Links 12/23/2022

Strange, tentacled microbe may resemble ancestor of complex life Science

Study reveals how glass frogs become transparent Deutsche Welle


What are teleconnections? Connecting Earth’s climate patterns via global information superhighways NOAA. Among other things, Rossby waves!


A Water War Is Brewing Over the Dwindling Colorado River ProPublica. On drought and the Colorado, see NC here.



Merck antiviral trial shows promising impact on Covid recovery time FT. Molnupiravir. KLG: “People thought the mRNA vaccines were ‘gene therapy.’ What do they think of a drug that is purposefully mutagenic?” They think Big Pharma should sell it to billion Chinese. That’s what they think. And they’ll never read the next story, unless and until it’s too late–

Antiviral treatments lead to the rapid accrual of hundreds of SARS-CoV-2 mutations in immunocompromised patients (preprint) medRxiv. Molnupiravir. “Our study demonstrates that this commonly used antiviral can supercharge viral evolution in immunocompromised patients, potentially generating new variants and prolonging the pandemic.” That would be… something awful.

* * *

Effectiveness of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bivalent Vaccine (preprint) medRxiv. From the Summary: ” Among 51011 working-aged Cleveland Clinic employees, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster was 30% effective in preventing infection, during the time when the virus strains dominant in the community were represented in the vaccine. ”

A Slim Majority of Americans Say the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Is Still Necessary. But Will Biden Let It Expire in 2023? Morning Consult. Amazing the numbers are that high, after the Goebbels-level propaganda campaign.

Why Many Cold Medicines Don’t Work to Relieve Congestion WSJ

Going Viral

Experts challenge the narrative for this season’s flu activity Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Japan looks into claim that China running covert police stations Reuters


How China Botched the End of Zero-COVID Foreign Policy. No #CovidIsAirborne perspective at all. Also unmentioned are the amusing parallels between the CCP’s “botch” and our own, including turn-on-a-dime opinion-havers, “fear of hospitals as sites of infection,” and the failure of public health authorities to settle on a correct theory of transmission, and propagate it.

Morgues overwhelmed: why China’s new Covid crisis is all of its own making South China Morning Post. Same.

Crematoriums in China struggle as COVID spreads Al Jazeera. A proxy from back in 2020; also, hospital parking lots.

* * *

China’s economy looks different than it was going into the pandemic Hellenic Shipping News

How Well Is China Advancing Its Interests in Southeast Asia? China File

The Major Takeaways From the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The labor of land Africa is a Country

Zimbabwe bans raw lithium exports to curb artisanal mining Reuters

Mining Capital and the Indonesian State Monthly Review


Indian Big Business Phenomenal World

Massive measles outbreak threatens India’s goal to eliminate disease by 2023 Nature

Dear Old Blighty

Target date for cleaning up waterways in England is moved back by 36 years Guardian

Latin America

Peru’s Escalating Crisis NACLA

Tourists stuck in Machu Picchu due to Peru protests airlifted out BBC

New Not-So-Cold War

Meeting of Defence Ministry Board (transcript) President of Russia

President Zelensky’s Full Address to Congress (transcript) Kyiv Post

* * *

Zelensky Recalled Us to Ourselves and Ukraine’s Fate and America’s Destiny The Atlantic. The Mighy Wurlitzer is pumping!

What In Zelenski’s “Epic Piece Of Theater” Was “Daring” And “Bold”? Moon of Alabama

Republican sceptics question ‘blank cheque’ support for Ukraine FT

Full List of Republicans Who Sat During Zelensky’s Speech Newsweek

* * *

Putin’s Last Stand Foreign Affairs

It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia Center for European Policy Analysis

* * *

Caught on Camera, Traced by Phone: The Russian Military Unit That Killed Dozens in Bucha NYT. I have to run this, because it’s “out there.” Recall, however, that I have strong priors on digital evidence: It’s not evidence, as we have already seen over and over again from Ukrainian sources (remember “Ghost of Kyiv“?). Digital evidence is especially not evidence when its presentation is orchestrated by organs of state security over a period of months, and emerges with perfect timing one day after Ukrainian President Zelensky’s speech to Congress (“It therefore had an impressive topicality, which at once, in Smiley’s eyes, made it suspect”). Recall also that we don’t live in two parallel worlds at once, there are not two Buchas. Therefore, the Times story must give an account of all the oddities that occurred in the original Bucha material critiqued by Scott Ritter, who has seen more than a few dead bodies, and Gonzalo Lira. Of course, the story could be true; “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it,” as Sherman said. But I wouldn’t hang a dog on a story in the New York Times. These guys have form.

Reviving Russia’s Military Culture and the Officer Caste Gilbert Doctorow

Biden Administration

Pandemic response gets a permanent new home at the White House Stat

Senate passes $1.7 trillion spending package: what made the cut — and what didn’t USA Today

These are the last-minute changes the Senate made to the $1.7 trillion omnibus The Hill

The Bezzle

Sam Bankman-Fried released on $250 million bond Axios


Notice of Recent Security Incident LastPass. “Password Management from Anywhere.” Oh. Commentary:

Oops. Passwords scribbled on random scraps of paper with no account information. That’s the way to go.

Our Famously Free Press

Can False Balance Kill You? It Sure Can FAIR

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Year’s Midnight. Aurelien, Trying to Understand the World. The deck: “Kindness can be a revolutionary act.” Look for the helpers….

Guillotine Watch

For the rich and famous, private jets are no longer private enough Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Railroads Riding High After Victory Against Workers The Intercept

Workplace Fatalities Hit Highest Rate Since 2016 Manufacturing

California university apologizes for prisoner experiments ABC10

Slavery and the British Industrial Revolution (PDF) Centre for Economic Performance. From the Abstract: “Quantifying our model using the observed data, we find that Britain would have been substantially poorer and more agricultural in the absence of overseas slave wealth. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that slavery wealth accelerated Britain’s industrial revolution.”

Into the woods (review) Times Literary Supplement. “Living like a deer and learning from the birds.”

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. The Rev Kev

    “Putin’s Last Stand”

    You can read this if you want but it is basically garbage analysis with the desire mentioned a coupla times that Putin be toppled and Russia broken. I suppose that people are entitled to their illusions so checked on who wrote this particular piece and here is what I found-

    LIANA FIX is a Fellow for Europe at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Germany’s Role in European Russia Policy: A New German Power?

    MICHAEL KIMMAGE is Professor of History at the Catholic University of America and a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 2014 to 2016, he served on the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State.

