Links 1/7/2022

Dogs can differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar human languages Live Science

The solar system belongs to us all, not just Jeff Bezos

Crypto cannot easily be painted green FT


Review: ‘The Nutmeg’s Curse’ challenges dominant view of development The Third Pole. Well worth a read.

Brussels Airlines makes 3,000 unnecessary flights to maintain airport slots The Bulletin

The first arriving firefighters had trouble finding the Marshall Fire Wildfire Today. About “Red Flag Warnings.”


Biden, in Shift, Prepares Americans to See Covid-19 as Part of Life WSJ. Giving up after having hardly tried.

Shots fired:

A National Strategy for COVID-19 Medical Countermeasures Vaccines and Therapeutics Luciana L. Borio, Rick A. Bright, Ezekiel J. Emanuel JAMA. “The US needs a strategy for a “new normal” of living that includes COVID-19. This ‘new normal’ will occur when total respiratory viral infections, hospitalizations, and deaths inclusive of those from COVID-19 are no higher than what typically occurred in the most severe influenza years before the current pandemic. Integral to achieving and sustaining this ‘new normal’ are both faster development and more efficient deployment of vaccines and therapeutics.” Wistful thinking?

A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine R. Gounder JAMA. “It is imperative for public health, economic, and social functioning that US leaders establish and communicate specific goals for COVID-19 management, benchmarks for the imposition or relaxation of public health restrictions, investments and reforms needed to prepare for future SARS-CoV-2 variants and other novel viruses, and clear strategies to accomplish all of this.” I don’t want to be cranky, but weren’t the “adults” elected a year ago to do all this? As a bare minimum?

A National Strategy for COVID-19: Testing, Surveillance, and Mitigation Strategies David Michaels, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Rick A. Bright, JAMA. “Like influenza, SARS-CoV-2 is spread by aerosols.” Just checking.

Lambert here: Wait. You’re telling me that Vax Vax Vax isn’t a “National Strategy”? (I’m not a fan of Rahm’s brother Zeke, author of “Why I Hope to Die at 75” — speak for yourself! — but if a blow with a 2×4 is what it takes to get the Biden Administration’s attention, good.)

* * *
Lifesaving Covid Treatments Face Rationing as Virus Surges Again NYT

For CDC’s Walensky, a Steep Learning Curve on Messaging New York Times

‘It is embarrassing’: CDC struggles to track Covid cases as Omicron looms Politico. From December, still germane.

* * *
Universities Need to Catch Up to the Post-vaccine Reality Emily Oster, The Atlantic. Critique:


The whole thread is worth a read. And speaking of reality:


Since Corsi boxes are cheap and effective, college administrators nationwide have naturally jumped on the bandwagon. Ha ha! Kidding!

Emily Oster is making strong claims about Omicron and schools based on weak data Claudia Sahm, Stay-At-Home Macro

Public K–12 education employment has collapsed Economic Policy Institute

Ohio responds to substitute teaching shortage, degree no longer required WLWT

* * *
What Happened to the Novavax Vaccine? MedPage Today

Vaccine lotteries did not help increase rates of shots: Study ABC

Guest op-ed: The US needs to vaccinate its overseas citizens Daily Herald (Furzy Mouse).

* * *
Persistent COVID-related loss of taste may be overestimated Center for Infectious Disease Control and Policy

COVID-19 isn’t “just a cold,” isn’t “a respiratory virus,” and “mild” doesn’t mean what you think it does. Ian Ricksecker. Useful aggregation.

* * *
How retail works in a civilized country:


How government provisions for Covid in a civilized country:


Shouldn’t be means-tested, though.


China’s economy: the fallout from the Evergrande crisis FT

China’s Local Government Debt: The Grand Bargain The China Journal. “While much scholarly attention has been paid to the consequences of the 1994 reform that left localities with a tremendous fiscal gap, our findings show that Beijing in fact gave localities the green light to create new backdoor financing institutions that counteracted the impact of fiscal recentralization. In essence, these institutions were the quid pro quo offered to localities to sustain their incentive for local state-led growth after 1994. The bargain worked, and growth continued. The drawback, however, was that China’s economic growth has been accompanied by the accumulation of local government debt with little transparency and central control.”

China Is Running Out of Water and That’s Scary for Asia Bloomberg


Myanmar massacre fuels calls for vote on UN arms embargo FT. More from the FT:


Where I have been for some time, though my picture of the endgame is more… Giulino di Mezzegra.

Cambodia prime minister visits Myanmar for talks with junta, sparking protests Reuters

Indonesia revokes more than 2,000 mining and plantation permits Channel News Asia


Tek Fog: An App With BJP Footprints for Cyber Troops to Automate Hate, Manipulate Trends The Wire

The Koreas

South Korea grounds F-35s after malfunction forces emergency landing Channel News Asia. And speaking of grounds–

‘Won’t take it any more’: South Korea’s Starbucks baristas rebel Al Jazeera


He led IDF intel gathering on Iran, was ignored and fears Israel is now paying price The Times of Israel


The UK’s kleptocracy problem Chatham House (dk).

City of London says COVID is masking Brexit hit to finance Hellenic Shipping News

Eggs-tremely early! Chocolate eggs are filling supermarket shelves already – nearly four MONTHS before Easter Daily Mail

New Cold War

President of Kazakhstan declares constitutional order ‘mainly restored’ in the country after days of violent protests ABC

Russia Sent Electronic Warfare Systems And Armored Vehicles To Kazakhstan For Peacekeeping Mission The Drive

* * *
Six Things the Media Won’t Tell You About Ukraine

The Caribbean

Biden Must Change, Not Deepen, Trump’s Failed Venezuela Strategy Just Security

Cuba’s vaccine success story sails past mark set by rich world’s Covid efforts Guardian

Supply Chain

Imports Surge Continues at U.S. Ports Ahead of Lunar New Year Maritime Executive

6,000 miles through 7 countries. Why companies are turning to long-haul trains CNN


‘A dagger at the throat of American democracy’: Why Joe Biden’s intense Jan. 6 speech was stunning TV USA Today

Pelosi introduces Hamilton cast for song to mark one year from attack on US Capitol Independent

Dick Cheney, once a villain to Democrats, hailed in surprise Capitol visit to mark Jan. 6 USA Today. Ah, ol’ “Fourth Branch,” torture advocate, who shot an old man in the face and got away clean, visits from the “dark side.” For those of you who didn’t live through it, the Bush administration was quite entertaining!

L’Affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Maxwell seeks new trial after juror says he was sex abuse victim and urged jury to convict Miami Herald


Theranos whistleblower welcomes the guilty verdict against Elizabeth Holmes NPR

Mexico president says he sought Assange pardon from Trump, renews asylum offer NBC

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jen

    From the national strategy article:

    “The most effective way to prevent transmission of respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, is to eliminate exposure to potentially infectious individuals, encouraging individuals who may have illness to stay home. This requires systematic access to testing and paid sick and family medical leave for all US workers, especially low-wage, temporary, freelance, contractor, and gig economy workers.”

    Holy [family blog]. This is coming from Ezekial Emanuel?

    1. Deanie

      “It is imperative for public health, economic, and social functioning that US leaders establish and communicate specific goals for COVID-19 management, benchmarks for the imposition or relaxation of public health restrictions, investments and reforms needed to prepare for future SARS-CoV-2 variants”

      In other words, don’t just not let a viral crisis go to waste, but create, manage, profit from and impose dictatorial powers around it to control society.

      These people always tip their hand.

      When they tell you who they are and what they are planning, believe them. Take notes, send their websites to, and make lists of the ones in your immediacy for future accountability.

        1. Milton

          Take notes, send their websites to, and make lists of the ones in your immediacy for future accountability

        2. Adam Eran

          It’s a plea to let people drive on the left hand side of the road (in the U.S.) because “liberty”…

          This blog documents plenty examples of illegitimate authority, but the trouble is that some times systemic problems (COVID, climate, unemployment, etc.) require systemic solutions. It’s unavoidable.

      1. jsn

        Right, like the dictatorial powers New Zealand (or South Korea, Australia or Japan) used until we talked them out of it.

        There is a lot of room between abandoning any notion of “public health” and dictatorship.

        This comment speaks to the lack of trust endemic to our failed state and bodes poorly for picking up the pieces any time soon.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It must be bad. Or he doesn’t want people calling for him to set an example with his previous calls.

      We do have Schumer calling for canceling the debt publicly. He’s noted Biden has that power. And a story about Rice being the primary voice for not canceling the debt. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a fight between people who understand the 1/6 pageantry isn’t to keep Trump out of the White House and people who hate anyone who doesn’t worship at the feet of past Team Blue elites and can only function in PR terms.

