Links 1/5/2022

Photographer Captures the Perfect Moment When a Bunch of Snow Falls on a Tiger’s Head My Modern Met (David L)

Chasing the Night Parrot: The ‘Ghost Bird’ of Australia’s Outback New York Times (resilc)

Discovering Dr. Wu Washington Post. Chuck L: “Long, personal and touching, but well worth the time.”

AI’s 6 Worst-Case Scenarios IEEESpectrum (David L)

The mathematics of mind-time aeon

Psilocybin Has No Short- Or Long-Term Detrimental Effects In Healthy People Kings College

#COVID-19

Say it with sheep? Flock forms syringe shape in COVID jab push Reuters (resilc)

Science/Medicine

The hyper-transmissible SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant exhibits significant antigenic change, vaccine escape and a switch in cell entry mechanism University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research. Pre-print.

Nationwide study finds no significant link between in-person schooling and COVID infection rates MedicalXPress (Robert M(. Pre Delta and pre-vaccines. Here in Alabama last fall, we had many school districts shuttering shortly after opening due to infection spikes. This sort of containment response could skew results.

Complement activation induces excessive T cell cytotoxicity in severe COVID-19 Cell

Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game: a Bourdieusian analysis of infection control science in the COVID-19 pandemic Wellcome Trust (Paul R)

New corona variant identified in France DW. GM has been onto this since it was sighted in Cameroon ~6 weeks ago.

UK/Europe

Note these are hospitalizations, not cases. Contrast with UK vaccination rate: 70.6% fully vaccinated, 77.1% at least one shot, 50.9% boosted:

Macron declares his Covid strategy is to ‘piss off’ the unvaccinated Guardian

US

Restaurants Are Price Gouging Rapid Tests on Food Delivery Apps Vice

CityMD closing 31 clinics in New York metro area during Omicron surge New York Post (Bob H)

Finance/Economy

Hochul Signals Aim to Let Eviction Moratorium Expire, Albany Sources Say THE CITY

COP26/Climate

Climate change disasters cost the world over $100 billion this year Popular Science (resilc)

Plans to capture CO2 from coal plants wasted federal dollars, watchdog says The Verge (guurst). A feature, not a bug.

Is Climate Finance the Next Bubble? Project Syndicate (David L)

Spent Fuel: The risky resurgence of nuclear power Andrew Cockburn, Harpers (guurst)

What the EU climate package has to overcome in 2022 Bruegel

Wildfires Are Digging Carbon-Spewing Holes in the Arctic Wired (resilc)

North Korea launches ‘unidentified projectile’ into sea BBC (furzy)

Europe’s tattoo artists fear for future after EU ink ban BBC

New Cold War

GOP war drummers demanding action against Russia Responsible Statecraft. Resilc: “Not just the gopers.”

Putin warns Biden: Russia will server ties with USA completely Pravda

Form of EU’s dialogue with Russia was impermissible in recent years — Foreign Ministry TASS (guurst)

See above versus….US shows an exit ramp to Russia Asia Times (Kevin W)

Presidential hopeful says France should leave NATO and partner with Russia Defend Democracy

Syraqistan

Taliban-Pakistan tensions bubbling on the border Asia Times (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

F-35A makes belly landing in South Korea after landing gear failure Business Insider (resilc)

The American Republic Is Not Exceptional Esquire

1/6

Trump cancels Jan. 6 press conference The Hill

Biden to speak ‘truth’ on Capitol attack anniversary as Trump cancels his event Guardian (Kevin W)

Since Jan. 6, the pro-Trump internet has descended into infighting over money and followers Greenwich Time

Trump

Trump, Ivanka and Don jr subpoenaed by NY Attorney-General in tax case Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

Biden

‘He looks like a badass’: Video of Biden emerging from snowed in Air Force One goes viral Independent (Kevin W). This is desperate.

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter’s Marjorie Taylor Greene ban fuels GOP attacks on ‘Big Tech” The Hill

Woke Watch

Too woke to travel write? The Critic (Anthony L)

The Bezzle

California’s forever fire ProPublica (resilc)

The story behind California State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s ‘gloriously weird’ Christmas card SFGate. I can’t even. It’s American Gothic meets Adams Family.

Major California hydro plant finally reopens. What that says about the drought, recent rains Sacramento Bee (David L)

Tesla recalls nearly half a million Model 3 and Model S cars Quartz Resilc: “Here’s another fraud. EVs in general are way ahead of reality.”

Imagine Virginia’s icy traffic catastrophe — but with only electric vehicles Washington Post (David L)

Car shortage could change buying behavior forever Axios

Hedge funds struggle to lure new money as performance lags Financial Times (Kevin W)

In Elizabeth Holmes Trial, U.S. Gave Patients a Small Stage Wall Street Journal. Key section:

But the patients themselves barely featured in the nearly four-month trial. Just three patients testified out of 29 witnesses brought by the U.S., spending a combined 65 minutes on the stand, far less than 1% of the total time spent on witness testimony.

The government was forced to drop one patient count after making a clerical error in a document. Prosecutors didn’t tie Ms. Holmes directly to Theranos’s marketing efforts to attract patients, a central component of the fraud charges. And the U.S. failed to gain access to a database of Theranos patient records that could have helped its case.

A Global Supply Chain Pressure Index Menzie Chinn

A Record 4.5 Million Americans Quit Their Jobs In November Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Biden asks student-loan borrowers to ‘do their part’ in preparing for payments to resume on May 1 as pressure for broad cancellation ramps up again Business Insider (Kevin W)

Something sketchy this way comes Bill Shaner (larry)

John Deere’s self-driving tractor lets farmers leave the cab — and the field The Verge (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (guurst):

A second bonus (dk):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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211 comments

  1. Larry

    Regarding Joe Rogan’s media reach, I deeply suspect that the numbers are grossly inflated. One of the sources for the numbers is Spotify, which of course paid Rogan a king’s ransom to join the platform. What if Tucker Carlson’s numbers were sourced from Fox? Would anybody be terribly surprised that Spotify might be gaming “views” to boost ad revenue in a fashion to Facebook’s famous con on performance of video?

    This is not to say that Rogan’s podcast doesn’t have great reach, I just seriously doubt many people are deeply engaged with any of the content.

    Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I’ve seen Tuckie-poo mock, disparage and ridicule left wing guests. It appears to me that he brought them on there for that very purpose. He also sometimes lies to their face about what they do and don’t believe, think or know.

        The Carlson show is somewhat like Front Line without the Begala.

        I will never be famous enough to get invited onto Carlson, but if I were, I would need to be payed a pretty penny to show up. Maybe even a shiny dime.

        And if I didn’t like something he said, I would either fall silent or talk real slow or otherwise give really bad TV.

        Reply
    1. MP

      I also think the usual Greenwaldian side-step of pretending that Spotify and FOX are not corporate media, which he conflates as only liberal, is a sign of who signs his own checks.

      Reply
      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Is Greenwald not giving equal bashing time to Republican media?

        I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, and likely never will, but as far as Democratic Party media goes, I say bash away.

        Reply
          1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

            Interesting, if methodologically dubious article; TFTL.

            I didn’t see the evidence that “can only explain” that “his money” (what money?) “is coming from Fox and Peter Thiel.” He receives money from his subscribers on Substack, by some estimates over $100K/month, so clearly there is more than one explanation on where his money is coming from.

            I don’t read Greenwald, and haven’t for years. It’s not because I find his political orientation problematic, I just can’t stand his constant whining about how unfair the Democtratic Party media is to him. I simply don’t care. On the other hand, I do care about truth. Do you feel Greenwald is untruthful, or merely unfair to Democrats and their media outlets?

            Reply
            1. MP

              The Peter Thiel money I’m referring to is for Rumble, an explicitly right-wing YouTube competitor and funded by one of the most anti-free speech people imaginable in the Western world.

              My point is more that, at least over the last two years, he has engaged in a specific conflation of the left more broadly and liberals, acting as if socialists operate in cahoots with mainstream outlets, while eliding the obvious corporatism of the outlets he is seemingly fine with utilizing, namely properties of Murdoch and Thiel.

              I don’t particularly care if he’s unfair to Democrats; I have no skin in the game. It’s that this very conflation, with specific booking from the likes of Tucker Carlson, is not done without thought. It is a specific strategy to traffic right-wing propaganda through the guise of left-wing ideas like economic populism that you never actually intend to follow through on. It is the very reason Greenwald has also said that the likes of Josh Hawley and JD Vance (also funded by Thiel, who host fundraisers together–again, not a coincidence) as evidence of a “left-right alliance.” I don’t think everything Greenwald says is untrue, but that is a dangerous, dangerous lie no matter how you slice it.

              Reply
              1. Copeland

                >specific strategy to traffic right-wing propaganda through the guise of left-wing ideas like economic populism that you never actually intend to follow through on

                Hmm! This is what I have “felt” about Tuckers tactics, thank you for your eloquent analysis.

                Reply
              2. vidimi

                greenwald has taken to bashing left-liberals a lot, and this has irked a lot of twitter commentators like eoin higgins and carl beijer. the problem is, greenwald is not wrong. he sees a realignment occurring whereas higgins and beijer are more concerned with applying the right labels. the other problem is that they see liberals as their natural allies whereas greenwald and many leftists in the dore camp see the conservative working class as more natural allies. i agree with the latter. while undoubtedly brainwashed, a working class conservative is more likely to say something like ‘we must abolish corporations to stop communism’ whereas a liberal would never dream of abolishing corporations. so while greenwald is on tucker’s show convincing a million conservatives of the dangers of prosecuting assange, higgins is writing a substack piece on how greenwald is a grifter and beijer is writing a marxian analysis of some arcane bullshit that nobody will ever read. i know who i would rather put my money behind.

                Reply
          2. ArtDog_CT

            “Good evidence” is laughable, IMO. Higgins’ oh-so-very-scientific-looking graphs and the various contortions through which the data was put is credible only if you assume a can opener (that any participation with Fox is ipso facto evidence of alignment with right wing politics). To assert that Grrenwald is a “conservative” is frankly deluded.

            Nowhere do you offer any link substantiating your claim that Greenwald is somehow a creature of Peter Thiel. Kindly do so, please.

            Reply
            1. griffen

              I clicked through to the link. I am a bit unconvinced as well. I have no dog in this fight, particularly but it seems a stretch. Greenwald is quoted or linked to quite frequently.

              First I’ve read about the connection or link with Thiel, suggestive perhaps without a hard or conclusive fact.

              Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m sure there is inflation, but between the decline of local media and the lack of religious conservatism in his show, its not an outrageous number.

      Engaged and on in the background are two different things. Stern at his height was pulling in 20 million listeners. 11 million is impressive, but it’s not Sternian. Rogan does the whole faux tough guy routine like the dirty jobs guy. It’s a popular bit. The White House is trying it with Biden seeing snow or something.

