmer of hope here is that when the Biden Administration starts it’s war with Iran, it loses. If Russia even covertly signals support for Iran, the career officers in the Pentagon will ‘do backflips’ to avert a shooting conflict. A few Russian anti-ship missile hits on the Sixth Fleet will concentrate the minds of the military leadership wonderfully. If it ever goes nuclear, even in a tactical way, it will be “Game Over” for Terrestrial Human civilization.

          3. Yves Smith

            I am sick and tired of this bullshit about Trump having power he never had.

            The courts have regularly slapped Trump down.

            RICO cases are way way more difficult to win than conventional prosecutions. That’s why they are used so seldom.

            The Dems were certain to hold the House, so Trump would have great difficultly getting any legislation passed.

            If he had won, it would likely have been a repeat of 2016: Electoral College victory, popular vote loss. Not even remotely a mandate.

    4. D. Fuller

      What makes anyone think that Senate Democrats, surrendered?

      Because they did not. Political theatre.

    5. a different chris

      OMG best “(don’t) let them eat cake” quote ever, from Summers of course:

      The Post also borrowed spin from Summers, arguing that people probably won’t use the money because “restaurants are closed and air travel limited.”

      Because yeah everybody spends all their time eating out and flying around. Jesus Christ.

      I have to wonder what the Deplorables think about that particular attitude.

        1. chris

          I don’t even know what to think anymore. It’s so depressing.

          We’re lead by fools who think they have the wisdom of Solomon because they’re well paid. Or worse, they just say what they’re told to say because they’re well paid to do so. Either way, revolt or not, rent strike or not, general strike or not, whether we bring troops home or not, we’re a failed state. Krugman and Summers and Yglesias can’t hide that fact.

    6. ShamanicFallout

      Does anyone think there is actually a boardroom, darkened by curtains, probably somewhere in NYC, where Ned Beatty fulminates to any potential transgressors about messing with the inviolable forces of nature? The dominion of dollars? Chayevsky was right about so many things. I know it’s just a movie but really :)

  9. Wukchumni

    2021 Resolutions List:

    1. I will be less resolute than last year.

    2. Always wanted to live in an odd time reeking of tumult, carpe diem.

    3. Shit happens, clean it up.

    4. The world I like where money has no bearing is deer to me.

    5. I still feel guilty shaking about half a dozen strangers hands since March, or the idea I could kill myself by the mere act of ordering a double-double @ a drive-through, ok-i’m over it.

  10. Mikel

    RE: “In a year of pain, one silver lining: fewer mass shootings” AP.

    I wouldn’t make much of that without considering all the different ways that domestic violence is or isn’t left out of the stats.

    That said, I also wouldn’t make much of it because I think we are going to enter the era of the bomber. Just a feeling I get as the anger expressed will be more at systems than grievances against people.

    1. Wukchumni

      Comes around goes around dept:

      All those GI Joes & Janes stationed in assorted sandistans got to glimpse what an i.e.d. could do on the receiving end, see it was all worth it.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Most social scientists will say that violent acts are culturally mediated – or put another way, people copy what went before when they decide to ‘go postal’. A decade or so ago there was a rash of knife attacks in schools in China – they were all unconnected, it was the high profile nature of one or two initial attacks that seemed to nudge mentally unstable individuals into that type of violence (since then, the Chinese are far more careful about how they present the news of street violence). Obviously, mass shootings is a particular American manifestation of this.

      As you say, given how easy it is to make a very large bomb and just what you can do with it, I’m always surprised that more of them aren’t used by anyone trying to make a point, or just get noticed as they vanish themselves. I suspect the association of them with islamic terrorism has had the odd impact of making other extremists or the unstable shy away from them. Presumably using a Remington or Colt to mow people down just seems more patriotic.

      But I think it would only take a couple of high profile suicide or random terrorist acts, maybe triggered by the Nashville suicide, to set off a wave of them. And potentially they would be vastly more destructive and terrifying than even the worst shooter. I’m really surprised nobody has done it before.

      1. Duck1

        There was an astonishing number of bombings in the early seventies, a quick google turns up a Time article that claims that there were 2500 in an eighteen month period. I think the majority didn’t have human casualties, but some did.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I’ve a dim memory of reading about just how common they were at one time. I think similarly, there was a wave of copycat bombings in the US around the turn of the century. But most were fairly small devices, like pipe bombs. I was thinking more in terms of really big bombs (that really aren’t so much more difficult to make) like the Nashville one, but targeted for maximum damage, like the Oklahoma bombing.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > an astonishing number of bombings in the early seventies

          I would swear Kirkpatrick Sale wrote a book on this exact topic in the 1970s, but perhaps I’m confusing it with his book SDS. I remember reading a lot of it in the Harvard Book store, including a table that showed the numbers of bombings, which were multiplicative. From an article by Sale in 1975, some numbers:

          There is no way to know exactly the total population of the underground—its inhabitants, after all, do not exactly encourage an annual census. But it would certainly include the still‐active minority among the 200,000 young men who resisted the military during the Vietnam war years by deserting, refusing to register, or avoiding induction. It would include some proportion of those responsible for the 3,000 or more property bombings associated with the New Left in the 1969–70 period or involved in the 20,000 campus and street‐demonstration arrests between Pentagon 1967 and Mayday 1972. It would include the avowed revolutionaries who came out of the sixties and formed small groups. And it would include a number of those, particularly blacks, who were politicized in prison.

          A reasoned guess might be that there are about 20,000 persons in the underground. Many of those are freelancers, operating on their own and, as a rule, without engaging in violence.

      2. D. Fuller

        Featured, IIRC, here on NC… maybe not the exact link…

        Suicide Deaths Are Often ‘Contagious.’ This May Help Explain Why
        https://time.com/5572394/suicide-contagion-study/

        Memes are but one example of how ideas spread. The same could be said for copy-cat killers. Curiously enough, a distantly related phenomena of how ideas are spontaneously generated across geography. The invention of calculus – Newton or? Leibniz. Given roughly the same information or circumstances, that expressions (ideas or actions) of similar ideas or acts do occur. There is a name for it somewhere.

      3. Tom Doak

        I read something a couple of years back noting that whenever there is a bombing or an act of desperation against the system, the press and police are quick to dismiss it as the work of a crazy person, so that no one else will get any ideas.

        Sure enough, in the bombing this past week, I read articles a day or two later that the FBI and others were still exploring leads as to the guy’s possible motives, with no mention of his very public declaration of a motive to stop their spying on us.

    3. David

      Like most foreigners, I had always vaguely imagined that mass shootings in the US accounted for all, or most of, the deaths from gunshot wounds in that country, since that was what was in the news. I was surprised to find out how small a percentage of gun violence they typically constitute. The reality, I think, is that such events are best seen as a kind of extreme performance art, following trends and fashions as other art-forms do. Even where the objective is political, the performative element seems to predominate, as it often does in political manifestations of different types, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more suicide-bombings of the type that occurred on Christmas Day.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Vaccinated U.S. nurse contracts COVID-19, expert says Pfizer shot needed more time to work – ABC”

    Pfizer says that their vaccine is 95% effective so could this not be a case of this nurse being one of the other 5%? Nobody seems to be talking about that segment of those vaccinated and what it means for them.

    1. Halcyon

      95% effective after 2 doses, as well. This is a total non-story imo. Anecdotes are not data. You vaccinate thousands of people on the front lines of a pandemic, even if 95% efficacy, you’ll have thousands who are not protected and they will be exposed to the virus every day… there will be cases like this.

      If it starts happening en masse in a statistically robust way then you have a story. until then, you have an anecdote

      1. neo-realist

        This nurse also worked in Covid-19 wards, so it’s possible he picked up the virus prior to his shot.

  12. Pat

    Talked to a family member who is looking forward to the vaccine. One of the reasons, besides Covid, IS that they are mnRNA based. They are younger than I am, but we are both well over middle aged so being a guinea pig probably will not have the same impact as on the young and those of child bearing age. Their family also has far more ongoing health issues than I do so there is a far more urgent need for protection. Me, unless for some reason I am required, I will be waiting for something not quite so experimental.

