Links 4/11/2022

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


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Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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It Took Us Less Than 24 Hours to Order an Endangered Tiger on Facebook Vice (Re Silc).

Elon Musk decides not to sit on Twitter board Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse). Couldn’t pass the background check?

Watch what happens when police pull over a driverless car in San Francisco MarketWatch (SJ),

Dreams and reality collide in Praxis’s vision of a utopian crypto city FT

Internet ‘algospeak’ is changing our language in real time, from ‘nip nops’ to ‘le dollar bean’ WaPo (dk). Just like China.


Canadian banks double financing of highly polluting oil sands FT


Are large indoor events safe? It’s impossible to know, making “personal choice” a false one. Inside Medicine



Would the US really rescue Taiwan if mainland China attacked? South China Morning Post

Could the West’s arms supply to Ukraine change the tide of the war? Zelensky’s frustrated response What China Reads


At the Heart of Imran Khan’s Loss of Power – the Economy Hindustan Times

Modi, Biden to speak ahead of key 2+2 dialogue Hindustan Times

Imran Khan Issues First Response After Losing Trust Vote, ‘freedom Struggle Begins Again’ Republic World

Understanding why Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in DENIAL (Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying) Steve Keen


Nerves for EU and NATO as Le Pen heads into second round clash with Macron Politico. Polling.

How Viktor Orbán Built His Illiberal State The New Republic


Explained: Contours of Yemen’s first ceasefire in over 6 years Indian Express

New Not-So-Cold War

Siding with Ukraine’s far-right, US sabotaged Zelensky’s historic mandate for peace Aaron Maté. By “far right” Maté means, and should say, fascist. See NC here. Mearsheimer agrees with Maté’s thesis:

Legacies of Cold War Liberalism Dissent

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Ukraine, Russia Gear Up for War’s Biggest Battles WSJ

Military do-somethingism is running amok in Washington Reponsible Statecraft

6 Things NATO Can Do to Help Ukraine Right Now Foreign Policy

Stoltenberg: NATO planning large, permanent military presence on eastern border Politico (Re Silc). Real estate play!

US police agencies are sending protective gear to Ukrainian civilians in what experts call an unprecedented move CNN. We’re gonna fight to the last Ukrainian!

Russians ‘who want to fight Putin in Ukraine’ given own battalion Metro

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Oil and gas revenues give Russia’s economy $3.4bn cushion FT

Putin’s finances can survive a European energy ban Reuters

* * *

How ‘Ukraine Fatigue’ Is Taking Over Markets John Authers, Bloomberg

Nasty, Repressive, Aggressive — Yes. But Is Russia Fascist? Experts Say ‘No.’ Radio Free Europe (!).

Biden Administration

Still sniffing:

NASA will test SpinLaunch’s ability to fling satellites into orbit New Atlas (DL). It’s not the thing you fling, it’s the fling itself.

Pentagon to weed out extremists by banning Marine Corps Duffel Blog


School Reopening Mess Drives Frustrated Parents Toward GOP WSJ

Supply Chain

Container shipping at the crossroads: The big unwind or party on? Hellenic Shipping News

Our Famously Free Press

NYTimes Dealbook repeats William Browder’s Magnitsky hoax. I ask major media “fact checkers” to deal with it. The Komisar Scoop

‘It’s devastating.’ As Boston-area weeklies close, towns ponder civic life without local news. Boston Globe

Health Care

Pursuit of profit bodes ill for US healthcare FT

“This is wild, in a bad way.”–Yves

Because markets…

Vigil at Fidelis calls for accountable health care Spectrum News 1

Guillotine Watch

Hasbro Screwed The Super Soaker’s Inventor Out Of Millions Cracked

The Ed Sheeran Problem, or, How the Record Industry Got What It Asked For Cory Doctorow

Class Warfare

How Many Billionaires Are There, Anyway? NYT

This single mother sold Wall Street a stake in her home for $60,000, joining thousands of Americans who are cashing in on soaring home prices Business Insider. What could go wrong?

In praise of Jorts the Cat, unlikely labor leader Fast Company

The Age of Houseplants Culture Study

The Legend of the Music Tree Smithsonian

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    > noted the continued alliance between DC and Ukraine’s far-right

    the “deep bond”, as Lambert noted, that was important enough to merit mention in JRB’s SOTU address.

    so many foreign adventures.

    1. Marva

      Any politician, like Kinzinger, or reporter, who pushes us toward nuclear war and the end of civilization needs to be eliminated.

      That includes No Fly Zones.

      There’s no second chance here.

      1. edwin

        Irony aside, from the man who is now dictator of Canada

        There is much that can be said about all 1st past the post systems, and in the case of Canada, about the cavalier use of emergency powers. We can also talk about the corporate and corrupt nature of Canadian politics. To use the phrase in the above quoted text is to run off into hyperbola. As far as I can tell, as it is not explained, there is some upsetness over a coalition government between the Liberal party and the NDP. If so, this represents a basic lack of understanding of parliamentary democracy, or dishonesty or both. Assuming that the coalition holds, elections will be held at the end of term. If the coalition does not hold, then elections will be held earlier.

        I am not too sure that the breathless evil that is conjured up about Nazis in Ukraine is not overblown given the tendency to exaggerate other things.

        Something that strikes me as a bit more level headed might be this:

        1. Tom Bradford

          That reference to a Canadian ‘dictatorship’ was a red-flag for me, too, as was his statement that the Christchurch shooter was ‘an ardent supporter’ of Ukraine’s Nazi’s which was news to me – Tarrant would certainly have been comfortable among them but his activities and support seem to have been centred on the Balkans and extreme rightist movements in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey the which I’m sure, needed to import nothing from the Ukraine.

          Thus while there is plenty of meat to chew on in the article the author’s too obvious over-egging of the pudding engendered for me a caution and reservation in adding it to my understanding of what’s happening and why.

      2. Winston S

        Thank you for both of these. Indeed highly informative, indeed scary. The summary you refer to is written by a guy called Jacques Baud, whom I suppose could be characterised as some sort of a whistle blower from NATO and the UN, holding not insignificant positions in both those organisations during a time when this conflict was brewing. Meaning, he probably had a better vantage point to all this than most. Of course, assuming he since then (he quit in 2018 and became independent going by his LinkedIn, perhaps a red flag there) hasn’t been «turned» by Russia and therefore lost all integrity and credibility.

  2. griffen

    So the moral of the story on Hasbro, is that big business will use the playbook from Ray Kroc, which was the same BS royalty deal that Ray Kroc did to both of the McDonald brothers ?? I might lack the particulars of this arrangement, I just remember that scene from the Founder.

    Good that the inventor ultimately got paid a lump sum. I’m sure Hasbro was still coming out ahead of the game.

    1. Mildred Montana

      The cautionary tale of Robert William Kearns, inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper in the ’60s:

      He offered his invention to the Big Three automakers (GM, Ford, Chrysler). They rejected him, but began to install it in their vehicles in 1969. He sued. After years of legal battles over patent infringement they settled, but only after forcing him to go to court and destroying his personal life.

      There’s a book by John Seabrook called ????? ?? ?????? and a movie by the same name.

      To my mind, this is a case for stripping corporate executives of their immunity from prosecution. Would those of the car companies have stolen Kearns invention so flagrantly (and cruelly) if their personal wealth had been on the line? Somehow I doubt it.

      But unfortunately the corporation and its shield for crooked executives is, as Ambrose Bierce defined it, is an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

      1. flora

        Remember how Microsoft built out the features on its Windows OS in the 1990’s? It was so infamous a practice it became a standard joke in editorial and daily comic strip cartoons. (‘Yes, programmer, send your app or program to us – Microsoft – for evaluation and we’ll get back to you.’ …later… ‘No, programmer, sorry your code doesn’t meet our requirements.’ …later… ‘Microsoft has introduced a new “MS-written” feature in its Windows OS that’s nearly identical to something we earlier rejected.’ What a coincidence!) / ;)

        1. digi_owl

          Apple did it as well. I think it go labeled being Sherlocked, after the software that made the behavior infamous.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Something happened like that in the first days of Unix as everybody added their ideas and code to improve and strengthen it. Then Bell said, hey, as that is our system all that code belongs to us now. Thanks, suckers.

      2. Leroy R

        I have always wondered, if in an alternative universe, reparations to those descended from enslaved people were enacted, wouldn’t an obvious source for funding be the immense wealth of our “executive” class, billionaires, and assorted business and financial elites?

      3. upstater

        My customers, most Fortune 500, “misappropriated” (don’t ever say stole or theft, that is potentially libelous) our small business intellectual property and gave it to their industry association. It took 5 years and lotsa money to a remedy in federal court. Corporate Persons and their PMC minions will spare no expense trying to crush you, far more than an amicable settlement would have cost. And let it suffice to say, the legal system is not a level playing field for individuals or small business; deference is shown to the corporate lawyers. After all, corporations are the ones with virtually unlimited funding in legal matters, subsidizing the farm team of attorneys that become magistrates and judges.

