Links 12/14/2021

Finland: Architect’s ephemeral lake art a winter tradition Associated Press (David L)

Anonymous person sends $100 to Minnesota school library 64 years after losing book Twin Cities (Chuck L)

The best science images of 2021 Nature (furzy)

Rosetta Stone: the secret to unlocking ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs HistoryExtra (David L)

Researchers Are Hoping To ‘Hear’ Dark Matter Using a Super-Cooled Experiment Gizmodo

These sustainable lamps are made from coffee and orange peels! Yanko Design (David L)

Refined peptide takes aim at root cause of Parkinson’s disease New Atlas (David L)


South Korea To Test AI-Powered Facial Recognition To Track COVID-19 Cases Reuters


So much for “mild”. We said hospitalizations of 0-9 year olds in South Africa, which had not happened meaningfully before, was a bad sign. And per the Denmark data, remember that infection waves hit younger age groups first (they are out and about more) so this makes this early sighting even more troubling:

Oxford University study says omicron can hit the double vaccinated CNBC. Old news if you’ve been following Omicron, but Oxford is a good source for informing/convincing skeptics.


Premier League reports 42 positive Covid-19 results in past week BBC (resilc)

First person dies from Omicron variant in United Kingdom Reuters. Resilc: “Mild, like the flu…..will be over by April…….where did I hear that before?”

NHS raises alert to HIGHEST level as UK Omicron cases jump 50% in 24 hours to almost 5,000 and Boris confirms first death with mutant strain — but overall daily Covid infections rise just 6% to 54,661 as booster drive descends into chaos on first day Daily Mail (resilc). From the story:

The death in the UK is thought to be the first confirmed Omicron fatality in the world. However, given the variant makes up almost every case in South Africa it is likely that the vast majority of fatalities there are due to the mutant strain but a lack of testing means these are not picked up.

Tory Partying as the Alpha Covid Variant Took Hold is a Grim Symbol of Their Pandemic Response CounterPunch


Stripped of power, Missouri health depts abandon COVID health measures ars technica. Chuck L: “Societal collapse.”

Native American communities lashed by Covid, worsening chronic inequities Guardian

Air Force discharges 27 troops for refusing Covid-19 vaccine CNN

The Coronavirus Turned a Rural County Into a Battleground for Millionaires Atlantic (David L)

COP28/Climate Change

Ice shelf holding back keystone Antarctic glacier within years of failure Science (David L)

Russia Blocks U.N. Move to Treat Climate as Security Threat New York Times (Kevin W)

How rising groundwater caused by climate change could devastate coastal communities MIT Technology Review

How to End Climate Failure Project Syndicate (David L)


Antony Blinken criticizes China’s ‘aggressive actions’ in Indo-Pacific DW

Ending our corporate dependence on China The Spectator (furzy)

Old Blighty

Two years into the Johnson administration: how it’s going even f**king worse than you thought it would Daily Mash

Raab to claim overhaul of human rights law will counter ‘political correctness’ Guardian (Kevin W)

New Cold War

How to Avert War in Ukraine Defense One (resilc). How about not kick sand in the bear’s face?


Unearthing David’s city Aeon

The construction of Israel’s Gaza concentration camp is complete Mondoweiss (guurst)

Israel’s Alleged Strikes on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Sites Meant to Preserve the Old Balance of Forces Haaretz

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Israel’s NSO Group considering sale or shutdown of Pegasus unit Financial Times (David L). Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

Ukraine Arrests 51 For Selling Data of 300 Million People In US, EU Bleeping Computer

Imperial Collapse Watch

This Air Force Targeting AI Thought It Had a 90% Success Rate. It Was More Like 25% Defense One (resilc)


Your Man Back in the Public Gallery: Assange Extradition, US Appeal Result Craig Murray (guurst)


Meadows said National Guard would be present on Jan. 6 to ‘protect pro Trump people,’ investigators say The Hill (resilc)

‘We are all helpless:’ Jan. 6 committee revealed texts from frightened lawmakers begging Mark Meadows to get Trump to stop the violence at the Capitol Business Insider


Coming soon: Donald ‘Godfather’ Trump, part II Al Jazeera (resilc)

Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly Event Reportedly Fizzles In Florida Yahoo (furzy). So the reality appears to be despite Team Dem and the press hyping the dangers of the return of Hair Furore, he’s as much of a has-been, in terms of drawing power, as the Bill and Hillary show.


Harris rolls out plan for electric vehicle charging network The Hill (Kevin W). So why is she encroaching on Mayo Pete’s terrain?

VP Harris secures new investment from companies like Pepsico, Cargill for Central America strategy Reuters. Lambert featured another press report yesterday on this, um, development. The US with the reserve currency putting out a tin cup for foreign aid? And what do these companies want back? Resilc: “Gee, why not bring back United Fruit slave plantations again?”

Biden’s Build Back Better plan could DOUBLE the cost of childcare and act as an up to $30,000 tax on middle class families, study claims Daily Mail


Gun-Obsessed Teens Plotted Violent ‘Rebellion’ at Pennsylvania High School, Police Say Daily Beast (furzy). Columbine wannabes.

Wild Far West: Woman shot dead while buying bread in a bakery in Thessaloniki Defend Democracy. The headline is actually Greece: A defeated nation, a society in decomposition. A not-clearly motivated shooting is a clarion call in Greece, which has has ex-family support systems ground into dust starting with the Global Financial Crisis. Here, this would hardly make the news.