      Biden is trying to look like a tough guy again instead of demanding an end to the filibuster which is looking like it’s going to cause the end of democracy. The PR people probably hold sway, but it’s amazing Zeke would say this given his past record. Chris Matthews was worried about Sanders holding trials on the national mall. I imagine some have figured out Sanders type policies are the only thing keeping that from happening. Ted Cruz has already said they would impeach Biden if the GOP gained control of the House. The GOP doesnt care about being a fringe party. They know Team Blue will hold a Hamilton performance before a vote on BBB.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > t’s amazing Zeke would say this given his past record

        It’s amazing to me (and note that busy-boy Zeke’s name is on all three articles). I deduce that:

        1) The transition team is ticked Biden ignored their recommendations in favor of Vax-only, and rightly

        2) Zeke must be really, really worried, since he’s jeopardizing his loyalty points. Situation probably unimaginably worse…

        Of course, they did wait almost a full year….

        Also, this does make you wonder if Biden’s SOTU was kicked back to March for a reason.

        Or maybe the logic is, “We’ve killed enough people in this tranche.” Time to let up on the gas and wait for the next opportunity…

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I’ve been angered the past few days by how the liberal news sources are trying to ignore Omicron. After making the rounds this morning, and finding nothing but 1/6 and Cheney worship, I gave Jim Kramer a shot at CNBC. This is what happened:

      The jobs reports are out today, so Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Kramer whether the report was hot enough for the Fed to raise rates even faster. Kramer said he thought Powell would sit tight because no one knew what the impact of Omicron might be. “Omicron is out of control,” Kramer said. “Rochelle Walensky needs to be taken off the case and Homeland Security put in charge. That advice on five days was dangerous.”

      Then Becky Quick, a co-host with Sorkin, joined in. “I agree with you, Jim. Everyone I know has it. In a end-of-the-world movie (wonder which one is fresh in her mind?), this is the week when all the important people who have been running things start to disappear. And you realize that had their own plans to escape.”

      Sorkin, always the loyal Democrat, tried to change the subject.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Rochelle Walensky needs to be taken off the case

        No kidding. Walensky, Zients, Fauci, Klain. All of ’em.

        I can’t imagine this happening. Readers will correct me, but the last time I remember a major, multi-person administration house-cleaning not following an election was in the Carter administration. Not an encouraging precedent.

  2. cocomaan

    Folks skeptical of vaccine mandates will enjoy reading this amicus brief by America’s Frontline Doctors.

    The idea of the vaccine as treatment rather than a sterilizing vaccine creates all kinds of weird issues when it comes to a mandate. Imagine OSHA requiring you to take NyQuil when you get a cold.

    1. Phenix

      Thank you for sharing this brief. I am going too see if a few coworkers will read it. I was recently outed as non compliant.

      A local 12 year old died of cardiac arrest on New Years Eve..he received his 2nd shot 5 days prior. A few people connected the dots but the family does not want to entertain that thought.

      1. cocomaan

        That’s awful, I hope it’s not the vaccine but I fear that there’s a lot of cases going underreported that are similar.

        What’s great about the brief is how readable it is.

    1. Deanie

      FBI director Comey’s daughter is the prosecutor.

      Mistrial, it’s not an accident, it’s part of the cabal.

      1. IMOR

        Yeah, at the first revelation I dismissed my original reaction that this showed superior juror research by the defense as too cynical when people constantly omit on juror disclosure forms and sometimes lie when they’re chased down by the press after having served on a high profile case. But if either or both of these claims off THIS panel are credible, both sides knew of at least one, and either side can be interested in having a mistrial or juror replacement in their back pocket.
        Also, with 20-40% of U.S. women having been sexually assaultef or raped, a) why make it a dq; b) how you gonna fill out a jury in such a case if you do?

    2. griffen

      Her team of defense lawyers are not stupid, so the account from the juror himself seems plausible. I don’t care for them doing their job, but they are there for this reason. Minimize all potential outcomes for their client, who after all was convicted.

      Someone from the court should perhaps give a guidance to all jurors involved against such interviews this quickly after the verdict was announced. It is certainly a tell in the extensive ESPN documentary on OJ Simpson. The jurors involved were disposed from the start (with reason, I am not dismissing that aspect).

    3. haywood

      Apologies for the “what’s wrong with the left!!!” post in advance. But seeing Zeke Emmanuel of all people leading a charge against Biden’s covid policy has me a little riled up.

      The complete lack of institutional opposition to Biden’s covid policies is astounding to me. In America, the lack of any leftist party or coordinated effective left organizations is nothing new, but there’s usually at least some semblance of protest/opposition, if only in the form of opportunistic catch-all groups like ANSWER or Sunrise or something. With covid, we’ve got… nothing.

      What is the DSA / Squad position on covid? The unions have vague urges towards workplace safety on occasion but, Chicago teachers and a few nurse unions aside, organized labor has done nothing of note. Unions let expanded unemployment slide away without so much as a bark, giving up one of the central points of leverage the working class had given to them in 75 years. Mask policies, vaccine mandates, PTO, minimum wage… barely a press conference or two and months went by with crickets!

      And heath care, my god. Covid was the most obvious salient opportunity for action on single payer health care that could possibly be imagined. And yet… I don’t even see Bernie out there pushing it right now. A public option isn’t even on table.

      Just depressing.

      1. ambrit

        Absolutely nothing arising from the Murdochs is ‘free.’
        Ghislane, being a Murdoch, would in all probability become a Morlock once ensconsed underground.

        1. Jokerstein

          Maxwell, not Murdoch.

          Daughter of Bob (as in what he did in the ocean after he fell off his boat.)

          1. ambrit

            Thanks. I get all my “betters” mixed up.
            I’m asured that he managed a fair bit of “The Australian Crawl” before the real sharks got to him.

            1. newcatty

              Its understandable. The “betters” are all in the that same club we were told about once upon a time. Think “Murdoch” and “Maxwell” sound a lot alike.

          2. Grebo

            Robert Maxwell was owner of the Daily Mirror, the leftish national tabloid in the UK. On the night of his disappearance its editor was interviewed by the BBC and said “The last time I saw Bob he was in buoyant mood.”

              1. flora

                From Stoppard’s play ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’

                “Consistancy is all I ask!”

                “Give us this day our daily mask.”

            1. wilroncanada

              great comment. I’ll have to try that with friends at the pool. They’ll no doubt tell me he was just trying to float aloan.

  3. Cj

    A look at Glenn Greenwald’s twitter feed shows him in full Fox News mode, minimizing 1/6 and of course in his narrow, little, black & white world view, oddly enough exactly like the corporate ‘news’ source he’s attached himself to, instead relentlessly criticizing democrats with nary a word about republicans.

    And yet there are those that somehow, unbelievably think he still has a shred of credibility. For those few that still respect Greenwald I can only believe that it is due to his past accomplishments (i.e.the gift he received from Snowden) and now is little more than a propagandist for Fox News.

    Read the comments in his twitter thread and see how the worst elements participating in 1/6 are now singing his praises and firmly believe he is one of them. At this point so do I.

    1. Cocomaan

      I’ve been reading Greenwald since his Salon days. He was always skeptical of the use of emergencies by the government during the war on terror and is equally skeptical now.

      My guess is that as time goes on, more and more federal agents will be revealed to have been part of the crowd. Just as many of the terrorist threats post 911 were FBI instigated pseudo plots.

      When the demand for crises is high but supply is low, you do what you gotta do.

      1. jr

        Someone should actually minimize 1/6, into action figures! Shaman-guy, the Capitol police, a mini Capitol building that opens up into a diorama! There will be a press truck kit, not included of course, where the fully articulated journalists can wax hyperbolic about civil war and toss around the word “coup” when you press the button on their backs!

        1. bob

          Don’t forget the missing police huddled around the bigger budget prize in the basement.

          FBI agents and provocateurs are extra. Always extra.

    2. Jerk

      What’s there to minimize? Nothing happened. The cops let a bunch of hooligans mill about the capital for a while, killed a couple people, and then everyone went home. There average day in an American public school is more dangerous.

      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        My view of 1/6 is different. I agree with Thomas Homer-Dixon, for example

        The riot was the side show. The real action was an attempt to overturn the election which came close to succeeding. The rejection of voting results they don’t like is more entrenched among the Republicans now than a year ago. As THD wrote in the comments section devoted to his Globe and Mail article:

        As I wrote, I knew the individual points weren’t enough in themselves to justify the claim I was making in the opening sentences, but when taken together they created a compelling argument supporting that claim. And I think that’s one reason many people aren’t recognizing the danger in the US; they’re seeing bits and pieces of the picture, but not the whole thing.

      2. Chas

        Pelosi and friends are re-acting as if the Republican riot was a lot worse than it really was, as if the mob had actually hung Pence. But I think her biggest mistake was to prevent the Republicans from placing the reps they wanted onto the investigative committee. Had she allowed the fascist Republicans McCarthy wanted to appoint onto the committee the public would see by their raging that the Republicans were responsible for the riot. One of Pelosi’s main objectives in all this has been to protect the Republican party from blame. She and all the prominent Dems are careful not to call it a Republican riot. They could club the Republicans with this in the next elections, but the won’t.

