Links 2/2/2021

Happy Groundhog Day! Are you snowed in?

National Zoo panda cam Washington DC snow Giant Pandas enjoy snow WUSA9 (furzy)

PHOTOS: NYC Nor’easter Brings Snow Globe Scenes The City

Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 – in pictures Guardian

Spitting cobras may have evolved unique venom to defend from ancient humans The Conversation (Chuck L)

The More We Learn About Crow Brains, the More Humanlike Their Intelligence Seems Discover (David L)

World’s oldest known cave painting found in Indonesia PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Scientific investigations of believed remains of two apostles Eurekalert (Anthony L)

Ice fishing: Warmer winters create new risks for a cherished Minnesota pastime Yale Climate Connections. See this death in Escanaba, for instance.

Inevitable Planetary Doom Has Been Exaggerated Atlantic (resilc). Not sure anyone has suggested “planetary doom” although there was a ~300 million bad stretch after ~96% of life on the planet died. It’s civilization and present human population levels that are at risk. Plus hope isn’t a great motive for action. You can, for instance, just hope the forecasts are wrong, which is what most people seem to be doing. I am really tired of hopium. Fear is more effective.

Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity Eurekalert (Chuck L)

The Right to Repair Movement Is Poised to Explode in 2021 Vice (resilc)

You’re Doing It Wrong: Notes on Criticism and Technology Hype Lee Vinsel. fk highlighted this section:

It is outrageous that I can point to gobs of people in my field working on synthetic biology, “AI,” self-driving cars, and blockchain but not a single person researching septic tanks, mobile homes, trailer parks, or even housing more generally, even though these latter topics are full of technological issues and true human suffering that IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

Empty office buildings are still devouring energy. Why? Fast Company (resilc)

Scientists Find a Mysterious ‘Ghost Lineage’ In the DNA of West Africans Discover (Chuck L)

Alzheimer’s Prediction May Be Found in Writing Tests New York Times (furzy)


Mandates and guidances about switching from cloth masks to medical ones Portzebie Review (Paul R)

Line cooks are at the highest risk of dying from COVID, says UCSF study SFGate


80% of COVID-19 Patients May Have Lingering Symptoms, Signs MedPage

Molecular Docking Identification for the efficacy of Some Zinc Complexes with Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine against Main Protease of COVID-19 Journal of Molecular Structures. This is the medical analogue to an economics theory paper. Provides a mechanism but still needs to be proven out in patients. And the search for treatments appears to have moved on. Ivermectin looking better than HCQ.

Why the Second Wave of the 1918 Flu Pandemic Was So Deadly History (Chuck L). From December, still germane.


‘I don’t really trust experts,’ says New York Gov. Cuomo, as 9 health officials resign in protest over his Covid-19 ‘leadership’ RT (Kevin W)


Ursula von der Leyen : « La stratégie de vaccination européenne est la bonne » Le Monde

DHL boss lambasts lack of ‘foresight’ in vaccines rollout Financial Times

EU imposes vaccine export controls on rich nations from Saturday Politico. In case you missed the date this measure became effective.


China’s new coronavirus outbreaks expose vulnerable economic recovery as January factory activity slows South China Morning Post (resilc)


Biden faces crossroads on virus relief bill The Hill

Biden meets with Republican senators pushing for reduced $1,000 stimulus checks – as it’s revealed President is also ‘open’ to scaling down payments to families making more than $150,000 Daily Mail (Kevin W)


China rejects Hong Kongers’ UK-issued passports Bangkok Post (furzy)


Northern Ireland suspends Brexit checks amid safety fears for port staff Guardian. Hoo boy.

UK Government Humiliated over Chagos Islands Again Craig Murray (UserFriendly)

Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi detained as military seizes control BBC. Resilc: “A year ago they were going to yank her Nobel Peace Prize for killing Muslims, now she is a beacon of democracy.”


Thousands join in Jerusalem funerals, flout pandemic rules Associated Press. Resilc: “Hamas’ best weapon.”

Israel’s failure to inoculate Palestinians against Covid should be considered a war crime under international law Defend Democracy

Podcast Ep 29: Israel convicts Issa Amro for protesting apartheid Electronic Intifada

Dubai creates ‘space court’ for out-of-this-world disputes The Times of Israel. Kevin W: “But if Dubai builds it, will litigants come?”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Toward an Inclusive & Balanced Regional Order: A New U.S. Strategy in East Asia Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

The Longer Telegram’ Is a Recipe for Costly Failure American Conservative

Capitol Seizure

Officer Who Shot Capitol Rioter Ashli Babbitt Shouldn’t Be Charged, Investigators Advise Wall Street Journal

They stormed the Capitol to overturn the results of an election they didn’t vote in CNN (resilc)

AOC hiding in her office during the insurrection. YouTube (UserFriendly). The full version is apparently annoying due to the excessive commentary.

McConnell says Taylor Greene’s embrace of conspiracy theories a ‘cancer’ to GOP, country The Hill

Trump Transition

A hack job,’ ‘outright lies’: Trump commission’s ‘1776 Report’ outrages historians Washington Post (Chuck L)


Can President Joe Biden mend a torn America? Thomas Frank, Le Monde diplomatique (Anthony L)

Are Libertarians Domestic Terrorists? (Kevin W)

White House Reporters: Biden Team Wanted Our Questions in Advance Daily Beast (furzy). Doing this from the Wayback Machine, as Furzy did, because Daily Beast has the WORST site imaginable. Unreadable and almost impossible to navigate.

Everything About The Biden Administration Is Fake Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)

Biden Wants the Government to Run on EVs. It Won’t Be Easy Wired

Marge & Darrell & Ted & Alex Sardonicky (UserFriendly)

Police State Watch

‘I want these officers fired!’ Outrage after police pepper-spray handcuffed NINE-YEAR-OLD girl in Rochester, New York RT (Kevin W)

Market Follies

Robinhood was asked for $3 billion to cover the risk from the volatility in GameStop and other ‘meme-stocks,’ CEO Vlad Tenev told Elon Musk Business Insider

The GameStop saga is already headed to Hollywood Quartz (resilc)

The Future of Macroeconomics Institute for New Economic Thinking

Tesla’s dirty little secret: Its net profit doesn’t come from selling cars CNN (resilc)

Class Warfare

Millennials are not only buying homes, they’re buying multimillion-dollar ‘starter’ homes — and it defies 2 common myths about the generation at once Business Insider

Older Workers Accounted for All Net Employment Growth in Past 20 Years St. Louis Fed (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Normally I don’t deviate this far from our cute animal picture formula, but I liked this woodblock print sent by William B. Plus you have the panda snow vids and some great animal pix in the travel photo award winners at the top of Links if you need a bigger fix.

“A Couple of Cats” (1958, first edition) by 20th century Japanese printmaker Inagaki Tomoo (稲垣知雄, 1902 – 1980)

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. chris

    Re: budget reconciliation process for passing coronavirus relief bill, The Hill…

    Am I missing something? Did we pass a law further limiting the senate? Why does the Hill article state that, “Reconciliation would allow for passing coronavirus relief with just 51 votes instead of the 60 usually required for legislation”?

    Other than avoiding a filibuster is 60 votes now a requirement as opposed to a majority voting yes to advance a bill?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      No. It’s just a rule that the majority chooses collectively to abide by. They get away with it because civics education is so poor in this country. Federal laws can’t restrict constitutional powers. The filibuster isn’t even a federal law.

      If 50 votes +1 is and always has been what matters, it raises serious questions about our electeds. They really don’t want people to catch on or even admit they might not have known. Greenwald wrote about Team Blue’s rotating villain strategy some time ago, but with 60, they can trot out a different villain of the month and still protect them later because the will have enough good votes.

      1. MK

        My understanding is that the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes to move a bill through a cloture motion? Am I wrong? Should the constitutionality of the filibuster be challenged? If so, on what legal grounds and by whom?

        My understanding of the budget reconciliation process (which only requires a simple majority) is that it can be used only for bills that effect revenue and spending. Additionally, this process can be used only on three bills in a one year period (and traditionally is used only once per year).

        I’d be interested to hear from those more knowledgeable than me on how the Byrd rule and the PayGo rule may effect the Dems ability to put together and pass the next COVID stimulus.

        My opinion on the matter is that the Dem’s have one shot to get this right and that they will probably bungle it. Biden needs to make a stronger case for a large stimulus to both Congress and the American people.


      What really chaffs is that none of these bills are ever actually filibustered. They simply die in commitee or sit on the Leader’s desk whenever 60 votes can’t be wrangled.

      Once again, traditional media and liberal commentators are framing the narrative wrongly. They appear to believe that “filibuster” means “60 votes required”. It is nothing of the sort, of course. As we all know, it’s just a shorthand term for the lack of a time limit on senator speeches during debates on bills. 60 votes are required to make said senator shut up.

      The solution is not changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster. The solution is calling the bluffs, bringing bills to the floor, and forcing an actual filibuster to occur. Force the blowhard to actually make good on the threat. Then when the blowhards are done talking, take the vote and pass the bill with 51.

      Of course no one is willing to say this, and Schumer isn’t willing to do it.

      1. JBird4049

        When the filibuster meant reading the telephone book, or having a relay of such people, they would take out the stored sleeping cots. There wasn’t a limit of a senator’s speaking time. I forget when, (1970s?) but when Congress actually was functioning and peaceful, the Senate leadership agreed to the 60 vote because why not? It wasn’t used often (then)and creating such a rule got them out from sleeping on cots. Sometimes for days.

        Congress especially the Senate was set up to function when people were trying to keep it together and not when metaphorically throwing bombs, which both parties have been increasingly doing since at least Newt Gingrich’s time. One side gets unpleasant and the other becomes more unpleasant and so on. The Senate Republicans under Mitch McConnell have been the leaders but it’s been very bipartisan. Add that the Congresscritters have increasingly not wanted to threaten their gravy train by doing anything like legislating and we have our current mess.

        1. JBird4049

          That’s a great idea, but after forty plus years they’re probably rags. Congress has been getting worse for about two generations.

      2. John Beech

        I typically vote Republican and even I understand why Schumer isn’t keen on doing it. You shove something down people’s throats on a 50:50 plus 1 basis and payback is a bitch. No doubt realizing in two years they may well loose the House, thereby putting the shoe on the other foot, is prudently staying his hand. Love them or hate them, these guys are if nothing else. superb politicians who play the game at the top of their form. And Biden, maybe more than any other President (Senators becoming President are relatively rare avis) knows what riding roughshod really means in the longer terms (and thus, is certainly loathe to push it).

        1. Anthony Noel

          Except, if you actually govern and deliver legislation that people want you don’t have to worry about payback because you’ll keep getting voted in.

          The democrats managed to ride the New Deal legislation for close to 60 years of uninterrupted control of the congress and 50 years of control over the senate. 1933 to 1995 controlling congress except for 2 terms, the 80th and 83rd congress, as well as the senate, again excepting the 80th and 84rd congress and a 3 congressional term run with Regan in the 80’s.

    3. Louis Fyne

      truly fascinating that, if DC Dems. wanted to, we probably could’ve gotten a $1+ trillion stimulus last fall.

