Links 2/12/2022

Australia Declares Koalas an Endangered Species New York Times (Kevin W). Surprised this had not happened already. Many died in the huge bush fires a couple of years ago.

Florida’s beloved manatees are dying in alarming numbers again. Here’s why National Geographic (David L)

Someone Stole 60,000 Bees from a Pennsylvania Supermarket Chain Food & Wine. More :-(

Respiratory infection found in dinosaur that lived 150m years ago Guardian

Seattle woman’s worry over mom’s missing Wordle update leads to police finding her held hostage Seattle Times (furzy)

Latest video shows Venus in new light RT (Kevin W)

US nuclear power plants contain dangerous counterfeit parts, report finds The Verge (David L)

Black death mortality not as widespread as believed PhysOrg (Robert M)


Freedom Convoy: Canada court orders end to trucks’ bridge blockade BBC

Canada protesters dig in with military-style proficiency France24 (Dr. Kevin)

Trudeau’s empty threats: Freedom Convoy truckers are STILL on US-Canada bridge after both a 7 pm court AND midnight deadline from Ontario police to forcibly remove them came and went Daily Mail. I assume this link will be updated (DM’s frequent practice). This is as of 6:00 AM EDT. The gens d’armes have all weekend to decide what to do. They could deploy tear gas, sound cannons, water hoses…If they haven’t used force by 24 hours from now, it’s a different story.

French Police Prevent ‘Freedom Convoys’ From Blockading Paris Bloomberg

‘Splintered realities’: How NZ convoy lost its way Newroom (mgl). Hhhm.


Coronavirus can destroy the placenta and lead to stillbirths Associated Press


UK Treasury pushes to end most free Covid testing despite experts’ warnings Guardian. More in the “If we don’t count it, it doesn’t exist” category.


The FDA Delays Action on Covid Shots for Young Children New York Times


Shoplifting reaches crisis proportions Axios


Engineers are building bridges with recycled wind turbine blades The Verge (resilc)

Don’t just blame climate change for weather disasters France24


Who’s to blame for ‘phase one’ trade deal failure? Asia Times

Blinken Reassures Pacific Allies the Asia ‘Pivot’ Is Still On (Kevin W)


The tangled web Chris Grey (guurst). Important.

This week in Brexitland, February 11, 2022 Nick Tyrone (guurst)

New Cold War

The Ultimate End of NATO Scott Ritter, Consortium News (signet)

Russia confronts ‘good cop, bad cop’ ploy on Ukraine Asia Times (Kevin W). Subhead: “Putin likely unimpressed by European leaders arriving in Moscow in a bald strategy of inconsequential diplomatic gyrations.”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, Moscow, February 10, 2022 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (guurst)

Austria resists including Nord Stream 2 in EU package of Russia sanctions Reuters

Putin is channeling Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

From earlier this week, still germane:

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Potential for Russian Invasion of Ukraine C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Army of Ukraine lobbyists behind unprecedented Washington blitz Responsible Statescraft

What is the Rodchenkov Act the US is Threatening to Sue Russian Olympic Skating Coaches Under? Sputnik (Kevin W). We are so petty.


Washington Is Failing the Afghan People on All Fronts New Republic. Resilc: “What USA USA excels in, failure.”

Biden Moves to Split $7 Billion in Frozen Afghan Funds New York Times. Resilc: “Looting money from Afghanistan.”

Amnesty Is Right About Israel’s Apartheid, but Wrong About How to Resolve It Haaretz (David L)

US aid to Egypt and the wider failures of American security assistance Responsible Statecraft. Resilc: “I spent three years there….. pissing money into the Nile……..”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Late-night reports suggest CIA collecting more data on Americans The Hill. Important.

Culture Interlude

Ancient Gonzo Wisdom – Hunter S. Thompson’s excruciating writing process Bookforum Magazine (Anthony L)

Richard Seymour, Away from the Guns New Left Review (Anthony L). On E.O. Wilson.

Kingdom of Characters: A Tale of Language, Obsession, and Genius in Modern China by Jing Tsu Literary Review. Anthony L “Fun – and Xi’an is worth a visit. (What struck me the first night in the hotel, was that Chinese programs had subtitles – in Chinese!).”

Egyptology Has a Problem: Patriarchy Sapiens (Chuck L)

Crossing the Blood Meridian: Cormac McCarthy and American History Los Angeles Review of Books (Anthony L)


US judge strikes down Biden climate damage cost estimate Associated Press (David L)

Vacancies in Top Health and Science Jobs May Threaten Biden’s Agenda New York Times

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Speaks Up On Wolves, But Is It Enough? Mountain Journal (furzy)

Tesla factory is “racially segregated workplace,” Calif. state agency alleges ars technica (Kevin W)

Police State Watch

Her Boyfriend Killed Her Baby While She Was at Work. Oklahoma Might Lock Her Up for Life. Mother Jones (furzy)

States Are Trying to Exempt Cops From Paying Taxes Vice (resilc)

Our Famously Free Press

Sarah Palin craters in her testimony in New York Times defamation case Washington Post (furzy). Defamation cases are very hard to win. And the defendant gets to go rooting through your life to try to prove what they said was truthful.

Bot-Generated Shooting Threats Are Terrorizing Schools Vice (furzy). Help me. The Rooskies are blamed for this. First, it is all of two schools. Second, the only one named is private. Think someone might have a beef? Or recall a few years back when Jewish community centers all across the US were getting threats…and the perp was a kid in Israel?

The Bezzle

As Kevin W notes, “Apparently BLM also stood for Buy Lotsa Mansions”:

He Donated His Kidney and Received a $13,064 Bill in Return ProPublica

What Democrats And Republicans Get Wrong About Inflation FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “Never a chat on how pissing away a trillion a year on empire matters to the toothless people of Siler city, NC.”

The Fed Should Pick ‘Boomflation’ Over a Recession – Bloomberg (furzy)

Class Warfare

Amazon Delivery Drivers Can Be Fired for Peeing in Bottles Vice. Resilc: “They have to buy their own Amazon brand adult diapers?”

20,000 Teachers in Puerto Rico Strike – “Day Without Immigrants” Protests Could Fuel More Strikes – Kentucky American Water Workers to Strike Mike Elk

Antidote du jour (Alan T):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    Marketplace suspends most NFT sales, citing ‘rampant’ fakes and plagiarism [Reuters]

    The platform which sold an NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for $2.9 million has halted most transactions because people were selling tokens of content that did not belong to them, its founder said, calling this a “fundamental problem” in the fast-growing digital assets market. …

    Where some see as a “fundamental problem”, others see as a lever for disruptive innovation of the fin-art space.

    1. Skip Intro

      I think this is an attempt to preserve the fiction that an NFT has a relation to some content somewhere. Selling an NFT isn’t selling the artwork, or any rights to it. Why should one be required to have any rights to the art just to not sell it?

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Plagiarism? Perhaps they mean copyright infringement rather than plagiarism. I wonder if the Copyright Office is setup to deal with NFTs. Are tweets copyrightable?

      For the non-blockbuster artist (participating or non-participating in the NFT marketplace), NFTs have the potential to become a nightmare.

      Copyright can already be a nightmare. It’s worse when when one party is based in another legal jurisdiction. I suspect most artists don’t register their copyrights with the US Copyright Office (or comparable). Which matters greatly if a case goes to US court.

      Who is writing these purchase agreements? Is it an individual crypto marketplace boilerplate? Are the artists’ uploading their own contracts? Are we sure that some of them aren’t conveying some type of rights to the original items like that Ape Yacht Club NFT does? What happens when there are competing URLs for the same piece but differing purchase agreements? e.g., The purchaser bought the global print distribution rights (granted via the NFT contract) from someone who didn’t own the copyright and the owner of the copyright has not a clue? etc., etc., etc.

      What happens when the copyright trolls or the copyleft trolls starting rolling in?

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Added thought: What’s constitutes proof of copyright ownership to an NFT marketplace? How do fake listings get sold if “proof” of copyright for the work is required in order to list?

      2. Michaelmas

        Noone from Nowheresville: For the non-blockbuster artist (participating or non-participating in the NFT marketplace), NFTs have the potential to become a nightmare … What happens when the copyright trolls or the copyleft trolls starting rolling in?

        Not a bug, but a feature. It’s another digital predation play like Uber, in its way. Beyond the obvious NFT-cryptocurrency ponzi — which will be gigantic on its own — this is how the VCs like Andreessen-Horowitz plan to drive real-world monetization of blockchain currencies.

        Firstly, artists and such will be forced to preemptively create/purchase NFTs of any art they create that they may want to put up on Twitter and the internet before someone else does it and orders a take-down. Ultimately, populations at large will preemptively purchase NFTs of their own birth certificates, personal data, once they go up on blockchains in order to protect themselves.

        Ethiopia, for instance, last year signed a deal to create a national database of student and teacher IDs using a blockchain-type solution. The deal involves providing IDs for 5 million students across 3,500 schools which will be used to store educational records ….

        See the opportunities for digital predation? And, as usual, what gets deployed initially on subaltern populations out on the periphery will ultimately be brought home and used on the homeland’s masses.

        1. Skip Intro

          How would an NFT empower someone to order a takedown? There would need to be new copyright law, or some sort of centralized NFT enforcers that could influence, say, Twitter. Not that that is unthinkable, but it is nowhere to be seen.

 is packed with tales of NFTs meeting real copyrights…

  2. Sam Adams

    Re: US judge strikes down Biden climate damage cost estimate
    Judge Caine emerged from a field of about a dozen candidates as President Donald Trump’s nomination, confirmed June 19th. What we are seeing that the US political system is after the executive and legislative branches have already imploded, the judiciary is lastly ending its moral authority to act. What was once a reticent branch to enter political decision making has now been populated by judges (and justices) usurping the roles of the other 2 branches.

    1. RepubAnon

      Republicans used to complain about “activist judges legislating from the bench” – now, Republican judges have dialed that up to 11 – and the Republican Supreme Court is saying “can we take it to 12?”

      1. Aumua

        Yeah and they’re still crying about Biden stacking the courts in the right wing media, when Trump just got done stacking courts (including the supreme court) like no one else ever has in history.

        1. CarlH

          And the dems fast tracked a lot of Trump’s judges if I remember correctly. Our glorious dems at work!

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The Ultimate End of NATO”

    There may be another factor that is undercutting NATO and it is how they are being asked to go to all sorts of places like Afghanistan when normally they would never have thought that a good idea. It has nothing to do with their own security but everything to do with US geopolitical aims. I’m willing to bet that more than a few NATO countries are unhappy how they are being asked to send their ships to the far side of the world to challenge China which is definitely not in the North Atlantic. Spain sending fighters to eastern Europe to challenge Russia is one thing. But finding yourself in the South China Seas is not what they signed up for. Europe knows that Russia is never going to invade them which is why they ran down their militaries and balked at demands to spend 2% of their GDP. And clobbering small countries at the height of your power like Serbia and Libya may be fun and games but going up against the Chinese Navy in their front yard is not in the same class. Not without a good reason. And especially when China is a big trading partner with them. The cognitive dissonance – it burns.

