Links 1/2/2021

Let me add to your New Year wishes! Hope your 2021 got off to a good start.

And see, people you don’t even know have been praying for all of us (guurst):

Country diary: the awkward teenagers of the seal world Guardian

Was I wrong to fall for a cheating cat? BBC (resilc)

With Centuries-Old Techniques, This Farm Is Preparing for the Future Reasons to be Cheerful (guurst)

This burp-catching mask for cows could slow down climate change Wired (Kevin W)

These solar-powered barges can scoop up 50 tons of plastic from rivers each day The Optimist Daily (David L)

Timber Tax Cuts Cost Oregon Towns Billions. Then Clear-cuts Polluted Their Water and Drove Up the Price. ProPublica (David L)


Yes to Masks. No to Parties. 2021 Will Be a Lot Like 2020 Wired (resilc)

Thailand’s Social Security Office to pay out workers at 50% of daily wages for up to 90 days if forced to stop work due to Covid-19 Pattya News. Furzy:

If Thailand can take care of its citizens affected by the virus, ya would think Amerika The Wealthy could too….but OH NO….”socialism”, “communism”, lazy people….can’t do that….what a heartless country the USA has become….

The Staggering, Heartless Cruelty Toward the Elderly Atlantic (Chuck L). From early-ish last year, still germane.


Brain damage of patients with Covid-19 National Institutes of Health (Robert M). Eeek.


Covid-19: London’s NHS Nightingale ‘ready to admit patients’ BBC (Kevin W)

All primary schools in London to remain closed after U-turn Guardian (Kevin W)

Spanish officers plot fascist coup to impose “herd immunity” COVID-19 policy WSWS


Romney floats sweeping vaccine plan as U.S. nears 20 million COVID-19 cases Reuters (resilc)

‘No Predictability’: Vermont Officials Concerned Over Reduction in Coronavirus Vaccine Shipments NECN (resilc)

In Far-Flung Places, COVID-19 Is Being Treated Early And Well. Here’s Why Americans Don’t Know This. TrialSiteNews (RR)

Dr. Paul Farmer: Centuries of Inequality in the U.S. Laid Groundwork for Pandemic Devastation DemocracyNow! (Kevin C). See also: Who Lives and Who Dies: Paul Farmer on the iniquities of healthcare funding. London Review of Books (guurst). From 2015.

We Came All This Way to Let Vaccines Go Bad in the Freezer? New York Times (resilc). Editorial. Note also I’ve seen no evidence that vaccines will “go bad” in a super-cold freezer. They keep eggs and embroyos in them for years. This whine appears to reflect the failure to build a real cold chain, or more accurately, Pfizer requiring a cold chain that is too costly to build for this one use. The Pfizer vaccines can be kept in their shipper boxes, presumably with dry ice replenishment, for 30 days and then at 2-8 degrees C (meaning fridge, not freezer temps) for another 5 days.


Frustrations flare as $2,000 checks blocked for fourth straight day The Hill

This Is an Embarrassment to the Idea of a Civil Society Esquire (resilc)

FWIW, one of my friends who lives near Pelosi’s nominal residence finds her offensive because she doesn’t live in the district. She comes in only rarely and all too visibly since her security details is super noisy:

Federal checks salvage otherwise dreadful 2020 for US farms Associated Press


Why China is anti-fragile Asia Times (Kevin W)

NYSE To Delist Chinese Telco Giants on US Executive Order Bloomberg

EU-China deal may give Biden’s team more options Asia Times (Kevin W)

Apple Took Three Years to Cut Ties With Supplier That Used Underage Labor The Information

The US’ fury over the China-Europe investment deal shows how rattled & isolated they are. It’s clear who’s been 2020’s big winner RT (Kevin W)

The Final Hours of Ethiopia’s TPLF Regime Counterpunch (Chuck L)

US and Israel join forces to reject United Nations budget Yahoo News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Alphabet unit Wing blasts new U.S. drone ID rule, citing privacy Reuters (resilc)

Google’s Wing warns new drone laws ‘may have unintended consequences’ for privacy The Verge (Kevin W). Another reason not to use Amazon.

Hacked home cams used to livestream police raids in swatting attacks BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Shouldn’t Bother with a ‘Summit for Democracy’ American Conservative (Kevin W). Pathetic.

Trump Transition

Will Trumpism outlast Trump? Financial Times (Kevin W)

Trump: the Final Daze CounterPunch (resilc)

FBI: Another Fraud on the Court? Ray McGovern (Anthony L). Sadly, people like McGovern, with a much better grasp of facts, have lost. The official narrative is well cemented.


Yellen, Blinken made more than $1M from corporate speeches, clients: financial disclosures The Hill

Biden’s “Cabinet of Firsts” Betrays Cynical Diversity Approach Intercept (resilc)

Jeff Ricchetti to lobby for Amazon as brother becomes Joe Biden’s counselor CNBC (UserFriendly)


Pence asks judge to toss GOP lawmaker’s bid to overturn election results The Hill

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Detroit is Suing BLM Protesters for “Civil Conspiracy” Intercept (UserFriendly)

Drilling and mining companies got a holiday gift from Trump Grist

Violence Against Women Act Blocked Angry Bear

Occupy the SEC Criticizes NCUA over Proposal to Expand Derivatives Trading at Credit Unions Occupy the SEC. Still kicking!!! Letter here.

Tech’s top seven companies added $3.4 trillion in value in 2020 CNBC (Chuck L)

Guillotine Watch

Joseph Bachelder III, Engineer of the Golden Parachute, Dies at 88 New York Times (resilc)

Class Warfare

The Customer Is Not Always Right Food & Wine. Today’s must read. The article attributes the worsening of bad behavior to Covid, but the ultimate origins are income inequality, which has gotten much worse under the pandemic.

Management guru Michael Schrage has long said most businesses need to fire ~15% of their customers because they are abusive and/or demand things the enterprise never said it would provide. But restaurants feel they can’t turn anyone away, plus the bad attitude often isn’t evident until the customer is seated.

Inside the Whale: An Interview with an Anonymous Amazonian Logic

Political Consciousness From the Daily Grind Prem Thakker. UserFriendy: “Important backstory from that viral clip.” See below:

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus (guurst):

And yet another bonus (bob h):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘The temple bells are nearly done, 107 seven times on 31st, and one on the 1st, for a total of 108. Each ringing represents the subjugation of one of the 108 human sins.’

    Had to look up what those 108 sins of Buddhism are out of curiosity and here is a page listing them. At the rate that those bell ringers are going, it’s going to be a long day for them. Blessings be to them-

      1. ShamanicFallout

        They don’t subjugate the sins. What it says is that the ringing “represents the subjugation”. Very different

        1. fajensen

          Kinda like the act of throwing a statue in the river fixes slavery, racism, colonialism, inequality … magick totally works, of course it does!

    1. .Tom

      Thanks for the list Kev. It turns out that if I had had this a couple of days ago then all I would have needed for a full 2020 bingo card would be to commit an act of voluptuousness.

      1. dougie

        Ya gotta think outside the box, .Tom. A guy I know has a BMI approaching 40, and his “B” cups commit voluptousness on a daily basis!

      2. The Rev Kev

        Personally, I am a fan of the original seven sins of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth but some of the stories that I read here make we want to simply go with wrath.

        1. Wukchumni

          When we moved here there were a couple of houses with largish 6×8 feet 10 Commandment signs in front of their abodes, and does #2 ‘No Graven Images or Likeness’ include both selfies & videos?

    2. juno mas

      Folks in the U.S. don’t need prayers they need payers; as in federal payments to stave off the looming sins of their landlords.

    3. Lex

      Thanks, Rev…. I had to look up ‘dipsomania’ (alcoholism plus bouts of craving).

      It’s kind of a comprehensive list, isn’t it? Human behavior is a spectrum — it’s a matter of degrees — so plausibly we mere mortals could be ‘defiling’ our every waking moment. For a Buddhist monk it’s list that guarantees job security. Depressing being the morality police and seeing sin everywhere. I hope they’re followers of the Laughing Buddha.

    4. Larry Y

      108 is an auspicious number. Actual number of defilements is numberless. Or ten, or five – but really, three root ones.

      Also, sins is a crappy translation – “defilements”, “afflictions”, or “poisons” works better.

      1. pasha

        108 is also the number of beads in a catholic rosary, and the number of stitches in a baseball — an auspicious number indeed!

    5. ambrit

      Do notice that the monks in the video are wearing masks.
      There is no reason for the Religious to reject science and logic.
      As the monks show, ‘it’ is all about policy.

  2. Wukchumni

    Really, the last thing Nancy needs is more chances at pork, but carnitas happens. And what about that blood trail done in the mark of Zorro!

    The idea that UBI was also included in the Krylon rant leads me to believe the perps weren’t your usual hoodlums, although whomever wielded the trigger on the can was used to writing in such long form, so who knows?

      1. edmondo

        It usually shows up whenever right-wingers want someone to think “Anifa” was the perpetrator.

        1. nycTerrierist

          my thought too — the ‘Antifa’ brand pre-demonized for pearl-clutchers

          tho minus the animal cruelty – I’m glad to see some misery brought ‘home’ to
          Pelosi’s doorstep

        2. ambrit

          I thought that it was a primary symbol of the Anarchist ‘collective.’
          This does look too much like some virtue signaling, which could be either legitimate or “false flag.”

            1. ambrit

              She does have five children, so, someone should know her ‘real’ hair colour.
              From what I can read, Nancy’s thinking stops at the pocketbook level, so, her NADS are not an issue, being too ‘low’ for her to consider..
              My big question for now is, who is to be the Court Astrologer for the Joemala Dynasty?

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Sorry if you, or others, know this already, but the circle A is the anarchist symbol.

        Having come up in a punk scene, I saw that a lot growing up. As to if it means anything in this case or is a false flag or whatever, I’ve no idea. My background made me think some crust punk got ahold of a can of Krylon and knew the address, but YMMV on that. (A lot of those folks I’ve know are vegan though, so that rules out the pig’s head.)

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s decidedly mixed messaging going on, in that anarchy wants a universal basic income, which looks like nadir hanging out with zenith.

          1. ambrit

            Throw in Ohio and we have a Sinclair Lewis plot.
            Today really is looking a lot like the 1920s and 1930s did in America.

        2. HotFlash

          Second on the vegan. Hard to get any group of anarchists I know to accede to a pig head or blood, unless their own. Anarchists work by consensus, and I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be at least one block.

          Could have been a solo, though, and my bet would be on the fibbie.

        3. Aumua

          Perhaps it was Jimmy Dore. He’s been boning up on his Kroptkin lately and decided to practice some real direct action. He’s tired of waiting for the squad to do something, damnit!

          1. Massinissa

            I’m almost baffled at AOC claiming on Twitter yesterday that people using the F word against her is not tone but ‘violence’.

            Since when is using profanity against people ‘violence’? It’s not like the F bomb is some kind of threat.

            1. HotFlash

              My dear Mass,

              Are you not aware that more people have been killed by the f-bomb and murdered by wrong pronouns than by wars, drones, 9-11, and sanctions put together? Where is your sense of proportion!!!???!!! /s, if you needed that

      3. Stephen Gardner

        That is an anarchist symbol. It was all over the metro in Paris when I was a student there in the 70s. Good sign. Americans need to develop “l’esprit frondeur”. As long as our real owners succeed in their propaganda we will never defeat them.

      4. FluffytheObeseCat

        It’s a long time anarchism symbol…. and favored by pretentiously “leftist” young white people out here on the left coast. The whole graffiti on that garage reeked of that stagey attitude unfortunately. Seemingly designed to alienate many viewers who should, based on their current immiseration, want to see Pelosi insulted. Hence edmondo’s sarcasm.

        The problem is, I most regularly see or hear this kind of “we want everything” garbage from people who aren’t actually poor or downtrodden. Oh, they might be broke themselves currently (cause youth). But they have families with homes they can crash at (in their own bedrooms) and all the other, numerous supports that come with being middle class, native born, educated and white. And in 25 years I suspect they’ll may be the customer-jerkoffs written about so eloquently in the Wine & Food article at the bottom of today’s links.

        Guys whose mothers are single and ‘illegal’, who work as cooks and busboys, who may not have their GEDs….. they don’t usually paint this kind of thing. But neither do the (rare) right wingers in the Bay Area, so yeah, edmondo’s insinuation was bogus in context.

      5. neo-realist

        Saw the symbol arise during the hardcore punk scene in the 80’s. A reflection of the attitudes of the people who listened to and played the music – I hate authority. More personal level as opposed to support of nationwide or worldwide non-government anarchy.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      FWIW, one of my friends who lives near Pelosi’s nominal residence finds her offensive because she doesn’t live in the district.

      I’d be curious to know how many lifers would be forced out of the house of reps if their constituents just demanded that they live in the districts they represent. Lookin’ at you, maxine waters.

      They grift their way to millionaire status and then don’t want to shit where they eat. The country would be a lot better off if more of the riff raff took well-deserved offense at that.

      1. Nancy

        Or, if you were a supervisor in San Francisco, there would be a ten year residency requirement before running to represent “your constituents.” The board of supervisors is Carpetbagger Central, as exemplified by New Jersey native Scott Weiner, who is worked his way from the S.F. supervisor to state senator.

        1. HotFlash

          Hi, not an SF-ian here. Cannot understand your post. Did the rules change? Are they being flouted? What?

    2. diptherio

      As one of the commenters on the twitter thread notes, there are obvious signs that the perps masked off the hard-to-clean brick. I took a look, and as a housepainter of many years, I can confirm: somebody carefully masked off the job site before they went to work.

      And that circle-A is not like any anarchy symbol I’ve ever seen. See, when we tag stuff, the A extends beyond the circle, like a symbolic breaking of boundaries, you know?

      I’m 95% sure this was false-flag vandalism. Probably some of Pelosi’s staffers, would be my bet.

      1. Wukchumni

        With the exception of the e’s, all letters are capitalized.

        Read into it what you will…

      2. jhallc

        If you look at the location of the circle A edge it’s on the trim which is 90 degrees to the brick and door. I think the angle they held the spray can was the reason it didn’t leave a mark on the brick. Just my opinion.

      3. Daryl

        Congresswoman version of Jussie Smolett or the lady who claimed an Obama supporter carved a “B” into her face but it turned out to have been done in a mirror…

  3. Koldmilk

    The Customer Is Not Always Right Food & Wine. Today’s must read. The article attributes the worsening of bad behavior to Covid, but the ultimate origins are income inequality, which has gotten much worse under the pandemic.

    There is a site devoted to stories of bad customers:

    These stories go back years: the site started in 2007. Reading through them they broadly break down into: stupid customers, scammers, and the very entitled. The last group of stories are the worst, now more numerous, and no doubt, as you point out, the result of growing inequality.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The owner of a Maine diner made international news a few years ago by booting a couple of inconsiderate New Yorkers after yelling at their screaming spawn, a move which as a former waiter I wholeheartedly support. Turned out to be good for business – I work near the diner and can attest to the long lines outside waiting for a table for a while after this made the news. One other thing i like about Marcy’s Diner – it’s cash only.

      Income inequality is definitely a factor in this kind of behavior. I did restaurant work in Seattle in the 90s when Microsoft was still the king and the city was flush with Microbucks. A favorite story of mine involved having a table ask me, working as a busboy that night, to call the manager regarding their waiter. When the manager came he asked asked if there was a problem with the food, service, etc. and was told ‘no’ each time. The manager was flummoxed and after a little more prying, the couple said that they worked for Microsoft and could afford to eat at any restaurant in the city, and they were extremely annoyed that their waiter had greeted them and introduced himself in exactly the same way he greeted all the rest of his tables. That was it, and they stiffed him, and by extension me, to boot. The manger suggested to this privileged couple that as a remedy, they leave the restaurant immediately and never come back.

      Being a bit of a hothead myself, I went up the the hostess stand afterwards and told the story to them, since it was near the end of a fairly slow night and I was pretty chapped that I was not going to be making much money that evening. I spoke a little too loudly so that one of the few remaining tables overheard, and one of the diners said something like “Yeah, where’s the entertainment around her? – I want a puppet show!”. I was then somewhat embarrassed and went over to the other table to apologize for my loud complaint. The guy then restored my faith in humanity by saying not to worry, his dinner was great and so was the service, and when he shook my hand he slipped me a $20, on top of the generous tip he left for the waiter.

