Links 6/16/2022

Dear readers:

Temporarily changing our note at the top of this page to a query–

Yves is doing more research on her short list of candidate countries for her hoped-for future expat life. One of the fast ways to get tips and learn about possible pitfalls is expat message boards. However, these seem to be substantially if not entirely on Facebook and Yves is allergic to Facebook. Lambert thinks this is not entirely paranoid since even when he uses a VPN, Facebook recognizes him.

Do readers have any suggestions as to how to set up a FB account and keep it well away from your real world identity?


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When Cats Chew Catnip, It Works as a Bug Spray Smithsonian

Happy the Elephant is not a human, according to N.Y. Court of Appeals. But has a legal precedent been set for cases on behalf of nonhuman animals? Bronx Times (which doesn’t come up on Google’s front page, even though Happy’s residence is the Bronx Zoo, because Google is trying to strangle local news rooms, good job).

Fed Meeting Live Updates: Interest Rates Raised 0.75 Percentage Point WSJ

So Now We Have Clarity. The World Has Changed Bloomberg

Remember what happened last time The Reformed Broker

The Fed is forcing markets to ‘flush’ crypto speculators: Strategist Yahoo


Shortage of radio technicians may have compromised safety on Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Wildfire Today

On probabilism and statistics Lars P. Syll. From a statistics course Syll gives to life scientists working in the pharmaceutical industry.


Notes on a mask-less world Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia eases mask mandate as first Hajj pilgrims arrive Al Jazeera

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Nasal Vaccines Are Commercially High Risk, Perhaps High Reward The Scientist

Differential Biodistribution of Adenoviral-Vectored Vaccine Following Intranasal and Endotracheal Deliveries Leads to Different Immune Outcomes Frontiers in Immunology. Model study. From the Abstract: “Here, by using a murine model and an adenovirus-vectored model vaccine, we have compared the intranasal and endotracheal delivery methods in their biodistribution, immunogenicity and protective efficacy. We find that compared to intranasal delivery, the deepened and widened biodistribution in the lung following endotracheal delivery is associated with much improved vaccine-mediated immunogenicity and protection against the target pathogen. Our findings thus support further development of inhaled aerosol delivery of vaccines over intranasal delivery for human application.”

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Neutralization of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.4/5 and BA.2.12.1 Subvariants (letter) New England Journal of Medicine. “Booster vaccination provided sufficient neutralizing-antibody titers against the BA.4/5 and BA.2.12.1 subvariants, albeit to a lower extent than against BA.1 and BA.2.”

Effects of Previous Infection and Vaccination on Symptomatic Omicron Infections New England Journal of Medicine. The Conclusions: “No discernable differences in protection against symptomatic BA.1 and BA.2 infection were seen with previous infection, vaccination, and hybrid immunity. Vaccination enhanced protection among persons who had had a previous infection. Hybrid immunity resulting from previous infection and recent booster vaccination conferred the strongest protection.”

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Early detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants using traveler-based genomic surveillance at four US airports, September 2021- January 2022 Clinical Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “We enrolled arriving international air travelers in SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance, using molecular testing of pooled nasal swabs, and sequencing positive samples for viral sublineage. Traveler-based genomic surveillance provided early warning variant detection; we reported the first U.S. Omicron BA.2 and first BA.3 in North America, weeks before next reported detection.” So naturally we’ve stopped testing international travellers at airports.

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Long COVID Could Be a ‘Mass Deterioration Event’ The Atlantic. Don’t worry. It’s mild.

The Scientists Who Made the COVID Vaccine Possible on How the Pandemic Will End Teen Vogue. Let ‘er rip!

Scientists use ancient DNA samples to explain Black Death origins FT Original.


China Reduced Air Pollution in 7 Years as Much as US Did in Three Decades Bloomberg

Four Things to Know About China’s Plan to Go ‘All-Out’ on Infrastructure Caixin Global

As China’s economic slowdown moderates, analysts call for greater policy easing: ‘it will be a long haul’ South China Morning Post

Xi Jinping clears non-war use of army, raising fear of ‘special military operation’ in Taiwan Telegraph


Please Don’t Call Myanmar Military Tatmadaw The Irrawaddy. Use “sit-tat” instead. Usage example:


Protecting and restoring Indonesia’s mangroves Straits Times


In the Hottest City on Earth, Mothers Bear the Brunt of Climate Change The Wire


How Biden Came Around to MBS’ Plan for a New U.S.-Saudi Partnership Politico


‘Justice’ for Ukraine overshadowed by cost of living concerns, polling shows Guardian

Boris Johnson’s government may never have intended the Rwanda flight to take off The New Statesman

What a blow was there given!”:

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NATO runs into multipolar world order India Punchlines

G7 Unveils Controversial ‘Hydrogen Action Pact’ to Tackle Climate Crisis and Russian Gas Reliance World-Energy (Ignacio). Ignacio: “The leadership has lost control, meaning they are announcing measures that in some cases don’t make any sense. (Blue hydrogen is an example.)”

New Not-So-Cold War

US fears surge in crude prices from ban on insuring Russian oil tankers FT. Wolfgang Münchau asked a good question the other day: “Did we think this through?”

Exclusive: US fighters ‘captured’ by Russian forces in Ukraine The Telegraph

EBRD financing to keep Ukrainian trains moving Railway Gazette

Negotiating to End the Ukraine War Isn’t Appeasement Charles A. Kupchan, Politico. Kuphchan is CFR.

Biden Administrion

US to launch West Asia Quad with India, Israel and UAE during Biden’s visit Business Standard

Inside the U.S. government project to create tiny nuclear reactors like batteries CNBC

Capitol Seizure

Who is Greg Jacob, Pence’s lawyer who testifies Thursday before Jan. 6 panel The Hill. So what happens when Pence doesn’t get in the car?

Big Brother Is Watching You

Facebook and Anti-Abortion Clinics Are Collecting Highly Sensitive Info on Would-Be Patients Reveal News

We’re launching a free tool for journalists to track source diversity Chalkbeat. Once the infrastructure is in place, the source-checking won’t stop with diversity.

The Groves of Academe

As professors struggle to recruit postdocs, calls for structural change in academia intensify Science

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pyotr Akopov Raises (Correctly) The Issue. Andrei Martyanov, Reminscence of the Future

A World of Power and Fear Foreign Affairs The Deck: “What Critics of Realism Get Wrong.”

The Hinges of History Creak Aurelien, Trying to Understand the World (DC).

Class Warfare

How Houston Moved 25,000 People From the Streets Into Homes of Their Own NYT (DL).

Why Rural Americans Keep Waiting for Fast Internet, Despite Billions Spent WSJ

Agents in the Ether Inference Review. “Cable telegraphy and electrical physics in the Victorian British Empire.”

Antidote du jour (@IainHLeach):

Bonus antidote:

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. Party on

    The borrowing and spending binge by Canadian households, businesses, and governments (all levels) continues unabated.

    At the end of March, 2022 the total debt outstanding in Canada (bottom line of the Statistics Canada credit market summary data table) was $10.162 trillion. At the end of March, 2021 the total debt outstanding was $9.376 trillion. In the 1 year period from the end of March, 2021 to the end of March, 2022 it increased by $785.8 billion. This is an increase of 8.3%.

    Canadian total (household, business, and all levels of government) debt numbers as of the end of March, 2022

    1. HotFlash

      A house is ‘worth’ whatever a bank will write the mortgage for. The bank pays nothing for its ‘inventory’ of mtg dollars, they are created by keystroke, but the interest is real, sweat-earned money. Why would a bank not lend you more imaginary money so they can make more real money? Predictable result: runaway inflation in house prices and knock-on to condos, rents, etc.

      Housing prices are insane here (Toronto). A 1 1/2 story cute little Georgian cottage (wood) on my street went for 1.2 million a couple of years ago. The real estate flyers assure me that my own 2-story brick-faced is ‘worth’ $2 million plus today. I pd $40K 40 years ago.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Especially since ‘the govt’ backstops the banks/lenders with endless bail-INS (call them what they are, wealth transfers.)

        And now can we hear from Stephanie Kelton on whether and how fiat money in the present context, which still floods out to the war machine and “investors” who seemingly bear no real risk, might finally hit the wall that is the real productive capacity of the nation? Too late, sorry, mopes, for any “nice things” like national health systems and peace dividends and safety nets, on account of “debt…” And I am not implying that this is SK’s or other MMT explainers’ doing or fault — just asking if, given the current givens like the ascent of the 88% led by Russia as principal catalyst, China, etc., there is any way, any particular “policies,” irrespective of any hope of their adoption, that might lead to softer landing and “distributive justice?”

        I hope all us posters and lurkers recognize and applaud and feel validated that Yves has become a leading voice in the policy and economics and political world, having been so right on so many fronts. Thank you, Yves and Lambert and associates , for everything you do!

        1. Skippy

          MMT like anything else can suffer from the human tool user problem which IMO bares no indication of some failure in the tool e.g. could say the same WRT any monetary system. MMT is again just a description of the potential currant at this time. How its administrated is a factor of social networks operating on some deductive ideological/philosophical groupthink and the synergies that exist as time and space move forward e.g. strange bedfellows.

          Decades of neoliberalism [re decanted corporatism, plutocracy, et al] over so many decades has set or better yet burned in like code of the larger socioeconomic operating system which in turn sets the framework by which MMT is administrated. Its a Religion that all other Religions become a sub set of yet still advance the cause of becoming globally dominate e.g. democratic liberalism under the guise of free market globalism i.e. exception to Russia and China recalcitrance in joining the fold.

        2. fresno dan

          I agree – the fact is, we have had defacto MMT for a long, long time. Arguing about whether we should have MMT is ridiculous and pointless. The problem has NEVER been that a government that prints its own money can never run out of money – its what it uses that money for. There is ALWAYS money for war (or war profiteers), money for the wealthy (great recession, save the banks, f*ck the borrowers), and too many other examples to list. There is never enough money for health care, education, and housing for the homeless. It is not an economics problem – its a political problem. Economics is just hand waving to disguise the situation…

          1. Skippy

            Then you can start down the rabbit hole of interest rates and bond holders per se Hudson on the IMF loan to Brazil and its use to restructure societies to suit elites desires.

    1. katiebird

      If I wanted an Internet connection that couldn’t be tied to me I would try using the computers at a public library. Maybe make a couple of visits before setting up a Facebook account (maybe use computers at different branches but not sure that’s necessary.) Anyway a couple of visits going to various sites. Looking at various products (and keep notes) .. I don’t see how the visits could be linked by cookies (or whatever is following people around these days.) At our library the computers reboot between patrons and everything about the previous patron is gone. Even if it is saved on some master computer someplace, how could it be linked to an anonymous user at a library? Ask the library staff about the process there.

      1. Objective Ace

        Do your libraries require you to show ID or get a username/pw to login? There’s a netflix documentary on KC Joy who was put away for murder because they tied his library computer searches to him. (That may be a special case since he was a person of interest already and they were looking much closer at him)

        1. katiebird

          They do keep that information. But it takes a search order (before they’d give it up) to get it and I’m sure Facebook wouldn’t have access to it.

        2. ambrit

          Our local library requires a Library card to use, (can’t stand the malapropism ‘access,’) their computers. At the least, a picture ID is required for a Library Card here. (Even the kiddies now have school supplied Picture IDs.)
          Yves might best be served by a fake identity, (in spyworld lingo, a ‘legend,’) to use for the Library Computer Caper.
          As has always been the case, Officialdom views “non-compliance” as a threat to their ‘power.’

        3. WobblyTelomeres

          I used to access our local library’s internet connection via wifi from the library parking lot using an old laptop I bought off craigslist for $25. Put linux on a usb stick and booted the laptop from that.

      2. Carolinian

        Linux has a thing called a “live sd” (used to be cd) where the operating system is installed on an sd dongle and your computer is instructed to boot from this instead of whatever os it normally uses. All Linux distros tend to have Firefox browsers and Thunderbird email pre installed.

        By this means you can surf the web and visit pages and, when you turn off the computer and remove the dongle, browser history of your visit stored on your computer vanishes. You would still need to use library or some other wifi to anonymize your web connection. And since the hardware details of your computer can be used to track you it’s still not as good as using someone else’s computer at the library or an internet cafe.

    2. mookie

      Try the uMatrix plugin for Firefox, which gives you control over scripts, cross-site requests, etc on a granular level for each site you visit. Prevent Facebook, instagram, etc scripts from running anywhere except on those sites themselves if you want to visit them.

        1. hunkerdown

          Only because browser fingerprinting works so well, there’s “no” need for cross-domain cookies anymore. Nice barn door job there. Mozilla, now the Democrat Party’s web browser committee.

      1. Ranger Rick

        Alas, uMatrix was discontinued in favor of further development on uBlock. uMatrix still works, but it’s only a matter of time until a future Firefox update breaks it. I like the level of control in uMatrix but I need to look for an alternative.

    3. digi_owl

      As i recall, Facebook builds shadow profiles on people via thing like them like/share buttons on sites.