    So a pair of policy wonks. “Foreign Affairs” has been published just over 100 years and you would hope that it would be a center for critical analysis and challenging ideas for the political establishment. It seems though that it is being published to please people like Lindsey Graham instead- (31 sec video)

    1. pjay

      Hey, they’re “experts” in this area, writing in the premier foreign policy journal in the world, so they must know what they are talking about, right? And anyway, another “expert” writing for the Center for European Policy Analysis tells us that “It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia,” so let’s keep up the good work. It’s a bargain, really. The Russian army should fall apart any day now – if Putin doesn’t nuke us first, that is.

      1. Gregorio

        I suppose over a hundred thousand dead Ukrainians is “peanuts” to these sociopaths also. I don’t remember seeing one word in it about how much it’s gonna cost Uncle Sugar if the Ukrainians somehow did manage to pull off the neocon wet dream Russian defeat, they’re working themselves up over in this over the top propaganda piece.

    2. Michaelmas

      Rev Kev: You can read this if you want but it is basically garbage analysis

      I don’t think it rises to the level of garbage analysis, actually. But it’s comedy gold, I’ll give it that — a wishlist by some z-string wannabe members of the Blob that’s so utterly detached from reality the writers might as well be autistic.

      (Yes, yes. I’m being ableist. God forbid! But maybe a country that promotes disabled strategic ‘analysis’ like this is headed to the garbage dump of history.)

  2. DJG, Reality Czar

    A nation of snitches.

    Read the Newsweek article with the “full list” of Republicans who didn’t stand fast enough when Zelenskyy showed up in costume to break Godwin’s Law and ask for even worse weapons. Meanwhile, I am seeing pictures of Pelosi and Harris waving the Ukrainian flag.

    Lest we forget: The superannuated warmongering duo haven’t been caught singing “Bread and Roses” lately, now have they?

    The level of pettiness is, errr, breath-taking. Not that I’d ever vote for any of the Republican clowns mentioned. Lauren Boebert as critical thinker and foreign-policy skeptic? Only in an exceptional nation.

    But then I didn’t vote for Harris either.

    Anyone who has worked in Chicago theater knows that the semi-obligatory standing ovation is just one more way in which the audience swiftly stumbles into the aisles, dropping their empty packets of Twizzlers.

    A standing ovation in most instances is meaningless. And so is Newsweek.

    Meanwhile, a joyous Snow-Twirlaganza to all of you in the US of A (sent from the foggy Chocolate City).

    1. The Rev Kev

      According to The Hill, only 86 out of 213 House Republicans were at the Capitol for Zelensky’s speech. And yet Newsweek is shaming those that actually turned up but were not inclined to go up and down like the Assyrian empire. And you have had PMCs demand that they explain themselves for their lack of enthusiasm. When the Republicans take over in a coupla weeks, I would imagine that we will see more and more rebellions like this. Already you have had Republicans demand an explanation why the Democrats can secure over $100 billion to secure the Ukraine’s borders but when Trump was in power sought to deny him the money to secure America’s borders. Having that wave of people crossing the border the other day must have riled them about that point-

      1. Questa Nota

        Ukraine stories, er, stories, tend to make me think that America is in some dysfunctional distortion field. Billions flowing out, with great enthusiasm, and disdain for Americans suffering and dying.
        There is precious little accountability at any point, not surprising as there is little media objectivity either.

        Questions to ponder:

        When will the demands for billions cease?
        How much of the money and weapons get siphoned off?

        Features, not bugs, and I don’t expect any of the Ukraine situation to end well, starting with the suffering of the people.

          1. Kouros

            Oh, they want in their bones to inflict a Holodomor on the Russians… Or a Generalplan Ost… anything. I wonder what will happen when they’ll get unplugged from their Matrix…

        1. cnchal

          Here is your answer.

          > It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia Center for European Policy Analysis

          . . . Altogether, the Biden administration received Congressional approval for $40bn in aid for Ukraine for 2022 and has requested an additional $37.7bn for 2022. More than half of this aid has been earmarked for defense. 

          These sums pale into insignificance when set against a total US defense budget of $715bn for 2022. The assistance represents 5.6% of total US defense spending. But Russia is a primary adversary of the US, a top tier rival not too far behind China, its number one strategic challenger. In cold, geopolitical terms, this war provides a prime opportunity for the US to erode and degrade Russia’s conventional defense capability, with no boots on the ground and little risk to US lives.

          The Ukrainian armed forces have already killed or wounded upwards of 100,000 Russian troops, half its original fighting force; there have been almost 8,000 confirmed losses of armored vehicles including thousands of tanks, thousands of APCs, artillery pieces, hundreds of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and numerous naval vessels. US spending of 5.6% of its defense budget to destroy nearly half of Russia’s conventional military capability seems like an absolutely incredible investment. If we divide out the US defense budget to the threats it faces, Russia would perhaps be of the order of $100bn-150bn in spend-to-threat. So spending just $40bn a year, erodes a threat value of $100-150bn, a two-to-three time return.  Actually the return is likely to be multiples of this given that defense spending, and threat are annual recurring events.

          Cold hard cost benefit analysis, by psychopaths.

          1. dftbs

            Eventually the Wile E. Coyote realizes he’s run off the cliff, same thing will happen to the “psychopaths”.

            But it is interesting to read that they truly believe that the “real” hardware sent to be destroyed in Ukr., which underperformed all its propaganda inflated expectations is a “bargain” when compared to the debt leveraged inflated military budget. It’s pretty obvious now that our Dollars don’t buy what we think they do, be it eggs at the supermarket, gas at the pump, or military capacity.

            Of course their cost-benefit analysis doesn’t only suffer from this dubious USD costs denominator, but from a blatantly false numerator – Ukie estimates of RU losses. I think it’s been mentioned before, but if we are to be adversaries to the Russians (and the Chinese), the latter couldn’t ask for a more inept enemy than the US regime. The results are so bad that you’d almost think the “administration” is on the Kremlin payroll.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              RE: the estimates of RU losses, I quit reading that link when they coughed up the 100K+ figure for Russian casualties. Seemed like the author was simply taking Ursulua’s recent and since deleted estimate of Ukie losses and turning it on its head, due to lack of creativity. If you’re going to pull a number out of your nether regions, why not a different one? There is an infinity to choose from so no real need to plagiarize. Unless of course one is a psycho.

              1. Samuel Conner

                my guess is that these numbers are approximately the known U losses, combined with the assumption that since the Rs are the aggressor, they must have sustained losses as large or larger than the Us have.

                IMO it’s all projection.

                It will be illuminating to see whether there is any self-reflection on “how did we get it so wrong?” when the facade crumbles.

