Links 1/30/2021

Dear patient readers

Thanks for all your kind notes yesterday. Feeling a good bit better.

Surfing duck: Pet becomes local celebrity at Australian beach BBC (David L)

‘A brilliant way to get humans to behave’: the shelter where volunteers read to farm animals Guardian (furzy)

28 Trillion Tonnes of Ice Have Melted Since 1994, on Track With Worst-Case Scenarios ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

How algorithms and data are used to influence you Vox (resilc)

Researchers use AI to help businesses understand Code of Federal Regs, other legal docs TechXplore (Dr. Kevin)

Mediterranean diet and the hallmarks of ageing European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


A Stalled Global Vaccine Drive: The West’s Greed Could Come Back To Haunt It DER SPIEGEL

Men Seem to Endorse COVID Conspiracies More Than Women. Why? Vice (resilc)

I Am the Designer of This Restaurant’s Outdoor Seating Space, and This Is My Artist’s Statement McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (Anthony L)


Think it couldn’t get any worse? China rolls out ‘more accurate’ ANAL SWABS for Covid-19 testing RT (Kevin W)

As WHO mission into Covid origin begins in China, bereaved son seeks answers NBC (furzy). I am such a moron. The reason for China’s resistance may be that that big official dinner in Wuhah as the disease was starting to get going, and was widely publicized/criticized outside China, may have been kept well under wraps. Any investigation is likely to expose earlier evidence of the disease; the question then becomes whether there were warnings or calls for follow-up that were ignored.


>CDC issue sweeping national mask mandate on ALL public transport including planes, ships, subways and buses that will take effect on TUESDAY Daily Mail

GOP Lawmaker Who Proposed Bigfoot Hunting Season Now Wants to Know If Vaccines Track You. (They Don’t.) (resilc)

What does the more contagious strain of coronavirus in Washington state mean, and what can be done? Seattle Times (furzy)

Several Mutations of the Coronavirus That Causes COVID-19 Detected in Oregon Wastewater Willamette Week (David L)

Vaccinated congressman tests positive for virus Associated Press

US children will ‘hopefully’ get vaccines in late spring or early summer, says Fauci Guardian (Kevin W)


Met Police officers privately ordered to switch off NHS COVID-19 tracing app openDemocracy

EU vaccine export row: Bloc backtracks on controls for NI BBC


Study finds that Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro carried out an ‘institutional strategy to spread the coronavirus’ El Pais (Paul R)

Brazil’s Second Wave: A Country Is Made To Suffer as President Sabotages Immunization Campaign Der Spiegel (furzy)


Beijing must recognise its own mistakes in US-China relations South China Morning Post

For Peace With North Korea, Biden Must End the US-South Korea Military Exercises Truthout (furzy)

New Cold War

Putin signs last-minute extension to nuclear weapons treaty with US Guardian (Kevin W)



Imperial Collapse Watch

Will the US end military domination to save the planet? Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Joe Biden’s dollar policy holds the key to a fairer global financial system South China Morning Post

Trump Transition

Legal Pressure on Trump Increases With Judge’s Order in Fraud Inquiry New York Times (furzy). IMHO the valuation issue is noise. Any lender does his own due diligence and on real estate, should make his own proformas from the rent rolls. Unless Trump provided copies of tax returns for the relevant entities that weren’t the same as the ones filed, or fake rent contracts, it’s hard to see the problem. Plus as we’ve pointed out with PE, when you have more than one firm investing in the same company, it is not hard to see valuations that differ by 100% or more (as in one fund puts a value on it 2x or more higher than the other fund) and each can offer a very articulate defense of their valuation. But not treating forgiven debt as income? How could Trump’s accountants have signed his tax returns?

Ex-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith avoids prison after admitting he doctored email in investigation of Trump campaign Washington Post

Capitol Seizure

The Capitol insurrection isn’t moderating the GOP. It’s making them more extreme. The Week (resilc)

Proud Boys Charged With Conspiracy in Capitol Riot New York Times

Scrutiny grows over National Guard presence at Capitol The Hill


Biden signs executive orders at furious pace The Hill

Biden Orders Sweeping Review of Government Science Integrity Policies Science Magazine

How the Biden Presidency Could Change the U.S. Space Program Time (furzy)

Biden Is Refusing to Give Marjorie Taylor Greene the Attention She Craves Daily Beast

Our Famously Free Press

‘It’s censorship’: Journalist arrested after photographing protest outside controversial asylum camp Independent

The G.O.P. Is in a Doom Loop of Bizarro New York Times (Kevin W)

Robinhood is still severely limiting trading, customers can only buy one share of GameStop CNBC

GameStop Stock Game Got Stomped Matt Levine. The important stuff is in the second half of the piece, where he discussed the extension of credit by exchanges even for non-levered trades, DTCC, and clearinghouse margin. The key point comes (yet again) in a comment at the Financial Times, that the trading restrictions almost certainly have nada to do with protecting anyone except Robinhood, since a long position creates new clearinghouse requirements:

It is now becoming clearer Robin Hood has a liquidity issue.
The central clearing facility for stock trade known as the DTCC – Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation has raised collateral requirements on GME from 1-3% to 100%. That’s the real reason clearing houses stopped accepting new orders on GME from brokers. The collateral requirements on several stocks has increased due to the extreme volatility. This is why Robin Hood and others have halted or stopped trading on these stocks only. Robin Hood had to increase its credit line at the banks and now allows small trades on GME for 1 or 5 shares basically they cant pay the collateral requirements for the DTCC…..they don’t care about whether you lose or make money. But the settlement risk is a problem, that’s why they limit trading. It’s a good case study that shows the industry could benefit from real time resilient settlement infrastructure

An FT story focused on this issue: GameStop curbs put clearing houses under the spotlight

Cable ISP Warns ‘Excessive’ Uploaders, Says Network Can’t Handle Heavy Usage ars technica

Tesla Roadster Delayed To 2022 Electrek

Exclusive: U.S. oil industry seeks unusual alliance with Farm Belt to fight Biden electric vehicle agenda Reuters. Resilc: “Everybody seems to think there are zero issues with electric vehicles, it is a wonderfix.”

Class Warfare

The U.S. Economy Excels at One Thing: Producing Massive Inequality CounterPunch (resilc)

6 Workers Die in Non-Union Plant in GA – UE Unionizes 1,500 at Univ of New Mexico – Workers Exposed to COVID in Anti-Union Meeting Mike Elk

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “This sweet Chihuahua is an occasional assistant at a wonderful shop in Laguna Beach (CA) called the Laguna Exchange”:

And a bonus (David L). Soon, he’ll be counting cards:

And another bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Yves Smith Post author

      An honest explanation is technical and most people will treat a technical explanation as obfuscation, particularly since Robinhood is already on tons of shit lists. Plus most Wall Street people are very bad at dealing with the media.

      1. UserFriendlyyy

        IMO what they did say was quite explicitly and intentionally obfuscation with the bonus of pissing off their entire customer base. Had they been honest people may not have bought it but the truth would have outted eventually and they would have looked much better in hindsight.

        Now the truth is going to look them them covering their asses.

        1. Ozz

          No. 1 problem is the lack of honesty by companies. If they told the simple truth other sources of information would support it. As it is I agree with Userfriendly.

      2. anEnt

        Additionally, there’s the confidence game, which saying “counterparty risk” and “liquidity problem” would only exacerbate. I’m sure they’re worried about a run.

    2. pebird

      Not a great idea to be honest about your liquidity position.

      Wall Street tends to take advantage of honesty.

      1. UserFriendlyyy

        In general I agree with you but its not like there was some PE firm ready to swoop in with a leveraged buy out. No matter what they said their stock price was gonna take a hit.

    3. Phillip Cross

      Restrictions hit all the retail facing brokerages simultaneously. TD Ameritrade, Webull, Wells Fargo etc all had similar restrictions put in place at the same moment. Maybe they all suffered the same problem. Whatever happened, its unfair to single out Robin Hood specifically, they were not the only company involved.

      1. campbeln

        Maybe the target was the clearinghouse, then you take down all of retail in one fell swoop rather than having to go platform to platform.

      2. occasional anonymous

        Surely this undermines the claim that there wasn’t a coordinated effort to try and stop the GME surge.

        1. Phillip Cross

          Since you and I were only allowed to sell, who was buying it all at those lower prices?

          Look at the volume on the chart during that restricted period. A huge amount of stock was bought by non-retail (nobody else was allowed) as the price crashed. The cynic in me suspects that when they had bought what they needed, the restrictions were lifted, the volume reduced to a trickle, and the price started to rise.


        2. Yves Smith Post author

          No, the vol of the stock increased greatly. The brokers fund customers’ positions for 2 days. More wild price changes increases odds of customer default and losses to the broker and potentially the clearinghouse. The Nasdaq clearinghouse has 2/3 of its reserves wiped out a few years back over a customer fail, so this risk is real.

          Robinhood was likely more exposed by actively seeking kiddie day trader types than discount brokers with a bit more diversity in their customer base.

  1. Terry Flynn

    That panda is probably now on some official watchlist after some of the activities with that snowman ;-)

    1. PlutoniumKun

      And just last week we had as an antidote a panda taking an inordinate amount of interest in his/her keepers leg.

      I’m beginning to think that some furries have been infiltrating the panda enclosures.

  2. Wukchumni

    The Capitol insurrection isn’t moderating the GOP. It’s making them more extreme. The Week
    My Congressman Kevin McCarthy is the epitome of wishy-washy, in a panic in the midst of 1/6 he called Trump and pleaded with him to do something-and then rightly blamed Trump for causing the rumble in the rotunda, only to walk it back by blaming the melee on everybody in the country. He had lunch with Trump yesterday in Florida. He’s still very much in his embrace, my Kevin-unfortunately.

    It isn’t as if the Pachyderm Party has any new ideas, anything that they might contemplate would be a repudiation of Trumpism, can’t have that as it would be open season on those who rode his scapegoat tales.

    McCarthyism in it’s most current guise was his ability to garner donations-he did precisely bupkis in terms of legislation & furthering our lives in a good way, there was no there, there.

    That looks to be a dead end now with corporate America hitting the brakes on doling out dough, why does the GOP need him?

    1. voteforno6

      I guess it should be comforting that the Republican party is in just as much bad shape as the Democratic party – just in slightly different ways.

    2. Robert Hahl

      Trump will surely be able to raise lots of money through small donations a la Bernie Sanders, if he runs. Seems like that factor will drive him to do so. He may not be able to get money any other way.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . Seems like that factor will drive him to do so.

        No. What will drive him is his insatiable desire to get the adulation and adoration he so richly deserves.

        1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

          IMO, Trump can get all the adulation and adoration he wants through means other than being President. For example, he could control the Republican Party through an adjacent media empire.

          He doesn’t really need to be President, he can be bigger than that.

          1. ambrit

            “…he can be bigger than that (President)..” There you are. You’ve hit the problem first time! While the President is purported to be the “Servant of the People,” he, or she, has become the visibly wholly owned subsidiary of ‘The Elites’ (TM.)
            America’s birthright has been sold for a “mess of patronage.”

          2. cnchal

            > . . . Trump can get all the adulation and adoration he wants through means other than being President.

            Anyone can ignore him now. The presidency or bust.

            When impeachment fails, the one chance to stuff him in a hole and seal it, is gone.

            1. Tim

              There is something very important you are not understanding. Trump owns the core base of the Republican party voters, which means he can primary any current politician that crossed him with a new nominee he gets behind and the incumbent republican will lose.

              Therefore it does not matter if Trump is an elected official or not, he now IS THE SWAMP in total control of the Republican Party or at least every representative that isn’t willing to fall on their own sword by crossing Trump.

              Republicans quickly surmised that impeaching Trump and barring him from public office will do nothing to loosen his stranglehold on them, which is why after their initial outrage, they came to their senses and realized the devil still owns them, and if they want to still fight the good fight to represent their constituents (a delusion yes) they need to be good to Trump.

              1. Massinissa

                “and if they want to still fight the good fight to represent their constituents (a delusion yes)”

                Virtually nobody in congress, in either party, actually give a damn about their non-elite constituency. For the most part the Republican congressmen that are supporting Trump just want to not lose their cushy jobs.

      2. Phil in KC

        If Trump can just convince 10 million of the 74 million who voted for him to send him ten bucks a month, that turns into 1.2 billion dollars. That’s enough moolah to finance a Presidential run AND fund primary challengers for the most disloyal Republicans.

        The first rule of being rich is: use other people’s money.

  3. Mikerw0

    While it was in yesterday’s Links, the article about the pace and complexity of adding solar to the grid is critically important. It needs to be read in the context of GMs announcement that they will exit internal combustion engines by 2035 and finally an article talking about the challenges that shifting to EVs poses as finally discussed in the NY Times yesterday

    The simple answer is no one seems to be doing the math. You don’t quickly transition from one system that underpins much of the economy to another in a short period of time. Putting aside load management on the grid, basic math tells you that for every 10% increase in EVs implies a roughly 3-4% increase in electric power generation. Solar and wind are poorly suited to fill that gap. Currently, we would do it with combined cycle natural gas — methane and carbon emissions, just moved in the chain of commerce.

    Our entire aging grid and power generating plant was designed to do something very different. These are not easy electrical engineering issues. They will take time, money and learning to work through.

    Further, to accelerate the trend, the Federal government announced they want to replace its large fleet with EVs, where will they get the power from.

    Heavy trucks, planes and ships will power with hydrogen. How do you make green hydrogen? It is very electricity intensive and it will need to be liquified, which is also power intensive.

    There are also other questions that have yet to be seriously addressed; including what do you do with spent batteries, they are highly toxic, the environmental damages caused by obtaining lithium, can you make the batteries without cobalt, toxic chemicals, and rare earths. The recycling systems don’t exist and won’t appear out of thin air. How will our regulatory structures change to support the transition? Which incumbent industries will fight back and how will they be dealt with? How do you deploy a charging station infrastructure? etc.

    While necessary, this will not be easy and without major hiccups.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      You don’t necessarily need more power capacity to supply EV’s – all girds have inbuilt capacity well over the average daily usage of power. Usually, they will build to the maximum seasonal/daily peak with some additional spare to cover downtime (which is an inevitable component of all types of power generation).

      This is an issue which has long been the bane of small grid networks (i.e. island nations), but there are many ways around it, most obviously using pricing to promote night time power usage, storage, and long distance interconnections. There is nothing new about this, grid managers on islands from Ireland to Taiwan to New Zealand to Iceland have been dealing this this type of problem for more than half a century and have plenty of know how.

