Links 1/26/2021

Happy Australia Day!!! Please kiss a ‘roo or drink some Down Under shiraz for me. I still miss Sydney.

How modern pet dogs originated from wolves in Ice Age Siberia Independent (Kevin W)

The mystery of the blue flower: Nature’s rare color owes its existence to bee vision PhysOrg (Robert M)

Sahara Desert Is Covered in Glittery Ice Crystals in the Aftermath of Rare Ice Dusting
My Modern Met (David L)

Litter provides habitat for diverse animal communities in rivers, study finds PhysOrg (Robert M)

Global ice loss accelerating at record rate, study finds Guardian (Kevin W)

Sun-Loving Bacteria May Be Accelerating Glacial Melting Wired (resilc):

How this chemical engineer is hacking plastic production to promote sustainability PBS (Kevin W)

Vietnam War: French court to hear landmark Agent Orange case BBC (resilc)


Violence erupts in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods over covid restrictions Washington Post


Prospective mapping of viral mutations that escape antibodies used to treat COVID-19 Science

International team of scientists identifies new treatment for COVID-19 that appears to be far more effective than drugs in use now Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Great to see more work on treatments, but wish that had been a serious focus of official effort.

Eli Lilly’s antibody combination reduces risk of death from COVID-19: study Reuters

Oh, and finally some confirmation of our repeatedly stated views about Magic Covid Vaccines: Vaccines have been oversold as the pandemic exit strategy Financial Times

Moderna vaccine appears to work against variants BBC (furzy). Not at ALL consistent with the actual state of play, which is studies in real humans have yet to be done:

Note in this tweet from a few days back that Bloomberg takes care not to go all in”

Gorilla Gets Monoclonal Antibody Therapy For COVID-19 NPR (David L)


Covid: Dutch curfew riots rage for third night BBC (furzy)

From Politico’s morning Europe newsletter:

Top officials and politicians have all but accused U.K.-based vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca of cutting off supplies intended for EU countries in order to sell doses to other nations at higher prices. It all started to go downhill over the weekend, when the company’s non-answers to legitimate questions posed by EU officials took it from being a game changer in the bloc’s vaccination strategy to the brink of pariah status.

Trust ‘severely shaken’: One EU official suggested the company’s lobbyists in EU capitals may just take “some months” off. Another said “a company like AstraZeneca would normally strive for good cooperation with authorities at many levels,” from local and regional to national and EU levels, on everything from research and patents to construction permits. Note the “normally”: The current vaccine issue “really concerns every single customer in the EU,” said the official. “Trust has been severely shaken.”

EU threatens to block Covid vaccine exports amid AstraZeneca shortfall Guardian (Kevin W)

Coronavirus: EU to tighten vaccine exports amid row with AstraZeneca BBC


Undercounting of Covid-19 deaths is greatest in pro-Trump areas, analysis shows STAT

Oh, I LIKE supermarkets! And I had regarded them as OK. But I have been making a point of going only in the evening when they are very sparsely populated. And we have been discouraging the aides from going more often than absolutely necessary. Still….:-(

Vaccine tourism on the rise as wealthy international tourists eye an opportunity in the U.S. NBC (furzy)

Biden’s Vaccine Challenge Project Syndicate (David L).We’ve been harping on the lack of US operational capability. We’re apparently not the only parties worried about that.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: The Highest Paid Employee In The Entire U.S. Federal Government Forbes (resilc)



Biden and Xi fire hot first salvos over Taiwan Asia Times (Kevin W)

Biden administration enlists unions in anti-China drive, reopening policy WSWS

Merkel’s ‘Germany First’ ignores Biden’s wishes Asia Times (Kevin W)

Italian PM Conte to resign Politico


51% of people in NI want referendum on United Ireland in next five years – poll Irish Examiner (resilc)

New Cold War

I hate to sound like my usual contrarian self, but this doesn’t look like a threat to authority:


Iraqi group claiming to be new militia says it was behind attack on Riyadh The National

Canadians Against War on Yemen Block Shipment of Armoured Vehicles Headed to Saudi Arabia Common Dreams

Indirect Deaths: The Massive and Unseen Costs of America’s Post-9/11 Wars CounterPunch (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Blob is Addicted to Overseas Interventions American Conservative (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Hacker Leaks Data of 2.28 Million Dating Site Users ZDNet

Capitol Seizure

Tennessee man with zip ties at Capitol could face charges of sedition, other felonies after riot, prosecutors say Washington Post (furzy)

Trump Transition

QAnon Thinks Trump Will Become President Again on March 4 Vice. Resilc: “Is this before or after Bigfoot hunting season opens in Oklahoma?” A topical question: Major New Legislation Calls for Bigfoot Hunting Season Popular Mechanics

Via Barry Ritholtz:


House formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot and House formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot and Trump, allies raise pressure on Senate GOP ahead of impeachment The Hill

Joe Biden dooms Democrats’ bid to convict Donald Trump saying they DON’T have enough votes in the Senate – at the very moment they deliver article of impeachment Daily Mail

John Roberts Weaseling Out Of Donald Trump Impeachment Trial Warrants His Own Impeachment Above the Law (David L)

Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Dem senators Politico


PATRICK LAWRENCE: Biden is Already Breaking Promises ConsortiumNews

Biden Urged to Fire Entire Postal Service Board for Complicity in ‘Devastating Arson’ by Trump and DeJoy Common Dreams

If We Don’t Pass H.R. 1, ‘We Are F*cked as a Nation’ Esquire (resilc). Someone has not been paying attention.

Senate Filibuster Debate Roils Chamber New York Times (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

Josh Hawley Believes Disliking Josh Hawley Is Censorship New York Magazine

‘Hall monitors’ for social media? Twitter launches new ‘Birdwatch’ program, enlisting users to help hunt down ‘misleading’ speech RT (Kevin W). Furzy on the BBC version of this story: “Twitter will be overwhelmed by this…..imagine what this would have looked like if Trumpy were still tweeting…..”

The Mephistopheles Media Ilargi (Chuck L). An extreme scenario, but impossible. However, the MSM does not drive foreign policy. Most reporters can barely find Yemen on a map. The object of our Two Minute Hates are determined by the folks in the military-intel state, who feed story lines to the press.

Shariah-Compliant Crypto Exchange Wins License From Bahrain Central Bank CoinDesk (resilc)

Boeing 737 Max cleared to fly again ‘too early‘ BBC

Companies raise $400bn over three weeks in blistering start to 2021 Financial Times

Class Warfare

Forgiving Student Debt Alone Won’t Fix the Crisis Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (UserFriendly)

The Political Immortality of Billionaires Consortiumnews

The Nature of Money Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus video (furzy):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Paradan

    “Litter provides habitat…”

    This reminds me of an article I saw recently that was about the problems caused by those huge wind turbine blades after they are no longer serviceable. Was looking at a picture of them all tangled up in a landfill and thought that they would be excellent reef material. Not sure what they are made of, but would assume carbon fiber. Does it float? Is it toxic in salt water?

    1. Rod

      Is the nut here that lacking the natural and appropriate habitat, riverine biology is adaptive to what is available?

      In urban rivers where there are no better alternatives, litter provided the largest, most stable and complex habitat available for invertebrates to live on.

      and is this a white flag or just ‘The Reality’??

      The authors say that their findings highlight the poor environmental quality in many urban rivers, given that the most complex habitat left for invertebrates is litter. They hope to build on this research by investigating which characteristics of litter enable it to support greater biodiversity, and how it compares to complex natural habitats, like water plants or pieces of wood.

