Links 11/9/2022

Baby Elephant Thanks Young Woman Who Helped Free Their Stuck Feet From Roadside Mud Laughing Squid (resilc)

Birds fall to Earth from Delhi’s toxic skies. Two brothers are there to save them NPR (furzy)

Vermont Woman Mauled by Bear in Her Backyard While Letting Dog Out: ‘It Was Terrifying’ People. Resilc: “25 miles north from me. A neighbor down the street had his shed door broken into by a bear to get into a 5 gal covered tub of bird feed. Why I have a shotgun.”

Italy hails ‘exceptional’ discovery of ancient bronze statues in Tuscany Reuters and I bronzi di San Casciano: riemerge dal Bagno Grande il più grande deposito di statue dell’Italia antica Lavadichiana (DJG)

NASA asteroid crash a watershed moment for humanity Asia Times (J-LS)

How Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Revolutionized Dance LitHub (J-LS)

All Fair in War: A History of Military Deception BBC Radio 4 (resilc)

Nurse accused of amputating man’s foot for her family’s taxidermy shop Washington Post (J-LS)

The invention of free love aeon




People With Long Covid Face Barriers to Government Disability Benefits Kaiser Health News


One Billionaire emits a Million times more CO2 than an Average Person, as Protesters block Private Planes at Amsterdam Juan Cole

Sony To Begin Plastic Packaging Phase-out Next Year TechXplore. Glad someone is taking the lead here. SO MUCH plastic overpacking, particularly in tech.

NSW viticulturist accused of stealing 13,000 megalitres of water from Darling River Guardian (resilc)


‘There was no hope’: the Chinese factories struggling to survive Financial Times


Dogs given to South Korea by Kim Jong-un at centre of political row Guardian (resilc)


Strong earthquake jolts Delhi-NCR, epicenter in Nepal FirstPost (J-LS)

After Lula’s Victory, India and Brazil Can Join Forces on the Global Stage The Diplomat (J-LS)

GT Voice: US anti-inflation act pushes world toward another tariff war Global Times. The Chinese pick sides.

Poland draws a line in the sand with the EU: ‘We fulfilled the requirements, and we are owed the funds,’ says Polish president Business Insider

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Russia war – Col Doug Macgregor YouTube. Today’s must listen. Disproves the theory running around the Innertubes that the combo plate of the WSJ and WaPo articles on our optics-only peace virtue signaling instructions to Zelensky and the Jake Sullivan calls to Russian officials means the US is moving toward a willingness to negotiate. Macgregor argues the reverse, that the US is continuing to make threat displays towards Russia, based on careful reading of relevant facts and insider intel. Be sure to listen to the end.

* * *

India praises ‘strong and steady’ relationship with Russia as foreign ministers meet in Moscow South China Morning Post (J-LS)

India says Russia oil deals advantageous as Yellen visits Delhi Reuters (J-LS)

* * *

Russia to raise monument to British spy – media RT (Kevin W). Epic trolling!

‘Putin’s Chef’ Ridicules U.S. News Outlets – Adds ‘Election Interference’ Comedy Sketch Moon of Alabama. The White House was pwn’d.

* * *

Russian oil exports surging – Bloomberg RT

European Commission Says Gas Price Cap Is Impossible OilPrice (Kevin W)

* * *

Getting Closer Wolfgang Streck, New Left Review (Anthony :). On German indifference to nuclear war risk.


Arguably New Not-So-Cold War since aimed at Russia:

World Cup

Nepalis Feel the Human Toll of Qatar’s World Cup The Diplomat (J-LS)

World Cup ambassador: Homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’ DW (resilc). Hoo boy.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Spyware Is Running Amok in Europe, EU Lawmaker Warns Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

The US military is operating in more countries than we think Responsible Statecraft (J-LS). Maybe not than NC readers think but general point well taken.

More Than 100 C-130s Are Down, Likely Because Mechanics Scratched Their Propellers, Air Force Says Defense One. Kevin W: “That would put a crimp on any Ukrainian intervention plans if so many transport planes are out of action.”

2022 Aftermath. Lambert will do the main course, just some tidbits for now:

Why Do American Elections Always End Up 50–50? Atlantic (resilc)

Republican wave fails to materialise as US midterm results roll in Financial Times

Longtime GOP Rep. Steve Chabot upset in Ohio The Hill

Ga. county will overnight hundreds of absentee ballots after ‘clerical error’ Washington Post (furzy)

Missouri Republicans Hawley and Schmitt say Senate GOP needs new leadership: ‘Not Mitch McConnell’ Fox News (J-LS). From before polls closed, but if this election does indeed turn out to be a red ripple, it may strengthen their case.

Toward a more perfect Constitution: Danielle Allen Harvard Gazette (J-LS)

Tesla Gets Hit By Amtrak Train, Driver Has Minor Injuries Inside InsideEVs (resilc)

Weird cars are becoming the new normal The Verge (resilc)

Inflation/Supply Chain

The lawsuit that could rewrite the rules of AI copyright The Verge (David L)

The Bezzle

Tesla Stock Is Plummeting and Reddit Investors Are Blaming Musk’s Twitter Chaos Vice

Sam Bankman-Fried’s $16 Billion Fortune Is Eviscerated in Days Bloomberg (David L)

Binance’s Custodial Arrangements: Whose Keys? Whose Coins? Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. Binance is buying the above busted FTX. But:

I’ve written at length about crypto platforms’ custodial arrangement, and Binance is truly the outlier among large exchanges in terms of not addressing the legal nature of the custodial relationship. Other platforms don’t always address it clearly, but they at least make some motions in that direction. But not Binance.

America’s Slow-Moving, Confused Crypto Regulation Is Driving Industry Out of US ars technica. As if thate were a bad thing.

Class Warfare

Washington Post Claims Voters Want Cuts in Social Security and Medicare CounterPunch (resilc)

The bankers have launched a class war Thomas Fazi, Unherd

Antidote du jour. Wayne W: “Reflections on life at the beach, Mt Maunganui New Zealand…”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding)

    Sittin’ in my cubicle cage
    Pushin’ papers for an hourly wage
    No dental, no doctor, no pills
    And an evening job for life after bills

    I’m just sittin’ here actin’ my wage
    Playin’ my part on the company stage
    The victim of a victimless crime
    Doin’ time

    I’m chum for the student loans shark
    My future’s lookin’ grim and dark
    A walkin’ talkin’ question mark
    Makin’ money for an oligarch

    So I’m just gon’ sit here actin’ my wage
    No retiring at any age
    I’m sittin’ here actin’ my wage
    Doin’ time

    Looks like I’m lost in a losing game
    Got no savings worth the name
    I can’t be what everyone wants me to be
    I just wait out a waitin’ game

    Sittin’ here restin’ my bones
    A number among numberless drones
    Someday I’ll be an escapee
    This country isn’t good for me

    Now I’m just gon’ sit here in my cubicle cage
    Pushin’ some papers for an hourly wage
    The victim of a victimless crime
    Doin’ time

    1. Doc

      You do amazing work my friend. I want to share this with all my co-workers. The sad thing is that no one seems to know their wage. Or they refuse to admit that if you earn a paycheck you are a worker and working class. So there is no solidarity with the cashier or the parking attendant. Sad.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Doc – If you’ve missed it, I’m putting together a Naked Capitalism Songbook with all of the songs by Antifa, Sardonia, Wukchumni, and others that are posted here.

        I hope to have something I can distribute sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

        When it’s ready I’ll post notices in Links and Water Cooler.

        Stay safe.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    from the Kaiser Thing:
    “To receive disability insurance, people must prove their long covid symptoms are so debilitating that they cannot work.

    “The application process is very demanding, very confusing for patients,” Sbrana said. “It also entirely depends on you having this substantial breadcrumb trail of medical evidence.”
    Most applications are denied in the first round, according to Sbrana and other advocates. Patients typically appeal the decision, often leading to a second denial. At that point, they can request a court hearing. The entire process can take a year or more and usually requires legal assistance.”

    i went through this “process” from 2006 til 2013, when i was finally totally denied, since my “work credits” had evaporated and i was no longer eligible.
    i’ve been cash only w healthcare since the wreck in 1990, so no paper trail, etc.
    it appears that long covid is an “invisible illness” in much the same way my dead hip and then eventually global arthritis was/is.
    my experience with this is what radicalised me…turned me off the demparty, and made me an antipatriot…i loathe my country and state.
    so in addition to the human suffering and scolding and ridicule, and the ennui, angst and/or depressive disorders that will almost certainly flow from the coming long covid disability clusterfuck…expect even further anger out in the hustings…even unto personal secession and revolt.

    the disability “system”, long before long covid, was completely fubar, not fit for purpose, underfunded, understaffed, clunky…and pretty much designed to discourage people from accessing the social insurance they paid the premiums on with every paycheck.
    i expect it to be much much worse, now.

    a pro-tip or two:1. remember that the decision makers(all behind the curtain) are more interested in money than in health records(at least in texas).
    and 2. be prepared…if yer in a red place like i am…for public nastiness for not working, not sucking it up, and lots of “you look fine to me…”.

