Links 5/7/2022

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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.


P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

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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Faithful Dog Refuses To Leave Side Of Friend Being Taken To The Hospital The Dodo (Li)

Can Animals Have Wealth Inequality? RealClearScience (Dr. Kevin)

Bird populations in eastern Canada declining due to forest ‘degradation,’ research shows Oregon State University Resilc: “I used to see more bird transits here in Vermont, heading north…..”

Goodwill Sold a Bust for $34.99. It’s an Ancient Roman Relic. dnyuz (J-LS)



WHO says 15 million deaths linked to Covid-19, almost three times the official toll France24

34 Volunteers Chose to Get Covid. Here’s What Scientists Learned Bloomberg. Did they correct the sample for IQ deficiency?


How WHO report on excess COVID deaths has become a political row in India FirstPost (J-LS)


White House documents detail a looming squeeze on Covid-19 boosters STAT

Scientist GM notes: “The usual reminder that the Third world is the future for the US and the pandemic is accelerating the transition. The first country to lead the way towards by stopping reporting was Tanzania back in May 2020, and Turkmenistan (one of the craziest dictatorships in the world) never admitted to having any cases at all.”


Wow, China exists to serve the West. Glad we have that clear:

Tesla targets pre-lockdown output in Shanghai by mid-May Reuters (resilc)


Resurrecting a ‘lost’ coral species PhysOrg (Kevin W)

India and Pakistan’s brutal heat wave poised to resurge Yale Climate Connections

Huge Groundwater System Discovered Under Antarctica Gizmodo (Kevin W)

The Emerald Isle

Sinn Fein on course for ‘seismic’ N. Ireland win, topping first preference vote France24 (guurst)

Sinn Fein Is Winning in Northern Ireland New York Times. Resilc: “Why anyone would choose UK over EU is beyond me.”

Irish government to provide millions in subsidies to developers Independent. John B:

The Irish government’s response to the housing crisis here, looks more and more like open/unhidden embezzlement of public funds, coupled with maximizing the severity of the crisis – and there aren’t notable protests happening, it looks like society has been successfully divided between haves/homeowners and have-nots/renters.

Sinn Féin set to be largest party in Northern Ireland assembly Guardian (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Who is Alina Kabaeva, Putin’s alleged girlfriend? BBC. Resilc: “Without a doubt this WILL stop the war. Do you have to go to Harvard, Yale or Oxford to come up with this bullshit?”

* * *

Because of Ukraine, America’s arsenal of democracy is depleting Economist (Kevin W)

Putin’s Brothers: Tensions Mount in the Balkans as Bosnia and Herzegovina Threatens to Fracture Der Spiegel (resilc)

From Peaceniks To Hawks?: Germany’s Greens Have Transformed in the Face of Russia’s War Der Spiegel (resilc). They didn’t get the memo that wars are very energy intensive, even before allowing for reconstruction.

American progressives join the War Party Asia Times (Kevin W)

The Deadly Illusion of “Victory” Nation (britzklieg)

* * *

Finland Braces For Russian Gas Cut-Off Ahead Of NATO Decision OilPrice (resilc)

Russia-Ukraine live news: Hungary slams EU’s Russian oil ban move Al Jazeera (resilc)

United States seeks to provoke Russia into escalation in Ukraine Defend Democracy

EU calls for confiscation of frozen Russian assets RT (Kevin W)

We’d predicted that housing all those refugees would become a problem:


US’ coercive diplomacy with Saudi Arabia Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

Terror from Balochistan: a menacing tool to disrupt Sino-Pakistani economics Cradle (Chick L)

Pay the price’: Israel hunts attackers who hacked 3 to death Al Jazeera (resilc)

Why Arab schoolboys are getting trounced by girls Economist (Kevin W)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Apple, Google, and Microsoft want to kill the password with “Passkey” standard ars technica (Kevin W). The only problem this is solving is allowing them to better snoop. There’s no user demand for this. This will assure that I will eventually move to Linux (and please don’t tell me to do it now, I have no time, loathe complexity and a transfer is complex, and hate learning new software with the burning passion of a thousand suns).

Imperial Collapse Watch

California says it needs more power to keep the lights on Yahoo (Kevin W)

US senate committee passes bill to revoke sovereign immunity of OPEC members The Cradle (guurst)


Mark Esper Waited Two Years to Tell Us Trump Wanted Troops to Shoot George Floyd Protesters Intercept (David L)

Video: Former defense secretary says Trump proposed bombing Mexico CNN (furzy)


A severe chilling effect’: abortion bans will inhibit doctors’ advice to patients, experts fear Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade Quotes Infamous Witch Trial Judge With Long-Discredited Ideas on Rape ProPublica

Why hundreds of scientists are weighing in on a high-stakes US abortion case Nature

‘I had an abortion on tour’: celebrities share their stories in backlash to Roe v Wade leak Guardian (Kevin W)

Louisiana Bill Aims to Charge Women Who Get Abortions With Murder Rolling Stone (furzy)

New ruling threatens Coast Guard’s high seas counter-drug mission Military Times (Kevin W)

Oregon law requires menstrual products in boys bathrooms New York Post (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

Mistaken’ PayPal Email Means CN Is Permanently Banned Consortium News (guurst). The big commonality between Consortium News and MintPress is they’ve both featured a lot of Scott Ritter, who just wrote a piece (again) for RT.

Democrats’ most undemocratic disinformation debacle Washington Examiner

Five Steps to Save Free Speech on Twitter: A Musk Roadmap Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Trolling Is Taking a Toll on Science Journalism Undark

Florida pension fund sues Elon Musk and Twitter to stop buyout Guardian (furzy). Let me stress that that there may be case law that supports the argument of the plaintiff, so I could be all wet. However, voting shares in support of a merger (and here a specific one) is only one of the rights of ownership, which include being able to sell the stock and receive dividends. So unless the agreements granted other rights to Must, like requiring the owners not to sell their shares at all save to Musk in a tender offer, this sounds pretty iffy.

Column: U.S. gas prices soar as Europe and Asia scramble for LNG Reuters (resilc)

Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham says we’re in the fifth great bubble of the modern era—and warns the economy won’t ‘skate through’ a housing crisis Fortune

US stocks suffer longest streak of weekly losses in over a decade Financial Times

Class Warfare

“Let Me Go Get My Big White Man”: The Clientelist Foundation of Contemporary Antiracist Politics Adolph Reed

Antidote du jour (Chet V):

And a bonus (furzy):

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links here.

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  1. Polar Socialist

    Re: tweet about Ukrainians refusing to fight, it seems that Gleb Bazov’s account has been suspended.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Found what I believe is the video on YouTube (for the moment). The translation is very, very rough but you can see that moral has collapsed and it seems that they felt like they were hung out to dry- (11:12 mins)

      The Russians have been taking prisoner from this Brigade so they should be right in captivity. The biggest danger that they will face will be at the hands of the ultra-nationalists back at home. Saw a poignant video a day or so ago. A Ukrainian soldier taken prisoner was allowed to make a mobile call to either his wife or girlfriend. She was upset at first but soon realized I think that at least as a POW that he would be safe. After minute or two she sounded almost resigned to the situation.

  2. Samuel Conner

    > Another company (remnants thereof) of 79th Ukrainian Brigade refuses to continue fighting, declaring loss of confidence in the army command, decrying failure to provide adequate supplies and failure of command & lack of guidance. These are not POWs, but active insubordination.

    It was already evident a couple of years ago that the U government was not in full control of the nationalist units (defiance of Zelensky’s order to pull heavy weapons away from the Donbas line of contact). It would seem that they are now losing control over the rest of the armed forces too (or at least those parts that are currently engaged against the Rs).

    In recent weeks, it has occurred to me that when one sees a claim about military conditions and events being made by the U government, this might not so much be accurate reporting about the Rs, but rather more nearly ‘projection.’ That was my interpretation of claims that R units were refusing to fight, or that R soldiers were sabotaging their heavy equipment and vehicles.

    Perhaps the intuition was valid.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      As Scott Ritter explains here, being on the receiving side of relentless, 24/7 artillery bombardment is profoundly demoralizing.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > being on the receiving side of relentless, 24/7 artillery bombardment is profoundly demoralizing.

        This was certainly true in the trenches of World War I. IIRC, “shell shock” was caused more by the anticipatory stress and the loss of all control, rather than by the explosion itself.

        1. LifelongLib

          A complaint that runs through a number of WW1 memoirs is the lack of overhead protection in the British trenches. It actually was the shelling (rather than say attacks against machine guns) that inflicted most of the British casualties. The German trenches were much better built, to the point where one historian says that some could only have been destroyed by tactical nuclear warheads. That of course are way beyond any artillery the British or French had.

        2. TimmyB

          Shell shock in WWI became known as Battle Fatigue in WWII. It is now called PTSD.

          Still the exact same condition with the exact same cause, people trying to kill you.

      2. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        “As Scott Ritter explains here, being on the receiving side of relentless, 24/7 artillery bombardment is profoundly demoralizing.”