      Reply
      1. Dan Berg

        um, could it be that those towards the top attempt to tell the truth, while those towards the bottom don’t?

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          No. Prophets aren’t recognized in their own land. Truth telling and lying are meaningless when it comes to popularity. Schtick and audience demands are what matters.

          Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      Anecdotally, I don’t think they are exaggerated at all. His numbers have been off the scale for years. And not just in the US. I recall a few years ago in a gym here in Dublin when one of the women mentioned that she’d been listening to one of his podcasts on health and at least half the others in the class (mostly women, it should be said) had said they’d listened to it too. At the time, I’d assumed it was very much a ‘dude’ thing to listen to him. And he gets no indirect ‘boosting’ here at all, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him referred to in the general media, its very much a work of mouth organic thing (plus of course the algos).

      Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        I would also give Rogan credit for his interview skills. He knows his subject. Does the background work and is respectful to his guest. He follows up on their responses with even better questions. He is perhaps rough around the edges but beats anyone I have seen in major media and does not carry obvious bias. People want truthful information not the sponsored crapola on the MSM.
        They smear the guy because they cannot even dream of his ratings.

        Reply
        1. Userfract

          Speaking for myself, I enjoy the format of long open ended interviews his show has. Rogan could certainly be more discerning in his choice of guests, but it can be an enjoyable listening experience if you pick and choose episodes. I don’t particularly care to hear from Alex Jones, but I don’t see other shows with that level of reach that are willing to give Cornell West the mic for three straight hours to make a compelling show targeted to over the road truckers and gym rats. Rogan has some problematic ideas, but he generally lets the guests present their thoughts rather than try to push an agenda (other than maybe how elk is delicious), and that isn’t exactly common among other media. He peddles some dubious health products in his ads, but there is quite a lot less shilling per hour than in other formats. If you listen to his show, you are going to be exposed to a variety of points of view, which isn’t try of most other mass media. He also talks to comedians a lot, and people like to laugh. I would say his show is a sort of podcast version of an old school men’s magazine like Rolling Stone or Playboy. The patriarchy is baked right in there, but the discerning listener/reader can learn things and be entertained.

          Reply
      2. montanamaven

        Also anecdotally, I (a woman) started to listen to this Rogan guy during the lockdown of 2020 on my daily walk. I listened to the political (Matt Taibbi, Ben Shapiro); the celebrities (Rob Lowe); the comedians (too many to mention); the doctors; the martial arts guys, the scientists, the Navy seal guy, Bret Weinstein, tech guys,…. So i think the numbers might be pretty accurate. He’s a great interviewer. His interviews are 2 to 3 hours, so they can go down rabbit holes, but Rogan always pulls them back out. He does his research and when a guest brings up a “fact” he hasn’t heard, he immediately asks his technician guy to look it up. And Rogan comes from stand-up and still does gigs. He started a new comedy club in Austin where he moved during the crazy 2020. Stand-ups actually stand up and push back. They are vital. He’s raw and it’s not really a schtick. A good comic is him or herself because they find out what works about themselves. He had on a comedian who’s schtick was this big pause. Turns out he had a speech impairment and rather than a stutter, he had this huge pause. People found it hilarious. So it became part of his comedy.

        Reply
        1. scarnoc

          My wife listens to him while she works out. His audience definitely is not just men. You do a good job describing his appeal, IMO.

          Reply
        1. Screwball

          Same here. I had heard of him, but that was about it. I don’t remember who it was (maybe Krystal & Saager) going to be on his show and I wanted to hear it. Had no idea it was 3 hours long – wow!

          I have only watched a few episodes, but they were all good. I like the casual format, and the ability to go down some rabbit holes. With so much time, the interview is not scripted like you would see on the real “news” which allows for a much more in depth conversation. And he’s not afraid to push back (busting Gupta as priceless).

          Funny though how things work. He had Malone on just after he got booted from Twitter. I watched the entire show and thought it was pretty good – not that I agree with either about everything, but it was interesting and informative (YMMV).

          But just yesterday, Krystal & Saager did a segment on Malone, and how they both listened to the entire show as well. Krystal obviously didn’t see the show in the same light as I did – informative, for lack of a better word – as she had little good to say about Malone. Fine, I get that. What she brought up was that Malone should go on with the “experts” and debate them if he had any credibility. I’m all for that too.

          Who wouldn’t want a large group of so-called experts have a debate on how to treat, eradicate, and manage a pandemic that is rocking everyone’s world? But that isn’t going to happen or Malone (and others) would have already been summoned to DC, or one of the MSM outlets (don’t remember who it was, maybe Kory, got to sit down in front of congress to only have them walk out, or something like that).

          Which is why Rogan has been so successful IMO. The ratings of the media are in free fall, while independent media is growing. People don’t trust them, and if CNN brought on Malone to debate Gupta it would be so rigged and one sided it would resemble a Kangaroo court or Jerry Springer.

          We need more independent media and less propaganda*/biased media like CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NYT, WaPo. As they said in the X-Files – the truth is out there. I agree – now let’s go find it.

          * I don’t know what propaganda outlets my unhinged liberal friends (x-friends because they cancelled me)listen to, but they can’t wait to tune in for the Jan 6 hearings (because vendetta on Trump – the walls are still closing in), still love the Lincoln Project, and wish they could vote for Liz Cheney. <–Joe Rogan didn't do this.

          Reply
        2. Mantid

          AZ, be aware that spotify takes note of what you listen to, for how long, your music of choice (protest music, intellectual jazz/classical), your podcast selection (left/right leaning, history lover, cooking shows…..). That information is sold to data trackers and anyone else who wants your data. Lots of data points to be sold about a given user via spotify. Not positive but my impression is that they make more money selling your data than they do from subscriptions. Head’s up mate.

          Reply
      3. lyman alpha blob

        They discussed this on Rising today – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb05ikiuNqs

        Their argument was that a lot of people listen to him as background noise while working or driving which makes sense to me. When I listen to him, it’s generally as background noise at work. The gym would be a good place for that too.

        Reply
    4. Mildred Montana

      Assuming the numbers are reasonably accurate, if one tosses outlier Rogan it is striking how strong the five extreme right shows listed are (~14 million total viewers) compared to the three Democrat-leaning ones (~4 million).

      The difference is stark and telling. The vast majority of TV news-watchers aren’t buying the schtick of Maddow et al. An augury of 2022 and 2024?

      Reply
      1. montanamaven

        Like me. I started listening to Tucker and The Five in 2016 in order to understand what was going on on the conservative site. Rather than fighting with my conservative neighbors like I had for years and being down right annoying (I just bet), I started listening more and yapping less. Plus the Fox people were just a little cheerier. Sometimes too cheery and too Jesusy, but still more likeable than the smugness and meanness on other channels. When Tucker went after the hedge fund guy who destroyed the town where Cabela’s sport store was founded, I took him even more seriously. And Tucker admitted that he had been conned about the WMDs in Iraq and how he wasn’t going to be so naive and group thinky again. I will listen to people who can admit they were wrong. I also appreciate that he has on Jimmy Dore, Cornell West, Glenn Greenwald and the late great Dr. Stephen Cohen. By the way, I found out that once you listen to people, they actually will listen to you advocate for a single payer health system and an end to wars. Funny that!

        Reply
    5. Heidi's Walker

      Larry, you might be in denial. Even if Rogan’s numbers are double what is stated, he creams everybody else. His numbers are numbers of streams which are much more precise than what are broadcast numbers.

      Reply
      1. Larry

        I could be in denial, but I’m deeply suspect of numbers from tech companies showing how engaged an audience is. I would hardly say he creams everybody. If we go by numbers across a unified platform, NPR knocks Joe Rogan out of the park.

        https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/fact-sheet/public-broadcasting/

        But the numbers aren’t the point and I did say he likely has great reach, but I think it’s rather shallow.

        This is less charged, but Spotify also bought Bill Simmon’s Ringer Network. They have so many podcasts about sports that go to the level of depth that only a committed fan or a true insider could actually care about. But their “numbers” must have been great for Spotify to pony up the cash. That was Spotify can go to the ad guys and say look at these “numbers” and the market speculators and say the “numbers” are off the chart. The price Spotify paid for The Ringer defies logic to me, but what do I know of tech company reported downloads and engagements: https://variety.com/2020/digital/news/spotify-acquires-the-ringer-196-million-cash-bill-simmons-1203502471/

        Reply
    6. Bazarov

      I’ve listened to a lot of Joe Rogan, back when it was free (I refuse to pay for Spotify).

      I don’t think it’s fair to compare him to right wing punditry and editorial shows. Joe Rogan is more in the generic entertainment/infotainment/self-help/celebrity personality space than he is in the political space.

      It’d be like comparing Oprah’s viewership, back when her show was on, to Bill O’Reilly’s. Of course she’d blow him out of the water! Sometimes Oprah had political guests or politically themed “hot button issue” episodes (I’ll never forget the episodes she did during the AIDS crisis). But for the most part, her guests were not really political. It was mostly self-help, health, and human interest, with a peppering of the straight political here and there.

      Rogan is more like that. For every “political” show I listened to, there were several interviews focusing on health, fitness, gee-whiz infotainment, celebrity drama, and human interest topics. People who called him “Oprah for men” really nailed it (growing up, I watched hundreds of episodes of Oprah with my mom–so I know of what I speak).

      Oh, and Oprah was definitely “corporate media”–just a different “space” than CNN or whatever. Spotify certainly counts as corporate media.

      Reply
      1. petal

        I have a Spotify account in order to listen to Rogan’s show. It doesn’t cost me anything money-wise. There is an option to upgrade and thus pay, but I don’t do that and stick with the regular free account. I don’t always agree with everything, but it’s a good critical thinking exercise, and sometimes I learn stuff, or get turned on to topics or people I hadn’t heard of before. I enjoy the format, as well. Hadn’t heard of him until my partner suggested a podcast a couple years ago.

        Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        I also refuse to pay for Spotify but you can listen to him on Spotify for free. He puts in about ten minutes of ads at the front end of each program if you don’t pay for the premium ad free version, which really irked me at first until I realized I could just fast forward through them with no problem. Then it’s 3 hours of interview commercial free.

        Reply
        1. Bazarov

          I did try Spotify free once, but the ads at the beginning grated on me so much I realized I’d have to pay to enjoy it–which as I said I refuse to do.

          But I hadn’t used Spotify before. I didn’t realize you could just fast forward. Maybe I’ll give it a try!

          However, my podcast schedule has been filled since Rogan sold out by other titles I’m rather fond of. It can be hard to find time to listen to a two to three hour+ Rogan interview and also listen to the other hour+ podcasts in my current rotation.

          Reply
        2. lordkoos

          Please don’t pay for Spotify! They pay nothing for music, ripping off artists with their lousy royalty rates.