      Just about the only way to get around that, i think, would be to run a browser in incognito mode in addition to using a VPN. Or go all out and use TOR and its Firefox derived browser.

      Basically try to make each interaction with Facebook as “tabula rasa” as possible.

      1. Oh

        go all out and use TOR and its Firefox derived browser.

        This is the better option. Incognito mode does not protect you, where in Chrome or Firefox. If you use a VPN, make sure that the server for the VPN is outside the US jurisdiction just in case your data gets dredged when someone gives up the server data.

        Best option: Don’t even go to the Facebook page. They now how to track you even if you don’t log in. They’re real scumbags.

  2. griffen

    I’ve been using the same analogy lately, in my thinking of crypto declines last month’s stablecoin debacles. Instead of lighting investment funds on fire, are they really just flushing it down the porcelain memory hole?

    Yeah Fed tightening is a big reveal of what isn’t necessarily there. I’ll take a step on a limb and suggest Bitcoin is the ultimate survivor of all of it. But I make no plans to buy it.

  3. Kevin Smith

    One daughter, who is married to an uber-techie, has a variety of devices but does some of her work on a stock ChromeBook with NO extra software or apps. There are A LOT [millions] of identical devices out there, so she is pretty much fingerprint-proof. Beyond that, she is quite fastidious about using VPNs, etc.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe a bootable Linux CD might be an idea. You put the CD into your tray and shut down your computer. When you boot it up again, the system sees the bootable CD in the tray and will boot of it. One option on that CD is to install that operating system in memory to “try it” which includes the Firefox browser. So you use it to log into Facebook, do your business, and then log out. You then shut down the computer, pop the CD out of the tray, and then boot up like normal with no trace of what you have done on your regular system.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Loads of security conscious people do exactly that. I’ve considered it myself. My necessarily secure files from health datasets worry me – I use an encryption program that the “big authorities” really HATE because they can’t crack it. Problem is, if I decrypt to work on it then I can’t be sure temp or other system copies are not “left lying around” on the hard drive once I re-encrypt. I KNOW this happens on Windows, I’m investigating to what extent Linux does it too.

        If you work from an external disk that has “space for preserving stuff” then the problem goes away. Everything is on the external disk and is by definition gone once that is ejected

        1. The Rev Kev

          Getting a bit over my skis here but a very long time ago I read how (for Windows at least) you could set your Temp files to be located on another drive instead of your hard drive. So perhaps you could locate your temp files on a plug-in external hard-drive. So when you finish your work, you use a secure program to wipe everything on that external hard drive and zero it out. You would have to talk to a techie to see if this was a realistic idea for a Linux system or not.

        2. Fraibert

          Also make sure you aren’t missing the forest through the trees.

          The concern about data leakage via temporary files is a good one to have. However, if the computer in question is connected to a network, then the temporary files concern honestly misses what is probably the larger threat.

          I’ll take a detour to explain why.

          Ignoring temporary file concerns, decrypted data in use by a computer may exist in up to 3 spots at once: (1) in CPU cache; (2) in system RAM; and (3) on a permanent storage device (hard drive or SSD) that is being used for swap.

          CPUs have built-in super fast cache RAM (Static RAM for those who are interested, versus the much less expensive Dynamic RAM) to speed up access to data. Predictive algorithms help determine which data the CPU actually will cache.

          System RAM is what everyone knows as “RAM.” This is the main temporary memory store for computers.

          Swap (called “Virtual Memory” in Windows) is a system where the operating system uses permanent storage (hard drive or solid state drive) as a temporary memory expander. The OS puts items that would otherwise be held in system RAM here (it “swaps out” items) when it predicts that they won’t be used that much. When swapped out items are needed, the OS then “swaps in” said items back to RAM, which can entail swapping out part of current RAM to make room. Windows uses swap files (look for the hidden file “pagefile.sys”), while *nix type operating systems permit both swap files and swap partitions (the latter is where a special partition is made for swap).

          CPU cache and system RAM are temporary data stores. These are wiped when power is turned off (more or less for normal purposes–I think you can freeze RAM and recover the data even after power loss for some period of time).

          However, swap is held on permanent data stores, which means that data there can be recovered in between power losses. To address this issue from a security perspective, one could disable swapping. If there’s enough RAM on the machine anyways, this solution works, though I’m not sure that Windows ever fully disables it (even when turned off). In this regard, a live CD should not have swapping enabled because there’s no guarantee of a permanent storage device on the machine.

          It may be possible for applications to prevent swapping or be configured to some degree in that fashion. But this stuff is relatively complex and not a great solution due to complexity. (I’m not sure I’d even trust it, personally.)

          I suppose it’d also be possible to wipe the swap store between boots, but I don’t know that SSDs support partial wiping (and SSDs need special measures to be wiped at all) and hard drives take a long time to wipe (the process basically consists of overwriting the data several times).

          The above means that an adversary has at least 2, and possibly 3, places to access decrypted data while the machine is in use. Moreover, if swapping is enabled or otherwise not secured, decrypted data might survive a reboot. If the machine is also connected to a network, then there’s also the means of exfiltrating that data while it is decrypted.

          Bottom line, honestly, is that computerized data should be air gapped for the best security.

          1. RobertC

            Fraibert — you are correct about Windows pagefile.sys which can be turned off but there’s also hiberfil.sys which images the computer state when hibernation is entered. Even though I’ve disabled hibernation everywhere I find it, I still get this file.

            For temporary and browser storage I use RamDrive.

            When a userid and password are required, I always restart the browser and have only the one tab open (if I open additional tabs they are all for the same site, eg to search for more stuff at Amazon).

            The best solution is virtual machines as described by polsini.

        3. hunkerdown

          Linux data hygiene, abridged version: Avoid leaving scraps, and lock up your scraps. In either case, you have to treat swap first, by disabling or encrypting it, to prevent further measures from leaking. In either case, you’ll want lots of RAM.

          You can configure a Linux system to use tmpfs RAM filesystems in a number of interesting ways. Modern distros often configure /tmp out-of-the-box as a RAM filesystem, whose contents are lost on reboot. With administrator permission, you can conjure and dispel as many scratch RAM filesystems anywhere you like. Live distro images and Docker both make use of the overlay filesystem facility to automatically layer a disposable RAM fs over the pristine root fs(es) to absorb all writes and forget them on command.

          For the latter, in addition to the typical full-disk encryption and air gapping, the eCryptfs package supports transparent encryption of the home directory and swap. It looks pretty easy to use, and Ubuntu offers it as an easy install-time option.

          1. Fraibert

            Disk encryption is great stuff, but it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t really protect if the drive is decrypted to enable reading/writing operations (i.e., to actually use the drive) because the computer needs to have access to the decryption key. Same with encrypting swap. In both cases, the encryption is really for situations where an adversary gets access to the machine in a non-logged in state or manages to steal the encrypted drive. (This is why I didn’t consider encrypting swap in my long post–the OS must be able to decrypt the swap to use it.)

            It seems that there are efforts to secure memory itself from attacks by encrypting the memory and holding the keys on the CPU. (e.g., These would help a lot on this kind of issue.

            Power Windows users have also been known to make the primary temporary files and even web browser caches reside in RAM drives. It’s just kind of obscure to the normal user how to do these kinds of things, but they are good practices.

        4. Fraibert

          Also, I wanted to add as a separate observation, people tend to over-emphasize the strength of encryption. It’s true a good algorithm (e.g., 128 bit AES) is probably secure to direct attacks.

          However, encryption is part of an ecosystem. The encryption software has to work correctly, the OS has to not leak anything, the user has to have a good encryption key, etc. Authorities may dislike encryption, but there are often ways to straight bypass it with some clever work.

          Moreover, in the worst case, encryption of critical data also assumes humane adversaries–security professionals use the euphemistic term “rubber hose cryptography” to cover situations where an adversary just beats a person until they give up an encryption key.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Many thanks for all your contributions – possibly the most informative regarding data security I’ve ever seen.

            Now that my sensitive data is “old” (ish) and although required to be kept but is not likely needed to be accessed, I think I need to put it on my airgapped PC. Nobody wants it unless I’m audited.

            But the alternative issues you talk about are hugely useful. Many thanks. This is a reason why I value NC so much.

    2. Stick'em

      Good advice. I’m guessing the only answer to really stay hidden may be “buy more stuff.” Imagine that!

      If you are a drug dealer, you use a disposable burner phone. If you are not a drug dealer but are OCD about privacy, probably use something like a stock Chromebook you can designate for Fakebook only, and if you can afford to throw it away and replace it regularly, it could work. This is probably what someone like Zuckerburg does to beat his own tracking system, use a burner laptop.

      I used to switch between 4 or 5 different browsers regularly… today, I’ll use Mozilla, tomorow it’s Opera… to throw the data miners a curveball, but this doesn’t work any longer.

      I sort of gave up trying to win the arms race vs. the machine, but I completely get the desire to not cooperate with Zuckerburg as a general ethical principle. I used to use the Fakebook website rather than download the app because I figure the app gotta have spyware in it. YMMV

      1. Kevin Smith

        My daughter pointed out that some ChromeBooks are so cheap [in particular used]that they can be shredded or [for the frugal] wiped and traded out for a different ChromeBook.

        You can also get Linux on a thumbdrive and boot from that [CD ROM drives are getting scarce]. I’d prefer a thumbdrive that was read-only so that nothing additional could be written to it.

        How do I make my flash drive read-only on Mac?
        Here’s how:
        1. Select the drive in the Finder.
        2. Press Command-i to display the Get Info window.
        3. At the bottom of the window, click the arrow next to Sharing & Permissions to display permissions.
        4. Click on the Privilege menu next to your username and choose Read: read-only.
        5. Close the Get Info window.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I’ve seen hard drive shredders at trade shows. They are impressive machines. The vendors implied there was a lot of e-waste that could go in one of those, if one needed.

        2. Terry Flynn

          Yep it’s easy to use external thumb drives to run an OS and programs that cannot be traced or have programs/files recovered. The issue is SPEED. Whenever you run via a USB you should probably make sure it is 3.2. OTherwise you’re going to run into issues of buffering (in my experience – though I did high level stats stuff).

          This is the current trade-off – you CAN use external media to ensure no prying eyes can recover anything from your PC/MAC/etc……but if you run an emulator to run a program that needs a lot of memory or CPU then you are going to have to accept lower performance. I’m no computing expert so tips on avoiding this welcome, but I’ve had to accept lower speeds when I use an external USB/disc as my “protection” against spying.

          I haven’t bought a “vaguely modern up to date” PC in a decade, in fact since last month – a laptop with W11 etc. Of course I instantly made it dual boot with linux (and I use the Windows part rarely) but the issues above still worry me.

    3. TheMog

      I’m not what I would consider an uber-techie but I’ve been around tech for a little while.

      I personally wouldn’t be comfortable with a Chromebook even with only the default apps installed because of Google’s control of ChromeOS and the fact that they use Chrome as a default browser, which is really tracking central. I would at least install another browser (probably Firefox) with the tracking protection cranked up to the max and a suitable ad/tracker filter like uBlock Origin.

      That said, I’m pretty sure that FB uses the IP address/network as part of their tracking – I keep joking that I can see in my FB ads what my wife is shopping for, and we don’t share devices but obviously an internet connection.

      What I would do is use a regular, separate computer (used laptop or similar) running somethng like Tails. To avoid the “tracking via your IP address” issue, you need to use at least a VPN, although if you end up going through the same VPN exit server regularly, that won’t help. From that perspective and depending on what you might want to protect yourself against, it might be worth accessing FB via Tor.

      A commercial VPN might be another option, but I doubt that they’ll be offering more security/protection than Tor – they have to keep track of their users for billing purposes at the very minimum, and I seriously doubt that the same, err, entities that are keeping an eye on Tor traffic aren’t also keeping an eye on commercial VPN traffic.

      Even with something like Tails, I would still use a separate machine for this that does not get used for anything else – as Linux tends to be pretty efficient, an older used laptop that only ever gets booted off the USB stick that holds Tails should work fine.

    4. YankeeFrank

      Maintaining online anonymity is a combination of tools and practices. Its also never perfect and one must gauge how hard anyone will try to break your anonymity in order to assess how extreme the tools and practices required to stop them. If the NSA wants you they’ll get you. If FB does, well, not so much.

      If we assume FB isn’t using illegal browser (0 day type stuff) and other hacks to access your low level OS features, and I think that’s relatively safe to say they aren’t as it would be quickly detected, then you should be able to maintain solid anonymity via a virtual machine (“VM”) like VMWare or VirtualBox and a decent VPN or Tor.

      Use of a VM helps guarantee that regular browsing via your base OS will not be linked with the browsing you do via the VM. Use of a VM and a good VPN like Mullvad should preclude identifying your virtual OS signature as yours. I like Mullvad because they don’t ask for your email or any other info to link your payment to your VPN account (for extra anon you can pay with bitcoin) — all you get is an ID. I wouldn’t trust this if I was doing anything potentially illegal but for anonymous browsing it should be good enough. In any event, below I show a way to use a VPN and Tor together so you don’t even have to trust your VPN provider at all.

