Links 7/1/2022

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

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


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

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

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His job is to actually really stare at octopus, seahorse, jellyfish NPR

Modern phoenix: The bird brought back from extinction in Japan France24 (HK).

Wild solar weather is causing satellites to plummet from orbit. It’s only going to get worse. Space

Will the bullwhip do the Fed’s job on inflation? Freight Waves. Important.

The Fed’s fav inflation gauge: The good, the bad and the cloudy Politico


Climate change targets achievable by keeping global emissions to COVID levels, scientists say ABC Australia

Greenhouse Emissions Rise to Record, Erasing Drop During Pandemic International Monetary Fund

Newsom signs nation’s most sweeping law to phase out single-use plastics and packaging waste Los Angeles Times


FDA says COVID boosters for the fall must target newer omicron types NPR. BA.4/BA.5. Seems a little late.

US places $3.2 billion order for updated COVID-19 vaccines for fall The Hill

* * *

How the Public’s Views on the Coronavirus Have Shifted Since the Pandemic Began Morning Consult. Many charts, including this one:

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High neutralizing antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 after UB-612 vaccine booster (accepted manuscript) The Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “Here, we demonstrate that a booster dose of UB-612 vaccine candidate delivered 7-9 months after primary vaccination increased neutralizing antibody levels by 131-, 61- and 49-fold against ancestral SARS-CoV-2, Omicron BA.1, and BA.2 variants, respectively. Based on the RBD protein-binding antibody responses, the UB-612 third dose booster may lead to an estimated ∼95% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the ancestral strain. Our results support UB-612 as a potential potent booster against current and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.” UB-612 is peptide-based.

The disease after tomorrow Grist

Different virus, same mistakes: Why (re-) emerging viruses are one step ahead of us Cell


Monkeypox soars in Europe, with more than 4,000 cases Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy


China’s seaborne import of Russian crude jumps 51.4% in May Hellenic Shipping News

China’s Marxism majors prosper amid labour market woes FT

Thread on third-tier Chinese cities:

Mrs. Xu is from a small city:

The whole thread is rich in detail, and well worth a read (even if it doesn’t discuss Covid or politics. No masking in the photo at the mall, though).

China says it has photographed all of Mars from orbit The Register


A More United, Better-Armed Opposition Can Bring Democracy to Myanmar War on the Rocks

Bankrupt Sri Lanka’s inflation jumps beyond 50% Channel News Asia


Plunging Rupee Pushes India to Raise Taxes on Gold, Oil Bloomberg

Jokowi Says Russia Agrees to Permit Vital Exports From Ukraine The Diplomat


EU says it may not be possible to cross finish line on Iran nuclear deal Reuters

Houthi delegation in Jordan to resume UN-sponsored Yemeni truce talks: report Xinihua


Boris Johnson having sex in the office: a case of misconduct in public office? Yorkshire Bylines. With Private Eye extract that ignited what has turned out not to be a controversy. True, the incident took place in 2018, which I assume means everybody knew about it, but nobody talked about it. And meanwhile–

I suppose the Bullingdon Club, of which BoJo was a member, instills a complete inability to self-reflect; there are many such elite clubs.

New Not-So-Cold War

What did the G7 and Nato summits really mean for Ukraine? Guardian. Putin: “Everything is going according to plan.”

GT Voice: G7 is in no position to dictate nations’ oil trade with Russia Global Times

Russia hauls in ambassador over ‘offensive’ UK comments on nuclear weapons International Business Times (Furzy Mouse).

Erdogan warns Turkey may still block Nordic NATO drive Agence France Presse

* * *

A New Ambition for the European Union: ‘Power’ NYT vs. ‘Roman empire’ alliance would strengthen European unity, says Boris Johnson FT

Putin: Not worried about Sweden and Finland joining NATO, the goal of Russia’s special military operation has not changed What China Reads

Germany commits tens of thousands of soldiers, combat aircraft and ships in the deployment against Russia WSWS. And China. The brain geniuses in The Blob have somehow managed to commit us to a two-front war.

Biden Administration

Biden Warns Americans Gas Prices Will Remain High ‘As Long as it Takes’ Jalopnik. Gasoline is for closers only.

Biden intends to nominate a conservative, anti-abortion lawyer to federal judgeship, Kentucky Democrats say CNN. “There are 118 current or expected lower court vacancies. The Biden administration has named a nominee for 34 of those vacancies so far.” Molasses for brains.

What FDR and Two Former Fed Chairs Understood About Social Security Stephanie Kelton, The Lens

The Supremes

Roberts Started A Revolution, Dems Enabled It David Sirota, Lever News

It’s Hard to Overstate the Danger of the Voting Case the Supreme Court Just Agreed to Hear Slate. “Moore v. Harper, an ‘independent state legislature’ theory case from North Carolina.”

The ‘Independent State Legislature Theory,’ Explained Brennan Center

Supply Chain

US baby formula crisis spurs debate over lack of competition FT

Beyond the sell-off in battery metals stocks, here’s why lithium is standing tall as other commodities fall Stockhead

Our Famously Free Press

The left should lead the case for higher defence spending Paul Mason, The New Statesman. Ka-ching.

How Spooks and Establishment Journalists Are Circling The Wagons Mint Press News

The Bezzle

Can crypto contagion infect mainstream finance? FT

Crypto Crash Widens a Divide: ‘Those With Money Will End Up Being Fine’ NYT. Thoughts and prayers. I just hope the insiders got out in time.

Cryptocurrency Titan Coinbase Providing “Geo Tracking Data” to ICE The Intercept. Oh.

Class Warfare

Worker-Owned Apps Are Redefining the Sharing Economy Wired

Sonny Barger, famous Hells Angel and bestselling author, dead at 83 of cancer Oakland Daily Democrat

The Animal Crisis Is a Human Crisis Boston Review

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. digi_owl

    Climate change targets achievable by keeping global emissions to COVID levels, scientists say ABC Australia

    Greenhouse Emissions Rise to Record, Erasing Drop During Pandemic International Monetary Fund

    In other words, kill all international travel and over seas shipping if you want to save the planet for your grandchildren.

      1. Solarjay

        The drop in energy use from Covid was about 7% globally.

        The article says we have to drop 7% per year every year.

        The first 7% was the easiest. Each next 7% is harder, what do you cut? How much less can you eat or heat/cool your house or buy etc.

        Reduction works to a point, and most of the world is hardly at a place where they can cut, as they are already way way below the per capita energy useage of the west, specifically the US.

        So while I agree that conservation is probably the first order of business, it has to be coupled with non carbon energy production.

        It’s not an either or kind of thing, it’s a lot of different concurrent things being implemented.

        But our pace to address this on any or all levels is orders of magnitude to small.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Most of the world is still accessible using railroads. If all the wood is not going to keeping homes warm, we could return to steam engines, which are much better now than they used to be.

      Steam engines have used in boats, too. Heck, use sails when the winds allow, and overseas shipping would be carbon neutral, albeit at bit slower pace and hauling smaller quantities. Maybe between railheads?

      And channels, almost forgot channels! It’s almost as if humanity had international commerce even before they figured out carbohydrates.

  2. griffen

    Gas prices will stay high as long as they have to. Joe Biden is sounding more like the dude that recently watched Fight club for the 15th time.

    Old Joe, that was the quiet part we advised you not to say. Come on man!

    1. notabanker

      Take solace in the fact that you can send Pelosi $15 and she will read you a poem to ease your struggles.

    2. Wukchumni

      He was elected in a cross-fire political hurricane
      And howled later at Trump in an ongoing 1/6 refrain
      But it’s all right now, in fact, it’ll all pass
      But it’s all right, Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas
      Need more cash, Cash!, Cash

      He was raised on a train in Delaware
      He went to school in Senate to become aware
      But it’s all right now, in fact, it’ll all pass
      But it’s all right, Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas
      Need more cash, Cash!, Cash

      In early 2020 he was washed up and left for dead
      Clyburn fell down to his feet and asked if he’d be game as Ned
      He frowned at Bernie’s lead, nobody wanted him to get ahead
      Yeah, yeah, yeah

      He was crowned with a voting spike alas
      But it’s all right now, in fact, it’ll all pass
      But it’s all right, Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas
      Need more cash, Cash!, Cash

      Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas, need more cash
      Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas, need more cash
      Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas, need more cash
      Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas, need more cash
      Jumpin’ Jack’d Gas

      1. griffen

        I’m afraid the answer to this inquiry is above my pay grade. The sitting US President says we must deal with high prices so that Ukraine defeats the invaders. Just quoting verbatim from the article linked above.

