Links 1/6/2022

Yves here. Launching with thin rations. Please come back at 8 AM EST for more.

Croatian rescuers praise malamute’s care for hurt mountain hiker during 13-hour rescue while US German shepherd raises crash alarm ABC Australia (Kevin W). Aaaw…..

Dog leads New Hampshire police to the scene of her injured owner’s car crash NPR (David L)

A cat was accidentally donated to a thrift store along with the chair he was hiding in Boing Boing (resilc)

Coyote-like golden jackal is laying claim to Europe. Why now? Christian Science Monitor

Animals Laugh Too: UCLA Study Finds Laughter in 65 Species, from Rats to Cows Open Culture (David L)

Researchers Let Goldfish Drive a Motorized Tank on Wheels. Watch What Happens Haaretz (David L)

Could Being Cold Actually Be Good for You? Wired (Chuck L)

Schrödinger’s Tardigrade Claim Incites Pushback IEEE Spectrum (Dr. Kevin)

This 717-Gigapixel Photo is the Highest-Res Ever Captured of Artwork PetaPixel (David L)

James Webb Space Telescope extends secondary mirror BBC (Kevin W)

Antibiotic-resistant superbug evolved on hedgehogs BBC (Kevin W)

Michael Dirda reviews The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot: The Critical Edition Washington Post (Anthony L)


Metropolis of 14 million confines unvaxxed to their homes RT (Kevin W)

Novak Djokovic seeks injunction against deportation from Australia Financial Time. His big mistake looks to have been publicizing having originally gotten a waiver.


Study casts doubts on rapid Covid tests’ reliability right after infection STAT (Dr. Kevin). Wow, the false negative was a known issue…but look at to what degree:

On days 0 and 1 following a positive PCR test, all of the antigen tests used produced false-negative results, even though in 28 of the 30 cases, levels of virus detected by the PCR test were high enough to infect other people. In four cases, researchers were able to confirm that infected people transmitted the virus to others during the period before they had a positive result on the rapid antigen test.

MSM account: Emerging Data Raise Questions About Antigen Tests and Nasal Swabs New York Times (Robert M)

A couple of days stale but data is scarce:


Covid: Pre-departure travel tests to be scrapped BBC


A year in, how has Biden done on pandemic response? Justin Feldman (Lois F). Today’s must read. A persuasive and well-supported take on why the Biden Administration approach was so misguided. Scientifically insane given the lack of durable immunity but politically convenient since it would be consistent with “Nothing fundamental will change”:

The Biden administration, I argue, made a strategic decision to prepare for one specific pandemic scenario. In that scenario, high levels of disease and death would continue in early 2021, followed by widespread population immunity from both vaccination and prior infection. This population immunity would lower the death toll to manageable, ignorable levels, like that of seasonal flu. In this scenario, the Biden administration’s pandemic response would focus on vaccination and medical treatment while largely rejecting other public health measures ­– so-called “non-pharmaceutical intervention” policies ranging from contact tracing to mass testing to temporary closures of non-essential businesses.

Covid hospitalizations among US children soar as schools under pressure Guardian

CDC Recommends First Covid-19 Boosters for 12- to 15-Year-Olds Wall Street Journal

The C.D.C. Is Hoping You’ll Figure Covid Out on Your Own New York Times (David L)

Grammy Awards Officially Postponed Variety (Kevin W)


Walmart cuts paid Covid leave in half, as CDC isolation guidance changes CNBC (Kevin W)

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels sailings on 8 ships as far out as April amid Omicron surge Business Insider

Versus…Cruise Ships Are Still Sailing as Cases Rise and Criticism Mounts New York Times

COP26/Climate Change

The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences Yale Climate Connections

What to Know About California’s New Composting Law Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Your Man in Saughton Jail Part 1 Craig Murray (guurst)

The New Right’s Grim Fantasies of International Nationalism New Republic (resilc)

Kazahkstan. I’m not up on this yet, but to get started…


Israel’s military intel chief calls for reviving Iran nuclear deal – Responsible Statecraft. Resilc: “More reality based than the pols.”

The UAE clock is ticking in Yemen The Cradle

Taliban reportedly orders beheading of shop mannequins RT (Dr. Kevin)

Imperial Collapse Watch

In a tense corner of Europe, SEALs and Green Berets are helping a close ally up its skills with old US gear Business Insider. Wowsers, what a weird planted story.


They went viral on Jan. 6. Here’s what happened to them. Yahoo! (Kevin W)

Twitter to hunt for ‘harmful content’ on Jan 6 RT (Kevin W)

Republicans Promised to Banish Jan. 6 Insurrectionists. A Year Later, They’ve Purged Jan. 6 Critics Rolling Stone (David L)

‘1st Amendment Praetorian’ Group Played Role in January 6 Esquire (furzy)

What Drove a West Virginia Democrat to Storm the Capitol on January 6? Intercept (resilc)

How Civil Wars Start,’ a Warning About the State of the Union New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

Attorney General Merrick Garland Delivers Remarks on January 6 Attack C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy New York Times (David L)


Seattle police faked radio chatter about Proud Boys during 2020 racial justice protests – watchdog Guardian (David L)


Secretary Blinken and German Foreign Minister News Conference C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Michigan redistricting spat exposes competing interests in Democratic coalition The Hill

California finds PG&E equipment responsible for massive Dixie Fire CNBC

Woke Watch

White Backlash Is A Type Of Racial Reckoning, Too FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

U.S. Overtakes Qatar To Become The World’s Largest LNG Exporter OilPrice

Don’t Tell Anyone, but 2021 Was Pretty Amazing Paul Krugman New York Times (Kevin W). Further confirmation that the word “amazing” needs to be retired.

Christopher Mims’ ‘Arriving Today’, goes inside the global supply chain NPR (David L)

New Law Will Install Kill Switches In All New Cars Motorius (Dr. Kevin)

France is making car ads include disclaimer saying to bike or walk Elektrek (Dr. Kevin)

Meet Jed Rakoff, the Judge Who Exposed the “Rigged Game” Matt Taibbi. One of my proud moments during the chain of title fight was helping teach a course for CLE credit where Rakoff led the panel.

Miles Walker of A OK Walker Autoworks sued after paying Andreas Flaten with oil-covered pennies in bitter pay dispute Independent

ADP Private Employment Upside Surprise Menzie Chinn

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Hawkish Shock Syndrome Jesse

Bitcoin dives after Kazakhstan kills internet RT. Oopsie!

Antidote du jour (Robert H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Wukchumni

    Walmart cuts paid Covid leave in half, as CDC isolation guidance changes CNBC

    Stopped at a Wal*Mart (maybe 40% of customers had masks on) in Minden Nv yesterday for a few things and when I went to check out there was a dozen people in line for the one check stand open in the newish superstore, and after 5 minutes of going nowhere fast, I simply gave up and walked out the door and there was a W*M employee and I inquired why only 1 checker?

    He said:

    ‘Yeah, we’re pissed too, crazy isn’t it? everybody is quitting because of their vaccination policy, 16 employees have quit in the past week’

    1. griffen

      Winter has just barely begun, at least per the calendar. I’m expecting January to February to get pretty interesting, for big box retail and restaurant chain locations, if that is a trend that does not alter or abate.

      If I enter a big box store, especially that brand retailer, I plan on using the ever available self checking option. They give me that option for a valid reason, I think.

      1. The Historian

        They give you that option so that you will do the work of the cashier for free. That helps reduce their labor costs and increases their profits. The store gets the benefit of your free labor and you, the customer, gets nothing.

        BTW, you should see how long the self-checkout lines are at our local Walmart! You definitely won’t be saving time!

        1. The Historian

          I might add that your Covid risk isn’t decreased. At least the cashier will be wearing a mask and be separated from you, whereas in the self-checkout line, you will probably have someone without a mask breathing down your neck! Last time I went to a Walmart, they had an associate trying to cram people in the self-checkout line closer together since the line was blocking aisles.

        2. griffen

          I tend to think it’s a binary choice, and I also think my speed at scanning items and placing into fewer bags is also better. I avoid the nearest Walmart if it’s possible.

          I’m not using Instacart after all. After I’ve walked the aisles I wanted to pay and leave.

        3. Robert Gray

          > They give you that option so that you will do the work of the cashier for free. That helps reduce
          > their labor costs and increases their profits.

          Good on ya, Historian. By the same token: never clear your table at a cafeteria or fast-food joint. If everyone did that, all the table-clearers would be out of work.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            hear, hear!
            i refuse to use “self checkout”…i’ll just wait in the long line for the one human checker with everybody else.
            and while in line, i get to hold forth about solidarity and help build class consciousness…because there it is, right in front of us.
            hasn’t been a single person i’ve talked to in this situation who didn’t already understand what was happening, and who hadn’t already decided that the wait was worth it, both to save a job of a human, as well as to send a message to the corpse that “self checkout” ain’t cool.
            interestingly, when i go into a store in a richer area…fredericksburg, tx HEB, or the walmart by the Dominion in san antone…the PMC are all happily scanning their own groceries and plastic pumpkins, and i sail through the one actual human line.

