Dec 182021
 December 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:39 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Vincent van Gogh Road menders at Saint-Remy 1889


South Africa Hospitalization Rate Falls 91% in Omicron Wave (BBG)
Pfizer Tests Extra Covid Shot For Kids Under 5 In Setback (AP)
VAERS Deaths Are Underreported By A Factor Of 20 (RG)
Guidance On Covid Vaccines Moves Closer To ‘Misinformation’ Of Skeptics (JTN)
Where Do You Stand? (Jim Kunstler)
They KNOW And LIKE IT (Denninger)
Appeals Court Reinstates Biden Vaccine Mandate For Business (JTN)
Companies, Organizations Are Walking Back Vaccination Requirements (ET)
Boeing Suspends Vaccine Mandate For Employees (JTN)
Top Israel Ministers Agree On Covid Purple Ribbon Outline For Malls (JPost)
Need For Social Restrictions Will Gradually Shrink Over Time – Whitty (BMJ)
China’s Covid-zero Lockdowns Loom Over The Global Supply Chain (Qz)
Kremlin Discusses Potential Putin-Musk Meeting (RT)





Vaccine hesitancy










A Bloomberg piece without a paywall for me.

South Africa Hospitalization Rate Falls 91% in Omicron Wave (BBG)

South Africa delivered some positive news on the omicron coronavirus variant on Friday, reporting a much lower rate of hospital admissions and signs that the wave of infections may be peaking. Only 1.7% of identified Covid-19 cases were admitted to hospital in the second week of infections in the fourth wave, compared with 19% in the same week of the third delta-driven wave, South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said at a press conference. Health officials presented evidence that the strain may be milder, and that infections may already be peaking in the country’s most populous province, Gauteng. Still, new cases in that week of the current wave were more than 20,000 a day, compared with 4,400 in the same week of the third wave. That’s further evidence of omicron’s rapid transmissibility, which a number of other countries, such as the U.K., are also now experiencing.

South Africa, which announced the discovery of the variant on Nov. 25, is being watched as a harbinger of what may happen with omicron elsewhere. Scientists have cautioned that other nations may have a different experience to South Africa as the country’s population is young compared with developed nations. Between 70% and 80% of citizens may also have had a prior Covid-19 infection, according to antibody surveys, meaning they could have some level of protection. Currently there are about 7,600 people with Covid-19 in South African hospitals, about 40% of the peak in the second and third waves. Excess deaths, a measure of the number of deaths against a historical average, are just below 2,000 a week, an eighth of their previous peak.

Read more …

“It’s disappointing news for families anxious to vaccinate their tots.”

Pfizer Tests Extra Covid Shot For Kids Under 5 In Setback (AP)

Pfizer said Friday it was changing plans and testing three doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in babies and preschoolers after the usual two shots didn’t appear strong enough for some of the children. Pfizer announced the change after a preliminary analysis found 2- to 4-year-olds didn’t have as strong an immune response as expected to the very low-dose shots the company is testing in the youngest children. It’s disappointing news for families anxious to vaccinate their tots. Pfizer had expected data on how well the vaccines were working in children under 5 by year’s end, and it’s not clear how long the change will delay a final answer.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said if the three-dose study is successful, they plan to apply for emergency authorization sometime in the first half of 2022. A kid-sized version of Pfizer’s vaccine already is available for 5- to 11-year-olds, one that’s a third of the dose given to everyone else 12 and older. For children younger than 5, Pfizer is testing an even smaller dose, just 3 micrograms or a tenth of the adult dose. Researchers analyzed a subset of youngsters in the study a month after their second dose to see if the tots developed levels of virus-fighting antibodies that were similar to teens and young adults who get the regular shots. The very low-dose shots appeared to work in youngsters under age 2, who produced similar antibody levels.

But the immune response in 2- to 4-year-olds was lower than the study required, Pfizer vaccine research chief Kathrin Jansen said Friday in a call with investors. Rather than trying a higher-dose shot for the preschoolers, Pfizer decided to expand the study to evaluate three of the very low-dose shots in all the study participants — from 6 months up to age 5. That third shot will come at least two months after the youngsters’ second dose. No safety concerns have been spotted in the study, the companies said.

Read more …

From October 2021

VAERS Deaths Are Underreported By A Factor Of 20 (RG)

Accurate estimates of COVID vaccine-induced severe adverse event and death rates are critical for risk-benefit ratio analyses of vaccination and boosters against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in different age groups. However, existing surveillance studies are not designed to reliably estimate life-threatening event or vaccine-induced fatality rates (VFR). Here, regional variation in vaccination rates was used to predict all-cause mortality and non-COVID deaths in subsequent time periods using two independent, publicly available datasets from the US and Europe (month-and week-level resolutions, respectively). Vaccination correlated negatively with mortality 6-20 weeks post-injection, while vaccination predicted all-cause mortality 0-5 weeks post-injection in almost all age groups and with an age-related temporal pattern consistent with the US vaccine rollout.

Results from fitted regression slopes (p<0.05 FDR corrected) suggest a US national average VFR of 0.04% and higher VFR with age (VFR=0.004% in ages 0-17 increasing to 0.06% in ages >75 years), and 146K to 187K vaccine-associated US deaths between February and August, 2021. Notably, adult vaccination increased ulterior mortality of unvaccinated young (<18, US; <15, Europe). Comparing our estimate with the CDC-reported VFR (0.002%) suggests VAERS deaths are underreported by a factor of 20, consistent with known VAERS under-ascertainment bias. Comparing our age-stratified VFRs with published age-stratified coronavirus infection fatality rates (IFR) suggests the risks of COVID vaccines and boosters outweigh the benefits in children, young adults and older adults with low occupational risk or previous coronavirus exposure. We discuss implications for public health policies related to boosters, school and workplace mandates, and the urgent need to identify, develop and disseminate diagnostics and treatments for life-altering vaccine injuries.

Read more …

“Not only do the three vaccines authorized for emergency use require boosters due to waning “protective efficacy,” but they haven’t stopped breakthrough infections..”

