Links 1/1/2021

Happy New Year!

This dog-size lizard is spreading through the southeastern U.S. National Geographic

News Feature: To understand the plight of insects, entomologists look to the past PNAS

Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA World Economic Forum

The tiny forests designed by feng shui BBC (DL).

Without Clearing Any New Farmland, We Could Feed Two Earths’ Worth of People Bloomberg

Commentary: The rising tide of alternative meat is here and we are the better for it Channel News Asia

SPACtacular: Blank-check firms hit the jackpot in 2020 Reuters

U.S. Homebuyers Face Worst Affordability Squeeze in 12 Years Bloomberg

US to tax fuselage, wings, tail imported for Airbus’ Mobile A320 assembly line Leeham News and Analysis

#COVID19

The Mutated Virus Is a Ticking Time Bomb Zeynep Tufecki, The Atlantic. Expontial growth (though the text is much more nuanced than the headine).

As a doctor in the Covid-19 era, I’ve learned that judging patients’ decisions comes easier than it should STAT

Some healthcare workers refuse to take COVID-19 vaccine, even with priority access LA Times (mv).

Ohio Gov: 60 percent of nursing home staff elected not to take COVID-19 vaccine The Hill

“Those of Us Who Don’t Die Are Going to Quit”: A Crush of Patients, Dwindling Supplies and the Nurse Who Lost Hope ProPublica (mv). The VA.

Authorities arrest Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally spoiling coronavirus vaccine The Hill

Fatigue, loss of smell, organ damage: A range of symptoms plague many Marylanders long after COVID-19 infection Baltimore Sun. A good wrap-up. Many anecdotes, studies are starting up.

China?

The Three Big Mistakes China Made in 2020 Bloomberg

China’s rich face million dollar question: stay and risk losing assets, or face the coronavirus abroad? South China Morning Post

Study from China’s CDC suggests Wuhan may have had 10 times as many COVID-19 cases as reported The Hill

Rising Seas Threaten China’s Long, Low, and Crowded Coast Sixth Tone

How tiny Timor-Leste kept the coronavirus at bay Al Jazeera

Delays and missteps: how Duterte’s Philippines struggled against the coronavirus South China Morning Post

Vietnam’s Communists Sort Out Leadership Asia Sentinel

America’s Asian Allies Need Their Own Nukes Foreign Policy

India

Three Lessons From the World’s Biggest Worker Uprising Hampton Institute. Oddly not covered in Western media.

Indian farmers’ agitation enters second month WSWS

Farmers’ Protest HIGHLIGHTS: Sixth round of talks with farmers ends; Tomar says consensus on 2 out of 4 issues The Indian Express

Syraqistan

Possible Mine Found on the Hull of Tanker Anchored in Iraqi Waters Maritime Executive

EU/UK

Ever Closer Union? Perry Anderson, LRB. Break out the espresso machine, it’s Perry Anderson! That said, this post is well worth a read. The discussion of the origins and evolution of the European Court of Justice is extremely illuminating.

Making Sense Of Europe’s Strategic Cacophony The American Conservative

Exclusive: the unpublished document Labour is ‘disgracefully’ misusing as grounds to suspend members, denying it exists – confirmed genuine The Skawkbox

Brexit

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

Brexit: Gibraltar gets UK-Spain deal to keep open border BBC

Bewildered and angry, Northern Ireland unionists fret over place in UK Reuters

Brexit Britain is warned it will not get a US trade deal until ‘at least 2022’ because Democrat president-elect Joe Biden plans to rebuild ties with the EU Daily Mail

Boris Johnson’s father seeks French citizenship as Brexit ends free movement France24 (nvl).

Biden Transition

McConnell calls Jan. 6 certification his “most consequential vote” Axios

Josh Hawley’s heedless ambition is a threat to the republic Michael Gerson, WaPo

Read the room:

2020

Perdue quarantines after exposure to COVID-19 in final days of tight runoff race Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump Transition

Trump budget chief refuses to direct staff to help with Biden spending plans CNBC

Secret Service to make changes to presidential detail to bring on agents who worked with Biden WaPo

Trump’s Focus as the Pandemic Raged: What Would It Mean for Him? NYT

Monopoly Versus Democracy (no paywall) Zephyr Teachout, Foreign Affairs

Class Warfare

Words Matter: How Tech Media Helped Write Gig Companies into Existence Sam Harnett, SSRN

Platform Capitalism’s Hidden Abode: Producing Data Assets in the Gig Economy Niels van Doorn and Adam Badger, Antipode

*ssholes Eschaton. “They prefer the prospect of the cannibal hordes to the off chance a poor might get a chance to smile for one day.”

Gig workers bear the brunt of US labour market slowdown FT

Year in Review

Pretty thin on the gound this year.

2020: the year the elites failed upwards Unherd

2020 was an economic lesson about insurance Fresh Economic Thinking

Episode 179: Party’s Over (podcast) Trillbilly Worker’s Party. “A recap of the year 2020, in historical narrative form.”

The pleasure of the crowd will survive the pandemic FT

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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

211 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    “It’s so fascinating to watch these rascal macaque monkeys trick the squirrels.”

    Saw something similar in a documentary series where they were interviewing a former Japanese soldier from the Pacific war. None of his unit had ever been in a jungle before and did not know what was safe and what was dangerous to eat. It was a frightening time for them. They quickly learned that all they had to do was watch what the monkeys ate since if it was safe enough for a monkey to eat, it would probably be safe enough for a human to eat too.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that I will pass based on dish based on that video. That’s as funny as watching someone eat Vegemite flavoured ice-cream. Speaking of which.

        The subject of Haggis came up in comments the other day and on that YouTube page there was a link to – wait for it – ‘Americans Try Haggis!’

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43_qNAynXKw (6:50 mins)

        1. RepubAnon

          I’ve heard it said that the Scots invented whiskey so they could eat haggis – which is easier after a few shots of whiskey.

          ;-)

      2. kevin smith

        Looks like the monkeys were very gentle with the squirrels, which they need to identify ripe fruit.

        1. Adrienne

          I noticed that too. No screaming, biting, or claws–more like “Yeah I know you were here first but Ima gonna cut in line. Sorry dude!”

          The squirrel probably just moved on to the next tree for his lunch.

      3. clarky90

        Natto tastes fine. Use it as a condiment not a main course! (Like raw garlic or blue vein cheese)

        Natto contains probiotics, vitamin K2 and nattokinase.

        It is important to consume live, fermented foods,- in this barren world of lifeless, “preserved” calories….

        1. Yves Smith

          You must heavily dilute your natto. That’s not how the Japanese eat it. Restaurant dishes with natto, like maguro sashimi bits and natto (about 50% natto) are regularly used by Japanese to taunt gaijin for not being well assimilated (as in they can’t really object because sashimi but the Westerner will still pretty predictably recoil).

          1. fajensen

            For revenge, one can gift them some unsweetened Scandinavian liquorice, maybe the kind with lots of ammonium chloride, “Salmiak”, E 510, flavouring.

            If one is extra determined to be evil, there exists expensive designer versions of the stuff in neat gift packages that any decent Japanese person will be reluctant to throw away :).

            1) Just so nobody has to do the actual experiment: Most absolutely hate the stuff, it seems to taste similar to chillis to them, but they are often polite and they just can’t spit it out in front of people. So they will sit there pulling faces and almost crying.

            2) The liquorice is a legend amongst the Asian exchange students, they just Have to try it.

        2. Josef K

          Lovely stuff, natto. I ate it pretty much daily while living in Japan. Natto maki (futomaki or hosomaki), mixed with salmon, in gunkan sushi form, on top of rice, mixed with seaweed and pickled vegetables with rice, meshi-style, or just straight from the little tub with or without the mustard, but always first mixing in the the dashi. Oishii yo.

          At least as good is dried natto, as in wafu pasta with dried natto and nori. Just the word natto rolls nicely off the tongue, while sticking momentarily on the double-t like it can stick on your palette. And it’s economical.

          I find it much easier on the taste buds than Vegemite, never mind Marmite, and none compare to chou doufu aka stinky tofu, that is something I’ve tried once, inadvertently smelled many times, and cannot understand the consumption of by anyone with a sense of taste and smell, it’s just nauseating, not even Durian compares, only human tinkering could render a food so offensive to the nose and palette.

        3. neutrino23

          LOL. I can’t stand natto. But my wife, Japanese, loves it. Makes her own. On the other hand she recoils from Cream of Wheat and Shredded Wheat which I love. I guess it depends what you grow up with.

    1. km

      FWIW, American soldiers in the South Pacific were told the same thing: “Watch the monkeys. Anything a monkey can eat, you can eat.”

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Bonne annee a la communaute NC. Happy new year to the NC community.

  3. edmondo

    With just over 20 days until Inauguration Day, there’s never been a better time to stock up on @BidenInaugural gear.

    I checked. You can get Joe Biden pajamas, napkins for brunch and there appears to be a few tee-shirts that say “owned and operated by Comcast” in small print on the bottom.

    Was looking for a M4A banner but they linked me to Nancy’s storefront. She said she really is a bigggggg believer in it but it’s a secret.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Biden inaugural gear? I sure as heck wouldn’t buy any of that stuff. But, if someone gave me one of those pajama sets, I’d use it for cleaning my bicycle chain.

      Oh, BTW, Happy New Year, everyone!

      1. ambrit

        I’d buy a pair of those pajamas; to give to that cute teeny niece with the sweet smelling hair. I’d even help her put it on! That’s how much of a big old softie I am!
        That’s old Joe for you. Always ready to lead by example.

        1. Wyatt Powell

          😦🤢🤮

          Will be alot less Biden Gear then there was MAGA gear… if only because it is infinitely more embarrassing and ignorant.

