Links 1/3/2021

My 2021 Forecasts / Year in Preview The Big Picture

Paygone Ryan Grim, Bad News

The Supply Chain Gang The Baffler. From November, still germane.


The Plague Year The New Yorker. A retrospective, very much in the New Yorker style, well worth reading in full. In the author’s view, there were three chances to contain the infection: when the CDC could not get into China in early January, the CDC’s “testing fiasco,” and masking. Trump does not come off well in the third and in subsequent events, rightly. (One might also ask, as the article does not, what happened to the “principle of association” that De Tocqueville wrote made America exceptional; it doesn’t seem to scale.) This paragraph caught my eye:

When Bellevue’s doctors were at their lowest ebb, reinforcements arrived: hospital workers from other states flooded into New York to help. According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, thirty thousand people responded to the city’s call for aid. It was a rare glimpse of national unity. “Half the people in the I.C.U. had Southern accents,” [Bellevue’s Nate] Link told me. “That’s what saved us.”

Worth putting the Red State/Blue State paradigm into this context.

25 Days That Changed the World: How Covid-19 Slipped China’s Grasp NYT. A second retrospective.

* * *

A Q&A about the new coronavirus variant with the Fred Hutch scientist who’s been tracking its spread Seattle Times

China reports first case of new coronavirus variant – CDC publication Reuters. Vietnam; Thailand; South Korea; Japan. Speaking of variants, and reasoning by analogy (“like”):

* * *

Fleeing Lockdown, Americans Are Flocking to Mexico City NYT

‘Why aren’t they home?’: Lake Tahoe struggles to keep winter vacationers at bay Guardian

When COVID hit, a Colorado county kicked out second-home owners. They hit back. High Country News

* * *

Masks and Face Coverings for the Lay Public : A Narrative Update Thomas Czypionka, Trisha Greenhalgh, Dirk Bassler, Manuel B Bryant, Annals of Internal Medicine. Concluding lines of the Abstract: “Evidence suggests that the potential benefits of wearing masks likely outweigh the potential harms when SARS-CoV-2 is spreading in a community. However, mask mandates involve a tradeoff with personal freedom, so such policies should be pursued only if the threat is substantial and mitigation of spread cannot be achieved through other means.”

Scientific evidence supports aerosol transmission of SARS-COV-2 Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. A takedown of this article. “Airborne transmission has been subject to a much higher burden of proof than droplet or contact transmission of SARS-COV-2, and also to a higher evidence standard compared to other pathogens. This is the opposite of a precautionary approach in the face of uncertainty.”

* * *

Vaccine makers race to secure supply chains FT

Pfizer decision to turn off temperature sensors forced scramble to ensure Covid-19 vaccines kept ultra-cold STAT. From December 2020, still germane.

What are the ingredients of Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine? MIT Technology Review (Re Silc). From December 2020, still germane.

Why California became the nation’s coronavirus epicenter San Francisco Chronicle

They were experts in viruses, and now in pitfalls of fame AP


China sees EU investment deal as diplomatic coup after US battles FT

Five steps to rebalancing strategic policy on China Weekend Australia

China’s Real Threat is to America’s Ruling Ideology Palladium

Shunned, Shattered, Shamate: A New Film Spotlights China’s Most Hated Subculture Radii

Coronavirus emerged in many places, Chinese foreign minister says South China Morning Post


Four Factors That Make the Farmers’ Agitation Unlike Any Other The WIre

Timeline: India’s coronavirus vaccine approved by drugs experts and India’s drugs experts approve AstraZeneca, local COVID vaccines Reuters

The Koreas

Voting in South Korea: History and Practice The Blue Roof. “There is no separate process of voter registration in South Korea, as all citizens are registered at birth and automatically given franchise at age 18.”

How a First World country handles international arrivals. A thread:

COVID Fatigue: Seoul Subway Data Shows Koreans are Tired of Social Distancing The Blue Roof

Child labor in palm oil industry tied to Girl Scout cookies AP

Filipinos Ignore Pandemic to Get Roasted Pig on Holiday Tables Bloomberg


Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon asks EU to ‘keep the light on’ for Scotland Sky News


Coronavirus: BMJ urges NYT to correct vaccine ‘mixing’ article BBC. More:

Covid-19: Order to reschedule and delay second vaccine dose is “totally unfair,” says BMA British Medical Journal

Delaying the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine; and schools and universities Peter English’s Random Musings. Commentary:


As I was saying….

No future: the English Left in retrospect Al Jazeera

The Future of U.K. Banking Rests on a Process Run by European Politicians Bloomberg

Mass New Year party breaks up in France amid coronavirus fears Al Jazeera. Musical interlude.

Netherlands to vaccinate emergency care workers as soon as possible Reuters

Venezuela: Maduro strengthens his grip on power FT

Biden Transition

McConnell, Pelosi homes vandalized after $2,000 relief fails Associated Press

11 Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz, push to delay certification of Biden victory CNBC

Trump, the GOP arsonist Axios

Are we allowed to whisper about the transition to President Harris? The Hill. Why whisper about the screamingly obvious?

What the Labor Movement Wants From a Joe Biden Administration Teen Vogue

Nashville bomber’s bizarre writings reveal belief in aliens and lizard people NewsChannel5. The packages arrived by mail, so I’d want to be a little more clear on the provenance.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Best Book I Read in 2020 Labor Law Lite. “I found Thomas I. Emerson’s Young Lawyer For The New Deal for a few bucks online to read during the early days of the pandemic… Emerson was one of the young ‘hotshot’ lawyers in the New Deal administrative agencies who was recruited by a member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vaunted Brain Trust.” Emerson writes: “I never enjoyed any period of my career more than my five years with the NLRB. I felt a sense of mission, a sense of active struggle against opposition, and a sense of accomplishment. I believed that the work the Board was doing was extremely important. I had believed from the very beginning that the National Labor Relations Act was the key piece of legislation in the New Deal. By establishing the power of labor to organize into associations, the act was creating an institutional force that would support the liberal measures that the New Deal advocated. This would be the most significant organized force in support of the New Deal and in support of the chance in the social, political, and economic structure of the country—which I thought was necessary.” • Operational capability. By contrast:

‘Something Crazy In The Air’ (Fried Egg) The Heisenberg Report. “Payment file” is a new term of me.

The Reconstruction of America David W. Blight, Foreign Affairs. “It should be clear to all now that history does not end and is not necessarily going to any particular place or bending in an inevitable arc toward justice or anything else.”


Julian Assange’s father says ‘greatest fear is they will take him to the US and break him for revenge’ Independent

The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible Craig Murray

Class Warfare

Rule #2 of Neoliberalism:

The Year That Labor Hung On By Its Fingertips In These Times

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The tweets by Waldman and Greenlaugh:

    I’ve seen this popping up yesterday on various twitter threads. It seems that our betters didn’t seem to recognise the potential consequence of a huge number of people walking around with half a dose of vaccine. As one comment I saw from a virologist put it – its almost as if they are actively trying to accelerate the evolution of new, resistant strains.

    I’m really beginning to despair. I’ve been tabled an anti-vaxxer by people I know because I’ve argued vocally that its far too early to roll out the vaccines for the general public. There is no loss to delaying for 6 months of additional safety testing, and developing better distribution networks, as even the optimists now admit that we won’t be even close to the required 90% vaccination rate by the end of 2021. But political and economic pressure has forced us into doing this too soon and shamefully, many scientists and doctors have bought into this. It will only be sheer luck that saves us from making things worse.

    1. drexciya

      On top of that, finally the WHO is slowly admitting that the Ivermectin treatment actually works. So there’s a safe and working treatment available, and we have a vaccine, which has a rather suspect efficacy, and hasn’t gone through proper safety tests.

      Also, the mere suggestion of depriving people from access to society, based on their vaccination status, is really rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. What happened to open and transparent communication and discussion in 2020?

      1. Cocomaan

        So there’s a safe and working treatment available, and we have a vaccine, which has a rather suspect efficacy, and hasn’t gone through proper safety tests.

        Importantly, the vaccine was rolled out on an Emergency Use Authorization which by statute means that there are no available alternative treatments.

        I personally think that alternative treatments like ivermectin and chloroquine have been suppressed in order to create a pay day for pharma allies of HHS and FDA, and we will discover this in the next few years as we study this pandemic.

        The healthcare technocrats at the top have not cared about the health of Americans before the pandemic, why would they start now? They care about money and power.

      2. Arizona Slim

        Not that I’m going to rush out and get an Ivermectin prescription, but, hey. If it works, shouldn’t it be given due consideration?

          1. Lee

            50 cents a day under my Medicare Part D plan for the normal dose. Even if the dosage for Covid-19 is higher, it wouldn’t add up to much.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          No need for prescription — you can order some for a few bucks from a pet supply catalog. You should be able to create a dose by dissolving a measure in glycerin. The stuff is very bitter. Mixing it with a bitter fish like mackerel worked for my cat and I suspect it would work for a human who likes fish.

      3. IM Doc

        Based on what I have been hearing sub rosa –

        The Ivermectin therapy actually does help – There are multiple RCTs out of varying quality, none of them I would call really well done enough to trust. Some of these trials are abysmally done. Anecdotally, I have patients who are taking veterinary Ivermectin ( would never recommend) which in many locations can be had over the counter. Anecdotally, they do seem to get better quicker. Ivermectin has been out for decades and has a very good safety profile if used correctly. Anyone on multiple other meds should have their physician look over this. Interestingly, and anecdotally, I have had 3 family clusters in my practice in which all subjects in the cluster began to take Ivermectin immediately when one person became positive. None of the others in any of those 3 clusters became positive. I have had one other family cluster where the initial patient and one other become positive, the other 3 people in that cluster remained negative. I live in a very rural area where Ivermectin is widely available and people are doing this on their own. Being my old-fashioned self, I do feel strongly that this needs to be immediately studied in real trials that are well done and have statistical significance.

        Ivermectin is a widely used OTC product used in much of the world for many things. Many people in the 3rd world take it on a regular basis for all kinds of issues. Again, it has a very good safety profile.

        It is also very cheap. That is unless and until a pharma god like Shkreli gets hold of it and all of a sudden it is thousands of dollars a dose. I am certain this is already being worked on by multiple pointed heads all over Manhattan.

        The problem that gets sticky, and I heard a very good discussion in a conference this past week from a pharma lawyer is that the Emergency Use Authorizations for the vaccines are apparently only legal if there is no other viable therapy available. If indeed the WHO, or any other large well-done trials, show that Ivermectin is a viable therapy, the EUAs would immediately be null and void. The vaccines would then have to be withdrawn and the regular approval process would have to be followed. This is the black and white of what is in the EUA laws. This obviously has never been tested in court – and who knows what will happen if this becomes an issue. There are obviously numerous different takes on this on multiple legal fronts.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          What are your reservations about using veterinary ivermectin and veterinary medications in general?

          1. IM Doc

            It is the same molecule – so I am not so concerned about the actual Ivermectin molecule. Based on the type of animal, they are often in different media that may not work so well on humans. Also, the dosing may be different for a cow or horse and again, the amount of medication in the pills is formulated to dissolve in that specific animal intestine. I have never had a problem with veterinary Ivermectin. I have, however, had problems with other medications. It is a tragedy that I have people in rural America who can afford animal meds but not human meds and take the chance. Because this is a real thing in our society, I encourage them to bring them in for me to evaluate for safety. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever see myself doing this – but that is unfortunately the world we live in.

            The safety issues with Ivermectin in humans seem to be concentrated on transplant drugs like tacrolimus and cyclosporin, on HIV drugs, on antifungal drugs and on some types of antibiotics.

            I would point everyone to this website. They have been updating this protocol since the beginning. They use evidence based medicine. They are basically the entire Department of Medicine – primary care, critical care, infectious disease – at one of our medical schools – Eastern Virginia. They have been way out over the curve on this epidemic from the beginning. They instantly update this protocol with new findings. In my opinion, they are doing a much better public service than many of our government agencies.

            You can see where they are using Ivermectin – and it is being done more and more by my colleagues all over the world. Because of the very good safety profile, I am very likely to start doing this myself. I would much rather do this in a controlled manner rather than having people use literal horse pills.

            1. grayslady

              I agree with you about Dr. Marik. I have been following his prophylaxis recommendations since the beginning regarding vitamins for immune system enhancement. He is now part of FLCCC, which has prominent physicians from around the country and around the world looking for inexpensive, effective and immediate remedies for the virus.

              Speaking of the immune system, I saw an informative, brand new MedCram presentation this morning in which Dr. Seheult discusses the differences between the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. According to Dr. Seheult, it is the innate immune system (the part that provides interferon) that is primarily responsible for how well the body fights off Covid. The older you get, according to Dr. S., the weaker the innate immune system and the stronger the adaptive immune system. That would explain why most young people are able to cope with the virus better than the elderly, if true.

            2. Jeremy Grimm

              Thank you for the explanation. I do not plan to use Ivermectin. I would need to read a lot more about it. I downloaded the pdf you referenced and added the East Virginia Medical school link to my bookmarks.

              When I used Ivermectin to treat a bad case of mange in my cat I carefully measured a small amount of paste from a tube intended for a horse, and dissolved that in a carefully measured quantity of glycerine. Once it was dissolved, I used a syringe intended for placing glue dots, to measure out a small portion of the diluted Ivermectin which I added to a serving of mackerel for my cat.

              However — like some of your patients I have thought of looking into veterinary medicines as a way to stock an emergency medicine cabinet. I am not a prepper but I understand a lot of preppers are looking at veterinary medicines for their stockpiles. Besides costs, the veterinary medicines are much easier to obtain and obtain in quantity — things like antibiotics.

          2. Greg

            Not a doctor, not even a vet, just vet-adjacent.

            I do know enough to tell you that humans and other animals have very different reactions and dosage levels for medicines.
            You’d have to be bloody careful using a vet-spec medicine that you cut it to the right level for human use, and hope it doesn’t have any “great for cats but deadly to humans” additives or similar.

        2. Jeotsu

          Do you know if there has been any research on the relative marcocyclic lactones besides Ivermectin? There are plenty in use in the vet world (we primarily use abamectin, because it’s rapid activity is good for a particularly dangerous animal parasite we deal with).

      4. marcel

        Is there a reference article that shows that Ivermectin actually ‘works’?
        If that were true, the FDA might revoke the Pfizer vaccine, as its use was granted because there are no other treatments.

        1. Phillip Cross

          There’s a lot of them on sites like Gateway Pundit, Rense and Natural News, but that’s probably not what your looking for.

        2. Pat

          But what about Pfizer’s (and Moderna’s) profits?

          Billions, and yes that is what we are talking about, can easily twist the system.

          Your movement may vary, but while I wish I could trust the system in this, but I cannot.

              1. Cuibono

                “To date, more than three billion treatments have been distributed in the context of the Mectizan Donation Program alone with an excellent safety profile. Most adverse reactions are mild, transitory and associated with parasite death rather than with the drug itself.”

                3 Billion.
                for petes sake the stuff is used to treat head lice which isnt even an illness.
                Who knows if it works. but safe? For most people sure seems like it

        3. marku52

          Show meta analysis of 28 trials of ivermectin against covid. Also has pull downs for the efficacy of other treatments like Remdesivir (not very good) and HCQ (usefull if early)

          The data is out there. NIH refuses to look at it. I can’t imagine why…..

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            On IvmMeta as a source, from their site:

            Who is @CovidAnalysis? We are PhD researchers, scientists, people who hope to make a contribution, even if it is only very minor. You can find our research in journals like Science and Nature. For examples of why we can’t be more specific search for “raoult death threats” or “simone gold fired”. We have little interest in adding to our publication lists, being in the news, or being on TV (we have done all of these things before but feel there are more important things in life now).

            That’s not a confidence builder, though I see the logic. Do you have an attestations for the site? There are a lot of sites that have the trappings of scientific papers, but not the science.

            1. marku52

              Way down at the bottom are links to the publications them selves. Here is one from Dr Caravallo, doing clinical work in Argentina.


              In an interview he was asked “Did you get resistance for trying Ivermectin”

              His response, ” Not until we started reporting results, then the Pharma people got involved”

              All the papers are listed, if you want to suit up your waders.

