Links 11/25/2022

World’s heaviest flying bird may be self-medicating on plants used in traditional medicine Frontiers Science News. Humans aren’t the only species that self-medicates!

The Invasion of the Super Insects Nautilus

The possible worlds of Saul Kripke The Institute of Art and Ideas (AL).


The renewable energy transition is failing Asia Times (Rev Kev). Especially good on materials.

Smoke on this! Cannabis plants could help fight climate change because they absorb carbon dioxide more than TWICE as effectively as trees Daily Mail

Microbes and Climate Change – Science, People & Impacts (PDF) American Society for Microbiology.


Why China’s efforts to help world’s largest iPhone factory descended into violent protests, further disrupting Apple’s supply chain South China Morning Post. The West may be deprived of its Christmas trinkets!

‘No way we can open’: China’s zero-Covid exit plans unravel FT. About those “plans”: It’s stunning that there is no national system or standard:

Why Did the US-China Relationship Collapse, and Can It Be Repaired? The Nation


India’s Disturbing Ties with Myanmar Junta The Irrawaddy

Report into former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret ministries released ABC Australia. The report.


SARS-CoV-2 evolves increased infection elicited cell death and fusion in an immunosuppressed individual (manuscript) Sigallab. From the Abstract: “Evolved virus was isolated at different times during a 6-month infection in an immuno-suppressed individual with advanced HIV disease…. These results may indicate that,at least by the cellular measures used here, evolution in long-term infection does not necessarily attenuate the virus.” Oh.

Pocket feature shared by deadly coronaviruses could lead to pan-coronavirus antiviral treatment Important.

* * *

Vaccines are not sterilizing and do not prevent transmission. It is bad to catch Covid even if you don’t get hospitalized (or die):

“Noise.” Long Covid and persistent neurological and vascular damage are “noise”? More to the point, the patients are “noise”?

Omicron burst onto the scene last Thanksgiving. How the covid variant changed the pandemic, and what comes next. Grid. I don’t link to Grid much, but this summary is useful:

2022 might best be characterized as the year as many Americans decided to move on from the pandemic, despite its significant ongoing toll.

Last year, about 78 percent of Americans were at least somewhat concerned about covid, according to an Ipsos poll. That dropped to 57 percent this fall. And while only 18 percent of people said they’d returned to their pre-pandemic life a year ago, now nearly half have, the poll found.

The decline of masking is perhaps the most visible sign of this shift. Last fall, 50 to 60 percent of people reported regularly wearing masks. That’s dropped to slightly less than 30 percent, according to one survey.

“For a while, you positioned yourself with the majority; when you wore the mask, it was normal, everyone was doing it, and you looked at people without masks as renegades, as selfish people,” said Markus Kemmelmeier, a social psychologist at the University of Nevada at Reno. “But now, a sense of normalcy has flipped the situation.”

That sense has come from the top. In February, the CDC drastically relaxed its covid guidelines, raising the bar for when to advise indoor masking. Practically overnight, the CDC went from advising masking in nearly all counties to only about 30 percent of counties, signaling a shift away from a collective pandemic response toward an individualized one.

President Joe Biden underlined that shift in September, calling the pandemic “over” in an interview with “60 Minutes,” even as 400 to 500 people still died of covid each day.

“Many Americans decided” or “That sense has come from the top” (as we see from Jha above). Which is it?

How infectious disease experts are responding to Covid nearly three years in STAT (NL).

* * *

Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine Disappointing in First-in-Human Trial JAMA “The first-in-human study of intranasal COVID-19 vaccination with an adenovirus-vector vaccine did not induce a consistent mucosal antibody response or a strong systemic response…. The intranasal (IN) vaccination tested in the trial used the existing formulation of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 intramuscular (IM) vaccine developed by University of Oxford/AstraZeneca.” I think asking Oxford/AstraZeneca to develop a nasal vaccine is like asking Gillette to develop a self-sharpening razor.

Summary Of Product Characteristics (SMPC) (PDF) Bharat Biotech. “BBV154 nasal vaccine has been evaluated and shown satisfactory immune response against several variants of such as Delta, Beta and Omicron including the recent variant BA.5.” Phase 3 clinical trials are ongoing. Bharat includes the pack insert so presumably the release process is well along. That said, there’s no published data in any reputable journal, and the approval process seems (to a non-Indian) convoluted and prolonged.

* * *

Assessing wastewater-based epidemiology for the prediction of SARS-CoV-2 incidence in Catalonia Nature. From the Abstract: “[T]he mathematical model based on wastewater data showed a good correlation with cumulative cases and allowed us to anticipate SARS-CoV-2 incidence in one week, which is of special relevance in situations where the epidemiological monitoring system cannot be fully implemented.”


Yuval Noah Harari: Israelis Support ‘Three-classes Solution’ to Palestinian Conflict Haaretz. Whites, Coloured, and Blacks?

European Disunion

France, investigation into illicit financing of Emmanuel Macron’s electoral campaign: his assignments at the McKinsey company are in the sights (Google Translate) Il Fatto Quotidiano (DJG). Imagine that!

Dear Old Blighty

The Secretive US Embassy-Backed Group Cultivating the British Left Declassified UK. By the “left” is meant Keir Starmer:

Pensions experts ‘shocked’ at hidden borrowing across UK schemes Guardian (Rev Kev).

New Not-So-Cold War

U.S. President Biden says Russian oil price cap in play Hellenic Shipping News

EU fails to agree gas price cap amid deep divisions International Business Times

Polish climate minister says EU gas cap proposal is a ‘joke’ Reuters (Re Silc).

Gas Price Cap Could Cause Irreversible Harm To Energy Markets OilPrice (Re Silc).

* * *

Russia can no longer rely on General Winter Politico

Putin Seeks to Destabilize Ukraine’s Neighbor Der Spiegel (Re Silc).

* * *

Freedom of expression and genuine intellectual debate on Russian television today Gilbert Doctorow

The thin blue records that opened up musical horizons for Soviet youth Pressing Plant

Mexico’s muralism movement first changed Mexico, then the world Mexico News Daily

Supply Chain

Los Angeles and Long Beach Containership Backup Has Officially Ended gCaptain

The Bezzle

Sam Bankman-Fried Said He Would Give Away Billions. Broken Promises Are All That’s Left. WSJ. Fluff.

Blockchain may have a green future regardless of crypto Gillian Tett, FT. More fluff.

Defund the SEC Eschaton. Not fluff. Atrios is strong on the corrupting influence of SBF in the political class which, oddly, is not a story. “Some of your faves are involved!”

* * *

Crypto Firm FTX’s Ownership of a U.S. Bank Raises Questions NYT. The Fed’s letter of approval:

Africa’s Growing Crypto Market Needs Better Regulations IMF Blog. “Regulating a highly volatile and decentralized system remains a challenge for most governments, requiring a balance between minimizing risk and maximizing fraud innovation.”

* * *

Is Wine Fake? Asterisk


Musk says granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts AP


How We Can Err if We Rely on Randomized Controlled Trials (video) Medscape (NL). Of RCTs: “It’s not bad science to look at real-world case studies.” Grab a cup of coffee.

Police State Watch

San Francisco police consider letting robots use ‘deadly force’ The Verge

Our Famously Free Press

I am Once Again Asking the White House Press Corps to Stop Being a Gigantic Embarrassment. The Present Age. On the White House wedding.

Wild Turkey Sightings Becoming More and More Common in Alameda NBC

How Feral Turkeys Took Staten Island HellGate

Thanksgiving Post-Mortem

Does Thanksgiving Glorify The Historical Slaughter Of The Detroit Lions? The Onion. From 2018, still germane.

Read Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation that Made Thanksgiving a National Holiday Time. “While Thanksgiving is usually traced back to a 1621 meal between pilgrims and Native Americans, its origins as a national holiday are much more recent. On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving. He saw the occasion as a peaceful interlude amid the Civil War.” “Traced back” is in the passive voice. How did this happen? Some Reconcilation Movement bullshit? A holiday about the defeat of the Confederacy and the death of slavery is a holiday I can get behind.

Class Warfare

Firming Up Hierarchy Economics from the Top Down. Interesting!

The globalisation elephant has left the room FT

Nestlé launches vegan foie gras Switzerland Times

Decolonization should extend to collaborations, authorship and co-creation of knowledge Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    Wild Turkey Sightings Becoming More and More Common in Alameda
    They’ve become common here in the heart of suburban NJ. I know they can be aggressive but the ones that show up every year on my street aren’t (no idea where they are the rest of the year. I only seen them in the late fall).

    1. marcel

      When I saw the title, I said to myself that i’d need to read the article to know what “turkey” or “Alameda” mean in this context. It not being the Onion was an indication.

    2. Wukchumni

      When the first giblet garrison showed up on our property in tiny town we paid it little heed, I mean who’s afraid of itty bitty retro dinosaurs in our midst, was the thinking.

      My advice is to not underestimate them, as our winged platoon did everything to make us uneasy in our own home with coordinated gobbles en masse, harassment of our hair’m, and worse.

      Nothing could have prepared us though for when they filed a quit claim deed on us though, although they did give us an additional 30 days to move out, which was human of them.

      1. Wukchumni


        Ben Franklin wanted the Wild Turkey to be our national bird, and we paid homage to his thought yesterday by eating a Butterbald Eagle which was tasty, but doesn’t leave much room in the innards for stuffing.

        Paired with a claret, not too bad.

        1. juno mas

          You are under arrest! Bald Eagles are protected by federal law. (Unless, of course, you’re a Na[t]ive American.)

    3. Boshko

      In central Madison WI, wild turkeys have been a fixture for at least the past 15 yrs. Roosting in trees, strolling down the streets, as common as seeing your neighbor’s dog walked.

    4. Lee

      For a number of years there were commonly sighted but two of them, both hens I believe. More recently, some toms have shown up and now we have at least one good sized flock. Although they wander far and wide around the neighborhood, they can very often be seen gathered at a house about two blocks from me where the yard provides a lot of cover. The guy who lives there told me it is their home base and I’m guessing that he may have introduced them. I can’t imagine the critters could have crossed miles of complex urban terrain, including having to avoid cars on highly trafficked bridges and a tunnels on their own to get to our island.

      1. Jbird4049

        The birds can fly although not with much grace as it looks like it takes real willpower to haul themselves into the air. Plus, they can be persistent and it only needs a single breeding pair to start with.

        1. Randy

          They can fly but they only do so if they absolutely have to. My dog was chasing one and it wouldn’t fly until she almost got a hold of some tail feathers.

    5. thousand points of green

      I have read that in the time of the Indian Nations, that many of the Nations maintained whole landscapes as ” wild game gardens” wherein they encouraged the maintainance of habitat favored by edible game species and harvested a sustainable number of the game animals. With the rise of deer and turkey populations back to levels fostered and favored by Indian land management methods, we are presented with a sustainable food-harvesting opportunity.

      A sustainable number of the Staten Island turkeys could be harvested each year and processed into meat for the poor and homeless of Staten Island.

      1. LawnDart

        I’ve been poor, seriously food-poor, and I would never eat a city-squirrel… …the same principle applies: far better to eat someone’s pets (outdoor cats or “guard” dogs (slab-of-lab, diced dobbie, or rib-of-rott!).

        And I’d eat that someone themselves before consuming something that feeds on real garbage and drinks from heavily-polluted water: consider the fat-ones “well-marbled” and the young-ones veal.

        I’ve actually got some recipes that could be interesting from an anthropological viewpoint, but I’m not allowed to post them here (tried to sneak them in once or twice) because mods/host seem to feel that they’re in poor-taste [really– don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!]…

    6. ddt

      Saw them roost on top branches of really tall trees when I was in Alameda last year. No idea how they flew up there.

