Links 1/20/2022

Sorry to be thin on original posts. Impressive thunder and lightening led to a service interruption but not a fatal one.

Powerful Winds Carve Surreal Sand Sculptures Across a Frozen Beach My Modern Met (David L)

Spain’s festival of Las Luminarias – in pictures Guardian (resilc)

World’s Deepest Squid Discovered at Staggering Depth Under The Sea Science Alert (Chuck L)

Tonga volcano eruption created puzzling ripples in Earth’s atmosphere Nature (furzy)

It’s time for science to abandon the term ‘statistically significant’ Aeon (Dr. Kevin)

Ultralow-field MRI scanner could improve global access to neuroimaging Physics World (Dr. Kevin)

A huge project is underway to sequence the genome of every complex species on Earth The Conversation (Kevin W)

Does marmalade exist? London Review of Books (Anthony L). On Malcolm Bull. So much to read, so little time…


Face masks can make you more attractive: study Reuters. Haha! Readers discussed this the other day and came to same conclusion.


Omicron Is a Bigger Risk for the Young, Medical Data Shows Bloomberg

‘Nocebo effect’: two-thirds of Covid jab reactions not caused by vaccine, study suggests Guardian. As someone who is continuing to suffer a serious side effect, and have medical reports that attribute my symptoms to my J&J shot, I find this offensive.

Antigen Tests: Real World Data Katelyn Jetelina. Dr. Kevin” “How to keep from screwing up when using rapid Covid tests.”




Top Florida health official on leave over support for vaccination BBC. Only in America…

New Mexico asks National Guard to teach as COVID shuts schools Reuters

Why Covid-19 Didn’t Create the Nursing Crisis New York Times (resilc). IM Doc I am sure will beg to differ. One our aides had been a CNA in hospital and quit when her floor was turned over to Covid duty. We had other aides, CNAs in nursing homes, who quit those jobs for similar reasons. But these vantages may not be representative. What do nurses and other front-line medical personnel think?

Why Joe Biden Gave Up on Covid New Republic


Lumber Prices Are off the Rails Again. Blame Climate Change. Atlantic (resilc)
A68: ‘Megaberg’ dumped huge volume of fresh water BBC

More protected areas won’t save biodiversity, warn experts PhysOrg (Robert M)


Protesting Winter Olympics athletes ‘face punishment’, suggests Beijing official Guardian (resilc)

Will America Ever Be Able To Challenge China’s Lithium Battery Dominance OilPrice

Old Blighty

Residents in Cheshire flats ‘trapped’ in homes that have plummeted to value of 1p Cheshire Live. Kevin W: “Fallout from the Grenfell fire.”

Bombing the ‘Irish Beatles’ – who ordered their murder? Declassified UK (Chuck L)

Examining the poor reputation of African armies DW (resilc)

Starving Afghans Use Crypto to Sidestep Sanctions, the Taliban Intercept

New Cold War

President Biden on Russia, Ukraine, and Putin C-SPAN

Biden expects Putin will order Ukraine invasion, vows ‘disaster for Russia’ CNBC (furzy). Lotta college tuitions must be riding on this….

Putin’s Challenge to Western hegemony Adam Tooze

Germany Has a Russia Problem Der Spiegel (resilc)

How Russia Went Wrong American Conservative

CIA says mysterious condition dubbed ‘Havana Syndrome’ is NOT the result of a sustained global campaign by hostile power against American citizens – but admits two dozen cases in Cuba remain unexplained Daily Mail

Brzezinski becomes US ambassador to Poland RT (resilc)


China plays discreet, but critical role in Iran nuclear negotiations France24

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The White House Is Worried About Open Source Software Security Bloomberg (David L)

WhatsApp Ordered To Help US Agents Spy On Chinese Phones Forbes

Meta wants to track people’s facial expressions in metaverse New York Post

Imperial Collapse Watch

Can Humanity Survive Washington’s Delusional Belief in its Omnipotence? Paul Craig Roberts (Chuck L)

America Needs War. Andrei Martyanov (Chuck L)


Supreme Court rejects Trump’s bid to shield records from Jan. 6 committee The Hill. Not to defend Trump, but given that he regularly flip flops between extreme positions, it’s going to be easy to find incriminating statements. And they are sure to be taken out of context and given more weight than they should given the context of the entire discussion. Trump was a terrible president, so you think just a fair and square presentation of his erraticness, emotional instability, cronyism and shambolic conduct would do. Nope. He has to be made into Hair Furore.

The Supreme Court ruling here.



Joe Biden’s Awesome First Year Matt Taibbi

‘It’s a tough time’: why is Biden one of the most unpopular US presidents? Guardian

‘Total disaster’: Biden is slammed after his ‘rambling’ first press conference in 78 days in which he claimed he had ‘over-performed’ during first year despite 7% inflation, tanking approval, COVID chaos and woeful Afghan withdrawal Daily Mail

Joe Biden one year on: Has the United States become ungovernable? BBC. Resilc: “That’s the plan.”

Democrats en déshabillé

RDemocrats Fail in Push to Change Senate Filibuster, Sinking Elections Bill Wall Street Journal

The Voting-Rights Debate Democrats Don’t Want to Have Atlantic (resilc)

Why Schumer picked a filibuster fight he couldn’t win Politico

Why Democrats Keep Bringing Up Voting Rights Legislation FiveThirtyEight

Alabama football coach Nick Saban and other sports legends with ties to West Virginia urge Joe Manchin to step up for voting-rights bill MarketWatch (resilc)

Woke Watch

Teaching Censorship: National Education Association Called On Social Media Companies to Silence its Critics Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Our Famously Free Press

Social Media Bans of Scientific Misinformation Aren’t Helpful, Researchers Say Gizmodo

The Feds Are Investigating a YouTuber Accused of Crashing a Plane For Views The Drive

Police State Watch

Police in this tiny Alabama town suck drivers into legal ‘black hole’ (UserFriendly)

Godzilla v. Mothra, 5G Edition

How Europe Rolled Out 5G Without Hurting Aviation CNN

Henry Jones Resigns, Theresa Taylor Takes Control of CalPERS Board SWFInstitute

U.S. to let teens drive big rigs in test apprenticeship program to help ease supply chain backlogs ABC7 (resilc)

Trains intended for unbuilt Milwaukee-Madison high-speed rail line going to Nigeria Wisconsin Public Radio CEO Confirms Hundreds of Accounts Were Hacked The Verge. Not just hacked, contents stolen.

Guillotine Watch

As the world reels, Bentley sales skyrocket Globe and Mail

Class Warfare

Antidote du jour. CV: “Look what Santa left under the catnip plant”:

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Michael Ismoe

    Why Joe Biden Gave Up on Covid New Republic

    And the Child Tax Care credit, and the $15 minimum wage and voting rights and just about everything he ran on.

    I guess electing a doddering old fool to the presidency (again) isn’t such a great idea. Who knew?

    1. Wukchumni

      I can’t decide if Joe is Andropov or Chernenko, but we aren’t gonna like ‘Harristroika’ that comes afterwards…

      1. Huey Long

        Chernenko! Not even a contest!

        From his Wikipedia bio:

        Arkady Volsky, a longtime aide to Andropov and other Soviet leaders, recalled Andrei Gromyko (or Dmitriy Ustinov in later accounts) putting his arm around Tikhonov and saying: “It’s okay, Kostya is an agreeable guy (pokladisty muzhik), one can do business with him….”[citation needed]

        Even if it’s apocryphal, that’s more or less who Chernenko was and I think that matches up nicely with Biden, the oh-so-agreeable senator from MBNA.

        Andropov on the other hand was a high level spook and energetic guy who wanted to fix the corruption and economic problems in the Soviet Block. He had a cadre of younger politicians like Gobachev he brought up with him. Had he lived another 5-10 years I highly doubt the USSR would have collapsed in ‘91.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Andropov was sharp and capable. It’s an interesting “what if” to consider how the USSR would have fared had Andropov had healthier kidneys. Probably the USSR would have reformed along Chinese lines (state-controlled capitalism with little political freedom) and avoided disintegration. OTOH, Gorby himself was Andropov’s protege, much as VVP was the protege of the “liberal” Sobchak. Russia is not an easy place to understand.

        2. Wukchumni

          I was thinking more in terms of term of office, and Andropov is the choice, as Chernenko only lasted 11 months, and feisty Joe has that beat already, edge Yuri.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Elections matter, and for all of their yammering, the USSR wasn’t not feudal (I don’t really separate them from imperial Russia). I’m not sure Andropov would have brought enough diversity to keep the empire functioning. The age problem wasn’t just at the Politburo level. It was everywhere. Maybe not collapse, but the Warsaw Pact countries would be gone. Andropov might (did start to) have brought in younger people, but they wouldn’t make the kind of adjustments that were needed. Then those same people wouldn’t be heroes of the Revolution or the Great Patriotic War.

          I sort of see the problem as one of decades of Soviet citizens and a Politburo calling itself the vanguard. Even if the Politburo reformed, they belonged to another age. It’s like Richard III. Henry Tudor and he policy wise weren’t that different, but Richard was backed by nobles not the town elites. Power was shifting.

          The Soviets didn’t have outside power bases so it just kind of collapsed as they had three major purges/crackdowns since the Revolution. And the Communist vanguard didn’t have the goodwill and loyalty to bring people back in. Everyone looked for exits instead of calling their Duma member. They had a good run.

          1. Kouros

            Why nobody reflects at the fact that USSR was a multi-national polity, which, unlike Switzerland, was put together through the barrel of the gun? Problems would have surfaced sooner or later.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Somewhere between Cherneko and Gorbi. Biden has too much to do and was a barely competent VP. He does recognize changes need to be made, but he has insufficient ambition, powerbase (Karens don’t engage in direct action), or understanding to make the moves he needs. He’s making changes, but those changes are in comparison to his party predecessors who largely woke up trying to make the country and world a worse place every day. The GOP “fever” was never going to break. And US standing in the world was destined to wind down to more reasonable levels. Biden isn’t ready to address that reality. Like Yeltsin, Abrams has snubbed Biden. The loyalty isn’t there.

        Andropov was the “smartest of the lot”. I don’t think anyone would say that about Biden.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            Nonsense. He was Andropov’s protege and a true believer in the Soviet system. He was blindsided by history, that’s all. Happens to the best of us.

          2. Aumua

            Seriously, if you’re going to come spout that off here, then you better have something credible to back it up with.

    2. BeliTsari

      Joe gave up on ___. What happened?

      ( ) He lied.
      ( ) He forgot.
      ( ) TRUMP!
      ( ) He got confused.
      ( ) C’mon, man… MALARKEY!

      1. Wukchumni

        {from the start of the Biden-Xi conference…}

        Biden: “Gee willikers, forget all the malarkey you’ve heard about us getting a divorce, as if we could ever go back to making geegaws.”

        Xi: “Why’d he call me willikers?”

        1. chuck roast

          The guy dropped more names in his news conference than Dick Vitale. I heard a joke the other day about a neighborhood social climber. It seems that there was a big party at a local mansion and the chattering class on the first floor heard a loud crash on the second floor. Talk stopped for a moment and one wag opined, “Oh, that just so-and-so dropping another name.”

