Links 11/26/2022

Over 1 billion people believe in witchcraft — especially in places with weak institutions ZME Science

Colosseum sewers yield morsels eaten during shows ANSA

Why did the FBI track Nobel-winning microbiologist Salvador Luria? Nature


Biden administration quietly approves huge Texas oil export project The Texas Tribune

Ship fires increase and climate claims show worrying trend, says Allianz study The Loadstar


America’s Food-Security Crisis Is a Water-Security Crisis, Too Mother Jones

Doctors believe Bruce Lee may have died from drinking too much water The Hill


Molecular and cellular similarities in the brain of SARS-CoV-2 and Alzheimer’s disease individuals BioRXiv

It May Be A Covid Christmas Again This Year Deadline

Coronavirus: European firms call for exit plan, vaccination roll-out to end China’s ‘dire’ Covid curbs SCMP

Chinese cities break from COVID easing edict as cases smash record Nikkei Asia

Is China underestimating its Covid-19 numbers in its latest outbreak? SCMP


German Govt is Funding Myanmar Junta Military Training: Rights Group The Irawaddy


China and India easing away from Russian crude oil may be temporary Hellenic Shipping News


Turkish threats leave Syria Kurds in fear for symbolic city Al-Monitor

US official urges ‘de-escalation’ as Turkey strikes Syria AP

The US military operation in Somalia, explained Middle East Eye

US sinks its claws back into Somalia with an eye on China and Russia Global Times

Old Blighty

What are warm banks, and why are so many opening in the UK? World Economic Forum

Hong Kong Demand for British Visas Plunges in Latest Quarter Bloomberg


Inside the Trilateral Commission: Power elites grapple with China’s rise Nikkei Asia

US bans Chinese telecom devices, citing ‘national security’ Al Jazeera

New Not-So-Cold War

Germany in talks with allies over Polish push for Patriot deployment to Ukraine Reuters

Demilitarizing NATO The Real Politick

The Ukraine War is a sales-promotion campaign for Lockheed and other U.S. ‘Defense’ Contractors Modern Diplomacy

Russia says it foiled sabotage at ‘South Stream’ gas pipeline Reuters


European Cold Spell Poised to Boost Energy Demand for Weeks Bloomberg

‘Heated’ and ‘really ugly’: Europe fails to thrash out details on gas price cap as talks turn sour CNBC

Will Germany’s energy policy lead to economic failure? Guardian

Germany Warns Of Rationing This Winter If Gas Storage Dips Below 40% OilPrice

Germany set to declare starvation of Ukrainians under Stalin a genocide Guardian

Why are Germans losing enthusiasm for helping Ukraine? WaPo

Russia is using energy as a weapon The Economist “The death toll from Mr Putin’s ‘energy weapon’ could exceed the number of soldiers who have died so far in combat.”

Which EU politicians refused to label Russia a sponsor of terror? Al Jazeera

Europe accuses US of profiting from war Politico

Biden Administration

The real reason behind Biden’s latest pause on student loan payments The Hill


Kanye West announces 2024 presidential bid amid far-right ties Guardian

Democrats en déshabillé

Nancy Pelosi’s Next Chapter The Nation. Human rights

Little appetite for Manchin permitting bill in congressional lame-duck session Virginia Mercury


Police State Watch

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


Supply Chain/Inflation

The US Has a Bomb-Sniffing Dog Shortage Wired

‘War Dog’ Diveroli takes PayCargo to court over ‘lost $100m’ The Loadstar

Class Warfare

Why some L.A. food banks are handing out Thanksgiving chickens this year LA Times

The Bezzle

Crypto Contagion Is Spreading, Fast Wired

Jail Can’t Stop This Innovator From Dreaming Big Dirty Bubble Media.

FTX US Donated $1 Million to a Super-PAC Aligned With Mitch McConnell in October Bloomberg

Zeitgeist Watch

Biggest Manure Pile in U.S. History Excreted Sweet Stink of Money AgWatch

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. hunkerdown

    Thanks, ZME Science, but I don’t need some geophysicist telling me that his imaginary friends are, like, totally real and the social creativity of 1 billion people is somehow misguided.

      1. Robert Gray

        > I found it strange …

        And not only that but he just had to put Russia (‘Russia! Russia! Russia!’) in the lede.

      2. hunkerdown

        My point was that statecraft and witchcraft both meet Dion Fortune’s definition of magic, the science of producing changes in consciousness according to will. If we are honestly going to engage in the comparative analysis of “standardized nightmares,” we should be analyzing institutionalism under the exact same light, not as some kind of pretentious emancipation from heathenism.

        1. YankeeFrank

          But what about fully imbibing and proclaiming belief in “the current thing” suggests magical thinking? I mean, its clear that the mainstream US line on Ukraine and Covid are thoroughly reality-based. Its all those backward cultures (like Russia?) that believe dumb things.

        2. TimH

          The article states:

          witchcraft, defined as an ability of certain people to intentionally cause harm via supernatural means

          Religion is belief in a specific supernatural too, surely?

          1. JTMcPhee

            And the G_d of the Holly Bibble sure has priors for smiting whole peoples at the behest of other peoples (even though those latter peoples repeatedly “turned away” from the due worship of YHWH), as well as on his/her/its/their own divine initiative.

            Pat Robertson prayed that Hurricane Isabel would “turn away” from his parish, and look what happened! And in the true spirit of Old Testament Xtianity, we have this preacher, Tiernan, declaiming that Her-icane Sandy (which I guess could be indeterminate gender) was his God’s judgment on Obama and Romney for being “too lenient” on homosexuals and other perverts…

        3. semper loquitur

          Well said! More people should read Fortune, she has a lot of interesting things to say although some of her racial views are well past their best use date. One quibble: Fortune wrote about Magic, not magic. Magic is a spiritual journey; magic is rabbits out of hats.

        4. Michael Mck

          I had not read the article and assumed you meant the author was Christian and that he and his ilk should be lumped in with the other imaginary friend types. I like the Dion Fortune definition you provided and it certainly could be applied to statecraft too.

      3. Mildred Montana

        The Rev Kev: That link is hard to believe. I mean, Are we still living in the middle ages? I am truly stunned.

        The Pew survey of Muslims in twenty-three countries (oddly, not Saudi Arabia) at the bottom of the article lists percentages of them who believe in 𝘫𝘪𝘯𝘯 which, “…according to the Quran, are demonic supernatural beings that were created out of fire at the same time as man” and aid magicians and sorcerers in their wicked ways.

        From that survey, the Terrible Top Ten:

        1. Morocco 86%
        2. Bangladesh 84%
        3. Tunisia 79%
        4. Malaysia 77%
        5. Pakistan 77%
        6. Lebanon 73%
        7. Afghanistan 70%
        8. Egypt 69%
        9. Palestine 67%
        10. Turkey 63% (I am surprised by Turkey’s making the list as I’ve always considered it a secular nation.)

        And to be fair to Muslims, I’m quite sure if Pew made a survey of Christian countries the number of responders who believe that the devil and his minions are hard at work would also be surprisingly high. The only difference is that there they are not persecuted.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Edit button didn’t pop up. My last sentence doesn’t make any sense. What I meant to say was, The only difference is anyone they choose to denounce is not persecuted.

        2. Soredemos

          People can believe whatever kooky mystical nonsense they want, but I would consider one of the elements that constitutes a civilized society being that you don’t get to just go around charging or punishing people based on your weird mystical beliefs.

        3. semper loquitur

          “That link is hard to believe.”

          But why does it surprise you, Madam Montana? Countless people believe in the supernatural. Billions upon billions.

          Take the materialist. S/he believes in a mystical world, forever beyond reach, of swirling forces that, according to this occult doctrine, actually make up reality. The materialist never sees said world of forces and goes to some length to say so. In fact, s/he cannot see it as the information it provides is transmogrified by our senses into the taste of an apple or the beauty of a sunrise. Even the buoyancy of joy and the heavy weight of sorrow are the product of these forces! How deranged!

          No matter, s/he believes in it fervently unquestioningly. Some go so far as to declare there is an entire “multiverse” of worlds, each different than the other. No one has ever seen these worlds, except in the MCDCU movies, but they must exist intones the materialist.

          It’s all wildly unscientific, totally un-model-able and never empirically observed. It is the definition of supernatural, as it sits somewhere outside of the world of observation. It persists to this day!

          1. Wukchumni

            There’s a number of palm readers along Hwy 99 in Godzone and you’d think if Madam Sophia in Fresno was that good, she’d be playing poker instead?

            1. semper loquitur

              Are there not charlatans and “upright fellows” in every area of human endeavor these days?

          2. Soredemos

            The things you’re talking about can in some cases be directly measured, even if never literally seen, and in other cases are mathematically inferred.

            Some things, like the multiverse, and very controversial proposed solutions to certain math problems, that even if real, don’t remotely function like a superhero movie.

            And of course the great filter that science has that mysticism doesn’t, is practicality: can you actually make reliable predictions and do something with a model? If you can, eg functional quantum computers, then you’re probably at least vaguely on the right track.

            There’s literally nothing mystical about any of this, and sneering and pretending like they’re comparable to witchcraft only displays your own ignorance. I know that’s rude and harsh, but I’m having trouble coming up with a nicer way to phrase it.

