Links 8/18/2022

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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People are ‘Hunting’ Invasive Spotted Lanternflies—And You Should, Too Smithsonian

The Bigger This Fungus Gets, the Worse We’re Doing The Atlantic

What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Trees? Men Yell at Me


Climate startups’ secret weapon to meet their missions Protocol. Public Benefit Corporations (PBCs).


U.S. to end purchase of COVID-19 vaccines as industry pivots to commercial market Yahoo News. Market guaranteed, mission accomplished.

NorthShore to pay $10M to settle Covid vax mandate lawsuit; Fired workers could get $25K and their jobs back Cook County Record

* * *

With Innovation, We Can Keep Reducing the Toll of COVID-19 Edward Nirenberg, Gavin Yamey, and Ilan Schwartz Time. “Aside from these measures, while there is a strong case for mandating indoor mask use in a surge, unfortunately, we see little political appetite for the return of such mandates.” Creating such a “political appetite” would be the real innovation.

* * *

How much virus does a person with COVID exhale? New research has answers Nature. “The study also highlights the variation between individuals in the amounts of exhaled virus, which ranged from non-detectable levels to those associated with ‘superspreaders’. One Omicron-infected participant, for example, shed 1,000 times as much viral RNA through fine aerosol as the maximum level observed in those with Alpha or Delta. The researchers say that the root of these discrepancies remains a mystery but could be related to biological factors such as a person’s age. Behaviour might play a part, too: the study’s superspreader coughed more frequently than others. If new variants are more prone to superspreading, that might drive them to dominate COVID-19 cases. The team notes that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 exhale much lower amounts of viral RNA than people infected with influenza, a comparable airborne disease. This suggests that SARS-CoV-2 could spin off variants that transmit even more virus.”

Awareness of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Infection Among Adults With Recent COVID-19 Seropositivity JAMA Network From the Abstract: ” Of the 210 participants (median [range] age, 51 (23-84) years; 136 women [65%]) with serological evidence of recent Omicron variant infection, 44% (92) demonstrated awareness of any recent Omicron variant infection and 56% (118) reported being unaware of their infectious status. Among those who were unaware, 10% (12 of 118) reported having had any symptoms, which they attributed to a common cold or other non–SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Blood abnormalities found in people with Long Covid Science. “The Long Covid patients, most of them struggling with intense fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms, had low levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that helps the body control inflammation, glucose, sleep cycles, and more. Features of their T cells indicated their immune system was battling unidentified invaders, perhaps a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 or a reactivated pathogen such as Epstein-Barr virus.”


WHO: Monkeypox cases rose 20% in past week Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Human Monkeypox without Viral Prodrome or Sexual Exposure, California, USA, 2022 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. “His primary risk factor was close, nonsexual contact with numerous unknown persons at a crowded outdoor event. His case highlights the potential for spread at such gatherings, which may have implications for epidemic control. The lack of both sexual exposure and anogenital involvement indicates that mode of transmission may be associated with clinical symptoms; fomites (hotel bedding and sheets, high-touch areas in public settings) may be alternative modes of transmission. Overall, the viral inoculum required for all possible modes of transmission remains an area of active investigation.” Note that “close contact,” putatively touch, includes airborne transmission as a confounder. The CDC’s case report database, as I show here, cannot represent the possibllity of aerosol transmission, and hence its survey forms will not include questions relevant to that mode. Still, it’s good to see a little pushback on the “gay plague” talking point.

Monkeypox Vaccine Maker Seeks Partners in Race to Meet Demand Bloomberg


China’s GDP growth forecasts slashed as coronavirus, a property sector slump and heatwaves erode economic recovery South China Morning Post

US, Taiwan to start formal trade talks under new initiative Channel News Asia

Echoing Sun Tzu:

Improved trolling from China, but is it so wrong?


‘Survival at any cost’: Myanmar generals move to cement power Al Jazeera

Chinese Mega Project in Myanmar ‘Not Affected’ by Owner’s Arrest: Company Official The Irrawaddy. Odd!

Apple suppliers to make Apple Watch and MacBook in Vietnam – Nikkei Reuters

Intel to invest $7 billion in new plant in Malaysia, creating 9,000 jobs Reuters


Turkey, Israel to restore full diplomatic ties France24

How Israel Became Intoxicated by Military Force Haaretz


Labour’s Dogmatism London Review of Books

New Not-So-Cold War

Playing With Fire in Ukraine John Mearsheimer, Foreign Afffairs

Americans are paying for slogans on bombs aimed at Russians WaPo. Perfect distillation of the PMC notion that words are violence.

* * *

Russian Air Strikes on Odesa Raise Concerns for Grain Shipments Maritime Executive

Russian shakes up Black Sea fleet command after series of blows in Crimea – state agency Reuters

China to send troops to Russia for ‘Vostok’ exercise Reuters

How Putin’s War Changed My Moscow Der Spiegel

* * *

Why is Amnesty apologising for telling the truth about Ukrainian war crimes? Jonathan Cook

They keep showing their ***:

Unless they’re trying to attract more mercs, of course. In that case, the insignia would be plus.

Mexico’s president sounds increasingly radical. Is a clash with Washington imminent? Miami Herald

Biden Administration

Eighteen U.S. states join Missouri probe into Morningstar ESG Reuters

‘Help is on the way’: FDA finalizes rule that should usher in cheaper hearing aids CNN. Hopefully Stoller will have views.

Closing Down the Billionaire Factory Matt Stoller, BIG. On private equity.

Police State Watch

Black Lexington Plaintiffs Seek Restraining Order Against Police For ‘Harassment, Coercion, And Threatening Conduct’ Mississipi Free Press

Public Safety Dance The Baffler

Health Care

Medical error: An epidemic compounded by gag laws STAT

Dr David Berger: A principled advocate for equality and science in healthcare WSWS

Imperial Collapse Watch

Military’s search for tech zen goes transnational Responsible Statecraft (Re Silc).

When Cities Treated Cars as Dangerous Intruders MIT Press Reader

Class Warfare

Work From Office No Mercy/No Malice. Do note that if your work is with either material or “meeting the public,” WFH isn’t even an option. We used to call people who could not work from home “essential workers” but that phrase died out, along with a lot of the workers.

The anti-work movement Axios

The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score NYT

How Are Unpaid Internships Still a Thing? Teen Vogue

* * *

PEB 250 Recommendations ‘Fair and Appropriate’ Railway Age. For more on a potential railroad strike, see NC here.

Starbucks Illegally Threatened Seattle Workers, Labor Board Claims Bloomberg

Why the Left Needs Free Speech Plebity

Epigenetic ‘Clocks’ Predict Animals’ True Biological Age Quanta

Having ‘good’ posture doesn’t prevent back pain, and ‘bad’ posture doesn’t cause it The Conversation

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. Geo

    “Mexico’s president sounds increasingly radical. Is a clash with Washington imminent? Miami Herald”

    The Miami Herald is really appealing to their anti-Castro audience with this one. Love how they frame Cuba’s export of doctors as “modern day slavery”. From a capitalist perspective I guess it may seem like that but, they may have forgotten, Cuba ain’t capitalist. Can’t remember specifics but when I was in Cuba (had a health emergency while there and spent an evening in a Havana hospital – best hospital experience in years) I had it explained to me and everyone makes basically the same income with slight increases for professionals. Not good for upward mobility but was nice to see a city where the poor aren’t desperate and crime isn’t off-the-charts like I experienced in San Juan (PR), Kingston, Managua, and many other cities located beneath the United States.

    Lots more to rant about with that article but they had nothing of substance so I will refrain. They only seem mad because he’s not bowing to US interests and is friendly with countries we haven’t been able to successfully coup yet. Even admit his people love him – but he said something nice about Castro! He’s evil!

    Best part was how they compared AMLO to Trump.

    For a paper that notably broke the Epstein scandal it’s a shame to see them peddling propaganda like this. For anyone whose read MSM portrayals of Corbyn, Sanders, and anyone else to the left of Margaret Thatcher, this will read like a greatest hits of leftie smears. Seems AMLO is doing something right if these are the types he’s outraging. :)

    1. Fergie

      Following this logic, American Health Profit Maintenance Corporations are practicing slavery by keeping almost all the money we pay for “health care” instead of handing it to the doctor we see.

    2. Gregorio

      “How dare those ungrateful Messicans refuse to give away the farm to multi-national corporations after all we’ve done for them.”

      1. Adam Eran

        JFYI, Ravi Batra (Greenspan’s Fraud) reports Mexican real, median income declined 34% in the wake of NAFTA. One has to go back to the Great Depression to find a decline like that in U.S. incomes…and that prompted no great migration…Oh wait! The Okies!

      2. robert lowrey

        What does “Multi-National Corporation even mean? If it is in fact a multi-national, why would you single out the US? It’s my contention that I am not merely nit-picking when I insist that there is no such thing as an MNC … they should be referred to as what they really are: TNC’s, as in TRANSnational corporations … case in point from today’s posted headlines:

        “Intel to invest $7 billion in new plant in Malaysia, creating 9,000 jobs Reuters”

        That plant is not Malaysian, it is American, because Intel is an American TRANS-national Corponation, simply building a plant in Malaysia, or setting up a tax haven in the Bahamas, doesn’t make it a Malaysian/Bahamian. Corponation. (No typo there … it is instructive that we prefer the term MNC, because it does better signify what they really are, CorpoNations, with privileges and resources more in line with Sovereign Nations than people (CorpoNations AREN’T people, too, Mr. Romney). So perhaps SupraNational would be an even better term.

    3. hidflect

      Not only is the capitalist model of cancer research completely flawed but there is a country that does it properly by government funded collaborative efforts that put all the best minds together in the same room to try and find a cure working together. And the US pharma industry does everything in its power to blockade and sanction this country and starve them of funds. That’s Cuba. Why are there no sanctions on Vietnam but still sanctions on Cuba? It’s not the Miami Cuban lobby group. That’s the public reason. Joe Biden derives no benefit from pandering to them. They’re all meat-eating Republicans.

      The real reason is that Joe maintains the sanctions at the behest of PhRMA lobbyists who dread the idea of Cuba ever opening up and seeing a flood of dedicated and sincere institutions like Universities and hospitals going there to escape the money model built around existing research. It would break them and their lucrative profit model.