        1. Michael Ismoe

          “Our” Democracy.

          Remember to vote to save it in November. Vote Blue no matter who. President Manchin needs your support keeping those child-bearing crack-ho’s in West Virginia away from the government’s cash.

      2. JohnH

        I have yet to read that but is there any mention of an alternate hypothesis that I think is a simpler explanation: All that stuff he said during that campaign – about covid, about student loans, about wage increases – was just stuff to get you to vote for him that he had no intention of actually ever doing

        Probably an unwelcome/disturbing view at TNR, but I dunno

        1. BeliTsari

          I’d thought, by SuperSpreader Tuesday, Joe was DNC™ LLC’s senile, zombie kleptocrat of last resort to stop Trump (Bernie), and they’re not much given to subtlety, shame,
          embarrassment or bothered with subtrafuge that: Democrats have to stomp down anything, even faintly reminiscent of FDR (Ken Galbraith) style Democratic policies? Große Lüge has to be a BLATANT iron boot on the head. And even if Trump had won, it’d pay off in the short term as their “nice COUNTRY, you got there, yuppie Libruls!” protection scheme?

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          I 100% agree. The question about why Biden gave up on Covid is incorrect. It implies he tried anything more than badgering the vaccinated. You can extend that to anything else he promised. Joe has always been lazy. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Biden also comes from TV and radio being the primary news source. TV pronouncements are fleeting moments in time. What is said isno as important as how it made you feel. I think he’s use to simply saying whatever comes into his mind. He made his promise about a black woman VP. A few weeks later he’s interviewing Granholm and Klobuchar. For the most part he doesn’t expect accountability because it’s never happened to him. As we see a shift from tv back to text based news consumption, statements will matter again. It was likely in Biden’s mind just a line for an immediate crowd to win applause. Being held to account likely confused him.

            Obama isn’t quoted because despite being the greatest orator Evah!, he’s a vacuous pos. I think Team Blue is running into this problem across the board.

          2. ChrisRUEcon

            > It implies he tried anything … You can extend that to anything else he promised. Joe has always been lazy. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

            Heartily concur.

    3. griffen

      Wow, what a great time to be alive! With leaders like Joe and Kamala boldly directing our present and future, who would worry.

      My sarcasm out of the way, holy cow. Even the ABC news reporter was asking some decently tough questions. It’s all a big fat lie, this 46th President and his great first year. Hooray for inflation. That’s the rusty nail in the Dem coffin.

      1. Wukchumni

        May you live in interest-free times…

        The notion of saving for the future and being rewarded for doing so was quite the driver once upon a time, and even now when the Fed agrees that inflation is running @ around 6.66%, the best rate I can find for a basic savings account is a niggardly 6/10’s of 1% or a tenth of the ‘true’ inflation rate, and thanks to the miracle of compound interest, I feel confident that I can double my savings by 2225 if man is still alive.

          1. Pate

            Yeah, I got that “in the year” thing too. But what about the 666 (“6.66”) and why not use it again instead of “6/10’s”? Guess the devil is in the details.

            “inflation is running @ around 6.66%, the best rate I can find for a basic savings account is a niggardly 6/10’s of 1%”

  2. Randy

    I know you guys don’t have full control over this, but heads up that on handheld I’m getting ads that hijack my phone when I visit NC. It’s not on my end because it doesn’t happen on other sites.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      E-mailed our ad guys but would really help if you e-mailed Lambert with a screen shot and details of your phone OS as he suggested in Water Cooler yesterday. We’re not getting other complaints so this does suggest it is related to your device somehow.

      They replied:

      Google’s proprietary technology and malware detection tools are used to regularly scan all creatives. Fourth-party calls or sub-syndication to any uncertified advertisers or vendors are forbidden. Any ad distributing malware is pulled to protect users from harm. Any Authorized buyer whose creative is found to contain malware is subject to a minimum three-month suspension. However, I’ve checked all the creatives in GAM and I didn’t find any traces of malware. In fact, we serve the same creatives on other sites too but no one complains about “ads that hijack their phone”. Having said that, if the user can elaborate their problem and can share log files, I’m happy to work with Google and advertisers to fix the issue.

      1. Kevin Smith MD

        No problems on my iPhone 12, up to date OS, Rogers is my carrier here in Ontario, clicked on a bunch of ads, then backed out of them, no problems.

      2. Terry Flynn

        In interest of trying to identify “safer” mobile access (nothing is completely safe): I use Firefox on android tablet with lots and lots of addons to stop things loading (linked to PC firefox account).

        I have had no recent problems like OP but did a while back on opera and I get “pauses” sometimes at the moment suggesting an addon is purging something.

        Sorry my tech skills don’t enable me to give more useful info.

      3. MichaelC

        I’ve been having the same issue on my IPhone

        A google ‘yo,be been selected’ pop up takes over the screen and doesn’t let me back to NC.

        I had to close the window and return to NC in a new window.

        This has happened before. It’s a well known scam. Google it.
        Just close the window and move on.

        Your tech guys should know about this. their response looks like a non answer to your question.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’ve had that happen to me. Not lately, but it has happened.

      Are they those popup ads for things like Walmart coupons or gambling sites? That’s what I was getting.

      I’m using a Samsung phone with Android. And those family-blogging ads are very hard to get rid of.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        It happened a few times the other day. I have to be careful not to tap the screen when that Fn malware Google gift window pops up. And you’re not pressing anything either.

        Huh. Prolly TPTB trying to hack our phones ?

    3. Lena

      I have had the same popup ad appear on NC nearly every day recently. It says I am the fortunate winner of all kinds of fab prizes from Google!!! Yippee!

      This popup appears on no other sites I visit. It makes it impossible to read NC content. Very frustrating.

      1. jsn

        That’s the one I get too!

        After 3 0r 4 tries, NC loads though.

        Next time I’ll take a screen shot and forward to Lambert w iPhone model/OS.

        1. José

          Exactly the same ad I get on Safari (iPhone XR). Makes it practically impossible to read NC.

          Changed browser on iPhone to Chrome seems to be ok there until now.

    4. PHLDenizen

      I’ve seen the same things pop up on and off over the last couple of weeks. Did not think to grab a screen shot. It’s been something Walmart related or some invitation to spin something for a prize.

      iPhone XS Max here.

      1. kramshaw

        I was seeing the same thing and just sent Lambert a screenshot and some additional info. I believe I have been able to fix the problem by clearing my website data:

        iPhone Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data


      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i started having a similar issue on my iphone late last summer…don’t remember the ad, but i’d just close the browser and all would be well.
        I permanently fixed the issue when i dropped the device one too many times and the screen shattered and i couldn’t even turn it off.
        problem solved.

        lost all my numbers at that time, too, which makes for interesting times, since i don’t know who’s calling me on the “snapfone*” i inherited from late stepdad…so i just don’t answer, and find that life is better all around.

        it also is incapable of getting links, pictures or whatever in text form….so i can ignore all that, as well.
        i’ve taken up the ancient practice of writing phone numbers down…currently, on the rafters in the greenhouse with a sharpie.
        all of this was accidental, of course, including me having an iphone in the first place…West Central Wireless, who became a thing out here when sprint, et alia couldn’t be bothered to build towers east of I-35….said i needed an “upgrade”, that it was free, due to my loyalty(?-nobody else) and basically pushed an iphone on me several years ago.

        while i miss the anthropology tools(grindr. tindr, etc) that an iphone provides, i’m finding that not being near as connected/tracked is better for the mental health.

        *one of those old people phones, with a “keypad” lock and a flashlight that turns itself on, and requires 14 steps to send a text.

    5. danpaco

      Same thing a few days ago for me on my ipone. It was a Google “you’re a winner ad”, usually seen as a pop-up on not so legal streaming sites.
      Clear your browser history and clear your cookies.

    6. dandelion

      I’ve had that happen — always when using public wi-fi at either an airport or a hotel. What stopped it, for me, was resetting my phone and turning off wi-fi, using data instead. I’ve become wary of public wi-fi, never use it now. Though I admit I’m not technologically adept.

    7. Lois

      iPhone user here. One thing to always try first is clear all browsing data and cookies. Those sites leave a cookie that keeps hijacking things.

    8. jr

      I didn’t realize it was site specific. I updated my phone and that stopped. For some reason my auto-update didn’t kick in. I took a screen shot of the webpage which I’ll send to Lambert.


      1. Big River Bandido

        Google Gift hijacked my Safari iOS as well, several times over the last week or so. Once it does that, I have to close the window and reload NC. Had to do this several times before the page would load without the hijacking. I also found that activating the “request desktop version” bypassed the hijacking.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. It’s a desktop for us, and as ‘dumb’ of a phone as we can get away with.
        (Xfinity, [Comcast] hit us with what is becoming an annual $3.00 USD price hike for basic internet. It is now up to $58.95 a month for 50 Mbps down and 10Mbps up. Thankfully, the cheapie phone company is still at $35.00 USD the month.)
        Still and all, roughly $95 USD a month for “comm-nectivity.”
        Why are we suffering with ‘First World’ problems when we are living in a Third World country?

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    Boris Johnson and face masks: Can anyone explain what this removal of a safety device is about? Is it to avoid his well-deserved political crisis over bending the rules?

    As noted here at Naked Capitalism, repeatedly, masks work. They blunted the flu season in the US of A last year–to the point of people speculating where ye olde flu went to.

    When people insist that something successful and beneficial doesn’t work, one wonders.

    I am watching masks culturally: My surmise is that the objections to masks in the Anglo-American world are a bid to preserve the “smart mouth.” One must keep the face of our betters unmasked so that they can smart-mouth, snarl, and give orders, unimpeded by safety or good sense.

    It’s a power issue, not a public-health issue. And as always in the Anglo-American world, the commonwealth gets looted.

    1. Mikel

      “I am watching masks culturally: My surmise is that the objections to masks in the Anglo-American world are a bid to preserve the “smart mouth”

      Don’t forget all the cosmetic surgery (including and especially cosmetic dental work).

      1. Wukchumni

        I remember watching Lady Di’s funeral procession and thinking that NHS dental wasn’t all that based upon looking at agape mouths of the commoners lining the route, so perhaps masks have their place in merry olde?

        1. T T T

          Speaking/lisping as a stereotypical dentally challenged Brit, I concur, masks mean not having to bother with the whole putting your teeth in thing.

      2. albrt

        My surmise is that the alpha male monkeys can’t stand missing out on the constant submission signalling (e.g. fake smiling) from their inferiors, particularly the lady monkeys.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There is a very strong element within the Tory party who see all covid restrictions as a fundamental attack on an Englishmans freedoms. What sort of freedom this is, is never quite defined, but its probably something to do with making fun of Johnny Foreigner and having Cayman Islands savings accounts and having a holiday home in the Dordogne while complaining about immigrants.

      Its a pretty transparent attempt by Johnson to throw red meat at hard core Tories. The general population, or national politics doesn’t matter any more, all politics in the UK now is faction fighting within the Tories, something to do with whether you are an Eton or Parmiters Boy or some such thing.