  3. WobblyTelomeres

    “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

    Barry Goldwater

      1. CitizenSissy

        Gotta disagree with “both sides” – the hard left is a caricature and makes me crazy, but they’re not hellbent (pun intended) on establishing a theocratic authoritarian state.

        1. GramSci

          No, they’re hellbent on establishing a “meritocratic” state of the elect elite. Remember that Harvard and Yale were originally divinity schools. Calvinism with Mammon instead of Yahweh.

          1. Darthbobber

            That seems to depend on who gets designated as the hard left. The markety meritocrats you refer to seem more realistically describable as woke neoliberals than as hard, soft, or any other kind of left.

          2. nippersmom

            Please don’t conflate liberals with the “hard left” There is nothing “left” about the meritocracy class.

        2. digi_owl

          While they may not be following the “good book”, they do seem to have their own holy text that they adhere to fervently. Never mind their ever changing newspeak-like shibboleth to catch the unfaithful…

        3. Lexx

          Sometime earlier this week (or last week) an article included the name of an author I became curious about: Lilliana Mason. I wondered what she’d had published and was there a YouTube clip I could watch to hear her in her own voice. You might be interested in this:

          We, the people of the U.S., are not radicals; we’re being radicalized. (Personally, I think Americans are mostly moderates, at least all the ones I talk with are.) The anger of the lower classes is being fed. Not that they don’t have common cause for anger; it’s just being amplified by the media. That anger breaks out into teams, depending on what really pisses them off and who they identify with. Ms. Mason would get on like gang-busters with Caitlin Johnstone.

          I have been thinking again about the brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon, more so than the mob in Washington D.C. on Jan 6th. The process is the same, regardless of where they originally hailed from.

          1. hunkerdown

            > Personally, I think Americans are mostly moderates, at least all the ones I talk with are

            What extremist positions does our value-extremist society promote as “moderate”, though? Some of the things we (the ideal “we”) accept as normal are quite heinous in fact. The core institutions of capitalism, wage labor and private property, are two institutional examples of the absurdities which we’ve come to value unquestioningly.

            As to sampling methodology, what kinds of Americans are you talking to, and would they feel safe telling you about their Black Bloc activity if they were involved in it?

          2. hk

            I’m not sure if there are that many “moderates,” if measured by positions they espouse. I do think vast majority is “moderate” in the sense that they’d do much to actually achieve what they (casually) think might be good idea b/c these things don’t matter enough to them to think much or, if they do, they don’t think they are worth spilling blood over, literal or figurative.

            I think this is both very bad and potentially an opportunity. That means that vast numbers of people can be recruited to support crazy causes, as long as the contribution required of them is minimal. Since most people don’t have consistent “left right” ideologies, same people might be recruited to support left and right schemes depending on how they are sold. If, in the name of “democracy,” the cost of participation in “politics” in some fashion is lowered, the greater the danger that such shallow mobs might be mobilized behind some flighty causes. On the other hand, their support for such causes is predicated on the consequences being largely irrelevant to them–they don’t see what happens, which don’t affect them much anyways. So they can be made to turn fairly easily once they can see (and believe–the hard part) and feel the consequences, ie they are not hard-committed to whatever it is that attracts them for the moment. Of course, this is a lot harder than not–while “good and effective” communication that these “moderates,” of all stripes, can trust can break the coalitions of actual “extremists,” what would such communication entail? Is it even possible today? I mean, there are plenty of outlets that people flock to that are off mainstream, but they all cater to niche audiences that are extremely fragmented (and are not equally credible over different issues anyways.)

        4. Michael Fiorillo

          I’m so old that I remember Hard Left as referring to the alphabet soup of Sectarian marxist groups (M-Ls, Trots, Maoists, Weather Underground, etc) surviving or emerging from the breakup of the ’60’s Left. Many of them, like the Sparts or Avakianites were borderline insane, but nevertheless came out of bona fide Left movements and traditions. That it now seems to refer to Identitarian elements within the Democratic Party and other Center-Left institutions is a long strange trip, indeed… and ultimately a real bummah.

          1. Harold

            Basically, “hard left” would be anyone advocating violence. But maybe it’s more of an epithet than a real category, as I see it.

      2. Chas

        I don’t call them Christians anymore. I call them Republicans. They are now preaching the Republican religion.

    1. Reaville

      We are well on our way to the Supreme Court agreeing to a State Religion. It will be the most extreme form of Christian conservatism, because that’s how state religions work (they get more conservative, e.g. wahabi’ism). The upcoming decisions on banishing separation of church and state will be pivotal. I’ve heard one Republican Congresswoman say “The government should be guided by the church.”

      Think of Roe v. Wade decision to overturn as a beginning, not an ending. The “Christians” are relentless, organized, political, and coming.

        1. marym

          We should at least stop speaking the right wing movement as sacred. It’s the use of religion as a tool in implementing a coercive secular agenda.

          Who should be allowed to vote, whether individuals or the state should control what people do with their bodies, whether slavery should be taught in schools, whether praying should be private and voluntary, or public and mandatory, isn’t religion. It’s the exercise of power and whatever benefits, emotional or material, that exercise provides.

      1. Turtle

        I saw this hashtag on twitter yesterday: #Talibangelicals. Seems to perfectly describe them.

        1. amechania

          “it’s not illegal if the president does it”

          Not presented as a matter of fact, but as a basis for comparison.

    2. Wukchumni

      Living in Godzone*, i’m privy to what the evangs are all about and as far as they’re concerned, life on this good orb is merely chopped liver compared to the thousand year like of the eternal hereafter hanging out with the big cheese upstairs, so it doesn’t matter all that much who they trample that isn’t in their gang along the way, heathens that aren’t going to heaven.

      *An area that extends from Bakersfield to roughly Elk Grove in the Central Valley

      1. Sardonia

        *An area that extends from Bakersfield to roughly Elk Grove in the Central Valley”

        I’ve never believed there was a Hell, but you might just have convinced me.

      2. Pstuartb

        “as far as they’re concerned, life on this good orb is merely chopped liver compared to the thousand year like of the eternal hereafter hanging out with the big cheese upstairs, so it doesn’t matter all that much who they trample that isn’t in their gang along the way, heathens that aren’t going to heaven.”

        ISIS is in Central California? Do we have to send the drones after them now?

      3. Pat

        Grew up surrounded by Mormons. Many were good people, some were hypocrites and others were crooks. While not all thought nonMormons were somehow less and could be deceived with little consideration, some did. Something truly self defeating as one of the legs of the stool holding up the church is conversion. If you can’t produce enough members who tithe regularly by being fruitful, best make bringing new people in your “mission”.

        Even as that all stayed the same, watching the actions of the church later in life, I came to believe that if the leadership, aka the Apostles, didn’t think of the church rank and file the same way Joel Osteen thinks of his followers…a gullible spigot of money, they were giving a good impression of it.

        The Mormon leadership is as rapacious and money hungry as the Clintons or Pelosi. Part of the reason they cannot accept birth control, abortion or gay marriage is they need that 10% of the income of as many people as they can get. The church wouldn’t have as much property or as many businesses if it didn’t. They describe the afterlife for those followers who are married (sealed in the church) have multiple children, unquestioned adherence to the doctrine according to the council of apostles and faithfully have supported the church financially as a city of marble with streets of gold where you will reside forever. For those that don’t you get to live in lesser areas of heaven. (The illustration of a lesser level in some of the conversion materials from the 70’s looks remarkably like a WW2 prison camp or a nicely laid out concentration camp.) women were told and I quote “ No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband; and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant.”. I didn’t buy it, but if you do, if this is the doctrine that soothes your soul, of course at some point you will decide that anything that gets in the way of you achieving the Celestial Kingdom area of heaven needs to be bulldozed.