    (old man in handicapped parking spot:’you dont look disabled’…me:”you dont look like my doctor…”)

    1. JBird4049

      Hey, three years in the San Francisco Bay Area before being finally approved. Decades of medical records. They were so backed up that they sent the case from Sacramento to Memphis for processing as an emergency measure. Strangely, the Memphis office is the one that finally approved me only to have the Los Angeles fraud prevention jackasses denying it. When I was finally approved by the Memphis office after two years, my case was sent to “quality control” (read it as fraud control) where it was denied. Then it was off to the judge.

      I had to get a lawyer and appeal to the administrative judge, who did approve it after three (maybe four?) separate denials. Six offices, four cities, three counties, two states, during three years, with three government doctors, four of my own doctors, an administrative judge and a personal lawyer with three layers of government (county, state, and federal) all involved.

      And if you do even a hour of paid work, say, as a baby sitter, it is an automatic denial of benefits, which begs the question of if it takes an absolute minimum of six months and more often two or more years, before being approved, just how does one live during the process? The answer is most often you don’t.

    2. semper loquitur

      “you look fine to me…”

      I’m still on the lookout for the first deprecatory “Long COVID” comment. I know it’s coming. It will be the new “welfare queen”.

      1. JBird4049

        Heh. I have had a few people challenge me on my hearing loss despite wearing two noticeable over-the-ear hearing aids.

        And rereading my comment, I noticed (again) that the system is Byzantine being in my case, time consuming, expensive, confusing, and spread out in time and space. 5-6 offices in five cities and two states with at least 3 case managers, three government doctors, a judge, and all the associated support staff spread out among the county, state, and federal level over 3 years all to make sure that I, a single individual, is not getting away with anything. That is not including my own doctors, the lawyer, and years of my personal documentation.

        Even if I was some grifter, this is a lot of money just for not that much. Not to mention that most people would not have the resources and bureaucratic skills that I have as I get along with paperwork. Most people would just be overwhelmed, which is what they want. Personally, I would homeless because I would not have gotten through the three years and would still be unable to have a home, if not for my family because of the cost of living.

        It is not surprising that there many homeless people; what is surprising is that there is not more. Our supposed safety net is just bullbleep.

        1. Joe Renter

          Don’t worry they are coming to a neighborhood near you soon. In Las Vegas there are 500 people a day evicted, according to local TV news. BLM land and a van down by the river could be our future.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          the default assumption at the interface with all the poor people stuff is that you’re trying to defraud.
          its just assumed.
          that’s repubs manipulating from within what they couldnt stop in legislation.
          almost 60 years ago.
          bad losers.
          and all.
          now, of course, post billary, its wall to wall.
          means testing and such.
          i am no longer an american, sez he in disgust.

          1. JBird4049

            It can also be a jobs program for all PMC scions needing a job. We can’t have well paid, decently treated teachers or fully staff all the agencies because that’s the evil socializm, but we can blow money denying cripples money for housing, clothing, and food.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just goes to show you that cats are smarter than humans. A human would be out in the wind and the weather and maybe swatting away bugs. If there was a beach they would be laid out like a side of beef and probably getting sunburned for their efforts. Those cats are, on the other hand, are also relaxing but are out of the wind and probably enjoying the heat being given off by the glass windows.

  3. flora

    The neoliberal project is at least 50 years old now, starting with the Powell Memo in 1971 as the opening volley in the political rise of the neolibs economic and political power. Like all human projects – building cities, building states, building economies – projects rise when enough people believe, have confidence in, are willing to give effort to in light of a hoped for better future. Like all human projects they fall when people internally at first abandon the project, when it no longer captures the spirit and enthusiasm of large percentages of people. Why were ancient cities abandoned for example?

    Neoliberalism had its rise and is internally falling now. That’s why the violent demands from WEF that “you will own nothing” and digital passports and Central Bank Digital Currency are planned. Why the DHS wants more restrictions on free speech in the name of “fighting mis-dis-mal information.” These are control measures, not building measures for drawing more people into the project.

    What to do when voting seems always to result in the unwanted status quo? I think things are happening as individuals no longer believe in the current economic setup, no longer believe in the neoliberal project. Quiet quitting, for example. Rising unionizing in service sector work. Enormous skepticism about the neoliberal economic enterprise. Making other arrangements in their minds about what to believe and where to put their extra efforts. People are tired of the current economic arrangement. The bottom 50% of workers haven’t had a real raise in 40 years – that’s 2 generations.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

    – Yeats, The Second Coming

    I’m thinking of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s last balcony speech in Romania where the longtime supporters assembled below did not applaud. A ripple of open discontent went through the crowd. It was as if a ripple of new understanding went through the crowd and the country. No opposition party or formal declaration by anyone made that shift, the people were tired of the revolutionary party project that had clearly failed them after 70 years. People were tired of it and realized everyone around them was also tired of it.

    This makes me think of Vaclav Havel’s famous essay The Power of the Powerless.

    People are not tired of democracy. They’d like more of that.

      1. Rod

        thanks for that–Debit or Credit–most all business and all State/County/Municipal around here are tacking on 3%. Wal M being the standout exception–gas or groceries.
        A Primer on CC Fees:
        Of course ‘card ‘ transactions are way up since the Covid.
        It did get a Congressional Hearing this May, that went NoWhere.
        From the National Retail Federation:

        1. FreeMarketApologist

          My local dry cleaner offers a discount (roughly equal to the credit card fees) for customers paying in cash. My general philosophy is to pay many bills in cash, particularly for small / local vendors, and for larger payments I will ask if they offer a discount of fees if I’m paying in cash. Surprisingly, many do. Smaller vendors recognize this as one of those external costs that are inflicted upon them, and are generally willing to work with those who acknowledge it and offer to work outside those systems.

          1. mary jensen

            Same here in Suisse. At small shops I ask if they would prefer cash and they do. There are quite a few small family-run restaurants with signs on their doors clearly advising that their establishment is ‘cash only’. I respect them. My only concern is their safety ie cash only means a till full of cash…

    1. Steve H.

      Powell Memorandum.

      > But most of the essential freedoms remain: private ownership, private profit, labor unions, collective bargaining, consumer choice, and a market economy in which competition largely determines price, quality and variety of the goods and services provided the consumer.

      Re-reading this reminds me of what Cheney did to PNAC. The Big Plan was to squeeze social services to increase military enlistment, then really tighten up the global domination thingee. Cheney pulled the trigger early and siphoned the impetus to make billions for Halliburton.

      Of six essential freedoms Powell listed, Reagan gutted two when he crushed the Air Traffic Controllers Union. Clinton popped the cork on financial capitalism, and gutted the US base for industrial capitalism with NAFTA. Meanwile, relative wages continued the smooth downward trend regardless of whom nominally controlled the Establishment, and in the 21st Century has been below Great Depression levels.

      Not what Powell intended, I suspect.

      1. flora

        Powell said “most” not “all” essential freedoms. Window dressing to sooth the conscience. How many of those have we seen? / ;)

      2. Oh

        The fact that murderers like Cheney and Bush have not been prosecuted shows that the Democrat Party is so crooked and work hand in glove with these people. We really don’t have any Democracy.

        1. spud

          if the democrats went after bush/cheney, then they would have to go after the two who made what bush and cheney did possible.

          “Extraordinary rendition” is when shady government operatives stuff a bag over your head and fly you off to some foreign country where they can legally torture you. It sounds like something Alex Jones might dream up in a paranoid frenzy, but it’s a well-documented phenomenon under both Bush, Jr. and Obama—and Bill Clinton was the guy who started it all.

          Clinton and Gore signed off on the first rendition back in the ’90s, despite being aware that it breached international law. Until recently, rendered people frequently wound up in the prison cells of places like Mubarak’s Egypt or Gaddafi’s Libya, where they were tortured with electric shocks, rape, beatings, and even crucifixion.

          It can sometimes go hideously wrong: In 2003, the CIA snatched a terrorist off the streets and beat, tortured, and sodomized him, only to discover they’d accidentally grabbed the wrong man. The victim just happened to share a name with a wanted criminal. His suffering came care of the Clinton/Gore dream team.”

          if you want to clean things up, you have to go to the root problems. if you want to change the future, you must address the past.

    2. Kouros

      The people did not applaud Ceausescu on the balcony because just a couple of days before scores of people were gunned down with machine guns in Timisoara… While misery and drabness can be endured, being killed by machine guns is an unpardonable offense.

      So far the West is just being slowly clubbed and prodded to continue the daily drudgery. When they start to gun us and our children down then the fabled poo will hit the fan.

      1. tegnost

        When they start to gun us and our children down then the fabled poo will hit the fan

        um…about that…

        1. JBird4049

          Well, American police are increasingly like the gendarmerie with an average yearly body count of just over a thousand, not to mention the injured and the crippled.

