Links 12/17/2021

How to see the Cold Moon, the longest full moon of the year, this Saturday Live Science

Scientists spot water ice under the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Mars

Map of transparent butterflies highlights biodiversity hotspot in the Andes Mountains


Lawyer who defeated Shell predicts ‘avalanche’ of climate cases FT

War in the Sahel TLS. DecK: “How climate change is driving jihadism.”

Floated Away and Found The Tyee

About half of U.S. oil pipeline space is empty after boom time building spree Reuters (Re Silc).


Modified rapture on South Africa from the FT:

So, if you think of “mild” as a low(er) ratio of deaths to cases, Omicron could be said by an absolute nutter to be mild (at the individual’s level of risk). If you think of “mild” as the absolute number of deaths (at the health care system level), then Omicron is not mild at all, no more than Delta or wild Covid. (Note that the ratio of cases to deaths could change, depending on how long the virus takes to incubate; maybe we don’t know about some of the deaths yet. Still, the cases and deaths curves are pretty far apart.) And hospitals, of course, are overwhelmed by absolute numbers, not by ratios.

* * *

Ivermectin Arm of PRINCIPLE Trial Put on Hold MedPage. The deck: “Trial website cites supply issues.” What a coinkydink.

* * *

Omicron is getting more defined Eric Topol, Ground Truths

Looks like Vax Vax Vax has been a complete debacle:

Ah, well. Nevertheless.

* * *

New York Area Bears the Brunt of Omicron on Top of Delta Bloomberg

Omicron is dominant in wastewater samples in Florida county AP. And people know it:

* * *

CDC advisory panel, concerned about rare side effects tied to J&J vaccine, gives preferential nod to mRNA shots STAT

Risks of myocarditis, pericarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias associated with COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection Nature. n = 38 million adults in England, because they have a national healh care system ffs. From the Discussion, last paragraph: “In summary, this population-based study quantifies for the first time the risk of several rare cardiac adverse events associated with three COVID-19 vaccines as well as SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 in adults was associated with a small increase in the risk of myocarditis within a week of receiving the first dose of both adenovirus and mRNA vaccines, and after the second dose of both mRNA vaccines. By contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a substantial increase in the risk of hospitalization or death from myocarditis, pericarditis and cardiac arrhythmia.”

120 Manufacturers in the Global South Could Be Producing mRNA Vaccines If Big Pharma Would Only Show Them How Iin These Times


No U-turn on China’s regulatory crackdown in 2022, but policy easing should lift investor spirits South China Morning Post

Hong Kong ‘patriots only’ elections usher in muted new era Channel News Asia

U.S. builds new software tool to predict actions that could draw China’s ire Reuters. Oh.


Blinken says US to look at more Myanmar measures, plans Asean summit Malaysia Now


NSO Group’s latest spyware on par with nation-state abilities, researchers say CyberScoopx

CAIR Infiltrated by Islamophobic Organization; Alleges Israeli Connection Forever Wars


Boris Johnson suffers crushing blow as Lib Dems win in North Shropshire FT. Detail on the constituency from the Daily Mail, six days ago. “Now you will not swell the rout /
Of lads that wore their honours out…”

New Cold War

White House Delays Moving Military Assistance to Ukraine Foreign Policy

Russia hands draft security pacts to US, expects quick talks AP

Biden Administration

CFPB opens inquiry into buy now/pay later lenders American Banker

Former top FDA officials accuse Biden admin of ‘sidelining’ experts The Hill

The filibuster debate is (maybe) coming to a head on voting rights. Here’s what could happen. WaPo

Senate parliamentarian rejects Democrats’ third immigration offer The Hill. Trick handcuffs. Fire the parliamentarian, and govern.

Why have Biden cheerleaders CNN and the New York Times BOTH turned on the president? Liberal outlets suggest Biden should not run again and propose lists of alternative presidential candidates Daily Mail

Judge rejects Purdue Pharma’s sweeping opioid settlement AP

Supply Chain

The history of the metal box that’s wrecking the supply chain Vox. The headline is a textbook case of commodity fetishism. The box is a box. By itself, it just sits there. It cannot “wreck” anything. That said, this is an informative round-up, especially on the commercial relationships (i..e, the relations of production that are really doing the wrecking). Vox, too, mentionscorner fittings but omits lashing!

November container volumes rise at Port of Oakland, drop at Los Angeles Hellenic Shipping News. “Container throughput at the Port of Los Angeles fell in November as the port handled more smaller-than-average, unscheduled ships chartered to meet strong demand during the pre-holidays peak season.”

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

The Jeffrey Epstein Mystery Roundtable: Six experts on the most intriguing and dangerous unanswered questions New York Magazine

“Epstein Had a Precise Plan”: How the Only Known Photo of Prince Andrew and the Pedophile Happened Vanity Fair

Our Famously Free Press

Bad journalists imitate. Great journalists steal:

(With apologies to T.S. Eliot.) Example after example.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A Birmingham Barbershop–Where Men Spew Hate Comeback Town. Despite the editor’s woke headline, this is a personal history, well worth a read.

Imperial Collapse Watch

How brothers in arms plotted theft, sale of US Army weaponry AP

Pentagon looks to microbes to feed troops with air, water, maybe even trash turned to protein Stars and Stripes. When I was a kid, you could buy meat anywhere! Eggs they had, real butter!

Class Warfare

The Bearded One approaching meme status:

This Is What Happens When Workers Don’t Control Their Own Lives Jamelle Bouie, NYT. On Edwardsville.

Tornadoes ripped the roof off American capitalism Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer

Capitalists Are Dispensable, Laborers Are Not Real World Economics

Capitalism Can’t End the Pandemic Wicked Problems Collaborative

* * *

Kellogg Cereal Workers Union Says Tentative Deal Reached Bloomberg

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

Animation Writers Want Pay Parity With Their Live-Action Counterparts Jacobin

Now hiring! Scabs:

Smartphones Are a New Tax on the Poor Wired

25 Anti-Mimetic Tactics for Living a Counter-Cultural Life Epsilon Theory

Antidote du jour. Please give glaucus naïs your condolences:

My cat, Mr. Kitty, passed suddenly this week. He was my best friend for 18 years and felt rather more like an extension of myself than a separate being. Perhaps some readers can relate to that sensation. In any case, here is a photo where he somehow looks like Pieter Bruegel The Elder to me:

Pieter Bruegel The Elder:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. vlade

    Re the Tory defeat.
    Do you know what the funny fact is?

    That if Johnson just let Peterson (the former MP for this constituency) to do his penance (i.e. 30 day barred from the Parliament, as that’s really a big punishment for the corruption he was involved in…), he (Peterson) would be back by now.