      Your statement that solar and wind are poorly suited to fit a ‘gap’ is incorrect. In fact, they are ideal, simply because they can be rolled out very rapidly, often within months, compared to the lead in time of years, or even decades, needed for large scale thermal plants. To give an example, there is a projected increase in power demand in Ireland over the next decade of 20% from data centres alone. This, at a time, when the main coal and peat plants are being phased out. But its not a technical problem whatever, the excess demand will be covered by energy usage agreements (i..e deals with the data centres to reduce energy use during peaks); the roll out of new wind and solar generation; and the construction of new interconnectors with the UK and France to export surpluses. Ireland already has significant storage capacity from hydro pump storage. The Irish power infrastructure networks are actively encouraging EV take-up, as with existing pricing schemes most power used will be at night (electricity here is half price at night), so they will actually improve energy balancing, not make it worse.

      Worrying about the source and extent of electricity needed for EV’s is a waste of time – it is a technically and economically trivial problem compared to all the other challenges climate change is throwing at us.

      1. Carolinian

        There’s still the battery problem. One of Tesla’s big innovations was the switch to lithium batteries and they started out by trying to design a battery pack that wouldn’t easily catch on fire. As we now know those efforts were mixed at best. Earllier electrc hybrids like the Prius did not use lithium.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its a strange problem when the costs are dropping constantly, virtually month by month, and the power outputs of the batteries are going up all the time. The price of lithium has actually being going down, contrary to scare mongering about supplies.

          And yes, lithium is flammable. Just like gas and diesel is flammable. IC cars go on fire every day somewhere, its so common it never hits the news. One colleague of mine, who had a fondness for driving old Saabs and Mercedes, had 2 cars burn up over the course of 10 years, both electrical faults.

          1. Carolinian

            I think lithium may be a lot more flammable than gas or diesel given that simple impact can cause the things to catch fire and a tesla battery has thousands of small flashlight size batteries inside of it.

            And lithium need was cited as a big reason for the coup in Bolivia–some even claiming it was Elon Musk behind it all. Prices have come down quite a lot since China has mostly taken over the dirty business of mining lithium and making the batteries. But at the moment EVs are only a small fraction of the cars on the road. It seems unlikely that mass adoption of electric cars will ever be possible based on current battery technology.

            1. Grebo

              Lithium is much harder to ignite than any fossil fuel. It is the electrolyte in current batteries that burns, at least initially.

              Nothing will change if everything stays the same. The problem with that argument is everybody knows that and are working their arses off to improve every aspect of the tech, with every chance of success. I believe Toyota are already making batteries with solid non-flammable electrolyte.

              My sister in the UK just bought a used EV. Norway bought more EVs last year than ICEs. Perhaps you live 200 miles from the shops. For most people EVs are good enough now.

              1. Jason

                I notice you didn’t address the fact that the coup in Bolivia had much to do with Lithium (resource wars). Nor did you touch the fact that the mining and production are “dirty business” – which is putting it mildly.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Bolivia is a regionally important oil and gas producer, not a lithium producer. The nation that the coup was because of lithium became treated as a ‘fact’, because of a casual comment by Evo Morales. I don’t think even he believed it, it was just an off-the-cuff comment.

                  The US has been interfering with the democracies of South and Central American countries for over a century, sometimes because of oil or bananas or transit rights, sometimes just because they want to show who’s boss.

                  The notion that the US was fine with a left wing peasant based government in Bolivia up until someone read in Wikipedia that the country has a lot of lithium is a very obvious nonsense.

                  Incidentally, while Bolivian has lots of reserves of lithium, it hasn’t been processed in large quantities simply being able to produce a metal is not the same has having reserves. There are all sorts of factors involved, including energy supplies, existing infrastructure and transport, and all these put Bolivia well down the list of countries with a real prospect of dominating the market for many years. Chile, Australia, and Argentina are likely to be the key producers over the next few years.

                  But as I pointed out above, lithium prices are actually quite low now. It is a very common element worldwide, there is not an iota of evidence that there will be any supply crunches.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              Simple impacts regularly cause gasoline-fueled vehicle fires. As PlutoniumKun says, it’s so common that it does not make it into news reports.

              FEMA report, 2018
              Battelle based CNN report, 2018

              The latter article indicates there was roughly one gas-powered car fire in the US every 3 minutes in 2015. Some portion of these fires are as intense as the heavily-hyped Li battery fires that make the news. Odds are, given the sheer number of ICE car fires we suffer, that there are more severe gasoline-fueled car fires every year than there are battery fires of any degree of severity. Possibly even if fire rates are normalized based on the percentage of each type of car on the road.

              1. Carolinian

                In the Tesla Model S the entire floor of the car is a battery to keep the considerable weight low and improve handling. So the driver and passengers are sitting on top of a bomb that will burn fiercely under the right circumstances.

                In any modern car not named Pinto the gas tank is under the rear seat and inside the “crush zone” that unibody cars are now designed to have for safety reasons. Of course gasoline will burn if the fuel system is ruptured but this is more likely to happen in the engine compartment giving the passengers and driver a chance to escape. In my considerable travels I’ve seen lots of accidents, no burning cars. Allegedly when a Tesla goes up the fire department has to just stand back and let it happen.

                And there’s still the issue of finding enough lithium for millions of cars. I’m sure clever modern science will solve the battery problem. I’m simply saying it hasn’t been solved yet.

                1. Basil Pesto

                  With the best will in the world, I’m not sure your ‘considerable travels’ are worth a damn in light of that rather more detailed FEMA report that Fluffy supplied.

                  1. Carolinian

                    The US has millions of cars on the road and a small fraction of those are EV. Of course there are gasoline car fires but the point I was making was that it would take a particularly horrific accident to rupture the tank and survival odds in that case likely low anyway.

                    Whereas as we now know Teslas can catch fire under less extreme circumstances and if the situation were to be reversed, and there were millions of Teslas instead, would the light come on that perhaps this particular battery solution is yet another square peg/round hole Silicon Valley approach to making something work and sorting out the details later? Bear in mind that the Tesla battery has to be huge to provide the great range that was felt needed to compete with gasoline cars. You are literally sitting on a floor full of lithium batteries. Add in guinea pig automation features and owning such a car is a use at your own risk approach. Hope they have a EULA.

            3. Basil Pesto

              I think lithium may be a lot more flammable than gas or diesel given that simple impact can cause the things to catch fire

              Curious, then, that airlines allow Li batteries on their planes at all (up to a certain kWh limit), yet petrol and diesel in any quantity are verboten

              1. Carolinian

                You do recall that the 787 was grounded at first due to problems with the lithium batteries that were used for on the ground electricity. Eventually they put the things in a fireproof box. It’s mad, given all the stories over the years about lithium battery problems, to suggest that there isn’t a fire risk with lithium–if that is what you are suggesting. They have to be carefully managed with control and safety circuits and even then it’s one thing to use them in a computer or power tool and something else in a vehicle out on the all too dangerous highways. We shouldn’t deny or minimize these problems just for a talking point.

      2. Rod

        There is nothing new about this

        thank you–de centralizing our generation capacity (rethinking the ‘Central Provider System’) provides a faster path to implementation–imo.

        1. HotFlash

          Bonus! Decentralization can make it easier to use straight DC instead of transforming it to AC with the concomitant power loss. Hey, look what those guys are doing! 1.) Larsen cartoon (which I cannot find) a flock of geese are walking south in a V-formation. The leader looks up and say, “Hey! Look what those guys are doing!”, and 2.) the real deal, Living Energy Farm.

      3. Pat

        I might agree with this IF I thought our grid had kept up with the needs it already has. Our government and the private companies that control most of our electrical infrastructure are nothing if not deeply opposed to spending money to upgrade infrastructure.

        One of the biggest things on my wish list for infrastructure repair, along with our water system, is upgrading the electrical grid. It isn’t just capacity that has been neglected.

      4. Jason

        You didn’t address what, to me, are the biggest issues: the rare earth requirements and their associated problems: what are they? where are they? what are the extraction methods? are people being uprooted? how are any nearby communities affected? how and where are the end products being disposed of?

        It seems to me, the insanity will simply continue. Many of the remaining indigenous populations – who continue to practice a simpler, nature-based, steady-state way of life we probably all should be grounded in – will be destroyed in the frantic pursuit of resources. Likewise, the devastatingly negative effects due to the toxicity of all this – from the extraction, to the production process, to the disposal – will be borne by the “less-well-off” throughout the world. Resource wars will continue unabated. Etc.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Rare earths, contrary to the name, are not in fact rare. They are very common. The difficulty with them is that extraction is very polluting and resource intensive, which is why the Chinese were handed a monopoly in some of them almost by accident. But the long term prices have been going down, primarily because the latest technologies for electric engines use a lot less than just a few years ago, and supplies (not least from recycling) have increased.

          And rare earths are equally vital for, for example, the manufacture of alloys for IC engines, but we are used to that pollution so nobody seems to worry about it. For some odd reason, it is only claimed to be a problem for EV’s.

          The impact of mining and extraction of rare earths is problematic, but compared to the impacts of oil and gas production, hydroelectric dams and uranium mining, its a pretty small beer problem.

          1. Rocktaster

            The rare earths have higher crustal abundance, however finding concentrations significant enough to be defined as ore, meaning they can be economically extracted, is not as easy as “very common” implies. Rare earth ores are generally composed of radioactive minerals; concentrating, sorting, and refining, already technically challenging, will be complicated by these waste streams. Mining and refining rare earths in North America will require significant exemptions (environmental, health and safety regulations) and/or subsidies.

            1. Glen

              The largest rare earth mine in the world was in California until the Chinese government decided they were going to take over this market:

              Mountain Pass mine

              It is a messy business, almost all mining on that scale is a mess. And in part it was the costs imposed to keep the mine running at US standards that caused it to close.

              Thorium is the radioactive element in the mix so it would be good if we could figure out a use for that too. Much research is being done on Thorium reactors to provide power, it would be a win if we can find a safe clean use for this.

              So much has been made of the fact that there are significant costs associated with running these mines, using thorium, running reactors, etc. Nobody is saying it cannot be done, just that the costs associated with doing it are excessive. I would suggest given that the alternative to not doing it is a dramatically hotter world is that the whole paradigm of “costs” with doing the required work in a clean fashion is outdated and no longer useful. If the required work creates more good jobs that need doing which it will, then it is just more of the REQUIRED jobs, industry and technology that we will create.

          2. Jason

            Rare earths, contrary to the name, are not in fact rare. They are very common.

            I believe it depends on which ones. Some are rarer than others. More importantly, as Rocktaster noted above, it’s a much more complex situation than the one inferred by simple conclusions derived directly from raw numbers.

            And rare earths are equally vital for, for example, the manufacture of alloys for IC engines, but we are used to that pollution so nobody seems to worry about it. For some odd reason, it is only claimed to be a problem for EV’s.

            This is a strange comment. I’m not sure who “we” is supposed to include. Many people are concerned about pollution in all its forms. But it’s not just the pollution. The impacts on people intimately involved in the production processes are not pretty, which is why companies go to great lengths to hide them from the public at large.

            The impact of mining and extraction of rare earths is problematic, but compared to the impacts of oil and gas production, hydroelectric dams and uranium mining, its a pretty small beer problem.

            Needless to say, this a matter of perspective.

      5. upstater

        PK, I do not think electricity supply for EVs is as much of an issue as is delivery…

        In the US, distribution feeders (i.e., the lower voltage lines on wood poles or underground cables serving residential or commercial customers) do not have huge reserve capacity margins during peak usage. Overloads during summer can be an issue. If peak demand on feeders potentially increases by 30-50% due to EV charging there will be substantial investment necessary to increase capacity (e.g., higher voltage, segmenting feeders, higher capacity transformers at substations, etc).

        Solving this issue in the US is a question of trillions of investment. Who is going to pay? There has been a culture of underinvestment because state regulators which to keep downward pressure on rate increases. Will regulators allow 50-100-200% rate increases? Consumers in the US would scream if they had to pay European electricity rates.

        Yes, smart chargers can mitigate some of the delivery capacity problem, but require communications and cost money — where are they now? Have standards been developed and adopted? Are we going let the Chinese build us smart chargers that talk with 5G networks? These are not huge technical problems, but they are major political and financial problems.

        We also have the costs of charging at residential homes. In older areas, unlike Europe, every few houses has their own dedicated transformers to step down feeder voltage (usually 4-13 kV) to household voltage (110V) that would need replacement. Older homes often have 60 or 100 amp services and are likely insufficient to support higher capacity chargers. Newer homes typically have 200 or 250 amp services which can support high capacity charging. But it is not cheap to run a 220V 30 amp line into your garage and have a couple of high capacity chargers installed by a licensed electrician. My garage is unattached, I’d have to add a GFI breakered subpanel of my main panel, dig a trench to the garage and buy 2 chargers — probably $4000.

        We also have the issue of apartment complexes and on-street parking in urban areas. Who is going to pay to install the chargers are these locations and how is bookkeeping done on consumption? Not a huge technical problem, but a big political and financial one. Will landlords gladly pick up the cost? Will cities install chargers on every residential street, if so how many? How do we manage charger hogs that top off their 85% charge and leave their car attached all night? Think about it — this is the United States and people will be getting shot in “charger rage” incidents.

        IMO, EVs are an attempt to continue BAU of sprawl and suburbanization with the attendant financialization. Here in New York State, Cuomo has his green energy plans and net Zero by 2035 or something like that. This entails relicensing and subsidizing 50 year old nuclear plants and building new transmission to import hydropower from Quebec. Sure there is some solar and a bit of wind, but nothing on a scale that takes care of base load. Conservation plays a trivial role in Cuomo’s plans — it is all about encouraging “green” consumption. The can simply gets kicked down the road…

        I just don’t see these plans coming off. I consulted with electric transmission companies for 25 years; progress is at a snails pace. Yes, electric transmission is better and more reliable. But the type of investment, culture and thinking to avoid climate collapse simply isn’t there.

        1. JTMcPhee

          The thing about rate increases to “pay for” a new grid to support EV habituation — how much should investors who profit from power monopolies pony up for these CAPITAL infrastructure improvements? How much “compensation” should be foregone by the executives who get such comfortable packages for NOT doing the kind of stuff that the California utilities didn’t do, leading to gas explosions and wildfire starting? The “public utilities commissions,” largely captive to business interests and “investors,” seem to do a real good job of packing capital expenditures into the “rate base,” which means customers eat the sh!t sandwich, like this:

          Is this one nation, with some common idea of what we are all about? Rhetorical question, of course — if we are going to be a nation of continued automotive addicts, somebody is going to pay for the infrastructure. Not going to be MMT money, I would venture to guess, even though our President claims the mantle of FDR, who gave us Rural Electrification and the TVA and old stuff like that. And of course there’s the Interstate Highway System, with all its impacts and costs, All about privatizing profit and socializing all the costs and misery. But the Tesla and Lamborghini and Escalade and F-350 and those EV substitute drivers will think it “fair,” or at least mandatable, that the necessary infrastructure to support their preferences must be paid for by the 90% who don’t own access to legislators and “commissioners.”

