Links 10/2/22

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.


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* * *

Google Glass — which aimed to revolutionize wearable tech — was a ‘carnival of failure’ according to the author of a dishy new book on the early 2010s non-phenom Insider (KW)

How Amazon, Google, and Facebook Helped Fund the Campaign to Overturn Roe The Intercept

NASA’s Juno spacecraft takes closest images of Europa for 20 years New Scientist

Why the Florida Fantasy Withstands Reality The Atlantic (Resilc)

A broken insurance market threatens Florida and its star governor FT (DL)

The New Math of Wrinkling Qanta Magazine

The utopian machine Aeon


New drug has potential to turn SARS-CoV-2 virus against itself (MN)

The Pandemic’s Legacy Is Already Clear The Atlantic

Impaired immune response drives age-dependent severity of COVID-19 JEM (MN)


China drops the gauntlet on NSA’s serial cyberattacks Asia Times (KW)

The Koreas

North Korea fires fourth missile in a week as South flexes military muscle Reuters

Fukushima: Novel Fixes Fail, Waste Dumping Threatens Pacific Ocean CounterPunch


OPINION – 6 reasons US is not really supporting Myanmar’s democratic resistance Anadolu Agency

Thai Court Rules Suspended PM Prayut Can Resume Office Barron’s

India, Brazil Help Stop Chinese Roadblock to AUKUS Supply of N-Powered Submarines to Australia The Wire


Xiaomi India case: FEMA authority confirms ED’s seizure order of ₹5,551.27 crore The Hindu

Arming Armenia: India to export missiles, rockets and ammunition The Economic Times

Bangladesh’s Hilsa Fish Diplomacy The Diplomat


Iran vows to strike back if US destroys more of its drones over Iraq Al-Monitor

Iraq PM condemns Iran attacks on Kurdistan, calls on forces to maintain security Arab News

Iran arrests foreign nationals linked to Mahsa Amini protests France24

Decoding the Pentagon’s online war against Iran The Cradle

* * *

Lebanon to shift to new official lira-to-dollar exchange rate Al-Monitor

Somalia: Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones join offensive against al-Shabab Middle East Eye

Israel Election: The War in Ukraine Is Barely Mentioned in the Battle for Russian-speaking Voters Haaretz

Burkina Faso coup: Gunshots in capital and roads blocked BBC

Montenegro parliament rejects president’s request to dissolve parliament Anadolu Agency

European Disunion

Minister: Greece can defend islands despite Turkey’s threats ABC News

Groundhog Day: It’s another Bulgarian election Politico

Swiss electricity savings drive slow out of the blocks SwissInfo

Revealed: the secret British plan to keep Italy’s communists from power The Guardian

Old Blighty

Kwasi Kwarteng ‘attended champagne party with financiers on mini-budget day’ The Guardian (KW)

Two senior Truss aides were paid through Mark Fullbrook’s lobbying firm The Sunday Times

UK Cost-of-living Protests As Tories Defend Contentious Tax-cut Plans Barron’s

What is Nigel Farage doing in Australia? The Saturday Paper

Apropos of nothing, US intel wants to improve low-dose radiation detection The Register

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia withdraws its troops from a key city encircled by Ukrainian forces NPR

Russia vetoes Security Council resolution condemning attempted annexation of Ukraine regions UN News

Russia Detains Head of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant Time

Attacks Expose Vulnerability of European Infrastructure Der Spiegel (Resilc)

Deliveries of Russian gas via Austria suspended, Gazprom seeks to resolve issue TASS

The EU will try a ‘price corridor’ to rein in surging energy costs after talks to cap gas prices ended without an agreement Insider

* * *

Pentagon Plans to Set Up a New Command to Arm Ukraine, Officials Say NYT

‘Baltic friends’ would welcome Ukraine’s accession to NATO ERR

Parliament rejects unilateral Swiss sanctions SwissInfo

* * *

Putin annexations mean US-Russian talks more critical than ever Responsible Statecraft (Resilc)

The Narrative That This War Was “Unprovoked” Prevents Peace Caitlin Johnstone

How Russians living in Ukraine are being turned into illegal immigrants DW

Venezuela releases 7 jailed Americans; US frees 2 prisoners Al Jazeera

Jail warden and brother charged in roadside shooting of Mexican migrants WaPo


Democrats worry polls showing them as Senate favorites are wrong The Hill

What all that stealing says about America Yahoo (KW)

State Governments Are Colluding With Billionaires to Shield Their Wealth From Taxation Jacobin


For Obama, One Trump Term Wasn’t a Big Worry, but ‘Eight Years Would Be a Problem’ Bloomberg

Records From Trump White House Still Missing, National Archives Says NYT

Ex-eBay execs jailed for cyberstalking web critics The Register

The Bezzle

Tesla robot walks, waves, but doesn’t show off complex tasks AP (Resilc)

Class Warfare

Train strike: Worst rail disruption of year as workers walk out BBC

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Paradan

    NASA Juno…

    Oooo! 352km is within JASM range, we should take out an embassy or something. Sometimes you just gotta grab a little planet by the collar and slam it up against the wall. Show the solar system who’s boss.

    1. pjay

      I agree. Although it may appear that Europa is no danger to us at the moment, our well-established Preemptive Warfare doctrine allows us to take action when we have determined that there is an imminent threat. I have no doubt that the right group of intelligence analysts and think-tank academics can make a convincing case. I just hope we don’t waste too much firepower on random asteroids.

      1. Parker Dooley

        “Imminent”: “Occurring with any non-zero probability between the present and the heat death of the Universe.”

      2. Paradan

        They should get Bolton up in front of the UN, have him wave around a jar with a chunk of dry ice in it.

        “And our analysts have confirmed that they have millions of tons of this…”

  2. Sibiryak

    Who Attacked the Nord Stream Pipelines?

    Blinkin subtly hinted at a possible motive:

    [Sept. 30] …look, there’s a lot of hard work to do to make sure that countries and partners get through the winter…

    And ultimately this is also a tremendous opportunity. It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs.

    That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come , but meanwhile, we’re determined to do everything we possibly can to make sure that the consequences of all of this are not borne by citizens in our countries or, for that matter, around the world.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I think the deep State has a lot to answer for right now, namely, Who lost Russia? and Who lost the petrodollar? This attack was a hail Mary pass to change the answers from “Bill Clinton and neoliberals” to “Thank God for Victoria Neuland.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Russian Federation was too large to manage as a vassal. This goes back to Lavrov’s point about the US only seeing vassals and enemies with no room for junior partners.

        1. digi_owl

          That gets me thinking, there has only ever been one serious power of the seas.

          First there was the Spanish (though supposedly the Chinese did sail as far as Africa but then emperor lost interest or something), then the British, and then USA.

          There have been some would be rivals though, like France, USSR/Russia and maybe Japan.

          But more recently i learned that China now has the goal of fielding no less than 8 carrier groups. And not just some flat deck frigates either.

          No wonder there is hot water in the south china sea.

          1. Tom Stone

            I wonder if the Chinese would be open to a trade?
            The Gerald R Ford for 1/10th its mass in rare earths.

      1. BeliTsari

        It’s not DNC™ LLC’s problem. All Biden was installed for, was to frack & re-frack a couple million leaky, quick to kick, impossible to plug wells. Catastrophe Capitalism has to eat too, after all? Unleashing the Kraken, with Oilgarch’s autocracy cranked-up sells Gates, Musk, Bloomberg, Bezos’ geo-engineering, Carbon sequestration, GE monoculture & nuke scams; as Asian (and now, German & EU) EV, PHEV, fuel-cell manufacturing halts. All they have to do, is delay patch & pigging a few weeks, claiming a thorough investigation to see why Putin blew up his own pipeline, or Elvis & saucermen?

          1. hemeantwell

            Minimal research on my part indicates a 503 error could be related to a denial of service attack.?

            1. The Rev Kev

              I keep on getting a 524 error message which means that it is timing out. Cloudflare indicates that it is a server problem at MoA.

    2. bassmule

      Here’s a clue:
      From Tucker Carlson’s “What really happened to the Nord Stream pipeline?”

      Joe Biden suggested on camera that he might take out these pipelines. Watch.

      PRESIDENT BIDEN: If Russia invades that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again. Then there will be, there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.

      REPORTER: But how will you. How will you do that, exactly, since the project and control of the project is within Germany’s control?

      BIDEN: We will. I promise you, we’ll be able to do it.

      1. Pat

        The man that flat out lied that there was never any agreement for NATO to advance into territories that directly threatened Russia, like Ukraine.

        He is Not misled, and not open to correcting course. He knows exactly what went down.

        This is like saying that Colin Powell didn’t know he was lying when he sold the Iraq has WMDs and we have proof story to justify invasion. Not when most of his evidence was torn apart within 8 hours of his testimony.

        Might be more credible to go with ‘if they aren’t incompetent tools’ in both cases.

  3. Steve H.

    > The utopian machine Aeon

    Huh. A lot rings true, but like echoes down a hall.

    Our reaction to such like was to raise Joe in one house, the whole time, without daycare. He left as soon as he could. A quarter century later, his best friend is still the kid from across the street.

  4. .Tom

    > Ex-eBay execs jailed for cyberstalking web critics The Register

    It’s good to see the law being used to protect journalists against corporate abusers.

    And I added to my bookmarks.

    1. timbers

      Ebay is a good example of a rigged system to make everything look perfect so more and more people think of it as problem free. As a seller, the only “feedback” you are allowed to give is a positive one. Which makes it meaningless so I never do.

      As a buyer, I once received an item listed as “new” and it wasn’t. When I emailed the seller, he was not getting my point and finally told him if he does not fix that, I would give him negative feedback. I quicky learned that according to Ebay rules, so say such a thing as your feedback is dependent upon performance, is a “threat” in violation of Ebay rules, so Ebay blocked me from giving feedback.

      Ebay is fine as long as you don’t need to use there rules and system or ever need to.

      1. Portia

        I always use a credit card–that way I can have a dispute bypassing that system. And Paypal used to be more helpful than they are recently, so I don’t bother them any more. I have had excellent luck with vendors on Ebay though, using the formal return process with uploaded photos. They haven’t argued, and I got my refund with minimal wait.
        Wow, keeping a vendor honest is now “threatening” someone’s ability to make a buck. Good to know, thx.

