Links 12/12/2021

The Impossible Politics of Johnny Cash The Atlantic

The week in wildlife – in pictures Guardian

Storm Drains Keep Swallowing People During Floods Pro Publica

SantaCon returns to NYC NY Post

Former FedEx driver charged for dumping thousands of dollars worth of packages into Alabama ravine N Y Daily News

Why Donna Summer was “one of the original rock stars” BBC

Burying Leni Riefenstahl: one woman’s lifelong crusade against Hitler’s favourite film-maker Guardian

For 50 years, CT scans have saved lives, revealed beauty and more Science News


Amid violent threats, lawmaker ditches bill to make unvaxxed pay hospital bills Ars Technica

Scholz denies Germany is divided over COVID vaccinations Deutsche Welle


The Omicron variant can likely outcompete Delta — and that could worsen the U.S. Covid-19 epidemic Stat

Denmark’s Omicron surge is a warning to the rest of world Business Times

Covid: First people in UK hospitals with Omicron variant BBC


“It Will Make Scientific Sense To Offer Booster after Three Months” Der Spiegel

University of Florida launches formal investigation after reports of the destruction of Covid-19 research data CNN has (GM)


As Omicron Looms, Large Swathes Of India Are Still Unvaccinated India Spend

Omicron Variant Threatens to Upend Southeast Asia’s COVID-19 Recovery The Diplomat

Hong Kong to require quarantine camp stay for travellers from US France 24

Class Warfare

Starbucks Workers in Buffalo Just Won Themselves a Union Jacobin

Inside the Secretive World of Union Busting: Labor-Focused Academics Targeted for Their Research Capital & Main. Capital and Main is running a series on union busting; this article is one of several.

As Winter Hits, Ironworkers Escalate Key Erie Labor Fight Payday Report

The worker revolt comes to a Dollar General in Connecticut WaPo

COP26/Climate Change

At least 70 are killed by EIGHTEEN tornadoes in Kentucky’s deadliest storm in 130 years: More than 100 deaths expected across six states as twisters level entire towns Daily Mail

EXPLAINER: Was tornado outbreak related to climate change? AP

Satellite photos show Amazon warehouse in Illinois before and after a tornado collapsed part of its roof, killing at least 6 people Business Insider

Energy Dome uses carbon dioxide as a grid-scale battery New Atlas

The new US nutrition aid strategy undermines Africa’s hungriest Al Jazeera


China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin dominate the G7 Reuters

G7 nations warn Russia of ‘massive consequences’ if it invades Ukraine Hindustan Times

Medical Care

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Are Coming. Here’s How to Get Ready. WSJ

Column: Leaked SoCal hospital records reveal huge, automated markups for healthcare LA Times

Our Famously Free Press

Blast from the past: PG&E continues to privatize San Francisco’s electricity Yasha Levine

Julian Assange

The Judicial Kidnapping of Julian Assange Counterpunch. John Pilger.

The Assange Case Is The US Defending Its Right To Lie: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

Biden Administration

Middle Eastern autocrats sigh relief: the U.S. signals Democracy Summit will not change policy Responsible Statecraft. Nothing fundamental will change.

Kamala Harris Needs to Get Serious WSJ

Trump Transition

Hillary Clinton predicts Trump running again in 2024, calling it a ‘make-or-break point’ Today

Trump says he ‘liked’ Obama during Florida event with Bill O’Reilly New York Post

In Bid for Control of Elections, Trump Loyalists Face Few Obstacles NYT

Imperial Collapse Watch


Éric Zemmour is no fascist – he’s the creature of the French establishment Open Democracy

Old Blighty

Sleaze and scandal threaten Tories in one of their safest seats FT


Beyond COP26: Why India Needs a Climate Investment Framework The Wire

Without a clear framework on closure of coal mines, India’s transition to renewables will be messy Scroll

Mamata Banerjee’s National Ambitions Aren’t Working Out How She Planned The Wire


What Putin really told Biden Asia Times Pepe Escobar

The ESG  Mirage Bloomberg

Groves of Academe

The Quiet Scandal of College Teaching Liberties


Amid Tensions With Turkey, China Is Putting the Kurdish Issue in Play The Diplomat

China in Africa: no more hard cash as debt-hit nations battle Covid-19 disruptions South China Morning Post



Inside the Fall of Kabul NYT

The Secret History of the U.S. Diplomatic Failure in Afghanistan New Yorker

The Dam Granta


Turkish president calls social media a ‘threat to democracy’ The Hill

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Kevin Smith

    NC loaded ultra-fast this morning, so far it seems to me that your site upgrade was great success. Thanks and congrats to all involved!

    1. JeffC

      Apparently it’s not just google’s RSS reader that’s been cut free. This morning NC was not in Reeder either, so it’s looking like — speculation alert! — RSS itself has been cut loose.

      1. Pate

        “on my PHONE”
        Who’d a thunk it. I guess we all read on our phone these days. I’ve carpal tunnel as proof. And there is only NC to blame (gave up pornhub).

  2. Dftbs

    The storm drain story should go under “imperial collapse watch”. Give it a few more years, and just as Roman Britain gave way to a land of wizards, knights and dragons when the legions faded away, here we have the grimy truth behind future myth. Charybdis in New Jersey.

    1. griffen

      I think we have some engineering talent in our midst. Since I am decidedly not an engineer, there is or should be some math involved as to how much floodwater is necessary to drain through the large drain systems and culverts.

      The loss of life is notable, and unfortunate. But I’d venture that a system of grates or controls, could make flood-prone situations somewhat worse in extreme outcomes. Debris, especially large tree limbs and such, just seems like a real or intractable issue.

      1. Keith in Modesto

        The issue of grates making flooding worse or trapping victims stuck to the grate is addressed in the article. It involves angling the grate and doing regular maintenance (during dry times) to remove debris. This is really all about money and political apathy.

        1. juno mas

          Even angled grates are not a certain solution. Looking at the photo in the article the spacing is such that a youngster could easily get wedged (stuck) in the grate and drown. Grates are not a surefire solution; while keeping debris (and kids) out of culverts they diminish (somehwat) the drainage capacity. Reduced capacity is going to be a problem as climate change increases the intensity of storms.

          The power of moving water is enormous and dangerous; teach your children well.

  3. svay

    Amazon better get their ass kicked for either(/all) building a warehouse in the middle of tornado central …

    What planet is this Nathan Ruser living on? The absolute worst that’ll happen to Amazon is a billion dollar fine, a mere cost of doing business to them, and I’ll eat a couple of hats if even that comes about. More likely a million bucks at most (which the company won’t even notice) and a promise to do better in future.

    1. timbers

      “What planet is this Nathan Ruser living on? The absolute worst that’ll happen to Amazon is a billion dollar fine…”

      Followed at a later date by a billion dollar local subsidy for a rebuilt, relocated warehouse…or something like that. No doubt the Shackler’s attorneys might have some good advice for Amazon if their services are needed.

      1. Dftbs

        At the risk of seeming too cynical, I’d point out Nathan works for ASPI, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. You can look up their funding and editorial line pretty easily, but for the sake of brevity the former is arms dealers and the latter is pro WW3.

        A large part of Nathan’s job is to imagine the abuses in the “labor camps” that are part of the “genocide” in western China. So it’s good coin to spend 142 characters to “rebuke” de facto private labor camps in the US and attempt to establish “impartiality.”

        My cynicism aside, what happened at those warehouses is cruel and criminal. And while all needlessly lost lives are tragic, there is something doubly so about this. These deaths make in vain those of the past. Particularly those which had helped reform labor conditions in the US. Reforms which clearly no longer exist.

        1. Maritimer

          “You can look up their funding and editorial line pretty easily, but for the sake of brevity the former is arms dealers and the latter is pro WW3.”
          Many of the Links here are very suspect and funded by corrupt NGOs, or tax-dodging Foundations or directly by Government or of similar deceptive origins. For instance, much of CDN media is corrupted with $660 million of GOV loot over the past three years.

          Usually the propaganda spouted gives the game away without even resorting to the ABOUT feature which some of the above do not even have.

          1. dftbs

            I certainly didn’t mean to impugn our hosts. I apologize if I gave that impression. I was just trying to bring to light the irony/hypocrisy of Nathan’s crocodile tears for those unfamiliar with his work.

            As to propaganda, it’s only as (in)effective as the analytical lens of its consumers allow it to be. So there is value in reading it, just not being consumed by it.

            Case in point, elsewhere in the links and in the comments there is some discussion about the G7 histrionics with respect to Chinese ascendency. You don’t have to believe what Reuters and the G7 ministers spew. But as Timbers notes within all the propaganda the article

            is very open about US decline by way of so openly hyping China’s power-full-ness.

            Viola, some marbled meat beneath the fat of the propaganda.

    2. cnchal

      > What planet is this Nathan Ruser living on?

      The planet Delusion. In case Nathan ever noticed it is Amazon that does the ass kicking. Those brightly lit satanic mills are all over the tornado plains.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        So are their houses, their churches and their families.

        If they can file suit because they disregarded previous tornados patterns in the area then WTF would be the defense of the owners of The Freedom Tower that replaced the World Trade Center buildings?

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I’m in Indiana and we get our shares of tornadoes too. This was my thought also. Large swaths of this part of the country would be empty if we followed this logic. (Some would argue that’s not a bad thing, mind you…) There’s lots Amazon should be held accountable for, but I am not sure this is one.

          1. Soredemos

            Not accountable for building it there, perhaps, but absolutely accountable for lack of shelter and not evacuating.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I would expect Amazon to be concerned with two things at the moment. The first would be to find out the exact time that those workers died so that their pay can be stopped from that point and that their dependents won’t be paid for a full shift. The second would be to contact their insurance company to not only to make a claim on that destroyed building but that so they can collect on the dead peasants insurance policies that Amazon probably has on those six workers.

      1. svay

        Six is an optimistic estimate.
        “Up to 100 Amazon employees working a night shift ahead of the holidays are believed to have been trapped when the warehouse collapsed, and it is not clear how many may still be trapped.
        Earlier Saturday, Edwardsville fire chief James Whiteford told reporters that 45 people made it out of the building safely, one had to be airlifted to hospital for treatment, and at least six had died.
        But he said the operation had turned from rescue to focus “only on recovery,” fueling fears the toll could yet rise.”