        1. Wukchumni

          McCarthy (My Kevin since ’07) wasn’t ever gonna play along with Pelosi, he’s in too deep.

    3. Pat

      Cj, please take a look at the videos and news that came out of Myanmar. That is what an insurrection looks like. It isn’t a bunch of people walking around taking selfies.

      Even if this wasn’t egged on by law enforcement agencies, which is a very big if, their performance that day was severely inadequate. There is every chance that with adequate crowd control the people that “stormed” the Capitol wouldn’t ever have been near it.
      In truth, THAT is what should have been investigated. But admitting that our government has entities that act badly for political gain is to be discouraged and buried. See the details of the FBI instigated plot to kidnap Whitmer.

      Just curious do you believe Russia caused Clinton to lose rather then her and her campaign’s mind boggling arrogance and incompetence?

        1. John

          I am quite certain it was, “… her and her campaign’s mind boggling arrogance and incompetence.” But that is not the Hillary-world ‘narrative’ and I keep seeing references to Russian interference in the 2016 election even after it has been thoroughly debunked. Nations routinely try to sway other nations elections in their preferred direction. Money,propaganda, thumb on the scales in one way or another. That’s a given, but taking swing states for granted is not a given but, as you said, arrogance and incompetence.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Or take a look at the videos in this link posted by GramSci yesterday:

        I can’t speak for the website itself, and the article does not read as the most professional take at times, but there is a lot of video evidence that clearly shows a few prominent people egging on the rioters who have not been indicted and that the FBI has no interest in for some strange reason, despite all the video evidence that they were highly involved and at least some of their identities being widely known. Someone needs to ask AG MG why that is.

    4. Donald

      I get tired of Greenwald’s Twitter behavior but I also get tired of most of his critics. And your minimization of his past accomplishments is one example of why.

      As for 1/6, the danger I am concerned about is that of Republican officials refusing to certify election results they don’t like. But I don’t think the idiots in the Capitol were a grave threat to whatever democracy we have. They should be prosecuted but I wish most Democrats would show one tenth as much outrage towards the much greater crimes committed by our government on a regular basis as they show about some mob that got out of control a year ago. “Our democracy” is a lawless enterprise when it comes to our foreign policy and most liberals could not care less.

      1. Michael McK

        I wonder if the mob’s getting out of control actually hurt the Lawfare attempt by Trump’s insiders to overturn the election. If the mob had been huge but orderly they might have strengthened the attempt but instead the chaos undermined it. I am not suggesting that the Capital Police’s casual response (until Ms. Babbitt’s demise) was some form of multi-dimensional chess.
        I too am concerned, very concerned, about the efforts being marshalled to suborn multiple future state election certifications thus handing the next prize to the team (R) controlling the most state’s congressional delegations. If that happens, will deep Blue states’ legistatures have the balls to declare independence?

    5. Aumua

      As I’ve said before, the events of last Jan 6 concern me not so much for what they were, but more for what they portend. NC and its commentators seem to love to turn a blind eye to the hard/far right and what they’re up to in this country and around the world recently. I’m all for criticizing the well deserving Democrats, and many of the comments here are more or less on point as far as their ridiculousness, but what happened at the Capitol doesn’t have to be a “coup” or an “insurrection” attempt to be cause for concern, or at least a fricken raised eyebrow. I look at it as a kind of an initial trial, as a loosely connected network of proto-fascist groups feeling out the territory, getting intel on what might be possible in the future. The signs are all around us, and if we choose to keep on poo poo-ing them, then maybe we’re drinking a little too much of whatever it is that Fox news commentator Glenn Greenwald has been drinking, IMO.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        But if it doesn’t rise to the level of insurrection or coup, then why do they keep hammering us with these terms. It’s almost like they’re trying to sell us a bill of goods. Triggers my BS detector.

        Sure, we can say “whatabout the Repubs”, but they’re not the ones selling this propaganda.

        1. jimmy cc


          red meat for the base.

          same reason for ‘Obama was kenyan usurper. and his supporters are marxist bent on destroying murica’

          dems and repubs are 2 sides of the same coin.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “‘A dagger at the throat of American democracy’: Why Joe Biden’s intense Jan. 6 speech was stunning TV ”

    This was bizarre just watching this and you want to know the worse of it? It will probably be an annual event and maybe one day be made a national holiday. And of course they would have somebody from the “Hamilton” cast take part. Jee-zuz. Nancy Pelosi was standing there in her Star Trek-inspired formal uniform jacket and the candles were a nice touch. But when old Joe came out guns blazing, that was just a declaration of war against Trump but I hope that he will never have to debate Trump again as Trump would just chew him up.

    So, Biden has decided that no more Mr. Nice Guy and chucked the whole idea of a unity Presidency. Let me know how that works out. But Kamala Harris was just as bad. She was saying that “Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them, where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault,” and that some dates in U.S. history ““occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory. December 7th, 1941. September 11th, 2001. And January 6th, 2021.” Yeah, ‘One of these is not like the others’-

    1. Hartrekker

      Even a fool sometimes speaks the truth. All three events were not surprises, had some degree of government foreknowledge, e.g. Japanese Imperial Naval Academy final exam; “Plan an attack on Pearl Harbor”, FDR “ignored” radar warnings of incoming planes, etc,
      plus incompetency, or outright cooperation from government, special express visa window at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan for Mujaheddin, possibly more federal agent provacateurs than Trumpers in D.C., and like the first two, the riot will be used to predicate ongoing emergency throttling of Constitutional Rights as occurred in WWII and the Patriot Act.

    2. Randall Flagg

      I think I lost IQ points (not that I have that many to begin with), listening to that drivel from VP Harris. The major network news shows last night were shameless.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Some damning with faint praise going on in that article, the powerful dagger imagery notwithstanding.

      “This may well become the strongest speech he’s ever given,” Gloria Borger told Blitzer. In fairness, there’s not a lot of competition, but it was without question something different for Biden.

      Biden’s rhetorical skills aren’t memorable. This speech will be.

      Can’t you just see our president, having shuffled stiffly off the stage, high-fiving dr. jill as she triumphantly proclaims, “Joey, you nailed it! Finally,”

    4. Mildred Montana

      I think Biden and the Dems have got it all wrong, as usual. The boilerplate Biden spouted last night will not divert a single vote away from Trump’s entrenched base. “Rioters rampaging”, “mob”, “erecting gallows”, “dagger at the throat”—he was talking their talk, helping them to relive the event, and probably making them stronger and more determined.

      On the limits of Presidential rhetoric:

      My armchair campaign strategy: If Trump is to be stopped (and I’m not optimistic), the Dems would be wise to forget attacking his supporters (ie. stirring the pot) and start attacking the man himself, in the same way he attacks ??? enemies. Hit him personally, hit him below the belt, make up disparaging nicknames for him, bring up sexual indiscretions, fight dirty like he does. The time for gentlemanly campaigns—where actual issues are discussed—is long gone. Here are a few suggestions for the Dems, to be repeated over and over and over again:

      1. Call four-time bankrupt Trump what he is: “Deadbeat Donald”, who stiffs creditors and welshes on his debts.
      2. Where’s the wall? Donald Trump, the only President in US history to promise a wall—and not build it! Where’s the wall? Twelve miles? Yup, that Donald sure gets things done.
      3. Where are your tax returns? Where are your tax returns?…?? ?????????.

      And many more. A man like Trump has many skeletons in his closet, waiting to be revealed by any Dems who might be curious and enterprising and intent on winning an election. But, as I said, I’m not optimistic that even this work. Trump and his legions seem, at the moment, to be deaf to reason.

      1. flora

        Focusing on T’s base voters shifts the focus away from the Dem estab’s own enormous failings. I saw 2016 as the Dems’ to lose… and they did.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        The New York Times obtained Orange Man’s tax returns – a presumed Rosetta Stone for every #McResistance and TDS-afflicted MSNBC consumer out there, especially since Saint Santa Claus Mueller was such a disappointment – and got bupkis out of it.

        I know it’s naive and silly of me to suggest, but perhaps Democrats and what (falsely) passes for the Left in this country should try politics rather than 9/11 Truther-style magical thinking.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Great idea! While we’re cleaning Trump’s closets, maybe we can dig up his drug addicted son’s laptop or his drug addicted daughter’s diary or a copy of Tara Reade’s senate sexual assault complaint.

        Oh wait. Wrong closet.

        1. the last D

          Oh, wait. You’ll more likely to find trump’s things in jeffrey epstein’s closet. Oh, wait. Didn’t bill barr clean out that closet?

            1. The Rev Kev

              Now the main stream media is just trolling us. Dershowitz? The same Dershowitz, a former attorney for Epstein, who appeared on flight logs eleven times on the “Lolita Express”? That Dershowitz? Good thing that Jimmy Savile is dead or the BBC would have brought him on to be a commenter as well.

        2. jimmy cc

          we should be encouraging the war between the elites.

          and figuring how to use it to divide them, not picking sides.