    1. hunkerdown

      Beyond the provocative headline, Hugh lays out a narrative of a major but limited correction. The capitalist world-empire, a “world” if you will, has recombined and split into two “worlds” with different values. Some suppliers in the regime of global commerce are more difficult or impossible to reach across the border between those “worlds”. In competitive terms, buyers are forced to switch to some next-best suppliers, reducing the total amount of exploitation. In value terms, the world and the future both got smaller.

      But it only lasts until enough cruft is cast off and complexification becomes advantageous again, as Tainter’s theory of collapse predicts. Until the next time, as Greer’s theory of catabolic collapse predicts.

    1. Geo

      It’s a cruel world where such an adorably fuzzy kitty like that would most likely maul me for trying to rub its belly. Still, it’d totally be worth it!

    2. griffen

      That is the quintessential theme, pop rock music for a typical 1980’s film. Alas, I recall more about Rocky, Rocky II and Rocky IV than I really can recall about Rocky III (besides the aptly named Clubber Lang).

      Off topic about the furry antidote above. Hey, any chance to tout my useless knowledge about ’80s music is reason enough!

  2. DJG, Reality Czar

    Jonathan Cook on Amnesty International’s bumbling and, errrr, cowardice. Excellent summation. Also a description of the increasing dangers of self-censorship. The increased use of the term “redacted” is a symptom that arose how many years ago?

    Note this:
    “But until Amnesty stepped out of line, western human rights groups had moved in lockstep with western governments, the same governments that appear to want endless war in Ukraine, to “weaken Russia”, rather than a quick resolution.

    “Even the author of Amnesty’s new report, Donatella Rovera, has conceded: “I think the level of self-censorship on this issue [Ukrainian war crimes] has been pretty extraordinary.””

    Then make sure to read all the way down to the description of where Israel was hiding its tanks. Revealing.

  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘Unless they’re trying to attract more mercs, of course. In that case, the insignia would be plus.’

    Not good to be a merc in the Ukraine and Russia just wiped out another ninety of them in a strike on a compound in the city of Kharkov. The TV news tonight depicted that as a strike on a civilian complex.

    ‘Thousands of fighters from Poland, Canada, the US, the UK and other countries responded to a call by President Vladimir Zelensky and flocked to Ukraine. In April, the Russian military estimated their numbers at nearly 7,000. However, last month it said that only 2,741 foreign fighters remained in Ukraine.’

    I still see videos of mercs in the Ukraine online, often speaking English, but they must know that if they are captured, it will be a potential death sentence for them in a court of law.

    1. Skip Intro

      Did you catch this interesting interview?
      “Everyone’s a little problematic in Ukraine’s International Legion”

      “I met some people from Right Sector,” Velcro said. “I mean, how can a group called Right Sector deny its political leanings? At a minimum, I think they were all very Banderist-type Ukrainians.” On its official website and social media accounts, the Right Sector, a political party with an armed wing that formed in 2013, has railed against immigrants, the LGBT community, and Muslims. Their soldiers often wear patches bearing Nazi insignia. To them, as to all of Ukraine’s far-right militias, Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera is a Ukrainian national hero.

      “In reality, military circles generally bring in kind of right wing people,” Velcro mused. “Even in the US, there are some crazy motherfuckers. I mean, those Capitol Hill riots, a lot of those dudes are military veterans. It was pretty inevitable. You open up the doors to foreign fighters in a conflict and people with political ideologies wanting training are going to want to come and get more of that.

  4. paul

    Improved trolling from China, but is it so wrong?

    The only thing wrong is it does not distinguish the elite* from the variety of america.

    *Those who protect and serve the existing state

    1. digi_owl

      Then again, do the west do any such distinguishing when talking about China, Russia, Iran, etc etc etc?

        1. Kouros

          Yup, oligarchy always feared the tyrant rather than the plebs (the main trust of the American Revolution). The alliance between plebs and tyrants must be split at all times…

        2. Marlin

          In practice you are wrong. Yes, people talk of Putin’s war, but then demand travel bans (various EU countries want to deny visas to all Russian citizens), banning of tennis players to tournaments (Wimbledon), banning Tchaikovsky (at an Italian university) and/or Tolstoy etc. Martyanov reported cases, where doctors in Finland refused to treat Russian patients.
          A Russian conductor was fired from the Munich orchestra for refusing to publicly condemn Putin.

          People talk of Kim Yong Un or Saddam Hussain, but then agree to sanctions, that lead to starvation of hundreds of thousands of children and hardly any hardship for the former two.

          Most people justify their racism with some “dictator” they don’t like (I actually like Putin, who has indeed currently the support of about 80% of the Russian people), but then punish a whole people.

    2. hunkerdown

      States don’t see commoners as negotiable. States see other states as negotiable, and the state’s subjects are merely its minor extremities unless otherwise distinguished. That shxtlib clerics also see themselves as if they were the state and feel entitled to give commands as if they were even potentially representatives of the state is symptomatic of something.

      Then again, states aren’t the only mode of civilization. Other, non-totalitarian modes of settlement have been practiced in the past and can be put into practice again at any time, when left to our own devices and allowed proper material conditions.

    3. Larry Carlson

      The “What I actually do” box should show a montage of pointless finance, insurance, and real estate activity.

      1. paul

        Barton Keyes’ gut would have troubled him about that stunt

        “Well, I get darn sick of tryin’ to pick up after a gang of fast-talking salesmen dumb enough to sell life insurance to a guy who sleeps in the same bed with four rattlesnakes.”

        Barton could be speaking to us right now, or intervening in biden family business.

        As I am in usual moderation I’ll add:

        “Walter Neff: Know why you couldn’t figure this one, Keyes? I’ll tell ya. ‘Cause the guy you were looking for was too close. Right across the desk from ya.

        Barton Keyes: Closer than that, Walter.

        Walter Neff: I love you, too.”

  5. Lex

    All over telegram on both Ukrainian and Russian channels that the Ukrainian government now allows field commanders to notarize the will of soldiers. Followed by a lot of legal advice for making sure your things aren’t stolen by your commanding officer before you get sent to the front. The pillage of Ukraine now and in the medium term is going to exceed the pillage after the fall of the USSR and the last 30 years of being a “friend” of the US.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw mention on the Military Summary channel how in at least one sector of the eastern front, the Ukrainians were pulling out all their senior officers with only officers high enough to command platoons and companies left behind. Wouldn’t be a good feeling if you were a Ukrainian grunt and saw this happening.

          1. Yves Smith

            According to Alexander Mercouris, this is NATO-trained Ukraine soldiers following US doctrine with commanders safe in the rear. Russian doctrine is generals in front, leading troops. Mercouris speculates that the removal of the leaders would be profoundly demoralizing to the Ukraine troops since they likely grew up with Soviet/Russian doctrine.

            1. The Rev Kev

              In Vietnam, American soldiers had a 12-month tour of duty. Officers however had only a six-month tour of duty. I would assume that this was so that it would allow a lot of officers to get combat duty experience. But the net effect was that the average grunt would have maybe three different commanders without taking into account things like officer casualties and transfers.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Perhaps they’re hoping that no unit larger than a company will have its command team decide it is time to retreat without orders or surrender.

      2. nippersdad

        I think that has been explained as being one of the major differences between the Russian way of war and NATO’s. In Russia it is expected that all ranks are out there on the line, in US led NATO we keep our commanders out of harm’s way so that they can eventually become TV commentators as part of their retirement package.

        But, yeah, that can’t feel good.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For a more nuanced view-

        ‘Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.’

        -Vladimir Putin

          1. Polar Socialist

            You would probably enjoy Youtube-channel Eli from Russia. Elina comes from a small city in the Urals, and after teaching jobs abroad now lives in Moscow and she has a delightfully extensive and inclusive concept of “Russia”.

            Hostess of Kiun B channel is from Yakutia, and has very interesting point of view.

            If you can handle suntitles, for an extensive view of the nature and peoples of Russia check out Alexander Biryuk’s documentary channel.

            1. digi_owl

              Checking out of that i find myself once more wondering why Norway keep treating Russia like it was on the other side of the planet, while USA like it was a next door neighbor.

        1. Carolinian

          The other night I re-watched The Lives of Others which has a slant but it doesn’t lean very far. It’s theme is that under a totalitarian system faceless bureaucrats have unaccountable power and justify themselves by claiming that they represent the state. Which is to say you have a system that in theory should benefit everyone but has this Achilles heel of individual corruption with the secrecy and coercive power to maintain itself.

          One could argue that the fall of the USSR also had a negative effect here in the US since it took away the socialist counterexample that helped keep our own capitalist excesses in check during the Boomer years. The “end of history” was, so they thought, the end of competition–the thing they hate most. Now it seems the US is in some ways turning into the USSR with the rise of censorship, those incompetent and secretive bureaucrats, empty store shelves, antique leadership and, as Putin says, “no brain.” The Russians or at least most of them may not want the USSR back but maybe we should to the extent its socialist example moderated rightwing extremes here in America.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you and well said, Carolinian, and add Europe to the US.

            And back in the late 1940s, hundreds of thousands of former servicemen and women just back from war and whose fathers (and sometimes mothers) had heard promises of “a land fit for heroes” not implemented.

          2. The Rev Kev

            ‘under a totalitarian system faceless bureaucrats have unaccountable power and justify themselves by claiming that they represent the state.’

            I think that you also described here the current EU leadership. :)

            1. JTMcPhee

              …and the US also. Though we can look up wiki and see the faces of the Sup Ct, the Fed, the top CIA guys and gals, the Parliamentarian …

          3. Lexx

            It sounded familiar so I looked it up in our Netflix account. Watched it back in 2007 and must of been impressed, because I gave it a rare (from me) five stars. Stuck it back at the top of the queue to rewatch, since I have no memory of the storyline.

            I read once that no matter the political ideology, there will always be those working within a system who aspire to power, and will use whatever power they gain to subvert the system’s resources to gain yet more power (and wealth) for themselves. Direct ownership would not be required.

            For a charismatic sociopath it is the only route to social safety – the insulation of power – with the added boner of high risk. Ruthlessness/the lack of a conscience become a social plus, a prerequisite for membership. You don’t have to be smart or good looking (Dick Cheney), you just have to be “loyal” – a good soldier – and doors will open. In a system where no one trusts anyone else, a good earner (a made man) is valuable. It’s basically the mafia on a global scale. Or so it will become, corrupted from the inside, given enough time and absence of self-correction.