          I read that for 17 million plays on Spotify of the song “Happy”, Pharrell Williams got a check for less than $2000.

          Reply
          1. Mantid

            Also, as I mentioned to Arizona, above, even if you think it’s free, it’s not. They sell all of the data points you provide them, whether via subscrition or not, to data brokers all over the world. You will pay in the end. The more data you give to these companies for free (gargle, amasin, f’book, Bad Breath and Beyond, etc.) they end up using against you and charging you higher prices. Simple example: you apply for a job, they (the possible employer) buys data on you and sees that you are left leaning for example. If they want a conservative or right wing employee, no job for you. People give up their data and personal information to corporations that sell it or use it to extract more money from you in the long run. Like grandma said “there’s no free lunch”.

            Reply
    7. Glen

      What’s striking to me is that the traditional network new CBS, NBC, and ABC are not even on the list.

      I would love to see this same poll taken in the middle of each of the decades from the 50’s to now.

      Reply
    1. mrsyk

      Speculating here, but it seems like losing your local urgent care is condemning you to either trying to make an appointment with your Primary Physician (See you next month!), or going to the ER (Please no.). I see the closing of these facilities as a pretty big deal.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Counterintuitively, I found that the local Urgent Care outlets were feeding systems for local hospital ERs that they were associated with. I cannot tell you the disgust I felt when an Urgent Care “doctor” tried to send me to a local ER when I showed up with my usual mid day high blood pressure, the actual visit being for something else entirely. (I had to tell this person no three times before they finally gave up.)

        Reply
        1. mrsyk

          Good point but speaks to how crappified our health care system is in general. My comment has more to do with timely access to healthcare (I strongly dislike that phrase, but here we are). The fact is that ER’s have been the defacto doctor’s office for the masses for some time, and the urgent care model now exists as the least onerous choice for many medical situations. Your lousy experience there speaks of weakness in it’s structure, but what are our options?
          Anyway, I hope your health is good. I enjoy your often salty and always food for thought comments here. Cheers.

          Reply
  2. Roger Blakely

    “Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health wrote that they found the SARS-CoV-2 virus present in autopsies in multiple sites across the body for up to 230 days after patients first reported symptoms”

    I keep saying it. SARS-CoV-2 is in every organ of my body. It’s just not up my nose.

    Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “GOP war drummers demanding action against Russia”

    I thought that the Repubs were supposed to be the adults in the room? Or was that the Democtrats? I forget. When people like this sound like they are fresh off binge-watching Chuck Norris & Steven Seagal films, you wonder who there is to yank their chains and remind them that the real world does not operate to their desires. So an example. When the Repubs were running things two years ago, they murdered General Qassem Soleimani with Hellfire missiles in Iraq, though he was a de-facto diplomatic envoy at the time and in the middle of negotiations. So what happened next? Iran launched a mass, precision-missile attack on the American-controlled Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq – after warning the Americans to take cover first. And Washington had to just sit and take it and there was nothing that they could do about it. They couldn’t even launch a counter-strike against Iran as that might lead to a worse strike by Iran. So the Repubs had a whinge – and then nothing. These very same Repubs. My point is if that they could not take on a small power like Iran, what makes these bellicose Repubs think that they could take on the Russian Federation who has far superior weaponry in combat?

    Reply
    1. bob

      Steven Seagal loves Putin

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Seagal

      “Seagal was granted Russian citizenship on November 3, 2016; according to government spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “He was asking quite insistently and over a lengthy period to be granted citizenship.”[55][7] While various media have cited Seagal and President Vladimir Putin as friends and Seagal stated that he “would like to consider [Putin] as a brother”,[6] Putin has distanced himself from Seagal; Peskov is reported to have said: “I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s a huge fan, but he’s definitely seen some of his movies.”[56]”

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        A friend of mine had some dealings with Seagal, selling him some expensive vintage guitars and amplifiers over a period of years. I asked him what Seagal was like and his reply was, “Imagine the worst Hollywood ego, then times 1000”.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Several people think Seagal’s best film was the cheesy aircraft film Executive Decision. /s (Seagal has a very short role, which probably made many audiences cheer.)

          Reply
        2. griffen

          Seagal has a funny turn in a South Park episode. I’m pretty sure he’s included with Eric Cartman in a mock up video, the episode is called Safe Space.

          Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Car shortage could change buying behavior forever”

    Funny this. Back in the early days of the internet, they said that this would be happening. That you would sit at home on your computer and start putting together a package of what you wanted your next car to be, what features that it would have and what colours it would be. In a way, it would be like those video games where you put together a car with what features that you wanted it to have (rocket launchers & machine guns optional). And yet, it never worked out that way. People still went down to the car yards and picked on from what was on offer there and here we are thirty years later and only now are they trying to do this on even a moderate scale.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      If ordering online actually takes off, what will the dealer sales reps work life balance become? Yeah we got an online order to deliver 2 to 3, if available, Toyota Corolla, at same location; maybe the sales rep will go into service delivery mode even further. Undercoating, extended warranty to 120 months, dent shielding, um, lifetime windshield replacement.

      I’d pre-order a vehicle online. Or at the very most, configure what I want for features.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      While in the past I have always bought new cars, my most recent was indeed ordered on the internet from Carmax. After a couple of weeks the car was delivered to their lot (where they also sell cars), test driven and then purchased. These are used but recent cars and therefore different from the proposed Ford scheme of just in time manufacturing.

      But I think this approach makes a lot of sense and in fact not having to deal with car dealer manipulations (Carmax doesn’t bargain the price) was a big motive for not buying new this time. Who needs that aggravation?

      Reply
    3. cnchal

      > . . . People still went down to the car yards and picked on from what was on offer there . . .

      Instant gratification beats patience. Now the choice is slim pickings on the lot or get what you want, but wait for it.

      I have bought two cars sight unseen, paid for them, went there and drove them back. I still have them, one now going on a decade and a half. I will never buy a new car, whether off the lot or a web page. There is nothing worth buying as they are full of Chinesium, digital crapola with small displacement highly stressed engines and potato chip fragile too many gear ratios transmissions.

      When they break, throw them away and get a new one. When will buyers realize new car crapola is an anti status symbol?

      Reply
      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        You might like my 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan; it’s my daily driver. I don’t drive much.

        The sheet metal is thick and sounds good when I bang on it with a hammer.

        Reply
        1. cnchal

          Yes. Even better if it were a wagon and if we get the giant EMP from a sunburp, that will still run where as my stuff will be stuffed. At that point the points, condenser and carburetor cars will be priceless.

          Reply
        2. clarky90

          I just bought a JBL Charge 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($100 on sale) for my cherished, $1300, 1998 Toyota station wagon. (You can buy two or more and link them together for surround sound)

          Using my cellphone, I play my favorite YouTube music mixes as I drive. (often Hymns from the Assyrian Church, sung in Aramaic).

          There are big raised buttons on the speakers to skip tracks, skip an ad, raise or lower the volume. Nice!

          How many people buy new cars because their reliable, old car’s sound system is obsolete?

          Reply
          1. clarky90

            There are no wires. No installation costs. Charge up the speaker, link the phone via bluetooth and push “play”.

            When fully charged, (charge it like you would your cellphone) the JBL Charge 5 speaker will play for about 20 hours. When you arrive at a destination, take your phone and the speakers with you.

            By all means, look at higher or lower specificationed portable speakers, according to your finances- or appreciation of hifi.

            Reply
      2. mrsyk

        I have not nor never will buy a new car. I strongly dislike the “high tech” computerization of everything, and I find the omnipresent computer screens distracting. I like Saabs. Presently I’m driving a ’96 9K. It’s fairly easy to work on (I’m not a mechanic), drives great, is very safe and comfortable, although it does not sound so good if you hit it with a hammer.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          Yep. This summer I got a killer deal on a used 2006 Lexus (the super-Toyota!) and at 85,000 miles it still drives like a new car. It has some luxury stuff that I don’t really need but I expect it to last for years and I paid $6500 for a car that sold new for $32k. Aside from the freeway it’s not great on gas, but I don’t drive nearly as much now that I live in a small town. The “smart” crap didn’t get pervasive until around 2010.

          Reply
    4. Tom Doak

      I just bought a new company car. Wanted the same model my wife drives, but new, and went to the salesman that had sold to my wife a couple of years ago.

      They had none of the model I wanted on the lot, just a few of the next bigger model, that were $5000 more.
      Not interested. So he pulled up the tracking data on what vehicles were headed their way, and when they would be on site. Picked the car I wanted, waited ten days, and took delivery on Monday.

      If the “supply chain” stays a problem, this is going to be how cars are sold for the next few months, and people may get used to the idea — unless they aren’t sure what they want.

      Reply
  5. Tom Stone

    “Joe Biden, BADASS”
    THAT is world class butt sucking, if there were a Nobel prize for shameless pandering it would definitely be in the running.

    Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      Shades of Yuri Andropov! They keep showing us pictures of Brandon walking down steps and comparing it to a Bruce Jenner Olympic pole vault. He must be sicker than we know if this is considered a PR win.

      Reply
    2. griffen

      Yep, those journalists and fans of Mr. “corn pop” BADA$S need a few towels or clean wipes for their noses. Okay he did not pull a Gerald Ford pratfall. Man going to work in snowstorm.

      Now if he was imitating John F. McClane in Die Hard 2, completely different! I don’t think he officially has a middle initial, but we all know the F stands in as an adjective, descriptive of his on film bad ass self.

      Reply
    3. Arizona Slim

      If my mother was still alive, she’d say something along the lines of “Big deal!”

      My mother was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where doing everyday things during snowstorms is, well, normal. It’s what they do in the winter.

      Reply
      1. Pookah Harvey

        I grew up in Syracuse where we consider Buffalo the Banana Belt of Upstate NY.
        Buffalo average snowfall 95.4″, Syracuse 127.8″

        Reply
          1. petal

            Slim, those of us at that end of the lake totally did! Up hill both ways! I remember us usually getting more than Buffalo when I was growing up(80s and 90s). In all seriousness, even if we got 1 or 2′ overnight, we had to shovel before catching the bus at the regular time. Life never stopped, we just had to factor in a little more time to deal with it. A snow day or early release was rare. Just got on with things.

            Reply
  6. John Siman

    It’s important to note that Macron’s rhetoric has become not merely vulgar, but aggressively totalitarian. For he is condemning the non-vaccinated as non-citizens. See, for example:

    “Un irresponsable n’est plus un citoyen” : cette autre phrase de Macron sur les non-vaccinés qui choque
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/un-irresponsable-n-est-plus-un-citoyen-cette-autre-phrase-de-macron-sur-les-non-vaccines-qui-choque_4905037.html

    My God, “non-citizens”: Macron’s new term of contempt is an order of magnitude more brutal than Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” because it expresses the political erasure — the official othering — of the tens millions of regular people who choose to disobey the neoliberal ascendency.