      5. DorothyT

        Re: Ivermectin

        I sparingly and occasionally use a cream containing 1% ivermectin that is prescribed for rosacea. I began using it when some types of rosacea were found to be caused by demodex mites: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. The side effects listed for this cream (which I don’t wish to publicize here) generally affect the skin. However, I find that using a very small amount of it causes a strong gastroesophageal reflux reaction with me.

        Demodex mites can cause your eyebrows and eyelashes to disappear overnight, affecting the eyelids. They can cause serious blepharitis and worse regarding the eyes. Yet I’d still be careful in using ivermectin. A much reduced dosage of tea tree oil, also available on a wipe, can help the eye area, but also has side effects. Rosacea isn’t a simple condition that only affects one’s looks.

        And, ivermectin can cause toxicity in dogs. It’s prescribed as an ingredient in heartworm etc. My dog developed facial palsy a short time after taking it as prescribed by her vet. So let’s wait before becoming enthusiastic about ivermectin.

    2. Mikel

      “It seems that our betters didn’t seem to recognise the potential consequence of a huge number of people walking around with half a dose of vaccine…’

      First thing that crossed alot of minds here on NC. Elect NC to the Congress…

      “As one comment I saw from a virologist put it – its almost as if they are actively trying to accelerate the evolution of new, resistant strains.”

      I’ve thought similiar about the fiasco around mask. The countries that have been dealing with other recent Sars like outbreaks: they wore masks. So saying at the beginning not to wear mask was a way to accelerate the spread.
      We’ve watched Asian countries deal with Sars like outbreaks over the years and they wore masks.
      But we’re supposed to believe they are a billion idiots?

      1. Cocomaan

        I’ve thought similiar about the fiasco around mask. The countries that have been dealing with other recent Sars like outbreaks: they wore masks. So saying at the beginning not to wear mask was a way to accelerate the spread.

        This has been my problem the entire time with the mask debate: at the very least, Fauci and his ilk caused the first wave. They did not prepare the public for masking and actively promoted unmasked commerce.

        Now they want to inject everyone with a half baked vaccine that possibly causes asymptomatic spread? All the while suppressing other therapeutics.

        I do not trust them. They have been wrong this entire time.

    3. Edward

      The Waldman tweet is wrong. A vaccine works by training your immune system to respond to a virus. A virus is not going to develop a resistance to this “identification” the way it does to an antibiotic. Perhaps there might be a way for a virus to change whether it can be identified by the immune system. That is the only “resistance” I can see it developing to a vaccine.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Viruses are less likely to develop a way around a vaccine than a bacteria does to an antibiotic for a number of reasons, most notably that they are prophylactic, not therapeutic, and they have a wider range of targets on a pathogen . However, it is untrue to say that a virus cannot develop a response, as it has happened a number of times. However, there are to my knowledge no precedents for the widespread use of a ‘half’ vaccine, plus as others have noted, the new vaccines are tightly targeted on the Coronavirus ‘spike’ protein, unlike most traditional vaccines that have have multiple targeting. We are in unknown territory here.

        I should state the obvious disclaimer than I’m neither a biologist or a virologist, but I’ve seen concerns expressed by clinical virologists around this exact issue.

      2. Greg

        You mean like a reduced dose not killing all the variants present in the host, but only the ones with a spike protein that exactly matches the template? Something like that?

        That sounds very similar to the mutations in the two new variants we’re dealing with already.

      3. Cuibono

        no, he is not wrong. Or at least we do not no a prior he is wrong. Other smart virologists have chimed in with similar concerns.

    4. Diuretical

      I think “sheer luck” and “there is no loss” are doing a lot of work there. Just down the street from my house, in a single long term care facility, about 36 vulnerable elders died from a COVID outbreak. This is hardly unique, and sadly will be repeated thousands of times everywhere over the next few months. It is worthwhile taking stock of what we now know about the virus. We know that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly efficacious in preventing COVID infection. This is not being techno-utopian or a shill for corporate interests — we know it through well-conducted large RTCs built on robust phase I and II trials and a wealth of basic knowledge about neutralizing antibodies — probably the highest standard of evidence we can get in this time frame. The risk of serious adverse events was tracked (and will be tracked systematically going forwards), and is balanced with SAEs in the placebo arm. The systematic reviews and long term follow up for SAEs (an essential part of the evidence based medicine train) will come in due time. Literally thousands of clinician scientists are working on these questions.

      There are certainly unknown unknowns — do vaccines reduce transmissibility, does immunity wane, are there rare or long term SAEs not apparent in the study population — but compared to the known threat of COVID, a highly prevalent and deadly disease which to date has now killed one in one thousand Americans, I think the precautionary principle now errs on the side of vaccination, and especially vaccinating vulnerable populations. I am tired of admitting elderly COVID patients who pass away in hospital without family present, and I am tired of my HCW colleagues and patients either getting COVID, being scared to death of COVID, or working / living in situations that COVID has made untenable. FWIW, where I work (in Canada; we are a vaxxy kind of nation), all the people who are facing these facts daily are voting with their feet to get the vaccine, including the elderly from care homes. Coming too fast? It is not coming fast enough. I could do without any further unnecessary death down the street. A vaccine is not the only solution; it must be part of a broader matrix of public health measures, staffing solutions, adequate PPE, and social distancing, and economic measures to reduce suffering and hardship; but it seems like an efficacious vaccine is precisely the wrong thing to lean away from at this time.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Your work as a doctor in the midst of the pandemic is appreciated by everyone.

        But you devoted two long detailed paragraphs which did two things:

        1. You completely ignored the central point I made in my post. My first paragraph is very short, it makes it, I think very clearly.
        2. You straw manned my argument by making it seem I am against priority vaccination of the vulnerable. I am not, and I have never argued this. I clearly referred to the question of mass vaccination of the general population. My point, referring to the twitter threads in the OP, were about the failure of the authorities to take account of the potential hazard of not giving people a second dose of vaccine – an entirely predictable outcome given what we know of the supply chain and manufacturing issues. This is not an ‘unknown unknown’. It is a very clear known hazard to the population at large.

        1. Burritonomics

          I read your post as well, and had much of the same reaction as Diuretical, above.

          You said “There is no loss to delaying for 6 months of additional safety testing”.

          We’ll let the families of the dead know they were no loss.

      2. marku52

        My wife has had medical allergic reactions for contrast fluids and a flu shot. She is not a candidate for either vaccine at this point. Astra-Zenica in the future perhaps.

        I want medically efficacious treatments available to her, like ivermectin.

        The US healthcare system refuses this option, at least so far. Why?

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I wish I could share your trust and faith in the “thorough well-conducted large [?] RTCs built on robust phase I and II trials and a wealth of basic knowledge about neutralizing antibodies”. Big Pharma and the Government’s public health services have exhausted what little belief I could lend to their good faith and their robust tests and trials. Your assessment of the “wealth of basic knowledge about neutralizing antibodies” impresses me as hopeful more than based on what we do indeed know.

        However, focusing on your statement — “probably the highest standard of evidence we can get in this time frame” — I wonder about that time frame and the imperatives you suggest drive the need to push a vaccine out to the public. I believe the time frame pressure you allude to is a result of truly remarkable failures of the US Public Health Systems — such as they exist — US Social Policy, and the practices of entities like the Corporations that run our hospitals, clinics,’Elder-Care’ Homes, and let’s not forget our mental hospitals, jails, and prisons.

        I believe it should be pointed out that a Corona vaccine — even one that is relatively safe and “efficacious” may not be all that it is promised to be. We have flu vaccines, but they’re only safe and probably “efficacious” against the most likely flu variants expected when the vaccines were assembled. There is another concern that deserves special mention — the synthetic mRNA vaccines or some further development from their study do indeed promise some remarkable breakthroughs. How might some ‘problems’ with the warp-speed developed and “robust”[ly] tested Corona vaccines impact that future research? There is altogether too much money-in-the-pocket now for me to believe Big Pharma is not quite ready to sacrifice possible future fortunes for a nice chunk of change now … and if a few millions suffer … they can’t bring any effective legal action that might impact the next quarter’s profits.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      There was an outbreak of the Corona virus in minks in Danmark, Avian flu affects poultry and Avian flu type A is feared for its possible transmission to humans, and there is swine flu in pigs also feared for its possible transmission to humans. Seems like there were many applications for testing and proving the “new” synthetic mRNA vaccine technology. I would think research contracts sufficient to fund more than one or two dedicated research scientists might have been available through the Department of Agriculture to develop synthetic mRNA vaccines might have been available — if from no where else. The Department of Agriculture does have some research money available doesn’t it? It would be a lot easier to believe in synthetic mRNA magic after a few stunning demonstrations on minks, or chickens, or pigs. Why are we testing this unproven technique on humans?

      I read IM Doc’s comment noting that the Emergency Use Authorizations [EUA] for the vaccines are apparently only legal if there is no other viable therapy available. Besides a seeming lack of interest in examining alternative and possibly viable therapies — other countries were able to get the Corona virus under control following some very old, tried-and-true methods for dealing with a pandemic. Instead the US bumbled along demonstrating remarkable levels and extents of incompetence. I started to wonder how an incompetent Administration has been so remarkably competent at promoting incompetence.

      I still wonder why it wouldn’t be possible to get vats of yeast or some tamed bacteria to produce quantities of Corona spicules to use for a vaccine — better than using eggs. I understand there are cost savings in eliminating these “middlemen” … but why can’t we save costs after we minimize risks and better understand the processes we are playing with? I recall one commenter asking what tells a cell that starts producing Corona proteins from the synthetic mRNA to stop producing them. Is there any literature that explains the details of these processes accessible to a layman?

    6. Mummichog

      “As one comment I saw from a virologist put it – its almost as if they are actively trying to accelerate the evolution of new, resistant strains.”
      In the same vein, I am starting to consider that the Government here does not want Covid to go away. They want to keep the pot boiling and simmering as they gain more power and control.

      My chief reason for this is that the Government in my jurisdiction, while proclaiming pestilence, death, disaster to the population including children and the elderly ad nauseum has refused to properly control the few entry points for Covid to enter the jurisdicition. The main one being an international airport where folks have been free to travel to and from all over the world with only a flimsy and unsupervised self-quarantining.

      At one point, there was no Covid here, no community spread, nothing. But then it started up again. The entry points had not been properly controlled. The Government does not make any of its contamination and spread data available. So much for transparency and gaining the trust of the public.

      The Government here always talks about wanting to be “World Class” in everything. These medical folk all want to be players on the big Global Stage and get a piece of the action. Without Covid here, they would not be invited to the Covid Party. So, they let the Covid leak into the jurisdiction and maintain the drumbeat of panic, fear and anxiety.

      Of course, there are the alternatives that these well educated, professional Public Health officials are en masse just dumb, stupid, negligent, incompetent.

      1. Yves Smith

        I hate to say but your concluding comment is the correct assessment. But they aren’t dumb, they are maximizing based on having incentives other than the public good.

        The local government or even state can’t take action. Borders and international entry are a Federal matter. So you’ve got who is in charge all wrong.

        As we know, the Trump administration has chosen to act as if the states are in charge. With a lot of elements of health care policy and response, this actually is the case.

        Aside from cutting off flights from China and for a while barring flights from Europe, the Trump administration has been slow and late on air travel. We certainly didn’t cut off air travel from the UK when its new variant was found (unlike Europe, Canada, Australia and other countries). You can blame it on being lazy, being pro business, being specifically pro-airline, but I don’t expect much better from the Biden Administration.

        The US has decided to put all its eggs in the Magic Covid Vaccine basket because too many businessmen and nutters whine if we ask, let alone get serious, about basic public health measures like masking up and quarantines. Of course, if we were to enforce quarantine, we’d have to provide income support to those who can’t work, and too many are ideologically opposed to that sort of thing….plus it would take some operational capability, and America sucks at that too.

        In other words, this isn’t design. This is the result of a crappy public health system, too much outsourcing leading to lack of operational competence, and too many short-sighted hacks in charge who are confident they’ll be first in line for any treatment were they to contract Covid.

  2. zagonostra

    >Are we allowed to whisper about the transition to President Harris?

    Are we allowed to whisper that the ruling elites positioned their initial choice for President into a strategically close VP position when she was rejected by the voters? No, just move along, the “night of the long knives” is history so down the memory hole it goes.

    Pelosi will be re-elected to Speaker even though she is the least popular politician in the country and is 80 years old. The political class is moribund. I saw a quote here at NC that yesterday that made sense, that the U.S. is just an economy looking for a civilization.

    I am reminded of Taine’s “Ancien Regime” where he says that the French Revolution was the result of the failure of substituting a new ruling class for an old ruling class, one which had lost its capabilities of leadership and had not succeeded in acquiring the capacities that the new times demanded.

    The article is pure pabulum: “step up to the plate,” “scolded the Pentagon.” Do journalist really write like this?

    So, I applauded Biden’s supporters for demanding that the Trump administration step up to the plate and acknowledge that bad things can happen if transition planning is not taken seriously.

    Just this past Monday, President-elect Biden once again scolded the Trump Pentagon

    One other mention, I stubbled on a quote that reminded me of the criticism by AOC of Jimmy Dore, that the latter was bordering on “violence” with his use of the “f-bombs” and other vituperations to get the Squad to demand a M4A vote. This is from St. Thomas Aquinas. “The absence of anger is a sign of the absence of reason.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘the criticism by AOC of Jimmy Dore, that the latter was bordering on “violence” with his use of the “f-bombs” and other vituperations’

      That’s kind funny that when you think about it. Dore swearing at Progressives to actually do the stuff that people elected them to do is viewed as “violence’ but a healthcare system that kills about 45,000 Americans each and every year is not viewed as violence. And that figure was from over a decade ago. For a person that grew up in New York, AOC seems to be acting very precious-

      1. freedomny

        I was a huge supporter of AOC, met her personally and volunteered for her. She is literally doing the exact opposite of what she campaigned on. I suggest people re-visit Glenn Greenwald’s 2 year old interview with her to understand just how far she has backtracked from her original political views. People have a right to be angry.

          1. freedomny

            Well I’m watching CSpan and she just voted for Pelosi….so there’s that. She only spent the entire time she was campaigning saying Pelosi needed to go. Feel free to do some research….

        1. edmondo

          Look on the bright side. At least we didn’t have to wait for her to be elected president to find out where she stands. And look at all the time you can save by not bothering to vote for people who will betray you on the little things because they won’t be there for the big ones.

          1. Zagonostra

            Thanks for pointing out the optimism where I failed to see cause for one, you are right, just hope the world doesn’t destroy itself first.

          2. Oh

            I don’t know if most people understand O’liar for what he really is and neither will they understand AOC. So sad!
            AOC sports a pretty face and talks a good game and people believe her. And don’t forget that she’s hispanic and IDPol sells.

        2. simjam

          NY State will be losing at least one Congressional seat with the looming reapportionment. Possibly, she has been threatened with being “reapportioned” out of Congress by Cuomo and Wall Street heavies.

          1. dcblogger

            Schumer will do everything in his power to prevent AOC from being drawn out of her district. He does not want a primary challenge.

        3. Massinissa

          To some extent, the problem isn’t people like AOC (Who I don’t really support), the problem is the system. There’s basically no way out of this in an electoral sense. Electing one or two Progressive politicians is insufficient, because they will be coopted by the financial arm of one party or the other.

          I think the key is to not think electorally but to think of some kind of movement that pushes politicians in certain ways, rather than attempting to get ‘good’ people into office who will be corrupted by the system they serve in very quickly.

          Quite frankly I don’t honestly think such a thing is doable either. But its got to be better than wasting our time campaigning for politicians who end up engulfed by the DNC.

          On the other hand, I do think Bernie’s campaigns have been worthwhile, not because they accomplished anything, which they didn’t, or even could have accomplished anything, which they probably couldn’t, but, as some here on NC, his campaigns have been ‘very clarifying’, especially on how both parties will scratch and claw their way through anyone who even pretends to oppose the duopoly. I don’t think making electoral gains is impossible or should be ignored completely, buts its clearly not sufficient in and of itself

          1. bevbuddy

            For brutal honestly: banking/internet/voting tech security expert Stephen Spoonamore!


            It really is Christmas. I cheer on
            in his effort to destroy
            @essvote &
            #HandMarkedPaperBallots or Die, #Democracy.
            It is now

            @KarlRove + #CNP #Votehackers
            #WWG1WWA + #teamkraken.