Guidance On Covid Vaccines Moves Closer To ‘Misinformation’ Of Skeptics (JTN)

Federal officials and advisors who have consistently boosted COVID-19 vaccines are starting to sound more like skeptics of the vaccines’ efficacy and safety. The face of the Biden administration’s COVID response is now making the same claims about vaccines that got a contrarian journalist booted from Twitter, while the CDC encouraged Americans to avoid a specific vaccine. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci cowrote a “perspective” in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Wednesday that acknowledged COVID vaccines were not living up to expectations. Not only do the three vaccines authorized for emergency use require boosters due to waning “protective efficacy,” but they haven’t stopped breakthrough infections, “allowing subsequent transmission to other people even when the vaccine prevents severe and fatal disease.”

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson wrote of the vaccines in August: “It doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission.” They have a “limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile.” Twitter permanently suspended him the same day for “repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules.” The social media company didn’t respond to Just the News queries seeking its distinction between claims by Berenson and Fauci and whether it would apply an “unsafe” warning to the NEJM essay, as it recently did to a study on increased heart risks in vaccine recipients, or otherwise restrict the publisher’s account. Twitter quietly updated its “COVID-19 misleading information policy” page sometime after Dec. 2, even while claiming through Wednesday that the update was made in November. (It corrected the month on Thursday, several days after Reclaim the Net noted the discrepancy.)

Among the new authority it grants itself, Twitter will punish users who claim vaccines, regardless of their authorization status, are “experimental”; taking them “would be more harmful than getting COVID-19”; and most pertinent to Fauci’s essay, vaccinated people “can spread or shed the virus … to unvaccinated people.”

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“American doctors have proven to be cowards, cravens, zombies, and fools facilitating Dr. Fauci’s evil campaign — in concert with the rapacious pharmaceutical industry and a government in thrall to sinister forces that seek to destroy the country.”

Where Do You Stand? (Jim Kunstler)

The public health bureaucrat who styles himself as “the Science” is at it again. In his quest to eliminate the control group for his experiment in hazardous mRNA injections, Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated his warning that the nation faces “a crisis of the unvaccinated.” Omicron is upon us, he told a US Chamber of Commerce meet-up this week, and the hospitals will soon be overwhelmed by the unvaxxed. Oh really? In fact, the gravest threat to America’s public health is… Dr. Tony Fauci and his debauchery of medical science. This will surely come as a surprise to readers of The New York Times, who see in the two-year (so far) Covid-19 event a splendid opportunity to hasten the destruction of the US economy and our culture in order to consolidate their own power to coerce and control the population. Clear the offices! Shut down the social spaces! Make ordinary business as difficult as possible! Cancel Christmas! That’ll git’er done!

In fact, Dr. Fauci is likely responsible for a preponderance of the total 802,000 US Covid deaths — putting aside the number of people who actually died from highway accidents, cancer, diabetes, old age, and other causes, but were listed as covid deaths by hospital accounting personnel avid for federal subsidy cash. It was Dr. Fauci who organized the suppression of easily marshaled and inexpensive early treatments for the disease, namely hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, azithromycin, monoclonal antibodies, Vitamin D, etc. It was Dr. Fauci who promoted the protocol of sending sick patients home from the ER without any treatment to await the further development of fatal clotting in their lungs. It was Dr. Fauci who designated the drug remdesivir — which he developed years ago for hepatitis-C (it did not work) with a financial stake in the patents — as the primary inpatient treatment for Covid-19.

And then it turned out that remdesivir destroys patients’ kidneys and is ineffective anyway in late treatment of the disease when viral loads wane and spike proteins have already created the fatal capillary clots in the alveoli of the lungs and in other organs. It’s Dr. Fauci who is responsible for the emergency use authorization on the mRNA “vaccines” that may have killed hundreds of thousands more Americans — based on the CDC’s VAERS system and statistical analysis of its inherent under-reporting at only 2.2 percent of all actual events— and you can add multiples more in non-fatal adverse reactions, including permanent disabilities. It’s Dr. Fauci who finagled the inadequate and botched trials of the mRNA vaccines in order to rush them into use.

And now it’s Dr. Fauci who wants to vaxx up all the children in America, despite evidence that the mRNA shots permanently disable children’s innate natural immune systems and can cause lasting heart, blood vessel, brain, and reproductive damage, and also despite the fact that few children are susceptible to serious Covid illness in the first place. [..] American doctors have proven to be cowards, cravens, zombies, and fools facilitating Dr. Fauci’s evil campaign — in concert with the rapacious pharmaceutical industry and a government in thrall to sinister forces that seek to destroy the country. The doctors have disgraced and dishonored themselves. The doctors have probably undermined their own vocations, as well as the entire armature of US health care, which they have allowed to become history’s worst racketeering operation.

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“How carefully would you drive if it was mandated by law that you must have a 6″ spike mounted in the center of the steering wheel pointed at your chest — and seat belts were illegal?”

They KNOW And LIKE IT (Denninger)

Folks, can we cut the bull**** please? Insurance companies are regulated. They are only permitted to make a certain amount of gross margin, typically 10%. Said regulation is enforced; firms are required to file their rates with state regulators along with the previous year’s results and projections for next. This applies to health insurance, car insurance, homeowners insurance, all insurance. Therefore there are exactly two ways for an insurance company to grow in size and profits: • Have more-frequent events results in a loss. • Have the same number of events but make them more expensive. That’s it. Efficiency is backwards because if you have overhead of 30% and cut it to 20% you don’t get to keep the other 10% in the company as profit which in any other line of business is yours to pocket. You wind up having to cut rates!

I have some data for health rates for firms in the midsized corporate world. I also have the Obamacare numbers for 2021 in a number of places, since those are published. They’re up. A lot. In some cases and places, by 30%. Do you really think the health insurance and health care providers care if you get a bad reaction from the jabs? No, they like it, provided it doesn’t kill you immediately. See the above for why. That you get ****ed is just business. You think the car insurance companies push all that expensive tech and “improvements” because it results in fewer crashes? Well, has it resulted in fewer crashes? Notice how the media and car companies, along with the insurance firms and their public-facing folks such as the crash-test people, always talk about fatality rates, not crashes.

