Links 8/1/2022

Dear Readers,

Because Yves went over well with Gonzalo Lira’s regulars, he’s asked her to join in another roundtable, Tuesday morning August 2, 9AM Eastern, with Alexander Mercouris of The Duran and Brian Berletic of New Atlas. The topic is China and perhaps some other hot spots. This may be an extremely live discussion, since as you can see below, Pelosi is rumored to be visiting Taiwan on August 2, which would be just before this chat. You can view it live or at your leisure on YouTube.

* * *

Watch the Data Before Falling Too Hard for This Rally Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank broke its own rules in enabling tax fraud, internal probe finds FT

Can Elites Start the Climate Revolution? Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

When elites are too effective for their own good FT


Smoke forecast and Red Flag Warnings, July 31, 2022 Wildfire Today. West of the Mississippi. A regular feature of WT. Handy tip:

California not counting methane leaks from idle wells AP

The Trash Mountains of South Asia That Threaten the Climate Bloomberg

Act now on water or face emergency queues on the streets, UK warned Guardian


Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 Shedding in Exhaled Breath Aerosols medRxiv (preprint). From the Abstract: “Here, we demonstrate that viral shedding (measured as RNA copies) into exhaled breath aerosol was significantly greater during infections with Alpha, Delta, and Omicron than with ancestral strains and variants not associated with increased transmissibility. The three highly transmissible variants independently evolved a high viral aerosol shedding phenotype, demonstrating convergent evolution.”

Habitual mask-wearing is likely helping Japan, Singapore and South Korea bring daily Omicron deaths down, epidemiologists say ABC Australia

Tracking SARS-CoV-2 in rivers as a tool for epidemiological surveillance Science of The Total Environment. From the Abstract: “The experimental and normalized viral concentrations strongly correlated with reported COVID-19 cases; thus, Arenales River at [sampling point] AR-2 reflected the epidemiological situation of the city. This is the first study showing the dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 concentration in an urban river highly impacted by wastewater and proved that can be used for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance to support health authorities.”

Energy and Cost Associated with Ventilating Office Buildings in a Tropical Climate PLOS One. From the Abstract: “Overall, even in a thermally demanding tropical climate, the energy cost associated with increasing ventilation rate up to 25 L/s per person is less than 1% of the wages of an office worker in an advanced economy like Singapore’s. This result implies that the benefits of increasing outdoor air ventilation rate up to 25 L/s per person — which is suggested to provide for productivity increases, lower sick building syndrome symptom prevalence, and reduced sick leave — can be much larger than the incremental cost of ventilation.”


“The Washington Post”: Pelosi will come to Taiwan as soon as tomorrow night to meet with Taiwan’s top leaders Apple Daily Taiwan (not Apple Daily Hong Kong, which no longer exists). Lots of speculation about the ways Pelosi could make an “unofficial visit.” Google translate does a poor rendering; here is the original.

Pelosi’s special plane to visit Asia has arrived in Singapore China Times. Original. “Pelosi and others are expected to visit Singapore on the 1st and 2nd, and French media reported that she may transfer from the Philippines to Taiwan on the 4th.” I don’t know which French media; not France24; not Agence France Presse; not Le Monde (at least as far as I can get before I hit the paywall). Perhaps readers can run this down?

Pelosi’s plane may land in Taiwan due to aircraft failure or refueling — newspaper TASS. The “newspaper” is the Global Times.

* * *

China warns its military will ‘not sit idly by’ if Pelosi visits Taiwan Reuters

As Pelosi Taiwan visit looms, Menendez bill would ‘gut’ One China policy Responsible Statecraft

How Yukong Moved the Mountains Letterboxd

Supercharged biotech rice yields 40% more grain Science

Editorial: Japan gov’t bears heavy responsibility for COVID-19 inaction The Mainichi


Myanmar junta extends emergency rule, cites need for stability Reuters

In a World of Crises, Don’t Forget Myanmar The Diplomat. Meanwhile, impressive:


Tighter Bank Rules Give Dubai’s Crypto Shops a New Allure Bloomberg

2 years later, hope for justice in Beirut explosion fades AP and Part of Beirut port silos, damaged in 2020 blast, collapses The New Arab


Prince Charles accepted £1m from Osama Bin Laden’s family – report BBC

How Labour abandoned the unions Unherd

How the German Economic Machine Broke Down WSJ

European Parliament Secretary-General appointment shows it’s “one rule for them and one rule for us” Transparency International


Monkeypox Is About to Become the Next Public Health Failure Scott Gottlieb, NYT. For some definition of “failure.”

New York City declares monkeypox a public health emergency AP

Monkeypox is Spreading Fast. Now Kids Are Getting It, Too Bloomberg. Presumably not through MSM sex.

‘Not enough shots’: U.S. faces ‘vaccine cliff’ on monkeypox WaPo

Efforts to curb UK monkeypox outbreak inadequate, warn experts Guardian

In Africa, at least. monkeypox is airborne:

New Not-So-Cold War

Donetsk being cleared of Ukrainian mines banned by Geneva Convention Al Mayadeen. PFM-1s (“petal” mines). Retweeted by Patrick Lancaster:

War With Russia Enters New Phase as Ukraine Readies Southern Counterblow WSJ. Maybe. Seeding the area one intends to conquer with landmines is an interesting approach.

“These are animals, not people”: Zelensky frees convicted child rapists, torturers to reinforce depleted military The Grayzone. More signs of impending victory for Ukraine, along with evacuating Donbas.

* * *

1st ship carrying Ukrainian grain leaves the port of Odesa AP

West eases efforts to restrict Russian oil trading as inflation and energy risks mount FT

Who Lost Ukraine? Larry Kotlikoff, Economics Matters

Biden Administration

Biden experiences a Covid rebound after treatment with one course of Paxlovid Politico. We have the tools!

Police State Watch

Atlanta group implicated in Russian influence scheme Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Imperial Collapse Watch

United States Army vs. People’s Liberation Army:

Guillotine Watch

Investing in Real Estate as Self-Care NYT. The deck: “Many women seeking independence after a breakup or divorce have discovered emotional empowerment and even healing in real estate investment.” Most New York Times headline EVAH. Heck, most liberal headline.

There Are Conga Lines and Huge Crowds on K2 Now Outside. A second Into Thin Air waiting to happen.

Class Warfare

‘Sending drivers out to die’: UPS workers demand heat safety amid record temps NBC

Booming US cannabis industry seen as fertile ground for union expansion Guardian (Re Silc).

Bill Russell, 11-time NBA champion, Boston Celtics legend and all-time defensive great, dies NBC. Commentary:

Bill Russell’s Lifelong Fight Against Racism Bill Russell, SLAM. From 2020, still germane.

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols dies at age 89 The Verge. Commentary:

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. KD

    Speculation, but it appears that Zelensky has switched gears toward flagrant Geneva Convention violations and borderline ethnic cleansing. I wonder if the point is to unleash the ethno-hatred beast, and use Zelensky as the fall guy, then knock him out when it all collapses, and then put Poroskenko in charge while the US and NATO build up some walls of plausible deniability. It looks like the cause is sunk, so get the fall guy to inflict maximum damage against the Russian ethnics in punishment. There may be a WWII analogy here, but it is unlikely that the Western Media will be able to articulate it.

    1. AB

      “The work of television is to establish false contexts and to chronicle the unraveling of existing contexts; finally, to establish the context of no-context and to chronicle it.” George WS Trow

      1. digi_owl

        I think social media took that and cranked it to 11.

        and i guess a comparison to Newspeak in impossible to avoid.

        Perhaps with a serving of Soma on top…

  2. upstater

    A rather pathetic commentary about Amtrak and the severing of passenger train service west of Albany Rensselaer, due to a nearly hundred year old 12 storey concrete building (also loaded with asbestos) that has been unused since 1990 that *might* collapse on the tracks. I suppose either the “investors” that own the building or Albany city code enforcement just happened to notice this problem after 32 years?

    There are no “easy fixes” to restore through passenger service to Saratoga, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Chicago. Apparently people will be bussed around the building to Schenectady later this week, but several trains will be annulled entirely.

    No easy fix for Albany track closure caused by unstable building façade

    Late stage capitalism is a beautiful sight… Noone is responsible for anything.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I wonder if that deteriorating building is owned by one of those divorced women who find comfort in real estate after their marriage ends. It might be a kind of Robert Smithson monument to their previous relationship. It has to fall down naturally, and the rubble will impede Amtrak the way the divorce sidetracked the marriage. Symbolically, divorce is being on a bus to Schenectedy.

