Links 1/15/2022

Cats’ weekslong Vitamix standoff is entertaining thousands of people on Facebook NPR (furzy)

Greyfriars Bobby and the dogs immortalised in statues BBC (Bob H). Nice pix!

A colony of 60 million fish has been discovered in Antarctica CNN (furzy)

Attempt to feed manatees fails so far, but effort to hold off starvation will continue PhysOrg (Robert M)

Ohio siblings accused of chopping down a 250-year-old tree for a small profit Washington Post (J-LS)

Elephants dying from eating plastic waste in Sri Lankan dump PhysOrg (Robert M)

Ships from 1,581 ports may go to Antarctica, bringing unwanted guests ars technica (resilc)

Tonga tsunami warning as volcano erupts at sea Guardian (furzy)

Video Friday: Guitar Bot IEEE Spectrum (David L)

Rwandan genocide chemically modified the DNA of victims and victims’ offspring ScienceBlog (Robert M)


Here’s the difference between N95 and KN95 masks, and how to spot a fake Seattle Times (furzy)

Novak Djokovic: Tennis star detained ahead of deportation appeal BBC. I cannot fathom why this is the lead story at BBC, but that is why I am including it.


Gene That Increases Risk of Dying From Covid Now Identified NDTV

Fact check: The theory that SARS-CoV-2 is becoming milder NPR (David L).

“There’s this story that we’re going to have variants that are progressively less severe,” says Dr. Roby Bhattacharyya, who’s an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

But that’s completely untrue, Bhattacharyya says. “It’s comforting to think there might be some tendency for SARS-CoV-2 to evolve toward a milder form. That’s not what we’re seeing here.”

COVID-Hospitalization Numbers Are as Bad as They Look Atlantic (resilc). Subhead: “Many supposedly ‘incidental’ infections aren’t really incidental, and cannot be dismissed.”

COVID-19 patients show more signs of brain damage than people with Alzheimer’s disease Study Finds (resilc)

Vaccines Could Be Helping In India’s Third Wave, But Data Gaps Plague Research India Spend (J-LS)


Omicron Cases Confirmed in Shanghai, Guangdong Province Bloomberg

Hong Kong extends Covid-19 curbs, flight ban through Lunar New Year South China Morning Post

China suspends 26 more air routes, 4 from US, over Covid-19 infections South China Morning Post (resilc)


Downing Street ‘held wine-time Fridays EVERY week’ throughout pandemic as Partygate scandal deepens Daily Mail (J-LS)


US government moves to end daily COVID-19 death reporting by hospitals WSWS

Americans Can Order Free Rapid Covid-19 Tests from Website on Jan. 19 Wall Street Journal. Just as this Omicron surge is staring to wane, at least according to Mass. wastewater and some other indicators. Expect the site to crash and/or be available only with difficulty the first day. The question is how well it performs under sort of normal conditions. The Obamacare website launch does not bode well for rushed site development.

Harris sends Americans struggling to get Covid test to Google RT. Kevin W: “Cringy Video.”

Biden officials divided on message over N95 masks for all NBC (resilc)

Letter of Support for Anthony Fauci Ezekiel Emanuel (Kevin C). When you need letters like that….

Boston Public Schools: Children Bundle Up for Class due to Open-Window Mandate National Review (J-LS)

North Carolina surpasses single-day record for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations Eagle Tribune


U.S. Retail Sales Slide Most in 10 Months on Inflation, Omicron Bloomberg

U.S. grocery shortages deepen as pandemic dries supplies Yahoo. Resilc: “A two front war in the Ukraine and Taiwan should fix all this.”

Hospitals Near ‘Breaking Point’ Amid Covid-19-Related Staff Shortages Wall Street Journal

COP26/Climate Change

Fave Little State: Climate Migrants From Around America Are Seeking Refuge in Vermont Seven Days (resilc)


When I read headlines like this, I want to claw my eyeballs out: What Should the Left Do About China? Nation (PlutoniumKun). As in “Where are the left’s divisions?” Since when has the left had any power, particularly with respect to foreign policy, much the less shown any appetite for using it? Having said that, the discussions about the splits is interesting, but the presumption that the opinion of “the left” even if there were one, matters, is bizarre.

“Encircling” China Is a Very Bad Idea Jacobin (J-LS)


India’s Forest Cover Has Increased Once Again, Finds Report The Wire (J-LS)

New Cold War

U.S. intel suggests Russia is preparing a ‘false-flag’ operation as pretext for Ukraine invasion NBC (furzy). Help me. Russia does not want Ukraine. It wants NATO not in Ukraine. And Russia has said its next move would be a surgical strike, one hazards to guess against targets like NATO missile launchers it deems too close to Russian borders. The only time you so obviously mass troops for an invasion is against a weak target like Iraq. In WWII, the Allies went to some lengths to feed the Germans bad intel that the invasion was to be led by Patton, at another beachhead.

More screechy headlines: Ukraine cyber attack ‘part of Russian playbook’, says top US diplomat Financial Times

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview on Channel One’s “The Great Game” political talk show, Moscow, January 13, 2022 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (guurst)

Russian roulette: as croupier at this particular casino table, I invite you to place your bets Gilbert Doctorow (guurst)


One year after the Capitol riot, experts warn more political extremism and violence could be on the horizon in 2022 Business Insider. Kevin W: “Pearl clutching.”


‘Kingmaker’ Trump heads to rural Arizona, where GOP candidates are eager for his backing Roll Call (J-LS). Hard to square this with the terrible turnout at his recent rallies. Trump looks to be running on brand fumes plus the media pumping him as a traffic builder.

GOP Clown Car

Herschel Walker Makes Tommy Tuberville Look Like a Statesman Esquire (resilc)

Anti-abortion group linked to Amy Coney Barrett has been accused of ‘harassment and intimidation’ Alternet (furzy)

Democrats en déshabillé

Bill and Hillary peek their heads out Politico

L’affarire Jeffry Epstein

Queen ‘saddened’ by decision to force Prince Andrew out of the Royal Family Daily Mail (J-LS)

Man Spends Three Days Trying To Remove Oil Filter, Lives Every Wrencher’s Nightmare Jalopnik (Dr. Kevin)

How one of South America’s biggest dams became a Bitcoin battleground Rest of the World (Paul R)

Capital Flight The Daily Upside (resilc)

Opinion: Why interest rates aren’t really the right tool to control inflation Marketwatch (furzy). Even conventional finance types have gotten the memo.

Guillotine Watch

We don’t know why, but being in space causes us to destroy our blood ars technica. Here due to space fantasies of squillionaires.

As things fall apart, the super-rich spend $2m on whisky. We need a wealth tax Guardian (resilc)

Class Warfare

Security officers say Smithsonian staff shortages threaten safety of priceless treasures, and people Washington Post (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. Timotheus: “Ibexes from my friend in the Jerusalem Desert.”

And a bonus (Bob H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. CGKen

    Anybody else starting to get emails from work/school/local government officials with phrases like “preparing for the post-pandemic world”? Meanwhile if you showed current case and hospitalization numbers to the same officials 6 months ago they would have called it an emergency.

    1. Pat

      No but I did see a clip of Hochul announcing NY had turned the corner. She was so happy it could almost be called giddy.

      I realize that compared to last Friday things are better, but considering what l rosy bull that gets embraced by our between a rock and insistent donors government officials regarding this virus, it wouldn’t surprise me if her joy was based on a belief that this was the last gasp and the other side of that corner is life like it was three years ago.

      1. lordkoos

        My friend in NYC says that there are a lot fewer people standing in line to get tested now, and the wastewater analysis from Boston also supports the idea that the Omicron wave has peaked in places where it struck first.

      2. lordkoos

        My friend in NYC says that there are a lot fewer people standing in line to get tested now, and the wastewater analysis from Boston also supports the idea that the Omicron wave has peaked in the places where it struck first.

    2. griffen

      Not precisely the same message or the messenger, but ahead of this winter storm I received storm alert emails from both Duke energy and Spectrum. Here in our corner of South Carolina, it is looking like day+ of cold with ice and snow very likely. Most of the time I am ill prepared, so I give these corporate organizations a wee bit of credit.

      Given the one to two day period of isolation, I will round up to make sure I have sufficient breads and milk to carry me through this longer winter. \sarc

      1. BeliTsari

        What a SHAME Atlantic Coast Pipelines’ shitty 42″ girth welds ain’t blowing apart, keeping y’all toasty warm? About Hoschul’s, “Plague OVER, back to WORK” announcement: I notice, they’ve gone from hiding breakthrough, MIS-C, PASC & community spread in schools, to blaming their victim’s 2020 “co-morbiduties” & are simply not collecting excess fatality & COVID death data.–j15.html

      1. aletheia33

        hey jr, in my comment on the queer eye piece yves posted today, i asked if you could kindly do a takedown of it, but i mistakenly referred to you as js. if you’re not so inclined, just take it as a compliment, and i hope you won’t take any offense at being asked.

        1. jr

          Hi, thanks for asking! but did you want a take down of the show or the article? I pretty much agree with the article and the show is so blatantly what it is that I occasionally enjoy watching it as a kind of farce.

          1. aletheia33

            thanks for responding! i actually meant the article not the show, because it struck me as just more of a familiar kind of piece: polite questioning of blatant self-serving performance, as you say, to the point of farce. without some irony and sharper questioning, the article has no punch hence serves merely as an aspect of the problem it supposedly is trying to address. IMHO. but no one else here seems to have picked up on this, so maybe my take is too far out there.

    3. WhereIsMy$600?

      “Harris, explained that Google is “a mechanism by which [people] can locate something that they need, something that can help them.”

      Can’t pay pay parasitical extractive medical bills? Google it.
      Can’t find affordable housing if you don’t speak Spanish? Google it.

      Can’t pay upcoming student loans, credit cards, energy costs, Google it!

    1. Randall Flagg

      That’s been the battle for the last, I don’t know, forever years up here in the Green Mountain State. Flatlanders ruining it all, LOL. It’s a great State to live in, provided you have some money or a great income. If already here, you’re poor or struggling, the influx sucking up what very little housing there is, not so much. Like any State in this country of course.
      And Burlington, great city, because it’s so close to Vermont as the old joke goes. But today, air temps that will be lucky to reach single digits, never mind the wind chills today of -25/-35. Come on up.

      1. upstater

        The Adirondacks of NYS are exactly the same, but the political dynamic is far different. Just like Vermont, Native year round residents face low salaries, seasonal work, very high living expenses and few affordable rental options. Meanwhile downstaters build multimillion “great camps” like their robber barron predecessors, but instead of arriving on private railroad cars, gulfstreams or Mercedes are preferred conveyance.

