Links 12/6/2021

Maryland homeowner burned down house trying to fight snakes WTOP

‘Metaverse’ hype fuels booming digital property market Agence France Presse (Furzy Mouse).

The Internet’s Casino Boats Stephen Diehl

John Rolle, the Bahamian Banking Pioneer Bloomberg

China’s Yutu 2 rover spots cube-shaped ‘mystery hut’ on far side of the moon

Private space stations are coming. Will they be better than their predecessors? The Conversation


Geography class: La Niña expected to intensify global rain and drought after second consecutive year FT

How heat waves warp ecosystems High Country News

Gambling ‘America’s Amazon’ CNN

Humans Are Doomed to Go Extinct Scientific American

Why Are There So Many Kinds of Phytoplankton? Hakai Magazine


Many Omikron cases after Christmas lunch and concert (Google translation) TV2. Parallel to the Oslo omicron superspreader event, discussed here.

Epidemiological update: Omicron variant of concern (VOC) – data as of 5 December 2021 (12.00) European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “Cases have been reported by 17 countries… The majority of confirmed cases have a history of travel to countries in Africa…. [U]ndetected community transmission could be ongoing in [Belgium, Germany, and Spain]…. All cases for which there is available information on severity were either asymptomatic or mild. No deaths have been reported among these cases so far.” Death lags, so yes, “so far.”

COVID-19 Post-acute Sequelae Among Adults: 12 Month Mortality Risk Frontiers in Medicine. n=13,638, patients at the University of Florida Hospital system. From the Abstract:

“The 12-month adjusted all-cause mortality risk was significantly higher for patients with severe COVID-19 compared to both COVID-19 negative patients (HR 2.50; 95% CI 2.02, 3.09) and mild COVID-19 patients (HR 1.87; 95% CI 1.28, 2.74). The vast majority of deaths (79.5%) were for causes other than respiratory or cardiovascular conditions…. In a time when nearly all COVID-19 hospitalizations are preventable this study points to an important and under-investigated sequela of COVID-19 and the corresponding need for prevention.”

An upper bound on one-to-one exposure to infectious human respiratory particles PNAS. From the Abstract:

We find, for a typical SARS-CoV-2 viral load and infectious dose, that social distancing alone, even at 3.0 m between two speaking individuals, leads to an upper bound of 90% for risk of infection after a few minutes. If only the susceptible wears a face mask with infectious speaking at a distance of 1.5 m, the upper bound drops very significantly; that is, with a surgical mask, the upper bound reaches 90% after 30 min, and, with an FFP2 mask, it remains at about 20% even after 1 h. When both wear a surgical mask, while the infectious is speaking, the very conservative upper bound remains below 30% after 1 h, but, when both wear a well-fitting FFP2 mask, it is 0.4%. We conclude that wearing appropriate masks in the community provides excellent protection for others and oneself, and makes social distancing less important.


(FFP2 is a European mask standard equivalent to N95). “Adjusted” means “well-fitted to the face.” And here is a very long thread for mask geeks:

The impact of population-wide rapid antigen testing on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in Slovakia Science. Concluding paragraph:

“The combination of nationwide restrictions and mass testing with quarantining of household contacts of test positives rapidly reduced the prevalence of infectious residents in Slovakia. Although it was impossible to disentangle the precise contribution of control measures and mass testing, the latter is likely to have had a substantial effect in curbing the pandemic in Slovakia and may provide a valuable tool in future containment of SARS-CoV-2 elsewhere.”

Cruise ship with 10 positive COVID cases heads for New Orleans, health officials say Miami Herald (Furzy Mouse).


China Seeks First Military Base on Africa’s Atlantic Coast, U.S. Intelligence Finds WSJ. Equatorial Guinea.

Analysis: China Dusts Off Proven Playbook After Evergrande Default Warning Caixin Global. Commentary:

China Evergrande shares plummet 12% as it edges closer to default Guardian

Amid Evergrande crisis, more Chinese developers to issue ABS Reuters. Asset-Backed Securities.


Five dead after Myanmar security forces ram car into Yangon protest – media Reuters

Myanmar’s top general Min Aung Hlaing is strangling a democracy. What will the west do about it? Guardian

Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar’s deposed leader receives four-year jail sentence Sky News


Iran walks back all prior concessions in nuclear talks, US official says Guardian

What AIPAC Is Telling Congress on Biden’s Iran Negotiations Haaretz


ESA head says Europe needs to stop facilitating Elon Musk’s ambitions in space Ars Technica

Seeing justice through a fog of anger Robin McAlpine. The Craig Murray case.

New Cold War

US intelligence-sharing convinces allies of Russian threat to Ukraine FT. And the deck: “Sceptical capitals including Berlin persuaded of the need to draw up threat of robust sanctions.”

Ukraine could be ‘next Afghanistan’ for Russia if it invades, US senator warns Guardian. The mountains? The opium? Pakistan?

War in Ukraine? NATO expansion drives conflict with Russia (podcast) Aaron Maté, Pushback

Biden Administration

What an America Without Roe Would Look Like NYT. Handy map:

U.S. Military Has Acted Against Ransomware Groups, General Acknowledges NYT

Bob Dole, a man of war, power, zingers and denied ambition AP

Democrats en Deshabille

Voting rights advocates frustrated by ‘same-old, same-old’ meeting with White House Guardian

Saving Democracy Will Require Institutional and Civil Resistance at All Levels David Atkins, Washington Monthly (DCBlogger).

Supply Chain

The Supply-Chain Mess Daron Acemoglu, Project Syndicate

Empty containers at Southern California ports can reportedly be seen ‘strewn throughout the region’ from 80 miles away WSJ

Amazon is making its own containers and bypassing supply chain chaos with chartered ships and long-haul planes CNBC (Rev Kev).

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

At Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial, lurid photos from Epstein home barred by judge Miami Herald

Our Famously Free Press

Has anyone checked on Twitter? Is Twitter alright?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

‘This has been happening for a long time’: Modern-day slavery uncovered in South Georgia Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Re Silc).

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘Fools, drunks, and the United States of America’ James Fallows, Breaking the News

The Bay Area Crime Wave The Discourse Lounge. A long thread, with images of a boarded up downtown San Francisco:

Worth a read, but note the brands.

Class Warfare

“Identity Politics and Culture Wars” Rhyd Wildermuth, From the Forests of Arduinna. Glenn Greenwald, Judith Butler, and Cornel West.

Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms PNAS. From the Abstract:

We find that synthetic multicellular assemblies can also replicate kinematically by moving and compressing dissociated cells in their environment into functional self-copies. This form of perpetuation, previously unseen in any organism, arises spontaneously over days rather than evolving over millennia. We also show how artificial intelligence methods can design assemblies that postpone loss of replicative ability and perform useful work as a side effect of replication.

What could go wrong? Here is a popularization.

Antidote du jour, bird (via):

All squids are not vampires.

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Sci Am article on the future of the human species.

    The thought occurs that there might be an unrecognized kind of “quorum sensing” that occurs in dense populations of humans (as in dense bacterial colonies) that signals a need to slow down the production of new individuals.

    Perhaps that’s bonkers — how would that have evolved in a sparse past population — and the decline in fertility is simply due to pollution.

    As bacterial biofilms mature and senesce, they release cells to colonize new sites. I suppose Musk and Bezos are the human forms of that.

    1. svay

      The article says “the threat of nuclear annihilation has lost its imminence.” I wish I shared Henry Gee’s optimism there.
      And I don’t get the bit about habitat loss, or ‘extinction debt’. If, as Gee says, we humans occupy more or less the entire planet, wouldn’t that mean there’s more likely to be some habitats where we don’t go extinct, even if we cease to be able to inhabit others?

      1. mrsyk

        Wouldn’t it be ironic to be annihilated by nuclear war with human extinction by environmental degradation so close at hand?

