Links 12/14/2022

The Causes of and Responses to Today’s Inflation (PDF) Joseph E. Stiglitz and Ira Regmi, Roosevelt Institute. “Our analysis concludes that today’s inflation is largely driven by supply shocks and sectoral demand shifts, not by excess aggregate demand. Monetary policy, then, is too blunt an instrument because it will greatly reduce inflation only at the cost of unnecessarily high unemployment, with severe adverse distributive consequences.” Perhaps the cruelty is the point.

How does the Consumer Price Index account for the cost of housing? Brookings Institution

Martin Wolf on the economy in 2023 FT


Massive storm to impact the Central and Southern U.S. The Watchers

As the Arctic Warms, Beavers Move In Smithsonian. On beavers as ecosystem engineers, see NC here, here, and here.


Reducing the particles generated by flushing institutional toilets Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. From April, still germane. “Airborne particles play a significant role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A previous study reported that institutional flush-O-meter (FOM) toilets can generate 3–12 times as many droplets as other toilets by splashing (large droplets) and bubble bursting (fine droplets).” Yes, airports use them. Photo (note the lack of tank and the lack of a lid):

Stay safe out there in your holiday travels!

* * *

A liver drug reduces SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells Nature. Hamsters + donated human organs. “A widely used drug called UDCA reduces SARS-CoV-2 infection in human organoid structures, animals and human organs maintained outside the body. Individuals using UDCA for liver conditions are less likely to develop severe COVID-19 than are people who did not use it. UDCA treatment could help to protect people with suppressed immune systems and offer protectionagainst vaccine-resistant variants…. UDCA is widely used, accessible, cost effective, off-patent and easy to manufacture and store — overcoming cost and distribution barriers. It does not target the immune system or the virus itself and could therefore be both effective in people with weak immune systems and protect against viral resistance. It could also be effective in future coronavirus pandemics, because ACE2 is a doorway for many such viruses…. [T]his study is not a clinical trial, and our findings must be validated and confirmed in large groups of individuals who are studied over time.”

* * *

Two Years of U.S. COVID-19 Vaccines Have Prevented Millions of Hospitalizations and Deaths Commonwealth Fund

Urgent Need for Next-Generation COVID-19 Vaccines JAMA. “[I]f immunity that reduced disease transmission could be elicited by a relatively inexpensive, easily administered vaccine stored at room temperature, a much greater fraction of the world’s population could be readily immunized, perhaps slowing the emergence of troubling variants.”

* * *

Why We Fight Peste. The deck: “An introductory letter to the 2022 Public Health Disservice Awards,” similar to my Sociopath of the Day Award. The Achievement in Public Health Disservice is a tie between Stanford (home of the Great Barrington Declaration) and UCSF (home of Vinay Prasad, Bob Wachter, and Monica Gandhi). Worthy winners, certainly, but did not WHO and CDC at least deserve Dishonorable Mentions?


Coronavirus: China stops counting asymptomatic cases as country moves to living with Covid SCMP. Amazing to see the “living with” formulation infect China. It’s almost as if the PMC — in this case, the editors who passed the headline — are the first truly international class (aside from billionaires, of course). Everybody knows what “living with” Covid means, too; it means dying from it, for everyone but those who propagate the “living with trope” (this is Rule #2, but see Invariants #1 and #2).

Unrest in Mongolia: Who Stands to Gain? Indian Punchline

“Online testing is a joke”: How Chinese students cheat on U.S. college entry exams Rest of World. (Founder is Eric Schmidt’s daughter….)

Dear Old Blighty

The NHS is now no match for its foreign counterparts. These are the alternatives The Telegraph. “The mantra of efficiency, which has created “just-in-time” supply chains in many sectors, was imported to the NHS to a degree not seen in most other health systems – especially those with a competitive motive to keep things bright and shiny for their customers.”

European Disunion

EU ministers fail again on gas price cap to contain costs AP

What Is The Reichsbürger Movement Accused Of Trying To Overthrow The German Government? Madras Courier

Thousands in Montenegro clash with police over political tension Andalou Agency

New Not-So-Cold War

Far, far from Ypres” (lyrics):

* * *

The United States Couldn’t Stop Being Stupid if It Wanted To Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

Putin’s annual State of the Nation Address is likely to be held in 2023 — source Tass. Perhaps Putin willl be busy in the meantime?

* * *

Did Russia and China sign a secret defense pact? Responsible Statecraft

U.S. Eyes Giving Ukraine Patriot Missile Defense Systems WSJ

Royal Marines have taken part in ‘high-risk’ covert operations in Ukraine, general reveals for first time Daily Mail. What could go wrong?

Peru’s armed forces to take control of airports, other key infrastructure amid protests South China Morning Post

Lula looks to reduce role of armed forces in Brazilian politics FT

Biden Administration

Lawmakers Announce Bipartisan Breakthrough on Full-Year Omnibus Spending Bill Government Executive

Biden Kills Senate Resolution To End Yemen Genocide Caitlin Johnstone

What the Respect for Marriage Act Actually Does (and Doesn’t Do) Jezebel

Capitol Seizure

Exclusive: An intel analyst tried to prevent the Jan. 6 attack — but DHS failed to act Yahoo News

Intelligence Community

Cambridge University’s Course For Spooks Declassified UK

Police State Watch

The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead In These Times

The Bezzle

SBF’s “dirty money” Axios

Binance CEO says deposits returning to exchange Reuters

Crypto Was Always Smoke and Mirrors The Atlantic

Carlyle to miss deadline for $22bn fund as investors cool on private equity FT


Nuclear fusion reactor ‘breakthrough’ is significant, but light-years away from being useful LiveScience

States Demand That Google, Apple Raise Content Ratings for TikTok WSJ

Apple planning to allow third-party App Store alternatives on the iPhone for the first time 9to5 Mac. Thanks to EU regulators.

Our Famously Free Press

The stuff uncovered in the Twitter whistleblower report @AvidHalaby, Thread Reader. Jawdropping.

Supply Chain

U.S. shale oil output to keep growing, at snail’s pace – EIA Reuters

2023 to Only Be the End of the Beginning of Commodity Market Rebalancing Hellenic Shipping News

More Nations Are Tightening Control of Strategic Mineral Exports Maritime Executive

Sports Desk

Messi, Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to reach World Cup final AP. From the game:

Messi deked that guy really badly. Is Messi like the Shane Warne of soccer?

‘Camel Flu’ Threat At FIFA World Cup? Here’s What Health Authorities Say NDTV

Realignment and Legitimacy

We need the return of the state Tax Research UK

Class Warfare

Railroad Union Votes Out Union President – 100,000 UK Nurses Strike – 500 Authors Protest HarperCollins Payday Report. The only coverage of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen vote as of this writing, remarkably enough. And (of course (and for now)) see Twitter. Two days ago:

And today:

Let the work-to-rule begin!

Workers at one Lake Michigan Credit Union branch are unionizing mLive (marknaess2).

Behind the Key Decision That Left Many Poor Homeowners Without Enough Money to Rebuild after Katrina ProPublica

I Knew You Were Trouble When I Logged In Slate. Ticketmaster.

Antidote du jour (Marku52):

Stylish! And:

Marku52 writes: “Here is our Rescue GMC (Giant Mutant Chihuahua). About twice the weight of a true ChiHua. Genetics says he is part Poodle?”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Sovereignity

    The Reichsbürgers in Germany. I am not particularly enthusiastic about monarchies but I do have a hard time arguing against this:

    A uniting belief among the Reichsbürger is that the current German state lacks sovereignty. They think the western allies (France, the UK and US) supposedly retained control after their occupation of West Germany ended in 1955. Therefore, some believe that the current German state is a puppet regime which does not support the interests of the German people.

    They sometimes refer to it as Deutschland GmbH (Limited), implying it has no power over itself and exists only to enrich its controllers. The name BRD GmbH is also used, referring to the abbreviated name for post-war West Germany.

    1. KD

      Liberal democracy faces a grave threat from reactionary saboteurs intent on stopping the eternal momentum of progress and equality that we see grinding forward in the West, because hate. Sure, the purported reactionary saboteurs seems more like clowns, and no doubt are being infiltrated and guided by national intelligence services, but we still need to take the threat seriously, restrict civil liberties and stop tying the hands of all these spooks and let them protect democracy to insure that the right people stay in power, otherwise we will succumb to authoritarianism.