        Too often local governments are dominated by pro high end developers or extractive interests. Because of Covid, tourism is heavier than ever with people wanting to avoid crowded traditional destinations. The state controls 40% of the land and supposedly regulates development, but supervises “death by 1000 cuts” of the largest park in the lower 48 and largest unbroken wilderness in the east. Under Cuomo spending on public goods was stagnant and facilities get trashed from over use and neglect.

        Unfortunately there is no shortage Trump flags of every description.

    2. macnamichomhairle

      My sense is that it’s not climate, so much as general quality of life and specifically Covid. Two neighboring towns to us that are in a ski area doubled their population of year-round residents in the last two years, with people moving into their vacation houses and staying. House prices everywhere have gone up by a third. A real estate agent I know says NYC/CT Covid refugees will buy anything as long as it has good internet.

      Burlington and the greater Hanover (NH) areas are already Connecticut, and then there are the ski areas, but it would be a shame if the rest of the state became a playground for the PMC. What has made Vermont different is that the incomers in the late 60s and 1970s generally liked the low key, laid-back way of life, and picked up skills from the old timers, resulting in lots of small farms and people whose life was not defined by their job or income (often had two or three part-time jobs). Later immigrants have tended to want “rustic” but with latte, the New York Times daily in the general store, schools that are a stepping stone to a successful PMC career elsewhere, and no junked cars.

      The state needs young people because small and local businesses built on local resources (not on merely acting as conduits for stuff made in China and so on) are very difficult in the current U.S. economy, but the State could provide much more intelligent focused support of small non-agricultural initiatives. Many many small factories have closed or moved overseas in the last forty years. As it is, villages that don’t have a college, hospital, or something are gradually impoverished economically and socially, and lose everybody who doesn’t already have money or who is happy with lowpaying service jobs (plumbers, carpenters etc. excepted). Also, the milieu and many schools educate kids for Massachusetts and Brooklyn, not rural Vermont.

      We do have a secret weapon against gentrification, however: mud season.

      1. Wukchumni

        Perhaps the best skier in our over the hill gang learned his skills on the somewhat vertical ice rinks of Vermont that claim to be ski resorts…

      2. CitizenSissy

        Can confirm. I think the trend will accelerate faster than predicted. I grew up in suburban Boston, and still have family in western Mass, along the Connecticut River. The down-at-the-heels mill town where my late Dad grew up is gentrifying quickly, and houses sell at jawdropping prices unthinkable not so long ago. Skilled tradespeople do really well, as my seriously busy plumber cousin can attest.

        While I get the migration to Florida and to the (gorgeous) Carolinas, I wonder whether we’re one Cat 5 hurricane away from wide swaths of real estate becoming uninsurable.

        1. QR

          Yes, though it’s already begun; many of those places are about to become effectively uninsurable for people with ordinary incomes.

          Mapped data of first-year changes in flood insurance at

          But it doesn’t stop there:

          “Because federal law prohibits FEMA from raising any homeowner’s flood insurance rates by more than 18 percent a year, it could take 20 years before some current homeowners are charged their full rates under the new system.

          FEMA declined to make public the full amount of the rate increases that homeowners will pay over time. But insurance brokers are able to see those costs for individual homes, and they are far greater than the initial increases discussed by FEMA.

          ‘I want to talk about five to 10 years from now, because most people take a 30-year mortgage,’ Mr. Holehouse said.

          One of his clients is Marti Beller Lazear, who is buying a house on Treasure Island, a slender strip of land off the coast of St. Petersburg. Her annual cost for flood insurance will eventually jump from $3,903 to $10,655 under the new rates. […]

          ‘The people who are building or buying the houses that have $1 million in value, they don’t care,’ said Ms. Pletcher, whose own rates are going up from about $500 a year to almost $4,500. ‘People that have been living here for 40 years, they end up not being able to afford to stay.'”

          And that’s just flood insurance, not homeowners insurance.

      3. Wukchumni


        What if the Mayflower had landed in Malibu instead of Mass.?

        Hardly any of New England would be occupied in the hinterlands now, and in a fairly short time they’d have found all that glitters in Cali, prompting them to go east young man!, in search of more treasures.

      4. PHLDenizen

        The best place to ski in VT is not Killington. It’s easily Jay Peak. And a little further north at Mont Tremblant — although that’s an entirely different country. Windham is an ostentatious, well-heeled country club with a glorified hill as a sidecar. Hunter is the local mall — even Elk in the Poconos is more fun.

        All that said, my favorite places to ski — in no particular order: Big Sky, MT; Park City, UT (thought that was ages ago when snowboarders were verboten and I despise them. They are easily the most dangerous obstacle, especially when they plop down in the middle of a run just below your sight line until you’re almost on top of them); Jay Peak; Whistler Blackcomb; and Alta.

        I’m also in the fuck helmets minority. I grew up without them and they function as unnecessary sensory deprivation. When people start lecturing me, I ask if they bike. Many do. Or course they rarely wear helmets. At which point I ask them why not? And they sputter trying to reconcile the difference.

        Anyway, good luck VT. Nice to know you. New residents will start infesting into your local and state politics, digging in like summer ticks. Zoning laws will be changed to privilege McMansions, big box stores, and all the other trapping of urban life. As old residents croak, you’ll have a bunch of young cats move in, none of whom feel any particular allegiance to Olde Vermont. Parking lots will be poured. Roads paved regularly, as the PMC only likes stepping in the muck of their horse stalls. They’ll find some way to mitigate mud season. Climate change will make it less hostile to those accustomed to less severe weather. Property taxes will likely shoot up to fund all the new infrastructure required to create West Chester County. Get ready for your state to be crapified.

        I’m not pessimistic so much as a realist. And money is “portable property” that functions as a raging locust. Sad state of affairs. I don’t think VT and ME are as immune to those forces as you claim.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

          In North America, I would add Taos; Jackson; and Banff/Lake Louise.

          And I respectfully disagree w/ you re helmets, at least for me. I first started wearing one in the late ’90s and was one of the first to wear one regularly back during my skibum days at Blackcomb/Whistler. Starting before the mountains formally merged. One reason: warmer. Second, after a fall, when I found myself accelerating on my back, headfirst, knowing my head was protected allowed me to think about self-arresting, and flipping around and over. Wearing a helmet just made me feel more comfortable on steep slopes and when skiing in the trees.

          As for biking, I grew up biking without a hemet but always wear one now. Particularly when mountain biking.

          1. Wukchumni

            I only started wearing a helmet skiing about 5 years ago, and it’s kind of weird to see somebody on the slopes not wearing one, as they represent perhaps 2-3% of all skiers and snowboarders on the mountain.

            Add a thin balaclava (see! the Crimean War was worth fighting~) underneath and you’re toasty and if you get too warm, merely open up the vents on top of your helmet.

            A helmet isn’t gonna help much if you run into a tree @ 44 mph, but can be useful for when somebody runs into you and like all of the sudden you’re in a heap on the ground, as happened to me last Saturday.

          2. PHLDenizen

            Fair enough. The argument makes sense and given that my dad spent his rotation in the ER calling motorcycles “donor cycles”, as lots of organs come from nasty motorcycle accidents, you’d think I’d be slightly more motivated.

            Plus my partner’s kid was on the Olympic track for free skiing, so she was team helmet. She stopped when she watched one of her friends die and another paralyzed. She also fractured her pelvis and had a compound fracture in her arm. Might have broken her foot. She accumulated a lot of injuries in her tween-early teen years — still has residual issues. And of course I drew absolutely no “wear a helmet” message from that.

            I probably haven’t spent enough time looking for a helmet I’d be ok wearing. I’ll give it a go. Thanks for your insight. If I can survive the search for comfy boots, helmet should be easy.

            I do still have a soft spot for those fleece jester caps with the long tails. They’re completely ridiculous and lethal when skiing off piste, but look incredibly cool when you’re flying down a trail with a banner sailing behind you. Also makes it easy for people to see you.

            1. Wukchumni

              I have a goofy friend who is a damned good skier, who wears a 2 foot pink tail on the back of his ski pants, so as there to be no doubt in terms of recognition.

              It’s way too much ‘see me-dig me’ for yours truly.

              I like my ski resorts to be near natural hot springs-the yin to the frozen yang of a resort, and Mammoth is the king daddy of locales with maybe a dozen in fairly close proximity. We soaked @ Wild Willys the other day and then hung out in the Keough Ditch, which is most interesting for an odd reason in that high tension electric wires are about 40 feet above you, crackling all the while. Pretty surreal~


            2. Irrational

              I do agree with you on helmets – I am convinced they muffle people’s hearing, which for me is an important cue on the slopes. Why did I think this? Because people in helmets are always shouting at each other.
              Also a great believer in the fact that a false sense of security makes people take excessive risks (the helmet/harness/XYZ will protect me). Been mowed down by a couple of idiots like that, fortunately without lasting damage).
              So: if you do wear these things please consider: can you hear and does it encourage you to be more reckless?

          3. upstater

            If you downhill types tried XC, you’d never see a helmet or think you needed one. I realized bones break a long time ago and personally know of too many horror stories on the slopes.

            I’ll give an airline, COVID, narrow gauge passenger train and Nordic trail conditions from the Engadine next month.

            1. Wukchumni

              My skis have Randonee bindings and with just a flick of a pole can have free heels in a heartbeat. I’ve had em’ now for 15 years.

              Really the best of both worlds, and later this month i’ll be skiing to the Pear Lake hut in Sequoia NP~

              Sitting at 9,200 feet in a rugged alpine basin within Sequoia National Park, Pear Lake Ski Hut is the highest, and arguably the nicest, of California’s winter backcountry huts. Available from December through April via a lottery and reservation system, the hut provides wintertime backcountry skiers and snowshoers with a comfortable yet rustic accommodation among the craggy granite ridges of the Sierra high country.

              Built between 1939 and 1941, the hut was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps using local Sierra granite and timber materials. Another example of the National Park’s rustic architecture style, Peak Lake Ski Hut may be the best example of rustic backcountry structures from that era. In addition to serving as a wintertime ski hut, the structure serves as a Ranger Station for the busy Pear Lake Basin during summer months.


            2. Janie

              Used to take the family to Royal Gorge XC, near Tahoe. Ski-in lodge, fabulous food, instruction and guided tours, hot tub and sauna. Great place, burned about 20 years ago. Wonderful memories.

        2. Randall Flagg

          Already has been crapyfied in Chittendon County (Burlington), invasion of the big box stores, Starbucks, etc., etc., and all that comes along with it. The little guys are getting snuffed out. Not just there but across the State. Dollar General stores and the like have been sprouting like dandelions in the spring for years. Progress.

        3. eg

          I’ve skied Tremblant. It’s family blogging cold. You do NOT want to get stuck on the chairlift in a power failure.

