Links 1/26/2022

Happy Australia Day! Kiss a ‘roo for me!

These simple green lights could save sharks and turtles from fishing nets Science (Dr. Kevin)

Police: Man Killed Emotional Support Ferrets Smoking Gun (J-LS). Terrible. I am told ferrets make great pets.

Why Some Animals Can Tell More From Less Wired. As I have said repeatedly, my cat Blake could count to four.

What are the Colored Bars Worn on the Chests of Military Uniforms? Core77 (resilc)

It’s time to take reproduction in space seriously Axios (J-LS). Kill me now. You lose bone density and muscle mass in space, and we’ve recently learned your blood starts eating itself. But we’re still acting like space is a reasonable option absent huge improvements, which may not be feasible, in space craft?

Scientists Found a Nitrogen-Fixing Seagrass Hakai (David L)

‘It looked so real’: ghostly ‘iceberg’ was a wonder of nature – just not an iceberg Guardian (BC)

A Nor’easter Approaching New York Risks Becoming a Bomb Cyclone Bloomberg (David L). Hate the weather grade inflation. What’s wrong with “blizzard”?

Most Medical Papers Didn’t Disclose Industry Payments: Preprint Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

New study calls into question the importance of meat eating in shaping our evolution PhysOrg (Kevin W)

Magnesium-rich foods like avocados, spinach can boost ability to fight cancer Study Finds (J-LS)


IM Doc noticed this “advertising faux pas”:


COVID-19: endemic doesn’t mean harmless Nature (guurst)

Decreased memory B cell frequencies in COVID-19 delta variant vaccine breakthrough infection EMBO Molecular Medicine

Omicron Survives Longer on Plastic, Skin Than Other COVID Variants WebMD

Remember our harping about T-cells, particularly increased cancer risk? Per Wikipedia: “D8 (cluster of differentiation 8) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that serves as a co-receptor for the T-cell receptor”:

The tweet below is important but the data does not prove the claims made. Even assuming very very rapid cancer onsets, timing is before vaccines widely deployed among military. Suggests cause likely 2020/early 2021 Covid cases, including those notorious asymptomatic cases, much more than any possible vaccine effect. We have stressed repeatedly that Covid was predicted to produce T cell derangement and exhaustion, which would be expected to produce an increase in cancers.

Reader DS points out: “The only alternative hypothesis I can speculate about is that there was some wide scale carcinogen exposure through some other route (like water contamination at training camps).”

So if this pattern is a Covid effect, it does much more to debunk the “Covid is no more dangerous than the flu” thesis than tie the harm to the vaccines.

Having said that, one possible channel for the vaccines playing a role is vaccination too close to a Covid case (as in overtaxing the immune system; the European medical regulator is now warning against frequent boosting as for that very reason). But at least according to the video further down, that isn’t what they are arguing.

Update from guurst: Confirming our thesis:

Ivermectin for COVID-19: Addressing Potential Bias and Medical Fraud Open Forum Infectious Diseases. The problem here is that many of the studies done were by MDs and therefore sorely underpowered. And this analysis does not allow/correct for the fact that many of the more rigorous looking studies were done on hospitalized patients, which was too late for treatment to be of any use. So this is annoying as technically accurate but not looking at “possible fraud” to include studies with protocols destined to produce an Ivermectin fail, whether by accident or design.

Ivermectin trial in treating COVID nearing completion StarTribune (Chuck L)


Omicron: PCR tests rationed in Germany DW (resilc)


Covid-19 Deaths in U.S. Top 2,100 a Day, Highest in Nearly a Year Wall Street Journal

Daily US death toll from Covid now matches Delta BBC

Legislatures move to limit governor powers after pandemic The Hill. “After”?

Biden administration to withdraw Covid-19 vaccination and testing regulation aimed at large businesses CNN (J-LS)

Man Can’t Get Heart Transplant Because He’s Not Vaccinated Against COVID CBS Local


Yuan overtakes yen in global transaction volume Asia Times (Kevin W)

EU-China conflict escalating over Hong Kong Asia Times (Kevin W)


New Cold War

Scholz, Macron say diplomacy can fix Ukraine-Russia standoff DW. Translation: Europe trying to lower the temperature.

Russia Has Been Warning About Ukraine for Decades. The West Should Have Listened Time (Colonel Smithers)

Ukraine’s Relentless Lobbyists Take to Congress American Conservative (resilc). I thought political contributions from non-citizens/non-residents were illegal…so why is there such a think as a “Ukraine lobby” save for Hunter Biden? Last I checked Ukraine didn’t own any meaningful businesses in the US either.

EU unveils ‘aid & investment’ plan for Ukraine worth billions RT. Kevin W: “A bribe not to start a war on their part?”

The Cracks in Ukrainian Society Run through Kharkiv: A City on Edge Der Spiegel (resilc)

Good Quote With Some Caveats. Andrei Martyanov (Chuck L)

Why is Ukraine such an economic failure? Noah Smith

Russia may decide to deploy nuclear arms in Latin America within one week Pravda (resilc)


Hundreds of Children Trapped as Fight Over NE Syria Jail Continues Antiwar (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Dreams and kindness are all we have Steve Waldman

Can The US Navy’s New $13 Billion Carrier Defend Itself? Bloomberg (guurst)

US F-35 Crashes on Aircraft Carrier in the South China Sea During Exercises Antiwar

Denmark, New Zealand and Finland top list of least corrupt nations while South Sudan is the worst Daily Mail. Resilc: “Since we’ve been in Citizens United mode since 1492, we really should be just below Sudan IMO.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google sued in US over ‘deceptive’ location tracking BBC (David L). Go dumbphones!


Kerik told Jan. 6 panel that former Army colonel came up with idea to seize voting machines Politico (furzy)


Is Trump Losing His Base? New Poll Suggests Otherwise. New York Magazine (resilc). Wellie, I was fooled by the terrible turnout at his rallies. Looks like the continued press obsession with Trump is yet more free PR. And I wonder if the 1/6 investigation and the various suits (where press leaks are still way way way ahead of filings) are having a Streisand effect.

Pelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022 – The Hill. Kevin W: “The only way Nancy is leaving Congress is feet first.”

The school shooting generation grows up Vox (Dr. Kevin)

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew moves to sell Swiss chalet as sexual assault lawsuit proceeds Washington Post (J-LS)

The Bezzle

IMF urges El Salvador to remove Bitcoin as legal tender France24 (resilc). Of course, the IMF having such a splendid reputation among small countries, this warning is likely to have the opposite effect.

But then again…El Salvador president posts meme wearing McDonald’s uniform after crypto plunge New York Post (Kevin W)

Slovakia certifies flying car as airworthy DW (resilc). Um, so now Slovakia is to air safety what the Isle of Man is to bank transparency? Don’t tell Boeing!

