2:00PM Water Cooler 2/5/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

A happy couple:


At reader request, I’ve added these daily charts from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching…. (A reader asked the source of the data: Johns Hopkins CSSE. DIVOC-91 does allow other data sets to be used, like Our World in Data and The Atlantic, and where they provide visualizations similar to those below, a cursory comparison shows that the shape of the curves is the same.)

Vaccination by region:

Snow makes the Northeast what it is, but at least the other regions aren’t dropping.

At some point, say by the third week in February*, we’re going to need to see these curves going more vertical, or else we can conclude that the vaccination rate is basically a function of our extraordinarily [family-blogged] health care system, and “competence” and “leadership” operate only at the margin. Needless to say, I’d like to see the curves going more vertical. NOTE * “He’s only been President ___ weeks, give him time.”

Case count by United States region:

At some point I should try to find a chart of city case counts, and see what the cities with direct flights from the UK are doing.

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

Texas going down again. That’s a relief.

Test positivity:

The Northeast falls off a cliff, again I assume due to snow.

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


I wondered if New England would repeat its earlier, and unique, stairstep pattern; now it has. Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Capitol Seizure

Transition to Biden

Better than Obama:

But, if you were expecting a $2,000 check to go out the door immediately, better is not the same as good enough:

You will pry means-testing from their cold, dead hands…

“Hunter Biden’s memoir ‘Beautiful Things’ out in April” [Associated Press]. “The book is called ‘Beautiful Things’ and will center on the younger Biden’s well publicized struggles with substance abuse, according to Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Acquired in the fall of 2019, ‘Beautiful Things’ was kept under wraps even as Biden’s business dealings became a fixation of then-President Donald Trump and others during the election and his finances a matter of investigation by the Justice Department.[1] ‘Beautiful Things’ was circulated among several authors and includes advance praise from Stephen King, Dave Eggers and Anne Lamott. ‘In his harrowing and compulsively readable memoir, Hunter Biden proves again that anybody — even the son of a United States President — can take a ride on the pink horse down nightmare alley,’ King writes in his blurb. ‘Biden remembers it all and tells it all with a bravery that is both heartbreaking and quite gorgeous. He starts with a question: Where’s Hunter? The answer is he’s in this book, the good, the bad, and the beautiful.'” • Yikes. King is, last I checked, from the Great State of Maine, which has a severe opioid problem. Although I have enormous respect for the good things King has done for the state, somehow I don’t think he would be so fulsome over the addiction problems of a forcibly retired millworker’s inarticulate son. Sheesh. NOTE [1] Associated Press carefully erases the laptop. I wonder if Hunter will?

“Jill Biden To Parents Struggling Amid The Pandemic: ‘You’re Not Failing. You’re Strong.'” [HuffPo]. • No, you’re not failing. You’re being screwed, ffs. What’s wrong with these people?


UPDATE “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” [Time]. “This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum. It is the story of an unprecedented, creative and determined campaign whose success also reveals how close the nation came to disaster. ‘Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group. ‘But it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally. The system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.’ That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.” • Oh. I searched the article for the word “Sanders”; it doesn’t appear. The effort is credited to Mike Podhorzer of the AFL-CIO, the “architect.” So I guess now we know why the national AFL-CIO didn’t endorse Sanders. This is worth a careful read….

Obama Legacy

From alert reader DL: “I once lived in the South Side. I am familiar with Jackson Park, the Midway and the Museum of Science and Industry. The Obama pile of rocks will be a forgotten relic similar to the Stalin Museum. People will visit just because they have some free time on their hands. The only class the complex will have is because it is next to the Jackson Park, Japanese Garden:”

DL continues: “Obama has never added any value and he never will. He fits right in with the mediocre Presidents serving the few starting with Ford/Carter administrations.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Fascism, Fascisation, Antifascism” [Historical Materialism]. I’m picking this (long) extract because I’ve taken a contrary view, and I may need to rethink:

It is undeniable that extra-state violence, in the form of mass paramilitary organisations, has played an important (though probably overestimated) role in the rise of fascists – an element that distinguishes them from other reactionary movements that did not seek to organise the masses militarily. Yet, at this stage at least, the vast majority of neo-fascist movements are not built on the basis of mass militias and do not have such militia (with the exception of the Indian BJP and to a lesser degree, in terms of mass implantation, the Hungarian Jobbik and the Golden Dawn in Greece).

Several hypotheses can be put forward to explain why neo-fascists are unable or do not aspire to build such militias:

– the delegitimisation of political violence, especially in Western societies, which would condemn political parties with paramilitary structures to electoral marginality;

– the absence of equivalent experience to that of the First World War in terms of the brutalisation of populations[1], i.e. habituation to the exercise of violence, which would provide fascists with masses of men willing to enlist and exercise violence within the framework of armed fascist militias;

– the weakening of workers’ movements in their capacity to structure and organise the popular classes, in trade unions and politically, which means that the fascists of our time no longer have a real adversary in front of them, which they would imperatively have to break by force to impose themselves, and which would necessitate equipping themselves with an apparatus of mass violence;

– the fact that states are much more powerful today and have at their disposal instruments of surveillance and repression of a sophistication that is out of all proportion to that of the inter-war period, so that the fascists of our time may feel that state violence is quite sufficient to annihilate all forms of opposition, physically if necessary;

– finally, the strategically crucial necessity for neo-fascists to distinguish themselves from the most visible forms of continuity with historical fascism, and especially this dimension of extra-state violence. In this connection, we should recall that parties such as the FN in France or the Austrian FPÖ were created on the basis of strategies of ‘respectabilisation’ developed and implemented by notorious fascists, who had collaborated very actively in Nazi domination during the Second World War.

These hypotheses make it possible to conclude that the formation of mass militias was made necessary and possible for fascist movements in the very particular context of the inter-war period. But neither the constitution of armed bands, nor even the use of political violence, is the hallmark of fascism, either as a movement or as a regime.

NOTE [1] I have urged that falling life expectancy in flyover, deaths of despair, and the effects of deindustrialization have created the required level of brutalization (I called it “organic damage”).

The piece is very long, but I think very worthwhile. So fire up the coffee machine, because you’ll need several cups.

“Analysis: U.S. Consumers Are Increasingly Geographically Divided in Terms of Assessing the Economy” [Morning Consult]. “Much of the debate in 2020 focused on divisions and polarization within the American electorate. Morning Consult’s consumer sentiment data provides evidence of a similar phenomenon occurring in the economic sphere: American consumers’ responses to economic news and developments are increasingly a function of where they live…. The same goes for policy approaches to the economic recovery: While incomes on average may be rising, there are pockets of the country that risk being left behind.”

“Record Firearm Background Checks In January Signal Massive Gun Sales” [HuffPo]. “More than 4.3 million checks were initiated through the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) last month, marking a nearly 60% increase in checks compared to January 2020, according to FBI data released this week…. Firearm sales typically spike around elections and after mass shootings, when there is a worry among gun rights advocates that such events could prompt stricter gun safety measures…. According to a survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group, roughly 40% of guns purchased between January and August 2020 were by first-time buyers. Women comprised 40% of first-time buyers, and Black people accounted for 58% of all firearm purchases, the survey found.”

“Poll: 64 percent of GOP voters say they would join a Trump-led new party” [The Hill]. “A majority of Republican voters said if former President Trump were to start a new political party they would likely join, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds. Sixty-four percent of registered Republican voters in the Jan. 28-29 survey said they’d join a new political party led by the former president, including 32 percent who said they would very likely join.” • Ensuring liberal Democrat hegemony for the forseeable future?

UPDATE “Searching For Alternative Facts: Analyzing Scriptural Inference In Conservative News Practices” (PDF) [Data & Society]. “Given the importance of Christian faith in these central tenets, it became clear that conservatives in this study apply the same type of close reading that they were taught in Bible study to mainstream media. They consume many news sources but then juxtapose what they read, see, and hear with documents including presidential speeches and the Constitution. I call this compare and contrasting focus on ‘the Word’ scriptural inference. Because this process prioritizes direct analysis of primary sources, respondents relied on Google to ‘do their own research.’ However, few if any members expressed an accurate understanding of the algorithms Google uses to serve search results. Using sample search queries taken from interviews, I document the way in which simple syntax differences can create and reinforce ideological biases in newsgathering.” • Interesting. Commentary:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats.