    3. albrt

      We lived in Vermont for three years while I was in law school. Wife just said moving back to Vermont would be the easiest decision of any possible move we’ve discussed. I love Vermont, but I’m not quite ready to retire. We shall see.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, the cold, snow and ice can be brutal, but it’s mud season in March and April that’s the true soul crusher. You’re desperate for it to be warm and green, it’s still months/ weeks away, and the wan grey and wheat-colored landscape lacks the variety of winter.

    4. rowlf

      Has anyone tried to get the new arrivals to try the Burlington VT to Port Kent NY Ice Walk Challenge? When I was at Plattsburgh there was always someone who thought that going NY to VT or vice versa over the ice was a good idea. Maybe Champy got them?

      Does Vermont have black flies like Northern New York has? The joke used to be that if you escaped Dannemora State Prison you’d either freeze to death or the black flies would eat you alive.

    5. VT Digger

      Ok let me clarify: they are not ‘moving’ here, they are buying summer homes here (May-Aug).

      On the one hand, it’s all over 55’s with tons of cash that are moving here which is bad for locals.

      On the other hand, they are all over 55 and childless so…I’ll just wait em out!

      It’s -15f outside right now! Take that sonoma filth!

  2. Hickory

    Whenever the us accuses Russia of something, I’ve learned to believe they’re just projecting and really they’re describing their own plans or attitudes. So, sounds like the us is planning a false flag in Ukraine.

    1. jo6pac

      Russia has said lately that Amerika has moved chemicals into the ukraine for false flag event that Russia will be blamed for.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The great thing about False Flag operations is that everyone thinks the ‘other’ side do them, while never suspecting their own allies.

      1. Skip INtro

        Didn’t a police chief in Spain admit that the 2017 ‘jihadist’ attacks were the work of the state security services to scare voters?

          1. Ignacio

            Oh yes, Villarejo is exactly the kind of guy not to be trusted any time. He is indeed false flag, falsehood in all senses. I believe a Martian he could be.

    3. rowlf

      I’d love to see the Russians pull their forces back maybe 100km to make the US pitch a hissy-fit and stamp their little feet. Think of all the media outlets trying to explain a pullback as an offensive move?

      1. Polar Socialist

        Ah, but then the Russian troops would be either in Kazakhstan or at least close to that border, so Blinken could still go apes… complain a lot.

        1. rowlf

          Maybe Lavrov can troll Blinken in a less subtle manner.
          “Antony, we have been very busy with other matters affecting our nation and haven’t had the time to make a Ukraine invasion plan. Could you share the plans you have of what we will do to save time? It has been a confusing time and we are not sure Russian forces can perform to your expectations.

          Also, we apologize for not being able to maintain troops in Kazakhstan.”

      2. ChrisPacific

        You underestimate them, I think. Obviously the Russians were planning something big, but were deterred by NATO’s swift and decisive action in calling them out and deploying troops to the region. In the light of this stunning success, it’s clear that even more troops should be deployed to deter any future Russian ‘aggression.’

        (If I can come up with this crap, so can they).

        100% second Hickory’s comment about reading all US statements about Russia as projection – it’s been a habit of mine for some time now.

  3. anon y'mouse

    if i had $2mil to spend on whiskey, i’d buy a small distillery and accompanying land to grow inputs on.

    here guessing that they just bought up swag bottles of exclusive brands.

    another example of “more money than sense”?

    Sergey Lavrov: “This is a nervous breakdown of sorts. In the endless assertion of their own greatness, these people have reached a psychological state that is difficult to comprehend. I am amazed to read these initiatives drafted by grown-up people and serious politicians. This is not their first year in Congress.”

    rampant egocentric narcissism? tantrum like a 2 y.o.? sharp one, that Lavrov, to notice!

    1. Mikel

      Think about this statement in the article:

      “Investment is the creation of new capacity to undertake economic activity, which is almost universally funded by new bank loans…”

      I’m thinking of all of this now as a self-licking ice cream cone, circle jerk of exchanging assets at inflated prices AS COLLATORAL FOR LOW INTEREST LOANS.

      You and I spend wages…they spend free money.

    2. philnc

      Like this: “rampant egocentric narcissism”. Just like in MAGA-land. But I wonder. Is it just “narcissism”, or does it include an equally dangerous dose of nihilism?

    3. griffen

      Well they have so much because all of them, 100% to a man or woman, worked hard and achieved success using their own individual bootstraps. \sarc

      With my intended sarcasm upfront, yeah the wealth building in the US and their cited examples in the UK is just increasingly off the charts. 100 plus years ago, you had the Rockefellers and the Carnegies, et al. Back to the article, the individual buying a 62,000 square foot “home” is spending upwards of $500 million to make it “home”. Unbelievable.

      The gifts from above are most beneficial. Not from heaven or the gods, but the Fed. Central bank to the US and given what one believes, the developed world.

      1. Mikel

        But that renovation cost includes things like their exspensive artwork.
        While it’s discussed how assets like these are bid up, I’m now pondering how the “value” is maintained.
        Centuries of enculturation (in schools, museums, etc) about what are the best of aesthetics is involved. That is an important factor in dynastic, generational wealth throughout the world.

    4. Eclair

      I think about this, anon mouse. Just a small still for the garage or basement. Our son has a friend with a still; son provides fruit from their overprotective Asian pear tree; in return he gets pear brandy. I believe that almost any kind of produce will work in a pinch; well, maybe not kale. But, potatoes, grains, corn, apples …

  4. BeliTsari

    If Omicron starts running-wild in China, while Murika’s “Super Immune” & filled with chronically PASC poor, indentured into 1099 gigs, evicting or repossesing each other’s apartments, transportation; as MAGA nazis take Congress while OathKeeper cops smack down strikes, as protest or actual social networking is already evident as excess death & debilitation go from cherry-picked obfuscation to simple censorship.–j15.html

    1. Ignacio

      Omicron has this ability to go on for a while undetected even by their hosts and transmit like crazy. China 0 Covid strategy will be challenged and at a hard economic cost. For me a development to follow this year.

  5. Tom Stone

    People considering a move to Vermont should keep in mind that it was the first “Constitutional Carry” State.
    Anyone who legally owns a gun can carry it concealed,no license or training required.
    And many do.

    1. RandallFlagg

      We do have some of the most liberal gun laws. And some of the lowest gun crime rates in the nation. And yes any gun crime , is still to much. But, most folks still realize if you’re going to break into someone’s house at night, you’re taking a real chance of being carried out on a stretcher. We also have, though diminishing, a hunting culture in the rural areas that teaches respect for firearms of all kinds. And wildlife in general. As an aside, maybe someday the environmentalists will wake up and realize what allies they actually have in hunters and fisherman.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Oh wow, it’s like people can actually both “liberal” and “conservative.” wait until the people on Twitter here about this.


      2. Wukchumni

        Oddly enough in our gun obsessed country, the number of hunters has decreased by about half in the past 60 years on a percentage basis, but then again there weren’t any mass murders back then either. Maybe they just switched over to humans?

        1. Dave in Austin

          In the past 60 years (1960 census versus 2020 census) the US population went from 180 million people to 330 million people (80% increase).

          In the past 60 years the amount of game to be hunted and acres to be used for hunting has shrunk a bit (10-20%?) because of the increase in population.

          So if the number of Americans who hunt was stable during that 60 years while the US population increased by 80% and the available land for hunting shrunk a bit, magically “The percent of Americans who hunt is down by 50% in the past 60 years.”

          Population increase with a stable resource base = fewer resources/person. The people in all the Red counties that surround the Blue cities and Blue coastlines know it and mostly voted for Trump. The people in the Blue areas voted for Hillary and don’t seem to notice that population density matters… yet.

          And as for “No mass murders back then”, tell it to Charles Whitman’s 1966 Texas Tower victims, read “The Devil in the White Palace” about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair killings, read the always entertaining “Wisconcin Death Trip” or give your kids a copy of Ursula LeGuin’s mom’s book ” Ishi” about what happened to the California indians.

          1. Wukchumni

            On a per capita basis, my assertion is correct, there are about half as many hunters now versus back then, and if you do the math, the Texas Tower mass murder happened after 1962, right?

            Many of the California Indians died of our germs-not all certainly, but their Clovis era immunity systems were no match for our pathogens. In 1868-69, 85% of the various Yokuts sub-tribes all died of Measles, and the 5,000 of so survivors held the very first Ghost Dance in the USA about 25 miles away from where i’m pecking away at presently. I visited the site in Eshom Valley last month, and imagined the weeklong dance happening, the attempt to bring back loved ones, all for naught.

            An earlier episode took down whole tribes piecemeal from the Sacramento Valley up into Oregon in 1832. Trappers who had visited locales that had thousands of Indians in the late 1820’s saw them afterwards, and there were many bodies strewn about, who deals with the dead when everybody dies all of the sudden?

      1. PHLDenizen

        This is going to be a cause célèbre among all the new Karens. “Trespassing” with a loaded gun being legal? Maybe gun stores will be the new boutique cupcake shops with glocks as fashion accessories.

        Karen with zero firearms training waving a loaded 45 at an experienced hunter on her premises legally is going to be a hoot. Maybe the next pandemic in VT will rotate the villainous Covid virus with slugs.

        And if PMC Ken decides to pick up a rifle and learn to hunt from YouTube…

        1. LifelongLib

          “Karen” is another term (along with “PMC”) that I wish would just disappear. Yet another way of dividing the non-wealthy. Mental labor vs physical labor. Nobody bashes shelvers at Wal-Mart for collaborating with big money — they’re just trying to survive. What makes you think it’s any different on the mental labor side of things?

          1. CoryP

            I have similar misgivings about the PMC term. It definitely describes a real social strata with a specific relation to capital. But at the same time with the proletarianization of almost everybody the lines begin to blur.

            The trick is how we can get more of the PMC (of which I’m a member) to identify “downward” as workers, rather than the footsoldiers of the elite. … But then, that consciousness is growing without any specific effort so..

            1. LifelongLib

              My brother and my son are both salaried (brother is “non-supervisory management”, son does accounting and was recently converted from an hourly wage). It’s just a way of not paying them overtime. Given the time they put in they’d make more money being paid by the hour.

      1. WhistleblowerSFPW

        All in the family:
        Nancy Pelosi’s nephew Laurence Pelosi who is also the first cousin of then Mayor and now Governor Gavin Newsom was the Vice President of Naval Base Acquisitions for Lennar Builders, with exclusive contracts to build luxury apartments and commercial space on three closed Navy Bases which are also EPA superfund sites for nuclear radiation.

        Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, Willie Brown and Dianne Feinstein put the homeless onto the base barracks to solve the homeless problem knowing it was irradiated, and now those the tenants are dying of cancer.

        San Francisco public works and private development are and have been, a hotbed of corruption. FBI arrests, conviction and imprisonment of public officials like Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru are proof.