      1. Marva

        That story screams “New crop of suckers wanted to buy plunging values in real estate.”

        Hey, if women reading the toilet paper of record went for feminism, maybe they’ll load up on house debt before the crash?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “Late stage capitalism is a beautiful sight… Noone is responsible for anything.”

      “Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system.”

      Emil Brunner, Swiss theologian

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I would question whether it is organised into anything.

        I’d say it’s more that liberalism (in the classical sense that is now imitated by many “conservatives” and that corresponds to maximally unrestricted capitalism in economy) is a policy of retreat from responsibility.

  3. griffen

    Bill Russell passes away. First heard this listening to the radio yesterday afternoon, and the accolades on the court alone write themselves. Different era of professional play in the NBA, but a dominant force in the paint he was.

    Damn it. Henry Aaron in 2021, and now Russell. These men were truly giants of their athletic pursuits and also the competition to improving the lives of millions.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pack about 25 lbs of muscle from better nutrition and workouts, and he’s an inch taller and the same weight as Lebron James. The knees won’t tolerate much more. He would have to learn to drain threes (NBA defenders close out too fast for the old 18ft jumpers to work), but he shot well enough he wouldn’t have had a problem.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      When I lived in Seattle I’d always heard he liked to play golf at the local public muni course with his buddies, even though he probably could have played at some posh private country club like most celebrities do. One day when I was out losing some balls, there he was in the foursome in front of us! Not hard to tell who he was, towering over everyone else.

      RIP to a class act.

    3. Tom Doak

      I had the opportunity to sit next to Bill Russell at dinner about twenty years ago. I knew better than to have believed the stereotype of him as a “scary black man,” but I was still surprised by how engaging he was, and by the warmth of his laughter.

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ukraine’s dropping “petal” mines on these civilian areas of the DPR is a war crime.’

    A coupla days ago the Ukrainians hit Donetsk city with white phosphorus and now they are hitting this city with petal mines. But wouldn’t you know it, there is always one person that forgets to check their inbox for updates. So this very old couple was spotted in the park by local forces – who were looking out for these mines – and the old lady bent down to get something. They got her to take out the contents of a bag and in it was one of these petal mines. She was going to take it to work to show co-workers. Why yes, there is a video as proof this happened- (58 secs)

    Saw mentioned in a video how forces opposite Donetsk are starting to pull back without orders. These are the one who have realized that as the breakthroughs here develop, the Russians and especially the local forces will have absolutely no interest in taking prisoners because of what they have been doing to Donetsk city.

    1. Objective Ace

      How effective are these petal mines if they can be picked up and transported in a bag without going off? Do they need to be stepped on? Was this one defective?

      1. The Rev Kev

        It takes about 5kg (11 pounds) of weight apparently to set one off though I saw local forces trying to move them very gingerly with spades until proper gear could be brought in. Yesterday I saw an image of one person’s foot after stepping on one of those things and his foot was completely unzipped and the bones fragmented. It will be a major effort trying to de-mine that city and those mines will last years. And the Ukraine using them actually is against a treaty they signed banning their use. That coffee cup in that image was not for scale by the way but the locals are using boxes, egg-cartons, etc. to mark their location.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Which Ukr govt signed that treaty? What’s the rules on legal continuity of govt legitimacy and obligations after serial coups? I doubt Zel feels any duty to observe the niceties of anything.

          Following, of course, the lead of the lordlings of the US, who take bold pride in being “not agreement capable.” Hoping they don’t get the chance to incinerate us as faux visions of hegemonic power disappear into what we mopes can only hope (history providing little comfort) is a multipolar, multilateral age of sovereign nations looking to advance all in a healthy way…

          1. Polar Socialist

            Ukraine signed Ottawa Convention in 1999, ratified it 2005 and as late as 2017 communicated it’s continuing observance of the convention – except of course in the areas not under it’s jurisdiction but occupied by Russia, who is not a signatory state, so Ukraine can’t guarantee non-use of anti-personnel mines in occupied areas.

  5. Stephen

    Hard to keep up with all the geo political drama these days but I guess you all noticed the renewed tensions that are now erupting between Kosovo and Serbia. Did not notice anything in Links but I might have missed it.

    Antony Blinken visited only last week it seems and tweeted how much he supports Kosovo’s Euro Atlanticist agenda, whatever that means, with predictable reactions from pro Serbian and Ukrainian supporting camps.

    Sounded like things are now simmering down and the local US embassy is part of enabling that but who knows for sure. Fomenting European ethnic tensions is like lighting a match and throwing it into a pile of fireworks. No idea exactly what will happen for sure but an explosion of some form is usually inevitable.

    The Kosovo flag looks like it is yellow and blue, which I guess is appropriate too.

    One certainly cannot accuse the Neo Cons of inertia: they definitely enjoy multi tasking. Losing count of the places where they are enabling democracy and supporting peace. Other than at home, of course.

    1. Louis Fyne

      simmering down only after Russia said Serbia will get unlimited assistance if things hit the fan, see NATO and Ukraine.

      Irony: Serbia and Vucic were threading the needle and accomodating NATO-EU. Weapons to UA were moving through Serbia.

      Another stupid provocation by the US via its proxies. we are in the most dangerous times since 1989. the West can’t be trusted with diplomatic agreements, Russia and China are not afraid of the Pentagon, while at the White House, Biden is aslèep at the wheel

      1. voislav

        Weapons to UA were not moving through Serbia, there is no reason to. I believe that you are referring to a recent crash of an Ukrainian aircraft in Greece loaded with Serbian weapons and ammo. That had nothing to do with Ukraine, other than cargo aircraft being operated by an Ukrainian company, as the cargo was going to Myanmar, not that selling arms to Myanmar is more palatable. If you look at the flight path, plane took off from Nis in southern Serbia and crashed in northern Greece, so flying away from Ukraine.

        Serbian weapons industry is very popular in Middle East, Africa and Asia, and they are controlled by people closely related to Vucic and his cabinet ministers. So far they had no incentive to get involved into supplying Ukraine since Serbian arms industry has its order book full for the next couple of years, while Serbian army equipment is generally in very poor condition, so it cannot be resold without major overhaul.

        The little disagreement with Kosovo is fully manufactured by the two governments, Vucic government is embroiled in a series of corruption scandals right now, so it needs a distraction. Kosovo government typically does them a solid by doing a police raid in Northern Kosovo, so that Vucic can spout outrage and waive the flag on TV. When Kosovo government has similar issues, Vucic will stage military exercises near the border and have one of his designated cronies (usually Vulin) talk about intervention in Kosovo. So this is something that the two governments do on a regular basis, it’s just getting amplified in the international media this time around because of Ukraine.

        1. Stephen

          That’s helpful. So this is just standard stuff that is now being reported widely.

          Amplification bias is always a challenge with these things!

          I guess the issue is if any of the third parties such as the US, EU or Russia choose to join the amplification and create conflict from it. At the moment, it seems thankfully that they do not.

      2. Stephen

        Thanks, I had seen references to Vucic doing as NATO asked (super tricky balancing act for Serbia) but not Russia’s intervention.

        Agree fully with your comment about dangerous times.

        In its own rational terms I cannot see for the life of me what conflict in Kosovo achieves now for the Empire on top of the Ukraine war, Taiwan drama, endemic Iran issues, ongoing Syrian conflicts, Moldavian challenges and whatever else is in play that I might have missed.

      3. Robin Kash

        Do you think Biden has any real control or even influence over foreign policy? He was confine to quarters with a COVID rebound as Pelosi ventures China ward. The neocons seem to have the wheel and are putting the pedal to the metal.

        1. orlbucfan

          What exactly is mostly senile Pelousy’s purpose in going to Taiwan? Even SloMoJoe was against it. Of course, he has the C crud. Hope the old fool recovers; K-woman as POTUS? Like we don’t have enough nightmares to endure?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I have read that Pelosi has a number of “Miami Cuban” Chinese in her district, and maybe they made “Pelosi goes to Taiwan” the price of giving her political money.

            1. digi_owl

              Well that would make sense. I have been wondering why there seemed to be less Asian frothing in US politics to go with the Caribbean and European contingents.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Maybe they do their frothing in a more quiet and dignified manner. And we have a large enough Chinamerican population to where there may be several support-factions going different ways, not just ” Miami Cuban” Chinese against CCP.