      1. JBird4049

        Wild turnkeys prefer sleeping in trees. I would worry about them getting down. They do tend to use lower branches and roofs to slow their descent. Bump, thump, and whump just with the sunrise.

    7. Stephen Taylor

      I grew up in Alameda (lived there from ’78 to ’97) and there were never turkeys there back then. When I moved back for a couple of years in 2010-11, in a Bronze Coast apartment, there were a pair that wandered the area on both sides of Grand Street. Sounds like it’s practically flocks now. I guess the cats–Alameda has always been lousy with cats–are not up to the task of predation upon a full-grown tom or hen. But I’m surprised the raccoons, or even the occasional coyote shows up in the city, aren’t stepping to the task of thinning any of the local rafters. Those neighborhood raccoons can be tough customers (I know they occasionally kill cats around there.) I’ll have to tell my sister to keep me posted about this.

      1. semper loquitur

        There was an interesting tweet below that exclaimed that only 30 to 50% of people have an inner monologue. I chased down this article:


        Psychology professor Russell Hurlburt estimates 30 to 50 percent of people have an inner monologue narrating their thoughts throughout the day. But if you don’t have one, Hurlburt, who teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says not to worry.

        It says people without an inner dialog imagine themselves doing things, for example instead of thinking “I should walk the dog.” they imagine themselves walking the dog.

        1. deplorado

          Yes, I saw that one. It caught me by surprise – because I had forgotten the concept: I think I used to have an inner dialogue, but I don’t think I do anymore. That may be natural too, but who knows. Maybe I simply lost some self awareness.

  2. Irrational

    Asian Times article on energy and materials:
    Interesting to scroll down all the way – provided by a third party and I assume the author would be Mr Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. In other words: sadly not a case of a journalist suddenly researching some facts.

    Vegan foie gras:
    Very strange. If you like the real thing, you won’t like this judging by the cited ingredients and if you are against the real thing, why would you put this concoction in your mouth?

    Belated happy thanksgiving!

    1. hunkerdown

      Is that vegan foie gras “Five Lights” brand? PMC who love gaslighting and other forms of symbol manipulation love to play make-believe. They will be forever 4 years old.

      Happy Buy Nothing Day, everyone!

        1. Emily

          Today is the first day of the rest of Buy Nothing Month ending on January 1st.

          In typical American extravagance, we’ve expanded Buy Nothing Day to the rest of the year to protest our obedience to the ruling class’s expectations of us.

          If you really want to subvert the system, throw a Garage Sale to declutter your house, then give away what’s left over as “Everything Free.”

      1. Screwball

        Happy Buy Nothing Day, everyone!

        That’s my plan. Funny though, Bubblevision (CNBC) has a tweet saying; Right now we are seeing $1.3 million in sales per minute on Black Friday, according to Shopify data.

        I don’t remember who said it, but they are right; America is a shopping mall with a flag.

      2. thousand points of green

        Buy Nothing Day was invented by Kalle Lasn of Adbusters Magazine as a counter-consumption protest against consumptionism in general and against Black Friday sales and purchase mania in particular.,purchases%20in%20order%20to%20protest%20consumption%20and%20commercialization.

        Another interesting counter-consumptionism movement has been Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping ( which I think he recently renamed the Church of Earthelluja).

        ( I wonder if the Church of Stop Shopping would go further if it renamed itself the Church of Life After Shopping.)

    2. Jon Cloke

      @Nestle – the number 3 biggest user of plastic in the world, has now launched… vegan foie gras.

      And you thought climate change was serious, didn’t you?

  3. bwilli123

    Re Russia can no longer rely on General Winter- Politico

    …”And it’s the Ukrainians who want to build quickly on the momentum they’ve achieved in recent weeks with their stunning victories around Kharkiv in the northeast and most recently in Kherson in the south.”…

    A complete mis-reading of Kherson’s importance.

    Aleks at Black Mountain Analysis argues that the Kherson withdrawal basically sealed an eventual Russian victory-because of what it avoided.

    “I want to reiterate the three purposes, why Russia captured Kherson at the beginning off the war. And then I will give my explanations of their status:
    1) Secure a strategic bridgehead for further advances to the North and West:
    The bridgehead was secured. Since the Ukrainian Army hadn’t collapse in Phase 2, a breakthrough from the south to Nikolayev and Odessa is no more feasible in the format of the SMO.
    2) Buffering off the roads to Crimea and Nova Kakhovka, for Crimea’s water supply:
    It was achieved but now it will be rolled back. I don’t know yet, what consequences it will have for the Russian army and Russian cities on the Left Bank, if the Ukrainian army moves to the river. Nevertheless, I assume, that the Ukrainians will have very soon other problems, then concentrating its army and valuable artillery in the south, when the North starts to explode.
    3) Creating the base for a referendum for the incorporation of the Kherson oblast into the Russian federation:
    Successfully and sustainably achieved.

    What a withdrawal avoided.

    “I heard many sources and scenarios. And I concluded that the following scenario was the most probable one. It looks like that the NATO command planned to fix huge numbers of Russia’s troops, especially the most elite ones, in Kherson. While preparing secretly another large-scale offensive in Kharkov (Russian held territories of Kharkov) and use it as a key to apply maximum pressure on the Russian Donbass operations. Eventually, to trigger a collapse of the front in Donbass, coming from the North.

    This could have worked indeed. Had Russia not mobilized (most soldiers, that left the army, after their contract expired in July/August 2022, were directly re-mobilized and recommitted on their positions without additional training. They were already experienced. So, the northern Donbass front could have been directly stabilized.

    The NATO plan was thwarted. Now the next approach was, to cut off the most experienced Russian troops on the West Bank of the Dnieper. And defeat them or take them prisoner. It would be the last big opportunity to win the war. Why, win the war? We need to remember, as I pointed out in the analysis of Phase 1 and 2, if a party achieves the objectives, that are set by the political leadership, it has won. It doesn’t matter how many casualties etc. were taken. Well, I pointed out in these articles, that Ukraine’s goals are the Western/NATO goals and these are simple… We can break them down to: “Collapse Russia as a state and remove President Putin”.

    If we think about it, it becomes clear that if 40.000 Russian troops, many of them elite ones, would be trapped at the West Bank of the Dnieper, they couldn’t be saved. They would be either annihilated or taken prisoners. What means “being trapped” on the West Bank? Well, after the mobilization was announced, it was pretty clear, to the West, that the former plans were void. They had one last chance, triggering a collapse in Russia. Cutting off the Russian grouping on the West Bank of the Dnieper. By destroying the dam at the Kakhovka reservoir.

    Ukraine accumulated some 60,000 troops, or more, for such an operation. If the dam was destroyed, Russian logistics would collapse immediately. Without logistics Russia couldn’t held the West Bank. Especially not against such a large grouping.

    Whether this plan had any chance to succeed or not, I don’t know. What I know is, that the newly appointed commander of the SMO, General Surovikin, decided, that it’s not worth the risk and decided to withdraw all troops on the left side of the Dnieper.

    This decision has two implications:

    The Russian troops are safe.

    The last chance of NATO to win the war was thwarted. Considering the fact, that soon, most likely in December, another 220,000 Russian mobilized troops will arrive on the battlefield or in the rear, there is no theoretical chance or possibility left, that would conclude into a Ukrainian victory. Essentially, by withdrawing from Kherson city, Russia killed all hopes of the West, to achieve any kind of victory or negotiation potential (several thousand Russian POW’s). It is over. Only the killing will continue now, until the Ukrainians collapse…”

    The above site accords with a lot of what has been previously observed at NC. A lot of detail. Highly recommended.

    1. The Rev Kev

      People should be also paying attention for how the big freeze is playing out with civilians. Gonzalo Lira posted a video talking about what it has been like in Kharkiv lately and the effects of the power black-outs on ordinary people while bringing up important info about sprinkler systems in building which most people would not think about. Very much worth watching and what he says applies to the blackouts that places like the UK and the EU will be soon experiencing-

      ‘What It’s Like When The Lights Go Out In A Warzone’ (16:46 mins)

      1. JohnA

        In the meantime, madame Zelenskya, has stated that Ukrainians are prepared to live without heating or power for the next 2-3 years in order to repel the Russians.
        No mention of where she was talking from, the Zelenskys have a large property portfolio that includes London, Florida, Italy, Tel Aviv, and Crimea (though the latter has apparently been confiscated), all of which are well-stocked when it comes to heat and power. And with the billions the Zelenskys have made bank with, rising energy costs are unlikely to be too brow furrowing for that charming couple.

        1. Stephen

          She and her husband are a bought and paid for double act that says what the Neo Cons want them to say. I just noticed her BBC interview on Twitter.

          The BBC itself is of course a total propaganda channel. I do not recall it showing interviews with Afghans or Iraqis whose houses had been destroyed by the British army, or with the widows of fighters who had been killed. .

          I suspect the Zelensky duo will only get to keep their portfolio of properties if they continue to toe the line. The precedent set is that is anyone who does not toe the line can be “sanctioned” without judicial oversight. Not that the judiciary in most western states is that focused on applying the law fairly these days either.

          1. JohnA

            After the Iran vs Wales World Cup match this morning, a BBC journalist asked an Iranian player to comment on events in Iran. The coach intervened and pointed out the BBC does not ask the US or England teams about Afghanistan.
            This evening, the big match is USA vs England. What are the odds a western media journalist were to ask any of the players about Assange, his treatment, and whether they think he should be released from 4 years imprisonment in a high security prison. Especially as his only offence in England is skipping bail, normally a 6-month sentence of which 3 monts would be served. I wont hold my breath.

          2. Tom Bradford

            The BBC itself is of course a total propaganda channel.

            Our main evening news down here featured as an example of the results of the perfidious Russians taking down Ukraine’s electricity grid a story and a 4-second clip of a team of surgeons apparently having to conduct open-heart surgery on a child by torchlight in Kiev.

            Surely another 4 seconds of reflection by most anyone would raise powerful suspicions this was almost certainly bogus – pure propaganda designed to tug at the heart-strings. Surely hospitals in Ukraine have standby generators. If they don’t and given the fact Kiev’s power had already been taken down surely surgery like this would only be undertaken with a generator big enough to power just the theatre if necessary on standby. Open-heart surgery needs more than just torchlight – surely it needs a whole battery of monitors and machines that go ‘ping’. Essential would be the pump to keep the patient’s circulation going while the heart had been stopped for the procedure.

            I can’t blame Ukraine for trying, tho’ good propaganda needs to be able to bear the weight of suspicion and the best propaganda is true. God knows there must be some genuine horror stories that could be put up – what’s happening at Kiev’s zoo, the battery farms, the piggeries, dairies where the cows have bursting udders. What offended me was that this was run by what is, like the BBC, a local news-source trusted by many, and who would not have thought to give that clip even 4-seconds of reflection. If those obvious questions didn’t occur to the editors who decided to run the piece – and perhaps run it past a local surgeon for comment – they aren’t up to the job. If they did occur to them but they ran the story anyway they and their reputation are being used to mislead and manipulate, and if as I hope, this realisation – or even just suspicion – begins to dawn on more and more people their reputation and the trust they are lent, will be compromised for ever. Hard-won and easily lost


            1. lambert strether

              Just like the ventilator story in the first Iraq War. In my perhaps inappropriately cynical view, anything heart-tugging is almost certainly war propaganda, and that goes double, triple, ten times for anything involving children.

      2. timbers

        The Russians could still do better: Gazprom knows AUF is stealing gas from their pipes. So why then is she giving only warning, and then only to maybe do something, by Nov 28? Why is immediately off the table? This is war after all not a cricket match. Why are some key transportation roads bridges rails still operating? Why has electricity been allowed to be restored (unless to facilitate evacuation or unconditional surrender)? Russia boasted yesterday of preventing AUF from redeployment of troops in Kherson to the north. Are these rails still shut down or are they operating again?

