Links 12/5/2020

World’s oldest known, banded wild bird returns to nest at Midway Atoll Star Advertiser (chicken ticket). Nice pix!

One country, one picture, one year Reuters (resilc). Only looked a few, but good choices.

Evolved to run – but not to exercise Irish Times (furzy)

The Great Barrier Reef Is Now Officially in ‘Critical’ Condition Vice

The Wings of Insects Might Have Evolved From The Legs of Crustaceans ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

How Easy Is it to Build a Robot Assassin? LawFare (David L)

Alaska May Be Hiding a Huge Volcanic System Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Chinese photonic quantum computer demonstrates quantum supremacy PhysOrg (David L)

MOMENT massive Arecibo telescope collapsed caught in jaw-dropping footage RT (singnet)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Long COVID in the Faroe Islands – a longitudinal study among non-hospitalized patients Oxford

Covid-19: Asymptomatic cases may not be infectious, Wuhan study indicates BMJ

The COVID Vaccines Are Approaching. Is the FDA Ready to Inspect the Plants Where They’re Made? Vanity Fair (UserFriendly)

What it feels like to get an mRNA coronavirus vaccine CNN (furzy)

People with asthma less likely to contract COVID-19: study The Hill

How key decisions slowed FDA’s review of a Covid-19 vaccine — but also gave it important data STAT (Kevin C)

US

Joe Biden: Covid vaccination in US will not be mandatory BBC

Wall Street and finance workers could get COVID vaccines before most Americans MarketWatch. Marshall remarks: “There’s nothing more essential than doing God’s work.”

Six Bay Area regions — San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda counties, and Berkeley — to enact stay-at-home order starting Sunday Boing Boing (David L)

US Congress slow to issue directives as Covid spreads at a high rate among lawmakers Guardian

How Iowa Mishandled the Coronavirus Pandemic Atlantic (resilc)

The Freakout About Giving COVID Vaccines to Prisoners Has Already Begun Mother Jones (resilc)

Finance/Economy

Weakening Jobs Numbers Spur Pandemic Aid Efforts Wall Street Journal

It’s ‘OK now…we have a new president’: Pelosi willing to make smaller Covid-19 relief deal, is accused of having played politics RT (Kevin W)

Bernie Sanders announces opposition to $908 billion covid relief package as lawmakers push for deal Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Payment pause for student loan borrowers will be extended, U.S. Department of Education says CNBC

China?

China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon BBC

Uighurs forced to eat pork as China expands Xinjiang pig farms Al Jazeera

China conducting biological tests to create super soldiers, US spy chief says Guardian (resilc)

So We’re Already At The ‘Chinese Super Soldiers’ Part Of The Propaganda Campaign Caitlin Johnstone

Brexit

Exhausted negotiators struggle to strike Brexit deal Financial Times

Brexit: Johnson and Von der Leyen to take over with direct talks Guardian (Kevin W)

Progressive Media Promoted a False Story of ‘Conflict Beef’ From Nicaragua FAIR (UserFriendly)

New Cold War

Swiss drop Browder’s fake charges against Russians: no proof Lucy Komisar

Moscow Discovers Climate Change Can Be Good Business Forbes (resilc)

Syraqistan

Biden inherits Middle East’s grapes of wrath Asia Times (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

224 killed, 186 aircraft lost. Military pilots worry about being ‘the next accident’ Task & Purpose. Kevin W: “Most of the world’s Air Forces don’t have 186 aircraft.”

U.S. Marines Won’t Stop Taking LSD Vice (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Trickbot trojan found to now have the ability to modify a computer’s UEFI TechXplore and The Internet’s Most Notorious Botnet Has an Alarming New Trick Wired (Robert M)

Trump Transition

Trump orders Pentagon to pull nearly all troops from Somalia The Hill

Donald Trump will get Secret Service protection, classified briefings and a pension for life when he leaves the White House abc.net.au. This should not be treated as news…

2020

Trump campaigns as wild card in Georgia runoffs The Hill. Remember his popularity is back up to the high end of its range.

Lamar stands firm in his last days in the Senate Politico. UserFriendly: “He killed Judy Shelton, Thank God!”

Biden

Joe Biden’s Role in the Student Debt Crisis Dates to the 1970s Intercept

The economy President-elect Biden is inheriting Economic Policy Institute

Will Michele Flournoy Be the Angel of Death for the American Empire? CodePink

Biden Is the Perfect Figure for the National Security Establishment Intercept

USAID inspector general is looking into possible violations of Federal Records Act by agency leaders, sources say CNBC

Confessions of a Clintonworld Exile Vanity Fair (UserFriendly)

It Wasn’t the First Time the NYPD Killed Someone in Crisis. For Kawaski Trawick, It Only Took 112 Seconds. ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Gambling on the future of food Farm and Dairy (Carla R)

Class Warfare

Liberalism, Class and the Politics of Austerity Counterpunch

US Senate passes bill eliminating per-country cap for H-1B work visas Deccan Chronicle. From Dave in Santa Cruz:

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but Facebook needs foreign workers changed to their desks by their visas. I’ve previously mentioned the San Jose police chief complaining about Obama’s regular — and unpublicized — visits to Silicon Valley to collect checks in exchange for certifying that U.S. STEM grads lacked necessary qualifications. Now they’re going to bump-up Green Cards for Indians, to free-up more H1-B slots.

These practices are far more pernicious than tolerating poor refugees from Latin America; as a prosecutor and judge pro gem in Silicon Valley I saw actual abuses by high-caste Indian immigrants far worse than the claims made against Latin American refugees. The DOJ suit is typical of the day late and a dollar short incompetence of the Trump administration — but Biden will be nothing but a subsidiary of Facebook on immigration, just like Obama was.

Antidote du jour. Furzy’s sister’s llamas, “Off on a trek in the Oregon hills.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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300 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    LOS ANGELES — The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday that Calabasas-based Cheesecake Factory Inc. will pay a $125,000 penalty for making “false or misleading” disclosures about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business operations and financial condition.

    This is the first time the SEC has brought allegations against a public company for misleading investors about the financial effects of the pandemic.

    According to the SEC’s order, the Cheesecake Factory restaurant group said in regulatory filings in March and April that its eateries were “operating sustainably,” while failing to disclose that the company was losing roughly $6 million in cash per week and had just 16 weeks of cash remaining.

    Cheesecake Factory had notified its landlords that it wouldn’t pay rent on April 1 due to financial complications stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. A letter sent by Chief Executive David Overton to the restaurant group’s landlords — many of which are shopping mall operators — was released publicly in March by Eater L.A.

    https://www.ocregister.com/2020/12/04/cheesecake-factory-didnt-tell-sec-it-was-losing-6-million-a-week-due-to-covid-thatll-cost-an-extra-125000/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Wow, the SEC which had long ago swallowed it’s ref’s whistle, so as to only create a low rumble when passing gas, actually bared it’s teeth a little.

    More importantly it shows the dire state of restaurants, in particular -corporate ones.

    Cheesecake Factory must be broke now, or worse.

    1. Oh

      All these corporations and their CEO’s are so capitalistic that they refuse to pay rent, take free government money and wave the flag.

      Just like a construction business owner I know who espouses free market capitalism but is quick to take all the government handouts. He owns a bunch of rental properties and I’m sure he’s taken money handed out by the SBA. What hypocrisy!

      I wish a real estate and stock market crash for these people.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s kind of fitting that eateries such as the Cheesecake Factory & Claim Jumper, which were an oasis of overconsumption in that their calling card was excessive amounts of tucker on your plate, are now feeling the diametrically opposed pinch of penury.

        ‘I’ll have the yin & yang platter, please’

    2. curlydan

      Hmm… you might be surprised by Cheesecake Factory’s (ticker: CAKE) stock price then. It’s only off about 10% from its yearly (pre-COVID) high of $43 despite revenues in the latest quarter being down 12% and a loss from operations of $35M vs a $27M profit in the year ago quarter.

      I did a similar look at Starbucks (SBUX) a few weeks ago with the same story line. Bleeding revenue, crushed profits, OK stock performance.

      Something’s got to give… featuring a musical supplement from the Beastie Boys:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teQqelBTw7g

      1. Wukchumni

        That’s frankly amazing, but something i’ve come to expect from the financial Icarus’s in lower Manhattan, relying on feathers & wax.

      2. campbeln

        Props for the BBoys link!

        Them TRILLIONS given to Wall St since 2008 (with a hearty $5 TRILLION more from CARES) gots to go SOMEWHERE!

        I guess that puts me on the inflation side of the field.

      3. Louis Fyne

        thank the Fed for backstopping every big company.

        But if plebians want to refinance their mortgage directly with the Fed, why….that’s over-reaching the Fed’s mandate!

  2. zagonostra

    >It’s ‘OK now…we have a new president’: Pelosi willing to make smaller Covid-19 relief deal – RT (Kevin W)

    Her unwillingness to compromise previously “was not a mistake,” Pelosi insisted, and the reason a deal is possible now is because those months of no progress “has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without, shall we say, other considerations in the legislation that we don’t want

    She is absolutely correct. From her standpoint it was not a mistake. She serves her donors/ruling elites. She doesn’t give a rat’s arse for more and more people living lives in quite desperation as to how they will be able to provide the basics like food and shelter for their families.

    On a live Jimmy Dore stream last night, JD’ excoriated Pelosi. One stat that he highlighted was the relative difference between how other countries are helping people whose jobs were eliminated because of COVID and the U.S. For instance, in direct payroll continuation financial support Japan provides 100%, Neatherlands 90%, Europe around 70-80%, and the U.S…wait for it…0%. I forget all the countries JD mentioned but the point is, the U.S. simply expects those affected to figure things out for themselves while the gov’t undercuts their livelihood by mandating lockdowns. Also on the program was Dylan Ratigan discussing the financial angle.

    The disdain that Pelosi has for the MSM was beautifully shown in her petulant response to the way the “journalist” framed his question about whether it was a “mistake.” Pathetic, and as Dylan characterized the whole response to COVID is, “dereliction of duty.”

    1. Tom Stone

      Good god, Pelosi is tone deaf.
      Does anyone in their right mind think that the desperation will stay quiet?
      Or that the response will be other than more repression, leading to more desperation, leading to…
      The right people are undoubtedly think to profit from this based on the assumption that the security State can keep the rabble in line.

      Idiots.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Evil and stupidity go hand in hand. Pelosi has no empathy, so she doesn’t take time to think through anything because she doesn’t care.

      1. Lex

        The thing about growing old and having done a lot of fruitless caring along the way (a cultural imperative for women and assuming this ever applied to Nancy) is that you usually cease to expend real emotional energy unless there’s some sorta payoff. That’s if you’re a normal old person. Consider what’s on the platter of yer average politician, all served up with the implicit side of having to give a crap. I think they tend to reserve such emotional language for their constituents and the campaign trail early in their career, and after awhile it simply isn’t necessary. It isn’t what gets them re-elected. By almost every measure Nancy should have been out on her ear… and yet.

        That said, I’ve had breast cancer that removed 8 lbs. off my chest, and I look at Nancy and wonder why she hasn’t had breast reduction, because there are no foundation garments that would keep the weight from straining her neck, shoulders, and back. It can’t be for lack of money. But then I think about the symbolism of those heavy orbs, even as her facial expression grows flatter with age and evil, and wonder if they don’t serve her as an expression of “nurturing”, like an ancient goddess of fertility. She is from California after all.

            1. Wukchumni

              Nancy has the look of somebody that had $86,945 too much worth of plastic surgery done on her mug. She’d want to be careful about getting too close to a fire.

              1. ambrit

                Counterintuitively, Nancy’s wings will not melt from flying too high, and thus too close to the Sun, but of flying too low and thus too close to the Fires of H—.

      2. Anonymous

        Who were the idiots that voted for the representatives to keep NP as the speaker-for-life?

        We have got what we deserve.

        1. edmondo

          AOC, Talib, Pressley, Bowman and Talib.

          Nancy can only afford to lose 4 votes and be re-elected. If they abstain from voting for Nancy on January 3rd, she’s not the Speaker.

          1. upstater

            If Brendesi wins NY 22 he almost certainly will not vote for Pelosi (he didn’t in 2018). His Trumpkin opponent, Claudia Tenny, is up by 12 votes out of 307,000 cast; it is now in court over hundreds of challenged ballots. The only undecided house race. Unfortunately Brendesi is a blue dog.

          2. neo-realist

            I can only surmise that those squad people believed that either the alternative options were worse, or there is some sort of payoff they’re expecting from Nancy in the future.

    2. Phillip Cross

      “the U.S. simply expects those affected to figure things out for themselves while the gov’t undercuts their livelihood by mandating lockdowns”.

      The “logic” underpinning any American conservative’s worldview is ,”Since I am doing alright, it must have been possible for them to have done alright too. If they are not doing alright, that’s because they brought it upon themselves, either through vice or laziness.”.