      2. Sawdust

        What we’re doing is homogenizing the entire planet, replacing a multitude of natural ecoystems with a single anthropogenic one. In previous civilization collapses, people could still take their chances running for the hills. Now we’re out of hills to run to.

        1. Phacops

          This can be homo sapiens moment of Punctuated Equilibrium. We may not recognize the results as human.

    2. Louis Fyne

      native-born fertility is 2.0 or less in the US (across all races-ethnicities), negative in EU and East Asia. and has been for decades, even in the US, native-born fertility has been near 2.0 since the 80’s.

      the population growth in the developing world is concerning, despite low per capita CO2 emissions. see Egypt, permanent net importer of wheat despite and highnly vulnerable to food inflation.

    3. Craig H.

      The universe heat death is coming. Even Elon Musk Mark Zuckerberg Jeff Bezos sex fantasy immortal transhuman aliens ain’t getting past that.

      Do not despair. It’s all going to even out on the long timeline run!

      : )

      1. gc54

        Actually, dark energy if it exists might eventually dilute everything within our cosmic horizon down to zero-point-energy = cold + perhaps Hawking radiation from evaporating black holes.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I believe this has already been shown on other mammals. Coyotes have smaller litters when overall populations are large, and larger litters when they’re smaller. That’s why shooting them never gets rid of them – cull the population and they just have larger litters the next time around,

    5. JBird4049

      For most of human existence, if you look at the various hominid species, humanity’s population was under a million people for millions of years. World wide. With the direct ancestral population declining to perhaps under ten thousand people, twice and again world wide.

      Even when able to have many healthy children able to grow to adulthood, human societies often restricted the number of births especially hunter-gather societies. That ability is not always there.

      The reason that we have so many people right now is that it was only a century ago that the childhood death rate was just awful with many children needing to be born for anyone to survive. It was not unknown for a woman to have five, ten, fifteen(!) children and only have a couple to survive. European (and American) history is just one long series of child deaths until a century ago. Really, just four generations. Society as a whole has taken some time to change to the new reality of most children reaching adulthood.

    6. Maritimer

      Gee, Henry, if you are writing on such a subject, you should have listened to/read existential experts like I have. These experts cite nanotech, biotech and AI/GI/SI as serious threats to the continued existence of Humanity while you completely ignore them.

      Also, Henry, you might at least observe the assault on the Human immune system by so-called “scientists” with their mRNA gene injections. They are of course enabled by the aforementioned nanotech and biotech assisted probably by AI.

      So, Henry, maybe back to the existential drawing board. As for “Scientific” American, not so much.

  2. Neill Loria

    N-95 or KN-95 Masks that are well fitted should be distributed by the government for free!!!! And also available at places the general public goes!!!! And we should empower ourselves by opening windows using humidifiers! We should also eat good food. Start working out outdoors getting fresh air & sun. Plus take zinc vitamin d c a etcetera & this reduces our chances of getting covid-19 flu common cold pnemonia! Free your minds & your ass will follow!!

  3. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Humans Are Doomed to Go Extinct” article at-

    Not bad an article but it is too wrapped up in present trends. Seriously, 99% of the world’s population could disappear overnight but that would still leave about 90 million of us. In any case, we are but one species and it is an unnatural thought that a single species can dominate forever. For a bit of context, here is a story written by John Michael Greer called “The Next Ten Billion Years.” When younger, I would have been outraged at it but now I take comfort in it-

  4. Otis B Driftwood

    SF Boarded up. Who is she kidding? Nobody likes going into the city to “shop or look around”. It has been awful for decades.

    Neoliberalism created this mess, not Chesa Boudin.

    1. Tommy S.

      while I agree with your last sentence but the top is wrong. 25 million a year tourists pre covid. I live in the mission…one of the most ‘dangerous areas’…and pre covid it was packed as ever with tourists, and yuppie types doing their aquarium gaze.

  5. Wukchumni

    A University of Colorado/Boulder study shows that when forests burn across significant portions of the Rocky Mountains, the forests do not regrow, even after 15 years post-fire, 80% of the surveyed plots contained no new trees. (Source: Lisa Marshall, Forests Scorched by Wildfire Unlikely to Recover, May Convert to Grasslands, CU Boulder Today, August 25, 2020)

    The study looked at 22 separate burned-out areas from southern Wyoming thru central/western Colorado to northern New Mexico. The study included regions that had burned as long ago as 1988, including land ravaged by the 2002 Hayman Fire near Colorado Springs; the 1996 Buffalo Creek Fire southwest of Denver; the 2000 Eldorado Springs and Walker Ranch fires near Boulder; and the 2002 Missionary Ridge fire outside of Durango.

    “This study and others clearly show that the resilience of our forests to fire has declined significantly under warmer, drier conditions,” coauthor Tom Veblen, professor of geography, CU Boulder, Ibid.

    We trade stately forest for icky groundcover here in the Sierra after a wildfire has it’s way, as the latter just takes over and doesn’t allow anything else to grow, hoarding all the sunlight.

    The solution is simple enough, we burn forests on our terms, not the draconian measures meted out by Mother Nature, and keep upright citizens alive with low intensity prescribed burns, but where is the will to do so?

    In the midst of perhaps one of the finest indian summers I can remember, there would have been ample opportunities where the conditions were about perfect to smoke em’ if you gottem’, along with the added advantage of no tourists in the NP to smoke out, but nothing happens.

    On a happier note, our walk up to Paradise Ridge yesterday was splendid, weaving through the Atwell Grove where most every Sequoia is 10 feet wide or larger…

    1. Carolinian

      The solution is simple enough

      Prob is, as a different Counterpunch article pointed out, these global warming forest fires are different–crown fires driven by very high winds and dry conditions.

      Here in the Southeast we didn’t need fire to take out our old growth as the big trees were all cut down for farms or timber a hundred years ago. The Joyce Kilmer grove up in North Carolina is one of the few places you can still see the giant trees. But here at least after they clear cut a riot of vegetation follows. Even the biomass scam that your article talks about is less severe since those Europeans have turned to tree plantations in many instances for their unconvincing AGW solution.

      Sadly for you and for everyone after thousands of years those CA big trees may have met their nemesis in AGW. Hope that’s not true.

    2. lordkoos

      It’s a bit early to tell for sure, but here in the eastern slopes of the Cascade range I don’t think the forests will recover from the recent fires either. We have rain now more than snow — lots of precipitation in fall and winter that once stored water in the form of snow but the snowpack will not be dependable going forward. Then in the spring and summer, it’s a drought. If the pattern continues, it will mean interesting times for WA agriculture as the entire irrigation system depends on snow melt and glaciers. Once upon a time we had occasional rainstorms in the summer months but I have not seen that for many years now. This winter has been extremely weird so far — the first day of December it was 65 degrees and sunny.

  6. svay

    China Seeks First Military Base on Africa’s Atlantic Coast, U.S. Intelligence Finds

    The US claims to be threatened by the prospect, real or imagined, of Chinese warships being able to rearm and refit opposite the US east coast, which is thousands of kilometres away. Presumably other nations should not feel in the least threatened by the USA’s oh so numerous and much closer military bases, despite its history of belligerence.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well if China is going to try and match the US in the number of foreign bases, that will be two down and seven hundred and ninety eight to go.

      1. svay

        Prof. Richard Wolff has a recent video outlining why those 798 bases are about all the US has left nowadays, having lost much of its global political and economic clout. Nothing that’ll surprise you or many readers, but it’s very clear and concise, only seven minutes – I’ve sent the link to a few Sinophobes I know.

        1. Polar Socialist

          If I understand correctly, over half of those bases are in just four countries: UK, Japan, South Korea and Germany. It’s still an impressive number.

          I wonder if there’s an “optimal” number of foreign bases required to achieve whatever it is you seek by establishing them? How many bases you need in, say, African continent to make the countries you interact with either feel slightly imposed on by you or protected by you, whichever is they or you need?

      2. anon y'mouse

        and they could rapidly build them all in probably 6 months.
        as evidenced by their pop-up hospitals to contain covid, anyway.
        only things holding them up are the rights agreements.