      Waitstaff don’t get paid squat, it’s demanding physical work (my back is still crooked 25 years later from hauling large ovals loaded with plates), and quite often there are zero benefits like healthcare or paid vacation. When you eat out, always be kind to your waitron. They work a lot harder than you likely realize.

      1. Antonio

        Lifetime waiter here:
        With the shut down of most of the restaurants in America, and the death of probably 1/3 to 1/2 of them, there will be fewer dining options in the future. Thus getting kicked out will mean more to badly behaved people and parents forcing their brats on others trying to enjoy what might be the only night out they can afford for a month, or a year. Therefore with fewer alternatives, customers better behave.

        Tens of thousands of once independently run restaurants shutting down means that Appleby’s, McDonalds, Sizzler and other corporateslop houses will be taking over markets.

        As far as tipping, paying cash in an independently owned restaurant means more cash flow to the owners, and the possibility that depending on their bookkeeping, cash register numbering/control of receipts, the waiter will actually get 100% of the tip, to be shared with busboys and kitchen staff.

        The norm is that in a controlled accounting situation, meaning payments by credit cards, the IRS forces restaurant owners to assume a tip and withhold for 8% of whatever the bottom line of the bill is, even if customers tip nothing. If paying by credit card, be sure to pay the difference between that 8% and whatever percentage you want to tip in cash. Example: $100 tab, want to tip 15%?, tip $8 on the credit card and leave $7 in cash.

        FTIRS! You can figure out what that means.

    2. Phacops

      For those who know Chicago, one place that was no nonsense in its heyday was the Berghof. The waiters there paid for the meals coming out of the kitchen so you paid the waiter directly. They appeared to me, competent and no nonsense. The food was simple and well prepared and the waitstaff contributed to a good experience.

      I tipped well and still do, especially after reading Ehrenreich’s Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        +1 each to you and to the Berghoff, one of my favorite restaurants in my youth.

    3. Jen

      When I lived in New Haven, there was a restaurant I used to go to with a phenomenal waiter named John. After a couple of visits, I would always ask to be seated in his section. He knew his customers and seemed to be absolutely in command of everything that was going on in his section at all times. All you had to do was make eye contact, and he’d be right over. If he was working another table he’d give a quick nod to let you know he’d get to you as soon as he could. He made the meal special.

      One night I asked to be seated in his section and was told he didn’t work there anymore. I never went back. The food was good but there were (and are) no shortage of great places to eat. John was simply the best.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The Customer Is Not Always Right Food & Wine. Today’s must read.

    I think a lot of restaurants should learn from bars. Most bars, whether local dives or upmarket places, see it as part of their business to ensure that customers that make life difficult are not allowed in. I once spent a summer as an innocent 19 year old busing tables in a Manhattan bar/restaurant, and I was struck by the different attitude the barmen had to awkward customers than the waiting staff. The latter had their own little ways of dealing with rude customers and it wasn’t always nice. The bartenders were direct and blunt, but then again, they were usually off-duty cops and firefighters. I got used to the constant unreasonable demands of sit-down food customers (although I noticeably got away more lightly from some customers compared to black/hispanic staff), but at the bar, everyone was lovely.

    I think a lot of this is culturally mediated. In China and Vietnam, I’ve witnessed screaming matches between staff and customers and nobody blinked. Once, a Chinese couple, friends of a friend, who invited me to dinner in Shanghai spent a good 10 minutes verbally abusing the check-out girl after the meal. The haranguing was way beyond my mandarin, all I could do was watch in horror, while wondering what the hell was going on. Afterwards they both casually said to me that the girl had tried to cheat them, and that making a scene like that was ‘necessary, otherwise they will all think they can get away with it’.

    Japan is another world – it all seems very polite on the surface, but I’ve Japanese friends who tell me that Japanese customers in almost any context are the worst in the world. They expect absolute respect and submission from staff, and usually get it. One Japanese friend of mine who works for a Japanese bank refused a promotion for the sole reason that it would mean dealing with Japanese customers.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that countries with a long eating out culture – France and Italy especially – the unspoken rules of respect between staff and customers is much deeper. In my experience, French and Italian restaurants operate more like bars, in that they don’t hesitate to refuse customers they don’t like, and most customers respect that. I was once with a small group looking for food in a small French town and at the first place the chef (presumably an owner/manager/chef) simply refused to serve us because one of our number had the audacity to ask if they could do some vegetarian options.

    1. SufferinSuccotash

      Which is reminiscent of that story about the Texas oil man who was thrown out of a three-star restaurant in Paris after he ordered a steak and a Coca-Cola. Of course this story just may be a case of French wish-fulfillment.

      1. John A

        British chef Nico Ladenis was famous for not putting up with demanding guests. Refusing to cook steaks well-done, extra seasoning, I can imagine he would have kicked out someone asking for coca-cola. He supposedly refused entry to a couple who arrived and breezily said ‘we thought we would give you a try’.

        As a very occasional visitor to the US, I find the tipping culture ridiculous. In Scandinavia, restaurant staff are viewed as on a par with guests and get decent wages. Tips are far from mandatory, unlike the US where even a simple cup of coffee is supposed to be worthy of tipping and all the sugary have a nice day nonsense seems to be more about being tipped than caring,

        1. jr

          I worked for an extremely volatile Sicilian man years ago as a cook. The staff hated him with a vengeance but one good thing was he would have kicked his own mother out if she complained excessively about the food. One couple in particular (a pair of obese 40 somethings who rode Harleys and who decked themselves out in the full leather jacket/chaps combo, to paint a picture) once sent back their egg sandwiches twice because, as the wife explained, they had seen in a cooking show that scrambled eggs should never be browned, only fluffy and light, which is true but for a 7 dollar egg sandwich you are getting some browning.

          The second time they rejected the sandwiches, the server told Piaro. The sound of his screams filled the tiny space. They were permanently uninvited and it was wonderful to see.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Browning eggs is bush league cookery though. Turn down the heat a little or pay attention.

        2. Yoghurt

          Regarding tipping at US restaurants, you must understand the following. The menu price does not include the server’s wage (nor the sales tax). You are expected to add 15-20% to the price of the food to cover the server. It is not a tip in the sense of a bonus for extra good service or feeling generous. The server depends on this to live. I never go below 15% even for “bad” service (too few wait staff, inexperienced &c) unless actively insulted – and even then I am reluctant to go low. I can count the latter on one hand.

          If the food is very inexpensive, e.g., diner or you got somewhat less than a meal, then round up. Also, if you use a discount coupon, figure the tip as if it it were full price.

          Now, going beyond 20% is a tip – at least for the part above 20%.

        3. Rtah100

          I think Marco Pierre White (who trained Gordon Ramsay, IIRC) threw a couple out for asking for saLt and pepper. His view was that his seasoning was correct and they were insulting his palate.

          No such thing as bad publicity….

            1. Mel

              I watched Kitchen Nightmares for a while, thinking I would learn a bit about restaurants, and I did learn, for a while. Then the formula set in: 1) bad news in the kitchen, 2) paean to passion, 3) fight with owners, including swears, 4) total remodeling, seemingly overnight, 4) paean to new worderful success. Every week.
              The canons of reality TV weren’t kind to Ramsay. If that series were re-incarnated as a restaurant, it would be a restaurant that put tomato sauce on everything.

        1. fwe'theewell

          Steak is delicious with coca-cola, and I daresay a chemist could explain why. Years ago, I chuckled when a date ordered coke with his rare steak. I had some sort of red wine. I tried his coke with a bite of steak, and the rest is herstory.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      my dad was one of those overly demanding customers…and my stepmom still is. bad tippers, too.
      no telling how much saliva, etc they’ve consumed over the years.
      i was in kitchens for 25 years, and through my little window, i witnessed all manner of incivility and outright rudeness.
      i never spit in the food, etc…but i witnessed alot of it.
      my response was even worse service to those people…”no, i won’t cook them another steak, because they didn’t know what “medium” meant…now they do”.
      it appears to me, also, that starbucks and their imitators encourage that sort of hyper-picky nonsense as their business model…the ordering process is crazy, and almost designed for getting a given complex order wrong.
      and yet, when wife was in hospital for almost a month, and starbucks was the only coffee available(besides gas station), they couldn’t get my order for “large black coffee” right,lol.
      “you mean double vente?”
      “large black coffee”
      “so double vente, then”

      1. carl

        Both of my parents were so bad when we went out to eat, I wanted to slide underneath the table and hide, sometimes. My mom would lift her glass of ice and shake it to get a tea refill. My dad would ask (bark) for the check before the food got arrived.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i tried to level with dad and his woman numerous times…even to the point of warning about how one gets phlegm in their food,lol.
          (ie: by being a dick)
          but nothing worked.
          so if i had any money, i’d linger and hand the waitress/er a proper tip.

          and this, FTA:”“Once you do a staff first mentality they will run your restaurant for you better than you could run your restaurant yourself.””

          this is how i ran my kitchens, often in spite of management.(i was often seen as indispensable…the equivalent if 5 individuals…so i got away with a lot,lol)
          and when i had my own place, and got to wear the funny hat and call myself a Chef, that’s how i did things.
          even in this tiny town, i felt no need to cater to assholes.
          all my waitstaff at my place were (accidentally) young hotties.
          i was adamant with them from the beginning that i was approachable with any issue.
          once, a customer took to pinching one of their asses.
          i learned of it as they were getting their check.
          i did my quasiusual roam to check how everything was…and i pinched his ass….he was outraged, almost hit me.
          i told him:” how do you think she feels? you are not welcome here”…he turned beet red, as did his wife and daughter(!!), and bad mouthed me in town for a time…but my moral sense(he was a deacon or something at the CoC) wouldn’t allow me to tolerate that shit.
          all those years of watching and thinking about this…i think it’s sort of a tacit compensation for the middle manager cohort: they put up with BS from those above them, and in return get to lord it over the lower classes.
          in lieu of respect/pay/etc.
          call it part of the neoliberal social contract.

          a corollary to that that lends truth to it, is that ive noticed many, many times that the poorer the customer, the better they treat the waitstaff.
          PMC are the worst customers.

          1. jr

            Agreed. One hard lesson I learned from years of culinary instruction is to not put up with bad behavior from the get-go. Put them in place fast. Also, remember bad guests are ruining other peoples dinners as well. PMC’s are the worst, pathetic slobs are always looking for a oneup on someone else. I think they know in their hearts they are the butlers of the ruling classes and are always looking for ways to mimic their “betters”.

          2. Lee

            After many years of waitressing my mother started managing other people’s restaurants for them. Her number one rule was that if the owner entered the premises during her shift, she would quit then and there. In her experience, owners were often terrible, tyrannical managers, who had no fellow feeling for the staff. She went on from there to become a restaurant workers’ union rep.

            1. Tom Stone

              I ate lunch at “Jack’s Place” in San Francisco once in the 1960’s with my Father and Grandfather Stone.
              There was a very loud asshole sitting at a table about 10 feet away.
              He was bragging about how much he just paid for a rolex, sent the food back twice and made sure everyone in the place heard him.
              The was a moment of silence after lat and Grandfather Stone looked right at me and said
              “Tom, it’s a poor man indeed that can’t afford courtesy”.
              he spoke very clearly and again everyone in the room heard it.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Spitting in food is not what you should worry about these days. In the antebellum South, it was not uncommon for abused slaves to pee in the soup.

        Cops are notorious for not eating in establishments where they don’t know the staff/owner. They like establishments with a window so you can see the food prepared.

        Rich folks are going to have to start playing by those same rules if they’re as smart as they say they are.

        1. Mikel

          I have never understood abusive complaints when you want somthing corrected on your order.
          I’m always overly polite, to the point of coming across as ashamed for asking, because you do not know what could happen to your food (or it might happen to one of your drinks).
          And if it is a place I think I will be returning to, will still leave the right tip.

          Then, if bad food happens again is just remove the restaurant from my places to go. I don’t need overly attentive service, just the food has to be right.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            much like the Obscenity Rule(“i know it when i see it”), sadly, there’s an ambiguous and ill defined line involved here.
            i always bent over backwards for customers and their quirks(especially for vegetarians or food allergies) and would happily attempt to undo any mistake i had made…but drew the line when the customer was obviously just being an ass.
            the guy who shakes his empty tea glass during the rush, and then leaves a dime tip….every time you see him? i have little tolerance for that.
            similarly the Karen(so nice to have a name for that,lol—apologies to all the people named Karen)…who makes the hypercomplex order, with substitutions and caveats and “the asparagus should be crisp but not too crisp” and sends it back if one impossible demand isn’t met…thrice….and again, every time you see her…no.
            i don’t want her business. she can go eat overfried garbage at the town’s original greasy spoon, where the salsa ferments happily on the table, and they cut the raccoon bite marks off the cinnamon rolls in the morning
            (yes, this is a true story,lol…that place, you could sit across the street at lunch and watch folks coming out and puking in the parking lot. and they had the audacity to plant an enormous rat with broken legs at my place and call the health inspector(dishwasher actually caught them))

            the key lesson in all of this: be nice to people…or as Rule #2 for the boys puts it:”don’t be a dick”.
            it’s really rather simple.

            1. jr

              Re: raccoon toothmarks

              I worked at a dump in Philly that made sheet tray brownies. In the morning we would find them covered in mouse footprints similar to a football coaches whiteboard. The solution? Icing.

              1. Sailor Bud

                Took me a moment to figure out what you were implying with the solution, but I’m glad you made me work for it, because it’s funny.

        2. HotFlash

          Spitting in food is not what you should worry about these days. In the antebellum South, it was not uncommon for abused slaves to pee in the soup.

          Sputum is more likely to carry diseases than urine, which is, in most cases, sterile.

      3. lordkoos

        A friend of mine worked as a cook for many years in middle-of-the-road joints like Holiday Inns, etc. He told me about a customer who ordered a steak, medium rare, which he had cooked perfectly, but the guy sent it back. My pal threw the steak on the floor of the kitchen, put it back on the plate, sent it back out, and the complaining customer ate it. I’m always careful about complaining in restaurants, even when it may be justified.

        1. jr

          Truth: I worked with a cook who, when faced with a returned steak, would drop it down his drawers, jiggle around, touch it to the grill and send it back out. I almost >never< return food and if I do I’m super polite about it, literally asking the server to apologize on my behalf.

      4. Jack

        Ask for it by the ounce. “Sixteen ounces of black coffee please”. Oh, you want a bigmoose/vente/large. “Whatever, 16 ounces”

        1. eg

          I don’t often darken the door of a Starbucks, but when I do I make a point of obtusely refusing to use the ridiculous lingo and will point at things like cup size if necessary to ensure that I don’t have to.

    3. jhallc

      When I arrived in Boston in the late 70’s I visited a restaurant in Faneuil Hall called “Durgin Park”, famous for it’s prime rib. It closed its doors a few years back. They were known for the surely waitstaff who would often toss things down in front of you or give you a look if you asked for an extra napkin. I discovered diners expected the gruff banter and it was part of the experience. I went back many times. The food was good and the portions were huge.

        1. Janie

          “Lawrys” is from the names of the founders, LAWrence Frank and HenRY Van de Camp. Before the place took reservations, when the wait was long, the occasional customer would try to bluff his way in by telling the hostess, “I’m a friend of the Lawrys” or “I play golf with Mr. Lawry”. (It pays to know the right people in the City of Angles.)

        2. pasha

          had the good fortune to dine at lawry’s in the summer of 1965. their sunday menu consisted of a lawry’s salad made at the table, prime rib, and spinach souffle –nothing else.

          perhaps the best prime rib i’ve er tasted.

          and i still like their seasoned salt!

          1. Wukchumni

            Last time I dined @ Lawry’s was 20 years ago on a Tuesday after a couple days of looking through 2,000 lots in the California unclaimed safe deposit box contents auction, and i’d spied a lot that had an estimate of $300 that I wanted to go $40,000 on, and these sort of affairs attracted mostly wholesale sharpies like me, and the lot in question was to be sold on Friday, and who else saw what I did was on my mind for 3 long days, until I ended up being the winning bidder for a pittance on a lot that turned out to be worth 3x what I wanted to pay, ha ha.