      This bit is key: discipline. Don’t use your VM/VPN combo for regular browsing. Discipline is the hardest part of opsec because we all get lazy and forget. One way to protect yourself from sloppiness is to always use firefox private windows when using your VM/VPN setup. This way no cookies will ever be stored between sessions so if you do drop discipline and login to your bank or whatever from your VM/VPN, your next session will not remember this.

      Some people opt for a second computer for anonymous online access as it helps enforce discipline. I think this is overkill for your purposes. Just make sure your OS configurations (base OS v virtual OS) look different enough that you will always be aware of which you are using. Using an entirely different OS in your VM helps. Some people have suggested Tails or less anonymous linux distros and I concur. And the nice thing about VMs is you can burn ’em and create a new one if you ever get suspicious. And you can keep switching which VPN country/server you use for your anon browsing to maintain a moving target.

      There are also neat tricks you can pull with a VM, such as running your VPN in your base OS, running your VM and using Tor from within the VM so all traffic from the VM flows through VPN->Tor. If using Tor it also hides that fact from your ISP.

      Nice things about using a VPN plus VM/Tor for your anon browsing is that your VPN provider can’t know what sites/data you are browsing through Tor as only the Tor exit nodes will know that info, so you don’t need to trust the VPN, AND your ISP doesn’t know you are using Tor.

      Oh, and never use google’s chrome browser. Stick to firefox private windows or another non-privacy invasive browser.

      1. Tom Bradford

        another non-privacy invasive browser

        I use Brave, which blocks ads and claims to block trackers. I certainly don’t get ads (including NC’s I’m ashamed to say) and am not tech enough to check out the privacy claim. However independent reviews by folk that are seem to confirm it does the job. It also has one-click TOR access. It’s currently telling me that over a year or so’s use it has blocked 551,380 trackers and ads, saved me 9.95GB bandwidth and 7.7 hours ‘time saved’ (?).

        I also have an ancient laptop as a gateway, running Pi-hole which blocks anything on a >3,000,000 curated list of sites you really don’t want to be directed to behind the curtain. I’ve never been to Facebook but on the rare occasion I do want to visit a site I have doubts about I remotely access the gateway using VNC and use the instance of Brave on it, so that anything that might get through can only sniff around the decoy rather than my main machine.

        Doubtless not perfect privacy, but there’s precautionary and there’s paranoid.

    5. digi_owl

      I could have sworn that Chromebooks need you to log in via a Google account on each use…

  4. The Rev Kev

    “How Biden Came Around to MBS’ Plan for a New U.S.-Saudi Partnership”

    By now even Biden must realize that MBS has him over an oil barrel so now he has to kiss and make up. The US needs the Saudis more than the Saudis need the US as far as oil is concerned. This being the case, was now a good time to rename the street outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC as “Jamal Khashoggi Way”?

    1. Brunches with Cats

      Thank you, Rev K, for the opening to repost a link to Biden’s 2014 foreign policy speech at Harvard. I’ve linked to it a few times in the past, pointing in particular to a student’s question about overlooking human rights violations by “allies” such as Saudi Arabia (59:20). His answer is wonderfully clarifying. It suggests to me that this whole Biden-MBS thing is BS — like so much else, just for public consumption back home.

    2. elissa3

      “Jamal Khashoggi Way”. Priceless! Even better would be something like Petroleum Boulevard with 4 or 5 side streets, Khashoggi Lane, K Path, K Alley, etc. All dead ends, of course.

  5. Louis Fyne

    Twitter anecdote thread re. the institutional rot of progressive advocacy groups

    ….advocacy groups didn’t get what they wanted under Obama despite 2 years with a 54 vote House majority and 60 votes in the Senate. Why would we believe they could with 12 votes in the House and no real control of the Senate? They played for access, not results 4/… continued.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      The so-called Dem “progressives” should consider taking a leaf out of Newt Gingrich’s playbook (his tactical, not strategic one) and throw verbal bombs at the bought majority whenever appropriate. Sure, they’ll be cut off from access initially but it will energize the base. That is if the base hears about it. The MSM of the 2020s is very different than that of the late 0970s and early 80s.

      1. John

        since effectively Congress is nothing more than the wings of one-big-paid-for party, does it matter what the progressives, the regressives, the centrists, et al say or do?

        1. Oh

          No. But a lot of people get sucked in by the rhetoric and forget who Congress represents.

          If you write your CONgressman, be sure to write on used toilet paper, because that’s what the average voter’s comments are worth.

          1. chuck roast

            I e-mail my senators frequently. Based upon the biggest and most egregious corporate scams I alert them as to what troughs they can sink their respective snouts into. If they are making it happen they should not miss out on the “ka-ching.”

  6. JohnA

    Re Why Rural Americans Keep Waiting for Fast Internet, Despite Billions Spent WSJ

    I didn’t bother reading this, but maybe it is because the billions are being spent in Ukraine, not rural America.

    EBRD financing to keep Ukrainian trains moving Railway Gazette

    All this financing is going to have to be written off. Ukraine cannot possibly repay any of it. Plus, the rail network was destroyed to prevent the never ending supply of western weapons being delivered to the front. A/ny repair work will be immediately destroyed again were the Ukrainians try the same trick again.

    1. super extra

      This is an old piece from 2018 but it is a success story that I have first-hand experience with. The broadband cooperative was founded by an already-existing rural power cooperative that had workers and planning skill to take a federal grant (I believe it was relatively small, less than a million dollars) and lay fiber and build out an initial customer base. It was so successful they have been expanding out in the ~7 years since it was first set up.

      Based on what a friend in rural Vermont has told me about their local rural broadband meeting attempts – apparently they are stuck with Starlink – it seems like having the institutional knowledge and ability provided by the existing electric cooperative in NE OK was the big factor in its speed and success in implementation. The big fiber or DSL providers don’t want to expand into these rural places without existing infrastructure because they don’t want to pay for laying the fiber and they don’t have the workers in place to do it at the cost they want to pay.

      1. digi_owl

        Power companies getting into the fiber business seems to be a thing the world over. Is how i am now rocking a 500/500 connection.

        It is not just the planning and people (much of the work here was done via sub-contractors) but that they have the poles and such already in the ground. Thus they do not need to go round getting all the paperwork and land owner approvals.

        Never mind that most are more regional, and thus do not have the competing interests with going global or the option to focus on high density markets.

    2. HotFlash

      Tanya of the Trillbillies commented a couple of years back that the money slotted for broadband in her rural Appalachian area has repeatedly been spent on ‘studies’ (ie, $$ to outside consultants) and so far, no actual broadband.

  7. Terry Flynn

    The probability article is important. In my (health economics) MSc, the guy teaching us epidemiology was funny and had a dark sense of humour. His first trick in the first lecture (the first exposure virtually all economists and many from other disciplines related to health had to practical Bayes) was to quote sensitivity, specificity and prevalence of a condition; then state that a GP found a positive result from a patient. “What is the chance the patient actually has the condition?”

    He used to get us to stand in groups according to deciles of our estimated probability then take great delight in showing that virtually everyone was vastly wrong. Bayesian economics at work. It takes a complete “reboot” of the mind (like MMT) but once you do it, it is amazing. He wasn’t a git, however: he recognised that overworked docs often got this kind of thing wrong and was keen to give “rules of thumb” that they could memorise. Good bloke.

  8. Gumnut

    Sitrep Denmark: a vaccinated Dane remains to have >2x the chance of contracting/being hospitalised/dying of COVID as a 0-jab Dane – consistently in the data every single week since late Nov21 until today.

    I haven’t come by any stat of Long COVID vs. injection status in DK or abroad.

    The above 2 points beg the question of whether Long COVID is another name for “Postvac Syndrom” – the official German designation of vaccine injury which has bled into media in the last few days.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, like the Dominion voting tabulators count dead ‘voters?’ Interesting idea and a good example of “great minds think alike.”

      2. Gumnut

        Yes, every Danish inhabitant has a CPR = central persons register number that is used for everything – health, tax, pension, your bins, you name it. Dying is definitely registered, equally Vax status. Weekly data on pos PCR, hospitalised & death within 4 weeks of pos PCR on the public website (in English as well).

        Given that #3 was a while ago for most of pop & #4 is rare, the accounting gambit of declaring everyone within 2 weeks of injection unvaccinated & hence shifting numbers off the injected & onto the unwashed non-injected is running out of effect. Hence the injected to non-injected per 100k risk difference rising from around 2x to ca. 2.5x over the last few months.

    1. Lee

      Re: Long Covid

      Trajectory of long covid symptoms after covid-19 vaccination: community based cohort study BMJ

      “Conclusions: The likelihood of long covid symptoms was observed to decrease after covid-19 vaccination and evidence suggested sustained improvement after a second dose, at least over the median follow-up of 67 days. Vaccination may contribute to a reduction in the population health burden of long covid, although longer follow-up is needed.”

      This paper among others is discussed in Dr. Daniel Griffin’s Clinical Update #116 beginning at minute 39:29.

  9. nielsvaar

    Yves is doing more research on her short list of candidate countries for her hoped-for future expat life

    Avoid Germany like the plague. Unless you’re fond of atrocious immigration policies, repulsive and filthy administrative offices with ultra-aggressive bureaucrats, and having no real access to the social benefits that everyone born there does.

      1. Bugs

        I’d buy a cheap, used laptop and use it only for this purpose. You can create an email account with no need for a real name at or protonmail.

        Use that address to sign up for FB.

        Probably best to use a VPN and block cookies, scripts, etc., in the browser. Extensions can do that. But that is complicated to explain and set up/maintain. Plus, the VPN will know your name unless you pay in crypto.

        You should also log out of FB completely each time you’re done, clear cache, etc., otherwise it will keep tracking you.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          In addition to crypto, many VPN providers let you pay using various gift cards, such as a Starbucks, Wal-Mart, or Best Buy card. How you obtain the gift cards is a fairly accurate measure of your paranoia.

        2. Bugs

          If you want to really go black, there are plenty of other ways – but if you just don’t want to give FB your data, this is the cheapest, low effort option. But you’ll have to use discretion in anything you write in those groups…

      2. Terry Flynn

        We may be a pseudo-banana-republic but an older financially independent person probably could do well in the UK!

        (This holds true for my other citizenship – Australia).

        An often mentioned country, Sweden, is NOT a good choice IMNSHO. NC has revealed lots of nasty neoliberal traits and I myself found it to be one of those countries where “people as individuals are lovely but the society is familyblogged”.

        If you use FB, use a new laptop and for NOTHING else. Their tentacles extend everywhere – I found messenger on my W11 new laptop. *sigh* – they already have my info from a laptop that is (by industry standards) remarkably free of bloatware.

      3. Lou Anton

        Whenever the choice is made, I’m looking forward to hearing about your process. Suppose I see something similar in my future.

      4. Lexx

        The easiest route would be to enlist friends who have Facebook accounts and use their hardware, or purchase different hardware, maybe a good laptop that’s been wiped. We can usually pick one up for about $100 or less. Create an account using a photo of someone else. Or your own but after running it through software that alters the image enough to fool AI.

        When you’re done delete the account, wipe the hard drive, and sell the laptop. I suppose it depends on how anonymous you want to be.

      5. ChetG

        My desktop computer runs Windows XP, and, among my other habits, I continually delete cookies from various sites, such as Google and Facebook. The result is that FB doesn’t recognize me, and when I’d return to it, FB insists that I’m not me, and I’d be asked various questions that I’d have to answer before being logged in.

        So is deleting cookies an answer? Perhaps and perhaps not. FB is fighting back and now requires me to sign in via “Facebook Protect” (which I haven’t done, as I haven’t been to FB for half a year). The following is a brief excerpt from an email that FB had sent me (a reminder, the first came in January):

        This is a reminder to turn on Facebook Protect by tomorrow, 07 April 2022. After that, you will be locked out of your account until you enable it.

        • We’ve already turned on advanced login protections for your account.
        • To fully enable Facebook Protect, we’ll check your account for vulnerabilities, and help you resolve them.

      6. Polar Socialist

        If I was planning to expatriate, I’d go for Mauritius. “National food” contains Indian, Chinese, French and African cuisine and street food is dirt cheap. Local music is ska with an attitude (mostly sung in Creole French).

        Citizenship available for a price; public health care and free transport for elderly. Also I hear that Internet is great with 5 undersea cables coming to the island.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, PS. I echo that and more and would love to welcome Yves to Mauritius.

          Our music is called Sega.

          I am Mauritian Creole (or my parents are, but I was born and have lived mainly in dear old Blighty.

      7. super extra

        You’ll need a phone number to activate a FB account. And the number will need to be kept active for the duration you plan the use the FB account, because it will be used to send you sms/text messages to verify account ownership. If you really want to keep the FB cooties off your real computer and real number, you can get a burner phone and burner chromebook that you use just for FB. The chromebook will require a burner gmail account that you can also use with the burner phone. Don’t use the chromebook for anything other than FB or Google services tied to the burner account (don’t log into anything with any other user accounts you use on other computers). Only log into both devices from a public wifi connection (or never from your home IP address) if you’re really paranoid. Wipe both devices before reselling them when you’re done.