          1. Massinissa

            At least Trump pretended to bring change. Its makes less sense to buy merch for the guy who promised ‘Nothing Important will Change’.

            1. Phillip Cross

              That’s something I’ve been wondering about.

              Ethically speaking, as a leader, is it better to be oblivious to the plight of the people you fail, or is it worse to highlight the issues, and claim to care, yet still do nothing of substance to help?

              Same goes for consuming news and current affairs. Is it better to ignore it all than to follow it closely, but do nothing of substance to help fix the problems?

      1. ambrit

        Everyone in “the Swamp” sells some brand of ‘depends.’ The style of ‘depends’ depends on the results of your means test.
        “Nothing says Mean better than ‘Means Test.'”

          1. ambrit

            Thanks. You know how it is. Some days are better than others.
            We just got our “stimulus cheques” directly deposited and it prompted Phyllis to remark that “..even that unrepentant servant of evil, Dick Nixon, understood the value of stimulus cheques. Today’s politicos have nothing even remotely approaching the political savvy of old ‘Tricky Dick.'”
            I seriously never expected to remember Nixon with the slightest nostalgia, but there we are.
            Be vigilant and stay safe!

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      You can buy a M4A branded Covid mask in Pelosi’s store. It’s similar to the one AOC sells except Pelosi’s is written in invisible ink.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Could they also not sell a Joe-branded drug pack for extreme seniors? The same sort that keeps him coherent and not wander off into ga-ga land? Must be pretty powerful stuff that.

    1. Pelham

      I imagine Harris laid down the law, demanding at least equal treatment in the merch department. And Biden dared not object.

      1. Massinissa

        I mean, I suppose it makes sense, if Biden is going to step down and let Harris run in 2024.

        God help us all. I would rather have Biden try for a second term…

        1. Phillip Allen

          Step down in ’24? I predict he’ll be gone well before that date, whether by death, resignation, impeachment, or an Article 25 action. Voting Biden was voting QueMala for spokesmodel of empire. As I read someone (Lambert?) say recently, if the Reps are smart, they’ll get Harris out of the way before gunning to impeach Biden (which will happen as sure as the pope does his business in the woods).

          1. Will

            Biden is President of The United States Pro-Tem.
            President Kamala will appoint Buttgig as V.P., the trifecta of mediocrity.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        “And Biden dared not object”

        “I know these words, but that sign makes no sense.”

        Signed, Saussure.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Not odd at all. I expect the “Biden” presidency to also be mostly about the VP as long as it lasts.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I looked at the ‘biden’ gear. It is mostly about the VP…. Is that odd?

      Yes, it’s odd. The only reason I can think of is that Harris had excess inventory when she liquidated her campaign, so now they’re moving the merchandise. But it’s a bad look.

    1. K.k

      https://mobile.twitter.com/SCMPNews/status/1341956743568363523

      Here is a video of interview with a rock club owner in Wuhan and some recent footage from recent shows.
      Plenty of kids still wearing masks, many not. All those kids that entered that club scan a qr code. If anyone in that club ends coming down with covid they can immediately find everyone that was at the club and contain the spread. Pretty amazing. It crushes me to think there likely wont be packed clubs like this in my city till 2022. Thats assuming the vaccine rollouts are a success and actually reduce transmission in a significant way.

      1. campbeln

        The current vaccine is about limiting the effects of infection, not containing spread or even infection rates, so confirms that WHO Dr. recently.

        My thoughts are that people who get this vaccine will think they are cured and not bother getting a second one. Infection rates will rise due to the design of the vaccine and we’ll all be worse off net-net.

        Heck, we just might long for the days of 2020 yore…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Seems to be a lot of sour feelings when people compared Wuhan celebrations with New York Times Square celebrations-

        If you want to party, which system is better?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Nothing to do with systems as New Zealand is not an authoritarian state and they did it too. The people of Wuhan did it tough and I still remember the video clips of the people at night calling to each other in their high-rise blocks trying to encourage each other. But now they have come out through the other side so I salute them. New York, in contrast, was cursed with Cuomo in charge and are still paying for this.

        2. ambrit

          Uh, wait a minute. I was under the impression that the Chinese celebrated the Lunar New Year, which usually falls at the end of January, beginning of February.
          Are the younger Chinese becoming that Westernized?

          1. fajensen

            Some Indian people I know will do Diwali, Christmas, New Year … any occasion there is, they are on it.

            So “well integrated” we white folks say “they” are – while we stupidly only take “our” meagre rations of Christian days off. Hmm!

            Perhaps in China some self identify as “white”, at least for the occasion, to get the western New Year as well!?

  4. flora

    At rate the US vaccination program is proceeding it will be late summer before most people are vaccinated. The FDA is putting off approval of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine until April. (?!) In the meantime, complementary therapeutics have become an almost “forbidden” topic in the MSM.

    The FLCCC Alliance medical research group held an outdoor press conference in Houston, TX on Dec. 4th about one therapeutical being ignore by the NIH. As they point out, between now and everyone being vaccinated a lot of people are still going to get sick. So…

    Here’s the video of their news conference 48 minutes.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V3yxrJwJQs&feature=youtu.be

    1. lordkoos

      >The FDA is putting off approval of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine until April.

      Needed to give Pfizer and Moderna a head start on the profits.

      1. campbeln

        Explains the blackout of the complementary therapeutics as well… “Where’s the Billions of profits in that!?”

    2. H1C

      The WHO, it seems, will make a pronouncement on ivermectin for Covid-19 sometime in January 2021:

      https://covid19criticalcare.com/i-mask-prophylaxis-treatment-protocol/faq-on-ivermectin/

      “the WHO ACT Accelerator Program (https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/about) sub-section focused on treatments for COVID-19 and headed by UNITAID has hired research consultants to identify and perform a global systematic review and meta-analysis of all active ivermectin trials in COVID-19. The consultant anticipates having results available from several additional, large clinical trials within the next 4 weeks, and predicts the accumulation of sufficient patient data in these trials to reach a conclusion and recommendation for or against use of ivermectin in COVID-19 during the month of January 2021.”

      It seems like NIH and FDA may also be looking at the trials data on ivermectin, although I expect them to slow-walk it as much as possible:

      https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/FLCCC-PressRelease-Ivermectin-Summary-Dec22.pdf

      “Our comprehensive manuscript is currently in expedited peer-review by a major American medical journal and has also been submitted by request to multiple national and international health care agency committees tasked with reviewing the emerging evidence supporting ivermectin.”

      1. rowlf

        Wouldn’t we expect Russia, Iran, and other countries to be looking at ivermectin and other treatments too? It just seems odd that only the medicine for profit development gets media coverage.

        1. flora

          “Medicine for profit” makes big campaign donations; for several national elected Dems, Pharma is the revolving door to post elected office sinecures. See: Tom Daschle, Billy Tauzin, Joe Lieberman’s wife, Max Baucus’s staff, etc.

          The Gates Foundation (Bill and Melinda Gates, principals) is invested in both Pfizer and BioN. Their foundation was also in 2020 the larger funder of the WHO since the US withdrew funding. (This could change under the B admin.) When Bill Gates was in the media this summer and fall talking up the Pfizer vaccine over the Moderna or Oxford he might only been talking his book instead of the science. He is also big political donor. “Nothing personal, it’s just business” as the saying goes.

          https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/09/24/4-coronavirus-vaccine-stocks-the-bill-melinda-gate/

          1. flora

            an aside: I’m not a biomedical researcher or a pharma researcher. All of these vaccines may work equally well. I don’t know. My point is simply that investment money and the hope for profits may be affecting the political (donors) and media coverage given to the c19 pandemic vaccines and complimentary therapeutics, imo.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “US to tax fuselage, wings, tail imported for Airbus’ Mobile A320 assembly line”

    Is this wise? What happens if Airbus says that production of the A320 is no longer financially viable in the US because of this and pulls back production to Europe? The EU could help finance this move under the 2021 Make Europe Great Again (MEGA) Act. And you could kiss all those American jobs in Alabama goodbye then and I doubt that Boeing would take those workers on. Not with the decreased demand for airliners they won’t. But it gets better. Seeing this, a lot of countries may decide that having production facilities in the US is too risky and either slowly pull out or maybe they never invest there in the first place. I couldn’t call that a win by any stretch of the imagination. Well, maybe for Being and I would not be surprised if Boeing behind the scenes got this done with strategically placed donations during the Presidential campaign.

    1. John Zelnicker

      @The Rev Kev
      January 1, 2021 at 10:03 am
      ——-

      I live in Mobile and Airbus is one of the two most important manufacturing facilities in the area. The other is the Austal shipyard which builds one of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships.

      Three years ago Airbus acquired a majority interest in Bombardier and is assembling a couple of different models now, the A320 series (319, 320, 321) and the A220 which is based on a Bombardier design. They have two assembly lines and just delivered their first A220 last month.

      The tariffs are certainly going to have an effect on their business, but I don’t think they are going to prompt Airbus to abandon Alabama; sunk costs and all that. Airbus planes bought by American airlines from factories in Europe are already subject to tariffs.

      This is all about the WTO ruling that government subsidies to Boeing (US) and Airbus (EU) both violate the rules. The EU imposed tariffs on Boeing planes imported there a few years ago.

      1. JWP

        As I see it, the A220 is the achilles heel for Boeing commercial aircraft dominance. Can fly over the Atlantic and fit the gaps the 737 cannot cover with mid range routes. Cheaper to operate and has more business class seats so the airlines love it. There was some ridiculous import and sales tax Boeing lobbied for around 300% to make the A220 harder to make but that won’t stop Airbus. I expect this is another jab at that in some way.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1YMPk3XhCc

        Cool video explaining it. I’m no aviation expert but it seems Boeing is screwed not just because of financialization and making planes that crash.