        1. Yves Smith

          Russia is big on honoring contracts. They are playing to the Global South that they’ve been forced to do the energy nasties to Europe because Europe is the customer from hell.

          I would bet there’s a notice provision in the event of a breach by a customer, to give them an opportunity to cure the breach.

  4. diptherio

    “A holiday about the defeat of the Confederacy and the death of slavery is a holiday I can get behind.”

    Such a holiday would not be possible in the US, as we never ended slavery. Read the 13th Amendment and it is very clear that yes, slavery is still allowed in the US. We just made some adjustments to the whys and wherefores of it.

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Slavery is still a thing here, we just made some cosmetic changes to the system which carries it out: it used to be for a lifetime, now it’s for the length of your sentence; slaves used to belong to individuals, now they belong to the state and are loaned out to individuals; etc. As far as I can tell, the 13th Amendment actually expanded the portion of the population that could be legally enslaved to include literally everyone. So no, I don’t think we could legitimately have a holiday celebrating the end of slavery until we actually get rid of slavery.

    1. Mikel

      “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      The holiday should come when that bit of evil is thrown into the garbage.

      “As far as I can tell, the 13th Amendment actually expanded the portion of the population that could be legally enslaved to include literally everyone…”

      Yes, institutionalized it on a whole other level.

    2. thousand points of green

      What is interesting is that the Radical Republicans allowed that “convict slavery” concept into the 13th Ammendment because they thought it would only ever be about punishing “convicted bad people”.

      There is a movement to abolish Federally/Constitutionally supported slavery in America by removing the “convict slavery” loophole from the language of the 13th Ammendment. Removing those few little words . . .
      ” except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” . . . would remove the Constitutional support for slavery in America. It is just that simple, which is not to say easy, given how many powerful people and groups ( such as one-time Attorney General of California Kamala Harris ) supported, support, and will always support the Peculiar Institution of Convict Slavery in America.

      The fact that Constitutionally supported slavery can be ended in America just by striking those particular permission-to-enslave words from the 13th Ammendment should be a cause for optimism. The Abolition of Constitutional Slavery in America is something that many people would support, once they understand how it was engineered into existence.

      1. AndrewJ

        Are there existing penal systems where working during your sentence is forbidden by the law? Or is it the same as in the American system, only the convicts must be paid for their labor while incarcerated?
        I don’t understand the fuss. If you’re sent to prison, isn’t labor of some kind or another part of incarceration?

        1. JBird4049

          Not the same. It is the deliberate arrest, conviction, and sentencing for the use of that person’s labor. Considering that the United States has the world’s largest prison system and that the use of prison labor, most often by private for profit prisons, is a multi billion dollar industry; an industry that is used forced, non-voluntary, virtually unpaid (pennies per hour) labor to replaced paid, free labor. I can also note that the existence of false convictions using planted evidence, faulty lab work, and perjury is essentially routine in parts of the country. Then there is the school to prison pipeline.

          1. ambrit

            Don’t forget the “School As Prison” indoctrination system.
            When we had some interracial rioting during the first years of integration in my old High School, some students started carrying improvised weapons during school hours. (One fellow I knew a little had a firearm, with the parent’s permission.) Now, we have uniformed police on campus. A microcosm of a Garrison State.
            “As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.”

            1. JBird4049

              I have never understood the impulse to place armed police inside a school especially at elementary level. Just when, why, and how did it become routine to not only have police full time in schools; somehow, we have the police arresting pre-teen students for being children, doing childish things that decades ago would either been ignored or maybe detention.

              When I went back to my old high school for some paperwork, it was eerily, gloomily, quiet. Hundreds of students in class and not a sound to be heard. And the staff was hostile, acting more like guards than staff of any kind. It has been three decades, but my god, just what kind of prison system have we created? It is not a wonder that students and young adults are mentally and emotionally suffering more then, really fragile of any previous generation. Raising children in fear, imprisoning them in prisons masquerading as schools, and then the internet and the MSM “news” are soaked in fear and the demand to hate something, anything.

              Thinking on this, I remember that the schools, the courthouses, the airports, and more were all wide open thirty years ago. The only thing was some sheriff’s deputies in the courthouse, a single metal detector with an unarmed guard or two, and for entertainment venues there was a gate for the paying customers, maybe some guards/bouncers, maaaaybeeee armed if it likely to have some seriously rowdy fans.

              Now, it is armed guards and police with detectors, locked doors, blocked stairways, fences, and walls everywhere.

              This is insanity. We had much greater violence in the 60s and early 70s. There was the crack wars of the late 80s/early 90s. The murder rate was so much greater as well and yet, this well-fed fear and the drummed up demand for every more “safety.”

              And it is funny, how school and work shootings started to increase when the stress of living in our society and yet the rate of murders is like two-thirds from its height three decades ago; people are murdering others less, but killing themselves more and shooting up schools and bars more often.

              Each year, there are roughly one hundred deaths during mass shootings, eleven hundred police homicides, twelve thousand homicides by gun, twenty-one thousand total homicides, forty-eight thousand suicides (half by the gun). And how many hundreds of thousands of death by Covid? It is like a death by a thousand cuts ignoring all the cuts that are bleeding you out, while focused on the very painful splinter in your finger.

              And has anyone noticed that the police kill on average more unarmed people then those who die in those mass school, bar, and church shootings? Ten to fifteen percent of police homicides are completely unarmed. Of course, the police murders come one, two, three a night, while places like Uvalde. (and the gang homicides in places like Chicago and Detroit get the coverage.)

              The largest prison system on Earth with two million people. One million homeless and growing The suicide and murder rate has jumped upped in the last two years of Covid.

              Yet, it is surveil more, “protect” more, imprison more, get more police, and cut back on food stamps and housing aid, continue to destroy the healthcare system, while not dealing with the political and white-collar crime choking the country, and never you mind about possible nuclear war.

              Either I am insane or the country is. Well, at least they didn’t send the “safety officer” to check on me when I visited my old high school.

        2. thousand points of green

          The bed you make for prisoners is the bed you lie in when you go to prison.

          In the land of a Million and One Laws, anyone can be sent to prison for any reason or no real reason at all anytime any relevant authority feels like sending someone there.

          Is that an exaggeration? If so, by how much?

          1. Joe Renter

            If you have enough money you naturally have a better chance to be above the law compared to common folks.

    3. CanCyn

      Crikey! Those of us mopes who don’t die from COVID can just be arrested and become slaves for TPTB!!

    4. lambert strether

      Well, perhaps I should have replaced “death of slavery” with “destruction of $4 billion of capital invested in enslaved humans.” Worth celebrating!

      As my reference to the Confederacy apparently did not make clear, as it should have, I was referring to the political economy of the slave-holding class that took the slave states out of the Union, which did indeed die.

      1. JBird4049

        The South went from the richest to the poorer region of the country. Considering that it has sneaked in a slave economy based on jails and prisons, it makes sense that it is still the poorest. Just look at the incarceration rates in Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama. Louisiana is the highest not only in the United States, but in the world, but they do have Angola.

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘2022 might best be characterized as the year as many Americans decided to move on from the pandemic, despite its significant ongoing toll.’

    It’s funny this. The news was on in the other room earlier here talking about China. The West has been demanding for three years now for China to let the pandemic in and now that they are, the West aka the Market is in a panic because the Pandemic is causing all sorts of supply problems and chaos in China. Who could have foreseen that happening? But the phrase that the news presenter used was that the world had moved on from the Pandemic. Seriously? And as if to let people know that she was just shoveling a line of s***, she then had to report a short time later that Covid numbers were getting out of control here. That doesn’t sound like we have moved on, lady.

    1. digi_owl

      It does seem like covid is giving the west its own case of hypernormalization, similar to what USSR went through right before it broke apart.

    2. Screwball

      And as if to let people know that she was just shoveling a line of s***, she then had to report a short time later that Covid numbers were getting out of control here.

      I’m sitting here writing this because our Thanksgiving today has been cancelled due to a family member (11 yrs old) came down with what her parents think is COVID. I’m hearing more and more about people getting it. I wonder when the “science” will decide we have a problem?

        1. Late Introvert

          Now that the pandemic is over according to Brandon, I know more people who have it now or did recently than I ever did when the pandemic wasn’t over.


  6. Carolinian

    Re Atrios, SBF and the “prosperity gospel for agnostics”–chicken and egg wise this is backwards. America was always about the prosperity gospel regardless of creed. The Baptists and other business oriented religious were just trying to fit in. They didn’t invent the thing.

    They didn’t even invent the hypocrisy. Medieval knights, after a lifetime of raping and pillaging, would have themselves invested as priests or monks on their deathbeds to ensure admission into heaven. SBF’s virtue signaling goes way back.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Will Durant, speaking of priests back then: “They exchanged celestial promissory notes for the coin of this realm.”

      Probably just as apt today.

  7. Carolinian

    Re Is Wine Fake

    Do wines ever have 6-carbon carboxylic acids, or 10-carbon alkanes — i.e., goats, armpits or jet fuel? I am not a wine chemist and cannot answer this question. But one of the experts interviewed on Somm mentioned that a common tasting note is cat urine, but that in polite company you’re supposed to refer to it by the code phrase “blackcurrant bud.” Maybe one of those things wine experts say is code for “smells like a goat

    Thanks for the link!

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Politician of the year goes to @Keir_Starmer. It’s great to have the Leader of the Opposition here, congratulations Keir!’

    He hasn’t really done anything yet, This is like that time they gave Obama a peace prize for being elected President – who then proceeded to give an acceptance war speech. Then again, maybe they gave Starmer this gong for getting rid of Corbyn and all non-Blairites from the Labour Party.

    1. JohnA

      Yes, when Starmer was campaigning to become leader, he promised ‘never to speak to the Sun newspaper’ (the notorious right wing Murdoch tabloid), before quietly adding ‘during this campaign’. He has since written at least one article for the Sun and the other day, attended the Sun annual party with his wife. He really believes, like Mandelson before him, that Labour voters have nowhere else to go. To paraphrase Lambert, the Labour party is another rotting corpse unable to bury itself.

  9. leaf

    If I recall correctly, isn’t the iPhone factory in China run by Foxconn which is a Taiwanese company and also in one of their free trade zones? Very curious how a Taiwanese company suddenly becomes classified as Chinese whenever China bad news comes out…

    1. Bugs

      Yeah they’re Taiwanese and run by a corrupt lying weirdo who conned the state of Wisconsin into granting them tax breaks and changing zoning laws for an LCD screen plant that never got launched. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal has written about it extensively. Foxconn is a shambolic sh”show with one big cash cow customer in Apple. It’s no surprise at all they were breaking Covid rules in China. I’m a little worked up about it because the community they ruined in Wisconsin was a decent little place that didn’t deserve what happened.

  10. Steve H.

    > Firming Up Hierarchy Economics from the Top Down. Interesting!

    >> In the hierarchy model, we know the answer. The horizontal part of the L is produced by the roughly 60% individuals who sit at the bottom of each firm’s hierarchy. When we ramp up despotism, their income doesn’t change… It’s only once we leave the bottom rank that income starts to grow. In the hierarchy model, this change happens around the 60th percentile. In Song’s US data, the flatline starts to break around the 70th percentile.

    Compare to Pandit et al:

    >> The model indicates that the size of the bottom class increases as the skew in power (σ) gets higher but will always minimally contain at least 50% of the group’s members. It never splits further into classes.

    I’ll suggest Fix’s model underestimates skew in part due to keeping power defined within-firm. A flexian perspective expands to between-firms. SBF’s power extended beyond FTX to at least partially include the Democratic Party. As a concrete example.