      1. Jim

        Add to them, the hundreds of thousands, millions? of homeless people who lost everything in 2008 thanks to subprime grief, brought to you by Lehman et al, Eric Holder and Kamala Harris who did nothing, absolutely nothing for them, but who went on to bigger and more profitable things.

      2. zagonostra

        >What you describe is John Calvin’s logic through and through, which has been a strain and a stain on the American Character from day one.

      3. Upwithfiat

        That “logic” is flawed because our economic system is fundamentally unjust; e.g. government privileges for a private-credit-for-usury cartel whereby the banks and the most so-called “credit worthy” loot everyone else.

        As for “vice and laziness”, who are the thieves to judge how their victims cope?

          1. Upwithfiat

            unethically created fiat money.

            Speaking of which, needlessly expensive fiat is unethical on its face. Funny how the usually miserly Austrians never seem to understand that.

            It’s also funny how so-called “Libertarian” PM* worshipers can’t grasp that needlessly expensive fiat is government intervention in free market private money creation.

            As for Christian PM worshipers, they somehow can’t grasp that “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s …” applies regardless of what Caesar’s money is made of.

            *Precious Metals

            1. Wukchumni

              Dude, the Austrians were directly responsible for the Panic of 1873 and the Great Depression due to failures of financial institutions there.

              Try and tar & feather me with something respectable, please.

                1. Wukchumni

                  There is no such thing as needlessly expensive fiat currency, although for some curious reason a Benjamin costs only about 50% more than a lowly Nickel to produce, despite being valued @ 2,000 times as much.

                  1. Upwithfiat

                    Curious only to someone who does not understand fiat; i.e. that fiat is backed by the taxation authority and power of government and that therefore any attempt to back fiat with anything else violates equal protection under the law in favor of those providing that “backing”, e.g. gold owners and producers.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      You do realize the whole fiat thing is roughly from the same era as when postage stamps first showed up circa 1840?

                      There were exceptions such as our Continental Currency and French Assignats, which were from the later 18th century. They were such examples of what not to do that it took till the 4th turning for the USA again to issue fiat money.

                    2. Upwithfiat

                      Longer reply in moderation but I need only point out the 800 year successful use of Tally Sticks to refute you.

                    3. Susan the other

                      We need certain price controls if we are going to spend money into the system. Just average everyday spending on the necessities should not raise the price for those things. If there is a shortage due to expected use then production should be increased to meet needs. Inflation is a knee-jerk reaction; it is a game for opportunists. This has nothing to do with fiat. It has more to do with gold, hoarding, and scarcity. But it translates to sovereign fiat because we let it do so. That’s our bad. It’s irrational.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              So when productivity rises (in what is termed “progress”) people should not be able to benefit from that? Just have their money lose buying power over time? Perfect way I guess to keep people on a treadmill that looks like an Escher staircase. It used to take 10 people to grow an acre of wheat, now it takes 2, but the price of wheat should stay the same, mm-k.

              Yep I know I don’t understand the “benefits” of inflation. When I go to the store I want stuff to cost more, dammit!

              1. Upwithfiat

                An equal Citizen’s Dividend would distribute productivity gains equally to all citizens.

                As for money that gains purchasing power, that’s a recipe for oppression of the young* and attempts to free ride on those who take risks with their money rather than do nothing risk-free.

                You want real gains? Then take risks and invest.

                * e.g. via a money supply that does not keep up with population growth.

                1. skippy

                  That’s not an option in a de-growth future. Even with reallocation of resources to contend with environmental changes – realities it would be more a sideways movement. This is all conditional on regional social platitudes ability to be adaptive, sadly some belief systems provide high friction in that regard.

                  Then again money never instigated what rolls around in some peoples heads.

                  Maybe some above would like to discus Ergodicity, that year 1934, and stop focusing on a transactional tool with time and space dynamics some confuse with ownership rights.

                  1. ambrit

                    Just read this and appreciate the thought. When we were younger, very few of us realized that there is absolutely no way to bribe the Man With the Scythe.
                    As for “…take risks and invest.” Hah! What’s not to understand about the phrase; “The game is rigged?”
                    As the ‘game’ advert has in the small print: “Many will enter. Few will win.” So, to stave off the eternal return of the “Ages In Chaos,” a proper society focuses on helping all those “losers” out there. An improper society though….

                    1. Upwithfiat

                      What’s not to understand about the phrase; “The game is rigged?” ambrit

                      Of course, it’s rigged and we should change that.

                      Still there are immutables wrt progress and one of those is that rewarding free riding is no recipe for progress but rather stagnation and oppression.

                    2. skippy

                      @ambrit …

                      I highly recommend you check out the Syll post on that, your views about “the game” are discussed, but from a different perspective and the date above is pivotal to that respect.

                    3. Upwithfiat

                      a proper society focuses on helping all those “losers” out there. ambrit

                      A rigged game renders the concept of “loser” meaningless.

                      Also, welfare proportional to account balance comes at the expense of welfare according to need, I’d bet.

                    4. skippy

                      @Upwithfiat …

                      You could spend an eternity engaging in moralistic equivalencies and never redress the fundamental economic cornerstones which proceed all of your complaints E.g. A. its not money … B. its a bit Niceaian in construct with the floor littered with editing i.e. hence the need to do a total deconstruction and reconstruction before anything else.

                    5. Count Zero

                      I am on your side of the argument here, ambrit, but I feel uneasy about this language of helping and “losers.” On the one side are a minority of wealthy people who are playing a rigged casino, using public money to reward themselves for being so wonderful. On the other are the rest of society. Most of those work and contribute by what they produce, goods or services, etc. If any of those are out of work or sick they receive public assistance to look after them until they are able to return to work. They were paying taxes while they worked to help others. Now it’s their turn to benefit. I assume also there is some kind of contributory pension scheme. There’s nothing charitable about any of this. Nobody is doing good or helping anybody. It’s simply the give and take of a healthy society based on cooperation.

                    6. Upwithfiat

                      “i.e. hence the need to do a total deconstruction and reconstruction before anything else.” skippy

                      Well we need land reform too, that’s for sure.

                      Also redistributing the common stock of all large corporations equally to all citizens should not impair their operations.

                      But a crooked money system is a root cause of much injustice and thus reforming it is necessary to prevent its return after redistribution.

                    7. ambrit

                      @ Count Zero
                      Agreement as to your idea about word usage. I was sloppy to use “losers,” but can think of nothing better to describe the class of person who ends up on the low end of the wealth distribution curve as presently designed. The “elites” have framed the conversation in terms of a competition. Your point about cooperation speaks directly to that divide.
                      Therein lies the major point of contention. Competition assumes there to be “winners” and “losers” resulting from the interaction. The division of resources resulting from such a scheme would be extreme. Cooperation assumes there to be a graduated curve of divisions of resources within the population. The divisions of resources resulting from that scheme would be smaller and less extreme.

                    8. skippy

                      I reiterate Upwithfiat …

                      Until more fundamental aspects like Ergodicity, and other key aspects, talking about post facto remedies is a futile endeavor.

                      Per se I don’t ascribe to Marginalism, which in turn proceeds Corporatism, which proceeds shareholder theory … so talking about shareholder anything is irrelevant from a logical standpoint.

                    9. Upwithfiat

                      Then let’s hear what you suggest, skippy?

                      Or is fair to say that you agree with Warren Mosler’s proposals wrt banking?

                    10. skippy

                      Again the prior proceeds any banking debate and I don’t think the MMT/PKE position is mine, let alone, or not, fleshed out thoroughly enough for all and sundry to consider.

                      My reference to belief systems being intransigent, for whatever reasons, when information that is contra to previews is applicable here.

                      Its akin to the dual DSGE model some are promoting as good news, albeit its no proof of concept even if it squares some data, because its still subject to deeper critiques on a fundamental level.

                    11. ambrit

                      @ skippy. Sorry to be so dense, but I must play ‘Simplicissimus’ to your ‘Professor’ here. I understand your reference to Lars P Syll, but to which post do you refer? {Looking him up in the wikiverse, the first item mentions him as being non-ergodic. Talk about being put in a box!}
                      [Anxiously awaiting enlightenment.]

                    12. polecat

                      “This can be happening, this Can be Happinin .. Oh man! .. one more election cycle, and we were gonna be All in ..

                      “Gamed over, man! GAMED OVER!!”

                      “Why don’t you’ll put *Herr Claus in charge!”

                      *anyone who drips acid for bloodlines will do, I suppose …..

                    13. ambrit

                      @ polecat
                      I can see Harris thinking of herself as Ripley, and her seeing Biden as Newt. However, rather then having a Bishop to help save the day, we are instead at the tender mercies of a David.
                      Like the mentioned film franchise, it’s high time for America to reboot.

        1. ambrit

          I really wonder about a Party that puts a classic exemplar of a ‘Reactionary Politician’ up as their ‘Poster Child.’
          As someone or other says, “When they show you who they are, believe them. Act accordingly.”

    3. flora

      The Dem estab is wholly captured by Davos thinking and World Economic Forum thinking, imo. For the Davos crowd and the WEF, a large precarity is an unavoidable outcome of their “4th Industrial Revolution” (4IR) and the necessary pre-condition for their 4th Globalization. 4IR is a nihilistic “religion”, but Pelosi and the Dem estab appear to believe it. Joe even used the Davos/WEF motto “Build Back Better.” So what’s a few million more in poverty and a few million more joining the precarity to them? That’s just building the pre-condition for the dreamed of final market utopia? (They’re gonna make a lot of people impoverished and dead, imo, and justify it as “market forces at work.”) All hail the market, for which the Dems are foaming the runway. Again. /s

      1. flora

        A paper from the WEF:

        https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/globalization-4-alternative-view-guy-standing/

        Sure, govts can stand back and let the 4IR and globalization do its thing – unchecked by govt regulations in the public interest, impoverish millions, and then at some point a miracle will occur; the improverished will force govt to suddenly correct the inevitable gaping economic imbalances, according to the writer. (I have a bridge to sell the writer.)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i guess it’s a good thing that Guy Standing is there at WEF.
          a moderating influence.
          prolly won’t matter, but still.
          i expect much euphemism and weasel words,…eg: “”togetherness, outdoors”=”breadlines”.
          “sabbatical/taking a break”=” unemployed”,etc
          …and whomever linked that video of the oxford professor’s freudian slip(“sterilisation”)…thanks for that,lol….i can’t get it out of my head, now.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think the intellectual exercise of the “benefits” of globalism is an interesting one. To wit:

          The standard of living in the world is very uneven, some countries have a high one, some have a very low one.

          So here’s a quick quiz:

          Q1: Will evening out the standard of living in the US so it matches the global average make the standard of living in the US A.) go up, or B.) go down?

          Q2: Do US citizens want their standard of living to A.) go up, or B.) go down?

          Maybe Biden “voters” can chime in, he assured us he will no longer be pursuing an “America First” policy. I’m sure there are YT videos from Manila showing how to construct a shelter from a cardboard box, or from Brasilia showing the best way to haul water from a well.

          1. flora

            And Q3: Do the profits of labor arbitrage going mostly to oligarchs via the stock market value – based on lower worker wages – increase the US general standard of living?

      2. zagonostra

        That phrase, “Build Back Better,” gives meaning to BBB a whole new new spin. It’s odd how it’s been showing up in the most conspicuous of places, like in some of Pope Francis’s communiques.

        1. flora

          Should I say that iI Papa might not understand what “Build Back Better” means to the Davos crowd promoting this catch phrase?

    4. Pelham

      Agreed. Also, I believe it was Lambert here who noted that the Republican message on Covid is straightforward: End the lockdowns so people can get back to work and make a living. Meanwhile, the Democrats’ message is incoherent: We need lockdowns to save lives but we’ll provide nothing to make lockdowns feasible for most Americans.

      Lambert also notes that it will be quite tricky for the GOP to rebrand itself as a workers party without actually giving workers any power. True. But this kind of messaging in this context is one way the Democrat Party is providing a clear path for the GOP to actually pull off that deceptive little trick.

      Separately, I’ll agree with Caitlin Johnstone that we need to give up seeking salvation through either of the two parties. What next? We need to begin making the case, again as Lambert has, that everything is going according to plan. That is, that the two parties are quite literally working to gradually disempower us — and possibly knock us all off with Chinese fentanyl and replace us with imports, robots and work-visa servant immigrants. This can be documented in quite a number of ways and should be as a matter of routine.

      The next order of business, even before launching new political parties, would be establishing an MMT-governed separate currency and regional investment bank restricted to investing in flyover land.

      1. edmondo

        Lambert also notes that it will be quite tricky for the GOP to rebrand itself as a workers party without actually giving workers any power.

