Links 8/21/2022

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.

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* * *

Killer whales are ‘attacking’ sailboats near Europe’s coast. Scientists don’t know why NPR (DL)

NASA builds for keeps: Voyager mission still going after 45 years The Register (KW)

Huge megalithic complex of more than 500 standing stones discovered in Spain The Guardian (KW)

She Had an AirTag in Her Lost Luggage. It Led Police to a Baggage Handler’s Home. NYT (furzy)

Welfare Queens No Mercy/No Malice (resilc)


Controlling COVID-19: What Can We Learn From Previous Pandemics? Inside Precision Medicine (guurst)


What researchers are learning about monkeypox virus The Hill


Nuclear waste ravaged their land. The Yakama Nation is on a quest to rescue it The Guardian (furzy)

More than 10 million Americans under flood alerts Saturday ABC News (KW)

Cotton farmers farm themselves to poverty in Zimbabwe Anadolu Agency


The China Trap Foreign Affairs

Japan considers deploying long-range missiles to counter China – Yomiuri Reuters

What if China saved the world and nobody noticed? The Sydney Morning Herald

Critical minerals – the next front line in the China-US rivalry? South China Morning Post

Chipmakers caught in the crossfire of rising US-China geopolitical tensions FT

* * *

The Rise And Fall Of Chimerica Noema (resilc)

Lami locals voice concern over Australian-funded Fiji defence facility being built in residential area ABC Australia

Why Lithium Power Politics Are Playing Out Very Differently in Chile and Bolivia CounterPunch

The European Union Was Built on a Rejection of Democracy Jacobin

Old Blighty

Labour surges as Tory fears grow over Truss’s tax cut agenda The Guardian (KW)

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia Accuses Ukraine Of Using ‘poisonous Substances’ Against Its Troops In Zaporizhzhia Republic World

Drone attack targets Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters Al Jazeera

US approves further attacks on Crimea, provides $775 million in weapons for Ukrainian offensive WSWS

Daughter of Putin Propagandist Killed in Car Bomb Outside Moscow, Reports Say Daily Beast

* * *

U.S. Treasury official warns Russia trying to bypass Western sanctions via Turkey Reuters

Ukrainian president appreciates Turkish counterpart for supporting territorial integrity Anadolu Agency

Albania arrests two Russians, one Ukrainian trying to enter military plant Reuters

Estonia wants EU to ban Russian tourists Politico

Ukraine war increased interest in Russian weapons: Russian official The Hindu

Montenegro government loses no-confidence vote Al Jazeera


For Afghanistan’s Immediate Neighbours, Cautious Engagement With the Taliban The Wire

Somali forces end al-Shabab siege at Mogadishu hotel: Report Al Jazeera

Trump and I can agree: The US is a ‘third-world country’ Al Jazeera (resilc)

El Salvador extends state of exception; 50,000 arrested Associated Press (furzy)

GOP Clown Car

Even Trump Thinks Dr. Oz Will ‘F–king Lose,’ Sources Say Rolling Stone (furzy)

GOP’s Senate outlook grows dimmer amid ‘candidate quality’ concerns The Hill

Democrats en déshabillé

DCCC Tests Ads Linking Republicans to High Gas Prices The Intercept (resilc)

Study: What Americans really think Axios (resilc)


The FBI raid made Trump into a ‘martyr’ and stronger than ever, icing out potential 2024 rivals like Gov. Ron DeSantis, GOP insiders say Insider (KW)

Can We Expect Anything Other Than Biden vs. Trump In 2024? FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Democrats grapple with possibility of Cheney 2024 bid The Hill

The Constitution Is Broken and Should Not Be Reclaimed NYT (DL)

Looking for Clarence Thomas Esquire (resilc)

Supply Chain/Inflation

China just ran into something that could be even more devastating for its supply chains than COVID-19 lockdowns: A record heat wave Fortune (DL)

German central bank chief Joachim Nagel warns inflation to hit 70-year high FT

India May Import Wheat in Blow to Modi’s Vision of Feeding World Bloomberg

Apple Lays Off 100 Recruiters—This Is An Ominous Harbinger Of What’s Coming Next Forbes

Puerto Rico Has a Big-Pharma Problem The Nation

Hackers steal crypto from Bitcoin ATMs by exploiting zero-day bug Bleeping Computer

Class Warfare

‘The paycheck has died’: Argentine workers hold funeral for wages Reuters

Facebook parent Meta lays off 60 workers ‘at random’ using algorithm: report New York Post (KW)

P&O Ferries will not face criminal proceedings for mass sacking of staff The Guardian

The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score NYT (DL)

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from England Swings by Roger Miller)

    England soon gets a brand new PM
    Liz Truss will bust out some major mayhem
    Job cuts, inflation, while wages get squeezed
    She’ll sing of “Global Britain” while the lot of us freeze

    She talks pretty tough though the Russians never bluff yet she
    Threatens their security over in the Baltic Sea
    Take a tip before we make a slip — lemme tell you Khinzals
    Can hit Engeland, Oh

    Liz Truss sings of a time that’s gone by
    A Great White Queen with a gimlet eye
    An empire built up on muskets and swords
    Looting goods and labor from the black and brown hordes

    (one verse of carefree whistling)

    There’s Covid and recession, everybody’s out on strike
    Yet we’re threatening the people who destroyed the Third Reich
    The Russians chew up Ukraine like the clappers day and night
    And we train cannon fodder for a pointless proxy fight

    “Global Britain” sounds like a blatherskite’s goal
    Fanny Adams waving from a tall flagpole
    The Commonwealth is stirring up a second Cold War
    The sanctions aren’t enough and so we’ve gotta do more

    England sings of a time that’s gone by
    A Great White Queen with a gimlet eye
    An empire built up on muskets and swords
    Looting goods and labor from the black and brown hordes

    (ends with carefree whistling)

  2. Terry Flynn

    Re the EU. A popular view is that Thatcher was biggest cheerleader for the single market. I don’t know enough about the minutiae of EU politics to comment on this but it certainly served her purpose in “driving standards down to the lowest common denominator”.

    I don’t know if the “lack of direct democracy” in many key European institutions is a by-product she approved of but it certainly is coming back to haunt us…. Southern Europe rebelling against Germany threatening to break rules so as to keep the lights on whilst Ukraine conflict continues when they were told to be “more fiscally sensible” during their respective Euro crises. These are issues I very much sympathise with in terms of the “left wing critique” of the EU (despite considering myself extremely “pro-European generally”).

    I’m going to engage with my local MP soon – a newly elected Tory but member of the influential Conservative 1922 backbench Committee who (in theory) has influence over general party direction. He knows I’m not Tory but seems up on issues like MMT and LVT, issues a “low tax party” could support…… IF It isn’t captured by too many special interests……!

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, EU seems to induce the same race-to-the-bottom mechanisms as USA struggles with between its states.

      This because as always capital is far more mobile than workers, even though EU has seen quite a bit of workforce migration since expanding eastwards.

      1. Bugs

        One could hope against hope that Starmer is no longer leader by 2024. I’m sort of doubting that Truss will last longer than a year. Johnson may be playing a long game, the triumphant return of the clown prince, in a parody of latter-day Churchill, his idol.

      2. lambert strether


        Starmer, because electing him rewards and empowers the coalition of Parliamentary Labor, British intelligence, Israeli intelligence, and the press that smeared and defenestrated Corbyn.

        Truss is a fool. The anti-Corbyn forces are far more dangerous, as they portend a recomposition of the British ruling class in a way that mere Tory corruption and arrogance does not. And if liberal Democrats are a parallel, Starmer will clean up nice, but have more malevolent policy outcomes than Johnson.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Having celebrated Blair’s win in 1997 and then unlearnt the rubbish I was taught and learnt the “real paradigm” I really wish I could disagree with you….. But unfortunately I can’t :-(

        2. Anonymous 2

          Truss may be a fool but the puppet-masters who will pull her strings are anything but.

          I fear that if we have another term of Tory Government, the UK will be moved so far to the right that there will be no way back. Think of further steps to disenfranchise the poor, to drive anyone who is not very right wing out of the public square, to intensify surveillance of the populace to identify and punish dissenters, effectively close down the BBC. See for example Rees Mogg’s recent proposal to refuse government work to people who have criticised the government.

          The current struggle in UK politics now IMO is not focusing on ‘Corbynism’ but on the intention to destroy any possibility of any thing other than permanent far right government.

    2. Michaelmas

      Terry Flynn: A popular view is that Thatcher was biggest cheerleader for the single market. I don’t know if the “lack of direct democracy” in many key European institutions is a by-product she approved of

      The ‘popular view’ that Thatcher, the Tories, and the UK led — or contaminated–the EU into neoliberalism path is bunk. The actual history of the EU is that from its beginnings during the 1950s-60s as the European Coal and Steel Community, it was shaped by specific German neoliberal figures — ordoliberals — who were high-level members of von Hayek’s Mont Pelerin Society, ffs, to be a vehicle for imposing ordoliberal/neoliberal conformity.

      Von Hayek’s “The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism,” explicitly calls for the free movement of capital, goods, and labour – a “single market,” in von Hayek’s own words – among a federation of nations as a means to severely restrict the economic policy space available to democratic governments against the market, and subordinate employment and social protection to goals of low inflation, debt reduction, and increased competitiveness.

      To that end, Wilhelm Röpke was personal advisor to Konrad Adenauer, the West German Chancellor and his Minister of Economics in the late 1950s when the EC was coming together and then left to be president of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1961-62. Ludwig Erhard, the second West German Chancellor from 1963-66, was a Mont Pelerin Society member from 1950 on.There were many others. Not incidentally, Röpke was also known for his pro-apartheid views on South Africa, publishing in 1964 ‘South Africa: An Attempt at a Positive Appraisal,’ which argued that apartheid was justified because the‘South African Negro’ was of ‘an utterly different race.’

      Later, Robert Mundell, the father of ‘Reaganomics’, was chief designer of the Euro, introduced in 1999. He’s on record boasting about how it would work to ‘discipline’ the European working classes.

      All this is what you see in the modern day EU. Article 107 TFEU allows for state aid, for instance, only if it’s “compatible with the internal market” and doesn’t “distort competition.” Whether or not state aid meets these criteria is at the sole discretion of the European Commission – and courts in member states are obligated to enforce the commission’s decisions.

      Likewise, with very limited exceptions (such as the ECB on euro matters), the Commission has the monopoly of proposal of new laws. Other institutions (including EUCO) may request the Commission to take action but the Commission cannot be forced to take it. And if it does not make a proposal, there cannot be a new law.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. I knew the very dodgy case for the Euro from the get-go but the other stuff is good additional reading.

      2. vao

        if it does not make a proposal, there cannot be a new law.

        Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember the situation is even worse. If, after the Commission has launched the process for a new law, the EU Parliament votes legislation that the Commission does not agree with, then the Commission, under the principle of “co-decision”, can refuse to enact the law.

        So not only does the Commission decides whether there is a law because it has the sole right to launch proposals, it also decides whether there is a law because it has the final word on approving the text.

      3. digi_owl

        The one thing that still puzzles me about EU, is how the center-left of Europe seems to have so embraced the idea of EU being grand peace project.

        1. spud

          bernie and the squad, and every so called fake progressive voted billions for more war in the ukraine.

          the real left has been buried under decades of soft fascism, now the real fascism is out in the open, and the fake left are their jr. partners begging for a few crumbs.

          the lefties of the world actually drank the kool aid deeply, and happily and willingly voted their democracies away, because fairy tales, unicorns and flying pink elephants that milton peddled, the dim wits actually believe it.

    3. Stephen

      My understanding is that the EU was set up from the start as a top down institution to drive European integration politically. Democracy was never part of the set up. It might have got in the way of the project.

      Thatcher (in common with many UK politicians) wanted it to be focused on economic topics but the reality is that it was a political project right from the start. Economics was just the easiest place to start cooperating. The nineteenth century German Zollverein was arguably one key inspiration.

      There are perspectives that see the EU as having created higher regulatory standards than would have happened at state level. It’s a trivial example but coach driver hours regulations are one case where EU rules were stricter than UK ones.

