Links 2/17/2021

Bernard Lown, Inventive Heart Doctor and Antiwar Activist, Dies at 99 New York Times (Kevin C)

Larry, No.10’s ‘Chief Mouser’, Celebrates 10 Years at Downing Street Sputnik (Kevin W). Too bad the UK is a Parliamentary system. Otherwise, Larry for PM!

Snake escapes in Cologne, 10 apartments evacuated DW

Stray dogs with bright blue fur found in Russia Reuters (resilc) :-(

New ‘Meltdown’ film: A different kind of Greenland ice documentary Yale Climate Connections

Caffeine consumption found to alter brain structure New Atlas (David L). Hard to see how there can be significant changes in a mere 10 days. Also seems to contradict studies that find that high consumption of coffee (5 cups a day, gah!) counteracts Alzheimers symptoms.

Bill Gates: Rich nations should move to ‘100 percent synthetic beef’ The Hill

Identifying ‘ugly ducklings’ to catch skin cancer earlier MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

‘New Car Smell’ Is The Scent of Carcinogens, And Even Short Trips May Overexpose Us Science Alert (Chuck L). A good idea to open windows for 1 minute after your car has been in the sun and breeze out the vehicle. Those volatiles get released even in an old car in the heat.

How Popperian falsification enabled the rise of neoliberalism aeon (Anthony L)


Survey finds 40% of Palestinians have coronavirus antibodies Times of Israel (Kevin W). Holey moley!

Israel blocks Covid-19 vaccines destined for Gaza Middle East Eye (Kevin W)


SARS-CoV-2 with Genomic Deletions Escapes an Antibody The Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

AI used to ‘predict the next coronavirus’ BBC (furzy)


#OpenOurSchools: GOP targets teachers unions in bid to retake suburbs NBC (Kevin W)

Covid wars launch DeSantis into GOP ‘top tier’ Politico (resilc)

Hospitals still ration medical N95 masks as stockpiles swell Associated Press

S–t Public Defenders See: The Great Covid-19 Jury Charade Matt Taibbi

N4T Investigators: Outrage after large maskless pool party at off-campus UArizona housing complex KVOA (Arizona Slim)


German election fever has EU sweating on vaccines Politico

Government tells 1.7million MORE people to shield in England – nearly doubling the original list – and advises ALL ‘shielders’ to stay indoors until March 31, despite 15million vaccine roll-out Daily Mail


China Blocked Jack Ma’s Ant IPO After Investigation Revealed Likely Beneficiaries Wall Street Journal

China under US pressure to condemn Myanmar military coup South China Morning Post

Ugandan President Museveni: “The Europeans Suffer from Arrogance” Der Spiegel



NATO Will Not Leave Afghanistan ‘Before Time Is Right’ Antiwar (resilc)

Is Biden Committing Diplomatic Suicide Over the Iran Nuclear Agreement? Counterpunch

Princess Latifa: ‘Hostage’ ordeal of Dubai ruler’s daughter revealed BBC

The Empire Attacks BDS For The Same Reason Nixon Started The Drug War Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)

Analysis: Saudi Arabia eyes Dubai’s crown with HQ ultimatum Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

Who Are the Ultimate War Profiteers? U.S. Air Force Veteran Removes the Veil CovertActionMagazine (Kevin W)

We had a tiny amount of snow starting when I was turning in, which resulted in my going out at 7:30 AM to open 2 frozen car doors, backing the car all the way under the carport, running the engine for a few minutes, and sweeping off all the snow on it. This mind you is a heroic encounter by local snow standards. Fortunately the snow here didn’t amount to much but a lot of places stayed closed because it looked dicey in the AM.

Texplainer: Why does Texas have its own power grid? Texas Tribune (resilc)

Massive Texas gas failure during climate extremes gets blamed on wind power Renew Economy (Paul R)

Trump Transition

Trump unloads on McConnell, promises MAGA primary challengers The Hill

Republicans in Oregon, Arizona, and Hawaii show post-Trump GOP is not changing Vox. Resilc: “Why should they, 74 million votes.”

Capitol Seizure

Bennie Thompson: Democrat sues Donald Trump under post-Civil War era law for conspiracy to incite insurrection at Capitol CNN (furzy)

The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot Glenn Greenwald

Deplatform Hate: The Undercover Anti-Fascists Who Expose the Far Right Rolling Stone (furzy)

Nevada wants to totally upend the 2024 calendar CNN (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

Judge refuses to ban Capitol riot suspect from Twitter and Facebook Politico

How to have better arguments online Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

New language’: School asks parents to rate their ‘whiteness’ & become ‘white traitors’ or ‘abolitionists’ – RT (Kevin W). Martin Luther King would be spinning in his grave.

Zuckerberg responds to Apple’s privacy policies: “We need to inflict pain” ars technica

Apple wins victory as North Dakota votes down bill that would regulate app stores CNBC

Privatization Would Doom Biden’s Infrastructure Plan In These Times

$900m gaffe: US judge says Citigroup can’t recoup Revlon payout Al Jazeera (Kevin W). Because this was a prepayment of a total that would eventually be shelled out. But still really really wild.

Class Warfare

The Thirty Tyrants Tablet (Katniss Everdeen)

Why I was wrong to be optimistic about robots Financial Times (David L)

Antidote du jour (Phil). Sorry for missing this, I am more tired than I realized.

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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        1. Wukchumni

          That black velvet feline is a dead ringer for the one I sold on Etsy a few weeks ago, but the only way to know for sure is if there was a picture of his other side, with an image of dogs cheating at poker painted on him.

  1. sinbad66

    On the Twittter photo of the ceiling fan with icicles on it: Dude, you got bigger problems than just the cold. Looks like a burst water pipe to me…..Well, at least you didn’t get 14″ of snow….

    1. Synoia

      Burst pipes are going to make many homes and apartments uninhabitable.

      No water follows no power following freezing weather.

      My home in the Dallas Area had minor problems in Texas in the 1979 freeze. One was lack of insulation, the second minor amount plumbing frozen.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        after one experience with this, after we first moved that funky trailerhouse out here, 25 years ago…it has been my practice to just shut off the water and drain the lines whenever NWS indicates a prolonged period of below freezing(my rule of thumb trigger is 6 hours below 30).
        i’ve done this ever since….and the proof of concept is i don’t have to be a plumber, or crawl around in the cold mud under the house, when it finally gets above freezing(PVC pipe dope won’t set under 45 degrees or so….and will become useless in the can if left outside in even the 40’s)

        I’ll have running hot and cold by friday at the latest….and may even get a few hours today or tomorrow to ascend the mountain of dishes that have developed this last week….maybe even bathe(!!!!!).

        My mother, oth, despite my pleading, refused to let me shut hers off, saturday night…when 4 degrees was forecast.
        i begged…”i’m trying to save you a thousand bucks, here!”.
        but she has a long term aversion to listening to me,lol…so we let it ride.
        first to go was the second water heater(gas) serving the back of the house, contained in an outdoor closet on the south side, with exposed pipes and a sheet of siding tacked on(she’s had guys redoing the siding, and they stopped before finishing this part…i was unaware of it)
        then yesterday, a pipe under a toilet in the old rock part of the house burst…and she still argued against shutoff…but i did any way.
        now, she’s in a line for a plumber, of unknown length…it could be weeks.
        all because of lack of willingness to make a 4 day sacrifice to prevent a much longer, more expensive one.
        she has mostly iron pipe, which i have neither the tools nor the skills to repair…i also am no longer bendable enough to crawl under that ancient structure in the frozen mud…so i’m thankfully exempt from fixing her self induced problem.
        i have so many other things to do….and many, many places i’d much rather spend that plumber money,lol.
        sadly, based on decades of observation, most people are closer to my mom…so plumbers will be a growth sector for at least a couple of months. Out here, it’s hard to get one to show up in good times….the main reason i learned to do my own.
        wife and boys don’t even complain about these sacrifices….it’s a proven practice, with verifiable results that are perfectly evident after it gets above around 40 degrees(when i can turn the faucet that is in perpetual shadow, it’s time to turn the water on)

        1. Wukchumni

          What a tale Amfortas~

          I walked around Santa Monica maybe 3 hours after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and i’d guestimate every other plate glass window in retail brick & mortars weren’t there any more in a display of Mother Nature’s kristalnacht. It felt weird as a crummy 1/4 inch of transparency was all that separated the consumer goods on display, and now everything was more of an unguarded open air market of sorts.

          It was a glaziers whet dream, and everybody wanted new windows, tomorrow if possible.