        Because the Dems are offering so much? Josh Hawley says he won’t vote for the stimulus without $1200 checks. Nancy says “No way.” Between impeaschment and stimulus checks she should have lost the House, and almost did. When is the last time the Dems did anything for you? Medicare?

        You don’t have to offer much, just not be openly antagonistic. The Dems have already lost the workers’ votesthey just haven’t all landed in the Republican Party yet.

      2. a different chris

        >that the Republican message on Covid is straightforward: End the lockdowns so people can get back to work and make a living

        Yet we had lockdowns with the two most powerful organs of government, the Presidency and (unfortunately) the Senate, in Republican hands. So are you sure that was their message? Seems like they’ve become as messed up as the Dems, quite a feat.

  3. ProNewerDeal

    fwd COVID-related suggested Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5-S49EqCJ8 Pathologist Dr Chris Martenson & E VA Medical School https://www.evms.edu/media/evms_public/departments/internal_medicine/Marik-Covid-Protocol-Summary.pdf claiming Ivermectin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivermectin is great for COVID treatment (both acute & long COVID) & for prophylaxis. Martenson citing clinical studies from multiple nations, & claiming it is superior to Remdesivir. Ivermectin happens to be a generic approved in the USA since 1981 for other non-COVID illnesses. It has been approved for COVID in some other nations in Latin America & Asia, but not in USA.

    Some commenters on the video are noting they or a family member has COVID but their physician refuses to prescribe Ivermectin. Yet the E VA Medical school uses Ivermectin as part of their standard approach, both for treatment & prophylaxis. Perhaps physician & pharma regulation vary by state, where in VA physicians can use their critical thinking & training, & some other states physicians must be automaton who just implement the FDA/Fauci/etc recommendation?

    The E VA prophylaxis is to take Ivermectin on the 1st day, 3rd day, then once every 4 weeks. I already take the daily supplements in the E VA prophylaxis regime: Vitamin D3, C, Quercetin, Zinc, B Complex.

    3rd World Murica: Some commenters are noting resorting to purchasing veternarian horse paste Ivermectin, or purchasing it from internet pharmacies in a few nations like Vanuatu that claim experience since the 1990s selling to Muricans, & that it is legal to purchase WITHOUT prescription if it is a 3 month supply for personal use. This seems somewhat crazy, but perhaps purchasing Ivermectin from a Vanuatu internet pharmacy as a temporary mitigation measure until a Non-Replicating Viral Vector Vaccine like Oxford is LESS CRAZY than the default of not using Ivermectin?

    What do ya think?! (c) Ed Schutlz.

    1. WhoaMolly

      A friend got Covid after he and his wife flew cross country to attend a family event. He was in ICU for 5 days. His wife was not infected. When they compared notes later, they realized the only thing she was doing different was taking D3, Zinc, and Vitamin C.

      Also saw what looks like a credible study showing that MMR II (Mumps, Measles, and Rubella) vaccine prevented a high number of Covid infections, and lessened severity when it was caught. Link:

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201120091157.htm

    2. foghorn longhorn

      Is Ivermectin recommended to treat the coronavirus?

      No. While there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.
      ‐——————

      Fail to see how an antiparasitic medication for animals can have any effect on an airborne virus.
      With that being said, any feedstore, or farm supply store can fix you up.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Agree!

        Ivermectin works for treating the mange in cats [as I recall it is toxic for dogs?]. You can get it in a tube with a plunger for dosing horses so you can sorta measure a dose. The Ivermectin paste dissolves in glycerin but it has a nasty bitter taste. Some of the tubes come with ‘apple’ flavoring to make it go down a horse more easily. For cats, mix the dose into some mashed up canned mackerel. That seemed to cover the bitterness.

        This stuff is supposed to do what to protect from Corona infection?

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Believe it is toxic for some dog breeds, Collies and Australian Shepherds, according to my wife.
          It is a poison that kills internal worms and other parasites.
          I would rather try the bleach*, than that stuff.
          Tongue firmly in cheek.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Drs can prescribe any medication for off label use. But most won’t prescribe something for Covid that they regard as an experimental treatment.

        1. Cuibono

          Exactly. As opposed to say Remdesivir which costs thousands and has some severe side effects and doesnt save lives

      3. Cuibono

        you might be interested to know that ivermectin is a commonly used HUMAN medication. Literally BILLIONS of doses have been given worldwide

    3. Mason

      I wouldn’t take everything Dr. Chris Martenson says as gospel but I did listen to him early along with Dr. John Campbell. They gave me a + two week early warning compared to the public before they started to take this seriously so I stocked up on food supplies before shelves emptied. +1 point to Chris.

      Chris has been ahead of the pack when recommending masks. The government sometime in late February claimed masks were unnecessary and damaged their credibility when they changed their tune. As an example, Trump’s clownish Surgeon General yelling not to wear masks in all caps on twitter. That and the press poo-pooing masks before it suddenly became mandatory. +2 points to Chris.

      His recommendations on Vitamin D and C. Admittedly, the science isn’t clear cut yet but taking extra vitamins is pretty low risk and now the UK is giving vitamin D supplements to millions of elderly individuals. Some of my at risk family members were recommended D3 by their doctor. Dr. Fauci stated on CNN that he takes vitamin D and I believe he recommended it in September? +3 points to Chris.

      Hydroxychloroquine. I’m more conflicted about this one since Chris promoted it for so long and with all the controversy around it. He doesn’t talk about it anymore and of course switched to suggesting Ivermectin. As far as I can tell, he always recommended talking to a doctor first before getting the drug and same with Ivermectin and he ain’t selling it himself. No points to Chris but I think HCQ was a decent drug to use early in the pandemic but there are better options now.

      SSSsooo… I trust Chris over the CDC and especially the WHO. He’s been consistently ahead of the pack for about several weeks to entire months. No, please do not buy Ivermectin paste for horses and consume it. Talk to your doctor.

      1. ambrit

        Good points except for the last one. My understanding is that the, “consult your doctor” boilerplate is to escape prosecution for “practicing medicine without a license” purposes.
        For those of us living in ‘conservative’ locations, finding any doctor willing to step outside of the Medical Industrial Complex mandated treatment regimes is well nigh impossible. I speak from experience, both first and second hand.
        What many of us need is unbiased medical information. That is very hard to find today.
        So, ‘studies’ that utilize on the ground, evidence based analysis of the efficacy of various treatment regimes and or substances are the ‘Gold Standard.’ As with everything else today, and probably for ever, sifting the wheat from the chaff is the key, and the hard part. I usually try to discover the funding sources of ‘Information Providers’ and also, whether or not such ‘Providers’ have a financial stake in the process or substance under discussion.
        For some strange reason, not clear even to me, I instinctively shy away from anything labeled as an ‘Institute.’
        Oh well. YMMV Squared.

      2. MyFunnyIdeas

        Dr. Chris Martenson has been ahead of the curve on all things corona since way back in February. As he said recently we’re on our own. There’s no knight in shining armor. Our public health institutions across the West are broken, corrupted by Big Pharma. I wouldn’t trust a thing they recommend, they are completely and utterly discredited. Here’s a few links to ivermectin studies:
        https://ivmmeta.com/
        https://medicalpressopenaccess.com/upload/1605709669_1007.pdf
        https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/9/9/2100
        https://c19ivermectin.com/
        Anyways I know what I will be doing were I to get covid and it sure won’t be take a couple of aspirin and call me in the morning.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon”

    Talk about raising a red flag. This is going to drive some parts of official Washington nuts. Not to worry though as he harsh conditions on the moon will take care of it. The American flags left on the moon were all bleached white a long time ago. The same will happen with this one.

      1. ambrit

        “To get that whiter white, try Selenite!”
        [There is a scientific explanation, but that’s so “Un Woke.”]

      1. rowlf

        Good catch,

        Old Soviet joke:
        This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: Why is our government not in a hurry to land men on the moon?
        We’re answering: What if they refuse to return?

    1. zagonostra

      China is already making inroads way past the U.S. in Nuclear Fusion technology that isn’t intended for destruction of the planet.

      The HL-2M Tokamak reactor is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.

      It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, according to the People’s Daily — approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.

      Located in southwestern Sichuan province and completed late last year, the reactor is often called an “artificial sun” on account of the enormous heat and power it produces

      They plan to use the device in collaboration with scientists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor — the world’s largest nuclear fusion research project based in France, which is expected to be completed in 2025..

      1. ewmayer

        Tokamak fusion is a “clean energy source”? That’s news to me. Tokamaks produce massive neutron fluxes. Suggest you check out the Wikipedia entry for aneutronic fusion – punch line:

        “Successful aneutronic fusion would greatly reduce problems associated with neutron radiation such as ionizing damage, neutron activation and requirements for biological shielding, remote handling and safety.”

        There was quite an interesting long reader discussion on a related article in Links on Thursday.

        1. fajensen

          The main differences with “standard nuclear” is that the “fusion reactor waste” doesn’t stick around for 2000 years (or more) and there isn’t 100 tonnes of it produced every 6-12 years per reactor!

          Anyways, Tokamaks are for plasma experiments, not power generation.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I read — don’t remember where — that the sun had bleached away the colors on the US flags on the moon with the exception of one of the flags that had fallen over and was covered with dust and debris. So just wait and in a while and for a while the Chinese may have a pink flag on the moon.

      I believe it was a mistake to put our flag on the moon and not because of the bleaching effects of the sun. The US did not put a man on the moon — a team of dedicated scientists, engineers, technicians and a large support staff put man on the moon. The US should have proudly acknowledged that the race to the man was an international effort that achieved a goal from dreams For All Humankind.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That flag that fell over may have been the Apollo 11 one. Some of the astronauts were offended by film footage that showed that the Apollo 11 flag was blown down in the blast-off from the moon by the Lunar Module and so ensured that raised flags that followed would stay put.

        1. Wukchumni

          A flight flown 18×12 inch old glory from Apollo 11 fetched $137k in auction last year.

          Apollo 11 is the ne plus ultra of space collectibles, everything else is pretty much expensive chopped liver in comparison, value-wise

    3. ambrit

      What made me laugh when I read that headline is the idea that “something big is being hid.”
      To plant your flag usually means to have an actual person go someplace and claim it by right of discovery.
      That headline suggests that the Chinese space program is a lot more advanced than generally imagined.

  5. skippy

    Ref: https://taskandpurpose.com/news/military-aviation-mishaps-deaths-cost/

    “This seems irreversible,” a Navy squadron commander told the commissioners. “I have increasingly unqualified people to teach the new generation who are then going to be less qualified to train the next generation.”

    Everything is a Challenger O ring now … bad maths … what physics … and a time and space concept of a fruit fly’s next meal and you know what …

    1. John

      The defense budget rises relentlessly yet there is a lack of spare parts, too little money to keep up training schedules, and increasingly lower qualifications among maintenance personnel. Have I got that right? This is third world stuff. Fancy uniforms and shiny boots but the troops eat scraps.

      1. David

        It’s a well-known problem in any organisation where the budgets for capital expenditure and for maintenance are separate and managed by different people. It’s not just that capital spending is higher visibility, it’s also that, if you have to cut something because of an overspend elsewhere, you cut what is easy to cut. You can’t buy half an aeroplane, but you can delay buying spares, you can cut training hours to save fuel and so forth. Air Forces are particularly prone to this kind of thing because spares are eye-wateringly expensive, and everything you do costs lots of money. The logic is familiar enough: you’ve just had to buy a new washing machine. The service on the car can wait a few months, can’t it ….

        1. flora

          Military contractors like Lockheed-Martin and Boeing are huge campaign donors. The dream is to automate as much as possible. Servicemen and women are just regular people.

          1. David

            Indeed, but they also sell spares, which are more profitable than platforms these days. You’d expect them to push for higher maintenance budgets.

            1. jsn

              Not when you could just automate bribes and contracts.

              You could cut out production completely and, Fed willing, create a perpetual motion machine mutually of enriching graft.

              A continuous flow of new Fed money to craprations with a fixed percentage flowing on to legislators is achievable!

        2. Dr. Strangelove

          Maintenance doesn’t increase the stock price of Lockheed Martin. Buying expensive jets does.

    2. Skip Intro

      The brilliant film Idiocracy becomes less comedic and more prophetic every year. Is there a technological society remaining that could/would fix or rebuild Arecibo?

    3. Glen

      I found this article shocking. As a guy that was in the USN and is now in aerospace, hearing that the military is skimping on spares is not new, but what has happened to the training? Heck, I’ve supported some of the schools while I was in the USN, and we did not skimp on that stuff, indeed it was the gold standard, and one of the reasons that ex-military techs were so sought after. The military A schools and C schools were the best.

      Now they get people that don’t know the difference between a Phillips head and straight blade screw driver? Are you {family blog} kidding me?

      Where in the blue balled {family blogging} hell does all that {family blogging} money go? They get close to a TRILLION dollars a YEAR?