        Where was Kamala Harris in all of this? She was the DA and later the Attorney General, why did she not investigate when she was specifically asked by two residents Felita Sample and Andre Patterson who were residents on Treasure Island?

        Video of Felita and Andre Sample who brought the obstruction of Justice Charge against Kamala Harris for putting the homeless onto a nuclear waste site and they describe their illness. Andre now has large cancers on his back. Source is the Video Labor Project which is a progressive news agency in San Francisco.

    1. griffen

      Holy cow. Why does the ongoing coverage of CalPers just ring in my hollow brain?!? Everything is so like it. Perhaps the son of Nancy is credentialed in some way that I am not aware; my cynical thought is quite possibly it don’t matter much.

      Grifters are going to keep on grifting. The photo op from the story, in a new year celebration with Ivanka Trump (the horror!), should dispel doubt as to whose political side is really worse. They both suck immensely.

    1. Mantid

      Thank You. So many friends think “if I just get Omicron, I can keep it in check and move on”. Au contraire mon frere

  6. cocomaan

    Americans Can Order Free Rapid Covid-19 Tests from Website on Jan. 19 Wall Street Journal. Just as this Omicron surge is staring to wane, at least according to Mass. wastewater and some other indicators. Expect the site to crash and/or be available only with difficulty the first day. The question is how well it performs under sort of normal conditions. The Obamacare website launch does not bode well for rushed site development.

    I’m waiting for people to livestream themselves testing their testing swabs and showing positive results, then a wave of fact checkers saying, “No, government test kits are not giving you Covid”, and then arguments that they did, and then arguments that they didn’t.

    One thing is clear to me is that the Biden Administration will do a terrible job with this. They already started by stating that the kits would take a week to ship. Hilarious.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Now, now, now Slim. You can’t have a government operation without a private corporation making bank having an exclusive, secret, proprietary contract. Postal services are so 20th century. /sarc

          1. Wukchumni

            It only took 10 days for a letter to arrive in Sacramento from the midwest 160 years ago by horse on Pony Express, and now it can be about the same duration in getting there.

          2. Divadab

            Despite all efforts to destroy it by the usual suspects, USPS doing a better job than ups recently in my neck of the woods.

            1. Wyatt Powell

              Yknow what? Same, in SW MO atleast.

              Also we (parents and myself ) have a contract with UPS for a flat rate for certain 2nd-Day Air packages. It went from $7.25 (2016) to $10 (2022). Before 2020 the USPS non-negotiated rate was ALWAYS more. Now its probably 80/20, mail being cheaper, and sometimes, faster option. WestCoast, New England and Miami still benefit from our 2nd-Day flat rate.

              I have no problem at all using the Mail more, my VERY conservative customer base on the other hand…

          3. PHLDenizen

            Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun could be the new FedEx/UPS duopoly.

            If CODs were still a thing, who better to collect the cash than those two?

          1. Wukchumni

            Franklin also wanted the turkey to be our nation bird, and if he’d gotten his way we might be eating factory farmed bald eagles for Thanksgiving now.

            1. griffen

              The scene from Christmas Vacation would still be a funny scene! Just instead of a golden brown turkey, Clark would be carving a golden and too crispy eagle.

              Tyson, et al, would have to engineer a farm friendly eagle that doesn’t walk or have the large talons.

      2. HotFlash

        Totally favour via USPS, but don’t we have some jillionaire guy whose company can get you stuff next day? Why the neolibs-in-charge have not drafted that guy amazes me. Perhaps they spent all their (our*) money on vaccines?

        * Yes, I know that taxes don’t pay for Federal spending, but it definitely is an excuse for ‘austerity’.

  7. Dftbs

    The demand/supply side inflation argument has been a real banger this winter and it’s good to see it get a broader audience. While I do lean towards the opinion that inflation is caused by supply side disruptions(more than demand), as with all equilibrium relationships it’s a bit of both. I also find it unfortunate that a lot of the supply side adherents see the solution as the simple task of incentivizing more production with capital improvements and improved labor conditions. Come on guys, we aren’t in the North Pole, there is no Santa Claus. We don’t even have a country, it’s just a place with a central bank and an army.

    But snide comments aside, the Fed is going to hike rates (since they take their cues from the market and the market has “priced these in” but qt would be the real game changer), professor Kelton is right about the “hammer”. And while this won’t help alleviate the bulk of inflation’s effects on domestic pocketbooks, and it will likely do some significant damage to asset classes and hence to what people on tv call the “economy”. Within their playbook it’s probably the right move. You might think of it as a tactical withdrawal.

    The US trade imbalance has been a story at least since I was a wee child. Back then the Asian bogey men were the Japanese. So the Gipper sat them down, and reminded them to play nice. After all we had all these guns in their country to protect them from the evil commies. In one of histories delicious ironies (or was it inevitable as predicted by Lenin) the guys who paid for the Gipper’s election would then sell the bulk of their productive capacity to those commies. So here we are now, paying with green script to a nation that’s has eclipsed us in manufacturing capacity.

    And like a 3am drunk we made the brilliant move of threatening the bartender. So the Chinese, who don’t want trouble are very calmly throwing us out of the bar and using our own dollars to do so. They are spending these dollars we pay them as fast as they can. Whereas before they were reinvesting them in US treasuries now, they are buying labor and commodities and building infrastructure projects using USD. While the Fed “created” the money via loans, they only control the “closed loop” of the dollar banking system. They thought they were doing their old reliable trick of supporting dollar demand and exporting inflation. The Chinese on the other hand are flooding the world with dollars, breaking that closed system and making commodities and goods more expensive in dollar terms(and those of vassal currencies Euro, yen, cad, pound, & aud). Can you blame them, they don’t want their assets seized like they were Venezuela and they don’t want a war since they are actually a country and by all indications seem to care about their citizens.

    So the Fed does feel like they need to raise rates and make dollars more expensive, but they seem to be hesitant about destroying dollars via qt (I know an economist would say a dollar and a treasury are equivalent, but here in the real world a dollar doesn’t have a yield). Ultimately there is a very ugly demand problem. We have and continue to consume far beyond our productive capacity. We subsidized this consumption via debt. Now we either have to destroy that debt (I love professor Hudson’s jubilee idea although I’m not sure how it would be done or if it’s morally applicable with respect to consumption driven debt, we’re not wheat farmers on the Tigris). Or we have to be at a lower level of consumption going forward. Im going to bet the people in charge aren’t going to dispense our debts or lower their consumption, so it seems like we may be eating misery burgers for a long time.

    The thing is there is no easy way out, all the real solutions involve the sort of pain and suffering that we can’t ignore by watching marvel movies. They’re bad enough that I wouldn’t call them solutions, perhaps “ways forward”.

    1. griffen

      I caught a CNBC interview this week with Rich Allison, Domino’s Pizza CEO. They are forecasting an 8 to 10% increase for their “food basket” during the calendar year. And it is not limited to food, as the labor costs are also going up. That is a significant increase. I suppose instead of the $5.99 offer to order online two standard menu options, that might move up but I’ve yet to notice a change.

      Pizza is quite possibly a universal food choice, even for the lactose intolerant (like me) or gluten avoider (a broad grouping). I enjoy their plain chicken wings too.

      1. jr

        Allow me to offer an alternative:

        Put your oven on say 200F or so and put a small heat resistant bowl of water in it, say four cups. This makes your oven into a proofing oven and your dough will rise faster.


        3/4 cup flour, ap or wheat ok but 00 is best
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/2 tsp instant yeast
        1/4 tsp sugar
        1/4 tsp garlic powder, dried herb, etc. if desired

        Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.

        1/4 cup water (try substituting half of this with a flat, light beer for flavor)
        1 tsp oil NOT peanut oil

        Slowly add liquids to dry ingredients until a rough ball begins to form. You may have to adjust the water for different kinds/brands of flour. Knead it for about 10 minutes, then form it into a ball. These are specific techniques you should look at on Youtube or something but they aren’t hard to get a hold on.

        Then turn off the oven and place the now lightly oiled doughball into a container to rise in, anything heat resistant will do. Cover it with something, I use a dishcloth. Did I mention turning off the oven?

        That will take 35 to 40 minutes to rise. Meanwhile, here is the easiest pizza sauce in the world:

        4 TB tomato paste
        6 TB water
        2 tsp olive oil
        salt/pepper/herb to taste
        clove of minced garlic
        2 tsp minced onion

        You can adjust this any way you like, +/- water, whisk it together and it’s ready to go. The dough recipe above makes a 6” personal pizza, times four it makes me a nice meal and I’m an eater. The quadruple crust will cost you a dollar or so depending on the quality of the flour, literally quarters for the pizza sauce, and lets say a dollar in cheese and a topping, tops. If you buy a hard cheese like parmesan and get a fine grater, you will get the most out of each block of cheese as you can control exactly how much you add. I make a 4 dollar piece of asiago last a week with a grater.

        You’ll smack your Domino’s delivery guy the next time you see him, for misleading you.

        1. skippy

          Don’t forget the pizza stone for the oven.

          BTW having a good time with new Weber that has the pullout center for all the options like pizza stone.

        2. griffen

          Winter is a great time to try this out. I never really cook, mostly out of a lack of enthusiasm plus just too damn lazy. This is helpful, so thanks.

      1. jsn

        This is a good history, although it entirely misses the relationship of OPEC to the 70s stagflation.

        The main take away for me is the massive loss of state capability in economic management that we’ve allowed neoliberalism to subject us to.

        The abandonment of “public goods” in general has with it eroded state capability to what appears to be a fatal extent.

        1. skippy

          Private debt has replace government investment via neoliberalism because EMH, government then had to guarantee/backstop that private debt or it lose the power those contracts afforded them over the unwashed, then lose the influence of the neoliberalism siren song because the government would be forced to supply alternative means outside market offers, worst of all it would mean more democratic engagement of the social contract after decades of removing it.

    2. Michael

      I think Richard Koo is still relevant. His assertion that we are in a balance sheet recession and will not emerge until debt is reduced to more manageable levels for millions of companies is the two edged sword of rising interest rates. Time to apportion the losses, again, as the coming rate rise will surely bankrupt many.

      I believe Yellen went one step too far, perhaps by design, and could have caused severe indigestion but not diarrhea. So back to zero. I think Powell hopes this is the double bottom that signals the all clear.

      Covid had to have extinguished a lot of small business and consumer debt. But big business took on multiples more. Some exceptions like oil patch. Although high oil prices seem to have unlocked capital to return, after the fleecing was complete.

      Inflation is just a price we pay to live in America. It accelerates the widening of the wealth gap. By design.

      Those at the top have tools much to powerful to counter by mere citizens and their progressive Reps. The buying off of the home owning public is the most obvious example. No, it will take a weapon as powerful as Covid to effect real change to the system. No, the insurrection doesn’t come close.