      Agree though with the overall perspective that the EU’s economic mindset has always been neo liberal.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Despite what has been said above I’m not arguing that “Thatcher hijacked the EU agenda” – as I mentioned, there is much to commend the EU for that over-rode Tory dogma. On other hand as pointed out to me, there have been political aims “baked into the EU cake from day one”.

        I’m just a lot more cynical these days. Ideally in a world falling apart due to climate change etc I’d like us to be linked closely with geographically close nations in a way that avoid the need for autarky but minimises “messing up the planet with long-distance travel”…… Probably stupid and naive belief on my part but I would like to try it to mitigate the damage we’re doing….

      2. Michaelmas

        Stephen: My understanding is that the EU was set up from the start as a top down institution to drive European integration politically … Economics was just the easiest place to start cooperating.

        No, it was both political and economic from the beginning. It was a Franco-German project, and which part of the project was emphasized tended to be based on whether one was French or German.

        On the principle of ‘understand your enemy,’ I know a lot more about the German-Austrian end and the role of the neoliberals/ordoliberals there. In West Germany, the ECSC/EC/EU was definitely about economics and (re)building the Greater German Prosperity Zone. The last chapter of Quinn Slobodian’s GLOBALISTS is a good historical primer there.

        On the French end, figures like Jean Monnet placed more emphasis on the political integration of Europe —
        I know less about that.

    4. spud

      “In a very real sense, Hitler and Mussolini believed in multinationalism, albeit with other nations submitting to their will. Fascism was an assault on the right of nations to pursue their self-interest, and an elevation of the fascists’ right to pursue it based on an assertion of their nations’ inherent superiority and right to rule.”

      “Arguing that being part of the European Union is not in the British interest, that NATO has outlived its usefulness, that protectionist policies or anti-immigration policies are desirable is not fascist.

      These ideas have no connection to fascism whatsoever. They are far more closely linked to traditional liberal democracy. They represent the reassertion of the foundation of liberal democracy, which is the self-governing nation-state. It is the foundation of the United Nations, whose members are nation-states, and where the right to national self-determination is fundamental.”

      “Liberal democracy does not dictate whether a nation should be a member in a multinational organization, adopt free trade policies or protectionism, or welcome or exclude immigrants. These are decisions to be made by the people – or more precisely, by the representatives they select. The choices may be wise, unwise or even unjust. However, the power to make these choices rests, in a liberal democracy, in the hands of the citizens.”

      thatcher used free trade which is fascism, to get rid of the U.K.’s labor unions. bill clinton did the same thing to americas unions, yet the dim witted union leaders election after election, back the fascist nafta democrat party.

  3. griffen

    Senate outlook for the GOP, straight from the sourpuss himself. In seriousness, Mitch usually looks like he is having a miserable no-good day. Republican candidates in PA and GA, respectively, aren’t setting hearts aflame with an enthusiastic response from their respective voting base? Yeah, go figure, Oz is a moron who doesn’t know where he lives vs where he campaigns, or maybe he just uses that push button on his phone to order groceries. And Walker has “fumbled” his way into a firm chance to lose to Warnoff. Some of those word salads from Walker are really zany.

    Republicans in GA, in particular, could have put forth a more suitable candidate. Not sure what the options were off hand.

    1. jackiebass63

      Our political system is broken. Both parties run candidates that are weak and will rubber stamp whatever the leaders present to them. So we end up with a government that caters to those that supply their funding. This most of the time is different from what voters want. When is the last time you have seen a candidate come through with what they promised when running? There are a few exceptions but so rare the make no difference.

      1. bassmule

        Can’t find the original post, but “Look like you might do something, but don’t do it” is the key to success in Congress. Reasoning: If you actually do something, you’ll be attacked for doing it. Can’t risk losing your “career” in Congress!

        1. Alice X

          The quote is found in Links 7/19/2022

          I was welding in the barn the other day with New England NPR station on. Katie Tur was promoting her book. Guy asks will you ever run for office. HELL NO was the response. She told story of Congressional friend who said all we do is raise money all the time. That when in Congress you have to make it look like you want to do something, but if you actually do something, it becomes a very significant danger to your career. More money will be raised against you than if you only look like you will change things. So only look like you want to change things is best. Explains sen. crapo, if he really exists

        2. Questa Nota

          Take the temperature with your Obamamometer.

          Not too hot.
          Not too cold.
          Just right.

          Otherwise no life porridge for you, and yes, someone else will be sleeping in your bed!

      2. Carla

        Because our government, from the Constitution forward, was set up to protect property over people, those with money have controlled U.S. politics since Day One. It does not work for the people, and that is by design.

        Ryan D. Doerfler of Harvard and Samuel Moyn of Yale write in the NYT that “The Constitution Is Broken and Should Not Be Reclaimed,” yet they put their faith in legislatures that scramble over each other to see who can sell out their constituents the fastest and most thoroughly. If these are among our best thinkers about what it will take to create a real democracy, we are in even more trouble than I thought.

      3. griffen

        Joe Biden had said nothing will fundamentally change. Too much on the nose, depending on one’s flavor of kool aid. Combining with what you write above, there is a separate link describing the DCCC running test ad campaigns to tie high energy prices to Republicans. The article is sadly, not from the Onion ( I’ll ignore the fact the Intercept is owned by a zillionaire for the moment ).

        What is next, perhaps? They put forward Mayor Pete as a candidate for something better than Biden in 2024. No, that is a legitimate question to pose. Let’s fail upward America!

        1. Rolf

          What is next, perhaps? They put forward Mayor Pete as a candidate for something better than Biden in 2024.

          I think you may have just hit on Mayo Pete’s campaign banner (Dems love alliteration):
          Buttigieg: Like Biden — But Built Better!”

          1. petal

            I like maybe trotting out Fabio with Mayor Pete, hair flowing in the breeze, and Fabio purrs “I can’t believe it’s not Biden…mmm”

      4. marym

        Voters who want guns galore, and state power used to control women and suppress or eliminate people not like them from public life are getting a lot of what they say they want. State governments and the right wing SC are delivering what Republicans are running on, and some potential presidential candidates already have a history of delivering. One would think those voters would be happier by now.

        1. ambrit

          One big part of keeping a political coalition going is to never completely fulfil the “follower’s” desires.
          As the bodybuilders say: “Stay hungry.”

    2. Bugs

      Seems like the Wisconsin senator and governor races are going to be interesting as a bellwether this year. Barnes is fairly progressive, while Evers is milquetoast Madison personified, but their opponents are a direct reflection of the national GOP, with Trumpist characteristics. There’s also a state supreme court seat election early next year that is going to be a heck of a fight because it could reverse GOP gerrymandering, overturn the reinstated 19th century abortion law, and potentially get the Dairy State back in Democratic hands for a generation. Imho the Dems should put weed legalization on the ballot if they want turnout.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      VA Gov. Youngkin is on his third snitch line, but the GOP held a convention so the candidates wouldn’t speak in public to the base. Hes trying to get teachers to rat on lgbt kids. Even then he only won by 2 points against Terry MacAuliffe. It’s weird how smart centrist ypes don’t talk about him anymore (snark). Even then, Youngkin couldn’t be hit on corruption because Terry was an investor. The GOP was out of the Governor’s mansion for 16 of the last 20 years. So they invested in keeping Youngkin off the trail before he could be coached up.

      Can GA Republicans put forth a better candidate? I’m not sure they can. The current good Republican is Cheney’s spawn who voted with Trump 97% of the time.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Lami locals voice concern over Australian-funded Fiji defence facility being built in residential area”

    Apart from the fact that in case a war breaks out against China, that this center in the middle of suburbs would be a military target, there is something else.The article said that that center will house ‘Fiji’s naval headquarters, the Suva Coastal radio station, as well as the country’s maritime surveillance coordination centre, and hydrographic office.’ So what is the bet that that center will be all wired up with a direct line going back to Oz’s spooks to be sent on the the rest of the Five Eyes?

  5. Louis Fyne

    —Daughter of Putin Propagandist Killed in Car Bomb Outside Moscow, Reports Say —

    “Putin Propagandist” implies direct control by Putin. Elder Dugin is a pundit who shares some parallel thinking w/Putin.

    Of course as wikipedia deems elder Dugin as “Putin’s brain,” the media just runs with that copy without any independent research.

    1. Lupana

      Any reliable sources as to who Alexander Dugin is? I looked up the name and found “Putin propagandist”…”Putin’s brain”… “widely considered fascist” and thought – Nope. Western media has become completely useless. I really hope this isn’t the beginning of a US funded program of terrorism in Russia.

      1. Lex

        Oof, that’s a tough one. Basically he’s a Eurasianist. The reason the west thinks he’s Putin’s brain is because he’s one of the few Russian political thinkers who bothers to try and talk to westerners. His history is convoluted, but he did have a moment where he was listened to by portions (especially military) of Russian elite. He’s a patriot, borderline nationalist with a sometimes fondness for the Russian empire. He’s traditionally not racist but recently has started veering towards Russian ethnonationalism. His “fascism” is mostly derived from his time with Limonov in the Naz-Bol movement but explaining that is booklength and it should be understood as much an avant-garde art movement as a serious political group (which is why dugin left). Now, his students do have something of a track record of going fascist, like Yelena Semenyaka (First Lady of Azov).

        I don’t know if it’s all behind their paywall, but the RWA podcasts have some good explainers of the 90’s, dugin, etc.

        1. hk

          Interesting, so, in a roundabout way, he’s also an influence behind Ukraine ultranationalism, too? So much for “Putin’s brain” claptrap… He sounds like, at worst, a complicated intellectual!

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        Dugin’s most famous work is a book called Foundations of Geopolitics (Основы Геополитики), which I struggled to read because it’s a confusing mishmash of good ideas (Eurasia as the center of global power) and utter claptrap. I’m not aware that Dugin has any particular influence in the Kremlin. He’s an interesting guy. I doubt that most Russians had ever heard of him up till now, but that will change fast as the Streisand Effect kicks in.

        Assuming that UKR was behind this (along with the recent drone attacks in Crimea), one can only wonder what they hope to accomplish. To provoke a strong RU retaliation that triggers the US cavalry riding to the rescue? Oh please. UKR leadership might look to the past (Hungary 56, Prague 68, Saigon 75, Iran 79, Kurdistan 91, Kabul 21, to name the most obvious candidates) as a guide to their future as a USA proxy.

      3. juno mas

        …so now guerilla warfare is in vogue for Ukraine/US/Nato? If you don’t think small nations without powerful armies won’t find their way to Washington, DC, you’ve dis-remembered 9/11/2001.

      4. jrkrideau

        Any reliable sources as to who Alexander Dugin is?

        Havue a look at The philosophers behind Putin The author, Paul Robinson, is an academic at the University of Ottawa. Not a lot of detail but Robinson has been studying Russia–USSR–Russian Federation for a long time.

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you were to wade and grind your way through the Vineyard of the Saker blog, you might find some things about Eurasianism and Duginism and Dugin.

        Since I have noticed that calling up a bunch of images of a subject brings up the URLs that go with the images, and I sometimes see obscure and interesting URLs that way that no one will ever find by searching for words and phrases in a search engine, I offer a bunch of images of Alexander Dugin, in case anyone wants to go url diving.;_ylt=Awrhba50DgRjfoMz4SNXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=alexander+dugin+image&fr=sfp

    2. tgs

      Mark Sleboda, via MOA.

      “The killing of “Putin’s brain” who “inspired” the Russian intervention in the Ukrainian civil conflict would be celebrated by Kiev regime propagandists as a “victory”. It does not matter in the slightest that none of it is true.

      It doesn’t matter that in reality Dugin has never met or spoken to Putin. It doesn’t matter that his unique ideas had zero influence in the Kremlin and little to none in the rest of Russian society. In doesn’t matter that to the contrary the Kremlin got Dugin fired from Moscow State University and banned him from government media because of his strident views on the Putsch in Ukraine at a time when the Kremlin was pushing the Minsk accords to resolve the civil conflict there.

      The truth doesn’t matter because Dugin has been blown up as a caricature bogeyman in the minds of the West and Putsch-controlled Ukraine. And his assassination would thus still serve as a propaganda victory, in spite of it’s complete divorce from reality.