    So I read the gobbledygook explanation of the delay for the AstraZeneca vaccine from our Warp Speed Czar, and remembered all my questions regards the tests for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, most of which still stand. I am left wondering what I am missing, except we have something and don’t have to rush anymore. Just call me skeptical, but it will not surprise me if a few years down the line we find out that a whole lot of the people who are deciding what the government is buying and administering to the public had a very big incentive to make sure that Pfizer and Moderna were first and had months with nothing else, and that said incentives have little todo with public health.

    (I have also said that with the possible problem of needing regular vaccinations, the eventual standard will be closer to the AstraZeneca, then the ones with the need to have super refrigeration transport and storage. Like flu shots, distribution from the neighborhood pharmacy will be a plus. Especially since our leaders will object to shouldering the costs once they can open everything up.)

    1. Wukchumni

      My 95 1/2* year old mom thought she was going to get the 1st of 2 vaccine shots yesterday, but it didn’t needle out.

      The perfect guinea pig**, she reckons.

      * Halfs matter when you’re a kid or one at heart

      ** Most boring pet ever, all it did was sleep and shat perfectly cylindrical tootsie rolls of a sort, I can see why they eat them in South America

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Ah, the Larry Miller view of aging. (You can find assorted, slightly varying performances of this routine online here and there. This is my own reconstruction of the way I think it went the first time I heard it.)

        Did you ever think about the fact that the only time we want to get older is when we’re kids?

        When you’re a kid, you’re so excited about growing up you’ll talk in fractions!

        “How old are you, little boy?”
        “I’m four and a half . . . going on five.”

        That’s the key — at that age, you’re going on.

        Later, you get so excited about getting older that you’ll skip ahead. “I’m gonna be 16!” You may be 12, but you’re gonna be 16.

        Then comes the great day — you become 21! It’s almost like a ceremony . . . you become 21.

        But just a little time passes and suddenly you turn 30. Whoa, what happened there? It’s like spoiled milk or something.

        You become 21, you turn 30, and the next thing you know — you’re pushing 40. “Stay over there!”

        You become 21, you turn 30, you’re pushing 40 — and you reach 50. “My dreams are going. . . .”

        You become 21, you turn 30, you’re pushing 40, you reach 50 — and you make it to 60. “I didn’t think I was going to make it. . . .”

        You become 21, you turn 30, you’re pushing 40, you reach 50, you make it to 60, and by that time you’ve built up enough speed — you hit 70.

        After that, it’s day to day. My grandmother won’t even buy green bananas.

        In your 80s, you make it to Tuesday. You reach lunch. It turns 5:30.

        In your 90s, you start to go backwards: “I was just 93.”

        But the great secret . . . is that if you get past 100, you can start acting like a kid all over again.

        “How old are you, ma’am?”
        “I’m 104 . . . and a half.”

    2. Dean

      AstraZeneca uses a chimpanzee andenoviral vector to deliver covid spike protein RNA. One of the problems in this approach is that the vaccinated will develop immune responses, especially antibodies that will attach to the vector rendering it useless. The two dose immunizations should be enough to induce sufficient titers of anti-vector antibodies.

      Even if one could find appropriate different species of adenovirus for vectors eventually you will run out of options. So routine annual immunizations would be a challenge with this platform.

      1. Pat

        Good to know.

        It will all unfold as it will, unfortunately my pessimistic self thinks we are probably going to be on this roller coaster for awhile, and our Warp Speed solutions will all likely disappoint us.

  13. Mikel

    RE: “Are we going to have a year of this nonsense? (Sent apparently to 22+ million people, thanks @reuters). Nobody is claiming strong protection in just a few days post-vaccination, plus even 95% efficacy means occasional positive…”

    I thought this info provided by Reuters is highly important in the early stages because in this most UN-educated country, people need to know that can’t just run around willy nilly after one shot.

    Are we going to have to put up with a year of complaining every time somebody reports that yes there are dangers still with the vaccine. There are dangers that can’t be controlled no matter how much science you think you have.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Into the Unknown Region Ecosophia

    I haven’t read this blog in a while, thanks for the reminder of just how good the ArchDruid can be (although he has an odd little pair of paragraphs in the middle of the article about Biden, Obama and ‘moderates’, and ‘the left’ that read like they are a cut and paste error from an WSJ opinion column, I’m not sure what he was trying to say).

    I agree with him that the fundamental danger of the rush to get these vaccines out is not the particular danger of them going wrong – in most worst case scenarios its not likely (for the vulnerable) to be that much worse than the virus. But if they get it wrong and it turns out that one or more of the vaccines is dangerous – and there is every chance there is – it is potentially catastrophic for public faith in the science and medical establishment. In the unseemly rush to shut down all dissenting voices and label them as ‘anti-vaxxers’, there will be a horrible blow back if they get it wrong. And the blame will not belong to politicians, Trump supporters or even Big Pharm. It will belong to the entire medical and scientific establishment.

    1. Paul O

      Tend to agree. I have already twice been labelled an anti-vaxer when expressing a mild form of this specific concern.

    2. hunkerdown

      Greer’s politics, especially over the past few years while he’s been researching the Kek phenomenon, seem to have come straight out of the Murdoch media and the think-tanks behind it. Much of what he says about US politics is partisan disinformation, but that’s as expected from any party fanatic.

      Personally, I think he’s gotten tangled up with some gods of private property and is doing their absolute will. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong about everything political, it just means he has a pervasive and consistent perspective which a reader needs to understand and reweigh in their own light.

      1. Copeland

        +100

        The Archdruid Report played a large role in who I am today, and I thank him for that, but I find Greer increasingly unrecognizable since just before Trump.

        “tangled up in some gods of private property” Yeah, nailed it. Of all the gods he might have gotten tangled up with!

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > potentially catastrophic for public faith in the science and medical establishment

      The word “kinetic” caught my eye. I think he’s right. It’s pretty kinetic already.

  15. Mikel

    Track vaccine allocations and administrations here:https://t.co/ZQ7Umzh1D9 pic.twitter.com/rDMeEAJUiq

    Wouldn’t charts be more complete and offer more info about the short term immunity being provided if they kept track by allocation, 1st dose admintration, & 2nd dose administration. Not just “dose administration”?

  16. Robert Hahl

    re: Talk Less, Listen More The Reformed Broker.

    I passed this one on to my son, the young future real estate tycoon, saying I thought it all applies to anyone who needs to find clients. His comments:

    Great article and I wholeheartedly agree. When I first started leasing apartments for Monroe, someone quit and someone was out sick, so they said “Just send Brian out there to meet the people.” I rented something like 8 apartments of the first 10 people I met.

    I realized that the “I don’t have that answer” was such a powerful tool because it gives you a chance to follow up. People are expecting a call in a few days and are impressed when you call them back a few hours later with all of the answers to their questions.

    It applies to real estate too because with Zillow and all the apps, people are starting to wonder what they even need a realtor for to begin with.

    Anyways, what were you saying?

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      I recall reading some years back advice for prospective buy-side real estate agents that consisted of three rules:
      1. Listen
      2. Listen
      3. Listen

  17. Judith

    Regarding the fish owl antidote. I recently read Owls of the Eastern Ice: The Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C Slaght.

    Slaght is a field biologist from the U.S. who collaborated with Russian field biologists to define the habitat requirements of the Blakiston’s fish owl, which is the largest owl in the world. The book is a narrative of their five-year study of this rare owl in remote eastern coastal Russia. Part crazy adventures in hard-scrabble winter conditions with makeshift equipment and help from local Russians. Part owl biology. It reminded me a bit of Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia.

    Here is Slaght describing his work:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jul/22/owls-of-the-eastern-ice-by-jonathan-c-slaght-review-an-extraordinary-quest

  18. Mikel

    RE: Vaccinated U.S. nurse contracts COVID-19, expert says Pfizer shot needed more time to work “– ABC.

    Excellent story that is perfect for reminding people that they can’t just get a shot and run around willy-nilly.
    Never can be reminded to much about the dangers atill out there with the virus.
    Still a lot that is not known.
    Always will be.

    1. Winston Smith

      Ed Yong article in The Atlantic is a must read.
      Linked above
      “Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us The Atlantic”

      1. PlutoniunKun

        Yes, Ed Yong is an excellent writer. Its unfortunate that so few outlets are really getting to grip with the reality of what the virus will bring us in 2021, even if the vaccine roll-out goes to plan. I’ve several friends who are already busy planning their world trips ‘as soon as I can get the shot’. They may be disappointed, or worse still, they may get to do their travels, and in doing so help prolong the epidemic.