      If you aren’t taking measured steps to withdraw from the current economic system everyday, you are part of the problem.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘As Russia moves 3 amphibious assault ships from Kola base to #Balticsea, #Sweden raises military readiness on the island of #Gotland’

    And Russia is also reportedly moving landing craft into the Baltic so it is obvious that Russia is about to invade Sweden because, uuhhh, maybe the duty-free and the kippers? Of the four Scandinavian countries two of them are already in NATO, namely Norway & Denmark. For years now there has been a vocal group in both Sweden and Finland trying to get their countries into NATO as well. So Sweden is always ready to publicize the latest attack on them by Russia. Like that time a few short years ago where the Swedes accused the Russians of sending subs into their waters. Until it was determined that the sounds that the Swedes were picking up on their sensors was actually farting fish. I sometimes think that this is really about Sweden not wanting to forgive Russia beating them at the Battle of Poltava.

    1. Wukchumni

      Well, there was that Adolf character in the 30’s in Sweden bent on world domination, er 1630’s that is.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, thats a weird one. Especially as the Kola peninsula isn’t so far away anyhow, its hardly unusual that the Russians would want to move ships from there to the Baltic in winter.

      The ship in the photo btw looks to be one of the Ivan Gren class, the latest Russian amphibious ship. Its a bit of a disaster, apparently it was built in shipyards chosen for political, not engineering reasons and was so unstable it can’t be run at full speed at sea. The Russians tried and failed to buy French amphibious ships a while back due to the poor regard they had for their own designs.

      1. Pelham

        Sorry, I just have to say this: I search for your comments everyday on NakedCapitalism and continue to be awestruck and flabbergasted at the depth and breadth of your knowledge on a yet-to-be-determined number of topics. And here it extends even to the crapification of Russian amphibious ships! Do you have a blog anywhere? I’d pay for it on Substack. Meanwhile, thanks for taking the time to comment here!

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks for the kind words! The only reason I know about the Ivan Gren class (apart from being an occasional military nerd) is that a few years ago I was on a ferry going into Saint Nazaire in France and the ferry slipped past a beautiful Mistral class vessel under construction in the shipyards there. I’d read it was being bought by the Russians.

          I was curious as to why the Russians would try to buy a French ship, so an hour online searching while waiting for the ferry to dock taught me far more than any person needs to know about the Russian travails over building their own. Basically, no Russian shipyard has the particular skillset needed to build a good amphibious warfare vessel. The Ivan Gren class was slapped together to make up for the failed Mistral purchase, and was generally considered a disaster. The Russian navy openly criticised its builders. So I don’t think the Swedes have much to worry about, that ship is probably more of a hazard to its own crew.

      2. Polar Socialist

        You mean it doesn’t sound completely logical to you that when having a total fall out with NATO, and threatening it with “military technical” actions, Russia would immediately attack a non-NATO country that is not even sharing a border with it?

        Whoever in Sweden decided to make this into a thing and react this way, should be discharged for being way too stupid to be trusted with national security.

  9. Nikkikat

    Thanks to Kamala for letting us know we can find things we need by using the google. Gosh, how could we have not known about it. I would also not recommend that they send Zeke Emanuel out to try and clean up the massive incompetence and deceit of A. Fauci.
    Zeke doesn’t believe life is worth living after age 75 and dabbles in eugenics.
    Who is calling the shots around there Jeff Zients? Walensky is also upset about spending money on N95 masks because no one is going to wear them. N95s are quite uncomfortable and then they just may not wear one at all. Just the other day she told a reporter “this is hard”. Well, let’s give up then, wouldn’t want to make things hard for you.

    1. jr

      Hey, Kama-lame-o likes to share new things she’s learned with people! That’s her job as assistant White House spokesperson. Seriously, first she accuses the US of malaise, then she lectures us on the benefits of the internet. I really think do think they aren’t interested in winning anything. Harris would love to be president but hey, if it ain’t in the cards, she still has a cushy future ahead.

      Until the food riots start.

  10. Michael Ismoe

    ‘Kingmaker’ Trump heads to rural Arizona, where GOP candidates are eager for his backing Roll Call

    I think you underestimate The Donald’s appeal. This is blood red Arizona. It’s also the congressional district that our illustrious “Independent” Redistricting Commission built for “Q” to run in. O’Halloran’s district went from D+1 to R +6. IF you wanna find out who the QAnon favorite is, come to the rally.

    1. Wukchumni

      Arizona has turned into a crass-test-dummy for other red states, not that there’s anything right with that.

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm…. Trump has already had an ‘Impact’ on American politics. If I were travelling the Internet Interstate now, I’d look very carefully at those new high visibility sales displays for “Big Golpe” soda. A close perusal shows those “drinks” to be mainly carbonated water and saccharine tinctures of tasteless tittilation.
        While the ‘average’ politico is accused of being “full of hot air,” our dear Trumpster is standing the story “on it’s head” and being full of cold air.

        1. Wukchumni

          Trump is pretty obviously in need a good showing @ his rally in Az after recent debacles where erstwhile supporters stayed away in droves, but what if it turns into what looks like the after part of a rapture?

          1. ambrit

            I cannot resist.
            “The Trump of Doom.”

            Also, stealing from Marvel, ‘Dr. Donald von Trump.’ Appropriately enough, Supreme Ruler of Lootveria.

            1. Wukchumni

              ‘Zona doesn’t strike me as klassik evang turf, but we’ll see what kind of rise he gets out of the audience when he holds a KJV aloft.

              1. ambrit

                With or without the battery pack installed?
                Do let us know how ‘enthusiastic’ the crowd, (if there is one,) gets.
                Maybe Trump will pull a Joe McCarthy on us and hold up a folded sheet of paper and say: “I have in my hand a list of the Democrat Party leaders who organized “The Big Steal!””
                Then the crowd will ‘spontaneously’ start singing the “Ashli Babbitt Lied.”
                “Raise high the flag,”
                “Stained with her blood,”
                “She shed for you and me!”
                Etc. etc.
                It’s dead easy once you think about it.
                The more the PMCs alienate themselves from the rest of the population, the easier the above will become.
                Hard times ahead.

                1. Neckmann

                  You two have to stop! One of the funniest back-and-forth i’ve read in a long time.

                  Thank you both. Am always impressed by your wit combined with breadth of knowledge.

    2. rowlf

      In Georgia Trump support seems to be waning outside of the pundits and media that need him. Voters like that he stuck a thumb in a lot of eyes but they also are aware he was terrible as a politician. It will be interesting to see who the deplorables support in the future. They will support Trump if Trump is the only option, but hope that a Ron DeSantis or someone more savvy comes along that also doesn’t have the DC stench on them.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Trump supporters are no doubt thinking they’d be wise to lay low until 11/22. Otherwise they’re liable to run up against ray epps and his compadres (who never ever heard of the fbi and the fbi never ever heard of), hunted down, and tossed in solitary in perpetuity for “sedition” or “trespassing.”

      At least until the filibuster is repealed and some representative from new jersey adds a rider to the new voting “rights” act that says all Trumpists have to have a democrat with them in the voting booth to approve their selection before they’re allowed to pull the lever. Because “domestic terrorism” and the power of Trump.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Tsunami hits Tonga after underwater volcanic eruption”

    Tsunamis are always something to be wary of, especially for island nations. Below is a short video showing the sizes of tsunamis that have been recorded using the city of New York as a base line. The later ones are, ahem, impressive- (3:19 mins)

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats fascinating. I wonder how the tsunami that flooded the Dogger Bank and much of Scotland in the mesolithic period compared.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Thanks for that reference – I’ve been aware of ‘Doggerland’ and its slow steady reclamation by the sea during pre-history, but hadn’t heard of the tsunami. Interesting stuff….

          1. ambrit

            Ah, good old ‘Time Team.’ Archaeology for the short of attention span. I do like the show, but feel that it “Went Hollywood” at some point.
            Stay safe up there in Cascadia.

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              I know what you mean – I was a Tony Robinson fan from his Blackadder days, and 5 or 6 years ago (during a time of particular tribulation in my life) i stumbled upon the mass of Time Team seasons, and man….they are such happy shows, that i would queue up a season as I fell asleep and I attribute that show with keeping me on an even keel during those times.

              As a show that depended on mass appeal to keep getting renewed, i don’t expect it to have the kind of detail and depth of specialized documentaries, and i think I enjoy seasons 3-10 the most – but in particular – I think it was the last several seasons that stirred up the most controversy. When Mick Aston left, format changed, apparently the original crew/editors/presenters were replaced, and all that….there was the controversy about doing the ‘go hollywood’ thing. Didn’t last long after that, for sure.

              But it will always hold a special place in my heart for the sheer good-natured fun of their investigations, breadth of episodes, and interplay of the presenters whilst doing so.

              I’m bummed out that I never moved forward on a request to Victor Ambrus (the artist/sketcher guy) to commission a drawing of myself in my 10th century Norse getup I use at renaissance fairs and reenactor gatherings. He did commissions off his website for many years after Time Team ended, but he passed in Feb of 2021. :(

              1. The Rev Kev

                Lots of good memories from the Time Team series and I use to look forward to each new episode.

              2. ambrit

                Ambrus was a classic 40’s 50’s style illustrator. I remember many a “Junior” level non-fiction book with those style of illustrations interspersed liberally throughout. Even some of the “Junior” historical fiction books were illustrated thusly.
                What I particularly enjoyed was seeing him drawing from life. He had to have done some intensive research on the ‘little’ things like period dress, armour, technology, etc. before diving into his sketches. I would have loved to wander around the man’s book room.
                As an addendum, our next door neighbor does re-enacting in the style of a 15th century condottiere. Full armour and weaponry. The metal body armour is heavier than you think. Those fellows had to be in shape.

            2. Art_DogCT

              I recall Mick Aston (I think) saying that a key reason the show was able to last as long as it did was 1, the boom in building throughout the UK and 2, and that permissions were contingent on archeological investigation. I think the series ran on the rocks when the GFC put an pause on the pace of development. It was about that time that they replaced a number of the core ‘team’ with people who I thought at the time had been chosen on the basis of focus group reactions.

    2. griffen

      I clicked on a different story about the volcano activity and subsequent warnings from the BBC. There is an advisory for the West Coast, apparently updated this morning in the last hour or so.

      1. ambrit

        Bucket Head Bot that plays music. Oh, you mean the robot in the White Zombie video of “More Human Then Human.” (I would supply a link, but I fear that such an action would earn me bonus troll points from the site admins. I have enough already, thank you very much.)
        Stay safe!

  12. Mikel

    “Bill and Hillary peek their heads out” Politico

    Now that the Maxwell/Epstein affair is wrapping up…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      From the article –

      [Bill] Clinton also spoke with Sinema recently, according to one of the people familiar with the call, and said afterward, “I don’t know her, but I like her.”