        1. timbers

          Portia, you might enjoy this experience I had several years ago with Ebay: purchased a 40 lb item, never got it. When I went to contact the seller, several new feedbacks appeared claiming they never received their items, never got refunded, avoid this seller. Yet delivery tracking showed a 3 lb item delivered to my ZIP code (address not given) and accepted by someone with an unpronouncable Asian name. UPS refused to provide the address it delivered to but did say it was not to my name nor my address. Ebay refused to refund me because their policy says if the item is delivered to my ZIP, that is considered proof of delivery. They didn’t care at all it weighed 3lbs vs 40 lbs I ordered. And Ebay since deleted the seller’s history and ignored my suggestion they look at all the other feedback of those the seller screwed. It was too hard to retrieve, they said. Next, I filed a claim with PayPal credit card. They responded that because I already filed a dispute with Ebay, they can’t touch this. But had I come to PayPal first, I would have gotten my money back already. Finally I did a conference call with UPS and Ebay in which UPS lady stated the item was delivered but not to my address or name. At that point an Ebay manager reluctantly agreed to make an exception and give me a refund. Point is, people learn the fine part of the rules and figure a way to take you money.

          1. Portia

            Good for you for being persistent. Paypal said that same thing to me when I ran into a problem with a vendor (not on ebay). I had to sic my bank (issuer of the CC) on the vendor (email documentation nailed them) to get my money back.

      2. jefemt

        I just tried to sell on ebay for the first time.

        I had bidders who won! I sold both items! Mr. Market!!
        Both buyers reneged. Say whaaaaa?

        Sanctity of Contract my Aunt Fannie! Merely emulating the way the world works.

        I gotta say this about Trump: he heralded in an era of no more thin or thick veils… our vulgarity and ugliness is front and center, and Anything Goes.


        Look at actions of leaders, government, business. Nothin’ in it for the wee Least Among Us.
        Other than perpetual war and economic systems that threaten the very existence of Life on Earth, all species.

        Waaaay beyond time for a global General Strike. Imagine a month long self-imposed strike, not brought on by a Plague and Fear, but by unified conscious action of rejection.


        1. Jason Boxman

          I quit Ebay back in 2006 when you had no choice but to start accepting credit cards, and couldn’t suggest to a buyer to use PayPal’s ACH for payments to save on the fees. I still have my ‘classic’ PayPal account, having never agreed to ‘upgrade’ to accept cards.

          I only used Ebay to sell the odd technology thing I didn’t need anymore, video cards, hard drives, whatever. Thankfully wasn’t a business.

      3. notabanker

        I buy off of ebay over Amazon. I can’t remember the last Amazon order i placed. The better half of my life changed the password a couple of years ago and I never learned the new one.
        But I’ve placed maybe 10-15 ebay orders this year. Integrated into paypal so checkout is easy and I have paypal set up to a bank account so there are no fees. I’ve bought a lot of stuff direct from china and only had one problem, and in the end I should have been better reading between the lines on their ad, I’m usually a little more scrupulous. You really have to know what you are buying. But if you want the best price, you are usually going to find it on ebay.

        For more expensive things, I will only buy off of someone who has brick and mortar, or maybe a dealer that has been there a long time. But there are a ton of small shops that put their inventories on there, so it’s not a bad way to shop to avoid the behemoths.

        1. Jason Boxman

          On more than a few occasions, I’ve bought something off of Ebay only to have a package from Amazon arrive. Very curious. Price arbitrage I guess. Once I got something in Walmart packaging as well.

          1. Portia

            Some ebay vendors use Amazon fulfillment–I guess I was wrong to think it was piled up in their garage.

      4. Oh

        The only time I bought something at ebay was a pain in the rear. It was an item advertised as an item that was for my car and I found out on receipt it was not. I complained to the seller which tried to deny it. Finally. I was able to return it. I decided I would never want to deal with ebay ever again. I don’t really know why people use ebay especially when their prices are usually higher!

      5. Pat

        It may have changed in the last decade, but about ten years ago I was cleaning out my storage space and stashes, I sold a few things on ebay. Believe me, if you are not a power seller, they were not protecting you that way. I had several people run scams on me, even though I was trying to satisfy them. As in I lost not just the money from the original sale, the shipping fees, but also replacement items and/or never got the returns and still got negative feedback. When I went through the buyers history I discovered that this was a fun way to get free things for many of them,they had many of the same problems and provided the same negative feedback for multiple people, and it appeared did not pay the buyer (multiple buyers responded with similar stories to mine). I just stopped at that point and donated what I didn’t want figuring the charitable deduction was at least something and I wouldn’t have to pay shipping.

        From my experience a reputable small seller also has no protection there.

      6. RA

        I just had a recent minor scam from an ebay seller.

        Ordered a package of socks from an ebay listing. After week no indication it had shipped. Sent seller a message. No reply but order info changed to shipped by USPS.

        In a couple days an Amazon truck shows up with a package.
        Inside a note, “Enjoy your gift! From roxanne doyle”

        Looked up the item on Amazon.
        Price on Amazon $20
        Price I paid on ebay ~$25

        My attempt to avoid Amazon by shopping ebay didn’t help this time. I got to pay a fee so “roxanne” could place the order for me.

  5. Suicide by Bombs

    The new war center in Germany: maybe the Germans are all member of a secret suicide cult? Why would you agree to set up such a centre on your territory when Russia has in unequivocal terms explained that with time they will start to bomb decision centres?
    First they allow US and its tabaqis sabotage NS1&2 and now this… unbegreiflich!

    1. caucus99percenter

      Germany isn’t sovereign. Psychosocially, it’s still an occupied country. There is a cult, but rather than suicide the cult’s psychological core is the permanent sense of collective guilt about 1933–1945 that an Atlanticist elite makes sure is inculcated into everyone from a young age.

      1. TimH

        Interesting, since there doesn’t seem to be any collective guilt from the citizens whose countries illegally toppled Saddam.

  6. Portia

    I’ve been banging my spoon on my high chair about humanity’s dysfunctional relationship with….

    Since I was in my high chair, I think. I love that. I saw an aerial view of Cape Coral yesterday, and it was showing a kind of alluvial flow into the ocean surrounding it. I wanted to think it wasn’t effluent from whatever clever place they put their excrement.

  7. Ignacio

    RE: Russia withdraws its troops from a key city encircled by Ukrainian forces NPR

    The word ‘key’ there does the PR thing. Doesn’t it?
    Simple and easy.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That struck me as well. Places no reporter had ever heard of three days ago are now vastly important “key” locales. National Propaganda Radio served its purpose with that piece, to the point I couldn’t stomach reading past the first couple paragraphs.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      To be fair, a few of the pro-Russian sources I’ve been looking at recently had considered it highly strategic too, at least until it was taken which seems to have changed their minds. Also, unlike in previous advances it does seem that a significant number of Russian regular soldiers were taken captive which indicates that either there was a serious attempt to defend it or the withdrawal was botched.

      One thing I haven’t seen considered is that there may perhaps be a certain amount of politicking going on between Russian generals on the ground in Ukraine and Moscow – by conceding ground they may be trying to pressure Moscow to provide a lot more men and resources. But thats a dangerous game to play.

      1. Old Sovietologist

        It seems that the Russian SMO with the use of Soviet military equipment is going to be a thing of the past. Now the Russians will fight with newest kit and professional troops. Some have argued that this should have been the case from February.

        Russia could easily make a breakthrough to Nikolaev and Odessa and that most worry the Ukrainian top Military leadership, given the huge losses they have suffered in recent weeks.

        Ukraine cannot win on the battlefield now. However, the focus of NATO is to divide Russian society, get a Moscow Maidan and the split/collapse of Russia. They still have a few months to achieve that aim before the forces on the ground change it in favour of Russia.

      2. The Rev Kev

        The numbers coming out were saying that Liman had about 500 pro-Russian defenders against 6,000 Ukrainians. The Russians may be disappointed but I can see the military logic. Sure the Russians could have made a fight of it but in terms at what cost for what gains? How many battles have been waged in the past for worthless terrain that cost hundreds of troops or even thousands with nothing strategic to show afterwards? Hamburger Hill in Vietnam immediately comes to mind here. Yes, they lose that town and give Zelensky a PR victory. But in a few weeks those reservists will start to flow into the fight and as the ground freezes, the Russians will launch their attacks and the Ukrainians won’t have much to stop them as so much of their military heavy gear and thousands of their soldiers have been lost in places like Liman – which will fall back to the Russians.

      3. anon in so cal

        Gilbert Doctorow is calling for strikes on decision-making centers in Kiev. IMHO, it’s time.

        Separately, new equipment:

        “Our Kremlin source reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order to saturate the Ukrainian crisis with newer copies of military equipment.

        It seems that the Russian era of “SVO” with the use and disposal of Soviet military equipment is becoming a thing of the past. Now the Russians will fight on their novelties.
        This is a huge threat to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, since high-tech BTG (Battalion Tactical Group) will come to the LBS (line of combat contact).

        The source points out that Putin made this decision after the results of the referendum, as well as the message that NATO will not intervene in the Ukrainian crisis. When the West actually merged Zelensky, accusing the Ukrainian president of trying to tie the world into a third world war.

        The source adds that now it is likely to be something revealing, which should have been in February 2022. Also, Russian, as well as Western intelligence is aware of the large losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine due to the Kharkov and Kherson offensives.

        According to our information, Zaluzhny reported to Zelensky that a breakthrough to Mykolaiv and Odessa was possible.”

      4. Yves Smith

        Suggest you listen to the 10/1 Alexander Mercouris who reads a lot of Ukrainian and Russian Telegram. He goes through a lot of detail on why Lyman is not important. to the degree that it is bizarre that Russia has been trying to hold it. It is a small and now deserted town, few forces there are on each side (500 Russian, who have held the Ukraine forces off for 2-3 weeks, v. 6000 Ukrainian), NOT in a strategic position in relation to key roads. Mercouris cites a highly respected Telegrammer (former Donbass military official, pushed out by Russia) who specifically argues Russia should not be bothering with it.

        One reason Russia may have been fighting to keep it is that Ukraine wanted it so badly. Mercouris claims high losses of men and materiel on the Ukraine side.

        Update: Mercouris today argues that Lyman was viewed by the Russian military as a “sideshow” and that view is widespread in Russian Telegram-verse but the Chechen leader Kadiryov (sp?) is very pissed. So there’s a lot of politicking about what to do where.

      5. Don

        I don’t know where you are finding your sources. The small town (less than 20,000 population before the conflict‚closer now to zero) was not being held by the Russian military but by a Donbas militia of ±500 men, which, along with distant Russian artillery support, had been holding off a much larger Ukrainian cannon-fodder force for a week or two. Russian armour extracted the garrison, with no casualties, the night prior to the Ukrainian entry into the town. No captives were taken by the Ukrainian forces — if there had been, Zelenski would have made sure we heard about it. There has been some back and forth about abandoning the town, largely based on whether or not the total lack of strategic importance of Liman outweighed a perceived psychological victory for Ukraine. It is important to remember that Putin, completely completely at odds with MSM sentiment, is considered by many in Russia as too dovish, and that comes into play, particularly with Chechens and parts of the Donbas military leadership.

    3. jsn

      It is, after all, the “key” to Ukraine claiming a victory.

      Has the Duma ratified the annexation? I’ve not had time to follow closely.