U.S. consumers see short-term inflation rising at twice pace of wage gains, survey shows Reuters

The car is also fond of the “bus only” lane:

The Inflation Pros From Argentina Offer Tips for Rattled Americans Bloomberg (resilc)

California’s public pensions are major fossil fuel investors Bloomberg (Jospeh R)

Investors See Peak Demand Happening Much Further In The Future OilPrice

The Bezzle

Watch these money launderers use social media to recruit patsies Boing Boing (resilc)

Natwest fined £264m after taking deposits of laundered cash in bin bags Guardian (Kevin W). Shades of Wachovia…

Class Warfare

Behind the labor shortage: physical and mental health problems Axios (resilc)

‘At 75, I still have to work’: millions of Americans can’t afford to retire Guardian

Antidote du jour. From Bob H, and late to add this! “Betsy and her cat Henry.” Awfully evolved of Henry:

And a bonus (resilc):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ex-PFC Chuck

    re: Rosetta Stone: the secret to unlocking ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs HistoryExtra (David L)

    “The text on the Rosetta Stone is fairly dry and bureaucratic but, . . “

    The text of the Rosetta Stone is far from dry and bureaucratic for this audience! On page 203 of J is for Junk Economics Michael Hudson tells us the text of the stone is a pronouncement of a debt jubilee!

    1. Bart Hansen

      Good catch, Chuck! From the inscription of the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof”

      From Leviticus 25. Michael Hudson’s research indeed tells us that ‘Liberty’ referred to periodically freeing the people from debt bondage and the return of taken land holdings.

      Leviticus 25 also warned that the land should not be sold in perpetuity, since the land belongs to God. That we are sojourners upon it.

    2. Eclair

      Prospects of a ‘debt jubilee’ for those almost 45 million people owing on student loans, who have not had to make payments for the past two years (thank you ….. argh! …. Donald!), seem slim. Payments will resume in February. (Thank you, Uncle Joe, for your campaign promise, which, as we now know, was just another one of those promises that politicians make in order to win elections, and which we shouldn’t actually believe …..)

      What would happen if people refused to pay? Or even if they were organized enough so that the threat of non-payment became real?

  2. JohnA

    Re How to Avert War in Ukraine Defense One
    The article starts with
    “It is now quite conceivable that a major war will take place in Europe. Moreover, it is also possible that this war could spread quickly to Asia too…”

    Er, do those hotheads in Washington DC not think it also possible any such war could spread to North America as well? Despite being called World Wars, neither I nor II inflicted any physical damage to the North America landmass, cities or population. Next time, if there is one, will be a genuine worldwide conflagration.
    And yes, time to stop kicking sand at the bear.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There was a lot I disagreed with in this article but I fully agree with his conclusions of ‘quickly and publicly agree to close the NATO door to both Georgia and Ukraine. That might stave off the looming conflict and save Ukraine, but a lasting peace for the region would have to go several steps further: by re-entering crucial arms control agreements like the Open Skies and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaties, and even more foundational pacts like the Anti-Ballistic Missile and Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaties. Yet to truly transform European security away from the new Cold War, NATO countries need to bury the hatchet, halt the unceasing buildup in Eastern Europe, and—bitter a pill as it may be—recognize Russian sovereignty in Crimea, the real source of the region’s ongoing tensions.’

      It would wind back the clock to when things were mostly peaceful and Europe would win by not having tactical nuclear weapons stationed on their soil which would make them nuclear targets. But to be honest I don’t think that any of this will ever happen but provocations will increase. And I think that is why Putin is laying down some red lines of his own so that things don’t go too far and an accident happens. Just last week, several airliners in the Black Sea had to have their flight path altered because US reconnaissance aircraft were flying through this zone and were refusing to answer warnings by air traffic control.

      1. Polar Socialist

        You mean — if one looks at the map and where Europe is located at — relations to Russia may actually be more important to European security than those with the United States?

        Of course, even if the European leaders finally figured this out (or more likely were dragged screaming and kicking to the conclusion), they would have to pay at least some lip service to US to avoid any “humanitarian interventions” or even “promoting democracy” in EU.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I can’t recall where I read the suggestion – the Saker perhaps? – that all this represents a certain degree of play acting on both sides. Both sides are posturing with the intention that at some stage Putin will make a show of pulling back, handing Biden a convenient foreign policy victory. Biden will then quietly concede a few issues of strategic importance to Russia, among other things cutting Kiev loose from direct support. A little like how Kennedy and Khruschev sorted out quite a few matters in the shadow of the Cuban Missile crisis

        The theory does make sense, even if I’m sceptical that the US foreign policy establishment (and Biden) has the competence to pull something like this off.

      3. Lee

        FWIW, NATO closing the door on a nation that meets certain criteria and wants to join runs counter to their charter. OTOH, I’m assuming there are any number of ways to finesse their way around this.

        NATO Enlargement and Open Door

        “NATO’s “open door policy” is based on Article 10 of the Alliance’s founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any “European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area”. It states that any decision on enlargement must be made “by unanimous agreement”.
        NATO enlargement has helped increase stability and prosperity in Europe. It is aimed at promoting stability and cooperation, and at building a Europe united in peace, democracy and common values.

        “NATO respects the right of every country to choose its own security arrangements. Each sovereign country has the right to choose for itself whether it joins any treaty or alliance. This fundamental principle is enshrined in international agreements, including the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe. NATO membership is not imposed on countries. Article 13 of the Washington Treaty specifically gives Allies the right to leave should they wish to.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Too late here to look it up but that Charter also says that NATO cannot accept a member that is in an active war or has a serious border dispute that could lead to war. If either Georgia or the Ukraine were accepted, then you would have a situation where NATO troops would be invading the Donbass to put down the rebellion on behalf of member State Ukraine. Same with Georgia too. Either way leads to a direct confrontation with Russian troops and a shooting war situation.

        2. Polar Socialist

          While NATO charter keeps the doors open, in Istanbul 1999 most NATO countries signed Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Charter For European Security stating, that “each participating State has an equal right to security. We reaffirm the inherent right of each and every participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve. Each State also has the right to neutrality. Each participating State will respect the rights of all others in these regards. They will not strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other States. Within the OSCE no State, group of States or organization can have any pre-eminent responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the OSCE area or can consider any part of the OSCE area as its sphere of influence.”

          tldr; if NATO expansion threatens any OSCE member country, it violates this agreement. Until, of course, it doesn’t threaten. And still the responsibility for maintaining peace and stability would belong to OSCE, not NATO.