Employment Situation: “January 2021 BLS Jobs Situation – Only A Small Employment Increase” [Econintersect]. “The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth was small but at expectations, with the unemployment rate improving from 6.7 % to 6.3 %…. Employment recovery from the coronavirus has now stalled. The small growth this month was mainly from the government sector. This month the BLS benchmarked their data and revised their 2020 employment. The economically intuitive sectors were mixed for economic growth. The rate of further recovery will be dependant on the coronavirus effects.” • Handy chart (1):

Handy Chart (2):

Employment Situation: “U.S. Employment Report for January” (live blog) [Bloomberg]. “An important caveat is that the figures include only payroll data through mid-month, meaning that job gains resulting from restrictions being lifted likely won’t show up until next month’s report….. The outlook for payrolls continues to be negatively influenced by several key service sectors hit hard by winter lockdowns, including department stores, transit systems, educational services and, as Olivia mentioned, leisure and hospitality.”

Trade: December 2020 Trade Data Continues To Show Recovery But Exports Remain In Contraction Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. “Trade data headlines show the trade balance continues to worsen with imports growing faster than exports…. The data in this series wobbles and the 3-month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3-month average rate of growth improved for imports and exports – but exports remain in contraction.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 30 January 2021 – Rail Movements Up 5.3% In January” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). Container exports from China have recovered, container exports from the U.S. remain deep in contraction. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline.”

* * *

Finance: “Booming Blank Check Companies Are the Talk of Reddit and TikTok” [Bloomberg]. “The SPAC boom that seemed to come out of nowhere in 2020 is still going strong. Billionaires, celebrities, and money managers are lining up to start special-purpose acquisition companies and hedge funds are clamoring to buy an early piece of them. Retail investors are piling in, with Reddit boards and even a corner of TikTok lighting up with discussions about these unusual stocks. SPACs, also known as blank check companies, are empty corporate shells that raise money from investors and then aim to merge with a private business, essentially taking that company public through the back door.”

Finance: “PayPal says U.S. consumer watchdog investigating payment app Venmo” [Reuters]. “PayPal Holdings Inc said on Friday it was cooperating with the U.S. consumer watchdog regarding a civil investigation demand relating to its app Venmo’s alleged unauthorized fund transfers and collections processes…. In the fourth quarter, Venmo, which has been part of PayPal since 2013, processed about $47 billion in total payments volume, up 60% from last year.”

Finance: “Covid-19 Shutdowns Shore Up Allstate, MetLife Earnings” [Wall Street Journal]. “Two of the nation’s best-known sellers of insurance—Allstate Corp. and MetLife Inc.—delivered fourth-quarter results bolstered partly by Covid-19 business shutdowns and stay-at-home directives. Allstate’s net income surged 52% to $2.6 billion, while net income at the big New York life insurer fell 77% to $124 million. MetLife’s decline was primarily related to mark-to-market losses on the financial hedges it buys to protect the company from falling interest rates and stock markets. When rates and equities rise, as they did in the fourth quarter, the value of that protection falls. Wall Street analysts treat those declines as noneconomic and focus on adjusted earnings, which were nearly flat at $1.838 billion at MetLife from $1.834 billion in the year-ago period. Allstate became the latest car insurer to report robust auto-insurance underwriting profit as the pandemic, and resulting weak U.S. economy, continued to hold down the number of miles motorists drove.”

Finance: “A Texas Maverick Is Trying to Save Endowments From the Next Stock-Market Crash. Will They Listen?” [Institutional Investor]. • by Betteridge’s Law…

Retail: “A Massive Chicken Wing Shortage Is Brewing” [Restaurant Business (JC)]. “Fueled by a pandemic-driven uptick in wing consumption, wing reserves are at their lowest in a decade and prices are steadily climbing…. The pandemic has fueled a veritable wing explosion, with existing brands such as Wingstop reporting double-digit growth and other operators creating delivery-only wing concepts to satisfy consumer demand. Chicken wings travel well for delivery, can be customized with sauces and dips for a variety of tastes, and are relatively inexpensive for value-minded diners. Casual-dining stalwarts such as Chili’s parent Brinker International and Applebee’s have launched virtual chicken wing brands during the pandemic.” • JC writes: “OMG not a wing shortage. I will gladly give up my share for the common good.”

Tech: “Chromium cleans up its act – and daily DNS root server queries drop by 60 billion” [The Register]. “The Chromium team redesigned its code to stop junk DNS requests, and released the update in Chromium 87. All too often, technologists solve problems by introducing additional layers and disregarding simpler solutions The result? ‘Before the software release, the root server system saw peaks of ~143 billion queries per day,’ he wrote. ‘Traffic volumes have since decreased to ~84 billion queries a day. This represents more than a 41 per cent reduction of total query volume.'”

Tech: “Google’s next big Chrome update will rewrite the rules of the web” [Wired]. “Google’s plan is to target ads against people’s general interests using an AI system called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). The machine learning system takes your web history, among other things, and puts you into a certain group based on your interests. Google hasn’t defined what these groups will be yet but they will include thousands of people that have similar interests. Advertisers will then be able to put ads in front of people based on the group they’re in. If Google’s AI works out you really like sneakers, for example, then you’ll be chucked in a group with other similarly-minded sneaker fans. It all works in a similar way to how Netflix’s algorithm works out what you might like to watch.”

Tech triumphalism:

Manufacturing: “In Epically Nerdy Interview, Elon Musk Discusses Build Quality Problems With Engineer Who Compared Model 3 To ‘A Kia In The ’90s'” [Jalopnik]. “Musk discusses this Model 3 design weakness. ‘The organizational structure errors, they manifest themselves in the product,’ he begins. ‘We’ve got probably the best material science team in the world at Tesla. Engineers would ask what’s the best material for this purpose…and they got like 50 different answers. And they’re all true individually, but they were not true collectively,’ he admits. ‘When you try to join all these dissimilar alloys…you’ve got gaps that you’ve got to seal, and you’ve got to join these things, and some of them need to be joined with rivets, some of them need to be joined with spot welds, some of them need to be joined with resin or resin and spot welds,’ he continues.” • Conway’s Law

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 35 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 5 at 12:36pm. Mr. Market really having some mood swings.

The Biosphere

“From extractive to regenerative: experts highlight benefits of nature-based climate solutions” [The Narwhale]. “Research shows one-third of the carbon reductions needed to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord can be achieved by protecting, managing and restoring natural landscapes. ‘That’s the equivalent of stopping burning oil globally. It’s a very big opportunity,’ panellist Hadley Archer, executive director of Nature United, said in the webinar. While Canada is home to a quarter of the world’s intact forests, Archer noted the potential for nature-based solutions to reach far beyond protecting and restoring forests. Archer shared some preliminary observations from a forthcoming Nature United study that evaluates the carbon sequestration potential of 24 natural climate solutions and land management approaches. ‘There are many solutions that are near-term, cost-effective and feasible, and we can get on with right away,’ he said. Many of these solutions come with benefits beyond climate mitigation such as providing clean air and water, and promoting local sustainable economic development, he added.”

Health Care

“Pregnant People Deserve Better Data on Covid-19 Vaccines” [Bloomberg]. “Researchers studying Covid-19 vaccines failed to get much of any data on pregnant people. That disservice was compounded last week when the WHO recommended against giving pregnant women the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, appearing to conflict with earlier advice offered by the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It later backtracked, though too late to avoid raising a round of new questions. Experts who study sex differences, pregnancy and the immune system say the limited evidence available suggests pregnant people are more at risk from the virus than from the vaccine. ‘Shame on everybody for not including pregnant females at every stage along the pipeline,’ says Sabra Klein, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University. That should have included testing vaccines on pregnant animals as well as enrolling pregnant women in clinical trials, she says. The mixed messages are stirring undue fear and confusion at a time when people are being bombarded by anti-vaccine misinformation, some of it focused on women and fertility. And pregnant people deserve better advice than the vague ‘ask your doctor.'” • Especially since the FDA gained enormous regulatory power after the thalidomide disaster, which was all about birth defects.

“The Pandemic Broke the Flu” [The Atlantic]. “Since early fall, about 800,000 laboratory samples have been tested in the United States for the flu and reported to the CDC, and only 1,500 or so have come up positive—a mere 0.2 percent. This time last year, close to 100 times as many flu cases had been identified from nearly the same number of tests. By the middle of the 2019–20 flu season, positivity rates were cresting at about 25 or 30 percent, mottling federal flu-activity maps in shades of red and orange, which denote the virus’s rampant spread. Now those maps remain almost entirely green, indicating low or minimal flu activity.”

Fauci’s Covid thread:

No mention of aerosols that I can find, which would be incredible, verging on criminal. Did I miss it?