      2. BeliTsari

        These are among the most monitored peasants in history (see the additional realtime electronic Fitbit type transponders, un-covered after Stu’s AFL-CIA charade in Bessemer?) Bet’ya, video and audio recordings of terrified workers racing capital equipment in & management, OUT of a packed wire joist slaughterhouse. Uninformed workers being shredded, crushed and thrown about (without ANY warning?) Will be clocked-out seven seconds after their final picking or packing related movement. Without cellphone video, only hundreds of cameras, microphone and worn performance monitors will show if employees had ANY warni… oh, nothing’s on WaPo, TV or social networking? How shocking!

        1. Milton

          Yeah, you’d think corporate would have their exact location and also their vitals as they lay among the twisted girders and cheap merchandise. There should be some upside to each workers’ loss of human autonomy

      3. Valerie

        An odd letter I received a year after leaving my Amazon job in a Kentucky warehouse made me suspect they do carry dead peasants insurance on employees. You are probably right there, Rev Kev.

        As far as the Fulfillment facility safety features, there are cinderblock restroom and office blocks located, if I remember correctly, near doors and corners and we were always directed to head for those areas in case of a tornado event. Everyone who carries a scanner can be notified simultaneously and wirelessly of danger, but our facility was three football fields long. It took ten minutes to walk to a restroom in the best of circumstances. December is “Peak.” . Staff is double or triple the usual number. They won’t fit in the restroom/HR office blocks if they can get there. The break-rooms usually have a glass wall. You don’t want to be there. And on the news last night, a van driver who sheltered in his van said he couldn’t pull in the bay because the cinderblock portion of the corner wall had collapsed. I guess there was less protection there than the designers had anticipated. It might not have mattered if employees made it to the “safe shelter” area.

        Also the protocol if the power goes out is to sit down where you are and wait to be rescued by a manager with a flashlight. Those warehouses are very dark” in the belly of the beast” and you run a real risk of running into something. An approaching tornado would have probably blacked out the building on its approach. Everybody no doubt just sat down where they were and flashed their scanners to hail management and hoped for the best. They didn’t get the best. They got an F5 tornado. Now smudged photocopies of their badge photos will hang on a company bulletin board for the next week and maybe there will be a moment of silence at Morning meeting or a vaguely sympathetic -sounding mass e-mail from Lord Bezomort speaking of “heartbreak” and “the Amazon family.” That is the reality of life under capitalism in the 21st century. Ultimately we’re no better off than the The Triangle Shirtwaist girls clawing at locked doors as their sweatshop went up in flames behind them.

        While it would be great if Amazon had dug a basement that could hold an entire shift in an emergency; they didn’t. They aren’t required to. No one is required to. Not Amazon or UPS or Trane or Solo Cup or any other industrial manufacturer or freight handler in the same area where I worked. Amazon is ultimately no better or worse. And that’s true all over the country. Safety is paid lip service because we can’t ever afford to do the right thing.

        At least at Amazon, I never sheltered with a hundred screaming school children in a window-lined hallway with only my nylon jacket between me and the flying plate glass as I did once in a public school. The fancy architects who insisted those clerestory windows were rated “hurricane strength” never spent any time lying under them watching the sky turn green.

        Climate change is real. We’re not prepared for what’s coming and under capitalism we are unlikely to ever be so.

    4. DJG, Reality Czar

      Yep. I imagine, too, that Amazon’s warehouse in Edwardsville is on land that includes some special tax “incentive” and that Edwardsville’s regulators didn’t take too hard a look at the plans for the building, either.

      Lots of complicity. Let the blaming begin!

    5. William Beyer

      Building codes do not require designs to be tornado-proof, so the will be a lot of arguing about IF one hit the place, or if it was only high winds. Then they’ll argue about precisely how fast the wind was blowing.

    6. Louis Fyne

      ( not defending Amazon!)

      Amazon doesn’t own most of its facilities, particularly with logistics. Amazon will shrug and play liability hot potato with its landlord, who will then in turn point the finger at local code…and then the whole thing will likely be quietly settled after the news cycle moves on.

    7. griffen

      National news, per ABC, there were 100+ in a candle factory that was hit in Mayfield, KY. I think the search and rescue will be ongoing for the next few days, in more than one location.

      It seem of the regions hit directly across four states, that location took the brunt.

    8. Bill Smith

      Would it be every company who builds in the middle of tornado central? Or just Amazon? (Assuming they actually own the building and don’t lease it.)

      1. Marlin

        The buildings aren’t supposed to be Tornado safe. People are supposed to move to shelter in case of a tornado. It does not matter if Amazon owns the building.

        1. Janie

          Yes. In central Texas, some (maybe all?) campgrounds and mobile home parks, unsafe in tornados, have strong buildings and loud warning sirens. Don’t know the law but saw it in action.

        2. Yves Smith

          No, Amazon does not allow employees to leave (as in go to their lockers and retrieve car keys and whatnot) until they have been searched. Usually a 20-30 minute queue. The workers would have been denied access to their lockers absent a search.

    9. William Hunter Duncan

      ‘The bodies are already paid for, written in to the yearly bottom line. The trouble now is, what packages were destroyed, and which robots!?’

      [Overheard by a fly on the wall at Amazon headquarters]

    10. Eclair

      Well, let’s hand it to Amazon! They don’t employ convict labor, like, allegedly, the Mayville candle factory.

      But, wait! The Amazon execs’ ears perked up when they heard about the candle factory’s work-around to the ‘labor shortage.’ And no unionization problems!

      Bet Kevin Johnson of Starbucks is getting his PR team to work on persuading latte lovers to love tipping local lock-up laborers. Take that, Buffalo!

      1. svay

        From the indentation of your comment, it looks like you’re disagreeing with mine, expressing doubt that Amazon will ‘get their ass kicked’. If that is so, why?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If Amazon has a stainless steel ass the size of Mount Rushmore, who’s going to kick it? And would Amazon even feel it?

  4. Eloined

    Re: Amid violent threats, lawmaker ditches bill to make unvaxxed pay hospital bills

    Good reminder that in our system a punitive threat of medical bankruptcy is deemed ‘nonviolent.’

    1. Historicus

      Maybe he remembered another Illinois politician whose daughter was killed before his votes on “Middle East” policies:

      “Charles Percy briefly suspended his campaign for the Senate after his daughter’s death, but he resumed the race and defeated Democratic Sen. Paul Douglas in the 1966 election. Percy represented Illinois for nearly 20 years and headed the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.”

    2. Geo

      Gotta admire how in the midst of a pandemic the Dem response is not M4A but: “make them pay!”

      Winning electoral strategies abound in the Dem party.

      1. jsn

        They made a considerable effort in the primaries to ensure exactly this policy outcome.

        When they tell you exactly who they are, listen to them. “Nothing will fundamentally change.”

        They are exactly who they said they are. Believe them.

    3. The Rev Kev

      And to think that the guy had the gall to say “We just can’t have a reasonable conversation anymore.” I would remind people that lawmakers and their staff are exempt from being forced to be vaccinated but this guy wants unvaccinated people to suffer financial ruin leading them to be left on the streets with their families. You can bet that his synagogue had a word with him when they became subject to threats in connection with his idea. I guess that when you go all in on magic vaccines, that it will seem reasonable to punish those people who aren’t, even if the law is at best dubious on this point. A spokesman was saying threats of violence or death on anyone have no place in politics or our society but apparently threats of financial ruin and impoverishment are.

      1. Procopius

        Funny, news from all over the country says that threats of death, rape, mutilation, and other assorted violence are the norm in “civilized” conversation, now. I’m looking forward to seeing if anything happens to Trevian Kutti, who threatened Ruby Freeman in Georgia. True to her “prediction,” the following day an FBI agent called Ms. Freeman to warn her to leave her house, and a few hours later a mob arrived threatening death and destruction. IANAL, but I think there’s evidence there of extortion. Oh, an interesting tidbit, the States Attorney who Kutti told Freeman to go to, to confess fraud, resigned that same day. It would be irresponsible not to speculate. I haven’t found any follow up of that resignation; no reason was given.

  5. timbers

    G7 – China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin dominate the G7 Reuters

    This is jammed packed with falsehoods and US imperial propaganda, but wow it is very open about US decline by way of so openly hyping China’s power-full-ness. Did I miss something? Has the media been given a script to trumpet “China is so much way better/stronger than USA, Mr Biden”, so you’d better start some conflicts or something? Such as:

    It was the might of Chinese President Xi Jinping that garnered the long-term strategic focus when the diplomats from the Group of Seven richest democracies met this weekend.


    The United States and its other G7 allies are searching for a coherent response to Xi’s growing assertiveness after China’s spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years.

    and and and….

    There were “very, very intense discussions especially on China,” said one official who attended the talks.

    The re-emergence of China as a leading global power is considered to be one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times….it has become the world’s second-largest economy and is a global leader in a range of new technologies….China, which has never been a G7 member, retorted in June following that meeting that “small” groups no longer ruled the world…”It’s tremendous that there’s such a focus on the Indo-Pacific here,” said a second State Department official.

    1. Dftbs

      The worst thing about our “elites” is that they aren’t even good at their misdeeds. I suppose we should be thankful. Blinken and Sullivan aren’t even a shadow of the evil geniuses that preceded them. Neither is fit to shine a Dulles’ brother boot.

      Snark aside, the leaders of the “free world” have a lot of platitudes and self delusion but no actual plans. I’m not a fan of the uni-polar world order, but if one was, you’d want to be rid of the whole clown brigade from Washington to Brussels to Tokyo and Canberra, that brought us here.

      The other side actually does things, whether it’s the Russians making us shake like a defrocked first year at Eton on Agar’s field on a winter morning (perfect training for MPs) by simply moving troops on their own territory.

      Or the Chinese, not giving a fig about the $40 trillion in economic power of the G7; because they know a central bank can print money but it can’t feed people, house people or fight pandemics.

      If any of the miscreants that run the West had any sense about them, they’d realize that they are the rot at the foundation of the house and go retire from “public service”. But these aren’t the bad guys of old, a lot of evil with out the “genius”.

      1. Pate

        Even if the miscreants retired the ideology – and the hubris it begets – would remain. Like roadkill stench. The west is in need of a thought revolution, maybe one that reunites man with nature.

      2. timbers

        Especially enjoyed China referring to US & G7 as a “small group.” Maybe we’ll be around to see China update that to “regional power.”