        It is not only “profoundly demoralizing”, it also damages human brains in the form of “blast-induced neurotrauma” “and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease that he and his team discovered in the autopsied brains of four military veterans with blast exposure.”

        While, “Some researchers believe that it’s a mistake to focus only on the head.”, because “The whole body is exposed to huge kinetic energy,”

        Where, “That kinetic energy generates oscillating pressure waves in the blood, which serves as a perfect medium to further transfer that kinetic energy to all organs, including the brain.” Experiments she conducted on mice revealed that inflammation occurred in the brain whether the head had been protected from blast or not—inflammation, she argues, that starts a process of damage comparable to that seen in Alzheimer’s disease. By contrast, protection of the thorax significantly reduced inflammation in the brain, suggesting that the blast-body interaction has a crucial role in blast-induced brain injury.”

        “B L A S T F O R C E: The Invisible War on the Brain”

    2. Raymond Sim

      During Poroshenko’s ‘anti-terrorism’ operation Transcarpathia saw open and very active defiance of conscription efforts. A conscription officer, whose efforts had been thwarted due to his being mobbed by women and old men, obtained a police escort. resulting in a prolonged exchange of gunfire with locals. In another notable episode, the commander of a unit from Transcarpathia sent his men home from Donbass, telling them the consequences would be on him.

      Russian speakers are by no means the only ethnic group in Ukraine without any natural reason for loyalty to the nationalists, though they are surely the largest. Hungarians and various mountaineers, including, ironically enough, Rusyns, are in the same situation.

    3. hunkerdown

      Tendentious attribution (formerly known as false witness against one’s neighbor) is a common defense mechanism in narcissism and a staple of political formation. $1 has been added to your bill to support their self-esteem. :)

    4. Louis Fyne

      American alleges his Ukrainian father-in-law who volunteered for the UA Territorial Defence Force (local militia, one or two notches below a typical Army Reserves) got sent to the front line and memory-holed by UA military authorities.

      This is consistent with RU-friendly social media sharing photos/videos, anecdotes of badly equipped UA reserve/militia/conscript units get clocked on the frontlines.

      also consistent with social media allegations that UA soldiers are not getting paid, and not allowed contact with family, and survivor benefits are not being paid for those killed.

      all that money is getting looted by someone. IMO.

      1. dftbs

        It may be somewhat cruel, but I find it tragically comic that the poster of that tweet, judging by his responses to replies, thinks that his case is an outlier. That Ukraine is “doing well overall”. It’s only he and his that is getting scr@wed, and yet it’s so easy to ignore his lying eyes and keep his blue/yellow avatar.

        I’ve been noticing the theme pop up more an more since the war began and the economic situation hyper-deteriorated. But there seems to be a cleavage forming between those who chose to live in what Caitlin Johnstone calls the “narrative matrix” and those who knowingly or not abide by dialectical materialism.

        On the grandest scale you have the United States living in the fantasy of “worlds best military”, “worlds largest economy”. Meanwhile the Russians and Chinese lay those myths bare, not by challenging the narrative but by physically demolishing what sustains the illusion.

        We then double down on the narrative and do foolhardy things, like claim we are responsible for dead Russian generals, or that we will sanction China. This gives us no tangible advantage in the real world. On the contrary if the Russians really believed this, there would be no Arlington to bury our guys in. As to sanctions, the Chinese would figure out what to do with their demand hiccup as we starve with our supply problem. But the maintenance of the narrative is more important than reality. We don’t win by winning, but by burying our head deeper in the sand. Hence we run our mouth.

        On a less macro scale you see it in the outrage of the liberals on both sides of the Atlantic (I abide by the notion that all western politics are Liberal, self-proclaimed conservatives being just a different consumer demographic) with respect to price increases, reproductive rights and even identity politics. The German greens think the Russians should still sell them gas for seizable Euros, ignoring reality. The US liberals think you have to vote blue to defend abortion rights, because this time it’s different, ignoring reality and history. Even with respect to “gender” politics there is an inclination to dismiss the physical reality of things in order to satiate the demands of narrative the fantasies of individuals.

        Speaking of individuals that are victims to this narrative fantasy, look at some of the videos of captured Ukie pows. The disbelief they express when recounting how the wunderwaffen we sent over didn’t work, through malfunction or inadequacy. Imagine your belief in the Western superiority, nurtured by decades of Marvel movies, being torn from you by an NLAW that wouldn’t fire as a the barrel of a Russian tank bears its material reality on you. Devastating psychic shock.

        1. Samuel Conner

          > But the maintenance of the narrative is more important than reality.

          One is tempted to think that if US were to face a crisis like the one that overtook Russia after 1991, our government would simply manage the narrative while our well-armed population starved and descended into barbarity.

          The less-well armed (at individual level) Russians planted potatoes and this helped many of them survive their hard years.

          Speaking of which, I am late planting my Fedco seed potatoes. I hope they haven’t already gone moldy.

      2. Dave in Austin

        From Kiev. A very differnt view of the war.:

        This guy is a Texas guy who is ethnic Chinese I think. He owns two apartments in Kiev and fled in the first weeks. An honest blogger, looking out for himself and now back in Kiev. From the looks of the cafes and streets, there is no war going on and the young men don’t seem to be being drafted to fight.

        This split between the “living in the trenches” folks and the “living in the cafe” world is hard to comprehend and so at variance with the reports we are getting I don’t know what to make of it… but here it is. His “fleeing on the trains” from two months ago is honest and first rate.

        Comparing his world with that of @PatrickLancaster is a bit surreal.

  3. DavidE

    Apple, Google, and Microsoft want to kill the password with “Passkey” standard ars technica

    More techbro (family blog) that will inevitably weaken your personal security versus the tech/surveillance state.

    1. digi_owl

      There are a couple of things that worry me about these schemes.

      Recovery from loss of device(s), and bootstrapping/onboarding.

      What happens if one were to lose multiple devices, like say in a fire or some other accident? How would one then go about getting new devices signed up?

      And similarly, how do one start from scratch and sign on a first device?

      The worst part is that even Apple, who run quite a large retail operation, is not ever present. Thus even showing up in person to get things sorted may not be possible for everyone. And Google for example is already notorious for having you run around in circles once you need tech support, unless you manage to rise enough of a stink on social media.

      Seems like so many decisions are made these days by people that will never be directly affected by them.

    2. Mikel

      “Passkey” for who?

      Like the squirly language on sites about cookies just being there to help you. To “personalize” your experience.

      Getting tracked around the internet by scammers, spooks, and assorted money grubbers isn’t my idea of a “personalized” experience.

    3. Terry Flynn

      I’ve begun my 3rd attempt to migrate to Linux and, as they say, third time’s the charm.

      I use Linux Lite (32 bit on old netbook originally bought with Windows XP and which now has a new lease of life; 64 bit on main computers, dual boot to ease the transition). I’m frankly amazed at how much more user friendly Linux has become. I had to install Ubuntu on my new W11 laptop (other linux distros have”issues”) but Linux Lite has helped me enormously in “learning the system” to ease transition since Ubuntu is quirky. Frankly I can finally see the day when I use Windows for practically nothing.

      1. JAC

        Terry, Have to take a look at Linux Mint? It is based on Ubuntu but without all the lame (quirky) things (like SNAP Packages).

        You all should completely refuse to use passkey and tell everyone you know to refuse to use it. It is one of the many reasons I left the Apple ecosystem. And it will also means that people will have bluetooth on all the time, which companies love, because tracking:

        Whenever these companies get together and agree on something, well, that should always be a red flag.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Thanks JAC. Yes I’m aware of Mint. On my main desktop – whose windows partition failed quite spectacularly causing me a couple of days’ work in restoration…… I have W7 and W10 on it at present…. I’ll do a full disk ISO image when I’m ready to restore them should it be necessary.

          Then I’ll make it multi boot with at least one Linux distro. Didn’t want Ubuntu. Kubuntu is far more user friendly. Linux Lite is great but I get the feeling it’s regarded as the “Fisher Price” distro and not for serious use. I will try Mint – the PC is old enough with common parts that there should be drivers for everything. There were under kubuntu so think I’m sorted.

          1. John Beech

            Fisher Price of distro . . . what on Earth do you need an OS to do for you beyond manage files, print, and run programs, anyway? I’ve been literate since HDOS (Heathkit Disk Operating System) and an H-89 computer, which I soldered together at the board level. Anyway, other than those functions, I don’t grok why anybody has ‘trouble’ with an OS.

            Me? I largely ignore the OS. I don’t interact with it. I interact with programs – but – they can and do make calls for print services, network, and manage files at a lower level.

            Bottom line? I’m confused by folks having OS problems because I never do. Not ever. History with . . .
            HDOS 2.0
            CP/M (briefly when I obtained an S-100 computer)
            MS DOS 2.1 through 5.0 (my move to PC clones)
            Window 3.0, then 3.11 for a loooong time
            Windows 95 (still have one machine I can plug in that’ll boot 95
            Windows NT 3.1, 3.5, 4 and 2000 (during the W3.11 and W95)
            Windows 98 for a long time
            Windows XP (still have 2 machines running this in the shop)
            Windows 7 (still have one machine running this in the studio)
            Windows 10 (three machines presently running this)
            Windows 11 (two machines running this)

            Machines like Windows XP and 7 are air-gapped (meaning they don’t connect to the internet at all – not ever again).