          1. Dictynna

            I know this might seem weird, but the problem with that is that there are too few of them, and too many of us.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Or maybe they could just remember that he isn’t currently an elected official and you know, stop talking about him and focus on improving the lives of the majority of people.

        But they have nothing else, so we get the incessant bleating about Orangemanbad.

    5. Watt4Bob

      How can we be talking as if this is the first attack on “Our Democracy” considering;

      2000 election

      1.The man-in-the-middle election tabulation system* engineered by Karl Rove and the republicans that exported Ohio’s voting machine totals to a Republican owned system in another state, which then exported the results back to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office?

      2. The Brook’s Bros. riot in Florida

      3. The SCOTUS handing the victory to Bush because “We say so.”

      And last, but not least;

      4. Gore shirking his duty to defend and uphold the Constitution, by refusing to challenge the fix.

      Fast forward to the 2016 election and the DNC cheating us out of our favorite in conniving to stop Bernie.

      And every election in between being similarly flawed by forcing us to choose between the lesser of two evils.

      *The programmer of that system was scheduled to testify before Congress, but died in a fiery small plane crash in the week before his scheduled appearance. (He was a Catholic activist as was his team, they thought they were “Saving Babies”.)

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        But wait, there’s more! From newsweek no less:

        Shattered mirrors, chandeliers, and furniture littered the halls of the Capitol on a day when a group that “openly advocates the overthrow of the U.S. Government through armed struggle and the use of violence” according to the FBI struck at the heart of our democracy. This was not January 6, 2021 but November 7, 1983, the day that the May 19 Communist Coalition detonated a bomb that blasted a hole in the wall outside the Senate chamber.

        But the 1983 incident—the day that a group with the goal of violently overthrowing the government bombed the Senate building—has been effectively wiped from memory. Susan Rosenberg, a May 19 member, was initially charged with a role in the 1983 Capitol bombing and two others, but the charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. In 1984, she was arrested in possession of 750 pounds of explosives and firearms, including automatic weapons, and a jury convicted her the following year. But 16 years into Rosenberg’s 58-year sentence, President Bill Clinton commuted it on his last day in office. By 2020, Rosenberg, a convicted terrorist, was sitting on the board of Thousand Currents, which handles donations made to Black Lives Matter.

        On December 6, 1990, federal judge Harold H. Greene sentenced Laura Whitehorn and Linda Evans to lengthy prison terms for conspiracy and malicious destruction of government property. The court dropped charges against three co-defendants, two of whom (including Susan Rosenberg) were serving extended prison sentences for related crimes.[10] Whitehorn was sentenced to 20 years; Evans, to 5 years, concurrent with 35 years for illegally buying guns.[11] On January 20, 2001, the day he left office, President Bill Clinton commuted Evans’s and Rosenberg’s sentences.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Thank you. This rehabbing of the Bush era war criminals by the TDS-infected in infuriating.

        1. Watt4Bob

          One could be forgiven for thinking it’s a rule they follow.

          Remember that Barry Goldwater quote;

          “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

          “Liberty” is doing a lot of work there.

          Anyway, either they’re defending Liberty, or trying to make some money, either way, almost anything is excusable by their ‘rules’.

      3. someofparts

        IIRC they hacked the 2000 election results in Georgia as well. I remember hearing about the plane crash that killed that programmer, because I think his testimony would have explained what they did in Georgia. At that time we had the best anti-predatory-lending laws in the country, thanks to the progressive governor in charge at the time, Roy Barnes. After the election hack, they installed Sonny Purdue in his place and the first thing Purdue did once he was in office was strike down those anti-predatory laws.

  5. Jeff W

    Dogs can differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar human languages Live Science

    Dek: “They are the first non-human animals to be able to tell the difference between human languages.”

    Huh? What about elephants?

    From Nature (2014):

    Humans are among the very few animals that constitute a threat to elephants. Yet not all people are a danger — and elephants seem to know it. The giants have shown a remarkable ability to use sight and scent to distinguish between African ethnic groups that have a history of attacking them and groups that do not. Now a study reveals that they can even discern these differences from words spoken in the local tongues.

    The researchers played the recordings to 47 elephant family groups at Amboseli National Park in Kenya and monitored the animals’ behaviour. The differences were remarkable. When the elephants heard the Maasai, they were much more likely to cautiously smell the air or huddle together than when they heard the Kamba. Indeed, the animals bunched together nearly twice as tightly when they heard the Maasai.

    1. Valerie

      We adopted a little shelter dog in May. She was about 18 months old. We think she’s a Chi-weenie. Part Chihuahua. Part dachshund. The shelter wouldn’t tell us anything about the situation she came from except that they had given her the name on her cage. The name didn’t suit and she certainly didn’t answer to it. We tried a few names in English on her, but nothing seemed to interest her. Then we switched to Spanish. She was a whole different dog. She responded best to “Dulce” and so “Dulce” she became.(Though as we live in the South it wasn’t long before she became Dulcie. I firmly believe animals can tell languages apart especially dogs.

      1. Robert Hahl

        The antidote bonus from a few days ago showing three dogs and a cat lining up for a photo op and following commands in (I think) Japanese, made me think that some languages are easier for dogs to understand than English.

      2. petal

        My 2 yellow labs lived in an apartment complex almost all of their lives, and there were people from many different countries, esp China. They’d get really upset if they heard people speaking languages other than English, even if it was my housemates. It was interesting. It’s like they were upset because they heard people talking and couldn’t understand it and got frustrated.

      3. someofparts

        I agree that dogs respond to the language in which they were trained. I worked side jobs at kennels for a bit over a decade. There was one occasion when we got a dog to be boarded for the weekend that belonged to a family who had just moved here from Germany. When the owners brought the dog in, they also brought us a list of the German words for basic commands because the dog would not have understood commands given in English.

    2. Carolinian

      What’s different about dogs is not so much their doggie IQ as that they have evolved into being our companion animals. In other words, much more so than other intelligent animals and even wolves they pay attention to us. We in turn respond to this flattery by giving them lots of kibble.

  6. jr

    Can someone please explain what, per the WSJ article’s title, Biden has done to prepare Americans for life with COVID? He has had press releases prepared, that’s for sure. The title should read “Biden (intentionally?) drops the ball on COVID and retreats into a demented haze while Rome burns. In related news: Harris asserts she is Vice President to the backs of her departing staff members.”

    1. ScoFri

      Yes, they all dropped the ball, but that is one reason I am treating it as just a part of life now. I mean, they are forcing us live with it because they are not doing a thing and they never really have.

      But the second reason I am treating it as a part of life is that six of my friends just went through the illness and they are all ok. One of them was 74. And I was around two of them when they were most likely contagious and it has been 5 days and nothing. So for me personally, I am just done worrying about it. I hope that does not make anyone angry but it is just my reality.

      1. Robert Hahl

        Try not a o spread it around. An asymptomatic friend of mine has given it to everyone she woke with and her husband. We are still waiting to see if he will get better or worse, the others are all ok.

          1. Brian Beijer

            An asymptomatic friend of mine has given it to everyone she woke with and her husband.

            Lmao! THAT has to be the best comment of the day!

      2. curlydan

        So are you assuming the next variant will the same as Omicron, or maybe this may be the last big variant? What if the next variant is worse, e.g. as contagious but with worse outcomes? What if your friends get long COVID?

        Your thoughts don’t make me angry. I think you’ve made a lot of optimistic assumptions.

        1. ScoFri

          I think our knowledge of variants just makes us more on edge. I am not optimistic or pessimistic, maybe just mystic?

          There are so many things to fear; climate change , economic collapse, maybe, like in “Don’t Look Up” I just want to enjoy my family and friends.

    2. Big River Bandido

      To my read…they said the quiet part out loud — “life with COVID”. Two years ago the talk was about eliminating it. Now that the campaign contributions are already banked they can move on to a different pitch to donors for the next cycle.

    1. Michael

      Revolver story is well presented and if accurate, damning to FBI (again).

      The question of why these men aren’t on the FBI list and why that isn’t news goes unanswered (again).
      Az newspaper interviewed one guy, so they can be found. FBI “operatives”?

      I wonder if Cj above would care to comment?

    2. marym

      Provocateurs trying to escalate to vandalism or violence at protests where most of the participants intended to be non-violent is nothing unique. Nor is it unusual for it not to be clear, and not adequately investigated, whether those provocateurs were LE, informers, or opportunistic people with their own agenda.

      What’s more unusual I think (just observing left-leaning protests through the years, maybe I’m wrong) is for nearly all those participants, who in other cases just go home before the looting starts, to join in the escalation.

      If the protesters were victims of manipulation and provocation, it wasn’t just a few provocateurs at the doors of the Capitol, or a secret plot by their opponents among the feds. It was elite politicians, media, and right wing activists who openly fed them propaganda about the election, persuaded them for years that they’re the only Real Americans whose vote should count, contributed to organizing and publicizing the rally, and cheered them on that day. The rioters chose to believe all of that.

      1. jimmy cc

        ding ding ding.