A fatal car crash means you are no longer a customer. But that collapsible steering column isn’t for you, really — it doesn’t do anything to prevent the crash, it just costs more money if you crash and increases the odds you’ll live. This means (1) you’re still a customer and (2) the car costs more to repair or must be replaced. Obviously if you’re dead you don’t need another car, do you? Nor will you ever buy car insurance again. Oh, you think this is fanciful BS? Uh, nope. How carefully would you drive if it was mandated by law that you must have a 6″ spike mounted in the center of the steering wheel pointed at your chest — and seat belts were illegal?

Read more …

“This mandate will make it even harder for small business owners to find and keep employees.”

Appeals Court Reinstates Biden Vaccine Mandate For Business (JTN)

A federal appeals court on Friday night reinstated President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private companies with more than 100 workers, reversing lower court rulings and setting up a likely showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had the authority to Impose the mandate due to take effect Jan. 4. “Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace,” the court conckuddd in its majority opinion.

Within an hour of the decision, the small business group Job Creators Network filed an appeal to the high court, saying the appeals judges “irresponsibly upheld an illegal rule.” “This mandate adds an incredible burden on small business owners who are still suffering negative effects of the pandemic,” the group said. “This mandate will make it even harder for small business owners to find and keep employees.” The ruling came after several challenges from GOP-led states and conservative and business groups were consolidated before the Cincinnati-based 6th circuit. The decision was supported by one Democrat-appointed judge and one Republican appointee and opposed by the third judge, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told The Associated Press she would immediately appeal to the Supreme Court. “The Sixth Circuit’s decision is extremely disappointing for Arkansans because it will force them to get the shot or lose their jobs,” she said. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, tweeted he was confident the mandate would be blocked by the justices. “We will go immediately to the Supreme Court- the highest court in the land- to fight this unconstitutional and illegal mandate,” he said. “The law must be followed and federal abuse of power stopped.”

Read more …

Too many hold-outs.

Companies, Organizations Are Walking Back Vaccination Requirements (ET)

More and more businesses in recent days have walked back previous rules mandating COVID-19 vaccines as a condition for employment in a bid to keep workers. Earlier this week, Amtrak—a quasi-public corporation—became the latest to rescind its vaccine requirement amid concerns about staff shortages and cut service in January. In a memo sent to staff that was obtained by The Epoch Times, Amtrak CEO William Flynn said the company would do away with the mandate that would have given employees until Jan. 4 to get fully vaccinated or go on unpaid leave. About 500 out of more than 17,000 Amtrak workers remain unvaccinated, according to the memo. Still, the sudden loss of that many workers would have caused service disruptions, Flynn suggested, while noting that Amtrak was acting in accordance with recent court orders handed down against President Joe Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandates.

Several hospitals and healthcare systems have similarly rescinded vaccine mandates for employees and cited labor issues that were triggered by the new requirements. In early December, Florida’s AdventHealth announced the end of its vaccine requirement for some 83,000 workers, also citing the several recent court injunctions against federal mandates. “Due to recent decisions by the federal courts to block the [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] vaccine mandate, we are suspending all vaccination requirements of our COVID-19 vaccination policy,” AdventHealth Chief Clinical Officer Neil Finkler said in a letter to staff. The move came after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services confirmed to The Epoch Times that the agency suspended enforcement following two court orders several weeks ago.

Tenet Healthcare, HCA Healthcare, and Cleveland Clinic recently announced they are pulling back as well, citing labor concerns. Along with AdventHealth, the three healthcare companies operate a combined 300 hospitals and have more than 500,000 workers. They cited recent court orders that blocked Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from enforcing its mandate on Medicare- and Medicaid-funded medical facilities. The rule was announced by Biden on the same day that he confirmed that he would impose mandates on federal government employees, businesses who have contracts with the federal government, and, most controversially, businesses that have 100 or more workers.

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“Boeing has suspended its vaccine requirement in line with a federal court’s decision prohibiting the enforcement of the federal contractor executive order and a number of state laws.”

Boeing Suspends Vaccine Mandate For Employees (JTN)

Boeing Friday said it has suspended its requirement that U.S.-based employees be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs. The announcement comes as several attempts by President Joe Biden to require vaccinations for workers in various settings have been blocked by courts in recent weeks. “Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe working environment for our customers, and advancing the health and safety of our global workforce,” a company spokesperson told KOMO News. “As such, we continue to encourage our employees to get vaccinated and get a booster if they have not done so. Meanwhile, after careful review, Boeing has suspended its vaccine requirement in line with a federal court’s decision prohibiting the enforcement of the federal contractor executive order and a number of state laws.”

A U.S. District Court judge in Georgia on Dec. 7 issued a preliminary injunction against Biden’s executive order requiring all companies that contract with the federal government to have a vaccine mandate in place. The order was to have taken effect starting Jan. 4. Earlier orders requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccinations and one requiring all healthcare workers to be vaccinated have also been blocked by courts. Biden’s executive order requiring all federal workers to be vaccinated is facing 17 lawsuits, but no judges have granted requests to block it. Courts have also ruled that private employers, states, local municipalities and public universities are able to issue vaccine mandates.

In an internal memo to employees obtained by Defense News, Boeing said 92% of its U.S.-based workforce had either provided proof of vaccination or received a medical or religious exemption. “The success of Boeing’s vaccine requirement to date positions the company well to comply with the federal executive order should it be reinstated in the future,” the memo said. Reuters reported last month that some 11,000 Boeing employees, about 9% of its North American workforce, had requested an exemption. It is unclear how many were granted.

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Every plan so far has failed.

Top Israel Ministers Agree On Covid Purple Ribbon Outline For Malls (JPost)

A “strict” Purple Ribbon outline will be applied immediately to all indoor shopping malls, the Prime Minister’s Office said late Friday night. The announcement came after two days of discussion on how to handle shopping malls, and as the number of coronavirus cases spikes across Israel. The decision was made jointly by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Economy Minister Orna Barbivai and MK Abir Kara. One person for every 15 square meters will be allowed to shop. And increased enforcement of mask wearing will be established. Moreover, the officials agreed, mall hours will be extended in order to accommodate shoppers and immunization complexes will be established in 50 main centers in the malls to encourage people to get the jab. Those who are vaccinated will enjoy special privileges.