    1. SufferinSuccotash

      At some point Fix should have made an attempt to define “despotism” instead of simply equating hierarchy with despotism. What does it mean to rule despotically? Or, borrowing from Montesquieu, what is the activating principle of despotism? He argued that the principle was Fear, as opposed to Civic Virtue in republics, Moderation in aristocracies and Honor in monarchies. Of course he was talking about forms of government, but could this same classification of operating principles apply to private entities too?
      Just asking a question…

      1. begob

        His measure seems to be:

        the degree of hierarchical despotism (the rate that income scales with hierarchical power)

        Not sure how that distinguishes it from power.

        1. SufferinSuccotash

          I guess I’m asking “what kind of power.” If a superior enjoys unlimited authority to dismiss, demote, penalize and/or terrorize a subordinate who has no recourse then that’s “despotism”. But I don’t see a necessary connection between that kind of power and the existence of an administrative hierarchy. Of course hierarchies can and often have created the conditions for despotisms (all you have to do is look out the window!), but I don’t see how one automatically leads to the other.

          1. LifelongLib

            In the traditional skilled trades you have master, journeyman, and apprentice which is a hierarchy. I guess the difference is that they’re all from the same backgrounds and by doing the work the apprentice can become a journeyman etc.

            1. Procopius

              But the Masters remain despots. An Apprentice only advances to Journeyman by approval of a Master after completion of years of work, and the Master is the one who has the power. According to Pirenne’s Economic History of Europe, we know of “labor unrest,” i.e. strikes and riots, from the twelfth century onwards in the Low Countries.

      2. Kouros


        This is silliness to extreme. All executive power, in public or private sectors are despotic/authoritarian
        Elizabeth Anderson – Private Government & How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It).
        The escape valve is one can find a different job. However, the system selects certain types and pushes for certain attributes, thus there won’t be much variability…

    2. begob

      Ian Wright examines similar distributions:

      Wage income follows a log normal law. So there’s wage inequality, with a small number of workers earning high wages, with the majority clustered around a mode.

      Profit income, contrast, follows a Pareto distribution, which has a long tail, which means that we find some individuals with super, super high income. In fact, the inequality of within profit income exceeds the inequality within wage income. So some rich people are enormously much richer than others.

      And, once again, this 2-regime distribution is precisely what we find in real economies. It really is one rule for the rich and another for the poor.

    3. hunkerdown

      Steve H., good point. It’s also worth considering that the next-to-bottom rank, usually tasked with some light clerking and accounting, is not extended much discretion in realizing the power of their subordinates. That power to direct subordinates for personal gain and get away with it usually appears in the next class up. Trump can grab p*ssy at will; Plant No. 4’s shift foreman might quietly casually date a staffer; the shift supervisor would probably be written up for improper fraternization.

      Also, the next-to-bottom rank’s personal claim to the surplus their relations generate is weaker. It would be hard to run a ghost shift with any significant number of employees, for example. The pay variance between shift leaders and labor associates within a firm is usually less than the same-position differences between firms, and so may not clearly distinguish two classes.

      The “self-power” component of hierarchical power seems under-formulated. I think Fix ought to refine “self-power” to account for a person’s or role’s constitutive power within the firm, their discretion to structure the capital (fixed and variable) for which they are responsible. A self-power component equal to 1 might indicate someone with total discretion to structure their own department or their own workday, while a self-power component equal to 0 might indicate a position of pure mediation, such as a delivery driver on a fixed timetable. Those who can impose structure on other departments outside of their own hierarchy, such as HR, could potentially have over-unity self-power. I’m not sure how to cast flex nets into that perspective, but I haven’t quite grokked Bichler and Nitzan’s capital-as-power cosmology which may provide an obvious answer.

  11. Pat

    The press throwing a hissy fit because the White House gave Vogue an exclusive but justified it by not allowing Vogue at the actual wedding is missing what they should be up in arms about.
    Why was the White House the location for the wedding at all? Can you imagine the aghastitude if Tiffany Trump had gotten married at the White House. It’s all for publicity, she doesn’t live there etc etc. The inferred justification that then the President could attend doesn’t quite cut it. There are certainly other venues where Joe and Jill could attend.
    This was very much about Joe’s 2024 run, not a private wedding. And nothing against Naomi, but Trump Daughter or Biden granddaughter neither one should be being married in the White House. It was cynical and a waste of public assets.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did a quick search and found out that there have been 19 weddings held at the White House-

      The 1886 one for President Grover Cleveland is noteworthy as he was only one of two unmarried Presidents but he married while in office. However, ‘The wedding was highly publicized, though only close associates of the bride and groom were permitted to attend the ceremony. A reception was held as a public event one week after the ceremony. ‘ Old Joe should have held a public reception for the press too a week after the wedding to keep the press on-side.

    2. Screwball

      Agree 100%. There was still plenty of aghastitude over this anyway. My PMC friends were having fit over the press having a fit. They never even thought this could be a bad look or a waste of taxpayer money – because democrats – who you never question.

      Speaking of the press corp. I watched a video yesterday of the last presser by Dr. Fauci. It was funny watching the lady fight off questions from the press – like GOF research – which Fauci refused to answer. Hilarity ensued. These people are just plain awful and unfit to be in office and the positions they are in.

      1. Pat

        No wonder Fauci finally threw in the towel. Apparently it isn’t just activists who question his leadership even limited and mildly. Sad that he has form and it is decades late in Fauci’s case. I tried to ignore it, but the one but of coverage I saw also lauded his AIDS leadership. I was screaming because if you know anything about it you know his leadership increased death and suffering because he was once again fixated on only one approach.

        That he is only one of a group of ever returning psychopaths in this administration, well unfortunately I think we have to get used to it. They seem to have overwhelmed and eaten the brains of anyone sensible.

    3. earthling

      I’d like to see the figures on what costs more, having a wedding in-house, in a place that has its own battalions of chefs and florists, or jetting the President’s entourage to a different location, securing streets, motorcades, etc.

      I don’t have a big problem with a girl who has a relative in the WH, with a house jammed full of reception rooms, requesting him to host the thing. Optimum use of available resources. Judge not, lest we spend months pulling our hair out trying to secure a wedding venue, lol!

      1. hunkerdown

        I have a problem with the parasitic ruling class wasting my time by celebrating themselves in public. As if their relational performativity were supposed to mean something to me.

    4. Bugs

      I remember when Tricia Nixon got married in the Rose Garden, the reception was at the White House. The fake Dick Nixon on Twitter mentioned it the other day. There was no scandal over it as far as I remember, but I was just a kid (with a somewhat odd precocious interest in politics, lol).

      1. Pat

        Iirc Tricia Nixon resided in the White House for part of her father’s Presidency. I realize it is a weird line to draw, but part of my issue is that it was never Naomi’s home.

        1. mistah charley, ph.d.

          Naomi Biden got very familiar with her exclusive wedding venue ahead of her nuptials, moving into the White House months before her big day.

          The 28-year-old lawyer confirmed that she and her now-husband have been residing in the executive mansion alongside her grandparents, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden, in a Vogue digital cover story published Tuesday.

  12. Michaelmas

    I’ll just leave this here. From NATURE —

    Parasite gives wolves what it takes to be pack leaders

    ‘…The team looked at 256 blood samples from 229 wolves, which had been carefully watched throughout their lives, and had their life histories and social status recorded … infected wolves were 11 times more likely than uninfected ones to leave their birth family to start a new pack, and 46 times more likely to become pack leaders — often the only wolves in the pack that breed.

    ‘“We got that result and we just open-mouth stared at each other,” Meyer says. “This is way bigger than we thought it would be.” The work is published today in Communications Biology.’

    1. digi_owl

      Reminds me of the parasite that jumps between cats and mice, thanks to making mice attracted by cat urine. In humans it may well be what has given rise to the crazy cat lady meme.

      In a sense each human is a collective of single cell organisms organizing for the survival of the whole.

      The more one read about these things the more one wish one could simply forget it all and return to blissful ignorance.

        1. ambrit

          Now the big question is, can it be “engineered” to infect Terran humans? If it is possible, has it perhaps already infected Terran humans, and which ones? Finally, does I— (the drug that cannot be named,) eliminate it? If so, is this why I— (the drug that cannot be named,) has been shadow banned?
          I’m sledding down a snow lined rabbit hole today. “Rosebud!”

          1. Janie

            Ambrit, your last question (could the drug that cannot be named kill antisocial parasites) is interesting. Are communities in Africa where its use is widespread different from comparable communities elsewhere? Hmmm.

            1. ambrit

              Excellent idea. In sub-Saharan Africa we have an ideal data source for the question. Of course, in honour of the “original” query, could the deployment of I… (the drug that cannot be named,) in that region of Africa have any bearing on the HIV pandemic there?
              If you all thought that the “Lab Leak Hypothesis” concerning the Coronavirus is ‘Rabbit Hole’ territory, the ‘HIV is a Weaponized Eugenics Tool Hypothesis’ is the Godcreature to the Sars-CoV ‘Origin Story.’
              We’re painting the roses red here today!
              See, Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” animated:
              From back when Disney’s employed actually creative people instead of focus group sourced, tea leaf reading ideologues.

            2. MichaelSF

              “could the drug that cannot be named kill antisocial parasites”

              Seeing it do in the rentier class would be an interesting thing to watch.

  13. Robert Hahl

    Re: Is wine fake?

    Yes and no. Everything in those boutique wine shops truly is just expensive crap. While the best hundred vintages each year are amazing, memorable, I-never-knew-it-could-be-like-this! — you have to be connected at high levels in the wine trade to get some. Money is not enough. My father had a childhood friend who grew up to be the French wine buyer at Seagrams, and he let me taste one of these things. He said that it was simply impossible for me to buy such a wine myself.

    1. digi_owl

      Mass market everything is “crap”, because it never has the time to build up all those nice little things that make the whole an “experience”. Yes, we can feed more people now than ever. But the raw materials are also far more bland than previous.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I’d agree. I’m far from an expert and don’t drink much wine myself, but back in my waitron days I got to do a few tastings put on by wine reps to help us sell their product better. It’s not that hard even for a rank amateur to tell the difference between a pinot noir and a cabernet, or a riesling from a chardonnay. Much harder is to tell the difference between two cabs for example – the tasting notes. When a rep told me a wine had hints of citrus, I just couldn’t taste it. So when it came time for my dilettante self to describe a wine to a customer, I would quite often break the cardinal rule of NC and just start making stuff up. Normally I’d take a little from the description off the back of the bottle and then throw in a few more wine-y sounding descriptors – oaky, fruity, or maybe a hint of tannins! I often had no idea if that’s what the wine really tasted like, but only once was I called out on my fakery. It was a man dining alone in a small neighborhood Italian restaurant I worked at who told me that the wine he was drinking tasted not at all like the description I gave him, whereupon I came clean, comped his glass, and found something more to his liking.

      Several years later I worked for a seafood wholesaler who sold to very high end restaurants, and one of the perks was getting to eat gratis at some very nice establishments from time to time. I once got to have a great meal at Le Bernardin in NYC where each course was paired with a different wine, and the sommelier was gracious enough to describe and pour the wines for each course for us himself, despite having a room full of more well heeled diners than my low-level accountant self eating a once in a lifetime comped meal. When the sommelier told me the wine had a hint of orange, I could really taste it this time! The menus there didn’t have prices but I’m assuming the wines I drank that evening were of much higher quality than the middle of the road $20-$40 bottles I’d been pitching, probably from among those hundred vintages you mentioned. At least I’d like to think that – for all I know Le Bernardin didn’t want to waste the good stuff on non-paying customers and had filled some empty bottles of French wine with Ernest & Julio for us. And speaking of pitching, there’s always retsina which just goes to show that what a person likes in wines, like a lot of things, is very much an acquired taste when it comes right down to it. So while there is definitely a difference in quality, there is also quite a bit of playing on people’s vanity when it comes to the pricing.

