Links 1/1/2022

99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2021 Future Crunch (Dr. Kevin)

THIS CAT FURNITURE SYSTEM FEATURES MULTIFUNCTIONAL MODULES FOR CATS AND THEIR HUMANS BOTH TO ENJOY! Yanko Furniture (David L). Hoo boy, I first read the headline as “malfunctional modules” and was trying to puzzle out how furniture could be selectively broken for the betterment of felines and their humans.

Fish fall from the sky during rain in east Texas, city reacts KXXV (J-LS). Weird stuff like that is usually a post tornado event. And poor fishies!

World’s Largest Flying Animal – With a Wingspan Nearing 40 Feet – Leaped Aloft To Fly SciTech Daily (Chuck L)

15 jaw-dropping weather photos on 500px ISO (David L)

Astronomers uncover largest group of rogue planets yet ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

Ontario Police Are Looking Long & Hard For Thieves Who Stole Over $90K Worth Of Condoms Narcity (Dr. Kevin). Must have been planning quite the New Year event!

Don’t throw your old laptop in the dumpster—here’s what to do instead Reviewed (David L)

Logic’s song ‘1-800-273-8255’ may have led to hundreds fewer suicides, study finds MPR (Chuck L)

How Disgust Explains Everything New York Times (Anthony L)


GM: “Florian Krammer is one of the very top scientists in the world working on respiratory viruses, studying flu prior to the pandemic, then coronaviruses too. So this coming from him is quite significant:”

Remote Antarctic station hit with Covid-19 outbreak RT (Kevin W)

World map shows which nations met 40% vaccine goal — and which didn’t NPR (David L)


Omicron is spreading at lightning speed. Scientists are trying to figure out why NPR (David L). NPR is waking up to this only now?


Paris reintroduces an outdoor mask mandate. New York Times


Prepare for virus superstorm: Omicron will peak in the US with up to 5.4m cases a week by Jan. 9 and not the end of the month says Columbia researchers Daily Mail

Omicron puts pinch on Biden vaccine mandate efforts The Hill

INFORMED CONSENT ACTION NETWORK v. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION AND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. Seeking the release of Covid vaccine safety data, which the CDC claims it will take 75 years to anonymize.

The US Postal Service is getting hit by Omicron after it survived the holiday season by enlisting tens of thousands of workers Business Insider (Kevin W)


Two of America’s biggest banks return to remote work to start 2022 CNN (Kevin W)

Food recalls have dropped off during the pandemic, but no one is entirely sure why MPR (Chuck L)


China helping Saudi Arabia build ballistic missiles Asia Times (Kevin W)


Brexit returns to its roots Chris Grey (guurst)

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič: “London Has Breached a Great Deal of Trust” Der Spiegel

Blair becomes ‘Sir Tony’ and joins top royal order BBC


How the US plans to re-insert itself into Afghanistan The Cradle (Chuck L)

Parents selling children shows desperation of Afghanistan Associated Press (J-LS)

Imperial Collapse Watch

CIA Experimented on Hundreds of Orphans, Torturing Them to Reveal Psychopathic Traits—Report Free Thought Project (BC)

How we benefit from the Cockburn’s ‘Spoils of War‘ Responsible Statecraft (resilc)


The Unbearable Double Standard of the US Press, judging Biden Harshly and Abruptly Forgetting Trump’s Bizarre Antics Juan Cole (furzy). The Clinton efforts to overturn the 2016 election (asserting the military should have a say, briefly scheming to flip electors) and Russiagate are completely omitted from this account.

Trump-appointed bank regulator resigns after partisan fight Financial Times

Retired general warns the military could lead a coup after the 2024 election NPR (David L). Note Clinton allies in 2016 talked way too loudly about how the military should approve of an incoming president, so this is merely taking that line of thought to its logical conclusion.

Democrats en déshabillé

Pelosi Announces Events to Mark 6 Jan. Anniversary ‘in Spirit of Unity, Patriotism, Prayerfulness’ Sputnik (Kevin W). Kill me now.

Our Famously Free Press

New anti-protest laws cast long shadow on First Amendment rights Florida Bulldog (Chuck L)

Nonstandard Measures. Why artists should oppose “Stay Down”… Cory Doctorow (fk)

Woke Watch

A Blueprint for Woke Medicine City Journal (furzy)

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein’s prison guards to complete community service New York Post (BC)

Speculation grows that Maxwell may try to cut a deal for reduced sentence Guardian (J-LS). This is ridiculous. The time to bargain is before a suit is filed. And the deal is contingent on the information leading to successful indictments. She has no leverage.

Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers demand proof that Prince Andrew can’t sweat CNN (J-LS)

Louisville, Co First light shows destruction from Marshall Fire- Drone 4k YouTube (Dr. Kevin). :-(

More Marshall fire images: href=”” rel=”nofollow”>


Israeli Pharma Giant Teva Found Responsible for Opioid Addiction Epidemic in New York Trial Sputnik (Chuck L)

Dollar’s year of living dangerously awaits Asia Times (Kevin W)

2021 Bye Bye

From IM Doc:

Responsible Statecraft 2021: Top 5 most-read articles of the year Responsible Statecraft (J-LS)

The 9 politicians who had the most impact in 2021 The Hill

In 2021, New York’s Housing Market Made a Stunning Comeback DNyuz (J-LS). We did say the predictions of New York’s demise were way ahead of themselves.

The Selective Sovietization of American Capitalism Amar Bhide, Project Syndicate. Important.

Guillotine Watch

Bulgari Offers a $39,000 Hotel Suite for Those Who Might Spend Millions on a Necklace Wall Street Journal (J-LS)

Space Colonists Will Likely Resort to Cannibalism, Scientist Says Futurism (J-LS)

Happy New Year!

IMHO Sydney does fireworks the best because Sydney Harbor is such a great staging ground. I saw then live at the end of the Olympics and at New Years 2004.

Antidote du jour (Alison L):

And a bonus (Tom H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Retired general warns the U.S. military could lead a coup after the 2024 election”

    Groan! Some generals just can’t fade away fast enough. A military coup in the US? And when is it suppose to happen? In May by any chance? I understand that these things take about as week to play out. You might find a few formations that will take such action but others will not. And how closely are the generals/admirals aligned with the troops that would undertake such an attempt? Will they shoot at fellow American soldiers to defend those generals/admirals? Will the other formations that refuse to obey such illegal orders just sit there or will they take action? And you are talking about formations from the Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines who are all temperamentally different. And for any such coup to succeed, you would have to basically use the military to keep the States in line. Anybody think that the National Guard in those States will put up with that? Doesn’t matter if such a coup took the House, Senate, White House & Supreme Court if everybody in the rest of the country is refusing to listen to them. And here you are talking about Game of Throne rules in play. If you do not win, you end up as a smear against a brick wall. No. Not going to happen.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Our military hasn’t won an engagement since Hitler was walking around. I’ll put my money on the opposition.

      1. The Historian

        Oh, I don’t know. We beat the hell out of Grenada in 1983…

        But against combatants that that weren’t miniscule, you are right. Makes me really question exactly what we are paying for.

        1. ambrit

          Probably so. To show the Japanese that “Resistance is Futile,” and to show the Soviets who the “big dogs” were.
          Don’t forget that Truman, to whom the responsibility to authorize the use of the bomb was given hadn’t even known of the bomb’s existence before he became President.

    2. Carolinian

      The folks at The American Conservative say that the military’s Republican/conservative base is quite disgusted with the Pentagon’s new woke officer corps. So it’s just as likely that any coup attempt against a returning Trump would bring back fragging. Here’s what Colonel Lang has to say about generals.

      The system in the US and any other country’s armed forces produces in peace time and any condition short of total war, men who may well look like leaders of men devoted to their trade and its mysteries but whom in fact are highly skilled politicians who will dissemble, lie and betray anyone or anything to protect themselves and their precious careers.

    3. Tom Stone

      The class divide in the US Military is immense, General Officers live like potentates and enlisted ranks are food insecure.
      Even NCO’s,the backbone of any Military, are right on the edge financially.
      And this idiot thinks a Coup is possible in 2024?
      Is he getting his advice from Hillary Clinton?

    4. flora

      Ignore it. This is all the MSM’s build up to this year’s 1/6 media commemorative ‘Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY’ (!), aka “deplorables! r*cist! supremi*ts! are coming to get you!” Even PBS is getting in on the act this week with a special explaining the horrible dangerous horrible people involved in 1/6. (No doubt to be followed some days later by the Dems attempting to once again pass their new domestic anti-terrier bill v. 2) My 2 cents.

  2. Michael Ismoe

    Saw 100,000 people on a street cam celebrating New Year’s Eve on Bourbon Street shoulder-to-shoulder. Not a mask in sight.

    1. Tom Stone

      And YOU get a Darwin award, and You get a Darwin award,and You get a Darwin award….
      This is the kind of thing you see when transitioning from a high trust society to a low trust society.
      Let’s go Brandon!