            These systems are always founded by those with good intentions (slippery slope!), then slowly hollowed out from within, while those who have been taught they are powerless standby and watch… then flee, once they’ve caught on, but where is there to go now?

          4. ilpalazzo

            I have watched it a few years ago and I remember the protagonist was so annoying I was actually rooting for STASI.

            1. Carolinian

              As Pauline Kael once said: “taste is the great divider.” Sounds like you just don’t like Sebastian Koch who is entitled to be smug, being handsome.

              The movie is a polemic but to this viewer at least seems like a credible take on East Germany.

              1. ilpalazzo

                Don’t get me wrong, I think the movie is very good, to the extent it even can be interpreted contrary to its creators apparent intention. Myself being from former peoples’ republic, although only experiencing it as a kid, with time and learning of Marxist doctrine I changed my political view to the extent that I understood and supported the state’s effort to control and disarm the threat posed by the protagonist.

          5. Rolf

            In talking to people who grew up in East Berlin, I remember one who called the film’s portrayal fairly accurate, recalling as a child “the drabness, the empty streets, the lack of color”.

            1. Wukchumni

              A fellow numismatist and I drove a rental car from Bavaria to East Berlin in the early 1980’s, and it was a study in road contrast.

              West German autobahns were of the highest caliber and had to be with 150 mph fliers occasionally passing you by when you were doing 90 mph as if you were standing still, whereas the East German ‘autobahn’ was mostly a 2-lane country road almost, with around 300 feet on each side cleared of everything often and you’d see machine gun nests every now and then. There were passing lanes occasionally, but it was night and day comparing autobahns.

              We nearly ran out of gas thinking the next gas station would be sooner rather than later, and how embarrassing that would’ve been, but didn’t happen. We eased into a gas station on what must have been fumes.

              East Berlin was rather drab, and although I never ventured to Prague before Communism fell, was also like that-my parents told me.

              One, Two, Three is a great period piece of West Berlin from 1961, one of Billy Wilder’s lesser known gems.

              It’s plenty drab, too.

              1. Savita

                ‘Barbara’ starring Nina Hoss is a beautiful, immersive experience of East Germany in the 1980’s, internal conflict and moral choices. The lead performance is outstanding. It’s a wonderful film.

        2. Sibiryak

          The Rev Kev: ‘Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain .’ -Vladimir Putin

          Well, I think one could say today that the Soviet past is not dead, it is not even past .

          One example: during his July 9th show , Alexander Mercouris discussed the Meeting with State Duma leaders and party faction heads in the Kremlin’s St. Catherine’s Hall.

          St. Catherine’s Hall was Sverdlov’s Hall in Soviet times and was used by the Soviet Central Committee as a debating chamber bringing together all the heads of Russia’s various political factions.

          Mercouris: “ I was very struck to see that the leading role, apart from Putin himself, was played by Gennady Zyuganov, who is the head of Russia’s Communist Party. And Zyuganov actually said over the course of this meeting, that for the first time since Putin became President of Russia, he and Zyuganov, on vital issues relating to Russia, in other words the military operation in Ukraine, that Putin and Zyuganov, according to Zyuganov’s view, are talking from the same page.

          Given that the Communist Party is the second most popular party in Russia, and, in terms of organization and membership, perhaps even the biggest party in Russia, I found it somewhat suggestive and symbolic that all these meetings took place in the Catherine hall where the former Soviet Central Committee used to meet.

          Again, like many other ways that have floated to the surface over the course of the military operation in Ukraine, you see references back to Soviet symbolism, to the sort of heroic period of the Soviet Union, its resistance to Germany and, of course, to the war that took place between 1941 and 1945, what the Russians refer to as the Great Patriotic War.

          The Western media zeroed-in on Putin’s challenge to the West– “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try.” – but his exchange with Zyuganov got scant attention.

          Here are some excerpts of Zyuganov’s address and Putin’s response:

          Gennady Zyuganov: […] during four out of the past ten months, we have had to live with a military-political operation, which is crucial from every point of view. We fully support your decision to this effect, because what is at stake is the survival of the Russian world. We must stop US globalism, which is attempting to dictate its terms to the rest of the world . Moreover, we must do whatever we can to prevent Nazism and Banderaism from spreading across Europe.

          Last time, when fascism and Nazism engulfed the whole of Europe, mankind paid the cost of 71 million lives, 27 million of which were the lives of the best sons and daughters of the great Soviet homeland.

          I made it a point to visit the economic forum in St Petersburg, where I followed closely your remarks and jotted down 26 statements. I felt, perhaps for the first time, that we are on the same page for every issue you identified.

          I noticed even earlier, when you were addressing the Valdai Club, that you said: Yes, capitalism is at a dead-end . Macron used even tougher language, saying that it [capitalism] has gone mad. We see it run mad in the citadel of capitalism, England, and we must do our utmost to prevent the people, who have not only gone mad but have also decided to continue dictating their terms, from igniting a great war.

          In this connection, our team has drawn up a “victory programme”: 12 laws and a development budget. We did our best to formulate the key measures and show in practice that these problems can be successfully solved.

          As for the military-political operation, we have always called for recognising the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Crimea and Sevastopol. I must inform you that the executive committee [of the movement] of left-wing patriotic forces held a meeting earlier today, and that each and every one of its 132 organisations across the planet, which celebrated, along with us, the anniversary of the Great October Revolution and are now preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the USSR , all of them have supported our political line. We believe this is our common victory.

          In fact, I have talked with you many times, and I am very glad that you have strengthened our eastern wing: your trip to Beijing and India, as well as constant consultations within BRICS and efforts to expand this organisation. This very powerful counterweight to the Anglo-Saxon idea of crushing us and then dealing away with China is gaining more and more support. I am sure that if you prepare an executive order – I believe my colleagues in the State Duma will support us – we should celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the USSR as a great national holiday , because then we fought the first battle against those aggressors who tried to enslave and destroy us.

          […]Now we were all watching your meeting with the future leaders. Look, what faces, what interesting young people, what glorious ideas they suggest! After all, they are born everywhere, and in this regard, we are ready to actively promote this idea in Novosibirsk, developing the second phase of Akademgorodok.[ Academic town ] You were there and authorised this. Our mayor, Anatoly Lokot, took up this idea. In our team, in our parliamentary party, every third person has a scientific degree, like Ivan Melnikov, and every second person in the party leadership does too.

          The idea of creating our own cutting-edge technology has been supported greatly by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. He has allocated an additional 100 billion for the development of electronics and robotics. And now the goal of developing domestic aviation is of special importance for us.

          We also developed the New Virgin Lands programme, […] Over the last two years, we have added 28 percent in agricultural machine-building. In fact, this happened after you gave a direct instruction to the Government at the State Council meeting. I believe that we can cope with this challenge very effectively.

          I went to our famous Kirov Plant; Germans came to visit, too; they were gushing over how quickly we had localised production and started manufacturing modern high-class machines.

          Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, Tatarstan will hold a big festival celebrating friendship among nations. We took a public enterprise there, Kazankovskoye, similar to Pavel Grudinin’s Lenin State Farm. We will show 100 types of Russian-produced equipment and demonstrate how we can operate in modern conditions without driving up prices and still producing food products of a very high quality.

          I believe that, if we could promote this idea nationwide and build at least one public enterprise in every district, we would be able to fill up our markets with affordable high-quality products, and food will be our priority and litmus test.

          By the way, you set a goal of harvesting 130 million tonnes of grain this year. I believe this task is absolutely realistic, especially if my colleagues actively support the New Virgin Lands programme in the three-year budget that we are already working on.

          And the new style and your idea: deadlocked? Capitalists are not only deadlocked. They are going mad. There is only one antidote because capitalism only creates Nazism, fascism and Bandera movements. Nothing but socialism can defeat it.

          That is why I expect that in your next speech you will set socialist goals. I think even United Russia will support it. Vyacheslav Volodin is smiling, I can see he likes the idea. He chairs major hearings on the main issues at the State Duma. One of the recent ones was a brilliant session on education. We are ready to put our law on education into practice for everybody.

          And look, you supported Andrei Klychkov to govern my home region, the Orel Region. Thank you, it is a matter of principle to me. My entire home region is scarred up. There are 800 mass graves; more than 400,000 of the best people are buried there who were breaking the back of the Nazi beast during the defence of Orel-Kursk.

          This year, the Orel Region, which is not a black-earth area, will produce 6 tonnes of grain per capita. Six tonnes is the best harvest in our country. We have doubled the budget in Khakassia over the three years, the only Siberian region to do so. And even those who are called oligarchs are happy to pay taxes. They say they do not steal and instead do business, support people and lend a hand to children of war.

          […]We will organise a Red Route in Ulyanovsk with our Chinese friends. They are holding their 20th congress this year and preparing a programme for the next 30 years. It will bring significant profit, 10–12 million. We are renovating the Lenin Memorial Museum there. There is also an excellent programme on advanced technology and aircraft engineering.

          […]We have many interesting people there who have achieved a lot at production facilities, who are quite tough, and who are absolutely pro-Russian because the fight against Russophobia is becoming particularly topical nowadays. However, persons with anti-Soviet views are more Russophobic than the rest. I would like to ask you, and we have already stated this viewpoint: unfortunately, Russian culture and media outlets provide too much anti-Soviet information, and we need to stop this. It is a complete disgrace because humankind has no other experience except that of Russian-Soviet patriotism and victory over Nazism. We consider this to be highly important.

          […]The consolidation of society and support is the main issue today. We will support your address and your policy to strengthen national security and unity in a joint fight against Nazism, the supporters of Bandera and American globalism. This is a matter of principle and our historical survival. Thank you.

          Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. I have no doubts that members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation are sticking precisely to this position.

          Regarding the socialist idea, there is nothing bad about it. We should flesh out this idea, especially in the economic sphere. Some countries have given it substance, and this is linked with market regulation forms, etc. This idea is working quite effectively. We need to look into this.