      In this, the Western media which caricatured and inflated Dugin and the Western governments which nonsensically sanctioned him are fully complicit in the murder of Darya Dugina, his daughter.”

      1. Janie

        This is discussed on Gonzalo Lira’s roundtable today and by Alexander Mercouris and similar YouTube channels.

    3. timbers

      Not nearly as cohesive as Racheal Maddow splain’in to us all on the National Tee Vee how Putin’s Chef (as in some dude who owned a catering firm that once serviced an event Putin supposedly attended at sometime or another in the last 10 years or so) stole Hillary’s Presidency from her with random adds of which a tiny few said very mean things (and good) about her.

      1. nippersdad

        This is what I mainly remember him as; the guy who gifted us the Buff Bernie poster during the ’16 election that got Correct The Record so huffy. That whole thing was so fundamentally unserious that it still amuses me to think about it.

        I just really fail to understand the kind of mentality that would follow Maddow down such a rabbit hole for so many years.

    4. pjay

      In reality, as many knowledgeable commentators have noted over the years, the “Putin’s Brain” label is BS propaganda. But it may well have gotten Dugin’s daughter killed. As many NC readers are aware, although opposition to Putin from pro-Western “liberals” in Russia is actually minuscule, pressure from the right is considerable. This won’t help. Was that the objective? It’s hard to see how this helps Ukrainian or Western interests at all, but….

    5. The Rev Kev

      There is form here. It was only back in April when Putin accused the west of trying to organize the assassination of a prominent Russian journalist until the Federal Security Service stepped in. Trying to murder Dugin was senseless as he has no say in Russian policy and it would only serve as a pr “victory” of sorts. Instead his 30 year old daughter was killed-

      1. S.D., M.D.

        Does it occur to anyone else that plenty of people might consider the Kagans and the Nulands fair game now?

        1. The Rev Kev

          I would guess that the Russian and Chinese calculation is that by leaving them in place, that they are causing more damage to America’s position in the world than to Russia and China itself. Since they pushed for this war, look at how isolated America has become in the world with regions like Asia, Africa and South America. And even former allies like Saudi Arabia and Turkey are going their own way. Russia and China could never have done that themselves but needed the help of the Kagans and the Nulands to do it. Fun fact – actually they are both the same family by marriage.

    6. anon in so cal

      The vile “prop or not” weighed in. Their tweet is too horrible to repost.
      If anyone wants to read their depravity, their twitter handle has no spaces.

    7. al apaka

      seems Dugin was the main target as he was supposed to be in the car that was blown up but went in another at the last minute.

    8. Will

      [Edit: This was meant as a reply to Lupana’s question about Dustin is.]

      Earlier this year the Darts and Letters podcast spoke with political theorist Mark McManus who went through Dugin’s theories.

      McManus wrote a book on postmodern conservatism and Dugin, supposedly, can be categorized as such. I’ve yet to read the book but it’s on my ever expanding list.

      The show notes cite a book titled “Key Thinkers of the Radical Right”, which has a chapter on Dugin. The show recommends reading the abstract as a short, but good bio of Dugin.

      I’d try to provide quotes but I always seem to run afoul of copyright rules and never make it through moderation.

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    Just a reminder (and I was reminded because of the mention above of the wild and woolly comments section during the Troika’s (EU, IMF, and Central Bank of Europe) coup against Greece and the long battle here to understand that Grexit was not feasible):

    Greece emerged from one straitjacket yesterday:

    However, and a big however, an article that I read in another Italian paper indicated that the surveillance (the lite surveillance) will go on until 2060. Also, and a grim, grim detail, the Greek unemployment rate has fallen–because so many Greeks have left.

    All in all, a neoliberal success.

    Ahhh, it’s too early in the day here for me to find a bottle of retsina and drink it down…

    1. digi_owl

      Sometimes i wonder if the people in power start their day with a few bottles of far stronger stuff…

    2. Ignacio

      Surveillance is s constant in the EU on public sector expenditures and not only upon Greek expenditures. The monetary ring to rule them all.

  7. griffen

    More bad news for all those HR and recruiting personnel at that fruit company, and that FB/Meta/Zuckerberg Inc is laying off people using a friendly robot, er, algorithm. CEOs are mean. In seriousness though, recruiters can work remotely and do their job well; your applications aren’t getting deleted without the care and attention without them.

    These leading Tech companies have warned for months running they were going to evaluate the headcount or human capital (okay, whatever it is labeled in 2022 – hard to keep up).

    1. digi_owl

      Funny how that algo picked at random. In other words, they had a computer throw dice to decide who to let go. Not much of an algo that. It is becoming more and more clear that algos have become the wizards curtain. The algo did it, so you can’t blame or punish management for the outcome.

      1. griffen

        These algorithms stay busy, I am certain. One algo in place to screen for the hiring process, ie, you need 2 to 3 years experience but you only checked the entry level experience box on your submitted CV as a recent college graduate.

        I’m sure the random part is glossing over a final, decisive input from a legitimate manager. Just a high possibility they screen to retain the real “keepers” of the bunch.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Given the challenges and constraints, the programming team at Meta has done remarkable work in getting The Zuckerberg to almost resemble a human being, but you have to wonder if they’ll ever get that cursed “empathy thing.”

      1. Earthling

        Well, mass layoffs when you are rich as God are cruel and unnecessary. BUT, this batch of jobs were to recruit masses of new people, in a company that is going to be pulling back instead of growing, so, it was going to be done.

        Personally I would much rather have on my resume that I got laid off in a random purge, then having hirers assume I got laid off because I was the deadwood. So a perverse sort of kindness, actually.

        1. Late Introvert

          I love that he just spent the last 3 days bumming out and bossing around 100s of his clueless a-hole minions to fix this now! And he still failed. Popcorn.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Hey, he’s just a dormboy who’s invented an app. Just a kid.
        Makes mistakes but hey, he’s just a kid. Don’t mean nuthin by it, just spreading his wings.
        It’s just an app. Shows how smart he is. A kid who is being entrepreneurial. Great example to all the other kids. He don’t mean to spy on people or chase money, no sir, he’s just a kid having fun inventing an app. He’ll fix the app if it upsets you. Not fixed? Man, he’s going to so many dorm parties he forgot to fix the app.
        I think that just about covers the PR.

    3. Dave in Austin

      Contradiction in terms. Using an algorithm to lay off people at random. Unless the “algorithm” is a random number generator. How can anybody take this sort of “news” seriously?

      1. marku52

        HP used it in a layoff during the Queen Fiorina Era to ensure there would be no age discrimination suits, as was true during the previous “resizing”

        How motivating. Work 60 hours/wk or 20–your odds of layoff are identical.

        We sure were glad to see her go.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          In some quarters Fiorina remains a viable presidential candidate. Things really are that bad.

    1. griffen

      Believable that someone would do such a thing to his supposed flock. A real leader, a shepherd of men and women and families, that guy.

      Hey preach, here’s a $25 CASIO. It does the same function. And also here’s a UHAUL, now pack and leave this town while you’re at it.

      1. Randall Flagg

        You forgot to add,” And don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you on your way out!”

        1. ambrit

          Don’t forget: “Oh, and leave a DNA sample so you can be ‘eliminated’ from paternity tests among your former flock’s underage females.”

        2. Mildred Montana

          Yeah, he should find another line of work. He has demonstrated he is a hypocrite, not a believer.

          If he were truly devout, he would pray for that watch and keep on praying and praying and praying. If, after all his entreaties, divine Providence still fails him, he should accept that as God’s Will.

          But he clearly doesn’t believe in either the power of prayer or the finality of God’s decisions. He’s a phony.

          1. Questa Nota

            Ya know, his professional peers got together to compare gifts and he didn’t have much to show.
            Where was the love?
            Were any sins involved?
            These days, that isn’t so clear-cut.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Cotton farmers farm themselves to poverty in Zimbabwe”

    If they insist on growing cotton instead of food, perhaps it is because they need the cash to pay off loans. I mean, five hectares of land – about 12 acres – is plenty of enough land to grow crops to feed your family and have surplus to sell at the local markets. You wouldn’t need cash to buy most foods with. But with cotton, what are you going to do with it? Sell balls of it covered in chocolate?

    1. Dave in Austin

      Zimbabwe’s problems in two nutshells:

      First: The governent says “You must sell your cotton to us at a mandated price in a currency that isn’t worth the paper it is printed on”. The article dodges that obvious issue- and the fact that the next sale of the cotton at world prices seems to enrich people in the government.

      Second: Six daughters mentioned. Three are dead of AIDS leaving four granddaughters for grandma to raise. Three other daughters in the city. The chances of 6 girls and four grandaughters at random in a family is 1/1024, so there are probably unmentioned sons. And the three living daughters in the city probably have children. Lots and lots of children there. The population of Zimbabwe in 1950 was roughly one million people. Today it is 16 million people ( A once agriculturally self-sustaining country can no longer feed itself

      Grow food? This is dryland farming. There is simply no way to grow enough food consistently on the land. Without the export earnings from cotton there would be no imports to feed the rapidly growing urban population, and that would lead to instability and the overthrow of the government. As France found out in 1789, bread matters.

    2. Questa Nota

      Can door-to-door makeup sales help out with that cotton production?
      Cotton balls have many uses.
      Think of the multi-level marketing opportunities to boot-strap, or is it sandal-strap, the budding entrepreneur. /s

      p.s., somebody could be writing a grant for that at this moment. NGO jobs don’t grow on trees, after all.

  9. GramSci

    re Looking for Clarence Thomas

    An epic Greek tragedy, which will continue to unfold long after Agamemnon dies.

    1. hk

      Funny thought: House Atreides in the Dune novels is supposed to be descended from House of Agamemnon. How long could these go on?

      1. Bruno

        Shouldn’t it be “House of Atreus?” The merited execution of Agamemnon was performed by the mother of Iphigenaia and the son of Thyestes.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “US approves further attacks on Crimea, provides $775 million in weapons for Ukrainian offensive”

    The thought occurred to me that if Crimea had not voted to rejoin the Russian Federation, that what has been happening on the Donbass the past eight years would also have been happening with the Crimea, even if the Crimeans had kept them stopped at the isthmus. But it looks like Washington & London wants attacks really ramped up on Crimea. There has been talk of those 300 kilometer (185 miles) HIMARS shells going to the Ukraine along with High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles that will be launched from modified fighters given to the Ukraine by NATO countries. In addition, the US is planning to supply Ukraine with GPS-guided high-precision M982 Excalibur artillery shells that can be fired from M777 howitzers (those left) and which will have a range of over 70 kilometers (44 miles). Will it change the course of the war? Of course not. The only real purpose is to kill more Russian soldiers but what this will mean is that the Russians will eventually push the front line way, way back towards Kiev which means that the Ukraine will lose even more land which will sting US Big Ag. I was reading recently that US Corporations own around 30% of Ukrainian arable land which makes me wonder how much of that land will now be behind Russian lines. You think that Russia will honour those contracts?

    1. digi_owl

      “I was reading recently that US Corporations own around 30% of Ukrainian arable land”

      And there it is, this war is nothing more to the US than all the crap Smedley Butler and his marines was sent to do back in the day.

      The colonial era never ended, it just changed masters.

      1. ambrit

        I’d argue that the Neo-Colonial Period didn’t even change the Masters. It simply became a “Newer, Friendlier Colonialism (TM).”

        1. digi_owl

          Thing is though, that this neo-colonial system only really works as long as the colonies put respecting foreign contracts ahead of local prosperity.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        The simpler word for it is looting.
        If you substitute “US looting” for “democracy” in all official announcements on “democracy”, that’s a whole year of International Relations 101 covered in the single sentence “The US is committed to bringing US looting to the world”.

    2. Stephen

      I am totally fed up with the cynical war mongering of the UK government, as well as their total urge to be Chief puppet for the US Neo Cons. They seem to be projecting nineteenth century imperialism. Problem is that every mainstream politician and nearly all media here are of the same mindset. It is beyond redemption, I fear.

    3. Brunches with Cats

      This is completely false — sorry, Kev. These corporations own NO FARMLAND in Ukraine, much less 30 percent of it. This claim crops up from time to time on the internet, which I ascribe to the complicated, convoluted circumstances of land ownership in Ukraine, blatantly political “land reform” legislation, and — to validate your point — the involvement of U.S. corporations. Yes, they are involved, and they have mega vested interests; just not as falsely claimed in this article.