      2. dougie

        “The self checkout is open, sir!”

        “Sorry, I don’t work here.” Lays goods on the ground, and leaves the store

          1. Wukchumni

            My mom was relating to me the process one went through buying a pair of new shoes in Prague, circa 1977…

            In the shoe store, she mentioned that it took around 7 employees in total to make the sale, as there was an employee to size her feet, one to go find a pair in her size, another one to help her try them on, and another to essentially critique her choice. The final coda of the ‘we pretend to work-and they pretend to pay us’ charade was not 1, but 2 employees @ the cash register, in order to ring up the sale.

            1. upstater

              Same thing in a Japanese department store… plus excessive wrapping, circa 2017.

              I don’t see any problem having plenty of retail staff, especially if they know their products.

            2. griffen

              Not exactly the same analogy to a shoe store experience, but perhaps comparable today. Recently watched one of the Jason Bourne films, this one featured Jeremy Renner. The watchdog agents and agency leaders from Washington (or NY, but whatever) all gathered in a room tracking a few rogue dots on a map who flew into the Philippines. And then tracking their movements whilst an agency asset is tracking the rogue dots, in order to extinguish the problem. Takes an army to kill a man!

              That’s the US federal government jobs program in nutshell. Ok, it’s a Hollywood version.

          2. ambrit

            Uh, sorry to break your “bubble,” but we already have something very much like that under Neo-liberalism today.
            The ‘self checkout’ is, as mentioned above, a way to ‘socialize the costs and privatize the benefits.’
            The 20 hour work week, with randomized scheduling, is so you do not qualify for company paid ‘benefits.’
            The “8 weeks paid vacation” is the annual ‘lay off,’ by which, companies take advantage of the social safety net to increase “churn” in the labourforce. Said “churn” is a method of instilling fear of deprivation in the workers and thus short circuit any unionization impulses. (You cannot think very much about social relations theory when your every hour is spent searching for basic necessities.)
            Am I a Socialist? H—yes, and proud of it. (Plus, I am not emigrating to some foreign “Utopia.” I’ll stay right here and fight for “the soul of America.”)
            Stay safe! Hull down.

            1. coboarts

              The commentariat here is mostly old PMCs – they really won’t get your point ambrit, but the control of the narrative will stay in place

              1. LawnDart

                Ummm, coboarts? No, the commentariat here is definitely not, exclusively or even predominately, PMC, although I’m sure that there are lurkers.

                You will find a lot of unique and politically unaffiliated individuals here within this commentariat, persons who constitute a spectrum of viewpoints and experience in a forum that you are unlikely to find elsewhere.

                As far as “old” goes– yeah, true if you’re something like 17 and looking at things from that viewpoint, and if that’s the case, all I can say is go back to 4chan, you prick.

              2. The Rev Kev

                Yeah, people like myself are definitely old PMCs. /sarc
                It amazes me sometimes at the backgrounds of some of the people that comment here which they mention in their own wors. The term ‘a wealth of experience’ does not even cover it.

        1. marym

          This wouldn’t be an effective form of protest. That worker would have had nothing to do with the policy, and (after re-shelving the abandoned goods) probably won’t be sharing your concerns with the CEO.

        2. Tom Bradford

          I’m old enough to remember when supermarkets themselves were a novelty – you did most of your shopping at the grocers or the bakers or the butchers or the hardware store in a block a few streets away, served at the counter by an assistant who picked the stuff off the shelves as you asked for it – and who knew you. (Shades of Ronnie Barker’s ‘Open All Hours’.)

          Doing your own shelf-picking in the supermarket was simply the first step in the training program. Self-checking out is the next.

          I count myself lucky in that I can order the bulk stuff – tins and packets – on-line from a couple of competing supermarkets, picking up any price differentials/offers, and have it delivered to my door for $5. There’s minuscule profit for them in that. For the stuff that is profitable – bakery, dairy, meat, fish – there are still specialist shops in town I patronise.

      3. Carolinian

        One reason I go to Walmart maybe once a week is because of all those self checkouts. In and out in five minutes is appealing during Covid time.

        Meanwhile many of those former cashiers are now pushing blue carts around to pull orders for customers who don’t want to bother going into the giant store. Or in other words the employees are getting more exercise so that the customers can get less. The pickup option does seem to be popular.

        1. ambrit

          Around here, both WalMarts have two self-check ‘zones.’ One at each end of the line of checkout lanes. In both outlets, one of those self-check zones is always closed. The other, open zone, generally has a waiting line of about five to ten customers, waiting to enter the money depletion space.
          The big blue carts of “personalized shoppers” are ubiquitous, and often block aisles for minutes at a time. All are working with a hand held scanner. The overwhelming type of products being ‘remotely shopped’ are foodstuffs. (I know that Phyl would freak out to have a stranger choose her fruits and vegetables for her. [It’s bad enough to her that I take on that task when shopping. {The number of times I have bought home wilty asparagus or over hard apples is legion.}])
          Stay safe on the Seaboard.

          1. Carolinian

            Well my two zones are always open and often extra self check lanes as well. I almost never have to wait and never buy much at one time so its very fast. I do think stores put these in for customer convenience as much as labor savings. They may lose as much through theft as they save on labor.

            Of course if I bought a basket full it might be different but I don’t do that at Walmart.

          2. griffen

            Customer choices and options of shopping. Use technology to do it all, or go in person instead! I just don’t trust the technology to shop for my sorta green banana bunch.

            At the very least, I get the option to avoid the wal mart experience if I choose to. The nearest grocery chain is sorta local. I don’t think theyve sold out yet, to private equity or mega hedge funds.

            1. Carolinian

              We have four other grocery chains and a couple of independents. These include Publix and Ingles which is a good chain based in Asheville. I use them all.

      4. Robin Kash

        Yeah, it’s so they employ fewer people, that’s their good reason. So what are min wage and benefits for robots? Plus, one low-paid tech can service the whole array of self-checkers and self-checkerettes!

        1. Carolinian

          Do you pump your own gas? Lots of people used to be employed doing that. In Oregon and New Jersey they still are and when I visited Oregon I was shocked and a little annoyed at having to wait for a busy attendant. Self serve forbidden by law.

          1. mrsyk

            Good point but did the owners of the fuel stations reaped the profits generated by eliminating overhead? Probably mostly went up the food chain.

      5. Maritimer

        Last time I was in WM used self check. Big screen in front with yours truly on it, watching myself being watched. I used cash but if you use plastic, they then can connect your mug to your plastic data. Then, I suspect, they are using this to test out facial recognition and Finance, for starters. The Totalitarians are on the march!

        1. Carolinian

          Guess Walmart will step in if those cameras at the bank or the many hacked state drivers license databases and Facebook don’t have you tagged. Walmart has huge problem with “leakage” and the cameras are more likely to intimidate the self check cheaters.

          At any rate there are other stores even in towns as small as mine.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          That + preserving checkout worker jobs are the reasons I nevah use self checkout. Yours truly goes to great lengths to avoid biometric IDing.

          1. Skunk

            Over the holidays, I was visiting relatives in another state. I went with a relative (who had also flown in from out of state) to do some Christmas shopping at a store.

            Later, while using the Internet at the house, I repeatedly got ads for the store we had visited. The store transactions could not have connected either of us with the Internet in the home, because we did not live at that address. But it COULD, and apparently DID, connect the car we were driving with the Internet address. In other words, the store used a license plate reader and then sent the ad to the Internet at that address.

            Sleaze at its finest.

    2. Airgap

      Fortunately here in Honolulu everyone wears a mask at Wallys and all other in door as well as many outdoor places. There’s no pushback against mask wearing. If you see someone without a mask it’s usually a tourist. Unfortunately we still see some bandanas and gaiters.

    3. juno mas

      So, how the heck did you get to Minden, NV from your Sierra west-slope hideout? I’m reading of mega Sierran snow fall this past week. Hwy 50 was certainly closed. I doubt you attempted Donner Summit (I-80).The avalanche danger was too high to try skiing. And, lastly, Minden?!

      1. Wukchumni

        We spent new years @ Saline Valley hot springs and came south around the Sierra horn via Tehachapi which was mostly snow free, but not on both the North & South Passes into Saline which had 1-2 feet of snow to deal with for about 7-8 miles in total. It was no big deal with high clearance and 4 wheel drive-just keep in the ruts.

        We were in Saline for about a week and then drove north through Carson Valley and Minden en route to Lake Tahoe where we are currently.