    3. Wukchumni

      Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.

      HL Mencken

  4. timbers

    “If Putin was a woman…

    Statements like that make it not hard to figure out why the team over at Duran have a segment entitled “Clown World.” UK Foreign Minister can’t find Russia on a map and doesn’t know the difference between the Baltic and Black Seas and Boris Johnson seems not be be aware of maybe the best recent example of toxic masculinity and pro war: Margaret Thatcher. Not knowing anything about geography might be why NATO is looking to insert itself into Asia – and provoking some admirably harsh words of response from China. Or maybe it’s just NATO is nothing but an organization shopping to start wars anyway it can to promote US arms sales.

    Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Harbec in Germany. The West is run by Clowns who’s greatest danger they pose to the world is they think they stand a chance against sane rational people like Putin and Xi.

    1. Eclair

      Lordy, that lead, “If Putin was a woman …” just cries out for completion. Could be the newest party game, with each participant providing the next installment.

      “If Putin was a woman, And Boris was a pig ….”

      1. Pavel

        I guess Boris was too busy studying his Latin (or more likely throwing plates and harassing the wait staff at the Bullington) to learn the subjunctive contrary to fact in his native language.


        1. Eclair

          “If Putin were a woman ….”

          When I was learning English grammar, the short rule for using the subjunctive case was: use it if the alternative wished for is impossible. Now, with surgery, hormones, etc., it is possible that Putin could, in fact, become a ‘woman.’ So, no use of the subjunctive.

          I will admit that I probably should have written, “And Boris were a pig …” Although, hmmmmmm …..

          1. Harold

            But it’s still an “unreal condition” if he is not, at this moment, a woman, no? Not that anyone cares about such niceties in our present civilization.

        1. hunkerdown

          All I’m asking for is a little RSPCA when you get home.

          (just a little bit)
          (just a little bit)
          (just a little bit)

      2. Martin Oline

        I was going to write a little ditty with those starting words but I have to mow the lawn. Then it’s nap time. Boris does look like a boar when you think about it but Putin fails the resemblance. Let’s see . . .
        If Putin was a woman, And Boris were a pig, She’d ride him round the sty until his back broke like a twig?

    2. hunkerdown

      I want to hear Ms. Zakharova’s opinion on the matter. *sweet, harmless, evil grin*

      1. Yves Smith

        Apparently only in Russian, on Telegram. She wonders what sort of hot sweaty fanstasies BoJo has (implying lust for Putin) and asks what are they up to at the G7?

    3. digi_owl

      On that note, the linked article just above that tweet is a reminded that you can look like a used toilet brush and still get some if you have the money and/or power to compensate…

      1. super extra

        I will never forget Tory “ladies” in media in the run up to his election getting a hot mic while they were cooing over him. Their infatuation sounded real! Completely insane culture with insane values and insane elite signalling mechanisms

      2. Late Introvert

        If Boris Johnson were a used toilet brush, he would know not to make such a mess of things.

      3. caucus99percenter

        Well, Henry Kissinger is often quoted as having said that “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

  5. Jesper

    About: The left should lead the case for higher defence spending
    A quote from the article:

    Only a society that delivers – on jobs, wages, services and democratic control – will be able to mobilise people “

    is interesting as I don’t see many political parties with policies for doing that.

    I have the impression that leaders are feeling forced to do as little as possible for their underlings, doing as little as possible might cause leaders to do too little and if democracy was working then that would mean they’d lose power. The ‘leaders’ will do well anyway, worst case scenario is that they destroy a political party and their own country but they themselves will find some well paying jobs provided by the looters.

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s important to contextualize that Mason spent months working with MI6 to deplatform “far left rogue academics” before being exposed. While I respect NC’s practice of throwing red meat to the commentariat for fun, this guy’s clicks on this story are his future, and I regret NC extending any sort of hand up to him while we should be busy trying to destroy his career and his future as a person who may speak for others.

      “Only” is a sign of metaphysical bullshit and a will to power, the sorts of things I suggest ought to be invalidated so hard that people are afraid to put on airs.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “What did the G7 and Nato summits really mean for Ukraine?” article at-

    In short, not much. NATO won’t go to war against Russia on the Ukraine’s behalf nor can NATO deliver a fraction of what the Ukraine needs. But wants them to keep fighting anyway. I hear that Poroshenko has already left the country and is living the good life in London with his military-age son.

    1. Lex

      NATO is the appendix of geopolitics: a vestigial organ that can still kill you for no good reason.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Actually the NATO meeting could have ended up a lot worse. NATO has a 1997 Founding Act between them and Russia which says that the two “do not consider each other as adversaries.” The document, among other things, sets the goal of “overcoming the vestiges of earlier confrontation and competition,” and calls for the creation of a “strong, stable and enduring partnership.” A coupla eastern European NATO countries wanted this scrapped so that they could get more confrontational with Russia but western NATO countries Germany and France nixed the idea. So I guess designating China as a “challenge to our security, interests and values” was a sort of compromise instead-

      1. Polar Socialist

        Mr. Lavrov on the issue:

        Question: At the Madrid summit, NATO stated that Russia was the main threat to the Alliance according to its new strategic concept. Following this statement and their decision to fortify the eastern flank, does Moscow consider itself bound by its commitments under the Russia-NATO Founding Act, or has this document lost its validity?

        Sergey Lavrov: In the legal sense, the Founding Act continues to exist. We did not initiate the procedure for terminating this agreement. In the run-up to the summit, NATO had lengthy and vocal discussions about whether they still needed the Act or whether they would be better off abandoning it. As a result, they decided to let this matter be, but their decisions grossly violate the Founding Act, primarily with regard to NATO’s commitment not to permanently deploy significant combat forces on the territory of new (Eastern European) Alliance members.

        We will analyse the situation and decide on our further moves depending on how and in what form NATO will move forward with the decisions it adopted and announced.

        And later he lays it really down for everybody:

        Question: Will it be possible to restore more or less acceptable political and diplomatic relations with EU countries in the future?
        Sergey Lavrov: […]From now on, we will never trust the Americans or the EU. We are doing our best not to depend on them in the sectors that are critically important for survival of the state, the people and our security. When and if they get over their obsession and come back with some kind of a proposal, we will see what exactly it is about. We will not play along with their self-serving plans. If it comes to resuming the dialogue, we will push for a level playing field for everyone and a focus on balancing the interests of all participants on an equal footing.

        With regard to the Iron Curtain, it is already on its way down. They should make sure they don’t get anything caught in it as it goes down.

  7. diptherio

    I’m pretty skeptical that the Drivers Cooperative is going to be able to make a go of it for very long. They are trying to be a “co-op Uber,” but don’t seem to have dealt with the reality that Uber is a revenue-negative business, and would be regardless of the ownership or management structure.

    In everything I’ve read about them so far (which is probably everything that’s been written), they always cherry pick their numbers to report. Pay 8-10% above Uber…but don’t mention how many rides through the app drivers are actually getting (barely any), or how much the average driver is making from the app (also barely any) as compared to their other gigs. And the last time I looked at their crowdfunding page, they were still reporting a negative margin on the business, which is something they never mention to the press. Obviously, I support co-ops, especially worker-owned and managed ones, but I fear that this kind of poorly thought-out, way over-hyped co-op is not going to do anything to help the movement in the long term.

    1. hunkerdown

      There isn’t any need to impose the tiresome logic of market competition or comparison. It’s especially silly to judge an endeavor by its value as a capitalist proprietorship when the purpose of the endeavor is to spite the value of capitalist proprietary structure. What the enterprise itself is doing in the world of commerce is an accounting construct that isn’t as interesting outside of the capitalist proprietary regime of value. If all people (who matter in the world of this endeavor) are satisfied with the inputs and outputs being produced with the co-op, there should be no problem. We can do better than contributing enterprises to the capitalist cosmos.