        Upton Sinclair — ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’

      4. digi_owl

        Welcome to patent IP MAD, where the idea is to stall the process long enough for one party to go bankrupt.

        Why companies will patent etc anything under the sun, even if they never turn it into a product. Because they instead can use the threat of a protracted lawsuit to keep anyone else out of that market, as well as use them as bargaining chips during cross licensing agreements.

      5. lance ringquist

        limited liability is a license to steal. when ever some libertarian type howls with rage over federal deposit insurance, i say then you will not mind if i take away your limited liability then, after all, if i need to know the complete 100% workings of my bank, then you need to be held responsible for not knowing the complete 100% of the inner workings of the corporation you partially own.

        limited liability is a license to steal, FDI is a insurance policy against limited liability.

    2. Thistlebreath

      This is why, when asked, I flatly state that a new writer should do whatever it takes to get representation of some kind –managers will do, some lawyers also–before submitting spec scripts to anyone. God forbid pitching an idea.

      I’ve been in the room when a good piece has come in and the first question is, ‘who they with?’ That’s a not very well veiled query for ‘can we give it to someone we already know to rewrite?’

      The only deterrent to theft is fear of offending a known entity that will withhold any future, potentially good, stuff. That’s it. Fear beats greed.

      If there are any nascent writers who want to take a run at getting in the club, start reading ‘Go Into the Story’ on the web. The founder wrote “K9” w/Jim Belushi years ago, so he understands the whole process. His advice is sound without being scammy.

    3. Greg

      As a one-time buyer and now having a use for super-soakers again, I can add that subsequent to the 2013 lawsuit settlement it is now impossible to buy a super-soaker. They’re gone. Hasbro destroyed them and now only inferior water guns laden with unnecessary electronics are available.

      1. digi_owl

        traditional medicine

        Aka, old school homeopathy.

        Using the term “traditional” sadly lends it a air of credence it should never be afforded.

  3. Mikel

    “Would the US really rescue Taiwan if mainland China attacked?”

    What kinds of weapons are in Taiwan and who is controlling them?

    1. Yves Smith

      We need their chips.

      And I keep saying this “attacked” idea is the US projecting the way it does war. Taiwan is an island. Blockade it and prevent all flights in and out. Taiwan imports 65% of its food and all of its energy. It won’t last two months.

      1. Mikel

        I don’t think China would do a military attack unless they saw a legit military threat – to their people in leadership.
        I was wondering more about weapons that could be a direct threat to particular people and not the entire country.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The ‘reunification’ of China is a core tenet of CCP policy and always has been. It is the logistical difficulties (they suck at amphibious warfare) and economic questions that has stopped them from doing so. They have always reserved the right to an unprovoked strike on Taiwan as they have never formally recognised its legitimacy as a nation and would consider any attack an internal policing matter which is none of the rest of the worlds business.

          Taiwan has a large domestic military industry, including high supersonic speed anti-ship and cruise missiles capable of destroying pretty much any vessel within 400 km of Taiwan, and probably land targets within China. They have a relatively strong anti-aircraft and anti-missile force, but a weak Navy and airforce which would be easily neutralised by China. They have a massive range of defensive and anti-amphibious warfare mines and short to medium range missiles, and layers of defensive structures around the country. Their tanks are out of date, but they have good artillery which would make hell for any Chinese marines landing on beaches.

          They were developing a domestic nuclear bomb in the 1980’s, but the US stopped them finalising it. I’d be surprised if they didn’t have sufficient materials and know-how to go nuclear in a relatively short time if it was needed as their engineering and electronics sector is extremely high quality. However, they are also almost certainly an open book to China due to the huge penetration by Chinese spies at all levels of military and politics and industry. But likewise, they have very good intelligence on mainland China too, as they demonstrated in the early days of Covid.

          1. Soredemos

            I suspect everyone sucks at amphibious landings, and any modern attempt at it against opposition will inevitably be a disaster.

          2. HawHaw

            No military analyst gives Taiwan a serious chance against China’s military. For one, they only have 170k soldiers to China’s 2 million. Also, their discipline is horrific. If China decided to take Taiwan they would not be stopped. It’s a matter of when, not if.

            1. Polar Socialist

              I’d still like to believe China prefers to do it by a slow economic integration and “soft power” rather than by force. If it’s allowed to.

              After all, the West is adamant that in Ukraine the areas that do not accept the new government must be regardless returned under it’s control. Isn’t that exactly the case with Taiwan?

              1. PlutoniumKun

                There is precisely zero connection between the situation in the Ukraine and Taiwan.

                The Chinese claim on Taiwan is based on it being part of the Qing Empire. The Qing were Manchurians (not Chinese). Conveniently, the Qing Empire was the greatest extent of what is now called China, hence Chinese nationalists argue that it is the real extent of China. Qing included significant chunks of Russia (including Vladivostok) and parts of what is now Vietnam and North Korea.

                The more recent element to the Chinese claim is due to the Nationalist Army retreating to Taiwan as Japan (the previous Imperial owners) had vacated it. They then suppressed and slaughtered the native Taiwanese and declared it part of the real China. The KMT have faded politically and are now the pro-Unification party. The current dominant parties represent primarily the non-Han ethnic Taiwanese who are a mix of peoples representing centuries of migration and domination.

                The closer equivalent is India claiming ownership of Bangladesh, because they were both once part of the British Empire and shared subjugation to the British Queen and they people there kinda look a little Indian.

                China has as much claim to Taiwan as Japan, the Netherlands, the Dutch, or any other previous imperial colonialists of the island. They’ve been independent for 70 years, thats two generations. And a democracy for more than 30 years. And now that the ROK has voted for a right wing president, it is the last centre left progressive democracy in the region.

                1. Rich

                  A quibble as I see this a bit too often. Manchurians are Chinese, since 1644 with the founding of the Qing Dynasty as the rulers of China. China has always been an empire of disparate peoples, many of whom assimilated into the Han “majority” group over the millienia. In fact, the Ming Dynasty had significant distinct Miao, Dai (Thai) and Qiang (Tibetan) ethnic groups within the south and western regions of the empire, as well as Mongolians who joined the Ming in overthrowing the Mongolian Yuan dynasty, and Manchurians who acknowledged Ming rule, including the founder of the Manchurian Jin kingdom (who subsequently overthrew the Ming to found the Qing Dynasty) before he rebelled. To say the Manchurians were somehow not Chinese is akin to saying William the Conqueror and his band merry men are somehow not English after all these years because they were originally Normans.

                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    The Chinese did not consider the Manchurians to be Chinese (neither do many modern Chinese, although they do tend to get their revisionist lines mixed up sometimes) and the native English certainly did not consider William the Conqueror to be English (remember who he conquered) for centuries. French was the native tongue of every ‘English’ King until Henry IV. There is a reason why Robin Hood was considered a hero.

                    Modern Han nationalists, btw, explicitly exclude the Manchurians from their definition of ‘Chinese’. They are quite a powerful movement within China.

                  2. SocalJimObjects

                    I think the Chinese Wikipedia has the most diplomatic answer. From,
                    Manchurians 是中国少数民族之一 i.e. Manchurians are one of the ethnic minorities of China :)

                    Are they Han people? No. But so what? It’s not as if Han people are discriminating against them. In fact speaking about ethnic minorities in China, some of them were and still are not subject to the one child policy because of their very small numbers.

                    The founders of the Tang Dynasty, the Li family weren’t 100% Han people either. They claimed Xianbei ancestry from the maternal side.

                    1. SocalJimObjects

                      I asked Baidu, the Chinese search engine the following question: 满族人是中国人吗 (are Manchus Chinese?). And up pops the folllowing:

             is like Quora in the States. The first answer, the one with the most upvotes goes through the history of the Manchurian people in some detail, but the second answer gets to the point: 满族人当然是中国人 which translates to Of course Manchus are Chinese people.

                    2. PlutoniumKun

                      Of course Manchu people in China are Chinese, they’ve been living there for centuries. Saying anything else would be racist, even by contemporary Chinese standards.

                      But ethnolinguistically, they are a Tungusic group, closer to eastern Russians than Chinese. They were the conquerers of China, and arguably the architects of the modern shape and culture of China. Its as if the Ainu of Hokkaido conquered Japan, rather than vice versa. Or the Scots conquered England.

                2. Polar Socialist

                  I stand corrected, then. Although I never claimed connection, just similarities.

                  And Wikipedia, that cornucopia of knowledge (/s), does state that 95-97% of Taiwanese are indeed ethnic Han.