      3. Hepativore

        China might not need to match the number of bases as it seems to be going in the direction of a smaller but more efficient and effective military and equipment.

        The reason why we have so many bases and spend do much on the military budget is that the US economy is based on Military Keynesianism. We have no choice but to waste money on exorbitant military projects that often do not even work, because it is one of the few industries propping up our economy.

        This is sort of like how the three world nations in 1984 spend massive amounts of money and resources building huge weapons platforms in the ocean only to destroy them immediately afterwards. The point was to justify the war at large and intentionally destroy resources to keep the excuses going for letting the civilian population suffer shortages and maintain control over it.

      4. David

        The problem is that there’s no definition of “military base”, which is why the Pentagon quite genuinely says it doesn’t know, because numbers vary wildly depending on your definition. I suspect that the numbers probably related to “places where the US military are deployed”, which is a very different thing. For example, so far as I know, every US Embassy in the world (and probably some of the consulates) has a Marine detachment to protect it, and that alone would amount to several hundred “‘deployments.” After that, there are training teams, exchanges of military units, exercise deployments, use of training areas, liaison officers, staff college instructors and lots of other things. And to the extent that some of these occasional deployments have a clerk and some local employees somewhere, they could probably count as a military “base.” In addition, any port in the world cleared to receive nuclear submarines or aircraft carriers could probably be described as a “base” if you really try hard.

        This recalls an incident in the 1980s, when the journalist Duncan Campbell published what he claimed was a list of something like a hundred US “bases” in the UK, which came as a bit of a surprise to those who actually dealt with the Americans. It turned out that, whilst some of these places indeed existed, quite a few were long closed, some, at least had never existed, and one appeared to be a petrol pump to which US forces had right of access. So it all depends what you mean.

        1. svay

          I agree, but whichever way you count them, the US still has loads more foreign military bases than China, doesn’t it?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      These articles so often read as if those Africans (or others) have no strategy or agency of their own.

      Equatorial Guinea has for years been ruled by a very brutal, but very cunning President since 1979. Obiang didn’t hang on for so many decades by not knowing how to play off the US, the Soviets, later Russian, former colonialists (Spanish and French) and now the Chinese for everything he can get out of them.

      Whether or not he will grant China military access to the big harbour they’ve already built in Bata is anyones guess – probably not on previous form. But he will use this to leverage as much cash and influence as he can from the US and the Europeans and the Chinese. The big winners from this will be Obiang and, probably, one or more Swiss banks.

      1. Synoia

        The Chinese will now have a base close to the Country with the most interesting difficult to find minerals, The Congo.

        It makes good sense to have a base close to key supplies for one’s economy.

    3. Anthony Stegman

      The US is “alarmed” simply because the US military has grown entitled to operate wherever it wishes, anywhere on the globe. A Chinese naval base may threaten that entitlement even if only in a very small way. The Chinese base would not be a threat to the United States, but would rather reduce somewhat the US military global operations. Perhaps China can get a base in the Mediterranean and really ruffle some Pentagon feathers.

  7. svay

    Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms – What could go wrong?

    Something could go wrong I suppose, but these ‘xenobots’, or self-replicating reconfigurable organisms, require a convenient and concentrated supply of stem cells in order to pull off their replication trick, not something they’re likely to encounter in the wild. Don’t feed them stem cells, and they can’t reproduce, basically.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “At Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial, lurid photos from Epstein home barred by judge”

    If anybody has half an hour to waste, there is also a half hour walk-through video done by the Palm Beach Police back in 2005-

    Myself? I have some drapes to hang instead and, like Jeff Epstein, they are not going to hang themselves.

    1. griffen

      Based on the article, my interpretation is the defense was performing better in their work than the prosecution. Read like high-fives all around from their defense client, Maxwell. I’m not cheering that at all, to make certain.

      1. LifelongLib

        I’ve heard that because most criminal cases are settled by plea bargain, prosecutors often have little trial experience. They’re great deal makers but poor trial lawyers. They do badly against defendants who can afford to go to trial and have top defense lawyers.

    2. lordkoos

      I had heard that videos were found, but they don’t seem to be a factor in Maxwell’s trial. I’m guessing they are buried somewhere or have been destroyed. The Mossad might have some copies…

      I’m surprised the Alan Dershowitz is one of the defense attorneys, wasn’t he named on the flight logs of Epstein’s plane? Being involved to that extent, it’s still OK for him to represent the defendant?

    1. David

      Renamo was originally dreamt up by the Rhodesians in the 1970s, and taken over by the South Africans in the 1980s. I hadn’t heard the US had anything to do with it. Renamo somewhat escaped the control of its originators, and developed into a reasonably independent political movement in the 1990s, serving as an outlet for a lot of anti-Frelimo sentiment, both ethnic and political. They even fought a renewed guerrilla war in the 2000s, though this seems to have petered out.

  9. jhallc

    Re: Coal Ash

    “With the Clean Air Act, the nation traded one environmental problem for another, Evans, who works for Earth justice, said.”

    Admittedly cleaning up the air issues had an immediate impact vs. dealing with the longer term waste problems. We’re very good at kicking cans down the road.

    The Clean Water Act did the same thing in the 60’s/70’s. Industry just dug a hole in the ground between the factory and the river outfall and problem solved. We’re still cleaning up the groundwater contaminated from those lagoons today.

    With regard to the coal ash piles, they forgot to mention vanadium as one of nasty metals, that is also unfortunately quite mobile.

    1. griffen

      That’s an informative article, on a problem I’ve read about before but more detailed on the scope of the mitigation of the coal ash waste. Arsenic and cobalt, sure is tasty in the groundwater (not).

      It’s a nasty and likely intractable problem. And you can’t really trust the industry to do the supposed right thing. NC residents learned that lesson in 2014 or 2015, on the Dan River.

    2. John Zelnicker

      December 6, 2021 at 8:43 am

      The Mobile-Tensaw river delta is my “backyard”. It’s the most ecologically diverse area in the US and has many species of flora and fauna that are found nowhere else in the world. Thousands of folks depend on the delta for their living.

      A coal ash spill would be absolutely devastating to the local economy, not to mention the plants and animals living here.

      I’m very disappointed that the business leaders and local government officials can’t see how bad this would be and how high the chances are of something going wrong. We are putting the livelihood of the entire area at risk and they don’t seem interested in lifting a finger to make Alabama Power do the right thing and empty the pond.

      If folks here don’t have time to read the article (it’s kinda long, but very thorough), I highly recommend that you scroll through the pictures.

      BTW, Ben Raines, a local expert on the delta, was also deeply involved in the discovery of the remains of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to dock in the US.

        1. katiebird

          I kind of hate links to Youtube videos but I REALLY hate them when the commenter doesn’t give any description or reason for me to watch.

  10. Larry

    Outright crime waves certainly need to be stopped, but it does reveal how powerless police are to actually stop crimes in the moment. Budgets swell and yet a flash mob is able to come and run a grab and go in major population centers of busy cities. The Twitter thread says the left is looking to defund the police, but in what Democrat controlled city are police budgets actually under serious threat? Yes the terrible slogan had a moment, but in every case I’ve seen, there is no traction to reduce police budgets.

    Aside from that, San Francisco has a particularly ugly problem of corporatism masking as “innovation”. Uber, DoorDash, etc are labor arbitrages that make a select few wealthy at the expense of a massive number of Americans. Perhaps SF is a preview of what happens when inequality spirals uncontrollably, society is rapidly and unpredictably destabilized.

    1. Tom Stone

      The SFPD has been notoriously corrupt and incompetent for a Century or more.
      Even by the standards of other big city PD’s their clearance rate for crimes is abysmal.
      And the SF Sheriff’s Department is,if anything, worse.
      Remember when the wife beating SF sheriff showed up at press conferences wearing his sidearm after becoming a “Prohibited person”,which is a Felony?
      A bit of a tsk,tsk and a bit of “Boys will be boys” when the chief Law enforcement officer in the City and County of SF commits a Felony punishable by a $25K fine and ten years in the slammer.