The true flaw of driverless cars isn’t the tech Financial Times (David L)

Autonomous-car ‘users not legally accountable’ call BBC

Chip Shortage Leaves U.S. Companies Dangerously Low on Semiconductors, Report Says Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Starbucks Workers Are Unionizing in Starbucks’ Hometown Vice (resilc)

Profiting off of Prison Labor Business Review at Berkeley. Article is from 2020, but Paul R explains why it is a current issue:

“Factories with Fences” and “American Made” boasts UNICOR. Better known as the Federal Prison Industries program, UNICOR makes nearly half a billion dollars in net sales annually using prison labor, paying inmates between 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. Despite already earning one-sixth of the federal minimum wage, inmates with final obligations must contribute half of their earnings to cover those expenses. UNICOR, in addition to other government-owned corporations and private prisons, makes millions upon millions of dollars using nearly free prison labor….

Saying The Quiet Part out loud antwork/reddit (Paul R)

The Second World War, Inequality and the Social Contract in England NBER (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Willie M: “White Rabbit in Covington, WA.”

And a bonus. Timotheus: “Chile’s new president at his desk.” Moi: OMG, the ultimate air gapped computer!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “A Nor’easter Approaching New York Risks Becoming a Bomb Cyclone”

    Yeah, New York and blizzards is not that unusual a combination and I guess part and parcel of living in this region. Somebody told me that places like Michigan can also get cold so I guess that I will have to take their word for that. But the past few days there have also been blizzards that have hit places like Greece, Turkey and Iran causing absolute chaos. And in a bizarre twist, there was also a video clip showing snow falling in Santorini of all places- (54 secs)

    1. griffen

      I often wonder which is worse for your local weather prospects. First and foremost, that Jim Cantore has made your location his current resting spot to report the worsening of the weather with enthusiasm. It’s barely one month since the Winter solstice. Sell the sizzle of a big storm.

      Or secondly, that Roland Emmerich is setting up a film set to shoot his long held in secret sequel. Day after Tomorrow 2: WTF. Gyllenhaal now plays the fatherly role as played by Dennis Quaid from the original film.

        1. griffen

          Slight adjustment to your point, but the TV disaster film you referred to was The Day After. That was a nationwide broadcast film that aired in 1983.

          The Day after Tomorrow was a big budget Hollywood film released in 2004, arguably not bursting over with A list talent but a star turn for the lead actors that I mentioned.

  2. CanCyn

    Is Trump Losing His Base? New Poll Suggests Otherwise. New York Magazine (resilc). Wellie, I was fooled by the terrible turnout at his rallies. Looks like the continued press obsession with Trump is yet more free PR. And I wonder if the 1/6 investigation and the various suits (where press leaks are still way way way ahead of filings) are having a Streisand effect.
    I have often wondered and probably have said it here before…. what would have happened if the press had laughed at and then ignored Trump’s primary bid? Would he have just remained the fraudulent tycoon that he really is in everyone’s hearts and minds? I know, what’s done is done but every now and then I ponder.
    PS not dissing NC’s Trump coverage, it was and remains the only coherent source about Trump and so much else.

    1. griffen

      He was a unicorn then, when he initially began his run. And the slate of superior, supposedly, R presidential candidates were wiped clean. His anecdotal phrase of turn for Jeb was just comical, and perhaps spared our country from a Bush v Clinton race in 2016.

      My experiences with his voter base is anecdotal, but I suggest this base is not swayed away from his brand of politics or how really close they seemed to victory in 2020. Lies about the election fraud notwithstanding, and a topic I have to date avoided. And under Trump, the performance of the overall economy up until the pandemic onset features in their alliance to his brand. Debate may happen about just whose economy was helped, but the US GDP did improve I wish to recall.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Just remember that every point of GDP growth is another nail in the coffin as far as climate is concerned.

        1. griffen

          I am doing my small part to hold down GDP. If I consume less beers, by example, then my footprint will be a tad smaller. Better for my health to do so.

          This is not directed or intended as sarcasm

      2. skippy

        GDP was never envisioned as – the – ***goal seeking econometric*** by its author, just a singular model which might help in fleshing out broader economic activities till others made it a shrine to be worshiped.

        In that regard it has no distribution vectors and as such you can have high GDP and yet still have crushing inequality and abysmal opportunity for most of the population. As noted on this blog before – since the 70s productivity has increased 400%+ yet every year more and more is sequestered in top wealth brackets.

      3. John Beech

        Unless and until someone closes the circle on Democrats rushing out ballots for return by mail to people who hadn’t requested them, perceived as cheating because of the mere possibility of chicanery (due to Democrats unilaterally introducing something new during the heat of the moment), then you’ll NEVER get accord from those on the right.

        This is the entire basis of Trump’s accusation of cheating and it’s found fertile ground because it could be true. Thus, Democrats have brought this on themselves for temporary advantage.

        Basically, folks wearing red team colors will never forgive, much less forget how those wearing blue changed the rules mid-race. And as a consequence, statehouses across this land – largely comprised of team red – have set to with a vengeance to ensure it never happens again.

        I’ve got enough family pals who bleed blue who smirked at how this worked out to their candidate’s benefit in those places the orange one was narrowly defeated that I’m not so sure those wearing red don’t have reason to be angry. Are you?

        So with fool me once, shame on me in mind, Team Red will not be fooled ever again. I predict team Blue will rue the day they did it if they haven’t already.

        Further to this, if the president and his team want to really unleash an unstoppable wave of right-oriented legislation, then just move to a simple majority to pass some favored piece of legislation, today. Then just wait and see what happens after they lose their slim majorities come November. It’ll make them wish for the good old days of being obstructed by Manchin and Sinema.

        Basically, a rightward shift in the House and Senate (after the left giving them carte blanche to pass whatever with a simple majority) means Democrats should be very, very, careful regarding what they wish for right now.

        1. marym

          In 2020 9 states and DC sent ballots to registered voters. 5 of those states were already doing so without fraud before 2020. Since then there has been no evidence of fraud, despite recounts, audits, court cases, and pressure placed on local officials.

          Republican elite politicians and right wing media lying to people about fraud and using it as an excuse to try to make voting more difficult; and their followers choosing to believe it without a shred of evidence has been going on for a long time. In 2020 Team Red was fooled big time on this issue, but not by the Democrats. So, shame on who? Party of personal responsibility till they lose an election.

    2. Tom Stone

      “Friends of Hillary” pumped up Cruz and Trump a spart of their strategy to ensure the thugs would nominate a candidate who was so toxic he’d be sure to lose to the most qualified candidate EVER.
      Remember the Billion or so $ of free publicity Trump got?
      Friends helping friends.
      It is very bluntly spelled out in the DNC Emails, among the funniest documents hacked and released to date.
      Trump owed his nomination largely to HRC,bless her heart.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t know. The issue with the GOP primary was there Cruz and Rufio with their deluded patrons and limited appeal, Jeb!, Jeb! sheepdogs, and none of the above candidates outside the GOP political normal.

      During that Summer Cain and Fiorino had breakouts and drops eating into Trump, but my general sense is this three were none of the above candidates. Jeb! wasn’t gaining traction despite the best efforts of his sheep dogs. Cruz, who like Pete will never be president, stayed too strong. Kasich, a sheep dog, saw his Ohio support and Jeb!’s support and stopped playing sheep dog. Jeb! saw this too and had his sheep dogs attack, not Trump, but his at the time wide spread but shallow supporters. The sheepdogs said they were hoodwinked and being turned away from a real conservative like Jeb!.

