Links 12/28/2022

Things All Cats Do That Prove They Are Psychopaths The Onion

Baidu Starts Offering Nighttime Driverless Taxis in China Techcrunch

Psychedelic Drugs May Launch a New Era in Psychiatric Treatment, Brain Scientists Say NPR

Growing vaccine hesitancy fuels measles, chickenpox resurgence in U.S. Washington Post

Lisa in Emily in Little Paris n+1 (Anthony L)



Three years on, the pandemic — and our response — have been jolting. Here’s what even the experts didn’t see coming STAT (NorD94)

The virus behind COVID-19 is mutating and immune-evasive. Here’s what that means CBC (guurst)

Class switch towards non-inflammatory, spike-specific IgG4 antibodies after repeated SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination Science. Peer reviewed. Bothered by the intro depicting the mRNA vaccines as >90% effective in preventing infection, as opposed to severe outcomes. Small sample. Layperson take: VERY URGENT: Do Covid mRNA vaccines damage our ability to control the coronavirus after a booster shot? Alex Bereson. From IM Doc:

Small sample size. Again someone needs to do much more broad work.

But the scary part – it is a logarithmic scale on the infamous chart. Dear God, that is way way worse than it looks at first blush. And it appears to have a very low scatter. In other words, the dozens of patients all appear to be having the same type of reaction. That cannot be good.


Covid-19 outbreaks test China’s position at centre of global supply chain South China Morning Post

China Removes More Covid Travel Restrictions With New Passports, Permits Bloomberg


The Year the Pandemic “Ended” (Part III) The New Inquiry (KLG). Link to Parts I, II, and III.


Micron joins the United States’ tech layoff parade Asia Times (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Dehumanizing the enemy Gilbert Doctorow

Against all odds: How Russia is failing in Ukraine DW

Ukraine war: Civilians flee Kherson as Russian attacks intensify BBC

Retired USMC Colonel Andy Milburn Surprisingly Tells Some Truth About Ukraine Larry Johnson

Putin announced a war with the oligarchs in Russia: “These people are a danger to us” Moskovsky Komsomolets

Energy crunch will trigger eurozone contraction in 2023, economists warn Financial Times

Vladimir Putin bans Russian oil exports to countries that imposed price cap over Ukraine war ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Putin bans all oil sales to ‘price cap’ states RT (rjs)

Ethnic Serbs erect more roadblocks as tensions soar in Kosovo AlJazeera

Sri Lanka farmers count the cost of government fertiliser ban Financial Times


UN rights chief urges Taliban to drop restrictions on women Politico

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

For Sale on eBay: A Military Database of Fingerprints and Iris Scans New York Times (BC)

Documenting Police Tech in Our Communities with Open Source Research Axis of Surveillance. BC: “Good investigative research source.”

Amazon Begins Testing Drone Deliveries in California, Texas PCmag

Cyber attacks set to become ‘uninsurable’, says Zurich chief Financial Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Kissinger Continuum: The Unauthorized History of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders Program Unlimited Hangout

Afghanistan & Haiti: failed as autocracies and democracies Responsible Statecraft


The Devastating New History of the January 6th Insurrection New Yorker


Supreme Court orders Title 42 border restrictions to remain in place The Hill

Police State Watch

‘Oh Lord!’: 82-Year-Old Alabama Woman Locked Up for Not Paying $77 Trash Bill Breaking911 (Kevin W). Existing story but now has bodycam release.

Maryland Lawmakers Want to Stop Criminal Cops From Getting Their Pensions Vice

Our No Longer Free Press

In Response to the Twitter Files, Establishment Media Rushes to Defend the FBI Leighton Woodhouse

The Bezzle

Lawyer Fees Mount in Crypto Bankruptcies Financial Times

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried Borrowed From Alameda To Buy Robinhood Shares Coindesk

Emails Reportedly Show Ex-Regulators Helped SBF Get Ins With the CFTC Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Sam Bankman-Fried was reportedly visited by ‘Big Short’ author for ‘several hours’ while under house arrest Business Insider

Trump and Prince Andrew judge will preside over SBF cryptocurrency case Guardian (Kevin W)

Silicon Valley is coming for your gut biome NBC

Disneyland is charging $185 for this luxurious drink served in a cookie cup SFGate (Paul R)

Southwest Airlines Fliers Contend With Lost Luggage Along With Canceled Flights Wall Street Journal

Southwest Canceled 5,400 Flights In Less Than 48 Hours NPR

Further evidence of real [real estate] declines since summer Angry Bear

Class Warfare

UK trade union bureaucracy tries to sabotage mounting strike wave WSWS

Karens for Hire Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

What are career closets? More colleges help cash-strapped students with job-ready clothes PhysOrg

Retirees Are One Reason the Fed Has Given Up on a Big Worker Rebound New York Times (Kevin W)

A Note on Minimum Age for Mandatory Retirement Fund Distributions Dean Baker

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Things All Cats Do That Prove They Are Psychopaths”

    They only keep us around because they haven’t figured out how to open up tins of cat food by themselves yet.

    1. Matthew G. Saroff

      I disagree. My feline overlords allow me to feed and pet them because they like me, as opposed to dogs, who are constantly negotiating complex social order inside the pack.

      I love my psychopathic killing machines.

        1. Wukchumni

          Einstein (the brains of the outfit) has got feline Mensa potential-although his brother Thor is a bit of a dullard, and only went to grade school and worked at most of the fast food places until his long fur became an issue when shedding.

          Einstein is the negotiator for the rest of the hair’m, and vocalizes urgent wants like he was a born leader, if the litter box is in need, he’ll meow me over to it, or if requesting fresher dry food other than what’s in the automatic feeders, who am I to deny his pleas?

            1. Dictynna

              My long-departed ginger was lacking in the brains department, but the same can be said of my current black and white cat.

        1. jrkrideau

          Killing machines? M neighbour’s cat practically adopted a local squirrel. She, the cat, had no objection to it spending the night or sharing dry food.

    2. Steven A

      They haven’t YET figured out how to open a can of cat food, but one of my felines manages to punch open one end of a tube of salmon purée treats with her teeth. She then presses her paw on the other end (like a tube of toothpaste) and licks the contents as they emerge from the small holes left by her teeth. How much longer before I become superfluous to her and her sister?

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    first, i am not “anti-vax”…and i hate that i feel i must issue such a qualifier.
    i’ve refused to get a 3rd booster of the mrna shot, because of the worrisome reports i keep seeing here.
    the moderna is what’s available out here for adults…pfizer for my youngest(almost 17—didn’t get him a booster either)
    the idea of such an experimental platform has worried me since the beginning….i was aware of this mrna platform before covid, in doing research for wife’s cancer…so i knew from the get-go that it was at best a stopgap. the studies, going way back, indicated problems with autoimmunity and lots of other weird things.
    i’d leap at the chance to get an “old fashioned” vaccine for covid…and it appears there are some…but they aint available anywhere near me.
    this unavailability is, itself, worrisome…in a tinfoily herd management way.
    my question is, are there any non-Mrna vaccines available in the USA?
    if so, where can i get one?
    or do i hafta go to Mexico or Cuba?
    is there a black or gray market?(i mean, i can order pretty much anything else online,lol)

    1. mrsyk

      My love and I got the Novavax as a second booster following two rounds of the J and J, for what it’s worth. Anecdotally, we both caught caught covid less than two weeks after the N shot (our mechanic gave it to me, me to her). Both of us had “mild” cases, but the cost of carry is, of course, unknown.
      We had to ask for, then insist on the Novavax. There was pushback.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        rummaging online, “vax near me”, etc.
        not disappointed, bc its as bad as i expected.

        closest is 60 miles, and none of them are places i otherwise go to for anything.
        local clinic has “limited amounts” of moderna and pfizer…on thursdays only.
        it all just reinforces the uncomfortable spidey sense i got in feb 2020 that they’re trying to thin the herd.
        i’m old enough to remember when we were a more or less serious country.
        (ie: jonas salk pic, framed, in school nurse’ office-first i’d ever heard of him)
        i got 2 shots of moderna, from the Texas National Guard, no less, in the county barn where we had our wedding.
        but i’d rather not be a lab rat any more.
        i’d hoped there would be alternatives by now.