            Yes, the best prime rib i’ve ever had~

      1. bassmule

        Favorite Durgin Park waitress routine: Slap down a pile of plates and a fistful of silverware. “Spread these out for me, willya honey?”

          1. Jack Gavin

            “Hon” is copyrighted by the New Jersey Association of Diner Waitresses. Out of state usage is carefully monitored.

          2. KLG

            “Cafe Hon” in Hampden, Balmer or Bal-de-mor, depending on which native of Charm City is speaking. Very good, especially the desserts, 25 years ago anyway.

    4. Jeff W

      …at the first place [in a small French town] the chef…simply refused to serve us because one of our number had the audacity to ask if they could do some vegetarian options.

      The French seem to be particularly vigilant about not letting the customers get out of hand. Who can forget this comment from a while back regarding the commenter’s mom and her experience at Fouquet’s Paris?

      She ordered asparagus and sole. The waiter removed the half plate of asparagus, which she reserved to have with the sole. When she asked him to leave it, he said, “Madame, it is the first course” and took it away.

      You let the customers have their first course with their second course and pretty soon they think they own the place.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > the French

        From the Before Time, when Adam Gopnik hadn’t lost his mind:

        Most Americans draw their identities from the things they buy, while the French draw theirs from the jobs they do. What we think of as “French rudeness,” and what they think of as “American arrogance,” arises from this difference. …For us, an elevator operator is only a tourist’s way of getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower. For the French, a tourist is only an elevator operator’s opportunity to practice his metier in a suitably impressive setting. …The elevator operator dreams of going to the top of the Tower alone in his elevator, while the Anglo-Saxon tourist, in her heart of hearts (and he knows this; it’s what terrifies him most), dreams of an automatic elevator. When the two ideals — of absolute professionalism unfettered by customers and of absolute tourism unaffected by locals — collide, trouble happens, pain is caused.


        Americans long for a closed society in which everything can be bought, where laborers are either hidden away or dressed up as non-humans, so as not to be disconcerting. This place is called Disneyworld. The French dream of a place where everyone can practice his metier in self-enclosed perfection, with the people to be served only on sufferance, as extras, to be knocked down the minute they act up. This place, come to think of it, is called Paris in July.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          when i was this county’s star chef, i was compared to a Frenchman often by those who had traveled.
          a “prima donna” by others, including the bosses…but i was the most professional food person around…i’d toss it in a heartbeat if there was an off smell…where the boss would just put more garlic salt on it to cover the off-ness.
          i took pride in my work, and didn’t cut any corners that mattered to Good Food, provided quickly.
          all of the people i worked for here over the years pulled their hair out at the conundrum: they wanted me gone, but i was obviously worth the trouble…i treated them like my employees(in their opinion), and made them level up their standards.
          one of the many books i could write,lol…and one of the many books in me that would cause crosses to be burned in my yard.

          1. jr

            “off smell”

            Worked at another dump where we would catch the owner scrubbing the smell of off the souring fish…

    5. a different chris

      My wife and I just naturally feel like invited guests when we go (went? sigh) out to eat.

      And the “staff” – which we just don’t really comprehend as staff – really picks up on that. We have gotten extra this and free that times beyond count. Yet we are always truly thrilled and grateful when that happens.

      I just don’t get any “attitude” towards people working hard around us when we are relaxing. Just the opposite withe me. We always wind up almost unconsciously “bussing” the table (stacking stuff on an easily accessible corner) just because the thought of them having to work around me to pick up after me, after already doing what seems almost too much, just makes me crazy.

    6. Lee

      And then there is the locally famous case of Edsel Ford Fung, the “world’s rudest, worst, most insulting waiter” who worked at Sam Wo restaurant in San Francisco’s China Town. Upon entering the restaurant customers were told to sit down and shut up and then were subject to Fung’s sarcastic snipes through the course of the meal. Bringing an unwitting friend there was always a treat.

      1. Terry Flynn

        I don’t believe that could possibly be worse than Wong Kei – a staple of 1990s London. Don’t believe I EVER went there sober – we used to go after getting family blogged at the trocadero Friday evenings after a long week of doing horrid work for the city of London.

        Being treated horridly doesn’t matter when nowhere else will serve you… Plus you got free entertainment – watching tourists get told they had to sit at large communal tables with awful people like us. I once woke up Saturday with a plastic bag in my briefcase containing….. Sick….. A simpler time…. I should write a novel…..

        1. Rtah100

          Ah Wonkys. It kept going until relatively recently. Apparently if you were actually Chinese you could get an OK meal.

          I think rising land prices and ageing staff killed it – there’s no shortage of lairy diners. Luckily there are plenty of other hatchet faced restaurants in Chinatown willing to abuse you.

          Did you ever go to Los Locos? At its original site…?

        2. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          More on Wong Kei,

          Walking into WK it was a brusque “How Many?” then “Upstairs!” or “Downstairs!”. Around twenty years ago the staff were clad in t-shirts which had those phrases printed on them.

          Happy days; and I miss the food, but then my standards are perhaps a little warped. I once worked on a Scottish survey ship which had a Cape Verde cook who was trained as a pastry chef. His attempts at basic Scots fare were “interesting” to say the least. The whole (non-officer) crew were from the Cape Verde islands and bought as a job-lot from Rotterdam. The girls from the Stanley Bar in Aberdeen were the first to know when the ship was coming into port. and they were there on the quay-side when we tied up.


            1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

              Cape Verde Food:

              Well yes, I’d love to try it and from my British upbringing I am almost absolutely certain to have enjoyed it as I suspect that British “cuisine” is similar to that the army on the march in the 19th century.

              But, and it is a big but, the poor cook never had the opportunity to provide it to us, as I imagine that he was contracted to cook the menu that the shipping company expected. And I say “poor cook” because he had his arm broken In Lerwick during some kerfuffle whilst enjoying a night out and was never seen on the ship again.

              I wonder whether one could have produced the Cape Verde cuisine with the ingredients, available to, and provided by Aberdeen shipping agents in 1976.


    7. Dr. John Carpenter

      My all time favorite bar was an absolute dive but the gentleman who owned it, took no guff from anyone. Despite the ambience, I’d seen him remove customers for being loud and obnoxious. Foul language was another no-no, especially if there were ladies present. And the #1 sin? You did not move the tables under any circumstances. This was followed closely by, you were expected to hang you coat up and not hang it on the back of your chair. The regulars knew the rules (which were really more old school manners) and always enjoyed watching newcomers trying to understand what the hell was going on.

      Unfortunately, he passed years ago and while the place still exists, the neighborhood has been gentrifying and so has the clientele. The family who took it over were trying to continue the traditions, but in order to survive, they had to change. I think they’re still cash only though and I still don’t think they’ve installed beer taps. Hah.

    8. Lex

      ‘long eating out culture’ as opposed to the occasional diner, that’s the divide I see when I walk into restaurants. Restaurants and the atmosphere inside is being determined by those who eat out most evenings. Those favored casually-mannered “regulars”. That large public table they’re eating at is just an extension of their table at home, and they in no way modify they’re behavior to acknowledge the dozens of “guests” around them. They’re in their own reality bubbles where accommodating others isn’t necessary. It’s all about them. The waitstaff is an intermediary they have to go through instead of fetching it themselves; they bristle at the lack of instant gratification.

      Customers don’t have make unreasonable demands to stress out servers, whose tips they’re holding hostage. They can make an endless series of quite reasonable requests, one after another racking up miles on the waitstaff’s feet, patience and smile. ‘Could we have more napkins? More coffee? More hot water for my tea bag? Another lemon wedge? Extra tartar sauce/salad dressing/steak sauce/gravy/whipped cream/crackers/rolls/bread sticks/butter/ketchup/child’s seat/booster seat/crayons/extra silverware/matches/change for a dollar/to-go containers… Thanks! Sorry about the mess!’ A tiny tip, if any. Never male customers, always women, often in the company of small children who had been running them ragged all day. And of course, they just kept coming back. I haven’t waited tables in decades and every so once in awhile I’ll still have a nightmare where I’m on the floor alone and the restaurant is full of angry, yelling, demanding customers, all looking at me to wait on them.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I had that situation – one request after another from the same table as my section filled up and wasn’t able to get to the other patrons who were staring at me waiting for service – in the last week of my last restaurant job after I’d already given notice, so no worries about being fired. At some point, it dawned on me that the table had decided it was [family blog] with the waiter day and was doing it on purpose. As I dropped off the 57th condiment, I told them I had other customers, this was the last time I was visiting their table, and if they needed anything further, good luck finding somebody else. They of course asked for the manager.

        When the manager came, the other tables in my section interrupted the complainants and spoke up in my defense and not only did I not get let go a few days early, there was even a tip from the rude people, probably one they were shamed into leaving.

        It’s been decades since I waited too, and I also have those same dreams every so often

      2. HotFlash

        Never male customers, always women, often in the company of small children who had been running them ragged all day.

        Gotta object here! Am female, love eating out. Don’t do it much these days, but back when business was booming, a female friend/business partner and I would eat in one or another of our wonderful local restaurants. In fact, eating in was a treat. We couldn’t outsource what we do, too specialized and local, but we could and did outsource food — the purchasing, the prep, the cooking, and the clean-up, and did at every opportunity.

        In my life, which includes 50+ years of eating in restaurants, I have always tipped well. SometimesI have had to ‘splain this with first-time servers (mostly women?) who assume that, as a female, I won’t tip well or at all. So, if I get bad/shoddy service, I tip pretty well, just to show them that I can. Next time, I make a point of getting their name and giving them mine. So we can, you know, communicate. I thank them, and compliment their work )generic note: *NOBODY* ever gets enough compliments for their work). If I still get shoddy treatment second time, they get a quarter — setting the metrics. In my experience, I have never had a server to whom I have given a quarter ever be in that restaurant a third time. YMMV.

        Finally, the person I have seen be rudest to a server is my ex-mother-in-law, now deceased, a woman who had no real reason to feel spiffier-than-thou for class, educational, monetary, or any other reason. My ex- and I hated taking her anywhere nice, so we took her to places where we were known, apologized in advance, and tipped hugely afterwards. We always figured she was trying to compensate for some inferiority thing.

    9. Bun

      Here in Vancouver there is a very high end Japanese restaurant called Tojo’s. Considered one of the best of its kind outside Japan. On a special occasion we went and ordered the “chef’s menu”. What arrived was spectacular and indescribably good. Yet my buddy asked for soy sauce. The server replied politely “Master Tojo has prepared the meal in the manner he would like it eaten” and then turned and walked away.
      He was right – it was perfect.

      1. Jeff W

        “Yet my buddy asked for soy sauce.”

        Leave your buddy home next time and take me. I would sooner commit seppuku than ask for soy sauce at a high-end Japanese restaurant. (There’s apparently one thing—which involves soy sauce—that really frosts professional sushi chefs at Japanese restaurants.)

  5. timbers

    Yellen, Blinken made more than $1M from corporate speeches, clients: financial disclosures The Hill

    For those interested and for what it is worth, ZH has a list of speeches Hillary Clinton did in 2013-2015 two yrs prior to her 2016 Presidential run, showing fee and who she spoke to. $22 million plus.

    Janet Yellen also. $7 million in 2019.

    Many have seen JD’s video comparing Bernie to Hillary’s campaign speeches. Hilly sometimes using pre speech coaches/cheer leaders to fire up the audience prior to her arrival. One can only imagine how boring Yellen can be.

    Helpful to know who really runs Our Democracy. Any high school child knows this for what it is, buying public officials in exchange for policies that benefit them at our expense.

    1. freebird

      I’m afraid neither high schoolers nor the average citizen do see this. People don’t get it, because media keep calling the money ‘speaking fees’ or the cutesy ‘pay-to-play’. When they or prosecutors start to call this money bribes, purchase of influence, or corruption of a public official, people might start to get it.

      1. KLG

        I’ve given about a dozen talks over that past 20 years. The “honorarium” ranged from “lunch (pizza) with graduate students” to “lunch plus dinner with my host plus $150.” One time I got a framed certificate and a water bottle from a group of undergraduate students. Picked the wrong line of work. But I already knew that.

        And yes, these are bribes and nothing other than bribes. Janet Yellen’s $7M from the usual suspects should be disqualifying for life. Sun came out this morning, so now I am going outside to yell at clouds.

    2. Oh

      Hilly the “goose” used paid cheerleaders; Yellen got paid by the (stock market) cheerleaders for goosing the market.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Trump: the Final Daze”

    Yet another case of Trump Derangement Syndrome but with a twist. For four long years Trump has been the booger-man to a whole class of people and now that chapter is coming to a close. But I think that a lot of people need reassurance that he won’t be back. This leads to fantasies like Trump being in court and eventually jail, his wife leaving him after cashing out, Trump fleeing into exile, etc. I don’t think that any of that will happen but if all these people think that Trump will never be heard from again, I have news for them and it is all bad. Trump loves the limelight far too much and for the past four years he was at the center of his world. He won’t want to give that up. He will haunt the Biden administration like Hamlet’s ghost on a Twitter account and will be snipping at their decisions and telling people what he would have done as President. And I predict that it is going to make a lot of people go nuts. It should be fun.

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      January 2, 2021 at 8:30 am
      I pretty much agree – but I would put forth the proposition that the MSM promotes Trump as much as Trump promotes Trump (bad publicity is better than NO publicity). So will FOX in the coming months deemphasize Trump? – that will be interesting… Of course, I doubt that MSNBC and CNN will have the willpower to ignore the Trump cash cow…
      But I think that a lot of people need reassurance that he won’t be back.
      Yes, but I think even MORE people profit from the fear mongering that he will be back. 2 Upton Sinclair’s paraphrases in one day: It is hard to get a MSM outlet to not cover Trump when their profits depend on covering Trump.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You got that right. There is this jerk named Leslie Moonves who ran CBS before he got the boot and he is on record saying “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” He said more on the subject but here is the article if you want to read it-

        In fact, it was during this period that the big three networks cut away from a Bernie Sanders speech in order to show an empty podium where a late-running Trump was due to speak.

        1. fresno dan

          The Rev Kev
          January 2, 2021 at 9:44 am

          Yeah, I’ve quoted Moonves about a zillion times – the news is ONLY entertainment.
          So when will presidential candidates figure out about having topless cheerleaders at their rallies??? Maybe 2 or 3 more election cycles? Of course, initially they will have those blackout squares covering the good stuff, but at some point the network that rationalizes that showing the complete breasts are providing insights into a candidates character will get the higher rating…and than the gloves….and pants…come off. I was born too soon and won’t live to see it :(

          1. wilroncanada

            fresno dan
            They would have to add the beefcake to entertain the other half of the crowd.

    2. bassmule

      Yeah, the key concept to bear in mind is that Donald is lazy, and has pretty much demonstrated that he is without organizational leadership skills. Which does leave him with his twitter account, but probably not much else. He’ll have fun for a while beating on Biden for not immediately repairing the damage done to the Federal government, but beyond that, can he really make enough noise to stay in the spotlight via twitter? Mrs. Clinton made book speaking to Wall Street for money, but I’m not at all sure that Dimon et al are going to invite him. Not for half a million dollars, anyway.

      1. Pat

        I am going to suggest that you read the other comments in this thread.

        Trump has been and is a huge money maker for the media. He draws eyeballs. Can you say that Biden, Harris, Buttigieg, etc can sell newspapers or raise ratings even a quarter as much? They can’t. And our greedy media owners will not leave the money they will make because of Trump out in the trash heap because people say they want Trump to go away. Unless people do look away…willingly…he is not going away. Until there is no money in it the hysterical largely substance free coverage pretending to be news will continue.*

        *Biden coverage will also be substance free, but boring and staid because his antisocial outbursts will be ignored, and the rest will be so modulated and tested and false.

        1. Montanamaven

          *Biden coverage will also be substance free, but boring and staid because his antisocial outbursts will be ignored, and the rest will be so modulated and tested and false.

          Whoa! That is soo true that they will edit out his weird antisocial outbursts and anything else he does that shows how mean he really is. I will have to make notes.
          On another note, the PTB destroy or neuter populists. e.g. Obama administration went after John Edwards after Obama’s election. Why? Perhaps Trump will be able to escape this treatment since, as has been noted, he is useful as entertainment.