                1. CarlH

                  There wasn’t any self-reflection by our betters after Iraq. Or Syria. Or Libya. Or Afghanistan. Sad and infuriating at the same time.

          2. Eric Anderson

            I’d love to see a deep dive actually following the money and how much of truly makes it to the Ukraine and not straight in U.S. military contractors’ pockets. My sense is that the money isn’t about “arming” Ukraine. It’s about greasing palms.

            1. Eric Anderson

              And the only reason the republicans don’t like it, is because it’s democrats who will benefit later from currying the favour of defence contractors (just like they did Wall Street).
              The only reason the Republican Party looks more and more populist is b/c the democrats are beating them at their own corporate lobbying game.

          3. Tom Doak

            I assume The Center for European Policy Analysis is based in America?

            I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that all of the suffering in Europe would be hand-waved off as “peanuts”

          4. Lex

            Russia will run out of bullets and diesel fuel any day now …

            I’m ok with the cold hard cost benefit analysis, even if by psychopaths. I’m not ok with people thinking they’re doing that but using suspect numbers to perform it. These people aren’t even applying logic. If Russia had lost 100,000 people (even including wounded), then we’d know about it because Russian media has a complete meltdown over much more minor things. Also, they claim half the original force and yet the Russians haven’t fallen back and been whipped by the AFU? How is that even possible?

            I read articles like this as the projection that they are – unconscious or not is immaterial to me. The US is spending 5.6% of its defense budget to degrade its own readiness and especially the readiness of Europe with no clear plan to rebuild that readiness beyond signing contracts and getting that sweet, sweet stock price rise.

          5. Michaelmas

            Cold hard cost benefit analysis, by psychopaths.

            Deeply stupid psychopaths, since they seem to actually believe all these moronic factoids and metrics they’ve pulled out from their own behinds.

          6. Polar Socialist

            A couple of points:
            – IIRC that analysis was written by a few Ukrainians and an American living in Kiev, so their numbers are directly from Ukrainian propaganda. Otherwise they would have been suspiciously pro-Russian.
            – considering that help to Ukraine has depleted US weapons storage, does it mean that of the $700 bn annually much less than 5.6% is things that go boom? Somebody should look into that, like, seriously

          7. Kouros

            Reading Putin and Shoigu’s speeches, my impression is that in a years or two, Russia will have a formidable military and a formidable MIC that will be able to trash everything west of Belarus. At not a great cost. That will be the ultimate blowback.

            While it will be very hard to mobilize the US society…

            1. The Rev Kev

              That is quite a good post by Varoufakis and brings up a lot of factors for which I see no answers to. Those countries wanting to go into the EU may want to take pause.

          1. wilroncanada

            They’ve already started: on half of Central and South America. They are also continuing in Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, not to mention the big one–China. They fight everybody. They have always been fighting They always will be fighting..

    2. fresno dan

      TUCKER CARLSON: As far as we know, no one’s ever addressed the United States Congress in a sweatshirt before, but they love him much more than they love you….
      Somehow we were reminded of it today when the president of Ukraine arrived at the White House, dressed like the manager of a strip club and started to demand money…. American taxpayers declare Joe Biden will continue to give Zelenskyy whatever he demands for, quote, “as long as it takes.” Tellingly, Biden never specified what “it” is. As long as it takes to do what? Push the Russian army back to pre-invasion borders? Sounds reasonable.
      That’s what most Americans likely assume, those who are still paying attention. But that is not what Zelenskyy means, and it is not what he is asking for. Zelenskyy is demanding regime change in Russia, just like in Iraq and Libya, and a long list of other failed states.

      So what happens if he “wins?” What does the ensuing chaos look like? Thought about that? Who’s going to secure the world’s largest nuclear arsenal once we help Zelenskyy topple the Russian government? Who replaces Putin? Strangely, those topics did not come up today because that wasn’t the point….
      This was bipartisan masochism.

      MITCH MCCONNELL: Providing assistance for the Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans. That’s sort of how we see the challenges confronting the country at the moment.

      And two other senators stand behind him, nodding like it’s true. Defeating Putin is, quote, “the number one priority among Republicans,” says Mitch McConnell, who leads Republicans in the Senate. Number one? Before our own economy? Or our own children’s schools? Or, for that matter, before the more than 2000 young people killed last year by fentanyl in Mitch McConnell’s “home state” of Kentucky? Punishing Vladimir Putin for putting Donald Trump in office is more important than all of that says Mitch McConnell. Ukraine’s borders matter. Ours don’t matter. You may have suspected they thought that. But at this point, they’re just coming out and saying this right in your face…

      JOE BIDEN: We’re going to continue to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, particularly air defense. And that’s why we’re going to be right in Ukraine with Patriot missile battery and training your forces to be able to accurately use it.

      …. But this is a major policy change. It was just a few months ago that a senior U.S. defense official said, and we’re quoting, “There is no discussion about putting a Patriot battery in Ukraine. In order to do that, you would have to put U.S. troops with it to operate.”

      In other words, you would have to fight a hot war against Russia, which has not only not been approved by the Congress, but most Americans have no idea that’s happening. But now it is happening. Did you know that? Are you for that? Is it the most important thing? More important than your nephew dying of fentanyl? Yes, says Mitch McConnell…..

      And by the way, what’s the point of it? What is the goal here? What’s the justification for it? Do we have a historic debt to Ukraine? Do we have a historic animosity with a non-Soviet Russia? No, no. How do we win here? What’s in it for us? Isn’t this our country? And where do you get off talking to us like that? Do we hate ourselves so much? Do we have so little respect for the United States of America that we put up with that, that we’ll applaud it? Thank you, sir. May I have another? What’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with our leaders? And where is this going?
      I don’t know what has happened to this country when you have to look to Tucker Carlson (seriously, I am talking about major media personalities) to ask obvious questions about Ukraine . Just 20 years ago we got involved in Iraq, an obviously foolish endeaver applying minimal thinking, but it seems its how we roll now…

      1. pjay

        I’ll see your Tucker Carlson and raise you a David Stockman:

        “The spectacle in the US Capitol Building last night was downright retch-worthy. And we are not actually referring to the detestable little warmongering clown who preened at the podium in a sweatshirt and cargo pants, offering endless lies and hideously false promises about why American taxpayers and consumers are being bled to death in a pointless and unnecessary war.”

        “No, we are referring to the pathetic gaggle of Representatives and Senators who applauded relentlessly and uproariously in response to the casuistry of the tinny poseur who stood before them, albeit one who should have never been granted that august platform in the first place…”

        Stockman goes on to review the whole atrocity of our Ukrainian involvement in considerable detail. Although I did not use to hate Stockman quite as much as I did Carlson, I certainly didn’t forsee that he would be a voice of sanity against our bipartisan majority of political psychopaths.