      1. Sovereignity

        “stopping the eternal momentum of progress and equality that we see grinding forward in the West”

        Would you mind elaborating on this? Where is the “eternal” and “equality” nowadays in the West?

        1. Anders K

          Easy! The eternal progress of the PMC to finally be free of the fetters of unfounded scepticism as to their divine right to feed at the trough! The equality between our needlessly feuding brothers and sisters (and those of other genders, for sure – we love you all)!

          No longer will the talking head on TV be alone int their right to have their opinions echo across doctors offices, pubs and every nursing home! Yea and verily – from now on all voices of equal worth shall resound across the Internet!

          No longer shall the lobbyist be the only one with access and without liability for their opinions and manipulations of elected officials, but all of similar stern moral fiber shall have the same opportunity!

          No longer shall the retired General – or politician – be sole chosen one to go unto the warm bosom of board memberships and big capital gains post employment, but all who have done as good as service to the cause, nation or at least ourselves!

          I have a dream, fellow members of this forum, where a think tank expert – no matter the colour of their coin, or their official party association – can serve the purposes of the rich, wealthy and influential, without being called out for it, without suffering any backlash, and most importantly without having to deal with the hoi polloi!

          I have a dream, that we important people retire to pontificating on television – and online, brethren and sistern – on whether we can afford to spend money, time and resources on things not directly beneficial to our needs, our causes, our pet peeves! I tell you true, that the answer is NO! We can’t do it! We can’t afford to do any of it!

          Join me in my simple, humble dream, my people! Join me as we pull up the ladders, kick down the downtrodden and finally get what we all deserve!


      2. hunkerdown

        Defense of property, in other words. “Right” is a euphemism for “mine”. It’s a matter of ontological security.

  2. Nikkikat

    Funny about chihuahua, I had a miniature pincher that was also huge for the breed. I bought him from a breeder as not show quality. She said unlike his litter mates which met breed standards this pup was going to be too large. He was so tiny as a puppy, I thought she had to wrong. He turned out to weigh 25 pounds a very large miniature pincher. A very interesting breed of dog, he could catch mice better than the cat and made an excellent watch dog.

    1. Wukchumni

      I had a Newfoundchihuhualand which always left onlookers mystified, thinking maybe it was a Shih Tzu that had a tryst or perhaps a Pomeranian pole dancer (you know how those little dogs like to hump legs…) with a David & Goliath fantasy?

      True to form though, it barks & backs up @ the same time…

      1. Anthony Noel

        Ok, was the mother the Newfoundland or the Chihuahua? Cus if she was the Chihuahua, she has my sympathy.

  3. Dewi Clements

    The smallest can be a chihuahua. But they are different, some are bigger, some are smaller. Maybe that one should be less than a chi. But for the most part, the smallest chihuahua, then that smooth-haired, then that long-haired and miniature pinscher. I would definitely take the Pinscher, because although it is small, it is a dog with all the qualities inherent in this species. In second place would put a chihuahua. Its like comparing outstaffing vs outsourcing, unlike the toy terrier, this breed is more perfect both mentally and healthily. The toy terrier is still too raw a breed and I would not mess with these dogs.

    1. Nikkikat

      The miniature pincher was a really great little dog. Very entertaining and smart. He was like a circus dog, He walked around the house on his hind legs, jumped through hoop. Could spring 5 feet in the air and was very good with other dogs and cats. Fun
      Another small dog that is a lot of fun is the Pomeranian. Lots of personality.

      1. Joh

        Boring us who favor Jack Russel Terriers. Smart as a whip but not as high maintenance as a herding dog, like a Border Collie, who are wickedly smart.

        1. spud

          i am on my third one. the second one was the best. he drove my neighbors crazy. heart gave out after 11 years:(

          the current one is very tame by J.R. standards, half britteny, a perfect companion.

  4. upstater

    Shippers, labor, and regulators critical of Union Pacific’s use of embargoes

    Union Pacific’s increasing reliance on embargoes to clear congestion came under fire on Tuesday from shippers, labor unions, and members of the Surface Transportation Board during a daylong hearing.

    Regulators last month ordered UP to explain why it has significantly increased its use of embargoes. With UP running short of train crews, the railroad has issued more than 1,000 embargoes so far this year in response to congestion, compared with just 27 in 2017 — the year before it adopted a lean Precision Scheduled Railroading operating model.

    STB Chairman Martin J. Oberman sought to link UP’s job cuts under PSR to the railroad’s current service problems.

    He noted that UP’s embargoes increased as the number of train and engine employees fell from more than 18,000 in 2017 to 13,173 currently. “As I see it, there’s a direct relationship between the reduction of employees and increase in embargoes even as operating inventory is going down,” Oberman says.

    UP has fewer employees because of operational changes under PSR, including moving its tonnage on far fewer trains, Fritz says. The average daily train count in 2018 was up to 900, Fritz says, compared to between 600 and 650 today. “There’s a ton of work that came out of the network,” he says, so UP doesn’t need as many employees.

    Is there EVER going to be accountability for the sociopathic executives and Wall Street analysts and hedgies pushing PSR? Railroad service quality down, profits up. Plus, operating employees don’t need sick days.

    1. Questa Nota

      They cry out in unison, Muh Efficiency.

      Take one neoclassical engine.
      Couple in a neoliberal one.
      Add on freight from just-in-time and right-sizing, all while streamlining.
      (Note that no people are identified, just processes, as though people become just what?)
      One runaway train heading for Dead Man’s Curve.
      Even Casey Jones couldn’t watch that speed.

    1. griffen

      well Tuesday the 13th was a rather fun turn around the sun so why not do it once more. One more time with feeling!

      SBF getting arrested again would just be worth it. I want to see the man squirm as much as humanly possible.

    2. Wukchumni

      Its been a couple years since I had laser surgery for a torn retina, and the 13th was my lucky day for a check-up.

      They gave me about 10 pages of boxes and lines to fill out, and one asked what medications I was currently on-with 8 lines included to list em’ all.

      I left it blank, and filled in the rest of the report and handed it back to the receptionist who looked it over and then called me back and asked why I didn’t list any medications I was on, and I told her I don’t take any.

      She was kind of dumbfounded that I don’t take anything, living in happy pill land as I do.

        1. Wukchumni

          It was pretty common at intersections with stoplights in the City of Angles to have 2 and sometimes 3 gas stations* on the corners, resulting in ‘gas wars’ when I was a kid, and they’d give you all sorts of stuff with a fill-up and get full service for 2 bits a gallon. (insert ‘can I check your oil and other fluids, along with the tire pressure?’ emoji)

          Those same intersections often have 2 and sometimes 3 chain drug stores where gas stations used to be, and in LA at least, for whatever reason some of the Rx stores are placed kind of cockeyed in a way no other retail building format is done.

          Could you imagine the 20 million in the SoCalist Movement going cold turkey on their meds all @ once?

          * every last one of them had a couple service bays and a mechanic on duty. You’ll rarely see a gas station that works on cars these days.

          1. John Zelnicker

            When I was growing up in Mobile in the 50’s and 60’s there was a major intersection near my house that had 6 (not a typo) gas stations on four corners. And they all had the kind of full service you mention.

            Now there are two banks, one drug store, and one last gas station/convenience store.

      1. Vandemonian

        I had a spell in hospital earlier this year. They had to write me up for paracetamol on request, just so the nurses didn’t waste their time looking for a drug chart that didn’t exist.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Unrest in Mongolia: Who Stands to Gain?”

    ‘The US and the EU will do their utmost to wean Mongolia away from the Sino-Russian orbit, no matter what it takes. Interestingly, a NATO military delegation from Brussels travelled to Ulaanbaatar last week and held two days of talks with the Mongolian military leaders.’

    That is pretty vile stuff that. Mongolia is totally landlocked between China and the Russian Federation. So if something big brews up, the US and EU would just have to let them swing in the breeze as they could do nothing for them – accept to score propaganda points. It would be like China and Russia encouraging North Dakota to rebel, knowing that ultimately that it is surrounded by the rest of the US and Canada.

    1. John

      Leaving the poor suckers for US smooze has always been standard procedure. You have trouble? You are becoming an unnecessary expense? We no longer know you. So sorry.

  6. Not Again

    In an upset, Rail Teamsters in the BLET have voted out incumbent National BLET President Dennis Pierce and elected challenger Eddie Hall.

    They elected the entire slate of previous leadership and Eddie. I suppose the first priority will be to get rid of that interloper, then work on a contract. Poor Eddie Hall is about to find out how Joe Biden feels every day.