          Regarding the involvement of the state, the relevant debate focuses on the extent of such involvement and its forms. We should see how the state should regulate its economic activities. We will certainly address this during our discussions and debates. I assume that we will find these solutions, while realising that the interests of the people and the country are at stake.

  6. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Apple suppliers to make Apple Watch and MacBook in Vietnam – Nikkei”

    Does Apple even develop their pilot manufacturing lines in the US? It literally seems as if Apple is doing everything possible to leave the US footprint a legacy of retail stores and ‘geniuses’.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe it was Stoller who shared a story about Apple trying to open a factory in the US but the only source of domestic parts (screws in this case) was a company that didn’t want to dump their long term customers or expand for a single product line.

        Other countries have industrial policies that would help the small company meet the demand without wrecking the company.

        1. digi_owl

          Basic thing there is that Tim Cook got Apple into the habit of reserving a whole year’s run supplier output before starting production.

          So when you are supplying Apple, you are ONLY supplying Apple.

          This is also why Apple keeps making the same product for years on end, to burn through the backlog of parts they accumulated.

        2. Mr. Magoo

          I recall the article about the ‘screws’. Sounded more like a poorly thought-thru excuse. Screws are low-value. Apple could either offer longer-term contracts to local suppliers to account for risk of their capital investments or import sufficient quantities to manage their supply lines.

          I hope Apple is met with a *big shrug* if their supply chain risk ever comes back and bites them. Especially if they insist on industrial policies to bring production back.

          Oh wait, that is what the semiconductor industry is doing….

          1. nippersdad

            “Oh wait, that is what the semiconductor industry is doing….”

            The article right next to that one, on Intel, was all about their building a new seven billion dollar manufacturing facility in Malaysia, which made me wonder if the funds from the CHIPS Act had come through already. There was a throw-away line about reshoring chip manufacture, but I will believe it when I see it. A fifty billion dollar subsidy for one of the most profitable industries in the world is kind of par for the course these days.

            There must be an election coming up and Nancy is in need of campaign contributions.

    1. The Rev Kev

      How do those supply lines work in Vietnam with the workers falling sick with the virus every coupla weeks or months? Wouldn’t that be disruptive to delivery schedules? How do you plan production around this fact of ‘modern’ life?

      1. digi_owl

        On premise barracks, a system i think Foxconn first introduced at their factories in China years ago.

          1. digi_owl

            I am familiar with the concept of company towns, sure.

            I was simply using a more recent, and directly related, example of such, as Foxconn are one of the Apple partners building the factory in question.

      2. Michael Ismoe

        How do those supply lines work in Vietnam with the workers falling sick with the virus every coupla weeks or months?

        It all works out because the customer base keeps getting covid every couple of weeks too. It’s synchronized for greater efficiency.

  7. anahuna

    In the spirit of openness that the writér recommends, I read the Der Spiegel article right through to the end. Glad that I did, because that’s when he begins to praise the Yeltsin years — the years of Western exploitation and societal collapse — as the height of freedom and openness. He and his friends are nostalgic for that time.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Does he remember to mention that Putin’s “dictatorial powers” are actually those that Yeltsin granted to himself after using tanks to shoot parliament until they yielded the power?

      There must be some mechanism these people are using to prevent them from seeing that what they call “freedom and openness” if usually perceived as “chaos and destruction” by others.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Society” consists only of those people whose opinion of you matters to you in some way. Other people’s perceptions don’t matter to them because they have the option of symbolic and other violence to project their will.

        Their “Freedom and openness” is to impose their personal will on others. That’s really all this is about: making every thing subordinate to some other thing. That is the crackpot religion of managerialism: People are things. The manager’s will is sacred.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Typical garbage from Der Spiegel. The guy has a great opportunity to get an idea on how people feel on the other side of the fence but is really only talking to Atlantasists. And he already says that ‘most of my Russian colleagues, friends and acquaintances left Moscow’ which means that they are the sort of people who bail out of their country in a time of war. If I had to come up with an American equivalent to this story, it would be how he has just visited America and all his buddies in the Tea Party Republican movement are no longer to be found so the country has gone to the dogs.

      1. digi_owl

        I seem to recall there were a number of people of the Democrat bent that loudly talked about going to Canada after Trump got elected.

        And more recently there were some complaining out of Mexico about the number of Americans moving there and gentrifying neighborhoods.

        And it does have some of the same ring as what was going on in Venezuela, where the people complaining about how bad it was there were people with enough money and connections to pack off to Florida soon after Chavez came to power.

        It is the kind of people that refer to them not as French or German or British, but European (or maybe even Earthling). Their passport is basically a flag of convenience, similar to what you find on some ship stern in international waters.

      2. anahuna

        True enough, but unlike, for example, Masha Gessen –whose every word screams (to me) “this woman is nuts!”– Esch delivers his questionable assertions in a calm, reasonable tone. He depicts his friends as valiant and well-intentioned (as in their own eyes I’m sure they are). It’s a low-key and possibly more seductive approach.

      3. Goober Snacked

        It’s called persecution and the subsequent chilling effect on expression. You cannot write about Russia with complexity as a Russian from within Russia without assuming risk to your freedom. Vladimir Sorokin is the greatest living Russian writer and even he fled from Vnukovo to Stanford. Sorokin has always faced prosecution threats in the 80’s and 90’s but today’s crisis is different.

        Confidence shaken, institutional support for the leadership has never been as tenuous nor as silent as it is today. The entire professional class will settle for even a mystical explanation. With a return of the ethnic pogrom by the state, the internal contradictions are too great to ignore. If command subscribes to the mimetic theory of desire, the vulnerability of leadership, its inevitable conclusion as a fixed action pattern of group behavior, command would be concerned. Throw in a daily performance of paranoia by mediocre spokesmen, an incantation of NATO demonology, and the entire modern stage set of progress is crumbling away from a brutal but brittle scaffolding. Yet a Muscovite is not free to admit this in public nor able to articulate what actual crime the Ukrainians committed.

        1. ambrit

          You have also described America today. See the convergence in action?
          As for your last sentence. Hah! Because a crime has not been “articulated,” such does not negate the crime.
          Better trolls please.

        2. Jams Blonde

          I ran that thru Google Translate but it doesn’t recognize the language…. can any reader help out?

        3. Kouros

          A Muscovite can easily repeat the Kremlin points about the crimes Ukrainians committed, what are you talking about.

          And very likely she/he wouldn’t be far from the truth…

          Russia could defend in a court of law, given the UN Charter provisions [which Russia invoked], its military operation in Ukraine.

        4. Franco

          What crimes has Ukraine committed? Gee, I don’t know, perhaps pursing a state-sanctioned policy of genocide against the ethnic Russian population of Ukraine, where state officials publicly deem 1.5 million of them “superfluous” and in need of extermination may have something to do with it? Or perhaps hearing the Ukrainian president brag about how ethnic Russian children will grow up in basements hiding from Ukrainian bombs while their own kids go to school and get to experience childhood? Maybe it was the 8 years of non-stop shelling of ethnic Russian population centers by state-sanctioned fascist death squads that killed untold thousands of civilians while willfully ignoring every peace treaty they themselves signed?

          As to your delusional idea of the Putin government being at odds with the Russian population, the 80%+ support (as measured by western-aligned opposition) for both Putin and the military operation shows otherwise. The only governments teetering on the brink of collapse are the US and its NATO allies, many of which have already collapsed and the pain hasn’t even started in earnest yet.

        5. Daniil Adamov

          “With a return of the ethnic pogrom by the state”

          What are you referring to exactly?

  8. Geo

    “Why the Left Needs Free Speech: Today’s left serves rather than challenges power“

    Reminded me of the oft-misquoted John Steinbeck quote: “I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves.”

    The left seems to have a history of futile bickering and impotent virtue signaling, and having been under the boot of systemic idpol by white/Christian/straight identifiers who police the words and actions of all “others” it only makes sense that the left would come to adopt this tactic.

    As Salman Rushdie wrote in The Satanic Verses: “If the powerful trample over you, you are infected by the soles of their feet.”

    It’s sad that free speech has so few advocates left. I don’t have any clue how to rectify this other than to not give in and keep pushing against these anti-speech movements. But, even then I find myself self-censoring in my writing and art which is depressing. My brain tells me “pick your battles” and so I hold back on some issues.

    It’s not new to me. I’ve shared stories here before of being targeted/threatened by conservatives both personally and professionally. Haven’t had anything near that level of vitriol from lefties yet but starting to see ripples over the past few years. Wild times to be a provocateur! Gotta look both ways now before crossing the street.

    1. digi_owl

      If one try to argue for free speech in the absolute sense these days, one get smeared a nazi by the left and a commie by the right. What a time to be alive.

      1. hunkerdown

        Even John Milton didn’t argue for absolute free speech. Rudeness and blasphemy were excepted in his formulation. Given religion’s function as the body of apologetics for a value system, free speech so formulated has no risk of renegotiating values or excluding shills, the very public capacities the ideology was formulated to suppress.

        When both wings of the Property Party are trying to crawl up your back, you are probably right over the target. (This is not by any means an appeal to centrism, heavens, no.)

        1. Carolinian

          When both wings

          No offense but I think this is the party line of the lefty censors (or the current self described lefties at least). “Look over there at that ‘don’t say gay’ law and not at the giant Silicon Valley borg that has so much control over our speech and is so wedded to the Democratic party.” When our censors talk about “hate speech” they are most definitely talking about rightwing hate and not, say, hating Russians or Trump or Deplorables which is okay with them and even considered virtuous. We did have a rightwing equivalent to today in the McCarthy era but the switch has flipped and the new McCarthyism is coming from the Dems even as the Right’s true goals (about money) are also largely supported by the Dems. The very terms “right” and “left” have become somewhat obsolete.

          This is why I think the linked article is so very spot on. For lefties of several decades ago McCarthy was the ultimate evil and the current zeal for safe spaces and restrictions not left at all, but rather tokens of a left that has turned right. That bird is lopsided.

    2. Kouros

      In a Munk debate, a very unlikely duo, Stephen Fry and Jordan Petersen defended the freedom of speech against some woke nonentities. They won hands down. Check it out and see their arguments could be useful.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Intel to invest $7 billion in new plant in Malaysia, creating 9,000 jobs Reuters

    Well, that didn’t take long. How many days ago was the “CHIPS” Act signed? Those 9000 jobs are in malaysia, by the way.