        You are right, though, that Carlson’s media platform makes his comments especially significant.

        1. Simple John

          Joe Biden is teaching us a master class in bringing legislators together – his promised bipartisanship.
          Let us give thanks to an honest campaigner and trust we’ll get more of the same from his second term.

        2. Screwball

          Thanks for the Stockman link. In the comments to that article someone links to a Vox article that has an image of a dinner invitation. Along the bottom it has the logos of several war toy contractors. Part of the article discusses that might be a bad look.

          Ya think?

          I won’t provide a link so it doesn’t get eaten by the zeros and ones, but the title is; This DC party invite shows all the money to be made off the Ukraine war

          Saying the quiet part out loud for a change. Didn’t expect that from Vox.

        3. fresno dan

          I remember when Stockman got taken to the woodshed – so much for principels.
          Growing up in the 60s and 70s, it was just ingrained in me that the dems were liberal and anti-war. Despite now decades of evidence that that is not true, I think it is now only in my bones, that those myths inculcated into me in my youth, have finally been totally, completely, irrevocably expunged.
          It is a strange time and peculiar feeling to be at the time of realignment…

          1. Karl

            A lot of Dems including Joe Biden followed the simple Scoop Jackson formula (Senator for Boeing-WA) since the ’70’s up to the present day: “pro-Corporate” (e.g. de-regulation), “Liberal” on domestic spending, and “super-hawk” on foreign policy/spending. All they had to do was set those three toggle switches and they got re-elected time and again.

            Then the Democratic “super hawks”, who were basically anti-communist in orientation, got entangled with neo-conservative “full spectrum dominance” thinking of the Republicans after the fall of the Soviet Union to start new profitable crusades. For D’s it has always been about good manufacturing jobs. For R’s it’s always been about patriotism, flag, military glory.

            And here we are. Simple-minded thinking and tons of money. Frank Zappa was right: this country is just high school with guns and money.

      2. Bruno

        I think it was in 1936 that LT stated “There’s no insurance company in the world that would write a penny of insurance on Bukharin’s life.” Today, someone might well make the same comment about Tucker Carlson (though historically Carlson’s responsibility for the rise of Trump/Biden is not quite up to Bukharin’s for the rise of Stalin.)

    3. Sin Fronteras

      Kind of a Stalin-era news account: “Who DID NOT stand and applaud vigorously enough during Comrade Stalin’s report on the recent successes of the 5 year plan?”

      I would hope there were progressive Democrats who did not stand and applaud with the required level of vigor. But I doubt it, this article likely would have targeted them too.

      Well we will see what happens the next time the President of the Apartheid State of Israel addresses Congress.

  3. Bosko

    Regarding the NYT article. I have very few good insights, but I thought this was one of them: When the NYT presents its readers with “factual, documentary” evidence of something, that’s when you know the story is total garbage. This is counterintuitive of course, because one would think that “documentary” evidence like satellite photos, cell phone tracking, etc., is “indisputable” and beyond mere partisan interest. But think about it. The Times ran a story showing “documentary” evidence of WMDs in Iraq, which turned out to be false. The Times ran a story showing “documentary” evidence that Assad used chemical weapons on Syrian citizens, which turned out to be false. In a rare instance of hesitancy, the Times ran a story showing “documentary” evidence that the IDF probably but not conclusively shot the American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The Times ran a story showing “documentary” evidence of China surveilling Uighurs (NYT being much more concerned about Muslims in China than those in Israel and Palestine). The Times has ran multiple stories “documenting” Russian atrocities in Ukraine, stories that always fail to wrestle with the counter-evidence (which Lambert mentions above) raised by non-Establishment reporting. Each and every time, the Times’ “documentary investigations” reify the Establishment view on the region that it is investigating. When the NYT runs a “documentary investigation,” it’s better to read it as an effort to tamp down questions rather than investigate anything.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Good catch – and not counter-intuitive to me – on the contrary, isn’t it a ‘tell’ when liars give too many details?

      1. Bosko

        That is absolutely true. Or another example, when someone is arguing a certain position, and then they spend more time and energy on dealing with possible objections rather than asserting their own case. Like, if I’m selling you a used car, and spend more time explaining how the body definitely is NOT rusted, rather than just describing its positives.

        1. truly

          I like your analysis and it reminds me of this:
          When a used car salesman, or Biden, clears their throat and says “now lets be clear” or “and this is the god’s honest truth” or “lets get real here”.
          So NYT’s “tell” is when they claim to have documentary evidence.
          An old boss of mine- his tell was “and I mean it this time”!

          1. meadows

            oooh yeah I used to love when Nixon (or any other idiot) began a lie by stating…”Let me be perfectly clear…” Talk about an easy tell…

        2. hunkerdown

          Great catch on ‘documentary’. It’s an invidious assertion of property, but what political rhetoric isn’t these days.

          Protesteth too much is a good heuristic. On the other hand, given the form of modern political argument tends toward the performance of idealistic talking points from an accusatory, indignant, proprietary posture (which posture, I believe, is the real content that the lay ministers of politics mean to convey), it’s also worthwhile for those not trying to reify the system to preemptively undercut kabuki moves where space allows, to pin down the kabuki players’ fixed artillery.

    2. Questa Nota

      Back in the day, the Grey Lady was the recommended birdcage liner.
      Now it has branched out to new activities.

      Limited hangout

      How are those fit to print?

  4. KD

    Putin’s Last Stand

    Imagine a world where financial reporters wrote about businesses without bothering to consider the business’s cash flow, income, and assets. Imagine a story that FTX was not bankrupt–in fact, you should invest billions in it–because it has a charismatic, energetic CEO, and was a really big company, it had cutting edge IT. FTX has lots of good friends on both sides of the isle in Congress, and has been out-competing its competitors since February 24, 2022. Yet this approach appears to be standard when it comes to geopolitics.

  5. Hana M

    The real highlight of the Cleveland Clinic study on boosters was their “unexpected” finding that the risk of infection increases with each prior dose of non-bivalent vaccine. From the paper:

    The association of increased risk of COVID-19 with higher numbers of prior vaccine doses in our study, was unexpected. A simplistic explanation might be that those who received more doses were more likely to be individuals at higher risk of COVID-19. A small proportion of individuals may have fit this description. However, the majority of subjects in this study were generally young individuals and all were eligible to have received at least 3 doses of vaccine by the study start date, and which they had every opportunity to do. … This is not the only study to find a possible association with more prior vaccine doses and higher risk of COVID-19. … We still have a lot to learn about protection from COVID-19 vaccination, and in addition to a vaccine’s effectiveness it is important to examine whether multiple vaccine doses given over time may not be having the beneficial effect that is generally assumed. Click through here for a good source to follow and some splendid figures

    1. Yves Smith

      Recall that the European Medicines Authority rejected the idea, quite a while back, of boosting every six months. They didn’t say so quite so crisply, but they looked to be concerned about immune system overstimulation and resulting fatigue/disfunction.