      John 11:35 comes to mind.

      1. Phacops

        One of the first things I learned in collecting macroinvertebrates for a measure of stream quality is that these critters thrive on substrates. In areas lacking such, as when silt covers good, solid substrate, or there is a lack of aquatic plants, the diversity suffers.

        In doing “citizen science” many do not recognize that data costs time and money, but helping with such projects gets one in touch with our environment. I love it when I have children on my teams. Their excitement with what we do is palpable and they add to the fun in finding particularly good specimens in the sample.

        1. Rod

          In doing “citizen science” many do not recognize that data costs time and money, but helping with such projects gets one in touch with our environment. I love it when I have children on my teams. Their excitement with what we do is palpable and they add to the fun in finding particularly good specimens in the sample.

          I agree, it is one of the best tools we have to tune the consciousness of the future and believe it needs a continuous, and coordinated incorporation into the Science Curriculum pre-K through Graduation. Part of your completion portfolio, so to speak.

          would help the: many do not recognize that data costs time and money, conundrum too.

      2. Chris

        I’ve (only casually) noted a tendency to ‘maintain’ peri-urban wild spaces by turning them into manicured parks and gardens, with all the dead or untidy plant life trimmed or removed. Invertebrates need a mess to call home, and I guess that if rubbish is all there is, that’s what they’ll use. My own garden sports a couple of insect hotels.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Vaccine tourism on the rise as wealthy international tourists eye an opportunity in the U.S.”

    DeSantis may be vindictive and incompetent but 40,000 jabs to out-of-towners, celebrities and wealthy people? And this has been going on for the past coupla weeks? The conspiracy theorist in me tells me that this may have been part of the design. Restricting vaccinations to people who live in that State is only logical as the vaccine is being distributed by the State. But doing it this way, I think that this was on purpose. What does DeSantis get out of it? How about the gratitude of all those wealthy people, including billionaires both domestic and foreign. That’s gotta be worth something.

    When that elder care center started giving doses to members of Palm Beach Country Club and wealthy donors, that would have been a great time to send in the police with guns drawn. But since they were not embarrassing DeSantis and the way that he is trying to dodge responsibility, I would expect in the end that no charges will ever be laid. In fact, I would not be surprised if this was not arranged on a old boys network and had connections with DeSantis’s staff.

    1. Lex

      Far more proximal to barking up his hiney are local business owners complaining about the drop in tourism statewide. Even if the rich just flew in, got a quick vaccine, and flew out, they’d still be leaving money behind in Florida. But why not hang out awhile? They’re already in Florida, so maybe visit friends, enjoy a meal or two, walk the beach, shop… and if they chose to show their appreciation for a vaccine ‘framework’ that allowed them to jump the queue… great!

      But let’s not just pick on Florida. Most every state is complaining of vaccine shortages, given the extreme need for their own residents. Hmmmmmm.

      1. Rod

        Two weekends ago, on a catch-up call with a bud in Polk City, I got a RANT on this for minutes.
        Called BS because surely nobody would be marketing Vaccination Packages to Canadians or Part Year residents. He sent me this–note the dateline:

        as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he draws a distinction between transient residents and medical tourists.

        “We’re discouraging people to come to Florida just to get a vaccine,” he said at a press conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital Monday in Miami. “If they have a residence and they’re not just kind of flying by night for a week or two, I’m totally fine with that. [Snowbirds] are much different than someone just showing up and saying give me a shot and then they’re going to fly back somewhere; we’re obviously not going to do that.”

  3. fresno dan

    Gabriela Cora, MD, MBA ??

    Supermarkets Identified as Most Frequent Place People Had Visited Before Positive COVID-19 Test: Study
    Drat – I get all my groceries from ….grocery stores. I go to a variety too, because none of them has everything I want. One opens at 5 am, so I am alone there. The others open at 6am, so they are pretty sparsely populated. I just do not trust someone to pick out my fruits and vegetables. (being from CA, I was sorely tempted to write Fruits and Nuts).
    AND I doubt one can arrange for home delivery with just a flip phone.

    1. allan

      You beat me to it.
      I also try to go first thing in the morning, when the airborne viral load is probably lowest.

      Current pet peeve is people who have a continuous cell phone conversation as they walk around the store, oblivious to the extra stuff they’re putting into the air, even masked. Our species is doomed.

    2. semiconscious

      remember: ‘correlation does not imply causation.’ i mean, think about it: considering our limited options at this point, what’s the one major location that pretty much all of us find ourselves going to most frequently?…

      there was a similar study coming to this identical conclusion of few months back that was dismissed for this very reason:

      1. Carolinian

        Right. Although it should be said that not all grocery stores are the same and in urban areas they may be a lot more crowded than other places. Lately if I need a few things I often go to the nearby Walmart because their stores are so huge that it’s easy to avoid other shoppers and they have self checkout which means hardly any standing in line.

    3. Carolinian

      Wasn’t there a study a few months ago that said supermarkets were the place where you were least likely to get covid? And if this correlation equals causation attack on supermarkets is true then does that mean that masks as currently required of almost everyone in stores (and largely complied with) are ineffective?

      1. Carla

        Dunno. But as of now, I’m double-masking in grocery stores. At this point, food-shopping is the only thing keeping me from going stark raving mad. I have no problem ordering toilet paper, toiletries, detergents, vitamin supplements and so forth online and having them delivered. But fruits, vegetables, fresh meat and fish? Gotta see ’em.

        1. Wukchumni

          In the opening innings of Covid, I was afraid to drive 40 miles to the WinCo supermarket in Visalia on account of 136k people, more lottery ticks.

          So we’d occasionally go to our 4 aisled market for fruit, veggies, dairy and most importantly ice cream. I knew we were paying more in smallville (pop 2k) for food, but it didn’t matter in the scheme of things.

          Fast forward a fortnight ago and pop into our market, and the cashier isn’t wearing a mask, nor are 2 other employees stocking aisles, and 3 customers sans mask were in the store while I was there, yikes!

          I went to WinCo (a fine supermarket-they even have a prepper section, ha) a week ago and not one of the say 125 people I came across including employees didn’t have a mask on, everybody was in compliance.

          Going to WinCo again today to lay in tucker before the really big storm bears down on us. Look for me in the store, as I got a good deal on a new-never used Apollo 19 astronaut suit from an Army-Navy-Nasa store, and feel a bit conspicuous, but safe.

      2. furies

        Lots and lots of people in my area just don’t wear masks…and no one challenges them.

        Nowhere to run nowhere to hide

      3. CuriosityConcern

        Correlation: nearly everyone has to visit supermarkets, and those with larger households have to visit more frequently? Assume larger household has more opportunities to contract through other routes beyond supermarkets? Conversely, maybe lockdown has made supermarkets the most likely place to contract at this point in time as other locations are shut down?

        Anecdotal Counterpoint: my essential worker household member is quite glad there are mask mandates, and so am I.

    4. Mark Gisleson

      Since the pandemic emerged I have done all my shopping at one local coop/grocery store (it’s a coop insofar as it’s locally owned but it’s not a healthfood store). I’ve also avoided all restaurant food.

      A bit spartan but only by American standards. I’ve become more creative in my cooking and less obsessed with novelty. The only real change has been in my health which has improved as a direct result of eating less processed food.

      I’ve also done my best to only shop once a week.

      Not trying to signal my virtue, just mentioning this because I find it somewhat irrational not to adjust your lifestyle in times such as these.