          I saw the San Francisco police in full crowd control mode back in the 80s and they were terrifying and all they were wearing were motorcycle helmets and clubs. None of this Darth Vader look. Seeing the police increasingly well armed and armored across the country because “reasons” is frightening.

            1. The Rev Kev

              That was the whole point. ‘Defund the police’ is so stupid that it would not take long to go away. ‘Demilitarize the police’ was one that would have gotten traction and gone on as most people would have agreed with that idea. So it was a successful psyops plan successfully carried out which enabled Biden to actually increase funding to police and supported by squad members. I would be looking with dark suspicion at all those who pushed the ‘defund the police’ meme not that long ago.

    3. orlbucfan

      Excellent summation regarding the rise and fall of Neoliberalism, flora. Much appreciated and thanks!

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Toward a more perfect Constitution: Danielle Allen’

    Look I know that it is Harvard but I don’t think that they have really thought thorough what they are suggesting. They say-

    ‘One significant problem was the 1929 Permanent Apportionment Act, which capped the size of Congress at its current number of 435.’

    So they say what is needed is to increase the numbers of politicians in the House to match the population growth. So let me see. The population of the United States in 1929 was over 130,000,000 people (rounded out). So that would mean that at the time, each member of the House would be representing roughly 300,000 people. So when you run it through a calculator, that would mean that the House would have to expand to about 1,115 members. How will that work? Cram three of them to each desk? Throw out another wing from the Capital Building. Just go with Zoom when the House is in session? Hire a football field and have them sit in the stands? But I ask you. Is the solution to America’s problem yet more politicians?

    1. fresno dan

      there is a pundit, I won’t mention any names, who seriously puts forth the proposition that the solution to America’s problems is to increase the US population to 1 billion people. Really…
      And I digress, but the tears of the right wing blogs I read about the red tide barely amounting to a red ripple is like champagne to me. By no means because I think the dems didn’t deserve a good shellacking, but because replacing one group of nin com poops with another is pointless. Maybe because it helps to show that almost all the “news” is not so much wrong as hyperbolic and that this stuff isn’t worth getting upset over…

      1. The Rev Kev

        A coupla years ago NC had a link to an article about a US with a population of 1 billion people. Looking at video of San Francisco and LA earlier this year convinced me that that is not possible. There is simply not enough pavement space in all North America for that many people. In fact, I’d argue that it would not be a bad idea for the US to go back to the population that they had in 1970-

        And the tax laws for that period too come to think of it.

        1. Tom Stone

          Rev, the USA is well on its way to a population level below that of 1970 due to Covid.
          75% of our schoolkids have had Covid at least once and their life expectancy will drop with every successive infection, it’s going to get uglier than most can concieve.

          1. Thistlebreath

            Deagel’s long since removed 2025 forecast that the US population will have been drastically reduced now seems less wild eyed. Nobody seems to be calculating the impact of long Covid on the workforce–and those who will have to care for them.

            1. ambrit

              With the ongoing war against the social safety nets ramping up, expect the majority of the burden for caring for the Long Covid Brigades to devolve upon the Family Units. The occasional jokes one reads about the world being “engineered” towards a Neo-Feudal social structure are not fantasy any more, but perverse Oligarchic Wish Fulfillment.
              The return to authoritarian social systems is desirable, if one believes that they will be at the top of the hierarchy. Alas, simple statistics puts paid to that illusion.
              Be careful what you wish for. Someone else might get it.

              1. hk

                The problem is that the family units have long been degraded and demonized, both because it’s unwoke for all manner of reasons and because it is incompatible certainly with neoliberalism and, to a large degree, even with old Liberalism. There will not be a “social” safety net, made up of actual social networks (not the interwebbed kind) in most of the West.

                One story that I remember vividly from 1990s was an LA Times article (back in the days when newspapers actually did interesting stuff) about “economic miracles” in Yeltsin era Russia, where “factory towns” from the Soviet era were essentially converted to communes working together for collective survival, with a plant manager who went to West recently to learn management techniques noting with shrug that, yes, activities like these were actively destroying economic value, but they were at least keeping people fed and societal trouble away, because “hungry people are evil people.” (I’m probably mixing up details)

                I shudder to think how things will be like in the West, especially United States, if we get anything like post Soviet collapse.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      maybe/may be.
      i’ve long advocated for Amendment the First(…especially after i found out how difficult it was to get a congressional staffer’s ear(let alone a sitting congresscritter, state or federal)…without writing a large check, that is.
      it dawned on me that , even if my congressman was honest and forthright and upstanding and a true believer in representing his district(scoffs, scaring the cat), he or she would be unable to effectively represent 700,000 people, save in the broadest and most milqutoast terms.
      hence, more and smaller polities…with a dash of subsidiarity tossed in for good measure.
      of course, it’s way, way too late for all that,lol.

      i’ve found, as supporting anecdata, that i can influence every public officeholder in my county with alacrity(pop: 4400 or so)…and without spending a dime.
      stop them in the feedstore…or call them at home or even on their cells…threaten to “Take Up the Cross” over whatever is bothering me about the county/city…and see almost immediate results.

      but to scale this up, it’s gonna take a total reordering of things…as well as lots of defenestration in the current cadres of the elites and their enablers.
      and since TINA is still in force, we’re not allowed to plan ahead for such a phenomenon…so it will be chaotic…and “chaos is a ladder’ for the worst among us.
      much of my autarky and other assorted Emersonian Self Reliance efforts are geared towards being ready for that chaosladder to emerge, so as to counter the worst among us(already identified,lol)

      (when the big greenhouse frame is finally covered and i start moving in, i reckon i’ll need another naked goddess statue for over there…and am considering a bust or something of Cincinnatus along with it, for the Wilderness Bar—although him with his plow would be better)

    3. Mildred Montana

      >”Is the solution to America’s problem yet more politicians?”

      Not perhaps the solution, but a step in the right direction. 1115 representatives would go a long way to breaking up the Dem/Repub duopoly. I daresay the formation of a third or even fourth party might actually become possible as disaffected Dems and Repubs and progressives break away from a deliberately calcified system.

      I ask: Why has the number of representatives been capped at 435 since 1929 although population has increased by 250%? For the benefit of the ruled? Somehow I doubt that. To protect the solidarity of the rulers? There ya go, that makes more sense.

      Our “representatives”, who are the few, are united. We, the many, are divided. Time to level the playing field by welcoming 700 newcomers with new ideas into the House.

    4. spud

      but i am betting you will see real socialists and communists get into power in much smaller districts. very hard for oligarchs to control then.

      1. JBird4049

        Congress is where they determine the number of representatives and the process use to be regularly done after each census with the occasional hiccup. However, the last hiccup in 1929 was never dealt with. After fighting, they just capped it. Congress could solve the problem tomorrow if they wanted to.

    5. HotFlash

      1,115 reps, you say. The corresponding boom in lobbyists would fund many large houses and college tuitions. They’d pro’ly need another half-dozen Ivies for all the lobbyists’ kids.

      Smaller polities would be a much better solution, and more jurisdiction for local government. . .

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i always think of the galactic senate in whatever prequal star wars it was…yoda fight, and all…

        as for the last…in my memory of my reading of history, subsidiarity(or home rule, in texas) was opposed because “states rights” were associated with jim crowe, etc…
        so it was (non-dixie) Dems who were agin it.
        and simultaneously, goptea…in an earlier manifestation…was all for it, using freedomspeak disengenuously and hollering about tyranny.
        of course, now that the texasgoptea sort of won that fight in texas, at least(got some local control on the books, and/or written into texas constitution(its so big bc we do things this way))
        but let a county or big city try and ban fracking or whatever…and all thats out the window.
        i recall the same mechanism surrounding initiative and referendum.
        both sides are for it when its a ready knife like object that their hand brushes against…but its all unserious rhetorical bludgeoning.

        taint nobody gon hand us’n’s any power.
        it’ll hafta be taken.
        (lapses into dreamstate and thinks about a million lefty rijalvas popping up in the hinterlands, via the mechanism of the old libtardian ‘free state project’.)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          to riff off that dreamstate, i think abt my county of 4500 souls.
          there’s around 600 reliably voting repubs, here…and 300 or so reliably voting dems.
          but lefties apparently dont move out here.
          i was by no means the first, but my radical forebears out here have died of old age.
          (picked up one of them’s collection of marx at a library sale for a dollar)
          …but what if they did?
          and got together as much as possible on big structural issues and vote themselves into power to accomplish it?
          (see: fear and loathing in aspen)
          600 people of voting me. and we win.
          a handful would hafta be candidates of course, and thus need to be watched and threatened with whips(they do it in congress, i hear)
          answer of course, is no money to be made, unless your already rich…and therefore are likely just fine with status quo.
          (but remember, we’re in a dreamstate, currently, with these ruminations)

        2. The Rev Kev

          The Galactic Senate from Star Wars? That was exactly what I was thinking about when I typed up my comment. But to seat them all, you would need a new Capital Building that would cost at least $100 billion, have multiple levels underground, would be all about security and would sit within its own gated community, and would be several stories tall. Maybe they can re-use the blueprints of the US Embassy that they built in Iraq after the invasion-


    6. jrh

      Decoupling geography from some/all congressional seats could be fruitful, I think. Seems like it might put a lot of pressure on the two party system as well, by democratizing the field of nominees.