        1. BeliTsari

          1952 in Pittsburgh, “patent the SUN,” was a pretty snappy buzz-phrase? Had to fight to get Novavax @ E83rd & Lex! Now, a month later, MY love is going for a root-canal at the same swanky Midtown endodontist where I’d gotten BA.1 a year ago. She’s a few months into her Moderna bivalent, so this should prove interesting. Two young women treating me (both in N95, Winix HEPA, no far-UVC) were among 4 people who’d NOT been infected that week. >25% of the city did. Most, felt it’d been their kids, but I’d argued proximity to the open bathroom? I know an exceeding hip sounding person, who’s about to try scheduling a shot; but apparently folks confuse mucosal vaccine with nasal/ inhaler administration? Fingers CROSSED, but a LOT of the Novavax advocates seem kinda Panglossy fan-boy, on Twitter. Too much magical thinking, denial & echo-chamber hive-mind, here!

        2. Rainlover

          I have been holding out for the Novavax shot for over a year since my only J&J shot last fall. I am finally scheduled to receive it this week so I’ll let you know how I do. I am highly immune compromised so it may have no effect, but it is a two shot regime with the second shot administered after 3 to 8 weeks.

          I’m getting it at my local fire station. There has been NO advertisement of these clinics. Even my high class cancer center in Seattle does not offer it in spite of the fact that UW Medicine was one of the developers of this vaccine. I just had to keep digging and finally it began showing up on our County vaccine listings.

          I sympathize with your rural troubles. I used to live on the North Olympic Peninsula and there were similar problems there with obtaining the latest medical treatments. This vaccine has been in use in Europe for some time already.

          If we’ve had to wait a whole year for a EUA for this vaccine in the U.S., think how long we’ll probably have to wait before an effective nasal vaccine is offered to us poor serfs.

    2. Ben Joseph

      This actually dovetails with the Walgreens data that showed higher positivity rates after 3 shots compared to 2.

      The suggestion is tachyphylaxis emerges in IgG. In non-medical English, it appears to turn into allergy shots with the boosters.

      1. John Beech

        I developed an allergy to eggs after the Moderna vaccine. Correlated or causative? Dunno.

        Meanwhile, I’ve tried every fake egg known to man. Plus whites only, yolks only, and no joy. So after consuming eggs, then like a clock, 5-6 hours afterwards, I develop a deep bellyache and diarrhea.

        No-nos includes mayonnaise. Forget about Hollandaise, too. Even scarfing down ‘one’ 8″ pancake sets me off.

        Sure, it could be worse, like I could develop anaphylaxis, but this is bad enough.

        I miss eggs. Sigh.

        1. Laura in So Cal

          A heaping tablespoon of soy flour mixed with some water substitutes for the egg in pancake recipes and will produce an acceptable pancake. I had a toddler with a transitory allergy to egg protein and this trick worked ok.

          My Mom developed the exact same problem with eggs a few years ago at age 78?. I don’t know if it was associated with any sort of vax, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

        2. Milton

          Chickpea water (Aquafaba) has been used as an egg substitute for eons. I’ve successfully made vegan versions of cookies, pancakes, and Swedish meatballs.

    3. John Zelnicker

      Amfortas – I got the J&J shot when it became available here in Mobile. It’s an “old-fashioned” vaccine based on an adenovirus. I believe it is still available, but I haven’t checked. I wish you good luck finding it somewhere near you.

      I was wary of the mRNA vaccines from the beginning since that name indicates they are messing with genetics. That requires much more research on safety and effectiveness than what I could find in order for me to be comfortable. I don’t think you’re being tinfoily at all. Dark patterns are a real thing.

      I have avoided all vaccines or boosters since then. Instead, I’ve been masked (N95) whenever I go out and that isn’t very often. So far *knock wood*, *fingers crossed* I haven’t caught the bug.

      1. Mikel

        J&J was the one of the three companies providing shots that admitted in early 2021 that they were non-sterilizing.
        I noted from that point on all the media focused on was mNRA shots and the (wink wink) immunity and getting back to normal.
        People proceed to get those shots, go out, and spread Covid then …pow…the omnicron variants. Wild spike proteins appear that hadn’t been present in the earlier ongoing and constant mutaions that were occuring pre-shot.

        I also remember BS articles early in 2020 acting like it was a debate whether or not the virus would mutate.
        For crying out loud, it wasn’t like the chicken pox and there was no sterilizing vaccine. If the virus spreads under those conditions it will mutate.

        But no…it was framed as debatable for the infantanilized population that can not deal with reality. It’s the part of the population that prefers the comfort of lies to shield themselves from solving serious problems which belie claims to “progress.”

        1. John Zelnicker

          Mikel – “People proceed to get those shots, go out, and spread Covid then …pow…”

          Everything is going according to plan.

    4. Jabura Basaidai

      i know the feeling – got the pfizer early ’21 then wondered why i did it since i wasn’t ill and followed a strict mask policy and aside from grocery shopping was never around crowds – but the novavax interested me – i have a bovine valve replacement and was concerned by what i was reading about the virus effects on our circulatory system and thought it might be a good idea to get another vax but not mRNA or any of the three initially offered – so i waited and was able to get the 2-shot novavax when offered in michigan – but continued reading the great coverage in NC about the virus led me to not get any more shots and keep masking and staying away from crowds – it ain’t over by a long shot imho – the cdc has a vax finder website i used to find out where to get novavax shots – and i got both shots not their booster, choose the Primary Vaccine link at the site – here’s the link – good luck and keep masking!

    5. skk

      I listened to Dr. McCullough’s interview with qtr on the podbean podcast app, since it was banned on youtube. Interesting interview. I’m glad I stopped taking the vaccine after the 1st booster in last Dec. 2021.

    6. playon

      I’ve had three MNRA shots, two Pfizer and a Moderna booster — then subsequently got COVID twice in 2022, the first infection was just a few months after the booster. Not only are the jabs possibly dangerous, they don’t seem to work very well. No more MNRA shots for me, ever.

      Novavax is available here in WA state but you have to beg for it, and it only targets the original strain of the virus so probably not useful against Omicron strains and sub-variants.

    7. LifelongLib

      I guess I’m a guinea pig — I’ve had five Moderna shots total (the two initials, two boosters, and the bivalent). AFAIK no side effects. I have a couple of health issues but they pre-date the whole Covid thing. Haven’t got Covid yet, but live alone, distance and mask when I’m in public. I know the vaccines aren’t a panacea but in the absence of side effects they seem less risky (for me) than a full-intensity case.

    8. BlakeFelix

      I might be wrong, but I think that the new bivalent is probably worth it, although I wish it was more obvious.

  3. timbers

    Supreme Court orders Title 42 border restrictions to remain in place

    Gorsuch said in a dissenting opinion that “the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis.”

    “And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency,” he wrote. “We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”

    And yet:

    Not a single Supreme Court Justice said in dissenting opinion that “the pink misting of American 16 year old child Abdulrahman al-Awlaki who was not a terrorist or threat in anyway and no US law or AUMF can be construed in even the remotest sense to justify his murder.”

    “And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address their own bad laws that inflict violence upon a complete non threat and totally innocent action of an American Citizen peacefully living his life,” Nobody wrote. “We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”

    1. JP

      Not that the one example you present has anything to do with the other but that the Supreme court has always been selective for a principle to stand on has always been its nature.

      Not really following the logic but if US citizen = murder, if not US citizen = collateral damage?

      Some years ago whilst railing against some local injustice I was warned by a wiser friend to pick my battles carefully. It requires a public response to fight legal lethargy. Unless the indignation is contagious that war is lost. In a country wrought by social disintegration no one cares about what doesn’t directly affect them. Probably a lot more people die daily from neglect then the randomnity of war. Which is worse? and what does that have to do with migration?

      1. timbers

        The subject has everything to with each other. If the Supremes can ignore murdering American children as legal then surely they can ignore enforcing immigration law as legal, or anything else they wise to ignore as legal.

  4. Roger Blakely

    Three years on, the pandemic — and our response — have been jolting. Here’s what even the experts didn’t see coming STAT (NorD94)

    Best paragraph:

    Farrar likewise did not expect transmission of Covid to be high this far into our experience with the SARS-2 virus. “I would not have guessed way back then, when there was natural immunity plus vaccination that we would still, three years on, have such high community transmission, and that’s really worrying to me.”