    1. flora

      I suppose his win could inspired new challengers to the same-old Vice Pres incumbents in the next election. Looks like they all ran unopposed this time.

    2. CanCyn

      I was thinking the same thing. Here’s hoping that Eddie has a spine of steel. He is going to have to spend his entire time in office fighting the incumbents! Be interesting to see if he quits or assimilates. Much as I’d like to see him change things, the odds are against him unless those members who voted for him stay in the fight & show up at every meeting. I come from a union where my local executive were way too cozy with the college administrators, I know that story. Good luck Eddie!
      Editing after seeing Flora’s note – that lack of opposition doesn’t say much for strong support for Eddie until that next election

    3. Mark Gisleson

      In a battle between a union president and the rest of the union staff, I would bet on the president who can, at least theoretically, get the media’s attention.

      There is only one prize here, and that’s controlling how the contract is neogtiated and what will be in it. Everything else within union purview is just small-time grift. Negotiating a contract is what union members elect their leaders to do. Job 2 would be to protect the pension fund. Nothing else even close to being on members’ radar.

      If Eddie Hall had the smarts to win as an outsider, I’d bet on him to bend the other officers to his will.

  7. SocalJimObjects

    An anecdote for Yves’ ears. A friend of mine just returned for good from Malaysia after living there for many years. She said many many Malaysians are no longer wearing masks.

    1. jefemt

      Malaysia sounds like the US: Many many Americans are no longer wearing masks…

      Picked up my niece at the airport the other day, told her I would be the only one there in a mask. Guess what, I was absolutely correct.

      Freedumb in bumphuc flyover

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Freedumb in bumphuc flyover

        Flyover Land? Oh, heck. Dude, I think the Death Cult is national as even in Über Blue Land the masks are few and the open faced are many. Over at Ian Welsh’s blog, he gives 1.8% of the American workforce, or three million people, as disabled with Long Covid. That does not include workers over sixty-five. Who needs a workforce? I guess the Elites plan to use AI robots for everything, even sex.

    2. communistmole

      Yesterday in a small village in Switzerland (but a tourist hotspot where a Christmas market is currently running): my girlfriend and I had several craftsmen in the house. I had to give each of them a mask.
      Today my girlfriend is on the phone with a colleague who lives nearby: the last day she was in bed with Covid …

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Definitely worth your while: @AvidHalaby, Thread Reader. Jawdropping.

    Let’s see if I understand this: Twitter allowed or tolerated employees loading unauthorized software on their computers, including spyware. What kind of employee loads spyware on a computer? Twitter didn’t back up employees’ computers. Yep, there is something there indicating no central backup, because it broke and was never fixed.

    So the quality of the site and its programming wasn’t cared for.

    The many, many ex-spooks obviously weren’t writing code and protecting functionality.

    So what is / was Twitter? A bubble?

    Click through to the underlying PDF where there’s an assertion that Twitter management knew / allowed governments to penetrate Twitter.

    This is just another facet of the crapification and rent-seeking and tulipmania that are evidenced in the FTX fandango and the rest of the wreckage of the postmodern economy.

    No wonder the foreign-policy elites think that sanctions work. They also seem to believe that Twitter and FTX are “cutting-edge innovations.” And Ukraine’s elites think that they will will the war with daring memes on Twitter.

    What a way to end this year.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can’t add much to your comment but had to bookmark this article to go over later with a mug of coffee. A multibillion dollar corporation and the whole thing was made of the software equivalent of cornflakes boxes, bailing wire and duct tape. Who’d believe it?

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve made mention of Bruce McNall’s little $236 million fraud of 30 years ago, and the whole key to watching le grande swindle unfold is you have no idea how anything looks on the outside looking in while the game is still being played, but come the final act everything becomes obvious to the enormity of the chicanery.

        McNall’s victims were all large brand name banks who didn’t do due diligence when they loaned him extravagant amounts of money on the basis of who he was-not the collateral.

        Late in the game a bank which had loaned $20 million on rare sports memorabilia, got itchy feet and wanted to see the goods, so McNall’s minions combed SoCal sports card stores paying 2 ¢ for ‘commons’ cards which normally fetched 1 ¢ per and every store had oodles of these, oh happy day! They bought a veritable shitlode of them…

        They put them all into bankers boxes, rented a big warehouse chock full of commons from floor to ceiling, and fooled the would be appraisers by quantity-not quality.

        …it bought them a few more weeks

        1. The Rev Kev

          Your story puts me in mind of the true story of a corporation that bought a forest in Greece so that they could cut the trees down and sell the timber at a profit. The deal went through and the local Greeks disappeared over the nearest horizon with the money and when the corporate smarties went to check on their forest, discovered that – it was a forest of saplings about a foot or so tall.

      2. mrsyk

        If only it were made of bubblegum and tin foil. Then it would be easy to fix. Disclaimer: I’m a multigenerational northern New England lad. Everything is repaired with duct tape.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Just took a good hard look at that @AvidHalaby, Thread Reader and jaw-dropping does not even come close to describing the s***show that Twitter is technically. I assume that they are only beginning to address these catastrophic flaws so if people went onto Twitter and found all their files, accounts, everything totally gone, I would not be surprised now to read about it. I’m not on Twitter myself but as a public service, here is the procedure to download your archives if you are-

        So if this is true for Twitter, then how about all the other major Silicon valley platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc?

        1. Taurus

          I wouldn’t extrapolate to other tech companies. If what he alleges is true, it is highly unusual as a setup.

    2. skippy

      I submitted this link right at the top just because it was just soooooo mind bending and expansive wrt the operation of a Corp this size with its MrtCap.

      Oh and I was not being flippant calling out MIT/Sloan either or any of the other elite MBA zombifiers as in the old NC days there was discussion about this … especially the goddess from above that ran HP into the ground and the model[tm] used – too do it – whilst making silly packet whilst being put on a peddle as an exemplar of how to do ***things*** …

      Then some ponder the visage that is SBF in his geek gear, timing and head space adjusted to around the 2+ year mark of heavy drug use [this pill makes me big and this one small thingy], and cult-ish C-suite administration …. oooh its so avant-garde … elites just can’t help themselves thingy … BOOM … NEXT~~~~~

      Makes me consider St. Carlson’s pondering on how the flamethrower was invented …

    1. JohnA

      I must confess to being old enough to have seen Maradona in his prime and always felt he was the GOAT (I am too young to judge Pele and De Stefano), but if Argentina do win on Sunday, I think that crown will have to pass to Messi.
      I also saw a statistic somewhere that Messi had walked more than any other player in the tournament. Who cares, when the few times he runs, he is unstoppable?

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Oh no. It’s now even happening here on NC too. Why is it that lately a not small number of people just have to tell us who The Greatest Ever Player™ is? It seems so ludicrous to me. What is the measure of comparing players, particularly players who play in different positions? What is the measure of comparing different eras? Could you honestly compare, say, Cristiano Ronaldo with Beckenbauer for instance?
        Seems to me that the GOAT thing (and it’s not just football. I see in the NFL and NBA context as well) is saying more about us than it is the actual players.

  9. Nikkikat

    The shock and awe about ticket master is about 40 years too late. This has been going on with ticket master and live nation for years. I have attended hundreds of concerts. I have waited in line over night. I have sat at the computer waiting for the moment they go on sale, only to see seats available in the top nose bleed section. This has been a crooked monopoly since they started doing business. Frankly, the idea that it took the schlocky Taylor Swift tour to bring attention to this business model is a laugh. I can’t even fathom the torture of sitting thru a concert of Taylor Swift’s crapified pop renderings.

    1. earthling

      I remember a kerfuffle about Ticketmaster being horrible back in the day; nobody did anything about it; a few artists tried, but, promotors, venues, artists, and ticketbuyers kept going along with the plan.

      I don’t listen to Ms Swift’s music either, but, she has so much market power, and courage, that she has shaken up streaming services in the past, so that’s one reason why there is attention being paid right now.

      1. Deltron

        Pearl Jam made a valiant attempt to shake up Ticketmaster’s monopoly. They filed an antitrust complaint, triggering a DoJ investigation. Band members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard even spoke during a Congressional subcommittee meeting. However, the DoJ closed its investigation with little/no explanation…and Pearl Jam struggled to tour for a few years due to Ticketmaster’s exclusive arrangements with venues (and PJ eventually gave in for its 1998 tour). Little has changed in 28 years.