        2. HotFlash

          Newer homes typically have 200 or 250 amp services which can support high capacity charging. But it is not cheap to run a 220V 30 amp line into your garage and have a couple of high capacity chargers installed by a licensed electrician. My garage is unattached, I’d have to add a GFI breakered subpanel of my main panel, dig a trench to the garage and buy 2 chargers — probably $4000.

          Yes, indeed that can be a problem. However, you can get a whole lot of bicycle for $4 grand.

          1. upstater

            Bicycles are fine in certain places and times of year. I support cycling. But here today the high is 15F and low -5F. Nowhere on commuter routes in our county are bicycle lanes physically separated from automobiles. Painted bike lanes are pretty useless. The US isn’t Holland or Denmark.

            Having been hit by a kid in an expensive sports car while riding my bike on the shoulder of a main road, I exercise caution. A neighbor was sideswiped by a lawyer texting in her SUV and was hospitalized for over a month.

            Only a culture change would make the US bicycle friendly. Which would be a good thing.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Perhaps those parts of the US which are as population-dense as the bicycle-friendly parts of Western Europe could be made bicycle-friendly after a critical massload of people in those densepop areas are ready to become anti-bicycle hostile.

              And what is most anti-bicycle? The car. So densepop human-clusters which want to become bicycle friendly will have to become car-opposed enough to create bicycle friendliness at the expense of cardriver privilege. And mass transit will have to be vastly increased and predictable-ized and user-friendlified as well. And ideally made interface-able with bicycle use.

      6. Jeremy Grimm

        GMs announcement about going Electric Vehicle by 2035 also allows GM to accelerate the depreciation write-offs of their ‘capital’. This is an angle pursued in a recent article at Quartz: “GM just sped up the depreciation of everything it owns”, While some elements of Big Oil are allied with Big Ag to continue ethanol mandates, other elements of Big Oil paint themselves Green and some elements of Big Money are stepping up noise about a Green New Deals. Power has just passed into the hands of a different faction of the Power Elite, leading to some feelings of optimism anticipating a new “hope and chance”. In this ‘new era’ Big Media has hopped onboard the Green Machine and spins wonders, hope, and optimism from announcements of Electric Vehicles[EV] — while the US electric Grid continues to rot. “There is nothing new about this[grid adjustments for the variability of solar and wind power], grid managers on islands from Ireland to Taiwan to New Zealand to Iceland have been dealing this this type of problem for more than half a century and have plenty of know how.” Good for Ireland, Taiwan. New Zealand, and Iceland. So far, they have also done a much better job of dealing with the Corona pandemic using nothing especially new in the way of public health measures.

        “Worrying about the source and extent of electricity needed for EV’s is a waste of time – it is a technically and economically trivial problem compared to all the other challenges climate change is throwing at us.” Indeed!!!

        And consider — EVs will not be electric powered cars. EVs and human powered vehicles are in our future, but EVs are as similar to cars as cars are to carriages. Before getting too excited about EVs the US needs to get serious about rebuilding its electric Grid and rebuilding its Grid ownership structures — with or without EVs. Solar cells and wind turbines do not last forever. Building them requires large amounts of highly concentrated energy. Future US resilience depends on building the capacity to manufacture solar cells, wind turbines, and transformers, as well as the nichrome wire and bars, and molybdenum disilicide heating elements, neon or argon gas, and carbon heating elements — and the capacity to distribute the necessary replacement components from where they are produced to where they are needed using EVs and human powered vehicles moving on non-Macadam roadways or barges moving on rivers, streams, and canals. But the US has trouble manufacturing the filtering materials for Corona masks, during a pandemic, while the Government dumps money on US Corporations.

      7. jonhoops

        And for grid storage we will probably end up using something like Donald Sadoway’s Liquid Metal battery since lithium ion is more suited for portable applications.

        Here is a short video of him explaining it.

        1. ForeignNational(ist)

          There are proposals by electrical engineering academics to use electric car batteries for grid storage – when the gizmo is parked, it can be connected to the grid to balance loads. If many people have an EV, there would be many batteries floating around on wheels to help with grid storage (help, but not solve altogether). I seem to remember colleagues talking about it in passing a few years ago. This would likely require the cars to communicate with the grid, which would require grid upgrades, which in turn goes back to the whole mess of how we pay for those upgrades. (One wonders why we can’t just get the government to foot the bill and boot the financial class out of power generation, but then one also wonders why we can’t do anything at all.)

      8. Spoofs desu

        Not so sure about your statement:
        “Deals with the data centres to reduce energy use during peaks”

        That’s a pretty strong statement to wave away any issues associated with a ramp up of 20% in kWh.

        California has peak day pricing. During shelter in place last August, California’s grid operator, not the utility companies, ordered a shut down of parts of the grid and has had some trouble, in general, handling the increase in energy usage.

        This increase in usage resulted directly from tens of millions of customers, who would normally have been occupying perhaps as little several thousand large office buildings and schools, spending all day long in tens of millions individual houses.

        In other words residential energy use increased in low double digits while non residential use decreased only in the low single digits, when compared before and after shelter in place policy.

        Peak pricing didn’t solve this problem and if we are now going to have 25 million cars plugged into the grid, in light of the relatively small increase in usage from shelter in place, it’s not clear at all we can manage that by cutting some pricing deals.

        1. JTMcPhee

          How much energy does the wonderful absolutely necessary cryptocurrency and other blockchain activity gobble up? Gee, I wonder what might be done about that?

          Going forward, one would think there is some kind of optimum mix of human behaviors by which we collectively might extend our stay on the planet. Where does continued insistence on “my personal behavioral preferences and activities don’t matter in the big picture” get modified into “what’s tolerable and sustainable?”

          1. Massinissa

            At this point, sort of feels like the only thing that would save the environment would be WW3 starting, or maybe one of those solar flares that happen every so often that would wipe out all electronics in the globe. Or both, maybe.

            1. neo-realist

              The environment may not be much of a concern when the left overs are dying from radiation from the WWIII cure.

              1. Massinissa

                “The environment may not be much of a concern when the left overs are dying from radiation from the WWIII cure.”

                It won’t be the concern of humankind anyway. The area around Chernobyl has become one of the most verdant wilderness areas in Russia now that its had a few decades of a lack of humans.

                1. caucus99percenter

                  To a radical environmental-accelerationist mindset, the “circum-Chernobyl as nature preserve” example might suggest that the surest and fastest way to save the non-human biosphere would be to promote nuclear wars and disasters as a brake on industrial civilization and exponential population growth. Boosted mutation rates just help Mother Nature / evolution fill the ecological niches left vacant by human-caused extinctions all the faster.

                  Imagine the plot of “Twelve Monkeys,” except villain is a rogue Kissinger-Brzezinski-Clintonesque Secretary of State rather than a microbe scientist.

      9. Bill Smith

        Solar and wind. As that percentage gets bigger, the inbuilt capacity needs to get bigger and will be, hopefully less used?

    2. a different chris

      >While necessary, this will not be easy and without major hiccups.

      No it will not be easy. I’m sure the second world war would have gone much easier if we had just waited another decade or so to really plan that out…

      1. endeavor

        I wonder how the carbon foot print of say a Toyota Corolla, at about 35 mpg, would fare against a similar size EV. When you factor in battery expenses and other issues such as disposal and higher tire wear, etc. I think the unstated objective is to force people out of personal transportation to achieve the climate change goals.

        1. a different chris

          >I wonder how

          Sigh. This stuff is all around you, you aren’t “wondering” you are actively avoiding researching it. RMO laid it out below but *I wonder* if you are even going to bother reading it?

          PS: I have two 15 year old small Toyotas, BTW.

      2. endeavor

        I wonder how the carbon foot print of say a Toyota Corolla, at about 35 mpg, would fare against a similar size EV. When you factor in battery expenses and other issues such as disposal and higher tire wear, etc. I think the unstated objective is to force people out of personal transportation by higher cost to achieve the climate change goals.

        1. Wombat

          Reminds me of the wealthy top-end tesla owner i witnessed cutting people off in traffic with his virtue fully signaled in the form of a “ZERO-E” inscribed liscense plate. Yea I guess without all the coal, natural gas, and pulverized forests (oops i mean “biomass”) power plants fueling the thing.

          1. RMO

            Compared to something like a Bolt, Leaf or Model 3 a Corolla would be near even if the electricity used was entirely generated from coal. Any other electricity sources added to the mix would make the pure electric cars better overall, and that’s with today’s lower level of recycled input into the electrics (a remarkable amount of what goes into making a car these days has been recycled and used many times before).

            It’s almost certain that next time I get a new car (probably five years or more from now) it will be electric because ones within my nominal budget are even now appearing with acceptable range. I just wish the makers weren’t so bent on touchscreening everything and doing the same “minimalist” design idiocy that Tesla does:

            The announcement of the new Model S shows it with a yoke instead of a steering wheel, the turn signal stalks are gone (replaced with two little touch areas on the steering wheel) as are the wiper control stalks and – get this – the shifter is on the central touch screen but you’re not expected to use it. They’ve made a predictive algorithm which is supposed to use sensor data to decide which direction you want to go and select park reverse or drive by itself! Even old manufacturers like Ford seem determined to bring us a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation type experience. The Ford Mach-E has a huge touchscreen but testers complained about not having a knob for the audio volume. Ford decided to implement this by making a rotating ring with simulated fingertip material on the underside and glued it to the screen. When you rotate it the screen senses the clockwise or counterclockwise circular path the fingertip material makes on the screen surface and interprets that as the volume up/down commands… It works apparently but what a Heath Robinson/Rube Goldberg way of doing it!

            1. rowlf

              Even old manufacturers like Ford seem determined to bring us a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation type experience.

              I can’t wait until I can talk to a car computer at great length à la Marvin and explain my view of the universe to it.

              1. ForeignNational(ist)

                Don’t. It might commit suicide while you’re barreling down the interstate. Then you’ll have to drive by hollering at a steering wheel that sighs whenever it turns.

        2. Spoofs desu!

          That’s a good point endeavor- I would add that the technology has been out there for a few decades to make a car last to several hundred thousand miles. But the planned obsolescence and obligatory hyper consumerism results in people trashing their cars every 5 to 10 years, at best.

          All this reminds me of Micheal Moore,s, now YouTubed censored, planet of the humans. I thought it was pretty on point.

          Basically the message was Stop Shopping!

    3. Pelham

      Lithium-ion batteries can be recycled. But guess what. The process is highly energy intensive.

      I wish some august journalistic organization (if any remain) would look into the now-established potentially carbon-neutral technology of pulling carbon from the air to create liquid fuels. (It can also be used to sequester atmospheric carbon, making it carbon-negative.)

      From what I understand this also requires a lot of energy but would be ideal for intermittent sources. And it’s a technology that can be quickly scaled up and wouldn’t require major disruption in existing infrastructure other than the buildout of new generating/filling stations. I imagine there are all sorts of nasty drawbacks and impracticalities, but I don’t know.

      And that’s because my understanding is greatly limited because my sources are similarly limited. My concern is that the dearth of discussion could be because knowledgeable people have examined this option and determined it’s not really viable. That would be legit.

      But it could also be because major industries may have foolishly bet all their marbles on EVs (just as they have with AVs) and their interests now mandate that any superior alternatives be strangled in the cradle. That would be rotten.

      1. ForeignNational(ist)

        The technology still requires some development I think – one problem is concentrating the CO2 in the atmosphere to do anything useful with it. I recall some companies use large fans to move massive amounts of air over their scrubbers. It also hasn’t been demonstrated at scale yet (I think that’s a matter-of-time/funding problem, and I don’t know if scaling up is as quick as you imagine). There are people lots of people looking into it:

        One nice thing about moving cars away from gasoline is that EVs don’t produce as much air pollution. I’d personally prefer ground transport to move away from gasoline even if it only means I choke on exhaust less. EVs are also much simpler mechanically (engine with all the cams and poppet valves becomes an electric motor) and easier to maintain (assuming they didn’t computerize everything and force you to plug a mainframe into it to perform diagnostics). Manufacturers might like them over gasoline cars for those reasons. Might.

        There are proposals to use fuels synthesized from atmospheric carbon dioxide to power aircraft (see second link above). This makes sense to me because the energy density of batteries is currently too tiny to support air travel as we know it, so we could make air travel carbon-neutral using synthesized fuels instead.

        1. a different chris

          >There are proposals to use fuels synthesized from

          And you have the same problem with any of this that you have with ICE cars – at the base of it they require a specific fuel.

          EVs need electricity to come from just somewhere, they themselves don’t care where. So it makes the most sense to move cars to EV, and then you can play with your other fuels to see who might do an interesting job generating said electricity.

          1. ForeignNational(ist)

            Pardon me – I meant that the fuels are synthesized from carbon dioxide in our atmosphere using electricity (ideally from a renewable source). You’d basically be storing (hopefully renewable) electrical energy into hydrocarbons before using it in a combustion turbine engine. The electricity could come from anywhere (just as how you pointed out for EVs), but it has to be renewable for this to be environmentally tenable.

          2. ForeignNational(ist)

            I should clarify that I would prefer we not power our next generation of cars using electrically synthesized hydrocarbons just because it would be horrendously inefficient – electrical motors tend to be much more efficient than combustion engines – and it would still pollute the air with particulates and other nasty things in the exhaust. Aircraft are trickier to electrify because the physics of flying demand lots of energy stored in as little mass as possible. Kerosene does this quite well while batteries do it quite horribly; hence, the interest in electrically-synthesized fuels for aviation.

    4. HotFlash

      can you make the batteries without cobalt, toxic chemicals, and rare earths

      Why yes, yes you can. Thomas Edison invented one. It is cheap, durable, long-lasting, involves no rare earths. The electrolyte, Potassium Hydroxide (lye), can be homemade from wood ash, in a pinch: The Nickle-Iron battery. Can you get them anymore? Probably not.

      1. hunkerdown

        NiFe batteries are expensive, bulky, and have from 1/2 to 1/12 the instantaneous power output of LiFePO batteries. They also self-discharge relatively quickly. Therefore, they are not quite useful in long-haul on-vehicle applications as we know them today.

        However, they are well-suited to off-grid load-leveling, where they are seeing some renaissance due to their simplicity, long service life, and easy-going nature. Unlike a hot-headed paramour or a lithium battery, NiFe batteries won’t set your house on fire when insulted.

      2. fajensen

        You can still get them. They are mainly used for backup power in railway control systems and sometimes telecom shelters.

        Their main feature is being indestructible.

    5. Glen

      I agree with your analysis, but think we need to back away from the underlying problem and do the analysis again.