    1. Daryl

      At this point, we’re really watering down the terms “immunity” and “vaccination” by bandying them about w.r.t covid, when we haven’t developed immunity or vaccines.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, the extent to which people are COVID stupid is terrifying, especially among the elite that actually set policy and social norms.

        But then, because markets.

        I suppose the US no longer has to worry much about a Chinese century though, given China has unleashed COVID among its population without any theory of transmission after 3 years and ample evidence of what that theory ought to be.


      2. Mikel

        And to your point about the narrative around “immunity” and “vaccination”, there is this:

        “The virus behind COVID-19 is mutating and immune-evasive. Here’s what that means” CBC

        WTH? Covid has been mutating and will keep mutating because there is no sterilizing vaccine. Never has been and wasn’t a requirement for the emergency approval for the ongoing mass experimemt.

        Anti-bodies from catching Covid were always TEMPORARY AND SHORT TERM.

        BS articles like the one above are just a$$- covering for lies that have been told about the effectiveness about the shots and the mind-bongling stupidity of people believing and pushing a “herd immunity” narrative about a coronavirus.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Cyber attacks set to become ‘uninsurable’, says Zurich chief”

    Actually this may be more true than this article lets on. I just earlier came across an article where Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said that the

    ‘Ukraine poses a global challenge to the international community, as the country is being used by NATO as a vehicle for the uncontrolled distribution of cyberweapons.

    Speaking to RIA Novosti, Syromolotov stated that the “threats posed by Ukraine in the information space are of a universal nature.”

    He went on to say that the US-led military bloc “is essentially distributing digital weapons in an uncontrolled fashion” via Ukraine.

    These activities could trigger “unpredictable consequences for all members of the international community,” the deputy foreign minister warned. “Today, it is Russia which is in the crosshairs, and tomorrow it may be any other state that Washington dislikes.”

    I could have kicked myself for not thinking about this earlier. Yes, the Collective West is shipping artillery, tanks, APCs, ammo, etc. but of course they would have also been sending the Ukrainians some of their latest cyberwarfare weaponry to attack Russia with as well. DC would have insisted on it as it was helping arm the Ukrainians without being accountable for doing so while being able to deny any involvement at all. I’ll let you imagine what the Ukrainians must be doing with all those cyberweapons. Selling it on the black market? Using it for fun and profit? I think that we will find out before long-

    1. vao

      “Cyber attacks set to become ‘uninsurable’, says Zurich chief”

      There is a stark evolution towards risks becoming uninsurable: cyber attacks, climate-change-related catastrophes (wildfires, floods, coastal subsidence).

      What more?

      I have a hunch that once the medium to long-term impact of repeated SARS-Cov-2 infections has been properly ascertained (e.g. increased susceptibility to contagious diseases or cancer, and reduced life expectancy), some health risks will become uninsurable too (wait for the corresponding itemized questions in insurance application forms).

      What about damages caused by increasingly frequent interruptions of energy supply — e.g. pipes freezing and then bursting in Texas homes when the electricity network went down — as the energy infrastructure decays or becomes unreliable because of supply shortages?

      As the environment and the societal framework degrade, financial techniques will prove insufficient (or prohibitely expensive) for buffering risk. The retrenchment of insurance cover will lead to a creeping internalization of risks, i.e. a different form of “you are on your own”.

      1. Wukchumni

        The retrenchment of insurance cover will lead to a creeping internalization of risks, i.e. a different form of “you are on your own”.

        Think of it as an updated ‘Sinatra Doctrine’ in the endgame of our collapse, in the usual Bizarro World style to how it went down back in the USSR.

        The Sinatra Doctrine was a Soviet foreign policy under Mikhail Gorbachev for allowing member states of the Warsaw Pact to determine their own internal affairs. The name jokingly alluded to the song My Way popularized by Frank Sinatra—the Soviet Union was allowing these states to go their own way. Its implementation was part of Gorbachev’s doctrine of new political thinking. (Wiki)

    2. Skip Intro

      I assumed they had already downloaded the latest and greatest from Vault 7, and don’t forget Crowdstrike’s Ukrainian connections.

  6. griffen

    I am wondering if indeed there is a book being written, then Michael Lewis is certainly a prime choice for writing about SBF and the FTX and crypto fallout. Apologies if Lewis is not to your liking, but I’ve enjoyed seeing his books converted into film. Highly recommend seeing the Blind Side if you’re unfamiliar, even though the book’s main subject was somewhat dismissive after the film’s release. Alas, Michael Oher did make a nice sum of moolah for playing an OT in the NFL.

  7. Milton

    In case anyone needs a ladder for the Time’s story regarding older workers not coming back.
    I can imagine our betters looking at the graphs shown and deciding that the retirement line is too young–it needs to be extended out to, let’s say, 75. That should bring those entitled boomers back to the workforce.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘One minute and fifteen seconds of truth about the 🇺🇦 war.’

    When Clare Daly said that the money given to the Ukraine are loans which they will default on leading to activation of neoliberalsm demands, I believe that it will be vital for the EU to get their money back again. I heard Alexander Mercouris say the other day that the EU was actually having to go out onto the international market to borrow the money to make these loans with. If true, then the EU cannot let themselves be on the hook for them without something solid in return i.e. chunks of Ukraine.

    No, change that. If those loans went bad, then it would be up to the EU taxpayers to pay back those loans but those seizures of Ukrainians assets may end up profiting certain individuals and corporations instead i.e. friends of EU politicians, without much flowing back to the EU itself. But as a kicker, what if a lot of those ‘assets’ end up being the new part of the Russian Federation? Then nobody in the west gets their money back. And the EU is on the hook for all those loans with little to show for it.

    1. ambrit

      Don’t forget all of those ‘kinetic’ “assets” showing up on the ‘Black Market” in a town or city near you.
      Never forget, one person’s ‘terrorist’ is another person’s ‘freedom fighter.’ Add to this the growing realization that “terrorism” comes in all scents and flavours; ie. domestic, regional, international.
      Now, all the above can be considered as a formula for rampant anarchist violence. However, do look closely. Are the “outrages” to come random acts of terror, or are they suspiciously concentrated in the upper wealth and power cohorts? Again, keep an eye on just what gets blown up.

      1. Janie

        Sorta apropos. Juan Cole has an article up about US-trained Afghan troops, now abandoned and sought by Taliban, signing up with the Wagner group. Sounds like logical and foreseeable blowback to me.

    2. Irrational

      Love Clare Daly for continuing to tell it straight!
      The EU is providing funds for Ukraine through what is known as the Macro-financial Assistance (MFA) facility, for which they have to borrow back-to-back (i.e. same terms as the loans) in the capital markets.
      Usually recipient countries get 10s or 100s of millions, not billions.
      The EU does make provisions for the loans going bad, but assumptions to feed this guarantee fund is based on the above-mentioned loans of 10s or 100s of millions. There used to be one guarantee pot for all loans to countries outside the EU, but since 2021 there is a single guarantee fund for all EU-guaranteed borrowing inside and outside the EU.
      So, if Ukraine goes belly up or the EU merely adjusts provisioning, this will seriously curtail the EU’s other policies.
      Only once the guarantee fund is empty is there a direct hit to taxpayers’ money. Not sure that is a consolation. ;-)

    3. John k

      I assume no negotiations, so a state of war would remain indefinitely.
      I’m imagining west Ukraine as a long term no-man’s land with no power, so emptied out, monitored by drones. Can’t imagine what value those assets would have in those circumstances.
      I heard gates bought farmland there… wonder if he assumed Russia would lose.

      1. Zalahaldin

        And BTW, there is a 2 minute full screen, high quality version of the pagan/fascist Ukrainian video that was posted yesterday in Links that would make Leni Riefenstahl proud. See This ritual is supposed to have taken place on an army base outside Lvov which would suggest that it is officially allowed. Certainly all of the guys visible in the longer version are in uniform.
        But there are no nazis in Ukraine…

    4. Dunkey2830

      Alexander and Alex of the Duran provide excellent commentary on events in Ukraine – but sadly they do not comprehend the realities of EU central bank currency issuance as described by MMT.
      The EuCB cannot run out of ‘money’ – if the European Parliament authorises spending euro’s in the form of a loan to Ukraine then that money is effectively credited to the borrowers account.