    2. fresno dan

      December 6, 2021 at 8:54 am
      I agree with your points, but as this issue of smash and grab has come up, I just want to remind viewers that news is not some objective analysis with disspasionate criteria broadcast (or printed) to inform people of important events.
      For example, on June 14, 2021, a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco tweeted a cellphone video of a man in Walgreens filling a garbage bag with stolen items and riding his bicycle out of the store. According to San Francisco’s crime database, the value of the merchandise stolen in the incident was between $200 and $950.

      According to an analysis by FAIR, a media watchdog, this single incident generated 309 stories between June 14 and July 12. A search by Popular Information reveals that, since July 12, there have been dozens of additional stories mentioning the incident. The theft has been covered in a slew of major publications including the New York Times, USA Today and CNN.
      Just a few months earlier, in November 2020, Walgreens paid a $4.5 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging that it stole wages from thousands of its employees in California between 2010 and 2017.
      So this is a story of a corporation that stole millions of dollars from its own employees. How much news coverage did it generate? There was a single 221-word story in Bloomberg Law, an industry publication. And that’s it. There has been no coverage in the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, or the dozens of other publications that covered the story of a man stealing a few hundred dollars of merchandise.
      Most, if not all “news” is totally subjective – there really is no objective criteria for what is “news worthy.” Indeed, what gets reported is what makes money….
      Blonde woman disappears and it is a daily story with hourly updates. To paraphrase Stalin, the disappearance of one blonde is a tragedy, the disappearance of a million brown women is a statistic…

    3. Nikkikat

      I also have to wonder if these wealthy people being followed home bring on these attacks by flaunting their expensive cars and jewelry etc. There was a robbery a year or so ago in Los Angeles, fancy guy robbed outside fancy restaurant. The robber got his fancy 500,000. Watch. A half million dollar watch?
      Some of these people clearly have too much money and too little brains.

    4. Grant

      Where is the analysis though as to why large police budgets would be needed in the first place? Chomsky talked about the fact that the crime bill in the 90s was passed as NAFTA, the WTO and the like was being passed and that it wasn’t a coincidence. I agree. That, to me, helps to explain why there is still some support for police in black communities. There is strong support for expanding social programs in those communities, but the political system is corrupt and run by wealthy people. Not expanding social programs in this decaying society does lead to desperation and leads to people praying on each other. I am sure that if people had a choice of expanded social programs and actual economic uplift versus scant social programs and a large police force, they would choose expanded programs and economic uplift. But, that isn’t an option. The choice is then scant social programs and people left to fend and prey on each other, or scant social programs and a police force to lessen some of the fallout of the social disaster that is the modern US.

      And in California, there are tons of bills aimed at encouraging the generation of affordable housing, but with prop 13 land rent itself is untouched. If land rent is massive because of locational value, because people are bidding against one another for a fixed supply of land, then how exactly do you make housing affordable? Doubly if our society encourages people to buy housing to save for retirement. How do you encourage that and at the same time make housing affordable? If I buy a home and it appreciates in value, I may be able to save for retirement but you will then have to pay more for that housing. So, in addition to horrible long term economic trends, you have a real housing crisis and no real solution, since root causes are simply not being addressed.

      The left decades ago warned against what these neoliberal policies were going to mean in the long term. We are now in the long term. The left was correct, they are disastrous, and on many levels not sustainable in a democracy. I think that also helps to explain why this society is increasingly undemocratic, not just politically but regarding economic democracy.

      1. wilroncanada

        Grant 12/21 @11:28AM
        I agree with your description of the long ongoing class war that the wealthy are winning. But to riff one one typo: that lack of meaningful social programs “in this society does lead to desperation and leads to people praying on each other.” If only they were fundamentalist Christians they could “prey” to their hearts’ content.

      2. lance ringquist

        free trade requires police states and war. nafta billy clinton was warned that if he signed nafta into law, there will be a mass movement of hungry desperate mexicans who would be heading to america after losing their family farms and small businesses, and that a lot of americans would also lose their jobs and have no where to go.

        the brilliant nafta billy clinton and nafta joe biden came up with new jim crow laws, and brutality at the border.

    5. Mantid

      If I can take liberties and complete your last sentence: “Perhaps SF is a preview of what happens when inequality spirals uncontrollably, society is rapidly and unpredictably destabilized, and as the general population sharpens their pitchforks.

    6. TimH

      The headline pic in the The Bay Area Crime Wave article is amusing as an obvious photoshop with the same woman in purple appearing 3 times on the front row, for example.

    7. lyman alpha blob

      Are they labor arbitrages, or is it outright criminality, ignoring the existing law and daring someone to do something about it?

      1. Anthony Stegman

        Uber has been breaking the law for years and getting away with it. Why should they change their behavior?

    8. Lee

      “Outright crime waves certainly need to be stopped, but it does reveal how powerless police are to actually stop crimes in the moment.”

      Add to that, it has been established by lower courts and up to the Supreme Court that police have no duty to protect.

      Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone NYT

      For some egregious examples of cops failing to protect citizens from violent perpetrators discussed in detail you can listen to the Radiolab episode, No Special Duty or, if you prefer, read the transcript provided at the site.

      As is so often the case, I am moved to ask, WTF am I paying taxes for?.

    9. Procopius

      I believe the “defund the police” slogan was created and spread by one of the police spies in Black Lives Matter. It certainly has been one of the most effective arguments against them and progressives in general.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read somewhere that the Chinese knew that he was going to do this so they did not bother sending him an invitation as President which is an insult in itslef.

      1. Wukchumni

        It seems cruel for Joe to have to use the Jimmy Carter playbook, but nothing seems fundamentally changed from that era, lotsa malaise.

    2. fresno dan

      December 6, 2021 at 8:58 am
      why not be the athlete instead of watching others going through the motions?
      And give up seeing the sheer poetry, artistry, skill, athleticism, and stategy of…curling*????
      C’mon man!!!
      *Not to be accused of being churlist to curlists, I quote my mother about the NFL, “why do you watch that – all they do is fall down”

      1. Wukchumni

        Ever notice an awful lot of Olympic events are for things nobody you know in your life, actually does?

        1. Mantid

          There are many sports activities that are quite popular in other regions, outside of the US. I watch (when I’m bored) foreign TV channels for sport and there are some interesting things happening across both ponds beyond the limits of mainstream US sport broadcasts.

      2. griffen

        Ahem. the Coalition to End the Defaming of Curling as Sport is on hold. While Canadians are overall pleasant, they are going to have very harsh words for you!

        The Olympics is still a big stage, I suppose.

      3. wilroncanada

        fresno dan
        There used to be a bonspeil in Victoria for ministers/preachers. They called it the Friar’s Brier (McDonald’s Tobacco was for many years the sponsor of the Canadian Curling Championships. It became known as The Brier.) My comment to a Victoria newspaper editor, picked up by one of the columnists, was that they never finished the contest. They spent most of the game waiting for somebody without sin to cast the first stone.

        1. fresno dan

          December 6, 2021 at 4:14 pm
          They spent most of the game waiting for somebody without sin to cast the first stone.
          I have told some bad Dad jokes, but yours has to be the best (?worst?) EVAH

  11. jhallc

    “Human Extinction”

    You don’t need a PhD to know that’s gonna happen. It’s a matter of when and not if. Our fossil record is looking thinner every day.
    When I taught introductory Geology lab we used to have student’s make a time scale of the earth’s history. I got lot’s of interesting projects back from that. Basically, if you take a “Big” roll of Charmin, the human species barely makes the last sheet. Not enough to wipe with.