        Rolling Stone article from 1995

    2. Wukchumni

      I too have been to hundreds of concerts but few recently (saw the Beach Boys here about 5 years ago-my brother in law played guitar for what amounted to a ‘ghost band’ with only Mike Love as an original member) and while I never camped overnight to procure ducats, I certainly waited a long time in line to get a wristband to get the right to do so, this back in the stone age before this contraption did its thing to society in easing our burden of living.

    3. LY

      For Gen X, the fight that got all the coverage was Pearl Jam. Like the WTO protests, it was not wrong, just early

    4. Ben Joseph

      Recently shopped for tickets for 2 major sporting events on ticketmaster with presale code. In both instances there was a glitch wherein the available seats would disappear when you chose a seating section to choose seats.

      Churchill downs noted the problem and sent would-be purchasers an email promising rectification. The NCAA did not.

      Ticketmaster has absolutely no customer support information at any step of the process. Why should they care when they own the market?

  10. timbers

    U.S. Eyes Giving Ukraine Patriot Missile Defense Systems WSJ

    MoonofAlabama says the Patriots are visible by radar. If true, they may be relatively easy for Russia to locate and destroy even before they can be used. Reportedly Poland’s Patriots will be sent to Ukraine, and Germany’s to Poland.

    New Atlas and others say months of training is needed to operate Patriots. I take that as announcing Patriots to Ukraine is either a gesture with mostly symbolic meaning, or that trained US and NATO forces will accompany and operate the Patriots against Russia.

    If Russia wants to draw red lines or escalate (as in target NATO nations which are undeniably waging war on Russia) this Patriot game moving them all over the place like chess pieces…gives Russia a lot of interpretational leeway to do just that – escalate if she wants.

    1. Polar Socialist

      All radars are emitters, and anything that emits in electromagnetic spectrum can be detected. That’s no the issue. The main problem for Ukraine is that when the war began, they had over 400 Soviet era mobile air-defense units, and now they have only a few trying to keep low profile.

      So a Patriot battery will not make any difference whether it’s allowed to operate with a competent crew without any counter-measures or destroyed the minute it turns it’s radar on the first time. In this war one needs a layered, networked, interlocking and extremely well supplied air-defense system.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Any Patriot missile batteries deployed would have to be kept in the west of Ukraine not far from the Polish border. Can you imagine what would happen if the Ukraine collapsed and one of those Patriot batteries ended up in Moscow’s Central Armed Forces Museum?

      2. Charger01

        Its another form of PR for the western weapons vendors. Much like the Rooskie S400 or the French Exocet systems, the loyal journalists are pointing to the shiny bauble and stating “this will change everything!”….
        John Dolan over at the War News podcast has some choice critical comments about the Patriot system, and about our adventure in the old soviet breadbasket.

      3. John Beech

        You are 100% correct but then, the 30 or so bogus emitters scattered about, and which they light up at the same time, serve to camouflage/bamboozle, agreed? Now it becomes a game of whack-a-mole, especially as they move the battery with some regularity.

        1. Greg

          The battery can’t move very quickly. And 30-60 geraniums (~$1.2m) would seem worth the effort to take out the vaunted American patriot (~$1bn+$3m per missile).

        2. vao

          There has been a story circulating that this is what the Serbs did in 1999, rigging microwave ovens to produce spurious radar-like emissions, whereupon NATO went on bombing decoys instead of actual military equipment.

          Seeing that the Serbian army appeared to be inexplicably resilient to the ferocious bombing campaign, NATO turned to attacking large, immobile, unconcealable civilian targets instead — and this worked.

        3. marku52

          Check out Moon’s article. Patriots use a phased array radar visible to synthetic aperture satellite. It looks quite different than a conventional radar.

          And no, you won’t spoof it with a microwave oven with the door off….

      4. Greg

        The other element appears to be that the Patriot systems are much less mobile than the Soviet systems they’re replacing. So its visible when it turns its radar on, and it can’t “shoot and scoot” (or at least not as easily) so it’s still there fifteen minutes later when friends arrive.

    2. David

      My first thought is that it’s probably about internal US politics. Berletic seemed to think that there would be no new production (I suspect he’s right) and so it’ll be a question of scrounging what they can from elsewhere. But the important point is that, when the Who Lost Ukraine? circus starts up, the administration won’t be vulnerable to accusations that it failed to send Patriot, this potentially war-winning super-weapon. If a handful ever arrive, then this line of criticism is blocked off.

    3. semper loquitur

      They also break easily, if memory serves. I was in an air defense unit many years ago, Stinger systems. The Patriot guys were always complaining about their systems being down and all the maintenance work they demanded, I seem to recall.

        1. ambrit

          OMG Wukchumni. I used to build and fly model rockets. Even went so far as to make a “bazookette” out of an old carpet roll core. Put fore and aft stableizer fins on the “delivery system” and there went the cops one Halloween Night. [It was a fun chase. We got away.]
          As I have heard attributed to Dylan Thomas; “I have a robust disrespect for the law.”

          1. Wukchumni

            In theory budding rocketeers were always advised to launch in the middle of the school field or some venue large enough that you could chase it down after apogee.

            I wasn’t buying that and instead went for a suburban launch site on my driveway, lightin’ em off and chasing em’ down, with wind drift and unscalable fences contributing to a higher loss factor.

            My mom told me a few years ago that one of our neighbors @ the time was quite convinced ‘that her little Wernher Von Braun’ was going to burn the neighborhood up with the wadding that tended to burn when ejected and protecting the parachute.

            Nothing ever happened, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying!

          2. skippy

            Flaming tennis ball hand held cannons would seem a more apt Ukrainian parallel ….

            Three old coke cans with tab openings duck taped opposite of each other to create baffle and tennis ball can with bottom removed at the top. 20 penny nail hole near base of bottom can. Squirt a bit of lighter fluid in and spin around with arm extended for at least 10 times to change fluid into a gas. For a good time at night add some lighter fluid to the tennis ball. Insert ball into tennis can and hold flame to the nail hole at the bottom …. Wheeee …. about 200 yards of flight time ….

            Pro tips … quality of duck tape matters heaps, duck tape should be replaced in advance of showing ware … less one end up like some old black and white comedic punch line …

            Oh and tennis ball cannon wars with other kids on different streets can get frisky. During one such war on kid popped his head over a fence and got properly sconed on the forehead, blew him clean off, hit from about 10m from cannon ….

            Spent the week with a perfect round bruise on his forehead for a week at school. Think some parents had a talk after that because the wars suddenly stopped in a blink of an eye …

            Where are the parents now … eh …

            1. ambrit

              Yow! Bottle rocket wars! A bit of 3/4″ electrical conduit, a slit cut up from the bottom of the tube for the fuse, and “fore and aft handles” for aiming. Getting the length of tube right was the tricky part.
              Ah, innocent days when ‘risk taking’ by kids was taken for granted. The “good” adults tried to moderate the risk factors. Then treat the results as “teachable moments” (assuming the ‘risk takers’ survived,) and send the youngsters off better prepared to face life’s travails.
              As Phyl once mentioned to one of our daughters, “Helicopter parents ruin lives.” She did not receive a positive response to that comment.
              Be safe.

      1. Glen

        But it does generate the most profit of all the missle systems.

        Just like the comment on American railroads above, record profits, but less capable than it was even four years ago.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Eyes Giving Ukraine Patriot Missile Defense Systems”

    Is that wise? It would take the Ukrainians several months to learn the basics of this system. So either they will not be sent until mid next year or else they will be manned by NATO troops. You know the drill. An American, German, etc, resigns from their respective army, immediately takes up a contract with a corporation to man that gear, and if they are still alive at war’s end, they go back to their respective army and get promotions, choice assignments, etc. But think about this. They will be used to take out those Russian drones that have been taking apart Ukrainian targets. And these drones cost, what, about $20,000 each? Point is, each of those Patriot missiles cost about $3,000,000 each. And I would guess that they would be fired off in salvos. That does not sound cost effective to me. Brian Berletic at the New Atlas put together a video talking about this development and the ramifications- (25:55 mins)

    But here is a point not mentioned. I think that the maximum range for some of those missiles is about 100 miles. So what happens if the Ukrainians decide to target a Russian civilian airliner inside Russia with them?