      From Dirk Ehnts – The Eurozone is Fully Committed to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)
      “…When the state spends money, the central bank carries out the “transfer”. In doing so, it increases the balance of the bank where the recipient has his account. The bank in turn increases the balance of the recipient’s account. Where does the money come from? The Bundesbank has simply increased the credit balance of the receiving bank on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance. This is done by computer. Asking where the money comes from makes no sense…”

      The EU taxpayers have nothing to do with ‘financing’ those loans – it is new money creation by the central bank. If Ukraine defaults, recovery of the funds will depend on the terms set by the Brussels ECB.
      Granted that leaves plenty of room for corruption.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Devastating New History of the January 6th Insurrection

    So the New Yorker is hawking copies of this “new” history for the low, low price of just $13.84! Coming out with this on Dec 22nd though didn’t give people much time to order it as the perfect gift for the Trump Deranged virtue signalers in their lives. They could have moved a lot more product if they’d made it available in November, maybe with a free copy of the Mueller Report thrown in to sweeten the pot. I’m sure there are thousands of unread copies of the latter lying around waiting to be remaindered.

    I can hardly wait for the inevitable Mar-A-Lago Documents Report so I can read the whole Nothingburger Trilogy!

    1. The Rev Kev

      For an extra two bits, they will also chuck in “A Message from Ukraine” by Volodymyr Zelensky as well.

      1. The Rev Kev

        January 6th was not so much a Putsche as a Putz. As there were at least 40 informers among that mob on the government payroll, it’s a bit hard for them to pretend that they did not see this attack going to happen. And it’s not like the US government did not have the manpower of the Capitol Police, the Washington DC Metropolitan Police and the National Guard to have a solid ring of men to surround that building twenty deep – all in riot gear. It will be interesting to see if your Repubs form their own January 6th Commission to dig into these issues come February.

        1. Wukchumni

          Law enforcement skews heavily right in these not so united states, my buddy was the narc in the park here @ Sequoia NP rooting out Mexican drug cartels doing marijuana grows in the back of beyond, and he got sent to FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) in Brunswick, Ga. to as they say ‘have the chip inserted’ and he related that all of the monitors in the chow hall there were on FOX news exclusively pretty much.

        2. Pat

          They won’t. Not saying every GOP leader was in on it, but there is no doubt in my mind that McConnell knew and was complicit along with Pelosi and Schumer.

          The failure to use standard security for large scale events/Demonstrations that day was the one thing that should have been tops of the committee’s agenda. Because in a real insurrection the people making those decisions would be complicit in the “conspiracy”. That that was dropped like a hot stone (without uproar from Republicans) says multitudes about the investigation AND about the bipartisan nature of the failures of January 6th.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Maybe I’m being too foily, but there does seem another possibility. Just who would have been called to back up the Capitol cops? National Guard? That’s who eventually showed up. Was there some significant uncertainty among House leadership about which way the Guard would break? Within the regular forces, Woodward’s book reported that Milley met with senior military officials on January 8. It sounded as if Milley was trying to sound out the loyalty of his officers on that occasion. As for Trump’s ideas, Flynn’s efforts to secure special forces failed.

            I think one of the reasons that Democrats didn’t do more to station more protection around the Capitol is that they were unsure of where the sympathies of the troops might lie.

        3. ACPAL

          Having seen some of the photos I still think it looked more like “Animal House” than “Storming of the Bastille.”

      2. marym

        Looking at the day primarily as an isolated event* it was, at best, a permitted rally not at the Capitol that somewhat spontaneously (also somewhat incited by Trump’s speech and possibly somewhat provoked by LE who were there as provocateurs not supporters) became an un-permitted march and then a riot.

        * I see the event in the context of the larger effort by elite and rank and file – court cases, fake electors, harassment of state officials and election workers – to nullify the vote, but whether that was an insurrection, coup, etc. is a different discussion.

        1. Pat

          IF that permitted rally had had the same level of police coverage you might have a point, but it did not. Especially as it was a rally that was about a contentious subject. The police that were there did not, as was standard procedure, redirect the crowds when they started to move outside the area.

          Allowing this to happen AND overblowing what did happen has allowed this to become about more than a disgruntled loser whose legal challenges failed.

          1. marym

            A large militarized police presence at an event where most participants seem to intend it to be non-violent has, in other contexts, been seen as intimidating, authoritarian, provocative, etc., particularly when they start kettling or other crowd control measures.

            If there was enough information to predict the riot, one issue would be whether the “let it happen on purpose” approach was that of Trump opponents within the establishment wanting to discredit his cause, or Trump and his supporters within the establishment wanting it to succeed.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              To your point:

              Another report was released last week, authored by a few repub house members and called “Security Failures at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.” That report “presented new disclosures about how Pelosi’s staff spent weeks ostensibly preparing for the electoral certification vote that afternoon.”


              And in one of the oddest events of the day [January 5. 2021], despite repeated assurances the threat for violence was “remote,” Irving [then house sergeant-at-arms] led a walkthrough of Congress’ evacuation plan with unnamed participants at 2:30 p.m.; almost 24 hours later to the minute, the joint session recessed and lawmakers were evacuated from the Capitol creating one of the most dramatic images of January 6.

              This also happened at the same time Irving and Stenger [then senate-sergeant-at arms] repeatedly brushed off requests by Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund for extra protection in the form of National Guardsmen, a process both sergeants-at-arms continued to hamstring throughout January 6. (Sund later testified that Irving expressed concerns about the “optics” of guardsmen surrounding the Capitol.) The guard did not arrive until after 5 p.m., shortly after the disturbance ended.

              The exchanges detailed in the House GOP report contradict the narrative that congressional security officials were unprepared for the events of January 6. So, too, does the appendix buried in the January 6 select committee document. Not only was the FBI allegedly collecting scary posts before the Capitol protest, Pelosi’s underlings engaged in deep discussions and planning efforts weeks beforehand without the involvement of Republicans. What exactly those conversations entailed, the public still does not know.

              Regardless, as of January 7, 2021, Irving, Stenger, and Sund were out of a job, forced to resign at the demands of irate lawmakers….

              And who can forget the fortuitous presence of pelosi’s filmmaker daughter on that fateful day, there to record her mother’s terror and anguish at the demise of “our” sacred democracy at the hands of a satan who threw his burger at the people’s dining room wall, covering it in blood red ketchup, in an uncontrollable rage.

              You see, it all comes down to which “facts” one emphasizes, and the conclusions one draws from them.

            2. Pat

              The lack of National Guard throughout DC that day was extraordinary, and unprecedented even compared with previous right leaning events. And yet the committee never bothered to establish how that came about. And considering the stated and unstated purpose of the committee not establishing that tells us we do know that it wasn’t the Trump people who set that up. Otherwise it would be headlines and key excerpts.

              And sorry there is no logical explanation for them not pursuing information about this security failure other than it makes it clear there were more players in this than Trump and his supporters.

          2. JP

            What you don’t understand is the authorities knew there was no Antifa presence. So why would there need to be law enforcement?

  10. griffen

    Silicon Valley is coming for your wallet, er, your gut biome. Why, because there is money to be made of course!! Oh and the health concerns of the proles is always top of mind for venture capital investing in new and breaking technologies. Still waiting on the payoff from Theranos…and other sundry examples of a new, new thing.

    I look forward with much anticipation to the launch of the newest pill offering, Ubik.

  11. Michaelmas

    Re: One minute and fifteen seconds of truth about the war.

    And there’s Clare Daly, that fiercely truth-telling, absolutely admirable Irishwoman speaking truth to power.

    From the perch of her position as an MEP in a European “Parliament” that, having been expressly designed neither to be able to propose any new law nor to impose any restraints whatsoever on the European Commission, has absolutely no power at all and functions only as a vestigial “democratic” fig leaf on the EU’s neoliberal operations.

    Which is why the European Parliament’s chamber is invariably nearly empty whenever we see video clips of it and Clare Daly can tell all the truth she likes to power, and power can ignore her more fully and utterly than if she were in the streets telling these truths.

    What a vile institution the EU is.

    1. tevhatch

      What a vile institution is the Oireachtas (insert EU nation’s name for parliament here) and politics of Ireland (insert EU nation name here).

      Clare Daly was sent to the EU parliament to get her out of the Irish parliament. Greek MEP Eva Kaili (bribes from Qatar). was sent to the EU parliament to get her out of Greek local politics. Good or bad, honest or grasping, the EU intuitions take in what local oligarchy wants to be rid of. Ah, the wonders of western democracy, rule by a disempowered, disorganized, and overworked masses becomes a perfect weapon of oligarchy.