      Much of the right electorate never liked the Bushes outside of W. And Romney just had his shot. So a candidate in the mold of Mittens wasn’t on the table.

      Then of course in the general, Republicans vote Republican. Hillary spent more time running ads to please the choir than anything else and ignored how the electoral college works or didn’t know. MSM attitudes aside, Hillary and Team Clinton would never learn this.

      There are definite issues with the media in general, and we can gripe about individual decisions of the msm in regards to Trump. But he became the GOP front runner after a few appearances at fairs in Iowa. The heavy coverage was justified.

    4. Stillfeelinthebern

      From messaging guru, Anat Shenker-Osario:

      Here’s the challenge: our collective knee jerk reaction to disinformation and incorrect statements is to provide “enough” facts to win the day, argument and voter. But contrary to our instincts, this doesn’t work and can even make our opponent’s narrative stronger!

      When we try to bust a falsehood, what ends up happening is:

      We deepen the audience’s belief in the lie

      We repeat and reinforce our opponent’s frame

      We expose the lie to folks that might not have heard it before.

      There is no doubt, the exposure factor by media in 2016 elevated the guy. And then he had the bully pulpit. Same is happening now with the crazies in Congress. The opposition HAS to change their message. I have little confidence that will happen: ( For instance, in Wisconsin, all we are getting in the critical Senate race is “Ron Johnson BAD”

      1. CanCyn

        “The opposition HAS to change their message“ THIS! 1000 times!
        I don’t know what I’d do if a calm, rational person ran. One who understands the real problems and offers solutions instead of just flinging poop and shilling for the corporate overlords. I know Bernie kinda fit the bill but there will always be part of me that is glad he didn’t get the nod only to disappoint once in office. I admit with head hung in shame that I was fooled by Obama’s first campaign. Drank the hope and change koolaid… In my defence that was before I read NC.

    5. Carolinian

      I think what the public really want is stability. Trump may have been a fake populist but at least he was predictable and the opposition equally predictable. Who knows what the heck is going on with the angry old man that is Joe Biden. It now appears that WW3 was a big fake to boost his poll ratings. Can’t we be permitted to have somebody normal as president?

      1. CanCyn

        Yours truly ain’t looking for stability. I want boat rocking, hell, even revolutionary change. Fix the tax laws, fix the labour laws, don’t recognize corporations as people, fix the political contribution rules, public health for all, free education to college/undergrad level, gun control, I’m sure there is more. Joe Biden promised stability (“nothing will fundamentally change”) where has that gotten us???

        1. greenfire

          A Princeton study found that the number of Americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.
          I want that fixed.

        2. Carolinian

          No Biden promised many of the things you want in public and promised stability to the elites in private. In other words he’s working for them and they are the ones who are sociopathically running the country into the ground. We need a president who will get contol over them and then perhaps some reform will be possible. Being little more than a front Biden thinks he has to prove his cohones by trash talking Putin and making wildly exaggerated statements about almost anything. Anyone who dares to object or criticize becomes an enemy. I think what I’m saying is that we need psychological stability. Before anything can get done the partisan food fight needs to stop. It’s not about us.

        3. Screwball

          It got rid of Trump. That’s all that matters for many. And he won’t be going away any time soon either. The party in power now have two things to bag 2022 & 2024 – Jan 6th for 2022 & the return of Trump in 2024.

          And Jesse Livermore Pelosi will be back too. Nothing changes, the .1% get the goldmine and we get the shaft – same as it has always been.

          Let the endless over-the-top gaslighting begin.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Trump was unpredictable in the extreme…. about small stuff. He made an art form of bullying easy, but mildly unexpected targets at random (but short) intervals throughout his campaign and Presidency.

        He was predictable about things that really matter. I.e. starting to build a wall at the southern border. Imposing a few tariffs. Packing the federal courts with extreme rightists who are philosophically at odds with most of the citizenry. He started these efforts and then failed to follow through on the ones that needed constant effort, which was quite consistent with his past, and which like protected him from any genuinely effective efforts to impeach him.

        1. Carolinian

          I don’t think Trump ever expected to become president. For that matter it’s hard to see why Biden ran given his age.

          Perhaps we need a president who actually wants to perform the job. Arguably it is very much about personalities–having a “first rate temperament.”

    6. Questa Nota

      In 2015 and 2016 the press, and most campaigns, collectively fought the last war based on outdated assumptions about their reach and persuasiveness.

      Social media was already a thing, and allowed some users from each party to reach a lot of people who didn’t much care about, or were ignored by, the press. The latter saw their influence wane so they blustered more. The Neo-Libs, and the Neo-Cons, too, didn’t like ceding control over thoughts.

      One development for 2020 was to constrict all that free social media communication. Ban people, ignore First Amendment, paddle faster.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      How much of the MSM was Clintonite at the time . . . . and therefor elevating Trump with billions of dollars of free publicity as part of the Clintonite ” pied piper” strategy?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “US F-35 Crashes on Aircraft Carrier in the South China Sea During Exercises”

    Unfortunately like any such activity involving machinery, accidents are things that just happen from time to time and if you get lucky nobody gets seriously hurt. But with this F-35 crash, although the pilot was able to punch out safely, the plane hit six men and three of them had to be evacuated to the Philippines for further treatment though they are all reported in a stable condition. But that is not the end of it. That plane went into the drink so now the Navy has the headache of recovering that jet from the bottom of the ocean lest it be recovered by the Russians or the Chinese for its intelligence value. In short, it is going to be a pain-

    1. Jerk

      A shame the plane didn’t take the pilot with it. lol Hopefully the ones taken to the Philippines don’t make it.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Looks most likely to have been pilot error. Unlike the Royal Navy one which was apparently due to someone forgetting to take a dust cover off an engine intake.

      This of course is the problem with ultra high tech equipment. They become so precious you end up not being able to use them in any sort of situation where your opponents could get their hands on it.

      1. upstater

        Their limited range of 650 miles r/t with a full combat load makes their use problematic at best, particularly now. The only range extender is refueling (which provide good targets) or supplemental fuel tanks (being developed by Israel) sacrificing payload.

        That’s why they need to develop another white elephant.

        1. Michaelmas

          The only conceivable practical application in combat would be as a flying control station from which a human pilot directs a squadron of supersonic drone fighters at a stand-off distance many miles off.

          Robot fighters are where air combat is going, anyway. I suspect the jocks of the USAF are in full denial of this reality and will at some point try to actually fly F35s in real combat against a peer enemy, with the predictable tragic consequences.

          (See also discussion of aircraft carriers below.)

          1. TimmyB

            The problem with the current generation of drones is they need to be in constant communication with their pilots in the ground.

            A sophisticated enemy will be able to disrupt those communications, making many drones worthless.

            Of course, the F-35 is fairly worthless too.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            I think combat drones are the self driving cars of the military. They are sucking up lots of money, but its hard to see what an AI driven combat aircraft can do that a cruise missile can’t. And the achilles heel is always communications links with the ground. Any system dependent on a clear link to a ground base is always going to be vulnerable to disruption.