    5. Lex

      It’s not my fellow individual shoppers that worry me. Those folks are mobile and in a huge hurry to get in and get out, with as little eye contact and chit-chat as possible.

      No, it’s the elephants in the aisles, those large lumbering multi-basketed ‘home delivery’ carts, parked in the middle of aisles so narrow they’re just big enough for two regular shoppers pushing full-sized carts to pass each other without negotiations.

      Worse, the employees attached to those huge carts, detach themselves frequently, leaving them parked while they wander off to grab some item elsewhere in the store without having to push that cart ahead of them… which I have to imagine can be pretty exhausting by the end.

      Meanwhile, there’s gridlock. You can hear the screech of shoe tread from drivers that thought they were in the fast lane with a sports basket, suddenly come to an abrupt stop and look around accusingly for the a$$hole that abandoned their vehicle in the middle of traffic. So now you have 3-4 people standing close together breathing a little harder, glaring at each other through their fogged up glasses, over the top of various masks waiting for someone (read: anyone but themselves) to do something to get baskets moving again. No one speaks.

      Re-enter the employee with a single small item in their hands, head and eyes downcast while mumbling a few of thousands of apologies for the day. Any reports yet of an Instacart employee being killed by a mob of angry shoppers, and maybe a few bystanders who turned down the wrong aisle at just the wrong time?

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Anti-Government Extremist Groups In The U.S.” image

    At first glance, you look at the faces on that chart and the answer stares out at you in black and white. But there is more going on there than you might think. Take a look at the high bar under Clinton. This was the era where you had the Waco siege end in the deaths of 76 men, women and children. Then one year later to the date, you had the Oklahoma City bombing which killed another 168 men, women and children in revenge. After that there was a crackdown on all those militia groups so the chart drops off.

    But then you see that peak rise under Obama. This was also the time that the world economy had crashed and the government saved all the banks & billionaires and threw scores of millions of people under the bus. I would say that this showed a lot of people what the government’s true priorities actual were which led them to be attracted to extremist groups. As the economy recovers, the numbers go back down again. It remains to be seen if that chart goes up again or not as the pandemic and recession continue to crush lives while the government, media & social media cracks down.

    1. cocomaan

      It’s almost like a thriving, happy society requires peace, easy taxes, and the tolerable administration of justice.

      Wait, I think someone said that before.

      1. Tom Bradford

        New Zealand usually rates highly as a thriving, happy society as it is very peaceful and the justice system is widely regarded as efficient and fair. However few here would regard the taxes as ‘easy’. Corporate taxes are significantly higher than in the US or in Oz across the ditch and personal income taxes are at 17.5% on only a modest income rising to 30% quite quickly. In addition there is a 15% sales tax on everything – including food and necessities – which can make the pips squeak especially for the poor and/or large families.

        However there is a strong social safety net provided in return for this which most people appreciate – practically free health-care through to hospital stays and major surgery, plus prescriptions, a good, free education system, financial support for the unemployed and/or disadvantaged, a liveable pension for all over-65’s and ACC, a compensation system to help you pick up the pieces after an accident even if you were at fault.

        So while ‘easy taxes’ might be the mantra for those looking for Nirvana the American way, being prepared to pay into society to get society to support you when you need it might help create a thriving, happy society.

    2. Wukchumni

      Using my handy dandy Wal*Mart locked glass ammo case index, it was at its emptiest in the midst of ‘Obama’s gonna take* our guns!’ sentiment which only escalated in eight years. There’d be times i’d go take a peak and the cupboard was bare, maybe 15% full…

      …versus once Trump becomes President, every caliber imaginable is in stock, with backup stock boxes by the dozen, chock-a-block full

      This of course changed once Covid hit, as a good many Americans feel they can shoot the virus, judging from how popular guns done got.

      * Obama could’ve vetoed a bill circa 2010 allowing people to take guns into our National Parks but did nothing of the sort, having a phantom backbone.

      1. Sharron

        The next day after inauguration day, a so called patriot face book recruitment page showed up on my county page. After a few days it showed over 500 people had joined. I recon this is in response to a democrat/socialist being in the white house. Another one gonna take the guns!

        A few years ago my conservative cousin had remarked to me, when Obama became president, all the blacks got aggressive and made her uncomfortable in her little town outside of Houston. I worked for an inner city school district and just didn’t see it. I guess it’s all your perspective and fear level after a democrat/socialist takes office.

    3. RabidGandhi

      It’s based solely on info from the SPLC, who are not exactly famed for being stringent with their data. Among other blatant statistics problems, they do not discriminate by group size, so those group names in the chart could ostensibly be a bunch of single member “groups” with the name “patriot” on their facebook page, all while the total number of “extremists” could even have declined. Cum grano salis.

    4. Annieb

      Also, under Obama the opioid epidemic was allowed to rage out of control. Read American Overdose. When people see deadly drugs allowed to devastate their communities they realize what and who is important to the ruling class, and who is not.

  5. fresno dan

    QAnon Thinks Trump Will Become President Again on March 4
    So, how many people is that?
    How does it compare to:
    1. how many people think they have been abducted by flying saucers
    2. how many people think the earth is flat
    3. how many people think Elvis is alive
    4. how many people believe hitting the walk button on a traffic signal does anything
    5. how many people believe one political party is less beholding to the rich than the other political party
    I am not saying it should be a law…WAIT, I am saying it should be a law that anytime goofball QAnon beliefs are publicized in the press or social media, a caparison to the above numbers must be made.

    1. Wukchumni

      3. how many people think Elvis is alive

      Before Covid, I was having lunch @ a restaurant in Fresno, and another diner a few booths over got quite indignant that said eatery didn’t have fried banana & peanut butter sandwiches on the menu, and in a fit of pique threw what I can only assume was a Frito chili boat towards the host @ the front, narrowly missing the young miss and scarring her for life (she’s vegan) in the process. You almost wouldn’t know it was the King, as he now resembles the before photo in a weight loss ad.

      Intrigued, I followed him after he left, and watched him go into a pawn shop & hock a gaudy ring with way too many pavé diamonds forming the letters ‘TCB’.

      1. The Rev Kev

        So he left the building – and then you followed him. (slaps forehead) That is what the fans should have done all those decades ago.

    2. km

      FWIW, I have read similar Q Anon theories following the Inauguration.

      No, I don’t have anything like a scientific sample, and I don’t even know how such a sample could be constructed, but at least some Q believers keep doubling down in true cognitive dissonance fashion.

    3. WJ

      Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi think that a 9/11-style investigation into the Capitol riots would show that Putin was orchestrating them through Trump.

      Hard to determine which belief is crazier.

    4. expr

      4. At at least one traffic light on my walk route, pressing the walk button before the light sequences start (other direction gets yellow) yields a much longer walk period

      1. BobW

        I believe pushing a walk button does something, many will not have a walk signal unless it is pushed. I do not believe repeatedly pushing one does anything, just like repeatedly pushing an elevator button does nothing more than the first push does.

  6. gum

    Biden Urged to Fire Entire Postal Service Board for Complicity in ‘Devastating Arson’ by Trump and DeJoy

    Yesterday in the mail I received two Christmas cards, one postmarked December 15 and the other December 22. I am not kidding.

    1. cocomaan

      My charity is still processing donations dated before December 31st. Still a trickle of them coming in. It’s making year end reporting a nightmare, though we were fortunate that so many people felt generous.

