Links 12/4/2022

Bats growl like death metal singers to communicate with each other CNBC (IM).

NASA’s going back to the moon and must confront a familiar enemy: Dust LA Times

Credit cards as a legacy system Bits About Money. 2FA issues. Perhaps readers who bank will wish to weigh in.


Make ecocide an international crime and other legal ideas to help save the planet Steven Donzinger, Guardian (Carla).

A City of Islands London Review of Books. Well worth a read.


In Peru’s southern Andes, the La Nina means a worsening drought — now its residents face the reality of climate change ABC Australia


China sets ambitious Covid-19 vaccination targets, officials say South China Morning Post

What Xi’s Zero-COVID Fiasco Might Mean for China and the World Foreign Policy. A country that lost over a million dead to Covid has no standing to lecture others on fiascos.

At Shanghai vigil, bold shout for change preceded crackdown AP. “The vigil on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 26, took place in Shanghai’s French Concession, a trendy district filled with boutique Art Deco cafes, vintage shops and historic Tudor mansions. Among the first there were local artists and musicians, according to two friends of early participants.” Exactly where I would be most comfortable beginning, were I a Western journalist in China.

LONG VIEW: Energy, Chips, War-Making Capacity, and Taiwan China Charts

Japan to expand Okinawa-based ground force unit amid China threat Kyodo News


The new Covid wave Eric Topol, Ground Truths

New Not-So-Cold War

EU, G7, Australia to cap price on Russian oil at $60 per barrel Al Jazeera

Could Russia sanctions work in practice even if they fail on paper? Freight Waves

Europe can withstand risk to winter energy supplies, says French grid chief FT

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Building a broader Atlantic community (PDF) Brookings Institution

Sweden hands PKK/KCK terror group member to Türkiye TRT World

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Is there any truth to Russia’s ‘Ukrainian Nazis’ propaganda? Deutsche Welle. Well….

David Swanson: Ukraine and the Anti-Communications System Dandelion Salad

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A handy guide to digging trenches:

News you can use!

Biden Administration

Biden Signs Legislation To Avert Crisis Of Treating Rail Workers Like Humans The Onion

More than 500 Labor Historians Condemn Biden’s Intervention in Freight Rail Dispute Vice

Biden’s Rail Debacle Signals Shakeup Marco Rubio, The American Conservative. “A single sick employee can derail an entire work plan.” Hmm….

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Survey: Americans want to scale back military entanglements Responsible Statecraft. The survey:

Responsible Statecraft rightly takes Morning Consult to task for the framing.

Air Force Unveils New B-21 Stealth Bomber After Seven Years in the Making Defense One and This Is The B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber (Updated) The Drive

The Army is taking a hard look at new loitering munitions in response to the war in Ukraine Task and Purpose (Re Silc).

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Whistleblower and DOJ spar over balance of power in False Claims Act cases SCOTUSblog

2022 Post Mortem

Elon Musk says Twitter’s censorship of Hunter Biden laptop story was the ‘definition of election interference’ and that firm ‘was acting as an arm of the DNC’ Daily Mail

Elon Musk’s promised Twitter exposé on the Hunter Biden story is a flop that doxxed multiple people The Verge

Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ ignite divisions, but haven’t changed minds WaPo

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In a Wisconsin Trump County, and Across the U.S., Progressive Health Care Initiatives Coasted Through The Intercept

Antisemitic celebrities stoke fears of normalizing hate AP. Commentary:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Trump calls for the termination of the Constitution in Truth Social post CNN. Here is the quote (I couldn’t get into Truth Social, but Trump seems to have cross-posted to Gab):

Has the Next Civil War Already Started? The National Interest


Gabriel Shipton: “Julian Assange, my brother” Il Fatto Quotidiano

The Bezzle

Crypto broker Genesis owes Winklevoss exchange’s customers $900mn FT. Oh.

‘We kind of lost track’: how Sam Bankman-Fried blurred lines between FTX and Alameda (interview) FT. SBF: “To the extent that there’s a tactical piece of it, I think it’s basically that things have gotten to the point where, frankly, there were a lot of conspiracy theories floating around that had no validity.” Move along, people, move along. There’s no story here! Well, except for this one: Sam Bankman-Fried’s trading shop was given special treatment on FTX for years (Alameda).


CMS warns hospitals must protect staff, patients from violence Health Care Dive. Yet hospital anti-masking and ventilation policies that encourage the spread of a deadly pathogen are not considered “violence.” Very odd.

Zeitgeist Watch

Crypto Crashes, but the Awards Go On and At the State Dinner, Jill Biden Revives the Oscar de la Renta Tradition NYT (Re Silc). The Times Style section has always been weak, but holy moley!


New L.A. County Data Shows That Homeless ‘Sweeps’ Rarely Lead to Permanent Housing L.A. Taco. Meanwhile, in San Francisco:

Want to live in a van down by the river? Ford has a new vehicle for that CNBC

Vote on Taconic High’s Vocational Status Set for January iBerkshires (Re Silc). More electricians and plumbers!

Class Warfare

UAW Reformers Are Taking Over Their Union. That’s Good for the Entire Working-Class. Jacobin and Challengers Win Big in UAW Elections; Presidency Headed to Run-Off Labor Notes. A hopeful sign!

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Capital as a historic concept Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality

The urinary tract infection business-model Cory Doctorow

Malthusian depopulationists – or afraid of climate change? Carl Beijer

Weaponizing identity politics (review) Tempest. Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò’s Elite Capture.

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Employing the unemployed of Marienthal: Evaluation of a guaranteed job program (PDF) Maximilian Kasy, Lukas Lehner. “We find strong positive impacts of program participation on participants’ economic (employment, income, security) and non-economic wellbeing (social status, time structure, social interactions, collective purpose). We do not find effects on physical health, or riskand time-preferences. At the municipality level, we find a large reduction of long-term unemployment, and a slightly attenuated reduction of total unemployment.”

Friedrich Hayek: a great political thinker rather than a great economist The Spectator

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. Patrick Donnelly

    Will the Okinawan forces eventually outnumber those of Japan’s close and loving ally the USA?

    Asking for a friend….

    1. Acacia

      You mean the anti-base protesters who are tired of their land and ocean being stolen and polluted? They are growing in numbers, but the national govt has more or less thrown Okinawa under the bus. It is the poorest prefecture in Japan, as who wants to invest money to build something next to a toxic military base? There are a number of interesting films about the political conflict there, e.g.: We Shall Overcome (Mikami, 2015), ANPO: Art X War (Hoaglund, 2010), Okinawa: The Afterburn (Junkerman, 2015). All recommended.

      1. Acacia

        Ah, now I see you’re asking about the Jieitai. Tokyo has also been leveraging the “fear of China” and wants to increase the MIC grift defense budget by almost 50%, which I gather would place Japan in the top five highest in the world — maybe even the top three. Already Japan spends more on the military than Russia. However, Japan is in a mutual security treaty with the US, so until that is dissolved, the US military will likely be in Okinawa. There are now plans to beef up the missile installations in the westernmost islands of the archipelago, to strike targets on the Chinese mainland.

        Also, there was a very dangerous moment in Cold War history that should be better known: around the same time the US was decrying Russian missiles in Cuba, the US had nuclear missiles in Okinawa, and in October 1962, the missile men received a confirmed order to launch the missiles and begin a nuclear strike against Russia, China, and apparently at least one other country.

        We are likely all alive today because those local commanders decided to not carry out the launch order.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Europe can withstand risk to winter energy supplies, says French grid chief”

    Says a man from a country whose leader has already warned about blackouts this winter, half the nuclear power plants are down with trouble and a looming oil shortage due to the G-7 trying to impose an oil price cap. This is really going to age badly.

  3. John

    Is everyone supposed to shuffle past the FTX story because to really look at it would make the smartest of the smart, the best of the best, look like rubes? And, come on man, a few billion is not serious money.

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps SBF saw the way they shuffled past Hunter Biden and decided to get in on the action. Meanwhile please do look over there at the New Civil War which is what we should really be worried about. Perhaps the discouraging thing about our mainstream propagandists is that they aren’t even very good at it. These bedtime stories are boring in their repetitiousness.

      1. Wukchumni

        Sam the sham is a refreshing break from the usual criminals in high finance who know better than to blab about billions gained or lost in a nefarious way, and worst of all, young Sam seemed to smile when asked about some poor schlep who lost everything with him @ the helm.

        TV show pitch: Fantasy Money Island

        I am your host Mr. Roarke (no relation to Howard Roark) and welcome to Fantasy Money Island where I can make your wildest money dreams come true

        {Tattoo runs to the main bell tower to ring the bell in announcing the new arrivals each episode and shouts De-Crypto!, De-Crypto!}

        ‘Smiles, everyone! Smiles!’ Mr. Roarke-soothsayer says as the predominantly young investors alight from the airplane…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Last night I was watching “The Wolf of Wall Street” on the telly and though the events that this film was based on happened in the 90s, I am seeing more than a few parallels with that story and the present FTX story. The main difference is that the Feds cracked down on Stratton Oakmont whereas now, all obstacles were removed from the path of FTX by the Feds as too many important people had learned how to personally profit from such scams and so protected it – and still are.

          1. Carolinian

            A film that itself became, ironically, a big financial scandal. From Wikipedia

            The film is part of a broader investigation into these illicit monetary movements, and, in 2016, was named in a series of civil complaints filed by the United States Department of Justice “for having provided a trust account through which hundreds of millions of dollars belonging to the 1MDB fund were illicitly siphoned”.[92][93][94] To settle the civil lawsuit, Red Granite Pictures agreed to pay US$60 million to the U.S. government with no “admission of wrongdoing or liability on the part of Red Granite”.[95] This settlement was part of a more expansive U.S. effort to seize approximately $1.7 billion in assets allegedly purchased with funds embezzled from 1MDB.

            Grifters out to the horizon.

    2. Raymond Sim

      The “incompetent not evil” defense appears to have become something akin to PMC canon, and to be internalized by many of its lower level non-administrative members. Not too long ago a person I know pretty well appears (‘Appears’ is the most I can say. There was an investigation with substantial resources thrown at it, but the person in question was sanctioned and allowed to retire without their offense ever being entirely clear.) to have been caught engaging in corrupt practices. The appearances were very bad, and some of the person’s actions at the time smelled to high heaven of further, possibly more egregious corruption in service of a coverup. The responses of people I know who absolutely should have know better were all in the vein of “Sloppy, not criminal.” and “Omigod why would they do that NOW? I guess they just can’t see how bad it looks.”

      I got mad and did a little extremely open-source investigating, which led me to ask a couple questions of people I’m close to. I could almost see the scales falling from their eyes, and a very unwelcome insight it seemed to be. Meanwhile I myself prefer to think my friends were merely dupes in all this – but they really really should have known better.

      1. Mildred Montana

        So if a murderer leaves his fingerprints in blood at the scene of the crime, that’s “sloppy, not criminal”? Defense attorneys, take note.

        1. fjallstrom

          The fingerprint is the proof that he isn’t a murderer.

          Sure, he entered the victims house, at night, through a window. But that was merely a mistake, he meant to use quantum mechanics to go through the house without ever being in the house (no physicists on the jury, please). Realising that he was in the house, he tried to leave, but in moving his body his finger accidentally squeeze the trigger. What trigger, you may ask?

          Well, seeing how only a good person with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, he had resolved to always bring a gun. Merely being a good citizen unfortunately came back to bite him, as he sloppily slipped his hand on the gun, accidentally squeezed the trigger and the bullet by sheer happenstance happened to enter the victims body.

          Distraught he left the house to get help, and had he not been arrested, help would surely have arrived in time. But at that time, he didn’t know that there was police officers close by, and he wanted to leave a note that he was getting help. For want of a pen, he instead resolved to use the ancient signature of a thumb print. The only accessible medium was the victims blood, and though it felt a bit macabre, necessity demanded that he acted quickly, so without further ado he marked his thumb in the blood before running of to get help.

          So that is how the fingerprint proves his innocence. A guilty man wouldn’t have stopped to place his fingerprint. He is not a murderer, merely sloppy.

          But he has learnt from his mistakes – and isn’t that the most important thing of all? A he is young, he will learn, and in the future he will not be as sloppy.

          1. caucus99percenter

            Funny satire. But that’s exactly what the 1977 real-life, kid-gloves treatment of Richard Herrin — who killed his sleeping girlfriend with a hammer, in cold blood, out of jealousy — seemed like to family and friends of his victim, Bonnie Garland.

            Basically, the PMC — in the form of the Catholic student group and the killer’s friends at Yale — said, “But Richard is one of us!”, rallied around Herrin, raised the smokescreen of minority identity as an excuse, hired the best hot-shot defense lawyer money could buy, and got him off on a lesser charge of manslaughter.



    3. Gavin

      He levered up, busted, reached into client accounts to Make It Up and then busted again.. This is a story as old as time..