            1. semper loquitur

              No they cannot be “directly” measured. To be measured, it must be observed. How could you possibly know otherwise? How can you see without observing? When something has been observed, it is done so through the senses. At that split second, the veil has been crossed. The veil the materialist delineates. No matter if you are watching the event itself, through a camera, through a microscope, whatever. The notion of a direct connection is more superstition.

              My point about the superhero movie is that these things are unobservable and unverifiable. Fantasy. Mathematics are great but when they are founded upon a fallacious set of assumptions, what then is their standing? The fallacious assumption is unprovable, unverifiable materialism.

              To compare Mysticism with science is, as all materialists do, to use an erroneous comparison. They see through blinkered eyes and believe they see all. They can’t seem to get their heads out of that framework, but then true believers never can.

              Ritual Magic and science are somewhat closer but repeatability is not a necessary standard for the former. It can be but then it needn’t be. It’s a spiritual journey, not a series of experiments. The heavens move as they will. The epistemology of Magic is founded on the changes it brings about in the practitioner, not the changes it observes in the world.

              But the results are real. I’ve seen them and felt them. Divinity dancing in my head, the rich red wine of Dionysus. I’ve seen thoughts solidify in front of my eyes. I’ve felt them squirm through my mind like snakes. I’ve stood at the center of the Cosmos and felt the timelessness of Eternity. Repeatable? God I wish and boy do I try. But once you have tasted of the Mysteries, you have set upon a journey you cannot help but take.

              Be as rude and harsh as you like. I don’t come here for back rubs. I do, though, take umbrage at articles like the one posted. Some !gnoramus blathering on about things he doesn’t understand in the least. Condemning large swathes of humanity because they don’t fall into line with his faith.

              1. Soredemos

                In all honesty: what are you even babbling about.

                You’ve literally admitted here that repeatability doesn’t matter for magic. So whatever you’re doing, it isn’t concerned with actually ascertaining anything about reality or coming up with parsimonious explanations. Seems to me you’re just doing stuff and pattern seeking a result and then declaring this was a real thing. Was it actually? Can you repeat it? Sure doesn’t seem like it.

          1. Mildred Montana

            Oh, I am not surprised at all that people the world over harbor strange beliefs, and leave them to them I say. What stunned me was that the authorities in Saudi Arabia (and presumably some of the other countries) actually punished citizens based on the denunciations of these nuts.

            I was hoping the human race in four centuries had moved beyond the Salem witch trials. I was disappointed.

    1. marieann

      What makes one persons “irrational” belief in witchcraft any different from another’s belief in an all knowing god in the sky.If one is irrational then they both are.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        And I’d put the Invisible Hand’s ability to turn individual greed into lollipops and roses in the same category.

      2. semper loquitur

        I don’t know of many folks who still believe in a sky god. I do know some people who think the sky itself is a god, I’m one of them. It’s a potent symbol, a metaphor multitudinous, that informs my will by shaping my consciousness.

        But if you were referring to God, by chance, that entity is far, far beyond the sky. As is patently obvious from the definition, any omnipotent creator is not part and parcel of the world It ostensibly created. The world is of It.

        It’s like placing the inventor of your car under it’s hood. So many materialists apply their own standards to the perspectives of others. But then, the faithful always do so.

    2. LifelongLib

      Historically, until quite recently belief in god(s)/religion/the supernatural was the human norm. Maybe instead of investigating why some people still believe in these we should investigate why some people stopped.

      1. semper loquitur

        Great point. The worthy who wrote that article might give that a try. His bio at the bottom of the page reads thusly:

        “Andrei’s background is in geophysics, and he’s been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science — and the results are what you see today.”

        Ah yes, the results we see. People who see the world differently are treated as mentally deficient by the priesthood of Science! and they wonder why there is a gap in belief. Think of those jacka$$es Sean Carrol and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. They also fail to factor in that Science! has been used by the Powers That Be to accomplish great harm. Fauci is a scientist, ostensibly, and look at all the good he has brought into the world.

        The priesthood of Science! tends to be weak on their history. Philosophy too, although it doesn’t stop them from expounding on either. Or worse still, using it while criticizing it, unreflectively.

        1. Soredemos

          You’re kind of just admitting here that you don’t actually attempt to engage with science in any honest way. Science isn’t reliant on individual ‘priests’. It’s an ongoing process and system of checks and filters. Those systems aren’t flawless, as NC has had multiple articles recently delving into, but fundamentally they do in the long term self-correct and knowledge advances to ever more accurate models.

          Your examples are sort of weird too. Tyson is basically a failed astrophysicist PR celebrity with few published papers.

          Carrol is actually legit, and is most definitely not a jackass. I suspect you’ve come across him via a debate he did with someone or other and didn’t like what he had to say. I particularly love the one he did with William Lane Craig where he demonstrated that Craig simply doesnt know what he’s talking about, including the actual views of some of the people (‘priests of science’, I’m sure) he cites in support of his position.

          1. semper loquitur

            If you don’t think science has a priesthood, you haven’t been paying attention. Ever hear of the good Dr. Fauci? The man who claims to be Science Itself? How many good-thinkers have invoked his holy name in the last three years? How about the rats-nest of debunkers that haunts Wikipedia, actively promoting false information about psi research, per Mitch Horowitz? Talk to the researchers at the UVA Department of Perceptual studies about the fanatical resistance they struggle with, even when their research is published and peer reviewed. The brick walls they run into. Take less than an hour and listen to Robert Anton Wilson talk about the lives and careers ruined when they went against the ideologues:


            I understand science has self-correcting mechanisms but you confuse that with the people who practice it. I never criticized science, you switched tracks, I criticized the true believers who believe science is the only way to view the world.

            Sean Carroll is a jack-a$$. Not in the same way as that buffoon Tyson, to be sure, although you may not realize that Tyson is probably the leading public science “educator” in the US. Millions of people listen to his rambling baloney.

            Carroll is far more sophisticated, that’s obvious. My particular beef with him is his presumption to discuss God. Seething with ignorance, spouting patent none sense, radiating presumption because he already knows the answer to the questions he pretends to examine. I’d have no beef with him if he stuck with physics. Where he belongs.

            1. Soredemos

              Yes, I’m well aware of Fauci. I’m also well aware of the difference between actual science, and ‘believe science’ scientism as a strange liberal class identifier.

              Again, you’re not actually attacking science as a process here. In fact you seem kind of clueless about the diffetence.

              1. JBird4049

                May I suggest that like with the most overly dogmatic, forget about fanatical, of religious adherents, science too has a problem with confusing belief with facts or reality, or even good reasoning or theology. Look at anthropology with its Piltdown Man, the Tuang Child, the Man the Mighty Hunter of the Savanna theory, or the controversial water or river or swamp ape theory of aquatic evolution. In all these examples, the discussions over them were almost religious “Yes, Brothers and Sisters, I Believe!!!

                It all reads much like Covid today. I can also throw in eugenics, which had “scientific” support for decades. Often facts or the scientific method do not really matter. In the same way with any thing that might support something that could possibly be labeled as “magic” or woo-woo is instantly called nonsense and ignored. Despite that most of what is called magic is probably baloney seeing The Serious People get stupid (as in much in the history of science) does not do science any favor. Honestly, the extremely dogmatic materialistic views of mainstream science is a problem. Not because they are right or wrong, but because they refuse to think outside very narrow paths. And they can use the science of the day to support their beliefs.

                People often believe something because it feels good. Of course Piltdown Man proves human evolved in England and not the barbaric Dark Continent! Of course, you are financially successful, wealth because God approves of you and what you are doing!

                That one could whip out a magnifying glass on the Piltdown Man’s jaw did not because they don’t want to do it.

                1. Soredemos

                  The things you’re citing all had dissenters from the beginning, and the ones that didn’t hold up were ultimately discarded. In some cases it took many decades, but the process as a whole ultimately self-corrected. Ideas that weren’t supported by evidence were abandoned. Science is a human social activity and often subject to the biases and bigotries of its practitioners, but in the long term it fixes itself.

                  None of this can be said for mysticism, which doesn’t even pretend to play at any kind of objectivity in the first place. Further, while the history of religion is of course filled with all kinds of schisms and reformations, I have zero confidence that any of them are steps along a path towards a greater understanding or truth. And often the old, ‘wrong’ ways of thinking endure unless literally burned at the stake. As opposed to fading away because the evidence no longer supports them.

                  There’s a world of difference between a system of inquiry and testing that might often stumble along because the humans conducting it are flawed social creatures, and…just making up some magical ‘explanation’. Like, this has to qualify as a huge category error of some kind.

                  1. JBird4049

                    There is truth in saying that science is a method of inquiry that self corrects, eventually. But too often the scientific conclusions of the day are treated as infallible with often horrific consequences and it can be generations before it corrects. It becomes dogma, often because it serves the interests of society’s elites even when honestly that is not their intention.

                    So, while I have more confidence in science as a process of inquiring into our reality, I have little faith in its use in morality, ethics, government, or forming and maintaining a society even though that is what many people want to do; it seems that people and society need a common belief system, rituals, rules, habits to have a functional community, which science, being just a means of inquiry, cannot give.

                    I guess what I mean is that people confuse, conflate (and oversimplify) the purpose and methods of science, philosophy, religion, and mysticism especially when a category is intentional discarded and replaced by another category, which cannot do what the discarded did. Therefore, you see people using science as a religion or religion as a means to explain physical reality. One or another can inform the other, but it cannot used the same because it is not the right tool.