      1. Wukchumni

        We had a flurry of F-35 overflights from nearby Naval Air Station Lemoore in a span of 3 days after nothing for months, and now the skies are quiet again. I’d guess the flight simulator is getting one heck of a workout there.

      2. Janie

        Glen, “don’t know Phillips head…”. Enlistees don’t come from farms these days; they come from apartments, maybe female-only adult households. A maintenance supervisor for our city told me he always looks for farm kids when he hires, but they’re getting harder to find.

        Maybe kids don’t hang out at small airports where homebuilts and 172’s or Piper Cubs are being worked on by their owners. Teenagers used to do that. Like cars, who’s got an old VW to work on today? Kid learns how to use a code reader instead.

        1. rowlf

          Maybe it’s nurture? One of my sons loved auto shop in his high school and got an after school job as a mechanics assistant in an independent repair shop. We’re trying to get him to go to tech school when he graduates from high school as a lot of industries beside automotive try to hire the top graduates.

          He has changed engines and transmissions in my driveway, and this afternoon he is replacing a camshaft on his friend’s Ford Econoline van that lost its distributor drive gear. Last weekend he was using one of my multimeters and chasing a loose common connection in another friend’s 1990s Dodge luxury pickup truck.

          There is an air park near us that has an aircraft museum (Candler Field Museum) which has a program where kids can help restore aircraft and go fly.

          1. Janie

            Nurture – exactly. Your son has a driveway, access to tools and a knowledgeable adult to help out. Airport program sounds like a win-win.

            1. rowlf

              I usually only help out after the Fk-Up Faerie visits. While I try to explain the righteous path and RTFM, sometimes the modern gentler equivalent of dope-slaps are required. I do always make sure he is working safely. I got voluntold into maintenance manager positions in the past so not having to haul him to the local hospital is a big deal with me.

              One of the challenges with developing maintenance personnel is you have to let them make mistakes in a safe environment. Someone who never made a mistake is someone who never did anything. When I train people I let them get into a corner so we can review how it happened.

              1. Janie

                It’s a good strategy. First job, for a gov agency, if I asked the supervisor something, he’d say let’s look it up in the regs together.

        2. remmer

          I don’t know where enlistees come from these days, Janie, but what you said sounds right. Which surprised me, because I was still thinking that young guys today were like young guys when I was young — they owned tools and knew how to use them. Depressing.

          1. Janie

            Quick look – can’t good good stats, but I’ve seen 2 to 3 percent of workforce. Is that paid help, contract labor on huge industrial farms, self-employed full or part time?

            I bought a couple of bales of straw from a farm store without examining them; the straw was not oriented properly. We’ve tried a couple of neighborhood teens for manual labor; you’d be amazed at what they can’t do, including working more than an hour in cool weather without a sit-down.

            1. remmer

              My sister and her husband have a farm, but the teens they hire are Amish, and they have little trouble with them. And I am amazed at the description of your neighborhood teens. No 4-H there?

              1. Janie

                I’m in a city of 100,000 plus. Scouts, 4-H, civic clubs – gone with the dodo. Band and sports are doing ok.

        3. jen

          Ahem. I was an apartment dwelling city chick for the first 3/5 of my life, and I know the difference between a phillips head and a straight blade screw driver. Had I chosen to procreate, you can be damned sure my progeny (male or female) would know as well.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Well ones a + and the other is a -.
            If you want some awesome screwdrivers check out Vessel.

        4. Glen

          Unless I was mistaken, they were talking about the people being graduated from the various military schools where first they would train you in electronics, troubleshooting, and board repair (Basic). Then what amounts to almost a quarter year of hands on training going much more in depth – this is the equivalent to a USN A school. The C schools would then continue that education while specializing into what was required for the various ratings in the service. i supported the school for torpedo men (rating since retired).

          What’s a Navy “C” school?
          https://www.quora.com/Whats-a-Navy-C-school?share=1

          If you were lucky enough to get a B school, you pretty much had a two year JC degree towards being an engineer.

          This was ALL extremely hands-on. Training on an airplane systems – they would have a couple of airplanes to disassemble/assembly, test, etc. They would have all of the proper test equipment, meters, solder benches, etc. The training was NO BS with a 40% wash out rate.

          And after ALL THAT, now they get techs in the service that don’t know which screw driver to use to open the access panel?

          Well funny enough, I remember talking to a retired Navy P.O. that took a contractor job in Afghanistan to MAINTAIN EQUIPMENT because as he told me – they don’t even clean their own barracks anymore – it’s all contracted out because they got money running out their {various family blog body orifices here.}

      3. skippy

        “Now they get people that don’t know the difference between a Phillips head and straight blade screw driver? Are you {family blog} kidding me?”

        I echo this observation across a wide swath of both manual arts and administrative fields, including its not just a knowledge aptitude, but one of physical motor skills i.e. how to position oneself whilst working.

        In my own personal observations from both an administrative and applied skilled trades perspective, since the 80s, its been a downward spiral. I could write a voluminous tomb on all I’ve seen since the 80s in the U.S. and abroad including here in Oz. Same incentives driven by short-termism to facilitate balance sheet flows whilst hiving off risk on everything below the C-suite.

        Just since being in Oz from the mid 90s I’ve watched the old construction mangers driven out after sales and marketing took over administration and applied the New and Improved [tm] best business practices … everything is temporary and outsourced – subbed-out all whilst the standard of materials keeps dropping i.e. an old B or C grade is the new A grade.

        On top of all that the Government has been pumping ludicrous amounts of money into private VET training [looted-what training] and incentivizing businesses to take on apprentices without any aptitude for the work and that no one would keep on otherwise, fudging employment metrics.

        Just to highlight the above I recently saw a photo supplied to an Oz business blog of a apartment building that had a 3m high brick wall, that transitions into a smooth render wall with a 200mm inset transition ledge, and per spec requires a waterproof membrane on the weather bearing ledge …. wait for it … so it seems someone got a hold of a potato chip packet wrapper Mfg roll and substituted it for the actual spec’ed membrane. Even had the product brand printing on it …

        Sigh … I socialize at the high end … their oblivious too it all … that’s what middle management and HR are for … and the latter is afraid to speak the truth whilst everyone plays prisoner dilemma [imported reality] … I could go on and on pointing out the same in say the health care [chortle] system, and a whole slew of other critical systems … and I know the core economic platitudes that created this mess …

      4. skippy

        I should add it seems the only economic reason behind most of this rubbish, where funds are looted and mismanaged at onset, and then flood the market with poorly trained et al certificated product [tm] is so people can make enough to qualify in buying a dog box and access [tm] all the other incentives that go along with it … tax offsets, rebates, front loading stamp duties for local and regional government funds, skin in the game [tm], and as the sadly decamped Colonel noted – a means to forward the privatize everything mentality whilst some well positioned people make squillions in the here and now.

      5. wilroncanada

        The A schools were torxed, and the C schools were too busy screwing around with Mrs. Robertson, from Canada.

    4. fajensen

      If one keeps growing the millitary at a higher growth rate than that of the society that supports it, then, eventually one is going to be scraping the barrel harder and harder for ever more talent and ressources.

      Obviously, “standards” will have to drop OR growth rate will have to drop! Growth rate is Sacred, so, get used to more screwups and fails!

      We saw exactly this happening with the IT-bubble: Shoddy and ever more meaningless products and services being produced by increasingly unqualified developers. We are still cleaning that mess up.

  6. VP

    Instead of going on a rant about chaining H1B’s to corporations, it would serve well to understand what the senate passed. The bill is will essentially allow H1B workers to become Green Card holders which will in turn allow them to break their immigration shackles and compete fairly. This conversion time line will be reduced from 100 odd years to hopefully a more sane number of years.
    The H1B slots are limited per year, there is no total wider cross year limit on the H1B’s. This bill does not increase or do anything about H1B – what was stated is just willful ignorance or misleading readers.

    1. timbers

      As a member of the peasantry, I’d like to point out there is an easy way to become a US citizens. I think it takes about 2 yrs.

      This is what I observed having been married to someone who did this, but married to him AFTER he did it. An immigrant only needs to marry a US citizen to apply for a green card and proceed to US citizenship. It’s widely called “fake marriage” among those who do this. The immigrant pays the US citizen money for this arrangement, the marriage. How common is this?

      Very.

      My ex gay husband was Brazilian and married a US woman and did just this and he had many Brazilian friends who were at various stages of this process. They would talk amongst themselves sharing tips on how to fool the Immigration folks so they could chinch that Green Card – like subscribe to a parenting magazine and keep it as it had the dates on it to present to a difficult immigration interview should the need arise.

      Now I live in a neighborhood with lots of Haitians. They live in nice single family houses with multiple bedrooms and dens and drive nice cars and have extended family members living with them. I have no doubt the same process is in play with Haitians as it is with Brazilians and many other nations.

      Once they get the Green Card, things get easier for them. Then they get US citizenship and it’s Mission Accomplished.

      Also, what about the part of Obama officially making US candidates unqualified?

    2. The Historian

      Instead of just ‘voting down’ which tells us nothing, why didn’t you state what VP got wrong? For instance, how unfair this bill is to all of those who want to immigrate and how it is designed to help only one industry in this country. FYI, I like immigrants – and I don’t think we have enough and I do think the green card process should be easier – I know, not a popular view here – but I think immigration should be fair and open to all groups, not just very specific workers used to boost the profits of companies like Facebook.

      1. VP

        I agree with you. We need a more comprehensive look at how we want immigration to work irrespective of political leaning, irrespective of industry or the place the immigrants come from. I was just responding to the scope of the article which I understand is just one sliver of the whole issue.
        There are so many holes and loopholes in the process like mentioned in the comments below which also need to be looked at.

    3. timbers

      As a side note, they way my ex’s friends began and remained employed in the US, was by “sharing” social security numbers. They had to be aware of the name they were know by at work, and their real name outside of work. They worked together to settle up taxes on the same social security number each tax season.

      1. Rod

        From my direct experience, there is a well known(within the undocumented community) and systematic information and support network.
        It has a deliberateness and takes every advantage it can to utilize known ‘opportunities’.
        Back when NC prevented those without a SS# from attending Community Colleges, and discovered many different individuals had the same SS #, my Institution worked around that within their system with an approved 9 digit registration code.
        Later, E-Verify was a lame and easily averted attempt to stop this.
        In Construction, you could easily satisfy much of your Manpower needs by simply mentioning your need for staffing to those working around you and inevitably you would be approached by someone who could ‘Broker” your labor needs.
        I knew more than a few who had employment, housing, and transportation waiting for them before crossing the border(all for a price–opportunity is not free you see)–sometimes the border crossing was part of the package if a large enough group from an area was coming. Before 9/11, I knew Contractors that slowed their workload around Xmas anticipating a Labor Vacation as workers went ‘home’ for the Holidays.
        Puerto Rico, and their citizenship by marriage, worked fine for Salvadorians, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans I personally knew. The marriages did not seem to be successful–with 5 of the 7 I knew ending in divorce or “legal Seperation” after arriving mainland.

        1. Oh

          My tax accountant friend told me that undocumented persons working for any business in the USA have their tax withholding sent under the social security no. of 000-00-0000. Everyone’s happy with that!

    4. Pat

      First off it is for show. The companies don’t want them to be citizens, the whole point is lower wages. Second I don’t give a fig about the immigrants, whatever their status. I give a damn about the hundreds of thousands American tech workers, past and future, Screwed by these visas.

      I want Tech giants’ H1B1 visas limited in number, they must pay market rate plus ten per cent, and the visa expires after six months maximum. During that six months the companies are required to start Permanent in house training programs to get American STEM workers the needed specifics these companies claim they are lacking despite their degrees to do those jobs. This training is for any such jobs in the future as well. Trainees will fill any and all jobs that have been held by Visa holders as the visas expires. That gets rid of that BS excuse. For instance They can start by hiring back the American workers they let go. No new visas will be issued unless and until said companies can show there are not enough American STEM graduates to fill the needed slots, and then they still face those six month limits and higher pay requirements. If they decide to off shore , they will be fined a minimum of $500,000 per job moved for ten years.

      The problem isn’t the American worker as much as it is that the C suite doesn’t want to pay them. And that they tell their paid and owned Elected Officials that corporations do not owe America anything including jobs. And those officials salute and go “Yes, Sir! Thank You, Sir!”

      Remember these are the same companies that managed to ignore their Sales competition long enough to set up a system that made sure they never had to increase wages to compete for the best workers. None of this is about ability it is about labor costs, something they shouldn’t complain about.

      1. Glen

        Thank you! Good post! These tech companies have been complaining for years about a lack of qualified workers, but what they are doing is just cutting cost without regard to the long term consequences to the company.

        Plus we are in a downward cycle where these same companies get outrageous tax breaks all while states slash funding for colleges and universities. The end result is the cost for a person to get a degree goes up, and the quality of the education available goes down.