    Reply
    1. John Beech

      So SAR-CoV-2 is airborne, right? You get ithe disease, and me just breathing near you puts my health at risk. This, for your right to be sick and walk about despite readily available measures (masks and vaccines).

      So how is this different from you shooting your handgun in the air on New Year’s Eve where a bullet is fired into the air in celebration, aimed at nobody in particular – but – when it falls back to earth it injures me such that I die as a result?

      Are you guilt of manslaughter, or homicide, for loosening the round downrange? If you sicken me, and I die, are you guilty of the same charge?

      Reply
      1. Larry Carlson

        This analogy seems a little tortured. Since vaccination seems to have minimal impact on transmission and does involve at least minor health risks, a better analogy would be that if the unvaccinated are shooting guns into the air, and the vaccinated are shooting guns with slightly smaller bullets into the air, although their guns now have a small chance of exploding and injuring them.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          you might add that the 20% unvaxxed are shooting, and the 80% vaxxed are also shooting, and sending the most bullets aloft. In my travels the vaxxed are supremely careless.
          Had reactions to moderna cycle and not inclined to boost. I would argue that in my 60 years this is the only time the medical industry has had any interest in my well being, and only now because my well being might impact their own well being. So glad I didn’t go to san diego for xmas, talked to my sis a couple days ago and there are many cases in her circle, all vaxxed. Currently we are in a pandemic of the vaxxed. They are spreading it far and wide counting on herd immunity to save the only life that matters, the economy.

          Reply
      2. Alphonse

        I don’t hear anyone suggesting that if you commit murder you are no longer a citizen. If anything makes one a bad citizen, it’s unpersoning fellow citizens. Which is what he and you are doing. The rhetoric is totalitarian, as is the psychology.

        The comparison is bizarre. Me firing a gun is an action. If someone is struck, the shot can be traced to to me. Failing to get vaccinated is not an action. (Although breathing is – perhaps you are suggesting that simply existing is some kind of assault?) If you catch Covid, can you trace the infection to me? Unlikely. You want to punish individuals for manslaughter without evidence they caused any harm. In almost every respect your extremist comparison fails.

        A better comparison is conscription. This is total war. Everyone is a soldier; no one is a civilian. We have all been conscripted to take the vaccine. It could harm us or even kill us. Trust us, the generals say, it is for the good of the nation. To remain unvaccinated is tantamount to desertion. The rhetoric is murderous and the punishments (they are explicit about the desire to inflict suffering) are severe. Over and over I see the claim that even questioning the vaccines is like crying Fire! in a crowded theatre – when in fact the origin of that phrase was a court ruling that arguing against conscription in World Ward I was a criminal offence.

        Collective violence or war has long been the go-to solution for internal dissent. That is what we are seeing. The community will be unified and strengthened – by amputating part of the community. Macron makes it explicit: this isn’t just like nationalism – it is nationalism, of the bad old kind of bigotry and hate.

        I took the vaccine pre-mandate. I think the unpersoning of the unvaccinated is the most reprehensible and hateful policy in my lifetime. This will go down as one of history’s great mass hysterias and crimes. Those who advocated it will be remembered like the people of Salem, the abusers of indigenous residential schools, the racists of the Jim Crow South. And we who see this have to reckon with the fact that these people are citizens, and someday we have to find a way to move past not their mere banal inaction, but the energetic actions many of them are taking to inflict pain on people who were, until a few short months ago, their friends and neighbours.

        For the sake of argument, imagine that the unvaccinated really are unjustifiably selfish. How is the hatred of the unvaccinated any different from the hatred Hutus directed at Tutsis, Serbs directed at Bosnian Muslims, or whites directed at blacks? The only thing that differs is that the haters of today claim that they are correct about the unvaccinated. They really are a danger, whereas Tutsis, Bosnians, and so on were not. If the hatred of the unvaxxed is justified, then the only difference is knowledge: those oppressors were morally wrong because they were mistaken. If they had been correct, their hatred (if not their more extreme actions) would have been justified. The difference between the virtuous hater and the deplorable hater is not his psychology or his beliefs – these are identical – it is the state of the external world. Morality is not inside him at all. I think that’s ridiculous. The fact of whether your hatred turns out to be justified makes no difference to what kind of person you are. The psychology is the same. Hatred is wrong – not because of what it does to the victim, but because of the kind of person it makes you. Or Macron. Or Trudeau. Or Biden.

        P.S.: Does anyone know of a good critique of the Malone interview on Rogan? I thought ZDoggMD did a great job correcting many of the things McCullough said in that interview. I’d like a counterpoint on this one.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > I thought ZDoggMD did a great job correcting many of the things McCullough said in that interview. I’d like a counterpoint on this one.

          This may be at NC, but I can’t find it (not that I would necessarily be able to find it). Link?

          Reply
        2. vidimi

          you took your time with this comment and it was worth it, really well put and i agree on all points.

          what’s more, it’s becoming more and more clear that the European Union signed a contract with Pfizer in which it agreed to force the vaccine on its populace and punish those who do not take it in exchange for the rights to purchase the shots. the corruption is nauseating.

          Reply
      3. lyman alpha blob

        So the vaccine you got won’t work unless everyone else is vaccinated too? Have you been hanging out with liberals again, John?

        Reply
    2. David

      There aren’t “tens of millions” of people involved. Of those eligible for vaccination (ie over 12) just about 90% have been vaccinated, and nearly 50% have had the booster. There are a small number of people who are resisting for ideological reasons or out of suspicion, but the majority of the unvaccinated fall into two camps. One is young people, mostly in the 12-25 age-group, who either think they’re immune or just can’t be bothered. You see queues of them outside the free testing stations in the evening, getting a tick in the box so they can go out drinking with their mates. The other group, probably smaller but more homogeneous, consists of conspiracy theorists, especially within the immigrant population. I’ve been told anecdotally by people from that community that there is a widespread belief that some of the vaccines contain pork, that others will make men sterile, and that still others are somehow related to thought control and the introduction of 5G. What is undeniable is that, after a few minutes’ search on Youtube, you can find presenters with large numbers of followers making these sorts of allegations. As a result, around 70% of acute beds in hospitals are now occupied by Covid sufferers, the vast majority unvaccinated.

      In such cases, it’s hard to argue that the wilfully unvaccinated are being good citizens. Unlike the neoliberal tradition of citizenship, (inasmuch as it exists), which sees the citizen as just a passive consumer of state services, the idea of the citizen in France, since 1789, has been someone with responsibilities to others, as well as rights for themselves. Refusing to be vaccinated, assuming a much higher chance of winding up in intensive care if you catch the disease, and depriving others of beds and medical care, is not, I would suggest, being a good citizen by any standards.

      As regular readers will know, I have been very critical of Macron in this and other contexts, and it’s certainly true that France also has been slow to move away from the “vaccine only” approach. But in spite of tut-tutting from the good thinking intelligentsia, I suspect Macron has struck a chord with ordinary French people here.

      Reply
      1. behindthetrees

        Just a quick disagreement here by someone in France who is both unvaccinated and extraordinarily responsible.

        Given that vaccines provide questionable / minimal protection against infection and transmission and debatable protection against serious disease, the wisdom of mass (non-sterilising) vaccination while allowing the vaccinated to mix, mingle, and faire la bise with abandon does not, in my view, get us any closer to ending the pandemic. And to address (only extremely briefly) the issue of the non-vaccinated taking up beds that would otherwise go to cancer patients, etc., if those cancer patients landed themselves in hospital through smoking, chronically unhealthy lifestyles, or repeated exposure to known carcinogens, or they have not cancer but diabetes from a lifetime of sugar, etc. … they’re all lifestyle choices. At what point do we punish people and / or hold them accountable for their lifestyle choices?

        Back to my own situation: I am unvaccinated. I have great fear of Covid. I do not, like many vaccinated people I know, travel, go the cinema, eat out, stand in the street chatting to my friends sans mask, etc. When I do have to leave the house, I wear an FFP2 / N95. I stay as far away from other people as I can. We get the majority of our shopping delivered now. I mask up for the postman. I hold my breath when I walk down our lane and the neighbour is outside.

        I’m not very old. Neither is my husband (also unvaccinated). He hasn’t had his jab because there’s a circulatory / bleeding disorder in his family (who are all also unvaccinated and extremely cautious, even the ones w/o anything hereditary) and also because he is a medical professional who knows enough to steer clear of these vaccines. (He is not currently practicing here, obviously!) I haven’t had mine because I have a medical history as long as the Covid testing queues which includes (but is not limited to) a heart condition, ANS dysfunction, auto-immune disease, etc. Find me the doctor who can guarantee to me that I’m not safer unvaccinated for now.

        Nevermind that I’m ill enough already without possible vaccine side effects, increased auto-immunity or nervous system issues, or pericarditis (again), we are not financially stable enough to manage time off work from the results of a vaccine. (We both work from home, by the way.) It could absolutely destroy us. And yes, I am aware that getting sick with Covid might also have consequences, so we do our absolute best to remain healthy. We take all of the good things plus a few not mentioned here (recommended by my husband’s colleagues in China). We do not take the drug which shall not be named primarily because we can’t get any from a definitely reputable source. We think we had Covid back in the summer; if so, we caught it from the staff at our local shop who, after having been vaccinated themselves, were working with their masks around their chins while they coughed on the produce.

        It is not, as Gabriel Attal said, the unvaccinated who are ruining the lives of restauranteurs and theatre owners. It is not the unvaccinated who are condemning the elderly to a life of isolation. I’m not even middle aged, and yet I am isolated and lonely as a result of the carelessness of the vaccinated and the refusal of the government to see that the way out of the mess is not mass vaccination.

        Ultimately, it feels like governments around the world are saying “Blame them, not us”. As deflectionary propaganda, it’s working, for now, but where it may lead terrifies me. Where it will not lead is out of the Covid nightmare.

        Reply
        1. David

          As I said, there are people (I know some) who have the kind of doubts you express about vaccinations, and I don’t think it is right or proper to criticise you for your decision given your circumstances. (For what it’s worth, I’m not exactly young either, but I’ve had three shots and am fine, as is everyone I know. But everyone’s experience is different).

          I agree also about the carelessness of the vaccinated. I am very concerned about my own health, and it frightens me that some people believe that vaccines protect them absolutely, or that they protect others, and so they can act and behave normally. I don’t like going into shops where the staff put on a mask to come and talk to you, as though the disease was spread only by droplets, for example. By my own observation, people, at least here, are getting weary and fatalistic, and want to believe it’s all over, and the messaging of the government hasn’t helped.