                    Maybe too many people are ignoring science because parts of society insist on treating it as such? Maybe we have so many people that are being fools because they mistake being educated in science means that they are wise instead of just credentialed. If you were taught that everything outside of (modern) science (or its methods of inquiry) is garbage, just how can one get the wisdom to use science?

                    I think that when natural philosophy was split between science and everything else, it became what political economy would later become when political science and philosophy were split from economics.

                    1. Soredemos

                      Ethics and morality are ultimately philosophical inquiries. Whereas religion and mysticism are lying gibberish that can be discarded.

                    2. Yves Smith

                      Since humans have limited cognitive and observational abilities, I am skeptical of your dismissal of religion. The fact that most of us can’t/won’t live like the Jains does not mean that their perspective is invalid.

                2. JBird4049

                  Thinking more about this, I realize for some people belief in science or a religion is more about putting on an identity than actually practicing or becoming something; they clothe themselves in snippets of words and ideas like a hermit crab.

                  For example, the worst forms of scientism arises from from the need of group identity, of fitting in; it is not of using the scientific method as a tool and giving any evidence the credence it deserves, but instead the description of something being scientific or not according to the group consensus and not to any evidence or research that might, or might not, have been done.

                  Part of the modern identity of a scientist is strict materialism. In the Western world, to be scientific (and a good liberal) it is to believe that vaccines work, all vaccines, and anyone saying otherwise is an ant-vaxxer. It becomes black and white with no gray. If you don’t believe or at least practice that, you lose all your friends and be cast out into the darkness.

                  It is the same with people everywhere. There are “economists” who are devout free market capitalists, or have taken that as part of their identity, who have not read Adam Smith’s the Wealth of Nations, but like too many Christians with the Bible have been given a very short True Believer’s digest of the work, and hand-fed the Truth.

                  Further, the state and therefore society is allowing increasingly less dissent. Part of costs of succeeding is conformity, mentally the man in the gray suit, others it is the darkness. With the dying economy, the costs of not succeeding is to truly suffer, not having a less comfortable career as in the middle of the Twentieth Century. You best get a degree at Harvard, or maybe Stanford, and that thesis better agree with the Current Truth, or else your life is over.

                  So, not is education being coming more policed, regimented, and useless, the cost of having your own education might be failure in society for is it not hard to acquiesce, to retain some sanity, when what you know is not in accord with the lies you are forced to accept and repeat back.

                  Reminiscent of the late state of the Soviet Union Nazi Germany, and Mao’s China as people in all those societies had to keep two mental descriptions of the world, the approved one or the real one, and just when to refer to what book of reality. True, many just overwrote the approved reality over the real reality, but that came at great costs as well. Human beings are really great at lying to themselves, but to deny most of what your senses are telling you? Not so much.

                  It is not something that I have read of much, but I have read of examples in all those places. The chimneys, the missing people, the books that just disappeared. Put it into the Memory Hole.

                  So, it is not people being stupid as much as being lazy, afraid, or desperate; thinking can be hard, it is scary to go against your friends and co-workers, and sometimes you are responsible for the lives of others. Don’t think too hard, just accept, and go with the flow.

            2. Lambert Strether

              > If you don’t think science has a priesthood, you haven’t been paying attention.

              Yes, there is a field called the sociology of science (see e.g.).

              I’m not sure how useful “priesthood” is, since it implies a formal identity between two institutions, an identity that may not exist. To me, “priesthood” is also perilously close to dragging in the old “science is just another religion” argument, beloved of creationists and others of that ilk.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Thanks for the regular reminder of that excellent paper.

                I think that the metaphor of a priesthood is useful for identifying how ‘science’ is run by largely self appointed hierarchies, and as with all sectoral hierarchies (political, religious, military, business), the interaction of those processes along with human frailty and bias can lead to very smart people saying and doing very stupid things.

                Whether you look at this from an epistemological, sociological, philosophical or… well, whatever perspective, the results are often the same. Its just the more disappointing that supposedly the most rationalist branch of human endeavour is just as prone to these problems as any other.

    1. Alice X

      The Occupation of the American Mind – I’ve watched the original again. It largely leaves out reference to the violence which occurred between the colonialist dominated UN Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947 and the declaration of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, wherein the Zionists seized Palestinian land as the latter had not agreed to the Resolution. It focuses mainly on US media coverage of Israel. It is worth watching.

      A 45 minute version is here

      A 21minute version is here

      It is astounding how relatively few views in four years there have been, 110k for the original, 15k for the 45 minute version and 4.4k for the 21 minute version. The hasbara continues.

      1. Offtrail

        Thank you, Alice. The story about Tantura points out that national history is whitewashed in many countries, which is true. Very few countries are capable of whitewashing their history in other countries, as Israel does in the US.

        1. Alice X

          It is very strange. When I go to the film’s website here and put in the requested information, it doesn’t send a link to watch the film. I’m in the US but after several tries, I put in Canada instead. That didn’t work either. It says they will get back to me when the film is available in my area.

          Very strange. If someone else comes along who is offshore, maybe they could try it.

          1. Offtrail

            I tried to search for “The Occupation” using my TV’s YouTube search function, and it did not show up. I googled it, found it in Vimeo, and cast it to my TV from there. It’s just so much harder than it should be.

            Anyway, thank you for letting me know about the film.

  2. John

    The Economist says Russia is using energy as a weapon. How so? Russia was quite willing to honor contracts. Russia did not blow up Nordstream. Russia did not close the transit lines through Ukraine. Seems to me that the West put this gun to its own head.

    1. Acacia

      Yeah, their argument is based on the now-tiresome “Mr Putin turned off the taps” rubbish, but I assume the article is being cited because the rest of it tries to model (albeit rather morbidly) what might be expected in the winter months. Even the best case projection looks pretty bad.

      Hope peeps can keep warm (and vote the sociopaths out of office who tried to freeze them to death).

    2. Lex

      Putin’s energy weapon is one of the best examples of narrative control we may ever see. In March the EU declared that it would do without Russian energy. Confronted with the reality of that decision it became necessary to convince the people who will suffer that Putin did this to them. In the last few days the Poles have told the Germans that what needs to be done is to cut the northern leg of Druzhba. Not totally, just the leg that continues to Germany. The poles will still take oil from the leg to Gdańsk and then ship by sea to the Germans. In this way Putin can really be taught a lesson.

      1. Mike

        My guess is that Poland has long dreamt of taking Germany to the cleaners, and its demand for reparations plus this oil/gas spat, with Poland receiving Norway’s gas, is one of such paths to take Germany down, thus controlling the EU narrative. It is wise to pay attention to the economic ailments of the Polish government debt in tandem with the ongoing Americanization of Europe and its political parties. USA USA can print money to flood the world with inflation – Poland not so much unless backed by dollars.

        1. bwilli123

          Poland would do well not to have their borders shift again.
          If the only long term economic security for Europe lies in a oil pipeline land bridge between Russia and Germany, then an extension of the region formerly known as Upper Silesia (through to a southern Ukraine controlled by Russia) might prove to be a worthy end goal for both larger parties.

      2. LawnDart

        The lyingist-liars would be found in an exclusive world of polished and refined narcissism, members of a cowardly, yet sociopathic, cult. They are all but above the law and would take from others what they want as though it were their own by virtue of divine right. Those who resist their aggression are othered, and if not easily maligned and marginalized, dehumanized and demonized–as they are indeed a threat to the appearance of righteousness and right in which the lyingist-liars attempt to cloak themselves and their misdeeds: hence, of all the falshoods of their world, one thing that is genuine is their hatred for Putin.

        The Putin “we” know is a product of projection, a symbol, an unholy object on the alter of hate, an existential myth in the religion of the lyingist-liars: Putin is glue of their social cohesion, a demon to be purged, the bread and body of an anti-Christ… …he, to their misfortune, is also a pretty-smart, reality-based guy who has surrounded himself with intelligent and capable people.

        The lyingist-liars are like schools of sharks surrounded by tinier fishes whose survival depends on the scraps and remains of the shark’s feed. The sharks like to think (albeit, in their limited capacity for thought) that they, as sharks, are the highest and most fearsome in the food-chain. Although with perhaps only a vague, instinctual awareness, they all but cannot conceive of something more deadly than themselves; man, though they fear him none the less.

        The lyingist-liars are a social infection that currently aflicts the West, greatly, sickening our societies and bodies politic. They are worse than covid, a disease which has sickened and killed millions of us, and that will continue to do so until a cure is administered. Until then, all the world can do is to isolate the infected, a practice much of the world has begun to implement, and one that the would-be afflicted in the West should take notice of.

        There are moments in the lyingist-liars lives when a glimmer of self-awareness breaks through, when needles of honesty pierce their soul, and the acknowledgement that their lives are a fragile construct of lies emerges– I’ve seen this myself with my own eyes. It is sad how pathetic, pointless, and utteringly meaningless their lives really are, but I lack pity to spare, and to me the needles are well-deserved.

        “Keep poking-away, VVP- you’re doing a great job!”

    3. YankeeFrank

      Look, forget the past* and also the present* and just focus on how evil Putin is de-electrifying Ukraine and “starving Europe” of gas.

      *Bombing Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, NordStream II, into the stone age and the proposed oil price cap against Russia — these aren’t using energy as a weapon… in some way we haven’t quite figured yet.