  7. timbers

    Biden says he is open to negotiating the proposed $1,400 COVID stimulus checks

    The Incredible Shrinking Biden. That was quick. Already seeing Obama II. How provident of Senate Dems agreeing to even splits in committees. If McConnell isn’t already President, he soon will be. Dems like Biden/Obama need that, and will make it so weather it is, or not. Makes it so very easy to pass the policies they really want.

    1. Lee

      We need a new category of links and commentary called “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” Though perhaps shoeless, it will certainly have legs going forward.

      1. farragut

        I would support this, and the category should have subdivisions in which we could discuss averages, six-packs, cups of coffee, wind, temperature, and on occasion, mothers.

    2. Glen

      I guess this was all pretty predictable. After all, DC pumped trillions to Wall St and the billionaires already. The Fed continues to pump trillions to the Wall St and the rich. Democratic party, Republican party, they’ve already served their masters.

      They’re not going to do a thing for anybody else.

    3. Pelham

      Has Biden had his feet held to the fire on the subject of $2,000 checks by anyone in our celebrated free press? Serious question. I haven’t seen anything of the sort but I’m not as media-marinated as I probably should be.

      1. Glen

        Not that I have seen. I believe our celebrated MSM has gone to “brunch” for the next four years. And they wonder why no one trusts them.

        But they have made noises about getting alternative media pulled from places like YouTube.

  8. timbers

    John Roberts Weaseling Out Of Donald Trump Impeachment Trial Warrants His Own Impeachment Above the Law (David L)

    So, we can’t impeach GWB for illegal wars killing millions, or Obama for same and his Watergate on steroids by spying on Trump for his own political benefit, or Robert for shameless dishonesty and incompetence in ruling corporations are people…but we can impeach Trump to stop him running for President again and Roberts for not being with us on that?

    Well, the history of impeachment in the US shows it is used not as intended but for purely political reasons. So guess this is being consistent.

    1. WJ

      No fan of Roberts, but I think he is technically correct that, since Trump will not be “the President of the United States” at the time of the impeachment, the Constitution does not require the Chief Justice to preside over it. It is clear that “the President” in the text is intended to be taken to refer to the *current* President of the United States.

      1. Pelham

        The Constitution’s wording on this — and many other subjects — is so pointlessly obtuse that it’s next to useless. But that’s just the opinion of a former editor horribly traumatized by too many encounters with sloppy thought and phrasing.

      2. Pat

        Not for nothing but I think we can also infer that impeachment was intended for sitting Presidents, and only sitting Presidents.

        The Constitution is often vague, but not having any instructions for Presidents no longer in office is a very big indication that it was not intended for this.

        1. marym

          He was impeached while he was still president. Decision not to reconvene the Senate for a trial was McConnell’s.

  9. orlbucfan

    Hi Yves: I hope you and your family are okay. Just saw a story about a nasty tornado that hit Birmingham. I lived there for a couple of years back in the late 1970s, so I am familiar with the violent thunderstorms. Enjoying my NC morning read. Thank you! Please stay safe!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thank you for your concern!

      I had a note on the draft version of Links, saying that if you saw it, it meant we’d lost power. The wind and rain were strong but the lightening and thunder were only briefly near us.

  10. Jeff W

    “Supermarkets Identified as Most Frequent Place People Had Visited Before Positive COVID-19 Test: Study”

    Maybe supermarkets are the most frequent place people visit before a positive COVID-19 test because they’re the most frequent place that anyone is going to these days. The Inside Edition story doesn’t have any link to the actual study or any other identifying information—it’s just referred to as “a study.” (I haven’t yet found a reference to a study along those lines elsewhere.)

    And, while the story says “The CDC is advising all Americans to order groceries online for home delivery or pickup,” the CDC’s guidance on shopping at grocery stores doesn’t appear to have been updated since 31 December.

    (I’m not at all doubting that it’s probably safer to avoid shopping at supermarkets, especially with the emergence of more contagious variants of SARS-COV-2. I’m just trying to ascertain the basis of the Inside Edition story.)

    1. Massinissa

      Another problem is that… EVERYBODY has to go to supermarkets, no matter where they go for work or for leisure. So yeah, obviously lots of people went to supermarkets before getting covid, because otherwise they would have to have had food delivered to them. The problem is its hard to prove they got COVID there or somewhere else. Correlation and causation don’t always go together. Perhaps they did catch covid there, or perhaps its simply a statistical error. Its hard to tell.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Forgiving Student Debt Alone Won’t Fix the Crisis”

    No, so how about that you can extinguish this debt in bankruptcy like used to be able to happen. And that any interest on these loans are capped at what you can get on the open market. And that by law, a college must give you a complete breakdown of what exactly all that money is buying you for what you are paying them with special attention on managerial costs. It’s not like they have anything to hide.

    1. Deb

      Article fails to mention that Joseph Biden is the man most responsible for students never ever in a million years being able to use bankruptcy protections to discharge student debt.

      Other article,
      “I got out of the Marines and within a few years, 15 of my buddies had killed themselves,” one veteran rifleman who served two tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq between 2003 and 2011 said to me recently.” Joseph Biden voted for every single one of those losing wars, and others not mentioned.

  12. jackiebass

    Buy America is a political slogan like Make America Great Again or Hope and Change. They sound good and get votes. They actually never happen. Meryl Haggard calls them Rainbow stew.If we bought only American costs would increase. People are addicted to low cost foreign made products. If American cost more then consumers purchase the cheaper foreign made products. You could raise tariffs but when prices soar people will no longer cry buy American. I saw cheap prices as the means to promote free trade and destroy the American labor movement. It achieved exactly that.

    1. Arizona Slim

      People are addicted? That’s a pretty strong statement. Could you back it up with some evidence?

    2. The Historian

      Here’s the text of Biden’s Executive Order:

      As you can see, it is mostly government speak without a lot of tangible things listed, except the creation of a new sub-agency. The things that need to be fixed in the 1933 Buy American Act are ‘to be determined’. I was hoping for more substance on components, i.e., is a car with a Canadian engine and a Mexican transmission really an American car?, and price preferences, but those will be decided as usual by committee.

      Remember that this Buy American Executive Order only applies to government agencies – but government agencies buy a lot of things, including cars, so perhaps, depending what they decide, there might actually be some good coming out of this. Ford isn’t going to build one car for government agencies and another car for the rest of us, so Biden’s bully pulpit could have some impact. We just have to wait and see how they screw it up!

    3. Deb

      What about “Hire American?” If a business could only write off employee wages and benefits against income as a tax deduction only after they used E-Verify, more Americans and fewer “undocumented” would be hired.

      Wages would go up as the anti-union, race to the bottom foreign nationals were excluded from the hiring pool.

  13. caucus99percenter

    Heads up: The “blue flower” link erroneously goes to the same article as the “litter habitat in rivers” link.

  14. paul

    While not particularly germane to today’s links,from Craig Murray:

    We asked the court whether members of my family – my wife, adult children and siblings – might have video link access to my trial.
    My solicitor phoned me this afternoon to tell me the court are asking us to say why my family want access.
    I very seldom swear. But fucking hell!

    full thread here

    The ginormous shitshow of the ‘Get Salmond’ project descends further into tragedy.

    Anyone can dial in to the proceedings, and the details are:


    Craig is facing 2 years in the greybar hotel plus an unlimited fine.

    All for accurate,responsible reporting in the face of an incompetent,corrupt and ruthless administration.