“How One of the World’s Wettest Major Cities Ran Out of Water” [Bloomberg]. “While climate change and extreme weather have played a part, the main culprit for Chennai’s water woes is poor planning. As the city grew, vast areas of the surrounding floodplain, along with its lakes and ponds, disappeared. Between 1893 and 2017, the area of Chennai’s water bodies shrank from 12.6 square kilometers to about 3.2 square kilometers, according to researchers at Chennai’s Anna University. Most of that loss was in the past few decades, including the construction of the city’s famous IT corridor in 2008 on about 230 square kilometers of marshland. The team from Anna University projects that by 2030 around 60% of the city’s groundwater will be critically degraded.”

The 420

“Can CBD help with cancer treatment?” [Leafly (ano)]. • Cites some studies that look plausible, but I don’t see a masthead on the About page (although there is an Investor Relations link). Can anybody recommend a solid 420 source that’s woo-free?

Sports Desk

“NFL should discourage people from indoor Super Bowl parties” [STAT]. “Community transmission is high, the overwhelming majority of Americans have not yet been vaccinated, and more transmissible variants of the virus are beginning to spread throughout the U.S. In these dangerous conditions, there’s a moral imperative for the host of a major sports event to include proactive efforts to protect the community — not just its athletes and staff.” • I’m not sure what the advertisers would think of this….

Darwin Awards for Everyone!

Class Warfare

“In Need of Truckers, Amazon Plans Incubator to Create More Shipping Companies” [The Information]. “Amazon is finding it can’t hire enough trucking companies to haul all its freight. So it decided to help would-be trucking entrepreneurs start their own firms. The retail behemoth is working on an incubator program that aims to train hundreds of people to launch their own trucking businesses exclusively transporting freight for Amazon, The Information has learned. In an internal proposal, Amazon said the incubator would provide business training, loans for truck purchases…” • Awesome. You can go into debt to work for Amazon….

News of the Wired

“Science needs a radical overhaul” [IAI News]. “Scientists have a problem. We are discovery junkies. The addiction metaphor is overused, but, well, I can’t resist. Scientists have a drive to discover the next big thing. This drive can be channeled in positive ways, but can do serious damage to science and to society when it goes unchecked. And what’s worse, the journals we publish our science in are the enablers that pretend they are protecting us. The problem runs deep. Science selects for people who are naturally curious, and then it heaps rewards and incentives that amplify their drive to find new things. Unfortunately, not all findings are equally gratifying, or equally valued – learning that your potential new cure (for cancer, or racism, or inequality) doesn’t work is just as informative as finding out that it does work, but it just doesn’t feel nearly as good. What’s more, the negative answers aren’t rewarded nearly as much as the positive ones. Journals don’t want to publish the negative results. Awards are rarely given out for rigorously testing a good idea that turned out to be wrong. A track record of negative results is not going to get you a grant. A system that only publishes positive results and sweeps negative results under the rug would be bad enough, but it gets worse. There’s good reason to think that in some fields, many of the positive results aren’t real discoveries – they are quite likely to be false positives.” • Sounds like another dopamine loop….

Quirks Of Britain:

For example, beans on toast. Why? Amusing…

Because of course:

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JK):

JK writes: “Here’s a few of our Japanese Maple. Late turning variety – starting in late November and last leaves falling now just before Solstice. It is growing under an Ash.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Arizona Slim

      Thanks for the info, flora. I just uninstalled Chrome from my desktop computer. And good ole Microsoft knew just what to do — push their [family blogging] Edge browser on me. Nix to that one too.

      Running Firefox on this desktop and it works just fine. It’s my sole browser on the laptop.

      All I have to do is get that darn Chrome off my Android phone.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Arizona Slim
        February 5, 2021 at 4:12 pm’

        Might be wise to have a second browser either installed or stored ready for installation, Slim. If something happens to your primary browser then things can get problematical fast like how to search for a replacement or even fix. Maybe the Pale Moon browser as it is a Firefox derivative.

      2. Phillip Cross

        I was watching a guy on youtube Rob Braxman who was talking about web privacy and browser fingerprinting.

        He has a really interesting demo on browser fingerprinting. He shows how you ID yourself by having an easy to ID browser setup, no matter what extra steps you take.

        Rather than 1 ‘protected’ browser, he recommends using many different browsers, each with minimal add-ons. Then only use each browser for a particular activity. 1 for social media, 1 for financial transactions, 1 for google etc

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              At the end of the article:

              Updated at 15:55 ET to add that Microsoft has confirmed that today’s Funvalget detections for Chrome files were false positive detections due to “an automation error.”

  1. Greg

    Remember last week when that numpty suggested that western ambassadors should get in on the Navalny protests to protect them? And how pretty much everyone said “that’s a terrible idea!”?

    Looks like certain diplomatic staff thought otherwise, with predictable results… https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/5/west-russia-tensions-rise-as-russia-expels-diplomats

    Russia has announced the expulsion of diplomats from Sweden, Germany and Poland, accusing them of taking part in illegal protests last month against the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.

  2. Robert Hahl

    Poll: 64 percent of GOP voters say they would join a Trump-led new party

    “Ensuring liberal Democrat hegemony for the forseeable future?”

    See: Eugene Debs, Huey Long, George Wallace.

    1. Keith

      Or cause a larger moderate party to be established, with Lincoln Project types and Blue Dogs. If it would result in three mainstream parties, it would be interesting, as coalitions in Congress would need to be built.

      1. Procopius

        Are you sure you want to use the label “moderate” for Blue Dogs? I admit I see a lot of references to Joe Manchin as a “moderate Democrat,” and the Blue Dogs mostly are well to his left, but … And three “mainstream” parties is never gonna happen as long as every district is winner take all.

    2. Wukchumni

      Oh dear, I see many afflicted with Perónitus, inflammation of the electorate enamored by a man who never showed weakness.

    3. Glen

      The Democratic party spent it’s maximum effort to ensure Bernie did not win. I see nothing but neoliberals in the Democratic party leadership.

      With Trump starting a political party going right, it would be a good time to get serious about a political party that actually supports FDR’s four freedoms.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    Pfft…there Sanders goes again with his white privilege, not dancing during the coup, and in mittens!

    That labor participation chart shows an L shaped recovery from 2008.

  4. clarky90

    The 1889–1890 flu pandemic, also known as the “Asiatic flu” or “Russian flu”, was a pandemic that killed about 1 million people worldwide, out of a population of about 1.5 billion.


    I found this comment by “Dagan68” on The Market Ticker……

    “I am a medical historian – I know what I am talking about. Go look up CORONAVIRUS OC43 – one of the 4 that circulate yearly as common colds. You can find this information online, far too much to go into here – but genetic sequencing and mutation analysis has made it clear – this virus emerged between 1887-1889. It just so happens that the biggest pandemic in the 19th century – started in 1889-1890. It was called the “Great Russian Flu” but when you read the symptoms – especially the neuro and cardiac ones – it is virtually identical to COVID. This was very likely the birthing of OC43. And like all pandemics, it did not cause what happened in the 1890s but it sure exploded the folly that was already going on. A huge economic panic/depression occurred, the railroads failed, the retailers failed, the anarchists became a major force leading to the assassination of McKinley later that decade, the British Monarchy was completely disrupted. The events of this economic crisis led directly to the establishment of the Federal Reserve. It was a big deal – that occupied the attention of the world.

    But WE DO HAVE RECORDED HISTORY OF A CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – and I think there is another essential fact that we must begin to recognize. The pandemic of the 1890s came in 4 large waves – each lasting 12-24 months. It was not fully done until 1897 – and even today – elderly people die from this virus. Viruses like COVID tend to behave in a similar fashion as their family members.

    These 1890s waves ended as if the virus fell off the cliff. Not unlike what we are seeing now. Then months/years later, like a thief in the night, would re-emerge with a vengeance – without rhyme nor reason.”

    1. IM Doc

      I actually attended a lecture earlier this fall about this very subject. It had always been thought that the “Great Russian Flu”, the largest pandemic of the 19th Century was actually influenza. There is no way to confirm with tissue samples. We only know what we know about the Spanish Flu of 1918 because bodies of Eskimos were literally frozen and the viral particles preserved. We know of no Eskimos from the 1890s.

      It turns out very creative viral work was done and completed in the past few years. This coronavirus OC43 was found to have likely emerged from cattle right before this pandemic in the 1890s. The symptoms as this writer states are indeed much more consistent with COVID than any flu. Especially problematic for the flu diagnosis are the severe neurologic issues that occurred in the 1890s: fatigue, insomnia, headaches, inattention. Sound familiar? And it lasted for months. Again, sound familiar?

      We will never know for certain unless actual tissue is found. However, it is very likely this virus was the 1890s culprit. Furthermore, the coronavirus wave pattern discussed is quite germane to our current situation. Is COVID going to be like SARS-2003 and just completely disappear after the first wave? Or is it going to be more like OC43 and come back even worse after months of complete quiet? And what will our vaccine efforts have done?