      Besides, ALL startups flatter themselves into existence.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Cab companies work because of shared maintenance. They are usually large enough to own a lift. The cars are getting checked, and they run reasonable routes. You can’t get are cab at rush hour. It’s hard on the car. The cabs last and last and were bought to be cabs. They usually run people in low traffic periods to places like the local SSA building. Even operations like airplanes and trains have arrivals after the high traffic periods, so the cabs aren’t adding to the local traffic. Traffic engineers are actually really smart. They just have to deal with US politicians.

      Even a fantasy co-op Uber won’t work unless it functions like a cab company. There were improvements to be made to cab companies. I think there is room for a rural version where reasonably fit retirees who work on their own vehicles and know what they are getting into, a glorified hobby that is talking to people, can work.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Back in the mid-70’s I drove a cab in Philly for a few months.

        All the cabs were Dodge or Plymouth somethings, but they all had the legendary Dodge/Plymouth slant-six engine. That motor almost never wore out if maintained. All of the cabs had between 200,000 and 300,000 miles on them and were in great running condition (the rest of the vehicle, not so much).

      2. Mildred Montana

        >”Cab companies work because of shared maintenance.”
        >”…retirees who work on their own vehicles…”

        Yes and yes.

        Unless one can do one’s own vehicle maintenance using one’s car as part of a job is a mug’s game. Don’t matter, cabbing, pizza delivery, courier, it’s all the same. There’s a reason the company wants you to supply your own vehicle and it ain’t so you can make more money.

        A piece of my 70-year-old wisdom I always try to pass on to the youngsters when I get the chance: Don’t take a job that requires your own vehicle. This rule, I think, is inviolable.

        Supporting anecdote: A cousin of mine was delivering newspapers with his own vehicle. Everything was hunky-dory—until he got hit with a $3000 transmission repair bill. End of newspaper deliveries.

        1. playon

          The post office here has deputized some of the rural routes to people who are using their own cars to deliver the mail, and I’ve been seeing this for several years now. I assume that it is happening nationally. I also assume it is part time work so that these unofficial postal carriers do not get the full benefits of a real gubmint job.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Modern phoenix: The bird brought back from extinction in Japan”

    That’s quite a story that and it is good to see these birds make a comeback, especially since it was at a time that Japan could still cooperate with China. The first image makes that bird look like that it had been painted in but I think that Lambert may have missed an opportunity here. He could have put an image of a Toki as the Antidote du jour and seen how many people picked up on it.

    1. vao

      While I find those “saved from the brink” stories satisfying, I still have lingering doubts about the long-term success of those rescues.

      From the article about the toki bird:

      the same year a population of seven wild toki was discovered in a remote area of China’s Shaanxi province

      From an earlier article linked at in NC about Przewalski horses:

      All Przewalski’s horses alive today are descended from a founding population of nine horses held in two zoos.

      These are frightfully narrow genetic bases to restart a population, and I wonder whether they will not fall prey to degeneration caused by inbreeding.

      1. Kouros

        Seven Eves. Probably the degeneracy of the human specie could be explained that way?

      2. Wukchumni

        Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep which ranged all over the Sierra once upon a time were down to about 100 left a few decades ago, and are now up to about 600 of them.

        1. vao

          A hundred is comfortably an order of magnitude more than 7 or 9. The risk of inbreeding or genetic drift should be significantly reduced.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I can’t recall the details, but I read a study years back that estimated that a population of around 120 is the minimum needed to re-breed without a serious genetic bottleneck. There were some ecologists essentially arguing that species should be declared extinct once they go below that level, as there was no chance of a sustainable recovery.

        It is possible though that species may thrive even with a lack of diversity – the Cheetah for example is very inbred – probably from a near extinction event 100,000 years ago.

        This particular bird may be an exception as there were two quite distinct populations surviving so hopefully thats given a bit of diversity into the mix. And there is always the chance of there being other surviving populations in some remote areas that can intermix once the population rebounds. Birds in particular seem to be able to rebound very rapidly from set backs once the habitat is available. Being able to fly over human obstacles helps I guess.

  9. fresno dan

    How Spooks and Establishment Journalists Are Circling The Wagons Mint Press News
    In part one of this two-part series, we saw how the Guardian’s Luke Harding – one of the journalists banned by Russia – has promoted entirely unsubstantiated smear stories that have hewn closely to the agenda of Western intelligence services. Harding even wrote a prominent Russiagate book and could not defend its basic claims when challenged by independent journalist Aaron Maté.
    One of RT’s journalists, for example, was Chris Hedges, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He has had a long and distinguished journalistic career and has won major journalism awards. Nonetheless, six years of his Emmy-nominated “On Contact” programme for RT America – interviewing major public figures – was erased from Youtube’s channel overnight.
    Neither Cadwalladr nor Mason is likely to pay a price for their actions. In fact, they can expect to be rewarded – a sign that this kind of covert collusion is desired by establishment media, not least liberal outlets like the Guardian that try to create the misleading impression that they are somehow oppositional to the security state.
    It occurs to me that the smear of being called LIBERAL (or left if you don’t like the word) may be a false flag attack predominately propagated by the mainstream media itself. The liberal brand is useful to deflect FACTUAL criticism that the media is in fact right wing, and that the the media is absolutely, positively NOT liberal, but that it is in the pocket of the MIC and the oligarchy. Apocryphally during WWII, US soldiers asked suspect infiltrators who the 1942 3rd baseman of the Cleveland Indians was – maybe we need to start asking journalists if they support Medicare for all to see if they really are liberal…

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Don’t the two seem to be about the same these days?

          Much like how the Democratic Party is a moderate liberal, left of center party and the Republicans is a moderately conservative party, forty plus years of propaganda, subversion, co-option, backstabbing, and lies have made the terms neoliberal and liberal about the same nowadays.

          The term liberal before then was (more or less) shortened from Classical Liberalism, which was what most of the American political establishment was essentially across the spectrum for roughly 200 of the last 245 years.

    1. Stick'em

      re: the smear of being called LIBERAL (or left if you don’t like the word) may be a false flag attack predominately propagated by the mainstream media itself.

      When people started calling Donald Trump a “fascist,” it started to seem as if the word meant nothing more than “someone I don’t like” to most of the people using it judging by the context in which it was used. So I decided to look up the meaning of the word in its original sense, as in what did someone like George Orwell who was a socialist who personally fought against fascists in a war mean when they used the word. What George says is here:

      It is amazing to see people calling socialists and communists by the epithet “fascist” even back in those days. Communist fought against the fascists in WWII right? Mortal enemies. Diametrically opposed ideologies. The Nazi ideology as laid out in Mein Kampf is build upon the foundation of blaming Russian Communist Jews for all Germany’s troubles. Anyway, the point is Rush Limbaugh didn’t invent calling hippies “fascists” and “feminazis.”

      Political discourse has always been obfuscated. The world “liberal” is no different:

      If I was a kid growing up now, I’d think the word “liberal” means the same thing as “Word Police” because that’s all liberals seem to do these days practically speaking, tell everybody what pronouns and identities are politically correct. They’re glorified junior high school English teachers.

      To the average person, these words don’t really mean something academic and specific and concrete in terms of policy positions or ideology. Rather, these words are utterly meaningless in mainstream media conversations and internet comment sections.

      These words are simply used as signals to point out to the the author’s identity, to let readers which side the writer believes to be “the bad guys” in the fakery of travesty of a mockery of a morality play. So says Scarface:

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      3rd base for Cleveland in ’42. Everyone knows this. C’mon man, at least pick a hard one. Though are you sure the question isn’t ’41? It’s the same guy, but the 3rd baseman was part of a major baseball story in ’41.

        1. Craig H.

          Ken Keltner it looks like though the only 1940’s Indians in my memory bank are Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            In ’41, he made defensive plays to end DiMaggios hitting streak. Even if you forget the name, he’s like Gavrilio Princep. His name just kind of disappears, but the guy has to exist.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cricket isn’t real. I expect Jerri-Lynn and even Yves would get it or at least get the ’41 clue. The answer isn’t the story but is part of the story.