      If we all get to vote for, say, three congresscritters, we could vote for someone with our local interests in mind, someone who’s got expertise or clout in a policy realm we care about, and/or someone who just seems like they’ve got reasonable command of some/many issues in a way that aligns with whatever interest(s) we are concerned with.

      Ranked choice voting pairs with this beautifully.

      Diluting the power of individual politicians seems pretty good to me, even if it increases the number of them.

      Without at least some geographical untethering though, I think a more populous congress is nightmare fuel. Maybe 1/3 geography-based, 2/3 at-large?

    7. juno mas

      The article is not just about more politicians (representatives). It also identifies the effects of more House representatives.That it weakens the outlandish emphasis of Senators (limited to two per state) on the selection of a President (Electoral College). Wyoming with 300K population has the same influence in the Senate as California with 40 million inhabitants.

      Since the January 6 melee it’s become apparent there is additional space available for hideaways, just add seats and video connections and an elevator to bring Reps to the main floor when voting/pleading for their constituents.

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to Ukraine, just one aspect of Blighty’s long decline, readers may be interested in this joint effort by NC friend Philip Pilkington and Harbin born economist Robert Skidelsky,

    Skidelsky has long expressed doubt about British economic policy and, recently, expressed doubt about the west’s approach to Russia.

    Further to the western approach to Russia, a former colleague, ossi and SPD activist, alerted me to a recent speech to CDU activists by the CDU prime minister of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer. Kretschmer said that the EU would have to get real about Russia as they share a neighbourhood and called for an eventual lifting of sanctions. It was implied that the EU or Germany should not wait for the US to engage.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you for that link, Colonel. It sounds like the paper is saying that all those chickens are coming home to roost because of this war and how the UK economy is unsustainable on its present course. Of course on a more fundamental level, we may be seeing the result of FIRE economies being pitched in a fight against industrial economies that have a solid commodities base.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        Another friend and former colleague, now a Foreign Office (development) official, recently said that a Tory MP, Andrew Selous, told her about near miss multi day power cuts in September and emergency supplies at extortionate rates from Belgium and how the economy was operating as if in wartime and the long standing weaknesses of the UK are all showing up at once. It is felt that the public can’t be told about that sort of thing. I thought of Jack Nicholson and felt that the MP may, sadly, be right.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve often believed that the least studied aspect of economic development is luck. Sometimes perfectly good policies come unstuck because of ‘events, dear boy’, and terrible policies work likewise.

          There are very good reasons why the UK has prospered under the current political/economic system for considerably more than 2 centuries, but luck certainly played a role. I genuinely think that they are now hitting a perfect storm of events which could make them the first developed country in peacetime to go into absolute, and not just relative decline. If the pound starts a steep slide then the UK will have a significantly worse inflation problem than anyone else – match that with high interest rates and the many other big and small hits. Well, it makes even the eurozones problems look small.

  6. Carolinian

    Re 50/50–I’d say it reflects the intellectual exhaustion of both parties and their failure to capture the public’s imagination. A lot of us have stopped hoping for change from this system but we at least thought rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic might shake things up. But when shaking things up means a return to Trump then that’s merely more of the same. He should do us all a favor and go play golf.

    At least Pelosi is outtahere.

    1. QuarterBack

      I have been confounded by the frequency of 50-50 elections for several cycles now. For years, I have been working with large natural and man-made data sets and have developed a fascination with the power of the natural distribution of numbers. I have used various statistical methods to find needles in haystacks for fraud, failing electronic sensors, and bugs in software. I can often draw insights by just viewing scatter graphs. What I have found to be useful is that repeated occurrences of multi variable phenomena tend not to have ties between the first and seconded ranked choices. I also found that Normal Distribution is your friend for finding data instances worthy of further examination, or lower confidence in a particular data set. The math is above me, but my gut tells me that the 50-50 election frequency is very unusual.

      For a fun example of how these data distribution dynamics play out in human generated data, I would invite you to watch this simple explanation of Zipf’s Law. It blew my mind.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The GOP and Team Blue aren’t equals when it comes to electioneering. The GOP aggressively gerrymandered using then cutting edge tech compared to Team Blue (Terry Mac’s accomplishment at the DNC was using those AOL cds to bring the DNC up to the standards of any office place inow 1991, even earlier). The GOP types know the aren’t a national or majority party. Their use of gerrymandering was to project a potential majority and strengthen the minimum members.

        Part of the 2008 House pickups was the result of powerful Republicans who let their districts be carved up to help other GOP members. The post 9/11 environment skewed 2002 results, and 2006 and 2008 were arguably returning to the norm versus huge waves.

        The GOP isn’t looking for a 60-40 win because they can’t get there, and besides 50+1 is the only requirement. They might have candidates everywhere, but it’s to keep Democrats on the defensive. 50-50 is the top goal for the GOP. Cynically it’s the goal of Team Blue too, but the GOP as its currently constructed can’t break past 50+1.

        Without a total collapse, I would argue this is peak GOP performance.

        1. Copeland

          Goal of both teams for sure, and not cynical. OK, I’ll crank up the cynical meter up to 11:

          They are on the same team and they know it. They have largely achieved almost everything they wanted, so no changes required, or allowed. This is all theater, and the (bi-colored) mono-team knows it. Continuation of the political theater is absolutely necessary however, or they will be revealed. Crumbs are tossed here and there to make it all seem plausible, but just barely. Divide and conquer has been achieved, now it is just maintenance. The team is operating at peak performance to perpetuate the existence of the team, that is all.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s a fairly different midterm election. Unlike 1994 and 2010, Biden didn’t engage in a large scale open betrayal, Clinton with NAFTA and Obama with Romney-care and foreclosures. Biden really limped over the finish line. He didn’t dismantle party machinery as there was none, so Team Blue didn’t go into the midterms with every structure falling apart. The 2020 model is probably a good baseline in actual performance for elections without that doofus Hillary or large scale betrayals.

      Then Republican overreach via the courts, and to keep it simple, it should be a Southern rump party.

      1. Carolinian

        it should be a Southern rump party

        Meaning both Repubs and Dems really represent the same coastal elites? Michael Tracy just did a column on how the Repubs are only pretending to oppose–a little bit–Biden’s foreign adventurism.

        Meanwhile around here we have PMC’s who forlornly put up their Dem candidate yard signs but in SC the statewide winners were R down the line.

        Doubtless the country does have a cultural divide and not one that the Dems simply made up. But call it city versus country and as the election showed “country” is half the nation. When it comes to the real problems, including that foreign adventurism, divide and conquer isn’t going to get us there. And since the Dems are the ones who pretend to be concerned about those real problems they are the bigger frauds. They still need to be taken down.

      2. Lee

        “Then Republican …should be a Southern rump party.”

        In terms of geography and resource distribution, the Republicans are also the party of carbon fuel production. For good measure, you could also throw in three more Fs: food, fiber, and fabrication.

        1. pjay

          Food and fiber, maybe, but when it comes to “fabrication” the Democrats can certainly hold their own.

      3. anon in so cal

        “Biden didn’t engage in a large scale open betrayal”

        –US inflation at 40-year high due, in significant part, to Biden’s sanctions on Russia’s oil, gas, fertilizer–which caused global shortages and consequent higher prices.

        –world on brink of nuclear war, due to Biden’s escalated aggression against Russia which started as soon as he took office and which he promised in 2020 when he campaigned on moving NATO eastward.

        It’s only because the American populace is so massively propagandized that the Biden administration and most US pols remain in power.

        1. Carolinian

          I didn’t follow his campaign but wasn’t his pitch “a return to normalcy” after all the Trump hysteria? In reality he’s more of a loose cannon than Trump was. The media paper this over by refusing to talk about it although they do admit he’s not popular.

    3. The Historian

      I’m with you – I too think Trump should just go off and play golf and get out of politics. I think the Republicans would have done much better in this election if they would have made this a referendum on what Biden has/has not done. But instead, Trump inserted himself into this mess and tried to make it about him. I’m hoping the Republicans learn a lesson from this, but like the Democrats, I think they are stuck in a warped mindset where they think what may have worked in the past is what you must do in the future! I guess the people who rule this country are so old that they are now just reliving their ‘glory days’.

      So – now that the 2024 race has started, I expect both parties will react the way they did in 2016 and 2020 – and here we go again!