    1. Pate

      I guess nato is an economic bloc. But as for Germany in some sense doesn’t the US “own” Germany – wasn’t Germany “captured”. As in some manner of military occupation. I used to joke that it is better to be captured – then you can have social democracy like free health care and labor unions etc. i suppose all of this (the military presence and the economic entanglements) is being tested now as the new Silk Road and cheap nat gas beckons

      1. John

        NATO is simply a cover for US policy, desires, and ambitions. As a purported military alliance, it has no meaning any more, if it ever did.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          NATO became important again when Bush couldn’t get the UN’s endorsement for the Iraq invasion. No Security Council veto for Russia or China in NATO.

    2. Susan the other

      Cake and Eat Too. Macron actually tried to act as if he, France, could negotiate with Russia without the US. Maybe more in an effort to communicate that all was not well within NATO. But Lavrov instantly shot him down with the reality that unless the US agreed with Macron’s diplomacy there could be no agreement with Macron’s proposals. Even though France has been a reticent member of NATO. Because NATO is the US. Maybe the UK too. I think that Scott Ritter is giving the US too much sympathy – why on earth would NATO be allowed to survive in name only? It’s a total mess. Maybe there is no protocol for formally dissolving a military alliance that is pointless — so now’s a good time to construe one. Maybe on the grounds that once the threat no longer exists or is no longer solvable by military means the pact no longer exists.

      1. Susan the other

        Presidents come and go. Sarkozy was more than happy to join in when it came to bombing the crap out of Libya and making a big show out of killing Ghadafi. That bit of good old fashioned French chauvinism was one of the most obscene things I have ever seen. And Macron’s sincerity might be questionable since he welcomed NATO in Mali. And he was happy enough to see Syria be bombed into rubble until it came to accepting Syrian refugees, then it was all Germany and Italy’s responsibility. NATO really looks like a den of opportunists. The only reason the Allies are conflicted now, and a good one, is that they are going to have to pay a high price for their membership in both energy costs and possibly some accidental bombings.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Also Qaddafi had accumulated a boat load of gold and silver to set up a currency to rival French currency in North Africa. That is why France went all in to smash Libya. And that gold and silver? It disappeared after all those attacks.

  4. Blue Duck

    Re: shoplifting crisis

    This stands out to me as a symptom of the economic crisis that is currently boiling beneath the surface of American society.

    Another symptom that was strangely underreported was that Q4 2021 saw the biggest quarterly increase in credit card debt in history.

    The economy is really sick and the symptoms are becoming worse and more obvious.

    1. timbers

      Yes. “Third World” kept going thru my brain as I read that. So far things delivered to my house door steps have not gone missing. How long will that last? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

    2. Wukchumni

      Not only do brick & mortar retailers lose the cost of items pilfered, they miss out on profit, too. Not to mention the extreme cost in closing down a location where shoplifting is out of control.

      I’ve seen Wal*Marts in less than savory locales where about 1/4 of the store is behind locked glass, similar to the locked up toothpaste @ Walgreen’s in the Big Apple that Al Sharpton commented on.

      Amazon apparently has very stringent anti-theft measures in their warehouses, which gives them a tremendous advantage over traditional retailers, probably as much as when no sales tax used to be collected on online sales by the behemoth, giving them an instant approx 10% edge.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The anti-theft measure consists of searching knapsacks and purses of everyone leaving. Maybe pat downs too. That means workers suffer >15 minutes of unpaid time to wait for ht exit search. Amazon went to the Supreme Court to have the right not to pay workers while detaining them.

    3. anon y'mouse

      and yet the talking heads were all saying that people were sitting on their fat stimmy checks and refusing to go back to work, and that the savings rates could never be higher.

      go figure

    4. Mikel

      Except the story is describing an organized crime issue. There are already stiff laws and lunishment for that…and assault, armed robbery, and vandalism….
      Look really closely at what the prision industrial complex is trying to label as shoplifting. Lots of money on keeping ridiculoos jail sentences for minor crimes.

      1. Mikel

        “lunishment”…er, Punishent.
        And maybe they don’t want to do some serious work on their organized crime laws because that could lead to stiffer sentences for a more wealthy segment of criminal….

          1. Mikel

            Yeah, mind outracing the fingers. I’ve switched to the laptop instead of the phone.
            Plus I get the edit screen on the laptop.

      2. Eclair

        And, a bit off-topic, but know that Washington State Department of Corrections website now has an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement statement.

        Kind of, we stole your land and we are really really sorry that this has led to your people being impoverished, marginalized, demonized, drug-addicted (whoops, there’s a felony!) …. all leading to your people having a higher incarceration rate (along with the descendants of all those ex-slaves) than us victorious White People!

        Gosh, in terms of temerity, scope and sheer bravado, the theft of an entire Continent makes shoplifting at Walmart and CVS look downright …. amateurish.

          1. JBird4049

            Want to bet that like with Black Lives Matter, this will lead to nothing, other than some outsized grifts?

            The natives will still be the most isolated, poorest, most marginalized, and incarcerated people around. But hey, there will be some cool signs and slogans acknowledging this!

            1. lance ringquist

              clintonites have infiltrated every nook and cranny of america: $60M of the $90M raised by the #BlackLivesMatter national org in 2020 remains undistributed & unaccounted for

              here is BLM number one priority:


              1. Convict and ban Trump from future political office

              trump did not jail minorities at record rates, that was nafta billy clinton.

              trump reversed some of nafta billy clintons assault on minorities.

              BLM number 1 priority should be to reverse nafta billy clintons and nafta joes crime bill

              sounds like BLM has been infiltrated by nafta democrats, who also like to loot



              Briahna Joy Gray

              $60M of the $90M raised by the #BlackLivesMatter national org in 2020 remains undistributed & unaccounted for. And the organization now has no official leader. Watch investigative reporter @Sean_Kev explain what he found when he followed the money.


    5. Noone from Nowheresville

      Read the article, I don’t think the media should be using the term shoplifting. Shoplifting sounds like a crime of the individual. This sounds like organized crime from the boosters at the individual stores to the warehousing of the products to online sale of the products.

      WUK: Funny how Amazon has very stringent anti-theft measures in their warehouses and yet they are one of the third-party marketplaces which allows sales of these stolen products. In a sense, Amazon is directly undercutting all of their competitors by making extraordinary profits off of their third-party marketplace via high fees as well as by the sale of physical as well as intellectual stolen property.

    6. Maritimer

      Shoplifting reaches crisis proportions Axios
      Wow, that is truly alarming. But, fortunately, there is a very easy solution: just have a huge bailout of the Shoplifters like they did with the $700 billion bailout of financial criminals in 2008. Problem solved! Nancy Pelosi still there to grease the dollar wheels.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “US nuclear power plants contain dangerous counterfeit parts, report finds”

    Well that’s not good. That is like the story that came out a few years ago how dodgy spare aircraft parts were rife in the market – and then it came out that they found a few in Air Force One. Come to think of it, every part that goes into an aircraft has a tracked history. Is this not true of nuclear plants as well? So if you have a water pump shaft in a nuclear plant, by looking up it’s ID, should you not be able to see its entire history from manufacture to installation and any maintenance performed on it? Something tells me though that this does not happen with a nuclear power pant. Come to think of it, I bet that this is an international problem and France should pay attention. Macron has just announced that the French nuclear industry will build as many as 14 new nuclear reactors so I hope they pay attention to what gear goes in-.

    1. upstater

      You are absolutely right about traceability in aviation and nuclear. In the melting and forging of superalloys we had 700+ parameters that were individually tracked and signed off by process engineers, supervisors, labs and production workers. The the parts manufacturer adds even more layers.

      When something failed both electronic and paper records were exhaustively reviewed. I cannot remember records disappearing or improperly signed off. Audits were done in-process and completely before shipping. If something was nonconforming, it was very expensive scrap.

      Either those responsible for receipt and installation at the plants didn’t bother to examine the certifications or the counterfeiters are very sophisticated. Quite a problem… but not surprising, given these times…

      1. Bob

        Near here years back a piping fabrication plant was caught “adjusting” X Ray photos of weldments with a pencil to coverup weld defects. Much of the piping was for nuke plants.

        I suspect that the “adjustments” were part and parcel of a manufacture efficiency drive from management. Far more cost effective to falsify than to do real work. And it would not be surprising if the same sort of behavior was common with aircraft parts.

        Further this is the same sort of behavior seen in recent years with a large west coast bank where associates were browbeaten into ensuring that each customer had eight account/services. Remember “Eight is Great”?

        The point is that management can create a series of goals / expectations so unrealistic so that they can only be met by “adjustments”.

        1. Jessica

          The point is that management can create a series of goals / expectations so unrealistic so that they can only be met by “adjustments”.

          This is exactly the problem that the Soviet Union faced from Stalin onward. Top leaders would compete to make exaggerated promises, then the regions and individual plants had to come up with ways to make it seem that they had met the impossible 5-Year Planning targets.

        2. upstater

          I should’ve added my comment was based on the early to mid 1990s when employed in that industry. They would sell billet or bars to parts suppliers who in turn supplied the engine makers. There were regular audits by both.

          In the 2000s FAA compliance was outsourced to the industry. Didn’t Clinton call this “reinventing government”? Self certification by Boeing had tragic consequences. A whole different culture exists in that industry.

      2. Robert Hahl

        Sometimes “counterfeit” just means an ordinary part was fabricated by a competent but unauthorized person. I once had a 1950’s vintage Beach Bonanza with a shimmy in the front wheel. Two bushings from the company were going to cost $400. An experienced Bonanza owner literally told me to hold his beer, while he made them by cutting two appropriate pieces off a length of 1″ pipe. Easy peasy.

        1. juno mas

          I don’t think that a wobbly wheel on a small (2-person?) private aircraft is comparable to using “homemade” parts in a nuclear power plant. And if it had the “innovative” vee tail you’re lucky to be able to talk about it ;)

        2. John Beech

          Still have a Bonanza and you’re right, an owner fabricated part is 100% OK with the FAA. FWIW, I recently purchased a set of magnesium elevator skins. Paid $6000 for the two sets new in the crate. Why? In part because they’re prone to corrosion damage and unlike the ailerons, the skins can’t be replaced with aluminum (like for the Baron). That, and because they’re actually made of unobtanium. That’s right, Beechcraft is no longer making them available new at ‘any’ price. Point being, for lack of a die stamped piece of thin magnesium my aircraft could become grounded and destined to become parts for other aircraft. So I happily ponied up $6k to have them in the parts bank for ‘just in case’. And note; did you know Beech is now owned by Textron? Yup, the owner of Cessna as well. As for Lycoming and Continental, now owed by AVIC (the Chinese). Same folks as own Cirrus.

  6. Just An Analog Girl

    The John Denver/elephant video brought tears to my eyes (and even a few sobs). How touching. Thank you!

      1. newcatty

        Yes! It really brightened my morning. It was irresistible to smile and be delighted. A reminder of the good and beautiful still in the world.

  7. YuShan

    “The Fed Should Pick ‘Boomflation’ Over a Recession”

    They would say that, wouldn’t they? We know these “booms”. Elites want to keep their stocks and property bubbles while main street gets further priced out and sees the fruits of their labor eroded at an even higher pace.