      Google is making it hard to find a study and related press stories some years back, that getting the flu shot every five years was more effective than getting it annually. Of course the annual shot advocates went on tilt.

      1. TroyIA

        Getting a flu shot every year? More may not be better

        If you’ve been diligent about getting your flu shot every year, you may not want to read this. But a growing body of evidence indicates that more may not always be better.

        The evidence, which is confounding some researchers, suggests that getting flu shots repeatedly can gradually reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines under some circumstances.

        That finding is worrying public health officials in the US, who have been urging everyone to get a flu shot each year — and who still believe an annual vaccination is better than skipping the vaccines altogether.

        Dr. Edward Belongia is among the scientists who have seen the picture coming into focus. He and some colleagues at Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation reported recently that children who had been vaccinated annually over a number of years were more likely to contract the flu than kids who were only vaccinated in the season in which they were studied.

        “The vaccine was significantly more effective … if they had not been vaccinated in the previous five years,” Belongia, an epidemiologist, recounted in a recent interview with STAT.

      2. Hana M

        Overstimulation and resulting immune fatigue makes a great deal of sense. The link below is to Eugyppius’ excellent introduction to the concept of Original Antigenic Sin (OAS) or antigenic imprinting, which may be part of what is going on here. But I’m convinced, as you seem to be, that there are other mechanisms at work as well. Surely selective pressure from too broadly distributed, narrowly targeted, non-sterilizing vaccines helped drive the emergence of omicron and other variants. Weird, diverse and often extreme, auto-immune symptoms are showing up in many vaccinated patients suggesting that the vaccines may be triggering some sort of immune system disregulation as well as spike mediated auto-inflammatory responses. Honestly it really is quite catastrophic. I find it curious that so much of the media is focusing on ‘long covid’ which is the perfect cover story to deflect attention away from widespread vaccine injuries (not to mention being an excellent money spinner for the medical industrial complex). Thanks for all you do.

        1. Hana M

          PS The quotes around long covid are not meant to imply that it does not exist, but that the effects of repeated covid infections and repeated covid vaccine injections are additive (and perhaps even multiplicative). The one is discussed, the other is studiously ignored in media circles.

        2. Yves Smith

          I’m not (much) disputing the findings BUT a huge number of people also had asymptomatic case. And the friggin’ antigen test has a false positive rate of over 30% unless you swab throat and cheeks too, and then you get it down to maybe 15%.

          Point is 30% efficacy for bivalent vaccine = “Are you kidding?”. And then we get into potential other issues because we have absolutely awful data about Covid. For instance (beig contrarian) what if the increased Covid case count was due to people getting boosted too close to a Covid case, that that was a big, if not the big cause, of immune fatigue? I’ve seen more than occasionally that you should not get vaccinated within 90 days of a Covid infection, yet absolutely nobody gets an antibody test to determine that.

      3. Dean

        From this source it does not appear that 6 months boosters were rejected but suggested at least 6 months:

        “In October 2021, the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) announced that an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccines Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) may be given to people with severely weakened immune systems, at least 28 days after their second dose, and additional booster doses for people aged 18 and over with normal immune systems may be considered at least 6 months after their second dose. On 15 December, the CHMP concluded that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Janssen may be considered at least two months after the first dose for people aged 18 and over.”

        The overstimulation concern was for repeated short-term immunizations citing a paper where mice were immunized with 500ug of ovalbumin every 5 days for a total of 12 immunizations. I am not sure how relevant that is to human covid vaccinations.

        I agree with Paul Offit that vaccination should be based on data.

        1. marku52

          Irrelevant. The paper linked above shows in a real world population (health care workers) the more jabs you have the more likely you are to get covid.

          So zero benefit, and a very real risk of myocarditis or an autoimmune disease.

          Count me out….

          I’m joining a growing group who were enthusiastic (Like Drs Campbell or Malhotra) who now say, “No No No!”

    2. cnchal

      Non sterilizing vaccinated and boosted people are encouraged to breath an airborne pathogen into each other’s faces by “health” departments everywhere for economic’s sake.

      Logic 101 says enough of them will.

      Bunker futures are hotter than ever.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “President Zelensky’s Full Address to Congress”

    I think that the key part of his speech was this bit

    ‘Financial assistance is also critically important. And I would like to thank you for both, financial packages you have already provided us with, and the ones you may be willing to decide on. Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.’

    Going on a limb here but what I think that he was trying to say was that the endless tens of billions of dollars going to the Ukraine are not so much for the Ukraine itself – and truth be told the majority of that money never leaves America’s shores – but what they money is being spent on is to maintain what can be termed the Rules-Based Order that we hear so much about. In other words, trying to bring back the Unipolar world based out of DC.

    1. Acacia

      They do seem “most responsible” about taking those billions and stuffing them back into the rules based order’s pockets.

    2. Karl

      It’s an investment in the global security….

      See, let’s not forget what you are getting for your investment, esteemed members of Congress. Your military suppliers get to sell you the weapons you and they want us to get, not the ones we need. We get to test these weapons in actual war conditions with our troops, who are doing the fighting and dying–just enough weapons to keep the war going, but not enough to turn the tide. You get to feel good about sending us humanitarian aid after seeing our infrastructure ruined. And those ruins make for lots of feel-good stories on your media for everyone to enjoy. Then you get to cheer me tonight for our heroism. Oh, and let’s not forget the political return to you, esteemed members of Congress, on your investment in my bold and daring trip to you tonight to help you sell your $1.7 trillion spending bill. You are most generous!

    3. Not This Again

      What astonishes me is that this speech was very clearly written by the West, not by the Ukraine.

      I didn’t think that the CIA was allowed to write such things for domestic consumption.

      However a couple of strange quotes from the speech:

      “The occupiers have a significant advantage in artillery. They have an advantage in ammunition. They have much more missiles and planes than we ever had.”

      –>This sort of goes against the narrative that Russia is clearly running out of ammo

      “In two days, we will celebrate Christmas.”

      I could be wrong on this, but don’t Ukrainians celebrate Christmas in January?