Bennett had wanted to require the malls operate under the Green Pass outline, meaning that individuals would have to be fully vaccinated or take a COVID test to enter the facilities. The only exception would have been to access essential products. But fierce opposition by retailers and some members of the government on Thursday pushed the plan to the side. Friday night’s announcement said that if morbidity rates continue to climb then the Green Pass outline will once again be considered for any facility over 100 square meters. The above plan is still not final. It will be discussed at the cabinet meeting on Sunday, drafted as regulations and then voted on by the coronavirus cabinet via telephone poll. Once passed, the outline will begin immediately. Bennett is also reportedly expected to bring a resolution to the meeting that would mean almost the complete closure of the skies. Bennett’s proposal, N12 reported, is expected to include a ban on travel to most countries in the world, including the United States and other countries in Western Europe.

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Just 18 more months to flatten the curve.

Need For Social Restrictions Will Gradually Shrink Over Time – Whitty (BMJ)

The development of polyvalent vaccines and new antivirals should lessen the need for social restrictions from around the middle of 2023, England’s chief medical officer has told MPs. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee on 16 December, Chris Whitty said that although the UK may need intermittent social restrictions against covid-19 over the next 18 months, future medical advances should provide the “heavy lifting” against new variants. He said, “If I project forward, I would anticipate in a number of years, possibly 18 months, possibly slightly less, possibly slightly more, we will have polyvalent vaccines which will cover a much wider range [of variants].

And we will probably have several antivirals . . . and a variety of other countermeasures that mean that the great majority, and probably almost all, of the heavy lifting when we get a new variant—unless it is extremely different—can be met by medical means.” He added, “So I don’t see this as a kind of ‘we’re going to have to do this [social restrictions] repeatedly every few months’ situation. I think the risks will gradually decrease over time; it’s incremental.” However, Whitty said that for now some social restrictions may be necessary to tackle variants such as omicron that show some partial escape from vaccines and could overwhelm the NHS if left unchecked.

He said, “We’ve come from a place where we had absolutely nothing [in terms of medical interventions], so everything had to be done by social distancing and all the disruptive things that went with that right at the beginning. Where we are at the moment is kind of in a transition period. A very large amount of it can be done by [vaccines], and this is why the boosters are so absolutely essential, but we’re not quite in the rather safer haven I expect we will have in a couple of years’ time.”

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“This is only the beginning—the first quarter of 2022 is going to be a complete wreck.”

China’s Covid-zero Lockdowns Loom Over The Global Supply Chain (Qz)

A new covid-19 lockdown imposed last week (Dec. 7) in the port city of Ningbo, China, is raising the specter of further disruptions to an already battered global supply chain. There are more than 200 cases so far in the most recent cluster in the manufacturing province of Zhejiang, which includes the city of Ningbo. The outbreak is said to be spreading “relatively rapidly,” and has led to the closures of dozens of factories. So far, the lockdowns have restricted trucks going in and out of the port, slowing operations. While there are no reports yet of the port closing, the lockdown, combined with weeks of intensifying covid-zero restrictions, is worrying logistics professionals.

“The rising covid infections may lead to shutdowns at Ningbo and some other ports in China, adding to congestion and cargo backlogs,” a source from a UK-based logistics company said on Dec. 7 to S&P Global Platts, an analytics firm. “This is only the beginning—the first quarter of 2022 is going to be a complete wreck.” China’s pursuit of covid-zero has led to swift, severe measures to control the spread of infection, and policies to contain covid have only intensified since the omicron variant began to spread. On Monday (Dec. 13), Xinhua, the state-run news agency, singled out ports as the entry point for the most recent cluster of infections, and reported that the government will be tightening covid controls at port cities.

China’s policies at port have an outsized impact on the overall functioning of the global supply chain. The country is the world’s largest exporter of goods, as well as the largest importer of commodities. More ships call into the ports of China than any other country. “The global supply chain recovery relies on China,” said Atul Vashistha, CEO of Supply Wisdom, a New York-based risk intelligence company. “That’s an alarming and troubling truth considering China’s centricity to the supply chain. While it may be a sound public health policy, China’s zero-tolerance covid policy makes supply chain matters worse.”

Read more …

”In May, Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade invited the Tesla CEO to discuss the possibility of opening a factory in the country, after he indicated that he was considering such a move.”

Kremlin Discusses Potential Putin-Musk Meeting (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African-born billionaire Elon Musk could have a long-awaited meeting if the world’s richest man steps up and develops business interests in the country, the Kremlin has indicated. Speaking to journalists on Friday, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that the president has always been interested in meeting with foreigners who are keen to invest in Russia, adding that this could include Musk. “Without a doubt, the president is open to discussions with foreign businessmen,” Peskov explained. “There are regular discussions, practically every year, with French entrepreneurs, Germans, those with a large presence in our market. You and I know that Elon Musk isn’t in our market, but we hope that with time, he will become interested in it. And then, a meeting with the president isn’t out of the question.”

In February, Musk tweeted an invitation to Putin to chat with him via the audio-only social media app Clubhouse, writing, “It would be a great honor to talk with you.” The Kremlin replied that Musk’s invitation was “interesting,” and media reported that Putin hadn’t ruled out the possibility of a conversation. However, the meeting has not yet taken place. In May, Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade invited the Tesla CEO to discuss the possibility of opening a factory in the country, after he indicated that he was considering such a move. In addition to heading Tesla, the world’s most valuable automaker, Musk is also the founder of space transportation company SpaceX. In October, Forbes estimated his net worth at $271.3 billion, making him the richest person alive and, according to some measures, the richest in history.