            Let the battle be bloody and long.


          2. neo-realist

            I think Bernie has encouraged more progressives to run for office and a some have won – Jayapal, Bush, Bowman. People from his campaign also founded the Justice Democrats organization But you also need more organizations besides JD and more numbers in congress to start making a difference, which will probably end up being a long term project.

            I suspect AOC has met real politik from actually working in DC, with its dominance of money power and brought and paid for political class and has had to change strategies more than change ideology for purposes of working at people like herself gaining more influence.

            1. FluffytheObeseCat

              Thank you. Another thing about AOC that Internet detractors choose to forget is that she was elected by a district, to represent the interests of her constituents in that district. Most of the raging butthurt about her “being an IdPol sellout” is coming from people who didn’t vote for her, couldn’t vote for her, and are not represented by her.
              I never was all hot for the woman and yet I can recognize that her job is to take care of her district, first and foremost. Those who will not acknowledge this are little different from the MAGA types who believe Trump should be de facto dictator and do what ever he wants without constraints of any kind, while in office til death.

              We live in a federal republic, not a magic dictator land where your most preferred TV person gets to call all the shots, you get to hate on them vigorously if they don’t call it the way you want, and somehow that changes things for the better.

              1. Dr. John Carpenter

                I guess by that logic Mitch McConnell is above criticism from all but a very few people here.

                1. Josef K

                  This is poor reasoning, a sort of strawman. FTOC makes a very valid set of points about a sophomore congressman, while MIConnell is…..well we (should) know what his sphere of influence is so I won’t waste words.

                  Of course AOC seems to have gotten a little enamored of the fame–only those who have acquired a certain level of fame know how intoxicating it is, so IMO she’s doing pretty well. Whaddya want, Mother Teresa? Look behind HER curtain and see what you’ll find.

                  Jimmy Dore’s heart’s probably in about the right place, but it’s gotta be easier to be a loudmouth pundit and tear AOC down than to be doing her job, especially assuming she’s truly pushing a progressive agenda in this solidly right-wing government.

                  The left’s been mostly losing for many decades, maybe all the purity tests, endless hair-splitting, infighting, eating their own, etc, isn’t working so well after all?

          3. Phillip Cross

            I agree. Allowing occasional, but powerless, ‘justice’ tokenism to slip in, is just a way to keep real change at bay.

            It does seem like a lost cause to me, but there is a clue about how things could really change in Congress in this article about District of Columbia.

            “There are almost 68,000 streetlights in the district”.

          4. JWP

            In the most radical sense, the electorate could start witholding votes. Given the two headed one body nature of the parties, it would make more sense to say to the dems or rs “we will withhold our votes en masse” unless they push through policies. Its easier to get people to stay home and not vote than to change their vote to a different candidate and party. Plus it’s a lot cheaper.

            Outside of forming another party or mass general strikes, that’s a pretty effective way to get the message across that we will not participate in the system at all until there is representation.

          5. Pelham

            I’ll agree about Sanders’ campaigns. But as you suggest, they haven’t been enough.

            What would be enough? How about candidates who are GENUINELY for debt forgiveness (more than just college debt), single-payer (better than Medicare for all), a federal job guarantee as well as pensions and an end to the forever wars BUT also oppose any form of affirmative action, 3rd-trimester abortions and any curtailment of the 2nd Amendment, while supporting an immigration moratorium (including cancellation of work visas) and building a truly secure wall on the southern border.

            I suspect that in combination with existing conventional progressives, these candidates could accomplish quite a lot. A majority of Americans would vote enthusiastically for one or the other kind of progressive. The problem is that there’s little or no place for the type described above in either major party, except perhaps as window dressing. Every single policy position described runs counter to the interests of those pulling the strings.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Nailed it, Pelham.

              I’d support that candidate…
              Hell, if there was a party in support of those kinds of positions, I’d run for office myself!
              And yes, I’m serious. ..

      2. The Historian

        And this is why Progressives can never have nice things – because they follow demagogues like Jimmy Dore. Is the goal right now to “force a vote” or is the goal to get adequate medical care for all Americans? Jimmy Dore has no skin in the game – if this fails, he will do what he always does – create another controversy – he’s got nothing to lose.

        What Dore is doing is trying to force a ‘loyalty oath’ on the Democrats – he’s just going to force many of the fence sitters in the Democratic Party to declare their loyalty to Pelosi because she is where the power is – when many of those fence sitters might be persuaded in the future to actually look at our medical care system if they aren’t forced into a corner now. So instead of applauding the changes the Progressives are making, like trying to get rid of the Paygo block, Dore’s going to ‘harden Congress’ away from what should be the goal – universal healthcare. And for what?

        And if Pelosi is gone, who do you think will replace her? Do you think it will be one of the 15? I wouldn’t hold my breath on that! And then what? Do you really think we will get M4A? If everyone has been forced to declare their positions publicly now, it will be harder than ever to get them to change them in the future. Do you think progressives can mount campaigns to primary them? How did that work last time? Sure, a few progressives won, but not the majority of those that ran – and not those who took on the most powerful people in the House.

        Do you think M4A is something that people in this country are willing to fight for? Oh, sure, they may want it, but are they willing to fight for it? They weren’t in the last primary season or the Democrat’s nasty tactics against Bernie wouldn’t have made that much of a difference, would they have?

        Sorry, but progressives have to build their power first, before they try a forceful take-over of the Democratic Party – otherwise they are just going to get swatted down and ostracized and the goal of universal healthcare will be just that much farther away. We may not like how the sausage-making of Congress works, but when we have no power, we need to use persuasion and co-operation to get things done rather than force.

        1. dcblogger

          And this is why Progressives can never have nice things – because they follow demagogues like Jimmy Dore. Is the goal right now to “force a vote” or is the goal to get adequate medical care for all Americans? Jimmy Dore has no skin in the game – if this fails, he will do what he always does – create another controversy – he’s got nothing to lose.

          The fight was for $2000 monthly payment. Had Dore thrown his platform behind that who knows if it might have made a difference. But instead of putting his influence behind THE crucial fight of the moment he actively distracted from it.
          The current fight is stopping the coup. Whatever else you could say about Biden he is the President elect. If we do not stop this coup then we will have fascism outright. Everything hangs on fighting this. AOC understands that, Dore does not.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            So the concept is to give Pelosi real power (the speakership) in exchange for something performative (a vote whose outcome we know)? That is the deal? That is what this is all about? I understand the anger, which Dore is harnessing effectively, but… no.

        2. zagonostra

          History does not support that “progressives have to build their power first, before they try a forceful take-over of the Democratic Party.” Did Martin Luther build an organization before he sparked the Reformation? Or rather was it that Vienna was about to be overwhelmed by Suleiman “the Magnificent.” Did the colonist in the U.S. build a colonial gov’t by asking nicely if King George would grant them independence?

          What ever Jimmy Dore is, it is laughable that you that you insinuate that I “follow demagogues like Jimmy Dore.” Jimmy Dore is a comedian who had a good idea for goodness sake, when did he become a Huey Long? If only that were the case.

          “Loyalty Oaths?” Are you serious? is that what you think JD’s idea is about? You haven’t been paying attention or have not understood that this is purely a tactical move he is proposing.

          “Do you think M4A is something that people in this country are willing to fight for?” Yes I do, I think the issue, or rather the problem, is that there are no leaders within the ruling elite that are willing to give up their comfortable life to martyr themselves for the the least of their brothers. Yeah, we don’t have any saints or leaders or principled politicians willing to go up against the “Giant” this much I’ll concede.

          I’m not willing to concede that history is open ended and that anytime and at anyplace some catalyst can set off a chain of events that the ruling elites have failed to run through their super duper quantum computer algorithms.

        3. Pookah Harvey

          It is amazing how Chomsky, Bernie, AOC, and many other progressives have all failed Dore’s purity tests. Jimmy’s allies are outraged that he is being smeared by people suggesting there may be more than one method in achieving a goal. It is Jimmy’s way or the highway.
          Jimmy is busily setting the table for a feast where the left can eat itself. United we stand, divided we fall.

          1. Oh

            JD is trying to get something done to break the power center that lies with Ms. Gelato 2020 (sorry Lambert!). I don’t think we should diss him. I’ve never been impressed with Noam or Bernie telling us to vote DimRat each time when they could have been spearheading a movement to break the stranglehold of the DImRats.

            1. Pookah Harvey

              Is Dore trying to get people to phone their Representative (Progressive, establishment Dem, or Repub) to demand M4A?
              This would be a step in actually getting M4A. What he is doing is the same as Alex Jones or Glen Beck by turning on the outrage machine. The fact that he turns it on the few progressives that are trying to get something done rather than on the people that are thwarting decent healthcare is bothering.

              1. Medbh

                “Is Dore trying to get people to phone their Representative (Progressive, establishment Dem, or Repub) to demand M4A? This would be a step in actually getting M4A.”

                Why would that matter? Please provide an example in recent history (last half century) where this has actually worked. The public overwhelmingly support policies that have no chance of being implemented by Congress. When the public has contacted Congress (like with the AIG and housing bailout), they were ignored.

                The things the public are told to do (contact your representative, vote, etc.) are another form of theater. It’s a way to release steam so people think they have input and the possibility for change.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    I don’t think Dore is trying to divide “progressives” (whoever they are). I think he’s trying to divide Democrats, to the advantage of Movement for a People’s Party, and Medicare for All is a perfectly reasonable wedge issue for that purpose. Hence the focus on one of the more promising Democrat politicians, instead of one of the most obviously vile ones (Richie Neal, for example) or one of the party grandees (like James Clyburn, or Steney Hoyer, or Pelosi herself).

                    1. Pookah Harvey

                      If Dore is for a third party devoted strictly for M4A, great, but I don’t see him saying that. Trashing people trying to achieve M4A because they are not following his tactics is counter-productive.

                  2. Medbh

                    Why is the vote “useless?” The vote is to identify your enemy, so there can be a primary challenger. I disagree with the Tea Party philosophy, but admire their impact. They matter because they vote their values.

                    M4A should be the baseline; the minimum of a civilized society. If you cannot support that, you shouldn’t be in office.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > Please provide an example in recent history (last half century) where this has actually worked.

                  As opposed to hash tag activism from a comedian? (I’m so old I remember when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were important.)

                  1. Medbh

                    Unfortunately, I don’t think that will work either. But there’s no point in wasting time and energy with ineffective strategies. I don’t know what other options we have, but I’m not willing to waste any more time on what clearly doesn’t work.

            2. The Historian

              Have you actually thought through what would happen if Jimmy Dore gets his way? Yes, you may not have Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker for a couple of years – that job would probably go to a Republican – which is OK by me, but what do you think the Democratic Party will think of that? A Republican Speaker in a Democrat – controlled House? Do you think that this will neuter Nancy? Being Speaker is not where Nancy’s power comes from. Being Speaker is only a present given to her by the powers that be for her service. What it will do is anger Democrats so badly that they will do everything in their power to punish and get rid of the 15 troublemakers. Do you think those 15 have any power to fight back or protect themselves? So all it would be is a short lived pyrrhic victory. And how does THAT strangle the Democrats? And how does THAT help get us M4A?

        4. Katniss Everdeen

          Setting aside the brainlessness of accusing Jimmy Dore of being a “demagogue” for demanding that aoc keep the promises she made to voters during her campaign, and then implying in your last paragraph that there is some way to amass political “power” by protecting lying, spineless politicians from your fellow citizens who feel rightfully cheated, I’d like to address your claim that Jimmy Dore has “no skin in the M4A game.”

          In this clip, Dore explains the serious illness which he suffered that drove him into medical bankruptcy and derailed his comedy career. He begins detailing his experience around 11 or 12 minutes in. You should probably watch it before you decry his “demagoguery” any further, because you are so far off base it sounds like you’ve no idea who this guy even is let alone what he’s about. He’s got credibility. Your criticism of him does not.

        5. habenicht

          Sorry, but progressives have to build their power first, before they try a forceful take-over of the Democratic Party – otherwise they are just going to get swatted down and ostracized and the goal of universal healthcare will be just that much farther away.

          Ostracized?! Over 85% of democrat voters and over half of the republican voters are for this idea. I think this claim needs to be re-examined. Please explain how the goal of universal health care gets us farther away by visibly supporting this policy goal? If anything, I would think a politician would motivate their base by visibility fighting the fight, even if it does fail.

          Also my understanding of Dore’s point is that a handful of progressives have leverage right now and either fail to recognize or fail to use that leverage. Sure there is a time for waiting, but right now there is a window to capitalize on an opportunity. Maybe its forgivable to not recognize it (how often do progressives cast the deciding votes!?), but less forgivable not to use the opportunity (regardless of how the idea came up).

          At the end of the day, what is unreasonable about Dore’s request to get the floor vote as a condition to vote for Pelosi? I have been following this, but have yet to hear anything convincing as to why this request is getting so much resistance. It does not appear unreasonable to this layman. As alluded to above, this would likely bring more attention to the idea (even if it fails to pass) and generate momentum (see woman’s sufferage for an example of a progressive idea failing on the first voting attempt in congress and building momentum).

          There are a number of other points and questions raised in this post, which I will simply address with “Tea Party.” Requiring a blueprint for “well then what?” is guaranteeing a lifetime of inaction. Recall all the agenda items the Tea party was able to advance by being recalcitrant and stubborn and using their leverage.

          I frankly have been very disappointed to see the resistance to this idea. Too bad this idea wasn’t proposed by someone more “respectable.” Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

        6. diptherio

          You are laboring under the misconception that there is a winning strategy for progressives in Congress. There is not. Dore et al’s strategy is unlikely to succeed, but there is no other strategy with any better a chance of success. Personally, I’d like to see demands for votes on a lot more than just M4A, because why not demand what we really want? Playing patty-cake with the PTB is not going to get you anywhere. If you think that persuasion and cooperation are going to be effective tactics for progressives in Congress, I have some real bad news for you. Have you read the Gilens & Page article from 2014? Might want to have a look at that.

        7. nippersdad

          Living in Georgia we have been getting about thirty calls a day for one candidate or another. I seldom answer them, but when I do it is not unusual for me to point out that I have been designated “not a real Democrat” for nearly a decade now. Having been “swatted down and ostracized” for years now, I can completely understand Dore’s position. AOC said last year that, in any other country she would not be in this party. I believe her, and she needs to start acting like it as she used to, otherwise she is going to start getting the same reaction that those calling us for Ossoff and Warnock are getting.

          “You say I am not a real Democrat, and I believe you. We don’t need more representation, we need candidates who will actually represent us.”

          I’m fine with a Congress full of Republicans; it makes people angry and keeps them awake. Your analysis seems trite and hackneyed to me. I have been hearing it for decades now, and when incrementalism only leads us to the adoption of Newt Gingrich’s health care plan twenty years later then it is clearly not the kind of activism that we couldn’t have achieved a generation ago.

          So let Dore keep shouting. He can’t do any worse than what we have already witnessed.

        8. The Rev Kev

          The truth is that you will never, ever get healthcare using the regular methods. Both the Democrats and Republican have been bought out and fight you to the death over this. As Caitlin Johnstone has pointed out, you could have a super-majority in the House and Senate, a massive campaign behind it, and then the whole thing would be derailed by stories of antisemitism or some such like happened with the Labour party in the UK. This whole idea of letting people like AOC to “work behind the scenes” will get you nothing. You have to push politicians but now that Biden has been elected, the usual suspects (and even more that you would not suspect) are saying that you can’t push politicians because its rude or something. How has all this worked out over the past forty years?

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        Many people have made this same point replying to her on Twitter. It’s pretty disgusting to be more upset over some f-bombs than the fact that Pelosi is going to get another two years as speaker.

        I also really like the point that AOC was. Brooklyn bartender so surely she’s had worse abuse hurled at her and more directly to boot. That tweet really goes against her fighter raising a rukus brand.

        1. dcblogger

          replacing Pelosi with Hakeem Jeffreis will not advance Medicare for All.

          People who have never been the object of organized online hate have no idea what is it like. It is brutal, particularly if it is sexualized, as it always is in the case of women.