        One change which would help is to raise taxes on corporations up to where these rate were when “America was great”. (Call this part of Making America Great Again if you wish.) Before when taxes were higher, the choice the C suite had was to pay taxes or invest in the company so they used to invest more in the company with R&D and new capital equipment and facilities. Now, they just strip mine the company and take the money and run. Plus the states need the revenue to get out of the downward spiral in supporting education.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Thank you.

        As Tucker Carlson pointed out the other day, indian “immigrants” are not coming to this country to scrub toilets or pick vegetables. They are coming to take the high paying tech jobs that actual american families are taking on soul-crushing, lifelong student debt to prepare for at overpriced american colleges and universities.

        But no ” ‘Fairness’ for High-Skilled Americans Act” for them. Unlike the monopolistic mega-corps for which they hope to work, “ordinary” americans apparently relish the prospect of competition with cheap foreigners, particularly from a position of debt peonage.

        I saw “senator” cramer from North Dakota hyping this “law” the other day. His “rationale” was that there is a microsoft “campus” somewhere in North Dakota so this less restrictive influx of foreign “talent” would “benefit” his “constituents.” He apparently has deluded himself into thinking that, once freed from their visa bondage, these immigrants will continue to choose the uber-cosmopolitan frozen tundra of North Dakota as their permanent residence, as opposed to, say, absolutely anywhere else.

        1. Jim

          “Payment pause for student loan borrowers will be extended,”

          Wouldn’t want to outrage the doomed generation of younger voters, or their parents, or grandparents who cosigned and embarrass No Bankruptcy protection for Student Borrowers President Biden time, til Kamala takes over, now would we?

      3. ChrisPacific

        You are both kind of saying the same thing. The problem is not so much immigration as the use of non-immigrant visas by companies to drive down pay and working conditions for all workers. As long as immigrant work visas (green cards) continue to be much scarcer and harder to obtain than non-immigrant (temporary) ones, this will be a structural feature of the system.

        While the proposed measure doesn’t fix the broken system, it does (on the face of it) make it slightly less broken, by improving access to green cards while keeping the H-1B quota the same. Whether it’s a genuine improvement or window-dressing remains to be seen. If the wait time for a green card is 195 years then it’s rather hard to maintain the pretense that an H-1B worker might eventually obtain one via employer sponsorship (which was historically the big draw for most H-1B workers). A cynic might say it was a case of re-baiting the trap.

        1. Pat

          No we aren’t saying the same thing.

          While we both acknowledge that the tech companies are using the H1B1 visa system to keep wages artificially low, the proposed solution will merely dilute the situation. They will still use the system to flood the market, there will just more “American” workers competing for the few jobs they qualify for with most still being filled by the quota acceptable H1B1 visa holders.

          That is unacceptable to me as it continues the abuse, I want a solution that protects American workers first and foremost, one that makes the H1B1 visa so expensive and unwieldy that they are not used except when there is no other option.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “China conducting biological tests to create super soldiers, US spy chief says”

    Jesus wept. Why is it that I suspect that we will be fed a steady diet of such stories in the years to come? Of course you will have the Pentagon announce their own programs to create super soldiers which will mysteriously be ready for release only two days after the announcement. Almost as if they have been working on it for years. A lot of people will hope that it will be like the enhancement program that produced Captain America but don’t get your hopes up.

    Silicon valley, smelling a lot of money, will say that they have their superior technology to enhance young men into super soldiers. Unsaid will be the fact that they will use the Borg from Star Trek as their inspiration. But hopefully it will be more successful than the follow on of the Robocop program-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJIjNs_s2NI

    1. Dftbs

      So much of our propaganda is based on projection. We accuse others of what we are doing, with the vitriol and hysterics of a high school “mean girl”. Of course these accusations are misdirections away from our own actions. And in the long run they serve as tautological justifications for misdeeds.

      1. John

        The propaganda is becoming more sophomoric by the moment. The super-soldier has been a science fiction plot idea for 70 or 80 years, the enemy of the moment even longer. You need to double up on your gullibility pills to even come close to believing this crap.

    2. jefemt

      Highly recommend “The Postman”, a great dystopian book about the Pac NW and this very scenario.

      Dream it, make it so…

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Heh…man, I haven’t had much coffee and am probably just being disagreeable, but I hated the movie version. :(

          I was an early *major* fan of the Postman book, and David Brin generally. Actually I think I have some memory of it originally being published in a couple parts circa 1982/3 in Isaac Asimov’s SF magazine (of which I was MAJOR fanboy, and subscribed to back when subscriptions and paper was still a thing) Plus, since it was set in precisely the part of Oregon I grew up in, was weird imagining things all post-apocalyptic.

          As a side plug for Brin’s work – his ‘Uplift’ series is also really good, in my opinion. Premise is that alien civilizations roam around ‘uplifting’ pre-sentient species via tech to be sentient and thus gain more vassals. Humans also ‘uplift’ other species on earth – such as dolphins – wash, rinse, repeat.

          Anyway, a few more books to NOT buy from Amazon, and instead find at your local used book store. :)

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I have toyed with the idea of getting a copy of the “Postman” movie DVD and making a of it present to my local US Post Office telling them that is how I feel about the value and importance of the US Postal Service. Maybe I’ll add a copy of the 1947 “Miracle of 34th Street”.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      When the propaganda really gets going it would be a good time to watch the 1998 “Soldier” staring Kurt Russell.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Or perhaps the 1992 film “Universal Soldier” with Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

        1. ambrit

          The best antidotes to warmongering propaganda I have found so far are “Paths of Glory” by Kubrick, “Full Metal Jacket,” also by Kubrick, “The Grand Illusion” by Renoir, a recent Russian film whose name I forget and, oh H—. There are so many good anti-war films floating about in the Infosphere that I despair that war is still a common pursuit.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Confessions of a Clintonworld Exile”

    Just had a brilliant idea. A few people over the months have mentioned the TV series “The Crown.” Haven’t seen it myself but it is supposed to great viewing. Anyway, how about a new TV series called…..”The Clinton.” It would be great and has all the stuff of high drama. So it starts him being born to a bigamous marriage – and goes downhill from there. Think of all the highlights. Meeting Kennedy. Crossing a union line when he met Hillary. Governor of Arkansas. The Presidency and that blue dress. The Clinton Foundation. Just look at his Wikipedia page to see the possibilities and yeah, I’d pay to see this one-

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

    1. edmondo

      I want to see the episode where Bill meets Denise Rich alone in the Oval Office and her husband gets a pardon at the end. We can call it “Which president has Peyronie’s Disease”?

      1. ambrit

        I’d lay money on the episode where Bill goes down to the Underage Virgin Islands to learn the Limbo is redacted. Naturally, that episode will be titled; “How Low Can You Go.”
        With the Clintons, the material writes itself.

    2. ambrit

      That would be a great show.
      My idea is for one about the machinations of an “up and coming” American POC politico.
      I’ll call it; “Black Adderess.”
      Now, who is to play Baldrick?
      We already know who the Turnip is.

        1. ambrit

          Yowsah! You are spot on. This entire Biden Administration Scam is a “cunning plan!”
          That idea reminds me of the later Blackadder “series” where Black Adder manages to become the King in the present day and Baldrick is his Prime Minister! That piece of “entertainment” was truly prescient. Boris Johnson really is a “real life” example of a Baldrick, full of “cunning plans.” And we know how all of those plans end.
          The producers need to do an updated Blackadder program. Have him and entourage in the modern day as an MP and assorted hangers on.

          1. petal

            Had never heard of Blackadder until I went to Australia-it was my buddy’s favourite show. I’m a fan of Tony Robinson(played Baldrick for those not familiar). He did Time Team and also a bunch of history documentaries. They’re super, learned a lot from that guy. An updated Blackadder program might be a nice new project for them, even if it’s just a one-off special. Would be fun-so much material and potential.

        2. Janie

          The last episode of Blackadder is tragic. They go over the top at the Battle of the Marne (I think) right into gunfire. Those addlepates who still war is glorious should watch it. Maybe follow with Charge of the Light Brigade.

    3. Carolinian

      The Crown–great show–is about the exalted status of the Royals versus their messy personal lives. With the Clintons you’d have the messy personal with no status except among some deluded hard core Dems. The Clintons are garden variety grifters and climbers. I can’t imagine who would find them interesting at this point.

      However there have been a couple of movies about Tony Blair, the British Clinton (he saved his messy personal for later). So who knows?

      Hollywooders love the Clintons these days so a debunking probably won’t come from them despite the long ago Primary Colors.

    4. FergusD

      Been watching the latest version of ‘The Crown’. I am a republican, living in the U.K., admittedly of Irish decent, but many Brits are essentially republican, with a small r. The latest series has the detestable Mrs T. She comes across badly. The episode I watched today was about the time an unemployed man broke into Buck House to speak to Mrs Windsor about his plight and that of the working class under Thatcher. It was sympathetic to him and portrayed those grim times well I think. Mrs Windsor is made out to be a sort of centrist. Not sure how true that is.

      1. Carolinian

        Apparently considerable dramatic license has been availed to make the show work as a drama. It shouldn’t be taken too literally–just the broad strokes.

        1. ambrit

          I thought that the title “Mrs. Windsor” was meant to identify the wife of King Edward VIII, she also known as “The Whore From Baltimore.” [She was originally from Pennsylvania.]
          The name House of Windsor was created a way back when to differentiate them from their cousins, the Kaiser and Company. (They were embroiled in a ‘vigorous dispute’ about who owned the rights to the French Territories.)

            1. ambrit

              Ouch!
              To cut her some slack, I’ll note that she is just one inmate out of many in that Bagnio otherwise known as the “House.”

      2. Count Zero

        Fergus, I agree. I too am an English republican. Most of the British people I have known over the years think the whole royal family thing is silly — an expensive anachronism. But then there’s a pause — but what would you put in its place? Then there’s a shudder at the thought of the kind of political grandee who might become President of the Republic of Britain (or England). Tony Blur? Mrs Thatcher? So they settle instead for the monarchy as a fairly harmless alternative.

        And in some ways that was precisely how the British monarchy survived the revolutions of the seventeenth century. As a merely decorative figurehead and rubber stamp. Real power existed elsewhere. Read Walter Bagehot’s brilliant and funny chapter on the monarchy in his classic text, The English Constitution.

        1. LifelongLib

          I live in the U.S., but at least in theory it’s better to have the ceremonial functions (head of state, whether carried out by a monarch or a president) separate from the political ones (head of government e.g. prime minister). The U.S. president has elements of both which makes for some confusion…can’t criticize policy without insulting the nation…

  9. Wukchumni

    Oh the main street economy is frightful
    But the Dow Jones is so delightful
    And since we’ve no place to go but fall
    Let It Snowball! Let It Snowball! Let It Snowball!

    It doesn’t show signs of stopping
    And I’ve bought some corn for popping
    Who really knows the down low of it all
    Let It Snowball! Let It Snowball! Let It Snowball!

    When it finally comes a cropper
    How I’ll hate watching chart porn!
    But if you put popcorn in the popper
    Make sure you have some butter warm

    Brick & mortars are slowly dying
    And, my dear, we’re still online buying
    But as long as they deem it so
    Let It Snowball! Let It Snowball! Let It Snowball!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      All these songs but I’m still watching for your CD — “Weird Wukchumni throws down the Gauntlet at Weird Al Yankovic’s Feet”. Will it be ready for this Christmas?

    2. fresno dan

      Wukchumni
      December 5, 2020 at 9:01 am

      you really need to start trademarking (or is it copyrighting?) your songs. Sing ’em on YouTube and you will be a STAR! Pretty soon you’ll be rich enough to have a solid gold car, and a house with fur sinks.

  10. fresno dan

    https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/local-news/jeopardy-champion-ken-jennings-roasts-fresno-on-twitter/

    “Jeopardy!” Champion Ken Jennings sent a tweet roasting Fresno on Thursday.

    The tweet referenced John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel “Grapes of Wrath,” which was turned into a movie directed by John Ford.

    The Steinbeck novel was set during the Great Depression where farmers were driven from their Oklahoma home by drought and headed to California.

    Jennings said in a tweet, “The Grapes of Wrath is probably the only movie where the happy ending is a family moving to Fresno”.
    ===========================================
    Its said that Satan was going to locate Hell in Fresno, but that it was too hot and too boring…

    1. Wukchumni

      Fresno only exists so that Bakersfield won’t get an inferiority complex, or was it the other way around?

        1. Wukchumni

          They’re really different cities, Bakersfield is sitting adjacent to oil fields that would make a Saudi or Texan take note-along with a fair amount of Ag, while Fresno is largely Ag dependent, with a meth habit.

          They both have Trader Joes, as somewhat of a redemption.

          1. Wukchumni

            Yes, both of them are directly responsible for the lions share of what my Congressman Kevin McCarthy has accomplished in over a dozen years in office, in renaming post offices in Bakersfield in their honor.