          1. epynonymous

            Wasn’t his ‘two americas’ schtick from RFK? Kucinich also performed his ‘thousand points of light’ speech.

          2. neo-realist

            In spite of his faux populist shtick, Trump escaped the treatment because he supported much of what the elites favor: Social program austerity, huge tax cuts for the uber wealthy and large increases in military spending in spite of being against foreign wars.

            Edwards, to the elites, came off as a bit of a southern bred FDR, and they don’t want any more Santa Clauses giving people jobs and affordable health care if possible.

            1. epynonymous

              I see Trump as more akin to Nixon.

              He won against the Rockefellers in 1974? and had to pay for his crimes?

  7. edmondo

    RE: Nancy’s house

    Are we supposed to believe that the second person in line for the presidency of a country that is enamoured with technology doesn’t have 50 or so cameras trained on each of her homes? If those guys weren’t arrested in mid-act, then the Secret Service ain’t up to the job.

    1. chris

      If you’re smart the first thing you do after casing the place you’re going to tag is you spray paint the camera lenses. It’s not that hard to defeat this tech if you think about it for a minute. But we also don’t use it properly to accomplish its supposed purpose most of the time. Speeding and EZ-Pass being a similarly obvious example. That’s why this is all a kind of absurd dance.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Shouldn’t Nancy Pelosi be able to afford a second security system using a special build of the newer much smaller and difficult to spot cameras?

        1. Stephen Gardner

          Of course she could but arrogance is why she doesn’t. These guys actually think they are above it all.

        2. chris

          Plenty of people like the Pelosi’s don’t want a lot of records to have to manage about those who come and go from their private residence. Most lawyers and insurance pros collect or subpoena those as soon as they can. Cops collect them too. There are a lot of reasons to not have too many cameras watching the outside of your property.

      2. HotFlash

        If you’re smart the first thing you do after casing the place you’re going to tag is you spray paint the camera lenses.

        Yeah, but first you have to find them all, and then you have to be able to reach them with your spray paint. Important Person Third-in-Line Mme Speaker should have cameras that are hidden and above person+spray can level, wouldn’t you think? So, where is the evidence? Should we expect that state-of-the art, Intelligence Committee member, cannot get satellite security courtesy of Google Earth and the NSA? I would need a lot of proof to swallow that.

    2. freebird

      One of many reasons I think Nance’s own minions were the artists. What better way to paint herself as a poor beleagured public servant victim of meanies, while also painting the starving poors as greedy dangerous radical commies?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Congressional security are thugs, there for theatrics. The secret service became a bit edgy in 2008 when they were covering 50 million people, but I can buy congressional security being buffoons. They largely exist to prevent Code Pink and other plebes from questioning our sainted leaders.

        The President draws the nuts who need to be handled. Foreign “adversaries” aren’t really plotting assassinations except in fantasies. Everyone can be replaced, and it would really only tick people off.

        1. edmondo

          Oh-oh. Mitch’s house got hit last night too.

          The proles are getting restless. I wouldn’t consider it serious until at least one Congressperson is hanging from a streetlight. (Not that I want to pass out ideas or anything.)

  8. Wukchumni

    The Customer Is Not Always Right Food & Wine.

    “I can’t sit outside! I am wearing Gucci,” huffed the woman.

    A wizened old businessman I knew used to exclaim ‘the customer is always right, sometimes’, but to be fair wasn’t in a line of hand to mouth existence-which is way trickier to pull off, as customers are willing to pay double or triple the cost of ingredients for you to do all the work, oh and they do the dishes too.

    I haven’t been inside a restaurant since February as i’m weirded out by the possibility of accidentally having a Corona added to the bill, I can only imagine the double whammy of staying open in order to save your eatery from going under while under the juxtaposition of putting your staff in harm’s way, i.e. ‘the death shift’.

    1. timbers

      Always been a sub and sandwich kind of guy. While in my youth, contemporaries spent their pay on trendy restaurants, vacations, and air travel, I save up and eventually bought a house. One way to find the better sub shops is observe where the local cops go for a lunch on the run.

      About wearing Gucci…

      Frequently take my Labrador to a large state park in Hingham, a higher end community. The park is designed for serious bicyclists and hikers. Once in a while you see folks dressed to the nines as if they were walking Newbury St – dressed totally inappropriately. And friendly dirty wet Labradors charging towards them to say “HI” strikes terror into their faces. Even though mine has learned he is not to jump and smash into people when greeting them, chances are good in a gesture of “HI, glad to meet you!” his wet muzzles brushes against those black expensive slacks displaying itself prominently. The horror. And he loves sitting on feet of anyone who shows him attention, as to show he has a new friend.

      1. a different chris

        While in my youth, contemporaries spent their pay on trendy restaurants, vacations, and air travel, I save up and eventually bought a house

        Yeah that was me exactly too…. but where I differ from you is who cares? Some people prefer to do things like that, some people prefer to “settle down”. Air travel is bad for the planet, but the rest of their lifestyle? Living in an apartment (should be anyway), that is sharing 4 outside walls with a number of other people, is way better for the environment than “detached” housing. Restaurants generally deliver food much more efficiently that home cooking. And a lot more time off with family sounds like a good thing (YMMV, depends on family! :D)

        So I refuse to look down on anybody. I wish we still had real ship travel (and the vacation time to enjoy it) in fact. Maybe that’s a better life than establishing some small square of ground and relentlessly keeping other people from walking on it?

        Being happy with your (again, which match my) choices is great. Looking down on different choices, not so much. Ask any gay person.

      2. Lex

        Could be worse. Our neighbor has an overly friendly Husky, who given the chance, will bury his nose in my crotch and stay there for a long sniff if I let him. It’s up to me to do something about it apparently; his owner stands there and grins and shrugs, like he isn’t holding the other end of the leash and he’s just helpless. The dog is in charge!

  9. cocomaan

    Enjoyed the must read Food and Wine article about The Customer is Not Always Right.

    The wage/tipping issue has been in question since I had a job in high school in 1999. Has a single city done away with it?

    Also, the pictures are of millennials and Zoomers, but my grandparents went to restaurants to complain and to them it was a sport. Same with my in laws.

    Got to this sentence:

    The lack of respect for hospitality jobs as “legitimate” professions is very American, posits Mar. “If you left more than a couple of Euros as a tip at a nice dinner in Paris, they would be upset, because there, being a server is seen as a legitimate profession, an honorable profession.” If you go to Japan, she adds, it’s not uncommon for sushi chefs to spend nine years training before they are even allowed to touch the rice. “The hospitality industry is something people dedicate their lives to around the world, but it’s not seen that way here, even if we have dedicated our lives to it.”

    Can anyone report whether this is true? I’m always wary of these kinds of comparisons.

    1. Wukchumni

      Tips are always included in the bill in Europe (or used to be) and it was up to you to include anything extra.

      I was 20 when I came upon the Antipodean concept of no tipping whatsoever for anything, be it a restaurant, cabbie or any other line of work, it just wasn’t done, and I don’t remember service being any different than back in the states where the post-meal stakes were higher, it was practically a given you’d give 15% here.

      Haven’t been to Aussie in 30+ years, but in NZ tip jars by the cashier showed up around the turn of the century, totally voluntary.

      1. lordkoos

        Having spent a little time in China I was struck by how there is no sales tax and no tipping. Here in WA state sales tax is almost 10%, and including a 15% tip adds and extra 25% to your bill, whereas in China the price that is on the menu is what you actually end up paying, a novel concept.

        1. Wukchumni

          One time in the 80’s I landed in Auckland to be in NZ for many months with quite a bit of baggage (including all O. Henry’s works in a dozen books, and lots of other books-as retail prices for books in NZ were the highest in the world) and the cabbie labored so much and even though I didn’t want to be the Yank that ruins it for everybody else, proffered a 20 Cent coin and he seemed genuinely pleased by my modest offering.

    2. carl

      Tipping is not common in Europe generally. In Italy, servers have employment contracts and full benefits as well as a living wage, so there is very little tipping done (mostly by tourists who don’t know any better). Knowing this, you can really feel the lack of social distance (sorry) between yourself and the server; this was also a point made in the piece.

      1. cocomaan

        That’s interesting, thanks! I don’t really have that international view on things. My experience living in another country was a developing nation, Egypt, and the restaurant culture there is so different that the comparisons are hard to make. Although, I always got the feeling that a restaurant waiter was a great job to have in Egypt, compared to the alternatives.

        1. carl

          I got into an interesting conversation with a server when I was in Sydney a couple of years back; I initially thought she was Australian but turned out she was from California. She regaled me with all the benefits she had as a server $25.00/hour wage, weekends and holidays off or with double pay, health benefits, etc. Mind-blowing.

        2. Janie

          In France the table is yours fir the evening, so you need a reservation during busy season. We watched an American couple get loud with the owner of a small restaurant in a village when she said the place was full. She argued that someone would surely leave soon so they could be seated and stomped off saying they just must not want American money.

    3. TsWkr

      The dynamic at restaurants is also a lot different without the tipped environment. Instead of being pushed from ordering one course to the next and eating, my experience in the UK was that you are basically given a 2 hour time slot. The delivery of food is then perfectly spaced out to enjoy a drink, appetizer, main meal, dessert and coffee with ample conversation time in between.

      I remember going to a rather nice place for lunch in London and the hostess saying they only had a table for an hour and a half, she had to clarify for me that she didn’t mean it was an hour and a half wait.

      It took some getting used to, but after about a week there I came to enjoy it and the U.S. dining experience was a little strained.

      1. carl

        Had a similar experience in Austria. Reservations are absolutely essential, because people are used to lingering over a meal much longer than the US. Servers in the US refer to the rushing out of people as “turn and burn” the tables. Need those tips! It’s always difficult coming back into the US after being overseas; few countries have a system for paying servers that’s more dysfunctional and cruel than the US.

        1. mrsyk

          I would venture that “turn and burn” is based on razor thin margins as much as anything else.

    4. CuriosityConcern

      I can think of a major example, was it not the US that innovated the fast food experience? This then made a large portion of food service jobs available to high schoolers and economically disadvantaged people, who may not be able to formulate a proper defense against egregious customer behaviour.
      In my twenties I asked to see the manager a couple of times, before I knew any better. I attribute that now to not having addressed certain of my own problems.

    5. Glen

      I think since the early 60’s, the USA has maintained two minimum wages, one for tipped employees, and one not:

      Tipped Minimum Wage Laws by State 2021

      I think I would be looking for a new job if my boss said they were going to pay the minimum cash wage to the waiters – $2.13/hr (for 2021).

    6. HotFlash

      Tipping culture in Cuba, note that tipping is mostly done by tourists, and at all-inclusive- resorts. All jobs should pay a living wage. Link:

      My bosses seemed to think I was OK as a mid-mgmt employee, but my staff was *wonderful*. A billion years ago I read a book, The Salvager, by Mary Frances Doner, about a salvager captain named Thomas Reid. His guiding principle was, “Don’t ask your crew to do anything you wouldn’t do.” I have always managed by that, and my ‘crew’ paid me back in spades. All great people. Restaurant staff, store staff, friends, neighbours, relatives — same principle. As to restaurants, I mostly can cook as well or better than they do, not always, of course, esp ethnic, but they did the groceries! They made the menu! Mr. HotFlash and I have very different tastes, but at a restaurant we can have different dinners! They did the prep! They cooked the food! They took the dishes away and washed them! And put them away! They were *nice* to us… We treat them as honoured parents, even if they are way younger than us. I have learned some polite words in Korean, Tibetan, Polish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Greek, Hindu/Tamil/Urdu/Nepalese (I know they are not the same, but ‘namaste’ and a deep bow seems to work for about everywhere south-east-Asian-ish), and even (gasp) in English.

  10. carl

    Re: China is anti-fragile
    Funny coincidence, I just started reading Taleb’s Antifragile yesterday. I think Taleb would object to the use of the word in the headline; he takes great pains to define it for the reader, not as something robust or strong, but rather something which actually improves with stress. A great read so far.

    1. Tom Doak

      Probably at his editor’s request, one point made in the piece is that while the Chinese do many things better than Americans, one thing they don’t do as well is “innovation”.

      Interestingly, when I did a job over there, my Chinese client and his friends repeatedly pointed out just that . . . they said they wanted me there for the creative part because they weren’t as good at that, culturally. [Plus my field is highly specialized and relatively new to them.] But it was also clear that they put more value on everything that follows after the creative spark, as opposed to our country where the Creator is lionized and presumed worthy of taking the lion’s share of the profits.

      1. John

        And yet looking at history, the list of things discovered, invented, or that first appeared in China is as long as your arm. Innovation has seemed to abate in the past 300-400 years. Is there an explanation?

        1. a different chris

          > Innovation has seemed to abate in the past 300-400 years.

          Haha you’re thinking of “invention”.

          Not that useless Western thing, “innovation”. :D

          A word that, if anybody is still around 100 years from now, will be looked at with the same amount of shame as “access”.

        2. BillS

          Happy 2021 to all NCers!

          This is a fascinating question that defies easy answers, but hopefully you’ll forgive me if I give it a go in a couple of lines.

          IIRC China’s biggest creative burst occurred during its chaotic Warring States period. (475-221BCE) After the unification under the Qin, strong autocratic government and the solidification of a rigid traditional society tended to reduce the influence of independent thinkers.

          Consider that Europe underwent a similar burst of creativity during the chaos of the 16th and 17th centuries. We are still running on the fumes of that period.

      2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        David Harvey I believe talks about China’s “Silicon Valley” eating the US’s breakfast due to the lack of Intellectual Property laws. Apparently there’s a great deal of innovation going on as competing firms copy each other’s homework and race to outdo each other.

      1. epynonymous

        Not to poke the bear, but China did give a dang about Western Economics, but they learned their lessons from the Jesuits in 1880. Sorry if I skipped a few steps. 5 colonial nations ‘tried’ to split China… Russia, Germany, France, England, and America. Or the reverse of that, if it suits you better.

        I can really recommend the Warring states period. Akin to the 1919-1921 period of American intervention in Russia… a war we eventually won culturally. Something something, bribery of Russian officials In the 1980’s.

        Also a big fan of the deng jiao ping ? episodes (english is famously not chinese) but it seems a recap of my own theory of ‘soviet’ collapse from the elites against a few ‘hard-liners’ in the 1980’s. Meanwhile Reagan. Another time I’ll tell you about Reagans history of sports-broadcast fictions.

  11. fresno dan

    FBI: Another Fraud on the Court?
    In admitting to having thousands of records relating to Rich, the FBI ipso facto conceded that its Oct. 3, 2018 “Declaration”, sworn “under penalty of perjury”, was — at best — misleading. The FBI fall guy is David M. Hardy, who swore that he could find no records on Rich. (See: .) Hardy was FBI Section Chief, Record/Information Dissemination Section, Information Management Division. Those working for Hardy — the Hardy Boys & Girls, if you will — number in the hundreds; they appear well trained in how not to find information responsive to Freedom of Information Act requests, when zero results are the objective.

    So, Were the “Investigations” a Sham?
    Seems so, from the looks of it. By all appearances, the top officials at the Justice Department, the FBI, and intelligence agencies who — for political purposes — conjured up the “Russian hack”, emasculated Trump, and led the U.S. into a new Cold War with Russia will walk free. Section Chief David Hardy may get a slap on the wrist or a letter of reprimand in his personnel file. And it is a safe bet that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who committed an earlier fraud on the court, by altering a consequential email relating to a FISA application, is not likely to face much, if any, jail time.
    With apologies to Upton Sinclair: It is unpossible to get the FBI Washington DC to find something when they don’t want to find something…

    1. LawnDart

      The willful blindness and gleeful authoritarianism of enough Americans (duopoly supporters/party members) to sustain the entrenched political system means that this is unlikely to change.

      A couple of flushes long ago and we were sent swirling from the bowl plop into the sewer, like a pet goldfish that was neither ill nor dead– just unwanted.

      I guess some of the many cast-offs will smother in shite while swimming in circles longing for a return to the fishbowl, but I’d rather head towards the seas and try to escape this sewer altogether.

      I recognize that America is not the problem, its current government and political system is.

  12. zagonostra

    >Secessio plebis

    Yves in her preface to article on “Economics Nears a New Paradigm” states:

    The purpose of mainstream economics is to defend free enterprise against Communism by depicting market economies as generating full employment if left alone. That’s obviously false but the essential political role means that the notion that conventional economics is on its last legs is wildly overstated.