        1. dftbs

          Regional power is right. The G7 as a whole has less population than China. Heck the G7 and the EU is smaller than China.

          From a tactical perspective the Chinese (and the Russians) will continue to deal with the collective West. Pacify us through our addiction to consumer goods and cheap energy. But their strategic sense tells them the future is below the Rio grande, or in Europe on the other side of the Bosporus and Gibraltar.

          For example, and perhaps the near future event which will make manifest the limits of our “global power”. They’ll build a canal in Nicaragua. We’ll try and fail to dislodge the Sandinistas again. Therein lies our weakness: they build, we destroy. They have new plans, we dust off old failed plans.

          1. nippersdad

            There was a fantastic episode of the GrayZone the other day that addressed, among other things, the proposed canal in Nicaragua and Russia working with them to build a nuclear industry. It would appear that the Monroe Doctrine is well and truly dead.


            It is long, around two hours, but well worth the watch.

            1. Bill Smith

              People have poked about this idea for sometime. Now the Russians…

              What decade do they think this canal might be finished? And if finished what century do they think they will have earned the cost back?

              The enlargement of the Panama Canal likely sucked some of the oxygen out of this project.

              1. Alex Cox

                The canal would destroy a massive freshwater lake in the centre of the country. Na ga happen, one hopes.

            2. upstater

              Back in the 60s, if not before, the “peaceful use” of atomic bombs was proposed to open a sea-level canal through Nicaragua. Even worse were proposals to use nukes to build canals from the Arctic and Pacific watersheds in Alaska and Canada to water the southwest and basin and range provinces. They came very close to blasting an port in the Alaskan Arctic; it was total madness (see “Firecracker Boys”).

              A legitimate concern is why any Central American country would need or want nuclear power, with abundant geothermal, solar and a lesser extent wind and hydro. Bad idea for wasting huge sums and loans for nuclear power.

              Hubris knows no limits…

              1. Dftbs

                Some well known aphorisms: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. A barking dog never bites. A nuke on the way keeps the Yankees at bay.

                After spending a decade fighting and beating US death squads the Nicaraguans may have a notion or two about deterrence. I for one am in no position to judge the wisdom of the steps they’d chose to take.

    2. Carolinian

      China has a quarter of the world’s people. Why wouldn’t it be a leading world power? By that measure one might well ask why the US with a paltry 300+ million aspires to rule over the 7+ billion. Whatever that is it certainly isn’t the democracy that our establishment is constantly prating about.

      Meanwhile ordinary Americans are just trying to live their lives and ignore the madness that pretends Ukraine is a vital American interest. But they do at least get that they are being exploited and manipulated if not so much that we as Americans are exploiting and manipulating everybody else.

      1. MonkeyBusiness

        I don’t know if population numbers mean anything. India has another quarter of the world’s population, and Russia’s population is only half as big as that of the US, and yet one can agree that Russia is one of the world’s superpowers and India is not.

        The thing that’s unique about China as a civilization/country is its longevity. I don’t think China was ever the world’s leading power except perhaps during the Tang dynasty, and yet it’s always there on the world’s stage, playing an important part. In the future, there might not be a United States, but you can bet there will always be a China. Yesterday I was watching this movie called Looper (no spoilers, but there’s some elements of time travel), and the main character was told the following: “I hear you are studying French? Kid, I am from the future, you want to go to China”.

        1. Carolinian

          Fair enough. But I think my point was not so much about power–which has always been wielded by a minority of the whole, even here–as about using democracy as its excuse. The world these days seems to be dominated by our bad thinking, not our virtue.

        2. NotThePilot

          The thing that’s unique about China as a civilization/country is its longevity. I don’t think China was ever the world’s leading power except perhaps during the Tang dynasty, and yet it’s always there on the world’s stage, playing an important part.

          It’s interesting, but I both agree and disagree with this some. I’m not actually a full cultural relativist and exoticizing other cultures rarely ends well, but I wouldn’t underestimate how different categories and perspectives can be between civilizations either.

          China’s definitely unique in how long-lasting the outward form of the empire has been. That could just be because China uniquely converged on the bureaucracy as the foundation for their civilization state though. Rome OTOH may have outwardly collapsed, but if Rome always leaned more on shaping collective morality than bureaucratic stability, then Rome (as the Greek & Roman churches) is still clearly a world power.

          I think that also applies to what different civilizations understand leading to mean. Even at their most expansionist, I think the Chinese empire preferred not to try micromanaging or giving marching orders to “barbarians.” Instead, the important thing was to remain at the center, and then as long as the empire can be held together, its sheer mass influences things, like gravity. Chinese mercantilism has always been a great example of that.

          1. Procopius

            I think China was always the world’s leading technological civilization until the Ming dynasty, and then was really taken to the basement by the alien Qing (Manchu) dynasty. I don’t know what it is, because their governing philosophy has always been loathsome, even before Ch’in Shih Huang Di, but the last couple hundred years were an aberration.

      2. NotThePilot

        By that measure one might well ask why the US with a paltry 300+ million aspires to rule over the 7+ billion. Whatever that is it certainly isn’t the democracy that our establishment is constantly prating about.

        I think this is one of those ideas “experts” just totally ignore because it’s so simple, and maybe because it gets too close to the actual truth. However optimistic or cynical one is about democracy, it can’t coexist with empire for long.

      3. timbers

        It’s not that China is or is not a leading power.

        It’s that the Reuter’s article is basing it’s readers over the head multiple times that she’s THE world power casting long shadows over the G7 which she’s not even a member.

        Is that new? To me it is, but don’t read much MSM.

  6. Amfortas the hippie

    playing catchup:
    Regarding the latest stone tablet from the DLC Zombie:

    I didn’t notice very much concern about actual bread and butter issues…nor about the continuing monopoly/monopsony problems…nor the lack of decent jobs, decent pay…nor the results of the 40 year experiment with offshoring the productive plant to former peasant nations(who, weirdly, refused to remain peasant nations).
    Like all the Orban lovers on the right, these guys equate “The Left” with solely Open Borders and Ending Police and WOKE….as if that’s all us actual lefties are about.(i’m an actual lefty, and i’m not woke or for open borders…but i do loathe the cops)
    And as usual, the analysis is mostly all about race…even when they sort of mention Class….and it’s that weird racial essentialism, too…where brown and black are considered automatically in the demparty big tent.

    Meanwhile, out here in the wilds, ordinary, non-confortable folks…white and brown…were all for Bernie…twice…until he was forced out of the game…and then they didn’t jump on the trump train, they abandoned politics….because by that time, it was obvious that both parties were against them and their issues: putting food on their family, not being underwater, nor all but forced into meth addiction to work those 3 jobs, etc.
    the Bubbleuniverse is really a Cave, with Mirrorwalls…and I wish there were some way to wall that fantastical place up, and separate it from the real world.
    Sadly, Team Blue will embrace these idiotic retreads from the 90’s and lose, bigtime….and they’ll fundraise on the accelerating decline that will ensue under a smarter version of trump.
    It will begin with the end of Roe….i expect every dem candidate in Texas to be all about abortion in the midterms….and just like with pink shoed Wendy, it will get them nowhere.

    i have nightmares that they’ll run joe lieberman for preznit next time….and i’ll be branded a fascist for hating him.

      1. Lee

        In case you missed it from yesterday’s links. Enjoy:

        December 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
        This is as close to Huma’s memoir as I’ll ever get. Scathing review of Huma’s Both/And from Krystal Ball. Hillaryworld. Wow.

        As she so often does, Krystal Ball nails hides to the wall.

      2. Tom Doak

        Ali and Frazier had three fights in the end. [Only the first and third were title fights, though.] You just know there’s gotta be a Trump-Hillary 2.

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        Nightmare? Are you kidding? It would be hilarious if Hillary ran again, especially if Trump was the Republican nominee. Another Biden campaign will just be sad. Mayo Pete would be boring. Kamala, cringe. What else do they have? At least Hillary would be entertaining. Not like the Dems will chance running someone worth voting for, so at least let’s hope for some comedy.

        (My predictions aren’t worth a thing as I though she’d be back last time. But I agree with you, it seems like someone is pulling her string a lot lately and the media sure seems to be getting a bad case of nostalgia for HER.)

        1. LawnDart

          For your consumption, with a grain of salt…

          For legal reasons, Trump did not officially announce a 2024 presidential bid, but never has a potential candidate or former president teased supporters this thoroughly without eventually making the announcement.

          Make America Great Again, Again…

          It’s all about the ratings, as usual. Geraldo opening Al Capone’s safe has nothing on this (remember that spectacle? You can be quite sure that the result of the 2024 residential race will be similar, in analogous fashion).

          If he’s still breathing, Trump’s running. And I don’t see any democrat winger dumb enough to get in the way of HRC should she decide to toss her hat in the ring.

          Would anyone care to make a wager?

          As is, this is how the bookies see it (Trump (odds-on R fav), Clinton (undeclared) 100/1):

          1. ambrit

            I am seeing regular spam e-mails from Trump supporting outfits selling Trump 2024 themed merchandise. It seems that Trump has managed to have himself conflated with gun nutters in general. Most of the Trump spam I see is “sponsored” by gun nut or adjacent organizations. The items placed before one for one’s consideration are not in any way useful in the pursuit of gun nuttery. As in, I have yet to see a Trump themed Range Bag, or line of cammo clothing.
            Range bags:
            Stay safe! Hide responsibly!

        2. smashsc

          Don’t forget Amy! (and yes, the exclamation point should evoke JEB!). Pete & Kamala will be tarred by the current executive branch dithering, meaning an “outsider” can ride to the rescue.

          In this “nasty” political environment, wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a “Minnesota-nice” person—oh, wait…

          In this “anti-work” environment, wouldn’t it be great to have someone who is known to treat her staff with utmost appreciat…—oh, just forget it!

        1. ambrit

          Consider this slogan: “Pete For Veep!”
          If the ‘Odalesque From Oakland’ can be promoted to Veep, so can Pete.

    1. Bob

      Already getting fund raising letters from Team Blue.

      What hacks —

      After writing off any policy on real issues / problems / opportunities, the focus is on injecting fear into the folks.

      These hacks ride the belief that dark red districts should be just written off, forgetting entirely that if you don’t play you don’t win.