      1. anon in so cal

        The GOP definitely should have made the election a referendum on Biden’s policies and Trump absolutely needs to fade away.

    4. Lexx

      One party, two faces, in races so tight we can’t even consider a third choice. The stalemate won’t break until the voters realized they have no real representation in Congress. There are no heroes in the drama, just villains with good hair. Everything we see is to keep up the pretense of the U.S. as a democracy.

      It’s entertaining like the Marvel or the DC Universe, where part of the formula is the greater the villain, the better the hero appears, even if all he/she does is survive. The heroes are more virtuous, more powerful, smarter, indefatigable, better looking, better connected and they know when to stop talking. They’re law abiding; they don’t murder.

      Thirty years or so ago I attended a play as part of a package at the Elizabethan in Ashland, Oregon. I can’t recall the name of the play, except that it was “ancient”. Really had no idea about the plot. A half hour into the play I wanted all the characters to die, preferably by each other’s hands – no survivors! With every delivered line the tension in the audience ratcheted up. The Players were horrible people treating each other horribly, and the audience too compelled to watch, wanted them dead. They became unruly, shouting at the characters but no one walked out. They had taken on the role of protecting themselves from the story.

      There must have been some though who sat passively and enjoyed the hate fest.

      If you build a villain up enough you don’t have to be a hero and even very virtuous; you could just play the victim and point.

    5. spud

      i think last nights results were the results of over reach. taking away rights like abortion and environmental protections was a bridge to far.

      kansas gave us a hint, and kentucky rejected a ban on abortions also.

      hinting that social security and medicare were also on the block, as well as more deregulation got out the vote.

      fanatics, fundamentalists, ideologues can never wait till they have a safe majority, they sniff a victory, and act like its set in stone. alito and the other 5 supreme’s and mcconnel should be run out on a rail.

      as far as the house is concerned, it turned out ok there also. the house will now double down on not letting biden get a thing, and the nazi nafta democrats may have their water turned off, we shall see.

      the election last night is a primer for 2024, it looks like 2016 all over again.

      will the nafta democrats self reflect and reform, nope, they to are fanatics, fundamentalists, ideologues, and fascists.

      so be prepared for at least 2 more years of trump derangement syndrome.

      1. orlbucfan

        I think you should pay attention to how many more young Progressives were elected to the U.S. House. We sent one from FL US District 10. The election was a rout. Keep in mind this is after DeSantis and his Tallahassee goons gerrymandered the state yet again.

        1. Offtrail

          That’s how gerrymandering works. You seek to concentrate the opposing party’s voters into a few very partisan districts. If the Republicans did it right, it stands to reason that the Florida congressional delegation would have fewer, but more left-wing, Democratic representatives.

          1. RA

            I’m unsure of Kim Jong-un’s metaphorical tastes in this matter. Perhaps an incisive grilling would clarify things.

    1. c_heale

      I read the story and it seemed to me the question is whether Moon will continue to get funding to look after the dogs. Who else but a politician would expect to get money for looking after a pet?

      Grifters gotta grift…

  7. Ignacio

    RE: Ukraine Russia war – Col Doug Macgregor YouTube. Today’s must listen.

    One can only hope that Sullivan’s barking at R. ears for US intervention was just that. A bark with no real threat behind. But hope is in low doses these days.

    1. polar donkey

      Last night my son’s class (1st grade) had a Veteran’s Day performance. Lots of parents and grandparents there. Had all the veterans stand up who were in the audience. This is in Mississippi, so there were alot. Then had slide show of pictures the veterans submitted. Lots of Iraq and Afghanistan, a few WW2. In my immediate family 4 marines and a sailor. Parts of the country full of deplorables do a lot of fighting and dying for the Empire. Anthony Blinken/Jake Sullivan/Victoria Nuland maniacs at the State Department don’t really have see any of that. Nor do much of PMC.

    2. hemeantwell

      On down in today’s comments I have a link to a National Security Archive article that refers to “policy entrepreneurs,” e.g. Stobe Talbott and Leon Panetta, who worked to undermine the elements of Clinton’s “Partnership for Peace” that would have brought Russia into European security planning. I had thought of such entrepreneurial scrambling in terms of factional jockeying and career enhancement, but Macgregor’s youtube segment today made me realize that we also need to be looking at money flows. To bring it into focus, how is the US military going to feel about a Bodybags for Bux policy? Is that moving some Pentagon types to talk with Macgregor? Can Mississippi patriots (polar donkey’s post) get their heads around this?

  8. Carolinian

    Interesting article about Shelley. Of course a lot of women might say that free love is a male scam designed to skip out of child care. Perhaps only a financially secure creative class gets to concentrate more on their “vibrating nerves” than the practicalities. Byron after all was Lord Byron and quite rich.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think it’s usually the classes at either side of middle that is usually most enthusiastic about free love, or whatever it’s called. In almost every culture it’s always been the aristos and the very poor and landless who do what they want, it’s the aspiring middle (lower and upper) classes and rural landowning classes who are always the most enthusiastic about upholding contemporary morality. The former because it’s a class marker, the latter because they don’t want any confusion about who inherits the land.

      1. LifelongLib

        I’m too lazy to look it up, but there’s some old saying about middle-class morality along the lines of “the rich don’t want it, the poor cannot afford it”.

      2. eg

        This exact analysis is offered in Shaw’s “Pygmalion” where Alfred P. Doolittle, common dustman, represents the poor who can’t afford “middle class morality.” The amorality of the upper classes aren’t represented by any particular character as I recall.

      3. hunkerdown

        When I was in the lifestyles, my BDSM community was chiefly peopled by lower-middles and upper-middles, some of the latter whom owned Houses, let out rooms, ran parties, served the community and its institutions. (As much as I may bxtch about the Puritans, if they adapted to the challenges of social reproduction in the modern day by sexing things up a bit, Godspeed them.) The poly events, OTOH, were heavily PMC and creative class, and their mating dances were rather complex. I’ve never qualified for swing, so I could only guess it is popular with middle-class suburban householders looking for a bit of fun that will stay in its box between servings.

        I confess that I’ve no idea what rich people mixing is like. Poors, for their part, play a lot of jealousy and cheating games when they bother; I was never really sure how much they really cared. A few just fall into don’t-ask-don’t-tell affairs while the more sophisticated among them might try “relationship anarchy” along with a splash of other classes. The tradesmen seemed the most genuinely arsed about cheating. I don’t recall seeing very many of them in the lifestyles, either, thinking on it.

        All that could vary regionally, of course.

  9. BillS

    >>EU Commission says price cap impossible

    Well..Duh! How long did it take these idiots to recognize this fact? Belgium, Italy, Greece and..especially Poland are truly screwed – governed by howling monkeys in the Garden. (To be fair, since ousting the Draghi oligarchy, Italy has probably already changed its mind.) Now we need the Commission to say that it will not follow the USA into the abyss. I wonder how long that will take.

    1. hemeantwell

      In the article Streeck makes a passing reference to the “subversion within the US of Clinton’s Partnership for Peace” c mid-90s. I found a link to the results of some National Security Archive FOIA digging that’s illuminating. The quotation below seems to reflect the same sorts of State Department/military tensions we’re seeing now and helps to put more meat on the bones of the idea that the US is not “agreement capable.” We could play that off Macgregor’s point in today’s youtube vid that hawks are interesting in foundation support.

      In a phone call on July 5, 1994, Clinton told Yeltsin “I would like us to focus on the Partnership for Peace program” not NATO. At the same time, however, “policy entrepreneurs” in Washington were revving up the bureaucratic process for more rapid NATO enlargement than expected either by Moscow or the Pentagon,[1] which was committed to the Partnership for Peace as the main venue for security integration of Europe, not least because it could include Russia and Ukraine.[2]

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah,lol…one of my numerous further political awakenings.
        i lived in austin back then, and had access to various alternative press and indy bookstores. pre internet for most folks i knew, but i remember being aware of all those shenanigans(it was on the cover of Time, too,lol).

        1. RA

          Re: finding pre-internet info

          Circa 1968 I was drafted into the infantry, winning an expenses paid walking tour of S. Vietnam.

          While I was there I got myself a subscription to the Los Angeles Free Press.

          It gave me great joy to have the USPS and then US Army dutifully deliver the issues to me. Often the last leg was via helicopter. In it is where I first became aware of “Ronnie Ray-gun”.

          Here’s a link to a picture of my friend Ric reading on of my issues of the FP.


      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        And Russia in NATO would likely mean a radically different defense posture and potential for two sets of weapon systems. For conscription based outfits, the Soviet influenced weaponry would be more appealing.

    2. pjay

      I agree. A very depressing must-read. Streeck describes a Germany in which the space for *any* critical discourse has almost completely disappeared:

      “Bizarre things are happening, with public consideration of them tightly managed by an alliance of the centrist parties and the media, and supported to an amazing extent by self-imposed censorship in civil society. Before one’s eyes, an apparently democratically governed mid-sized regional power is being turned, and is actively turning itself, into a transatlantic dependency of the Great American War Machines, from NATO to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon to the NSA, and the CIA to the National Security Council.”