    3. Tom Stone

      The age of the Aircraft Carrier ended in 1982’s Falkland’s war.
      The MIC love them and Admirals do too however they have become more vulnerable every year.
      They have two critical systems, the elevators and the catapults.
      Disable either system and you have a cruise ship with no booze.
      Repurpose RPG AP warheads and attach them to cheap commercial drones, send a few hundred at a time targeted at those systems and it’s time to find a big drydock.

      1. Michaelmas

        Nicely summed up.

        They do still have some application for force projection purposes against non-peer enemies. But even there the democratization of missile technology over the last four decades — primarily initiated by the US in Afghanistan in typical US own-goal style — means that they’re increasingly in the position of heavily-armored French knights at Agincourt up against English yeomen with long bows. (Something like a quarter of male French aristocracy died in one battle, by some accounts.)

      2. David

        Aircraft carriers effectively won that war. Without them, the British wouldn’t have been able to fight it;
        As I keep saying, Carriers are about force projection, and if you want to project force for any purpose you need carriers. Carriers need to be protected, but they always have, and the headline writer should have known that you don’t send carriers unprotected, anywhere.

        Be careful of Agincourt references, by the way. At that point, French plate armour was more or less impervious to longbow fire. The archers appear to have targeted mainly the horses (less well protected) and dismounted men at arms at close range.

        1. ambrit

          From what I’ve read, the improvement that made the longbowmen more deadly to the chivalry was an improved steel arrowhead, designed to punch through armour, rather than cut up flesh.
          Bow hunting arrow heads today are wicked little complexes of sharp edges designed to inflict maximum blood loss on the “prey.” One dirty secret to big game hunting is that the ‘target’ usually dies slowly of blood loss. Few people are good enough shots to drop something immediately, first shot. (At least, I’m not.)
          As to Agincourt, you really must give credit for this loss to the French leaders. Bad tactics all around. The secret to cavalry is mobility. Pile them all up in an enclosed space and all you are left with are big, lumbering, six legged men at arms.

          1. John Beech

            I’ve tracked a 4pt buck almost two miles because of a poorly controlled trigger. Dad was with me and we butchered it on the spot. Took two trips to retrieve the meat to the truck. Took a hose to clean our jackets enough to go in the washing machine.

            1. ambrit

              Only kill what you can eat. A mantra drilled into me long ago.
              “Trigger control” really is the key to all the ‘kinetic’ sports.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The more I’ve read about Agincourt, the more it seems that a ‘tech’ explanation doesn’t really work. British longbowmen were well trained and efficient, and they had a lot of them thanks to the encouragement of archery as a sport (brainwashing young men to be good warriors wasn’t invented in the 20th Century). But the longbow wasn’t all that better at killing armoured knights than many other types of bow available in Europe at the time. It really comes down to the numbers and accuracy.

            Otherwise, the story of the battle was a familiar medieval war story of one side getting their tactics right and having a lot of luck on the day. The nature of warfare at the time was that crushing one-sided victories were common as it only took a little panic among the warriors at the wrong time in the wrong place to turn an even fight into a rout.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Yes, it’s kinda been the theme of warfare from phalanxes to blitzkrieg – break the enemy formation, make them run and then slaughter them.

              Pyrrhic victory being the exception where the enemy doesn’t run but stands and fights til the end causing the victors to suffer almost equal casualties.

              I believe Agincourt is famous partly because it’s one of the few battles from 100 years war where the French cavalry doesn’t mow down the poor English archers.

    4. Fred

      Inspired me to compose three haiku for my congressman:

      One hundred fifty
      Million dollar fighter jet
      Slips into the sea.

      The South China Sea
      Littered with our war garbage
      We have lost our way.

      Time to come back home
      Heed the lessons of water
      Try to fix ourselves.

    5. Milton

      I am reminded of the carrier scene in Hunt for Red October where Fred Thompson’s character utters: “This business will get out of control, it will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it”.

  4. Mr. Magoo

    “Pelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022”

    Must eliminate the SALT tax before riding off into the sunset. And lets not forget the opportunity afforded the stock market provides.

    1. Lou Anton

      I just think she finds the idea of being the minority party leader comforting. So much easier to fight for things, never a consequence for not winning a fight.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I saw her likened to an addict. She needs to front run the market, but she also wants a legacy. She’s been around so long the girl boss stuff has worn thin. She’s really a friend of Cheney. Despite her presence and attitudes in the electorate (gays can get married), she’s a legislative failure. There is no Great Society on her watch. Her grandest accomplishment is Obamacare, and she spent 10 years promising to fix it later.

      2. Oh

        She’s so much greedier than Hilly!
        Our only hope – She’s eating her favorite flavor Gelade. An earthquake hits and she’s swallowed up in the abyss.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “IMF urges El Salvador to remove Bitcoin as legal tender”

    Yeah, the IMF says all sorts of crap. At the same time they were saying this to El Salvador, they were also blaming world supply problems on China because of their elimination strategy and its occasional lock-downs causing disruptions in the supply chain. Apparently the IMF thinks that if China just opened up and let ‘er rip, that there would no longer be any supply problems at all. China should totally do that and then we will find out if the IMF is right or not.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Help me. The IMF might know something about money (its research side actually does, but the program side won’t give up on its bad medicine) but infectious diseases? Seriously?

        1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

          It is all about ‘getting with the program’, ‘priorities’, and ‘prioriy management’. One must be very serious about such things (i.e., “The IMF chief also noted that arbitrary lockdowns have interrupted consumer spending, . . . . “) and about addressing and correcting ‘failure to communicate’ when it arises, right from the outset. It is all for everyone’s own good, after all, or so everyone is told.

          Something like this, for example:

          “Captain: You gonna get used to wearing them chains after a while, Luke. Don’t you never stop listening to them clinking, ’cause they gonna remind you what I been saying for your own good.”

          “Luke: I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Cap’n.”

          “Captain: Don’t you ever talk that way to me. (pause, then hitting him)”

          “NEVER! NEVER! What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

          “Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

  6. griffen

    Manual typewriter in the antidote, dare I suggest it? My late mother had an Underwood, thing was a substantial, heavy piece too. Never a quiet afternoon if she was pounding out a letter to the editor or typing some family letters to send out with annual Christmas photos.

    Technologically advanced, hardly so. Argh, now I notice the cord at the back. Still that counts as old school.

    1. Wukchumni

      I occasionally turn on my circa 1978 IBM Selectric typewriter just to hear the sound it makes, a whirring beehive of activity in it’s innards.

  7. CH

    Adopting Bitcoin as legal tender and sh*tposting memes is a foreshadowing of what rule by Elon Must would look like, on earth or on Mars.

    Also, the antiwork post remind me of all the laws passed in the wake of the Black Death to keep serfs tied to their fields and stop them from being mobile and seeking better wages. An attempt to preserve a dying social order, in other words. I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing that.