        1. David

          It’s striking that the article hardly mentions the rest of the world except as a comparison. But travel to and from the rest of the world is going to be the Achilles’s heel of virtually any country that believes it has tamed the disease. And whilst you can, at least in theory, forbid travel to or from countries where the disease is still rampant, or demand and try enforce vaccine passports and recent negative tests, flows of illegal immigration around the world are such that it’s impossible for such a system to be really effective.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            International travel seems to be one of those ‘things that people who want to be taken seriously will not talk about’.

            Here in Ireland, the first wave was almost entirely due to school ski trips (upmarket schools of course). The dangers were known in February and arguably earlier, but nobody called on schools to cancel those trips right up into March by which time it was far too late. The second wave was from a Spanish strain (it arose in mid-summer, but by October 60% of Irish cases were from that variety), and was almost certainly brought to Ireland by people who insisted on their summer holiday, or via the UK from people doing the same thing. Every doctor I know is aware of this, yet nobody raises it in public. Nobody.

            Even now, I know people who have returned from Christmas family trips to Italy and Croatia, and have returned to their homes in Dublin without any check or quarantine. We are now in a lockdown where we are supposed to stay within the same county. But the airports are still open and anyone can book a flight to wherever Ryanair will take you.

            And the Guardian has in the past couple of weeks had two articles from scientists arguing that international travel is irrelevant in Covid controls, for reasons I can’t grasp (or at least, the given explanation is incoherent). One would almost think that the virus has evolved wings.

            Without exception, the countries that have succeeded in controlling the viruses are the ones that put travel controls at the heart of their strategy – i.e. China, Vietnam, Taiwan and RoK.

            Japan, of course, tried to promote internal tourism, and quickly reversed course when it led directly to the second wave.

            Its almost as if those people in charge just can’t bring themselves not to take a foreign trip every few months.

            1. Winston Smith

              Same thing happened in Canada: Quebec was worst hit at the beginning of the pandemic because its spring break (mostly to Florida) takes place a week before the rest of the country. Health Canada warned against international travel during that week and other provinces acted accordingly.

            1. drexciya

              To be honest, I found the reactions to the tweet way worse than the refuseniks. The ease with which people think that people, who don’t want to take this experimental vaccine, should be fired, or in other ways be treated as second-class citizens, and of course they’re just MAGA/Red People anyway, is pretty chilling.

              As far as I’m concerned, there’s enough reasons to be hesitant, especially given the very poor information available out there. Also the PR stunts being performed, in combination with the latest round of fear porn with the mutant strain, is not a positive way to convince people to get their shot.

              On alternative channels, there have been some more suggestions about side effects, and another case of Bell’s Palsy was one of the prominent examples. It’s very tough to distinguish truth from fiction nowadays, and the complete lack of critical thought at the main stream media isn’t helping at all. We need transparency, especially now.

      2. Lex

        Agreed. It took me two hours to get through that article, but… many morning distractions. Yong’s articles are always worth reading. (Deadly dull interviewee on Democracy Now!. No facial animation whatsoever.)

        ‘Evolution is cleverer than you.’ Wonderfully humbling, isn’t it?

      3. Mikel

        https://www.rt.com/russia/511116-world-first-covid19-antidote/
        “Skvortsova told the prime minister that the FMBA is ready to apply for permission for further testing, which they hope to get before the New Year.

        “If clinical trials confirm the effectiveness of this drug, it will be the first safe, effective, direct-acting antiviral drug that has no analogs in the world,” she explained.”

        Much more promising than this temporary “immunity” vaccine that you have to trust to be stored at the correct temperature through the entire supply chain until the moment it gets into your arm.
        AND which you may (they don’t know yet) have to take again in some form again.

        Now you just have to hope the Russians are right and, if so, the USA doesn’t slap a $1,000,000 per dose price tag on it.

    1. Wukchumni

      Thanks for that, Rev Kev and as happy as can be expected of a new year to all!

      When I was a kid, only 1 item was exported from the USSR to here for retail sales, and it was Stolichnaya vodka which was of no interest, but the other commie’s 1 item held much more allure in that dealing in illegal fireworks was my first business venture, largely to feed my habit suffice to say.

      I could buy a brick of 144x 16 firecracker packs for $8 F.O.B China vis a vis a high school kid in a Celica in the parking lot between the doughnut store & Texaco gas station, and was selling them to junior high classmates for a Quarter a pack and when you do the math at that tender age it reads close to a 500% markup.

      Like an idiot I sometimes had a stash in my locker, and got busted by the Vice Principal (he was the heavy, in terms of doling out demerits on your derriere) just a week before graduation from the 8th grade, and only after what had to be heavy intervention from mom, was I allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies. I’m still a little peeved the VP got 1/2 a brick of my goods.

      I hear China isn’t a 1-trick pony anymore.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I like the light show on the bridge. Does that happen at other times?

      And, Rev, are you staying up all night to give us reports from Oz?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Usually there are more fireworks than light shows Slim but it was still OK. Stayed up with the wife and grandkids and an hour later crashed & burned. Coverage for the New Year tends to suck these days. When I was younger, the big TV stations would have three or four hour countdowns, most of which would be a detailed review of the year and who had passed away. There was a show and entertainment with a final countdown. These days? The big TV shows can’t be bothered and just throw up rubbish movies. Last night, one had that forty year-old “Can’t Stop the Music” film. Only the government station has a show & countdown but as we could not get that channel last night, we were reduced to watching it on a tablet. Still, it was good seeing the back-end of 2020 so there is that. So will see you guys when you catch up to 2021.

    3. jhallc

      They know how to put on a show down under. The bridge is a great platform for the fireworks.
      Also an ad for Nina Turner for Congress popped up midway thru. Gotta love how the algorithm knows:(

  19. Mikel

    RE: “Vaccine Nationalism Will Prolong the Pandemic” Foreign Affairs

    I’d feel better taking a vaccine that wasn’t newbie DNA experimentation.

      1. a different chris

        I’m going to take the first vaccine that’s offered to me.

        But that doesn’t mean I don’t share every one of your reservations. The problem is that I am so high-risk that I, sadly, have to accept that this “early adopter” risk from the vaccine is lower than what the disease presents.

        Sigh. Well nobody has offered it to me yet in any case.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          I think I have mixed risk ratings. Back on Thursday I was 62; now I’m 63, and next year I’ll be 65 . . . by then I may already have crossed the line into a higher-risk age group. And I do have some allergies (or at least so I tested out, in my 20s I think) — but again not very high-risk: level 2 on a 4-point scale for dog dander and dust mites, and level 1 for would-you-believe cockroaches?!

          So my attitude is curiosity to find out how high my draft number will be — much more so than eagerness to go to the head of the line.

          Mind you, another factor in all this is my 40-year-old wife, whose reluctance to take a vaccine with limited answers yet to a range of safety questions is grounded in the fact that she’s about 19 weeks pregnant. . . .

          So maybe you can see why I expect 2021 to be more of the same interesting times as 2020 . . . in the Agatean sense, of course. But I’m looking forward to seeing (and joining in as best I can on) what NC Nation has in store.

  20. Carla

    Re: Iwasaki interview in Noahpinion

    When asked “What about the next pandemic? Have globalization and humanity’s increasing encroachment on animal habitats put us in higher danger of novel pandemics like this one? What can we do to limit the danger or prepare better?”

    She replies “Human behaviors such as deforestation, intensive animal farming, urban crowding, poor sanitation, and water storage practices have led to accelerated emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases in humans. Increase in world travel has allowed faster and wider transmission of infectious agents. I think it is time to take a hard look at our behavior and make changes where possible.”

    But does Dr. Iwasaki suggest getting rid of CAFOs, more spacious and better living conditions for the poor, better sanitation, cleaner water for everyone? Uh, no.

    Here’s her PMC solution: “For example, we should consider limiting the large indoor crowding events and make some of these virtual. If remote working is possible, encourage that over in person working. On the other hand, human interaction is absolutely important, especially for children and elderly. We need to ensure safer public and community indoor environment for schools and nursing homes.”