          1. Fireship

            Cry me a river. Sounds like politics is the wrong profession for Ms. Cortez so. God only knows how the first female members of parliament and congress survived. It’s actually a very easy job and well paid compared to most other jobs. For a hundred grand a year you can tweet whatever you want about me. I’m sick of this “politeness and norms” bs being used to suffocate the voices of people who are literally dying.

            1. jhallc

              I give AOC credit for engaging in a discussion with Dore even though I would have preferred her to have taken his advice. If she wants to wear the progressive mantel she needs to explain herself better. Where are the rest of the house progressives in this discussion? Crickets… so it’s going to be a long road I’m afraid. I’m a fan of Nina Turner and hope she can get elected but, I don’t hold out much hope that she can effect much change. She seems to be of a character that will at least hold to her principles. That’s the best anyone can do these days. Pushing the window left in this country is going to be a huge effort. I can be critical of AOC but, I’m also glad she’s where she is instead of the corporate clown before her.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            replacing Pelosi with Hakeem Jeffreis will not advance Medicare for All.

            Neither will keeping pelosi, so in that respect it’s a wash. But dumping pelosi sends a helluva message that the game has changed.

            As far as aoc goes, she’s an intelligent, articulate 31-year-old female politician with rock star looks and a social media army of admirers. The only way she loses her position in congress is if she gives it up voluntarily. While I’m sure she’s grateful for all her “protectors,” particularly the woke males who play the online misogyny card on her behalf, I’m also sure she knows what she’s done and why people are so angry.

            She got herself into this and now she’s going to have to get herself out. Nobody who gives her an “out clause” is doing her any favors. Times have changed. If she can’t stand the heat, she needs to get out of the kitchen.

            1. habenicht

              Well said Kantniss.

              The obamafication of AOC has begun and we know what not holding obama to account got us:

              – normalization of the surveillance state
              – not just condoning, but actively expanding endless wars with new twists including drone bombing
              – deported more immigrants than Trump in first term
              … this list goes one

              Jimmy Dore does a skewering of AOC the representative using the words of AOC the candidate to show the gap between what she said and what she does. Matt Orfalea put together a tidy summary of these clips.

              Jimmy’s criticism stings AOC, because he is telling the truth (in her own words no less!).

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                This whole argument is insane. Nobody is calling for pelosi’s ouster. They are calling for a vote, in which every rep states where s/he stands on the issue.

                It’s the least that should be expected from elected politicians. It’s beyond amazing that there are people who want to protect polticians from having to tell their constituents where they really stand, and are more than willing to dump on Jimmy Dore, fer chrissakes, to do it. It’s so lame.

                pelosi knows where the people of this country stand. It’s no secret. If she chooses to lose her speakership in order to deny their will, she DESERVES to lose it, and she’s got no one to blame but herself.

                If I had to guess, I’d say that she’s afraid to call a vote because she’s afraid of all the support M4A might get from younger reps who, when given the choice, would choose their own political futures over an over-the-hill old has-been (I really wanted to write HAG) who won’t be around much longer, and will only take them down with her.

                1. Yves Smith

                  I’m sorry, what Dore is doing is utterly unserious and is making the Left into more of a circular firing squad than it is normally. A vote during a lame duck Congress or at the start of a new term, which no coalition behind it, is a stunt. It’s not political activism.

                  Actually, it’s worse than that. Did you forget that the incoming President is vocally opposed to M4A and campaigned on that? So no support in the White House; in fact, Team Biden would whip against it. No chance of a Senate win either due to Senate composition (even more corporate Dems, charitably assuming Dem wins in Georgia, even before you get to Administration muscling).

                  If you want to cement in the Beltway the notion that M4A is a losing proposition, this is precisely the way to go about it.

                  Where was Dore when it mattered, in 2020? Oh, shooting hard as he could as the one candidate that was serious about M4A, and not even qualifying his attacks.

                  You need to build serious grass-level support. Only then might votes follow. Congress responds to motivated special interest groups, not weak support across large numbers of people (yes, I know we learn in civics classes otherwise, but we all should know better by now). Tweets and YouTube clips and petitions don’t begin to cut it.

          3. hunkerdown

            People who don’t want to be hated shouldn’t get into politics. If she can’t stand up to the Democrat establishment for two years without turning, she’ll never get anything done with the thousands of people who can be paid to hate her by those who profit from the status quo. We need someone who talks freely about property being a social relation, a policy choice, and NOT a right.

            The anti-#FTV people seem to be lobbyists and others who are invested in the current state of things, in building a lifestyle on being needed without actually being necessary. #LobotomizeThinktankia… well, if they weren’t already, we ought to.

          4. HotFlash

            replacing Pelosi with Hakeem Jeffreis will not advance Medicare for All.

            But it might put the fear of the left into the Dem establishment. Bonus! Voters will know where their reps really stand — with them or with Mme Speaker.

      4. jr

        This smacks of IDpol chicanery to my ears. A few years back, I made the grave error of engaging an identitarian in a barroom debate about the Clintons. We traded blows back and forth but it quickly became clear this knob was simply regurgitating talking points, which I disintegrated handily. She began to talk over me, make claims then hurriedly demand we move on when I refuted them, finally devolving into spluttering and then waiting for my response as if she had actually said something coherent.

        It was M4A that broke the dam. I brought it up, she asked “How will we pay for it?!” in that tone of voice that implies the whole idea is insane. I brought up the bloated military budget as one source of funding, noting the cost of one F-35 Joint Strike Penguin. She immediately changed the subject to something unrelated and babbled on.

        I had finally had enough: I told her in a sharp tone that she was being disingenuous if not outright dishonest and that I would no longer speak to her about the subject. This was the moment, whether she knew it or not, that she was waiting for. “Wow! You’re really angry! Why so much anger?!” she protested in a voice that verged on trembling with fear. As if I were about to leap for her throat in a bar full of people.

        Then it hit me: this is the point. To illicit anger on the part of the target so as to cast them as violent, dangerous. I believe this kind of manipulation is baked into IDpol. It’s similar to that weird video that was posted here a few months back about the “school of thought” or whatever that is trying to save the world by getting people to speak to one another nicely. Any strong displays of unapproved emotions are tagged as “angry” which leads inevitably to charges of “violence”. After eliciting such anger, the go-to response is “This is no longer a conversation!” as if it ever was such a thing. Case closed.

        I’m not saying here that AOC is saying things to trigger Dore specifically but the same dynamic plays out. Now Dore is a violent man in the smooth brains of the identitarian “Left”. He can be safely ignored; nothing he says has merit because he is just another vicious white dude doing what vicious white dudes do naturally. AOC is digusting.

        1. Wukchumni

          It hasn’t happened to me much or recently, but when a woman mentions she doesn’t like my tone, its the equivalent of a cat arching it’s back, in a defensive posture.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > being angry is a luxury for fools and the deluded

              As is letting your anger control you… “Fire and fear, good servants, bad lords” –Ursula LeGuin

              1. jr

                Agreed, it’s just so hard to rein in the anger when you are actually making an effort to construct and deploy a coherent argument and are faced with the equivalent of a pie-tossing clown. It’s one reason why I’ve simply stopped engaging with IDpol types, that and COVID, I’ve met maybe three in my life who are actually interested in a discussion. I’d rather trade words with a Goldwater conservative, at least they have standards of conduct. I’ll keep an open mind and ear, as counseled here a few weeks back, but it’s tricky sometimes.

        2. furies

          This is *exactly* the technique used by my abusive ex husband.

          And years later no one else in my family can see it. :(

          Thanks for putting that ploy into words…

          1. Person

            The rhetorical tactics used by many online PMC types resemble those of abusers and narcissists. Victim blaming, verbal abuse, implied threats, gaslighting (and accusing others of gaslighting when they are the gaslighters) and DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim and offender). As far as I know, it’s not like there is a training camp for this stuff, so it’s crazy to see it so widespread. Based on my experience dealing with PMC types in person, my guess is that a large percentage of them have a more than a touch of narcissism themselves. (The other day’s link re: horrible restaurant patrons is instructive.)

          2. jr

            Sorry to hear that furies, I’ve got a mother who plays the same sick games. It’s hard to spot sometimes because the manipulator sounds reasonable and measured as opposed to you who are always irrational and upset.

        3. Michael Fiorillo

          I had the exact same experience in an opposition UFT (NYC teachers) union caucus, in which IdPol was weaponized purge members who wanted the group to focus on trade union issues that affected the members, rather than a hodge-podge of SJW slogans. Quickly and predictably, the accusation that, “I feel unsafe,” was used to shut down debate and slander people. Led from behind the scene by members of the now-defunct ISO (Trotskyists who never encountered a Left organization they couldn’t shrink or destroy via Build The Party factionalism), whose leadership at the time was busy trying to cover-up a rape scandal. Among those accusing us of sexism was someone directly involved in that failed cover-up.

          For me, it was just further proof of how politically unserious and morally vain these people are: they would have naifs believe they propose to remove the most powerful Overclass in human history, yet call for the language police when someone calls BS on their childish, idiotic politics.

          1. jr

            Thanks for this. My sister teaches in the Bronx and she has shared some horror stories about the IDpol types. One quick anecdote: she had a burgeoning sexual predator in one class who showed her, his teacher, a picture of him receiving a BJ from another classmate. Ruined her reputation and insulted his teacher to boot. She kicked him out.

            Next year, he’s back and bolder than ever. When sis goes to the admin to complain, she is told he is to be allowed in because he will fall behind “culturally”. No one cares about intellectually, morally, socially, sexually: “culturally”. He was untouchable and knew it, a major distraction for sis and the other students.

          1. jr

            +1 Thanks Oh, it really hit me over the head all at once that all the obsfuscation and logical loopiness was intentional. That doesn’t mean each and every of these loon-bats is aware of that, but it’s baked in and provides an easy means to dismiss contra points of view for the middle-minded.

        4. ShamanicFallout

          Yes, this is the classic MO of the bully. Pushing you until you finally ‘react’, then saying “See!” From Graeber ‘The Bully Pulpit’:

          “the principal criterion is how the victim reacts. The ideal victim is not absolutely passive. No, the ideal victim is one who fights back in some way but does so ineffectively, by flailing about, say, or screaming or crying, threatening to tell their mother, pretending they’re going to fight and then trying to run away. Doing so is precisely what makes it possible to create a moral drama in which the audience can tell itself the bully must be, in some sense, in the right.”

          1. ShamanicFallout

            The best part of the quote I cut off. sorry!:

            “Bullying creates a moral drama in which the manner of the victim’s reaction to an act of aggression can be used as retrospective justification for the original act of aggression itself.”

        5. Dr. John Carpenter

          I wonder how this whole thing would have been different had this idea originated from nearly anyone other than Jimmy Dore? I don’t think the outcome would have been any different, but I find it hard to believe the discussion wouldn’t have been.

    2. timbers

      AOC is turning into a typical Social Identity Issues Only Neo Liberal. Sad but true. Recently said we need more Steve Bannon types on our side. I correct that now: We need more Jimmy Dore types.

      1. Wukchumni

        Speaking truth to power has gotten us on the fast track to Palookaville, its time to laugh and make mirthmeat out of them, cajoling vis a vis comedy.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry o Mountain Dweller, but, to steal a trope from LOTR, “our betters” will only visit the elven forges and obtain armoured shirts made from ‘Mirthril.’
          Lambert has occasionally used the trope of: “We are ruled by the Harkonnens.” (A reference to some villains from Herbert’s “Dune” books.)
          I’m beginning to prefer to think that the trope should be: “We are ruled by Sauron.”
          America has ‘progressed’ from an age of hardy, yeoman Robber Barons to an age of Professional Malefic Class manipulators.
          I am perfectly comfortable with describing End Stage Capitalism as an apt analogy for ‘The Evil One,’ ‘Lord of Traders,’ ‘Father of Big Lies.’
          As Tolkein so presciently describes his big villain, Sauron, he is possessed by and dwells within “the ‘I’ of Sauron.”
          Yep, it’s magic rings all the way down.

          1. Wukchumni

            Grasshopper, snatch blade of laugh from fingers, squeak truth to power with a mouth that roared online.

      2. The Historian

        Gawd, I’d hate to be a progressive politician because you never know when your people will turn on you, only that they will – because no matter what you do, it will never be enough for them.

        1. hunkerdown

          Bourgeois politics will never deliver “enough”. To do so would be fatal to everything it stands for: exploitation and captivity.

          1. The Historian

            WHEN did AOC ever turn on the people? She knows what obviously many progressives living in their bubbles, do not. She just CANNOT force through everything that bubble progressives want because she understands, even if bubble progressives don’t, that she has very little power. I see her as doing the best she can with a bad hand – what she needs from progressives is for them to get out there and organize – and to stop knifing their own people in the back for not being miracle workers.

            1. timbers

              I think the point Lemmy Caution is making, is that AOC turned on the people – in a concrete material benefits way – when she attacked Jimmy Dore when he was trying to advance an issue AOC should support, but instead is effectively now working against.

              1. Lemmy Caution

                AOC explicitly ran on forcing an M4A vote, for not waiting 100 years for it but fighting for it today, for being disruptive of the status quo (in the Democratic party) and making people in it uncomfortable by rocking the boat. She garnered applause at campaign events while running for office. She won people’s vote with that messaging.
                But now, at perhaps the most opportune moment in generations to go all in on M4A with every weapon in the arsenal, suddenly it’s not the right time. Not the time to make people un comfortable. Not the time to force discussion of M4A into broad daylight
                Make the media ask politicians about it and explain why saving money while expanding coverage to every man, woman and child is just a childish notion.
                How many more generations of Americans are going to suffer and die because entrenched powers constantly block what is a slam dunk no brainer?

            2. ShamanicFallout

              re The Historian > WHEN did AOC ever turn on the people?

              She ran on disrupting the Dems! She ran on saying “we need to bring the ruckus to the Democratic Party!” She ran saying we need to “force a floor vote for m4a”. She was literally running on this! And now when they are demanding that she do the very thing she was saying she would do?
              Oh, now is not the time…

          2. dcblogger

            Dore turned on AOC because she would not go on his show and many people who should have known better went along for the ride.

            the left suffers from naive cynicism, everybody must be corrupt. I think that AOC has handled herself remarkably well.

            1. Lupemax

              Not true. Jimmy Dore was the one of the first to interview AOC. He’s also very much for Med4All. He went bankrupt because of his own health issue and wants to prevent that from continuing to happen. The most common cause of bankruptcy in this country is medical bills. And the largest issue on Go Fund Me is medical expenses. Shameful for this country. He’s waited long enough as have I for this country to catch up with every other industrialized country that has has had medical care from point of service for decades.

              Dore is asking AOC to do what she promised in the primary. Reps are supposed to rep the people, don’t you agree? So why can’t she push for something that most of the people in both parties want? Something that is a fundamental right? NOT adequate ‘affordable’ (for some) care but real healthcare in the midst of a pandemic? She is now doing what the Dems usually do lining up hoops that have to be introduced in legislation, down the road, sometime, while more than 45,000 people die every years lacking health care and/or go bankrupt because of the lack of health care. Hoops for a human right? in a country that has a bloated, unaudited military budget that is larger than another other western country (800+ military bases all over the world, overpaid contractors and corporations, etc.)…She is extremely popular and thushas leverage. I’m outraged that she is unwilling to use her leverage at this point to ask for a floor vote. Why aren’t you?

              I’m neither naive nor cynical. Prob is that most reps in DC are IN FACT corrupt, many openly. It’s all about money. Plus they all of Gold plated healthcare – free at point of service – and expenses… Pelosi is speaker BECAUSE she raises the most money from corpos and billionaires. Not because she works for the 99%. She thinks $600 is significant. No other industrialized country agrees with that in a pandemic. In fact the world is puzzled at how little support the US gov’t provides for its people. When they’re not laughing at this country they are truly puzzled.

              AOL will vote for Pelosi – who is clearly on the side of the corporations and the oligarchs and only responds to their wishes. She’s handling herself well for herself – NOT for the people. IMHO of course.

              1. Oh

                Well said! We direly need Universal Health Care Now! If the Progressives don’t want to act on this now we don’t need such progressives because they’re useless.

                1. Tom Doak

                  Yes, we do, which is why we elected a President who says he will not sign the bill even if it comes to his desk.

            2. Foy

              Jimmy Dore’s show was one of the first shows she was ever on, one of her first interviews, when she was little known he gave her a leg up! For a DCblogger supposedly in the know, you aint got your facts right here.