      What is the cost of having a world that is 4 degrees C warmer?

      Short answer:

      It ends the world as we know it.

      Longer answer:

      We can continue as a society structured to make billionaires richer or we can start to make the changes required to ensure that the human race has a future.

      How bad is it going to get? All of the projections are starting to look like the LEAST WORST outcomes. I would guess this is to be expected when we insert the PMC into the process. They will want to minimize the expected changes and will beat back on the science to get them to publish the “least worst” projects. So here we are – probably smart to assume at this point that pressure has been applied to the scientists to make it all look as best as possible – so sorry, but not gonna happen.

      Will it be difficult? It is BY DEFINITION the most difficult problem we have every had to answer, and we DO NOT have the road map required to ensure we are successful, but the fact that we are now discussing what are the required changes, and what will be the best solution means we have made progress.

      What should we do? We should do ALL OF IT. We need to start right now seriously investigating every possible solution to deal with this problem. Given that we need a massive injection of government funding to recover from the whole CV mess, well, here it is. And given that funding basic applied science has reaped massive dividends for our country in the past, an investment in the technology to implement the absolutely required mitigation of global warming is going to pay off in ways we cannot even begin to suspect at this point, but we are way behind the curve and late to start, so get started!

      1. caucus99percenter

        The problem is, a small number of extremely rich and powerful persons, clans, and cabals control how problem-solving resources are allocated across the planet, and their priority is making sure that whatever measures may be taken to deal with the climate crisis, it leaves their exclusive status and control intact.

        Breaking through on the climate front presupposes either (1) breaking their grip on power, or (2) optimistically believing that an acceptable outcome is possible even if only such pre-vetted “breakthroughs” are implemented that, as the experts in their employ have assured them, are guaranteed to leave them still in charge.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I take it that this is years down the track as he is still in the House and has the powerful position of the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee. But why would he go from being a big toad in a big pond down to a big toad in a small pond? And the guy is only 60 years old after all which would make him a young whipper-snapper by Democratic leadership standards. It doesn’t make sense. Does Nancy want to get rid of a future leadership challenger?

      1. Pat

        What are they setting up for the future is the question?

        I think a Presidential run is unlikely, and a cabinet position would be too far ahead. That leaves moving Schiff to a position where it is easier to appoint him to replace Diane Feinstein. (I think his position would preclude that for all the logical reasons it should preclude this.)

        1. SteveD

          I suspect that DiFi already has a deal in place with Newsom as regards appointing her successor. Not sure how the Pelosi ‘pressure’ re Schiff as AG figures in. Maybe to move him *out* of contention as DiFi’s successor?

          1. Pat

            I don’t think anyone except DiFi cares what she wants. She is increasingly not there and she isn’t as connected as the others in this. Even if they are humoring her, as soon as she announces or collapses, DiFi’s wishes can be ignored. Nancy’s on the other hand probably cannot, especially since Gavin is facing a world of problems. He is going to face a recall.He is going to need Nancy and her family’s help.
            Personally I think there is going to be a bigger problem moving Representative Schiff than AG Schiff. And remember he will have to agree, so you do have to consider what Adam wants.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “GOP Lawmaker Who Proposed Bigfoot Hunting Season Now Wants to Know If Vaccines Track You. (They Don’t.)”

    You wonder how people like this and Marjorie Taylor Greene get into power. Certainly not by using their brains. And it is bipartisan this. Those lawmakers are Republican but who remembers that time that a Democrat lawmaker – Hank Johnson – said to an Admiral that he was worried that due to overpopulation, that the island of Guam might tip over and capsize?

    Seriously, if I had a politician that was corrupt and who was part owner of a brothel, I would not care if he was doing a good job of funding schools, maintaining & improving infrastructure and seeing that there were sufficient social programs to help those in need. These days, I would call that a good bargain. I am given to understand that this was how things were done in places like Kansas over a century ago.

    Here is a link to that Hank Johnson video by the way- (2:48 mins)

    1. SteveD

      Is this not the central question of democracy’s viability: Why don’t we discover, support, and elect people fit for leadership? I wish I knew the (actionable) answer.

      1. Carla

        I disagree that this is the central question of democracy’s viability. When against all the (institutional) odds, we manage to identify, support and elect people fit for leadership, they find very quickly that they cannot lead. The system is utterly rigged against their doing so. Without bottom-up fundamental change to the system, we cannot create a real democracy. Please see:

      2. notabanker

        Here’s some anecdotal evidence. Someone I am pretty close to has been actively involved in local politics, especially at the community level, but also has been directly involved at the state level and has insight into national. I was talking to them during primary season about what it takes to get on the democratic ticket. First order of business is fund raising. State rep positions are the cheapest, generally they are looking for $300K but some spots can go as low as $50K for the right candidate. Congressional is minimum $3M, and some have been able to raise north of $50M in our state, which is important but not at the CA, NY or TX level. Senate seats are really big money. And these numbers are just to get a meeting to be vetted by the party.

        Most of the local city / municipal / county politicians here are sponsored by RE development, construction, banks, insurance, oil and health care. That is why public financing for stadiums and commercial development fly through. It’s never really a question of whether they will get approved, it’s more about what is the path of least resistance and who gets the contracts, aka “jobs”. You can look up online where a specific politician is getting there campaign donations from, and it very often provides excellent insight into the positions they take.

        I’m labeling this anecdotal, but it is not in the making stuff up category. These were real conversations over many weeks, and I did the research on numerous local politicians, who was sponsoring them and what they voted for. YMMV on the specific numbers, but the point is the very first threshold is fund raising. And if you want to run as an independent, good luck. You’ll need to navigate through the labyrinth of rules and regs to get on the ballot, and that takes money too. I also asked about the DSA and in our particular area, the leadership of that party is entrenched and ineffective. They are more interested in maintaining their pulpit then actually winning an election. At least that was their take.

        I also did some volunteer work at the national level. The first requirement is signing an NDA, which was pretty off putting, and I cannot name them as a result. But I will say I thought they were horribly inept at actually organizing, prioritizing and assigning work, and when they did it 99.9% focused on leveraging social media for donations.

        The only positive experience I had was the Sanders campaign. I thought they did a really good job of organizing, communicating and executing. But it also took them many months to get that operational after Sanders officially announced. And we all saw how that ended.

        So to specifically answer your question, you have to define “we”. In my personal experience, there is no “we” in terms of citizens. The “we” is business, and they are very adept at discovering, supporting and getting “leadership” elected. The only answer I can see is a total re-write of campaign finance, and the pre-requisite to that is a constitutional amendment repealing the rights of corporations. In the US, that is tantamount to trying to change the American flag to a piece of red cloth with a yellow sickle on it. Not gonna happen.

    2. a different chris

      >I am given to understand that this was how things were done in places like Kansas over a century ago.

      Poor Kansas! ROTFLMAO. Your observations-from-a-distance are always welcome but sometimes a bit weird. I think you were shooting for Tammany Hall…you could lock yourself away for a weekend reading stuff and trying to figure out if that particular period in NY’s history was on balance good or bad.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘a different chris
        January 30, 2021 at 9:41 am’

        Definitely Kansas. I was reading Robert Heinlein talking about the place that he grew up in – Kansas City – and this era had a crime family that ran the whole place for the first half of the 20th century. Oddly, President Harry Truman had his political origins under this regime but lived it down-

        A big thing back then was making sure that there were pavements done (a sign of ‘progress’) and the company that did it kicked back money to this family.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          I believe it’s the Pendegast machine we’re talking about . . . though the Kansas City it controlled was actually across the state line in Missouri. See, for instance:

        2. a different chris

          Ok fair enough, but again small potatoes (is that a subconscious Midwest poke? Maybe, as a Pittsburgher neither the East Coast or the Midwest accepts us..) compared to Boss Tweed and his gang.

          And yeah, Kansas City somehow manages to be in two states… and we tell all you that wombats are weird…

        3. Phil in KC

          Tom Pendergast and his machine really only had about a 15-year run operating Kansas City and Jackson County, MO from 1925 to 1940, when the house of cards came crashing down. Kansas City voters approved a 100 million dollar bond issue for civic improvements in 1930 which created a lot jobs and was, by many accounts, the inspiration for the WPA. The real power resided in the city manager’s office, which was occupied by Henry McElroy, a self-professed financial wizard who handed out no-bid contracts to his cronies who in turn kicked back money to Pendergast personally. Pendergast had a gambling habit that in one year alone, 1937, cost him $750,000. The bookies back east considered Pendergast the biggest sucker they’d ever seen.

          Criminals came to Kansas City in the early 30’s to “cool off.” Many of the police were on the take and didn’t want to be bothered with actual work, so the idea was to lay low and not cause trouble. But it didn’t work. The Union Station Massacre of 1933 was proof of that!

          Organized crime infiltrated the Pendergast organization in the mid-1930’s while Pendergast himself was increasingly occupied with health problems, resulting in widespread violence at the polls in the 1936 elections. This brought unwanted attention from state and federal law enforcement officials. By 1938, the city was swarming with various investigators, including a cadre of FBI guys who simply followed Pendergast as he made his rounds, depositing envelopes of cash in various banks.

          When the indictments were filed and the city manager was whisked away, it was found that the financial wizardry was nothing more than creative bookkeeping of the kind that sends clerks to jail. Effectively, the city was broke and deeply in debt.

          There was no Pendergast “crime family.” His two daughters and his son were quite embarrassed by their father’s conviction and imprisonment, and his wife made him sleep in the laundry room when he came home from Leavenworth. My point is that the system didn’t work well at all, and Heinlein was wrong. However, Kansas City was and still is a great town.

          And by the by, Truman was never asked to do anything crooked by Pendergast or McElroy. Truman was a county, not city, official. Truman was allowed to be honest, and was in Washington DC as a Senator during the climax and collapse of the Pendergast machine.

    3. Carolinian

      Well, is a belief that Donald Trump was chosen twenty years ago to be a Kremlin mole–on the grounds that he would some day become president–any less fantastic? Hank Johnson meet Hillary Clinton.

      1. Phil in KC

        Carolinian, are you referring to the Guardian report on the book by the former KGB officer, which asserts that the KGB cultivated Trump as an “asset” back in early 80’s? You are correct to label that a belief in the absence of any evidence, but it is tempting to wish it were true as it would explain neatly Trump’s relations with Putin.

        1. Procopius

          Errr… Do you have any link to evidence or a statement from a reliable witness as to “Trump’s relations with Putin?” I have long believed those claims were as reliable as the “assessment” in January 2017 from “the 17 agencies of the intelligence community,” which turned out to be three hand-picked employees of the CIA. Or the “Steele Dossier.” I followed Emptywheel for a while hoping she would produce some evidence (she said she believed in Russiagate because of stories some of her friends in the intelligence community told her which she couldn’t repeat), but she never produced anything except the report from Crowdstrike, which was not based on evidence.

          1. Phil in KC

            No link to any reliable witness. And that is my point about Carolinian’s post. Speculative at best. Beliefs substituting for facts. For too long we USians have indulged ourselves in looking for data to confirm our hunches and biases. This is a site where I expect to find facts submitted as facts, opinions as opinion, and opinions based on facts, not wishes or hunches. Tired of seeing facts and truth handled roughly.

      2. Peoxopius

        It amazes me that anybody would take the word of a professed KGB agent as indisputable proof of anything. Even our own spooks admit they cheat, lie, and steal, and even give courses to new employees to do that. You ever seen pictures of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy? Just looking at him you should know better than to believe a word he says, but many millions did. I was in high school and knew that I was doomed, living in a world controlled by people like that.

    4. Dalepues

      That’s a sad video Rev Kev. It’s hard to believe that no one on Rep Johnson’s staff didn’t know he was going to ask such a ridiculous question and steer him away from it. When I first saw the video he sounded to me like he was stoned. (I actually ate lunch once with Rep Johnson at a buffet style restaurant on Edgewood Ave in Atlanta called Son’s, where at peak hours diners sat wherever a seat was available, and heard him speak for twenty or so minutes. His diction was very clear.) When the media got hold of the story, Johnson’s staff blamed the question on medication he was taking at the time. This excuse of course raised another question: why was he conducting a congressional hearing while so deeply medicated. It was a bad day for Hank Johnson. But it was just one day.

      Marjorie Taylor Greene’s brand of ignorance (or feigned ignorance) is nothing like Hank Johnson’s dumb mistake. She is an evil piece of work and she is ongoing. There is apparently no limit to her accusations and obscene conspiracy theories. Also, instead of trying to explain away some crude and offensive proclamation, she doubles down. Rep Greene represents the 14th Congressional district in north west Georgia. The district is geographically located in the foot hills of Appalachia. It has always been, in my experience, an extremely reactionary region of the state.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    28 Trillion Tonnes of Ice Have Melted Since 1994, on Track With Worst-Case Scenarios ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

    The most disturbing thing about ongoing research is that we’ve consistently seen that (excluding catastrophist scenarios), the progression of climate change is at the ‘max’ end of the projections made over the past few decades. Or put another way, scientists have been consistently biased towards underestimating the risks. Its coming faster and harder than anyone but the pessimists predicted.

  6. allan

    Trump notches court wins by running out clock on lawsuits [The Hill]

    … Before Trump took office, it was rare for presidents to ask the Supreme Court for an emergency stay of a lower court ruling, which has the effect of allowing a federal policy to go forward while a legal challenge plays out. But Trump treated these requests as a standard litigation tactic.

    The combined administrations of former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama made just eight such requests over 16 years, with only four requests being granted, according to University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck.

    In Trump’s first three years in office, his Justice Department asked for 29 emergency stays. In response, the court granted relief 17 times, Vladeck wrote in a June opinion piece for The New York Times. …

    A number of stays were still in effect when Trump’s term ended Jan. 20, meaning a final ruling is unlikely to ever be reached in the underlying cases. …

    Exactly as envisioned by The Founders.

  7. .Tom

    When an animal arrives at a shelter, its distress may be a direct result of simply being there. In The Guardian article the shelter staff seem not to account for that although the story implies it to me.

    Yesterday two dogs arrived at shelter where I help on Fridays. Both were very unhappy to be there. Although they were in different rooms, one barking set the other off. It’s normal. And even when dogs in nearby kennels aren’t making much noise, they are still aware of the close presence of others but can’t see them, investigate or interact.

    Reading to dogs and cats can be effective to help the person relax and be less conscious of the situation. The nervous or self-conscious are less likely to be a comforting companion to the stressed pooch or kitty. Idk how well reading transfers to farm animals. I guess it depends on the animal and if human contact is what it needs.