        All of this is stupid, but it is orders of magnitude less frustrating than trying to figure out a way to keep your actual devices you rely on for work sanitized when you are not already a professional tech. Someone above suggested borrowing another device that already had someone else’s FB account on it. If that’s an option for you I’d take it if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of the burner devices. Especially if you’re just reading and not actively participating in the forums.

      8. .Tom

        FB requires a photo now, in addition to name, address, phone. I’ve tried and failed to make a sock puppet. I was locked out a few hours of setting it up. I guess FB has (access to) a database of everyone real that they check your form submissions against and algorithms put in a queue for manual review anything suspicious. Sucks.

        If I were you I’d ask friends if they let you use their FB login.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      My Youtube feed is for some reason filled with videos made by American expats living happily in Portugal.

      1. johnherbiehancock

        Huh. I just looked at a house being sold by a retired couple moving to Portugal. They bought something there.

        I’ve heard from others that it has a remarkably low cost of living for an established EU country. all anecdotal though.

        1. johnnyme

          The cost of living is low in Portugal (the U.S. State Department’s foreign per diem rates are a pretty good way to compare the relative costs between countries as well as areas within a specific country) and it has one of the lowest (if not the lowest) barriers to entry of any EU country.

          For retirees, the D7 Passive Income Visa requires a minimum income of €705/month (which is currently the government set monthly minimum wage) and from what I’ve been able to find, a single person can live pretty comfortably in most areas (especially away from the retiree/vacation hotspots) on €1100/month. D7 visa holders are allowed to work if they want to and after five years can apply for citizenship.

          They’re starting to make the Golden Visa more difficult to obtain but purchasing a property that’s at least 30 years old in a low density area for at least €280,000 will get you a residence permit and after five years, you can also apply for citizenship.

      2. .Tom

        .pt is my plan too, assuming my wife’s .hu citizenship is sufficient to get residence, which I wouldn’t bet on long term.

  10. Stick'em

    I was on Fakebook for a couple years, then deleted my account when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. Before I left, I downloaded the data file Fakebook collected on me. It’s too long to read the whole thing, (just like the user agreement), so I scanned the first page.

    The very first thing noted by the Facebook data aggregator was how many friends I had who are expatriates from the US compared to the average user. Dunno why this demographic is so important to Zuckerburg’s minions, but they’re definitely looking for it.

    1. RockHard

      > Dunno why this demographic is so important to Zuckerburg’s minions

      Because there’s an ad segment for those people.

      1. Stick'em

        Yes. There’s an ad to be targeted towards every demographic. My question is why does this particular demographic over something else – say whether I own a cat – appear at the top of their data collection list?

        Here’s a possible answer for why expats are interesting:

        In countries like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, there are a lot of fishermen trying to catch the fish, making it harder (more expensive) for you to run successful ads.

        In contrast, in countries like Thailand, Mexico, or South Africa there are fewer advertisers fighting for leads, allowing you to run cost-effective ads and gain a lower CPA.

        However, you cannot use the same ad sets that you do in the United States and expect them to work overseas, because they won’t (we’ve tried).

        Here are some best-practice tips on how to run Facebook campaigns targeting expats overseas…

        It’s still weird because I’m not an expat. I have some friends who are though, and FB finds this exciting. Maybe this makes me a “potential expatriate” and Zuck is looking to sell me some plastic surgery in Thailand?

  11. Jake

    “Do readers have any suggestions as to how to set up a FB account and keep it well away from your real world identity?” There is no way, and that’s how that scumbag with the bad haircut likes it.

    1. dk

      Along with a VPN connection to hide public IP address which indicates geographic location and Internet service provider, we must also block prior cookies, use the browser’s private/incognito option for that. Finally, manage the browsers User-agent string which sends browser type and version, OS and hardware platform info, with an addon like User-Agent Switcher and Manager:

      It’s probably best to always use the same browser and the same user-agent setting for a discrete discreet account, simply because variety in behavior leaks more information.

      I use Firefox, which recently improved it’s cookie handling:

      I just tried this setup and FB’s login page didn’t seem to recognize me as it usually would.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I would tend to agree with this. You can minimize how much info you are giving, but IIRC, they will not hesitate to boot you if they can determine you’re using a fake identity. All the solutions I’m reading here will reduce the amount of data flowing to Facebook, but they all leak some data.

      A clean machine, preferably Linux, that is only used for FB (all of the browsers leak, even in private/incognito modes) combined with a really good VPN with burner phone cell wifi is about the best I can think of. Of course, any info you share in the expat groups is property of Facebook, so I don’t know how you do any more than just read posts without giving up info.

      Good luck Yves and if you figure it out, let us know!

  12. dk

    On probabilism and statistics Lars P. Syll
    In order to arrive at the 2/3 conclusion the calculation includes a factor not present in the original problem, that of the sequence of the children. Math problems if very dependent on how they are stated, and an acceptable answer to a simply stated problem may have no relevance to a more complex problem that includes the simple form juxtaposed with other considerations which supply further information.

    This further piece by Dave Marsay was linked from Marsay’s comment to the first article. He explores the range of the question somewhat further.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thank you. I also noticed the moving of the goalposts there. Clearly there is more than one way to think about the problem, which I guess is what his point was, but I still don’t know what he thinks the right answer is.

      1. SB

        Syll could give a clearer explanation of his solution. I think the confusion lies in that there are two possible sample spaces in which to view this problem and we assume that the outcomes in both are equally likely, but they’re not. The sample space Syll solves the problem in takes order into account and has outcomes BB, GG, BG, GB and each is equally likely. The conditional probability – given that one child is a boy – eliminates GG so we end up with two out of three equally like favorable outcomes. The confusion is to think of another sample space where order doesn’t matter and the outcomes are BB, GG, (BG order doesn’t matter) but this is not an equally likely sample space. The outcome (BG order doesn’t matter) has twice the probability of the other two. The conditional probability again eliminates GG and now we have only two outcomes and since (BG order doesn’t matter) has twice the probability of BB we can arrive at 2/3 in this sample space also.

        1. RichardPrice

          It seems to me that 2/3 solution is mixing the age-labelled and the age-unlabelled sample spaces. The equally probable priors for a pair of siblings, slight male and female birthrate differences notwithstanding, are (GyGo, ByGo, GyBo, ByBo) each with probability 0.25. The question P(G|B) = ? is then answered as P(G|B) = P(Gy|B) + P(Go|B) = P(Gy|Bo) + P(Go|By) = 0.25 + 0.25 = 0.5 since P(Gy|By) = P(Go|Bo) = 0.

        2. dk

          ‘Mr Brown has exactly two children. At least one of them is a boy. What is the probability that the other is a girl?’

          If order of children doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t when the premise is that there are exactly two children, then why bring it up? I just think it’s inelegant.

          In considering pairs of children, we have an even chance of single-gender pairs (GG|BB) or double-gender pairs (GB|BG). The order of 2-g pairs is irrelevant, only their cardinality matters. When GG is eliminated, we have only three cases left to denominate the number of conditions for (BB)1/3, (GB|BG) 2/3.

          We can easily agree that

          1. RichardPrice

            Were that agreement was so easy… If order is irrelevant, then we can not distinguish GB from BG. Assuming that we can discard relevant physical information, that there has to be an order in birth pairs, while assigning probabilities that depend on that information, p(GB) + p(BG) = 0.5, is definitely fair game as an exercise in probability theory, but it would also be meaningless to the scientists who were originally asked the question. By training I have to side with the scientists.

            1. RichyP

              On second thought, I concede. I did not re-normalize the constrained conditional sample space. I will enjoy my crow as a good scientist should.

  13. JAC

    Regarding “‘Justice’ for Ukraine overshadowed by cost of living concerns, polling shows Guardian”

    God is dead and Christ has left shortly afterward and humanity only cares up to a point when it means they have to sacrifice. We have a new religion now; capitalism.

    Where John 15:13 read; “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”, it has been rewritten.

    “Greater profit has no one than this: to sacrifice your friends for one’s own bank account.”

    1. hunkerdown

      “Sacrifice” is just a scam elites use to get free stuff. No imaginary friend is worth anything real.

    2. Kfish

      It’s un-Christ-like now to care more about one’s own survival than the political cause du jour? That’s a new form of shaming. And what the hell does ‘justice’ look like in Donetsk and Lugansk which have been shelled by the Ukranian Army for the last eight years?

      The working class people struggling to afford fuel to get to work are just selfish, I guess. How dare they care more about their own families than the Guardian’s priorities.

  14. JAC

    Housing starts this morning! Ouch!

    *US May Housing Starts -14.4% To 1.549M; Consensus -2.6%

    *Building Permits -7.0% To 1.695M Rate In May

    1. Wukchumni

      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you tell us this time
      You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while
      And though American Dreams may toss and turn you now
      They will vanish away like a 30 year fixed
      Mortgage fading up to the sky
      And though you want the bubble to last forever
      You know it never will, you know it never will

      And the interest rate hike make the good buys harder still

      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you have us believe this time

      There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind
      And if you want this world to see a better day

      Will you carry the words of low interest loan with you
      Will you ride great housing bubble into mandate of heaven
      And though you want it to last forever
      You know it never will

      And lack of affordability makes the journey harder still

      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you tell us this time
      You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while
      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you have us believe this time

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘Justice’ for Ukraine overshadowed by cost of living concerns, polling shows”

    Wouldn’t it be funny if in a few months time that those that have a Ukrainian flag emoji on their social media accounts are associated with the skyrocketing cost of living, mass unemployment and a severe inflation leading people to blame them for their ills. In such a scenario I would expect those flags to rapidly disappear, even if Bette Middler was still insisting that it is all worth it.

    1. hunkerdown

      They’re neoliberals. Why would they have a problem with market-mediated acrimony?

      Now’s the time to screenshot career-limiting statements from Ukie fans. That entire football fandom smells like a color revolution and they’re best crushed as deeply as possible while on the back foot.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      So I checked out Tucker Carlson last night, and part of the program was segment about how the sanctions on Russia are a big part of the inflation problem, especially with energy. So the “Nationalists” are agreeing with Biden that the Ukraine was is the source of our woes, but they are a bit more honest about the U.S. and EU shooting themselves in the foot.

  16. Wukchumni

    Drunkest big city in the country, but wait there’s more…

    Fresno is a leader in domestic violence cases. Why it’s more dangerous in the summer

    (Fresno Bee)

    1. The Rev Kev

      When you read articles like this, you can see that the laws are being broken to make it more easy for police to raid anybody they want, whenever they want. But if you go back into history, this was the same exact complaint that America colonists made against the British. They they could use a writ to go into any place that they wanted upon only a surmise instead of using definite proof of wrongdoing. The colonists at the time said that this was the seed for the American Revolution so afterwards, State constitutions included prohibitions against general warrants and this is the reason for the 4th Amendment saying ‘Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions.’

    2. anon in so cal

      An offshoot of Biden’s edict on domestic extremism?

      Glenn Greenwald sums it up:

      “Read for yourself how broadly the Biden Administration and his Department of Homeland Security are defining who counts as a “violent domestic extremist.” When you hear them vowing to wage a new war on terror, it’s not just your enemies who will be targeted. Read what they write:”

      “The U.S. security state apparatus regards the agenda of “domestic violent extremists” as “derived from anti-government or anti-authority sentiment.” In sum, to DHS, an “extremist” is anyone on left or right who opposes the prevailing ruling class & system for distributing power.”

    3. jr

      God help us all when Ayn Rand gets something right.

      So here is Jimmy Dore discussing NY governor Hochul’s new law against hate speech on social media, which can of course mean almost anything:

      Now imagine you are on Twitter and you say something like “I hate $hit-libs!” A red flag goes up alerting the Stasi that you are a hater. Since in this ludicrous day and age speech = violence, another flag goes up that you are a potential murderer. The cops show up the next day to seize your weapons.

      I wish I lived in a world where I didn’t feel the need to arm myself. I don’t.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    So, I went grocery shopping at walmart yesterday and the egg case was completely empty. Not one egg to be had. I managed to find someone in charge who said that it was the second day in a row that the “distributor” had just not shown up. When I asked why, she said she had no idea–she had called and “left a message” and had not received a response.

    At some sites that shall remain nameless, there are several articles about farmers who cannot afford diesel, fertilizer or seeds to produce the summer crops. They are sounding the alarm about future shortages.

    It really was a shock to not be able to buy eggs at a busy central Florida walmart that serves a wide area.

    I have a very bad feeling about what’s coming down the pike.

    1. smashsc

      Am in agreement about the bad feeling. Walmart is starting to remind me of the way it was during the GFC. I went there today with a list of 5 items to get and 2 were out of stock. No broccoli, no GV Quick Oats – those staple items emptied out -. Also saw the tik-tok/twitter thread with the farmer being told to expect $9.50-10.50 per gallon of diesel for the fall harvest. No relief from inflation if that holds true.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        No broccoli at my walmart either, and there hasn’t been for about two weeks. We’ve just about burned through our stock.

        Gotta say, it’s weird to look at huge, gaping emptiness where there used to be plenty to choose from.