        1. Matthew G. Saroff

          I’ve been following what is going on, and it appears that the mods threw a hissy fit for legitimate complaints about the performance on the interview. That interview video is the most Reddit Mod thing ever. (Not a good thing)

  8. Lee

    “Man Can’t Get Heart Transplant Because He’s Not Vaccinated Against COVID CBS Local”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but since organ transplants require immune suppression, would not the effect of a vaccine prior to surgery be nullified if as the good doctor states, “Post any transplant, kidney, heart whatever, your immune system is shut off…”

    That the vaccines are ineffective for the 2.5 to 3 percent of the population who are immunocompromised is a big problem for that group. Their plight is discussed in a recent interview: Immunocompromised Americans’ Terrifying Reality During COVID

    1. Hana M

      Yes. And also since he is young (31) and male with a heart condition, he is at higher risk of vaccine-induced myocarditis or pericarditis. Disgraceful.

      1. TBellT

        Wouldn’t he also be at increased risk of covid sequala including myocarditis, pericarditis and immune dysregulation?

    2. Michael McK

      Shouldn’t there be trials with drugs that have shown potential as a prophylactic for people in such situations?

  9. Milton

    Mr Boric paying an homage to (a young) Hemingway complete with kitty but minus the booze. I like it.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Why is Ukraine such an economic failure?”

    I don’t think that this article is being fair to the Ukraine. That country’s oligarchs – whom we would call billionaires – have corrupted that country in order to siphon of as much wealth as possible to their personal coffers. That is why all those billions that went to the Ukraine after 2014 did so little to change things – because a lot of that was diverted into personal accounts like those of Ihor Kolomoyskyi. And of course this fanaticism to continue the war against the Donbass is sucking up a lot of that country’s GDP and I think that it is at least 10% last I heard. Add to that all those western firms who swooped into the country to snap up what they could after the Maiden and that is leaving the Ukraine very little to work with to build their country up. But I found that chart of Ukrainian exports to be risible. The Ukraine not long ago had the ability to produce aircraft like the Antonov airplanes, spacecraft, marine engines, transportation vehicles, it has launched satellites of their own design on their own launch vehicles so that chart showing them doing only low-value exports is misleading. Given the investment, they could come back but I personally believe that their billionaires see no real reason to do it unless it personally enriches themselves. Hmm. Those Ukrainian billionaires sound like billionaires everywhere.

    1. Polar Socialist

      What was left after privatization and corruption rampage in the early 90’s of the Ukrainian economy depended heavily on the very cheap energy provided by Russia. The oligarchs reeled in enormous sums by turning that energy on to industrial or agricultural products and returned very little as investments.

      Cheap energy and high chemical and metal prices kept Ukrainian economy improving through the early 2000 finally making the creditors (and financing) to enter. Just in time for 2014 to bring all that to a grinding halt. Most of the Ukrainians understood that without Russian energy and trade Ukraine was nothing, but there was a section of society who though they knew better (not saying EU made promises it knew were impossible to keep). Or just didn’t care, because “Russia bad”.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        While Noah Smiths article isn’t bad, I think a key problem for the Ukraine is that it is, as you say, locked into a pattern of industry needing cheap energy for producing fairly low value inputs. The problem for the country is that its high quality, high value industry was mostly in aviation and military equipment, and most of its market for that was the old Soviet Union. They tried but failed to grind out a niche as a maker of very cheap basic aero and rocket engines and tanks and so on, but being caught between the west and Russia made that unsustainable.

        1. dftbs

          You make an excellent point about the Ukrainian economy within the context of the old USSR. Something that is lost on people here stateside when they say the economy of Texas or California are top 10 in the world, and use that to stoke their fantasies of Red/Blue secession.

      2. David

        Anecdata, but I remember being taken round a factory in Donetsk something over a decade ago, that was turning out washing machines. For which market wasn’t specified, and even the local authority, which had more or less imposed the visit on us, wouldn’t give us any details or let us talk to the workforce. The factory was primitive, unheated (though it was winter) and showed no signs of any recent investment. I doubt that it’s still open.

        The problem with the export of goods model is the investment required in the first place, as well as the national consensus needed to pursue the policy over an extended period of time. Neither is attractive to oligarchs. Contrariwise, there’s not a lot of incentive for foreigners to invest there, rather than in, say Poland or Rumania, which are in the EU, or Turkey which has long-standing links with many EU nations

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agreed, and like you say – investments would rather go to places in the EU. Funny that. There is a lot of talk about getting the Ukraine into NATO but I have heard absolutely nothing about getting the Ukraine into the EU.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          An export led development strategy always requires a delicate balance of internal incentives. As Chinese scholars have noted (this is rarely acknowledged by western development economists), the internal incentives for an undeveloped country to export to a developed country are almost the mirror image.

          To pull off the standard model, you must simultaneously suppress those wealthy who stand to potentially lose – this is usually landowners, various monopolists, and those in control of existing industries that will not survive open competition, while persuading workers that the extra jobs have to be balanced with a suppression of internal demand to stop inflation and maintain the labor cost advantage. In other words, you’ll get jobs and income, but don’t expect easy credit or a welfare system.

          Its noticeable that those countries in the 20th century who succeeded did so after some sort of calamity wiped out the traditional feudal/capitalist power structures and left a fairly malleable population. ROK, Japan, Taiwan and so on. Or countries like Singapore which had a pretty good blank slate to start with. Countries with embedded elites such as Argentina or Mexico or Brazil or Thailand keep butting their heads against the middle income trap. Some never get out of the traps whatever. The great tragedy of much of post Soviet Europe and Central Asia is that the wrong elites got into control. It seems to me that only those East European countries with an already fairly strong industrial base and educated population (Poland, Czech Republic) did well.

          1. Jessica

            South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan also benefitted from a lot of tech transfer from the US done for cold war reasons. Also, the US pretty much forced on them the same kind of land reform that it overthrew governments elsewhere for. Again, for cold war reasons.

    2. jo6pac

      I do believe the below was owned by Russia. The Antonov plane equipment was taken home to Russia as was rocket & marine engines. The Antonov uses Russian engines. Ukraine govt sold the blueprint to China for the Antovov. I truely doubt they could produce the materials for these products.

      The Ukraine not long ago had the ability to produce aircraft like the Antonov airplanes, spacecraft, marine engines, transportation vehicles

      As PS points out the country has been stripped clean of any good assets. The ukraine also was known as the bread basket for all the food they grew not any more.

    3. Bart Hansen

      The media keeps reminding us that the war over the Donbas has caused some 13,000 deaths, but they never tell us how that figure is divided between each side.

      On the Donbas side we see photos of elderly couples being bombed while one doubts that many elderly couples are in those Uki trenches.

      1. Polar Socialist

        The numbers are kinda hard to come by, but the UN estimates around 10,000 being military/militant deaths and 3000 civilians.
        Military deaths are estimated along the lines of 4500 for Ukrainian Army + militias vs 5500 for Donbass militias.
        Civilian casualties, according to OHCHR are divided as 85% “on the area of self-declared republics” and 15% on the area under Ukrainian control. I’m not sure if the latter also includes the number of anti-Maidan people killed around Ukraine in 2014.

  11. Yves Smith Post author

    This is not a chat board. Drive by unsubstantiated opinions are not on here.