    Which led me to look up the secessio plebis. It occurs to that not only the economic academicians but all sectors of the professional class seek to defend the system that keeps them comfortable. If you have a decent life, can watch your Netflix and order you hearts desire delivered to your door, what’s not to like. Yes, the less fortunate will always put up a fuss like wanting affordable healthcare or an education for their children that won’t bankrupt them or use up all their retirement money. But that’s to be expected. The plebs tend to get out of hand historically, as they did almost 2500 years ago. But this is to be expected. It’ doesn’t matter if it’s “free market” versus communism, that’s not the key. The dynamic that persist in history and place is that of the relationship of the privileged vs. the the precariat.

    Unfortunately the complexification of modern life, there is no “Mons Sacer” to go to. Rather, the plebs huddle in isolation in front of digitized apparitions of reality wondering how to survive without the consolation of others in similar straits to provided solace.

    *Beginning in 495 BC, and culminating in 494–493 BC, the plebeian class of Rome grew increasingly unhappy with the political rulership of the patrician class…[the] governing bodies were composed of only patricians, who were generally a wealthy minority of the Roman populace.

    After much anticipation about consul or senate action to address popular debt concerns, consul Appius worsened the situation by passing unpopular decrees reinforcing the imprisonment of debtors by creditors.[3] This outrage further compounded by continued senate inaction resulted in the plebeians on the advice of Lucius Sicinius Vellutus seceding to the Mons Sacer (the Sacred Mountain), over three miles from the city. The plebeians then established basic defences in the area, waiting for senate action.[4]*

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye! the Conflict of the Orders.
      that is by far my favorite story from Livy.
      know that it is left out of every school history book i’ve reviewed.
      surely an unfortunate oversight.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Was I wrong to fall for a cheating cat?”

    Sometimes cats come into your life and just stay. We had neighbours once that left fairly suddenly. A week or two later we found a grey cat in our front yard. It had a collar on but one of its legs was caught between the collar and the neck and had become semi-fused to the skin and smelt pretty bad. We cut the collar and the wife ripped the leg away from its body and it was only after it ran away that we realized that the cat had belong to the departed neighbours. Holding no hard feelings, it came back and we started feeding it to health. It would have been a forever cat but we had to get rid of it a year or two later as it daily got into cat fights with our three other cats at the time. For some reason they never accepted it which eventually forced our hand. It was a shame that as it was a friendly cat but our own cat oligarchy had spoken.

    1. Wukchumni

      Our kindle of mom the Abyssinian (who showed up as if on cue when our Calicos were on their last legs @ 14 or 15 years old) got knocked up by the cow-cat tom next door 100 yards away who was strictly an outdoor feline accoutrement that our neighbors fed along with another moogie, and when the latter died they were done with the caterfamilias of our brood of his 2 sons, so like a deadbeat dad he showed up 3 years ago when the kids were 5, and eventually wormed his way into our hearts and the good life indoors, although he’ll always be a classic outsider, nobody will groom him with #40 grit tongues, not gonna happen.

    2. The Historian

      Too many cats are being abandoned around here. The usual places that take cats are full up and are refusing to accept more. So we feed them. Right now, that is all we can do. I have one very large cat who comes to my house about twice a week at night for his handout. He is absolutely the sweetest cat and he has been neutered and declawed but none of us have ever been able to find his home. A few of of us – including me – have tried to ‘adopt’ him but he is cold adapted and begins to pant heavily when he’s inside anyone’s house for over an hour. So maybe he’s a barn cat? But why would anyone declaw a cat that is meant to live outdoors and hunt mice?

      1. nycTerrierist

        same situation here, i also feed some neighborhood cats. fortunately, they are TNR’d by local rescue saints

        I hate to hear about a declawed outdoor cat!
        good on you for trying to help
        i very much hope he can find indoor accommodation as he cannot
        defend himself

        if he’s stressed indoors at first, it is likely he will settle in with some time and patience
        years ago I took in a feral tabby from my street – she hid and lurked at first,
        eventually became a cozy housecat
        a gradual process, but given a calm predictable environment, the cat will eventually chillax

      2. Roxan

        He might be panting from stress. Highly unlikely he is too hot. Unlike dogs, cats don’t pant when hot, usually wouldn’t overheat just being indoors. They will pant when terrified, as I’ve had them do at the vets.

    3. HotFlash

      Have only rarely had to ‘go get’ a cat. Mostly they come to us, and the kittehs here vet the newcomers and if it’s OK with them, it’s OK with us. Top number was 13, all volunteers, though we have only two now. Down from three as of two weeks ago, Pita, our dear bedcat. Kidney, came on fast and, of course, a weekend. Monday am he was dead. The two other cats, both of which previous and remaining, are heaving a sigh of relief as he never chilled out with them, but he was great with humans, and we humans miss him a lot. Abandoned in a park, finders could not get him to co-exist with one of their two cats (although OK w/the other and both dogs), so passed to us.

      One of our current guys came to us from a lady who was moving into long-term care (at the insistence of her son, I don’t think she was 100% cool with it) and Mr Cat needed a new home pronto — he was renting out her ‘granny flat’. T’other from a farm, the daughter’s allergies were becoming more severe. Both are really good housemates, even if Mr. Cat did bring a still-squeaking mouse at 6:30 ystrdy am. And then dropped it.

    4. pasha

      my backyard was cedar fenced, adjacent to a rental house, and the neighbors’ cat often hung out in the yard during the day, basking in the garden and enjoying the privacy. then one evening the neighbors left (sans notice to landlord) but the cat remained, so he became my outdoor cat for the next four years, til one day he failed to return.

      within days the new neighbors’ cat was hanging out in my backyard. sure enough, when the neighbors absconded he was left behind, and he became my second outdoor cat for several years, til he was fatally mauled by by new neighbors dog.

      moved away from there. don’t miss the neighbors, but i’m in a forest and coyote and fox eat any wandering felines, so no more friendly outdoor cats.

  14. roo-sta

    Great rooster vid. Thanks for posing it. I have a rooster. He’s a beauty but what a nasty thing he is. I wouldn’t dare go into his yard without holding a big stick. Never turn your back on a rooster.

  15. polar donkey

    Here are a few numbers out of Memphis for 2020
    Murders- 332 up from 191 in 2019. 2019 was up from 186 in 2018
    42% of murders unsolved
    30 were children

    Motor vehicle related deaths for Memphis/Shelby county 2020- 244. This is up from 155 for 2019 even though miles driven is way down. Related to both murders and car deaths, shooting incidents on the interstate totaled 82. As of three years ago, shootings on interstate was rare.

    The city is awash in guns and gone mad. Eviction court opens Monday too

    1. Wukchumni

      When the curtain collapsed on Communism it was pretty peaceful (countries starting with R not so much) as for once the beaten down people had something to look forward to (I asked my aunt in Prague once what was worse, the Nazis or Soviets?, and she didn’t think once or hesitate twice, and said the Soviets were by far worse, sucking life out of people) and happy people tend to not be violent.

      The situation here in the midst of our collapse is every man game as Ned Buntline, every pretty lass an Annie Oakley, the milieu that of the imagined 19th century frontier, where legend has it people shot each other often over anything that gave them the slightest qualms.

      1. Randy G

        Wukchumni —

        With all due respect to your aunt, the suggestion that “the Soviets were by far worse” than the Nazis is grotesque and absurd, unless you truly believe that symbolically “sucking life out of people” is worse than mass extermination of entire races through industrialized mass murder, engineered starvation of tens of millions of Russians (Goering’s plan), and the enslavement of entire peoples (Slavs primarily) to serve as forced labor in service to the Nazi Empire.

        Maybe your aunt thought the Nazis were just passing through after destroying Czechoslovakia, murdering all political opponents, and exterminating 265,000 Jews? Soon they would be on their way back home to Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany — so unlike those dour Soviets.

        Czechoslovakia had been a functioning democracy until 1938 when it was betrayed by French and English politicians falling all over themselves to placate Hitler. (The Soviets were not allowed to attend the ‘Munich Pact’ as they had been pushing vigorously for a common defense pact against Nazi Germany, which would include the formidable Czech military.)

        One does not have to be an enthusiast of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia or the 1968 suppression of the Prague Spring to note that the Soviet Empire cancelled itself, withdrawing relatively peacefully, without a military defeat, mass extermination, or the wholesale destruction of the occupied country. (Perhaps you or your aunt believe that Hitler or Goering or Himmler, given the chance, would have emulated Gorbechev in his meeting with Havel to expedite the removal of Soviet troops?)

        You seem to have a good sense of humor so maybe you were just joking, or exercising literary license, or succumbing to family prejudices, but to argue that claim seriously betrays a horrific lacunae in an appreciation of what the Nazi Empire was and what it intended for the Untermenschen of its conquered Lebensraum.

        I would highly recommend reading ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ by William Shirer — or rereading it if you just skimmed it — before you announce that the Soviets were “far worse than the Nazis”. That sort of historical amnesia is really disturbing.

        1. Wukchumni

          It kind of shocked me when she uttered it, and what she was talking about was the long game, 6 years of jackbooted thugs that stole their money, followed by 40 years of jack booted thugs that stole their land.

          Yes, i’m well aware the Nazis take some topping in brutality and worse, but we’re talking about the lives of above average people who were barely tormented physically in any fashion by either regime, as torture was doled out mentally. Aside from the Heydrich assassination and reprisals by the Nazis, the goose steppers seemed to have more of a soft hand on Bohemia & Moravia compared to other conquered lands.

          My mom was telling me recently how much fear the average Czech had of each other ratting on them for sins real or imagined, during the Soviet era. She related it was all too much, an added layer of living that nobody wanted, but had to play the game.

          1. upstater

            My mom’s family is Lithuanian, we have relatives there, I hold a passport. Lithuanians have a viseral hate of Slavic people of any nationality. It is a bigotry and racism that is similar to the KKK mentality, but with full government laws and media support.

            The fact take the Nazis and their enthusiastic collaborators cleaned out 250K Jews, trade unionists, disabled, meantally ill in a matter of a few weeks after Barbarossa doesn’t seem to trouble the current population. They renamed streets and schools after the collaborators. There is even a McMansion subdivision bordering burial grounds of the Ninth Fort in Kaunas where 45K were murdered. Read the Jaeger Report on Wikipedia.

            While there is no doubt there was hell to pay when the Soviet Union reoccupied the Baltics, much of payback was unfortunately justified.

            Today NATO has live fire exercises on Russian and Belarusian borders and German troops occupy bases that were camps and CIA Black sites.

            Today a primary export of the Baltics are educated young people, a major source of earnings are remittances and culture is debased into Eurovision and hollywood crap.

            I cannot imagine any East European country is very different. Denial isn’t a river in Egypt.

        2. Heruntergekommen Sein

          And who was the first government to recognize the German client Slovak State? The Soviet Union. The Soviet Union and Germany were allies under a nonaggression pact to carve up Europe. The Soviet Union helped Germany rearm in violation of Versailles, the Black Reichswehr, going so far as to hide the Luftwaffe training program on Russian soil. In return German officers trained fresh Soviet officers because the Soviet officers were liquidated during the revolution. [Friends close…] The Russians also needed German aircraft designs and manufacturing techniques because something was going on at Soviet factories. The Germans also made sure there no competing socialist exile / international movements to challenge the Central Committee.

          When Germany invaded France, the Russians invaded Finland, again. During the first day of Operation Barbarossa, Russian coal trains were still heading West delivering forced labor surplus coal to the German war machine. – Neither the Third Reich’s nor the Soviet Union’s leadership ever spent time abroad. They grew up on a steady diet of agitprop born out of the Great War when the production of such material became procedural. Governing with paranoid fantasies and persecuting imaginary plotters of one ethnicity or another. Awful all around.

      1. polecat

        Oh C’mon! You mean like CHICAGO!, PHILLY, Baltimore, PORTLAND! MSP, Sacramento, Seattle??? .. to name but a few bastions of blu? THAT U.S. of A??

  16. Robert Hahl

    What is the meaning of that viral clip?

    a) We are six to eight weeks away from ending the Covid-19 crisis (and always will be?).
    b) Why raise interest rates to increase unemployment and lower wages (remember Paul Volcker?) when you can shut down small businesses by orders from the health departments.
    c) Get over the idea that government can help; don’t bother us with your personal problems.
    d) All of the above.
    e) [Your rant here].

    1. Oh

      I couldn’t help noticing that the idiot reporter wasn’t wearing a mask when he was talking to the restaurant owner (not masked either).

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Yes to Masks. No to Parties. 2021 Will Be a Lot Like 2020”

    The thing about all these vaccines coming online is that there is too much hope tied up in them like they are silver bullets. People imagine that once they have been vaccinated, that they can throw away their masks, forget social distancing and go back to living their lives like it was 2019 all over again. The whole pandemic can then be put out of their minds and relegated to the bad-news-from-distant-places department where it will be promptly forgotten. But the truth of the matter is that vaccines will turn out to be just one more factor in your layered defenses against this virus. So yes, 2021 will be a continuation of life in 2020 but things will get a lot worse before they get any better as the virus is well and truly dug in. And there are just far too many unknowns in play about this virus and how to defeat it, even if the basis like wearing a mask are well know. Some people, however, just refuse to get the message-

    1. TsWkr

      I agree that the threat will still be there, but I think it’s inevitable that the general public starts to act like normal once they are vaccinated (along with grandma, diabetic cousin, etc). Some people may choose to continue to be cautious based on their own risk tolerances and learned behavior during the pandemic.

      We’ll probably see excess deaths into the middle of the decade, but with enough of the population vaccinated or infected, the systemic risk will mostly subside. I think we as a society would accept leaving additional measures to individual choice and any leader who keeps heavy restrictions in place in an attempt to eradicate the virus will be thrown out of office.

      1. Mikel

        ” I think we as a society would accept leaving additional measures to individual choice…”

        We’ll see how that pans out if workplace outbreaks occur.
        Let’s see how many “individual choices” people are actually going to have.

        The only people who will have “individual choices” will be those that have maybe at least 3 years of “F U. I’m not working” money saved up.

        1. TsWkr

          My expectation is we’ll see mandatory vaccinations and/or waiver of liability as a condition of a lot of private sector employment. My hope is that wouldn’t be done in an office setting, but anecdotes from the last 6 months lead me to think otherwise. I could also imagine client-facing operations forbidding masks, going back to requiring “the handshake” amongst other things, so your point is a very important one.

          An immigrant coworker of mine said if he is forced to get vaccinated, he will leave the country and have his family stay in the U.S.

          1. lordkoos

            Looking forward to such things as forged vaccination certificates, which may become required for travel, meetings, etc etc.

          2. Phil in KC

            Don’t count on it. I work at a large state-funded medical center with 13,000 employees and the covid vaccine is optional. Optional! A good number of my coworkers are not getting the vaccine, despite the very real cases we have seen. My supervisor, for example, was hospitalized twice in the last 60 days and is in a rehab facility now. Yet even his example has failed to motivate health workers to get the shot.

    2. Mikel

      Let’s be honest.
      In the USA some businesses were shut off and on (others weren’t and thus waa rhe MAIN anger, more anger over this than yhe desd)and the only social distancing was practiced by those who didn’t mind the long break with the constant preassures of forced socialbility tied with emotional repression.

      And you got a lot of people who used to go from work to home and sit in front of the tv complaining about all the things they couldn’t do anymore.

      1. Mikel

        (others weren’t and thus waa rhe MAIN anger, more anger over this than yhe desd”)

        This sentence did not look like this on the screen yesterday. hmmm?

        “others weren’t and this was the main anger, more anger over this than the dead”

  18. Poopypants

    I’m not one for art, but I bet Pelosi’s garage door could fetch a pretty penny at auction.

    Maybe she can donate the proceeds for Covid relief?

  19. farmboy

    USDA payments to farmers were unprecedented in the Trump admin, they were generated from within the administration as opposed to being triggered by farm legislation tortured by Congress. Tariffs on Chinese goods caused embargoes on ag products produced here and the response was Billions decreed by the administration and paid by Commodity Credit Corporation with funds directly from the Treasury. Biden transition has said they will continue with the tariff and export target program, will they keep making huge appropriations without Congress? It bought a lot of votes in farm country.
    good piece in Counterpunch on Trump’s future, better piece in the Atlantic about Trumpism’s future.