    I would strongly urge anyone who can to dial in.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I occasionally dip into Murrays blog and a few links – if even 10% of what is been said its true, its really mind-blowing. Like most distant observers, I have a high opinion of Sturgeon, but if its true that she and her crew are behind the plot to destroy first Salmond, and then Murray and other supporters, then they represent something very rotten.

      I have seen the theory floated that this whole thing started as a fairly conventional piece of dirty politics (using a few vague allegations of inappropriate behaviour with one female staff member) against Salmond, but it ran out of control when he didn’t quietly step aside. The structure of Edinburgh decionmaking, where many criminal prosecution decisions can be very politicised, has made things far worse, resulting in a scandal that would be considered too extreme for a pulp novel.

      The thought has occurred to me that the blob in London is well aware of this, and is saving up ammunition on it to either pressure Sturgeon, or use it to politically destroy her and the current SNP leadership at a politically opportune time.

      1. paul

        If you check Gordon Dangerfield you can tell how rotten it is.

        Tommy Sheridan, who has been through the mill himself, has a short interview with Gordon here which puts everything into the open.

        It’s worth it alone for the way Tommy pronounces “shennanagins”!

      2. paul

        if even 10% of what is been said its true,

        It’s 100% true,Craig is hardly a scuttlebutt.

        Like most distant observers, I have a high opinion of Sturgeon,

        That seems to be the kind of observers she cultivates.
        Scrutiny does not sit well.
        She and her very weird ‘husband’ are lost in a Borgen fantasy.

        The thought has occurred to me that the blob in London is well aware of this, and is saving up ammunition on it to either pressure Sturgeon, or use it to politically destroy her and the current SNP leadership at a politically opportune time.

        I think that is a thought you could take to the bookies.

      3. WJ

        I would bet that the blob in London is fine with Sturgeon and were tacitly supportive of the takedown of Salmond. The issue is the independence movement and the extent to which the SNP can be coerced/cajoled by England to perpetually delay Scottish independence.

    2. paul

      This deserves an entry on tomorrow’s links:

      A time of trial

      If you have any appreciation of Craig’s difficulties,chip in if you can.

      Here in Scotland, we have an administration who will willfully prosecute citizens,using ineqeual access to law, let alone justice, to find victory in financial defeat.

      This administration is lost.

      1. paul


        I just tried to donate to Craig’s defense fund via paypal


        We’re sorry, there seems to be a problem. Please try again later.

        If you continue to encounter problems, please contact Customer Service.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Just typed “Alex Salmond” into a DDG search – first result is his wikipedia page and the text immediately underneath the link says –

          Alex Salmond was an early supporter of US President Donald Trump’s controversial plans for a Trump International golf course in Aberdeenshire.

          In the actual wikipedia article, that part comes in more than half way down a fairly lengthy entry. I’m guessing that excerpt being the first thing that jumps out after searching his name is not a coincidence.

          1. paul

            It was jack mconell of (labour,now in the lords) who declared and defined your last prseident a “global scot”.

            Forgive him, he became too addled spending holidays with the bbc’s big hitter, ms Wark.

            Who made a terrible documentary about Alec Salmond after he was found innocent.

  15. paul

    Just to make it easier:

    Supreme Courts Hearing Access
    High Court of Justiciary

    Case: Petition and Complaint – the Lord Advocate v Craig Murray
    Date: Wednesday, 27 January 2021
    Time: 10.30am
    Dial (United Kingdom toll): +44-20-7660-8149
    Access code: 174 658 1827

  16. Darthbobber

    H. R. 1 seemed like a purely “messaging” bill even at roll-out, when they were briefly making noises about it being team D’s “first priority”. (ahead of negotiating a relief package?) Many components would have ample opposition from those ubiquitous “moderate” Democrats. So much so that it could probably only pass the House if they saw it as guaranteed to die in the Senate.

    Even as a messaging bill it suffers from the defect that it likely couldn’t even raise enough of a ripple for the message, such as it is, to be noticed by the electorate. A tree falling in the woods.

    1. Carla

      The Supreme Court has been saying that Corporations are people since Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad in 1886, and that Money is speech since Buckley v. Valeo in 1976. Therefore, I am skeptical that much in H.R.1 would stand without a constitutional amendment. Here it is:

      Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) will re-introduce HJR-48 in the 117th Congress. Make sure your congress critter re-ups, or co-sponsors for the first time.

    2. marym

      Since they gained the majority in the House in 2018 it’s been a common refrain of the Dems that the House has passed (some big number) of allegedly wonderful bills but the bills have just been “sitting on McConnell’s desk.” With a Dem prez and Senate we’ll see if any of those bills even get introduced and passed again in the House, and what the excuses will be.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘PATRICK LAWRENCE: Biden is Already Breaking Promises”

    ‘Over the weekend, to be noted, the American Embassy in Moscow had the gall to broadcast routes protesters could take to demonstrations in various Russian cities to dispute Alexei Navlany’s arrest . A good start.’

    I’m trying to imagine what would have happened if the Russian Embassy or the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC had broadcast routes for those Capital Hill rioters. Probably that Embassy would have been closed and a whole new round of sanctions launched within the week. But for Navalny’s cause, it cannot be a good look to most Russians when there is such open support by an American Embassy for a local rabble-rouser. Bit of an own goal that, especially when you consider that Navalny is as popular in Russia as Greedo is in Venezuela.

    1. cocomaan

      Until around September or October, maybe even later, 2020 was filled with people saying that covid mutations weren’t going to be a problem.

      Now they’re a problem.

      I know, novel disease and everything, but it’s amazing to see how wrong people are in retrospect. Add another tally mark in the column for “public health officials making themselves less trustworthy”

      1. Carla

        If we didn’t demand certainty from people, maybe they wouldn’t feel quite as obliged to provide it. Often when officials or experts try to express a nuanced view, the media (and/or the public) react as if they’re obfuscating.

        1. cocomaan

          I suppose that’s true. But the public health establishment started behind the curve (on masks) and they’re not going to be able to regain authority at this rate. Especially if the new strains result in new lockdowns.

  18. petal

    RGH under court order to treat COVID patient with controversial drug
    It’s about Ivermectin.
    “Refusing to give up, Dickinson’s daughter brought the idea to her mother’s primary care physician.

    “He actually prescribes it as a regular part of his practice to COVID patients,” Minear said. “So he was not only familiar with all the literature and success that it had but he was more than willing to prescribe it to Glenna at the hospital.”

    But, Minear says, the hospital still pushed back. On Thursday, an Orleans County judge ordered Rochester General to follow the recommendations of Dickinson’s primary care doctor and administer the drug. And within hours of her first dose, Minear says Dickinson’s oxygen level began to improve.

    “She’s had three full dosages at this point and she showed good results, such good results that the hospital is now prepping to wake her up from the medically-induced coma,” Minear said.” …

  19. Carolinian

    Re John Roberts should be impeached–If only Joe Patrice, author of the article, were put in charge of our legal system things would be so much easier. No abiguity or interpretation needed–it is what he says it is.

    However from the stories I’ve seen it’s unclear whether Roberts refused the task or that the Dems were simply afraid to ask for fear he’d say no. Arguably since our legal system relies heavily on precedent, and impeachment of an ex president is unprecedented, then the proper course of action would be to turn to the Supreme Court–interpreter of the Constitution under our system, not Joe Patrice–and seek a ruling on ex president impeachment.

    That this is not happening is yet another indication that Trump Impeachment 2 is not a serious effort and now even Biden says so. Guess Patrice will want him impeached as well.