      On a related note, here’s a really interesting article on the “noses” in the perfume industry who come up with the latest fragrances, and the possibility they might be replaced by AI in the not too distant future –

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Some people do just have a naturally very good palate. I once had a gf who knew almost nothing about wine but once identified a decanted Rioja I had at home as one we’d had at a dinner in a restaurant months before – I checked up and found out she was exactly right. I’ve another friend who doesn’t have any a wine background or knowledge but is almost always spot on when given wine in knowing if its cheap, mid or expensive. I rely on aroma more than taste as I lost nerves in my tongue in an accident years ago, but I still find it reasonably easy to judge if a wine is in the general category of cheap, mid price or (on the rare occasion I’ve had it) expensive. But I’d be very skeptical that there is much of a noticeable difference between, say, a 20dollar/euro wine and a 25e one. Mind you, I’ve never tasted any really super high priced wines with the exception of a taste once of a high end champagne (it was magnificent, and I usually dislike sparkling wines).

        Most wine bars and restaurants are good at passing off half decent mid range wine as super expensive. But a few weeks past I was at a special occasion in a very high quality restaurant (a very rare outing for me) and we splurged on the sommeliers selected wines for the testing menu. We went for the ‘cheap’ option (still expensive of course). He was good enough to point out when he was serving quite cheap wines that just happened to match the dish well. The combination he chose was genuinely spectacular. One of the friends I was with is still doing her best to track down the wines in local shops, they were that good.

        One point on tasting btw. The article is incorrect on the new Coke/pepsi thing. It wasn’t the coke label that fooled people, it was that on an initial ‘taste’ people usually choose the sweeter option, but with a whole can, people prefer one with more of a sharp cut, as its easier to drink more. The same applies to wine – many commercial wines are designed with a very forward, sweet fruit precisely so that the average consumer likes them on first taste. Of course, this means they can be too cloying after a glass or two, but by then its too late, they’ve already bought more. More experienced tasters know that more subtle flavours will come forward after a few sips, hence tend to prefer the more minerally, balanced wines. This is something I think that studies that compare ‘experts’ to ‘non-experts’ overlook.

        Mind you, some people still like the cheap sweet ones. My sister in law and her two best friends will happily insist on cheap Chilean cabernet even when offered vastly better French or Spanish wines. They simply prefer it. They drink gallons of it, I don’t know how they do it.

        1. semper loquitur

          A distant relative was a wine taster. He taste buds were insured for 100K$ if I recall correctly. One anecdote she shared was how she was able to distinguish which side of a mountain the grapes for a particular wine were grown. The one mountain face had a slightly more acidic soil and she could pick it out.

    3. bassmule

      The fabulously rich have wrecked the wine business in the same way they wrecked the art business. I can live a good life without ever dropping $25k on a Romanee-Conti burgundy. After 25 years in the biz, I assure you there is plenty of good stuff to drink, even some “amazing, memorable” bottles for less than $100. Even for less than $50.

      1. Glen

        As a buddy of mine whose family owned the 12th largest winery in the USA said at the time – “if it’s so dang good, why are there old bottles of it left?”

        And then we drank the bottle…

      2. Irrational

        I would think it frivolous to drop that amount on a bottle of wine, but then I am not rich. I have not spent more than $60 even at current exchange rates on some really nice wines (Spanish, Italian, French, South African) in my cellar and those are the ones I break out for special occasions. For “every day” (not quite), you can get some pretty nice stuff for $15-20. If you go below $10, bear in mind that costs get squeezed to still make a profit – still you can find some nice wines, at least in Europe like the Alcorta mentioned by Ignacio the other day.
        And, yes, I confess, I shopped on Black Friday – for wine.

    4. Mangelwurtzel

      “Serious” wine drinkers naturally morph into snobs because they have paid so very much for their opinions.

      1. bassmule

        …and they are surprisingly easy to fool. Hardy Rodenstock fooled all the big names (Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Michael Broadbent, etc.) into endorsing his exquisite taste and magical ability to offer ancient bottles.

        1. semper loquitur

          Sour Grapes (1080p) FULL MOVIE – True Crime, Documentary

          Controversy erupts when an unassuming young man (Rudy Kurniawan) floods the American wine market with fake vintages valued in the millions, bamboozling the wine world elite, in this humorous and suspenseful tale of an ingenious con on the eve of the 2008 stock market crash.

          (full movie)

      2. mrsyk

        Idk. Imho, our meritocracy nurtures snobbish behavior. I can replace the phrase “wine drinkers” with “art collectors”, “history buffs”, or “economists” and believe what I’m saying. Humility and expertise combined is a rare quality indeed.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Evidently, no matter what the field of endeavor, once you are a “trusted expert” and an insider, you can get away with amazing things.

          But the most striking aspect of The Map Thief is less the thief — “Why did I steal?” Smiley tells Blanding, “I stole for the money” — than the revelations about the lax security at some of our most august institutions.

          Smiley was given free rein with rare materials, and most of the libraries he dealt with hadn’t, and haven’t, comprehensively cataloged their map holdings. These libraries couldn’t know what they were missing. And libraries often refuse to admit they’ve been robbed. It’s a slap in the face to their trustees and the public that such rarities are overseen so loosely — better to let something vanish than draw attention to an institution’s failure.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Just type in ‘bluffer’s guide to’ into Google and look at all the auto-suggestions that come back.

    5. mrsyk

      The best of the best from a pedigree perspective (grand cru and such) are sold on a future basis, allocations generally towards a well established clientele, so these can be very hard to obtain. Every vintage there are over-performers from the rest of the (enormous) pool which are of equal quality and readily available until the secret is out. Like most passions, if the legwork is put in, the results can be most satisfactory.

  14. antidlc

    Job posting.

    Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    THE POSITION: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). NIAID, one of the largest of 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs) at NIH, is a $6.3 billion research organization that conducts and supports basic, applied and translational research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious and immune-mediated illnesses while continuing in its unique dual mandate role to respond rapidly to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. NIAID conducts and supports research in laboratories and clinics in the United States and abroad. Intramural sites include the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland; the Integrated Research Facility in Frederick, Maryland; the Twinbrook Facility in Rockville, Maryland; and the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana. International study is conducted and supported in over 100 countries and regions to include: East Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Caribbean. To support its mission, NIAID has a workforce of approximately 5300 staff, including 2025 FTEs; 2500 contractors; 750 Fellows, Special Volunteers, and Guest Researchers; and 25 Commissioned Corps Officers.

    This position offers a unique and exciting opportunity for an exceptional leader to serve as the chief executive for NIAID who will provide visionary leadership, executive management, and strategic direction in developing improved ways to combat the global HIV/AIDS pandemic through the development of prevention strategies, including an HIV/AIDS vaccine and improved therapeutics; developing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to treat and prevent emerging infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza, SARS-CoV-2, Ebola, Zika, Hepatitis B, and antimicrobial resistant bacteria; increasing understanding of the development and function of the immune system, the mechanisms of protective immunity, and the causes and mechanisms that lead to the development of immunologic diseases; and developing medical countermeasures to combat agents that potentially could be used in biological chemical, radiological, and nuclear attacks. The Director will identify and manage financial and human resource needs, with executive accountability for making complex and strategic decisions to optimize resource usage and mitigate risks to achieve desired results. This position reports directly to the Director, National Institutes of Health and serves as the key advisor to the Director and chief liaison with other components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Executive branch, Congress, professional societies, voluntary health organizations, and other public health groups.

            1. Screwball

              Another vote, but we all know this is just in fun. Our Doc has too much integrity and I’m sure they already have another ghoul picked out. IM Doc (thanks again Sir) doesn’t have that on his resume.

              This is another reason this place is a must read on a daily basis. Yves, Lambert, and co. (can’t remember the names – apologize) do a great job, and the commentariat is second to none. Thanks to all.

  15. Wukchumni

    Report into former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret ministries released ABC Australia.
    The Lucky Country dodged a power grab by Scotty from Marketing as the evangs were as strong politically across the world as they’d ever be, only to fade away with Trump & Bolsonaro exiting along with the happy clapper.

    The movement had its day and was well, frightening.


    ‘secret ministries’ is so very evang sounding…

    1. ambrit

      Do be careful. As you can no doubt attest to, living just a few thousand feet above the congeries of Evangelical cadres “down in the valley,’ those people(TM), never give up. Never. You have to literally put them all to the sword to extirpate the scourge of the Mystical Magisterial Menace.
      Stay safe.

      1. Wukchumni

        Godzone is a bit fervid and wishes the ground game would go away so they can hang out with the big cheese upstairs instead, but what’s the rush?

  16. bdy

    Smoke on this! Cannabis plants could help fight climate change because they absorb carbon dioxide more than TWICE as effectively as trees Daily Mail

    Check my math, as I’m high: if 50 million acres of weed absorbs 200 million tons of carbon a year, then it will only take 9 billion acres of cultivation to absorb all of the 36 billion tons of carbon humans emitted in 2021. That’s about 3/4 of the 12 billion or so acres we currently use for food, and assumes we plant on land that doesn’t absorb a lick of carbon right now.

    Seems doable. Let’s all get to planting in 2021. Better yet, let’s do it in 1978 when it will only take about 5 billion acres of weed. Quality is through the roof. The time travel strain has to be right around the corner.

      1. Wukchumni

        Inflation is everywhere with the exception of HD TV’s (39 inch @ $128 @ Wal*Mart) and marijuana.

        An ounce was around $300 back in the day in Cali when it was illegal, just bought a pre-ground oz of 23% THC for $50 last week from a brick & mortar purveyor.

        1. TimH

          The cheap TVs seem to be 2k not 4k, and many don’t have an antenna (off-air) tuner. The upside is that many don’t have internet connectivity for surveillance.

          1. indices

            Several years back when we had a rooftop antenna installed (60 miles from NYC; equidistant to Hartfford — about 70 OTA stations… lots of junk, but it works when the internet (Sling TV) doesn’t) the antenna guy commented that most TVs have lousy tuners built in… a cheap tuner box works wonders here.
            Also, I for one welcome the rise of the many powerful strains cultivated in recent years by genius horticulturalists… 3-4 hits beats the hell out of smoking (back in the 60s when a decent NYC ounce went for $20) most of a joint to get it on.
            One more also: can someone ELI5 exactly why (not who) the NordStream pipeline was blown up? Another subject apparently down the memory hole…

              1. Procopius

                That’s a holdover from World War II days, when the press lionized Stalin as “good old Uncle Joe.” Kind of changed after 1945. (And before 1941).

        2. Tom Stone

          It was $8 for a “Three fingered Lid” of Saigon Black in ’68, just about the time prices went from $100 a Kilo to $100-125 a Lb.
          Almost no one had scales…
          Good stuff, pre cleaned Opiated Thai Stick…

        3. Lex

          Big Weed is crashing the market. It’s amazing that the $300-350/oz was so stable for so long. Wholesale prices did start to drop somewhat during medical in most states. Locally it went down to $200-250. But corporate weed believed that it was a limitless market and since it’s a game of hot money chasing either market position with federal legalization and/or being bought out for market share everyone with capital built as big as they could. Now the whole business is trapped in the commodity agriculture trap with rising energy and fertilizer costs.

          Black market ounces are going for $100-$150 these days too.

          1. Wukchumni

            Indica-tions are that you are right…

            And prices were localized, I think a pound delivered to draconian Texas was worth $6-9k once upon a time~

    1. juno mas

      The article misses a key point of carbon sequestration. People don’t smoke the leaves of most trees. So carbon is not reintroduced into the atmosphere as folks get high from pot.