          Getting new stock of panes from elsewhere in the country wasn’t that difficult, and installation not so hard.

          Within a month they were all fixed…

          There’ll be millions of homes in Texas in need of plumbers to fix hard to get to busted pipes, and each job will be time consuming as all get up.

          Maybe import legions of ‘Polish Plumbers’?

          A funny story in that regard:

          Maybe a decade ago i’m soaking in Arizona hot springs just off the Colorado river with half a dozen Polish-Americans who were rather recent arrivals to the country based on their command of English, and I asked one of them, ok, who is the Polish Plumber?

          And as if on cue, they all pointed to one another!

        2. Tom Stone

          Iron pipes get brittle with age as well as clogging with rust.
          Depending on how acid or base your water is, Iron pipes can be in bad shape within a decade or less.
          It might not be a bad time to replace them with PVC.

          1. jackiebass

            I’m assuming you are talking about cast iron pipes. They are mostly used as drainage pipes. In some very old homes they were used as water pipes. The house we live in was built in 1950. We bought it in 1971. There were only 2 6″ cast iron drain pipes in the house. We replace both of them. In 21 years the 6″ pipe became a 2″ pipe because of corrosion. They were so heavy it took 2 people to carry an 8′ piece.

            1. polecat

              Galvanized water service pipe WILL clog over time. I’ve replaced such, in the past. Mr. Stone is correct. Think of it as arteriosclerosis within your waterlines! Relatives of mine (San Joaquin Valley, north of Fresno) installed galv. service throughout their newly built res. circa early 60’s .. by late 70’s, one bathroom was already completely clogged up.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            I’m hoping to put off a comprehensive re-do until she’s either vegetative or returned to the soil…so i can do it in my unconventional way*.
            alkaline water…and the remaining iron is 100 years old(no lead, per tests), and goes mainly to the outdoor faucets.

            (* keep as much of the incoming water out from under the house, underground, with shutoff valves in holes wherever it enters….so: that bathroom has it’s own “supply”.
            point of use tankless wherever hot water is required…
            this is how i did my house, and it’s easy to turn off this or that line for repairs…or the whole thing at the wellhouse…faucets at the highest and lowest points of entire system, to facilitate draining…whatever pools in the random dips underground will hopefully have room for expansion, should we ever do this montana BS again)

            i spent the last 45 minutes beating frozen snow and ice from the several permanent shadecloth installations into large pots and dirty pans, which are all now on woodstoves melting and heating up, for to at least begin to attack the dishmonster that’s threatening to engulf the kitchen. I can no longer cook, nor get a glass of milk, because everything is piled into the sink, and stacked up nearby. if we don’t do this, we’ll be eating with our fingers off of wooden trenchers before lunch—which would be sort of apropos, what with the medieval quality of the last week…

          3. upstater

            PEX is a far better choice than PVC or copper. It is freeze resistant, but not freeze proof. It can withstand some freezing…

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i understand pvc.
              know how to do it.
              i can do copper, too…but don’t do it enough to keep up skills, so i get leaky.

              whomever re-did the pipe tree in the pumphouse…10? 15? years ago?…removed the faucet that used to be on the wellhead.
              but i finally got a running faucet at the killing shed…only one on that line, so no qualms about turning it on.
              took a texas sized katrina event for mom to promise things like generator…even solar(altho she want’s a schyster in town to do it(i know how, have studied for 25 years))
              and gutters and rainwater on her house.
              i’m now talking up a katydyn filter like what Wuk recc’d somewhere…and putting my cast iron hand pump(like little house on the prairie…about $900 for all of it) on the 130 year old hand dug well that the (non-functioning) windmill sticks in to(covered and all)

              talked to brother in Kingwood, and cousin in Spring and stepmom in Clearlake(all around houston)…their water is low pressure and brown.
              cousin(contractor) is looking for pipe….all he could find of cpvc is 100′ in el paso.
              pipe mongers gonna be rich.
              buddy in Round rock, north of Austin says people are looting the grocery stores…haven’t confirmed/seen it on the news.
              Mason, Brady and Fredericksburg Texas are either out, or almost out, of gas and diesel.
              stores in mason and brady are out of jug/bottle water, meat and hardware stores within 50 miles are out of generators, heaters, water jugs(big blueish ones)…i imagine this is not limited to our area.
              this is a trillion dollar disaster.
              go short on insurance stocks.
              and long on pipe.

              1. debug

                Now, during an emergency, may not be the best time to change over, but switching to PEX is easy and the work is 10x easier than PVC. I highly recommend it. I used to do PVC but never again. Invest once in the hundred dollar PEX toolset and never look at a can of PVC dope again.

                Fewer joints because PEX is somewhat flexible – if you have room for the bend around a corner you don’t have to manufacture angle turns like stiff PVC requires. You can buy PEX in rolls (25ft or >) or 8 or 10 foot straight sections. (Blue PEX for cold water and red for hot.)

                I got the “outside crimper” PEX toolset several years ago, but now the rage is the inside expander tool. They use different fittings, of course, but either way you go it’s a huge time and effort saver – and no toxic fumes or brushes or cans that get knocked over and spilled out just when you need it.

                1. marku52

                  Amen on the PEX. All it takes are a few tools, and it’s easy to install and will take a mild freeze.

                2. polecat

                  We have PEX for our service plumbing. Works great in conjunction with Sharktooth type connectors, making additions or repairs a real breeze.

              2. Kramer

                If you knew just how much easier and better pex is you would never use anything else again. PVC is fine for drain lines but I’ll never use it for supply. Get PEX and a manifold. You can cut water lines on and off just like using a breaker box to cut off power to a circuit.
                My family is in the Panhandle and this was just another cold snap for them. They have most of the wind turbines up there and they get this kind of weather at least a couple of times every winter, so clearly that’s not the cause of the outages.

        3. Aaron

          What is it with elderly parents and their long term aversion to listening to their children? Somebody better find a vaccine for that one. Seems everywhere.

          1. Robert Gray

            Like all kinds of relationships, those with aged parents vary across a wide spectrum; some people are luckier than others. About ten years ago I added this anonymous comment from the internet to my ‘clippings’ file. It resonated with me and it seems à propos here.

            > My own aging parents live far away, but they’ve never grown
            > into deep wisdom and take more emotional sustenance from
            > my brothers and me than they have ever given back.

            1. mary jensen

              This Be The Verse

              By Philip Larkin

              They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
              They may not mean to, but they do.
              They fill you with the faults they had
              And add some extra, just for you.

              But they were fucked up in their turn
              By fools in old-style hats and coats,
              Who half the time were soppy-stern
              And half at one another’s throats.

              Man hands on misery to man.
              It deepens like a coastal shelf.
              Get out as early as you can,
              And don’t have any kids yourself.

              1. Jason

                And you of tender years
                Can’t know the fears
                That your elders grew by
                And so please help
                Them with your youth
                They seek the truth
                Before they can die
                Teach your parents well
                The children’s hell
                Will slowly go by
                And feed them on your dreams
                The one they picks
                The one you’ll know by
                Don’t you ever ask them why
                If they told you, you would cry
                So just look at them and sigh
                And know they love you

                1. polecat

                  My Papa he don’t like me, always tell me to Live
                  My Mama thinks I’m stupid, says my head is like a Sieve
                  My Brother gets annoyed, cuz I put on all his Clothes
                  MY Sister she get angry, because I wear her Pantyhose!

                  Cheech&Chong .. before they were high on the charts

          2. marieann

            I am an elderly parent (70ish) and my sons have never had any words of wisdom for me. It is usually my husband going out at all hours fixing whatever has broken because one of them didn’t listen.Or paying to fix whatever.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i’ve been rather disappointed in my parents for a long time, now…product of their era, i guess.
              after this week, i feel pretty validated…even my boys have admitted, to wife, in living room, when they thought i was asleep– after i instantly produced non-electric light!—that i do know what i’m doing, and am not crazy after all.
              took a year of pandemic and economic collapse and insane political craziness…and a Texas Sized arctic event that shut down the whole state…but at last,lol…i get a little pat on the head.
              because we were ready for this…because of my efforts…”i have trod the winepress alone”…
              …and are better situated re: the current crisis, than any of their buddies or relatives or anyone they know.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Something tells me that your place would be very easy to find in a collapse. People would say just look for the only house with its lights still on.