      Thing is, I do believe that U.S. based multinationals are a driving force behind the war, and I’ve left numerous comments to that effect over the past several months, with an appeal to start paying attention to this instead of focusing so intently on order of battle (must be a guy thing). Relationships IMO are just as important, if not more so. And it’s not only U.S. corporations, but major European ones, too. As you likely are aware, Monsanto was bought out a few years back by Bayer, a German company (not “German-Australian,” as claimed in the article; its crop science division has subsidiaries in Australia, India, and several other countries.) The Monsanto acquisition process began in 2016 and was finalized by U.S. and European regulators in 2018, after which Monsanto ceased to exist.

      In fact, the largest single ag land holder in Ukraine currently is a Ukrainian company, Kernel, the owner and founder of which is oligarch Andrii Verevskiy, a former member of parliament who used his political ties to protect his turf and whose bloc, interestingly, backed Zelensky at one point. One needn’t stretch to far to understand why Western corporate interests have been insisting on “deoligarchization” of Ukraine (a subject worthy of a long article all in itself.)

      I’m in a time crunch for the next few weeks and can’t devote more time to deep dives, so it’ll have to suffice for now to refer you back to a long series of comments I posted on Yves’s July 25 analysis of the grain deal. Also, here’s a repost of a link to a map of foreign companies currently operating in Ukraine’s ag sector (Ukraine government site, map about 3/4 down the page):

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Oh, and meant to answer your question at the end, about Russia honoring any land deals with foreign companies. Don’t rule it out. ADM, Bunge and Cargill — the so-called “ABCs” of U.S. agribusiness — all have major operations in Russia and, while scaling back due to USG sanctions, all have stated their intent to stay. So they have their ties in Moscow. As has Bayer. Also, FWIW, the ag land in question is leased, not owned outright, and the lease agreements are between the companies and the legal owners of the land. To invalidate those agreements, Russia would have to completely gut land rights — not exactly a way to win hearts and minds.

  11. KD

    What is the old saying, social justice warriors always project?

    More importantly, the assassination in Moscow and the operations in Crimea demonstrates that Ukraine has lost its capacity to fight conventionally, and in light of its conventional army collapsing, is now resorting to insurgency tactics. You can see how this could quickly lead to escalation if Russia starts whacking the children of prominent Western academics associated with the Ukrainian campaign. The other problem is that once you let these groups loose, they have a tendency to do stuff like bomb children in church bathrooms. It would not take a lot of IRA-style bombings on the Moscow subway or an Al-Qaeda-type incident to create horror in the international community, and even some of the Western leaders would probably have to distance themselves, leaving the Ukrainian freedom fighters isolated.

    1. pjay

      That Hill article is pretty humorous. But in this case I don’t think the author is any social justice warrior. Here’s his bio from the article:

      “Jim Jones is a Vietnam combat veteran who served eight years as Idaho attorney general (1983-1991) and 12 years as a justice on the Idaho Supreme Court (2005-2017). He is a regular contributor to The Hill.”

      More the traditional right-wing type of warmonger, I believe. Unfortunately there are still plenty of those around as well.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      It’s psyops, telling Russians that they might be winning on the Ukie battlefield, but none of them are safe in their own homes or anywhere in their own country. That Putin cannot protect them.
      If the US just wanted to kill this dude surreptitiously, they have a thousand ways to do just that. Biochemical, biological etc, honed in labs across the world.
      They did this thing by explosion in public to send a very public message.

    3. Will

      I seem to recall a sort of consensus among NC commentators that America’s plan to use Ukraine as a resource sucking quagmire like when it provoked the USSR to invade Afghanistan would fail because of, among other things, Russia’s familiarity and kinship with Ukrainians, at least in the Donbas and Crimea. Still early days, but perhaps such predictions overestimated Russian counterinsurgency abilities and underestimated the CIA et al?

      1. KD

        But its not really counter-insurgency, its just straight up terrorism like 9-11. Dugin is not even a Russian official. Imagine if the Russians whacked Michael Bloomberg’s daughter (if he has one)–he is not an official, but he has influence in government. He’s probably friends with Biden. What would that accomplish for the Russian side? It would just piss people off–like 9-11 or the Libyan plane bombing.

        For insurgency (in contrast to straight up terrorism), you need the support of the locals, at least a significant share of them. Its hard to imagine a lot of support in Donbass after everyone’s been shelled by their own government for 8 years. The CIA or the FSB can’t really alter that reality.

        I have no doubt in the CIA’s operational capacity for playing dirty. I’m not sure about the tactical or strategic value of this incident–it seems like they are ad libbing, which is not smart when you are whacking people. Russia had a problem with morale at the beginning of the war, then the special forces starting publishing videos of Ukrainians torturing and killing Russian POW’s. Obviously, that is fighting dirty but you are not hearing about Russian POW’s anymore. That’s a great way to make your enemy fight to the death. This assassination is likely to solidify Russian support around the war, like 911 in the US. If that is the genius plan of the CIA, well doesn’t seem too thought out. [Hard to imagine the Russians targeting the Neocons in the Biden Regime, as they seem to be better at weakening and destroying America than the Russians or the ChiCom.]

        1. Yves Smith

          This would be like whacking Bill Kristol’s or Paul Krugman’s kid. America doesn’t have any intellectuals that influence politics, not that Dugin actually did.

  12. Juneau

    re: Killer Whales Attacking Sailboats…
    Maybe the word finally got out to the Orcas about what humans are capable of-I am not in favor of revenge by nature but headlines like this depict a level of naivete about animal’s capacity to extract revenge or recognize and try to eliminate a dangerous species (humans).
    Anyone who has owned large parrots (who can hold a grudge for months and wait for the opportunity to extract revenge) knows this. We wonder why animals make attacks and even the scientists can’t figure it out. I understand a paddleboard victim of a shark attack looks like a seal but perhaps there is more to the story with some attacks. Who can blame them? Still we need to protect ourselves

    1. The Rev Kev

      It might be that warmer waters are making them more aggressive or something. They are going to have to research that. One bit that surprised me was when the daughter said to the dad ‘I’m not thinking clearly, so you need to think for me’ which is not something that you would really want to hear from a 27-year-old medical student.

      Still, maybe we are just going to have to get bigger boats.

      1. Ignacio

        Fear can be overwhelming and Reverend, Medicine Schools do not prepare for killer whale attacks!

        1. The Rev Kev

          I hope that she gets better handling pressure – she’ll need to in medicine. Otherwise dermatology would be a good choice for a specialty. You don’t get many emergencies and midnight calls from the hospital with dermatology problems. :)

          1. vao

            Actually, dermatalogists also deal with victims of serious burns, so, yes, they may well get late-night calls from the emergency wards of hospitals.

            1. Yves Smith

              Rev Kev has this one right. My derm in NYC did mainly dermabrasions, Botox, fillers….having her excise a nasty cyst was slumming for her. I had to see one in Sydney to get a skin Rx. Her practice was electrolysis + a big product line (actually very good, she’s a canny businesswoman and did tons of travel and research to source her products and product formulas, which she priced at only a bit over mass market).

              Derms aren’t in ERs. And I strongly suspect the ones that do post burn reconstruction to only that.

            2. Harold

              Skin cancer is no joke. Dermatologists remove a lot of tumors and other growths, benign, pre-cancerous, and cancerous. Plus take care of eczema and other rashes, not to mention insect bites.

            3. Robert Gray

              I think dermatology could be a very clever career choice for a newly-qualified young doctor today. I suspect there will be a lot of work in the tattoo removal business in coming years.

        2. ArvidMartensen

          Yes, when your own life is in danger, it’s a whole different ballgame compared to doing what you were trained to do for someone else whose life is in danger.
          None of us really know how we will react until we are in the situation with an unexpected and possibly deadly foe

    2. IMOR

      “I am not in favor of revenge by nature…” Uhm…why not? Given the rest of your comment, given the total moral bankruptcy of what the revenge is for, given the fight or die choice imposed on nature?
      Truly rhetorical question, but certainly happy to read your or anyone’s response(s).

      1. ambrit

        “Revenge” implies agency. Nature, unless we invoke the Gaia Hypothesis, is not self aware. (I have yet to see convincing evidence of such.) So, “revenge” is just Terran human projection.
        Those orcas are responding so some set of stimuli. Hunt for those inputs.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I’ve read that some corvids have good memories and behave in ways that suggest that they “harbor grudges” and (I have heard) even communicate them to others of their species.

          I’ve heard the phrase, “be nice to crows”.

          It’s conceivable to me that this capacity might be present in other species.

          1. chuck roast

            Maybe these critters are just fed up with the noise and vibration…and they are not gonna take it anymore.

        2. Michaelmas

          “Revenge” implies agency. Nature, unless we invoke the Gaia Hypothesis, is not self aware.

          Orca whales not only have agency and intelligence, they have local cultures and historical memory, and self-interest. To whit —


          ‘The killers of Eden or Twofold Bay killers were a group of killer whales (Orcinus orca) known for their co-operation with human hunters of cetacean species … near the port of Eden in southeastern Australia between 1840 and 1930. A pod of killer whales, which included amongst its members a distinctive male called Old Tom, would assist whalers in hunting baleen whales. The killer whales would find target whales, shepherd them into Twofold Bay or neighbouring regions of coast, and then often swim many kilometres away from the location of the hunt to alert the whalers at their cottage to their presence and often help to kill the whales ….

          ‘Old Tom’s role was commonly to alert the human whalers to the presence of a baleen whale in the bay by breaching or tailslapping at the mouth of the Kiah River … where the Davidson family had their tiny cottages. This role endeared him to the whalers and led to the idea that he was “leader of the pack,” although such a role was more likely taken by a little known female (as is typical among killer whales).The whale known as “Stranger” described as a leader of “stranger’s mob” was a large 30 ft male.

          ‘After the harpooning, some of the killer whales would even grab the ropes in their teeth and aid the whalers in hauling. The skeleton of Old Tom is on display at the Eden Killer Whale Museum, and significant wear marks still exist on his teeth from repeatedly grabbing fast-moving ropes.

          ‘In return for their help, the whalers would anchor the carcass overnight while the killer whales ate the tongue and lips of the whale, then haul it ashore.The arrangement is a rare example of mutualism between humans and killer whales….

          ‘Many of the Eden killer whales were individually known and named, often after whalers who had died. Some of best known killer whales included Tom (who died 15 September 1930), Hooky, Humpy (died 1926/7), Cooper, Typee (died 1901), Jackson, Stranger, Big Ben, Young Ben, Kinscher (female), Jimmy, Sharkey, Charlie Adgery, Brierly, Albert, Youngster, Walker, Flukey, Big Jack, Little Jack, Skinner, and Montague.’

    3. lambert strether

      > hold a grudge for months

      My mother’s favorite cat hated my Aunt, and actually walked upstairs into her room to hiss at her. Then walked out and back downstairs.

      1. Michaelmas

        There was an octopus in a lab in New Zealand that didn’t just recognize specific humans, but took such a dislike to one woman that whenever she passed its tank it surfaced to squirt water at her.

        Octopuses are disturbingly smart, of course.

        At a German aquarium, one repeatedly crawled out to shoot a jet of water at the ceiling light so as to deliberately short-circuit it. In labs, some have been filmed waiting till any humans have left the room, then hoisting themselves from their tank, scooting across the floor to a neighboring tank to snack on all the crabs there, and sneaking back to their own tank again.

  13. Alice X

    NASA builds for keeps: Voyager mission still going after 45 years

    45 years to get 12 billion miles. That’s 19 light hours. Still a long ways to go to the nearest star at 4.2 light years.

    The Universe is a big place. Interstellar travel will remain in the realm of fiction for sometime to come.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Nowadays one must ask if Bezos and Musk build for keeps. NASA has lately been outsourcing more and more.

    1. Late Introvert

      How to travel to the stars without deadly radiation exposure, that’s my question. Have yet to hear a satisfactory answer, and nominate E. Musk as the crash test dummy.