      One key piece that does get missed from a lot of these narrations is that those FTX accounts actually asserted/promised a rate of return on those account monies. Naturally, achieving that return always was going to require making risky bets.

  4. timbers

    Air Force Unveils New B-21 Stealth Bomber After Seven Years in the Making Defense One and This Is The B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber (Updated) The Drive


    The New Atlas gives an analysis of the new B-21 Bomber, concluding it’s a big ripoff. His opinions of the whole “Stealth” part in these type of bombers vs stand off bombing is interesting, in that stealth isn’t so stealth and stand off bombing out of the range of air defenses can usually do the same anyway at much lower cost.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That was an eye-opener that video. If 100 B-1 Lancers were ordered but proved so expensive (in the 20th century), that they settled for about 20, then how many B-21s will eventually be built in the 21st century. Brian makes the point that you don’t need this high-tech crap. You just need a flying truck that can launch a whole bunch of stand-off missiles and this is being proven in the Ukraine again and again. Wouldn’t fancy being in a B-21 bomber like that trying to get past an S-400 missile system in any case.

        1. LawnDart

          That was done before, back in the 80’s, with an ICBM rolling out the back of a C-5. Unfortunately, the Nav got excited and prematurely launched the wad, which, in turn, created A LOT more excitement.

          This experiment was discontinued.

      1. timbers

        Brian Berletic says his Twitter account has been restored, having been banned for showing 1 pic of Azov types bearing symbols of a type that must not be name (Harry Potters Lord Voldermort?). But he doesn’t spend time on Twitter saying it’s a very toxic place to be right now.

      2. Thistlebreath

        Then you’d likely have even less appetite for baiting the soon to be (if not already) deployed S 500 system. The terms “orbital reach” and “hypersonic” have been descriptors.

        My late neighbor was chief warrant officer on a troop transport in the Pacific during WWII. I once asked him what the letters “LST” stood for. His reply: Large Slow Target.”

        1. Polar Socialist

          First S-500 brigade was deployed about a year ago in Krasnoznamensk, near Moscow. Second brigade was expected to be deployed this year, and the rest (don’t know the number, though) by 2025.
          This August Russian MoD signed a contract for S-550 development by 2026.

      3. cfraenkel

        This argument dates back to at least the early 80s. I remember one proposal: if you want to stop a Soviet tank attack, ignore the tanks; flood the enemy rear with drones that targeted whatever truck or train it ran into – the resulting traffic jam would stop the flow of fuel, which would stop the tanks after ~50 km advance.
        Of course, in an Air Force of pilots, and a DoD of revolving door defense contractors, this never got anywhere.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Back during Cold War One, NATO was preparing for decades to fight the Russian tanks in battle. Then near the end, one group of Air Force officers thought to ask how the Russians fueled that fleet of tanks. When they went through the intelligence, they found that nearly all that fuel went through one chock-point and if they hit that, then that tank fleet would shortly grind to a stop. But not that many years after the USSR went away and the whole thing became academic anyway.

      4. PlutoniumKun

        The problem with this argument that stand off missiles are all you need is that the Ukrainians have tried that against Russia and have failed. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the Ukrainians had a huge reserve of cruise and ballistic missiles in addition to those they’ve been given, but they’ve only been an annoyance to the Russians, not a game changer. The Russians are undoubtedly ahead of the west and China in this sort of defense, but they’ve proven it can work against medium and high tech missiles, so its achievable. The big problem (for the Russians and everyone else) is non-point defense against huge swarms of very cheap drones. But even these are not a problem for point defenses. One radar equipped 40mm gun will make quick work of hundreds of them.

        There is also the cost aspect. Big bombers are very expensive, but so are the defenses needed against them. Plus they can drop very cheap ordnance very accurately. GPS guided 2,000lb bombs are very cheap, very plentiful and will do a lot more damage than any drone. And a B2 or B21 can carry 2 dozen of them. It can potentially carry up to 100 precision guided GBU-39 bombs which can glide 60km and hit with a CPU of 2 or 3 metres and can do far more damage than all but the biggest drones or ballistic missiles. Plus, they are cheap.

        Plus sometimes in war you need very, very big bombs. The Russians discovered this in Syria where they need to use very big airdropped bombs to wipe out dense dug in networks of rebels and will probably be doing the same in Ukraine as soon as they are confident enough to fly their big aircraft over Ukie territory. Only a big bomber can do this.

    2. Louis Fyne

      big problem with “stealth” is that stealth and large weapons capacity are mutually exclusive as the weapons have to be held within the fuselage.

      The humble missile can do the same job as the B-21, but missiles are not as profitable, or sexy, or have the support of Capitol Hill appropriations committees

      another “fighting the last era” boondoogle. The B-21 will be so high-value that it will never be used in combat.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I would say that the real problem with stealth is that technically feasible and cost-effective countermeasures are quite obviously within the reach of the potential adversaries we like to think we’re still nearly peers with.

      2. LawnDart

        My understanding of “stealth” is that it was defeated years ago by using multiple bands of radar for detection: these aircraft are “stealthy,” at least more so than a Greyhound bus with wings, but “stealth” itself is strictly for public-consumption.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not sure but I think that the type of radar systems that they used back in WW2 can pick them out. And back in 1999 the Yogoslavians shot down one F-117 Nighthawk “stealth” aircraft and severely damaged another.

          1. LawnDart

            Stealth technologies are more or less effective against radars operating in the X-band (8-12 GHz), and locators on ultrashort waves (30 MHz – 3 GHz) can perfectly see stealth aircraft. Just such mobile anti-stealth radars are being put into service in the Russian army. Chinese Navy ships are also equipped with similar radars.

            Per Russian article on this subject, circa 2014.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Yes, stealth does not make the airplanes invisible but it makes it harder for the fire-control radars or missiles to lock into the target so it lowers the probability of a hit. Depending on the means to achieve the stealth, it may also lower the service rate of the aircraft, or make it immensely expensive/complicated to maintain.

              Russians seem to prefer speed, agility and soft kill (decoys, ECM) defence systems for the same purpose. And I think they prefer to launch two missiles with different sensors for one target (thus carrying a lot of missiles) to make the targets defense more complicated.

              But yes, in short, 50’s radars can easily see stealth aircraft within a few kilometers accuracy – not good enough to target them, but good enough to vector in interceptors. The latest versions of Russian long-range radar systems are said (of course they are!) to be able to combine and analyze the signal from different frequencies well enough to actually send targeting information to missile batteries.

              1. LawnDart

                Sounds about right.

                To add to the problems, stealth can’t dogfight worth a damn, when intercepted. And that’s the fighters, not this new B21 pos.

                The USA was much better-off when it’s weapons systems were made by the lowest-bidder…

                Here’s a Russian rag quoting a Chinese study of the matter:

                Chinese journalists believe that the main weapon against the
                F-22 and F-35 is the Russian
                S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. The S-300 has a maximum detection range of 300 kilometers and
                can simultaneously direct 12 missiles to intercept six groups of air targets. However
                , with the advent of American stealth aircraft in the new S-400 air defense system, designers
                paid more attention to their interception. For these purposes, the SAM has a special radar
                designed to detect stealth fighters.

                Nebo-M is
                a phased array radar detection
                system in the S-400 air defense system, which is specially designed to combat
                stealth fighters. This radar station consists of three radar modules
                operating in the meter, decimeter and centimeter ranges, respectively.
                Low-visibility targets with an effective reflective area of only 0.05 square
                meters can be detected at a distance of up to 200 kilometers…

                Source: Perfekt [dot] ru

            2. PlutoniumKun

              Long wave radars can detect most stealth vehicles, but they can’t provide the information or targeting ID necessary to take them down and don’t provide the information needed to distinguish real targets from even crude decoys. Those radars are also very bulky and very prone to being targeted themselves. The Chinese seem to be investing heavily in UHF radar equipped drones to try to create a dense network of long wave radars to provide early detection, although its not clear if even with fancy software these will be able to provide sufficient data for targeting. Plus, those drones will themselves be vulnerable to be taken down. The Russians focus more on ground based long wave radars and passive detectors. The Europeans have focused on networking data from multiple sources – they claim to have been able to track F-22’s in exercises that way, but all that information is classified.

              The only real testing ground has been over Syria. We know the Russians/Syrians have been trying very hard to bag an F-35, and the Israeli’s have been trying hard to see how far they can push the envelope. There are claims that a missile from an S-300 badly damaged an F-35 on a raid over Syria, but nobody knows for sure.

              Ultimately, we know that all the major powers consider that stealth works. We know that because everyone – the US, Russians, Chinese, Indians, French, Japanese, ROK, Europeans and Turks are all working very hard on making their aircraft, and to a lesser extent other vehicles, stealthy. But very few seem to be opting for a ‘pure’ stealth approach – its always a balance of stealthiness, electronic jamming, decoys, kinetic performance and other factors. Stealth is not a gamechanger in most circumstances, but if I was a pilot I’d much rather be in a stealth aircraft if facing a Russian or Chinese defense. If nothing else, its like the old joke about hikers not having to be able to outrun a bear. You just have to be able to outrun your companion when the bear charges.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  The S-300’s are owned and operated by the Syrians. They were the ones shooting at claimed F-35s.

                  The extent of control/interoperativity between the Russians and Syrians, and any hardware/software upgrades is beyond my knowledge, but it is clear that the Syrians have been using Russian equipment and know-how to shoot at Israeli missions over Syria and Lebanon.

                  1. Polar Socialist

                    It’s my understanding that the Russian operated systems in Latakia can feed data to Syrian air-defense network to the extent that Russians can even assign targets to Syrian batteries.
                    Which would make sense in the context of Russians having had the de-escalation channels to Israel and US. Although the one to Israel has now been deactivated, afaik.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        The B2 has similar capacity to the B-52 – around 50,000lbs compared to 70,000lb of bombs. The B21 may exceed this as its using much more powerful and efficient engines than the B2. Its actually easier to make very large aircraft stealthy.

        1. LawnDart

          As a platform for air-to-ground missiles, it could stand half a chance of launching a strike and surviving, being 1000-2500km away from target.

          1. LawnDart

            However, after doing a quick read on the subject, it would seem that USA cruise missile are unlikely to reach a Russian target. And probably not reach a Chinese one either.

            For details, search: “Уроки” ракетного удара США по территории Сирии [The “lessons” of the US missile strike on the territory of Syria] on the dfnc (dot) ru website.

        2. Not This Again

          Its actually easier to make very large aircraft stealthy.

          Are you sure about this?

          I believe that from my electromagnetics courses the size of the stealthy object had almost nothing to do with the radar cross section–it was the angles and corners that mattered.

    3. Stephen

      That really was a good video.

      I guess that the flight tests will not (nor to be fair can they) involve seeing how it performs against a Russian S400 system, or whatever upgrade is in place by the time this plane is in service.

      Not that I want to see anyone firing shells in Ukraine but I do wonder how many of those could have been produced since 2015 with the resources that were instead devoted to this. Clearly, no one in the fawning defence press corps will have asked Lloyd Austin such a question.

      Guess there is not so much profit in churning out shells, and also fewer military career opportunities. Just think of how many people have senior level Air Force / DoD jobs “overseeing” the development of this plane.

      1. Polar Donkey

        Man, that’s a pretty and expensive plane, but do you have any 155mm artillery shells and working artillery? No, Oh really. So you’re still planning to lose the war, right?

    4. OIFVet

      The unveil reminded me of any sport team’s home season-opener. Get the crowd psyched up and cheering for the upcoming season – “hey, we finally have the missing piece, this year coach Biden will take us to the Super Apocalypse and we will wipe the floor with the Putin Bears. They couldn’t beat even Slava Kokainu in the preseason!”

      And the bucks from the adoring fans will keep flowing into Team MIC coffers.

  5. Daniil Adamov

    “Is there any truth to Russia’s ‘Ukrainian Nazis’ propaganda? Deutsche Welle.”

    That one’s funny. They basically just took a few inconsequential and/or easy to refute points (someone somewhere said a bad word/used a bad symbol) and ignored everything else. Not sure what else I was expecting.

    1. rob

      yeah, The DW article was STUNNING in its obvious straw-manning the topic…. How much trouble to go through; publishing that fuming pile of S#@T… pretending its a real response…. WOW!.. the delusions people must be experiencing to even try something that LAME.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can you imagine what would happen if Kathrin Wesolowski was given the assignment to see if there was any truth to there being Nazis in Germany in WW2? It would be hilarious. She would say stupid things like how somebody said that they saw a Hakenkreuz on a Luftwaffe plane once but that it was false as they had mistaken that image for that of a German cross instead. I am afraid that she has three strikes against her – she is young, stupid and on the make. Always a bad combination that.

        1. Wukchumni

          If I was trying to persuade that swastikas ain’t no big thang, Arizona (in it’s early crass-test-dummy days) used to sport one on all the road signs before Adolf ruined it for them. There’s still a bunch of swastika roof tiles on a government building in Phoenix..