    But not a word on the systemic changes needed to save the world and its people.

    It is really depressing that the most educated people, such as Dr. Iwasaki, continue to disappoint in such fundamental ways.

    ***
    As I evaluate my end of year donations, now more than ever it is with an eye to those causes, groups and people that have demonstrated a dedication to systemic change. You wanna make things just a little bit better? Sorry, that’s not where I’m spending my “charitable” dollars.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I found the interview intriguing and went through her twitter thread. She is undoubtedly a very impressive scientist and public communicator, but as so often with people who have gotten to her position, everything she proposes is safely within the groupthink of received opinion. Note her promotion of female scientists without a word of those who come from relatively unprivileged backgrounds. She is typical of the type of person Noah Smith will promote.

      I’ve talked to people like her many times – I’m always genuinely curious as I love talking to real experts on any topic like this, and I’m familiar with the blanking out you get when you raise topics that are seen as off-reservation for anyone who isn’t perceived as an ‘insider’.

      1. Carla

        Thanks, P.K. Astute, as always. But for me, I must say, such conventional people are not the “real” experts.

        We don’t have time for their timid, incremental solutions.

        At the moment, I’m enjoying reading “The Ministry of the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson. Will report back when I get farther along in it…

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’d just clarify that I don’t doubt her (or any other scientists) expertise in their own field. And neither do I disagree in principle with her advocating for more female scientists – there is plenty of objective evidence of a range of biases within STEM against young female scientists and researchers, and this needs to be highlighted and combated.

          I would simply argue that we should always apply critical thinking skills to statements, even by very esteemed scientists and other specialists, especially when they are wandering from their narrow field of expertise into the wider area of public policy.

      2. a different chris

        The medical field selects for people who can retain a lot of information but not for deep thinkers *at all*.

        Not saying there aren’t deep-thinking doctors, just saying they are at best at the same distribution as the general populace.

        And maybe not even that, as fast-twitch muscle allotment separates sprinters from distance athletes, then its possible that a given human brain is unlikely to be exceptional at both rote memorization and deep thinking.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think Berlin’s division of academia into ‘foxes and hedgehogs‘ was very astute. There are a lot of excellent hedgehogs doing outstandingly good science and research work, but they can make a lot of errors when they try to be good at the fox thing (i.e. make broader recommendations from their narrow range of expertise).

          My main concern though is that those scientists who have risen to the top of hierarchies, aren’t always the best or most astute scientists, but are people who know how to ‘play the game’. Larry Summers is of course the best known to NC’ers, but there are mini-Larry’s at all levels in any hierarchy and I think its worth always applying good critical thinking standards to everything they say, no matter what the academic credentials.

          1. Cuibono

            imo many of those who rise to the very top have personality disorders. speaking from my own experience

  21. Mikel

    Re: “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster” New York

    You know what is more worrisome?
    The equipment and staff shortages still persist. The financial trap doors still exist for people wanting to “access” healthcare.
    All of the little things that would have mitigated the damage….still are beyond the comprehension of worshippers of thus economic system.

    Everybody knows but is not saying: if a higher mortality pandemic comes along, that will be the greatest reset of all, to even the fools that think they are going to come out ahead with each disaster.

  22. D. Fuller

    Watched that Breona Taylor video. Reminded me of one time in Henderson, NV.

    Background: Boyfriend is let out of county jail only to find his girl-friend seeing another man. She was also holding her (now ex-) boyfriends money stash from drug sales. Her (now ex-) boyfriend shows up with a gun. An altercation ensues. The woman is shot in the ankle. The armed ex-boyfriend flees to the front gate of the apartment complex. The current boyfriend, unarmed, chases the ex-boyfriend. And is shot dead at the front of the apartment complex.

    Police response is relatively quick. To the front gate. Despite over forty 911 calls to police dispatch from neighbors, myself, and bystanders that there was a wounded woman near the middle of the apartment complex who had been shot. After finding out that two children were in the apartment, securing them; multiple people had to approach the “officers” at the front of the apartment complex multiple times to inform them that their crime scene was much larger than they knew. Though the “officers” were standing over the dead body cracking jokes.

    It took over 30 minutes to get police down to the scene of the original altercation. It took EMS even longer.

    Henderson PD in Nevada are a bunch of jelly donut eaters who completely lack professionalism. They are more hazard and hindrance than “officers”. We did have one of their first-day super-cops compromise national security once regarding a recruit that was scheduled to attend Annapolis and nuc-tech school – The US Navy needs 25 candidates a year, bare minimum and usually only gets 3 or 4. The recruit’s offense? Driving while Brown. The County Sheriff’s office became involved and The Office of The Secretary of The Navy also. Complete Charlie-Fox.

    Most law enforcement types are not worth their badge. I write that from direct experience from working with LEO’s. Army CID is even worse when managing to turn an obvious murder into a suicide (a not uncommon occurrence). Yes, I’ve been to Fort Hood – back in the 1990’s – and the latest stories are nothing more than repeats of similar goings-on that have occurred there as far back as 1992. Fort Hood has long been known as the “A*****e of the Army” for good reason. Soldiers would rather leave the Army than serve multiple enlistments at Fort Hood.

    As for Henderson PD? They are probably still the useless jelly donut eaters that they were when I was down there.

    Fun fact: Again, Henderson… Someone robbed a hole-in-the-wall casino down on Sunset Blvd not too far down from Sunset Station. Armed robbery. I was standing at a bus stop with another guy when two useless Henderson PD donut eaters rolled up on me, and demanded my ID as I looked like the “person of interest”. Standing next to me was a rather shabby looking guy with a back pack who looked more homeless than not. They asked for his ID. He had none. Ended up giving a fake name (learned that later). Finally the cops leave. Well, the last bus for the night had already departed. The homeless-looking guy leaves. I leave and walk back up toward Sunset Station to grab a taxi. What happens next?

    The same two (useless) cops who accosted me roll up again and flag me down. They are now asking where the homeless-looking guy went to. Turns out that that guy was their suspect. They are now looking for him. One officer asked me if I knew which direction the guy had left in.

    Hell, the only reason why Green Valley High School made the local papers thanks to black tar heroin use by students is because the State Police were involved. Henderson PD couldn’t cover that up like they had been doing for about the last two decades. GVHS then known as one of the best high schools in the nation; just don’t mention the extensive black tar heroin usage among the student body.

    I have many more incidents from “officers” stealing money out of a friends back pocket, to a certain WA town where the town “officers” ran an underage drug-and-prostitution ring involving underage girls – accountability near zero. One drive-by performed by an officer on drug-dealing rival – Las Vegas again. And much, much more. If one thinks LVMPD is any more professional than Henderson PD?

    FORGET ABOUT IT.

    The officers involved in the Breona Taylor shooting so remind me so very much of all those Henderson PD and LVMPD officers had the distinct displeasure to have to occasionally interface with them in a semi-professional manner. Boneheads to the core, a danger to public safety and themselves.

    Perhaps 60% of officers I’ve known should not be officers. Ever. The rest are relatively decent. A few are good at their job – these are a rarity.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Reading your comment my first thought was to wonder who hires these guys, and why. I can’t imagine what interest their incompetence, sloth, and criminality serves.

      1. BlakeFelix

        They do. It serves to maintain the culture. If you are a slothful criminal, do you really want to hire an honest hardworking cop, or one who won’t rock the boat?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Parliament’s role in scrutinising the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a farce”

    They had to vote for it to find out what was in it.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve been quite fascinated by the coverage of the deal in the UK media. So far as I can see from my cursory scan, nobody has actually read it. Every article has been on the politics behind it, whether it is a win or lose, or whatever. The FT is the only newspaper that I can see that has made any sort of coherent analysis, and that was fairly limited in extent. The Guardians coverage has been just as awful as the Tory media. Yves ‘quick take’ back on the 24th along with a few other bloggers like Chris Grey are still as detailed and sound as any I’ve read.

      I don’t know whether its just the season and eventually they’ll catch up, or whether its a sign of the decay of the media that they actually don’t know how to do this sort of analysis anymore.

      But whichever way you look at it, its clear that the Mother of Parliaments has almost unanimously signed up to one of its most important international agreements in recent history, without having the faintest idea of what it contains. And that includes Labour. And nobody has complained bout this.