  2. griffen

    It is very difficult to conjure a more precarious business model than a global fleet of cruise ships. Maybe the once-prominent chains of all you can eat buffet restaurants are a close second. Sorry but those sneeze guards at a Golden Corral just don’t appear too significant.

    I’d choose to fly within the lower 48 US states, if absolutely necessary. But at the absolute minimum I would know all on board are (supposedly) going to mask up for the duration.

    1. John Beech

      I would not fly today if the air fare were free and everybody masked up. Wouldn’t go to Golden Corral if it were free, either. And while I loathe the former, I simply adore the latter. God only knows when we’ll eat inside a restaurant again – sigh.

      Fortunately, retrieving a pizza from Dominos plus a bench at the waterfront, which our city fathers have thoughtfully spent tax monies on whilst creating a river walk, substitute nicely and constitute date night these days. As for my girl of +40 years? She is perfectly happy with the arrangement. Me too.

      Needs must!

      1. griffen

        As a kid I can recall infrequent visits to some of the all you can eat & steak restaurant. More often than not the quantity was better than quality. I might’ve ordered a glorified hamburger on a plate. Golden Corral was popular in eastern North Carolina. Not that good, mind you.

        I also recall the Bonanza chain, probably at my grandparents place in eastern Tennessee. I thought that chain had completely vanished, but I was wrong!

      2. Arizona Slim

        I’ve been learning how to make pizza at home. Let’s say that I haven’t reached the pizzeria level yet, but I’m having a good time!

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            What is 00 flour and how does it change the dough? ALSO — do you know what kind of flour makes a bread ‘Artisan’? Neither all-purpose nor best-for-bread flour works.

            1. mrsyk

              It has Zest Appeal! Seriously though, I believe it is slightly lower in gluten and has a slightly finer grind. Makes for a nice chewy crust. If you can’t get 00, try mixing semolina with the all-purpose flour, roughly 1/3 semolina, for similar results.

            2. Kaligula

              Made lots of artisan-grade bread. The secret is in letting the dough rise. Twice is better. It takes time. Let the yeast do its work.

              The gluten chains build nicely while the yeast critters happily munch on sugars from the well… added sigar, and the flour, maling bubbles of CO2 (aka “farting”) (also: aka “fermenting”)…

              The gas bubbles and makes nice big holes which stabilize during baking by the gluten strings… Voilà! ARTISAN BREAD! …

        1. Screwball

          I love home made pizza, but I have given up on it. I cannot find good pepperoni. There is a company in Chicago called Deli Direct who had the best pepperoni I ever had. You bought it by the stick, which was about a foot and a half long and cut it yourself. A couple of years ago I ordered some and it had changed. It was so bad I threw it away. Bummer.

          So that left what they had in the supermarket. Bags of pepperoni on the shelf. What? On the shelf, not refrigerated. Even the sticks I ordered shipped in a box with dry ice to keep it cold. Now we have it bags on a shelf.

          Sorry, I’m not eating that crap. Another of life’s simple pleasures lost.

            1. foghorn longhorn

              Might check out the deli counter at your local grocer.
              They will slice it to your specifications and it is a 100x better than the pre-packaged stuff.

        2. Mildred Montana

          As someone who has made pizza at home many times, I don’t think it’s possible to reach pizzeria-level at home unless one has an 1100 degree oven. Something about that high heat and fast cooking.

          Also, I have come to the conclusion that the two most important ingredients are the sauce (gotta be “tomato-y”) and the mozzarella (gotta be melty and goopy). After that, anything goes, but experiment with those two until you find something you like.

          INVIOLABLE PIZZA RULE: Never, ever, buy that abomination called frozen pizza. The picture on the box showing a generous sprinkling of toppings is deceptive and the sparsely-topped pizza therein has the texture and taste of cardboard. A waste of money. Fresh, ready-made store pizzas are much better.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            one of the projects i haven’t gotten around to is a big rock pizza/bread oven out at the Wilderness Bar…woodfired, of course.
            i’ve collected myriad rocks over the years for this, but they end up doing something else.
            now that i’m almost done with the last 2 years of infrastructure, maybe this year.
            i filled in for a time at “the Brick Oven”, there on Red River in Austin, and that giant oven was an inspiration.

            i think about this when it’s cold, and i’m at the bar, looking at the 60 acre field of winter wheat my neighbor grows as forage for his cattle.
            added benefit…such ovens are heat sinks, and stay warm for a long time after the fire has ended, and the bar is in a sort of pocket garden, sheltered from the north wind.
            if i add a rock wall on the west fence, along with a big oven, i could really have a nice microclimate for winter veggies.
            so long as i make pizza and bread all winter.
            right now, the cowboy pool at the bar serves this purpose, and kept my lime trees and figs alive even through last years ice age.

          2. Wukchumni

            At the risk of falling many pegs among assorted tongue hardened types that frequent this establishment, i’ll offer that Digiornos deep dish pan pizza is pretty damned good for frozen.

          3. howseth

            Frozen pizza’s – many brands – was a staple of my diet for 2/3 of my life (along with the NY – and later – Chicago, pizza joints).
            I stopped buying frozen pizzas 20+ years ago them. Bought an extra thick clay-type pizza ‘stone’ for the oven (Zabars had those in 1998). then made my own dough – or bought extra thin sprouted wheat tortilla shells. Made my own sauce and grated my own cheese. These were all very good pizzas. Stopped going to pizza joints – (though out here in California not as good as back east.)
            Nowadays – don’t eat pizza – sadly – for medical reasons.

          4. Diogenes

            I’m a big convert to pizza on a gas grill. (On a stone, natch.)

            It may not be quite up to pizzaria oven level temperatures, but definitely hotter than the hottest most residential ovens can get.

            I haven’t noticed a huge difference with OO flour — sometimes I use it, sometimes not — but using about 1/3 semolina and including enough sugar (not enough to make the dough noticeably sweet) and some extra olive oil help the crust brown and get a little char.

        3. mrsyk

          if I may, a couple of pro tips on making dough. Make your dough a day ahead. Cover with saran (I use a plastic bag),and proof it once that day (proof=rising until double in size) then “punch down” and rest it covered in the fridge or cold room overnight. The technique for punching down the dough is to fold the outer edges under until the dough is in its original size. Don’t over-handle. Pull dough in the morning, proof again, once doubled in size it’s ready to go. If it’s ready too early proof yet again. Ultimately, you want to work with a risen dough when you’re shaping the crust.
          I bake my pizza in a pre heated #12 cast iron pan sprinkled with coarse ground cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking, baking at 450, bottom shelf, with excellent results. I often use 1/3 semolina flour to get an extra chewy crust.

          1. scott s.

            Yes, making dough the day before works well. I use a pizza steel in 500 degree electric oven on convection roast. 7-8 min.

    2. Wukchumni

      I feel fairly certain i’ve taken my last cruise, of around 10 in total since the late 1970’s.

      It was my parents way of forcing us to be together with the enticement of them paying, usually with relatives. I’d never willingly pay to go on a cruise though, so not my speed.

      In the back of beyond I never expect to come upon an ‘auction’ of genuine lithographs by Thomas Kinkade or buffets that often have cheap foodstuffs first such as white rice that they hope the able bodied seamen and seawomen gorge on, or in general what if a mall could move around with you on the trail. Now, that’d be creepy.

      The first cruises I endured were kind of classy, well 1 night at least where you had to play dress-up, and everybody ate the same thing which was pretty decent and included in your ticket price, and on my last cruise, they had nicer restaurants on board, but it’d be $35-50 more if you didn’t want to have to hit the Golden Corral (about the same quality) that the proles ate from.

      Cruise ships used to be hardly noticeable once you got into port, but they learned there was money to be made, so probably the nicest cruise going through Alaska that stopped in little towns, the cruise lines had kitschy stores aimed right at the landlubbers as they got off the ship and into town. In Juneau the town soup kitchen was sandwiched between a couple of high pressure cruise ship jewelry stores, what a contradiction!

      Cruises are a great way to see almost nothing in no time flat in somebody else’s country though, i’ll give them that.

  3. Dave

    I found particularly important the last paragraphs of Feldman’s piece, where he points out the lack of left organization to pressure Biden on COVID. We all saw what was happening. But that understanding did not translate into organized action focused specifically on COVID mitigation.

    1. MP

      If we think about social/historical development, covid hit at the “wrong moment,” just as maybe Bernie did. There is definitely a clarifying critique of the right-wing (which includes centrist Dems) that has solidified since Occupy, but there are no unions! Until labor rebuilds, there basically cannot be any organized response to the state. There’s hope with Starbucks and others starting this process, but covid will have ravaged us by then, not to mention the capitalists’ accumulated power by that point as well.