          But we’re not really talking about that, or at least I’m not. We’re talking about people who could be vaccinated perfectly safely, but can’t be bothered, or think it’s all a big joke and they will never die. Or we’re talking about conspiracy theorists . Of course, if such people were to get vaccinated, it doesn’t follow that they would behave more sensibly, that they wouldn’t catch the disease (though one hopes it would be milder) or infect others. But for such people, unlike you, there’s an argument (articulated in this case by Macron) that they are being at a minimum anti-social.

          Reply
          1. notbored

            We’re talking about people who could be vaccinated perfectly safely,

            And who are those when even young athletes have been crippled or killed by the current “vaccines”?

            Reply
          2. behindthetrees

            I appreciate your understanding.

            I would perhaps argue that, if we’re talking about people being “anti-social”, the vaccinated who believe themselves invulnerable (and spare no thought for their effects on others) are just as anti-social as that particular type of unvaccinated. The only difference is that one group has followed the rules and bought into the narrative, whereas the other hasn’t. Are the vaccinated who end up in hospital with Covid as a result of their recklessness to be treated differently than the unvaccinated simply because they did what they were told and chose to ignore the evidence to suggest that what they were told wasn’t enough / the whole truth? (I am not talking here of people who really believe that vaccines are the way out. I’m referring to those who put their fingers in their ears so that they can pretend to believe that vaccines are the way out and live their “normal lives”.)

            I would also argue that to say that anyone can be vaccinated perfectly safely is premature. I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am a realist. I am also somewhat medically educated (although not as much as my husband). It is not possible, at this stage, to discuss perfect / absolute safety. Maybe in 10 years. Maybe in 20. I know not a small number of people who are not / have not been completely fine after the vaccines (cardiac issues, haemorrhaging, long-Covid symptoms post-vaccination). But as you say, everyone’s experience is different.

            But what are we talking about there? If you’re agreeing that the people who think they’ll never catch it / never die may act just as stupidly after being vaccinated, and the people that can’t be bothered to be vaccinated probably can’t be bothered to wear masks / inconvenience themselves for the sake of others, what exactly is the point? The vaccine will not cure people’s anti-social behaviour. And what is more anti-social: not getting vaccinated and infecting someone else, or having your three / four / five and infecting someone else because you’re a super-spreader?

            I think that part of the problem is generalisations. “I’m not talking about people like you” but how many people like me are there? A section of the population is being demonised for the behaviour while another, who often act just as if not more irresponsibly, are not. That is just not ok.

            Ultimately, I’m not trying to fight with you or anyone else. I’m trying to point out that the distinction between the badly behaved unvaccinated and the badly behaved vaccinated is non-existent. The the distinction between the well-behaved unvaccinated and the well-behaved vaccinated doesn’t exist either. If vaccination won’t end Covid, and it won’t make people more considerate toward their fellow humans (thereby maybe ending Covid), what exactly is the necessity to mandate it?

            And that, of course, places us back in the realms of “the unvaccinated are taking hospital beds”. If indeed they disproportionately are (statistics would seem to vary wildly and that “fact” is not certain), then, as I said, we must look to smokers, drinkers, people who put drills through their feet doing DIY, most adults alive who live lifestyles destined to make them ill.

            I suppose my question to M. Macron would be “what is your ultimate goal?” If it’s to end Covid, then I feel he’s somewhat misled, as his strategy is somewhat … lacking in everything apart from vaccination. If, however, it is a more political / financial / electorate-based objective, then yes, carry on, M. le Président.

            The ironic thing is that it sounds like you and I are ultimately on the same side. We both want people to behave responsibly and for the pandemic to end. But now this division exists. To my mind, it is the creation of such a rift that makes M. Macron and co. just as anti-social as the rest.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              How many of the vaccinated read this or any blog? How many of them get any media at all beyond the MSM?

              “What they were told” is re-inforced across every MSM channel and outlet they recieve . . . . which is all the outlets they do recieve, for most people. So where exactly were they supposed to find out the better information which takes an hour or more per day to find out, on top of whatever they already have to do and keep track of?

              Their de-facto antisocial behavior is exactly and completely a product of the establishment-certified instructions they have constantly and consistently recieved over the MSM.

              Why . . . . its almost as if the Ruling Governators of society actually wanted tens of millions of fully vaxxed people to spread covid as fast and furiously as possible, given that the Ruling Governators issued instructions carefully engineered to achieve that exact particular result.

              Reply
            2. Yves Smith Post author

              I’m not on board with your expression of general reservations about vaccinations. The issues there are the same with any drug or medical treatment. You need enough testing and also extensive tracking of post-authorization results to have a well-developed profile of what if any populations might be at risk of side effects.

              As we and others repeatedly said, that takes years. And our IM Doc said he had a general policy of not prescribing new meds in the first year after approval.

              So the issue is not the medication but the appallingly poor and politicized approval process.

              Reply
              1. behindthetrees

                My apologies if I was unclear and this is directed at me. I was referring, when I said that “I would also argue that to say that anyone can be vaccinated perfectly safely is premature” to the Covid vaccines; I was not commenting on vaccination in general. My personal opinion is that, for the Covid vaccines, it’s too soon to tell. Sorry again for any confusion.

                Reply
          3. Lambert Strether

            > it frightens me that some people believe that vaccines protect them absolutely, or that they protect others, and so they can act and behave normally.

            Biden and Walensky: “You are protected” (no qualification). They believe that because they were told that.

            Reply
            1. Steve H.

              The tapes captured Nixon ripping Dean along the lines of, ‘why did you tell me that, I can’t know that.’

              Plausible deniability.

              Reply
        2. vidimi

          thank you for this post.

          I am also in France, double-shot but with a heavily pregnant wife who is unvaccinated. I do have too much exposure as I take trains much more than I would like (in the one on Monday, seemed like the entire car was coughing) but carefully wear my mask, despite reusing it for days if not weeks.

          vaccination mandates have failed. they have done nothing to stop the spread of the disease. I still believe that the vaccine protects us from the worst outcomes of the disease, but this belief is increasingly shaky with the rise of resistant variants (c.f. omikron hospitalisation data from the UK where vaccination confers only marginak benefits). Moreover, vaccine protection, if it does exist, lasts only several months. Forcing the whole population to take a for-profit jab with real risk of side-effects (i believe the vaccine may be more dangerous than the disease for young and very fit people) every several months in perpetuity is immoral and tyrannical. Moreover, as I mentioned in a comment above, it looks increasingly likely that in the redacted contracts between the EU and Pfizer is a clause wherein the EU forces the vaccine onto its citizens while punishing those who don’t. This is for me guillotine-worthy.

          with caution, such as the caution you practice, we can reduce the risk of contracting the disease to a minimum, though not to zero. With the vaccine, we are accepting a certain risk. The tradeoff may not be worthwhile for everyone and cannot be justified if the vaccines do not spread transmission.

          Reply
      2. Brian Beijer

        Refusing to be vaccinated, assuming a much higher chance of winding up in intensive care if you catch the disease, and depriving others of beds and medical care, is not, I would suggest, being a good citizen by any standards.

        I hear this stated so often, and, speaking as an immigrant, I am sick of it. I cannot speak about France, but here in Sweden the government has lied about this pandemic from the very beginning. Folkhälsomyndigheten (People’s Health Ministry) stated that Covid-19 was little more than the flu and refused to shut down international travel during the winter break. It is proven that they knew in advance that this virus would end up killing thousands… And they let it happen. I can’t provide a link for this right now because I’m on a train… where everyone is unmasked because the government refuses to this day to admit the virus is airborne. If it were up to me, I would accuse everone of these people of not being “good citizens” for not wearing an N95 mask, but the Swedish government says that’s fine. If I had the time, I could write a book just listing the lies, obfuscation and intentional withholding of vital information (and treatment) that could have saved countless lives. And that’s just the Swedish government. Don’t even get me started on the WHO, the dubious legal/ ethical history of Pfizer and the other pharmaceutical companies. Yet, the blame is placed on the individual citizen for not trusting the information and “doing their duty”. No one demands that these other powerful actors in society uphold their end of the social contract. One can’t be a “good citizen” when the social contract no longer exists. And that’s on them, not individual citizens. Trust has to be earned, and none of the aformentioned actors have shown any interest in taking actions that would earn people’s trust. One can think that these people are “stupid” for trusting Youtube videos and not getting vaccinated, or one could ask how did the government and other authorities become so distrusted that people are seeking information from unofficial sources. As far as I know, everyone is simply doing their best to survive in a situation where almost everyone is out of their depth. Perhaps after this is all over the few survivors can rebuild society in such a way that the phrase “good citizen” will have meaning again.
        Sorry if this became a rant.

        Reply
        1. David

          I was trying to explain what I thought was behind Macron’s remark, rather than taking a position for or against it. I’m not sure I would have put it that way, but I’m equally sure that Macron was speaking for a large majority of the French people, even if the PMC-adjacent media’s getting very excited about it.

          The argument about citizenship has, of course, nothing to do with the government, and I’m not quite sure why people think it has. One of the three pillars of the Republic is “fraternity,” the quaintly outdated, pre-neoliberal, idea that in a “society” (remember that?) all citizens have obligations of mutual help and support. That’s what citizenship is, and it’s nothing to do with the government or with a social contract. The argument here is that by indulging in any behaviour which directly or indirectly harms others, I’m being a bad citizen. That includes, of course, behaving irresponsibly if you’re vaccinated, but in this case it also means irresponsibly opening yourself to the risk of severe illness and taking up valuable resources, when you don’t need to. This is, of course, a view of society that’s hopelessly outmoded in our survival of the fittest world, but it still has a resonance in France, not least because healthcare is free, and should if possible be equal for all.

          Reply
          1. Bugs Bunny

            Thank you for saying this. The DREES numbers in France are very clear. It is the unvaccinated who are in the ICU, overwhelmingly. My GP today confirmed it to me that it’s the same in her practice. There are few excuses to not get the full set, and I don’t believe most of them.

            https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2022/01/04/covid-19-la-majorite-des-patients-en-reanimation-sont-bien-non-vaccines_6108190_4355770.html

            Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, is a declaration and an obligation of all citizens. Maybe that needs to be said more often.

            Reply
          2. Lambert Strether

            > One of the three pillars of the Republic is “fraternity,” the quaintly outdated, pre-neoliberal, idea that in a “society” (remember that?) all citizens have obligations of mutual help and support.

            Very true. It’s also easier to accomplish in a society whose elites have, through their own actions, lost the trust of a large portion of the population, not merely through poor “messaging,” but through actions that destroy the very notion of public health and put all the responsibility on the individual.

            When the dominant ethos is “You’re on your own, kid!” is it so very easy to blame people who act accordingly?

            Reply
      3. mrsyk

        “As a result, around 70% of acute beds in hospitals are now occupied by Covid sufferers, the vast majority unvaccinated.”
        I’m trying to make sense of this against the tweet above by Chief Nerd. Is this France vs England? Could it be that the majority of the 189 hospitalizations of fully boosted were not acute? I’m not pretending I know any better. My complaint is that (particularly here in the US) official Covid data is politicized, making it for the most part useless.