              Jimmy is not happy with her now as he feels she is now backtracking on everything she used to say back then. For example she even said that “it is better to be a one term congress member and not materially attached to a position of power and you will get 10 years worth done in four years if you are not afraid”. She also suggested back then getting a floor vote for M4All.

              He’s shown lots of her early quotes in his videos that she is no longer applying to herself. Maybe she is learning the reality of life once elected, but Jimmy feels she has been disingenuous at best and bait and switch at worst, just like every other politician.

        2. CoryP

          It’s a shame that their job as the public’s employee is to do what they voted them in for.
          Politicians under such criticism would do well to step up their game rather than disingenuously excusing their lack of action.

          1. dcblogger

            AOC has consistently done what she was elected to do, which is why Pelosi & Co consistently attack her. Now AOC must cope with attacks from the left. I think that she is showing remarkable grace under pressure.

            1. Lupemax

              examples please?

              AOC voted for the CARES act which provided the largest transfer of wealth upward ever? and as AOC herself said provided “crumbs” for the people?
              ‘grace under pressure?’ To call Dore “violent” for using the “F” word because he is outraged about the lack of Med4All?

              I agree with Dore. I call 45,000 dying every year for lack of health care truly violent. Ongoing drone killings are violent? regime changes as in Honduras (under Obama) are violent? 800+ military bases all over the world are violent.

        3. timbers

          That’s exactly why I’ve been saying we need Steve Bannon & Jimmy Dore types on our side. You can’t take the heat. They can. Nothing wrong with that, but please step aside so they can lead the way.

          1. Pavel

            My politics are what most people would consider far left and as an example one of my political heroes is Ralph Nader. I also generally like Dore’s politics and certainly his willingness to fight the estab Dems (who now include AOC, it seems) though his general schtick of yelling and profanity isn’t my cup of tea.

            On a friend’s recommendation I started listening to the Bannon podcast (“War Room”), because as an amateur politico I think it’s crucial to hear all sides (unlike Jack Dorsey and Zuck, it seems). I have to say, it is fascinating in its (populist) way and I can see why it is so popular. Apart from anything else, there is a great conviviality and bonhomie and often self-deprecation amongst the hosts. They actively appeal to the “Bernie Bros” to join their populist movement and argue that he was cheated of the Dem nomination by the DNC and Big Media powers that be.

            Don’t get me wrong: Bannon is dangerous in whipping up a frenzy among the die-hard Trumpistas (70 million, many with firearms). But there is a definite movement going on there and I can envisage the Repubs imploding into two different camps (Estab and Trump). Bannon & Co are very agile with the podcasts (25M downloads, he claims) and social media.

            We see with the Dore vs AOC/Young Turks brouhaha that the Dem left-wing is already at each others’ throats, and surely that is just a beginning of what may be a Democrat Party internecine battle.

            The USA desperately needs a viable third party. It may in fact be a mix of the Bannon & Bernie populists. When nominal Democrat party supporters see Newsom dining maskless at the French Laundry (at $350 a head) or Pelosi going maskless in her salon after eating $14 ice cream whilst screwing up the $2000 subsidy checks… these are the events that enrage people and make them despise the elite.

          2. neo-realist

            Jimmy Dore should run for office. Then we’ll really know if he can take the heat of fighting entrenched money power in DC rather than spouting off behind a microphone about progressives who aren’t successful enough in fighting DC or are failures even though they barely been in office.

            1. howseth

              Strikes me that Brannon’s Bonhomie – and craftiness – (though not wisdom – which he lacks) is what makes him so dangerous – just comes off as the sweetest pal you could ever want.

            2. timbers

              Better yet, you should support now, Jimmy Dore’s call to force score on M4A, instead of criticisizing him for calling out folks like AOC breaking her promise.

        4. Geo

          They’re already turning on Cori Bush because she voted “present” instead of “no” on Pelosi and for being in a photo with “The Squad”. Seriously, it’s seems like half the replies to her post here are calling her a sell-out and are against the whole squad.

          Do the anti-squad people prefer having no one in office with progressive values because then it makes the lack of progress easier to deal with? Seeing progressives in office but unable to accomplish big goals is too hard to handle? I don’t know. Just trying to understand the thinking that leads to this hate for elected progressives – even ones who haven’t even started yet.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > They’re already turning on Cori Bush because she voted “present” instead of “no” on Pelosi and for being in a photo with “The Squad”. Seriously, it’s seems like half the replies to her post here are calling her a sell-out and are against the whole squad.

            That was fast. Needs a link, though.

          2. neo-realist

            Even if she voted no, the alternatives are worst. Unreasonable to expect the few progressives there are in congress to make overnight titanic changes against long term entrenched bought and paid for political elites and their donors. They just have to keep building the numbers, and with them, the power.

    3. Carolinian

      That’s not much of an article

      This is not about the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency. The voters elected him and Vice President-elect Harris, and they have a right to govern our nation as they see best. Rather, this is about the need to talk openly about the possibility of another political transition once a senior citizen takes over the Oval Office.

      So, just to sum up, our “free” press did everything in it’s power to tip the scales toward a candidate who held that position only because one branch of a duopoly did everything in its power to put him there despite obvious unsuitability due to questions of health and ethics–all totally legitimate, nothing to see here. And with the kabuki election over it will now be totally legitimate to set aside said candidate for the would be candidate that almost nobody voted for when they had the chance.

      An alternate theory is that the whole thing is illegitimate including the governmental mess we are about to be saddled with. But whatever you do don’t blame it on “the voters.”

      1. hunkerdown

        A right to govern? They’re not shy about their aristocracy anymore. Obviously that “right” is the first thing we need to revoke.

      2. Oh

        Mr. Long Knife of “The Night of the Long Knifes” fame is smiling smugly as he sees his buddies being placed in the administration. More mullah for me! None for the common man!

      3. Judith

        I wonder who is the puppet master writing Biden’s scripts. And what happens when Biden is having a direct conversation with another world leader. Cue cards will not cut it. Nor will Jill Biden whispering in his ear.

        1. jr

          Seriously, they’ll have to dig out the Animatronic version for visiting dignitaries…I’m sure he will insist on meeting the tour groups of Girl Scouts in the flesh, however.

    4. hunkerdown

      Journalists don’t really write like this, but, again, remember the audience and remember the publication. These aren’t journalists and they’re not writing the public record. These are narrative managers producing the political narratives that others are expected to align with. Just like Roger Ailes was reputed to do, but more distributed and more deniable.

    5. Lee

      Maybe our system is more like China’s than we are normally lead to believe. From the article in Links, China’s Real Threat is to America’s Ruling Ideology (Palladium)

      “The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy, Chinese leaders have implemented a system in which government officials are selected and promoted based on examinations, performance reviews, and the meeting of objective criteria at lower levels. Its political qualification is not electoral support, but party membership and loyalty.”

      1. jrkrideau

        Maybe our system is more like China’s than we are normally lead to believe

        Note really. In China one must show extremely high levels of competence.

        1. CanCyn

          Well, not exactly the same. The Chinese have tests of their competency, American politicians have to pass tests too – of loyalty to their corporate donors and to their betters – e.g AOC forced to vote with Pelosi

      2. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        China’s Real Threat: Competence

        If you put aside the usual democratic/communist arguments aside, and believe as I do that we live in technocracy by default, the real threat to the US is the current trend in its own competence as currently illustrated by the response to Covid19. Am I wrong in believing that the rise of China was promoted, and aided by US corporations? And now it seems that somehow the US is shocked that China took the proffered ball and ran? The China Threat seems to be a fiction that is used to divert attention from the elephant in the room.

        The US military may be the world’s most competent but can that be said for the polity that underpins it? If the US military is primarily engaged in ideological wars then the generals must be happy to lose, because they know in their heart of hearts that holding and gaining territory is the only real military function apart from very crude policing.

        Seemingly the US has lost China twice. Once by backing the incompetent corrupt nationalists in the 1940’s and again in the 2000’s due to questionable ideology as usual.


    6. timbers

      What some are saying regarding/accusing Jimmy Dore trying to make a loyalty oath to be a Dem or Progressive….

      My response?

      Yes, do please. Make it so.

      You can not join the Progressive Caucus/and or/Democratic Party unless you support single payer M4A.

    7. timbers

      One last comment, then no more from me…already taken up too much space.

      This comment has hit a nerve. Seems most not all are over waiting for the progress and strategy of incremental change. Regarding that:

      There hasn’t been any progress and it hasn’t been happening for a long time. The change we’ve seen is to get steadily worse not better. That is were the desire for radical in your face challenges to the established “norms” of discourse in Washington is coming from and much more importantly, for actual real change for the better.

    8. Aumua

      Note that even though neither Dore nor AOC are mentioned at all in the links today, more than half the comments section is about them again. That’s because someone shows up every day to post about it, and a predictable 2 or 3 others jump in with some more invective to further stir the pot up, every day or nearly so.

      1. furies

        And your problem with that is ? We’re in the middle of a pandemic…when by god when will it be OK to bring up and push for Universal Health Care? How many people have to die? How many must go risk their health to pay the rent but don’t have medical leave covered? How many more Covid infections from the mere fact that our ‘government’ doesn’t work for US?

        I’m wondering if these folks who squeak “But Jimmy’s MEAN” have *health care*?

        This is literally the most important issue of our times. Horrors that people are bringing it up here…

        “We don’t have to wait 100 years.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’d like my $1000 check tomorrow, and so would a lot of other people. And I’ve been a #MedicareForAll* supporter for many years.

          NOTE * Not the same as “Universal Health Care.” Liberal Democrats claimed ObamaCare was universal long after it was obvious that it wasn’t. Liberals will now claim that ObamaCare + public option will be universal. It won’t be, if only because markets don’t deliver rights (if you think of health care as a right).

          1. furies

            The point of JD’s ‘campaign’ is to force the vote so ‘we’ can vote out the turncoats…’sponsoring’ a bill allows for a denial of support when it doesn’t serve them; forcing the vote makes it visible for all to see…and then corrective action in the voting booth.

            As Jimmy sez, “It’s politics 101”

            It really is amazing how people can take a position without knowing the particulars!

            1. Yves Smith

              Please stop this. Dore is a troll.

              Where was he in 2020 when there were actual elections with actual candidates with actual positions? No where to be found in promoting M4A or candidates that were for M4A. Suddenly he is shit stirring against the rep with the biggest social media presence? Funny that.

              Do you seriously think anyone is going to remember or care much about a single vote way way way before the next election? This will matter just about zero in most campaigns.

              Did you miss that Biden has been openly and consistently against M4A and he beat the candidate that was for M4A, Sanders? So tell me exactly how scared Dems are of voters on this or any issue. They know that for most voters all they have to be is a teeny bit better than the Rs on pet issues and they’ll get most votes in their target audience.

              I’ve been involved in real campaigns and actually forced the MSM to pay attention on issues like foreclosure fraud. I didn’t do that alone, there were lots of activists as well as some people with Washington insider connections, high level ones. We got far enough along with this that Obama had to rouse himself to nuke the state AG mortgage settlement that our team had gotten to a pretty advanced stage. Obama flipped Schneiderman and NY was key for lots of reasons (in particular the Martin Act, which allows NY unlike other states to mount heavyweight securities fraud cases).

              I’ve also gotten three government officials fired, and pressured California Treasurer John Chiang into sponsoring pro-transparency private equity legislation. Many people in the financial media (some with real chops) credit NC as a majors, and some say even the biggest force, in publicizing private equity’s grotesque fees and costs, its grifting, and its questionable performance. And there we didn’t do it alone either. I’ve worked a ton with activists, experts and academics, again some of them with insider connections.

              The point of that isn’t to toot my own horn but to say I know something of what it takes to effect change. And I will tell you that what Dore is doing will go all of nowhere. It is totally unserious.

        2. Pookah Harvey

          Dore has ignored and never mentions that Bernie has successfully put 41 Dem Senators on the record as putting the defense budget as more important than an extra $1400 in the pocket of every American during this economic disaster of a pandemic.

          But I forgot Bernie is a traitor. According to Dore no progressives could ever use this in Democratic primaries.

      2. flora

        Ok, here’s a complete aside, nothing to do with Dore: Jovan Pulitzer’s presentation to the Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee on the discrepancies in the computer read/computer counted ballots and the actual paper ballots. I’m linking this primarily for his interesting and easy to understand forensic analysis of the paper ballots themselves, and how they were constructed. That’s the part that’s most interesting to me, not the count’s outcome in one election in this one state. The problem potentially exists in all machines in all states over several election cycles, imo. He gets a bit hot at the end over the failure of states to provide actual paper ballots to forensic fraud and forgery analysis. 48 minutes.

        As Lambert keeps saying: paper ballots, hand marked, and hand counted in public.

        The message is more important than the messenger, imo.

      3. zagonostra

        The indignation! How dare anyone post another Dore comment? This is unacceptable in decent company. Gawd. The original post threw in JD as an aside, the post was mainly about an article on Harris.

        I think this demonstrates that there is an overwhelming desire to back more aggressive action on the part of progressives, it’s just unfortunate that JD is the vehicle because you underscore the fact that he triggers individuals.

        No matter the substance or worth of an argument, the messenger once tainted as offensive in some aspect short-circuits the ability of offended to exercise logic.

        1. Yves Smith

          It’s not that Dore triggers people. It’s that if you understand what it takes to achieve change, Dore has all the marks of an unserious, late to the party opportunist. If he’s so concerned about M4A, where was he is 2020? Why make a stink during a lame duck Congress, guaranteed to be a time of minimum leverage and follow through? And don’t get me started on the utter uselessness of petitions.

    9. Glen

      The current leadership in both parties has failed Americans.

      Trillions for billionaires? Sure!

      Override a veto to continue endless war? Sure!

      Help Americans? Not so much.

      The funny thing is that this is pretty much all they have done since Reagan. Trillions for Wall St and mega corps, trillions for war, nothing for Americans. Deregulate corps and let them run wild in an orgy of corruption and greed, invade the wrong countries on a lie, and throw Americans in jail forever for stealing food when they are starving.

    10. Jeremy Grimm

      Jimmy Dore has some good points … but I have trouble listening to him. I can’t remember how I downloaded audio for his shows the last time I did. [I hate youtube and have trouble watching things at my computer much preferring my smart but non-connected television and audio.] But the problem I have with Jimmy Dore is how much he repeats himself and how often he repeats his swear words. Content starts to evaporate from the delivery.

      I am not at all disappointed with AOC. I never expected much from her. Her vague ‘green’ new deal sold me on my initial assessments of her. She did marvelously succeed at providing excellent health care coverage for at least one former bartender from Brooklyn.

      Now for the new almost President — not really elected — President Harris. I thought Biden was an appalling offering by the democratic party, but the selection of Harris as Vice President is beyond appalling. She seems to stand for nothing and against nothing. Her only interests appear to be her self-interests. She is a malleable cypher who serves whatever she determines might for each moment most benefit herself. She does lend stature to Biden by comparison — which is a sorry recommendation for both of them. These considerations raise many questions about who pulls the strings in the Biden administration. I suspect the answer is complicated by their multitudes and often conflicting interests. The next few years could be very interesting times far beyond anything Trump’s tweets and puppeteers could offer.

  3. Fireship

    “I watched states not be able to build a moderately complex website with 4 years of prep time so I knew there was no way they would come up with a complex vaccine roll out in a few months.”

    He is describing a failing/failed state. Unfortunately, too many Americans will continue the hunt for the magic white rabbit that will make it all better. Some will pray to St. AOC, some to Sister Kamala, others will call for Trump to lead them to the promised land. Most people will double down on their deluded beliefs or retreat into drugs, etc. So folks, what’s your favorite/personal white rabbit? Who/what is magically going to turn the country around? Uncle Joe? Sister Kamala? Mother Hilary? Father Trump? BLM? Jimmy Dore? Kanye West? Or you going to try the reality pill this year? What is your coping strategy for living in a failing society? These answers will help future historians studying the collapse of the US.

    1. Carla

      @Fireship: Can you help us out here? Which link — if any — are you quoting, and who is “he”?

      Or are we really supposed to search through each and every link to learn these things? (I have already read through a bunch of them this morning and haven’t run across the quote.)