    4. Aumua

      Yeah Russia makes themselves the aggressor and wielder of the weapon by not totally submitting to all the demands of the west.

    5. eg

      I keep hearing this “Russia is” when it’s “Western sanctions are.”

      How stupid do they think people are?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Germany in talks with allies over Polish push for Patriot deployment to Ukraine”

    It seems that Poland’s ruling party has been engaging in anti-German rhetoric to help stiffen their falling popularity. But this was a goof-ball of an own goal. So a Ukrainian missile hits Poland and killed two Polish citizens, The Germans offer to send some of their Patriot batteries to Poland to reinforce the US Patriot batteries and to help stop this ever happening again. Not good enough, the Poles say. Those batteries have to be stationed in the Ukraine itself and handed over to the Ukrainians. The Germans won’t do that as this would involve NATO more directly in the war and Ukrainian crews would need months of training to learn how to use them. And it would be no good sending German crews to man those batteries as even if the Germans were lunatic enough to do it, they would be likely killed by Russian drones. And it seems that Duda, the Polish President, was not consulted about this matter which reinforces the idea that he has lost control over his own government. It seems that in the end, the Poles will get nothing because local players are too busy trying to score political points. And German-Polish relations deteriorate even further.

    1. BlueMoose

      Rev, I’m sure you already know, but I just wanted to make it clear that Duda is in charge of nothing. Kaczynski runs the show, although cracks are beginning to appear. I can only recall one time that Duda has crossed Kaczynski and that did not sit well as you can imagine. The ongoing joke is that Duda can’t even make an appointment to discuss issues with Kaczynski.

      Once Kaczynski leaves the scene, it will be a major free for all in Polish gov’t circles.

    2. Lex

      Lost in the shuffle of this is how there never seem to be new Patriot batteries to deploy anywhere. It’s always redeployment and shuffling of the equipment. I’m sure that the US still builds them, but it raises some questions. By April it would be clear that Ukraine would need air defenses. It would seem logical that a push to manufacture patriot batteries would start and that Ukrainians would be brought to the US (or Europe) for training with them. Even if the process delayed deployment to nowish, it would be a big deal. So why didn’t it happen? Is production that limited? Is the US afraid they’ll be shown to be substandard? Is the preservation of Ukrainian freedom and democracy not a serious priority? They’re not cheap, so there was money to be made.

      1. cfraenkel

        I suspect the PTB still think there’s some magic ‘secret sauce’ embedded in the software, and if a battery were to fall into the hands of the Sov… er Russians, the secret sauce wouldn’t work anymore. One way to look at it is to conclude that despite whatever they say in public, decision makers don’t have much faith in the UA army to protect and hold equipment.

        The other rationale I’ve seen (mentioned here as well in the past), is that since the conflict is in part an advertising campaign for the US MIC, they can’t risk having the ‘Cadillac’ systems put into combat, since then everyone would see how they worked in a for-real shooting war.

      2. scott s.

        Doing a quick look-around, it looks for US purposes, most the procurement today is for PAC-3 MSE missiles, about 230/yr with objective inventory of about 3,300. There’s also a buy for 16 new radars for the fire control element. And finally various funding for mods of existing launchers.

        IIUC a battery consists of fire control (C2 and radar) element and 4 sections of 2 launchers ea. Each launcher holds 4 cans and each can 4 PAC-3s (quad-pack).

        Note that State/DoD has two ways to sell stuff to other countries: Foreign Military Sales and Direct Military Sales (FMS/DMS). Generally FMS is preferred as DoD charges program management overhead and also provides training&logistics via DoD on a cost reimbursable basis.

  4. Eureka Springs

    San Francisco police can’t even control fischer price (ages 4 and up level) robot cars. And now they want (all ages sociopath) armed murdering robot dogs. As of late on almost every metric I think to myself if Russia or, well, anyone, really did invade the U.S. successfully they couldn’t be as cruel to us as we are to each other.

    Black Mirror Metalhead episode.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “What are warm banks, and why are so many opening in the UK?”

    Some people see warm banks and think how nice. Others see warm banks and think…Covid dissemination centers.

    And what happens with these warm banks too when the power goes out? What are people suppose to do then? Rub two boy scouts together to start a fire?

    1. JohnA

      Last winter, buses were used as warm banks in many parts of Britain by pensioners, who get free travel after 9.30 each morning. Expect the same if not more this winter.

    2. Bugs

      The chef’s kiss is that the “warm bank” explainer is on the WEF site. Irony so thick like Marmite in the morning.

  6. Carolinian

    From “US sinks claws into Somalia”

    Biden sees the African continent from the perspective of global security architecture

    And from the story on Biden’s approval of a Texas oil export port despite AGW pledges

    The Port will provide a reliable source of crude oil to U.S. allies in the event of market disruption

    Would it be exaggerating to say that behind the curtain of every Biden action is “global security”–i.e. war and its consequences? Of course all that fretting about “global security” has little to do with the already globally secure–from bombs and missiles at least–American public. And indeed exporting oil will likely raise prices here which can then be blamed on Putin or whoever.

    And hence a curious feature of our politics where campaigns spend all their time talking about domestic controversies only to put all their energy into foreign affairs once in office. It’s a bipartisan bait and switch.

    1. digi_owl

      Foreign policy is Wall Street policy, domestic policy (pork/dole for the most part) is re-election policy.

  7. flora

    (note to self: avoid day or two after Thanksgiving and day or two after Christmas general family / financial stress crankiness.)

    1. Harold

      A day or two? Our family has vowed to observe Buy Nothing MONTH.
      Except for food and fuel, no discretionary spending whatsoever.

      It’s already paying off. We played Scrabble and hung out with the grandparents. No cell phones all day either. It’s quite cathartic. You probably have everything you need without spending for quite a while. Christmas presents? Bought last January for massive discounts. Will repeat that next year.

    2. Baby Gerald

      Great point, Flora. I should tattoo this rule on my forearm so i never forget it.

      Sitting in my mom’s living room yesterday with her and my 44-year old younger brother watching the US-England world cup game intros, my mom asks my soccer fan brother, ‘Russia wasn’t allowed to play, were they?’

      ‘Nope,’ he replied, ‘and Ukraine almost qualified, too.’

      ‘Awww….’ is her response, clearly saddened by this news.

      At this, my stupid self chimes in with, ‘Too bad the Nazis don’t have a team to cheer for with some stiff-arm salutes.

      I then text each of them articles I’ve bookmarked going back to 2014 about the Nazi menace in Ukraine, all from unimpeachable sources for these pro-MSMers- Time, Newsweek, even MSNBC for cripes sake. ‘I’ll read them later.’ says Mom. ‘No, you won’t because it hurts your brain to think about the ethical contradictions, you would rather cover your ears and sing ‘La la la’ than face the fact that your dear uncle Joe is shipping weapons and money to literal Nazis. But don’t say I didn’t try.’

      Ten minutes of arguing ensues, my brother mocking me and eventually calling me a ‘tankie’, my mom crying, yelling at me to shut up when I call them intentionally ignorant dupes and unwilling apologists for Nazis.

      I’m called arrogant for telling a retired woman with an RN and a brother with a degree in communications (a whole other rabbit hole covered in Christopher Simpson’s book Science of Coercion) that maybe they should listen to the only one in the room with a degree in history specializing in Modern Europe for an educated opinion on the subject. No, they trust the same MSN that was so correct about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. Nothing is going to penetrate a mind so trapped in binary thinking and saturated with more than six years of ‘Russia Russia Russia!’ We have been reduced to ugly tribalism and denunciation. Pretty sure if our living room was in Berlin in 1943 my brother would be calling the Gestapo on me.

      Long story short, for the first time in my 49 years I’m thinking of skipping Christmas. I got through last year just fine when I was covid-y, so that makes a great prepared excuse.

      1. semper loquitur

        Thanks for this compelling comment. I struggle with the same Russia Derangement Syndrome with my partner. Then there is the China Derangement Syndrome. Did you know that their citizens aren’t free?!?

        As to the history degree, I hold one too, that’s a net negative in a lot of people’s books. Any kind of degree that provides a critical mechanism for analyzing the world is derided. When I was in school, the question was “Why bother?” The notion of education for it’s own sake is a long dead beast in the minds of the mob. Critical thinking gives you a headache and takes time away from surfing your iPhone to buy stuff or watch Tik-Tok videos.

        More to the point, providing critical takes on things is considered rude. Everyone seems to think they are entitled to their opinion. You are trampling on their liberty when you point out that the emperor is naked. God help you if you make the grievous error of engaging a Wokel, it’s like fighting with a giant piece of rainbow colored bubblegum. Talk about fluidity.

        Everything is about the “career” that, given the economic realities we seem to be facing, won’t be taking off anytime soon. I understand “Supply Chain Management” is a hot field these days. More corporate propaganda disguised as education.

        I salute you for pushing back against the brain-worms. It’s extra hard when it’s family who have succumbed. But I have learned to be extremely selective about who I discuss such things with. I’ve come to view much of the population as irredeemably ignorant, by indoctrination and most distressingly by choice, and it’s a waste of time to try to cut through the jungle of none sense that governs their minds. They want to be ignorant, it seems. And the Powers That Be are happy to oblige.