      Given Sinema’s orientation, it sounds like Bubba is angling for a three way…

    2. foghorn longhorn

      I don’t think it’s wrapping up, will soon have Andy up on the stage.
      Will he sing or won’t he?

      1. ambrit

        Andy having most of his “Official Perrogative” removed, does that include the bodyguards?
        Also, if I were him, I would not go up in any small aircraft in future.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “US government moves to end daily COVID-19 death reporting by hospitals”

    This is a really well thought out policy made by the US government here. If you don’t record the numbers, then the numbers go down which makes you look good. Didn’t Trump say something like that once when he was President? Of course in the absence of numbers, people will depend on rumour and wild stories and maybe even conspiracy theories (‘the gubmint uses secret, mobile crematoriums to hide the dead!’) but I am sure that the US government realizes that already.

    1. Tom Stone

      No longer reporting daily Covid-19 deaths is another example of “Following the Zients” to prove that Omicron is mild.

    2. flora

      It’s an election year in the US. The midterms are coming and Dem poll numbers are in the basement. / heh

      an aside: when I ask myself how practical are so many high level govt c19 decisions I can’t find any practicality in many of those decisions. However, when I ask myself how political (and favorable to the donor class) are those decisions, well then the picture starts to make sense. / ;)

      1. jr

        flora, please see the video I linked a few minutes ago from Jacobin, it hits a lot of the notes you mention…

    3. thoughtfulperson

      Hey, I have to admit, when Biden said “nothing will fundamentally change” I thought he was talking about economic policies (keeping in place all the Republican tax cuts, never supporting socialized medicine, and so on).

      Little did we know! He’s doubling down on *all* of Trump’s wonderful policies, just not bragging about it.

      Well, good to know how the pandemic will be over. How about excess deaths? How do we suppress that data?

      1. ambrit

        ‘How do we suppress that data?’
        Oh, I’d imagine that there are lots of ways to accomplish that task. Simple “fun with numbers” for starters. Listing the cause of death as anything non-covid found in a deceased hospitalized patient would work. (Uh oh. I’m a little late to this party.)

      2. Samuel Conner

        re: supressing excess deaths.

        One would think that at some point the baseline for what is ‘normal’ will begin to include deaths from endemic CV. From that point onward, I think the ‘excess’ will be gradually defined away.


          To a point, yes. What will not go away is the increased amount of death. It is hard to razzmatazz away the difference in death rate for 2005 compared to 2022. Someone dies of something. Unless they want to cremate all the bodies, forbid the memorial services, and stop all obituaries. With some preparation and ruthlessness, that might work, but eventually it would be like the AIDS epidemic. People just kept “dying after a brief illness” and the emptiness becomes unavoidable.

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        Some of us understood when he said “nothing will fundamentally change” he meant it quite literally. The Dems never had a problem with Trump’s policies. He just made them feel icky about it.

    4. Jason Boxman

      Once again Trump led the way. He originally wanted less testing. It’s hilarious to see liberal Democrats embrace Great Barrington and a reporting blackout. Why vote for these hogs again?

  14. Carolinian

    Re oil filter saga–shows why we shade tree mechanics don’t trust repair shops. Another fave is the over tightened wheel lug nut where you destroy the stud trying to lever it off (impact wrench needed like the car shops have). There is the theory that car repair is the blue collar revenge on the middle class.

    1. upstater

      I have used the screwdriver method on oil filters, after bruised knuckles, multiple strap wrenches and considerable profanity.

      Even worse is an over tightened oil plug. One winter I made the mistake of getting an oil change with my state inspection (which is nonsense) . The threads on the plug were damaged and even with crush washers it dripped until I got rid of the car.

      Oil change places siphon the oil through the dip tube, leaving all the sludge and metal in the oil pan.

        1. cnchal

          > . . . and not expensive.

          You will wish you never said that when those Chinesium taps break in the hole.

          Stripped threads in an oil pan = replace it with one that has still good threads and from now on do your own oil changes.

          @ upstater

          > Oil change places siphon the oil through the dip tube, leaving all the sludge and metal in the oil pan.

          I did not know that I have never been to an oil change place. The devil is in the details. Suck the oil out of the dipstick tube and there is zero chance of stripping the drain plug thread but it leaves some dirty oil behind. As for sludge, draining the oil doesn’t get all of it either. I just did the oil pan gasket on one of my cars and after 28 years and 140K miles there was about an eighth of an inch of sludge in the bottom of the oil pan. Good for the rest of my life now.

    2. cnchal

      > Another fave is the over tightened wheel lug nut . . .

      Shops should be using a torque limiting extension with the impact wrench.

      What shops almost never do is use a dab of anti seize compound on the threads before installing the wheel.

      A trick to get a seriously stuck lug nut off is to use a jack stand to support the pivot point of the breaker bar (don’t use a ratchet for this) and apply a fair amount of pressure with one hand and with the other use a five pound dead blow hammer and smack the bar about a foot away from the pivot point. I use this method to loosen the toughest nut on my Honda, the one on the end of the crankshaft when I do the timing belt. I know, moar tools but their value exceeds their price by a long shot.

  15. Mikel

    “As things fall apart, the super-rich spend $2m on whisky. We need a wealth tax” Guardian

    The biggest of big wigs will simply pay the tax with low interest loan money based on their inflated asset prices.
    The types people expect to pay the most are going to be fine as long as they can borrow cheaply.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    Why is Emmanuel writing in support of anyone in their 80s? Or is this “dying at 75” thing of his for other people and not him and his colleagues? I’m shocked at his hypocrisy, shocked!

  17. The Rev Kev

    “We don’t know why, but being in space causes us to destroy our blood”

    Until problems like this and radiation are solved, nobody is going to Mars, no matter what Elon Musk says, and maybe not even settle on the Moon either. The thing is, we have had people living in space on and off for the past half century or more. And yet problems like this are never really acknowledged. Somebody wake me up when they finally develop gravity plates and Star Trek-style navigational deflector shields. Then we can start planning.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev,I think that Elon and his buddies should relocate to Mars immediately.
      These are bright guys, I’m sure they can figure out a software patch to correct little difficulties like this.

      1. jonboinAR

        What gets me is that Elon and his pals, like all of us do, inhabit a planet that’s infinitely more hospitable than Mars or the Moon are. Yet because we have caused ours some difficulty, they think the brightest idea is to travel to one of those rocks and go about trying to create an atmosphere, a fresh water supply, a climate conducive to supporting earth-like life, etc. All of this totally from scratch, on a giant rock, in the middle of continually irradiated space. Buncha’ geniuses, I tells ya!

        1. Pate

          C’mon now. Nobody is going to mars. It’s just part of the grift. Their ”genius” is to latch onto the government teat. Identify a bizz that government will subsidize. That is the game. Chomsky’s “pentagon system”. Whether moonshots or driverless vehicles or EV’s. Or “vaccines”. Publicly funded economic platforms for R&D that can then be privatized for profit and contribute to GDP. Subsidize and marketize. Marketize and monetize. Because markets. Because GDP.

    2. fresno dan

      Not to mention until they develop self driving wrenches, so that poor Scottie doesn’t have to scoot through Jefferies tubes with a handtool

    3. ArvidMartensen

      Does Elon really believe this? Or is it a way to get people buying cars and also a way to shake the government down for grants etc, as part of national “defense”?
      Methinks his Mars plan is all part of a plan, the plan to make Elon richer. And to divert attention from the shitty performance of his car company which is not all that profitable if you take bitcoin pump and dump out of it.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m thinking it’s the announcement that Joe will be going to an assisted living home. (with attached but separate memory loss ward)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Mother loyalists and the other Clintonistas strike me as deranged enou that to sabotage Biden and their own positions to do Mother’s bidding. If Psaki wasn’t such a prick at state, her behavior at the White House would be shocking.

  18. Wukchumni

    I’ve always called it the ‘Loan Star State’ as i’ve never seen so many pawn shops compared to any other of the 49 states.

    Some have encountered months of delays with Guard pay, with physical paychecks coming in at inconsistent times and in inconsistent amounts. […] many of the Guard troops at the border are on state orders with different pay scales than federally activated forces. They typically earn less and cannot accrue GI Bill benefits or build eligibility for a [VA] home loan […] All of the soldiers interviewed said they did not trust their commands to handle concerns, despite the assurances of leaders, and felt the lack of support was a systemic failure of the border deployment.

    1. griffen

      Holy heck, Batman. Why is it that state elected leaders, and their military counterparts, have such deaf ears? Surely all those rejected complaints had one thing in common. “No complaints permitted!”. I often think those aforementioned leaders forget about the teachings of JC. What you do unto the least of these, you do also to me.

      Off topic, something good from the ground on Texas. That little ol’ band from Texas, ZZ Top, has an entertaining documentary available to stream on the Netflix service. Fortunately they shot the film before Dusty Hill passed away. Such a unique sound, and from a three piece.

    2. jr

      I’d bet the a huge % of them are around military bases. Used car lots, strip bars, and pawn shops are the grim fruit of having a military base in your community. A sergeant explained to me once that the pawn shops look forward to large influxes of new soldiers coming into the fort as it was a guarantee of business. Noobies recently released from training would blow their first few paychecks on toys and partying. Four months in when the bill for the car comes due, the pawn shops are waiting.

  19. Tom Stone

    I would like HRC to run again in 2024,we need a vigorous, youthful President and she’s as good as we’re going to get…

    1. Samuel Conner

      One could also hope that there is a credible progressive alternative in the D primaries so that the Party primary election chicanery and manipulation can be displayed again. We seem to have a short memory.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Define credible progressive? Among my first measure of credibility would be one who is not now a Democrat or begins every morning with a declaration the party and every way it’s design and functions is a template for what must never take place again.

    2. griffen

      If we are due to elect another horrible boss for the chief political office in the land, I wish to nominate as a candidate: Michael Scott.

      While the Office may just seem a comedy and satire, the farcical lack of awareness by the Dunder Mifflin employed leader of the Scranton office totally hits all the marks.

      No word if Dwight Schrute will also join the ticket. Scott-Schrute in 2024!!

  20. Jason Boxman

    File under “Bezzle”:

    Other game companies have waded into NFTs, echoing how crypto can generate new wealth for users. This month, Yosuke Matsuda, Square Enix’s president, wrote in an open letter that creating blockchain games would allow players to make money. That would become “a major strategic theme” for the company, he said.

    But as the number of NFT announcements from game studios piled up, players became increasingly annoyed. After users rebelled against Sega Sammy’s crypto plans, one of its executives said in a management meeting last month, “If it is perceived as simple moneymaking, I would like to make a decision not to proceed.” (The effort is continuing.)

    (bold mine)

    An obvious con, so maybe not a bezzle. It’s bad enough game producers release buggy games, and offer endless pay-for content packs for stuff that should have been in the original game. But this is hideous.