    Intel hoped to announce the next locations in the United States and Europe early next year, he [Jntel’s Gelsinger] added.

    “We’re” not holding our breath.

    Meanwhile, now that “we” have the “Inflation Reduction Act” (or whatever) that maintains the ev and obamacare subsidies, connecticut insurers that sell “healthcare” policies on the obamacare exchage are asking for 20% premium increases, and Ford is increasing the price of its all electric F-150 by $8500.

    That there is some serious “inflation reduction.”

    One could be forgiven for wondering if the “free market” could even exist without the government around to step in and help pay the bills when “robust growth” in the “consumer economy” leaves exhausted “consumers” prostrate in the dust.

    1. digi_owl

      Another thing is that Intel is by now badly behind TSMC, to the point that they plan to hire TSMC to do make their new ARC GPUs.

      The latest Intel CPUs have adopted tricks from the ARM world, mixing low and high power cores on the same chip. And then betting the farm on temporarily ramping the clock on the high powered ones massively in order to sprint to the finish. While they list the CPUs as using say 45 watts, they regularly end up pulling 100-150 watts during one of them sprints.

      If USA was serious about chip independence, there would be a concerted push to diversify the EUVL tech away from ASML in Netherlands.

      1. jsn

        Another 6 months of the war in Ukraine and ASML along with BASF will be eager to relocate plants to the Midwest.

          1. jsn

            DoD just got wise to that game, 20 years too late, won’t let that happen with microchips or Zyclon B.

    2. Fraibert

      At least this particular plant makes sense. It’s an assembly and testing facility, not a wafer or chip fab, and Intel has been doing assembly in Malaysia for decades.

      Just to clarify, the initial input for a CPU is a silicon wafer (doped with various elements these days). These wafers are fabricated into CPU dies at a chip fab, where the transistors are etched into the wafer and the wafer is cut up. These individual dies are then packaged with a circuit board that has the pins to connect a die to a computer motherboard (and often a metal a heat spreader is also put over the die), forming the complete unit we call a CPU. This final step is what Intel does in Malaysia, which is the least valuable step from an economic point of view.

      Still would be better to bring the work home but apparently this arrangement of US wafer and die fabbing plus overseas assembly has been Intel’s model for years. (I still have a 20 year old Pentium 4 in storage that bears a Malaysia stamp on the heat spreader even though the wafer and die probably were fabbed in Oregon.)

      1. Oh

        Still would be better to bring the work home but apparently this arrangement of US wafer and die fabbing plus overseas assembly has been Intel’s model for years.

        Looks like that’s been working so well for Intel. /s

  10. JohnA

    Re Americans are paying for slogans on bombs aimed at Russians

    The piece subtly inserts anti-Russian propaganda by baldly stating that the Malaysian M17 flight was shot down by a separatist pro-Russian Buk when this is very much disputed – Helmer pretty convincingly destroys this narrative, and that the train station missile attack killing numerous children was by Russian forces, when it has been proven to be an act of Ukrainian terrorism.
    No mention in the western media that anybody in Ukraine accepting humanitarian aid from Russia in the form of food, water, medicines etc., will be tried as a collaborator and given a 15-year jail sentence.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “When Cities Treated Cars as Dangerous Intruders”

    I’m not so sure that the roads were the commons that this article makes them out to be. So rather than a long comment, I will link to the following video. It shows a trip down Market Street in San Francisco right to the end but there are several noteworthy things about this video. The main thing that it shows is that a main street was a chaotic environment with cars, horse wagons and reckless pedestrians. Did I mention that this video was made on April 14th, 1906 – four days before it got hit by the big one? It has been colourised & remastered but after watching this unscripted view of what a main street really looked like in 1906, you might decide that that article may need to be taken with a grain of salt- (11:38 mins)

    1. YankeeFrank

      Indeed. I remember reading about the main street in the meat market area of Manhattan back in the early 20th century was so dangerous due to trolley/train transport they had men on horseback riding ahead to clear away any children etc before the trains arrived. They eventually built the hi-line (an elevated line that carried the train cars carrying slaughtered cows directly into the warehouses) to stop all the street level carnage. The hi-line is now a park of course as we don’t do industry in NYC anymore.

      1. Michaelmas

        Thanks for the correctives to over-simple views of the past.

        Still, I’ve always liked this scene from Orson Welles’s THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, which strikes to the (technologically determinist) heart of the matter. Great writing and great delivery by Joseph Cotten —

        The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) – Automobiles Are a Useless Nuisance

        “I’m not sure he’s wrong about automobiles. With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization—that is, in spiritual civilization. It may be that they will not add to the beauty of the world, nor to the life of men’s souls. I am not sure. But automobiles have come, and they bring a greater change in our life than most of us suspect. They are here, and almost all outward things are going to be different because of what they bring. They are going to alter war, and they are going to alter peace. I think men’s minds are going to be changed in subtle ways because of automobiles; just how, though, I could hardly guess. But you can’t have the immense outward changes that they will cause without some inward ones, and it may be that George is right, and that the spiritual alteration will be bad for us. Perhaps, ten or twenty years from now, if we can see the inward change in men by that time, I shouldn’t be able to defend the gasoline engine, but would have to agree with him that automobiles ‘had no business to be invented.'”

  12. SOMK

    RE: How Putin’s War Changed My Moscow

    An interesting read, seems credible enough albeit more than a little blinkered for example:

    “And the truth is that yes, I was in Bucha, the suburb of Kyiv, and I saw the crimes Russian soldiers committed against Ukrainian civilians there, even if Russia’s leadership claims that the whole thing was staged by the Western media – that is, by people like me.” This would seem to contradict the assumption Bucha was staged, however he offers nothing to counter the evidence that it was staged, unbloated bodies given timing, Russian food packs, etc., nor does he clarify if he saw anything first hand or describe it here (if he had done so previously then surely that block of text would link to his report)

    “Nothing distinguishes Russian society from Ukrainian society more than the willingness to submit to an almost monarchical form of rule. It simply has not learned otherwise. Within three decades, Ukraine has experienced five genuine changes of power, whereas Russia has seen none.” This sounds very similar to how people spoke about the Middle East pre the Arab Spring and reads as simply empty headed Russiaphobia surely(?) (on the other hand Russia is effectively an empire masquerading as a coherent country in the 19th century model, similar to China, the US, India) and given Ukrainian corruption the word ‘genuinely’ is doing a lot of work in that quote.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I though the claim was it was staged for the Western media, not by it. And I doubt the claim was by Russia’s leadership – they merely asserted that it was not Russian forces that did the deed.

      I assume by change of power he means the transfer of power? It seems to be a tradition in Ukraine that the new president tries to throw the old one in jail, though. Oh, wait, that’s actually a sign of a functional democracy nowadays…

    2. Oh

      Within three decades, Ukraine has experienced five genuine changes of power, whereas Russia has seen none.

      All that means that Ukraine is and has been unstable whereas Russia has been quite stable.

      1. Acacia

        And CIA-orchestrated coups with snipers killing people are double plus good for you.

        I liked Putin’s half-joking response to the assertions that Yanukovych was a horrible corrupt leader: “he wasn’t in power long enough to steal that much”.

  13. GramSci

    Labour’s Dogmatism reminded me of James Galbraith’s 2009 prescription in The Predator State: To stop illegal immigration, simply raise the minimum wage. I’m a little disappointed the article didn’t make that connection more explicit.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      I don’t know if you are in the UK.

      With regard to the minimum wage, although better than nothing, it was set too low by the Blair government and failed to make up for the loss of pay in real terms since the 1980s. In addition, there were differences in pay scales between young and older workers, as if a twenty something pays less for a loaf of bread than a middle aged worker.

      Labour’s stance can also be explained by the donors to them, vide United Health for Starmer and his potential successor Wes Streeting (the Pete Buttigieg of Britain), where they were employed before politics, vide former Bank of England and IMF official and City bankster economist Rachel Reeves, and where they get most of their money, vide corporate moonlighter David Lammy. Until the British left wises up, gets off its backside and fights back, it and its country will continue to be family blogged.

      1. paul

        Wesley Paul William Streeting’s wiki entry is a delight.

        The working career is rather mixed, but hardly peppered with achievements.

        Backbencher entry is even grimmer…

        Following his election, Streeting was described as a “long-time critic” of Jeremy Corbyn, who was leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020. He accused Corbyn of a “flat-footed and lackadaisical attitude” to tackling antisemitism which is “simply unacceptable”.

        …considering the nascent revival of labour under corbyn was his route to the commons.

        Talk about ungrateful!

        And aren’t we all glad that AS stuff is in the past?

        The rest of the wiki entry is hilarious.

        If he is the future, I will stick with the past.

        1. paul

          He went on to serve as Head of Education at Stonewall, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights charity, where he led their Education for All campaign to tackle homophobia in schools.

          Looking at the CASS report on the now closed Tavistock Genital Mutilation clinic

          This has led to a lack of clinical consensus and polarised opinion on what the best model of care for children and young people experiencing gender incongruence and dysphoria should be; and a lack of evidence to support families in making informed decisions about interventions that may have life-long consequences.

          …about young children.

          I’m sure he will understand that mistakes were made but everyone involved,apart from the victims and critics, will have to move on.

      2. digi_owl

        Blair was basically Tory in disguise.

        And you see a similar shift across Europe from the 80s onwards.

        Basically the monied no longer feared a communist revolt, and thus they started being more overt in how their handled their “leftie” sock puppets.

    2. paul

      Raise the minimum wage where and to what level?

      One that would allow the indigenous to share the dream of UK average living standards?

      There was a typically strange article in the guardian which I cannot find again without great effort.

      Here’s something similar

      The dark beauty of it all.

      An employer rejects foreigners with some rights for those with none.

      And those with none will have to pay for it all, with everything.

  14. flora

    Carl Sagan on Charlie Rose. ~2 minutes.

    Carl Sagan’s warning about democracy, science and technology

    He’s right. And yet, any skepticism and questioning about the CDC/FDA/NIH handling of recent events, even by other bio/chem/medical scientists, was and still is silenced. People who questioned were banished, lost jobs, lost funding. Dr. Fauci declared himself “The Science,” which anyone with any science education or training instantly recognized as a bs claim about himself and about science.