        1. rowlf

          I’d like to remind everyone that Boeing cozied up to Bombardier while the A220 was being developed and then split after getting access to the design. Ten or so years later Boeing did the same to Embraer (who should have known better). While the 787 was being developed (with French production design software), part of the development was how to manufacture airplanes more efficiently and the process was expected to be applied to a 737 replacement.

          So what did Boeing do? They bred puppies instead of developing the aircraft they needed to stay relevant. They focused on financial engineering instead of making a product.

          1. Synoia

            with French production design software, AKA CATIA

            Umm… CATIA has been the top end CAD system, with no competitors, since the 1970s.

            It has never had any competition, and its always been a producd of Dassult Systems, aka the French. I presume, but do not know, that it was born for the design of Concorde.

            Concorde, what was a commercial flop, but launched Airbus – The French had a strategy, the British did not. We had lectures at Uni from the leading British Concord people. and none of them discussed the possibility that Concorde was done both to build a skilled work force and a product.

            And we saw many test flights over the University, because we were close to Bristol where the UK Concord work was performed.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > A220 is the achilles heel for Boeing commercial aircraft dominance

          I think the story is that Bombardier made good planes but were undercapitalized; Canada is too small to support a national champion in aircraft, let alone Quebec. Hence, they fled into the arms of the least bad of their larger competitors. (And it looks like Embraer, Brazil’s national champion, dodged a bullet.)

    2. Wukchumni

      Isn’t the main firm in the states responsible for making a component named: Icar U.S. Wings?

        1. Wukchumni

          I felt certain that clever jibe was going to go unheralded, thanks for saving it from obscurity.

  6. edmondo

    This dog-size lizard is spreading through the southeastern U.S.

    Apparently you missed the retraction on this story. The “dog-sized lizard” was just Jeff Sessions walking through the woods trying to figure out why he pissed away a lifetime sinecure in the Senate to work for The Donald. Maybe he’ll make a comeback in Trumps’ second trerm.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > why he pissed away a lifetime sinecure in the Senate to work for The Donald

      In fact, mainstream Republicans had a lot to do with Trump’s fall. Sessions, let us remember, recused himself on RussiaGate. And Barr successfully buried the Durham investigation, the riposte to RussiaGate.

      1. ambrit

        A quibble if I may.
        I prefer the formulation “establishment” over “mainstream.” Support for the stimulus cheques is “mainstream” in that the majority of the public supports them. The “establishment” does not support the cheques. Thus, the “establishment” is in conflict with the “mainstream” over preferred strategies for running the economy.
        The present day nature of the “public discourse” on the economy and related items reminds me strongly of the trick Lenin and his bunch pulled off ‘back in the day’ by ‘branding’ themselves as the Bolsheviki, (the big ones,) and subtly denigrating their main rivals for power, Kerensky et al, as the Menshiviki, (the little ones.)
        Words have power.
        Sorry to be pissy.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I prefer the formulation “establishment” over “mainstream.”

          That’s a good distinction, institutional v. “public opinion” (which has its own problems, see under “public relations”).

          1. Count Zero

            Don’t forget the noble stand of politicians through the ages against “the tyranny of the majority.”

            1. ambrit

              I sincerely hope that we do not degenerate to applying Napoleon’s “whiff of grapeshot” to ‘unpopular’ demonstrations. Your depiction of said politicos’ ‘stand’ as “noble” is literally true. Today, I have to be especially careful with my use of the term “reactionary.” How far back in Western history do the Nuveaux Barons Voleurs wish to ‘reset’ society anyway?

  7. farragut

    From the FP article on arming Asian allies with nukes…
    How much can Americans, facing manifold, expensive challenges at home and elsewhere abroad, afford to devote to containing the PRC essentially within its own borders?”
    Most Americans are unaware we have the right to contain other sovereigns to their own borders; this is listed in our Constitution, near the back, I think.

    Anyhoo, may 2021 bring you good health, peace, and your very own backyard nukes.

      1. LawnDart

        With death-squads, drone strikes and other forms of persecution, not only do we eliminate the thinking, but also the thinkers themselves!!!

        USA! USA! USA!

  8. flora

    Taibbi’s latest (paywalled) is his list of the 10 “wokest” news stories of 2020.

    I’m trying to remember/decide what I think the “wokest” news story was; there are so many to choose from. ;)

    1. Lee

      The celebration of Kamal Harris’s many diversities has to be near the top. She’s like the United Nations all in one person.

      1. rowlf

        Will she be more projectable than President Obama was?

        (An old SNL skit)

        Spokesman: [ enters quickly ] Hey, hey, hey, calm down, you two. New Shimmer is both a floor wax and a dessert topping! Here, I’ll spray some on your mop.. [ sprays Shimmer onto mop ] ..and some on your butterscotch pudding. [ sprays Shimmer onto pudding ] [ Husband eats while Wife mops ]

        Husband: Mmmmm, tastes terrific!

        Wife: And just look at that shine! But will it last?

        Spokesman: Hey, outlasts every other leading floor wax, 2 to 1. It’s durable, and it’s scuff-resistant.

        Husband: And it’s delicious!

        Spokesman: Sure is! Perks up anything from an ice cream sundae to a pumpkin pie!

        Wife: Made from an exclusive non-yellowing formula.

        Husband: I haven’t even touched my pudding and I’m ready for more!

        Wife: But what about black heel marks?

        Spokesman: Dirt, grime, even black heel marks, wipe clean with a damp mop.

        [ Husband accidentally sprays Shimmer onto the floor ]
        Husband: Oh, sorry, honey, I’ll clean that up!

        Wife: Oh, no problem, sweetheart, not with new Shimmer!

        [ Spokesman laughs continuously as he approaches the camera ]
        Spokesman: New Shimmer, for the greatest shine you ever tasted!

        [ fade ]

      1. flora

        Yep. I’m starting to think college tenured (and non tenured profs), especially in the humanities, need to start taping their lectures (front facing the prof and whiteboard only to avoid charges of violating students’ privacy) as documentation of what actually happens/happened in said class when charges of “wrong-thought or wrong-speech” surface on the twit or the fb. Really. I’m serious. It might seem like a lot of unnecessary work if you trust your admin. But I’ve seen it happen one too many times. The era of collegiality and academic goodwill is over. Forget the sweet talk from the admin. Taping/recording lectures and interaction isn’t hard to do, even on zoom. The hardest part is changing the prof/lecturer’s mindset that the college you knew 10 years ago is gone, and personal record keeping (including voice/video of classroom teaching) is now paramount for self-defense against the newer neoliberal admins’ attacks. imo. It’s like recording phone calls for ‘evidence’ of bad behavior. Without that there’s only a he said/she said stand off.

  9. Lex

    ‘Without Clearing Any New Farmland, We Could Feed Two Earths’ Worth Of People’

    I think there’s little doubt that we’re going to have to become much more efficient about food production and water usage and we will, of necessity. There are a few things that occurred to me while I read the article.

    Our tendency at the grocery store to reject any produce that is uniform and pleasing to the eye. I once watched a young woman pick up mushrooms, pull the stems off and chuck them back into the box, so that all she was buying was a bag full of caps. I knew I couldn’t ask her why without growling, so I just watched in disgust. I’ve seen something like that repeat with almost every fruit and veggie. We need more food knowledge.

    The amount of food left in the fields after harvest. There needs to be more gleaning, rather than the farmer just plowing it back into the dirt.

    There are on various days of the week 5 farmer’s markets selling local produce throughout the growing season in Colorado. They are all the same vendors and an increasing number of them are just ‘middlemen’, buying wholesale and selling at the markets retail. They make nothing… but profit.

    None of the “real farmers” have been offered a piece of land and dedicated facilities for operation. There’s no permanent home for any of them. They set up their own stands in asphalt-covered parking lots, when the temperature is often in the nineties. If we showed more city support for these farmers, more young people would be interested in stepping up to a life of growing food for others. Those currently in the biz are aging out, and too few around here want to take their places.

    A few years ago an independent butcher set up shop in an area that already had a well-established Sprouts. The butcher shop is thriving, in part because he’ll cut meat the way you want it, and he sources all his meat to within 200 miles of his store. There’s a carcass being parted out behind the meat counter all the time. You can see the meat you’re buying and under what conditions it was prepared for sale. That said, we like meatless burger products like ‘Beyond Meat’. There are a lot of veggie-oriented, meatless meals served in this house. We don’t miss meat on those days at all.

    We signed on to a service that picks up our compostible food refuse once a week. Throwing out what can still be made useful scorches me to the core. Two state licensed and approved facilities for composting food waste were set up in Colorado (so far) and they’ve proven popular. These days the only waste we put out on the curbside are a few compostible bags full of plastic packaging (ironis,isn’t it?) we haven’t yet figured out how to eliminate.

    I’ve only just noticed that the kinds of seeds we buy for gardening seem to have been developed with the idea that the home gardener has a lot of room for planting, accommodating large root systems and plant canopies. We need more seed lines that allow for smaller amounts of space to encourage more home gardeners to grow some of their own food. We also need more community gardens and guerilla gardening in the U.S..

      1. gc54

        Bring your NPR tote bag, then head to brunch!

        Does the Biden swag include a Kamala tote? I’m too fearful to check.

      1. polecat

        Seed/Plant catalog suppliers have been offering such selections for the last few years now.

        I prefer separate .. but equal, safe growing spaces for my vegetable choices. Better yields, overall.

        1. Lex

          I made the mistake of waiting to buy seed last spring. Mistake, and one I won’t be repeating this year.