    What we really need is a bit of, yes, deflation at this point to finally rebalance the economy back to normality. Property prices and stock/ bond markets should finally be allowed to fall back to historical norms. A recession every few years is good. We need to weed out the bad debt and zombies in time, so that destructive bubbles cannot form. If you cannot survive with interest rates above the level of inflation, then you really have no genuine business but are a consumer of capital.

    And no, if markets fall because of interest rates rising back to normal levels, the losses are not caused by these interest rate rises. The losses were already incurred when the misallocation of that invested capital happened. These losses are already baked in the cake. They merely get exposed when markets normalize. Deal with them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Deflation? I have wondered about that. Haven’t got the financial chops to say how that would work out in practice but I do wonder from time to time how that would play out. Maybe it would be enough to push mobs like Uber out of existence. Nearly all my life all I have heard about was inflation and being on the receiving end of bouts of it was not a pleasant time. But I have heard that the Feds do have an absolute horror of deflation. And maybe it could mop up the trillions of dollars sloshing its way around the world and distorting markets no end.

      1. Wukchumni

        Aside from HD TV’s which seemingly only ever go down in price, everything in a strictly fiat economy is inflationary, and when it’s a slow grind like say gasoline, we hardly notice.

        In 1966 you could buy 80 gallons of gas for $20, now you’ll have to be content with 4 gallons for the same amount, a 95% loss in value over just 3 generations!

        A $30k home bought in 1966 in LA is worth a million now, same amount of long term fiat inflation as gas.

        It’s a time like now when inflation is a clear and present danger and everybody can see that most foodstuffs have gone up 20-30% recently, not to mention the price of used cars going up by the same amount if not more.

        1. TomDority

          With all the talk of increased demand that is causing inflation — one wonders how food prices have gone up so much — did we all start eating much more or did the already “food insecure” (I prefer the poor hungry majority) have a shot at buying enough food?

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            A certain amount of inflation is due to what I call opportunity inflation. Producers raise their prices under the cover of general inflation even as their input costs have not risen as much. The end result is higher profits for the producers which is shown in recent earnings reports. “boomflation” will be a disaster for the average American, but a godsend to upper income types who own the vast majority of assets that are inflated to ever higher values.

            1. cnchal

              > Producers raise their prices under the cover of general inflation even as their input costs have not risen as much.

              My material cost has doubled in eighteen months. To cover most of that increase I raised my price by two bucks. Retail then raises the price to the end customer by four bucks.

              Governments love inflation. They now collect sales tax on four bucks of inflation per unit sold that wasn’t being collected before my material costs doubled.

    2. kramer

      Why must we choose? The Fed can unload any assets bought to buoy stocks and we could raise capital gains tax rates as well as restoring high tax rates on very high incomes. We could at the same time increase the individual tax exemption, raise the Child tax credit, and earned income credit. Basically apply brakes on the sources of income for the wealthy and apply the gas pedal for income sources that are near universal.

      1. GramSci

        Thank you! But policy wonks want to protect their class/status perqs, so they’ll only tinker at the edges with ineffective, non-radical “reforms”.

        It won’t pass Congresses this session, so the ideas @kramer proposes are “unrealistic”.

    3. juanholio

      The problem with that, is, even if it didn’t cause cascading global economic collapse, it will be a gift to “vulture capital” and insiders who have been forewarned. They will be short all the way down, and use those profits to hoover up distressed property from regular folks who weren’t able to hedge the decline.

        1. juanholio

          I’d wager that the flawed system we’ve got is way better for all of us than global economic collapse.

          1. tegnost

            Considering that you do not work in any of these fields…
            “work in an office, store, call center, restaurant or drive a cab.”
            I find your acceptance of this flawed system unsurprising.

    4. eg

      These “normal levels” of interest rates are what, exactly?

      The natural rate of interest for a fiat currency is zero — anything above that has to be “defended” by the central bank via open market operations or interest payments on balances held at the central bank.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Zero with a positive rate of inflation is a massive negative real interest rate and provides huge incentive for leveraged financial speculation. I suggest you rethink your claim.

    1. clarky90

      “There’s something going on here that’s actually quite disturbing, in terms of splintered realities and lack of a shared narrative,” Sanjana Hattotuwa, who monitors extremism and misinformation in New Zealand for Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Disinformation Project, told Newsroom.”

      An excellent example of NewSpeak and Widdershins (Black magik where the Spell is, “turn reality inside out and upside down.”

      There IS (definately!), something going on here (In New Zealand) that IS definately (!) quite disturbing, in terms of splintered realities and lack of a shared narrative…….

      The NZ Mainstream Media is funded by the “Labour (haha)” Government with copious amounts of “Instant Money”. It “spins” like a well-trained circus poodle.

      I was part of a peaceful protest against the NZ mandates in Balclutha (small rural nz town) a few weeks ago. Literally, every second car tooted support, or thumbs up. We had only one visibly Anti respnse in 90 minutes.

      The average house price in NZ is now One Million Dollars. Homelessness is increasing. The young people who do own houses, are massively in debt, peobably for ever? Shame…..shame…..shame…

      ……..Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford will be tying the knot (now called off) at the farm homestead at Nick’s Head Station at Muriwai, owned by USAian hedge fund billionaire John Griffin and his wife Amy, who reportedly also own the most expensive townhouse in New York worth USD$77.1 million (NZD$113 million)…….

      hmmm, a USA hedge fund billionaire? NZ politics are looking a lot like USA politics.

      1. clarky90

        NZ Freedom Convoy Is Here To Stay
        Live streaming

        Wellington, New Zealand

        We have had so many music festivals; cancelled, sporting festivals; cancelled, weddings; cancelled, funerals; cancelled, food/wine festivals; cancelled…….

        It is still summer in NZ. Next week’s weather is Good! (warm and sunny). I expect more and more people will gather for celebration, community, food, music, dancing, laughter, discussions…..

        (I never, ever say “conversation”. “Young man, we need to have a serious conversation about your B- in Latin!”)

        Our NZ government is trying to shut this down…but, The Dreaded Streisand Effect.

        This is the Neo-Woodstock Festival! one for the history books

        1. Greg

          We also have nfi why NZ rates of spread of covid have been lower than expectations and international trends, persistently across variants. I’ve talked to a few of the scientists involved in tracking the pandemic locally, and they haven’t found good correlations for any putative causes of the lower spread. It’s not that NZers are better at NPIs, or more vaxxed, or just counter-cyclical seasons…

          This “lucky” aspect of NZ’s covid experience has allowed the proliferation of all the anti-vax and pro-“let her rip” messaging, because no-one here has seen the bad side that is experienced elsewhere.
          Until we have even a basic theory for the reduced spread in NZ, let her rip is crazy. But mah freedoms.

          I find your theory that this specific government funds all media (and not the governments prior or following) to be quite interesting. Especially given the long term trend for media to support National led governments at all opportunities (when they’re not falling apart so publicly that its impossible, that is), and the explicit ownership by Murdoch et al of much of the media.

          1. clarky90

            Hi Greg

            From The NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage

            “The $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund will support New Zealand’s media to continue to produce stories that keep New Zealanders informed and engaged, and support a healthy democracy. The $55 million package will be made up of $10 million in 2020/21, $25 million in 2021/22 and $20 million in 2022/23.

            The Public Interest Journalism Fund will provide transitional support to media organisations…..”


            When one pays attention, there is not much difference between National (so called Conservative), Labour (so called working class), The Greens (so called conservationists), and ACT (so called libertarians).

            “While many Kiwis face the prospect of never owning a home thanks to skyrocketing house prices, only a handful of MPs don’t own a property….”


            In spite of constant weasel words “what about the children?, sob sob”, or “oh oh, what about the poor, homeless, hungry?…..sob, sob”.

            National AND Labour’s, economic policies, for the last 20 years, have been laser-focused on increasing the values of propertry portfolios (both locally and internationally owned).

            “The national average asking price for a home in January, means that house prices have more than doubled over the past 10 years to more than $1 million.”


            IMO, possibly, the plan is to make NZ an expensive, exclusive Gated Community (Country-Klub) for Hedge Fund Billionaires and their attending celebrities, entertainers, personel trainers, chefs……..?

            This is what my eyes are seeing…..? I wish/hope that I am wrong.

            1. Greg

              There is a lot there I agree with.

              There is no major policy difference between the centre-left and the centre-right in NZ, with the exception that the right flavour lowers taxes for the wealthy, and the left flavour argues about it while not actually raising them again. The net gain for the hoi-polloi is negative in any case.

              I don’t think $55m in funding for public journalism is the same as the government funding all journalism. That’s just not very much money, on the scale of running a large organisation or three, and it’s not that different to the continued funding of public media that has been part of NZ government spending since budgets were a thing. It has different flavour text but that gets changed by every government based on their campaign promises.
              If I was going to point a finger at a driver of norms in the media in the 21st century, I’d be looking at the effectively tiny echo chamber of twitter that journalists hang out in with politicians and a few wealthy home owners.

              You won’t find any argument from me about the sick [family blog] that is the NZ housing market. It’s the most bald-faced class and generational theft we’ve seen in a long time, and both major parties are complicit. The two parties are also openly complicit in minimalising the parliamentary influence of small parties and true proportional representation by maintaining the 5% threshold despite all evidence against its democratic usefulness. I personally believe this is a major impediment to changing the direction of neoliberal centre-party policy.

              Where we differ is that I don’t see the transformative nature of half a hundred munters making a mess of the parliamentary lawn without any effective power or demands. It’s just occupy for southlanders, it’s pointless and performative.
              I would never suggest violence, but the reserve bank and treasury are just across the road and do more harm than the kindergartners in parliament.

          2. clarky90

            Re; “This “lucky” aspect of NZ’s covid experience…”

            IMO, the Government’s response in early 2020 was spot on. They shut our borders. I fully supported that. We had no idea of what we were up against.

            But, two years later, the wild-wuhan virus is extinct. The scary Delta strain is extinct. And we are left with Omicron…… A new bug that the injections (not “jabs”) were never designed to treat. duh

            Jacinda told us that everybody who wanted to be injected with Pfizer, could be. I fully supported that.

            But, then she mandated that the Un-Injected could not eat out, work, go to a gym, go to church, fly, attend university …….This is tyranny, masquerading as “public health”.

            1. Greg

              Personal opinion, but I see a point some time around the start of 2021 where NZ stopped making covid policy for New Zealanders and just started implementing whatever the US and UK were doing.
              We’ve done some bloody weird things that don’t make sense in the local context or timeline since then, and the (pointless) mandates were just one of them.

              1. Basil Pesto

                Yep, straya the same though I date it to mid 2021

                I suspect I’m younger than you blokes but my observation in my < 20 years as an adult is that our political culture is hopelessly and thoughtlessly imitative of the US and UK. Can’t imagine it’s that different in NZ

                Delta’s not extinct btw

                1. Greg

                  That could be right – two wee ones and no sleep makes it all a bit timey wimey for me so my sense of when things were could be well off.

                  We seem to go through phases of doing uniquely kiwi things in government, then we go back to the tried and true “whatever the poms or yanks are up to, but more and faster”.

                  Being too small to have serious checks and balances in governance has upsides and downsides.

    2. marym

      Protesters moved their vehicles in the morning, as requested by cops. A group of protesters continue blocking the bridge.

  8. cnchal

    > Amazon Delivery Drivers Can Be Fired for Peeing in Bottles Vice.