      The repression of any counter-narrative seems more complete in Germany than in the US, even though the Ukrainian conflict is a more direct existential threat to the former. Streeck describes a situation in which the entire German Establishment has been seemingly hijacked by delusional ideology. I keep asking: how is this possible, given some very obvious interests by the German people in a more realist perspective?

      1. JBird4049

        >>>an alliance of the centrist parties and the media, and supported to an amazing extent by self-imposed censorship in civil society.

        I would wonder about the centrist bit. I would guess, as in the United States, it all economic conservatives (or what passes for conservative) being labeled centrist, much like the Democratic Party is a “liberal” or “left wing” party when they are conservative.

      2. Chas

        It’s incredible what’s happening to Germany. What would Bismarck think? Maybe the best future for Germany would be as a US state. Germany doesn’t appear to be too much further from the US mainland than Hawaii. Or perhaps official US colony status, like Puerto Rico.

      3. Kouros

        The hope that maybe they can stick it to the Russians this time, even if as junior “partners”. Germany’s face without a nose is not very marketable, as Xi remarked in his speech…

      4. Felix_47

        We have had 70 years of American occupation. All of our educated class, the PMC, have studied or lived in England or the US. In many of our towns, including where I live, at least half of the people have American relatives. If Germany is destroyed they have easy access to the US.

    3. John Steinbach

      “Getting Closer” was an eye-opener for me. It describes a Germany whose political leadership is almost entirely in thrall to the US. He talks about the ongoing criminalization of any speech that challenges the official narrative or even any criticism of the US or the war.

      1. JEHR

        Canada and the US have a relationship not dissimilar to Ukraine and Russa. Canada has the resources and space and compliant government needed for the use of the US. Maybe, Ukraine is our future!

    4. KD

      Pretty chilling article. . . and the “war crimes” denial business is insane. The Holocaust Denial laws, making empirical facts into religious doctrines subject to blasphemy prosecutions, may have some kind of justification given German history. But blasphemy prosecutions for questioning NATO war propaganda is full on anti-liberalism.

    5. PlutoniumKun

      Its an excellent read, even if I did have to look up the word ‘epigonal’. I’d never heard that word before, trust a German to get me reaching for the dictionary.

    6. caucus99percenter

      It’s a good recap of what I’ve observed living in Germany these many years — and why, for want of anything better, I currently tend to root for the AfD.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Poland draws a line in the sand with the EU: ‘We fulfilled the requirements, and we are owed the funds,’ says Polish president”

    I believe that countries like Poland pooled their money into a EU wide pandemic recovery fund but then the EU gave them a laundry list of requirements that they had to meet which amounted to restructuring their society before they got any of that money. So any money that Poland kicked in is now basically gone. And of course there is no gratitude for everything that Poland has done in the present war in the Ukraine by the EU and NATO – or do I repeat myself? Well there is now blowback. The EU has now stated that they want all the countries of the EU to kick in money for a Ukrainian recovery fund operated out of Brussels where I am sure that it will all go to the Ukraine from there. Yeah, it’s a slush fund. But Hungary has already said not a chance and any aid or money will go direct from Hungary to the Ukraine so it sounds like there would be no surprise if Poland did the same.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Washington Post Claims Voters Want Cuts in Social Security and Medicare”

    Through slack security, the Washington Post accidentally emailed out the names of the voters that want cuts in Social Security and Medicare with that survey. They include Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Warren Buffet, Sergey Brin and other like names.

    1. All Ice

      Rather than express their biased options on other’s income sources, those high profile voters (Musk, Bezos, etal,) deserve nothing less than to actually pay taxes, without the benefit of their loopholes, based on the historically highest marginal income tax rates that were in effect from 1951 to 1963 of 91+%. The world cannot afford to maintain these obscene billionaire grifters who have no sense of decency.

    2. Mildred Montana

      Warren Buffet? Seriously? I find this hard to believe since Warren Buffet, whatever his faults and despite his colossal wealth, has always been outspoken about the inequities of the tax system—and the system in general.

      1. Bakes

        I suspect Mr. Buffet wants his secretary to be taxed at the same low rate as himself. Which might necessitate cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

        In short, these two views are not mutually incompatible.

      2. c_heale

        Buffet gets a good press but his investments are often not as squeaky clean as is made out. I’m not certain but doesn’t he have a lot of money in railroads. The same railroads that won’t give their workers sick leave and don’t appear to have much of an emphasis on safety.

  12. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    The all important resistance level of $18k on Bitcoin has been breached and seawater is coming in, but frankly i’m not worried about the outcome of my income, and feel certain market forces will step in and get ‘R done and back over $20k, pretty please.

    1. Acacia

      After an initial overture, Binance took a peek at FTX’s books and decided “nuh uh”. News spread and cryptos tanked harder.

  13. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Sony To Begin Plastic Packaging Phase-out Next Year

    The article is a little unclear, but it seems to be about the package the product is put into for display, shipping, etc., not the actual product itself.

    And Sony sure is behind the times — the new PCs I got from Dell earlier this year all arrived packed in cardboard packing, with cardboard dividers, barriers, and whatnot to stabilize and protect the contents. The only plastic packaging was the thin plastic/foam wrapper for the monitor screen, the plastic coated twist-ties for the cables, and the little sleeve that held the dozen pages of regulatory warnings. Actually, rather impressive. Historically all this stuff would have been embedded in some sort of extruded or shaped plastic foam stuff.

  14. Wukchumni

    Vermont Woman Mauled by Bear in Her Backyard While Letting Dog Out: ‘It Was Terrifying’ People. Resilc: “25 miles north from me. A neighbor down the street had his shed door broken into by a bear to get into a 5 gal covered tub of bird feed.

    Black bears have a sense of smell 7x as strong as a dog, so they’re gonna ferret out food even if its indoors.

    Our bruins in Cali rarely put the hurt on somebody, although this year they’ve been more commonplace in the foothills than usual with 6 of my 12 sightings so far being in the lowlands.

    This is indicative that they can’t make a living in their usual 3k to 8k altitude haunts~

    Black bears aren’t usually killers of other animals aside from really young deer, but watch out if you have a chicken coop around these parts for fowl play. It isn’t as if anybody has a ‘bear-resistant’ chicken coop, so they’re easy prey.

    1. anon in so cal

      Tremendous angst on social media and telegram over Russia’s plan to withdraw to the left bank of the Dnieper.. Apparently due to supply line issues.

      “Surovikin in his first public speech spoke about “difficult decisions”, so the new reality should not be a shocking factor for anyone. The retreat to the left bank of the Dnieper is a military necessity. Until the end, I wanted to believe that the situation would change and there would be no “difficult decisions”, but no. The Russian territory, which was occupied by the enemy has increased, the summer campaign is not in our favor. but these are the fruits of spring action. A new crop will need to be harvested.”

      But—-Ukraine propaganda is at work:

      The Ukrainian TG channel “Resident” reports:

      “Our source in the OP said that the Office of the President instructed to pump as much as possible the topic in the Russian telegram about the betrayal and weakness of the Russian army. On Bankova they want to use the case of the surrender of Kherson, to discredit the Kremlin’s policy inside Russia.”

        1. All Ice

          Agreed. The Dneiper is expected to freeze over by the first week in January. River ice will make any Uk offensive even more precarious for the attacker.

        2. Daryl

          I mean, if they were withdrawing due to actual supply issues, would they hold a press conference to announce it? I’m not Alexander Suvorov over here but smells pretty fishy.

        3. Polar Socialist

          So also sayeth the Ukrainian Southern Command and French Military Intelligence (and they claim to have informed Ukrainians, too). This has all the signs of big time “maskirovka”.

          But who knows? Either they will actually withdraw and continue the build-up, or maybe the Russian winter offensive begins next weekend when Ukrainians are still reacting to this. That’s the whole point of “maskirovka”, keep the enemy confused.

      1. curlydan

        To me, that first quoted paragraph above sounds like a new CEO moving into a company and admitting it’s a little [bleeped], then making cuts and re-orgs so that any future success will be branded as his accomplishments.

      2. pjay

        Yes. This move has been discussed for weeks. Not a surprise. But you are right that the social media angst by supposedly “pro-Russian” commentators has been through the roof – once again. And no doubt the Ukrainian “victory” celebrations in the media will be long and loud – once again. As usual, I’ll try to ignore most of their idiotic babbling and wait to see what actually happens.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          If Russia does not take it back soon, this will help secure the US Ukraine funding package. The best logic I can see is that Russia is confident it can prostrate Ukraine through attacks on the electrical grid and will take the most conservative military posture until that has happened. They may be baiting Ukraine too, but I see that as less likely.