        And as you imply, the day may come when it is downright dangerous to question the official narrative. Discussing basic biology can get your career cut short and in Europe people have gone to jail for doing so. Half the US are deplorable Nazis, says the Pedo in Chief, and they must be reined in. Good ambrit has pointed out here before that the time to watch your a$$ is upon us. I totally agree.

      2. Objective Ace

        TBF, just because Ukraine has Nazis doesnt mean the entire country is a Nazi. You cant judge a group by its worst actors. There’s no internal conflict between supporting Ukraine and disavowing Nazi’s when you take that into account… though you should perhaps start asking further questions.

        The internal conflict comes about when you start talking about human suffering and then realize extending the war is only increasing suffering

        1. chris

          Right, the entire country isn’t Nazi-ified, but the government literally absorbed a nazi military organization into the armed forces military. It’s also clear that the people aligned with the Nazis are in charge. So it’s like saying the US isn’t all neoliberal a$$holes. But everyone that other countries has to deal with at the diplomatic level is… so it’s a pointless distinction to say that the US isn’t full of neoliberal a$$holes from the perspective of other countries. Just like it’s pointless to say that Ukraine isn’t full of Nazis. We’re giving the money and weapons to the Nazis. We’re supporting the Nazis. What does it matter if there are other political ideologies in Ukraine?

          1. Objective Ace

            >It’s also clear that the people aligned with the Nazis are in charge.

            It is? I understand that the Nazi’s are being used to do much of the dirty work. I suppose in that sense the people in charge are “aligned with them”, but this is war. It’s not illogical to think the outcome justifies the means *if* the outcome is important enough. Of course the readers of NC think the outcome (extending the war) isn’t even a positive let alone that means justify it, but as I noted – there need be no internal conflict given a different set of beliefs

            1. jsn

              The Nazis have told Zelensky they will kill him if he attempts to act on the “peace with Russia” platform on which he was elected.

      3. chris

        Yeah, I don’t bring up Ukraine in any context unless people really want to talk about it and I’m sober enough to pick up all verbal and no-verbal cues during the conversation.

        1. Karl

          ….and I’m sober enough to pick up all verbal and no-verbal cues during the conversation.

          Sobriety is no assurance that you picked up the cues without some cognitive bias. Except maybe in close families, where these cues are very ingrained patterns. But families who’ve grown apart develop new patterns.

          Human communication evolved to be full of rich subtlety in close-knit tribes, so a lot can be communicated in few words without causing conflict. This attribute can make communication too error-prone for just occasional family visits because the subtlety is misinterpreted.

          On the other hand, my family loves to argue. The more blood on the floor, the better.

      4. Keith Newman

        @Baby Gerald and others
        Yikes! The belief in anti-Russian propaganda is stunning. Fortunately for me my immediate family is immune. With others I do not broach the subject unless another person does and then I am super alert to non-verbal cues. My elevator 30 second version is that I find it sad that the entire mess could have been avoided if Ukraine had become neutral like Austria and given its Russian citizens the same linguistic and cultural protections Quebec enjoys inside Canada.
        Interestingly a German couple I met a few days ago reacted well to my elevator version and were not happy with their government’s subservience to the US and the resulting burden from the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

        1. Objective Ace

          You can believe all the anti-Russian propaganda you want and still think ww3 and a nuclear war is worth avoiding. That’s the angle I typically take. Doesn’t involve disagreeing with anything MSNBC etc. put outs

          *Or alternatively sympathizing with the plight of Ukranians but also asking what the difference is between them and all of the oppressed individuals/countries we are ignoring – when the answer is slow coming I mention the only one i see is skin color

      5. bwilli123

        I imagine this story repeated all across the Ukraine from 2014, excepting (fascist central) Lvov and spreading eventually to the rest of Europe.
        A tragedy,really.
        Have we not been here before?

  8. Wukchumni

    FTX US Donated $1 Million to a Super-PAC Aligned With Mitch McConnell in October Bloomberg
    The emperor’s new currency has the potential to take down both political parties, as both are in too deep with SB-F…

    …or at least that’s my fervent hope

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The problem when both parties are heavily implicated in a scandal is that it gets swept under the rug and forgotten about.

      The BCCI scandal back in the day was big news for a while, when it looked like it was mostly Arabs and drug runners involved in the money laundering scam. When investigations started to uncover ties to Westerners, everybody got really quiet all of a sudden.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Just as a reminder for those who missed this scandal of the early 1990s, the BCCI’s name was changed by wags to Bank of Crooks and Criminals International.

    2. digi_owl

      The problem is that there is no legitimate third option that can take them to task.

      The fox is watching the hen house, and has been doing so for decades if not centuries.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “It May Be A Covid Christmas Again This Year”

    ‘I’m dreaming of a Covid Christmas
    Just like the one we had last year
    Which the CDC was dissing
    And children were school missing
    To hear coughs and sniffles, oh it’s all a show…’

    1. chris

      It’s flu and RSV season in the DC/MD/VA for the kids. And many adults! I’m hearing less about COVID with my peers and colleagues. I think we may see a respite until new years. Especially with so many trying to work extra hours to make up money lost to inflation. This is going to be a cruel Christmas season for too many of our citizens.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Not so sure, Walgreens has been up big these past four days. Up 1.9% today! Possible acceleration? I guess we’ll see. “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard” is showing XBB1 && XBB2 at 3% cumulative now. BQ1 and BQ1.1 at roughly 20%.

  10. Wukchumni

    Petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.

    From 1984 by George Orwell

    Gambling was rampant in the run-up to the French Revolution, and it is omnipresent and then some in our society.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I’ll second that, Wuk. As a consumer of TV sports, it’s unbelievable how, for example, the NFL, the televising media and online gambling have combined into one conglomerate, all pushing gambling. There is a feverishness about it.

      1. Harold

        “a consumer of TV sports” Why?
        Try supporting via a modest donation and attending events at your local youth soccer or little league.

        You’ll meet your neighbors, save money, breath fresh air and help build community.

      2. The Rev Kev

        In Oz in recent years, there has been a massive push for online gambling and the government don’t seem to be concerned by this at all so long as the ads include the disclaimer ‘gamble responsibly.’ These ads are everywhere and you just know that this is going to create all sorts of massive problems going forward.

        1. jrkrideau

          I just heard a Radio Australia program that says some one (Canberra?) has drafted up 6 or 7 catchy new one and they will rotate them. I am sure that will help.

          BTW your casinos sound really dodgy. Makes me wonder about Vancouver.

    2. semper loquitur

      There is a commercial running here on that spigot of (rap, Roku, in which a woman is struggling with a parking meter. It’s trying to rip her off! She pushes back and the commercial then follows her complaint as it travels up the bureaucratic chain of command. Poorly dressed and unpleasant looking Department of Motor Vehicles employees throw their hands up in frustration because they can’t get their grubby, filching hands on her .75$. That narrative ends with the shadow of the boss’s hands seen waving in agitation behind the frosted glass of his office door.

      Back to the woman on the street who is suddenly surrounded by people. These poor consumers, long suffering under the yoke of paying parking fees, cheer for her and raise their hands in triumph. We’ve won! The woman strides off confidently, a huge smile on her face.

      Then text appears that states something like “Nothing wins like victory!” or some other bit of dumb-speak. Then the sponsor of the commercial reveals itself. It’s a gambling consortium.

    3. mistah charley, ph.d.

      While I too deplore the increasing commercialization of gambling that I am exposed to as a sometime consumer of commercial tv, I want to point out that this Orwell quote has been snipped, and that the part that someone edited out gives a somewhat more sympathetic picture of the plight of the benighted masses:

      Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.

  11. chris

    Re: The student debt article in the Hill,

    File this under times when even a biased source (The Heartland Institute) tells the truth. Biden can’t get his party to accept the need for debt relief, Biden himself doesn’t want debt relief, the wealthy don’t want debt relief… but if Biden can get political points by extending a policy some other guy started and most aren’t paying attention to, that’s fine. I think that’s a correct analysis.

    I would prefer all our legislators accept the obvious reality that debts which can’t be repaid won’t be repaid. I would prefer our legislators do something actively and fulfill their constitutional obligations to legislate. But I’ll settle for an instance where their inaction helps people who are suffering under awful conditions.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This bit was interesting:

      Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, anyone who makes ten years’ worth of monthly student loan payments — 120 in total — while working for a government or nonprofit organization receives total debt forgiveness, no matter how much they owe.

      Although it defies all logic, the Biden administration is continuing to count non-payments under the pause toward the total number of payments required to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. That means that since the pause began in 2020, government and nonprofit workers have managed to shed nearly three years’ worth of payments from their 120-payment requirement, all without being required to make a single payment.

      It seems as if the government is ceasing to function right before our very eyes. At some point this will all need to be resolved, and it’s going to be a huge mess. I wonder what people taking student loans now think about their eventual repayment, if anything.

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        Yes, I found that part interesting too, especially since they fail to mention that those student loan forgiveness plans weren’t really honored by the government. (Much like Obama’s HAMP to help struggling homeowners during the Great recession, which barely helped anyone at all.) Anyway, read about the failures of the federal student loan forgiveness program here, from 4 years ago.

        But the important thing to know is that it applies not only to federal employees but also employees of nonprofits!! Here is an update from last month on ways they’re trying to make the forgiveness part actually work for a very brief period of time which is already closed of course!