    Thankfully both of yesterday’s new arrivals were able to calm down and relax enough to lie down as I sat with them. But I don’t romanticize the shelter (as The Guardian’s photography does). Animals need it like people need a homeless shelter: in an emergency as a last resort and preferably for as short a stay as possible.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Researchers use AI to help businesses understand Code of Federal Regs, other legal docs”

    This could prove quite useful this. A lot of old legal documents seem to consist of boilerplate passages and these days with copy-and-paste this would be even more true. Certainly some wills for example are so obtuse in their wording that in an attempt to be more accurate, it is almost unreadable. Certainly this development opens up the way to amusing consequences. So you would have this lawyer reading the will of this wealthy, 55 year-old old guy to the young 22 year-old widow. And the lawyer would be saying ‘We put the 40-page will of your late husband through an AI-powered semantic analyzer and it came out rather brief. It says “It’s all yours, babe!” ‘

  9. QuarterBack

    Re Vox article on influence algorithms, I think that she diminishes the strength of her argument by weaving Trump references into a narrative frame around influence being about truth verses fiction, with her chosen offending examples being lies, and an implied presumption of “orange man bad” arguments representing “truth”.

    Although there is a significant quantity of lies and false information on virtually any topic the Internet can offer, the most effective influence algorithm techniques (used by intelligence organizations across the globe) selectively amplify facts that can be confirmed to be true, and that align with the intention that they wish to effect. The same algorithms filter out truths and evidence on alternative points of view.

    Influence algorithms can be further enhanced by amplifying counter evidence that can be easily proven false. This can be very effective at influencing attitudes of people who choose to only fact check the content rather then fully studying the issue (the overwhelming majority read to become informed). If you are steered into a corpus text that have truths in one POV peppered with falsehoods portrayed as the counter argument, you will tend to be agreeable to the path you have been led on. Another technique is the quote only the most cartoonish, delusional,or mendacious sources as the proponents of the alternative arguments.

    These techniques are highly deceptive, but effective, and rely mostly on leveraging cherry picked truths. This is the nature of propaganda. You need only look for these methods in any cable “news” channel today. No algorithms necessary. The algorithms use the same tried and true brick and mortar propaganda methods, what the algorithms do add is velocity and volume.

    1. Hutch

      “No algorithms necessary. The algorithms use the same tried and true brick and mortar propaganda methods, what the algorithms do add is velocity and volume.”

      Absolutely correct. Nail hit on head.

    2. Stephen C.

      That Viking- costumed Insurrectionist could bring up AI in his defense. I mean, who among us, over a long period of time, has the moral power to stand up to AI generated propaganda?

  10. Fireship

    > The Mediterranean Diet

    After extensive travel and living around the Med, I can tell you for a fact that the Med people love meat more than anything: Mounds of chuleta in Andalusia, hearty sausage stew in the French Midi, Ox steak in Tuscany, grilled whole lamb in Greece, sucuk in the Balkans, döner kebab in Turkey: all these people generally view vegetarians as fcked up weirdos.

    The whole Med diet is a crock designed by a neurotic American to sell diet books. Look up “vegan starvation” on YouTube to see the results of this frightening eating disorder.

    1. Wyoming

      Perhaps you are a bit confused as to what a Mediterranean Diet consists of? A link for you:

      It is NOT a vegetarian diet.

      I lived in Greece for some time when I was younger and traveled to all of the places you mentioned. The standard diet in most of those places is in general alignment with what is described in the link. But you need to live where sea food is available also. And one cannot say in any way that ALL of the residents of ALL of the lands which have borders on the Mediterranean Sea follow the diet of the same name either. There are plenty of people who follow less healthy eating styles like eating huge amounts or red meat – perhaps you were hanging around with the wrong crowd.

      1. Fireship

        “perhaps you were hanging around with the wrong crowd.” Perhaps you are an arrogant American?

        The people I “hung around with” were waiters, barmen, fishermen, bakers, tradesmen, taxi drivers, shop workers, teachers, students, small business owners, doctors, dentists, nurses, retired people, artists, unemployed, coke dealers, travelers, programmers, sales people, marketers. I have lived in Europe for 45 years, much of it in the South. The Mediterranean diet is a myth.

        Mediterranean people eat a lot of red meat, bread, dairy and sugary crap. They also eat vegetables but it does not make up the majority of their diet. They eat a lot of fish which is usually fried in oil. A lot of the veg is also fried. They eat tons of fatty cheese. And French fries – with mayo. Food is for enjoyment and not to obsess over like neurotic Americans.

        No diet is going to make up for living in a hustling, toxic, hyper-individualistic society. Being American is killing Americans and following some fad diet is not going to change that.

        1. Lex

          There’s a copy of the Mediterranean Diet taped to the white board in our pantry. It’s at eye-level as a constant reminder that we could be eating better. It’s an ideal and expensive diet with its emphasis on “fresh”.

          The diet you’ve described as more common is tasty perhaps, and cheap, as we might expect in countries that have been living under the burden of austerity for many years now. Who there can afford to eat the idealized Mediterranean diet? Are there class issues? If yes, was it always so?

          I didn’t chose it out of arrogance but because my GI tract feels best when eating lean and fresh. That we can eat foods without consideration for budget is incidental. We’ve never been so poor we couldn’t afford fruits and vegetables. Our budget 43 years ago was $50 a week for two people. We also had a garden. A preference for greasy fried foods sounds like a rationalization, not a necessity. You can find those rationalizations in any country in the world.

          1. kareninca

            “That we can eat foods without consideration for budget is incidental. We’ve never been so poor we couldn’t afford fruits and vegetables. ”

            So, you are very fortunate. Many people are not. It seems extremely uncharitable to accuse people who can’t afford to eat as you do of rationalizing – even if they are rationalizing, in order to not be utterly depressed. There are a lot of settings in which the only even slightly affordable fish is greasy fried fish. There is a giant sign outside the local Jack in the Box here in Silicon Valley: “EBT welcome.” Many people don’t have access to a kitchen, or have to share a fridge with a whole household of near-strangers.

          2. Jason

            The diet you’ve described as more common is tasty perhaps, and cheap, as we might expect in countries that have been living under the burden of austerity for many years now. Who there can afford to eat the idealized Mediterranean diet? Are there class issues? If yes, was it always so?

            This is what happens when one views everything through the class lens. If you had read his previous post without any preordained ideas in your mind, you’d see that your question was answered in his comment:

            The people I “hung around with” were waiters, barmen, fishermen, bakers, tradesmen, taxi drivers, shop workers, teachers, students, small business owners, doctors, dentists, nurses, retired people, artists, unemployed, coke dealers, travelers, programmers, sales people, marketers. I have lived in Europe for 45 years, much of it in the South. The Mediterranean diet is a myth.

            That about covers the entire class spectrum. Fireship has years of lived experience in the Mediterranean while you have someone’s (wrong) ideas about the place pinned to your refrigerator. This is worse than confusing the proverbial map for the territory. You don’t even have the right map.

            Fireship, thank you for your firsthand accounts.

        2. Jonhoops

          Nina Teicholz devotes a chapter or two to the history of the “Mediterranean Diet” in her great book Big Fat Surprise. It is essentially just an aspirational diet marketed to Americans that has little to do with the actual diet of the region. The reason it became popular was that it gave some loopholes out of the very restrictive “heart healthy” diet being pushed by Ancel Keyes and his minions, but still mostly stuck to that orthodoxy. It also helped that one of Keye’s right hand men was a big promoter of the Mediterranean diet, and that it used data from Keyes original studies. I’m giving it short shrift here, but it is an interesting bit of history.

    2. a different chris

      We had roasted boar in a rural place somewhere outside of Siena. OMG was that…. I can’t even say amazing, there must be is a better word in Italian because they need it.

      1. Count Zero

        All very interesting but the focus, as usual, is so narrow that they forget the big fact about the Mediterranean diet. It is eaten in the Mediterranean — blue skies, warm sunshine (Vit. D), mild winters, low pollution, low stress, etc. Eating the Mediterranean diet on a Greek island or in a village in Sicily is a bit different from eating the same diet in a 4th floor apartment in Glasgow or Chicago in January! You’d think they might have noticed!

        Surely you cannot really understand the effects of diet without also considering climate and the material and social environment? I suppose this is what comes from the continuing unconscious assumption that the human body is some kind of machine. It is but it isn’t.

          1. RMO

            That’s not my experience with Eastern Orthodoxy and fasting. I’ve found it all very flexible to account for personal situations.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            A lot of the Mediterranean is Catholic or Muslim. Do those areas have the same Med diet? Do those areas have the same number of adhered-to fast days as the Orthodox areas?

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Incantevole does the job. Wild boar/cinghiale is the best and least gamey and dry large game meat I’ve ever had. Plus there is a consensus that there are way too many of them in Tuscany. In an hour, a group of them can turn your yard into what almost looks like a freshly plowed field. It makes gardening challenging.

  11. Ep3

    Yves, the following city council meeting for Lansing Michigan discusses new mlb requirements for minor league teams that the minor league team is saying the city has to pay for. Batting cages, new buses, stadium updates. The mlb is giving the city 2 weeks to decide to pay for these. If not, well, the team owner doesn’t say specifically what would happen other than the potential for the mlb to dump the team. During the entire meeting the team owner does not sound worried, scared, concerned for the future of his business. Further, you will hear the name “Baird” mentioned & an employee does appear to discuss how great it would be for the city to continue to be partners in owning a business (the city financed building the stadium, does receive some revenue, finances everything, what does the owner own? Where is his risk?) Baird is a private company that advises local and state govts on finance issues. Bcuz due to moodys & other credit rating agencies, govts can’t get loans to pay for anything. So state & local govts goto Baird who set up the loans. And the Lansing mayor is a blue dog democrat.

    So we have a private business, mlb, that contracts with another private business, minor leagues, to develop their talent. And it’s all paid for by taxpayers. Where are the conservatives crying about govt waste, govt intervention, govt bailouts? Oh but this is ok, bcuz it creates jobs, and creates tourism for the city’s downtown. My friend worked there for like 3 days. He says they are exempt from paying minimum wage, the work was extremely physically demanding, and he struggled to collect unemployment. Not to mention the plight of minor league players. Essentially, if you don’t have someone financing your career, you cannot live on the wages the team pays. There are families who act as surrogates for foreign players, again bcuz they cannot afford to live on their own.

    Luckily, Lansing city council is kind of librul, and is questioning this. But the deal was done 25 years ago, when the team moved in. The city was near bankrupt in the 90s, the downtown was a mess and disaster (abandoned factories, abandoned homes, etc). But the city somehow found money to build this stadium. It did help clean up the area. But now, the city is stuck. They cannot stop participating in the deal, or they will end up with an empty stadium & downtown will be a mess again.

    1. Wukchumni

      Fresno’s* minor league team-the Grizzlies, got demoted from AAA to single A ball a few months ago, as MLB laid down the ultimatum that the city have a team more in character with the metropolis’s penchant for expecting less, ‘come to demotion-con, er the ballpark’.
      On Nov. 25, MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem sent a letter to the City of Fresno requesting its consent to accept a team at the Low Single-A level and drop any potential legal challengers or go on without an affiliated team.

      “If, however, you inform us by no later than Monday, November 30, that the Grizzlies and Fresno will accept a Single-A affiliation and will agree to release any legal claims they believe they may have against MLB or any of its Clubs concerning the decision not to offer a Triple-A affiliation, we will gladly reconsider,” the letter said.

      To maintain the stadium without a major tenant would cost $3.5 million annually, Brand added.

      There is still $30 million that the city owes to pay off the stadium mortgage.

      * this bashing has to stop! I really like their airport as its the quickest way to flee Fresno, and it has those oh so bogus fake Sequoia trees in the lobby, no need to go see the real thing~

      1. fresno dan

        January 30, 2021 at 9:38 am

        didn’t even reduce us down to 2 balls from single A ball – straight to one ball. I wonder if the tickets will be two thirds cheaper….and I guess will still have to pay big league beer prices.

        1. ambrit

          What about High School games and Little League games? Seriously, if the local municipality is paying for it, the stadium should be free for use to local entities. If not free, then bare bones maintenance and upkeep prices.
          If small local entities cannot use this venue, then something is very wrong with this model of “ownership.”

          1. Wukchumni

            A talented high school ballplayer is about equal to single A, not much of a stretch to use the ballpark for them instead…

            Cities are held hostage by the idea that they’ll be respected if they have professional sports in their town, but the only thing that happened was Fresno got kicked in the nads by MLB and they’re out $30 million, which would’ve greatly alleviated the onerous homeless situation there.

            1. ambrit

              Fresno got kicked to the NADS? (North American Deep South.)
              Hold up there pardner. Back in the “Good Bad Old Days” we had the Negro League which was pretty darned good. So, Fresno being kicked to the NADS for baseball reasons isn’t that bad a deal.
              As for the homeless problem there, if push comes to shove, turn the stadium into a county managed homeless camp. If, under the tutelage of the Chicago Boys Pinochet could make Chilean sports arenas “dual purpose,” then Newsome certainly can.

  12. Mark Gisleson

    I sincerely hope Clinesmith’s probation means he cooperated fully with Durham’s investigation because he is getting off very lightly (unless compared to other seditionists in government who, like corporate CEOs, always seem to get off scot-free).

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Indeed. Basically no penalty at all for aiding and abetting a massive waste of federal resources and a years long misinformation campaign.

      And we saw that the buffalo hat man is offering to cooperate in the impeachment trial, presumably for immunity or a greatly reduced sentence if he fingers Orange Man Bad. That should add some color to the impending dog and pony show.

      Maybe when they’re done with impeachment, Congress could cut a deal with Banana Republic making them the Capitol’s official corporate sponsor, and just be done with the increasingly frayed pretense of being some august body of lawmakers that they currently operate under.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “Durham’s investigation.” You’re kidding, right? That thing, if it ever really existed, is deader than a doornail.

  13. JohnMc

    So men are more likely to believe ‘conspiracy theories’ such as an accidental leak from a chinese lab or that the seriousness of the pandemic has been exaggerated for political purposes? not me! i obediently believe everything my MSM overlords tell me.

    i only wish the article listed the other kooky ideas the survey assessed that formed the basis for this article so i could laugh at those too.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Scrutiny grows over National Guard presence at Capitol”

    Well of course it is. Look, if the Capital Police and the DC Metropolitan Police cannot do their jobs and defend those buildings, maybe that job should be taken away from them and given to someone else that could do it properly. Maybe the Uniformed Division of the US Secret Service could do it after being expanded. It would not be that expensive if you got rid of the Capital Police and gave their funding to them instead.

      1. ambrit

        I think that the ‘Elites’ are striving mightily to redefine the term “peace time.”
        Deploying the formal military internally is a bad sign. It means that the local Law and Order forces are either not up to the job, (which prompts one to question why that should be so,) or are not considered ‘reliable.’ As to the issue of reliability; one can then break that down to either: the available forces are too small for the task, incompetent at the task, or not politically reliable to the ruling elites.
        The National Guard used to be the “backup army.” Now it is just another unit in the armed forces.