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Maddow, Tucker, Assange





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Home Forums Debt Rattle December 18 2021

Viewing 33 posts - 41 through 73 (of 73 total)
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  • #95593
    absolute galore

    Yes, I’m aware of the main uses for whale oil. Perhaps I was confused by this paragraph you wrote: “The quest for lard led men to Arctic waters and into oversized rowboats to harpoon Leviathan. Imagine, for comparison, taking on a grizzly bear with a Swiss army knife. Oh, I’m sure that Hercules or Sir Laurence Olivier could pull it off, at least against a man in a leviathan suit, but we’re talking about men in wooden boats playing picador/matador to the largest water buffaloes known to man. Lard was, in fact, so scarce that soap and bathing were largely ignored until recent times because of the scarcity of fat for making soap.”

    Reading that, and your confusion of lard with whale oil, and mentioning whaling in the same context, I got the impression you were linking sporadic bathing habits of the 18th-19th centuries (whaling times) with the scarcity of “lard” which you generalized to include whale oil. My point was, during this period and beyond (and before), it was common to make soap from actual lard.

    I’m also aware of the references to oil in the Bible.Talking about whale oil and Roman times is anachronistic. Although I believe they did make a soap from volcanic ash and…I don’t recall, maybe olive oil. It’s been a while since I did my soap story. I’ve since washed my hands of the matter.

    Soap didn’t need marketing? Silly soap manufacturers! Most people at that time made their own soap, as I pointed out. Getting them to consider using it habitually on their body took some marketing. Creating an aversion to and fear of our own bodily odors is a multi billion dollar business. All that soaping up then creates another whole market to replace all the natural skin oils stripped away and washed down the drain.



    I loved reading your “Orgins of Xmas” again!

    If only I had read it before studying ancient history. It would have made my understanding of history so much easier! Your understanding of the ancients is so much clearer than the history books!


    Here in Ontario, the media are hyping the increasing number of covid “cases” each day. 1,500, 1,800, 2,100, 2,400, 2,800, 3,100, and 3,300 today.

    Nobody seems to notice the falling death rate!
    Nobody seems to notice hospitals are not over-run.
    It is panic! Locker down! Locker down some more! Panic! Panic. Enstein’s definition of insanity working hard doing the same thing6 to get a different outcome!

    Being a logical person, I have concluded that the reason the powers-to-be are only letting the vaccinated roam freely, is for the sole purpose of better spreading covid far and wide. If the vaccinated had been locked up, and only the unvaxxed free to roam, the unvaxxed would have had been hard pressed to spread covid far and wide, and for as long, as the powers-to-be needed.



    Is the truth hidden

    Who, here, believe that the numbers of un-vaccinated are the majority in the hospital, and in ICU with covid
    ( did you noticed that I did not ask if you believe that the un-vaccinated are the majority of people getting the virus)
    I went looking for the % vaccinated by age groups
    (of course, you all know that world wide that the majority of people who are getting the virus and who are dying. (senior)

    Go to the bottom chart
    (add the partial and the full – for 20 nov (those with a 3rd shot not counted)
    80+ have more than 100% (99.54 + 3.220)
    70-70 have more than 100% (98.13 + 1.66)
    60-69 have 91.37 + 1.88

    Do you remember, that the herd immunity number, was suppose to be to give you protection from the virus. 70%
    Now …
    of all people, ( + 5yrs old) in British Columbia are fully vaccinated

    of all people ( +5) in British Columbia have received at least one dose

    Omicron arrived just in time to scare/convinced the sheeeepps to get another jab that only helps the rich get richer


    Noirette. I like your Santas although I might’ve kepy my distance too. Here’s a Santa I made 22 years ago but have never completed to my satisfaction, so will leave it trailing off without a conclusion:

    Air Mail

    Downtown Chicago. Xmas Eve. It’s still the 20th century but late enough for Y2K to be a household acronym. Home for the holidays and my Dad’s funeral, a combination sure to put a man in a bar. I’d hit three already, looking for a dive low enough to suit my mood.

    Staggering under the Jackson street L, an unruly Santa was hassling the hustlers, talked dirty as he fingered his red velvet crotch.

    “Hey darlin’! How’s about just you and me and a bowl full of belly-jelly! This Norwegian peckerwood’s the real thing. The North Pole South Hole Driver! Oh, Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you drive cuz’ Santa’s tight…”

    A guy in a Santa Claus suit can get away with considerably more effrontery than the rest of us, but he was driving off business. Before the cops hauled him off or a posse of pimps shoved him in a dumpster — I felt it wise to appease his drunk butt inside.

    “Can I buy you a drink, Nicholas? You look broke, and your mistletoe’s wilting”.

    So we went into the same dive where, thirty-some years ago, some guy had walked in, smacked a bloody paper sack on the bar, pulled out a women’s severed head, ordered a drink and said, “Give this bitch one, too. She needs to calm down ‘fore she loses her head.”

    True story. My Dad told me. Chicago fireman, saw a bit of everything. He said the bar was a hole in the wall under the Jackson Street L platform, and there we were.

    Santa looked bad and smelled worse. A shot of schnapps and a bottle of Old Style calmed him down. His face was more Mediterranean than any Santa I’d seen before.

    “What’s your story, Santa?” I asked him. Here it was December 24th, 1999, and he was a long way from home, drinking himself into what promised to be a millennial force hangover. “What are you doing here in the Loop passing yourself off as a bell ringer gone bad?”

    “Wanna scratch the other nut while you’re at it?”

    “Seriously, Kris. I wanna know or I ain’t buying.”

    A bleary eye through a curl of grey forelock told me I had him but not to push it. He was a lot to take in: really tall, really big. His suit wasn’t crimson, more carmine verging on maroon. It wasn’t velvet; it was thick felt. The belt was reasonably sized, the buckle real brass turning green. It had pouches on each side.

    “What is that lining in your collar? Yak fur?”

    “The fur is lama but the felt is made of yak wool. You’ve got a good nose. Put some money in the juke,” he said. “North to Alaska and I’ll puke in your pocket. Whispering Pines works for me.”

    Whatever. This wasn’t some fisherman’s bar in Dutch Harbor. We settled for no Smashmouth and no Xmas songs: a broken man needs shelter from the storm. Another schnapps and beer and he started talking.