      Per yesterday, it appears the Blob is walking back the false flag nuclear gambit, where does that leave room for escalation? Kinzals for Kyiv?

      1. Lex

        Tomorrow. The Supreme Court approved today. Most likely everything changes when the formalities have all the t’s crossed. Putin has a real fetish for legal formality.

        1. Tom Stone

          Vladimir Putin’s adherence to the letter of the Law in these circumstances is building Russian soft power as nothing else could.
          While Western Elites have shown that they are not just agreement incapable they are viciously insane.
          Look at how may have died or will die over the next few years due to the actions of our elites and then ask yourself whether any sane or responsible human would have behaved in that manner.
          These are addicts in the terminal stage of their Addiction to power.

          1. Lex

            Agreed. I’m not sure anyone he’s trying to convince would care about a day or two and a formality, but it is strongly part of his personality and a large part of Russia’s international outreach.

  8. juneau

    ” Quebec essentially outsourced our pandemic response to McKinsey. An american consulting firm that was also working for pfizer. Conflict of interest much?”
    How often do you see multiple blue suits with blue ties in that world of politics? To me that is a giveaway, it is the trademark color of that company.

    1. digi_owl

      Bringing in consultants usually means that manglement is looking for an excuse to implement an unpopular policy.

      1. bassmule

        Yves–You may find this amusing:
        “The authors expose the firm’s unsavory work with fossil fuel companies, cigarette-makers, opioid distributors, regulatory agencies and autocratic regimes. In a masterful work of investigative journalism building on their reporting for the New York Times, Bogdanich and Forsythe pierce through McKinsey’s “culture of secrecy” — a process they describe as “akin to chasing shadows” — to unearth conflicts of interest, corruption, hypocrisy and strategic blunders that read like a prosecutor’s indictment.”

        The scandals and hypocrisy behind McKinsey’s sterling reputation (WaPo)

    2. Mikel

      The vaccine mind-numbing vaccine narratives had McKinsey written all over them from the start.

      And the entire push for more shots as the prescription for “breakthrough infections” reminded me of the marketing efforts of pharma with increased dosages of opioids for “breakthrough pain” once those were proven not to work as first advertised.

    3. Brunches with Cats

      Poor Quebec, finding out what we already knew so long ago that it’s vanished down the memory hole:*

      Cuomo was upfront about it, actually listed McKinsey as a source on PowerPoint slides in his daily briefings. As the above link points out, several other states hired them, too. I vaguely recall that Yves also wrote an article about the big consulting firms profiting off the pandemic. (I suspected early on, but didn’t have the time to research it, that some of Cuomo’s worst pandemic decisions, including the nursing home debacle, were a result of taking McKinsey’s advice. But of course to admit that would have destroyed the “strong leader in a crisis” image he was trying to project, besides which there was no getting around who ultimately was responsible for hiring them.)

      * From someone who can’t remember what she did two days ago.

      1. TimH

        some of Cuomo’s worst pandemic decisions, including the nursing home debacle

        Wost from your, mine, and the ethical point of view… but possibly not that of a government that sees the nursing home residents as anonymous costs to be minimised.

        And don’t forget the Swedish government instructions:

        Many elderly people were administered morphine instead of oxygen despite available supplies, effectively ending their lives.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          That does rather suggest a coordinated international approach to ridding the world of “expendables” diverting funds that otherwise would be available for the grift graft. And who better to see it carried out than the cream of the grifter crop? (Suddenly reminded of a cocktail party conversation I overheard back in my reporting days, in which a singularly slimy political operative remarked to a newspaper editor that the cream always rises to the top. Without missing a beat, the editor’s wife retorted, “So does the scum.”)

  9. digi_owl

    “Google Glass — which aimed to revolutionize wearable tech — was a ‘carnival of failure’ according to the author of a dishy new book on the early 2010s non-phenom Insider (KW)”

    As best i recall, Brin grew a goatee and the net started comparing him to Tony Stark (the Iron Man movies having been a recent surprise success). End result was that he tried to live up to that image by launching a product way before it was ready.

    “Revealed: the secret British plan to keep Italy’s communists from power The Guardian”

    As best i recall, the post war Italian election system was specifically designed, by USA, to cut off any chance of the communists ever coming to power.

    1. jsn

      If by “election system” you mean “Operation Gladio”, yes.

      It had a high velocity, metallic candidate selection mechanism.

      The PR aspects the BBC is now “revealing” was just icing on the icings.

    2. chris

      I always thought the glass had real potential for technicians and other service oriented jobs. Also for helping people with visual processing issues. The reputation for people being “glassholes” was well earned but that doesn’t mean the tech couldn’t have helped people.

      1. digi_owl

        True, and i think they still sell them to those markets.

        But Brin was the one that took what was not much more than a lab prototype and tried to pitch it as a consumer product akin to mobile phones. Complete with a Glass streamed sky dive onto the roof of the building where Google was holding their developer conference keynote at the time.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “‘Baltic friends’ would welcome Ukraine’s accession to NATO”

    I fully agree. That is why I volunteer that a Brigade each of soldiers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania be formed immediately into an expeditionary Division and sent to the Donbass front. The rest of NATO can stay behind in Poland to make sandwiches for this expedition and see how well it works out for them. Hey, leadership by example, amiright?

    1. Polar Socialist

      Shouldn’t it be a brigade of parliamentarians, partyleaders, thinktankers and other demagogues?
      They deserve to be first ones to fight for “our values and way of life”.
      They should also be the only ones to do so…

      1. jsn

        That would be a continuation of war by other means!

        It completely cuts out the MIC.

        Where’s the money in that (the civilian economy, you might say, but we shipped that to China)?!

    2. Paradan

      Im willing to bet that the job situation for young men in the Baltics is so crappy that there already is a brigades worth of them on the front lines.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I don’t know about the Baltics, but the Russians say that they are picking up a fair bit of English and Polish over the radio traffic.

        1. vao

          From those telegram/bitchute video snippets from the front lines, I heard a surprising proportion of the personnel fighting on the Ukrainian side speaking French — not infrequently with a foreign accent.

    3. Louis Fyne

      more people live within NYC city limits or Tennesse than all of the Baltics.

      talk about the literal tail wagging the NATO dog

    4. Carolinian

      Maybe our Lindsey can lead a squad against Putin–the ghostly presence of his pal McCain egging him on. To be sure his stint in our own army was as a lawyer and gosh knows whether he even went through basic training. But he has the fighting spirit….

    5. The Rev Kev

      Looks like you can add Brigades from the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia to that Expeditionary force as well. If they all think that having the Ukraine in NATO is such a great idea – automatically making NATO at war with Russia – then those nations should be the first to send their forces to the Donbass front. Let’s see how it works out first. Sorta like a try ‘n’ buy.

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        Election in Brazil today! Perhaps Bolsonaro gathers the army for a coup. I sincerely hope not!

        And yet, the Trump of the Tropics would be a nice break from the Moscow Mad Man!

    1. Portia

      I did accounting work for 30 years, and I can’t see how using an accounting system designed to balance on both sides (zero out) applies to the actual value of money, “creating” and “destroying” it. I learned never to take financial statements of assets/liab seriously at face value. It’s just a way of keeping track of transactions, (or obfuscating what’s actual). But whatever stirs the pot, I guess.

      1. jsn

        A perfectly reasonable, practical approach to engaging with the monetary system.

        But it is a system, probably the largest, most systemically integrated man made system of control on the planet.

        What you say is true and useful at the individual level: what Keen is saying is essential for understanding the controlling power of the macro system across the global economy.

        1. Portia

          I think they are perpetrating a load of bollocks, and I’m not playing. You say, how can I avoid their stranglehold? There have always been ways to opt out, and I do the best I can.

          1. Yves Smith

            Sorry, corporate accounting where they have latitude over valuations is not at all like the use of double-entry bookkeeping to demonstrate transaction flow. You cop a ‘tude of being proud of your ignorance all you want. It’s not a good look.

            Your “I’m not playing” is an admission that on some level you know your position is childish.

            1. Portia

              Co-opting a system to sanitize the premise that debt is what makes the world go ’round is what I am not playing. I got the sense that it was used that way. If you think I don’t get it, OK. If having a strong opinion is arrogant, then I don’t belong here anyway. -/- (that’s the door not hitting me on the butt).

      2. Oh

        I agree with you. I always wonder how “shrinking” the balance when the Fed sells securities can be shrinking the Balance Sheet. Sounds like a bunch of BS. Perhaps money ‘creation’ is more related to the Souces and Uses of Funds statement.

        1. Mikel

          In the case of alot of the MBS crapola they bought up, everybody needs to look really closely how they expect to dump that garbage.
          And it’s a type of garbage creation that has no end. The banks have to keep lending like a shark has to keep eating.

      3. Mike

        Steve is not your average economist, he takes a systems approach instead of following an equilibrium model. He has many great podcasts shedding light on the failures of modern economists and why they are dangerous. Need more people like him as far as I can tell.

    2. jsn

      In our hyper individualized, atomized society, people desperately want “money” to be a physical thing so they can “posses”it.

      That it is in fact nothing but a “social relation” in this context is deeply disturbing as it makes the vastness of our mutual dependencies manifest.

      This desire to believe in money when we no longer believe in society is what 1 Timothy 6:10 is addressing, “for the love of money is the root of all evil.” Species success, such as it has been, is based on our “super social” nature, where we abandon that, we abandon the “secret to our success.”

        1. Wukchumni

          Those cultures with alternate systems of money other than metallic, were easily subjugated and their monetary systems abandoned.

          {family-blog’n) Lydians!

          1. jsn

            Metallic coin came with the first of the Western Warrior Cultures to self consciously turn their back on the Near East and Eastern traditions of social debt, dischargeable at key transitional junctures and through religiously required Jubilees. These Warrior Cultures led to Greece and then Rome, where Property became deified as an absolute principal people could be enslaved or exterminated over.

            Roman property rights and the Roman conception of wealth as an absolute principal was briefly eclipsed in the West by the Catholic Church, which Gibbon considered a communistic Eastern Religion 250 years ago. Pope Leo X, one of the last Popes to still have “legions”, legalized usury, bringing the western Warrior Caste back into the driver seat of Western Civilization. He did this to secure a war loan from Jacob Fugger. Since then, whenever one of these Warrior Caste Empires settles approximate borders, it reverts to the Eastern style and much older fiat money to preserve the commerce necessary to support the technological advance the Warriors depend on. The exception is the British Empire that used loot, first from Spain and then India, to overcome the deflationary tendencies of metallic money.

            It wasn’t the monetary systems that were abandoned in favor of gold. It was social freedoms and independent institutions destroyed to force subjugation to the principal of absolute wealth. The money type is a result of the social relations, not the other way around.

            1. Wukchumni

              Silver is the workhorse of metallic money, not gold.