      What is particularly shameful is that the senior UK scientific and public health establishment is not resigning en masse over this. It is quite literally killing people to win votes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Assuming that Boris is really on his way out and that this measure was really something wanted by the Tories, could it be that they convinced Boris to announce this in exchange for a directorship or something down the track so that when the next PM is selected, that they can claim that this measure cannot now be undone?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          As always, David explains it better than I could below.

          I think that if Johnson was amenable to a deal to step down, he would have already gone. He’s digging his heels in, and this is part of his strategy. This is all about the obsessions of the few thousand people who matter in deciding who runs the UK. Basically, a bunch of rich connected insiders, a couple hundred of hidden terrified MP’s and the bunch of elderly fusspots and eccentrics who belong to the party. Literally nobody else matters.

          1. ambrit

            I think that you have just described an aristocracy and it’s enablers.
            Where is our Cromwell when we need him?

    3. David

      Johnson is trying to hang on to the job of leader of the Tory Party and thus Prime Minister. Johnson has always been popular with the wider party membership – more so, often, than with MPs. He’s hoping, therefore, that media coverage of his announcement will be very favourable, and that constituents and party members will write to MPs supporting his leadership, and opposing a leadership contest. Even opponents of Johnson would hesitate to try to remove him if his popularity increases substantially. It also possible that such pressure would help him survive any vote that did take place, in which case he’s secure in his position for some time. Equally, if he thinks he might lose the vote, he can resign, which means he can stand for election again, and only needs to be placed in the first two after round one (limited to MPs) to advance to round two, which is decided by the 100,000 or so members. He’d have a good chance of winning such an election, especially after these announcements. Here’s a good House of Commons guide to the Tory election process. So it’s all about survival.

      It’s true there is a libertarian fringe in the Tory Party that sees lockdowns and the like as an unacceptable restraint on personal freedom, and it’s possible that he might pick up some support from such quarters. But most Tory MPs are pragmatists, and they want a leader who can win elections, which Johnson, as things currently stand, probably can’t.

      1. Pokhara

        The libertarians are hardly a fringe group. They are a powerful and very well-organised faction of MPs, centred on the European Research Group. The ERG are the Brexit Ultras, and Johnson’s masters. The same faction has now spawned the Covid Recovery Group and the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (= climate change denial). These so-called research groups are the parliamentary spearhead of an ‘influencing machine’ on the Koch model. The key players have close links to dark money networks in the US. See Byline Times’ reporting, especially the work of Nafeez Ahmed.

        Perhaps I should declare an interest here: I’m a teacher in England, and the students all took their masks off today.

        1. David

          I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but the issue is how many of these MPs would be prepared to vote against Johnson, perhaps against the wishes of their constituents, and without any certainty that an eventual replacement for Johnson would suit them better. A new leader will inherit a large and stable majority, and I would guess that much of the Labour Party’s current lead would evaporate with Johnson’s departure. This is not May (or even Johnson) and the ERG.
          I sympathise with your predicament.

          1. Pokhara

            I can’t see who the ERG candidate would be either, unless it’s Truss. But I can well imagine that their patience has run out with Johnson. The ERG’s plan for post-Brexit England is ‘radical deregulation’, as Daniel Hannan said — not tax rises (even in the form of National Insurance contributions) and pork-barrel spending in former Labour seats.

            Agree that Labour’s current lead is likely to be a blip, whatever happens.

            1. wilroncanadaW

              Yes! the British Conservative Party may be about to put a truss on their johnson? Surely they are willing to dicker!

    4. SOMK

      “The Tories in England long imagined that they were enthusiastic about monarchy, the church, and the beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the confession that they are enthusiastic only about ground rent.” — Karl Marx, 1852

  4. Mike McC

    I would imagine any open source software with very high usage has plenty of eyes on it. My gut is the White House wants a back door. And too many people will fall for it. Close systems are subject to “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      It wasn’t exactly a confidence builder when it came out that the NSA was deliberately sabotaging encryption standards so that it would be easier for them to crack – along with every other intelligence agency on the planet and cyber-criminals as well. Open source can have much higher standards for security than a Silicon Valley piece of software that has who knows how many deliberate back-doors built in. And that is the difference. If open source software has a flaw, it is typically an accident. If main stream software has a flaw, you are never quite sure if it was an accident or was deliberately place there. I am sure that Edward Snowden has thoughts on the subject.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      This may be very sinister and I’m somewhat surprised it hasn’t surfaced sooner. The endgame won’t happen overnight. One of the first things business/finance entities that have become monopolies do is try and close the door on anyone else. It’s been quite a while since Microsoft looked the other way when start ups would obtain their development tools somewhat under the table so to speak until they became profitable. Open source software, such as the various (more or less free) Linux operating systems has been a real thorn in their side and has of late become more and more critical to start ups. Open source also represents a real form of freedom of speech, or more accurately, freedom to build complex systems that have not been officially sanctioned or reviewed. Governments, like big business, want control of potential threats as well as control for its own sake. It’s no fair building a system that might analyze and flag corrupt voting software, for instance.

      Software developers may end up being required to have a “permit” to ply their trade and/or be barred from working in non regulated software companies. It would of course be incredibly self defeating for innovation, but then on the other hand, as history has shown, that is an absolute requirement for industries and governments that are hell bent on collapse due to the weight of corruption and our government and global industry seem steel resolved for that collapse to happen as quickly as humanly possible..

    3. Kouros

      Open Source is becoming the New Huawei?

      I am really curious to see how this will be spined: you know, the dedicated work of hundreds and thousands of individuals adding the the Commons and trying to do a good job also with respect to security, privacy, etc…

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘New Cold War’

    Every night I turn on the news and the first bit of international news is always the same. Russia is about to invade the Ukraine and Biden is promising that there will be hell to pay when they do. Unfortunately for Biden, Putin has been studying Sun Tzu’s Art of War-

    Just wait till next year. Then every day you will hear about China getting ready to invade Taiwan. Or Milwaukee – I forget which.

    1. jackiebass63

      It is like in the movie Fahrenheit 459 where the had perpetual war to control the people. So many things from that movie are in practice today. It doesn’t bode well for our freedom.

    2. The Historian

      Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but I think the Dems are counting on a war to unite us or perhaps to save Biden’s presidency. Note we do not often change presidents in the middle of a war. Perhaps that is why they are going to such lengths to taunt Putin.

      1. jsn

        The idea that a war with Russia could be sustained until Nov 2, 24 is just the kind of genius we expect from the CIA!

        The American Conservative piece today was great, CIA and NSA debating about whether Ukraine would be part of USSR in five years when the guys on the ground knew it would be gone in 5 weeks and none of the Credentialed Experts TM would listen.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Simes’ article in The American Conservative is brilliant. He summarizes the 1990s in Russia, and the consequences thereof, very accurately and concisely.

          Shortly before my first arrival in Moscow in September 91, my university was visited by William Colby of CIA fame. Of course I attended his lecture, during which he predicted boldly that “Gorbachev will survive!” Three weeks later, Gorby was deposed. An early lesson for me in the stupidity of USA elites (and Colby was elite as it gets), and an early lesson in how quickly Russia can change itself. Or as Lenin said: “There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.”

          1. Cat Burglar

            Back in the late 80s, the news came over the car radio of Gorbachev’s campaign to fight alcoholism in the USSR, including a ban on drinking at work. My Slovak political refugee sweetheart, sitting next to me in the car, was aghast: “This will be the end of the communist system! If you can’t drink at work, everything will stop! This will be the end. You have no idea how important this is.”

          2. chuck roast

            I’m sure that you remember more about the specifics of this epoch than I do. What I do remember is Dimitri Simes frequent appearances on the US propaganda organs decrying any change in the mendacious Russians and ex-soviets. There were deep dark forces at work in the east, and we democratic peoples must remain on guard because these were a devious people. He was frequently paired with Stephen F. Cohen giving an entirely different opinion. Cohen suggesting that with the end of the Cold War we should embrace the “peace” in peaceful co-existence and look towards demilitarization. Of courses Cohen and his opinions are currently molderin’ in the grave.

      2. ambrit

        The Russian electorate should be factored in as well. Putin does have a tightrope walk to navigate. He surely knows that Washington is feeling weak and frightened. The optics of the recent Afghan withdrawal were spun as not far short of being a replay of the infamous 1842 ‘Retreat From Kabul.’
        However, Putin, much as he would like to sit back and let Washington destroy itself, must take care not to be perceived as weak and pusillanimous, to the Russian public. Hence, the sabre rattling coming out of Moscow. Putin’s international task is to look rough and tough to the homebodies without ‘triggering’ the Washington ‘Blob.’ Not an enviable task.
        Perhaps Putin’s best long range strategy is to really begin to try and ‘influence’ the American political system. America did it to his country, so, turnabout is fair play.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          For Chissakes, he’s moving troops around in HIS OWN COUNTRY. Does Mexico fear an invasion every time they have a troop changeout at Ft Bliss? This is nonsense. Putin wants Ukraine as much as we want that narco state to the south of us. (Maybe after Kamala solves the “border issue” we can invade, but not before)

        2. Ozz

          Putin’s strategy is to protect his citizens and get back to working on improvements for them. America has walked up to their border under the guise of defense with a strong desire to eventually blackmail them with weapons of mass distruction. I am sure from their view of the US and NATO has little to do with joint defense. The US also funds the lions share of NATO so think of it as a US. All those weapons given to Ukraine are complements of US taxpayers. If you look at it from a money perspeçtive the US position is all about that and little to do with defense. Nothing wrong with setting the record straight by Putin and I think that Russia and China know the US will self destruct on its own, but it is the end of a fourth turning, it seems the US is right where it belongs for today.

        3. Bruno

          ” the infamous 1842 ‘Retreat From Kabul.’ ”
          A story well told in the first “Flashman” novel.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Thanks for the reminder. I’ve read most of the Flashman novels but the retreat from Kabul is one that I missed and which I will have to go after now. For those not familiar with this character, here is an entry on him which has featured in so many novels. A man who he says he has ‘only three natural talents: horsemanship, facility with foreign languages, and fornication’ and the novels are hilarious, especially when he mixes in historical truths in his novels. Like the time he was involved with a slave captain – who was also an Oxford Don-


  6. Wukchumni

    The Feds Are Investigating a YouTuber Accused of Crashing a Plane For Views The Drive
    A classic bit of ‘video barnstorming’ that could have been from the 20’s with an old Jenny, modernized with what looked like a beater specifically acquired for the stunt. The key was all of the cameras on the wing tips and elsewhere. No documentation means no see me-dig me, online.

    Small planes are pretty tight space-wise and I never knew anybody that wore a parachute in a Cessna 152 or 172 when I was learning to fly.

    And while we’re on the subject of small planes, I see fewer of them in the air as years go on as its really expensive. We used to joke about the $100 hamburger a couple of airports away that had a restaurant, and that was 25 years ago, it probably is more like a $200 hamburger in renting a plane and gas cost now.