      1. svay

        Limestone accounts for a sizeable chunk of the rocks around us. Deposits can be kilometres thick. The oxygen in our atmosphere has had some pretty major consequences too. Both largely due to ancient organisms, so kind of records set by fossils.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I swear my dad was the oldest person ever to eat an entire bag of peaches in one session (v sitting which he definitely was not as he was standing at the sink, I watched the whole thing). Plus, he wore a Fossil brand watch that he picked up at Fred’s discount store.

    1. fresno dan

      December 6, 2021 at 9:06 am

      Ten thousand years from now:
      The rise in global temperature has shut down the thermohaline circulation and launched an oceanic anoxic event, the planet’s normal negative feedback process when carbon dioxide levels get out of hand. Today’s industrial civilization is a dim memory from the mostly forgotten past, as far removed from this time as the Neolithic Revolution is from ours; believers in most traditional religions declare piously that the climate changes of the last ten millennia are the results of human misbehavior, while rationalists insist that this is all superstition and the climate changes have perfectly natural causes. As the anoxic oceans draw carbon out of the biosphere and entomb it in sediments on the sea floor, the climate begins a gradual cooling—a process which helps push humanity’s sixth global civilization into its terminal decline.
      I am not nearly as sanguine as the Archdruid that humans can survive for 10,000 years, not to mention 10 million. For a very, very, VERY limited part of human history, humans have had some success against the micro and insect worlds – that will not continue

      1. saywhat?

        believers in most traditional religions declare piously that the climate changes of the last ten millennia are the results of human misbehavior, while rationalists insist that this is all superstition and the climate changes have perfectly natural causes.

        It’s both; eg. usury-based finance (Usury is forbidden by at least 3 major religions, at least from one’s fellow countrymen) REQUIRES continual growth just to pay the interest.

        And look at Covid. Would we not have much more flexibility to deal with contagious deseases rationally if rent, debt and wage slavery were the exceptions and not the rule?

      2. jhallc

        Fresno Dan-

        Thanks for the interesting link. Found this bit funny.

        “One hundred million years from now:….

        The universe has a surprise in store for the corvins, though. Their first moon landing included among its goals the investigation of some odd surface features, too small to be seen clearly by Earth-based equipment. That first lander thus set down on a flat lunar plain that, a very long time ago, was called the Sea of Tranquillity, and so it was that the stunned corvin astronauts found themselves facing the unmistakable remains of a spacecraft that arrived on the moon in the unimaginably distant past.”

        This part dovetails nicely with the link above on the mysterious “Hut” shaped object seen by Chinese Lunar lander on the dark side:)

    2. Carolinian

      We’ll always have Mars once Musk gets his colony going up there.

      It might be easier though to terraform the Earth by not destroying the air, water, forests.

        1. fjallstrom

          Crocodiles are also having a good run and if they survive us will probably have tens of millions of years more.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “US intelligence-sharing convinces allies of Russian threat to Ukraine”

    Yeah, I bet they did. And it was all as reliable as the WMD intelligence about Iraq and the intelligence how Iran is just about to develop a nuclear bomb – which has been recycled since at least 1992. In all the babble by the main stream media, I have noticed a deliberate omission and that is of the people that actually live in the Donbass Republics. The same ones that fought two Ukrainian invasions to a standstill and then boxed them into cauldrons. Everybody seems to think that it was the Russian army but it wasn’t. Sure the Russians sent equipment, technical expertise and volunteers but the hard fighting was done by the people who lived there for a very good reason. They knew exactly what was in store for them if they lost and atrocities would not even begin to cover it. Not that the west would ever care. The US/EU is trying to lay the groundwork so that the next time the Ukrainians invade, if they lose again it will all be the fault of the Russians which means even more sanctions, the end of Nord Stream 2 and embassy closures. Its almost if the west is determined to push Russia into a formal military pact with China but if they want the instrument of this to be the Ukrainian army, well, that may be problematical-

    1. dftbs

      The Stick and the Stick strategy of the US and its European vassals overestimates their own political and economic importance to the Russians. The choice presented of accepting Nazi Ukraine filled with western mercs, or eating sanctions and cancel NS2 aren’t nearly as equivalent to the Russians as our brain trust thinks. They’re over-estimating the value on the Russian balance sheet of energy sales to Europe (and to the US). Who would want to get paid in digital entry, on a foreign banking system, which could be seized on a whim.

      The Russian’s don’t sell energy to Europe (or the US) to get Euros and Dollars, but to remind us that regardless of who may win a war, we all want warm houses in the winter. It’s a corollary strategy to why, despite our wanton aggression towards China, they continue to sell us more stuff. We are pacified through consumption, and in the long run degraded in our capacity for aggression (hollywood movies notwithstanding).

      I don’t believe the Russians want to, or will invade Ukraine. But they speak rather plainly, and have already said that the pro quo to Ukrainian aggression on the LDNRs is the end of the Ukrainian state. This doesn’t have to be accomplished with boots on the ground (nor with non-conventional weapons). If the NATO reaction is to offer a feast of sanctions and broken deals via their EU political front, it seems the Russians are willing to dine at that table for a long time.

      1. Synoia

        The Russians will not surrender the Crimea. I seem to recall the British failed there with a badly formed Cavalry charge.

    2. Paradan

      I have a feeling that the new policies for Twitter are being implemented in great part to ensure that the upcoming attempted ethnic cleansing of Donbass, by the UKR army, doesn’t end up all over Twitter threads. I think the coverage of the last time Israel bombed Gaza marked the end for any independent war reporting.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      If any Russian intelligence types are lurking, they may want to warn Mexico about an imminent threat of invasion by the US. With the hacking skills it took years to develop, I was able to input the proper parameters into a new digital device called a search engine and detected a massive buildup of US military firepower right across the Mexican border –

    4. chuck roast

      Neither the headline nor the article capture the the entirety of the piece. I read it in the library today. Almost the entire top half of the front page screamed. Seven of eight columns wide. The ruling class is really banging the war drums. They don’t appear to appreciate the intensity of the stonking and spanking they are asking for.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Civil War Humor
    So glad @TwitterSafety is finally cleaning this place up.’

    And this is what happens when we let computer algorithms rule what we are permitted to see on social media. So stupid. Just a side note – that image that @CivilWarHumor uses is of Sam Elliott in the role of General John Buford in the 1993 film “Gettysburg”. Below is his speech where he makes the fateful decision to make a stand and stop the Confederates seizing the high ground which ends in Pickett’s Charge two days later- (3:07 min)

    The reason that I mention this at all is because the past few months I have reflected on some of the words of that speech where he says ‘As if it were already done… already a memory. An odd… set… stony quality to it. As if tomorrow has already happened and there’s nothin’ you can do about it. The way you sometimes feel before an ill-considered attack, knowin’ it’ll fail, but you cannot stop it. You must even take part, help it fail.’

    And when i see our borders coming down to let in waves of infected tourist come in with the State at an 80% vaccination rate with an abandonment of any talk of masks, social distancing, etc, but an obsession with vaccines, I know exactly how he felt as I am feeling the same.

    1. Basil Pesto

      idk, isn’t potential doxxing one of those instances where we should *want* the algos to be a bit overzealous, at first blush?

  14. .Tom

    That squid really got dressed up for the photo shoot. What the scientists should be asking is where does a squid go to get sequins?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Fools, drunks, and the United States of America”

    I had a lot of reservations reading this article, mostly because he does not seem to be in agreement with the concept of checks and balances in government. But when he ends with saying that he will do a follow up article of solutions and says ‘Spoiler: they include important duties for all of us who work in the press.’ I knew that this was a trip into GaGa Land.

    He is saying that the press is going to step up and fix the country? The last I heard, used car salesmen are far more trusted than members of the press. The press lies the countries into wars & military actions, it takes the side of big corporations against the common worker, it gives political cover to politicians and censors stories that make some look bad (e.g. Hunter Biden’s laptop). Some of them have stated that they are partisan and will force their agenda into the news they report. So I ask you, what possible ‘important duties’ could they be ever entrusted with? Dog catchers maybe.