            Meanwhile, I totally skipped Windows ME, 8, Windows 2000 ME, and a few others. But the major point being, I’ve NEVER had trouble with an OS. So I don’t know what folks are doing wrong, but I’m not doing it and I’ve fiddled with more oddball combinations of motherboards, CPU, video cards, RAM, than you can shake a stick at over the years.

            Bottom line? Interactions with the OS are generally top level, e.g. start and close a program, maybe add/remove programs, update a driver, system backup, compact a disk, and only low level for when formatting a disk, and the like. Otherwise, you don’t mess with the OS.

            1. LifelongLib


              Man, I remember looking at the catalog and wishing I could afford one, even though I didn’t have a clue what I would do with it. Just the idea of having my own computer was so amazing…

            2. LifelongLib

              I switched to a Linux distro because I realized that most of my PC use was websurfing and email, which didn’t require the kajillion apps that Windows foists on you. Plus with Windows I have the sense that I’m being controlled by the OS rather than controlling it.

        2. HotFlash

          Huge, huge Mint fan here for — 10 years? More? I have some wonderful old Windows programs that Bill stole from me via “upgrades” that I can still use thanks to Wine, including some vintage games — DragonAge, anyone? LibreOffice walks all over theirs, and is friendly to many old programs and file formats. I got my Lotus files back! And my HP LaserJet that went quack when BillG and CarlyF had their little spat. I found a work-around driver in Linux and we’ve been printing on it for, well, 10 years. I set up as dual boot, just in case, but have never once booted up the Windows since I started running Linux. I still use Windows, for a friend who can’t navigate her computer anymore, and it’s not *that* different, except her mouse is left-handed. Otherwise, about the same, but more sensible.

      2. rhodium

        For general computer needs I have found Linux extraordinarily good and easy. It only fails in software availability if you want/need some things in particularly. My parents just wanted web access and couldn’t be bothered to manage antivirus software, and with my mom’s consistent inability not to click banner ads their windows computer was a mess. I got them a new computer and setup Linux mint on it. For the past 4 years they’ve stayed out of trouble.

      3. BillS

        Yes! Linux is great! Been using it since 1994. I use it for both light duty stuff as well as high-performance computing on a PC cluster (for simulations at work). Ubuntu is generally what I use, but I have used Mint and (in the distant past) Slackware. My wife uses Ubuntu as well an , as a non technical person, she does just fine: Thunderbird email client, Firefox, Chrome, LibreOffice and PDF viewer are her main applications.

      4. Glen

        Another one to look at if you want a “rolling release” which stays pretty up to date is EndeavourOS. This is based off of ArchLinux. I’m currently using ArchLinux and trying out various distros in VMs. EndeavourOS looks like a good way to get a rolling release without dealing with a bit more complexity managing your system. I would only recommend using this with fairly up to date hardware, but not bleeding edge hardware.

        But you can always go to DistroWatch and see what’s cooking:

    4. Mikel

      Guess what? People are going to have to decide who they would rather snoop.
      Someone within their physical vicinity who they could hold responsible or complete strangers offering you “protection” like a mafioso.
      I don’t lock my phone.
      I don’t do financial transactions ( sign into accounts) on my phone and have many ways to back up info.
      Anyone around me want to pick it up and snoop for personal reasons? Rather it be someone I could confront face to face. And I most likely wouldn’t have to do that.

      1. John Beech

        I’m with you Mikel, don’t lock the phone and also don’t use it to access ‘money’ accounts. Tons of photos, but no porno. Loose the phone? Oh well, not the end of the world.

    5. David

      It depends on what your experience with passwords is. Mine is pretty awful, going back decades. Forty years ago, a password was just a way of separating users on a mainframe and providing minimal security. These days everybody demands a password for everything: the Grauniad has been harassing me for the last year to register with a user name and password just to have access to the site. Then there are institutional sites that demand you change the password every six months, and conform to their rules for passwords: naturally everyone’s rules are different. The result is that the use of passwords is badly discredited among precisely those who are least tech-aware and most vulnerable to attack. Here in France, most schools only now communicate with parents by Internet, and you need a password to access your child’s academic schedule.And there’s all the fun of passwords being forgotten, corrupted and so on.

      But the big problem with passwords is security on the servers hosting your accounts. More or less every week there’s news of another leak of personal information. A few weeks ago, a mass of personal medical data was stolen from hospitals in the east of France, and offered for sale. It turned out that the attackers had penetrated the mail account of one of the secretaries, because the password was easy to guess. (This has nothing to do with operating systems). In reality, any ill-intentioned actor with the resources who wants access to your (let’s say) Amazon account is going to go there, not try to break into your own computer. The security of your personal information is only as good as the security of the sites that are storing it: I have at least twenty notifications outstanding from Apple that various sites I have registered with have been attacked and some passwords stolen. I’ve used password managers, and that can help, and I find TouchID much easier than trying to remember a hundred bloody passwords. But I’ll be a lot happier when the only verification I need is on my device, not on somebody else’s server, and badly protected, at that.

        1. flora

          After a decades in a long and wide ranging career in IT and digital tech I’ve deliberately worked toward personal ‘not easy and not simple’ IT use. No, you cannot have my ‘whatever’ stored on file. I know too much about IT and it’s uses and misuses, about computers, about hackers and other digital stuff. If it’s ‘easy’ for me then it’s easy for them. Easy vs secure is my dividing line, where ‘easy’ is less secure. I always opt for the less easy and more complicated. Shorter: I never allow online retailers to store my cc info. Too many online retailers have been hacked. My 2 cents.

          1. digi_owl

            Pretty much the dichotomy of security that.

            And i have tried to argue much the same with relation to a online IDs and their usage for signing mortgage documents etc.

            If i can do that from anywhere in the world, so can anyone pretending to be me. But no, nobody wants to hear it because it is oh so convenient.

            So instead we get saddled with all kinds of KYC laws because banks can now sign up anyone, anywhere, and have been caught time and time again with dirty money on their accounts.

        2. CanCyn

          TouchID – The name says it all – biometrics should be for ID not security. We’ve all seen those movies where someone is held at gunpoint and forced to provide finger, eyeballs, whatever is required.

          1. flora

            Oh yeah. Lemme tell ya about scotch tape for finger print hacking and about digital eye iris photo hacking. Then there’s the change in fingerprints and iris digital scans over time. etc. Like no one ever ages and bodies never change. Right?… Sorry, too much info and who wants to know. / ;)

            1. ambrit

              Too much info? Who wants to know?
              The boys and girls down at the FEMA Fusion Centre in the old Sears store want to know.
              Me, I want some of that cammo pattern on material that ‘fools’ pattern recognition algorithms.
              As for CanCyn’s request, well, let me opine here that ID is security.
              Still, I don’t even carry a phone anymore. Especially since the 3G network went dark and the telecoms forced us to “upgrade” to a cheapie iPhone. (The company provided a free “Moto G Pure” if we kept our account with them. We’re still trying to figure out how to use it.)

                1. ambrit

                  Ah, thanks. It figures. A tutorial on how to use a phone runs a half of an hour. Bloody miniature computer is what it is.

              1. eg

                I enjoy my own cheap and cheerful Moto phone (I particularly like the massive battery) upon which I loaded the Blackberry software suite to stay connected with features with which I have become familiar since my old 7200 series back in ‘03

  4. griffen

    Article from Fortune with commentary from Jeremy Grantham. There is a conceivable argument that residential housing had been moderately “underbuilt” to meet demand, so when demand outstripped supply & long term mortgage rates were absurdly low median home values went kaboom. I’m sure there are local or regional markets that may continue apace, albeit at increases lower than previous; I’m thinking about North TX and the Dallas Ft Worth metro, for example.

    That being said, well the US FEDERAL RESERVE hath given quite generously and now must taketh away. I don’t think 2022 is going to be a gang buster year (could be decent luck we end 2022 or enter 2023 in a recession).

    1. Objective Ace

      > US FEDERAL RESERVE hath given quite generously and now must taketh away. I don’t think 2022 is going to be a gang buster year

      Maybe.. maybe not, but I’m seeing negative 3 percent real interest rates if your in the market for a house right now. If/when people start internalizing that inflation is going to be 8 percent+ for the forseable future (years not months) that becomes a game changer.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Every link to Adolph Reed! And Michael Hudson! And … hell, just every link.

      Somebody’s going to call me ‘Raymond Simp’ aren’t they?