  14. Ignacio

    I think this is the third summer in a row with NC running these (IMO fascinating) stories on Orcas. It all started around the coasts of the Iberian peninsula and this news suggest that the new cultural behaviour is expanding to new pods Northwards. Last year I posted here a link with a marine biologist (expert on cetaceans) laying a theory which I still find attractive and it is based on careful observation of the behaviour. According to him, these could be training exercises for the younger whales and it is usually seen that the larger individuals remain by the side while the younger attack the rudders. May be they are using rudders as a proxy for shark caudal fins. This might have been adopted as a cultural feature in this region and it is expanding to connected pods.

    This was intended as a reply for Juneau.

    1. Michaelmas

      Ignacio: This might have been adopted as a (whale) cultural feature in this region and it is expanding to connected pods.

      That makes sense. Orca whales definitely have local cultures. I, too, find it fascinating.

      1. Late Introvert

        Could they be finally fighting back, having learned through a few centuries now how sail boats travel across the surface of the sea? Just asking.

        1. Michaelmas

          Could they be finally fighting back

          Quite possibly.

          It would be nice if we could apply our AI tools and whatever other toys we need in order to figure out how they communicate and ask them?

  15. chuck roast

    I love to hear from Michael Pettis. He is a very perceptive, ear to the ground guy. Local governments in China are going broke. When your income base depends upon the sale of land to developers, it will not end well. Michael Hudson has mentioned this from time to time. Very nice during boom times however. Let the property developers build a ghost city; minimize infrastructure spending including schools (no kids) and everybody has a full rice bowl. Not so good during a bust. Seems like a kind of a quasi-Ponzi scheme. Why does creating a localized tax system…an obvious solution…appear to be beyond the pale?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      To some extent the problem in China is that the tax system is too localised. Local and regional governments are largely self financing via tax and (crucially) land sales. The latter of course is collapsing. As Pettis points out, the Chinese have accidentally created a seriously pro-cyclical local economic system which is wonderful when the cycle goes up, but potentially catastrophic on the way down. The only real solution is for Beijing to get involved with financial support, but for whatever reason – probably more politics and a fear of moral hazard than a lack of renminbi – they are very reluctant to do so.

      1. Bruno

        An economic system depending on the conversion of fertile farmland into sterile constructions can be fairly characterized as ecologically suicidal, but in no sense as “socialist” however “Chinese” its facial features.

      2. digi_owl

        This sounds painfully familiar, and why Norway is unlikely to get out of its current household debt problem quietly.

      3. Terry Flynn

        Genuine question – couldn’t the CCP just via MMT principles keep the process up….. But in parallel encourage investment to “create demand” for these (currently) zombie investments?

        Of course MMT emphasises REAL resources (skills, use of natural resources etc) so maybe that’s the “choke point” but in the absence of local knowledge it seems to me to be the “solution”….?

        (The choke points might be water availability etc…..)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Pettis, who is broadly sympathetic to MMT, has outlined its applicability to the Chinese economy here. He has written more broadly (from a balance sheet perspective) about the options for dealing with the debt here. Some people argue that China operates under MMT, but if this was true they wouldn’t have gotten into this mess in the first place (the peculiarities of the Chinese housing market largely developed as an ad-hoc fix to generate funds for new housing in the 1990’s).

          Ultimately yes, as some have argued (I think Prof. Hudson has made this point), it should be possible to monetise the debts. The problem I think with this approach is that monetising debt in a crude way is simply increasing the money supply without increasing the capacity of the economy and so would be inflationary, especially if it gives a signal to banks and local governments that they can keep doing what they’ve been doing.

          In reality, I think that the debt problem is simply too ingrained into the overall system to be simply monetised. The debts are so interlinked and complex it would be hard to do a sort of debt amnesty without letting a lot of corrupt people walk away as winners.

          I suspect that the final ‘fix’ will be a mix of making the more overt debt disappear onto the Central Banks balance sheet, with the rest, in Japanese style, swapped around various balance sheets, ultimately resting on the shoulders of regular Chinese savers, as has usually happened in the past.

        2. chuck roast

          I think the Chinese believe that these apartments are a store of wealth. So, what are your priorities when you begin viewing funding your retirement. I’m not aware that China has anything like Social Security…a minimum safety net guaranteed by MMT. Maybe they want something a bit more concrete.

  16. Rolf

    Re Doerfler and Moyn’s essay “The Constitution is Broken …”:

    There’s a great book by Michael Klarman, “The Framer’s Coup”, that recounts the controversies attending the Philadelphia Convention and its near failure, and explains why, thanks to slave states, and particularly the Federalists — who desperately sought to avoid any vigorous democratic deliberation — we ended up with a founding document that is far more undemocratic than many contemporary states’ Constitutions.

    1. flora

      I love the NYT essay’s timing. Now that the FBI is in a heap o’ trouble and bad press we get an essay suggesting the problem in the US is the Constitution. (right.) / ;)

      You can’t make this stuff up. (From the center right, but correct on facts.)

      FBI Unit Leading Mar-a-Lago Probe Earlier Ran Discredited Trump-Russia Investigation

    2. Will

      Thanks for the recommendation! Adding it to my list. In the meantime, found this short lecture by Prof. Klarman giving a quick summary of his book followed by a Q&A.

      It’s interesting that he frames the issue as nationalist vs democratic, but the main actors on the nationalist side, and their supporters, seem motivated more by class interests (financiers and large slave/landowners) than having any real commitment to strong federalism itself. But perhaps the books explains this framing better.

  17. Carolinian

    Re the EU and “authoritarian liberalism”

    What I found particularly troubling about this disconnect was that it appeared to be legitimized by a myth, a perception that democracy needed to be constrained after its interwar excess, of being captured by the so-called “tyranny of the majority,” when in fact democracy had been profoundly curtailed. It was a “tyranny of the minority” that dominated, through forms of authoritarian liberalism as well as the violence of fascism and Nazism. This pointed to the fact that the “democratic deficit” was not only an institutional constraint or an accidental construct but an ideological phenomenon, grounded in the postwar constitutional imagination and consolidated over time.

    Meet not just the EU but our modern US elites (mostly Dem division) where the great unwashed are regarded as a direct social threat which Orange Man will lead to a new Reich. Perhaps one reason the current Dems talk so much about democracy is that they in their heart of hearts are so much against it. For them we are perpetually living in the 1930s where internationlists are vying against America First (aka MAGA) in order to oppose the ultimate Nazi evil. Isn’t the EU itself at least in part a project to suppress nationalism that many blame for the last century’s world wars? Further from the article

    Karl Polanyi’s work The Great Transformation showed that the combination of authoritarianism and liberalism that emerged on the eve of Weimar’s collapse was far from unique — in fact it was a global strategy by the bourgeoise in reaction to the threat of working-class movements and other socialist responses to economic crisis and harsh inequality.

    Sounds like now. At any rate a useful link.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      [Mouse-glitch => second attempt and that I hope does not show up as a doubled comment.]
      I do not know the European social structures, even so, if they are anything like the social structures in the u.s. I doubt there are many members of a middle class bourgeoisie similar to that of the 1930s. In terms of wealth and status the so-called PMC class might fit … but the PMC class seems a very different category than the 1930s bourgeoisie. I believe the PMC class lacks the freedom and independent authority the 1930s bourgeoisie enjoyed. I admit my impressions are derived from the images I have seen in a blurry memory of various films, dramas, and in the descriptions from a few novels and short stories from the 1930s era and before. The best example fitting my belief is the play Perfumerie later adapted as a basis for the screenplay for the film “Shop Around the Corner”. The relation between the character Hammerschmidt => Matuschek — an interesting name change in the movie adaptation — and his employees seems more characteristic of the relation the bourgeoisie once enjoyed with respect to their employees. In today’s world I believe most of the Matuscheks have been eliminated through bankruptcies, liquidations, and mergers to form the basis of a new power and wealth relation. Today the equivalents of the 1930s Matuscheks still enjoy some of the arbitrary power and authority of old, with the crucial difference that that power and authority is constrained and contingent on the whims of upper levels of authority in a Corporate structure. And the division of the gains from an enterprise is also different. Today’s Matuscheks must share far more of the gains with the Corporate entity they work for in a contingent relationship little different than that of the minions under their whip — transformed from lords to overseers almost as fearful of whims from above as those under their whip.

      The same anti-democratic compulsions are present today — but elusively different suggesting potential for a different dynamic.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m not saying that we really are re-living the 1930s but rather there are many in the US ruling class who think we are, or perhaps merely pretend we are (fear of the working class is of course a good excuse for exploiting them). Obviously to most of us Trump is not Hitler and that’s absurd. I’d say the article is positing a three way class war between the working class, the middle class and the truly rich financial and industrial class. In this scheme the middle class have their problems with the rich billionaires (i.e. Bernie’s campaign) while still sharing a certain disdain for the Walmart shoppers and MAGA hats. Meanwhile many in the working class admire the wealth and success of the rich while resenting and disliking the middle class (Trump’s campaign). Every other issue becomes a kind of proxy for this class war that has loads of narrative to prop it up.

        Just a theory of course.

        1. digi_owl

          This is massively confusing social/cultural clashes with economic clashes.

          If anything the working class despise the rich, but they are invariably a conservative lot and thus will have even less to do with various liberal ideas.

          As long as you put economic issues ahead of social issues, you can tilt the conservative element of the working class towards your cause. They will tolerate social changes over time (in both directions, sadly), as long as they feel economically safe.

          But if you try to push some high flying social changes while they are struggling economically, they will go for your throat.

          1. Carolinian

            I’m merely speaking from my own observation and if the working class really despise the rich then Trump would not be popular among them. The authority figures they do deal with are the middle management, not the tycoons. Of course the above is a huge generalization but I’m suggesting there may be something to it. Which is to say that we have this political and cultural gridlock because the interests of not just the one percent but also the ten percent are overwhelming everything else. And the article we are talking about more or less says this too–that the left side of the argument in both the US and the EU has deserted the working class and embraced an “authoritarian” neoliberalism to control the other 90 percent.

            Or at least that seems to be their goal with the excuse that otherwise the end of democracy is near etc etc. If you roll back the clock to that other century the middle class were in fact much closer to the working class who were often their parents. This was the time that gave us the New Deal and European socialism.. So it’s both cultural and economic. You live what you know.

            1. digi_owl

              Because he gave lip service to the economic plight of the rust belt etc with his MAGA slogan.

        2. flora

          It interests me the newer distinction between working class and middle class is often based on implied cultural markers and shopping preferences instead of on income and wealth, whereas the rich are always designated by income/wealth. If that’s what’s happening, it seems like the rich are protected in a “lets you and him fight” narrative.

          I used to read about the working poor, the working middle income, and the (sometimes idle) rich. The great idea of the mid-20th century Dem party was working to improve poor workers’ wages through unionizing, education opportunities, Veterans benefits, and affirmative action.

          Now I read about the working class (many of whom are doing very well), the middle class (which seems more about white collar work and a college education credential than earning a middle income ), and the truly rich (which needs no explanation). And also about identity politics as a form of morale raising… instead of working for raises for everyone on the bottom of the work ladder.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            The newer distinction between working class and middle class you point to, is indeed interesting. In addition to the effects you identify as characteristic of the new mode of class distinction I would add how the comparisons between hillocks almost completely hides the view of the colossal mountains of wealth and power that control today’s world. However, I still maintain that the petite bourgeoisie commanded a position more akin to that of the lord of a manor than just someone with more wealth and income than those who worked for them. In other words I believe the old class divisions included more than differences of income and cultural markers — there were supposed differences of the ‘quality’ of person … noble versus ignoble.

            1. flora

              Speaking of colossal mountains of wealth, scroll through this graphic that starts with the median household income of American familie’s, and expands from that small amount to Bezos’ wealth. (The measuring graph for one thousands dollars is one pixel width.) About the time it looks like it’s a joke gone into an infinite scroll loop, it adds comments and smaller embedded graphics, demonstrating you’re still scrolling to the end of Bezos’ wealth graph.

              Wealth shown to scale.