    3. Anonymous 2

      Re Cadwallader, I read the judge’s judgement on the case Banks v. Cadwallader, which was interesting. It is over 100 pages long so I only read it once, so if I misunderstood it, that is because I could not be bothered to go through it twice.

      The short version, if I understood correctly, is that Banks sued Cadwallader because she accused Banks of lying about his meetings with Russian diplomats. The findings were that Banks is indeed a liar – there really seems little doubt about this as it is pretty much on the record that he lied in public meetings. The question though was whether he lied about his meetings with Russian diplomats. The judge’s findings seemed to be that Banks had not lied about these as she accepted his testimony that although he had given inaccurate information about these meetings, this was because his memory is not very good, not because he was seeking consciously to mislead. The judge therefore concluded that Cadwallader was wrong to accuse Banks of lying but that public interest grounds meant that it was defensible for her to have made the accusation that he had lied because at the time she did not have all of the information and it was reasonable for her at the time that she made her claim for her to have done so.

      Banks is supposedly going to appeal the decision. It will be interesting to see if he does and what the outcome might be.

      What a confused story! If I understand the position correctly, a higher court will only consider if the judge was in error on points of law but will accept that the lower court has established the facts. Just as well?

      For those unfamiliar with the story, Banks was the largest funder of the Brexit campaign and the suspicion/accusation is that Russia helped him financially to do this funding. Who knows? Certianly not me.

  10. Lex

    I’m really enjoying the Finland/Sweden – NATO saga. As the dust settles we find out that Erdogan drives a hard bargain much different than the happy words of Nato officials. So far Turkey has gotten F-16s, F-35s, forcing the Scandinavians to lift a military equipment sanction against Turkiye and, apparently, a promise to extradite a pretty large number of people, including those who have European citizenship (?) to go along with declaring Kurdish groups terrorists.

    The Finns and Swedes are trying to explain to their citizens that they won’t actually extradite those people because it’s contrary to domestic law. And the Turks point out that neither country is actually in NATO yet, with an aside that if they don’t fulfill the conditions they won’t be in NATO at all. We appear to have a classic, modern American “victory” that is as shallow as the initial press release because the press release doesn’t describe reality at all.

    Meanwhile, Johnson has moved on to dreams of reconstituting the Roman Empire so England can take its rightful place as a colony on the edge of the known world?

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s gunna be tricky about the thirty-three people that Turkey wants arrested and deported to Turkey itself. Not only are a lot of them actual citizens of Sweden and Finland but at least one them is a Member of the Swedish Parliament. Awkward.

      1. JohnA

        In an interview with journalists about the 33 persons on the list for deportation to Turkey, the Swedish PM wriggled on this question and replied “Ägnar man sig inte åt terrorism behöver man inte vara orolig” my translation “as long as you do not engage in terrorism, you have no need to be worried”.

        Make of that what you will. A bed of nails to be sure.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thank you, JohnA. Unfortunately one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. The Swedish PM may find himself on a Procrustean bed before this ends.

          1. JohnA

            Kev, both the Swedish PM and foreign minister are women. Another sign that Johnson is talking his usual nonsense when he claimed Putin would be less militaristic if he had been a woman!

    2. Alte Schwede

      Sweden has a history of extraditing people to the left and right when US asks
      but law and order when China asks

      On top of that the disgraceful behaviour related to Julian Assange.

      So kurds in Sweden do have a strong reason to be afraid. Moreover, the kurds are always screwed over. In the Syria-war Kurds were used for some time but were dropped as a hot potatoe later.

    3. David

      The key to this is in one of the final sentences of the article:

      “Erdogan warned Sweden and Finland’s future behaviour would decide whether he forwarded their application to the Turkish parliament.”

      In other words, no agreement Turkey has actually signed, or will sign, really means anything. And given that there are parliamentary elections scheduled for 2023, I wonder if the crowded agenda of the Turkish Parliament will actually allow them to consider the issue at all ….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Turkey is having a good war. It takes some strategic genius by Europe and the US to give someone like Erdogan so much leverage.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you and well said, Gentlemen.

          I reckon Erdogan could have done much better.

          As per, the EU and India are resuming free trade talks. The EU had ruled out free movement of labour, but will now consider a form of free movement of labour.

          Erdogan could have got fast track EU membership or something better than its current arrangement.

          Britain has chicken tikka. Germany has currywurst. I wonder what foodie paradises France, Italy, Spain and Portugal will do? :-)

          1. Anonymous 2

            Thank you Colonel.

            If my memory serves me right, it was the UK which – pre Brexit – blocked the possible EU deal with India because of UK opposition to India’s demands on freedom of movement. Now, ironically, the UK seems prepared to contemplate acceding to India’s demands as part of its own negotiations on an India/UK deal.

            I confidently expect India to shaft the UK in any deal if one gets agreed because no matter what any deal gets negotiated I do not believe Indians will buy significant quantities of UK goods. The UK government will probably not care as they are apparently more interested in the cosmetics of getting deals signed than they are about the contents of such deals.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you.

              I had forgotten about Blighty’s role, especially Theresa May as Home Secretary.

      2. Jesper

        Sweden is playing the same game – laws have to be changed before Sweden can comply with the signed agreement. Government made the agreement but it is up to parliament to change the laws or not.

        The people who negotiated on behalf of Sweden comes from a party that domestically has entered into agreements where the other party fulfilled their part of agreement first but then they themselves never got around to doing so. I’m not a mind-reader so I do not know if they ever intended to fulfill their part of the agreement but facts are that once these people got what they wanted from an agreement then they never seemed to be able to finish their part.
        So maybe an agreement negotiated in bad faith but impossible to know for sure for now.

        My guess is that the Swedes who negotiated came up with a similar cunning plan: They’d come to an agreement with Turkiye whereby Turkiye would allow Sweden into NATO and then when Turkiye asked Sweden to do its part then the delays would start. My guess is that the projected date for when Sweden would comply with the agreement is about one day after Turkiye joins the EU (probably never).

        If that was their cunning plan then it might be that it didn’t fool anyone, least of all Turkiye.

        For me then the interesting part will be to see how media handles it. Will they demand an answer about if Sweden will comply?
        A hostile media would hound the Swedish government until an answer was given. After all, if they intend to honour the agreement they should be willing to publically say so.
        Even a neutral media would keep asking questions.
        A friendly media will report about it for a couple of days and then very little if anything at all. The reason for doing it once is that doing it once means that they can claim that they didn’t cover it up as they actually reported it.

        The agreement might hurt the party in government but the agreement might open up other personal opportunities for the leadership of the party after they leave government. I might be cynical, my guess might be biased by my dislike of the people involved so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    4. Polar Socialist

      Earlier several Finns publicly said that applying for membership was a “sovereign thing to do”, since Russia preferred Finland not to join. It brings some bitter amusement to think what they would say about Erdogan demanding this, that and the other thing as a pre-condition.

      On the other hand, if one is about to join a bureaucratic-milititary-complex hellbent on ruling the world, one perhaps should prepare to be abused in every possible turn for somebody else’s political aims. So maybe Sweden and Finland owe Erdogan a big thank you. And may I have another one, please!

    5. Robert Gray

      And then there’s this, tucked away in the What China Reads link:

      > Putin also states that NATO’s deployment of military forces and military infrastructure in both countries
      > [i.e., Finland and Sweden] would necessarily lead to an equivalent response from the Russian side.

  11. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert. Just a couple of comments:

    Further to your mention of the Bullingdon club and elites, we should not forget that Radek Sikorski, then pretending to be a mitteleuropa aristocrat and relative of WW2 general Sikorski, was a contemporary of Johnson at Oxford and invited by Johnson to join the club (much to the chagrin of hacks Toby Young and James Delingpole who had not pretended to be anything of note). They became friends, including celebrating their 50ths together, but fell out over Brexit. Sikorski and his missus, Anne Applebaum, used their US MIC funding to send their sons to Eton and Oxford.

