Links 8/3/2022

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

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

–Yves

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

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

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Key Lime Pie Fans Whipped Up Over Dessert Snub Wall Street Journal (David L)

Three Bear Cubs Have A Blast On A Backyard Hammock Animmal Rescue (David L)

Call for hippos to join list of world’s most endangered animals Guardian. Resilc: “Everything on this planet is endangered, hippos get in line.”

Hotter summers mean Florida’s turtles are mostly born female Reuters (ma0

How Those “Rice Paddy Art” Farmers Nail the Perspective Core77

US nuclear regulator greenlights its first small modular reactor New Atlas (David L)

How should we evaluate progress in AI? MetaRationality (David L)

The mathematics of burger flipping ScienceDirect (Dr. Kevin)

Polio: Virus found in wastewater of New York City suburb BBC (David L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Further SARS-CoV-2 variants, and intermittent epidemics may become the ‘new normal’ News-medical.net (Kevin W)

US

Long COVID is sidelining millions of workers from their jobs NPR (resilc)

Biden’s COVID Is Back. Is Paxlovid to Blame? Atlantic (resilc). Department of “duh”.

Monkeypox

Climate/Environment

Scientists say it’s time to prepare for human extinction SWNS (ma)

Heat waves and flooding: Why U.S. infrastructure can’t withstand extreme weather Axios

China?

From earlier in the week, still germane:

How China Avoided Soviet-Style Collapse NOMEA

Alibaba stock slides in Hong Kong after US delisting threat CNN (Kevin W)

Pelosi Aftermath

Nancy Pelosi Assures China Taiwan Visit Part Of Bachelorette Party She Didn’t Plan The Onion

Live: China hits back over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan BBC. China basically said there were much better retaliation routes than blocking her visit. Scroll to: Drills have potential to become full-scale crisis:

The announcement of six large exclusion zones around Taiwan starting on Thursday, and lasting for four days, has the potential to turn this into a full-scale crisis….

This time three of the six zones intrude into Taiwan’s 12-mile limit. That is unprecedented.

Taiwan’s defence ministry has already called the move a breach of UN conventions, and said it amounts to an air and sea blockade against the island.

If China were to move ships or aircraft into those areas, it would amount and invasion of Taiwan territory. This makes the stakes much higher as Taiwan may feel compelled to defend its own territorial waters.

Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip Is Only the Start of US Headaches Bloomberg (furzy)

OK, Let’s Cut The Crap… Andrei Martyanov. Important. Recall that Martyanov, in addition to having written three very well received books on US military decline, also has, as he puts it, an advanced degree in sinking the US Navy. Note that China basically set themselves up to lose in this encounter. Martyanov also suggests that China may feel it has to escalate.

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

China’s countermeasures against Pelosi’s Taiwan visit won’t be one-off: Global Times editorial Global Times

China’s CATL delays American plant as Pelosi visits Taiwan Bloomberg. Tesla and Ford batteries.

Old Blighty

Alien vs Predator versus Sunak vs Truss: can you spot the quotes? Daily Mash

Liz Truss’s plans to cut public sector pay leave Tory mayor ‘speechless’ Guardian (resilc)

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I was wrong to say Brexit would not cause Dover delays Guardian

In Latin America, synthetic drugs becoming more popular than cocaine and marijuana DW (resilc)

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine war is losing its sparkle. Where’s the Lady with the Lamp? Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the end of the era of constructive cooperation with the West International Affairs (via machine translation)

Ukraine – Mines, Missiles, Warcrimes And A Warning To Zelenski Moon of Alabama

Scholz visits Nord Stream turbine serviced in Canada, says nothing preventing it from being shipped to Russia -reports Interfax. This is surreal. It comes off as if Scholz made a special trip to visit a high value prisoner.

The Hidden Truth about the War in Ukraine Jacques Baud, The Postil (guurst). I hate when I learn I do not know critical parts of the backstory:

On 20 January 1991, before the independence of Ukraine, the Crimeans were invited to choose by referendum between two options: to remain with Kiev or to return to the pre-1954 situation and be administered by Moscow…. 93.6% of Crimeans agreed to be attached to Moscow….

On February 26, 1992, the Crimean parliament proclaimed the “Republic of Crimea” with the agreement of the Ukrainian government, which granted it the status of a self-governing republic. On 5 May 1992, Crimea declared its independence and adopted a Constitution….

….on 17 March 1995, it [Ukraine] forcibly abolished the Crimean Constitution. It sent its special forces to overthrow Yuri Mechkov, President of Crimea, and de facto annexed the Republic of Crimea, thus triggering popular demonstrations for the attachment of Crimea to Russia. An event hardly reported by the Western media.

Russia Gas Stop Would Trigger 2009-Style Slump, Commerzbank Says Bloomberg

US slaps sanctions on Russian businessmen, heads of freed Ukrainian regions TASS. Continuing to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Syraqistan

Hezbollah’s drones: No more safe skies for Israel The Cradle (spud)

Spiritual union: why Gulf migrants are turning to evangelical Christianity Guardian

Is the ice beginning to thaw between US and Taliban? Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Meta is being sued for giving US hospitals a data-tracking tool that allegedly ended up disclosing patient information to Facebook Business Insider

Ring Gives Videos to Police without a Warrant or User Consent Bruce Schneier (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Zoltan Pozsar: ‘Welcome To The War Economy’ Heisenberger Report (resilc)

Henry Kissinger: A Warmonger’s Lying Continues Counterpunch

Reviving the Petroleum Administration for War: A Case for Government-Industry Partnership War on the Rocks (resilc). MBA thinking

Rashida Tlaib wins Michigan primary despite pro-Israel spending Al Jazeera (resilc)

Abortion

The Kansas Abortion Shocker Atlantic (furzy)

Kansas Votes to Preserve Abortion Rights Protections in Its Constitution New York Times (Kevin W)

Georgians can claim an embryo as a dependent on tax returns The Hill (resilc)

Religious leaders sue over Florida abortion law signed by Ron DeSantis Washington Post (furzy)

Sandy Hook parents testify about the ‘hell’ Alex Jones inflicted on them through lies about the shooting CNN (furzy). How did Jones wind up on the wrong end of a default judgement?

Supply Chain/Inflation

Port of New York and New Jersey adds fees for ocean carriers as shipping containers pile up CNBC (Kevin W)

As inflation surges, more Americans are living paycheck to paycheck CNBC (resilc)

British household energy bills to be at ‘devastating’ levels until ‘at least 2024’ Financial Times

Four dead in South Africa protests over high power costs Al Jazeera (resilc)

U.S. factories grow at slowest pace in two years, ISM finds. New orders fall again in bad omen MarketWatch (spud). This is what happens when you task the Fed to whack inflation that results pretty much 100% from things the Fed can’t influence.

Stephen King Says That “Consolidation Is Bad For Competition” In Testimony At Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster Antitrust Trial Deadspin (furzy)

Nope, Auto-Loan Delinquencies and Repos Are Not “Exploding”: They Rose from Record Lows and Are Still Historically Low Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Coming wave of opioid overdoses ‘will be worse than ever been before’ ScienceBlog (Dr. Kevin)

Hate, But Don’t Look: Reporting On The Other Side Matt Taibbi (EM). From end of last week, we may have missed it….

Antidote du jour (Chet G):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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215 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘Pain management is emerging as a major issue in monkeypox infection. Patients have had oral, anal, and genital pain so severe that it led to problems with eating, defecation, and urination.’

    Sounds like there may be a resurgence in the use of opioids. So the monkeypox ‘pandemic’ may end up triggering an ‘opioid’ crisis.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      From our experience with Phyl’s cancer “treatments,” I can attest that “Pain Management” is a sick joke. The frontline doctors are allowed only a short window of time to prescribe pain meds now. After the initial ‘surge,’ pain meds are then “managed” by a classic neo-liberal rent extraction ‘industry’ of Pain Management’ stand alone clinics. Our experience was that these clinics exhibited suspiciously self serving ‘nudge’ style dosage increasing tactics. The nurse that took over ‘managing’ Phyl’s case after the initial, and only, “examination” by an actual MD, actually suggested that Phyl might want the dosage of pharmaceuticals increased, without Phyl having ever mentioned wanting that, or even that she was having increased pain. We both found that very “curious” after that visit. When Phyl stated that she was determined to wean herself off of the drugs as quickly as she could, the nurse was visibly nonplussed.
      So, this ongoing “Opioids Epidemic” has multiple sources.
      The proper usage of pain medications looks to be a “lost art.” It has now become an “Industry,” with all of the attendant evils that that sort of Terran human endeavour entails.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ive had the opposite experience.
        i essentially lobbied our doc, over years, and while trying every nsaid he wanted me to(gut issues, plus ineffective)
        i marshaled my arguments, gave him links to various pain studies, etc.
        he relented and wrote the scrip.
        after 5 years…and after i had taught him about drug holidays…he was pressured by state medical boards’ scary sounding memo into suggesting “pain management”.
        i had already studied this, of course, and sent him the enabling legislation…which was entirely focused on abuse, and acted as if it were inevitable.
        this is also Texas, and pain management, by law, tests patients for pot use.
        under another texas statute, pot use is indicative of “Drug Addiction”…period. Full Stop.
        i showed doc various research about pot potentiating hydrocodone, described in detail my usage(frugal)…and on top of the drug holiday business, convinced him to keep on keeping on, and save me the hassle.
        i’m 3 weeks in to a self-initiated,month long….and 2 years overdue…vicodin holiday right now.
        so i can reset the receptors and start again at the lowest dose…and thereby avoid moving up the opioid ladder to oxycodone.
        if i didn’t know my doctor for 20 years…as well as my pharmacist for even longer…i doubt i’d be able to do all this for so long.
        only “withdrawals” i’ve experienced is more pain.
        (and ive never noticed catching a buzz off this stuff)
        the periodic hysteria from on high ensures that doctors hereabouts are reluctant to prescribe these meds…at least to people like me who fit some ill-defined and amorphous profile(poor, ragged, otherwise not brady bunch).
        i know many, many people who would benefit from carefully administered pain meds…but who cant get them.
        i also know quite a few pmc types that have no issues at all obtaining these drugs.
        makes me wonder where all the street pills are actually coming from.

        Reply
        1. Tom Stone

          I’ve had decades of experience with Pain meds, and the cycle the prescribers go through from”You have a hangnail,here’s a refillable scrip for OXY”
          “The bone isn’t sticking fa renoiugh out of your arm to warrant prescription painkillers, take two aspirin and call me in a Month”.
          I’m currently being prescribed Gabapentin to help with pain and while it helps take the edge off (About a 10% reduction in pain with no fogginess) I developed a tolerance after about 6 weeks and needed to up the dose by 50% to achieve the same effect.
          Having been down this road before I took a two week break from the drug before resuming its use.
          Which wasn’t fun.
          Six weeks on and two uncomfortable weeks off is the tentative plan, depending on how fast my tolerance grows.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yeah. a huge pita,lol.
            i smoke twice as much weed during these holiday months…and of course on-farm productivity plummets.
            always try to do it in july…no weather, just a high pressure dome…hurricanes are usually later.
            i couldn’t handle doing it in winter.
            i understand that i’m merely delaying the all but inevitable escalation to oxycodone…and i keep poppies growing because they’ll look pretty when china cuts off the pill supply.
            mine is the quintessential invisible illness…arthritis in just about every joint.
            exacerbated by weather events(also largely pooh-poohed by standard medical science)
            can’t plug me into a machine to determine objectively how i feel every day…gotta take my word for it.
            but the full force of state apparatii…including the dern DEA…is set against that.
            of course, as i relate so often, i get a lot done…and am generally mighty and mighty amazing…but i pace myself, and study long and hard before i begin something…and will take a week off when a hurricane gets close to Corpus.
            i’m also a stickler for the scheduling of my meds…and have essentially built my day to day around pain management.
            sucks even without all the stigmata associated with ‘weakness”, etc in this idiot country.

            conversely, and to my great surprise, wife’s hospice experience was the polar opposite.
            they brought the liquid morphine the first day home…just in case.
            never questioned wife’s reported pain level(entirely subjective)…and never once skimped on provision of oxy, roxy, dilaudid or morphine sulfate.
            after the end, nurse spent 40 minutes counting and logging pills, putting them in a ziploc and adding dish soap.
            and i was the one administering these drugs.

            like a whole other world from my own experiences.(thank Goddess)

            Reply
        2. ambrit

          I had the educational experience of being on a Federal Jury hearing a “Pill Mill” case against a Medico in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Doctor would do the “office visits.” The Pharmacy was directly next door. One would go in, pay your $50 USD for the office visit, “see the Doctor,” and walk next door and have the prescription filled ten minutes later. The trick was, the prescriptions were one time only. Thus, the pill ‘aficionado’ would have to pay an extra $50 USD every time he or she got the shakes.
          Your observation about “PMC types” having few if any problems gaining access to ‘pain meds’ is quite acute. As with most ‘things’ in this society, the base line assumption is that one class of person is “deserving” and thus has few impediments to obtaining whatever they want or need, and the other classes of people are “undeserving” and must be managed like wild animals. Classic Calvinist Theology in action.
          I imagine that this is basic Neo-liberalism in action. Everything has a price. Every gatekeeper extracts a fee. Every consumer consumes at their level of financial ability. It is the abandonment of Positive Ethics and Morality. I wish it were not so.
          Watch out for the gabapentin. That stuff can get you addicted very quickly. Do like Amfortas does, if you can, and start growing Medicinal Poppys. You don’t have to collect the sap, as in opium. There are ways to process the plant so as to effect a lower level of pain reduction, without becoming a classic “opium fiend.”
          Very good luck to both of you in your pain filled journeys. Sooner or later we all will be your fellow travelers.

          Reply
          1. Paleobotanist

            Yes, watch the gabapentin, the side effects are ugly. I ended up with severe muscle aches and weakness, I struggled to climb a single flight of stairs. Now I’m back to difficult mountain climbing.

            Now on 50 milligram lyrica and fighting to get off it.

            Reply
          2. ChetG

            In my recovering from a broken neck, one of the oxy compounds never did the trick of eliminating the horrid pain, and the surgeon prescribed gabapentin in addition. That worked. Nor did I have any problem in stopping either dosage when the pain subsided.
            I respect good pain medication.