                ( And American representatives if-you-will of some of China’s victim ethnic groups might also want Pelosi to go to Taiwan, just for the defiance of it all).

                1. digi_owl

                  didn’t dig anything deeper than Wikipedia, but apparently there is some 24% Chinese-americans in San Fransisco proper. And 8% in the bay area overall.

                  So yeah, there may be something to it as the old hag is facing down reelection. And she do seem to have a history of being far harsher on China than other foreign policies.

    2. EGrise

      “One day the great European World War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.”

    3. Bugs

      Talked to some friends in Belgrade yesterday who told me I was silly and “following Russian bots” on Twitter and need to get a life. Their read is that it’s still the same problem with the two sides not accepting each other’s license plates as valid for travel once across the border. Kosovo got sick of this and closed two border crossings. I brought up Blinken’ Tony’s visit and got told to go to my room and shut up. Liberals…

  6. Tom Stone

    I have a word of warning for Fauci and all CDC employees about their insane decision to remove mention that Monkeypox is airborne.
    And perhaps Melania.
    When Barron Trump comes home from school with open sores covering his face….

    1. Mikel

      Yes, it would be worth their while to investigate and report the differences between monkeypox and coronavirus aerosols and what that would mean for getting the proper vintilation/air filtration for indoor areas.

      I’m beginning to think the CDC and associated crews don’t want to call something “airborne” if the droplets don’t stay in the air for very long. But in crowded, indoor spaces that would be a moot point.

      But then, until they take reporting studies seriously, it’s just a suspicion.

      1. HotFlash

        I remember seeing a panel discussion* a couple o’years back abt this. Two of the panelists were std-issue medico immunologists, and they were saying NOT AIRBORNE NOT AIRBORNE. no, no, no way, unless <5 μm. The OSHA engineer guy was amused. "In my line of work, we call a cow in a hurricane an aerosol."

        Wear at least an N95, every where. And god(dess) help us, every one.

        *wouldn't know how to even begin to find it now.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      Wasnt it Biden who said that once you have the Covid vaccine you will never catch Covid. So Monkeypox is just a continuation of the empire of lies about everything.

  7. Tom Stone

    Good news, it’s raining in Sonoma County.
    Just a gentle shower so far, but every drop helps.

      1. juno mas

        Sonoma is considered NorCal. The “rain” is likely from a monsoon system migrating from the South.

    1. harrybothered

      On my commute from Santa Clara to Menlo Park there were some raindrops on my windshield. I actually had to use the wipers for about 10 seconds. :)

      Not sure we’re going to be as fortunate as you guys

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols dies at age 89”

    A helluva lady that turned a role on a TV series into inspiration for millions of people and was a true pioneer. After Star Trek finished, she volunteered her time with NASA to help recruit women and minorities. And as that tweet showed, even at 75 years old she was ready to march in support of striking members of the Writers Guild back in ’07. And I just found out that Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1982 novel “Friday” to her which is high praise indeed. Nichelle Nichols, sadly missed-

    ‘Hailing frequencies closed.’

    1. Laughingsong

      She said one of my favorite all-time lines….when I first saw it as a child I didn’t get it. It’s in “The Naked Time” (think that’s right) where everyone starts acting drunk. Sulu is running around with his fencing sword acting like one of the Musketeers. She tries to talk him down but he grabs her, shouting “I’ll save you, Fair Maiden!”… and she replies “Sorry, neither!” It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I twigged that she was saying “Sorry, I’m neither ‘fair’ nor a ‘maiden’”. 😁. Great lady in many ways, I’m truly sad this morning.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Here is another Uhura story for you. They were on the Star Trek film set one day and the lighting guy was having trouble with the lighting as it was it not satisfactory. Looking at his gear he kept on calling out ‘She’s dark, she’s dark’ which referred to the insufficient lighting for the cameras as they made changes. Suddenly the penny dropped when they realized what was being said and everybody looked embarrassed. That is, until Nichols cooed ‘But comely’ which caused the crew to crackup.

        1. Alex Cox

          There’s a video interview with her online where she reports that she was going to quit Star Trek after the first series, and go back to theatre. But at a NAACP event, Martin Luther King asked to be introduced to her, contratulated her on the importance of her work and presence in the series, and urged her not to quit. As Dr. King observed, “There’s no guarantee they’ll hire another black, or another woman if you quit. They might replace you with an alien.”

          1. laughingsong

            I remember either that interview, or another where she said the same thing. I very much enjoyed all of the interviews I saw her in, she was a real class act!

    2. none

      Am I bad? I was sad to hear that she died, but my first thought was “I hope it wasn’t another transporter malfunction!”.

  9. bwilli123

    Re Pelosi & Taiwan From the Radio France Internationale (Chinese website) Google translation.

    ….”On July 31, Radio France Internationale quoted sources as reporting that Pelosi will visit Taiwan on August 4 via the Clark US Air Force Base in the Philippines and meet with President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei. The report did not say whether she was visiting Taiwan as the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives or in a private capacity. It was previously reported that she would visit Taiwan in a private capacity….”

    Following link contains Chinese characters
    Also reported by
    Tingting Liu 劉亭廷 from TVBS (Taiwan TV)
    “From my sources, @SpeakerPelosi
    is arriving in Taipei tomorrow night.”

    1. .human

      How can a person as public as Pelosi, using public resources, visit a foreign dignitary in a private capacity? Are they going to discuss their stock portfolios?

      The mind boggles.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Are they going to discuss their stock portfolios

        What its really about?

        If Pelosi is busy with China, her integrity can’t be impugned, or those critics would be traitors. She’s at least the most blatantly corrupt member of Congress. I think she’s trying to recapture the brief glory of her “clap” at the State of the Union by going for a golden oldie hit like when she went to Tiananmen Square in 1993ish.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Personally, I feel that Pelosi’s showboating is an indication of dementia. She is not fit to be Speaker. Is there an Article that can be used to justify her removal?

          1. juno mas

            … and she is older than Biden and third in the Constitutional conga line. The mid-terms will create the conditions for her removal.

            1. harrybothered

              > The mid-terms will create the conditions for her removal.

              She’s not my rep so I don’t know what the situation is but, if she has a challenger, it’s probably another Democrat. And Nancy always seems to win. Her constituents like her even if the rest of us don’t.

              1. MichaelSF

                Some of her constituents don’t vote for her. :-)

                But the alternatives on the ballot every two years have been slim to none for decades, especially if you want those to be “viable” alternatives.

    2. Louis Fyne

      PRC: Hey Nancy, this is our Cuban Missile Crisis. Seriously.

      PLA Navy and PLA Air Force: we are reàdy to test all our new toys

      Nancy: I can do whatever I want.

      Biden: Where is my applesauce?!?

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        As the late Pierre Sprey put it not long before his passing last year, “The US Navy now has two kinds of ships: submarines and targets.” What will happen if/after the USS Reagan settles not so gently to the bottom of the Philippine Sea?

          1. wilroncanada

            We’ll claim it’s an island, set up a six-mile exclusion zone, a hundred-mile fishing zone around it and a 300-mile flight zone above it.

    3. SocalJimObjects

      There’s been some speculation in the Taiwanese media on where she would be staying. Some say she has a reservation at the Grand Hyatt Taipei in the Xinyi district (4 minutes easy walk to the Taipei 101), and yet others say she would be staying somewhere in the Songshan district. It’s very unlikely that she would be checked in under her real name. My guess is crafty old Nancy is probably going to check in using the name 冰淇淋.

      1. SocalJimObjects

        I just finished reading that article, and I can’t help feeling that it was originally written by an American and not the opinion of some French journalist. But then again I am not sure who the intended audience of the article was. Chinese diasporas in France? The tone of the article is certainly quite hawkish, especially judging from the last paragraph.

        1. Yves Smith

          They see Pelosi as forcing them to accelerate unification of Taiwan with the mainland. That means by force. Not tomorrow, but her visit will commit China to that path.

  10. dk

    Supercharged biotech rice yields 40% more grain Science

    The underlying paper’s more detailed structured abstract is worth a look:

    I don’t have access to the full paper. The simple paragraph abstract, my emphasis:

    Complex biological processes such as plant growth and development are often under the control of transcription factors that regulate the expression of large sets of genes and activate subordinate transcription factors in a cascade-like fashion. Here, by screening candidate photosynthesis-related transcription factors in rice, we identified a DREB (Dehydration Responsive Element Binding) family member, OsDREB1C, in which expression is induced by both light and low nitrogen status. We show that OsDREB1C drives functionally diverse transcriptional programs determining photosynthetic capacity, nitrogen utilization, and flowering time. Field trials with OsDREB1C-overexpressing rice revealed yield increases of 41.3 to 68.3% and, in addition, shortened growth duration, improved nitrogen use efficiency, and promoted efficient resource allocation, thus providing a strategy toward achieving much-needed increases in agricultural productivity.