          I found Renee’s online this summer. The few local nurseries that carried their seeds were completely wiped out by May.

          https://www.reneesgarden.com/

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Did you know you can graft a tomato plant onto a potato plant and it will grow both the fruit and the root vegetable?

        I wish it were the other way round. Tomatoes are a lot easier to grow that potatoes.

    1. lordkoos

      I did a lot of traveling to the Caribbean in the late 80s and early 90s and noticed that the produce sold at local street markets did not look much like the stuff on display in American shops — the oranges were small sometimes green looking, the mangoes were sometimes covered with black spots, the veggies misshapen and odd sizes. However, everything tasted fresher and better, tastier than what you can buy here in the USA at the typical supermarket. Since then I stopped judging produce by its appearance.

      Many years ago we had a real butcher or two in this small town but now everything gets pre-cut before being shipped to the grocers. You can buy locally grown meat as an alternative but it is very expensive, as it should be I suppose.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        I went to the supermarket Tuesday looking for ground lamb to make kaddo bourani* for New Year’s dinner. All they had were a couple of cuts of chops (I suppose December isn’t the season for lamb in Upstate New York) at $11/lb, which is out of my reach, so I decided just to use hamburger. However, right next to the lamb, I noticed two or three non-meat alternatives, including “Impossible” burger substitute — at $8/lb! Why would I want to spend $8/lb for fake hamburger?

        I’ve never understood why vegetarians want their food to look, feel, and taste like meat, or why they’re willing to pay a premium for this stuff. If I want a burger, I’ll eat the real thing — which I rarely do anymore, as I eat less meat the older I get (and never was big on beef anyway). More frequently, I’ll make a vegetable main dish that is proud of its roots and doesn’t need to masquerade as meat. Eggplant parmesan and grilled polenta come immediately to mind.

        * Roasted pumpkin topped with minted yogurt sauce and spiced ground meat, the latter being more of a condiment, as Lambert likes to say.

        1. Anand Shah

          As a vegetarian, i do not consume the “impossible” or the “beyond” meats… i don’t think this was marketed to us….

          I thought the primary market was meat-eaters who are not supposed to consume as much red-meat etc., due to health reasons… but want to satisfy their craving for meat… so here’s a like-for-like alternative…

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            I identify as an obligate omnivore, and feel about the same. Endorphin-wise, tofu baked in tamari or hamburger crumbles are about the same on my comfort food scale. Fake-meats leave me with a should-I-have-tried-that aftertaste.

          2. Yves Smith

            I am not advocating this theory but:

            1. Eating of red meat has little to do with heart disease although it appears to have other negative health impact (like colon cancer). Your body makes cholesterol. Sugar and HFCS look to be big culprits.

            2. There is an additional theory among keto fans that the bad effects of eating red meat are the result of eating corn fed beef. Grass fed supposedly OK. However, I don’t think they have actual evidence, since any evidence in nutrition is nada (you’d need a very large group to keep diaries of all their meals for at least 5 years). However, I have a lot of doubts about some elements of keto theory since they argue for eating fatty meat because that’s supposedly how our caveman ancestors ate. Anyone who has eaten game knows it’s super lean. For instance, you can’t use venison scraps from hunted deer for sausage because they aren’t remotely fatty enough.

            1. Michaelmas

              Yves: ‘I’m not advocating this theory but ….’

              You should. It’s true. A red-meat-heavy diet greatly increases the likelihood of colon cancer in humans.

              The main mechanism responsible is a sugar molecule in red meat, Neu5Gc, that’s present on the cell surfaces of all mammals except humans.

              In a human body, Neu5gc stimulates a chronic state of low-grade inflammation, which then facilitates arteriosclerosis, cancer progression, and hemolytic ureic syndrome.

              It’s that simple. In fact, Neu5gc is the only known non-human dietary molecule that gets incorporated onto human cell surfaces even after the immune system responds against it – so the immune response then triggers a repeating cycle in which the resulting chronic inflammation helps tumors grow even as antibody response is boosted.

              Yeah, we hunger for meat because it’s a high-energy fuel that boosted hominid evolution to our current body and brain-size. IMO, the ‘Beyond Burgers’ and ‘Impossible Burgers” are a fix to deal with that, till the cell-cultured meat companies can get the price down to $10-13 a burger. With cell-cultured meat, you could edit out Neu5gc and have non-carcinogenic meat (and maybe do something about slaughterhouses and the 27 percent of greenhouse gases that come from cattle agriculture, too).

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The greenhouse gases which come from “cattle agriculture” come from petrochemical-grain-fed cattle in CAFOs. Not from cattle-on-pasture-and-range agriculture. Cattle on pasture-and-range help net-net suck down skycarbon and re-durafix it into the soil. Just like the millions of buffalo did when helping build the multi-feet-deep high-carbon soil of the plains and prairies. Even while belching methane the whole time.

        2. kareninca

          “I’ve never understood why vegetarians want their food to look, feel, and taste like meat, or why they’re willing to pay a premium for this stuff.”

          Because there are people who are vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons. My favorite food has always been meat. However, I was vegan for 19 years for ethical reasons. So I ate fake meat to approximate the taste.

          This seems kind of obvious to me. If someone likes something, but can’t/won’t consume it, then they try to find something similar.

          1. Yves Smith

            Well it may not seem the same to you, but I was a very fat child. I trained myself out of liking anything deep fried, fatty and sugary sauces, muffins, pancakes, putting butter on things. Over time I’ve trained myself out of even eating bread and pasta. Now I look at them and find them unappealing to revolting. The only exception is desserts and chocolate. I still have an appetite for them but they are a treat.

            1. kareninca

              Yes, that is a very good technique. In the case of meat, I don’t have any reason to avoid fake meats; tofurky and Praeger’s burgers and veggie sausages are healthful in moderation. So I haven’t tried to convince myself of anything, and I do enjoy the fake meats as a substitute for something I liked.

          2. Ronald Grissman

            At least regarding Tofu, in Cantonese cuisine, chefs for hundreds of years have been trying to make it taste like anything imaginable and a few things that are not. More of an art form and any attempt to replace the ‘real thing’. I cook Hunan & Sechzehn, so it’s garlic & ginger and various spicy to very hot peppers.

          3. PlutoniumKun

            There is a tradition in buddhist cooking of making food look like meat and have meat like-textures. The justification, as I understand it, was that it was meant as a sign of humility, that strict vegetarians were not trying to claim moral superiority over meat eaters. It was also, on a practical level, how buddhist monks would entertain rich benefactors – they could be seen to follow cultural norms in preparing a feast, while not breaking their own vows not to harm animals.

            Some traditional Buddhist restaurants are truly extraordinary. I think the finest dinner I ever had in China was in on such place in Guilin. And it wasn’t particularly expensive either.

            1. kareninca

              Yes, those Buddhist substitutes are very tasty, and can seem realistic. We don’t eat restaurant food more than a couple of times a year, but when we do we look for something like that.

    2. Rod

      You see things pretty clearly.
      Go Long on Local Meat Processing

      https://cowboystatedaily.com/2020/01/28/wyoming-beef-big-marketing-opportunities-with-farm-to-table-movement/

      When I was young, my dad and grandfather ran a small butcher shop,” Christiansen said. “That caught my interest, then in college, I got a job working at the meat lab at the University of Wyoming. That really pulled it all together for me.”

      With 15 years of experience in meat processing, Christiansen decided to open his own USDA-inspected meat processing plant — the 307 Meat Company in Laramie.

      “If we’re one of the leading cattle-producing states in the nation, then we should be able to eat our own meat,” he said. “Most all the cattle leave the state to be harvested. Hopefully, we’re making a move to change that.”

      and

      https://foodprint.org/blog/meat-processing-plants/

      The slaughterhouses that serve small farms, including Cedar Road Meats in Iron Ridge, Wisconsin and Grantfork Meats in Highland, Illinois, are booked through 2021. The shortage of meat processing facilities is not new, however; it has been a longstanding issue for small farmers.

      The number of meatpacking plants has been declining since the 1980s. A USDA report found that consolidation led to fewer, larger, plants in more concentrated geographic areas and current data shows that there are just 837 USDA-inspected plants processing beef and pork, a decrease of 36 percent since 1990.

      1. Synoia

        When small. and living in a Norfolk UK village, I watched our village Butcher slaughter and cut the up the bullocks behind the shop. He also slaughtered pigs and chickens.

        The local housewives, including my Mother, would flock to buy fresh meat on the day of the slaughter.

        I see no need for meat packing plants, and I’m puzzled by the strange, expensive, meat transportation practice in the US, which requires much refrigeration plant.

        1. flora

          See the history of Iowa Beef Packers, Inc..
          Founded as Iowa Beef Packers, Inc.(IBP) on March 17, 1960 by Currier J. Holman and A.D. Anderson, it opened its first slaughterhouse in Denison, Iowa, and eliminated the need for skilled workers. In 1967, IBP introduced boxed beef and pork, which were vacuum packed and in smaller portions.

          See also the political influence of then-IBP with the USDA, and the near monopoly of elimination of open beef cash markets and price setting. Monopoly power destroys the small independent butcher shops and small local beef ranches.

          “It is the small farmer-feeder that is really preserving the cash market and they’re dropping like flies,” explains Bullard. Over the past two decades, the US has lost over 70 percent of all feedlots with less than 1,000 head of cattle. These vulnerable yet critical farmers stand to lose the most from National Beef’s acquisition of Iowa Premium.”
          https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/2019/04/11/beef-packing-merger-threatens-americas-last-competitive-cash-cattle-market

          More than you ever wanted to know about beef raising and processing in the monopoly obsessed US. ;)

          1. Wukchumni

            When footloose behind the wheel in the Sierra foothills, you’ll often come across cattle ranches of size sans Bessie, on your drive. There’s no way these operations of old could compete against a CAFO operation, so they all up & died.