        2. digi_owl

          Keep in mind that while we refer to them as Taiwan, they refer to themselves as Republic of China. The hardliners of the island nix any attempt at reconciliation with Beijing, as that would mean legitimizing the communist rulers as the government of China.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The ‘hardliners’ you refer to is the democratically elected centre left government of the country. And every Taiwanese I’ve met refers to the country as Taiwan.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Taiwan had an unprecedented drought 2 years ago, which by normal countries standards means it was just a little wet. This is due to climate change shifting the Typhoon belt further away. The Philippines is now getting the brunt of the monster storms Taiwan considers normal.

            1. Michael Ismoe

              “an average semiconductor factory consumes roughly 20,000 tons of water a day…”

              So that’s why Intel just built a $20 billion dollar semiconductor plant in ARIZONA. because then their employees can go to the beach after a hard day at the plant. It all makes so much sense! What’s that big fresh water lake just outside Mesa? I think it’s called Lake Michigan.


              1. PlutoniumKun

                Intel has quite an elaborate system in Arizona for recycling water. It claims that it will be net zero in use by 2030. The initial proposal is to discharge treated water to replenish one of the main aquifers used by local cities for use. Its not as gross as it sounds as there is fairly minimal contamination of water through the process.

                Even in rainy Ireland, Intel keeps a close eye on its water supply. It pays a substantial amount to keep one municipal plant going for water treatment for discharges from its main European fab, and after a somewhat idiotic accidental ‘incident’ caused by a local government road engineering team meant they lost a few weeks production – they’ve been investing a lot upriver to make sure it doesn’t happen again. They use the Dublin water supply. I’d actually trust Intel more than the local government to get it right as they have more skin in the game, as Taleb would say.

                1. Acacia

                  Hmm… I wonder about this…

                  My basic understanding is that the water is used during production of chips to wash silicon wafers of things like photoresist, the hydrochloric acid used for cleaning wafers, the potassium hydroxide used to etch the doping layers (which may contain silicon, boron, arsenic, etc.)… maybe these manufacturers have some 100% perfect system for removing nasty chemicals and toxic metals from the water, but these things really don’t seem like the sort of stuff anybody wants being sent into an aquifer.

            2. rattlemullet

              To my knowledge water is measured in CCF or of AF not tons. Your concern is highly misplaced, the amount of water used in sugary soft drinks dwarfs the use in the semiconductor industry. These drinks are much worse for the individuals heath and the loss of ground water to this explosive industry is a crime. Not only that but the water use by this industry is subsidized by the taxpayers.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Taiwan would never win in a blockade, but unless China matched it with military strikes it would not be defenceless. Taiwan has sufficient range with its land based missiles to counter-blockade a significant chunk of the South China Sea and to counterstrike direct Chinese strikes on Taiwan by hitting mainland targets. It would only need to threaten to mine the entry to the Pearl River Delta and the Yellow Sea (which it could with any surviving submarines), along with electronic warfare and severing fibre optics to pretty much shut off sea trade to China.

        China could last far longer of course, but if Taiwan was to hold out and fight back, it would essentially collapse the world economy and create huge food and energy problems for China. In many ways, a direct assault may still seem a less high risk strategy for Beijing. Both are costly, but the latter is less likely to result in food shortages in China, and this is always a key consideration for Beijing. China still needs to import a vast amount of food, especially animal feed.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Isn’t majority of the animal food imported to China corn and soy beans from USA? One would assume those would be cut off by USA, regardless of the usability of harbors.

          Last year China started experimenting with replacement animal foods, but none is as economical as soybeans, so experts are not predicting big changes. Although the official recommendations call for 20%-60% replacement already.

          Almost like China is preparing to be cut off from “the World”.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Brazil is the biggest exporter of food – mostly soy and other grains – to China.

            China has been trying to become self sufficient in food for more than half a century. But a combination of land exhaustion, desertification and most of all, the huge rise in demand for meat keeps putting that goal out of reach. Trying to get the Chinese to eat less pork is like trying to tell Americans to drive small cars. Barring a huge breakthrough in food/ag tech, or an enormous cultural shift, China will always be dependent on food imports.

      3. Bruce

        You could say that Japan is in the same boat, more or less. Some energy is produced in the country.

        A major difference is that the u s of a has bases in Japan, predominantly gathered in Okinawa.

    2. RobertC

      Per SCMP commentator Zizi M’s excellent summary

      There is no need for China to invade Taiwan. The main advantage of taiwan now which US wants to protect is only the chip industry and it is fast eroding. Once Mainland achieved self sufficient in high tech chip production, Taiwan will automatically loose its advantage. By then US will also loose interest in Taiwan.

      TSMC, Samsung and Intel are building plants in Arizona, Texas, etc with US-taxpayers subsidies. The bottleneck is ASML Holding N.V.

      Currently it is the largest supplier of photolithography systems primarily for the semiconductor industry and the sole supplier of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) photolithography machines in the world.

      In addition to ASML’s backlog, building and bringing a “fab” into production takes 3-5 years assuming the qualified staff are available. The ASML machines operate at the boundary of magic.

      The US has blocked China from obtaining leading edge hardware and software to produce high-density chips and China is struggling with scaling up its industry but, as usual with China, it’s just a matter of time.

      Speaking of time, here’s my assessment: If the US doesn’t interfere, I think in time it’s 80% likely Taiwan will come to China (Capitalism with Chinese characteristics) and 20% likely China will come to Taiwan (Democracy with Chinese characteristics). The CCP is pragmatically adaptive and what best ensures survival of its 1.4B citizens will be the path taken.

      Peter Van Buren explains DRAFT SPEECH – Deterrence, China, and the U.S.

    3. RobertC

      But when Bush makes his fourth mistake which may involve Taiwan, China may well push the timeline forward.

      As the SCMP article pointed out, a blockade is an act of war. Sarcasm Alert: Only the “rules-based order” US is allowed to establish and enforce a blockade.

      Possessing the world’s largest Coast Guard, China is likely to use the technique proven with Hong Kong: law enforcement.

      The Chinese CG will begin boarding all vessels entering and exiting Taiwan to ensure paperwork is correct, crew is trained, ship is safe, cargo matches manifest, etc etc.

      This takes time. Particularly if infractions are found. And there will be. For every vessel. With some infractions requiring seizure of the vessel.

      Did I mention China is a master at lawfare?

      Shippers, insurers, etc will get the message quickly and back away.

      Perhaps Taiwan will send its own CG to interfere. Not only does China have the largest ships but a number have reinforced hulls intended for ramming (term-of-art is shouldering). No need for weapons, just push the little guy out of the way.

      Perhaps Taiwan will send its Navy to interfere. That forces Taiwan to fire the first shot and thereby become the aggressor. Not a good look. Especially when the world’s second largest Navy is just over the horizon.

      Remember that China has the largest fishing fleet? And when China modernized its PLA many of those soldiers manned that fleet? And Quantity has a Quality of its own? Every time a vessel leaves a Taiwanese pier, a group of Chinese fishing vessels will take its place. Taiwanese law enforcement will be overwhelmed arresting crews and moving ships out of the way.

      I’ll leave you with this gentle joke If Zelensky phoned Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen … ‘My advice to you, Tsai, is do not allow Taiwan to become the Ukraine of East Asia …’

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Readers with an interest in Blighty may be aware of, if not enjoying, the chancellor’s (finance minister to readers not familiar with the UK) little, local difficulty ([tax] non domicile status for his wife and US green cards for him and his wife, saving the family, not just the pair, millions in tax around the world, not just the UK).

    The information had been known for a couple of years, but were ignored until Johnson’s advisers, led by some combative Australians, decided to take the gloves off when dealing with the pretender. The pretender had posted selfies of himself waiting in the wings, e.g. at a theatre, but allowing photos of parties at No 10 Downing Street from upstairs at No 11 and colluding with former No 10 advisor Dominic Cummings was a step too far, along with not even half hearted defences of Johnson’s partying during lockdown.

    Compare that with Corbyn’s charitable handling of his tormentors. When Peter Mandelson admitted to conspiring against Corbyn, finance spokesman John MacDonnell asked Mandelson, a friend and more of Epstein, for tea. Just watch what action Johnson takes against Starmer as the election nears and heats up. One line of attack will be Starmer’s repeated failure to prosecute Labour grandee Greville Janner for child abuse when chief prosecutor.

    The left, around the world, had better start learning that politics is a contact sport, channel their inner Lee Atwaters and Karl Roves, and to focus relentlessly on things that matter to people.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks Colonel. Its been very amusing to watch how Johnsons people have been using selective leaks to cut the legs off Sunak. As you say, the Right know how to fight dirty and effectively. Of course, to that level of people, having multiple passports and domiciles around the world is just normal. Changing passport for them is like for the rest of us to change the sofa. But of course for many old style Tories this sort of thing is anathema. Patriotism is something they take seriously.