  20. pjay

    ‘Political Consciousness From the Daily Grind’ – Prem Thakker. UserFriendy: “Important backstory from that viral clip.”

    Thank you very much for posting this story, and giving this guy a voice. If you only watch the first minute or so of the clip, you are likely to write him off as an ignorant Trumper. I probably would have, too. He’s not. And *most* people are not. But they live in the real world, not a world of neat academic abstractions or media stereotypes. There is a whole country of people like this; I know several of them. They feel like there is no one who listens to them. They are right.

    1. Montanamaven

      This, for me, is the must read story of the day. Dave Morris is my new hero. Yes, read the whole story as he was a union guy and fought the labor leaders in one of his jobs. He can very clearly articulate how most small businesses got screwed while friends of the D.C. crowd got all the money. And he’s a fan of AOC and fixing healthcare and having more alternatives to Big Oil, (dare we say Green New Deal!). He’s smart and perceptive. He should be running things. Yes, “there is a whole country of people like this; I know several of them.” I do too. If fact I know more than several. They are far better equipped to solve this country’s problems than my PMC friends.
      I hope he gets more recognition.

    2. DJG

      pjay: Yes, the profile of Morris by Prem Thakker is worth the read. Morris is, in many respects, a populist and a leftist. He talks about corruption at high levels, and he talks about sitting down with AOC. What populists and leftists are discovering all too well during the current catastrophe is that no one in the upper echelons of government and no one in the business class gives a damn about what the populace wants or needs.

      The paragraphs about his role as a union official are fascinating and distressing.

      1. Prem Thakker

        Hey there everyone. Prem here, author of the Dave Morris profile. Not sure if this is proper practice or not––so if not, editors I completely understand if you need to get rid of this comment! First, sincerely: thank you for reading, and thank you Yves for sharing the piece. Speaking to Dave was a real treat and I believe our conversation brought out quite a few nuggets that cut against mainstream conventions of our politics. I was amazed by not only how clearly Morris served as a living, breathing exhibit against centrist and moderate cases for how to politically win, but also his distinct optimism and yearning for a better world, even in the wake of years of compounded disenchanting experiences while walking America’s wayward path. I appreciate your engagement and thoughtful reactions to the profile.

        I also wanted to just say hello, properly introduce myself, and extend my personal offer that if any of you have things on your mind–events or moments you feel have not received proper recognition or analysis; people you think should be heard from and profiled; broader ideas or tensions to explore–I would be happy to hear from you about them. As you’ll find through my newsletter, “Better World,” I just hope to be a writer for the People–I aim for my work to be critical of power, grounded in love & conviction, and built on the wholehearted belief that we humans can actually be for each other, and not simply in spite of each other. Naturally, this project is served best when more people are directly involved in it. So, I’d love to hear from you. Cheers everyone. I sincerely wish you and yours all a beautiful, loving, and happy new year–day by day.

        1. carl

          Thanks for your comment, and the excellent article. It should be in a lot of major newspapers, but I understand why it won’t.

        2. pjay

          Much appreciated. I’ll repeat my comment to Yves (and UserFriendly) – thank you for giving Morris a voice. We need much more of this to overcome the tribal stereotypes promoted by the mainstream media. Thanks again.

        3. Montanamaven

          Well, I will try my best to get the word out. I admire your digging deeper into this story and doing actual investigative journalism.

        4. norm de plume

          Hi from Australia Prem, and thanks for your piece on the admirable Mr Morris.

          A few things stand out for me:

          * the life experience of Dave Morris is very similar to many millions of people in the US (and here too, to a lesser extent), who have been shafted by a rigged political and economic system but who mostly are unable to articulate why
          * Morris, partly by virtue of the fact that he has chosen to be actively involved in his communities and workplaces and also thanks to a keen intelligence and natural curiosity, does understand and can articulate why things are as they are, but also, importantly, how much better they could be

          For these reasons, when he bemoans the lock the duopoly has on representation and says: “We’d really hear from some really good, qualified individuals out there that are capable,” he says. “I’ll tell you, somebody’d rise out of them ashes and astound us all’ I think he is (unwittingly) talking about himself and people like him. As he says: ‘I just don’t know why you and I can’t sit here and get a few other good people in the room, and it wouldn’t be that hard to fix some of these things’

          Which leads to my other takeaway. Same as here and most places in the declining West, we are saddled with the curse of major parties. The call for a third party therefore doesn’t strike me as a great idea. The scenario he describes above could not happen in a party system, even if a third option appeared. Any third party worth the candle would by definition become a ‘major party’.

          To harvest and then harness the power of good, sensible people like Dave Morris to right the ship of state, we can’t have them join parties. Because parties:

          (a) demand fealty to an agreed set of positions, which, given the variety of the sorts of people you would need, is impossible and therefore fatal to your cause, and
          (b) require like all organisations some form of hierarchy, which to the special interest foxes Morris rails against, look enticingly like henhouses, where the ‘turning’ of the top few roosters (as he demonstrates in his mention of the union bosses in Detroit) reliably perverts, with the employment of (a) above, the whole thrust of the original effort toward safer ground for the status quo.

          We need people lie Dave Morris to stand as independents and get them elected to the House, there to form shifting coalitions to decide each issue on its merits, rather than what each rep’s party (or rather donors) demand.

          One issue worth consideration, after MFA and Bring Them Home have been enacted, would be a national public media organisation. He says ‘And it’s going to take a new media outlet probably to get that done’. This understands the importance of freely available and unbiased information in order for anything to get done, but left unsaid is the corollary that information not subject to private control is second only to health as a basic human right in a democracy. In a real sense, all other issues depend upon it.

          Good on Dave Morris. If he lived in my district, I’d vote for him.

      2. Montanamaven

        “Populists” don’t seem to fare well. People who run for high office as a populist are dealt with in various and sundry ways. I studied the populist movements of the West in the 19th and early 20th century when I moved to Montana and when I worked on the John Edwards campaigns. So with trepidation I hope David Morris gets more exposure.

    3. Medbh

      I found that article very hopeful as well, especially because it contradicted my assumptions about the man’s motivations. He wasn’t denying that covid was real; he was angry about how inconsistent and corrupt the response to it has been.

      I feel like our country is having a “Wizard of Oz” moment. Too many people have seen behind the curtain, and know the game is rigged.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Great article this of one person’s life set against the evolution of neoliberal America over the past few decades. No wonder he blew up when he saw that reporter and it was good to see that reporter was smart enough to follow immediately what this guy was saying and letting him talk. Lately I have seen US Senators live on air cut off by networks because they did not like the drift of what he was saying. Just killed the transmission. The fact that that Senator was black made it look even worse.

  21. freebird

    Ah, that’s why the big Trump signs every 3 miles in the Great Plains. Thought everyone was a poor judge of candidate character, but it was all about the shekels.

  22. Mikel

    Re: “2021 Will Be a Lot Like 2020” Wired

    This started off with bizarre WWI stories, so I ended up reading more about Gunther. The guy charged the enemy lines with the enemy not firing back at first. The Germans tried to wave him off because the war was over.

    I click on the link to the story about him. In short, he was drafted, made it to sargeant, demoted for writing a letter criticizing the war, and then eventually has thus grand finale.

    Everything about the story screams suicide by enemy soldier, a twist on the old suicide by cop theme. But I’m supposed to believe, even over 100 years later, that it was an act of patriotism.

    Over 100 years later, and that same line of war propaganda is still being propped up.

    Such a world has little to offer the imagination, or the mind in general and emotions.

    1. fresno dan

      January 2, 2021 at 11:02 am

      The first casualty of war is truth.
      Premise: The German government was evil.
      Premise: The evil government lost the war
      Premise: Seems to me we’re either doing evil, or by not doing countenancing evil.
      Conclusion: actually the evil government won the war…

      1. Bob Tetrault

        Uh, no, the German government was the worst of the two. Perfidious Albion certainly egged things on, and Vickers et al clipped coupons, but Deutschland was definitely Uber Alles by then. Their recent consolidation meant they had missed the colonial imperial boat and they intended to make up for lost time. And if you weren’t German then you ipso facto weren’t quite human; POW facts were inarguable.
        Still the war to end all war was really The Peace to End All Peace (do read the book, as well as Upton Sinclair) for surely Lloyd George and Perfidious Albion truly effed things up.

    2. The Rev Kev

      It was more than this one idiot charging ahead into gunfire. There were American commanders who knew that the war was going to end at 11 in the morning and yet still launched full scale attacks against German lines to get a bit more killing in. Absolutely and totally unnecessary but they did it anyway so now several hundred ‘dough-boys’ are buried in Europe still because of this. There was some humming and hawing when those commanders got back to the US but in the end they got away with it.

      1. LifelongLib

        I suspect Pershing was simply not competent to lead the U.S. army given the conditions of WW1. Probably no American officer was, IIRC none had ever managed a unit larger than a division.

        My grandmother’s half brother was killed while serving in the AEF in France, about a month before the war ended.

  23. Mikel

    RE: “Far-Flung Places, COVID-19 Is Being Treated Early And Well. Here’s Why Americans Don’t Know This.” TrialSiteNews

    Even if people in the USA with symptoms all sought early treatment, they all would not be able to get it even with “insurance” (the word will remain in air quotes…everyone should try it. It’s clarifying).

    1. Phillip Cross

      Did you know the Heartgard medicinal chew that you give your dog is part Ivermectin, equivalent to the weekly dosage allegedly used around the world to treat and prevent Covid? You just have to ask yourself, “Am I feeling lucky about the other ingredients?”.

      The scariest thing about Ivermectin for me, is that Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford-trained economist and physician, is a proponent. Whilst not automatically disqualifying, it is certainly a contraindicator when it comes to matters Covid.

      1. Shonde

        About a month ago I sent an email with the FLCCC Alliance website info to my dogs favorite veterinarian telling her that if I became ill with Covid 19 that I would be coming to her for treatment.

        1. Phillip Cross

          You can buy it on amazon, apple flavored. $12 You would need to do some math to figure out the correct dose for your weight, because it says it 1.5% ivermectin and for horses up to 1200lbs.

          Sounds good in so far (ammirite?), but the Covid19 dose is ~100x the FDA tested/approved dose for humans. It appears to work at this high dose by disrupting the way your cell’s function, which may or may not have long term effects on your health.

          Probably fine, might even work. The scariest thing about it for me is the 100% correlation between anti vaxxers, anti maskers , covid is a hoaxer, qanon-ers and pro ivermectiners. Stopped clocks and all that… Are you feeling lucky?

          1. H1C

            the Covid19 dose is ~100x the FDA tested/approved dose for humans.

            This is incorrect. Most of the clinical trials of ivermectin for Covid-19 have used the standard, 0.2 mg/kg of body weight dose of ivermectin: the same dose as when it is used as an anthelmintic in both humans and non-human animals.

            1. Phillip Cross

              Be careful, you’re starting to sound like you’re giving medical advice to me, and that raises liability issues for you and this site.

      2. H1C

        You can make up your own mind about ivermectin. Here is the FLCCC’s paper reviewing the trials so far for it for Covid-19:

        And here is a running meta-analysis of clinical trials of ivermectin for Covid-19. You can compare at the same site how it is faring vs. other trialed treatments, including the new monoclonal and polyclonal antibody treatments:

        I’ll add here my anecdote about prophylaxing with ivermectin. My dad in his 70s is high-risk, a diabetic with COPD. He continues to go golfing and dining out with his similarly high-risk friends. A couple of months ago, I insisted that if he was going to engage in such dangerous activities, he had to prophylax with ivermectin. He relented and started on a once-per-week dose of the Durvet horse paste ivermectin. He has had zero side effects save one: in fewer than 24 hours after taking the first dose, his COPD cleared up. I haven’t observed him not coughing and breathing so easily like this in years.

        A couple of weeks ago, he was present at a mass contagion event at his church. Several people were infected and became ill, including the pastor, his wife, and the pastor’s elderly (80+ years old) parents. All the infected tested either PCR or rapid-antigen positive. My father was the only person present at that event who did not get sick, and he tested negative twice after the event.

        The ones who got sick after that event all asked my father for ivermectin. He gave them all tubes of it from his stash. All of them took it, had mild symptoms, and have recovered.

        I work in an outpatient health care setting, and have also been prophylaxing with it for a month. I have noticed no side effects, and have not gotten sick with URI-like symptoms, so far. I plan on continuing to prophylax with it for the duration of the pandemic. I’ll switch to a once-every-two-week dosing schedule after I complete ten weekly doses.

        1. Mikel

          This is good news.
          How much does ivermectin cost? Although that’s a tricky thing with the wild pricing for drugs across different parts of the USA.

          A price database of healthcare drugs and other equipment (not “insurance”) would be on point.

          1. H1C

            I only have experience with the horse paste ivermectin. It’s around $5 per tube (including tax and shipping) on Tractor Supply Co. It’s been back-ordered on Amazon since Dr. Kory of the FLCCC testified in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental affairs. Which is good, in my opinion: it means a lot of people saw his testimony.

            The medication in the tube is also concentrated at 0.2 mg/kg of body weight. It has enough to treat 1250 lbs of body weight. One tenth of the tube (it has weight markings) yields slightly less than 12 mg of ivermectin.

        2. carl

          We just ordered some. At worst, it will do no harm. Pro tip: many medications can be ordered from India.

          1. lordkoos

            Be aware that ordering generic drugs from other countries can sometimes be problematic, because they use different fillers and binders with the medications. My local clinic told me they’ve had problems with patients not tolerating some generics, from allergies and reactions to the non-med part of the drugs. However in the case of ivermectin I would probably take the risk…

          2. Shonde

            Just got an email from Tractor Supply that they cancelled my order that I placed about the same time as yours. No indication why.

      3. Cuibono

        and not just Jay.The libertarian covid crew is all over Ivermectin.
        does not mean it is not right of course. But Ivermectin like Hydroxycloprquine has been politicized.

        The data is much better such as it is.

  24. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Violence Against Women Act Blocked Angry Bear

    So, lemme get this straight. 26 years ago,

    then Sen. Biden introduced the bill which was signed into law in 1994. The legislation was to address domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. At the time, those crimes were considered family matters and law enforcement authorities avoided involvement.

    Included in the “law” was some set of circumstances under which it would expire and its “renewal” could possibly be blocked a quarter of a century later????

    W.T. Actual. F. Thanks, joe.