      For what its worth, every dip I take into it indicates that the EU has completely ensnared the UK in a bureaucratic net that it will never escape, a classic roach motel, as our host would describe it. It is something of a masterpiece of diplomatic manipulation. I’d feel sorry for England (I think the other bits of the UK will eventually escape) if it wasn’t for its history of doing just that to every other weaker nation it came across.

    2. David

      There have been several of these heavy-breathing, arm-waving stories, but they really don’t amount to very much.
      Historically, negotiating and signing treaties has been the prerogative of rulers, and then governments. Parliaments had (and have) little if any involvement, for reasons related to the separation of powers. The most Parliaments do is to ratify treaties, which the Cambridge English Dictionary defines as “making them official”. The distinction is an old one, dating from the time when negotiators had much more leeway, and it might take days or even weeks for the text of a treaty to arrive back in the national capital. So negotiators would sign a treaty “subject to ratification.” These days the text of a treaty is scrutinised in draft in real time in capitals. Whilst there’s a lot of talk about “scrutiny” of treaty texts, it’s obvious that if you gave parliaments the power to change them, no treaty could ever be signed and the result would be chaos. In practice, it’s just a form of politeness to make parliament feel it has a role. Some parliaments do formally discuss the contents of treaties and pompously tell governments that they are OK, but the UK parliament never even did this until about ten years ago, so reluctant was it to exert itself against the executive. So most of what happens is play-acting.

      That said, most treaties have domestic legal consequences, and in this case there was quite a long and complex implementing bill which parliament had to pass. But it was never not going to, since that would have meant in practical terms rejecting the agreement with the EU. It’s best to see this scrappy incident as one where the formalities weren’t observed and the pretence that parliament had a role was for once undermined.

      1. a different chris

        >That said, most treaties have domestic legal consequences

        Unfortunately we all now have “domestic economic consequences” with this kind of treaty.

        So if the elected representatives (and I agree that nothing would or could ever get worked out in Parliament, but that tells you something about these modern agreements right there) aren’t given a proper say in this type of treaty, what’s left? Traffic laws?

        Might as well restore the monarchy, says Charles II.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I would agree that for very practical reasons, no parliament should be expected to go through the details of an international agreement, for the same reason that public referend(a)ums are a very bad way to decide on complex multifaceted proposals – inevitably, people will get fixated on the one sub-clause they find objectionable and nothing will ever get agreed.

        However, we are still dealing with something that has a fundamental impact on the future direction of a nation, one that will have impacts lasting well beyond the life of a Parliament. I do see it as the role of a Parliament to, at the very least, say ‘whoa! thats a bit radical, we need to think about that’. And then seek some sort of delay and reconsideration. I think, for example, that many of the negative impacts of the worst international trade agreements would have been avoided if there had been more genuine consultation and democratic decision making. I can’t believe, for example, that the use of internal lawyer dominated tribunals with power to over-rule national laws would ever have been agreed by any country if it was every presented as a real democratic choice.

        But having said that, of course, it was the UK’s choice to make it impossible for Parliament to have time to consider any agreement. The EU’s stampeding of the European Parliament was predictable, but arguably less defensible.

        1. David

          OK, but what happens if you decide that you do need to think about that? And that a number of parliaments find different things that they don’t like and want their governments to think about that? The whole thing unravels and you have to start again. Most treaties are very complex and difficult balancing acts in which states agree to put up with things they don’t want in return for things they do. To take the example that Craig Murray was banging on about yesterday, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was an agonisingly complicated compromise text that nearly came apart at the last moment. Many of these texts are like a house of cards, and if you breath too hard, they fall apart.

          It’s true, of course, that governments have at least a moral duty to tell parliaments and the public what’s in treaties, and to explain and defend the content if necessary. That function (quite different from what is being discussed here) wasn’t done this time, and should have been.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think that if a government is confident of its position it should be able to argue and defend that position in public.

            For all the reasons you outline, its inappropriate to allow a parliament to legislate for every clause of a complex agreement, but every international agreement should be predicated on a number of fundamental principles. Unless pre-authorised (which is probably the best way to do this), its not clear to me that there is a justification for the general principle that the public, via their representatives, don’t get a genuine say on agreements that will have a real impact on peoples lives. In some countries of course, they have to go for direct approval. This causes problems, but not insurmountable ones (as Irelands hiccups over various EU treatments have proven).

            To give an example, all EU governments are implicitly pre-authorised to negotiate on EU Directives, but the Directives themselves still have to be transposed to national laws, with the legislature having some degree (within the context set by the Directive) to adjust the application of the Directive.

  24. Katiebird

    I was wondering when I first read of The COVID-19 (Wuhan) virus. …. This is the earliest link I could find: In LINKS 1/8/2020:

    Cause of Wuhan’s Mysterious Pneumonia Cases Still Unknown, Chinese Officials Say Scientific American. No human-to-human transmission

    The cause of mysterious pneumonia cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan remains unknown, health authorities in the city said Sunday, as the number of infected people rose to 59 from 44 on Friday.
    Seven of the sick are listed as critically ill, down from 11 on Friday. The number of close contacts of cases under medical observation has risen to 163.

    Sunday’s statement, the third from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission about the incident, is the first to give information about when people became infected. The first person known to have become ill began to show symptoms on Dec. 12 and the last date of symptom onset among the sick was Dec. 29, the statement said.

    After this mention the virus appears in Links and stand alone posts daily beginning 1/20/2020.

    Not that I needed this information to know how important Naked Capitalism is to my knowledge of current events. But it is VERY interesting to have it so clearly illustrated.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for this. I remember some BTL commentators were complaining about the attention given to the virus, and didn’t see the point of all the scaremongering.

      A reminder yet again of just how valuable this site is.

      I am kind of grateful though that there isn’t a more user-friendly way of searching back comments on this site, as I’d probably find out I was wrong far more often than my memory allows me to recall….

      1. Katiebird

        I don’t know if there is a better search term but I did my search on “Wuhan” since COVID-19 didn’t have a name for a while and corona is pretty generic.

        I faintly remember reading this article but REALLY remember early spreadsheets listing countries & cases and predicted cases/deaths. If I have time later, I’ll track down the first of those.

        At the time, It seemed dangerous to me to have the Superbowl without any audience restrictions. And I KNOW that I could have only thought of that from posts/comments I read here

        1. Wukchumni

          Some 7,000 Bills fans will be allowed to witness the first playoff game in Buffalo, but only with a recent negative test in hand. I’ll be in the cheap seats on the left coast, undocumented.

        1. K.k

          I had been bookmarking the links from very early on. My device crashed and lost them all. Recently I was thinking about the timeline and how things unfolded and was trying to compile some info and began by simply going through the links here starting January. Googled “naked capitalism” “01/24/20”. That takes you to the day after China locked down Wuhan. And then i just went backward in links from that page and found what i was looking for.
          That was a pretty wild time, the u.s was acting pretty bat**** internationally, killing Soleimani turning up the heat to 11 in Venezuela, etc.

          Someone pass me the dunce cap. I think i owe an apology to Katie. I realize now why you used “Wuhan” virus. I misinterpreted the use of the phrase as some chauvinistic noise. I realize you may have meant to use it in order to find the earliest links.

          1. Katiebird

            Yes, I hesitated to share the term for that exact reason. But I am an Information Specialist by (a former) profession and searching for information was my job. So I am always interested in how people find it. It didn’t seem fair not to share.

    2. K.k

      “I was wondering when I first read of The COVID-19 (Wuhan) virus”

      Is it really the “wuhan” virus if the findings in the following article end up having merit? If the virus was already circulating in the u.s in November 2019 before being IDENTIFIED in Wuhan that little narrative begins to fall apart. If it had been first identified by a doctor in San Francisco in December 2019, and the u.s launched a massive undertaking to contain it and save hundred of thousands of lives would you still insist on calling it the “San Francisco” virus.