          If NATO really was about stability and peace in Europe, Russia would have been a member since 1991 or so. And it would have other tools in it’s use than saber-rattling, threatening and bombing.

        3. David

          I suspect in practice it works in the same way as Turkish non-accession to the EU: don’t ask, because you may not like the answer. In any case, it’s not like joining an internet discussion group, it’s a long process that takes years and involves all kinds of complex negotiations. No state is going to start this unless there is already agreement that it should ask to join.

          Incidentally, it’s worth pointing out that wars don’t “take place” or “break out.” Wars have no agency, and someone has to start them, even by accident.

          1. Bill Smith

            As pointed out above countries with border disputes are not eligible to join NATO. And every existing member has to vote yes to admit a new member.

            The Ukraine isn’t getting in NATO anytime soon and the Russians know that. They are making that part of it up.

            As to the OSCE stuff, the argument would be that Russia and Belarus are threating some of the members of the OSCE and they have the right to protect themselves.

            Furthermore OSCE doesn’t ‘outrank’ NATO. They are partners, with a split of duties.

    2. Boomka

      I have seen many articles now mentioning that Russia threatens “severe consequences” to NATO expansion but nowhere is it spelled out what they are. Presumably it is not the war in Ukraine itself, as that is the subject of why we are talking about consequences.

      I heard an opinion that consequences may include deploying subs to US coasts, maybe even firing a test missile from one point just outside territorial waters to another – but is there anything semi-official anyone heard?

      1. Polar Socialist

        The official position (as in by Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabakov) Russia is not (yet) working on option B, since they focus on making option A to work.

        Option A being agreement (or at least a discussion) on mutual security concerns between NATO and Russia. Ryabakov also said that option B would be something similar to Cuban Missile Crisis, though (I think that Putin himself mentioned the possibility of submarines with hypersonic missiles on the coast of USA). Ryabakov also pointed out that options A and B will eventually reach the same goal, option A just has much less risks for everyone.

        Oh, and he also said that senator Wicker and other warmongers like him might want to now jump out of the window screaming “Russians are coming!”. Because if they keep up with their war mongering, Russians may very well be coming (to a coast or country near you).

        1. Bill Smith

          The start of my message came out under Anonymous when I touched the wrong location on my tablet….

          Soviet SSBNs showed up off the East Coast of the US over 50 years ago. They came fairly close so the warning time between misfile launch and arrival in Washington DC was inside the US decision making loop. US wargames and planning often assumed that the President, Vice President, Defense Secretary and the Pentagon (not that the Pentagon mattered as it is not in the chain of command) was no longer capable of making decisions.

          So new subs? So what?

          Wicker is an idiot.

      2. Kouros

        Russia to install intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe… Good by Berlin, good by Paris, good by Warsaw, good by London…

        1. Bill Smith

          Just wondering, but Russia is in Europe. They already have intermediate range nuclear missiles. Where are they currently stashing them?

          They also have shorter and longer range missiles. Now they have hypersonic missiles.

          The Russians have had intermediate range nuclear missiles “in Europe” in the 1970s & 1980’s.

          This is a lot of “so what”.

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      Quite a good article, especially considering the source. Unfortunately I think a war in E.Ukraine is inevitable at this point; relations have deteriorated too far, and now it’s just a matter of timing and what exactly will be the casus belli. The Russians have belatedly woken up to the fact that their original plan of keeping Ukraine out of NATO via border disputes and the ongoing Donbass conflict (which legally would prevent Ukraine from joining NATO) will not prevent Ukraine from hosting USA troops and missiles (let alone Polish troops, UK airplanes, and so forth). “NATO Lite” will be the functional equivalent of “NATO”, if USA or Polish or UK troops are hit by Russian bullets while on Ukrainian soil. VVP recently turned 69 and realizes that even constitutional tweaks won’t keep him in the Kremlin forever. He won’t bequeath this unresolved Ukraine mess to his successor. So at the risk of predicting the future (which either Yogi Berra or Mark Twain warned against), I predict a war. Not immediately, but within VVP’s lifetime (say within the next 5-10 years). You read it here first.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “First person dies from Omicron variant in United Kingdom”

    On a report on TV here in Oz they said that this person ‘died with Omicron’, I kid you not. That saying is so 2019.

    1. pjay

      According to the Reuters story, Johnson’s words were “with Omicron.” The story also says this:

      “Britain gave no details on the death other than the person had been diagnosed in hospital. It was not clear if the patient had been vaccinated or had underlying health issues.”

      In stories like this, I would like to know why the patients were hospitalized, and whether they were suffering from COVID symptoms or just tested positive after being admitted for something else.

      1. Daryl

        Given the way the press is trying to sell this as mild, I would imagine that if they could blame it on anything else, they would have.

    2. Eloined

      From the Daily Mail article: “The PM did not reveal the age of the person who died, or if they had underlying health conditions, which made them vulnerable or whether Omicron was the leading cause of their death or a secondary factor. ” Some prefer to elide the distinction of cause vs. presence, believing that it provides fodder to those who discount the seriousness of COVID, i.e. their misleadings are more noble than others’.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Ice shelf holding back keystone Antarctic glacier within years of failure Science (David L)

    How rising groundwater caused by climate change could devastate coastal communities MIT Technology Review

    In a rational world this would be front page news everywhere. The possible break-up of the Twaites glacier would be horrifying. The evidence is very clear that once ice caps break up, it happens with startling speed – the evidence is written all over the surface geology of the northern hemisphere. There were some papers written a while ago suggesting that a few decades could be bought by building underwater dams in front of the glaciers to slow down the penetration of warm water underneath the caps. This is the sort of thing we should be investing in urgently, not F-35’s and aircraft carriers.

    As for groundwater, one issue the article does not mention is that rising sea levels don’t just raise groundwater in coastal areas, it also potentially salinates it. This is super bad news for infrastructure and all those many cities dependent on groundwater for drinking water.