        No idea what’s gonna happen if this keeps up, but it’s prolly not gonna be good.

        1. Louis Fyne

          This early in the season, good chance the broccoli is coming from California, even if you are in Florida.

          No broccoli probably means something is up w/the water and/or other inputs…

          and/or the farmer is better off breaking their contract with Walmart and either selling the broccoli to someone else or growing something more profitable instead of broccoli

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            For months at a time the Trader Joe’s I frequent had been out of frozen organic broccoli. They had non-organic. Only recently have they stocked the organic variety. There must be high demand for broccoli. Isn’t that a good thing? :)

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      The bigger tragedy is you don’t have a locally-owned alternative to Walmart.

      1. Louis Fyne

        To have a strong independent grocer ecosystem, one needs a healthy ecosystem of food wholesalers-distributors. That is gone outside of a few “old” cities like NYC and Chicago.

        Food distribution/logistics is how Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Costco have such a grip on groceries.

          1. Questa Nota

            Gov. Whitmer was onto that dodge early on in the coronavirus saga when she banned the sale of seeds. Seeds!
            What logical reason was there for her to ban the sale of seeds?

            Any Michiganders with on-the-ground or in-the-garden knowledge?

          2. Arizona Slim

            I am named for a Victory Gardener who fed eight people. Her garden was in Buffalo, New York.

    3. Louis Fyne

      Flocks have been culled due to Avian flu. Eggs will not be resolved anytime soon.

      $2.99/dozen, versus $1.09 last year, is the lowest at grocery stores in my neck of the woods.

      Costco raised their prices too, but has the lowest prices ($4.19 for 24)…a few years ago Costco actually opened its own chicken subsidiary in Nebraska to secure its own supply.

      The upcoming food crisis is going to crush small farmers the most as they have the least access to financing compared to the Costcos, Perdues, Cargills of the world. When this crisis is over, Big Agriculture will have even a stronger grip on the food supply.

      1. heresy101

        Business Insider says that Costco’s Nebraska chicken operation is primarily for overly fat chickens that are used for rotisserie chickens that are sold in the stores:

        ” To keep costs as low as possible, in 2019 Costco opened the $450 million facility in Nebraska, which processes about 2 million chickens a week, with plans to eventually supply nearly half the chain’s total chickens.”

        “…two Costco shareholders who say that Costco knowingly breeds chickens too large to stand up, and the “disabled birds slowly die from hunger, thirst, injury, and illness.”

      2. wilroncanada

        Fortunately here on Vancouver Island we are, at least for now, not in the grip of Big Ag and its minions. The population certainly does not grow enough food on the island to feed itself, but at the retail level there are at least two small local island chains within 15 minutes drive, along with six produce (mostly) markets plus one store of each of the national majors and one province-wide chain. For us, Walmart is an afterthought, like is just was in my description above.
        We also have an Island egg processor 5 minutes away, and a meat shop operated by a local farmer who has his own small abbatoir, That takes care of beef, pork, and chicken. We still grow a lot of our own veggies on our city-size lot, in addition to raspberries, blueberries, cascade berries, cherries, plums, apples and pears.
        You may want to consider this part of Canada, Yves. It is more expensive, certainly, and you do have to prepare for winter (one major snowfall every five years, so far). But we are more determined than most to keep the monopolists from taking over, our PM and government notwithstanding.
        As for egg availability, in addition to the local processor being fed by local poultry barns ther e are several roadside stands where we pick up eggs from backyard flocks.

    4. Earthling

      Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to lock egg producers into fixed-price single-purchaser ironclad contracts. Maybe they don’t have the cash to take the hit so big ag doesn’t have to. Maybe big ag will mysteriously find a way to alter those contracts once the pipeline goes dry.

      For row crops, maybe the neighborhood banker will have to actually step up and assist the farmer? Nah.

      1. John

        Monopoly or near monopoly is an invitation to point failures. As long as the profit margin remains high, why ought the mega-store care what happens locally.

        1. flora

          Excellent point. The US is food secure in terms of production and productive capacity. The pinch-points are the processing facilities and transportation. We’ve had an unfortunate string of accidents shutting down many of those pinch-points this year.

    5. Lexx

      Gathering my keys I yell up the stairs to my husband’s office, ‘I’m going hunting. Hope to be back soon. Anything you want me to look out for?’ He cocks his head to one side and says, ‘Naners?’*, then he wishes me good luck in my hunt.

      ‘Shopping’ has become more like a scavenger hunt I have no hope of winning. I leave with a list and hope to come back with at least one item or more on it. When I run out of room on the scrap of paper containing the list, unfound items get transferred to a new scrap. Some items have been transferred from list to list for months, or were dropped either because I gave up or it was finally confirmed that that item is no longer available on the market.

      Yesterday it was brow filler from Sephora. That one took three months. I have a bottom sheet to replace that’s been on a list for nine months. And then there are items that were difficult for me to find at any time in the last 40 years, now harder still.

      Regarding eggs though… millions of chickens killed due to avian flu.

      *The chief banana-eater always wants more bananas. Not just for himself, but also the Dog. I don’t think the Dog likes naners; he just likes to be included in anything Husband is eating. Sharing the kill reinforces pack cohesion.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        My dog, a bichon, aussie, border, lab rescue mix, LOVES bananas. Never had a dog give a banana a second thought, but when this guy hears the banana peeling, he’s right there wagging his tail giving me the hungry eyes. I’m not sure if they’re bad for him so I only give him a small piece. He also seems to prefer to drink dirty water (puddles, streams, etc.) rather than his bowl of clean tap water.

        I’ve had a hard time with zucchini this week. Took visits to 3 stores (not on the same day) to find any.

    6. Terry

      Many Midwestern laying chickens have been slaughtered in response an Avian Flu outbreak too.

  18. Stick'em

    re: The Scientists Who Made the COVID Vaccine Possible on How the Pandemic Will End

    Never thought I’d be reading Teen Vogue, but my daughter will be a teen sooner rather than later, so why not?

    Interesting how the clickbait headline is diametrically at odds with what the scientist actually says inside:

    “If you wanted to get rid of COVID quickly, you would have needed to vaccinate 90% of the world — and that didn’t happen. And it’s never going to happen. So it’s now an endemic disease.”

    At least the scientist is telling us a truth, which is it was theoretically possible to beat COVID, but because as human beings, our petty squabbles for money and power take precedence, in the real world it is not possible for us to cooperate to this extent on a global level.

    The pandemic doesn’t end. “Public Health is dead and we have killed him” is the take home message. Because neoliberal atomization works on the individual level, and jingoism demands we fight everyone else on a national level, a global consciousness is still a long ways off. Maybe my daughter will live to see it.

    1. Basil Pesto

      which is it was theoretically possible to beat COVID

      Oh it still is. It’s important to make the decision between politically possible and technically possible. The former requires political skill and courage, which is of course non-existent. But elimination remains technically possible, as various Chinese cities have shown repeatedly.

      It will be interesting to see if/how long China maintains its elimination policy. If they hang on to it for, say, another decade, it’s hard to imagine that by the end of that decade they’ll be the only one. There are many countries that could eliminate/return to elimination quite easily, as a technical *and* political matter. If ~multipolarity~ comes to pass and much of the world turns away from US (which will be the last country to adopt an elimination policy) and its hegemonic dominance, some quite big countries could take their Covid lead from China, understanding that it will be the least costly approach in the long run. But who knows.

      “If you wanted to get rid of COVID quickly, you would have needed to vaccinate 90% of the world — and that didn’t happen. And it’s never going to happen

      This is why, even though intranasal/inhaled vaccines could be a massive boon, I fear that they will just be kicking the can down the road. It seems that this virus is too evolutionarily adept to leave to vaccines and no other disease control only.

      1. HotFlash

        “If you wanted to get rid of COVID quickly, you would have needed to vaccinate 90% of the world — and that didn’t happen. And it’s never going to happen

        and they would have had to work.

        1. Stick'em

          Fauci told us the Noble Lie the US only needed 70% vaccination uptake to make COVID go away:

          because “with vaccine hesitancy widespread, he worried setting the bar at such a high number (e.g., 90%) would cause the public to despair of ever reaching it.”

          Fauci is paternalistic because he believes lying to us is “in our best interests” as far as getting people to comply.

          Even 90% vaccine uptake in the US – with every resident receiving the vaccine at exactly the same time to circumvent problems of waning immunity and new variants arising – isn’t going to eliminate COVID.

          Everyone in the world needs to do it. Even the “little yellow and brown people” the US has been so intent on bombing in all those countries for decades have to comply.

          Once you grasp this, you realize it’s lies all the way down.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        It is not possible for a single location to eliminate Covid, unless they stay isolated forever. If Covid continues to circulate globally China has zero hope of avoiding outbreaks. All they will be able to do is manage the outbreaks, which will involve periodic shutdowns and disruptions to daily life. Eventually, that will be unsustainable. Let ‘er rip is now the default position around the world for the simple reason that there is no viable alternative due to neoliberal policies at the beginning of the pandemic.

        1. Basil Pesto

          But several cities within China have achieved elimination, some more than once. Just this past few months: Jilin, Shanghai, Beijing (twice, it looks like!). As has China as a whole. I’m using the technical meaning of the word; this doesn’t mean the threat is gone forever.

          China isn’t really isolated except by the relative standards of more or less unrestricted international travel circa 2019. Moreover, the regions of China are not isolated from each other I don’t think; there’s plenty of domestic travel. International trade remains – although it took a hit during the Shanghai lockdown, it by no means stopped. On the individual traveller level China merely has to quarantine inbound travellers for 2-3 weeks. A pain in the arse and something that precludes most international tourism, but that’s not really forever-isolation, and it’s hard to think that China will see the benefit of international tourism outweighing that of, yknow, hundreds of thousands dead and millions more debilitated. Quarantine has of course been with human civilisation for thousands of years so it’s not exactly breaking new ground either.

          Moreover, many other countries could achieve elimination fairly easily. Once they reach this point they could establish a travel/trade bridge with China, just as Australia and New Zealand did in the first half of 2021 before they made the political decision to Let Er Rip (Yaneer Bar Yam explained this as a red-amber-green system of how countries interact under this system). So your ‘it’s not possible for a single location to eliminate covid unless they stay isolated forever’ point doesn’t really obtain. If more countries join China (which they surely will if China keeps doing this for long enough) then you would have a covid free bloc, and a neoliberal bloc.

          All they will be able to do is manage the outbreaks, which will involve periodic shutdowns and disruptions to daily life. Eventually, that will be unsustainable.

          In the optimal cases, these have been lockdowns restricted to one city at a time as necessary, and they have lasted only 2-3 weeks, some even shorter if they act fast enough. Shanghai was a major exception because they thought they could do things their own way, and the Shanghainese government has since been made an example of. It’s hard to think they’ll need such a lengthy lockdown again if there is another outbreak. The point has been made.

          Short lockdowns a handful of times a year may not be easy or convenient or all the rest of it, but cities shutting down as and when required – affecting small fractions of the population for small fractions of the year (and presumably China will get better at precluding the need for these snap lockdowns) while the rest of life for ~1 billion people continues according to something approximating 2019 normal, just without unquarantined international tourism – seems a lot more sustainable than the tunnel full of shit that we’re barrelling through in the rest of the world.

          Locking down the whole country simultaneously for 10 weeks, sure, I don’t think that would be sustainable. But nothing like that has come close to happening and I don’t see why that would ever be required for this pathogen.

      3. Stick'em

        The problem is still “global consciousness.”

        Let’s say for the sake of discussion, there are cities in China in which there is zero COVID. Not only is it theoretically possible, it is the case now. And it isn’t because they’ve come up with some sterilizing vaccine that makes them all immune. It’s because their public health program is fantastic. Masks and hand sanitizer and just OCD on the compliance. OK.

        Thing is, the rest of the world has COVID infections going like syphillis in a Medieval brothel. So there’s this giant repository of this highly-infections virus waiting outside the door for China to be infected with. They haven’t eliminated COVID, what they’ve done is make the Big Bad Wolf wait outside the door at grandma’s house.

        This is useful for China, but this isn’t a competion one single country can win. Without the rest of the world’s cooperation on how to do public health measures together, COVID isn’t going away. It’s still endemic on planet Earth, which means it will migrate. No matter which countries claim to eliminate it, without a global consciousness, outbreaks are still waiting to happen there:

  19. Wukchumni

    Yosemite National Park is under fire for what critics are calling a “large-scale commercial logging program” already underway in the valley.

    The park, however, says it is merely “thinning” biomass to “protect sequoias, wildlife habitat and communities.”

    In a lawsuit brought Monday and first reported by the Sacramento Bee, Berkeley nonprofit conservation group Earth Island Institute alleges that the National Park Service is clear-cutting the forest and sending the trees to commercial sawmills. The suit alleges this is unprecedented behavior in a national park and fails to uphold the promise to leave the land “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

    The National Park Service’s project summary, however, describes the work in the Merced and Tuolumne giant sequoia groves and Yosemite Valley itself as necessary to protect the park from wildfires and to “improve safety for the public and first responders.” The project will thin conifers under 20 inches in diameter and remove dead trees on the ground, stating “immediate actions are needed to protect these areas from high severity fire.”