              2. ivoteno

                that little pat on the head you got might be a slightly bigger deal. i was once a child. i remember the certainty that i knew better than my parents on practically anything of importance. there were a few times that i did have to, begrudgingly, admit to myself that maybe the old adage that ‘parents know best’ might just be like a stopped clock. i was loathe to admit this in their presence.

                the times that the stopped clock was in alignment with reality are the lessons that actually kept. hopefully this is one of those moments for your boys,

                i must give you a virtual tip o’ the hat for dealing with your current situation. you seem to have managed pretty well considering the more or less unprecedented circumstances.

                i planted some lovage this year on your recommendation. you should look into black soldier flies for sustainability, if you haven’t already.

      2. cocomaan

        Burst pipes are going to make many homes and apartments uninhabitable.

        It’s especially damaging since a cursory internet search showed that around 40% of Texas renters weren’t sure if they can pay rent last summer. Wonder how many mortgage payments are missed, too.

        It’s going to be a very strange year. I don’t think the economic effects have really begun to hit from Covid yet.

        If you can’t afford to pay for housing, how are you going to fix the pipes? Lots of condemned dwellings up and coming.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            We had a couple pipes freeze but they starting running again yesterday, even tho it was still below freezing.
            Use pex if you replace the old stuff, it can expand quite a bit without bursting.
            Just have to get to Saturday, seems like a mile away tho.

        1. jsn

          The economic effects are everywhere but QE induces denial.

          The rentiers who own the economy don’t have to consider reality as long as they can roll over loans at 0% and speculate in apparently guaranteed stock appreciation.

          Suburbanization has isolated and immobilized the havenots well out of sight of the haves and the propaganda industry bends over to maintain the illusions of the rich.

    2. Judith

      Useful discussion on Consortiumnews about the root of the problem in Texas:

      “What’s made Winter Storm Uri especially fatal in Texas is not only the arrival of an unprecedented cold spell, but the way the weather event is occurring in the context of preexisting social injustices like homelessness as well as how it is interacting with the state’s underdeveloped infrastructure, inadequate planning and regulation, and lack of emergency preparedness.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah…frelling Texas…
        idiotic government, bent of cruelty and lording it over towns and cities, while yelling about “Home Rool!” and “Freedom from Big Gubmit!”.
        and lets just hand over the grid to wall street enabled predators…”your electric bill will go down”—it has done nothing but go up since Lil George deregulated—unless you count the electricty not used during outages, i guess…i’m sure lots of energy was saved in the last few days, with folks shivering in the dark.
        Linemen I know…long prior to this mess…always end up talking about the lack of parts and maintenance…and we’re a Coop…it’s worse, by all their accounts, with the big corporate operators…at least the Coops have some semblance of oversight and responsibility(neighbor rancher sits on the board)

        and regarding Linemen…pray for those guys, or sacrifice a chicken, or whatever you do…or bring them coffee when they’re nearby.
        i can’t think of a job i’d like to do less(maybe plumber)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          power came back(randomness, chaos, 10 min on, 4 hours off, etc)
          so cell fones back on(!?)…so cousin’s million textx pop up.
          he’s in Spring Texas, looking for pipe…wants me to acquire some out here.
          he says worse than any hurricane(whole state)…trillion dollar disaster…every home with pipe issues.
          gigantic pipe shortage looms.

          i have a strategic reserve of the kind of pipe i use(3/4,1/2,1″ , 1 1/4,1 1/2, 2″ PVC) plus fittings and pipe dope(latter kept warm, like fine cognac)…but i ain’t turning loose of it,lol.
          mom is suddenly on board with installing the cast iron hand pump in the borehole with the regular pump(big well head, plenty of room(oh, and rush frelling limburger died)…she had nixed that idea for forever…so that pump and it’s apparatus sits in a corner of my barn. well guy also said it was against code…now i got some backsheesh,lol

          1. Wukchumni

            I could envision plumbers from the other 49 states descending on Texas*, but only if it was worth their while for the dough re mi compared to what they earn closer to home, and in consideration of Covid.

            That screams to me double what they’d normally make on a job…

            * during our punishing drought, legions of oil well driller types from Texas descended upon the CVBB here, because the wait to get a new deeper well was so long, with the same basic skill set in drilling for oil as water

      2. Louis Fyne

        Like most disasters Texas failes at multiple nodes….both the demand (too much reliance on electric heat) and supply (infrastructure did not assume polar weather).

        naturally blame will be directed along ideological lines…..when pretty much left and right ideologies caused harm.

        and it will be interested to note what climate models ERCOT used for planning. that is all public record

        a once in 120-year cold spell is not a negligible risk when you are dealing with something as critical as electricity

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          cornyn is blaming windmills…but see the consortium article somewhere here.
          its the gas market…thanks to deregulation…as well as dials and valves and instruments freezing/failing at the genplants…and powering down a bunch of capacity because it ain’t july.
          you can’t just flip a switch on a natgas or coal power plant.
          and texas isn’t set up for this kind of cold.
          me and the boys will be back on that mountain come monday cutting standing dead mesquite…we pretty much depleted my wood shed this week…burned through 3 cords of mesquite and oak.
          like i said above…suddenly mom has discovered autarky…after me yammering incessantly about it for almost 30 years.
          she has the $$$.
          maybe we can get some of it done.
          (my part of the place is in pretty good shape, compared to hers…so it’s pretty hard to ignore right about now.)
          i can’t wait to see the look on her face when i offer her a hot shower on saturday,lol.

    3. jackiebass

      We got 23″ in our first snow storm in upstate NY on the PA border. The second storm was only 10″. Our third storm fizzled out and produced only about 1″ with freezing rain on top of the snow. We have a potential fourth storm Thursday night into Friday morning. It is predicted to produce 6″ to 9″. Compared to Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse this is nothing.My daughter that lives in CA said they got 84″ where they usually go to ski in a single storm this year. I can’t imagine trying to deal with 84″. That is 7″ of snow.

      1. petal

        jackiebass, 84″ is like what they can get in the Tug Hill Plateau area if the wind sets up just right and stays. It’s pretty wild. We used to think we’d get hit in Wayne County, but they would get so much more.

        1. Wukchumni

          When I was a kid growing up in LA, sometimes the airdrifts would be so high, they’d call off school that day.

            1. Wukchumni

              I was in one of the first subdivisions growing up, which meant an endless childhood of new houses being built all around me, and we’d jump off the 2nd story into a huge pile of sand that every domicile under construction had.

              They also supplied all the material we needed to make forts-which we helped ourselves to, as needed.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Snake escapes in Cologne, 10 apartments evacuated ”

    Snakes can appear anywhere. Was just watching on the telly a little while ago a northern Queensland couple and their encounter with a snake while driving down a main road. It was only a Python who was probably confused and frightened at how events developed. The film clip ends where they pull up near a road works crew where an older bloke soon pulled off the python to release him into the grass- (39 secs)

      1. wilroncanada

        Yves: You need to read Carl Hiaasen’s latest, Squeeze Me, not only snakes, but the return of Skink, too.

  3. Terry Flynn

    Re caffeine etc. People get understandably annoyed at the frequent reversal of advice from epidemiologists. However these reversals are par for the course. There is huge confounding in all longitudinal studies – thus “well off healthy people” do loads of things IN COMBINATION that if you ran RCTs on would show some to be bad.

    It takes time for a “coffee drinker who eschews other things” to emerge….. Let alone enough of them….. So the “coffee effect” remains ambiguous.

    Clever health researchers have not only recognised the need for individual level analyses but recognise that person x and person y might have different CONSISTENCY in response (making them not suitable for aggregation -proved mid 1980s). Until people recognise these facts we’ll continue to get annoyance at reversals in epidemiology.

    1. lordkoos

      That coffee thing sounds crazy. I have trouble sleeping if I drink just one coffee, drinking 4+ cups is unthinkable.

      1. Procopius

        I don’t know if it’s different metabolism or developed immunity, but I find when I wake up at 2:00AM and realize I’m not getting back to sleep soon, getting up and drinking a cup of coffee lets me get back to sleep quickly. I’ve got camomile tea, too, but usually prefer coffee. I do drink less than I used to, though. Three or four cups a day now.

    2. Kouros

      Many of these studies do not bother to delve deeper and consider all of the updated Bradford-Hill criteria for causality.
      An epidemiological study without closely examining the biological mechanistic factors that trigger this or that outcome is not worth being considered that much…

      1. Terry Flynn

        More fundamental problem. You and I might have same “propensity to benefit from caffeine” but vary in our consistency (i.e. heteroscedasticity in statistitcal terms). You and I CANNOT be aggregated until this is addressed. People brought up on models with continuous outcomes (blood pressure, GDP etc) think of heteroscedasticity as a “nuisance” that merely messes with standard errors.