              None of the Communist countries had silver coins in circulation, it was all base metal as are all countries now, but this is when western countries abandoned silver in their coinage.

              New Zealand: 1946
              Great Britain: 1946
              Venezuela: 1965
              Australia: 1966
              Japan: 1966
              Netherlands: 1966
              Sweden: 1967
              Spain: 1968
              Canada: 1968
              Italy: 1969
              USA: 1969
              South Africa: 1969
              Switzerland: 1969
              France: 1969
              Austria: 1973
              West Germany: 1974
              Mexico: 1995

              1. jsn

                You got me there, I should have said metallic, not necessarily gold!

                And for 200 years Welsh and American based pirates continually re-floated the nominal Gold Standard (actually Sterling) of the UK by looting “Papists” and other non Anglican denominations abroad with Royal approval.

                I still have a bunch of silver coins I saved when my dad told me they would vanish shortly!

                Fixed currency can’t work over time in the face of economic growth because fixed monetary value forces deflation where contracts tend to have fixed rates and interest accrues, opposite and irresistible mathematical forces.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Yes, there was a limit to how much silver coinage you could possibly have in circulation, and conjuring money out of thin air via the mouse clique was science fiction, not science fact.

                  If you can’t grow the money-you can’t grow a society, is our maxim.

    3. Mikel

      A bit of all that reminds me of the days when checks were passed around more – endorsed and re-endorsed until finally cashed in at the bank.

    4. .Tom

      When did Keen have this insight?

      Does this help explain why his Debunking book was so confusing?

  11. griffen

    There are multiple examples for not trusting in humanoid robots. And there are multiple examples of reasons not trusting in those who build and design such robots. Musk may be a brilliant if not occasionally (frequently) eccentric now billionaire, but not for one second am I making plans to buy whatever this product might be in 5 to 15 years.

    It’s like the running theme of the Alien film series. Ash is a “GD robot!” is just the first indication. The above is from the Covenant film.

    1. Portia

      I saw that article about the rich being afraid their Navy Seal security forces will turn on them when the big collapse comes–I guess this is for them, seeing as it is come from one of the most paranoid billionaires, Elon. Something to keep their own security forces in line?

      1. griffen

        It might be for them, but they should also incorporate the excellent film Ex Machina to understand that even the advanced programming of a robotic servant may ultimately choose to turn on the master. Which actually is an outcome I’m sure can be programmed in advance for.

        Then again if it’s an AI system that becomes self aware…

      2. Chris Smith

        LOL. When the jackpot comes, the Seals are going to look at Elon and say, “we have the guns, so YOU pick up the shovel and dig …”

      3. Expat2Uruguay

        I don’t know, that robot has a lot of tubes sticking out of it, looks really vulnerable to me

    2. Tom Stone

      When people bring up the subject of Robots what comes to mind for me is
      1) Where do you get spare parts?
      2) Which parts need to be replaced on a regular basis, after so many hours of use oso many repeated actions?
      3) Are any special lubricants needed?
      4) Do the parts and lubricants have specific storage needs such as temperature or humidity controls?
      5) How many different highly trained techs are needed to keep the robot running over an extended period of time?
      6) How many semi or unskilled workers are needed to keep the robot running for an extended period of time?.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Attacks Expose Vulnerability of European Infrastructure”

    The most amazing thing about the gas pipelines attack is that it was not the main story in the media from day one. Yeah, they talked about it but you could tell that they had trouble trying to decide how to spin it and what the narrative was supposed to be. Others like Alexander Mercouris has noted the same. They just wanted the story to go away and it was like watching a cat trying to deal with a dump on a tile floor.

    Everybody knows who was ultimately responsible fro blowing up those pipelines but nobody wants to make the accusation. It’s like living in a small village and everybody notices that the belly of this young girl is starting to swell. All in that village knows which of the big guys in the village did the deed but nobody is game to actually go pointing the finger – for their own safety.

    I understand that Germany is now going to keep two nuclear reactors going because they desperately need the energy. Any energy. Maybe they should have a strong detachment of Bundeswehr Special Forces stationed at each one to protect them – especially if there is an American base near by.

    1. YankeeFrank

      The MSM is all fantasy now. The tech hype about sentient robots and self-driving whatevers is as reliable as western reporting on the Ukraine war and Russia. Just read part of the Der Spiegel piece and they’re all in on blaming Russia. More and more I think this “reporting”, from the tech hype to the war, is not for us but for the few insiders to keep their balloons filled so they can continue with their fantasies of Western righteousness and Russian perfidy. After all, donchaknow (Der Spiegel will tell you!) that the US is a simple fellow who simply sells simple energy to the highest bidder while the Russia monster plays all sorts of evil power games with energy? Now you know.

      I can’t read the western MSM anymore. They are so far gone from reality I can’t really imagine the psychic decompensation that will occur for them when it all crashes down.

    2. digi_owl

      There was this weird thing that went down years back, later dubbed gamergate, that in the process unveiled that a number of gaming journalists ran a email list in the background where they coordinate amongst themselves when and what to publish.

      Quite likely a number of such lists are very much in use elsewhere as well. thus providing coordination and groupthink among supposedly individual outlets.

    3. chris

      The Germans made the decision to keep 2 of the 3 nuclear plants operational was the last I heard. I think the one in Bavaria will do the most good for them but I’m not as familiar with their grid set up. The Germans had made it so that the remaining plants in total was about 6% or less of what the country ran on. However, those nuclear plants generate baseload so that gives their increasingly disappointing wind generating sector some breathing room.

      I don’t think everyone knows who made the attack on the pipelines. I don’t think it’s settled into the brains of many people in the US that we may have attacked a critical piece of our ally’s infrastructure. I don’t think the domestic media know what to do with the story that puts things in direct conflict with their bias that we’re only ever good actors on the stage of history. This feels like finding out FDR made sure there was a hospital ship in Port at Pearl Harbor to make sure there would be sufficient outrage to propel us into WWII. This act is the US saying “you get to have what we say you can have and you’ll be grateful” like a mafia don would. I know that concept would break the minds of a lot of my friends and neighbors in PMC country outside of DC.

      I think people in power in the US would like the Ukraine story to fade into the background like Iraq and Afghanistan did. Only much more quickly. That way they don’t have to worry about defending decisions to pass more funding bills or explain why we’re so invested in a country that means nothing to our national security. I have the feeling that we will get a Christmas surprise.

  13. noonespecial

    re: Kwasi Kwarteng ‘attended champagne party with financiers on mini-budget day’

    From the Guardian link: “The chancellor is alleged to have given guests information about forthcoming government spending cuts during the event at the west London home of Andrew Law, a financier, on the evening of Friday 23 September…Again from the link, “A source close to the chancellor said: ‘Any suggestion attendees had access to privileged information is total nonsense…'”

    I seem to recall NC comments of how Brexit fans (i.e. hedgies) voiced support for the referendum and then benefitted from a downturn in the UK. In Bill Hicks’ voice: The plot thickens. has a piece about Kwarteng’s links to these freedom-loving financiers.

    “One investor who is making millions out of the financial crisis is the new chancellor’s former employer: high-profile hedge fund manager Crispin Odey. Odey’s fund has been betting that the cost of government debt would increase, and that’s precisely what’s been happening – particularly since the controversial mini-budget last Friday…Following the Brexit referendum, he [Odey] (made £220m overnight because the unexpected win for the Leave vote – much like Friday’s mini-budget – sent the pound plummeting and the interest rate on government bonds soaring.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Rumour Control has it that opposition to his mini-budget is so fierce, that he may not be here by this time next week. Liz Truss may be his only friend in government at the moment.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its hard to tell among all the pot stirring, but it seems that even Truss may not make it to the New Year. She is loved by the grassroots, but seemingly was always largely loathed by MP’s. If there is some way they can do it, she may well be ushered into that room with a revolver and glass of whisky. I wonder is there any precedent in UK history for a political leader to have gotten into such deep trouble so soon.

        The problem for the men in grey suits is that there doesn’t seem to be any procedural way to do this, so if she just clings on there may be nothing they can do about it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The British Prime Minister with the total shortest period in office was ‘George Canning, whose sole term lasted 119 days from 12 April 1827 until his death on 8 August 1827.’ If Truss lasts 119 days, I would be very much surprised and at the moment she has only lasted 26 days so far-

          Of course she would have to be shown the door as she is so geographically challenged, she probably couldn’t find the front door at No. 10.

        2. Michaelmas

          PlutoniumKun: The problem for the men in grey suits is that there doesn’t seem to be any procedural way to do this, so if she just clings on there may be nothing they can do about it.

          I’m in London currently and can maybe provide some scuttlebutt regarding what the Tory MP thought collective is saying among themselves. As follows:

          [1] The PM’s position is now a poisoned chalice that ‘nobody who matters’ in the Tory party wants;

          [2] They also don’t feel that happy about trying to get away with another ‘coup’ — the term used by my source for passing the position along to the next likeliest contender within the Conservative party without going to a general election.

          [3] Nevertheless, Rishi might want it, but is currently considered by parliamentary Tory members as ‘nobody who matters’ (see 1.).

          It gets a little ‘insider’-ish baseball here. Apparently, Tory party protocol is that one of their number who’s a contender for PM-hood only gets two shots and, according to the parliamentary members, Rishi’s had his two. There was an earlier vote among those members that Rishi didn’t win; then later, when it came down to him or Truss, the parliamentary members did prefer Rishi, but the members of the mass Tory party didn’t (too brown).

          Rishi doesn’t see it that way, though. According to him, he hasn’t had his two shots. But between his own fortune and his wife’s, he’s richer than the King and so it’s not clear how exercised he’s going to be in pursuit of the position.

          On the face of things then, yes, there may indeed be ‘no procedural way to do this, so if she (Truss) just clings on there may be nothing they can do about it.’

          But the Tories and the country may well be overtaken by events. That’s because: –

          (a) David Cameron liked Truss because she could be sent out and stay on message, which is how she rose in the party. But Truss stays on message precisely because she’s a near-moron and that’s all she can do. I watched a minute of an interview where she was asked the same question four different ways; each time she took two or three seconds to work out that she was going to repeat the same irrelevant, stupid soundbite that wasn’t an answer to the question in the first place. It was painful to see.

          (b) It’s better reported outside the UK in Europe than by the BBC and the British media, but strike actions and group protests are increasing, and the numbers in the crowds showing up too. This does have the makings of another ‘Winter of Discontent.’ But it’s 2022 and the Tories have cut the numbers of the police — who may be feeling disenfranchised themselves — and the army. Above all, unlike Thatcher Truss has no backing within her party and the British establishment to speak of, nor does her Thatcher cosplay in any way match up to Thatcher’s real bloody-mindedness and determination.