        1. Jason Boxman

          Indeed, I’ve been following this for years. What an evil. Come, serve the public good and we’ll pay for your overpriced (probably masters) degree! (Ha ha. Fooled you.) It’s hard to believe this isn’t actually malicious.

          1. Tom Stone

            Of course it’s malicious, it’s about social control just like the drug laws are.
            Remember the checks that were $600 short?
            While sending the full $2,000 would not have bought Biden and the Dems any political capital, cheating millions of desperate Americans out of $600 certainly cost Biden a lot of future votes.
            The ONLY reason I can think of for doing that is Sadism.
            JRB has always taken joy in kicking down, remember how happy he was when the ’94 crime bill passed and there were all those crimes that became punishable by death?

            1. Jason Boxman

              I don’t know if it did cost liberal Democrats anything at all. After they contorted themselves over $1400 is actually $2k because reasons, the whole issue went away besides a few of us that remember.

              The failure of this forgiveness program for public service is probably more of an instance of institutional rot. When a government consistently fails to deliver big programs, eventually no one has any idea how to deliver. Medicare signed up 19 million people in its first year. Instead you get performative hacks like our Secretary of Transportation.

              Can there be malicious incompetence?

              1. Procopius

                I think (hope?) that more than a few of us remember that good old Joe owes us $600. If Trump is the Repub candidate, I’m not sure what I’ll do, but voting for Good Old Joe is not attractive.

        2. chris

          When I learn about things like that it makes me wonder if we really could see a civil war in this country. How biased and rigged does the system have to become before people in Fly Over declare war against their snobby betters who can’t feed themselves without help from the deplorables in the interior? It is tragic to watch us devote more and more federal funds to Ukraine while people in Kentucky or similar suffer from the inflation caused by our Ukrainian conflict policies.

          The brilliant people on the coasts have given our country multiple financial crises and a pandemic. You’d think they’d have learned some humility?

          1. Carla

            Those brilliant people have only profited from the multiple financial crises, and thanks to work-from-home and decent health insurance have hardly felt the pandemic.

            How do we expect them to learn humility from success piled upon success?

            They rest secure in the assumption that deplorables exist to serve them, breed, and die young. Everything’s going according to plan.

        3. Scylla

          I’m late to this party, but I hope someone still sees this. The student loan forgiveness for government/NGO workers is a complete fraud. If you read the fine print, it lists certain repayment programs that are eligible. Most people are on the income based repayment plan or similar. In the fine print, it states that even if you are on one of the repayment plans like the income based one, you must still make 120 payments equal to the 10-year (120 payment) basic repayment plan. So in effect, *none of the original debt is EVER forgiven*. At most, the only thing that is forgiven is a portion of the late fees and additional accrued interest associated with the plans other than the basic 10- year repayment plan. (If you are on the 10 year plan, you pay the loan off in 120 payments, so forgiveness is moot) It’s all a scam, just like every other facet of this society. People need to understand that student loans are structured as predatory and are *never meant to be payed off*, and are a method of totalitarian social control.

      2. chris

        Yep. That is a problem.

        Why should I pay taxes or fees to a federal government that doesn’t enforce it’s laws fairly? Even if I’m sympathetic to the cause of student debt relief the decision to do nothing on so many fronts is ridiculous. Immigration? Illegal or otherwise, ignore it. Debt repayment? If it’s for people we like, ignore? Declarations of war? As long as we’re only providing money and gloriously “leading from behind”, not necessary.

        Should we eliminate congress now? Or do we wait for an imperial presidency to be formally declared?

      3. Objective Ace

        You’re being fooled by optics. It hardly matters how the counting is done if the administrators arent recording the count as E2U notes. The government/rules of law arent functioning but not in the direction you think. Here’s a great podcast by Michael lewis if your interested:

        A short transcript from the relevant section:

        In 2007, Congress passed Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, in which any public servants could have their student loans forgiven after serving 10 years in a qualified field and make 120 payments on time. However, loan servicers, such as Navient (the biggest in the U.S.), often gave the wrong information, processed the payments incorrectly, and failed to act when borrowers complained about loan problems, which prevent our public servants from getting out of their debt.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Aren’t those public/private “partnerships” useful? “Hey, I’m not screwing you. It’s that guy over there.”

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Demilitarizing NATO”

    The problem is actually worse than this article makes out. Western artillery are breaking down in combat due to the fact that they are firing far in excess of what they were designed for with reports that a third are out of action at any one time. Not just the US systems but at the very least the German artillery systems as well. So these artillery pieces have to be taken a thousand kilometers to the east over the border to Poland for repairs at a depot that the Pentagon has set up. Often the barrels have to be swapped out for new ones but there is only a limited supply as the M-777s for example are no longer being manufactured anymore.

    And when that has been done, then they have to be transported a thousand kilometers west back to the front again. All the while hoping that the Russian drones don’t spot and nail them and spending precious fuel to transport them. The Ukrainians want that depot moved closer to the front lines of course but there is not a possibility in the world that the Pentagon will allow that. It would be immediately targeted by the Russians if that happened so it won’t. At the start of the SMO a stated aim was to demilitarize the Ukraine. Demilitarizing NATO was just a bonus which will preclude the possibility of a direct NATO-Russia war so I would call that a win for peace. Kinda.

    1. Karl

      The U.S. military knows full well the importance of artillery in proxy wars, most recently in Syria. Battles there have used artillery at higher intensity than at any time since Vietnam (before the invasion of Ukraine).

      And yet, here’s a quote from the linked article (a sympathetic insider like Kagan is probably a pretty reliable source when he criticizes DOD):

      Frederick Kagan, a neocon senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute told Foreign Policy magazine that “NATO doesn’t really plan to fight wars like this, and by that I mean wars with a super intensive use of artillery systems and lots of tank and gun rounds. We were never stocked for this kind of war to begin with.”

      And I found this astounding:

      In the U.S. the current total production rate for 155mm artillery shells is about 30,000 rounds per year. That is only 5 days supply for the Ukraine regime at current firing rates, or not even half a day’s worth for Russia.

      Apparently US and NATO were not prepared for a proxy war in Ukraine like the one in Syria, where artillery is crucial. Why? I thought DOD did war games and simulations. Didn’t DOD realize Ukraine would face these logistical and supply problems? Did DOD ever say something like: “Mr. President, if we can learn anything from Syria, we should avoid a proxy war in Ukraine like the plague….”?

        1. jrkrideau

          Either that or NATO was totally confident that sanctions and other financial maneuvers would crash the Russian economy, and reduce Russia to the basket case it was in the early to mid 1990’s. Putin would be toppled by the end of the first week

          It was probably a bit of both.

          Patrick Armstrong, a Canadian blogger, currently taking a break,—something about hassle, hate mail, & CSIS— has over the last 3 or 4 years or so been pointing out that Washington, before this recent unpleasantness, really knew almost nothing about modern Russia. From what he writes, I get the impression that US policy advisors had not realised that the Russia of 2022 is not the same as the Russia of 1995.

          This one from back in 2018 is an excellent example. No, Your Intelligence Is Actually Bad. Very Bad

          1. Lambert Strether

            > Either that or NATO was totally confident that sanctions and other financial maneuvers would crash the Russian economy, and reduce Russia to the basket case it was in the early to mid 1990’s. Putin would be toppled by the end of the first week

            They may also have bought whatever Russian “dissidents” were selling, that Putin was deeply unpopular and could be easily overthrown.

            1. Old Sovietologist

              “They may also have bought whatever Russian “dissidents” were selling, that Putin was deeply unpopular and could be easily overthrown”.

              It wouldn’t be the first time that ‘dissidents’ have oversold their case.

              1. Karl

                So we rely on “dissidents” rather than hard intelligence. That’s so lazy.

                So, what are we getting from the $90 billion/year on Intelligence gathering?

                My guess we spend tons of money gathering “intelligence” when “what we think we know” turns out to be wrong, i.e. when other “intelligence” fails. Probably a lot senior level decisionmaking is based, not on intel, but on the “gut instincts” of careerists within the White House. They have super good academic resumes, political smarts and the best “intel” of all: knowing what the President wants.

                Then it’s lots of money spent on clean-up. Like most other aspects of the MIC, Intelligence is a racket.

                We think we are unbeatable because we have so much money to throw at problems. Maybe it’s our biggest weakness. More money spent on “experts” can mean more “intel” that’s noise or just plain wrong.

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    Manure pile–

    Great story made even more interesting to me since I grew up between the Missouri and I-29 (but a long way south of Sioux City). It’s a very good example of how capitalism and the state interact to make a bad situation worse. And the tale is a reminder that our current crop of idiot “leaders” had forerunners back in a time now viewed as almost ideal. The lesson learned by the monied forces that add to their piles from Big Ag’s feed lots is to move them to places without a daily newspaper and TV stations, places like Dodge City and points southwest.

    My remembrances are of place pretty similar to Sioux city: St. Joseph, Missouri, another town between the Missouri and I-29. That’s where my family took their livestock. The stockyards were not nearly as big as K. C., and we were halfway between the two, so the steers and old cows usually ended up on the road to St. Joe. The stockyards were on the south side of town, and there were plenty of bars close by to soak up some of the money. I still have fond memories of the Bucket Shop and its fried baskets from when I visited with friends in my youth.