    If I understand correctly, doubling occurrence of the OsDREB1C transcription factor gene makes the plant a more aggressive consumer of nitrogen and light, and a more prolific flowerer; over-simplified, it’s more weed-like. The short-term benefits are obvious, but under — for lack of a better term — pre-new-normal conditions, such a crop can be expected to deplete soil nitrogen at higher rates, and compete more aggressively with other flora beyond its human-supervised cultivation.

    I’m struck that the popular-market article presents the lower 40% figure for yield (actually rounded down), and inheritance isn’t mentioned at all, perhaps because study still continues. If anyone reads the full paper, my question is: how inheritable is this modification, do seedlings bear it, and at what rates?

    Pondering a little further, we might look at the genomes of aggressive weeds to see if any over-express a similar DREB gene. We might then try to “tame” such plant lines by suppressing the over-expression. Already-edible weeds like dandelions might be modified into a more manageable food/feed crop, if the reduction in flowering isn’t too profound. Yes yes that’s super-over-simplified.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘makes the plant a more aggressive consumer of nitrogen and light’

      I was wondering about that point. As in, is it a more efficient user of fertilizers which might mean that there is less chemical run-offs from those farms or is it a matter of it using yet more fertilizers due to higher demands by those plants. To tell the truth, I suspect that the long-term effect would be for these plants to deplete farm soil at an accelerated rate which is the absolute last thing we need but that is just me.

      1. Polar Socialist

        From the little that was available I assume the over expression variant needs less fertilizer.

        In addition, 15N feeding experiments and field studies with different nitrogen fertilization regimes revealed that NUE [nitrogen uptake efficiency] was improved in OsDREB1C-OE plants due to elevated nitrogen uptake and transport activity.

        (emphasis mine).

        1. digi_owl

          Seems like it all comes down to the time axis used.

          If one consider that a seed of rice need X time to hit what is deemed maturity, and this change speeds it all up, then the yield pr unit time becomes higher.

          And thus while it the plant may not need more nitrogen in total, it it will absorb its fill faster in order to mature faster. Thus depleting the available supply in the soil faster, dependent on the farmer harvesting and reseeding more frequently in response.

      2. GramSci

        Or, if 40% less were planted in the same field, would it decrease soil depletion?

        In which case, one.might ask why this gene has not been naturally selected.

        Civilizations “improvements” on nature have generally not gone so well…

          1. HotFlash

            Even the new-improved Golden Rice has insignificant amounts of Vitamin A, esp if milled, stored, or cooked. This fact sheet from CBAN is enlightening. It is the same playbook as we have seen with the vaccines — Big Ag/Big Chem hype the product and fund the studies that ‘prove’ their product is AMAZING!!! CBAN does a delightful and comprehensive takedown, worth reading for that alone.

        1. dk

          Higher flower/seed producers might be subject to more insect and animal predators? (Is predator the right term for this context?) And more aggressive soil depletors don’t do themselves any favors in the wild. The current versions of our now-staple grain crops are all bred (and hybridized) from wild grasses that originally produced seeds in smaller and more stable proportions, no natural selection involved.

          1. flora

            GM seeds designed for greater yield per plant might also require more water. GM seeds designed to withstand drought or native naturally dry conditions, I submit, would be better, particularly in 3rd world dry or water scarce areas, even if the yield per plant is the same as current natively grown crops. The total would be a greater yield because more plants would survive and produce. Promising greater yield per plant at the expense of more human labor, intensive hand irrigation and higher costs per bag of seeds isn’t the answer, imo.

            1. Rex

              40% yield increase is huge.Most rice is grown in flooded fields.Extra water used would be minimal.This has the potential to massively improve food security in Asia

        2. Michaelmas

          Civilizations “improvements” on nature have generally not gone so well

          Every single crop you eat and which you like to imagine is the result of Nature is in fact the result of various human cultures’ and civilizations’ interventions.

          Over many thousands of years in some cases, to be sure. But every single crop.

            1. flora

              adding: There have been unwelcome, unexpected results in some GM crosses. The brazil nut allergen was transferred to GM soybeans crossed with the brazil nut to improve soy’s nutritional profile. The allergenic transfer was an unexpected and important effect for people with nut allergies.


              note: I’m not against GM in principle. But, where large sums of money are involved, as Agatha Christie wrote….

          1. Skippy

            Don’t have the time but there are great photos of what the original/wild species looked like before human cultivation – miniature in comparison.

            1. flora

              Wild strawberries are tiny compared to the modern cultivars. (A member of the rose family, by the way.) The wilds are only the size of a largish pea as compared to the modern strawberry cultivars which are the size of largish marbles. But oh, the flavor in those tiny strawberries!

        1. flora

          adding: I’m starting to think the globalists have, amongst themselves, declared war on small, privately owned farms and farmers. Holland, New Zealand (same as Holland), Ghana, Sri Lanka, Canada, etc. Why mightst the globalists want control of the world’s food supply, if that’s what they want? (Inquiring minds, etc.) / ;)

          1. GramSci

            Food has the reputation of being a sound countercyclical investment. Word on the Steet has it thats what Bill Gates is doing!

            Until the idled pitchforks are put to other uses.

    2. Phenix

      Dandelion is not a weed. It is already an edible plant and it is an excellent indicator of soil health.

      1. HotFlash

        Another ‘weed’ is lambs’ quarters, which Koreans call Myeongaju-namul and Indians call bathua or cheel baji. Tasty, healthy, grows like a weed. Major crop in my front yard, our staple fresh salad green and pot herb all summer. It freezes and dehydrates well, so we can have it all year round. Harvest as needed by snipping off the tasty tender end-bits, which encourages it to produce bush out, plus it self-seeds, IOW, no work at all.

        Chickweed is another, edible and tasty, also acts as living ground cover.

        1. 430MLK

          Big fan of lambs quarter in my yard. This time of year, it’s my grazing green. Hadn’t thought of freezing it. I’ll need to give that a try. Thanks for the suggestion.

      2. Skip Intro

        The long tap root recovers nutrients already leached below the roots of other plants. Making them available as biomass on the surface.

        1. John

          Dandelion’s tap root also mechanically penetrates and breaks up compacted soils caused by machines…graders and bulldozers. Nature’s aeration tool for compacted soils.
          The suburban hatred of dandelions is pathological.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      There’s an interesting discussion on about the role of science and more broadly, humans on the planet. Chris Smaje, the Englishman who advocates for a Small Farm Future reviews Regenesis by George Monbiot. George is now very much into Eco-Modernism, and his vision for the future is for humans to withdraw from as much of the world as possible, crowd into vast, high-rise cities, and eat manufactured food. This is a complete contrast to Smaje’s vision of a Wendell Berry world: humans disperse to small, largely self-sufficient farms where human and animal labor replaces fossil fuels for energy.

      So where and how would you rather live? Would you rather be on the 80th floor of some skyscraper, peering out your window at other skyscrapers, eating “food” from a dispenser that squirts it into a bowl? Or would you rather grow your own food with all the very hard work and frequent disappointments that entails? Which option would leave you more “human?”

      (I’m sure some smart-ass will respond neither, and that her/his preference is for a McMansion located within two miles of a Chipotle.)

        1. Acacia

          Heh. Everything old is new again. No mention of Corbusier’s Plan Obus for Algiers.

          But this could be a good setting for a remake of “Logan’s Run”. Escape the shopping mall to “sanctuary”, get past killer laser beams and robots… and find Riyadh in ruins.

      1. LifelongLib

        Well, I’d settle for a studio apartment on a block with a coffee shop and bar at one end and a library on the other.

        The big argument I’ve seen for living in Manhattan-like urban settings is that there’s less per capita energy use than in rural areas, because of few cars and multi-family buildings being more efficient to heat/cool than single-family houses. I don’t know if this applies to a future no-fossil-fuel situation. Presumably people in rural areas won’t be driving either, and there doesn’t seem to be a technical reason you couldn’t have multi-family housing there too. Also don’t know if the urban energy use estimate includes the costs e.g. of food transport and waste disposal, which require massive infrastructure. I’m currently reading World Made by Hand, but will have to do some serious non-fiction reading on both (and other) sides of the issue.