    The lawsuit claims that recent scientific studies show that removing mature trees and dead trees tends to increase, not decrease, overall wildfire severity; it does not site any specific studies to back this claim. The plaintiff alleges that Yosemite’s project plan contradicts a previous plan to remove trees under 12 inches in diameter. It also takes issue with the use of the term “thinning” and not “logging.”
    Was up in the Atwell Grove of Giant Sequoias yesterday, and some of it got burned in the KNP Fire and the path we took passed through areas where nothing was alive and 4 inches of grey dust was all that was left of what was living previously, a clean sweep.

    The problem with doing anything in a National Park, is their mission statement is to protect everything within it’s confines, as in don’t dare thin the forest, in order to protect it. Just as NPS had finally realized what a problem they have in particular with 1/5th of all Monarch Sequoia trees dead in the span of 2 years from wildfires, some environmental group i’ve never heard of throws a spanner in the works.

    1. Lexx

      Who was subcontracted to do the logging? Where does the money go? Twenty inches in such a forest would be all trunk reaching for the sunlight. What commercial use is there for small trees?

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d imagine a lot of it will end up as biomass to be burned to provide electricity. Pine trees tend to be junk wood not really suitable for much of anything in terms of use as lumber.

        Does it really matter where the money goes? (I have no idea, but to give you an idea of how things have changed, the forester for Sequoia NP had lined up a buyer for trees about 20 years ago that had just been affected by bark beetles and the wood was still good, but the look was all wrong and nothing got done and the trees all died and weren’t worth anything)

        We’re talking about preservation of a forest overrun with too many trees and oodles of duff and fallen trees on the ground.

        It’s so similar to protests from surfers shutting down a proposed desalination plant on the verge of major drought consequences, but those chairmen of the boards have pull.

        1. Lexx

          To be clear, I favor taking out the smaller trees to save the big ones, and if the money goes to the park’s general operating budget, all the better. But that doesn’t seem to be the way the park system operates.

          For a while there, pine beetle wood was a ‘thing’. Husband (the woodworker) was shopping for wood for some project, and I walked around admiring the other species of wood*. I thought the wood streaked from pine beetle activity was attractive. It’s been awhile though since I’ve seen a project where some craftsman took up the cause. Perhaps it went out of fashion. Supply followed demand. (snort!)

          *Love what a fungus can do to maple. Gorgeous stuff. I have a collection for future turned bowls.

      2. MT_Wild

        Local National Forest here in Montana was in desperate need of thinning in some areas. No sunlight reaching the forest floor, way over stocking density, etc. They worked with a local timber and milling company and convinced them to purchase the equipment necessary to mill small diameter conifers into flooring and agree to bid on some thinning projects. But then of course the thinning projects were challenged in court and everything was put on hold for multiple years. The timber and milling company ended up being sold and no longer interested in dealing with small diameter trees and now the forest service can’t get anyone to bid on the thinning projects. Same national forest was sued by same conservation groups and blocked for multiple years from removing dead trees within 50′ of forest service roads so they could be used as access and escape routes in case of forest fire.

        I admit to being clearly on the side of wise use as far as forestry management practices go, and that also many of the things that are beneficial to a forest don’t necessarily look pretty. But in our neck of the woods, the groups that sue against anything that leaves a stump are really hindering efforts to improve the condition and sustainability of our forests.

        Ash and bare mineral soil don’t provide much in the way of wildlife habitat for a very long time.

    2. anon in so cal

      Earth Island Institute has been around since 1982, with Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating.

      “On June 13, 2022, the John Muir Project filed a lawsuit against the United States National Park Service to stop a large, unprecedented logging project in Yosemite National Park. The logging project is being conducted without any environmental analysis or public input.”

      1. Norge

        Earth Island was founded by David Brower when he left the Sierra Club because he felt it had lost its way.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      The Earth Island Institute is well known. Government agencies, especially the Forest Service and Park Service, have long worked with private interests to do commercial logging on public lands. Euphemisms such as “thinning” are used to deceive the public about their true intentions. The scale of tree removal often far exceeds that of mere “thinning”.

      1. Wukchumni

        I walked through miles of groundcover that replaced a burned forest on the John Muir trail and if you drive through the southern entrance of Yosemite NP you’ll see endless miles of dead forest from past fires.

        We can get working on thinning out forests that are alive, or turn it into a political football where nothing gets done and everything burns up in an out of control conflagration in the near future. The choice is ours.

  20. CheckyChubber

    It doesn’t explain the eggs, but did you see about the cows in Kansas today?

    I have been watching a British YouTube channel called Harry’s Farm, and he says that because most farmers are in long term contracts, the cost of raising livestock exceeds the price it can be sold for. So, barring a bailout, bankruptcy looms.

    Perhaps that’s why so many farms are supposedly going *poof*. Insurance fraud, to get out of bad deals.

  21. Wukchumni

    The bark beetles are back on tour in the Sierra Nevada and the way they kill pine trees is to make it so the baum’s vascular ability to send water up the penthouse is abrogated, so the trees die from the top down.

    130 million pine trees died as a result of the 2012-16 drought and the trees not being able to produce sap to keep the insects away, we’re in the early innings of another die-off.

    Within view of my cabin in the distance on National Park land I can see 8 trees dying before my very eyes, the top 30-50 feet all yellow while the rest of the tree is green for now, but not for long.

    1. LY

      Trees are getting hit hard all over the US, and it only seems to be accelerating. In addition to those bark beetles…

      American Chestnuts were wiped out by the billions by chestnut blight. Eastern Hemlocks are in poor shape due to wooly adelgid. Ash trees by Emerald Ash Borer. Aspen diebacks. And now Beech Leaf Disease.

      I’m currently doing citizen science surveys for BLD – one hypothesis is that invasive jumping worms make beech trees more susceptible to BLD.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook and Anti-Abortion Clinics Are Collecting Highly Sensitive Info on Would-Be Patients”

    There seems to be a competition going on right now. Who is the most scummiest – Facebook or American healthcare corporations. Despite fierce competition from the later, it seems that Facebook with this article is the winner this week.

  23. antidlc

    re: The Scientists Who Made the COVID Vaccine Possible on How the Pandemic Will End

    I about lost it reading this article.

    DW: COVID is turning into an endemic disease — we’ll never be rid of it. In the United States, 75% of people have two immunizations; 30% of people have three. In Africa, 25% of people are vaccinated. Germany is similar to the U.S. Other countries are much better. But if you wanted to get rid of COVID quickly, you would have needed to vaccinate 90% of the world — and that didn’t happen. And it’s never going to happen. So it’s now an endemic disease. Hopefully, it’ll be like the flu, where every winter we have some COVID and we have some flu, we get vaccinated, and it’s not too bad.

    KK: Some people say, ‘Oh, your vaccine is not working because look at the disease here.’ But two years ago, when you heard that somebody got infected — when we had no vaccine — you started to worry that they might die. And today, it’s: “So, you tested positive? I did, too. And you’ve got a headache? I’m coughing.” That’s what it is. So the vaccine is still working.

    Dear Ms.Karikó,

    Lots of people suffer more than just a headache or a cough when they get COVID.

    597 people DIED yesterday, according to

    And of course, there is NO mention of long COVID. NOPE. Can’t mention that, can we?

    MY.GOD. I just want to scream.

        1. antidlc

          She’s an adjunct professor of neurosurgery.

          I can understand she would be qualified to teach a lot of things, but how does her background give her expertise in neurosurgery?

    1. Basil Pesto

      KK: Some people say, ‘Oh, your vaccine is not working because look at the disease here.’ But two years ago, when you heard that somebody got infected — when we had no vaccine — you started to worry that they might die. And today, it’s: “So, you tested positive? I did, too. And you’ve got a headache? I’m coughing.” That’s what it is. So the vaccine is still working.

      This is very sly and unprincipled revisionism and is becoming something of a PR line (was in an Atlantic article linked to on the weekend too)

      GM has pointed out that the original endpoint of the EUA trials was >50% prevention of symptomatic infection, which the vaccines now fall desperately short of.

      Now people are saying symptoms like the above mean that the vaccine is working. Or if you have basic cold/flu symptoms like sniffles, that that’s a sign that your immune system is kicking into gear to defend you from SARS2 and therefore that the vaccine is working. If it walks like a bullshit duck, and it quacks like a bullshit duck.

      And, of course, many were surviving the acute initial phase of infection before vaccines. But that initial phase is by no means the full story of Covid’s long term risk to individual and collective health. Many pre-vaccines (or unvaccinated) spoke of their “mild” infections. They failed to understand – and apparently still do – that the risk of damage beyond acute symptoms and the fact that the risk of considerable damage to health with subsequent infections will be cumulative.

      1. antidlc

        Thanks, Basil.

        From Helen Branswell’s twitter feed:

        We’re all going to catch Covid, more than once.
        Now seems to be Dr Fauci’s turn. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

        I am just gobsmacked. We are just supposed to accept that fact that we will catch COVID more than once and we are just supposed to accept “that the risk of damage beyond acute symptoms and the fact that the risk of considerable damage to health with subsequent infections will be cumulative.”

        This is barbaric.

        Sorry for the rant.

  24. Henry Moon Pie

    Critics of realism (FP piece)–

    So the author makes this claim:

    [Sam] Huntington was, in effect, rebutting the work of Mearsheimer. In contrast to the statist emphasis of realism, Huntington’s culture-based theory predicted peaceful relations between Ukraine and Russia, countries that in his view belonged to the same overarching civilization. That prediction has not aged well.

    Now I’m no defender of Huntington. He was one of two readers of my senior thesis though I never took a course from the guy, but that’s not why I think that old Sam’s point is, in fact, precisely made by the situation that has developed in Ukraine, certainly since 2014.

    First of all, Ukraine has long straddled a border between two “civilizations:” 1) the Russian-speaking, Orthodox east; and the Ukrainian-speaking, Roman Catholic west. After 2014, this erupted into a civil war between factions related to these divisions. Second, it’s apparent that there has been a lot of effort to sow the maximum amount of cultural division and animosity in Ukraine to drive Russophobia among as many people as possible in Ukraine. Nuland and the other architects of this war thought this was a very important component of their plan, just like using NATO training and “liberalizing” the Ukrainian economy.

    So when The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order came out, I returned Huntington the favor and read it. ;) In general, his thesis has been validated since the book came out, and not just back when Cheney and Bush were conducting their crusades. Total war requires emotional fuel, and in the radically individualist Neolib West, patriotism just ain’t gonna cut it anymore. Our elites use the Takfiris of ISIS to attack Syria or the Neo-Nazis of the Azov Battalion to attack the Russians. You might argue that these groups’ fanaticism is driven by ideology, but the strong cultural element is undeniable whether its religion for the Takfiris or the quasi-religious concept of “race” among the Neo-Nazis.

    The question remains about what is the “real” driving force behind international politics. Is it the realist concept of rational states pursuing well-defined interests? Is it noble leaders advancing the long arc of history to bring about truth, justice and the American way? Or is it cultural forces, dark and irrational, that really shape international conflict?

    I think one thing is pretty clear, though. Neocons have read Clash too, and they believe it enough to have prepared the ground in Ukraine with things like banning the speaking of Russian and teaching children to be Russophobes.

  25. polsini

    Yves, Taiwan might be a nice place for you.

    One of best health care systems in the world. Many doctors educated in USA and other countries abroad. Not that this is a guarantee for competence. Affordable national health insurance. No limits I know of for treatments, (some reasonable limits). Wife had 2 hip replacements, would have cost almost nothing had she not chosen high end ceramics in place of steel. (think she paid US$ 2,000 to have ceramics and steel would have cost less than US$ 300 per hip). See surgeon in same week you register and surgery within a month! A doctor visit costs you NT$ 200 (US$ 7) or half if you are over 65 years old. Any medicine prescribed free of charge. Need MRI scan? Waiting time about 2 weeks if not urgent, if urgent, same day.

    Dutch, (as my competitors call me), 77 years old and living half my life here, from before there was national health insurance. When we started a company 35 years ago our first worker had sister with baby born with serious heart problem. Only one hospital in Kaohsiung could do surgery to save the baby. Costs: roughly US$ 60,000. (the cost of a simple house that time). The mother could not afford this, asked doctor what to do. Well, find the money doctor said, otherwise baby would regretfully not make it. The family got together and the grandfather and kids agreed to sell the family home to save the baby. Wow, really, what a happy ending and kid grew up fine! National health insurance covers all this now….

    Will spare the NC community details of my medical history in Taiwan, just grateful to live and be guest here, leave aside stories of wonderful experiences how my life was saved several times over, the best treatments one could imagine without costing a penny. I must have cost the national health insurance a fortune. Have no job, (well sort of), just only resident and on health insurance of my wife, so basically I do not even pay for the medical coverage. Amazing how generous the medical coverage is for foreigners.