    1. timbers

      Long time dog walker acquaintance who retired from Raytheon always speaks glowingly of the Patriot missiles as if they are some sort of cure-all. Yet most analysis I’ve read on them says they are not particularly good.

        1. Michaelmas

          Rev Kev: …those Patriot missile systems did not do so well against Houthi drones attacking Saudi Arabia

          All anti-missile missile systems are oversold. Patriots are the worst, the Russian S-400 Triumf and Pantsir systems may be the best. But ultimately no reliable, fully comprehensive anti-missile defense is possible. (Well, unless long-range, high energy weapons that don’t attenuate their focus become possible, a la Star Trek, and whoever had those could just deploy them as offensive weapons.)

          Still, as Heraclitus said, ‘War is the father of all things,” especially technology-wise. On the counter-drone and anti-loitering munitions side of things, new technologies are showing up. This company, Fortem Technologies —

          — which got the contract for anti-drone defense at the soccer world cup, has now been secretly deployed in Ukraine by Washington.

          People like to worry about lethal military applications of AI — murderbots, essentially. Given that it’s feasible to electronically jam drones and drone networks fairly easily, drones are where such unconstrained AI is likeliest to be tried first.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Drug dealers often have rules about getting high on your own supply.

        Perhaps raytheon employees would benefit from a similar such practice?

      2. t

        Rarely mentioned aspect of dog ownership- great opportunity for long ongoing conversations with people you wouldn’t otherwise spend time with or have access to. Similar to being young and female but without the ick factor. Probably half the the things I know that I should not know, I learned while working dogs.

        1. Jeff V

          I do miss women coming up to me and exclaiming “You’re so cute!” Men tended to say things like “That must take a lot of brushing.”

          Maybe I should think about getting another dog.

          1. BobW

            I had a Sheltie, 15 lbs. fully grown, who would prance, not walk. Talk about a chick magnet. Unfortunately, the charming effect did not always transfer to me.

    2. KD

      The narrative is that the West is giving Ukraine wonder weapons to defeat the Russians. The West is out of javelins, 155mm shells, HIMARS, so why not Patriot missiles to keep the narrative going. Sure it won’t do any good in the real world, but you have to think like a powerpoint warrior. Russia appears to be taking a cautious approach, presumably not to escalate, so what is a couple civilian airlines? The Ukrainians are allegedly castrating and maiming Russian POW’s when they are not just being slaughtered on the spot, bombing civilians in Donbas, killing Russian ethnics on suspicion of collaboration, and they apparently put a hit on Dugin and his daughter, and they blew up a bridge in Crimea and maybe NS2. If that is not enough to get the Russians to go on tilt, then a couple airliners probably won’t do the job.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        I thought of that too (downing a RU civilian airliner), but I don’t think it’s feasible. RU civilian airspace near UKR has been closed since 24 Feb. To get a Patriot launcher in range of current internal RU civil air corridors, it would have to be placed pretty close to the RU border, and even then it would be a hail mary pass. Which would put its operators (almost certainly NATO personnel, as it will take several months to get UKR troops up to speed) at grave risk of being killed, and more to the point (since Uncle Joe’s administration likely doesn’t care if a few more Polish or Romanian volunteers bite the dust in UKR) it would leave the Patriots vulnerable to being captured by RU. Which would be quite the coup; I doubt that the Patriot is any better than the S-400/500, but RU military technicians would love to study the Patriot to understand how to counter it.

        I think the deployment of the Patriot to UKR (assuming it actually happens) has more to do with USA politics (note the odd timing of this announcement, just before Xmas during a lame duck congress) and less to do with any military strategy. And if they are actually deployed, they’ll be placed around Lviv to provide some degree of protection for NATO assets there.

        1. digi_owl

          > RU civilian airspace near UKR has been closed since 24 Feb.

          Smart move. To this day i wonder if Ukraine wanted some incident to happen when they kept the airspace open over Donbass back in 2014.

    3. John Zelnicker

      Two details, Rev.

      According to Moon of Alabama the drones cost only about $10k, and the range is about 60 kilometers (~37miles).

  12. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon mourned the loss of FTX and arranged with FTD to send a dozen blood red roses to shun of Sam, where if desperation sets in on a prison diet of Underwood Deviled Ham (comes gift wrapped-just add a festive bow and it makes the perfect office xmas party gift!) and pork rinds… he can eat the rose hips, which are full of Vitamin C-incidentally.

    We had no clue as to how to resupply his Rx meds, and thought if he still had that $100k, hey-that’d be a few month supply.

  13. JohnnyGL

    Re: World Cup

    I hope the community at nakedcap can get behind a really wonderful underdog story in Morocco, Africa’s first semi-finalist in history.

    Beating France today would probably make them the greatest cinderella story in soccer history.

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard when the striker clocks 11, the Cinderella story comes to an end and soccer boots turn into little glass slippers.

    2. LY

      Greece and Denmark at the Euros are arguably bigger underdogs. Denmark only made the tournament as a late substitute for an imploding Yugoslavia.

    3. John Beech

      Good luck, Morocco!

      Know very little – but know this – lot of emotional colonial-baggage with them and France riding on this game. Been more than 100 years since they legally became a protectorate, and logically, a long time for the good to wear thin.

      Saying there’s a lot of modern day chaffing at this event and the throwing off of the yoke such that they’ve never forgotten what some perceive as being sold down the river.

      But it’s all good clean fun, right? That, and no matter who faces an aging Messi and the Argentines, the final will be fun to watch.

  14. timbers

    Did Russia and China sign a secret defense pact? Responsible Statecraft

    Aside from being shocked that an analyst in this article mentions evidence to support his skepticism (didn’t know Western analysis of Russia/China used evidence any longer), over all reaction is: Does it really matter if they signed a defense pact, or not?

    Go watch yesterday’s Duran “China slams Merkel.” The Chinese govt mouthpiece did a long skewering of Western lies and hypocrisy so well as to be almost indistinguishable from Putin/Russian framing of the West. Russia and China are on the same page and the West’s game is being called out.

    1. Judith

      Here is the Global Times opinion article that Alexander Mercouris analyzes and that he thinks represents the thinking of the Chinese government.

      Merkel’s confession about the Minsk agreements also showed that some Western countries, particularly the US, do not honor contractual obligations at all. They can go back on their words so easily.

      The agreement the US wants is never about credibility; it is all about interests. An agreement is seen as useful by the US when it can advance the country’s interests; otherwise, Washington is always ready to deny it. This is exemplified by US’ withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Washington also adopts a double standard to advance its allies’ interests when carrying out the agreement.

      The US and several other Western countries have become “defaulters” in the international community. They dare to break their promises because they are protected by the Western hegemony with the US at its core. Washington has already hijacked many other Western countries to join such a hegemony, creating and maintaining a distorted international order.

      1. All Ice

        “The US and several other Western countries have become “defaulters” in the international community. They dare to break their promises because they are protected by the Western hegemony with the US at its core.”

        Wow. That’s important.
        So China does not view the US as the hegemon when it acts alone, but only if/when it is supported in lock step by its NATO allies.

      2. c_heale

        It was the same with the British Empire, perhaps all empires. The UK got the name of Perfidious Albion back in the 14th century or before according to Wikipedia. Maybe it’s an Anglo Saxon thing… lol

  15. John Beech

    Respectfully, I disagree with ‘Thanks to EU regulators.’ with regard to 3rd party Apple apps availability. Why? For the very reason why I prefer to use an Apple iPhone instead of a an Android, the vetting they give the apps. The imprimatur of safety I feel when I add an app to my device, which I don’t get with the Google store apps.

    After all, there’s a reason so many more dangerous apps lead to problems with the alternative phones on the market from Samsung, Google, Xomi, etc. That, plus the widespread proliferation of junk apps on the phones of different manufacturers.

    So the EU is doing me no favors for hating Apple. As for the 30% take, you pony up that, and more, every time you buy something in a store. It’s the take required for a business to operate. Hate Apple for it? Think it’s too much as a %? Fine, develop your own phone, your own store and have at it. Anything less is an adherence to an -ism I don’t have a taste for.

    Facts are the profit motive has put more products on the market than any other. If it were up to me, I’d tell the EU to stuff it and let’s see what Apple customers on the Continent then have to say to their political representatives.

    Me? I’m thinking the EU backstrokes out of that lickity-split once they begin hearing from constituents angry at losing something they own. Be a valuable lesson for politicians worldwide, too.