          I don’t see how Truss stays till 2024. Almost nobody in the Tories likes her and neither do the markets, nor does the country, and meanwhile the pressure of global events is bearing down on the UK. Already, Michael Gove has re-emerged and is making noises of resistance to Truss at the Tory party conference this weekend.

          1. David

            In a way, it’s quite chilling to see what was once one of the most ruthlessly efficient power-seeking political parties in the western world come unstuck so catastrophically and comprehensively. It’s not the first time the system has gone wrong: Thatcher was elected more or less by accident, but they stuck with her as long as she was an asset, and then dumped her as a result of the Poll Tax riots. Now, I accept that we might be quite close to Poll Tax riots 2.0, but there are considerable differences. In 1990, the Tories had a number of potential replacements, one of whom (John Major) was elected, and won the General Election in 1992. Where is that person now? Where is there a Tory politician who is remotely competent, and who could actually win the leadership election? Could the Tories actually survive another leadership election anyway?

            Constitutional issues aside, there is one way of getting rid of Truss, which would be if she can no longer head a government. Notice that this is not the same thing as commanding a majority in Parliament. If you can’t actually put a government (in practice a Cabinet, so about twenty Ministers) together, then you don’t become PM. If you can’t hold a Cabinet together, you can’t stay PM. If enough current Ministers resign, and refuse to serve in a new government, and the line holds, Truss will have to resign. At that point, the new King, as one of his first little tasks, will have to call someone else to the Palace to see if they can do what Truss can’t. (The idea that the PM has to be party leader is only a convention.) A Tory leadership election could follow later, or not.

            In other words, yes, Truss could be driven to resign as Thatcher was, but after Truss, who? Muffin the Mule? Uncle Tom Cobbleigh? Coco the Clown?

            1. Michaelmas

              David: If you can’t hold a Cabinet together, you can’t stay PM.

              Ah. Well, we can hope.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Sunak appears to be one of the few adults in the room, but I think he is badly soiled goods by now. Last year he would have been greeted as the second coming of Churchill. But its hard to see how MP’s could put him into place when he was so comprehensively rejected by party members.

            In many ways, its a terrifying prospect if the Tories decide all is lost. Given the near impossibility of shifting them from power, they may go all in on their ‘project’ given that they know they’ll lose. For one thing, they could pretty much cover the countryside with ‘development zones’ with fixed lifespans that can’t be reversed without massive compensation. The potential damage they can cause is enormous. As it is, I think it would take at least a decade of intense work by even a highly competent and popular government to get things back on track. And I certainly don’t think Starmer is all that competent.

          3. Don

            I don’t know where you are finding your sources. The small town (less than 20,000 population before the conflict‚closer now to zero) was not being held by the Russian military but by a Donbas militia of ±500 men, which, along with distant Russian artillery support, had been holding off a much larger Ukrainian cannon-fodder force for a week or two. Russian armour extracted the garrison, with no casualties, the night prior to the Ukrainian entry into the town. No captives were taken by the Ukrainian forces — if there had been, Zelenski would have made sure we heard about it. There has been some back and forth about abandoning the town, largely based on whether or not the total lack of strategic importance of Liman outweighed a perceived psychological victory for Ukraine. It is important to remember that Putin, completely completely at odds with MSM sentiment, is considered by many in Russia as too dovish, and that comes into play, particularly with Chechens and parts of the Donbas military leadership.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There has been a long standing tradition among the Tories of having leaders listen very carefully to big business in their first few months, and then hastily backtrack when they suddenly realise that many of those policies they rush into law hit their own core supporters. I suspect we are seeing this effect on steroids with the current government which seems particularly in hock to a very small clique of financiers and ideologues. It is particularly baffling to me that the Tories think that weakening the pound and forcing interest rates up will do anything but hurt the rapidly dwindling band of core Tory voters. Keir Starmer must be the luckiest politician alive, he literally doesn’t have to do anything but show up to win the next election.

      1. YankeeFrank

        And what a brilliant reign the Starmer Regime will have! Let’s face it: there’s no one to save the UK because its not salvageable at this point. Collapse is baked in thanks to the past 40 years of deindustrialization and neoliberal dis-management. I had no idea it would happen this fast given the arc we were on but the harder the Anglo-Saxon empire tries to cling to its position the faster it loses it. And the Ukraine war, all its impedimenta and blowing up NS1/2 are the desperate acts of a dying empire.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      Been seeing rumors all weekend that “a major bank’ is on the brink of going under this coming week.
      Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank are most favored to be that bank…

      Seems the interest rate hikes are having “unforeseen consequences “.

      Reminds me of Lehman Brothers…

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Guess Credit Suisse is having the most trouble getting default coverage…prices are back at 2008 levels.

          What other pension funds, investment banks, insurance companies, etc are ears deep?

          Same shit, different decade.

          Wouldn’t be surprised to see it all unravel in the next couple of weeks.

          Just before the midterms. :)

  14. griffen

    State governments are colluding with billionaires is an updated tale from the breaking news on trust havens during the past few years. These are little known but available loopholes for the really, really rich and exceedingly uber-wealthy, ie, a big club but we ain’t in it. If you guessed a few outlier states such as Nevada or South Dakota you might try your hand to enter Jeopardy and soon!!

    As an aside, I live in SC but have ties and family in North Carolina, where in recent years the NC state government has set the corporate tax rate to 0.0%. That’s right, nothing. This is a race to the bottom, and first prize isn’t exactly a trophy.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “big club”

      Not that big a club. Eighty (80) families own 50% of the human-generated wealth on the planet. And of course, the other 50% is so widely dispersed that its holders (think middle class homeowner or a small business owner) have little to no clout.

      A group of people that would fit into a school lunchroom have veto power over any policies that would bring peace, climate or Covid mitigation, health care, education for our kids, etc. And apparently they’re in solidarity about making sure that nothing will fundamentally change.

      1. griffen

        Well in terms of the wealth and political heft that wealth entails it’s a big club, and possibly only bigger yet as the article is a bit stale. I think we’ve seen or read the various articles or posts in recent months about the dynastic wealth of many families such as the Mars heirs, the Mellons and the Busch heirs. Do nothing but show up from a new branch on the family tree and voila you are a multi millionaire.

        The recent minting of billionaires such as Walton heirs, Gates, Bezos, Musk, Thiel, etc…is a decidedly newer phenomenon. I mean Gates isn’t new money exactly but in comparison to the Rothschild family it really is new money.

    2. YankeeFrank

      Let’s see how much billions matter during the hyperinflationary 20’s…

      The things I wish for these days…

      But let’s be serious. We’re already seeing hyperinflation in energy in Europe and the UK and now without NS2 its a done deal to get far worse. Will the US dollar remain a safe haven for long as Europe collapses? The US may avoid hyperinflation but it won’t avoid the fallout.

      I’ve heard they’ve been back slapping, getting awards and partying in Langley since the NS pipeline was destroyed. I think the celebrations will be short lived.

  15. Lex

    Narrative watch: Liman becomes a “key” city because it was a success. Now recall how the narrative prior to the Kharkov counteroffensive was that Russia was failing because it was moving so slow; that’s not operative in the new narrative even though it took three weeks for Ukraine to capture Liman. Also of note, Liman was not an operational objective of the offensive. Cities beyond it with more Russian supply significance were.

    The loss of Liman should not be understated because it was a loss of what is now (almost) technically Russian territory. And while the whole Kharkov retreat was methodical and did not result in large losses or troop surrender it does create problems for Russia. But the larger question for the US/Ukraine is whether current success is at all sustainable. Their current goal is reconquering all of the occupied territories, something in the range of 100k km2. Is that possible and what’s the time frame? Because the issue becomes that the longer the timeframe needs to be, the more problematic for supply of material and financial support the whole thing is. That is, it’s a quagmire for the US and the opposite of how this was supposed to play out. Right now, Russia can make a fairly moderate push at relatively high cost to secure the four oblasts and then sit down to force Ukraine to attack. As long as Ukraine continues attacks Russia can attrit forces and equipment. The minute Ukraine stops attacking, it loses.

    If I’m in the kremlin, that’s what I’d do. It’s the lowest cost way to stick a declining US with an unwinnable situation. It doesn’t get Russia Odessa directly but the economic and political collapse of Ukraine will be another opportunity, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in this context where there isn’t an economic and political collapse of Ukraine.

    1. nippersdad

      I see those Liman maps and it looks for all the world to see like one of those cauldrons that Russia has become known for. The only real difference is that Ukraine went to great trouble and expense to create it for them. When that trap snaps closed and Ukraine loses their victorious grand army, what will the narrative be then?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Supposedly the original orders (two weeks ago) were to hold through the 4th when the accession would be done and done.

        It’s likely a setback, but the talk of changing the nature of the SMO without declaring war has been all the rage over the last month. With rumors of major forces coming up, I expect the big event is this coming week.

        1. Skip Intro

          Dima at MS pointed out that all the forces committed to Liman and north will be hard to redeploy, while RF shelling in Nikolaev is increasing. Their supply lines have several rivers to cross, in mostly open country, so they may be vulnerable to a stepped-up attacks from the air.

        1. Exiled_in_Boston

          Another interesting turn of phrase
          ‘ And then not in reality until it is controlled…’

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Swiss electricity savings drive slow out of the blocks”

    This could get interesting come winter time. Obviously priorities will have to be set about who gets the limited amount of power. So what about all those ski resorts up in the mountains in winter time? Not only do they take power but those ski lifts must take a fair bit of energy too. Do they get the chop? Or are they allowed an assured power source to attract rich tourists – at the expense of the Swiss living in the towns on the valley floors as well as the actual cities.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Switzerland uses almost no natural gas for electricity – their grid is almost entirely hydro and nuclear with a little solar – I think they have one small plant to deal with winter peaking. I suspect that one reason consumers aren’t so keen to cut down is that they suspect that this is a convenient ploy to ensure they can export lots of very expensive electricity to the Germans over the winter.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wow. Thanks for that info. Now that story makes sense. Their Federal government just did the dirty on their own people about that F-35 order and now they are expected to freeze so that the same Federal government can make some big bucks selling off their own power? I wonder where the Cantons stand in all this.

        1. YankeeFrank

          Back in the 90s I visited Zurich and saw the street where all the heroin addicts gathered to shoot up. It was so depressing to think that such a rich country would just let so many of its youth die this way. I never thought I’d see such soulless behavior in the USA. Whatever else you can say about us, at least our blood runs warmer. So I thought anyway. Now they’re openly dealing and using fentanyl in the northwest quadrant of Washington Square Park in NYC and the cops are there all the time to make sure the markets don’t get violent or verge onto the parts of the park the rich enjoy. I guess we’re all capable of Swiss “neutrality”.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’m not sure its new in Washington Square Park. Back in the late 1980’s I have a vivid memory of taking a sandwich to eat in the park (I was a very naive teenager, I was later told by some NYers I was crazy to sit in the park, even in daylight) and watched with astonishment as a squirrel enthusiastically licked some spilled liquid from the syringe of an oblivious junkie. I’ve been careful around NY squirrels ever since.