      Im not arguing these finding support the idea this thing started in the u.s but rather there is absolutely no reason to believe this virus first originated in the Wuhan seafood market. As far as i can tell the market may have been super spreader event.

      https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/12/01/940395651/coronavirus-was-in-u-s-weeks-earlier-than-previously-known-study-says

  25. Geo

    “I would urge that the constant invocation of terror is numbing, and may even (assuming good faith) produce effects opposite to that intended”

    Is this how we finally win the War on Terror, by trivializing the word terror beyond any meaning or feeling? We do seem to have done of god job of becoming comfortably numb to it judging by the lack of concern in politics over a daily 9/11 due to Covid and the domestic attack on Nashville. Victory is finally within reach! /s

  26. allan

    FBI investigating COVID-19 vaccine ‘tampering’ after Aurora says employee intentionally removed vials from fridge, ruining 500 doses [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

    Advocate Aurora Health says a now-fired employee intentionally removed 57 vials of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine from a refrigerator last weekend, causing them to become ineffective and be discarded. …

    Initially, Aurora was “led to believe” the removal was an error. But Wednesday, the employee “acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration,” according to a statement from the health care provider. …

    Each vial contains enough vaccine for 10 vaccinations. …

    Why on earth would a health care worker do this?
    In what is surely totally unrelated news,


    No record of registered nurse who claims Bell’s palsy after vaccine
    [AP]

    CLAIM: A registered nurse named Khalilah Mitchell in Nashville, Tennessee, received the COVID-19 vaccine and developed Bell’s palsy because of it.

    AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed to The Associated Press that there is no record of a registered nurse under that name. Though four people in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial and three people in the Moderna trial who received vaccines reported Bell’s palsy, a disorder that causes paralysis on one side of the face and is temporary for most people, at this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not established a link between the vaccines and the condition.

    THE FACTS: Last week, a video began circulating on social media of a woman who identified herself as a registered nurse named Khalilah Mitchell. In the video, the woman is sitting in a dimly lit room, wearing a face mask. She later removes the face mask to reveal what appears to be weakness in the left side of her face.

    “I am a registered nurse in Nashville, Tennessee, and my name is Khalilah Mitchell,” she says in the video. “I’m reaching out to everyone about the COVID-19 vaccination. I recently took the COVID-19 vaccination…after the shot, I felt fine. But within three days, I went to the doctor because I had problems with my face — the whole left side of my face actually. I have Bell’s palsy now.”

    “Please America, they do not care about us. Do not take this vaccination,” she says.

    The video was posted on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. On Dec. 25, a Facebook user reposted the video with Greek subtitles on Newtube, which was shared widely on social media. …

    But details from the video do not add up. Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman with the Tennessee Department of Health told the AP in an email, “We have no record of anyone by that name in our health professional licensure system.” …

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Thanks for sharing the news; this is worth checking up on. OTOH, it occurs to me (thanks in part to nc) that we have many traveling nurses going wherever the need (or at least the “HR- and budget-authorized huring need”) is greatest. Is there a good way to check that, too?

  27. Wukchumni

    Imagine doing a January pre-sale on a $500 item for delivery in late August with demand so feverish for 70,000 sales, that in the past decade, a ticket to Burning Man brought a grandido in the after market. All seventy thou pretty much went in a day.

    The Burning Man Organization got used to getting the money and getting the show on the road to happening, and this year the story was the same, another sellout.

    And then they had to refund all the tickets, with a lot of time to have spent the receipts on something before Covid came calling, so a double whammy there, ouch.

    In theory, tix for the 2021 Burning Man should be for sale in the next few weeks, but that ain’t happening. The really big wahooza may never happen again, and its absence would be filled by small regional BM events of a few thousand to 10,000. Some of my Burner friends prefer them anyhow.

  28. Phillip Cross

    I was just looking at the UK Covid numbers. 20 days ago there were ~20k cases that have resolved to ~1k deaths today. CFR ~5%.

    Do you think the 50k cases from today will go on to resolve as 2500 deaths in 3 weeks from now, or has there been a recent change in the testing criteria that allows less severe cases to get a test?

  29. Pelham

    Re the NC item elsewhere on why McConnell is keen to repeal Section 230: Yes, he and other Repubs think this will somehow benefit conservative viewpoints across social media — or maybe at least punish the likes of Twitter and Facebook for putting their thumbs on the scale to disproportionately disfavor such views.

    But I don’t believe their mistaken self interest or the other reasons cited in favor of Section 230 amount to sufficient reason to retain it. Take the argument about protecting forwarded emails. If I’m defamed by someone on Twitter with a large following and it goes wide enough that it damages my reputation in some major and measurable way, why shouldn’t Twitter be held accountable? A newspaper publishing a defamatory letter to the editor would certainly be liable, as would the letter writer. Why the special privilege for Twitter?

    But if someone defames me in an email that goes to one person or a few other people, the damage is likely to be zero or negligible, and I would have no claim in court unless one of those people had some control over my life and acted as a result.

    Yes, repeal of Section 230 would have some undesirable consequences. Freedom of speech would indeed be impinged. But freedom should be tempered by responsibility, and social media uniquely among all media are currently exempt. On balance, would we really be worse off as a society by ridding ourselves of the vast, flaming sewer of content that is Twitter and much of Facebook? Above all, where is the legal recourse now for those whose lives or livelihoods are unjustly ruined by the global megaphones these social media uniquely provide? THAT is the most pertinent question.

    (BTW, I’ll acknowledge that comment sections on blogs and websites like this one would probably have to go away if Section 230 bites the dust, and that’s regrettable. I very much enjoy reading the comments here and contributing. But the above considerations, I believe, take priority. I’ll be interested to read contrary views.)

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’ve been torn about this since i looked up 230 when turtlemania and the rest started yammering about it.
      one the one hand, Yves shouldn’t be liable for any insanity i might spew….but is Yves, and the gang equal to a multibillion dollar corps(e)?
      that’s like saying McDonald’s is a small business.
      it has seemed pretty obvious to me since i got on facebook all those years ago, that they should be considered utilities.
      apply…rigorously…the various scotus doctrines regarding free speech, and bob’s yer uncle.
      do we really need a special domain of law carved out and complexified for this?
      when i was on FB(fired them years ago), i got regular death threats from teabilly thugs who didn’t like what i said…on my own pages. one even doxxed(?) me, and displayed my physical location, said he was coming with his deer rifle to teach me a lesson(i told him to bring it). censer bots saw no problem with this behaviour…even when i pointed it out to them.
      if that’s the kind of rot that’s tolerated under section 230, then it’s not really worth the paper it’s written on.
      surely we can juggle protecting people from each other and tolerating the maximum level of free speech possible.
      this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s being made out to be.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        this shoot my foot anti-230 stuff might be part of a larger thing, too:
        https://www.salon.com/2020/12/30/the-anti-porn-religious-lobby-just-destroyed-the-livelihoods-of-thousands-of-pornographers/

        and…i don’t remember where, but somewhere in my wandering the web since 2 am, i ran across a reference to a “Great Awakening”, allegedly underway right now.
        i remember the last so called great awakening well…came of age underneath it, in the 80’s.
        had little to do with that Jesus guy, but a lot to do with shouting down one’s politico-economic rivals.
        Reaganism couldn’t have happened without it.
        now, at the apparent collapse of Reaganism, is this arrow re=fletched and about to be fired again?
        i don’t think it will work as well as last time…everybody knows a gay person, and the rabid churches have been losing their smash for a long time.
        can’t even get their kids to attend.
        still…desperate times, and all…
        the Machine pulling out that tried and true weapon would certainly cause a lot of sociopolitical damage, in an already damaged society.
        it should be resisted, with a will…but not like last time…when it was either cower before the thumpers, or ridicule them incessantly.
        neither worked.
        instead, see here:https://christiansocialism.com/christian-socialism-statement/

        “Followers of Jesus can make no peace with an economic system that daily transgresses human dignity and planetary boundaries for the sake of maximizing financial profit in cycles of unending growth. Not only does capitalism promote crises, instability, and injustice, but it threatens our very survival, having brought us to the brink of extinction. Neither individual acts of service nor charitable donations nor regulatory constraints can undo or justify the reckless sacrifice of God’s creation on Mammon’s altar. ”

        I use such language all the time in the feed store…and everyone knows i don’t go to church.
        what matters is that they do.