      I like the substance of your comment, but without a frame of reference it really isn’t very… relevant or instructive.


      1. Stephen V.

        Carla: Cf. The Tweets under this heading:
        Realignment and Legitimacy
        The Best Book I Read in 2020 Labor Law Lite.
        Speaking of which–last time I checked legislation was not required -he mentions NLRA–for labor to organize ! If you insist it’s called the First Amendment right of association but even historically –Associations preceded Parties, Corporations Co-ops and Not-for-profit org’s. Also some scholars see Hoover’s strategy of getting Labor Assns, Industry, and Govt to the bargaining table as informing the New Deal…just sayin’.

          1. Dirk77

            I mean my non-comment above. I think my posting again means I’m compounding the mistake, but that’s ok. A new year has just started and the slate is pretty blank. Thank you.

    2. CoryP

      In practical terms I’m not sure how much the reality pill will help. There’s something to be said for blissful ignorance or unreasonable hope. At least, I can’t figure out how a clear-eyed view of things will help me since I’m not going to move out to the boonies and learn how to farm. I suppose it will help me focus on the important things and doing what I can to alleviate the suffering around me.

      I think this might be the divide Jimmy Dore has illuminated — those who see the country as a failed state and those who still have hope in the system.

      (I do appreciate the commentariat’s updates on this drama. I know it annoys some. But I left Twitter and can’t usually get through a full JD video anymore)

      I’m in Dore’s camp because I think there’s nothing to lose by his strategy. And it’s fun and cathartic to watch cursing bomb-throwers. His writing people off as sell-outs isn’t the best strategy, and may not be accurate (who can know?), but I appreciate why he feels that way. Hopefully such criticism keeps them on their toes.

      I think worries about the circular firing squad are overstated when all the prominent ‘Left’ voices are various privileged people trying to capture the petit bougie audience that I am certainly one of.
      Let them shoot each other lol they probably weren’t helping that much anyway.

      (Though I am impressed with Briahna in all of this since she was one of the first I mentally canceled)

      Kinda went off topic, if I had one. Just my thoughts on my favourite soap opera.

      Anyway my coping mechanisms other than anger and vulgarity will probably be substance ab/use and a lack of attachment to the material world.

      1. marym

        ” His writing people off as sell-outs isn’t the best strategy, and may not be accurate (who can know?), but I appreciate why he feels that way. Hopefully such criticism keeps them on their toes.”

        That’s pretty much what I think. Gave up on the screaming video, too.

        People who run for public office have chosen to work within the system. If they’re to be effective (big if) they need allies within and outside the system.

        I’m glad to see movement for forcing the vote on M4A. I can’t judge if using the speakership vote and/or trashing AOC are good tactics to do the forcing, or to build an inside/outside movement.

        1. furies

          But as we all can see…working ‘within’ the system just corrupts~

          The Democratic Party TM is dead and moribund. What’s that quote? It’s where issues go to die?

          1. CoryP

            The “graveyard of social movements”.
            Probably the first reference I saw was Jeff St Clair at CP, or Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report. But I get the impression this phrase has been used for a ~long~ time.

            It seems evergreen in its accuracy. I can understand the anger and bitterness and eagerness to label everyone a fraud. History shows that most of them are. What a mess.

          2. marym

            That’s the big If.

            Though it’s difficult to see how an outside-only movement would get M4A done, if there’s really no place for an inside component, sure point it out at opportune moments, but wouldn’t a project organized around challenging and trashing AOC be mostly pointless or a grift?

          3. Dr. John Carpenter

            > “the Democratic Party is where movements go to die.”

            I just searched the Google Books version of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” and I can’t find this quote. I did a quick search, no dice. I should really know the source of this quote!

      2. fwe'theewell

        Agree, and with this: (Though I am impressed with Briahna in all of this since she was one of the first I mentally canceled).

    3. Eureka Springs

      Working family party member Jon Walker was a relentless cheerleader for the pig in a poke called PPACA. He understood more than most what it was designed to do. In that respect the website has been successful for the people who bought the bill.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Why California became the nation’s coronavirus epicenter”

    Now would be a great time for the US Navy Hospital ship “Mercy” to return to California and perhaps this time to be actually used. Unfortunately the “Mercy” is in Portland, Oregon at the moment – in dry-dock. It is undergoing heavy maintenance which is probably due to its old age. I have no idea of the status of the attached doctors, nurses and medical stores aboard that ship but if they are not being used, perhaps they could be sent to hot spots like California-

    1. a different chris

      “the” US Navy Hospital ship…

      Teh Google tells me we have 11 nuclear aircraft carriers. But one drydocked hospital ship. Shows the US priorities in a very clear way.

        1. Wukchumni

          13 years ago @ Burning Man there was an art exhibit called ‘Crude Awakening’ and I was about where the person that took this video was when it blew up real good, and looking back we were way too close.

          Holy Smoke!!! Burningman 2007 Oil Rig Platform explosion

    2. Ted

      “Rutherford said other social factors have caused infections to skyrocket in those parts of the state, including crowded housing. “(Southern California) has a very large, poor, densely housed population,” he said.”

      California putting out the welcome mat for anyone who can get across the border from Mexico, with free health care for anyone, including non-citizens, through Medi-Cal and a guarantee of non cooperation with immigration authorities has a lot to do with that.

      “If you’re undocumented or don’t have insurance, you can still get needed COVID-19 testing and treatment at no cost. Medi-Cal care for COVID-19 related testing or treatment alone does not count under the public charge rule.”

  5. Lupemax

    Re Ryan Grim Paygone
    Grim describes in depth why, after being a devoted Dem for more than 25 years, I now loathe the party that puts too many hoops to jump through before human rights can be addressed – like healthcare for all. All the dem BS is designed to intimidate, delay, deny ultimately. Just shows how AOC and her cronies have been totally co-opted. AOC’s first vote was for Pelosi. And she’ll do it again even though Pelosi is against anything for the people. Pelosi thinks $600 was ‘significant’…

    Here’s Jimmy Dore’s response – mine exactly.

    All the other clowns -on corpo media and in congress – are attacking Jimmy Dore rather than address the issue of no real healthcare for all in the midst of a deadly pandemic

    1. Mikel

      According to the article, PAYGO started as a “clever idea to make Reagan look like a hypocrite.” That alone should be defined as political malpractice because no politician cares about being called a hypocrite if the price is right. And if Grim believes that was all the motive behind PAYGO…HA!

      And this:
      “Under the new package, PAYGO won’t apply to “measures to prevent, prepare for, or respond to economic or public health consequences resulting from the COVID–19 pandemic; and…measures to prevent, prepare for, or respond to economic, environmental, or public health consequences resulting from climate change.” Those are exemptions wide enough for a caravan of dump trucks filled with Fort Knox gold to drive through…”

      Just as much a misguided assumption as the PAYGO being cimplained about.
      And those Covid-19 specifics around healthcare to prove? WTF?
      That’s language that actually says: This decrepit excuse for a public healthcare system was all great until Covid-19.

      All oeiole can do is hunker down and organize new parties or organizations.
      Have to start the long haul of dumping these clowns ASAP.

      1. Mikel

        Oeiole = people ..ha!

        But again, “economic or public health consequences resulting from Covid-19” simply provides a scapegoat for a history of corruption, greed, and incompetence and leaves the status quo comfortable with previous failings.

      2. kees_popinga

        Am glad to read that others found Grim’s Paygone article frustrating. A bad rule was put in place by a Democrat (“we must pay for new legislation by cutting taxes or programs”) and now micro-steps in delicate House procedural jockeying to get around their party’s own rule are characterized by Grim as “significant wins for progressives.” Meanwhile Jimmy Dore’s campaign to force a medicare-for-all vote, by withholding progressive votes from the odious Pelosi in her race for speakership, is considered too blunt and amateurish and he is personally attacked by so-called grownups. Go Jimmy!

      3. Mikel

        And wait….there’s more…

        I didn’t touch on the environmental clause because just the other day I rewatched Robert Redford’s “The Candidate”.

        Most remember the film’s in-depth look into the marketing of candidates, but how about that scene where McKay (Redford) and his team fly to Malibu, CA to politic around a raging wildfire?

        And years later…look at CA. Smog had some improvement but you’ll get the drift if you re-watch the film.

        In short, I don’t have to remind you of the lip service legislation around “the environment.”

      4. Skip Intro

        What a coincidence that Paygo matches the beloved neoliberal ratchet that is the essence of the EU. Fiscal surplus is fine, and justifies tax cuts for cronies. Deficits are forbidden and must trigger austerity. Repeat for a few economic cycles and watch your welfare state wash away.

        And all just a happy accident by a forgotten player in a small-time political farce.

    2. Kaligula

      Dems are worse than GOP in that GOP state they are against helping people, Dems fake you out with words and dazzle you with their footwork.

  6. paul

    Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon asks EU to ‘keep the light on’ for Scotland

    This was regurgitating a line made by the creepy Alyn ‘daddy bear’ Smith as MEP, before he jumped ship into a safe westminster seat (rather than relying on the SNP leadership promises that ‘scotland will not be dragged out of europe against its will’).

    You have to wonder why she asks the question when she is so actively resisting the only means of rejoining the EU; independence.

    While gifted at self presentation, the last 3 or 4 years have shown her to be truly awful at real politics.
    She had her chance to keep Scotland in the EU during May’s torrid reign, and the popularity to support such an effort, but she blew it.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The Scottish independence movement never had a serious plan. They failed to even consider the crucial currency issue beyond the most facile and superficial bumper sticker depth.

  7. carl

    Wow! Great set of links this morning, but the first four comments, by PK, Zaganostra, Fireship and The Rev are perfect add-ons to the same subjects. Botched roll-out, sclerotic leadership, failing operational capability. Well done, all. And happy new year.

  8. Mikel

    RE: Fleeing Lockdown / Mexico City

    “On one corner recently, working-class Mexicans lined up to buy oxygen tanks for their relatives, while just blocks away well-off young people queued up for croissants.”

    Again, would love detailed stats on the occupations of those falling ill.
    It needs to be in the face of people. That way, there can be a tally of the most industry that sacrificed the most people. We can suspect health care workers to be high. What other surprises could be in store?
    How many bartenders? Cleaning people? Restaurant workers? Factory workers?
    Really want to know.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      What stood out to me was this statement the tweet quoted from Emerson’s book:
      “I felt a sense of mission, a sense of active struggle against opposition, and a sense of accomplishment. I believed that the work the Board was doing was extremely important.”
      I believe this powerful human need for a sense of mission, struggle, and accomplishment should never be forgotten in discussions about work, and job guarantees. If we can afford to guarantee jobs, and we can, we can guarantee jobs that pay well and also satisfy this need for a sense of mission, struggle, and accomplishment. Of course there are important jobs that must be done that offer little to a sense of mission, struggle, or accomplishment … and those jobs should be better paid and shared by all in rotations.

      1. Rod

        you are insightful to recognize ‘mission’ as a critical motivator.
        I knew a Rosy the Riveter and a CCC Leader who both testified they fought the WWII as hard as anyone(including the Rosy’s 3 Brothers–2 PH’s and a BSM–who agreed).
        Each current ‘Tip of the Spear’ are supported by 7 in the Rear–not less invested.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I appreciate your agreement and not to suggest your examples are in any way wrong … but after years working for DoD at a job that was NOT my mission I hope we can find other worthy missions than war. Compare the Emerson quote with the Martian — in the movie — asking his commander to explain his death to his parents and suggesting a way. I heard similar feelings of mission when talking with engineers who worked on the LEM and did things like spending all night carefully reading acres of printouts of telemetry signals to guess at problems and fixes … very dull work without a sense of mission.

  9. Fraibert

    I think the article about South Korean voter registration overlooks one important detail–the government maintains an official centralized family register documenting each birth and to which family the child is born into. My guess is this is a relic of a society where continuing the family line is key. (Side note: Even Korean adoptees who were mostly adopted by westerners in the 1950s-80s have a registration.)

    This sort of centralization is what one would probably need to get universal registration working and I’m not sure I could see it being undertaken in the US.

  10. timbers


    So, another significant trade/investment win for China over the U.S.

    In talking with co workers or commoners like me while walking the dog, it seems everyone but everyone knows China will soon be the world’s Exceptional, Indispensable Nation (to borrow some phrases). The only ones who don’t seem to admit this in public are are the folks in Washington as they manage us local peasants form time to time in between running their world hegemon.

    Talk of China as the next Exceptional Indispensable Nation seems verboten among Washington’s elected. Instead, in between spitting in her face and pissing on her in public, is constant bashing of her, accusing her of Covid to hurt America, talk of her killing those folks we never heard of until we had an exe to grind with her.

    A better policy would be to rebuild US industry. And if that won’t be done (because we know they don’t want to do that), we should at least build good relations with the future exceptional indispensable nation. And has it occurred to anyone in Washington that helping China’s neighbor to the north, Russia, that strengthening Russia by lifting sanctions and trading with her and drawing her into Western Europe and the US markets would help lessen China’s future power? Must America be at war of all of Planet Earth?

    And if not, Instead of another parade of US Naval ships thru the South China Sea to show the world our Indispensable exceptionalism, wouldn’t it be less costly to just re-name the South China Sea, The Sea of America?

    1. a different chris

      And has it occurred to anyone in Washington that helping China’s neighbor to the north, Russia, that strengthening Russia by lifting sanctions and trading with her and drawing her into Western Europe and the US markets would help lessen China’s future power?

      Sadly this is the “the Democrats/Pelosi conceptual mistake”. Anyone of importance in Washington is there to profit either directly or politically off tension with scary foreign peoples like China and Russia. Just like I said somewhere that the things “the Democrats” need to do to regain the majority party strength of long ago would start with ending Nancy’s* career, the things you say would end a lot of people’s careers.

      So I’m not sure the Upton Sinclair quote. about not understanding something because their jobs require them to not understand it. applies to these people but it’s a good first pass. You can switch from guns to butter but the people that make guns don’t know how to make butter and are gonna resist.

      *I don’t know French but if somebody could re-work l’état, c’est moi for “I am the Democrats” that would clarify everything.

    2. voteforno6

      If China wants to be the “indispensable” nation, maybe we should let them. What good has that actually done for the U.S.?

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Or perhaps ask what good has the US done as the “indispensable” nation? Time for someone else to take a turn?

        “…maybe we should let them”? Maybe it isn’t in our power to allow or prevent.

      2. John

        I don’t think China aspires to be the “indispensable” nation in the US sense of it. Just because the US is having a difficult time facing a perceived decline in its role in the world does not mean that China seeks to replace us in exactly the same way.

        Better to pay attention to US policy that has driven Russia, China, and Iran closer together and to the hurling of sanctions at anyone with the temerity to act counter to US wishes if you want the real drivers of declining influence.

    3. Dftbs

      I think the Palladium article on China may have been one the few clear analysis of our relations with that nation that I have read in English. But imho it still has some ideological blind spots that can help explain the futility of the current American position which timbers identifies:

      “A better policy would be to rebuild US industry.” Or “strengthening Russia”.

      While Doctor Hanania’s analysis tries to identify the benign nature to China’s inevitable ascendancy; he also couches his analysis in useless terms such as liberal and illiberal. These cloud the real issue, not China’s rise, but America’s response to it and Americans’ response to it.

      He identifies the self-perception of the American ruling class, but takes it for granted that this self-perception is accurate. That American elites representing the vanguard of liberalism must learn to live with illiberal China.

      But the truth is that American elites are only wedded to an ideology so long as it advances their material project. In this case rapacious capitalism. That is why we simply won’t “rebuild us industry”. These elites spent the better part of last century destroying the power of labor relative to capital, off shoring was the nuclear weapon of that war. They could no more undo this than a tiger and it’s stripes, yada yada.

      Moreover the rest of the world doesn’t see the US elite the way it sees itself. The US can’t strengthen Russia for two reasons. First, Russia doesn’t seem to need US assistance. But more importantly the Russians know the US elite is their enemy; and they have the receipts to prove this.

      The challenge of China’s rise isn’t going to be seen in conflict in the South China Sea or some far flung place Americans can’t find on a map. The challenge will be here at home when the unwashed masses realize that a communist nation has provided a better material existence for its people on all levels, from education to healthcare, to big screen TVs.

      1. jrkrideau

        I was impressed with the author’s repitition of the US’s commitment to “liberal democracy”.