  7. Basil Pesto

    good morning and, at the risk of being overly chatty, I hope J-LS enjoyed the first Ashes test as much as I did :~)

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Ha! For our household, ’twas a sad first Ashes test – so much so I forgot to post the results as a Sports Desk item.

      With international cricket, I’m an England supporter (via marriage), and also an India supporter. When England plays India, my response is complicated. I usually support England, although sometimes it depends on context.

      With these details about my allegiances in mind, you’d probably be able to guess which team I support in all other int’l cricket contests: anyone but Australia. Sorry!

      (Although I have a great deal of respect for some Australian cricketers – Steve Waugh, for example, a steady provider of financial and other support for Udayan, a Calcutta leprosy charity with which I’ve had some dealings. The charity runs a school for children with leprosy (or whose families have been so afflicted). IIRC, the charity has recently come upon hard financial times.)

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Yes. I was once a guest at their annual prize giving ceremony. Reminded me of field day at my American middle school. I was impressed by what I saw. The event was held on an impossibly hot and humid Kolkata (Calcutta) day, just before the monsoon started for that year.

          Take a second to click on the video of the students singing their school song. It refreshed my memories of that day. I’m missing India very much and hope it’ll be possible to visit safely again soon.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Oh dear, supporting England, an unfortunate cross to bear indeed. Do you get to watch matches stateside? is it difficult apart from the time difference? I imagine there must be some bespoke streaming service that handles cricket. I’m always a little bit curious about what viewership is like in the states. I gather there’s a fairly extensive cricket playing culture in NYC, with the strong Caribbean and Indian immigrant communities.

        1. Wukchumni

          The cricket team from the West Indies used to be world beaters, and much of the talent in MLB comes from the Caribbean or Caribbean-adjacent and both sports have similar skill-sets…

      2. Tom Bradford

        International cricket is the one sport I watch with no partisan involvement whatever – like watching a chess match with no idea who the competitors are. But then I’m old enough to remember BBC cricket commentators like Peter West and Henry Blofeld who understood and calmly discussed the game in progress sans all the one-sided histrionics and celebrity-worship that makes any sport today unwatchable unless the sound is turned off.

      3. upstater

        I never fully understood Cricket until I read Bill Bryson’s “In a Sunburned Country”. Until then, NASCAR was the only sport made sense.

    2. skippy

      Test Cricket … only sport where one can read a tomb, take a kip, belt a few G&Ts, get a stretch [Mexican wave], and get some shady rays all in a day ….

      Conversely for the home bound its a National Sport to have a few quite ones after a big night out with mates and become one with the horizon … whilst slipping in and out of consciousnesses with increases in audio amplitude from sports casters responses …

      Wipes Tear from Eyes for the mid 90s Saturday Rugby club early matches … blokes arriving straight from the pub, smoking on the bench, and everyone casually waiting for the bar to open

  8. Samuel Conner

    Scientifically sensible to boost after 3 months. Boosting is expected (not sure about Omicron and the current vaccines) to reduce the likelihood of severe disease.

    Presumably the science will justify mandating boosts.

    Recreationally unacceptable to wear effective face coverings to reduce the likelihood of infection, transmission, all CV disease — asymptomatic through severe — and long COVID.

    Presumably the politics will justify forbidding mask mandates.

    We’ve gone through the looking glass.

    I’m trying to believe my first impossible thing for today.

    1. Vandemonian

      Technically, there is no booster available yet. They’re just offering a third dose of one of the original vaccines. These don’t include specific antigens targetting Delta or Omicron.

      And no, I’m not an anti-vaxxer (two doses of Astra Zenica mid-year).

    2. Mantid

      Samuel, vaccines should not be mandated. Many posts here in NC have made it clear to people that the vaccines do nothing to stop transmission to others. Even the CDC admits the vaccines do not stop nor repress transmission. They weren’t made to do so. Since vaccines do not stop transmission, what’s the point of mandating them? These vaccines only, at best, “reduce the likelihood of severe disease” – as you mentioned.

      Should we mandate that no one can smoke because it’s bad for you? No sodas over 8 oz. can be sold anymore because they add to obesity? Mandates against overweight? Mandates for vitamin D levels? When does it end?

    1. Lorenzo

      disclamer: barely a confirmatory reference to the fact the article, you’d expect a little more. at least one would.

      the closer they get is midway down the body of the the article, quote

      “It is not clear if those people who are in hospital with Omicron are there because of the virus or for other reasons.” feels like Feb-March 2020. good times.

      rest is speculation based on models and reporting on “plan B”. maybe the title should’ve referenced that.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I should have come out and said that. That is what I meant by that bullet dodge being a sharp warning. With the right precautions he can reduce his risk by 80% and I don’t think that he smoked or drank much which really helps. The problems escalate if he gets transferring to a US prison though as it is not unknown for prison authorities to hold back on prisoner’s necessary medications to make a point. That Maria Butina said that that happened to her when she was imprisoned in the US.

  9. griffen

    The driver who failed at his one job, delivering packages to a specific destination for Fed Ex. Well I suppose delivering is a stretch in this case. Maybe it is too early for a sarcastic bent, but for me it conjures a scene from Zombieland*.

    The two protagonists in the film, find an abandoned Hostess brand delivery truck. Harrelson’s character is bent on finding Twinkies, but alas he finds none available. Eisenberg’s character is content with a package of SnoBalls. Funny film.

    1. Gregorio

      I always dread when I see that something that I’ve ordered has been shipped by FedEx, because it almost never shows up when their tracking says it will, then completely disappears from the tracking to show up at some random undisclosed time getting left for the porch pirates.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Pepe Escobar: What Putin Really Told Biden. Highly recommended as a corrective.

    Here’s Escobar’s diagnosis (and prognosis, I s’pose): “Invasion” is a joke; Ukraine, rotting from the inside, consumed by fear, loathing and poverty, will remain in limbo, while Donetsk and Lugansk will be progressively interconnected with the Russian Federation.

    Read the rest of the article for what was said: The U.S. War Party is busily making it look as if U.S. virility / toxic femininity are emerging victorious (as always, when some inferior nation sees that greatness appear) and that, somehow, a purifying invasion is imminent and profitable. And quick. Home by Tuesday, with souvenir bottles of beet horseradish autographed by Antony Blinken.

    Maybe Hillary Clinton can be allowed to join the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where she can work her special foreign-policy magic one more time.

    1. Bill Smith

      Given the Russians already ‘invaded’ the Ukraine, a country Putin claims is not a “natural’ country, and is handing out Russian passports to those that live there, I would imagine while an expanded invasion is not joke, as it is possible, just not likely.

      It would seem to be possible, as Putin has said, sometime ago he could have tanks in Kiev in 2 weeks. Now other tell us it would be over in 6 days… And Escobar tells us NATO wouldn’t last five minutes against Russian hypersonic weapons, how long would the Ukraine last?

      Clearly the Russians have the capability, if what Putin and Escobar tell is us correct.

      As to the “red” lines about NATO not expanding any more eastward… does that include Sweden and Finland? Both places where the polls show a substantial but still minority interest in joining NATO. Higher in Finland if Sweden was to join. Both Sweden and Finland have been carrying out military exercises with NATO, at home and aboard. With both Sweden and Finland in the EU, what is the overlap with NATO if the EU moves more robustly to develop and ‘army’? They claim they will the start of a force by 2025, well, okay 2030?

      1. Pat

        Not for nothing, but watching the actions of our military for the last twenty years, our military is at best mediocre, bloated and has idiotic equipment designed more to sound cool and enrich the manufacturers rather than function. And we have forced most western military outlets to buy our arms and equipment.

        IOW imnsho if Putin and Escobar say the Ukraine will not last IF Russian actually engages, believe it.

        Just for sh*ts and giggles, why do Sweden and Finland need NATO? Seriously, why? If WW3 comes, do they honestly think that NATO will consider them important enough to be there or will it be taken out in Germany? Since logically it isn’t going to be truly defensive, what purpose would NATO serve for those nations to make it worth their while to be entangled with NATO?

        1. Bill Smith

          I guess Sweden and Finland have their reasons. Both started participating with NATO in 1994 and both been very active non-members.

          Finland has bought US made F-18s and now it looks like they will buy F-35’s.

          Out of maybe 20 major systems that makeup Sweden’s Gripen-E, Sweden makes 6 or 7 and other NATO countries made the other 13 or 14.

          If this stuff is all junk and the Russian stuff is great, I wonder why they waste their money on it?

          1. Polar Socialist

            Because some of them are scared after decades of relentless propaganda. As said earlier, majority of population in both countries still things NATO is not a good idea, but majority of politicians, media and military believe their own propaganda and are almost witless because of it.

            They seriously believe that buying particularly US made weapon systems somehow gives more security in the form of “US umbrella”. Even when as we speak, the only support Ukraine is getting is strongly worded letters (even if it against an imagined threat that both Ukrainian and US military denied only two weeks a go even existing).

            The same goes for wasting millions of euros and a few human lives in Afghanistan. Somehow helping USA to prop up the warlords there added to the security in Baltic Sea, and yet the shear insanity of this is not questioned anywhere in military, parliaments or media.

            On the other hand, I did saw a little, minor news a few days back that Norway has banned all “allied activity” near the Norway-Russian border to ease the tensions. So maybe there is still some sanity remaining in the Nordics, who knows?

          2. chuck roast

            Geez…and here I am thinking “Finlandization” would be the perfect solution for the ‘problem’ of Ukraine. Things are not always what they seem. Anyway, I never could quite wrap my head around how to make this lot of juvenile delinquents into peace loving people. Oh…I know…maybe we should bring back The Good Neighbor Policy! Heh..heh..

      2. Soredemos

        Russia could steamroll to Kiev, but then they’d have to garrison a country of 40+ million people. And what profit would there be in it? Ukraine sucks, plain and simple. It’s not a prize worth fighting for.

        At most Ukraine launches an offensive against the ‘separatist’ regions, again, and gets annihilated, again (the only open question is if Russia will need to openly intervene or if the Donetsk and Luhansk militias can manage with only covert aid). The borders won’t change, and Russia will just sit back and watch as Ukraine terminally implodes in the chaos after total defeat.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Why Donna Summer was “one of the original rock stars”

    Now that is a familiar name and her songs formed part of the soundtrack of my teenage years. And of course being a young teenage guy, it did not escape my notice that Donna Summers was, if nothing else, an absolute babe. Say what you will, certainly the songs of that era could never be declared to sound the same and Donna Summers came up with some great songs-

    Come to think of it, it was very recently that I happen to hear one of her songs in a movie that I was watching- (1:14 mins)

    God, what a voice.