        3. Jeremy Grimm

          I was not suggesting your comment lives in the 1930s nor was I concerned about Hitler/Trump or other ways of relating the present situation to the past. I believe the classic Marxist classes and their characteristics only partially describe the present class structures. digi_owl’s thread starting at 21 AUG 3:49 better states my intended observation. I believe the PMC are not Marx’s petite bourgeoisie. Their position and status is much more precarious. I expect the power dynamics of today’s class structure may operate in a subtly different fashion. Today’s uber-rich are of a different kind and today’s global cartel structure is more powerful and operates by different rules.

          1. lambert strether

            Interestingly, Marx’s classes, doing Volume III from memory, are industrial capitalists, landowners, working classes, and petite bourgeoisie (and he’s pretty sloppy about the latter).

            If we map landowners (often overlooked; very powerful) to today’s rentiers, I think this broad outline still makes sense.

            Of course, one does not fight a battle on a broad outline but on actual terrain, for which a detailed and current account is critical. On the PMC, I think Steve Waldman’s “Predatory Precarity” is what to read. Shopkeepers the PMC are not (as the name makes clear). I also think that Marx misses the governing function of the PMC completely.

            1. digi_owl

              I think it was generally just capitalists, though sometimes subdivided into industrial and financial capitalists.

              I think he even lamented that during a capitalist crisis, invariably related to debt, it would be prudent for the industrial capitalists to side with their workers against the financial capitalists. But that history showed them doing so far too late, if at all.

              What blows my mind is that he observed this back in the 1800s, yet as recently as Obama we had big names yapping on about loanable funds and how only government debt mattered.

      2. digi_owl

        Marx had this term petite bourgeoisie that i suspect would cover the PMC/middle class. People with a regular day job that pay enough for them to hire others to do certain tasks for them, but that do not have enough passive income from capital ownership to stop working regular hours.

        It seemed that in his view they were barely any better than the lumpen proletariat, because they kept dreaming themselves bourgeoisie. Thus they would often act to the benefit of the bourgeoisie even if it hurt themselves.

        1. LifelongLib

          I’m baffled by how people assess their economic interests. If you live off paychecks and can be fired with ease, you’re a “worker” whether your work is stocking shelves or programming computers. If you own a small business your income rises and falls with that of your customers. But people seem to align themselves more on their perceived social status rather than any rational analysis of where their economic interests actually lie.

          1. John Wright

            Here’s a link to an almost 20 year old David Brooks column on the subject of estate taxes and why Al Gore’s proposal to raise estate taxes did not help him politically.


            “The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them.”

            The American Dream has been sold and taken hold of much of the US population, but I suspect the Dream is not as strong as it has been in the past.

    2. nippersdad

      “Meet not just the EU but our modern US elites (mostly Dem division) where the great unwashed are regarded as a direct social threat which Orange Man will lead to a new Reich.”

      First thing I read this morning….

      ….held jewels like this:

      “One Democratic strategist who advises major party donors told me, “Most Americans can’t even spell democracy.””


      “But to Francis, a former executive director of both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party was missing the longer view. He sat back in his home office chair and groaned.

      Democracy, he said, “is more important to the survival of the country than, frankly, daycare for kids or prescription drug prices.”

      “This may be generational,” said Francis, who is 79. “But for people of my generation who came of age politically in the 1960s, and we were involved with civil rights, anti-war, student rights, all these things, we just are having a hard time believing that this is happening, it’s happening in our lifetime, and it’s happening on our watch.”

      You had to get way down the page before you got to this:

      “For many voters, said Greg Schneiders, a former Carter aide and Democratic pollster, “if the choice is a benevolent autocrat on your side or a representative of the coastal elites and the ‘deep state’ who might obey all the niceties of a functioning democracy but isn’t on your side, yeah, they’ll take the autocrat.”

      He said, “If you can’t show that living in a democracy actually ends up with a better result for you personally than living in an autocracy, then you’re asking a lot of people … It’s a tough sell.””

      It was kind of fun to read about all of the progenitors of our present malaise whinge about the results of their actions on their democracy. The best question of all time, and one that should be on their polling regimen, is “democracy for whom?” Whose “democracy” are we talking about? If they don’t know about the Gilens and Page study they might have some homework to do before their next zoom call.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe Francis is right in that it is generational. The Democrats of the pre-90s did deliver on things for the people that voted for them. The present generation of Democrats care only for their donor’s wishes and could not even be bothered delivering that owed $600 to stressed people, in spite of the trillions shoved towards the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the country. The solution to his quandary is simple. The Democrats should start delivering material benefits to their voters. If they had done that, Trump would have never been given the wide lane that the Democrats gave him by abandoning their own voters.

      2. Carolinian

        Thanks to you and the others who are doing a better job of making my point than I did. And I think that point is that America is developing ever greater class divisions–often based on education (college vs high school)–and per the article these new alignments should be looked at as an explanation for our politics. One should note that Trump is a shrewd politician if nothing else and goes out of his way to seem somewhat uneducated (or not to hide it) in order to appeal to his base of cultural others. Meanwhile the defenders of the establishment and its institutions are often Ivy League professors who once might have manned the Vietnam barricades. Now they see themselves as Les Miserables still manning the barricades but are anything but miserable.

        1. nippersdad

          I am increasingly seeing the past forty years as a ponzi scheme, in which those who got in first made out like bandits on the backs of those who came after them. If they were serious, they would put their wealth in a blind trust for a year and go work as greeters in the WalMart economy they have foisted off on the undersirables. If they don’t already know what the problem is, it would take about a week for them to figure it out. That article would have been better entitled “old men shouting at clouds.”

          But whingeing is about the only thing they can still do with authority, and everyone is tired of it, and them.

    3. ArvidMartensen

      Simplistically speaking, if you look at nation politics as a big circle, with dictatorship at the top, and community-led government at the bottom, with the “left” ideology to the left of the circle, and the “right” ideology to the right of the circle, then politically all societies can sit somewhere on the circumference.
      And all societies can traverse from community-led government to dictatorship going up the left of the circle or the right of the circle.
      And it doesn’t matter whether you get to dictatorship via left liberalism or via right conservatism, a dictatorship is a dictatorship.
      Currently, the “west” is traversing along the left side of the circle, from some poor cousin of community-led government to dictatorship, cheered on by the liberal left. This steady march to dictatorship has momentum and there is nothing that is going to stop it, imho.
      We now revere the Nazis in the Ukraine, and hey, if that isn’t belling the dictatorship cat I don’t know what else could.

      1. digi_owl

        That reads painfully close to the horseshoe theory that i see some “trolls” bandy about when they want to claim that Hitler and Stalin was of the same political leaning.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Bit late but…. Not sure what your point is, but looked up the horseshoe theory, and must say that it’s a bit of a fillip to the ego to find out my simple theory is similar to one first espoused by some French philosopher and discussed in academic circles. Perhaps thousands of others who aren’t academics have had the same thoughts but no platform?
          In the end it might upset those on the cultured and refined left to see that they are being lumped in with the unwashed and uncultured buffoons on the right whose knuckles scrape the ground.
          But from someone who has lived through successive eras where the “narrative” was first controlled by the church, then by the “anti-communists”, then by the military industrial cabal, and now by the liberal security cabal, the shunnings, the demonisations etc all look the same to me. Who cares what the philosophy is when you have to be careful what you say, and when you can be piled on for having an opinion (*and I am not talking about any right to vilify others).
          I look at public figures who have been vilified and partially silenced by the current narrative controllers for taking the wrong medicine (Rogan), outing the security terror state (Assange, Snowden), being supported by the wrong class (Trump), having the wrong jokes (Chappelle), and I see a state heading towards dictatorship. And the same thing has happened in the past too, from the “left” and the “right”.
          Bandying around the names of Hitler and Stalin can be a device to stop an uncomfortable conversation, no?

  18. Screwball

    Can We Expect Anything Other Than Biden vs. Trump In 2024?

    Maybe it’s just me because I don’t watch any TV, but kind of follow along via Twitter, but I haven’t noticed much of ole Sleepy Joe recently. I know he was quarantined with a couple of bouts of COVID, and then was on vacation, but it seems they are doing their best to keep him out of the spotlight. Kinda like when he ran the first time from his basement.

    Do they really think they can pull that off again? So we would get basement dummy vs. Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield from Caddyshack). What’s not to like?

    Don’t answer that. And just think – it could be worse.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      To a certain extent, it’s not an unsound strategy. Homogenization and dearth of strong local news or at least a major city news outlet in each state means the campaign stops aren’t necessary to meet the candidate as Sinclair and Berkshire Hathaway offer nothing that CNN doesn’t. With an increasingly homogeneous culture, a social media video in a high school auditorium is the same everywhere.

      Hillary would be the former president if she resisted the campaign trail.

      1. Pat

        Gotta disagree, it was a different time, and NOT campaigning actively in the rust belt probably did cost her the election. That neither she or any of her top surrogates tried to make her case there was noticed. The ground troops there were screaming she was going to lose, that possible voters were walking away as her lack of interest in the region was obvious. While a case can be made that she would have made it worse, a greater case can be made that she could have made up enough of the difference to squeak past Trump if she hadn’t ceded the region to him.

        Hell, the whole last couple of months of her campaign makes no sense, considering the need for electoral college votes. If not campaigning would have won it, she should have had the rust belt and the sun belt.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          The personal touch does make a difference. My better half was campaigning a few years ago and was advised by consultant types to just target those voters predisposed to vote for her and encourage them to come out, and not waste time trying to convince “the other side”. She ignored that advice and knocked on as many doors as she could, even those with her opponent’s signs in their yard. One guy told her he only had the other candidate’s sign in his yard because they’d gone to high school together and he’d vote for her. When she asked why, the guy said she was the only politician who ever stopped by and talked to him personally and asked what he thought.

          1. Terry Flynn

            I’d agree with this. My parents and I have (contrary to the old joke) got more left wing with age. My dad (company director) reached out to our new Tory MP with sensible responses (contrary to the lunacy we see at the national level). I have now done so too. Am hoping to meet him to have a serious conversation about tax.

            He seems open to actually having a proper discourse. Am curious as to how it will go, given that despite his young age he is in a position that might just be capable of turning the UK tory party away from its current course straight towards oblivion or something worse for us citizens.

          2. lambert strether

            Famous Tip O’Neill story:

            It comes at the end of a story he reportedly used to tell about Elizabeth O’Brien, a neighbor of his when he was growing up who told him, after one election, that she’d voted for him even though he hadn’t asked her to.

            “I’ve lived across the street from you for 18 years,” he protested, according to one biography. “I cut your grass in the summer and shovel your walk in the winter. I didn’t think I had to ask for your vote.”

            Mrs. O’Brien’s response: “People like to be asked.”

            Still true. Moral panics and virtue signaling work only for the already committed.

      2. Discouraged in WI

        In Wisconsin, everyone (absolutely everyone) knew that Hillary never bothered to visit the state during the election campaign. I think she should have been on the campaign trail here, because I think it hurt her, and the state vote was very close.

        1. orlbucfan

          The 50-State-Strategy and meeting voters where they live counts big-time. I’ve worked several campaigns so I’ve seen it personally. Also, not insulting them with descriptions like low life and deplorables. Obama pulled it off cos of his race/color. $hrillary with all her baggage should have known better.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for the Czervik reference. The narrative the elites have been promoting for years now is that Trump is some unique existential threat to Our Democracy, when the reality is it’s just the snobs vs. the slobs, and people are sick of the snobs who’ve been ripping them off for years.

      I’ve said it before so sorry for repeating myself, but given our degraded political environment, Trump recycling Dangerfield’s final line from Caddyshack could be a winning campaign slogan.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’d vote for the real Al Czervik* or Rodney Dangerfield, even in his current state. (And to continue the movie analogy, it’s more like Bernie Lomax vs. Al Czervik.)

      * one crucial difference v. Trump: Al seemed to want everyone to join the party. As an example, his proclamation that “everybody” was getting laid. I can’t see Trump being so inclusive. He may be crass, tacky and unacceptable to TPTB, but he’s just snobby enough that they will tolerate him more than old Czervik.

    4. Carolinian

      It’s hard to believe they do think that. His age alone should surely be a block to such an idea. Of course if Biden’s presidency was a wild success it might be different but the opposite is true. Here’s hoping neither one of them run.

      1. Ignacio

        And yet any other couple, let’s say Smith-D vs Smith-R will very much be the same shit to vote for.