      1. vlade


        If Johnson just accepted Paterson’s suspension for the Parliament, Paterson would not have resigned ergo there would have been no byelection. There would have been also no Tory rebelion over the standards comittee (because there would be no point in pushing it if Paterson just accepted the suspension) and upset emails to the Tory MPs re coverups of corruption. It would be mostly non-issue.

        Johnson single-handedly managed to make it into a front page issue for a number of days, culminating in the loss of the byelection.

        Of course, the Xmas party stuff would be still out, question is how much it would be taken by the Tory press if there wasn’t already a big issue like trying to “save” Paterson first.

          1. vlade

            Likely, but who knows where and when. This way Johnson

            – flamed the scandal
            – created mini-Tory revolt. Tory MPs absolutely _hated_ voting for the change Johnson proposed, and got a lot nastygrams when they did.
            – still triggered the by-election
            – got hit by a large Tory revolt on the covid restrictipons (I suspect that some Tory MPs would not have revolted on that had they not been forced to vote on point 2), to the point where there’s talk that some won’t be implemented (which, in the face of Omicron, would be a disaster).
            – got hit by another scandal (that, in the absence of previous scandal might have been given less attention)

            With the absence of the last point, none of that had to happen.

            So say he could have fought another by-election in Feb, when the party stuff would be to some extent gone, there would not have to be any sleaze, nor sleazy former MP with “hit me” target on his party.

        1. David

          Yes, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Johnson’s real weakness isn’t lying, arrogance, lack of attention, or whatever. It’s a simple lack of political judgement, which virtually every PM before him could be expected to have as a matter of course. He clearly believes that there’s no problem he can’t get out of by exaggeration, bluffing, telling jokes and downright lying. If you’re a liar by nature, though, the important thing is to know when you can lie and when you have to tell the truth. Johnson is incapable of understanding this, and so has brought the problem, and the disaster, on himself, by stupid political mismanagement.

          In the old days, PMs had people to tell them not to be silly. Now, No 10 resembles less a PM’s office than the court of some minor potentate, full of insecure place-persons, busily trying to undermine each other, none prepared to tell the boss the truth.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            It still is baffling how he rose to power (I’m assuming he is really finished now, although his political obituary has been written many times before). All politicians bluff and lie, but this seems to have been his only skill. As you suggest, even the most moderately talented politician knows there are times to lie, and there are times when you tell the truth.

            I don’t know whether future historians will see him as just a random political freak, or a sign of a decaying political culture, but so far it looks like the latter is the more likely explanation. The only good thing the Tories have going for them now is that pretty much any of the alternatives look more competent and may give them enough of a bounce to recover.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Elected in 2001 at a Tory low point. He’s really senior, combined with his previous experience as an editor of a conservative rag. This makes him the model going forward.

              In the absence of conservative politics having anything to offer or critiques of stodgy center left parties and only having to deal with decadent neoliberal parties, there isn’t room for anyone to make a name pushing for “new ideas” as the opposition is so pathetic. In the end, those organizations revert to the senior person of the largest bloc. In this case, Tories elected in the wake of Blair. Older ones belong to a Thatcher generation.

              Yes, BJ warrants mockery, but in the absence of a credible left, the degenerate right will simply degenerate. None of his peers or Tory competitors would recognize the problems.

          2. Tom Bradford

            In the old days, PMs had people to tell them not to be silly.

            Shakespeare writes of the kings who kept their fools beside them to mock their pretentions and remind them of their mortality. One of Johnson’s first acts as PM was to ‘purge’ the party of 21 members of the Tory ‘old guard’ who threatened to play his fool and remind him of his place. The result, as David points out, is that he surrounded himself with sycophants and yes-men who flattered to his ego to the point it has now destroyed him. And hopefully the Party that sought to use him.

            Clearly Johnson the self-proclaimed classicist missed the lessons offered by King Lear and one wonders if he actually read any of the Greek Tragedies in which hubris plays a major role.

            1. norm de plume

              ‘In the old days, PMs had people to tell them not to be silly’

              Jim Hacker had Sir Humphrey to tell him that an idea was ‘courageous’ which was enough to dissuade him on the spot…

  2. svay

    [vrmctn] Arm of PRINCIPLE Trial Put on Hold MedPage. The deck: “Trial website cites supply issues.”

    “If clinical data emerge providing definitive evidence for a positive benefit-risk assessment of the use of [vrmctn] in COVID-19, we stand ready to provide our expertise and resources as needed,” Merck added.
    Merck doesn’t appear to have explained how such clinical data might emerge while the trial lacks supplies.

    1. flora

      Conflict of interest? Merck has an expensive new anti-viral drug.

      Merck’s expensive new anti-viral COVID-19 drug, molnupiravir, costs $700 for a course of treatment and was FDA approved after only a single study showing modest benefits.

      (Given that vit I is generic and manufactured in many locations, one might think the Oxford/PRINCIPLE trial could source it from any number of locations.)

    2. Pookah Harvey

      I extracted some pertinent parts from:
      〈Review Article〉
      Global trends in clinical studies of ivermectin in COVID-19

      Morimasa Yagisawa, Ph.D., Patrick J. Foster, M.D.,
      Hideaki Hanaki, Ph.D. and Satoshi Ōmura, Ph.D.

      …by the 27th of February, the results of 42 clinical trials, including approximately 15,000 patients (both registered and unregistered studies) have been subjected to a meta-analysis after exclusion of biasing factors. It was found that 83% showed improvements with early treatment, 51% improved during late-stage treatment, and there was an 89% prevention of onset rate noted…..Based on the results of these 42 trials, it concludes that the probability of this judgment on ivermectin’s superior clinical performance being false is estimated to be 1 in 4 trillion..

      Kitasato University, based on the judgment that it is necessary to examine the clinical effect of ivermectin to prevent the spread of uncertain COVID-19, asked Merck & Co., Inc. to conduct clinical trials of ivermectin for COVID-19 in Japan. This company has priority to submit an application for an expansion of ivermectin’s indications, since the original approval for the manufacture and sale of ivermectin was conferred to it. However, the company said that it had no intention of conducting clinical trials.

      Just so you know, one of the authors, Satoshi Ōmura, won the Nobel Prize for discovering Ivermectin while working for Merck. The whole article is worth the read.

      1. Mason

        This is a fun read, especially with Satoshi one of the authors. He wouldn’t put his name anywhere near something with hokus pokus.

        I’m not 100% sure it’s a miracle drug but it has so much promise.

        The drug industry and media though are absolutely not going to let the truth come out. The stakes are too high.