  12. jr

    Fun with Words:

    “Kamala Harris Needs to Get Serious”

    This struck me as hilarious and I clicked in the link to discover Nooners!. I could only access the first paragraph or so but that’s often all you need these days. To opine that the VP needs to “get serious” indicates a huge problem from the jump. It’s like telling an Olympian about to hurl a javelin that it’s time to buckle down.

    To then provide a short list of the juvenile, unstable, and vicious behavior of the VP pretty much tells you the VP isn’t capable of “serious”. The woman is in her 50’s for Pete’s sake. She is suddenly going to become a statesperson? It’s ludicrous and a shade desperate on Nooners! part to frame it as an option. It’s not time for serious, it’s time for rending of garments and shrieking.

    But I also thought it would be fun to play with the title:

    “Kamala Harris Needs to Get _________.”


        1. Expat2uruguay

          It’s so interesting to me, but I don’t really remember hearing sexual jokes about male politicians thrown around so casually. Am I misremembering?
          Maybe because it’s not really necessary for a man to sleep his way to the top. So we blame the victim, again. To be clear I live in California for 30 years and I’m very familiar with Miss Harris oh, and I am not a fan.

          1. newcatty

            See your point. Any woman “who sleeps her way to the top” is not a victim. This is a concious and deliberate choice on her part. Nothing at all in common with teenagers or vulnerable young women, who were victimized by predators like Epstein and “friends”. Whores will be whores. It is not just ambitious and ruthless politicians and government officials.

    1. Pat

      …Furloughed Without Pay?

      She still hasn’t been killed with fire, so I suppose she could return, but honestly I think she is done. Not only has Kamala hit her ceiling it is beating her back down three or four floors.

  13. saywhat?

    DER SPIEGEL: If necessary, could you produce several vaccines simultaneously against different variants?

    Şahin: That’s no problem. Technically, we would be able to do it if it were necessary. I am confident that we will find a viable solution that will help us get a better handle on the pandemic. from “It Will Make Scientific Sense To Offer Booster after Three Months” Der Spiegel

    Otoh, others think the current vaccines should be limited to those most at risk as well as recommending vitamin D, vitamin K2 and zinc: Vitamin D in Israel

    1. Fluffy

      Government mandated computer program Windows gets constantly updated after it doesn’t work, so why not vaccines?

      It’s not as though Bill Gates–not an M.D., were involved in mandatory vaccination campaigns.

      1. saywhat?

        Except the vaccines are, so far, NOT being updated.

        So even though two shots are ineffective against Omicron, an identical booster shot is supposed to be 75% effective?! I don’t see how.

  14. jr

    re: The Coming Assault of Hearing Aids

    “ Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Are Coming. Here’s How to Get Ready.”

    Images of exchanging gunfire with an attacking hearing aid popped into my head when I read this. A “disruption” is coming and I have to “get ready”. I wonder if they are “smart” hearing aids whose AI has run amok? Sonic weapons? The WSJ is on fire this morning! Nooners! on our High School VP and now a battle manual to navigate the pitfalls of affordable health care options in NeoLiberal Wonder-land, where Disruptors shake things up then the Powers That Be clamp down harder.

  15. Amfortas the hippie

    “God Bless Johnny Cash” is the number 2 bumpersticker in my part of the world(#1 is something to do with trump—distant #3 is “Longmire for Sheriff”)

    I saw him once, in Austin, circa 1993, at a place called “Emo’s”, which at that time was mostly full of Goths and emergent genderqueers…and it was Cash alone with a raggedy acoustic…and the place was rapt…audience silent, mesmerised.
    during breaks, Cash made his way to the bar, shaking hands, enduring hugs, to drink cranberry juice on the rocks and smile and shoot the shit with whomever got his attention.
    it was a very intimate affair…with maybe 300 people…and especially for such a giant name.

    today, Johnny Cash is the one thing everyone can agree on at our Wilderness Bar, when eldest has his cohort out….when the usual fights over the bluetooth connection get unwieldy, eldest hijacks the system and plays obscure Cash…(i turned him on to the Sun Sessions)

    1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      I remember liking Johnny Cash as a kid in the early 70s, and then not noticing him again until 1994 when I saw an American Recordings promo poster in the window of Cellophane Square Records in my neighborhood in Seattle. I bought the CD and was hooked. At the time, “Alt Country” was Seattle’s hipster reaction to the mainstream popularity of Grunge. Bars I hung out in started playing Cash, and Patsy Cline, and Waylon Jennings and a whole slew of new American “country” performers. I think Cash’s silly black duster made us aging Seattle goths feel safe and welcome. I wept when he died.

      1. Robert Gray

        He had his ups and downs, to be sure, but what was really heartbreaking was in the ’70s when he was reduced to making television commercials for Texaco.

      2. Janie

        I always like his song about the Vietnam protests, the one with lyrics “the one on the left on the right” and “Luther burned his driver’s license”.

    2. John Steinbach

      This is actually a hit piece on Cash. Example: “He persisted in trying to be all things to all people, until, a living effigy in black frock coat and jabot, he rivaled Elvis for losing any evidence of his younger self.”

      The author goes on and on about how racist Cash was, criticizing him for having Neil Young, Odetta & Tammy Wynette on his show. To him, Cash was a two-faced hypocrite trying to please everyone.

      ‘Ironically, for a country built on the promise of owning your own land, among the truest Americans are those who worked the earth without owning a single crumb of it. Dispossessed, they were forced to take possession of themselves another way: They sang. Denied, substantively, the right to happiness, they declared instead an absolute right to personality. This was most true of Black people, but it could also be true of poor white people. However you apportion credit, together they created a common inheritance we all live off to this day. Upon that commonality, Cash seemed to believe, we might form a less grossly imperfect union. The hope is very beautiful, and I think, in its way, true. But it is not enough.”

      That’s enough for me! Cash was exactly who he was & that’s precisely why he was respected by almost everyone.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Burying Leni Riefenstahl: one woman’s lifelong crusade against Hitler’s favourite film-maker”

    A really sad story when you think about it. She wasted her entire life in trying to destroy a person who was at most a minor accessory of the Third Reich from decades before. If she really wanted to make an impact, she could have investigated those former members of the SS that after the war achieved high positions in the government. Or she could have concentrated on a contemporary problem like the threat of nuclear war in Europe, out of control corporations, or any number of other pressing issues. For her mental health, it would have been better if she had done a thoroughly researched book that would be the last word on Leni Riefenstahl, drawn a line under it and then moved on with the rest of her life.

    Still, she is not the only one. The past few years they have changed the laws to go after anybody that had any connection with any concentration camp in WW2 which could even include a janitor if I understand that law right. So right now we are seeing people in their 90s and even one person that is 101 years-old in court on trial from supposed crimes from 75 years ago. One 96 year-old women went on the run after being accused of being a secretary at a camp but they caught her, probably because she was running very, very slowly on her walker. And just to add a twist, that 96 year-old woman is being tried in a juvenile court because she was under 21 years old at the time. You can’t make this stuff up-

    1. svay

      Germany’s been a lot less keen to pursue justice regarding its actions in what is now Namibia. It’s too late now to prosecute any individuals involved, but it has recently acknowledged the genocides of the Herero and Nama peoples, and earmarked a billion dollars for reconstruction and development. However, it’s resisting the word reparations, lest that lead to further claims on Germany or other European countries:

      Namibia had pressed for describing the money as “reparations.” But Germany rejected the term, which would have amounted to acknowledging guilt under the 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide. The Germans argued that the convention cannot be applied retroactively to past genocides. Reparations could have also made Germany — and other former European colonial powers — liable to claims from other former colonies.

      1. ambrit

        The logic of Germany’s ‘resistance’ to a formalization of reparations as a class of State responsibility is clear. How far back would one go, and, importantly, how far would the net stretch?
        Just one example should make the point. If the nations that emerged from the former colonial Empire of Belgium were to sue for reparations today, the entire nation of Belgium would have to be ‘liquidated’ to cover the awarded damages.
        Now, apply this logic to the United State’s ‘responsibilities’ towards the “indigines” of North America.
        This is a very deep and dark “Rabbit Hole” indeed.

      2. Kouros

        Not different then Japan’s behavior after WWII. Just watched the S Korean movie The Battleship Island (Hashima Island).
        Wikipedia: “Japan has acknowledged that Korean and Chinese forced laborers were there during World War II when it applied to UNESCO for World Heritage status for Hashima Island.[12] South Korea had opposed the bid until Japan acknowledged that “large number[s] of Koreans and others […] were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in the 1940s at some of the sites [including Hashima island]”[13][14] But after Hashima was given WHS status, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida clarified comments made during the submission process, specifically that “[forced to work under harsh conditions] by the Japanese government representative did not mean forced labor”.[15][16] Although UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee required that a monitoring mechanism be established to measure the degree to which the victims of Hashima are remembered,[17] the island’s official tourism website and tour program – operated by Nagasaki City – currently does not comply with this condition.”

    2. Wukchumni

      Last time I was with my nephews, asked them if they knew what Nazis are, and in their defense WW2 had been over for 60 years when they were born, so I guess I wasn’t surprised by them shaking their heads, in a what is our crazy uncle asking this for?

      They had no idea…

      We’re almost at the end of living history for everybody involved in WW2, with the youngest possible GI Joe et al to see action being nearly 95 now. One of them will make it to 112 somehow, so we have less than 20 years before the war is finally in our distant past, but not until then.

      1. Bart Hansen

        I’m sure you are familiar with Russia’s Immortal Regiment Parades that are held on 9 May each year in many cities throughout the country.

        Marchers carry posters with photos of their relatives who served in the military or supported the effort in WWII. By now the large majority of those relatives are dead, but I’ll bet these parades may never be stopped. The country lost between 25-27 millions in the war, which is more than 50 times the casualties we lost.

        1. Wukchumni

          Indeed, imagine having D-Day losses in numbers, but on nearly a daily basis on the eastern front…

          The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer is one heck of a tale, a Frenchman from Alsace recruited into the Wehrmacht, and his travails back east. The writing is simply exceptional in a you are there methodology.