            We did a drive to Kings Canyon NP a year or two back with me riding shotgun en route to the back of beyond, and I reckon we saw a hundred cows, and the infrastructure to handle a hundred thousand, rusting into the ground.

          2. farmboy

            After pauses in meat processing, the meat case got thin and expensive. Farm to table needs a local processor and the existing butchers became booked out a year. Being a butcher used to be a good living, will this part of the food chain come back? The local cattlemen here are working the chain hard, it’s a way to add value. from 2012
            “It is no stretch to assume that, from the perspective of the White House, the choice to abandon an apparently failed effort to protect independent farmers from such abuses may have seemed politically pragmatic. But over the longer term, it may prove to have been a strategic political failure. By raising the hopes and championing the interests of independent farmers against agribusiness, the administration effectively reached out to the millions of rural voters who don’t normally vote Democratic but whose ardent desire to reestablish open and fair markets for their products and labor often trumps any traditional party allegiance. Instead of translating that newfound trust into political capital, the administration squandered whatever goodwill it had begun to earn. Worse, the administration’s silent retreat amounts to a form of moral failure. Having amply documented the outrageous abuse of fellow citizens, it decided it was not worth expending more political capital to right this wrong.”https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/novdec-2012/obamas-game-of-chicken/#.X9AYVQlRY2Y.twitter

            1. Montanamaven

              We have a small cow/calf operation in Montana. We (the ranchers) came soooo close this past year to having our plight be heard. i.e. why were the restaurants paying high prices and the cattle operations losing money? Even our Republican Attorney General used the word “collusion” when referring to the meat packers monopoly that has been going on since the 1920s. It’s like all the conservative ranchers woke up including my husband! I think Trump would have been on board, but I think the PTB made sure that the monopolies stayed in place.
              So now it’s back to the usual fatalistic view of “nothing we can do about it”.

      2. redleg

        It’s not just meat. The farmers I’ve worked with on irrigation projects grow corn and soy mainly because the nearest processing facilities for other crops (edible beans, squash, peas, carrots, potatoes, sunflowers, etc.) are located many hours away. They grew these crops 20 years ago, but the local buyers have disappeared and the process are so low that transportation costs make these crops unprofitable from the start.

        1. Massinissa

          And corn is only profitable because of government subsidies keeping the costs artificially low and the like.

          1. Massinissa

            It would be bad enough corn only tasted bad. It’s mostly subsidized as heavily as it is to keep the price of high fructose corn syrup low. Basically its kept cheap so that junk food can also be cheap.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > They should stop growing corn. Worthless food

            I think your typical Mexican peasant farmer would disagree. Probably the corn that we grow is worthless (optimized for high fructose corn syrup and ethanol).

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            As Lambert Strether said . . . . it depends on the corn.

            Petrochemical GMO sh*tcorn is nutritionally worthless. It is probably anti-nutritious and in fact a low-grade poison if/when eaten. The same may well be less-fulminantly true for the pre-GMO modern hybrid corns.

            But the good old Open Pollinated corns? Whole nation-loads of people lived very well on them ( along with other things) for thousands of years.

            Here is a website for a business which sells traditional-craft tortilla information and inputs and supplies. Including several old-to-ancient heirloom corn types grown by particular farmers in Mexico. I thought of buying some, but every corn-type description contains big-fat warnings about how ” buying this corn implies understanding that you are forbidden to plant it or give it to anyone who would, under the BioDiversity Pact and the Nagoya Protocol and blah blah blah”. So to not put myself n the way of temptation, I won’t buy any of it. Because you know I would plant it if I had it.

            Here is the website.
            https://masienda.com/

            Here is the shopping section. All different sorts of tortilla-and-masa-related items. Just scroll down and you will find the heirloom corn types and the descriptions of their special virtues.
            https://masienda.com/shop/

      3. HotFlash

        I cannot find the original source, my guess is somewhere in Michael Pollin’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, but Joel Salutin (of Polyface Farms) and some neighbours set up and built a small local slaughterhouse but could not get USDA approval for it. One must, of course, wonder why might that be.

      4. jr

        We have a butcher shop in the Village which provides clean, locally raised, and humanely processed meat. They do a banging business, pricey but worth every penny. The chicken is fantastic.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > pricey but worth every penny

          I think meat is best thought of as a condiment, to be balanced with a nice compliment of vegetables. The American diet, IMNSHO, has terrible portion control, and in those gargantuan portions, meat plays far too great a role.

          1. Basil Pesto

            in my ‘China’ cookbook, it’s notable that the vegetable section isn’t a strictly vegetarian section, as a number of the vegetable and tofu dishes are often flavoured with relatively small quantities of meat, usually minced pork. Stir fried green beans is a good example, the pork lends a wonderful, rich umami flavour

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              And in the Good Old Days, those pigs were eating waste scrap and scrap waste of stuff that humans would not or could not eat . . . this turning unfood and nonfood into food. The pigs’s presence raised the productivity of the whole agro-ecosystem.

              Of course nowadays, China is growing massive amounts of petrochemical sh*tpork, based on feeding vast quantities of petrochemical sh*tcorn and sh*tsoy to vast quantities of CAFO pigs. Including in America itself now . . . as at the Smithfield facilities and operations which a Chinese meat-operator company recently bought.

          2. jr

            That’s an interesting concept. I just had some incredible pasta the other day and there was a few scraps of prosciutto atop it. Just the right amount, more would have been way too much.

      5. Lex

        I buy a little lamb meat every fall for our freezer; usually from a booth at the farmer’s market. But because the owners are elderly, they didn’t show up this year, so I gave them a call. They directed me to the food co-op in Laramie where their meat could always be found; we drove up one nice day.

        They don’t use a local meat processor like 307; they use one way out in Kersey, CO. I’ve been curious why they would travel to use a facility so far from home.

        https://www.stevingmeats.com/

    3. Phacops

      At our local farmer’s market is usually one of the licensed foragers in the area (for mushrooms). Usually a lot of people chat them up without buying anything, so, by the time I arrive good bargains of morels, chantrelles, king boletes or oysters, are to be had. I don’t understand the odd shopping habits.

      I love being married to a woman who gets so excited when the wild asparagus is up in the spring just when the wild ramps are leafing out. Roast asparagus with wild ramp vinagrette is the reward.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          Thawing here too. Garlic scape pesto is the absolute best. It’s simple, I make it with 3 ingredients, scapes, olive oil and pecans. Everyone loves it on pasta. I used to make and freeze lots of basil pesto, but the garlic scape is so much better.

  10. Mikel

    RE: “U.S. Homebuyers Face Worst Affordability Squeeze in 12 Years” Bloomberg

    I just have to laugh now at the laser-like focus on trickle-down interest rate economics.

    It’s especially amusing around mortgage buying.
    Interest rates are a concern for, primarily, developers and banks are the most concerned about interest rates shouted down from the “great oz”.

    The people that live in the homes are primarily concerned with safety, a particular kind of comfort, and social status. How badly they desire those things and how much money they have at the moment are the primary drivers for purchases. People that have a jones to live in a home get driven by FOMO.

    On another note, I think sub-prime and usuary exist because people don’t CARE enough about interest rates and not having a lot of monwy to begin with narrows options – not because people are financially illiterate. Besides, educating people about interest rates don’t stop usuary and sub-prime. The financial crimes of 2008 were a huge lesson and look now…

    Guess what? I’m ready to now say lije Yannis V. “interest rates” are politcal decisions like who has to go bankrupt and who doesn’t and that related bummer to interest rates: inflation.

  11. AbyNormal

    There’s a something hiding in the woodpile here…AND IT STINKS:
    “Initially, it appeared that the 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine — which must be kept between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit — had been left out overnight accidentally, hospital officials said.”

    & THIS
    “After the hospital administered more than 50 doses of the vaccines that had been thawed, it learned the shots had actually been thawed twice, rendering them ineffective, a hospital official said Thursday at a press conference.”

    pharmacist destroy bad vaccine, Yahoo

  12. Mikel

    Re: “A-Holes” Eschaton.
    “They prefer the prospect of the cannibal hordes to the off chance a poor might get a chance to smile for one day.”

    Think about it more deeply and it’s a testament to how f’in childish and lazy the “hard-working” wealthy oligarchs actually are.

    1. JBird4049

      It is also about maintaining appearances. “We’re the virtuous makers and you’re the scummy takers and we will kill you to prove it.”

      1. Massinissa

        I like how the ‘taker’ working class always seems to be doing more work and producing more goods than much of the ‘maker’ PMC class.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What if someone were to write a political novel worthy of the title ” Spartacus Shrugged” ?

          1. Wukchumni

            Crazy as it seems, we’re right in the scariest part of Atlas Shrugged when Francisco d’Anconia unloads on our way of life.

  13. edmondo

    Did you know that Nancy’s new CV-19 relief bill allows the airlines to tell their pilots to stay home and still get paid their full salary? Shouldn’t that apply to everyone or is it only applicable depending on how much your industry donated to politicians. The government is actively destroying some industries while financially supporting others. Isn’t there a name for that?

    https://onemileatatime.com/airlines-recall-furloughed-workers/

  14. Mikel

    RE: 2020: Lesson In Insurance

    I’m in LA reading about the tough decisions staff at hospitals are making about care during this time.
    How much is “insurance” the elephant in the room?

    And when you have the shoddy “insurance” of a non-VP or CEO and you hear about the equipment and staff issues that persist in healthcare during a known time of emergency, and your “insurance” keeps going up while quality care is no guarantee…it’s all some more crap not worth the paper and virtual paper it’s printed on.