            His most recent renaming episode was the ill-named ‘Success Dam’ on the Tule river. The new moniker is on behalf of some sorry sap and it’s called the Richard L. Schafer Dam now

            Said receptacle is seismically suspect and is kept only @ 35% of capacity, and would cost half a billion to fix, which will never happen as it’s a pipsqueak’s wet dream, as far as size goes.

    2. Michael

      Anyone remember the sitcom “Fresno” with Carol Burnett? Teri Garr, Charles Grodin, Dabney Coleman? No?

      1986 one and done. Lots of drinking…

      1. fresno dan

        Michael
        December 5, 2020 at 11:46 am

        I remember it. And I loved Carol Burnett, but the mini series just didn’t do it for me. Might be interesting to revisit it as a 65 year old geezer, instead of a 30 year old, unfamiliar with the machinations of “Big Raisin.” And the thing of it is, I never much cared for raisins…
        From Wikipedia:
        Fresno rips apart the surface gloss and glitter of the nation’s 64th largest city to reveal the sun-ripened passions and freeze-dried hearts of wealthy raisin tycoons as they wage a life-and-death battle for money, power and control of the vital raisin cartel.

        1. Wukchumni

          The miniseries was most funny in that it took the mickey out of Falcon Crest and other 1980’s glorification of the wealthy, but in the end how do you get people interested a place whose claim to fame is calling it’s port of entry: Fresno Yosemite Airport, when wallhalla is a couple hours drive from baggage claim?

        2. JP

          I thought the best part was the intro where the conquistadors are exploring Cal. One foot solder comes back and says “comandante, grapes from the valley beyond”. The comadante tastes them and says these are good, they will sustain us. A second foot solder comes back and says “comandante grapes from over there”. The comandante tastes them and spits them out and says “these taste like fresno”.

      2. psmith

        I loved that mini-series! “People look at our names on those little raisin boxes and they think our lives are so glamorous–hah! Nothing but seasons in the sun. Sure, we’re smiling on the outside, but we’re drying up on the inside.”

    3. ewmayer

      I’m still hoping beyond hope that the copyright-holder will someday make the hilarious Dallas-and-Dynasty-spoofing Carol Burnett miniseries Fresno available on DVD. It’s about the vicious competition, intrigues and family scandals among a set of wealthy families running competing raisin empires. Tagline: “A saga of love, hate & sour grapes.”

      1. ewmayer

        @RevKev: Thanks, I generally dislike streaming, but may have no choice in this case.

        @Wuk: Yah, Brownies did good yesterday, too – even with Beckham gone for rest of season the receiver corps looked great – but being a long-suffering fan I dare not tempt the fates by getting my hopes up of any multi-game playoff run. The Progressive “at home with Baker Mayfield” ad series is fun, too, especially now that the principal is once again playing up to the lofty expectations, under a head coach who finally seems to have the right stuff.

  11. The Rev Kev

    Furzy’s sister’s llamas, “Off on a trek in the Oregon hills.”

    Always a bit of a mind-spin to see something completely unexpected from another culture where you would not expect it. One time I was in the center of France taking a break from backpacking. Just then, three young French guys rode in to this picnic place. On horses. Dressed as Western cowboys. With the horses using Western saddles and carrying light camping gear. When I sat back and thought about it, I had to admire their spirit as it would be a great way to get around rural France and would give you memories of a trip like no other.

    1. Wukchumni

      Here on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, aside from NPS stock which resupplies trail crews and backcountry ranger stations in the summer, you almost never see anybody independently on horseback.

      Maybe i’ve seen 5 people astride a steed in the backcountry, I remember a couple from San Diego, who had brought their city horses with them, and she told me that they had to dismount about 35 times on the 11 mile stretch of the High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow, as their mounts were so sketched by cliffs hundreds of feet down just beyond the trail.

      It wasn’t always that way, and precious few people backpacked in the glory days of horsepacking in the 1930’s, things change.

      1. JP

        They closed the Hocket trail to horse and pack animals because of the erosion. It speaks to the political persuasion of the Backcountry Horseman’s Assoc. that horses are allowed backcountry but not bycycles.

        1. Wukchumni

          There were parts of the Ladybug trail where it was as if we were emulating Neil Armstrong, with each footprint in the grey ash, our boots went in 6 inches, one small step for mankind and all that.

    2. Janie

      A few decades ago, we shared a flight with a man wearing a huge rodeo champion belt buckle and hand-carrying a hat box containing a lariat. He was a champion team-roper on his way to rodeo in Germany. He said rodeo outfitters ship horses, rough stock and chutes there, where cowboying was quite popular, with dude ranch and roundups for vacationers. Who knew?

  12. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re: “224 killed, 186 aircraft lost. Military pilots worry about being ‘the next accident'”

    * a junior Marine told the Commission that his unit was reusing expendable $5 filters on aircraft. The unit, he explained, still had missions to do even if there was no money to purchase new filters,” the commission reported.
    * “This seems irreversible,” a Navy squadron commander told the commissioners. “I have increasingly unqualified people to teach the new generation who are then going to be less qualified to train the next generation.”
    * The 2013 budget reductions known as sequestration cut personnel, flight hours and depot maintenance and required the aviation community to do more with less. In the years that followed, thousands of experienced aviators and maintainers left military service for commercial aviation despite being offered sizable retention bonuses to stay.
    * New pilots recruited to backfill the aviation ranks pay the price too, because they receive fewer training flight hours and have fewer experienced instructor pilots available to teach them, the report found.

    Unlike mega-programs such as the F-35 fiasco, which are politically engineered to spread the subcontracts widely across states and Congressional districts, there’s no broad constituency for maintenance and training. If our “betters” are stupid enough to get us into a serious hot war again, say in the South China Sea or Persian Gulf areas, it ain’t going to be pretty.

    1. rowlf

      Over the years in the airline industry it has been observed that once you go below a certain threshold of maintenance to save money your airplanes get really ratty quickly, like a dog picking up fleas. (The joke being it costs a lot to save that much money.) You don’t want to gold plate your aircraft but there is a balance to be maintained, kind of like keeping your body healthy.

      Having studied some of the military accidents due to flying aircraft with chronic maintenance problems I often couldn’t believe nobody in the military was getting the picture that their maintenance program has been rotten for several decades. On the other hand I have had to work with retired military officers with MBAs that were completely useless or dangerous at an airline. They often had no clue what corner cutting could lead to in a safety sensitive field.

      1. RMO

        When I was taking AME training I had one teacher who had just started teaching after working at Canadian Helicopters for several years. Prior to that he had been in the RCAF. He said it was a big shock moving to the commercial aviation field. In the RCAF he said everyone specialized in a narrow field so when a helicopter was being worked on, he would only work on the parts that were “his” (I believe he mostly worked on the rotor blades and head) and everything else was somebody else’s problem. He said this even translated to not doing general work when his specialty wasn’t called for at the moment – removing interior parts, quick-change units or even general cleaning/degreasing. At Canadian he found out pretty quick that he was going to work on everything. Haven’t been trained on that yet? Don’t worry, you will be. Right now. He also found the pace much more intense. There was an ex-RCAF guy in school as a student the same time as me. He seemed like a good student and mechanic. Despite his time as a mechanic in the military he still needed to take the course in order to work in the civilian world (the instructor had to do the same thing when he left the RCAF). One advantage he had from the military time was that he would be considered to have completed his apprenticeship period – unlike the rest of us who would still need to find a couple of years of consistent work as apprentices before being allowed to take the final exam and get licenses. (Only one person in my class actually managed that – the rest of us never ended up working in the industry)

        1. rowlf

          Thanks for posting that. It is usually the same experience in the US with military technicians. On the flipside, I get a kick out of the European technicians I work with commenting how easy they thought getting the FAA Airframe and Powerplant certificates after they had their EASA certificate.

          What I don’t get is I watch the maintenance records for sixty (it keeps growing as we get new deliveries) aircraft and I have programs that identify repetitive write-ups for review. My airplanes also transmit all their fault messages and trends for review and monitoring. Important faults alert me by email so I can coordinate a repair and minimize delays. A chronic fault or a system being inoperative is a big deal. Why does the military tolerate their maintenance situation?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “World’s oldest known, banded wild bird returns to nest at Midway Atoll’

    ‘The world’s oldest known, banded wild bird is at least 69 years old.’

    Just for a bit of context, if that bird proved to be just several years older, it would have remember the Japanese bombings during the Battle of Midway.

    1. edmondo

      And if he were a little bit older than that, he would have been elected president. I wonder if they are going to tag Old Joe so that they can find him when they need something signed?

  14. tricia

    from Biden inherits Middle East’s grapes of wrath Asia Times:
    “Biden’s perception of the kingdom as a “pariah” state”

    hmm….really? All optics, IMO. Too much bad press re Khashoggi (never mind all the activists they butcher over there), Yemen.

    As VP under Obama, I doubt he opposed the massive record-setting (at the time) billions-of-dollars arms sales to that ‘pariah state.’

    1. zagonostra

      When you “inherit” something, unless it’s biological, you didn’t really do anything to warrant reception. So in this sense OBiden did not inherit the Middle East’s “pariah state” but actually helped create it.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Evolved to run – but not to exercise”

    Damned right about early humans simply running down animals until they dropped exhausted and helpless. Word must have gotten around about this new species on the plains of Africa. Animals would have told their young ‘Listen, and understand. That human is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.’

    Hey, if we are designed to run, then maybe they had the right idea back in the 70s with all that running.

    1. Ed Miller

      You beat me to commenting on that Irish Times article, but there is more to say.

      First, he said NOTHING not already documented in a book, Born to Run by Chris McDougall.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_to_Run_(McDougall_book)

      Second, he completely whitewashes out the fact that until modern times most people had to work hard all day long just to survive. You don’t need to play tennis to be fit if you just spent 14-18 hours in the fields tending you crops, doing whatever is needed. Another example of setting a narrative by refusing to publish the whole historical story.

      My understanding is based on 40 years at a desk, then discovering the benefits of doing all that he says we need not do. I also do manual yard work just to keep moving. Many of my HS classmates are 6 feet under because they do as he says.

      1. juno mas

        Yes, precisely!

        Hunter gatherers were happy to have a fat store of any kind. Modern man can add fat stores simply by walking to the refrigerator for some ice cream.

        The article, while explaining why walking doesn’t activate the larger gluteous muscles, shows a female runner doing stadium steps (which does activate the glutes) rather than running on the flats (as most people do). I used to run regularly on the cushioned surface of a rubberized track at a local stadium. But stopped because of the deleterious impact on my ankles, tarsals and metatarsals. Stepping up the steep stadium steps is a better more useful muscle exercise. (I’m 70+)

        For those of you inured to the impacts of running on your body, learn to swim properly. It is a low-impact, intense upper body, aerobic exercise with special effects from moving through a magical fluid that is especially invigorating as you move through the rest of the day. I’ve recently discovered ocean swimming (local 50M lap pool closed for months at beginning of pandemic). It is infinitely more enjoyable than the warm chlorine pool water. Learn ‘total immersion’ swim technique and you’ll be able to exercise for the rest of your life.

    2. Maritimer

      I’m out grudgingly jogging every morning at 6:30AM to get it over with. If I did not have audiobooks as distraction, it would be even more difficult.

      I don’t have a problem with exercise if it has a direct purpose, like moving bales of hay or chopping wood. But when it is exercise just for exercise sake my mind rebels.

      I have seen lots of perky, happy runners over the years and they seem like aliens to me. Their physiology/psychology is definitely different than mine. There are also the millions, maybe billions of folks who actually participate in sports and love it. They merrily exercise away. The Perfessur had best get back to his drawing board on this theory that does not explain these exercising enthusiasts.

      1. HotFlash

        I figure it’s the endorphins making them so bloody cheerful. What baffles me is electrically-powered exercise machines. Shouldn’t we be creating electricity with our ‘exercise’?

      2. EarlyGray

        > But when it is exercise just for exercise sake my mind rebels.

        Exactly the same here. Which is why the only exercise regimen that ever stuck for me was cycling to work. It was 13 kilos each way or about 40 minutes. A bonus was it was slightly quicker than taking the train.
        I kept it up for 9 years until a change of job put an end to it. It definitely helped keep the pounds off. I highly recommend it for those that can do it but I realize it’s not feasible for all.

  16. Mikel

    “US Senate passes bill eliminating per-country cap for H-1B work visas” Deccan Chronicle.

    While in the cost of getting a STEM degree in the USA is just as high as other denegrated degrees they claim are “worthless” for job seeking.

    1. Skip Intro

      You point near another aspect of the predation on display here. The STEM degrees of these H1Bs were most likely subsidized substantially, including the entire social infrastructure for producing college students, by their governments. The US has gutted and profitized the process end-to-end, and can no longer produce cost-effective STEM grads. By importing them, we also mooch off the origin countries’ investment. If the H1Bs return home, the country gets some money and experience back. If they stay, the US keeps it all.