            1. YankeeFrank

              Haha. Yes, they’ve been dealing drugs in the park for a long time but it was done surreptitiously and with regular arrests. And it was mainly marijuana on offer. Its all out in the open now with no arrests even in broad daylight.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Well depending on who’s manning the lifts and setting the gates, letting the elites have their ski areas could be a boon to the rest of us.

      When I worked at Vail in the early 90s, rumor had it that a few years prior one rich European aristocrat lost his head and decided to ski down a closed run that was being set up for a race. Or was it the other way around?

  17. Tom Stone

    One important part of Putin’s speech that isn’t getting as much attention as I think it deserves is that our rulers treat Americans the same way they do “Those other people” around the World.
    Before the Pandemic I ran across a story that mentioned that 40% of San Mateo’s populace was food insecure.
    Palo Alto is in San Mateo County so is Atherton.
    During this Pandemic the USA has experienced 17% of the deaths from Covidand we have 4% of the world’s population.
    The precariate has grown swiftly since America abandoned any pretense of being a Nation of Laws and not Men,
    It now includes America’s Billionaires as the Mar A Lago raid clearly demonstrated.
    The PMC are running scared, which is why we are seeing so much virtue signalling ( Black Lives matter signs in Sebastopol), shunning and rage.
    And our beloved leaders are telling us what to be afraid of (Antifa!, RUSSIA!) and who to blame and hate.
    The Devil can adopt many guises, Trump was convenient because he is such an asshole but now it’s PUTIN!!!.
    Who is, my gosh, an Autocrat and evil personified.
    The only thing wrong with America was Trump and the only thing keeping the world from becoming a paradise is PUTIN!!!.
    Now Biden’s rhetoric is amping up, RUSSIA!!! must be defeated to save OUR Democracy and FREE the people of Ukraine ( Except for the ethnic Russians, Jews, Gypsies…).
    If we manage to avoid Nuclear War America will accelerate the class cleansing (Not ethnic cleansing, we welcome diversity)/
    I put the odds of going Nuclear at better than 1 in 3 and the odds of NC being shut down this year at 90%.
    On that cheerful note I’m off to watch the sunrise at Armstrong Woods.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Are people now keeping watch to see if Biden is as generous with the disaster victims in Florida as he is with the Ukraine? He has a chance to do a bit of redemption with voters if he had any humanity and political smarts in him…..uhh, never mind. Kamala Harris didn’t help matters by saying that the ‘the Biden administration will focus on ‘giving resources based on equity’ to ‘communities of color’. Yes, she actually said that-

      1. Lee

        As an aside, it is interesting to note that the horrific costs inflicted by the hurricane Ian on thousands of Floridians is equal to around half the net worth of the single richest guy in the U.S.

      2. Portia

        I saw a joke somewhere that Zelensky was traveling to Florida to panhandle the Ian victims for money for Ukraine “independence.”

        1. ambrit

          The version of the joke I heard said that Z is doing it by boat so as to not miss any potential ‘donors.’

      3. marym

        “Equity” seems to be standard buzzword for Democrats these days, along with “our underserved communities.”

        The Harris quote:

        “It is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions,” she said during the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum. “We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity,” she added.

        The first sentence isn’t necessarily wrong, though whatever the rhetoric, nothing Democrats do actually works toward toward equity, or any other aspiration that would broadly benefit the people.

        However, unless Florida has no poor, disabled, rural etc. low income communities of whiteness, the concept of equity for the poor shouldn’t in itself be cause for the “panic” suggested by the DeSantis’s rapid response director.

        Meanwhile, among the Floridians: In 2012 and 2013 Rubio (R-Senate) and DeSantis (R-House) mostly voted no for aid for Hurricane Sandy; and “The Senate passed a short-term spending bill on Thursday [09/27/2022] that includes an additional $18.8 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to Hurricane Ian and future disasters. The vote was 72-25. [FL Republican Senator] Scott, however, voted against it, while [FL Republican Senator] Rubio was not present for the vote, according to the U.S. Senate roll call.

        1. Wukchumni

          Lee County Florida, which includes Fort Myers and Cape Coral, seems to have suffered the worst of the hurricane. With a population that’s 86.5% white, and with the Biden Administration’s focus on ‘equity’, it looks like they’re screwed!

          Flatlantis will be the first sacrificial lay of the lamb as we await Thwaites fate.

          Joey & sorcerers apprentice Kamala couldn’t very well say that…

        2. marym

          In the end it’s often wealthier people and politically connected people and businesses that fare better from government assistance than ordinary people. Whether Florida Republicans use their power at the federal, state, and local levels to optimize the extent to which government funding is appropriated and distributed to their constituents regardless of color or whiteness remains to be seen. Not voting for last week’s funding bill doesn’t seem too promising.

          In any case you can get a high-level overview of current relief efforts by FEMA, and references to other federal support (US Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, and others) here. Forty Myers and Lee County are mentioned several times in the 10/02/2022 update.

          1. indices

            If there is concern for pension funds that rely on investments to keep chugging along, would not insurance companies’ investments take a hit from stock market decline and vice-versa as stock markets react to insurance companies payout situation? Not to mention interest rates. Still have a way to go for hurricane season…

        3. Johnscrabshack

          Sounds like the people of Lee County should refuse to file federal taxes…

          P.S. All my friends and I are hoping that Russia wins quckly so we can get some affordable food and energy again.

    2. griffen

      To add to your point, the mavens on ABC News this morning (or their weekend Sunday news show) are firmly in the Russia done it Russia done it narrative when it comes to the NS1 and NS2 pipeline attack. No deviation from that talking point allowed.

      I’ve followed that story on the periphery this week, from when the news first broke but have honestly stayed out of many conversations. No one has brought up yet the brilliant Beastie Boys tune, “Sabotage” !!

      1. tegnost

        The seattle times this am no mention of pipelines, just… washington concerned re putins nuclear threats… Does anyone know if putin has actually made nuclear threats, or is it one of the anonymous insider not authorized to speak on the record things… ? While I’m on the seattle newspaper of record I saw quite the howler…”landlords struggling” ……yeah, right, as we used to say back in ratchesta’…

        1. Lex

          He sort of has in that he’s publicly reiterated the doctrine of every other nuclear country: it will use them if the nation and its people are under existential threat. He said it in a stated context of NATO types talking about permissibility of nuclear use and Ukrainian shelling of ZNPP. That is, “the west needs to be careful because I will do what I must with what I possess.”

          It’s potentially complicated by accepting territory into Russia that’s in a conflict zone but also very unlikely that Putin meant he’d go straight to nukes over the Ukrainian conflict. Medvedev has been making open threats on telegram but unless he becomes president they are just red meat for the turbo-patriots (he’s trying to build a new political base).

          1. jsn

            Medvedev and Putin are trying to keep that couple of people in the DoD basement who understand what nuclear war means awake.

            Blinken has backed off the talk of Russia first use, the pro forma of an impending US false flag or provocation.

            So, for the moment it appears to have worked.

          2. ThirtyOne

            From Jacques Baud via The Postil:
            Nuclear Threats

            As to the nuclear threats, in his speech on 21 September , Vladimir Putin mentioned the risk of nuclear escalation. Naturally, the conspiratorial media (i.e., those that construct narratives from unrelated information) immediately spoke of “nuclear threats.”

            In reality, this is not true. If we read the wording of Putin’s speech, we can see that he did not threaten to use nuclear weapons. In fact, he has never done so since the beginning of this conflict in 2014. However, he has warned the West against the use of such weapons. I will remind you that on 24 August, Liz Truss declared that it was acceptable to strike Russia with nuclear weapons, and that she was ready to do so, even if it would lead to a “global annihilation!” This is not the first time that the current British Prime Minister has made such a statement, which had already prompted warnings from the Kremlin in February. Moreover, I would like to remind you that in April of this year, Joe Biden decided to depart from the US “no-first use” policy and thus reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first.

            So clearly, Vladimir Putin does not trust Western behaviour that is totally irrational and irresponsible, and which is ready to sacrifice its own citizens in order to achieve objectives guided by dogmatism and ideology. This is what is happening in the field of energy and sanctions at the moment, and this is what Liz Truss is ready to do with nuclear weapons. Putin is certainly worried about the reactions of our leaders who are in increasingly uncomfortable situations because of the catastrophic economic and social situation they have created by their incompetence. This pressure on our leaders could lead them to escalate the conflict just to avoid losing face.

            In his speech, Vladimir Putin does not threaten to use nuclear weapons, but other types of weapons. He is of course thinking of hypersonic weapons, which do not need to be nuclear to be effective and which can thwart Western defences. Moreover, contrary to what our media say, the use of tactical nuclear weapons is no longer in the Russian employment doctrine for many years. Moreover, unlike the United States, Russia has a no-first-use policy.

            In other words, it is the Westerners and their erratic behaviour that are the real factors of insecurity.


          3. Kouros

            Mercouris very diligently and with painstaking detail debunks the idea that Putin has uttered threats.

      1. YankeeFrank

        How’s he going to do that from the grave? Oh, he means the WEF plan for us to all eat bugs.

        On that subject, I’ve watched my dogs over many years and they will eat all sorts of horrifying stuff: from week old pizza crusts to sticky stuff on the sidewalk, to 3-day old piles of dog diarrhea. One of ’em even dives in the stuff to scent-mask for the squirrel hunt (or does she just enjoy the perfume? or both!!??!). Anyway, the point is, they’ve all had the opportunity to eat bugs of various kinds — cockroaches of course, various beetles and spiders, etc — and they inevitably turn their noses up. They’ll occasionally snap up a fly that buzzes too close just for fun but that’s it. If my epicurean dogs won’t eat bugs then I sure as heck ain’t gonna.

        1. GC54

          “my” stray cat hunted and ate roaches when he first attached himself to us. Deposited live on bed for approval then dispatched and consumed. Whale byproduct catfood/Medicare tins eventually displaced that menu item along with the complete absence of roach prey.

          Meanwhile our great dane/Pyrenees mix catches flies with impressive accuracy for such an enormous animal.

      2. jsn

        He’s just been shown the life expectancies chart, at the current rate deaths are accelerating, everything anyone needs will just be lying around in 8 years.

        If you just assume the neoliberal economics can opener, distribution will take care of itself.

        The Mad Max model works just as well.

      3. Tom Stone

        It’s lot easier to feed 50 Million people than it is 338 Million…
        2030 is plenty of time to bring the population to a more sensible level even without the use of Nukes.
        SARS Covid 19 might do it with the right mutations, especially with the help of other diseases both emerging and extant.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      “The Devil can adopt many guises.” True, and He is an expert at quoting scripture for his own ends, as we see all the time and in many different realms.