    You may disagree with Iowa as being the justification for press obsession with Trump in 2016, but in the debates, he cut through the field like a knife through hot butter. He destroyed Jeb, who was assumed to be on his was to a Republican coronation due to name recognition, the early leadership, and a big coffer at that point. Trump simply steamrolled Jeb and he was done. It was remarkable.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Regarding Trump and Jeb, Trump called the Iraq War a ‘big fat mistake’. Bernie wasn’t nearly so rough on Biden’s war record.

      I spent an evening with my extended family recently, for the first time in years. There’s a ton of seething anger at the media, at Biden, the democratic party leadership, and at public health failures (harsh mandates, oversold vaccines, inadequate testing, etc). There’s precisely ZERO love for McConnell or any of the Republican leaders, with the exception of some interest in Ron DeSantis.

      I’d suggest the circumstances are once again fertile for a 2016-style run for either Trump, or a Trump style run through the primaries of any candidate that seems to be the MOST hated by the establishment and the media.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        the circumstances are once again fertile for a 2016-style run for either Trump, or a Trump style run through the primaries of any candidate that seems to be the MOST hated by the establishment and the media.

        The Democrats have read this national mood and have responded by offering and 82-year-old man who has been in DC longer than the Washington Monument. LOL.

        Yeah, it’s their “messaging” that’s the problem.

        1. Bugs

          No, no, it’s the Democratic voters who are the problem. They actually believe the empty promises! Dem politicians are getting well fed up with having to tell them to just go die. It’s annoying and moreover upsetting the donors.

      2. skippy

        Trump seemed to understand his audience and played to their tune rather than establishment Dems or Rep seeking to mold the audience to their narratives [PR/marketing blender approach], hence his repetitive use of “but you knew that” after every salvo he fired at others.

        Other than that he was prolific in the Freedom and Liberties carpet bombing marketing to offset for not having an economic plan e.g. hired others to sort it out.

        Its going to be interesting to watch his rusted on double down as his investigation moves into the late stage.

        1. lance ringquist

          Yosemity Sam could have won in 2016, all he needed to do, is what trump said. the legacy media skipped over this repeatedly.

          even if you were down to just one brain cell, you would know that free trade was going to be a disaster.

          Trump: ‘It Used to Be Cars Were Made in Flint, and You Couldn’t Drink the Water in Mexico’

          he said things like that all over the ex-industrial mid west. nafta billy clintons disastrous polices raped america for wall street and the chinese communist party.

          and with another dim wit nafta type in charge, those midwest states will be in play again after the dim wits disastrous governing.

  12. allan

    For 1st time in Michigan history, more people died than were born in 2020 [Free Press]

    … In the first year of the pandemic, 104,149 babies were born in Michigan but 117,087 people died in the state, Metzger said — a difference of 12,938.

    “Looking at those numbers, I just said, ‘Whoa! Here we are,’ ” said Metzger, who used data from the state health department to make the analysis. “It’s the first time we’ve ever seen more deaths than births, which is kind of frightening.” …

    For some definition of `kind of’.

    1. ambrit

      Take #1: The Jackpot in action.
      Take #2: The first sighting of Godzilla on Odo Island.
      Primary Suggestion: Move away from Tokyo, ASAP.

  13. smashsc

    Re: the “Saying the Quiet Part out Loud”. The weekly legal article in the (Toronto) FInancial Post mentions the concept of “Wrongful Resignation” – a particularly heinous attempt by companies to keep their indentured servants. “…an employee has to provide an employer with adequate notice, with adequacy being defined generally as the length of time it should take that employer to find a qualified replacement…”

    1. tegnost

      It used to be security would come to your desk and unceremoniously escort you out, now they show up to make sure you can’t leave…

      1. jsn

        I think smashsc isn’t getting it.

        The employee is responsible for finding the replacement and training.

        That’s how layoffs are supposed to work, the employees have to bear the full cost of laying themselves off, it’s the only way out.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I was reading that article and had a thought that has occurred to me from time to time. If worker’s conditions have deteriorated so badly over the course of the past forty years of neoliberalism, then what lies ahead in the coming decades? As it stands, wages have flat-lined since the 70s, union membership has dropped way down and – what I think is most indicative – Amazon Fulfillment Centers have become a thing, one that a former President called the jobs of future middle class workers. And it’s not like there is a lot of runway left.

      1. Andrew

        Neoliberalism may be out of runway, but there’s still lots of space for innovation in corporate neo-feudalism!

    3. griffen

      Corporate employers will have access to in-house or external counsel, something that most of the rabble (union or not) will not be able to reasonably afford. I do not have a union-centric perspective here, as my four past employers were all located in right to work states, where for each company I would sign an at-will agreement. I have been downsized with notice, and likewise I have chosen to walk after giving reasonable notice. I’m a non-manager level worker fit for most cubicle farms.

      The new angle in your article linked above, I found more interesting is the reasonable notice discussion. As in, hypothetical top sales person leaves and his two week notice is insufficient to find a suitable sales replacement. Are corporations becoming so capricious to harangue that former sales star upon his leaving? My internal reality check says yes, yes they are. As it is often properly described here, because markets. And many things are like CalPers (management specific).

      Welcome to hell. Perhaps others have a more hopeful perspective.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Russia may decide to deploy nuclear arms in Latin America within one week”

    I think that this is just Pravda messing with people. What is their next headline going to be? ‘Russia equips their ships and aircraft with photon torpedoes’? And I bet that the Pentagon then demands more funding to deal with the Photon Torpedo Gap.

    1. ambrit

      It’s probably Pravda being Pravda, but I would argue that this is a fairly straightforward warning of the consequences to America of any deployment of nuclear warhead capable weapons systems close to Russia’s borders.
      Realistically speaking, this is just a reiteration of the old Mutually Assured Destruction policy of the ‘real’ Cold War days.
      This is closely tracking the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then, America “transgressed” by placing Jupiter ICBMs in Italy and Turkey. That was the state of the art nuclear warhead capable missile system of the day. So, the Soviets, not being fools, countered with placing their own nuclear weapons systems in Cuba. The rest is history.
      Do remember that back then, the world barely averted WW-3. A courageous Soviet submariner decided not to nuke an American ship and the ‘watchdog’ officer for the land missiles stopped Castro from using the missiles against the US. Who knows who the silent peacekeepers on the American side were, but one was Kennedy, who paid a heavy price for his forbearance later on.
      As for “photon torpedoes,” imagine if the Russians were to highlight the deployment of their Kalibr hypersonic cruise missiles to the Americas.
      What bothers me more is the American Space Force. People have spent time and treasure trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Near Earth Orbit for a very good reason. It’s called the “High Ground” not for moral, but technical reasons.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That’s what really gets me. You have people like Keith Alexander who see the technology of Star Trek and want to replicate it now but never give a thought to the implied humanistic philosophy behind Star Trek that made that technology possible.

        1. flora

          Or if that hollywood fantasy “technology” even is possible, or usable in a democratic society. Stage sets are only that.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I think that it comes down to the messages that Roddenberry inserted into his universe. In that world, poverty, disease and war were banished from earth within fifty years. Why? Because people decided to do so after first contact. The world currently spends about $2 trillion each and every year on the military. Imagine if the bulk majority of those resources were used to solve problems like poverty and disease instead. Think that we could do the same? After all, the world got rid of smallpox and that was against the background of the cold war and the budget would have not been that great.