      1. edmondo

        If only we could get some politician to run on free college for all then that guy could probably win in a landslide…

        Just kidding. LOL

  17. Mikel

    RE: CNN…mRNA vaccine

    The two front-runners for getting an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration — Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna — use new mRNA technology. No US-licensed vaccine has ever used it, although researchers have been studying it for decades, against infections like flu, rabies and Zika, and even for some types of cancer.

    The way these mRNA vaccines work is that they give our body the instructions, in the form of messenger RNA, for making a little piece of this particular coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) — specifically the spike protein. When our body gets these instructions, it starts producing the spike protein. That in turn triggers our immune system, which recognizes the spike protein as “foreign,” to make antibodies against it. So when we get infected with the real virus, our body is already prepared to fight it.”

    Totally irresponsible, dangerous, and psychotic to put something like this on the market without longer, much longer tests on actual humans.
    This could easily disturb years of evolution that has made our bodies prepare for the fight against disease.
    They don’t KNOW that much for me risk my life for their profit.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I have no intention of trying an mRNA vaccine for something like the Corona pandemic. I agree with your judgement that US Public Health has been placed in the control of “totally irresponsible, dangerous, and psychotic” individuals.

      If the mRNA for making the spike protein has been so well identified and accurately replicated, and we are so confident and understand so well how human cells work the magic of producing the Corona virus spicules … why don’t they dump the mRNA on vats of domesticated yeast cells and extract spicules from the mix? If they understand so well what they are doing, why don’t they partition the mRNA for the spicule into the segments required for each of the proteins that self-assemble[?] into a spicule and generate batches of those proteins using yeasts and the mix the proteins together to obtain spicules?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Totally irresponsible, dangerous, and psychotic to put something like this on the market without longer, much longer tests on actual humans.

      Those tests on actual humans are comin’ right up, code name “emergency use authorization.”

      1. Mikel

        It’s something peoples bodies are already doing. Hence the survival rate for Covid. Some better than others, but now introduce somthing they think is going to trigger certain responses, without being really sure what it could trigger.
        Our bodies develop in response to our environment as much as genes.
        Just so many variables to take in account on this rush job.

      2. Mikel

        I suspect there will be less experimental options available to those interested. Hopefully available.

  18. Wukchumni

    lets talk about after the pandemic…

    The lasting memory I have of the 1994 Northridge earthquake wasn’t the temblor, but the aftereffects mentally.

    I noticed an odd thing in the City of Angles in that on busy arteries such as Sepulveda Blvd (one of those LA words where one can distinguish a local from an outsider, by the way it’s pronounced) when traffic was stopped during rush hour, drivers would not occupy the space underneath an overpass-there’d be this 100 foot gap, and it’s understandable, as a bunch of bridges and overpasses collapsed in a 20 second stretch.

    Earthquakes of size are few and far between, but so psyched out by the experience, Angelenos showed fear along these lines for about a year, by my recollection.

    Covid ain’t no 1/3rd of a minute gig, how long does it take us to get back to our normally scheduled lives?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good point that. The 1994 Northridge earthquake lasted only about 10 to 20 seconds. With the present pandemic, we are headed for the first anniversary of its commencement and it still has a long way to run. But then again, the pandemic of 1918-1919, though it killed 675,000 Americans alone, seemed to have dropped down a memory hole and even medical history books gave it barely a mention afterwards. Really, it could go either way here.

  19. anon in so cal

    Glenn Greenwald calls out Bernie Sanders:

    “After the Deep State Sabotaged His Presidential Bid, Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe it Exists”

    “Also ridiculing “rigged elections” and “fake news” — two other weapons used on him — the Vermont Senator’s relationship to the Democratic Party descends from loyal support to abject subservience.

    …..establishment in lieu of his more successful 2016 strategy of proudly positioning himself as its adversary, Sanders by this point had repeatedly echoed the maximalist conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia, leaving him with little room to maneuver once this Cold War tactic was predictably deployed against him. After suggesting the leak to The Post was intended to harm his campaign, he had no other options beyond sputtering with faux-toughness about how he would show Putin who was boss.

    In other words — both prior to the leak and after — Sanders repeatedly validated rather than scorned the CIA’s Russia narrative (just as he did with the equally cynical Bernie Bro attacks). So it put him in a defensive crouch for the rest of the campaign, unable to explain why Putin — Public Enemy Number One among the Democratic Party base — was trying to help him win.

    In the only debate held in South Carolina prior to that state’s primary, Michael Bloomberg wasted no time in using this leak, claiming to Sanders just minutes in that “Russian is helping you” win the nomination because the Kremlin viewed the socialist Senator as the weakest candidate to oppose Trump. Because Sanders had been championing the CIA’s Russiagate script against Trump for years, he had no defense when the intelligence community turned it against him and Bloomberg used it to attack him:…..”

    https://greenwald.substack.com/p/after-the-deep-state-sabotaged-his

    1. Phillip Cross

      Enquiring minds wish to know, is Bernie on the record either validating or ridiculing the “Deep Underground Military Bases”, or “Cabalistic Underground Neurological Torment Sites” conspiracies?

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm….
        In reference to the “Deep Underground Military Bases” I seem to remember Cheyanne Mountain as being one such. Then there is the Presidential Bunker at Camp David. If you are thinking of Dulce Base, well, I wouldn’t go there if I were you.

        1. Phillip Cross

          In an amazing example of synchronicity, unrelated to your comment, I was reading about Paul Bennewitz this evening!

          🔊xfiles_theme.mp3

          1. ambrit

            Strange you should say so. I was looking yesterday in the “library” here at home for my copy of Vallee’s “Passport to Magonia.”
            To your last reference, well, let’s just say that I don’t want to go chasing down that rabbit hole. Little Alice warned me off of that.

      2. flora

        Or is Bernie another follower of public thinking, like most pols, but a follower of quiet thinking voters not captured by the MSM’s official stories? /heh

        1. ambrit

          Symbolically speaking, the President should not be a ‘follower’ of anyone. The position is a classic venue for ‘leaders.’
          My take is that we have not had any real ‘visionary’ presidential candidates lately.

    2. Heruntergekommen Sein

      20/20 hindsight. Bernie Sanders would have lost in the general election; it was that close. — Trump sacked 11 of 13 Defense Policy Board members, the civilian leadership and foreign policy expertise of the Defense Department – strange – in at least one instance replacing the members with his campaign manager. Trump is blocking Biden’s access to the intelligence agencies, just them, and presumably the secure server just for Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders. A visibly desperate Trump produced a 46-minute plea to disregard the election on grounds of corruption and avoid sending himself back to civilian life. Instead of preparing to cash in and resume being NY’s least likeable real estate developer, which is a bit of a mea culpa.

      In light of the Flynn pardon, court documents reveal Flynn called Kislyak from a Punta Cana hotel landline at the same time Flynn was on his personal phone with KT McFarland at Mar-a-lago, discussing over speaker phone, how the campaign and the Kremlin had to keep working together against the Democratic Party. A basic honeypot comprising the admin from the get-go, announcing to the world the Kremlin’s return to polite society and the admin is dangerously incompetent on the world stage.

      Throw in the open discussion of yanking Trump’s post-presidency security clearance because his debts alone, prima facie, disqualifies him. The pursuit of a Moscow development project was never really called off according to Michael Cohen’s testimony. Oh, and Flynn is currently advocating for martial law. Which considering the election results, and retired military still being held to code, is literally seditious speech, undermining the Constitution as the military defines it. Russiagate far-fetched? ‘Seems to have at least moved away from “hoax” toward “unverified”, pretext for stealing the WH silverware.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, that’s false. Sanders way way way outpolled Clinton in every 1:1 poll v. Trump in 2016. Given how the polls in 2020 overstated Biden v. Trump, you can be sure they overstated Biden relative to Sanders too.

      2. ewmayer

        Our “comedown”-self-named drive-by poster caught in another lie: “Trump is blocking Biden’s access to the intelligence agencies”. AP begs to differ:

        Top Secret: Biden Gets Access to President’s Daily Brief: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris began receiving the nation’s most sensitive secrets [on 30 November] as they prepare to assume office on Jan. 20.

        (Oh, look, a CIA-creep Mike “we need to kill some Russians” Morell sighting as a bonus.)

        And I want to see a link to those alleged “court documents” re. Flynn & Kislyak.

        “Heruntergekommen sein”? More like “das Blaue vom Himmel lügen”.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Secrecy and Spin: How Florida’s Governor Misled the Public on Covid 19….

    As a Floridian, I am outraged at DeSantis’ penchant for optimism as opposed to relentless, 24/7 gloom, doom and visions of imminent death and disability–“case” by “case,” occupied ICU bed by occupied ICU bed, and death by death.

    I, for one, prefer the honesty of draconian, impoverishing lockdown orders issued from maskless birthday party dinners at expensive French restaurants, or travel restrictions issued from Cabo timeshares.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Just a coincidence?

        No, the new york times, former employer of judith miller, among others, and, more currently, relentless, unapologetic purveyor of Russiagate propaganda.

        Heartwarming to know you’re keeping me in your “thoughts,” though, during this fraught holiday season.

        1. Phillip Cross

          The figures are from the CDC.

          …Or are they are in on it too!?

          🔊twightlightzone_theme.mp3

          1. flora

            And yet:

            https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2020/11/27/johns-hopkins-study-saying-covid-19-has-relatively-no-effect-on-deaths-in-u-s-deleted-after-publication-n1178930

            and the original J-H article from the Wayback machine:

            https://web.archive.org/web/20201126223119/https://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2020/11/a-closer-look-at-u-s-deaths-due-to-covid-19

            It’s a statistical evaluation, which may not be wrong, but might be used incorrectly. etc.

            1. Phillip Cross

              Yes, that’s what we were talking about. It was an article by an economics lecturer in the JH student newspaper.

              If you read the article, she surmised that on a percentage basis the other causes of death in 2019 were reduced proportionally overall by 12% in 2020, and 12% of deaths in 2020 were from covid-19. Therefore, she concluded, the people who died of covid, would have died in the other categories anyway.

              Genius level stuff!

              Trouble is that doesn’t help us understand why there are 350,000 deaths from all causes, over and above the 5 year average so far in 2020.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            Would that be the same CDC that did not contradict fauci when he lied to the american people about wearing masks early on, or is there another, more honest CDC that nobody knows about?

            “There is no reason for anyone right now in the United States, with regard to coronavirus, to wear a mask,” Fauci told Spectrum News DC on February 14…..
            —-
            Instead, Fauci and other top government officials made fun of people who wanted to wear a mask.
            —-

            And, as a result, there was mass confusion when the government finally flipped and started to recommend masks for everyone, even if they had to make them at home. The CDC didn’t change its guidance on mask use until April 3, finally recommending that people wear masks, even if they’re homemade out of cloth.

            Fauci’s refusal to embrace masks has had a real impact on the way that Americans perceive the coronavirus fight….

            https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/dr-fauci-made-the-coronavirus-pandemic-worse-by-lying-about-masks/ar-BB15zyW3

            PS. Given the paper’s history, sports scores published in the nyt should be fact checked IMNSHO.

      2. Jim

        Gee, half of certain Florida cities’ population are old refugees from New York who have bad hearts, diabetes, cancer, liver disease and other maladies that were ignored or not treated nor operated on starting in February when hospitals and clinics closed. Plus suicides are up. That undoubtedly creates excess deaths compared to the year before.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The average age in Florida is more than a year less than the average age in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Plus I can tell you many if not most of those refugees would get treated in NYC, not Florida. Please tell me what good hospitals there are in Fla. Answer: none. The best hospitals in the South are in Birmingham, Al.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            There’s a Mayo Clinic “campus” in Jacksonville and Cleveland Clinic facilities in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area.

            I know because my Medicare Advantage Plan pretends I can go there if I “wanted” or “needed” to.

    1. GF

      martin

      I saw a talking head on TV last night state that the documents needed to be reviewed before the meeting dates (Dec 8, 9 and 10) by the panel are literally thousands of pages long (40,000+ trial participants each with their own file) and were just supplied to the panel. In a normal years long vaccine investigation the files would have been distributed in a more timely manner like the article you linked to mentions. The panel will use these files as fodder for questioning the CEO of Pfizer in order to try to ascertain if the vaccine is safe and effective. I don’t know if the interrogation will be streamed.

  21. Person

    Re: Covid numbers, economy, pretty much everything…

    Make America Rome Again” from the Anacyclosis Institute:

    The forces that the Institute has been warning about have only sharpened in the years since we began our project. It is these forces that we should concern ourselves with – not with the personalities, proclivities, or policies of one President or one Senate. It is these forces which translate multitudes into mobs, politicians into demagogues, factions into civil wars, democracies into ochlocracies, and republics into empires.