  25. fresno dan

    Violence Against Women Act Blocked Angry Bear

    So the posting above got me to thinking about a TV show that ostensibly pretty much is only about violence against women and a bete noire of mine – the myth of “liberal” Hollywood. So with Covid, I’m watching a lot of reruns on TV. I don’t watch the show Law and Order SVU (SVU stands for Special Victims Unit i.e., sexual assault victims) but it was on and I have seen the Law and Order show occasionally, so I gave it a viewing.
    Synopsis: A niece of one of the main character cops of the show is “date” raped at college by another student – the college expels the student (rapist) after an investigation. The cop uncle is furious that the student rapist wasn’t prosecuted. A police investigation is mounted. During this investigation the police uncle is told by his niece that she wasn’t actually raped. The uncle cop tells the niece not to bring it up unless asked. The uncle cop advises that the niece should somehow make it “right.” The student rapist is put on trial, and during the period of the trial, the niece calls the student rapist and asks him to visit her at her dorm room (the niece is going to apologize for the false accusation), where he (the falsely accused student) proceeds to really rape her. The cop uncle testifies and during cross examination admits that his niece told him (cop uncle) that she was not really raped the FIRST TIME (why there was a trial to begin with and LOGICALLY why an actual rape occurred later by the logic of the script). Than the defendant, the student rapist is put on the stand, and during cross examination by the prosecutor, is skillfully manipulated into getting angry and admitting the second encounter was a real rape.
    Sooo…FIRST, it is a TV show, so of course, it should not be thought of as any kind of reflection of reality. And TV shows can be ridiculous, absurd, even surreal.
    But I think it does offer some insight about Hollywood zeitgeist – and to a certain extent, the greater zeitgeist because of the conventions and beliefs it exposes.
    1. A cop helps in a case where the victim is a relative? and that’s OK? It is just absurd. Hopefully, every serious person would be outraged at such a biased investigation – the fact that “liberal” Hollywood has that in a script to me shows that Hollywood is in no way “liberal.” Of course, cop TV shows physical abuse of detainees all the time – which is my point. Liberal Hollywood is really right wing Hollywood.
    2. Portraying a rape claim as false is I think fair game for a drama. But than to write a script that somehow manages to turn a false allegation into a real rape is beyond absurd – I don’t have a word for it. The only motivation for such a ridiculous story must be the compulsion that the police (the police uncle) can never be shown to be arresting and prosecuting somebody who the police KNOW is actually innocent.
    3. Police NEVER lie…according to this show, and to a very great extent MOST of Hollywood (there are exceptions that prove the rule – there are dozens of police shows on TV that show police as essentially flawless, seen daily in syndication in numbers that dwarf the number of people who have seen Serpico). The cop uncle, who told his niece not to bring up the initial non rape (what about that oath to the tell the WHOLE truth) when cross examined (and over acting to boot) admits that the first rape claim was false. So, on the stand the cop FINALLY acknowledges reality, but of course all the time that elapsed from when the cop uncle first learned and not telling ANYONE until testifying is just water under the bridge. The fact that the cop uncle isn’t fired is just accepted as the normal course of events and isn’t even THOUGHT about (just like shooting unarmed people used to be the default position and thought completely NORMAL)
    4. The PREPOSTEROUS idea that the victim had called the defendant, after the defendant had been indicted (maybe even DURING the trial – unclear to me) ostensibly to apologize for the first false rape claim. The PREPOSTEROUS idea that the student accused rapist goes to see the victim (parents? attorney? agree this is a good idea???), alone, in her room…and than proceeds to commit rape. The story brings up political correctness, but than seems to prove how bad political correctness is by concocting a story that is BEYOND preposterous. It seems the TV series cannot ever acknowledge that a false rape allegation can EVER have happened.
    5. The defense would call the defendant AFTER a cop has testified the victim lied about a rape allegation? Unfortunately, in the real world most defense attorneys for the poor are defunct adjutants to the prosecutors. Not the case of a public defender in this story – just ridiculous script writing to advance a stupid, stupid story.
    6. The show might as well be Perry Mason – this supposed pre med college student is manipulated into essentially confessing that he raped the victim the second time by a masterful prosecutor. Again, the only rationale for such a contrived ending is the necessity of showing prosecutors and police as infallible.

    So, it is only TV. But it is the ocean we swim in. Most people don’t read NC, nor think too deeply about police and how they actually work. Until recently, there was an incessant and unremitting barrage of media background that postulated that all police are heroes. And the questions and concepts DEFACTO not asked or permitted to be considered probably influence events more than the contrived narratives we are fed.

    1. UserFriendlyyy

      To be fair, both Law and Order and SVU have had episodes where cops acted less than ethically and sometimes were even punished for it. But they they did often stick to most cops are good. And SVU has had multiple episodes of false claims of rape. IIRC they even did one where the viewer never really found out one way or the other if the claim was false.

    2. eg

      You should watch “Low Winter Sun” — it’s as grim a depiction of police behaviour as I’ve ever seen.

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      And when “Law & Order” is involved, we must remember — despite what we’re told — that . . .

      * Not all crimes are investigated by the police, and not everything investigated by the police is a crime.

      * Not every offender is prosecuted by the district attorneys (or your state’s equivalents), and not everyone prosecuted by the district attorneys is an offender.

  26. curlydan

    The Amazon interview was pretty good and reveals why it’s crucial to keep anti-trust pressure on them, not that I’m expecting anything from the incoming administration.

    They’re after the post office: “The rumors that I hear, both internal and external, are that we’re very seriously interested in acquiring post office real estate. The reason why the post office is valuable to privatize is because of their real estate holdings. They have great real estate in every downtown of every city in the United States. Amazon may be interested in buying all of the post office locations, and we have the cash to do it. So why not? ”

    They’re using classic tactics to establish monopolies: “One of the reasons why the antitrust people are looking at Amazon is because Amazon is using highly profitable businesses where it has a really durable advantage in order to subsidize losses in other divisions that it uses to capture market share. Without an organ similar to AWS, a competitor like Walmart has to lower prices below the level of profitability to remain competitive. And they can only sustain those losses for so long.

    Q: What’s an example of a division that AWS subsidizes particularly heavily?

    Prime Video, for one. Jeff loves Prime Video because it gives him access to the social scene in LA and New York. He’s newly divorced and the richest man in the world. Prime Video is a loss leader for Jeff’s sex life.”

    1. cnchal

      Some interesting characterisations of Amazon’s workforce.

      . . . A lot of the warehouse workers are older people who are out of the traditional workforce and find it hard to get back in because they can’t retrain or they don’t want to . . .

      Tied to the whipping post is their theme song.

      Amazon has around a million employees worldwide. The majority work in shipping and logistics and delivery. There are maybe eighty thousand corporate employees. And I would estimate that fewer than two thousand of them have participated in discussions around organizing.

      In general, the people who are going to organize are the people who need to organize because they are fighting for their lives and their subsistence. Those are the people on the logistics side of Amazon who work at the distribution centers. Those are the members of the industrial proletariat in China who are manufacturing the things that are shipped out on the retail side. Those are the humans in developing countries doing piecework on Mechanical Turk.

      If there is going to be change, that’s where it will come from. I think that if you’re looking at corporate employees within Amazon as a source of hope, that’s ludicrous. The notion that these companies are going to repair the damage they’re causing by having white-collar workers organize internally to me is crazy. But maybe that’s cynical and nihilistic. Maybe I’m a bad man.

      Is Amazon unstoppable? So far, Jeff has the whip hand and it seems Mr. Market agrees. The way it traps it’s victims into using AWS, a digital roach motel business model, is wildly profitable, and pandemic induced sales to homebodys are through the roof. $710 billion of “value” scream the CNBC headlines added to Amazon stawk price total for the year.

      Wow. Amazon is unstoppable. So lets have a look at these excessive pandemic induced profits that Amazon generated.

      From this article, if the numbers can be believed.

      The COVID-19 pandemic has generated record profits for America’s biggest companies, as well as immense wealth for their founders and largest shareholders—but next to nothing for workers.
      . . .
      This is especially true of Amazon and Walmart, the country’s two largest companies. Together, they have earned an extra $10.7 billion over last year’s profits during (and largely because of) the pandemic—a stunning 56% increase.

      What is stunning is that a few billion of extra profits gouged out of “customers” during a pandemic translates to nearly a trillion in stawk market gain. No wonder Jeff can have fuck fests wherever he goes.

      1. neo-realist

        . . . A lot of the warehouse workers are older people who are out of the traditional workforce and find it hard to get back in because they can’t retrain or they don’t want to . . .

        For the most part, hardly anybody wants to hire older people period, regardless of their skills and experience. The willingness to retrain or having been retrained doesn’t matter.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps people who still buy things from NOmazon one way or another should think of themselves and the particular NOmazon outlets or places they buy from as being like the Irish monks in monasteries who kept some stubs of Classical Antiquity Knowledge and Information alive through the pre-Medieval Dark Ages. NOmazon businesses and the NOmazon customers who buy from them are the Irish Monks and Monasteries of todays Amazon Dark Age.

        Give up on trying to defeat or destroy or domesticate or reform Amazon. Just try to outlast it in little “monastic” refuges of NOmazon business and customers and hope to outlast Amazon . . . hoping that Amazon will somehow die and recede from existence somehow.

    2. Keith

      I thought the story was pretty good, too. It also gave me new found respect for working there, people go there to work and not use it to organize or expand their social lives! That is how I have seen work, a means to an end and something to keep segregated from fami,y and social lives. After a few more years with .gov, maybe I will look to them.

    3. Clark

      Jan. 2, 2021 at 11:50 a.m.

      That passage from the interview about acquiring the USPS for its real estate chilled me to the bone.

    4. lordkoos

      “Jeff loves Prime Video because it gives him access to the social scene in LA and New York. He’s newly divorced and the richest man in the world. Prime Video is a loss leader for Jeff’s sex life.”

      Similarly I recall that Seattle’s fave billionaire Paul Allen loved hanging out with Hollywood celebs, his companies produced some films and TV shows. He also liked hanging with rock stars…

      1. Norm de plume

        ‘Prime Video is a loss leader for Jeff’s sex life’

        Howard Hughes and Joe Kennedy did the same thing. I’m sure there are others.

    5. The Rev Kev

      A bit of Amazon history here – ‘In September 1994, Bezos purchased the domain name and briefly considered naming his online store Relentless, but friends told him the name sounded a bit sinister. The domain is still owned by Bezos and still redirects to the retailer.’

      I tried that last night and yeah, if you go to it brings you to Amazon.

  27. Wukchumni

    There are no Hmong among us here, but a funny thing is happening in our cemetery in that in the past few years, all of the sudden there’s about 2 dozen planted for all eternity, with most of the headstones far more elaborate than locals gone to seed. About half of the headstones have a picture of the deceased, some all written in their language, most a mixture of English & Hmong.

    I get it, in that the Hmong were a mountain people and want to get closer to their roots, or perhaps there’s good deals on plots-who knows?

    Visitors to the cemetery in a century will think they played quite a role in town, ha ha.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Hmong know how to do a celebration. When cycling in north Laos one time a group of very drunken Hmong women invited me and my biking companion to join in on a celebration of some sort – there was very hard liquor going around and it was still just lunchtime. We stayed for an hour or so before staggering out of the house – my friend tried to find out if it was a funeral or wedding or anything else, but we couldn’t understand what they were saying.

      From what I understand, they insist that a burial should be on the western side of a mountain, facing the setting sun. This has always stuck in my mind, because its consistent with neolithic archaeology in Ireland, where burial chambers invariably point to either the rising or the setting sun. Perhaps that graveyard has a particularly good orientation.

      Your description of the headstones reminds me of Irish Traveller burials. In my parents graveyard, there is a strict limit on headstone size and design, which Travellers completely ignore, so their graves are visible from a distance. They are incredibly elaborate and expensive.

      1. Wukchumni

        From what I understand, they insist that a burial should be on the western side of a mountain, facing the setting sun. This has always stuck in my mind, because its consistent with neolithic archaeology in Ireland, where burial chambers invariably point to either the rising or the setting sun. Perhaps that graveyard has a particularly good orientation.

        Dead-on correct orientation, now things begin to make sense.

      2. Cuibono

        i spent a year with the Hmong in the golden triangle decades ago.
        that is my recollection too.

    2. fresno dan

      January 2, 2021 at 12:05 pm
      Visiting cemeteries is a hobby of mine. Graves in Massachusetts that go back to the 1700’s – a LOT of deaths due to lost at sea, as well as all the children wiped out in the same year. Took me a while to figure out CSA at southern graveyards.
      Fresno graveyard near Rodeing Park Zoo has some interesting ethnic sections. One thing in the Fresno cemetery I had never seen are graves with the inscription of Woodmen of the World that are shaped like tree stumps. I initially thought they were the graves of lumberjacks, but it really is a fraternal/life insurance organization.
      You can really learn some fascinating things by strolling through a cemetery…

      1. Wukchumni

        I inspired myself to spend an hour killing time yesterday in our cemetery (now with more Hmong!) and there’s a road sign proclaiming ‘Dead End’ maybe 100 yards before you hit paydirt. Kinda funny that.

        My wife and I never talked about it before heretofore, but I think i’d like to leave my mark in an empty grave there-with my ashes spread in the High Sierra, but no hurry in getting there.

  28. K.k

    Im sure the House is passing resolutions and drawing up bills as we speak to condemn the gross human rights abuses. And no doubt nyt is about to publish exposes highlighting said abuses and “cultural genocide” taking place as an inevitable consequence of an unstable economic system with the Indian State headed by reactionaries. No doubt Bernie and OAC will be condemning the BJP on twitter to their millions of followers, just as they shared that scandalous story published in the Intercept about three weeks ago about cia organizing death squads to target and murder children in the dead of night. Surely the the antiwar candidate of my lifetime atleast tweeted that story out to his 15 million followers. Nah, perhaps if Assad or Maduro or perhaps the now departed Gaddafi were not involved. Perhaps if Assam was situated was situated somewhere in China!

    I would prefer if we stopped meddling in other countries affairs but of course that is not the nature of the American State or the world we live in. A benevolent imperial empire can only be maintained through a great deal of coercion and mass murder. Like expecting a lion to go vegan, not gonna turn out well for its handler.

  29. DJG

    “Centuries-Old Techniques.” The article about the Bec Hellouin farm, its techniques, and its amazing yields is definitely worth a read. For a long time, advocates of monocropping and industrialized ag have insisted that small farms with attentive owners can’t feed the populace. This has been disproven over and over–I recall Wendell Berry’s wonderful article about keeping horses on farms because even a sizable farm can be worked efficiently with a good team of horses.

    What cannot continue is trying to extract yields from land when no one is working the land–empty landscapes harvested by giant machines. We have to go back to having more people on the land. Are we ready for that? The many truck farms that surround Chicago have advantages–the farmers at my neighborhood farmers market pretty much have fan clubs and can also make money with CSAs. But that’s situation isn’t the same for a farm in central Kansas.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i enjoyed that article.
      that’s pretty much the Vision i had for out here…but lack of $, lack of labor, and constant idiotic subterfuge from the voices in mom’s head have prevented the full manifestation of that Vision.
      before i moved out here, but was thinking about it, i spent a lot of time at the austin public library, reading up on French Intensive.
      that relied on the horse manure from the city.
      turns out, good manure is what i’m lacking, now.
      i’m to the point of obtaining many tons of the free cow manure from the feed lot, and hot composting it for 5-7 years to kill off the persistent herbicides.

      that article is how farming should be, in a sane culture.
      there’s room, of course, for row crops and grains, that requiore large area and some mechanisation…but the way things are done now is killing us and the planet.

    2. farmboy

      Permaculture holds many ideas and practices worth pursuing. Making them scale is both the answer and the question. More people on the land is not the answer in Kansas. Tailoring to the climate and landscape require what is known in wine production as terroir, knowing the uniqueness of the soil and its attributes. The tools and techniques don’t translate, but the spirit and intent do. Matching crop intensity to output and then looking for that next step. As for all, I mean all of food and agriculture is about the soil. If it’s about the soil, it’s about the 25% of all life on earth that is in the soil. We can encourage organisms, adjust chemistry, but we aren’t going to change the geologic history or background chemistry or weather.

      1. fwe'theewell

        Sorry, but enslaving more horses or other beasts of burden when we have no need to do that is just gross. Arg, meant for original comment sorry.

  30. DJG

    The Food & Wine article on bad customers isn’t the first that I have read–it just has more anecdotes and even more horror stories.

    On firing customers: Years ago, I worked for a typesetting & graphic design house in what was then mainly a warehouse and gallery district centered, as it were, on Chicago’s storied Mr. Beef. I was the proofreader / editor, and when our regular delivery guy took a day off, we all wandered the neighborhood, delivering proofs and repros to our clientele of design firms, galleries, and photo houses.

    The place was owned by a woman who started as a graphic designer and expanded. She occasionally dumped a customer for non-payment or for bad behavior. She explained to me that the bad customers aren’t worth the effort. When I was a free-lance editor for many years, I dumped a few bad clients. It is true: They aren’t worth the time and cost of maintaining them.

  31. unhappyCakeEater

    Re: Customers

    worked in kitchens for a lot of years and seen a lot of silliness. But the worst was as a customer, when my partner went to our favorite mex place with some friends on a double date. The other pair turned out to be the absolute worst- complaining and sending things back, generally being shits. we were mortified, and 20 years later still cringe at the memory.

    income and classist attitudes surely make up some portion of customer behavior, but the best customers are always those who have worked in service roles. Tough to give those bad apples the GTFO treatment when youre making min wage and theres 6 behind you waiting for their chance to sling bloomin onions though.

  32. Mark Sanders

    Re The Customer Is Not Always Right — I’ve never been in this position, but my attitude is that if, say, you’re on line at something like Starbucks and someone is giving shit to the cashier or other staff for no good reason, you as a customer have the option to speak up and tell this person what the person behind the counter can’t (or else they lose their job). Tell them in your own words they are out of line and need to go ____ themselves. Of course you have to take into account the possibility of violence, but I don’t think there’s enough public shaming, that is, justifiable public shaming in our society.