  3. h2odragon

    Condolences on the cat. They share our lives for but a moment, but they *improve* the whole span of our lives.

  4. Juneau

    My sincerest condolences glaucus on the loss of your beloved companion Kitty. I lost my soul mate kitty last year. He could really “read me” and shed tears with me when both knew he was dying last year. Very sorry to hear, it is an irreplaceable loss. I hope you find comfort in the depth of love you both had.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      The passing on of one’s beloved animal companion is a sorrow that many have felt – I say this not to minimize the pain, but to show one does not feel it alone. Here is a rap rhyme I wrote for my loyal cat Pau. I admired his authenticity and engagement with life, and strove to live up to his unconditional trust.

      This is your Pau – what a great cat
      Enjoy your Pau and love him like that

      Groove with the rhythm, bopping down the block
      move his paws and tail as he go hip-hop

      Purr at the neighbor, purr at the sky
      Life is a blessing – why ask why

      Energy moving his fur and bones –
      This is his life – this is his home

      Something good happen – maybe soon
      Maybe next week – maybe next June

      Count all your blessings – let go of strife
      This is your Pau – treasure his life

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        RIP Mr Kitty, your goodness will live on.

        Thanks for sharing about Pau, I see him bopping down the block:)

    2. chuck roast

      Indeed. I know how you feel. Today is the first anny. of the death of my 18 year old black cat Ace. He loved to eat, sleep in the sun and go after my dental floss.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Smartphones Are a New Tax on the Poor

    This is an important story, and worth a read (though I think the writing is a bit clunky).

    There is another element of this: The endless and aggressive update/upgrade cycle leaves many who can’t afford to buy a new phone every year stranded without working applications. For example, slightly older iPhones won’t run New York State’s Excelsior app, used to show vaccination status, because the app only runs on the newer version of iOS, and older phones can’t be updgraded to the new iOS. So people have to carry around their vax cards, which is one more thing to remember and manage. Yet it would have been straightforward for NY State to write an app that was more broadly compatible with older versions of iOS, and make the app available to a greater population of people.

    (iOS developers can write in and tell me just exactly why a reasonable amount of backwards compatability and straightforward functionality is a bad idea.)

    1. griffen

      Planned obsolescence is a feature, not a bug (as one of our hosts eloquently has framed many aspects of a modern life). What you’ve described above is pretty ridiculous, that apps aren’t sustainable for very long on previous versions. Welcome to hell.

      I kept an old slider phone, not a smart phone for upwards of about 6 years; by mid 2015 I had no choice but to shift to a smart phone (primary to receive email updates). I swear that slider phone was a keeper!

      I’ve been lucky to get above 3 years from my current 2018 era smart phone. Cracked and a little worse for wear but it’s still ticking.

    2. David

      Almost nobody except a very few wealthy tech enthusiasts buys a new phone every year. The average replacement cycle for iPhones is about four years, although I’m not sure if anyone has made similar calculations for Android. The average is brought down a little by the fact that business phones tend to be changed more frequently.

      We recently changed a seven-year old iPhone, reluctantly, because it wouldn’t run a couple of key applications from third parties. All the basic software that came with the phone was still working fine, but, especially as new or “improved” apps came out, the developers seemed unwilling to spend the extra money necessary for backwards compatibility. I assume it’s the same for Android. In theory, manufacturers could insist that applications in their various Stores should be backwards compatible, but then I expect you’d get screams from developers.

      The other thing is that not all phones are equal. In France, for example, where schools have increasingly gone over to communicating with parents only by email and internet, parents in poorer families, especially immigrants, may have only a simple Chinese knock-off without the software to, for example, apply for free school meals or select classes, let alone allow their children to work remotely. You don’t get this problem with pen and paper.

    3. ScoFri

      I make it a point, since a $200 smartphone is a small tax which I can afford, that whenever I need a new phone I buy an android phone and give it to someone who is houseless. If there is something that can ease their struggle, and an addiction less harmful than opioids, I will gladly provide it.

      1. Carolinian

        Where I live seems like the homeless all have phones since they are always bringing them to the library to charge up.

        And btw it’s always been true that even a cell system phone without a plan can dial 911. I sometimes take an old phone on my hikes for that very reason.

          1. Carolinian

            I don’t know if they all have them….many do. It’s not intended as some kind of crack.

            Quite possible that people donate them. And since the phones all have wifi they can access the internet and not just 911. These days it’s a rare store or restaurant that doesn’t have free wifi.

            To be sure poor people with kids need broadband for school and that the cheaper phone plans don’t provide or at least not on video streaming level. Wikipedia, yes.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              When I was homeless out in Denver years ago. I went to a Temporary Labor place called Trojan Labor. You show up at the buttcrack of dawn and wait for the van to go build some bullshit apartment complex and get paid like 8$ a hour. Prolly higher now. Anyways, one night after me and my buddy hopped off the bus at a main transfer center, we saw a pop up tent and this contractor/NGO? Is handing out “Obamaphones” like candy. All u had to do was tell him your name and give him an address and a cellphone was yours. 250 free minutes a month. Cool, huh? I actually used it to get work while I was homeless and also to text some ladies.

              I went to the library alot to charge my phone because it had wifi and a public restroom. Plenty of places to charge ur phone but nothing as a comfortable as a library. The one in Denver was my favorite. Seattle’s was just too big and modern. New Orleans is not hang out friendly.

      2. BeliTsari

        True, THAT! Still using the HTC I’d handed Yves when her venerable (Nokia?) died*. Sony 12GB 155μm pixel (Schneider) camera. If you get a used FairPhone 3 & keep repairing it, maybe. But, any old Huawei can save you from Google (and these aren’t child slave-shop iPhones. All have bargaining units, profit-sharing and job descriptions, US unions would DENY rank&file!

        *Needed a bombproof camera to do reports, working out-of-doors (running 365 on Linux)

        1. Yves Smith

          I am still using that Nokia but does not get signal in most of NYC, but works fine anywhere without lots of tall buildings. Oddly got signal long enough to make a time-sensitive call on 6th Ave and then 57th Street. Also fine signal at the Hospital for Special Surgery, which is on the East River.

          1. Jack Parsons

            Some hospitals and other large institutions have people who make sure the important people can make calls anywhere in the building. Installing custom towers in the buildings. Constantly walking around checking signal. A friend did this for hospitals in LA.

        2. R

          My Fairphone 3 has developed battery charging problem. I tried replacing the battery but the Fairphone site refused to sell me one (Brexit?). So I bought a Gigaset phone that also runs eOS but is proudly unrecyclable. :-(

          I will take a look at the Fairphone 4 but they are in short supply and I am disappointed they removed the headphone jack

    4. Carolinian

      Why would any poor person buy an IPhone when they can get an Android smartphone for under $50 that essentially does all the same stuff? It is true that low cost phone plans like pre pay are under threat due to those mergers and Verizon has just bought Tracfone which owns all those prepay services you will find at Walmart and other poor people stores.