          There used to be swastikas all over Arizona. And this was way before neo-Nazi-hugger Russell Pearce became state Senate president. Yep, back in pre-WWII Sand Land, swastikas proliferated: on official state road signs, on gas stations, hotels, maps, Navajo rugs and jewelry, baskets by the Maricopa and Pima Indians, you name it.Though the symbol is thousands of years old, an ancient icon of good fortune in many cultures, it was also a quintessential symbol of the American West. For the Navajos especially, it was a religious symbol, referred to as the “whirling logs,” with its own mythology, used in art and sacred sand sculptures.Anglo-Americans adopted its use, and the symbol was so popular that it even adorned official buildings, such as the one housing the Arizona Department of Agriculture, catty-corner from the state Capitol, on the northeast corner of Adams and Washington streets. Next time you’re there, look up, and you’ll see swastika tiles ringing the roof of the structure, built in 1930, before that dork Adolf Hitler came along and really ruined a good thing.

          (Phoenix New Times)

              1. Lex

                There used to be a US steel manufacturer that stamped swastikas on lots of stuff. I’ve seen it on valves in 1920’s power plants. I’m not recalling the name of the company or their full product line at the moment but looked it up after finding a swastika in a power plant.

          1. Carolinian

            So the Azov Battalion was really just paying homage to native Americans. That’s so sweet.

            I always thought the swastika harked back to those other Indians. Again Wikipedia

            It continues to be used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality in Indian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.[5][6][7][8][1] It generally takes the form of a cross,[A] the arms of which are of equal length and perpendicular to the adjacent arms, each bent midway at a right angle.[10][11]

            The word swastika comes from Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक, romanized: svastika, meaning “conducive to well-being”.[12][1] In Hinduism, the right-facing symbol (clockwise) (卐) is called swastika, symbolizing surya (“sun”), prosperity and good luck, while the left-facing symbol (counter-clockwise) (卍) is called sauwastika, symbolising night or tantric aspects of Kali.[1] In Jain symbolism, it represents Suparshvanatha – the seventh of 24 Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers and saviours), while in Buddhist symbolism it represents the auspicious footprints of the Buddha.[


            1. Daniil Adamov

              It’s hardly implausible for this shape to be developed independently in different places. There are many other swastika-like shapes – perhaps they all come from India, or from a shared cultural ancestor, or they could have been developed independently.

              And Native Americans were fairly popular on our side of the Iron Curtain (as romantic victims of non-Native Americans). So who knows, maybe this line will be pushed some day.

          2. eg

            We had a town in Ontario named Swastika until very recently.

            And my mother has a coffee spoon with a swastika motif at the end of the handle, but I don’t believe she understands its significance — this is the same woman who notoriously in the 70s did not realize that Blue was a brand of beer.

      2. bassmule

        I did not read the story, but just to see what result I’d get, I posted the “Western Media Coverage” image on facebook, and was called “an agent of Putin” for my troubles. Nobody wants to hear about the olden days of 2021, much less 2014. I mean, they really need to believe the USA is always on the side of the angels. Good work, MSM!

    2. OIFVet

      German state-owned media at its finest! What will be next from DW, Hitler launched WW2 to try to stop Soviet fascists from oppressing freedom-loving, democratic and tolerant Galicia?

    3. fresno dan

      Lambert brought up the point in a comment in yesterday’s post about Ye (Kanye West) and anti-semitism, and I responded essentially that not all anti semitism is created equal. That is, to paraphrase Animal Farm, US anti semitism bad, Ukrainian anti semitism not worth paying attention to…and probably, just like Hunter Biden’s laptop, Russian disinformation…

      1. Wukchumni

        I heard from a reliable source in Vladivostok that Hunter’s laptop was the recipient of many lap dances, with this one in a birthday suit & pumps who caused it to power down, she was so hawt.

    4. Kouros

      From Gilbert Doctorow, today:

      “My acquaintance tells me that the hospital is now filled with wounded Russian soldiers from the Ukraine campaign, and in particular with maimed POWs who were released by the Ukrainian authorities in prisoner exchanges. The hospitalized include a good many traumatized soldiers who were savagely castrated or otherwise disabled by their Ukrainian captors.”

  6. semper loquitur

    re: Has the next Uncivil War started?

    “And excluded from the data are the ongoing incidents of trolling on websites like 4chan, 8chan, and Kiwi Farms, which have driven members of the LGBTQ+ community to suicide.”

    I’d love to see some evidence for this claim. How exactly do we know what led to those people killing themselves? Did they leave a note saying “4chan trolls drove me to it!”? Were some of them mentally ill? Homeless? Lacking adequate resources to live a decent life? Sexually abused? We are constantly told that online trolling is killing people, for that matter stating biological facts is killing people, but no one ever has any data to back it up.

    But then, protecting people really isn’t the goal. It’s about controlling language. To perpetuate delusions that make certain people big bucks, as well as to massage an authoritarian tendency that runs through the Identi-Left. So this hack equates online mockery and abstract threats with emptying an AR-15 into a crowd and no one blinks.

    1. MT_Wild

      Also clearly ignores the mass murders from the other parts of the political spectrum.

      Waukesha Christmas Parade Massacre killed six and injured 50+. It’s not going to be a single-sided civil war. It’s going to be a free for all.

      1. Wukchumni

        Also, keep in mind that although 99.9999% of us aren’t a casualty in a mass murder by guns, 99.9999% of us are so used to the idea that I was surprised that a measly 5 murdered by assault rifle in Colorado got so much ink, we’re well past the point where the kill-ratio ideally should be in double digits to get our attention.

        If there were 10x as many mass murders by gun as now in presaging a civil war of sorts, would it really make the news, being so old hat?

        1. JBird4049

          Compared to the United States pre-Civil War we ain’t violent, what with the firebombings, internal slave raids, guerrilla fighting, beatings, duels and so. We have not gotten near to the level of nationwide violence of 1855-60. Or of Bleeding Kansas and Missouri.

          I am wuss, and I believe words can kill, but saying that mean words are anywhere near the level of actual lethal, physical violence is insane; I also think that the anti First Amendment crowd is trying to expand the still very narrow limits on free speech in the United States. The First Amendment is about the only right that is seriously enforced by the courts even on the police, which the Neo-Liberal Left is trying to tamper to their peril.

      2. Carolinian

        Maybe we should blame it on those rightwingers in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Movies and video games are nothing but guns and acts of revenge. It’s all Liam Neeson’s fault.

        Here’s suggesting the moon dust story as link of the day. Nothing but facts.

        1. Wukchumni

          When we were young adults, the fantasy market hardly existed and the interaction was all a 1-way-mechanism with TV, movies, radio and books.

          Wasn’t too surprised that SB-F was a big gamer, it all plays into the fantasy of him wanting to hit the reset button on FTX and go again.

    2. Mikel

      The Presidential election year us upon us. That’s what has started.
      The duopoly and the PMC press ramps up the “other side is going to take (fill in the blank) from you.”
      (cue scary music)

      1. MT_Wild

        At this point I just think all this talk of Civil War is to distract us from the fact that the US has become or is becoming a failed state.

        The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.


    Topol says 5 shots should mean vaccinated. Says they don’t do much against infection but will keep you out of hospital. Links study estimating that if we doubled boosters then severe disease would drop by 1%.

    1. Objective Ace

      I found this point by him to be disingenuous. Do we have data on the odds the covid shot and 4 subsequent boosters are to put one in the hospital? If we don’t, we can’t really say the covid shots are our best bet for staying out of the hospital.. which as NC has been noting for awhile now – may not be the best endpoint anyway. What about longcovid?

      I’m open to the idea that continually getting boosted every 3-6 months is beneficial.. but I really don’t think the data is there yet, especially for all age groups

    2. IM Doc

      My two cents on the Topol article.

      Just remember – My training was from the before times. Long before the words “evidence based medicine” were even dreamt of. I had 4 hours a week as a medical student to learn how to do statistics and epidemiology. Now days, the students are doing well to be given 4 hours a semester. My entire residency consisted of being asked to critically appraise at least one and sometimes two articles a week in front of my colleagues and faculty. Hard questions and vigorous debate were the norm. There was no messing around. You would never dream of showing up without having vigorously gone over your paper and come up with your own questions. QUESTIONING AND DEBATE WERE A VIGOROUS PART OF THE ENTIRE DISCUSSION. IT WAS VERY VERY INTENSE AT TIMES. To my deep chagrin, what is happening now in medical education is a process called “evidence based medicine”. Very little background in epidemiology and statistics are taught – and much of the time – vigorous discussion of articles consist of regurgitation of EBM commentary from an expert that now grace all of our journals. No critical thinking needed on anyone’s part. We have become completely dependent on expert opinion and many never learn critical thinking skills. Debate is minimized – it is difficult and often “unsafe.” I contrast that to my own training era – when even Nobel laureates got the anal probe in front of everyone. Nothing was more amazing than to see a world expert being grilled – and to be asked questions – and at times to realize and admit that the questioner has a point and that needs to be investigated, etc. This just never happens today.

      With the above in mind, what stands out immediately about the Topol piece and really all his substack work and the postings of many others on multiple platforms is THEY HAVE THE COMMENTS TURNED OFF. No questions needed – he is a world expert and is above being questioned. This has become unfortunately very very common in our medical discourse and not just online. I hear from the under-40 crowd that allowing questioning is just too likely to allow misinformation into the door. It is now dangerous to ask questions. Furthermore, these national leaders just simply cannot be exposed to that kind of abuse. They are “the science”. I know that sounds outrageous – but unfortunately I hear it all the time.

      So we do not question. And therefore, neither the author or medical science in general gets to benefit from very good probing questions that will poke holes. And there are multiple holes in this piece. I see a NC commenter, Objective Ace, a non-medical person as far as I know, hit right on one of the holes. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DATA ON RISK STRATIFICATION (in other words risk vs benefit) ON AGE GROUPS AND COVID BOOSTERS. NONE – NOT A PEEP. At this late date, 2 entire years into this pandemic – it is a national shame that absolutely none of this work has been done. I would suggest this is largely secondary to the above environment I am describing. We have gone from QUESTION EVERYTHING when I was young – to QUESTION NOTHING now – questioning is just too dangerous and unsafe to be allowed. The medical ethics professors of my youth warned about this very outcome when they decried the sway Big Pharma was exponentially extracting with my profession. Not even those professors could have ever believed the morass we are in now.

      But here is my bigger problem. Topol’s assertions and conclusions just simply do not match at all what I am personally experiencing on the ground. Doctors talk – and this just does not match what so many of my colleagues are experiencing right now either.

      What am I talking about? – I have admitted 8 patients to the hospital in the past month with COVID. 2 of those were COVID adjacent – not really COVID admissions. The other 6 are definitely COVID. This comes after many months of really having no admissions. Every one of these people is older and co-morbid. ALL EIGHT – every single one – were completely vaccinated and all 8 had been given the bivalent booster. There was indeed one COVID death in this group. I have attributed this to the fact that we have boosted the very sick. In my world, it seems the only patients rushing to get the bivalent boosters are the very ill and high risk. And those same people are still very likely to be the ones admitted, vaccinated or not. But it is disarming to me that my experience is so much different than what Topol is talking about. So, I talk to my peers and colleagues and old students – and I find out I am not that different than what they are experiencing either.

      Ergo, something is wrong. These studies being cited by him need to be gone through with a fine tooth comb. When our local experience is so different, something must be off.

      I immediately in my own mind go to the fact I began having these same data/experience conflicting problems during both the OPIOID and VIOXX debacles. For example, I was having one opioid patient after another have problems ( in the era when ortho docs were handing it out like candy) all the while the TV and drug reps were telling me it was perfectly safe. At the same time, my medical leaders were punishing docs who spoke out – because they were causing people to suffer. And yet all the while I was being told it was safe safe safe – one person after the other was ODing or being admitted or being addicted. We all know the ending of that story.

      I am getting exactly the same vibes now. I guess this is what happens when you have been doing what I have for decades. Maybe that is why the powers that be are so intent on getting the older docs to retire. The problem is when the narrative is not matching what is happening in my own world, in my career, EVERY SINGLE TIME that has happened – it should be viewed as a red alert claxon going off in the night.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Your previous experiences as a young doc may reflect how the before times did things overall. I read that in the 60s in US colleges, that if you had a theory then you had better be prepared to defend it as it would often come under savage attack by your peers much less your teachers. Nowadays? Safe spaces and triggering warnings and the like so any sort of garbage is accepted by college kids. Not a good system that.

        1. C.O.

          I am not a medical professional (I am a hybrid STEM-humanities person), but have observed this in both university and government organization contexts. There is a steady redefinition of questioning in general, let alone critical questioning that tests theories and arguments, from “questioning” to “violent attack of such severity that any punishment the questioner gets is deserved.” Right alongside the claim that people in countries with governments the western corporate government monomind doesn’t like are permitted to protest, while people in the countries with the dubious fortune to be liked by the same monomind may not.