      2. Jen

        My eleventh grade english teacher turned one of our terms into a mini holocaust study. We read Night by Elie Wiesel, we watched the documentary Night and Fog, and she invited a couple of local holocaust survivors to one of our classes. She told us at the time she was doing this because someday everyone who lived through WW2 would be gone, and she wanted us to remember.

        The couple were probably in their early 60s. I remember the numbers tattooed on their arms.

        I’m trying to imagine a high school english teacher having that kind of latitude today.

    3. Carolinian

      Re the article–just because the woman profiled was obsessed with Riefenstahl doesn’t mean we should be. Seeing Triumph of the Will now the Nazis with their preening and posturing seem faintly ridiculous. It’s not hard to see why many (see Chaplin: The Great Dictator) saw this at the time even as the formidable Wehrmacht was rampaging through Europe. Riefenstahl’s mystical aestheticism may have been on Hitler’s wavelength but doesn’t seem very much on ours. Here’s suggesting that she really wasn’t that important. Goebbels had plenty of other propaganda irons in the fire.

    4. caucus99percenter

      > So right now we are seeing people in their 90s and even one person that is 101 years-old in court on trial from supposed crimes from 75 years ago. One 96 year-old women went on the run after being accused of being a secretary at a camp but they caught her, probably because she was running very, very slowly on her walker. And just to add a twist, that 96 year-old woman is being tried in a juvenile court because she was under 21 years old at the time. You can’t make this stuff up-

      Yep, I live in Germany and as far as I can see, it’s all baloney — holo-history reprised as legal farce. Where else in the world does anyone claim that a fair trial can take place after 75+ years have passed? Again, one of those issues where the German political establishment’s consensus is totally at odds with common sense and only the right-wing fringe seems to have an actually sane opinion on what’s happening.

    5. chuck roast

      “…she could have investigated those former members of the SS that after the war achieved high positions in the government.” Sounds like the right thing to do Rev…at least from where we are sitting. But really, the no one within 500 kilometers would have sold the poor dear so much as a schnitzel. They were ALL complicit…the original IBG/YBG.

    6. Yves Smith

      To amplify: Riefenstahl has long been under some attack, when Carl Orff (Carmina Burina fame, which I love precisely because it is so ridiculously theatrical) was if anything as much a Nazi propagandist through art, but because music and no Fuhrer-touting lyrics, has been given a near-complete pass.

  17. jr

    Gritty, hard-nosed journalism from “TODAY” today:

    “The polarizing political figure also revisits the 2016 election in her new MasterClass video, titled “The Power of Resilience,” in which she grows emotional talking about her late mother as she reads the speech she hoped to deliver if she won the presidency.

    “I think about my mother every day,” she says.”

    Awesome, another MasterClass video to never watch. More alternative reality confabulation from Hillary about her dream-presidency in Avalon, shot through with somber but tender notes of familial warmth-like behavior. I’m sure she thinks of her mother every day, as she does anyone who has ever stood in her way.

    1. ambrit

      I try to keep in my mind the fact that Hillary is still part of a Dynamic Duo.
      When Bill finally dies, I wonder what Hillary will do. My money’s on her becoming the Femnarch of an upscale Woke Collective.
      I wonder if Bill thinks about his Dad every day? That would be enlightening.

    2. Yves Smith

      Hillary is so inept. The very reasons she lost on display. The biggest being her massive ego and therefore need to always hog the spotlight.

      The way to have executed this and not looked like a loser who can’t let go is to have ginned up Meryl Streep to pretend she desperately wanted to do a reading and let her do it. Streep I understand remains a dyed in the wool Hillbot.

      1. jr

        The video of her at that Irish university function a few months back says it all to me. The hungry smile, eager for attention and honors and the dopamine rush of winning yet again! All appetite, insatiable. Reptilian drives married to a hierarchy of reflection that knows only pleasure, pain, and the fear of death.

  18. John

    Anyone with a dirty secret wants to see Julian Assange pursued by the Furies, run to ground, and punished as was Prometheus. That would show all these champions of freedom of the press which side the bread is buttered on. Never frighten little men; they will kill you.

    1. Mantid

      Well, about mid 2021 I remember seeing a stat that the largest percentages of people choosing not to get these vaccines were on one end, people with PHDs and on the other side of the spectrum, non graduates of high school. The PHD holders we the highest percentage of “anti-vaxers”. What the heck do they know? My guess is they took science 101 and were too busy in college to be watching CNBC all the time.

  19. Lee

    “The Impossible Politics of Johnny Cash The Atlantic”

    Not all that impossible. I have a lot of southern white working class folks in my family who ended up in California. I watched so many of them during the days of the civil rights protests and the antiwar movement change their views on race and the war, many under the influence of their disaffected and rebellious kids.

    The author does bend the knee a bit to the woke:

    “And yet. On a couple of occasions, Cash got drunk and harangued a Black man. “Honey,” he wrote to his future wife Vivian, “some N— got smart and I asked him to go outside and he was too yellow.” The letter is sickening, and having read it, some people will understandably never recover a taste for Cash’s music. I did, though, and what follows may help explain why.”

    For the record, I had similar bad thoughts and said bad things in the mid 1960s.

    1. griffen

      I have a couple albums by Cash, two of which are collaborations with Rubin. I guess you could label me a bandwagon fan of his, but he lived at times a very contrary life. That was a hard scrabble life to start from, no question.

      Bad thoughts and saying bad things. That’s not allowed (!)

      1. Lee

        “Bad thoughts and saying bad things. That’s not allowed (!)”

        If only I knew then what I know now. But oddly enough one never does.

    2. begob

      Was hoping to read more about the Billy Graham connection, because Cash seems to tap into the demiurge of American religion that oversees a world of evil – Papists, Jesus-killers, Commies, untermenschen, deplorables. Recently watched the Dawn of the Dead remake, with Cash singing The Man Comes Around over the intro montage of crudescing zombiedom, which fits my theory that violent Hollywood movies since the late ’70s are in the vein of prophecy.

  20. Wukchumni

    Took a drive up into the Giant Forest, as Sequoia NP was opened all the way to Wolverton starting yesterday, which gave us our first glimpse of the damage wrought by the recent wildfire.

    The conflagration thankfully didn’t get into the Giant Forest where 9 of the 20 largest Sequoias call home and will continue to amaze we puny bipeds…

    Overall in Sequoia NP, you’d have to call it a ‘good fire’ in that most everything it scorched needed a burn and it was bound to happen, with much of the acreage being in the never-never range, as in nobody ever went there, steep terrain with no trails and not much in the way of eye candy to draw anybody in off-trail.

    The approx 5% of all Giant Sequoias of size lost in the KNP Fire were lost largely in the Redwood Mountain Grove in between Sequoia NP & Kings Canyon NP are a completely different story altogether, in that an ill-advised backburn was lit by another fire agency hours before 50 mph winds raced through the grove, decimating it.

    This was the largest grove of Sequoias heretofore, and judging from the numbers bandied about in terms of loss of trees from the KNP, a good many giants breathed their last after living for so very long.

    The fire was akin to playing a jigsaw puzzle, in many spots now completely void of anything living, some from the river to ridgeline and didn’t miss a thing, while leaving equally flammable forest favelas on either side untouched. Vagaries can’t be choosers.

    Now where is that 1/4 of a mile x 1/4 of a mile jigsaw puzzle piece with the right image I can use to fill in this particular empty spot on the playing board?

      1. Wukchumni

        About 6 inches in Wolverton, but a big storm is approaching starting tomorrow which ought to be good for 5 feet, as in winter is coming.

  21. Stillfeelinthebern

    Saw the “Master Class,” in an article headline earlier this week and thought it was parody. The Clintons and the DNC have no clue how much real people across the political spectrum hate the Clintons.

    Living in flyover county this is constantly evident. People in central Wisconsin feel the same way as Amafortas says about his area of Texas.

    Bernie represented someone who was true to his principles, he cared about regular people, he was trusted. He carried every county against Hillary in Wisconsin. The treatment of Bernie by the consulting political class is shortsighted and more evidence of their “lack” of any expertise other than raising $$.

    Having Hillary pop up constantly is pouring salt on the wounds.

    1. ambrit

      The ‘tell’ to me about the class of politico that Hillary represents is that they do not give a {family blog} about ‘ordinary’ people. “Pouring salt on the wounds,” of the ‘deplorable’ sort of people, is fully acceptable in that sphere of existance. Said functionaries do not even take the time to obscure their callous indifference to the sufferings of others by claiming that the pain is “for their own good.”
      I think that mentions of Hillary could legitimately be filed under “Imperial Collapse Watch.”

    2. Robert Hahl

      Americans hate Hillary Clinton so much, they elected someone they hate more just to spite her.
      – Norm MacDonald

      I never get tired of that joke. It must be true.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      out here, it was the farm bill, that ended both the peanut subsidy as well as the agora/mohair subsidy for this whole region.
      i think that was 1996, but i’d hafta go look to be sure.
      put my county into an immediate depression.
      prior to this, this county…and the broader swath of rangeland, cotton plain and goat and sheep herds to the north and west…was solidly democratic.
      LBJ(from just down the road, and who got us paved roads) and FDR(who got us electricity) were still openly revered and remembered.
      but that farm bill sent us’n’s into the waiting mandibles of the Right Wing, who had already been making major moves in texas(see: Lil George as goobernator)
      that opened the door to the Rightyfication of all and sundry, out here…i watched it happen.
      suddenly, Rush, et alia, were on every radio(hadn’t even thought about that guy since i escaped from austin, several years prior)…and as cable came to town(town only) Fox came with it(prior to this, noone could get a broadcast TV signal without elaborate and expensive giant antennae and boosters)….and then dialup crept out this way…and that was that.
      interestingly, the local preachers were instrumental in this shift to righty ideology…this place has always been small-c conservative…that’s just small, rural america(see: wendell berry)…but apparently, the lutherans, baptists and methodists got a memo from on high right around the end of the 90’s…because the sermons, etc changed into political indoctrination.
      Then, the 2 steeplejacking groups arrived, and started in on dividing up various congregations…engendering fights over racial inclusion and the way they talked about the poor. several churches split asunder due to this behaviour…went from 14 churches to 23(!!)…and have finally settled into around 18(in a county with a population around 4400).
      this steeplejacking had a major impact on public politics and ideology…fox and rush and the GOP couldn’t have done as well without it.

      but this apparent strength of the Righty narrative is utterly reliant on such reinforcement….sustained and with the ability to exclude any alternative.
      if the internet went down…or fox crumbled…it would not be possible…because the policies and the hatreds aren’t sustainable by themselves….
      too many folks hurting….and way too many folks with brown people in their extended families.
      that’s how little ol’ me made such giant strides in singlehandedly promoting Bernie and a New New Deal…i sit out here and think: what if it hadn’t been just me?
      what if the demparty had actively campaigned out here for stuff people actually care about?
      as it stands, the county demparty hasn’t had a storefront or working phone number since 2004.
      the PMC rump of the local dems are all in hiding…afraid of being killed…or merely wanting to avoid having to defend themselves when uncle billy learns that they’re pinko commies who want to turn us all gay.
      a few of them did manage to do a black lives matter “rally” on the courthouse lawn(2 black folks in whole county…anti mexican is the local racism that matters, here)…attended by all of 10 people..all obnoxiously wealthy and woke and wholly white…and all it did was serve as fodder for ugly jokes in the local online righty spaces(i still surveil,lol)

      1. Eclair

        Nice history encapsulation, Amfortas.