            Reply
  2. fresno dan

    In Otter News….
    @In_Otter_News2
    ·
    Follow
    So squeaky!
    ================================
    I read this site because it’s not like all the otters….

    Reply
    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      fresno dan

      Glad to see your concern for our otter brethren and sistren.

      What do you think that the caretaker was feeding them? They looked like pierogi to me.

      Potato or sauerkraut?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        DJG
        I thought the food looked like chicken…and without more data, it would be otter-ly pointless to guess

        Reply
    2. GramSci

      David Chapman (Metarationality) leaves out the field that has most shaped “AI”: Military Science.

      Per Asimov’s Laws, robots shall not be allowed to think for themselves: the only measure of intelligence is obedience. Hence the only hypotheses allowed are of the form he cites:

      We applied an architecture of class X to a task in class Y and got Z% correct.

      US readers will recognize that such testing is paradigmatic for DOD-approved “educational” institutions. NC is for creatures who think in otter ways: give an otter an oyster, and he’ll find a way to open it.

      Reply
      1. hk

        Not sure if this is an accurate description of “military science,” though. Fog of war, that we don’t know what exactly the “correct” answers are, at least not soon enough, has always been the central feature of military science, from Clausewitz to Boyd. A lot of thinking has gone into how to better manage the uncertainty, even if this has been neglected in a lot of militaries–bosses are looking for excuses to demand obedience and, I suppose “I know the right answers and you don’t” is an old one, I guess (in management of any kind really). But management systems built on such hubristic central planning enforced through dictatorial means tend to collapse, as witnessed during 1980s: the collapse of the corporate command economy of GM, I think, was as much an objective lesson of this as that of the national command economy of USSR, and of course, relatively few people saw this and even fewer saw the analogy, or at least publicly admit to seeing it (this is funny since I heard a lot of my econ profs say this sardonically in grad school–but very few said this outside their comfort zones.)

        Reply
      2. John Merryman

        Thinking outside the box is about to get a huge boost, as the James Webb slowly and inexorably dismantles Big Bang theory.
        Long story and long time coming.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          I hope so – current cosmological theories with their dark matter and dark energy, both synonyms for “we don’t know”, are really disappointing. Who wants to look up in the sky in a few hundred billion years and see nothing?

          I’d like to see Schimdt and Perlmutter’s discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating overthrown. I didn’t realize until years later that their theory was based on a very small sample size of type IAs and more recent research even before Webb’s launch has called their theory into question.

          I’m also rooting for MOND.

          Reply
          1. John Merryman

            It all really makes no sense at all. In relativistic spacetime, the clock and the ruler dilate equally in a moving frame, so the speed of light is always measured as a Constant. So if space were to expand, the speed of light would have to increase, in order to remain Constant. Instead space supposedly expands, but the speed of light remains stable, so two metrics are being derived from the same light. One based on the speed and one based on the spectrum. Given they have to be related, since it’s the same light, which is the denominator and which is the numerator? If speed were presumed to be the numerator, it would be a “tired light” theory, so speed is still being implicitly used as the denominator.
            One way light does redshift over distance is as multi spectrum “packets,” because the higher frequencies dissipate faster, but that would mean we are sampling a wave front, not observing individual photons traveling billions of lightyears and that causes real problems for the entire field of theoretical physics.

            Reply
      3. korual

        “AI has no intelligence because it has no artifice.” – Jean Baudrillard

        AI has no life, nor consciousness, hence no intelligence. The question is beyond obedience if there is no possibility of disobedience. AI is just programmed, which works or does not work.

        Reply
        1. GramSci

          However this lack of artifice is a desirable feature in machine translation. There’s a good chance the EU would be better governed if its heads of state relied upon Google Translate instead of human translators or their own imperfect command of English.

          Reply
  3. Ignacio

    Taiwan not being sovereign makes their claim about UNCLOS being breached by China baseless. The 12 mile line would mark Chinese sovereign waters and it seems to be what China wanted to show crystal clear.

    So, what Taiwan is doing can bo considered a declaration of sovereignity AND/OR independency?

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      Bingo. And if these exercises become a regular occurrence and there is a permanent rotation of Chinese ships within 12 miles, then when do shippers start cancelling trips? Insurers don’t cover war, at any price, under standard contracts.

      Reply
    2. Susan the Other

      It is impossible for Melendez and the US Congress to dictate Chinese Policy. It is absurd. Yet, we are in the process of providing Taiwan with offensive weapons. Never before have we done that – the weapons were defensive, and most likely provided to defend out economic interests on Taiwan. Now it is a different situation altogether. Just like we are excluding Russia, China and the Eurasian project from incursions into the EU so that the EU remains dependent on us for trade, we are trying to establish, totally illegally, a separation of Taiwan and China to secure trade with Taiwan but NOT with China. What a tricky situation. We want Taiwan included in our trading partners in the Pacific. But we don’t want China intruding. It reads like there was some agreement made at some point in the near past whereby the BRI was given the go-ahead (because global capitalism) but the EU was claimed as part of the “West” and now we are expanding the definition of the West to include our Pacific trading partners. But China has been trading across the Pacific for decades already and this will not prevent that at all. It is clearly a step to contain or eliminate Chinese competition in the Pacific. imo. I really do not see how it will accomplish anything except maybe another secret agreement.

      Reply
  4. Permanent Sceptic

    I’m not sure if the following story appeared in the Links in the last few days; if so, apologies.

    Peter Hitchens wrote a blogpost about the U.K. government sanctioning a British video blogger in Ukraine who has gone against the official narrative. The video blogger no longer has access to his accounts and cannot pay his bills or be paid.

    https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2022/07/peter-hitchens-freedom-for-all-means-freedom-for-nasty-people.html

    Reply
      1. Stephen

        It is. Shocking.

        Official British government position is that they support the rule of law and peace. Except when they do not:

        “The UK’s official Statement of Reason for this, is that Mr Phillips “has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of Ukraine.” As such, he is now subject to an asset freeze.

        While the government understands concerns on due process when a British citizen is charged with criminal activity, sanctions are restrictive measures that can be put in place to fulfil a range of purposes. In the UK, these include supporting foreign policy and national security objectives, as well as maintaining international peace and security. In line with this, the government is using sanctions as part of its broader policy to encourage a change in Russia’s behaviour towards Ukraine, looking for Russian de-escalation and withdrawal.

        The government fully understands that the rule of law matters. This is a fundamental British value. Whilst Mr Phillips has not been charged with a crime, his actions relate to activity that supports the destabilisation of Ukraine. Had he been, the Government would, of course, expect him to be tried in a court of law and for all due process to be strictly followed, as would be the case for any other individual.

        Ultimately, the UK’s position is that there are no shades of grey to Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion. It is about right and wrong, and the UK’s has unwavering support for Ukraine. It is for this reason and those outlined above that the government has hard-hitting sanctions package on Russia, which includes the designation of Mr Phillips and more than 1,100 other individuals.”

        My MP happens to be the Lord Chancellor and he is also the Deputy PM. Anyway, he knows I will never vote for him again. Hopefully, he will be unseated at the next election, which is not unlikely in this constituency.

        “I’d give the devil the benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.” This is plain wrong. And not just when applied to citizens. The 1,099 foreigners deserve due process too.

        You might note at least one missing preposition in the quote above too. The British government cannot even write English correctly.

        Reply
        1. Michael Ismoe

          Official British government position is that they support the rule of law and peace.

          Since when? The Brits are America’s poodles. They dance and bark when we tell them to. Otherwise, no one cares about them unless they let Assange go free.

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            “Rule of law” is an alibi for the ruling class who exclusively write the law. It is a false impartiality. We have to pretend the game is actually nature so that we don’t simply walk away from it like Omelas.

            Reply
          2. Stephen

            No pushback on your point from me, and I am British. The Assange thing is another travesty of what we used to call justice.

            Reply
      1. JohnA

        Actually, Germany already did a similar thing to a German journalist for reporting factual evidence from Ukraine that contradicts the western/NATO line, and has even threatened her with a 3-year jail sentence.

        Reply
    1. KD

      Liberalism believes in the equal rights of all, especially free speech. However, there are enemies of democracy and liberty who threaten to undermine liberalism, and liberalism is not a suicide pact. Therefore, it is necessary to deny equal rights to the enemies of liberal society. . . [And the process of determining “who” the enemy is neither democratic nor libertarian in practice.]

      It really should be called the “rite of free speech” when you think about it. Authoritarian nations don’t respect the rite, and liberal societies invoke it before enacting censorship.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        Liberalism believes in the equal rights of all, especially free speech

        Where exactly does this fantasyland exist in the USA?

        “One nation, under surveillance”
        silly con valley censorship.
        Recent events imply that “liberal” means pro abortion.
        Even implying that “equal rights of all, especially free speech” exists anywhere in the US requires a massive dose of SOMA
        What more does this country need to do to be called by the pejorative “authoritarian”?

        Reply
          1. sluggodacat

            LOL No they aren’t! I just got banned from Twitter for suggesting the Forward Party March Foward off a cliff.

            Reply
            1. KD

              The sacred verses are at the top of their Platform Use Guidelines:

              Defending and respecting the user’s voice is one of our core values at Twitter. This value is a two-part commitment to freedom of expression and privacy. Transparency is also an important part of this commitment. In that spirit, Twitter wants to publicly share how we translate this core value into our decision-making.

              https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/defending-and-respecting-our-users-voice

              You wouldn’t waste so much space if you weren’t really, sincerely committed to the sacred value of defending and respecting the user’s voice. It’s like democracy in that way.

              Reply
  5. flora

    Kansas shocker – the Atlantic

    I have doubt’s this will help Dem chances this Nov. The ballot amendment question was open to all registered voters – GOP, Dem, and unaffiliated voters. The vote on the amendment change wasn’t a closed party vote. The KS GOP is split into two groups: moderates and ultra conservative. My guess is plenty of moderate GOP voters and unaffiliated voters voted NO on changing the KS constitution. One of my first thoughts was, if Kansas can do this why have the national Dem pols sat on their hands for all these years.

    adding: primary turnout was huge. My county usually averages 1000-1500 voters in a primary. Yesterday saw over 20000 people turn out to vote… and that’s before counting all the early votes and mail in votes.

    Reply
    1. Katiebird

      I’m in Kansas too and also question how this helps Dem Chances. Especially thinking about the anti-choice judges and candidates the Dem Leadership has endorsed in the last couple of months. And “choice” isn’t the only critical issue the Dems are sitting on.

      I sure couldn’t tell from the reporting how it would go. The yard-signs were a hopeful sign (8 to 2 along my walking route) but Dems and Liberals are always more likely to put out signs than Repubs. So, while I’m not really surprised; I wasn’t counting on such a powerful defeat. I really like the map showing how wide-spread the NO votes are: (NYTimes) Kansas Abortion Amendment Election Results. Pretty much anywhere people actually live, the vote went NO.

      Reply
    2. pck

      Is the voting split ticket? Here in Mich we can only vote for either dems or repubs in primaries. So one way to test this hypothesis could be to look and see if the increase in turnout was disproportionately large for folks that voted dem.

      Reply
      1. Katiebird

        In the primary you have to declare as dem or repub to vote for candidates. I asked for an unaffiliated ballot and could only vote on the Abortion amendment and one unopposed local city commission (which does not list parties) candidate. So, it would probably be easy to sort how the voting went by those 3 categories if the data is available.

        It is VERY rare that unaffiliated/independents vote in primaries here so that was the big challenge in getting out the NO vote. It’s also why the legislature scheduled the vote for the primary. They assumed it would sneak through without much opposition.

        Reply
    3. Lexx

      ‘… if Kansas can do this why have the national Dem pols sat on their hands for all these years.’

      The stakes are higher for the Party at the national level? I think our alleged reps in D.C. breathed a sigh of relief when abortion got kicked back to the states. Perhaps it’s at the state level we see the gap narrow between what voters want, and the (self-) interests of our pols.

      There are more conservative states in the U.S…. lets see what happens next. This could just be a one-off.

      Reply
    4. Susan the Other

      I was surprised it was such a clear referendum. No messing around. Changed the way I think about Kansas completely. Very nice.

      Reply
    5. curlydan

      I live in Johnson County, KS–the most populous county in the state. We also had huge turnout for a primary election. I know we have 457K registered voters, and over 50% voted in this primary election.

      The other impressive thing for me was a typically “conservative” county like Sedgewick County (home of Wichita) even went heavily pro-abortion rights.

      I did not expect pro-abortion rights to win, so I was thrilled with the results. Un other “conservative” states, this could be a blueprint for getting abortion legal again if voter-proposed abortion right amendments can land on the ballot.

      I think I’ve learned that like medical- or legalized marijuana, abortion rights usually are popular and probably can win an up or down vote even in conservative states.

      I also wonder if the polling is a little deceptive here. Maybe people might claim to be “pro-life” in a survey, on the phone, etc but decide otherwise at the ballot box.

      I still expect the legislators will continue to push restrictions and test the Kansas Supreme Court’s willingness to allow abortion. They will not stop and will try to pass a bunch of dumb [bleep] that will go right to the courts. For example, right wing legislators could say that the Kansas constitution’s right only applies to Kansans. It can and will still get ugly.

      Reply
    6. Pelham

      As for the issue of abortion itself, I suppose Kansas will now permit late-term abortions. On that subject, I recall reading many years ago about a practice in ancient China in which impoverished mothers smothered to death unwanted babies by stuffing their mouths with thick gruel. How horrid, I thought.

      But actually that’s quite humane by comparison with what happens to an unborn child during a late-term abortion. Perhaps enlightened Kansans in the near future will consider another amendment clearing the way for a kinder, gentler form of infanticide.