      No DC is talking ~1/4 less, best case

      And with little impact on the election as the top-line impact on growth would not be evident until well past last Novber.

  2. shtove

    From that twitter link on Brexit, where the finance minister describes the level of analysis:

    Phillip Hammond: By the way, you asked me earlier on, at the time of accepting the role as Chancellor, did I have a clear idea of the Prime Minister’s view? I didn’t say this, but I’ve just remembered this. When I sat in the Cabinet Room on that evening and the only other person in the room was Fiona Hill – I did ask her about Brexit, and she said to me, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ That was the only discussion we had about it.

    It’s all gone Teletubbies!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Those twitter comments are very revealing. I’d always wondered why a cautious and fairly sensible politician like May threw everything into an ultra hard line position. Its clear from her more recent comments that she knows full well it was a huge mistake to go for an all or nothing exit.

      I suspect that she and her team were only thinking political tactics, not strategy. The thinking was probably ‘lets set out a hard line, get the Party behind us, and from there we can quietly work out a compromise once everyone realises how bad a hard Brexit will be’. But of course, instead she became a prisoner of her own hard line stance. I think she was also a prisoner of having picked a very tight, but controlling (and not very bright) group of advisors rather than opening things out. She simply wasn’t a smart enough politicians to see the dangers.

      I think future historians will see Brexit as a series of accidents, as much the result of barely competent people put in the wrong position at the wrong time as it was of some sort of inevitable unstoppable movement rooted in British/English history.

  3. zagonostra

    >Everything About The Biden Administration Is Fake – Caitlin Johnstone

    Having questions in advance would indeed be a good way to help insulate press secretary Jen Psaki (for whom liberals are already developing an unwholesome celebrity crush) from hard questions…

    We’ve got to figure out a way to snap out of these artificial boxes they are placing over our minds and these perceptual filters they are placing over our eyes, and birth something real and authentic into our world.

    Reminds me of HRC secretly getting questions ahead of debate. Now it’s time just to be open about it, that’s all. Yes it’s all Fake to a large extent, but the (mis)management of the play and the stagecraft is still important for there are enough people who still turn on CNN, MSNBC, FOX and read their NYT and WaPo. They, the purveyors, are the ones who write the lines and create the narrative which then get’s picked apart, nitpicked, and depicted by the rest of the news-reading public.

    If you’re looking for “authentic,” it won’t be found in politics, or many other places…you have to create it yourself, in your own life.

    1. Geo

      “If you’re looking for “authentic,” it won’t be found in politics, or many other places…you have to create it yourself, in your own life.”

      Very well said. Something I’ve been trying to focus on more over the years and helpful to have reminders now and again. Thank you. As William Deresiewicz once wrote: “it’s hard to build your soul when everyone around you is trying to sell theirs.”

      On that note: Was talking to a friend the other day about the current cluster(family blog) that is our government and shared with him that Taibbi piece from 2005 about congress and the Patriot Act where Bernie Sanders was his “guide” to the inner workings of how good legislation dies (gets squashed). Really recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it or just hasn’t in a long time. Maybe the best modern civics lesson I’ve read. Also, shows that somehow one truly authentic person actually does exist in politics. How he’s managed to stay authentic is a marvel.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “UK Government Humiliated over Chagos Islands Again”

    Not content with screwing over these people time and again, it has emerged that out of a £40m support package that was voted for them back in 2016 by the UK government, only ‘About £580,000 of the fund has been spent so far. This money has been used to pay for some English lessons and also short visits by small groups of Chagossians to their homeland.’ Meanwhile some are going hungry-

    1. Mk

      Craig Murray spends the article dancing around the real problem faced by Mauritius – the US base at Diego Garcia. That base will remain under US control until there is no longer a US to control it.

      The issue how much the US will agree to pay Mauritius for the ‘lease’ of the island and of course the exclusive control of the deep sea mining rights that go along with it.

      And the delusion that England will lose its seat on the security counsel . . .

    1. allan

      More news from San Marcos Cuomostan:

      NY broadband internet bill vetoed after Andrew Cuomo declines to act [D&C]

      A bill that would have required the state to study and map areas that don’t have high-speed internet is off the table for now, despite the state’s prioritization of broadband for all residents.

      The Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act, which passed both houses of the state legislature last summer, was “pocket vetoed” by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meaning the bill won’t become law because he didn’t sign it in the 30 days following the end of the year.

      The legislation would have required the Public Service Commission to study the availability, affordability and reliability of high-speed internet in all areas of the state and provide a report and detailed map within one year.

      The measure was meant to address longstanding complaints over broadband availability mapping by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC maps rely on census data to determine which neighborhoods have broadband access, but they often inaccurately portray how many households in an area have broadband coverage already, making them unreliable guides for future internet expansion projects. … Common Sense Media found that 27% of students in the state don’t have internet access — nearly half of those are Black, Latino or Native American.

      1. Geo

        NYC really produces some uniquely obnoxious narcissists. Bloomberg, Trump, Cuomo, Giuliani… as a former NYC resident (17 years) I have a fondness for that city and found many more people to be wonderful than not but the place seems to reward and celebrate the very worst of human psychosis too.

        But, you’re spot on. There’s a “type” that is bred there that seems like they’re cut from a mold. It’s the easiest place to be anonymous because there is so much going on and for one to stand out they must become masters of self-promotion. It’s a place run by Wall Street finance, Madison Ave advertising, and Broadway/TV razzle-dazzle. To be king they have to master all three and how can anyone do that and still retain even an ounce of humanity?

        There’s obviously more to it than that, but this is just my layman’s take on it.

        1. BenLA

          Are you describing NYC, or the great nation of America! The sociopaths run the asylum. And are celebrated by the MSM!

    2. km

      Wait, wut, I thought Team D was all about “Trust Science(R)!” or was that only while Trump was in office and no need to keep up the charade now that Bad Orange Man is gone?

  5. Massinissa

    Reading that article on Millenials, let me translate it for all of you: “The vast majority of millenials are completely broke, to the point where we mention that most millennials have less than their parents did, but a very small minority of them can buy multi-million dollar homes, so the inequality is totally ok with us. As long as the top 10% (or maybe even less than that) of millenials can buy luxury residences, we don’t really care that the rest of them can barely afford to buy more traditional ‘starter homes’, or anything above a cheap condo.”

    Why the hell did this even need to be written? Of COURSE a small number of people in every generation are going to be part of the super rich. The article goes as far as to mention this is by no means the majority. Why then does it even need to be said?

    The title may as well be clickbait. Reading the headline, it almost seems to imply that all millenials are this fabulously wealthy, and the myth about millenials it ‘debunks’ is that apparently a small number of people didn’t realize millenials, too, sometimes are born with wealthy families, as if people didn’t realize that previously. I almost feel the intention of this article is for some older people to read it and be like, “See?! See?! Millenials are actually doing really well! They should stop complaining!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. Just going by the headline, I thought that it was patent rubbish too and I am nowhere near the Millenial generation by age. It is like saying that as Mark Zuckerberg is a Millennial and is doing pretty good, then on the whole the Millennials are making out OK.

      1. ambrit

        You have just described basic advertising techniques.
        So, this ‘article’ should have been displayed in the “Advertorial” or “Paid Promotion” side bar of that oh so reputable “news source.”
        I always laughed at the idea that any real ‘truth in advertising’ statute would have mandated that those old car ads with really “hot” young women lounging all over the pictured conveyance should have a disclaimer at the bottom: “Girls extra.”

    2. Lex

      I read the Bloomberg piece as well. My first thought was a question — ‘How?’ Neither article answered.

      About eight years ago when we were still in our fifties, we bought a new 21 ft. travel trailer off the lot, in full with cash, and we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. While the paperwork was being completed I walked out on to the porch of the sales office. In front of me in the parking lot was a couple in their 30’s, blonde and athletic, with their two little blonde sons, piling into their new recreational vehicle – an enormous 5th wheel, to be pulled by their matching 3/4 ton truck. (We had a handsome but used 1/2 ton Silverado). Same question — how? We were disciplined and saved. Had they, or would they be making payments for years to come?

      That’s the part I have a hard time wrapping my head around. The Road Less Traveled, the concept of delayed gratification, seems to have skipped that generation entirely. Wait? Save? Why?! They want it all and they want it now. And they’re trusting that something or someone(s) will provide a safety net during a recession or job loss? We never had that kind of net, as two First Borns, turning to our parents for help would have been too humiliating, so we’ve always been risk adverse. We had to make it on our own or not at all. That generation doesn’t seem to have the same relationship with the Economic School of Hard Knocks. We also always thought there would be a tomorrow; the Millennials may not. YOLO!

      Disclaimer: This is not a bootstrap story; I hate bootstrap stories; it’s so much BS.

      1. ambrit

        Well, the Internet Dragons ate my homework.
        Short version; Delayed Gratification has been ‘socially engineered’ out of American popular culture. All in the name of profit for the corporations, banks, and ‘elites.’

        1. Wukchumni

          Maybe it’s all about Club Millennial being able to afford bootstraps, and that’s it?


          I’d so much like to see somebody pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, as they’d be levitating.

          1. ambrit

            Well, your comment did “pull me up short.” Or is that “pulled me up short and curlies?”
            It’s like the “Horatio Alger” mythos; always looking for bootstraps to lick.

        2. hunkerdown

          It’s been socially engineered out of the reward structure of society, as well. The marshmallow experiment has been reinterpreted to explain that children develop a future discount rate according to their experiences, including parents’ capacity to deliver DG, and they act (or wait) accordingly.

      2. diptherio

        That generation doesn’t seem to have the same relationship with the Economic School of Hard Knocks.

        Really? You’re saying this about “that generation” that has more college debt than their parents could ever have dreamed of (not because they can’t delay gratification, but because they were trying to be responsible), and who entered a post-2008 job market? You’re saying this about the generation that has gotten to be the guinea pigs for the “gig economy”? Puh-lease. You saw some affluent (or indebted) people younger than yourself and this is the conclusion you jump to? You can do better, Lex.

        1. Massinissa

          Also, the person who he is complaining to millenials about, is me, who is… A millennial (a younger one, not even 30 yet). So ah… Not super sure I appreciate his sentiment that I apparently don’t know how to ‘delay gratification’. Especially considering the stuff that he said he had to work for (family, house, car) is stuff that was easier to attain during the pre-Reagan era and has gotten much more difficult since. Also, I’ve seen plenty of people around rural Georgia where I live who have relatively nice vehicles but live in trailers or houses of marginally more value than a trailer, and since Lex only saw the nice vehicles and the kids, that very well could be everything they have.

          Also, one can’t exactly ‘delay gratification’ on having kids for an extended period what with it being somewhat dangerous for women to conceive after 40. Fertility for women starts decreasing at the relatively young age of 28. Its less of a problem for men, but its still at least somewhat more dangerous to the child at conception to have an older man be the father than a younger one.

          So yes, I find your argument to make more since than Lex’s does.

      3. Lex

        My apologies to today’s moderator. I could rebut the rebuttals but I’ll spare us both.