    Shorter: Walensky is part of the problem but not the whole problem, not by a long shot.

    1. K.k

      Sagan on his efforts to fight against Stalins school of falsification….
      “”But it’s hard to keep potent historical truths bottled up forever. New data repositories are uncovered. New, less ideological, generations of historians grow up. In the late 1980s and before, Ann Druyan and I would routinely smuggle copies of Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution into the USSR–so our colleagues could know a little about their own political beginnings.”

      Just something i figured some mind find interesting.

      1. flora

        Yes. There was a long period in the old USSR where any scientific inquiry that might even appear to challenge the ruling theory of the “historical inevitability of Marxism” or seemed to contradict, in any way, anything Marx ever wrote was declared wrong science and out of bounds. That’s a large area of inquiry in many fields to declare out of bounds.

        1. hunkerdown

          Lysenkoism? Oh yes, we’re there now, but without Marx to provide some scarce tether to the material world.

    1. jr

      Thank you Colonel, and David as well, that was the best summation of the situation we find ourselves in I’ve yet to read. I’d share it widely but everyone I would send it to would accuse me of being too negative. Instead, at the next opportunity I’ll go through my food cache, grab some more water jugs, and oil my weapons.

    2. ambrit

      Thank you sir. I am late to this party and seldom venture out into the wild west of substack. An excellent resource with which to increase one’s understanding.

    3. flora

      Thanks much for this link. David is always worth reading. Here, as so often, I think he touches on something important. It’s not only that the Western Political Class is not the same set of people as the entire West’s polity, and is in fact only a small subset of the West’s entire polity. It is that that the Western Political Class is totally incapable now of addressing any practicality, in a way the total polity is not so disabled in addressing the “real” world’s practical requirements. I don’t disagree with what I think is his assessment. (I may be wrong about David’s assessment.)

      Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his large double volume “Democracy in America” about many threads he regarded as important to the success of the nascent US democracy – US democracy in its earliest stages. The one point he made over and over again, in my opinion, was the importance of the citizens’ regard towards the practical, or the practicality of the polity. Theory was all well and good in its place, but what works in the practical world was as important as theory. It used to be said the US was a practical nation.

    4. GramSci

      Thank you Colonel and David,

      To the Colonel’s earlier question, I have been Covid-quarantined to the US these past two and a half years, and as I grow older and older it becomes less and less likely that I shall escape with my life.

      To David’s ultimate question, many people in the United States have considered and are preparing for what they’re going to do when young men come to steal their food at knife-point: they’re going to buy more guns.

      All of which is preface to a more hopeful note. I want to congratulate David on his blog and again thank Colonel Smithers for directing us to it. It’s a very important service David is providing, something that I think is akin to the meetups Yves used to host.

      Geography matters. When collapse happens in the particulars David notes, or indeed, to prevent such collapse from happening, it’s important that humans of good will come together. All politics is local.

      Being mired in the US, I may not often visit Aurelian, but I have gratefully bookmarked the site.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Closing Down the Billionaire Factory”

    I was reading up how the US has the most billionaires with 724 of them. But back in 1990 there were only 66 of them. The other day I was watching a Mark Blyth lecture when he quickly posed a very interesting question. Just what does America get for all those billionaires? That is a good question that. Do they try to improve the infrastructure of America or just live off rents. Do they try to decide elections using their money because dollars are the same of voters? Are they a source of wise council? Is America better off having them at all? Would it be so bad to go back to a 90% tax rate on wealth once more?

    1. Robert Hahl

      I think billionaires absorb excess money, helping to keep inflation down, otherwise we would need to raise taxes or interest rates to control inflation.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You forgot to mention that billionaires, and those who aspire to that achievement also absorb excess Wealth, excess farmland, excess employment and opportunity to work or start a business or own a home, excess free enterprise, excess invention, excess Health and Happiness, excess Hope. Of course they could not do all this alone — they have help — but their rewards compensate the value of their contributions.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        The billionaires buying up all the residential property are definitely not keeping prices down. They are forcing individuals in competition with them to overpay for housing, and they will also likely buy up property once held by individuals on the cheap when their mortgages go underwater during the inevitable downturn.

        Of course if you don’t factor housing costs into inflation, then everything is hunky dory.

    2. Wukchumni

      When 78,000 pounds of baby formula was sent from Europe on a military jet instead of on account of a do-gooder billionaire who rose to the equation, it must have came down very hard on the littlest people.

    3. spud

      those billionaires were created by Bill Clintons policies that you cannot control, till you get rid of bill clintons free trade.

      “Here’s how bad it has become: In the early 1980s, Forbes magazine started its infamous list of the 400 wealthiest individuals in the United States. In 1983, there were only 15 billionaires on the list, and the total combined net worth of the richest 400 people was $118 billion. In March 2021, there were more than 650 US billionaires, holding combined assets exceeding $4.2 trillion. In contrast, the bottom half of all US households — 165 million people — have a combined wealth of $2.4 trillion. This is because the bottom fifth of US households have zero or negative net worth, and the next fifth have so few assets they live in fear of destitution.”

  16. ArchieShemp

    >Perfect distillation of the PMC notion that words are violence.

    You don’t think that a white person calling a black person a n****** is an act of violence?

    1. ACF

      Are all attacks violence? What happened to ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?’

      For sure, a white person calling a black person a n****8 is attacking, and their words can wound, even deeply. But to equate all infliction of pain as “violence” obscures more than it illuminates, to me.

      Consider we talk about ’emotional abuse’ to distinguish from physical abuse. I’d call only the latter violence, even though both are attacks and both can be devastating.

      1. hunkerdown

        Bernays debunked that smarmy cope years ago.

        It is violence to use force to remove someone from their context. The landed classes, in their role as cultural enforcers, live through symbolic violence, and so connect all kinds of permission structures and anti-retaliation structures to it. The need to believe in insignificant violence is one of those permission structures that protects them from retaliation for their arrogance.

      2. ArchieShemp


        >What happened to ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?’ For sure, a white person calling a black person a n****8 is attacking, and their words can wound, even deeply.

        You just answered your own question– names (and words) CAN hurt, and wound.

        Hurting and wounding sound pretty “violent” to me, and I still don’t see a good reason to pretend otherwise.

        1. jr

          None sense. Words do not wound, they hurt feelings and nothing more, with the exception of words that lead to violence such as shouting “fire in a crowded theatre”. Simply calling someone a name, no matter how vile, isn’t that. Hurtful? Sure, but not violent, that’s word play.

          It occurs to me that this is why the PMC and liberals in general love to accuse others of being rude. I’ve heard it applied to people using declarative sentences, asking probing questions, or arguing with validity. Another slur is “Yelling!” for similar reasons, even when no one’s voice is raised. For the liberal, if words are violence then rudeness etc. is violence adjacent. More word policing to shut down dissent; more moralizing in place of reflection. And an excuse for, you guessed it, violence. Everyone’s suddenly a victim…

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            I agree with you. These days so many people have very thin skins, and are quick to use violence after the exchange of a few words. When did people become so tender?

            1. jr

              When it became acceptable to weaponize speech. Thus, people lose their jobs for a wisecrack Tweet. Old women get shoved to the ground for defending their, genuflects, identity. You know, actual violence that causes physical harm. But justified, even righteous…it’s all about control.

              1. HotFlash

                jr and you other gentlemen (sorry, I presume, but…) As an old woman myself, I have to ask, whatever do you mean by “Old women get shoved to the ground for defending their, genuflects, identity.”? I do not want to get on the wrong side (and probably not on any side) of this, but simply to understand. Oh, I am seriously of the ‘stick and stone’ school in normal contexts, but am also aware that laws are made out of words and they indeed can break bones, and that words signal intentions to break bones.

                But actual words as actual violence? Rarely, unless over a significant power differential, as parent to small child. Real violence causes physical injury, verbal ‘violence’ can threaten real violence, but is not the same. I propose and update, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words may cause serious pearl-clutching.”

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > names (and words) CAN hurt, and wound

          A growling lion induces fear, which hurts. I don’t think it makes any sense at all to throw a growling lion into the same bucket as a lion tearing your limb off. I certainly don’t think a lion would, if we could understand them when they talked.

          The politics of it all seek to equate micro-aggression with, say, wife-beating. Please. I see how it all works on the Twitter or in academic politics or, now, in HR, but I don’t like it much.

          “I’m losing an argument! That hurts! This is violence!”

      1. Jams Blonde

        Screaming death threats to someone’s face is definitely violence. People take their own lives after being bullied. Speech can be violence. You also don’t need to spell out “period”. The little dot at the end of a sentence does the job for you.

        1. Big River Bandido

          All of the things you mention come with separate criminal charges. The degree of a threat and the capacity/likelihood of the person to carry it out do weigh into the charge. But “speech” by definition is not “violence” — nor is “vandalism”. The “period” was apparently needed since people don’t seem to understand fine distinctions.

        2. HotFlash

          Screaming death threats to someone’s face is definitely violence. Nah, it’s just screaming death threats into someone’s face. Unless they are spreading a fatal disease, it’s just hot air. The power differential is important in this context, though. A five year old can scream, “I hate you, I hate you, I wish you were dead!” That one doesn’t need to be charged with assault, it just needs a nap. If a cop threatens you with death, that still wouldn’t be violence, but might be a precursor to (actual) violence.

          As a martial artist, I am bemused by people who claim that this, that, and the other microaggression is violence. All this swanning and fainting-couch stuff, it just seems so Victorian to me.

      2. QuicksilverMessenger

        What is violence? Something- behavior or actions etc. – that causes pain, hurt, suffering? Seems right, or at least close. Does that only mean physical pain, hurt and suffering? Is there also emotional pain? What about emotional traumas? The sadistic parent who forever torments and belittles his child, not physically, but with words- can that not be an infliction of traumas and of pain and suffering? The well place verbal dagger by the popular kid to the awkward kid, in front of the whole playground, that doesn’t hurt and humiliate? If those examples do cause hurt and pain, and violence is something that causes hurt and pain, then it seems pretty clear that words can be violence.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > What is violence?

          Here is the OED entry on violence:

          Clearly, physical force is the primary sense (the subentries are ordered by priority). I object to slipshod uses of the secondary senses, as when we get “This is violence!” as a form of symbol manipulation either online, or in an academic context.