      1. Glen

        Universal healthcare is needed to enable new small businesses to start, grow and thrive. Think about the business decisions you make if you’re dealing with employees, a pandemic, and the burden of useless healthcare insurance vs. EVERYBODY IS COVERED.

        It is a healthcare issue for tens of millions, but it is REQUIRED if you want to revive our economy.

        1. jo6pac

          Universal healthcare is needed to enable new small businesses to start, grow and thrive.

          That is the reason we will never have it, big business doesn’t like to compete. It’s hard to fix prices when you’re small shops are doing the same business for less and paying their workers more with bennies.

          It’s UnAmerikan

    1. Screwball

      Nothing to see there, nope, Nada

      It will be interesting to watch how this ends up in the same place as the Epstein stuff

    2. Phillip Cross

      Are you telling us there may be a corrupt, high ranking politician in the United States? A wealthy American family using their influence to get their kids an unfair headstart in our meritocracy? An American citizen putting their own personal finances ahead of the national interest?

      Shocking, crazy talk!

      1. Duck1

        Hey, Hunter was the smartest guy in the room. He knew how to transfer money six ways to Sunday, and make bank on the smoke keeping his mirror full of blow, all hunkey dory tax wise, because you can do a hell of a lot of consulting when fired up on the ‘caine.

  15. Mikel

    RE: “Some healthcare workers refuse to take COVID-19 vaccine, even with priority access” LA Times (mv).

    “The vaccine doubts swirling among healthcare workers across the country come as a surprise to researchers, who assumed hospital staff would be among those most in tune with the scientific data backing the vaccines.”

    Hospital staff, through widespread experience, have dealt with vaccines on the frontlines, treating effects, for years.
    But that accounts for nothing?

    I think they are “in-tune” to a good degree through experience.
    I don’t think they are all anti-vaxxers.
    A lot of them have studied science and know that effects OVER TIME, in some cases decades, are a huge factor.

    “Researchers” aren’t going to have to deal with people face to face when they have a health crisis.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “The vaccine doubts swirling among healthcare workers across the country come as a surprise to researchers, who assumed hospital staff would be among those most in tune with the scientific data backing the vaccines.”

      1) “Researchers” “who assumed” weren’t doing much research, then

      2) Maybe the health care workers are “most in tune with the scientific data”?

  16. Rod

    For the past 27 days, Satyagrahis have occupied all but one highway leading into Delhi, the capital of India. Big City, lots of roads, only one open.
    and
    Certainly, the claim that capitalism is the best/only structure for growth or “development” is propagated widely, and not just by the BJP, but largely by the very capitalists funding the political campaigns of all major parties. In reality, sympathizers of capitalist governance find it hard to explain why a single corporate overlord should be free to hoard billions of dollars. The middle classes say, “It’s his wealth, he earned it”– forgetting that no wealth in the world can be created without laboring workers, farmers, and unpaid care-workers.

    bet all that eastern stuff sounds awfully familiar to western to readers

    1. Our love for all beings terrifies fascist mindsets.

    “Love is the weapon of the oppressed. Revolution is carried through our embrace.”

    – Nisha Sethi

    2. Creating communities based on care, not hierarchy, is an ancestral commitment.

    3. Opposing one unjust hierarchization means discarding all in/visible forms of hierarchy.

    Lots of lessons in their resolve and logistics–that can not be blacked out.
    A good reminder–for the New Year– of what is possible with deliberate and centered conflict.

    as for #1–i am believing, more and more, that Love is the antidote for Fear.

    happy Blank Slate to all.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Satyagrahis have occupied all but one highway leading into Delhi

      I think this is the largest strike in world history. Oddly, or not, it’s getting almost no coverage in our famously free press.

  17. Linz

    “The Rising Tide of Alternative Meats” w/ “Without clearing any new farmland…”

    What happened to rice and beans? Or, to the point, food that can be conceivably produced by the average person? A world without factory farming could be a much better world for us all, though, as we know, conventional ag overall needs to be addressed (I would love to see the vegan community address the havoc that avocado production is wrecking on humans and wildlife in Mexico…not to mention cashews…and how is this surge in cassava demand going for Nigerian farmworkers and communities I wonder)

    When we talk about better fertilizing practices there’s nothing like rotating field production and letting some happy animals poop and eat the perennial weeds out of a fallow field for a year or two or three. I work in organic ag and so I speak from experience. As far as food waste, there’s no avoiding a degree of spoilage happening, but it makes perfect silage for animals, who store those calories for us. This isn’t a model for meat production that would meet the needs of the gluttonous western diet to be sure, more like holiday hams and the like. The luxury that meat ought to be, because it’s true that it isn’t necessary. I just don’t understand the impulse to trust Smithfield or Tyson to blend meat with “vegetables”, YUCK, or do what Bill Gates thinks I should do (the money behind Impossible/Beyond Meat. of course he’s not a vegan himself).

    I guess it makes an animal free diet more accessible to the masses who don’t really have time for food prep, but that in itself is a lifestyle that makes us seem like nothing but livestock. What I am seeing is a push towards cheaper diets that are coincidentally better for the environment and obviously so less gruesome and unhealthy, but tear people even further from a connection to the process of feeding themselves. Which is not to say that people in high rises are anywhere near meeting their needs with cherry tomatoes on the balcony, but a group of them could move to the suburbs and start producing a considerable amount of food for their city (especially in my ideal world where the government openly subsidizes these projects with the intent to make them viable rather than eek out an existence on the FDA teet). There is a lot of latent power in this possibility that turning to lab produced food for now protein, tomorrow what else, takes from us. In my own state I see a lot of creativity around regional varieties of tempeh and miso, for example, where organic lentil, kamut and buckwheat growers are multiplying every year. Nobody really gets excited about making dietary changes over tempeh though….until you grind it up and call it burger.

    I try to not get too wrapped up in this dilemma because at the end of the day I’m ensuring a healthy food supply for myself and my family and to some degree customers, and these practices are still alive and have a chance, though I hardly see anyone$$$ taking a real interest in fortifying local and sustainable ag models if robots can’t do it. Even then, it seems like sustainable ag will become ever more the province of the rich, and everyone else will be conditioned to eating paste.

    1. HotFlash

      My dear linz,

      +1000 and a fist bump. One of my local grocery chain stores is now sporting a ‘healthy and organic’ aisle. My thoughts when I amble through (it’s a double-wide aisle that includes dairy) is that most of the ‘food’ offered is over processed, over packaged, and overpriced. Who knew that vegans subsist on organic sweet potato puffs and 20-grain granola? Yards and yards of the aisle is chips and snacks, packaged in Mylar ™, but *sea salt*! The organic baby food is under lock and key because it is so expensive. Really? Small amounts of applesauce or green beans in a Mylar(tm) pouch with a plastic cap the size of a doorknob. The packaging will be around long after the kid is dead. What are people thinking?

      We don’t eat meat every meal, maybe 2-3 time a week (Mr. HF is a dedicated carnivore), but we know the couple who farm it, ditto the folks who grow our eggs and honey. We have a tiny yard, but it is devoted to food and herbs. I forage a lot of fruit and veg, shop at the farmers market (a real one) the rest may come from the groc store, but preferably local — OK, we don’t grow citrus or pineapples here in Canada, but otherwise. I will not buy Chinese garlic, pay 4-5 times more for local. I think that’s the only way we can save ourselves. If you consider that buying is voting with your dollars, one has to wonder why people buy against their interests. I do not buy Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, or any other ‘platform’ that really is a pump sucking the $$$ out of my community.

      We are not rich, but we do what we can.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      Left a comment above before reading your excellent “alternative meat” rant. As I wrote, I saw “Impossible” burger substitute at the local supermarket for $8/lb. How on earth this is accessible to most people is beyond me. It’s definitely way out of my budget range. Rice and beans, on the other hand, are eminently doable, and for those who want some meat in their diet, it’s easy to add some as a “condiment.”

      I grew up poor, in a family with seven kids. My mother, bless her, fed us all on a shoestring by stretching out the meat — for example, loading up the stew with potatoes and using the leftover Easter ham for scalloped potatoes and the bone for split pea soup, served with cornbread. We almost never ate burgers. The hamburger was used in meatloaf, stretched with soft breadcrumbs, or in shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes.

      In addition to marketing pricey burger substitutes as a sustainable alternative, there’s a growing trend toward recycling food waste into pricey snacks for the environmentally “woke.” I kid you not. I saw a segment on PBS a while back and couldn’t believe the audacity of the marketing types in claiming they could sell food waste at a premium to consumers who want to feel like they’re doing something to Save the Earth. I saw all that processing and thought 1) How exactly does this help the environment, and 2) They’re going to market this highly processed s— as “healthy?” I’ll see if I can find the video and post it below.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s lots of impenetrable patches of invasive Himalayan blackberries around these parts up to around 3,500 feet in one ex-prized location off-trail near a creek and excellent camping spot, there was a 20 x 20 foot advance guard that got taken out by NPS botanic crews, it’d never make it going much higher-but could spread from there.

        Its like a bitter divorce getting rid of it, as it wants custody.

        Along Mineral King road for about a mile are many blackberry patches, and they ripen around August, and we had family up for a backpack trip to Mosquito Lakes, and I stopped the caravan at a choice spot and family followed and we started gleaning, and my 19 year old niece was geeked and getting purple finger & thumb (it looks like the aftermath of voting in an Iraqi election) from indulging, while our 10 & 13 year old nephews were like no way, the whole concept being so weird, but if said blackberries were under cellophane in a box in the refrigerated section in the supermarket, would have been all over them.