      The history of that decade was quite tumultuous. Pandemics are often the thing which rips the veil off systemic societal problems. They very rarely are the cause.

      The speaker in the lecture that I attended this fall brought up a very fascinating topic about the 1890s that may have everything to do with the OC43 virus. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was almost assuredly infected with this virus – having severe cough and fever – followed by chronic lifelong headaches and insomnia. He wrote about how ill he was in some of his journals. And the speaker showed several examples where these symptoms were “gifted” to both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the canon. I seem to remember a passage where Dr. Watson referred to this illness specifically.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If the “Great Russian Flu” was a coronavirus that in one way was not good. The 1919 flu pandemic killed untold numbers of people but specialized in killing young people rather than older people. But it has been theorized that the reason that was so was that older people, when younger, were infected and got through this Russian flu and so had a large measure of immunity when the 1919 flue hit. But if this 1890 one was actually a coronavirus, then I bet that it could not have been responsible for any degree of immunity then. Which means that the reason that the 1919 flu specialized in killing mostly young people is still open as a question.

  5. Another Scott

    I came across this article a few days ago.

    Biden wants solar jobs. People may not want them – https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063722919

    The article describes the difficulty that solar companies are having hiring people for their jobs, especially for installation. For me the big take away is that the jobs just don’t pay that well: $20 an hour to install panels on roofs is $40,000 a year; and the solar industry calls them well-paying. Given the physical labor involved and the safety risk (they’re going up on roofs), they don’t seem like particularly good jobs to me.

    Why not simply require that in order to qualify for the tax incentives, renewable energy projects must pay the prevailing wage? That would help ensure that the jobs are good and not simply a race to the bottom. This would probably also help get unions on board.

    1. Mikel

      Do you think they are really going to hire people for $20 an hour when they’ll have people taking the positions for less undercover?
      Contrators are getting around the peanuts minimum wage now.

      1. RMO

        Yeah, I’ve heard this over and over again in the past decade and a half from businesses, industry groups, individual business owners but so far every time I’ve checked on what the real prospects of getting a job in various trades, (unless you are already not only trained and certified but also have considerable experience), it’s all turned out to be a crock of (family blog). A key line from one of the interviewees “I could hire six, eight experienced plumbers right now.” Now, he does say he is hiring unskilled people and training them: “We’re paying our trainees $15, $16, $18 an hour. And then, when you’re done with the program, you’re not a full licensed plumber, but you’re a service technician who’s able to snake drains and to do the kind of small plumbing repairs and whatnot and get close to that six-figure income.” But I’ve heard lines like that myself for a number of trades and invariably found that when I looked into it, it turned out to be, yep, a crock of “family blog”. At least I only blew two years and tens of thousands of dollars training to be an aircraft mechanic before I learned to investigate for myself the real chances of actually being hired before throwing more time and money at training rather than taking the articles about worker shortages without question.

        Of course I did subsequently devote even more time and money to a business degree focused on accounting (in which I almost always had the highest grades in my classes) which also didn’t result in employment – I would have been happy with even a low level bookkeeping job at minimum wage. At least some of that education helped me with starting and running my own microscopically small business I admit.

        My experiences are in the Vancouver area, so hardly a declining economy either.

        1. Phillip Cross

          Here in AZ, i just paid a plumber to switch out a failed $200 (retail) sewer sump pump. The cost to me was over $2000 for less than 1 hrs work. They also charge about $300 for 5 minutes labor to change the $10 capacitor in your AC compressor. I have had cheaper lawyers.

          I suppose it all depends how many sump pumps and capacitors or similar they can line up in a day, but these plumbing hvac companies must be raking it in if they are busy.

        2. rowlf

          You probably won’t like this, but there is at least one airline in the US that started their own training programs for aircraft technicians (as they are called today) and pilots. They were even going so far to try to get vocational classes for aircraft technicians in some of the local high schools before the pandemic. In a way it reminds me of the auto companies and suppliers trying to get employees to take skilled trades classes as someone did the math and didn’t like the results.

          New York City also has the Aviation High School and I have met several graduates over the years. Aviation High School

          1. RMO

            I’m not unhappy at all if anyone really is hiring and training people for jobs. Just because the aircraft maintenance thing was a massive failure for me personally (financially and license wise anyways – I’ve been maintenance director of my flying club for years now and spend a lot of time working on aircraft with the shops that have done our maintenance for us so I’m using the knowledge and skills regularly, just not getting paid for it!) doesn’t mean that it bothers me if others have managed to find employment. Ever since that experience I’ve just used the technique of looking to see if there are any real jobs available after I hear of some shortage of skilled workers or great opportunities from businesses or business groups. Usually what the PR department and what the HR department have to say on the matter differs greatly.

            I would have liked to be a pilot but unfortunately because I was diagnosed with and treated for depression as a teen I’ve found that I can’t get a Class 1 medical. I can get a Class 3 (which here in Canada is really the “one step down” from the Class 1 as the Class 2 is for air traffic controllers and many years ago was the standard for flight engineers) which means in the eyes of Transport Canada I’m medically fit to fly anything I want, I just can’t get paid for it.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Given the physical labor involved and the safety risk (they’re going up on roofs), they don’t seem like particularly good jobs to me.

      Excellent point that never occurred to me; going up on roofs without health insurance would be madness (and I wonder what the safety regulations* are like; given the industry is new, I would suspect they are minimal).

      Sounds like the solar jobs are precarious in more ways than one.

      NOTE * See a parallel case with wind farms.

    3. Yves Smith

      These people are nuts. That’s basically a construction job.

      Even here, where prevailing wages are way lower than in most of the US, yardmen make about $30 an hour. Cash. I assume real construction guys (riskier but steadier work) make at least as much.

  6. flora

    re; “Science needs a radical overhaul” [IAI News].

    Counter to the author’s “reform science” argument, in 2018 Philip Mirowski wrote about the neoliberal science project.


    Almost everyone is enthusiastic that ‘open science’ is the wave of the future. Yet when one looks seriously at the flaws in modern science that the movement proposes to remedy, the prospect for improvement in at least four areas are unimpressive. This suggests that the agenda is effectively to re-engineer science along the lines of platform capitalism, under the misleading banner of opening up science to the masses.

    From the body:

    The taken-for-granted premise that modern science is in crying need of top-to-bottom restructuring and reform turns out to be one of the more telling aspects of this unseemly scrum, a melee to be in the vanguard of prying science ‘open’. But the language is deceptive: In what sense was science actually ever ‘closed’, and who precisely is so intent upon cracking it open now? Where did all the funding come from to turn this vague and ill-specified opinion into a movement?


    This is a long, readable article. I recommend it for the careful examination of the (financially interested) “open science” movement fostered by the neoliberal thought collective.

    1. flora

      adding one more half-para from Mirowski’s article:

      …What is fascinating about this vintage of openness is its inherent political asymmetry: Published findings funded by government grants are supposedly to be ‘liberated’ from locked file cabinets and the annals of selfish journals, but any research produced by private funding is nowhere expected to be held to the same standards. Who is it precisely that is capable of comprehension, and therefore really needs unfettered access to publicly funded research? Indeed, what is often misrepresented as ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ is in fact a posteriori private expropriation. After all, is the average citizen really so desperate to read and selectively disseminate the latest research reports, or is it instead the corporate research manager? For ‘the widest possible dissemination’, read ‘the most readily monetizable free resource’.


      Private expropriation for profits.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        when i first got a computer and (dialup) internet, in 1999, access to myriad journals was what i most got a woody about…i was amazed at the sheer number, and that first harddrive(in a closet in my library) is loaded to the brim with downloaded articles and entire journals(mostly humanities, but a lot of organic/sustainable/perma ag stuff, too…got around to reading maybe half of them)(i coulda really used that access in tackling the last 4 years of grasshopper plague)
        but then they all got sucked up by that swiss company and put behind a paywall…is this the “open science” they’re talking about,lol?
        seems to me, re: covid and medical science specifically, that a big problem right now….aside from rush to market ideation…is not enough Peers to do the Peer Review.
        said peers are overwhelmed, buried in the torrent of studies and surveys and white papers.
        (I’ve never seen so many papers with the “not peer reviewed” label.)
        i guess “open” means something else in the Thought Collective.