          1. QuicksilverMessenger

            I think we have a limited understanding of the effects of certain non-physical traumas on the nervous system and of the ‘feeling’ centers, and how that plays out and manifests later in life. Which actually makes it physical- it manifests in the organism quite literally physically.

            “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
            But scientifically speaking, it’s not that simple. Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain — even kill neurons — and shorten your life.”


    2. David

      I find the most effective response to such assertions is to take a word in a foreign language that my interlocutor doesn’t speak, and ask them if they find it offensive. The answer, of course, is “I don’t know what it means.” Quite. Words have no meaning outside the social context in which they are used, and that context varies over time. If a Japanese called me a Yabanjin, then I’d be offended, because it’s a derogatory term for foreigners and means roughly “barbarian.” But if I didn’t know what the word meant, I wouldn’t, indeed, couldn’t, be offended.

      1. flora

        Words have no meaning outside the social context in which they are used, and that context varies over time.


        “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
        – Leslie P. Hartley

        1. anahuna

          One of the reasons that the focus on individual words is mistaken is that what the hearer senses is the energy of the words and the intention behind them. So there really are “hurtful” words spoken affectionately — and on the other side a surplus of angry, hate-filled people protesting that they were just kidding.

          The notion of common courtesy, which has come to seem quaint, implies that one cares for the person spoken to or spoken about. No exceptions.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > You don’t think that a white person calling a black person a n****** is an act of violence?

      You don’t think that a very powerful politician calling half of America “deplorable” is an act of violence?

      No, it’s not, and the cases are parallel.

      1. Michael McK

        Perhaps it is more about practicing non-violence than not practicing violence. While using racial epithets is not violence (narrowly defined) it is not non-violence and is likely to make a situation worse. I have received non-violence training adjacent to environmental actions as well as ‘Management of Assaultive Behavior’ training in a medical setting. Both are very useful for life in general.

    1. Kouros

      It is interesting indeed. That with Russia and Putin now goading China to grow a spine and a pair, all complemented by the last posting in the indianpunchline, of the different takes in Russia and China about the world order:

      My take is that China is trapped by the US treasury holdings a bit too much…more than it is actually worth it, especially given that the US is not agreement capable.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Mar-A-Lago Mess

    Apparently there’s a decade-old case, presided over by neolib jurist amy berman jackson, involving an attempt by Judicial Watch to get “presidential records” (audio tapes) from bill clinton that were in his possession, and that he didn’t want to cough up.

    jackson’s ruling in the case, which has never ben appealed, may be pertinent to the seizure of Trump’s records.

    But Jackson’s ruling — along with the Justice Department’s arguments that preceded it — made some other sweeping declarations that have more direct relevance to the FBI’s decision to seize handwritten notes and files Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. The most relevant is that a president’s discretion on what are personal vs. official records is far-reaching and solely his, as is his ability to declassify or destroy records at will.

    “Under the statutory scheme established by the PRA, the decision to segregate personal materials from Presidential records is made by the President, during the President’s term and in his sole discretion,” Jackson wrote in her March 2012 decision, which was never appealed.

    “Because the audiotapes are not physically in the government’s possession, defendant submits that it would be required to seize them directly from President Clinton in order to assume custody and control over them,” Jackson noted. “Defendant considers this to be an ‘extraordinary request’ that is unfounded, contrary to the PRA’s express terms, and contrary to traditional principles of administrative law. The Court agrees.”

    On the classification issue, both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama signed executive orders — which remain in force to this day — declaring that presidents have sweeping authority to declassify secrets and do not have to follow the mandatory declassification procedures all other government officials do.


      1. Carolinian

        Hubris precedes nemesis?

        Maybe nemesis for all of us. Personally I don’t want any of these people to be president in 2024 including Trump. Another four years of this ridiculous bickering may increase the suicide rate.

        1. Big River Bandido

          You go into a presidential election with the candidates you have, not the ones you wish.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Hmm…winning ($$$) by “losing”. Seems this is a popular tactic…cough Dems and abortion/Trump/right wingers in general/etc…

    1. Boomheist

      Seems to me that documents that are ever-so secret and dangerous, and generally locked up in secure rooms somewhere (where, you may ask? The White House? Pentagon? National Archives, whatever and wherever that is?) surely require elaborate sign-out and sing back in procedures. As in, if the Preszident wants to see a top secret document either he, or someone he sends, goes to some place and requests the document, then signs it out. Then it must be signed back in…..So how, then, EXACTLY, do 11 or 22 or 33 boxes of classified and top secret documents get gathered and shipped to Florida? Either, somehow, all the sign back in rules are forgotten, or, perhaps more likely, the entire system has become fairly lax such that the White House was and is swimming in classified and top secret documents, checked out, now just sitting around, maybe in a desk in an office, such that when the term ends it is easy to box them all up to send somewhere else. All of which to suggest either a)the entire classification system has gone completely amock such that nobody knows any more what is really important and what not or b) the system of taking and reading and using such documents by the President is loose, has always been loose, and will remain loose because it is the President, after all, who decides what is classified or not.

      Point being, in all this, I think this is going to become yet another failed effort to make Trump accountable for something that, looked at clearly, all other Presidents have also done and never been called on. If DOJ has solid evidence Trump took the information and gave it or sold it to others, not in the US, for example if he gave Putin top secret information about, say, NATO preparedness, then maybe Trump might be accountable. If DOJ has information Trump SOLD information to non-US actors, he might be accountable.

      If Trump had in those boxes (again neatly leaping the difficult question as to HOW exactly he managed to gather such files, keep them, and then box them) information as to which politicians were under Russian kompromat, or which Thought Leaders and Great People were Epstein’s clients, then I think a good prediction here will be that this entire classified and Espionage Act “raid” will wander into the ether, and the boxes returned, except all files related to politicians, Epstein, and kompromat will vanish.

      Not to be too cynical here, but maybe that is the whole point….a desperate effort to defang Trump forever….even at the expense of placing him again in office…..

      Just sayin’

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        …National Archives, whatever and wherever that is?

        Boy, no kidding.

        The deus ex machina to end all dei ex machina. (I looked it up. That’s the plural.)

        deus ex machina
        dā′əs ĕks mä′kə-nə, -nä″, măk′ə-nə
        1. In Greek and Roman drama, a god lowered by stage machinery to resolve a plot or extricate the protagonist from a difficult situation.

        2. An unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot.

        3. A person or event that provides a sudden and unexpected solution to a difficulty.

        Beats the “parlimentarian” by a longshot, I guess, but sounds like pure, unadulterated panic to me.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > those boxes

        I do think that the material realities of the boxes — how they were packed, labelled, shipped, and stored, along with exactly what the FBI did — is an important part of this story, often overlooked.

        I think if were clear on this point, the behavior of previous Presidents as compared to Trump would be a lot easier to assess.

        1. Boomheist

          Lambert thank you. The actual mechanics of how classified documents are retrieved, read, and returned to wherever they are supposed to be in and from the White House is entirely missing from any media reports, just as are any comparisons between Trump’s administration and earlier administrations. How is it done, exactly? Because everyone who works in the White House has to pass a security clearance, does this mean nearly everyone can simply hold and store classified docs in their offices and this is considered as secure as wherever the documents normally reside? Has anyone examined how the awareness that everything these days post 911 is over classified has seeped into how such documents are handled in the White House by an executive administration? I hate to suggest this, but the absence of ANY reporting about the mechanics of all this would lead many, including moi, to wonder if this story is in fact NOT so huge because other administrations have routinely done the same thing for years……

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: ‘Help is on the way’: FDA finalizes rule that should usher in cheaper hearing aids CNN

    To be allowed on the market, the new rule says, over-the-counter hearing aids will need to meet the FDA’s high standards for safety, labeling and manufacturing protection like all other medical devices.

    Because that system worked so well for the covid “vaccine” and aduhelm and stryker hip implants.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      They have stalled as long as they can. For 10% of the price of a hearing aid (US
      prices), one can achieve the same functionality with a smartphone, a pair of noise cancelling earbuds, and a filter generation app, akin to a parametric equalizer. I’d bet money that Sony, Samsung, Apple, and Google have working models already.

  19. Carolinian

    Re the Malpractice article

    In other words, a hospital committee can discuss a possible error but no one involved in the case can speak — or even be present — because anything they say can be used against them at cross-examination in a future trial. The Catch-22 is obvious: doctors must prevent mistakes but they will be punished for honestly analyzing them. Driving home this code of omertà, medical malpractice plaintiff attorneys in New York State invariably open depositions with this question: “Have you discussed this case with anyone in any setting ever?”

    Or, to sum up, our institutional and individual bank balance is more important than the alleged goal of patient care. To be sure physicians are human and apt to make mistakes like anyone else. They also save many lives and in the balance perhaps deserve not to be financially ruined for said mistakes. But it’s still about money and those deep pockets are the very thing the ambulance chasing lawyers are pursuing. Medicine as a business is the ultimate villain here.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In other words, a hospital committee can discuss a possible error but no one involved in the case can speak — or even be present — because anything they say can be used against them at cross-examination in a future trial. The Catch-22 is obvious: doctors must prevent mistakes but they will be punished for honestly analyzing them.

      I don’t think this is how airline crash investigation works…

  20. The Rev Kev

    “China to send troops to Russia for ‘Vostok’ exercise”

    On the news tonight they were really hurt that India was taking part in these exercises. They were asking how India could possibly do that since they were part of the Quad and there was this sense of betrayal. But those Tank Biathlon competition are something else altogether and they have participants from China, India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan. Belarus, Syria, Laos, Armenia, Myanmar, Iran, Zimbabwe, South Ossetia, Mali, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Cuba and I do not know who else. So it is a pretty big deal. Reputedly the US has been invited to send their tanks there to compete but they have always refused.,_2022

    But if any are interested, go to YouTube and punch in the search term ‘tank biathlon 2022’ and you will see hour long clips from the individual competitions and they even have a live channel. But it is funny that so many people have their knickers in a twist about the Vostok exercises when right now you have the US Navy Annual Citadel Pacific 2022 Security Exercises going on-

  21. JAC

    I do not know if this will be appreciated here but I just saw a sticker this morning that read:

    “Environmentalism without class struggle is just gardening.”