      Sunak is out of his depth, he would have been much better off keeping his mouth shut and let others talk him up. My guess is that if Johnson falls, he will be replaced by a dark horse candidate, someone who has been biding their time and keeping up a show of loyalty to… well, everyone. Johnson may be a buffoon, but he knows how to win a political knife fight. His survival so far is quite astonishing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it all the way to the election.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you and well said, PK.

        With regard to passports and domiciles, it turns out to be common in City leadership circles. Sajid Javid has admitted as much. It would not surprise me if Sunak’s old boss, from Goldman Sachs and their hedge fund, is another. Said boss is a big Tory donor, sat on a Bank of England committee (and watered down crackdowns on banks) and chairs the Royal Opera and BBC.

        You are right to point out the difference with the old style Tories. One reason is that many held assets, especially land, in the UK, so did not have the jobs and investments that can be exploited for that sort of tax dodging and sometimes owned estates near these assets, so felt some paternalist responsibility to their communities. There’s a deracinated elite now.

        The current darling of the party is defence secretary and ex Scots Guards officer Ben Wallace. He has crept upsides quietly.

        Starmer has scrapped the commitments inherited from Ed Miliband and Corbyn to scrap non dom tax dodger status, a loophole that dates to 1799, as some of his donors are non dom tax dodgers.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you.

            Do you know anything about Marina Hyde? Her family connections may tell you something and explain who she goes after.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I had to look up her wikipedia page! Very enlightening.

              She is a marvellous writer and very funny, but the way she led the revisionism on Julian Assange was disgusting. And is an enthusiastic Russiaphobe.

              1. Revenant

                Hmm, that is disappointing to learn, PK. Bad Marina!

                Colonel, I had forgotten she was one of the Guardian gentry. Slip-on shoes Sunak is not cut from the same cloth.

                PK, thank you for the wikipedia page. Her Dudley Williams baronet grandfather came from trade in Plymouth and helped Frank Whittle commercialise the jet engine, for which he got one of the last baronetcies created, in the 1960’s. His coat of arms includes three red towers (symbol of Exeter, I should know as an Exonian) and, deliciously, includes a wild cat and the latin motto… “beware of the cat”. I am rather warming to him.

                Marina, bless, went up to Oxford, to the House no less.
                One can see how she could
                delight in Sunak’s fall from grace and the Establishment line on Russia and Assange, as the natural order of things.

        1. Jeff V

          Interesting stuff, thank you Colonel.

          One thing I do take issue with is, however, is describing the non-dom rules as a loophole. The system is working exactly as it is supposed to do.

          Conservative, Liberal, Labour, even (presumably – I haven’t checked the dates) Whig governments have all been perfectly fine with it. The issue will quietly fade from the headlines once it stops being a useful stick to beat the Chancellor with.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you. That’s correct.

        I was thinking of poltroons, poseurs and pound shop left wing politicians like Corbyn and MacDonnell who refuse to get serious about politics and the establishment, people I went to school with and have worked with and for.

        1. Midget

          I think that Moldbug’s dichotomy of Aristocrats vs. Townies is more appropriate. If you look at the neoliberal ‘left’ and the neoconservative ‘right’, you’ll see that they belong to the same social class – the same class that was historically the motive force behind most revolutions in history – the modern intellectual/financial aristocracy. The embodiment changes, but the basic pattern of behavior remains the same – and aristocrats have always played political games for keeps.
          Corbyn and MacDonnell, and their base, just want things to be fair, and to be left the hell alone.

          In general, I recommend a quick reading of the first 3 chapters of Moldbug’s ‘Open Letter to Open-Minded Progressives’ to anyone and everyone. The similarities to the current situation re. Ukraine/Russia are horrifying.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you.

            I don’t doubt Corbyn, but am wary of the opportunist MacDonnell. Both of them have no idea of how to take on the establishment and refused assistance from sympathisers on the inside, thinking fighting, not necessarily dirty, was beneath them.

    2. lance ringquist

      the labor party is no longer the left, it was not killed off by blair, it was killed of by corbyn, the nit wit embraced free trade, which has been the death knell of the middle class world wide.

      the ensuing electoral slaughter was the results of embracing a policy that the worlds middle classes, as well as the poor have recoiled against because it creates poverty, slums, indebtedness and environmental destruction where ever it touches.

      otherwise he would have won and saved a left party.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Nerves for EU and NATO as Le Pen heads into second round clash with Macron”

    ‘Mélenchon himself called on voters not to cast a ballot in favor of Le Pen in the second round …later repeating several times: “We must not give a single vote to Marine Le Pen.” Less grudgingly, several other rivals immediately threw their weight behind Macron for the second round, including Valérie Pécresse from the conservative Les Républicains, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo of the Socialists and Yannick Jadot from the Greens.’

    I don’t suppose that anybody knows where Obama is at the moment.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Wikipedia has a page on this (Sanders-Trump_voters), and it tries to focus on statistical analysis but cannot name anyone prominent who pushed this course of action, and grudgingly admits:

        “Jeff Stein of Vox suggested that many Sanders-Trump voters may have been Reagan Democrats who were white and pro-union.[2] Political scientist John M. Sides suggested that many Sanders-Trump voters were unlikely to be inclined to support Clinton in the first place.[1] Writing in RealClearPolitics, Tim Chapman, executive director of conservative advocacy group Heritage Action, suggested that both Trump and Sanders had strong populist appeal, especially to working-class voters in the heartland, despite their starkly different policies.[8] In 2020, Schaffner suggested that Sanders’ appeal to Sanders-Trump voters in 2016 was due to his outsider status, his populist policies, and his targeting of issues which affected groups of people Trump attempted to court in his 2016 campaign.[4]”

    1. digi_owl

      Sounds like what i expected. The French system always plays out like this. The first round get an extreme option vs the sitting president, and then the second round see all the moderate voters pile up on the sitting president to avoid the extreme option.

  6. Mikel

    “This single mother sold Wall Street a stake in her home for $60,000, joining thousands of Americans who are cashing in on soaring home prices”

    The repackaged loan economy. Zzzzzz…
    The other half of the energy is going to find ways to make a simple, electric car as expensive as possible so that more lending can occur…and be repackaged.
    Then all those loans can be re-insured.

  7. petal

    That photo of Biden hair sniffing/nuzzling is so disgusting and disturbing. I’d call him a sick f(amily blog). Maybe it was a good thing I wore an up-do the day he brushed passed me at his town hall. Ugh.

    1. Screwball

      There have been countless pictures like this over the years. They guy is a pig. Two things that I don’t understand; 1) people will actually defend this. How? I know why – tribal politics because my side can’t lose. 2) Wouldn’t it be neat to see some lady just smack the shit out of him right in front of everyone? I think that would be fitting and hilarious.

      Related; he isn’t the only pig that does things like this. To the men; what exactly, do you think gives YOU the right to do this to begin with?

      1. Wukchumni

        I can’t wait until Joe sticks his nostrils in his black mane up top and breathes deeply while cooing ‘Xi, your hair smells terrific!’

        1. Stick'em

          Just think of all the COVID sufferers who can’t smell random women’s hair because their olfactory sense got erased!

      2. The Rev Kev

        He once nearly got decked by a US Secret Service agent because Joe got all over his girl as he thought that, through his position, that he could get away with it. Wrong.

      3. Tom Stone

        It’s a display of Dominance by Biden, he has done the same to prepubescent girls when he knew the cameras were rolling many times.
        And everyone smiles and pretends nothing happened.
        Because having a little pork topping your rice bowl is nice.
        Think about how he acts when no one is looking…

        1. Screwball

          Like Tara Reade? I don’t know what became of that incident, but there were allegations that went nowhere, and ended the metoo movement if I remember right. I have read other things too, and they are not pretty.

          I could be misremembering. Sure seems like a lot of things that get covered up for old Joe. Hunter might be a challenge as the laptop thing doesn’t seem to be going away.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            I was thinking about her the other day but hadn’t looked anything up. The whole story is a perfect example of how the outrage industry exists not for the people it claims to protect, but to protect the right people from their victims. It’s a pretty terrible story but aside from righties and the real far left, who covered it?

            I’m watching the laptop story, not because I think anything will come of it, but because I want to see how they spike it.

            1. Screwball

              Agree 100%. I followed the Reade thing for a while. I remember Krystal & Saager covering it, and maybe even an interview. I always thought she sounded legit, but many didn’t. Like so many things these days, you don’t know what to believe. What we do know is she went away.

              The laptop might be a little more difficult but I’m confident they will find a way to make it go away as well. The NY Post had a story today about it, and Fox covers it (I think from what I read), but little from elsewhere.

              Isn’t it funny how some things seem to just disappear, or get minimal coverage? Epstein & Maxwell, the laptop, Reade, Hillary’s fines for the Russiagate stuff? And what the hell is Durham doing, building Rome? Not to mention all the COVID bs we were fed. News, what’s it good for? Maybe that should be fake news, depending on which tribe one is rooting for.