      But surely this is all on the government and our politicians and a better approach by the former would be to force big telecom to offer reasonable if bare bones plans rather than to subsidize the luxury versions. Which is to say it is not just the poor who are being bilked. Asia and Europe highly regulate their telecom users of the public airwaves and their citizens–all of them–pay much less for internet than we do.

      1. Oh

        Currently there are several discount carriers who lease bandwidth from cell phone companies, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Unfortunately, these companies will require a credit card for the subscriber although their plans are much cheaper than what Tracfone charged.

    5. Alphonse

      The smart phone is the new automobile.

      In the 20th century we in North America rebuilt our cities on the assumption that everyone owns a car. The result was catastrophic for for our communities, for our culture, for the environment, for the poor.

      It took us two generations to listen to Jane Jacobs, and the attempts to fix came too late: we got New Urbanism for the rich, not for the poor.

      And we learned nothing. Now we assume that everyone has a smart phone. Yesterday, car dependence dismantled our urban infrastructure. Today, phone dependence is dismantling our social infrastructure.

      The lesson is simple. Avoid building technical dependency into our lives. Once the dependency becomes concrete (literally in the case of the car), it is very hard to change. The more advanced and complex – the more sprawling its network of requirements (oil tankers, online services) – the worse the dependency. We can use technology, but we should not allow technology to use us.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Completely Agree. Whereas our interactions were filtered by automobiles, now they’re filtered by cellphones. People living their whole life on fake digital crap while their houses fall apart and the infrastructure around them.

        Just drive on by those factories, folks. Nothing to see here!

        Just ignore ur neighbors slowly dying outside from bankruptcy and mental health, folks!
        Nothing to see here!

    6. Jasbo

      “Software is eating the world” has so much more depth in its implications than most people realize. This is one of many examples. Increasingly, Big Tech is an extraction racket, and the hard push toward the “mandatory upgrade” path is only a slightly less-intensive form of rent seeking than full-on subscription extortion and/or pay-to-play ecommerce marketplace search results.

      As well, much of this is directly impacted by regulatory complexity in general, which goes far beyond “COVID pass” insanity. e.g. Intuit uses payroll-processing complexity (“payroll as a service”) as the barrel over which it forces small businesses to keep upgrading the core QuickBooks software. Coming soon, and already implemented in their “Enterprise” version: ONLY subscription-based licensing for QuickBooks Desktop, which will then lock you out of your own historical data once you quit paying – even if that data is housed on your own local computer(s).

      Rackets and corruption everywhere.

    7. chuck roast

      “So people have to carry around their vax cards.” Help me. I spent three years in army carrying around my shot record just like any other EM. Somehow I never felt abused.

      I also just got another (required because of the impending “G” upgrade) flip phone. My old flip phone was especially prized because my old army shot record was way smarter. Now, every time I flip open this new phone it tells me exactly how I can be ever so much smarter by engaging wi-fi, turning on the GPS or installing the latest genius-boy app. Now I do feel abused. The purpose of this machine is to approximate my level of sub-genius, and it seems to want to defy me every time I touch it. Where can I get a digital dial-phone?

    8. Count Zero

      Really? Carrying around a vax card is a big problem? This all smacks of over-dependence on dodgy technology and it’s even dodgier masters.

      How did we ever manage in the twentieth century!

  6. Pat

    It’s the eyes, you can see them studying what they are seeing.

    My sincere condolences to glaucus naïs. Eighteen years is not enough. I cannot say I understand the sensation of extension, for me it was them being a large part of every aspect of my life and thoughts. We are so blessed when they allow us to be so connected That handsome fella was also lucky to be a part of you. I wish this part, the goodbye, wasn’t so hard.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Epstein Had a Precise Plan”: How the Only Known Photo of Prince Andrew and the Pedophile Happened

    That is one helluva story that and certainly puts that famous foto into context. But that is one helluva twist at the end that I did not see coming. But when you are on the level of an Epstein or a Maxwell, all sorts of people want to be your best buddies-

    1. Robert Hahl

      I always wonder who greenlighted the plan to lure Epstein back to Teterboro and arrest him. My favorite clue was to this mystery is that Don and Bibi met at the White House about two months before the arrest. Who else could have agreed to it?

    2. griffen

      The other article linked today is interesting. Not overall compelling, but worth the time to see how others view the Epstein & Maxwell relationship.

      I think the Miami reporter carries more clout with her thoughts / opinions. If it wasn’t for here dredging into details in Florida, we might never know what these creepy creeps were up to. The angle between Epstein and Wexner is fascinating too.

  8. bassmule

    re: Darpa/Cornucopia

    The Incredible String Band

    “I was a young man back in the 1960s
    Yes, you made your own amusements then
    For going to the pictures;
    Well, the travel was hard, and I mean
    We still used the wheel
    But you could sit down at your table
    And eat a real food meal….

    …Well, I got a secret, and don’t give us away
    I got some real food tins for my 91st birthday
    And your grandmother bought them
    Way down in the new antique food store
    And for beans and for bacon, I will open up my door…”

    Way Back In The 1960s

  9. The Rev Kev

    “120 Manufacturers in the Global South Could Be Producing mRNA Vaccines If Big Pharma Would Only Show Them How”

    I’ll add an interesting data point here. A coupla days ago, Scotty from Marketing announced that a plant is going to be opened up to make mRNA vaccines in Victoria here in Oz. It’s an in-principle agreement so obviously no foundations have been laid yet. Maybe this is a ploy by Big Pharma by saying that ‘See, we are going to make some in the southern hemisphere’-

  10. Nikkikat

    Glaucus, condolences on your loss. Sad to hear you lost your dear friend. I wish you happy times to come in your memories of the joy and companionship he gave you. The gift of love shared.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Lawyer who defeated Shell predicts ‘avalanche’ of climate cases”

    Roger Cox had better be careful or Royal Dutch Shell will give him the “Steven Donziger” treatment. And as it is, you have some pretty dodgy shenanigans going on with the courts in the Netherlands. Must be the Mark Rutte influence at work.

  12. Bricky

    Re: the AP story of the Russian proposal/ultimatum, it’s amazing that the AP didn’t report the American side ripping up the papers and burning them live at a White House briefing. This is not how America is used to being treated, and that they are going along with it even a little makes me wonder what Putin has on the USA, and what went down at that recent Biden-Putin video conference and after.