      Reply
      1. flora

        You are misinformed. Kansas already has strict abortion regulations. From the Kansas City Star newspaper:

        Abortion is strictly limited after 22 weeks of pregnancy: While anti-abortion advocates have falsely claimed that Kansas is a “destination” for “late-term” abortions, the procedure only happens in Kansas later than 22 weeks of pregnancy in extremely rare circumstances when the pregnant person’s life or a “major bodily function” is in jeopardy. Most pregnant people cannot make an appointment for an abortion past 22 weeks of pregnancy.

        https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article262824318.html

        Reply
    7. Darthbobber

      What made my old home state atypical is that due to the state Supreme Court’s ruling that the guarantee of bodily autonomy in the state constitution protects the right to abortion, they can’t just ban abortion through the legislature and have to win a referendum on amending the state constitution to accomplish it.

      I suspect many states that have laws banning abortion would not have them if they had to pass on their own merits in a referendum.

      Reply
  6. Jessica

    About “The Hidden Truth about the War in Ukraine” by Jacques Baud in The Postil

    “Are you in favor of the restoration of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Crimea as a subject of the Soviet Union and a member of the Union Treaty?”

    The book “Collapse” by Vladislav M. Zubok presents this referendum as being about the return of Crimea to its _post_-1954 status as an autonomous republic within the Ukrainian SSR. (Sometime between 1954 and 1990, Crimea lost its autonomy and became just another part of the Ukrainian SSR.)
    The Crimeans scheduled another referendum for complete independence from Ukraine, but Ukraine (not sure if this was just before or just after Ukrainian independence) threatened to cut off their water and their energy supplies, so the Crimeans gave in and that referendum on full independence from Ukraine was canceled.

    I just wanted to get the details correct. The basic gist of both versions is the same: Crimea clearly showed a desire for independence from Ukraine right from the start and the Ukrainians prevented this in ways that do not fit with the angelization of Ukraine in current Western narratives.
    What links both versions of these events is that no one voted for the dissolution of the USSR. Referenda were held (if I remember correctly, in Russia and Ukraine and I think Belarus also) in favor of the union treaty and it was strongly supported in all three.
    The disadvantage of listening to a non-fiction audio book is the lack of easy access to look up facts.
    Barely on topic, but the history of Crimea is fascinating. It basically was never part of Ukraine until Khrushchev put it there and was only part of Russia for about a century and a half. But before then, it belonged at one time or another to just about everyone: Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Genoa (Genoa?!), and the Ottomans. I think the Golden Horde had it for a while too.
    Also, the coast and inland were ruled separately. The inland area was controlled by any number of steppe nomad peoples over the millennia.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      I’d say recent referendum trumps any invocation of history, speaking of recourse to realpolitik. Of course referendum does not trump veto power of small groups willing to take up Guns and try to assert “righteous” claims based on self-referent “history.” Or just raw power grab.

      Not a human trait to do peaceful coexistence and tolerance. Too many of us think we carry revealed truth in our bellies. And are willing to torture and kill anyon with a different idea.

      Reply
    2. hk

      The version of events (from a Russian who has watched post Soviet politics closely) was that the move to dissolution was particularly supported by Yeltsin, to subvert the union govt and to bolster his power as the leader of Russian SSR. Once Russia was against the union, (Belarus was particularly in favor of the union, I think) the collapse was pretty much done deal. Perhaps the key reason (as much as the mismanagement of 1990s) Yeltsin is despised in Russia–as the literal traitor.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Scholz visits Nord Stream turbine serviced in Canada, says nothing preventing it from being shipped to Russia -reports”

    I can see why Russia was insisting on having the proper paperwork to be attached to that turbine. After all the shenanigans with this one, I think that Russia wants a clear legal path for all the other turbines to be serviced as each of them come due in their maintenance cycle. But if there is no such legal path assured, then each and every turbine can be sanctioned, held up, or whatever else based on the whims of the Canadians and ultimately Washington. Of course the $64,000 question is this. If too many turbines break down or are held up outside Russia reducing gas flow to zero, will Scholz be forced to open up Nord Stream 2? There is actually another alternative.

    YouTuber Alex Christoforou was in his last video pointing out that Zelenski back in May shut down the Russian gas entering the Ukrainian system at Sokhranivka and would not accept gas at the entry point from May 11th onwards. And I have never heard of him opening it up again. So why not have Zelensky open it up again? About a third of Russian gas passed through there so why is nobody mentioning this option?

    https://atalayar.com/en/content/ukraine-halts-part-transit-russian-natural-gas

    Reply
    1. JohnA

      Presumably the turbines in Nord Stream II are new and as yet unused and therefore will not need to be shipped to Canada or some other third party for maintenance and servicing for a good while. Mayby Scholz should just go with NS II, and have done with all the hassle with the Canadians.

      Reply
  8. Louis Fyne

    —OK, Let’s Cut The Crap… Andrei Martyanov. Important—

    At any given day in peacetime, only a fraction of the US Navy is deployed or even deploy-able.

    Right now there are roughly 111 deployed ships and the US Navy only has 490 ships (which counts anything that floats and flies the US flag) https://news.usni.org/2022/07/18/usni-news-fleet-and-marine-tracker-july-18-2022

    It would take weeks-months to assemble a fleet to challenge China over Taiwan and require the US Navy to divert practically every ship from the Atlantic and Mediterranean. see the parallels to the Russo-Japanese War.

    100 ships versus 100 ships fought in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the US Navy would win hands down. 1 US submarine versus 2 PLA Navy ships in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the US Navy would win hands down.

    12 miles off the coast of Taiwan? The US Navy would need every ship it has to make it a fair fight and even then, the PLA Navy marketing materials say that those ships would be sitting ducks for Chinese anti-ship missiles.

    Any DC politician or pundit itching for a fight is truly developmentally challenged.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I would not second guess Martyanov. He’s written three books on America’s military decline and events have proven him to be correct.

      The Chinese navy has never performed in battle. Lack of experience will reduce the value of its numbers. I believe our aircraft carriers are much bigger than theirs, not that this makes them better save for pork generation. However, my understanding is that across the fleet, China’s vessels are markedly smaller.

      More importantly, China in Global Times said it is not ready. Mercouris and I both read the same article the same way but there have been so many stories in the last two days I can’t find it quickly and I need to turn in.

      And yes, China is perfectly capable of using a hypersonic missile to sink an aircraft carrier, but that is a fast path to the end of the world. Scott Ritter says the US response would be to shoot a tactical nuke at a secondary Chinese city, and China would rain nukes on the US west coast in response.

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        you and Martyanov are absolutely correct. (nitpick, US Navy ships has not fought a real peer since 1945)

        the issue is China (people and leadership) would not blink an eye at having 5000 PRC sailors killed in one weekend to defeat the US Navy over Taiwan

        Are the Americans equally ready to have 5,000 American dead in one afternoon to defend Taiwan?

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          The US doesn’t have to risk 5000 men. It is the ideal war for the US – it will almost entirely be Taiwanese servicemen on the frontline who will take the casualties. The US can focus on long range strikes and make the seas around Taiwan a death zone for the Chinese navy. It will be the mirror image of the Dombass – it will be Chinese who will be compelled to send in waves of men into a deep water meat grinder while the US sits back and rains down hell from distance. The US does not have to send in any significant numbers of men (if it was its intention to do so, they’d already have a few armoured brigades in Taiwan). And it won’t have to strike the Chinese mainland.

          If China gets frustrated, then it will start hitting Taiwanese cities, which will quickly shift world opinion – or at least Asian opinion – against Beijing. The terrain in Taiwan is ideal for hiding the wide range of missiles they have for striking attacking ships, or marines on a beach. The country is littered with armoured mini-bases – many a legacy of the 1950’s and 60’s. And if China starts attacking civilians in Taiwan this will give the US carte blanche to sink any Chinese vessel outside its direct waters – which it can almost certainly do so at will.

          This is the war the US Navy and Air Force wants and has been preparing for decades. If China does not realise this, then its in big trouble.

          Reply
          1. Louis Fyne

            my opinion is that I would give China a wide berth if I was Taiwan or the USA

            this is why Taiwan is so dangerous: both sides think that they will beat the other with tolerable losses.

            only one side can be right and in my opinion, China has a biģger pain threshold

            Reply
            1. Michaelmas

              This is the war the US Navy and Air Force wants and has been preparing for decades.

              The US had a plan in the Ukraine, too, and for most of the last decade prepared the Ukrainian forces to be the largest NATO-supplied army in Europe. How’s that working out?

              In a direct military conflict with Taiwan, the US navy and USAF’s plans still depend on the connectivity and battlespace oversight supplied by its satellites remaining operational. In the real world, China can knock all those satellites down in 30-40 minutes.

              Sure, the US developed counter-measures during the last fifteen years of low-grade war that’s been secretly ongoing in orbit, and has impressive kit nobody else has, like the Boeing X-37*robot shuttles that have spent years up there–
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37

              No. None of that ultimately can prevent China from knocking out US satellites by brute force with ASAT missiles, if that’s what China determines to do.

              A review of Chinese counterspace activities : Monday, August 1, 2022
              https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4431/1

              Reply
              1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

                The U.S. “plan” in Ukraine I can discern is, with the end of the Afghanistan ATM, find another faraway sh*thole country, make their problems our problems, and kick the arms merchant lobbyists into high gear for maximum taxpayer wallet extraction. Sons of Romney, Kerry, Pelosi, and of course “Joe Biden” all receiving fat “consulting” checks from Ukrainian oligarchs, another excellent reason to keep the bonanza going. Then, they needed a shiny new new thing, “post” Covid, and “freedom fighter” Zelensky (read: repressive dictator) draped in blue and yellow begging for even more money at the Grammy Awards did that for them, LOL, he even got universal national health care paid for by borrowing from U.S. kids and grandkids. Then of course “the sanctions”, designed to kill the industrial beating heart of Europe and drive energy prices up so their green religion can get within striking distance of economic reality, mission accomplished. The U.K. branch of the unelected extranational governing oligarchs will keep the grift going just fine with Truss, and Meloni in Italy will pick up any slack, even if she is a dirty filthy “nationalist” (equals = nation) “populist” (equals = people). But remember, Trump bad, so bad, he bad man.

                Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            If the US attacks the Chinese military, then that gives them the legal right to attack any US military asset. What if a Chinese sub launches precision missile strikes against Diego Garcia? Or Guam? The Chinese too will be operating direct off their coastlines whereas the US will have to use long supply routes open to attack. It is the same mechanism operating in the Ukraine where Russia is attacking a country on their border whereas NATO has all these long supply lines which become vulnerable to attack when in-country.

            I still haven’t forgotten that time ten, twenty years ago when a Chinese sub unexpectedly surfaced in the middle of an American carrier task force. Sure, I am positive that the Chinese Navy is still learning their craft but I do not forget how the Japanese Imperial Navy was half-mocked (all nips wear glasses – including their pilots) in the years leading up to WW2. It thus might be prudent to assume equal capability until proven otherwise.

            Reply
          3. ambrit

            That is if the “war” is restricted to the Chinese littoral. If Americans begin sinking Chinese freighters, then the entire Pacific will become a shooting gallery. Sink a few dozen container ships off of the Port of Los Angeles or Long Beach and the “war comes home.”
            The Chinese, once they get over the “loss of face” the present situation will cause them, can turn the tables and impose ‘sanctions’ on cargo shipments to America. You think the supply chain “issues” are bad now? China can hurt America badly without firing a shot.
            All the above assumes that internal Chinese politics doesn’t explode due to economic dislocations. Curiously, the same applies to America.

            Reply
            1. nippersdad

              This.

              Why bother with a shooting war when you can just embargo both the US and Taiwan? It is not like Biden hasn’t gotten used to going around with a begging bowl, and that would make for a nice change after their belligerence of late.

              Reply
            2. Coop

              I read all the time that Europe (esp. Germany) became too dependent on Russian gas. I read something the other day where someone pointed out that 97% of antibiotics in the US are made by China. I don’t know how many medicines/medical products used in the West are produced by China, I suppose we would find out if there was a war.

              Reply
            1. SocalJimObjects

              Since it’s going to be a big conflict anyways, KJU can be used to tie up US forces at the Korean peninsula.

              Reply
          4. Michaelmas

            This is the war the US Navy and Air Force wants and has been preparing for decades.

            The US had a plan in the Ukraine, too, and for most of the last decade prepared the Ukrainian forces to be the largest NATO-supplied army in Europe. How’s that working out?

            In a direct military conflict with Taiwan, the US navy and USAF’s plans still depend on the connectivity and battlespace oversight supplied by its satellites remaining operational. In the real world, China can knock all those satellites down in 30-40 minutes.

            Sure, the US developed counter-measures during the last fifteen years of low-grade war that’s been secretly ongoing in orbit, and has impressive kit nobody else has, like the Boeing X-37*robot shuttles that have spent years up there–
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37

            No. None of that ultimately can prevent China from knocking out US satellites by brute force with ASAT missiles, if that’s what China determines to do.

            A review of Chinese counterspace activities : Monday, August 1, 2022
            https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4431/1

            Reply
            1. SocalJimObjects

              If the US has been preparing for this, why not just go ahead and plant a false flag attack? There’s no need to wait for the Chinese to initiate the confrontation. Go now. It’s not as if the US cares about the optics. The winner gets to rewrite history anyways. “The Chinese was trying to open a gate to the underworld, and we just had to stop it for the greater good!!!”

              I mean other than the US economy collapsing within a week or two, what other reason can there be for US forbearance?

              Reply
            2. Michaelmas

              * And that secret war in orbit has been why the US has the X-37. Some background:-

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37#Speculation_regarding_purpose

              Also: –

              Jonathan McDowell
              @planet4589
              The statement that this @usairforce X-37 flight deployed small satellites is alarming, since the US has not reported those deployments in its UN Registration Convention submissions. This would be the first time that either the USA or Russia has blatantly flouted the Convention.
              https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1188513737571033089?lang=en-GB

              Jonathan McDowell
              @planet4589·
              27 Oct 2019
              It is true that China and some other countries have not been fully compliant with the convention, but those cases did not involve deliberate withholding of information about secret military satellites

              Jonathan McDowell
              @planet4589·
              27 Oct 2019
              For some background see my 2018 paper with Ram Jakhu in Acta Astronautica https://planet4589.org/space/papers/JJM2018/index.html

              Jim Way
              @JimWay·
              27 Oct 2019
              Would it be possible that it deployed and then recovered those same satellites, thereby negating the reporting requirement?