      4. judy2shoes

        2) Wouldn’t it be neat to see some lady just smack the shit out of him right in front of everyone?

        Now that’s the Slap I would clap for.

      5. jr

        I’ve brought up Biden’s predilection for touching women and girls to liberal PMC supporters of his. I’ve brought up Tara and was told flat out that she was lying, without any proof or justification. In keeping with the intellectual zeitgeist of the times, they just choose to not believe it. Like many of them choose to not believe in human sexuality or the threat of nuclear war.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You could show them that picture of old Joe grabbing that women’s boobs from behind (yes, it exists) and those sort of people would still dismiss it. They believe what they want to believe.

    2. Goingnowhereslowly

      While my husband normally decries the verbification of nouns, proper and not, some months ago he began using “biden” as a verb denoting how our dog pesters our cats by aggressively sniffing them.

      “Don’t biden the kitty!” is an admonition frequently heard in our home.

      1. caucus99percenter

        We’re all, like, evidence-based around here, so we want pictures! (For the antidote, that is…)

    3. foghorn longhorn

      Now, now, that photo is obviously putin propaganda and has been doctored and edited by those rascally republicans, just like the video earlier with obama. /s

      We just need to hold his feet to the fire harder. It is all our fault.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Understanding why Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in DENIAL (Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying)”

    A bit of context to this. Scotty just pulled the pin finally this weekend and called for a Federal Election to be held May 21st. So of course you have nothing but political campaigning going on the TV for the next several weeks which has proved to be a bonus. So now when I sit down to watch the evening news on the telly and they start on the elections, I can immediately kill the sound and get on with reading the real news on my tablet.

    Scotty’s rival and Leader of the Opposition is Labour’s Albanese whom I think of as a party hack. We haven’t heard much of him the past few years – until the government passes some lunatic neocon policy when he will step forward and say that he supports the government fully on this as does his entire party. And he thinks that he is the ‘opposition’. He keeps on using that word. I do not think that it means what he thinks it means.

    1. digi_owl

      That article once more gets me wondering if given the “right” environment, people can adopt the behaviors of a narcissist or sociopath as a survival mechanism.

      After all, we see all kinds of weirdness like that when dealing with closed off religious communities etc.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Numerous people who have worked with him have said how he is a bully and you can see this in him in TV appearances, even when he doesn’t have to be. As an example, when he dumped the French sub deal a few months ago he could have publicly apologized to the French and said that Australia must see to the best deal for their defenses, that he realized that it damaged French-Australian relations but they will try to repair them, etc. but he did none of that. He announced this contract being broken almost with glee and could not resist putting the boot into the French. And he had that damn smug, closed-mouth grin on his face as well. It was so unnecessary & stupid and I think that it spoke a lot of who he actually is.

        1. jr

          Then there was Stacy Abrams being publicly humiliated…it’s all about the rush of exerting power. It could be the leader of an allied nation, a bodyguard, or the pizza guy.

      2. hunkerdown

        Yes, that’s the entire principle of class society. No, all value systems operate by relating parts to a whole in a notionally closed system, and therefore are necessarily totalitarian.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      I take issue with using pseudoscience to take someone down. Keen did himself no favors with this article. It makes him look like a sad loser. What! he stayed with a narcissist for 20 years??? It besmirches his reputation for clear and innovative thinking. Own goal. Just like Dr John and his thing on Putin.
      A lot of Australians know that Morrison is a liar. Plain and simple and easily proved.
      A lot of Australians also know that he is a dirty political player, one of the dirtiest. Evidence is there.
      And that he plays favorites all the time. Lots of evidence.
      And is a bully, of both women and men. Lots of evidence.
      And is a religious kook (forcing people to shake hands with him so he could “lay his hands” on them – outcreeping Biden!) Clear video evidence and his own words later.
      I’ll stop here, but could go on… and on… and on.
      None of this relied on pseudoscience, just observation and his own words.
      Pseudoscience weakens any argument.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      When the film was to be shown at the European Parliament in Brussels, Browder ensured the screening was cancelled.

    2. Bart Hansen

      America loves its crooks and con men. Looking back, it was so easy for him to convince our legislators that we needed the Magnitsky Act to punish Russia for allowing a sorry little fraud enabler to die in prison.

      1. Bruno

        Browder Family Values:
        What seems to go without mention anent “Bill” Browder, a good pal to KGB honcho V. Putin until 2005 (when he had to choose between Putin and another crooked pal, Khodorkovsky), is that his grandpa, Earl Browder, ran the US “Communist” Party on behalf of Stalin for the whole Popular Front–Moscow Trial–Hitler/Stalin Pact–World War II epoch, until Stalin retired him via the “Duclos Letter.” When Putin perhaps resurfaces the Popular Front (to rehabilitate the Kremlin with Wall Street) expect a Browder to be on hand…

    3. Polar Socialist

      In 2019, when European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia in Magnitsky case, it was barely mentioned (as in not at all) that the same court also ruled that the arrest itself was legal and based on proper evidence collected by the Russian prosecutors about Magnitsky’s illegal activities and an attempt to leave the country when he realized he was under investigation.

      The complaints that were accepted were about putting him into too crowded cell, not investigating if his injuries came from a possible beating and continuing the trial after his death. IIRC, so apply some salt when needed.

      One wonders what the same court would say about Epstein’s arrest and treatment?

  9. shoeless

    “Elon Musk decides not to take a board seat.”
    My understanding is that a board seat would cap his ownership stake at 14.9%, which would hamstring him were he to decide to be more aggressive. Who knows what his long-term plan is, but his decision to reject the offer likely keeps the Twitter execs on their toes.

    1. Screwball

      I’m no fan of Twitter (I do use it for entertainment) and not much of a fan of Musk either, but perhaps the two deserve each other. Note to Elon; now do Facebook.

    2. Skippy

      Elon’s M.O. has always been to do stock takeovers through mission creep boardroom antics, so yeah, this is just the opening salvo. Additionally one would think the Twitter players would be well aware of this history. Seems he’s not interested in the classic buy a rag approach due to his fancy for new world techno fetishes.

  10. Stick'em

    re: It Took Us Less Than 24 Hours to Order an Endangered Tiger on Facebook Vice

    I worked for 5 years with Tigers and other mostly large feline carnivores at the Carnivore Preservation Trust. One of the most baffling things I learned about this sort of trade is as a generalization, many Chinese people believe in all sorts of magic bullshit, which contributes to the slaughter of Tigers and Bears, oh my!

    For example, Chinese folk tradition says Tiger bone contains fertility powers. The kicker is instead of ingesting Tiger bone in some sort of tea or rubbing it on certain parts of human anatomy the way you might imagine, the shaman or homeowner will sprinkle the stuff on the roof of the house. So they can make babies in the bedroom below. WTF?

    Weird superstitious stuff like this is how you get Wuhan live animal markets and Facebook exotic animal vendors and so on. It’s a thing.

    1. playon

      It’s not only China. When we were in Thailand I remember seeing tiger teeth for sale as amulets (some fakes but some were real) and also saw a guy wearing a piece of tiger skin fashioned into a belt buckle.

  11. Polar Socialist

    Regarding permanent NATO military presence on eastern border: they looked at how Russia destroyed the Ukrainian “NATO” bases in minutes and then decided that bringing as much troops as possible within missile range is A Good Idea?

    Somebody in Brussels should explain to Stoltenberg the difference between a deterrence and a fish in a barrel.

    1. digi_owl

      I think they are betting that Russia would not dear strike an official base in a member nation for fear of getting the nukes. Never mind that they threw a hissy fit when Putin reminded them that Russia do have functioning nukes, so do not interfere in Ukraine.

    2. anon y'mouse

      actual dead bodies will give credence to the claims that Russia is attempting genocide.

      they want those people dead much more than Russia appears to, but Russia may have no choice but to oblige.

      1. Acacia

        Dead bodies = more arms sales = more dead bodies… etc.

        Seems to be win-win from the NATO perspective.

    3. Screwball

      I am seeing reports (Reuters via The Times) that Sweden and Finland are to join NATO this summer. Then a warning by Russia via the BBC.

      I’m guessing the good old USA pushed for this move. We really want WWIII it seems, or maybe to see how we can withstand a nuke.

      But it’s all good. My PMC friends who are foaming at the mouth for Russia wars tell me things are so much better since sleepy sniffy Joe took over.

      1. digi_owl

        Sadly the one thing congress can be truly bipartisan about is MIC pork.

        If that means risking a thermonuclear conflagration, so be it. At least it will make their stock value massive, right before the power goes out.