        In limited dependent variable models (logit/probit etc) it messes with the POINT ESTIMATES. See Yatchew & Griliches 1985 (“Specification Error in Probit Models”).

        This is why so many epidemiological and voting models are WRONG. The best work is being done by a small group of people doing “n of one” trials. They model how you or I respond to a drug over 16+ iterations. That way you get a variance as well as a mean.

        1. Kouros

          Yes, myself I like to work with distributions…

          But as I said, for me to be convinced, I would like to see the mechanics at work. Cells, genes, variability, interactions, proteins, etc…

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link.

      The practice was reported to have shut down soon, however, after a group of “shocked” Asian-American parents at the school protested to the principal – with one parent of Chinese background comparing the teacher’s lesson to the communist Cultural Revolution they were forced to study as children.

      A homegrown “Woke Guards” cultural revolution… just what we (don’t) need. / ;)

  4. jr

    Re: Coffee Consumption

    I recently quit coffee due to stomach related issues; it’s acidity tears me up. I’ve noticed a marked drop in my levels of anxiety, a big problem with bipolars. It’s so funny, I have often sat in my shrink’s office and talked about both drugs and anxiety while sucking down my second, even third cup of the day and it never came up but once as a joke. The coke, pot, LSD, salvia, opium, hash, mescaline, roofies, xannies, heroin, keef, meth, booze, ecstasy, booze, mushrooms, and dream herbs have come up but the cup of speed in my hands barely has. (Not to knock my dr., she’s great.)

    I feel a lot better without coffee, both mentally and physically. I have become a hot chocolate devotee. It still has caffeine but about eight times less than coffee. My preferred cocoas are Barry Ambre and Valrhona. I used to make it with milk but it’s easy to get that nasty skin unless you stir it constantly so I now do this:

    1 TB cocoa per cup of water, mixed well and left in fridge overnight to steep (why not?) sometimes I add a clove, some nutmeg, or cinnamon

    heat and whisk it, then add it to a mug about 1/4 full of room temperature 1/2 & 1/2 or cream. this tempers the cocoa but not too much. Enjoy! it’s creamy but not cloying

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      self-diagnosed hypomania guy, here, with agoraphobia and a history of panic disorder(in abeyance for about 10 years, since i became a hermit)
      i drink lots of coffee…and have even found that when i had a panic attack, coffee was the immediate cure(counterintuitively…and along with self-removal from whatever crowded place)
      when boys were around puberty, ocd/add-like things manifested…usually at bedtime…mind aswirl…and Earl Grey was the go-to.
      I’ve taught both to meditate, and other methods of getting a handle on this phenomenon…so maybe they won’t end up self=medicating like i did.
      this is Texas, so shrinks are few and far between(nearest to us is about 75 miles)…”that’s what church is for”,lol.(Thanks, Ron…Reagan spread the news that psychology is a Commie Plot)
      and who can afford $100 an hour for talking to someone with no experience with anomalous individuals(another curse of genius, per that sad Aeon article yesterday)?

      1. cocomaan

        People I know who have been diagnosed with ADHD absolutely swear by caffeine reducing their anxiety symptoms.

        For awhile in my 20’s, I was afflicted by migraine headaches, horrible stomach issues, trouble sleeping, and so on. I was tested for Lyme, ultrasound for gallstones, cancer. Finally, I went through an elimination diet. It turned out that the peanuts I was eating every day as a “healthy snack” were hitting me hard, for whatever reason.

        I think the real advice that should be given is that when it comes to your brain and body, try everything. Understand the misconceptions in reverting to the mean.

        Population-level guidance about medical conditions, outcomes, etc, can be helpful but really only as a starting point.

      2. jr

        I’m fortunate to have a VA shrink and pharms otherwise I would still be wandering the streets in eyeliner and trying to $(r3w everything that moves.

        That Aeon article got me thinking too, it’s kind of a gimmicky class. You can’t teach intuition and that, for me, is at the root of genius. I can imagine it’s a very popular class at Harvard or Yale or where ever, ton’s of pampered and entitled “geniuses” eager to find a venue to demonstrate that to the world. Mother said so, after all.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I was off all caffeine for 2 years. Was a not horribly overtaxed period of my life. Hate to say it but didn’t make a huge difference for me, except with caffeine I definitely have the “I need my cup of coffee to be ready for my day” issue. Also agree re acid. If I am really stressed, I can have a stomach upset, but that happens maybe 2x a year. I only do 2 cups, never more.

      1. Tom Stone

        I gave up coffee about 30 years ago due to sciatic pain, I went to the wrong Chiropractor after being hit head on by a drunk driver.
        I can get away with half a cup once a Month or so, two cups in two days and I can’t put weight on my right leg without almost passing out from the pain.
        It gets better after 2-3 days.
        Black tea in moderation is OK I don’t have to suffer a caffeine free life.

          1. Tom Stone

            Thank you Lee, I studied movement with the late Jane Brown of Oakland and her son Peter Brown.
            They specialized originally in working with injured Ballet Dancers, later those like myself with chronic pain and movement issues.
            I had done two years of constant PT when I started working with Jane and made more progress over the next two months than I had over that past two years.
            I saw Jane perform “Medea” on her 75th birthday and it was one of the most beautiful dances I have ever seen.
            I think her book on Movement may be available on line.

            1. Kramer

              Stuart McGill’s back exercises have helped by eliminate my lower back pain. I don’t even think about my back for months. When a little pain comes back it’s always after I’ve gotten lazy and stopped doing the exercises.

        1. curlydan

          I also cut way back on coffee. One thing I did notice was that after I quit coffee, my platelet counts started rising. And my platelets had been in decent shape before I started drinking coffee (the coffee habit started when I had kids). Not sure if all that was just coincidence or not since my white blood cell counts remain low.

          I’m a green tea drinker now with 1-2 cups of half-caf coffee only on Saturdays.

          I do like that my body is now used to much lower caffeine levels than before.

      2. jackiebass

        Sound like me. If I drink much more than two cups of coffee I get hyper and extremely nervous feeling. I do need my 2 cups when I get up. I think it is in my mind that I need it.

      3. Michael

        This is what my NC page opens to each morning while I sip coffee #1

        Links 12/2/12
        Posted on December 2, 2012 by Lambert Strether

        The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like Atlantic

      4. jr

        My acid is sensitive 24/7 and the smallest thing can leave me burning for days. I found my need for caffeine was allowing me to normalize living in a considerable bit of pain. I’m over that. Even the hot chocolate is irritating me a bit, I’m going to have to go cold turkey for a while. Sigh.

        BTW thanks for the tip on the povidone, my bottle just arrived!

    3. km

      *Many years ago. when I was a student, a fellow student suggested giving up caffeine. According to my classmate, you’ll feel foggy for a few weeks at most, but afterwards, you will be so much more alert, your thinking so much clearer.

      I figured we had ten weeks before finals, plenty of time to get over caffeine addiction and hit my stride going into the tests.


      I got over the headaches without too much difficulty, but two months without caffeine and I was still in a fog, tired and irritable and unable to concentrate on anything. I was losing ground fast, and finals were coming up.

      So I threw in the towel, poured myself a cup of black coffee and within minutes, my brain was back to normal.

      *Story provided for anecdotal purposes only. No medical or dietary advice is intended. Your results may vary. Tax, title and license not included. Some assembly required. Offer void where prohibited. Your parents put it together.

    4. lordkoos

      I love the taste of coffee & so will drink decaf some days, but for the last year or so have switched to drinking green tea. Some of the nicer green teas can be spendy but compared to good quality coffee it’s not that much of an expense. I still get caffeine but without the jitters and have no trouble getting to sleep.

      1. curlydan

        My wife is Chinese so we get the good stuff (green tea). So much better than the “bagged” green teas.

        1. Wukchumni

          In numismatics, sometimes you’d buy & sell what was termed ‘odd & curious’ money, in the guise of 100 year old tea bricks…

          Due to the high value of tea in many parts of Asia, tea bricks were used as a form of currency throughout China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Central Asia. This is quite similar to the use of salt bricks as currency in parts of Africa. Tea bricks were in fact the preferred form of currency over metallic coins for the nomads of Mongolia and Siberia. The tea could not only be used as money and eaten as food in times of hunger but also brewed as allegedly beneficial medicine for treating coughs and colds. Until World War II, tea bricks were still used as a form of edible currency in Siberia.

        2. Aumua

          Over time I have found my way to the pinnacle of the tea pyramid: silver needle. Those who know, know what I am talking about. This white tea is divine, and also a quite expensive habit. A monthly supply, ordered through several different online vendors who import it from China runs me about $100, for a couple cups a day. But oh man is it good.