      1. Michaelmas

        Clare Daly was sent to the EU parliament to get her out of the Irish parliament.

        Ah, yes. Thanks for this. I see —

        “Since 2012, Daly has formed a close political association with Mick Wallace.After Wallace was condemned by left-wing TDs following the revelation his building company had avoided €2.1 million in taxes, Daly resigned from the Socialist Party in August 2012 in protest and redesignated herself as a United Left Alliance TD,before switching party again in 2015 to her current party Independents 4 Change.”

        “In December 2019, the London Times reported Daly had appointed her former husband, Michael Murphy, as a European Parliamentary Assistant. The rules in the European Parliament prohibit the employment of “spouses or stable non-marital partners”. Daly previously employed the son of fellow Independents4Change MEP Mick Wallace. The Times described Daly as “one of the busiest Irish members in the European parliament this term”; in September 2020 a former parliamentary assistant of Daly’s, who had worked for her for over seven years, came forth to accuse her of mistreatment and of having “no respect for workers’ rights”

      1. Michaelmas

        Try reading the relevant EU law. The European Parliament does not have ‘the right of initiative’ to propose new legislation —

        Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union – TITLE III: PROVISIONS ON THE INSTITUTIONS – Article 17

        2. Union legislative acts may only be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. Other acts shall be adopted on the basis of a Commission proposal where the Treaties so provide.

        Likewise, the EU Commission can effectively ignore the EU parliament if it wishes — as when, forex, the EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly found that the European Commission’s refusal to release text messages exchanged between its President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla about purchasing billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses amounted to maladministration.

        Or, indeed, when von der Leyen was appointed against the initial wishes of the EU parliament —

        “pro-European MEPs, including the Greens, opposed von der Leyen because she did not come through the so-called Spitzenkandidaten process. This system was designed by the European Parliament to ensure that the European Council nominates the ‘lead candidate’ of one of the European political parties for the Commission presidency. Many MEPs argued that they could not endorse a candidate chosen behind closed doors by EU leaders, and one whose views were unknown to the wider public. “

    2. John Beech

      Truth to power but nevertheless sufficiently vain to wear really bad hair coloring.

      I’m just old enough to segregate people based things I shouldn’t. One being the lies they tell themselves being a reflection affecting what they say to me. Thus, the vain go in the same category as those tatted up like a detention room desktop. E.g. less than credible.

      Flame suit on.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Arm sleeves and other extensive tat work often cover scars and trauma. For example, an older woman I know has tats covering wrist scars from suicide attempts after her father raped her and she saw no other way out. She’s a survivor and tough as nails.

  12. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Career closets

    Is this helping or marketing? When I was unemployed over a decade ago and forced to go to “training” sessions at the local unemployment office as a condition of continuing to receive a check that didn’t cover my expenses, we were required at one point to attend a similar program where we were to be given suits to assist in the job hunt. We were made well aware that the suits were from a large national men’s clothing chain, and so was the general public as the local news media turned this “charity” into a PR stunt for said big business with a feel good segment on the 6 o’clock news. I already had a suit and the ones on offer didn’t fit my small frame anyway – I didn’t need a suit, I needed a job, and the unemployment office wasn’t nearly as keen on actually helping with the latter. I wound up with neither – I got out that fitting room as fast as possible once I saw the cameras, not wanting to be an unpaid prop in the corporate PR campaign that was going on. I’m pretty sure a suit wasn’t going to help the career warehouse worker I met who was unceremoniously laid off after 30+ years at his job either.

    Today’s link mentions the name of the same company who “helped” in my case. The current program is also called “Suit Up” which seems to emphasize men’s clothes. In my case, if there was any “professional” clothing on offer for women, I don’t remember it, and today’s article certainly doesn’t mention any particular help for women either.

    Hate to be so cynical, but this sounds to me like the PR campaign I was forced as an unemployed person to participate in is still going strong, and likely provides much more benefit to the large men’s clothing corporation involved than to any unemployed people.

    1. semper loquitur

      This reminds me of the “job fairs” I would be informed of by the Unemployment Office. It took them months to get me my money but they were never late sending out emails looking for cheap labor. It appeared to be the job of my veteran’s “advocate” who literally never helped me with anything at all, couldn’t help me he said as he had no access to the system that handled the money, but always had a list of $hitty jobs for me to look at. Low paid, low security “jawbs” that wouldn’t pay the bills. Dunkin’ Donuts was there….

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘John Robb
    Cruise missile on the cheap.’

    Star Wars Quote-
    ‘It could be worse.’
    ‘It’s worse.’

    Just a few minutes reflections shows that it can always be worse. Like drones that can hover and drop a payload for example. Maybe over a remote electrical substation or two. No need to bring along tools to cut open a chain wire fence, no need for guns even. And the US has about 79,000 substations scattered around the country-

  14. Wukchumni

    Another house arrest night and I ain’t got nobody
    I got some money ’cause I just made bail
    Now how I wish I had someone to talk to
    I’m in an awful way

    I got in trouble a month ago, I seen a lotta grief since then
    If I could get ’em I could fleece ’em but now FTX is done in
    That’s why I’m in the shape I’m in

    Here another house arrest night and I ain’t got nobody
    I got some money ’cause I just made bail
    Now how I wish I had someone to talk to
    I’m in an awful way

    Now an author fella met me who had a reputation just fine
    Instead of being my deliverance, he told me I had a resemblance
    To a cat named Ponzi once upon a time

    Here’s another house arrest night and I ain’t got nobody
    I got some money ’cause I just made bail
    Now how I wish I had someone to talk to
    I’m in an awful way

    Here it is another weekend and I ain’t got nobody
    Man if I was back home in Nassau I’d be swindling
    A few clicks gets the alms
    Aww yeah
    Listen to me huh

    It’s hard on a fella, when the game goes aground
    If I don’t find me a cash-test-dummy to help me hide my money
    I’m gonna have to hang out indefinitely in this town

    Here it’s another house arrest night and I ain’t got nobody
    I got some money ’cause I just made bail
    Now how I wish I had someone to talk to
    I’m in an awful way (Ellison sings)

    Another Saturday Night, by Sam Cooke

  15. Carolinian

    Re Amazon drones–my brother tells me that Blue Origin has completely ceased their near space tourist rockets after one of them blew up (nobody was in it). Looks like the company is unwilling to give up on one of Bezos’ other bad ideas. Or is the article in question merely some stock drop counter programming?

    1. Wukchumni

      Re Amazon drones–my brother tells me that Blue Origin has completely ceased their near space tourist rockets after one of them blew up (nobody was in it). Looks like the company is unwilling to give up on one of Bezos’ other bad ideas.

      Yeah, but wasn’t that one the cheap Chinese knockoff?

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Great video of a Beaver from the San Diego Zoo.’

    Anybody else pick up on how much they look like a Capybara?

  17. Raymond Sim

    Regarding the study finding a switch towards IgG4 after repeated mRNA doses and, as always, speaking subject to correction by those who know the field, I would have thought this sort of dampening would have been an anticipated consequence of repeated or persistent infection with SARS-2. Based on the authors’ remarks, we apparently don’t have data on that. I’m not sure how one makes sense of the study’s findings absent this.

    Our entire population is facing repeated reinfection, and much of the damage done by infection is due to inflammatory immune response. Under these circumstances, would the mRNA vaccines eliciting this dampening when other vaccines don’t be a point in their favor, or a strike against them? It’s all too easy to spin scenarios that go either way.

    I would note though that Berenson is, as usual, spewing vile nonsense. We’re not even into the text of the article and he’s asserting that the endemic Omicron he cheerled for is somehow particular to countries using mRNA vaccines.

    A side question: Does anybody know how useful nucleoprotein serology is in ascertaining lack of previous infection?

    1. IM Doc

      Of course, since this is such a new finding, there is not much out there other than word of mouth.

      So, what I am about to state needs to be understood in that manner.

      I was at a conference this past few days with a very trusted vaccinologist. He reiterated the point several times that this study is the first out of the chute. The findings are very concerning, but must be confirmed and corroborated by others.

      He made the statement that this phenomenon seemed to be only happening with the mRNA vaccines. This was not being seen in the DNA vaccines – J&J and AZ – and was not being seen in the Chinese approach. He also stated it was not being seen in natural infection. There were no references, as you would expect, and this is all word-of-mouth doctor talk very early in a concerning issue.