        1. flora

          It means that the local Law and Order forces are either not up to the job, (which prompts one to question why that should be so,) or are not considered ‘reliable.’

          Hmmm, what if the elites want to eliminate local/state police and replace them all with a national police force in the name of efficiency and “reliability”? What could go wrong? ;)

          1. ambrit

            Harmonious hmmm….
            That is a standard Imperial policing technique. For example, in The Raj, the local Commissioners had a dedicated police force comprised of veterans sourced from different parts of the Empire. The soldiery that shot the locals at Amritsar were comprised of Gurkhas, Pathans, Punjabis, some minor ethnicities, and Sikhs. The local population is evenly divided between Hindus and Sikhs.
            So, how ‘compassionate’ would some Oregonians be when dealing with fractious Cajuns? How well would South LA ‘boyz’ deal with Deep South ‘Good old boys?’
            Years of fun!

        2. ForeignNational(ist)

          Paging George Orwell’s ghost on the blue telephone … paging Orwell’s ghost …
          – re. elite trying to redefine ‘peacetime’ (apologies if I’m being trite)

          1. ambrit

            Not at all. You are demonstrating that the Forces of Reaction have “form.”
            Can we equate ‘Orwell’s Ghost’ with ‘Banquo’s Ghost’ from “Macbeth?” Methinks so.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Could the capitol police “not” do its job? Or was the Capitol police presence deliberately understaffed and undersupplied on purpose on Jan 6th in order to deliberately on purpose make defending the Capitol iimpossible?

  15. Dftbs

    Regarding Robin Hood, it makes perfect sense that they would disallow margin buying, and even that they would close margin positions. But it doesn’t make sense that they would stop non-leveraged clients from making “cash” purchases. At the clearing house level, the risk for these cash purchases would be the sellers, and their failure to deliver.

    Sure, the explanations above go to lengths to move “blame” to clearinghouse risk parameters. That’s an obfuscation, the clearing houses were still dealing with the names RH disallowed. The Var models the clearing houses use to determine margin requirements would be applied equally to RH, investment bank X, hedge fund Y, wealth manger Z. These other institutions were still dealing with GME.

    If anything, the clearing houses should have prevented selling as the outsized risk even in t+2 settlement for non-levered buys is on the seller, and failure to deliver. Particularly in a stock whose short base exceeds 100% of its float and whose stock loan/repo rate blew out over the last week.

    Perhaps RH uses the 2 day settlement period to roll their clients cash into some interest rate bearing investment, rather then keep it readily available for settlement. And so they couldn’t meet the adjusted margin requirements. The whole thing stinks so much that this seems like the most benign of any of the many terrible explanations.

    A wrong was done. Maybe it was the clearing houses selectively applying the breaks on retail platforms. Maybe it was the retail platforms screwing their clients on behalf of their HF patrons. Or maybe it was the misuse of client funds. At the end of the day, if I had any money in RH it would be gone. Except of course any GME longs.

    A final post-script to this, to assure us that we are living in the most ridiculous timeline, would be a 21st century Pecora commission. A call to the witness stand that would serve as a launch pad for the new tribune of the plebs, one Dave Portnoy of barstool fame. In my opinion the guy doesn’t have a lot going for himself in the ol’ noggin, other than being right.

    1. GramSci

      In his footnotes, Matt Levine has a great explanation of how wrong gets done, perfectly legally. Re Naked Shorts:

      “This does not necessarily mean a lot of people are doing evil illegal nefarious naked shorting! Really, I promise! There is no special limit on shorting at 100% of shares outstanding! Here is an explanation of how options market makers (discussed below) are allowed to short without a locate, but I want to offer an even simpler explanation. There are 100 shares. A owns 90 of them, B owns 10. A lends her 90 shares to C, who shorts them all to D. Now A owns 90 shares, B owns 10 and D owns 90—there are 100 shares outstanding, but190 shares show up on ownership lists. (The accounts balance because C owes 90 shares to A, giving C, in a sense, negative 90 shares.) Short interest is 90 shares out of 100 outstanding. Now D lends her 90 shares to E, who shorts them all to F. Now A owns 90, B 10, D 90 and F 90, for a total of 280 shares. Short interest is 180 shares out of 100 outstanding. No problem! No big deal! You can just keep re-borrowing the shares. F can lend them to G! It’s fine.”

      1. Dftbs

        The mechanics and legality of naked shorting are, for better or worse, out there for all to see. In Levine’s explanation the one hitch that is missing is the cost of all those loans in the oversold stock. This really does complicate the economics and returns of naked short strategies.

        But I think people are confused by shorting and its opposite: short squeezing. In last week’s events, it was some hedge funds that were short, and it was “retail” that initiated the short squeeze. It’s probably likely some other hedge funds piled on with retail, but that distracts from what happened on Thursday when retail was shut out of market.

        What is missing in all these explanations is a coherent, non-nefarious, reason for why cash buyers where shut out of cash buying by their retail platforms.

        1. Wukchumni

          If the diner next to me in a restaurant orders a short stack of pancakes and I short them to another table, will my hunger for profits be sufficed?

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Maybe — but not your immediate hunger for pancakes . . . and don’t try to waffle out of that!

    2. Mikel

      I read something the other day about a default to a margin account for people opening a account in Robinhood.
      I read the comment in passing from some users and I’m not sure what amount of money deposited it was based on. But basically, someone on Robinhood could be in a margin account even if they weren’t using margin, although they aren’t required to stay in the default account.
      I could see that causing a problem when the company needed to do a quick assessment and restrictio on the operation of margin accounts.
      Maybe someone with Robinhood account can explain the types of accounts or how that works.

      But I’ve alao noticed that there hasn’t been much coverage of the WSB movement of Robinhood users finding a new broker.
      It looks like old-school Fidelity is being eyed because word is that Fidelity has LOTS of Gamestop stock.

      1. Tim

        The margin is used to buy stock via a debit transaction from the trader’s bank checking or savings account. lt is a margin trade because the debit/share draft transaction takes 3-5 days to clear following the purchase of the shares.

        So it isn’t margin in the traditional sense of borrowing money at fee or interest rate for long durations to overexpose yourself. And as a trader, you’d be pretty stupid to debit a bank account with insufficient funds.

        So whole thing is very slick so you can forgive traders for complaining the way they always purchase stocks now is shut down. Reality is they need to deposit and clear first, then buy the stock.But for this gamestop episode 3-5 days might as well be a million years.

  16. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Something is seriously wrong with Fauci. He knows darn well that there haven’t been any data on the vaccines for children, and it is beyond irresponsible of him to even suggest that it would be safe to be given to them by “summer.” Before injecting mRNA vaccines into children, we should have a much longer time period of trials for safety, ethical and moral reasons. Fertility issues have not been studied either.

    That kind of talk is going to result in some school district mandating it with all sorts of repercussions.

    Parents of small children have enough stress without being subjected to that kind of gaslighting from a public figure, let alone one as influential as Dr. Fauci.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Word. In North Carolina as an under-65 I don’t think it will be my turn for many months. Like based on current progress I am afraid I will have to move back to Chicago in August (with all the exposure that would involve) without having had one.

      And I heard him disingenuously responding on a CNN town hall that the public don’t need better masks.

      Well, the CDC can mandate masks on transportation all they like (Daily Mail link missing btw) but until we get better ones our transmission rate will continue to be the highest in the world.

    2. Mikel

      I don’t know why you would be surprised. Authorities couldn’t even follow approved guidelines for the current ongoing experiment.

      I’m using the “safe enough for children” as a metric for even considering the vaccines. So I hope as you do that they can continue long term studies.

    3. ella

      This is what keeps me up at night and keeps me constantly on the brink of anxiety. What to do about my 7 year old and the Covid vaccine. It’s too early to say kids can be vaccinated this summer. Last I heard, they (Pharma) were trying to test on age 10+ but didn’t have enough of a sample size.

    4. Massinissa

      At the rate things are going, whenever kids DO get vaccinated, the wealthy will pay for their kids to get vaccinated ahead of time. Months ahead of time, in some cases.

  17. caucus99percenter

    Since salps are fellow chordates, Thetys vagina are in the same phylum as, and thus distant relatives of, humans and other vertebrates.

    “Ladies and gentle-organisms! Please rise for our phyletic anthem…” Oceania, strike that, Chordata, ’tis for thee?

  18. JWP

    “Conspiracy theories may work like coping mechanisms.”

    Yet again, this soft hypothesis (don’t use “may” when making a claim this strong) implies we are looking at an individual level problem, which is wrong.

    There are a lot of other factors at work, but from the young person’s view, men are taking on the role of not having everything gifted to us by a patriarchy. Some combination of anger at affirmative action, job losses in predominantly male fields, especially manufacturing, and the monetization of toxic, negatively reinforcing cultural norms along the “macho man” and “Punisher” lines are creating a whole lot of pissed of and repressed men. I imagine its pretty easy to turn to conspiracy theories and other extremes to fill the gap with a terrible outlook on the future.

    The article also relies on a hastily explored conclusion:
    “Work needs to be done on an individual and social level, where people are given the skillsets to be able to ask and evaluate questions,” he says, “so that when an event happens, like a terrorist attack or a virus outbreak, they have the skills to be able to evaluate what is happening, and in essence, to feel empowered to not necessarily be drawn to a conspiracy narrative.”

    Not in our country, its very rare to have people able to parse through the MSM jumble of misinformation and misleading narratives, get through the social media sphere unscathed, and pop out with a logical conclusion. There are too many hooks to bite onto out there and our minds are literally not capable of making quick decisions on these things when presented with all of this stuff within a matter of seconds. People feel empowered to believe these things to gain a sense of belonging in a fully monetized society that makes its living dividing each person’s mind into an individual consumer, apart from its biological tendencies to be sociable in collective groups, which would be unprofitable.

      1. fwe'theewell

        Very nice link, thanks. Puts the lie to so many accepted fairy tales, especially the idea that recessions come out of nowhere and aren’t merely another tool in the arsenal against “the silent thief” (workers’ expectations).

        When Volcker considered their econometric models’ predictions of continued reduced inflation, he concluded that they failed to take account of “the important factor of expectations” on the part of America’s workforce. To defeat inflation, Volcker needed to crush those expectations.

        Above all else, the members of the FOMC and Volcker himself operated with a cost-push theory of inflation that specifically pointed to labor power as the driver. Despite their public comments to contrary, privately they understood that inflation was more about the balance of class forces than the amount of money in the economy. And this reflected in the monetary policies they pursued.

        The idea was revisited by a new generation of technocrats in 1970, when the OECD released the report, Inflation: The Present Problem. The report again identified labor demands as the source. It urged OECD governments to shift away from the goal of full employment and instead use fiscal and monetary policy to raise unemployment rates to weaken the ability of labor to drive up wages. Technocrats understand that macroeconomic policy shapes class struggle.

        If inflation was, as monetary theory tells us, a problem of too much money driving up prices, then the Fed restricting money would be a direct way to deal with it. By indirectly setting interest rates and inducing recession, their real goal, they believed that the public would have a harder time understanding that the economic slump was caused by monetary policy.

        Milton Friedman had said that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomena.” But monetary policy was just a means for Volcker — the real goal wasn’t simply to reduce the amount of money in circulation, it was to alter the balance of class forces.

        Pressuring firms to discipline their workers did, however, contribute to reviving the profit rate for American capital. Wall Street had forced the other sectors of capital to take their medicine. With labor weakened and shop-floor resistance at a generational low, firms intensified work through speedup and reorganization and turned to financial speculation instead of capital-investment as a means to generate profits. Finance capital gained the most from the Federal Reserve’s policies.

        A critical goal of the Volcker shock was generating higher labor productivity, doing more for less, which of course is just a euphemism for increasing the rate of exploitation. And study after study shows that after 1982, profit rates in America significantly began to recover.

        The Volcker shock was sold to the country as a question of delayed gratification — can America tolerate present pain for future gain? But gain for whom? Surely, in the long run capital gained. But, as is typically the case, capital’s growing returns were overwhelmingly at the expense of the rest.

      1. Massinissa

        to quote that dead famous comedian I can’t remember the name of (I’m tired lol), “They call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

    1. Andrew Watts

      That’s an easy assumption as well as a safe one to make about the Boogaloos/ANTIFA/BLM. I’d like to point out that Enrique Tarrio definitely fits the bill as a representative of the lumpen proletariat. His legal status as a petty criminal makes that designation an easy call.

      There are other reasons why it’s important to understand class dynamics. The lumpen-proletariat can never be trusted or organized in any circumstance. One good way of identifying a confidential informant or an agent-provocateur is through their status as a lumpen. It’s why the far-right in the US is too disorganized right now for anything more than a riot or mass-shooter event. -Andrew Watts January 18, 2021 at 10:24 pm

      I don’t want to send Lambert down any more rabbit holes, or poke fun at the FBI, so I’ll leave it at that.

    2. Skip Intro

      ‘Infiltrated’ can mean a lot of things. In Germany there was a scandal a while back because the neo-nazi groups were so infiltrated that they amounted to subsidized thugs, who acted with impunity because the informants needed protection. Their system was an evolution of the cold-war/occupation arrangement. I just saw the same thing represented a half century earlier on Netflix in Babylon Berlin. Is it a stretch to think ‘infiltration’ may not necessarily mean hostile in the US?

        1. JTMcPhee

          One wonders, what is their goal in all this manipulation? If there is a unitary goal, and not just factions scrabbling over the bottoms of dead seas…

          Maybe they really are Lizard People, who have mastered biological functions sufficiently to be shape changers, indistinguishable down to the cellular level from Real Humans? Between CRSP-R and other technologies, can that kind of fraud and deception be that far off? The Deep Fakes are getting really good, giving mopes ever more reasons to doubt their recollections and sanity…

          Maybe it’s just that the CIA and Red Squad and Volcker types are just continuing with some skill set they mastered a long time ago, and can’t get off the rocking horse…

          We mopes will never, of course, know…

      1. caucus99percenter

        Yes. Authorities were trying to get a court to ban the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) as having goals in conflict with the country’s Basic Law (≈ the constitution).

        The case was dropped after the defense alleged that government undercover agents in the party were involved in pushing all the dangerous views and plans being cited as reasons for the ban. The government couldn’t refute the allegation without further laying bare the extent to which the NPD was a honeypot of its own creation.

  19. Huey Long

    RE: Payday Report

    I’m glad to see UE in the news organizing grad workers in NM. While I’m not a member, they have fantastic resources for stewards and internal organizing on their website, especially their steward mailing list which they let anybody sign up for, member and non-member alike.