    1. hunkerdown

      You don’t have to use third party app stores if you don’t want to. Who do you think you are to stand in the way of me using other app stores on my phone? Puritans need to keep their opinions out of other people’s property and on themselves and their households ONLY.

      1. David

        I have to say, as a sufferer, that the EU’s recent policies of “competition at any price” have had a devastating effect on everyday life. In the past, France was a net exporter of electricity: now, with “free and fair competition” there’s an energy shortage. The results of “free and fair ” competition in gas supply are eagerly awaited next year by the makers of thermal underwear. Oh, and let’s not talk about the deregulation of train services. Brussels has an ideological obsession with “competition” as an end it itself, that causes havoc everywhere.

        In reality, I don’t think this is much of an issue, because, in an ecosystem where most apps are free, have a free level or are very cheap, it’s hard to see how other App Stores can actually be profitable. I suspect their main advantages will be for those who want to download pirated software, or upload malware and trojans, which is going to cause trouble for the rest of us.

        1. hunkerdown

          I agree that the EU’s approach to competition is fetishistic and their belief in the essential friction-freedom of markets deluded, but:

          > which is going to cause trouble for the rest of us.

          How so? Unauthorized usage displaces profit which ostensibly could (but generally won’t) be used to improve the product, sure, but those who are scared of downloading malware from other markets, don’t have to. Branding, user experience, and curation are important properties of an app store. I don’t see anyone going so far as to commodify the retailer to the point where they would compete on the same app’s price. (And I don’t see the EU allowing naughty app stores to stick around for long.)

          Try this on for size: Adobe would be first in line to legitimize the effort with their own app store, to pick up two big markets Apple doesn’t want to be bothered with. First, Apple’s app store guidelines reject certain important kinds of apps, like enterprise framework applications that are customized by customer code, and static web sites in app form. Their enterprise program comes with inconveniences, such as a 100-user limit. Adobe have enough respect in the enterprise and creative markets to build a software distribution channel that satisfies everyone involved, from a convocation in the wilderness to a census of a nation. Second, third-party developers have been important to Adobe’s dominance in creative software, and plugin developers would enjoy one-stop marketing integration with their host products. Adobe, for their part, could easily extend pay-per-use and other payment terms to every asset in their store, collecting a lot of loose change.

        2. John Beech

          My point, David, thank you. Put another way, be careful what you wish for!

          But, honestly, whatever, because I’ll stick to the ‘official’ app store and those like hunkerdown who don’t mind taking on added risks should be free to opt to save a few bucks. He’s right, I’m wrong . . . and it’s no skin off my nose, anyway.

        3. hunkerdown

          I have a longer response in the queue, but there are certain use cases being very much not served by Apple’s consumer-oriented app store model. Instead of “app store”, where one might mistakenly construe the commodification of the store to the point of competition on mere price for some particular app, consider the “right to use the software management API to install software on users’ devices”, and competing on distribution strategy as well. Imagine Adobe running an app store for enterprise customers who might need to deploy a private app across 100k employees’ devices, or for their creative software plugin vendors who might want a simplified distribution process for a more constrained code module, and to integrate pay-per-use and other billing models seamlessly. Apple can’t be bothered to serve those concerns.

          1. David

            Oddly enough I think we’re probably talking about the same thing. After all, some approved software manufacturers elect not (or not only) to sell through the Mac App Store, but through their own sites. (Omnigroup is one, I think.) You could expand the logic fairly easily to iOS. And “stores” like that seem to me to be the only way in which third parties could actually make any money.

            But that doesn’t seem to me to be what the teenage tech journalists and the mad bureaucrats in Brussels want. For them, everything should be free, and “the market” will unfailingly guide consumers towards those App Stores which are not ridden with trojans and spyware. One lesson learned painfully over the decades is that any kind of money-making scam that is technically feasible will eventually be deployed, and eventually some twisted genius will work out how, for example, to produce software that loads a trojan onto your phone when you make Bluetooth contact with an infected model. This will likely result in endless software updates, and endless scare stories by the same journalists now screaming for more App Stores about how Apple can “no longer be trusted.”
            Me, I just want a simple life.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Err, Bluetooth malware has existed at least since 2003 (first commercial devices were available in 2001).

              Many people think that “walled gardens” are the money-making scam, because The Gardener (like Apple) takes it’s share from both the users and providers – and since there’s no competition, that share is “most of it”.

              As for security, yes Apple Store is considered more secure than the alternatives, and yet this year at least 7% of the top 100 apps had malware. That we know of.

              Some security analyst (like those at Kaspersky) think that because Android phones have 87% of the market, almost all (98%) of the malware targets Android phones. It’s much more about better ROI in the Android world than the inherent security of the Apple Store that keeps Apple safer.

              Anyway, each their own. I merely prefer to pay to the developers, not the middlemen.

    2. eg

      I’m glad you’re enjoying Apple’s walled garden, John, and your confidence in the primacy of the profit motive is, um, instructive.

      But it’s neoliberalism on stilts, and I’ll take a hard pass, thanks.

  16. ambrit

    “Perhaps the cruelty is the point.”
    You say that as if it were a bad thing?
    Never forget; “You have to be cruel to be kind, to our kind.”

      1. ambrit

        …it’s the very design.
        Wait, wait! We’re veering off into ‘proscribed’ territory here. [Adjusts tinfoil supracranial, ideational defensive unit.]

  17. Mikel

    “Amazing to see the “living with” formulation infect China. It’s almost as if the PMC — in this case, the editors who passed the headline — are the first truly international class (aside from billionaires, of course)….”

    Academia. As long as the country prizes sending their youth to Western “elite” institutions, there will be this neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics. (I also think it’s the seed of their downfall within the currently described rise).

    Look at that the effects and fall out of that property/development bubble.
    Neoliberalism is insidious.

    I don’t care about “unipolar” or “multipolar.”
    Burn neoliberalism with fire.

      1. Mikel

        Russia hasn’t totally escaped its tentacles. It still has an oligarchy.

        And Putin’s most biting criticisms concern the social order. Economically, it remains to be seen how much divergence from neoliberalism ocurrs. Or if it will just be neoliberalism with Russian characteristics.

  18. KD

    Did Russia and China sign a secret defense pact

    On the coalition of the willing and NATO direct conflict, idiots don’t seem to get that a Western incursion into Russia would also threaten Chinese interests in Eurasia, so they would be sure to back up Russia, despite the economic costs. In addition, declassified nuclear plans show that if the US goes nuclear against Russia, they plan on nuking China for good measure, to make sure that China doesn’t end up world hegemon.

    Given that escalation raises the prospect of the deployment of nuclear weapons, and China is likely to get nuked by the US if that happens, they have a significant interest in keeping the Ukraine situation from escalating, and they have every reason to help Russia if the West gets directly involved, because if Russia is attacked by an international coalition and is losing, Russia is likely to us nukes and start the process of MAD. Further, China is not going to tolerate the West dividing up the RF and creating a bunch of puppets for further NATO expansion on its border. One Taiwan is enough.

    1. Karl

      Russia has no interest in being first with a nuke, but as the West gets more and more desperate, I can see a pre-emptive tactical nuke strike in Ukraine by US/NATO. This could cause China and Russia to signal to North Korea to drop one somewhere in Japan and/or South Korea.

      Could we be that stupid? To answer, it’s helpful to review again Cipolla’s 5 universal laws of stupidity.

      And for reasons cited in the FP link above, the US really can’t stop doing “stupid stuff.

      1. KD

        My guess is that in a more direct conflict, China would get involved to a point to try and insure a stalemate by supporting Russia so as to hopefully avoid nuclear confrontation. On the other hand, if the Russians start kicking the snot out of the Western coalition, I wouldn’t put it past the individuals involved that they would use nukes against Russia (and China). . . although it might depend on how hard Russia pushed things, and the Chinese would probably discourage them. On the other hand, in the real world, most normal powerful people don’t want themselves and their families incinerated over whether some square kilometers in Eastern Europe are part of NATO, so hopefully even the West and True Crusaders for Democracy aren’t that stupid, and can go back to blowing up wedding parties in the Middle East.

  19. Objective Ace

    From the Propublica article

    So when Louisiana officials negotiated with congressional leaders and the White House, they settled on pre-storm value as a way to achieve two goals: Help Louisiana rebuild after an unprecedented disaster, but limit the size of the check.

    In doing so, they created a system in which many poor homeowners would get less money than they needed to rebuild, perpetuating long-standing inequities in New Orleans.