    2. Cocomaan

      Watched the depressing Times Square footage and while most everyone was masked, I didn’t see anyone wearing a mask well. It’s going to take a lot to convince me that the masks I saw worn actually prevent transmission and aren’t just political totems.

      1. Pat

        It is going to take a lot for people to understand that masking, ventilation, and immune support vitamins and habits are the best and most useful tools we have to stay healthy. That vaccines are only really useful in keeping you out of the hospital and only for a relatively short time.

        Our leaders and public health officials are directly responsible for most of those who have gotten sick due to their lies because of a bloody stupid need to make the market happy. They should rot in hell.

    3. Craig H.

      Most of the people on Bourbon Street on New Years Eve would be Baylor and U Mississippi fans traveling to town to watch the Sugar Bowl. Today at 6:45. So you get another chance to look at their masking compliance when the television cameras pan the fans to show the viewing audience how much fun they are missing out on after somebody scores a touchdown.

      Has anybody got a technique to pour alcohol down your throat through a mask? Does Corona virus survive in a puddle of puke? Are they doing a Wuhan protocol disinfecting spray on the street this morning?

    1. Patrick Donnelly

      Plasma drives fast winds and sparks wiring. Ionization need not be high for this to occur.
      After the fire, rains usually come but in the cold, at that altitude, it was snow.
      The Universe is Electromagnetic

    2. Carla

      That’s nothing. Imagine the aftereffects of a Neocon influence triggered nuclear war. Most of America would look like that. Few would see the wreckage; your loved ones eyeballs having flashed to steam in a millisecond and the survivors envying the dead.

      That horror can be avoided if people pay attention and create change.

  3. Lina

    General comment/question.

    MSM is going on and on about high number of covid cases (which I can see with my own eyes in my community), but that they are less severe (ie less likely to require hospitalization or lead to death).

    However, no mention of long covid. That’s been my fear from the get go and even after vaccination – I may survive Covid but what about long term implications?

    Monday school starts up with kids indoors and masked but who knows how many are positive after a week and a half of holiday get togethers. With the obviously high transmission, it’s nearly a sure thing my kiddo will catch it.

    The narrative is the kids most likely will be ok (particularly if fully or half vaccinated) but why is noone talking about long covid??

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think the issue with Long Covid is that if there was a public discussion of it, it would be apparent that the narrative being pushed by most governments and the media – i.e. that all we need are more vaccines and to just lose the fear of the virus – would be seen to be profoundly flawed. As the old saying goes, its hard to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.

      As for Omicron, so far as I’m aware there is simply no data on its possible impacts. From my reading of the current research, the view is fairly optimistic – the virus doesn’t seem to do the same deep damage as earlier variants. But we won’t know for many months.

    2. ambrit

      My best guess is that ‘Long Covid’ is being relegated to the ‘Memory Hole’ because it would contradict “The Narrative” that underpins the “Return to Normalcy” fantasy.
      The best predictor of ‘public’ policy today I can see is Neo-liberalism. In Neo-liberalism, the basic “item of value” and ‘arbiter of policy’ is Money. The concept of Money underpins the power of the Status Quo Elites. Carrying this a bit further, the admission of the severity of “Long Covid” would formally establish the unsuitability of the established Elites to rule.
      Be Ye of good cheere.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If people, the media and the governments started to talk about Long Covid, then they would actually have to do something about it. And there is your answer.

      1. Happy New Beer

        If the Chinese with their advanced authoritarian system cannot keep Omicron from running rampant through their population, at that point all our well-intended attempts at isolation and prevention of spread via social distancing, mask rules, ventilation etc. will be proven a complete waste going forward. If it is possible to prevent Omicron quickly becoming endemic, only the PRC has any chance to make it happen. If China succumbs, vaccinate everyone who will be and just let ‘er rip rather than continuing to fight an impossible losing war. Stopping it, long Covid or no, was never, ever on the table once Omicron emerged.

        I know this won’t be a popular viewpoint, but at some point it may be strategically optimal to acknowledge reality and simply admit defeat.

    4. nycTerrierist

      Same here, I’d like to hear more about long covid

      Hopefully we will when it can no longer be brushed aside – by the ptb, for reasons mentioned here
      (neoliberalism, etc.)

    5. David

      I think the simple answer is that Long Covid is, for the most part, a label as much as anything else. It seems to amount to “the (largely-unknown) longer-term effects of Covid which may depend to some extent on the variant and the person suffering.” From the point of view of governments, that’s an impossible situation in which to try to keep control of any conversation, and get messages out. The only answer to most of the questions that the public or the media might pose would be “we don’t know.” In addition, there’s a significant part of public opinion which doesn’t believe that the illness is that serious anyway, and would react by saying “look, they’re so desperate to get you vaccinated that now they’re making stuff up.” Governments are deep enough in the effluent as it is with their communications, without making life even more difficult for themselves.

      1. urblintz

        “vaccinated” is a “label” too… Largely unknown long term effects (and effectiveness) etc…

        You’ve mentioned how successful vaccination was in France, yet France had over 200,000 new cases yesterday.

        Now let’s talk about controlling the narrative…

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        There might be long-covid which would be a lingering presence of coronavid virus here and there in the body, causing problems and not rootable out.

        And separately there might be post-covid cirrhosis of this or that or many or all organs and organ systems.

        And some people might live out their remaining existence with long-covid and post-covid cirrhosis together at the same time.

        Such people would die sooner than they otherwise would have, this advancing the Jackpot design engineering agenda.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Not necessarily. But it could set up the post-covid survivor with a lot of silent asymptomatic cirrhosis in the liver, leaving a lot less liver to get drunk with, or to get hepatitis with, or to get some other problem with; than the average person of the same age but without any covid encounter.

            In other words, one’s liver margin-of-safety could be gone and an amount of alcohol otherwise considered less than threshhold of liver danger would be a danger to the half-liver one had left.

            And same with any other stealth coronavid-cirrhotic organ or system. If your lungs were somewhat full of coronavid-glass but not normal-life symptomatic, the pneumonia you would have otherwise survived will likely kill you.

            In my purely layman’s amateur science-buff opinion.

    6. Samuel Conner

      Am not too happy about the prospect of endemic CV and progressively pervasive long Covid sequelae intersecting with a progressively degrading medical care system.

      I wonder if we will all be self-teaching “combat medicine” in few years.

      1. GramSci

        Those of us in the working class have been “combat medicine” autodidacts since Obamacare, most of us since long before.

  4. Verifyfirst

    Below another Tweet from “Dr Henry Madison” –this put me in mind of Joe Biden as our own Neville Chamberlin, in this case appeasing Corporations and Covid. I cannot think of one single policy Biden and his group have implemented to REDUCE transmisson–can you? Rather, their policies have been to encourage transmission.

    SyringeSyringe Dr Henry Madison
    It’s one of those horrible times in history where you can see the madness, and nobody listens. My dad described similar feelings in the lead up to WW2, how you could tell things were going to blow up, but nobody was stopping it.

  5. Verifyfirst

    Meanwhile–from The Intercept–iarticle below–

    t’s just so EASY to scam people for big money–$7 million in 2 months?! And no one will ever be prosecuted, much less convicted. I really need to start running ads for my new website–“Send Us Your Gold” Top Dollar paid. Free mailing envelopes provided. PO Box 77246, Anywhere, USA


    1. ambrit

      I hesitate to make the charge, but that ‘Intercept’ article reads as pure PMC “Official Narrative” propaganda.
      There are always scammers and associated types making money off of ‘fringe’ elements of a crisis. The figures for the ‘American Red Cross’ and the funds flows during natural disasters that they are involved in the amelioration of show such a “top skim” pattern. So, pull out some scammers from a counter official movement and use them to tar the entire movement as corrupt. A classic case of guilt by association.
      The bottom line here is that the presence of scammers on the financial side of Pandemic therapy actions does not affect in the least the actual, on the ground properties of the ‘demonized’ therapies themselves.
      I take most ‘articles’ I read at ‘The Intercept’ with a fistfull of Gourmet Pink Himalayan Salt.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Remember that in the movie Contagion, which we know was fiction because the CDC and not Saint Fauci was in charge, and performed really well too, the chief baddie (played by Jude Law) was not only hawking a bogus treatment but also was even moar bad because he was a blogger!