  20. Samuel Conner

    re: the QAnon story, I am half tempted to believe that the elites are not dismayed by the Q theories — they are like a pressure cooker over-pressure relief valve and a distraction from the more mundane realities of rentier supremacy.

    The Doctor Who episode “Vampires of Venice” comes to mind: “what could so awful that it doesn’t mind you thinking it’s a vampire.”

    Some of the details in the Vice article about “sovereign citizen” ideology resonated with a strange conversation I had in the mid ’00s with a very smart person — he was a PhD candidate in the physical sciences at a reputable research institution and he affirmed ideas like those mentioned in the article (US citizens being assets on a ledger at the BIS, for example). I lost track of him years ago and have forgotten his name; I would like to send him a copy of Prof Kelton’s “The Deficit Myth”. He thought that the language “Note”
    on US currency indicated that these were debts of the people — an idea he found offensive. At the time, I didn’t understand the concept of “bearer bonds” and that these instruments were debt obligations of the US government.

    Anyway, this old memory makes me cautious about pouring scorn on people who embrace these ideas. I’m confident that the ideas are mistaken, but people who aren’t ignorant or evil can find them compelling.

    1. Laputan

      Evil? No, but I can’t see how you can talk yourself out of the fact that Q-believers aren’t ignorant. Otherwise intelligent people are swindled by frauds all the time because they’re either lop-sided and easily influenced or they really want to believe something that confirms a prior.

      What’s interesting about Q is how little coverage the role of social media companies have more than likely played in promoting it. Even Jacobin doesn’t seem to get it quite right in diagnosing it as just another cult ( since Facebook’s own research showed that 64$ of those who joined extremist groups through Facebook had those groups recommended through algos..and that was back in 2016 ( Until we realize that radicalization is a feature and not a bug of the social media landscape, we’re going to keep chasing symptoms while ignoring the cause.

      1. General Jinjur

        This is an excerpt from the NYT opinion piece
        ‘Three Weeks Inside a Pro-Trump QAnon Chat Room’

        “ Beneath the anger in their voices is often pain or confusion. When the chat dies down to just a few members, they’ll share stories about their struggles with affording health insurance or the shame of going on government assistance. Hearing them talk with one another, I could start understanding the pull of conspiracy communities — how they exploit the vulnerable and create a worldview out of shared enemies. Then you can watch those views harden.”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Covid: Dutch curfew riots rage for third night”

    Been watching these riots on the telly as well as those in other countries. I would really like to see a study where trust in one’s government is correlated with the amount of recorded riots against things like curfews and masks. I remember how Prime Minister Mark Rutte said a year ago that the Netherlands was going to go with ‘herd immunity’ as a way to deal with this pandemic. That is like being in a passenger airliner and the captain announcing that he is going to fly the plane under a city bridge to see if he can do it or not. Tough luck if you disagree. Now the Netherlands has had nearly one million confirmed Coronavirus cases with more than 13,500 deaths. I cannot imagine that there is much trust in Rutte’s government by now. So the question remains – if you have a county that is willing to trust their government, is this reflected in a lack of mass riots?

    1. Massinissa

      A million cases? In a country with 17 and a half million people? If one in 17 people caught covid, even if many of them didn’t have to be hospitalized and only a small number have died, of course they’re upset. That’s an awful lot of unnecessary hospitalizations.

  22. Andrew Watts

    RE: Biden and Xi fire hot first salvos over Taiwan

    There isn’t anything the Biden administration can do to change China’s posture towards Taiwan. The fact is that the Chinese will go to any lengths to re-unify their country. Even if that means a war with America.

    “The Empire, long divided, must unite.”

    Most people probably won’t understand this intuitively, but anybody familiar with Chinese culture will immediately recognize the significance of this statement. Whenever China was divided it suffered from invasions or calamity throughout it’s history. This sentiment isn’t a product of propaganda conducted by the CCP by the way, it’s the mimesis absorbed, and derived from, family histories past and present.

    1. John

      Quite true. Does this mean that Mongolia will be next? It was a province during the Qing, breaking away in the 1920s and maintaining its independence with backing from the USSR when Mao wanted its reversion to Chinese control.

      In the case of Taiwan the carefully weaseled worded ambiguity that prevailed until Trump and Pompeo tromped all over it is or ought to be the fallback position. Making warlike noises in defense of a territory far far away before exploring diplomatic, political, and economic options is unwise.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I don’t think Mongolia has anything to worry about. Mao was probably worried that the Soviet Union would accede to the demands for annexation by the Mongolian leader Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal. Nor do I think that the Chinese government is motivated by revanchism. Their primary concern with Hong Kong has always been about ending the humiliation of colonialism. Meanwhile Taiwan has been an issue of concluding the Chinese Civil War. It’s ironic that the KMT, the main opposition party to the current one, doesn’t favor breaking ties with the mainland because it views itself as the legitimate ruler of China.

        I don’t think that Trump or Pompeo is responsible for China’s latest moves. This is the Chinese response to the inclusion of Taiwanese representatives at Biden’s inauguration and Blinken’s nomination hearings. He indicated there wouldn’t be any changes from the Trump era with regards to Taiwan. I believe that the addition of nuclear-capable bombers are a first and a message to Washington that they aren’t afraid of war. The American response of sending the Teddy Roosevelt to the South China Sea is probably going to convince Beijing that the Americans will never respect Chinese sovereignty.

        I could be wrong about all that and I truly hope I am. Otherwise a Sino-American war is an exceedingly likely possibility. The US government hasn’t ever understood Asia or how to conduct it’s affairs in East Asia. It’s why the US was taken by complete surprise at Pearl Harbor and how it became involved in attempting to forestall the reunification of Vietnam.

        1. Jessica

          The Kuomintang (KMT, Guomindang) evolved from being the enemies of the Chinese communist party and government into being the strongest supporters of close ties with the mainland because it represents the interests of rich folks who came from the mainland in 1948-9. I don’t think that even the KMT takes any of that “true government of China” stuff seriously anymore. They just prefer the huge Chinese market to the tiny Taiwan one and lower paid and intensely suppressed Chinese workers to Taiwanese ones, who have access to the ballot box.
          At least that is what I was told by various folks in Taipei in 2014.
          By the way, the evolution of the KMT has some parallels with the shift of the Southern elite in the US from armed rebellion to the acceptance of subordinate status under the wing of the emergent Northern capitalist elite after the US Civil War.

          1. Andrew Watts

            I don’t think the KMT have been serious about an invasion of mainland China either. At least not since the 1960s. Even then it wasn’t practical even with US support.

            That’s an Interesting historical parallel all the same.

    2. Jessica

      I agree that the notion that dis-unity = calamity is well ingrained in Chinese culture. I disagree that it is true.
      The Song dynasty was in many ways the height of Chinese prosperity. All those inventions that China is known for, gun powder, noodles, the compass, etc. are from the Song dynasty. During the first part of the Song, the Northern Song, China was divided between the Song and the Liao, which controlled the far north. In the second half, the Southern Song, the Liao were replaced by the Jin dynasty of the Jurchens who controlled a larger portion of the north, including what is now Beijing. At no time did the Song control what is now China’s west. Yet they did fine.
      On the other hand the Qing Dynasty did achieve unity. In the 1700s, it conquered what is now Xinjiang and Tibet. Its focus in this direction to the neglect of coastal development is a large part of why China suffered the century of humiliation from the First Opium War until the end of the civil war in 1949. But the Qing and its unity brought China untold misery from which it has miraculously but even now incompletely recovered in recent decades.
      Chinese unity is definitely in the interest of the rulers, but it is a far more mixed blessing for the people in general.
      It is correct that this belief is not the product solely of CCP propaganda. It is the product of propaganda from the CCP and all the dynasties that preceded it.
      I wonder if there exists anywhere a nation whose sense of its own history is even close to accurate.