    We lived for 20 years part of the year in Salt Lake City, and liked Murica and love Americans, great people you are, many friends. Regretfully we had to sell the house a couple of years ago because no insurance company would sell (me) travel insurance anymore that includes medical coverage. While we are doing pretty OK, we could not take the risk that medical emergency in USA would bankrupt us.

    Taiwan is a very nice place to live for foreigners, Taiwanese are extra ordinary nice to foreigners, especially from USA. Even though live here so long, not speaking the language, certified the stupidest foreigner living in Taiwan, so somehow I must be a danger here, as stupid people are the most dangerous people in the world, so I am told. (The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity – Carlo M. Cipolla with foreword by Nassim Taleb).

    Yves, you do not need to be rich in Taiwan to enjoy fantastic quality of life. If you have enough money USA is a great place to be. Probably less so if money is tight. Even as long time resident can not really judge how difficult life is for people in Taiwan that lack money, stupid people should not judge others, so can not condemn USA, (maybe stop reading this rant now) can not escape the feeling that you people in USA are screwed by the the ones in charge, in your safe place between two oceans, but no national health care and no free education, which you easily could afford, if you did not live by the myth that you are “the promised land”, “a shining city on a hill”, “exceptional” and so on, (from NC links to Patrick Lawrence Smith books that are great), and did not deprive your people of these necessities by wasting to continue to support an empire.

  26. YuShan

    “The Fed is forcing markets to ‘flush’ crypto speculators: Strategist”

    That is giving the Fed too much credit. The crypto bubble has simply run its course and now it has collapsed. That’s what bubbles do.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah that seemed to be a stretch. The Fed raising rates will likely cut back over speculation on many risky asset types, with crypto being a casualty of policies made for other reasons entirely.

      Crypto was already circling the drain before any recent Fed interventions. Buddy of mine’s theory is that the rise of NFTs is what is killing cryto – NFTs are blockchain-affiliated and so obviously a scam centered on worthless “assets” that people started having second thoughts about blockchain-affiliated cryto too.

  27. IM Doc

    Is anyone else still trying to process how quickly we went from “we will end the oil and fossil fuel industry” to “it is your patriotic duty to produce oil – start drilling now or we will make you”. Do these people not even have an inkling of comprehension that the oil industry cannot just flip a switch like that?

    It seems so contradictory to me, but many of my friends and family especially on social media seem to not even remember the previous stance. The same ones who have the Ukrainian flag by their names. The same ones who defriended and shunned an individual for daring to post a video of Trump at the UN being gaffawed by German ministers when he had the temerity to tell them their dependence on Russian fuel would come to haunt them one day. The entire video is misinformation, don’t you know.

    I hate to say this, but as each day goes on, I am realizing more and more what I was always told was life under Pravda. You just “go with” whatever new lie is coming out that day. You read Pravda so you will know which lie we are operating under today. Tomorrow’s Pravda may bring a whole new world.

    Amazing. George Orwell should be taking a bow right now.

    1. John

      I am re-reading Gore Vidal’s The National Security State and his Chronicles of Empire historical novels and thus nothing that is thundering down on us is in the least surprising.

      1. JustAnotherVolunteer

        I just finished re-reading his essay collection “I told you so”. I wish we had someone that clear eyed and accessible covering the US political scene now.

    2. Screwball

      Agree. It’s amazing to watch these people jump from one thing to another to be either outraged about, or wallow in denial of what “their” person said or did. Biden’s health is one example. Nothing sets them off like saying Biden is not all there. “You are not a doctor so you don’t know.” But Trump was mentally unfit and should take a test – because he had dementia. Then, they were a doctor.

      One of the current outrages is over Hershel Walker and how he has an illegitimate son, while lecturing people on fatherless homes. Of course this makes him Satan.

      What about Hunter Biden? Nobody cares, why bring that up. Or anything Hunter for that matter. The excuses they make are off the charts funny. Fake news, that guys not a journalist, or the catch all Russia/Putin fault/disinformation.

      Not only would Orwell be proud but the hypocrisy meter has blown a fuse.

    3. danpaco

      Not to mention the hundreds of billions of Euros about to be invested into fossil fuel infrastructure in Europe. The ROI on that will require Europe locking itself into a fossil fuel future.
      Pardon the tin foil hat but its hard not to imagine the oil companies had a hand in ginning up this mess in Ukraine.

    4. Mike

      Just sit back, observe and learn. It is a good test case for when we really start to run out of that oil stuff.
      People will stop caring about the environment pretty quickly when oil is at $200/barrel. A lot of countries are already in a structural decline of crude production. Most gains in the last decade have been just a few countries; United States, Iraq and Canada. Iraq and Canada are in a much better place resource wise, our tight oil will probably be tapped in a few decades anyways. Iraq has the good stuff, Canada tar sands are expensive but there is a lot of it. These 3 countries are single handedly responsible for why we were able in the 2010’s to break back above the 2005 production peak.

    5. Kouros

      Life under Pravda was a perfect life, since everybody knew how much to believe of the published statements…

    6. Kfish

      It’s the triumph of people whose job is to manipulate symbols. Today’s symbol can be completely different from yesterday’s symbol, with no friction in the change. Live long enough in a world of symbols, and one forgets that crude physical reality is slow to change, and friction takes its toll. Physical reality is inferior to the beautiful world of symbols.

      One of the deeper lessons of physical trades or handicrafts is that the material has a will of its own, and imposes its own limits on the vision you want to create. In Photoshop, or CGI movies, those limits just don’t exist anymore.

  28. Jason Boxman

    Does this feel like AIDS-redux to anyone else?

    Monkeypox, so named because it was first discovered by European researchers in captive monkeys in 1958, can infect anyone, regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation. While it mostly spreads through direct contact with lesions, it can also be spread via shared objects such as towels, as well as by droplets emitted when speaking, coughing or sneezing.

    Scientists believe it may also be transmitted through tiny aerosol particles, though that would probably require a long period of close contact. The virus in general is much less contagious than Covid-19.

    (bold mine)

    But also:

    Grindr, the social networking app, sent a pop-up message about the risk of monkeypox to millions of European and American users. A sex party organizer in New York asked invitees to check themselves for lesions before showing up. And the organizers of the city’s main Pride celebrations posted a monkeypox notice Sunday on their Instagram account.

    In other words, it’s a gay disease, so don’t worry! I guess we don’t all breathe the same air?

    This from the woke NY Times: As Monkeypox Spreads, a Campaign to Warn the Public Gains Urgency

    Pride celebrations are the perfect time to increase awareness among people in the L.G.B.T.Q. community who are most at risk, health officials said in interviews, but also create a challenge for those seeking to get out a message about protecting the community without creating alarm or stigma. More broadly, organizers and health officials do not want to put a damper on Pride celebrations and their positive messages about sexual identity.

    Oh, and the Centers for Disease is again helping spread disease:

    Public health experts warn that the C.D.C.’s centralized approach may be discouraging more widespread testing, creating echoes of the testing debacle that slowed down the nation’s response to Covid-19 in February 2020.

    Testing currently happens in two stages: About 70 public health labs around the country are permitted to run an initial orthopoxvirus PCR test, but final diagnoses of monkeypox are made only by the C.D.C. lab in Atlanta. Commercial laboratories still cannot test for the virus. There is also no rapid, or antigen testing, for monkeypox, though one could be developed, as it was for Covid, said Dr. Jay Varma, the director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response.

    Perhaps we’ll get lucky, and it won’t really spread effectively airborne. But it’s hard to believe anything the CDC says today.

    Assume it’s airborne. Assume it’s dangerous.

    1. Mikel

      Indeed. It’s not a gay disease. They aren’t mentioning that it is a disease that has mutated because the spread increased outside of Africa for longer than the we have been seeing the reports this year.
      The “sexual transimission” is a sign of just how much it has mutated. And there are more than 2 strains out there now.

    2. Mike

      Pox viruses can’t mutate like a RNA virus such as covid nearly as easily. It should be really obvious if its been tampered with but who knows cant trust any of these people anymore.,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

      It could be shingles. And if it is Monkey pox who cares the transmission rate is less than 1. The WHO is actively changing the warnings for Monkey Pox to legitimize their existence after botching covid response.

  29. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    The Fed is forcing markets to ‘flush’ crypto speculators: Strategist Yahoo

    “Debusschere added that bitcoin “has not done the job of hedging like it was advertised to do.””

    Leaping laughter accompanies such ‘revelations’ as the crypto swindle itself was based upon the usual fraud and misrepresentation designed to empty the pockets and bank accounts of the gullible rubes. It is the very definition of ‘self interest’ [“One’s personal interest or advantage, especially when pursued without regard for others.”] in a world that has willingly forsaken its moral and ethical values long ago.

    Where, “Confidence games” (or “cons”), a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct, are schemes intended to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial. They benefit con operators (“con men”) at
    the expense of their victims (the “marks”). Cons have numerous varieties that constantly evolve, but all cons build on two key elements: the acquisition of the mark’s trust—for which the schemes are known
    as “confidence games”—and the bait—an attractive reward that lures and disarms the mark.. . . . Many cons succeed by inducing judgment errors—chiefly, errors arising from imperfect information and cognitive biases. In popular culture and among professional con men, the human vulnerabilities that cons exploit are depicted as dishonesty, greed, and gullibility of the marks.”

    Barak Orbach and Lindsey Huang — “Con Men and Their Enablers: The Anatomy of Confidence Games”

    Apparently some people like it that way.

  30. KD

    The brain trust is at it on Taiwan:

    Highlight: But there is little doubt that China is also learning from Russia’s botched invasion as it looks to reunify Taiwan with the mainland — with or without force.

    I guess they don’t know what an operational cauldron is at Politico.

    In terms of Chinese “infrastructure,” would this be a way of showing a transition to a war economy on the books, without advertising you were intending on moving to a war footing? Pretty much any capital expense not ammunition or weapons could be “infrastructure.” Like “death by heart failure” in the thrillers.

    1. RobertC

      “brain trust” is kind. Every military is learning everything it can from the Ukraine-Russia conflict. That’s what militaries do. Doesn’t mean they learn the correct lessons though. And US lessons-learned for Taiwan is an example.

      China’s last, worst choice is military action against its citizens and their livelihoods in the “wandering” province of Taiwan.

      China’s whole-of-nation, multi-faceted approach is to reduce the US military presence in the first-island chain to irrelevance while waiting* for Taiwan to return home**.

      China’s military preparations are designed to keep Taiwan as well as the mainland from harm during any military conflict.

      That’s why its weapons and doctrine are designed to keep any military conflict in the waters and air spaces beyond the first-island chain.

      South Korea’s careful neutrality leads me to believe they understand this but Japan isn’t as cautious…yet.

      And the “brain trust” doesn’t.

      * Russia couldn’t wait as the US/NATO intrusion via Ukraine was presenting a progressively existential threat.

      ** I think it’s 80% likely that Taiwan will join China (capitalism with Chinese characteristics) and 20% likely that China will join Taiwan (democracy with Chinese characteristics).

      1. Kouros

        The US would dislike equally a united China with democracy with Chinese characteristics as one under CCP….

    2. RobertC

      KD — if you want a [much] deeper read consider Threat Inflation and the Chinese Military by Michael Swaine at the Quincy Institute.

      Although I disagree on some aspects, eg

      • Work to create a more stable and in many ways more cooperative balance in the Western Pacific. Over the short to medium term, the U.S. and its allies would best create such a balance in the military realm by transitioning toward a more financially feasible active denial force posture designed to deny China clear control over its maritime periphery without contributing to rapid or severe escalation in a crisis or conflict.

      I’m not too concerned with the denial force aspect due to his financially feasible caveat. The shipbuilding, manning and sustainment situation for the US Navy is dire.

      I pretty much agree with his conclusion within the boundaries of security relationship

      Regardless of the prospects for improving or at least stabilizing the security relationship with China, the United States is not going to build its way out of the current deepening military competition with China, nor develop a successful long-term China strategy based on inflated threats. It will need to accept the logic of balance over dominance in many areas, fashion credible strategies designed both to deter and reassure Beijing in both the regional and global arenas, and strengthen its capacities at home. This will demand a fundamental reassessment of current American policies in the light of realistic assessments of both threats and opportunities, real capacities, and reasonable aspirations.

      I think he did an excellent, albeit long-winded (but that’s expected), job moving the needle in a direction which his intended national security audience might accept.

  31. polsini

    Safer Browsing.

    – Forget about FB, suggest do not sign up even if do below.
    – Forget about Google, or anything to sign up.
    – Same any other sign up. (Except email or Apple for email, or what is a real necessity.).

    Download from VMWare:
    Windows users: make virtual machine using VMWare Player (free).
    Mac users: use Fusion player (free for personal license).
    A virtual machine is a (software only) computer inside a PC.
    Download Ubuntu (Linux) desktop current version (free).
    Start (VMWare or Fusion) Player.
    Point to downloaded Ubuntu and install it.
    Save the virtual machine on external drive, it is just a big file (about) 15-20 GB.
    Enjoy safe browsing, throw away this virtual machine as needed by deleting, and start over again from importing the original file on external drive.