  7. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to dear old, or is that FUBAR, Blighty, readers may be interested to hear that a food bank has opened (for the staff) at Government Communications HQ in Cheltenham. GCHQ is like the USA’s NSA, an electronic spying agency. The news came out during the week and barely raised eyebrows. The MSM is not bothered.

    The leftist veterans in Whitehall are in despair. The Thatcherite tribute band in power is likely to make way for the Blairite tribute band. Neither band is able to move with the times and address the challenges of today. One economist said the Blairites “will have the in tray from hell”, but the Blairites think it’s just the personnel that needs to change, not the underlying structures. The Blairites also think “t’s their turn”. There’s no engaging with civil society and academia etc, just “a new prawn cocktail offensive in the City”.

    The Blairites have no idea what will hit them in government and what they can do. There’s a feeling that if the Tories can limit their losses and keep about 200 odd seats, they could scrape home if Labour crashes out after one term.

    One hopes that, amongst others, former UK officials Anonymous 2, David (aka Aurelien at Substack) and Harry pipe up. I urge the NC community to read David / Aurelien’s blog as some of what he writes will give an insight into the detached from reality managerialism and emphasis on PR that drive Westminster and Whitehall (and much of the west).

    1. OIFVet

      Thanks, Colonel. Aurelien is a great read, didn’t know it’s our very own David. Second the call to follow him on Substack.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Maybe not, but your browser is most likely full of their cookies now.
          No animus meant, that place went to the dogs back when clinton was president.

    1. BMW DOG

      It is interesting that the Texas power grid goes all the way up to eastern Montana to some small towns and ranches but when the power went out down there we still had power up here. I guess they found an extension cord to get it from someplace.

  8. zagonostra

    Twitter, Technology and Human Nature

    I think it is conclusive that technology will not change human nature sufficiently to allow for a just society. The promise initially held out that radio, tv, and now the internet would educate enough citizens so that they could and would direct political leaders to legislate on their behalf has failed. It’s not that Twitter was hacked by the FBI/CIA, along with other social media, but that a sizeable portion of the population will continue to consume information from news outlets that have betrayed the truth and have been discredited.

    People will continue to watch the spectacle of lies parade across their screens as their political leaders hand out billions for stoking wars such as in Ukraine while their fellow citizens freeze, they will shake their heads in approval or disapproval, and move on to their own concerns and delights. Only course that seems to make sense is to strengthen the things that remain, hope for the better, and lend your support when the opportunity to make things better comes along.

  9. Wukchumni

    Sam Bankman-Fried released on $250 million bond Axios
    Was the angle in extraditing young Sam to get bond money out of a turnip?

    …and I thought he was down to his last $100 grand bar

    1. Yves Smith

      I have not tracked down detail, but per comments yesterday, posting 10% of a bail bond is pretty common. Posting 1%, which is what SBF’s parents did in pledging their house, is not. Looks like court deference to Stanford Law profs. But DoJ did not object.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Thanks for the explanation. You can’t buy a toolshed for less than a million in Palo Alto, but even so $250 mil seemed a stretch for a house owned by university profs. But knowing they were given special treatment (quelle surprise!) helps the numbers add up.

        1. Yves Smith

          I guarantee both parents make a huge multiple of their salaries consulting and/or doing expert witness. Expert witness by a recognized law prof is easily a seven figure gig.

      2. britzklieg

        personal recognizance bond

        “In the typical federal case, a bail bondsman would charge between 10%-15% of the bail amount in cash to issue a surety bond or “bail bond.” In the case of Bankman-Fried’s astronomical bond, 15% of $250 million would be $37.5 million. But, Bankman-Fried did not pay $37.5 million for his bond. No, Bankman-Fried actually paid no cash at all for his “$250 million bond.” Nothing. Zero.

        Instead, Bankman-Fried’s parents promised to pledge their Palo Alto, California, home as collateral. The Palo Alto home is rumored to be worth $4 million… No other collateral was posted or promised.

        So where did that $250 million figure come from?

        …Bankman-Fried was not required to post a conventional bail bond. Instead, Bankman-Fried was simply released from custody on something called a personal recognizance bond. The personal recognizance bond contains Bankman-Fried’s solemn promise (and his parents’ promise) to pay the court $250 million if he fails to show up for trial at the appointed time.”

        …the rich are different, especially if they are democrats

    2. John k

      Odd to me the genius didn’t fly to a non extradition country or that he doesn’t have at least a billion or so stashed in various places. (Google shows list of 74 countries, some look like decent places to live.). The crash was fast, but not that fast, not hard to google which countries have treaties with us. Maybe his money is all stashed in Bahamas? And why wouldn’t he have multiple passports?
      Assuming he’s not broke… Even now cut off the bracelet, shave head, drive to Mexico border, take private plane somewhere useful.

  10. doug

    He did not pay a cent to get out. He has rich friends who did not pay a cent either. Collateral was posted at no cost to him or his ‘friends’.
    This was not a petty crime where one rots in jail.

    1. Yves Smith

      Oh, he will. Or commit suicide, and not the Jeffrey Epstein probably highly assisted kind.

      A bunch of readers were insistent he’d never be indicted, and here he has been, in record speed for a white collar financial crime.

      This is moving way way faster than the Elizabeth Holmes case, and she was eventually convicted despite all the gambits to get out, including getting pregnant 2x. And I don’t recall her being put under house arrest and required to wear an ankle bracelet.

      Also far more categories of people harmed here. Court for Holmes didn’t accept counts related to harm to patients from bad test results, only the fraud to investors in her company. Here we have that plus fraud to customers, lenders, the IRS (money laundering, which = tax evasion among other things) and market manipulation.

      Bail is not punitive. It is to prevent/seriously deter flight:

      The purpose of bail is to help ensure that a person accused of a crime does not leave town or miss specified trial dates in court. The accused must pay a certain amount of money that is held as collateral until the person’s case is over.

      It is pretty common for houses to be posted as collateral, just not when the nominal bond is this large. That was silly in light of accepting just the parents’ house. $25 million or $50 million would have looked more proportional to what the court accepted and is still a big #.

      1. Tom Doak

        Perhaps the disproportion is part of the strategy. If SBF’s parents [or anyone else] offered $25m to post as bail, wouldn’t that make him look even more guilty? Do Stanford law professors really make that kind of dough [legally] ?

      2. Objective Ace

        I dont understand how posting bond in this case ensures he wont miss a court date.