  16. Michael Ismoe

    Maryland homeowner burned down house trying to fight snakes WTOP

    “Maryland homeowner” = Brandon

    “house” = Build Back Better

    “snakes” = well, you know.

    1. Mantid

      I’ve “smoked out” rats and gophers’ nests/tunnels with exhaust (Co2) from a 2 stroke engine. I didn’t read the article but the exhaust can be pretty hot. Exposed insulation can catch fire or even worse, shredded paper as insulation. “So don’t ya play with me ’cause you’re playin’ with fire”

      1. divadab

        Go down to the rez and get some smokebombs – they’ll drive out possums, raccoons, skunks, whatever.

  17. Zephyrum

    Perhaps the reason that Iran walked back their concessions with the US is that they have secured an alliance with China and Russia to develop the Chalous gas field:

    According to one of the senior Russian officials involved in negotiating the deal: “This is the final act of securing control over the European energy market.”

    This may also account for the incessant banging of the war drums by the US.

    “War is the continuation of economics by other means.” — with apologies to Clausewitz

    1. Procopius

      Given that Blinken started the “negotiations” by saying the United States would not talk until Iran completely returned to compliance with the JCPOA, and “will not negotiate from a position of weakness,” and that it was the United States who abrogated the agreement, and that the Europeans meekly complied with the U.S. demands that they NOT comply with their part of the agreement, I was baffled by the claim that the English, French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese were shocked that Iran has withdrawn all “compromises” they agreed to in the last year. We had a chance to return to the agreement but blew it. Since the Iranians now have a viable way to gradually build up their economy without cooperation from the West they are just displaying normal human nature — “You aren’t the boss of me!”

  18. Bart Hansen

    From the Guardian’s article on the Ukraine:

    “US-Russia relations have been deteriorating for years, notably with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its 2015 intervention in Syria and US intelligence charges of meddling in the 2016 election won by Donald Trump.”

    Call it ‘today’s entry on misinformation and sinning by omission’

    Basically, that’s all they got on ‘Russian Aggression’

  19. dday

    I think the American abortion experience will soon change. In parts of Europe, the medical abortion (two pill regime) now comprises up to 90% of all abortions. In the U.S., it’s about 40%.

    A pregnancy test can be bought for less than a dollar at Walmart. It’s 99% accurate if taken after a missing period. Typically a woman is about two weeks pregnant at the point of a missing period. The two pill medical abortion procedure works up to about ten weeks of pregnancy. The first pill, mifepristone (formerly RU-486) stops the fetus development by depriving progesterone. The second series of pills, misoprostol, induce contractions and help to expel the fetus.

    In our current system, women can obtain the two pill regime through clinics with a typical cost of around $500. This includes a brief in person visit in some states, and telehealth visits in others. The pills themselves are taken at home, with a 24 to 48 hour time lag between the two.

    There is also a robust online market. The most interesting is the Aid Access model by Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts. She opened up her services to the U.S. about two years ago. The FDA has written her a cease and desist letter which she is ignoring. Also, the FDA may rule this month on whether to make the first pill, mifepristone, more easily accessible. It has been under a stringent protocol since it was first introduced in the U.S. in 2000. The rules for prescribing have been somewhat eased under covid and some in the medical establishment are pushing for more relaxed rules on a permanent basis.

    The world has changed since Roe was decided in 1973. I believe that U.S. women and U.S families will continue to make informed choices about their futures.

    1. marym

      The informed choice of a 2-step abortion pill is a felony in TX.

      A new law limiting the use of abortion-inducing medication in Texas goes into effect Thursday [12/02/2021].The law makes it a felony to provide the medication after seven weeks of pregnancy, putting Texas at odds with federal regulations. It also makes it a crime to send the medication through the mail…Texas’ new law also specifies that no one may provide abortion medication “by courier, delivery or mail service.”

      …Even before this new law, Texas already had imposed additional restrictions on accessing abortion medication. Texas is one of at least 19 states that restricts patients from using an online doctor visit to get abortion-inducing medications, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation. Instead, the state requires these medications to be prescribed in-person by a doctor.

  20. Brindle

    re: Saving Democracy…David Atkins

    This article is a parody of the professional liberal’s view of politics. The PMC class leading rebellion. unintentionally funny.

    “There are many disadvantages for Democrats in increasingly becoming a party of the educated professional middle class. But one key advantage should be that, in the event of an attempted hostile takeover by a theocratic, anti-cosmopolitan fascist movement, a nonviolent civil resistance and general refusal to cooperate among military, business, and civil elites—plus mass civil disobedience by blue America writ large—should be able to stop it.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Unintentionally funny. No kidding. I really “liked” this:

      4) Democratic politicians have limited options right now regarding what to do about it. A few schools of thought have emerged. “Popularists” think Democrats should try to devolve educational polarization by sacrificing social liberalism, sidelining activists, and emphasizing kitchen table economic messages; “deliverists” postulate that delivering on big public benefits will persuade voters and convince them that Democrats keep their promises. Neither strategy seems likely to change the outcome of more than a few races, at best, even if their underlying theories are correct.

      Feggedabout delivering public benefits and keeping promises. Nobody cares. Good “strategy.”

    2. tegnost

      From the opening para…
      The future of American democracy looks exceedingly grim under threat from a far-right authoritarian movement

      Maybe the dems/PMC should stop ratcheting the country to this supposed “far right authoritarian…”
      The phrase you’ve quoted is gibberish for all practical purposes…
      Successful fascist movements and authoritarian coups generally require not only a fervent base of cruel, fundamentalist backers. They also need the support, cooperation, and acquiescence of social elites. Most of all, they need the public to roll over and go along with it.

      How can anyone perceive this definition only describes the other guys is beyond me.

    3. Carolinian

      Yes funny but not ha ha funny. The hysteria over 1/6 reveals the true Dem and PMC strategy for achieving and retaining power: pretend the country is under fascist threat from people in Viking hats and that only they can save us. Once a Dem denounced “fear itself.” Now it’s their whole thing.

      If one really wanted to save democracy you would start with campaign finance reform. Since both parties swim in a sea of large donations they probably aren’t going to do that.

    4. John Steinbach

      Yes, a parody. But, also, a blueprint for a 2024 PMC coup similar to the way they reacted to Trump’s election, but more so.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Hahahaha! And what are they going to do to stop the “hostile takeover”? Threaten to withhold all the quinoa and kombucha until the deplorables promise to play nice?

    6. Daryl

      Reading this paragraph reminds me of the distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” workers from early in the pandemic. I’ve personally never been witness to an attempted hostile takeover of a government so my advice should be of course taken with a grain of salt, but it seems you’d want as many “essential” people as possible and no amount of “non-essentials” will make up the difference. That is, no matter how many investment bankers and marketing professionals you have on your side it won’t matter if you are starving and have no water or electricity…

  21. marym

    Re: “Identity Politics and Culture Wars”

    I found two other things interesting. Butler’s insistence that white nationalism is also identity politics is true and I agree fully. No one interrogates this much further except West, but we need to. If white nationalism is an identity politics, and it leads to extreme violence, we should maybe ask if it is a core problem of the politics of identity itself.

    White nationalism in the US is most definitely a core problem of identity politics, not only because it leads to extreme physical violence, but it leads to legally sanctioned suppression of people’s rights and ideas.

    Yes also to that suggestion that the pro-vaccine “left” consider bodily autonomy – which they claim to support in matters of reproductive choice and gender identity — as it relates to vaccine mandates. Is anyone on the right also challenging those among them who are opposed to vaccine mandates to revisit their stand on abortion and gender rights?

    Thanks for the link.

  22. Andrew Watts

    RE: Ukraine could be ‘next Afghanistan’ for Russia if it invades, US senator warns

    Oooh, NATO must be planning on doing another Operation Gladio in Ukraine. I’d like to point out that Congress has already passed at least one law forbidding the transfer of weaponry to the “anti-communist” Azov battalion. If members of the executive branch are found to be flaunting this legal prohibition we might have another Iran-Contra affair on our hands. Assuming that people would care… kinda doubt it.