      2. Pelham

        Re tolerating a maximum of free speech: Probably not in social media. Their megaphones are way, way too big and there’s way, way too much volume to monitor. But even if this were doable, the question then arises of who does the content vetting and how. By algorithm? Engineered by whom and with which hidden agendas? This would be equivalent to using black-box voting machines in elections. Oh, wait …

        The key is scaling back mass media to the point that content can be openly monitored by all across society. Online, that would mean simple blogs easily traceable to their human, accountable sources. Any kind of social media as we know it today would probably be out. The liability risk would be too great.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          definitely get all that.
          crowdsourcing/democratic moderation is yet another thing we’re woefully unready for,lol.
          of course, i reckon that civics, ethics and philosophy education should be started in pre-K.
          (worked pretty admirably in my boys, if i do say so myself)
          as the Neoliberal Orthodoxy has undone whatever civitates(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civitas) we had, SocMed has finished the job.
          “all is vanity, and vexation of spirit…”
          one is not born knowing how to Do democracy…nor how to be a good neighbor.

          “…All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
          All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
          But nearness to death no nearer to God .
          Where is the Life we have lost in living?
          Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
          Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
          The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
          Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.”

          https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/choruses-%C3%B4%C3%A7%C2%A3the-rock%C3%B4%C3%A7%C3%B8

    2. King

      I’ve been wondering how lists such as recommended or related and news feed type that appear on the big user content sites relate to the idea of editorial content and thus liability. Such may just be lists of user content but what the algorithms show to users is the topic of much attention for the developers of major sites.

      Then I realize what sort of politics we have and decide it is unlikely to matter.

    3. D. Fuller

      In reply to a tweet by some tweeter defending church gatherings and how they should be allowed, being the super-spreader events that they are, I posted…

      “Death Cultists are going to be Death Cultists.”

      Along with other posts that key places that are super-spreader events include food processing centers, distribution warehouses, churches.

      Someone complained that I had made a death threat. Twitter banned me. I did appeal weeks ago, but have not heard back from Twitter idiot support staff (and never will) despite that fact that I was notified that I would be contacted.

      A TOS is a contract. Twitter has violated their own TOS. Not only is a user responsible for conforming to TOS; so is the business. When Twitter has an appeals process that they don’t even enforce? Or enforce haphazardly with no consistency?

      The TOS should be rendered unenforceable. It is Twitter’s fault for being a business and not hiring the staff necessary to police their TOS. It is not the user’s fault.

      Twitter either hires the staff at huge expense to enforce their own contract… or GTFO. They are not a business even as they are organized as one. Hiring the support staff would render Twitter even more of a money loser. Twitter, like Uber… resorts to accounting gimmickry and violating their TOS, to appear to make money.

  30. antidlc

    Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart.

    The Pfizer vaccines started to be administered around Dec. 14. So the first group will need to get the second dose around Jan. 4. The first group who received the Pfizer vaccine haven’t received the second dose yet.

    I wonder about two things:
    1) Will we see any adverse reactions with the second dose?
    2) Given vaccine distribution problems, will the second dose even be available to the people who received the first dose? (Are they holding back doses for administering the second dose?)

    1. Yves Smith

      As I recall from the Pfizer test data, reactions to second shot generally less severe than the first.

      However, one of IM Doc’s big teaching hospital buds was very worked up about the fact that there were apparently many fewer severe reactions now that the vaccine is in use than in the Pfizer trial. He saw that as a big red flag about the clinical trial process, but I have to confess as to not being clear as to why, although I think once concern was, “If reactions are way lower, will efficacy be way lower too?”

  31. Chas

    Reading through the Covid19 section of Links this morning, it occurred to me there will soon be another problem with the vaccine rollout. Each jab requires a bottle and a syringe. Pfizer vaccine requires two bottles and two syringes. How will the world dispose of millions, and probably billions, of syringes and bottles? My guess is a good portion of this plastic pollution will end up in the oceans.

  32. Synoia

    Employment recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic Carrt

    Interesting, It appears the mean period of the system. then time between recessions, is approximately 3.5 to 4 years. with the amplitude (or depth) of the depression increasing.

    Which is characteristic of an ungoverned system oscillating into self destruction. A system where the feedback does not properly control the behavior of the system.

    Note: ungoverned is used in the engineering sense meaning “without control” and not “ungoverned” in the political and legal definition.

    1. a different chris

      *This* is a really interesting (and scary) observation.

      I’m not a zero sum person. But the fact that we seem to be spawning many more billionaires (and I suspect, less obvious and certainly less publicized people at and heading towards the bottom) does also support the “oscillation” analogue.

      1. Synoia

        On reflection, It could be a chaotic system, with meta stable equilibria.

        The consistent return to the peak appears to negate this possibility. A chaotic system lands on a meta-stable point, until more input causes it to change abruptly up or down to another meta-stable point.

        We know that rich are rarely punished en-mass – which suggests this is not a system acting randomly. Randomness would spread the effects more uniformly over time, like mixing concrete.

  33. semiconscious

    How the pandemic is worsening inequality FT

    In a recent interview, Nobel laureate Angus Deaton said that rising inequality has “a lot has to do with jobs”; restrictions on activity that were introduced to combat the pandemic have hit poorer workers particularly hard, driving the greatest loss of global output in modern history…

    so, the true headline:

    How the restrictions on activity that were introduced to combat the pandemic are worsening equality…

  34. Carolinian

    Thanks for Patrick Lawrence on Trump’s foreign policy.

    Why did Trump surround himself with people who opposed him and not infrequently sabotaged those few foreign policy ideas one can approve of—constructive ties with Russia, an end to wasteful wars, peace in Northeast Asia, sending “obsolete” NATO into the history books? What were H.R. McMaster, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and numerous others like them but of lesser visibility doing in his administration?

    I am asked this not infrequently. My reply is simple: It is not at all clear Trump appointed these people and at least as likely they were imposed upon him by the Deep State, the permanent state, the administrative state—whatever term makes one comfortable. Let us not forget, Trump knew nobody in Washington and had a lot of swivel chairs to fill.

    We must add to this Trump’s personal shortcomings. He is by all appearances shallow of mind, poorly read (to put it generously), of weak moral and ethical character, and overly concerned with appearances.

    Lawrence says there will be no last minute attack on Iran because Trump doesn’t want it and may not have wanted much of the rest of his FP–he was just too weak and inexperienced to do much about it.

    And it’s not only Pompeo. Nikki Haley often seemed just as off the reservation and she’s even more ignorant and inexperienced than Trump. Both of these clowns plan to run in 2024. Perhaps Trump will forestall by doing so himself.

    1. Milton

      I’m seeing many references to Pompeo, Haley, Pence, even Trump jr but nary a peep with regards to Josh Hawley. It’s as if the GOP leadership has filled positions with ex DNC staffers on how to stifle a populist candidate. I believe there will not be a repeat of a Donald Trump insurgency if the plutocracy has their way. I think they have breathed a sigh of relief that Trump turned out to be mainstream but they will not take that chance with Hawley. Expect him to be Sander’d in the ’24 primaries.

    2. a different chris

      >He is by all appearances shallow of mind, poorly read (to put it generously), of weak moral and ethical character, and overly concerned with appearances.

      Yeah to all that but… even, especially I think, a truly intelligent person would take Trump’s actual approach: hire, try out, then fire. Rinse and repeat.

      A person that was deemed by both their own selves and our messed up society as intelligent (example: Pete Buttigieg) would actually think they could plow thru these resumes and testimonials and “historical records” and come up with The Right Person for all these positions. Hahahaha says anybody sensible whose ever employed anybody else.

      Where Trump family-blogged himself was that he just seemed to not get that he couldn’t fire judges. And since the only people that for real loved him were the little people, he was just a vehicle for the upper echelons of the Rethug Party to get what they wanted, the most obvious of which was Covid Amy.

      He got used. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving person, but also not helping the rest of us either.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > truly intelligent person would take Trump’s actual approach: hire, try out, then fire. Rinse and repeat.

        As opposed to putting Robbie Mook in charge of winning back the House.

    3. fresno dan

      Carolinian
      December 31, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      I suspect the main problem was that Trump didn’t know his own mind, e.g., did he want to leave the mid-east or did he want war with Iran? And Trump’s rhetoric with North Korea going from the most bellicose imaginable to beyond what I use when I’m trying to flatter a woman at a bar.
      But if Trump’s real goal was JUST attention grabbing, well, Trump succeeded.