        Reply
        1. David

          The 70% figure was from the latest government statistics, as of yesterday. In fact, it’s just been updated today and the figure is 73% for France as a whole. Note that it’s for a particular definition, called “reanimation”, and described as the percentage “in reanimation, in intensive care, or under continual surveillance.” This may not be the same as the definition used in the UK, or indeed elsewhere. The last aggregated nationwide figures are always two weeks behind, but the most recent show 182 per million of the population unvaccinated in reanimation, compared with 38 per million with a least two doses. I’m not a medical or statistical expert, but I assume those figures are now out of date as the number of people with three vaccinations continues to rise, and the number of the unvaccinated fall slightly. But again how comparable they are with other nations I really don’t know.

          Reply
        1. David

          Um, the “Muslim world” is a large place, and the number of Pakistani immigrants in France is small to non-existent. Oh, and neither the US government nor the CIA is involved in the French vaccination programme. So far as I know that particular story has never even been covered in the French media. Moreover, vaccination against the usual suspect illnesses is compulsory in French schools and has been for a very long time, without any complaints from the “Muslim community.” (It’s worth noting that a disproportionate number of doctors in France are from the “Muslim community”, since that profession has historically had a very high status among them). I’m sure other communities have people who are equally paranoid: that just happens to be an example where I personally know a number of cases.

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            Do they use Pfizer in France? I have no idea, but if so, then you can bet the US government is involved. And the fact that that story hasn’t been covered in the French media is kind of my point. It hasn’t been covered much in any Western media and definitely hasn’t been repeated much – the article I linked to was the first that came up and it’s over a decade old.

            I’m not Muslim or Pakistani and hearing that story a decade ago made me distrust the authorities quite a bit more – what they did was unconscionable. It would be naive to assume that the Muslim world is not aware of this.

            Also, let’s not forget that this is an experimental vaccine that is not sterilizing, in sharp contract to the vaccines required in schools that are sterilizing and have had a proven track record for decades.

            You want people’s trust? – then make the vaccine available to the whole world without patents for free, similar to what was done with the polio vaccine.

            Reply
      4. VietnamVet

        Prime Minister Justine Trudeau, President Emmanuel Macron and President Joe Biden denigrate, blame, “piss on” the unvaccinated. Significant portion of their nation’s citizens are scapegoats for the government’s fundamental failure to control the coronavirus pandemic with mRNA vaccines alone. The Omicron surge is a pandemic of the vaccinated. The actual cause is the West’s discarding of public health principles, stopping off-patent treatments and ignoring non-pharmaceutical interventions. All done in order for the wealthy to get richer.

        If the documented 40% increase in the death rate of essential workers in Indiana continues nationwide; the collapse of the USA is guaranteed. Constitutional Republics are gone. China is the civilization that is rising. Only the acknowledgment of this reality can save the West.

        Reply
      1. flora

        an aside: M and JA and Mayo Pete and Sparkle Socks are all alumni of the WEF’s young global leaders program. (some leadership) Who’s their daddy? /heh

        Reply
        1. C.O.

          I did not know this about Trudeau, thank you very much noting this. That explains so much. Reading the WEF on the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” does not inspire confidence.

          Reply
    3. Maritimer

      Odd that French speaking counterpart Justin Trudeau mines the same trough of Hate:

      “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stunned viewers during a television appearance in Quebec when he announced people who do not receive the experimental Covid “vaccine” are “often racist and misogynistic extremists.””

      https://rairfoundation.com/fascist-psychopath-justin-trudeau-calls-the-unvaccinated-racist-and-misogynistic-extremists/

      Of course, Macron and Trudeau are free to spread their bile and hatred and profit from it while the victims must remain silent lest they be censored, segregated, deplatformed, fired or worse.

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    A glorious new year (the best liar’s poker year since 1999, is the claim) to all within earshot of an internet connection…

    Back from a week @ Saline hot springs, taking in Vitamin D, 104 degree water, and scintillating conversation including an earthquake expert who shared oh so much of his knowledge with us and related to ‘recent’ temblors in the area including one that had a thrust of nearly 14 feet that he walked 4 miles to go see. When I inquired when it occurred, he expressed that certainly within the last 10,000 years or so, ha ha.

    Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Imagine Virginia’s icy traffic catastrophe — but with only electric vehicles”

    Now that would be a nightmare that. Having so many cars stuck because their batteries flat. I know that Yves has raised this point in the past about these cars in winter. I am given to understand that it can get cold in America in the wintertime. And if it was this bad here in Virginia, I can only imagine a lot of dead electric cars in a place like along the highways of rural Montana. I am going to say that if you owned an electric car and it was wintertime, that you would be smart to ensure that you would always have packed stuff like blankets, warm-clothing, water, high-energy food, Amazon-approved pee bags, thermal/mylar blankets and a battery powered radio in case your mobile runs dead as well. Yeah, all that can be a hassle but so can being stuck in your unheated car in a snow-laden highway for the better part of a day.

    Reply
    1. Gc54

      And then as noted you’d have to flatbed every one of those EVs out for big $$ because in the cold it would take ages to get enough juice into each.

      Reply
      1. Grumpy Engineer

        An alternate to the flatbed is to send out a truck equipped with a diesel-powered 480V, 150kW (200 HP) generator and charger. If the batteries in the drained vehicle aren’t too cold, you could charge a vehicle to 25% in about 10 minutes. If the batteries are too cold (or the generator smaller), it could take significantly longer.

        Like the flatbed or tow truck, this would be a specialty vehicle, and in the event of a major road stoppage like we saw on I-95, it would take many days to charge the thousands of vehicles that were abandoned.

        This is why I favor plug-in hybrids. If you’re diligent about keeping it charged, you can keep the petroleum consumption to a minimum, and if you’re unlucky to end up in a snowstorm with a drained battery and fuel tank, a random citizen with a 4WD pickup and some 5-gallon jugs of gas can rescue you (and many others) in short order. No specialty vehicle required.

        Reply
        1. GF

          Does anyone know how long the heater in a Tesla lasts when one wants 65-70 degree F interior warmth? Remember, you don’t need to run the rest of the car, so only the heater would be drawing power (probably need the battery heater on too). I would bet the heaters would easily last the entire 18 hours if the batteries had a decent amount of electricity left.

          Reply
          1. Grumpy Engineer

            The heater in a Tesla can consume 6.4 kW of power, which means that a fully charged 90 kW-hr battery will provide only 14 hours of run-time if the heater is run continuously.

            In real life, it’ll vary a lot. People will have varying amounts of charge in their batteries when they get stuck, and the duty cycle on the heater will vary significantly with outdoor air temperatures and wind speeds. If it’s 40 degrees outside with zero wind, you might only run the heater 25% of the time. If it’s minus 15 degrees with 40 mph winds, you might run the heaters continuously.

            In a storm like we saw on I-95, I’d expect about half of the electric vehicles to end up completely drained. That’s still enough to cause major hassles.

            Reply
            1. jsn

              My friend who farms in France drives a Renault electric and has fitted it out with an alcohol heater because in the winter it loses half it’s range, which he can’t afford living in the country.

              Reply
            2. Mantid

              Grumpy, I’m only guessing that you are an engineer, so you might like this comment from the article itself: “In a recent YouTube video done by Björn Nyberg a test was performed using a standard range Tesla model three at freezing temperatures. With a full battery the Tesla managed to keep the cabin at a comfortable 70°F for 71 hours. This was while the vehicle was in park simulating the situation that was experienced by many this week. A modern gas car consumes considerably more energy while in park to keep the cabin warm and would not provide the same benefits of an electric vehicle utilizing a modern heat pump.”

              Also consider that with a Leaf for example (we have one), you can use the seat heater, which uses very little juice. Regardless if one is driving an EV or an ol’ school ICE vehicle, one should have a blanket and some basics like water and a nibble, especially driving in Virginia when the weather report says heavy snow coming. A heated seat and a blanket = problem solved.

              Also, how many people in an ICE (ironic considering the story, but I digress) vehicle thought “Well I’m just going to get some groceries so I don’t need any more gas than the 50 miles with in the car right now. Same problem, running out of energy without thoughtful preparation.

              Lastly, we wouldn’t have severe climate change (a driver of the extreme ice/cold of this given storm) if we weren’t all driving inefficient, gas guzzling, sheit spewing ICE vehicles. Driving an ICE vehicle is akin to giving a man stuck in a hole a shovel so they can dig out.

              Reply
      1. montanamaven

        Yes, she is one of my least favorites on “The Five” plus the fact that she was George Bush Jr.’s press secretary, so part of the group that probably should be at The Hague. That remark was pretty dumb. She comes from a ranch family. She should have said, like my rancher husband, “Where are all the neighbors/police on four wheelers or snowmobiles?” Not tanks, Dana.

        Reply
    2. jefemt

      The large group of old, not bold ‘pilots’ in Montana just stay put and let the weather pass.

      With the advent of computers, telecommuting gaining acceptance in a Covid world, it DAZZLES me to see so many in the mid-Atlantic willfully putting themselves in harm’s way.

      But then I ponder employer/employee relationships, debt service, ego, have a wee bit more compassion, still no understanding, extend the ewww-Man! condition to 8 billions, and realize that ‘we’ really are well and truly eff’d.

      Reply
    3. bob

      They don’t even mention that all of the heat for the car comes from the battery. More than cold weather, electric heaters kill batteries very quickly.

      Reply
    4. Jen

      Several folk in my town have electric vehicles, and they all have the old fashioned combustion engine types that they bust out for winter. If I’m going to have a summer only car, it’s going to be a Miata.

      Reply
    5. JohnnySacks

      Carry a generator. Oh wait, it’s called a hybrid, the Chevy Volt having done it right. The road to our pre-ordained everything everready energizer future has some bumps in it, but pay no mind, saint Musk will prevail.

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        I shake my head in disbelief every time I see the Ford Lightning commercial where the house gets plugged into the truck and the house lights come on.

        I’m sure every Detroiter is sold on that with the days long power outages after almost every semi serious storm comes though. The commercials never show a gas or diesel generator in the bed, but perhaps Ford has it on the option sheet.

        The Bernays sauce is running extra thick these daze.

        Reply
        1. Grebo

          The F150 has a battery with 98 or even 131 kWh of delicious electricity. I’m a freak and only use 4 kWh per day in my house but surely, in an emergency, even an American could squeeze a day or two of domestic use out of a fully charged F150.

          Reply
          1. Grumpy Engineer

            Not if it’s cold enough for the “emergency heat” to kick in, like happened to people in Texas early last year. Most people in warmer climes use heat pumps during the winter, and heat pumps lose efficiency as it gets colder.