      I will state again – we must urgently work on this. This is not something to trifle with. Furthermore, given the fact that I am as a primary care provider being absolutely deluged with questions about this, mainly from those who are vaccinated, the “everything is OK – safe and effective” rhetoric is likely not going to work this time. I have had encounters the past few days with vaccinated/boosted patients who are a mix of very concerned/scared/angry about this whole thing. They are seeing with their own eyes that their vaccinated/boosted friends and family are being reinfected over and over again. And sick for extended time.

      Our leaders are just simply going to have to stop the schtick that “all is well-nothing to see here” and start addressing these issues head on. Simple data sets that someone must have somewhere can clear up the questions caused by this study in a heart beat. Or the datasets can confirm the trends as outlined. The fact they are not out there releasing them right now is very concerning to me as a physician and very concerning to an increasing number of patients.

      1. outside observer

        Is the shift to Ig4 something that can revert back to normal over time? Perhaps through avoiding exposure to any illness for a year or so, so the body is less prone to ‘tolerating’ it?

        1. Raymond Sim

          My w.a.g. concerning this very important question would be that a reversion to more typical immune response could at least be hoped for, assuming good health etc etc.

          My notion that dampening of response could be expected after repeated reinfection, stems from the idea that this could be adaptive in the case of repeated viral onslaughts. By the same token reversion to business as usual if things return to normal also seems likely to be adaptive, at least in healthy subjects. But if the effect doesn’t occur in repeated reinfection then I think my initial assumptions go out the window. As IM Doc said, there’s an urgent need for more information.

      2. Raymond Sim

        Simple data sets that someone must have somewhere can clear up the questions caused by this study in a heart beat. Or the datasets can confirm the trends as outlined.

        Such datasets certainly ought to exist. But I’ll be pleasantly suprised if they do, are useable for purpose, and actually make it into the light of day.

    2. Ghost in the Machine

      My sister was involved in a study where nucleoprotein serology was used to test for past Covid exposure. As of last summer she has managed to avoid Covid.

      1. Raymond Sim

        It seems to be widely used for this purpose. What I’m not clear on is how sound a foundation the methodology rests on. I doubt I’ll ever get around to digging through the literature, and unfortunately I would be suprised if it’s rigorous, rather than shot through with blithe unexamined assumptions about early pandemic rates of infection and so on.

  18. Wukchumni

    I’ve never seen anything the likes of the extended wide banded plume of atmospheric river extending from Guam to Goleta like a Golconda mine of translucent watery diamonds on high.

    We’re forecast to have it keep coming like a fire nozzle spraying down a drought for the next fortnight or further.

    The oak trees here have in essence been in a concentration camp setting as far as getting water is concerned the past 3 savage years of thirst-systematically starved, and now its gonna be an all you can drink deal, I betcha some of them keel over after the ground gets maximum saturation.

    All the makings are here for at least another 1968-69 winter (the winter of record in the 20th century) or perhaps the 19th century winter of record in 1861-62, when the Central Valley transformed into one hellova lake…

    …stay tuned

    1. The Rev Kev

      You think that the roads may eventually get cut by all that rainfall over the next fortnight then? From what you say, falling trees may be a factor too. But yeah, keep us all posted. For North America, the winter of 2022-23 will be one for the records.

      1. Wukchumni

        The debris flows from the 2021 KNP Fire were really no big deal last year on account of getting so little precip, and truth be said I find them fascinating, as they resemble alluvial fans with last year’s models having maybe as much as 6 inches that covered the surface of the road anywhere there was a gully owing to the gravity of the situation.

        The burnt areas are greening up with groundcover, but there’s still oodles of lunar-like surface where with every step i’d sink six inches with each leap for this man kind.

        It isn’t just trees that’ll be coming down, but boulders the size of VW Bugs or bigger, once the soil gets loose.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The Kissinger Continuum: The Unauthorized History of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders Program”

    This program is as insidious as it is successful and they are being shoe-horned into all sorts of countries. But you want to know the biggest problem with them is? If they were highly-trained and skilled people that were effective in their jobs, you may not forgive them but you might grudgingly respect them. But instead, they are the worse sort of people who are either ideologues, corrupt or incompetent – or even a combination of all three. If you had a world where they ran nearly all the countries in it, they would run the planet into the biggest catastrophe in history since the fall of Rome.

    1. Lex

      In the end they end up as essentially mini-Kissingers who never believed in much but his own career advancement potential. No doubt the WEF Young Leaders are all cut from the neo-liberal cloth, but in the end isn’t that mostly tailored to PMC career advancement above all else? The young leaders of Europe don’t seem to know much of anything about anything, except how to get ahead which leads the rest of us to having ministers of economics who have literature degrees.

      I’m a firm advocate for education being primarily in the humanities because they teach people to think, reason and express. I don’t even have a problem with someone educated in literature being in charge of economics – there are always specialists to consult and a good humanities education should allow for synthesis of specialist/technical information. But of course the education in question isn’t really about getting educated so much as checking a box for career advancement whether that’s in academy or as a “young leader” to bring the neo-liberal world order to its culmination.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”I’m a firm advocate for education being primarily in the humanities because they teach people to think, reason and express.”

        Couldn’t agree more and I’ve thought this for many years. The ability to think critically is crucial. It allows the detection of cant, propaganda, and dogma and leads to an informed distrust of all those societal pestilences.

        If one wants to 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯, to get an 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, focus on the humanities. If one prefers to be 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥, go to a technical college or a vocational school which, by the way, are a suitable option for some. My brother was struggling academically in high school until he switched to the vocational program.

        But overall, I think the best route for most people is to educate themselves in the humanities and then go out into the real world seeking a job. Very few of those jobs (excepting medicine, engineering, IT, etc.) can’t be learned in a couple of months of on-the-job training.

      2. KD

        I’m a firm advocate for education being primarily in the humanities because they teach people to think, reason and express.

        Been in a humanities class lately? They appear to be better at training people for a life of intersectional, post-structuralist navel gazing while producing work on decolonizing transexual actors in the adult film industry.

        1. semper loquitur

          Where those classes still exist. A friend in academics informed me how the system he worked in had consolidated and closed classes from a variety of fields in the humanities. Lot’s of supply-chain management majors in the chute, though.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Disneyland is charging $185 for this luxurious drink served in a cookie cup

    According to the article, the drink contains Remy Martin Louis XIII. If you’re tempted to buy one, tell the mouse you’ll only pony up if he bring you back an empty Remy bottle along with the cocktail. Then you might break even on the transaction.

    Had a short stint at a Four Seasons hotel restaurant decades ago, and Louis XIII went for well over $100 a shot even then. The bartender would let the person buying the last shot keep the bottle if they wanted and one well-heeled regular was known to have quite the collection of them.

    1. Wukchumni

      When we were getting my childhood home ready to sell about a decade ago, I found a stash of partially used Disneyland books that included admission and a dozen tickets to rides (the ‘E’ tix gone in all of them) and these dated in the mid 70’s, and the price was anywhere from $4.75 to $6.50 for your excursion to the happiest place on Earth and all that.

      Its $179 per person now, a modest increase of about 35x what it was back in the day.

  21. KD

    Not sure about the wisdom of the Russia-is-failing narrative right now. Russia is poised to make a serious winter offensive, and there is considerable strain on the Ukrainian lines, and it is not impossible that they could make a significant breakthrough in the lines this Winter or Spring. In the event that things played out in this fashion, there could be some backlash and skepticism from the crowd who has bought the Western line. As a concern troll, I think the West is at risk of igniting a wave of de-moralization as the tempo shifts to Russia, which would ultimately cause the funding to be questioned. Noticed the Ukrainian general did not talk to FT in these terms, probably for this reason.

    Lying about casualties, etc., sure that makes sense from a propaganda framework, and certainly the Russian offensive so far has been underwhelming for many who expected capitulation in a couple months. Playing that up makes sense, but everything on the ground suggests that Russia has learned a lot from prior mistakes, and a break through is at least possible, if not probable.