    2. nycTerrierist

      His first graph is killer —

      excellent pedagogy, as always, from comrade Reed

    3. flora

      Yep. I came to NC for the economics commentary and was introduced to Adolph Reed, Jr. in the links. Good stuff.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “US senate committee passes bill to revoke OPEC member’s sovereign immunity”

    ‘The NOPEC bill would enable US prosecutors to sue foreign nations in US courts for ‘anti-competitive behavior’ in oil markets’

    How do you reword such an idiotic title? US Senate Committee changes International Law? US Senate Committee members discover that their position lets them run the world? Went to find out who was on this Committee and found the following-

    As you can see, all the usual suspects. Names like Dick Durbin, Chris Coons, Amy Klobucher (sans stapler), Cory Booker, Jon Ossoff, Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, etc. Right now, most of the planet is sitting out getting involved with the Ukrainian war because of all the catastrophic blowback. Now this Committee is saying that they are going to do to OPEC what is being done to Russia. What could possibly go wrong? On a totally unrelated note, does anybody remember way back to ’73 when OPEC banned all oil going to countries like the US? What will this Committee decide to do then of this was repeated? Make it legal for the US to hijack all oil tankers at sea and direct them to US ports?

    1. .human

      Has that bill authorizing Letters of Marque been passed?

      On a side note, I find such action to be “Prosecution Futures” as Yves would say as billable hours by white shoe law firms would be in the bag.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Letters of Marque? A coupla months ago there was a link here where this idea was being touted in a US Navy Publication if I recall correctly. So some people are actually thinking about it. Aarrrr!

        1. jsn

          As it began, so it will end:

          “Perhaps no one brought together piety, plantation and plunder more successfully than Sir Robert Rich, who succeeded his father as earl of Warwick in 1619. He inherited his father’s fervent Puritan predilections as well as his fleet of ships that the family had used for its own private wars. His father had even disputed with the lord high admiral in 1593 over the booty brought in by one of his ships, claiming his family maintained its own Admiralty jurisdiction. Warwick used his fleet as a paramilitary navy in coordination with his many colonial investments. The captains in his service were called private men-of-war, or, in archival records, simply “Warwick’s men.” For more than three decades, Warwick would attract a circle of family, friends, allies, and servant who represented a faction in England and in her colonies that defended plunder as an essential component of colonization. Although performed with crown permission, early English colonization consisted primarily of private ventures funded by investors working as companies, individuals (like Warwick), or coalitions of noblemen and gentry.” Hanna, “Pirate Nests”, p.67

          I see Brexit as the old Anglo Saxon aristocracy in the soon to be former UK positioning to get on board with the new Blob aristocracy in exciting new, “private ventures funded by investors working as companies, individuals, or coalitions of” corporations, oligarchs and factotums of our new spook gentry, like, say Hunter Biden.

          1. Kouros

            Sometimes I think that the true Anglo-Saxons are a bit badmouthed. It seems that nobody remembers the fact that all Anglo-Saxon nobles were replaced by Norman ones… and while the Anglo-Saxon migration in Britain was a movement of peoples, the Norman migration was in a way a bit more consequential concerning future appetites, from the prosaic boeuf (beef, instead of cow) to conquering ever more land…and plunder…

        2. LawnDart

          US Congress HR6869
          To authorize the President of the United States to issue letters of marque and reprisal for the purpose of seizing the assets of certain Russian citizens, and for other purposes.

          This bill authorizes the President to issue letters of marque and reprisal to privately armed individuals and entities to seize the assets of certain Russian citizens.

          It’s still in the works, Rev.

          [2:30 mins]

            1. ambrit

              Do Blackwater “aqueous reparations men” get to have a drone perched on their shoulder squawking?
              Updated images of Pyrates look a lot like Star Trek Borgs, eyepatch included.

              1. The Rev Kev

                It’s all fun and games with visions of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ hijacking a Russian oil tanker – until those Blackwater pirates discover a Russian Spetsnaz team aboard waiting for them.

              1. ambrit

                “Gift” them to the Ukrainian Navy. Doubleplusgood action. Gets rid of an unwanted ‘albatross’ for the American Navy, and, when the thing founders in one of those infamous Black Sea gales, with the loss of all onboard, blame it on the Russians.
                From what I have read, Odysseus and his Argonauts rowing their galley through the Black Sea would be more than a match for any Littoral Combat Ship.

    2. flora

      There goes the petro-dollar. / ;) The Dems know where the big money pots are located. However, the Dem estab doesn’t seem understand how the real world works, no long term thinking.

  6. Dr. John Carpenter

    So Trump said “Just shoot them in the legs or something” regarding the George Floyd protesters? Hey, that’s policy Biden can get behind!

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Who is Alina Kabaeva, Putin’s alleged girlfriend? ”

    If the Russian Federation was so minded, they could announce counter-sanctions on the girlfriends and mistresses of EU leaders and name names publicly. They would all be in the files of Russia’s Federal Security Service. Then let those EU leader’s wives wreck revenge for them.

    1. JohnA

      they could announce counter-sanctions on the girlfriends and mistresses of EU leaders and name names publicly.

      The list of Boris Johnson’s wives, mistresses and girlfriends would be a very long list. After hearing BJ say he had buyer’s remorse about his latest marriage, his current wife failed to accompany him on the obligatory photoshoot of going to vote at the local polling station this week. The list will probably get longer now.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I heard that because of Boris Johnson’s activities, that the file storage section of the Russia’s Federal Security Service had to throw out a whole new wing.

  8. LawnDart

    Covid/China & USA pandemic profiteering:

    How can China’s nucleic acid tests be priced at 3% of the US’?

    The price of the nucleic acid test kit dropped from 200 yuan ($29.9) per person during the outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020 to the current 20 [$2.99] yuan on average. Experts said that mass production enables China to produce test kits at a lower cost in a global spectrum.

    Private clinics in the epidemic-hit US often charge $100 or more for each nucleic acid test…

    USAians vote for it or just roll-over and accept it.

    1. Ignacio

      I would change the comment below the headline: “Experts said it is greed, business and let them rip spirit.

  9. Dr. Phips

    The German Green Party’s right twist already started years ago, when Joschka Fischer became foreign minister. Since then the party went the way of Europe’s Labor and “Socialist” parties, pretending to defend the common people’s interests but basically just following the neo-liberal script. Germany is probably the worst example for this fraud. Clearest example, whereas other center left parties in Europe like the Socialist Party in France at least paid lip service to peace in the Middle East and talk about the rights of the Palestinians, the German Green Party doesn’t even acknowledge them, sounding like a branch of the Israeli Foreign ministry most of the time. I saw the “Greens” when they were a small and idealistic movement in the 90’s, so it’s pretty sad to see how they are right now basically just a copy of the US Democratic Party with a “green touch”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They are nothing like they were back in the 80s, that is for sure. They are now full neocon who would be fully capable of telling Germans to cut down their forests to burn in place of Russian oil because Putin. For once, “Der Spiegel” actually let slip some truth with that cover where they had the ‘Greens’ renamed as the ‘Olive Greens’.

      1. jsn

        Diana Johnstone is pretty damning about the Greens in her, “Fools Crusade” about the war in Yugoslavia.

        The Greens were the NATO cat’s paw in the Reichstag that made that war possible.

        They seem to be serving the same purpose again today. It will be interesting to see how far the Germans let this go.

    2. Carolinian

      Cut to the James Carden/Asia Times story today about “progressives” in the US who have abandoned antiwar. Perhaps it’s a worldwide phenomenon of PMCs who no longer have any skin in this particular game whereas the Red Staters who mostly populate our military have some idea of what war is about.

      At least during the 19th cent heyday of imperialism the ruling classes felt they had to prove their mettle lest they get the dreaded white feather. More recently the invention of the laptop has given us laptop bombardiers.

    3. digi_owl

      “Greens” always struck me as delusional.

      Invariably they seemed to be young, urban and economically well off, and thus completely oblivious to the logistical details of their daily lattes and smoothies.

      End result is that their voiced demands en up with an air of entitlement and unrealistic objectives, aiming to both save the environment and maintain their urban lifestyle.

  10. herman_sampson

    Why couldn’t Congress (I know) pass a law a defining a “person” as among other features, as an entity that could be incarcerated or jailed or placed in detention: a fetus alone could not – the mother would have her rights violated if that occurred – and neither could a corporation (a two-fer). OTOH if a fetus is a person (if the leaked draft passes), would not a fetuses rights be violated if the mother is incarcerated?

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ships waiting to dock because of China’s insane COVID strategy. This is intentional.’

    A thought just occurred to me a few minutes ago. When the attacks on Russia are done and the war over, then you just know that Washington will double down – by going after China. It’s the only play that they have in their book. And when this happens, China will say to all those countries that go after it that they are no longer interested in trade with them. So that map then? That is what shipping will look like when this happens with all those ships at sea unable to dock and load cargoes. And as far as China would be concerned, those ships can just go rust to the waterline.

    1. dftbs

      Yes. The Western conceit that China needs Western markets to satisfy its overproduction is dramatically misguided.

      Although many of the replies to that tweet about docking ships show that Aaron Ginn is grossly, and perhaps willfully, misinterpreting reality. The underlying sentiment is that China does, or does not, because of the West. It can’t be that China’s covid strategy is driven by the desire to save its citizens lives and the success they’ve demonstrated so far. It must be that they want to scru us.

      Rev, you’re right, the Chinese will just stop trading with explicit antagonists. And that conceit of ours, it’s as misguided as a smack addict thinking his veins are important to his dealer.