    A good many small towns in the Central Valley have airports still which were constructed in the 30’s through the 50’s, the feeling must’ve been that we would all be flying our own planes much as we do cars. There was one here specifically to allow pilots to land in the winter when low lying Tule Fog is an issue elsewhere. It was closed around 1970.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If that guy did crash that plane on purpose like some sort of Viking ship funeral for the ashes of his friend, then obviously he never heard of Murphy’s law. That plane could have started a deadly fire, it could have landed atop of some unlucky hiker or any number of other possibilities. But if the FAA gets themselves stirred up by this incident, then it is a good thing that people are not trying to replicate some of the stunts seen in the following old footage- (2:51 mins)

    2. John Beech

      Wukchumni, our business aircraft is a Bonanza. Just sitting year around (never turning the prop), it accumulates several costs per year – like for the hangar ($5,000), insurance ($2,500), plus annual inspection ($2500 baseline but on average $4,500/year for the 15 years it’s served our needs). These amount to about $12,000/year just to be at the ready.

      Beyond that, there are variable cost. like fuel, which averages $5/gallon. And because it consumes on average 12gph, we call it $60/hours when the prop is turning. However, firewall forward (engine, prop, governor, etc.) replacement cost is about $50,000 (parts and labor) and is likely good for 2000 hours so an additional $25/hr is set aside for every hour the prop is turning. Added to which, tires have about 5-700 landings in them, plus brakes and other wear and tear items means we add $10/hr to this, which brings us to $95/hour when it is in motion.

      Added to which, the asset has a value that will likely be recovered upon sale, but that amount does represent an opportunity cost of capital. Major point being, perhaps when AVGAS was $1/gallon and a new Bonanza costs $60,000 instead of just over $800,000 a hamburger run was $100, but these days? Quite honestly, even $200 is rather light in my opinion.

      Meanwhile, the Fed figures 2% inflation is good. Me? Nope, I believe it’s terrible for we the people. But then again, the Fed works for private companies (banks) and the first rule of business is make money. My business is pretty good at making money and I imagine the Fed is similarly motivated to ensure banks make money.

      Who pays? We do!

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Bombing the ‘Irish Beatles’ – who ordered their murder? Declassified UK

    This is one of the murkiest of many murky elements in the Northern Ireland conflict and one of the reasons its been so difficult to resolve, and why there are so many very aggrieved people along the border.

    Its overstating it to say the band was the Irish Beatles – they were a popular covers band who made a living travelling the country bringing rock n’ roll to dull small towns, and scoring the occasional hit. Most of them were killed in an ambush set up by loyalist paramilitaries, all of whom had strong ‘connections’ to the police and army. The attack was almost certainly organised by someone in the security services, but we’ll probably never know how high up the authorisation went. The awarding of compensation to the surviving members is a tacit acknowledgement of probably British security force involvement (there was never really any doubt about this).

    Even the motive is murky. The bomb was small, to be hidden with their instruments in the back of a VW van. It was probably intended to blow up when the van went over the border into the Irish Republic. It could then be blamed on the IRA. The probable intention was to spread the idea that all catholics were to be considered possible terrorists, even a glam rock cover band. Who benefited from this idea? Well, its anyones guess, but there are plenty of suspects. The likelihood is that it has the same motive as the bombings in Monaghan and Dublin, which killed many civilians, including children. It was to force the Irish government into bringing in very repressive legislation (which they didn’t need much encouraging). Some of those laws are still technically live.

    If you wander the border areas in Ireland you’ll often come across small roadside monuments to deaths like this, usually more low key ones – individuals singled out and murdered for one reason or another. Most of these deaths have been long forgotten by the outside world. But they never forget in those regions, people will casually mention the names of people murdered there 40 years ago as if it was yesterday. This is one reason why in the border areas so many people will never, ever forgive Brexiters for how they’ve revived the possibility of this returning by their selfish stupidity (and yes, this includes Lexiters).

    1. David

      I have to say I thought it was a poorly written piece which requires the reader to know an awful lot of background before it makes any sense. And even then it’s mostly innuendo, with nothing at all to back up the subliminal message of the click-bait headline that somehow the “British” were responsible.

      For those interested, the problems result mainly from using the words “British Army” “serving soldiers” and “UDR” as though these were different things, and positing “collaboration” between them. But, as the article sort of admits, the UDR itself was actually a regiment of the British Army, and several of the killers were members of the UDR. The UDR itself was set up primarily as a way of trying to prevent the formation of large-scale Protestant Paramilitaries, by bringing them, as one Army officer put it to me “where we can see the bastards.” There were Catholics in the UDR (I knew one officer), but the main purpose of the Regiment was to attract and control headstrong young Protestants who might otherwise join the PPMs. It was accepted that some UDR members (like some RUC members) would join or sympathise anyway, but this was seen as less dangerous than having no controls at all. It’s worth adding that, on an individual and small group basis, the British were always more worried about the PPMs than the IRA. The latter, no matter how detested, were accepted to have coherent objectives and strategies, whereas the PPMs were just viewed as mindless killers. So “collaboration” means “a couple of off-duty UDR members who were members of the UVF took part in the killings”, which I don’t think anyone has ever denied. But the article then swerves off into a completely unrelated story of a Police informer who was “linked” (wonderful word) to the killings, and was “suspected” of involvement in others.

      The big problem for those who have, since the beginning, tried to blame the British for the killings, is that there is no obvious motive. From the start, the British strategy was to treat the IRA as a small criminal gang, not representative of the Catholic population as a whole, and even at odds with them. At the time, hardcore support for the IRA within the Catholic community was put at about 10%, and the British were desperate to keep it from rising higher. (Their own mistakes didn’t help, of course). For that reason, though I’ve heard the argument you recount, I’ve never found it convincing. I suspect things were a bit simpler. The killings fit entirely into the UVF’s strategy (kill Catholics because reasons) and it’s highly likely that one of the UVF members involved was an Army or Police informant. The reality of using informants, who often worked for money, is that your control over them is limited, and there do seem to have been individuals who were working for both sides. In some cases, the British allowed killings to go ahead in order to preserve the security of the informants, in others they simply didn’t know.

    2. Eclair

      “But they never forget in those regions ….”

      I remember a holiday season, back when I was very young and recently given leave to buy presents, on my own, for family. I proudly showed the present for my grandfather to my mother; a pair of wool socks, stamped “Made in England.” (You know how long ago this must have been!) She grabbed them and told me to buy another gift for him: “He hates the English!”

      My Irish-American grandfather was born in the US; his parents had emigrated from Ireland, along with thousands of countrymen escaping the aftermath of the great hunger, in 1863, “But they never forget ….”

    3. Old Jake

      I wonder if some of these incidents were fomented by people who enjoyed setting bombs and shooting up the citizenry for the joy causing mayhem and killing people. That sort does exist, perhaps war and disorder brings them out (or writers of video drama think so, perhaps I’m conditioned?).

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Joe Biden’s Awesome First Year”

    Watching Biden trip and stumble over his own words is nothing less than painful to watch. And they use to question if it was a good idea that Trump had the nuke codes in his possession. They don’t say that about Biden though, do they? But when that Paul Begala went on MSNBC and said “the problem for the Democrats… is not that they have bad leaders. They have bad followers”, that shows the rot is all through the leadership. So I had a thought earlier. Right now the US is going through a massive Omicron wave as are most countries. And in a few months when immunity has waned, there will be another Omicron wave which will be followed up with a third Omicron wave before the end of the year. And mind you, this is totally discounting the idea of another variant arising.

    So you just know in the lead-up to the November midterms, both parties will try to stage huge indoor campaign events with tens of thousands of followers which will be like super-duper spreader events. So after the amount of people that died attending campaign events and party elections last year, will people be so reckless and go to these events by the end of this year? Can either party afford to squander voter’s lives by having them attend such events? By my own guesstimate, the number of deaths in the US will go past the million mark in only about two months time so you would think that this would get people thinking about going to such events.

    1. The Historian

      Methinks Paul Begala nor anyone else in the Democratic Party understands what the word ‘leadership’ means. They think it has to do with money, as in, the more money you can collect, the better of a leader you must be, ala Kamala.

      My favorite definition: Leadership means the art of motivating a group of people to act together towards achieving a common goal.

      See that word ‘motivating’? When is the last time the Democratic Party has motivated us to do anything but roll our eyes in disgust?

        1. juanholio

          It’s hard to see that happening. It’s not like the R team has anything better to offer. It’s more likely that people just won’t turn up to vote.

    2. Lena

      I find watching Biden not just painful but scary. It feels like we are on a rudderless ship in a rocky sea. Who is in charge? Anyone?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is the end game for centrism and focus on hypothetical election posturing. It’s a childish and even nihilistic philosophy, but it’s defined by what it’s not. Biden griped about Sanders. When it’s questioned directly, it can’t stand up to scrutiny. Obama spoke in nothings and banal aphorisms. Because of presentation, he got away with it, but in many ways he has been memory holed because he was there for eight years at best. Biden has the usual set of problems, plus Covid and growing climate catastrophe, but he has people who have memories of Obama.

        It’s not quite policy, but yesterday, Senator Mark Warner claimed he thought there was a talking filibuster when he became at the Senator. He was a congressional aide and worked for Chris Dodd. Even accepting his claim, it’s taken 12 years for him to say the filibuster might not be perfect.

        Biden is particularly stupid, but all the centrists would be in the same boat. Look at Keith Starmer and New Labour across the pond. BJ is being ousted, and Keith sacrificed every issue and attacked party members leaving him with nothing.

    3. Carolinian

      They don’t say that about Biden

      Colonel Pat Lang, who knows more than a little about the nuclear “football,” said he was quite worried about the mentally addled Biden having access. Some of us can remember when all this fear channeled toward disease, Putin, Trump was focused on nuclear weapons. However such fears are inconvenient to the MIC and the MIC has a lot more control over media obsessions than it once did.

      But we fogeys, some of us at least, still worry about it.

        1. Martin Oline

          Pat is partisan to himself and unafraid of the opinions of others. Unlike Moon Of Alabama, he does not allow his site to be used by crackpots but will ban them. He published his phone number on his site the other day, for Christ’s sake. I hope it was a burner from the corner store. I can make up my own mind about world affairs, but his insight is unique and valuable. He has put his life on the line many times. I would believe his honesty and integrity over many others, especially people who hide behind a pseudonym.

          1. Soredemos

            I don’t care about his (supposed) honesty and integrity, or how often he’s put his life on the line in defense of our empire. I care about whether he has anything intelligent and insightful to say. He’s occasionally useful on purely military matters (and even then not always; I seem to recall that he was all for the 2011 ‘intervention’ in Libya), but outside of that he’s a reactionary ghoul to an almost comical degree. He was a Trump enthusiast, and however much liberals were hyperbolic about Orange Man Bad, Trump was, in fact, a moron and a disaster. Supporting him is never a sign of intelligence (or integrity, for that matter).

            Looking at his site just now, he’s seems to be applauding Johnson ending the mask mandate. Of course, the 82 year old man is frivolous about covid. How am I not surprised.

          2. Soredemos

            Well, if we’re going to call people with pseudonyms cowards, I guess I’ll just point out that one of our hosts names is not in fact ‘Lambert Strether’.