      1. Lex

        People don’t smoke the leaves of cannabis either. Most will call it “flower” but it isn’t flower; it’s a seedless fruit (technically a great many seedless fruits clumped together). A small percentage of the leaves which grow within the fruiting cluster are covered in resin and utilized but the bulk of the biomass is not consumed.

      2. shpedoikal

        The article misses a key point of carbon sequestration. People don’t smoke the leaves of most trees. So carbon is not reintroduced into the atmosphere as folks get high from pot.

        Right – let’s assume you could plant enough to sequester a respectable amount. Now you can *never* harvest any of it…

  17. Mark Gisleson

    Musk says granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts AP

    Well, I’m still soft-blocked. Tried again to log in, again they demanded a phone number. Again I appealed but this time the appeals page wouldn’t upload (try again!) and seems broken. All for sharing links I got from Naked Capitalism : )

    1. semper loquitur

      Leftist Permanently Banned From Twitter For JOKE!

      Jimmy Dore interviews Prof. Garland Nixon on his perma-ban from Twitter for his scathing joke about Secretary Blinken. Nixon was told there was no chance of his account being reinstated:

  18. flora

    Yesterday, I took an afternoon walk around my very blue check neighborhood to see how the flower gardens looked in late fall and noticed something new. Or rather, I did’t notice something that had been in many curbside flower garders for several years. All the virtue signalling yard signs “In this house we believe” (list of good think beliefs), all those signs were gone. Every one of them was gone. They’d been in several yards for years. Were those signs just a passing fad?

    1. ambrit

      If they are all gone “at once,” then I’d say that you were observing an artifact of herd behaviour in action. What would be interesting to discover is what triggered this change in group behaviour.
      Is it a strictly a top down phenomenon? “Yes, the Ward Boss said everyone to ditch the signage, pronto.”
      Is it a ‘grassroots’ phenomenon? “Look! Sylvia across the street is removing her Prairie Chicken sign!”
      Is it a hybrid? “Frank? Ward Boss here. Tell Sylvia to ditch the PC sign. The rest will follow her lead.”
      Stay safe whenever you take a walk through ‘Good Thinker’s Oasis.’

      1. marym

        Other possible causes of “at once” would be vandalism, or “grassroots” in that someone was being harassed and passed the word to neighbors.

        1. Nasturtium

          We made a list of the addresses with such signs, printed a bunch and handed them to all the homeless we could find around the bus station.

          “Go to these places. They will give you a free meal and maybe some used clothing, cash, and will let you camp in their backyard.”

          1. marym

            Abusing and humiliating homeless people is as disgraceful as liberal policy preferences or lawn sign sanctimony.

      2. Mikel

        See if and when another yard sign phenomenon takes effect. Track that amd compare.
        These types of studies may take time.
        But I imagine with a Presidential election year on the horizon, it can be expected what some replacement signs will be related to.

    2. judy2shoes

      “Were those signs just a passing fad?”

      Not in my neighborhood, I’m sad to say. They are often accompanied by “Love” [ugh], “Don’t give up” [flip side says “we’re all in this together”]*, and other virtuous, nauseatingly meaningless signs.

      *I do have to admit that the first “Don’t give up” sign I saw was halfway up a steep hill I often walk up; it made me smile. On the other hand, when I was coming back down the hill, I saw the reverse side and thought, “Yeah, right.”

          1. semper loquitur

            I’m not looking forward to the holidays, while we’re on the topic of decorations and sentiments that are incongruous with reality. Apparently, Christmas trees are through the roof expensive this year. One hotel in Manhattan had up tinsel and assorted cheery landfill a month ago. If Amazon sends me one more godd@mned email reminding me it’s Black Friday I’m going to snap.

            I knew a guy who worked on a Christmas tree farm during the harvest. What he described was a vision of hell through the lens of Hunter S. Thompson. The owner of the farm would hand out crystal meth to the crew. Then they would work for like two days straight or so. They would be covered in sap. The guy told me he would burn through two or three pair of heavy work gloves; they would literally fall off of his hands. When he got back from this sojourn into the Abyss, he would spend the next week picking splinters out of his hands with a pocket knife.

            Everything should be draped in black.

            1. Wukchumni

              The whole idea of cutting down a live tree and watering it for 3 weeks in the lead up to xmas in order to make it kinda look alive always creeped me out in a ‘treeanimator’ sense, can’t go there.

            2. MT_Wild

              My brother worked a Christmas tree lot for a few years to try and help pay his way through college. Every year the owner would make my brother stand out there On Christmas Eve in the cold chill of a Morgantown West Virginia evening.

              His subversive response to this was to give the trees away on Christmas Eve for free.

              Up here in the great white north your forest service permit gets you three trees for $5. Of course it’s 10 15 bucks in gas and you have to own a car and a handsaw but the trees are there for the taking. They direct you to general areas that are in desperate need of thinning and then a set distance off the road to preserve the view.

      1. flora

        re: “I do have to admit that the first “Don’t give up” sign I saw was halfway up a steep hill I often walk up; it made me smile.”

        As a bicyclist that would make me smile too, even laugh out loud if I could, except I couldn’t laugh out loud given the aerobic efforts needed for a steep hill climb. / ;)

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Report into former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret ministries released”

    In some ways Scotty from Marketing was a bit like Trump. By that I mean it is all about him. He would have taken a Trumpian delight to getting himself appointed to all those Ministries with a weak Governor-General rubber-stamping them and taking a vow of silence. His successor, the feckless Albo from Marketing should have curb-stomped the whole idea of this ever happening again – only he didn’t. Reading that report, it bends over backwards to clear the Governor-General from any wrong-doing and more or less says that it is OK to do this sort of stuff again so long as they tell someone ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ – &*^@%&*(*$#

    Supposing, just supposing, that in the coming decades some smart a*** lawyer makes an argument as this was all permissible, then the implication is all real power stems from the Prime Minister to be given as taken back at their own whim – sort of like the unitary government theory. And what that opens the door to is a future seizure of power by a power-hungry Prime Minister aided and abetted by a Governor-General selected to give them the green light.

    1. flora

      After which, even greater consolidation of power into one-world govt (aka New World Order – thanks for letting us know, Macron), and a single Global Bank Digital Currency complete with a WHO universal digital ID. (If you wondered what FB and MS’s Libre coin project was about it’s this, imo.)

      Use cash as much as possible, use it often. My 2 cents. / ;)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can’t do that here. We got rid of our 2 cent coins years ago along with out one cent coin so our lowest coin is the five cent coin.

        1. Wukchumni

          Cents in the USA are 97.5% zinc with a flimsy copper plating and the zinc lobby will hear none of that~

          Canada got rid of theirs a decade ago…

    2. Patrick Donnelly

      The PM can commit to war? That seems very powerful, yet no debates on that.

      This seems very weak from the ‘cheques’ sic and balances point of view!

      A lucrative lecture tour after the hostilities awaits. If Australia escapes defeat …

      Hopefully we deal with War Powers, even including gifting war gear to Nazis, when we consider the Republic?

      Disapointing response from “Labor”, but then USUK interest in the Australian opposition, the perpetual non establishment, has always been high… CON trolled opposition occurs all the way up.

      1. Yves Smith

        Parliamentary systems can move in radical directions very quickly if the PM is chosen by a unified party, and not a coalition. Parliamentary systems do not have US style checks and balances because the executive and legislature are unified. The heads of ministries are also MPs!

        The check of sorts is the civil service, which is now pathetically weak in the UK and I assume Australia, and the more serious check is the judiciary.

  20. Tom Stone

    Gosh, isn’t it WONDERFUL to see SF once again leading the nation toward a better future by using Robots to kill ” Suxpects” who might pose a danger to the boys and girls in Blue.
    The SFPD’s clearance record for violent crime is one of the worst of any major American City and its history of corruption goes back to the founding of the City.
    To me Ross Mirkarimi epitomizes SF Law enforcement, an admitted wife beater who was not prosecuted when he committed a Felony on TV by wearing a gun when he was legally prohibited from doing so…or Kamala Harris who covered up the years of corruption at the City Crime Lab and gave child raping priests a pass.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. flora

      We don’t have a crime problem as much as we have a failure to prosecute problem. DA’s running catch-and-release programs are part of the problem, imo.

      1. LawnDart

        The flip-side to this are people who take a plea-deal to something they didn’t do because they can’t afford to lawyer-up to fight charges that carry a heavier-sentence. And, believe-it-or-not, there are cops out there who are on ego-trips who will arrest someone that they don’t like the looks of, who looked at them wrong, or to demonstrate “who’s boss.”

        It’s no joke that inmates call the Public Defender “Prison-Direct.”

        Not saying you’re wrong, but overall, the system is pretty messed-up.

        1. Bsn

          I just read about this up in Oregon (NW USA). Oregon public defender shortage: Nearly 300 cases dismissed
          An excerpt: “More than two-thirds of the dismissed cases are felonies; in 53% of them, property crime was the primary charge. The next most common primary charge was for weapon crimes, which accounted for 16% of dismissed felonies, while person crimes, which include assault and robbery, accounted for 12%.”

      2. mrsyk

        I was with you through the first sentence, but shoplifters are not who I think about when I think about failure to prosecute.

        1. flora

          I agree. I should have adding something like “serious crime” or “dangerous crime”. Shoplifting – petty theft – isn’t that and the 3-strikes laws are terrible.

          1. LawnDart

            3-strikes is breathtakingly stupid, although of course a person’s prior record should be looked at when considering sentencing: 3-strikes is hysteronic, reactive garbage that appeals to the simple-minded and ignorant, right up there with “the War on Drugs.”

            There was a situation in Illinois, 2001, where no warrants for parole violations were approved because of the budget-crisis caused by the dot-com bomb. Actually, this isn’t true: there were no warrants issued in Chicagoland during this time for parole violations. You can guess what happened: every crook coming out of state prison tried to get parolled to a Chicagoland address, or even better, to a homeless shelter that could serve as a “front” to help keep parole agents out of your business. Guess what happened next?

            That Illinois was going into an election-year probably had nothing to do with it… …but I hear of “catch-and-release” and my Spydee-sense starts a-tingling.

        2. Glen

          Shoplifting, indeed.

          When I saw all those videos of shoplifting, I was shocked, but then I started thinking of the Wall St CEOs that have “risk assessed” breaking the law vs. profits and have repeatedly broken the law. Here’s the headlines (you can google and find the links):

          Why didn’t any Wall Street CEOs go to jail after the financial …
          Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? – Rolling Stone
          How Wall Street’s Bankers Stayed Out of Jail – The Atlantic
          Too big to jail: why the government is quick to fine but … – Vox
          Obama’s DOJ And Wall Street: Too Big For Jail? – Forbes

          But this one is eye opening:

          395 Major Legal Actions and $195+ Billion in Fines and …

          So now when I see the shoplifting videos I think, oh, another person in Wall St CEO emulation mode (except the shop lifters are petty criminals, the Wall ST CEOs have done real lasting damage.)

          1. lambert strether

            > another person in Wall St CEO emulation mode

            “Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.” –The Importance of Being Earnest

      3. Tom Stone

        The SRPD picked up a couple of dudes with dope and guns the other day, one was on probation, the other was out on bail totaling $50Kafter being picked up twice recently for drugs and Gun possession.

    2. semper loquitur

      I love how the cops just drew a red line through the sentence prohibiting robotic deadly force. As Jimmy Dore has pointed out, elected officials are supposed to tell the cops what to do. But here in the US, they tell the officials what to do.

  21. LawnDart

    Oh WOW!!! This is totally unbelievable– and I’ll bet no one here ever saw this coming:

    Europe accuses US of profiting from war

    EU officials attack Joe Biden over sky-high gas prices, weapons sales and trade as Vladimir Putin’s war threatens to destroy Western unity.