        1. flora

          Great comment, somewhat along the lines of “neoliberalism broke the system (Swiss company privatization) and now neoliberalism offers to fix the system (open publishing!), for a price.” /heh

          I agree that the flood of peer review requests re COVID studies is overwhelming the current process’s available reviewers. However, the neoliberal monetizers often confuse the baby with the bathwater, imo, especially where making a private profit is concerned. ;)

        2. debug

          I’ve been involved in a research project involving a particular development in the history of science and have needed access to multiple research articles published in several journals during the 70’s and 80’s. I found that I was seriously encumbered by paywalls – for science pubished in the 80’s, by gosh!? What value is this research to much of anyone today other than a historian of science? Why would it be hidden behind paywalls?

          It seems to me that the current extremely closed access to science is intertwined with an incrediby unhealthy view of ‘intellectual’ ‘property’ (IP) that neoliberalism has imposed on society. Monetization of ‘The Long Tail’ supersedes any advance in the pool of common knowledge available to the public at large. Almost all serious post-WWII analysis is still locked up in the ‘IP’ protection racket, for instance. How do we learn from history if it’s prohibitively expensive to access it? We are seeing the inevitable results of locking history behind ‘IP’ laws. Society is dumber and dumber, it seems, as the years go by – doomed to repeat the stupidities of the 20th century from lack of common access to knowledge.

          But the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, so rule 2 of neoliberalism applies to those of us waiting to be allowed unencumbered access to the knowledge of our own history. It’s rule 2 for you and me and billions for the neoliberal oligopolist keepers of the long tail.

          As for the article in question, it’s a Gish Gallop (GG) of reasons to deny humanity access to our common heritage as humans. “Open Science” may be some of all those things the complainer is listing, but the complainer never addresses one of the most obvious meanings of openness – why can’t I have access to research that my tax dollars paid for? Immediately!? Why can’t I do an investigation of the history of science in the 70’s and 80’s without having to either pay thousands of dollars or resort to multifarious methods of manipulation to get a copy of a paper published in 1985?

          Maybe I missed something in the GG article about the real problems of neoliberalism in science and someone can correct me. I just couldn’t stand the whining tone of the paper enough to endeavor to persevere. Science is done by humans and so is science publishing and so is community-based science. It’ll always be messy – as it has always been. The fact that ArXiv.org isn’t perfect doesn’t negate the positive good it has done for decades or the positive good that it is still doing in the fields of physics and astronomy, etc.

          Who needs access to technical research papers? Everyone. When do they need it? Now. The current alternative is killing us by restricting necessary scientific and social commentary. Whining about the possible monetization of post-opened science is ridiculous. The more ‘average’ citizens are interested in science, the better. Of course, one could also adopt the author’s elitist stance that most citizens are deplorables and too ignorant to know anything important so there is no need for open science in the first place.

          Peer review is over-rated. Peer review is an often misused and abused form of gatekeeping. Peer review really happens once an article is published, not before. Most gatekeeper peer reviewers are incapable of spending the time to figure out whether difficult scientific claims are without flaws. There are thousands and thousands of papers published every year since the 50’s, at least, that contain errors exposed by subsequent research. Those original papers were never retracted because of the way science really works — the broad scientific community vets all published research and publishes replies and refutations. The broader community within a discipline doesn’t think that because a paper was published it is 100% correct because ‘peer review’ is some sort of infallible process. And peer review has only gotten worse with the ‘peer reviewers’ being paid neoliberal operators embedded in the major capitalist-captured journals.

          All published science needs to be exposed as much as possible to all forms of criticism – for the good of science and the good of society. That’s what open science means to me.

          The publishers of journals have become yet one more oligopoly of excessively greedy neoliberalists, to the detriment of science and society. But, thankfully, the arc of science bends toward truth most of the time, even though it may be corruptly monetized and improperly influenced in the shorter term. The Gish Galloping complainer who wrote the the article is engaged in misdirection from the real problems with neoliberalism in science. Well, there’s always sci-hub… and rule 2.

          1. flora

            I agree with much of what you say in the first part of your comment. (Peace, Aaron Swartz.)

            I disagree with most of the second part of your comment.
            Let me explain. I’ll start with the second part.

            Much academic science grant funding comes from private corporations – it could be pharma or oil&gas cos – who give the grant on condition that the research results will be held in confidence to both the uni conducting the research and to the company funding the research for some specified number of years in order to give the funding company the “first actor ” privilege on the results. You can argue, as I have, that using a public university to conduct what seems like private scientific research isn’t ethical wrt the public dollars funding the university. However, the public dollars funding the universities have so dried up in the last 40 years that universities are put on the rack to accept these conditions to continue scientific research and – eventually – publish the results in, first – peer review, and, later – in general science publications.

            I agree in principle with “When does the public need access to research results? We need it now!”, but that isn’t in the cards unless public funding of public unis increase significantly.

            About peer review journals acting as high paywalls to scientific peer reviewed information ( here I make a distinction between ‘information’ and ‘knowledge’, and I’m sure you understand the distinction); this wasn’t always so. Until 20 years ago the costs of accessing peer review scientific journals was reasonable. But now? Even unis are complaining loudly about this rentier money extraction from access to publicly funded research. The rentier money extraction of publicly funded research is exactly what neoliberalism has wrought. The neoliberals claiming they can fix this by destroying peer review is simply one gang of neolibs trying to undercut another gang of neolibs, imo. Neither are your friend, and neither will make your research easier.

            So, as you say, Science Hub. Or, if you can, become officially connected in some capacity with a large public research uni; your uni id will give you free access to many paywalled publications, including all US newspapers and magazines, and many science journals. And as a last resort, trek up to the uni’s main science library and do in-person research via paper publications or microfiche photo archives of same. It’s a grind, I know. Like going back to the 1990s.

            Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. Peer review isn’t the problem. Monopolies’ rent extractions are the problem.

            1. flora

              adding: you will notice that the “open publishing” neoliberal “liberationistas” still aim to absolutely control of their privately funded research, (even privately grant funded uni research?). *That* won’t be open. ;)

              1. debug

                Some science has been protected for some period of time since it was recognized as a possible advantage in wartime or in manufacturing processes. I don’t think anyone has ever really advocated for completely free and open science. I’m pretty happy that all of the techniques for building advanced nuclear devices and biowarfare agents aren’t “free and open.”

                I’m not against the idea of a patent or a copywrite, just the unreasonable extensions of them. As originally intended, these give the inventor/author a period of exclusive use. But no inventor or author actually ‘owns’ all of the knowledge that went into making or writing their works. They owe a debt to previous inventors and authors which can only be paid forward to future inventors and authors — to those who will, as they once did themselves, strive to improve the human experience in some way and earn a living at it.

                There are always bad actors to contend with in a movement that hopes to do good things. That ‘liberationistas’ exist is not a valid indictment of all desire to move toward a better, more open, publishing model. In fact, some might call me a ‘liberationista’ if they wanted to discredit my criticism of the current system, right?

            2. debug

              Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

              I think the problem with universities goes back to two things. One, you mentioned the squeezing of public funds. Two, the effect of the Bayh-Dole Act (and subsequent laws.) Once the latches were off goverment-funded ‘IP’ it was ‘game on’ for universities to sell themselves and to introduce “the revolving door” between public and private institutions. It was a confluence of events that has driven the past forty or so years of University-based scientific research. I don’t think it is a coincidence that these forces of reduced public funding and privatization of research happened over the same time period.

              The distinction between info and knowledge is taken and understood. I may have used the terms interchangeably, but there is indeed a difference.

              The problem with “mainstream” journals is that most have been captured and commodified. As you say, the prices for publishing have gone up as new administrative and rent-extraction functions have been added to what were once primarily science-driven publications managed by groups of scientists banded together expressly to minimize administrative costs of publishing.

              I also agree that peer review can be a good thing. But peer review isn’t always what it is cracked up to be. I have examined clear instances of collusion between members of a group of scientists who exclude criticisms of their own in-group and exclude alternate valid scientific interpretations via control of one or two major journals in a given field. And there are well-documented instances of ‘peer’ reviewed research that were contaminated by undisclosed conflicts of interest among the primary investigators and the ‘peers’ responsible for the ‘reviewing.’ The major medical journals are well known for this particular problem.

              But, ultimately, even well-motivated and well-meaning peers with plenty of time to do a review don’t always get it right. The scientific community at large is still the final arbiter of published material. As an aside, I can’t begin to list the number of times I’ve heard “But it’s published in a peer-reviewed journal!” as the only justification for accepting the hypotheses contained in the paper as gospel truth.

              It’s true that an alum .edu email address can get you access to some journals — you may get access to them through your alma mater’s subscription. Some journals are also available through local public libraries. A motivated researcher can get access to some of the journals some of the time, but not all of the journals all of the time.