    No. This headline is idiotic. Amazon delivery drivers can be fired for leaving the full pee bottles behind.

    It is totally accepted and expected that Amazon delivery drivers pee in bottles or she-wees.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe all Amazon delivery vans can be out fitted with a hole in the floor where the driver sits. Then Amazon delivery drivers could simply put their old fellow into one end of a hose with the other end of the it goes through that hole. Problem solved. Female delivery drivers would probably have to use an adapter though.

      1. The Historian

        Why? Machines don’t pee and it is obvious that Amazon doesn’t consider its employees as human. To Amazon, they shouldn’t be peeing in the first place.

      2. Samuel Conner

        Nah; just need a Foley catheter and a bag strapped to the ankle.

        Of course, if those are left in too long, they can become infection sites. Perhaps the materials scientists will solve that problem with antibacterial materials to coat onto the catheter surfaces.

        The people working on brain/machine interfaces are missing the low-hanging fruit. We need machine/body interfaces that will allow people to work 16/7 without need to pause for bodily functions. Perhaps inspiration will be taken from Fremen stillsuits.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Would you believe that America’s first astronauts had to deal with the same problem? Al Shepherd had to pee in his suit and because he was laying on his back, it pooled there. Engineers had forgotten about this possibility as the flight was only suppose to take a few minutes. Unaccounted for were the hours of prepping, getting strapped into the capsule, delays, etc. So until the suits could be modified, the next two astronauts had to use a high-tech solution. Condoms as it turned out. But to keep them in place, they had to wear women’s panty hose. As a solution it worked well enough but the astronauts griped that it had a helluva grip around the crotch.

          1. Pookah Harvey

            Maybe Bezos can make a Russian Cosmonaut ritual legal in the US for Amazon drivers . The first man in space. Yuri Gagarin, had to stop and relieve himself on the back wheel of the bus that was taking him to the launch pad in 1961. That stop has been replicated at every launch from the Baikonur launch pad ever since, where male Cosmonauts pee on the rear right-hand tire.
            This ritual is in danger as the new Russian space suit design does not include a fly.

    2. Stick'Em

      Late stage capitalism dictates all Amazon drivers have their kidneys removed and sold on the website as a prerequisite to being hired. This way drivers won’t make any pee on their delivery runs fueled by drinking the endless vat of energy drinks it takes to make it through the day without taking a break. Problem solved.

      1. Skunk

        And they must agree to buy an Amazon-developed set of kidneys on credit to replace the extracted one. If they default, immediately call in the repo men.

    3. juanholio

      Even if I had to pee in a bottle, I would still prefer to work as an Amazon van driver, than work in an office, store, call center, restaurant or drive a cab.

      1. Pelham

        Good point I hadn’t thought of. Amazon delivery may be miserable in several ways, but at least you’re out and about and have some degree of autonomy. Plus you don’t have to deal much with the current wave of outsized nastiness sweeping the broader consuming public — something I continue to find mystifying and inexcusable.

      2. cnchal

        > . . . or drive a cab.

        I used to do that. It is an addictive jawb, freedom to roam, met many nice people and a few nasty ones too. It was fun while it lasted. Never had to pee in a bottle though.

        The choice is pee in the bottle or you’re fired.

        According to drivers, it’s not technically Amazon who is firing the workers for peeing in bottles. Amazon delivery drivers are technically employed by contractors, known as Amazon delivery service partners, who fire workers for leaving behind pee bottles. Still, Amazon controls delivery drivers’ routes, package quotas, and the terms of their employment, and Amazon plays a direct role in leaving drivers with few options other than to pee in bottles.

        Under pressure to deliver hundreds of packages during 10 hour shifts, Amazon’s drivers need to make every second on their shift count in order to avoid termination. Many drivers skip, or are denied, 30-minute lunch and 15-minute rest breaks. And instead of spending time locating a bathroom and parking, which can set a driver behind schedule, as Motherboard has previously reported, a driver will pee in a cup, bag, bottle, or she-wee, a pee contraption for females, in the back of their van.

        The Amazon standard setting continues. All else have to pee in bottles less they fall behind and get eaten by Amazon. How soon before an innovative van maker includes a built in urinal and she wee option and sells it as improving productivity?

        The next story is Amazon drivers are fired for leaving bags of crap in the van, as if that hasn’t happened already. Amazon sets the pace on the road to dystopia.

          1. cnchal

            > . . . the company sound like a corporate sociopath.

            The other week they grifted a million or so to the black caucus, buying politicians on the cheap so that when anti-trust takes aim, Amazon has human shields in place.

            Amazon sports a 150% annual churnover rate in the brightly lit satanic mills. The working conditions are inhumane. Corporate psychopath fails to describe the cruelty of Amazon.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Some of Amazon’s road to dystopia is paved by all the ( our ) taxpayer money given to Amazon for various computer and data contracts, to be sure.

          But the rest of Amazon’s road to dystopia is paved by every eager purchase made by every loyal customer and Prime Member.

          I have still avoided buying “thing one” from Amazon as of this moment.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Amazon is a sadistic company.

        I worked in a call center for a summer in college. It was mainly kinda boring but certainly not horrible. Part of the summer I did telemarketing (before that was A Thing, for a legitimate product) so people took calls and were polite about saying no. Later I did survey research, calling law firms. That was not too bad.

        Depends on what you are calling about or if you are receiving calls (like at a credit card company or bank or help desk). I would do that rather than drive all day. Driving is physically dangerous and you forget that Amazon puts its drivers under crazy time pressure, often forcing them to break speed limits. And sitting in a vehicle is hard on my body. In a call center, you are wearing a headset and can get up, stretch, take/make calls while standing.

        1. Betty

          The other day I held open the door to the building’s lobby so the Amazon driver could pull in his outrageous load of boxes. The couldn’t stop thanking me. I realized he was probably almost running behind the clock, and I had given him a couple of extra seconds. And I suddenly realized I was participant in this violent management-labor relationship. THIS IS INSANITY.

  9. timbers

    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement…following talks with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss

    Word is Lavrov is planning an official visit to Washington. Some of his prepared comments will be along the lines of…

    “Russia is here to tell it’s Latin American allies Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua bordering the Great Lakes Region and Ontario that we are here to help you in your security from outside threats.”

    He will also again emphasize Russia will never recognize the United States annexation of the North American west coast and demand she withdraw all California residents from Alaska region close to Russia’s borders including her troops and Christopher Columbus’ ships the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria back to the original 13 colonies located in Spain.

    Lavrov will also announce Russia will be opening a brand new embassy to the United States in London, which report directly to the Queen of England – the true constitutional head of the United States.

    When translations are given of United States replies he will multi-task on his iPhone taking care of business back home.

  10. zagonostra

    >Canadian Truckers

    NC links/reports on Canadian Freedom Convoy and related protests could have just as easily been placed under “Class Warefare.” Recently in links there was a story from Unheard titled “How the Left Beytrayed the Truckers” that I thought was very important from a historical perspective.

    I have always considered myself in some sense a “Leftist” to the extent that it captured a class analysis that was developed going all the way back to Marx’s merging of French thinkers like Saint-Simon, Fouier, Rousseau, British economist like Adam Smith, Ricardo, Maltus, and of course German ideal philosphers like Fichte, Hegel, Feaurbach. And then, incorporating Freudian analysis in the late 19th and 20th century. But now what really brought home how this tradition has been – I’m looking for the right word – maybe, petrified, adulterated, comfortably marginalized, I don’t know. I do know that the “Left” has reacted to most significant grassroot uprising completely wrong.

    What drove home the point, if any additional points were needed, is a live stream interview that Jimmy Dore had with one of my favorite economist, Richard Wolff. I have been following on and off Wolff for almost a decade, since the 2008 financial crash. Aside from Michael Hudson, I found his explanation the most compelling. And I still do to an extent. However, Wolff’s has become myopic. In the interview – and I hope JD post it even though the live chat was overwhelmingly against what Wolff was saying and the “thumbs up” number was the lowest I have ever seen – it couldn’t have been any more painfully obvious.

    Wolff’s responded to the question of what he thought about the Truckers. He said he was glad that they were finally getting together as a collective force to protest. However, their objectives were defective. They should be protesting for more pay, better working conditions, and economically related goals. He was actually dismissive the only two goals that were clearly articulated by the Truckers: end the mandates and remove vaccine passports. The way he did this is was by, I think unconsciously verging away from the Trucker’s objectives and continuously going back to an economic analysis.

    I have many friends and family members, some living in Canada supporting and denouncing what is going on. What this completely clear to anyone who has been following this event is that it is NOT economic in nature. The impetus is the innate human impulse to be free. Freedom. This is only tangentially related to vaccines, 90% of Truckers are vaccinated. Wolff is a hammer and everything out there that is happening in the world is a nail. Forget that there are actual religiously oriented people that are coming at this from a very specific interpretation of their belief system. Forget that there are issues that cut to bone questions of civil liberties and the rationalization that all countries have to acknowledge on the role of governments in balancing whole over the wishes of a minority; or you could flip it around and say the Elites and the 99%’s.

    These are real concerns that people have that color what they think of Canadian Trucker protests. What is so disappointing is seeing the Left flail uselessly, impotently and you could even say contemptuously, in their response to the Canadian Freedom Convoy and protest as are happening right this moment in Canberra, Australia, Paris, and other countries.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this comment. Much to ponder. ‘The One and the Many’, the individual and the collective, freedom and authoritarianism. A balance needs to be struck, for example ‘majority rule and minority rights’. The modern ‘left leaders’ have lost that sense of balance, imo. (Or maybe the ‘left’ has its own PMC class of Uni grads clinging to their place in a political sphere that’s changing.)

    2. sd

      Umm , this doesn’t square with the origin of the truckers protest which was economic – mandatory quarantine after crossing the border. As owner operators, this would have restricted their ability to make a livelihood. NC covered this in the recent article.

      The protest then morphed into something else however the origin was very much economic.

      1. JEHR

        I do not see the mandates as economic in origin. The mandates are put into place to protect the part of the population who suffers the most in this pandemic; i.e., the elderly, the people with co-morbidities, and those with immunocompromised immune systems. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can spread the virus but the unvaccinated people can carry a greater load of virus to spread to other people which can make them sicker. This analysis comes from what I have heard scientists say about covid-19. Mandates are not issued primarily to keep the economy going but the mandates’ secondary result is that having people not get sick and not dying is helpful to the keep the economy moving while keeping the healthcare system able to take care of the sick and dying.

        It appears that some people do not often think about those who are most impacted from the virus. Sad to say.

        1. Big River Bandido

          This analysis comes from what I have heard scientists say about covid-19

          At least you disclosed your reliance on hearsay. There are trusted scientists and commenters here whose testimony on these matters is credible — and completely at odds with yours. Since the vaccines are non-sterilizing and thus lull people into a false sense of security — causing even more contagion — your entire narrative is a fail.

          Like every other government policy in the West (especially the USA), the mandates are meant to serve “the economy” Big Business, and nothing else. They are a pathetic fig leaf for a failed strategy of “all vax and nothing else”.