    The Russia America relationship recently just seems so weird to me. I remember when Navalny was first put in prison, Biden publicly announced that if anything were to happen to him, Russia would suffer devastating consequences. So here I am thinking, “sure, you interfered in our national elections, hacked all of our systems, but if anything happens to this Russian dissident, then we’re really going to get angry.” There just seems to be so much more going on than I know about or can find information on.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Russia has stated their security proposals and they seem to be a maximum position that can however be revised during negotiations. They are talking about a draft treaty and agreement with the United States but I don’t see the point as the US has torn up one treaty after the other over the past twenty years so why would a new one be any different? And they have already slammed the US as being agreement-incapable in the recent past so really there is no trust there-

      1. ambrit

        The cynic in me sees this as Russia setting the ground “rules of engagement” up so as to establish a solid trip wire system. Then, Russia can legitimately frame itself as being the victims of western agression when NATO steps “over the line” in the Ukraine, or, more worryingly, Kaliningrad.
        The Russians are past masters of playing a long game on the diplomatic front. The more time you spend negotiating, the longer you do not fight, and, from a strategic point of view, the longer you have to prepare for war.
        The Russians are still expanding their Moscow subway system, which double as mass survival bunkers.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Me thinks that this is the final part of the Russian long game to get the “West” to negotiate. First they asked for negotiations and fair treatment, then they started to to git tit-for-that for each bumbling, ill-thought set of another “devastating consequences” and now they have demanded US attention. They already said it’s useless to try to solve the Ukrainian situation with the vassal (Ukraine), so they should talk directly to the master (USA).

          Now seems to be opportune time for this kind of confrontation, since Russia just signed big friendship and collaboration (and energy) agreements with China and India (including trade outside of SWIFT), and the pro-West opposition is in tatters blaming each other to be “Putin’s minion”. The real opposition, Communists and Liberal Democrats won’t have any issues with talking back to the “West”.

          As the deputy foreign minister just said: No hostile sanctions today can make Russia suffer like it suffered in the 90’s when the West “helped” it.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The cycle goes like this:
            -Shrub, allowances were made due to relative weakness and the US being grumpy.
            -2009 the adults are back
            2011 Libya bringing Iraq back into focus, Jumpstart changes
            -Syria and exporting Jihad, so much for worrying about Islamic extremism
            -Biden promises a restoration of American leadership
            -invites the Chinese over to insult them in Alaska
            -holds promising summit with Putin
            -reverts to Obama when like Obama he is a failed domestic President.

            There is no more long game. The Chinese are done too. Iran isn’t a joke anymore. The treamtent of Iran has been noticed. Domestically the US is in a spiral where the Team Blue elites openly despise their voters. Biden can’t agree to this publicly, but he can abide by these standards. There isn’t room for negotiation with the US.

            Biden as Obama’s Veep would always have a shorter leash than anyone else as he has as track record.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I suspect it’s less a move for PR than an announcement that whatever good might be offered to a new President is gone. Biden can get people in line or not.

          I suspect Biden went shopping for conflicts that he thought would be easy wins instead of crushing Manchin because he has to do the dirty work domestically and can’t farm it out.

          The US is a dangerous child power that transformed itself into a gas station or aspires to be one. It only understands force.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Meant to add. There is another reason for Russia to have dark suspicions about the US. So the ‘UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution condemning Nazism, neo-Nazism and all forms of racism, which was co-sponsored by Russia’. Only two countries voted against this so I will let you guess which ones. The interesting thing in the embedded image in the following article is those that totally abstained from voting ( I know mine did)-

      3. Bricky

        What seems unique about the Russian proposal is that it is a straight-up public ultimatum to the USA. I’m sure Russia would be able to compromise on this point or that, but the fact that a declining regional power that is just a gas station that makes nothing and is deservedly headed for extinction (the official Western view) made a very public ultimatum to the USA and so far the USA hasn’t thrown it back in their face, is amazing to me.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Propaganda works though. “Bricky” seems to think the old empire is rearing it’s head with Putin having dirt on everyone (Pelosi is openly corrupt)and it’s a mere gas station the US should trow against the wall.

              His description of Russia is basically what the US has become.

              1. Bricky

                I thought it was clear that I was being sarcastic about be declining regional power that was a gas station that made nothing. This is the standard way to describe Russia among the West’s FP elite. There was an element of truth in this description in say the year 2003, but it’s out of date now.

                Also I don’t think Putin has dirt on people, I suspect Russia’s position is stronger than we are led to believe. I don’t know if it’s the hypersonic missiles or an impracticality in ejecting it out of swift (how is Europe going to pay for its gas?), or just the plain old nuclear deterrent

        1. The Rev Kev

          You do know that that regional gas station is fully capable of turning the United States into the largest car parking surface on the planet which also glows in the dark, don’t you? And in a nuclear exchange, there is not a damn thing that the US can do about it. And the demands that Russia make are nothing compared to the ones the US makes a coupla times a year – along with the threats, warnings, ultimatums and all the rest of it. The way to solve this is through a diplomatic negotiation between the US and the Russian Federation but unfortunately there is no desire for this in the beltway. There is too much profit on the line for too many corporations.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            No, but it’s a regional power. It’s such a sick burn. Obama used it, ignoring the historical ties between Russia and Syria effectively making it the same region. If the Ukraine isn’t in the region, then even calling Russia a regional power doesn’t make sense.

            Since this is about Biden’s fracking ties, isn’t this about the US being a gas station?

          2. Bricky

            Yes it’s clear that Russia has the nuclear capacity to destroy the USA and vis-versa. But that was also true even in the 1990s when the USA rode roughshod over Russian interests.

            Another random thing that reminds me of the USA Russia conflict these days is a scene I witnessed on the NYC subway slightly pre-covid. There was a physically tall, large but all-fat guy who was doing something weird, and a short but heavily built guy who obviously lifted sitting across the isle. The tall guy suddenly started screaming manically at the shorter guy, “Why are you looking at me! You have no right to look at me!” He just really went off for a long time. Meanwhile the shorter guy waited for a break in the screaming, literally flexed his pecs first left then right, and in a calm, clear voice said “What are you going to do about it?” I thought it was hilarious and it reminded me of USA vs Putin.

    2. LawnDart

      The [NATO] secretary general said he had been present at the NATO Summit in Bucharest in 2008 where “all Allies agreed that Ukraine will become member of NATO.” The Alliance stands by that position, Stoltenberg underlined.

      “What is important now is that we focus on reforms for Ukraine to meet NATO standards and I welcome the strong commitment by President Zelensky on the reforms…

      No doubt Russia expects the MIC to press forth with their plans for expansion, and to cross the red line, as this is the official position of NATO, on the basis of “defending against Russian aggression.”