    2. DanB

      Good point about the left and Covid; and then it raises the question of who composes the left? Jimmy Dore? TYT? and so forth. Also, Feldman did not mention China’s successful Covid strategy.

    3. tegnost

      Do you have a working example of a left organization, and also an exaample of how said left organization had any impact on the policies of biden, schumer, and pelosi?
      Do tell!

      1. Mantid

        Yes, that old saying comes to mind “The Left has left the building”. Some people say Elvis, but that’s not right, Elvis Lives!

  4. The Rev Kev

    “New Law Will Install Kill Switches In All New Cars”

    Is this wise? The possible abuses could be – spectacular. So earlier you had the Interstate 95 in Virginia being turned into one, very long car park due to heavy falls of snow. So imagine that some other time this highway was packed with people going to work or perhaps having people return home from holidays. Just when it is pretty crowded, you had hackers fly a drone along that highway triggering off the kill switches with a continuous signal for those new cars. Game, set and match. Not only would those cars be dead but all the older cars would be caught up in this massive traffic jam as well. The people along that highway might have to be evacuated until the highway can be cleared. How would you even cope with such a massive amount of cars and stranded people?

    1. Hacker

      Everything you the major security and cryptography experts have said about how backdooring encryption is not safe also applies here, except as Kev wisely points out, the consequences are actually way more dire. I also don’t expect this to come cheap.

      We can only hope there is enough early abuse of the feature to get the legislature to walk it back.

      1. grayslady

        I also don’t expect this to come cheap.

        We can only hope there is enough early abuse of the feature to get the legislature to walk it back.

        Not sure how expensive a remote control is, but in one of my first new cars the dealer offered, and I accepted, a simple toggle switch under the dash near the driver’s side that would prevent the engine from being started by any potential thief after I parked the car. I liked it and used it all the time–but it was my decision to flip the switch, not someone else’s decision.

        Some of us are old enough to remember when Congress passed a law requiring all new cars to be made with a provision that the car couldn’t be started unless the seat belt was fastened. That one lasted about a year, as I recall, because the congresscritters were some of the worst violators of not wearing seatbelts; they were furious when they couldn’t start their cars. Give it time.

    2. OwenFinn

      There’s already too many cars and too much of life wasted in traffic.

      Build a better railroad system and do much more to dissuade driving.

      1. John Beech

        OwenFinn, respectfully, you should get out more.

        Why? I live in the vicinity of Orlando and at great expense we’ve built a intercity railway operation called SunRail. Not only does it get little use but it basically goes nowhere. To the airport? Nope. To the attractions like Disney World and Universal? Nope, again. Turns out it was a vanity project all along.

        But even if it went somewhere useful, parking at the stations would be whole inadequate. Add to this, I live 6 miles from the nearest terminal. So how would I get there. Walk? And this is within the greater Orlando metroplex, what happens when you cross the river to the thriving metropolis of DeBary, basically a bedroom community? You add another 10 miles of commuting to reach the same station I’d use.

        So build more stations (and parking). Build enough, 10X more, 20X, whatever. Only now you have a clusterfoot that stops every three miles, ties up traffic horribly for the surface roads (RR-crossings) and ‘still’ goes nowhere. OK, let’s make it go to the attractions and the airport. What does the community of DeLand do (the next one up the road a few miles)? Build more stations, and more parking? OK, let’s do that. But wait, there’s only one train line. We’ll need more. Build them where? OK, use eminent domain and take them from owners (with recompense).

        Now let’s complicate things further. Build rail roads to Butte, Montana from FL. How many people want to go to Butte? Enough to justify a rail road?

        Cars and aircraft came about to conquer the vastness of America for a reason. This isn’t Europe. Even the Chinese with enormous spending programs and national pride on the line have a paltry number of miles (kilometers) built to serve their masses. Anyway, bottom line, it sounds nice to hope for a world with fewer cars, but reality is rather different. And all it takes to realize this is to fly around. This world is big, our share of it is immense. Railroads are not the solution.

        1. GruffyGuy

          Extensive public transit systems will be required to properly address the threat of climate change. A cursory search on the internet for “Chinese rail system” shows thousands of miles of high speed passenger rail and counting in China, so I’m not sure why you’re writing off rail as a non-starter.

          1. Michael Ismoe

            Because there is no central downtown to go to anymore? Take the train and then take an Uber? What about when it rains? There is virtually zero reason to build these money losers.

          2. flora

            Public transport history in the US is a series of business interests lobbying and/or paying for this transport to move goods and customers to the benefit of business operations. Generalization, but holds up, imo. China’s high speed rail system is part of its belt-and-road transport design.

            In the US in the early 20th C a lot of urban public transport was pushed for by real estate developers who wanted it expanded into their planned suburban housing tracts to increase the value of the properties, for example.

            This is a long way of saying that businesses are the big movers behind the scenes in public transportation, generally pushed to increase business income. Except for the businesses engages in environmental work, I don’t see most businesses as interested in any expense that doesn’t show a potential for direct future profits. my 2 cents.

        2. John

          I would not really describe this as paltry.

          And in an age of climate chaos, they understand that a mixed and varied transportation system with redundancy and overlap will be a key to stability.
          On the other hand, we have outsourced all planning to predator corporations only interested in the next quarter’s profit and our transportation system is actually quite fragile.

        3. Big River Bandido

          Supply chain collapse in computer chips has already exposed the personal auto/highway/urban sprawl concept to be economically unsustainable. And that doesn’t even factor in how peak oil will complicate things. Then there are the issues of how a population that is being widely impoverished is supposed to be able to continue to afford the (inflating) cost of purchase, gas, maintenance, fees, and taxes. Then, too, we are going to see the continuing decay and intermittent flooding of roads and bridges that all these cars will have to drive on. A declining state will stop putting money into the upkeep of the system (this has already been happening for 40+ years), hastening its demise.

          No city like Orlando (or any of the modern cities built around the suburban home, auto and highway concept) will be able to function without a healthy state to maintain and run it. Indeed, most American cities are simply screwed in this regard.

        4. tegnost

          SunRail doesn’t go to the airport because real estate developers and very likely uber et. al. didn’t want it to go to the airport. We’re not a capitalist country, we socialize wall streets losses, we don’t build anything that may cause a wall st loss, and we don’t measure anything that may cause a wall st. loss.

        5. Amfortas the hippie

          John…every “light rail” system i’ve seen in Texas(houston, austin, dallas) is almost purposefully built to be nonfunctional..i allege, on purpose, to kill the very idea that it could work.
          doesn’t mean it can’t work, nor that we shouldn’t try…but big oil big car and big tire(and big highway, etc) don’t want a viable alternative proof of concept…so bad planning begets mass aversion to even the idea of public transit.
          not enough americans go to eurasia to know otherwise.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Arlington TX refused to participate in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, on the grounds that it would give ‘the undesirables’ access to their fair burgh.
            But it seems the real reason is it would cut into the enormous profits from all the paid parking at the different venues.

            Used to be able to park and take a DART bus right to the front of the now razed Texas Stadium, very convenient.
            Jerrah Jones bought them and the buses now dropped you off two miles from the stadium, thanks a-hole.

        6. juliania

          Buses or trams can interface with railroads to get you close to home. Albuquerque just started a year long free bus project. I hope it is successful. Back in my youthful NZ days, bus-train-bus was the way to go. And the Railrunner between Albuquerque and Santa Fe was Bill Richardson’s best project as Governor. Speed not essential, just enjoy the ride!

          [Plus, the Railrunner goes partway right down the middle of the highway – lots of roads already can use that option by taking out unneeded car lanes – win/win!]

    3. jr

      Here is another scenario: dozens and dozens of smart cars are hacked and driven to the interstate highways gas stations where the kill switch is thrown, clogging the access lanes to fuel for everyone else. Traffic jams form both at the stations and on the access ramps leading to alternative sources. Smaller gas stations are overwhelmed with customers.

      Or perhaps the local hospitals access roads/streets are clogged with “bricked” cars. Then there was the great robo-taxi “bricking” of Manhattan in 2035…

    4. clarky90

      Re; “Interstate 95 in Virginia being turned into one, very long car park due to heavy falls of snow.”

      If everybody in that traffic jam had been driving EVs……. it would have taken weeks to remove the vehicles. The EV’s passenger heaters stop working very quickly. Cold people…….

    5. juno mas

      If these kill switches are intended to avoid massive car pile-ups, then why not just set off a warning sound and on-screen text of the imminent danger to the driver? (Power steering and ABS need an operating engine to function.)

  5. paul

    Your Man in Saughton Jail Part 1 : Great piece.
    To think the SNP leadership actively conspired to condemn Alex Salmond to such an institution for the rest of his life.