    It was not anything I was prepared to hear.

    “It’s been years coming on. It gets old and so am I.”

    “It’s different now. They track a Santa who doesn’t exist on phony radar screens but since WWII I have to hug the tree tops to avoid radar. I can’t have people seeing me like that, not from their back yards or on a radar map. I can’t afford to be that real.”

    There were two empties in front of him already. He talked like a soda spritzer. I felt like a windshield wiper in a beer blizzard.

    “No you can’t, unless you want to end up in a psych ward,” I said.

    He started laughing. Not that satyr chuckle but the real thing. A Ho! and a Ho! and a Ho! again, heaved HO! like giant Yule log ICBMs from some missile silo in his throat.

    “Fuckin’ criminy!” I shouted, not that anyone heard me. The whole bar, the whole world, it seemed, shook like a bowl full of plastic explosive jelly.

    And it kept on going,”HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO” in arterial spouts like someone had sliced his jovial jugular.

    When it stopped, we (the bar was far from empty) peeled the white off our knuckles and dug our fingers out from the counter. It was the saddest, most majestically miserable jubilance any of us had ever heard, and we were scared. We knew. This was Santa Claus! And he wasn’t happy.

    “Listen, you snot-nosed little wannabe grownups. It’s over. Saturn’s back and I’m about done in. Cronus, Saturn, Father Time, whatever you call the bastard, he’s down on it all and I can’t raise the steam to put him back where it belongs.”

    “Where’s that?” I asked. Respectfully.

    “I don’t know. Jerry Springer, chain gang, the sands of forgotten time. Your ex-mother-in-law’s? Just out of here and away from your kids.”

    “Anything we can do?”

    “Try acting like you give a shit about being alive. Act like it matters.”

    “Yeah. Right.”

    And he laughed again, but this time the ho’s weren’t as loud, not so damning in their celebration of a life most of us had let slip through our fingers. He chuckled. It sounded like bear cubs in his belly. He looked at one of the hookers who’d earlier told him to piss off, patted his knee, and asked, “What do you want for Xmas, little girl?”

    She parked it sidesaddle and whispered in his ear. He whispered back, or maybe she let him chew on her neck, but I noticed her eyes were wet, and she kissed him on the cheek. “You come and see me anytime, Santa,” she said. “For free.” Looking at a guy with freckles over mahogany skin, wearing a leather vest, she said, “You hear me, Jemaine?”

    Jemaine nodded and raised his glass. He was being a good boy this Xmas. But then he dropped the other goody two shoe: “Yo! Santa! Where were you when I was a boy! Don’t get me wrong. I believe in you, bro. But I had some dry Xmases, man. You scared to go into the ‘hood? I’m just sayin’, y’know?”

    “I’m sorry, Jemaine. I’m just one man. Magic is just magic, that’s all. Do you really believe I visit every child every year? You think you’re big enough to wear this suit?” He patted his belly. It wasn’t really that big, just an average gut but on a very big man, maybe 6’6″, and what he patted sounded solid. “Even Zeus got his ass kicked a time or two. But I’m sorry, Jemaine. Got kids?”

    Jemaine’s head drooped. “Yessir,” he whispered.

    “Don’t know much about them, do you?”


    “Hey, don’t put all the blame on yourself. Life’s hard, you know?”

    “Yeah, but they’re still my kids. I’m just no damn good.” The glass broke in his hand and bled. He scowled at the whiskey sting. Miranda rushed over and fussed on him. “Oh baby baby baby…”

    “Jemaine,” said Santa, speaking his name like an order. Jemaine gave him a soldier’s stare. Jemaine had done the Gulf War.

    “You find out where those kids are. You hear me? You let me know. You tell this man here,” he said, nudging me, “and leave it with the management of this exquisite dump. You do your part and I’ll do mine. Reindeer turds and everything. Saint’s honor. Swear to fucking God and damn the rest.”

    Normally, going behind the bar of such a place was an invitation to examine the stereo-optics of a double-barreled sawed-off, but I went behind the bar and got a clean bar towel. Took it over to Jemaine and handed it to his girl. Gave him my card. Three of them.

    “We both heard what the man said,” I told him. He grinned and wiped his tears, careful not to snag his cufflinks. We were giddy with cooperation like schoolkids assigned to crossing guard duty.

    Not that anyone stopped drinking. It gets fuzzy after that. I know we had a mighty good time for awhile. I distinctly remember that someone with exceptional taste played ‘Cast Your Fate to the Wind’, and Jemaine, Miranda, Ramona and I did something like soft-shoe ballet, free-form interpretive dance like we were beatniks in leotards or hippies in tie-dyes. Jabba’s Hut is a friendly bar in its way, but this was different.

    Santa did the shimmy and the hippy-hippy shake and got a blowjob from some skinny blonde crackwhore, one of those heart-breaking waifs who’ll wreck your life if you don’t use a rubber much less try to care about them.

    I especially remember closing time. Four A.M. and lights up bright gets your attention. We didn’t want it to end. There was something like a group hug as we crowded near the door. Awkward, with folks keeping one hand on their wallet and the other squeezing your neck like it was a reunion for Holocaust survivors. It was 4:59 when the door locked behind us.

    Something had happened, something that might change our lives if we let it, but most of us wouldn’t, and we all knew it. And yet, I’m sure that no one left that night the same person they were before.

    He declined my offer of a couch to crash on at my folks’ house.

    “Your Mother just buried your Father and you think she can handle Santa Claus sleeping it off in her living room?”

    He was right.

    But he took me to a spot near one of those statues by the bridges over the railroad yards that run underground just east of downtown between Jackson and Monroe, and pulled — His Bag! — from under some bushes surrounding a ventilation grill.

    “Don’t look in there long, Robin,” he told me. “Not good for your mortal head.”

    I’d never seen a hyperspace before, much less one made of thick, dark purple velvet. Trimmed, he told me, in ermine and muskrat.

    We crawled inside and sat atop the ventilation grill – it blew warm air from the subterranean train yards into pre-dawn winter air cold enough to make ice crystals in his beard – with our heads peeking out like two pigs in a poke. The sensation of that bag’s interior is beyond description except to say it was neither too big nor little. It was just right.