    2. farragut

      Two thoughts: 1) International shipping isn’t my area of expertise, but one of the replies to the OP claims by setting proper filters (ie, by removing fishing vessels, tugs, passenger ships, ferries, etc. and retaining only merchant vessels at anchor), one can obtain a more accurate picture of the shipping bottlenecks. Here’s the link, allegedly showing far less congestion:

      And, 2) how does one say, “unfriendly countries” in Mandarin? Just as Russia has developed a list of unfriendly countries with whom they’ll restrict trade, I agree with you Rev, China could easily do the same–if it’s to their benefit. I believe Russia can scorn the West and find ample replacement buyers for its energy in the Global South, but can China do the same with its manufactured goods?

      1. Dftbs

        Yes, China can. First, on the surface the BRI is meant to expand Chinese trade. One of the consequences of this is the growth of those local economies with BRI investment and the emergence of consumers for Chinese goods.

        In the long run the increased marginal consumption 2 billion Africans and Latin Americans will replace that of 330 million United Staters. This has a side benefit of demolishing Western imperialism.

        In an even shorter time horizon, the Chinese can and will grow domestic consumption. It’s fashionable for American economic analyst to bleat on that the Chinese are nothing without American markets. It has the cringe of an abusive husband saying his wife is nothing without him. While on some level all divorces are sad and difficult, the Chinese will find their groove back a lot quicker than we anticipate, and they may be the only ones with a happy ending in this.

    3. jochena

      Saw a nice post on Facebook on how Covid deniers see the situation in China.

      Background: The post is by a former friend of a friend. Total Covid denier, masks are tyranny and vaccines are deadly beyond the critisism here on NC. I guess anything that would be attributed to long covid on NC is caused by the vaccines in that world. Because the virus is just a cold, how could it do any damage.

      With the virus being pretty much a hoax the deduction is that China is covertly sanctioning the West in self defence. The Zero Covid Policy is only a ploy to do so…

  12. Watt4Bob

    My neighborhood had a small parcel owned by an old man who finally decided to sell. It ended up as 9-10 lots which were developed in the last 18months into single-family houses priced at 500-600K.

    These are typical McMansions.

    The other day I saw a ridiculous little house, brand new replacement for the previous ridiculous house, sold for $519K.

    It has no yard, it’s 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, but 2 of the BR and 1 of the baths are in the basement. Aesthetically, the house gives the impression of one step up from a nice double-wide trailer home.

    The house is two houses away from the new McMansions, and matches more closely the rest of the older homes in the neighborhood.

    My gut feeling is that the house is worth $300K at the most, and even that being an unreasonable price, the result of inflation.

    I foresee the value of that house as being halved in the coming ‘correction’.

    IMO, the ‘market’ is in full-tilt, it’s 2007 all over again.

    We know where this is going, don’t we.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Out of curiosity, I have seen a lot of images if McMansions and they always seem to have these enormous glass windows. So how are they typically heated then? Oil? Electricity? I suspect that in the coming ‘correction’ that such ongoing costs will be part of the calculation of how much they are really worth.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Locally it’s natural gas and the price is going up.

        I’m thinking that the whole McMansion craze is about to end.

        Dems probably take the blame, and it’s hard not to agree.

        Or to put it the other way, it’s too painful to argue with anyone who has come to that conclusion.

      2. The Historian

        I lived in a neighborhood of McMansions when I lived in Boise. Typically, they are heated with natural gas and those big windows are usually double paned glass. Of course, it doesn’t get all that cold in Boise. Cooling them in the summer was usually quite expensive, though – and they all had ceiling fans to circulate the air. Here in ND it gets really cold in the winters and there aren’t as many of those homes with huge glass windows.

      3. Watt4Bob

        Locally, Twin Cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis, there were thousands of big Victorian homes, early 20th century McMansions if you will, by the 1950-60s they had been converted, 6-8 apartments, low-rent housing.

        In my darkest vision of the crash that seems inevitable, I can see the same thing happening to the current crop?

        1. doug

          I don’t think it has to get that ‘dark’ before many of the recent XXL size homes become apartments. I see that as inevitable at this point. I admit I thought it would happen by now and was wrong there.

          1. Objective Ace

            Where are all of those people going to come from? Unless we drastically increase immigration populations is not going to be growing like it was in the 50s and 60s

            1. ambrit

              There is an entire generation growing up now that will have no prospects for home ownership. The “economy” is treating them that badly. Cheap flats will become the norm, just as in the nineteen hundreds. Tenements is a better term for what these places will become.
              The stealth force that will be the most difficult to oppose in the “downsizing the public” movement will belocal zoning boards. They are usually captured by the money interestys. Their decisions often have no relationship to objective reality.
              As Phyl put it recently: “The starving will continue until you stop complaining.”

              1. Objective Ace

                If the presupposition is that house prices will crash, your argument is basically mutually exclusive with that presupposition. There’s millions of housing shortage– in a country with hundreds of millions of housing stock. You cant* start cutting up a good chunk of the current housing stock into 3 or 4 units.. let alone 6 or 8 unless theres a huge influx of people

                *Unless you abandon a large number of houses.. which I guess is conceivable especially with changes like global warming on the horizon and potentially abandoning whole cities, but we’re really talking about entirely different dynamics now then what this conversation was about

                1. ambrit

                  It depends on what number you accept for the ‘homeless’ population in America. We here in the North American Deep South have well developed homeless camps now, usually situated in out of the way spots where no bourgeois sentiments can be offended.
                  Plus, there has been a long standing stagnation in the “average” wages of working class people in America. Now, a family making even two minimum wage checques a week cannot afford to put a roof over their heads.
                  What has been one of the more successful propaganda efforts by the Establishment has been the obscuration of various ‘fair rent’ and squatters movements here.
                  As long as the posession of money is used as the gatekeeping function for the provision of housing, a segment of the population is going to be “out in the street.”

                  1. Objective Ace

                    Even if there were a million homeless in the US which is a huge overstatement — splitting up the current husing stock by 1.01 would be enough for them. Compare that to splitting up houses by 2,3 or 6, 8 times and you can see these arguments at the margin arent relevenet

                    Plus, there has been a long standing stagnation in the “average” wages of working class people in America. Now, a family making even two minimum wage checques a week cannot afford to put a roof over their heads.

                    Agreed, but again the predisposition we’re talking about is house prices crashing–which is in relation to the “average” wages you’re referring to

          2. capexile

            Legally converting McMansions to apartments will require compliance with fire codes for multi-family dwellings, something I don’t think was an issue when the mammoth Victorians were being sub-divided. Might be prohibitively expensive.

            1. ambrit

              I see a growth industry in squatting and facing down the sheriffs men when they try to evict.

            2. digi_owl

              I get the impression that so much of what ails USA right now comes down to zoning laws.

            3. Yves Smith Post author

              Happened in Manhattan, which has some of the strictest building codes in the US. Single family “homes” as in townhouses, were turned into apartments. I lived in two apartments along those lines (one the first apt I bought). During the protracted financial services industry boom, many were reassambled back into single family homes.

          3. jr

            When I managed a moving company years back we moved a lot of McMansions. It was always the same story. The kids had graduated and were on their own. Dad and Mom were getting a divorce.

            The houses were huge, empty, lonely, and quite sad in atmosphere. I remember a conversation with a client who laid it all out: the kids were gone and she was leaving her husband probably due to him having something on the side. When those big homes are empty they are as cold and sterile as the inside of a warehouse.

            1. The Rev Kev

              There is a whole movie waiting to be made based on your comment and a decent one too. Sadly, Hollywood is not in that business anymore of making movies with a social comment like “The Lost Weekend” or “Gentleman’s Agreement.”

        2. John

          I live in a small town where the McMansions of the 1880’s got chopped up into as many units as possible for rentals. I expect the current crop of McMansions to be chopped up by squatters with the cavernous glass spaces being treated as outdoor space.
          And many abandoned for parts.

        3. jsn

          The problem will be that the Victorians hadn’t yet figured out how to build total crap houses.

          Recent McMansion crops are made essential of cardboard and plastic with very thin and not particularly durable films of waterproofing over them.

          Once any water starts getting in the wrong places they’ll quickly convert to micro plastic intensive compost.

      4. Louis Fyne

        In the Sun Belt, many are heated by electric heat pumps…on the assumption that winter temps won’t fall below 25F (-5C)

        But when fluke cold snaps hit (like TX last year), those heat pumps stop moving heat and if it is cold enough, electricity demand exceeds summer levels as everyone is turning on electric heat.

        1. Watt4Bob

          Ironically, IIRC, Minnesota benefits from a lucky historical decision to build a dedicated natural gas pipeline from Texas.

          We get reliable, and up to this point, affordable natural gas, while Texans get bent over a barrel by rapacious criminals empowered by state government.

          1. MichaelSF

            Might it be more accurate to say “We get reliable, and up to this point, affordable natural gas, while Texans get bent over a barrel by rapacious criminals (ie. state government).” ??

      5. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for those answers guys. That was one thing that I always wondered about because of the internal size of a McMansion and the window area. With rising energy costs, they may be very expensive homes to own.