    Readers familiar with Oxford may recall outfitters Shepherd & Woodward on Oxford High Street. This shop provides the club’s clothing. A set costs thousands. The tweed is more affordable and my style :-).

    No one should be surprised by the media covering up for Johnson. The partygate tapes were hidden for the best of part of a year so that attendees Laura Kuenssberg, Robert Peston, Harry Cole and Alex Wickham could get their excuses ready, which they have not had to. Johnson’s sister in law and Grauniad hack, Amelia Gentleman, does her best to tone down the reporting.

    Further to your mention of Paul Mason, he’s been like that for years and is desperate to become an MP. In 2020, he organised a campaign to harass, even jostle, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon for Starmer at hustings. Socialists Long-Bailey and Burgon are also Catholic. They were often asked if the Vatican would have a say over their social and foreign policies, the sort of thing Al Smith and JFK had to put up with. A similar campaign is intended for the Catholic Andy Burnham.

    1. JohnA

      Funny Blair was never asked about his then anglo-catholicism, and subsequent full conversion.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, John.

        I’m Catholic and live between the Blair country estates and Chequers, where he got a taste for country estate living, in Buckinghamshire.

        Blair entertained hopes of becoming president of the European Council, or something more powerful / influential, and tagged along with his Catholic wife to con Christian Democrats / Catholics. He’s as fake as a six pound note. The Catholic establishment is rightly wary of him.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      As a callow young man leaving Ireland for the UK my main thought was that it was a relief to be leaving a small country where options were cut off because the elites all knew each other by first name and effectively cut everyone else out of the loop. It has constantly amazed me since to find that the Anglo American elites are, if anything, an even tighter and smaller and definitely more incestuous circle.

      As to your last point, it was enlightening from a vantage point this side of the Irish sea to see how everyone got upset about the supposed anti-semitism shown by Corbyn, when its always been apparent that the real ‘other’ in upper circles in Britain is and always has been catholicism, especially of the Celtic shade (FDR knew this of course, which is why he had such glee in sending the elder Kennedy to the Court of St. James). Its not so long ago that a catholic could neither marry into the royal family or become PM. One of the more amusing aspects of Brexit was witnessing the Dublin anglophile elite suddenly discover the hard way just how contemptuous the London political and social elites are of them. At the time I compared it to being like a child growing up in what he thinks is a happy family, only to discover at 16 that his parents actively loath him. I don’t think Varadkar knew what hit him and he is still visibly angry whenever Johnson is mentioned.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        I would say what you observed and felt when leaving Ireland applies to Mauritius. Just to add that the Anglo and American halves are getting more incestuous and some elements were key to driving Brexit forward.

        It’s interesting what you say about Tory Boy Varadkar. Is he typical FG or a Uriah Heap bootlicker like Priti Patel et al in the Tory party?

        What you say about that Dublin anglophile elite applies to some extent to the EU, especially von der Leyen. Decades ago, apparently, Churchill was privately contemptuous of Australia’s Robert Menzies.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Varadkar is a bit of an odd one. He is very unusual for an Irish politician in that he is introverted and said to be very awkward with people one on one – but he combines this with an almost pathological ambition, such that I’ve heard it said by several people that he doesn’t seem to have any genuine friends. He trained as a doctor and I’m reliably informed that there was a party to celebrate attended by all the hospitals doctors when he decided to leave medicine for politics.

          He campaigned internally within FG as a strong social and economic conservative (for public consumption he kept things vague). He was one of a group known as the ‘Tory Boys’, who were seen as leading the charge against the small and nearly extinguished social democratic wing of his party. Its alleged that he did a quick 180degree turn as a social activist when a newspaper was going to publish a story that he was having an affair with a political journalist. He was adroit enough to turn what could have been a career ending scandal into a triumph as he made the story into his ‘bravery’ for outing himself. Most of his constituents were probably aware of that anyway. It is an oddity of Irish politics that the fact that he is gay and half Indian excited the NYT and Guardian far more than anyone in Ireland when he was elected PM.

          But one key fact about him (maybe related to his Indian background) is that he entirely lacked any interest whatever in NI or anything vaguely related to nationalist politics. He seemed to know almost precisely zero about Northern Irish politics when Brexit made sure that NI politics arrived on his desk. He seemed genuinely shocked by the hatred thrown at him by NI Unionists and the right wing media in Britain. I almost felt sorry for him.

          He is still something of an enigma, even to people within his party. He got to the top almost entirely by being seen as the most electable politician, along with his relentless internal campaigning. There is no doubt that he is deeply conservative in terms of personal politics, but what exactly he stands for is never really clear. I would say that he is not a Priti Patel type – because he’s a loner he doesn’t seem to have been part of any cliques, and unlike other FG types he hasn’t been sucked into being part of those Atlantic Alliance type talking shops. I think he is what he is – a somewhat needy individual who has become successful by turning his weaknesses into strengths and playing up his small number of skills.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘I mention to Mrs. Xu something I’ve noticed: many people in this area are REALLY short, especially elders. She’s quite short herself.
    Sometimes you’ll see 3 generations of the family walking together & the tallest person in the group will be a 12-year old girl.’

    I was pondering this when the thought occurred to me. The collective west has tried and failed over the past thirty years to get China to adopt what we see everywhere in the way of governance. That the billionaires run the country and siphon it of all wealth and resources to leave their country into mostly a destitute state. Also, the State and the politicians are still retained to do the bidding of these billionaires and to make sure that the bulk of the population can never stop this happening.

    So I was thinking that if the west had been able to succeed over the past decades into getting China to adopt neoliberalism, that not only would there be raging poverty in China still but with the 3 generations of that family, the tallest one would be the one in the middle and the youngest would have been almost as short as the oldest. So more like a Bell Curve.

  13. flora

    re: coming new C19 boosters, from ArsTechnica

    from the article:
    That means manufacturing will start while clinical data on BA.4/5 vaccines is still being collected and reviewed. In a statement Thursday, FDA’s top vaccine regulator Peter Marks assured Americans that “any COVID-19 vaccine authorized or approved by the FDA will meet our standards for safety and effectiveness.”

    In an opinion piece published in Stat News on Wednesday, Offit and John Moore, a microbiology and immunology professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, argued that the FDA should wait for more data on omicron-focused boosters before making the recommendation it made today. They argue that a BA.4/5 booster may not end up being significantly better than current vaccines against BA.4/5 and may not offer strong protection against whatever comes next.

    1. playon

      Policy on this seems to be all Pfizer, all the time. Does anyone know if these proposed vaccines will be the MNRA types as were pushed previously? I personally will not take another MNRA vax.

      And where oh where are the nasal vaccines?

  14. Chris Smith

    Re: the independent state legislature theory

    I’m just hoping that the Supreme Court does not reverse Brown v. Board at this point.

      1. flora

        From the Common Dreams link I left below:

        Back when Roberts was a young lawyer working for Reagan and trying to come up with a way to overturn Brown v Board and Roe v Wade, he was fond of quoting Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution.

  15. Samuel Conner

    re: Supply chain and SMO, there’s an interesting look at the Russian economy at John Helmer’s ‘blog today, using a popular beverage

    R economy is not fully integrated in the beer supply chain. They mine and refine Aluminium and they make beer cans from it, but don’t make the rolled sheet from which the beer cans are made.

    Hops and paper for labels are also in short supply.

    Something I did not know — (at least in Russia) beer is not JIT, but is made and packaged in very large batches, with about 2 inventory turns/year.

  16. flora

    Thanks for all 3 Supremes links today. This is starting to read like a crime thriller novel. “The Godfather, part IX”, or maybe “The Jungle, the Horrors of Neoliberal Law.” (I wish this was a joke.)

    1. flora

      The Federal Reserve had/has(?) a stock trading scandal. They knew just when to sell their own stocks then when to buy again.

      Yahoo Finance
      A timeline of the Federal Reserve’s trading scandal

      Congress has its own stock trading scandals. (Making many of them much richer.)