        2. Carolinian

          How about we should take everything on the web these days with a truckful of salt? Sorry I don’t have the link to his comment but it was some time back.

          Of course if you have examples of times Lang has said something untruthful as opposed to partisan (and he really doesn’t beat the partisan drum very much) then do produce. But I’ve always thought he was a straight up guy going back to the times he used to be on TV.

          Plus if you want to get any kind of antiwar perspective these days you are more likely to get it from conservatives and ex military than from the likes of Pelosi or MSNBC. Which doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of Republicans (particularly in the Senate) who are keen for war. But on foreign policy I’d say it is the Dems and their pundit me too chorus who are weirdly militant and partisan. What is their deal re Putin?

    4. Daryl

      This whole Biden thing reminds me of the story of the court eunuch in China who insisted that a deer was a horse, then had people who disagreed executed.

      Nobody is allowed to publicly acknowledge that Biden’s mental faculties are failing and in fact have been since before he started campaigning.

  9. Tom Finn

    Why Biden gave up…Kinda like eavesdropping on the next table value wise. Most telling was, first interviewee commenting on Walensky quote about 75% of US deaths having multiple comorbiiditiies: “most Americans have some comorbidity.”
    As if that’s somehow normal and to be expected. Why is That not being addressed?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Because improving your health doesn’t allow Big Pharma and Big Medicine to make Big Money.

      1. wilroncanada

        Because it takes a health care system, not “access to insurance”.
        Because it takes a health care system, not grandstanding by grifters, both the publically funded kind and the private big pharma kind.

    2. BeliTsari

      “Biden” didn’t “give up.” On COVID, AGW, income inequality, BLM, voters’ rights. He’d assured DNC LLC’s actual constituents, fundamentally, nothing will change, and they’re ALL fulfilling contractual obligations as specified. “Vax only,” enabled home flipping & essentials indentured into 1099 gigs, by winniwing out lebensunwertes leben loosers; as our betters harvested homes, jobs, equity & debt. It’s like Obama, fighting AGW with green fracked methane, bio-mass, bitumen and ancient reactors. Voting rights consisting of crushing 3rd Party or independent candidates, SuperSpreader Tuesday, hundreds-of-thousands of disappeared votes, all to graft, bribery, pay2play. Soon, we’ll ALL have >4 PASC, MIS-C or vaccine triggered comorbiduties!

  10. The Historian

    Nocebo effect? I guess my thermometer had the nocebo effect too, since it was saying I had a fever for three days after getting the booster.

    1. smashsc

      Yeah, I guess my inability to sustain even moderate aerobic exercise for 6 weeks after getting the J&J is due to “anxiety”. And I guess my daughter’s hot, huge, red welt at the injection site for 3 weeks was “expectations”. smh

    2. Lena

      Forget anxiety as a cause for adverse reaction to the vaccines. The paralysis of my legs and lower torso after my J&J shot and my subsequent hospitalization was no doubt due to “female hysteria” and a desperate desire for attention from male doctors. I especially liked the wild eyed doc who screamed at me repeatedly in the ER. What a hunk! (This is my feeble attempt at sarcasm. It was a hellish experience that made me never want to see a doctor again.)

      1. Soredemos

        The way thousands of women were ignored for months over complaints about disrupted periods is one of the singularly more damming episodes in all this.

        1. newcatty

          Not long before the announced arrival of Covid, a dear family member collapsed and a friend took her to the local ER. This was at a hospital with a good reputation in a large metropolitan area. The patient was in pain and could not stand up without falling back down. Not elderly, but middle aged. The ER was not that crowded on a sunny, weekday afternoon. She relayed how the ER head doc, after examination by staff docs, yelled at her, too. She was moved, for awhile, into a hallway. He came back to her after about an hour and yelled right into her face, We don’t know what’s wrong with you! He grimaced and said, Looks like we will have to admit you. After another half hour, or so, she was placed in a bed. Many tests later and she was diagnosed with a specialist directing treatment protocol. She later said how unreal and scary it was to have that doc yell at her in that vulnerable state. It was as though the doc was blaming her for her illness. She is OK, now. In the week in hospital, the other healthcare providers were great. Including the doc in charge of her care. This was before the Covid slam on ERs. The stress on all of the ones, who have a conscience, must be terrible.

    3. rowlf

      I won the J&J post jab side effect lottery too and my batch number also comes up hot for complaints. Good times! (Grr…) At least I got my first CDC loyalty ticket punch for not being the same afterwards. Boosters? KMA.

      In Obama speak: “If you like your side effects, you can keep them.”? At my company the insurance premium surcharge for not being vaccinated would have been cheaper than going after the side effects.

      Frank Sinatra – Pass me by

    1. human

      Decades ago, I remember a congressman complaining that he was lower middle class because his salary was only $170,000/year.

    2. Yoghurt

      Maybe the Wharton student know the distinction between average and median? Once you average in the Bezos, Gates and hedge fund guys, it may well be that high (charitably calling them workers). Curious, I googled for the average, but was unable to find it, only median. And what is income? Anyone who is anyone takes their income in capital gains and earned interest. Normal income is apparently for chumps and chump change.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Then they are awful business school students, they should know the billionaires make their money off stocks not salary. And that 90 million people making 30k overwhelms those few making millions.

        And I looked on Fred too.. only median. Average I had to get from surveys, and it appears it’s around 50k with the median around 70k.

    3. Michael Ismoe

      I wish she had asked them “How much does it cost to attend Wharton?” I’ll bet none of them could answer that question. But Daddy knows.

      BTW – an MBA from Wharton costs 80 large.

    4. Daryl

      The level of disconnect is amazing though. Like, it’s not like these people aren’t frequenting establishments where people are paying minimum wage (or less), nor is it particularly difficult to find out that a lot of people are working massive hours for tiny amounts of money. And presumably “business” students are going to end up in the position of determining and managing other peoples’ salaries.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        if my stepmom, sisterinlaw, and adjacent such people, are any indicator(no wharton alums, just run of mill PMC), they just don’t see the Help, no matter how many unpersons they are confronted with/helped by each day.
        same mannerisms as operating an ATM, ‘push these buttons;get what i want’.
        confusion ensues when the atm/counterperson objects in some manner…or appears to.
        stepmom recently got a “smart fridge”.
        i just hope it has enough sentience to rankle.

        “Meritocracy”, they call it….

    5. jr

      Wharton is an island of ignorance and entitlement within the confines of ignorant and entitled Penn. One of my classmates had graduated from Wharton and said she had learned nothing. A professor told me the school has generated a lot of resentment from others as it uses it’s outsized influence to shape school policy ($) in it’s favor while departments such as medieval literature couldn’t afford to launch a journal. Another professor shared a revealing story about how the Wharton building’s doors had been “upgraded” to shiny, modern glass and metallic one’s in an effort to differentiate themselves from the other schools. Modern and forward-thinking! The lights at night, though, attracted tons of insects and the glass was always dirty and gross. An apt image.

      1. John Beech

        ‘she had learned nothing’ reminds me of how a Chinese buffet has lots and lots of choices yet some people just want to eat the white rice. I’m thinking ‘you get out of it what you put in’, sums my thought, also. I feel bad for your colleague.

        1. jr

          Going to Wharton is like going to a buffet that only serves white rice. Strip out the math and it’s all ideology and onanism. Another classmate actually was a professor at Wharton, a philosopher of information science, and his disdain for the bulk of the curriculum taught there was barely concealed.

  11. Mikel

    “ CEO Confirms Hundreds of Accounts Were Hacked” The Verge

    Good thing they have their priorities straight and are investing in things like attaching their name to arenas! If the name wasn’t on a building how would anyone whether they could be trusted?

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m proud to announce the launch of HackCoin, which has been pre-hacked for your protection against future instances of limited addition, in terms of what you were worth after getting hacked.

      HackCoin, Safe since early 2022!

      1. chuck roast

        I’m waiting for the introduction of a coin called “Mt. Gox.” How can it not be successful?

  12. griffen

    Crypto site hacked and funds stolen. It is usually a curious thing, to me, when a company suddenly emblazons it’s title upon a gleaming sports arena or one of our modern football stadiums. Let alone that, a number of heavy hitters featured in television commercials.

    Fortune does favor the brave, so it says. Federal and state bank institutions have been fighting off these IT and tech hacks for decades now. It’s not good publicity to get hacked.

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard that the new tv commercials will feature Matt Damon comparing Willie Sutton to Cryptos.

      1. ambrit

        I heard that some enterprising slink is angling for the rights to the Meta personna of Gene Wilder. Willy Wonka is a much better ‘fit’ for Kryptos.
        Imagine, the avatar of Willy Wonka speaking to the audience:
        “Here it is! The Golden Ticket to riches beyond your wildest imaginings! Kryptos! Even Superman loves it!”

        1. griffen

          On behalf of the Gene Wilder fan club, let’s really hope not! Surely the image rights involved can be of another dead actor, actress, or so forth.

          Michael Jackson. Man in the meta mirror?

    2. Wukchumni

      Let alone that, a number of heavy hitters featured in television commercials.

      The various pro sports legends and most specifically the greatest of all time in the guise of Tom Brady* and supermodel wife Giselle, only ever utter ‘I’m in’ and maybe it was inspiration for the hackers?

      * Roethlisberger moped around like a quadragenerian the other day, if you didn’t know any better you’d think he was trying to throw the game, he was so awful. Meanwhile Brady has the look of a QB in his early 30’s…

      1. griffen

        Of all the NFL teams, the Steelers might be the model of long run consistent and winning head coaches. It’s surprising to assume, from the outside view, they had no perceived plan to eventually move past Ben as the bedrock QB. He has taken a beating moreso than the modern marvel TB12.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Brady get hit? Except for the back half of 2007, he’s played behind a very good to great line. Maybe 2015 was okay. Roethlisberger rolls out and gets into it. Brady wins and has a quick release, but c’mon, those game worn jerseys he gives away don’t even need to be washed. Not that Matt Cassell wasn’t adequate, but he won 10 games stepping in for Brady in 2008 with the line improvements. Tampa Bay was 7-9 with a legally blind quarter back and close to being 10-6.

          Finding a QB is hard. Sustained success makes it harder. Fields might wind up out of the league with Chicago’s line. Unless you are looking for Rodgers or Garrapolos with value picks, you aren’t going to simply replace a guy. Andy Luck came from the draft in the season when Manning was hurt.

          As of the Steelers, Belichick has said they are all the same at every position. Tomlin and Cowher and the 70’s coach are the same guy. If they could time travel, they could pick up for the others mid week with no disruptions.

          1. Wukchumni

            You never know with QB’s, this one year it was a pick em’ between a couple of much desired college players and I went to the very first winning effort of Ryan Leaf & the Chargers over my Bills in San Diego, and the other QB picked above him in the draft was a fellow named Peyton.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Didn’t Archie strongly hint Peyton would sit out? I know he did with Eli, but I think he really distrusted the Chargers organization. I’m not comparing Fields to Peyton or Eli. They were can’t miss as far as anyone goes. I think it will be hilarious when Peyton drafts Arch, Cooper’s kid (he’s like the Pete Best of the Mannings) in a few years. The rumor is the Mannings’ aren’t fame crazy as much as trying to buy a team, hence hawking every product they can.