  14. Tom Stone

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe Crypto to my Daughter and the best I can come up with is that SBF and the rest got rich by taking in each other’s laundry…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In short, electronic Disney dollars where there might be flash sales for people with Disney dollars.

      Originally crypto was peddled to two groups criminals and gold bugs who were tired of waiting for gold to go to 10k and the decay of society where they could buy people with their gold. With the asset inflation and general rise in the stock market largely through Apple type stocks, people started to throw money into crypto which wasn’t being shut down, especially younger skewing people. At some point, it became the electronic beanie baby, probably due to lock down and work from home attitudes.

      1. Wukchumni

        Originally crypto was peddled to two groups criminals and gold bugs who were tired of waiting for gold to go to 10k and the decay of society where they could buy people with their gold.

        Naaaaah, Aubugs are all about physical and laugh @ those misguided souls who invest in all that glitters ETF’s and the like, which are more akin to cryptocurrency than anything else.

  15. Lex

    Every time I contemplate leaving the superior riviera for our house downstate I end up considering that in the worst case scenario I can walk a few blocks to the largest body of fresh water on the planet. And that I could hand hammer a point into (non-potable) ground water for the garden.

    I’m not sure that there is a worse indictment of modern America than the growing lack of safe, plentiful water for the population.

    1. CanCyn

      I have to agree. Flint, big ag in California, the Mississippi literally drying up…. the list is long. Water is life, it is astounding to me how little a priority it is to people. Perhaps our abundance of lakes and rivers in North America has blinded us?

    2. spud

      Lex, the island has lots of soft sugar sand, a great beach! the water is cold and dangerous if you go out to far, but its a riviera of some sorts:)

  16. OIFVet

    Re ‘Europe accuses US of profiting from war’ in Politico. It’s hard not to feel for Europe’s shocking discovery. In completely unrelated trivia, ‘War Is a Racket’ was published 87 years ago and has been available as a free download on the intertubez for about quarter of a century.

    1. Screwball

      Too bad many American’s still haven’t figured it out. There are many war loving people in this country right now. It’s like a religion to some.

    2. Not This Again

      I can’t even understand how this is a news story.

      A group of imbeciles who decided to cut off their largest energy supplier and did everything short of declaring a legal war on that supplier are now shocked that they are paying exhorbitant prices to get energy by one of the few remaining suppliers?

      In other idiocies, the Guardian is once again running a story that Russia is running out of weapons again. I think these people are running out of imagination and cycling through old narratives. At this rate, I expect another hysteria about Russia using nukes in a couple of weeks.

  17. timbers

    New Atlas (Brian Berletic) has a new live video on the subject of Malaysia. Unfortunately it is not happy news. The West has succeeded in getting it’s man Anwar Ibrahim in power. Long history of NED/CIA funding to get to this point. The goal is to transform Malaysia and other southeast Asian nations into a battering ram against China in similar way as was done in Ukraine and to enact general neoliberal polices to impoverish her people and enrich elites.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > a new live video on the subject of Malaysia.

      (There is a “New Atlas” newsletter/aggregator which is not the same as “The New Atlas” YouTube channel, to which it would have been nice to have a link (not that I have time to listen to it).

      That said, anyone with a map can spot Malaysia’s strategic importance: The Straits of Malacca. So it’s not surprising that the United States would be sniffing around. It’s what we do. However, I think as a general heuristic we should assume that US spooks are not very smart, not very competent, and prone to blowback. (I would like to know how many Malaysian speakers there are at the NED, exactly as I wished to know the number of Cantonese speakers at the NED when they supposedly drove the Hong Kong events.)

      Malaysian politics are impossibly opaque and convoluted. This doesn’t mean they didn’t take our money (“This is Wall Street, Mr. Burry”). The question is what we got for it. My view of the most likely course of events: Whatever it was we expected, we didn’t get it, or worse, were made to believe we got it, when we didn’t. And surely the spooks were not stupid enough to fund only one side?

      I think it’s a mistake and overly linear to transpose color revolution models from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia or the whole world, as I have been arguing for some time. Ibrahim has been trying to become Prime Minister for decades (against the background of some weird sex scandal about which I express no opinion). He has finally done so, first through a general election — which so far as I know, nobody has argued is fraudulent — which he won. When he did, he had a put together a governing coalition and present this to Malaysia’s ruler, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, who approved. Surely he is not in the pay of the spooks? If so, one would have expected a result much earlier than this. If not, domestic factors dominate, as I have urged.

      Adding, another way of saying this: It’s now a multipolar world; “third world” countries like Malaysia have increased power relative to the imperial hegemon. One would expect tactics to adapt accordingly (though I’m not sure how), but this seems unlikely to me, as The Blob seems deeply committed to unipolarity. Accordingly, domestic factors have more weight than they once would have. Our money and our assurances are both worth less, perhaps even a good deal less.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I agree strongly with this. Malaysian politics is so intertwined with ethnic and family interrelationships that it is very difficult to make much sense of it from outside, certainly if you apply a simplistic east vs west narrative. And the ethnic Malay and Indian populations don’t need any US incentive to keep China at bay – the country has openly racist laws intended to marginalise the Chinese minority. Not that the ethnic Chinese minority (mostly Cantonese in origin) are particularly pro-China. Cantonese minorities around the world are among the most virulently anti-Beijing people you’ll ever meet.

        Plus, all evidence suggests that US influence in Malaysia is marginal and usually very clumsy. The Malaysians have been far more successful at manipulating the US in their interests than vice versa.

  18. KD

    Inside the Trilateral Commission: Power elites grapple with China’s rise

    Enjoyed the “Capitalist Spectrum Chart”. . . it reminds me of the Old Southern history textbooks on the War of Northern Aggression with a smattering of high school civics. I would never have guessed that the US led the world with “balanced labor relations” “consumer protections” “robust regulations” and “antitrust enforcement”. Not to mention the “free media” “impartial judiciary” and “minority rights”. Someone better let Ralph Nader know. Just imagine how terrible it would be to live in a country with “oligarchy or single-party rule” “system of elites and interest groups” “suppression of expression” and “patronage networks”. But if anyone knows about that stuff, it would be the Trilateral Commission.

  19. Aaron

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the article on Pelosi. I just had a huge chuckle as I read it. A strong supporter of human rights?! Let’s continue the legacy of a woman who refuses to help the poorest and most improved of Americans, the woman who pulls international stunts on China for votes, and the woman who may be most remembered by the general public as having an extensive, and expensive, I’ve cream collection.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Don’t forget the ten thousand roses offered up to Pelosi by the proprietor of one of the most cult-like redoubts of Dem party devotees.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Birds of a feather flock together.

      Nothing at this point is uncontaminated, at least in the political class, or out of bounds for contamination. I remember very well how false charges of anti-semitism were used by British intelligence, the press, and Parliamentary Labour to defenestrate Jeremy Corbyn. In this country, as 2024 approaches, in order not to be dogpiled as anti-semitic, you will have to support AIPAC and Israel (sadly, an apartheid state). So, as usual, whatever yammering is going on is purely performative and instrumental. You can bet a lot of the dogpilers have no issue at all with supporting Nazis in Ukraine, for example.

      1. agent ranger smith

        West was not criticizing Israel or Zionism and was not false-accused of anti-semitism for such. He was overtly threatening to go ” Death Con 3 on Jewish People” and retailing traditional conspiracy theories of Jewish Power over business to control and persecute people and exploit Kanye West in particular. Comparing a factual description of Kanye West’s overt antisemitism with the fake accusations of anti-semitism used to defeat and remove Jeremy Corbyn would seem to be a category error ( if I am using that phrase correctly).

        And his eager traveling with White Power Activist and Holocaust denier Fuentes would seem to make it very clear what sort of beliefs West shares and wishes to support.

        Was West displeased with that little Nazi demonstration in California saying ” Kanye West is right about the Jews” ? I havent’ heard about it if he was.

        And by the way, if Kanye West is “right about the Jews”, is he also right about slavery ( “slavery was a choice”) and is he also right about the death of George Floyd ( “George Floyd died from a drug overdose”)?

        If West hopes to incite violence against Jews in this country, that is a problem in this country. ( If any of the objectors to West’s antisemitism in this country are mere dogpilers who support supporting Ukraine, they could be asked if they even know that they are ending up supporting Nazis in Ukraine?.)

        1. Lambert Strether

          You seem to be operating on the assumption that anti-semitism crusaders are operating in good faith in the run-up 2024. They are not. They’re political operatives, and the issue is purely instrumental to them. The bottom of the slippery slope is perfectly clear; I just pointed to it and gave the historical precedent.

          You write:

          [T]hey could be asked if they even know that they are ending up supporting Nazis in Ukraine?

          I think, given the level of moral preening going on, that “they” would be the first to argue — in attempting to dispatch an enemy — that (a) fascism is a global phenomenon, (b) it’s a citizen’s duty to be aware of fascism wherever it appears, and that (c) anybody who doesn’t perform that duty is either a fascist “objectively,” or openly doing their work. Anyhow, it takes a lot of work to ignore that the Azovs are fascists, at least for the very online and media savvy, which “they” are. It is, or was, common knowledge:

  20. Wukchumni

    Great deals from one of the death ship purveyors, Princess Cruises

    Take advantage of our Black Friday deals before they disappear as fast as your pumpkin pie. Find 60 cruises under $60 per day* and hundreds more under $100 per day.* Don’t delay. Our Black Friday Sale won’t last long!