      2. jsn

        What your describing institutionally is John Michael Greer’s “Catabolic Collapse” hypothesis. We as a society can no longer do things we once did because we’ve not maintained the requisite skills, believing them to have been superseded by medical or information technologies.

        These beliefs suit Lambert’s “Hegemonic PMC” because it makes their authority static and permanent, which in turn seals the catabolic deal: failure is simply externalized rather than be analyzed and learned from. And each such instance just destroys more capabilities, chasing out the skills that could fix the problems.

        It’s not clear how this is fixable within these institutions because they refuse to even recognize the failures. So the process of delegitimization has to advance to the point that forces external to the institutions force change. Collapse, paradigm shift, revolution: something radical.

    1. No Party

      Adding, if taken out of context, the Dems may consider this for Biden’s 2024 Campaign theme song!

    2. Michael.j

      I totally agree. I looked up the Congressional roll call vote for breaking the strike and discovered I live on a different planet from that I grew up.

      All of the “Progressives” voted to break the strike against the railroad workers and the small town Republicans voted against breaking the strike. I was shocked.

      I can now understand the ethos of my Republican neighbors. The “enlightened” Democrats are anti-union, and just corporate tools.

      This is the beauty of our two winged, one bird of prey “democracy “.

      1. The Historian

        Be careful of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ phenomenon. The small town Republicans are just supporting, with words only, the unions because it is an attack on Biden. Where were they in the past for supporting unions? Well, it will be at the same place in the future.

        As for the progressives? What progressives? It’s all ‘words’ with them also. Because that is all any politician has left. No political party controls this country any more – all of them do what their handlers tell them to do. And the people of this country are not the handlers.

        So vote or support who you want for whatever reason you want. It may make you feel better but it isn’t going to change the trajectory of this country.

      2. Keith Howard

        The Marco Rubio editorial from American Conservative, I wince to notice, is comparatively sensible.

      3. Michael.j

        @Historian: “Be careful of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ phenomenon.”

        I am quite aware of the hypocrisy. My difficulty is attempting to explain my focus on existing data to my progeny, who while embracing my values, do not consider reality in maintaining their political views.

        Similarly, the Dems cry out the injustice of the far right “Supremes” ruling against women in Roe v Wade, but do not question how those justices obtained their positions of power. Please remember that until recently the Dems were quite happy to confirm anti-women candidates such as Clarence Thomas et al.

        Inasmuch as politics is by nature emotional and tribal, the process of brainwashing groups involves getting the victims to emotionally identify with a bright and shiny face, who can alter their stance depending upon who is granting them positions of power. To the victim the emotional bond remains and data is ignored. This is the inherent problem of a political system where “money is democracy”.

        To me the roll call vote is where the rubber meets the road, and any public comment is superfluous. That is why it is so difficult to track down the actual votes.

        1. fresno dan

          I agree with you. Whatever the true intentions or true beliefs, the thing that matters is the actual vote. Whether repubs have become pro labor or did it because they despise Biden (so do I, because of what Biden DOES or Does not do), the repubs voted correctly in my view, and the dems voted incorrectly.
          To keep supporting dems based on what they say versus what they DO is self defeating. FDR was a long, long time ago.

        2. The Historian

          Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but I wonder how Rubio would have voted if the filibuster rule wasn’t in place. There is no downside to being a ‘maverick’ when you know it doesn’t really matter.

    3. C.O.

      One of the aspects of the maltreatment of so many workers, and especially those in inudstries involving huge masses that move at far from trivial speeds, is that there is relatively recent and close by demonstration to give us a direct inkling of how horrible the results can be. I am not sure that even pointed work to rule action to improve safety by the rail workers can stave off such frightening possibilities. Probably there are U.S. examples I am unaware of, but the grim demonstration that comes to my mind is the terrible accident at Lac Mégantic, Québec in 2013.

      This article from the Toronto Star does a round up of the coverage over the years:

      Medical historian Jacalyn Duffin has a fine blogpost still up on the disaster as well, Lac Mégantic Six Years On:

  8. Bart Hansen

    Credit Cards: The first TV advert for for plastic was by Mastercard. A guy gets into a taxi and when it gets time to pay he pushes a card at the unbelieving cabbie. At the time, sometime in the 1970s, it sounded ridiculous and we all laughed.

      1. Wukchumni

        I remember being counseled to get a gas card such as a Union 76 credit card that couldn’t be used for any other purpose, in order to establish your credit.

        {sound of a credit card machine circa 1977, sliding back and forth over the card, and yes, i’ll take my carbon copy, thanks!}

        Now, they give the student contemplating underwater basket weaving $100k worth of loans, here ya go!

        1. lyman alpha blob

          That has been going on for decades now. I got my first credit card circa 1990 – it was an ATT&T “Universal” card which promised no annual fees ever and was heavily promoted to college students. My mother used her own credit card very responsibly, paying it back in full every month to the point she’d receive letters threatening to drop her since the banks didn’t make a dime off her, and I thought this offer would allow me to do the same.

          It all worked fine until I was on vacation, ran out of money and took out a cash advance to fund the rest of my stay rather than making direct purchases. I clearly missed the fine print that said they’d jack you for a much higher interest rate for a cash advance, presumably because they don’t get to charge all the merchant fees from direct purchases when you do that. Took me a while to pay it back, but I did, chopped up the card, and haven’t had one since.

          Despite the marketing campaigns, it is very possible to live just fine in the 21st century without one. An overdraft line of credit attached to a checking account (ODLOC) and a VISA/MC debit card work just fine. Most banks will try to sell you new “products” every time you show up at the teller window but the ODLOC isn’t one of them, presumably because they make more money from hawking credit cards. But it’s there of you ask them.

          1. ambrit

            You have to read the fine print carefully on anything having to do with banking. We had a series of overdrafts on our debit card one weekend. We had the card linked to the savings account just for such possibilities. What we hadn’t considered was the Overdraft Fee: $200 USD per occurrence. We argued them down to one Overdraft Fee for the several overdrafts that happened that weekend and then promptly cancelled the “service.”
            Credit cards can be useful for the “upwardly mobile,” but can be a real death trap for “ordinary” people trying to live paycheque to paycheque.
            Here’s to “Debt Peonage Monstercard!”

          2. eg

            I got a few in the usual way of these things — the affiliate cards associated with graduation from a couple of Canadian universities, along with one from my regular bank. It was the usual play by the usual institutions, though I was leery of them since I already had student debt. I’m subsequently down to just the one with my bank, having let the ones affiliated with the schools go — the faux “prestige” of such things having long lost their lustre.

            I consider the one I still have as a necessary evil where the occasional car rental or hotel room are concerned — I’m not sure how those without one handle such things.

        2. LifelongLib

          Ditto for the gas credit card in the late 70s, which I didn’t get until I’d graduated from college. Living at home and looking for work it was very handy since gas (for my parents’ cars) was my biggest expense. I finally got a steady job in 1980 and moved to another state, no car. Don’t remember what happened to the card…

        1. johnnyme

          One of the lures I got to experience first hand back in my undergraduate days was a free concert ticket to see the band Belly (who were pretty big in the college rock scene at the time) play in the student union hall — all I had to do was fill out a credit card application.

          Since I already had several maxxed-out cards at the time, I knew my application was going to be rejected but I still got the free ticket.

    1. playon

      I was never offered a credit card until I bought a house and had a mortgage when I was almost 40. This was in the 90s and it seemed like I was getting a card offer every other week. Years later when I sold the place the offers stopped but I got an AMEX card before that happened and still have it. Glad to have it even though many places don’t take AMEX as their merchant fees are high, as American Express has been able to recover money for me from fraud more than once. Otherwise I just use the debit card from my credit union.

  9. Wukchumni

    ‘No one knew what was in the mouth of the high chief,’ the Pohnpeian oral historian Masao Hadley writes in Nan Madol: Spaces on the Reef of Heaven. ‘No one knew what he did inside. No one understood what was inside Nandowas. Nandowas was a place of war.’ We got off the boat and I put my hand on one of the enormous columns. The front walls formed an entrance through which another, shorter set of walls guarded a central building. Plants grew everywhere: vines, trees, taro plants with leaves as big as a person, palms and ferns of every description. Trees pose the greatest threat to the man-made city – falling branches and growing roots are breaking up the islet walls and foundations while mangroves close off the canals – and are weakening its defences against rising seas and stronger storms.

    A City of Islands London Review of Books. Well worth a read.

    There were many times in this excellent article where I could’ve sworn she was talking about Pompeii, not Pohnpei.

    When they started excavating Pompeii & Herculaneum some 1,500 years after Vesuvius did it’s thing, they unearthed living cities stuck in time, but I pity the poor saps who blunder into our nuclear lagoons in 3446 looking to plunder.

    Oh well, similar to the Brits in Crimea coining a new word for clothing thanks to Balaclava, we got bikinis out of Bikini, so there’s that.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Want to live in a van down by the river? Ford has a new vehicle for that”

    ‘Ford on Thursday revealed the 2023 Ford Transit Trail Van, a new model of its full-size van equipped with more durable, off-road parts for outdoor enthusiasts.’

    I really do think that these Detroit automakers are missing a big opportunity in the automobile market in America. Forget the recreational drivers. Make a low-price vehicle for homeless people. They may be sold cheap but think of the volume that they could sell. Advertise it as Freedom on Wheels and the new lifestyle of a new generation. It would be small with just a bed and a small kitchenette but how big a place do you need when between shifts at an Amazon fulfillment center? Corporate America would love it and may even pay their workers to have their logos on the sides of those vans. Or they could charge those workers to park their vans in their corporate car parks. And as a bonus, there would be a huge export market opening up in Europe by next year. And as a saying to advertise these vans, they could use the following-

    ‘Thanks Corporate America. It Wouldn’t Have Been Possible Without You.’

      1. jefemt

        …and how does one afford either the bare bones $66K , OR the ‘low price” (what is low price, anyway? Sub $20K ?

        The river-side camps are all full.

        Used spare containers would cost less, insulation could come from washed clean used clothes, and solar panels could power low-demand LED lights
        Not sure how one manages water and waste… much less heating or cooling.

        This whole line of thinking is de-press-ing … and the gap between those that can afford a $6K bare bones van, with $40K in kit-out, and the $ to buy fuel and have time to use it, versus the homeless…

        So much not-right these days….

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          circa 1989, when it became clear that i would be On the Road for a lot longer than i had hoped, i sold my little chevy s-10 and bought a 1976 vw van, lime green(!) with a pop up camper top.
          cost me like $1500.
          had a stove and water heater, but they leaked propane, so i used a coleman stove or an open fire.
          only issue with it was that i have never been mechanically inclined…and those things are like Harley’s, in that you pretty much hafta be able to work on them.
          and, if not, know of someone who could work on them(ferrin, air cooled, weird) for less than mercedes prices.
          i lucked out on all of that, and lived in that thing throughout the South for 5+ years.
          most of the road people i knew back then were not so lucky…my van was like the Big House at the impromptu, ad hoc and totally illegal “campgrounds” that exist…even then…for car dwellers.
          now, of course,(and beginning to my knowledge with “Liberal Austin”) there’s much fewer places where one can park…let alone set up a tent.
          hard enough back then…and, ere i finally left for good, i resorted to parking in the cop shop’s parking lot,lol.

          weirdly, i f i had that van, would be worth a fortune(seriously, go look,lol)

          1. The Historian

            “there’s much fewer places where one can park”…..

            From what I see on the YouTube videos, Walmart and Lowes seem to be good places for overnight parking, and most of them don’t seem to mind. If your van is stealthy enough i.e., looks like a commercial van, you can part just about anywhere there isn’t a no parking sign. I saw one video where a guy parked in a rich Beverly Hills residential area to see if he could get away with it – he did!

            In addition, buying a National Park pass gets you places to stay in national parks, but I guess you can’t stay more than two weeks, so some of the boondockers just move from park to park. RV parking lots are expensive so most people try to find a way to avoid them unless they need to dump their gray water and black water tanks.

            Sad thing is, though, is that many towns are trying to outlaw boondocking and stealth parking. If you are not paying rent, well, the grubbers want to get your money some other way!

            1. playon

              One solution might be to pay a little extra for a commercial license for your van (or just fake it with a gross weight sticker on the side).

          2. ambrit

            A Westphalia? We met a French couple back about 1980 that was touring the Americas in one. They disembarked at some place in French Canada and drove South from there, with a side trip to the West Coast. They intended to carry on to Patagonia. We hope they made it all right. A pair of modern day “Coureurs des Bus.”

              1. ambrit

                Once they figured out that I was an Anglo-American hybrid of sorts, they would tease me that all of Canada was French. Yes, I would guess that Quebec would have been their ‘natural’ point of beginning for the trek. I don’t think that the French islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are international ports.
                We met them in an RV park owned and run by Dade County, Florida. We were living in the old Airstream by then, and they were wintering over in Florida before setting out on leg two of their itinerary. Both were Parisians and clued Phyl and I in to the cultural divide between Provincials and Parisians in France.
                Stay safe.