              1. Wukchumni

                I dunno, really enjoyed Monday Night Football with the Mannings, as it was loosey goosey from a couple of bros, and refreshing, although by necessity one must forego the usual feed and occasional commentary from a sidelines MILF who talks pigskin in a confident manner with a hither come yon style to an NFL fan whose average age is 53.

                1. foghorn longhorn

                  Also enjoyed the Manning’s monday night hijinks.
                  Eli pokes with a sharp stick.
                  Was not aware of them wanting to buy a franchise tho.
                  Hope they get one.

                  1. John Beech

                    And I really enjoy listening to Romo. Worth what he’s getting? That and more! Haven’t had a chance to listen in on the Mannings but imagine it’s a hoot. As for Fields, dunno.

                    1. griffen

                      I think Romo left a little out on the field, in that those teams were not really successful on the field. But I blame nthe coaching more in retrospect.

                      Going 13-3 and lose at home? What the heck. That aside he’s done very well for an undrafted quarterback.

                2. newcatty

                  Really? If you do not understand that in using an old and out of date insult to women, like “MILF” is immature and not so cool “humorous”, then its a play to your imagined fan club. Add the so cool phrase”talking pigskin” to the comment, then shut the doors and protect the middle aged manfolk from “hither come yon style”. To add, the women who sell themselves as commentators are their own persons, this does not negate my POV as having standing.

                3. Sardonia

                  My favorite Manning line – some guy from NYC was on and complaining about how NY can’t find a good QB, and ended his rant with “C’mon – don’t you guys have a breeding farm or something down there?”

                  Peyton quipped “Yeah but my dad’s stud fees are getting ridiculous.”

  13. Terry Flynn

    Statistical significance. Good article but grossly incomplete. It ends with a statement saying these problems are on the way to being solved via methods in medicine and psychology. Was the word limit really so tight that they couldn’t mention the “n-of-1” trial used in the former and the “discrete choice experiment” in the latter? Both were well established during my PhD in 2000.

    Academic “silo syndrome” might excuse ignorance of the latter but not mentioning the n-of-1 trial? If I were bad minded I might think that people aren’t being told about these because they’re expensive and might upset the apple cart in various areas of medicine that benefit from current neoliberal regimes.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The article is a pretty good overview I think. Its one of those topics I need to regularly get my brain around as I don’t use statistics very much in my day to day work or life.

      The key problem I think is that the implications are so fundamental to so much published science that it will take a massive paradigm shift to fix. And the problem of course is that its not just about science, its about administrative structures and money, and these take even longer to change.

      It reminds me a little of back in the mid 1990’s when an active topic of discussion was the use of e-coli measurements as a proxy for water pollution. Even back then the limitations of e-coli measurements were well known (especially for viral contamination) and there were far more accurate methods available . But a quarter of a century later, we are still using them as a measure of water quality and they are still embedded within regulations as the alleged gold standard benchmark. I still regularly meet people who are actively involved in water pollution regulation who think that a water sample with no measurable e-coli means it is safe.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yep. The (USA) guy who either invented or at least “trumpeted” the PSA test gave an amazing lecture to us in Bristol around 2000 where he publicly stated he wished he hadn’t done it. The PSA test is NOT a diagnostic tool but merely something vaguely useful ONCE PROSTATE CANCER IS CONFIRMED via other means.

        But it’ll take a lot of doctor funerals before we stop freaking out so many men who don’t deserve that heartache. I now work in cancer and I don’t think I’m breaking any rules to say something already widely known….. So many men die of something else unrelated to prostate cancer…. Not because of the prostate cancer they have.

        Of course younger guys etc are another matter…. But this comes back to the issue of variability.

    2. GramSci

      I found this article’s explanation of the maths to be garbled. Much clearer to my mind was the seminal linked Ionnidis article:

      Still this author’s conclusions seemed important and importantly blunt:

      «The underlying problem is that universities around the world press their staff to write whether or not they have anything to say. This amounts to pressure to cut corners, to value quantity rather than quality, to exaggerate the consequences of their work and, occasionally, to cheat. People are under such pressure to produce papers that they have neither the time nor the motivation to learn about statistics, or to replicate experiments. Until something is done about these perverse incentives, biomedical science will be distrusted by the public, and rightly so.»

    3. skk

      I was encouraged when in 2015, ‘the editors of Basic and Applied Social Psychology (BASP) announced that the journal would no longer publish papers containing P values because the statistics were too often used to support lower-quality research’.
      But since then, I’ve yet to see other journals follow in their footsteps. The article did not mention some of the other techniques that are available in addition to Bayesian ones, depending on the problem at hand: consideration of effect size and thus confidence intervals, bootstrapped estimation and Akaiki Information Criterion – really “Another Information Criterion” since the inventor Akaiki was far too modest to name it after himself; later statistician that coined the term.

      1. Terry Flynn

        The AIC (and related criteria like the BIC) are a step forward but the field I worked in (discrete choice experiments) encouraged you to recognise that the interpretation of the results was part art part science since they can identify local not global maxima in the Likelihood function.

        I typically used the BIC but as a starting point – I more often than not found that it overfit the data finding clusters of patients who didn’t in reality exist. Theory and experience were necessary – one thing the article also (although generally good) omits mention of to any great extent.

  14. Solarjay

    It’s unlikely the US becomes a major producer of anything but continues to be a consumer in the renewables world.
    For lithium it’s the so called environmentalists who are contributing to the stopping of lithium mines. And then you have the refining and battery manufacturing which we also don’t have any capacity in.
    Wind? GE is the only one in the top 10, I’m presuming it’s still US company?
    Solar? Almost zero solar made here in the US. Some overseas companies are starting to do assembling of solar here. No raw materials made here, ( Moses lake Washington was shut down during trumps war on China as retaliation on solar tariffs, it made the ore for poly silicon) or refining. No inverters made here.

    One of the biggest factors why no manufacturing is our environmental regulations are more stringent than other countries. So environmentalists here bury their heads in the sand and brag about their green EV and solar panels. All because people don’t want to pay another 1% or something more for a more environmentally produced product.

    Don’t get me wrong, not just the US. Years ago REC solar moved their manufacturing from Norway ( 100% renewable energy) to Singapore 100% coal. I know they did it because less $. But I still wonder how many people would have bought zero carbon produced solar for more money? Guess not enough.

    As to the question in the article “ will the US be able to catch up in the lithium world?”
    We can’t make KN 95 masks, so nope.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its not necessarily a bad thing to be late to a technology. Sometimes first mover ‘advantage’ can leave you with a lot of outdated designs and processes, leaving the door open to someone who can move in quickly having learned the mistakes early. Just look at how quickly Japan and Korea learned to make cars better than anyone else. So I would never rule out the ability of the US if it focused the sort of effort it put into…. say…. the F-35 to quickly move up the supply chain. But that takes political will and a business elite who are not of a parasitic mindset. I know its an NC tradition to be deeply cynical, but if the financial sector in the US decided that it needed something safer for investments than fracked wells in Ohio, with the right push from the government it could do the right thing. The situation in Europe is somewhat different in that getting the various stakeholders together can be tortuously slow, but when it decides to do something along these lines it can develop a very strong momentum. Germany, unfortunately, got burned by going in too early with solar and batteries. But I think there is a head of steam building up for a second push. There is already a massive effort going into off-shore wind.

      China is in an interesting position as much of its early push ran out of steam thanks to both internal and external circumstances. But they seem to have made a concerted effort to learn from their lessons and take make a determined second push at massively scaling up solar and wind. The massive short fall in electricity this year and the big increase in oil prices has concentrated minds.

      Incidentally, there is an interesting article here on how much its cost the UK to have cut back on renewables going back to 2013. The proportional rise in fossil fuel costs has made it a very costly mistake – the estimate here is £2.5billion per annum in electricity bills.

      Cutting the ‘Green Crap’ has added £2.5 billion to utility bills.

      1. tegnost

        Its not necessarily a bad thing to be late to a technology

        My favorite example of this is biopace chainings….led to me waiting 5 years for any new cycling tech

    2. Reaville

      The lithium-Ion battery supply chain is mainly graphite/lithium/nickel/cobalt. Cobalt is going away but there are cobalt junior mines in US/Canada. Graphite is going to be available at scale in Canada by 2023 (NMG). Additionally, NVNXF is a synthetic graphite company with a tie-in to ConocoPhillips and a factory scaling in Chattanoga. Tesla just did a supply deal with Talon Metals (TLOFF) for nickel. Bottom line, the mineral side is developing and could be accelerated. Synthetic graphite is mentioned in a Biden admin document on critical minerals. Lithium is being mined at scale in the US by PLL, Albermarle and others.

      The US has many Li-Ion battery plants that are under construction, mainly throughout the SE and close to car plants in the TN, AL, and SC.

      The missing piece is legislation to assist the development of a national production base which will accelerate and strengthen the sector. You cannot compete with China with a simple “but free markets” ideology. The Chinese bring the full national power to these sectors: state, technology/education, political will, and private enterprise. By developing national plans, they organize to win. If the US is to preserve its independence, then it will have to bring the same scale of effort and organization. This should include carbon accounting for the supply chain (some mines are going all electric to be very low carbon consumers in their production processes, so it is possible).

      Could happen. Investing in the graphite and lithium companies has been great and should be great going forward.

  15. Kevin Smith MD

    No problems on my iPhone 12, up to date OS, Rogers is my carrier, clicked on a bunch of ads, then backed out of them, no problems.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “China plays discreet but critical role in Iran nuclear negotiations”

    China may be lining up their ducks here. Iran would be a major hub in their Belt and Road Initiative as China’s network expands east hence a main interest to get Iran back in the international trade system. China might be able to offer Iran all sorts of contracts that would make up for any renegotiated nuke deal losses if the US insists on keeping some sanctions in place. And to put this development into context, last week Syria officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative. So all the US laws forbidding Syria be rebuilt will now be bypassed and it will be linked up with Iran more, especially if Iraq can be brought into the network-

  17. flora

    re: Tiabbi’s article, from the longer post.

    Democrats are now in their second straight year of losing significant ground with all minority groups.

    Democrats under Biden have become the party of the nomenklatura. Their base is the slice of hyper-educated, jargon-spouting bureaucrats whose ranks are growing thanks to their skill at siphoning resources to themselves before they have a chance to reach a wider base of regular people: ….
    These new commissars are the most hated people in the country, and they’re the Democrats’ main constituency. Even species of viper and corporate parasite is swimming in riches now, from tax-evading private equity titans to the oil & gas CEOs who are right now gouging everyone, to old pals in the banking sector (Goldman’s just-announced special 1% bonus celebrating last year’s record $27 billion profit was a nice touch), all thriving but lionized so long as they mask appropriately and genuflect to “norms.” Meanwhile, the party increasingly demonizes every species of complaining underclass person as a right-wing enemy, even the minorities.

