Links 1/11/2023

Two motherless leopard cubs rescued in Russia’s Far East TASS (guurst). The photo!

Japan dives into rare earth mining under the sea Asia Times (Kevin W)

EXCLUSIVE: Key study into anti-stroke drug taken by millions found to be ‘unreliable’ and potentially fatal side effects were ignored, documents reveal Daily Mail. IM Doc:

This has every potential to get really ugly.

This trial is now 10 years out and the drug involved Xarelto is the mainstay for stroke. Billions and billions of bucks. This drug is hideously expensive too. It is now becoming obvious that the deaths in the medication arm of the protocols were never counted nor investigated, or in the worst case scenario covered up. Just 2 deaths in the protocol multiplies out to thousands in real life. Does not sound like many until realized that the drug will soon be used on millions.

There are other very severe problems with this paper.

I have been hearing neurologists and cardiologists for the past 5 years or so stating out loud that there appear to be multiple serious problems with this drug not the least of which is quite a few people seem to die for no reason.

Excess deaths in 2022 among worst in 50 years BBC

Franz Kafka, Party Animal New Yorker (Anthony L)

The Written World and the Unwritten World Paris Review (Anthony L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

IM Doc:

Remember the Sander Greenland (the guy who wrote the epidemiology textbook), Kaplan and Doshi paper about side effects of the vaccines [Serious Adverse Events of Special Interest Following mRNA Vaccination in Randomized Trials]?

Here is one of the lead authors of the paper urging the immediate withdrawal of the vaccines….my understanding from the gossip is another paper is soon on the way because the numbers are getting ever more dire.

Asia

South Korea shares eye-opening Covid statistics to defend its new rules for travelers from China CNBC

China announces first countermeasure against discriminatory travel curbs Global Times

US

Pentagon drops Covid-19 vaccine mandate for troops Politico

China?

Xi warns officials about ‘collusion’ with business Bangkok Post (JTM)

European Disunion

Poland appeals to US in $1.3 trillion row with Germany RT (Kevin W)

From Politico’s European morning newsletter:

WARSAW’S MOMENT OF TRUTH: Today, the Polish lower chamber, the Sejm, will debate a proposed reform of the Supreme Court, which is key for Warsaw to unblock over €35 billion in EU recovery funds, Paola Tamma writes in to report. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki introduced the draft bill, which is meant to address Brussels’ concerns about judicial independence by removing disciplinary cases against judges from the remit of the Supreme Court, allocating them instead to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Drilling for gas in Crete to start earlier ekathimerini. Is this what arming those Greek islands was really about? Certainly a significant piece: In-Depth Briefing #41: Escalation risks in the Aegean Sea CHACR

Why the CIA attempted a ‘Maidan uprising’ in Brazil The Cradle (Chuck L)

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis 10.01.2023 YouTube

Ukraine Russia Latest w/ Col Doug Macgregor YouTube. If nothing else, take note of the e-mail from Bakhmut discussed starting at 7:45.

What (more reasonable) Western Analysts Say Comes Next for Ukraine Brian Berletic

Pakistan set to dispatch 159 containers of ammunition to Ukraine Economic Times of India

British Defence Ministry Confirms Su-57s Are Fighting in Ukraine: Indicates Possible Air to Air Combat Military Watch

* * *

Sweden hustled into military pact with US India Punchline (RobertC). A big deal.

How allied Sweden and Finland can secure Northern Europe Atlantic Council. Kevin W flagged as a related story….

* * *

G7 seeks two price caps for Russian oil products RT

Kremlin says it hasn’t seen cases of oil price caps Reuters

* * *

Why Russia Went to War in 2022 Antiwar.com (Kevin W)

Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group owned by a key Putin ally are stoking influence in resource-rich Central African Republic ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Syraqistan

AS’AD AbuKHALIL: The Iranian Govt.’s Loss of Legitimacy Consortium News (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Louisiana Begins Requiring Government ID to Access Online Porn Gizmodo (fk)

Roomba Testers Feel Misled After Intimate Images Ended Up on Facebook MIT Technology Review

DHS, CISA Building AI-Based Cybersecurity Analytics Sandbox The Register

Imperial Collapse Watch

Against Undiplomatic Diplomacy Rand Paul, American Conservative

Hawks blow a lot of hot air over proposed budget cuts Responsible Statecraft

More Than a Dozen Special Operations Soldiers at Center of Drug Trafficking Probe Military.com

US Halts Flights Nationwide After Key FAA System Goes Down Bloomberg

What is Nuland wearing under her blouse?!?! Can’t be a bullet proof vest. Can’t be a medical device, surely someone would make it look less terrible. After coming up with no other guesses….explosives? Lambert found that plausible: “She’s creating her own hostage crisis.”

Biden

Republicans to investigate classified files at Biden office BBC

Biden’s classified-records headache is Garland’s special-counsel nightmare Jonathan Turley

GOP Clown Car

House Approves GOP Inquiry Into ‘Weaponization’ of Government New York Times. Will the GOP make a hash of this, as they did with Benghazi, or will they be successful enough to elicit Democratic whinges of the danger they pose to the vaunted system?