        They’re the sheeple they complain about.

        wandering around the Capitol, like dumbfounded dipsh!ts, waiting for orders.

        not a good look

      2. Carolinian

        “For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.” The Dems and the media had been spinning propaganda for the previous four years. It’s hard to be impressed by the Dem “do as we say, not as we do” argument.

        Of course the Dems were reacting to the Gingrich Republican era of anarchy politics and the Gingrich-ers claimed to be responding to Nixon’s impeachment when they went after Clinton. Perhaps its the increasing role of media in our politics that have amped up the extremes.

        I believe that much of the public (or at least me) have reached the point of “make it stop.”

      3. GramSci

        This has been asked before, but I haven’t seen it answered on the PMC sites I frequent. Why was the occupation of the Wisconsin capitol morally acceptable where 1/6 was “vandalism” at best?

        1. marym

          I don’t know that morally acceptable is the right terminology for this particular comparison. It’s probably human nature to tend to see something we agree with as more moral than something with which we disagree.

          As a matter of civic virtue, in choosing to take a specific action when there are differences in preferred outcomes in the public sphere, trying to persuade legislators not to pass a bill is different from trying to persuade them to nullify the votes of one’s fellow citizens in order to have one’s preferred candidate remain in office even though he lost the election.

          For a comparison of vandalism (there wasn’t any in WI) and other material issues see link below.

          “Other than there were a lot of people in both buildings looks a little similar. I think that’s where the similarities end,” said [U.S. Rep. Mark] Pocan, who was a state representative during Act 10. “We still were able to operate. We were in the session in the Assembly. You know, business continued.”

      4. lyman alpha blob

        There are some pretty damning videos in that link. There is one of Ray Epps the day of Jan 5, the day before the riots, egging the crowd on to storm the Capitol the next day, and the presumably pro-Trump crowd, suspecting a trap, turns on him and starts chanting, “FED, FED, FED!” at him. But he was there the next day on video among the first breaching the barricades, and yet allegedly has not been arrested and is not even of interest to the FBI at all.

        Sure there were politicians who hooked themselves to the Trump bandwagon and said stupid stuff. But politicians always say stupid stuff. George HW demonized blacks and his idiot son and his cronies stirred up lots of anger against Muslim Americans in their rush to war, and violence against citizens followed that. And yet the Democrat party is rehabbing that crowd.

        If the Feds did instigate this riot, the blame for violence should not be put on Trump -supporting politicians. It should be on whoever it was that put the Feds up to it. And if other politicians did put them up to it to make the Trump crowd look bad and possibly have his supporters removed from office, which is currently being floated, my guess would be that it’s the same faction that is currently rehabbing the reputations of war criminals.

        A pox on them all.

  7. stefan

    Starbucks Korea article, very good:
    “For protests by the young generation, more important than the success, failure or amount of attention they get, is that they don’t want their arguments or intentions to be misrepresented even a little,” said Lim Myung-ho, a professor of psychology at Dankook University.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve a comment on moderation right now – just pointing out that Korean Starbucks is not the same as Starbucks US – it licenses the name and the beans, but is otherwise a Korean/Singaporean company.

      1. stefan

        Thanks for clarifying that point. Personally, I don’t have a brief for Starbucks one way or the other…I like to roast and grind my coffee beans at home… : )

        What caught my eye was the notion expressed in the quote, that –more than anything– protesters don’t want their intentions to be misunderstood. Not always an easy task…

        Also I thought the Al Jazeera article was well reported.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, it seems a good report. Its interesting that Korean unions seem to have realised that its vital to extend their influence into the service industries if they are to maintain their leverage. Its a lesson not needed by many unions in the west. Its possible that the big conglomerates have unintentionally aided them as there is so much cross-ownership in Korea between the banking, industrial and service industries.

  8. David

    The kleptocracy article is well worth reading for its own sake (though I’m not sure how much is really new) but what is striking is the tone and the source. It’s a pretty robust, take-no-prisoners analysis, which identifies the risk of damage to the rule of law in the UK itself, among other things. But it’s a study put out not by any old NGO but by Chatham House (aka the Royal Institute of International Affairs) and straight from the heart of the British establishment. If you’ve lost Chatham House …..

    1. PlutoniumKun

      When I moved to the UK for my first job I left an Ireland that was wracked by corruption scandals from top to bottom. I didn’t think the UK was clean, but I sort of expected it to be somewhat ‘cleaner’ than the UK and I was looking forward to getting out of my previous environment. My first job involved a number of interactions with the then favoured Development Corporations around the country. The level of naked bribery and favouritism within them was staggering. Nobody even pretended otherwise, it was a regular joke at Friday evening drinks. And yet there was scarcely a mention of this in the media. I recall a former boss of mine who refused to accept any contracts from certain local government areas, as he knew it would mean handing over bribes to get things done.

      I later had some dealings with London financiers, and while I was a very small fry in the overall project, it was very obvious to me that there was open corruption involved at multiple levels (one high profile CEO of a company I was involved with was ‘retired’ when it became a little too obvious that his fingers extended into the pie). But what I find most striking was that it was never called corruption or bribery. Nobody even called it baksheesh apart from some US colleagues I had who had worked in the Middle East and knew how things operated there.

      It seemed to me that the UK dealt with corruption by simply redefining it as something else. This isn’t unique to the UK of course – corruption is rarely black and white. Only the stupidest of politicians or officials actually ask for cash in exchange for a favour. But there seemed to be this desire to define corruption as only the handing over of grimy bags of money, and so something that only happens… well, somewhere else. It seemed to me that there was an unspoken fear that if one action was identified as corrupt, it would lead to a cascade of conclusions that were too horrible to contemplate. Hence, nobody called it out.

      It did seem that eventually this would be unsustainable, and you would have a government or establishment that was so nakedly corrupt and self interested that it would be impossible to ignore, even by the core establishment itself. Maybe its happening now, but I’m not sure I’d hold my breath.

      1. Questa Nota

        Maybe noted previously, but you and Colonel Smithers probably knew, or knew of, some of the same people.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I certainly don’t move in the good Colonel’s high circles! He’s very much in the banking area, I only dealt with bankers and financiers very indirectly, I’m more of a specialist tech advisor type, very low in the food chain.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    ‘Won’t take it any more’: South Korea’s Starbucks baristas rebel Al Jazeera

    Just to point out that Starbucks Korea is not the same as US Starbucks. Starbucks was a minority shareholder, but sold up entirely a few weeks ago. They pay a 5% licensing deal for the name, but its owned by Emart (a big Korean grocery chain) and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. So in one small respect its actually a state owned company.

    1. NV

      For a history of uprisings in Korea see Katsafiacas’ Asia’s Unknown Uprising, which I confess to not having read. I did hear the author speak
      at the old Brecht Forum in New York. Description from Good Reads:

      “This illuminating volume provides a detailed analysis of the oft-hidden yet major uprisings that have patterned Korea’s politics and society. An emphasis is placed upon social movements and grass-roots counter-elite dynamics rather than leaders, noting how the intelligence of ordinary people surpasses that of the leaders holding the reins of power. From the 1894 Tonghak Uprising to the 1980 Gwanju Uprising, Korean experiences act here as a baseboard for a greater exploration of global social movement in the 21st century.”

  10. Jerk

    >The supersonic F-35 Lightning II is one of the most potent and agile fighters in the world, featuring stealth technology and advanced communications.

    lmao I wonder how much Lockheed Martin is paying these people or if they’re just chumps saying this crap for free.

    1. Polar Socialist

      It said so in the brochure, so it must true. Right?

      It can be supersonic for a short duration, unless you’re willing to risk structural damage. It can be relatively agile without weapons and low on fuel, if you have managed to get correct spare parts to get it airborne. It’s stealthy unless you get dust, salt, rain or sunshine on the surfaces. And it has advanced communications that bring it on par with the latest European fighters like Rafale or Gripen that have been networking since 90’s. The communications may or may not work in a hostile electromagnetic environment (read: ECM and ECCM).

      1. Wukchumni

        In fairness to the F(edsel)-35, they go on joyrides over us and none have crashed yet, but here’s something to chew on…

        One of the interesting things about Saline hot springs is really low jet overflights @ around 500 mph coming from Edwards, China Lake & Lemoore air stations. On our stay there in April we had about 20 sorties-with an F-18 flying so low it set off the car alarm on a jalopy a few hundred feet below, but during our Thanksgiving & New Years visits totaling 10 days, we saw a lone fighter jet up @ 8k and that was it.

        Was it because of the holidays that none were flying, or are they cutting back on these frankly quite costly forays?

  11. KD

    I really hope that 1/6 isn’t the Democrats 2022 campaign strategy, because my impression is that nobody who lives outside of DC or isn’t a CNN junkie care about it. I never hear anyone talking about it who isn’t a white hyperliberal partisan. It has no relevance to any ordinary person’s life.