        1. ambrit

          Say it ain’t so! A blogger was hawking a bogus product? Was Jude Law “channeling” the shade of Billy Mays? Heaven forefend!
          As always, I fall back upon words of wisdom imparted to me by a little gnome like fellow who used to sit out on the fairway of the golf course early in the morning meditating. One day he hailed me as I walked by, on my way to grade school and stated, like a Brooklynese Bodhidharma chanting a Mantra: “Hey, kid! The best defense is to be good and offensive!”
          I have tried ever since to live down to that standard.
          Have a good New Year.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Space Colonists Will Likely Resort to Cannibalism, Scientist Says”

    The article mentions the 1845 Franklin expedition to the Arctic which became an epic disaster. It also says “They had tinned food, which was the new technology — and yet, they got lost, stranded and they ended up degenerating into cannibalism.” Yeah, about that. Tinned food was a new innovation at the time and it was not a mature technology. The crew eventually suffered severe lead-poisoning because of the solder in the seams which opened up the way for more deadly diseases. The crew were behaving weirdly near the end and I think that I remember reading that they tried to take a piano with them. How do we know this? Because back in the 1980s they excavated three perfectly preserved bodies and analyzed the remaining tin cans. As it turned out, one of this team was a descendant of one of the men that they dug up and was able to see the face of his ancestor-

    1. Cocomaan

      Nothing like tickling the ivories after a nice long pig steak and a glass of your own pee. Happy new year.

    2. griffen

      Probably favors the lean and athletic space traveler, as in they can’t cook you if they can’t catch or trap you. Yeah a bit of sarcasm to start the day, but just seems a practical thought as well.

      Favorable outcomes will also be possible by having leaders who actually know what they are doing. If you recall the weirder sci fi films, Event Horizon was such a weird film. Not cannibalism though, just routine space travel lol.

        1. TimH

          To me, a lot of the SF/Horror crosses don’t work be… Color Out of Space and Solaris are others.

          Try the French film Immortal, aka Immortel ad vitam (2004) and John Dies at the End (2012) for better offbeat SF.

    3. JacobiteInTraining

      So that expedition had generous quantities of food, for its size and cargo capacity, but ended up being poisoned as well as running out. BUT, they had no ability to preposition vast quantities of food ahead of time in key locations.

      Presumably any base built in space far from earth would have – in addition to multi-redundancy in food-creation/hydro/airoponic labs…but also a ridiculous amount of ‘space shipping containers’ parked next door that would be filled with hermetically sealed containers of wheat, corn, vitamins, proteins, and whatever other food items can be preserved in the frozen vacuum of space for….basically an eternity?

      At least, I am reasonably sure Elon Musk and/or Bezos will surely take such prudent measures before shooting people out there, because…..they are…..they…ummmm….

      Yeah. Space colonists are screwed.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Jamestown would likely not be an advisable name for one of the colonies & if I remember correctly others would have been in deep trouble but for help from the foolish locals.

    4. Milton

      At San Diego’s Balboa Park, there was an exhibition that ran at the Museum of Man (since renamed Museum of Us) about cannibals. A section in the building was devoted to British explorations where sailors had to resort to eating their fellow explorers after encountering nautical mishap. It was implied that death due to starvation or disease needn’t preceed being consumed by their crewmates but rather, these unfortunate foodstuffs were slaughtered at the first sign of hardships–with Cabin Boys having the highest rate of being consumed.

      And with that…

    5. Socrates Pythagoras

      Common Sense Sceptic on YouTube has a series of takedowns of Elon Musk that expose him for bs artist and grifter that he is. One of the episodes focuses on what it will take to feed the colonists. Yep, they’re screwed.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    GM: “Florian Krammer is one of the very top scientists in the world working on respiratory viruses, studying flu prior to the pandemic, then coronaviruses too. So this coming from him is quite significant:”

    One of the most depressing things for me now that we are nearly year 2 of covid is that we are seeing a systematic degradation of decision making. It used to be considered a truism that in an emergency, democracies often screw up early, but learn from their mistakes and make the necessary adaptions, while autocracies do the opposite. It didn’t surprise me that the first wave was met with incompetence and chaos, but I can only look on in despair now as we see the same mistakes made all over again – and sometimes even worse ones. I can understand this with politicians, but it seems to be a daily occurrence now to see highly credentialed public health experts make profoundly stupid comments. Just in the Guardian today it quotes a German senior official declaring that Omicron is the last gasp of Covid and we’ll be fine by the spring. On twitter this morning I’ve seen the usual hurling of abuse by people with PhD’s at experts like Trish Greenhaulgh for daring to point out that infectious disease doctors were (and are) far too slow to have accepted aerosol transmission.

    Its not entirely new of course – if you read the histories of cholera or TB or Polio you can see the same round of mistakes being made repeatedly, with sometimes valuable lessons being lost by a new generation of doctors or public health officials. But usually for every step back there was a couple of steps forward, and eventually we (more or less) won the wars against those diseases. But something seems worse this time. I’m honestly beginning to suspect that if a variant turns up with the sort of mortality rate that is possible that many governments will simply not be able to respond in time. Well, in the west anyway – Asian countries have generally done a far better job.

    1. albrt

      This comment rings true, and makes me wonder if we are in a de facto autocracy. But who is in charge then? Surely not Sleepy Joe Biden or his sleepy deep state handlers.

      Are we under the thumb of the oligarchy? The twitter mob? A mysterious meta-intelligence produced by memetic evolution?

      Whatever it is, it does not seem to optimize for sustaining the present human population, so perhaps in that sense it is making good decisions after all.

  8. Gumnut

    Danmark/ Germany sitrep:

    Denmark is now >80% Omikron with skyhigh case numbers, but public/media is strikingly calm (main news webiste is occupied with handball and overseas stories).

    From the 3-times weekly Omikron report: (posted Mon Wed Fri at in Danish & English)

    Table 4: Other variants (=delta) and omikron in over 12y olds vs. vaccination status:

    Delta vs. Omikron (n = 90k cases & 41k cases since Nov 22nd = 1st Danish Omikron case)

    No Jab (unvaxxed): 24 vs. 9%
    1 Jab: 3 vs. 2%
    2 Jabs 63 vs. 72%
    3 Jabs (boostered) 11 vs. 18%

    Unvaxxed to vaccinated cases
    – delta : 24 to 76%
    – omikron 9 to 91%

    Danish vax rate for population >12y is around 81% (i.e. 19% unvaxxed)

    = for delta vaccinated are slightly underrepresented (i.e. vaccine seems to protect against infection/ being a transmitter by a small amount)

    = for omikron the vaccinated are over-represented vs. vaccinated population percentage.
    – is it the age-skew?
    – are the vaccinated more risk-taking?
    – does the vaccine make one more susceptible to infection?
    – are unvaxxed avoiding getting tested (counter intuative as it would give 7months valid green pass)

    Who knows, but any claim to blame the unvaxxed for the transmission numbers has no basis in Danish data (Denmark having highest daily per-capita testing in the world = free PCR tests).

    From the same report regarding hospitalisations (Table 5)
    – omikron hospitalised number is still rising
    – but omikron patients in ICU remains under 5 & has been there the last 2-3 weeks without change)
    – table 6: 99.2% of omikron cases have not required hospitalisation (skewing young, but nonetheless, Danish has free health care, so no disincentives to treatment)

    Germany (on xmas family visit):
    – cases going down, no sign of omikron on the overall curve (baffels me given that German tourists & Frankfurt airport are just as virus-collecting as French, Danish or British ones)
    – Germany’s newly-elected health minister states that official numbers can’t be trusted until 10th of January…gods help us if there was an emergency situation overlapping with a holiday season.
    – Media in absolute fever pitch about the danger
    – in even small regional towns there are weekly vax-mandate protests ‘walks’ with a few hundred to thousand participants that are getting roughed up by riot police. Unfortunately the German hard-right (and a single politician from the left) has captured the anti-vax position, so anyone participating is labelled a rightwing nutbag.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Thys Thread beginneth wyth these illuminated manuscript morsels. All painted by hand and flavoured with orange, cardamom & vanilla.’

    Oh man. I just had to bookmark her page. You look further down and see that she has done the same with ancient Greek “shards” as well as plants and other subjects. Sheer genius. Thanks for the link IM Doc.

    1. Martin Oline

      Thank you IM DOC. This is beautiful work. I have sent this link to the bakers I know in the hope it wil be the gift that keeps on giving.

  10. griffen

    Flying fish in Texarkana. Well I just spouted the idea yesterday about plagues of locusts being a possibility for 2022, meant as a joke with a friend.

    Weather patterns these past few days have been unusually mild, even humid, for this upstate SC region. As in, flip the AC button back to cool since open windows aren’t much help. It appears likely, winter weather returns starting tonight or Sunday.

  11. Questa Nota

    Sovietization and similar stories make one wonder how many of the, er, personalities, were parties to kompromat. That is as good a reason as any to try to begin to attempt to explain why so many act against common interests and even against their own interests.
    Will there be disclaimers on journal and news articles about such? And who would believe them anyway?
    Oh, wait, it is 2022 so forget all that!

    1. griffen

      As the topic is often discussed here, I had recently finished reading the Peripheral by Gibson. Which features an event he titles the Jackpot. And I’m beginning to land with that idea, and that it’s already occurring (IMHO).