          1. JEHR

            My reliance was not on hearsay but on the doctors who have been assisting our politicians to make the right decisions for keeping more people alive and for recovering the economy ; e.g. Dr. Bogoch

            Bogoch on Convoy of Truckers.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          No, you have bought into the overhyping of the vaccines, which we have repeatedly debunked. They do not protect others from contagion, only some under wild type, barely under Delta (and more that offset by abandonment of masking by many vaccinated) and not at all with Omicron. In keeping, a major peer-reviewed study pre-Omicron (which escapes the vaccines better than Delta) found zero correlation between vaccination levels and Covid case counts.

          Unvaccinated do not carry a higher viral load. Even the CDC admitted that IIRC in August.

          Peak viral load and peak contagion occurs in the upper respiratory system. The vaccine does not fight infection there. The virus gets at the periphery of the immune system. It’s only when it’s pretty well established when antibodies kick in and clear it before the worst damage occurs. That is after peak viral shedding.

      2. zagonostra

        Can you provide a link to corroborate your statement. I have been following this uprising since day one when Truckers left BC on their 2,400 miles trip to Ottawa over a week ago. The source of the information I get is from Independent journalist live streaming on the ground interviewing the truckers themselves and RebelNews. I also follow Twitter post. This is the first time I have really used Twitter and I like it. I especially like following Jordan Peterson’s posts since he is a Canadian and I respect his views, though not always agreeing with them.

        Anyway, from day one my understanding is that it is absolutely about mandates and vaccine passports. I’d really appreciate you showing me where it says otherwise. Also please note that CBC and CTV are to be taken with a giant pillar of salt, they are , in my opinion akin go CNN and CNBC.

        1. marym

          It may well be true that truckers initiated a protest “absolutely about mandates and passports,” and others joined or consider themselves supporters on that issue.

          It’s also true in the US that conservative/libertarian/right-wing elites and influencers in politics, media, social media, funding, and grifting, are very explicit in encouraging rage and activism among the rank and file. I welcome discussions as to whether that’s similar in Canada, and other places where the current convoy-style protest is taking hold.

          Whether those elites and influencers have originated or merely jumped on the wagon of any given grievance, activists and observers need to consider where this involvement is potentially taking the movement and whose interests are being served.

      3. TrueF***Sam

        There is no quarantine requirement in Canada for vaccinated truckers. The quarantine requirement is a vaccine requirement – everyone understands that it is simply not viable to do cross-border trucking without being vaccinated with this change. So no, this does not seem to me something that can be termed an ‘economic’ protest.

        1. sd

          It’s right there in your link.

          As announced in November and as we’ve communicated with the industry recently, starting January 15, unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering Canada will need to meet requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day 8 testing, as well as quarantine requirements.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? What about “If you don’t get vaccinated you take a big economic loss” don’t you understand? Having to quarantine when you cross the border = going without income.

          Having said that, the correct public health policy is to make everyone quarantine when crossing the border, and it could be made shorter if they had a negative PCR test before crossing and one a few days after crossing. You wouldn’t get everyone but you’d get a very high % of positive cases this way.

    3. Aumua

      Apparently a good number of NC commentators have not read Lambert’s post ‘Thoughts on the Canadian Trucker “Freedom Convoys”’ very carefully, if at all. In it he make several salient points about the (libertarian) subtext of the word “freedom” these days, the ‘buffer class’ composition of the trucker protesters, the far right sentiments held by some of its self proclaimed leadership and the AstroTurfed, not grassroots appearance of it all. I would submit that if it’s not directly AstroTurfed then all one has to do is tune in to talk radio for a few days to see how people are being pushed and put up to all kinds of these “protest” actions that have little to do with real working class interests, and are in my opinion proto-fascist in nature.

      To be clear, I don’t think that everyone in the convoys is a white supremecist or anything, and I actually do admire some aspects of what they’re doing, and as also pointed out by Lambert, the weakness of the left here is quite glaring.

      That said Prof. Wolff should know better than to go on Jimmy Dore’s show these days.

        1. JEHR

          These are interesting links. However, I think the police have been very judicious and exemplary in their treatment of the protestors. No one wants to see violence erupt and if you read the tweets from Thomas Daigle, a Canadian journalist, you can see how the police are treating the protestors and maneuvering their actions. So far, they have done very well to limit the number of protesters and to do it peacefully. I applaud them

      1. zagonostra

        I didn’t know that the Truckers had any “leadership” or hierarchal structure, or organizational designs. I got the impression it was mainly an organic movement of independent truckers; the main trucking companies and Teamsters opposing it.

        As to your “opinion” that it is “pro-fascist in nature” I have to disagree based on what I know. But as you said many NC commentators have not read Lambert’s post, though I saved the link and intend to do so when time permits I admit I am one; perhaps my view will change after I do read it.

          1. flora

            Eastern European countries seem worried about the drift in Western European countries. They’re only 30 years, one generation away from that sort of history. Perhaps they’re oversensitive… or not.

              1. orlbucfan

                This may be a bit off topic but it needs to be brought up. There are folks here in the States who are genuinely, seriously allergic to a lot of common vaccines. I know one. She hates it, but she has had life-threatening reactions to common sterilizing vaccines. So, she is beyond careful with Covid. She follows the other precautions religiously.

            1. Basil Pesto

              certainly it’s hard to imagine the soviet union (or indeed the west of the time) would have dithered, procrastinated and bullshitted in the face of a SARS pandemic as the west of today has

        1. Zagonostra

          I know what the prefix proto means, I still reject your surmise. I did read Lambert’s post just now, and I am struck by how similar his analysis is to that of Richard Wolff’s and they both offer much to think about and a valuable perspective that is solidly based on class analysis. But, I think they both missed something vitally important.

          My thumbs typing would not do justice to what that something is, but hope to be able to articulate it in future Lambert posts on the subject. I am sure he will have much more to say as events unfold.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Exactly. There’s been an intense, concerted effort to hijack this set of protests. That hijacking effort is funded by and fueled by social “conservative” extremists, a very large number of whom are in the U.S., not Canada.

        There’s a twisted notion – flogged regularly here in comments – that if PMC snakes like Trudeau are in power, then every act against them is magically sanctified. The people engaged in those acts are regarded as righteous victims and utterly free of deceit.

        That is BS. Professional compost-stirrers like the Jordan Petersons and Steve Bannons of our world aren’t miraculously wash clean of sin whenever a slick Liberal or establishment Democrat holds office. Moreover, their contempt for regular, law abiding citizens is at least as great as that of smug establishment grifters like Trudeau. Treating their most recent cause célèbre like it’s the start of The Revolution(tm) is an armchair sport for commenters….. and a fundraising game for Bannon and the like.

        Meanwhile, in the real world, hundreds of women are in prison in Oklahoma because they did not magically keep someone from harming their kids while they were elsewhere. Over one out of every hundred OK residents is incarcerated, 20% of them for drug offenses*. “Offenses” which increasingly aren’t criminalized in other parts of the U.S. And nearly no one writes angry comments condemning these vicious practices, because their time and attention are entirely consumed by the latest Astroturf “uprising”.

        Fulminating over a passing middle class “movement” is far easier than focusing on the myriad ways we let the weakest among us get beaten down over and over again. And if you pay too much mind to real injustice, perpetrated against the truly defenseless, for decades, you might not be all cozy feeling after a brief spate of commenting.

        *(New Republic. Related link at bottom of page).

        1. Maritimer

          “Exactly. There’s been an intense, concerted effort to hijack this set of protests. That hijacking effort is funded by and fueled by social “conservative” extremists, a very large number of whom are in the U.S., not Canada.”
          Please factually support your statement.

          In the same totally unsupported vein:
          Canada protesters dig in with military-style proficiency France24 (Dr. Kevin)
          Hey France24, where’s the fact check:
          “Marcel Chartrand, a professor at the University of Ottawa, told AFP the protesters “appear to be getting some direction from groups in the United States.””

          “appear to be”, wow solid gold fact there. Also the “American funding”, guess France24 has access to the Truckers’ bank accounts. Previously, a Talkinghead for the Government Media, the Canadian Blather Corporation, suggested that the Russians were behind the Truckers because of the Ukraine. More solid fact Gold paid for by Uninjected Taxpayers among others.

          All of the above is, of course, just “making shit up”. Just a minute part of the huge Covid Propaganda Pile.

          As Joe Rogan has stated the MSM and Government Propaganda machines are just shut off by more and more people as they obstinately continue with their distortions, obfuscations, omissions, etc. News at 11? Not anymore.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            “Please factually support your statement.”

            The most even-handed and informative articles I have been able to find on the protest are from the Tampa Bay News, possibly because Canada news is of interest to the large snowbird population in Florida:


            The byline is from today. The piece covered the timeline of the protest, it’s geographic distribution, and the central status of Canada Unity early on in its development. The part of their coverage devoted to U.S. responses reads as follows:

            “In the United States, the protests have been cheered and promoted by Fox News personalities and former president Donald Trump, who issued a statement attacking “the harsh policies of far left lunatic Justin Trudeau who has destroyed Canada with insane COVID mandates.” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has called the truckers “heroes” and “patriots,” and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk also tweeted his support.”

            The article did only a modest job of illuminating how overwrought the response has been in the right wing U.S. media, but the details are accurate, which is a rare thing at present. They previously covered DeSantis’ use of the issue to gin up outrage:


            All the biggest right wing camera hogs in the U.S. are intensely focused on this foreign protest just now because it’s a handy stalking horse. Around the middle of this week the Democrat elite dropped all public mobilization efforts to fight this pandemic. They moved as swiftly as they could, and left our most prominent rage toads a bit flat-footed for half a media cycle.

            Now the Republican elite and their most rabid partisans have doubled down in support of like-minded conspiracy-grifters in Canada. In large part, I suspect, to keep the faithful in a state of disproportionate, self-absorbed rage. Can’t have them relaxing when the midterms are only 9 months away.

            If Republican leaders like Trump, DeSantis, and Cruz gave a rat’s patootie about freedom – real freedom in the U.S. of A. – they’d be exhibiting some concern about our ever-growing carceral state. They rarely do that however.

            I couldn’t help but note that you didn’t either.

            1. Gareth

              Fluffy, I don’t know if you are aware you do this or not, but you consistently try to derail threads by combining a brief response to the topic of discussion, such as the protests, with comments expressing your outrage about something else, such as the situation in Oklahoma. Then when someone responds to the part of your thread that is on topic, you scream “Gotcha!” because they did not engage you in the off-topic part of your response. You have no idea how Maritimer feels about the Oklahoma situation; you’ve got no data to go on. Attacking people for the views you attribute to them in your mind rather than the views they express is at best a waste of everyone’s time. At worst, it’s trolling. If you want to discuss Oklahoma, please start a new thread.

              1. FluffytheObeseCat

                Your right. Yves, Gareth, I apologize. I couldn’t find good links about the money per se, just some general coverage of the spinmeisters fueling the present uproar, and so I rattled on and snapped at Maritimer. My response was uninformative and inappropriate.

                Also, in respect to thread jacking, I am sorry; I definitely did so. As Gareth suggested, I should have made a separate comment about the Oklahoma link if I commented on it at all.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Gareth is right. Your comment was unresponsive to Maritimer. And you have a hell of a lot of misplaced venom.

              You are in moderation for past unwarranted nastiness to other commentors. One more like this and you will be blacklisted.