    1. GramSci

      For the first time, MIT Tech Review demanded my email before they would allow me to read this article. I wanted to read it because of years of our history of fighting oil drilling in the Everglades. I have plenty fake email addresses, but being temporarily homeless (finally escaping Naples, FL) it was too much of a hassle to gin one up, especially for a “tech review” that IMHO has been increasingly misrepresenting tech. This omission of saltwater Intrusion is an egregious example of this trend.

      1. Steve H.

        > (finally escaping Naples, FL)

        Right there with you, we only lasted a matter of months. Ten percent millionaires, with an in-county migrant town that was 35% HIV positive. Janet had someone try to cut in line in front of her with “I’m a millionaire.” We fled back to our midwestern roots.

          1. Steve H.

            I’m not sure Naples is real life, just sayin’. Gators in the back yard, but the real predators had yacht docks and cathouses in their condo complexes.

          2. Questa Nota

            Such behavior occurs in Naples, FL and points beyond, perhaps in your local communities.

            There are local variations on rude, aggressive actions ranging from “I’m going next” while cutting in line to running red lights or just driving obnoxiously because they can. The driving examples could fade with so many cell phones and cameras around, but not before endangering or irritating a lot of people.

            A common theme is that of pulling rank, due to perceived PMC privilege or driving a large, posh sedan, preferably foreign.

          3. nothing but the truth

            FL seems to have high rates of mental health issues. And now with rents up 30-40% thanks to the free money brigade gifting free lunches to monopoly buyers, it will get much worse.

            At 7 in the morning, I have to run the AC in the car and close ventilation – because so many cars passing by smell of weed.

        1. Martin Oline

          I am also considering returning to the Midwest from Fort Myers, FL. We are about 12 feet above sea level and will have to decide sooner rather than later. I have been here 8 years and retired early because the wages are dismally low here for skilled workers. It is mostly wealthy retirees, service workers, and the homeless.

          1. GramSci

            There is a DSA start-up chapter in Ft. Myers, and I felt bad abandoning them, but we went there to care for my wife’s recently widowed big sister. Sis remarried so it’s back to NoVa and grandkids. Out of the frying pan …

  5. Steve H.

    > How to End Climate Failure Project Syndicate (David L)

    : First, a shared identity and purpose are vital. Limiting global warming is an inherently global goal: greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted anywhere affect people everywhere. We therefore need to develop a sense of common identification with this goal.

    : A second key principle is to ensure that the costs and benefits of climate action are distributed in a way that leaves all parties better off.

    Contrast this with Ostrom’s comments in her Nobel Prize Lecture:

    : 1A. User Boundaries: Clear and locally understood boundaries between legitimate users and nonusers are present. 1B. Resource Boundaries: Clear boundaries that separate a specifc common- pool resource from a larger social-ecological system are present.

    : B. The Central Role of Trust in Coping with Dilemmas

    Ostrom’s work cannot be applied to global situations, by her definitions. She wrote in 1990, “most individuals affected by the operational rules can participate in modifying the operational rules.” It’s absurd to think that applies to a global situation. As for trust, can you show me where there is any trust? The author’s first paragraph undercuts his own argument, and his solution is to alter ‘the whole system’ using rules that specifically apply to local systems.

    The frosting is the phrase ‘leaves all parties better off.’ In absolute terms No One is better off with global warming. In relative terms, some Russians think they will be, but there goes your global identity again.

    The author’s macroeconomic assumption is of continuous growth, and leads to the necessity of the Global Green New Deal to support ‘all parties better off.’ Here’s his page from the World Economic Forum:

  6. Randy

    I really thought Trump was just getting bad advice from his inner circle of yes men. Finding out a significant amount thought not doing more to stop 1/6 was a terrible idea and were begging him to change course has been eye opening. He really, truly is so vain and stupid that he’d rather see it all burn than admit he lost. I wonder how different history would be if Pence’s sense of country club decorum (and by that point probably being sick of Trump personally) held him back from going with Trump’s scheme.

      1. Randy

        “What was he supposed to do? Reject the Electoral vote count? Under what auspices?”

        That’s what Trump was publicly saying Pence had the power to do and what he wanted him to do. Who cares under what auspices? Does it look like Trump cared if it was legal or not? Did it matter that 15 years prior some dems made an objection to one state’s count? If Pence didn’t care as well he could have tried for it. That’s my point.

    1. Carolinian

      he’d rather see it all burn than admit he lost.

      Wonder where he got that idea (she’s peddling her book as we speak).

  7. Steve H.


    : This is one way to drain demand from the economy.

    JUST IN – Biden won’t extend student loan relief. Student loan payments to restart February 1, 2022 (Forbes)

    * * *

    I’ve been mulling Gail Tverberg’s musings on when countries “attempt to cut back their economies to the size that their energy supply will support, without admitting the real problem.”

    But this chart really got me. Does it make anyone nervous that the money supply has quintupled under Biden? I’m nervous. Should I be?

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      Given that the massive jump coincides exactly with a change in the definition of M1, no, it shouldn’t make you nervous.

    2. cocomaan

      My guess is that the student loan story is not over. A lot of those college graduates are his targeted constituency. I know one democrat who said she voted for Biden because she thought he would be more likely to forgive her student loans (there was more to it than that, she hated Trump, but you get the idea). That’s how big of a deal this is.

      We’ll see what happens.

    3. Louis Fyne

      M1 definition was changed in May 2020 as should account for that crazy jump.

      nevertheless, there was a significant jump in money supply in Mar-Apr 2020.

      in Feb. 2021, FRED discontinued keeping track of MZM money stock (zero-maturity aka money market cash). It was a nice indicator as it was released weekly.

      Nothing to see I imagine.

    4. BlakeFelix

      It looked like it spiked when they changed the definition. It’s concerning IMO, but it’s apples to oranges.