      Turn out the Justices on the SC can do their own stock trading, too. They can accept speaking fees from corporations which may in future have cases before them. There’s no requirement to recuse themselves from such a case. According the the Roberts’ doctrine that’s not corruption because it’s not an envelope stuffed with cash give in exchange for a particular case’s outcome.

      I think if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck….

      1. flora

        adding, from Common Dreams:

        Let’s Just Say It Very Clearly: The US Supreme Court Is Corrupt

        addendum to the Common Dreams article: the SC overall approval rating is down to 25%, the lowest mark it’s ever sunk to.

        A record low 25 percent of Americans have confidence in the Supreme Court: poll

        an aside: I think the corruption of the Court is one of the most important issues that few talk about in the MSM.

    2. hunkerdown

      “It is impossible to get a man to understand something when his property depends on him not understanding it.”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “GT Voice: G7 is in no position to dictate nations’ oil trade with Russia”

    This was published by the Global Times and I have heard that this is a good as a statement from the Chinese government. When Yellen came up with the idea of the oil price cap, she must have figured that the Chinese and Indians were just like her and would screw over Russia and demand a capped price too due to greed. There was even a story that if this had gone ahead, that Yellen would have tried that capped oil price on all of OPEC. In any case, both China and India saw through this and gave it a pass. And why wouldn’t they? They make money from huge oil prices and it weakens the west who always try to keep them down. What’s not to love? So now the White House is in a panic and they are quietly modelling an outcome of a world with oil at $200 a barrel. And it gets “better”. One guy tweeted-

    ‘OIL MARKET: Over the last 2 weeks, the US gov has injected 13.7 million barrels from the SPR into the market. And yet, commercial oil stockpiles still fell 3 million barrels over the period. Just imagine if the SPR wasn’t there. Or what would happen post-Oct when sales end’

  18. Mikel

    “Will the bullwhip do the Fed’s job on inflation?” Freight Waves. Important

    They keep insisting that the spending has shifted to “services and experiences.”
    Financial serevices would be included with that “services” category, correct? So alot of this “service” spending could be considered debt servicing.
    These alleged experiences would call for the use of energy – so ine doesn’t really get away from goods and commodities spending.
    Then I’ll add that what alot of Westerners call a “vacation” more often than not includes a place with shopping centers or walking around shopping is considered the “experience.”

    Alit of that spending the media was focused on was upper class people spending on household goods during the pandemic.

    The excessive alleged demand has been driven by a sliver of the population…but now everybody’s lives are supposed to be disrupted because of a party a few enjoyed.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Experiences” of the virtual sort are materially cheap on a pay-per-view basis, more so on a pay-to-win basis. “Let them eat NFTs,” they say.

      Unleaded $4.899/gal. cash yesterday. The leading 5s have washed off of the top lines of every gasoline price board I pass over the past few weeks, leading up into the big driving season. While there are still people going to Disneyland, “experience” in general doesn’t necessarily imply physical proximity anymore.

  19. Mikel

    “Monkeypox soars in Europe, with more than 4,000 cases” Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

    Good thing Europe is just some backwater that no one ever travels back and forth to…oh wait…

    Here we go again. Everybody getting their “stupid and in shock” faces ready for when in the coming days it’s revealed the cases are higher here and elsewhere too.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “China says it has photographed all of Mars from orbit”

    This is really amazing to see. China was going to put together and sell a globe of Mars based on those images but Elon Musk got an injunction stopping them on the grounds that he has already taken out a patent on Mars.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t Musk missing? I’m sure he is just getting work done, so it will be interesting to see.

  21. Mikel

    “What did the G7 and Nato summits really mean for Ukraine? Guardian. Putin: “Everything is going according to plan.”

    “GT Voice: G7 is in no position to dictate nations’ oil trade with Russia” Global Times

    They’re ridiculous. They couldn’t bring themselves to think it would be situation that would at least call for a meeting of the G20 ++ .
    But it’s hard to have diplomacy or good ideas of any kind when stuck in such a degenerate, racist state of mind

    “Are you going to join the White People’s Club or the Eurasian Club? And it really comes down to that. And that’s what is fracturing the world in these two halves…”
    Michael Hudson…A Depression Is Coming

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘The Supremes’

    Going to try a theory about the Supremes here. They have made a whole lot of decisions recently as if they are going through a checklist. I have been trying to pick out a pattern and I may have one. Remember when Grover Norquist said ‘I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.’ That was all about eliminating government and letting business take over. A sort of doctrine. These Supremes decisions seem to be about removing power from the Federal government so that it goes back to the States – which can be more easily controlled. So you see this with abortions and the EPA. It is – maybe – all about narrowing down Federal power and giving it to compliant States. If this is true, then you will probably find that what will be eventually left of Federal power will be foreign affairs, the military, internal security (Homeland Dept.) and Federal taxes. Virtually everything else will go back to the States which kinda sound like how the old Confederacy did things. Of course this is all a rat-bag theory but maybe something worth looking at in their future decisions.

    1. super extra

      >These Supremes decisions seem to be about removing power from the Federal government so that it goes back to the States – which can be more easily controlled.

      I think it is more about creating 50 laboratories of democracy oligarch fiefdoms and selling off what remains of the USA’s commons, like the massive tracts of federal land.

  23. Mikel

    “Crypto Crash Widens a Divide: ‘Those With Money Will End Up Being Fine’ NYT. Thoughts and prayers. I just hope the insiders got out in time.

    You’re joking with that “hope the insiders got out in time.”
    But the crypto world attracts the kind of thoughtless aspiration that will actually have the losers really hoping for such a thing. They’ll root for anything not to think about how they’ve been pumped and dumped and PLAYED.

  24. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Jed Royal must be Yellen’s brother Pentagon Agency Wants to Send Arms Monitors to Ukraine The defense officials would make sure U.S. weapons are being used and stored properly.

    …“Over time, we would like to be able to extend our insights with greater presence on the ground,” said Jed Royal, deputy director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees U.S. arms sales.

    …Typically, arms monitoring officials “actually go open up warehouses and bunkers and actually check by serial number, these systems of highest interest to make sure that the accounting is what we think that it is, or is as it is being reported,” he said.

    If U.S. arms inspectors go to Ukraine, “we should be in a position to actually go and do more physical validation verification,” Royal said. Officials are “going to have to get creative” about how they go about their inspections since Ukraine is a war zone.

    Satire fails me.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Well, according to a recent joke Russia now has the largest stock of Javelins in the world, so maybe Pentagon can start inspections from there instead of the war zone…

      1. albrt

        Do you really think the Russians have gotten more Javelins from Ukraine than Al-Qaeda has?

    2. LifelongLib

      What’s the legal status of such people? They aren’t combatants but they aren’t exactly civilians either — they’re foreigners participating in one side’s war effort. How are they treated if they get captured?

  25. CaliDan

    Roberts Started A Revolution, Dems Enabled It David Sirota, Lever News

    Just great. Thanks Jimmy Dore. It’s now a pavlovian response; every time I hear the name David Sirota I immediately get that acidic, pre-vomit saliva swirling around my mouth. Gotta admit Dore’s usually right about this guy though––Sirota really is a broken record: “Dems suck but vote Dem,” “tell your progressive congressperson to demand [note: not do] XYZ,” etc. Or in this case end John “the Rasputin with a sunny smile” Robert’s judicial rampage and save what’s left of our country by slightly shifting our thinking away from “normalism.” Cool beans, dude. Be the change you want to see.

    1. flora

      Yeah, I know. On the other hand, his intro describing how the Dem’s answer to their base’s demand that they ‘grow a spine’ was ‘we don’t need a spine’ isn’t wrong. It’s a devastating charge against the Dem 3rd Way, neoliberal estab. His charge won’t change their thinking at all, but it’s an accurate charge. / ;)

  26. Basil Pesto

    The whole thread is rich in detail, and well worth a read (even if it doesn’t discuss Covid or politics. No masking in the photo at the mall, though).