      2. Wukchumni

        I feel as if I stepped into Coffee Rehab…

        Once upon a time almost 40 years ago, cup of joe purveyors having no idea that Starbucks was just around the corner and feeling a bit desperate, made these tv commercials featuring ‘coffee achievers’ such as Kurt Vonnegut, David Bowie, et al.

    5. heresy101

      For 50 years from high school, I drank 10, or so, cups of strong black coffee (none of this foo-foo coffee) every day. It never made me shaky or wired and come 11pm, I was out like a light and never woke up until the alarm rang at 6 or 7am.

      Unfortunately, about 9 years ago my doctor made me stop drinking caffeinated coffee because it was making my blood pressure way too high. Now, I only drink 10 cups of black decaffeinated coffee and don’t sleep very soundly at night!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ummm…ahem…weed…cough, cough…
        i never drink coffee after 2pm or so(after a nap, which usually makes me feel worse)
        but i drink a pot all by myself in the very early(internal clock wakes me up at 4am, during summer, 3am during winter…the latter usually helped along by the cold, when the fires burn low)…sometimes adding water for a second run9so wife can have some).
        during non-winter, that pot is followed by a jointwalk, then first breakfast…generally brie on croissant(“a Picard”)..which takes the edge off both the coffee and the weed…then i start wandering around doing things…then second breakfast(veggie/herb laden 4 egg omelette, if i’m left to my own devices)…rest of the am joint with another (large) cup of joe, and glide through my tasks til lunch(which i often forget, hence my girlish figure)
        i also drink gallons of sugarless iced tea.
        i fall asleep well enough…but wake up like clockwork at 3/4.
        i could easily fall asleep by 6 or 7…but then i wake up at 1am.
        i’m therefore a slave to my internal clock, and don’t think it has anything to do with caffeine.

        1. jr

          Apparently pot and coffee are a match made in heaven:

          Careful though, it can lead to “pot addiction”.


          I knew a former Navy navigator who could drink an entire pot of coffee, full caff, and go to sleep as soundly as a baby. He said while in the Navy, he would have to be up for sometimes up to 36 hours in a storm or something, flying the ship. Coffee was like spring water to him.

      2. Young

        I could have written the first paragraph for my coffee drinking habit. Except, my BP is almost always 75/120.

        I’ll go with The Rev Kev on this one.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “NATO Will Not Leave Afghanistan ‘Before Time Is Right’”

    When I saw this, I could not help but think of something from “Yes Minister” where they say-

    Jim Hacker: ‘Smoking should be stopped, no question. And we will stop it, in due course, at the appropriate juncture, in the fullness of time.’

    Peter Thorne: ‘You mean forget it.’

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, my Daughter was 7 Months old when the US invaded Afghanistan, she’ll be graduating from the Honors College at USF next spring.
      About 18 months ago I read about an Afghan Vet, back from his second tour, he wwote about serving at the same base his Dad did when he was 5 years old.
      I’m sure the US can restore Democracy to Afghanistan, given enough time.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        By the look of things, Afghanistan will survive the US as a political entity. All those soldiers can just go native.

      2. JohnnySacks

        restore Democracy to Afghanistan Help me – was Afghanistan ever a democracy?
        And what type of democracy would that be? The American style? Where certain limitations and exclusions apply in order to prevent actual democratic policies from being enacted?

        We will NEVER prevail in any way shape or form in Afghanistan. No matter how many bodies are thrown into the meat grinder, no matter how many trillions are thrown into the bonfire. The only possible outcome is the accelerated demise of the US as an empire.

        1. wilroncanada

          More to,the point, the US (and the 1st world generally) has redefined “democracy” in countries that had once had fair elections, or at least reasonably peaceful autocracies, into states run by Juntas which allowed theft of resources, institution of corporate predominance in whatever remaining government existed, Or, just left chaos and death in its wake.

        2. Tom Stone

          JohnnySacks, I was trying to recall how many tines the US has restored Democracy to Haiti during my lifetime when I wrote that.
          I think it’s six.

  6. a different chris

    Greenwald does the same thing he breathlessly accuses everybody else of doing:

    “The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects.”

    No. Nobody knows, or they aren’t talking for sure. “According to one law enforcement official”. And according to another?? Ok, I’ve been watching that Netflix series where the guy’s wife fell down the stairs/or was beaten with some missing mystery stick (haven’t finished, don’t tell me how it turns out). The coroner reports could not be more different. So excuse me for not snapping to attention because some anonymous LEO says something.

    There is a big difference between “false” and “not knowing”.


    >by making them believe the mob had done something unspeakably barbaric

    They did do something unspeakably barbaric, if my calendar is right. Maybe par for the course in Ancient Rome, I dunno, but what is not barbaric about bashing out windows?

    Ok one more:

    >And what we know for certain is that there is no evidence of anyone brandishing a gun in that building.

    We know that “for certain” but we also seem to have no idea what exactly happened (and I agree we don’t) to Officer Sicknick?

    Um, ok. Greenwald either needs to move back here and see for himself what he’s actually talking about, or doesn’t Brazil have plenty of problems he could focus on maybe?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not sure what exactly you are referring to but Greenwald is 100% correct re Sicknick’s death. The autopsy found he did not die of blunt force trauma. That decisively disproves the fire extinguisher narrative. That’s per CNN.

      And regarding zip tie guy, it’s PROSECUTORS who say he got them from the police, which seems pretty dispositive.

      And while it is hard to prove a negative, what happened in the Capitol building (as opposed to the larger riot scene) was very heavily photographed/videoed AND very heavily reported on, by the intruders as well as Congresscritters and Capitol police. If a rioter had pulled out a gun, it most assuredly would have been seen given the density of people and thus remarked upon, and would also almost certainly have been photographed. Plus Capitol police response would have reflected the presence of a gun.

      In other words, your diatribe versus Greenwald looks awfully off base.

      1. a different chris

        Sorry but the Greenwald link simply said “According to one law enforcement official”. If the CNN link has updated that fine, but I didn’t see it nor did Greenwald.

        So my point was about *Greenwalds* surety and it stands. What really happened will take a while to sort out.

        Also, again I’m watching Netflix “Staircase” so I’m also not going to just say “yeah ok hey the Coroner said that (if that’s what is on CNN) so it’s 100% true”. I’ll probably accept it but again, my issue is with Greenwald asserting things he cannot know as fact.

        “it most assuredly would have been seen” – yet there is no video proving or disproving what happened to Officer Sicknick? Would that not also “assuredly been seen?”” Do you see the issue here with all Greenwald’s “certainty”???

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Cherry pick much? The CNN story says in its headline that the Feds are having trouble building a murder case regarding Sicknick, and:

          In Sicknick’s case, it’s still not known publicly what caused him to collapse the night of the insurrection.

          That means he was able to leave on his own two feet. Help me. They are now apparently trying to construct a case around chemical irritants, as in bear or pepper spray, when the piece also admits there’s no evidence he was even sprayed.

          It’s also not even clear pepper spray has ever killed anyone. See MedPage:

          Death is rare, but several reports have implicated pepper spray in fatal outcomes in people with asthma.

          Weasel words from CNN suggest they can’t find if Sicknick had any germane pre-existing conditions. Asthma is pretty much always documented in a medical history.

          Bear spray is less irritating to humans than pepper spray, hence even more of a stretch as a possible cause of death.

      2. Aumua

        As I’ve said, the Trumpists really overplayed their hand here, and correspondingly the democrats and/or MSM are trying to get as much mileage out of that gaffe as they can. It’s truly a despicable behavior on their part which also causes a backlash for many thinking people in the opposite direction of not seeing the riot as really concerning at all.

        But it should also be seen as concerning, if only as a sign of underlying societal currents which have not gone away by a long shot. Even now the hard right is actively working on forming a third party that is opposed to both Democrats and Republicans, and if you think things are bad now with the government and the MSM, just wait until they are control of those. We ain’t seen nothing yet here in the land of the free.

    2. cocomaan

      Greenwald has stuck out his neck when reporting on Brazil to the point where he’s endangered his own family, so I don’t think that’s a fair criticism.

    3. The Historian

      I ‘m thinking you got locked onto a tree and missed the forest.

      The real point of Greenwald’s article is how the MSM twisted the story to their own advantage immediately, before any real facts were known. And because of this beliefs were solidified so much that now the truth really doesn’t matter any more.

      It is too late to argue what caused Sicknick’s death. He was immediately made the ‘face’ of 1/6 by MSM and no matter how he died, that will not change.