        ‘Lex’ is female, short for Alexandra.

    3. Laputan

      It’s pure business propaganda. a hype piece to get people who read Business Insider – who I’m guessing aren’t in the millenial cohort – to believe that there’s nothing to see here with respect to the historically inflated home prices. The young professionals, who you used to think were wallowing in a state of arrested development because of their tepid wages and onerous student (or medical) debt, were actually biding their time and husbanding their resources to buy multimillion dollar starter homes.

      And who do they use as a source for this claim? A Bloomberg piece who quotes the Chief Marketing Officer at Sotheby’s as saying “it’s not uncommon for the first purchase as a first time homebuyer to be a multimillion-dollar luxury home in the U.S. or internationally.”. Forget about data or even the testimony of an actual analyst, what more evidence do you need for the basis of a news article than an executive at a multinational conglomerate whose entire raison d’etre is to promote and synthesize demand,.saying it “is not uncommon”?

    4. RosetsB

      Pure comedy! The median average single family home price in Aspen is $5.4mil hahahaha! You could always look to the backside of the mountain in Snowmass where prices are much more reasonable at 2.7mil.

  6. Eelok

    Inevitable Planetary Doom Has Been Exaggerated

    I’ll start with the fallacy here that linear solutions are applicable in the case of dealing with complex ecological challenges. Two examples of what I mean from the piece:
    – I’m sick to death of hearing about renewable energy when what is really meant is renewable electricity. The idea that you’re just going hook up some new transmission lines to some new power sources and allow everything to go on much as it has been in North America for the last 80 years is nonsense.
    – The loss of species biodiversity poses massive risks to our dominant systems of agricultural and resource extraction. This is widely discussed in ecological circles and consistently ignored by this brand of environmental writer, who just wants to speak about a particular species of tree frog.

    Straw-manning the severity of ecological breakdown like this always seems to be in service of an argument for maintaining one or another aspect of the status quo. In this case the status quos the author is interested in preserving are political (Biden and the Democrats can be relied upon to deliver us from ecological devastation if everyone just does their part and participates in politics) and economic (neoliberalism/capitalism just need to be redirected towards sustainable, renewable options and the earth will continue to sustain as many people as we want at whatever level of wealth/resource use we choose).

    Of course none of this is actually true, and the risk to humanity if we continue to act like it is, is that we will blow past even the incredibly modest limits imposed by roadmaps like net zero 2050. As Yves notes, the correct question to be asking is what level of human economic activity can be sustained on a planet that is experiencing the ecological disruptions we continue to inflict on it. As the Archdruid used to say, the Earth will be fine in the long run, but it’s under no obligation to provide us with whatever level of lifestyle we choose.

      1. Kouros

        I like Turchin, but he is a bit forgetful in his statements:

        Turchin said. “There is a very close correlation between adopting democratic institutions and having to fight a war for survival.” It really, really doesn’t work that way. In the time of war society gets to be mobilized and community goes on survival mode.

        The function of Dictator was devised by the Romans just for this purpose. Get away with debate and get the job done.

        UK/US don’t like to bring up to the for the levels of authoritarianism and censorship and secrecy and propaganda they have employed to control and marshal their populations to war.

        And then Turchin forgets the Great Patriotic War, a “stellar” example of democracy at war.

        Yes, Turchin talks about correlation, but I think he needs to spend some time in proper cataloguing polities first, before doing correlation analysis. Also, a brush on good old Aristotle would work for back of the envelope classification purposes: tyranny(dictatorship, king) / oligarchy (elite, plutocracy, etc.) / democracy…

    1. Massinissa

      ” As the Archdruid used to say, the Earth will be fine in the long run, but it’s under no obligation to provide us with whatever level of lifestyle we choose.”

      You’re right. The earth survived the Permian Extinction, with 90% of all marine species and 70% of all land species at the time going extinct. If it can survive that it can survive anything. The Anthropocene won’t be THAT bad, in comparison… But the second half of this century IS NOT going to look like either last century or the first half of this one. No amount of renewable electricity is going to prevent that. No amount of renewable electricity is going to save the coral reefs, or for that matter, much of the life in the ocean, without even beginning to discuss what happens to land lifeforms.

      90% of people in first world countries just assume that 2019 is going to come back and then continue on for another century and business as usual, the way things have been for the last 40 years, will be a permanent state. Not happening.

      I need to cite things more, so I may as well link this article on coral reefs dying off. Which is pretty much a near certainty at this point, unless Mother Nature herself pulls some kind of miracle. It won’t be humankind that saves them, thats for sure.,source%20of%20food%20disappears%20forever.&text=Climate%20change%20and%20bleached%20coral,will%20lead%20to%20job%20losses.

      1. Phillip Cross

        It’s funny to hear about the arch druid and TDS together like that because John Michael Greer, the man behind “The Archdruid Report” has moved on from that kind of declinist prediction in recent years.

        Up until Jan 5th, he seemed to have become quite the MAGA enthusiast, and predicted Trump and the new right had saved the day for America.

        Look up his name in a podcast episode search. He must be a guest on a random podcast every week or so, and he is a really interesting, erudite speaker, even if his predictive powers seem to be a little bit off since 2016.

        ps He also has a new book coming “The King in Orange”, which if I understand him correctly, is about about how Trump was using magic and the occult to be so awesome.

        1. Massinissa

          ‘King in Orange’, hah! I wonder if that’s a reference to ‘The King In Yellow’, a somewhat famous 19th century book that, aside from being popular in its own right, also inspired one of H. P. Lovecraft’s eldritch abominations, which also goes by The King In Yellow.

          Would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that King in Orange seems to be an entirely serious book on Greer’s part. Apparently Trump became president because he… won some kind of cosmic war against his opponents? That’s fairly esoteric even by Greer’s standards. If he won a magical war to become president… Did he stop being president because he ‘lost’ a magical war? Or is Greer going to try to explain that Trump Died for Our Sins or some equally arcane nonsense? Honestly I would rather not find out. I havn’t read any of his works since 2016.

          1. Phillip Cross

            He doesn’t seem to be at all like i imagined he would be, after reading the arch druid stuff.

            It took my a while to verify it was in fact the same person, because now he appears to espouse many of the same opinions you’d get from any generic MAGA covid denialist online.

            Hopefully his predictions about the collapse of modern civilization in our lifetimes will prove just as good as his 2020 Trump and Covid19 forecasts turned out to be!

            Have a listen to him on this podcast. He’s done a few on this show over the last few years. Interesting stuff!

          2. hunkerdown

            A kingly nod to Lovecraft would be true to his sense of humor and his form.

            Greer’s explanation of the greater significance of the Trump phenomenon draws upon the northwestern Native American myth of the Changer, who changes the world from what it once was to what it is now. A sample episode:

            So he meets a man who’s sitting at the water’s edge carving a big flat board out of wood. “What are you doing?” Moon asks him, and he says, “There’s someone coming who’s going to change things, and I’m going to hit him over the head with this board and kill him.” Moon takes the board, sticks it onto the man’s rump, and says, “From now on your name is Beaver. When the people come they’ll hunt you for your fur.”

            And so on, bending traps and weapons against change into the changes themselves, in an almost dialectic fashion, along his way from the river mouth to its source. Say what you will about Trump, he did refute a lot of TINA narratives.

            1. Phillip Cross

              I don’t think he refuted many (any?) TINA narratives, and possibly galvanized a few of them in the minds of many millions of Americans.

              Maybe I’ve missed something? Which TINA narratives are you thinking of specifically?

            2. Massinissa

              I agree with Cross that he didn’t really subvert any TINA narratives. Well, at least not economic ones: maybe social narratives or narratives of standard behavior. Trump pretty much played by the normal Republican version of the Neoliberal playbook economic wise. TINA in economics is something Trump has been the latest in the long line of Presidents since Reagan to perpetuate.

      2. LifelongLib

        The Earth was never under obligation to provide us with any lifestyle at all. That’s why we’ve been trying to remodel the place ever since we got here. Obviously we made a lot of mistakes. Man-made global warming is real, but if it wasn’t that it would eventually have been something else. We were always on borrowed time.

      3. Anthony G Stegman

        When humankind is done with this planet the Earth may not be fine in the long run. In fact, it may be a dead planet incapable of supporting any but the most basic life forms. Extinctions are one thing. Completely poisoning the planet is another. When that happens life no longer evolves. It dies and is not replaced. Not even in 500 million years.

        1. Massinissa

          If I may ask, I’m no scientist, so what are humans doing to the planet that would be a permanent change Mother Nature would be unable to roll back? I’m not doubting you, I’m just not sure what permanent changes mankind could wreak that the biosphere could never recover from even on a geologic timescale.

  7. Tom Stone

    This $2,000 check thing is just weird.
    A Month ago the Dems are overtly trying to buy votes at $2K a pop,
    They even had the President Elect explicitly offering a $2K bribe for votes.
    Now they have thrown Ossoff and Warnock under the bus and handed Georgia over to the Republicans in the midterms.
    Eleventy dimensional chess or simple sadism?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Both. A demonstration of the ability to pass clear and popular policies would largely end the scam. What is next? Healthcare? Infrastructure? Education? Keeping people on edge leaves them at their mercy too. The election will become about the next $1400.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Eleventy dimensional chess or simple sadism?

      Neither. Just being the party of obama, biden, pelosi and schumer who have pulled this shit for their entire political careers and gotten away with it.

      1. polecat

        On the Hedge (yes yes, I know ..) today, I noticed a caption reagarding Jackie Spier stating something to effect of Republicans should be labeled ‘Terrorists!’, or some such .. but in gazing at the screen shot of Spier sitting at her desk looking all regal-like, I couldn’t help notice that incidious tool of propaganda prominently affixed to her bosom – the White Mockingpigeon Lapel Pin! … the very same kind worn by Lady ‘trinket’ Gaga at the inauguration of Joehologram Snowjob!

        Gotta wonder what focus group the BluBloods pulled in to effect THAT little piece of royal sparkle.

      2. jonboinAR

        Yep. Simple lying, as always. The interwebs allow us to call it out a little more than in the olden times, and the next demogoge (sp) will run on that.

    3. timbers

      Yah. Well, Obama did this sort of thing the moment his nomination was a sure thing, for 8 years, and Dems revere him and defended his every right wing – I mean Democratic – policy. (same thing)

      So when’s the Grand Bargain going to put back on the Agenda by Team Biden?

      I expect nothing but bad stuff from the folks in the WH. And the hesitancy of some issues is putting unconfirmed thoughts into my brain that Biden’s not all there – literally – but a puppet being directed by others.

      1. Tom Stone

        This time IS different, a third of small businesses are predicted to fail and more than a Million Americans are on the verge of homelessness.
        Walking back an explicit promise of $2K when so many are desperate, without even a pretense of
        “Fighting for” what amounts to a few crumbs seems like a deliberate provocation.
        And again, if Georgia is so important to the Dems why did they just hand it to the thugs?