      As a strong contrast to the APs and other media outlets giddy hyperventilations over the prospect of a Rooski invasion, I found this piece which asks (as other commentors have questioned) “Why in the would Russia invade Ukraine?:

      A Russian Invasion Of Ukraine: Hype Or Horror?

      Putin has promised a Russian “asymetrical response” to further attempts to expand NATO. I would like to think that some allusion as to what the response might entail could possibly be gleaned from the negotiations draft, though that’s like a kid shaking a box of presents under the Christmas tree– without the expected future pleasantries.

      This leaves the question: will Russia make a case that can convince Biden/deep state to put the dogs on a leash, to not expand NATO onto Russia’s very doorstep?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden is a classic bully. It’s all about appearances. My guess is he whined to Putin about needing a win due to his polling situtation as if dictators are completely disconnected from the street. It’s how they get to be dictators. Of course Biden is dumb and wouldn’t recognize that was the same line Obama used, so no one will buy it. Biden is flailing. He’s huffing about no Russians or Chinese at the joke in Glasgow. He held his little democracy summit led by a country featuring the largest prison population. He’s told State to find a win. He fumbled Iran.

        I doubt it’s a Russian long game as much as Moscow is done with US theatrics. They aren’t putting out an agreement as much as announcing what will turn off the gas to Europe.

      2. Bill Smith

        “The text delivered to the 30-member bloc focuses mainly on the movement of military personnel and material, including a promise that all signatories will not station their forces on European states that were not members of NATO in 1997.”

        Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania all want more NATO troops stationed in their countries, not less. Why would they vote for something like this? They still have memories of living under the Soviet Union’s control.

        I saw that the head of Sweden’s military was in Washington DC this week and said the US should think about stationing more troops in Europe.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Because they are insignificant states that have no real fear of an empire spreading and just want to charge base rents and help the local service industry when Germans would rather have the bases gone for their own property values?

          Putting a base on the front given the current US force disposition or even capacity just means more destruction if there was an actual conflict. They’ll sign whatever the US President tells them to sign.

          1. Bill Smith

            That must be the long term view. Because right now, the Poles, for instance are not charging rent and are paying for most of the new infrastructure that is needed to base the US forces there.

            Teaser rate. Bait and switch.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Smartphones Are a New Tax on the Poor

    Finally, those that benefit from this connectivity should also pay for it. Employers of low-wage workers who depend on texting their employees or expect them to manage their schedules through an app must recognize their role in requiring phones and subsidize them. These efforts will require us to reframe the way we see smartphones—not as a luxury but as a necessity—in order to stop connectivity from deepening inequality.

    Or we should put the burden of managing employees back on the employer, and also eliminate just-in-time scheduling. No one should *need* a personal cell phone to be able to hold a job, and if such a device is necessary, the employer must provide it.

    1. Nikkikat

      I have noticed also that hospital and doctor and vets office use their personal phones to contact me. Their personal numbers are unfamiliar and do not contain the name of hospital or doctor. Most of the time I don’t answer because my phone rings all day. I also have to wonder why people would be agreeable to funding their own phones to use for their employers business.

      1. Objective Ace

        >I also have to wonder why people would be agreeable to funding their own phones to use for their employers business.

        The alternative is some clunky software program on your computer from which you have to make calls and be stationed in one place in order to recieve call backs

      2. Late Introvert

        I have made it clear to my own employer that if they want me to do social media as part of my job, they need to provide the smartphone and the data plan, because I don’t have any of that shite. I’m not exactly poor but low income these days.

    1. LawnDart

      If they can square their business with virtual orders from virtual airlines who fly virtual passengers around the metaverse, one might see virtually no problem with this.

  14. CG

    Re: Myocarditis study

    By no means am I medical expert, but this portion of the study seems to be less than encouraging for people under 40 with respect to the current vaccines:

    Subgroup analyses by age showed that the increased risk of events associated with the two mRNA vaccines was present only in those aged under 40 years. For this age group, we estimated 2 (95% CI 1, 3) and 8 (95%CI 4, 9) excess cases of myocarditis per 1 million people receiving a first dose of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively, and 3 (95% CI 2, 4) and 15 (95%CI 12, 16) excess cases of myocarditis per 1 million people receiving a second dose of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively. This compares with ten (95% CI 7, 11) extra cases of myocarditis following a SARS-CoV-2 positive test in those aged under 40 years.

    Am I right to read this, especially in light of the likelihood of booster shots being recommended at least twice a year (and according to Eric Topol on Twitter, possibly three times a year), as a major issue for anyone under 40 with the current vaccines? And, since as I understand it there is a substantial gender bias that I’m not sure whether or not is addressed in this paper, could this be an even larger issue than is portrayed in this paper?

    1. Eloined

      From one non-expert to another, I agree with your reading. A recent Israeli study (; also drawn from national data, and briefly mentioned in the UK study) shows the highest incidence rate in 16-19 year old males. It did not measure in younger populations, and was published 3 days after this news item: That article does not mention “myocarditis,” but does describe some nasty things that people opposed to child vaccination have said. Even so, the UK study’s results on COVID-linked heart problems sans-vax is worthy of consideration.

    2. R

      I am not antivaxx but I am against the booster treadmill. I just got a Moderna booster after 2x AZ, but only at my wife’s insistence – she moved the appointment earlier two times! – and, in the end, because SAGE friend shared the modelling that 2x AZ expected to do *nothing* against omicron but RNA booster shows substantial though expected-temporary activity. That’s it though, no more boosters unless Covid’s IFR jumps a magnitude.

      We need to learn to live with Covid through prevention of infection (masks, filters, ventilation, isolation, contact tracing) and prophylaxis and home treatment (iodine, ivermectin etc), not regular mass injection with emergency authorisation vaccines of diminishing returns. Japan has shown it can be done.

      Having said all that, I think the interpretation of the myocarditis finding above is both right and wrong. Right in that yes, the myocarditis risk is higher with the rna vax than Covid. Wrong in that Covid infection has all sorts of other cardiac sequelae and so a true comparison would ask, how many cardiac injuries from Vax vs infection? Here, I suspect the Vax is less dangerous.

      I am just the wrong side of 40 but with all my own hair and teeth so I hope Moderna does not think I look younger than I am!

  15. griffen

    US builds software to predict which actions may incite the ire of China. No word if an Atari version exists that is backwards compatible.