Democrats en déshabillé

Katie Porter strikes first in battle for Feinstein’s seat The Hill

Our No Longer Free Press

Elitist Corporate Media Attacks Populism, Briahna Joy Gray on Dem v. GOP Dissent Rumble (Tom D)

Many People Aren’t Sticking Around Mastodon Guardian

War and Commodity Encumbrance Zoltan Pozsar (Chuck L)

Right-To-Repair Advocates Question John Deere’s New Promises Wired

The Bezzle

The First Insider Trading Case Involving Cryptocurrency Reuters

Robinhood Shares Worth Nearly $500M Seized in FTX Case Coindesk

SBF, who was once worth $26 billion, says he tried to survive on a jar of peanut butter when in a Bahamian prison Business Insider

Coinbase CEO Still among those “Who Believe in Crypto,” the Religion, Cuts another 25% of Real-World Staff, Sees another Huge Loss Wolf Richter

Goldman Sachs embarks on biggest cost-cutting drive since financial crisis Financial Times (Kevin W)

World Bank makes big cut to its 2023 growth outlook, says globe is ‘perilously close’ to recession CNBC

The golden fuel aeon

Class Warfare

Are Britain’s striking public sector workers underpaid? Financial Times. Epic title.

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus (guurst). Nature is not always nice!

A second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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184 comments

  1. griffen

    World Bank is cutting its 2023 targets for growth, indicating their targets for US growth were adjusted from the estimated 2.4% downward to 0.5%. I’d really thought by mid-2022 we, here in the US, were on the verge of entering recession. Proof positive that I am not cut out for the projection game.

    What is the running economist joke, about projecting 9 of the next 5 recessions ? US equitees and Stawx seem unbothered just yet as they have opened 2023 moderately higher. Hope spring eternal with a new year…but earnings reports begin shortly so hope is not a strategy.

    Reply
    1. Objective Ace

      Most people may be surprised to know there’s no specific criteria for a recession. Rather, its whenever the NBER declares one. There are a number of data series they look at to determine–chief of which is quarterly GDP growth. GDP growth declined in quarter 1 and 2 of 2022. The decline wasnt significant, but it would not have been unreasonable to declare a recession. The NBER is ostensibly nonpartisan, but one wonders — had this been a different administration would they have called it a recession?

      Reply
      1. JP

        Ahh, the weaponization of the term recession. The word, formerly an arbitrary defined point in the economic business cycle, is now to be used as a cudgel in the partisan political cycle.

        Reply
    2. John Beech

      I’m further confirmation I shouldn’t be in the economics projection game, either.

      That said, Goldman reducing heat count is data, also.

      Reply
    3. Adam Eran

      Very tough to make market predictions when a) QE and the like prop up the stock, and b) index funds make “price discovery” more difficult.

      Reply
  2. zagonostra

    >Pentagon drops Covid-19 vaccine mandate for troops Politico

    Cognitive dissonance anyone?

    Austin’s memo was unapologetic in his continued support for the vaccine, and his belief that the mandate kept the force healthy and able to protect America

    >Serious Adverse Events of Special Interest Following mRNA Vaccination in Randomized Trials

    In the Moderna trial, the excess risk of serious AESIs (15.1 per 10,000 participants) surpassed
    the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group (6.4 per 10,000 participants). In the Pfizer trial, the excess risk of serious AESIs (10.1 per 10,000) surpassed
    the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group (2.3 per 10,000
    participants).

    Reply
      1. Steve H.

        I just remembered, there was point a yearish ago where someone in the Pentagon managed to say that anyone who caught Covid was ineligible for the military. Took about a week for that to get dialed back. But it made it clear there was a conflict within the military about the response to Covid.

        One side just won.

        Reply
    1. IM Doc

      I feel like I need to say something here.

      This tragedy happened earlier this week – https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/news/air-force-academy-cadet-hunter-brown-dies/

      What happened to that young man is beyond us to contemplate. A full evaluation must be done and an autopsy to really know. Even then, it may not be known.

      However, every service member and possible recruit in the USA is seeing this right now. I myself am even becoming a bit concerned about the frequency this seems to be happening in our young people.

      The other day, Monica Ghandi had a piece about how the health officials could communicate better going forward.

      I would suggest one thing for sure. Part of the problem we have is they are not communicating at all. These sudden deaths are taking on a life of their own. The talking and the gossip is now becoming a brush fire. I can assure everyone that this concern has affected enough of our population that trust in our health agencies has now eroded to the point that we are rapidly approaching meaningless. I am as a PCP being bombarded daily with all kinds of papers, reports, etc and this has now invaded even the MSNBC crowd. Many vaccinated patients are now demanding answers on how they can prevent these side effects and issues from happening to them. A handwave or “They do not exist or they are just conspiracy theories” coming from their PCP is just not cutting it for the vast majority of them.