              If the subscription rates to journals were commensurate with the true and minimized overhead of publishing, more universities and more libraries could offer access to them. But still there are multiple ‘portals’ and memberships to navigate through before you can even begin to discover what your options for a given journal are. This all steals time from the pursuit of your intellectual goal of finding the piece(s) of information or knowledge that you need. And visiting the local public library or public university is a physical task that some of us can’t do. Why shoiuld we have to when the work is digitized and on-line?

              While many of us take public libraries and university credentials for granted, they don’t exist as even a possibility for many people who could benefit from access to modern science. It doesn’t take a degree to be smart enough to improve yourself and your work through research.

              1. flora

                Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, the neoliberals’ answer to this conundrum only increases the rents (private profits) and doesn’t improve the peer review system of disinterested and expert analysis of scientific research.

        3. caucus99percenter

          “Swiss company” — are you thinking of Elsevier or its parent, RELX (formerly Reed Elsevier)? The former is Dutch and the latter is British-Dutch.

  7. clarky90

    a tip of the hat to “Dagan68” who brought this to my attention!

    New Sci. 2020 May 2; 246(3280): 32–35.


    An uncommon cold
    Anthony King

    The covid-19 virus isn’t the first coronavirus to jump from animals to humans. What can we learn from previous encounters, asks Anthony King

    IN 1889, a disease outbreak in central Asia went global, igniting a pandemic that burned into the following year. It caused fever and fatigue, and killed an estimated 1 million people. The disease is generally blamed on influenza, and was dubbed “Russian flu“. But with no tissue samples to check for the flu virus, there is no conclusive proof.

    Another possibility is that this “flu” was actually a coronavirus pandemic. The finger has been pointed at a virus first isolated in the 1960s, though today it causes nothing more serious than a common cold. In fact, there are four coronaviruses responsible for an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of colds. Only recently have virologists begun to dig into these seemingly humdrum pathogens and what they have found suggests the viruses have a far more deadly past. Researchers now believe that all four of these viruses began to infect humans in the past few centuries and, when they did, they probably sparked pandemics.

    The parallels with our current crisis are obvious. And it turns out that our growing knowledge about these other coronaviruses could be vital in meeting the challenge of covid-19. Insights into the origins, trajectories and features of common cold coronaviruses can provide crucial clues about what to expect in the coming months and years. Understanding these relatively benign viruses may also help us avoid another pandemic………..”

    1. Cuibono

      “though today it causes nothing more serious than a common cold. ”
      not totally true. There are cluster reports in nursing homes of high mortality rates

  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the Obama RockPile Monument . . . . I can think of a couple of spray-paintable stencil designs I would like to see people using to spraypaint hostile derisive pictures of Obama on the Piled Rocks, without getting caught of course.

    One would be a stencil-form simple-down copy of that Ferry-Hope portrait with the universally recognized Circle Slash symbol over it. And maybe under it words like Nope or No Hope or Hopeless.

    The other would be a clever morph-combination of Obama and Dracula as portrayed by Christopher Lee in the Hammer Films. It could be called Count Draculabama.

      1. ambrit

        How about a mock motto (with apologies to Shelly):
        “My name is Obamamandias, President of Presidents; look on my Works, ye Deplorables, and Despair!”

          1. The Rev Kev

            Nah. It was definitely ‘Kilroy was here’-


            I am waiting for the day that this is revived by 4chan and they prank people by saying that this refers to white supremacy or something and the woke media fall for it and demand that it be erased. They did it successfully for the OK gesture after all.

  9. Terry Flynn

    I wonder if electoral reform might become popular ALSO on the right if these “trump party” supporters see it as a way to break the two party system?

    I have got loads of feedback locally here in East Midlands UK to my contribution to a local newsletter going to the (rather large) number of Labour/ex-Labour supporters who feel Starmer is Blair 2.0. I wrote on electoral reform and got very constructive nuanced criticism that was refreshing. The Nottingham branches of Labour are currently in meltdown. This is going on under the radar at the moment since it doesn’t fit with the Guardian line of Starmer cheerleading. But when the MEMBERSHIP secretary leaves the party you have a problem.

    1. Michaelmas

      The Nottingham branches of Labour are currently in meltdown. This is going on under the radar at the moment since it doesn’t fit with the Guardian line of Starmer cheerleading. But when the MEMBERSHIP secretary leaves the party you have a problem.

      Starmer is Blair without any of the (relative) charisma and ideas (many bad, but at least he had some, while Starmer has none).

      Moreover, the UK is a quarter-century further on. A lot of Labour, at least in London, would love to go down the same self-enriching hole as the DNC-Clintonites here in the US. Fortunately, today’s circumstances won’t support it.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yep. Every hundred (ish) years we go through a major period of political uproar and realignment. IMHO we are entering the latest one – I’m less sure about how the Tories will fracture and realign but I am increasingly of the view that a new left wing party will arise to supplant Labour – for those who think this is unthinkable, please read up on the apparent invincibility of the Liberal Party in early 20th century…..they went from dominant radical party to “all fit in a taxi” in barely a generation.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think only the electoral system keeps Labour alive – in many European countries the traditional centre left parties have declined or fallen into irrelevance, supplanted usually by farther left, greens, or populist of various stripes.

          Its so difficult to tell with the UK as its so very difficult to form a viable new party. Even the old SDP, with its heavyweight leaders couldn’t manage it.

          I think if there is a model for a new party in England, its the nationalist inclined centre left parties of the Celtic fringe. Plaid Cymru, the SNP, and Sinn Fein, have shown how you can mix nationalism with a popular brand of left wing politics.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I feel like those parties are results of recent or living memory of quashing local culture. An English voter open to labour isnt going to be attracted to rah rah because it’s perfectly fine to be English in the UK. It becomes a meaningless exercise when the Queens speech is broadcast and doctor who still gets made.

        1. rowlf

          Some day us common people will learn to vote correctly so Democracy will not have to be saved all the time.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      No, there’s no “Sanders” in the article. There’s also no “Jorgensen”, “Hawkins”, “Libertarian”, or “Green”. No “third party” at all — not even “third”.

      So when will it be Time for the plurality of us (45% is the most recent figure) who identify as neither R nor D to be noticed, mentioned, or even (dare I dream it?) paid attention to?

  10. Anonymous

    You will pry means-testing from their cold, dead hands… lambert

    Means testing means jawbs, incomes, power and self-importance for the testers.

    Pathetic when you think about it.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    The long article, Historical Materialism, on degrees of fascism:

    Of the list given above by Lambert Strether, I’d say that these are both causes and effects, causes of unrest and random violence, and causes of the lack of an effect, functioning militias in the U.S.A.:
    –the weakening of workers’ movements in their capacity to structure and organise the popular classes, in trade unions and politically, which means that the fascists of our time no longer have a real adversary in front of them
    –the fact that states are much more powerful today and have at their disposal instruments of surveillance and repression of a sophistication that is out of all proportion to that of the inter-war period

    I’d argue that they explain much of the distemper of the U.S.A. these days: You have a disorganized, easily defeated working class that is controlled by soft fascism—such as right-to-work laws, economic fantasies, rigid office codes of conduct (in the process of becoming even more rigid), and indoctrination. The confusion is within the working class itself.

    The surveillance state, as evinced by the behavior of police departments over the summer, suffices. Or to put it more bluntly, shooting black people keeps white people in line. The article is correct that the misuse of the police and policing—so obvious here in the U.S.A.—lead to conditions that promote fascism.

    Once I reached the end, I returned to the top, where the best summation of what we face happens to be: “As a movement, fascism grows and gains a wide audience by presenting itself as a force capable of challenging ‘the system’ as well as re-establishing ‘law and order’. It is this deeply contradictory dimension of reactionary revolt, an explosive mixture of false subversion and ultra-conservatism, which allows it to seduce social strata whose aspirations and interests are fundamentally antagonistic.”

    So it isn’t social media causing the confusion—social media reflect the confusion. We have Marjorie Taylor Greene stating exactly what this paragraph describes: “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.”

    “False subversion,” as the article says. “Mendacity,” as Big Daddy used to say.

    1. pjay

      I just happened to have read this piece by Rob Urie right before seeing this. Interesting to compare his observations:

      “The idea that ‘the rabble’ represented the Nazi’s political base defies both history and basic political logic. The Nazis aligned themselves with existing economic power. German fascism was and foremost a form of political economy. It was a merging of state militarism with corporate-industrialism. The idea that the Nazis either were, or would have had sympathy for, the mixed-bag of small business owners, tradespeople and right-wing radicals who invaded the Capitol is a mischaracterization. Their ‘partners’ were industrialists— the German ruling class.”