            1. Gareth

              Now let’s analyze.

              Your first link:

              CBC identifies 573 GoFundMe donations out of 6,600 analyzed as coming from abroad. The donations totaled $33,378. CBC refines the number by noting that it identified 322 of those donations, totaling $21,101, as coming from the United States. CBC does not give a total for the 6,600 donation it analyzed. Note that the GoFundMe had more than 120,000 donations and raised around $10 million.

              CBC breathlessly declares that more than 60% of the foreign donation came from the United States. However, CBC admits that it has no data for the other 114,000 donations that comprise more than 99.63% of the money raised. However, the reporter is quick to suggest that those donations could potentially come from the US.

              In short, nothing in the first article supports an assertion that foreign conservatives are funding a takeover of a Canadian protest movement. It might be possible to make an argument if they had data for the other donations, but they admit they don’t have that data. If we are generous and treat the analysis of 6,600 donations as a sample, then less than 5% of the donors would be American. What we’re reading is an effort to downplay the protests as a product of US interference, which is pretty sad when all they have to show us is $21,101 out of $10 million.

              Your second link:

              The article’s headline states that Trudeau says almost half of protestor’s funds are from the US. Note that we do not have an assertion of fact, just a “Trudeau says . . .”. Okay, lets go look at what he says:

              “We see that almost half of the funding through certain portals that is flowing to the barricaders here in Canada is coming from the United States,” he told reporters.

              No data from Trudeau is provided in the article to back this up, and we have the weasel words “through certain portals” that are not present in the headline. Where is Trudeau’s data from? How does “through certain portals” affect his calculations. For example, did he cherry pick one of the four fundraising methods to get there? Is he stating this because both GoFundMe and GiveSendGo are US based, which means you could technically say the money was coming from the US even when the vast majority of donations could be Canadian? Where did he get his information? The reporter should be asking to see the analysis. Financial flows between the US and Canada are not national security sensitive. An analysis can be made available to the public. In the end, the reporter asks us to accept Trudeau’s claim of nearly half of the money being foreign without any evidence other than the Trudeau’s say so. As with the first article, this article does not support the assertion that US conservatives are funding a takeover of the Canadian protests.

      3. eg

        Your interpretation reflects mine, Aumua. The self-proclaimed “leadership” of these demonstrators do not represent organizations sympathetic to the vast majority of issues and concerns typical of this site (in my experience).

    4. Carolinian

      Great comment although I don’t really know enough about the truckers to know what their motives are–and there may be many motives (and so what?). I’d say though that Taibbi got it right that it’s not about the truckers but about Trudeau and the crappy neoliberal leadership everywhere that is out of touch with ordinary people. Yves calls it Versailles. And how.

  11. TomDority

    RE: Army of Ukraine lobbyists behind unprecedented Washington blitz Responsible Statescraft

    “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” -George Orwell

    1. .human

      War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

      Fixed it for George.

    2. Maria

      No congressman should be allowed to vote for war, or defense funding, unless they have served in the military, or have a child doing so.

      Tulsi Gabbard and Ron DeSantis did, could and can become president/vice president.

      1. Tom Stone

        Simply make it a requirement that anyone running for Congress or the Presidency be required to work at a VA hospital as an orderly for six months before running for the office.
        Two months each in the burn ward, the amputee ward and the head trauma ward.
        I visited relatives in VA hospitals with my Mother growing up and she made sure we visited all of those wards and spent a few minutes talking to someone who had few or no visitors.

      2. Screwball

        Just so happens Tulsi is trending on Twitter. Why? She went on Tucker Carlson’s show and said the US could stop all this now if they say Ukraine will never become part of NATO. Of course the expected outrage equals Tulsi is a Russian asset. Who could have seen that coming? /s

        1. jr

          I once explained to a co-worker why if Hillary and Co. knew that Tulsi was a Putinite, as public officials etc. they had an obligation to let someone know exactly what they knew. Tulsi was a field grade officer in combat! Treason! Where were the reports to FBI etc.?

          Silence and confusion. Lady never talked to me again.

        1. flora

          I dunno. I think all the WEF’s young leader program grads – including Tulsi and Mayo Pete – represent the party of Davos. The party of Davos represents the neoliberal globalists, not any particular nation’s needs or polity, imo. It’s my quirk I’ve decided that I won’t vote for any of them, no matter how good they sound on the campaign trail. (And Tulsi does sound good.)

          1. flora

            Adding: the neo-liberal globalists are trying to de-center the importance of nation-states as primary and necessary to global corporations, whereas war re-centers the primary importance of nation-states, imo.

          2. Henry Moon Pie

            The Breakthrough Institute, the organization that lies behind The Economodernist Manifesto, has a similar program, and they even brag that some of their “grads” go on to the WEF.

            In running this down, I did come across an interesting essay by Bruno Latour about the Ecomodernists. His provocative close:

            As usual, those who fight against apocalyptic talk and catastrophism are the ones who are so far beyond doomsday that they seriously believe that nothing will happen to them and that they may continue forever, just as before. This is what makes Pope Francis’s Laudatio Si! so refreshing by comparison: it does take seriously what it means to live “at the end of time”, and in its redistribution of agency, it does add ‘our Sister, Mother Earth’.

            It struck me how similar Latour’s description of the Ecomodernists–they seriously believe that nothing will happen to them and that they may continue forever, just as before–and our elites’ dishing out “let ‘er rip” as the “new normal.”

            There is a deep, self-imposed blindness going on among the people who think they’re running things.

          3. juanholio

            A Venn diagram showing the crossover between people posting about “WEF” in 2022, and people who were posting “WWG1WGA” in 2020, would probably look like a single circle.

            1. flora

              Well, I had to look that up. Never heard of that last acro before. You’re calling me a Qnon supporter ? (whatever that is) ? lol.

              1. flora

                adding: maybe the official ‘left’s’ determination to pigeonhole every independent thought into some pre-ascribed category – instead of listening and responding to what people are saying – is part of their problem. Leftist AI? Yeah, that’ll work… / ;)

                1. juanholio

                  Independent thought? What’s so independent about regurgitating the latest right wing talking points you’ve picked up on Tucker or TAE, on here every day.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Tucker Carlson is a god who walks this earth (crosses self). Flora has got it right. This pigeonholing of thought bears more than a resemblance to Newspeak.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            Perhaps the party of Davos is trying to recruit potential talent by honoring them with public praise. It may work on some and not on others. I will continue voting for Gabbard at every opportunity for now, and voting against Bootedgedge at every opportunity.

  12. Michael

    Biden Axis of Evil =>

    Ukraine – China – Iran


    JB: I’m bored with Iran!! Gimme some options Winken-Blinken&Nod. Stay North of the big circle mind!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m sure Biden’s goal was a foreign policy win with no cost where he could look tough so everyone would stop being mean to him about Afghanistan and to stop calling Joe Manchin, the President. He was going to announce a deployment or NATO accession path with the Russians just taking it. Cuba and Iran were low hanging fruit with minimal concessions on our part given Trump and the Senate’s bipartisan behavior. Biden added his own loathsome nature requiring major US concessions. Americans are done with the Middle East. His sub deal is a loser. It kind ofndefeats the point of nuclear subs anyway. Blinken tried to form an anti-China bloc in Africa and was stunned to find out other countries expected something in return for kowtowing to the US. Then the imminent Russian invasion started. Even now Biden flunkies are assuring the Aussies the Asian pivot is on. There is that phrase from the Obama administration. It was always overtly aggressive, not about Obama saying aloha.

      BoJo and Biden are both executives in major electoral trouble. They can’t deal with the local barons, so they are going adventuring. They just couldn’t conceive Moscow was done. DC is so worried about a Russian invasion they scheduled a call with 24 hours notice between Putin and Biden and made sure every news outlet knew in a Friday night news dump. It happens over the weekend, and Monday is all about the Rams or Bengals.

        1. Pat

          As someone in the only cohort NOT supporting “Stay Out”, I think they may have overestimated our support for Biden and his Clown Posse’s insanity…

        2. Darthbobber

          And much bitter “what’s wrong with all these fraidycats” whining in the comments. Apparently there’s an upper limit to the effectiveness of cranking up the Wurlitzer.

  13. Tom Stone

    A reminder that the annual nationwide creative driving festival will be kicking off at about 7 PM Pacific time tomorrow.
    The betting line is unchanged, a graduate of the Budweiser school is favored by 3 points with a blood alcohol level of .24.

    1. Wukchumni

      The line for a potential scrimmage on Sunday in the Ukraine is Russia -8 points and the over/under is 7.9 billion. Will Putin go with an aerial offense or a ground game grinding out the defense?

      Prop bets include…

      First ‘field goal’ scored: Russians 1-5 odds, NATO 5-1 odds.

      Odds of a COIN toss by NATO: even money.

      Will there be sudden death, overtime?: 1-100 odds.

      1. jr

        Ditto for Pride, Inc. Total tourist $hit-storm. The only gay friends I have who are there are working a bar, for about the same amount of tips they make on a regular Saturday in Manhattan. The owner has to boost their pay. Drunks AND cheapskates. And sometimes the cops won’t let you get to your apartment because….

        1. Pat

          It is now tied for my third least favorite holiday (St Patrick’s Day, New Years Eve, with the tie being Pride and Halloween). Santa Con is rapidly overtaking the everything and I could see it passing New Years Eve next year, and this from someone who still has nightmares of working in Times Square and having to fight the police to try to get a route home during the madness.. If I didn’t live in downtown Manhattan the two number 3s might barely register but I do. I suppose some of the owners make some money off these, but in general Drunk people wandering the streets until early the next day is no fun for anyone but the drunks no matter the reason for drinking.

          1. jr

            Where is the tyrannical hand of NYPD when you need it? Why aren’t the streets filled with cops arresting the drunken morons? Think of all the money they could make! The bars win and the cops win! It’s not as if the dirtbags are hard to find. They are blatant about it, ripping up plants and urinating everywhere, fighting in front of crowds of people, the works, but I never see them getting hauled away.

  14. Carolinian

    Lotsa good links today. Regarding the Valieva case here’s some pushback.

    WADA is like a crazed cat in yarn over this case, tangled in its usual skeins of conflicting illogic, and that’s an indictment of the system, not her. To recite the events up to this point: back on Dec. 25, Valieva provided a drug test sample. It went to a WADA lab in Stockholm that should have analyzed it within about 10 days. Unaccountably, it took almost two months and did not issue a result until Tuesday, after she had skated in the Olympics. This is typical of an intolerable WADA slovenliness (and perhaps politicization) that athletes have complained about for years. Ask Diana Taurasi. Before that test, and after, Valieva took others which were apparently clear, including in Beijing, where she turned in a performance in the team event that was utterly untouchable, performing a transporting ballet and landing it on scalpels atop ice.

    This case should be simple. The testing system screwed up, and there is not one reason to penalize Valieva.

    Nevertheless, the pure-blood cranks and Russia’s rivals promoted it as a global crime, and WADA and the International Olympic Committee plunged Valieva and the entire field into uncertainty with a multilayered suspension process. They are incapable of sorting out the matter sensibly, because they are sham structures that impose a policy of “when in doubt, punish” on individual athletes to appear as if they have ethics, of which they have none. The system is a wonderland of injustice more gross than any original offense and reflective of the autocrats with whom WADA and the IOC love to do corrupt business. Zero tolerance means mistakes will not be tolerated by athletes, and so WADA must be incapable of mistakes.