    1. Lexx

      I thought gardening (for those who don’t need to grow food) was engaging in class struggle… and it seems to be catching on up and down our block. Lawns are disappearing to be replaced by raised beds with mulch paths. This in a golf course community, the homes of the well-to-do.

      I saw a bumper sticker on Tuesday I liked: ‘Tell your dog I said hi.’ That just struck me as very funny.

  22. Fernanda

    Regarding Northshore settlements:

    Printed up hundreds of these and handed them to Chase Bank clerks, and any employee of large companies we encountered in our daily activities.
    Basically company acknowledges that employees forced to get vaccinations qualify for Workers Comp if anything goes wrong. i.e. It will cost the company money.

    Solari Report Forms for COVID-19 Injections Available as Downloadable PDFs

    “The following forms are provided to help families, employees, students, and parents successfully implement complete due diligence and informed consent with respect to COVID-19 injections..”.

  23. timbers

    “Playing With Fire in Ukraine”…….while Mersheinhimer and Doctorow are excellent they both make the same mistake – they keep suggesting Russia might use nukes. They keep saying this because they imply or suggest the war is at a standstill, or at least fail to dispell such delusions. Since the war is not at a standstill and since Russia is winning, they suggest it possible Russia might use nukes. I don’t agree. Instead the danger is USA might use nukes because Russia is defeating USA.

    1. jsn

      Same old willful blindness, after 8 years and 35k casualties in Donbas, “Russias’ unprovoked aggression”.

      Sabotage in Crimea and buzz about threats inside Russia proper are heard by Mersheimer as “Russia losing”, not pointedly deliberate provocation, like Pelosi in Taiwan.

      Dunderheads at our own DoD think tactical nukes are viable, but we hear instead about Russia losing as we run out of ammunition.

    2. nippersdad

      Because the USA cannot envision a world in which the USA is not a part.

      It is interesting how no one criticizing Putin’s world view as being imperialistic ever looks at the other side of the coin.

      1. hunkerdown

        The USA adheres to the Marliyn Monroe Doctrine: “if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”

  24. Wukchumni

    Among the new arrivals at my mom’s assisted living place is a woman born 4 days later than her in Germany to a Jewish family who saw the writing on the wall rather than be lined up against it, and immigrated to Shanghai, only to be interned by the Japanese.

    That was the basic gist of the story as my mom related, i’d like to know so much more …

    1. The Rev Kev

      They had a story about this old guy with the same story line on TV the other night. I heard a story a long time ago (so don’t take my word for it without researching it) that a lot of ultra-Orthodox were interned by the Japanese in Shanghai and I think that there were 200 of them. That is why they did not get the chop in the war years. After WW2 was over, they went to Israel and they formed the core of the ultra-Orthodox that are in the process of taking Israel over. But here is a link to an article about where they would have lived-

  25. all ears


    Big River Bandido
    August 18, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Speech is NOT violence. Period.

    Try being one of millions of females in the US alone, stuck living with a better financed male, or be homeless, who daily endure violent expressions such as whore, slut or bitch on a daily basis. I’ve spoken with quite few of them, and many times a phrase equating to ‘I want to die, this is unbearable,’ comes up.

    To do something to someone that has them increasingly wanting to take their own life most certainly is violence, particularly when it’s used to evade getting arrested for physical violence, which its quite often done. With violent words alone, the Police will not come and stop it if the woman can no longer take the denigration and character assassination.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      While the word “violence” has come to have nuanced meanings, the primary definition of the word is understood to mean physical force. That doesn’t happen with speech alone, as execrable as that speech may be.

      1. hunkerdown

        And the reason that emotional violence is excluded is tacit endorsement of emotional violence as the very stuff of liberal society.

        1. JBird4049

          Violence is violence regardless of whether it is physical or emotional, but too often the focus is on speech that is merely disagreement or unpleasant while ignoring the often lethal and certainly crippling direct injuries of physical violence.

          More, just who the recipient of it is often ignored. A physically, emotionally, and financially healthy individual can laugh at what a weaken person cannot. A grown adult can be unbothered by what a child or an extremely abused adult cannot hear without true injury. Would one say that a suicidal person on a ledge should be treated the same as someone in open, vigorous debate?

          More again, too often this thing called nuance is ignored so that anything, anything at all, that a listener does not like can be label violence, which gives the listener control over any conversation that they want to direct or block even when outright lies are being challenged.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > And the reason that emotional violence is excluded is tacit endorsement of emotional violence as the very stuff of liberal society.

          Remind me of something a homeless person showed me, written, I believe, in a Bible:

          If someone says “You asked for this,” punch them in the face and say “Did you ask for that?”

          Your comment urges that both parts of that dialog are identical. I don’t think that’s true.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I don’t deny the substantive points of your critique — but it does not address the point of the Plebity article, which is essentially the “Streisand effect”. Efforts to squelch hate speech actually elevate the speech to begin with.

  26. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score

    It’s hilarious that the capitalists are re-creating all the worst characteristics of the Soviet Union. Invasive surveillance and workplace quotas that have nothing to do with productivity.

    The obsession with worker productivity is a widespread fad in executive management. Besides the increasing burden of micromanagement it has led to a lot of power points and abstract talk about ‘vision’ in mandatory meetings. Ultimately, it will only increase burnout and the radicalization of the more privileged section of the proletariat. So, quite naturally, I’m all for it.

    In the meantime, middle managers will continue to sabotage the companies they work for.

  27. spud

    as far as the articles on hedge funds and private equity go. to really understand this mess, americans need to know that it was not Reaganism, although Carter and Reagan need partial blame.

    to understand the problems and to help stop dupes from voting democrat, is to really label the hell we are living through today, as Clintonism.

    We Forget What It Was Really Like Under the Clintons

    “The hedge fund was not invented in the 1990s, but it was under Clinton that they were transformed into their modern form, with the Clinton White House cheerleading that transformation. In 1998, when the hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management, collapsed, leading to federal intervention, the president established the Working Group on Financial Markets. In February 2000, it concluded that hedge funds needed no regulation.”

    Bill Clinton Did More to Sell Neoliberalism than Milton Friedman

    “A brief history of how the Democratic Party’s turn to market capitalism wrecked everything.”

  28. Joe Well

    Re: antidotes, I don’t know if this is how you share them but the world has to see this:

    Babydoll Sheep

    It’s bringing out the little girl in me it’s so adorable.

  29. all ears

    lyman alpha blob
    August 18, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    While the word “violence” has come to have nuanced meanings, the primary definition of the word is understood to mean physical force. That doesn’t happen with speech alone, as execrable as that speech may be.

    I suppose it depends on what circles one travels in as to whether words can be considered violent (the PMC class knows fully well they are used violently, because they do it all the time, while nefariously claiming verbal violence when they know it wasn’t committed).

    As to semantics regarding physical violence there are countless Doctors who will attest as to the damage psychological stress can do to the body, many times deadly; if one must insist that it’s only violence when it’s physical.

    As to formal definitions of violence, I have two old dictionaries which note physical violence first; powerful forces and energy (e.g. hurricanes, though the definitions don’t exclude non physical energy) second; and the more covert, non physical violence third—additionally, my two old Thesauruses are even more revealing as to emotional brutality than the dictionaries— all four of them are pre 2021st Century , so it’s not like proclaiming verbal violence is something that is a current fad, versus a brutal reality for centuries.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is disingenuous and the lengths you go to try to support your contention prove it. And I’m old enough and well read enough in English and French history and literature from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the 1970s to be highly confident I could substantiate lyman alpha blob’s argument if I needed to.

  30. Karl

    RE: Playing with Fire by John Mearsheimer

    I was struck that this was published in Foreign Affairs, given its pessimistic tone. Representative quote:

    The Biden administration should have worked with Russia to settle the Ukraine crisis before war broke out in February. It is too late now to strike a deal. Russia, Ukraine, and the West are stuck in a terrible situation with no obvious way out.

    Is the DC “establishment” getting nervous?

  31. Greg

    I know water cooler is up now so links comments are sort of pointless, but this “What do we lose when we lose our trees” article is something else, and no-one seems to have called it out.

    It posits (among a generic rambling self-absorbed story) that eco-fascists are responsible for umm, something. Something to do with the continued disasters in her Iowa town. And the trees that got messed up.

    It jumped the shark for me when she casually claimed that the Christchurch mosque shooter was motivated by a belief that immigrants caused climate change. That may have been one of a million disjointed ideas in his cut and paste manifesto, but nobody believes that was his primary motivation.

    Then this is used to frame those attacks as an example of eco-fascism. From what I’ve seen, ecofascists are a boogeyman invented by climate polluters as the du jour reason we really shouldn’t stop them polluting the environment, leveraging the trendiness of antifascism during BLM and since.

    I’m left unsure what the author wants us to do with this article, other than feel that she’s a victim and probably imaginary eco-fascists are to blame.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > know water cooler is up now so links comments are sort of pointless,

      Links and Water Cooler are both standalone entities. and there’s little climate coverage in Water Cooler, since Covid has eaten the world.

      Speak your piece!

    2. Michael McK

      I would like to expand on the casually tossed around term, eco-fascist.
      I think the Davos set is steering us to eco-fascism- corporate control, yearning for a (made-up) golden age, blaming the deplorables in our societies for lack of progress. Top down, preserving elites and elite consumption, no admission of responsibility or altering life choices.
      I am eco-socialist, we all have a pollution budget and working together we can all stick to it. Perhaps an entitled whiner unfamiliar with Adam Smith would call me eco-totalitarian but that phrase would best apply to mother Earth herself as she brutally cleanses herself of us if we do not choose to live in balance.

  32. mahleria

    It seems the actual content of the post disappeared. The comments imply that the actual links used to be here. Hope it can be resurrected as I am just now catching up.

  33. el viejito

    Late to this discussion, but the best analysis I have found of the “speech as violence” debate comes from Conflict Is Not Abuse, a book by Sarah Schulman (2016). It takes on the “call out culture” (now “Cancel Culture”) as “…exploiting the rhetoric of victimization.” (p.92). And “…the accusation of Abuse can itself be a tactic of silencing.”

  34. Rui

    Ah, not quite sure what happened but all the links are gone?
    I can’t see a single one today, August 20.

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