  35. Person

    From Palladium, and especially relevant in the wake of the coming EU-China deal: American Reform is the Only Answer to China. I can’t disagree with their three listed priorities:

    1. Rebuild hard economic power

    2. Retreating containment of China (sad that this is necessary, but regaining/securing independence especially in chip fabs is incredibly important, since much of this is tied up in Taiwan/SK)

    3. Integrate China’s ideological successes to reboot American governance (aka the end of Thatcherite atomization)

    All 3 would have the side effect of reversing US decline in other areas. Unfortunately none will be possible until US elites come to accept that decline is happening and that it can’t be fixed by blaming Trump or his constituency.

    1. a different chris

      >until US elites come to accept that decline is happening\

      But “decline” is not happening to the people that could do something about it.

      This is just like the Democratic Party “how to do it better” exhortations, isn’t it? For example:
      1) Nancy Pelosi is just a bad look at this point
      2) So replace Nancy Pelosi!!

      But Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have any inclination to replace Nancy Pelosi. The Dem Party “decline” is not affecting her at all, she will be leader of the party either way. Even if they become the House minority party again, that’s still a better gig than sitting at home in her estimation.

      And that’s the D’s. The R leaders are rising. McConnell has regent-like powers now, and I doubt in even the unlikely event Georgia elects both Dems that will change. Plenty of Conserva-Dems in the Senate for effective power, and a few may well change parties. The odds of an R president in 2024 are ridiculously high, the odds of R’s increasing their House share in 2022 are almost as high.

      So why should the R’s change anything?

      PS: good link, unfortunately we won’t do it or anything like it until things have rotted enough that it (or anything, really) won’t work. Then we’ll get “We told you so”.

      1. Person

        I agree, although to some degree I do think that the pie is shrinking even for elites, which is why intra-elite competition has become so vicious in recent years. Trump, and populism in general, gave everyone a big target to focus on for a few years, but during the Biden admin I expect that to fade out somewhat despite the continued threat of popular revolt. Look how many party loyalists have recently turned on Feinstein for an example of what may be waiting. The old guard is aging out, and overall political instability means that there is a lot of opportunity for backstabbing.

        > The odds of an R president in 2024 are ridiculously high, the odds of R’s increasing their House share in 2022 are almost as high.

        Yes, especially with redistricting. I suspect that the next few years will be hidden infighting, grifting, and decline, followed by a catastrophic Republican win. I am moderately hopeful that a strong populist left-right coalition can be built before then so that at least the people will have a small voice in whatever happens afterwards; there may be at least some Rs who can be convinced that their own well-being depends on the continued prosperity of the nation. The Dems seem to have decided that staying the course and restoring the status quo will fix everything, which to me implies the return of austerity politics (yet another reason they will lose).

  36. Mikel

    Re: Portland and NY evictions

    Money for rent relief isn’t being spent because, once again, a crisis is being used for somebody’s fanstasy social engineering.
    Covid is being turned into a big land grab (for the techno-fuedal dystopia), since that’s all there is left after the decimation of the economy these past decades.
    Also, keeping people housing insecure is a way of attempting to stop organizing. Communties organize. If communities are kept moving, with the ground constantly be pulled from beneath their feet, it’s harder to organize.

    1. D. Fuller

      Land ownership is the only true wealth. Depends on the quality of the land also and what one can do with it.

      A lesson most people never learn. What is the first thing a smart, wealthy person does when they become wealthy?

      Buy land.

      The 2008 crisis, one could just know that the already wealthy had designs on increasing their wealth throw property acquisition. Now, for a repeat.

  37. Lex

    Any folks out there making black-eyed pea soup for New Year’s? Sure, it’s superstitious (and delicious!), but we could use all the good luck for 2021 that we can get.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      got a freezer full of them.
      had planned on distributing them to all and sundry manana, but we’re iced in(weird for here)
      don’t forget cabbage, either.
      my grandma said black eyed peas for luck, cabbage for money.
      i make a sort of Hoppin John with BE Peas and sauerkraut, with andouille and onions and such.

      1. Lex

        Tradition comes from the Texas side of our family… just beyond the Oklahoma/Texas border. My mother carried it on and I picked it up along the way. Fresh BE peas are hard to come by here. My garden is too small to grow them in and the farmer’s market is hit-or-miss. I’m usually told when I inquire, that the deer got to them first.

        I loaded the crockpot this morning with this soup and threw in some black-eyed peas with the beans:

        https://damndelicious.net/2020/10/27/slow-cooker-olive-garden-pasta-e-fagioli/

        It’s missing the andouille but it will have to do.

    2. HotFlash

      Hopping john, that’s what we need! Hmm, got the black-eyed peas, rice, onions, need to go get some greens! Right now!

      1. JustAnotherVolunteer

        Pot is simmering on the stove as I type – about to debone the ham hocks – then comes the veggies and the andouille – luck and money and a better year ahead

  38. Pat

    Thinking about the joint operations of both parties in the Senate.
    I think a lot of this came down to about three things:

    1. Our elite do NOT want free money going to the masses. That is meant for them.
    2. Neither party wanted to be on record as for it (because donors) or against it (because voters)
    3. All of them wanted to go home/leave for the weekend.

    Number three explains why the Democrats didn’t even pretend, because c’mon on NO ONE thought that the beloved piece of manure defense bill wasn’t going to be enshrined and Trump’s veto overridden eventually. But standing behind a move to try to force a vote on the additional relief funds would mean they would have to hang around Congress for New Year’s and maybe even through the weekend.
    And all of them think the media will give them cover for essentially saying stop screwing up our vacation to Sanders. Of course, they would all have to have acted so upset that it was necessary to give up the good fight because of deadlines on say Sunday, but nope they have figured out they don’t even have to do that much.

    1. tegnost

      It seems to me to have the potential to backfire. Anyone experienced in poverty will know how one can cling to what might be considered delusional salvations. There are certainly people who were looking at 2000 and hope planning to get some kind of break. My hope for the new year that the carnage is not too great. Delusions are a critical survival tool, but there’s also reckoning…

  39. Whyme

    “Are we going to have a year of this nonsense? ”
    surely. But equally so, will emerging problems with the vaccines if they occur be brushed under the rug as not worth paying attention to? One nurse getting covid after the vaccine means little (except for that nurse). But the implications are important in general: people need to NOT let thier guards down after getting vaccinated. And we need to watch carefully to see how effective these vaccines actually turn out to be in real world setting. THe trials specifically excluded cases that happened after the first shot and some good epidemiologists questioned that decision.

  40. fresno dan

    Trump ends Obama’s 12-year run as most admired man: Gallup The Hill

    Well, that is something (Obama being dethroned). So, our choices for president the last two times: Trump, Clinton, Biden. Hmmmm. Well, nothing much most of us can or choose to do about that.
    But Most Admired – that is just a stated preference. Even the Kardashians would be better. So, I would propose changing our trademark from land of the free and home of the brave to land of the obtuse and home of the ignorant

    1. Daryl

      Man, I am certainly worried about this place if Biden, Trump and Obama are handily 40% of the “most admired” men in America.

  41. The Rev Kev

    “UAE rolling out Sinopharm”

    Noticing a trend here. The big industrial countries used their purchasing power to snap up as many vaccines as possible for themselves leaving the rest of the world spinning in the wind. But of course they never considered the Chinese or Russian vaccines because they are Chinese and Russian vaccines. So more and more countries denied vaccines are signing up for either of these vaccines like the UAE for Sinopharm and Argentina for Sputnik (with 50 other countries showing interest). So we will have a situation where much of the world will use the Russian or Chinese vaccine while the developed world uses the Pfizer or Moderna or Oxford vaccines. Don’t know what would happen if the US demands that a country not use their Russian/Chines vaccine but won’t offer any of their own. Stuff like that has happened in the past. Point is, in the years to come, what is the long term effect? Smaller countries and even larger countries like Italy were thrown to the wolves in face of this pandemic as the bigger western countries bought or even stole medical supplies/vaccines. Only places like China and Russia came through for them. Be interesting to see how that plays out eventually.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the RussiaChina vaccines look to work as well as the Western ones, more countries will turn to ChinaRussia first for various needs of various sorts.

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