    When will reasonable people say enough? The Russia hate is out of control.

  15. Flyover Boy

    The only good thing about the hysteria-mongering Axios “Shoplifting reaches crisis proportions” story is that it contains a link, waaaay down low, to another story that debunks it as police-state BS:

    On closer examination, this Axios story looks more and more like the latest examplar of the “rampant crime wave” fiction stories that have been beautifully orchestrated to rip through corporate media in recent months, all miraculously sharing the exact same phrases and talking points. Why, it’s almost as if the police state felt the need to shove its own violent crimes off center stage by installing a new post-War On Drugs fear narrative in its place.

    1. Mikel

      I was about to jump up and down about these BS “shoplifting” stories too.
      NC keeps running these articles too. Not a word to debunk what is going on.

      Check this paragraph:
      “Retailers are already reeling from the pandemic, supply chain woes and the labor shortage. Now they’re combating systematic looting by organized crime gangs — which are growing more aggressive and violent.”

      Organized crime, assault, armed robber vandalism are already crimes that carry penalties anx they keep conflating this with “shoplfting”.

      Then read this part:
      “Attorneys general in states like California, Arizona and New Mexico are setting up anti-shoplifting task forces and looking at stricter laws on bail reform and felony thresholds.
      District attorneys in cities like Chicago and New York are considering harsher measures against shoplifters.”

      Except in article about article about “shoplifting” there is a whole host of crimes being commited for which there are aleady stiff penalties.

      This is a rabid prison industrial complex that misses locking people for minor crimes.
      Why increase penalties for “shoplifting” when many of the crimes being described in these stories are not even classified as “shoplifting”?

      I’ve seen these hair on fire article repeated here on NC without pointing out that most of the crimes being described deal with armed people, vandals, and cases of physical assault. They are often talked about as organized gangs…and there are laws that are in place that would help get the ringleaders of those typea of things.

    2. Skunk

      Flyover Boy, I share your skepticism about the original article. Except for the widely-publicized flash mob lootings in a few areas, I suspect this is an attempt to justify even more surveillance.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Most “shoplifting” is done by employees. I thought that was well understood (see Rev Kev above, for instance). Therefore more shoptlifting = more underpaid/abused employees either acting out or acting on perceived necessity.

  16. Tom Stone

    For those not familiar with the Budweiser school for creative driving the basic text is “Drunk driving 101” ( Copyright Dindoo Nuffin, 2001).
    It covers the subject thoroughly from “Freeway Off ramps,when the wrong way is the right way” to “Running red lights, Faster is better”
    If you ever wondered about the best way to drive on the sidewalk this book is for you!

  17. a fax machine

    re: piss bottle

    People wonder why truckers tolerate the conditions the trucking industry throws at them… no OTR (on the road, as in assigned 10-week shifts) driver has ever been fired for piss bottles and even low rent companies supply a truck with at least a chemical toilet (both chemical and normal toilets can be serviced at truck stops at RV service centers at a nominal cost). Same thing with the APU (auxiliary power unit/climate control) and idling debate, OTR truckers get those amenities and get total control over what they do on the job. The only thing they don’t have control over is where the trailer is parked hence the debate over detention pay (waiting for a trailer parking space to become available).

    Speaking more generally, it is ALSO notable that as semi trucks obtain more features there is suitably less demand for truck stops, stores, bars, and hotels near industrial centers. In the past every industrial zone was flanked by low rent support services open 24/7, then it was just Walmart and 7-11. Now it’s just 7-11. Most hotels won’t even take new customers after 11pm anymore and won’t rent day rooms to graveyard employees.

    While all truckers are exploited it’s in different ways. With OTR drivers their exploitation is being away from a centralized place for weeks, with normal day drivers including delivery drivers it’s having to adhere to the same standards as retail employees despite being warehouse employees. The only company I know of that manages this problem well is Autozone, but only in their “better”/newer/purpose-built stores/warehouses not acquired through a buyout and even then the pay is meh. Amazon is only able to power through these issues by offering higher than average pay and flexible hours.

    And outside all of this are railroaders and mariners whose entire support system is gone; train stations don’t even got payphones or mailboxes anymore especially not the train stations (err.. “positions”) freight employees use. Ditto for port workers as all the local ports either shut down, sold to office parks, or are surrounded by miles of MUD property and civil engineering. Industrialized society only works to alienate humans from their environment, hence the devotion to suburbs that attempt to ignore this reality artificially. Millennial will have to cope with this reality infecting every aspect of society and grinding it down into a thin, watery gruel that is only accessible through self-serve smartphone apps and their car. We’ve already seen a glimpse of this with the car-only Covid vaccine campaign in San Francisco and Oakland.

    1. anon y'mouse

      and even low rent companies supply a truck with at least a chemical toilet (both chemical and normal toilets can be serviced at truck stops at RV service centers at a nominal cost).

      i don’t know where you got that info, but no–they do not.

      truckers doing OTR/long haul have to make their own “arrangements”. most of which involves stopping off at truck stops and peeing on the sides of roadways when necessary. many shippers also sometimes provide a portajohn onsite, as awful as those are usually.

      and yes, some of them arrange their own various kinds of “honey do” buckets for emergencies or other needs.

      never heard of a trucker who had these things provided, and watched many truckers on youtube who even addressed the info directly (this is an especially vital need for women, for obvious reasons). how you live in the truck is not managed other than following the regulations. you’re an adult, and it’s on you to deal with things.

      1. a fax machine

        I’ve been with some shit companies before and every one gave a truck with a toilet and APU. The only ones that didn’t were ones trying to use daycabs for interstate work (not doable in my region).

        1. anon y'mouse

          and i’ve known a long hauler and watched many others on youtube directly discussing the issue, and they are not provided with any.

          and we’re not talking fly-by-nights. some of the highest rated companies in the business give you NOTHING while you are living full time in the truck having to deal with that. they give you a mini fridge and a microwave (if you wish) on the other end, and the rest you provide yourself.

          they are expected to use public facilities, whatever those may be, or provide their own if they can’t or won’t do that.

          you may be in Canada. things are likely different there.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I hate to tell you this, but when the real totalitarians take charge, they will have a D after their name.

        1. juanholio

          I hate to tell you this, but the only freedom that libertarian and far right oligarchs actually care about, is freedom to exploit the earth and everyone by in it with impunity.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          We have the Private Corporate BizNazi Totalitarians in charge now. Do they all have a D after their name?

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Egyptology’s patriarchy problem

    From the headline I thought this might be a criticism of Zahi Hawass, who was the head of Egyptian archaelogy and for a long time it seemed like no one could touch anything in the entire country without his OK first. His was the featured archaeologist on almost every English language program for years.

    But no, it isn’t about that at all, which would have been a legitimate criticism. It’s about an American researcher who wrote a book that pasted modern American wokeism onto ancient Egyptian history and then felt the need to whine when her book got some negative reviews. Do these scholars really think it’s a startling discovery that most kings were men and did really bad things?

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      lyman alpha blob: Thanks for this. The article was a long complaint that people (men) didn’t like her book.

      The capitalization of the U.S. pseudo races “Black” and “White” didn’t help her case, either.

      She refers to Akhenaten as a tyrant–when religious fanatic is a better description. But the woke in the U.S. never criticize religion. being spiritual but not religious, as Akhenaten was.

  19. Jessica

    “(What struck me the first night in the hotel, was that Chinese programs had subtitles – in Chinese!)”
    We tend to think of “Chinese” as analogous to “English”, but it is not. “Chinese” is analogous to “Germanic languages” or perhaps even “Indo-European”.
    Chinese does not have dialects. It has multiple distinct languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu (Shanghaiese), Fujian, and Taiwanese. These languages in turn have dialects, some of which are not mutually intelligible even within the same language.
    However, the characters are close to universal. Some character pairs mean different things in different Chinese languages, but generally, literate speakers of any Chinese language and dialect can follow the subtitles.
    To some degree even literate Japanese can, though Chinese uses many extra characters and the simplification of characters carried out at the birth of the PRC makes them harder for Japanese to recognize.
    Taiwan also uses subtitles in Chinese for both Mandarin- and Taiwanese-language broadcasts.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      The comment struck me as a bit odd, too: I recall seeing Ken Loach’s deeply moving film Sorry We Missed You at the Chicago Film Festival. The film is set in Tyneside, England, and the characters are “Geordies,” speaking the highly distinct local dialect.

      There were subtitles.

  20. Jason Boxman

    Friday’s ruling by Cain, a Trump appointee, follows a ruling by another Louisiana judge last summer that struck down a separate Biden attempt to address greenhouse gas emissions by suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands and water. The judge in that case, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, is also a Trump appointee.

    Never forget, Chuck Schumer made sure Trump got his appointments through, so the Senate could recess for Christmas. Very important. And as you know, these judges — Chuck knows, he knows how to pick a winner — are extraordinarily qualified, I’m sure. Thanks Democrats!

    1. John

      Schumer is a democrat? As I observe him I often forget that. Corporate and wall street shill, yes, I see that. But why fuss. The DLC gutted the Democratic party, elected Bill Clinton, and the games began.

  21. David

    I’ve been sporadically dipping into French TV coverage of the “Freedom Convoy” into Paris today. It’s all been a bit of a damp squib. Partly because the numbers weren’t that great: about three thousand vehicles are thought to have converged on Paris from different cities, but only a handful made it into the centre, and drove a few times around the Arc de Triomphe, before being dispersed. Most were turned back without any fuss on the autoroutes well outside Paris. Some thousands of individuals did get into the centre, but basically marched around peacefully protesting and waving flags I saw one flag at least of the Breton nationalist movement, which gives you an idea of the variety of the grievances. There’s no vaccine mandate as such here, but the small but noisy anti-vax movement seems to have been joined for the day by a whole series of other protesters, judging by the variety of placards on offer. There have been a small number of arrests but no reported violence.

    In turn, this is because the authorities had several days to prepare, and they have a lot of experience in handling protests of this type. Paris has a large and busy ring road, with a relatively small number of entries into the capital, so it was easy to control access and turn vehicles back. And some 7000 police and gendarmes were deployed, with all the crowd control kit, just in case things got rough. They didn’t.

  22. Carolinian

    Interesting article about E.O. Wilson but in scolding him for some of his beliefs perhaps the article itself is treading on theoretical ground.

    However, like most in the rain forest mafia, Wilson wrote in an eco-Malthusian register. ‘While ants exist in just the right numbers for the rest of the living world,’ he wrote, ‘humans have become too numerous.’ The ‘problems of Third World countries’, he explained, were ‘primarily biological’. ‘Various forms of biological excess’ such as ‘overpopulation’ contributed to deforestation, soil erosion, famine and disease: a position that highlighted the danger of applying Darwinian concepts to complex social problems

    So was Wilson advocating a “dangerous” idea or merely stating reality? Certainly talk about overpopulation isn’t very popular these days but perhaps there should be a distinction between crackpot realists, who use Darwin for their own purposes, and actual relists who challenge centuries of philosophical and religious speculation that was based on no science at all (and often proudly so).