  6. flora

    Thanks for the Taibbi link. Judge Rakoff is one standup guy.

    re: Paul Krugman – alumnus ,along with Thomas Friedman, of the WEF’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow program, class of 1995.

    Also, Larry Summers – class of 1993.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. / ;)

    1. Fred

      Yes, Judge Rakoff is a standup guy. His rejection of the SEC-Citigroup settlement in 2011 was consistent with a position he took back in 1997, when as a United States District Court Judge, he refused to sign a landfill remediation settlement in upstate New York. The Town of Wallkill and the State of New York wanted to settle with a group of more than a dozen heavyweight industrial polluters who were going to pay a combined penalty that was less than the cost of the landfill cleanup. On top of that, the plaintiffs had agreed never to reopen the case even if more pollutants were eventually discovered. Just like he later did with the Citigroup case, Judge Rakoff realized the vultures were being rewarded, and the public was not being served, so he refused to put the court’s stamp on the agreement. We need more judges like him.

    2. griffen

      I read as much of the excerpted article made available to all. When I saw Citigroup as the subject and defendant from the 2011 court case, that summed it really well. I despise how that organization was initially merged and approved (see Clinton admin, Treasury secretary) and how the dismantling of a 60 to 70 year wall to separate investment banks and commercial banking was completed.

      Need more like a Judge Ned Rakoff, and many many less of an Eric Holder or Mary Jo White. I realize there’s a distinction. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then Ned Rakoff has shined a light in the dark corners of commerce and investment shenanigans.

  7. Brent

    Re: STAT article

    This is indicative of my family’s recent COVID experience. Daughter came down with a 102 fever on 12/24 and did not test positive on a Binax Now test until 12/25. My wife and I started having cold like symptoms on 12/27 but did not test positive until 12/29. Fortunately we are all recovering well. Still testing positive as of yesterday (day 8), which makes the 5 day, asymptomatic, go back to work messaging problematic.

    1. Tom Doak

      When I had COVID, I was told I could test positive for as long as 2-3 months afterward, which is why the U.S. [but few other countries] have a loophole for citizens returning to the country . . . if you’ve recovered from COVID in the past three months, you don’t need a PCR test to come back, you’re considered safe :-p

      The self-test kits would help, but they depend on being properly administered. I wonder how many of the false negatives are really about the testing materials, vs. the way people use them? They just seem designed to miss more cases, plus there are a lot of people taking them who are hoping to test negative, and, YAY, I tested negative!

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Could Being Cold Actually Be Good for You?”

    It may no be so much as the cold being of benefit as having to experience a variety of temperatures. As an example, one piece of advice that I have come across is that when you have a hot shower, to finish it off by switching to cold water for a while which seems to have all sorts of health benefits-

    1. griffen

      Pretty interesting read. I’d say that I’m jealous of the small rodents in the study, but then I also do not fear that a large hawk’s talons one day grab me to become lunch.

    2. Patrick Donnelly

      Blood clots faster in cold weather and on aircraft, which allow in outside air. Swimming also can kill.
      Cramps are actually clots.
      The other causes are not relevant to this issue. Stay warm after.

  9. ScoFri

    “BREAKING: Italy bans unvaccinated people over the age of 50 from going to work, starting Feb. 15”

    Being unemployed is pretty bad for your health. There is a low risk of a poor outcome with COVID even unvaccinated, but a 100% certainty being unemployed will screw up their lives.

    1. lordkoos

      The insanity of this kind of thing is staggering. Everyone is capable of spreading COVID whether vaccinated or not. WTF indeed.

      1. Randal

        Vaccine mandates are Democrats “ideas” to increase uptake. Even though we already have evidence that high vaccine uptake does nothing to stop spread when the next variant invariably comes along, bc these are not sterilizing. Many of us would just rather not get on that treadmill. Vaccine mandating Democrats are dead to me. How about studying inexpensive treatment, or approving an attenuated virus vaccine ?

  10. Jason Boxman

    Also retire “super”. Ugh. Someone needs to find another adjective in our admittedly limited English language to abuse.

    1. Huey Long

      Let’s add “perfect” to the list. Wayyyyyy over used, just like back when every damned thing was the “best thing ever” about a decade or so ago.

      1. jr

        I don’t think any word has been more abused than “passionate” or “passion”. “Inspired” is another one. It’s all advertising/marketing imprinting.

      1. Huey Long

        “Leverage” too. These damned MBA types like to leverage everything under the sun to achieve “Synergy” for “Stakeholders”

        Gah! Corporate gobbley gook is depressing

      2. griffen

        One could have a real field day with all the shortened acronyms and business speak In a period from 1999 – 2021 more or less, I think it is only worsened.

        I started working in MBS (mortgage back securities) and would track LIBOR (well known short term rate index) and then much later working in a consumer finance company. There was BAU (business as usual) and AUP (agreed upon procedure). SOP (standard operation procedure).

        KMN. (kill me now)

      1. Appleseed

        Was in a workshop where a young person used “solution” as a verb. I was the only one who reacted with incredulity. I nominate that term for deletion before it spreads.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I vote for Awesome. Everything is Awesome! Now I want to get a copy of the DVD for the Lego’s movie!

  11. The Rev Kev

    “In a tense corner of Europe, SEALs and Green Berets are helping a close ally up its skills with old US gear”

    There may be a reason for this. After the US, the largest contributor of military forces for NATO was Turkey. But these days, Turkey is going off the reservation and doing their own projects in places like Syria and Libya. So perhaps Washington has looked over the field and decided that it might be a good idea to boost Greece as a sort of anchor point in the Mediterranean instead. Certainly with Turkey constantly probing their borders the Greeks are not going to refuse this offer. And Washington may be sending Turkey a message of not pushing Greece into a corner as after reading this article, I think that these armaments are to protect Greece against Turkey.

  12. Gumnut

    Denmark Sitrep:

    – as omikron is now >90% of cases, this report is stated to be the last one of its sort, will try to find the general for the comparable numbers going forward.

    – Fig1: whereas mid-Dec the cases were fairly even for 6-65yolds, now the wave markedly up in working age (18-65yo) cohorts

    – Table 4: trend of the last 4 weeks totally unchanged: 91% of omikron cases are vaccinated – at a 82% vaccination rate = remain overrepresented.

    Showing table to die-hard vax-supporter friends has gotten frequent reply ‘see, the boosters work’. with something over half the 82% boosted (i.e. something >40% population over 12), and with only 8% of omikron cases 3x jabbed/boosted, a fair comment. Leaving aside the booster / omikron age skew (omikron skewing younger than 65, boosters skewing older than 65) and ignoring the relative underrepresentation of unvaxxed, then this line of mathematical reasoning brings up a hairy follow on: only-double-vaxxed are highly over-represented -> to get to a similar omikron infection risk as an unvaxxed person, a double-vaxxed needs a booster. I’ll refrain from addiction/dependence allusions. Happy to hear faults in the math-reasoning.

    – Hospitalisations are no longer in the report, but looking at dashboard (top right) :
    they are up from the tweet (756 in hospital, 82 on ICU), but given that in the previous report (2 days ago) less than 5 omikron cases were on ICU, one must deduce that most of those 82 the majority is remaining delta.

    1. salty dawg

      Firstly, thanks for posting this summary and the link to the report.

      I agree with your math reasoning.

      >Showing table to die-hard vax-supporter friends has gotten frequent reply ‘see, the boosters work’

      I notice that this Jan 5 report says (Page 2):
      As of 3rd of January 2022, data on vaccination status is changed and the groups
      “Completed primary schedule” and “Revaccinated” only includes people with expected full effect defined as 14 days after vaccination.

      So they are now using the covid-standard (is “scamdard” a word?) method of recording cases by vax status that makes injections look better. Cases that occur 0-13 days after the first injection are now counted as occurring in the Not Vaccinated. This makes Not Vaccinated show more cases and Vaccinated show less cases.

      Taking a Booster (Revaccination) and getting covid within 0-13 days now results in that case being counted as Completed Primary Vaccination Schedule, making Boosted (Revaccination) look better and Completed Primary Vaccination Schedule look worse.

      Comparing the 41,342 Omicron cases from Dec 31 report to the 52,895 Omicron cases on the Jan 5 report you link to above:
      Not vaccinated %cases: 8.5 / 9.1
      Received 1st Dose %cases: 1.8 / 2.4
      Completed Primary Vaccination Schedule %cases: 72 / 81
      Revaccinated %cases: 17.7 / 7.4

      Not huge differences in %cases, but the boosters (Revaccinated) now look better and Completed Primary Vaccination Schedule now looks worse. And, we now see the boosted (Revaccinated) as having less %cases (7.4% vs 9.1%) than the Not Vaccinated.