    Well, it’s no wonder really. China’s mostly successful containment policy means that for cities like Chenzhou, Covid is not a threat – as was the case in Australia before we dropped our containment policy a year ago. If they don’t have to think about it, then they’re probably not going to talk about it. I was guilty of not being as attentive to the finer details of developments with the virus as I perhaps should’ve been through May/June 2021 as, Victoria’s 2020 hotel quarantine cockup notwithstanding, Covid just wasn’t in play here, and thus not a threat. That’s what the people of Chenzhou are enjoying now, and so they can just get on with something approximating 2019 life without the SARS2 Sword of Damocles over their heads. That limits their options for overseas tourism perhaps, but that doesn’t seem to be of major concern to its citizens, which would again explain why the people there weren’t discussing the country’s policy (by contrast, tourism is not just a major industry in Australia, but a big export).

    As to masks, that’s another benefit of elimination: no SARS2, no need for masks in Chenzhou. That was also the case in Australia until a year ago. Now I meed to wear a mask every time I leave my apartment. Meantime, the penny hasn’t dropped in the rest of the world that if you want to avoid multiple infections in a matter of years (you do), then masks will be necessary indefinitely until the disease is contained. Having said that, I have also heard recently that China is pushing to more compulsory indoor masking generally, which is a real shame. Maybe this only applies to Tier 1/2 cities though, not sure.

  27. Wukchumni

    In regards to BoJo’s claim in regards to Putin…

    If Eleanor Roosevelt were a B-17, would the war have been over sooner?

    1. Bruno

      I have no idea whether or not the war would have been over sooner. But certainly the rail lines to the death camps would have been bombed.

      1. Wukchumni

        Ideally, wouldn’t she have needed to be a B-29 with longer range and a bigger payload?

        1. Polar Socialist

          I think if she had been an Il-2, she would have hastened the end of the war much, much more.

  28. Wukchumni

    I am Uncle Sam. I am Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam I am.

    Do you like Putin’s Kalibr SAM’s?

    I do not like them, Uncle Sam-I-am.
    I do not like Vladimir’s Kalibr SAM’s

    Would you like them here or there?

    I would not like them here or there.
    I would not like them anywhere.
    I do not like Russia’s Kalibr SAM’s.
    I do not like them, Uncle Sam-I am.

    Would you like them hitting a Ukrainian house?
    Would you like them dispatched utilizing a mouse?

    I do not like them hitting a Ukrainian house.
    I do not like them being dispatched by a mouse.
    I do not like them here or there.
    I do not like them anywhere.
    I do not like them Commie’ SAM’s.
    I do not like them, Uncle Sam-I am.

  29. Wukchumni

    Received this missive from the Gulag Hockeypelago in terse Morse code from one of the camps up over, in honor of this being their day.

    Oh Canada!
    Our home and native land!
    True housing bubble love in all of us command
    With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
    The fundamentals strong and free!
    From far and wide,
    Oh Canada, we stand on the front porch and agree
    God keep our housing bubble glorious to see!
    On Canada, we stand to see more increase

  30. RobertC


    Revenge is dish best served cold Russia seizes control of Sakhalin gas project, raises stakes with West

    TOKYO/LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has raised the stakes in an economic war with the West and its allies with a decree that seizes full control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project in Russia’s far east, a move that could force out Shell and Japanese investors.

    The order, signed on Thursday, creates a new firm to take over all rights and obligations of Sakhalin Energy Investment Co, in which Shell (SHEL.L) and two Japanese trading companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi hold just under 50%.

    …”The decree does not mean that Japan’s LNG imports will become immediately impossible, but it is necessary to take all possible measures in preparation for unforeseen circumstances,” [Japanese PM Fumio] Hagiuda told reporters.

    Japan has 2-3 weeks of LNG stocks held by utilities and city gas suppliers and Hagiuda has asked his U.S. and Australian energy counterparts for alternative supplies, he said. [in the face of an ever-tightening market]

    …Russian LNG production from projects such as Sakhalin-2 was likely to suffer as foreign expertise and parts became unavailable, said Saul Kavonic, head of Integrated Energy and Resources Research at Credit Suisse.

    “This will tighten the LNG market materially this decade,” he said.

    Three points:

    (1) This is payback for the rapacious Production Sharing Agreements forced upon a weakened Russia by the West’s economic experts.

    (2) This is a preemptive move against future US/EU stupidity such as price caps

    (3) “foreign expertise and parts” including software licenses cross borders with little difficulty until they are replaced by Russia and Chinese expertise, parts and software.

  31. LawnDart

    Re; Hell’s Angels (81)

    I suspect that the funeral motorcade and the wake will be epic. His passing truly marks the end of an era.

    1. Wukchumni

      About a dozen years ago approx 197 Hells Angels booked an entire motel in tiny town here, which prompted various local police departments to station approx 198 law enforcement officers from all over Godzone as a counter to the ‘threat’.

      A Hells Angel who was 21 in 1967 probably was a bad-ass, but when you’re 64 and possibly suffering from too many maladies to mention, not so much.

      We’re about 25 miles to the first stop light, but I heard a few Angels were served jaywalking tickets by the coppers, ha ha.

      1. LawnDart

        I worked with Jerry Irwin some years ago– most probably never heard of him, but when he got out of the army in the early 60s he bought himself a parachute, a Harley, and a camera. He used to ride x-country to various skydiving clubs to jump, riding with various clubs along the way. He got pretty-good with the cameras too– shot for SI, bolted a camera to his helmet and shot for some of the earlier Bond films.

        He rode with clubs (mostly East Coast) into the early 70s, when things got too weird. He noted that few he rode with made it past 50– drugs, booze, lifestyle. I’ve got a lot of his snapshots of his riding days that I reworked and edited. He was up there with Danny Lyon and Pulsating Paula, but didn’t get the credit he deserved in part because he got rolled by a scumbag hustler in Pittsburgh who seriously embarassed him at a gallery show– that dirtbag got Teenie Harris too, so Jerry was in good company.

        Cancer got Jerry before we could put on his comeback show. He was an active photographer til the end. And man did he have some stories.

  32. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    As a player Erdogan loves this stuff Exclusive: Ukraine requests Turkey detain Russian-flagged ship it says carrying Ukrainian grain

    LONDON/ISTANBUL, July 1 (Reuters) – Ukraine has requested that Turkey detain and arrest the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhibek Zholy carrying a cargo of Ukrainian grain taken from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk, according to a Ukrainian official and document seen by Reuters.

    …Kazakh based KTZ Express confirmed to Reuters the Zhibek Zholy was owned by the company but said it was taken under a bare boat charter – when no crew or supplies are involved in the lease – by Russian company Green-Line, which was not designated under any sanctions.

    …The vessel reported its position at anchor close to [Turkey’s] Karasu port, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed on Friday. The data shows it crossing the Black Sea from near Crimea. It did not list Berdyansk as its destination in the past 48 hours – but tracking data relies on transponders updating their positions.

  33. RobertC

    Imperial Decline

    David Goldman again entertains while informing with A tale of two talents China’s top computing talent supports military while top US graduates spurn defense industry

    Much has been written about China’s numerical advantage in science and engineering. China awarded 1.38 million engineering bachelor’s degrees in 2020. The comparable American number is 197,000 (144,000 in engineering and 54,000 in computer science), or just one-seventh of China’s total. [Russia has 245,000 STEM graduates yearly, about the same as the US.]

    This is a daunting disparity. But our story has to do with quality rather than quantity, with the creative handful of top graduates who are most likely to innovate.

    …But the decisive element is not the quantity but the quality: China’s aerospace and military sector hires the most talented engineers. Their American competitors can’t.

    1. Skip Intro

      All the top engineering innovators form US schools go into financial innovation, enhancing the negative GDP, and offshoring any remnant engineering or manufacturing capabilities.

      This is the very model of a modern neoliberal… industrial policy.

  34. Balakirev

    “If Putin was a woman he would not have invaded Ukraine”: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “a perfect example of toxic masculinity.”

    — CBS News (@CBSNews) June 29, 2022

    Linked here to that story (such as it is) a few days ago, when Guardian first ran it. Putin’s response, poking fun at Johnson’s out-of-shape shape was better–but also another example that BoJo just never understands his limits. Or acknowledges that he has any.

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