      Small businesses and family owned business just don’t merit receiving the same level of attention, or public dollars, as do the Amazon or Wal Mart. One can look at the Texas experience in the past 15 years. Hand out billions and see who shows up!

      It is next to intractable, by example, to suggest airlines or Boeing should have to confess their stock buyback sins of the past. But, I digress. It’s a topic worth diving into.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Your opinion of Agency differs from other opinions I have read. I still have not read Agency. I am not sure I could get past Hillary winning the Presidency. What did you like about Agency?

          1. Michaelmas

            I liked THE PERIPHERAL and felt it suggested that Gibson still had it.

            AGENCY, conversely, very much like he’s gotten old and has lost his edge, including in the prose quality but also — yes — in making assumptions like Hillary winning the presidency would have been preferable to Trump.

            A similar thing happened with John Le Carre, who based on his last book (while alive), seems to have bought into the Russiagate narrative. At least, one character vehemently expressed belief in that narrative. Of course, it’s wrong to assume that fictional characters are automatically and necessarily mouthpieces for their authors — but it sure seemed like it in this case.

            That a man who was formerly an intel operative and so astute about establishment bs should have gotten so out of touch and decrepit that he bought into such a disinformation campaign was saddening.

            1. Word's Prune Juice

              Until recently William Gibson’s Twitter profile was a hodgepodge of Russiagate retweets and PMC brain musings (probably still the case but I haven’t checked his twitter in a while). Unfortunately I suspect that any such elements in his latest book are indeed endorsed by the author.

      1. lordkoos

        I always enjoy Gibson’s books a lot, but just finished two books by different authors that deal with climate change in interesting ways, both set in the near future.

        The first, ‘Termination Shock’ by Neal Stephenson follows the aftermath of a Texas billionaire’s funding of a geo-engineering project without government approval, and the fallout from it. It is highly entertaining and a fun read.

        The second book, ‘The Ministry for the Future’ by Kim Stanley Robinson has been discussed here somewhat. It is more serious, wonky and practical, with a lot of ground covered including politics, finance, etc. Not as obviously “fun” to read as Termination Shock, probably because it is much more realistic and detailed.

        Both are worth reading IMO.

        1. griffen

          I will review the above suggested reads, and appreciate the input. I recall one thread where the discussion started with the above work by Stephenson, and references to his earlier works. I’ve also received first hand accounts to not read Agency.*

          So I’ll probably pick up the Stephenson book.

          *I think several have suggested it’s not worthwhile. On similar earlier threads.

      2. fajensen

        I normally like Gibson, but, I didn’t like “the Peripheral” much. I think he didn’t go fully with the logic of his own ideas (as I understood the story, I maybe messed it up):

        In some possible futures there exits a vast machine intelligence-based culture, complete with people and factional wars. This culture develops a way to communicate backwards, to before the jackpot, before they appeared.

        If this culture emerged from the jackpot, I would imagine that it would probably not be happy about preventing or ameliorating it, but more about matching historical records with past events, likely even creating the jackpot to make sure that they eventually emerge from it. The future, or the model of the future, becomes an attractor for the past because the future wants to exist and it has the means to do it.

        Kinda like a bureaucracy soon becomes the reason for its own existence and then creates laws, rules, processes which then creates favorable conditions to promote its own expansion and growth, like moss growing on a roof creating the soil to collect water, nutrients, and for more moss to grow in.

        Thus most advice from the post-jackpot future is probably going to be bad advice, although probably very good on the personal level for the privileged individuals receiving it.

        I could well imagine some bureaucracy getting hold of a quantum computer that actually works, in the sens that they can do a credible world simulation on it. The simulation shows everything going to shit pretty accurately. Only, the natural response of the bureaucracy is to follow The Model because in only that way the is future is known and controlled. The Model becomes The Plan. If these people have to send an expedition out to poison the last elephant to make its extinction data match The Model, they will totally poison that elephant rather than trying to change The Plan by saving it.

        That’s the kind of people I imagined the post-jackpot civilisation were, but, the story does not go there.

        1. Michaelmas

          fajensen: In some possible futures there exits a vast machine intelligence-based culture, complete with people and factional wars. This culture develops a way to communicate backwards, to before the jackpot.

          Nah. They are not actually communicating backwards because that — or any conventional notion of time travel — is not the concept involved here.

          Essentially, up there in a post-Jackpot future circa 2120 (or thereabouts) the Chinese have the most advanced technology. Gibson refers to a ‘Chinese server’ and carefully doesn’t fill it in more clearly than that. But a super-quantum computer isn’t a bad guess because our own (your and my) real universe itself is one vast QC.

          Anyway, on that ‘Chinese Server’ whole-world simulations can be created that are just as rich as the ‘real’ universe and into those simulations (which may be of the world a century before the post-Jackpot future) certain persons then introduce a factor — a Jonbar Point, in classical SF parlance — causing that ‘Stub’ to branch off into an alternate history. (forex, Donald Trump wins the US 2016 election.

          Creating such ‘stubs’ is a hobby in certain ‘klept’ circles. Indeed, there is mention in one of the novels that at least one such klept hobbyist is a super-sadist who specializes in creating ‘grim meathook’ stubs featuring mass-genocides, catastrophes, and such.

          fajensen: If these people have to send an expedition out to poison the last elephant to make its extinction data match The Model, they will totally poison that elephant rather than trying to change The Plan by saving it …

          No. It’s precisely the opposite situation. Because it’s not time-travel in the ordinary sense, some of the folks in post-Jackpot future London — Wilf, Lowbeer, etc — are deliberately intervening in stubs to try and save the people in them, as they recognize those people in those stubs are just as real as the folks in the post-Jackpot future that the klepts inhabit. But because the stubs exist in ‘alternate universes’ — to keep it simple — the post-Jackpot London characters cannot enter them materially, only transmit information in and out of them — and this includes video/audio feeds to and from humanoid robot avatars (peripherals) inside a given stub

          fajensen:That’s the kind of people I imagined the post-jackpot civilisation were, but, the story does not go there.

          No. The story very much does go there. The people in the future London — Wilf, the klepts, Lowbeer, the London Remembrancer — are the post-Jackpot civilization, such as it is, and they are trying to ameliorate things for the inhabitants of the stubs.

          Jeez. Hope this helps (as they say).

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sovietization isn’t referring to Kommoprat. It’s about bureaucratic rot.

      The promise of capitalism is the market will pick winners and losers based on merit. The problem is the government has been protecting firms that should have been sent to farms upstate for so long we’ve turned corporate America into Soviet style industries. They cover by buying smaller outfits from time to time.

      Then of course, smaller upstarts are now fighting large corporations who now enjoy government protection. Bad or incompetent actors stay on because the government keeps them solvent.

      There is an old line the Soviets could put a man in space but couldn’t build a toaster. This is wrong. They could build toasters, but the edict was to build better, Soviet toasters. A toaster is basic already. They haven’t changed in a century. So the Soviets made energy hog, fire traps no one wanted to prove superiority, not just copy designs.

      There is no Kommoprat just not upsetting the system.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s real. It was particularly endemic to consumer goods. The Stalin skyscrapers are another example. The three they built are in use, but the cost compared to simply copying Manhattan style buildings is hideous. Then they aren’t any better by any my metric. They are just different for the sake of difference.

          It’s not like the Soviets were technologically behind. There factories had great machines. They had tool makers. And everything they needed. There is a video of a portable scanner used by the stazi. It’s good. Atari basically stole everything from the USSR.

          So what happened? The USSR had a crazy inferiority complex and simply couldn’t copy or copy and improve upon what was being done. Stalin was a driver, but Brezhnev and the guys who came up were not rock the boat types. So they just kept with it.

          The people who made decisions simply imported everything. They didn’t use Soviet toasters. Maybe Khruschev did, but that was his style.

          So you know how you see city road works standing around and you think gee how much money is being wasted with three guys standing and one guy working. The Soviets tried to fix this and only bring the extra workers when they were needed. It was such a disaster they quit after six months.

          The USSR is like the ante-bellum South in the sense it’s hard to believe it was a real place. On paper, they had some great ideas. Stalin just purged those people.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I am inclined to cobble the Sovietization link together with the link to “In 2021, New York’s Housing Market Made a Stunning Comeback”. Neither link appeared to look too deeply into the origins and sources of the stunning cash inflows into already bulging pockets. I thought the CARES Act and various follow-ons tucked into other Omnibus bills passed by the government might be implicated in the ongoing disconnect between investments and reality. The notion of the u.s. as a capitalist country may have to be revised.

      I believe my New Years experience may reflect — in a more down-to-Earth way the nature of the u.s. Sovietization. Sometime this past Summer, roughly August, the long-time landlord who owned the little duplex where I rent was approached by a local real estate agent. No listing went to the multiples, and no signs went up to indicate the property was for sale … and mid-August the agent showed the property to two guys — a middle-age guy and a guy I made as his understudy, along with a woman I figured for a local agent of some kind, but not a real estate buyer’s agent. I started packing and made a tentative search for local storage … which was completely booked. After the little walk-through, and some of the discussion I overheard as the three ‘buyers’ loudly discussed the property on our front lawn, I thought a sale was imminent. “The numbers look good.” But then … nothing happened.