    Extra: install Brave browser. (A bit more complicated, need some computer skills). Use private browsing. Much privacy, few or no ads.

    Any less than 7 years old PC with enough memory (RAM) will browse internet without problem.

    Not advised if RAM is on the edge.

    Can not beat this for safety if you only browse internet this way, it is a separate software computer inside your PC and will not add files to your PC hard drive. (only makes Virtual machine size grow, not your PC HDD or SSD), keeps your PC free from virus, cookies and all mayhem. If you get problems, delete and start over.

    This is so good, (use for more than 10 years) may I suggest we promote (and help each other somewhere) in NC community.

  32. jr

    Anecdotes: We ordered sushi the other day. I eat heartily and ordered two rolls, my partner got one. The ramekins of soy sauce were literally 4/5’s empty, not enough for more than one bite. Weird but hardly earth shaking.

    I bought a tub of Bel Giorno shredded cheese, 4$. The tubs are 2/3’rds the size they used to be, must be short at least two ounces. Price hasn’t changed.

  33. playon

    I will add to the chorus Yves – just forget about facebook. The information you are looking for can probably be found elsewhere. Some forums and sites to look at:

    The Lonely Planet website is oriented more to travelers but has a lot of up-to-date information.

    For detailed information about any country, I hate to recommend it but the CIA world fact-book site is very good.

    We are considering leaving the US as well, since my mother died earlier this year we have no obligations keeping us here. It’s tempting to return permanently to Thailand as we loved it there but I worry about any place near the equator, considering rising temperatures. We’ve talked about Portugal (very nice, cheap, only downside is that it’s in the western hegemony), Uruguay (possible downside is they use the US dollar as currency), and Mexico.

    Mexico is a plus for us as that it’s not so terribly far from our friends and family on the west coast – we are looking at some place not on the drug routes (ie no cartel activity) such as the Yucatan peninsula.

  34. Lexx

    ‘Long Covid Could Be A Mass Deterioration Event’

    I carry index cards around in my wallet with quotes on them and when I’m out in public waiting for something, I’ll pull one out to meditate on instead of staring at my phone. My phone isn’t interesting. The latest index card to join the collections says:

    The dominant medical-healthcare industrial paradigm is rewarded for the management of the symptoms of chronic disease, not the prevention or cure of them.’

    The only real disease is that which rises to the level of being clinically confirmed by observation and lab tests. Everything else is ‘subclinical’ or psychosomatic. The healthcare system has no effective tools for dealing with symptoms on this level and consider it a waste of time, which may better be used attending to patients with real illnesses. Physicians can be darn right grouchy if you waste their time by making an appointment, then “whine” for fifteen minutes. The best you can hope for is a pat on the back and being told to return when you’re really sick.

    The symptoms are real; it’s the healthcare system that’s sick.

    This was not invented with Covid. This is how it’s always been, but now there are a lot more people suffering and fewer healthcare professionals to listen, and fewer still that care.

    I’m including the link below because I’m convinced that the path to wellness is through the gut. There’s no quick path back from damaged nerves, but there may be more rapid symptom abatement by beginning a to eat for the gut. That’s pre- and probiotics and the most nutrient dense foods available. Sunshine, movement (not exercise!), clean water, and as much sleep as possible. Human bodies can and do recover… with time.

    Also masks henceforth until the end of time and/or an actual cure miraculously appears. You can’t get back up if you keep getting knocked down again by reinfection.

    If the changes Covid wrought are not addressed, I foresee inevitable decline and premature deaths for millions. No Cassandra…. Lambert and Yves forecast this two years ago.

    Is There a Connection Between Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis Occurring in COVID-19 Patients and Post-COVID-19 Symptoms?’

    1. Vandemonian

      There are three related states involving malady: illness, sickness and disease.
      Illness is when an individual knows that something about them feels “off” – they are not in their usual robust state of wellness.
      Sickness is when a person shares with others the news that they need a break from their usual daily tasks – they may get out of doing the washing up, take a day off work, or go back to bed.
      Disease is when you pay a visit to a healthcare professional (usually a doctor), and are then assigned to particular defined category, as approved by the profession.
      There is a significant degree of overlap between the three categories, but it’s not perfect.
      You can feel Ill without letting anyone know, and just ‘soldier on’.
      You can claim that you’re sick and take a day off work without being unwell (aka a ‘doona day’).
      You can be diagnosed as having a disease when there’s really nothing wrong with you. Until the adoption of version 3 R of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III-R) in 1987, homosexuality was defined as a disease, then suddenly it wasn’t.
      Misunderstanding the relationships between those three categories can lead to much confusion.

  35. Tommy S.

    The NY Times article, if you don’t pay, is mirrored good in a Seattle Times article so you can go there. I just wanted to say, with 35 years in SF, that …As usual with these articles the termed ‘housed’ or ‘their own apartments’ is not true, contrary to headline…. Most of this is temporary. As people in the article say. Even the most fact filled articles and compassionate journalists can still not admit, we need guaranteed, life long affordable dense urban housing outside of landlords and speculative markets, and the Fed gov’t should be spending a trillion dollars on that now. Still a decent good article. I just had to add some reality. I mean they did get 25,000 off the streets, even if only temporary….

  36. jonboinAR

    I’m a rural American who’s already gotten his fiber-optic Internet. Yippee. I don’t know what kind of state or federal program provided the funding that made it possible. It works fine for the most part. Quite fast.. The only problem is that the little company that just appeared and is our interface, or provider, or whatever, I don’t think they were paying their final link-to-the-modem-inside-the-house installers very well. They appeared to be independents, to me. In any case, they looked like they were doing pretty sloppy, VERY fast work. Now, about twice a month the Internet connection is lost for several minutes. Sometimes I have to power-cycle the modem, sometimes not. I don’t know if it’s the result of careless installation, or if it’s something else.

    To Amfortas: if you happen to be reading this, all peace and blessings to you and yours, brother.

    1. playon

      Twice a month is not that bad especially if it is not an actual outage and can be fixed by a reboot.

    2. Glen

      We also were able to get fiber to the house recently. Assuming your installation is similar and you live in a rural location with “spotty” power(i.e., it not only can go out for long periods of time, but can do very short glitches or drops), I’d recommend something like below.

      So on the outside of the house is a small device that converts from fiber to a “normal” Ethernet. On our installation this is powered by a wall wart which is plugged into power inside our house. Right next to that is our router which has hardwired and WiFi Ethernet.

      I plugged both the fiber converter and router into a small UPS. It can provide connectivity when the power drops out for a couple of hours, but its really there to ensure the micro drop outs don’t reboot the router and converter. Our ISP liked it so much he recommended it on his blog page. It has made out internet service much more reliable.

      Plus if you have a desktop PC that you have invested some bucks into (for gaming or some such), I would recommend getting a bigger UPS for that. I have one in the office which can run the PC, printer, monitor, and desk lamp for about an hour. That was originally purchased to keep our baby chick incubator going when the power got flaky, but works well for the PC nowadays.

  37. RobertC

    Biden Administrion [sic]

    Biden’s own Brexit U.S. importers brace for chaos as Uyghur Act looms

    …After President JOE BIDEN signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in December, a clock started ticking.

    The U.S. government’s Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, in consultation with the director of National Intelligence and the Department of Commerce, had 180 days to publish a plan for the law’s enforcement.

    Trade groups warn that the task force has run out the clock and that key government agencies — Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security — have failed to provide timely and adequate guidance to ensure that importers follow the law.

    The lack of enforcement clarity — the law requires importers to prove that no element of their product was produced through forced labor — worsens the risk of supply chain disruptions from U.S. seizure of imports.

    1. Vandemonian

      Now we need to work out how to boycott goods produced using prison labour in the USA…


    You can set up a facebook account as an alias using a temporary email inbox to confirm the account. Just google temporary email there are websites that will give you a free 5 minute window and interface to use for confirming initial account set up. Dont enter your phone number otherwise that’s how they get you. I set up my facebook account that way. The only issue there was it took about 6 months before it “allowed” me to use the market place (which is way better than craigslist) because it kept thinking i was either a Russian bot or Kenyan scammer. I dont think i was restricted on groups though at all.

  39. Chris Smith

    I read the Intercept piece “Meltdowns Have Brought Progressive Advocacy Groups to a Standstill at a Critical Moment in World History”. Yeah, that sounds exactly like what happened at my old legal aid organization. Let’s stop helping people with legal issues and instead bicker about how racist the organization is. I think Netflix figured out the right way to handle it – find the loudest and wokie-ist and just fire them.

  40. LawnDart

    Re; ex-pat: there is such a thing as too much information.

    Years ago, I picked a spot in a far-away land to hang for a while–belly-up to the bar and strike a chat with the bartenders and some locals. I rattled-off a few jokes to break the ice and then did a lot of listening: those conversations determined my itinerary, and I went from there.

    FB is evil. What kind of person uses it and should I trust the info they offer?

  41. MichaelC

    As this Ukraine mess drags on, I’m unable to shake the sense that we’ve been here before, propaganda wise. Fretting over potential parallels to nuclear war during the Cuban nuclear crisis now leads me to evaluate how that was resolved vis a vis what’s happening now.

    Russia had no intentions of obliterating the Western Hemisphere then . Rather, they wanted, and succeeded, in forcing the West to remove the nuclear missiles in Turkey posing an existential threat to them at that moment.

    Now the Us is happy to bog Russia down in a distraction that will fight our fight to the last Ukraine soldier, but Russia will still reclaim the best parts of Ukraine.

    Taking it step too far, the US expanding NATO in Scandinavia has pissed off Turkey, ostensibly for Their coddling of the Kurds. Unremarked, but what I think is a significant response by Russia , is their almost immediate increase in their aggressive military exercises in their Baltic stronghold oblast Kalingrad (apologies I’m lame about imbedding clips, but google has plenty of stuff for you to peruse). Kaliningrad is separate from Russia proper but is Russia and strategically inconvenient for Europe.

    I think Turkey has the US number.

    I think they realize that this is a mob war between Russian and Ukraine oligarchs, with the stupidity of the Nulands etc benefiting them to provide cover that this is a sovereign fight between nation states. It’s time we in the Us acknowledge it’s a Mafia war we’ve signed in to.
    (Where’s Giuliani, a t his best, when we need him? (Total snark, I couldn’t resist)

    And Biden and his son and the folks from Albright, Clinton, Obama all the way down have been slumming with thugs. Slumming w thugs gets you nice Hawaiian and Nantucket hidey hides till they slaughter you in them, if you don’t deliver.

    So please have a look at Kalingrad activity for another reality check.

  42. LawnDart

    More pissed-off Russians; an editorial:

    Russia must teach Poland a lesson on Ukrainian territory

    It should be understood that any, even the most insignificant territorial acquisition, will whet the appetite of Warsaw. Having taken over Western Ukraine, it will want to take over Western Belarus and Kaliningrad.

    Therefore, Russia should cut down any aggressive attempts of Poland in the bud. The place where Poland must learn a cruel lesson is Ukraine.

    When the Polish troops enter, they should immediately be hit as hard as possible by Russian missile weapons. Our high-precision weapons should not be ignored, nor should Polish facilities on Ukrainian territory that have emerged as a result of quiet, non-public expansion.


  43. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov provides A Russian Perspective on the Food Crisis If Washington really wants to improve the situation in the global agricultural market, let us cooperate.

    …According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) [1], there is currently no physical shortage of food in the world. But there are issues with the distribution of agro-industrial goods and their delivery to consumers [2].

    …The causes of this trend are quite obvious. The situation has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of investment in the real sector. Next, new trade barriers and unilateral sanctions introduced by certain countries became another significant adverse factor. It is also worth mentioning that Western states made mistakes and miscalculations in their economic and energy policies.

    The situation has been further complicated by the Western-led campaign to forcefully accelerate the transition by the international community from traditional energy sources to renewable energy, without taking into account the socio-economic specifics of countries and regions. The attempts to make a quick leap to “green” energy drove up the cost of agricultural products as well as resource-intensive mineral fertilizers.

    …Russia is taking measures to support civilian shipping. The port of Mariupol has been cleaned up and has resumed its operations. Since March, the Russian Navy has been organizing daily humanitarian corridors from the territorial waters of Ukraine to the Bosporus Strait. The detailed coordinates have been made public.

    We are grateful to our Turkish partners for their attention to the issue of restoring food deliveries across the Black Sea and for the readiness demonstrated by Ankara to search for solutions. Success can only be achieved provided that Ukrainian authorities agree to cooperate on the matter constructively. They should start by removing the mines they set. … The ball is in Kiev’s court now.

    …The effect of the “waivers,” which the initiators of the sanctions insistently talk about, is, in fact, illusory. Western banking, insurance, and trade institutions, intimidated by possible consequences for violators of restrictions, refuse any cooperation. The situation is aggravated by anti-dumping measures imposed on our fertilizers (including urea-ammonia and phosphate fertilizers).

    …We are ready to work together to improve the situation in all countries of the world.

    [1] Notice the glory-grasping, blame-casting World Food Program isn’t cited.

    [2] Share of wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine

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