        1. Thistlebreath

          Leave us not to forget the desirable cathedral ceilings. AKA, where all the heat goes in the winter.

          In sunny SoCal, the square miles of tract mansions sizzle and bake in the summer sun, essentially solar ovens.

          I can’t even fathom what AZ is going to be like.

          Relentless electricity demand is about to run up against low dam head water. The gov staged a walk through at a hydroelectric generation facility a few weeks ago to breathe hints of what scares him: maybe 3MM + homes in August/September facing rolling shutoffs.

    2. JBird4049

      It has no yard, it’s 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, but 2 of the BR and 1 of the baths are in the basement. Aesthetically, the house gives the impression of one step up from a nice double-wide trailer home.

      Nice description.

      Seeing a late 19th or early 20th century summer home, bungalow, or craftsman with great yards be torn down and replaced with a McBox that takes up the entire lot, dwarfing nearby houses and endarkening the neighborhood from the now missing sunlight, always gives me heartburn. A beautiful, well designed and insulated century old home with often well cared for old gardens replaced with faux wood, poured “stone”, and no insulation.

      It always seems to be for the same 2.5 people and pets, which would have fit just fine in the previous home. Aside from the masturbatory lording, what is the point? No yard to grown anything. No space for a pool, court, barbecues or parties. Just a giant, empty, lonely monument to cheap construction and bad taste.

      1. LifelongLib

        Even the 1960 house I grew up in was relatively small for the lot size, and there were four of us kids. IIRC it was in the 80s that people started building bigger. Maybe people didn’t have time for yards anymore? Longer work hours and commutes? Our neighbor across the street sold off what had been his back yard and today there are three houses on it.

    3. Objective Ace

      >IMO, the ‘market’ is in full-tilt, it’s 2007 all over again.

      The Frank Dobb bill actually did a lot to ensure much better lending standards. There are no more NINJA loans. I can see the argument that housing is over priced –I believe housing prices to rents ratio is silimiar to 2007. But in a world where everything appears overpriced (Just look at NFTs for crying out loud) its tough to single out real estate as a bubble.

      1. ambrit

        Well, living space is a necessity. NFTs are not a necessity. I’ll even go so far as to say that NFTs, posession thereof, should be included as an indicator of insanity on a Psychiatric Evaluation.

  13. FlyoverBoy

    PayPal is a nice little convenience, but it’s really not that essential to prevent the horror of typing out nineteen keystrokes to buy something. If they’ve in fact decided they’re incompatible with a free press, then I guess I’m incompatible with PayPal. Up theirs.

    1. Dr. Phips

      Yep, that’s the only way to go in my opinion. Cancelled my account too last week.

  14. Questa Nota

    Oregon schools with the menstrual products in boys bathrooms, could that be a secret economics policy?

    Boys learn price discovery and arbitrage, then put together a pitch deck to solicit funding for classroom, lunchroom and athletic field delivery with drone support on the school bus routes.

    Or, they might just trash the machines, clog up the toilets and snicker. /s

    1. LawnDart

      Dunno, our USA schools have been evolving to become more and more like prisons since the 80’s– armed teachers, COs in the halls, metal-detectors and lockdowns, oh– the food– Sysco supreme! Tampons could be so the new booties or fish don’t mess the floor after rec, know what I mean?

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Our Oregon governor has no personality. She is unable to show emotion and can’t speak in any terms except those that you use for children and the demented. No one knows how she got elected and she never seems to be anywhere except on TV.
      The new norm? Takes orders from DC, ignores all but the contributor of cash.
      We have a very corrupt state. Our legislature asked the banks real nicely if they would please come and re write the laws regarding home ownership and how to prevent it. They threw out the old laws where proof was required to foreclose on people. They changed the definitions of words to allow for theft on a monumental scale. The legislature was well paid by the various banks and now our state is in the pocket of the uber corrupt.
      Perhaps all of the state legislatures should be Avostal’d.

      1. ambrit

        Avostalling the legislators would basically be an excercise in virtue signalling. The real culprits are the ‘donors.’ They are the ones who have to be sent down to the Dungeon to struggle with the Dragons.

  15. Ignacio

    RE: Sinn Fein on course for ‘seismic’ N. Ireland win, topping first preference vote France24 (guurst)

    During the last Holly Week I went to Javea, coastal and touristic destination not far from Valencia and by chance met a couple of retired Irish and talked with them. She spoke decent Spanish and was extremely talkative. He didn’t but this didn’t stop me exchanging words with him also. At some point I told them that an Irish friend of mine was seeing Ireland unification some day. They both agreed without hesitation.
    I told her to say something in Gaelic and found it a nice sounding language if not understanding a single word. I am looking forward for a visit to the emerald island next summer.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I hope you make it here!

      I suppose this is as good a place as any to summarise to anyone interested what happened in that election. The voting is for the Stormont Assembly, which is essentially a talking shop with little power (all real decisions are made in London), but it is highly symbolic.

      The main parties are:
      Sinn Fein – nationalist (republican), populist leftist, former terrorists/freedom fighters (pick one).
      DUP – hard line fairly hard right Unionist. The party is essentially a religious cult (Free Presbyterians), but with a wide support as they were seen as the main bulwark against nationalists.
      SDLP – ‘moderate’ centrist nationalist party. They’ve been weakening over the years, but have been overtly pushed very hard by the Dublin establishment desperate to stop Sinn Fein getting a win.
      Alliance – the ‘moderate’ Unionist party – essentially nice middle class anglo-oriented Unionists who don’t like being associated with the more crass right wing Unionists.
      UUP – the traditional establishment Unionist Party. Now very weak, after being supplanted by the DUP.
      TUV– Ultra hard line unionist party, so far right they’d probably refuse Azov refugees.
      Greens – non aligned green types
      PBP – small trotskyist flag of convenience for leftists.
      Aontu – small nationalist republican party, left wing on economics, socially conservative.

      The big winners: Sinn Fein and Alliance. Sinn Fein has become the biggest single party (but not yet overall majority) which is very significant historically. They are now the biggest party on the island without question. They did exceptionally well, most likely because a lot of SDLP voters seem to have gone to them in order to get one over on the Unionists. Alliance seem to have attracted a lot of Unionists who have tired of the corruption and constant pointless bickering among the other Unionist parties. They are the only anti-Brexit Unionist party, which I think indicates that many Unionists are tiring of the whole thing.

      The big losers: DUP – they’ve lost a lot of seats, both to the more moderate UUP and Alliance, and the more hard line TUV. But it seems mostly to the former, which indicates to me a weakening in Unionism. The SDLP lost out hugely – again, on both sides. Some voters went to SF to ensure they were the biggest parties, some may have switched over to Alliance, which is seen as a more sensible centrist party.

      Note that the Irish/UK newspapers will hype the success of the Alliance party as a sign of ‘moderation’. Some are even claiming that they represent a victory against extremism. This ignores that they are in fact a Unionist party and nobody in Northern Ireland thinks otherwise. Their strong vote is mostly a reflection of the other Unionist parties been widely seen as corrupt and inept.

      Small losers: Greens have faded. PBP have been wiped out by Sinn Fein. UUP have advanced but not by as much as they had hoped.

      The big picture – in policy this does not mean much, but it means that as Sinn Fein is now by far the biggest party, they can insist that both Dublin and London accept them as the democratic choice (not that they will, but they make them look silly if they don’t). They are talking about a Border Poll in five years. On the current polls, a Border Poll would lose, but its getting tighter. In particular, a lot of ‘moderate’ Unionists seem to becoming resigned to it. Significantly, it was reported this year that in Northern Ireland more EU (Irish Republic) passports were issued than British Passports. People are voting with their….. passport applications.

      The mainstream media will do their best to avoid the wipeout of ‘moderate’ nationalists and hype the success of Alliance – anything to distract from the success of Sinn Fein and the fact that hard line Unionism/loyalism is still alive and well. As always with Northern Ireland, nothing much has really changed, except that Unionism has repeatedly shot itself in both feet with automatic weaponry over Brexit, and that nationalists/catholics see Sinn Fein as the only party that can represent them. The overall majority for SF reflects demographics as much as anything.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Sounds like we should expect the appearance of a popular television star, a unionist comedian perhaps, who declares him/herself to be an Alliance candidate, but with a lot of sympathy for all on the Unionist spectrum?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, the Alliance Party are the likely ‘swing’ party if it looks like a Border Poll would go in favour of unification. There is a precedent going back to 1921 when Ireland won independence. The urban establishment and wealthy farmers had been more or less unionist (the stance of the main parties at the time was wanting more power, but still within a Union), but once it was clear that independence was going to happen, they switched sides very quickly. They ran ahead of the parade, so to speak. The last thing the establishment, north or south wants is to see SF ‘win’ unification, so what is likely to happen would be a repeat of 1921 when the radicals were shunted to once side while the establishment pretended they were in favour of it all along. The first Irish government was in fact very conservative and made up of people who were anti-Republican just a few years before.