      And yet we hear not a squeak about this from anyone in charge. Other than putting Fauci on TV the other night with the same shopworn SAFE AND EFFECTIVE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE mantra and stating that COVID itself is far more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccines ( this seems to be a statement that at best is a stretch based on the current available literature). There is never any specific discussion of numbers or papers or anything. Just the same old – DO AS I SAY FROM UPON HIGH – . So people naturally get their information from people who do seem to be taking things seriously and putting in the time to put together numbers and have some kind of meaningful interpretation. And these efforts and the interpretations are being completely ignored and unanswered from our health officials. NADA.

      I have been told by multiple people “in the know” that this approach of complete silence is being done because the officials feel that discussion of any of these topics and questions is below them. They are so credentialed and correct, that to even engage in discussion would sully them.

      I have been doing this for decades. This approach may have worked in the past with a limited population cohorts like AIDS. THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK NOW WHEN EVERYONE IS AFFECTED – AND INDEED MAY BACKFIRE SPECTACULARLY. My instinct is that it already is.

      We must have a change of course. We must immediately begin to have health officials that are going to address these issues head on. We must immediately begin to have public health officials who can reliably and with conviction and honesty deal with these emerging problems. And most importantly, if they are found to be significant problems, to DEAL WITH THEM. That will speak volumes to the American people. Right now I feel like I am in a Twilight Zone of information warfare.

      Until such time as this is done, there will be no successful vaccine programs either now or in the future. The distrust is that intense. Any employer or military or whomever that insists on vaccine mandates in this environment had better just get used to having no recruits. And the big looming tragedy I see is the obvious fact that these skepticisms are bleeding into all the other vaccines – so unless something about the credibility is done quickly, we should all get used to measles and whooping cough, etc to come roaring back. The community and primary care doctors in this country are being overwhelmed with this skepticism right now. We can do a lot, but we are going to be unable to affect any change until our leaders start addressing these issues head on.

      The official silence is now officially deafening. Dr. Ghandi – you should start right there with that issue.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Thank you, IM Doc. This ^.

        “I have been told by multiple people “in the know” that this approach of complete silence is being done because the officials feel that discussion of any of these topics and questions is below them. They are so credentialed and correct, that to even engage in discussion would sully them.

        This approach sounds very like the approach of the old RU’s last Tzar to hungry peasants’ protest marches; it sounds very like the last King of France Louis XVI’s response to desperate peasants’ uprisings. The ‘great and good’ thought themselves above it all and so lost it all. Yes, this is an extreme comparison made only to make the point.

        Thanks for your comments.

        Reply
        1. Realist

          It’s a no win for them. Either COVID causes it and their “opening up” was murderous, or the vaccine causes it and their mandates were murderous…or it’s both. Better for them to pretend nothing is happening, lest they get strung up on lampposts.

          Strikes me that, from a logical perspective, if the COVID spike protein in the vaccine causes it, then why wouldn’t the very same COVID spike protein in the virus do the exact same thing to us?

          Reply
          1. Mikel

            Has any research been done into whether Omnicron’s “franken spike proteins” were an adaptation to the mRNA shots?

            Reply
      2. Paleobotanist

        Hello IM Doc

        If I may trouble you with a question: have the raw data from the various Moderna and Pzifer clinical trials of the mRNA vaccines ever been publicly released for the various statisticians, vaccine researchers, immunologists to critically analyze? The last I remember was that this data has been shielded for 75 years. Has this changed?

        As a moderately well published data scientist in a different field, this is of great concern to me. If the data is unavailable, this augers poorly.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          Paleobotanist
          If I may trouble you with a question: have the raw data from the various Moderna and Pzifer clinical trials of the mRNA vaccines ever been publicly released for the various statisticians, vaccine researchers, immunologists to critically analyze?

          The truth of the matter is that all the information often is not released to the FDA reviewers. It got so bad that years ago the law was amened so that supposedly, all trials initiated (so as you undoubtedly know, you can’t skew the results by omitting trials with bad results) are published. Of course, like a lot of laws, they often are not enforced when it annoys the rich (pharmaceutical companies).
          https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/manage-recs/fdaaa

          https://www.science.org/content/article/fda-and-nih-let-clinical-trial-sponsors-keep-results-secret-and-break-law

          For 20 years, the U.S. government has urged companies, universities, and other institutions that conduct clinical trials to record their results in a federal database, so doctors and patients can see whether new treatments are safe and effective. Few trial sponsors have consistently done so, even after a 2007 law made posting mandatory for many trials registered in the database. In 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tried again, enacting a long-awaited “final rule” to clarify the law’s expectations and penalties for failing to disclose trial results. The rule took full effect 2 years ago, on 18 January 2018, giving trial sponsors ample time to comply. But a Science investigation shows that many still ignore the requirement, while federal officials do little or nothing to enforce the law.