              Jonathan McDowell
              @planet4589·
              27 Oct 2019
              That does not negate the requirement by my reading of the Convention. The SPAS and IBSS satellites deployed/recovered on Shuttle missions were reported.

              Reply
          5. european

            Except US bases in the area (Okinawa, Guam etc) would be attacked and likely destroyed. US ships would be sunk, starting with the carriers, if they are stupid enough to be in range. Satellites would likely be shot down or disabled. Sitting back without getting hit is not going to happen for the US in this scenario.

            Reply
          6. Polar Socialist

            Not arguing pro or con, but it’s my understanding that PLA Navy has exercises involving several fleets, while US Navy at best trains a battle group.

            If we assume that navies fight as they train, we would see multiple independent battle groups meeting three fleets combined.

            Reply
          7. hk

            This is actually the reason I think PRC would not “really” invade Taiwan for a long time. Amphibious operations are hard. Taiwan is, topographically, a huge version of Okinawa. If PLA actually has to fight for it on the ground, it may never succeed. The most promising path for PRC to take over Taiwan is through peaceful social and economic penetration–which has become a lot more feasible even as public opinion in Taiwan has grown suspicious of China (or, perhaps, the suspicion has ramped up because China can actually penetrate Taiwan peacefully with greater ease now). The second best alternative is to impose a “blockade” based on missiles and airpower, targeted more at the outside world trying to aid Taiwan rather than Taiwan itself. Here, the law is “interesting.” A “blockade” is an act of war, but “Taiwan” is not a real “country.” Missiles and airpower, I think, would be enough to keep US carriers far away, certainly enough to neutralize them effectively. But the question is whether PRC would be able to put up with a blockade like that itself?

            One thing I want to add is that a close friend who is possibly the best American-born (as he has now been in Taiwan for more than half his life and has a Taiwanese family) expert of Taiwanese politics wondered aloud if all the noise from PRC has more to do with Xi’s domestic situation being more precarious than we on the outside think. He did caveat his thinking by noting that he does not have real expertise on PRC, but it is true that CCP internal politics have been a lot messier than we think and the first half of Xi’s leadership, at least, was characterized by a lot of infighting.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Brian Berletic points out that China does not need to invade or blockade Taiwan, just stop trading with it. Its economy will collapse in not too long.

              Reply
          8. Karl

            Well, if the U.S. Navy is involved, it may lose quite a few sailors. Martyanov makes some key assumptions:

            …there is absolutely no doubt about the United States being a naval power, which DOES think and, in fact, HAS the means to impose some solution on China as long as the naval forces are involved directly [my emphasis].

            To me, that’s a big “if”. I question that the U.S. is ready to put “the China factory” at risk for Taiwan. Political posturing like the Pelosi visit is one thing. But war with China is clearly another, and an objective accounting of fundamental national interests will then be made. A major commitment of the U.S. Navy to Taiwan is not in the cards, IMHO.

            If, as Martyanov says, the U.S. Navy CAN think, then they will NOT contest China over Taiwan because it’s simply too risky both militarily and economically for the U.S. at this time, IMHO. The unforeseeable consequences are just awesome, considering the limited goal. I don’t see anything in Biden’s temperament to suggest he’s crazy enough to match words with actions on Taiwan (Bush Jr. cultivated crazy to good effect).

            Remember, Taiwan — like Ukraine — is not an existential issue to the U.S. This is the fatal flaw. All those “pro war” Americans who post “Yay Nancy–you go girl” will, if a war starts, quickly get war fatigue and put “War is not the Answer” signs on their lawns when their cuisinarts double in price.

            Reply
            1. The Heretic

              Taiwan is an existential economic threat to the USA and all of its allies, if it falls into the hands of China. They make a substantial portion of the most advanced semiconductors of the world (AMD and Qualcomm have all their favs in China or contracted to TSMC, plus many other companies). If those capabilities are incorporated into China, say goodbye to any Technology Superiority in the info tech and systems control realms in the west. (Which includes practically all our high tech and low tech gadgets and industry)

              Reply
              1. Karl

                “Loss” of Taiwan may be an existential threat to Apple but not to the U.S.

                Pelosi’s silicon valley donors may not see the distinction, but most Americans would.

                Do you really think U.S. sailors should die because of foolhardy micro-chip outsourcing decisions made by silicon valley CEOs and VCs?

                Taiwan’s hi-tech manufacturing is already tightly integrated into the supply chains of the mainland. China would not interfere with that if it invaded Taiwan. This is a political, not an economic issue for them.

                Reply
              2. Altandmain

                The Chinese government would still allow TSMC to export CPUs and GPUs to North America even after reunification.

                The West already buys advanced technological products from China.

                If anything, China might want to continue exporting to keep American tech companies and consumers dependent on China.

                Reply
          9. Yves Smith Post author

            You are not allowing for hypersonic missiles. China can sink all US aircraft carriers easy peasy. US has no comparable weapons.

            So the “rain hell from a distance” is actually in China’s favor due to not acknowledged Chinese superiority to the US in offensive missiles.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              There is no evidence that China is even close to hypersonic weapons that can hit a carrier. The same reasons that make hypersonics very difficult to track and intercept also make them very difficult to use on a moving target. Hypersonics are only useful (for now) on fixed assets (one reason why the ‘aircraft carrier vs island base’ argument is not as straightforward as people think. If anything, hypersonics make aircraft carriers even more useful than they’ve been in the past. This is probably why China is building its own fleet.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                AirForce Magazine in 2019 disagrees:

                Neither the Missile Defense Agency nor the Space Force have revealed the extent to which they can track hypersonic weapons or how close the United States is to being able to intercept a hypersonic weapon. Unlike ballistic missiles that travel predictable trajectories, hypersonic weapons can fly low, evading radar and can maneuver during the cruise phase. They are intended to quickly destroy high-value targets, such as aircraft carriers…

                “When you look at defending hypersonics, our focus has been on the regional fight,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. John Hill on Dec. 6, following the initial Fielding of the Long Range Discrimination Radar at Clear Space Force Station, Alaska.

                Hill said that U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups are now equipped with a Sea-Based Terminal (SBT) missile defense capability.

                “They’re going to have that destroyer operating to protect the carrier against the end game of a hypersonic,” he said.

                SBT uses the Aegis Baseline 9C capability, including the SPY-1 radar and SM-6 interceptor to defend “against anti-ship ballistic missiles and some hypersonic threats,” the Missile Defense Agency told Air Force Magazine.

                https://www.airforcemag.com/article/hypersonics-defense/

                Even more here. Chinese hypersonics taken seriously enough that they create a 1200 mile area-denial bubble around each platform:

                https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/05/meet-the-df-21d-chinas-plan-to-use-missiles-to-sink-a-navy-aircraft-carrier/

                Reply
                1. PlutoniumKun

                  The issue is not whether they can be tracked and intercepted – clearly, they can’t be and there are a range of reasons why they are far harder to hit than ballistic missiles.

                  The question is whether they can hit a small moving target in the ocean. They can hit a fixed target using GPS (as the Russians have proven). But the type of active guidance used by conventional missiles are far more difficult for hypersonics (not least, the electromagnetic fields produced at very high speeds that make them hard to track). And you need active guidance to hit a moving target which is doing its best not to be hit. And hypersonics need extreme accuracy as they can rarely carry a big warhead.

                  If the Chinese believed that aircraft carriers could be easily wiped out using hypersonic missiles, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would be choosing to build their own large carriers which so far seem to be intended to be a peer to peer match for US carriers, rather than a secondary back up for regional conflicts.

                  Hypersonics are like stealth – a very useful military technology that changes things at a tactical and occasionally at a strategic level, but ultimately they are not wunderwaffe – just part of the usual tit for tat of weapons designers. There will be counters to hypersonics, just as there are counters to stealth, drone swarms, AI and whatever other new glorified game changer is announced.

                  Reply
                  1. NN Cassandra

                    Aircraft carrier is big, slowly moving (from hypersonic missile POV basically static) target that can change course only gradually. If they can hit some building on ground with reasonable accuracy, I see no reason why they couldn’t hit carriers (if they can find them in the vastness of oceans in the first place, but that’s another question).

                    And hypersonic missiles may be overkill anyway. Fire a salvo of enough “ordinary” missiles with terminal speed of mach 2-3, and I bet the ship is done.

                    That aircraft carriers are useless in full-scale war against peer doesn’t mean they can’t be useful in other circumstances.

                    Reply
                    1. PlutoniumKun

                      Even the briefest application of maths will show that you are wrong. Aircraft carriers are nowhere near as slow or rigid enough to be considered a ‘fixed’ target for even a Mach 7 or 8 missile fired from a distance.

                      You may ‘bet’ the ship is done, but the Chinese obviously think otherwise, otherwise they wouldn’t be spending a vast sum of money on a fleet of them. Likewise the French have decided that they are going for one big carrier rather than smaller ones. And guess who else is looking at a new generation of aircraft carriers? The Russians.

                      Its easy to assume that the US Navy is just stupid about carriers, but when every other near-peer is spending huge amounts of their budgets on them you have to either assume they all can’t do the maths, or maybe they have carried out rigorous analysis and have decided they are worth it. Aircraft carriers have been derided as being too expensive and too vulnerable since the 1920’s. One day the critics will be proven right, but so far they’ve had a good run for their money.

                    2. NN Cassandra

                      Well, I could ask for the brief math, except I suspect all it would show is that none of us has any idea about true capabilities of hypersonic missiles or what their guidance ca do. So it all depends on what assumptions one deems plausible.

                      I think there is hole in your logic. You can as easily ask why China/Russia is building anti-ship missiles. In fact why for decades are their doctrines for countering US carriers to use anti-ship missiles, if they even can’t properly hit the target? Clearly everyone can’t be right here and someone is making very costly mistake. So lets hope we will never have the chance to find out who miscalculated.

                    3. Skippy

                      @PK

                      Its as simple as this … aggressive force projection beyond ones national boundaries [.]

                      So the next question is how far, previous history is grounded in international, albeit currently the new comers China and Russia seem only interested in enhanced stand off from a territorial defensive stance e.g. not sailing off NYC or L.A. harbors.

                      So regardless of what it cost vs GDP or how well it will function [win or lose a sea battle] it extends the range of its nations final protective line. It notifies the nation in question on the – intent – of its foe and thus enable them to make the next decision on how to respond.

                      Better yet it just encourages the currant paradigm of Western MIC expenditures over sound social programs and with it the nascent social disorder that will collapse them without firing a shot.

                2. Sibiryak

                  MDA: U.S. Aircraft Carriers Now at Risk from Hypersonic Missiles June 14, 2021

                  U.S. aircraft carriers are already facing risks from hypersonic weapons that are now entering the inventory of American adversaries and the Navy has developed early defenses for the threat, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said last week before the Senate.

                  “It’s important that we have that capability now because the hypersonic threat is there now ,” Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces last week. [ETC.]

                  Reply
                3. Sibiryak

                  Meet the Hypersonic DF-21D: How China Plans to Kill a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier?

                  Why is the DF-21D such a threat?

                  The DF-21D is a hypersonic anti-ship missile employed by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The platform itself is a medium-range, road-mobile ballistic missile. Once launched, the DF-21D follows a similar arc to that of an intercontinental ballistic missile, flying high into low earth orbit before deploying a hypersonic glide vehicle that can reach speeds as high as Mach 10 during its guided descent phase. Existing missile defense systems simply can’t intercept a target moving that fast, making it all but impossible to stop one of these missiles once it’s been fired.

                  While the DF-21D’s speed makes it a clear threat to U.S. Navy ships, it’s the missile’s range that poses the biggest problem. The DF-21D has an operational range of about 2,000 kilometers, or a bit more than 1,200 miles. By placing these platforms along the Chinese coastline, the PLA has been able to establish an area-denial strategy, sometimes referred to as an area-denial “bubble,” or a 1,200-mile circle around each missile that enemy ships can’t enter without being within range of the weapon system.

                  * * * *
                  It’s important to recognize the significant challenge accurate targeting will be for China’s DF-21D. Aircraft carriers may be massive, but against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, they’re practically tiny and can move at around 35 knots (40 miles per hour) with the throttle open. In order to hit one on the move, China intends to employ supersonic drones to locate and transmit targeting data back to the missile.

                  Reply
      2. KD

        Maybe I am missing something but the news is that China will be conducting military operations within Taiwanese ocean territory and firing missiles over Taiwan, which puts Taiwan in the position of either attacking China or creating a serious precedent. That seems a heck of a lot more than “not ready,” it sounds like the opening move followed by a total mobilization of the Chinese society and economy for a big war.

        As far as the US responding with nukes if China destroys the Indo-Pacific fleet, maybe. Certainly not likely to win in a popular referendum. The problem with great power/nuclear threats is that every major nuclear power can threaten to sink the life boat, so China can issue a nuclear ultimatum as well. It is hard to see that you would want to kiss the US goodbye over the Island of Formosa.

        Reply
      3. Anthony G Stegman

        I served in the Navy onboard an aircraft carrier. One thing to consider is that the chances of a catastrophic event increases dramatically as the operating tempo increases. Carriers are essentially floating bombs, with many avenues for fires and explosions. Fires in engine rooms are quite common. While nuclear propulsion has proven to be very safe on Navy ships they are not without significant risk in the event of fires and explosions elsewhere on the vessel. Nobody can really know how well Navy ships will perform against a peer or near peer adversary. The proof will be when the shooting starts. Remember, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

        Reply
    2. timbers

      In some ways China is at the same point Russia was about 2014 when the US regime changed Ukraine – in her appraisal of the US and her confidence to take on the US militarily.

      China knows now the US can not be trusted and is using similar language as Russia has in referring to US trustworthiness and she knows without doubt now, the US will continue to undermine “one China” and she will have to confront the US and has work to do if she is to be ready for some type of response when/if Taiwan is recognized as a separate nation.

      If she hasn’t already, she might seek out Russian advise on how to best proceed.

      Separately, wonder if this might draw China and Russia closer in such a way they become a united front at the U.N. And, how will the rest of the U.N. members react to that? IMO the US is looking more and more like a sinking ship.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        The orchestra is playing with the lead fiddler playing off tune (addled demented lead fiddler) and the elites (led by Nancy and the her boots) still dance on the tilting deck.