    “Merry Christmas, Robin. You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?”

    It was a card. Hallmark. But the inside was covered with white construction paper painted over in highlight marker colors. It said:

    Dear Santa:

    I need a reason to believe in all this crazy shit.

    Harry Krishnas,

    Robin Morrison

    I’d mailed it a month ago helping my godchild write a letter to Santa. I’d slipped it in before sealing the envelope. She’d wanted to do it but little kids cut their tongue.

    I looked at him.

    “Uh, how do you do it, Santa?”

    “I don’t, son. ”

    “What do you mean, ‘I don’t’?”

    to be continued someday

    The Midnight Choir


    correction: 70-70 have more than 100% (98.13 + 1.66) should read .. 70-79


    If you are at a company with 100+ employees, the OSHA ETS is back in play.

    The Sixth Circuit’s decision was appealed this morning to the Supreme Court; however, this appeal does not alter the decision unless and until the Supreme Court rules.  In the meantime, employers should resume (or continue) preparations to comply with the ETS requirements. For a summary of the OSHA ETS and its requirements, visit here.

    What does this mean for employers?
    As we had counseled earlier, there are various steps employers should take to come into compliance with the ETS.  As mentioned above, OSHA has stated it will not issue citations for noncompliance “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance” with the rule. This means employers should, at a minimum, develop their COVID-19 workplace policy, begin to get proof of vaccination status of employees, inform employees who are not vaccinated that they will be required to mask and test, and begin determining how they will implement the testing requirement. (For a quick summary of the ETS, you can re-read our earlier post here.)

    “To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.” 

    “[f]undamentally, the ETS is an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our healthcare system to its knees, forced businesses to shut  down for months on end, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs. In a conservative estimate, OSHA finds that the ETS will ‘save over 6,500 worker lives and prevent over 250,000 hospitalizations’ in just six months.”



    I am very surprised Santa didn’t keep his 2 meter social distancing!

    Naughty fellow he is! Must still be under the influences of Saturn!


    abs galore: you’ll note that all these adverts coincide with the development of petrotechnoculture.

    Marketing is a way of getting someone to buy YOUR soap, and that always require SURPLUS, otherwise you’d keep your soap for yourself. Not EVERY thing is some vast Bernaysian conspiracy, I swear. Mostly it’s just that we humans, leaders and followers alike, really are that stupid.

    Homemade soap used to be scarce. Really. Trust me on this. Heck, firewood was scarce for much of civilized history throughout much of the world. We live in a petroleum-driven reality based on our desire for light/warmth other than campfire and good greasy fat to eat and smear around our bodies. 1,000 years ago, for example. 2k, 3k, 4k, 5k etc. years ago, scarce. 200 years ago, scarce. 100 years ago, not so scarce. Add modern plumbing and running hot water, and suddenly everybody wants soap and baths and good smelling epidermis.

    from the wiki on soap: “9th century

    Ad for Soapine, c. 1900, indicating that it is made of whale oil
    Until the Industrial Revolution, soapmaking was conducted on a small scale and the product was rough. In 1780, James Keir established a chemical works at Tipton, for the manufacture of alkali from the sulfates of potash and soda, to which he afterwards added a soap manufactory. The method of extraction proceeded on a discovery of Keir’s. In 1790, Nicolas Leblanc discovered how to make alkali from common salt.[20] Andrew Pears started making a high-quality, transparent soap in 1807[42] in London. His son-in-law, Thomas J. Barratt, opened a factory in Isleworth in 1862.

    During the Restoration era (February 1665 – August 1714) a soap tax was introduced in England, which meant that until the mid-1800s, soap was a luxury, used regularly only by the well-to-do. The soap manufacturing process was closely supervised by revenue officials who made sure that soapmakers’ equipment was kept under lock and key when not being supervised. Moreover, soap could not be produced by small makers because of a law that stipulated that soap boilers must manufacture a minimum quantity of one imperial ton at each boiling, which placed the process beyond the reach of the average person. The soap trade was boosted and deregulated when the tax was repealed in 1853.[43][44][45]

    William Gossage produced low-priced, good-quality soap from the 1850s. Robert Spear Hudson began manufacturing a soap powder in 1837, initially by grinding the soap with a mortar and pestle. American manufacturer Benjamin T. Babbitt introduced marketing innovations that included the sale of bar soap and distribution of product samples. William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James, bought a small soap works in Warrington in 1886 and founded what is still one of the largest soap businesses, formerly called Lever Brothers and now called Unilever. These soap businesses were among the first to employ large-scale advertising campaigns.”



    Loved your Chicago Xmas story!

    You have the knack for the kind of writing my female high school teachers always tried to extract from me, but never succeeded once! While I admired Shakephere’s (what is wrong with spell check?) ability with words, I have even visited him, I can’t for the life of me duplicate him.

    I can only write about machines and robots, not about something as complex as people with feelings and emotions!



    Obviously, getting your mouth washed with soap is a rather new expression!
    Nobody could afford soap to until recently!


    Data Hesitancy

    Chris Martenson has come up with the label “data hesitancy” to describe the mentality of those who see the data but refuse to accept what it says. Spread it around!

    Veracious Poet

    1/Crushing Chest pains: ‘can’t fill my lungs with air properly’: Families’ Xmas Dinner & Gathering urns into Omicron Hell as an entire group of 35 are Infected: with the youngest having the most severe illness: all adults fully vaccinated — Chris Turnbull (@EnemyInAState) December 17, 2021

    Probably each & every one of these Brits has been vaccinated, including the children + a Vitamin D deficiency…

    There might be more to this illness for them than just the virus 😐


    V. P.:

    For us on TAE, this comes as no surprise.
    Clearly they were all vaccinated or they would not have been so confident to have gotten together in such a large gathering!
    We know the vaxxed are especially “enabled” to catch covid.
    The vaxxed are the ones who caught and spread omicron world wide!
    The powers-to-be must be really pleased with themselves for how the vaxxed are repeatedly spreading covid, wave after wave!


    absolute galore

    Thanks for wiki-schoolin’ me, Boz! And marketing was a by product of the petroleum age, you say? Fascinating. And the way you sussed out my penchant for conspiracies behind everything(!) just by me suggesting soap makers created a desire for their products generically while at the same time pushing their brand. Busted! Well done.