          Ultimately, there are two breeds of unionist – the die hard unionists (or cultural loyalists) who really believe in it to their souls, and there are those (as in the Alliance Party) who want the union, but if they think it will benefit their bank accounts or personal status, they’ll quickly dig out their Ireland rugby shirts and somewhat disguised EU (Irish) passports and wave them around.

      2. Revenant

        PK, I was surprised to see you describe the Alliance as Unionist. Maybe unionist with a small u but having been founded by unionists, they quickly picked up nationalist defectors and are, according to Wikipedia, now “ideologically neutral”. Perhaps that means liberal inter nationalist so be careful what you wish for. Anyway, my surprise is because my Catholic friend from Limavady made a point of supporting them. Probably their only voter in the 90’s!

        1. PlutoniumKun

          They are ‘soft’ Unionist, but still very much a pro-Union party. It suits them (and the media) to portray them as somehow above the fray. The main difference between them and the UUP/DUP, etc., is that they claim not to have a tribal/cultural attachment to the Union, hence the number of catholics who join/support them. The only genuinely non-aligned parties are the Greens and the various Trotskyist groups, which are about 2-3% of the vote. The left in Ireland in general is split between the internationalists who reject nationalism as beneath them, and the republican/nationalist oriented leftist groups.

          Incidentally, the final figures are now out and the DUP have done surprisingly well in terms of seats (but still lost a lot of votes). But the loss of their status as the single biggest party is a huge blow to them.

      3. Joe Well

        Striking that in a place that is part of the UK, neither Labour nor Conservatives to be seen.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          There was long an unwritten rule that British parties would not run candidates in NI. It was in reality a means to protect the Unionists and give them their little statelet to run as they wished.

          The Conservatives are more or less officially affiliated to the UUP, while in the past Labour had links to the SDLP, although over time the latter has preferred to associated with FF and FG in the Republic. Labour have mooted running candidates in Belfast every now and again, but have changed their minds when they look at potential polling.

    2. Terry Flynn

      I was an actuary in a former life. The received wisdom was that the 2030s was the earliest that historically larger Nationalist (Catholic) birthrates would translate to a Nationalist possible majority in Northern Ireland in any election and hence the possibility of reunification.

      This is “received wisdom” but wrong due to sociopolitical events like BREXIT. I argued with my mum (born and bred in Dublin). She had to eat her words today. Sinn Fein now are the most popular party in Eire and Northern Ireland. Of course this doesn’t mean reunification soon. They’ve been canny and concentrated on issues like cost of living etc. I doubt reunification will happen any sooner. Eire recognises just how much of NI functions purely on government money and “buyer’s remorse” could quickly set in until NI can stand on its own two feet better.

      However I’m very curious how things will play out in next few years.

      1. Ignacio

        If I was counsellor on politics would say: no need for a hurry on this. It will fall like an apple from the tree.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Exactly! I think the “new generation” of Sinn Fein politicians follow this dictum. They know they’ll will eventually; they know NI is growing fast but still needs a lot more diversification beyond “making films and TV shows” to stand on its own two feet. They’re young and willing to wait a while.

          And, as you say, then it’ll just happen naturally.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, its complicated a little by political orientation not matching religion as closely as people assume. There are plenty of ‘castle catholics’ (catholic unionists – I’ve quite a few in my family), as well as protestant republicans. And of course there will always be a status quo vote.

        Sinn Fein are playing it very cautiously. They know that losing a border poll would be an absolute disaster for them, so there is no chance that they will push for one until they are 100% sure they will win it. That is quite a few years away in terms of demographics, although I wouldn’t rule out other issues (such as Brexit going even more pear shaped, or an IndyRef in Scotland) accelerating things.

  16. antidlc

    Coronavirus wave this fall and winter could potentially infect 100 million, White House warns

    The Biden administration is issuing a new warning that the US could potentially see 100 million Covid-19 infections this fall and winter, as officials publicly stress the need for more funding from Congress to prepare the nation.

    The projection of 100 million potential infections is an estimate based on a range of outside models that are being closely tracked by the administration and would include both the fall and winter, a senior administration official told CNN. Officials say this estimate is based on an underlying assumption of no additional resources or extra mitigation measures being taken, including new Covid-19 funding from Congress, or dramatic new variants.

    The White House is sharing these estimates as officials renew their push to get Congress to approve additional funding to combat the virus and as the nation approaches a coronavirus death toll of 1 million. Officials have said the White House will commemorate the moment when the US surpasses 1 million deaths from Covid-19.

    Wait. I’m confused. I thought the pandemic was over.

    Masks? We don’t need no stinkin’ masks!

    1. .human

      Someone should suggest that the WH could get accurate, up-to-date data by simply reading Water Cooler!

    2. tegnost

      100 million is a lot of sickcare products going out the door, many of which won’t be covered by insurance…kleenex, robitussin, sanitizers, HVAC upgrades…and they can now have product available based on the usage they’ve tracked for the past couple of years. It’s always and ever only one thing from the democrats. Kaching.

  17. Ignacio

    RE: Column: U.S. gas prices soar as Europe and Asia scramble for LNG Reuters (resilc)

    Two words: mission accomplished.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It has certainly created chaos in the world energy market though I think that a lot of those Asian supplies are tied up on long term contracts. Gonzales Lira put out a video on his new YouTube channel a day or two ago which might explain why the US is doing so. It is certainly a disturbing theory where instead of the US trying to raise itself up, is trying to bring the rest of the world down- (7:11 mins)

      1. JBird4049

        Must mean he’s for the Russky terrorists. (Rolling my eyes here.)

        I don’t know if I could ever vote for Vance, but for some of stuff he says, I say preach it.

      2. Pat

        I have the same ambivalent reaction to this I did to some of Trump’s outbursts:

        Thank god some one said it, but why did it have to be him…now all the “right” people will pretend it shows how right they are and use it as a weapon.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      sure we will, at his trial for crimes against humanity. He will have a lot of company. the Russians have cameras and you can bet there are terabytes of photos/videos of the destruction, murder and other personal accounts by the UKR people as to what occurred and in the fullness of time (never did understand that trope) will be giving the video feed to the world for Nuremberg 2 “The Sequel.” This will include the “Listen to them Squeal Tour” for mercenaries without much future.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Au contraire. The Russians are holding war crimes trials. He might be a prime witness. The more testimonies from nationals who are neither Ukie or Russian, the greater the credibility.

  18. JTMcPhee

    Sinn Fein and Ireland, EU vs UK “choice:” that is a Hobson’s Choice if ever I saw one. Neoliberalism, with maybe a smidgen more flavoring in the EU concoction.

    I’m getting older fast — almost to the point of wishing that the Neos hurry up and bring on that “nuclear war that they can win somehow.” The suspense is killing me. It will be a hell of a show, won’t it?

    Stupid effing humans.

  19. dday

    Re Native American abortion outlets. And a woman could buy, say, $100 in gambling tokens and receive the two abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol. And take the mifepristone while still on native lands. The second pill, misoprostol, is a commonly prescribed drug for stomach issues. It can be purchased online now for about 75 cents a pill.

    I also wonder about floating boats in international waters in the Gulf of Mexico. A $100 excursion fare comes with two pills.

  20. B flat

    Will teen trans boys want to draw attention to themselves by using said vending machines in the boys’ toilet?. Color me skeptical.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I can almost understand the stupidity of mandating that the Men’s Room has a tampon dispenser (Actually, I really can’t. It’s just stupid.) but are the people who fill the vending machines stupid enough to actually put product in them? A vending machine in a high school boy’s bathroom has a half-life of about twenty seconds.

  21. a fax machine

    re: linux

    I suggest getting one of those CDs from Barnes & Noble – comes in a nicely printed paperback that will explain things you should know. Linux Mint is the typical choice although I’d argue Debian is easier overall. 90% of Linux desktop’s problems are UI-related, and in my experience AMD chips with integrated graphics work better than Intel OR anything with Nvidia graphics. I don’t know if you know how to use a terminal (the real terminal, ie disabling graphics with alt-F1) but the most typical use of Linux’s terminal is re-enabling the graphics drivers. The other one is killing unwanted network connections, and this is especially useful in blocking ads and is where the Pi-Hole originated. From that we get redesigning your home network.

    I’m certain you are already competent enough to know all this, but wanted to add my two cents as I have to whenever the topic is suggested.

    1. Jason Boxman

      It’s not about competence, it’s about how much your time is worth. I’ve been able to fix about any major issue that came up running Linux across a half dozen desktops and laptops over the years, but in the end, it wasn’t worth my time. I bought a MBP and never looked back. I spend an order of magnitude less time dealing with bizarre issues now, and I am much happier for it.

      The issues ranged from minor, to serious, such as plugging in headphones always resulting in max volume, which is a serious risk for hearing damage. That was only fixed by changing to a different distro; I never figured out which kernel patch was responsible for fixing it that Fedora had at that time that Ubuntu did not.

      And to this day, Linux support for dual-GPU laptops is sketchy at best; I recently had to disable that with a Linux boot argument, through editing a grub2 configuration and rebuilding it, so that I could use an external monitor. Otherwise, the display would not sync. It was all 1970s green snow. I also had to edit the configuration for this. (This might have required the proprietary Nvidia driver as well, which would mean I had to use ‘akmods’ for this to custom build, and force disable the free Nvidia driver that ships. Also time consuming and not trivia to accomplish.)