      [Caution — ranting follows]
      The guy downstairs, who is a close friend of our old landlord, said his friend — the landlord — was angry with the real estate agent. She kept telling him she had her buyers in-the-bag and expected to hear back from them any day. This went on until mid-October when a guy from the city came in to inspect the property and verify that it was considered rent-able according to municipal ordinances. Our old landlord showed up later to remove the fire detectors with 9-volt batteries and replace them with new fire detectors with 10-year batteries [lithium?]. I asked the landlord whether he was closing a sale soon. He said he did not know and was growing very angry with the real estate agent. Early in the second week of November I found out from the guy downstairs that a sale had closed at the end of October. The price paid, as I was given to understand, was way above the previous market price for the duplexes in this area.

      Mid-November, 15 November, I received an email notifying me that my current lease would expire as of 31 December 2021. A pdf for a new lease was attached. The email gave me until the end of November to either sign the new lease or give notice. I called the management company the new owners — an investment company based in Brooklyn, New York — had selected as our new landlords. The woman there was very nice and apologetic explaining that she sent out a text message notice of the sale early in November. A few days after my call, the management company sent a written copy of the new lease and demands by registered mail. Our rent had been raised by more than 10% and we were expected to sign a new lease that would run from mid-Winter to mid-Winter. The new lease added a clause to the old lease where we agreed that in the event of any legal actions the legal fees incurred by the winner of the tort would be paid by the loser. That clause really caught my attention because it suggested the new management company would not be satisfied with bringing a suit in small claims court. This left me wondering whether they had future plans to attempt collecting the full amount rents for the entire term of a broken residential lease in a fashion similar to that done with leases on commercial properties. I called the woman at the management company and gave my notice after I received her verbal agreement that I would leave as of the end of January 2022. I promptly wrote that verbal agreement as a codicil to the written notice and sent it the next day, to the woman’s attention at the management company.

      Roughly a week later, a couple of days before Thanksgiving Holiday, I received an email notifying me that my account with the management company’s computer system now showed a bill for $52.09 for “utilities”. I called the management company to ask exactly what utility I was being billed for. It turns out that some clerk received a quarterly bill for water and sewer — which our previous landlord had always paid — as was customary [and not explicit in the lease] at every rental I have stayed in for decades. The clerk divided up the amount between the renters and spread it over each month of the quarter to come up with a figure of $52.09. I paid the ‘utility’ and figured I needed to get as far away from this property and this management company as I could as soon as possible. December came and in addition to my higher rent, a new charge for $52.09 was billed to my account — for December — and new a charge for $50 had been added to my bill for “rent”. I did not bother to find out what new item I was ‘renting’. [It might have been a late charge(?) for November rent which I had sent to the old landlord at the end of October, probably before the sale closed.] I hope to be long gone from here by the end of this month. Only the mild Winter this year mellows my anger and bitterness at being forced to spend the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays hunting for storage, renting moving trucks, and looking for a new place just as the Corona Omicron variant starts to lift off.
      [end rant]

      I heard from the guy downstairs that the investment company that bought our place had also purchased several other rental properties in our immediate area. He heard this from the real estate agent who handled the sale of our property. All of the purchases had been made on-the-quiet through pocket listings. Anyway all of this leaves me wondering about the links’ suggestions of pent-up individual demand driving real estate prices in the NYC market. I also wonder about the relative amounts of cash flooding the stock ‘market’ with speculations as opposed to the amounts of cash driving up real estate prices, flooding the ‘market’ with speculations on cash flows and — I am guessing — private equity REITS. Since my daughter lives in Brooklyn, I am also wondering what will happen if the evictions shoe falls in NYC at the end of the month as suggested by the NYC housing market link. I hold the u.s. government and its aloof owners responsible for these miseries and these grotesque distortions of ‘markets’ and the ‘economy’. Industry has been gutted and now our betters want the rest — whatever is left.

      1. Michaelmas

        My sympathies. Yes, a standard PE operating practice is to buy up as many properties in a given area as is feasible so as to thereby have the leverage to force up local rents as a whole.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m happier and happier that this place is paid for, the property taxes(when mom dies) are low, so far, and there’s not much in the way of resources to extract out here(except frac sand)
        that said, the “mountain” behind us has been for sale for a year…realtor has been showing it…naturally on sundays, which are my major drinking days at the Wilderness Bar, which is backed up by the “road”/easement to access that property…so, realtor’s prospectives get surprised by the wild haired hippie guy in a bathrobe or less, drinking beer with 30 geese , a bunch of chickens and a couple of turkeys and jamming obscure music at noon on sunday.
        i do not know if this has had an effect on sales,lol
        since the owners had given me access to the place to hunt hogs and cut wood…so long as i marked the trails and “kept an eye on the place”, at the beginning of the realtor’s activty, i’d mosey over to see what was up…who was attempting to gain access, etc…scaring the bejeesus out of these obviously well off cityfied people.
        that’s how i learned that the property was up for sale…and sure enough, there was an ad in the paper, extolling “virgin timber” and exquisite views. The views are wonderful…and the 150 acres is cool to roam upon…but it ain’t virgin timber, and there’s no water to be had, even from underground(the granite dome under the mountain), there’s no deer, only poverty grasses(aside from the bluestem on the backside that i planted 20 years ago) and mesquite, “cedar” and prickly pear…with a bunch of other thorny brush mixed in among the abundant rock(limestone, mostly).
        original ask:$800,000.
        hence all the rich city folks….
        year later, ad says it’s down to $700k…and the ostensible buyers i saw the other day with the realtor and a surveyor were maybe 30 yo…man and woman, driving a cadillac suv thing.
        my biggest fear in all of this, is twofold: 1. some damned fool will buy that place for way more than it’s worth, leading the property tax guy to again maximally appreciate my broken down trailer house…and the rest of the property around here.
        and 2. said damned fool will do something horrible with the property that has a direct effect on me and mine…this is made even more worrisome, because for the life of me, i can’t think of anything to do with that property that would justify paying that much for it. (i am of course admittedly ignorant of the thought processes of such people…maybe paying that much for dry rocks and thorns is perfectly reasonable in their worldview)
        a few cabins, perhaps, for whatever nature tourism survives the coming darkness…that’s what i would do with it.
        but people are weird…and rich people moreso…and neuveau riche, even moreso.
        who knows what the guy i saw has been dreaming about?

        all of this, not to diminish your situation, but to provide insight into another facet of the current “irrational exuberance” in some cohorts.
        some of the realtor’s prospects, while still obviously rich(indicated by their vehicles and clothes and manner of speaking(i eavesdrop from the bar while they’re monkeying with the gate)) –as well as their mere presence at all, since the place is so grossly overpriced—seemed to be interested in building a doomstead…which is cool and all…goin to the country, etc.
        the majority didn’t appear like that…or give off vibes like that…and more resembled the shark people my brother lives and works around…looking for something to exploit.

        i hear tell that the RE speculation in these parts is on fire…and not just the usual local slumlords forcing po folks out and jacking up the rent…and the steady flow of rich folks out this way of the last 10-15 years has noticeably ramped up since covid…old timers hiving off portions of great grandad’s legacy ranches, etc.
        driving up the valuations across the board.
        construction people i know tell me about wine caves and even bunkers being excavated and stocked(i can hear the blasting, sometimes), and lots of solar, wind and rainwater collection being included in all these new “ranchions” being built.
        and, concurrently…and similar to your situation…an increasing number of people hereabouts having to move into hotels, because the rent got too high so suddenly(more so called long term hotels appearing, as well…including 2 former nursing homes)
        i don’t know what all of this portends…but it has me out of sorts, to say the least.

        1. ambrit

          Your area is being “gentrified” Amfortas. Now would be a good time to feel out other long term locals about ‘capturing’ the local power centres, like the County Commission etc.
          Sad to say, if it unfolds there like it did for us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, barring a major depression happening, you might want to look into finding a place even further off of the beaten track. Sadly, ‘Money’ tends to value itself above everything else and force the issue with locals who get in it’s way. We moved inland from the Coast for various reasons. Where we landed is fairly corrupt, but nowhere as bad as along the Gulf Coast.
          You might want to look into the zoning on the land parcels in your area. Some areas have tried to keep the depradations of development at bay with minimum lot sizes. I know of areas around here with five and ten acre minimum lot sizes per dwelling.
          Keep an eye open for road graders working on that access roadway. It’s a sign of land development around here.
          Good luck. Stay safe.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Sounds like you did the smart thing and bailed before the s*** storm started. Yeah, it’s a hassle moving this time of year but it would have been a much more expensive hassle staying to see the changes unfold. I hope that you get a batter place.