      So maybe your vax-supporter friends are correct, ‘the boosters work’…you just need to count the data in ways that show that :)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I hate to tell you, but that 14 day period is how the drug companies ran their tests. All the data on efficacy was based on 14 days after the second shot. So there is an argument to be made that the original reporting was incorrect. Accordingly I made sure to get vaccinated >14 days before my surgery last year.

        However, the authorities are not stressing that the boosters need 14 days to have full effect.

  13. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Krugman article

    I see the WH is going with the don’t believe your lying eyes line.

    1. Tom Stone

      Brilliant research!
      Although I do wonder if these researchers have ever encountered the term “Horse Laugh”.

  14. Jason Boxman

    On “The C.D.C. Is Hoping You’ll Figure Covid Out on Your Own”:

    What if people stop washing their hands because masks made them feel more confident? Top officials at the World Health Organization asked me that in the spring of 2020. A September 2020 article about rapid tests in Nature noted that people like the virologist Marion Koopmans worried that if these tests became more widely available, people would just use them and say, “It’s negative, so I’m clear.”

    At this point, one can only conclude that arguments like these are made in bad faith by the Establishment, because the alternative they offer is to let it ride (and non-sterilizing vaccinations in perpetuity). How is this superior than endorsing rapid testing or N95 masks for everyone? And improved ventilation? Putting more of us at risk to save us is a brilliant plan! (And it does put us at risk collectively, because new variants will emerge and long-COVID appears to be quite nasty and not uncommon, to say nothing of breaking health care systems.)

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The article about breaching 1.5 degrees Centigrade fits into the “noble lie” category. It’s truthful when admitting that that goal is almost assuredly in the rear view mirror. We had to cut carbon emissions 7.6% per year beginning in 2020 to have a 50% chance of staying under. Covid helped us that first year. Since: to the moon!

      So these very distinguished authors, worried that too much truth will bring on listless despair, try to calm us with the assurance that nobody knows for sure why that number was chosen and nobody can prove just how bad things will get if we breach it. The problem is that there are signs of tipping points being reached all over the place with the melting of the polar cap in the summer, vast forest fires in the boreal and relentless ocean warming. These very esteemed scientists don’t know what any of those things might bring, but the precautionary principle has become heretical in our era of Mammon.

      I think the guiding light leading these authors was the determination not to spook The Markets.

      1. Milton

        Unfortunately, when you see the CO2 graph resembling the current Covid spike and knowing that unlike the Covid spike, CO2 levels will not immediately drop–but rather, continue climbing until well into the next megaannum… well, despair is the least of our worries. 1.5 C is such a joke as were crossing that by 2030 and 2 C in another 5-10 years after.

    1. Roland

      Sounds a bit like Syria in 2011: gov’t started to remove subsidies for fuel and food staples.

      For all the Bashar hate in the West, it was ironic to remember that he had been trying pretty hard to do the Washington Consensus.

  15. Lee

    “Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy New York Times (David L)”

    While I didn’t and won’t read the article because I don’t want to give the NYT one thin dime, I will comment on the headline. I object to the term “our democracy” on the same grounds that I object to the term “the economy”, as if we as average citizens have anything approaching a shared relationship with bleating, pearl clutching elites as regards either political power or wealth.

    1. MP

      Carter complaining about democracy is like Margret Thatcher coming back from the dead to complain about where society has gone. Look in the mirror, Jimmy, and you’ll see Volcker.

      1. lance ringquist

        don’t forget alfred kahn, i called him the great con. who’s deregulation of trucking and the airlines destroyed 100,000 of thousands, perhaps a million or more high paying union jobs directly and indirectly.

        he did some other outrages also.

        the carnage continues still to this day.

    2. ChiGal

      There has been a lot of civil war mongering in the MSM lately—I was sent several of the articles in links by my ex who is totally freaked by Trump. In an effort to find something to send him debunking the hysteria and highlighting its divide and conquer roots, I really couldn’t find anything, and further discovered that the civil war talk pretty much originated with Fox et al and has now taken off like wildfire.
      Where are the voices of reason??

  16. The Rev Kev

    “A year in, how has Biden done on pandemic response?”

    This is a pretty damning indictment of the Biden admin. He is going to end up in the history books as another Calvin Coolidge who once declared that “The business of America is business” – before steering America into the Great Depression. As a standard White House method, if a public health measure collided with commerce, then it would be dumped. In fact, it is not too far a stretch to say that the pandemic was being dealt with going by what would meet with the approval of Wall Street. And to have as his top pandemic policy advisor a guy with a background in private equity & management consulting instead of medicine said it all. But how can he go ahead with trying to do the pandemic on the cheap while ignoring the pleas for help? The answer is near the end of this article where it says that the White House is only listening to a ‘select group of media pundits, public health scientists, and economists’ which is basically the professional managerial class and their allies. And if there is one thing that has been established over the past few years, the professional managerial class couldn’t organize a p***-up in a brewery. Competence is not a valued attribute there and by listening to them, Biden is steering the country into some serious rocks and shoals.

    Note. There are now only 305 days until the 2022 midterms.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Instead of the “next FDR,” Brandon is starting to look a lot like the new James Buchanan. Weak, empty and waiting for the calendar to change so he can go back to Wilmington.

    2. curlydan

      Here are a few more choice quotes from that excellent article:
      “framing vaccination as a way to opt out of the pandemic, and understanding the unvaccinated to be political enemies, has helped absolve the administration of its responsibilities.”
      “The entire pandemic response hinged on vaccination as a silver bullet.”
      “Biden’s biggest failure on pandemic response has been inaction on sharing the vaccine recipes or initiating technology transfer so they can be manufactured globally. This failure has cost millions of lives so far, and has increased the risk of new variants appearing.”
      “In many countries, antigen tests are abundant and very affordable, if not free. In the US, they often cost about $24 for a pack of 2 and are in short supply.”
      “The administration also failed, until recently, to order these tests in large numbers, subsidize their manufacture, or invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure a ready supply of precursor materials.”
      “While other countries have promoted, provided, or required high-filtration masks for the general public, the US has not (although, if you want to meet with Biden or Harris, you’ll have to wear an N95).”

      1. Pelham

        You’d think it would concentrate a US president’s mind as he contemplates the likelihood in a pandemic that hundreds of thousands of his countrymen’s deaths will be attributed to him personally if he doesn’t take reasonable measures to stem the carnage. Even with all the commercial and donor pressure to do the minimum (let ‘er rip), the reputational cost of death on a national scale should suffice to spur enough action to at least appear to get ahead of the curve.

        I’m sometimes inclined to say I’m puzzled by morally repugnant situations when I’m really disgusted or ticked off. But in this case I am genuinely puzzled — as well as disgusted and ticked off. Does Biden really not care that he’ll eventually shuffle off this mortal coil known as something just a hair short of mass murderer?

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          The Biden admin has made Covid all about individual responsibility. He’s all but said “we gave you the vaccine, it’s not my fault you don’t take it.” I would wager it doesn’t cross his (or anyone around him) mind that they have any responsibility in helping. I think he really believes he has done all he needs to do and that’s that. If people die, it’s their fault.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Do you imagine Biden cares what the Populace thinks about him? He is a hero to those who matter. In face of a modern plague he has protected and amplified Wealth held by those who matter, Corporations and the Wealthy. I doubt they regard Biden as a murderous pariah. Biden has changed nothing to skew the aggregation of Wealth by Corporations and the Wealthy, those who matter. The Populace might think he is “just a hair short of mass murderer” but what the Populace thinks does not matter. At least he is not Trump and no one else of merit will be allowed to challenge him for election, unless by reason of whimsy or of his age, he losses the favor of those who matter — not us. So far he has delivered. A do-nothing contrary Congress only makes it easier to change nothing — except what matters to those who matter.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      b has been really really wrong on China. Insisted HK protests were a color revolution.

      He is great on the Middle East but elsewhere….not so much.

  17. Tom Stone

    Rev, have you ever spent time in “Officer’s Country” amongst the best and the brightest who focus on the big picture?
    The right people are making $ like never before,literally.
    The ones who are getting sick and dying are the useless elderly without much money, and especially the wet…and Ni…err, minorities.
    And rednecks.
    What’s not to like?
    Set aside the endless excuses and look at how consistent the outcomes have been, if this were due to mere incompetence there would occasionally be a policy enacted that benefitted the majority of citizens.

    I’m OLD and remember not only when America had the best politicians money could buy, I can even recall when “providing for the general welfare” was considered a part of the Government’s job.

  18. Carolinian

    Re dog leads to injured owner

    The driver of the vehicle has been charged by Vermont State Police with driving under the influence

    The dummy might have hurt the dog.

    1. amechania

      Dog + police = copaganda

      The state doesn’t need our help to spread the word.

      *covid edit* the kid I raise is out for a whopping 2 days after the whole special needs class was exposed. No remote learning offered.