    4. Greg

      So I’ve had a quick read of the paper.

      They worked with overexpressed and knockout variants for the OsDREB1C transcription factor. This transcription factor showed up in earlier screens for upregulated genes during nitrogen and light deprivation, so it was known to be involved in nitrogen uptake and photosynthesis. They performed a bunch of trials both in growth rooms and subsequently field trials across three sites in China.

      The headline numbers around yield increases are a result of increased investment in seed relative to vegetative growth (harvest index increases), and they are supported by increased photosynthesis and increased nitrogen uptake and use.
      The plants are doing things like stacking a third more chloroplasts in their leaves and increasing all the precursors needed for the sun to sugar process.

      “Together, these results suggest that the observed growth and yield increases in OsDREB1C-OE rice plants result, at least in part, from enhancement of photosynthetic capacity.”

      On the nitrogen front, they’re both taking in more nitrogen (eating more fertiliser) and using it more efficiently to increase grain size. There was more nitrogen above ground and the increase was greater in the seed than in the leaves. They performed better under low-nitrogen conditions than the wild-type, so they would increase yield even if fertiliser use wasn’t increased.

      In conclusion, OsDREB1C appears to (i) stimulate nitrogen uptake by roots, (ii) enhance nitrogen transport to aerial organs, and (iii) promote resource allocation from leaves and shoots to grains.

      As a bonus, OsDREB1C overexpression also shortened time to flowering by a couple of weeks.
      In all these changes, the knockout lines showed decreases in the same statistics.

      Yield increases varied over site and year between 10.3% and 41.6%, so there’s clearly a bunch of genotype by environment interaction as well as just the genetic effects of the increased transcription.
      Bunch of downstream genes affected by this transcription factor, too many to talk about.

      It’s probably worth mentioning that while this test was done with a genetically modified pair of lines, because the DNA involved is from the parent plant, the same genetic effect (doubling one transcription factor) could be achieved via careful application of technically non-GM approaches.

      Re; the technical questions about the mutants involved in the trials, it looks like they used agrobacterium to insert a CaMV 35S enhanced version of the gene to make the overexpressing mutant. They used CRISPR-Cas9 to disable the gene to make the knockout mutant. No mention of further edits to disable spread of the lines, which isn’t surprising given they are mostly interested in seed characteristics for rice and wheat. Possibly escape capable, although they were working with an existing elite line which may already include controls on propagation. The field trials were at long established Chinese institutional sites, so almost certainly well controlled however. Small trials, only a few hundred plants in each cohort, so fairly easy to keep an eye on.

      1. dk

        Thank you, Greg!
        Did you happen to see where the “yield increases of 41.3 to 68.3%” came from? It isn’t mentioned anywhere except that “structured abstract,” so maybe even a typo or ham-handed click-bait.

        1. Greg

          This bit?

          Field tests of these plant lines in Beijing in 2018 revealed that OsDREB1C overexpression led to increases in grain yield per plant of 45.1 to 67.6% and in yield per plot of 41.3 to 68.3% compared with wild-type (WT) plants (Fig. 1C). Conversely, OsDREB1C KO resulted in yield decreases (from 16.1 to 29.1% in yield per plant and 13.8 to 27.8% in yield per plot) compared with the WT (Fig. 1, D and E, and table S1).

          The supplementary table S1 has the breakdown of stats by test but its a bit unwieldy for a paste. This might work – heading sequence then the two key lines for yield in the same order
          Table S1. Agronomic traits of rice plants grown in the field in Beijing in 2018.
          WT OE1 OE2 OE5 KO1 KO2 KO3 n

          Grain yield per plant (g) 18.19±0.63 26.40±0.80 ** 30.50±0.87 ** 30.40±1.03 ** 15.08±0.60 ** 15.25±0.63 ** 12.89±0.61 ** >130

          Grain yield per plot (g) 644.00±34.53 910.14±25.40 ** 1084.01±49.80 ** 1084.20±78.91 * 554.94±18.70 539.93±5.48 464.54±18.90 * 3

    5. c_heale

      Think dandelions have already been bred to be a more manageable food crop.

      I think this rice has been modified to use more artificial fertilizers especially nitrogen. I doubt it has much to do with feeding the world or making agriculture sustainable.

      Farmers here (Korea) manager to get a good crop with the application of cow manure before planting.

  11. ChrisRUEcon


    A Serbian friend suggested that a timely flare-up between Serbia and Kosovo might be providing air-cover for #IceCreamNancy …

    Tensions Flare on Kosovo-Serbian Border Amid Protests and Gunfire (via NY Times)

    … from the geniuses as #ProxyWarsRUs. It just occurred to me that much like the ill-fated Ukraine response to Russia’s SMO, the West is gonna proxy-war itself right into a cauldron.

  12. LawnDart

    Re; Pelosi, China, etc.

    I believe that the USA has recently allocated $95m to Patriot missile systems for Taiwan. I don’t know how many this will purchase– maybe one, maybe a hundred, whatever’s left over after mark-up and the middlemen’s cut.

    China currently has 24 Russian-built SU-35s in service, with Khibiny electronic warfare packages, and these recently were used to effectively surpress the USA-provided air defense systems in Taiwan, as a recent incursion demonstrated. It would be interesting to know if Russia has provided X-31 air-to-surface missiles for these aircraft– an entirely autonomous weapons system that actively searches for enemy radar to destroy.

    Russian media is particularly caustic with regards to “the old lady’s” potential visit, reading it as her effort to score political points before mid-terms, to show that she is still relevent and significant before she loses her job as speaker– little more than a (dangerous) display of narcissism, ego, and self-importance. There is some speculation that this trip may be intended to shift the spotlight from Ukraine, albeit, by creating another flash-point that also has the potential to go nuclear.

    1. Michaelmas

      the USA has recently allocated $95m to Patriot missile systems for Taiwan

      They’re useless junk. This is just Washington handing more money to the US arms industry, which the pols and the retired generals will then get kickbacks on.

      There is some speculation that this trip may be intended to shift the spotlight from Ukraine.

      That would actually make sense. The Pentagon and the DIA have begun trying to brief the pols and the Blob that the facade of Zelensky’s Kiev regime will collapse over the next 2-4 months.

      Give it another month or so till mid-September, and even the NYYT and the WaPo will be trying to squirm their way back towards reality with reports that the Ukraine war ‘has proceeded not entirely to Kiev/US/NATO advantage.’

    2. Michaelmas

      LawnDart: the USA has recently allocated $95m to Patriot missile systems for Taiwan

      They’re useless junk. This is just Washington handing more money to the US arms industry, which the pols and the retired generals will then get kickbacks on.

      There is some speculation that this trip may be intended to shift the spotlight from Ukraine.

      That would actually make sense. The Pentagon and the DIA have begun trying to brief the pols and the Blob that the facade of Zelensky’s Kiev regime will collapse over the next 2-4 months.

      Give it another month or so till mid-September, and even the NYT and the WaPo will be trying to squirm their way back towards reality with reports that the Ukraine war ‘has proceeded not entirely to Kiev/US/NATO advantage.’

  13. Mark Gisleson

    Since Democratic email spam was mentioned here earlier, my spam folder has been all but empty. Apparently there was so much push back on the Democrats’ insufferable “churn and burn” email strategy that the NY Times just found it necessary to publish a guest op-ed ripping Democrat spam.

    Not sure how long this will last as the Democrats, having hit rock bottom, are sure to do a lot more flailing about as the election draws closer, and the spam will undoubtedly return with a vengeance.

    1. Marva

      Have been collecting lost lead tire weights for years on daily walks.
      Love to put them, wrapped in paper, into those postage paid DNC and ACLU-Fuck them after they approved censorship of college students- mail envelopes. Must cost them at least ten dollars, which they must pay per contract with USPO.

  14. John

    Pelosi’s stunt is in aid of something. I cannot figure out what it might be. Speculation: Another notch in her I oppose the CPC gun butt? I want to visit Taiwan and who is going to tell me I cannot? I always wanted to precipitate a war with China? They can’t stop ME? And so on and so forth. Maybe it is all part of the careful plan to see if two front wars are a bad idea as everyone says; the Hitler example was not definitive.