    1. flora

      Call it “Great Reset art”: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.”

      (Wonder how Hunter’s scam studio work is doing.) /heh

  21. Carolinian

    Re The Nation and “since when has the left had any power” over foreign policy–how about the 1960s when the massive (but still not majority) opposition to the Vietnam War arguably brought down one president and his successor as well? In fact some of us would say that a left that hugs George W. Bush is no left at all.and that the blob, the MIC, does overseas what they would do here if they could get away with it. For all the talk of “fascism” you need to look at where it really exists.

    Of course there is the counterargument that Vietnam opposition was really all about the draft and that a drone heavy small conflict military has defanged the left and kept the war machine hummiing. Putin may be about to put that delusion to the test.. For pities sake give peace a chance.

    1. fresno dan

      January 15, 2022 at 10:59 am
      Is there anything that would ensure a Trump victory greater than Nixon over McGovern than getting into a war with Russia?
      In fact some of us would say that a left that hugs George W. Bush is no left at all.
      Once the draft ended, Americans seemed totally blase about US foreign “interventions”

      1. thoughtfulperson

        Further on Carolinians comment:
        “the blob, the MIC, does overseas what they would do here if they could get away with it.”

        I wouldn’t be too sure they couldn’t and haven’t gotten away with it here many times. They just have yet to need to use methods which are overt, harsh and very noticeable (like using the military and death squads, etc).

        1. John

          The so-called left and right, Red and Blue, Republican and Democrat, or the blob are all one on foreign policy and overfeeding the MIC is their prime domestic activity as they must keep their masters happy.

          The real opposition to our “foreign-fantasy adventures” are those pesky realists who are all but universally ignored. I believe that one or two or more we-told-you-so moments are coming, which will be answered by vacant stares, trembling jaws , and plaintive cries of “who could have known.”

      2. Carolinian

        No I think there was still a considerable left opposition right up to the Dubya Iraq war. Remember there much Dem opposition to Gulf War One and against Iran Contra Central American meddling before that.

      3. neo-realist

        A lot of opposition to the Iraq War, many anti-war demonstrations, but the corporate media simply didn’t cover them. I recall a massive anti-Iraq war demonstration in NYC back in the early to mid 2000’s that was televised on C-SPAN, but barely made a blip on the news.

    2. David

      I decided to boycott the article when I first came across it, for the reasons given above. I couldn’t understand why anyone might believe that “what the (US) Left thinks about China” has any importance to anyone at all. Having now read the article I’m confirmed in that view. All the “Left” can do is make faces and shout slogans, and it hardly matters what those faces and slogans are. Nobody’s listening.

      1. NotThePilot

        I read the article, and while it’s mostly nothing new, there were a few places where it reached “Oh, so close…” moments. This paragraph in particular was one:

        “I originally got involved in building worker solidarity between the US and China,” said Chow, who currently directs Justice Is Global. “Unfortunately, I got involved just as the Chinese government was ramping up its crackdown on labor activists to the point where that kind of work is really no longer possible to do safely. I was able to see some of the fruits of the opening up of Chinese civil society, and to see them very quickly disappearing.”

        I can think of 3 or 4 general policies, which aren’t entirely fake and cynical, that the US could theoretically take to balance China at a fundamental level. And only 1 of them probably has any chance of acceptance in our current domestic politics: support organized labor. I’m guessing the Chinese Politburo has way more nightmares about a strike shutting down an entire Foxconn campus than whatever speeches or ugly-mugging you see from our various Reagan clones.

        Unfortunately though, our elites openly promote an anti-worker ideology and are almost as obsessed with control (just more capriciously and with less accountability) as the Chinese government. So it’s possibly even easier for the Chinese state to leverage labor-activism against the US state than vice-versa at this point.

    3. Darthbobber

      It was not needful to have a settled view on how Vietnam should be governed in order to oppose the Vietnam war.

      Nor does the “left” need a China policy to oppose American bellicosity towards China, or a laundry list of proposals for running eastern Europe in order to oppose the hyper-aggressive stance towards Russia.

  22. Terry Flynn

    The “fair innings argument”: wrt the articles here on NC showing explicit or implicit plans by the 1% to “thin the herd” may I suggest you look up the health economics literature for this argument.

    The guy who did most to operationalise in health care the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) in (USA excepted) all those 1st world countries that have been in bed with neoliberalism used to love saying at conferences and then in papers that we only “deserve” three score years and ten.

    Alan Williams definitely wasn’t a sociopath. As fans of UK show HIGNFY would understand. He died a while back – in his early 70s?

  23. Joe Well

    Regarding KN95 masks: Just get an actual N95. It’s too much work vetting KN95s.

    The best KN95 masks in the US are the Powecom masks sold by BonaFide Masks. They are one of a small number recommended by Project N95. They also look the best of any mask.

    Which is why they’re apparently swamped. I am still waiting for an order from December 28 to even ship from them. Meanwhile you can get 3M N95s at CVS now.

  24. Jerk

    Please Papa Xi invade this shitty country and execute our brutal leaders the American people yearn for democracy

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m more than a little uneasy about your aspirations, perhaps you have this site mixed up with naked assassination?

      1. ambrit

        I’m thinking that this ‘person’ might be a “Bang Bot.”
        I suspect that someone or other is trying out some good old fashioned “Cointelpro,” aka “Provocation” on the site.
        You lucky devil! The Sierras are a defensible position. Langley, Virginia is not.

        1. Wukchumni

          You lucky devil! The Sierras are a defensible position. Langley, Virginia is not.

          The western slope of the Sierra isn’t really that defensible, as it slowly goes through about 4 life zones before hitting playdirt in the higher climes.

          And it’s easily accessible by the nearly 40 million in Cali all just a gas tank full away.

          Now, if we’re talking about the backcountry that’s a different story, lots of defensible positions and more importantly hidey holes, if polite society were to suddenly be not so much.

          If you really wanted a defensive position, the east side is where you’d want to be, in that for a good 100 miles it resembles an awfully imposing ‘great wall’ going from scrub brush in the Owens Valley to whoop there it is splendor of 10,00 feet and more in no time flat.

    2. rowlf

      It will come. That why mainland China is building up military forces along their coasts and border for the inevitable US invasion. They’re even working on making bridges! Many westerners mistake the man-made islands as military emplacements, not realizing the master plan of bridge supports.

      Or maybe they will tunnel their way to the CONUS like in the old cheesy film Battle Beneath the Earth .

  25. antidlc
    Walensky faces CDC burnout as pandemic enters third year

    Inside the agency, a race is taking place. Can it stop the spread of Covid-19 before its staff wears out from exhaustion?

    In an early December call, Rochelle Walensky, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, greeted a weary staff facing an ominous new chapter in the pandemic response.

    The Omicron variant was spreading rapidly, she said, leading to increases in cases and hospitalizations — an indication that the U.S. was in for another difficult winter. And employees of the agency’s pandemic response team, some of whom have worked on the CDC’s Covid-19 efforts since January 2020, had reached their breaking point.

    Well, maybe, just maybe, the CDC’s actions contributed to the problem.

    1. Joe Well

      >>Can it stop the spread of Covid-19

      Darkly hilarious.

      They’ve already said numerous times they won’t stop the spread and we just have to live (or not, as the case may be) with it.

    2. thoughtful person

      “The Omicron variant was spreading rapidly, she said, leading to increases in cases and hospitalizations — an indication that the U.S. was in for another difficult winter. ”

      And knowing this, they said to the people, “Don’t worry about what mask you wear during the 5 days after you leave isolation, when you’ve been exposed to a known infected person”… LOL insanity!! All the rest of the world’s epidemiologist know the US CDC is a total farce, political theater, goal to keep corporate donors happy. I would bet, other than Bolsonaro’s Brazil, NO ONE who is actually scientifically conscious follows the US CDC on **anything**

      But hey, if you think Trump, Bolsonaro, Biden and friends are a great example, yes, the US CDC is a great outfit, lots of great ideas!

  26. jr

    re: Professional Losers

    Jacobin on the Democratic PMC professional consultant hive and how not winning elections is just fine with them:

    The Democrats are described as “feckless and sclerotic”. The talk ranges into the role of suffering in liberalism and how it feeds into stereotypes of the poor and powerless that sidestep questions of wealth inequality etc. The role of the mainstream media is examined. Fukuyama is laughed at.

  27. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “In the study published in “Epigenomics,” they found that the terror of genocide was associated with chemically modifications to the DNA of genocide-exposed women and their offspring. Many of these modifications occurred in genes previously implicated in risk for mental disorders such as PTSD and depression. These findings suggest that, unlike gene mutations, these chemical “epigenetic” modifications can have a rapid response to trauma across generations. . . . . While this study looks specifically at the impact of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it supports previous studies that show what occurs during pregnancy when one is a fetus can have long-term impacts – many symptoms not appearing until later in life. Such evidence proves the need to enhance efforts to protect the safety and emotional and psychological wellbeing of pregnant women.”

    Absolutely fascinating and somewhat troubling at the same time, for what it both reveals and leaves unstated.

    The trivial observation is that the long term, generational impacts of trauma on human individuals and the societies that they inhabit (as spillover events) are far reaching, physically and psychologically. One supposition is that those same traumatic events exist on a continuum (along with interindividual variability) expressed as mild, moderate, and severe. If that is indeed the case, the following question arises, “At what point, if any, on that continuum are traumatic events “associated with chemically modifications to the DNA”?

    Or, is the experience of trauma similar to, for example, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; where, it is stated that “No amount or type of alcohol during pregnancy is considered safe.”?

  28. juno mas

    RE: Market Watch Opinion

    Consumers may have a lot of savings tucked aside, but their incomes aren’t growing very fast right now. Remember, most of the savings are at the top of the income scale, not at the bottom where people are struggling . . .

    The extracted quote (above) is typical doublespeak from the financial press. The first sentence is disputed by the second. The top of the income scale are NOT “consumers” and they don’t have “savings”. They have financial assets (and advisors) to invest in equities (or real estate) that take advantage of low interest rates. If the Fed raises interest rates they will hedge with Bonds.

    While the working class and SocSec. retirees have little time or money to play the “money game”. Whether rates go up or down inflation impacts the working class either way; mostly in detriment.

  29. Wukchumni

    Ohio siblings accused of chopping down a 250-year-old tree for a small profit Washington Post (J-LS)
    The brother-sister perps got a whole $2k for cutting down one of the largest black walnut trees in Ohio, 1/5th of what the logging company sold it for.

    If it wasn’t for our extensive oak savanna, there could easily be 10,000 people living here instead of the 2,000 that call it home. Most of them are around 250 years old, and very slow growing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Is that a riff off the film “Waterloo” where the British soldiers were singing at their French counterparts ‘Bonny beat the Prussians, oi, oi, oi.’