        1. carl

          I had an intellectual understanding of how Trump got elected; now I have a visceral understanding. The Dem party is actively courting hatred and disgust, and they don’t seem to realize it, or perhaps it’s all part of the plan.
          I think every Dem politician should be confronted by constituents whenever they deign to return to their districts with one question: where’s my $2000 check?

    4. Mikel

      I am not surprised about the check thing. When they said &2,000 after the $600 approval, I knew they meant adding an additional $1400 to the $600 because:

      1) they are neoliberals
      2) if it was going to be $2000 to score some goodwill they would have touted it as distributing $2600.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “A hack job,’ ‘outright lies’: Trump commission’s ‘1776 Report’ outrages historians”

    I have a proposal to make. A dumpster should be dropped off in the middle of a deserted car park somewhere with a bucket of gasoline inside. At a signal, those that have been pushing the ‘1776 Report’ should advance towards it with all their work. Meanwhile, from the other side of the car park, those that have been pushing the ‘1619 Project’ should also advance to that dumpster with their own work. When they both reach that dumpster, both groups should lob in all their ‘work’, retreat to a safe distance, and then throw in a lit flare each. Then both groups should walk away after agreeing never to talk about this part of their lives ever again.

    1. cocomaan

      Can we please add most modern economists? And I’m in PA, so let’s also add meterologists to offset the economists, since they’re both wrong at about the same rate.

      This way, we get a four way dumpster fire.

      “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

      1. ambrit

        But then we end up on a prison planet fighting the same adversaries as before.
        “Think of the Newts!” (With apologies, not in the original film, to Karl Capek.)

        1. cocomaan

          Prison planet? Ugh, so you’re saying we end up in Alien 3. David Fincher’s monsteripiece. You’re right, call it off.

    2. flora

      I thought the article was very funny, unintentionally so, but very funny. The WaPo getting all self righteously indignant is the funniest part. T is the master tr0ller. I read this 1776 project as a mockery of the NYT 1619 project by using the very same tactics. (Where are the ‘outraged historians’ condemning the 1619 bit of revisionism?) /heh

          1. Bruno

            That article demonstrates beyond dispute the true nature of the supposedly contending camps–the racialist Demoncrudic apologists of the NYTIMES, the neoconfederate numbskulls of the Trumpe-l’oeil perversion, the Liberal academics a la Wilentz, and the pseudo-trotskyists of the WSWS–none of them aware at all of what the “American Revolution,” fought between two gangs of English colonizers, meant to the actual American peoples. None of them has the decency to recognize that the only reference in that famous “Declaration” to the American peoples declares them to be “merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions” (spelling out what they and their descendants were to do to the American peoples throughout the next century and beyond.) Nor that the same “enlightened” colonialists directly declare as grievance that King George was “raising the conditions for new Appropriations of Lands” (by which they meant titles to American lands in the Ohio Valley that real-estate speculators like G. Washington were coveteing). Nor that their glorious Revolution was in so many ways a direct continuation of the “French and Indian War” (which everywhere else in the world is known as the Seven-Years War–but for our patriots was the Indian War, accompanied by alliance with King George to conquer New France and ethnically cleanse it of its peasantry.)

      1. JBird4049

        The World Socialist Website did a whole series of articles, complete with serious historians, exposing the 1619 Project’s propaganda and even plain lies.

        I also recall seeing article and statements from historians debunking it. They all seemed to have gotten limited coverage from the mainstream press for some reason.

        1. jonboinAR

          Yeah, it’s not the slightly more esoteric publications like the World Socialist Website that I condemn for bringing unbalanced, agenda-driven coverage and/or analysis of the two nutty articles. They seem to have attempted to be fair from the accounts I’ve read and, generally, roundly panned both. The mainstream press, beginning with the NYT, has not. The Times, I’m fairly shocked at how it’s become a propaganda-rag and a fairly dangerous one considering that many probably still take it fairly seriously. I don’t.

      1. caucus99percenter

        I would have thought that, yes, that was obviously Rev Kev’s intent, and quite rightly so.

    1. IM Doc

      I will say I am personally much more comfortable with this approach to a vaccine.

      Furthermore, one thing to note. Unlike the AZ Oxford approach which uses just one adenovirus vector, this Sputnik has two different doses each having a completely antigenically different adenovirus vector. There is always the chance the patient may already have immune exposure to one adenovirus and using two at different times mitigates that possibility.

      The actual efficacy numbers are far more consistent with other vaccines making me feel better the numbers have not been gamed. And note this editorial is far more “just the facts” than the Pfizer and Moderna ones were in NEJM. It makes the reader feel they are not reading corporate propaganda.

      And it appears they bothered to include people in the trial who were elderly and had comorbid conditions.

      And these could be easily distributed on our existing ice cream cold chain transport systems.

      Again, I would be much more comfortable to recommend this vaccine to my patients. I am just not sure I will have that opportunity.

      1. Eduardo

        Thanks for your comments. I live in Mexico where the Sputnik vaccine is in the mix so I have been watching it closely. Sputnik, AZ Oxford and possibly CanSino seem to be the ones that we will have the most doses of.

      2. expr

        another advantage of the two vector approach is that with one vector, you may develop immunity to the vector in the first shot and
        the immune response to the vector may reduce the effectiveness
        of the covid immunity generating bit

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its a rare piece of good news. I don’t know much about Sputnik, leaving to one side the politics of it, I wonder how it compares to the others in terms of scaling up production and distribution.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Just to answer my own comment, it seems from a quick scan of information on it that it is relatively easy to store and transport, but there seems to be severe production bottlenecks. I was wondering why if the vaccine is so good Russia still has very severe outbreaks, but it seems they only started serious vaccination in early December. I suspect that unless they find another manufacturer, maybe one of the big Indian pharm companies, there won’t be enough to go around for everyone until the end of this year.

      Interestingly, it appears that there is a lot of resistance to taking the vaccine in Russia.

      1. shtove

        Judging by the Navalny shenanigans, they appear to have a hierarchy-loving libertarian contingent. Something to do with armchair-warrior cultures, hmm?

  9. Wukchumni

    Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity Eurekalert
    In the aftermath of a couple of extremely long droughts in Cali (that’s what tribes in the east called it then) that lasted 240 & 180 years, the population of Native Americans largely ended up here in the foothills of the Sierra and associated river systems where water was pretty much a given, and relatively few lived in what are now SD/OC/LA/SF as water then and now in the Big Smokes is an iffy prospect.

    The Yokuts band of 60 tribes here had one of the highest regional population densities in pre-contact North America.

    1. juno mas

      Yes, the Yokuts had relatively high population density, but they were a small part of the California natives statewide. The population of California natives ranges from 300,000 to 700,000, by some estimates.

      Since the California natives were living in a relatively resource abundant environment, their hunter-gatherer tribal density was low, but extant. The Chumash and the Tongva peoples inhabited much of the area you describe (SF to SD). They not only lived directly on the coastline but inland as well. (The current Chumash Casino is in the Santa Ynez Valley.)

      The Yokuts didn’t experience the European invasion until the late 18th century, while the coastal Chumash and Tongva experienced disease and decimation from intermittent contact with Spanish explorers (Juan Cabrillo) in the mid-16th century. In any case, ALL California natives experienced rapid decline during the Great California Extinction era of white settlement after 1848.

      American exceptionalism (racism) is something to behold.

          1. JBird4049

            Yes they are, but the miners were extremely genocidal even for the time with their human hunting parties and casual slaughter of entire villages. The only reason that they are any Californian tribes left is because the miners did not try hard enough. By the 1860s non genocidal, albeit racist still, Americans were interfering. IIRC, by the 1870s it was not only illegal to kill the natives the law was actually enforced. Sometimes.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m not sure why Americans matter as far as something that occurred a thousand years ago in the proto-Golden State.

        And it was our germs that did them in here, 85-90% of the Yokuts population died of Measles in 1868-69.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “AOC hiding in her office during the insurrection.”

    ‘Drama queen’
    Informal. a person who often has exaggerated or overly emotional reactions to events or situations:

    e.g. ‘You’re such a drama queen! You always have to have all the attention.’

    She actually felt hostile to the guy that rescued her and he was probably annoyed because she was playing hide and seek. Just to put an extra bit of drama to this story, she now claims on Instagram that she is a sexual assault survivor and that day brought back all those feeling again. It just took her four weeks to remember that bit. Not buying it.

    1. TBellT

      You don’t think any of the rioters had an intention of kidnapping or killing representatives? You don’t think any representative had a reason to fear when they were specifically told to evacuate?

      1. ambrit

        This is a “Rabbit Hole” question.
        Any seriously motivated and organized “rioters” would have had those ‘available’ Representatives strung up right quick. That there was no report of physical confrontation between “rioters” and Representatives that day speaks volumes.

        1. TBellT

          Because they evacuated when police told them to, because the police presumably did anticipate harm for the reps? Like how is fear not a natural emotion in that moment?

          Omar gets incredible vitriol on every tweet she gets from the exact same type of ppl who were at the riot.

          I do believe in the Benn motto of “bloody toughen up” but I’m not going to deny that fear was a completely rational reaction.

          As for opening up about assault, I think it’s a natural reaction to not want to talk about it, no one wants to be seen as a victim. But it probably dawned on her how big of a young following she has that needs an example of someone overcoming it to relate.

          1. ambrit

            To your last point; it tacitly assumes that “assault” is a common occurrence. I do not have the data to make an informed opinion here, but my anecdotal evidence shows “assault” to be widespread. That is the sign of a dysfunctional society.
            I worry about the long term effects of a politica assuming the mantle of “Victimhood.” If she begins to make positive steps to deal with the problem, than good for her say I. If she does not, then it would look like simple political opportunism.
            As the joke goes: “If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.”

        2. Phillip Cross

          Try telling that to Ashley Babbit. For some reason, after being told not to by their armed guards, she tried to enter a room where some politicians were sheltering through a broken window. Does that not count as a (incredibly futile) physical confrontation?

          1. ambrit

            I’m sorry about the poor woman, but, if this were a serious attempt at insurrection, the rest of the crowd would have surged in over the woman’s body and killed everyone in the room.
            What the event shows is that there is a large segment of the population, and a formerly important and influential one, that is good and fed up with “business as usual.” These will be the organizers and enablers of the soon to come ‘Effective Trump.’ (It does not have to be Trump himself, of course.)
            The skeleton of the upcoming power struggle in America is becoming clear.
            Don’t laugh too hard at this idea, but I am considering the present Corporate Democrat Party organization as analogous to the Karensky ‘moderate’ government in WW-1 Russia. The Mensheviks are presently in charge. Lurking in the wings, the Neo Bolsheviks. More likely, the Neo Whites.

            1. Phillip Cross

              Tell it to any number of suckers, currently moldering away in Guantanamo (or worse).

              Just because it was a stupid plan, with no chance of success, that doesn’t mean it’s not highly illegal for those entrapped carrying out the scheme.