        2. Carolinian

          One of those “glamping” vans was parked in my state park trail head lot and he had the back doors swung open and a shower curtain rig attached. For number one or number two you use one of those big lumber store type buckets as all viewers of Nomadland know. Of course here in the South living in a small metal box can become quite toasty in the summer (the only time the campgrounds are open) and you may wish you had a tent instead.

          Van living may sound appealing in theory but you’ll be betting $65k that this turns out to be true. The people who really need to live in a van likely all own used ones. Once Amazon goes under plenty will be available.

          Also business sites are reporting that RV sales are way down after the recent boom.

      2. Skip Intro

        The Rev failed to elaborate on the financing model, which will offer very low payments… forever. Once you own the van, the van owns you. There will, of course, be a number of subscription based amenities available, and until it is paid off, of course, the owner has certain rights to data as well as remote control security measures. It will make sense for large employers to buy fleets of these to ‘sell’ to their employees, so the car payments, fees and services accounts can simply be paid right from payroll.

        It is like a company town, without the costly town.

      3. The Historian

        These vans aren’t for the homeless, rather they are mostly for people who have good jobs or online jobs who can’t afford to buy a house and are sick and tired of paying rent – and it is happening all over the world, not just in the US. There are thousands of YouTube videos about people living in these vans. In addition, these people are buying old school busses, ambulances, FedEx vans, etc, and building out tiny homes on wheels for themselves – and often this is a much cheaper route than buying a fully built out van.

    1. Lexx

      This model would run at about half the price of a Mercedes camper van, which has been gobbling up market share as the Boomers retire.

      The thing about trailers and 5th wheels is you have to have a truck to pull them with; the larger the RV the bigger the engine you need up front… and if you plan to do a lot of wandering, there’s the cost of how slowly you’ll move from point to point. Big RV’s are heavy.

      A small motor home or van is basically a bedroom on wheels, saving the cost of lodging, where the money instead goes into the gas tank. Vans get lousy mileage compared to a car or the truck by itself; the more weight added the lousier the mileage.

      If you want to see how attached human beings are to their ‘stuff’, watch them start to transfer the contents of their houses into their campers, taking all those things they just can’t live without for a week. At least with flying, they’re somewhat limited by the size of their suitcases (and the disincentive of the fees for each addition).

      We stepped into a Mercedes camper van when we were last in Lazy Days, to take a look at what the couple who sold us their 5th wheel had traded it for. It would be fleeter of foot and the queen bed looked comfortable; the couple weren’t large in weight and stature. But the rest of the amenities seemed merely adequate; I expected more from the label and that price tag. A slide feature would be essential; they were planning to be traveling with two large dogs, challenging them for floor space.

      1. playon

        A younger couple in their early 40s who are friends of ours bought a Mercedes van a couple of years ago. Their van without any camping stuff added cost $70k brand new, they planned to outfit it themselves. The guy has a good job writing code. I see a lot of these vans in the Seattle area, presumably bought by young programmers etc.

        I see now where you can rent RVs, which is not cheap but a helluva lot cheaper than buying one, so you could try out the lifestyle and see if you like it.

        1. Lexx

          The basic model 2022 Mercedes camper van we were looking at that day started at $120k. Your friends got a good deal. I was interested to see how many of the videos I watched on these vans emphasize that they can be custom tailored to individual taste.

          The couple we bought the 5th wheel from bought a used camper along this line:

          Imagine two adult humans and two large dogs in one. Oy.

  11. Tom Stone

    I suspect that one reason SBF is being treated the way he is has to do with Tether and how interconnected the larger crypto exchanges and issuers are.
    Crypto has clearly been very useful for Money laundering and evading capital controls as well as for fleecing the plebes, but the whole ecosystem is looking a little shaky at the moment.
    Does anyone who matters want Tether’s “Assets” looked at too closely?
    Purportedly Tether has $60,000,000,000.00 in highly liquid US Dollar reserves.
    If my Aunt Fanny had balls she’d still be My Uncle Fred….

  12. Carla

    Re: In Wisconsin Trump County and Across the U.S., Progressive Health Care Initiatives Coasted Through

    Amazing what happens when you seek people out and respectfully discuss an intelligently framed non-partisan issue with them. Just amazing…

    1. Bsn

      I’m really tempted to do something. I had an Ivermectin sign I put in our car window for about a year. Got a handful of (mostly supportive) short conversations. I recently printed a sign to put in our car, after removing the IVM sign a while ago. This one read “U.S. out of Ukraine ….. and Somalia, Libya, Syria, Taiwan, Iraq, Chad, Cuba, etc.” Hubby doesn’t think I should mount it in the rear view mirror. So, I’m tempted to carry a sign, or even a placard (Think “Eat at Joe’s”) when I walk in our neighborhood or to the local market. I’ll bet it would be a conversation starter, but should I carry my pepper spray? Watched part of Ken Burn’s Vietnam documentary last night. Same ol’ same ol’. I find myself cheering on BRICS.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Elon Musk’s promised Twitter exposé on the Hunter Biden story is a flop that doxxed multiple people”

    This article fits into another article that I saw on Sputnik today. How ‘Liberal Journalists Circle Wagons As ‘Twitter Files’ Expose ‘Decade’s Biggest Media Scandal’’ and which includes a few tweets-

      1. chuck roast

        More proof, if any were needed, that Twitter is the chief enabler of cascading idiocy.
        At least when you say something stoopid over the phone the whole world isn’t witness to it.

        How about a hard and fast rule that all tweets be accompanied by a footnote.

      2. OIFVet

        There must be a new and super secret liberul talking point tweet generator, something akin to the Friedman op-ed generator. All of these tweets are basically the same.

        1. Wukchumni

          ‘This is your 8:00 am woke-up call. Aren’t you glad Roe vs Wade went away so the Donkey Show can concentrate on trans issues?’

          1. chuck roast

            I see them moving into the “disability” issue bigly. Look for LGTBD coming to a store near you soon.

            1. caucus99percenter

              My blind friend rather cynically says, “Not going to happen.”

              Truly accommodating people with visual impairment is like acknowledging Covid’s airborne contagiousness: no one wants to foot the bill for the additional cost.

              Example: most countries’ paper currency uses a different size and color for each denomination, which is a big help to the visually impaired. The American Council of the Blind sued the U.S. Treasury 20 years ago to try to get U.S. banknotes to do the same. Result: the Powers That Be stalled and stalled; to this day nothing has ever come of it.


              1. Wukchumni

                You know why the garish color scheme on the $10 FRN?

                Color copiers can’t pick up certain color combos, but true to fashion, we only did it on a few denominations of FRN’s, while Europe had been doing it for decades before us.

                We’re a little slow to catch on these days…

                1. flora

                  Does FRN equal Federal Reserve Note? aka cash money?

                  Me thinks even if so, I’ll take the cash money. ymmv.

                  1. Acacia

                    Does FRN equal Federal Reserve Note?

                    Yes. I take it “FRN” is used to indicate that the paper in your hand is actually debt, not really money, i.e., it is a promise by the Fed to pay you some actual money, under some unspecified conditions.

                    I probably don’t have all the implications right here, so I hope somebody with a better handle on it chimes in. :)

        2. marku52

          I saw the same thing when IVM suddenly got called “Horse Paste” universally, instantaneously.

          The memo came down from the Ministry of Propaganda, apparently.

          In this case it was “Doing PR for the World’s richest man.”

          Again, almost universal, word for word. Weird.

      3. anahuna

        Weren’t reporters once known as bloodhounds?

        These Twitter twits seem to have switched roles. They sound as if they want to smack Matt Taibbi across the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

        His transgression: to have brought something out from under the rug, where they thought they had safely hidden it. It stinks.

    1. Aumua

      Sigh… Sputnik news though? I mean I know NC has a slight bias towards the Russian kool aid sometimes but surely there is a better analysis.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Such as our western media analysis? The sheer amount of propaganda that I see on the TV each and every night on the Ukraine or China or Iran is just getting ridiculous. And if you want an American example, ask yourself why the Hunter laptop was not the story of the year and why the media did not trumpet it. Have you forgotten this? (1:38 mins)

          1. The Rev Kev

            I tell you, every year there seems to be fewer and fewer sites online which have not drunk the kool aid. Pat Lang at Turcoplier for example has really gone off the deep end and has been reduced to citing ‘The Daily Kos’ as a credible source for some of his news articles. You read Russian and Chinese sources and you know to look for biases. But when Trump got elected in 2016 it seems to have broken a lot of people’s brains in the west.

      2. ambrit

        You go with the sources you have. There is literally an “official” narrative generally supported and disseminated by the Western MSM, and a ragged band of dissident voices working on the fringes of “polite Company.”
        As usual, Pink Floyd said it most poetically back in the 1973:
        “Haven’t you heard, it’s a battle of words,”
        “The poster bearer cried,”
        “”Listen son” said the man with the gun,”
        “There’s room for you inside.”

    2. Mikel

      But it seems the Verge writers avoided using the exact term “PR for the richest man on Earth” in their article.
      “Ladies and gentlemen; here are some so called ‘journalists’ repeating the “pr for the richest man” script that the cabal has generated to ‘fight’ against the free speech narrative.. it’s despicable….”

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Could Russia sanctions work in practice even if they fail on paper?”

    I’ve heard that all the experts have been warning the G-7 not to do it. Don’t go there. The results will be a disaster. And these are experts from different fields such as oil, shipping, markets, energy, etc. It can’t work, they say. The price of oil will go through the roof they say. OPEC will never allow such a lunatic scheme they say. Russia could cut back production in response but make more money due to the increase of oil prices they say. But the G-7 are going to do it anyway. And as for Putin? he is saying-

    ‘Sure, Why not. Go ahead. It’ll be fun.’

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Beloved baseball figure Lawrence Berra said, “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re different.”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sunk cost fallacy with the addendum the individual leaders have to deal with major economic damage and a trade war with the US on the horizon. Being given free stuff by Moscow is the only way out for the elected types.

  15. KLG

    Is there no national Democrat (sic) who understands that when Marco Rubio is left to make the case for Labor, in The American Conservative (which I read regularly), they have completely lost the plot? Rhetorical question.

    1. SteveD

      Setting aside Rubio’s motives, when he asserts that union leadership is not representing the interests of the rank-and-file in this case, where is the lie? The ‘Democrats sold us out’ story is a convenient sideshow. The real story should be about how so many union organizational models seem to make corruption inevitable.

      1. KLG

        Yes. Union corruption and co-optation have a long and sordid past, some of which I observed a long time ago as a chemical worker, but not as long as the war waged on Labor by Capital. The book on business “organizational models and corruption” is the 20-volume OED compared to a pocket dictionary describing similar from Labor. The cupidity of Labor Leadership in this case does not absolve Biden and his acolytes. They are not a sideshow, but rather the third leg of a three-legged stool consisting of Political Leadership, Labor, and Labor Leadership. The workers can take care of the latter, and have in the past, but only if the former is willing to back them up, as should be expected of such a Stalwart of the Working Man and Woman as President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          …and everything that flowed from it…
          strikes are de facto illegal…if not specifically illegal(for instance, Texas Teachers can lose their teaching cert and pension(such as it is) if the strike.)
          i’m sure its similar elsewhere.
          the greatest victory, however, of the Bosses is the fact that i don’t know anyone at all in real life who is even sort of informed about what a union is, what it does, and…worse….why anybody would want to do that anyway(fight the boss).
          this is texas, of course…idk if this obtains in other places where labor history happened within living memory.
          (notably, while lots of my local farmer guys had a coop when peanuts and angora were a thing…none of them know what the Grange was…or kniow anything about the Progressive Era in this place…let alone the sort of protosocialism of the German immigrants who first settled out here)

          1. Tom Stone

            Both my Mother and my Uncle Pete became presidents of their Unions, ILWU in Stockton and CALMT and I had quite a few conversations with a tenant who had been Harry Bridge’s private secretary for decades.
            Margaret made a killer crisp chocolate chip cookies…
            a highly intelligent Woman with an extremely rigid mind.

                1. flora

                  adding: Remember when “progressive” meant consideration of working class economics instead of upperclass cocktail party agreements by the “right sort” of people? / ;)

          2. Eclair

            Amfortas, thank you. I ‘discovered’ the real Taft-Hartley Act yesterday and started to read up on it. Wow! Passed by the Republican dominated Congress in 1947 and vetoed by Harry Truman, only to have Congress override his veto. My world view had heretofore labelled Taft-Hartley: Good. But, it was the beginning of the end for Labor. I do remember, in the 1950’s reading about unions; always about how corrupt they were. My mom’s family were all staunch union members, even back to the Knights of Labor. But it was years before I questioned the anti-union narrative.