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      They may not have to resort to military force. They may take a leaf from Washington and announce their own sanctions package on the US. So what they might do is to ban the export of any gear that is destined for the US military or has a dual use that may end up being used by the US military. Google won’t show me but I know that recently I read that the US Navy depended on some mechanical part manufactured by China to keep their ships in service. God knows how many Chinese parts are in US military gear.

      Sure, the US could – eventually – cope but it would cause all sorts of chaos in the supply system. And I think that Yves said in that roundtable talk that China even manufactured the boots and uniforms of the US military so that would be another hit. But I am not sure that the US would cope when I think about it. It can be agreed that having the US have the ability to make computer chips, especially for the military, is vital. But the following article makes clear that even dealing with this essential modern component has been chaotic-

      https://asiatimes.com/2022/08/chips-act-no-panacea-for-us-chip-woes/

      Reply
      1. danpaco

        I don’t see the Chinese sanctioning anything specific to the US as that would allow the US to re-shore any affected industries. There would be incentive to allocate the capital required within US business and government.
        Strategically it would make sense for the Chinese to sanction ambiguously and sow market chaos.
        In a way it could be argued that the Chinese are already engaging in this vis a vis the Covid shutdowns.

        Reply
        1. SocalJimObjects

          Reshoring might not always be practical. Environmental regulations are tougher in the US, wages are also higher, not to mention it will take TIME. Shareholders do not want to hear anything about “we are investing for the future”.

          Reply
        2. Left in Wisconsin

          There won’t be any reshoring absent specific bribes like the recent chip act. US-based MNCs are addicted to low labor costs even with periodic disruptions (“supply chain issues”). If there is any movement away from production in China, which will be done only very reluctantly given Chinese low labor costs and high manufacturing productivity, it will be moved to other places like Viet Nam. Also, at least in my neck of the woods, every manufacturer still here is desperate for workers. There is simply no longer a US manufacturing workforce to draw on.

          Reply
      2. Samuel Conner

        Perhaps China could pivot to internal consumption-led growth and let the RMB rise, exacerbating US inflation problems and destabilising the US political system. “Break it up into smaller pieces” may cut both ways.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          China has been trying to pivot to internal consumption led growth for more than a decade, but has consistently failed. For as long as I’ve been a China watcher, there are regular papers and announcements from Beijing announcing that this year is different, this is when the pivot happens. And they’ve never managed it. Maybe they can do it, but there is plenty of reason to think that they’ve missed the boat, the economy is firmly locked into its mode of domestic demand suppression, high infrastructure investment and a dependency on exports. China is nowhere near the autarky that Russia has developed.

          Reply
          1. Lex

            My question then is: can China ease this transition by pivoting its export model away from the US and towards Russia and the global south? I expect the answer is “maybe” and “partially”, but the ties to the US are deep and difficult to disentangle.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              The rest of the world simply isn’t big enough to absorb Chinese surplus capacity in multiple sectors. And while the Global South and Russia may like cheap things, they don’t want their own industries to be destroyed by a flood of Chinese goods. The rest of the world may not like the US and the west, but they don’t feel they own China any favors either.

              China is in the classic trap that all countries that follow an investment/export model of development eventually find themselves once they hit a certain level of development. They are perfectly aware of this trap, but that doesn’t mean they know how to get themselves out of it.

              So in terms of trade, China and the US are in a classic Mexican standoff. They can’t shoot the other without taking a bullet in the head themselves. Both sides made a deal with the devil when they mutually opened up in the 1980’s, and now both regret it.

              Reply
              1. nippersdad

                Would China embargoing trade with the US and Taiwan really be a bullet to the head, though? One of the advantages of having a culture that sticks together and is used to demand suppression is that they can take it longer than we can; see Russia.

                It strikes me that it would be more of a (very short) game of chicken, and I doubt that we are in a position to wait for them to blink.

                Reply
                1. hk

                  I think the idea of Chinese “sticking together” culturally should have been thoroughly refuted during the Warlord era. Individual Chinese “tribes” (be they people from same lineage, villages, etc.–but many of these overlap.) may stick together, but will they stick together as “Chinese”? PRC has done a lot to promote the idea of a “Chinese nation,” as did ROC before it, but how this will play out once subject to real stress is anyone’s guess, IMHO

                  Reply
                  1. nippersdad

                    The dissolution of the Ching was a very messy period, though. China has had many of those over its’ history, and yet they are still….China.

                    I suspect that their overall image of themselves has always been more of a bloc than ours has ever been; individualism is not really a Confucian value. They also have a very long memory, and one need only bring up the Opium wars and its’ aftermath to bring it to the fore.

                    They are going to be another one of those groups that clings together in the face of foreign oppression. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia………..we have a really bad track record for blowback that we never see coming. If anyone is going to see a “Chinese fire drill” faced with sanctions, I would bet it will be us every day and twice on Sunday.

                    Reply
                    1. Anthony G Stegman

                      The US economy is too large to effectively sanction, as is the Chinese economy. The only outcome that can be seen as win-win is a live and let live approach. The US must accept that it no longer is THE global hegemon. It must accept that there are limits to its power and influence. China must also accept that is ought not aspire to replace the US as a global hegemon. I can envision a relatively stable world where there are three major spheres of influence involving China, the US (and its allies), and Russia (and its allies). Other significant nations such as Brazil and India will also have a role on the world stage. For the US to insist that it remain the sole global hegemon will only lead to disaster at this point in time.

          2. Jessica

            Japan has needed to make that same pivot to internal demand since the mid-1980s and still hasn’t. It seems that economies driven by high investment/low consumption with exports soaking up the inevitable overconsumption create social forces who benefit from that pattern and block a pivot away from it.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yes, exactly. Its an institutional/social issue. Going back a few years there have been indications that Beijing has tried and failed to take on the massive industrial and construction lobbies, and has failed. This doesn’t mean they will always fail, but the longer this goes on, the more endangered their industrial model will be.

              Of course, you could argue that an external crisis is exactly the opportunity Beijing needs to force through the necessary changes – they may be banking on this. But this is easier said than done. China is nowhere near the centralized autocracy outsiders assume it to be.

              Reply
              1. hk

                I wonder if this is the PRC domestic politics context into which this crisis should be placed in…. (I mentioned something related in another comment that hasn’t shown up yet, although that was more about Xi’s position within CCP)

                Reply
          3. Carolinian

            What about US autarky? Never mind whether the US military could prevail off the coast of Taiwan. At this point practically every non food item sold in Walmart and many other stores comes from China and that includes many in the pharmacy. The notion that Biden–fretting about gas prices and his approval rating–would go to war for Taiwan is non credible. There’s been talk around here about how Americans these days are isolated from the effects of their wars but a war with China would end all that even if it doesn’t go nuclear.

            At the end of the day Taiwan is far more important to China than it is to us and I would never take the planning and strutting of our US military seriously. Indeed they likely know this themselves which is why Biden said the Pentagon didn’t want Pelosi to go to Taiwan.

            Reply
            1. fresno dan

              Carolinian
              I agree with you.
              What would an Iphone cost if made in the US? What would reshoring do to US firms ROI and stock prices? This may be the one case where the rich will be worse off if we get into a war. And as I believe the rich run this country, and they run it to make themselves richer, and a war with China will make them poorer, I think war with China is unlikely.
              AND
              https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/safeguarding-pharmaceutical-supply-chains-global-economy-10302019
              However, in recent decades, drug manufacturing has gradually moved out of the United States. This is particularly true for manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the actual drugs that are then formulated into tablets, capsules, injections, etc. As of August 2019, only 28 percent of the manufacturing facilities making APIs to supply the U.S. market were in our country. By contrast, the remaining 72 percent of the API manufacturers supplying the U.S. market were overseas, and 13 percent are in China. (See Figure 1) FDA’s data show that the number of registered facilities making APIs in China more than doubled between 2010 and 2019.
              ==============================
              If it is a serious war, China isn’t gonna supply us with necessities because of humanitarian concerns

              Reply
              1. Carolinian

                Mearsheimer said Ukrainians, whatever their aspirations, are victims of geography in a great power conflict. So the only solution for them is to help take away the conflict. Same for Taiwan. Here’s suggesting Pelosi’s visit was all about Pelosi and not what’s best for Taiwan.

                Clearly she and her fellow neocons are incapable of seeing things that way.

                Reply
              2. HotFlash

                What would an Iphone cost if made in the US?

                Don’t know, but what if you didn’t need to get a new one every two years? Suppose they were durable, repairable, and up-gradable. Annualized cost could be the same, with fewer planet-killing externalities — energy and resource consumption, waste stream.

                Reply
              3. Anthony G Stegman

                The iPhone is a poor example to use. On a cost basis the parts and labor for an iPhone make up a small fraction of the selling price. Apple could manufacture the iPhone in the US and still have very nice gross margins. Over time Apple has become very greedy and is now addicted to incredible margins on it’s phones.

                Reply
          4. Phenix

            Thank you PK.

            Russia can with stand isolation because it is a autarchy.

            China is fully engage with America’s global trade system. China is dependent on energy and industrial imports. The Chinese are not in the same position as the Russians. A sanctions war will destroy each side but the US can isolate it’s economy easier than China can isolate it’s economy.

            Reply
            1. nippersdad

              I think that is the point that is presently being played out on the international stage right now. Russia, as an autarchy, has everything that they need. China, as an industrial power, can get any inputs it needs from Russia. They make the perfect pairing. Take their combined powers off the table and then you see just how thin the US’s ability to control the global trading system is.

              The collective West is already feeling the pain of just sanctions on Russia, let them feel the pain from both and I doubt it will be China that comes out the loser, especially when one considers how short any trade war would be.

              I find myself on the other side of the equation. If they want to make a statement they could do a lot worse than merely embargo the US and Taiwan for a few months.

              Reply
              1. Anthony G Stegman

                There is something else to consider, and it is not at all trivial. China’s economy is the second largest in the world. Isolating it through sanctions and whatnot will bring a world of hurt globally. Many businesses in the West make substantial profits selling to Chinese consumers. This is very different from Russia where imports of western goods is relatively small. The fact remains that the West and the East need each other, whether they like it or not. Ignoramuses is Congress and elsewhere in US officialdom need to be educated, or they need to sidelined. Global capitalism can’t survive without a vibrant Chinese economy.

                Reply
                1. Polar Socialist

                  I’ve understood that if you don’t count the FIRE sector (which doesn’t actually produce anything), China’s economy is significantly bigger than anybody else’s.

                  Russia, USA and India share the second place, or something like that. Can’t remember where I read that, though.

                  Reply
                  1. Altandmain

                    We have to be careful about that one – real estate (as in construction) does produce something, but the speculation part is socially harmful.

                    Similarly, finance in its current form is harmful, but necessary and should ideally be in a public banking form.

                    Reply
              2. The Heretic

                Let’s not forget China’s ‘Belt and Road ‘initiative all through central Asia’s. Soon they won’t care about exporting to the west, what they really want is access to all the under exploited natural resources in Central and and Russia.

                The Belt and road initiative in other parts of the world is just to win brownie points, , give Chinese industries and Chinese labour some useful work to do (they did use some local sub contractors, but the bulk of the work was Chinese workers and Chinese suppliers, and provide distraction for their real intent.

                Reply
      3. Synoia

        I believe most nuts and bolts are manufactured in China.

        It does not take a High Tech embargo for China to Cripple the US Military.

        Reply
        1. Louis Fyne

          and mundane things like capacitors, transformers, pumps, motors, AC adapters, tools..list goes on.

          some US domestic and Mexico capacity but nothing to replace China in the near term

          Reply
        2. Tom Stone

          China could simply stop exporting Pharmaceuticals and Vitamins to the USA, India would do do their best to take up the slack, but that would take time.

          Reply
      4. Kim

        Is Feinstein still using her Chinese Chauffeur with ties to the Chinese Government?

        https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/details-chinese-spy-dianne-feinstein-san-francisco/

        Is Congressman Swallwell still sleeping with his PLA trained girlfriend?

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/10/poetic-justice-eric-swalwells-relationship-with-chinese-spy/

        The cultural Marxists, occupying much of California’s government are following the Mao Cultural Revolution playbook.

        Reply
    4. Stephen

      My read of his post is that US submarines in the Straits would be enough to prevent an invasion; or at least to make the cost prohibitive for China.

      If the US chose to contest a landing, vulnerable US surface ships could be kept away but the Chinese would need to deploy their surface ships to carry troops and munitions in the quantities needed.

      If Taiwan were joined by land to China then, of course, the equation would be very different. Hence in part the inability of the US to intervene decisively or even meaningfully in Ukraine.

      Whether it would be sensible for the US to sink Chinese ships and create escalation paths that could lead to 1000s of deaths (or maybe millions) is a different discussion, of course!

      I have read a couple of Andrei Martyanov’s books and I think he knows what he is talking about, by the way.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        Taiwan Strait is relatively small area of water, and very shallow. PLA Navy has around 50 type 056A ASW corvettes, 97 “submarine chasers” of Hainan and Haiqing class, 47 or so diesel-electric attack submarines and 4 Y-8Q ASW patrol airplanes – all designed and trained to find and kill US submarines.

        That’s enough capacity to sweep the strait a few times every hour. With variable depth sonars and magnetic anomaly detectors.

        I doubt any US admiral would risk his or her career by sending a US submarine to the strait, maybe not even inside the first island chain.

        Reply
        1. Karl

          Thanks for this valuable intel. It testifies to a crucial fact that the leadership in the Pentagon and WH should concentrate their minds on: the PLA has been planning for a battle in the Taiwan Straits for a long time, and have built their Navy accordingly. Lots of smaller craft with potent missiles and torpedoes vs. a few big U.S. sitting ducks. And perhaps a lot of PLA infantry landing craft.

          My guess is the PRC has been carefully planning for the day when it could assert its claims to sovereignty over Taiwan by force every since the Taiwan Straits crisis of 1995-96. The Chinese think long term and are very patient. They have built up their economy, their engineering and science infrastructure, and their military with steady determination.