    There’s the “woke” class nomenclatura right there. Bezos hanging a “we support” sign on an Amaz warehouse “sweatshop” is a perfect example. / oy.

    1. tegnost

      These new commissars are the most hated people in the country, and they’re the Democrats’ main constituency.

      yep, mm hmm. But they don’t know it…

      1. newcatty

        In Tiabbi’s article the most salient line is
        Meanwhile, the party increasingly demonizes every species of complaining underclass person as a right-wing enemy, even minorities. ( My bolding).

  18. Tom Stone

    Joe Biden has overperformed in his first year.
    Ask Pfizer, Goldman Sachs or Blackrock,heck ask anyone that matters and they will tell you the same thing.
    Joe Biden has done more for the real America than any President since William Jefferson Clinton.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      This is why the 25th amendment and all the other fantasies of Biden being out of office anytime before 2024 are just that, fantasies. Unless the record profits for the powers running the show end, the only way Biden leaves office early is in a coffin.

  19. jefemt

    Putin and Ukraine: Why don’t ‘we’ invite both into NATO?

    No shortage of foils would remain to legitimize all of our collective global inanity….

  20. KLG

    Regarding the Nina Strohminger tweet from Wharton and her idiot students…After I graduated from high school I worked for parts of 1973-1974 at a unionized heavy chemical plant in my hometown. Production and maintenance hourly workers ranged from G1-G12 on the negotiated union scale.

    As a member of the “labor gang” my tool of choice was the idiot stick (shovel), but I did have real responsibilities and learned to operate heavy equipment, which was a useful skill later. I also got to crawl, safely, into places that were, well, interesting. My G2 hourly pay was $3.76 in 1974. The handy Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator tells me my annual wage was $44,494 in December 2021 dollars. I have no doubt a modern “economist” will quibble about the BLS Calculator, but still, not bad for a 17-year-old high school graduate. For comparison, a starting public school teacher made about $16,500 at the time: $93,882. My grandmother had been a local building contractor in the 1960s. An expensive new house (3-4 BR, 2B) was in the $35,000 range ($199,144), but very well built houses for half that price were available. In my job I had full union protection regarding work rules, and if I had stayed on permanently, full union benefits including pension, life insurance, and health insurance (which was actually good back in those days, and the plant employed a full-time nurse who could handle everyday aches and pains). My older mentors (and mentors they were) in the plant were maintenance mechanics, welders, and machinists who were G10-12. The annual wage of a machinist or senior mechanic who could do anything needed in the plant (G12), was $147,936 in 2021 dollars. The highest pay went to Relief Operators, who were qualified to perform every production job in the plant: $159,179. Add another 5-10% for overtime, which was time-and-a-half for every fraction of an hour over 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.

    I have no real idea what the Plant Manager made, but he was a leader in the community and Chair of the Hospital Authority. I would guess $65,000 in 1974 dollars, or $369,840. He was rich. But so was everyone else who worked there, hourly and salaried (company) employees, and at a half-dozen other industrial employers in a county of about 55,000. They set a standard that was largely met by other, smaller manufacturing companies. Retail lagged, but those workers had a regular 40-hour work week and made a good living. All, gone with the wind…

    I do remember thinking at the time that being 17-18 years old and in a position to make a decent living was a good thing, one that the country should be proud of. But a few years later our first neoliberal president in Jimmy Carter was elected. He turned much of the economy over to Alfred Kahn of Cornell IIRC (it’s always the Ivy League), and the rest, as they say, is history.

    1. lance ringquist

      ah yes, the great kahn i used to call him. its why putting all the blame on reagan is the weasels way out, because the majority of blame is on the nafta democrats.

      don’t get me wrong, reagan was s##t, but nafta billy clinton out did hitler and musolinni’s damage to the world, in just 8-short years.

      when i first went to community college and later on trade school in my state minnesota, its was tuition free till your 21st birthday, after that it was somewhere around $125.00 per quarter. looked it up today, that a little under $900.00 in todays money.

      how anyone could get fooled today by nafta democrats is beyond me. its why they need to be outed and demonized, otherwise we will get in the near future, another nafta billy nothing will fundamentely change.

  21. jefemt

    Strohminger/ Wharton students… 25% thought wages were six figures.

    I read the twitter strand for a while, then quit. Nver saw anyone pose my first question:
    what did the other 75% say?

    Pareto seems to be suffering inflation/ lag as well… 80/20 now 75/25?

    1. diptherio

      My thought too. A minority of Wharton students are out of touch with most people’s economic reality…aaaaand? Is that supposed to be surprising? I do love the graphic from the WSJ a few tweets down the thread, though.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      The other 75% took stock options, sold them after the CIA bought into their company, started a “rocket company: and became the world’s richest man. At lease that how Musk did it.

      I wonder if Musk and Mayo Pete worked together at the CIA?

    3. Eclair

      Maybe the 25% were trying to differentiate between ‘average’ and ‘median.’ As in the old joke about Bill Gates walking into a working class bar and the average wage skyrockets. The median wage doesn’t budge.

  22. Wukchumni

    Competition to represent the USA in the winter Olympics in the Buyathlon event was fierce with compulsive shoppers showing their mettle in order to star in where all the stuff comes from, made in China.

    Gladys from Cincinnati suffers from gout but her fingers still function plenty good and has a $40k limit on her Amex card. She remembers her childhood and not getting everything she wanted for her birthday, as if that would happen now?

    Jerry from Pacoima-adjacent felt that this event involved carrying a rifle and shooting at targets, so he’s got an AR-15 slung across his chest and is wearing snowshoes for the very first time, which is awkward when there is no snow in the San Fernando Valley.

    Lilian from Long Island still has room in what used to be a 3 car garage for more stuff, and earned her stripes back in the day on QVC, and on more than one occasion got to be heard on air when calling in to express contentment. Needless to say, she’s the class of the field.

  23. Jack

    The hospital I worked for thirty years was taken over by corporate in 2008. The nursing union, 1199, had been able to keep staffing levels up prior to that time, by contract negotiation. As far back as the 80s, nursing shortage was predicted for 2020s by the NLN and ANA. Corporate hardball proved harder than the Sisters of Charity or the community board had been. HR would hire travelers instead of recruiting and training community members. After I was mousetrapped into taking two one-to one patients in ICU, I transferred out to clinics the next day. The video is accurate.

  24. roxan

    Concerning NYT nursing article–I could write a book! I am long retired, so can’t address the covid situation. I think nursing was always a difficult, dirty job, but the intentional short staffing is destructive. In my experience, that started around 1993, when HMOs took over. I would take a job with a manager I liked, and 6 months later, they would leave and staff was cut by half, and a year later, cut by half again. Same with CNAs. This leads to chaos. In one psych hospital, where we were supposed to have 2 nurses and 4 aides, there was often one nurse and one aide, with 30-40 patients. I also had to go to another building and give meds as they had no nurse. One night we got mixed up and my lone aide left, taking the ward keys. When it came time for smoking, we couldn’t go–almost had a riot! Smoking is very important to mental patients. That place often didn’t have basic supplies, such as insulin. I borrowed some from my physician friend, and kept it in my trunk. Med surg is supposed to have 5 patients per nurse. I recall looking at employment in a major hospital, 20 years ago, being told I would have 13. In nursing homes, it was 30-40, plus run the building–except in the South–there I had 60. They pulled their wheelchairs in a circle, and I handed out the pills. Some buildings had hundreds of patients to manage, in addition to my own. That meant all emergencies, meals, linens, staffing and even keeping the lights on. Sometimes, we were all agency, didn’t know the patients or where things were kept. Patients often didn’t know who they were, either, and usually ripped their bracelets off. Meanwhile, we were constantly suspected and inspected for drug use. A friend told me nurses were even pulled out of the OR for routine tests at her hospital. There is so much paranoia around drugs, that patients often receive no pain treatment, especially in nursing homes. Not all the patients are ancient. Many are sent to ‘step-down’ units for additional recovery, or to die. They are patients who would have been considered ‘med-surg’ when in the hospital. It’s traumatic to watch people screaming, their family begging for help and have nothing to give them because the house doc was afraid to prescribe. Some of these places sound like a zoo at night. I don’t know the solution, but it’s frightening to consider what covid has made of a situation already bad. If it’s better in Europe, then maybe we should find out what they are doing.

    1. Lena

      I left nursing in 2007 to go into a completely different profession and I am very glad I did. Your “zoo” analogy is apt. It was a difficult job back then and has gotten so much worse now.

    2. me

      My mother did long term care and retired when covid hit cause these blue states were dumping covid positive patients back in. There is no way to isolate, especially if they have dementia and wander. I don’t know how they got things done with so little staff. As far as pain killers, she said they were on all kinds of meds and she would often ask for a reconciliation to be done as they were over medicated.
      I just left the land of the free and the last few months I could count our covid patients on one hand. Things were back to the usual chaos, too much computer charting and not enough time to get things done.
      Now headed into the belly of the beast, the land of the kool aid drinkers. Wonder if I am contracted to cover covid overflow or all the staff they fired? What happens if my allergies kick in from perfume, bleach or too many flowers? Will I need a covid test and quarantine?
      I don’t feel like finding my password for the times, probably all a bunch of bunk anyway. It comes down to this, too many care providers means less money to hire managers. Not talking unit managers, I mean those big brains at the top. Too much staff means no EPIC, Cerner or whatever program gets them into compliance with CMS.
      Bill Gates cannot be the only one that gets all the coof cash, I need mine so I can get out before this job gets worse than it is now! Lab rat no more

  25. Wukchumni

    One Day in the Life of Ivan Isolationist, or how I learned to love the C-Bomb and be positive about things…

    I’m about a week into the Omicronic strain I reckon with no ill effects as in asymptomatic with the only real change being waking up thirsty and drinking a glass of water. I’m more of a race for a cup of joe type.

    Infectiously yours truly…

    1. Lena

      It certainly hasn’t affected your marvelous sense of humor. You have provided me with much needed laughter this morning. Thank you!

      1. Wukchumni


        My father was born in 1924 and prime fodder for forced labor by the Nazis living in Prague in WW2, but he never lifted a finger for the reich, as his family had a dear friend who was a doctor, who prescribed my father with having a series of highly infectious but non lethal diseases over the course of the war, all of them fictional.

  26. jr

    You just have to love the fact that Becky Pringle of the NEA cannot hammer out a letter without a few typos left uncorrected. Did she type it at lunch? More farce.

  27. Claire

    Yesterday we went to what was once our favorite shopping venue: Union Square San Francisco. Wide awake nightmare. The “unhoused” or more like, “unhinged” are everywhere. Man smoking a meth pipe riding a skateboard down the middle of the street right past an occupied police SUV. Cops glanced at him for a second, looked down.

    If some people accept the validity, premise and support five year olds getting mandatory non-sterilizing vaccines, against parent’s will, to enter a public school, then forcing drug addicts lodging on public streets into a rehab situation, or prison, seems perfectly logical.