    4. Skippy

      What can you say about a country whose entire history is grounded in fighting against the dark forces that diminish the light it wants to shine on the world – nothing else matters – not AGW, background toxicity, potable water depletion, covid et al, nothing ….

  12. Mikel

    “US police agencies are sending protective gear to Ukrainian civilians in what experts call an unprecedented move CNN. We’re gonna fight to the last Ukrainian”

    I wonder if experts think blowback is something that only happens from ME countries?

    1. petal

      On top of the VT State Police advertising for used body armor donations for Ukraine, the Sullivan County(NH) police had a radio advert going recently.

    2. TomDority

      I just wonder if using my tax dollars to pay for police – that they ought first to seek permission to use my tax dollars to supply another country with aide. Just thinking about the legal angle

      1. John

        Well, the positive side of the militarized police sending their old toys to Ukraine is that they won’t be able to use said toys on the subject populations of Vermont and New Hampshire. There’s that, I guess.

        1. hunkerdown

          We have to have our defense industry potlatches over there so we don’t have to have them over here.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Russians ‘who want to fight Putin in Ukraine’ given own battalion”

    Gee. I understand that support for the war in Russia is running at about 80% so I wonder what they would think of these guys. I don’t suppose that Alexei Navalny could be induced to lead this unit if he has recovered from his poisoning. You can see some of that support by average people in the following clip- (3:41 mins)

    Say, whatever happened to these guys? How did that ever work out for them?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Interesting article. No names of the defectors, all the faces are all pixelated out, and lots of details presented in “is said to” and “are understood to” format.

      So it must be true!

  14. Mikel

    “How ‘Ukraine Fatigue’ Is Taking Over Markets” John Authers, Bloomberg

    The “market” always so “fatigued” with the bad news. Just like it must be “fatigued” with economic fundamentals.

    The whole “fatigue” meme that magically pops up when bad crap happens.

    But when will we ever get “short-term thinking fatigue”? Or “amnesia fatgue”?

    1. The Rev Kev

      The US has also been getting onto Turkey’s case to give the Ukraine their Russian S-400s in exchange for some Patriot missiles batteries but the Turks told them to forget it. That is like going to a guy with a Porsche 911 and asking them to give it to a drunk driver that they know in exchange for a Tesla Model S. And that they would ‘promise’ to never deny that guy spare parts for that Tesla down the track if they had a disagreement with them.

  15. Tom Stone

    When looking at US Military leadership I keep in mind that we have had a “Zero Defect” promotion system for decades.
    No current officer of flag rank has ever made a mistake.
    Every “Readiness Report” they have submitted shows every vehicle and every weapon ready to go, none are broken and none are missing.
    Every fitness report they have ever recieved was redolent with praise, being described as the second coming of Napoleon wouldn’t be good enough to make it past Colonel.
    You need to get all the right merit badges in the right order and you need to avoid deal killers like “Too much time with the troops” or worse, too much combat time.
    For decades the DoD has had thousands of “Career Counselors” available to help the right sorts stay on the right career path.
    Amazingly enough they are actually called career counselors, a degree of honesty that surprises me.
    Once they reach flag rank the next goal for 95% of them is a sweet retirement deal with Raytheon or the like.

    1. anon y'mouse

      so you’re saying they’ve learned how to lie on reports and not get caught?

      well, judicious lying is a skill, i guess. conducive to politicians and salesmen and such.

      the whole Wells Fargo scandal(s), roboloans and all of that come to mind here.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I guess it’s more akin to the old adage in software development: be careful what you choose to measure, because that’s what you’re going to get.

        I also recall reading that before the Crimean War it was considered to be of poor taste for an officer to study war. One of the ironies of history is that Captain Louis Nolan was one them that did study and of war, and yet managed to cause the “charge of the light brigade”.

        1. LifelongLib

          I don’t know if it was a legacy of the English Civil War or what, but my understanding is that until late in the 19th century Britain tried to prevent the formation of a professional military officer class. They were afraid of the military interfering in politics as often happened in continental Europe. Allowing civilians to purchase rank and discouraging people from making careers out of being officers were aspects of that policy.

          1. Tom Bradford

            True for the Army, but the Royal Navy was highly professional. Sailing ships at sea are unforgiving of amateurs. Advancement up the ladder was based on experience and examination, and you certainly couldn’t buy your way to rank and command. Captain Cook of ‘Endeavour’ fame was a farmer’s son who started out as an able-seaman while Horatio Nelson started as a midshipman at age 12. As a result Britannia ruled the waves – for a while, anyway.

  16. Mikel


    I finally watched “Dopesick” (about the Sacklers and the Opiod crisis).

    What struck me: how the medical establishment seemed to conveniently forget or disregard decades of hard earned research and knowledge about opiates and opiods to help a few crackpots sell more addictive drugs.
    Decades and scientific and lived experience – totally sent down the rabbit hole.
    That’s what I see with Covid everytime they talk about these ridiculous immunity theories and the abilities of non-sterilizing “vaccines”.

    1. Screwball

      To the opioid crisis; just read a report in our local newspaper. Our county in NW Ohio led the state in deaths per capita in the state for year 2020. 55,000 people and 26 ODs. No numbers for 2021.

      What those numbers do not reveal is the amount of deaths prevented by the use of Narcan to save them. I had a police scanner radio, and the ODs were almost daily, but many were saved due to Narcan. I think many went unreported.

      Fentanyl was the leader at 60%, while heroin was second with 21.5, and the rest were psychostimulants. I’m not sure what those are and they claim that was 9% so the numbers don’t add up.

      I no longer have a police radio but according to what I see in the daily logs in the paper, it has not improved since.

      NFLX had a documentary called “The Pharmacist” that was excellent. It was about Purdue Pharma and oxy. A must see for anyone interested in this topic. I was told about this from a girl who got into the stuff, ended up on heroin, and eventually spent a year in prison. She was one of the lucky ones – she survived, got clean, and is doing well.

      County of 55,000, county seat of 17,000. How does this happen? Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. Mikel

        “What those numbers do not reveal is the amount of deaths prevented by the use of Narcan to save them…”
        Which should be terrifying.
        But you know the USA motto: Let ‘er rip!

        1. Screwball

          Yes, unfortunately. I try to be logical about this. What can a small town/county do about this? What are the cops doing? I really don’t know, but the stuff is getting in here somehow. I am not aware of any pill mills in the county, and most of the stories I’ve read says they got the drugs from elsewhere. That means they are being transported into the county.

          Nobody seems to be stopping it, why? Great question. There was a guy in town (dead now) who everyone knew as the “snowman.” He was the primary cocaine dealer in town and everybody knew it (this was before the opioids). He sold his stuff for years and nothing ever happened. Why? How?

          It would seem to me if you knew that, and followed the guy around, you could come up with some pretty good leads to someone above him, and above that guy, and the guy above him. Figure out the supply chain in other words.

          That doesn’t seem to happen either. Why? Many whys, no answers.

          When COVID hit and we watched how it all turned out, especially when we went to “let it rip” all I could think is “killing people for money is a long time business model – just see the opioid crisis as an example.”

          But hey, the next election will be the most important one in our lifetimes.

          1. Mikel

            About the only thing going is the narcan to save people and that’s like pulling teeth in some of the communities. Some thinks it’s enabling addicts and not a peep from them when pharma salemen were running wild with BS claims.
            I wish people were as concerned about enabling the greedy.

  17. John Beech

    The Ed Sheeran article makes me so glad I am a simple engineer who along with all my brother engineers recognizes he stands on the shoulders of those who preceded. To wit, I freely buy my competitor’s products to take apart and look for what they may have done better, e.g. to see what I can learn from them.

    Next, I will shamelessly copy what’s useful to my product (metaphorically speaking, I sometimes won’t even bother to file off the serial number). This, in an attempt to improve my product, naturally. And they do the same with mine!

    Next, what I judge to be an improvement is put to the test, e.g. in the real world where consumers who are the final arbiter (either they get off their wallets, or I was flat out wrong).

    Anyway, it strikes me the music industry could learn a thing or two from how engineers do things. Honestly, I would be saddened because of how products would stagnate if our ‘vibe’ was fair game for attorneys.

    As a thought experiment, imagine a world where after the first pickup truck, or television, or mobile phone nobody else could build one!

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Well, the process you’re describing is exactly what musicians do and have done for eons. Pick any songwriter and I’ll bet you can find them talking about taking apart the songs of their influences to see how they worked or trying to write in their style.

      Musicians recognize the importance of building on their influences. It’s the business side of things that started this ball rolling. For instance, the case with John Lennon over “Come Together”. The song he was accused of plagiarizing was Chuck Berry’s but Berry had nothing to do with the suit. It was Morris Levy who owned the publishing who sued.

      Seems like now they’re getting some blowback with people outside the majors playing the game. I’m sure they aren’t happy about it, but it may be a cost of doing business because this is the model they’re built on now.