      Maybe in 20+ years a historian will actually look into everything that happened and all the court documents and then just maybe, we can learn some truths about what happened. But until then, we all have our beliefs, compliments of MSM, don’t we?

      1. zagonostra

        Yes, in 20 years the historians will be scrutinizing the findings of the prospective 9/11-like commission report that will be created. That commission will have exhaustively examined all the evidence, video footage, and antecedents that led to 1/6 and come to the a definitive conclusion that will leave people with as much confidence as the Warren Commission Report.

        1. km

          The Warren Commission was formed for the purpose of convincing people that there was no “there” there. It was intended as window dressing, much like those “blue ribbon panels” that get formed to address police brutality.

          However like the 9/11 Commission, the 1/6 Commission will be formed with a foregone policy conclusion in mind, that is, to justify the further degradation of civil liberties, with Team D cheering the whole thing on.

        2. Cynthia

          Yes, and why should we have to wait “20+ years” to find out how the officer actually died? Equally important question: If the government is covering up or hiding something here, then why is the MSM NOT bringing this to our attention?

          Well, the answers to these questions are obvious to me, as they should be to anyone else here. The government does NOT want us to know the truth. And because the MSM has become nothing more than an spineless extension of the government, it too doesn’t want us to know the truth.

          But why do they NOT want us to know the truth? Well, it’s because the truth goes against their narrative about how Trump and his supporters are, in Nancy Pelosi’s words, “a clear and present danger” to our country. If the truth came out that the officer wasn’t killed by a Trump supporter, then they would have a much harder time trying to sell this narrative to us.

          And you say that it might take “ 20+ years” for us to find out how the officer actually died. Well, it might be that we’ll never, ever find out, given that his body was cremated! That alone should tell us that a Trump supporter didn’t kill him. Which means that, if anything, the government/ MSM are a “clear and present danger” to our country, not Trump and his supporters!

          1. zagonostra

            You’re quite right when you say “the government/ MSM are a “clear and present danger” to our country, not Trump and his supporters!” if by “our” you mean the majority in contradistinction to the “owners” (George Carlin).

            As Ronald Regan’s head of CIA, William Casey said, “When everything Americans believe is false, our misinformation campaign will be complete.” And, by his criteria, I’d say they’re close to achieving their goal.

          2. Patrick

            “The government does NOT want us to know the truth. And because the MSM has become nothing more than an spineless extension of the government, it too doesn’t want us to know the truth.”

            Or maybe – because the government has become the spineless extension of the MSM (large and powerful corporations)?

      2. a different chris

        >I‘m thinking you got locked onto a tree and missed the forest.

        That’s actually not only fair but actually true. Greenwald annoyed me in so many ways in that screed that I actually should have made clear that *I* don’t believe we have a good handle at all on most of this stuff.

        >the MSM twisted the story to their own advantage

        It if bleeds it leads, for sure.

    4. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      ‘Antifa’ bashed out plenty of windows. But that was ‘mostly peaceful’ right? Not at all ‘barbaric’

      1. Skip Intro

        Has a single Antifa ‘member’ ever been identified? Do you have any links or evidence for your broad assertion?

        1. Wukchumni

          All images i’ve seen of the mysterious Antifa were taken from far away and the videos of a really shaky nature, yet I believe they exist.

          1. Massinissa

            Yeah, but its hard to tell if they’re affiliated or identify with Antifa, or are just ‘regular’ anarchists. I assume most of them are just, you know, anarchists. There are anarchists that have done this kind of stuff for decades, for better or for worse (and its not even a plurality of anarchists that do this kind of thing). ‘Antifa’ is more a bogeyman than anything.

              1. Katniss Everdeen

                Or maybe peter strzok, lisa page, and andrew mccabe trying to get their jobs and cushy pensions back.

        2. Dirk77

          I read the general putting Antifa in quotes as designating the term to refer to the rioters of last summer. Having seen their handiwork in Portland, his point is made to me.

    5. Randy G

      Greenwald has broken two of the most important stories of the 21st century with Snowden and the nefarious ‘Car wash’ corruption scandal against Lula in Brazil, both at severe risk to his own life and liberty. Challenging the U.S. surveillance state and the quasi-fascist regime in Brazil was extremely dangerous– and he could still end up “Assanged” or murdered for his journalism.

      In the meantime, he is criticized in the U.S. for his refusal to coddle sufferers of TDS and RussiaGate hysteria, talking to Tucker Carlson, and his apparently ‘out of touch’ belief that journalists should take an interest in facts, civil liberties, and protecting free speech — as opposed to parroting their favorite flavor of ‘narrative’.

      And somehow (most importantly for us canine enthusiasts) he manages to find time to manage a large scale dog rescue that also helps with homelessness in Brazil.

      Obviously, this guy is the real problem here in the United States of Amnesia.

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      In an outrageous effort to create more favorable optics before the impeachment trial, House Democrats honored Sicknick in a rare memorial at the Capitol Rotunda on February 3. Joe Biden, in a statement issued after Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday afternoon, repeated the lie about Sicknick. “It was nearly two weeks ago that Jill and I paid our respects to Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who laid in honor in the Rotunda after losing his life protecting the Capitol from a riotous, violent mob on January 6, 2021.”

      The Times’ correction might be one reason why Democrats on Saturday reversed their demand to subpoena witnesses. House impeachment managers cited the original January 8 Times’ article as evidence in their impeachment memo: “The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher.”

      Any arrangement to compel testimony would have provided Trump’s legal team with an opportunity to expose yet another myth in the Democrats’ “incitement” case against the former president.

      There was massive speculation and “outrage” when the house managers “folded” in their request for “witnesses” in their “flawlessly” presented impeachment case over the weekend. The agreed upon “explanation” was the length of time it would take for both sides to depose and present witnesses, deemed too odioous in the face of more pressing issues demanding their attention. They then proceeded to go on “vacation.”

      The complete lie of the nyt Sicknick story was cited as EVIDENCE in the SINGLE article of impeachment against Donald Trump, fer chrissakes! Has everyone forgotten the part the bald-faced liars at the nyt played in getting this country into Iraq 18 years ago? When they didn’t pay a price back then, where we find ourselves today became inevitable.

      At this point, any reliance on anything that appears in the nyt as determinative of public policy, should be considered a massively dishonest manipulation of public perception in service of government action completely unsupported by actual facts on the ground. In other words, pure, unadulterated propaganda.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Analysis: Saudi Arabia eyes Dubai’s crown with HQ ultimatum”

    ‘From 2024, the Saudi government will stop giving state contracts to companies and commercial institutions that base their Middle East hubs in any other country in the region.’

    Of course there is a calculation to be made by those companies. If it comes down to choosing where to base your HQ in, between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that is, which has the better reputation of rule of law. And by that what I really means is which country do you stand a better chance of getting your money and your people out of if things go south with their government?

    1. bob

      Prince Al says everything is Great under MBS! Really wonderful! Hell of a guy!

      I can’t find the video of him after he was released. He was very insistent that he was treated wonderfully, and that he cooperated fully with the corruption instigation where Prince Al was found to have a few billion dollars that MBS decided were corrupt and needed to be confiscated. 6 Billion, according to some-

      1. km

        Now, pretend that Bloomberg were reporting on a country that the United States didn’t like.

        Think they’d take that statement at face value?

        1. bob

          I forgot, ‘they’ sent Bill Gates in to try and get Prince Al released. Really. Prince Al and Bill are(/were?) owners of the four seasons together at that time.

          Can’t find that anywhere now, just stories about the Gates foundation ending ties with MBS.

  8. Wukchumni

    Bill Gates: Rich nations should move to ‘100 percent synthetic beef’ The Hill
    I can hardly wait for my first synthetic rodeo, bronc riders trying to stay on a crummy windows app for more than a few seconds before crashing…

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Bill Gates: Rich nations should move to ‘100 percent synthetic beef'”

    Bill Gates: ‘You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time.’

    Translation: ‘Gaccchh! This stuff tastes like c***. I’d rather eat chocolate-covered cotton balls. My science lab is going to have to get busy pumping this crud full of synthetic chemicals to get it tasting something like beef. In fact, in taste, it almost like, but not quite, entirely unlike beef. I’m going for a T-bone to get that taste out of my mouth. Thank god I never have to eat this stuff.’

    1. KMD

      Chocolate covered cotton balls!
      Happened to watch Catch 22 last night.
      Doesn’t seem as absurd or surreal as it used to.

    2. Carla

      Methinks a move to 100 percent synthetic beef will mean a move to much greater consumption of pork, lamb, and poultry.