    I was reading some absurd Daily Mail article yesterday sourced to anonymous British Intelligence figures, and thinking, the West is really looking like its ready for TET II, “having destroyed the Vietcong’s capacity to launch an offensive,” and the Vietcong launched an offensive, got clobbered, but public support collapsed because everyone was mad about being lied to. A flashy Russian breakthrough, even with disproportionate losses for the Russians, could create a wave of demoralization that results in reduced support for Ukraine because of the current hyperbolic Western war propaganda.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      See the latest from The New Atlas. Berletic gives a whiteboard summary of the defense in depth around Bahkmut and shows why a major offensive is unlikely. Rather Russia will continue to grind down Ukrainian defenses while Ukraine will beg for more long range artillery and munitions and more innocent people will die needlessly.

        1. The Rev Kev

          And always but always having a reserve. This US senior officer once told a junior officer how he could usually tell the rank of an officer by the type of battle plan they came up with by the size of their reserve. A Lieutenant would take his force and go all in. A Captain would do similar but have a small force in reserve. And as you went up the ranks, the larger the reserve and smaller that attack force would be until you had an experienced officer that would attack with a minimum force and having as much reserve as possible.

          And when you end up doing that, you are following one of the main principles of warfare – the Economy of Force.

  22. bassmule

    How many COVID-caused deaths can we tolerate? Well, we tolerate about 115 people dying every day in traffic accidents. So 100 a day seems about right. Here in the land of Personal Responsibility.

    1. kson onair

      Trump really gave the game away when he said “cars kill X amount of people a year and we don’t ban them.” It was always about keeping death at an acceptable level rather than preventing it.

    2. Mikel

      Skipping over the comparison of a disease to an accident and just going to point out:

      Cumulative effects.

    3. ACPAL

      “The government should protect people from each other, not from themselves.” – source unknown.

      How far should the government be allowed to go to prevent people from harming themselves? Seat belts are mandatory in all states (IIRC) though motorcycle helmets are not. With Covid-19 politicians took it upon themselves to dictate all kinds of restrictions like banning walking in the park or even leaving their homes. What if they banned bicycle riding, horseback riding, boating, private aircraft, kitchen knives, and everything else that people could hurt themselves with? How far should we let politicians and other members of government restrict our movements, actions, and even speech?

      In my opinion, except in extreme cases, the government should issue advisories, not bans or restrictions and let the public make their own decisions.

  23. Lexx

    ‘The Devastating New History Of The January 6th Insurrection’

    No sympathy for Mike Pence. No one should have been surprised at Trump’s willingness to throw Pence in harm’s way. Pence was a ‘made man’ but not above having killed for his ‘disloyalty’ (failure to obey) to retain power.

    Again, Trump was disgusting and disturbing but not the worst of those years. It was listening to my fellow voters say they would vote for him and why, and then they did. It was like getting unwanted access to the American public’s psych evaluations, every dirty little secret, every ugly truth and trauma, being reported on every media platform continuously. There he was, a reflection of our country’s psychological dysfunction, everyone at Thanksgiving dinner all at once and Grandpa couldn’t shut up and the media wouldn’t shut him down. Still won’t.

    To indict Trump is to indict themselves, the whole “family” goes to prison with him and that won’t happen. We’re not talking about emotionally responsible people here. They voted into the highest office of the most powerful and dangerous country on the planet, a man incapable of owning his shitty behavior, surrounded by people much the same, in an effort to take over the country and remake it into something more to their liking via gaslighting. That was the essence of those four years that scared the guacamole out of me. Not Trump…. my neighbors! The owners of those McMansions and verdant green lawns had turned into a mob, without what appeared to be even two working brain cells between them and their weapon of choice was the voting booth. Democracy weaponized. ‘Screw the common good, it’s all about me and mine!’

    And how have these conditions come about? It’s rather well covered here at NC.

    1. KD

      Haven’t you seen “Forbidden Planet”? Monsters from the Id? Donald Trump is the American Id, and no matter how much repression you bring to bear, he is going to ooze out when you least expect it and make a mess.

      1. Lexx

        Yes, several times.

        We’ve been in this house twenty years and in that time the politics here have been low key and private. A yard sign here, a flag there, maybe a sticker that said ‘I voted’. Civil.

        But with Trump that civility disappeared and the fractures that had been there all along deepened, widened, and got a lot louder and angrier. The Trump mob in Washington gaslighted the nation; they broke families. Not big on tribalism myself, but it was one of the few stable social units remaining.

        The id is a monster. Who the hell goes to the polls and votes it into office? (yes, yes, the Democrats did too).

        Wiki: ‘Morbius accepts the truth, confronts and disowns his other self, and the Id monster vanishes, leaving Morbius fatally injured when the creature attacks him.’… I don’t think we’re going to get that lucky.

    2. Pat

      Not entirely, but for the most part you could easily replace Trump with either Clinton and Biden and the same things could be said.

      No matter who got elected, we were pretty much guaranteed someone incapable of owning their shitty behavior surrounded by people much the same who want to turn the country into something of their liking. And I give you the two years Of Biden as proof of that. If you haven’t noticed how corrupt, undemocratic and destroying it has been….well.

      Not for nothing, your neighbors really had little in the manner of choice unless and until third party candidates can break through. And probably not even then. Because shitty humans incapable of owning their shitty behavior working for other shitty humans who think they don’t stink is the overwhelming and bipartisan majority of Congress and the military and the intelligence community and…

        1. Pat

          I get how infuriating it is, but in my case my problem is that at least those voting for Trump in 2016 were attacking the status quo. And at the end of 2024, I will not be surprised if Trump will have delivered more to the majority of his voters for his four years than Biden will have in his. Other than a return to a more disguised but equally despicable and undemocratc status quo that was what he was offering Biden has provided a continued assault on free speech, less availability of healthcare, and a better chance of being in a world war – one where use of nuclear weapons are on the table. But his voters are still polishing their laurels.

          IOW I just don’t see that either voting base is exempt from being complicit and accepting. The tribal or team loyalty may be driven by denial, but ultimately they are still patsys and problems, even if I get why they vote the way they do.

          1. Lexx

            I think I’d add a few words to your sentence, if I may… ‘those voting for Trump in 2016 thought they were attacking the status quo’. It was an attack on the symbols of power, not power itself. Where real power was concerned, Pelosi and Pence could be replaced; no one and nothing in the White House is indispensable

            A military coupe worries me more.

            1. Pat

              It worries me as well.

              And part of the reason it does is how complicit the Military was with undermining Trump. Their intelligence agencies never corrected the false Russia meme. There was flat out insubordination for several of his attempts to end military misadventures. None of it was marching into the White House but it was still intervening and ignoring Democratic process.
              But that could be why I actually give more credit to Trump for being more outside the status quo than you do. That and He ended the TPP before being kneecapped. He wasn’t Hugo Chavez but he wasn’t Obama either. You know the other guy elected to change things and who didn’t even try to do so. Mind you Biden and antitrust has been more subversive than I expected, but I also have decades of history there.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        The campaign to demonise Trump is the real issue. He isn’t a wholesome human being, because none of them are, even Sanders has his price and it’s pretty obvious.And AOC? Mwahaha.
        The campaign to demonise Trump took off because he had the gall to run for President without getting permission from the tangled and sweaty ménage-à-powerhungry narcissists that run the country. And worse, he is a class traitor, a ‘populist’.
        Trump refused to bow to said menage, and so they collectively said “hold my beer” to the adoring press, and got up to beat the living daylights out of Trump and the people who voted for him, narratively speaking.
        And now they are doing the same to Musk.
        Imagine if they did the same to Biden and his sad progeny. It would be very entertaining, and the material for such a pile-on is epic after Joe’s ‘illustrious’ career.
        Everyone getting all exercised about how Trump is a less than stellar human being misses the point.
        The point is that very powerful people are running this operation. Why? Who? What is the payoff? What are they pilfering from us while they shout ‘look over there’?

    3. Wukchumni

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

      B-52’s Party Out Of Bounds

    4. pjay

      Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you say here, but you seem to be blaming the “emotionally irresponsible” people who voted for Trump for our problems: “That was the essence of those four years that scared the guacamole out of me. Not Trump…. my neighbors! The owners of those McMansions and verdant green lawns had turned into a mob, without what appeared to be even two working brain cells between them and their weapon of choice was the voting booth.”

      For one thing, this sounds pretty much identical to the interpretation offered by Hillary Clinton and her loyal subjects. For another, given your last line, part of the story that has been “rather well covered here at NC” seems to be missing. I’m I misinterpreting your point?