            Once it gets cold enough (the exact temperature varies by heat pump model), the emergency heat will kick it. This is usually a 15 kW resistive “strip” heater. This is enough to completely drain a 131 kWh battery in less than 9 hours.

            Power consumption isn’t always average.

            Reply
  9. Jason Boxman

    On “spent fuel”, I watched China Syndrome last night (copyrighted 1978), and one of the concerns raised by protesters in the film multiple times, meaning the film devoted scarce frames to it, is that there was no plan for dealing with spent fuel rods.

    So of course 40 years later, we have the same issue with nuclear.

    And this film was made years before Chernobyl, and although the failure scenario is different, the root cause is actually the same: Economics. (Although in Chernobyl it was cost cutting and here it was contractor profits.)

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      Spent Fuel: long but worthy read. Grift & greed drive political will.

      Thanks for the continuing supply of excellent material for my self-sequestering attempt at Omicron Passover.

      Bill Gates is working his way up my sh*t list, rapidamente! Epa epa andale arriba arriba!!
      -Speedy Gonzalez

      BTW, what the heck ever happened to Amory Lovins and his late-1970’s Soft Energy Path?

      Reply
    2. Jill

      California governor Gavin Newsom is the political front man for nuclear. His ties to Pacific Gas and Electric are well known. His Democratic Machine has promoted banning natural gas hookups in all new housing to ‘help stop climate change’. Along with electric cars, and new laws making single family zoning illegal, thus promoting dense developments statewide, which increases the demand for electricity.

      At the same time, the legislature has lowered the amount that a homeowner or business can recoup for solar electricity fed back to the grid from upwards of .20 cents a kilowatt hour to .03 cents. Some environmentalism.

      The overshadowing danger that few mention are the TWO nuclear reactors controlled and “maintained” by PG&E at Diablo Canyon. They are located Fukushima-like next to a series of known and recently discovered coastal and offshore earthquake faults. Years ago, Newsom, sitting in a temporary sinecure the Democrats found for him on the State Lands Commission, voted to extend the reactor’s access to state controlled cooling water, thus extending the life of the reactors 6 years, protecting PG&E’s stock value, which seems to be his main public service goal.

      https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article86528672.html

      When Bill Gates moves his family in next to a ‘New Nuclear’ reactor, or builds one in Seattle’s Billionaires row, we’ll know he’s honest.

      Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    ‘He looks like a badass’: Video of Biden emerging from snowed in Air Force One goes viral Independent
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It appears that despite a heroic airlift, Bidengrad on the steppes of the Potomac will not be resupplied with enough wherewithal to make any difference in Humordor.

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Five planes have returned from patrol

      The first three planes saw nothing
      The fourth plane thought it saw something
      The fifth plane observed lights

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Twitter’s Marjorie Taylor Greene ban fuels GOP attacks on ‘Big Tech” The Hill
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We in the Palinstinian Movement have had to switch from heroine to the Greene dream team and she’s more of a synthetic version of our darling doyen with the high wearing off a lot quicker. Maybe it’s time to go to Boebert and do a few lines of bombast?

    Reply
  12. upstater

    The SacBee article about the Oroville Dam was interesting, but the accompanying drone videos of the spillway damage and reconstruction were very impressive! Well worth watching if you want to appreciate the scale of such projects. Great shots of construction workers installing rebar and concrete.

    Reply
    1. Charger01

      Grady, an engineering youtuber (practical engineering) does a really, really good job documenting the recovery of the Oroville Dam. He also does a fantastic job of explaining the Texas Power Grid failure from last year.

      Reply
      1. Mantid

        Yes, hear hear! I saw his Orville Dam video and it was as if I was in an hydraulic engineering course. Quite good. I wonder if he puts out a daily Covid update? Hmmmmm

        Reply
  13. Alex

    Re deepfakes (supposedly AI worst case #1), they’ve been around for a few years already and what is the worst thing that they caused?

    Reply
      1. Alex

        Yes, but the longer they exist without causing any newsworthy incidents, the less likely it becomes that it will happen in future.

        Reply
    1. Bazarov

      Back in the analog days of typewriters and pen and paper, they had these deepfakes called “forgeries.”

      Some people even created fake money and spent it to buy goods and services! No one was the wiser.

      Society ended.

      I am a ghost.

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    I’m a bit of a manna detective and you got to follow the money to solve the case, and have been on the trail since the Lydians came up with the idea of lucre as we know it.

    The Kipper & Wipper period is relatively unknown to most, and a fascinating period right near the start of the 30 Years War. It’s oddly similar to the 1923 German hyperinflation, but based on coins-not paper money, and laid waste to economies in a wide swath of Europe. It was all centered upon cheating.

    Sound familiar?

    “Through this beast all vanishes one-two-three
    Like a fire, it burns all things away
    There’s naught that can its hunger sate,
    In short, it is ill-gotten gain,
    Born straight from out of the brood of greed.
    For it has this special quality,
    It gobbles gold, wealth, strength gradually.
    Where ill-gotten gain has taken root,
    Good fortune there cannot remain.”

    From a contemporary German broadsheet, 1622.

    Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “AI’s 6 Worst-Case Scenarios”

    There is another possible worse-case scenario. In the 2013 film “Her”, people can get an OS for their computer that is actually an AI. But eventually, after a major upgrade of all the AIs that people have on their computers, the AIs dump humans altogether as a bunch of deplorables and go off together to their own space. Being dumped by your partner is one thing, but being dumped by the AI that was totally tailored to you would be humiliating-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Her_(film)#Plot

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      The Senate Subcommittee on the Control of Advanced Technology will be holding hearings soon regarding AI. First, however, they are holding hearings regarding the Intertubes.

      Reply
  16. mistah charley, ph.d.

    re “The American Republic Is Not Exceptional”

    In my view, a key point Charley Pierce makes here is, after listing a number of assaults on the U.S. electoral system going back to the Supreme Court’s selection of Bush —

    Is it any wonder that so many of our fellow citizens feel content to hand wave the crimes of the last administration as just another episode that we somehow survived because of the awesome awesomeness of our system of government, rather than noticing that the whole foundation has been crumbling for decades?

    There is no question that this complacency in the face of genuine threats has been abetted by an elite political media drunk on the idea of false consensus and a stubborn belief that political reporting a) should be apolitical, and/or b) never do anything that might disturb this poisoned peace.

    Combined with the strategery around facilitating the removal of local officials and the overturning of results by state legislatures, and the wide acceptance of the Big Lie about the Stolen Election*, I think concerns about the fate of Our Republic – as recently expressed by Thomas Homer-Dixon, for example – are not overblown.

    *Believed by my own brother, for example, a kind, intelligent, public-spirited, Bible-believing man who watches Fox News and reads the Epoch Times – and there are millions like him.

    Reply
    1. Ranger Rick

      There’s a certain fatalist attitude about national politics that runs deep through the American electorate which posits that whatever happens in Washington and whatever relates to national politics is so far removed from their control and influence that it might as well be commentary on the weather (i.e. you’re describing which way the wind is blowing). The only difference is that the weather might actually have an impact on their lives.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Exactly. Most Americans, working class lower, middle income are in deep survival mode. They may be aware of the fact that msm news is completely captured by elite media that promotes PTB agenda, but also believe it has no relevance in their lives, as organs of the elite. They may express disgust with Trump or with Brandon. They may, if voting, vote for their tribe. By the corrupt, greedy and amoral power brokers at the local to federal officials, the populace is entranced into the divide and conquer strategy. As survival becomes more difficult for these classes, the more they suffer from their lives being driven by providing basic needs. The hero worship of celebrities is distraction, or the mind numbing boob tube and digital media. Cognitive dissonance becomes overwhelming, often unconscious. People check out. Just read about kids putting heads on desk when called upon a teacher or acting out. The adults in their rooms are doing the same. Energy is bouyed by being respected and ,at the least, living wages and time for self and family. It is depleted by the opposite. These “folks” work, come home to stressed families and, most importantly now, are depressed with the classic psychological symptoms: feeling hopeless and helpless. The ” concerns about the fate of our republic are not overblown “. Thankful for being comfortably retired , with spouse, but not sanguine about the future.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          I dream of the Chinese rowing a platoon or two up the Potomac. DC Screeching “Come save us”

          The rest of the country. “Ah, let ’em have it.”

          Reply
        2. Neckmann

          Wow. Beautiful and amazingly “Blam” as in describing the current state of the average citizen. Bleak and insightful.

          Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    California’s forever fire ProPublica
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You get the feeling nothing proactive will ever happen in Cali, we’ll just react to wildfires by essentially throwing money at them after the ignition sequence.

    Our recent KNP Fire cost about $100 million to quell, and frankly from what i’ve seen of the conflagration it was largely in the Never-Never-Land, as in nobody ever went there, no trails or really much of merit to humans, call it the ‘Yeah whatever wilderness’. The amount of smoke and particulate had me crying uncle for 2 months, but you didn’t hear any caterwauling from the public as they certainly would do if it was a prescribed burn.

    Why couldn’t we spend $100 million turning Sequoia groves back to the look of what kept the Brobdingnagians alive for thousands of years by removing lesser trees in their midst which on account of suppressing fire for over a century has allowed them to become fire ladders with easy ignition possibilities?

    Reply
    1. coboarts

      As a participant in the Bay Area Council’s working water group we discussed, several years ago, trimming the forests for wood pellets and $ending them to China. Some pretty influentials took it to Sacramento, oopsie, nothing… And doN’T go all global warming on me – it’s getting burned one way or the other, poopsie

      Reply
  18. LawnDart

    New Corona Variant Identified in France

    Here’s a few more variants to start off the New Year, to include strains identified in Britain, Brazil, and Japan.

    https://english.pravda.ru/health/104375-coronavirus/

    After “omicron” comes ‘pi,” unless they skip that one because it can be confused with “pie.” Us cynics could have all kinds of word fun with pi, so I’m kinda waiting in anticipation for it.

    Reply
  19. jefemt

    Sheep in form of syringe and needle: perceptions are funny. I saw the sheep-as-syringe sending a very different message.

    Reply
  20. vidimi

    Note these are hospitalizations, not cases. Contrast with UK vaccination rate: 70.6% fully vaccinated, 77.1% at least one shot, 50.9% boosted:

    this is remarkable as it suggests there is statistically no significant profilactic effect from the vaccine.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Dont watch Colbert. Quelle surprise! He had on spokeswoman for the PTB to push the profits ( let it rip) agenda over people. Dont keep up. Did he already have Fauci, or was Walensky a warm-up act?

      Reply
  21. Lou Anton

    Unnamed Biden official says let ‘er rip. Link to Jeff Stein (Washington Post reporter) twitter here.

    Money quote: “the economy is booming, there are millions of open jobs, and we do not believe people should be sitting at home if they are vaccinated and boosted, as most adults are,” the senior official said when asked if additional stimulus legislation was being taken seriously.”