  10. epynonymous

    re: suing Trump et. al

    I expect the Supreme Court overturning any particuarly egreious lawsuits against ex-president Trump.

  11. flora

    re: How Popperian Falsification Enabled the Rise of Neoliberalism -Aeon

    Thanks for this link.

    One person’s modesty, however, can be another person’s denial of responsibility. A darker way of rendering the Popper vs Strangelove story is to say that falsification offers moral non-accountability to its adherents. A scientist can never be accused of supporting the wrong cause if their work is not about confirmation. Popper himself declared that science is an essentially theoretical business. Yet it was a naïve scientist working during the Cold War who didn’t realise the significance of their funding source and the implications of their research.

    They were just following processes. / heh

    1. flora

      adding: this bit about Popperian philosophy and eugenics caught my attention

      Medawar speculated that biological ‘fitness’ was in fact best understood as an economic phenomenon:

      [I]t is, in effect, a system of pricing the endowment of organisms in the currency of offspring: ie, in terms of net reproductive performance.

      Making such a connection – between the hidden hand of nature and the apparently impartial decisions of the market – was a hot way to read Popper. His greatest fans outside the scientific community were, in fact, economists….

      This eugenics argument caught my attention because of what I read earlier in the Guardian about certain Covid patients in hospital:

      Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities

  12. Wukchumni

    I’ve mentioned the similarities between ‘the Match King’ and Elon Musk before, and now it seems even more so with the latter’s grasp of cryptocurrency, not to mention both having unusual first names.

    He speculated with his personal funds and, especially, with the money of the corporations he controlled. Kreuger treated most of his companies as if they were exclusively his personal property. He frequently transferred funds from one corporation to another with little formality. A number of dummy corporations and holding companies (e.g. Garanta and Continental Investment Corporation) helped him to hide what he was doing.

    Towards the end, in 1932, when he frantically gambled with the securities of corporations he controlled in the vain attempt to reverse their falling prices, he played the markets himself and had friends help him in the effort to prop up share prices. Between the end of February and early March 1932 he needed to make over $10 million (equivalent to more than $150 million in today’s money) for payments, including Kreuger & Toll dividends.

    The Price Waterhouse autopsy of his financial empire stated: “The manipulations were so childish that anyone with but a rudimentary knowledge of bookkeeping could see the books were falsified.

  13. hemeantwell

    The article on Popper does a good job showing how much his reputation as an epistemologist was wafted ever upward by the ideological currents of the time.

    It’s worth noting just how much he was thinking within terms defined by debates over British empiricism in the 18th c. The straitjacketing cautionary tone of Popper’s position, which provides climate deniers and tobacconists with their “now let’s not jump to conclusions” space, is very resonant with Hume’s more thoroughly radical position, which held that a belief in the external world was not rationally (inductively) justifiable, that it was only a matter of habit and was not subject to rational proof. Popper only made Hume’s arguments for the limits of inductive reasoning into a methodological guideline. That’s about it. He failed to attend to how what Hume would have thought of as habitually confirmed experience becomes regarded as fact socially. That question were addressed by writers such as Kuhn. Popper was only a Cold War celebrity, a member of what Mirowski has characterized as the Mount Pelerin thought collective, an in-house philosopher, a made man. . .

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      I don’t know. Nassim Taleb (whom I respect) is a big fan of Herr Popper. I struggled through Popper’s “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” and understood perhaps 5% of it, but I agree with his view on falsifiability (and I wish all scientists and intellectuals would be so modest). I believe that we should not jump to conclusions based on the latest (probably limited) scientific ‘evidence’; and if that makes me a conservative stick-in-the-mud, then so be it. In short, Popper has a point. FWIW, I encountered Mirowski a million years ago when he was teaching econ at my college. He was amazing.

    2. zagonostra

      I bought his 2 volumes of “The Open Society and Its Enemies” at a used bookstore many years ago. It seemed very polemical and I was somewhat disconcerted on his take-down of some of the philosophers I admired, like Plato (though his treatment of others like Hegel, seemed to bother me less at the time). I also remember listening to some of Leo Strauss’s audio lectures where he takes Popper to task for using “Open” as a way of getting around having to struggle with defining the “Good”

      1. hemeantwell

        I first encountered Popper via “Open Societies and Its Enemies,” particularly his hack job on Hegel and Marx. He was completely irresponsible as a scholar of social thought, just a voice in a mob out to lynch the opposition, drawing on well-established tendential readings and tweaking them in light of his epistemologically-framed formulation of liberalism. He was unwilling to seriously address any criticism of capitalism, and repetitiously affirmed the bounded political liberties tentatively established in the metropoles. The idea that Marx’s emphasis on the critique of reification, the “ruthless critique of everything existing,” underlay Marx’s thought and that it just might have had a resonance with his epistemological claim to fame was beyond his capacity to appreciate.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Meet the Undercover Anti-Fascists”

    Reading this, I feel like I am missing a part of the story here. Take a look at the following-

    ‘Nearly all of them identified as anti-fascists, and all had years of experience infiltrating and exposing the online far right. They had been brought together by a progressive not-for-profit to watch for and prevent election-related violence, for which they would receive a modest stipend for several weeks of work. “It was very ‘Antifa avengers assemble!’ ” Most of the people in Deplatform Hate started out in journalism, labor organizing, or local politics.’

    I don’t get the vibe that this is really a grass-roots group coming together in “a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.” In fact, I do wonder if they were a part of the anti-Trump campaign that “Time” magazine revealed recently. Maybe I have my tin-foil on too tight tonight but reading this gives me the impression that it is a front of some sort or that this group feels that with Trump gone, it is now time to collect some ‘likes’.

    1. Wukchumni

      You don’t even want to know about Juantifa, Mexican immigrants responsible for all the woes of the country including the recent Texas freeze (notice how their country is right next to them-coincidence, I think not). What nerve they have coming here to do the jobs Americans wont do!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Americans did those jobs under American legal labor and safety conditions and at lawful American rates of pay.

        Abolish illegal immigration and imprison every American employER of illegal immigrant labor until the not yet imprisoned employERS learn not to hire illegal aliens. And at the same time abolish Free Trade and restore Militant Belligerent Protectionism.

        Then force wages and working conditions back up to American legal levels and Americans will do those jobs again, just as they did before.

        People who want cheap food based on cheap labor, don’t deserve to have food at all.

  15. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the launch of Guiltcoin to remedy the anguish felt over not buying something for a few bucks a decade ago that is now valued @ what it cost to keep an inmate in one of our fine prisons per year, here.

    Truth be said, it’s more of a crycurrency not connected whatsoever to the ether and/or cloud, tears notwithstanding.

  16. Stephen C.

    Re: New language’: School asks parents to rate their ‘whiteness’ & become ‘white traitors’ or ‘abolitionists’

    I did a brief search on the internet on this school, and it appears they are bragging:

    “East Side Community School is an above average, public school located in New York, NY. It has 678 students in grades 6-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. According to state test scores, 50% of students are at least proficient in math and 66% in reading.”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “New ‘Meltdown’ film: A different kind of Greenland ice documentary”

    You look at the images there and it looks like it is as cold as a money-lenders heart. But it wasn’t always this way. The Vikings discovered Greenland and established a colony there which lasted for over four hundred years so you are talking about a lot of generations. They have been called the Norse Greenlanders and they were fairly successful though the colony only numbered 2,000-3,000 people.

    But as ill luck would have it, this colony was established in what is know as the Medieval Warm Period and when this period ended, the situation for the settlers grew worse. Then one day a ship pulled into the harbour and found all the people gone and the buildings abandoned. It was just all deserted. It must have been as creep as hell – real “X Files” sort of stuff. My point in all this ramble is that Greenland may slowly be returning in some ways to how it was during the time that the Norse Greenlanders lived there-

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Covid wars launch DeSantis into GOP ‘top tier’ Politico (resilc)

    “Republicans seem to want Trumpism done with attention to detail and an actual policy agenda,” Moore said.

    If 2016 was any indication, it’s not just “republicans” who want that, and killing the messenger doesn’t necessarily foul the message. Unfortunately for the status quo.

    As far as DeSantis goes, despite national condemnation, my fellow Floridians seem satisfied, if not relieved, at the way things are going here. Despite no mandate, masks are ubiquitous in the stores, which were reopened early on. People can go out to eat and to the beach, get their hair cut, nails done and dogs groomed. I’ve even been to a theater to see a movie. Life has gone on with a minimum of disruption. People are not dropping dead in the streets and hospitals are not clogged with people dying from covid.