      1. Late Introvert

        This is the kind of deep history that keeps me reading NC comments, late at night, when I should be doing other things. Thanks Jessica.

        Sorry if this smacks of +1, but credit is due here. I will add that I’m going deep on Chinese History so any books to read are welcome.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Every dynasty has contributed in some way to their civilization. It doesn’t change the fact the Northern Song were invaded and conquered by the Mongols.

        The historical humiliation of China during the Qing Dynasty is why unity and an efficient central government is desired by most Chinese. The dynasty was weakened by foreign powers and devolved into regional warlordism after the Taiping Rebellion. The loss of central government control over the country created an environment where a successful Japanese invasion was theoretically possible. On top of the outbreak of a civil war. I cannot emphasis enough that we’re talking about the older generation’s grandparents who experienced these events. If they survived it they probably passed on stories about it.

        “I wonder if there exists anywhere a nation whose sense of its own history is even close to accurate.”

        I think the best we can do is pass on mythological truths that inspire and guide future generations.

  23. flora


    Nonsense. H.R. 1 is window dressing for the Dem base, imo. The GOP will never vote for this nationwide change to state election laws the Dems see as favorable to their party, imo. And Chuck has made sure Mitch and the GOP will have veto power (by vote) in the Senate.

    (Rule of thumb: congressional bills usually do the opposite of what their title names. So “For the People” isn’t really for the people. I know this comes as a shock. /heh )

  24. DJG

    Independent: Origin of modern pet dog in Siberian gray wolves

    I believe that an article was posted here in the past indicating that dogs’ DNA is different enough from that of wolves and foxes that some scientists think that dogs may have diverged from another line of canines. [Or I may be “quoting” from Coppinger and Feinstein’s book How Dogs Work, which stresses just how different dogs are from other canines, down to the fact that dogs aren’t pack animals, their owners’ fantasies notwithstanding, and that dogs are pretty poor at parental care of pups, unlike wolves, which are great at bringing up the kids, notably that male dogs don’t even bother with the pups.]

    Further, and I hope that there is a historical linguist in the house, the paragraphs on the words for dogs worldwide seem a tad neat to me. It may be that dogs are named onomatopoetically–and so what?

    Finally, I find it hard to believe that the yapping, dependent, neurotic four-legged critters being dragged throughout my neighborhood by neurotic bipeds are the descendants of savvy, athletic wolves. On the other hand, I will entertain the hypothesis of coevolution into neurosis.

  25. flora

    re: John Roberts Weaseling Out Of Donald Trump Impeachment Trial Warrants His Own Impeachment Above the Law

    Nonsense. T is now a private citizen. The Chief Justice is to preside in the impeachment trial of a sitting president, not a private citizen. Impeachment exists to remove someone from office. T is already out of office. Waiting to see if the Dems put up Kamala – president of the new Senate – as the presiding officer at their dog-and-pony “impeachment” trial of an already out of office person. It’s not like there’s anything else important happening in need of Congressional attention at the moment. /s

    (Based on some heavy breathing news ads from the MSM about their upcoming “coverage of the impeachment trial and the threatening domestic unrest “, I think I see the MSM’s financial reasons for encouraging the “need” for a trial. Good for ratings. But, can’t interrupt the big sports event coming up. Have to wait until that’s over and a new ratings gimmick is needed. /heh)

    1. petal

      I believe it is Leahy.
      “Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is going to preside over the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

      Leahy, a Democrat, is the president pro tem of the Senate, meaning he is the senior senator of the party that holds the majority in the chamber. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s first impeachment trial, but since Trump is no longer in office, Senate protocol gives the job to the president pro tem.”

        1. petal

          I only knew because I heard it on the radio(located in VT) while driving this morning. I had thought it would be Harris, too.

      1. John

        Robert’s declining to preside in this case and the Senate’s acceptance of his position sets the precedent for the Impeachment trial of a no longer sitting president. If nothing else, Robert’s is an artful dodger of that which he finds distasteful.

      2. Pat

        And who decided that this succession, that is clearly not in the Constitution, was acceptable?

        I foresee the Republicans voting not to convict because this is clearly unconstitutional.

        Embarrassing farce.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        “…. but since Trump is no longer in office, Senate protocol gives the job to the president pro tem.”

        “Protocol”???????? There has never been an “impeachment”–removal from office–of a “president” who has already been removed from office through an election. How can there be a “protocol?”

        The only “protocol” I can see is, where Trump is concerned, throw everything in the trash, including the constitution, and make up the rules as you go along.

        PS. And is leahy going to be both “judge” and a “juror?” I suppose that’s “protocol” too.

        PPS. Roberts’ refusal to participate is as clear an indication of the unconstitutionality of this shitshow as you can get. Talk about an “insurrection”……

        1. Carolinian

          Leahy said this was the procedure in previous impeachments but obviously not presidential impeachments which does make a tad bit of difference. Professor Turley–who the Dems hate because he doesn’t agree with them–says that impeachment of citizen Trump is unconstitutional as well as unwise. It’s not a settled matter.

    2. Carolinian

      I see that McConnell–having lured the Dems into the briar patch–now says that he is “unsure” how he will vote. Meanwhile Trump says that he never supported a third Patriot Party and that he will campaign to help the GOP retake the House and Senate in two years–implication being perhaps not so much support for Repubs who vote against him.

      And Trump still has high support among Republican voters so indeed they would be foolish to vote against him. Therefore the outcome is likely foregone–chess, multidimensional or otherwise, not being Nancy’s game. We in the public will have to find distractions to while away the time during yet another political circus.

  26. Rosscarrock

    “I hate to sound like my usual contrarian self, but this doesn’t look like a threat to authority.”. Been reading Orlando Patterson on slavery and human domination. There’s a level of fight-backness in reaction to the navalny arrest in the video of the giant Putin Dasha. Over 3,000 arrests. It is significant.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The number of total protestors in Moscow reported in Moscow was only 15,000, in a city of 12 million, so I stand by my original claim.

      It looks as if the police response was disproportionate. There are already judicial investigations underway in St. Petersburg and other cities.

  27. flora

    re: via Barry Ritholz graphic…. from none other that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). I wondered why the wild swings in numbers. Then I saw it was an SPLC graphic. Ah… the more hate groups they find, the more donations they get to fight said groups. Not that that influences their objectivity of course. /s

  28. Cuubono

    If the fT article is correct and warning immunity in the setti g of high transmissions is responsible for variants emerging we are in for a long ride

  29. SKM

    Some news re vaccines which is huge, if even partially true. Yesterday various German newspapers reported that there was a dispute between AstraZeneca and the European authorities over the efficacy of their vaccine. It was floated that they were considering authorising the ChadOx vaccine only for the under 65s because they believed efficacy was not sufficient for the over 65s. One paper talked of efficacy that group as only 8%!!!!!!!!!!!
    although I`ve been bothered by the ChadOx data for a while – especially as they seemed to have included very few of the target older dempgraphic – this figure seemed ridiculous.