      As a public school teacher fighting charter schools and privatization, I saw this amply demonstrated when touts of corporate “reform” appropriated social justice rhetoric and symbols. As Arne Duncan, Obama’s bobble-head Education Secretary (who never taught a day in his life, natch) said “Education reform (i.e., privatization) is the Civil Rights movement of our time.” The same man who said that Hurricane Katrina – in the aftermath of which all the public school teachers were fired and public schools closed and replaced by charters – was the best thing thing that ever happened to education in the city: Disaster Capitalism, Exhibit A.

      We’ve always been prepared, whether in Vietnam or Ukraine, to destroy the village in order to save it; what’s truly incredible is that the Overclass is now bringing that upon our allies and ourselves. Indeed, they fatten off of it.

      Oops, sorry for being so sloppy and naive as to think the Overclass considers the rank and file of humanity to be “Ourselves”…

    4. Eureka Springs

      Now Biden’s rhetoric is amping up, RUSSIA!!! must be defeated to save OUR Democracy and FREE the people of Ukraine ( Except for the ethnic Russians, Jews, Gypsies…).

      If I were Putin and had .00000001% of the influence on U.S. democracy our leadership claims, I would print up a couple hundred million paper ballots for the people of the USA.

      With a note. Please enjoy an exercise in democracy.

      Ballot intro: Portion of our Declaration of Indepedence:

      WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
      We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

      Shall we we the people of the United States, while learning from past success and failures abolish our current government and institute anew?

  18. caucus99percenter

    The Moon of Alabama website is — as of 3:45 pm Central European Summer Time = 9:45 am Eastern Daylight Time — still down.

  19. Carolinian

    Time to eat crow and praise the often dubious The Atlantic for that Florida story. Here’s the nut really

    Yes, sometimes the bill comes due. But it’s not clear to what extent the people of Florida, other than the storm’s immediate victims, will have to pay it. My insurer went bankrupt last month, one of six to go under in Florida this year, and the state took over my policy, as it surely did for thousands of Floridians who will now file claims. But the Republican leaders who have assumed for the past quarter-century that the feds will bail us out after the Big One were probably right. We’ve gotten too big to fail.

    I live in an area of Republicans who love public/private partnerships as a way of transforming a stagnant textile town and without much thought about how all this will go down if the economy crashes. Florida is a metaphor for modern America. Enjoy the sunshine; socialize the losses. Take away the insurance and Florida and coastal real estate in general would go back to shacks on stilts.

    1. griffen

      I concur, on occasion a broken clock is correct. It’s a good summation of what was wrong prior to this whopper of a hurricane, and what will likely continue to be wrong. I find it hard to believe they will rebuild precisely what was there before, in Cape Coral for example. Elsewhere on news coverage, I caught several interviews with stranded survivors waiting for hours to be rescued; this was primarily in Lee County, which had indeed delayed their evacuation announcement until Tuesday morning when the course shifted. Apparently a mandatory evacuation order from the county government just was not convincing enough.

      If the word “island” appears in your home town residence, you should really think priorities when a category 4 storm comes calling. That sounds harsh because it is. Pack up and go! I say this from experiences in my teen and young adult years, working summer job in Manteo, NC on Roanoke Island, and doing routes on nearby Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island. Dare County in North Carolina was typically very visible and upfront about the tourists getting out of dodge, in my recollection.

    2. ambrit

      Our experience with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf coast is that the governing authorities will sharply upgrade the building codes so that only ‘rich’ people will be able to afford to live near the coast.
      True story; we applied to buy the Katrina Cottage we were lucky enough to have supplied to us after Katrina and permanently site it on our property near the coast. We were pricing “stilts,” basically creosote impregnated wooden ‘light poles,’ as supports for the raised building. This is a traditional method of doing the job here in the North American Deep South. Alas, after the hurricane, the building codes had been “upgraded” for some reason. We were told that the new code required steel reinforced, poured in place cast concrete pillars for supports for the Katrina Cottage. (The Katrina Cottage itself was a well built, livable design, in one and two bedroom styles. Well worth what they were asking for it. Something like a Super Trailer.) The cost of the “upgraded” supports was as much as the cost of the entire Katrina Cottage. The cumulative cost was beyond our means.
      So, don’t underestimate the power of gentrification.
      For the Ultra Cynical, this also forces the “huddled masses” to move away from the future Global Warming Littorals. If some of those displaced “huddled masses” should die as a result of the dislocation, then Extra Bonus Points! Population reduction on the cheap.
      Stay safe.
      Our world has become an X-Files plot. The Truth is out there? Trust no one.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I never understood Florida. It’s just a bunch of urban sprawl garbage and terrible climate. It’s gotten worse year after year. You can’t even drive down I4 or I75 anymore, the traffic is beyond insane. And to what end? Every destination is just sprawled garbage. There was an opportunity to address this back in 2008, but the sensible growth amendment, whatever it was, Amendment 5? was voted down. Even liberal Democrats I knew voted against it, because growth!!

      The Democrat Party in Florida was a rotting corpse even then.

      For too long, too much of the Florida economy has been an ecological Ponzi scheme that depends on bringing in 1,000 new residents a day, including the mortgage brokers and drywall installers and landscapers whose livelihoods depend on bringing 1,000 more new residents the next day. There’s no culture of long-term planning or investing, no ethic of limits or responsibility or risk management. Florida has always been about now, mine, more.

      As the article sez.

      I’m looking out my window right now at another beautiful sunny day in South Florida. I never really understood until I moved here that winter was optional. Some people don’t care for the heat and humidity, especially now that climate change is ratcheting up the heat, and it’s no fun to be in the path of a deadly hurricane. Usually, though, we’re not. Usually, it’s just nice. It’s certainly way nicer than Boston or Brooklyn, or Michigan or Minnesota, in the winter.

      I was rather fond of Boston winters. It ain’t Maine! It’s more moderate because it’s on the water, I think. Granted I never drove; Driving in the snow seems awful.

      And the fall colors, and the spring.

  20. semper loquitur

    Kyiv Astronomers capture “UAPs everywhere” using meteor-tracking software

    Former Air Force fighter pilot Chris Lehto reviews a recent report from Ukraine concerning numerous appearances of unidentified aerial phenomena. The images have been synchronized between two meteor observatories. The phenomena move extremely fast and appear to fly in formation. There are two types: bright, glowing and dark, zero-albedo.

    Lehto is associated with Sky 360, a citizen-science organization that surveys the skies for all manner of phenomena:

    We want to provide a community platform, tools and support to all people interested in observing the skies for stars, meteors, satellites, planes, drones, weather phenomena, birds, UAPs or anything else that happens in our atmosphere and low Earth orbit.

    He relays that the equipment used by the observatories is affordable and easily available. Sky 360 will be utilizing it for it’s investigations.

    1. GC54

      Well i imagine that most of the stuff flying over the Ukraine is not squawking on transponders. The 3 sample images at the sky360 site show 1) a collapsing weather balloon and 2 & 3) things with contrails. Yawn. But yes lets build those 150,000 boxes at $1&5k a pop to capture the entire sky. Id love to see bird migration in detail as the AI trains.

          1. Portia

            Not hallucinate. I take medicinal pot (high CDB, no THC) and it slows my brain down enough so things pop out into consciousness. I do take a lot of it, for my arthritis and spasticity and spinal cord damage. But it’s been demonstrated many times that we can see energy movement, usually when we are off guard.

    1. griffen

      Yes in 2022 any and everything once thought unlikely is now possible. I still keep my personal bingo card for the All time Apocalypse / Jackpot / The Next Near End on the year 2028.

      Now I must add that Luke was my favorite portrayal in Return of the Jedi, one of the first films I ever saw. I feel cheated on! \sarc

  21. Louiedog14

    Re: U.S. not helping Myanmar

    I honestly think this is the best possible outcome for them, sad to say. We are not (like Russia and China), directly supporting the military junta, which is good. Beyond that, with all the different ethnicities/opposition groups, I have zero confidence in our ability to identify and properly help representative groups and leaders that would actually do any good. If we did somehow manage that, we’d encourage them to adopt unhelpful or more likely, downright harmful policies. See: Haiti et al.

    As frustrating as it must be for the poorly equipped Myanmar rebels to see the U.S. throwing so much bluster and treasure at Ukraine, they’re better off with us looking the other way. We’d FUBAR the joint in no time.

    1. JBird4049

      I agree and I liked the article. But I wonder if the unmentioned reason for not helping the Myanmar rebels is to avoid getting any potential revolutionaries examples of a recent successful revolution. Say, in the United States or even Europe. And I include peaceful elections. Nothing to give an example of change compelled by the proles.

  22. Paradan

    Just like to throw out that the Venezuela prisoner exchange might be preliminary steps in a deal to restock the US strategic oil reserve.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not a bad thought that. I checked and as of three weeks ago it was down to about 450 million barrels which it has not been since 1984-

      That may sound a lot but the US uses about 20 million barrels a day so that is about three weeks worth. I have no idea why they did not fill it up when the price went super cheap about a year or two ago.

      1. J7915

        Deprive US petro outfits of their justly entitled $$$? Also how about that international trade agreement? Would that apply?

  23. Roger Blakely

    RE: The Pandemic’s Legacy Is Already Clear The Atlantic

    Ed Yong is writing about the mistakes made in this pandemic and how to prepare for the next pandemic.

    How about this pandemic? Indie SAGE on YouTube reports that COVID-19 hospitalizations in the UK were up 36% for the last week of September. It is clear that we are heading into a devastating December and January.

    1. Lee

      Speaking of mistakes costing lives: Even given the U.S. let ‘er rip policy, we could reduce the current number of Covid deaths from ~500 per day, to 50 to 60 per day by providing the timely use of Paxlovid and other treatments, according to Dr. Daniel Griffin. See this week’s Clinical Update, minute 29. It would seem that many health care providers simply don’t know the proper protocols for treating Covid-19. Dr. Daniel Griffin’s Clinical treatment summary for 09/29/2022

      1. LifelongLib

        Recently several relatives in Pacific Northwest have gotten Covid and all were prescribed Paxlovid. My son here in Hawaii had Covid last year but IIRC Paxlovid wasn’t available then. AFAIK I still haven’t caught it, mostly home alone with my dog, door and windows open, mask when I go to the store etc. Just got latest vaccine booster (5 shots total), no side effects so far. I had a bout of extreme fatigue after one of the shots but don’t know if it was a side effect or maybe “mild” Covid, no other symptoms.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I’m still waiting for non-mRNA boosters, but I guess I’ll be waiting for awhile as Pfizer still needs to cash in.