      4. griffen

        I have to be cynical here, and please forgive me for writing this. But in all honesty, holy freaking sheetz batman. Were that many paragraphs really necessary? You have my sympathy.

        New owner, new fees. There I summarized what you wrote in 500+ words. My apartment complex was also bought out 12 to 15 months ago. Stuff happens, and welcome to hell. I don’t like the rent increase. I suggest that additional fee is for water and sewer, which has now become a feature in my rental agreement.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          If you skip my clearly labeled rant, I used three paragraphs. Your summary “New owner, new fees.” hardly captures what I thought was the main content of my comment. If a new private party had purchased the duplex where I live, I might expect the rent to go up … although where I live is hardly a thriving community. At best it is a distant bedroom community to two large cities on the other side of crowded bridges charging high tolls. Without control over the other rentals around here, raising the rent could prove risky. But a real estate investment company is not at all like just any new owner. Like you, I have rented in apartment buildings and experienced their caprices. That is why I have for many years carefully avoided dealings with real estate investment companies, and carefully sought out persons to rent from. And paying for sewer and water has not been customary.

          I am not looking for sympathy. Save your sympathy for the guy downstairs who was born and grew up in this town and really cannot move away as easily as I can. I am complaining about the way the u.s. government sponsored policies to trash the housing market owned, and controlled by individuals – real live persons in every sense of the word. How many single family houses, how many duplexes, … fourplexes once held by individuals will pass into the control of real estate investment companies before the madness ends? When the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums ‘end’ – which may be as soon as the end of this month – what will happen?

          And of course Yves is right: “… that clause about you having to pay the legal fees if you sued the landlord was enforceable.” I am paranoid that our Laws, their interpretation and their enforcement, have become profoundly estranged from Justice or Equity, and grow more so each day. I was and remain deeply impressed by the remarkable muscle flexed to unanimously, and with little discussion, drive the CARES Act through the congress. And, I regarded the addition of that clause as a further indication of just what kind of ‘person’ I would be dealing if I stayed.

      5. Yves Smith Post author

        This is now moot, but I doubt that clause about you having to pay the legal fees if you sued the landlord was enforceable. NYC landlords regularly try to cow tenants by putting in provisions that would be tossed by any judge as in violation of statute, the most common being trying to bar bringing in a roommate.

  12. Questa Nota

    The great weather photos and the fishies story led me to think about what happens when lightning strikes bodies of water. Does the discharge kill fish, plankton, etc? Is there a meteorologist in the house, or on the boat?

    1. Rolf

      As I understand it, the discharge spreads and dissipates radially from the surface point, but the lethality is confined to relatively shallow depth, with little effect beyond few meters. So, yes, very dangerous — but anything at the surface itself is also at risk from predation (birds), which they can easily escape by not lounging around right at the air-sea interface. The other variable would be salinity (normal seawater is obviously a far better conductor than freshwater). Near surface fish in fresh water bodies (and people in swimming pools) would be at much greater risk, as they themselves are better conductors than the surrounding fluid.

  13. Nikkikat

    Two family members got long covid. One worked in the local hospital. Got covid early on at beginning of pandemic. Took it home to wife. She ended up in hospital for 3 weeks. Both were very sick. When vaccine came out they were both vaccinated with the two dose Pfizer.
    He now has myocarditis and she has neurological issues. All sort of test run etc. interesting that neither doctor has brought up long covid at all. When they brought it up, it was sort of acknowledged that it “could be that” and we “don’t really know”BS. The medical establishment is going to ignore for now.

    1. Hambone

      Until there is a way to definitively diagnose and treat Long Covid, what can the medical establishment exactly do beyond tippy-toeing around the subject and trying not to unnecessarily upset people who might be suffering or believe they are suffering its effects? Whether they are seen to be ignoring it or not is more marketing than medicine.

      Let’s be clear however, that’s not a strategy to actually fix or cure anything, just one to control the PR fallout.

    2. Adam Eran

      I know a postman who has long COVID–he got the disease more than a year ago, and can’t carry his mail sack now even though he’s a young man. The post office disability ran out. He’s out of work, out of unemployment, out of disability…oh yes, and his wife just gave birth to their firstborn.

      1. lordkoos

        That’s a terrible story. I have to question why people continue to want children in this times of environmental and social destruction. Your postman must have already been ill at the time he conceived the child… I suppose that with most humans, instinct conquers rationality in the end.

    3. TimH

      If just 1% of the US population gets Long C., that will cause a massive societal problem… at a time when Medicare is being looked at for crapification.

      Then we’ll have the work-from-home PMCs moving away from climate change and expensive areas, which will disrupt the housing and services in destination areas. Arizona Slim can comment better, but I read that Prescott is so overloaded with seniors retiring there that registering with a GP as a new patient is not easy, and the pharmacies have lines… this pre-CV.

      The massive disruption will be when satellite constellation internet is released – something Elon and Apple are doing now – because work-from-home PMCs can buy that nice 3 acre spot in the sticks a few miles from a decent size town, and not worry about internet.

    4. Phenix

      Myocarditis is a known side effect of mRNA vaccines. Neurological problems are part of vaccine reactions and long COVID.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2021”

    There was also plenty of other stuff that happened and never made the news. People fell in love, some married and some had children. Friendships were made as well as good memories that people will think back on for decades to come. Others learned new skills and learnt many new things. Meals and jokes were shared as well as stories. People grew close to one another and learnt about themselves as well as others. Lots of things happened in 2021 but again, they never made the news. Yes there was lots of sad as well as outrageous news but people persist.

    1. Randall Flagg

      Always good to keep a positive ( but realistic) approach to life.
      Happy New years to all!!!

    2. LawnDart

      “99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2021”


      [From #1 on the list, re; covid]

      In less than two years not only did we come up with a way to overcome a brand new disease, but rolled it out to more than half of humanity… …Lost in all the noise is the simple fact that by far the majority of the world’s population has enthusiastically embraced the vaccines, and as a result, for the first time ever we have the chance to end a global pandemic on our own terms.

      I quit reading at this point, already belching up enough smoke that I can taste my own farts, and not able to handle another 98 puffs blown up my burning arse.

      Is Yves messing with us? Not nice, not nice at all… .but it does seem like something that I would do, so there’s that…

    3. Arizona Slim

      Hey, Reverend! Happy New Year!

      And when it comes to New Year’s fireworks displays, I’d say that Sydney, Australia wins the world championship. Again.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘A short thread on the magnitude of public maladministration in Australia in the past 50 years, driven by libertarian populists in more recent times and more general neoliberal ideas prior to that. And how Covid throws this disaster into stark relief.’

    Lots of familiar stuff here. Scotty from Marketing has already made noises that all that money used to support Aussies will have to be paid back now. Ironic that. When the Coalition got into power, one of their main lines of attack was the size of the Australian debt which was a coupla hundred billion and was a result of making sure the country did not go into recession after the 2008 crash. As soon as they got into power, they shot that debt up as fast as they could because suddenly it wasn’t a problem anymore and then removed the limit on how much debt the country could build up. Now they turn around and say that we are going to get nuke subs but without mentioning any sort of dollar amount as to how much it will cost and spend money on other military gear like a drunken sailor on Saturday night leave. It’s almost as if they did not believe what they tell people how debts have to be paid back.

    1. Skip Intro

      But he’s no George W. Bush.
      Now that you mention it however, serial public fondling of pubescent girls seems like a much more effective beard than simply marrying someone like Laura. It is easier to believe that Joe’s a creep than that George was a cowboy.

  16. Arizona Slim

    Well, Happy New Year, everyone!

    Shortly after dark, Tucson’s pyrotechnics experts declared war on 2021. And let me tell you, the gunnery crew that set up a fireworks display in our neighborhood park was GOOD. They put on a professional-quality show that included a grand finale that rivaled any that the City of Tucson stages on the 4th of July.

    Midnight came, and with 2021 defeated as badly as my beloved Michigan Wolverines on that football field in Florida, our local pyrotechnics experts turned their attention to 2022. Believe me, that New Year didn’t have a chance. There’s no way it could have crept into our fair city.

    Right now, it’s not raining, but guess what the weather has been doing since yesterday. I just reported .58″ in my rain gauge to CoCoRAHS and

    Out in the yard, I just saw a Cooper’s hawk make a landing in my mesquite tree. Said hawk was hauling another bird, which was quite dead. It looked to be quite the challenging meal for the hawk, which has left the Arizona Slim Ranch in favor of a more private dining venue.

    1. griffen

      Show of hands for who wishes another SEC championship rematch? At least they’ll compete in a somewhat new venue, in Indianapolis on January 10.

      I’ll watch, but not sure I really care yet. It is good to have some new teams for a change as opposed to a Clemson or an Ohio State just always in the CFP.