  30. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Messages such as, “In contrast, receipt of 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines was not protective against Omicron. Vaccine effectiveness against Omicron was 37% (95%CI, 19-50%) ≥7 days after receiving an mRNA vaccine for the third dose.”, apparently need ‘revising’ and ‘revison’, because they send out the ‘wrong’ ideas in a situation where message control and PR are vitally important. Because in a thoroughly self interested society, everyone must always be on the same team and remain focused only on officially approved and/or screened translations.

    “Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron or Delta infection”

    Which is similar to, “Depending on the Delta VE estimates used, these estimates translate into Omicron VE estimates of between 0% and 20% PD2 and between 55% and 80% PD3 against Omicron, consistent with other estimates.”

    “Report 49 – Growth, population distribution and immune escape of Omicron in England”

    Such things are apparently untranslatable and wholly inscrutable except for the highly specialized; therefore, they need to be parsed and reinterpreted in a thoroughly ‘proper’ manner by responsible individuals in the form of MSM messaging so that ‘bad actors’ do not start formulating the ‘wrong ideas’, or start asking the ‘wrong’ questions, or both.

  31. flora

    Taibbi conversation with Walter Kirn, partial transcript, no paywall. This has some pretty funny bits amid the dark humor.

    Look Behind The Curtain: Discussion with Author Walter Kirn
    The terrific humorist, journalist, and novelist talks about the downfall of journalism, bureaucratic absurdity, and class cruelty in a blistering indictment of an America turned upside down

  32. juno mas

    RE: Tsunami along California coast after ocean volcano eruption

    The Tonga undersea volcanic eruption tidal wave arrived in California this morning. Below are some of the times and locations:

    Port San Luis California 0914 AM PST…..4.6 feet
    Santa Barbara California 1012 AM PST…..1.9 feet
    Ventura Harbor California 1000 AM PST…..estimated 2.5 feet
    Santa Monica California 1010 AM PST…..2.1 feet
    Los Angeles California 1044 AM PST…..1.5 feet

    Port San Luis is where the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is located. That’s 100 miles up the coast from me. SB Harbor had tangible sea level rise, but no obvious damage. Harbor damage usually occurs when the sea water recedes rapidly and unmoors watercraft. Despite warnings I watched the water rise from the shore. (Not my first California tsunami experience.)

    The Tonga volcano is ~ 4600 nautical miles from California and the tidal wave arrived here about ten hours later. That’s about 460 knots/hour.

    Stay Dry.

  33. griffen

    Hot labor market linked above…I am copying a link to a CNBC article about the university professor who coined the “Great Resignation” term back in the spring of 2021. Corporate executives and CEO have an ongoing struggle, whether or not there is a vaccine mandate (implicitly, or explicitly) for the larger corporate employers. I believe that in 2022, employees who have already chosen to walk away may realize they have choices. And if they had not thought of it sooner, those on the fence will pursue career openings that may suit them better without visiting a cubicle farm 5-6 days per week.

    And in the potential event I am pilloried or piled on, well I have to sell my labor for wages like anyone else. The total value reported for Job openings may possibly be skewed; think, IT seeks programmer with 5 to 10 years experience (undergraduates welcome!). Separately from IT, accounting departments always need bean counters (CPAs in my immediate family, so I ain’t knocking them).

    1. ArvidMartensen

      It is entirely possible that there are two more reasons why the labor market is tighter
      1. The workers who have died from Covid
      2. The far larger percentage of workers who have long Covid and cannot work for anywhere from 3 months to 2 years and counting.
      Historically, the position of workers has often improved after pandemics, due to labor shortages. The Black Death was an extreme case, killing up to 60% of the infected (the undernourished, the overworked and unhealthy peasants at higher risk).
      And post the first wave of the Black Death, the 1% of the time fought ferociously to stop higher wages and better conditions. They were defeated by necessity in the end. The survivors got pay rises and more freedom.

  34. The Rev Kev

    Stupid is as stupid does. Readers might remember in the last days of the Afghanistan collapse news of a British student who went there as a tourist because where else are you going to spend your holidays in the middle of a pandemic but for a war zone. So now this 4chan celebrity has decided on the next place that he is going to visit. You guessed it – Kazakhstan – because why not?

    The funniest thing about this guy is that he wins on bragging right. By that I mean that he may be in a room full of wealthy people talking about being in the que to go to the top of Everest and how great it was but that ain’t nothing on what this kid can say.

  35. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    As the large scale natural experiment with COVID grinds onward, a counterintuitive realization resurfaces once again. It is a recognition that in some circles at least, that “More may not be better”: In the sense that:

    “European Union regulators warned that frequent Covid-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible. . . . . Repeat booster doses every four months could eventually weaken the immune response and tire out people, according to the European Medicines Agency.”

    “Frequent Boosters Spur Warning on Immune Response”

    Further, “In 2009, a study published in PLOS One explored how repeated vaccination with the same antigen at short intervals (‘booster shots’) can overstimulate the immune system, inducing autoimmune processes, as a natural consequence of normal immune response when stimulated maximally beyond the system’s self-organised criticality. Among other things, antibodies against one’s cells result from gene re-expression mutations, as this research showed.”

  36. AndrewJ

    Re: Hunga Tonga eruption:

    Ok, maybe not. But…
    The most lightning ever recorded from a volcanic eruption, happened in the run up to the blast. That’s a lot of static charge. That’s got to be the ash. I am not a volcanologist, however.
    Is it our turn for a Year Without a Summer?

    1. AndrewJ

      My apologies. Turns out it’s the SO2, not the ash that has global climate effects. Initial report is <20% of the Pinatubo eruption of 1991.

  37. a fax machine

    After ruminating a bit on the Covid education crisis I realized a very obvious, self-evidient thing: the Team Blue Voter Pipeline is not functioning. Colleges are not open, therefore there are no places for Democrats to spread their traditional, typical messages to their most typical, most willing audience. Team Red is either crushed by mandatory overtime or killed outright by Covid.

    Behind all this is a larger industrial shutdown, where the world’s supply of computer chips is hugely affected as everyone plans their own domestic, non-global internets. The only country not doing this is the US, whose internet is under constant attack by hackers to the point where Windows 11 includes new onerous secureboot functions because insurance companies took notice and are nabbing them. Windows 13 won’t exist if this behavior continues. As the world’s web falls apart so do global financial markets dependent upon it’s *shared* evolution and expansion.

    This is our new lost generation. It was four years between the 1929 crash and Hitler’s ultimate ascension into power. Presuming a major economic reset occurs later this year when covid reality hits wall street (reference Jim Cramer’s funny meltdown on it), this yields a Fascism playdate of 2026. Just in time for a decaying, overstretched Biden administration to give up and evolve into Chamberlain for a new Munich Agreement.

    Is there another generation of Democrats? There’s certainly names, but does anyone really think Senator Newsom will ever pass any effectual legislation? People like him have no clue how to manage the other half of the country let alone engage in serious international relations. There is no common understanding between the Blue political class and most of the planet. Whereas, there is such an understanding with team Red’s through raw money and power. This is already observable on nuclear policy where all attempts at atoms for peace have failed, yielding a purely weapons oriented program and thought process. Eventually the soft power hippies and friendly bankers die, leaving only their yes men and hard power enforcers in positions of expertise and consultancy. This already occurs with software development. That’s the worrying aspect.

    Biden’s imminent loss of Ukraine will be the turning point for many things. Either he ends the liberal era with war or he watches someone else do it to him. The golden era is over.

  38. ChrisRUEcon

    US government moves to end daily COVID-19 death reporting by hospitals

    As has been oft said here, deaths lags cases. Looking at Flip-The-Script (Divoc-19), cases seemed to have crested here in IL at least – hoping not “short spike before a bigger one”. However, deaths are still rising. I totally see this as trying to manufacture belief that dwindling cases means “the pandemic will be over soon”. Meanwhile, word out of South Africa is that Omicron re-infections are happening (via Yahoo). Can’t wait to hear what horrible advice will come from the misanthropes in charge here in the US.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Doomscrolling #Twitter as the Bills put the Pats out of their misery and saw this on my TL:

      Political Hamburglars (via Doomberg Substack)

      Starts with #HRC anecdote but delves into the business to meat processors and cattle futures.

    2. skippy

      “Can’t wait to hear what horrible advice will come from the misanthropes in charge here in the US.”

      Go live your life and don’t call us … we will call you …

  39. Tom Stone

    Yesterday’s news was interesting, the CDC’s decision to no longer require hospitals to report Covid 19 deaths directly ( Along with other data that would be considered critically important by a functional CDC) and the open contempt of the ‘No bunnies or ice cream” remark by Psaki got my attention.
    The pandemic is officially over, the fat lady has sung and the lazy peasants can either get back to work and take the Virus home with them or starve in the streets.
    Because we have Total Information Awareness,a militarized police and Blackwater on speed dial.
    Except for Chaos.
    It’s going to be an interesting year.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I hope our hosts decide to have some kind of weekly feature about peasant survivalism alone and in groups and scaling up to whole sub-society sector-loads of us peasants.

      Maybe something like: Sunday Anti-Jackpot: Escape, Evasion, Survival.

      Ian Welsh has something like this over at his blog with his Surviving Hard Times feature.

      Also, his Sunday Weekly Wrap-up, which is a re-post of Tony Wikrent’s column of that name, and which features a lot of Naked Capitalism entries, could be a place for people to go and leave ideas on Economic Combat in the comments section, once it has ground to a halt among its regulars.

      Yes, I will be sharply ubbraided for “suggesting an assignment”. But the physical survival stakes are high and getting higher for peasants like us. So I will take the risk of being disciplined or even banned against the possibility of it being judged a good idea worth trying out.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Yes. And since Ian Welsh already has one, one could say to just go there and use it.

          But if it were decided to have such a thing here, possibly focused on counter-covid actions in particular and then maybe anti-Jackpot actions in general after that, more other people might see it and maybe even add to it.

          If the authorities really have decided to let covid spread everywhere, in all its variants, for whatever the reason or no reason at all, then a single central home-place for counter-covid survival information easy to come back to and find might be a good thing.

          But if it is decided not to do this, I won’t keep asking and asking and asking.

  40. Jeff N

    CDC is using the mighty Wurlitzer to convince everyone that non-NIOSH are all counterfeit.
    I don’t think any KN95 masks (Chinese standard) are NIOSH-compliant (US standard).

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well , , , if it is made in Not China, it could be real. If it is made in China, it could be counterfeit. Why take the chance?

      I think the next frontier for the Chinese criminal-business nexus will be to make counterfeit goods in China and label them as being from some other country. I hope there are devoted amateurs watching out for this, because I doubt very many governments will know or care.

      If someone can think of a government or governments which would care about that, names of such country-governments would be a good thing to have.

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