    I like to talk to the young woman who does my hair every couple of months to get her take on the situation. She is a recently divorced, single mother of two boys–9 and 11–who attend public school–a school of which she speaks very highly, by the way. She is a a small business owner with one employee–herself. She is fairly politically savvy, a diehard clinton / biden supporter, and a vocal supporter of andrew gillum in the last gubernatorial election. She requires masks for appointments, and, early on, she would meet you at your car for an appointment with a bottle of essential oil, and ask you what scent it was to see if you had your sense of smell!!!

    She is beyond grateful that she has been permitted to make a living during this time, while others like her in other states have not been.

    Whether she credits DeSantis for how he has “handled” covid, I don’t know. It’s never come up. But should he become a presidential contender, I can guarantee that her experiences in this state, as compared to those for her counterparts in other states, will be a significant part of her voting calculus.

    1. Carolinian

      A friend is in Florida at the moment–vacationing in the dreadful weather–and reports that restaurants are allowed 100 percent occupancy. In NYC it is 25 percent.

      And yet Florida, a state full of elderly, has a covid death rate below the national average. That doesn’t prove anything given the many many variables but it also doesn’t prove that they are all wrong in their approach.

        1. Carolinian

          She says they open all the windows when the weather is nice so that is a factor. Reportedly in NYC people are huddling at the sidewalk eateries while it’s 20 degrees. Crazy.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Had a houseguest here from Colorado in early November. She couldn’t believe that people weren’t gasping for breath and dropping like flies all around her. Her reaction at how “normal” things were was really quite amazing.

        It was like we were living in two different countries.

    2. The Rev Kev

      For the love of dog, in what Thanos-created universe is it considered a good idea that Ron DeSantis ever become President of the United States? It would be like having Trump all over again – but a cunning one who would push the US into fascism to secure his power.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, we will see if the Joemala Administration leaves behind such disappointment and betrayal that DeSantis will be sucked into office by the Joemala Vacuum.

  19. Carolinian

    Re The Thirty Tyrants–The article is analogizing modern America to ancient Greece under the “thirty tyrants” who were an oligarchy indifferent or downright hostile to the welfare and even lives of the general populace. It then launches into a screed against China to argue that this is somehow a new thing brought on, perhaps, by the end of the Cold War when we were supposedly standing up for principles.

    Cold War American leadership understood that such practices would have opened the door to Moscow and allowed it to directly influence American politics and society in dangerous ways. Manufacturing our goods in their factories or allowing them to buy ours and ship them overseas would’ve made technology and intellectual property vulnerable.But it wasn’t just about jeopardizing national security; it was also about exposing America to a system contradictory to American values. Throughout the period, America defined itself in opposition to how we conceived of the Soviets. Ronald Reagan was thought crass for referring to the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire,” but trade and foreign policy from the end of WWII to 1990 reflected that this was a consensus position–Cold War American leadership didn’t want the country coupled to a one-party authoritarian state..

    But that is untrue. Cold War American leadership loved one party states if they were South American banana supplying dictatorships. What they hated were one party socialist states. The article does make the useful point that capitalism tends to be the enemy of democracy–capital versus labor if you will–but this was true in the US long before the Chinese or the Soviets came on the scene. A better historical analogy would be the first Gilded Age in the 19th century when our politics were just as corrupt as now and our elites just as internationalist (they loved merry old England and those giant country houses). It didn’t take a cheap labor economic policy to make this so although one could argue that the post Civil War North did “offshore” its low skill textile manufacturing to the desperately poor South.

    At any rate surely a US decoupling from China at this point would do ordinary deplorables far more harm than good since manufacturing isn’t coming back anytime soon. As for China infecting us with their “slave labor camps” (???), amnesia about the history of industrial America is necessary to believe we haven’t long had our equivalents. At this point the real enemy is Wall Street. Trump, the hero of the linked article, just loved them.

    1. a fax machine

      There’s no reason to think manufacturing can’t come back. Remove the middlemen (Wall St) and you have every reason to manufacture things here as opposed to far away and dependent on marine shipping.

      Capitalism directly impedes nationalism. A point I make deliberately – if Labor and class struggle is not made paramount a majority of the population will eventually succumb to jingoism and paranoia (if it hasn’t already). For now such distraction is fine because it’s controllable, but at some point it won’t and that is when things hit the wall in ways the center does not want.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes some manufacturing can come back but we can never again be what we were circa WW2 which is the thing that China is now. The population here has changed and become much more middle class.

        This is not the same country as that of the Great Depression when so many lived on farms and the percentage of college educated was much much smaller.

        1. chuck roast

          Maybe…maybe not. The Mondragon co-operative is a living demonstration that working people can organize, manufacture and successfully maintain a surplus. It’s kind of hard for us to wrap our head around such a “foreign” organism as an actual industrial alternative here in the world’s singular, indispensable $hithole. My guess is that future generations (if there are any) will find similar models indispensable for their very survival.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        As Michael Hudson has pointed out in several recent interviews, the chains of cost will have to be purged of the pervasive rent toll booths that have become entrenched into the economy. Many of them are costs that have been pushed onto the consumer and/or employer vis a vis being socialized in most other countries of the “developed” world. The most glaring instance is medical care.

  20. FluffytheObeseCat

    Excellent article from Australia about the recent power failures in Texas. The aggressive lying about wind power in Texas has been stunning. The wind generation sector of the ERCOT grid actually over-produced in comparison to its projected, expected output during this event. Their gas plants failed at rates far beyond what was anticipated. And yet, because large numbers of Texans only accept news from ultra right sources (those like Fox or worse) the anti-renewable propagandists win again in the minds of most of the population.

    Propagandists worked overtime at hiding the real failure in this event: corrupt, cheapskate decisions to not winterize energy delivery systems in Texas. This weather event would not have resulted in many broken pipes or a week without electricity in the Dakotas. It didn’t have to in Texas. They just needed to spend a few extra dollars on infrastructure. Weatherize pipelines, instrumentation, and plumbing. That’s all it would take, but the decisionmakers of Texas are too devoted to personal wealth accumulation to do things right to first time.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve heard the power that be are changing their acronym to EPCOT* and to burnish their tired image, will provide for amusement rides and cute oversized rodents.

      *Electricity Poor Council Of Texas

    2. Daryl

      It is a biased sample, but what I’ve been reading on Reddit from folks in Houston has been incredibly anti Abbott and anti deregulation.

      1. carl

        Our local utility is still public-owned and it’s not doing any better (granted, much of the chaos is statewide and not under local control).

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          These days even publicly owned utilities purchase some or in some cases all power from investor-owned generating companies.

  21. Rod

    The very first sentence this Veteran writes:

    The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable.

    Then he starts (delightfully imo) with the Individual and Business Names and Dates. There are a lot. Lot’s of recent (2019-2020) M&As. Good to know since you and I are paying for it.

    Lot’s of Gems also, like this one:
    NPR’s new CEO as of September 2019 is John Lansing, who recently led U.S. propaganda at the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
    Ok, that is a bit of an insight why every other expert they go to is ex-acronym.

    This is a Air Force Veteran writing plainly about what is not so plain to the MassMedia’d Public–as he points out.
    He got ‘experienced’, and with that the ‘Attitude Adjustment’ common to that experience.
    Patriotic Reporting also serves the Oath, imo.

    small anecdote: I have paddled a little WW with one of the firs tfemale Blue Helmet Techs stationed at the US Navy’s AUTEC on Andros for over a decade

  22. a fax machine

    The GOP focusing on the school shutdowns is a winning strategy. Like it or not, the continued shutdowns are destroying peoples’ lives and destroying their childrens’ ability to obtain an education. The poor the student the more desperate the outcome. Teachers’ Unions have every right to refuse to work, but a lack of social solidarity will merely divide and conquer. Not all school districts can afford laptops and free wifi for all students, and even then the ethics of remote learning is still extremely questionable in the first place.

    Not that the GOP are capable of such nuance. The present dominance of RL is never going away and will be used by them to dismantle the K12 system, which will be remodeled in a pay-to-play system. This will precede a reduction in the Age of Consent and thus allow teens back into the workforce. Democrats are only too willing to tolerate it, and the courts will support it.

    Everything is about to come undone. The longer this crisis happens the harder it is to return to ANY normalcy. No schools + teens back at work utterly dismantle the 20th century’s social progress.

    1. Charger01

      Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Looks like that talent on loan from God gets to be returned

  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    Phuc Bill Gates.

    Eat grassfed beef.

    It captures carbon.

    And bio-sequesters it in the soil.

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