    Granted, the Democrats can’t run on their record, they can’t make more empty promises credibly anymore, and its clear they can’t actually accomplish anything popular like a good bill regulating drug prices. However, if they go down this rabbit hole, I am afraid it will be catastrophic, I think there is a complete disconnect between whoever is advising the leadership and the public. There are plenty of intelligent people who would vote for them but will be turned off by continued sale of paranoid conspiracy theories without any factual basis.

    1. Pat

      Non political older white man’s reaction was disgust. And this in deep blue NY. Oh and no conversation about 1/6 on public transportation yesterday. So yeah I think for once NYC isn’t connected at the hip with DC.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      I never hear anyone talking about it who isn’t a white hyperliberal partisan. It has no relevance to any ordinary person’s life.

      It’s job is to fundraise. How do you think the Amy McGraths and Jamie Harrisons of the world each got over $100 million campaign slush funds in 2020 and still got a lower percentage of the votes than they did 6 years earlier?

      The only reason Democrats do anything is to fundraise. It’s like the American Cancer Society – keep throwing money at it and more people die of cancer every year. The Dems raise a ton of money but there are fewer and fewer of them every year.

    3. MT_Wild

      The only other choice is Russia, Russia, Russia. And that one’s getting stale.

      I assume they’ve done extensive internal polling and decided 1/6 is a winner.

      1. ambrit

        Yes, and the ‘real’ Russia has put America on notice about further provocations. The Jan. 6 rioters can mess up the Capitol Building a bit. The Russians can literally vaporize it.

          1. ambrit

            I have been wondering about non-nuclear methods that “Foreign Powers” could use to kneecap America. An EMP attack is one such. Another, which I suspect America is also considering is to drop big items onto the Earth’s surface from space. Say, a meteorite falls onto one of the two resurgent domes at Yellowstone.
            More prosaically, a widespread move away from the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency might prove useful.

      2. .human

        I got my congresscritters’, Jim Himes (D-CT), email newsletter yesterday. He used all of the 1/6 talking points. I finally decided to unsubscribe.

    4. Robert Hahl

      It’s too soon to say but I agree, this sounds like their GOTV theme for the mid-terms. A chart on NC a day or two ago showed that due to gerrymandering it’s impossible for Democrats to loose more than 48 House seats. I’ll bet they loose 50, and 5 in the Senate. Anyone care to give me odds? Looser to donate the proceeds to this web site.

  12. Martin Oline

    Patrick Armstrong has a new Situation Report on Russia dated January 6 here.
    I mention it because there is a section in it headed “The Death Of Irony” with hyperlinks of Make stuff up, get caught, whine. This deals with the book Putin’s People that was written some time back by Catherine Belton who was sued over the content by some of the subjects in her book now living in the West. She was a reporter in Moscow for a London paper.

    I wondered a while back in the comments section here about the reaction of Londoners to the emigration of the Russian Oligarchs to their city and the resulting rise in real estate prices. I also wondered about the rise in crime as most of these boys probably believe the rules don’t apply to exceptional people like themselves. One of the responses I got was a recommendation to read this book. I finally got it through the local library and I must say there isn’t a lot of there there. I read a lot of non-fiction besides the regular fiction crap I consume, and I don’t think this in any way is a well-researched book. It is merely a hit job on Putin for which there is apparently a ready market in London, Inc. It is full of footnotes that often cite a source as “A banker for a large bank in Moscow.” How can anyone trust a reporter who uses anonymous sources? When the author glosses over the conflict in Belarus by saying the facts of the conflict are “lost in the fog of war” and ignores much of what happened in Kiev she loses what little credibility I was willing to grant her. I am glad she lost the suits the Patrick Armstrong link refers to in the Whine part of the title.

    1. JohnA

      John Helmer has a lot of interesting stuff about Belton and the FT at his Dancing with Bears website. As for Russians affecting London property prices, they buy at the top end (along with various Middle East buyers), so not really the same market as ordinary people, who have been far more affected by the buy-to-let craze over the past 20-30 years. As for crime, the headline gang stabbings are mostly between disadvantaged young blacks on poor housing estates and streets, petty crime is supposedly Latin American/Romanian/Bulgarian/Albanian takeyourpick pickpocket gangs etc. The headline ‘Russian’ crimes, have huge questionmarks and mostly used as a stick to label Russia and by default Putin, as aggressors/gangsters whathaveyou.

    2. Anonymous 2

      Well Belton’s book is a disturbing read for anyone who cares about good government in the UK and I would not express much surprise at her use of anonymous sources. This is very standard in UK journalism – ‘a government official advises’ is pretty much the most common form of words when reporting on UK political developments. Add in that there appears to be a track record of murder in London if someone says something which annoys Putin and I am pretty sure I would keep my identity secret if I was dishing dirt on Russian oligarchs in London.

      The most important charge in Belton’s book (which covers many other things) insofar as the UK is concerned (it is not mostly about the Russsians in the UK) is that senior UK Conservative Party figures are taking money from Russian sources. In this she is pretty much supported by the Chatham House report and of course the House of Commons Committee called for the UK Government to investigate possible links between the Conservative Party and the Russian state. This latter unsurprisingly, given it was a call for the Conservatives to launch an investigation into themselves, has been ignored.

      Saying that Belton lost her suits is not probably the most accurate way to describe what appears to have been an out of court settlement which resulted in agreement that the book would be slightly modified and a payment made to charity. We will have to await the next addition of the book to see what changes have been made to the text but it does not sound as though very much will change or that the overall drift will change – i.e. it will still allege that senior Conservative Party figures are effectively in the pay of Moscow. Something rotten in the state of England?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “He led IDF intel gathering on Iran, was ignored and fears Israel is now paying price”

    It would be ironic if at the end of the day, Israel woke up to the fact that the best thing that Israel could have done to secure its position via Iran was to have supported the JCPOA – the same one that they encouraged Trump to leave. So let us play a game of ‘What if.’ With the deal in place and the benefits flowing to Iran, Rouhani and the moderates in Iran would have found their position strengthened politically leading him to win the previous election which would have encouraged the Iranian moderates even more. Both the US and the EU would have made a boat-load of money by selling gear that Iran would have needed to update its economy & infrastructure – everything from jet-liners to industrial generators. Tensions would have eased in the Gulf and the States there might have found it in their interests to establish deeper relations to sort out disagreements and to establish trade ties. Over time, as Iran opened up, it may be that the introduction of people, tourists, technology media and the like would have mellowed out the country more which would have undermined the religious establishment. The US could then have transferred their military resources out of the Gulf as no longer being required to send to their latest hobby-horse – China. Yeah, coulda, woulda, shoulda.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Politics is local. For the Saudis, any kind of semi-democratic and accepted Islamic country might give the locals ideas. Why do the Wahaabiists need the House of Saud when they could be the supreme council and have an arrangement similar to Iran? Or even a baathist style government with stronger religious ties?

      For Israel, this would represent a decline in their own arms industry and a loss of prestige as it wouldn’t matter.

      Potential good for the people and states on the map are second to the concerns of local elites.

    2. David

      As often, people in the intelligence services, if they are professionals, have a far better and more realistic idea of what’s going on than do the politicians. At the end of the Soviet Union, and at the end of the apartheid era in South Africa, it was the intelligence services that recognised the game was up before anyone else

      The problem that Israel has with Iran is existential. Just by existing, Iran prevents them acquiring hegemony in the Middle East. It’s too big to attack without incurring unacceptable retaliation, it’s a long way away, it’s not dependent on other states, it has a decent military capability in some areas, it’s not an Arab state, and it’s not the kind of artificial post-colonial-perched-on-top-of Ottoman state typical of the Levant. It’s actually a problem without a solution, which is not what politicians like to hear.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Maybe we can hold next year’s re-enactment of the 1/6 Capitol Riots at the FBI’s headquarters so most of the principals won’t have to leave work?

  14. Larry

    Emily Oster and other prominent “thought-leaders” will do anything possible to justify the Biden’s titanic failure. And I’m sure a nice side bonus is getting plenty of funding, media attention, and no doubt feelers from the sitting Presidential administration.

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm…. “Feelers” from Politicos. Something doesn’t sound quite right with that sentence.
      (Like Biden and his “Hands On” political style. Not to mention the Clintons and their Epstein connections.)

  15. Michael

    San Diego morning news: Another day in paradise

    For the first time in six years, San Diego has experienced sub-70 degree weather for a whole month.

    At least 86 workers at the city of San Diego received advanced termination notices for failing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a mandate passed by the City Council in December.

    Sanitation workers at Republic Services voted against ending their almost three-week-long strike against the company over labor disputes, leaving many homes with overflowing trash bins.

    County officials are urging people who are sick, but not severely so, to refrain from going to the emergency room as the winter COVID-19 surge continues to tax hospital resources.

    The city of San Diego is working to close parking lots at dozens of coastal parks and beach areas overnight, arguing it will help reduce late night parties, bonfires, gang activity and unauthorized camping.

    1. Michael Ismoe


      Bill Gates’ investment arm, Cascade Investment, is constantly increasing its position in Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG). In two latest filings, Cascade Investment, managed by Michael Larson (who also manages the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust) revealed acquiring almost 1.30 million shares.