          Science examined more than 4700 trials whose results should have been posted on the NIH website ClinicalTrials.gov under the 2017 rule. Reporting rates by most large pharmaceutical companies and some universities have improved sharply, but performance by many other trial sponsors—including, ironically, NIH itself—was lackluster. Those sponsors, typically either the institution conducting a trial or its funder, must deposit results and other data within 1 year of completing a trial. But of 184 sponsor organizations with at least five trials due as of 25 September 2019, 30 companies, universities, or medical centers never met a single deadline. As of that date, those habitual violators had failed to report any results for 67% of their trials and averaged 268 days late for those and all trials that missed their deadlines. They included such eminent institutions as the Harvard University–affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of Minnesota, and Baylor College of Medicine—all among the top 50 recipients of NIH grants in 2019.

          Reply
        2. IM Doc

          My understanding of this story is that the original shielding decree of 75 years was overturned and now the companies and the FDA are doing a very slow drip drip drip release over the next several years/decade.

          This is not ideal for many reasons. Many of which would adversely affect the companies, so I am not at all sure why they are going this route.

          First of all, as a former IRB member, you really need to have the whole data in its entirety to make decisions about going forward or decisions/actions about any problems that occur. Having it given to auditors in tranches is something I never experienced before. It is always likely that things will be found that seem awful but ready explanations are to be found elsewhere in the dataset. Unfortunately, things are being found that are concerning in these drip releases and possible exculpatory data may not be coming out for years the way they are doing it. This is not a good look.

          Secondly, when dealing especially with safety issues, it is of vital importance to have a placebo arm and an intervention arm and to go forward to see what if anything is happening among the medicated arm that is not in the placebo. In a most unethical move for the ages, the placebo group in these trials was disbanded and vaccinated ( “it was just so overwhelmingly positive that it would have been unethical not to”). Accordingly, any data about safety going forward has been permanently corrupted. These original trials are the only one I know of that are case and cohort controlled, randomized and prospective. THIS would have been the place to look for safety. That is now gone. The retrospective observation studies we have looking back at this time are based a lot on modeling and are always warped with confounding so they are not nearly as reliable. The only time I have ever known this destruction of the placebo group to be allowed in studies was back in the AIDS era with things like AZT and DDI. It is just not considered ethical.

          3) That being said, before the placebo groups were disbanded and about 6 months into the trial – we now know because of forced release that there were actually more deaths in the vaccinated arms than the placebo arms. This was known around AUGUST 2021. In the past, this would have resulted in an immediate suspension of further subjects in an IRB controlled trial. The rest of the patients and placebo group were usually allowed to continue – but just no further subjects in either arm. An aggressive look would then have happened into what was causing the deaths. If found to be benign, the suspension was lifted – if not – things went back to the drawing board. In this COVID vaccine instance, what was essentially a Phase III worldwide trial, that did not happen. This was because of Operation Warp Speed and EUA and there are no IRBs looking over this. Instead, right around that time, we doubled down and imposed the vaccine mandates. This has deeply concerned me since then. A few deaths in a trial can mean many deaths in real life if not investigated properly. The answer to this question may be totally benign – but it is locked in that data that is being DRIP DRIP DRIPPED. For this reason alone, it should be released for everyone to look at ASAP.

          4) This entire experience is predicated on the idea that this is SCIENCE. Is it really SCIENCE to keep any data, especially on something like this, hidden?

          I am told by friends and family members all the time that I am old-fashioned and living in a medicine that no longer exists. That may be so. I certainly hope that the new medicine has some answers that make sense.

          Reply
          1. flora

            Thank again, and thanks so much, IM Doc. You are on point once again. To single out two points:

            “The only time I have ever known this destruction of the placebo group to be allowed in studies was back in the AIDS era with things like AZT and DDI. It is just not considered ethical.”

            Those of us who remember the AIDS Bactrim antibiotic treatments vs the AZT Fauci and pharma pushed big-bucks treatments scandal this isn’t new.

            And point two: see above.

            Reply
      3. fresno dan

        IM
        https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/05/kamala-harris-trump-coronavirus-vaccine-409320
        “I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump” on the reliability of a vaccine, Harris said.

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/07/12/remarks-by-vice-president-harris-at-a-vaccine-mobilization-event/
        The vaccine gave us the upper hand against this virus.
        =============================================
        And of course, Fauci on wearing and not wearing masks.
        I am a microbiologist, and I simply give up on trying to understand the situation. Today’s post with Xarelto, and many, many past instances, shows that trials conducted by the people who will reap enormous profits completely skews the results. It should be obvious by now. And yet, it cannot be faced

        Reply
      4. Pookah Harvey

        John Campbell presented a pre-print study by the Cleveland Clinic at his Youtube channel a couple of days ago. It disappeared and Campbell apologized the next day for retracting it without giving any reason. The study published at medRxiv shows that MRNA vaccines raise the risk of contracting COVID-19 and that each MRNA vaccine booster increases the risk. The study used 51,000 Cleveland Clinic employees as the study group.
        During the presentation Campbell suggested that his public presence might decrease, my guess is that he is lucky his channel wasn’t taken down.
        Story on the study here.
        Study itself here

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I am not at all keen about the use of Campbell as a source. Campbell has aggressively promoted destructive falsehoods like “natural immunity”

          As far as I am concerned, he is a fraud with a nice bedside manner. As GM wrote:

          I have watched Campbell lie about one thing after another since the start.