        1) When the risk is life in jail — any dollar amount pails in comparisson
        2) Its not his money.. what does he care if the money gets lost
        3) His parents allegedly recieved much more wealth/RE value in Bahamas real estate then the amount they could lose here. So even if SBF feels bad about his parents losing some wealth, its easily made up by the fact he has given them much more

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a weird symmetry with just another 30 year old having to go back to live with his parents…

        2. Yves Smith

          Get real. This is all crazpants

          Please tell me how he gets past the border and to a county with no extradition to the US that will grant him more than a 90 day tourist visa. That list is zero.

          And he has no dollars to spend, or did you forget that???

          The Bahama RE has been disavowed by the parents. It is now subject to what amounts to a lien in the BK. The parents are already at risk of being prosecuted as accessories. Acting as if they were knowing participants in the ownership by trying to sell would make it pretty much impossible for prosecutors to ignore them as co-conspirators, as they have so far.

          No one would ever buy this RE until the BK is over. High odds of buying an empty bag even if Bahamas allowed the title transfer.

          Any sale of RE, particularly high end, takes time, on top of that. Press would catch the attempt to sell it and that would create a monster scandal.

  11. SD

    Digital Evidence

    As part of my state continuing legal education requirement, I watched a video the other day on how cellphone data can be used (and misused) by litigants and government agencies. I was astonished at how sophisticated some of the fakery can be. In one case, the complaining witness in a criminal case created an utterly believable series of fake text message conversations designed to implicate the defendant in a crime he didn’t commit. Police departments and prosecutors are conveniently credulous when they find supposedly incriminating evidence on cellphones. Unfortunately, cellphone forensics is a specialized area and experts are expensive, and it’s a certainty that criminal defendants have been wrongly convicted based on unreliable or misused cellphone data.

  12. Lexx

    ‘For the rich and famous, private jets are no longer private enough’

    Oh, sweet irony. I like the idea of the rich constantly looking over their shoulders, knowing their every move is being monitored, recorded, shared, and commodified. If we can have no privacy, then neither can they for any amount of money… and that they should feel unsafe knowing someone can reach and ‘touch’ them at any time. The most public of public figures, everything about them ‘for sale’, especially that which they’d rather keep private.


  13. Carolinian

    FAIR’s version of being sensible.

    But when you read further into the article, you find that politics is not really the problem here. One of the studies, the Post reported, found that “people living in more conservative parts of the United States disproportionately bore the burden of illness and death linked to Covid-19.” The other found that “the more conservative a state’s policies, the shorter the lives of working-age people.”

    So the problem is not so much “politics” as it is conservatism. Indeed, the article noted that one of the reports found “if all states implemented liberal policies” on the environment, guns, tobacco and other health-related policies, 170,000 lives would be saved a year.

    No suggestion here that health outcomes as well as politics might have to do with lower incomes or lack of jobs as typical of flyover states that voted for Trump. After all the Post found a study that can chalk it up to bad thinking.

    I live in a consistently Republican state. Our Covid results weren’t great but no worse than “liberal” states like New York and New Jersey. It could be the entire Dem line of “vote for us or else” is bs given that the politicians of both parties are so deeply compromised. FAIR, an organization supposedly promoting better journalism, might want to think about it.

  14. lovevt

    WSJ cold medicine article noted “The Food and Drug Administration told the researchers in 2016 that it was reviewing the request but was unable to reach a decision because the petition “raises complex issues requiring extensive review and analysis.” And I read this as the FDA protects the pharmaceutical industry not the public welfare. We need a vaccination to protect us from the pharmaceutical industry.

  15. OIFVet

    Re: Ukraine’s Fate and America’s Destiny – The Atlantic.

    Holly mother of inanity and American Stalinism! We have “America’s mission” to unite the freediotic and democratic world in the existential struggle against the unfree barbarians from the East, in order to make the world safe for Western neo-imperialism again democracies and aspiring democrats such as Mr. Zelensky. And believe you me, we need people like him, for only an aspiring democrat such as him could see that it is Comrade America and only Comrade America that can lead the world’s embattled democracies and aspiring democrats such as Mr. Zelensky in the struggle against those asiatic hordes of Putin Khan and Xi Khan. And make no mistake, as the wife of Mr. Applebaum reminds us, the dominoes are as precarious as ever, and if Mr. Zelensky fall, they will all fall and Putin Khan will not stop until he grills a shishlik on the South Lawn of the White House.

    I mean, thank goodness that Mr. Zelensky went to Washington to tell us these things. Who better than a completely independent freedumb fighter of his stature to remind us of Our Mission the Burden which it places upon Comrade America. It was a convincing tour de farce in the best traditions of the Soviets under Comrade Stalin.

    Yes, I am saying it: America has become a Stalinist establishment both in style and in substance (save the facade of “democracy” and rotating Dear Leaders), complete with puppets flying in to reinforce and justify Comrade America’s sense of itself, and house organs to cover the farce. This America is an aggressive cancer on planet Earth and upon itself.

    1. flora

      an aside: I looked at The Atlantic’s main webpage and found these ‘cutting edge’ essay titles: “‘Best Friends’ are a Surprisingly Recent Phenominanon”, and “The Homeownership Society was a Mistake.”

      The first is false (Gilamesh!) and the second is debatable. Both seem aimed at convincing the reader that having much less social and material wealth than earlier generations – their parents’ generation – is normal and a good thing. / oy (Who writes this stuff?)

    2. pjay

      Today’s Links seem to include a number of especially despicable propaganda pieces filled with bold-faced lies. Just a few days ago commenters were noting that a bit of truth about Ukraine was gradually trickling out into the mainstream media. There seems to be a concerted effort to nip that in the bud, coordinated with The Visit by our valiant Hero in the Sweater.

    3. semper loquitur

      For the trifecta, check out this alternate timeline fantasy from Annie Applebaum:

      “Russian soldiers, strengthened by their stunning victory, would already be on the borders of Poland, setting up new command posts, digging new trenches. NATO would be in chaos; the entire alliance would be forced to spend billions to prepare for the inevitable invasion of Warsaw, Vilnius, or Berlin.”

      These people are imminent threats to the public.

      1. JBird4049

        I see that Annie Applebaum is fear crazed, stupid, or a tool. I don’t see anyone creditably saying that the entirety of Ukraine is going to be completely overrun anytime soon. Defeated, yes. Conquered enough to safely run entire armies from east to west? No.

        I am not an expert, but to get to Poland, the Russians would have to go through the whole of Ukraine. For Russian to actually, realistically invade Western Europe would mean fighting a very large and wealthier area that has more rugged terrain than Ukraine while using a still relatively small military being supplied using vulnerable supply lines running through recently conquered territory.

        Also, why would he want to do that and could he get enough popular support to do so?