    Even if you’re in a conservative top-down AFL local like me, internal organizing works! It’s much harder for management to openly punch down on the workers when they’re standing arm in arm in solidarity, not to mention it makes it harder for the union rep to act as the boss’s cop when the whole shop is on the same page.

    1. Glen

      So a couple of quick comments here, and I cannot get into details, but the really short version is – American CEOs keep giving China our jobs, factories, and technology – that is the fight we are losing.

      In my current job. we were contacted by the State Department. They had “found” some restricted technology which had been imported to China to fabricate parts, but it had vanished for ten years instead. We could either have it “verified” and destroyed, or import it back to the states. We sent a representative, and with State Department witnesses there, cut it into very small pieces with a torch and destroyed it. This was some equipment which had been shipped to China by a company we had merged with when this company had set up manufacturing in China. Needless to say, it was appropriated by “somebody” in China, copied, and then used until completely worn out making “something”, who knows what.

      In my prior career in the military with much higher security clearance, we watched with dismay as the chip industry off shored it’s manufacturing. Studies done by people with even higher security clearances (mostly DOE clearance types) concluded that our ability to maintain a military technological edge was effectively DONE. This happened in the 80’s.

      Bottom line – military exercises like just conducted by the Chinese are fairly common, we do the same all the time. But now, the same American CEOs that have been shipping technology, jobs, and factories to China can act like this is a “threat” and a reason to pump trillions more into the military. American CEOs seeking profit above all else, and America’s government turning a blind eye to this are what has enable all of this to happen. Until the American government goes after the root cause of this problem, it will get worse.

      1. rowlf

        I followed the news (mostly in Aviation Week) in the 1990s as defense contractors shut down manufacturing and the dual-use machinery and tooling was sold and exported to Chinese firms against the protests of the Department of Defense. The administration at the time overrode the DoD.

          1. rowlf

            Being a fan of Tom Gervais’s coverage of government spending excesses in military programs I liked some actual journalism mixed in with the press releases. My father has been going through his stacks of AW trimming out military articles for him and commercial articles for me. After fifty years you often see recycled articles and press releases. I also like noting the big developments that never pan out.

  20. Larry Y

    NJ COVID vaccine registration mess (unfortunately article behind paywall).

    Instead of one centralized system to streamline the onerous task of vaccinating 4.7 million people — 70% of the adult population — in six months, eligible people desperate for a vaccine have been faced with a fractured approach spread out among dozens of health care systems, counties and municipalities that created their own scheduling process.

    There are now more than 200 vaccination sites, 90 phone numbers to potentially call, and 79 different websites to check daily if you want a shot at finding an open appointment when more doses are made available.

    The bottom line is that state government failed to co-ordinate a decentralized and privatized health care system, especially incompatible electronic record systems.

  21. Lex

    ‘The Capital Insurrection Isn’t Moderating the GOP. It’s Making Them More Extreme’

    I knew the county community health officer once, both personally and as a crisis clinic volunteer. I know what they mean (or meant then) by ‘a danger to themselves or others’. Would anyone like to ring in here as to why these very vocal extremists (especially those in office) haven’t been involuntarily committed and professionally evaluated for their threats to do harm/kill others?

    I worry about our perhaps excessive attachment to ‘normalcy’, to the equilibrium to being neurotypical, that we fail to take extremists seriously? If they’re bluffing, why not call it? Is the problem they’re behavior, or our lack of response?

    1. flora

      Funny thing is, I think the Dems are becoming more extreme. Demanding elected GOP reps be ousted from Congress for challenging the electoral college vote? Demanding cen**orship of onlined platforms? Pretty extreme, imo. When Dem reps challenged the electoral college vote of the 2016 election no GOP reps demanded their ouster or accused them of villainous action. Is “extreme snowflake-ism” a Dem thing now?

      1. Lex

        If we don’t take any of this seriously… because it isn’t (?)… then it’s just attention snatching via MSM and social media by both parties. The mainstream population tends to ignore the behavior of grown-assed adults behaving badly (unless they’re rich), as whatever it takes to stay in front of the cameras and in the headlines. It’s celebrity politics.

        Community mental health officers don’t have the same luxury; they’re usually required to investigate. At the very least these congress critters should have their gun licenses revoked. How long before that behavior disappears if a news crew is invited to film them when the a community mental health officer shows up on the doorstep of a congressperson, and announces they are there to involuntarily commit them to the 7th floor of the hospital for a psych evaluation? They are “a danger to others”. The county used to be able to hold someone for 72 hours.

        The rich keep their crazy quiet and hidden when possible; they have fixers for whatever falls out the cracks in public. But for everyone else… their crazy is playing out in their homes, the streets, places of employment, and no mental health officer is coming. There are no fixers. Ms. Greene, Ms. Boebert, Mr. Hawley are saying things and behaving in a way that sounds “normal” to their audiences. I’m not saying the rich don’t have their fair share of loony; they just have the luxury of discretion.

        If you look online at the mental health services available in Rifle (to those that can afford them), it looks like all they’re doing is offering an extensive menu of therapies for treating addiction, as though no other mental health diseases existed or were worth the cost/space of advertising.

        1. hunkerdown

          Where, exactly, has Hawley done anything that exceeds his legitimate Constitutional authority as a United States Senator? To include him in a List for not simply signing off on an election where rule changes on the fly had any legitimate Constitutional authority questions, smells like a neoliberal information operation, with the aim to maintain fiscal incapacity and reinforce monetarism as “natural law.” Neoliberals are compulsive liars and they use it to destroy society, as is well-evinced by their history and actions. Anything that serves their ends should be deemed suspect. (Not an accusation of you.)

          1. marym

            Hawley tried to disenfranchise millions of PA voters by having their electoral votes cast aside, after multiple court cases had been dismissed on evidence, standing, and jurisdiction, in state and federal courts; and the vote had been certified.

            Note that he had no issue with any other elections on those same ballots, including elections of Republicans. The only problem with the election in PA is that his preferred candidate lost.

            Re: “rule changes on the fly” – Kelly v PA: The Republican-led PA legislature passed Act 77 in 2019 to expand mail-in voting. The PA SC dismissed the 11/21/2020 attempt to stop the PA certification and block the counting of mail-in ballots:

            PA Supreme Court:
            ”The want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable. Petitioners
            filed this facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory provisions more than one year
            after the enactment of Act 77. At the time this action was filed on November 21, 2020,
            millions of Pennsylvania voters had already expressed their will in both the June 2020
            Primary Election and the November 2020 General Election and the final ballots in the
            2020 General Election were being tallied, with the results becoming seemingly apparent.
            Nevertheless, Petitioners waited to commence this litigation until days before the county
            boards of election were required to certify the election results to the Secretary of the
            Commonwealth. Thus, it is beyond cavil that Petitioners failed to act with due diligence
            in presenting the instant claim. Equally clear is the substantial prejudice arising from
            Petitioners’ failure to institute promptly a facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory
            scheme, as such inaction would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of Pennsylvania voters”

  22. Huey Long

    I read about this incident as hyped up by the chinahawk think tank Project 2049.

    An awfully big deal has been made about them practicing an “attack” with 8 1950’s era bombers and a small fighter escort as if this was some militarily impressive feat. If anything it was just a bit of small time Sabre rattling rather than a dress rehearsal for a saturation attack on a USN CBG.

    I mean the Chinese roster about 250 of these planes and about 2500 others in the PLAAF alone. The PLAN air wing rosters another 700+, plus a sizable submarine fleet, mines, and of course a nearly USN sized surface fleet.

    Wake me up when WaPo publishes satellite photography revealing that the Chinese are massing troops and materials in Fujian and of the armada sailing south from Dalian.

  23. ambrit

    Zeitgeist report.
    Scrolling through my e-mail queue this morning, (not very long in the best of times,) I came across an announcement by the MSDOT, (Mississippi State Department of Transportation,) in the Nextdoor realm to the effect that they were discontinuing their regular updates on that platform. Reading down, I came across the following: “Nextdoor has decided to begin charging for the Nextdoor for Public Agencies..”
    There it is, an enclosure of a not really originally “commons” but still an acclimated “commons.” For a year, the Nextdoor operation has allowed various State functions to use the platform to disseminate arguably useful to the Public information. For the DOT, it concerned road closures, and emergencies.
    Like a drugs ‘pusher,’ Nextdoor allowed the agencies time to become ‘hooked’ on the platform. Now, Nextdoor begins demanding ‘tribute.’ The State is having none of it. The people take it on the chin.
    The sad part about the above is that the State has pre-emptively decided that it shall not become involved in any public communications scheme. The Cult of Business has issued a Bull. Publically managed popular services are anathema!
    Another one bites the dust.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Interesting — When I lived in Somerville, MA, I got a glossy in the mail from Nextdoor. It immediately looked suspect, like some kind of scam. A local community web site for my community? No thanks.

  24. Mikel

    RE:” This is the most powerful false equivalence I have ever encountered.”

    — Zach Griffen (@runzach)

    It’s just David Brooks, plying his trade.

  25. Glen

    Remaking the New Deal CCC? That would be good!

    Maybe it can happen:

    Biden Executive Order Creates ‘Civilian Climate Corps’ to Fight Climate Change

    So I and others here have actually proposed something like this, and I’m glad to see something like this happen. First a critical comment about the name – Civilian Climate Corps? In the interests of unity, I find the old name Civilian Conservation Corps to be a bit better. After all, fighting climate change is conservation, and that’s old school conservative, not the “tax cuts for billionaires” conservative. But I find this very hopeful especially if we get:

    1) Good jobs, a lot of them.
    2) Help in the forests for fire fighters by doing all the “maintenance” to fight fires.
    3) Planting trees and grassland – the only good cheap CO2 scrubbing technology we have.

    I also find this hopeful:

    Biden to have Feds buy 650K Electric Vehicles, Promising rapid Fall in EV Prices

    I just bought a new truck, my old one was thirty years old. I live in the country, I need a truck. I had been holding out for an EV truck, but I cannot afford a $100,000 pick up truck, and that is what these things are being priced at. I’m hoping the cost of EVs can come way down.

    So what’s strange is I find both of these stories extremely hopeful, but I cannot find them in the MSM.

    1. marym

      I did a quick search and found a few msm references in the last couple of days. Probably paywalled. Below is a link to the executive order.

      Once I was whining in a comment here about one of Trump’s EO’s and was reminded (rightly) that in many cases these orders don’t mean much without legislation and funding. Sometimes I read something that sounds as though Biden has moments of recognizing that a big New Deal type approach is needed, but who knows if he and the Dems in Congress are willing to do the work. They’re certainly not entertaining that kind of vision when it comes to healthcare.

      The old name for the CCC is way better!

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Increased demand for EV may not lead to lower prices. There are already concerns building that raw materials (primarily batteries, but not limited to that) will be in short supply as EV sales ramp up globally. This can only mean higher, not lower EV prices.

  26. Carolinian

    This is above my pay grade but worth posting here I think. Long time Wall St critic Pam Martens gives her take on Gamestop

    It’s important to remember who has been pumping the GameStop/Reddit story on CNBC. That would be none other than Andrew Ross Sorkin, who created a completely false narrative about who and what caused the crash of 2008 – appearing to be intentionally protecting the reputations of the mega banks on Wall Street. Sorkin’s reporting on the 2008 crash looked even more suspect when we repeatedly asked the New York Times to correct his outrageously incorrect reporting and they failed to change one word.

    What’s being ignored in all the current hoopla is that the largest federally-insured banks in this country, that now double as trading casinos and Dark Pools thanks to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, have every incentive to suck in the small investor at the top of a market bubble in order to create an escape route for themselves. It’s called “distribution” and it occurs, by hook or crook, at the top of every market bubble.

    Martens is suggesting that it is the insurgents who are being played by “dark pools” because

    It’s also important to remember who doesn’t like hedge funds that expose fraudulent stocks or over-valued stocks. That’s the same mega Wall Street banks that may have just issued buy ratings on these fraudulent or over-valued companies.

    1. Jason

      It all circles back to the behemoths. Not surprising. I’d like to see more on this. I’m surprised no one has commented on it yet.

      Thank you for the link. Russ and Pam Martens produce an extraordinary amount of very good research.

  27. Daryl

    Anyone heard from Amfortas lately?

    Things are pretty grim here in TX. Cases are dropping a little, but the new variants are here and only 1.4% of the state is “fully vaccinated.” (

    On HEB’s site, a note to me that reads as slightly indictive of the Texas government’s vaccine rollout:

    > H-E-B Pharmacies are prepared to receive new allotments of COVID-19 vaccine at any time from the government.

    (For context, HEB is a popular chain of Texas stores whose logistics operation regularly withstands hurricanes and was probably the most reliable during the initial wave of Covid panic).

  28. Skip Intro

    Vaccination Numbers from Kaiser Permanente in CA:

    At Kaiser Permanente, we care for more than 9.3 million Californians — and we’ve received only a fraction of the vaccine needed to vaccinate our health care workers and our members. At the time of this writing, we’ve received approximately 300,000 doses across the state and we’re acting quickly to vaccinate those who are eligible as soon as we receive the vaccine.

    The shortage of vaccine doses and the uncertainty about the timing of vaccine availability worries everyone. The state of California must allocate the limited COVID-19 vaccine supply it receives from the federal government to 58 California counties and 9 multi-county entities, including Kaiser Permanente. We’re currently receiving a total of approximately 40,000 vaccine doses per week in California. We, like the state, are not permitted to purchase more vaccines directly from the manufacturer.
    We look forward to the day when there is enough vaccine for all our members and communities.
    We’ve received inquiries about our preparation and have heard your concerns about the limited number of available vaccine appointments. Please know that Kaiser Permanente has the capacity and is prepared to administer more than 200,000 vaccines per week in California — our only limitation is the availability of and access to the vaccine.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Wow…just doing basic math it appears that it will take Kaiser 40 weeks to vaccinate all 9 million members if they get 200K doses per week from government. Half that and it is 80 weeks. Pretty ridiculous, so something must be done to greatly increase vaccine availability across the board.

      1. kareninca

        I calculated 45 weeks to vaccinate 9,000,000, if they receive and can administer 200,000 doses per week. But that is if people only need one dose. Don’t people need two doses? When they say they’ve received 300,000 doses so far, doesn’t that mean that they’ve only gotten enough to do 150,000 people? If that’s the case, if they receive and can administer 200,000 doses per week, it will take 90 weeks to completely vaccinate all of their members, right??

      2. Massinissa

        I’m beginning to wish the media would stop pretending COVID will end in like 3 months thanks to the vaccines… Probably going to still be dealing with this at least in the winter.

        1. eg

          Since the vaccines first became available here in December I calculated that it would take us at least 10 months to administer them to the population as a whole — and that’s fairly optimistic. Ignore claims that it will happen any faster.