    5. Mildred Montana

      Biden or Trump in 2024? Biden will be 82 and Trump 78.

      At their ages…. “many’s the slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.”

      (I always thought that quote was Shakespeare. It’s not. Apparently it’s a 19th century English proverb that likely dates back further.)

  19. The Rev Kev

    “China just ran into something that could be even more devastating for its supply chains than COVID-19 lockdowns: A record heat wave'”

    I have heard reports of some major rivers drying up in China like you see in Europe. So I wonder if the Chinese are encountering similar problems with keeping their nuclear power stations cooled as well. They are supposed to have over fifty of them running last I heard. Of course seeing problems with keeping nuclear power stations cooled during drought times might just encourage nations to simply set up more coal burning plants instead which of course will make the climate even more warmer. Didn’t see that one ever coming.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Even Shanghai is now in power saving mode and they are a long way from the main drought areas.

      The advantage China has with cooling nuclear plants is that they are less strict about putting overheated water back into rivers. It will keep the power plants going safely, but it is catastrophic for the already massively stressed river habitats. Mind you, the French have already been stretching the licensing conditions for discharging coolant water (it is supposed to be the same temperature going into the river as it was coming out). We might well see some epic algae blooms resulting.

      Water shortages aren’t good for coal either – water for coal cleaning is a massive user of freshwater in northern China. And of course coal plants need cooling too.

      Water is so often overlooked as the key constraint on energy production. I’ve suspected that it is water stress that made the Chinese reluctant to invest in fracking – most of their gas shale is in already water stressed areas.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Estonia wants EU to ban Russian tourists”

    Not just Estonia here. It also includes the rest of the Baltic states and Finland while western Europe is resisting this move. What they are talking about is breaking the Shengen visa agreement with Russia so that eventually they can ban all Russians. But I think that western Europe recognizes the danger that this may lead to the elimination of the Shengen Zone and that it may break up into several zones-

    The EU may buckle in the end because they have simply run out of things to sanction Russia with and when Putin’s Presidential Girlfriend was sanctioned a coupla months ago, you knew that they were at the bottom of the barrel. Of course this is actually collective punishment this which now appears to be one of the official vaunted western “values” that they always go on about. The problem? Under the Geneva Convention, the imposition of collective punishment is actually a war crime. Who knew?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      This is a case of the east Europeans being jealous and spiteful: jealous because the RU tourists are simply passing through their unattractive countries in order to visit nice places (France, Italy, Spain), and spiteful because instead of trying to make themselves into nicer tourist destinations, they want to drag all of the EU down to their own level (as per the famous joke’s punchline “Please kill my neighbor’s cow”).

      I doubt that the western EU states will go along with this nonsense, but nowadays you never know. And if it does go through….. well, RU tourists will simply go elsewhere: Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Dubai, etc. It’s a big world out there.

      1. Paul Beard

        It appears to me that this is just the russophobe countries having a tantrum. Eastern European in this case is a bit of a BBC definition. Other ‘Eastern’ states like Hungary (who reckon they are Central European) are happy enough with Russian visitors and there have always been plenty in places like Budapest.

  21. SocalJimObjects

    Wow, this is really unexpected. The Prime Minister of Singapore has said that it’s now ok for people to take off their masks everywhere except when taking public transports or when visiting hospitals and other medical establishments.

    Singapore has always been pretty conservative and that attitude was also reflected in its handling of the Coronavirus. This is a really really bold step. Do they know something we don’t?

  22. antidlc

    609 US Covid deaths yesterday.

    Yesterday’s data (8/20/2022)
    New Cases: 97,305
    Deaths: 609

    The first case of COVID-19 in US was reported 940 days ago on 1/21/2020. Yesterday, the country reported 97,305 new confirmed cases and 609 deaths.


    Mehdi Hasan
    I’m still astonished at the fact that, despite the wealth of evidence showing the long-term health risks from even ‘mild’ cases of Covid, as a country we have just shrugged, accepted mass infection, and acted as if the still-cautious among us are the *odd* ones. It’s madness.

    1. Screwball

      It’s madness.

      It most certainly is. I love to pick on my PMC friends, so I will. The other day when one of the 3 letter agencies relaxed some more rules my PMC friend says “yep, they are now finally admitting it’s endemic.”

      It is truly amazing this same person (and many others like him) not long ago were wishing people dead because they were too stupid to take the jabs because, you know, the science said so. While buying coffee cups with Dr. Dog Torturer picture on them no less. Of course the only people resisting the jabs were the deplorable Red states and knuckle dragging red neck hick Trumpers, which they hate with ever fiber of their body anyway.

      I would avoid the argument about believing in “the science” because “of course we do” would be the answer even when it make zero sense, so I would go with “is your nose sore?” instead.

      Why would my nose be sore?

      Because the information bubble you have been living in for the last 3 years has a steel hook in it pulling you from one steaming pile of BS to the next.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Could it be there is a kind of implicit understanding that, once enough of the herd has been culled, those left will at least stop dying at so great a number per year from COVID? Given that herd immunity is a fantasy, and COVID causes long term physiological damage, this is surely a fantasy. But maybe it’s an elite way of thinking? And this might explain why they get inflected early and often, because they aren’t like those other people that are dying? (And don’t seem to be; We don’t hear often about elite deaths. Would we?)

      1. Samuel Conner

        Me thinks a great deal depends on

        * frequency of re-infection in general population
        * frequency and severity of new Long COVID sequelae after each re-infection
        * consequences of accumulating Long COVID sequelae as risk factors for adverse outcomes of future re-infections

        It seems to me that the daily COVID deaths could easily trend (or, worse, curve) upward rather than downward on a long timescale, if the population of “highly vulnerable to adverse outcomes” grows faster than it is culled.

  23. CitizenSissy

    Glad to see the link for this week’s No Mercy/No Malice. I’ve become a fan of Scott Galloway’s podcasts (and Pivot, which he and Kara Swisher co-host). This segment takes the bark off the tech titans so quick to castigate government and cheerlead the bootstraps libertarian line while their businesses’ existence is very much a product of DARPA largesse. Well worth the listen.

  24. jr

    From He!! to the Hamptons

    (Apologies for the length!)

    I experienced a series of events this last week that I thought the readers would find interesting. My life has often taken on a framing that borders on the metaphorical. The following fits that mold to the letter.

    It started last Thursday night. I was at home and a sudden desire for sorbet came over me. I headed to the corner store.

    The freezer case at the store extends about six feet and is filled with various species of desserts, from popsicles to ice cream. The standard fare along with organic, oat milk, bizarre concoctions with ingredients I’ve never heard of. It’s all there. Except sorbet.

    As I was digging around, a figure suddenly appeared at my left shoulder. I turned to see and found myself looking into the face of desperation. A greasy, scraggly beard. Yellowed teeth. Wild eyes. Open sores.

    In a wheedling voice, he assured me he wasn’t after money. Instead he asked me if I could buy him some laundry detergent and a Gatorade. He explained that he had a skin condition, obviously not a lie, and the urgent care doctor he had come from had told him he must wash his clothing immediately.

    I couldn’t refuse his request. The fact that I was gawking at a veritable cornucopia of frozen desserts while this man’s skin was torturing him wasn’t lost on me. I told him to grab the Gatorade and that I would meet him at the counter.

    Once there he hooked a jug of detergent and a bottle of lotion to boot. I didn’t protest. The bill came to around forty bucks. He thanked me profusely and I told him to take care as best he could.

    Realizing I had blown my treat budget for the month and having suddenly lost my appetite for a sweet, I headed home. I shared the story with my partner and she smiled a smile that both supported my actions and expressed sadness at the man’s plight. She knew the guy from seeing him around, sometimes in the middle of the street arguing with no one in particular, spitting obscenities from a twisted face.

    Friday morning we left for the Hamptons. We are not Hampton’s residents or even regulars by a very long stretch of the imagination, to be sure. Friends of ours had rented a modest house there for the summer and they had been bugging us to visit.

    It was lovely catching up with them and seeing their young daughter. The last time we had seen her she was an infant. Now she was walking and talking and getting ready for potty training. Time freaking flies.

    The ladies thought it would be fun for us to take a trip into town one afternoon, I think it’s called East Hampton. We loaded up the gang and headed out. Along the way we passed private estates featuring fifty million dollar homes, each with a lawn like a budget Versailles . The sprinkler systems rivaled the water system of a small town. Literally. The houses were generally enormous, often banal in design, and covered in windows that revealed that most sterile of layouts: “open space”. We all agreed that they were, as my friend put it, perverse. We drove past a beach hotel that runs around two thousand dollars a night. Right next door, Robert DeNiro is having a house built that will be bigger than the hotel.

    The driveways and roads were filled with brand news cars. Patterns emerged: we noted that there were a lot of old men driving sporty convertible roadsters of one kind or another, fortyish men and women in oversized SUV’s and those massive pickup trucks that have never seen a day of work in their lives, and a variety of Jeeps and Jeep adjacent vehicles driven by twenty-somethings and Man-buns and generally festooned with surfboards and kayaks.

    For a bit of bifurcated thinking, in contrast to all these fuel guzzling, climate wrecking vehicles there were a number of signs counseling drivers to go slow to “Protect our wildlife!” There is a sign warning of a turtle crossing. Deer are everywhere, running through yards and according to our friend traipsing across the busy highways with abandon.

    Marinas seem to fill every accessible waterway. The boats range from tiny to fairly enormous. Sailboats, motorboats, speedboats, and yachts that looked like something the Avengers would take to sea in. Shiny and streamlined like waterborne spaceships.

    The town of East Hampton was, in a word, bizarre. Like a Stepford for the wealthiest Americans. The parking lot could have been a car dealership as all the vehicles were sparkling and new. The shops were quaint in a way that spoke of some sort of regulation that enforced it. There were a few cafes and such but many of the businesses were obvious markers of wealth. “Fashions by Margo” spoke to a woman’s dream shop. Another window announced “The Monogram Shop” or some such.

    And real estate, of course. Offices, posters, and magazines all announced the incredible seller’s market. Images of agents in expensive clothing and ubiquitously framed upon an ocean backdrop assured us that they put their buyers and sellers first. Satisfaction guaranteed. Supplies are limited said one magazine cover but the market has never been stronger said another. The houses started in the high millions and moved on to the tens of millions.

    The people idling around and on the benches were obviously well to do. Dumb and satisfied, they lounged with leering smiles discussing real estate and the vacations they were planning. Those walking on the sidewalks either exuded snootiness or a sort of friendly condescension.

    I literally saw no mask wearing there. The Starbucks, the place where coffee goes to die, was a chaotic cattle yard of people but no one was masked. I couldn’t see the staff but the guests were totally unprotected.

    I was trying to avoid being my crotchety, critical self on the ride back but it was actually the ladies who began to diss the town. They are normally much more upbeat about things but this had been too much even for them. I happily joined in and we agreed it was weird and sad.

    Later, I sat and thought about what I had seen this week. The grotesque disparities between the destitute and the fantastically rich had left a sour taste behind. A minute sliver of a fraction of the wealth I’d seen on ostentatious display would have housed, clothed, fed, and treated that homeless man for the rest of his life. The same for those living under the nearby overpass in our neighborhood. As well the guy who sits all day on the avenue reading a book in the sweltering heat and begging for money to buy water. The Hamptons, it’s been said around here, are not a defensible position. They are also an indefensible position.

    1. Lexx

      Genuinely curious, why the Hamptons? I looked up the median cost of a home rental in the Hamptons during the summer months. Yikes, inevitably, given the demand.

      1. jr

        Thanks for all the comments, guys. Our friends know the owners and got the house at a serious discount. Their families were in on it too. It wasn’t the Hamptons that brought them, they could care less about that.

        1. Lexx

          I read your missive, jr; I’m asking a broader question… not very well. What is the allure of The Hamptons? East coast culture is a mystery to me. So many photos and stories of that magical place and always the same profile of the haves and have-nots, but what the about the place itself? What draws people to vacation there? What does it have to offer you can’t find somewhere else on the east coast (for less money)? Why would someone pay so much money to be there that would make it worth the price? I don’t know anyone who’s actually been there.