  8. Boomka

    “For Americans Shocked by Inflation, Argentines Have Some Advice”

    Interesting in itself that Bloomberg now goes to Argentina for some advice on matters financials.

    Obviously missing is the main coping strategy of all inflation hit countries – they typically would use dollars as a store of value, instead of local currencies. No such recourse will be available to rich western countries. I would argue that this is actually the main thing that allowed some economies to muddle through high inflation periods.

    All the other tactics mentioned in the article, such as buying houses, are merely desperate attempts to only lose 90% of your wealth instead of 100%. Once you genuinely have to resort to those, it must mean your economy is already destroyed. That house you own might still cost a lot in absolute currency units but housing always crashes hard in real terms in any country that suffers hyper-inflation.

    Not that we are facing imminent threat of hyper-inflation…

    1. Jerk

      >No such recourse will be available to rich western countries
      Gentlemen, I have one word for you, just one word: Bitcoin.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Bitcoin only works as long as the Feds allow payment processors to do business with Bitcoin exchanges.

        Yes, there is person-to-person Bitcoin exchange, but that has yet to take off as, for example, who wants to price a new car in a unit of account that may jump up or down 10% over a weekend. Or who wants to get paid in a unit of account that might go up or down 10% over a pay period.

        IMO, using gold coins has a better chance of taking off than Bitcoin-to-Bitcoin payments. Ymmv.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Came a cross a website many years ago by a guy who lived through the disastrous years for Argentina during the 2001 crisis. The guy has commercialized his website and it is survivalist in tone but if you dig through the links on the left, there is not only good advice but some pretty harrowing stories about what life was like back then in Argentina. It wasn’t pretty-

    3. Objective Ace

      If you buy a house with a mortgage–say you put down 25 percent and borrowed 75 percent, and inflation makes the value of the house go up 50 percent you have made 200% off of your money… much better then an “attempt to only lose 90%”

      1. The Historian

        Not really. That only works ‘on paper’ if you continue to live in that house. If you sell, where are you then going to live? If you stay in the same area, it is going to cost you every bit of the ‘paper profit’ to find a new house to live in that is comparable to the house your just sold. So although it looks good on paper, it doesn’t translate into real wealth.

        In actual dollars, you will end up losing because as your house inflates in price, so do your taxes.

        1. Lee

          “If you sell, where are you then going to live?”

          I had thought of possibly cashing out here in the SF bay area and moving to some more rural woodsy location. Alas, they’ve all burned up or probably will do come next fire season.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            If you aren’t tied to the area or a job, think bigger. Atrios is always droning on about Philadelphia. Consider small cities that didn’t become trendy or were dominated by increases in defense spending. They are often nice especially if they aren’t dominated by a university pulling in everyone who just has to retire there.

            Try places with triple AAA or even double AA minor league teams. It’s not all just San Francisco, the pit known as Northern Virginia, and hill billies.

            I’ve been telling UVA students (I always talk to the bartenders when i got to games) who really don’t want to go to the hell hole in NoVa but want to stay in Cville to consider Roanoke, VA. It’s pretty big. Sort of small and isn’t dominated by a single employer. Too many Chokies, but every place has its warts. That is my pick for Virginia if you don’t have a pre-existing hold in an area. And there is a Red Sox minor league team. In Salem, but close enough.

            The real moral is if you are in a place like San Francisco you aren’t bound to staying or moving to Deliverance.

        2. Objective Ace

          If you sell, where are you then going to live?

          This could be an issue if you are living on a fixed income. However, even that person has made 200% (approximately 150% in real money). That will go a long way towards helping them should they need to sell. They’re much much better off then a renter on fixed income

          Maybe including numbers will help understand whats going on. Buy a 400k house with 100k down and a 100k income. We get some 1980s type inflation and 5 years later house is worth 600k simply due to inflation. You now have 300k of equity. While wages do tend to lag inflation a bit, there’s constraints on how much they can lag. Lets just assume wages have kept up with inflation, although you can assume they lagged it 10 or 20 percent–doesnt change the analysis. With your now 150k income you can continue paying the now super cheap mortgage, you can cash out 150k and pay a similar proportion of your wages towards your mortgage, or you can sell and take the 300k equity and buy a much bigger house or put down 50 percent and once again have a super cheap mortgage (or, again, not so cheap if your living on a fixed income–but hopefully manageable with the larger downpayment)

          1. The Historian

            I don’t think it has anything to do with whether or not you are on a fixed income. Seems to me all incomes for the middle and lower classes have been ‘fixed’ for a long time.

            I think you are forgetting that if your property inflates, every other property around you is going to inflate as well. So you aren’t going to be able to buy a bigger house with that inflation equity because the bigger house’s value will have inflated as well.

            As for taking out that equity in terms of a home equity loan, well…….. I think many people learned in 2008 how well that works. Remember property prices don’t keep going up – they go down too! And suddenly you are under water and in real debt!

            1. Objective Ace

              >I think you are forgetting that if your property inflates, every other property around you is going to inflate as well

              This is only relevent if you buy in cash. As I detailed in my example–the entire house inflates in value. You get the inflation from both the part of the home the bank owns and the inflation on the part you own. Those extra inflation dollars includes real value–you can buy a bigger house because it went up only the rate the overall house inflated in value, not the rate x4 which is what you recieve because of leverage

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not sure this is particularly unique to AI, as its often famously said that military planners are always very good at planning for the last war, just not so good at preparing for the next one.

      I think that apart from the obvious morality issues, a key problem with AI in warfare is that you only get one chance to get it right. If it turns out your AI isn’t working well in a real conflict, good luck with turning off all your computers so you can try something different. It would be a little like the probably exaggerated story of those mine carrying dogs the Soviets trained to attack German tanks in 1941. Turns out the dogs associated ‘tank’ with the smell of diesel (T-34’s), not gasoline (Panzers) and caused more problems for the Reds than the Germans.