    I waited to post because I couldn`t see any reliable source or a clearer account of the situation. Today, I found mention of it on ntv news. They confirmed there was a problem, but they said the 8% figure was down to confusion etc and probably came from the % of older folk in the study. Scandalous in itself – they are rolling this out in the UK precisely to this group as a priority AND they are delaying the booster for all these fragile folk ( seemed an ok idea in the circs IF as was claimed by UK, one dose stops severe outcomes).
    It has further been reported that AstraZeneca i claiming all this is wrong and that by Friday this week they`ll have data to show on a cohort of 2,000.
    Sorry nothing more firm than media reports but people should know at least NOT to stop protecting themselves after one shot of AstraZeneca vaccine

    1. Halcyon

      This specific 8% figure has been debunked and was apparently a misreading of the Lancet paper, which does raise a lot of concern about the rest of the reporting which made such a basic error.

      As to whether the vaccine does work in the elderly, one expects the UK itself will have tonnes of data on this soon as it’s rolled out here, and we’ll have to see what the german regulators do. It wouldn’t shock me if they conclude that one dose has a relatively small protective effect on the elderly… because it was designed for two doses.

      1. SKM

        “This specific 8% figure has been debunked …”
        Shouldn`t have mentioned that (erroneous figure, as I did report) – the point still stands, there are fears that this vaccine doesn`t target one of the groups that seem to most need protection and it doesn`t seem even to have been tested properly re this.
        You`re right – we`ll soon know from the massive phase 4 trial many have been taking part in. I`ve no time for AstraZeneca or any other pharmaceutical monster, but I do hope the above doesnt turn out to be true, there is already too much at stake ….

        1. Kate

          The reporter confused the number of over 65s in the trial (around 8 percent of the total) with efficacy. This is a seriously bad mistake to make, and there was immediate pushback from AZ and also from the German Health ministry. The damage is done, though, and a lot of the anti-vax and vaccine hesitant crowd are still quoting that figure.
          In other news, Pascal Soriot, the CEO of AZ has given an interview with la Reppublica about the EU vaccine wars. Worth a read:

  30. David

    Out of interest, I had a look to see how the French media were covering the Agent Orange case, which started yesterday, but most of it is just human interest stories and rehashing of previous stories about the Vietnam War. I can’t find any legal analysis, which is a shame because it’s not obvious where the Court’s jurisdiction comes from, and indeed that seems to be the basis of the companies’ case. This is, of course, a civil suit (droit privé), not a criminal case, and it’s not obvious why a French court would have jurisdiction to decide a case brought by a Vietnamese against US companies for selling chemicals to the US government for use in Vietnam, nor indeed how any penalty could be enforced. (The woman concerned is apparently claiming some thousands of dollars of damages).
    It may be that what we’re seeing here is a version of what I think lawyers call “greymail”, ie the case is being brought in the hope that the companies will try to buy their way out of political trouble, even if the legal case is rejected, perhaps through contributions to charities or suchlike. I’ll keep an eye on this for those interested.

    1. flora

      Thanks. My question also centers on a French court’s jurisdiction in these circumstances. Presenting this case in a French court doesn’t make sense at first glance. You may be right about “greymail.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        It may be because Vietnam was once under French jurisdiction as part of their empire. Saw something similar with a South American country and Spanish courts years ago. But as the US has already recognized and compensated GIs from the Vietnam era, that case does not have to be proven in court first. The damage to the people in Vietnam has absolute scientific proof so this could get interesting.

        1. Jason Boxman

          The legacy of American hegemony has a sadly long shelf life. I haven’t recently, but years ago I read several stories about the affects of depleted uranium shells on the inhabitants of Iraq, where we frequently used this type of munition.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Tran To Nga has standing in French court because she was born in French Indochina. I haven’t seen the brief and IANAL, but since Évry is a court of appeals (her original suit was filed in 2014), I imagine that a standing violation that flagrant would have nixed the case in summary judgment.

  31. urblintz

    Way down the twitter feed from Krystal Ball you’ll find Cory Doctorow explaining exactly what “means-testing” is:

    “Means testing is basically a civil court that people who can pay advisors can get through, while people who have no resources are blocked – every single means-tested program excludes the poorest. That’s why the right way to address universal programs is with taxation, not tests.”


    “Every universal service that has been replaced with a means-tested version has ended up fucking over the poorest people. Means-testing is what you do if you lack the political will to tax rich people. It sacrifices poor people rather than confronting plutes’ political power”

    1. skippy

      Nor is Hellborne or Briz-Vagas although the southern capital cities are copping the multi day heat waves all the way to the west coast.

      I think Brisbane would be more on par with what YS remembers at this moment, whilst it lasts, and once the inner city developing – rejuvenation ends the only thing left will be the north corridor running up the Bruce Hwy as the southern corridor to the Gold Coast was first in the order of development.

      They grow up ….

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I suspected as much. I was there when neoliberalism was not in full throttle and before real estate went from high to stratospheric due to liberalization of immigration.

  32. polecat

    Isn’t it interesting how Gaia’s east coasts, on most* continental mass, from a geographical standpoint, always seem to gravitate towards overdeveloped, eventually?

    Western US, Europe & Micronesia being the prime exceptions …

  33. ArvidMartensen

    The new get-rich-quick is as a private vaccine distribution middleman to those “who need it and and can pay”, in other words the business dudes who need to fly all over to cut deals, because F2F is much better for this.
    I pulled up the person now involved in this, and said they would be dealing with grifters along every step of whatever supply chain they end up with. And its immoral imho.

    But other people present couldn’t see the problem, because governments are doing the same. What a world we live in.

  34. The Rev Kev

    “Biden administration enlists unions in anti-China drive, reopening policy”

    This makes it sound like the rank and file are behind it but it ain’t necessarily true. As demonstrated in the teacher’s strikes, the leadership of many unions have been captured and they represent more the interest of the PMC instead. And they are more than willing to play ball with larger interests above them, even to the detriment of their members.

  35. K.k

    From the the above Asia Times link on Taiwan, “There was earlier some question over how the incoming Biden administration would approach the decision, but Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, indicated his agreement in his confirmation hearing on January 19.”

    To those paying attention they would have noticed that the signals were there. Such as NPR recognizing Taiwan as a country in December 2020 and January 2021. Lol. Yep they are in good company with the following recognizing Taiwan as a country and the ROC: Guatemala,Haiti,Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua,Belize,Saint Lucia,Saint Vincent And The Grenadines,Marshall Islands,Saint Kitts And Nevis,Palau,Tuvalu,Nauru,Vatican City. There may a couple more.
    In the past i have noticed the hosts at NPR would make sure not to refer to Taiwan as a country, only the guest would slip it in here and there. The following link is from Npr coverage of covid in Taiwan. The NPR host refers to Taiwan as a country at least 4 times in a roughly 7 minute conversation.

    Here is a correction NPr added to one of their stories in those quaint old days of September 2020, “[POST-BROADCAST CLARIFICATION: Sept. 24, 2020. Clarification: A previous headline referred to Taiwan as a country. It is a self-governed territory that China claims as its own.]”

  36. skippy

    Gotta say the ….The Nature of Money

    Calculating a poor person’s wealth is a science. For a rich person, it’s an incredibly abstract art. – M.K. Anderson link was a great piece without being to bushy eyebrow or voluminous. Just the history of money in Australia would blow some people away, and I have with a few rusted on sorts. Rum, Dutch, Spanish, and English forms were first followed by Sterling standard and then Australian decimal, et al.

    Thanks I’ll be archiving and sharing that one.

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