        1. The Rev Kev

          If he did that, then Russia would be on the hook for the trillion dollars needed to reconstruct the Ukraine. More logical to stop at the Russian-speaking areas and pay for their reconstruction, especially since that is where the majority of the damage has been done. The EU is being disingenuous about that $1 trillion sum as they know about that later fact.

        2. pjay

          I don’t believe Anne Applebaum is fear crazed, and I don’t believe she is stupid. I do believe she is a tool, of the worst sort. She has sterling academic credentials. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning historian. If anyone thinks that makes her an unbiased authority, I have a bridge to sell them. She’s an absolute neocon ideologue and super cheerleader for NATO and Atlanticism. Most of her work focused on the evils of the Soviet Union, which she has simply extended to Russia under Putin (Putin = Stalin). I believe her family were emigres from the USSR; her husband is Polish and served as both Foreign and Defense Minister for that country. I’m sure that has nothing to do with her objective analysis of history.

          On my list of the worst neocon propagandists, she’s right up there near the top. I don’t actually know if she believes everything she writes. She might – ideologues like her have an extraordinary capacity to shield themselves from reality. But then again for neocons the Big Lie is fine if it is for a Noble Cause.

    4. Karl

      Communists evangelized world communism with their various International Congresses (the various Cominterns from 1919-1935).

      Time for Biden to organized the first Democratic International Congress, or Demintern?

      Or maybe, Zelensky’s appearance yesterday at our Congress should just be called the First Democratic International? Empty speeches will surely typify future such events.

      Onward comrades with the great global Democratic crusade!

  16. JM

    I’ve never loved the idea of an online password manager, due to relying on connectivity to get your account info, and the likelihood that someone’s probably trying to break into it 24/7. Theoretically they have professionals to keep things secure, but everything I hear about corporate internet security doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

    Instead I use a KeePass variant, where the password db is encrypted and kept local. It’s FLOSS so if you know how you can audit it. Not perfect, but a bad actor would need to compromise my desktop (hopefully needing to be in person which I would notice…) or my phone which is the real risk I think.

    1. flora

      Someone or more likely many bot things are trying to break in or hack 24/7. You can watch it happen in real time with some security softwares or if you turn off the factory default security settings on your computer/device – (don’t do that. ha.)

      1. marieann

        I am a fan of Lambert’s method…passwords written on random pieces of paper in handwriting even I can barely read.

        1. semper loquitur

          I never write down my passwords, with a few exceptions. I just change them every time I need to sign in. It doesn’t take too long and I don’t have to memorize anything.

        2. digi_owl

          Yeah i suspect for most, as long as they are not living with the risk of night time secret police visits, a notepad in a drawer is good enough.

          Most attacks will be online drivebys exploiting still unpatched vulnerabilities to steal files, something that can be done from a yurt in inner Mongolia against anywhere in the world.

          But stealing a physical notepad means having to send someone to break into that specific home, a far more targeted task that do not scale anywhere as easily.

          That said, back in the day there were “PDAs” sold were one feature was password protected code vaults. No wifi, no mobile connection, just a rubber keyboard an a couple of line of LCD dot matrix.

  17. LawnDart

    Re; Workplace Fatalities Hit Highest Rate Since 2016

    True tales from the front line:

    An “Industrial Electrician” is a job title and should not be taken to infer that the person has any formal training, skills or certifications in that field: there are a lot of cowboys out there.

    I was dispatched to a client with the instructions to bypass the tripped motor overloads on a machine at a fiber/paper facility– very dusty place, ankle-deep in scraps: motor don’t run, machine don’t run, production doesn’t happen, and if no production, no money. They wanted the machine running.

    Overloads provide protection against excessive rise in temperature in the motor windings due to current higher than full load current. In other words, they help keep things from getting sparky or even catching fire.

    I get to the site, look inside the Motor Control Panel (a bleeding jumbled rats-nest of unlabled, improperly terminated and chaotic spaghetti wiring), firm-up my resolve, and go hunting for the plant manager.

    So I finally track they guy down, explained who I was and what I was sent there to do. Before he could get get a word in, I told him if that’s what they want to do, I’m not doing it: get someone else for the job.

    He stared at me for a minute, then I was suddenly in a bear-hug– plant manager squeezing me tight, patting me on the back and saying, “thank you, thank you…”

    “I was a maintence tech when I started here. Heck, I was the maintence manager before I got this job. They sent a couple of guys out two days ago to do the same thing, and I had to chase them off! I wasn’t even supposed to be here today…”

    Industrial machinery has hundreds of ways of coming at you to inflict gruesome, industrial-sized injuries– stuff that’ll make the strongest stomachs squeemish. And in the fields of industrial maintence, installation and repair, it really is the Wild West out there: in many places, laws and regulations are applied after the fact, if at all.

  18. Lex

    The value of slavery to the British empire is covered in the excellent book “Born in Blackness”. The book is far more wide-ranging in its exploration of history of the slave trade and the economics of it, but it does speak specifically to this question.

    Caribbean sugar ended up being more valuable than all the silver mined in S. America. At some points in history, British Caribbean sugar exceeded the potential caloric value of all UK farmland. And it was that caloric value that really allowed for agricultural peasantry to be moved to industrial labor. But it goes beyond that. At the time of the American Revolution, most of the agricultural output of the colonies actually went to the Caribbean to supply the sugar plantations. Except the slave grown tobacco of course, but tobacco wasn’t the only cash crop slavery was used to produce.

    I look forward to digging into the PDF.

  19. RobertC


    The “tell” in the ProPublica article is not the river shown in the foreground but rather the high tension lines and substation in the background. Without hydropower from the Colorado River dams, everything comes to a halt including water distribution. I provided an example for SoCal RobertC December 18, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    To be sustainable water distribution must be reduced by 4M acre-feet. In my assessment, the baseline allocation should be 100% capacity from all hydropower dams. Added to that would be the water necessary to sustain healthy lives (but not green lawns) in all cities at all sizes (eg, Los Angeles to Delta) and associated commercial activities except agriculture and ranching. Then sustainable, water- and power-efficient non-exported agriculture and ranching should receive the remaining allocation.

    Food can be imported.

    Power and water not so much.

    It ain’t gonna happen.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Perhaps somebody could put a call into zelensky and see if he can loan them a few billion for their little problem.
      Seems like a likeable chap, heh.

  20. JBird4049

    >>>California university apologizes for prisoner experiments ABC10

    Sometimes, I feel like some paranoid, tinfoil’d loon when commenting on eugenics and the various horrors of the American carceral state; it is nice to see some confirmation in the official news media.

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