        Can anyone name a country since, let’s say 1950 where US intervention has led to the formation of a liberal democracy? There must be some but none come to mind.

      2. Person

        Ideology is the wrong lens. The US is just as “liberal” as China is “communist”; that is, neither really holds to the label anymore. I would say that the US is “deluded” (among many other things) while China is “pragmatic”.

        Until we take off our blinders, we’re doomed to remain in stagnation. The 1990s are over, the world is moving on, and we need a new core competence.

        1. Dftbs

          Person. I would tend to disagree. I think there is a popular notion in the west that China is capitalist. The evidence is both the existence of market mechanisms and the growth of the Chinese bourgeoisie.

          But market mechanisms aren’t exclusively capitalists. The Chinese communists learned many lessons from the failed Soviet experiment. Amongst them the problem with dogmatic interpretations of Marxist theory. They saw that the Soviet’s were unable to fully define and implement labor theory of value. They realized that the definition of labor must be expanded beyond the physical and that the market mechanism was simply a tool, not an end in itself. To the CPC, the “market” is a hammer for the development of their nation; and we capitalists are like a Stone Age tribe that worships hammers.

          As to the growth of the Chinese bourgeois. Post-Mao communist development and theory thought the Soviet case was unique and not replicable, and eventually with the benefit of hindsight- doomed. Socialism with Chinese characteristics sees the growth of a bourgeois as a historically necessary step towards communism. But it also sees communism as a system of abundance rather than penury. We think the Chinese are capitalists because they are growing their wealth. The Chinese think communism is the only way to grow wealth.

          So yes, we may or may not be liberal. Personally I think we are truly the epitome of liberal. Just that liberalism isn’t all its cracked up to be. And yes the Chinese are communists.

          1. Person

            > We think the Chinese are capitalists because they are growing their wealth.

            I would say people think they are capitalists because they have markets, private enterprise, stocks, and the appearance of a capitalist economy. It’s a stretch to call that communist no matter the long-term intent. Given the level of state involvement and investment, I wouldn’t call it fully “capitalist” either. It’s a pragmatic hybrid economy. Perhaps their end goal is an economy composed of collectively owned enterprises, but unless you take this notion very abstractly, they aren’t nearly there yet.

            > Personally I think we are truly the epitome of liberal. Just that liberalism isn’t all its cracked up to be.

            I agree with your second statement, but not your first. I think we have moved beyond liberalism precisely because it has failed. Neoliberalism may share some superficial characteristics with liberalism, but at its core it is “socialism for the rich”; this is a great distance from laissez-faire principles, which turned out to be unworkable in practice.

      3. John

        No one forced US industry down China’s throat. Financial capitalists saw greater profit in money manipulation than in things. Thus, medicine, PPE, masks, and so much more are made in China or made in Viet Nam or anywhere but in the USA.

        Meanwhile, Wall Street is doing just fine thank you and the arms makers produce such little wonders as the F-35 while making billions. A vaccine for The Plague is going to net its makers billions and billions though how those made destitute by that Plague will pay for their shots is a mystery.

        1. Massinissa

          “A vaccine for The Plague is going to net its makers billions and billions though how those made destitute by that Plague will pay for their shots is a mystery.”

          Lambert’s 2 rules of Neoliberalism work here.

          1. Because Markets.
          2. Go die!

          And somehow the medical companies will make boatloads of money, likely from the federal government, while the people are still screwed over.

    4. Lost in OR

      So, was it the 90’s when Japan was taking over the world? What happened with that? An asian flu that nobody foresaw and Japan has never recovered from.

      China is not without it’s challenges. The US and EU, ditto. I suspect we are all still fighting the last war. The world has turned and the new paradigm has yet to be determined. There is no guarantee in China.

      1. Massinissa

        Its amusing to me how that old ‘Japan Inc.’ article from the late 80s was completely invalidated in less than a decade after being published.

    5. chuck roast

      China…in 50 years from a nation of mud huts to an urban superpower.
      America…in 50 years from an urban superpower to a rental slum.
      Even the great unwashed can figure this out.

    6. Rod

      Must America be at war of all of Planet Earth?

      Just going back to the Monroe Doctrine, it does seem that this has become Institutionalized within our History.
      Howard Zinn, author of “A People’s History of the United States,” may have covered this a bit.

      Here is Real Clear Politics taking down Zinn for something moar Important–the 1619 Project.!

      I need to rinse my mouth out now.

      1. Massinissa

        From that article Ben Shapiro article, referring to Zinn:

        ‘But that historical retelling is at odds with the better, truer story of America: the story of a nation founded on eternally good and true principles, principles only fully realized for many Americans at the cost of blood and sweat and death. Ex-slave Frederick Douglass’s take on American history remains the most honest, as well as the most visionary. While acknowledging that to the American slave, Independence Day represents “more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” Douglass recognized that the Constitution is a “glorious liberty document,” the Declaration of Independence a charter of “saving principles.”

        Uh… ‘eternally good and true principles’? This is basically American Exceptionalism rearing its ugly head again.

        Someone please save us from Ben Shapiro. I like how he conflated the 1619 project, Howard Zinn, and… Beto O’rourke? You know, three things that have nothing in common? To Ben Shapiro they’re apparently all the same thing. I think Shapiro was mainly using Zinn and the 1619 project here to somehow portray Beto O’rourke as being some kind of radical leftist. I don’t understand how people can read this kind of thing and maintain a serious face afterward.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Real Threat is to America’s Ruling Ideology”

    In previous comments I have noted that a major theme of present history is the shift of a unipolar world to a multipolar world. I think that this is a major impetus to the push against China as this happens. What I believe was supposed to happen was that China was to have been taken over by their billionaires and become a neoliberal State who would then sell the Chinese down the Yangtze river. Instead, it has stayed a power house and devoted enormous resources to get where it is. In fact, the Chinese economy is overtaking a hollowed-out American economy and have the military power to push back if pushed. That is why Washington went apes*** when the EU signed an investment deal with China causing them to sanction the EU.

    Russia is another emerging pole in this new world which explains the relentless and never ending attacks against them. Trying to kill the Nord Stream pipeline (which lands in Merkel’s electorate) from Russia to force the EU to sign up for much more expensive and less reliable US supplies is not working which is more frustrating. Plus the decades long attempt to surround Russia with nuclear-tipped missiles has now failed as Russia has developed a whole new generation of hyper weapons to counter this encirclement. As timbers talked about above in his comment, the US could spend the resources to rebuild the US as much as possible while sitting down to real politik negotiation with other countries but we all know that Washington would never do such a thing. Going by past events, I would expect Washington to simply double down on their behaviour and especially under a Harris, errr, Biden administration.

    1. Wukchumni

      When I was a lad should I not finish the tucker on my plate or be able to underhand it to Nero* our 3-legged Irish Setter, my parents would immediately go to the ‘you know there are people starving in China’ card, and they weren’t exaggerating, my counterpart in the middle kingdom was malnourished @ best, dead at worst.

      I often wonder how strangled mentally people of an age are by bygone eras which became cemented in our minds as the way it’ll always be.

      All things considered, I quite like Chinese food and would welcome them to take over the world for a spell, heaven knows we can’t anymore.

      * my porn name is Nero Hacienda, quite catchy that.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Had an awful thought the other day. What if in China in a few years time Chinese parents will be telling their kids to finish all the rice on their plates because people are going hungry in America? When I was a little kid my mother said to finish all the food on my plate because people were going hungry in China.

    2. Kouros

      US is pissed because 1) EU got a front seat at getting a slice of profitable investments in China and 2) Had the temerity to recognize and formalize the right to existence of State Owned Enterprises, which former TPP was all about: killing SOEs…

    3. Person

      This take is consistent with my own views. We had a brief window where Russian relations could have been improved, but the US energy and defense players (especially NATO grifters) wouldn’t let it happen. Now Russia and China are getting cozy, the EU is drifting further away, and the US has nothing to show for it.

      We used to be the world’s primary source of security and offered the best market for trade, and we controlled some key products (tech) that nobody else could match. What’s our competitive edge in the newly emerging world? Do we have anything unique to offer besides overpriced weapons systems? The tech sanctions on China seem to be a desperate effort to hold on to our last real edge, but you can’t stop a massive country full of engineers and scientists (and rare earth materials!) from building their own chips.

  12. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    With regard to controls in South Korea, a friend said it was similar in Harare and Addis Ababa. He’s visiting his ailing mum.

    1. Synoia

      It is interesting that Harare, Capital of failing state Zimbabwe, can have controls, and the so call Leading Nations, the USA and UK appear like banana republics.

      I apologize in advance to the real Banana Republics for an unfair comparison.

  13. carl

    Re: the Steve Randy Waldman tweet. Suggest scrolling down until you pick up Paul Bieniasz tweet. Scary as hell.

      1. a different chris

        > the chief scientist has proven himself a serial liar.

        He wouldn’t be chief scientist in America if he wasn’t, that’s not how things work here. He lies to himself about how he’s Pelosie’d himself well past his sell-by date, and the rest of the lying just follows.

        He could have said “indications are at the moment but…”, he could have said “some research may be showing…” but he wouldn’t be Most Important Doctor In The World if he qualified things. If he showed that he was human, if he showed that he was really unsure about things.

        If he said stuff like that the cameras would go elsewhere. Can’t have that.

          1. The Rev Kev

            When the pandemic was really getting underway, the WHO absolutely refused to call it as such. In fact, they officially removed the work ‘Pandemic’ from their official lexicon and it was a month or to before they were forced to put it back by which time it really was a full bore pandemic.

    1. Maritimer

      I got “video unavailable”. I’ve followed this fellow’s “noble lies”—he should be granted a Dukedom at least.

      Please all, in future, refer to as Dr. Phauci or Dr. Fraudi.

  14. Jeff W

    The Plague Year The New Yorker.

    “(One might also ask…”

    Does the parenthetical part end anywhere in particular?

      1. Montanamaven

        I went back and skimmed your piece on the history of associations as explained by de Toqueville. The Gramsci quote was extremely important. He was saying that one of the first things fascists get rid of or take over are associations made by regular people. Because in those mutual aid societies or social groups, working people can get all kinds of “bad” ideas about what democracy really looks like. It reminded me of the recent post by John Michael Greer about secret societies like the Elk, Moose, Grange, Freemasons, etc. Knock and Give the Password
        In the essay he mentions how a bus driver can be a person of substance in a Lodge. As in one example where the person was in charge of the budget for the lodge. He was important to the Lodge. Reminds me of Ralph Cramden and the Racoon Lodge.

  15. K.k

    Pa representative Mike Reese died at age of 42 from brain aneurism yesterday. He was tested positive for covid a few weeks ago and had been in quarantine.

    This story seems to be getting very little coverage. In fact as you scroll through your daily news feed from google you are more likely to find story about harvard professor who believes aliens visited us in 2017 and multiple stories about Pelosis property being vandalized.
    The news stories i looked up all lead with brain aneurism and hardly mention Covid.

    For those that may have missed it there is link to an article about brain damage and covid in yesterdays links section. Of course readers here will also remember news from back in june when researchers were concerned about this very thing.

    Here is where it gets strange. There seems to be some form of censorship going on. Im hoping someone here will have a somewhat reasonable explanation to explain the following away.
    Go to google and begin to type in abbreviation for any state, for example Illinois, IL. Then type in “rep”, abbreviation for representative. So far google autofill algorithm will pick up and offer you choices. You can do this for any rep from any state, and the autofill works. Now , begin to google pa rep mike reese. The autofill algorithm will not fill in his info at all until you fully enter his name and hit enter. In fact autofill will offer you info for other reps from Pa. as you try to enter his name.
    But the aliens are coming!

    1. Glen

      We have seen an unusual number of strokes in our extended family this year resulting in at least one death.. These seem to be covid related since a couple of times the person had tested positive, but not always

  16. a different chris

    The “No future: the English left…” has a fundamental problem. Or at least the Left does. It’s unfortunate for me to point this out, because it is well-written and defensible as I always defend things: you can point out problems without having solutions.

    But sometimes there aren’t any solutions. Look at this:

    Here it was necessary for the Left to engage with the realities of both antisemitism and the state of Israel and its violent ethno-nationalist politics.

    How do you do that in today’s sound-bite world? I think it is literally impossible. I could pull three or more other quotes out of the article that seem to have the same brick wall. And when you have a bunch of insolvable problems people naturally retreat into the right wing fantasyland, which you can’t get them out of because, again said problems are insolvable.

    Welcome to 2021. Who gets to be Archduke Ferdinand in this unwanted sequel?

  17. Wukchumni

    “Half the people in the I.C.U. had Southern accents,” [Bellevue’s Nate] Link told me. “That’s what saved us.”

    Worth putting the Red State/Blue State paradigm into this context.

    A national draft based on a 2 year commitment to your choice of nursing school, a neo-CCC, and whatever else comes to mind, would do wonders in reuniting the country in allowing Arkansas to be pals with California, and stop thinking the worst of each other based largely upon political persuasion.

    It’s a crazy divider, the idea that any of us has any faith in our leadership enough to allow us be divided along such lines.

    1. Glen

      That’s a great idea, but figuring out how to change our health care system so that we don’t work them to death is required too.

  18. Wukchumni

    What If dept:

    Lets say Communism doesn’t fall 30 years ago and is still Capitalism’s arch rival presently…

    They had a pretty good thing going with their citizens used to austerity & lack of freedom in these times of Covid. Similar to western tv & radio back then, present day internet would be completely blocked out in the bloc party. Travel was already difficult (one needed an internal passport to travel in the USSR) and could be stopped toot suite, stopping the spread.

    No business in the communist era really tried to make money, it was more keeping people employed. My mom related the tale of buying a pair of shoes in Prague circa 1984, with a retinue of 6 or 7 people helping her consummate the purchase, so the whole livelihood thing here, or lack of, wouldn’t have mattered there.

    China is Communist, but not like old school stuff. You wonder how much mental muscle memory helped them defeat Covid?

    1. Phillip Cross

      The difference in the cultures is captured in Bernie’s slogan “Not me. Us.”.

      “Mindless consumerism has been successfully foisted off on Third World chumps because convenience is a stronger drug than heroin. They don’t want democracy, they want Madonna albums. They don’t want the sacred tea of their ancestors, they want Dr. Pepper… or better yet, a banana wine cooler. And they sure as hell don’t want to return to any practices of their ancestors that requires patience and creative thought. It’s not instant gratification. Even with prayer, one has to wait – but turn on the TV, and the sweet voice of consumption is instantly right there in front of you. Push a button on the microwave, and out pops dinner. You don’t have to wait for anything – you don’t even have to get out of your car. We’ve addicted the entire world, tagging their brains with our radioactive photon emissions like a dog marking it’s territory. “

      1. Wukchumni

        A few years back I was soaking next to a 96 year old Battle of the Bulge veteran @ Saline hot springs, and asked him the biggest change in his near run at a century of duty on this good orb, and he thought about a minute, and then told me:

        “Easy-everything is so easy now.”

      2. Oh

        Not to mention clicks to order stuff on the phone or computer, fast food, food delivery, uber, texting etc etc.

  19. Phillip Cross

    I found this article interesting. It is written by a doctor who is an expert in the use and properties of Ivermectin. Lots of interesting stuff in there.

    Questions and Answers about Ivermectin and COVID-19


    The experiment where Ivermectin stops the replication of Covid in a petri dish required a dose 60x higher than the approved human dose to cause a 50x reduction in replication. Over 100x higher to fully arrest its replication. It is not known whether it is safe to take a dose this high, no data exists. This suggests the effects seen in the studies are not from stopping viral replication but some other route.

    The first areas where they have promising reports of Ivermectin vs. Covid are tropical countries, (Bangladesh, Peru, Florida, Dominican Republic). This doctor notes that tropical areas like those have a big problem with untreated worm infestations. Being infested with worms is deliterious to your health and Ivermectin gets rid of the worms. Could killing the worms in someone who had an untreated infestation, make them less likely to get seriously ill with a disease like Covid-19 that tends to pick off those with co-morbidities? Probably. Is there any data about how worm infested the patients were prior to treatment in the reports? No.

    Maybe it does work, I have no idea, but I am hesitant to get my health advice from the sources I have seen loudly advocating for this drug.