            1. Wukchumni

              The only union members I come into regular contact with are supermarket checkers, who do the same job as somebody @ Wal*Mart, Target or any other checker who is not a union member.

              1. Eclair

                Well, Wuk, I don’t know if I should congratulate you for shopping only at a union market or berate you for neglecting to expand your circle of acquaintances. :-) But, on second thought ….. trying to think of union members I run into. The local food coop workers ….. and ……. ummmm ……. Starbucks’ barristas? Nope, go only to locally-owned coffee shops.
                My husband, when we met, was a member of the engineers’ union at McDonnell Douglas. But, then the union was voted out by the ‘young guys’ who said they had no need of a union because management ‘gave’ them a good salary, overtime, 5 weeks’ vacation, pension, 401-k matching contributions, sick time, fantastic medical, dental and eye care plans. Then, the pension went, the sick time disappeared, the employee share of health care premiums started to increase ……

                1. Wukchumni

                  A few years back we were in the jacuzzi of our rental condo complex in Mammoth after a day of skiing, and a couple about our age from SoCal were soaking with us and conversation drifted around to ‘what do you do?’ and they mentioned they were both checkers @ Stater Brothers supermarket and had been doing it since graduating from high school, and I asked what they were pulling down…

                  $34 an hour

                  They related that management couldn’t wait for them to finally retire, as they laughed and drank snappy cocktails.

                  1. Glen

                    My first job in 1974 was minimum wage, $1.90/hr.

                    My second job in 1975 was $6.75/hr, and only in hindsight do I realize that I had vaulted to what was at that time, a solid middle class job with good benefits. The difference? UNION.

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              ive always been a Wobbly at heart…even before i had a word for it.
              the depression /fdr era wrangling between Big unions and One Big Union…as well as craft vs industry unionism…and a whole bunch of other things…contributed to the corruption, etc.
              however, like someone said above…Bidness has Unions beat hands down as far as corruption, violence and other sundry methods of ugliness.

              i reckon the 2 biggest things have been the proffessionalisation of union “leadership”(meaning union boss maybe hasnt lifted a wrench in a long, long time) and the wall to wall propaganda and slanderfest that’s been ongoing since the late 1800’s(in US).
              including especially the anticommie hysteria, from at least Wilson, on.
              really points to what really worries the Bosses,lol.
              and why we’re told that there aint no class in amurka.

          3. JBird4049

            >>>none of them know what the Grange was

            I have read that one of the reasons that policies that favored small, family farms to one that favored large, corporate farms (thank you, Earl Butz), was that the many family farms were a powerful organized and strongly resisting political force. Their actions during the Great Depression were not appreciated by the powers that be.

            Kill the factories. Kill the small farms. Kill the smaller specialty shops especially in machine tools or supplies for the auto makers. Then kill the once strong clothing and furniture industries. Finally, make more “efficient” the shipping industry, especially the ports, which meant closing the many smaller, even some of the large, ports, warehouse, and trucking companies.

            Do all this, and a very few people can make a gimongus amount of moolah both in the doing and in managing, sorta, of what’s left and at as a bonus, murder all the unions, social clubs, charities, and hobby groups that could form any resistance to the Lords and Masters of the Universe. American society has always been unusually loose and isolating, but American society was also famous for creating and having social organizations of every sort for literal centuries. Yet, for some reason, not so much anymore. Two centuries of organizing followed by 30 40 50 years of not?

          4. eg

            Oh, the iggerance around unions is strong in my circles, filled as it is with well-satisfied Torontonians from the “better” neighborhoods — I’m an outlier as a suburbanite arts graduate who worked in education, and hence public service; they’re mostly engineers who mostly went over to the dark side — finanz.

            For that lot unions are a holdover from a benighted time — a vestigial thing best discarded. Why would anyone need such a thing in this Whiggish world of Pinkeresque self-satisfaction?

            Why indeed …


            But the reason I always rub their noses in is the role the trade union movement played in getting nonentities like their own parents (very few of them are scions of notable heritage) and themselves something as basic as the vote via the struggles to extend the universal franchise.

      2. Aumua

        The ‘Democrats sold us out’ story is a convenient sideshow.

        Yeah the real story should be ‘The Democrats sold us out, just like Republicans have been doing for decades, and would surely be doing now if they were in power’

        In other words, we’re f’d either way if we’re depending on them and direct action is the only way forward.

    2. Boomheist

      Totally agree.Marco’s first big shot in his inevitable 2024 run, for sure, starting out with the “working man” foundation. The Democrats began to cede the working class to the Republicans under Clinton and that was 30 years ago!!!!

    3. Karl

      I remember Chuck Schumer’s famous quote (paraphrasing), “For every rural working class male we lose, we’ll gain a soccer mom in the suburbs.” I always wondered, why couldn’t Democrats try to win over both?

      Biden and the Democrats are, as the party of the PMC, becoming a re-incarnation of Eisenhower Republicanism. If this trend continues, it will be increasingly easy for Republicans to win elections by running to the left of Democrats, if Republicans choose to.

      1. LifelongLib

        I’d argue that today’s Democrats are already people who 50 years ago would have been Eisenhower (or Rockefeller) Republicans, and that the FDR New Dealers have been driven from the scene (or call themselves socialists e.g. Sanders).

  16. Roger Blakely

    The new Covid wave – Eric Topol

    Here are the good bits:

    Masking has largely been abandoned. When I go to the grocery store these days wearing a KN95 mask, people look at me like I’m a weirdo.

    “The pandemic is over” attitude is pervasive and blatantly off-base. Ignoring the circulating virus doesn’t and won’t make it go away.

    You may recall in my earlier review of this variant, there was a sense of optimism based on what was happening in France with a drop in BQ.1. But that turned out to be related to a lab strike and under-diagnosis of cases and the variants which accounted for them.

    Besides what is happening in Europe, and the well-publicized situation in China where the Zero-Covid policy worked well until containment of Omicron became impossible, there is a new wave in Asia developing that includes Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea

    Whatever happens in the current Covid wave, and it certainly will not be as bad the initial Omicron BA.1 or Delta waves, I know we in the US could do far better.

    1. Stephen

      Yes, I must admit I struggle with why it has changed.

      The objective threat is the same, or possibly higher yet 99% of the population is behaving totally differently from last year.

      This afternoon I am at Heathrow Airport and there is barely a mask in sight and zero evidence of hand sanitizing and so forth. I was last here 12 months ago and it is like a different world.

      We maybe ought to ask behavioural psychologists for some explanations. I have no rationale for the volte face, other than fatigue.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Perhaps it is that masking became widely adapted by the population not because of the health hazard, but because of a push for masking by the government, the media and other authorities? Meaning both education/propaganda and various more tangible carrots and sticks. And when this push stopped or went in the opposite direction, most people simply reverted to their default behaviour. I don’t think humans are “wired” to respond rationally and pro-socially to epidemics by default, though they can do it if they really want to. Most do not.

      2. ChrisPacific

        It’s exactly the same in New Zealand, where the objective threat difference is even more dramatic. We had slightly under 15,000 cases here through 2020 and 2021, with fewer than 50 deaths. So far in 2022 we’ve had around 2 million cases, over 2000 deaths, a ten times that many hospitalizations. Objectively speaking, we are are somewhere between ten and a hundred times likely to get sick or die than we were at any time during 2020 and 2021. And yet masks are rare to nonexistent, and nobody worries about ventilation or gathering size or any sort of precautions. People will casually refer to the latest super spreader event, then mention in the same breath how much they are looking forward to a coming event with exactly the same characteristics.

        I don’t get it at all – it’s like there’s a kind of death cult brain virus spreading from the UK and North America in tandem with Covid, and we’ve all come down with it. Even the government is doing its best to pretend it doesn’t exist. I can understand that to an extent – it’s pretty clear that they feel that reintroducing Covid controls of any kind would be a fast track to losing the next election, and are doing all they can to avoid it. But if they were serious about that you’d expect new building code rules on ventilation, filtering, CO2 monitoring etc. and they aren’t even doing that. Like the voters, they’re just pretending it isn’t there. Sometimes I feel like Alice in Through the Looking Glass.

        (I should add that there is no prospect for improvement from next year’s election results, since the right wing opposition have consistently been even further at the denial end of the scale since the beginning).

    2. Lexx

      I can be moody about wearing a mask in stores, but you’re not the only mask wearer out there. Mostly I see (other)* old people wearing them, rarely the under 40’s, and yes, the cashiers and some of the other customers seem surprised to see the mask. How soon they (so willingly) forgot… it was just last winter! Surely we all want to put that bad memory behind us.?! It’s so magical thinking, like children. ‘If I can’t see it, it isn’t there.’ The evidence of the mask is a rude reminder, and the wearer is displaying bad manners by being confrontational or, depending on the depth of the denial, telling the public a lie.

      Old people know better, but who listens to them? Or any other experienced teachers?

      *See what I did there? ;>

      1. ambrit

        “*See what I did there? ;>”
        Yes, I do see. You pranked a category error in connecting the terms “old” and “people.” (Being one, or is that now two?, myself, I can empathize.)
        I masque too whenever I go “out and about.’ I get the accusing glares as well. People do not want to be shown that they are credulous fools. They blame the messenger, not the message.
        Keep staying safe!

        1. Wukchumni

          A couple of Fox tv shows have been quite popular with the sort of audience easily controlled, and a golden chance to make mask wearing a cool thing to do, merely emulate the Masked Singer or Masked Dancer by having a N-95 on, no?

  17. Mikel

    “The urinary tract infection business-model”
    Cory Doctorow

    The part about cable companies wanting to charge for ad skipping…fools. The only justification their sky high prices for packages is the ability to easily record shows and skip commercials.
    They should be looking at ways to improve these features.

  18. Wukchumni

    NASA’s going back to the moon and must confront a familiar enemy: Dust LA Times
    Was @ Saline hot springs last month with a couple rocket scientists from JPL in our camp, and one of em’ is my age and he’s the idea guy for JPL, and instead of building on the Moon’s surface, he came up with the plan to find lava tubes, chambers or the like underfoot and insert giant balloons of sorts into the underground orifices where we can control the temps.

    The problem with anything on the lunar surface is the extreme temperature variances, and this would enable them to do it cheaper with no issues with extremes.

    Another fellow in our camp was our age, and for whatever reason one night sitting next to the campfire, he uttered ‘i’m really a 12 year old boy!’ which elicited a similar outburst from the idea guy and me, not wanting him to hog the action of men who refuse to grow up.

  19. flora

    About that Guardian article (remembering the Bill and M Gates foundation is a large sponsor of the modern Guardian *, and remembering BG is the largest private farmland owner in the US), it sound good but I think it’s a trojan horse.

    “Control oil and you control countries; control food and you control the people.”
    – Henry Kissinger


  20. truly

    “Xi’s Zero Covid Disaster”
    I have seen a lot of people using the word FAIL regarding Chinas Zero Covid policy. I reject that premise. Some quick back of the napkin math:
    China, 1.443 billion citizens, 5233 Covid deaths.
    USA, 332 million citizens, 1.09 million Covid deaths.
    China is 4.35 times more populous. If deaths matched USA on a per capita basis there would have been 4,741,500 Covid deaths in China.
    That means China has saved 4,736,267 lives compared to USA.
    Considering that there are around 1 million on disability in USA due to long Covid issues, China may have prevented around 4 million people from “disability”.
    Yes, there has been protesting and unrest in China. As there has been in USA, Canada, and across much of the globe.
    Check my math/inputs if you like. But even if there are some inaccuracies in reporting deaths, or if my math isn’t perfect, I find it hard to believe anyone can call China’s Zero policy to be a failure. Yes, it may be about time for it to end. But saving 4 million lives is nothing to sneeze (or cough) at.

    1. Jan

      How many of the UsA covid deaths were caused by use of ventilators + remdesivir and totally avoidable? Please do not overlook the corrupt genocidal maniacs in charge which vastly inflate usa death totals, as well as our worse physical condition

    2. Berny3

      I personally don’t believe China’s claims on total deaths. In mid-2020, news sources within China were reporting that 3,500 urns were stacked outside just one funeral home in Wuhan, with many more at the other funeral homes, and the crematoriums were running 24 hours a day. Hard to believe that virtually no one died there in the last 2 years.

    3. Godfree Roberts

      Put another way, 82% of Chinese support Dynamic Covid Zero, DCZ, because*:

      1. Over 3 Covid years, US GDP grew 3.4%, with 1,000,000 Covid deaths and 3,000,000 Long Covids.

      2. Over 3 Covid years, China’s GDP grew 13.8%, with 7,000 deaths and 38,000 Long Covids.

      3. Over 3 Covid years, Chinese life expectancy rose to 77.1 years, US fell to 76.1 years.

      4. 72% of Chinese participate in the labor force, vs. 62% of Americans.

      5. There are 20 new cases daily per million Chinese, 100 daily in America.

      6. 0.0003 deaths/million Chinese, 0.8/million Americans, though Chinese testing catches every case.