              1. ambrit

                It’s funny that you bring up Guantanamo and entrapped in the same comment.
                I seem to remember a certain “Savoir of the Republic” promising to close down that extraterritorial prison during an election and then conveniently forgetting that promise later.
                Entrapment however, has a long and stellar ‘career’ as a primary weapon of the Police State, everywhere and everywhen, to crush dissent. It’s early days yet, but cries of “False Flag” and “Reichstag Fire” are already wafting down the winds.
                So, instead of pointing to previous “suckers” mouldering in the dungeons of prison moons, look towards the source of all this, and change it. That looks to be what the Capitol Rioters were subconsciously trying to do.
                This may be an inflection point, but in which direction it turns, I will not profess to know.

                1. Phillip Cross

                  My point was that being a misguided fool, who’s crime was pointless and doomed to fail, isn’t a valid defense under US law. Especially when the victim is

            2. Basil Pesto

              this discussion isn’t about insurrection semantics, it’s about AOC’s apprehension of fear, which is a pretty normal reaction when uncertainty and lack of control abound. I don’t know how she felt at the time, obviously, but only she does, and I find ‘drama queen’ to be an extremely uncharitable, Dore-tier, Hate Inc sort of take.

              Geo’s “this could just as easily apply” post below is good too.

          2. The Rev Kev

            To be brutal about it, the cop that shot her could have stepped forward and smacked her in the mouth with the butt of his pistol instead and that would have stopped her cold too. Yeah, she would have had dental work but typically it is not fatal. Instead he panicked and went for a head shot – and missed at a range of five feet. And now he will get off because he ‘was in fear of his life.’ And those legislators will give him cover for it. Who knows? He may even get a medal out of it.

            1. JBird4049

              I will complain about the police all day long and the police kill hundreds and injured thousands of people each year spurious justifications. If we did what they often do, we would be doing decades, or life, or the chair.

              But sometimes they face terrible situations. Situations with no easy solutions. Here the police were facing a hostile mob that apparently wanted to lynch members of the national government.

              I think that the man should be given at least a little slack. Yes, he made a bad shot, which maybe he should not have done, but the mob was trying to get in and the people he was defending were just around the corner.

              Being anywhere near a situation that has hundreds of angry people is freaking terrifying. Making a good shot at the range with your friends is relaxing. A mob will make you shake with adrenaline. Shaking hands will ruin your shot, add the likely tunnel vision, then add the the fight or flight instinct whacking you upside the head and it will make decision making damn near impossible.

              Some cops in other situations have kept firing until they ran out of reloads for BS reason. He did not send 30, 40, 50 rounds into the large group of people. He had the capability to shot at and hit just one person and then stop.

      2. Massinissa

        They can’t have had an ‘intention’ to do that, seeing as how they didn’t really have the ‘intention’ to storm the capitol building at all. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing when they realized there weren’t any police protecting it like there should have been. Would they have possibly killed someone if they had had a chance? Very possible, in the spur of the moment. Would go as far to say it potentially could have been probable. But did they plan on it the day before, and have a plan to do it? No. None of it had been planned, there was no ‘intention’.

        1. Winston Smith

          I think it will take a while for the story of what happened January 6th to be fully known with any confidence. So a little patience is in order. that being said, I find your assumptions illogical and preposterous. I seem to recall that a capitol police officer was murdered

          1. ambrit

            There is a major difference between a garden variety ‘riot ‘ and an ‘insurrection.’ People are killed in either or both. What is important here is ‘intent.’

            1. Winston Smith

              First, who’s intent? I think there were people at the capitol with different “intent”. Second, whatever the “intent” was, trying to stop the certification of an election by force (violently breaking through police lines) can hardly be interpreted leniently by the state.

              1. ambrit

                My question is how do we define “the State?”
                As for “intent,” I can see there being competing ‘intents’ here; neither of which are “genuine” or pro-public.
                The Capitol Riot is a symptom. The disease….

        2. Geo

          Mobs don’t have to-do lists. As someone who has had a small mob of homophobes chase me down I don’t think they started off their night with a plan but when they saw me they took action.

          Because they didn’t beat me down with the metal pipes in their hands, does that mean there was never any real threat? After all, in the end it was just words and intimidation with no follow through. So, am I a drama queen for having been profoundly troubled by that experience?

          1. TBellT

            The drama queen thing is particularly galling coming from generations that took 9/11 and got suckered into supporting the Iraq war at greater than 70%, not to mention afghanistan and the patriot act.

            I know most of them deny it today but if we’re drama queens than we learned it from them and maybe it’s just as American as Apple pie.

            Also as far as I know AOC hasn’t signed into giving new spying powers in wake of the event.. so compared to everyone rushing to the patriot act in 2001 who really who overreacted?

            1. Geo

              Agreed. We’re a nation who took one terror attack and turned it into an all-out war on a huge chunk of the globe.

              Also, considering how many LEO’s were a part of that mob, and how AOC isn’t exactly on team police, it’s understandable that she would have reservations about that lone officer’s intentions. Add an already established fear to it (makes one more paranoid) and it’s easy to comprehend her experience at the time … if one is actually willing to try.

              I’ve been on the wrong end of a gun a few times in my life. Once by a policeman. His badge didn’t make the experience better. As my buddy who was there put it, “When I saw the gun I thought, ‘I’m about to be murdered!’ Then I saw it was a cop and I thought, ‘I’m about to be murdered by a cop!’”

          2. Massinissa

            “Because they didn’t beat me down with the metal pipes in their hands, does that mean there was never any real threat? After all, in the end it was just words and intimidation with no follow through. So, am I a drama queen for having been profoundly troubled by that experience”

            Sigh. Let me restate one the things I said. “Would they have possibly killed someone if they had had a chance? Very possible, in the spur of the moment. Would go as far to say it potentially could have been probable.” No, you’re not a drama queen for being troubled at a mob chasing you down. Yes, they very well could have killed you. They had had metal pipes. They were threatening to either kill you or hurt you. The guys at the capitol attack? They didn’t have metal pipes. Only a few of them carried things like molotov cocktails. Most of them were mostly busy stealing things, doing various things to monuments involving spray paint, and taking pictures of themselves. What the Capitol Rioters did was Reckless Endangerment at most. Which by the way is still a crime. There was no Mens Rea at the capitol attack to do anything more than hooliganism. There was Mens Rea by the men chasing you to, at least, scare you, if not harm you or kill you, and they had the implements to carry out such an action to give credence to their threats.

            Please don’t conflate two different events together, and then ask the person you’re replying to to determine if there was legal capability in a case the person you’re replying to knows nothing about and that is an emotionally charged personal incident for you. This sort of thing makes reasonable discussion, very, very arduous without actually adding much to said discussion. I by no means meant to personally attack you, or anyone else, and was replying to TBellT to point out that there is no way to legally prove the capitol riot had any kind of Mens Rea to do much more than the hooliganism they ended up doing.

            Sigh, responding to this was exhausting. I apologize if in any way this or my previous statement accidentally reignited that likely traumatic incident in your past, because that was never my intent. Stay safe and have a good day.

        3. sj

          None of it had been planned, there was no ‘intention’.

          Apparently you haven’t been following this very closely because some of them very definitely had advance plans. And intention doesn’t require 24 hour notice to exist. Intention can be — and very often is — spur of the moment.

          Not that it would matter in the end to any victim. Sudden mob actions are just as terrifying as pre-planned mob actions.

    2. Keith

      In the US at least, being a victim is the fad, so the more you can play it up, the better for you. Actual facts and the reality of the situation are no longer important. the focus is on alleged feelings and the narrative.

      1. TBellT

        She will not gain any followers from being open about assault. It is a message to people who already look up to her. Since you don’t you won’t understand.

    3. Geo

      “A person who often has exaggerated or overly emotional reactions to events or situations”

      This could just as easily apply to those who seem to have decided AOC is the primary sell-out of our time and can’t even feel an ounce of empathy for a young woman who ran for office hoping to make a difference and has been vilified by left, right, and center.

      Maybe you don’t believe her. Heck, maybe she is making it up. Hopefully the surveillance cameras in the Capital Building work better than the ones in Epstein’s prison and we can one day see what actually happened. But, as someone who has firsthand experience with rightwing mobs threatening him (much smaller – only a few dudes who came after me due to their homophobia), I feel her pain and fear very clearly.

      Also, you cannot dismiss the very real threat to people like her. There is actual audio from the video that day of the rioters threatening violence against elected reps.

      You may not like her and feel she is making too big a deal out of it but please don’t pretend there was no real threat or that her fears are unjustified.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Thank you. I wrote a lengthy reply to the above and killed it. Yours is far better. Apparently, give the comparative lack of violence in the sunny Antipodes, it’s impossible for Rev Kev to comprehend how real fear of murder can be here in our heavily propagandized, gun-saturated nation. It all looks so amusing and silly from a comfortable distance, doesn’t it?

        1. ambrit

          Well, I have to reply that perhaps in the Antipodes, Rev doesn’t have to fear his local police force? Here in America, most of us do so.
          Love it or hate it, gun nuttery is an integral part of the American Myth. The early American settlers gained possession of the land in North America, and South America too I should add, through the utilization of superior technology in the task of killing the aborigines. Dead aborigines equaled empty land, which could be appropriated by settlers.
          Now, as happens, the sub-elites resort to “robust” demonstrations of discontent. Rightly or wrongly, these sub-elites have discovered that such “robustness” of dissent gets the ruling elites attention. Previously, other forms of dissent have been ignored by the elites. Now, the efficacy of “robust” dissent has been proven out. Expect more of this over the coming years.
          One big lesson I take from the Capitol Riot is that the sub-elites are awakening to the degree of disdain that the true elites hold them in. Has anyone noticed that the socio-economic average of the Capitol Rioters is exactly that type needed to promote and enable a real revolution?
          Well, that’s all for now. This event and it’s subsequent effects will take a little time to think through. Deep currents stir in the society.

  11. farragut

    The cats print by Inagaki Tomoo is gorgeous; thx! I whole-heartedly support exceptions to your rule…if they’re all as beautiful as this.

  12. Arizona Slim

    Here I am in Tucson, trying to figure out how one would go about fixing a Right to Repair Movement after it explodes. Can the pieces be reassembled? Or will it have to (gasp) be junked?

    1. cocomaan

      Explosions are not covered under warranty.

      I’m not optimistic that this movement or the legislation will go anywhere. But it did inspire me to take matters into my own hands: I bought a few engine repair textbooks online. Two cycle and other small engines, plus manuals for each of my vehicles.

      There’s worse things than understanding how your own vehicles work. Plus, maybe you can make some scrip during the apocalypse when you’re the only person on the block who knows how a lawnmower works.

      1. none

        It’s probably almost time to ban 2-cycle engines outright (noise, fumes, etc). There are not many real uses for them these days since most smallish outdoor tools (small chainsaws and lawnmowers, etc) can be electric (battery powered) economically now, and there are compact and quiet 4-cycle engines for when batteries aren’t there yet. People who switch from 2-cycle tools to rechargeable electric are almost always delighted. Snow blowers are still in the grey zone though.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, I don’t know about that. From where I sit, there are dozens of foundered “social repair” ‘movements’ lying around in pieces. Any competent political organization should be able to cobble together some sort of viable ‘United Front’ from all those pieces and parts.
        As for actual machinery repair, my mantra is: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!