      1. Lexx

        To answer you I asked Google how many of those charged with insurrection voluntarily plead guilty. Google could only offer an article listing how many have plead guilty so far, not whether it was voluntary. And I’m going to guess Google doesn’t know how many rolled on their friends and families for reduced sentences, with the promise of further future cooperation should it be asked of them.

        I think I can write here with confidence that emotionally responsible adults don’t behave like that; January 6th was the id on parade with cosplay that ended the lives of seven people.*

        I’ve been wondering how well they’ll fare in prison, where you don’t get to break things and walk away. Threatening the residents can get you killed. Snitching can get you killed. Knowing too much about the wrong/right people can get you killed. The consequences will be very real and some of them won’t make it to the end of their sentences.

        In the next insurrection (better than even odds?) the survivors may participate again, but they’ll be thinking it through a lot more carefully, tempered by the memory of the years of their lives lost in prison they’ll never get back… and was it worth it? What changed really… besides the security protocols at the White House?

        When the Id of the voters elects their Id-writ-large in their political representation, are they responsible for what happens? In a court of law… yes, I think we are. Mate would disagree but I’m still reading his book, so maybe he’ll change my mind. He’d say they need compassion, not prison. I’m long out of effs to give.

        *I’ve never been to a Furry convention… I’ve heard stories… but I’m pretty sure death and mayhem are not why they show up.

        1. pjay

          I’m still a bit confused. It sounds like you are referring to those involved in the Jan 6 “insurrection” here (were any of them actually charged with “insurrection”?). But I took your original comment to refer to those who voted for Trump, which was about 73 million people in 2020.

          I don’t want to get into a pointless argument about Jan 6. Trump was the reckless, narcissistic demagogue he always is. Nevertheless, in my view Hillary Clinton was by far the greater evil in 2016, no contest at all. I can’t think of any way she would have been better, and many ways she would have been worse. The four-year “insurrection” against Trump by her homies, and all the related elements, represent a much greater danger to our Republic that the clowns and rednecks of Jan 6. Maybe its just my Id talking.

          1. Lexx

            A rant about Trump (the subject of the article) does not equal a defense of the Democrats…. unless you just really want it to. This isn’t Fox News, I have zero interest in being ‘fair and balanced’…. but since you insist, I have no use for the Democrats either. I think I’ve made that plain here over these many months.

            I agree with Thomas Frank that it might be possible to redeem the once ‘party of the people’. There’s going to be a lot of kicking and screaming on the part of that party’s leadership as their behavior is dragged into the light… but maybe still hope there. It won’t be the Boomers that pull it off though.

        2. Don

          I’m with Pat et al on this, Sure, sure, Trump is reprehensible. Uncouth. Embarrassing. Sure, those 73 million who voted for him were too easily deceived by his phoney populism. But really, who was dumber, a Biden voter or a Trump voter? Biden had form, and Biden voters are not even capable of slapping themselves upside the head and muttering “damn, that was dumb.”

  24. MT_Wild

    Psychedelics – the trick here will be the required dose. Can you get a similiar effect from routine microdosing say 0.25 grams? Or do you have to take 2.0 grams or more and have the full experience?

    Anecdotal reports seem to be positive for microdosing, but the scientific literature seems thin.

  25. Wukchumni

    So, my mom tests positive for Covid a couple days before xmas as she gets a sore throat and takes a test, and sadly misses out on our get together, boo hiss.

    It looks like she attempted to be Typhoid Mary, as she gets back to the assisted living place and there’s 10 ancients who have come down with Covid who never left the building. The place is on lockdown again with residents ensconced in their gilded cages, with meals delivered through the slot in the door.

    Most importantly, she feels ok now at least a week into it.

  26. TimH

    “We need to send the message that if you’re a law enforcement officer and you commit crimes when you are on duty, your pension will be at risk,” Wilkins told the Baltimore Banner.

    This will simply thicken the blue line and make it more difficult to prosecute misconduct. No-one wants their colleague to lose their retirement income.

    I don’t see anyone suggesting deleting 401ks of white collar crims….

  27. flora

    re: Class switch towards non-inflammatory, spike-specific IgG4 antibodies after repeated SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination

    I’m not a medico or a bio researcher. That said, I read a paper written for laymen explaining why one does want IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies as the first line immune response and their different roles in fighting infection. And, importantly, why one doesn’t want the IgG4 antibody as a first line defense because of the role it plays in the immune system. If I understood what I read I’m worried about a class switch toward IgG4 antibodies after repeated doses. Said repeated doses are now proposed every 3 to six months. Good for the stock price. Is it good for the person is the important question. imo.

    1. ambrit

      Is anyone ‘gaming out’ the medium to long term shifts in population this will bring about? After all, a “vaccine” that shortens the lifespan and possibly reproductive ability of the PMCs of the world looks like a major cultural shift to me.
      I’m thinking along the lines of; this is a perfect combination of Evil and Incompetent.

    2. pjay

      The trouble with your question, Flora, is that it is too clear and direct. This makes it harder for “experts” to dance around the issue without letting people know they are dancing around the issue. It’s almost as if you are expecting an answer that is just as clear and direct.

  28. Lexx

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of a lion in the ‘dare-you-to-rub-my-belly’ position before, and because it was so uncharacteristic couldn’t figure out what kind of animal it was for the longest time.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Though having heard “Chronicles of Narnia” audiobooks playing all through the house over the holidays, I took too long to recognize the lion antidote, as well. Trying to imagine encountering Aslan king-of-beasts in that sort of mood… maybe one would have to have first met Aslan, as Lucy Pevensie did, when one was still an innocent child…

  29. Wukchumni

    ‘Max Mad’ movie pitch

    Set in the not too distant post-profit-prolific era, due to shortages of everything & with the real freedom machines in disarray, want to get away on Southwest during the most stressful time of the year?

    When their incomes are threatened by AI taking over their jobs, these latter-day Luddites are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

    Trouble looms…

  30. Wukchumni

    These are anxious days for My Kevin (since ’07) in the run-up to January 6th-3 since the Pachyderm party can’t well condemn a fraud who wasn’t very kosher from taking office-if only to garner a yeah for Kev-whose margin of era is as slim as his legislative accomplishments… before giving Santos the heave-ho after McCarthy ascends the rostrum to create rancor and little else.

    1. ambrit

      What I don’t like about all this “Get Santos” maneuvering is that, as I believe Lambert has intimated, the Democrat Party Hacks seem to be doing a test run for a new way to nullify the “will of the People.” If convicted ‘offenders’ can win office from inside the “joint,” this Democrat ‘sponsored’ initiative is the exact opposite. To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, Impeachment, in whatever flavour it occurs, is only appropriate to crimes committed when the ‘subject’ is in office; “High Treason and High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” In cases of crimes committed before the ascension to office, voluntary resignation is the traditional solution. (See, for instance, the resignation of Nixon’s first Vice President, Spiro Agnew.)
      On jailhouse campaigns:

  31. JB

    Quick question on masks: Has anyone had a problem with being unable to breath through the nose when wearing a mask for a long time, and having to breath through the mouth after a while? (have a pretty high quality Cambridge Mask FFP2)

    Has been a bit of a practical problem for me while traveling over the holidays – which I’d need a solution for, as pretty sure it’d affect other people.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I have this problem too. It seems to correlate with the back-pressure the mask gives me when exhaling.

  32. Karl

    RE: Retirees are the reason the Fed has given up on a big worker rebound

    To be clear, these are retirees in the 65+ age group. Baby boomers. We’ve known about this coming wave of retirements since, well, 65 years ago. 1957.

    The resultant rise in labor costs is micro-econ 101. A rise in labor costs due to a labor supply shortage is a simply a necessary price signal to induce more workers into the labor market. Raising interest rates to stop “inflation” stifles this normal market adjustment mechanism. Why? Because wages are never allowed to go up?

    Has the Fed stopped believing in markets? Dumb me. Of course they have! Look what the Fed has done to asset (equity and bond) markets for the past ten years with quantitative easing. Asset inflation galore! And, at the slightest hint of rising wages over the last 50 years, the Fed has always strangled the economy. And, despite decades of rising productivity, real wages have not been allowed to rise.

    Asset “inflation” for the rich. Wage stagnation for everyone else. For years and years and years.

    How did we get here?

    And how much longer will “we the people” put up with it?

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