      Happy New Year from the East coast!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I saw Saban on espn this morning. He had the look of a guy on vacation. Alabama is going to hang 60 on Georgia. He talked about his kids playing in the championship like highschool kids were getting varsity letters at a team dinner.

        Georgia’s only real chance besides Covid is their qb gets really good really fast.

        1. John Beech

          As an Alabama alum, one who tried out for the team as a freshman (made it through the 2nd day), I respectfully disagree. The Bulldogs are a fine team who took a quick lead, fell behind, and had to play against their strengths in the SEC championship this year. Smart is a superb coach of men. I expect a tough game in which we may end up on the short end of the stick precisely because some may buy into the belief GA is outclassed by my beloved Bama. However, I trust Coach Saban to make it clear to his men how their draft stock, meaning their potential future earnings in the pros, utterly hinge on them doing their jobs. Added to which, we have Omicron running rampant, which could cloud the picture further. Me? I was holding my breath in hopes the games would be played yesterday after news broke of Texas A&M having to take a pass on their bowl game.

      2. dougie

        ME! Frankly, I am hoping we can finally ditch the conversation about Group of Five teams being worthy of Championship berths. Clearly, they aren’t….. I want to watch the best two teams, and more often than not, it will include an SEC member.

        1. John Beech

          And I am the other way around and would like to see expansion to 12 or 16 teams. Full disclosure, I am an Alabama alum. Anyway, we live in Orlando and when UCF went on a tear (and believe me, they were a pretty decent team), I was terribly saddened for the men who worked very hard and ended up with no chance at the brass ring. Me? I believe that on any given day, the best may fall to the combination of hubris, inspired play, and luck. This splendid mechanism of chance is what makes college football the only sport I pay much attention to.

        2. griffen

          Cant disagree on the best teams remain standing. The group of five discussion is the close second to the Notre Dame discussion, my most humble opinion. Cincy earned their spot. They can’t match the depth of an SEC squad. Last night may also squelch some of the expanded CFP discussion.

          Georgia had their doors blown out a mere four weeks ago, by what appears is a peaking at the right time Alabama. Still wish I had seen the Auburn game to know how close that second L was.

      1. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

        Happy new year from the ruler of Dubai, or the PM of UAE, depending on how much I am paying the newpapers that week-

        The UAE is an authoritarian state.[20][21][22][23] According to The New York Times, the UAE is “an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state”.[120] The UAE has been described as a “tribal autocracy” where the seven constituent monarchies are led by tribal rulers in an autocratic fashion.[121] There are no democratically elected institutions, and there is no formal commitment to free speech.[24] According to human rights organizations, there are systematic human rights violations, including the torture and forced disappearance of government critics.[24] The UAE ranks poorly in freedom indices measuring civil liberties and political rights. The UAE is annually ranked as “Not Free” in Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report, which measures civil liberties and political rights.[122] The UAE also ranks poorly in the annual Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

        And don’t even get me started on my wives! They think they can leave! Women, I tell ya!

    2. Arizona Slim

      Update: That hawk is still in my mesquite tree. It’s standing guard on a high branch while its prey is draped over a lower branch.

      1. Arizona Slim

        And another update: The hawk has been enjoying its meal. Let me tell you, it’s table manners are atrocious!

    3. Mantid

      Yes, Happy New Year. I had fun this a.m. watching the “Band Cam” of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA., USA. Had to move from Pasadena as a child because of the building of a new freeway, the 210 (two ten). Before the on-ramps were finished and traffic opened up, mates and I would jump off the rails and see how high we could get before someone got hurt. The evening before the actual Rose Parade is a serious party along the parade route. Everyone would “cruise”, low riders and jacked up muscle cars all going about 10 mph and waving to the drunken crowds. Them was the daze! One year I cruised in my Fiat 600D with suicide doors. Cherry red, like this one.

      FIAT = Fix It Again Tony

      Happy New Year!

    4. montanamaven

      Our first New Year’s in Tucson and didn’t expect the fireworks all night long. I changed the channel rather than watch my alma mater Michigan gets slaughtered. Watched “The Lost Daughter” instead. Not exactly uplifting but good acting. I had a cardinal show up and did have a hawk and a raven duke it out over the house. This midwesterner/New Yorker/Montanan is loving the desert.

      1. Arizona Slim

        If you missed the DIY fireworks display in the park that’s just a few steps away from the Arizona Slim Ranch, you really missed a show!

        Don’t know who these people are, but they also turn out for the 4th of July, and they are GOOD! As in, they put the city’s show on A Mountain to shame!

        Fireworks all night long? Well, get ready for the month of July, because here in Tucson, the fireworks mavens don’t know the meaning of the word “quit.”

        Hmmmm, I’m also noticing that, at two different neighbors’ houses, the New Year’s partying continues. Methinks that they simply aren’t hung over enough yet.

    1. Bart Hansen

      Thanks, Flora! Readers should follow the link to the site that discusses how to save $160 billion by getting rid of the Wall Street squids who invest in Muni bonds.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I hate to tell you but this is all wet. Ellen Brown means well but she is wrong about 80% of the time and this is yet another example. Zero Hedge has a better track record than she does.

      The Fed didn’t cause this inflation and the Fed cannot solve it and should not even be mentioned.

      The Fed created a shit ton of liquidity after the financial crisis and what did we get? Inflation the Fed deemed to be too low and secular stagnation.

      Businesses except leveraged speculators like banks, private equity, and real estate firms, don’t expand just because money is on sale. They expand because they see opportunity in their markets. If there is slack in the economy, the way to create more demand is more net fiscal spending. This is not and has never been the Fed’s gig. Making this all about the Fed is totally misleading.

  17. Alex Morfesis

    Happy New Year everyone…may 2022 amaze us with peace, prosperity, progress, patience, pleasure, palpitations, pollination, possibilities, poetry and play….

  18. Michael

    Patrick Cockburn: The F-35, which entered service in 2016 … Cockburn writes, but “has one attribute that outweighs all other considerations: its enormous cost and the consequent political influence that comes from supporting 133,000 jobs spread across forty-five states.”

    Have heard this argument, but never a number of jobs associated. Not really that many jobs, although specialized and high paying no doubt.

    Imagine if we focused F35 level of spending on the Health care system how many jobs we could create.

    1. Adam Eran

      It’s worse. See Medea Benjamin’s Why Does Congress Fight Over Childcare But Not F-35s.

      Relevant excerpt: “A study by the Political Economy Research Center at the University of Massachusetts found that military spending creates fewer jobs than almost any other form of government spending. It found that $1 billion invested in the military yields an average of 11,200 jobs, while the same amount invested in other areas yields: 26,700 jobs when invested in education; 17,200 in healthcare; 16,800 in the green economy; or 15,100 jobs in cash stimulus or welfare payments.

      It is tragic that the only form of Keynesian stimulus that is uncontested in Washington is the least productive for Americans, as well as the most destructive for the other countries where the weapons are used. These irrational priorities seem to make no political sense for Democratic Members of Congress, whose grassroots voters would cut military spending by an average of $100 billion per year based on [a] Maryland poll.”

      (links to sources in the original)

      1. juanholio

        The difference is that, you can’t intimidate other countries to be your vassals, and buy your currency, with well paid teachers and solar panels.

        1. cnchal

          When the time comes, would you want to be the Air Force general to tell the sitting President, those planes are for show only, essentially runway decorations?

            1. JBird4049

              If live long enough, you will see changes so great that the young will not believe the truth when you describe your past. My childhood, even when I graduated high school, is nothing like today’s and I am not referring to the technology. The fear, anger, hate, poverty, homeless, the hopelessness, and the police state are all vastly more today. And there is no hope or planning for the future unless it is strip mining what is left and using the new gendarmerie to suppress society. Our society has been deliberately made ignorant of the past and if they knew what it had been, there wouldn’t be neoliberalism anymore.

          1. The Rev Kev

            There is a technical term for that video. It is called “history.” They did things differently in the past. Read up on what life was like for average workers in the 1950s and compare it to the 2020s and I am sure that you will be in for a surprise.

            1. Even keel

              The fact of the previous existence of state paid nurseries is simply enough said- it does not require an eight minute video.

              The video is eight minutes because of its poorly explicated political advocacy founded in simplistic and/or emotion based logic.

              The purpose of the video is political: to coerce the viewer into adopting a political position or even to support that position with political action. It does not express the argument with logic, but through other modes of argument. It is propaganda despite the historical truth of the basic fact.

  19. Bart Hansen

    Selling babies in Afghanistan: We have come a long way from ‘Trout Fishing in Afghanistan’.

    We are withholding some $9 billions from them until they let girls back in school. Meanwhile the girls are starving and being sold for food.

    We have no shame, kicking a people when they are down due to giving them Freedom.