        1. flora

          Yep. 3 rules of thumb:

          Complexity always reduces reliability.
          If you can’t see it you can’t fix it.
          Anything one man made another man can fix.

          an aside: think of rule 2 wrt big bank computer systems modernization attempts. The big problem there in too many cases is that the modernizers can’t see the full existing system, its actions and it’s problems. So, lots of big, expensive, modernization attempts fail. Just one example.

    2. wilroncanada

      Sorry, Arizona Slim, no. It would have to be scooped up and returned to the maker, the only entity authorized to make repairs. It’s sorta’ like the proverbial self-made man.

  13. Pat

    The bunny is adorable and very patient.

    And once again we have a video where the animal looks at the person filming as if to ask “a little help here please” but ends up having to give up on the useless human.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “The GameStop saga is already headed to Hollywood”

    Don’t get your hopes up on a good story telling. One is going to go with the angle that as it was mostly young men doing this investing, that they were doing this because of a lack of sex while they were locked down during the pandemic. So they used their frustrated energy on investing instead. That movie sounds like it will be a hatchet job then but don’t ask me which production is doing this. I literally cannot be bothered looking for that article again.

    1. Mikel

      It’s not over yet, so what are they pitching? We don’t know how comic vs tragic this thing will be.

      Very suspect to already have a “script” for this…unless there was always a script.

      1. Basil Pesto

        It’s not remotely suspect. You’ll be surprised to hear that some people write scripts for a living.

        I’m sure they’re just staking their ground, I’d be surprised if anything ultimately comes of it. Without the success of The Big Short, I doubt this movie option story would exist.

        There’s probably potential for a reasonably amusing movie there, in the hands of in imaginative writer who has a handle on the subject matter, though it would surely have to take a lot of dramatic license. If there is a script already, I doubt it matches that description.

  15. Alex morfesis

    McConnell…burping out the words “kon$piracy theory”…His political mentor, Cooper, while sitting on the Warren commi$$ion, insisted the magic bullet theory was absolute nonsense…the senator from the china lobby state loves seeing his face in the news…insists he was at the 1963 dc I have a dream speech but sorta kinda hangs with ray$i$t$…how soon we can make them forget…
    and in further news, the Mets new owner has decided to….

  16. Pat

    Last year I found myself getting increasingly angry as the Cuomo adulation seemed to grow exponentially. He was everything our brunch going liberals wanted. But if you looked deeper his response to the Covid crisis was as chaotic and challenged as Trump’s was.

    It is nice that after the book and the revival of his national political ambitions perhaps we will have some real examination of that time and his administration. But I no longer think that truth and the record matter to a majority of Democrats. Cuomo will come out of this, maybe not as well as Obama skirted his deeply troubling record, but it will still go down the memory hole.

    The bigger worry to me is that it is becoming increasingly clear that the same cursory “he looks serious, so I trust him” standards are being applied to Biden as were done for Cuomo. Sure a few outside the mainstream outlets will notice the cracks (like want questions in advance) but we are more likely to see things like Rubin’s sycophantic ode to how things are better that was published yesterday. (Promising less than delivering was not the only delusional item.) The chaos continues but we no longer despise the guy on the tv, so brunch anyone?

    1. a fax machine

      People are desperate for competence, and thus far all Democrats had to do was pretend to be competent and everyone would trust them. But this has limits.

      California’s Gavin Newsom perfectly exemplifies that limit. He was the exact same was as Cuomo, with everyone blindly trusting him because he looked good and talked well. But then he was exposed to real crises: PG&E burned over half the lands in the North Bay, doing Billions in damage and killing many. The resulting fine was then pushed onto consumers with the recent rate increases, and PG&E was simultaneously allowed to simply shut off power whenever they wanted. This has created a situation in CA where three months of the year there’s constant power outages and fires, pushing regular people beyond their limits. It also invalidates all Newsom’s green initiatives, since PG&E is allowed to turn off home solar (to prevent backfeeding) but homes on gas generators can completely isolate themselves. Doesn’t help that the only parts of Norcal without major power outages are the cities with gas power plants: Humboldt, Newark, and Santa Clara.

      Then Covid happened followed by the French Laundry scandal and vaccine non-availability. Even his most diehard supporters can’t swallow vaccines sitting in truck trailers rather than being mass distributed, because his standing orders are to force doctors into the tiered system. This has unraveled over the past week as individual Counties simply do whatever they want.

      This has culminated in the recent Recall effort, which will likely force a special election. Whatever happens after that dependent upon whatever Socal Democrat runs against him. Padilla’s appointment was strategic in this regard, Newsom is smart enough to read the room and put his most serious competition into the Senate.

        1. ambrit

          You mean that Newsome is responsible for the destruction of the Star Wars franchise?
          That’s a ‘cunning plan’ worthy of a Sith Lord.

      1. William Hughes

        Cal state government blames PG&E when Cal state government refused to authorize PG&E to make lines safe; rule forcing PG&E to pay is result of administrative judge and exceptional for only one other state requires utility to police its lines.

      1. Massinissa

        Reminds me of that article about that Rahm Emmanuel fansite from the Obama era where people where writing smut fiction about Obama and Rahm… Can we please stop sexualizing political leaders and writing fanfiction about them? People who want to fangirl should do that about fictional characters or even non-political celebrities if they’re going to do that at all.

  17. urblintz

    This, from Nils Melzer, regarding Julian Assange… sobering, to say the least:

    “I have never seen a comparable case. Anyone can trigger a preliminary investigation against anyone else by simply going to the police and accusing the other person of a crime. The Swedish authorities, though, were never interested in testimony from Assange. They intentionally left him in limbo. Just imagine being accused of rape for nine-and-a-half years by an entire state apparatus and by the media without ever being given the chance to defend yourself because no charges had ever been filed…

    “Allow me to start at the beginning. I speak fluent Swedish and was thus able to read all of the original documents. I could hardly believe my eyes: According to the testimony of the woman in question, a rape had never even taken place at all. And not only that: The woman’s testimony was later changed by the Stockholm police without her involvement in order to somehow make it sound like a possible rape. I have all the documents in my possession, the emails, the text messages.”

    1. kgw

      The Swedish Government is so keen to be a satrap of the U.S., they went overboard. After all, Russia is so close to them…/s

        1. vlade

          Please buff up your history.

          Estonia has decided that going to Sweden in 16th century was preferrable to Russia.
          Livonia and Riga (parts of current Latvia) was won by Sweden from Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, subsequently taken by Russia (together with a lot of other pieces of P/L commonwealth).
          I could go on actually, because a lot of Easter Baltics (Finland, parts of Karelia) were parts of the Swedish empire before they were parts of Russia.

          So arguing that Russia never reciprocated is at best, ignorance.

        2. vlade

          And, lest it be thought that Russia is and was always the victim, I’ll note that Russia had by far (and I mean far far) the largest territorial gains after the WW2*). The only other territorial gains were for Greece (Dodecadenes from Italy) and some islands in Adriatic sea from Italy to Yugoslavia.

          *) Confirmation of annexation of Baltic states and territory extracted from Romania before the war, and a large chunk of Poland (with Poland being “compensated” by German territories) and some of Finland. For these territories the Russia could have at least somewhat claimed regaining old, pre WW1 territories (as if that was an excuse to occupy a sovreign states).

          Strategically important Ruthenia **) from the Czechoslovakia (where the history was rewritten en-masse and any notion mentioning that it ever belonged to the Czechoslovakia was prohibited) and Konigsberg from Germany never belonged to Russia before though.

          **) most people (who ever have an idea where the region is) assume this region belonged to Ukraine/Poland-Lithuania. No. It was historically part of the Kingdom of Hungary and Austria-Hungary empire till WW1, when it was assigned to Czechoslovakia as one of the successor state of AHE.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Thousands join in Jerusalem funerals, flout pandemic rules’

    Not seeing many masks here being used. At this point in time, I wonder if secular Israelis are thinking that perhaps the Palestinian would make better – and safer – neighbours.

    1. Massinissa

      To be fair, Israel has done a better job than most at acquiring and administering doses of the vaccine (as long as they’re not administered to Palestinians, apparently), so its possible most of those people are confident because most of them are vaccinated. Though then again, I don’t know enough about Israel to know if they have any kind of anti-vax populations. For all I know some groups of Ultra-Orthodox might not be very vaccine friendly. I don’t know enough about Israel or the Ultra-Orthodox to really say.

        1. vlade

          A few months back, I talked to a Russian who emigrated to Israel years ago. I believe he is what I call “a secular Jew”.

          He had an interesting take on the situation, where he said that the fracture lines didn’t run between Jews/Palestinians, but what he termed “modern” and “traditional”, to the point where “traditional” Jews and Palestinians (muslimes) voted for the same politicians.

          He seemed to loath the traditionalists on both sides equally while having no (visible) angst towards “modern” Palestinians.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Maybe things have gotten better, but secular Jews (as in American reform Jews) aren’t treated well there. Maybe as a Russian emigre he is accorded better treatment.

            I’ve lost contact with her, but a lawyer friend regularly visits Israel because she has about 30 cousins who live there, some of them prominent academics and officials. She and her husband adopted a boy from Thailand and brought him up in the faith; I went to his bar mitzvah.

            Sometime before that, maybe when he was around 8 or 9, his parents took him to Israel.

            On the way out (don’t ask, Israel is tough on departures, I as a blond WASP with a US passport in business casual had to spend 45 minutes in security on my way out explaining why I had been there; they even called someone from my client to verify that I was there on business), someone in border control started harassing them about having an Asian adopted child. My friend would have none of that. She told the agent she had relatives in the Knesset (true) and if he didn’t drop it, she was getting him fired.

            1. vlade

              Ah, I didn’t take it that way. For me secular means secular :D. I.e. culturally Jewish, but not religous.

              I know it’s hard to square on the face of it, but a lot of my Jewish friends are atheists while being almost in-your-face Jewish culturally.

  19. ChiGal in Carolina

    Thanks very much for the “search pessimized” aggregation of mask hacks. Wonderful resource!

  20. Wukchumni

    I was barely an adult when the Hunt Bros were doing their thing, and it was quite something to watch and learn from, and lots of interesting things happened along the way, the main difference between this recent interest and their game being that they wanted physical delivery, not an ETF such as SLV-which is the current flava flav.

    I was talking to a good friend in his 70’s who was in the biz for over 50 years on the phone yesterday about this and what would happen if amateur argent provocateurs were to somehow pull a GameStop and get the price of silver up to say $400, and he thought the flood of physical hitting the market would resemble a tidal wave, all sellers scrambling for the exits before the inevitable crash. At that price a 1964 silver Quarter would be worth about $75, whee doggies!

    Probably unknown to anybody outside of the ancient coin biz, Nelson Bunker Hunt decided he wanted to also corner the market on Byzantine gold coins of the eastern Roman Empire. The silver market crashing in 1980 put an end to that pursuit.