      1. amechania

        “For example, in one study, people were faced with a dilemma in which they could either save a human being or their pet dog, but not both, from being hit and killed by a bus. Under some circumstances, more than one-third of people surveyed chose to save their dog, leaving the human to his cruel fate. What psychologists (and philosophers who study morality) want to know is why people would make such a choice and under what circumstances.”

        “But there are concerns about the falling birth rate in developed countries. According to the US Census Bureau the proportion of households made up of married couples with children fell from 40% in 1970 to 20% in 2012. But seven in 10 households included a pet.”

        1. Carolinian

          Wasn’t suggesting the human should have been left to his fate although perhaps dogicide should be added to the drunk driving charges.

        2. IMOR

          Always hapoy to help the scientific community:
          Because 98% of animals are better than 90% of humans? Because that whole ‘Man’s dominion over the animal kingdom’ turned out to be completely bogus from the go and harmful to the bone?

          1. amechania

            No negative vibes meant, just sharing my hang-up on the whole doggie life thing, especially as portrayed in ‘the media.’

            Advertising lunatics do know that you can get an emotional response from animals that just doesn’t always *pop* in the same way when we hear about human suffering. Human suffering is somehow easier to rationalize in our ‘advanced’ societies. For example, the ASPCA charities are still thriving while the cup of coffee a day for hunger people… I can’t even remember their name.

            Check youtube, and cats and dogs are cute, while humans get fail videos. Just warning on a mental short circuit we seem to collectively have that is being used against us.

  19. Darius

    Regarding the driving goldfish: keeping goldfish properly is a lot of work. I had two five-inch goldfish (including tails) in a 40-gallon tank. I was trying to figure out where to put a 100-gallon tank when my wife proclaimed I could be married to her or the fish.

    One in particular used to, as best he could, follow me around the room. He was always staring at me or clowning for me. I was the one who fed them and cared for them. He completely ignored every other person. Perhaps my wife was jealous. It is another refutation of the common belief that goldfish have no memory. Communal beasts, they are actually quite intelligent and interesting.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, this makes me feel so much better! When I was in third grade, I had turtles and goldfish. They died on me and I felt terrible. That is why I like cats. They have great operating systems. They tell their humans clearly and loudly if their needs are not being met.

  20. Wukchumni

    Took a drive up along the eastern Sierra Nevada range on Hwy 395 last week just after the storm had abated and it was one of the most delightful sights from behind the wheel i’ve ever taken, as the snow had come down quite low and it greatly resembled being in the South Island of NZ, with low altitude no-name peaks all awash in white, giving it the appearance if only fleeting-of glaciers so common down under, spectacular!

    By the time a week had passed, much of the lower stuff was back to being snowless, and yet the higher climes were still loaded, heck if it was a human, you might call him or her, bloated.

    While not a drought buster, it’s a heck of an improvement over our dire dryness, and we still have 3 more months of winter to go.

    Cali was about to come down hard on those wasting the precious, and I heard a rumor that expectant women whose water broke-but wasn’t recycled, were looking at 9 months of hard labor, although the vast majority will be let off for time served.

    1. Wukchumni


      Driving up the backside of Lake Tahoe from Carson City, about a third of the way up through the forested surroundings there were signs telling of a prescribed burn-please don’t report it, and there it was amidst the 1-2 feet of snow, smoking away. They had covered the burn piles they’d assembled before the snow hit and chances of the fire getting away from them were slim and none.

      I’d like to see much more of this happening, but the will to do so is lacking around my parts.

    2. lordkoos

      We have about 3 feet total of snow today, last night snowed hard on top of what had accumulated during the week. We don’t need to go anywhere, have a freezer packed with food… all WA mountain passes are closed. Love the quiet.

  21. Nikkikat

    Had the same experience with two little goldfish that I won at the fair in a carnival game. They knew me. They would do the same thing follow me around the room. One of them would literally jump out of the water like a porpoise! They grew huge. Ran through 3 different tanks. Found someone with a fish pond. They are still going strong 1year later. Happy hanging out with some koi fish.

  22. Ghost in the Machine

    Covid hospitalizations among US children soar as schools under pressure Guardian

    “As a country and society, we shouldn’t allow even one death that could be prevented.”

    I dislike statements like this. It is a nice sentiment but naive. We could get rid of all car deaths by getting rid of cars. What about the few deaths caused by adverse vaccine reactions. There are some trade offs that involve deaths on both sides. What is a preventable death?

    Regarding the rapid antigen tests I can unfortunately attest to the limitations cited above. Our Christmas ended up being a super spreader event. We tested with home kits as soon as someone fell ill and tested positive. A couple of days later many of us tested at a clinic again with both antigen and pcr. 50% of adults who had both tests (4/8) tested negative with rapid antigen (home and clinic) and then positive on pcr. Sickest people were vaccinated but not boosted. 2 of 10 adults never tested positive and had boosters within two months of the event. 2 others were asymptomatic, also boosted. Everyone seems ok now. Long term, we will see.

    There were a number of children as well. None tested positive, but they sat at a different table during the big meals.

    We had been very careful, but we let our guard down for Christmas Day.

    1. flora

      Two years on and still no early outpatient treatments that are officially approved, afaik. Monoclonal antibody treatments which work for Delta – which is still circulating and putting people in hospital – have become harder and harder to source. Hospitals are still firing staff, at a time they’re very shorthanded and in the midst of a winter surge. How does this make sense?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      What I find objectionable is the very consistent way our society values profit over human life. Your example of auto accidents has a long and sad history of being connected with profitable short-cutting of auto or civil engineering requirements.

      Minimizing loss of human life strikes me as a pretty defensible goal. Pursuing profit even if it entails a consistent loss of life does not. Ahead of us probably lie questions of whether we value human life more than maintaining our accustomed lifestyle. Given the way we WEIRDos have been raised, that will be a tough one for a lot of people.

    3. MP

      I never really like the car comparison because a lot of people, just like with covid, have not merely let car deaths wash over them as acceptable and do in fact want to replace car ownership with safer transportation. With respect to climate change it’s one of the most important tasks of the century, even putting aside how many people die from it directly.

  23. jefemt


    Coyote-like golden jackal is laying claim to Europe. Why now? Christian Science Monitor

    My minds-eye conjured Putin on a Pegasus after a week fishing shirtless in The Wilds…

  24. antidlc

    Article in the Financial Times on long covid:

    Long Covid: why do some people have symptoms months after infection?
    Researchers say more than 100m suffer ill effects for at least 12 weeks

    Long Covid is another public health crisis hidden inside the pandemic, medical experts have warned, with estimates of the patients suffering from the debilitating disease stretching to more than 100m worldwide.

    The cynic in me says the administration doesn’t care if people get long covid because there is money to be made treating it:

    (Clinical trials on long covid)

  25. Michael Ismoe

    It’s January 6th. Isn’t that a Holy Day of Obligation in the Democratic Party calendar? Should not Nancy be re-enacting her narrow escape that day in a chauffeur-driven limo to her estate in the Virginia horse country? We could use Nancy’s experience make a new version of “The Sound of Music: The Capitol Insurrection”

    Julia Roberts can play the aging Speaker as she belts out “Follow the Money” and “Dough, a stock investment, a drop of golden sun.” AOC can play Lisle von Pelosi, who does everything she’s told and then acts independent on Twitter.

    It’s the next Hamilton – I’m telling ya. It will run longer than the Dems majorities in Congress.

  26. lance ringquist

    i have no time for economists like this,

    they gloss over that today america has given up their technology, jobs, and technical know how, and have become a third world country beholden to a dictatorship.

    if you have to give up your wealth to another nation, then their are no gains from trade. they even admit under their own crank estimates, the gains are tiny anyways.
    they do not even understand or acknowledge, that the carnage of nafta billy clintons free trade is still spreading through out america.

    they still bark the same crank theories, and say we can fix this. well, was it fixed after WWI? nope, so what is taking this type so long to fix this? its because they can’t, and they know it.

    “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

  27. lance ringquist

    the author understands the problems of nafta billy clintons disastrous historic policy blunders.

    “Contrary to what was promised, globalization did not produce new and better jobs for most Americans in the high-tech “knowledge economy.”

    “Most U.S. job creation over the last three decades has been in low-wage positions with few or no benefits.”

    “Many of the architects of these colossal disasters have gone on to establish lucrative careers as respected experts. Few have suffered financial or reputational losses”

    “But the real long-term threat to American democracy is the lack of popular trust in conventional politicians whose policies have repeatedly failed.”

    its why we must name names, and expose the vermin for what they are.

    1. steve

      Do we really think their policies “failed”? I think their policies were hugely successful. They had the intended consequences they were designed for it seems to me. All this “failed” talk is just cover or stupidity.