      I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is the problem. I am chronically time stressed. And when I have Mac problems, I hire someone. Not so easy with Linux.

      2. a fax machine

        I agree but allow me to posit that audio issues are fixable by using DJ headsets ie Caltronics with volume control right on the headset. This is what I’ve always done without issue although I needed a big 3.5mm jack connector.

  22. Swamp Yankee

    Re: developers subsidized on Emerald Isle.

    I am covering this very issue here in SE Mass. Politically connected developers are excellent at using loopholes and mining (sometimes literally! in our case, illegal sand mining as that commodity goes up and up in price) the Commons for their own enrichment.

    It is interesting to see that in Ireland; for what it’s worth, I live in the most Irish county in America by census data (next highest ethnicity: English, followed by Portuguese).

  23. Appleseed

    The Adolph Reed essay is bracing and well worth the investment of time. Thanks for posting. Three tidbits worth mentioning:

    The precise point of “race” as an ideology is that it obscures and mystifies class agendas that are crafted within concrete material relations by displacing them onto nature. That is how race attained the verisimilitude of common sense.12 Historian Barbara Jeanne Fields captured the point exquisitely: “Race became the ideological medium through which people posed and apprehended basic questions of power and dominance, sovereignty and citizenship, justice and right.”13 And race discourse provides “a surface camouflage that makes inequality in its most general form—the form that marks and distorts every aspect of our social and political life—hard to see, harder to discuss, and nearly impossible to tackle.”14

    The second, related problem I want to address concerning race relations discourse and its premises, which, as [Kenneth] Warren indicates, continue fundamentally to shape scholarly and popular thinking about black politics, is the quintessential fact that at its very foundation the race relations idea is racist. “Races” cannot relate because races are not real entities capable of willful activity. The notion that they are is the very definition of racism.

    Finally, when seen from the perspective I’ve laid out here, it’s worth noting that the flood of ruling class money that poured into race-reductionist causes and groups in the aftermath of [George] Floyd’s murder also coincided with the effort to stamp out the last embers of the nascent popular left tendency mobilized by Bernie Sanders’s campaign.

  24. das monde

    Speaking of inequality in the animal world (the second link), The Undark magazine (of the trolling science journalism story) has this article:

    “What of the mating success of these powerless, low-ranking individuals that make up most of the males on the beach? If incursions into a group of females typically fail because dominant males are on guard, and females pick up the slack should an intruder slip under the radar, what options remain? There’s only one: After a female has mated with a dominant male, she has to get to the sea, which can be anywhere between 3 and 50 meters from where her groups is. On her way, she may be harassed by as many as 20 low-ranking males attempting to mate with her.”

  25. juno mas

    RE: Tribal lands as Clinic sites

    All US acknowledged tribal land is considered soveriegn (outside state and US jurisdiction—although the Feds have been known to flaunt this designation, at times.)

    So, abortion clinics are a possibility on tribal sites. However a functioning clinic needs real healthcare professionals. These folks may still be deterred by both professional and vigilante retribution when they leave these sovereign locations. Carson City, NV (capital) has the Stewart indian reservation within its boundaries, so plenty of visitor amenities for a potential clinic.

    Most tribal land near cities (outside NV) choose gambling as their money maker.

  26. Mikel

    I’m laughing. Saw it coming from the beginning of the hype years ago:

    “…But in order to sustain these services, companies will have to depend more on some of the revenue-generating methods that served the traditional TV business well for decades, such as advertising and the sale of programs to other broadcast and cable outlets after they run on streaming. Even the bundling of streaming services — similar to the way cable packages are marketed — is coming from broadband internet providers…”

  27. Mikel

    Just curious: Did any of the apex stock trader Congress critters go long on condoms before the Supreme Court leak?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Never use the words “leak” and “condoms” in the same sentence – especially after the Supreme Court rules.

    1. Objective Ace

      Maybe it is better to go back to normal for awhile. These “shutdowns” that were never really shutdowns were not consequential enough to be really noticeable.. something akin to the “boiling frog” parable. It should become apparent soon enough what living with unfettered Covid actually means

  28. ChristopherJ

    Re passwords, we’ve all tried using the same one for multiple websites. Eventually, one will not work and you will need to select a different one. This is the start of how it gets messy and we forget what we don’t put down in a file….

    Try devising a password system instead. Most passwords must be at least 8 characters, require a special key, such as $ or &, consist of letters and numbers and, often, require a capitalised letter.

    So, choose something that will never change and only change the bit as it relates to your website.

    For example, Meatgo07! would work for google (me at go(ogle) 07!) and Meatbb07! would work for bendigo bank and Meatnf07! would work for my Netflix account. ie its only the website identifier letters that change.

    Glad for feedback. And Linux is easy, but probably a bit jump for mac users. Just need to download the executable onto a usb drive and interrupt your computers boot up to boot from the usb…

  29. lance ringquist

    Krystal Ball: How Clinton SCAMMED a Generation and SOLD Their Futures
    Krystal looks back on the false bill of goods sold to students by Bill Clinton and the neoliberal establishment who saddled entire generations with student debt burdens on their future.

    1. LawnDart

      Biden should never be forgiven for the role he played in this as a congress-critter.

      The student loan scam is one of a thousand cuts, and each of these hurt, although that’s a wound that may never heal: student debt is sweet poison.

      1. lance ringquist

        biden was nafta billy clintons right hand man, also empty suit hollowmans man also. you would have thought the youth would know that. instead they voted in droves for the most progressive president since FDR.

        its why the elites should be made to pay for their crimes.

  30. LawnDart

    The persecution of Julian Assange

    According to the UN torture expert, the UK and US have colluded to publicly destroy the WikiLeaks founder – and deter others from exposing their crimes

    The PTB did a most-excellent job of demonizing this guy, turning him into the poster-child of “look at we can do to you!” And the author himself states that Assange was a nobody to him– just a hacker, rapist and narcissist– until he started looking into the “facts” of the case.

    Truthtellers are getting swatted left and right, as you can see from the posts on this site. Please pester your local library to order this book for their shelves– it costs you nothing and might do some measure of good.


  31. LawnDart

    A steak to die for:

    19 Kg Beef Seized INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: 3 held for cow slaughter in Seoni, over 19 kg beef seized

    Earlier this week, two tribal men identified as Sampat Batti from Sagar village and Dhansa from Simaria were beaten by a group of 15-20 people over suspicion of cow slaughter at Simaria under Kurai police station limits in Seoni district. Both the victims later died in the hospital.

    If you really have a death-wish and want to make sure that everyone in India hates you, you could grill it over copies of the Koran.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      People get funny over meat and animals. Dognapping for meat is common in Vietnam (its usually two guys on a motorbike, the passenger loops a noose over the dogs head and pulls it on board). Its happened on more than one occasion that the bike has stalled and the guys have been beaten to death by passing dog lovers.

      When I cycled one time across Tibet in 2007 I could always tell the difference between the Han and Tibetan villages once I hit the outskirts. In majority Tibetan villages I’d be ‘greeted’ by a pack of Tibetan mastiffs (terrifying). There was always a deathly silence approaching Chinese ones. Sometimes you could see a skinned dog hanging off an eaves ready for hotpot. In the poorest villages the occasional cat would end up in the pot too.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I could imagine Buster Keaton enjoying that.

      In the 19th Century, before paved roads, the best way to ride a penny farthing bike was on the railway lines as they were less lumpy. It was called ‘riding the ties’. The first transcontinental bike tourers all went on railways not roads. There was apparently a knack to jumping off if you encountered a train on a bridge, you had to somehow loop something around the bike so it would say tied to you as you clung on to the bridge as the train passed over.

  32. LawnDart


    I believe that Russian intelligence professionals are scratching their heads trying to figure out what the hell America is really doing. They probably are wondering if this leaking of sensitive information is actually a clever capitalist plot to get Russia to chase imaginary squirrels? Or are the Americans just plain incompetent?

    At some point, the American people will awaken to the fact that our attempt to arm and feed Ukraine has enriched criminal gangs who could care less who runs Ukraine as long as they can profit. They know the value of a dollar and a ruble. War transforms a black market into a super market on steroids. In my experience, these black market activities are enabled by well-connected foreigners and corporations. This criminals always need a bank or tangible goods for storing their profits. Follow the money.

  33. LawnDart

    Lifted off Marginal Revolution:

    Does Welfare Prevent Crime? The Criminal Justice Outcomes of Youth Removed From SSI

    We estimate the effect of losing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits at age 18 on criminal justice and employment outcomes over the next two decades.

    We find that SSI removal increases the number of criminal charges by a statistically significant 20% over the next two decades. The increase in charges is concentrated in offenses for which income generation is a primary motivation (60% increase), especially theft, burglary, fraud/forgery, and prostitution.

    The costs to taxpayers of enforcement and incarceration from SSI removal are so high that they nearly eliminate the savings to taxpayers from reduced SSI benefits.

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