        1. skk

          Hey thanks for that. I miss picking blackberries and hazelnuts from hedgerows in England. I found blackberries in hedgerows once on Bainbridge Island when visiting Seattle but nothing since. Now I know where to look. I’ve made a note.

          Indeed redcurrants and blackberries in punnets in supermarkets is sacrilege – I avoid them.

        2. Brunches with Cats

          Well, Wuk, that’s an interesting commentary on “accessibility” of food. What you describe is literal, physical accessibility, the difference between a long drive and hike to pick your own, versus three minutes in a supermarket. In the original comment, Linz wrote of the accessibility to the masses of a plant-based diet. Meanwhile, I looked at accessibility to food as a function of household finances. “Access” being an often-discussed word here on NC, primarily in the context of healthcare, I thought it might be fun to translate those three different concepts of “accessibility” to public health.

          Looking through your lens, having “access to healthcare” would mean having a hospital within an hour’s drive from where you live and doctors’ offices where you can get appointments in less than two weeks. You can get telehealth appointments and not even change out of your pajamas. Routine services would be “packaged” in an easy-to-understand format at one price, maybe comparable to Medicare. The downside would be that patients needing a different mix of services than the prepackaged option would have to comparison shop, and we know how that goes.

          Linz’s take on accessibility centers on ease of use and then by implication extends to a concept akin to how we use “accessible” to commend an author’s treatment of a dense, arcane subject in a manner that ordinary, non-expert readers can understand. Without the familiar image of a juicy burger, how many people could envision eating soy and potato protein mixed with cultured dextrose, methylcellulose, and soy leghemoglobin? For ease of use in the healthcare system, the best plan obviously would be single payer. “Enhanced accessibility” would be achieved by simplifying the paperwork and reducing the “tax on time.” Ideally, there would be no complicated regulations, exceptions to rules, arbitrary claims decisions, etc. ad nauseam. But there is that worrisome list of imponderable ingredients.

          As a senior living on disability, I’m lumpenproletariat, so of course I would think of prohibitive costs first. I’m guessing the peasant class would see it likewise. What percentage of Americans fall into those two lower classes, I don’t know, but it’s got to be huge. I can’t see how a burger substitute that costs nearly twice as much per pound as regular hamburger and three times as much as a family pack of chicken is “accessible” to a majority of Americans, especially not with the additional financial distress caused by the pandemic and abandonment by Washington. Obamacare is like the burger substitute on the supermarket shelf. Even though I can “access” the supermarket in about a 20 minute’s drive, the product isn’t affordable for someone in my financial circumstances. As we all know on NC, “access to health insurance” is not the same as “access to healthcare.”

          Anyway, pondering these different ideas of “accessibility” leaves me wondering whether maybe it simply never occurs to the people writing the legislation, making the rules, working in the insurance industry, etc., that anyone would have a problem paying 8 percent of their income on health insurance. Or $8/lb for a burger substitute … or $12 a pint for ice cream.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I try to not get too wrapped up in this dilemma because at the end of the day I’m ensuring a healthy food supply for myself and my family and to some degree customers, and these practices are still alive and have a chance, though I hardly see anyone$$$ taking a real interest in fortifying local and sustainable ag models if robots can’t do it.

      I think that our financialized overlords would prefer to be on the same continent with a working class that is much, much smaller, so robots it is.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the Classes can support sustainable agriculture long enough for the Masses to realize there is such a thing, perhaps some among the Masses might defect from eating sh*tfood to eating shinola food. The sustainable ag community will just have to try keeping the knowledge and the methods alive until that happy day.

  18. chuck roast

    “Those of Us Who Don’t Die Are Going to Quit”: A Crush of Patients, Dwindling Supplies and the Nurse Who Lost Hope… ProPublica

    Oh, woe is us!!! This fellow J. David McSwane regurgitates multitudinous failures in the VA system. Personal failures, systemic blunders, blinding idiocies and standard everyday corruption. All leading to personal and societal collapse.
    Thanks pal, for belaboring the obvious. Reading these sort of articles can only be described as yet again being tied to the windlass and feeling the lash of the first mate. Both ProPublica and McSwane have bright futures in the corporate media firmament.

    However, the cat really gets out of the bag (ahem) with the Hampton Institute piece on the worker/farmer uprising in India. Here the documentation is less anecdotal then materialist. The author lays the widespread unrest at the feet of the insatiable ruling elite and their persistent rent seeking. In sectors where monopolies do not control the markets lawfare is the preferred method of the politicians in service to the donor class. Privatization is the sharp instrument, and the security services demonstrates how effectively it can be used. All public and private space will be enclosed, and the evicted multitudes can do gig work in the all the factories that will soon leave China and Vietnam to “provide a better life” to Indian multitudes. “Eat you liver. There are starving people in India!”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Eat you liver. There are starving people in India!”

      Yes, when my Mom said that to me I didn’t think she meant my own liver. But such seems to be the case!

  19. Kouros

    Interesting to see if the anti-corruption candidate wins in Vietnam.

    Worth remembering that the president of China, Xi started to be demonized not when he was nominated president for life, but prior to that, when he intensified his anti-corruption campaign.

    Privatization of Russia’s Oil sector was applauded with the token decry of corruption while now, the Russian state is saddled with a 50 Billion dollar fine tag for its treatment of Yukos Oil… Enclosures Good, Commons Bad!

    In its argument for nuclear proliferation, FP article does not tell us whether the US troops should come home… Also it doesn’t mention that helping Taiwan with nuclear armament is illegal according to the international law, namely NPT. I guess this is what “rules based order” really means…

    1. The Rev Kev

      That $50 billion fine for Russia? It went to a Russian court who found that although Russia signed the Energy Charter Treaty, it was never ratified. Same way the US has signed treaties but they have never been ratified. To nobody’s surprise, it was a Dutch court that came forward that claimed that they totally had jurisdiction over affairs in Russia but even a US court threw out this action in November. This is just a bunch of billionaires trying lawfare to rob Russia of $50 billion-

      https://www.rt.com/russia/510854-yukos-case-legal-settlement/

  20. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Moooorning Fiatnam!

    Marching orders came from on high, wrest more land for development into single family hutches-winning hearts, minds and more through continual rises in property value, was our coda. Much of it in the southern territories of the state closer to the border had bore fruit, but where’s the funds in that, they cried.

    Just how does one tax a cling peach that goes away, being the root of the dilemma.

    We had to destroy the orchards, in order to save them.

    1. Massinissa

      Ah yes Senator Cornyn, I appreciate that you are able to recommend ritzy steak dinners when most restaurants are closed and millions of people are going to be evicted in the next month.

      This is almost worse than Pelosi’s ice cream stunt.

  21. Wukchumni

    There are some little bright spots amid the bad news of 2020. I won’t bore you here with mine except for this tidbit. For over a year since I was released from the shackles of The Kaweah Commonwealth print newspaper, I had no interest, no desire to write. The passion was gone. I have always loved writing, but I was traumatized from 26 years of relentless weekly deadlines.

    Currently in Sequoia National Park, there is no food available anywhere, no ski or snowshoe rentals, campgrounds are closed, and so is the lodging. Wuksachi Lodge had been hoping to reopen in December but has now pushed the opening date back to February 12, 2021. Kings Canyon lodging hopes to open April 2, 2021; Grant Grove Market is in operation.

    https://3riversnews.com/writing-the-three-rivers-story-closing-out-2020/

    Our local newspaper was a weekly, and by the time it came out in print, the news sometimes was stale as breadcrumbs, come Friday.

    That said, it represented the last physical newspaper i’ll ever subscribe to. When we moved here 15 years ago you could buy the LA Times & San Francisco Chronicle by coin op racks, they both split about 9 years ago, though.

    Sarah & her husband John really came into their own with excellent reporting in this year of tumult, and only because they went online with the paper, and were able to provide real time analysis.

    As i’ve mentioned before, Sequoia NP is open-but with no services or place to stay.

    That means potential Covid carriers are all staying in town, perhaps going to the River View Bar & Restaurant (‘It takes 3 livers to live in Three Rivers’ or ‘A liver runs through it’) which has a strict policy of none of the servers, bartenders, cooks, busboys, or cleaning staff bothering with the wearing of masks, ‘Hey, go find a Libtard eatery if you can’t handle it!’ being their mantra.

    1. Wukchumni

      The latest 5 star review on Yelp (amid a sea of 1 star reviews) from a few days ago really emphasizes my last sentence, in what we’ve become. Why not make stop lights optional too?

      We absolutely love this place. We live in the valley and go as often as we can! The staff is always prompt and friendly. The food is great. We love the chili dogs and onion rings. They also make a mean cocktail. And we personally LOVE that it’s the one place we can go eat right now and have a sense of normalcy!! There are signs clearly stating they’re stance on mask wearing. If you don’t like it, keep on driving!!

      https://www.yelp.com/biz/river-view-restaurant-and-lounge-three-rivers?sort_by=date_desc

    2. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      Delaware North has run the concession in Sequoia/Kings Canyon for nearly 25 years, and as their model of making money derives from people glomming together in stadiums, racetracks and the like, not an enviable business now, and might not be again for many years.

      Changes by David Bowie

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8

  22. Wukchumni

    Looking back on December 31st this year*, I expect the following to have happened:

    1. Implementation of the vaccine into a canned hard seltzer delivery system proved all it took to defeat the wily Corona, the rest they say is history.

    “I got 4 bars” took on new meaning.

    2. Nothing else of note really occurred.

    * and more importantly, why does my NC screen tell me it’s now 5576?

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      So it’s not just me seeing (apparently) random years in the draft timestamps of my comments, then? Thank you for the confirmation!