  24. pjay

    – ‘Revealed: the secret British plan to keep Italy’s communists from power’ – The Guardian

    Once upon a time – back in the *1970s* – there was a plot by the IRD to embarrass the leader of the Italian Communist Party by asking some tough questions. There was much behind-the-scenes hand-wringing about such a dastardly plan. There may have been some forged documents involved as well. Nevertheless, “The IRD’s operations against the PCI were… “last minute” and “could only have had a limited impact” on the elections. The Italians themselves were wise enough to bring back the Christian Democrats. The End.

    It’s good to see the Guardian is still carrying out hard-hitting exposes of government malfeasance.

    Oh, almost forgot the happy ending: “the following year, the new foreign secretary, David Owen, shut down the IRD.”

    I’m so glad those dark Cold War days are behind us!

  25. Mikel

    “Attacks Expose Vulnerability of European Infrastructure” Der Spiegel

    Attacks that make suicide bombers and the like look more like deadly vandals than system disrupting terrorists.

  26. quintilian

    Hi NC
    I’m writing from Ottawa and over the last couple of days I’ve encountered frequent problems linking to the home page of Moon of Alabama. Embedded links of MoA articles found in other written sources seem to function but trying to link to their home page has been increasingly difficult. Has anyone else experienced this?

    1. RobertC

      Q — here in San Diego within 15 minutes of connecting to the MoA homepage, our Cox Cable modem will enter “No Internet Access” mode usually followed in a few minutes with loss of telephone connectivity. The only solution is reset the modem and not visit MoA. Amusing actually. And Yes we went through a week of testing and fault isolation before reaching this understanding.

  27. Carolinian

    Caitlin on the West’s “unprovoked attack” narrative.

    Marvel supervillains have more depth and complexity than the one-dimensional characters the imperial spin machine concocts to represent its official enemies. Thanos was a more believable character with more understandable and nuanced motivations than the propaganda machine’s fictional representation of Putin. That representation has been overlaid on top of the actual government official who you might not necessarily agree with, but can definitely understand and engage in diplomacy and negotiation.

    People who believe the empire’s narratives about its official enemies have fewer critical thinking skills than your average Marvel movie viewer.

    But enough about Joe Biden. And I don’t think the US public really buys this narrative or at least not the majority according to polls. Ukraine is not on their priority list although it certainly will be if Americans start dying there. It’s the elites who are obsessed with Ukraine and the power struggle. They are our problem, not Putin.

  28. timbers

    Kwasi Kwarteng ‘attended champagne party with financiers on mini-budget day’ The Guardian (KW)

    They wore face masks. They followed Covid rules. So we KNOW they will be just as cold and hungry as everyone else this winter as they follow the same rules on conservation as the citizens they serve.

  29. YankeeFrank

    Apropos of nothing in particular, if you’re looking for a very well done short series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” is the best in a long time. Unlike almost every other show these days, the writing is excellent (written by a talented fellow named Will Rob Smith). The humanity it captures is heartbreaking, the story is deeply respectful to everyone involved and what a story it tells. A real gem.

  30. Tom Stone

    If you work for the US Government and you waterboard Humans you will recieve your regular paycheck and maybe a little bonus on top.
    If you work for the US Government and your Boss finds out you waterboarded a stray cat you will be fired and may well spend time in Jail.

    1. Portia

      What kind of useful intel could you expect to get out of a cat? Never mind that waterboarding does not yield reliable intel. But you would be just wasting the Pentagon’s money, a criminal offense!

  31. pjay

    – ‘What all that stealing says about America’ – Yahoo (KW)

    I just had an interesting lesson in how cognitive filters operate. When I first read this headline, a number of possible topics immediately flashed through my mind. First, the stealing of billions from foreign nations through control of the global financial system popped up – Afghanistan, Russia, Venezuela, etc. This triggered the related issue of our stealing Syrian oil. Then appeared a vision of Big Pharma stealing our tax dollars, resources, and rationality. And so on for a few moments, until I glanced at the source. When I saw that the story was from Yahoo News, a switch flipped and I immediately knew what the story was about. And I was right. Organized retail crime gangs – the “ORCs” are coming!

    At least the Yahoo story didn’t claim that this was part of Putin’s plot to sow discord in the US. Or did it?

  32. Wukchumni

    Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep once ranged all over the range of light, but their numbers dwindled down to around a hundred, all on the east side up high around the Mt Baxter & Mt Wiliamson area, and the herds have rebounded to 600, and since then around a dozen of the herd were relocated to the Chagoopa Plateau, and as recently as June of last year, 14 members of the herd were observed in the Big Arroyo & Chagoopa Plateau in Sequoia NP.

    I was told that a guest of the Silver City Resort observed a couple of the herd on the eastern ridge behind Crystal Lake in Mineral King last week, and it marks the first time a SNBS has been sighted in a century in Mineral King, where there were 2 herds of 75 or so in Timber Gap and an equal number in Farewell Gap, in the 1870’s.

    Welcome home!

  33. Kouros

    “Unions say there has been little progress in resolving disputes, while rail bosses want pay to be linked to modernisation.”

    What that even means, “modernisation”?

    On the other hand, the last episode of Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, with the creation of Mount Doom and the transformation of Southlands into Mordor, made me think at NS2 and NS1 and the fate of Germany. And yes, locals had a big hand in turning their nice land into Mordor and in the hands of goblins and orcs… Annalena Baerbock is the person of the year 2022 – Time cover magazine…

  34. Wukchumni

    Dept Of Overwrought Mortgages:

    This hurricane of similar scope as Ian, brought about the end of the Miami real estate bubble-whose consequences spread all over Florida, allowing the state to be in a localized great depression before the really big show came along.

    You can have any kind of a home you want. You can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stuck-oh!

    Groucho Marx

    1. skippy

      Its always interesting to see – all this freedom being had – in places like Florida [come here and get your freedom] end up needing a Government backstop when the Universe asks …. what were you saying again about Freedom – ?????

      The whole back drop on that City is just so similar to the Salton sea episode.

  35. GW

    I assume everyone read Petraeus’s remarks about the war today? He asserts that, if Russia uses a nuke in Ukraine, then NATO will attack the Russian army, Crimea, and all RF naval bases in the Black Sea. Petraeus vows that all Russian military assets in the region will be destroyed.

    This is incredible. A prominent US military figure literally saying we can overwhelm Russia using conventional force and not expect the latter to resort to ultimate weapons in self-defense.

    As if Russia would allow its miitary to be destroyed and not resort to ultimate weapons to defend itself. Have Petaeus et al gone mad?

    I assume Petraeus’s belligerent words are just guff intended to impress the domestic US audience. But even so, it’s shocking. When I was growing up in the pre-1991 world, no leaders, Soviet or Western, would dare to speak of nuclear war as a trifling matter, or use such speech for purposes of sabre rattling.

    These days America is handling itself on the world stage much as Imperial Germany did in the final few years leading up to 1914. Same bellicosity. Same readiness to threaten great power war in order to cow other great powers into strategic subordination.

    How much the world has changed in 30 years. It’s not just unsettling. It’s tragic.

    1. Tom Stone

      Petraeus is beyond irresponsible, he is indeed infected with the same madness many others are.
      Lambert described these people as members of a Death cult, an opinion I share.

  36. Dave in Austin

    The two Florida articles, and, are two sides of the same coin.

    Insurance company will only insure flood-prone houses unless they get 3-5% of the value/year. So the home owners scream to the Feds or state “Insurance is unavailable at a reasonable price” and so-called insurance companies that are “reasonable” and underfunded are created. After the first big hit the company is insolvent. The usually rich homeowners get the government to “inject capital” into the failing scheme. In other words the government pays. This is the student loan bailout for waterside homeowners.

    In Florida the problem is worse. The coast is low everywhere including places not in the floodplain. So Florida creates a “sustainable” insurance company as a last resort- which of course will never have enough reserves to pay for one big hurricane. And if it comes up short? Why, all Florida homeowners must pay a “surcharge”. So the people away from the coast will be asked to subsidize the Cape Coral dreamers.

    This storm wasn’t “The Big One”. It was a category 4 storm with an 8-foot storm surge. The Cape Coral metro area has only 700,000 inhabitants. The Tampa- Saint Pete metro area has 3.2 million and Miami has 6.1.

    Much government activity is like this. Risk-takers keep the gains while the risk is transferring to the public; the 2008 mortgage scandal with high winds and rain. According to documents at the LBJ Presidential Library, the whole “The Federal Government will pay for disasters” system was invented in 1962 to create federal machinery for a nuclear war and to get the public used to it.

    Before that any state or locality dumb enough to build in a place that got flooded or was over an earthquake fault was on its own. You take the risk, you face the consequences. Maybe it is time we return to that practice, in which case the homes in Cape Coral would either not be built or would be hardened structures on 14 foot concrete pilings, like the survivors in the pictures or the owner-built homes I see in the bayous of Southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

  37. OIFVet

    Re ‘Groundhog Day: It’s another Bulgarian election’ Politico

    “Kiril Petkov, a Harvard graduate and a political maverick…” Dear gracious hosts, please include warnings about such content as I almost chocked on the grapes I was midnight snacking on upon reading this gem. I hadn’t realized that being a standard issue Harvard neoliberal gave one maverick credentials. Then again, it could be that the source of this howler, Ruja Smilova, is said by the author of the article to be only a humble lecturer in political science at Sofia University while in reality she is also the Programme Director of the Sofia-based Center for Liberal Strategies, a neoliberal think tank. Her husband is on the board of directors of the think tank and they are both Oxford graduates. I guess to them it is mavericky to attend Harvard rather than Oxbridge, even if both they and Petkov are established members of the transnational liberal class.

  38. The Rev Kev

    Here is a case of a main stream media publication trying to explain the cause of those pipeline explosions – and simultaneously letting it be known that they are a paid-for idiot.

    ‘Were Nord Stream explosions really a military accident?
    Baltic Sea became a weapons dump after WWII and recent military exercises there could have inadvertently detonated an old bomb’

    In four separate location, in about the same time-frame, after sitting on the sea bed for about seventy-seven years.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, i rather like that explanation.
      It’s a classic example of the “Piss down your leg” approach to Journalism.

  39. Wukchumni

    Sports Desk:

    I used to be a Long Suffering Bills Fan but that was then and this is now.

    Well we’re living here in Allentown
    And they’re closing opponents down
    Out in Buffalo they’re having a time
    Bills Mafia
    Made men & women feelin’ fine
    Well we had so many stiff quarterbacks before
    Spent their weekends being on the losing score
    Met our fate being 4 & 12
    Asked why do we do this
    Should we see a psychiatrist and delve?
    And now we’re living it up here in Allentown

  40. nothing but the truth

    neocons have gone rogue as brandon has gone to the dark side, when he is coherent.

    by blowing the pipeline they have opened the door to nuclear war.

    the most powerful country should not do international terrorism. its not done, its a death blowto the rules based order, the dollar and almost everyone in the rest of the world has got alarm bells ringing at who is running the us of a, and whether anything coming from it can be trusted anymore.

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