        Much the same in Warren County, Pennsylvania, which nestles up to Chautauqua County, NY. The latter leans a bit more to the left, due to SUNY Fredonia in ‘north county.’ And the remnants of an industrial base in Jamestown.

        Warren County, where my spouse’s family settled and where dozens of descendants still live, is a mix of agricultural and extraction economies. The City of Warren has a major refinery, as well as dozens of large and well-maintained early 20th century houses. But, on the whole, poor and white. His family, chosing agriculture over extraction, was active in the Grange movement: they rallied against the monopolistic practices of railroads and espoused suffrage for women (who actually held Grange leadership positions.) And published cookbooks, of course.

        And, somewhere along the way, they all became Republican. Because Republicans stand for self-reliance, small government, low taxes, business (with a small ‘b’), family, patriotism. They don’t want a ‘handout,’ or ‘free’ college. They want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.

        There are always the outliers, like my spouse. Who have itchy feet or ace high school calculus and want to see Silicon Valley or Broadway.

        Warren County is awash in ginormous TRUMP banners and signs. On flagpoles, lawns, barns and front porches. If there is a polar opposite to ‘chosen people,’ that’s how most Warren County residents think of themselves.

        1. Wukchumni

          You still see faded Trump signs or banners askew in the red bastion of a blue very state, but nothing even remotely new, in 2020 hind sight.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          Eclar: “….they want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.”

          a fella could win in a landslide on all that out here…if it could be credibly sold.
          I am 100% certain that at least 90% of the voting public around here…and at least 70% of the rest(if it’s explained) want just that.
          a life with dignity, and not too much hardship(just enough of the latter to “build character”, and such)…and a fair shake and a fair deal and some semblance of security…and of continuity…
          but when you get into the nitty gritty of HOW to do all that…that’s when the cognitive dissonance kicks in.
          because we had that, before…at least a lot of the grandparents of these people did(wife’s people…not so much…Bracero program, and so on)…but it was under FDR and LBJ and IKE!…and all those other damned commies that they’ve been taught to hate and fear over the last 40+ years.
          “we” are 40 years behind on the indoctrination front.

      2. newcatty

        An anecdote: re people’s pov and beliefs. We were having lunch with couple from a deep southern state. They were visiting family in our southwestern state. The setting was gloriously beautiful place at a famous resort. All of waitstaff, bar staff, etc. were, as they called them “Mexican”. Typical for the area. Husband was coldly polite to their service. Wife igored them. In the midst of congenial conversation, husband says, Well, you got your Mexicans and we got our blacks. Yeah, we were well aware of their POV. Changed subject to kids and scenery. This couple were the “nicest and most generous folks” to their family and friends. They benignly blessed our hearts, hippies in the circle.

        1. saywhat?

          He who despises his neighbor lacks sense. Proverbs 11:12

          He who despises his neighbor sins … Proverbs 14:21

          Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

    4. Pat

      Donald Trump killed the TPP. For all that he didn’t keep all of his promises, contradictory as they often were, that should never be forgotten.

      Admitting how hated HRC is, would require a lot of people to realize that she is one of the faces of Democrats embracing policies that were actively detrimental to much of the population. That isn’t the only reason she is hated, but it is part of the base of it.

      One thing should also not be forgotten about 2020, even if it means looking beyond all the claims of stolen elections. In the midst of a pandemic and after the onslaught of negative news coverage for well over four years and an impeachment, Donald Trump was still within a few thousand votes of winning in several battleground states. It took Covid to make it remotely possible for a Joe Biden to win. It isn’t just HRC who is hated, most of the Democratic policy of the last four decades is also despised, oh not the showy identity type things, the nuts and bolts economic policies things.

      I don’t think running on ‘look at the boogey man, we aren’t that’ is going to get Democrats reelected, and they have made clear they have nothing else.

    5. Nikkikat

      Stillfeelinthebern, isn’t it incredible that the Clintons have the nerve to show their faces any where? Bill and his Epstein plane rides and Hillary and her Russiagate etc. These people are hideous!

      1. newcatty

        Exactly. Hideous. Well, they found each other, as is said( to paraphrase) vultures of a feather scavenge together. Of course, meaning no offense to the actual birds.

  22. Wukchumni

    Once again, everybody favorite teetotalitarian dictator gets misquoted, what he really uttered was ‘Buck FBI!’

  23. Robert Hahl

    I can’t recall where I heard it, but the reason Assange is being crucified is not because Wikileaks publishes embarrassing information about the US government, but because he protected Edward Snowdon from being captured. I think this theory may explain why the MSM are not worried about themselves at the moment. (They could not have protected Snowden even if they wanted to.) But in the fullness of time, who knows?

  24. fresno dan
    But insulin in the U.S. costs about eight times more than it does in peer countries, according to a 2020 study. About one in four people who need it can’t afford it, surveys have suggested, which is why many end up rationing their own medication — sometimes with severe, even fatal consequences.
    Without treatment, diabetes can lead to death, which happened a lot more frequently before 1923, when Canadian researchers came up with a way to manufacture insulin artificially. They sold their patent to the University of Toronto for just $1, in the hopes that their discovery would be made available to everybody at no cost.
    Politicians across the ideological spectrum have been promising a government response for years. Now Democrats hope to provide one as part of the Build Back Better legislation, which includes reforms to prescription drug pricing, with provisions that single out insulin for special treatment. Chief among them is a proposed rule that would limit the cost of insulin to $35 a month out-of-pocket for anyone with insurance.
    Private insurers should be able to negotiate down the price of insulin, at least in theory, by playing the manufacturers off one another. In practice, insurers delegate that responsibility to a group of middle-men companies called pharmacy benefit managers ― who, in turn, operate through a complex, interlocking set of rebates and givebacks that favor drug makers, insurers and benefit managers, but do not actually lower the list price of insulin.
    Sometimes, in fact, the relationships provide incentives for manufacturers to raise prices.

    Capitalism – operating to raise prices, and screw patients…so much for the theory of markets
    American politics – making promises that are meant not to be kept…so much for the theory of democracy
    “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice – in practice there is” (Yogi Berra)

    1. Carla

      “Now Democrats hope to provide one as part of the Build Back Better legislation, which includes reforms to prescription drug pricing, with provisions that single out insulin for special treatment. Chief among them is a proposed rule that would limit the cost of insulin to $35 a month out-of-pocket for anyone with insurance.”


      Democrats and the Democrat party make me physically ill.

      1. Mantid

        Both parties and a large swath of the US electorate, make me ill. I read the “violent threats against a lawmaker” article, but the comments were (as often is the case) quite “telling”. I read about 40 comments and not one mentioned anything negative about the vaccines and most were saying, stick it to the non vaxed. Then….. I wondered about trolls and bots writing comments. The corporate powers that be are in control of MSM, main stream science, academia and government institutions, so why wouldn’t they influence comments sections as well. They have the time, money, and inclination to do so.

    2. Nikkikat

      Good comment, I also wonder whether they will get “govt subsidies” for this price reduction. The insurance and pharmacy industry gets billions in these subsidies through Obama care. I would guess you and I the taxpayer are paying the bill anyway.
      This is another smoke and mirrors goodie in order to really NOT do anything as usual.

  25. Daryl

    re: Stoller’s tweet, Groupon is probably just excited that they found a way to get into the news. Haven’t heard that company’s name in a few years. It’s good that CA has made these asinine noncompetes illegal — it should be done on a federal level, it doesn’t seem like this WA law goes far enugh. We mostly hear about it in the context of high profile tech workers who are likely less impacted due to high income and the ability to sidle over to different industries, but it likely impacts everyone else even more.

      1. ambrit

        Oh now, to avoid unecessary legal entanglements, we must rebrand the company. The new name will be Gropeon.
        Now that truly is a New World Order class of concept; A Zoom Orgy. (It gives a whole new meaning to the word “joystick.”)
        And what about SMTDs? (Socio-sexual Media Transmitted Diseases.)
        [I’m still waiting for P—hub to develop a VR glasses based Interactive Format.]

  26. Jason Boxman

    The task force did not always like to wait, two former C.I.A. officers said. C.I.A. personnel were shocked when they repeatedly saw the group strike with little regard for civilians. Officers reported their concerns to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General, and the agency’s leadership discussed the issue with top officers at the Joint Special Operations Command, one former C.I.A. officer said.

    Because the CIA, of signature strike fame in Afghanistan, are the good guys in this tale. No, for serious.

    And this all started in Syria under — yes — Obama.

    Another Air Force officer, who reviewed dozens of task force strikes where civilians were reportedly killed, said that drone crews were trained to keep cameras on targets so the military could assess damage. Yet he frequently saw cameras jerk away at key moments, as if hit by a wind gust. It was only after seeing the pattern over and over, he said, that he began to believe it was done on purpose.

    Can’t let that evidence get out, can we?

  27. diptherio

    An odd little observation about twitter: for some reason they think that viewing a Matt Taibbi tweet means you’d also be interested in what a bunch of right-wing nutjobs like Jack Prosobiec have to say too, as those are the tweets they place below his. At first I thought this indicated that their algo is severely mistuned, but thinking about it now, it may also be an intentional way to smear him by association with the right-wing QAnon set.