    The non-fighting branch of the US military at European Command and/or the reasonably intelligent militarists of NATO might wanna think about how the Russians would respond to those tactics. But I don’t actually believe that any Russian incursion into Ukraine is forthcoming this winter.

    Boy, am I going to look pretty stupid if Russia invades exactly when American intelligence says it will. Time to reset the Gladio counter and pass the popcorn.

    1. Carolinian

      Saker says any Ukie/Russia war would be Six Day War redux. Ukraine would be flattened by missiles.

      And while the neocons would proclaim a propaganda coup it’s hard to see what the Ukrainians would get out of it. Maybe the Bidenistas see starting a war somewhere as their hail Mary.

    2. Huey Long

      The Russians only have about 175K troops on the border which is about enough to repel an invasion of the Donbass if push comes to shove. To invade and occupy the entire Ukraine they’d need about a million troops to maintain the 40 – 1 ratio of population to troops required for occupying hostile territory.

      That means either mobilizing the entire Russian armed forces (Navy, Air Force, etc) or calling up the reserves. And for what? Why bother occupying the western portion of Ukraine? What do the Russians get out of that?

      IMNSHO all the Russians are really looking for at the end of the day is for the Donbass to be the Transnistria of the Ukraine and to get there from here an invasion just isn’t necessary.

      1. vidimi

        i’d wager that about half of the population wouldn’t be that hostile towards russian occupation so it could be as low as 500k troops

  23. Jason Boxman

    I read about the ‘mask badger’ here some months ago. I’ve been using mine ever since. When fit well, my mask sucks in and out as I breathe and my glasses rarely fog. It’s still not 100%, but it’s vastly better than with the mask alone.

    If only the United States had some kind of federal apparatus that might cleanse the wasteland that is fake N95s in the US, perhaps even send everyone 5 certified N95s in, say, the postal service. But I guess the mask badger will have to do. I bought another last night with different straps; hope it fits even better. I wanted several in case one breaks, particularly these days!

  24. Jason Boxman

    Finally read the Robinhood article from yesterday, and this immediate stood at:

    I’m super conservative. I don’t spend anything. My monthly expenses are around $2,500 a month. I pay $900 a month in rent. The three biggest purchases I’ve made in the last 10 years were my laptop in 2014, which was around $1,500; my car, in 2017, which was around $2,700, $2,800; and then recently, I bought myself a new iPhone, which I’ve never done before ever, for $1,300. I usually use my mom’s old phones when she gets a new one.

    Wait, what? That’s conservative? That’s $1600 in other monthly expenses. Buy a “conservative” car, insurance, gas, and so on, and that’s still at least $1k a month. (And he bought a car with cash, so it isn’t this.) I actually am “conservative” in my spending, so other than groceries and utilities, I don’t spend anything in a typical month. Certainly not $1k. I can’t even come up with things to reliably and consistently spend $1k on, month in and month out?

    Am I missing something? That’s a ton of gym memberships, eating out, and Uber, and streaming services.

    Anyway, it sounds like this person was definitely reading the wrong books on investing. I can only describe this person as stupid rich, someone that has tons of money and no idea what to prudently do with it. Oh well.

    1. griffen

      Yeah I think quite a few commented yesterday about the supposed conservative investing philosophy the writer claims.

      He played with options on Ali Baba. There was not much sympathy extended for his loss of an arguably small, growing fortune.

  25. fresno dan

    As Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) once sang, its a wild world. especially for cats…
    Long gone are the good old days when a cat’s biggest worries were mean dogs or a bath. Modern cats must confront satanists, online predators, the possibility of needing to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and countless other threats to their nine lives.

  26. Grant

    “Private space stations are coming.”

    I am sorry but this makes zero sense. We have a full blown environmental crisis and people with too much money are going to start having vacations and what not in space. Resources should be used to save the only habitable planet we know of at this point in the universe. Capitalism is a fully irrational system. What makes sense based on information in markets, what may be profitable, often doesn’t make sense from a societal perspective.

    1. Mantid

      This phase is called public/private partnerships. Out tax dollars in action because without them, these hair brained ideas would never come to fruition.

  27. Randy G.

    I have read several articles describing the “dumb and dumber” success of the Maryland homeowner who burnt down his million dollar home in an effort to scare the snakes, but never a mention of the species of snake. I assume it might be a rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, the Timber rattlesnake, is still found in Maryland and will often make use of shared winter dens.
    As someone who has volunteered for rattlesnake rescue (relocating them unharmed away from yards, gardens & homes), I have never thought to use flamethrowers or hand grenades. It would be doubly ironic if the infestation was a non-venomous species. I guess this guy fully demonstrated to the snakes the superiority of Homo sapiens.

    1. griffen

      It may be, that the aggrieved owner reached a climactic decision. Choosing fight or flight, seems like he chose both options.

      He was tired of these snakes, on this mother-clustering plane (but in this case, not a plane).

  28. griffen

    China’s response to the Evergrande’s death spiral is to announce that property developers will or can issue Asset Backed Securities. ABS markets in the US can be pretty deep & liquid, the structures are much improved (my opinion) since the GFC period. Like most instances, a broad brush approach does not apply 100% to more esoteric issuers.

  29. Jason Boxman

    So the NY Times continues to demonize China’s success in repelling SARS-COV-2:

    The ruling Communist Party has pointed to the country’s low Covid-19 numbers — fewer than 5,000 people have died — as evidence that China’s authoritarian model is superior to the rest of the world, even as its borders remain closed and ordinary citizens find their personal freedom severely restricted during outbreaks.

    Somehow I don’t think this means what the writer thinks it does. I guess some other metric is important, such as say, the stock market performance or business earnings?

    Herd immunity is a goal most countries have abandoned — particularly with the emergence of new variants such as Omicron and Delta — but one that China has set as a prerequisite for reopening its borders.

    I guess that’s news to me, although we certainly don’t hear about it as a goal in the United States anymore. But there hasn’t been an audible, collective “whoops our bad” by the health establishment here about how blatantly wrong they were about herd immunity as a valid strategy with a corona virus. Funny, that.

  30. fresno dan

    “Identity Politics and Culture Wars” Rhyd Wildermuth, From the Forests of Arduinna. Glenn Greenwald, Judith Butler, and Cornel West.
    FROM the ARTICLE: First of all, Glenn Greenwald—who is considered by many of the woke in the US as a kind of traitor or even right-wing convert—showed really well how crucial a thoughtful critique of identity politics is. There was a funny dynamic introduced because of his presence: West and Butler are both academics, and he isn’t (but he had Butler as a professor in undergrad, it turned out). That made him a bit of the outsider, which also made everything he said sound much more pragmatic and coherent.
    There’s a telling moment in the debate when Butler mentions that there really should have been a black woman speaking as well if they wanted to have a real conversation about identity. A short few minutes later, Greenwald points out that there were also no working class voices in the debate either, which deeply flustered both her and the moderator (but not Cornel West, who is of course a good ol’ commie). Because, sure, Kimberly Crenshaw could have been invited, but it would have just added another millionaire to the debate (Butler and Greenwald both have wealth close to 10 million each; Cornel West’s wealth is only half a million).

  31. vidimi

    the paper on COVID-19 12-month mortality is interesting, and they adjusted the results for key variables such as age, sex, and co-morbidities, but nearly 20% of their cohort died within the year, so i don’t know just how representative it is. the limitations are clearly in the data, since there is obviously a huge selection bias when taking hospital patients as your cohort, but I am of two minds whether this jeopardises the paper’s conclusions. I wonder if anyone else has any takes on this?