    The lapdogs are starting to yap like crazy: better put them down now before they foam at the mouth, get mean, and bite the kids– or worse, infect others.

    1. mrsyk

      It seems inevitable that Europeans will cast the stink eye in a westerly direction as their quality of life plummets over the course of winter. How it plays out is rather hard to predict.

      1. Mildred Montana

        John Wright, from your link: “[North Dakota Senator Gerald P.] Nye (R) suggested that Wilson had withheld essential information from Congress as it considered a declaration of war.”

        Congress considering a declaration of war. How quaint.

        1. JBird4049

          Quaint, yes, but that was also when Congress was supposed to help run the national government, not make bank by looting it. This was also still when the children of the elites could be expected to serve, which is something else that is considered to be quaint.

      1. Irrational

        I guess it is a temporary display of “strategic autonomy” /s
        Pretty soon there will be no money for those nice industrial subsidies unless the euro-zone decides it believes in MMT.
        Also, they are upset, but still not capable of coming to any conclusions about Nordstream pipelines except that it was sabotage.

    2. Screwball

      I found it interesting that came from Politico. I also found it interesting it was posted on Thanksgiving night around 7pm. Did they expect less eye balls to find the piece at that time of night?

      Is there an alternative motive we should be watching for? I was kind of gobsmacked Politico would allow that much truth to escape in one article. I thought the lack of spin was impressive too.

      1. LawnDart

        The dot-com and dot-eu versions often do differ– I find the dot-eu politico site tends to be a little less fluffy.

      1. Screwball

        LOL! Great point. Just what we need, another congress dog and pony show like we’ve watched since forever that accomplishes zero.

        I still have the stench of congress grilling everyone after the crash of 08/09 in my head. What a farce. My mailman could have asked better questions.

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘France, investigation into illicit financing of Emmanuel Macron’s electoral campaign: his assignments at the McKinsey company are in the sights’

    Macron has been having a rough trot lately. He has been feuding with Germany over the massive subsidy that the Germans are using to try to keep their economy afloat, he is feuding with Italy ever since Giorgia Meloni got into power which ended all cooperation with them, he is feuding with Joe Biden because the US is using subsidies to lure European corporations – including French – to move to America, half his nuke power stations are down meaning that France will experience blackouts for which he will be blamed and now come this report of dodgy electoral financing. All he needs now is a phone call from Vovan and Lexus.

    1. Mikel

      “In February 2021, an investigation by Le Mondehe had explored McKinsey’s influence on some key choices of the head of the Elysée, from the foundation of En Marche (his personal party) to the definition of the French vaccination strategy

      I keep thinking of the similarities in opiod marketing and the marketing of the shots.

  23. bonks

    WRT to the pandemic response in China, it seems that Beijing can only provide guidance (and KPI), and every province/city/county has to tailor their policies to their respective population and urban/rural structure. An example of such decentralisation is the QR health app/code. Every province has their own code with information that cannot be transferred into another province’s health app, which means my Shanghai health info is compartmentalised. When I step into let’s say Zhejiang or Jiangsu province, their respective app will not register my vaccination status nor my PCR test records.

    The person who said that Guangzhou health code needs a chinese ID is only partially correct, foreigners need to fiddle with the app to register with a passport. I have just been through quarantine in Guangzhou two months back after an overseas trip so I can speak from personal experience on this issue. While in quarantine, my Guangzhou code was red, while my Shanghai code remained green and retained no record of my travels outside of Shanghai, nor betrayed any sign that I was on the same plane with covid-positive passenger(s).

    1. lambert strether

      Sounds like China has a Federalism problem (next stop, libertarians?)

      I’ve heard it said (Michael Pettis?) that China’s regions and localities have considerable autonomy, and that periodically the CCP takes the best policies and nationalizes them.

      Might not be the best approach for pandemics but in any case seems not to have been tried

  24. TiPs

    Wow! reading down the Hunt tweet, on the NYT article about the FRB of SF giving the okay for FTX to buy a bank, really takes one down a rabbit hole. According to the that thread, the bank in question had one location with three employees, and ties to the CIA (not the Culinary Institute one). The stench is growing…

    1. Wukchumni

      Sam the sham gave equally to the Donkey Show and Pachyderm parties, with any luck his manifestations cause both to go away.

      1. lambert strether

        However, I believe SBF’s “giving” was a greater percentage of Democrat money. And Democrats dominate the press and have strong intelligence community allies, so the money might go farther (for certain purposes).

    2. Yves Smith

      Please. The guarantee extends only to the bank sub. We pointed out that in the first filing, the new CEO, Ray,, had already identified 4 subs that were regulated and solvent.

      1. flora

        One wonders, however, what the FDIC insurance rates for the bank per 100K deposits will be in this environment. Not kidding. And will this bank’s FDIC insurance rates expand over the entire FDIC depository insurance rates for all banks. Big question.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry, this is wildly off base. A parent or other companies in a big corporate empire going BK has nothing to do with the FDIC sub. We would have heard tons of screeching that the FDIC sub was bankrupted and we haven’t. All the regulated entities that Ray talked about in his initial filing were solvent. Owning a bank didn’t stop the FTX crypto businesses from going bankrupt.

              1. flora

                I will agree to disagree. Noting there are two different structures – fed and state – both insured by the FDIC insurance depository structure, but different in regulatory structure and demands.

                1. skippy

                  You really don’t get it flora … “child of community bankers” is not an aguement nor does it deal with the flow of stuff that has happened since then one way or another … its fluid …

                  Yet at he end of the day banks are just contractual clearing houses sans the ideological fkwithery …. yeah its a pickle because your whole world could go to zero in a moment if that is screwed with … right or left morals aside …

                  Grow up …

                2. skippy

                  Sorry that was harsh, but, YS is the one person that will always give you the reality and not dress it up flora. Just like with Greece back in the day and other stuff because she not only has the knowledge, but the experience to back it all up.

                  Good grief I would like nothing more than to wrangle with her for sport, what a learning experience, when really PE’od giver a big kiss, get smacked and called a cad …. some things are worth living for … I regress…

                  Again don’t fall into the trap of some ***sound*** morality plea that does not square the actual fuction/ality of the system right or wrong and how it can be redressed.

                  Ugh banks are just like Trump a symptom of the breach of the social contract, read her book please.

    3. Yves Smith

      I agree that FTX should not have been allowed to buy a bank. But there is zero evidence that anything bad happened. And you can’t have a FDIC depositary handle non-$ currencies. They can be handled only in other legal entities.

      FTX was having another bank, Silvergate, handle $ related activities. SBF may have thought he could eventually displace them. Or maybe it was just a cool talking point for his investors. But that tiny a bank means he would have had to go on a substantial build-up, and again no indication he tried.

      There is enough really bad stuff that SBF to focus on that. And yes, the SF Fed should be reamed for allowing this deal to happen. But again, so far, the evidence is all of the regulated entities that FTX owned were solvent. They weren’t the problem.

  25. Alice X

    Thinking of Howard Zinn, August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010.

    I remember this quote from A People’s History of the United States, when they said the quiet part out loud.

    (1901) …by the Bankers’ Magazine: “As the business of the country has learned the secret of combination, it is gradually subverting the power of the politician and rendering him subservient to its purposes.…”

    For the Citigroup Plutonomy Memos (2005), the subversion was complete. There is an invisible hand and it’s picking my pocket.

  26. Lex

    Whew, that Politico piece was something. Russia has never relied on general winter; it’s just that serious winter is a fact of life in Russia. Invading armies have generally been less prepared for it than Russian armies solely because it’s a Russian fact of life. That’s why it wasn’t an advantage in the Winter War with Finland.

    Winter is extremely hard on Russian forces too. And it will be this winter. Nobody has it good in a trench in winter and the right clothes only help so much when you’re ready outside all day (and especially all night). The difference this winter will be who has field kitchens in the near rear that can provide hot meals related to short rotations off the front line. It will be in the ability to rotate forces further back to rest. That’s going to be very problematic for Ukrainians especially with a problematic situation all the way through the rear.

    1. jrkrideau

      I don’t think the author has ever experienced a real winter. They may be from Florida or Southern California?

      The line gave it away, ‘With a touch of bravado, he added: “Yesterday it was snowing, we were glad of that, because there is nothing worse than freezing rain.”.’

      Of course the speaker is just speaking the truth. Freezing rain at 0 C is a lot worse than a bit of snow at -10 C.

      And this line is hilarious. “…the Russians were plagued by mechanical breakdowns because of low-quality manufacture and a failure — like the Wehrmacht — to winterize thoroughly their tanks and armored vehicles”.

      Russians in most parts of the country winterize their cars just like we do here in Canada. Clearly a good stenographer but not exactly any one who know anything about Russia or winter.

  27. will rodgers horse

    intranasal vaccines do not have any decent track record to suggest they WILL work. Doesnt mean that we might not figure that out but frankly i would say it is long odds. If we have lasting immunity naturally to resp. viruses it would be a different matter.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Even if they did, as far as I know we’d have the same problems. With uncontrolled spread, that immunity would eventually wane, and the virus would evolve past it. At best, it could buy individuals an extended period of relative normalcy. It would absolutely help with a containment + elimination strategy, but that’s never going to happen in the USA, and the USA has, broadly speaking, hegemonically dictated Covid policy to the rest of the world (thus far). There’s no reason to believe the protections conferred by such a vaccine would be permanent. GM has convinced me that unless there is some miraculous technological development (and people are trying, bless them), there will be no immunity-based solution to this pandemic.

    2. Acacia

      There were several pretty good summaries of the state of nasal vaccines here at NC. My understanding was that the fact that they provide front line defense was a selling point. Also, the option of non-mRNA tech is appealing.

  28. Tom Stone

    A pandemic note, since most of my extended family has “Really Bad Colds that keep hanging on” Thanksgiving was indefinitely postponed.
    So I decided to drop by the Community Church which has put on a really good “Every one Welcome” feed every Thanksgiving and Christmas for 30 years or so.
    No food.
    I did take a few minutes to enjoy the Garden ( The roof needs work, but the garden is wonderful) and ran into one of the volunteer gardeners deadheading roses.
    No feed this year because “Everyone has the ‘Flu or something” and they couldn’t put together a crew to cook and serve this year, somewhere between 40-50 people.

    1. C.O.

      I have a good friend who has this “flu or something that just won’t go away” and her son is also ill. The hospital situation in BC is so bad that surgeries are about to be cancelled again, as noted in the Times Colonist yesterday (link below).
      B.C. ready to cancel surgeries as respiratory cases flood overcrowded hospitals

      At my workplace, HR is begging people to stay home when they are sick and strongly recommending masking in closed spaces. It feels like a storm getting ready to burst.

      Meanwhile, next door in Alberta they have banned school mask mandates and all online learning. (No idea whether this will stand up to a court challenge.) What could possibly go wrong?

      1. jrkrideau

        Ottawa Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario has been canceling surgeries and opening more ICU beds. ur idiot premier is saying “Everyone shold wear a mask”. Still, at his incompetent worst he is a shining light compared to that raving fool in Alberta.

  29. Jason Boxman

    The disproportionate burden inflation places on the poor is one reason Fed officials are scrambling to quickly bring price increases back under control. Central bankers have lifted interest rates from near zero earlier this year to nearly 4 percent, and have signaled that there are more to come.

    Yes, the Fed is throwing poor people out of work to save… poor people! Of course!

    This Holiday Season, the Poor Buckle Under Inflation as the Rich Spend

    Central bankers believe that a measure of pain today is better than what would happen if inflation were allowed to continue unchecked. If people and businesses begin to expect rapid price increases and act accordingly — asking for big raises, instituting frequent and large price increases — inflation could become entrenched in the economy. It would then take a more punishing policy response to bring it to heel, one that could push unemployment even higher.