          1. NotThisAgain

            I am absolutely not a military expert by any means (I simply get confused whenever I see those maps with arrows drawn all over the place, to take a particularly glaring and embarrassing example), but I’m not sure what else Russia should have done.

            It is conserving people while building up its 300k additional force and allowing the Ukrainians to (temporarily) gain land at an unsustainably exorbitant cost in terms of blood and equipment. I am *not* cheering a side in this, but I can’t understand how the Ukrainians can fight for anything more than a few more months.

            As for securing the US funding package, I can only point to a quote from the “Big Serge” article that NC linked to many weeks ago:

            In short, because Ukraine has little indigenous production and logistics, the west is bearing the actual industrial and financial burden of the war for them, and this burden is becoming far heavier than western planners expected. The logic of the proxy has been reversed; Ukraine has become a vampiric force, draining the west of equipment and munitions.

            Of course, I could be wrong. But I am not sure why so many people taking the opposite opinion–that this is a significant setback–are so certain that they are right.

  15. Wukchumni

    ‘They will not de-fetus!’

    As a slogan seemed to pull the Donkey Show’s fat out of the fire @ mid-term but what do they do for an encore when they’re really showing they’ve got nothing to rally the party faithful around once Roe vs Wade goes away, missionary accomplished?

    1. ambrit

      I expect the Dems to soon put out a “Missionary Position Paper” on their “Voter Buggery Policy.” Call it a “Democrat Party Karma Sutra.”
      When Austerity becomes the law of the land, soon, very soon, Yellen can stand up before the FED Board and intone; “Now I have become Dearth, the destroyer of social safety nets.” Who then will have the nerve to Teller that the fusion centres will accelerate national fission?
      Don’t look at me that way. I’m just a lowly worm, eying the billionaire feet above, poised to trample me.
      There’s a new paradigm aborning. Get with the new program. Forget safe. Revolt, however you can.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Revolt, however you can.”
        Amen, to that.
        but one need not be revolting:

        dude was a lunatic, in many ways(met him outside of Bastrop, Texas, early 90’s)…but ive kept coming back to this rant for 35 years, and still can’t refute the gist of it.
        indeed, for all his faults, this rant has become pretty foundational to the foreign policy practice i’ve developed between my 5(20) acres and the rest of the world.

        1. Rainlover

          Thanks, Amfortas. That’s one heck of a rant. The Amish have been dropping out for centuries. Religion holds that together too. I’ve come to the opinion through hard experience that communal living doesn’t work well without an organizing philosophy. It sounds like Ecolibrium is working for you.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            most relevant part, to me:
            “See, the only thing, the only revolutionary act that’s open to this generation is the one I’m outlining—it’s to Drop Out. It’s to turn against the grossness of commerce, the omnipresent commerciality that’s playing lethal tiddly-winks with your soul and with your life. Dropping Out is saying, quite literally, “We’ve had enough—we don’t believe you anymore—it’s way past we don’t trust you anymore, we haven’t trusted you for a long time, but we don’t even believe in the system anymore.” I mean, what has the old disOrder brought you as a generation? What has it brought any of us? It’s brought us to a place where the essences of life are being poisoned, it’s brought us to a place where you can’t drink the water, you can’t breathe the air, you can’t swim in the ocean— and they’re going on with it. And you won’t stop it with protests, organized or not. All the anti-nuke protests, etc.—all of them are a waste of precious Revolutionary energy. Protest has been going on forever. When you protest, it nourishes them. Actually, they love it. They love you to protest, they expect it—it feeds their energy. They know about conflict. They know about protesting and picketing and passive resistance. I’ve done it, I’ve been there and seen that they love the confrontation—dig dealing with it, politicians and cops and National Guard, they understand that, they expect that. They know how to counter you, if you protest, they know how to counter any such action; and they have the force trained and ready and eager to deal with it. So you must understand that protest is a necessary part of the system, keeps the dissenters out in the open, visible, countable, dealable with. Protest is built into the System, co-opted by it, part of the ancient check and checkmate. It hasn’t worked and it’s not going to work. You have to say, “Forget it, I’m dropping out, I’m not going to play your game anymore. I refuse to do anything that will further the cause of this whole competitive economic system that’s ripping off us and the Planet.””

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “Take everything you can from the establishment they want to give— doesn’t make any difference, there’s a new form of morality, a revolutionary morality—they’re the enemy, anything that helps you survive and weakens them is valid. They are the arch criminals of all time, willful terminal Spoilers of the Natural World. It’s War. It’s Revolution. They’re Cozmic Criminals. The Old Society has become a poisoned polluted rotting decaying institution for the criminally insane. The planet will no longer support their madness. Get out— don’t feed it—don’t support it—don’t contribute to it—let it die—…”

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                “You have to cut it out and cut out. Becuase it’s their ball game in their park and you can’t beat them there. The whole Aware faction, the Intellectual Elite of the generation has to say we’re not buying it anymore, we’re not watching and we’re not listening anymore, we’re not going to sit there and glom chips and beer and burn out our eyes and mind, barraged by your programming and masturbatory commercials—not one of which is concerned with anything real, not one commercial for life—not one commercial for saving your kid’s life, or some poor creature that’s being hunted for sport or because it can be processed into perfume or pet food or something, who knows! You’ve got to Drop Out, it’s the only honorable thing left to do and if anybody within the reach of my voice believes what I’m saying, then you have to do it and start preaching the same thing. It’s the only revolution available at this moment.”

                lambert, we may need a thread or something
                lets talk about fallback positions, since both parties are rightwingers, and all.

                1. Tom Pfotzer

                  Yay. Keep it coming, Amfortas.

                  I realize that the constant “atta-boys” are likely to become tedious, so I’m being economical with them. Otherwise, they’d occur more often.


                  Fallback positions. What can little people actually do that materially changes their stance, their vulnerability, restores their sense of self-respect and agency?

                  It may turn out to be a long, interesting and enjoyable list.

            2. tegnost

              When you protest, it nourishes them. Actually, they love it. They love you to protest, they expect it—it feeds their energy.

              see the 1/6 hysteria…
              Thanks for this, it totally describes me.
              It’s a funny life thing, I had a real loneliness thing as a youngster
              I no longer yearn to be accepted…
              and I’m never lonely anymore

  16. antidlc

    Staff changes are coming to the White House. Will Klain be part of them?

    Although Klain is known for urging colleagues to chime in during staff meetings, he can be dismissive of differing views, including from high-ranking Cabinet officials. With Democrats bracing for a midterm drubbing, these officials increasingly blame him for several of the president’s missteps.

    According to people familiar with the internal deliberations, Klain was the foremost advocate for Biden seizing on the July 4 holiday to hold an “Independence from Covid-19” event on the South Lawn. He rejected input from other members of the Covid team who were anxious about declaring victory prematurely, although Biden did include a qualifier, that his words were “not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over.”

    Is NC accepting nominees for the “Sociopath of the Day” Award?

  17. Reader

    To katiebird and anyone else wary of the dentist’s office:

    Video shows how to fashion a nose mask using a NIOSH-approved adhesive N95 (link in the tweet). Wear a regular N95 over that when you’re not being worked on. Gargle and nose spray ASAP after leaving the dentist’s.

    I had a cleaning first thing on a Monday morning. I practiced breathing just through the nose mask the day before. I checked in and out from the car via phone. I avoided the waiting room by entering & leaving via the back door which was fortunately at the end of the hall away from the waiting room and adjacent to my hygienist’s office. She wore a KN95 and there was a (small) HEPA filter in the room. FWIW, I did not develop symptoms or test positive in the weeks after the cleaning.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      I hold a personal air purifier (it’s the size of a monster soda can with a fan and a hepa filter – there should really be a version of this by now that you can wear around your neck) going on high pointed at my face while mouth is open at dentist appointments. It’s also nice to carry as an extra layer of protection in crowded areas to supplement my N95. I haven’t been sick with anything in almost three years and I’m never going back plague or no.

        1. curlydan

          I have one that sounds like RTL’s above. See link below. I use it in my car when I’m transporting my kids and their friends around. It plugs into a USB port or can work off of rechargeable batteries.

          It’s not exactly powerful, but it definitely seems like it’s better than nothing. I have noticed lately that it doesn’t work well in the car when it’s cold. It has to “warm up” a bit to get it rolling.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Where is the evidence that dentist offices are major vectors for Covid transmission? I doubt that there is any evidence. How does it feel to go through life in a constant state of fear? Since the pandemic began in early 2020 I have been to three different dentist offices multiple times. I have not felt at risk of contracting Covid during ANY of the appointments.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        If you keep practicing Covid denialism and attacking readers who are practicing strong Covid protections, you will no longer be welcome here. You can go to hell for encouraging readers to take health risks to conform with your more lax behavior.

        The reason dentists have not had notably high Covid rates is the ADA and CDC have pushed strict Covid protections. For instance, ~85% of endodontists use N95 masks ( Some also require patients wear masks as soon as the come into the office. Mine annoyingly does neither but does have a HEPA air filter running in each treatment room. She has had what I consider to be a not great level of Covid cases. Her billing staff also wears surgical masks as chin diapers. And you are at risk in the waiting room.