    2. David

      In many ways, this is just the latest version of the problem of target identification that has existed since imagery was first used a century ago. It’s not helped by the naive belief that AI is in any sense “intelligence.”

      In practice, identification depends as much on context as anything else. If you’ve seen the original 1962 photographs from Cuba, you know that to the untrained eye, they are essentially meaningless. Even trained CIA analysts couldn’t say much more than that the photos were consistent with the idea that missiles were being delivered. What convinced Kennedy was the evolution of the photos over time, mixed with a great deal of other consistent information. And of course the analysts were right. Consider, for example, imagery of a truck moving along a highway. It’s of a type which is used for many purposes, including carrying and launching missiles. How do you tell? From the photo there’s probably nothing, except possibly communications antennae. So you look at the context. Where did the truck come from and where is it going? Is it part of a convoy with command vehicles and communications? Is it heavily guarded, and so on. This will give you at least a probabilistic answer, but it strikes me as something that AI, as it is and as it will probably always be, is actually incapable of doing, because it requires creative thinking.

    3. Lee

      They built the Dunning-Kruger effect into their AI. I guess the programmers weren’t as smart as they thought they were.

      1. Bill Smith

        Currently working on AI implementations and it’s hard. Particularly when looking for the needle in the haystack. Alas, with only 1% needles, could miss everyone and be 99% right. :)

      2. Polar Socialist

        There’s been a say that no artificial intelligence can match human stupidity. So I gather the researchers wanted to improve on that area, too.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Watch a Tesla on the latest version of “Full Self-Driving” Beta almost hit a pedestrian who had a walk sign, try going down railroad tracks, & glitch to the point where the driver COULD NOT TAKE CONTROL.’

    Man, that was nerve-wracking that. I have played first person shooter games but nothing that made me as jittery and as wary as watching that video. You kept on wondering what that car was going to do next and was watching for hazards that that car might interact with. There is no way that that car’s software is fit for driving down an urban center and it was like watching a live fire exercise held in one. You’d be safer having Mr. Magoo as your driver. So what happens if that car hits a pedestrian or his another car? Who is responsible there? This driver? Elon Musk? Tesla?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That video reminded me of a somewhat harebrained friend of mine in London when she gave me a lift in her Mini Cooper quite a few years ago. Never, ever again.

    2. Soredemos

      I’m certain this isn’t illegal simply because the law hasn’t caught up with it. But this kind of public beta testing of vehicle software should be illegal. It isn’t just the user who opted to install and activate the software that is involved in the beta test here; it’s everyone else on the road who didn’t consent to it.

      Musk needs to be in prison.

  10. Lee

    “Coming soon: Donald ‘Godfather’ Trump, part II Al Jazeera (resilc)”

    There are stirrings within the R party for Trumpism without Trump. That’s Chris Christie’s play. In any event, as recently reported by Barton Gellman, the Rs are beavering away in seven swing states to put Trump loyalists in key positions that would allow them to fiddle election results and/or empower their state legislatures to appoint electors who could award electoral votes that do not reflect the majority votes in their respective states.

    Can they actually pull this off, or is Gellman catastrophizing? I don’t know.

    Meanwhile, the author of the Al Jazeera article observes, and I paraphrase, the Democrats continue their feckless, feeble faffing about that will lead to electoral defeats.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Probably not, but they can avoid bad press thanks to the myth Trump was an aberration put out by Team Blue. I think about Boehner handing out checks on the floor of the House from Big Tobacco, but look at his treatment.

      Trump is the GOP and much of the bipartisan consensus with the mask off. That is all. Though to be fair, the mask was a chin diaper previously at best.

      Youngkin, the incoming GOP governor of Virginia, was chairman of the Carlisle Group, making him one of those insiders Trump railed against, but Terry as a major investor during Youngkin’s time couldn’t even hit him on that.

    2. marym

      Links from earlier this year about proposed legislation (from 3 self-described pro-democracy organizations – brief description and links to their website are in the first document):

      Topics from the table of contents of the first link (with a little flavor of the perspective, but there’s a lot of detail and links):
      Legislative Seizure of Control over Election Results: Increasing the Probability of an Election Crisis
      Legislative Seizure of Election Responsibilities: Stripping Executive Power Over Elections Legislative Meddling in Election Minutiae: Degrading Local Competence and Control in Favor of Micromanagement by State Legislatures
      Legislative Imposition of Criminal or Other Penalties for Election Decisions: Inviting Costly, Time-consuming, and High-stakes Legal Challenges

      “This memorandum supplementing our report outlines three notable recent developments within the overall voter suppression movement. First, we detail how one worrisome category of proposals, those that criminalize election administration, appears poised for enactment in at least two states and are more widespread than we initially found. Second, we describe how legislatures’ attempts to usurp core election functions has picked up steam, with more of them considering ways to conduct charade “audits.” Finally, we provide an update on which bills of the sort we warned about that have advanced and become law.

    3. jonhoops

      “Can they pull this off?” Of course they can. What do you think happened in 2000. The Trump/GOP machinations were more of the same, unfortunately for them they couldn’t convince Pence to join the team.

      Next time they won’t need him because they will have enough State legislatures seeded with their people. They only need to invalidate a small number of electors to throw the process into chaos.

      It has been done before in 1876, so there is no reason it can’t be done again. This was the dry run, you can believe the next time they will make sure things will go their way.

  11. Bricky

    For the life of me I don’t understand how America expects to confront and contain China and Russia at the same time. Both these countries make large quantities of real things that the world needs. In China’s case it is to 2021 what America was to 1940, the world’s industrial powerhouse. Russia provides oil, gas, wheat, assorted minerals and metals. Pushing them together is lunacy from an American strategic perspective. The whole American war “strategy” against China would revolve around a naval blockade, which never mind that China could neutralize with their own hypersonic missiles, but Russia could provide it with almost limitless natural resources. Short of war, pushing Russia east would be bad for Russia, it would make it very dependent on the Chinese market, but it would be worse for Europe, placing Europe’s remaining productive industry at a disadvantage against China with its new cheap Russian energy.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger against China’s and Russia’s real products, you have an America that in my own relatively short lifetime has gone through a breathtaking decline. 30 years ago, America still had a very large industrial base. 15 years ago, it still had a globally parasitic but very profitable financial industry. Now it has an IT industry that subcontracts all its physical products to China and rest of Asia, and more than that the main export in a non-joking way seems to be electronically created dollars. We are going to confront China, while right now ships not coming in fast enough from China lead to the highest inflation in 40 years?