          Blatantly, and always on the side of minimizing things. That has helped kill countless innocent people.

          Also, do you seriously think someone becomes so popular online just like that in the 2020s when in the same time anyone can be totally shut down with the snap of some fingers in SV, and censorship is so rampant? In the UK especially? Is such a person really speaking truth to power?

          It’s not a hypothesis/conspiracy theory, I watched it in real time how various platforms were censoring people for “disinformation”, “alarmism”, etc. when the subjects of reinfection and low VE were initially brought up in 2020 and early 2021.

          Meanwhile the likes of Campbell were pushed forward by algorithms (or maybe it wasn’t just algorithms).

          So in that context, why do you think “safety issues” are brought up now, and by these particular people that are bringing them up?

          My claim on this has been consistent for a long time. The sequence of events was:

          1. Virus appears, disaster in Wuhan — January 2020.

          2. In the west TPTB pretend there is nothing to worry, life goes on — February 2020

          3. In the west TPTB start acknowledge that something bad might happen, but insist that we should press ahead regardless even though a whole lot of people will die. There is nothing to be done about it. February 2020, early March 2020 (many public statements by Boris Johnson, Bill De Blasio, Mark Rutte, Angela Merkel, etc.)

          4. Shit hits the fan. Panic. Lockdowns — mid-March to May 2020.

          5. Business elites freak out because profits are hurt, and, most threatening — people are paid not to work, there is talk about socialized healthcare etc. Can’t have that.

          6. Business elites launch the minimization campaign, GBD “experts” are recruited, etc. — that starts really to ramp up in late March 2020. Economists write serious editorials in the newspapers of record on how the death of millions will be better for the economy than the GDP hit caused by lockdowns, therefore there should be no lockdowns.

          7. Meanwhile the intent is publicly declared not to solve the problem — we will “flatten the curve”, i.e. stretch infections out so that there is no biblical disaster at any given point (BTW, Campbell was very big on that at the time), but everyone will still get infected regardless. Just not all at once.

          8. RNA vaccine Phase I results arrive in April or so and show decent neutralization titers. The decision is made to bet it all on the vaccines as the ticket out of the mess

          9. “Lockdowns” are lifted prematurely — May and June 2020. Gotta save the summer tourism season

          10. Summer of 2020 the first reports of reinfections begin to trickle in from Iran during their second wave. Total denial of it in the West. Campbell is again big on that — first it wasn’t true, then “we can ignore these cases”.

          11. Phase III results come out in early November 2020, after only 6 weeks of readout. Zero data on how long protection lasts, whether it holds against variants, etc. Such concerns are completely ignored, vaccine-only is cemented as the one and only approach

          12. However, things get really bad before vaccination can be rolled out, so NPIs are reintroduced in winter 2020-21

          13. The big lull in the West of April – July 2021. “Doesn’t the air smell so sweet without a mask”‘

          14. But that was in the West. In India Delta rages, and quite a lot of people with recent AZ vaccinations have severe cases. Some of us start ringing the alarm, we are ignored or ridiculed as anti-vaxxers. Some countries that had vaccinated nearly everyone but used weak Chinese vaccines have to do lockdowns again (Chile, Bahrain, etc.)

          15. July-2021 — Israel is also ringing the alarm, vaccine is broken. Some of call for urgent third shots and reintroduction of NPIs, we are again ignored and ridiculed as “anti-vaxxers”

          16. August-September 2021 — disastrous Delta wave in the South in the US. No NPIs other than some mask mandates

          17. Fall of 2021 — begrudgingly, third shots are rolled out worldwide. It becomes clear the shots don’t last much more than 6 months. That wasn’t the plan…

          18. Omicron appears in late 2021. VE against infection is shot to pieces, some protection against severe outcomes remains. Initially there is total denial, the vaccine is oh-so-perfect, then it switches to “vaccine still strongly protects against severe outcomes”.

          19. Omicron is “mild”, so governments switch to outright encouraging infection. The virtues of “hybrid immunity” being to be extolled.

          20. Updated shots are promised, but it turns out BA.2 quickly laps up BA.1, and it is very different.

          21. By Spring of 2022 there are no updated shots, and it also becomes clear that in the lab they don’t work out so well either.

          22. Around that time — it starts really in mid-2021 with the hardcore GBD, but really accelerates in 2022, you start seeing anti-vaxxer rhetoric really ramping up.

          23. Meanwhile Omicron shatters all records for rapid antigenic drift.

          Which is our end point.