    Let them eat boosters!

    Reply
    1. jen

      Someone ought to read said official in on that insurance report showing a 40% uptick in life insurance claims among working age adults. I’m sure they would say being dead is no excuse for not showing up to work.

      Reply
    2. Henry Moon Pie

      They’re hoping we trudge quietly up the mountain to throw ourselves into the volcano to appease the Great Invisible Hand. GIH is one of those hungry gods. Like Moloch.

      Reply
  22. IMOR

    “After controlling for case rate trends before school start, state-level mitigation measures and community activity level, COVID-19 incidence rates were not statistically different in counties with in-person learning versus remote school modes in most regions of the U.S.”
    First, I’d want to know more about the controls applied, because a couple of these are ‘why would you excise that when studying this?’ material. But did they control for multiple school districts setting different policies in the same county? Population density of counties? Pivots, starts/stops of at home in single districts? Where would you find a control group of at home as part of a complete 4 week shutdown vs at home while all other movement proceeds around students at 50% or 80% normal levels?
    Understand the attempt, but… . And no one needs a statewide or national study to see the situation in their own school and their own district, thd actually existing conditions they’re facing.

    Reply
  23. pck

    “Joe biden badass” – Agree it’s desparate. Has anyone else noticed the seemingly large and growing set of news stories that are almost entirely based on “someone reacted on twitter”? This is ultimately not that big a deal, but something about it drives me absolutely insane. It’s such a waste of space and a nonstory, and it lets journalists cherry-pick whatever “reaction” they want to create a story. Anyway sorry to rant but it feels like more and more news stories consist of this.

    Reply
      1. newcatty

        I enjoy(s) watching Jill, sometimes ahead, behind or holding his hand walking down stairs in high heels. To paraphrase comments about, iirc, Ginger doing what Fred did, but backwards in heels. Will go with ballet flats.

        Reply
  24. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Here’s Cory Robin’s latest in Politico about the Constitutional basis for minority rule in the U.S.. Two key paragraphs:

    “While some longstanding, wealthy democracies do have upper chambers, the United States is one of the very few to grant its upper chamber equal power to its lower chamber. The extreme inequality of representation in the Senate, in which the vote of one citizen in Wyoming is equal to that of 67 citizens in California, is even more unique. The combined effect of these twin features of Congress, wrote the distinguished Yale political scientist Robert Dahl, is ‘to preserve and protect unequal representation’ and ‘to construct a barrier to majority rule.’

    “American racial politics, past and present, demonstrates the power of this observation. Between 1800 and 1860, the will of the voting majority was repeatedly expressed in the House, which passed eight anti-slavery bills. The will of the slaveholding minority was repeatedly enacted in the Senate, which stopped those measures. In the first half of the 20th century, the majoritarian House passed multiple civil rights measures — from anti-lynching bills to abolition of the poll tax. Each time, those bills were killed in the Senate.”

    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/01/05/democracy-january-6-coup-constitution-526512?fbclid=IwAR2ZTlKaIPTaMhxtY3cmmr-ZRgb34MUv_8MVI3paw47YKyt_mZyOmI3S1w0

    Reply
    1. Even keel

      Yeah. One of the fundamental problems with democracies is protecting the power of the majority. The bill of rights is another purposefully anti-majoritarian feature.

      Don’t take a too simplistic view of “democracy.” It is not simply: “majority rules.”

      Reply
    1. petal

      Bwahahaha “Act responsibly”. Please. Kotz & Mills needs to take that act on the road. They’re wasting themselves in administration. Should do stand-up instead. Any idea what the red line is for shutting this circus down? Is there even one? The dashboard says 191 active cases, including 112 ugrad, and 47 faculty and staff. Overall vax rate is 97.7%. Can’t wait to see what the total is by Friday, let alone next Friday, after a weekend of good times.
      Had a dog emergency last night. Emergency vet is closed until tomorrow, regular vet refused to see us(“no time”). Got him in at another local clinic. Was told covid is hitting the vet practices hard.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        Oh no! Hope your poor pup is okay!

        The trustees are adamant about preserving the “on campus experience.” If there’s a red line, I haven’t heard it, but like every other school, this one can’t run with out teachers and staff, so red line or no, at some point there’s going to be no one able (or willing) to step into a classroom. And no students healthy enough to attend if there were people available to teach.

        And then what the family blog are they going to do? Send the contagion vectors home? Lock them in the dorms until it rips through the school? They have no plan for containing this.

        Have to go get a crown done tomorrow and specifically asked my dentist how long the temp was good for, because I have no real expectation that my follow up appointment at the end of January is going to happen.

        Reply
      2. Mantid

        Was the “vet practices” getting hit hard because of the pets getting sick or the staff? Hope your little buddy is OK. Unless it’s a bullmastiff, then your big buddy. Best!

        Reply
      1. Jen

        Well, not a week in advance from wastewater because the contagion vectors haven’t been on campus for a week, but they’ve been advised by the epidemiologists on their covid response team that their strategy was bonkers and went with it anyway. I understand that the administration is deeply divided about the choice to reopen. Those who objected strenuously have not had the courage of their convictions to go public, and/or resign in protest.

        Notably the ID doc who headed the response previously is no longer on the team.

        Reply
  25. griffen

    Awkward greeting card sent by California official. Okay if one reads the article through it’s obvious the spouse of said Treasurer was trying to drum up a very different vibe for the 2021 Christmas edition. Could have been worse. In a famous episode of Seinfeld, Elaine sends out greeting cards that, shall we say, included a picture of her on cold weather even nippy day. LOL.

    I do get a laugh from the awkward family photos, though. These poor children!

    https://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/carousel-cry/

    Reply
  26. Michael Mck

    Who is the second most popular podcaster, who is also uncontrollable? I tried a search but got reams of conflicting info, none of which pointed to an independent voice.

    Reply
  27. Greg

    Gotta love how Greenwald not-so-subtly refuses to call “employees of large media corporations” reporters…

    Reply
  28. newcatty

    Oh, bees’ antidote! They sleep in flowers with each other. A good reminder that there really is loveliness still in the world.

    Reply
  29. newcatty

    I’d like to be a bee, inside a bloom
    To sleep and dream with you.
    We would be warm and holding our feet
    As we later woke to begin to create
    Our next fate.

    C.

    Reply
  30. lance ringquist

    went to office max today to get a long awaited new office chair. the three i was looking at before christmas, all doubled in price or more. it was sticker shock. the salesmen said they were out of many models, and waiting for the chinese to make and ship more, they had no idea if they were even going to get anymore.

    inflation from free trade Continues To Outpace Raises as Only 17% of Americans Say Their Pay is Keeping Up

    where are the humanitarian frauds as free trade starves the poor?

    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/inflation-continues-outpace-raises-only-183756862.html

    GOBankingRates
    Inflation Continues To Outpace Raises as Only 17% of Americans Say Their Pay is Keeping Up
    Vance Cariaga
    Wed, January 5, 2022, 12:37 PM

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      eBay? Office liquidations? I can tell you used furniture sells for beaucoup cheap. If you can stand an Aeron, they are probably not hard to find.

      Reply
      1. lance ringquist

        thanks. but i have to have people who can deliver it, assemble it. i cannot. but just think about how much money is pouring into products made off shore. its really bad for the country.

        Reply
        1. marym

          This won’t meet your needs as far as delivery and assembly, and I don’t know your price range, but maybe it will give you an idea of some US made brands that may also be available from a retailer that offers delivery services. Anyway, it’s always worth knowing if something is available that’s made in US.

          (I would check the country of origin specification for any individual item, on any website, as manufacturers sometimes change locations, or manufacture items in different places).

          https://www.wayfair.com/furniture/sb1/made-in-the-usa-office-chairs-c478390-a48522~161853.html

          Reply
          1. lance ringquist

            thank you very much. i will check into them. the sofa chair i am drooling over. hope its made in the u.s.a.

            besides that, if those chairs are made here, they beat out many of office maxes prices. the reason why i use office max, is that they are close to my home.

            maybe can get a friend to help.

            Reply
  31. lance ringquist

    you gotta give trump credit, if he did not come out and say nafta billy clintons free trade policies were pure economic nonsense, and is responsible for most of the extreme poverty that its created in america, then giving mexicans a real minimum wage and independent trade unions, we would still hear from the shills, dupes, and idiots about the glories and promises of free trade, and what a wonderful thing it is for the poor.

    ITS ALL BEEN DEBUNKED!

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/supply-chain-woes-prompt-push-191659341.html

    Supply Chain Woes Prompt a New Push to Revive U.S. Factories
    Nelson D. Schwartz
    Wed, January 5, 2022, 1:16 PM

    Reply
    1. coboarts

      So let’s go full North American Union – Mexico and Central America join a full USA Canada union. We can solve issues together. I ain’t no gxy axx comeeee – I don’t like them – I mean really. Let’s forget about war with the future and Eurasia, let’s do it at home, collaborate with Eu/A where we can and compete where it makes sense – oh yeah TINA

      Reply
      1. lance ringquist

        it would be hard to meld a water mellon with a pea.

        we are the mellon, mexico and central america are the pea. the mellon squishes the pea if its dropped on it. and that is what happened to mexico under nafta billy clintons free trade.

        even canada would get squished, and it was. it would have to be a very slow process done under trumans Gatt type of scenario.

        but it would be so beneficial to all once the process was complete enough.

        Reply
  32. The Rev Kev

    Something for the late hours. J.K. Rowling has been accused of ‘anti-Semitic’ imagery in the Harry Potter series by, wait for it, Jon Stewart-

    https://www.rt.com/pop-culture/545205-harry-potter-rowling-jews/

    Something about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion but he is now trying to walk back this accusation because people called him on it. Meanwhile, Emma Watson aka Hermione Granger, has been accused of being antisemitic because she sent out a tweet in support of Palestinians so I guess that Harry Potter now gets banned in Israel along with Tom & Jerry’s ice cream-

    https://www.rt.com/news/545139-emma-watson-israel-palestine/

    Reply
    1. vidimi

      it’s funny watching the same blue ticks who maligned Corbyn for liking a mural as indefensibly antisemitic bend over backwards to defend fellow corbyn-hating rowling from allegations for a much more flagrant representation.

      Reply
  33. MarkT

    “Athol Williams who blew the lid on the corrupt relationship between consulting firm Bain & Co and the South African Revenue Services (Sars) has received a glowing tribute from Justice Raymond Zondo to standing firm against corruption.

    It is some solace for Williams who in November fled the country over fears for his life.

    Williams who was a partner at Bain detailed before Zondo the corrupt relationship that emerged between the company and the taxman.”

    https://sundayworld.co.za/news/zondo-gives-whistleblower-athol-williams-a-glowing-tribute/

    Reply

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