          Borders are ultimately decided by application of superior force or threat of such force. The day when China could finally back up its claims with superior force has probably arrived.

          And, it seems Pelosi failed to understand this. The Pentagon apparently does. In a fit she just threw down the gauntlet before a rival that the U.S. really cannot challenge, certainly not now. China knows this. The time for China to act may well be now, while the world is still awe-struck at U.S. stupidity.

          Reply
          1. KD

            It is very opportune for Chinese pushback, as its Nancy’s vanity tour in contrast to some kind of human rights violations or some blue meanie suppression of Taiwan’s sovereignty. Not many puppy dogs and starving children photo ops for the rest of the World to rally around. Just America being vain, reckless, stupid, and bellicose.

            Reply
    5. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not always a big fan of Martyanov, I think he sometimes rants above and beyond his area of expertise, but I think he is on the ball with this one. Russia has shown itself to be the only adult in the room in terms of international major players. Whatever happens now, China has made an almighty mess of things – which is something they regularly do (as with the THAAD roll-out in ROK). China has always been notably cloth-eared when trying to read its neighbours intentions.

      They hugely over-reacted to Pelosi’s visit, raising expectations of a strong military reaction. Chinese social media now is in overdrive – and almost united in condemning Xi for having lost his nerve. So even if they do respond over the next week in a more aggressive manner, it will appear to be a response to domestic outrage, not a considered strategic response. So if Xi winds things down, he will look weak. But if he orders more aggressive action, he also looks weak as it looks like he is trying to appease domestic opinion.

      The correct response would have been to send Pelosi a bunch of flowers and a ‘welcome to China’ baseball cap and mock her pretensions. And then bide his time for the right moment to take revenge. A little like back in the 1980’s when a semi-official SAS soldier went stay a month on the disputed rock of Rockall in the north Atlantic to formally ‘claim’ it for the UK. The Irish government sent a can of Guinness and a voucher for a visit to Killarney National Park to his house as a welcome home gift.

      I don’t agree about China’s naval strength. They are building up by the day, but they are nowhere near the operational efficiency of the US, and they have no response to US attack submarine dominance. The numbers are deceptive as Chinese strategy is to quickly roll out new weapons and make them effective in operation – this can take many years to get right, and essentially means the first block of any new weapon is little more than a prototype. The Chinese are at least a decade away from being able to decisively counter a determined US attack or defence if – and this is a very big if – Taiwan is prepared to fight.

      The history of naval/air war is very straightforward and simple. The winner is almost always the country that strikes first (the Pacific War being a rare exception, but there are of course reasons). That way, you get to wipe out the most effective ships/air fields of your enemy in your first blow. If China wishes to grab Taiwan militarily, then it has to take the initiative. But right now, the US/Taiwan has been making the running, and is on high alert to blunt any frontal assault. Taiwan will have sealed its bunkers and the US will have a range of attack submarines in place. It is literally the worst possible time to provoke a direct conflict, and no doubt this is what Xi has been told by his military advisors. They should have played things down, and picked a moment of their own choosing. Whatever happens now – and I think a war is still a very strong possibility – China has lost the initiative and this is usually fatal when it comes to non-land based warfare.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Martyanov’s big fault is that he is often arrogant and dismissive, and so too often winds up asking his readers/listeners to take what he says on faith. Other times he unpacks well despite being somewhat pissy.

        Reply
        1. Lex

          Yes. He always requires a grain of salt. I think he’s very good on military capability but generally falls short on the complications and variability of geopolitics, partly because he reduces all of that to military power. Now that’s true at the base level but doesn’t account for the difficulty of using that power as a source of leverage in the real world.

          Reply
          1. Keith Newman

            Lex@ 9:49
            Agreed. Martyanov’s expertise is in military capability and as far as I can tell he is very reliable in that area. Mostly I pay no attention to his views of economics although he makes a good point regarding the misleading nature GDP when it includes finance and other drains on economic capability and welfare. This is true but hardly original to him.

            Reply
        2. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, its his tone as much as anything that puts me off. But as Lex suggests, he sees everything in terms of pure military and industrial might and while that is important, there are many other factors at play in geopolitics.

          Reply
          1. KD

            Hard power is hard power. Soft power matters, but its downstream of hard power.

            Obviously, stuff like morale and leadership can overcome deficits in materials and troops, but only to a point. Skilled diplomacy can change outcomes.

            If Narcissus was in charge of the Western powers, and was so good at creating beautiful images that he was in danger of falling into his own pool and drowning, it might help if Narcissus stopped to consider physics and balance of forces from time to time.

            Reply
        3. Stephen

          I agree. Knows what he is talking about for sure. Wants us to realize it too!

          Also a little too focused I find on “x years of technical education” in a discipline as the only true way to be an expert. Technical education clearly matters but people can master things later in life even if they were not “educated” in that precise field; if they have been trained to think. He tends not to allow so much for that possibility, although he is right to question the value of much modern western “education”.

          Reply
      2. Fraibert

        Agreed.

        I also think the relative lack of US surface combatants in what would be the theater of operations means little.

        There is probably a decent number of attack (SSN) and missile (SSBN) submarines currently around China and the Chinese government knows this reality. There are always SSBNs near China anyways (being possibly the most important part of the nuclear triad), but I would not be surprised if the overall submarine count was increased in anticipation of a possible confrontation for this (silly, in my view) visit.

        Besides Mk 48 torpedoes (still quite dangerous to surface ships), these submarines can also launch sea-skimming anti-ship missiles (UGM-84 Harpoon) from their torpedo tubes. Whatever one can say about some of the other weapon systems the US has, sea-skimmers like the Harpoon are very effective. (The Harpoon is akin to the famous Exocet.)

        These submarines, among the most capable in the world, greatly limit China’s freedom to adopt military options. China probably has limited (at best) knowledge of the location of these boats, creating a tactical advantage for defense. However, since the Chinese government does know these submarines are out there, I can only imagine the Chinese public’s sentiment if a grand amphibious assault were shredded en route to Taiwan.

        (Taiwan itself also has similar anti-ship missiles and these can cover much of the distance between the island and the mainland, also further complicating a Chinese amphibious assault.)

        In any case, because submarines probably were deployed ahead of time, it may be that China never really had a politically viable military option. Obviously, assessing this possibility would require knowing classified information, but I do wonder.

        Reply
        1. hk

          Taiwan has been developing hypersonics more aggressively (or, at least, it has been claimed) than US. I do know that they have some of them deployed. Direct invasion may never be in the cards for PLA.

          Reply
      3. Ignacio

        Thinking about Taiwanese leadership I wonder if it wise for them to become a far-away country under the protective umbrella of some submarines. I don’t see here any safe bet aligning with the US. Specially thinking on the long run.

        Reply
      4. Old Sovietologist

        Yes, Chinese social media is awash with people saying Comrade Xi lost his nerve and China has lost face. I’m not sure that justified.

        Despite the provocation, the PRC remains within the framework of its political strategy. In China, methods of strangulation are valued more than direct military confrontation with the US, AUKUS and NATO.

        A political challenge which the Pelosi must be met with political action Only military threats will be met with military action.

        Pelosi’s visit to Taipei is a political action. And Beijing’s extremely tough military rhetoric in this regard should actually be seens as tool of a political nature.

        If Beijing went for a military response, it would mean an escalation of the conflict over Taiwan with unpredictable results for the Chinese economy .

        China reserved the right to use a wide range of retaliatory moves, which can be extremely painful. Not only is it a ban on imports of Taiwanese food companies and a halt to Taiwan’s supply of sand used to make silicon semiconductors, the mainland has many options to make life difficult for Taipei and also create difficulties for the US.

        First strangle your opponent and then go to war.

        Reply
      5. Tet Vet

        PK – I don’t have near the knowledge you do but I agree that the confrontation with China will be dominated by naval/air. What concerns me is that the Chinese air power is vastly asymmetric IMO because the Chinese planes fly from China and the US planes fly from carriers and nearby (but not close) air bases. One of the things that concerns me is something I have not seen discussed anywhere. Since the US has not fought a peer force since WWII, what is the impact of using the ancient sitting duck refuelers that are necessary to ferry planes to distant bases and support them when they are flying sorties. Fighter aircraft only have a range of about 400 miles. My information is that in a trip from the west coast to Hawaii they will need to refuel 4 or 5 times. This will not be like “wars” since WWII when the Air Force projected power from bases. In our recent wars refuelers were constantly in the air off in the distance so the the planes could refuel as needed and no adversary was ever in a position to attack the refuelers. Bear in mind, the majority of refuelers are refitted passenger planes: KC135 (1957 Boeing 707), KC10 (1971 DC 10) which are short on parts and often must be cannibalized to keep them in the air. It is true that planes can be launched from carriers located closer than AF planes, but with the relatively short range of the planes, they have to be too close for comfort IMO. There’s always talk about the bad guys taking out a carrier which is principally designed to project our air power but I’d like to hear some discussion of the issue of “flying carriers” with the same mission and, so far the silence troubles me.

        Reply
        1. KD

          China should have air superiority because they will bomb the crap out of all US bases within flight range and destroy all carriers in 1000 km. Plus they should be able to knock out all satellites. On the other hand, US should be able to operate with subs which would make a naval-based invasion difficult. On the other hand, they have an army of small passenger ships (Dunkirk inspired) that can transport troops and are too small to waste a cruise missile on, and they have enormous ability to use paratroopers/air assault, so they have options that don’t involve giant ships with troops. In addition, I would imagine a blockade of the island could be accomplished pretty easily. Surely there are bunkers, but no one can withstand a siege forever, and the Chinese are, if anything, patient.

          Reply
      6. Karl

        they are nowhere near the operational efficiency of the US, and they have no response to US attack submarine dominance.

        You may be right, but other commentators here have suggested otherwise.

        The fact is, we just don’t know until the shooting starts. That’s the rub. Your contention, which is probably reasonable, is that the U.S. Navy is probably able to to deter China, and if not, it is probably able and willing to attack and probably succeed. You ignore tail risks. I don’t believe the Pentagon or Biden have sufficient risk appetite to pursue a direct military conflict with PRC for this rather limited objective. The “China Factory” is much more important to the U.S., in the final analysis, than Taiwan. Money and profits over principle, IMHO

        Reply
      7. Darthbobber

        From what I’ve seen of Chinese social media, if its now loudly condemning Xi for losing his nerve/backing down that strongly implies that the government is perfectly willing to have that be the public reaction for now. Not the first or the last government to decide that igniting a patriotic firestorm predisposed to support stronger action has its political advantages.

        I’m not going to get into the game that career civilians are so fond of of venturing all sorts of opinions about the outcomes of future potential military confronations, but I get the distinct impression that our actual naval leaders are somewhat less confident about the outcome than their more bellicose cheerleaders are.

        I doubt if the PRC had any intention at any point in this runup of actually launching an invasion. The exercises will be a sufficient inconvenience for the Taiwanese who, I suspect, while they almost had to accept Pelosi’s version of “support” once she fecklessly decided to do this, would really just as soon have dispensed with this particular bit of help.

        I’m inclined to see this as a global, not purely a Taiwan thing, and for that reason I think the PRC has no shortage of opportunities available to take initiatives that will greatly inconvenience the United States.

        Reply
        1. MILLER

          Huh. Good point. I tend to forget that social media in China is suffocatingly monitored, so that the condemnation of Xi may be “tolerated” for amplifying just the patriotic reaction you describe.

          Reply
        2. Tom Bradford

          I’d like to think that China’s response will be something very specific it can make Pelosi own, rather than a generalised broadside against the US. ie. I understand Biden managed to pursuade Xi to keep China out of the Ukraine spat – not that I imagine it wanted to get involved or needed to. I also understand China has a good line in unmanned drones. Although Russia might not actually need them I doubt she refuse a HIMARS-equivalent offer of a couple of hundred drones from China, made explicitly in response to Pelosi’s visit.

          Reply
    6. amused_in_sf

      Between the notorious navigation mishaps, the documented inability to maintain minesweepers in the Persian Gulf, and the pervasive corruption (e.g. Fat Leonard), I don’t think anyone can make accurate assessments of how the USN would perform in a showdown with a near-peer (i.e. someone with submarines and lots of anti-ship missiles). There’s just too much evidence of incompetence and fraud, and the people with power show no interest in fixing the problems, which implies there is a lot we haven’t heard about.

      But I don’t think the Chinese have a better assessment, and their goal is not to enter in to a destructive war in and around their territory: their goal is to unify China. Perhaps their real accomplishment in this kerfuffle is assessing the US’s response to their military exercises, testing their anti-submarine tech, etc.?

      Reply
    7. Socal Rhino

      One of his main points was: unlike land and air operations, the US remains dominant in submarine warfare.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        That would be a benevolent reading of his comment:

        US Navy, especially its submarine force, which theoretically CAN score some significant military points

        In his two books he certainly thinks that the US Navy submarines are “superb” and “world class”, but that without the carriers (kept back due to hypersonic missiles) they are kinda blind and become relatively easy prey to emerging aip submarines that are way, way more silent, cheaper and yet gaining in capability by leaps and bounds.

        The US Navy still retains a world-class submarine force, but even this force will have huge difficulties when facing the challenge of increasingly deadly and silent non-nuclear submarines which are capable, together with friendly sea and shore-based anti-submarine forces, to completely shut down their own littorals from any kind of threat. Once access through littorals and the sea and even some oceans zones that matter are shut down, as is possible now, one of the main pillars of American naval doctrine and strategy — the ability to project power — collapses.

        Martyanov: Losing Military Supremacy, p. 205

        Reply
    8. Boomheist

      So…..one would assume if China chooses to get real with something against the US Navy they would first destroy satellites which enable communication. If it is true US Navy ships and especially carriers are vulnerable to hypersonic missiles, then the American challenge is to stay far enough away to never get struck – ie not in the Taiwan Straits for sure. But from China’s perspective, to choose to, say, take out and destroy a nuclear carrier containing 5,000 American souls is an active act of war. Is Xi likely to do this because his social media is now claiming he backed down over Pelosi? Maybe he is. Maybe, facing issues with a real estate bubble, floods and food supply, the fact that China’s main markets are the very Western countries now provoking him off Taiwan, just maybe he won’t ramp things up further.