    We (USA) have always been #1 is a conceit on the order of, “We have always been at war with East Asia.” The Jackpot is bad enough. For the government of a nuclear armed nation to be in the hands of fantasists is terrifying.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pelosi is likely legacy shopping, and the potential for a stock trading ban is the kind of thing that will leave her in a bad light. Her husband’s trades before the CHIPS Act moved forward are being spread. She managed to delay the legislation to ban her husband from trading in the Spring.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I hope that she remembered to take all the car keys with her – including the spares – before she boarded that plane.

    2. MRLost

      I, for one, am baffled. Is Nancy in a US military aircraft? Then Joe, as supreme commander of all US military everything, just tells everyone in the command network of that aircraft that they (specifically the pilot & crew but also all the munchkins who are the superiors/commanders of the flight crew) are not to fly to Taiwan under threat of court-martial for disobeying a direct order.
      If she is in a commercial aircraft, then maybe that’s a different story.
      If Joe actually wanted to stop her, he could. President of the US of A is still that powerful.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        On a fundamental level, Biden is an idiot who believes in congenitiality. Anyone not deemed as too much of a leftist must be respected. He won’t give Pelosi the riot act because he can’t comprehend it.

        1. c_heale

          He never seems very congenial when speaking or being interviewed. He always seems to be an extremely unpleasant person.

      2. Anthony Noel

        He could do a number of things, he could probably threaten her with the Logan Act. Probably wouldn’t stick but the threat would be sufficient. He could pull her passport since he can claim her act would be counter to US national security. He could call off any military escort she expected and call XI and tell him he’s got the OK to force her down before she gets to Taiwanese air space.

        He will do none of these things because Joe’s brain drippled out of his skull years ago and what ever cocktail of meth they’re pumping his corpse with to make in dance does not allow him to actively think, and the powers that be want this to happen.

        My bet is on the neo cons realizing that if they don’t confront China now, they’ll lose the ability to do so. China and the US will not be peer nations within the next 5 years. The Russians and Chinese can already counter and outgun pretty much every weapon system the US has on hand and are far in advance of anything coming down the pipe as both countries have been developing weapon platforms for the actual stated goal of being able to inflict or defend against violence while the west have been developing systems based on the concept of making the procurement officers and general staff and the defense industry as rich as possible as fast as possible.

  15. Pat

    I like to think that Nichols was supporting the Writers Strike because she, unlike so many others in the business realized that given the chance producers were going to use new media options to turn back the clock as writers were saying.

    Since this is a financial blog, I am going to give a little back of the envelope history of television compensation of actors (and by extension writers and directors). Most people have heard about residuals, payments that actors got because their work was played over and over. Now depending on your clout, you could really cash in, but for most actors it was the base SAG contract. There were many things in 2007 that still allowed for middle class actors which have since been eaten away, but residuals were one of the linchpins. Hell they could be enough so you kept your health coverage in an otherwise lean year. A lesser known fact is that some of the shows most of us in our 50s and 60s saw all the time growing up didn’t have any contracted residuals for regulars and guest actors. They saw not a dime for having their faces on television daily making producers millions. That included the original Star Trek. Yup, Nichols never saw a residual. If it was made before 1974, residuals didn’t exist.
    The writers were way ahead of their time. They had done studies, talked to experts and done the calculations. They knew back before that strike that streaming could and probably was going to devastate the financial compensation model for the guilds, every one of them. That if it became common most of their membership would watch most of their ongoing compensation disappear. The trigger for them had had been falling dvd payments, but their studies led them to believe, rightly, that on demand streaming would not be covered in the contracts and would not count toward residuals. The writers were not popular in the community since they were stopping production and their reasons weren’t listened to. the tech guilds were openly derisive, the actors were largely dismissive and the directors and producers wary but canny.
    And the Directors Guild actively undercut the strike by jumping ahead in negotiations. Too much had been made of their DVD study, so streaming was going to have to be addressed, but the DGA took a deal that left huge cut outs for producers and used the method for streaming measurement that the writers had already determined could be easily gamed. It became the base for other guild deals which pretty much destroyed any leverage the Writers Guild had. (Much of IATSE and the Teamsters screwed themselves further by not paying attention, they were funding their benefits with a DVD percentage payment, and thought it wouldn’t end) All of the guilds have been playing catch-up ever since.
    I like to think a lot of the older actors showed up at the WGA picket lines not just it was what union members do/did but because they knew if the writers were right thirty years of fair profit sharing with the workers would fade away and their younger compatriots would be left holding the bag just as they had for the first fifty years of television, especially ground breaking performers like Nichelle Nichols.

    1. Mikel

      WGA: “…their studies led them to believe, rightly, that on demand streaming would not be covered in the contracts and would not count toward residuals.”

      Not to mention what the WGA faced with the invention of “reality tv.”

      I remember walking by a WGA picket line around the mid-2000s or so and asking what they were picketing.
      They were outside the offices of “America’s Next Top Model” and they were protesting doing scripted work on these “reality” shows, but not being paid the same based on the marketing definition of “reallity tv” being alleged non-scripted shows.

      1. Pat

        It wasn’t just that, reality shows had people writing scripts but being in positions that had no guild protection because they called them an assistant to the producer or some such title while denying there were scripts. They were battling on all fronts for years for that.

    1. LawnDart

      Armed with AI, one could hit faster than one’s opponent could hit back: will accuracy matter for much if one is overwhelmed by an onslaught?

  16. LawnDart

    Just in from Forbes:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan as part of her ongoing tour of Asia, CNN reported on Monday… The exact timing of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is unclear but she is expected to stay in the capital Taipei for at least one night, CNN reported citing an unnamed senior Taiwanese government official and a U.S. official.

  17. The Rev Kev

    Biden: ‘What am I going to do, Antony? My numbers have tanked since I had to get out of Aghanistan. I need a win for November’

    Blinken: ‘I know. Let’s get the Ukrainians to invade the Donbass Republics. Russia is too scared of NATO to do anything.’

    Biden: ‘Now what? The Russians have about beaten the Ukrainians and it is only a matter of time till they win.’

    Blinken: ‘I know what to do. Let’s get Nancy Pelosi to fly to Taiwan to stir China up and distract everybody. Those communists are all cowards.’

    Biden: ‘Jeez, Blinken. The Chinese are threatening war if she goes there. How am I going to get out of this mess?’

    Blinken: ‘Already on it. I have just returned from Kosovo and I got them to start trouble with the Serbs.’

    Biden: ‘But what if that doesn’t work out?’

    Blinken: ‘Not a problem. After all, we will always have Iran.’

    Definitely the B team.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      ROFL. Biden didn’t cancel Pelosi’s passport, but perhaps he can cancel the mid terms to save Democracy!!!

    2. Carolinian

      Elsewhere on the web this morning “where’s Nancy?” seems to be topic A now that Taiwanese media have said she’s coming.

      Locally we once had an elderly man disappear and he was eventually found 200 miles away driving aimlessly around Atlanta’s perimeter highway. Are Pelosi and Biden having senior moments? Is that really a silly question?

  18. Lexx

    ‘These are animals, not people.’

    Our neighbors – the Super Patriots* – disappeared for a month, volunteering overseas to help those “poor people in the Ukraine”. They like to end loud conversations they’ve engaged in with other neighbors from opposite sides of the street, with phrases like ‘Not on my watch!’

    Meanwhile, back in the Ukraine, Zelensky is unleashing psychopaths (berserkers) from prison on that same civilian population, in hopes of striking fear in the hearts of the Russian army? The separatists in the Ukraine? In exchange for their freedom as possible cannon fodder? A full pardon should they survive? The recruits are “people” who should never be let out of the their cages for any reason. Madness.

    * House dripping with multiple American flags, yard stacked up with campaign signs for Democratic candidates, in constant recruitment for the Democratic party, “operatives”.

    Impassioned? No. They’re in the home remodeling business; they don’t go anywhere without handing out several business cards, 24/7 sales for their “brand”. Even their house is the model for their posters and advertisements.

    Family, friends, acquaintances, strangers… it always seems to boil down to money and how to get more of it.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘Because Yves went over well with Gonzalo Lira’s regulars, he’s asked her to join in another roundtable, Tuesday morning August 2, 9AM Eastern, with Alexander Mercouris of The Duran and Brian Berletic of New Atlas. The topic is China and perhaps some other hot spots.’

    Looks like Christmas is coming early. Yves, Gonzalo Lira, Alexander Mercouris and Brian Berletic together at the same time. All of them top notch people who have not swallowed the kool-aid.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I’m not really a Podcast type person. I do enjoy listening to classical and some sports talk on the radio every now and then.