    I am highly disappointed in the Onion. They must be taking a half day for their holiday shopping this week. \sarc

    1. The Rev Kev

      I suspect that the true purpose of that software is so that the US can push China to the absolute limits without them taking action against them. But as the Chinese know about this software, the observer effect comes into play which would make it useless as the Chinese would just throw a few spanners into the works by being more unpredictable than usual. So the net effect of this ropey piece of software is to ramp up tensions and make the Chinese even more unpredictable. That’s software for you.

  16. Questa Nota

    Anti-mimetics #20 – read foreign newspapers

    Try these, too.
    Listen to foreign radio. Some have English broadcasts, while others may require dusting off that language you studied in High School.
    Read foreign or alternative websites.
    Continue to read NC.

  17. Carla

    Re: Smartphones are a new tax on the poor

    “Employers of low-wage workers who depend on texting their employees or expect them to manage their schedules through an app must recognize their role in requiring phones and subsidize them.”

    Or employers could be forced (by law, what a concept) to create regular, predictable schedules for their employees, like in the olden days. When I had minimum wage jobs as a young person back in the day, I always knew at least a week in advance what my schedule was going to be. For heaven’s sake, this is not hard.

    1. fresno dan

      glaucus naïs
      December 17, 2021 at 9:44 am
      My neighbor’s cat visited me daily – she was sweet but demanding in the petting she craved and the chin and ear scratchings she wanted. She died recently and left a void that I cannot fill.

      1. chuck roast

        There is cat in my neighborhood named Buster. He lives a couple of hundred yards away, and according to a woman on the corner he terrorizes all the other cats on the block. He is a medium sized short-haired gray. A couple of months ago I went out to the yard with my morning coffee and spotted him hiding behind some shrubs. So, I started chatting him up and calling his name. As soon as he yawned I knew I had him. I sat down with my back to him and started on my book and my coffee. After a few minutes he came up behind me and brushed my hand. I petted him and chatted some more and he had had enough after about 15 minutes. Off he went on patrol to give all the other cats on the block hell. It was the top of the day.

  18. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    To be frank, nobody expected the Dếbt Offensive would take place near the holidays corresponding with the lunar cycle being full as it was just too cruel to imagine student loan repayment being enforced in the middle of a pandemic well within the 12 days of xmas, obviously we had greatly underestimated the Venture Capitalists (VC) uncouthing ways about means. A major escalation

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon looks to microbes to feed troops with air, water, maybe even trash turned to protein”

    I’ve heard that Pentagon rations are called MREs as in Meals Ready to Eat (also known as Meals Rejected by Ethiopians) so what would these new “meals” be called? No, I don’t wanna know. But what happens if the most popular meal flavour with the troops turns out to be Long Pig? Arthur C. Clarke wrote a story called “The Food of the Gods” a long time ago with this theme in mind-

    1. Wukchumni

      I did a week-long backpack trip with MRE’s about 25 years ago (cheated a little bit by bringing a stove & fuel) and aside from the amazing pound cake, the rest of it was rather hit or miss and you don’t wan’t to lug any misses when it comes to hunger pangs, and the packaging was a bit heavy.

      Food selection is important and don’t forget candy for a pick me up. I was walking the High Sierra Trail with friends 4 years ago and we were at Guitar Lake which is the last camping before going up to Mount Whitney, and we met a 17 year old kid who only brought power bars with him for a week long foray into the forest and over the passes gaining and dropping over 20,000 feet in altitude, and I had an extra chicken and rice freeze dried when I heard of his plight, and offered it up to him and I kid you not, he hugged me.

      We like to have our hot beverages in the backcountry, and MRE’s only came with 1 chemical heating element bag, so they would really limit the possibility.

      1. jr

        The most dreaded flavor of MRE in my experience was the “omelet, with cheese”. A moist, dense foam-bar of egg and cheese-ishness. Beyond disgusting. The rest were like eating cheap canned food. I can’t imagine what microbial protein might be made to actually taste like but it will be awful. Artificial flavors always are.

      2. griffen

        I’m sure those power bars were getting old about day 2 or 3 for that youngster. Do you have suggestions for any sites or purveyor of quality mre equivalence?

        Asking for a friend more than myself. Thanks.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a new freeze dried brand we’re pretty fond of named Peak that is so much better than the usual Mountain House meals we eat, check em’ out.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The original McRib was meant to replace protein meals for the Army. It didn’t get served to troops because it didn’t fit nutritional needs relative to the other advantages. Yeah, the brass is always trying to eff the troops.

      1. Wukchumni

        I prefer to backpack with milk chocolate (I know, how plebian of me!) but it’s a little tricky in that you have to put it somewhere it doesn’t melt on you, and you can pull it off by sticking it in a pot or below a Camelbak bladder with cold water in it.

        In the run up to Iraq War 1, Hershey* made this milk chocolate specifically for the high heat expected, and it didn’t melt.

        They made a veritable shitlode of them and the war was over before you could say Stretch Armstrong and some of the leftovers got remaindered to the 99 Cent Store and you could buy 10 Desert Storm chocolate bars for 99 Cents, good times.

        * yeah I get it, 2x+ good plebian, but that was then and this is now, and they only thing Hershey couldn’t cheapen somehow using ersatz materials on their milk chocolate bars that taste like sweetened mud was the almond slivers one occasionally encounters.

        1. The Rev Kev

          During the 1982 Falklands war, the British troops had Mars Bars as part of their rations but it was so cold, that those Mars Bars froze solid and were too big to pop in their mouths. After the war, the British switched to Rollos which were like a pack of round mini-Mars Bars instead. Here is a selection of army rations from around the world-

          1. Wukchumni

            Some of those army rations look downright interesting, the French & Italian varieties in particular.

  20. dogwood

    Hugs glaucus nais. So very sorry for your loss of Mr. Kitty. 18 years is an impressive length of time for a cat though, so you were extra lucky there. They really can be wonderful and special friends.

  21. allan

    Time to check in with our brave Frontline™ House members to see how their centrist fight
    for reinventing government, fiscal responsibility and reaching across the aisle is going.
    From Politico Playbook, which is a convenient source for anonymous bile from the corporatists,
    so buyer beware:

    … Previous DCCC Chair CHERI BUSTOS (Ill.), who represented a Trump district, was known for pushing back on leadership in private in order to protect vulnerable members from tough votes. But Maloney has taken the opposite tack: In August, as Speaker NANCY PELOSI was trying to corral moderates to vote for a $3.5 trillion budget, the DCCC infuriated members by threatening to withhold campaign money from them if they opposed the resolution. (The DCCC denied this.)

    Then this fall, Maloney routinely sided with leadership over at-risk members who wanted Pelosi to allow a stand-alone vote on the infrastructure bill. He attacked one of the members, JOSH GOTTHEIMER, on Twitter after the New Jersey Democrat criticized Pelosi for “breach[ing] her firm, public commitment” to do so.