  21. a fax machine

    re: Millennial Home Buying

    There’s no one common meme, beyond the age-old Haves and Have-Nots. For every 1 Millennial that is able to scrape enough together for a loan that far exceeds his capacity there’s at least 5-10 that are stuck paying half their earnings (if not more) in rent. This happens because the former group knows how to make their credit look better than it really is while the latter group lacks the human capital (knowledge/certification) to obtain the jobs necessary to get a high enough credit score. The few that are able to split it into modestly-priced starter homes are completely forgotten because they aren’t poor enough to accept means-tested welfare but aren’t rich enough to be considered human.

    It parallels in our education system. For every 1 Millennial that is able to game the standardized tests into a top college there’s 5 that can’t even make it into a Junior College without remedial work. People focus on these two extremes, forgetting about the vast majority of “normal” college students inbetween, including those that attend private schools such as Wyotech and become Essential Workers that keep our cars, trains and airplanes running. Public debates only focus on the two ends without providing for the common person.

    All of this joins at the government’s banks of Sallie and Fannie Mae who exist to artificially inflate these markets with bad credit. Instead of forcing students and potential homeowners to carefully assess their real finances and buy something within their purchasing power (or vote for a society with a housing guarantee..) they are encouraged to pull as much credit as plausible and go big regardless. It’s only after they are underwater on credit do they realize they are screwed. And because student loans can’t be ejected, this creates a class of permanently impoverished people whose interest becomes a burden on smarter loanbuyers, hurting their interest rates as well. This system is completely unsustainable long-term and I doubt it can survive Covid.

  22. Mikel

    RE: The More We Learn About Crow Brains…

    After reading that, I think a “scarecrow” figure would not be effective against crows. Do they work against crows? Do they need another name?

  23. Abandon All Hope

    Update on vaccine distribution, which will surprise no one: my State Bar Association (Virginia) recently informed members that “most lawyers qualify for Phase 1c of the General Vaccination Schedule” issued by the CDC. In fact, we are advised, some of us may even qualify for Phase 1b, now underway in the state.

    Why would people who can easily do their work at home be allowed to jump ahead of other seemingly more likely candidates for the first rounds of vaccination?

    According to the Bar, lawyers are included in Phase 1c because they “…support ongoing critical infrastructure operations.”

  24. cocomaan

    The Atlantic, “Coexistence Is the Only Option: Millions of Americans sympathize with the Capitol insurrection. Everyone else must figure out how to live alongside them.”

    The Atlantic wrings its hands about so-called “seditionists”, who are Trump supporters that question the integrity of the election. My favorite part:

    And how do we invite seditionists to a public meeting if they won’t read emails from anyone outside their bubble?

    I know a few people who question the integrity of the election. They read widely. They are willing to engage in conversation with people who disagree with them, too, often in a spirited way.

    They just don’t believe in experts and technocracy, so they rarely believe authority figure edicts. If you tell them that the counts were certified by X, they will give you a case where a certification process was marred by corruption.

    I get that the thrust of the article is to work alongside those in the community who disagree, but the patronizing tone indicates someone who doesn’t know a single person who disagrees with them. But that’s par for the course for The Atlantic.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Here is one path back: change about 22,000 voters’ minds. Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump was said to be about 42,000 votes in three states, ~10 in GA and AZ, 22K in WI. I don’t think they will just give up soon.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yes, but that’s counting on the electoral college to work its dirty magic. A quick search got me this, from USA Today (not bothering to link, it’s easy to find). Biden got 7 million more votes than Trump in terms of the popular vote:

        In the presidential election, there were 81,282,903 votes cast for Biden and 74,223,030 votes cast for President Donald Trump, according to a current tally from USA TODAY.

  25. MH

    With silver in the news, I’m surprised I haven’t heard the name ‘Wynter Benton’ mentioned once. Seems more appropriate to the current market climate than the Hunt brothers.

  26. Robert Hahl

    Alzheimer’s Prediction May Be Found in Writing Tests

    The original paper:

    “Pfizer, Inc. provided funding to obtain data from the Framingham Heart Study Consortium, and to support the involvement of IBM Research in the initial phase of the study.”

    “A key priority in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research is the identification of early intervention strategies that will decrease the risk, delay the onset, or slow the progression of disease.” — Maybe. What these kind of tests will definitely do is justify treating people for Alzheimer’s who don’t really have it.

    1. urblintz

      ” justify treating people for Alzheimer’s who don’t really have it.” That was my take away as well, especially with the example they gave about describing the picture and deciding that people who preferred to be brief in their description were “impaired” and “more impaired.” If asked to describe the picture mine would have certainly looked more like the “impaired” examples then the one they prefer.

      I’m all for solving the complex riddle that is Alzheimer’s but “pre-impaired” raises as many flags for me as “pre-crime.”

      1. polecat

        I believe BOTH of those ‘pre’-conditions would apply to most of our vaunted congress volk, regardless of age.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      While this may well be their objective, there are plenty of non-pharm interventions that seem to work well with early diagnosis, ranging from dietary changes, more exercise, to language learning.

      None are cures, but it seems that with early diagnosis there are ways people can postpone the worst ravages of the disease by a few years.

  27. marcyincny

    “Line cooks are at the highest risk…”

    No explanations in the article so I’m left to wonder if this is due to standing at an exhaust fan pulling any contaminated air toward them as they work?

    1. Brian L.

      Working in close proximity to others, also. If someone in a kitchen gets a bug and comes to work, just about everyone in the kitchen gets it too. (Paid sick leave? LOL Either you call out and suffer financially or go to work sick) Standing in the flow created by the hood fan does bring odors from all over the building right up to your nose (if not wearing a mask). I know all this from experience. So, it seems likely that it would increase risk of exposure. Line cooks are also paid relatively little, often have no health insurance and aren’t the healthiest bunch, much like the ag workers also mentioned.

  28. freedomny

    Thought it interesting that Mark Cuban just posted this on wallstreetbets –

    Final thought. First thanks for the great questions. Thanks for changing the game. Thanks for taking on Wall Street. Thanks for making kids around the country if not the world, including my son, want to learn about stocks and try trading them (Including my son and daughter). WSB changed the game far more than everyone on this board will ever get credit for.

    That said, you will do all this again. You will go after WS and the next time you will be smarter. There was only one thing that messed you all up: RobinHood and the other zero commission brokers that everyone used didnt have enough capital to fund the fight. They let you down in a big way.

    When you load back up, fight a broker with TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS in assets on their balance sheet. Someone that can be there when the fight starts and wont blink an eye.

    No disruption is easy or happens in a straight line. Stay with it. I am a believer

  29. Bob Kavanagh

    I don’t believe McConnell ever mentioned the name of who it was he was criticizing. Thus he fan deny it in the future. The chinless wonder strikes again!

  30. Andrew Watts

    RE: ‘The Longer Telegram’ Is a Recipe for Costly Failure

    I embarrassed to admit I spent the last two days reading the Longer Telegram and found it wanting in many ways. There wasn’t ever an acknowledgement that China is a power on par with the US. It contained a few insightful observations but it mostly involved a lot of wishful thinking. A few points need to be made without reiterating some of the same criticisms the article made,

    The majority of people don’t realize the extent the Chinese government has used the last twenty years to build up it’s economic and military power. Chinese strategists accurately predicted they’d have twenty years before the US would seriously react.This point wasn’t completely lost on the author of the Longer Telegram, but it does mean they’re prepared for the possibility of a war. While Chinese military spending has never equaled the US it has grown substantially in ways that aren’t being considered. They’re getting way more bang for their buck and putting it into modern equipment that’ll serve them well in any war. Over the last few years the PLN has been launching the equivalent tonnage of the French Navy every year. They aren’t investing and building massive boondoggles like aircraft carriers either. They probably have more submarines and might even possess more surface ships then the entire US Navy.

    Moreover, most people seem to be underestimating how willing the Chinese are to fight. I’ve already pointed out the cultural reasons so I’ll skip over those. I don’t believe people realize how intemperate and full of ardor young men are when all they’ve been doing is training and planning for war. The People’s Liberation Army/Navy has been doing that for a while now and their attitude shouldn’t automatically be dismissed.

    The original author of the telegram acts like they’re stuck in a world where history stopped. Although the fact remains that the world is moving on from American hegemony. Arnold Toynbee wrote extensively about this end of history phenomenon. Other countries look at the US, and it’s problems, and no longer desire to emulate it. They’ve been watching our political meltdown with an increasing mixture of horror and pity for awhile now.

    Don’t get me wrong about all this, I don’t think China is a threat to the US, I’m not trying to scare-monger about it either. My fear is that the dip—- imperialists are going to get us into an unnecessary war. Look at all the Iraq War cheerleaders still in charge and tell me I’m wrong.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve been a casual China watcher for many years now, and one thing I’ve noticed is that the most level headed commentators on Chinese politics see the hardening up of views inside China as being very real. China has both grown in confidence, but this has gone side to side with a worrying level of arrogance, which is quite dangerous when its attached to an often poor understanding of the outside world (its not just Washington that consistently gets its analyses of other countries wrong). The swallowing up of HK and the successful suppression of all dissent in the north-western frontier provinces is a gamechanger I think. The view within China is that Europe cannot be taken seriously as a geopolitical player except in pure economics and trade terms, and that the US is in permanent decline. They may well be right, but they could also seriously overplay their hand.

      The Longer Telegram is of course a horrible document (even if some of its analyses is correct), mostly because its prior assumption – that the US and only the US can and should enforce ‘international norms’ or whatever it wants on anyone else in the globe. Its one thing to try to impose your will on countries around the globe when you are capable of following up on your threat – its arguably much more dangerous to do it when you don’t have the political/capacity to do it. And despite never ending spending on the military, it is undeniable that the US is losing ground in its ability to impose its will on anyone outside of the Americas.

      If you go back to history, Japan, despite having an economy about one tenth the size of the US, attacked it precisely because it believed that it could win a war if the US lacked the willpower to engage in a long conflict over distant colonies. The believe was that the time (1941) was right, and the circumstances probably wouldn’t be repeated. Of course, we know they miscalculated horribly. I don’t think we can rule out one or other side making a similar miscalculation today, especially over Taiwan. I think this is one reason why Biden has been told to keep up Trumps hard line. There is a perception – probably genuine – that the Chinese are provoking Taiwan with incursions specifically to see what sort of reaction it provokes from the US.

      Just one point though – China is developing aircraft carriers, albeit not the super carriers of the US (although there are rumours). It does beg the question though as to what they are for, as we are repeatedly told that aircraft carriers are obsolete. I think many smaller Pacific nations believe that they would be used to threaten them in some future conflict where the US has taken a back seat.

      I think the quality of the Chinese military is also a big unknown. Its in the interest of defense interests around the world to exaggerate its effectiveness. They may have a lot of subs, but I suspect they are nowhere near as quiet or effective as US or Russian or European alternatives. Its notable that on international markets, nobody seems very interested in buying Chinese high tech weapons apart from cheap consumer drones. I suspect that they don’t stand up well in comparison to the Russian/European alternatives, even if they are cheaper. Its worth pointing out that in China, as with many autocratic states, the military is often stuffed with second raters and people chosen for absolute loyalty over ability – a strong, well led military is an obvious threat to existing Beijing power structures. They will know from the example of Vietnam, that a military can become a parallel power base which is very difficult to dislodge once they get a taste for power and money. The Chinese military hasn’t been seriously put to use in anything but border disputes since the invasion of Vietnam, and it certainly didn’t fare well in that little adventure.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The increasingly common consensus of Chinese people on social media is that America is at the end of a dynastic era. I’m not inclined to contest or refute this idea. When close to 500,000 people in my state were under an evacuation order due to wildfires back in August/September I stared into a Yellow Sky. By the afternoon it had turned blood-red. I cannot help but notice the historical symbolism of the moment being of Asian descent.