    It is macroeconomic forces which pronounce the end of democracy, not one or a few men who capitalize on them. Presidents and Senates come and go every few years. Middle classes come and go every few millennia.

    Worth a read. Things are dark but nowhere near as dark as they could be. I tend to support the author’s take: we are on a rapid decline, but there’s a long way down from here. Either we get some popular reforms and stave off disaster, or we decline into violence and eventually a true dictator emerges… we’re not in the terminal phase yet, but it’s close.

    On the other hand… those Covid numbers are truly awful. And the economy (and the housing situation) is only going to get worse. And there’s the whole business with arctic methane. And of course you have to put comparisons to Rome up against more modern models, like the former USSR. The truth is nobody knows how things will pan out, but it sure is fun to speculate. (For some definition of “fun.”)

    1. HotFlash

      I tend to support the author’s take: we are on a rapid decline, but there’s a long way down from here.

      Well, you can tend that way if you choose, but in my exp, things go down slowly at first, then all at once. Eg, Ariceibo.

  22. Mikel

    Cali and shutdowns:

    So we were just told by the delivery man that his girlfriend is upset because her restaurant, which was doing outdoor dining, was shut down with the new regulations. Meanwhile,on the street where her restaurant is, they are shooting a film and a tent has been set up for outdoor catering.

    Setting the stage for 2022 & 2024….

    I could see Cali becoming a swing state again. It is the place that brought the country and the world Nixon and Reagan. Don’t ever forget it.

    1. petal

      Ooo may have just read about her in the DM? Had to explain to my old middle school principal today that the inconsistent messaging/one rule for me thing has done a lot of damage. He doesn’t get it. It’s so tribal(D/R). The D’s and those associated with them can do no wrong.

  23. zagonostra

    Florida has a population of about 22M. So 26K is about 0.01% higher than average excessive deaths. That seems like a statistically insignificant number? Is my math off?

    Also, I could easily see people being in such despair that they would commit suicide or maybe delay critical medical procedures, people losing health insurance and not going to the doctor, etc. They need to start providing additional data, like what was the suicide rate over the same period and what is the correlation of losing healthcare insurance and preventable deaths.?

    1. Burritonomics

      Florida mean deaths last 3 years (2017, 2018, 2019) = 167,194
      Florida 2020 deaths (through 11/19/2020) = 194,030

      That 26k figure is over 15% more from 2019, and is 6.7 standard deviations from the mean

  24. Jim

    Mikel, and so it begins…

    The (elected) Sheriff of California’s fourth largest county has flat out refused to enforce Newsom’s dictatorial powers:

    Not mincing words, you can watch the video, this is verbatim:

    “…We were also told that a there was a potential he would be withholding federal and state funding from counties who did not enforce the orders. Ironically, it wasn’t that long ago our same governor loudly and publicly argued how wrong it was for the President of the United States to withhold federal funding from states not complying with federal laws.”

    “The dictatorial attitude toward California residents while dining in luxury, traveling, keeping his business open and sending his kids to in-person private schools is very telling about his attitude toward California residents, his feelings about the virus, and it is extremely hypocritical.”

    “These closures and stay-at-home orders are flat-out ridiculous. The metrics used for closure are unbelievably faulty and are not representative of true numbers and are disastrous for Riverside County….the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will not be blackmailed, bullied, or used as muscle against Riverside County residents in the enforcement of the Governor’s orders.”

    zerohedge cover this and has video of him.

    Gavin Newsom’s political career is over, like Ngueyn Cao Key, ex premier of South Vietnam, I can see him running a high end liquor store, financed by his wife.

    1. polecat

      Just checked the Sacramento Bee, for Their virtuous take on the ‘situ’. So far ….. its crickets!

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      No, Newsom’s career is not over. He’s in a one-party state and Riverside is borderline Inland Empire, which is Republican, and Riverside had lower levels of voting for Clinton that the bigger counties in 2016. Bianco is a Republican, so his criticisms mean bupkis to Democrats. And in general, California cops are right wing and many were Trump supporters, so they are not representative of CA voters. Bianco is also inexperienced:

      Bianco will face difficult choices about the direction of the agency and its $700 million annual budget. His management experience is limited to serving as a Lieutenant at the Hemet Station.

      https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/05/election-2018-riverside-county-sheriffs-race-deserts-most-expensive/1858572002/

      And Californians support lockdowns even over the summer, before the fall case spike:

      Despite that a majority of Californians think the lockdowns were effective, they are evenly divided in support for how the state is re-opening. A majority (81%) think the lockdowns were effective in their area, while nearly a fifth (18%) think they were not. Californians are evenly split on the state’s approach to re-opening: (51%) support, while (49%) oppose. Vox explains the dichotomy: How California went from a coronavirus success story to a worrying new hot spot.

      How did California go from a success story to hotspot? Californians point to White House negligence and people acting recklessly. Half (49%) say the White House is downplaying the danger of COVID-19 and diminishing effective disease defenses such as mask-wearing, testing, and social distancing; (44%) say people in their state have acted reckless by not following safety protocols; and (35%) say people in their state lack concern for the pandemic and a lack of consistent, unified messaging from the White House.

      https://theharrispoll.com/shifting-attitudes-towards-lockdowns/

      Even though support for lockdowns is down from the spring (and remember the poll above was from the mid-summer), Dems still strongly support lockdowns and Newsom needs worry only about them:

      Republicans represented the majority of respondents who told pollsters that they have changed their mind about agreeing to another lockdown. Whereas 74 percent said in the spring that they would comply, now only 40 percent said they would. Support from Democrats remains high, with 87 percent agreeing compared to 91 percent previously, Gallup noted

      https://thehill.com/regulation/healthcare/525442-fewer-americans-open-to-another-covid-19-lockdown-survey

      I don’t like Newsom but this is a state with all sorts of comparable mediocrities in office.

      1. juno mas

        Like the Vice President-elect?

        I have relatives who live in Riverside County (Palm Desert,Palm Springs) and I’m amazed at the depth of your take, Yves. My county ALSO goes into lockdown mode tomorrow at Noon (I believe).

        The virus is in control now.

  25. Maritimer

    U.S. Marines Won’t Stop Taking LSD Vice (resilc)
    ***********
    Maybe the Trippers will start reading about General Butler and his famous book WAR IS A RACKET:
    USMC “Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed “Old Gimlet Eye”,[1] was a senior United States Marine Corps officer who fought in both the Mexican Revolution and World War I. Butler was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler later became an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. Butler also exposed an alleged plan to overthrow the United States government.”

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

  26. Lemmy Caution

    Cross country skiing is another excellent low-impact, full-body exercise that most can do their entire lifetime. It’s a much more vigorous workout than it looks like, as evidenced by the number of barely used Norditrack ski machines available on Craigslist for a fraction of their original cost…or for free!

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m anxiously awaiting an atmospheric event where water turns into white and then covers up everything, so I can drive up to the Giant Forest in Sequoia NP, free my heels and then go cruising around in Alpina X-Terrains amidst columns of red. Just add in sunlight and the chiaroscuro effect is something to behold-especially with a good snowpack underfoot so everything visible is red on white.

      But precious little in our winter of missed content, so far.

      A favorite day starts at the museum parking lot, and it’s a slow measured climb up to Crescent Meadow of about 3 miles. My planks don’t need skins, scalloped pattern on the underside of the skis will get you up most everything not too steep, and you’re skiing on a summertime road so the grade is nice. All along the way are about 200 large Giant Sequoias of good size, including one that toppled over in 1959, and resembles a 1/2 scale Saturn V that fell off the gantry and broke into sections, while the short root system of fallen trees almost looks like flames sprouting from said rocket, here have a look:

      http://sequoiaquest.com/fallen-large-trees.html

      There’s another one in the link above that you can drive thru, but skiing through is way more fun.

      1. HotFlash

        My most memorable XC skiing was a little trip in a downtown Toronto park (Don Valley Park). It was just after midnight, as the BF got off shift at 11, and we skied north from Bloor St to St Clair Ave. Nobody else on the trail, which ran along the riverbed and over several wooden bridges (so cool!!). Snow was falling and there was lightening, lightening, lightening. I’ll ever forget it.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “MOMENT massive Arecibo telescope collapsed caught in jaw-dropping footage”

    Watching this film clip was the stuff of high tragedy. This was not watching some crappy old apartment block being demolished or and old factory being leveled. This was a place on the frontiers of science and it was almost like a cathedral of science in design. So then we, as a species, thought it better to give billionaires all our spare money instead and this place eventually died – of neglect. In future documentaries about our civilization, I suspect that you will see this footage appear there as a sign of our decline.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was 7 when we landed on the Moon and probably the perfect age to take it in as far as remembering anything, and should I live to a ripe old age, will be one of the last people on this good Earth to have witnessed it.

      If we regress to the mean in more ways than one, i’d expect to be the object of derision by the dullards that came to dominate, in staking my claim.

  28. Cuibono

    Vaccine will not be mandatory. But if you want a job, or to travel, or to visit your family in the hospital, well yes. Mandatory

    1. Shonde

      Question: What if you have had the virus and it was verified through testing? Will there be an assumption you don’t need the vaccine?

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Uighurs forced to eat pork as China expands Xinjiang pig farms”

    MoA did a piece on the source of all these stories – Sayragul Sauytbay – and it seems that her stories changes over time. What snagged my interest is where ‘In March 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompous and First Lady Melanie Trump ‘honored’ Sayragul Sautbay with the State Department’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award.’ She hasn’t quite said that Han Chinese pull Uighur babies out of incubators and leave them to die in hospitals but I am sure that she has more stories to tell yet.

    Just now learnt that one of the reason why the friction between China and Australia is due to a cross-party bunch of MPs who call themselves, I kid you not, the ‘Wolverines.’ Gawd, like a bunch of kids playing with matches. They even have stickers with wolf claws in their office windows-

    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/wolverines-take-on-china-how-a-group-of-australian-mps-with-their-own-secret-stickers-are-pushing-back-against-chinese-influence-and-beijing-is-not-happy/ar-BB14RSZP

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      MoA is a consistent Uighur-human-rights-abuse denialist. His cheap shot at Aljazeera is par for the course.

      And there are long-standing reports of Uihgurs being forced to eat pork when they are undergoing Chinese reprogramming, like this one from 2018. Is MoA going to try to depict The Independent as a Qatar propaganda outlet too?

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-re-education-muslims-ramadan-xinjiang-eat-pork-alcohol-communist-xi-jinping-a8357966.html

      I have direct accounts from Americans doing business in China since 2004 of the concentration camps. These are from individuals where is against their commercial interests to provide corroboration.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for pointing this out. The repression of the Uighurs has been building up for many years. A friend who lived in Urumqi in the early ’00’s was telling me of his fears at the time (and he was generally very pro-Han and Beijing). It was pretty obvious that after the Tibetans they were next on the list to be ‘fixed’ as a problem.

        Some people can’t seem to get their brains around the fact that it’s entirely possible to acknowledge that we are being bombarded with anti-China propaganda, while also believing that the Chinese are mostly guilty of what they are being accused of. The plight of the Uighurs is not just similar to the Palestinians, the Chinese have been openly copying the Israeli playbook of how to deal with inconvenient minorities.

        1. ambrit

          That would make the Israelis the ‘Heirs To the Reich.’ They have adopted many of the methods of their former oppressors, then passed those methodologies on to other “less than tolerant” regimes.
          At the root lies Religious Fanaticism. The word Religious is doing a lot of heavy lifting here, but legitimately.

  30. Ep3

    Yves, question about state & local govt pension debt. Why can’t they take out loans & pay off the debt? Maybe thru a special financing vehicle from the US govt.
    A little inside info. In Lansing, MI, local bankers are working to dismantle union contracts & retiree benefits in the name of saving the finances of the city. So why don’t these bankers just get together & loan a bunch of money to the city govt to pay off the retiree obligations? Do they think the govt won’t pay back the loan? Where is the city govt going? They can’t run and hide from their lenders & stop paying their bills?
    If the total due was 500 million, borrowed at 5% over 20 years, the payments would be 26 million a year. Currently the city claims its paying 44 million a year to keep from falling behind in pension obligations. And they claim that number will continue to rise. So what am I missing? Why can’t govts do this?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? It’s not a debt, it’s a future obligation. Please bone up on this topic. Your questions are so off beam I don’t know how to answer.

  31. The Rev Kev

    Anyone else notice the lack of 524 error messages? Looks like NC got on top of that situation. And this is why I am lurky about updates.

    1. fajensen

      FEMA – Except, of course “They” are only going to put us all in reeducation camps and take our Gunz!

      The Orange Idiot and Sore Loser should have declared a national emergency months ago, before all the casualties baked into the infection rate actually showed up at the hospitals!

Comments are closed.