      That said. I’m totally looking forward to this roundtable! I’d never heard Yves’ voice before. She’s a natural for this! Tbh, Yves and Lambert would blow up if they ever made 5-10 min Water Cooler/Links YouTube news vids. Just recap what was written!

      Anyways, glad Yves is on again! I listened to that whole 2hrs 22mins and could’ve listened for another couple hours! Unheard of for me.

      1. Anthony Noel

        You should look up her appearances back in the day on Bill Moyers. That’s how I discovered her and this website and her excellent book Ecconed.

    2. Korual

      The Duran need educating on MMT basics. They complain about neoliberalism and neoconservatives but then repeat all the mainstream economic mantras. Hopefully Yves can talk about that.

      1. Yves Smith

        I know, it’s a big problem that the commentators that are good on foreign affairs are diehard libertarians/neoliberals. Although Lira did speak in favor of industrial policy, which was a pleasant surprise.

  20. Carolinian

    That Atlanta Journal Russian influence story is indeed disturbing but not in the way intended. The AJC thinks we should be shocked, shocked that Russian financiers are encouraging a Black separatist group to oppose US support for Ukraine. Presumably they would want to indict me too if they could find some Kremlin sugar daddy financing my comments (good luck). Of course the reality is that there is a vast apparatus of foreign influence encouraging US support for Ukraine despite virtually zero relevance of any of this to the American people and their welfare.

    Therefore a between the lines read of the AJC is that the USG sees the best defense of their foreign influence peddling vulnerability is a good offense as long as those evil Slavs are at the bottom of it. As for “Black Hammer,” maybe they are bad guys but even they have free speech rights. Here’s suggesting it’s the Department of Justice that the Journal should be investigating.

  21. LawnDart

    Not cynical enough? A most savage and timely article:

    USAPolls show almost no one trusts US media, after decades of war propaganda and lies

    The CIA has long manipulated the media, spreading disinformation to justify US wars. Today just 11% of North Americans trust television news.

    Just 7% of North Americans have confidence in Congress, 14% in the justice system, 14% in big business, 23% in the presidency, 25% in the Supreme Court, 26% in large technology companies, and 45% in the police, according to another study by Gallup.

    1. LawnDart

      [Sorry about the bold– apparently I screwed-up the formatting. Beyond the numbers, the article makes a good read.]

  22. Tom Stone

    During the 15 years I did volunteer work in the jails I occasionally met men who should be either killed out of hand or kept locked in cages for the rest of their unnatural lives.
    Men like Onishenko, who Zelensky just freed.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I feel dirty just reading that article.

      Interesting to note in the article that some prior Ukrainian Army Units defected when they were sent to the Donbass to deal with the separatists occupying important govt buildings. Crazy how Kiev didn’t just deal with the Separatists. They actually sent in Nazis to terrorize the locals.

      No chance in hell the locals are gonna tolerate the Tornado Battalion and Ruslan.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “European Parliament Secretary-General appointment shows it’s “one rule for them and one rule for us”

    It is articles which leads me to believe that in the next twenty years that we will be referring to the EU as the European Hegemony. Seriously. Just logging off for the night but thought people might enjoy the following tweet-

    ‘Rob Reiner
    Screw politics. Screw poll numbers. Joe Biden has a record of accomplishments in the first two years of his Presidency that has gone unmatched for almost 60 years.’

    1. digi_owl

      The ongoing weirdness is that EU is supposed to be “democratic” as the parliament is elected by the people, and the council is made up of the governments of the member nations. Yet again and again is produces rulings and directives that only benefit the biggest economic players of Europe.

    2. c_heale

      This is making the Brexiteers look like they have a point. Doing this kind of thing will only bring the end of the EU closer.

  24. Mikel

    “Can Elites Start the Climate Revolution?”
    Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

    I’m sure Tooze thinks so. While he’s dones some fascinating and thorough historical works, there isn’t much he doesn’t think the elite can’t do.

    On a related note, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some Euros who think what is going to befall them this winter is actually a great thing.

  25. chuck roast

    Wow…Kotlikoff’s head explodes. On Substack. So people actually pay for this. Makes sense. Here is a guy who is happy to teach the loanable finds theory, NAIRU, and the relative non-existence of actual money. Impressionable young minds pay for this too. Why do I keep thinking that everything seems to be a Giffen Good these days?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Having read Kotlikoff previously on economic issues (his field of expertise), I expected the usual sober and well-reasoned article. Halfway through reading it, I slowly realized that he wasn’t writing a spoof and in fact is completely frothing-at-the-mouth deranged. Wow.

      One almost wonders if the foreign policy community paid Kotlikoff to write this nonsense, in order to make Blinken and Nuland and Sullivan et al look like paragons of wisdom by comparison.

      “Giffen Good”, wow, I haven’t heard that term since I was studying microeconomics many moons ago, thanks for the flashback! But Gresham’s Law is still my favorite.

  26. haywood

    Anyone else noticed that celebrities don’t die from COVID any more?

    There’s a Darwin Award anti-vaxer death highlighted by the press every now and again, but I cannot remember the last famous person to pass away from covid.

    Colin Powell maybe? That was over a year ago.

    It’s got to be an editorial decision to not list covid as the cause of death for vaccinated famous people. Of course, vaccination reduces your risk of death from covid, and wealth is always the best medicine, but these celebrities are like 90 years old.

    Statistically, with thousands dying every week (at minimum), when 1/3 of the country has covid right now, and our national policy encourages everyone to cough in each other’s mouths for freedom, at least ONE of these dead vaccinated famous people have to have died of covid, right?


  27. Wukchumni

    Coastal Redwoods are all about height and Giant Sequoias are all about girth, consider the former to be lanky basketball players, while the Sierra Redwoods are sumo wrestlers.

    My local forest for the trees is the Atwell Grove in Mineral King, which not only has the highest altitude Sequoias, but a good amount of trees over 300 feet, which lie hidden on steep slopes and require off-trail travel to see-which hardly anybody does, combined with LiDAR scoping which revealed how tall a section of the Atwell Grove is. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, in that the tallest Sequoias grow at the highest altitude of the species.

    As Fisher put it, roughly a century of fire suppression has created an “abominable” mess in our forests and made them more difficult to manage, particularly in the face of rising global temperatures and hotter drought. Indeed, removing fire from the giant sequoia ecosystem – which historically experienced low intensity burns every ten years or so that allowed seeds to germinate and grow in the newly enriched soil and open spaces created by fire – has led to severely overstocked ladder fuels, excessive white fir and incense cedar, and dangerously low sequoia regeneration. This situation – which is not unique to giant sequoia – is exacerbated by climate change, which allows pests and severe fires to proliferate while otherwise producing hotter, drier, windier and overall harsher weather and growing conditions.

    Giant sequoia garner attention and concern because it is such a rare and charismatic species, but improving forest health by reducing overloaded forest fuels, reintroducing fire, and rebalancing species composition is extremely important across California and elsewhere.

    “We were all excited, but Michael most of all,” Fisher noted. Taylor is supercharged by tall trees, and he immediately began bounding around on his virtually spring-loaded feet taking laser measurements with Sillett. As the explorers computed the heights of the trees around them, they were astonished to confirm multiple trees over 95 meters, others over 93 meters, and more over 90 meters. They quickly realized that they had just found the tallest little grove of giant sequoias in the world.

    The trees were mostly very tall, some quite thick, and overall very healthy looking thanks to the relative abundance of water compared to everything else in the suffering area. The tallest tree in the grove was a record-setting 95.7 meters. A 95.4 meter tree of great mass and with a very lush crown was arguably the most beautiful specimen; it now ranks as the third tallest giant sequoia. Incredibly, the tallest tree in the grove did not take the title of “second tallest giant sequoia in the world” outright, because the team actually found another tree of exactly the same height in another location the next day. Regardless, the health, height, and beauty of the “tallest little grove” surpassed everyone’s expectations.

  28. Jason Boxman

    The US, however, currently has limited supplies of Jynneos available for use, and clinicians have had difficulty prescribing Tpoxx to patients since it is only approved for smallpox.

    That makes it especially important for health officials to develop a plan for what should happen if infections spread rapidly among kids, Varma of Weill Cornell said.