          So why was anti-vaxxer rhetoric amplified? And amplified it is — again, these are not fringe voices at this point, it is all over the media, and you know they can shut it down if they want to, but they are not, so clearly someone wants it out there.

          Because two problems have to be resolved.

          First, there must never be any NPIs again. It’s bad for business, and also people might get it in their heads to seek accountability for the needless mass death that has occurred. But with the rapid Omicron evolution, there is zero hope for ever catching up with it with updated vaccines. Which also don’t seem to work very well either, as we might indeed be observing serious OAS issues.

          Second, there are still rampant excess deaths, much of it of undiagnosed COVID or due to COVID sequelae. That has to be explained somehow, because it is starting to be really noticeable even for the laymen.

          Well, you kill two birds with one stone by pushing the notion that the vaccines are very bad for people and are responsible for the excess deaths. It doesn’t matter that excess deaths always coincided with COVID infection waves, and never with the vaccination campaigns, nobody is ever going to look into that. And by making people hate/be afraid of the vaccine, you eliminate you first problem too, which is the expectation that something will be done to protect them from COVID.

          That is what is really happening, as I have explained on many, many occasions by now.

          The problem is it can both be true that the vaccines are producing very very bad side effects in some people, and potentially more the more one is vaxxed, and yet that the main cause of excess deaths and disability (Long Covid, the rampant RSVs this winter, seems like an awful lot of weak immune systems) is Covid, not the vaccines. One of the reason the vax disasters get attention is that they are acute events, visible and often dramatic, while having your brain function impaired by Covid is not.

          Reply
          1. will rodgers horse

            Yves, when you say “natural Immunity” is a destructive falsehood” what do you mean?
            Surely you dont mean there is no such thing as natural immunity? Perhaps you mean that the idea that we are fully protected from a disease after having it is not applicable to respiratory agents like Covid19?

            Reply
            1. Raymond Sim

              Perhaps you mean that the idea that we are fully protected from a disease after having it is not applicable to respiratory agents like Covid19?

              Since you’ve already figured that out, how hard is it to work out the ‘destructive fiction’ part?

              Reply
              1. will rodgers horse

                saying natural immunity is a falsehood and saying it is not perfect are two very different things in my book

                Reply
          2. Peerke

            I would add that it can also be true that the drug beginning with “I” and others of that ilk can prevent bad outcomes and given the way those cheap interventions have been suppressed by the PTB, then it is a far far worse situation than you sketch here.

            Reply
          3. anonymous

            Thanks for this from GM doctor. After #23, is it still a quote from GM doc, or is that you writing the ending paragraph, beginning “The problem is it can both be true..”

            Reply
          4. Raymond Sim

            It’s always refreshing to read GM’s unblinking assessments. It’s a cliche, but the truth really is freeing.

            Reply
      5. BeliTsari

        “Part of the problem,” is: what we were being told we must believe, has been “the sky is PINK” style K Street agitprop, we’ve been gavaged repeatedly: asbestos, HIV, ciggies, fracking, GE agribusiness. Rochelle did a 180° so quickly: unmasking us largely uninsured essentials, infecting kids as ‘asymptomaitc’ vectors; basically forking everyone into cascading PASC debilitated, indentured gig-serfdom. Eventually even WE realized, Brownstone Institute/ GBD tropes benefit: landlord, boss, creditors, PMC, retired yuppie liberals BY monitizing liquidation of old, poor, vulnerable (or foreign/ refugee) victims & Great Reset 2.0 virtual share-cropper indentured peonage of their US workforce. And we’ve NO way to protect ourselves (and expose ourselves, by online enquiry or discussion!)

        Reply
  3. JohnA

    Re Sweden hustled into military pact with US.
    Swedish politicians are leading the hustling. In a national conference on People and Defence this week
    Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson opened by pointing to new information about the Swedish defence forces:

    “Sweden will join the common Nato missile defence system [European Sky Shield Initiative] and take part in flight patrols over the Baltic region. Swedish ground forces are also going to be redied to contribute to any Nato defence of the Baltic States.

    He added this also included being prepared to participate in Nato air patrols in the Black Sea and Iceland.

    He also said Swedish aircraft, submarines, weapon systems and surveillance systes can contribute within the common Nato geographic area that he defined as primarily concerning the Arctic to the south Baltic Sea.

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      As the NATO membership starts to wobble, I’m sure they were desperate to get something from the deal. They made their bones with Nordstream, they deserve to be in the club! I mean they voted for it, right?

      Reply
    2. Mikel

      This part caught my attention because I made a similar speculation about the apparent “urgency of now” in the USA’s policies regarding Russia:

      “Finland is ready to wait till summer, but Sweden (and the US) cannot. The heart of the matter is that Sweden’s NATO membership is not really about the war in Ukraine but is about containing the Russian presence and strategy in the Arctic and North Pole. There is a massive economic dimension to it, too.