      (My comments are just about always made from my Samsung Galaxy J7 JetPro, BTW, in case that info helps any nc de-tech-tives. . . .)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > * and more importantly, why does my NC screen tell me it’s now 5576?

      I believe that 5576 in the Jewish Calendar is 1816 in our (Gregorian?) calendar. Absent a screen shot, that’s the best I can do :-)

  23. ilpalazzo

    I recommend Jeffrey St. Clair’s today’s Roaming Charges – he links to a European TV co-production mini-series based on Conrad’s Nostromo made in the nineties that’s apparently only available on youtube. I’m almost done watching it and it’s been very good. The production value is great too. Made my day today.

  24. Dr. John Carpenter

    There’s a video going around Instagram of the NYE Super Spreader Event at Mar a Largo last night. I don’t know how to link from Instagram, but it’s worth checking out. It’s obviously someone’s fun time selfie video but I’m ok with the fact that I was asleep by 11 rather than catching Covid with Guliani to watch Mike Love and Vanilla Ice! It’s the most 2020 NYE stuff I’ve seen today.

  25. Glen

    A theme to watch in the coming year:

    Tech Decoupling: China’s Race to End Its Reliance on the U.S. | WSJ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTFmBWiMxJE

    I’m not a WSJ fan, they generally reflect the opinions of people who $crew real Americans in a heart beat, but the vid was handy. Here”s a couple of key indicators to watch:

    The “Russian” Hack – There seems to be an increasing more open “battle” occurring in cyber space. Basically, if the new “economy” is based on data mining by Google, then obviously penetrating networks to take information is also viable. The USA is fairly vulnerable to such hacking. We have outsourced our IT around the world giving away access to our networks and technology. Such a battle could also turn into disabling real infrastructure such as power networks as has been seen in the past. Everybody points the fingers at Russia on this one, but China also hacks American companies and the government. They use to do this thirty years ago before the Internet by buying US surplus PCs and looking for data that had not been properly erased.

    The China Market – American elites will do almost anything to maintain access to the Chinese market. Most Americans do not realize that American auto manufacturers sold more cars in China in 2012 than anywhere else in the world. They will want to maintain this access even if it means they destroy America by continuing to move technology, jobs and factories to China.

    American Industrial Base and Technology Lags – American technology leadership was long maintained by government investment in education, research and development followed by large corporation R&D, and a economy which allowed garage start ups. The Wall St chase for quarterly profits, and the resulting strip mining of corporations followed by government austerity means America starts to lag in this area. Intel failing in implementing the latest chip making is an indicator. Boeing making a flawed airplane is an indicator. But massive student debt, and crappy educations is also an indicator. We no longer provide a higher education to better our country, it’s been turned into another Wall St profit machine.

    China has been very smart about using American CEO greed and stupidity to advance their country. It’s doubtful that will change in any meaningful way in the near future (nothing will fundamentally change), but it will be interesting to watch the next steps in the China/American dance.

    Lucas Kunce: How China Exploited Capitalist Greed Of U.S. Big Business
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3tz179QshQ

    What will China do when presented with the American Wall St vulture feasting on the steaming entrails of the American road kill middle class?

    1. Michaelmas

      Glen wrote: ‘It will be interesting to watch the next steps in the China/American dance.’

      A couple of months ago, BlackRock got approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to set up a mutual fund business in China. This makes BlackRock the first global asset manager to get consent from China to start operations there.

      So then, as you say: China will keep relying on American C-suite greed.

      This time they’re going to the top. If you recall, in March the Fed picked BlackRock to run two corporate bond-buying programs in response to the coronavirus pandemic: the $500 billion Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility and the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility. Via the Fed, BlackRock is also now managing the commercial mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association, Federal National Mortgage Association, or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

  26. Wukchumni

    “Those of Us Who Don’t Die Are Going to Quit”: A Crush of Patients, Dwindling Supplies and the Nurse Who Lost Hope
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    My buddy worked in Sequoia NP for quite a long time and he and his wife were the caretakers @ the Pear Lake ski hut for a number of years.

    It requires a nearly 9 mile ski into the hut, which used to house a dozen hardy souls a night in the winter, had fold down metal mattresses and a wood pellet stove & communal kitchen, along with composting toilet.

    Great place and been there since 1941. I remember reading entries from the day I was born, in the journals.

    We did a number of snow survey trips in Mineral King for the state over the years, quite the adventure by truck, snowmobile and then ski, to get to the promised land above, skins on the underside of our planks in order to retard backwardation. Its roughly like walking in longish snowshoes, with the reward to come after going through the paces of doing the snow survey using state of the art 1912 gear never improved upon to gauge the depth and just as important-the water content.

    This took an hour to accomplish, and then you peeled off your skins, and raced down from whence you came that took you 3 hours to get to, in 13 minutes.

    Anyhow, so he went to school and became an RN and a much valued component of the hospital’s ICU ward, he’s ‘the guy’.

    He’s committed to his job, I know his ability from doing outdoorsy stuff with him (one memorable backpack was with him & his wife & 30 month old son. We did 30 miles in 6 days over 2 high passes, with the tyke walking maybe 7 or 8 of them) but I can sense he’s kind of wearing down, as you can’t be on 100% in anything you’re doing all the time, it just can’t be done.

  27. Wukchumni

    Its easy to go back in time to look for flaws, but much more difficult to do the opposite, and probably the only way the most famous man ever in Three Rivers (he’s buried in our cemetery, had a little 8,000 acre spread here) to finally get noticed after slipping through history’s cracks at attention is through disclaim, that hurts.

    A larger than life figure who somehow figured out how to live 5 lives in the space of one, chock full of adventure, daring do and more. He deserves attention. alright.

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

    A Splendid Savage: The Restless Life of Frederick Russell Burnham by Steve Kemper
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-12-31/mount-burnham-baden-powell-honor-racists

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Secret Service to make changes to presidential detail to bring on agents who worked with Biden”

    Yeah, I bet they are. That article said ‘Staff changes are typical with the arrival of a new president and are designed to increase the trust and comfort the incoming president feels with his protective agents’ but it might more be a case of making the agents comfortable. Old Joe has a “history” here. For example, old Joe will swim naked in his swimming pool. He gets his jollies by making the female Secret Service agents uncomfortable at the sight of his scrawny, naked figure. And there is some gigs where people like old Joe get to a meet & greet with their Secret Service details. But old Joe gets very handy with the women agents and their wives/partners. One time a Secret Service nearly decked him for this. And I am positive that he does not do this because he wants to pick these females up but because he wants to humiliate their partners by physically saying ‘I am powerful enough to do this and you can’t do anything about it.’ It is the same when he gets handy with kids in front of their parents in public. I actually feel sorry for those Secret Service agents and that may be why they are recalling those who have worked with him before. They know what to expect.

    1. rowlf

      After the summer sheriffs outside of Atlanta got lots of job applications from Atlanta police personnel who felt the Atlanta city leadership were not supporting them. Go figure.

      Good for the sheriffs as they got a chance to select from a spectrum of applicants to hire from. The sheriff of my county worked for a while in Atlanta and has a lot of good ideas now on what works and what doesn’t. He’s down on SWAT stuff (was former SWAT), ex-military equipment and big on police and detective work. He thinks no knocks is a dumb idea.

      After his recent third election his large campaign signs had “Thank you” stickers diagonally across them before they were taken down after the election.

  29. rowlf

    Ok, I’m gobsmacked. On the evening news Covid-19 coverage today on http://www.cbs46.com in the Atlanta GA area the person being interviewed recommended vitamin D3 and Zinc to help ward off infection. I couldn’t find the video for this at the Channel 46 website but I am still amazed at any mention of Covid-19 prophylaxis in the US media.

    I wonder if the person saying this will be banished to the cornfield.

    It’s a Good Life (The Twilight Zone)

  30. The Rev Kev

    From the Department of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up. Washington Post journalists, who have been arguing that a $2,000 check for Americans is way too much as they might simply just save that money and who have been mostly working from home, have just been given a $2,021 bonus check, I kid you not. My own guess is that $2,000 of that represents the $2,000 that they have been fiercely fighting against, the $20 represents a 1% tip by Bezos as he believes that a 1% tip is the most a worker should ever get, and the single $1 is what those journalist are actually worth making a grand total of $2,021. Story at-

    https://www.rt.com/usa/511331-washington-post-bonuses-stimulus/

    1. jr

      The disassociation at the highest levels is unreal. Did no one see the symbolic impact of a bunch of elite pseudo-journalists being handed a 2000$ bone by their master while the rest of the nation stood by biting their nails only to be told to f\/(|< off? I’ve said it before: only Vonnegut could have predicted this level of surreality.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I wouldn’t have even paid them the $1. Their reputation is on par with the New York Times as far as truth-telling is concerned.

      2. Massinissa

        I don’t remember who it was, but awhile back someone on NC joked they should make the $600 payment increased to $666 so as to show the working class they think the working class can go to hell.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Washington Post journalists, who have been arguing that a $2,000 check for Americans is way too much as they might simply just save that money and who have been mostly working from home, have just been given a $2,021 bonus check

      RussiaGate will have been worth every penny to Bezos if he gets that JEDI contract, so good job, WaPo “journalists.”

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    Article about a new-ish really big kind of wind turbine being prototype-tested in Rotterdam by GE. Other companies are also exploring really big kinds of wind turbines in reply.

    If this all works out, how many Coastal Green-Minded Blue-Zone communities could install them? Combining that with semi-deep and semi-extreme cuts in electricity use per capita within the electro-shed footpring-zone of these turbines, how much coal, gas and oil-made electricity could be deleted from these communities’s power-portfolios? Could this lead to exterminating and banishing fossil fuel for power from many coastal and near-coastal utility zones?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/01/business/GE-wind-turbine.html

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