      One thing here not mentioned in articles I have read is the simple circumstance that all this agitation and danger off China takes the collective eye and mind off Ukraine and Russia’s steady and it seems inexorable advance. One might almost wonder if Putin had this in mind, somehow, back when he and Xi met before the Olympics, the notion that while America began flexing her muscles off China he might be able to go into Ukraine?

      Again, it seems the new paradigm for the 21st Century might be the rule of Autarky – those countries most self sufficient will prosper the most, and the most self sufficient Great Power will come to rule all. I have argued in other comments that, of all the Great Powers, Russia stands above all others in this regard, with energy, minerals, land, an educated scientific population, and industrial base making Russia as impervious to trade flows and external dangers as anyone. The U.S. would be second, maybe is second, in that regard, but the population would have to suffer a drastic drop in the standard of living first, and the speed at which we could re-establish our industrial base is in question.

      There is of course the totally separate but really important demographic truth that all the industrialized nations are coming to a crunch between an aged population and low birth rate for workers of the future, and in this sense every Great Power faces the same dilemma a generation or two down the line.

      That Great Power willing and able to bring in immigrants to keep their worker base strong will prosper the most, and of the Great Powers will this be the United States? China? Europe? Russia? Or will they all decline and then new Powers emerge from the South?

      Interesting times.

      Oh and as someone who once spent a month in Dalien at the Chinese Naval School campus studying Chinese (2005-6) I am guessing the cadets I saw marching back then are now conning the ships headed for Taiwan, all of them, like all the sailors in every Navy today, entirely new to real combat and fighting and practicing war, surely and hopefully a huge deterrent to starting any fights, but who knows? The flip side is of course eager as hell to finally get bloodied, and bloodied they will….and as someone who also spent three years working for Military Sealift Command 2014-2016 I can assure you that any call up of ships for service will be slow, difficult, and essentially a disaster. I will also tell you that sitting out in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean are several MSC ships, at anchor, fully manned, with cargo loaded, enough vehicles and tanks for a full Division, each ship, with service handlers aboard to make sure the vehicles are turned over and kept ready, all for that day, just in case, they get the call and pull anchor and steam somewhere to provide logistical and gear support for American troops. I am guessing it would take them 7-8 days to get to Taiwan. If China decides to respond with some kind of attack I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two of the ships at Diego Garcia sunk, there, at anchor.

      Reply
    9. spud

      https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/nancy-pelosi-china-and-the-slow-decline

      “In the late 1980s and early 1990s, U.S. strategists changed this successful model of governance. The national security world and Wall Street, whose relationship had always been somewhat tense, became more aligned in their vision of how to project U.S. power. They coalesced around a dominant U.S. dollar, a strong financial system, high tech weaponry financed by large firms, and a globalized trading regime in which offshoring our manufacturing base helped create stronger relationships with foreign allies. Key to this strategy was fostering monopolization among weapons providers; from the end of the Cold War to the early 2000s, the number of prime contractors shrank from over 100 to 5, from a diverse set of actors to Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman.

      Policymakers in the Clinton administration also fostered contractor price gouging, especially on contracts where there was only one bidder, or ‘sole source’ contracts. A key way to do that was to eliminate contracting rules when buying things that were determined to be ‘commercial items.’ Originally meaning that contracting rules didn’t apply to things like pencils or off-the-shelf computers that are regularly sold to private citizens, Congress changed the meaning of ‘commercial items’ in the mid-1990s to mean anything, like military transports or sophisticated weapons system that are anything but commercial. Since the Pentagon is the biggest buyer in the world, this change had significant impacts on market structures across the board.”

      ” In 2021, the Pentagon sent Congress a groundbreaking report on how Wall Street is destroying the defense base. “A U.S. business climate,” it read, “that has favored short-term shareholder earnings, deindustrialization, and an abstract, radical vision of ‘free trade,’ without fair trade enforcement, have severely damaged America’s ability to arm itself today and in the future.”

      Reply
  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    In all of this posturing, in all of this flailing, in all of the excitement of Nancy Pelosi deciding on which pink pants suit, let us not forget another beloved member of the Gerontocracy of D.C.

    Yes, majority leader of the House, Steny Hoyer, still exists. Given the lack of recent appearances, he may be in a pod somewhere with suspended bodily functions. Who knows?

    Let us recall:

    Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
    Going to the candidates’ debate
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Every way you look at it, you lose

    Where have you gone, Steny Hoyer, O?
    A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
    Wooh, wooh, wooh
    What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
    Pallid Sten has left and gone away…

    So the wars will go on because they are profitable for the few, oppress the many in oh-so-many ways, and aren’t causing too many U.S. casualties. One must have pink pants suits and fist bumps and no mentions of boys (and so many of the troops are young) coming home in boxes. The Greatest Nation Ever is being run through cheap-ass office politics, a fight over the pencil sharpener–but with nuculur weapons (as our pols say).

    I wonder what Steny is thinking about Nancy getting more photos lately than he has. That is, if he still has a couple of operating synapses.

    Martyanov’s posting about China’s embarrassment, navies, and what is next is worth your while. I doubt that clueless U.S. politicians have pulled off something grand. What if the Chinese perceive Pelosi an still another Empress Cixi? They can wait her out, too.

    So I am skeptical. I am also highly skeptical, given the state of U.S. armed forces, that the U.S. Navy indeed has the upper hand in East Asia.

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      One must have pink pants suits and fist bumps and no mentions of boys (and so many of the troops are young) coming home in boxes.

      The more I think about it, the more this dove-tails with the story of the 4chan ‘boys‘ as described in Alex Moyer’s documentary reviewed by Taibbi.

      Young “deplorables“, low on plausible paths to ‘suck-cess‘ evidently good for nothing but a chance to be poorly paid cannon fodder, asked to die in endless, meaningless wars, fought for nothing more than profit, and vanity.

      Why are these people so angry?”

      I mean, they could be heroes…

      Reply
  10. dftbs

    I’m not sure if Heisenberg links to the full piece, but Zoltan’s note is a must read. He lays out the macro-historical and geopolitical causes of present inflation, and describes why Western central banks, and markets, are unprepared for the dilemma we face. I think beyond his contention that markets are being too optimistic and laying too much faith in Fed forecasting about peak rates and peak inflation, the most interesting point is that he thinks the Fed will have to maintain the QE regime as it raises rates. This of course is the most painful option for the average American, as it would make cheap credit a thing of the past while concentrating even more wealth in the hands of asset owners.

    The note also has some great observations which I think do more to answer the question posed in the NOMEA piece: How China Avoided Soviet-Style Collapse. Zoltan notes that history is a “stochastic and not linear” process. Historical analysis has the benefit of hindsight, and so it often falls into the trap of determinism, this tendency is is rampant among Western historians. For instance our gracious host participated in a roundtable w/Gonzalo Lira yesterday. The topic of American perceptions of China was discussed, and it was noted that American’s have a static perception of China as a backward country. Conversely we think that we retain our technological and material advantages over China, as if history and material reality moved in a straight line.

    The Chinese leadership, by contrast to the Soviet, seems to be keen students of history as an ongoing process as opposed to a set of dates. In some ways you could say that they are better Marxists; the Chinese are scientific Marxists as opposed to the the Soviets having been ideological Marxists. When faced with the changing world in the stochastic process of history they adapted themselves to reality to meet their goals – the improvement of the material wellbeing of their nation. The Soviets by contrast went, as the NOMEA piece puts it “big bang”, because as ideologues they couldn’t square reality to their ideology and so the ideological framework that held their nation together collapsed. When faced with the productive forces unleashed by the “market theory of value” the communists of the Soviet Union became slaves to it for a generation. By contrast the Chinese communists subordinated the “market theory of value” to their goals.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I need to turn in but I am not keen about Zoltan. He was loudly wrong about the repo panic and I have inferred that he is a monetarist. Perhaps he is instead doing the Keynes beauty contest thingie (reading the Fed and other central banks based on monetarism since that is their house religion) but if otherwise, he needs to be taken with a fistful of salt.

      Far and away the best piece on our inflation remains:

      https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/inflation-in-a-time-of-corona-and-war

      Reply
      1. dftbs

        This is funny. You put me in the awkward position of “defending” Zoltan, I’ve spent many a morning on the trading desk doing the opposite. I think with respect to the 2019 repo panic, Zoltan’s warnings seem overdone in hindsight but there is perhaps something to be said with how much his thesis influenced the Fed response. In my lived experience “markets” have short memories, and so people forget that before Covid forced the Fed to throw out the “baby and the bathwater” with respect to the “rules”, they had already thrown the “kitchen sink” at markets in response to the repo crisis. Between September 2019 and December 2019 they grossed up their balance sheet by 11% and reversed their position on taper in order to target reserve balances. That markets didn’t experience a 2019 year-end “Repo-apocalypse” is likely more due to the Fed’s response than to Zoltan being wrong in his fundamental analysis.

        As to him being a monetarists, I suppose there is an orthodoxy amongst all Wall St. economists that’s hard to buck. But this accusation does remind a bit of Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. In that story a cabal of occultists operate under the false belief in the supernatural, the protagonists obviously know its all hokum but unfortunately have to engage the villains (who wield some temporal power) within the confines of their cognitive reality. Similarly if you’re an economist that engages with the Fed and its policy, you have no choice but to engage with monetarism.

        Thank you for sharing that piece by Servaas Storm. Storm is right, raising rates won’t stop inflation, and will cause lots of pain and lead us to stagflation. I think Zoltan agrees, but doesn’t see a tiger changing its stripes, and believes the Fed will be the Fed. Another interesting implication of Zoltan’s thesis is the recognition that it’s the systems in competition with the West that have all the remaining agency.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          My objection to Zoltan, aside from overhyping the repo mess, is that he didn’t understand it, which IMHO is damning. See even your recap:

          Between September 2019 and December 2019 they grossed up their balance sheet by 11% and reversed their position on taper in order to target reserve balances.

          I don’t have time to unpack the details, but the Fed had introduced reserve balances at its tool for managing rates after the crisis. They have never used them before. They instead relied on daily interventions from their NY Fed money desk.

          Oh, and BTW the NY Fed two top money traders left abruptly a few months before the tapering. I suspect it is directly related to what happened.

          Managing reserves does not work at all well in a tightening cycle, unlike an expansionary cycle. I suspect the two top NY Fed traders tried explaining why, were laughed at, escalated, and felt they had to quit or were maybe even fired.

          Reply
      2. spud

        Yves,

        thanks for this article, i liked it a lot. a few days ago i posted if interest rates hit 5%, most likely a debilitating depression will ensue, then deflation.

        but as the author states, import prices will remain elevated.

        Reply
    2. KD

      Deng studied at the Soviet University during Lenin’s NEP. Deng’s reforms very much mirrored NEP when he got into power. There were also some lessons learned (I suspect) from LKY in Singapore. NEP economically is quite powerful, but doesn’t create the iron fist to the degree of Stalinism (and Deng paid as a result in the form of Tiananmen). [They should have known better than to let Soros NGO’s and the NED operate in their country.]

      The Soviets were stuck in the wake of Stalinism, and the elites figured it would make more sense to drop communism, sell themselves state assets with loans from the State, and set up pro-Western oligarchies, even if it meant starving pensioners and destroying a generation of youth. In contrast, Deng had a plan for China.

      Reply
    3. Old Sovietologist

      There’s an interesting discussion to be had as to whether the Chinese are scientific Marxists as opposed to the Soviets having been ideological Marxists.

      I tend to agree with Stalin view that Marxism Leninism was an objective science.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Pelosi Aftermath’

    When you stop and think about this, the whole thing was totally unnecessary. Nancy was going to go over a few weeks ago but when she came down with the virus, had to put those plans on ice. But the reaction of the Chinese at the time to have her go there was fair warning. And now she went and turned the whole thing into a media circus but as Lavrov said, she was creating a flashpoint out of thin air. He actually went further and said that it was a display of American disregard for international norms. His actual words were ‘It was the drive to prove to everyone their impunity and to act accordingly. ‘I do whatever I want’, something like that.’ I know that people are saying that the Chinese stuffed up and over reacted (which they did) but I would say ‘Beware the fury of a patient man.’

    Reply
    1. Glen

      To be honest, this reminds me of Pelosi doing a victory dance after passing Obamacare. Twelve years later, what does America have? The most expensive crap healthcare insurance, a public and private healthcare system swirling in the crapper, and the largest world death toll for CV. Yippee!

      I suspect in ten years time after Pelosi’s Tiawan stunt as part of her retirement victory dance we will have similar results.

      The real irony is that China will surely miss Pelosi’s sure handed presence in the Congress to guide the slow but sure wrecking of her own country for profit and fun.

      Reply
  12. Jason Boxman

    Millions of Americans have long COVID. Many of them are no longer working

    As the number of people with post-COVID symptoms soars, researchers and the government are trying to get a handle on how big an impact long COVID is having on the U.S. workforce. It’s a pressing question, given the fragile state of the economy. For more than a year, employers have faced staffing problems, with jobs going unfilled month after month.

    Meanwhile, we can end this at any time, but it requires a reshuffling of social relations, which is unacceptable in America.

    The Biden administration successfully destroyed whatever remained of public health legitimacy, and they’ve done so with intent. Witness the “personal risk assessment” bulls**t, brought to us by the Democrats! That’s entirely orthogonal to public health, and the concept of society in general.

    How does anyone usefully assess the risk of long-COVID? This is somewhat of a long tail risk. But flip the coin enough, and with inflections 1-3 times a year, that’s a lot of flips, and eventually you’ll hit the jackpot. Meanwhile, you might accumulate less noticeable organ damage. We don’t do random populating sampling for any of this in America, so who knows what is going on. Why collect data, if you might learn something you don’t care to know?

    And now we’ve begun Pandemic 2, featuring CDCpox! I wonder how this movie will go? So far, it’s begun with “it is only a gay disease”, so what’s next?

    I’m beginning to warm up to “the stupidest timeline”. Remember, liberal Democrats also wish you harm!