  20. Ranger Rick

    Greetings from the Marshall fire. 2021 went out with a bang, huh? The worst part is the waiting. The affected towns have been sealed off and nobody is being allowed in to find out if they’ve still got homes. The local news did some helicopter flights and that’s how a few friends and coworkers discovered they’d lost everything. Me? I’m lucky, my place is still there when I am allowed to go back to it.

    The news that it wasn’t due to downed power lines and the fact we’ve had some arson and vandalism cases in the past couple of months is surely weighing on people’s minds.

    1. juno mas

      This sort of broad devastation happened in the wind whipped fires in Santa Rosa, CA some years back. Don’t think it was as extreme as in Colorado, but whole subdivision wiped out. An NC commenter (J. Wright?) was affected and lost his house.

      One mitigating factor to the folks in Louisville,CO is that the roads/infrastructure/foundations may be re-usable and insurance funds will kickstart a rapid rebuild.

      The disruption to these families will nevertheless be severe.

      1. VietnamVet

        The real question is will there be the money and will to harden homes, clear the brush, and build firebreaks around towns and suburbia to withstand climate change wildfires. Basically, now, everyone is on their own who live in McMansions built with engineered wood and asphalt shingles on savanna grasslands. They are the funeral pyres of neoliberal deregulation.

        Similarly, developments built on the Gulf Coast in designated hurricane floodplain control zones will be swamped, sooner or later, by more frequent stronger storms.

        Create chaos. Buy low. Don’t plan for the future. Raise rents — until the bottom falls out.

    2. Rainlover

      Oh no, Ranger. I’m glad your house is still standing. I used to live in that area and am appalled at the devastation. It would be doubly terrible if the fire proved to be arson. Stay safe.

    3. howseth

      Two Septembers ago – here in Santa Cruz – we had our bags packed ready to flee our apartment at any moment – had an air purifier going full on – holed up in the bedroom – ultimately the evacuation orders spared us – but less than a 1/2 mile north of us people had to go – (and we were not sure where to go.)

      Friends of ours in, more wooded areas, had to leave and wait to find out if their houses would survive.

      It’s now what we fear each dry season – you were fortunate.
      Another friend sold his beautiful home and property recently (a place we also rented an apt once) As it was too close to woods.

  21. bayoustjohndavid

    Interesting that the City Journal article about Woke Medicine describes a program at the Icahn School of Medicine. Let me see if I’ve got this straight: a medical named for one the first asset stripping corporate raiders of the 80’s, i.e. the people who destroyed the middle class*, is now mandating courses that basically say that all white people still enjoy at least middle class privilege? I don’t know if the correct word is “ironic” or just “fitting,” but the essay practically writes itself.

    University liberals talk a brave game about challenging white privilege, but when it comes to challenging the nation’s most privileged whites…

    Only tangentially related but: my university library has Andrea Long Chu’s book but not Stephanie Kelton’s. When I looked in worldcat, I saw that “Females” was much more common in university libraries than “Deficit Myth.” No wonder liberals are so bad at policy.
    *I know, that’s an oversimplification, but this is a comment, not an essay.

  22. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding the rebound in NYC real estate, which the Times conflates with a rebound in the city at large, there’s more than a fair chance that recent buyers are catching a falling knife: increased desperation is visible everywhere, a collapsing commercial real estate tax base threatens future budgets and the likelihood that the incoming Adams admin is going to be a dark carnival of corruption and privatization (just wait to see how ugly the racial politics get when opposition rises to his gifts toward the charter school industry)…

    Friends of mine still teaching in the city public schools are overwhelmed by the multiple crises students and their families are facing, with many students either acting or checking out. Needless to say, the Department of Education and its captive teachers union (UFT) are useless in keeping students and staff safe.

    As Lewis Mumford predicted decades ago, it’s the Electronic Dark Ages.

    1. Michaelmas

      the likelihood that the incoming Adams admin is going to be a dark carnival of corruption and privatization

      Adams’s buy-in regarding bitcoin and crypto — which is going to be one of the nastier scams of the 2020s — is not happy-making.

  23. Jason Boxman

    Mandates might be the best way to convince some of those people to get vaccinated, and public health experts say vaccinations remain the best way to end the pandemic.

    “You know, we’ve done the carrot stuff, and now it’s kind of the stick part of it,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “We are still getting better containment of a disease by vaccinating people. Which is why the mandates.”

    (bold mine)

    Which “experts”? These people are criminally stupid. We know that vaccination will not end the pandemic. These vaccines are non-sterilizing. This is now year 3. At this point such messaging is criminally stupid and malicious.

    1. Arizona Slim

      But-but-but Big Pharma needs to make money! How dare we mugs deprive them of their vaccine profits?

  24. Jason Boxman

    On The Selective Sovietization of American Capitalism | by Amar Bhidé – Project Syndicate:

    Moreover, fractional banking and fiat money can further soften financing constraints. Banks do not lend out only the savings of their depositors; they leverage those deposits several-fold. And central bankers have even more potent powers to create funds out of thin air.

    But isn’t this not so as presented in: Greg Mankiw on loanable funds — so wrong, so wrong.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      He’s not a macroeconomist. Only some macroeconomists understand MMT. Bhide came out of financial economics and then studied entrepreneurship.

  25. Larry Y

    We’ve replaced Sovietization with Financialization.

    Quibble with the Sovietization story:

    “Moreover, fractional banking and fiat money can further soften financing constraints. Banks do not lend out only the savings of their depositors; they leverage those deposits several-fold.”

  26. The Scourge of Denver

    What is this drivel (Retired general warns the military could lead a coup after the 2024 election)? Recounts happen ALL the time.

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer announced plans to participate in vote recounts of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan if they take place, yet doesn’t expect to overturn the election of Donald Trump as president.

    If Green Party candidate Jill Stein initiates recounts in all of those states as she intends, the Clinton campaign “will participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” lawyer Mark Elias said Saturday in a post on the blogging website

    The Democrat’s campaign didn’t plan to initiate recounts on its own because it hasn’t found “any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology,” Elias wrote.

    Elias also isn’t expecting the recounts to erase what he said was a 107,000 combined vote margin separating the candidates in the three battleground states and overturning the election of Trump, who is due to be sworn in as president in January.

    “We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount,“ Elias said. “But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.”

  27. lance ringquist

    and this is why we must reverse nafta billy clintons disastrous policies, or the world will never recover, and most likely will melt down into another world war. might be to late already.

    fascism is the backbone of free trade, and the indians know this: The Indian farmers’ movement has won an incredible victory to repeal the Modi government’s neoliberal farm laws. But these domestic attacks on farmers’ lives and India’s food sovereignty are tied to a larger global project, embodied in the imperialist WTO. It’s time to leave the WTO for good.

  28. linda

    Court-Ordered Pfizer Documents They Tried To Have Sealed For 55 years Show 1223 Deaths, 158,000 Adverse Events in 90 Days Post EUA Release
    The Most Shocking Document Release Of The Last 100 years

    A group called “Public Health and Medical Professionals For Transparency Documents” sued the FDA for the release of Pfizer’s documents concerning adverse events from their Covid “vaccine”, which Pfizer fought to have concealed 55 years, but a courageous judge ordered them released anyway.

    They wrote on their website:

    ”Four days after the Pfizer vaccine was approved for ages 16+, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to the FDA for all of the data within Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine biological product file. We have now sued the FDA for not releasing the data. Click below for court documents and for productions of Pfizer’s documents from the FDA.”


    In the 90 days following EUA release of the “vaccine” they recorded 1223 deaths, and 158,000 adverse reactions, including fetal deaths, spontaneous abortions and more. They call this, in their encrypted, trans-human Pharma-lingo, the “post marketing experience.” [See link above]

    Whose experience? Pfizer’s, or the dead?

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’d be curious how this compares to other kinds of vaccinations; Is this usual? Unusual? I’ve never delved into it.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “How the US plans to re-insert itself into Afghanistan”

    I don’t see anything in that article which suggests that the US will be back at Bagram air base or that those CIA bases will be rebuilt. At best, they may have a country like Turkey help push their cause with the Afghans but the Turks have their own fish to fry – and the Afghans trust them as much as they do the US. Or even the Gulf States for that matter. I think that at this stage, Iran is more likely to let a US base be set up in their country than Afghanistan.

  30. adnaseum

    ““But I still think vaccine mandates are warranted,” he said. “If you can do something for somebody that is safe and keeps them healthy, when they otherwise might get very sick or die, that’s a good thing. And it’s also justified by the fact that we need to preserve health system capacities.” How about mandating weight loss for fat people? Mandating control of HTN? How about mandating ending poverty? Poverty kills way way more people than covid.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      “Video has been removed per YouTube Guidelines…”

      They took it down already???

  31. arte

    “Astronomers uncover largest group of rogue planets yet”

    I say is it time to bring democracy to these evil free-roaming, non-satellite planets – make them choose us as their solar system!

    An invasion plan of the nearest rogue planet would probably cost less than the F-35 program. Cost-effective!

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