    Why would this perpetuate inequality? If the value of a home is worth 75k, and has a rebuild cost of 200k, how does offering somewhere between those two numbers increase inequality? What I could see being an issue is how they are assessing that 75k number–that seems ripe for abuse. But the practice of offering less than rebuild cost is pretty common in the insurance business. It often can make both parties better off.. rather then spending 200k to build a house that will end up only being worth 125k when all is said and done because of where it is located

    1. ambrit

      We had experience with the Mississippi version of the rebuilding scheme after Katrina. With no insurance, (no one required flood insurance on the coast, not even the lending banks, before Katrina,) we settled for 80% of the assessed value of our house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast from the State ‘Recovery’ scheme. Nothing said about rebuilding costs. (That’s one reason we moved inland.)
      Secondly, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast an aggressive gentrification program was implemented. The new and “upgraded” housing and zoning codes guaranteed that only middle and upper class “persons” could afford to live on the Coast. (See above.)
      So, a stealth program to force the “lower classes” to move away from New Orleans would not surprise me in the least. The Ninth Ward was the “working class” neighborhood for New Orleans. So, who gets ‘moved out first?’
      As for “corrupt practiCes” in New Orleans, well, all I can say is that, for years, New Orleans was a strong contender for the title of “Northernmost Banana Republic” in the New World.
      Oh oh. The local tornado siren has just gone off.
      See you later.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > for years, New Orleans was a strong contender for the title of “Northernmost Banana Republic” in the New World

        They fell out of contention? To Miami? Or Washington, D.C.?

    2. Richard

      We are down here in Sunny South Florida. We took a drive last week from Bonita Springs up across the barrier islands toward Ft. Myers. This is the area devastated by Ian in September and the subject of many live storm and drone fly-over videos.

      I can guarantee one thing, the long term result will be gentrification. The north end of the islands near Ft. Myers is (now was) old and built to standards long gone. The shacks, ranches, and trailers cannot be rebuilt. They will mostly be replaced by three-story (with the first effectively a blow-out), nearly lot-line to lot-line mansions. This was already happening at the south end of the islands. Ian accelerated many a tear-down.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “EU ministers fail again on gas price cap to contain costs”

    Hmmm. ‘One side is demanding a cap to push down gas prices for households — including Greece, Spain, Belgium, France and Poland — while nations like Germany and the Netherlands are insisting supplies are at risk if a cap stops EU countries from buying gas above a certain price.’ Isn’t that trying to balance supply and demand?

    Well I can see what will happen. The EU will announce a price cap of Russian gas and the Russians will reply ‘Screw you guys. I’m going home!’ God knows where they expect to get their gas for next winter from when those reserves finally run empty. But I have read that they want to do the same for ALL imported gas and here I am talking the US, Norway, Qatar, Algeria, etc. You think that they will play ball? Algeria already said some time ago that they can forget it. And so the European de-industrialization plan will proceed unimpeded.

    1. c_heale

      Have they forgotten that OPEC exists???

      Beyond stupid. The sad thing is that it will be the European poor that suffer first.

  21. curlydan

    Sounds like Wahl wasn’t poisoned–that was a little far-fetched IMO. “Grant Wahl’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, told CBS News on Wednesday the renowned soccer journalist died due to an aortic aneurysm that ruptured.” As a hardcore U.S. soccer fan, I thought his soccer columns were great and helped bring the fairly anti-soccer Sports Illustrated (e.g. Frank Deford blech) into the real world.

    According to my doctor (Wikipedia haha), “The etiology [of aortic aneurysms] remains the topic of continued investigation. Known causes include trauma, infection, and inflammatory disorders.”

  22. Questa Nota

    Walt’s article reaction:

    Policy elite go to the same schools, talk to the same people, read the same journals and press, and drum out voices they don’t like.

    Their handiwork goes through the knee-jerk, uneducated Senators and Congresscritters looking at short-term benefits, re-election, soundbites and how to play the other side, while cashing lobbyist checks and staying on task of avoiding blackmail revelations.

    Too harsh? Too soon?

  23. Bruno

    Ad “The Causes of and Responses to Today’s Inflation”
    Like all the economists of all sorts, from Liberals like Jerome Powell to Collectivists like Michael Hudson, these authors natter on completely oblivious to the central economic problem–the only one that matters even in all but the shortest of terms: the ever-worsening global climate crisis, which has already very drastically reduced the biological (ie., economic) productivity of the planet making the material basis of human life for an ever-growing population ever more expensive in terms of its real (labor) cost. Inflation, as nominal increases in transaction-prices for things and services, merely but inexorably reflects this planetary (to human extinction?) anthropocenic collapse.

    How often do I need to repeat this until someone notices?

    1. John Steinbach

      Been saying this for over 50 years. Combine with resource depletion, especially loss of cheap fossil fuels & here comes the jackpot.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Degrowth is here. The question is how we respond to it. Will The Invisible Hand reign supreme so that price allocates scarcity? Will we instead take a collective approach that eliminates carbon sources that serve the rich either as recreation or source of profit?

      As Mikel expressed above, the answer from neoliberal societies is clear. The billionaires will continue to get their way, i.e. endless profit and growth, even as that material basis deteriorates. Mad Max is the inevitable result of such an approach. Will the billionaires shock collars work?

  24. Mark Gisleson

    The Yahoo article on 1/6 was rather special. Despite enormous amounts of online chatter, the only documentation offered by Yahoo is a picture of a wall projection of a Trump tweet.

    None of the things they say were planned were acted on. Almost as if — dare I suggest it? — most of the inflammatory rhetoric was coming from FBI embeds.

    I have seen documentation of the 1/6 “riot” and how FBI embeds rerouted the march to create the trespass. Something that has not been reported on by major media despite photos and videos of Ray Epps in action.

    In this one example, the Democrats’ Big Lie has grown to Hindenberg proportions and will end in similar fashion as they keep kicking cans down the road where they’ll morph into chickens coming home to roost.

    1. fresno dan


      (from the article) On Dec. 20, 2020, a 21-year-old intelligence analyst went online to search for local Washington, D.C., fishing holes and stumbled upon the blueprint of a plot to storm the Capitol and execute members of Congress and law enforcement officers to prevent the certification of electoral votes to make Joe Biden the next president.
      What started as a literal fishing expedition turned into a failed 16-day effort to sound the alarm and push the various parts of the DHS intelligence apparatus into action.
      The young analyst’s story began on Dec. 20, 2020, with a search on Reddit for local fishing spots that uncovered the blueprints of a plot to overthrow the government.

      The next day, on Dec. 21, the analyst showed these findings to a senior member of the Counterterrorism Mission Center. This supervisor called these threats to attack the Capitol “a good find” and expressed interest in getting more information. The analyst was told to send an official Request for Information to the open source collection office, also part of DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Do this “as soon as possible” and “mark it URGENT,” the manager said.*

      Every day, multiple times a day between Dec. 29 and Jan. 4, the analyst sounded the alarm on the urgent need for reporting that could be used to warn other agencies.
      Among the online posts, which were included in the inspector general report, were calls for people to bring weapons to D.C. on Jan. 6. “Bring your gun,” one post from Jan. 4, 2021, said. “It’s just gonna be another protest if you don’t, and you’ll watch Biden slide into the white house.” The report also included Jan. 2 posts from about 12 people who said they had told their families goodbye because they were willing to “die for the cause.
      In one instance, a collector had drafted a report — in response to the analyst’s initial request — about a person who claimed to be heading to D.C. from North Dakota with enough ammo to win a small war.
      Is the article intended to be as absurd as the Trump “P” story? If there is a silver lining, maybe it is a frantic 21 year old warning of impending doom is pretty much ignored by his superiors. On the other hand, it does make you wonder about the intelligence of intelligence outfits that scan Reddit to learn stuff…

      * As a retired longtime Federali, when a manager says mark something as “urgent” it is well known as a euphemism for ignore

    2. Arizona Slim

      True story from the Arizona Slim file: One of my aunt’s classmates was the child of someone who worked for the company that was to handle the May 6, 1937 Hindenburg landing at Naval Station Lakehurst in New Jersey.

      Aunt Jean’s grade school was just north of New York City, and the kids were allowed an after-school visit to the playground in order to see the Hindenburg passing overhead. According to Jean, it was an impressive sight.

      When Jean got home from school, she was told the truth about the rest of that landing.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I have seen documentation of the 1/6 “riot” and how FBI embeds rerouted the march to create the trespass

      Got a link?