      7. 95% of China deaths are unvaccinated. In other words, the inactivated vaccines used in China seem to be doing what they are designed to do -prevent serious illness and death.

      8. Higher QOL: Free testing & treatment. 7% have been quarantined.

      9. “Long Covid is a $3.7 trillion drag on the U.S. economy equal to 17% of pre-pandemic economic output”. Harvard economist David Cutler says cost rivals the Great Recession**.


    4. eg

      Western business press has been on a determined “Covid Zero is a fail!” campaign for months now, gnashing their teeth at any interruption to their profits stream.

      The only halfway sensible analysis I have heard from a mainstreamish source is this past Friday’s “Ones and Tooze” podcast which at least employs some humility, nuance and recognition of the vast scope of the challenge facing the Chinese regime.

  21. truly

    Vinay Prasad did a video on YT about a new JAMA article. May still be a pre print. Suggests that long Covid is statistically not the issue that many of us had thought it was. Wondering if NC has covered this study yet. Link in the description.
    I find it hard to believe at this point. I know three people struggling with long C. 2 with serious cognitive issues.

    1. marku52

      Prasad is a GBD goon. I’d hate to have him as my doctor. “Hmm all your tests are clear, it’s just in your head. Stop bothering me.”

      1. truly

        I have no idea what GBD is. But he is reviewing a paper that is published at JAMA. Maybe you have thoughts on the paper?

  22. Wukchumni

    In Peru’s southern Andes, the La Nina means a worsening drought — now its residents face the reality of climate change ABC Australia
    We’re not too far away from latter-day Joads making their way east or north as aquagees, especially those from the golden state who were home rich and money poor meets water insufficient.

    It’ll be a weird scene in North Carolina when the locals had just gotten through Cali equity refugees who caused prices of houses to go up thanks to them being so cheap compared to what they sold their abode for out west, run into Cali ‘pauperazzi’ who have nothing but what they could fit on their jalopy.

    ‘Brother could you spare a new paradigm?’

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Dr. Joanne Freeman tweet (Who the hell is this anywayzzzzz?)

    Hey! Just blocked my first antisemite of the day. Who will of course deny that “globalist bankster” is antisemitic.

    So now scum-of-the-earth “globalist banksters” are a protected class, and any criticism of them will be considered anti-semitic, domestic terrorist “hate speech”???

    Jeezus h. christ. What kind of a twisted mind thinks this shit up and then actually takes credit for it?

    Probably the same idiot who calls jailing a lying, cross-dressing luggage thief with a shaved head and garish lipstick “transphobic.” This has really got to stop.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So now scum-of-the-earth “globalist banksters” are a protected class, and any criticism of them will be considered anti-semitic, domestic terrorist “hate speech”???

      I can’t find it, but I remember the same argument being made — that “globalist banksters” was code for Jews — when Parliamentary Labor, the press, and British intelligence generated an anti-semitism moral panic to take down Jeremy Corbyn. So it’s “out there,” as we say.

  24. fresno dan

    The think blue line – what they never show you in the police shows…
    A rookie Maryland cop fired and arrested earlier this month for the alleged rape of a woman held in custody in a Kohl’s parking lot was struck with a 50-count indictment outlining allegations of further predatory traffic stops, false detainments and sexual assaults of a total of five victims.
    During the stop, O’Connor asked the deputy if his body-worn camera was recording. The deputy responded, “It is.”
    O’Connor states, “I’m the police chief in Tampa,” while flashing her law enforcement badge.
    “I’m hoping you’ll just let us go tonight,” she added. “If you ever need anything, call me,” O’Connor said, handing the deputy her card. “Seriously.”
    The couple was let go.
    O’Connor released a statement after the video was released, saying her actions were a result of “poor judgment” to have been driving on a public road without appropriate tags.
    I don’t know about poor judgement but it was poor brains to say the quiet part out loud while the body cam is rolling…

    1. Wukchumni

      When you flash your cred to avoid penalty strokes by giving yourself a Mulligan…

      …that’s a foray (pronounced Fore! in this instance)

  25. Jason Boxman

    What’s more interesting is the other post Topol links to, which includes a study that demonstrates Paxlovid seems to reduce the incidence of long-COVID:

    A new report from the Veterans Affairs health system (now in preprint), the largest in the United States, is the first study to look at longer term effects. Dr. Ziyad Al -Aly and colleagues, who have published many of the most important papers on Long Covid in leading peer review journals, now studied over 9,000 paxlovid treated patients (within 5 days of symptom onset; in March-June 2022 during Omicron and subvariant waves; the sample size is considerably larger than the 3 studies above) and compared the results to ~47,000 controls. Their mean age was 65 years and 12% were female. The results of reducing the toll of Long Covid, its complications, and extending benefit of survival and avoidance of hospitalizations out to 1-year were all notable.

    If true and we can figure out why, this could be promising.

    1. adam

      Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky. (I know, anecdotal data with me being the data point.) Took Paxlovid 4 days after the onset of symptoms, which did help significantly, got the Paxlovid rebound after finishing, and then lost my taste, which hasn’t come back (5 months now), and had 3-4 months of very odd (and very distressing) choking symptoms while eating which multiple doctors couldn’t diagnose though they did make a lot of money off me for the multiple evasive tests they did. Luckily the latter symptom has gone away, and I am hoping my taste returns. (MD son says wait another couple of months based on his experience with other Covid patients, and I’m hoping he’s right.)

  26. Tom Stone

    Globalist Banksters have long been a protected class, but they have been feeling unloved lately.
    Dr. Freeman (She, Her) is simply doing her best to make them feel better.
    Doing God’s work every day is a real burden…

    1. fresno dan

      Of course, Dr. Freeman will deny that she is an anti-poor ite
      Funny how the oppression, discrimination, and general exploitation of the poor has no vocal connected spokes people with a megaphone to point out every instance of injustice – gee, one could almost think the system was designed to make the violence against the poor invisible…

  27. Karl

    RE: Make Ecocide an International Crime

    No mention of warfare as a type of ecocide. This initiative is about changing legal structures, and collecting the damages from warfare (e.g. reparations) is historically problematic. But this fact should raise questions about the feasibility of the whole idea. Law without a transnational enforcement mechanism is just virtue signalling.

    Here’s one idea among many for the file labelled “let’s assume we have a can opener”:

    What is needed is a binding international treaty where each wealthy country pays a fixed amount proportionate to its GDP into a fund administered by a neutral party with actual representation from the small countries most affected.

  28. redleg

    There are too many details wrong with the lunar regolith article to take the “simulated moon dust” seriously.
    I know I’m shouting at the sun regarding this, but I actually studied lunar regolith petrology in grad school. The stuff might be a fine powder but on a microscope level the stuff was 40 to 60% glass spheres, not angular grains. Micrometeorite strikes melt microscopic amounts of rock which form molten spheres and quench to glass before settling back to the surface. If the micrometeorite strikes an oxide crystal, e.g. magnetite, the oxygen in the melt escapes to space leaving microscopic spheres of native iron (or titanium, etc., whatever metal is in the oxide) behind.
    The native metal is a huge problem both with the dust and attempting to simulate the dust. There’s nothing on the surface of the moon to oxidize this metal. As soon as anything capable of oxidizing the metal shows up, such as oxygen, water, organic compounds, etc., the free metal will oxidize, increasing the volume of the particles and making the dust clump. Clumping is the main problem, as washing/blasting the stuff out only oxidizes it more unless it’s done with helium or some other completely inert substance.

    And right there is the problem with simulated lunar regolith. It is physically impossible it simulate the stuff on earth unless you produce, store, and test it in a vacuum. The chemistry is wrong, the glass and metal spheres aren’t there, because it is physically impossible to simulate the conditions of space weathering in an atmosphere. The guy making it is a fraud.

    1. Ken Murphy

      At the annual Moon Day event I created in Dallas, Dr. James Carter, the creator of the JSC-1, was a regular presenter for the first eight years or so. One of the points that he would make is that the purpose of the stimulant was for engineering studies to help determine how the fine particles would interact with and wear down machinery. Not for plant growth studies (the chemistry is only similar on a gross scale), not for 3-D printing studies, or many of the other things it is used for today. Doesn’t mean you won’t find NASA folks and others trying anyway. Dr. Carter was a great presenter too and his class was always packed at the event.

      If only we were actually serious about Moon efforts, and things like access to resources and energy, new industries, technological advancements and using it as a launchpad (figuratively, not literally) to the rest of the Solar System. Instead everything (even the Moon) is all about Mars, because FIRST!

      1. redleg

        OMG do I have a story about the first Mars rover. One of the other grad students was working on trying to unscramble the uncalibrated A-spectroscopic data from Sojourner. We went to the same meetings w/ NASA, just different agenda items. Apparently the manufacturer of the rover’s spectrometer figured that calibrating the instrument wasn’t necessary because they determined that the airbag landing would never work. Oops. Look at pictures of the room when that thing landed- everyone celebrating except for four guys in the back who look like they’ve seen a ghost.

      1. Foy

        It’s got the stage that when I see where an NC commentator has studied “lunar regolith petrology in grad school”, I go yep that is the unbelievable level knowledge in the NC commentariat. Whatever the topic there will be a lunar reoglith petrology like expert biding their time, waiting in the wings for their time to fly, to explain things properly and sort things out for the rest of us, well for me anyway.

        And thanks to Redleg for writing ‘lunar regolith petrology’. Never seen those three words together before, and two I hadn’t heard of! It’s made my day!

      2. Steve H.

        Diverse microspheres!

        Microspheres are different. For example, this paper models excluded volume entropies [Abstracting the essence of the confinement effect on crowding microspheres]. And in this one, 1 µm carboxylate microspheres are used in the lab to show exclusion zone effects in water [“Exclusion Zone” Formation in Mixtures of Ethanol and Water].

        Also, note that ‘lunar regolith petrology’ scans as a masculine line. Definitive. For another diverse microsphere.

    1. Adam Eran

      Thanks for this. Most of what I read from the political class (local district = reddish) is so critical there’s nothing worth reporting except “HSR bad!” … nice to have an alternative point of view

    2. Jeff W

      And, from the same channel (Alan Fisher), posted less than two weeks ago:

      California High Speed Rail is Fine; And the Wild Scrutiny of Transit Projects in the US

  29. Kengferno

    having taught at a Vocational high school in suburban NJ, I can whole-heartedly endorse the concept. It’s amazing to walk down a hallway and have a hairdressing class next to physical therapy across from cooking.

    As for Marco Rubio being the voice of the working class/railroad workers? Once again thank you dems for dropping the ball, kicking it down the street, shooting it with a shotgun, then stomping on it with their retro Doc Martens they picked up for more than they were originally at a “thrift” store in Soho. Thus allowing the staggeringly brain-dead Rubio to pry it up and wave it in the Dems face. Ugh

    1. Late Introvert

      DemRats haven’t cared about us deplorables since the Clinton years, and Trump was the last straw. They lost my vote for a lifetime and I’m trying hard to convince the wife and daughter to do the same.

  30. fresno dan

    Trump calls for the termination of the Constitution in Truth Social post CNN. Here is the quote (I couldn’t get into Truth Social, but Trump seems to have cross-posted to Gab):
    Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump wrote in a post on the social network Truth Social and accused “Big Tech” of working closely with Democrats. “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”
    WOW…just WOW
    Despite my view of the problems in this country and what actually causes them, I don’t think termininating the constitution (uh, what exactly would it replace it??? or would there be short term decrees by Trump until Trump decided to issue different decrees?) would be a mechanism likely to improve the situation. It is interesting: why did Trump think (perhaps think is not the right word) or whatever you would call the process by which Trump somehow decided that terminating the constituion was to Trump’s advantage.
    Would Trump’s supporters agree with that? And how many people would that actually be?

    1. Aumua

      Take note that this outburst is directly emboldened by and empowered by Musk and Taibbi’s little circle jerk, apologetics for which you can find above. And here you have a legitimate criticism of that collaboration, and of Taibbi’s collaboration with reactionaries in general.

      1. caucus99percenter

        If one values truth for its own sake, and not just through the distorted lens of whom a given truth might “empower,” then Taibbi is doing his job as a reporter: let the truth be known, though the heavens fall.

        1. Aumua

          You pick and choose what truths you want to emphasize though and that’s a distorted lens, especially when it comes to ‘truths’ like the Hunter Biden Laptop story. And what is the big story?

          Political entities (both sides) used twitter’s moderation policies for their benefit? I mean ok it’s not great, but is it really the bombshell we all need to revisit at the end of 2022? Are there really any new revelations here?

          Nah, Trump’s post above shows why this has nothing to do with the truth. For him and his followers it’s about election denial. He’s still trying to overturn the 2020 election, and breathing new life into that is the net result of this ‘journalism’, commissioned by super capitalist Elon Musk and executed by that post-left, contrarian useful idiot for the right, Matt Taibbi.