  29. allan

    A Major Trump Forum Scrubs Its Archives of Thousands of Pre-Riot Posts [Mother Jones]

    In the days ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot, there were warnings, but no guarantee that the day would turn violent. But users of, a major online pro-Trump forum, were preparing for a fight, posting maps of the Capitol and swapping messages about being ready to die.

    In the wake of the carnage, law enforcement identified as a key planning platform for the insurrectionists. And on Inauguration Day, the forum established a new domain, rebranding as Alongside that transition, thousands of posts from lead up to the riot have disappeared from the site as though they were never there. …

    The posters’ deleted content included maps of the Capitol, manifestos about their intentions upon arriving, discussion about flouting D.C.’s strict gun laws, and praise of extremist groups like the Proud Boys. …

    Like Uber, but for consciousness of guilt.

    1. Massinissa

      They delete this kind of thing, even though the intelligence agencies and sites like the Wayback Machine already have most of this recorded…

      1. JBird4049

        It is not about hiding the facts from serious investigators or the police. The deletions make it harder for the average, casual investigator to find out what did happen and this helps to expand and strengthen the lies’ Bizarro World; anything that makes it harder to find the truth hides the truth, or paraphrasing here, Churchill, “the truth must have a bodyguard of lies.”

      2. kareninca

        I went to the Wayback Machine’s website and they say that you can ask to have your site excluded from the Wayback Machine:

        “Why isn’t the site I’m looking for in the archive?

        Some sites may not be included because the automated crawlers were unaware of their existence at the time of the crawl. It’s also possible that some sites were not archived because they were password protected, blocked by robots.txt, or otherwise inaccessible to our automated systems. Site owners might have also requested that their sites be excluded from the Wayback Machine.

        How can I exclude or remove my site’s pages from the Wayback Machine?

        You can send an email request for us to review to with the URL (web address) in the text of your message.”

        Of course I don’t know if they always honor these requests, but it does look like they don’t include everything out there.

  30. hunkerdown

    Our Gal Elizabeth Warren enters the GameStop and concern-trolls on the side of.. big finance? A Twitter thread, deconstructing her strongly worded letter to the SEC against the naked short vigilantes in the name of “workers” and “real value”. As if GameStop “workers” (nice poster-child) would not benefit from exercising their options at $hundreds instead of $10. It seems Warren is who she showed herself to be the first time, and her PMC supporters are all over Warren’s original Twitter thread selling her campaign material as if it were binding fact. Predictable.

    (Disclosure: I have no position in or on the stock)

    1. Massinissa

      Wait, Warren had leftish campaign material? You mean the 2020 campaign? I thought she went centrist IDPol even before that.

  31. Wukchumni

    If international borders were open in the midst of Covid, how many Americans would vamoose?

    I could spend 6 months per visit in NZ (hopping over to Aussie for a spell might garner me another 6 month stay?) and frankly i’d much rather be there than here @ this juncture. Wouldn’t need a billionaire bunker, just a nice rental bach in the South Island.

    Mentally i’m there, just got off the plane in Queenstown in my mind’s eye~

  32. Jason Boxman

    So, it’s hard not to be aghast that we’re coming up nearly on the one year mark for the the shelter in place orders last year. And that means, in several months time, a growing number of people that were infected will have had that happen nearly a year ago.

    So given how little we know about long term immunity, it certainly would be worthwhile to track what happens with these people.

    Granted, this ought to be ongoing anyway. But there seemed to be at least some evidence of short term immunity of some level, at least through antibody testing.

    It’s a shame that another nationwide shelter in place with concomitant financial support isn’t in the works; Between this and the new strains, the situation can still implode. I don’t see how we can vaccinate our way out of it fast enough.

  33. a fax machine

    re: computer chip shortage, supply chain, industry

    Does anyone know what’s going on with the chip shortage? I see a lot of articles about it, yet none of them explain it beyond “increased consumer electronics demand” causing it. It also makes Intel’s decision to subcontract to TSMC even stranger, given how TSMC itself is apparently having larger supply chain problems. With multiple car plants suspending operations due to the shortage (as mentioned here), this seems like a huge and growing problem. I’ve yet to see any politicians discuss the matter seriously besides Transportation Sec. Buttigieg and a single phone call/videoconference:

    I’ve searched high and low yet I’m still ignorant on the subject… and this subject seems like it’s extremely serious. By “serious” I mean the sort of era-defining problem that grievously injures western (or at least NYC-based) capitalism – if markets cannot provide enough computer chips then industry is squeezed and cannot build new products like cars, coffee machines, iphones or ventilators.

    If anyone knows better, please enlighten me.

    1. Wukchumni

      If say China took over Taiwan and relations between us and the middle kingdom were strained, we’d be in a similar but different situation to the British in WW2 once France fell, their source for wristwatches & industrial equipment had been Switzerland, and then all of the sudden they were cut off cold turkey.

      The British turned to smuggling…

      1. a fax machine

        And reusing old equipment, which is common in the aftermarket auto industry. If a car’s ECM is fried, it’s $1000 for a new one or $40 at a pick-and-pull (less at local competing lots), and the salvage lot will sell you the associated harnesses by the foot rather than $500 starting. But cars are special in that regard, as all their parts are neatly cataloged by engine and transmission numbers. The same cannot be said for most consumer appliances, which was deliberate as it destroyed the appliance salvage/repair industry to push new products with. It’s also not the case for most cellphones made after 2005.

        Which I mention to demonstrate the scale of the problem. If new cars cannot be made, auto mfgs don’t make money. The desired EV van rollout and Biden’s desired EV transition cannot happen if chip capacity is constrained and production lines are dark. The only vehicles that could be made are m/t diesels, the sort of vehicle certain people (especially in Europe) wish to ban entirely. The home solar transition can’t happen either as they require electronics most diesel and gas generators do not. Since PV companies don’t intend to make their products refurbishable or salvageable, this is a clear problem for the larger green shift.

        And likewise, suppose demand collapses overnight. Then we’re left with piles of chips that prevents new production from being economical. So then companies have to pay to bury them in landfills, like the USSR sometimes would with their own supply chain problems.

        This whole situation seems like it could really hurt the larger market and larger economy if it is left unaddressed. Biden hasn’t stated any position on it beyond asking Taiwan to fix it. What if they can’t?

    2. VietnamVet

      Maybe somebody knows but the media is very silent except to say automobile assembly lines are shutting down due to on the semi-conductor shortage. No explanation of why. It is like the silence about the US Post Service months long delivery delays.

      Since semiconductors are mostly made in Asia which is relatively unscathed by coronavirus and are so light-weight and value added that they would be airlifted, it must be that the in-time shipping shut down together with no stockpiles of the needed parts has collapsed the global manufacturing system. Also, prices of raw materials and components of the final product that are available may been raised so high that buyers have stopped purchasing. There have been reports of Australia coal bunkers sitting off of China’s coast while they are running short of energy in a very cold winter.

      This implies that even if the vaccines work to control the pandemic, the economic recovery will not be v shaped. It could be a while before the US economy recovers to 2019 levels. If a World War with China breaks out, there will be no recovery.

      1. JBird4049

        About two years ago, when I got my car (thank you Mom!) the dealer could see online what was available and where it was. He was sorta kinda complaining about the lack of any buffer on cars. One could get an unpopular or just the very basic standard car easily but anything even slightly unual or popular there could be problems. From him, I got the impression that Toyota (and other auto manufacturers) run their production really lean or just in time for everything including finished cars to save on costs.

        If a well run, I think, company like Toyota could have problems from being too just-in-time in their manufacturering when the shipping was fine, I think that most manufacters must be running into some problems.

        interestingly just-in-time shipping for anything including clothes, food, hardware, whatever, was developed to save costs especially in storage. Back whenever, most stores and companies had a buffer or some extra stock somewhere. It looks like those saved costs might be biting some now.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    I don’t think that corn-belt ethanol growers and the oil industry would be complete rivals. Corn ethanol is made from petrochemical GMO sh*t-corn, and lots of oil and oil-chem products get sold to grow that GMO sh*t-corn. So the sh*t-corn alcohol sector is a good customer for oil business products.

    So it wouldn’t surprise me to see an alliance warm up between the oil businness and the petrochemical GMO sh*tcorn-for-alcohol agribusiness farmindustrialists.

  35. kareninca

    I am becoming despondent about human stupidity. I am still volunteering at a nonprofit book sale. It is retail so it is allowed. We wear masks; have proper room limits, have a symptom sign in sheet, and distance. Customers get very little time since we have almost no volunteers willing to serve them, so we’re trying to do things like alphabetize categories that haven’t been alphabetized in the past so that they can shop more efficiently. I hate alphabetizing. But I found a new volunteer – a nice PMC lady in her 70s, who was eager to help.

    She showed up today, ready to start. But just as she was about to pick up her first book, she told me how lousy she felt, after having had her first vaccine shot on Thursday. Wiped out, and aching. I told her that if she felt unwell, she should go home. She was dumbfounded. But of course she felt bad due to the vaccine! I told her that actually people can catch covid after their first vaccine shot. And she was in a hospital for the shot two days ago; that is long enough for the flu to show up. People do still catch the flu. I am not eager to catch the flu.

    She didn’t make a fuss and did leave; she’ll be back next week if she is feeling well. She told me as she left that she would go shopping instead. I then pointed out to her that the local grocery stores ask people not to enter if they have symptoms. She was dumbfounded. But of course she felt this way due to the vaccine . . .

      1. ambrit

        Especially if the Elites (TM) spin a narrative that is designed to sow doubt and “support” economic activity. In such cases, denial is “Red Blooded and All American.”

  36. marym

    Dodger Stadium’s COVID-19 vaccination site shut down after protesters gather at entrance

    “A post on social media described the demonstration as the “SCAMDEMIC PROTEST/MARCH.” It advised participants to “please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only.

    “This is a sharing information protest and march against everything COVID, Vaccine, PCR Tests, Lockdowns, Masks, Fauci, Gates, Newsom, China, digital tracking, etc.””

    Just some freedom loving patriots taking Their Country™️ back from the rest of us

      1. ambrit

        Maybe not so much ‘vassals’ as ‘chattels.’
        Under the feudal system, the Lord had well defined responsibilities to his vassals. Today’s Feudal Wannabes admit to no reciprocity of responsibility.
        Strange to admit that I just defended classical Feudalism as superior to today’s version.
        Stay safe, stay sane!

        1. The Rev Kev

          Today’s Feudal Wannabes just wanna go with the Droit du seigneur bit – and the younger the bit the better.

        2. skippy

          The Market is their Kingdom … in this realm [Atomized Individualism] … where if one wishes an awl can define willing submission or one can forgo and try their luck[tm] … then own the outcome good or bad …

          Besides some personal blindsides I’m flat out at work [17days straight a fortnight ago] where 90% is referral and kids/doggies are great. Its just painful to watch when there are options.

          1. ambrit

            Ha! The obfuscated aspect of “Rugged Atomized Individualism” is that for every “winner,” there are dozens of “losers.” This does not scale to the society wide level. As Pandemics show, when a society experiences a significant level of “loserdom,” the society shuts down. At that level of organization, the success of all really is the basis of the success of any individual. Even ruthless Industrialists need ‘markets’ to function. ‘Markets,’ need people to feed off of. The number of people determines the size of the market. [I know, I know; the wild ravings of an addlepated geezer.]

            1. skippy

              It has been my experience that talking about more than one persons results, in this belief system[tm], can magically transform you into a socialist of some degree starting with the worst sort in their eyes.

              Notions of scale in your comment cuts both ways – in their minds – depending on where they are currently at. Little people say the big are blocking the road and bigger people say they earned it.

              Funny enough the mid 30s Canadian ex pat bloke I’ve been working for these past years was a rusted on Rothbardian and all things could be deduced from this undeniable logic[tm]. Exposure to me on the job has changed that, because of my work ethos and putting some things under his nose for him to ponder at his leisure. Sadly this is not on offer in most cases and devolves into increased tribal fundamentalism, in the wild, that some opportunists take advantage of or is responded to in kind with non – opposing – members.

              And here I am enjoying refurbishing old Queenslander’s to a high standard, whilst walking the clients through the whole process and then seeing not only them but neighbors comment on its ascetics. All ready have two requests on the block alone for a quote.

              Then I come home, greet the doggies, and then pop onto the comp to check the on goings and poof ~~~~~

              1. ambrit

                Ah, you have hit the Tribalism(TM) nail square in it’s pointy little head.
                People I have met and “argued” with do seem to begin from the extreme ends of the spectrum of their beliefs. ‘True Believers’ everywhere and everywhen are identified by the trails of destruction they leave behind them.
                I have had occasion to deploy my warped version of Herbert’s “Litany Against Fear.” Whereupon I have been called many unpleasant things.
                “Conformity is the mind killer…”
                The older I get, the more I appreciate “The Fire Sermon.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Its too bad that every single vaccine-seeker there did not have big cans of bear spray to hose down the Typhoid MAGAtard plague-spreaders with.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Assuming this kind of plague-spreading assault-based “protest” is just getting started, and assuming that the pro-MAGA police basically support them, so many thousands of vaccine seekers will have to bring bear spray with them that neither the Typhoid MAGAs nor their Police Supporters can stop the vaccine-seekers from dispersing them with thousands of cans of bear spray at every such “protest”.

        Otherwise, vaccination will be shut down, now that this group of Typhoid MAGAs have proven that they can.

          1. Massinissa

            You mean randomly bombing places like the anti-abortion activists bomb abortion clinics sometimes?

            That’s a terrifying thought. Abortion clinics don’t usually have a dense concentration of people in them. Places with tons of people in line to get vaccinated would be a disaster in terms of a bombing.

            1. ambrit

              Exactly. Add in the occasional sniper.
              Disrupting public health programs is essentially terrorism. To that point, knowingly impeding public health programs, from the inside, is another form of terrorism. Same process, different ideological sources.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I would expect serious Typhoid MAGA corona terrorists to try catching covid and when they are confident that they are infectious, I would expect them to cough and sneeze on vaccine seekers and perhaps spray them with water-diluted covid secretions. Maybe from garden sprayers or even bigger duty agricultural sprayers.

                1. ambrit

                  There is precedent.
                  I remember reading about an HIV positive man who cut his wrists and tried to spray the blood all over some people. He was charged with something like “reckless endangerment” or “attempted manslaughter.” The rationale was that he knew the blood contained an infectious, highly dangerous disease.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    Given the much greater catchability of coronavid as against HIV, I would expect Typhoid MAGA corona terrorism to be vastly more effective at spreading the disease, especially if any Typhoid MAGA corona-spreader terrorists are able to get themselves infected with one of the New Variants.

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