  28. David

    The DW article on African Armies is a bit of a hodgepodge, but amongst all the NGO-friendly talk of corruption and coups it does make the basic point that African armies are in general poorly trained, poorly led at junior level, poorly equipped and poorly paid. After which, you might as well give up. This follows quite neatly from my comment about the Malian Army yesterday, which is all of these things. And until some or all of these deficiencies are remedied, Africa armies won’t start being effective, and African states will not be secure.

    One problem is that Armies are distrusted as separate centres of power which might dispute political control (this was true in Europe, of course, until quite recently). So making them as ineffective as possible, and having them commanded by reliable but often incompetent officers, was a way of reducing their threat to the regime. In the past, it was thought that the UN, or at a pinch a former imperial power, would come and get them out of any trouble. That’s not working now.

    African armies tend to be based on western models, because that’s what leaders want. But they simply aren’t funded appropriately. Typically, 90% of the military budget goes on salary costs, so by the time you’ve bought the food and the fuel for the vehicles, there’s essentially nothing left. No wonder few of them are combat capable. Donors don’t like making payments directly to the military, so this is unlikely to change. This isn’t to say Africans can’t be good soldiers: they proved that in two World Wars, but like any soldiers they need proper equipment, leadership and training. One nation mentioned in the story is Rwanda, and indeed its troops are effective, but also have a reputation for violence and ruthlessness, itself underpinned by a rigid and harsh disciplinary system.

    1. Andrew Watts

      If countries build an effective military it’ll make the cost of regime change more expensive. Or they might choose to reduce or outright abolish the foreign influence wielded over their polities. France was never going to be able to sustain it’s protection racket in the face of American imperial decline regardless. It has neither the population, industry, or technological superiority to maintain it’s dominance.

      I gotta say that unlike the NGOs, and other western do-gooders, or the liberal imperialists I’m not that concerned about a military coup arising. Sometimes a coup is necessary to reform a country a la the Boshin War. Especially when they’re facing pressure from foreign countries and the external dominance of their economies. The blowback from neutering state formation in Africa seems like it’ll end up being more disastrous.

      Although the West doesn’t have any answers for that either.

  29. Zim

    The Dr. Eli David tweet would seem to suggest the studies showing negative vaccine effectivity are correct. Seen studies from the UK, Denmark & Germany that suggest this is the case wherever mRNA vaxes being used. The more you vax, the more infection rate increases. Imagine that.

  30. Swamp Yankee

    Mika must be proud of her Brother! That Brzezinski family is the gift that keeps on giving…. dear old daddy helpfully creates Al Qaeda, while daughter amd son try to gin up a war with Russia because they’re still mad the Soviets took their manor house….

    Love that we imported right wing minor Polish nobility to make our foreign policy decisions for us!

  31. Fran

    Question Authority~My Body, My Choice~Ignore Alien Orders~Throw Your Body Onto The Gears Of The Machine~Resist!

    Say, what ever happened to those?

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Like they say, hindsight is 2020.
      Ditch all that, and do what we tell ya, is the new norm.

  32. Wukchumni

    Tonga volcano eruption created puzzling ripples in Earth’s atmosphere Nature (furzy)
    That was about the coolest thing i’ve ever seen from on high via satellite oh me oh my, magnificent. A friggin’ underwater volcano!

    Interesting article, and another mystery wrapped in an enigma upon us.

  33. PressGaneyMustDie

    “ What do nurses and other front-line medical personnel think?”

    Where do I start? The metastasis of MBA psychosis was eroding bedside care in hospital systems long before the first dyspneic gasp in China. Most systems staffed to a minimum and would “flex up”nursing staff for the winter busy season or if turnover created some chronic vacancies. The foolishness of staffing to a minimum was exposed when every system nationwide was in need, the traveler pool was insufficient, and many part-timers would not work extra hours. Pre-Covid a hospital’s in-house nurse reserve capacity were the part-timers. Many nurses reduce their hours or shift to less demanding roles as their pay, experience, family obligation and/or age increases. Part-timers can be induced to take extra shifts out of loyalty to their system, coworkers, or need for more money. But with Covid many nurses like myself say no to whatever incentives we are offered. Double or even triple time pay won’t tempt me these days given the inherent physical and emotional demands of bedside care along with the moral hazard of providing inadequate care due to chronic understaffing. I have some civic guilt for being part of the staffing problem but remain my own social safety net in the neoliberal house of horrors created by the Uniparty for its donor overlords. Speaking of moral hazard, imagine it’s April 2020 and I’m walking into my hospital job with my own N95 mask (same brand/model) as the hospital stock and being told to remove it and replace it with a crummy simple mask; “You have to wear this for the safety of you and your patients.” Sorry to go on a rant but I was just brimming with frustration even before the C-word. Sometime I’ll have to share the time I had to throw away gold.

    1. juneau

      Well said. In addition I think there are more than a few nurses who have become chronically ill from Covid and can no longer work. Chronic understaffing means an RN may not be able to go home at end of shift, may be blamed for any and all errors, and when things go wrong the senior staff routinely humiliate them. ER nurses working without breaks can’t even carry a candy bar or bottled water in their pockets. The emotional abuse sustained by some nurses I know (by their senior staff administrators) is heartbreaking.
      And patients can become more angry, demanding, violent and acting out when staff morale is low, waits are long, and there aren’t enough nurses to take care of them. I don’t blame you one bit for looking out for your own life and well being. The system is broken.

  34. tegnost

    the increasingly malignant nature of what is considered an acceptable mental state leaves me breathless as well?

  35. newcatty

    Complete sympathy for your POV. IMO, public school teachers have, in some cases, reached the boiling point of their tolerance for the abject working conditions in their schools. Most public school teachers are either considered “glorified babysitters” paid toooo much with summer vacations or failures in any “real” professional class job, so they “teach”. Would not be surprised if some, who quit or retire, feel some “civic guilt”. They shouldn’t. It often is a thankless job. Good teachers often are disliked by more experienced (mostly older) teachers, who are hacks. The hacks have ingraciated themselves with administration. This was before the chaos with Covid running amok in the schools. Protecting oneself and family is a just and honorable choice. I have pity for the nurses and teachers, often single parents or sole breadwinner in a family, who are victims of the overlords’ authority. Rants are justified. Good peple are with us. Still like (show my age), “Keep the Faith”. Whatever that is defined for you. Be safe and well.

  36. chuck roast

    “Police in this tiny Alabama town suck drivers into legal ‘black hole’”

    Hmmmm…Jefferson County, AL…why did this rung a bell? Thanks to the Wayback Machine you can read all about the last generation of geniuses to be “decision makers” in this municipality. I don’t mean to be rude, but this kind of repeated stupidity leads me to believe that maybe the locals have seriously indemic issues to address.

    1. LawnDart

      Those cops and their chief need to face justice: society needs to be ptotected from their likes.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Your blame is largely misassigned.

      Matt Taibbi is the source on this. JeffCo was forced into a ridiculously high cost sewer redo and the JPM showed up and sold them a deal with derivatives sold as lowering the cost of financing but instead blew up.

      And the crooked cops have nothing to do with JeffCo. It’s local municipal police. We in Mountain Brook, also in JeffCo, have our own police and fire department.

  37. Vander Resende

    “Top Florida health official on leave over support for vaccination BBC”.
    “Only in America…”, Lambert wrote.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just in the US.
    In Brazil, too, since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, we have had 4 ministers of health, the equivalent to secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    The first of them was fired on April 16, 2020, for not agreeing with Bolsonaro’s un-handling over the Covid-19 pandemic.

    From the same BBC, from April 16.2000: Bolsonaro fires health minister over pandemic response – BBC

  38. Pat

    I know I am late, but congratulations to CV on getting such an adorable present from Santa. May this be the first of many years of snuggles, cuddles and purrs!

  39. ChrisRUEcon


    So many receipts on the devolution of the USSR over the years, but this is a welcome addition … love the effortlessness of this sequence over three paragraphs:

    = = = =

    In the final months of the Soviet Union, Yeltsin assembled a team of liberal economists—most notably Yegor Gaidar as prime minister and finance minister and Anatoly Chubais as deputy prime minister—with the mission of transforming Russia into a “normal capitalist society,”

    In January 1992, Gaidar moved to put his “shock therapy” into action, ordering the removal of price controls on 80 percent of wholesale and 90 percent of retail goods

    By the end of 1992, prices had skyrocketed by 2,508 percent while real wages fell by about a third. Hyperinflation impoverished tens of millions of Russians practically over night by wiping out their life savings. Although grocery store shelves were now filled with products, the cruel irony was that many Russians could not afford to buy them.

    = = = =

    Flawless … “normal capitalist society” indeed.

    That this appeared in The American Conservative makes me wonder if there are ex-Teen-Voguer moles getting their agents-provocateurs on.

    Great read. Thank you!

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      B[o]oris[h] Johnson

      Living proof that COVID was not deadly enough to elicit sanity and empathy from the West’s horrid ruling classes. He should have died in an NHS ICU in April 2020.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        Well, well, well … telling’ y’all … by the time China is done with the global south … we may have to redefine which countries are actually “developed”.

        Love the empty hope at the end of the article:

        = = = =

        The first phase of the Nigerian metro system the Talgo trains are set to become part of is expected to begin operation later this year, serving up to half a million passengers in the Lagos area daily.

        Johnson said conversations about high-speed rail in Wisconsin have not gone away.

        I hope that at some point, we’re still able to realize that vision for a more connected community,” said Johnson.

        = = = =

        I had to laugh. Yeah, you keep having “conversations”. The global south countries pivoting toward China are done “talking“.

  40. The Rev Kev

    And in news from Down Under, the Premier of Western Australia has decided to keep his border shut against the rest of Australia due to them not being able to cope with case loads if they opened up on schedule. Each of the other States, meanwhile, are dealing with case loads of tens of thousands of infections daily along with several score deaths as well on a daily basis. Hospitals are totally slammed and Victorian hospitals have declared a ‘Code Brown’ which is reserved for major disasters. From what I can see, it is hard to tell who is most upset by this WA declaration- the Coalition Government leaders or the news reporters who are getting seriously bent out of shape by this development. One long-time reporter came out with an opinion piece called “Why WA must learn to live with COVID and get on with life.” And people wonder why I hate the media-

  41. The Rev Kev

    “World’s Deepest Squid Discovered at Staggering Depth Under The Sea”

    That article mentions that they were ‘hunting for the wreck site of the USS Johnston – a US Navy destroyer that sank in 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf’ and there within lay an epic story. In that battle, Admiral Halsey took away the Third Fleet to go after what he thought was the main Japanese Fleet leaving behind the vulnerable escort carriers and destroyer escorts know as ‘Taffy 3.’ And it was this group that the actual main Japanese Fleet came across as they had wrong-footed Halsey.sought to go after the landing ships.

    In the fierce battle that followed the destroyer escorts, including the USS Johnston, were able to fight off the Japanese Fleet to protect the troop and transport ships until the Japanese Fleet withdrew finally. Such was the confusion that the destroyers were able to generate that the Japanese thought that they were fighting cruisers from the main fleet and that the attacking US aircraft were ones from the main aircraft carriers. The whole saga is one that deserves to be remembered-

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