    2. Ctesias

      Most commercial songs are blatant copies of commercially successful formulas done many times over.
      I’m just hoping that the “Ed Sheeran problem” will push the music industry towards the realm of “strange music”, so as to avoid allegations of plagiarism. I couldn’t care less about Ed Sheeran, Kate Perry or the “music industry” at large.
      The best contemporary music festivals I’ve been to this last decade, or so, were “strange music” festivals.

      On another note, here in São Paulo Frank Zappa still lives through a couple of very good cover bands. No money, no fame, few shows… but just pure love for his music. Could not possibly be different though, with all these weird notes, rythms and technical demands on playing that stuff.

      1. jonboinAR

        What if Bo Diddley (or his heirs/owners of his rights) sued everyone who based a successful recording around the Bo Diddley Shuffle starting with “Not Fade Away”? Whooee, that’d be worth a fortune. And what about the early Beach Boys? They’re just rewritten Chuck Berry, I mean, straight up. Did they settle at some point?

  18. Telee

    In todays op-ed in the NYT, a guest essay by Professor Charles A. Kupchan from Georgetown, in regard to Ukraine, noted that the tenet of US foreign policy has always been to deliver democracy, justice and liberty to other countries. In his view, what we are seeing in Ukraine is an overextension of our idealistic ideology. Our recent interventions in Vietnam, Iraq. Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Chile, aiding the Saudis in their war with Yemen, support of Israel in the suppression of Palestinians all stems from our desire to bring freedom, liberty and justice to the rest of the world. For him the problem is that this desire sometimes conflicts with realpolitik and doesn’t always yield perfect result as we see in Ukraine. However our intentions are always godly. Isn’t it great to live in a country with such impeccable moral values? Isn’t it wonderful that Professor Kupchan can offer a mild critique of our position in Ukraine and still keep his job at Georgetown.

    1. flora

      I think Taibbi is closer to US foreign policy when he writes in the full article Regime Change Doesn’t Work, You Morons:

      The plot is always the same. Our diplomats speak loftily of self-determination, civil liberties, and democracy. Then the local population does something daft, like attempting to nationalize their own oil or copper reserves or voting for a nationalist or socialist, at which point the CIA is forced to intervene and install a responsible leader like the Shah, Pinochet, or Suharto. If the new U.S-friendly leader hangs on, he or she over time becomes increasingly dependent on arms, “security advisors,” and World Bank/I.M.F. loans, mass-disappearing dissidents into fingernail factories or wiping them out with death squads, while also often raiding the treasury as a carrying charge for services rendered. This results in more domestic fury, leading to more calls for “aid,” until the by-now-hated U.S.-allied figure is steamrolled by a nationalist/communist/fundamentalist movement 1,000 times more hostile to the U.S. than anything that existed previously. See: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and today’s Russia (hold that thought).

        1. jonboinAR

          Here’s what I meant to say here: Every time I hear the term “regime change” I want to take a bunch of politicians and news people into a room and beat the hell out of all of them. It’s “overthrowing governments” you a$$-wipes! And no, most people in most countries are not going to ever appreciate it when we go into their country and try to overthrow their government, no matter how noxious said government appears to us from our safe island continent. I don’t think they appreciate it when we talk about doing it, while we’re invading them or trying to starve them into desperately overthrowing their own government, nor afterward, when they are trying to deal with the aftermath of our malicious, overbearing meddling. When are you going to learn that, you deluded f###-heads (those who promote it so glibly in their anodyne terminology)!? My scorn and disgust extends to all, including our president if that’s really what he’s suggesting.

      1. jonboinAR

        What if Bo Diddley (or his heirs/owners of his rights) sued everyone who based a successful recording around the Bo Diddley Shuffle starting with “Not Fade Away”? Whooee, that’d be worth a fortune. And what about the early Beach Boys? They’re just rewritten Chuck Berry, I mean, straight up. Did they settle at some point?

    2. Tom Stone

      Professor Kupchan’s view of the USA as a benign influence is widely shared.
      Sometimes “Mistakes were made” but our intentions were always pure and noble.
      And many truly believe this, if you start mentioning little things like rendition, torture, the deliberate destruction of Libya or dozens of other examples you get “Yes,but” and if you persist you are one of Putin’s bitches or just a negative person who badly needs professional help.
      The belief in the essential goodness of America and its empire is deeply embedded in most of the people I know.
      It just is.
      At this point in my life “Okey-Dokey” seems the healthiest attitude I can take.

      1. Ctesias

        This! It’s the root axiom of western propaganda through which all derived propaganda can function. It’s the “benign intentions” that will prevent us plebs from comparing apples to apples or pointing out hyprocricy when analyzing interventionist history.
        Everything is acceptable when good is fighting evil (i.e. Albright being able to get away with 500.000 deaths as a result of sanctions in Iraq, rather than being locked up for life).

        But it’s subtler than that. I remember an opinion piece many years ago in the Guardian by an American columnist whose name I forgot, but who often interacted with readers in the comments section. At the time the Guardian was a lot less US focused than it is now, its readership was also mostly anti-intervenionist and there wasn’t as much comment moderation as is currently the case.

        The piece was essentially about why he was opposed to a potential war in Iraq, during a time when the drumbeats started to sound louder by the day. He provided all sorts of the usual, good non-interventionist arguments; the neocons, Bush, etc. In a nutshell, he was a left liberal American, on the “good” side, almost courageous, when non-interventionist opinions in US msm papers started to become fringe and held in contempt.

        One thing in his article stood out to me, though. He mentioned that after much soul-searching, he had supported the Afghan intervention as legitimate and he had supported it, because Afghanistan had “harbored terrorists” that were responsible for a direct attack on American soil and had refused to hand over the perpetrators / Bin Laden. So then I asked, in the comment section, if therefore Cuba had the right to bomb Miami, because the US refused to extradite terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles, responsible for the downing of a Cuban airliner, killing all 73 people on board.
        This “suggestion”, as you can imagine, wasn’t appreciated at all. It was “absurd” (of course it is), legal proceedings were still being pursued, american politics are complicated, Cuban exile community, etc, etc.

        The subtlety is basically in that you are comparing apples to apples to an American non-interventionist journalist, who apparently is capable of seeing through the “benign intent” interventionist propaganda and who acknowledges that there is some foul play going on (dangerous neocons, etc.), and STILL somehow couldn’t be intellectually honest to himself, failing to get over that final hurdle, whith strong vestiges of “us” compared to “them”. It’s only an anecdote, but it’s one that I’ll always keep at the back of my mind when discussing foreign policy matters with my american friends, as I always feel I’m treading on eggshells.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I note that anybody with a Spanish-sounding name trying to sneak into the country gets rounded up and thrown into a detention center until they can be thrown back across the border and if they are a know terrorist, they get a one-way trip to Guantanamo. Unless your name was Luis Posada Carriles in which case the authorities do nothing and pretend that they don’t see him.

    3. Mikel

      How did you find your way back after reading took you down that fantastical rabbit hole?
      How was that not “The Onion”?

    4. fresno dan

      I am reminded that water boarding was defined as a war crime when the Japanese did it to US soldiers. When we do it, it isn’t a war crime. These are simply facts, and people either don’t acknowledge them, or rationalize them as water boarding isn’t a crime when we do it because we are so noble…
      I used to wonder how people in the middle ages could be so blind to the atrocities committed by the medieval church. Now I realize – people aren’t blind, they just don’t want to look…

    5. Robert Gray


      > Isn’t it wonderful that Professor Kupchan can offer a mild critique of our position in Ukraine
      > and still keep his job at Georgetown.

      About two or three weeks ago, Arnab at RepublicWorld had great fun leaving Prof. Kupchan with egg all over his face. A delight to watch.

    6. Altandmain

      I wonder what people in Iran would think about that one considering the US overthrew their government in 1953 and installed the Shah.

      Or perhaps people in Chile over the 1973 overthrow of their government.

      They probably would recognize that it is propaganda.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Watch what happens when police pull over a driverless car in San Francisco MarketWatch (SJ),

    To get around the paywall I read the article here:

    From the piece:

    As the befuddled officer walks back to his car, the Cruise starts back up and crosses an intersection, before stopping again in front of a restaurant on Clement Street, in the city’s Richmond District. The police car follows, and officers get out and inspect the unoccupied vehicle in more detail, before one makes a call — apparently to Cruise.

    “Our AV yielded to the police vehicle, then pulled over to the nearest safe location for the traffic stop, as intended. An officer contacted Cruise personnel and no citation was issued,” the company tweeted, adding that “We work closely with the SFPD on how to interact with our vehicles, including a dedicated phone number for them to call in situations like this.”

    How “befuddled” can a cop on a police force with a close working relationship with a company running driverless cars on the streets of his city be?