      1. lance ringquist

        true, we have known that free trade, deregulation, privatization(which is directly tied to fascism), low taxes on the rich, and jim crow laws always fails.

        the author is right though. but he would be pummeled for saying it was on purpose.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Those pushing NAFTA got richer, and get to live to the end of their days in luxury? This makes NAFTA a roaring success.
        Talks of failure and stupidity are themselves just distractions for the fact that the goal was to make a few rich, and the rest were not even thought about. No hard feelings suckers.

  28. lance ringquist

    forgot this one, it tells it all, and the two economists who gloss over this, are either useful idiots, or shills,

    “Instead, the U.S. has become dependent on China and other countries for basic manufactured goods, including drugs and medical equipment. Most U.S. job creation over the last three decades has been in low-wage positions with few or no benefits.”

    this is a towering statement that is saying we are now a banana republic.

  29. fresno dan

    He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest, than America’s interest. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.

    So….I could make the same points about a female presidential candidate in 2016 – lets replaces male pronouns with female pronouns and see how it reads:
    She’s done so because she values power over principle, because she sees her own interest as more important than her country’s interest, than America’s interest. And because her bruised ego matters more to her than our democracy or our Constitution.
    What is truly dangerous, is that she didn’t do it alone. Both groups tried to overturn an election. Which one is the more serious is debatable – your mileage will vary…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Without evidence, based solely on suspicion and cynicism — I blame Hillary’s pull on Jill Stein for the waste of Green Party funds in the call for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania following the 2016 election. That combined with watching the Green Convention completely turned me off on the Greens.

  30. Wukchumni

    Yeah, we just thought we’d drop in!
    Where’s Pelosi’s laptop?
    Hey, where’s Pence?
    Ew, house-a-tosis!

    Who’s to blame when a party really gets out of hand?
    Who’s to blame when they get poorly planned?


    Crashers get bombed, slobs make a mess
    You know they’ll even ruin your next Inaugural address
    Crashers getttin’ bombed
    Who’s to blame?
    Can the GOP pull it back in line?
    Can they salvage it in time?
    What can you do to save a party?
    Blame Pelosi charades?
    A spur-of-the-moment scapegoat scavenger hunt
    Or remain in denial (aah, who turned out the lights?)

    Bombed, crashers gettin’ bombed
    Crashers gettin’ bombed, bombed, bombed, bombed, now,

    Who’s to blame?
    Who’s to blame when situations degenerate?
    Disgusting jail terms you’d never anticipate?


    People get picked up, they played the wrong games
    You know, it could ruin your name

    Crashers gettin’ bombed
    Who’s to blame?
    Can you pull it back in line?
    Can you salvage it in time?


    It shouldn’t be difficult!
    Try not to condemn!
    Okay, who ordered Pizzagate?
    Please be tactful when making the rounds
    Be tactful when making the jail rounds and maybe
    You can save a party gone out of bounds (party gone out of bounds)
    Party gone out of bounds (gone out of bounds)
    Party gone out of bounds
    Gone out of bounds

    B-52’s Party Out Of Bounds

      1. LawnDart

        R.e.: Ukraine or Taiwan (or USA civil war 2022), let’s keep this on speed-dial:

        We’ll lead you into victory, you hear the generals say
        Never look behind you, we’re with you all the way
        Go to bed early, conserve your energy
        Tomorrow we’ll be fighting with the enemy

        Polish your boots, clean your gun
        Killing those bastards will be a lot of fun
        Take no prisoners, kill them all
        Start to march when you hear the call

        ‘Cause Biden needs you, Biden needs you
        Biden needs you to die for him
        Biden needs you, Biden needs you
        Biden needs you to die for him, for him

        Marching into victory, marching in the mud
        Fighting for freedom, fighting in the blood
        There’s dead bodies all around, you’re told to carry on
        Death is not right, war cannot be won

        Biden needs you, Biden needs you
        Biden needs you to die for him
        Biden needs you, Biden needs you
        Biden needs you to die for him, for him

        March along you see a flash
        Fall to the ground and make a splash
        You awake you’re lying in the bed
        Eyes are shut you think you’re dead

        Lost your arm, you’ve lost your leg
        Lost you’re job, you’ll have to beg
        You’ll get loads of sympathy, a picture in the Post
        But where were the generals when you needed them most?

        ‘Cause Biden needs you, Biden needs you
        Biden needs you to die for him
        Biden needs you, Biden needs you
        Biden needs you to die for him, for him

        Biden needs you

  31. Grebo

    The antigen testing result is troubling. The STAT article doesn’t make it clear but the paper says it was an Omicron outbreak. We already knew that Omicron symptoms come on sooner than Delta. The chart seems to show high viral loads even on day 0, what is odd is that the tests seem able to detect lower loads later on but miss high loads early.

    Clearly we need special tests for Omicron, ideally calibrated for infectiousness. The good news is that saliva is a better indicator than snot so perhaps we can dispense with the brain ticklers.

  32. jr

    re: White Backlash backlash blowback comes home to roost

    The author forgot to mention the role Critical Race Theory driven politics has played in deepening the sense of resentment and animus between ethnic groups in the US. Proposing an immutable, un-fixable concept such as “Whiteness” and solidifying people of colors role as eternal victims is by it’s stated intent divisive. This is setting aside the solipsistic errors that riddle identitarian politics of all flavors.

    Then there is the usual attempt to downplay CRT as a mere “legal framework” that has kicked up such an inexplicable hornet’s nest. Another version is “It’s just a political/philosophical theory!” or “It’s just a handful of activists!” All of these intentionally ignore the influence CRT has had on education, corporate culture, and politics, let alone examine it critically.

    The author’s description of the topic captures the problem perfectly: real issues and struggles saddled with a soft-brained, easy to digest, doggedly un-nuanced, stereotype reenforcing ideology that steers the adherent away from an analysis of material causes that demands a reordering of social classifications, and away from the practical political alliances such a reordering reveals, into a cultish warren of identity bubbles.

    Also, I wonder if the great “historian” Kendi went to the same grad program as Hannah-Jones…

    1. newcatty

      A genuine and active response to an acknowledgement of “real issues and struggles” of the country’s lower working classes and the poor of all ethnicities and races is The Poor People’s Campaign. Reverend Barber and company have highlighted that the awful conditions of poor people are not confined to “colored” peoples. “White” people are among the poor. He correctly notes that poverty in America is not a race issue, it is an economic and social class issue. Putting any race of people into “identity bubbles” is disingenuous and does nothing to solve those real issues. It , whether purposely or shallowly, supports divide and conquer stategy of many elites. It can fill rice bowls and attract attention. It proposes that these real issues can be solved with blame, shame and identity of peoples. Solidarity of being humans is not fostered in this “theory”.

    2. marym

      Maybe the teaching of what conservatives object to as “CRT” in the schools was itself partly a backlash to the way history was taught in the past.

      Also, as far as “deepening the sense of resentment and animus between ethnic groups in the US”:
      “Critical race theory as a conservative talking point …was part of a multi-year effort by conservative activists, media and strategists…We measured how critical race theory traveled from conservative outlets, talk radio and think tanks to FOX News to Congress and into legislation. In short, we trace how CRT became a household phrase…”

      USAToday thread (with some links):
      USAToday post (paywall):

      “…after that brief moment in September [2020], the debate around “critical race theory” went dormant for months. Almost no legislation was introduced at the state level in this period, according to Education Week. Fox News stopped talking about it, according to an analysis by Media Matters. Then, as the Biden administration took over, something happened. Mentions of CRT skyrocketed on Fox News. At the same time, state legislators started introducing bills.”

      1. newcatty

        No doubt. U.S. History as taught in schools needs to be a factual and comprehensive history of America. This does not need to conflated with any backlash. It is a reckoning of dishonest, willful manipulation of the narrative of the country’s history. Text books and curriculum guidelines for that narrative drive the teaching of history in public education. Start there.

  33. ChiGal

    Not a good look for the Djoker at all. A reminder of how many used to think of him back in the day: a whiner and poor sport. I’m a Rafa gal myself but I had come to respect him for his hard work and ready sense of humor (Roger and Rafa so damn serious on court!). This special case stuff is taking me back.

  34. Wukchumni

    Schrödinger’s Tardigrade Claim Incites Pushback IEEE Spectrum
    I heard that Schrödinger’s Cat was best pals with Pavlov’s Dog, but the pooch isn’t seeing it anymore.

  35. lance ringquist

    the incompetence, if this had been trump, nafta nancy would have him impeached again,

    US rapid test production is ramping up too late for omicron

    Covid test manufacturers fear the bullwhip effect

    on Feb. 10, 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines to say that vaccinated people no longer needed to get tested,,,

    you gotta read it to believe it.

Comments are closed.