      “The ‘Business Plot,’ the only widely reported effort to affect a fascist coup in the U.S., was conceived and executed by Wall Street titans and business executives, not by pet groomers from Des Moines. The plot fell apart when the plotters tried to enlist General Smedley Butler. Luckily, General Butler was enthusiastically unsympathetic to the fascist cause. The Plot was a struggle for power between competing ruling class interests. That the U.S. allied with the former Nazi leadership after WWII, rather than the communists, provides an indication of where official sympathies lie.”

      Urie is the main reason why I still check in at Counterpunch.


  12. Pat

    I wonder if the Republican Party has been getting similar indications of support for Trump from their internal polls and communications. Not sure whether they are still being told to dump him by major donors, but that would make their insider strategy meetings really interesting. They just don’t strike me as being happy with being two parties who have to negotiate treaties to battle “liberal” Democrats. They like majorities.

    My back of the envelope calculations have Trump beating conviction, but there seems to be enough play to say it will be closer this time. The final vote numbers could be a sign how they are really reading their base.

  13. Elizabeth

    Re: the flu. I’ve seen numerous ads from the CDC advising people to get their flu shots! There is minimal flu this year, so I don’t understand why the CDC is wasting money on this. Last year it was running ads on anti-smoking – this seems such a waste and a case of missed opportunities. Why can’t the CDC at least make PSA about how to protect oneself from COVID? Another thing I don’t understand is why stating that the virus is spread via aerolisation isn’t mentioned more often. Unless I’ve missed something, I think the spread via “droplets” is still being used. Just curious..

    1. Jason Boxman

      Organizational rot. I’ve been following the stories about the CDC’s failures throughout the pandemic, and it’s the only conclusion I can draw from this deep well of investigative reporting from Pro Publica and other sources linked here these past months.

      And notice the messaging hasn’t suddenly synced with the known science now that Trump is an ex-president. So it’s not even barely possible to pin this on Trump any longer. Science is supposedly free to speak up and run as wild as the wind.

    2. IM Doc

      This is such an excellent observation.

      I have yet to see a single FLU patient in my practice – and we are now into February.
      The flu season is almost over to begin with – usually ended by early to mid April.

      Getting a flu shot now is questionable at best – given it takes several weeks to really have any activity at all. I am not at all sure what the goal is here. Furthermore, since presumably we will be having a lot of COVID vaccines in seniors coming right up in the next few weeks, this flies in the face of the CDC’s advice to not have the flu shot within a month of the COVID vaccine. I find this whole ad campaign curious.

      But I too am seeing ads like this everywhere.

      At this point, they should be doing ads about VIT D, exercise, stress reduction, weight loss – all things known to help at least somewhat with COVID.

      Very very curious.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        when wife and our boys(young men) tested covid positive early last month, i was as pleased as pudding that the first thing the nurse said was to get vitamin d, b-complex,zinc and melatonin.
        i had all this on hand already, due to all our NC resident medical types(where’s Krystin?), but it was cool that this info had made it to our far flung rural clinic. I had expected to hear about fancy, expensive treatments instead(this being America, and all)
        we all got the flu shot at the beginning of october, first in line as always.

        a question for you specifically, regarding wife and boy’s “Mild” infections(wife had a 100.1 fever for 6 hours, and lost her smell and taste…boys, nothing. all of us had the usual december-january “cedar fever” symptoms(i tested neg twice, somehow):
        it is my understanding that the “dose” of the virus you take in determines(more or less) the severity of the disease…hence, docs and nurses around poz people all the time get it worse.
        what does “Mild” infection do to the resulting immunity, thereby imparted?
        do we expect “Mild Immunity” from a “mild infection”?
        i understand the data limitations(only a year into this, etc)

        1. eg

          I find it interesting that 3/4 (all but the zinc) of the cocktail of supplements recommended by the nurse for those who’ve contracted COVID are also among those recommended to me by a doctor a couple of years ago for inflammation (to which are added vitamins E, C, a probiotic and omega 3 supplementation).

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Since early stage flu and early stage covid ” may” feel similar, if there is a lot of flu going around, some people with covid may think they only have the flu. And not get tested or even report it to anyone. And spread their covid everywhere.

      Now, if everyone gets a flu shot, almost everyone will stay flu-free, which means the ” what sickness do you have” issue will not get confused. So getting everyone flu-shotted clears that source of confusion off the table. And if someone gets flu AND covid at the same time, their flu-weakened self would be further disabled from handling the covid. And we shouldn’t want that. One disease at a time, thank you.

      I too have noticed a lot less flu. Maybe due to extensive flu-shotting. But I have also noticed way less colds than normal. That could be due to people physically air-gapping themselves through social isolation. And that could be lessening the flu as well.

    4. Shtucb

      I have been speculating that once the CDC/WHO admits that Covid-19 is “airborne”, they will be setting in motion a whole set of regulatory requirements for hospitals and other settings that will have enormous costs in ventilation, sanitation, etc. If that’s true, they would do a mind-bending amount of circumlocution to avoid that outcome. A neo-liberal noble lie.

      I’m not a medical person, so I may well be talking out of my posterior.

    5. curlydan

      the CDC would rather tell people how to be safe at a super bowl party, too, with such great advice as limit alcohol intake, don’t cheer (stomp your feet and bring noisemakers!), and don’t stay too long. These guys are idiots, not a DISEASE CONTROL organization. I think U.S. citizens probably would understand if the CDC just came out and said, “Do not by any means go to or host a super bowl party It is a terrible idea for the following reasons….” But no, they spend their time telling people how to do it safely. It seemed similar to a parent or sex ed teacher telling kids how to have sex without a condom–and just as dangerous.

  14. Jason Boxman

    I actually think the means-testing is worse. There is a large chunk of the income distribution that got $2000 from Trump, $600 from Trump, and then will get $0 from Biden.

    I’ve done consistently better under Republicans when it comes to antics like checks (W. Bush, Trump) or tax cuts (Trump).

    Under Obama, I got hosed on graduate student loans to the tune of $4k in extra interest.

    Of course this ignores all the medium and long term devastation unleashed or ignored by both parties. So in the end I’m worse off overall.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ve done consistently better under Republicans

      When Trump got rid of the ObamaCare mandate he saved me several thousand dollars in taxes and I didn’t even have to purchase a defective product…

      1. Hepativore

        I am not looking forward to Biden’s reinstatement of the mandate and with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to go with it in his attempt to carry on Obama’s dream of the Grand Bargain.

  15. GF

    Pregnant People Deserve Better Data on Covid-19 Vaccines

    My question is: Can a vaccinated breast feeding mother pass the immunization onto the breast fed infant?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      My question … “pregnant people”? Are there pregnant people other than women? Or — … is pregnant supposed to include pregnant of ideas or yet unborn conclusions or inferences? Why abstain from the differences of sex? I am of the very very strong opinion expressed by the French — “Vive la différence!” Plus plus!!!

      1. Alfred

        Well, since you asked, yes, there are “pregnant people other than women.” One is in my circle of friends. This individual was born and raised female, underwent sexual re-assignment treatments, presented for several years as male while self-identifying as genderless, and is now pregnant by ‘their’ life-partner (who is cis-male but identifies now as ‘non-binary’, since neither partner in the relationship feels it can be legitimately called ‘homosexual’). I also found the expression, “pregnant people,” to be startling, and infelicitous; but I do stand in awe of today’s editors who struggle to express with a modicum of coherence the often mystifying, contradictory situations that have emerged since western culture began decoupling gender from biology (though not biological function, e.g., motherhood/fatherhood/parenthood).

  16. Jeremy Grimm

    Today’s plantidote photograph is very beautiful as a study of color and as a study of pattern. Thank you JK! … And thank you to the many others who have contributed truly beautiful and inspiring photographs. It may sound silly — I save many of the photos for their colors — it is not so easy as it might seem to find beautiful and distinctive color combinations for creating web-content … with beautiful subliminal associations. It is also very useful to collect patterns to extract for designs based on natural patterns … as a cursory study of Japanese water-wave patterns might reveal.

  17. Wukchumni

    “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.”

    Is the perfect conspiracy theory empty statement, less filling.

    1. Old Sarum

      Fictive Allowance:

      I am currently bombarded by Grammerly ads on Youtube.

      Perhaps that is a pat answer from Grifterly.


  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    Just a general comment about figures and what they mean . . .

    Figures lie when liars figure.

    If we took two Americans, let’s say . . . me and Jeff Bezos . . . . and added up and averaged our two net- moneywealth levels . . . .me at zero and him at 100 billion dollars, the average moneywealth between us would be 50 billion dollars. And the figuring liar would say that the average American has 50 billion dollars.

    So beware of liars who figure.