    One member relayed another anecdote to Playbook: During the fall, liberal outside groups spent millions on TV ads pressuring vulnerable House Democrats to back Build Back Better. The members pleaded with the DCCC to get the groups to back off, but committee officials refused. (The DCCC says it’s illegal for the committee to tell an outside group how to spend money.) …

    Pass the smelling SALTs.

  22. fresno dan
    When I think of this refusal to practice introspection, I think of MSNBC host Chris Hayes. I see two great impediments to the American liberal project, and Hayes embodies both: a fixation on Trump that nears the pathological, trapping liberalism perpetually in yesterday’s war, and a studious refusal to speak plainly and critically about the way that the Democratic party has become captured by donors and staffers whose politics are not just wildly out of step with the median American but with the median Democrat.
    Sometimes I get people asking me why I don’t write more criticism of Republicans and conservatives. I’ve made the basic point many times before: those with influence within the conservative movement are too craven or crazy for meaningful written engagement to be worth anything, and those who are interesting and honest have no influence within the conservative movement. You can engage with Ross Douthat, who’s sharp and fair but who the average conservative would call a RINO, or you can engage with a roster of interchangeable lunatics who lie and dissemble in defense of a cruel revanchist movement. I tend to train my fire on the broad left of center because, as much as I would sometimes like to wash my hands of the whole damn lot of them, they are the half of American politics that could actually reform, that could improve. I see no positive outcome from going through Breitbart posts and pointing out the lies. But Hayes, and other liberal Democrats who grumble and groan about left on liberal criticism, seem to think that if we just keep talking about how awful Josh Hawley and the Proud Boys are, somehow these problems will all sort themselves out.

    They won’t. If you’re obsessed with defeating Trumpism, you should realize that you can only do that through securing a broad multicultural coalition, and you can’t do that when you’re alienating Hispanic voters or failing to challenge people in your political orbit when they insist that white children should be taught that they’re inherently and irreversibly racist. 70% of this country is white, Hispanic voters are not remotely as left-leaning as people assumed, immigrants are far from uniformly progressive, women were never actually a liberal stronghold, and you can’t win national elections by appealing only to the kinds of people who say “Black bodies” instead of “Black people.”
    Are the democrats reformable – well, if you read Water Cooler regularly, it doesn’t seem so. Is the US political system NOW capable of representing something…anything, other than the monied?
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    1. lance ringquist

      and don’t forget what they think about smelly people who work with their hands. i will never forget on a charlie rose one night clintonite donna Shalala was gushing over the fact that a lot of those smelly factories were being closed down and shipped off.

  23. fresno dan
    A continuing BuzzFeed News investigation reveals new information about how Chambers’ business, along with an array of issues involving other FBI agents and informants, has bedeviled the prosecution. Those issues may well affect the course of the trial. But beyond the integrity of the case, the problems are serious and widespread enough to call into question tactics the FBI has relied on for decades — and to test the public’s trust in the bureau overall.
    The reporting also uncovers significant new details about how Jayson Chambers attempted to parlay his FBI work hunting for terrorists into a private moneymaking venture. The business, called Exeintel, sought contracts in some cases worth millions of dollars to help institutions identify violent threats. A Twitter account linked to Chambers’ business appeared on at least two occasions to be privy to the workings of Chambers’ ongoing FBI investigations before they were made public and to have tweeted about the Michigan case before arrests were made.
    Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome Charlie Munger

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: White House Delays Moving Military Assistance to Ukraine

    I’m so old I remember when they impeached a president for doing that. It’s all OK now though. Let’s go Brandon!

  25. JohnJohn

    My hypothesis about most society’s responses to the covid pandemic to-date:

    #1 Vast majority of people are moved by narrative, emotions & authority
    #2 Vast majority of people are not moved by data analysis or scientific reasoning
    #3 “Stay as close to status quo as possible” is compelling to vast majority
    #4 Effective response only with sea change to #1 above

    Regarding #4, I am reminded of the climax scene in Ocean’s 13 when the heist is on and the unknowing masses are living their dream, all winning big money at the casino. Ocean’s criminal team inflicts a decent-sized earthquake on the casino building in an attempt to panic the citizens into a rush to the exits with all of their winnings. The citizens simply cheer the decent-sized earthquake and go about the business of living out their gambling dream. Only when there is imminent and perceptible danger from a much larger earthquake do the unknowing masses take steps to protect themselves.

    1. JBird4049

      I don’t know about being unable to by moved by data as much as being completely untrusting of the source of the data; screaming “Trust the Science! Obey us It! You ignoramic fools!” is not very convincing to the fools; this is especially true when both the ostensibly authoritative and trustworthy proponents of the supposedly science based diktats, which cannot fail, but only be failed, are as solid as a tower of jello.

      Thirty, forty years ago, the CDC was dependable. People there made mistakes and they had agendas, but the agency itself was focused and competent. You could say the same about the FDA. Today, they are incompetent, captured, corrupted agencies that cannot be trusted.

      1. JohnJohn

        I work with many PhD scientists that I trust for solid scientific investigation and data analysis in another field. I have been surprised by the extent to which my colleagues have been willing to accept the dominant societal narrative and dictates from authorities rather than come to their own conclusions based on their own critical thinking and analysis. It has admittedly increased my skepticism about the will of my fellow citizens to critically think.

        1. c_heale

          When I did my Chemistry degree at a very good university, a long time ago, the majority of students were extremely conformist.

  26. Laurel White

    For glaucus nais: so very sorry for your sudden loss of Mr. Kitty, who appears to clearly understand the responsibilities and rewards of best friendship. Love is a force that transcends space and time. Trust that you will meet again. Deepest condolences – he is a very dashing and dapper cat.

  27. Synoia

    You see Faychi spouting on TV, using so many words to explain something simple, that you cannot come to the conclusion that he is, at best, not credible.

    And that his length of service is readily explainable.

    They many climb in, and one forms the conclusion that none of the fame seeking are credible. Those that are credible are those who write at NC, and explain matters in a manner that is concise, plausible an not consumed by a desire t become famous..

    To misuse a hackneyed phrase: I Thank you for your service.

  28. The Rev Kev

    Jesus wept. So I was just reading the following-

    ‘New South Wales has moved from a policy of suppressing Covid to letting it “wash through the community”, a public health expert has said, as positive case numbers in the community rise exponentially.’

    That was exactly Boris Johnson’s idea at the beginning of the pandemic. And whether you get it naturally or through a vaccine, this ‘immunity’ only lasts about six months. This is politicized medicine at work. &#**@^%%!

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