    And I can never understand why anyone would give shit to a waiter before the food is served. People don’t realize they can spit or put worse in their food, really? I’ve never had a service job, and think it has to be horrible to be paid so badly and have to deal with jerks and d-bags on a regular basis.

  33. Rod

    With Centuries-Old Techniques, This Farm Is Preparing for the Future Reasons to be Cheerful (guurst)

    This is just so inspiring–for the first of the year.
    The homestead so cozy with the stream and century bldgs., Layout so functional, pictures inspiring, and the results–well spectacular enough to warrant a study from the Agriculture Ministry–all in the twelve years they have been working it. Just looking at that soil I could smell it from here. Not a bad $$$ yield either~65$ per yd2, or 7$ per ft2.
    There is much to aspire to illustrated–and the links inspire even more.

    Well recommended for all those anticipating the planting season.

    These solar-powered barges can scoop up 50 tons of plastic from rivers each day The Optimist Daily
    (David L)

    Why are not these in mass production at every University Industrial Technology Program in the world right now? Why?
    imo/e they need a fleet on the Amazon from the convergences in upper Peru to the S Atlantic (not to mention the Catawba R–my backyard paddle)

    and happy new year again–every day a holiday, every meal a banquet, and every paycheck a fortune…
    if ya know what i mean…

  34. Edward

    At one point, Donna Brazile had a parting of ways with Clinton. From her comments, she seems to have concluded that Seth Rich was murdered by Hillary Clinton, and that she feared for her life. I don’t know what evidence she had for this belief, but nobody seemed to pay attention to what she was saying.

    1. Keith

      Yup, a death that will fade into nothing for empire. There is a Breaker Morant quote here that I cannot remember. Perhaps a fitting epitaph for this affair.

      1. Edward

        I think Wikileaks offered a $10000 reward for information about the murder of Seth Rich. That is about as close as they can come to publicly declaring that Rich was the leaker without explicitly saying this, something the press has studiously ignored.

  35. jr

    Mark Crispin Miller on Useful Idiots talking about his struggle with IDpol censorship and the push to fire him over a class he teaches on propaganda. The right wing authoritarian hooks embedded in “left” identity drones and their war against free speech (and reason) are crystal clear.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link.
      College profs and lecturers need to start video recording their lectures – front facing to them and the white board – as records to defend themselves against these woke whispering campaigns that the neolib college admins will use against them. Every lecture in the year. Keeping their own private records against the gossip mongers; keeping their own private records for defense against the he said/she said charges.

      The college I knew 10 years ago no longer exists.

    2. Edward

      There seems to be a campaign to fire Miller. I wonder what the real reason is for this campaign? Miller speculates in the interview, but doesn’t have a definite answer. For this reason, I think this story is more then cancel culture run amok, but there is something else going on which cannot be stated publicly.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > There seems to be a campaign to fire Miller.

        The way I read it: Somebody without tenure wants his job. Others hate critical thinking. The Deans hate him because he got in the way of a big construction project in the Village (for which they’d doubtless sold naming rights). He’s also litigious. Also, I’m sure the Deans, and the Board, would like to weaken tenure protections generally. The cancel culture stuff is a pretext, as so often.

        Unlike most academic battles, the stakes in this one are not petty.

        1. Edward

          I can believe those explanations. Miller isn’t going down without a fight, though. His opponents may have underestimated the hornets nest they were kicking. I think Miller is in a fairly strong position.

    3. jr

      Thanks for the comments. It’s amazing, the environment of paranoia and repression he describes. And this is from the students, not just the faculty or admins. No problem wrecking reputations or lives via social media, power is it’s own justification. Concepts of free speech, of the true safe spaces provided by a tenured faculty, of the value of diverse points of view apparently don’t exist. Corporate prostitutes in the administration, finks in the departments and dorms. Thank the One I never made it to full time grad school…

  36. kareninca

    My 96 y.o. father in law lives with us. At some point fairly soon he could probably get the Pfizer vaccine through the VA hospital since he was in WWII. He has no interest in doing so, since he has seen a lot of medical marvels go wrong in his day. He is entirely mentally capable and of course can make his own decisions. I have no interest in taking any vaccine anytime soon since when I look at the covid dashboard for my zip code there have only been 61 cases so far among 15,000+ people, and it is easy for me to self-isolate.

    But, I thought I should look around. So I found this Jerusalem post article from November; it is pretty clear: But the very funny thing is the very last paragraph. Hahahaha.

    1. ambrit

      I love the implied infallibility of Science in the third to last paragraph: “(without the hurried up vaccines) we would have the coronavirus for two more years.” Well, duh! Of course we are going to have the coronavirus for two more years. We are going to have it circulating about in the population for the rest of the Terrestrial Human Race’s tenure on the planet!
      As far as I have gleaned from my reading, a virus is not eradicated, it’s host population adapts or is eradicated.

      1. polecat

        It’s of a similar kind of, er .. ‘reasoning’, with regard to say, ‘stopping the ‘climate’ from doing IT’S chaotic dance .. or stopping evolution in it’s tracts, by trying to freeze a biome in stitu .. be declaring indicator Species X the only consideration, when it’s the entirety of the locality in question that needs attention.

        In reality it’s Human Vanity in the supreme, verging on cult-religion status!

        1. polecat

          Same with re. to the GreenNewDeal as applied to the externalities of so-called alt-energy production, while also ingoring the wholly inadequate abilities of such, in powering any kind industrial economy WITHOUT the predicate of fossil fuels!

          Wanting to have one’s Cake .. and eating it too, and all that. We’ll all just tap those Ruby Slippers … right?

  37. SerenityNow

    I would be interested to hear the commentariat’s thoughts on this piece about gentrification that is recently out in the Atlantic. It’s not every day one sees references to extracting rents and class preferences in that publication.

    1. fwe'theewell

      I read it, and have not changed my position. He straw-mans much of the opposition as being based on decades-old arguments, which he then suggests need a fresh look. My link below addresses this.

      Also, many luxury New Urbanist (not new) developments were empty before the pandemic, either with absentee speculator owners, or just vacant because the demand simply isn’t there. The developers benefit from incentives and subsidies that don’t reflect the reality on the ground, but rather political relationships and forces.

      A good example in commercial real estate is the dismantling of the postal service real estate portfolio. This reflects not only the craven desire of profiteers for the valuable properties to enrich themselves, but also the dismantling of the New Deal legacy of public art and public environments that aren’t utterly depressing and “existence minimum.” They are also carving up the business of the postal service and privatizing it, to hollow out the legacy of decent public jobs.

      Back on housing: this is about putting up a bunch of matchbox structures because wood framing is cheap at the moment, but it’s also about a race to the bottom for deregulation. Extremely greedy but needful people are using “affordable housing” as a Trojan horse to stuff a bunch of units onto their properties to engorge their wallets.

      Check out this extensive piece, from late 2018 but still chock-full of data that still applies, such as who the powerful YIMBYs really are.

  38. Mikel

    RE: “Why China is anti-fragile” Asia Times

    The red alert moment for the world is when “the blob” snaps out of its exceptional haze and realizes this.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Generally agree with the views David Goldman expressed. However, he failed to identify what could be a vulnerability for China: the Eurodollar credit market. I think it is this factor, coupled with a desire to reduce the probability of military conflict with the U.S. that economist Michael Hudson mentioned in a podcast carried here on NC a couple of days ago, that are behind the offer by China’s senior policy makers to open China’s financial markets to Wall Street banks and large U.S. private equity firms. Given the cancellation of the Ant Group IPO and the evident wariness China’s political leaders have displayed toward their domestic financial capitalists, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Wall Street and China’s political leadership unfolds over the next few years.

      1. Mikel

        ” it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Wall Street and China’s political leadership unfolds over the next few years.”

        Yes, I totally agree. The more bankstanomics they adopt the more fragile they will be.

  39. Mikel

    “If Thailand can take care of its citizens affected by the virus, ya would think Amerika The Wealthy could too….but OH NO….”socialism”, “communism”, lazy people….can’t do that….what a heartless country the USA has become…”

    The USA is an economy in search of a civilization.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Your observation raises the question whether finance capitalism is itself civilized, Mikel.

  40. Geo

    “This burp-catching mask for cows could slow down climate change”

    How about, instead of making cows even more miserable by making them wear a burp diaper, we stop factory farming them? Seriously, we are the worst species. We don’t wear masks to keep others alive but will force another animal to wear them so we can continue our destructive ways unimpeded.

    Seems every societal decision is based on the most immediate gratification for the most powerful and if it makes the less powerful suffer that is a cherry on top.

    Shouldn’t start the new year off so negative and nihilistic but instead of making cows wear masks to cut down on pollution, it would be much more effective to make those who push this idea wear plastic bags over their heads. The environment and all other living creatures would be grateful for the sacrifice.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      No, we are not the worst species. Western Civilization people keep confusing Western Industrial Civilization with Man the Species. Shepherds never put masks on their sheep. And were they not members of Species Man?

      So let us maintain a laser focus on who is the problem here. In broadest general it is the practitioners of Industrial Civilization and then it narrows down to the Social Class Cabals who funded the suppression of all non-fossil-fuel alternatives and policies, and who cynically invented the concept of factory farming, and so forth.

      I begin to think the whole diversion of focus onto cows and rice paddies as a “methane problem” is an example of something I once read about called “displacement behavior”. Researchers put some rats in a cage and lit a fire in one end of the cage. The rats could not put it out. They could only be afraid of it.
      So they went to the other corner of their cage and began furiously grooming themselves. They were dispacing their fire-anxiety onto irrelevant grooming activity. The scientists called that “displacement behavior”.

      Focusing on methane from cows and rice paddies is displacement behavior. Cows and rice paddies produced methane for thousands of years and it was never a problem. Industrial civilization man put a hundred million years of carbon back into the air in 200 years through finding and burning fossil fuels. The amount of methane from cows and rice paddies is less than even trivial compared to the amount of CO2 from all the coal, gas and oil burned in the world, plus all the soil carbon burned in the world. But the on-rolling release of carbon from coal, gas, oil, soil and the thawing permafrost is too huge to face up to. So why not focus on some cow burps and rice paddy farts instead?

      Face mask on a cow? That’s not science, its mad science. That’s not wisdom, its whizdumm.

  41. drumlin woodchuckles

    In David Goldman’s “Why China Is Anti-Fragile” article, I noticed a sly little sentence of deceitful propaganda about something having nothing to do with China. I will copy-paste the relevant sentence.

    “The US accumulated debts to pay for entitlements, while China took on debt to fund infrastructure.”

    There. Did you see that? Did you see what he did there?

    He snuck in a malicious lie made with malice-aforethought about “entitlements” and “debt”. I suspect he is part of the Catfood Conspiracy against Social Security and Medicare, for which I have been paying my whole working life so far. He is smart enough to know that “entitlements” have nothing to do with our “debt”.

    He knows very well that we didn’t go into National Debt to pay for “entitlements”. He knows very well that we were put into National Debt to pay for many rounds of Upper Class Tax Cuts and Over Class Tax Cuts.

    I think we know what side of the Domestic Class War of Extermination our Mr. Goldman is on, don’t we?
    Yes. We do.

    1. K.k

      Yes, i think he thinks people consuming his propaganda have pudding for brains and wont notice.

      I would add a sincere person concerned about the infrastructure in the u.s would not be pointing to “entitlements” , but perhaps might, just might, consider trillions blown on wars, trillions blown in the pentagon, military industrial complex. Immense finite resources wasted on weapons programs, such as 100million dollar rocket platforms that fail on launch, and the same weapons manufacturer gets a no bid contract the next month to try again. This concerned person might also point out how other countries manage to come up with similar if not better weapons platforms for far, far , far less cost and waste.
      Thats why Goldman ended his editorial with reminding us how important it is to continue pouring money into the pentagon in the hopes we might get unexpected innovation rather than investing in infrastructure. What a transparent clown.

      Check out Goldmans history.

      “He is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and the London Institute for Policy Research, and a managing director at Reorient Group, a Hong Kong-based investment bank. He is the author of How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too) (Regnery). ”

      Now try to figure out who funds the Islamophobic conservative think tank Middle East Forum and the kinds of ugly thing they have been up to. Middle east forum is mainly funded by Donors Capital Fund and Rosenwald Fund. If u google Rosenwald Fund, you find a very strange dead end.
      Donors capital fund is a dark money conduit for the conservative right and has been knee deep in funding Islamophobic and anti -lgbtq groups. Its funders are secret, and I would not be least bit surprised to learn they also get funding from weapons manufacturers. It has ties to the Kochs and the Mercers. Nice folks , doing things!

      And then we get to the London Institute for Policy Research. Sketchy dudes and gals doing sketchy stuff. Below is a link to an article from the daily beast about them that references Goldman. “There was the economist David Goldman, who hailed the new era at the Environmental Protection Agency led by Scott Pruitt and the elimination of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, both of which had been “a millstone around the neck of American small business.”

      Also from the daily beast article, ….”the London Center lists 32 “senior fellows” on its website, and among that group are several who have at one time or another been either inside or outside advisers to the early days of the Trump administration.

      Most prominently there is Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor who had to resign when it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. But besides Flynn, among the London Center fellows are Monica Crowley, who was in line for a top national security job until she resigned in the wake of a plagiarism allegation; James Woolsey, a former CIA chief who served as a senior advisor to the Trump campaign and transition; Allen West, the fiery former Florida congressman who met with Trump twice in two days at Trump Tower in December to discuss national security issues; Emmett Tyrell, the editor of the American Spectator who predicted that Trump would win long before the rest of the conservative intelligentsia figured him out; Walid Phares, who advised Trump on Middle Eastern policy during the campaign; Betsy McCaughey, who advised the president on economic matters; Clare Lopez, a former CIA operations officer and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who believes that the Muslim Brotherhood had secretly infiltrated the Obama White House and who was in the running for a national security job; and Bud McFarlane, a former Reagan national security advisor who met with Trump during the transition as well. Other former Trump officials, like Sebastian Gorka and K.T. McFarland, are also affiliated with the London Center but have no formal role.“

      Again , nice folks doing nice things.

      1. Edward

        Wow, what an all-star team of neocons and imperialists at the London Center. I have to say, though, in Flynn’s defense, that he was coerced into a guilty plea, a common tactic by prosecutors these days. I think they were threatening his son. The charges against him were trumped up.

        My favorite example of a propaganda sleight of hand is the government “Institute of Peace”, if I remember the name correctly. Helena Cobban was involved in establishing the organization, and it started out as a genuine effort to promote peace, but it is now infested with neocons. They want to control the discussion and agenda, and claim to be peacemakers, I suppose.

    1. K.k

      Very interesting. Go to google and enter “pa rep m”.
      What you will notice is google will try to autofill with other reps from pa and will not offer autofill with mike reeses name. Strange. Anyone know why that would be?

  42. Wukchumni

    It feels so very wrong breaking & entering in stale news fashion, but he a culpa, me a maximum culpa.

    Just wanted to mention the passing of Eugene Wright, the last of the Dave Brubeck quartet, who gave me such joy over the years and whom we managed to see in concert a number of times, Rest in peace~

    The Ultimate Take Five, with a drum solo by Joe Morello that you want to watch over & over again, my gawd.

  43. flora

    An interview with Philip Miroski. Why the neoliberals get stronger during crisis. Interview is from last May in Jacobin magazine. It seems prescient.

    The neoliberal though collective has a central unifying plan and is ready to respond to any crisis in a way that benefits them. Even though “the Market” is a god that’s failed, there still isn’t a coherent and agreed upon philosophy that opposes it as far as I know. Instead we get efforts to prop up “the (failed) Market” at all costs with some idpol tinkering around its edges.

  44. Phillip Cross

    “Conspiracy theorists share schematic for “5G chip” they claim is implanted in COVID-19 vaccines – only it’s actually for the Boss Metal Zone”

    That’s funny, if true. I am all for mocking sillybuggers. However, I cannot find any reference to the image, except from dunkin’ debunk stories linking to the italian guy’s tweet. Can anyone find anyone, anywhere, claiming the diagram has anything to do with 5G or vaccines?

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