    “Any situation in which an infected child visits school or day care will generate a high level of concern from administrators and families,” he said. “It is critical that public health agencies develop protocols now for how they plan to investigate such cases, including contact tracing and testing.”

    That means, just like with COVID, cases will be kept under wraps, and parents won’t know where it is safe to send their children. Duh.

  29. fresno dan
    “This is a reversal of #Kissinger position in the first weeks after the start of the #UkraineWar.Henry Kissinger advises Ukraine not to cede any territory to Russia.”

    This news is just in the nick of time too, given the US withdrawal from Afghanistan that Trump promised but left up to Biden to do.
    I was afraid that common sense might settle in and that Ukraine would negotiate a deal with Russia.
    The US, after FINALLY getting out of Afghanistan, is periously close to not being in a war. That would be a diasaster. Ideally, we can get into a war with BOTH China and Russia, because after all, the wars we have been in over the last 50 years have soooo improved the world…

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Thank god he did reverse himself. Finding myself in agreement with Henry Kissinger was destroying my self-esteem.

  30. Mildred Montana

    >Can Elites Start the Climate Revolution? Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

    Betteridge’s Law. No.

    Why? Well, first of all, the article is a year old. What have the elites done in a year? Not much that I can see. Further, what have they done in thirty years? Ditto. Oh yes, they attend so-called climate conferences on a regular basis, but the very regularity of these conflabs shows they’re all talk and no action. And past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

    One of the roles of government is to set an example for the rest of us. Just once—just once—it would be nice to see one of our “leaders” pulling up to a meeting on a bicycle. But it will not happen anytime soon, his or her embarrassment would be too great, elitists can be hard on any mavericks in the herd.

    The elites are the problem, not the solution. They are smug in their belief that they can escape the worst consequences of climate change, that they can carry on as usual, that if life in New York or Washington or London gets too uncomfortable they have the resources to move to a more agreeable clime. As Gore Vidal said many times, “No ruling class has ever reformed itself.”

    I am firm in my belief that they will do nothing. Therefore it’s up to us, folks.

    1. LawnDart

      It’s all just for show– “image is reality” and PR. Climate collapses, rich-man’s dollar goes further as the poors race to the bottom, shedding useless-eaters along the way: in terms of relative weath, all the rich need to do is stand still while what little wealth held by the poors evaporates, and the rich get richer by comparison alone.

  31. Richard

    Yves. I listened to your previous show with Gonzalo Lira. You mentioned you’re putting together a list of criteria around your next move. It would be great if you could share some of your thoughts and criteria with your readers… I’m sure many of us would be interested. Looking forward to the next show with Gonzalo.

      1. Louis Fyne

        IMO, for most Americans, rural midwest—largely because of housing bargains in many of those towns along with legacy civic organizations (libraries, senior social services, etc).

        If you want to be adventurous and understand the tradeoffs: Costa Rica, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Vietnam.

        1. HotFlash

          My criteria are a socialist country (ie, people-oriented for health, housing, pensions, etc) with a government that is strong enough and smart enough to stand against BigBiz and the BigHegemon. Ideally it would be one that has a demonstrated track record for same. Self-sufficient for food and water are def important, but with proper govt leadership, that can be obtained in many, perhaps most, places. A mild climate and good music are also welcome.

          I have concluded that ‘autocratic’ and ‘dictatorship’ seem to be the terms for any government, excuse me, “regime”, that is not a family-blogging doormat to The Hegemon. Chinese and Russian seem difficult languages to learn, so I am learning Spanish,

        2. WhoaMolly

          Yes, Louis, I agree on rural midwest. I grew up there.

          I think what is important in an “expat” destination is people. The neighbors, the community and their shared beliefs and values.

          A semi-famous yoga teacher once told me of his experience when he was traveling around the country and teaching yoga a couple decades ago.

          He said, “There are these little hippie communities all over the country. I would go and live with them for a while and teach yoga. They all fly under the radar, but they are there.”

          Finding a like-minded community in rural America–one that shares ones values–seems to be a realistic option. If I were doing so, I would also look for a way to be useful to that community and set out to contribute as soon as I arrived.

          1. WhoaMolly

            Possibly the most profitable “expat” question to ask is, “Where can I live a meaningful life?”

          1. Louis Fyne

            not really as it is unique to each person.

            are cold winters a problem? do you need access to an airport? do need access to a research hospital? where are your closest relatives/friends. do you need access to XYZ amenity?

            Rural midwest as it tends to offers the most affordable choices and social services-institutions (thank you German and Scandi 19th century settlers) versus other rural areas in the country.

            1. Mike Mc

              Just fled the rural Midwest for The People’s Republic of Colorado after forty plus years.

              If you have no family connection to a particular place, you will need Obama level skills at glad handing to even come close to ‘fitting in’. If you are white or Hispanic, you have a shot, but you should have serious professional skills (and a serious grubstake too).

              Trump/GQP madness is deeply rooted now. Possible that scales will fall from enough eyes that some Prairie Pragmatism will return, but I’m not sure I’ll live long enough to see it.

              Caveat emptor!

  32. Mikel

    “How the German Economic Machine Broke Down” WSJ

    Well, imagine that. A situation has been created for Germany to make more offhoring and outsourcing more politically viable.

    1. jsn

      I keep wondering if someone at State isn’t planning to take all the German industrial plant and physically move it to Detroit or Buffalo.

      It’s what Stalin did in the Russian third of occupied Germany and we’ve arrived at a similarly authoritarian moment.

      On the other hand, I doubt we have the competence to execute on such a plan.

  33. Karl

    Will Sinema cause the Manchin-Schumer deal to unravel?

    Sinema (D-Ariz.) has long objected to the closure of the carried interest loophole, which pertains to the percentage of profits hedge fund managers keep from investments. The profits are taxed at a rate of about 20% compared to the 37% top tax rate for ordinary income.


    The Arizona Democrat was left out of the negotiations between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

    Do you think Manchin gamed Schumer? And, Schumer thought Kyrsten would just “roll over” cuz the guys didn’t think to include her?

    1. jsn

      Or, they’re all in it together to gouge so serious dough from the money guys so that “nothing will fundamentally change.”

      “Policy for sale! I have $100M, do I hear $110M?…”

  34. CarlH

    Seen in the “Who Lost Ukraine” article: Putin is described as “Vladimir the Despicable”. Our elites are spoiled children. It is astonishing. The author also describes the war as genocidal. How do these people rise to such heights? We are doomed.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      In fairness, many people are using “genocidal” very loosely these days. Personally, I’d question the value of the term by this point. After all, people are just as dead whether you set out to exterminate their entire ethnicity or not.

      1. digi_owl

        There has been a steady inflation in the harshness of language used.

        If one try to be more nuanced than love or hate, one get funny looks or maybe even attacked for being a mealy mouthed pushover.

        1. Jeff V

          Whenever the subject of Ukraine comes up, people assume I agree with them.

          When I gently try to point out the situation is complicated, and make obvious points such as “it isn’t just the Russians who are using propaganda” people think I’m being contrary for the sake of it.

          I don’t tell them my actual views, since I don’t enjoy being called a conspiracy theorist / useful idiot / nutjob. (At least nobody has called me a traitor – so far, anyway.)

          On the plus side, I have forgiven myself for supporting the invasion of Iraq and believing that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, since I was too young to know any better in the face of relentless government and media spin.

        2. Daniil Adamov

          I’m thinking less about harshness (Putin has been compared to Hitler for many years now, so is there really any inflation?) and more about people not thinking too hard about what the words they use mean. Thus “genocide” can be applied to massacres, invasions, abusive education, etc. I’d think those things would be easy enough to condemn on their own, but politicians and their servants, among others, want stronger-sounding words, so they contort logic and trot out genocide.

  35. JB

    This is a bit apart from NC’s usual topics, but for Irish journalism, have to give a shout out to Village Magazine – who may be among the best investigative journalists in Ireland, with plenty of excellent sources and connections.

    The volume of excellent articles from them, on a very wide range of topics, makes it really hard to pick out anything specific – so the newly released details about the Bloody Sunday murderers in the British military, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, is an excellent example of the depth of detail (just one article out of dozens on this topic):

    This is the same magazine that spurred a criminal investigation of Ireland’s previous and soon-to-be Taoiseach/prime-minister – which has only just been put to bed, due to statute of limitations, not due to lack of criminality:

    If Village and NC found something to collaborate on writing about, that would be interesting to see – but I don’t know what about. I’d certainly rate both at a similar level of integrity, and natural journalistic allies.

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