    2. griffen

      I had a fine time visiting SD, but that was June 2006. I regret not getting out to visit the city more when I did. I almost always tune into the annual golf tournament at Torrey Pines, which looks like a golf heaven to most serious or semi-serious players.

      Looks like the sh*t tornado is swirling in 2022.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I believe that the government ended price controls on natural gas – in January in the Russian steppes -which resulted in a doubling of heating costs. The government’s hate for their citizens is not restricted to just the USA elites. It’s worldwide.

      1. jo6pac

        Yes heating cost are up all most all cars run on natural gas and everyone has a car. Then govt. put cost of gas back down but the professional protestors have keep up the battle. It seems like a neither Maiden Lane setup.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Maybe all governments should close for the day on January 6th. It doesn’t work out too well.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Escobar provides not an iota of evidence that this is a color revolution. He apparently believes that local people are incapable of mounting protests or using photocopy machines.

      If the US could mount a color revolution in a country with which it has only a very small commercial interest, and already has a huge Russian minority, then the CIA is a lot more competent that we’ve assumed. Kazakhstan has no land boundary with any western friendly country and none of its various minorities have any relevant connections.

      The country has been a pretty vicious and corrupt autocracy since the fall of the USSR, with mass poverty and abuse of minority groups. Whatever the reason for doubling the price of natural gas, it was an incredibly stupid move which has had an inevitable result.

      If anyone had a motive for stirring things up, its the Russians as the Kazakh government has been relentless over 30 years in keeping Russian influence at bay by playing the Chinese and Iranians and westerners and everyone else off each other in order to maintain their independence. If the government falls, its far more likely to end up with a more pro-Russian regime because of the influence of the Russian minority. Another potential beneficiary are islamacists. So if it is a color revolution by the US, its a particularly strategically stupid one.

      1. Buckeye

        Thank you for your level-headed comment. I’m disgusted with the “blame America” idiocy whenever local citizens rise up against tyranny. Morons like Escobar are also the first ones to deny any Russian influence in America’s politics but see American “evil” in everyone else’s soup.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Escobar is actually quoting unnamed sources that point the finger to UK, which has been keen on “arranging” things in Central Asia for centuries.

          From what I have managed to read from multiple sources, there seem to be many things acting on their own to create this “perfect storm”, so to speak. Power struggle between two clans, Tokayev (new president) vs. Nazarbayev (old president). The latter had his men running the police and security, and after a few days of rioting Tokayev was quick to dismiss both and even take Nazarbayev’s position as head of security council. Which explains why government was kinda slow to react.

          As for the price hike, it really didn’t surprise anybody in a gas dependent economy. In most areas the raise was done slowly starting last year, but in some areas they delayed until it was impossible. Still people protested, peacefully, for a day or two. Then the nationalist opposition, which the government has been flirting with for a few years now, stepped in and overtook the protests with political demands. The opposition is also pro-West, and pandering it has soured the pro-Russian majority so they were not really bothering to defend the government either.

          Then it turned violent, and we spectators were served the extra irony of watching the US remember the horrors of Capitol last year, while “The West” was urging Kazakhstan to respect the right to peaceful demonstration (as in burning government buildings and killing riot polices).

          The only actual signs of a “color revolution” have been the fact that the rioters seemed to be organized even after the Internet was shut down – that doesn’t usually happen in Kazakhstan which is a huge country with sparse population. There were apparently cars driving around giving instructing crowds where to go and what to destroy. Before Internet was cut, there were multiple messages for an opposition phone number in Ukraine to coordinate the action. The same Polish news channel (Nesta) that coordinated the Belarus demonstrations was among the first to publish the political demands. And, of course, the opposition has recently received loads of funding from National Endowment of Democracy.

          There is no proof, just a pattern. It can be satisfactorily explained without MI-6, so who’s to know.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If the US could mount a color revolution in a country with which it has only a very small commercial interest, and already has a huge Russian minority, then the CIA is a lot more competent that we’ve assumed.

        “Color revolution,” like “kompromat,” is a brainworm because it’s a term of art that has been cut loose from its context, but makes the user sound like an expert. In reality, evidence is needed, as for everything else.

        I have no doubt that all the usual suspects attempt to manipulate popular uprisings to their own ends — the US has quite a history of backing fascists in Ukraine, for example. But the picture of a CIA operative opening their trenchcoat to disclose a copy of Gene Sharp’s Politics of Non-Violent Action to wide-eyed, innocent locals… Probably not.

  16. Jason Boxman

    So finally reading Justin Feldman’s post, and this stuck out as I hadn’t seen this, even though quite a lot of the post this familiar territory to NC readers:

    Finally, the Biden administration has exaggerated the proportion of hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the unvaccinated. For instance, Fauci claimed in July, 2021 that only 1% of covid deaths were among vaccinated people, but CDC’s data for the previous week showed the actual figure was 17%. By December, 2021 when Zients assured vaccinated Americans that they had “done the right thing” and “will get through this”, the share of vaccinated deaths had increased to 28%. Vaccines continue to provide powerful risk reduction for severe illness, but they are not a panacea. Amid high viral transmission levels, more than a thousand vaccinated people will continue to die each week (particularly those who are older, immunocompromised, or otherwise high-risk). But 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.

    (bold mine)

    So the Biden administration really is leaving a lot of people to die, vaccinated included. That’s a shockingly high percentage of vaccinated people that they’re killing, and the vaccinated are virtuous, at least at the population level, because it means America is open for business. At the individual level, you can still go die.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > An electronic roll book keeps people from voting twice, Allen said, and there’s a paper trail for every ballot that’s cast. Poll watchers still keep an eye on voting places.

          In other words, fraud is undetectable except by looking at the source code. which is proprietary.

          1. marym

            That would be nothing unique to Chicago. I understand the logic of your point on this, but don’t know how/if/by whom source code is reviewed; how/by whom code would be altered and on what scale (many machines, multiple races, etc.); or if the logic tests, recounts, audits, etc. performed by election workers are statistically and logically valid to identify fraud/error.

            Here’s a sample of something I find on random searches and don’t have qualifications to understand. I know it’s not open source code, but where it stands in the range of “fully open” to “unknowable and and subject to manipulation” isn’t something I can evaluate.

    1. newcatty

      Remember: Albright explaining to the American public: Children died. It was worth it.

      To save our democracy, our way of life, freedoms!, economy, children’s mental and social health, college life, brunch, Valentine’s Day, St, Parick’s Day, Easter (Spring Break) unfortunately more people will ( be sacrificed) die. “Wars” on poverty, drugs, terrorism, our enemies are justified. Praise profits and pass the “vaccines”.

      1. newcatty

        Sorry, needed to edit first. St, Parick’s Day should have been St. Patrick’s Day in above comments. Maybe he can be reincarnated and come to this country and drive out our snakes in human disguise.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Cuba’s vaccine success story sails past mark set by rich world’s Covid efforts”

    January 2022 – Cuba announces that more than 90% of the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose of Cuba’s homegrown vaccines, while 83% have been fully inoculated.

    July 2022 – Cuba announces the successful development and trials of a sterilizing vaccine which eliminates the Coronavirus permanently after only one shot, thus eliminating the need for multiple, costly shots and boosters as seen with the main vaccines being used.

    August 2022 – Cuba is extensively bombed and an international naval blockaded set up around the island as it has become ‘a threat to international peace & security.’

  18. griffen

    Link above to the brief interview with the Theranos whistleblower. The young man, who is now 31, took a career risk alerting regulatory authorities and a reported. Then he took a much harder risk, perhaps in some families, of alienating his grandfather. Tyler Schultz saw something in his lab work that made him question what exactly was going on here. Good on him.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Totally agree. The NPR article said that Tyler Schultz had a ‘falling out with his grandfather’ over what he was trying to tell him. I have no idea why NPR is trying to polish the turd of Tyler’s treatment here. When he became suspected as a source, Tyler was ambushed in his grandfather’s living room by Theranos lawyers and threatened with lawsuits if he kept talking about the company. So George Schultz must have helped set up that ambush and sided with Theranos against his own grandson because, well, money is thicker than blood I guess. I read somewhere that the two of them for a very long time were only able to communicate using lawyers though the senior Schultz eventually reconciled with his grandson when the truth came out.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        George Schultz was on the board at Theranos. Why isn’t he being sued for perpetrating a fraud?

        1. griffen

          There is information available; I found something on NPR (groan, I sorta know) where Mattis’ involvement with the company as an investor and as a board member. While Mattis invested personal savings, the board pay was $150,000 per year. We discussed it earlier in the week, but the listing of “serious men and women” heavy hitters on the board, and the initial investing rounds, was pretty astounding.

          I can’t comment exactly on your question and wish to avoid the penalty box today. Theranos was not a public company; as a privately held corporation surely the rules vary. The company was ultimately fraudulent, but the Mom and Dad 401k was certainly not impacted by this.