  19. Wukchumni

    Company stock rose greatly in value as it expanded its operations dealing in government debt, and peaked in 1720 before suddenly collapsing to little above its original flotation price. The notorious economic bubble thus created, which ruined thousands of investors, became known as the South Sea Bubble.


    Coinage of the South Sea Company was minted in Britain in 1723, after the South Sea Company (SSC) discovered silver in (and shipped it back from) Indonesia in 1722.


    The SSC seems similar to Tesla, but we probably don’t get any cool money out of Elon.

  20. Geoffrey Dewan

    Means Testing is the way Democrats confirm middle class people’s suspicions that all the actual money is going to undeserving colored people.
    So then they lose the House in 2022 and don’t have to do anything anymore.
    Then the Republicans win the Presidency in 2024 because, why not? The Dems aren’t helping.

    Overspending? Don’t worry, we’ll claw it back with Means Testing.

    Means Testing is the soul sucking method Dems use so that they don’t have to take responsibility for power. Hey don’t blame us- too many of you didn;’t vote for us.
    No Power, no blame.
    It’s sick
    And sickening
    Always puts me in an extra bad mood

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Another motive should also be considered. Perhaps liberals are just nasty little sadists who get off on micro-controlling all the personal details of helpless peoples’ lives.

      And perhaps they are also serving their PMC-subsector constituency . . . . the professional salaried means testers. It takes a lot of well paid means-testers to test everybody’s means.

    2. eg

      Means testing is the bloodless political version version of Jay Gould’s boast that he could always hire one half of the working class to kill the other.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    About that ” who is buying the guns lately” article . . . one hopes the gun control crowd pays close attention to this item . . .

    According to a survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group, roughly 40% of guns purchased between January and August 2020 were by first-time buyers. Women comprised 40% of first-time buyers, and Black people accounted for 58% of all firearm purchases, the survey found.”

    And most especially this part . . . ” and Black people accounted for 58% of all firearm purchases, the survey found.”

    So when the Gun Control Cavalry saddles up and rides again, how to they plan to convince Black people that Gun Control is not just a White Power power play?

      1. rowlf

        That sounds like John Boyd’s descriptions of Experts: They know everything and they have it all figured out.

        My addition would be: Then the Freightliner Of Reality comes barreling down the highway.

    1. Skip Intro

      You’ve got it backwards. When black people get guns, republicans go pro-gun control. Remember California and the Panthers.

  22. rowlf

    I dropped one of my sons off tonight at a firearms safety class that a local range has every week. I think the NSSF numbers are correct from what I have been seeing over the last 10 months. Tonight’s ten person class appeared to be mostly female and African-American, maybe ages 40 to mid 60s. The safety classes at the two local ranges have been filling up quickly over the last few months with the new firearms owners.

    I tend to like the new people at the range as they are less likely to be sympathetic to John Birch Society type screwball ideas and also not be young males with hormone and media soaked brains. Nurses seem to learn to shoot well quickly.

      1. rowlf

        I get my lead levels tested every year since I compete in shooting competitions and reload. Since I was trained to work safely in industrial environments my lead levels have never registered above normal. (I have worked with people that had to be moved to different positions due to cadmium exposure) I am also fortunate that I was always encouraged by instructors and employers to use readily provided PPE.

        Most indoor ranges have up to spec ventilation systems to stay in business, and most ammunition is plated or jacketed, so lead exposure is minimal.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I have seen some ash trees here and there which have been “primary tree” killed by the beetles ( I presume), yet their roots are alive and sending up new shoots. If that happens often enough to “matter”, it could be a way to keep alive in the soil whatever root-symbiont microbes are ash-specific. Maybe long enough for us to get the emerald ash borer problem solved and permit a substantial return of the ashes.

  23. Mikel

    Re: “Google’s next big Chrome update will rewrite the rules of the web” [Wired]. “

    All the words in the article looked like DuckDuckGo.

  24. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Re: Fascism, Fascisation, Antifascism, in particular the point about “the weakening of workers’ movements.” One of the things that Corey Robin has consistently argued is that a rising conservative movement needs a powerful left adversary and this goes for fascism as well. This has also been one of his arguments for the weakness of Trump and other contemporary conservatives. As the left has been weak since Reagan, conservatives has not had the opposition to truly be effective especially now. Reagan, of course, had run against the legacy of the New Deal and Great Society.

  25. Thistlebreath

    Re: working class men and depression. (Hope this doesn’t violate any posting rules)

    The singer/songwriter James McMurtry wrote and now performs a song “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore” that’s about the underpinnings of all that despair haunting much of our country’s middle– well, the whole country, really–and yes, it’s real.

    James has taken to putting on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon solo performances on his FB page–for now. FB, like Twitter, is starting to nip at the heels of anyone questioning the Borg values. It is, indeed, time to get one’s own platform, pronto.

    Yes, he’s Larry McMurtry’s son. Whatever talent runs in that family, it’s impressive.

    PS– I was kind of disappointed in “Nomadland” because the writer/producer/director/editor seems to imagine old age underemployment the same way as “slum tourists” regarded tenement dwellers in the Bowery, etc. in the 1890’s. It’s a kind of detached poverty porn meets horror, updated. Frances McDormand’s acting is wonderful but doesn’t seem to serve any kind of insights. Just suffering and disappointment. “Three Billboards” packed a much greater wallop.

  26. rowlf

    Aircraft maintenance is local, especially now that most large aircraft fly under ETOPS rules. Heavy maintenance gets split up not for savings but for lack of space domestically as several airlines outgrew their base capacity. In the 1990s most airlines learned that the Earl Sheib overhaul cost too much in reliability and greatly improved the scope of tasks to be accomplished in heavy maintenance and under airline inspection.

    I have also been impressed with the quality of non-US aircraft technicians around the world that I have worked with on the fleets I have been assigned to. They have more professional drive than I have seen in many US technicians.

    1. ambrit

      To your last paragraph. I’d imagine the difference in “motivation” between domestic and foreign technicians is because the foreign technicians are on their way up the socio-economic ladder while the domestic ones are on their way down. Incentives matter.

      1. rowlf

        I dunno. Most of them all seem to be misfits in some way, superballs with a flat spot somewhere. I love the Japanese technicians because at some point they all admit that they didn’t fit in with school and society and found aircraft maintenance as a field they could go to. The European technicians are very solid and often have hobbies I can’t figure out how they afford. The Central American technicians are a match for the Pacific Rim technicians for being absolute sponges for knowledge.

        One of the problems for US technicians in major metropolitan areas is they often have two jobs to cover the cost of living in those areas, even with a mid $40/hour – 40 hours a week pay rate.

      1. rowlf

        Yep, the $49.95 paint job. The early attempts at outsourced heavy aircraft maintenance usually ended with the airline having to keep the aircraft out of service for a week to correct the induced faults from the repair shop. Several factors went into this, such as repair shops competing with airlines for talent, outsourcing the work without being accompanied with the knowledge of how to do the work, poor documentation, and poor inspection oversight.

        Reading trade magazines since WWII the outsource to supposedly save costs and insource to improve reliability cycle occurs about every twenty years. Maybe it is a new generation of managers thing having relearn old practices.

  27. curlydan

    Those SPACs are flying. My son (who I set up with a custodial account) recently told me about a stock he bought that was doing great. I asked him what the company was and what they did. He was very vague about the whole thing. He probably did hear about it on TikTok.

    Turns out the stock is Churchill Capital Corp IV (CCIV)–my first SPAC encounter. And up 15% today.

    I told him to enjoy the ride up because at some point he’ll be cursing his portfolio and pulling out his hair.

  28. urblintz

    hey Lambert… Rob Urie quotes you in his final paragraph here: https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/02/05/fascism-is-capitalism-that-really-means-it/

    It’s a great essay, imho.

    “The functional definition making the rounds is: do we control the state or does the state control us? To quibble, this definition excludes economic power and coercion. Lambert Strether jokes that liberals call it ‘our democracy,’ meaning that it is their democracy. But that is ultimately a class argument. Whoever wins an election, the CIA is still going to try to overthrow the Venezuelan government and domestic political repression will increase.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      [lambert blushes modestly] Adding:

      Lambert Strether jokes that liberals call it ‘our democracy,’ meaning that it is their democracy. But that is ultimately a class argument.

      It’s nice to be understood :-)

  29. skippy

    @Manufacturing: “In Epically Nerdy Interview, Elon Musk Discusses Build Quality Problems With Engineer Who Compared Model 3 To ‘A Kia In The ’90s’” [Jalopnik].

    Its reminiscent of all the roof solar that was installed by cowboys where different metals come into contact and there is no non conducting barrier between the two and corrosion half life’s the whole green[tm] profit driven enterprise. Not that the cheap isolaters are a drama …

Comments are closed.