    Fighting the last war. Ignores supply chain and Pandemic and War induced inflation, along with corporate greed.

  30. Daly Fran

    SBF’s bank approval: Yes, but more importantly than some little financial detail is this:

    Daly is the first openly gay woman to lead a regional Federal Reserve bank, joining Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic, who is also openly gay. She is the second woman to lead the San Francisco Fed. Daly is married and resides in the San Francisco Bay area.

  31. semper loquitur

    re: decolonizing science

    While the author makes many good points about science writ large being skewed towards the wealthier, more powerful Northern nations, she strikes me as being rather naïve. She sees the answer as being Google and Microsoft products? Does she not think those organizations have their own agendas?

    “I’m excited to see things like Digital Green, a Microsoft product that shares everything from weather to market data with farmers and farmer educators equitably and swiftly.”

    Right, until the market is captured and the prices skyrocket. I swear it reads like product placement, which wouldn’t surprise me given the patently symbolic gestures that Woke corporations love to get on board with.

    1. hunkerdown

      Hah, even in the super-privatized United States, the national meteorological service can post its forecasts publicly for any US person to use as they will. Watch out, capital has started to colonize decolonization.

      1. semper loquitur

        “Watch out, capital has started to colonize decolonization.”

        This needs to be screamed from the rooftops.

      2. Expat2Uruguay

        I was shocked to find out that here in uruguay, if I want to know the cumulative amount of rain, or even the daily amount of rain that fell in inches or centimeters in the current month or the last month, I have to buy that data!!

  32. semper loquitur

    The DDG Podcast | Dr. Edward Kelly: Consciousness, Idealism + the Psychic Phenomena

    Dr. Edward Kelly joins the podcast to discuss consciousness, idealism and the paranormal. During the discussion we touch on phenomena such as the stigmata, precognition, psychic abilities, mystical experiences, psychedelics, NDEs, reincarnation and so much more. We even get into the potential dangers of accessing higher levels of consciousness and if there are darker forces at play.

    Dr. Kelly is a wealth of knowledge, and was kind enough to spend over two hours discussing where he believes science is headed, and how physicalism (materialism) is an outdated model for describing the true nature of the universe. If we ever hope to understand what is actually happening around us, we must abandon our preconceived notions of what we believe reality to be, and open our minds to the possibility that the truth is much stranger than we currently believe.

    Dr. Kelly is a researcher at the UVA Department of Perceptual Studies.

  33. Emily

    Wishing I were a Mexican: Here’s AMLO’s reasons for joining his pro government march.

    To celebrate that an oligarchy no longer dominates in Mexico.
    To celebrate that corruption is not allowed.
    To celebrate that tycoons now pay tax.
    To celebrate that we have healthy public finances.
    To say that 85% of Mexican homes now receive at least a small portion of the public budget (via social welfare programs).
    To say that we feel very happy to be supporting the poorest people.
    To say that we don’t want racism in Mexico and that we’re winning that battle.
    To say that we don’t accept classism or discrimination.
    To say that our strategy to attend to the root causes of violence is succeeding.
    To say that peace is the fruit of justice.
    To say that 12 million seniors now have a pension and they’ll get a 25% increase starting in January.
    To say that workers’ salaries are going to continue going up.
    To say that 11 million young students from poor families receive scholarships.
    To say that we’re saving 50 billion pesos by not paying the media for advertising.
    To say that there is hope and happiness among our people.
    To say that, despite the pandemic and other calamities, Mexico is moving forward and its prestige among the nations of the world is growing.

    “That’s why [we’re holding] the march,” López Obrador said.

  34. Kouros

    I Am surprised that NC has missed this little piece of news:

    WHO chief scientist reveals key Covid blunder
    The agency was too slow to recognize that the virus is airborne, Soumya Swaminathan has said.

    On a different note, concerning Der Spiegel’s article about Russia destabilizing Moldova by cutting the gas.
    Because? (1) Moldova didn’t have money to pay for market price gas. (2) Ukraine stole Moldovan apportioned gas. (3) Ukraine got its electrical grid down and couldn’t pump the gas (which happened with Hungarian oil and gas as well for a little bit).

    What I find very problematic in that German article is total evisceration from history the fact that what is now Republic of Moldova, used to be the eastern half of the Principality of Moldova (from mid 1300s to 1812), and then for a while (1917-1940) part of the Kingdom of Romania. but I guess only Germany is allowed to reunify in Europe nowadays.

    Moldovan reincorporation in Romania, supported by EU would speed the integration of that space in Europe. Also, the legislation in Romania would provide enough political and cultural freedom and autonomy of ethnic Russians (and Ukrainians) including those in Tiraspol, such that they wouldn’t have to fear forced assimilation (as it happened in Ukraine). The Hungarian minority would not have it any other way…

    In my mind, this would be a perfect approach to that gordian knot.

    But I guess pedaling on the nationalist card (which would be necessary) is anathema to Brussels, or Germany, or France, or the US, except when it is their nations…

    1. Basil Pesto

      I think Lambert might have mentioned it the other day.

      Note that WHO weren’t merely “slow to recognise” airborne spread. They actively and strong-form denied that it takes place.

    2. hk

      I have the sense that, at least before Ukraine blew up, Moldovans became increasingly uninterested in rejoining Romania. There seemed to be somewhat more enthusiasm on the Romanian side, but mostly because there was even less opposition to incorporating Moldova–not many Romanians cared to take over Moldova.

      Of course, I often tell people tongue in cheek that “Germany” never became unified except for about a decade and that blew up the world. I suspect that Romania absorbing Moldova with Transdnistrian situation unresolved would be more like 1938 than 1990.

  35. Karl

    RE: Harari says Israel choosing “Three Class Solution” over “Two State Solution”

    Harari gives public voice to what seems obvious but needs voicing–that Israel has long abandoned any pretense of interest in any solution at all, preferring a very advantageous status quo. Now, they simply confiscate what remains of Palestinian land when they need it, making any kind Palestinian State impossible.

    So, what will emerge? Harari says Israel is headed for a future with three classes of people within the boundaries of present-day Israel:

    “Jews, who have all the rights; some Arabs, who have some rights; and other Arabs, who have very little or no rights.”

    Wait a minute–isn’t re-defining rights in this way precisely what happened to Jews as a result of the Nuremberg laws of the ’30’s?

    Harari is opposed to this trend. He knows where this is leading. But he can only say so much…

    I wish he had gone a bit further and made the implications more clear: Palestinians are a doomed people. And, this is all made possible because of the support of the current global hegemon, the USA, against the near-unanimous opposition of the rest of the world.

    And so it goes. It confirms the saying “that which we resist we become….”

    It seems that Israel is making a crucial assumption: that the USA’s support protects them indefinitely. First, the political climate in the US toward Israel is becoming more jaundiced; second, the way things are going, the US will not be able to impose its will as the “exceptional” hegemon too much longer I suspect….

    1. The Rev Kev

      What the Israelis are saying they want to do sounds very familiar. But then again, I was in South Africa back in 1979. There they had discrimination down to a science and it wasn’t a matter, as some people imagined, as a matter of black and white. They started of classification with ‘native’, ‘coloured’, ‘Asian’ or ‘white’ and went on from there.

      1. caucus99percenter

        In the early 1980s, at my then-employer’s international training center in Belgium, I met a South African who justified both Israel’s and his own country’s hardest-liners on the basis of what he said was an idea preached by Scientology: something about how the supreme moral value (“first dynamic”?) was survival / self-preservation of oneself and one’s group.

      2. vao

        Wait a minute–isn’t re-defining rights in this way precisely what happened to Jews as a result of the Nuremberg laws of the ’30’s?

        Not exactly. What Israel is doing is absolutely typical of every colonial state — the British, Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish colonial possessions all had formalized, legal discriminations based on different categories of population (races). Israel was already a colonial state anyway; they are now embracing colonialism openly, shedding the pretty much ragged justification of “we are just occupying territories as a consequence of war”.

        There they had discrimination down to a science and it wasn’t a matter, as some people imagined, as a matter of black and white.

        Apartheid was actually a late form of colonial regime (in a post-colonial world) that did not differ very much from the classifications used in other colonial entities. For instance, the Dutch used “Europeans”, “natives”, “metis” and “Chinese” — all with different rights and duties — as categories in the Dutch Indies. A decade earlier, Italy had perfected a regime in its colonies that makes Apartheid look like a simple “copy-paste” of it.

        But all these “modern” colonial classifications were nothing compared to the Ancien Regime colonial race classification in America, which would consider miscigenations going back to great-grandparents.

    2. Acacia

      First, the political climate in the US toward Israel is becoming more jaundiced

      That may be true amongst the hoi polloi, but since when have the USian elites and especially the dual loyalty neocons cared what they/we think?

    3. lambert strether

      > The USA’s support protects them indefinitely

      Not such a bad assumption. Apartheid in Israel, fascism in Ukraine….

  36. Patrick Donnelly

    The English language has 1/2 or 2 million words. The OED, the big one in two volumes, is colossal. Only available in large University libraries.

    Theft of concepts from other cultures broadens the mind?

    How many words do those who speak or write Mandarin, actually possess? A lot fewer than that. So what concepts have escaped them? What can they think when so bereft?

    What strategic niceties do they lack? Do those who speak two or more Chinese languages have an advantage? What intellectual changes occur to those who are contaminated by foreign languages?

    1. Yves Smith

      This is extremely chauvinistic. Japanese has a limited vocabulary yet the top Japanese I dealt with were more impressive than the top people at Goldman and McKinsey, back in the stone ages when both were respected institutions.

      Chinese characters have a level of multiple meanings, which results in a very high degree of complexity, due the nuance of the constituent parts of the character v. the most common meaning.

      1. Acacia

        …not to mention all the kana words borrowed from other languages that get used all the time (e.g. arubaito, doa), and the multiple kanji [jukugo] words in Japanese, of which there are many with two, three, four, or more characters forming a single concept or term. E.g., the DPRK is represented by a string of 11 characters. Compounds exist in Chinese as well.

        Also, long before we consider the OED, how many English speakers “actually possess” all the words in a university level dictionary?

        1. Patrick Donnelly

          Again, you seem to equate out of lack of information.

          I was asking.

          I was hopeful of a reasoned and informed response. There are close to 100 ‘Chinese’ languages. I suppose these responses are the best I will get ….

          1. Yves Smith

            This is bad faith argumentation. You’ve wildly shifted ground.

            YOU started out by referring to “Chinese” and tried to equate the use of characters v. a potentially very large English vocabulary (which in practice only a small subset is used, even in high-reading-level compositions) as = to Chinese being impoverished thinkers. The fact that there are 8-10 Chinese language groups and within each a number of dialects does not change the fact that they use characters.

            You are now arguing to try to win with no regard for intellectual integrity. This is a violation of house rules. You are accumulating troll points.

            1. skippy

              IQ for what its worth is going down in the west and up in the east and would seem to negate Donnelly beliefs … ahhh the bell curve comes back to haunt some …

      2. Patrick Donnelly

        They lack the technical meanings. It maybe chauvinistic. But is there an effect?

        They clearly compete very well. Do they have advantages in not using the Latin alphabet?

        You are extremely quick to dismiss the fundamental differences in cultures and ascribe it to pettiness. This is not wise.

        1. Acacia

          They lack the technical meanings.

          Suggest you re-read the comments above and rethink this claim. Also, you’ll need to be a lot more precise about those “close to 100 ‘Chinese’ languages”. The entire OED is at your command, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

  37. JTMcPhee

    On the “collapse” of the US-China “relationship:”

    “In the end, there can be only one…” Dulles.

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