      Thanks to climate change, the Arctic is increasingly becoming a navigable sea route. The expert opinion is that nations bordering the Arctic (eg., Sweden) will have an enormous stake in who has access to and control of the resources of this energy- and mineral-rich region as well as the new sea routes for global commerce the melt-off is creating…”

      Reply
      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Sweden does not border the Arctic Ocean. A sliver of Norway extends east on the Arctic and borders with Russia.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I don’t understand the logic of that article at all. Just because Sweden is far north doesn’t mean it has much of an arctic presence. Sweden is a Baltic Power. Norway is vastly more important strategically for the Arctic.

          Reply
      2. digi_owl

        Yeah, The Finnish railway is considering an extension into Norway, specifically Kirkenes, in order to facilitate container freight south.

        Meaning that container ships will go along Russia’s northern coast from Asia, then drop their cargo off at Kirkenes, where it will be loaded onto rail cars bound south through Finland.

        There is also plans for a undersea rail tunnel between Finland and Estonia, that could allow such cargo trains to keep going all the way to Berlin, Paris, or anywhere else in Europe really.

        At the same time though, you get projects like GLOBUS going on up north:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLOBUS

        Reply
      3. Kouros

        Sweden cannot have any claims to what is in the Arctic Ocean since it does not border it. It is, like China, a “near Arctic” country…

        Reply
    3. RobertC

      My assessment of MKB’s analysis is here. The last three paragraphs put Gailbraith’s, Hudson’s, Helmer’s, et al analyses in perspective:

      Thanks to climate change, the Arctic is increasingly becoming a navigable sea route. The expert opinion is that nations bordering the Arctic (eg., Sweden) will have an enormous stake in who has access to and control of the resources of this energy- and mineral-rich region as well as the new sea routes for global commerce the melt-off is creating.

      It is estimated that forty-three of the nearly 60 large oil and natural-gas fields that have been discovered in the Arctic are in Russian territory, while eleven are in Canada, six in Alaska [US] and one in Norway. Simply put, the spectre that is haunting the US is: “The Arctic is Russian.”

      Just look at the map above. Sweden can bring quite a bit to the table to secure the Arctic through NATO. Finland may have a strong icebreaker-ship building industry, but it is Sweden’s highly effective submarine fleet that will be crucial — both for polar defence and for blocking Russia’s access to the world oceans.

      History and climate change leave Russia as basically the world’s last mineral and agricultural cornucopia. With US/NATO controlling access from the West and US/Quad controlling access from the East, the dissolution of Russia and the distribution of its assets can proceed apace.

      Reply
    4. RobertC

      The Atlantic Council How allied Sweden and Finland can secure Northern Europe article Linked by David W pulls the US/NATO military threads together:

      … Create a deterrence-by-denial bubble over Northern Europe …
      With Sweden and Finland as allies, NATO can establish a robust deterrence-by-denial posture in a once contested and fragmented region, enhancing the security of all allies. The opportunities must effectively be capitalized upon. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the defeats its army has experienced have exposed its weakness. Russia’s preoccupation with the war should be used as an opportunity for NATO to build stronger and more efficient deterrence, stabilizing and paving the way for a more secure environment ahead. With a future position of strength, a new era of détente could be possible in a post-war context.

      Now being more widely recognized and reported, the “Ukraine” conflict between US/NATO and Russia (and China) is largely in the more obscure but more important economic domain. The AC article touches upon but largely shies away from that difficult aspect.

      Reply
    5. RobertC

      It’s likely MKB has a well-thumbed copy of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s classic book on grand strategy, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, on his bookshelf which contains this oft-quoted warning:

      Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an “antihegemonic” coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower. Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of U.S. geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “SBF, who was once worth $26 billion, says he tried to survive on a jar of peanut butter when in a Bahamian prison”

    If I had know that, I would have sent the sob an extra large jar – of Vegemite.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      Business Insider does not understand the definition of “worth” nor “$26 billion”

      I agree with FreeMarketApoligist – planted sob story for SOB PsychoSam.

      Never have I seen such white gloves soft touch treatment for the elites favorite ‘alleged’ criminal. I bet he gets day care for punishment. Furthermore, what punishment awaits Matt Damon, and all the other crypto promoters that got paid millions to suck people into this idiocy. None. They get to keep the loot.

      Be brave, be bold, throw your money into my bonfire. There is not one honest soul in Hollywood.

      Reply
      1. JP

        It is probable most of the promoters were also smoking the same stuff. Unless they got out of the fake money, their punishment is loss of real money.

        How about all the people who promote pure BS on social media by liking or forwarding. I want to be on the viral chain. I don’t want to know, I want to say I also believe in any unconfirmed untested meme that is out there. What is their punishment?

        If you bought crypto you believed in a Ponzi scheme. If you thought Matt Damon is an expert on what is money you probably think politicians aren’t actors or elephants fly. I suggest buying some elixir from the nearest traveling side show will make you feel better.

        Reply
      1. griffen

        Was gonna combine a brand name or two. Skippy + Jif = Jippy, Skiffy ??