  15. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs that ‘imprisoned labor’ manufacturing could be a fruitful experimental context for training people to function in worker-owned cooperatives. Of course, that would require tPtB to want this kind of socialization to take place as part of the ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘re-entry to society’ processes.

    Jus’ dreamin’.

    1. ambrit

      Just think Scarlett O’Hara contracting for the use of Confederate prisoners of war to run her sawmills in Atlanta. It’s all there. This is what our “Governing Elites” have reverted to; a spoiled rich b—- and an opportunistic smuggler.
      Who won that war anyway?

      1. Jessica

        As someone said, by losing the war, the South lost what it fought for, slavery. By winning the war, the North lost what it fought for, free labor. In those days, free labor did not mean just not enslaved. They really meant free, not dependent on an employer and certainly not dependent on some huge monopoly.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘UPDATE— we now have an estimate of BA2 transmission growth advantage over vanilla #Omicron BA1. It’s not good… see thread ? below… it’s approximately *DOUBLE* of omicron. Unclear if contagiousness or if immunity evasiveness. Either way it’s growing faster…’

    Been saying in comments recently that we should be wary of the next variation but c’mmon! Twice the transmission rate of Omicron? Seriously? It only took Omicron about two months to sweep around the world and now this? This virus does not give you a break. What really worries me is a more lethal version arising but not so much that but what would our reactions be? Our governments are swearing that they will never, ever do a lockdown again, masks are optional if not discarded like in the schools in the UK, our media is only feeding us what the government or big pharma wants us to hear. Such a new variant could spread far and wide before governments would even think about doing what we did in early 2020 – when we did something. And we could find ourselves in the hurt locker real fast.

    1. Molly

      If a variant arises (or has arisen) with twice the transmissibility of Omicron, all the NPI, masking, track and trace, testing and other zero Covid measures will be rendered as being pointless pandemic theater overnight. We’ll all have had it by spring. Yes, even the PRC. Which, perversely, will finally make vaccination-only the only possible effective response.

      1. ambrit

        I would quibble with the characterization of ‘vaccination’ here as an “effective response.”
        The ruling elites tried to get away with the ‘cheapest’ response to the pandemic. We are seeing that strategy fail in real time.
        All we need now is for a more lethal variant to emerge.
        Also, China, being a more efficient top down socio-political system, could opt for the “Hidden Kingdom” strategy. Close it’s borders fully for a number of years as the pandemic ravages the rest of the world.
        What’s the use of being the big dog economically if it kills you?
        Stay safe. Hull down.

      2. Raymond Sim

        I’m trying to be less acerbic in this new year, but I swear God must be testing me.

        Pray tell, how will increased infectiousness render npi’s futile? How will the PRC’s methods be undone?

      3. Jessica

        It would render the “acceptable” measures less effective. It would not necessarily render the unacceptable ones, for example Ivermectin, ineffective.

      4. skippy

        Having worked decades in VOC environments I can tell you masks work if fitted properly, maintained – cleaned/filters changed, and protocols adhered too. That peoples heads get done in by this new aspect in life has more to do with psychology of habits than anything else. Freedom and Liberties posse are just useful idiots in further diminishing the ability of the state to respond to natural events which occur – this is China’s sin.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Pelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022. That’s a relief. I’ve decided I want to model my stock portfolio around her trades /snark

  18. Joe Well

    The following is sincere, not sarcasm:

    Has anyone heard of any attempts to create IRL bubbles in the US or Canada? Like little New Zealands in the middle of Vermont or wherever where they keep COVID out and people can just live normally?

  19. Eudora Welty

    At the large academic institution I am employed by, we currently have various caucuses (online spaces to meet and share honestly) for various racial/ other groups. I attended one of the early ones for white people. I felt it actually was a safe space for honest sharing, such as one person who asked whether he/she should not apply for management jobs anymore because those types of jobs are now rightly for POC and other minorities. Now, about a year later, I see that the white-people caucuses are accessible only for “white anti-racists.” Just food for thought.

    1. ambrit

      It sounds like the ‘Terrorist” plots ginned up by “Law Enforcement Sub-contractors.”
      However, watch out for ‘participation’ in such fora to become mandatory for continued employment.

    2. flora

      Uni’s have always been something of a hot house (greenhouse) environment for absentminded professor types. But this current non-academic wokeness used as a substitute for academic accomplishment has now gotten ridiculous. Glad I got through uni before this nonsense metastasized into its current near-religious state. Major US uni’s – both state and Ivy – are become the Church of Woke. / :-{

  20. jefemt

    Phizer advertising faux pas. The myopic dogma… It Burns!

    Thank you for that. I must need more smiles- audibly guffawed!

    1. Samuel Conner

      I must be very dim-witted today; had to stare at it a while before noticing the messaging fail.

      Part of the difficulty for me, I suppose, is that NC helped me to early recognize the non-sterilizing character of the vaccines, so the ‘oopsie’ term in the advert didn’t have any shock value for me.

      1. flora

        I had to stare at it a while, too. Then I laughed out loud. One definition of a faux pas is “saying the quiet part out loud” or “inadvertently telling the truth.” (Although, this ad was being sent to investor groups, among others.) / heh

          1. flora

            “Breakthrough” word combined with image of a virus either contained by or breaking though Phizer’s swirly, open edged blue icon, etc. Is the swirly blue open edged icon an image of containment or of breakthrough? cheers.

  21. objective ace

    the military’s DMED system went from a 5-year average (2016-2020) of 38,700 per year to 114,645 in the first 11 months of 2021

    What does DMED constitute of? I believe the US military is only around 2 million. 100k instances of cancer is 5 percent of the whole army. That seems high. We’d surely notice such a rate in the general population?

    1. Juneau

      “About DMED
      DMED provides remote access to a subset of data contained within the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS). DMSS contains up-to-date and historical data on diseases and medical events (e.g., hospitalizations, ambulatory visits, reportable diseases, etc.) and longitudinal data relevant to personnel characteristics and deployments experience for all active and reserve component service members. The DMED application provides a user-friendly interface to perform queries regarding disease and injury rates and relative burdens of disease in active component populations.”

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If I’m understanding that tweet right, the author’s implication is that the vaccines or the rona itself are causing the uptick in cancers.

      I would just add that rona vaccines aren’t the only treatment the military forces into its soldiers. In the late 90s/early aughts I had an ex-grunt roommate who told me the military had required him and everyone else to take anthrax vaccines IIRC. I mentioned to him that they were likely being used as guinea pigs.

      I’m sure most NCers are familiar with depleted uranium, its use by the military and its effects.

      So what else has the military been giving the grunts recently?

      1. Jessica

        My brother’s response when I asked him if he was getting vaxxed was “I survived all the vaccines they pumped into me in the army – who knows what half of them were – so why should I be afraid of one more experiment”.
        What the public discussion these days is a bit like when you take up meditation and get good enough that your mind slows down a little bit and you can see just how random it is and you wonder “why is that particular thought coming up now”.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        The big depleted uranium exposure was during the hot phase of the Iraq War and a bit after. As in over a decade ago. Can’t explain a big jump from baseline now.