          1. Yves Smith

            With all due respect, you are the one here with a distorted lens. There was a full bore effort to discredit a story and falsely link it to the Russiagate narrative, which also served to reinforce that bogus line of attack v. Trump.

            The big story is the Burisma connection and the Biden family’s interest in Ukraine. From the hardly muckraking Time in 2019:

            To this day, Burisma’s connection to Hunter Biden has made it much harder for Ukrainian authorities to investigate the company for corruption, current and former officials in Ukraine tell TIME. In that sense, Burisma is still getting its money’s worth for the reported $50,000 per month it paid the younger Biden to sit on its board from 2014 until earlier this year.


            Mind you, Ukraine is the most corrupt first-world-ish country, so for something to rise to the level of corruption there takes some doing.

            The short version, as I recall it, is that the ecology minsiter awarded gas exploration licenses to Burisma, a company of which he was a co-owner. Then there was the 2014 Maidan coup with the US installing the successor government (see the Nuland “fuck the EU” tape and the Oliver Stone “Ukraine on Fire” documentary for details). The ex-minister installed Hunter and one of Hunter’s connected buddies (IIRC links to Carlyle) to get the US to ignore this dodgy arragement. Biden famously claimed he got the Ukraine prosecutor to back off Burisma (that appears to be Biden braggadocio rather than fact but that statement is now part of the record).

            1. Aumua

              So the wealthy, spoiled son of a powerful politician leveraged his parent’s influence to enrich himself and avoid consequences. Certainly an old story and yeah, it sucks. It’s not admirable, but is it impeach Joe Biden territory? Does it mean the 2020 election is invalid because this information was suppressed on social media? I don’t know… I think most people knew the basic details of the story at the time regardless. I did, anyway.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Political entities (both sides) used twitter’s moderation policies for their benefit?

            Taibbi makes clear that the “using” was done through networks between the parties and Twitter, and Democrats controlled the vast majority of those networks (whether out of conviction, desire for social capital, donations, whatever). So the both-sidism does not work here. Of course, you actually have to read the material to understand that. May I suggest that you do?

            > I mean ok it’s not great, but is it really the bombshell we all need to revisit at the end of 2022? Are there really any new revelations here?

            Yes, because (a) other social networks were and doubtless are doing the same thing; (b) because of the potential involvement of three-letter agencies using the same channels.

            The dominant faction of the Twitter content moderation team views themselves as part of the same group as Biden campaign operatives, and group loyalty over-rode everything, including corporate/political party boundaries. It’s beyond corrupt. Apparently, to some, this is not a story. It may not be, at a high level. But the detail of how it all worked is important to understand, and I comment Taibbi for his reporting work.

            NOTE “Trump’s post above shows why this has nothing to do with the truth. For him and his followers it’s about election denial.” This is such a gross misrepresentation I can’t even characterize it as deflection or distraction. What does the truth of the story have to do with the use anyone makes of it? This is analysis on the level of the right-wing lunatics who started calling French Fries “Freedom Fries” because they didn’t like what France had to say about the Iraq War. “Trump supports the Laws of Physics. Well, I sure don’t!”

            1. Aumua

              I read the thread, thanks. My point was that although Democrats ostensibly “controlled the majority” (where is the data showing that?) of moderation consideration or whatever, that is somewhat balanced out by the fact that the Trump white house was actually in power at the time.

            2. Aumua

              I appreciate you both taking the time to respond and try and present me with an alternate take btw.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Taibbi’s collaboration with reactionaries in general

        So, you think reporting is a team sport? Liberal Democrats seem to think so — as rather neatly demonstrated by Taibbi’s reporting.

        1. Aumua

          I’m not sure what you mean. I only mean that it’s not ok in my book to cozy up to tucker and elon musk and god knows who else, unless you make very concerted effort to distinguish what you’re saying from their rhetoric. And I see no such effort being made by taibbi, or greenwald for that matter, which I attribute to economics. They’re looking for an audience, and they don’t seem to care if their words are used for fascistic ends. That’s my issue with them currently, until I see something different.

  31. semper loquitur

    Greenwald on the mainstream media hysteria over Elon’s relaxing the rules on Twitter:

    The latest PMC authority figure: The “online safety expert”. Greenwald nails it as a product of the “expertise industries”. Smacks of the “gender counselor” scam.

    1. fresno dan

      Twitter has seen an “unprecedented” increase in “hate speech” since Elon Musk took over the platform in late October, The New York Times reports. As the paper’s fact checkers might say about someone else’s scary claims, the Times story is misleading and lacks context.
      Before Musk bought Twitter, the Times says, “slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day. Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day. And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.”
      Those numbers, which the Times attributes to “the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms,” might seem alarming. But in the context of a platform whose users generate half a billion messages every day, they suggest that explicitly anti-black, anti-gay, and anti-Jewish tweets are pretty rare.

      Assuming that “antisemitic posts” are about as common as the two other categories, we are talking about something like 0.0024 percent of daily tweets. The Times concedes that “the numbers are relatively small,” which is like saying the risk of dying from a hornet, wasp, or bee sting is relatively small.
      The truth of the matter is that there are bigots, racists, and anti-semites in the US (and the world). The question is how much effort should be expended by Twitter to deny that reality. Say Twitter actually was able to prevent any anti semetic remarks from appearing on Twitter. I would liken that to the police preventing any spray painted anti semetic remarks from ever being make – impossible and not worth the effort. Could one then say there is no anti semetism in the US? Of course not. Could one say that the police don’t care about crimes against Jews? Of course not. Police resources should be focused on violence against all people, of course including Jews, and this of course should take priority over vandalism.
      Free speech can be unpleasant. Twitter tries to suppress true racism. But most of Musk’s critics are dem partisans – believers in the Steele dossier, Russiagate, no airborne transmission of covid, no nazis in Ukraine, and any number of democratic shibboleths that deserve debate. Musk critics don’t want those debates.

      1. Aumua

        I don’t know man, why don’t you ask our gracious hosts why this site has moderation in place, and rules about discussion.

        Individual bigots, racists and anti-semites are one thing, but you should be aware of the organization that is happening behind the scenes. There are agendas and tactics to overrun and derail any discussion, and turn it toward their ends.

        But most of Musk’s critics are dem partisans –

        I think some factions want us to think that. But WE here should be some of Elon Musk’s biggest critics, and if we find ourselves siding with him, one of the richest people in the world, who just spent 44 Billion… for what? If we’re siding with him then maybe we should take a step back and reevaluate some things.

        1. Yves Smith

          Making the issue about Musk is successful distraction. This is about Twitter mid-senior level officials colluding with Team Dem to suppress an important and legitimate story that would have dented the Biden campaign. The fact that they worked so hard to tamp it down says they believed it to be highly damaging.

          Did Musk have any direct role in the original laptop story, for instance? And you also forget that Musk very badly wanted to get out of the Twitter deal, but his rushing ahead and waving due diligence (!!!) gave him no good outs.

          And not just most, the overwhelming majority of Musk’s critics are Democratic party partisans. It is a insult to intelligence to insinuate otherwise.

          You are exhibiting the cognitive bias called halo effect, of seeing people as all good or all bad. I applaud Musk rolling back Twitter censorship. Many accounts were canceled for bogus single offenses, like (for Brian Berletic) posting an image an Azov type sporting a Nazi logo. Twitter going against PMC though policing will make it harder for PayPal to engage in overreach. That does not mean I approve of Musk’s abuse of workers or dangerous overhyping of Tesla’s self-driving features or his appalling conduct with the cave rescue in Thailand. Similarly, my approving of Trump wanting to kneecap NATO does not mean I agree with his regulatory or tax policies.

          Twitter under the law has Section 230 protection from liability because it is a platform. It is required to remove content only for narrow grounds like copyright infringement and hate speech. It is not required to be neutral but many Congresscritters believe Section 230 obligates a platform to be neutral. I doubt that will be codified. However, even though no one could establish enough damages to make a suit worthwhile, there might be an argument that Twitter engages in advertising fraud vis-a-vis its customers by presenting itself as not having a bias in moderation when it does.

          We do not have Section 230 status. We are liable for comments. Hence it is a major category error to compare us to Twitter or Facebook.

          1. Aumua

            I spent some time on a response. I know our host’s time is limited, but I hope that she at least skimmed over it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There seems to be a lot of that happening while the west is distracted with the Ukraine. Syria is coming back into the fold and Saudi Arabia and Iran are discovering that they have a lot of mutual interests. Even Yemen may be slowing going off the boil. So when Israel shouts war! war!, nobody wants to listen.

      1. Willow

        Have a feeling Iraq will end up getting horse-traded. Turkey gets the north, Iran the South and Syria picking up the West in exchange for some northern territory to Turkey. (Kurds get left with nothing).

        1. caucus99percenter

          Unlike the Azov-Zelensky Ukraine axis, the Kurds just can’t seem to close the deal on that Faustian bargain with the West that would take their quest for a national homeland and consecrate it, finally recognizing them as a noble cause, NATO proxy, and “Big Israel” aspirant.

    2. ThirtyOne

      Russia is quite busy too.

      After years of flirting with Kazakh neo-fascists, Tokayev needs to seriously change the political atmosphere in the republic in order to really fulfill his obligations to fight against the falsification of history.

      And this applies to many other topics. Moscow is ready for large-scale cooperation with Astana, but the Kazakh side needs to take real measures that meet the interests of Russia, and not get off with declarations of readiness to cooperate.

  32. Jason Boxman

    So I followed links in someone’s substack posted here a few days ago, and found this: The optimal amount of fraud is non-zero

    A glib way to phrase this is that crime is a policy choice, both definitionally (you could simply agree something was not a crime anymore and bam, crime down) and, more interestingly, because crime responds directly to things which are within your control. Most of the world has taken most of the easy policy choices which have few tradeoffs available! But there are still arbitrarily severe options to control crime from where you are, from “increase the police budget” to “ban alcohol totally” to “implement an Orwellian dystopia.”

    Which brings to mind that Star Trek TNG episode where the penalty for rule violation was death, if you happened to break that day’s enforced rule or whatever. And compliance was managed by a god-like alien, so watch out!

  33. adam

    Thank you for sharing the tweet from a true PMC’er on anti-semitism. Actual Nazi’s in Ukraine? No problem! Actual facists and murderous Kahanist’s in charge in Israel? No problem! Utter corruption and evil from the Democrats? No problem! Billionaires plundering the planet while practicing (and enjoying) utter cruelty torwards everyone else? No problem! Millions dead thanks to a deadly pandemic that the elite are ignoring? No problem! Fake moral outrage at Homo Sapian caused climate change that threatens our entire civilization and species? No problem! But non-PMC approved language followed by self righteous outrage? Priceless! /sarc (I know, a bit harsh, but sometimes the truth just needs to be said.)

  34. ChrisRUEcon


    The View From ChicagoLand

    Checked out the IDPH (Illinois Department Of Public Health) website yesterday. Over 85% of ICU beds are in use state wide. Ventilator use is far below this, but to me, this speaks to the immunity loss many people have been screaming about for two years now. Anecdotally, I know of kids who have been kept home with fevers and such, but not hearing about COVID reinfections in my immediate surroundings … yet. Still masking and using Betadine Cold Defense with Iota-Carrageenan and thus far, no reinfections. I’ve nebulized with 50/50 diluted alcohol on occasion as well for travel.

    Interesting observation from #FlipTheScript – deaths aren’t that much of a lagging indicator at the moment. They seem to be rising lock step with cases. This suggests the work of B.Q.*/XBB which we know evades vaccine protection.

    Do stay safe, everyone! Hoping it’s a bursty Thanksgiving surge and not one that persists over the Xmas/NewYear holidays.

  35. Karl

    RE: Malthusian depopulationists – or afraid of climate change?

    This article reminded me of how population growth is typically accepted rather fatalistically as an “exogenous given” in climate modeling and in the environmental policy arena generally. But really, population is by no means a given. This topic has been rather off limits in polite circles.

    In the ’60’s the pill and other safe birth control became available. Family planning came out of the shadows, and global population regulation was openly discussed as a realistic possibility. Advocacy of ZPG in the environmental movement became pretty mainstream for a while. Since then, I always wondered why population got sidelined as an important component of reducing environmental impacts as well as alleviating many other social problems. Consider how growing population densities have contributed to higher social tensions generally, more conflicts over access to natural resources, higher urban housing costs….

    In the environmental impact equation Impact = Population x Technology x Consumption, population is the variable that will reduce the impact the most rapidly if necessary. Humans now have the technical means to deal with over-population quickly if needed.

    I would much prefer a global one child policy than, say, a major nuclear war, but the latter seems much more probable as the world, now past 8 billion, passes 9 billion in another 20 years.

    Time to revive the ZPG movement?

    1. juno mas

      Population control is essential. However, most of the the carbon spewed into the atmosphere is done in the industrial nations: US , EU, China, India. Population control is a slow process. Radical conservation in the US and EU (approx. 12% of world population) would have greater effect faster.

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