  32. Tommy S.

    To add some facts to the SF thing, and rising crime debate in general, this is another good researched article that have been popping up lately. (Even the horrible SFgate had a factual ‘no it’s not that huge’ article months ago)…Ignore the title. “Smash-and-grab: San Francisco continues to provide Trump with propaganda”….cuz Joe gives us some facts and sober thought….note number of crimes actually even sent to DA….As astute commentators on NC have noted….we’ve all been brought up on cop and super hero movies…where the state can just leap in and save everyone. ……when it comes to surges in crime…that’s not real life….Us in the working class could decide to inflict violence on each other like we were doing in the 70’s and 80’s, and actually an increase in cops would not stop that. They rarely, outside domestic abuse cases, stop murders….And rarely investigate that well either….

  33. RockHard

    Re: looting. I was in Portland last weekend. I was downtown a bit and I definitely noticed a couple Wells Fargo branches with boarded-over windows. Also in the Sellwood neighborhood, there was a WF branch with boarded up windows, as well as what looked like an independent jewelery store.

    I don’t know about “making a statement”. After reading Gurri’s book, it seems more like nihilism is taking over among a certain segment.

    1. divadab

      Consider the target – WF an odious criminal organization. Maybe these nihilists are on to something…

      1. Ana

        Showing my age here. Back the day, during the Viet Nam war, it was very common to blow up Bank of America branches.

        They were not looted, and it was whispered that it was a point of honor to never steal anything and to do the blowing up in the dead of night so no one was injured.

        I guess it was in the way of a political statement not a theft. Our local branch was blown up so often, they gave up repairing the building and instead parked a small trailer in the parking lot that could be scraped up and replaced in a day.

        No clue though what today’s motives are.

        Ana in Sacto

  34. Carolinian

    Re Fallows–he’s undoubtedly correct that reforming our ancient constitution would make voting more small d democratic (and maybe large D as well). But where he falls down is the assumption that in a country where vast amounts of power have shifted from government to the private sector this would really make much of a difference. In other words the power of money in politics is the thing the founders really didn’t anticipate since they were pre internet, television, mass media in general. One gets the impression that Fallows thinks eliminating the filibuster and small state advantage would give the Dems a leg up and all would be better. But what we are really up against is “nothing will fundamentally change” which is exactly how it has turned out with Biden in charge of foreign policy and not that much change domestically either. In other words Fallows is being partisan and somewhat disingenuous.

    Another way the country has changed is that we are far more prosperous than the founders could ever have imagined. It’s the worship of money that was our original sin and now original sin on steroids. Taibbi recently gave a diss to A People’s History of the United States for it’s overwhelming emphasis on this sin while ignoring the good things about America. You can agree with that but still concede that Zinn was on the right track toward ever making things better. Greed, for want of a better word, is not good, to paraphrase Oliver Stone’s movie.

  35. PHLDenizen

    RE: Covid observations in my neck of the woods

    Was lying in bed, watching Succession on HBO last night. Suddenly developed this searing pain right under my left rib where the spleen is. Then there were some symptoms that presented as cardiac. Since I’m prone to panic attacks, I gulped down some Xanax, two ibuprofen, and some aspirin. Waited in terror for 30 mins. Panic component subsided. Pain did not abate. Sat on it for 4 hours. Pain under rib got worse, so I drove myself to the ER.

    Arrived at the ER to discover it was a 3 to 7 hour wait. Waiting room was packed. At least half of the people there were coughing their brains out and reported symptoms of Covid — everyone I asked was double vaccinated. Some woman who came in with cardiac issues had been sitting in the ER for 3 hours. A couple more who’d arrived via ambulance were put in the waiting room.

    Staff looked like zombies. A few acknowledged staffing shortages. But there was a consensus that Covid has been getting worse. Last night was not aberration. And I queried a few other EDs in the local vicinity — same situation. And this was at 2AM.

    I got an EKG, which was clean. Forgot to ask about a quick troponin check. Waited for 2.5 hours, said screw it, went home. Called my PCP who’s getting me in today.

    Talked about the situation with my social circle. And they’re all onboard with vaccine triumphalism, said breakthrough infections are right wing hysteria or exaggerated, and that it’s simply a staffing issue. Nothing to worry about, omicron is no big deal, stop sounding like a Fox News trumper, boosters are all you need, they’re perfectly safe, it’s a glorified flu, etc. I got pissed and just dropped it.

    My gf went to a NYC Anime convention in November with her kid. They were masked up, both have been double vaccinated. A couple of days ago, they got a text alert that someone there had tested positive. And the whole thing seems to have turned into a superspreader event:

    She’s quarantining and waiting to get tested. I could have been exposed. I’m getting a test today. She’s decided to minimize her exposure by staying at home as much as possible.

    My dad has seen a slight uptick in myocarditis in his practice. Nothing dramatic, but he still thinks it’s odd.

    No one seems to be an honest dealer in what the true situation is. The media is going to paper over anything that contravenes the narrative. Fauci and pharma are talking their books.

    1. lordkoos

      Interesting PHLDenizen, as that sounds so similar to something that happened to me several days after getting my second shot in late February. I had a sharp pain centered around the bottom of my sternum and became very dizzy. I was concerned enough to go to the ER which my wife also encouraged, but cardiac tests showed nothing.

      1. Andrew

        Is three a crowd? I am 55 with no history of heart trouble but I did experience this very same reaction in June after second shot, and I also went to the emergency with no conclusive results. I do have pretty severe copd but i am quite familiar with those attacks and I do know how to deal with them; but this pain you describe sounds exactly like my incident. It felt very alien. My blood pressure was spiking really high and I just didnt feel right for 4 months or so. I am just lately starting to feel more normal but my breathing is not what it used to be.

    2. vidimi

      i had a similar experience after my second shot, except the pain was on the right side in/near the liver. twice since the shot i experienced strange burning pains in my chest that seemed to be spreading outwards. i never went to a doctor with them and wim hof-style breathing helped stop them after about fifteen minutes each time but it was terrifying. i will go to a cardiologist to test for myocarditis in the new year. i don’t think my blood pressure was particularly high as i didn’t feel my blood throbbing in other parts of the body but the pain was most unusual.

      just to clarify, the liver and chest pains were not at the same time. the liver pain was in the days following the shot while the chest pain was two or more weeks later.

  36. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Modern-day slavery uncovered in South Georgia

    Yet once again we have this –

    Only two of the defendants are described as South Georgia business owners in the indictment; most were labor contractors or recruiters.

    So a slap on the wrist for the employers who look the other way, as is almost always the case whenever there is a raid like this. I would not be at all surprised to find that those contractors and recruiters who they are going after probably have about the same ethnic background/skin tone as those who were being exploited. And this despite the claims later in the article –

    In October, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced a shift in priorities for immigration enforcement. Instead of targeting unauthorized workers through mass raids on workplaces – as was the norm in past administrations – authorities are now taking aim at “exploitative employers” and business that violate labor laws.

    “We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions,” Mayorkas said in a memo.

    Didn’t see a word in the article about who the employers were. If I had to speculate I’d guess that they were white and also rich, and probably already have a Georgia judge or three on their payrolls.

  37. newcatty

    We are watching “Dopesick”. Regarding the playbooks of Big Pharma, federal government entities, and media cover up it is chillingly mirrored.

  38. juno mas

    Re: Phytoplankton

    Not certain where this article is going. Phytoplankton in a BALANCED ecological system have plenty of room to survive. They are the photosynthetic powered base of the aquatic food web. They are consumed by zooplankton that range from microbiotic life to macrobiotic shrimp, snails, jellyfish, fish, and even whales.

    Phytoplankton use inorganic nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates to generate carbohydrates that higher “animals” feed on. Add too much phosphate to the aquatic environment (See: recent Florida coast contamination) and detrimental algal bloom occurs. Too much of the wrong phytoplankton becomes toxic to the food web (including humans). And when that phytoplankton dies it consumes dissolved oxygen in the water and suffocates fishes, mussels, clams, etc.

    Phytoplankton, specifically blue-green algae (actually a bacteria) is what jump started the production of free oxygen (O2) on planet earth (some 500 MYA) and led to evolution of land animals (you and me).

    Here’s a link to a brief article about phytoplankton:

Comments are closed.