    I don’t really see what the plan is. Trigger a war in eastern Ukraine that ends in 1 week, place heavy sanctions on Russia, which will result in Russian countermeasures and a probable energy disruption to Europe. If there is an actual short hot war between nato and Russia the shocking thing given the disparity in defense spending is that Russia might actually win and absolutely humiliate the US military and foreign policy establishment. With China it seems the plan is to goad it for no discernible reason over Taiwan, and in event of invasion, place heavy “sanctions” on the country that your population depends on for cheap products to offset their decades-long stagnant incomes.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Brzezinski and Kissinger’s idiot kids are our foreign policy elites.

      Brezezinki’s book in 1995 or so became a major blue print. Basically, control the Middle East through conflict, keep Russia down, and threaten China’s neighbors with being overwhelmed by China. Of course, it ran into the problem that we kept Russia too down and business salivating over the Chinese market (see Lebron James).

      Letting the Chinese into orgs like the WTO was all supposed to shape Chinese integration so they couldn’t become a power. Its as stupid as it sounds, but FP elites don’t face elections, hide behind classified, and are just old fashioned orientalists. The South Park episode Chinpokomon is, probably by accident, a brilliant explanation of US fp elites. We expect the foreign devils to just be astonished by Americans. See Obama’s version of “American Exceptionalism”.

      The Russians were/are on erred about being overwhelmed by the Chinese, but we wrecked Libya and more or less demonstrated agreements with the US were worthless. So instead of say using Russia as a base on China’s border, we just fostered integration, and realistically, if Russia can work out an arrangement with China, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, and so forth can too.

      Kissinger wanted to work with the Russian Federation and keep it pro-American versus drifting into the EU sphere, but Brezezinki was out for some kind of revenge. His idiot offspring want to make Russia smaller as if they ever modern Russian Federation can ever become a major power on its own. It’s absurd especially next to the EU. A great deal of their behavior is just motivated by hate.

      1. Bricky

        Russia’s desire to diversify their energy markets is the reason they are putting up with the EU. They don’t want to be completely dependent on China but push comes to shove, if they are cut off they will go that route and not even suffer much. There is currently not the pipeline capacity to ship all their gas to China / East Asia and they are building it out at a leisurely pace, suggesting Russia doesn’t actually believe they will be cut off of swift and European markets. I don’t think Russia is afraid of being dominated by China in a literal sense, Russia has a very capable military and of course a world leading nuclear deterrent, but having only one customer is never a good idea and will lead to worse prices as well.

        Russia makes a show of cultivating other countries/markets like India and the Middle East, but in terms of their main hydrocarbon exports, the only games in town are Europe and China. They have weapons and food and even nuclear power building exports to other countries but those are not as important as their hydrocarbon exports.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Moscow is worried about becoming a Chinese poodle similar to the UK and the US. The economic size and potential of Russia compared to China means this is a real worry. The US is more distant and seemed okay with the emerging EU or even Japan as a properly conquered country.

          They just got rid of the US. The Russians are okay with junior partner status.

          1. Bricky

            There is not the shared history between Russia and China of the UK and America, or the protectorate status of Japan to America. There is not much risk of Russia becoming a poodle to China with competent leadership in Moscow. It’s just that the Russian elite feels genuine affinity
            to Western Europe and none to China.

            I’m getting the sense that Putin is becoming ok with being a slightly junior partner to China, but not in the sense of the UK to USA. A Chinese Russian joint space station, Russian economic complementarity with China. Russian competence in diplomacy vs wolf warrior stuff from China. Russia’s weapons superiority to China. (There’s definitely wishful thinking involved that reminds me just a little of British pretensions to the USA at the end of WW2 and right after) But Russia’s position relative to China improves the more options Russia has. Being friendly with India is all well and good but India is not a large trading partner or even currently very important geopolitically. That’s why Russia just doesn’t want to give up on eventually convincing Berlin and Paris to have a constructive relationship.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would also add many FP elites buy the PR about defense spending and don’t grasp how little money goes to actual military operations, comprehend issues like logistics, or just how spread out the US actually is. A major conflict means everything we are doing effectively stops. This is why we’ve seen stories of the Pentagon pushing back. No general wants to be on the hook for a disaster. Rotating in and out of Afghanistan is a nameless job, but the guy explaining why sailors became shark chow is going to have a problematic career.

    3. Lee

      “I don’t really see what the plan is.”

      There is no singular plan but many little, mostly myopically self-interested plans in the U.S. Globalization and its concomitant domestic policies are being undone by contending interests both internationally and, particularly in U.S., sharpening conflicts between classes and between oligarchs themselves. At the same time we don’t have a government with the means or the will to knock heads together à la a Putin or Xi to get the country on track to ameliorating the material and cultural bases of our internal conflicts. The acronym FUBAR springs to mind.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is why Biden could just leave Afghanistan or supposedly wind down the drone war. The deep state really is competing little micro states competing for attention, but without the attention of the White House Chief of Staff, they are nothing. They are bad, but they are trying to be bad everywhere which they can’t do without White House focus. They can huff and puff to a Candy Crowley all the want. Obama was problematic because he craved their approval.

        Libya and the end of the treat of “people’s revolutions” (I use the term loosely) means the local powers know the US is “agreement incapable” and the US isn’t needed to rescue them from a Communist Party Vanguard.