  22. jefemt

    Slovakian fly car approved. There are some mighty fine aircraft designed and made in ‘middle europe’.
    As my pal Pete opines: be careful what you think…
    Some of the US planes from renowned manufacturers appear to have non-trivial issues, right?

    We’re number One, always and forever!?!

    At least the carplane requires a pilot and is not autonomous! If one crashes into my house, is that an Act of God? What if I’m an Atheist?

  23. Stove Goblin

    Horror is not far from cadres of self-interested men taking time out from profit-seeking to indulge in amoral self-pity. But the tipping point for atrocity… the moment working stiffs give in, happens when husbands and fathers convince themselves certain people are already dead. Scientific language, socio-political discussion, create a category of walking dead… Therefore, blogs about how Ukraine failed to live up to some economic standards seem sinister this morning. The Kremlin has been displeased by a nation suffering in the throes of a bipolar episode [literal, figurative, physiologically – there’s that scientific language, I am as guilty as anybody else], Ukraine’s bad boyfriends, for so long, war is inevitable? As if Ukraine is any different as a neighbor than Finland or Latvia, other than the number of NKVD’s mass graves. Or Einsatzgruppen, it makes no difference to the dead, these false justifications of the other.

    1. griffen

      Cat is thinking…this creature exists to serve me and my needs. Whatever is it doing with those weird claws…either that or feed me now

  24. Mildred Montana

    >Denmark, New Zealand and Finland top list of least corrupt nations while South Sudan is the worst Daily Mail. Resilc: “Since we’ve been in Citizens United mode since 1492, we really should be just below Sudan IMO.”

    Out of 180 nations the US is ranked 27th with a bullet—in the wrong direction. Canada was ranked 13th, as it also declined. As a Canadian, I would have liked to have seen a higher rating for my country, but unfortunately in the world’s barrel of apples we are peel-to-peel with the US, and a rotten apple spoils its neighbors first.

    Mexico, a neighbor the US has been meddling in since 1846, was ranked 123rd. It was slightly below—speak of the devil!—Ukraine.

    1. David

      It’s the latest version of Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (with the emphasis on “Perception”). It’s a large-scale opinion poll, essentially asking people what they’ve heard or how they feel about corruption in various countries around the world. The ratings are obviously subjective and to some extent driven by the media: for example, a scandal about MPs expenses in the UK some years ago resulted in an immediate worsening of the UK’s “standing” in the lists. TI’s concept of corruption is highly formalistic and neoliberal: essentially cases where the market is not allowed to function without interference, and everything is openly published. Many people who actually work with the problems of corruption doubt its utility, and I’ve been told privately by people at TI that they think it has outlived its usefulness, but it’s too difficult politically to stop publishing it.

  25. antidlc

    News fromTexas re: mail in ballots
    Dallas, Tarrant, Denton Counties Report New State Law Forces 40% Of Mail-In Ballot Applications To Be Rejected

    Hundreds of applications for mail-in ballots for the March 1 Texas primary elections have been rejected by North Texas counties, according to local elections administrators who point to issues caused by a new state law.

    In many cases, they report voters are using an outdated form that doesn’t request a driver’s license or social security number, which are now required as part of the application.

    Garcia said, even when the requested information is included in an application, it might still be rejected if it doesn’t match what a voter reported when they registered to vote.

    “If you registered using your driver’s license and now you use the form using your social, I don’t have a way to verify that social and I’m going to have to reject it,” said Garcia.

    To avoid this problem, he recommends voters supply both numbers on their application, or update their voter registration to make sure both are on file.

        1. sj

          Ha! That would be one way of keeping her out of the upcoming 2022 debacle. Two major downsides though:

          1. They would probably replace her with the equally unacceptable Mayor Pete, and
          2. Supreme Court is for life.

    1. Skip Intro

      The questions on everyone’s minds: Who will President Manchin Nominate? Can they get them in before losing both houses in Nov.?

      1. Samuel Conner

        I would think that the Senate Minority leader’s views are also important. He might reckon that the Senate should withhold confirmation hearings until after the results of the mid-terms are known, which would determine whether the American people really want JB to be the person to nominate Breyer’s successor.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I can see it now. Manchin says that if he gets to pick the next supreme court justice, that he will sign’s Biden’s bill. Biden agrees and lets Manchin choose one. After that justice is confirmed, Biden hands Manchin a pen to sign Biden’s bill and Manchin replies ‘Psych!’

    2. flora

      Me thinks this means Justice Breyer knows what are the odds of Dems winning in the midterms and ’24 election (not good), and wants to give the current Dem strength in Congress nominating his successor the Congressional advantage of winning said nomination’s approval. My 2 cents. (Breyer is perhaps more astute about the Court’s presidential nominee’s chances to be approved than was RBG ‘s, imo; this is a real politic understanding to be respected. )

  26. Ruud J.

    Chilean President working on his gapped computer: Doesn’t help much if he’s being watched by an alien and wearing a Fitbit, which can deduct what you’re typing by the wrist movements!

  27. Danny

    Ivermectin: never fear, a new patented version with the same functions is on the horizon and will cost 100 times as much.

    Millions of people have consumed billions of doses of IVM. It won its inventors the Noble Prize. Remdesivir, that NIAID and the CDC spent $79,000,000 for their partner, Gilead, heavily invested in by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, could not be marketed for emergency use without long trials unless there were no safe alternatives, hence the need to vilify hydroxychloriquine and Ivermectin.

    Letting people rot at home with doctors forbidden to treat them either prophylactically or after infection with inexpensive effective treatments, before finally admitting them, too late to hospital, where they were prescribed Remdesivir, that (wholesale cost $3,100 for a course of treatment, 1,000x that of Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin,) was criminal.

    Fauci, acting as a patented medicine hustler, is responsible for half a million plus dead who could have been saved with inexpensive, widely available safe medicines. Profit Uber Alles.

    Don’t even mention the bonus ten trillion handed out to extinguish bad corporate debts.

  28. Gumnut

    Denmark sitrep:
    Despite sporting 46k cases today (ca. 8k per million population = 2.4m equivalent US), the prime minister. Just announced that in 5 days ALL restrictions will be removed & “life will go back to before covid”. Meanwhile Germany is discussing entire populatuon mandates.
    What the hell?

  29. Peerke

    I added a comment earlier in the day that seems to have disappeared into the ether along the lines of vitamin D being important for T-cell regulation therefore it is even more important now since Covid and vax could lead to T-cell exhaustion. Looking further into this I found an abstract implicating vitamin D in immune system aging by leading to loss of naïve T-cells. Asking the Covid Brain trust: have we painted ourselves into a corner?

  30. The Rev Kev

    “‘It looked so real’: ghostly ‘iceberg’ was a wonder of nature – just not an iceberg”

    That image was just crazy real that. I can just imagine the first explorers in this region putting that feature down on a coastal map only to have the next ships come along and wonder what happened to all those mountains marked on their maps.

  31. Lambert Strether

    > You lose bone density and muscle mass in space, and we’ve recently learned your blood starts eating itself.

    Dang. Now the squillionaires are gonna have to take along “blood bags” on the way to Mars. Bad for costs.

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