    The car has a pile of hardware on the roof and big orange signage on the fender. Pretty hard to confuse it with a regular car with a human driver doncha think?

    And as for the “no citation,” we’ve all heard of the hail of bullets that would have resulted in the event that a human driver took off from a traffic stop.

    Just sayin’.

    1. Mildred Montana

      From the article (and thanks for the link):

      “…a driverless Cruise car — apparently driving at night without its headlights on…”

      Oops, minor software glitch there.

      From your comment: “…we’ve all heard of the hail of bullets…”

      For some strange reason, I’m flashing back to a scene from the movie “Bonnie and Clyde”, where their vehicle had serious daylight put through it by the law. Along with Bonnie and Clyde.

    2. fresno dan

      …toward the end Judge Patricia Millett brought up an aspect of the case that troubled her: When FBI agents served a search warrant at Abou-Khatwa’s home in Kalorama Heights, a swanky D.C. neighborhood “favored by diplomats and power brokers,” there was no answer at the door. But instead of breaching the front door, the agents went around the back to preserve “the aesthetics” of an “affluent neighborhood.”

      While that issue was not part of Abou-Khatwa’s appeal, Millett said, “I found this deeply disturbing.” When it became clear that a forced entry was necessary, an FBI agent testified, “the decision was made, since it was an affluent neighborhood,” to do it inconspicuously. “Due to the aesthetics of the neighborhood,” he said, “we decided to use a rear entrance so as to maintain the integrity of the front of the residence.”
      When Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern noted these comments on Twitter, Jabari-Jason Tyson-Phipps, an attorney and former Foreign Service special agent, replied: “I can tell you that is not protocol. The problem is there are two justice systems: 1 for poor people and minorities and 1 for rich people and generally white people. You see it when you are one of the few black agents. Everyone is not equal.”
      forget it Jake – its 0.1 percenters town…

  20. Mikel

    “The Ed Sheeran Problem, or, How the Record Industry Got What It Asked For” Cory Doctorow

    “It’s also an idea the record industry fought like hell against. Take the Bridgeport Music case, which resulted in a judgment that a two-second sample, distorted beyond recognition, could still constitute a copyright violation…”

    That’s because there is more than one type of copyright for recorded songs. There are the publishing/songwriting rights and then the mechanical rights. Basically, if a song is covered (a remake), there are publishing/songwriting rights that have to be cleared. If a song is sampled, any element of sound taken from the actual recording, then there has to be clearance from the owner of the mechanical rights as well. The owner of the mechanicals is often the record label.

    As for songwriting, again, everybody is hung up on the 12 notes of the western scale. But copywright for songwriting is about melody and lyrics. A melody is not just a finite combination of notes, but an infinate amount of space between the notes. It was never the letter or spirit of the law that chord progressions or drum beats are copyrightable. Nobody can “own” four-on-the-floor disco beat or the “Bo Diddley Beat”. And Marvin Gaye himself never gave songwriting credits to many of the drummers that created and performed their lines. But now the Gaye estate wants to claim a rhythm/beat is copyrightable? Pay the drummer for the songwriting on the original record and I’ll be impressed.

    The losers in the copyright world are not the samplers, but the original musicians who suddenly find out decades later how much “songwriting” they actually did but were not credited for.

      1. Mikel

        And James Brown’s drummers?
        Copyright laws were created with an idea of the commons established. It’s once those rights started getting assigned to people outside of creative endeavors that the rules started getting stretched.

        I also want to clarify about the copyright for the recording of a song/album (as opposed to the songwriting/publishing). It is called a Sound Recording copyright. “Mechanical rights” is a term more used when referring to royalty payouts from the Sound Recording rights.

        And chord progressions? If chord progressions could be copyrighted, there are musician estates that would make Apple just look like “Seed” as far as market cap.

      2. Mikel

        I expect the copyright claims from non-creatives to be more outrageous with the buying of music catalogs hedge funds and other investors that has been happening.

  21. Gregorio

    On “The Ed Sheeran Problem:” How can “country music” even continue to exist when pretty much every song sounds exactly the same?

    1. Mikel

      They don’t have to pay the musicians for songwriting credits most of the time. And so there are musicians who save the good, original stuff for a different occasion. They aren’t getting songwriting money (though claims now will be made for decades based on their work) and alot of times the more adventurous ideas aren’t appreciated for the time or place, so they go with the cliches.
      Not only country music where this happens.
      The other reason is the use of a lot of the same digital presets for sounds being used.

  22. Ancient1

    Does anyone have any information about the “Tiger Team” assembled in the White House whose purpose is war with Russia?

  23. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Praxis “utopia”

    They already tried a libertarian utopia in Chile not that long ago called, I [family blog] you not, Galt’s Gulch. I’m sure NC readers will not be at all surprised that libertarian ideology devolved into an orgy of ripoffs and grift.

    One account –

    And another by someone dumb enough to put actual money down on it –

    But I’m sure it will be different this time!

      1. aletheia33

        wait a minute, that was a town in NH, not VT.
        NH as a state has strong libertarian tendencies.
        VT is different.
        you can just look at the two states’ taxation systems.
        especially property taxes.

  24. playon

    Speaking of COVID, I’m pretty sure I now have it as of Saturday. Sore throat, dry cough, fatigue, bad sinuses on the first day, and most telling, I can’t smell or taste much. It feels like a flu. I’m triple vaxxed and have been wearing a mask for almost two years, using a KN95 for the last 6 months. I took a home test and it was negative, but false negatives with rapid tests are supposedly common with Omicron.

    So today went down to our little town COVID clinic for a proper test only to find a paper sign on the door reading “COVID clinic permanently closed”. Silly me, I forgot that the pandemic is officially over! I’m not going to pay for a test, and they are no longer keeping track of cases anyway, so WTF.

    1. CoryP

      My colleagues have been testing negative on nasal rapid tests that are done according to the package instructions.

      Many subsequently test positive if they swab the inside of their mouth and their throat before jamming the swab up their nose. Not a fun experience but less bad than the official brain-stab sample collection was (when it was available).

      1. aletheia33

        not sure i would want to introduce infected mouth and throat fluids into my nasal passages–anyone else feel this way or am i just superstitious?

        1. CoryP

          Idk, it’s all the same hole if you think of the body as a “tube-within-a-tube”. Nasopharynx/oropharynx are continuous. Doctors, feel free to correct me if this is faulty reasoning.

          But I do believe these are the rapid antigen swabbing guidelines in some countries. When done for official (eg. Border crossing) purposes.

          1. Terry Flynn

            You remember how I got positive LFT then positive PCR test, as an NHS employee with NO access to patients.

            Wanna know what happened when I declared it? I was fired – or, because I was zero hours “would be given no work beyond 16th”.

            The UK NHS. Already getting rid of anyone with infection….. If you’re not “key” …funny that the lead medical oncology consultant and his deputy carried on. The oncology dept is already under official investigation..*ALLEGEDLY* because a senior consultant wrote no notes but I’d also ask authorities to look at how many patients have letters not “authorised” (sent to all relevant other clinicians). The secretary who didn’t send these ALLEGEDLY runs sex parties on FB. All hearsay of course…… I’m sure a police service that runs on truth would find or disprove this. British police are famously good.

  25. RobertC


    Essay on the 1 April EU-China summit by two young scholars in Britain and China so it’s kinda dense reading China’s Vision for Relations With Europe Is Slipping Out of Reach Beijing’s ideal vision for China-EU relations urgently needs an update to grapple with recent developments – starting with the Ukraine war.

    The Ukraine war is a watershed moment for Sino-European relations. If Beijing and Brussels can stand in unison in brokering a tenable ceasefire and post-conflict transition in Ukraine, there yet remains hope. Otherwise, we must brace for a very difficult decade, and beyond, ahead.

  26. fravolous

    Last week California took over the county dashboards. It now updates twice a week instead of daily and it doesn’t breakdown the cities within the county anymore. On Tuesday, the first state update, the total # of deaths due to Covid within my county dropped by a hundred or so (about 25%) from what the county had reported the previous week. On Friday the state site said that deaths reported on 4/7 were -2.

  27. ChrisRUEcon

    #COVID19 (and the ongoing dereliction by our resident kakistocracy)

    Look y’all! “CDC green” Philadelphia has just decided to reinstate a mask mandate … (via Twitter)

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      French reporter returning from Ukraine “Americans are directly in charge of the war on the ground.” (via #Twitter)

      Any French or Francophone person care to opine on the veracity? It appears to be a segment from CNews in France.

  28. Swamp Yankee

    Re: death of local news in MA.

    So, I just started a weekly independent online newspaper here in southeastern Massachusetts. Have a good number of subscribers so far and am doing some good muckraking, by all accounts! Hopefully I am filling a niche.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good luck with your weekly. It looks like the main stream media have left you a clear open road.

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