    1. fresno dan

      January 3, 2021 at 11:16 am

      I just posted that too – should have checked. There used to be a Trader Joe’s quite close to where I lived but they moved it to the fancy neighborhood a long way from where I live, so I don’t bother to go anymore…

    2. ambrit

      This is ominous. Do alert us when the venue is reopened under the name “Trader Kamela’s.”

    3. upstater

      Amazing. Here in central NYS mask use is 100%. Occasionally you see some sloppy below the nose stuff, but that is the rare exception.

      Having said that, cases are setting new records because of the holidays, mostly family transmission and some from Cuomo’s opening almost everything.

  20. K.k

    Im not sure if this has been linked or discussed here.

    I have been in touch with my sister in the u.k. I was horrified to learn they have been forced to send their kids to school under threat of heavy fines. Here is an article from couple months back….

    And now even with the new variant having been confirmed, the authorities are still trying to force schools to open after delaying the opening for two weeks. Fortunately the teachers unions are resisting and looks like will refuse to show up. Sound familiar? Just a reminder, it was the teachers unions and pressure from transit workers that forced the hands of the politicians in ny to shut down when they did and save thousands of lives in the process.

    1. Mikel

      Another example of trying to increase the spread of the disease?

      Maybe a good way to create more mutations too?

      1. Phillip Cross

        As usual with, it’s hard to tell if it’s malice or incompetence.

        “Covid infection rates highest among secondary school children”

        “Children (in the UK) are much more likely than adults (for older kids, nearly 8x more likely) to be the first case of Covid in a household. Also more likely to transmit to others in the household. ”

        I noticed that in the US data, new infections peaked on 12/18/20 which was the last day of school for most. Coincidence?

        1. ambrit

          It probably is coincidence. Seeing how there is a reported lag of two weeks between exposure to the virus and statistical manifestation of the Dreaded Pathogen, a more ominous metric would be a peak in reported new infections on 1 January, 2021.

    1. JWP

      Imagine how crazy Mulholland would have gone for this. Could have bought the entire state of California with a financialized water industry.

  21. Ep3

    Yves, in regards to the union/pro labor article.
    There was nothing mentioned about protecting union worker contracts & the retiree benefits provided by them. There is now legal precedent that says contracts can be ripped up, & retiree benefits eliminated. How about basic laws that allow retirees to remain members of the union? Retirees are being told their benefits only last as long as the current contract and then are up for renegotiations. So why can’t the retirees have a say/vote in those contracts?
    Heck why can’t labor contracts have the same concrete language that every other contract has? Why can’t i rip up my cell phone contract & refuse to pay their cancellation fees in the same way union contracts are tore up?

    1. Rod

      My Union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, does allow retired members to remain voting members with some limits( you do have to be current on your Dues(often reduced after standard retirement or eliminated after 50 years of membership).
      I cannot speak to other American Unions.

  22. Wukchumni

    After averaging about 60 new cases each week through the fall, infections of homeless people doubled in the week after Thanksgiving and have since continued to climb sharply. On Tuesday, the Department of Public Health’s latest report showed 547 new cases in the previous week.
    Haven’t been to the City of Angles since 2019, and friendenizens tell me the homeless have mushroomed since into every nook & cranny, and now 9x as many new Covid cases in a week as in the fall.

  23. Mikel

    “McConnell, Pelosi homes vandalized after $2,000 relief fails” Associated Press

    Some people in the comments yesterday were on to something.
    Somebody new A WHOLE lot about the security systems in place at these homes.

      1. rowlf

        Is it Russians this week or Iranians? Cubans? Venezuelans? Drug cartels? Oligarchs? I have a hard time keeping track who is attacking our democracy and who I have to be fearful of. /s


    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      Oh, come on. This isn’t Ocean’s Eleven. Pelosi’s home is on a public street and her garage door is right off the sidewalk. A can of spray paint and a Covid mask to defeat any security cameras is all you’d need to vandalize her garage door.

    1. Massinissa

      The second tweet says that they are designating an anti-Semitic paramilitary group in Russia a terrorist organization.

      The first tweet says they are giving weapons to largely anti-Semitic militants in Ukraine.

      I’m mostly shocked that I’m not shocked that Pompeo is announcing these two rather contradictory things within two hours of each other.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe the Russians should ask Interpol to put out a warrant for his arrest on charges of supporting international terrorism like some of those groups in the Ukraine. You have had even white-supremacists Americans go over to the Ukraine to learn from those militants that you mentioned. Makes you wonder what they were being taught actually.

  24. Lex

    ‘Why Aren’t They Home? Lake Tahoe Struggles To Keep Vacationers At Bay.’

    ‘vacation-starved tourists’

    When did vacationing become an essential nutrient? Kudos to the travel industry for convincing so many people with disposable income, that dropping hundreds or thousands on “experiences” was “essential” to their well-being, and failure to wander would result in the equivalent of scurvy, rickets, or the dreaded low social media score. If you don’t take a selfie in exotic — anywhere but home — locales, do you really exist? Did vacation really happen?!

    1. Carolinian

      When my brother and I were feeling vacation deprived as kids we would camp out in the back yard. We even had a (probably illegal) campfire.

      These days camping itself may be endangered unless in a large tin box pulled by a Ford 150. Americans need to get back to living small.

      1. Wukchumni

        I used to camp in the backyard in a tent when I was around 12.

        The idea you were only about a dozen feet from the sliding glass door and maybe 15 feet to the fridge could alter your wilderness experience, or if you had to go #2.

        But you did your best to keep it authentic, sort of.

      2. Montanamaven

        My sisters and I did the same thing! We had a green canvas tent that smelled a lot when it rained. We pitched it near Mom’s clothesline. It was super fun to tell spooky stories complete with flashlight effects and sneak down to the creek and back before Dad found out. Oh and catching fireflies.

      3. ambrit

        Americans will not have a choice in the matter. Resource allocation in America is now so screwed up that, when some sort of medium level ‘disruption’ does happen, the cascading effects will perform just like financial ‘leveraging.’
        With the evictions moratoriums expiring, millions of Americans will be facing de facto downsizing in a hurry.
        We did live in a “..tin box pulled by an [International Scout II]” for several years. One of the biggest lessons I learned from that experience was that social shaming is powerful. When you are viewed as “low class trash,” {something I once was called to my face by someone I would have otherwise liked and respected,} your opportunities for social integration, co-operation, and ability to work for a better standard of living drop precipitously.
        Much of American society is based on shame and shaming the “other.” (I don’t know enough about other cultures to have an informed opinion on that subject within those cultures. It very well could be a universal trait.)

        1. Lex

          Excellent. Ambrit! I read a book titled, ‘White Trash: The 400 Year Old History of Class in America’ by Nancy Isenberg. The subject of class in the U.S. has always been with us. I was amazed by just how many labels have been used to shame the poor.

    2. Wukchumni

      It was stupid busy in town from tourists in a hurry to see trees a few thousand years old that aren’t going anywhere soon, but luckily the cemetery was dead and we didn’t see another soul in an hour saunter among those long since departed.

    3. Montanamaven

      I read that piece. The companion piece is even better as it goes into the local politics i.e. The High Country News article “When Covid Hit,A Colorado County Kicked Out 2nd Home Owners. They Hit Back.”. I used to subscribe to HCN. Their reporters do exhaustive investigative reporting. The problems for these “resort” towns are the same. They need low wage workers to serve the tourists and the owners of vacation homes. But they don’t supply them with good wages or affordable housing. And they treat them with contempt. (There is even mention of awful people demanding respect because they tipped well. Harks back to yesterday’s must read on tipping.) Meanwhile, the local ranchers are trying to keep the old ways going i.e. raising cattle for food.
      So you put your finger on the crux of the matter. We decided that tourism would take the place of growing and raising our food. We decided that tourism would replace making washing machines and shoes. Oh boy. How do we turn this ship around?
      I read somewhere or maybe it was Adam Curtis that everything changed when people because of advertising switched from buying things they needed to things that they wanted. We do need leisure time, but that doesn’t mean we have to have luxury vacations in expensive resorts.

      1. John

        As long as our economic paradigm is financial capitalism, we do not turn it around. Turning it around would mean less money in the hands of those who already have too much.

  25. Tomonthebeach

    Data Shows People are Tired of Social Distancing.

    Are they tired of living? Tired of life? Happy to trim the family tree?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Spending the next 3 years pretending everything will be back to normal in a month or so is what I find ‘fatiguing’. Could we please start adjusting to new circumstances? It will even help when the next pandemic shows up.

    2. Geo

      “Are they tired of living? Tired of life?”

      For many I know, yes. Myself too on most days. Much of life is a burden and the few things that make it worthwhile are the things we’re not supposed to do right now.

      Suicide rates are skyrocketing. Domestic abuse and substance abuse too. Despite our “connected” tech world we’re still biological beings that find comfort and meaning in closeness with others. Is it a risk to forego social distancing? Yes. But it’s also harmful to be isolated for long periods of time.

      When there is no end in sight and no plan for bettering things people will make their own choices and take their own risks.

      Personally, I play it safe for the most part but am no longer in total isolation mode. Sometimes a hug from a friend makes weeks of depression and anxiety go away for a little while. And, when that hug was from someone who is now no longer on this mortal coil (for a non-Covid related death) it is something to hold on to as a memory that was worth breaking with social distancing for.

  26. Kouros

    Assange is really treated by the Deep States and pursued with similar vengefulness as the Israel pursued the Nazi fugitives that were involved with the Concentration Camps…

  27. DJG

    The article in High Country News about the Colorado towns of Crested Butte and Gunnison is mind-altering. It is highly reminiscent of yesterday’s Food & Wine posting about horrific restaurant customers:

    And here they are, in Crested Butte: ‘In late April, Moran sent an angry message to a local server who had criticized the second-home owners, posting his note to the GV2H Facebook group as well. Moran, who had apparently left the server a large tip, called her comments “a betrayal of the good people who have been gracious to you.” Around that time, there was talk on the Facebook group of compiling a list of locals they considered ungrateful. “People who rely on others for their livelihoods should not bite the hand that feeds them,” wrote one second-home owner.’

    We are doomed. What strikes me here is just how strongly the plantation-overseer mindset dominates in the U S of A. There is no respect for labor. There is no respect for people of other social classes. There is the whip. And that’s it.

    1. DJG

      Spoiler alert: The plucky locals manage not to lose the election. Nevertheless, the mindset is thoroughly planted in a place that isn’t going to be able to support these secondhomers in the futurre.

      1. Montanamaven

        Oh I just posted about this article above since I didn’t think it had enough attention.

  28. Michael

    Re: High Country News. Thanks for this article. I’ve read HCN on and off since the 70’s when they had news stands in every town on the Western Slope (of CO). Exposing the land deals that fueled growth and a raucous brand of humor set by the owner and columnists.

    I first went to Gunnison and Crested Butte in the 60’s when my Aunt and Uncle moved there after he got a teaching job at Western U. Very small towns surrounded by working ranches and a few state parks with camp sites. Later, my Aunt started an art gallery on Main St stocked with local artists wares purchased by tourists and residents alike. As the ski resort business ebbed and flowed with the national economy, the pace of change reached higher and higher plateaus. Construction boomed due to cheaper $$ and busts followed. Many Western towns experienced the same pattern esp when jet service started.

    Jackson Hole is another enclave the rich claim to dominate recently. After vacationing there in the 60’s, my dad retired and decided it was paradise and moved there in the mid 70’s and built a geodesic dome with my wife and I 3-4 miles from the ski resort. Wonderful local people and businesses in town and stunning natural beauty. Not uncommon to see a line of campers snaking thru town on their way to the Tetons and Yellowstone. Big changes when jet service started, but booms and busts too. Outsiders wanting to improve things and locals saying no thanks for the most part.

    The bifurcation of society started long ago in towns like these and has reached a crescendo across the US. Is the writing on the wall again as the dot bombers flee their previous utopias for new ones? Probably. Stay tuned and read the High Country News!

    1. Wukchumni

      Ski towns mostly got big and stupid, with million dollar 4 bedroom/3 bath ‘cabins’ and the like. Lower income locals increasingly squeezed out, but clinging thanks to money making possibilities during the season, but that was then and this is now.

      I’m of the opinion that the resorts want to stay open just long enough to not have to refund season passes.

    2. Montanamaven

      I know of several wealthy families that have large places here in Central Montana who have hedged their bets with places in British Columbia. The rich were always able to move while the rest of us have to hunker down. The virus has exposed the cockroaches scurrying to the next rock. Funny thing is that the regular people are much more compassionate than the roaches. “Live and Let Live”. So far they let them scurry away rather than smashing them with rocks. Okay, enough of that metaphor. Read HCN!

      1. Michael

        Read a companion piece on the front page that had this quote:

        “Someone told me when I first came to Jackson that, and I think this is true of all ski towns, Jackson is a place you have to fight for,” Hutchings said. “You will have joyful and amazing time here, but when you don’t want to fight any longer you leave. It wears you down.”

        So true! Unless you got there really early or are wealthy. Still, when the old icons disappear and the jet setters arrive to ski and shop, its back country or bust.

        1. John

          I have taken students to China a number of times. It is a transforming experience for most of them, but there is still the American urge to shop even whether in Jackson Hole or Shanghai and you can find the dame stores in both places. I don’t get it.

          1. Montanamaven

            Here’s an article on what is happening in Bozeman, Montana which is near Big Sky Ski Resort. It now has non-stops from NYC in pre-pandemic times. It has non-stops all the time now from Los Angeles. But this is an article about a LA hair dresser and a bar tender who think this is the answer for them. And it may be for now. Most transplants don’t really make it past a few winters. The shopping sucks. Ha. ha. Escape to Bozeman

  29. fresno dan
    A Fresno Trader Joe’s location shut down for the night on Saturday after a large group of anti-face mask protesters gathered in front of the store.
    “Burn the Mask” demonstrators protested against the store’s mask requirement.
    So, why Trader Joe’s?
    And how many people compose a “large” group? From the video I would doubt there were even 50…
    The Fresno metropolitan area is about 1.1 million.

    1. Wukchumni

      Fresno dan, I don’t get it either, I mean why not protest at a check cashing place, payday lender or rent to own furniture store, or better yet bail bonds office?

      And what a motley crue, no doubt part of the ‘Dearth First’ environmentalist manifesto.

  30. Bubba

    The Plague Year.
    Interesting demographics.
    From the CDC website:
    2.9% of cases resulted in 32.9% of deaths; with a mortality rate exceeding 20%.
    The group with the largest number of cases (28.2%) resulted in one-half of one percent of total deaths and a mortality rate that is whatever percentage that 1,212 deaths out of 3,425,101 cases gives you.
    All the data is here:

    1. Phillip Cross

      It only killed 4 children each and every week for a year.

      Barely a scratch, as long as it wasn’t your kid.

      1. Tell those oldies to stop catching Covid.
      2. …
      3. Problem solved!


  31. allan

    Who is Cleta Mitchell? Thank you for asking:

    Cleta Deatherage Mitchell (born September 15, 1950[1]) is an American lawyer, politician and conservative activist.[2] …

    Mitchell is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner.[4][5][6][7] She has served as legal counsel for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Rifle Association.[4][5] She represents Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).[6][7][2] …

    She is on the Board of numerous conservative organizations, including the Bradley Foundation,[9] the National Rifle Association (NRA) (where she has also been a lawyer), the American Conservative Union Foundation,[10][11] as well as the Republican National Lawyers Association, where she is a former president.[4][5][6] …

    Seems nice. But for the pièce de résistance:

    …In 1984, Cleta Deatherage married Dale Mitchell, who was the son of all-star Brooklyn Dodgers left-fielder Dale Mitchell. In the early 1980s, the FBI began investigating Dale Mitchell for banking malpractice,[19] and in 1992 he was convicted of five felony counts of conspiracy to defraud, misapplying bank funds and making false statements to banks, and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.[20] According to Mitchell, this is what convinced her that government had grown too big.[18]

    Exactly the sort of Small Government™, Big Law, Big Con intellectual heavyweight you would want
    helping you try to steal an election. On a taped call.

    1. edmondo

      The Dems will lose so many seats in two years that it will take them a generation to recover from three successive redistrictings. I hope Nancy’s ego was worth it. What other reason dis she have for running? Her policy programs?

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