    1. Geo

      Find that happens a lot with social media algorithms. They tend to go two ways: toward MSM or toward RW news. YouTube is the worst offender. Watch one Jimmy Dore vid and suddenly my recommended list is nothing but RW loons. Similarly, watch one TYT vid and everything after is CNN or John Oliver.

      I get more MSM and RW vids in my suggested lists than vids I actually subscribe to.

  28. Jason Boxman

    So the let-it-ride strategy is unfolding as expected. (Omicron: What We Know About the New Coronavirus Variant)

    On Dec. 10, the C.D.C. released a report on the first 43 cases identified in the United States. Only about one-third of those infected with Omicron had traveled internationally in the two weeks before testing positive or developing symptoms. That finding indicated that Omicron was already spreading within the United States from person to person.

    The study also offered early hints of how well the variant can overcome vaccination and immunity from previous infections. The majority of people infected with Omicron — 34 individuals — were fully vaccinated when they developed symptoms or tested positive for Covid. Fourteen had received a booster dose as well, while six had previously been infected with the coronavirus.

    Only one of the 43 people required hospitalization, and none died. That doesn’t necessary mean that Omicron is mild compared to other variants. For one thing, the sample was too small to be representative. What’s more, young adults under 40 accounted for most of the cases. Older people are at far higher risk of severe Covid.

    (emphasis mine)

    So basically what NC has been sharing for weeks now.

    So when is the vaccination magic pony finally felled? I still see nonsense like “herd immunity” pop up when reading about the pandemic. Say what? I wonder which might dissipate first: The CDC’s inability to acknowledge airborne transmission as the primary vector or fantastical belief that herd immunity might still be an outcome?

    Also, it just occurred to me: We don’t even talk about “bending the curve” anymore to save health care providers. Not at all. Indeed, all Biden offered is response teams. Well, what happens when the teams leave? Who is there left to provide care for the sick?

    We’re quite shockingly not going to have a health care system available in the not too distant future. That’s hard to accept as for real. Of course it will be worse for those in the least populous states, and those in rural areas, where we’ve had critical care hospitals closing for at least a decade now due to insufficient funding. And it’s challenging to get care providers to practice medicine in rural communities as it is.

    So those in major metropolitan areas, those with health insurance and means, will probably continue to be okay. But large swaths of America are simply getting devastated over this. It’s unconscionable. This is what societal collapse looks like, a slow burn. I fear the big drop.

    And it’s not like we didn’t know what is in store with Omicron. We’ve seen this movie twice already, so Biden naturally offers up nothing except no more lockdowns and rapid response teams. And a joke insurance reimbursement policy for rapid testing. And no free masks to every household.

    So, yeah, we’re hosed. But check out the defense spending bill! Oh yeahs! Liberal Democrats can’t even get the “Biden agenda” passed, whatever murky concoction that is. (And where’s my $600?)

    1. Tom Stone

      We are hosed indeed.
      I watched some football off and on today, the stands were full screaming fans and almost no masks.
      Health care won’t be the only thing to collapse but it looks to be next with a deadline of early February.
      There’s a good chance we’ll run out of reefer trucks…

      1. Mantid

        With all this Covid stuff, I could sure use a truck load of reefers. Wait, did I just type that backwards? Darn.

  29. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Column: Leaked SoCal hospital records reveal huge, automated markups for healthcare LA Times

    Got paywalled with the LAT link, so read the article here:

    The former Scripps nurse said she decided to snap photos of the system as she watched stratospheric price hikes being imposed while a patient was still on the operating table.

    She said one of her jobs in the operating room was to keep a running tally of all supplies used during a procedure. As she entered each item into the system, it automatically noted the actual cost and tabulated how much Scripps would bill for it.

    That hospitals are price gouging absolutely everybody is no surprise. But the next time you hear “shortage of qualified staff” cited to explain bad “healthcare” outcomes, harmful medical errors or shoddy infection control procedures, keep in mind that trained nurses are being used as billers / bookkeepers in the operating room while the patient is being operated on.

    Bill first. Then worry about that doing no harm thing.

  30. flora

    re: Scholz denies Germany is divided over COVID vaccinations – Deutsche Welle

    Maybe Herr Scholz needs to get out more.

    Interesting tweet.

    Michael P Senger
    “In Germany, children are being forced “to go to the front of the class and state their vaccination status daily. Those who are vaccinated are applauded, those who are not have to explain why they are not.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Now have those kids go to the front of the class to declare their religion and defend their faith.

    2. Basil Pesto

      that is pretty thin sourcing for such a categorical, broad claim. I just searched die Welt for the story in question, looking up “impfung kinder” “impfung schule” “impfung schule in klasse” and couldn’t find the referred-to story to judge for myself. I’m sure the story is real, but I doubt it goes much farther beyond one school/class. That would be one school/class too many of course, but we should probably be careful about throwing out accusations of the need to get out more.

  31. Michael Fiorillo

    Santa Con, when the sorority and fraternity houses of Hell open their doors and allow their residents a brief furlough, to overwhelm the streets of NYC…

    1. Geo

      It’s the one day of the year NYPD needs to bring back profiling with stop & frisk. See a Santa: stop & frisk.

  32. TimH

    Grumble time:
    “Scripps’ automated system took the actual cost of sutures, imposed an apparently preset 675% markup and produced a billed amount that was orders of magnitude higher than the true price.”

    LA Times doesn’t know what an order of magnitude is. 10x, or 1000%, is one order.

  33. Carolinian

    Re Éric Zemmour is no fascist – he’s the creature of the French establishment

    So no history of fascism in the French establishment? Cue The Sorrow and the Pity. It’s true one shouldn’t wave around the “F” word too freely but surely European colonialism–which the French very much participated in–had more than a little to do with what happened later in Italy and Germany. Both have racism at their roots. As in the history of my own region, exploitation needs excuses.

    1. flora

      An aside: the very long movie “The Sorrow and the Pity” is a great 2-part documentary about those times in France. No sound bites, no easy answers. It lets people speak for themselves and explain their reasons for acting as they did then. The interviewees’ body language alone tells a story.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          that is an overwhelming masterpiece of a film.
          reserve a whole weekend…so you have sunday to recover.

    2. David

      There was a small but lively genuinely fascist movement in France during the 1930s, led by people like Jacques Doriot. These people (based in Paris where the Germans ruled, they never went to Vichy) were right-wing populists whose views were pretty close to those of the Italian fascists. Some of them actually fought on the side of the Germans during the invasion of the Soviet Union, such was their hatred of Communism. Doriot and co were distrusted by the French elite and by Vichy because of their populism and their worship of modernity. The French elite (which was traditionalist, conservative, often royalist or at least anti-republican, and tied very closely to the Church) were not fascists in any context where that word means anything. They were more than happy to cooperate with the Nazi occupiers, whose visceral anti-communism they shared, and they took advantage of the German presence to stick it to their political enemies and introduce a traditionalist authoritarian state. Once the Germans left, they thought, this new state would rise up and restore French grandeur. We can all get it wrong.

      European colonialism was a complex thing and varied by country. The thesis of Sven Lindqvist is precisely that the methods used by some nations in the colonies were later employed in Europe, but it’s fair to say that most of his examples come from the Germans and Belgians, whose colonial policies were unspeakable. The French Empire was largely constructed late in the 19th century partly to provide resources for a war with Germany (in which capacity it actually saved the country in two wars) and partly as what we would now call “humanitarian intervention.” People like Jules Ferry a left-wing Radical were particularly keen on military intervention to abolish slavery in North Africa (which, to a large extent they did). It’s a curiosity of the period, and much studied by historians, that the Right in both Britain and France, as well as traditional economic liberals, tended to be sceptical of colonies, and many were established under pressure from what you could call the Left – or at least the humanitarian part of it. Nothing is ever really new.

      No, by the way, Zemmour is not a fascist, he’s a throwback to the right-wing intellectual, anchored in tradition and history. He’s popular mainly because French elites for a generation now have poured scorn on French history and it’s not really taught in any real sense now in schools. he’s the inevitable consequence of such stupidity.

      1. Kevin Carhart

        Apparently Doriot was cousin of early HBS venture capitalist Georges Doriot. Not especially significant but I was curious why I recognized “Doriot.”

      2. Carolinian

        I think collaborating with fascists (helping to send Jews to the gas chambers, capturing resistance members) may make Vichy denials a distinction without a difference . But I do agree that “fascist” gets thrown around far too freely to the point that it now may not mean much of anything.

        As for colonialists being of the left, of course the Nazis claimed to be socialists and Mussolini was once a communist. The British empire was vastly racist as was France in Vietnam. And in England many intellectuals were enthusiastic eugenicists. These ideas undoubtedly influenced the Nazis.

  34. lance ringquist

    nafta Pete Buttigieg, has solved the free trade crisis, This image shows the port backlogs haven’t decreased, the backlog of ships now stretches to asia, burning immense amounts of fossil fuels, showing once again that free traders are frauds!

    nafta billy clinton is responsible for this: The executive director of the Port of Los Angeles said delays will last until the end of 2022.

    first it was june 2022, now you read it right, december of 2022.

  35. thoughtfulperson

    Interesting twitter behavior (behavior of the platform). I have an old account, never tweet, just read others. Recently trying to read Dr Eric Feig-Ding. Twitter doesn’t like it when people just click through, wants you logged in (maybe for tracking and data sales). I got suspended as I kept trying search for Dr Ding instead of reading all twitters “feed” and starting to tweet etc. Not what twitter wants. So I uninstalled. Bye Twitter!

    1. Kevin Carhart

      – You could also try the front-ends like
      It’s probably dependent on Twitter-the-organization allowing someone’s API account to exist, so it might be ephemeral but you can go there, start reading and hop around should it go away.

      – You’re raising something subtle. For many years I thought there was a black hole effect for scrutiny of Twitter-the-organization per se, because the search engine results are crammed with things from one level down, namely all of the messages saying “” which are just particular messages travelling over the channel, not looking at how the channel ticks. Between this and the fact that you also have to get past a layer of incurious business discussion for and about promoters and which is in the medium’s own terms (followers, likes, RTs), and I think they’re curiously anonymous for an organization with that kind of importance. Somebody needs to be as oblivious as possible to their medium in order to cover or look into them. Valleywag doesn’t exist anymore, so I guess Kara Swisher is doing it and The Register is doing it.

  36. DipStick

    Economics is a game plan

    If the Federal Reserve raises the intrest rate toward where it should be at 8 %

    what would happen to the everything bubbles

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