    Boz: “Trust me on this.” You got it. You’re now my official go-to expert on all things soap! It’s like an early Christmas present.Ho Ho ho!

    those darned kids

    i wonder which injectable product gary kelly chose for his two three doses.

    Gary is doing well and currently resting at home, he has been fully vaccinated and received the booster earlier this year




    Clearly Gary Kelly choose “Gin and Tonic”!


    @abs galore
    Since you live near Hudson, I have to suggest you stop in and say Hi to Kit at OUR Bookstore in Saugerties. It is probably the best used book store between Albany and the city. A real treasure. He’s an old friend; we grew up together in Woodstock. John aka straightwalker


    “There might be more to this illness for them than just the virus”

    Omicron? Or vaccine side effects?

    those darned kids

    V. Arnold

    those darned kids

    firefighters and police are the new athletes:
    so many, many more just like this…

    What I see from here (S.E. Asia) in the west, are the results of outright lies, propaganda, and intentional mis-information…
    After all this time (more than 1 year) it appears there are no lessons learned in any broad sense of that meaning…
    The new varients of this virus are just being rolled out, one after another, keeping the fear machine well primed…
    It seems that people are generally still buying the koolaide…
    The people I know are generally ignorant, knowing only what they read or hear on/from the MSM.
    VAERS and ADE are unknown terms…
    I have little hope things will improve in terms of people educating themselves about the facts (Covid)…
    As one born curious to a fault; the general population has always been utterly lacking in curiosity, IME, and this has forever mystified me…

    those darned kids

    “VAERS and ADE are unknown terms…”

    amongst so many others. i can’t even talk to most of my own family, for they just stick proverbial fingers in their ears and wonder why i’m always “this way”.

    V. Arnold

    …amongst so many others. i can’t even talk to most of my own family, for they just stick proverbial fingers in their ears and wonder why i’m always “this way”.

    I had to chuckle at that…and believe me, I understand. My sister (younger) just humors me and got two Pfizer jabs…so far so good, we’ll see…

    Fortunately my wife listens to me and realizes the mRNA gene therapies are poison.
    Due to peer/family pressure, she felt compelled to do something. I suggested that Sino-pharm is an actual vaccine and has a good track record here in LOS; so, she got 2 jabs with zero side affects, thank the gods.
    I remain unjabbed and unless Sputnik V becomes available, will remain so…
    IVM and HCQ, along with V-D3 are at the ready in any event…
    Thailand is doing an excellent job of dealing with the virus with very little in the way of surpressing human rights/freedoms…so far so good…

    TAE Summary

    A tree that is trimmed but not there
    Your mind’s playing tricks, so beware
    Expecting a shape
    You foolishly gape
    There’s a tree, but it’s made out of air

    Omicron’s spreading so fast
    The symptoms are mild and don’t last
    A wimp of a virus
    Will surely require us
    To panic and scream all aghast

    Joe Biden, his patience is thinning
    He’s losing and fears he’s not winning
    He’s serious, insistent
    The vaccine resistant
    Are guilty of mortally sinning

    A system as complex as life
    Will generate conflict and strife
    Don’t try to unbend it
    Instead comprehend it
    Accept that the unknowns are rife

    V. Arnold

    TAE Summary

    A tree that is trimmed but not there
    Your mind’s playing tricks, so beware
    Expecting a shape
    You foolishly gape
    There’s a tree, but it’s made out of air

    V. Arnold

    Nicely done…




    abs galore: if you can misread me, I can misread you. But consider this: you can’t market what you don’t have — something I previously mentioned.

    As for the idea that humanity had to be sold on the idea of not stinking being preferable to stinking, that we had to be bamboozled into believing that we preferred the smell of antisepsis over sepsis, well, how about you market that idea to me? Sell me, abs.

    But seriously, who the fuck cares? We were having fun until you turned it into a scholastic trivia contest. Yeesh. Cook your own goddam ham and stay the fuck away from my Xmas dinner, son.

    Good god awmighty, is there any trivial thing we won’t niggle each other around here?



    Your opening verse, which I too admire, reminded me of my fave Nabokov poem:

    Restoration (1952)

    To think that any fool may tear
    by chance the web of when and where.
    O window in the dark! To think
    that every brain is on the brink
    of nameless bliss no brain can bear,

    unless there be no great surprise —
    as when you learn to levitate
    and, hardly trying, realize
    — alone, in a bright room — that weight
    is but your shadow, and you rise.

    My little daughter wakes in tears:
    She fancies that her bed is drawn
    into a dimness which appears
    to be the deep of all her fears
    but which, in point of fact, is dawn.

    I know a poet who can strip
    a William Tell or Golden Pip
    in one uninterrupted peel
    miraculously to reveal
    revolving on his fingertip,

    a snowball. So I would unrobe,
    turn inside out, pry open, probe
    all matter, everything you see,
    the skyline and its saddest tree,
    the whole inexplicable globe,

    to find the true, the ardent core
    as doctors of old pictures do
    when, rubbing out a distant door
    or sooty curtain, they restore
    the jewel of a bluish view.




    Repeat War
    The enemy keeps repeating.
    The enemy believes in the childish game of repeat
    The looser stops repeating.

    Omicron doesn’t need money
    The sniffles doesn’t need an ICU
    Omicron will not need a time out
    Omicron will make a touch down

    Omicron will be your savior
    Omicron will go down the chimney
    Omicron will be under the Xmas tree
    Omicron will bring Xmas cheers


    Great Santa Stories bosco. 🙂

    WES, I guess Santas are above all the ‘rules’? Maybe their ‘beard’ is as good as a ‘mask’? Who knows. Anyway here they are allowed to roam free in supermarkets… 🙂 by special dispensation, as all we pleb customers have to wear masks.

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