    “Know thyself” was a pretty good past idea and for that we may need to resort ot animal models and genetics. We may need Wilson and his ilk.

    1. fringe element

      It may be important to remember that evidence shows that when there is justice, opportunity and good health for women, birth rates go down.

  23. Mikel

    “The Fed Should Pick ‘Boomflation’ Over a Recession” – Bloomberg

    The wealth disparity is a cause of the hyper inflation that will affect working people more. None of their alleged concern about interest rates affecting working people never get to the interest rates that less privileged see.

    They gotta keep those stocks and homes overpriced by all means….

  24. Mikel

    “Late-night reports suggest CIA collecting more data on Americans” The Hill. Important.

    “When Edward Snowden almost a decade ago revealed the extent of warrantless bulk data collection by the government…”
    Snowden worked for a private contractor.

    Then this:
    “…the CIA collected information on far more people as part of the program than was required by the security threat the agency was responding to.

    “If you’re a person who either has financial assets or gives money to entities overseas, you should be concerned about this,” Eddington said. “When data on Americans gets funneled around other different agencies, they can have really negative effects.”

    The train has left the station on the collection of information. The threat that needs to be addressed is all the private companies and individuals who have access to databases and how that information can be used. That is a threat because the entire government has been outsourced and bought off. So that’s just a tired trope about what “the government” is doing to you….

  25. jr

    Sad news: A friend has just got over her second bought of COVID. She cannot understand why, she took all the precautions.

    I mentioned gargling and she demurred, saying that she’s tired of living in fear. Plus, the second bout was just a “bad cold”. It’s going to all be ok soon anyway. When I protested, she said “That’s where I’m at.” and would hear no more.

    I thought of mentioning long COVID but why?

      1. jr

        Total denial. A really talented artist too, really talented. Wouldn’t let me get the word “mouthwash” out before spluttering she’s over it all. F’ing mouthwash.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The only thing left to say to an outlook like that is . . . ” you may not be interested in covid, but covid is very interested in you.”

  26. LawnDart

    Two years into SARS/Covid, and much we still don’t know. So how’s this grab you?

    Ebola persists in survivors’ brains for years, re-emerging to spread & kill

    Maybe we should be lopping-off the heads of the covid-infected and rolling them towards the burn-pit, as a precaution, for both fun and safety? Or ship ’em off to a rez, maybe Fukushima or Prypyat, and watch the mutations evolve from afar?

  27. Mikel

    “Egyptology Has a Problem: Patriarchy” Sapiens

    The author has another article on the subject which she says:

    “Egypt didn’t need its kings; the kings needed Egypt…”

    To the point and true. I think we see in modern times how these kings got their power: create a threat, then claim only they can protect people from the threat.

  28. Mikel

    “Coronavirus can destroy the placenta and lead to stillbirths” Associated Press

    “…Zika, rubella (the virus that causes German measles) and cytomegalovirus, or CMV (which lurks in at least 7 of 10 adults)….”

    It makes a difference to have a sterilizing vaccine versus a non-sterilizing vaccine.

  29. R

    I read the Chris Grey article on Brexit but could not see the importance for its self-importance. It was one long Jeremiad against the evils of Brexit from an economic efficiency perspective, as if the highest purpose in life is to lower Coasian coordination costs and form filling.

    In the middle was buried this beam-in-thine-own-eye gem, though. Apparently “our withdrawal from the EU licensed a specific form of corruption: lying to people’s faces about things they could see before their eyes”. A less foaming PMC pearl-clutcher might realise that what led to Brexit in the first place was the Remainers’ behaviour of telling people it was all in their tiny racist minds, that they were suffering (i) erosion of domestic policy space by transnational elitist neoliberal project and (ii) massive wage depressing immigration on an uncounted scale from Eastern European without counterbalancing investment in public services.

    Not impressed. We left and we are not going back so make some positive suggestions about making the domestic economy work for the Everyman. This is far more important than marginal gains from import/export.

    1. skippy

      Amazing how Cameron’s gambit went a bridge too far and then the results required post facto back filling … UKIP a dim memory of a post marketing study for short term political gain.

      Yet all the principles are not subject to the same national blow back experienced by their lessors by access to international financial/political networks.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Your comment is agnotology, a violation of our written site Policies.

      It was the UK that aggressively pushed for admitting Eastern European countries, because they thought they’d ally with the UK against France and Germany. It’s abjectly false to depict EU expansion as somehow done to the UK, as opposed to significantly done by the UK.

      And the press was taking up the racism issue ONLY as a result of seeing it on the ground. And it was clearly triggered by Brexit. I don’t recall it ever being attributed to Brexiteers generally, as opposed to simmering resentment by some that it was now acceptable to express.

      1. c_heale

        I also think it’s possible the UK wanted the Eastern European countries in to solidify their incorporation into NATO.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The UK had multiple reasons to encourage Eastern European countries into the EU, but the primary one was almost certainly the (correct) presumption that they represented a more Anglophile counterweight to the Franco-German axis in Europe, across the main institutions. Having a handy source of cheap labour was a bonus on top. It should also be remembered that the UK had the power to restrict eastern European workers from moving to the UK – Germany and France took advantage of this, the UK quite deliberately did not.

          Expanding European institutions to the east was a central component of UK policy, shared by the Tories and Blairites for a wide variety of reasons. To blame east European immigrants for Brexit is to completely distort history. At best, grassroots dislike of east European workers was blowback for neoliberal policies.

  30. Jason Boxman

    So I’ve been thinking about it, and our policy response to COVID is truly hopelessly mindless (muddled but phone invented).

    Because markets, but actually it’s a suboptimal response even then. You’d think a policy that serves capitalism best would ensure people can work. The more the better, lower wages and discipline.

    But instead there’s no serious effort to find treatments, vigorous attacks on repurposed drugs that might help. It’s incoherent.

    Too many factions of the elite working at cross purposes. So we have the worst possible response.

    Even a pure approach that is markets first, last, always would be superior at least at that goal.

    Maybe someday there will be a deep look into all the discord, like a postmortem.

    How on Earth did this country ever fight in WWII? Or even survive the Depression. We have no competent elites left.

  31. jr

    That article on patriarchy in Egyptology was terribly written and argued. First of all, why should we accept that the responses to her book are all the product of patriarchy. Were there no legitimate criticisms? I’m sure there is a metric ton of entitled white males in the world of Egyptology, but then it’s a world of elites, no? Let’s get rid of elites.

    It all sounds like a tempest in a teapot. A bunch of old farts losing themselves in the mists of golden, ancient Egypt bump into the latest Wokel to a-historicize all over the furniture and a minor comedy ensues. She lumps together supporters of the ancient Pharaohs (whatever the F that means) with supporters of Southern independence. Really? How closely do the two groups track? Or is that some kind of a smear, as in they are all…..racist.

    Then this digression that conflates predatory capitalism with patriarchy. For this bright light, the material components of the economy and the abstractions that arise from it are synonymous. Of course, so is the biology and the abstractions. Because for critical theory and it’s adherents, unwitting or not, there is no distinction between the words and the reality.

    She decries the “Orientalizing” of ancient Egypt by Orientalizing it’s history from a new, even more specious position. She accuses everyone who opposes her ideas as thinking in binaries and without nuance after literally doing the very same thing. She seems to be implying that if only patriarchy would go away, exploitative capitalism would go away. Seriously? For someone who works in the field of historical investigation she should take a look at human history, she will quickly see that humans of all stripes and flavors are happy to exploit their fellows. It’s always about treating symptoms for the critical theorist, never root causes.

    She blurs together a list of professions, ignoring their material distinctions in favor of some supposed unity under the banner of patriarchal oppression. I’d love to see her plans to reach out to her sisters who drive her Ubers too and fro. Then, a finish of pure utopianism, the liberated throwing open the halls of power to everybody. Cause that’s happened before in history when one group consolidates power. Just as her research totally contradicts.

  32. skippy

    Australia has always had the good fortune of having time to prepare its system because we see it in our northern hemisphere neighbours. And Omicron could have been our way out of this pandemic, if it was managed well, but we opened up to uncontrolled crowds meeting up in the two busiest periods in a year.

    I laugh because otherwise I’ll cry. When you try to speak the truth instead of getting solutions and help, you are at risk of losing your job. When did we become like this? People who are not knowledgeable, not experienced can say whatever they want and have no consequences. And when you try to highlight a problem from the perspective of someone experienced and knowledgeable, you get shot down. We live in a very strange society and a very strange time.

    File under market place of ideas – ????

    1. CuriosityConcern

      Speaking of Australia, just found this YouTube video of an Aussie whose gardening videos I’m quite fond of.
      In this almost 20 minute minute video, the man behind Self Sufficient Me waxes lightly on politics and discusses more in depth how supply chain issues are personally affecting his family:
      Self Sufficient Me(

      1. skippy

        Think this bloke just experienced the fallacy of ***Self Sufficiency*** as a cottage industry for those with time and money on their hands with in the youtube market place.

        1. CuriosityConcern

          I think I understand your point and acknowledge it to be valid.
          The name somewhat contradicts the spirit of our discussions, but I can’t help thinking this individual contributes valuable gardening info.
          As an aside, I posted the video when I was about halfway through, he does go into a sort of advert just a bit later than that, but it’s for an individual in his community who is making, from what I can gather, a useful tool. But that enterprise is at risk from supply chain issues.
          On a different note, here is a nearly 4 hour video featuring a self professed Canadian trucker on the cannabis site that it seems I cannot but help linking to ad nauseum: Who Controls the Rhizosphere?( I’ve only made it a half hour in, but between 25 and 30 minutes he mentions the economics of Canadian trucking…

  33. The Rev Kev

    Because things are not tense enough in the Ukraine, the Pentagon decided to send a Virginia-class submarine into Russian territorial waters in the far east off the Kuril islands. The Russians picked them up on sensors, sent a message to them saying ‘we know you’re down there guys’ and so the sub left at high speed. It was only a week ago that Japan had their Northern Territories Day which is a demand for Russia to give back the island chain that they lost in WW2. Japan should ask Germany how their claim for the return of Prussia went. So maybe that sub was a message for Japan that they support them or something. You think that the Pentagon would be irked to find a Russian sub lurking in Puget Sound?

    1. Carolinian

      The Kurils were where the Japanese fleet hid out before attacking Pearl Harbor. How quickly we forget. Russia on the other hand was our ally in the same war. Can’t we all just get along.

  34. The Rev Kev

    Something for the quite hours. London police chief Cressida Dick got the boot a day or so ago. She vowed that she was going to stay in her job but Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said ‘Nah, that’s not going to happen.’ Boris sent out a tweet thanking her for her role in making the streets safer but the amount of knife crimes the past few years put the lie to that. No doubt she will go out with a large pension and an offer to sit on some corporate board in the City-

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      She has been bent for years, as to staying on Superintendent Ted Hastings would have likely if he were real commented ” Houl Yer Whisht “.

  35. Wukchumni

    Ancient Gonzo Wisdom – Hunter S. Thompson’s excruciating writing process Bookforum Magazine
    I didn’t realize HST really got into cocaine in a big way, which explains why so much of his later work is frankly unreadable.

    Wish he’d just stuck to LSD, ether, alcohol, mescaline, adrenochrome, and cannabis.

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