    3. katiebird

      Thank you, Reader – I called around and found a dentist office that uses HEPA filters and masks (not sure if N95 but I used N95) … I’ll check out the nose filter. The appt isn’t till the end of the month, so I have some time to aquire.

  18. semper loquitur

    That Turnbull tweet about Farhana Yamin’s tweet really says it all. Her smug smile, proud of the fact that she is sitting on an airplane full of good-think people. The clueless bragging about making all of the climate catastrophe meetings in a flying climate catastrophe engine. The requisite list of #hashtags to simultaneously let the reader know she is in the know and informing them where to read the latest pile of hor$eshit her ilk are spouting. And of course the id!otic pronouns. These $cum really do believe their own press releases…

    1. c_heale

      These are the people that really don’t believe in climate change. For them it’s just another junket, some dinners, and few speeches with their friends about something they don’t think will ever touch them, since they are so insulated from the everyday effects of climate climate change (and from the rest of human society).

      They are the problem. They are the real climate change deniers.

  19. anon in so cal

    I have used those N95 Readi Masks and recommend them. If I have to enter a building, I wear a size small Readi Mask, cover that with a size Regular Readi Mask, then top that with a more conventional Harley L-188 N95 (I tape that around the perimeter). The Readi Masks also have an eye shield version.

    However, we are still too fearful to go to a dentist. The early 2020 article out of China freaked me out. It’s also the case that Covid cases continue to occur throughout the institution that my dentist is part of. It amazes me that these cases never show up in the Los Angeles County Dept of PH daily reports.

  20. Mikel
    “A surge in COVID-19 cases has spurred lockdowns in the southern Chinese manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, adding to financial pressure that has disrupted global supply chains and sharply slowed growth in the world’s second-largest economy…”

    “China’s southern metropolis of Guangzhou has locked down a third district, as authorities rush to stamp out a widening Covid outbreak and avoid activating the kind of citywide lockdown that devastated Shanghai earlier this year….”

  21. Kouros

    Why is WaPo talking about cuts in Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare? There are 800 billion USD each year for the MIC why are they exempt. Why occupying and entrenching in Syria is a priority for the US Government and not the welfare of its citizens? ((do I sense a whiff of sarcasm here?))

    1. orlbucfan

      Because WAPO is a rag owned and micro-managed by Jeff Bezos. Tragic, as I learned to read on it many decades ago.

  22. Pat

    Well one bright spot in the election for me was Sean Patrick Maloney losing. Sadly The head of the DCCC having to concede does not offer complete shadenfreud after his rat actions in the Attorney General primary which got him the job as DCCC chairman. I’m sure he will fail upwards but in the meanwhile today must be a kick in the pants.

  23. Amfortas the hippie

    a question:
    when did we start spelling “Turkey” as “Turkiye”
    at first i thought it was some other entity…like a turkish(is that still ok?) state gas company or something.
    it reminds me of the switch from “ceylon” to “sri lanka”…or “Rhodesia” to whichever name they became after running those white folks off.
    i imagine that its a similar thing…nationalist throat clearing…like the way we all had to relearn how to spell Kiev.
    net connection at bar is wonky, or i’d attempt a more comprehensive search(router rigging is what i’m out here “working on”.)
    …but i’m unlikely to remember this question…which so far always occurs when i cant look it up to my satisfaction.

    1. Foy

      Amfortas, in 2021, amongst other things, to avoid a pejorative association with turkey the bird (which as a kid was one of my first pejorative associations). From Wiki…

      In January 2020, the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) — the umbrella organisation of Turkish exports — announced that it would use “Made in Türkiye” on all its labels in a bid to standardise branding and the identity of Turkish businesses on the international stage, using the term ‘Türkiye’ across all languages around the world.[35]

      In December 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a circular calling for exports to be labelled “Made in Türkiye”. The circular also stated that in relation to other governmental communications “necessary sensitivity will be shown on the use of the phrase ‘Türkiye’ instead of phrases such as ‘Turkey’, ‘Türkei’, ‘Turquie’ etc.”[36][37] The reason given in the circular for preferring Türkiye was that it “represents and expresses the culture, civilisation, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way”.

      According to Turkish state broadcaster TRT World, it was also to avoid a pejorative association with turkey, the bird

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and not wanting to be associated with a quite magnificent bird.

        1. caucus99percenter

          That’s it! Nationalism. By pressuring us to change our language habits, Erdogan thinks he can get everyone to voluntarily enlist in the PR arm of his neo-Ottoman empire army.

          1. hunkerdown

            I looked up the phonology of the ǧ at long last, and it’s familyblogging silent. I’m mad about that and therefore Mr. Big Prince Turkey Man should not expect me to join up any time soon.

  24. Olde mayte


    Quite out of the blue was the recent announcement that B52 bombers, capable of delivering nuclear weapons, were to be based at Tindal. These are offensive weapons of war and do not relate to the defence of Australia. It is unlikely that Australia would have any say in how they are deployed. Their offensive capabilities are directed entirely against China.

    In the same way that the war in Ukraine changed my view of the EU, the war on China has changed my view of Aus. Still hard to believe this is happening

    1. The Rev Kev

      Same here and I live in the joint. The politicians of both parties are determined to make us an integral part of the empire with a US nuclear attack force stationed in the north and supposedly Aussie nuke submarines cruising off the Chinese/Russian coastline. And they are all on the band(era) wagon as far as the Ukraine is concerned. Talk about your stranger in a strange land.

      1. wilroncanada

        Australia lasted longer as an independent state than did Canada. We switched almost instantly in the mid 1950s from a British colony to a US colony, giving up a nascent aerospace industry to do so. We’ve, with minor exceptions, been like tiny terriorists, snapping at US enemies at their behest ever since. Australia seemingly, has remained somewhat more independent until the last 10 years, even through the US coup of one independent Australian leader.

        1. Kouros

          I am not that sure about this. Canada as a state did not join US in the Vietnam War nor in the second Iraq War.

    2. Foy

      Yep Olde Mayte, we are a complete vassal state now and have gone to the (lap) dogs. Rather disappointed with Albanese foreign policy so far e.g. meeting Zelensky, which is a stunt I would have expected from Morrison not Albanese etc.

      The ten years of so of conservative govt siding up to American interests and people like Abbot saying things like “I’ll shirt front Putin”, does seem to have solidified support for US policy in our Foreign Affairs and defense departments, and cleaned out opposing voices.

      Your link has an error, here is the working link

      1. RobertC

        Thank you for the John Menadue link. I had been limited to sifting ASPI and Lowy Institute for stray crumbs of truth. P&I provides the much needed balance and perspective.

      2. Olde mayte

        Thanks for correcting the link, I also despair cause I thought maybe Labor would have the nous to push back subtly against the empire. But as it turns out, albo et al are either true believers in the imperium or else the threshold for getting whitlam’d is these days far lower than I realised and they don’t think they have any room to move

        1. The Rev Kev

          Before Albo got elected, I said in comments that he was just a party hack. But based on his performance since becoming Prime Minister, I think that the best that can be said of him is ‘lackluster’.

        2. Foy

          ‘or else the threshold for getting whitlam’d is these days far lower than I realised and they don’t think they have any room to move’

          Yes I’m wondering if I have underestimated this aspect as well.

  25. Alex Morfesis

    Credit slips krypto binance “is your money really yours” piece…the article quotes from the “general terms” section” under heading of “relationship of the parties” where the question is what if any responsibility do they have to give you your money back as any form of fiduciary…since they specifically ask you to agree they are NOT your fiduciary…

    Well…under the same “general terms” but 10 headings further down we have…

    “Security interests”
    You undertake NOT to create any security over your fiat monies or digital assets held in any of your Account(s) without our prior written consent.

    Sounds like a crypto “donation” by folks brilliant enough to hand off their funds to binance…a NON us entity with offices somewhere out there somewhere ish…

    Also…the very end of the user agreement where you are not allowed to sue them but need to arbitrate…(and yes…it is badly written by some junior high school Becky imagining she is some paralegal due to her watching judge Judy religiously)…if you have less than 25 grand at stake you don’t actually even get to have a lawyer make a presentation face to face to some mystery arbitrator…it is just handed in as some homework assignment…

    Donating to some kryptofraud master of the universe incel…urgh…..

  26. Michigan Farmer

    The reader comments section on NC is a 24-to-36-hour thing, is it not? All threads go absolutely stone cold after 48 hours, am I right?

    And when will NC get a Reddit type thread system so threads can be collapsed? As the situation stands now, sometimes the comments of one thread, especially when they go on for a bit, run right smack into the next thread and it’s almost impossible to see where one ends and the next begins.

    Also, an email notification when someone responds to a comment would be so nifty.

Comments are closed.