          1. jr

            It’s really, really beautiful country. One second you are in deep woods, the next on a pebbly beach looking out over a calm bay. A short ride away is the ocean proper. The vegetation is wildly diverse with innumerable shades of green and textures of foliage. There are desert like patches with cacti, to boot!

            We drove down a secluded road and found a small community of bungalows, like one and two bedrooms, weather worn and inexpressibly cozy. I despise house porn but I was salivating. Painted in faded blues and grays and pinks. Overlooking the ocean. The only thing that stuck out was the Maserati in one driveway.

            1. Lexx

              My MIL has ocean property. It’s in Grayland, Washington, which is sitting out on a spit of land sure to be swallowed up as the ocean water levels rise, and storm surge claims more and more land. It is not property whose value is estimated in the millions. The residence is made up of two single-wide trailers hooked together on an extra large lot. It was her preference through her buying years to pickup inexpensive (at the time) houses on generous (normal at the time) lots, or buy two lots if the one next door was empty.

              The coast of Washington was once made up of comfortable logging towns and fishing villages, until the bottom fell out of those markets. Now they’re mostly shades of their former middle-class prosperity, overrun by tourists in the summer and then abandoned through the long winter, except for the locals. There’s a lot of poverty there, folks just scraping by.

              Those towns are too far from Seattle and Portland to be adopted by the wealthy as convenient getaways from the Big City… unless you’re marketing for the real estate profession.

              My MIL is 86 and has been complaining to her son about how she’d like to visit her beach house (she hasn’t been out there in two years), but she doesn’t drive any more and the guy who does all her driving is 95. My husband offered to buy the property for cash. She said she’d think about it. If she accepts, we’ll be buying a beach property for the kind of money that wouldn’t buy you the land the mailboxes are sitting on in The Hamptons. (Do they have mailboxes out by the road in The Hamptons?) Grayland isn’t just on the opposite coast, but another world from the scene you described, and thus my curiosity.

              Thank you for your time and effort, Jr.

          2. Yves Smith

            Nice beaches two hours’ drive from Manhattan in no traffic ~3 in not terrible summer traffic.

            Less than an hour in private plane or helicopter.

    2. Joe Renter

      JR- nice write up. We are all witnessing the end-stage capitalism. Perhaps a slide into an abyss with no return. However the long game will continue. From my readings, Atlantis had more than one bad ending and like a phoenix raising, it did.

    3. Terry Flynn

      Thank you for sharing this. I teared up reading that we’ve degenerated so much. I probably shouldn’t be at all surprised though…… There was a terrible Guardian article a few days ago basically saying “us Generation X people should not provide the next UK Prime Minister.”

      HELLO?! Our generation have possibly the most experience in the breakdown of “society” with one part benefiting from inherited wealth (whether they admit it or not) and the other part experiencing the “downward side of social mobility” as our increasing productivity has been entirely appropriated by bosses since around 1980 (as opposed to a “uniform” benefit/screwing of an entire cohort. We love to make generalisations about the “generations” but I do keep a close eye on social media and gen X don’t “get caught up in the flame wars” so much (it’s boomers versus millennials). Maybe it’s because we are conflicted…. And feeling too tired to fight…. And the “wrong” half of us now rule the roost (Sunak, Truss and their Labour enablers).

    4. Lovell

      And there’s that Rise and Fall of Chimerica by Jacob Dreyer above which, after reading its entirety, also made me sad.

      1. Karl

        The Chimerica article was so good, I cruised around the Noema website and was amazed by the number of very thoughtful articles it contained.

        And so I subscribed to the Print edition.

        The artwork is pretty cool too.

    5. Vikramaditya

      The Monogram Shop. Well done! (Should probably be Shoppe, though, no?) The rest: brilliant!

      1. ambrit

        Don’t laugh too hard. We here in the North American Deep South Half-Horse Town also have a Monogram Shop. It is a small time money maker. It’s in a side “strip” next to the bigger, newer mall. It’s been there for at least ten years, and going strong.
        There is good money to be made off of vanity.

    6. Thistlebreath

      Well written and a good fast read. Congrats.

      “East Egg” was the Ur-Hamptons.

      “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. ” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald.

      Hemingway’s tart response is legend: “…yes, they have more money.”

      1. LifelongLib

        Fitzgerald was closer to being right. There’s a lot more to rich and poor than a new Caddilac vs a used Chevy. And of course Fitzgerald was speaking of people who were born rich, rather than those who acquired wealth later in life. There’s a novel by Louis Auchincloss where a wealthy man fallen on hard times is deeply offended when a friend suggests he get a job. “…I was at least a gentleman and not a servant.”

    7. Anthony G Stegman

      How old is DeNiro? Late 70s? Of what use does an old man have for a brand new mansion? In my mind these kind of people are mentally ill. Kind of like Bill Gates buying up acres and acres if farmland, and investing in all kinds of businesses. Obviously to grow his wealth. But he already has well over $100 billion of wealth. Why pile on more? Does anyone treat these people, or are they allowed to roam freely in all their craziness?

      1. jr

        It’s a disease. It’s onanism. Metaphorically grotesque. It consumes them. It’s conspicuous consumption gone amok. They don’t know what to do with it, it’s bigger than they are. The wasted wealth I saw here beggars the mind, the lost potential.

        To comfort myself, I try to picture it in 50? 100? 200? years, all rusted through and collapsed with trees and bushes overgrowing everything. The husks of boats rotting into the water. Buildings collapsed into themselves.

    8. chris

      I’ve had to go to similar places of concentrated extremely wealthy people for work lately. What you said could have been written about Martha’s Vinyard or Maui. Except in places like Maui you’re starting to see the cracks in the facade. The locals are complaining about the homeless people who have taken over the choice camping spots by the ocean because of existing COVID mandates.

      Speaking of COVID, my travels this summer have shown that restrictions and standards still do exist and are still taken seriously but it’s highly dependent on where you are. They were pretty serious about masking and limiting number of people in places where I went in Hawaii. Not in the high end resorts though. In California, there were places that requested masking and vaccination status prior to permitting entry. In Martha’s Vinyard, I was the only one wearing a mask.

  25. Terry Flynn

    Something nice in UK: Duchess of Kent likes rap music. I can actually believe that the Guardian got this right….. Because I’ve met her. I sang in the London Bach Choir for 2 years after graduation mid 1990s. She actually dispensed with the HRH back then and insisted on us using her first name. She chatted to us two new members (admittedly, recruited via hardly open-to-all method simply of being Cambridge choir singers and the late great Sir David Willcocks retained his links and actively recruited annually from final year students).

    She was lovely and showed genuine interest in all forms of music as well as being really easy to chat to. It was especially funny because we performed Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion 3 times annually…. And Sir David, to properly represent “the crowd” insisted we didn’t sing in sections…. So I as a bass could have an alto one side and soprano the other….. So you never knew if you’d be next to her!

      1. Terry Flynn

        Loved the video, thanks! Another nugget from my time in the Bach Choir – the two fellow Basses I chatted to most were senior civil servants but never very open about their exact job. Pretty sure they were “Sir Humphreys” and the naive idiot I was back then missed all sorts of opportunities to learn some lessons of life two decades earlier.

    1. Revenant

      My sister-in-law sang in the Bach Choir for a while. After your time, though. She loved the music but she found its social scene not her cup of tea. She is an introvert working in advertising (the Cadbury’s drumming gorilla was her campaign as the media strategist) so I am at a loss to know what would be her scene!

      1. Terry Flynn

        Actually I can kinda relate to the social scene comment…… It was VERY cliquey.

        Apart from my Cambridge friend and the two bass civil servants I found myself sitting next to and thus chatting to, it was never a very sociable group.

        You always had the impression that your worth was judged on your age and who you knew…….. Which was why the two civil servants and “HRH but not really” were a breath of fresh air.

    2. ilpalazzo

      Regards from another choir singer. My choir was sustained by Culture House of a local State Farm. My mother was a kindergarten teacher at the same building.

      I think practicing music as in playing instruments with other people is severely underappreciated. I think it could have at least as big a benefit to one’s well being as PA; cycling, lifting weights etc.

  26. Joe Renter

    And so are the peons. If you don’t know MF Doom (RIP) check him out. One of the best IMO.

  27. Jason Boxman

    Apple Lays Off 100 Recruiters—This Is An Ominous Harbinger Of What’s Coming Next

    In the first 4 months of the year, I’d get unsolicited messages on LinkedIn or via email every week for jobs. Mostly from startups, particularly fintech-centric. That’s all evaporated since the summer. I’ve only gotten a few in months, and none from crypto-land.

    Another smaller startup I’m familiar with laid off about 10% of its workforce, to maximize runway before seeking any future funding rounds. A different tech company that pays a quarterly bonus I hear about has missed funding the bonus fully twice this year now, both times coming in at about 50%. That’s unusual, and in previous years it nearly never missed 100% funding or more.

    So stuff seems to be deteriorating in slow motion here. The bonus tech company is large and quite diversified throughout the fortune 500, domestic and internationally, and been profitable for decades.

    But this:

    When the job market is blazing hot, a tech rockstar can push for $800k in total compensation and tell their boss that if they feel they are not being treated fairly, they’ll switch jobs for a significant salary increase. With the threat of top talent quitting, Apple and other tech companies will yield to their demands.

    LOL. To the extent this is true, we’re talking about like the top 1% of tech workers, maybe the top 0.1%. Even total comp this like pure fantasy. One of the main architects of React, the framework that does JavaScript UI for all kinds of things, and works at Facebook, posted his total comp once and it was only like $250k. So I’m not sure I’d swallow this number from Forbes.

    1. Daryl

      I’m still getting a steady trickle of recruiter spam. However, friends companies’ have had layoffs. Things are sputtering out, but unevenly, as companies that aren’t viable are running out of funding and finding it impossible to get more. Things will be markedly different in a few months, I think.

      1. chris

        I agree. The quantity of recruiter spam I get has reduced, and now I’m getting lots of requests to help recruiters expand their networks. Lots of opportunities for hearing about “exciting side hustles” and the like. I can believe things are slowing down for some people. For engineers who do what I do, we can’t hire enough people fast enough.

  28. spud

    the article on chimerica is great. the author is way to polite, i would call the free trading globalists, not a glut of future aristocrats, but a glut of mental midgets, that thought that the worlds people of colors, and the deplorable that made up americas middle classes, would be ruled by the elites called davosman.

      1. Bobanette

        You’re very welcome! I didn’t mean to imply any mistake on NC’s part, rather I just thought you might find it interesting

  29. Mildred Montana

    For those latecomers to weekend NC in need of a musical interlude, I would like to offer the following two classical (not 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘤) rock songs by a ’70s band called Renaissance. Both songs seem to me to capture well the mournful histories of both Russia and Ukraine.

    𝘔𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘙𝘶𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘢 (9 min.) features a great female vocalist and is about the travails of Solzhenitsyn in the gulags.

    𝘒𝘪𝘦𝘷 (7 min.) portrays the simple life of a Ukrainian peasant.

    Russia and Ukraine. Ya can’t get more topical than that!

  30. kareninca

    I had not realized that monkeypox can cause serious birth defects and fetal death, and that pregnant women may be extra susceptible to it because of their immune state. There is not a lot of data on this but what there is, is horrible. If you know someone who is pregnant maybe help her come up with a way to hide.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Ukrainian president appreciates Turkish counterpart for supporting territorial integrity”

    It has been theorized that Erdogan would prefer the situation in southern Ukraine frozen as when Russia takes it over, there will be one less country on the Black Sea coastline. And as he has in the past tried to get an enclave formed in the Crimea by radical Crimean Tatars, this happening would leave them more isolated than ever.

  32. antidlc

    Pilots on Ethiopian Airlines flight reportedly fall asleep, miss landing

    Two pilots on an Ethiopian Airlines flight reportedly fell asleep and missed their landing, according to the commercial aviation news site Aviation Herald.

    The Boeing 737-80 was en route to Ethiopia from Sudan on Monday when the pilots dozed off, causing the aircraft to fly past the runway at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

    Air traffic control tried to contact the crew multiple times but could not reach anyone, Aviation Herald reported. Eventually, an alarm sounded in the plane waking the sleeping pilots, according to the news site.

    The pilots safely landed the plane about 25 minutes later.

    Covid fatigue? Just tired from the mess the airlines are in?

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