      I do find it impossible to believe there weren’t FBI embeds in the rally, the march, and the seizure; there certainly were in the Whitmer “kidnapping” plot, and IIRC the agent in charge of that project went on to this one.

      Speculating wildly, the FBI embeds in the March were also communicating with the FBI embeds in Twitter (remember that list of executives?)

  25. Peter Whyte

    I thought history regarded Dr. John Snow as a hero of public health. I can’t find any abridged online biography as to why he would be labelled a “neoliberal”, a sociopath and the appropriate namesake for a cynical award. Perhaps I missed the point.

    1. Cas

      You are right. Dr. John Snow was a hero. “Neoliberal John Snow” is a the name of a twitter poster who parodies today’s health professionals/opinions. His neoliberal Dr. Snow says things like, he had to re-attach the pump handle because of complaints from Broad St., why a little fecal uptake in your drinking water is ok, etc. Neoliberal John Snow is a bizzarro John Snow. The new patreon Peste Magazine calls attention to our disfunctional health system.

      1. JBird4049

        Just took at look at Peste Magazine and it seems to be my kind of magazine. Oh,yes. A serving of rage with a side of anger, a dash of knowledge, plus a soupçon of planning.

  26. Lexx

    ‘Crypto Was Always Smoke And Mirrors’

    Leave it to a psychiatrist to look under the hood; it’s professional second nature.

    ‘One thing that is interesting is the psychology of all this. I’ve shared a lot of really damning things over the past year with people online—stuff that, if you were to hear about it, you would think any rational person would think, What am I doing with my money? I need to get it out as quickly as possible. And there were some people who reacted that way. But for every one person who listened, there were at least 10 who didn’t. And it’s just been fascinating to see. But this was almost more fun for me when I was on the losing side—when crypto was booming, and before it was obvious to everybody that this was all a scam. Back then, it was just a minority of us saying, “None of this makes any damn sense, guys.” That was fun. Now it’s kind of sad watching the consequences play out, especially because the people who get hurt the most are the people at the bottom of the food chain.’

  27. Yeti

    Two Years of U.S. COVID-19 Vaccines Have Prevented Millions of Hospitalizations and Deaths

    Have a hard time accepting the results of this study given the known facts. The US has one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the western world of over 3400/million. The study claims that over 3.1 million deaths were prevented based on a computer model. All I can say is garbage in garbage out.

    1. LifelongLib

      The issues are that although the vaccines prevent some number of people who get Covid from being hospitalized or dying, they apparently don’t prevent transmission of the disease. And they’ve been promoted as an alternative to (rather than an addition to) other measures such as masking or better ventilation in living spaces which would help prevent transmission.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author


        The vaccines should also never have been mandated. NPIs should have been mandated (and are also completely without medical risk, despite what shills say).

        So our Covid policy has been 180° in the wrong direction from what it should have been….

        1. Basil Pesto

          yes, I’ve seen some people arguing lately that vaccine mandates were justified not just for harm reduction but also to reduce the strain on hospitals around the US and other countries. And in and of itself, policies to reduce strain onBut it would have been far simpler and less intrusive and less risk of harm (from vaccine injury) if NPIs had been mandated instead (and provided gratis to all citizens), although of course that would have been vigorously resisted in the US/Canada too. But as it stands, it’s clear the primary beneficiaries of mandate rules have been the pharmaceutical companies, not humanity, given that NPIs work for all variants (contrary to Matt Yglesias’ recent idiotic assertions that they stopped being effective with delta/omicron, lol), that their benefits go beyond the individual using them far more than these vaccines do, and the benefits conferred by vaccines, while real, will diminish as antibodies wane and viruses mutate.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > All I can say is garbage in garbage out.

      Not enough simply to make the claim. I don’t see why the US couldn’t have had a lot more excess deaths than we actually did; we don’t seem to be able to put a ceiling on failure in most of our other endeavors, do we?

      So it’s not enough to say the model’s no good because you don’t like its conclusions; you need to critique the model.

      1. Acacia

        you need to critique the model

        The model they used is sketched out in the “How We Conducted This Study” section of the article, but it seems to this layperson that there’s a lot of important detail missing. Right off, for example, the authors state “we expanded our age-stratified, agent-based model of COVID-19 to include waning of naturally acquired or vaccine-elicited immunity, as well as booster vaccination“. Okay, but how did they model “waning” for these three dimensions of immunity, across the different age groups? Did they use linear functions, or curves, or constants, or ….? And what about other demographic factors aside from age? What sources did they use to prepare all of these ‘waning’ models? E.g., Pfizer’s own claims for efficacy? Empirical studies. Etc. etc. They don’t explain — maybe it’s really thorough, or maybe it’s slipshod, who knows —, so it’s rather difficult to critique the model.

  28. Wukchumni

    We in the Palinstinian Movement were forced to switch heroines when our doyen done flamed out, and as a consequence had to join the Greene Dream Team-which has not as good of a high and wears off quicker…

    The idea that the Loco So Nostra meets @ My Kevin’s (since ’07) for hors d’oeuvres and offers made that can’t be refused, is keeping it real with the Capo di Tutti i Cali.

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia says a group of Republicans called “the five families” meets every week to discuss strategy and policy in Kevin McCarthy’s office.

  29. anon in so cal

    “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s objectives are not different from Chancellor Adolph Hitler’s…”

    Excellent piece from John Helmer, of Dances with Bears, in which he interviewed Hungarian journalist,Tamas Gergo Samu, about Ukraine, Merkel, etc.

    John Helmer:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel’s objectives are not different from Chancellor Adolph Hitler’s, but she has not made Hitler’s mistakes of fighting the British and Americans at the same time, nor of launching her military operation against Russia too soon. The race hatred against Russians which Merkel has stoked, along with the US and the NATO allies, is the substitute today, motivating and propagandizing the war in Europe, as race hatred for the Jews was in Hitler’s ideology.

    When Merkel told the Germans a few days ago that she intended Germany’s agreement to the Minsk accords of 2015, in order to give time for the military preparation of the Ukraine, she was repeating the time-buying pieces of paper which Hitler agreed with Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain in 1938. The piece of paper Neville Chamberlain told British voters he had signed with Hitler to assure “peace in our time” proved to be false within a year. Merkel’s Minsk agreement she now acknowledges was false from the start on her side; she has admitted this only now, seven years later.

    But Merkel has been following Hitler’s lead for longer….

    1. Karl

      Hitler directed a lot of race hatred toward the slavic race and the Russians specifically. He made no secret of displacing these “inferior” races in his quest for “Liebensraum”, i.e. more territory for the German population to settle and exploit. The economic roots of Liebensraum — and WW II generally — are well documented in Adam Tooze’s book The Wages of Destruction.

      Germany has always had a lust for access to Russia’s vast resources. Now it looks like all of Europe/NATO does?

      As with Hitler, this will not end well for the West. We (US/EU/NATO) should never have poked the bear. A riled bear with nukes is awesome to behold.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Alexander Mercouris was just talking about the hatred that the British elite have for the Russians which seems to go back for two centuries or more. It is hard to understand what is the source for this but nonetheless it is there and is as active as ever.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Chancellor Angela Merkel’s objectives are not different from Chancellor Adolph Hitler’s

      How does this fit in with the Nordstream 2 deal? Merkel wanted to buy Russian gas, not conquer the gas fields.

      1. anon in so cal

        Helmer suggests Merkel wanted to buy Russian gas for purposes of political expediency:

        “Merkel also didn’t agree to break off the lucrative economic ties with Russia on which German business and trade unions depended – and also the votes she required for her re-election in 2017; she won that despite an 8% swing against her. So Berlin didn’t stop the Nord Stream gas project; instead Merkel delayed its implementation and bought more time.”

  30. Willow

    If Russia is going to do something by end of this year requiring Putin’s full attention. No better time than during Christmas to New Year when Western officials will be preoccupied with the festive season. Starting from the North and following the cold South.

  31. Vanres
    Eddie Hall, a working engineer who pushed for a more aggressive stance in contract showdown, wins upset victory to lead major rail union BLET.
    Copy to Clipboard
    Jonah FurmanJonah Furman
    December 14 2022
    In a stunning upset, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the 28,000-member union of railroad workers, has elected a new president. Eddie Hall, a local officer out of Division 28 in Tucson, Arizona, won against incumbent Dennis Pierce with 53 percen

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