        Biden’s failure on the domestic side is why he’s shopping for a foreign policy win, but the US has been so dominant for so long. There aren’t wins out there worth anyone important’s time. He’s likely looking for an easy win that won’t offend anyone domestically or a country to throw against the wall, but no one wants to put up with that. Biden doesn’t have the focus to even swing everything to that kind of conflict. Real problems with China need to be addressed that are both inevitable and our fault.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have a hypothesis. Biden and the Gang are fake-hyping the fake-threat that Russia is fake-accused of fake-posing to Ukraine.

          When Russia ends up not invading Ukraine, as has been predicted by rational reality-based people, the BidenAdmin will claim this was due to Biden talking tough and promising incredible damage to Putin’s economy if Russia invades Ukraine. Biden will claim he prevented it from happening and he will claim it as his foreign policy win.

          Russia could always prove this hypothesis false by invading Ukraine, but I think the RussiaGov would rather not do that.

          The Hotsie-Totsie Banderazis will of course try to set up every possible “Gliewitz incident” and every other provocation to get Russia to invade, so as to demand rescue from the Russian invasion. But will they succeed?

    4. Louis Fyne

      this whole thread’s points are spot-on.

      And why listening to “the experts” on TV and in print make me metaphorically want to rip my own hair off.

      The media, think tanks and DC love to cite experts who aren’t fluent in the local language or culture—but rather parrot the “spectrum dominance, US F-ya, we’re #1” narrative that the Beltway loves to wallow in.

      Oh wait, I forgot, crass jingoism is only a MAGA thing.

    5. Bill Smith

      Don’t know if this is true:

      “China would revolve around a naval blockade, which never mind that China could neutralize with their own hypersonic missiles”

      But against submarines?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The roads-and-railroads part of Belt and Road give China many ways to escape a naval blockade along its own coast. It will simply send and receive goods in and out along the coasts of dozens of other Belt-and-Road-connected nations.

        And the DC FedRegime will merely stand there looking sad and silly sucking its thumb up its adze.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your link is indeed interesting and informative and some of the photos it contains are breathtaking.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Thanks for the link. Nice to know that projects like this are still being funded. I remember well when the original Hubble telescope went up…..and it was initially a failure…..but it was fixed. I truly hope this new telescope works out as planned.

    3. Soredemos

      “With a $10 billion price tag, it is one of the most ambitious engineering initiatives ever attempted”

      This amount is almost a rounding error to the Pentagon. NASA’s entire annual budget was only $23.3 billion last year. The whole Perseverance Mars rover project’s cost is less than $3 billion. Looking outside of space projects (and the US), the Large Hadron Collider was less than $5 billion.

      I hate that actually worthwhile projects like these have to justify their very existence every year while the military gets endless blank checks. Even if MMT weren’t a factor, we could fund all of this peaceful science, and far more besides, by simply choosing to give ever so slightly less to the military.

  12. Jason Boxman

    On COVID, I got this today after completing an unrelated customer satisfaction survey:

    SurveyMonkey is partnering with COVID Near You, a team of epidemiologists and software developers at Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital and volunteers from the technology industry.

    I’ve never seen one of these before, so it’s unusual. Has anyone else gotten something like this?

    I suppose if we had a functioning CDC, this might not be necessary.

  13. William Hunter Duncan

    “VP Harris secures new investment from companies like Pepsico, Cargill for Central America strategy Reuters. Lambert featured another press report yesterday on this, um, development. The US with the reserve currency putting out a tin cup for foreign aid? And what do these companies want back? Resilc: “Gee, why not bring back United Fruit slave plantations again?”

    Reality is indeed becoming too bizarre even for fiction. I thought after reading the first two paragraphs maybe this was from The Onion, but then I realized not even The Onion could write this without choking on the keyboard. I had an epiphany listening to NPR yesterday, that while conservatives deify the market and make consequent the wealthiest the most holy, Liberal Democrats and their Corporate kin really do see themselves as the Apex of Evolution. Having vanquished the retrograde Trump they truly believe they have inherited the earth.

    1. Questa Nota

      How many stenographers and talking heads were relieved to have something to say about Heels, at long last?

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        Trump’s affinity for professional wrestling has indded been an underappreciated aspect of his “rise and fall.”

  14. Noone from Nowheresville

    Rick Beato: Big thank you to whoever introduced me to Rick Beato.

    I absolutely loved this interview with Tommy Emmanuel.

    Excellent Sting interview last month and Brian May’s insights into Bohemian Rhapsody. etc., etc., etc.

    Thoroughly enjoyable and I would’ve completely missed it if not for the NC Community.

    Thanks again.

    1. Paleobotanist

      Snicker, those are pretty good. The cats do look annoyed in not having a proper tree to knock over.

  15. michael hudson

    What an awful article on the Rosetta stone — based on two recently published awful books with hopeless mistranslations.
    There’s no hint in the article above that the Rosetta stone was a debt cancellation, in keeping with the long-standing tradition of Clean Slates that I describe in “and forgive them their debts.” But at least they don’t repeat the books’ misrepresentation of the content as a “tax reduction.” As if Greece and Reaganomics!
    It was a cancellation of debts, the major debts being back taxes.
    The problem confronting people writing about the Rosetta Stone is that they abhor the idea of rulers strong enough to cancel taxes and redistribute land, as “socialism.”

  16. lance ringquist

    the person who wrote this does not understand democratic control and governance.

    Ending our corporate dependence on China The Spectator (furzy)

    he is happy that the house has acted, then says its almost impossible to enforce. yet never mentions the fact that free trade treaties allow this by removing sovereignty and democratic control, that is rule by corporations.

    he laments whats happened, yet never acknowledging how and why its happened.

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Of course not. Had the Chinese been a better card carrying member of the “Yay America” team, we would instead be INCREASING our dependence on China.

      1. lance ringquist

        i have found out that free traders are the only people who are constantly outraged at the results of their own crackpot policies, then blame labor.

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