  21. Karl

    RE: Russia using Energy as a weapon against Ukraine

    Related to this is a sneakier weapon in this war of attrition: population displacement. I don’t just mean refugees, and the stress this puts on Ukraine and its neighbors. I mean how major population movements this winter will help “prepare the battlefield” when Russia launches its winter offensive.

    A prototype of what I’m talking about is the example of Kherson just before Russia withdrew:

    1. Make strong announcements to evacuate the city.
    2. Ukraine sympathizers in Kherson flee to Ukraine. Russian sympathizers flee to Russia.
    3. Destroy energy grid around Kherson. City goes dark and is emptied further of population, rendered a military liability for Ukraine.
    4. Russia retakes Kherson. The Russian refugees return home, Ukrainians that remain will flee, leaving Kherson with a much higher pro-Russian composition.

    Now extend this to the rest of Ukraine:

    5. Destroy energy grid around the rest of Ukraine. Cold hungry Poles flee to Poland; Hungarians flee to Hungary; Russians flee to Russia. Ukraine is now ethnically cleansed, the battlefield prepared.
    6. Russia invades cold, hungry, weakened Ukraine, which consists of Ukrainian patriots who hate Russia.
    7. Russia can now thoroughly rout the enemy there, probably brutally. More Ukrainians flee the country (they know what Russian troops are capable of). Carry out systematic reprisals and de-nazification (deportations, prosecutions, etc.).
    8. Displaced Russians return to a “liberated” Ukraine (estimated ~ 2million).
    9. Native Ukrainians become 2nd class citizens in a new Russian-dominated State.

    In this scenario, I would expect relatively few Poles and Hungarians (and other nationalities) to return to their homes in Ukraine. What future is there in a devastated, Russian occupied and controlled Ukraine if you’re not Russian?

    Or, Russia invites Poland and Hungary to annex ethnic enclaves in Western Ukraine as a bargaining chip for “peace.” Leaving a thoroughly Russified Ukraine when the dust settles.

    The Patriarch of Constantinople proclaims the former schism of the Russian Orthodox Church null and void. Etc. Etc.

    It all starts with destroying the energy supply system. General Winter, General Time, and General Chaos will take care of the rest. This may be the most brutal war of attrition in history, in terms of sheer scale of the devastation and human misery being inflicted. But whole populations, I contend, are now weapons of war.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > But whole populations, I contend, are now weapons of war.

      Will General Sherman please pick up the white courtesy phone?

      On refugees: It’s interesting to consider the idea that the residual population of Ukraine is likely to contain an increasing proportion of fascists. The old, the crippled, the poor may not be able to flee. But the Azovs will certainly stay — even though they would be welcomed in the West, as we have seen — out of political commitment. So, in some ways, the whole of Ukraine becomes a giant cauldron for denazification effort.

  22. Wukchumni

    I’m with the family in a vacation rental not too far from Disneyland and went for a walk today on the concrete sidewalks which is not my usual stomping grounds, dirt being much more pleasant of a surface to ply my traits.

    Went about 5 miles and was amazed at how many homeless there are, not just the zombies traipsing around-but those hidden away from view when you’re behind the wheel-you’d have no idea they were there.

    1. skippy

      Your in Anaheim Wuk …. its been like that since the 80s and it might surprise you that anywhere in the states a Disneyland is parked is right next to a low socioeconomic paddock stocked with cheap labour ….

      Family Values mate …

  23. LawnDart

    Ukraine, more missile strikes to start the day:

    26 NOVEMBER 2022, SATURDAY, 14:59

    Kyiv Authorities Promise To Return Water, Heat And Communication To Citizens Within 24 Hours

    …or maybe not:

    Per Sputnik, apx. 0130 EST Sunday

    Air Raid Alert Declared in Five Regions of Ukraine – Authorities

    An air alert went off on Sunday in the Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, Cherkasy, Kropovnitski regions of Ukraine and the Kiev-controlled part of the Zaporozhye region, according to an online alert map of the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

    The first alarm went off in the Dnepropetrovsk region. A few minutes later it was also sounded in the Poltava, Cherkasy, Kropovnitski regions and the Kiev-controlled part of the Zaporozhye area.

  24. OliverN

    In Australia this weekend, Victorians voted decisively to keep Daniel Andrew’s state Labor party back in power.

    Why is this significant? Daniel Andrews was the architect of the apparent “worst/longest lockdown in the world” , yet in the first election since the lockdowns, voters decided to keep him.

    Granted, there are other factors to consider, ie it has been a year since lockdown and maybe tempers have cooled, the Liberal party’s advertising campaign was weak in a similar way to Hillary Clinton’s in 2016 (in my opinion/hot take!), and the opposition party continues to fail to offer a viable alternate candidate. Also, he did lose seats, and in general there was a swing against him.

    But, clearly Victorians were not that unhappy about the worst lockdown in the world.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Certainly not when they look around and see what happens when you just let ‘er rip and pretend that nothing is happening.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I think it’s important to go into a bit more detail about what happened in Victoria in the last 3 years. imo Andrews has escaped with a sort of Teflon quality despite some pretty major shortcomings.

      For those unaware, we didn’t have one continuous lockdown in Victoria/Melbourne. There were three major ones: the national lockdown from March to May 2020, which eliminated the virus. Some states experienced no or very few lockdowns after that initial one until the Let Er Rip policy was adopted.

      The second lockdown was in July 2020 and this was something that Andrews’ government was directly responsible for, delegating security of hotel quarantine to privately contracted companies instead of the civil service/army. This lead to a completely avoidable nearly 4 month lockdown, which could have been much shorter if some mass testing infrastructure had been implemented. The LNP and Murdoch press didn’t hugely criticise on these grounds though, because they wanted GBD-style Let It Rip rom the beginning. That said, apart from that, the lockdown was handled well, the messaging was communitarian and solidaristic, Jobkeeper was in place from the federal gov, which provided some social safety net, and most people got on with it without much fuss, seeing what was happening in the rest of the world.

      The second lockdown was merely a lockdown to vaccinate rather than solve the problem: the Let It Rip lockdown. Had we let rip before vaccinating the whole population it’s clear there would have been thousands more deaths than there had been. My impression of this lockdown, after about ~6 fairly glorious months of normal 2019-style life, was that people was discernibly less forbearance of it. Jobkeeper had been removed (or curtailed?) by the federal gov in early 2021 as well. Andrews told numerous lies at this time (“pandemic of the unvaccinated”, “vaccines are the road out of the pandemic”, “delta/omicron are too contagious to be stopped”). In other words this lockdown was to stall for time to join the rest of the world in long-term failure rather than solve the problem.

      Most Australians genuinely don’t seem to understand that the reason we’ve avoided a calamitous 2022 is pure luck: Omicron BA.1 being a considerably attenuated variant after Delta. It could have been worse, and we had already made the decision to let rip before it was clear how severe Omicron was going to be (we had just one doctor in South Africa assuring us it was mild). That said, several thousand Victorians have died of Covid, many thousands more have long covid, for which there is no cure or treatment, and we now have an underclass of Australians who are immunocompromised and have to live in permanent self-imposed lockdown, as the risk of death or severe illness/sequelae is considerably higher for them (check out, I think, #vigilforcovid which was in Canberra today, with Australians shut in at home posting pictures on twitter of their front doors, which they are now mostly stuck behind). Andrews has had nary a word to say for or about them nearly all year.

      That said, I think your general point is fair: most Victorians were willing to go along with the lockdowns because they understood what was at stake. And unlike the loosedowns of the USA and UK, we could see that what we were doing was effective and technically competent. I don’t think the GBD/muh-freedoms crowd ever had huge purchase here (I saw a trailer in the Melb CBD on Friday evening with a “honk if you’re giving Andrews the boot” sign by some kind of “freedom party”, no honks and pretty clearly a fringe operation). But people also seem to think Covid is solved and behind them, so maybe you’re also right that they’ve moved on and other factors swayed their decision.

      The problem is, there’s every chance that in the next 4 years Covid will evolve into something considerably more unpleasant and, with all our protections now removed up and down the country, it will certainly take root here if it does arrive (assuming it doesn’t originate from Australia in the first place). So the question is, will we lockdown and lockout again when a deadlier variant arrives? Or will we be fully resigned and continue our current Let It Rip policy? I feel a bit better that Andrews will probably be in charge if and when that time comes as opposed to the LNP no-mark that was running against him. But not that much better.

  25. bwilli123

    The incumbent Labor government was demonstrably competent, against the increasingly rabidly conservative ‘Liberals.’ In every Australian state the nominally ‘Liberal’ Party have been infiltrated and overcome by climate change denying, libertarian, neo-liberal, religious fundamentalists (of the American, not Muslim type) including Mormons. Scott Morrison (ex PM) writ large.
    They have increasingly frozen out the moderate wing of their party, who now have sufficient numbers to form a loose collective (the Teal independents) sufficient to deny the Liberals government.
    The ‘Teals’ will eventually overtake the Greens (inner city PMC based) and the Liberals themselves to form the principal opposition party to Labor.

    1. The Rev Kev

      An interesting analysis that. I wonder then how things will stand with the National Party. Are they infected by the same sickness as the Liberals? Might they eventually ditch the Liberals in fact and ally themselves with the Teals? Interesting times ahead.

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