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      And in line with the Three Monkey Public Health program, fewer autopsies are being done in the US. Did we not see a tweet a week or so ago about a young woman who dies suddenly? She was supposedly an organ donor, but none of her organs were acceptable for donation. Covid damage? Who knows, who is even looking?

      Reply
  13. Tom Stone

    A heartfelt thank you to whoever ( Ambrit?) recommended Vick’s as a treatment for toenail fungus.
    After years of trying all the OTC treatments with no success and then 3 days of IV Cipro and Flagel with no results I had pretty much given up.
    It worked.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      if it isn’t asking for TMI, how severe was your toenail condition and how long did it take for the intervention (VIck’s “Vapo Rub”?) to show improvement? I’ve been applying Listerine (the antibacterial essential oils also have antifungal properties) with results on the spectrum from “indifferent” to “maybe helpful”.

      Reply
      1. Tom Stone

        One big toenail covered ,other toes on that foot affected for more than 15 years.
        The treatment was GENEROUSLY smearing vicks and rubbing it in morning and evening, results started to show within 3 days, fungus gone in 10 days.
        I am very pleased by the result.

        Reply
        1. ilpalazzo

          For fungi and assorted athlete’s foot issues I wholeheartedly recommend Povidone – Iodine solution, what else. This shit is unbelievable. I’ve tried all the other stuff from the chemist (way more expensive obviously) but this thing is in another league.

          Reply
  14. Lex

    Re Pelosi’s grand adventure, I agree that Beijing overplayed its response though I understand that I don’t have an appropriate feel for the way China uses language and how it should be interpreted rather than is. (But China needs to understand that what it says is not necessarily going to be taken as it is meant.) Xi is in a spot now and loss of face is dangerous … for all of us.

    Without being able to really understand what domestic political motives there may be, I do see an international play that might be overlooked. Russia and China are trying to set up an alternate world order and part of that is to portray a contrast between how they operate and how the US operates. In that context we have China vigorously telling the US not to do something pointlessly destabilizing and the US doing it anyway. China’s less extreme response can be used to portray that difference. I see it as potentially similar to Russia not shutting off the gas to Europe in March. Is that the case? I don’t know. All the talk about vigorous responses printed in the global times does undercut that thesis. But it’s only the day after the visit.

    I guess I expect China will continue on what looms like their chosen path of now slowly strangling Taiwan, which appears to be dependent on exports to China more than anyone else. Constant military exercises around the island could wear down the readiness of the small Taiwanese military. And a drip-drip of economic pressure on the US. But I agree with others here that China could defend itself against the US while not being ready to chose military confrontation.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I guess I expect China will continue on what looms like their chosen path of now slowly strangling Taiwan…

      Is that what’s happening? Until recently, now that the u.s. has decided to stir the pot, Taiwan and China have coexisted in peace and mutual benefit. Why, all of a sudden, does China want to “invade” Taiwan “militarily?” Or so western “intelligence” and corporate media would have a pathetically gullible american public believe.

      This sounds suspiciously like the other current intelligence / media narrative, that Putin wants to “reconstitute” the former Soviet Union because…well…he’s Putin and lives in Russia.

      All of this comes as much of the rest of the world is fed up with the arrogance and interference of the severely listing american “empire,” and has begun making plans to move on without it.

      The whole thing reeks of a desperate american ruling elite, lurching from one hysteria to another, because they’ve created such a mess that they can’t think of anything else to do.

      Reply
      1. Lex

        Nor I. It was a painfully stupid act that will have significant reverberations in geopolitics that she (not the US) will be able to control. And she knew the dangers of it, given the DoD warned via public and likely private channels. But at the end of the day she wasn’t stopped because those above her chose not to stop her for whatever their reasons. The fact remains that what’s important now is not what the US did but how China reacts. I’m most interested in the domestic Chinese side since I think it likely drives the geopolitics but I don’t feel comfortable drawing my own conclusions from primary sources. I’m not sure Beijing can safely contain those forces to allow it the measured response it likely wants to follow.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      I don’t think the loss of face is all that important at this point and immediate retaliation was not threatened from what I’ve read at least.

      It would be a damned shame though if suddenly there were some maintenance issues that slowed deliveries of essential items to the US from Chinese ports. Revenge is a dish best served cold after all.

      Reply
    1. ArvidMartensen

      A bit late but here is an explanation which says that Vitamin D levels in the body could actually be a proxy for the amount of sunlight a person gets, and that it is the melatonin produced from the sunlight that helps with Covid infections.
      And if this is true, then this would perhaps be another factor in explaining why people in aged car do so badly when they catch Covid. Because they are usually confined indoors these days where they are lucky to be fed and toileted, let alone being taken for walks outside.

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      I am agnostic of vitamins, but I still take them because at worst: I have expensive pee and get some placebo effect, at best there is some positive benefit.

      some random thoughts—placebo effect is real. No amount of vitamins will counteract a lousy diet too high in animal protein and sugar. Vitamin A makes lung cancer worse. Designing a thorough vitamin study is expensive.

      To be blunt, if your median American ate like the median Greek or median Japanese person, that would have more positive effects than any vitamins or fad diets.

      I am curious about the typical Icelandic diet—as Iceland has some Japan-level life spans but obvious live a western lifestyle—-presumably it’s because processed food and alcohol are so expensive in Iceland, Icelanders are forced into healthier eating habits

      Reply
  15. Harold

    Supposed vitamin d really does prevent rickets in children. But bone loss in old age seems to have other causes than simple malnutrition.

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      Many years ago, in response to some old age bone loss, I had my PCP, at the time, recommend taking calcium citrate, with vitamin D, to address the issue.

      Reply
  16. Amfortas the hippie

    re: long covid disability:
    i feel for those folks.
    the disability system was frelled long before covid…i imagine that it’s even more frelled(and punitive), now.
    especially if it’s an “invisible illness”…or one of those morgollon type ailments like “brain fog”….where doctors are implicitly encouraged to dismiss it as somatic.
    …and prescribe gaba or ssri’s,lol.
    my advice, keep every medical record…and get a copy of the records the doctors keep.
    you’ll need documentation to prove that you’re not just trying to defraud the gooberment and hang from the proverbial teat(the default assumption in my decidedly dark view of the matter)

    one more step along the path to Hobbes’ State of Nature, which i determined long ago was the ultimate goal of the Reagan Revolution, beginning with the Powell Memo.

    Reply
    1. wol

      ‘one more step along the path to Hobbes’ State of Nature, which i determined long ago was the ultimate goal of the Reagan Revolution, beginning with the Powell Memo.’

      Amen, bruh.

      Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          I don’t know of any categorical statement about human nature that isn’t a bid to reify an underlying narrative. Including my own.

          Reply
    2. GramSci

      An official from the Nobel Institute in Oslo, said that Ronald Reagan had been a “very serious” contender for the peace prize, but I date the first modern step to Hobbes “war of all against all” to Herbert Spencer, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902. And in the US before Reagan, let us not forget Prescott Bush and that great eventual victor over Adlai Stevenson and the New Deal, the Hon. Democratic Gov. of New York, Averell Harriman.

      Reply
  17. chris

    Sharing what I consider to be good news related to all the primary results we have had coming in over the last two weeks. Tom Perez conceded the governor’s race in the Maryland Democratic primary!

    I had heard he was a sure thing. I have heard friends tell me of incredible ratf&cking that went on. Perez had Obama campaign for him. I am thrilled he has gone away.

    I am also cautiously optimistic about the Democrat who won the primary. He seems like a decent candidate, and his choice for lieutenant governor is a civil engineer!

    I know a lot can happen between now and November. I know just because these candidates looks good in ads doesn’t mean they’ll govern any better than a slime ball like Perez. But seeing this happen gives me hope that we may not be in the worst timeline after all.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      And those are just preventable deaths from COVID. And these are 100% preventable by eliminating the virus. No administration cares about deaths of despair, inadequate medical care, ect. Ect. Because markets.

      This is America. You’re on your own.

      Reply
    2. Ignacio

      During the last 28 days, and according to JHU dashboard data, the US accounts for 21% of total world deaths registered as caused by Covid. Spain accounts for 4,1% so Spain and much of Europe is clearly worse. France + Germany + Italy + UK + Spain = 37% of total reported Covid deaths if I made the calculations correctly. Of course not all countries do the counting with the same precision.

      There are several administrations to share the blame.

      Reply
    3. ArvidMartensen

      So about 5 days of Covid deaths about equals the deaths from 9/11.
      So, now for the huge political outrage, the War Against Covid, the commemorations, the incessant interviews of the relatives of the survivors, the TV series, the endless pieces analysing what happened etc. waiting…. waiting….

      Reply
  18. antidlc

    I received the “We Like You!” email.

    I must have missed MP’s July 13 post that was referenced in the email:
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/07/new-biden-ba-5-plan-openly-abandons-metrics-preventing-infection-butchers-mask-and-ventilation-policy.html#comment-3754115

    EXCERPT:

    I have been sitting in shock for the past week. I keep going over and over the life expectancies and life outcomes for people with this disease, and then going over and over the rates of long COVID per infection and the number of infections we are presumed to get in the future. It drives me mad. It is very literally driving me crazy now that it is finally, like a black cloud I felt a cool chill coming on for, coming to my door.

    So first I just want to say thank you for sharing accurate and informed information on the pandemic, and how batshit insane the government’s policies are. I’ve just been grinding my teeth right now trying to understand and wrap my mind around the life-years that the government is ripping from our clutches, and there is no level of justice that can get it back. I truly hope a working class movement can hold people to account, maybe one day in the future. I would even settle for an ACT UP to force our government to act on these common-sense measures on ventilation and disease control. But knowing the truth is very literally the first step, so I just wanted to thank you for helping people get to that step. I can’t understate how important that is, and how it gives even a sprinkling of solace, of hope, in a world where people truly feel abandoned and forgot about, and where I feel increasingly isolated in a country where most people don’t “get it.”

    I would like to thank MP for this post and for the information that NC provides.

    Nice to know I am not alone.

    I just wish we would end this nightmare.

    Reply
    1. Nikkikat

      Amen antidlc, I too am thankful. This web site has likely saved many lives. Mine included.
      Like you, I am really angered by the corruption of every aspect of govt. Forcing people to take a non sterilizing vaccine under an emergency authorization is another. Have to wonder how many they managed to kill with that directive alone.

      Reply
  19. KD

    Senator Menendez on Taiwan:


    We noticed the warning indicators for Ukraine in 2014 and didn’t take motion which may have deterred additional Russian aggression. We can’t afford to repeat that mistake with Taiwan.

    That is why I’ve labored with Senator Lindsey Graham to introduce the bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act of 2022.

    Our legislation would reinforce the safety of Taiwan by offering virtually $4.5 billion in safety help over the subsequent 4 years and recognizing Taiwan as a “major non-NATO ally” — a strong designation to facilitate nearer navy and safety ties. It would additionally increase Taiwan’s diplomatic area by its participation in worldwide organizations and in multilateral commerce agreements.

    The laws would additionally take concrete steps to counter China’s aggressive affect campaigns, impose crippling financial prices if Beijing takes hostile motion towards Taiwan (reminiscent of monetary, banking, visa and different sanctions) and reform American bureaucratic practices to bolster assist for Taiwan’s democratic authorities. In quick, this effort can be the most complete restructuring of U.S. coverage towards Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

    https://news-universe.com/2022/08/03/opinion-this-is-how-the-u-s-will-stand-with-taiwan/

    It is hard not to see this as an ultimatum to the Chinese, a repudiation of the one-nation pledge, and a promise to Ukrainize Taiwan. It is very hard to see how there isn’t a war within 18 months, unless someone caves and loses a lot of face. . . and if it is war, who benefits most by taking the tempo.

    Reply
  20. CaliDan

    Stephen King Says That “Consolidation Is Bad For Competition” In Testimony At Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster Antitrust Trial Deadspin

    The crux of the deal comes at the end when King says, “There comes a point where, if you are fortunate, you can stop following your bank account and start following your heart.” I say crux because this is either the saddest thing ever spoken, if you’ve ever read his writing, or, given his $$$ advances, the most cynical thing ever spoken.

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen the “Zelensky call” wherein he demonstrates his genius by wearing a Ukie hat (war merch!) with the blue/yellow in an inverted state.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRcJx32myE4

    Reply
  21. Vandemonian

    Scientists say it’s time to prepare for human extinction SWNS

    That’s a bit extreme, don’t you think? Couldn’t we just get humans to behave themselves?

    Reply
  22. Mikel

    The South Korean President has conveniently “left the building” and will not be meeting with that old narcissist Pelosi.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      Which is notable as this new Korean president, from their conservative party, generally is an pro-US, pro-Japan, anti-China hawk—versus the general mainstream Korean position of neighborly-to-China, frenemy-Japan, pro-US.

      Reply
  23. digi_owl

    About the difference of USSR and China, another element is perhaps how USA has seen the two over the decades.

    USA may have inherited much of the animosity that England had with Russia regarding the “great game”. And with the communist takeover it was amped even further.

    On the other hand, China for USA has long been a source of cheap labor. Supposedly the Spanish flu may well have originated with Chinese workers being shipped to the US east coast to build military barracks on the sly.

    So while there was some animosity early on with the CCP, as they started to distance themselves from Moscow it was “easy” to return to status quo ante. Starting with Nixon doing the unprecedented, and then China setting up their special economic zones.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      Russians, from the West’s POV, are the perfect villain: they’re white (so it’s ok to be racist against them), they pray to the Orthodox god, they use Cyrillic, Russian culture has near zero impact on western zeitgeist—who goes out to eat Russian food? And given the British establishment fear of the Steppe Hordes coming up the Thames, “the Russians are coming” meme gets shoved into the US establishment

      China: the USA convenient forgets (for whatever reason) Chinese and Americans shot each other for three years, 1950-53. Chinese belief systems are not messianic, so they don’t conflict with “Our God,” people like Chinese food (even though it isn’t like Chinese food in China). And China and the US are separated by one big ocean.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        who goes out to eat Russian food?

        Fun fact: if your food is served sequentially and not all at once, it’s “service a la russe“. So technically every time you go to a restaurant in the western world, you dine the Russian way, even if not Russian food.

        Reply

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