        I’m not sure comparing Imperial Japan and modern-day China is possible. The industrial output of Imperial Japan was only a tiny fraction of the capacity of the United States as you said. The economic prowess of China and the United State is more equitable. The Imperial Japanese Navy, or at least Admiral Yamamoto, knew that it couldn’t the win the war. They didn’t have the reserves of fuels to fight a war of maneuver in the Pacific. The war would’ve been much bloodier otherwise. Instead they sought to force America in a series of decisive battles which would force the US to the peace table.

        Any war with China will be in their backyard and within range of it’s missiles. There won’t be any FOB west of Guam that the US can safely operate from. You could be right about the state of the Chinese military. There isn’t any way to tell how well countries will react to wars or pandemics for that matter.

        Although Washington is full of hubris and the US military hasn’t been tested in a great power war for some time either. Finally, all these plans to fight to the last soldier of our Quad allies isn’t inspiring much confidence. I don’t think there’s a country in East Asia that will fight in America’s war.

        1. Achilles

          All this analysis of the likely outcome of an all out conventional war is interesting to the RAND types… but frivolous. It would escalate. More quickly than any would anticipate. Game over.

      2. Winston Smith

        What about the logistics of a US China conflict? That is certainly a big disadvantage for the US.

    2. Massinissa

      Considering that China is in an alliance with Russia, and they and Russia have relatively positive relations with Iran while the rest of the first world is busy embargoing the Iranians, we basically have all the powerful parts of continental Asia (continental, so no Phillipines or Indonesia) except for India being essentially in a sort of bloc.

      And India is basically surrounded, with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and even the nearby island of Ceylon all hating them, with China having made naval bases in all of those but Burma… India is essentially the only ‘ally’ we have on the continent (and even that’s mostly because they’re terrified of China and related allies of China), and not only are they surrounded, both their economy and political stability are rather unstable, especially recently what with literally millions of people in India protesting for what, over half a year at this point? Just yesterday the Indian government decided to cut off internet in New Delhi “in the interest of maintaining public safety and averting public emergency” in the city regarding the protests. Can you imagine if Russia or Iran tried to pull something like that over a protest, even a much smaller one? It would be all over western headlines. The Navalny protests are basically a nothingburger in comparison, with thousands of protesters rather than millions, and they have gotten more press because RUSSIA BAD.

      I’m tired of the US pretending their strained alliances are the only ones that matter. Europe won’t even ‘be a proper vassal’ or whatever the hell it is America wants from them considering they won’t agree with US demands to stop doing Nord Stream 2 when the US gives them no viable alternative. Do people in Washington really believe the US is still the post-soviet 1990s superpower it was where enemies were either nonexistent or extremely isolated?

      I agree with you that China even with its allies isn’t necessarily an actual threat to the US outside of Asia, unless the US does something really stupid, but China, Russia and even Iran aren’t in the same place they were in in the 90s, and if Washington hasn’t figured that out by now, then the US pulling something really stupid isn’t entirely impossible.

      EDIT: Oops, this took like 10 minutes to write apparently so I didn’t read Plutonium Kun’s post beforehand. Since they’re both about China and both about different subjects perhaps they will be complimentary. I agree with Plutonium Kun that a war with the US wouldn’t be easy for China either. I’m just pointing out that the number of cards they have to play diplomatically in such a conflict is much different than it was, say, 25 years ago.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I think the armed struggle between China and India along the Line of Actual Control recently proved that India cannot neither afford, or actively seeks a war, in which Pakistan might jump in on China’s side. The United States is merely assuming it will have, or be able to gain, the support of surrounding countries.

        Who knows if Russia or Iran would be involved in any potential Sino-American war. It’s possible though and it might be why both Merkel and Putin gave those somewhat alarming speeches at Davos.

        1. Massinissa

          Russia? It wouldn’t surprise me, especially if China wasn’t the initial belligerent. At the very least they would probably funnel as much arms to China as they could, assuming China would even need any not produced by themselves. Iran would probably still be a toss up, but a toss up in their favor. They trade with Iran, we and Europe don’t.

          The main problem is there’s too many moving parts to make any kind of prediction when we are unable to even imagine what the conflict would even look like. I’m not saying Russia and Iran would necessarily send troops, ships and planes to support China. Just that they’re arguably at least as connected as the US is with the EU, if not more so, considering its possible the EU would cease or limit trade with the US in such a conflict in order to be seen as a neutral party. Again, its impossible to do anything more than speculate with broad brushes.

          1. RMO

            Far more significant than China’s military power is it’s economic power, at least in my opinion. In WWII it was the economic power of the US – industrial, manufacturing, resource production, agricultural – that made it such an important player in that conflict. In the last half century the US has put everything it has into the military and has hollowed out it’s economy.

            1. Massinissa

              I absolutely agree with you. I mean, the connections to Russia, Iran and much of the rest of Asia is primarily economic and political rather than strictly military. Even if Economics is more important here, which it is, that doesn’t make analysis of other potential great power competition factors unimportant.

  31. Jason Boxman

    In the Raleigh NC area, homes in the 300-350k range are getting a dozen or more offers in a day and selling the same week. Fun times. I have a coworker that is going through an inspection for a purchase now and a family member making offers. It’s apparently the second fastest growing metro area after Austin.

  32. Ignacio

    RE: Pandas having fun in the snow.

    We have recently had, for the first time in the recent history of Madrid, a snow pack that has lasted for two weeks and it has been for me surprising to see how much dogs enjoyed the snow. More playful than ever!

  33. tegnost

    No fine.The worst company ever in the history of the world.

    “But in 2016, the FTC said Amazon started paying drivers a lower hourly rate and used the tips to make up the difference. Amazon didn’t disclose the change to drivers, the FTC said, and the tips it took from drivers amounted to $61.7 billion.

    The online shopping giant will pay that amount to settle the charges. The FTC said the money will go back to drivers.”

    1. Massinissa

      Theft is now legalized as long as its large Corporations that do it. Corporations now have more personhood than actual people do.

  34. Laputan

    RE: “Can President Joe Biden mend a torn America”

    It is about the future of the Democratic Party, the future of the left, and here is the suggestion I mean to make: the form of liberalism I have described here is inherently despicable. A democratic society is naturally going to gag when it is told again and again in countless ways, both subtle and gross, that our great national problem is our failure to heed the authority of traditional elites.

    Nobody puts it better than Frank when it comes to sneering at the elites.

    Anybody else get a sense, with that all the calls for censorship and the unquestioned trust in the establishment, January 6th is starting to feel a little Reichstag Fire-y? Not in terms of a false flag but it certainly feels like useful pretext for curbing civil liberties or. really, forcing through whatever the Dems decide is their agenda…which of course won’t involve any real healthcare or financial reform.

  35. Noone from Nowheresville

    Some companies never fall down or is that they always fall up.

    Uber Technologies has agreed to buy Boston-based alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced Tuesday.

    Drizly has been called an “Uber for booze,” since it delivers alcohol to doorsteps in more than 1,400 cities, essentially creating an online marketplace for alcoholic drinks. The deal strengthens the San Francisco tech company’s foothold in the delivery sector, which has become more crucial during the pandemic as brick-and-mortar stores looked to bring their offerings online.

  36. juno mas

    RE: Photos: NYC snow

    Unfortunately, photos don’t include sound. And that is what changes most in an urban environment when it snows. Fewer mechanical noises (autos), voices carry further in the cold, and wavelength of sound is lengthened (muted, lowered pitch). So not only do the visuals change, but the rare deep snow event creates new sensory memories.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I always made a point of tromping out in the blizzards in my trusty snow boots and a parka. So terrific. Only sound would be the snowplows (sometimes close, sometimes well away) and any people who were out (sometimes talking, occasionally with kids or a dog). Best at night when the streets would be very empty and the snowfall was very pretty in the streetlights.

  37. ProNewerDeal

    What is the status of non-MRNA COVID vaccines in the US? I heard on car radio that the adenovirus type vaccine from Janssen may be the next approved vaccine in the US. Is the low 66% effectiveness in preventing symptomatic COVID sufficient? Is there a mininum X% effectiveness to be worthwhile taking, as opposed to waiting some months for higher Y% effective vaccine to become available?

    I am curious if experts like IM Doc have concerns about non-MRNA COVID vaccine types, or any specific vaccines that may possibly be approved in USA before 2022.

    Inactivated virus type like Coronavac is afaict the most mature vaccine type (same type as influenza & polio vaccine), but is not among the 6 vaccines that USA has purchased (source: launchandscalefaster dot org/COVID-19 )

    Are adenovirus vector type like Janssen or protein subunit type like Novavax low risk?

    Could one take the 66% effective Janssen when available & then take another different vaccine like Novavax some months later? I doubt this approach is wise since such a 2 different vaccine combination was not tested in clinical trials.

    Thanks for any insights. Perhaps I may be missing something, but I find it hard to find info on this COVID vaccines in USA topic. All focus seems to be on the 2 existing approved mRNA vaccines, their safety, & their crapified distrubtion.

  38. lobelia

    Is it a quirk, or something to do with not being able to allow scripting when comments show as having posted immediately and assigned a comment number (the url for the comment does not note the regular in moderation text that occurs when a comment is in moderation) yet don’t show up? This has happened a few minutes ago and previously; unfortunately with comments I’ve spent a great deal of psychological energy and time on and it would be nice to know what occurred, since I was following site policy and not insulting anyone, nor making things up.

    If this issue has been addressed previously, I’m sorry, I missed it.

  39. Fastball

    On the Atlantic article about saving species, one sentence seems extremely strange: “The first thing we need to do is create demand for the policy.

    There have been voluble and confronting demands for M4A for years and years, but as we have seen recently, policy makers refuse to even have a vote on it.

    Am I comparing apples and oranges. What difference do these writers think creating “demand” will do anything? I don’t mean to sound overly cynical but this seems odd given the times.

  40. Fastball

    On the Atlantic article about saving species, one sentence seems extremely strange: “The first thing we need to do is create demand for the policy.”

    There have been voluble and confronting demands for M4A for years and years, but as we have seen recently, policy makers refuse to even have a vote on it.

    Am I comparing apples and oranges. What difference do these writers think creating “demand” will do anything? I don’t mean to sound overly cynical but this seems odd given the times.

    1. RMO

      I think you’ll find it all depends on who is demanding the policy.

      Is it the 99% or more of the population that isn’t in the top levels of power and wealth? That demand isn’t important… unless the top 1% wants the same thing it’s going to be an uphill struggle. On the surface of a neutron star.

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