        2. Maritimer

          I listened to the audiobook version of Thicker Than Water by Tyler Shultz. Lot of lessons there for Americans. The first being nepotism, Tyler having gotten his inside Theranos job because of Gramps. Lotta big names conned by Liz which doesn’t say much for the Ruling Class. An interesting point is that ambulance chaser extraordinaire, David Boies, who is gushed over as a preeminent AC, was also conned by Liz. He was on the Theranos Board at one time. Presently, DB is off with the Hounds after foxy Prince Andy.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Lotta big names conned by Liz which doesn’t say much for the Ruling Class.

            “Crime makes you stupid.” –Detective Frank Pembleton, Homicide: Life on the Street

      2. Andrew

        I don’t know if I would be able to forgive my grandfather if he pulled a stunt like that. Hopefully the “reconciliation” came with an eye watering number of zeroes on the end.

  19. Pat

    Adams goes to deep red Staten Island to have a press conference lauding the decision to keep schools open both for today’s 6” snowfall and for the Omicron tsunami*. I missed his comments, but I fully expect the Chancellor’s to be ridiculed, what with the sun coming out and eagles flying above the storm.

    *Anecdotal information indicates if attendance wasn’t down by 30+%, staffing is so decimated they wouldn’t even be able to pretend the schools were anything but wholesale housing of students during school hours.

  20. Mildred Montana

    >Dick Cheney who shot an old man in the face (accidentally, on a 2006 quail-hunt)

    According to the article, ten years after the incident Cheney still has not apologized to victim Harry Whittington.

    On the other hand, here’s what the recipient of a face-full of Cheney’s birdshot (which he sports to this day) had to say:

    “My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week,” he said.

    One of the good things about being a sociopath? You never have to say sorry.

    1. griffen

      I always thought of Cheney in serious terms, like a serious villain or antihero from movies. And for particular film relevance, thinking of the role of Darth Vader. See anyone live in those films that dares to question, insult, or somehow deter Lord Vader from his plans or the Empire’s goals? The memes available are quite humorous.

      Yeah, it never really goes well. Not even for Luke! I’ll never join you, I’ll never join the Dark Side!

        1. griffen

          Yes good call. And now some 2 years since the Rise of Skywalker was released, we know that the Emperor Palpatine had cheated death and somehow lived on in some life support / mirage hokum. Not the same as a pacemaker, but oh the comparison does work for me.

  21. jr

    All this talk of Hamilton got the creative juices flowing in my lower intestines and I lit upon an idea so bold, so daring, an edu-tainment media event unlike anything you’ve ever seen before:

    Hamilton: Time Traveler!

    Join us for a new Netflix series that explores the What if? side of history! Scientific genius Benjamin Franklin perfects a time machine and accidentally sends Hamilton into the future where he encounters the cast of West Wing! In this alternate reality, Hillary is well into her second term after having publicly decried Bill’s sexual predation on children and dumped him unceremoniously. President Clinton and her plucky team of Ivy Leaguers, NGO-fessionals, and strategically placed disabled trans people of color are faced with a dire threat to American democracy! Deplorables have stormed the gates and are performing belly-slap concerts in the Capitol building! A non-Congress member has their feet up on the desk! The drapes!

    Lin-Manuel has been summoned to the White House to perform a spoken word piece in an attempt to quell the savages but will it be enough? As his NPR-smooth voice rings out through the loudspeakers set up at the Capitols perimeter, a vulgar roar erupts from the building and a hail of Modelo cans rains down upon the security forces. How can even these apes resist the savvy but sophisticated tones of Miranda? Who can deny his special status as a person of color holding up the fun-house mirror of American history to our collective face with a loving but reproving smile? Can nothing reach these louts?!

    It is in this maelstrom of posturing and propagandizing that Hamilton finds himself engulfed. Soon he, Hillary, and Manuel have joined forces, an alliance of Those Who Know Best! Can commodified art, some banjo-accompanied political dickering, break-dancing colonials, and the presumed best of intentions wrest control of the Capitol building from the non-wine drinking horde? Join us and see!

    1. fresno dan

      January 7, 2022 at 9:30 am

      what if?
      Seems more like a documentary (other than the fact that I think Aaron Burr got sent instead of Hamilton) – I don’t think the show will last more than 3 episodes, as the American people are not ready for such gritty revealings of the nation’s underbelly

    2. Grebo

      Deplorables have stormed the gates and are performing belly-slap concerts in the Capitol building!

      A wonderful image, but that can’t possibly be a thing can it? Yes it can: Belly-Slapping Music

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Scientific genius Benjamin Franklin perfects a time machine and accidentally sends Hamilton into the future where he encounters the cast of West Wing!

      That’s quite the elevator pitch. Please kill me now.

  22. griffen

    Flying empty planes to maintain landing spots. I do suppose that is a plan, to retain them must be a better alternative than losing the rights and then having to start over.

    There is just something about the story that is so…Stephen King oddball horror film*, of just doing something for the sake of looking busy. But flying empty planes all over the EU!?!

    *There has to be a precedent here, even if on film or TV.

      1. griffen

        I keep thinking of terms of satire, like a Mel Brooks film. Pick your favorite out of his, but Gene Wilder has to be involved ( I quote a favorite below). The leadership and elites in charge broadly resemble, to varied degrees I suggest, the government of Petomaine with the ever excellent Hedley by his side. Protect our phony goverment positions! Down into the weeds we could go.

        “These people are the pioneers, the common clay of the West…you know, morons.”

  23. Mikel

    “Eggs-tremely early! Chocolate eggs are filling supermarket shelves already – nearly four MONTHS before Easter” Daily Mail

    The product must have an interesting shelf life.
    With that in mind, and all of the various supply chain issues from labor to logistics, how do you know this is just spin on very LATE orders from 2021 Easter just arriving?

    1. JBird4049

      I hope nobody is mistaking them for actual food. It might be blasphemous to say this, but I think it would be a miracle almost on par with the Resurrection. They are like Wonder Bread, aka Wonder Air, or McDonald’s fast “food.” Tasty, unnutritious food substitutes brought to you by the wonderful people at companies like Dow Chemical, Monsanto, and Tyson’s.

    2. Maritimer

      Good for them too! I already got all my Easter stuff and am now working on July 4 necessities. Since I may be banned at any time for not having my nth Pfizer injection, I’m not taking any chances of being caught short for holidays.

  24. Ghost in the Machine

    The solar system belongs to us all, not just Jeff Bezos

    I am not really worried about bezos hoarding the space goodies. It is a shameful waste of resources though. It really isn’t energetically and materially feasible and it is extraordinarily hostile to life out here. I encourage him to try on his own dime though. Him first. To paraphrase the 1984 Dune movie: “Go now. Take him to his Space. To die.”

  25. the suck of sorrow

    Regarding Jim Kramer on wresting the government body controlling the Covid reponse from the CDC to Homeland Security: Hopefully it is harder to sneak a viral infection past them than a firearm in your luggage.
    Speaks volumes, quite unfortunately for us, that Walensky is so very incompetent.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the government body controlling the Covid reponse from the CDC to Homeland Security:

      Putting DHS in charge would be madness, but is there evidence CDC is actually controlling anything? I think the Biden administration controls it all — and that would include DHS.

  26. Alex Morfesis

    People will never forget 1/6…ouch…oops sorry…fell off the barstool laughing…Americans can’t remember yesterday’s fear pron eyeball catching angst maker…100 plus years ago, during WW1, Germany set off a massive explosive in New York harbor which left scars on the statue of liberty… Marcus Garvey was hit by three bullets and survived the assassination attempt… The Bolsheviks did NOT remove the Romanovs it was other members of the Russian nobility…Marines invade and occupy Veracruz..the Lusitania is sunk…That Spanish flu thingee… January 1910 Paris floods due to global warming as the river rises 28 feet above normal (there was global warming back then right ?)… January 1920 3 thousand arrested to satisfy ego and ambition of one certain j Edgar…Lenin dies after attempting to remove Stalin from power and Wilson dies a few days later and a few weeks later the world hears about some drunken mustached fellow from Austria in Germany claiming to be the new fearless leader while getting drunk with his friends in a beer hall…that little fellow then decided the Olympic games salute is something his followers should replicate when cheering him on…April 1935 dust storms rage across America…June 1938, Earl Browder, head of us communist party, admits his connection to Moscow…today his grandson gives us the magnitsky dance…

    Americans forget quickly and often…was trump’s Jan 6 attempt to cling to power a keystone cop version of a coup attempt…yes…it was not simply drunk tourists…

    but it will be long forgotten 40 years from now…

  27. Kouros

    Thank you for the little bit of good news here: Indonesia revokes more than 2,000 mining and plantation permits

    For years I stopped buying products with palm oil. I really do feel for those orangutans…

  28. lordkoos

    Speaking of That Which Cannot Be Named, there was no mention of it the NY Times piece I noticed. “Lifesaving Covid Treatments Face Rationing as Virus Surges Again”. Glad I stocked up in the fall and summer.

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