        Better idea, Peter Pan. Given the tendencies of SBF to live in forever land.

        Reply
  5. SocalJimObjects

    Immediate withdrawal from the vaccines ….

    The Minister of Health in Singapore says that Covid booster shots might be a yearly thing, https://sg.news.yahoo.com/covid-booster-shots-every-year-ong-ye-kung-061704960.html and yes Singapore mainly uses the mRNA vaccines to vaccinate and boost its population.

    Singapore experts also certainly do not agree with the position that a second Covid reinfection will be more deadly, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/getting-second-covid-19-infection-not-more-dangerous-say-s-pore-experts-rebutting-us-study

    Maybe Singaporeans and the Israelis got the good batch, and everyone else got the bad batch?

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      You know why Israel is on its 4th booster in less than 2 years? Because there were studies also out of Israel that each shot has diminishing returns for therapeutic effeciveness.
      And that’s all prople are crossing their fingers for is some kind of temporary therapeutic effectiveness so they can run out and get infected over and over again.
      Because these are non-sterilizing therapeutics combined with a virus that is going through mutations with a frequency that put influenza mutations to shame.

      Singapore? Not surprising for the neoliberal dreamland of deregulation of Singapore.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is really desperate. Saying 41,000 is a small sample is laughable. My impression is this is widely considered to be a solid study. Will run it by the Covid Brain Trust.

      Singapore is an upscale shopping mall to the rest of Asia, so officials want to do everything they can to make a visit attractive, damn the cost to the servant classes.

      Also I have never heard anyone consider Singapore to have chops in medical research. Their med school rated #121 in the world.

      https://edurank.org/medicine/as/

      By contrast, the University of Alabama is rated #40 in Medicine in the world:

      https://edurank.org/medicine/as/

      I can’t name any serious research coming out of UAB nor would I get care here….save they have a very good eye ER which is something I have seen nowhere else.

      Reply
      1. Harlow

        Key study into anti-stroke drug taken by millions found to be ‘unreliable.’

        If you can’t trust studies, just put the jabs out without them.

        Or, test them on 8 mices.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        The Singaporean healthcare system is generally very good, and from what I’ve heard has top class doctors and generally pretty good hospitals. I have heard a few anecdotal stories though that they have a tendency to idealize western education and systems and look down on other Asian doctors. When I lived in Birmingham and Manchester in the UK in the 1990’s there were a very large number of Singaporean medical students in both main city universities.

        I think the research side (this applies more widely than just healthcare) in Singapore is relatively poor because historically government policy has long focused on getting its doctors and scientists trained abroad, rather than developing local research and teaching centers. So it may be that their policy is very heavily influenced by second hand reading of US/UK research and policy.

        Reply
        1. ArvidMartensen

          I found the doctors in Singapore to be top class, and maybe better than what I am used to. Small sample though, once in 1991 and once in 2016.
          Both times excellent, so consistent too.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            We are talking about medical research.

            Your PCP lacks the statistical chops to opine on a paper. IM Doc is extremely unusual in that he was a prof of medicine and on Institutional Review Boards.

            And you don’t know if the MDs were educated in Singapore. In Thailand, most of the MDs serving farangs were educated in the US, Europe, or Australia, not Asia.

            Reply
      3. Jason Boxman

        Got some nice cityscape photos from the room of the parking garage of the hospital at UAB back in 2016. Seems like a nice campus. Someone had said the children’s hospital there is well regarded, don’t know if that’s still true/was true. The view from Black Mountain ain’t bad either. Slo-motion shots of the trains passing through one late afternoon as well. Was really too small of a city for me, though.

        Reply
      4. KLG

        About 20 years ago Singapore went all-in on biomedical research. They recruited top scientists from the world over. The prospect of high salaries in a resource-rich environment absent the constant grubbing for grants was too much to resist for many. I don’t know how this has turned out, but I do know that a lot of researchers were eventually left high and dry. Small sample, but many of those I knew, or knew of, are mostly out of science. This has nothing to do with the quality of healthcare in Singapore.

        Reply
      5. Duke of Prunes

        I once shared a row on an airplane with some very large college football players traveling to UAB from E Lansing, MI for some kind of knee injury surgery or rehab. I was surprised they were traveling so far – aren’t there any good hospitals in the North? Perhaps they had philosophical reasons against going to the U-M hospital :D.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Might be rehab. I forgot to mention that Birmingham has the Lakeshore Foundation, one of the best in the world for rehab and prosthetics. It’s hosted ParaOlympics.

          Also there was a guy here, now retired, who was considered one of the top hip replacement guys in the US. Might be a halo effect from his days.

          My belief is there is no special sauce here with the surgeries or treatments (Hospital for Special Surgery is the cutting edge place for that, pun not intended) but UAB could have an advantage in rehab. I never heard that with looking around for hip replacements but knees are a different system.

          Reply
      6. sharron2

        We lived in Singapore and had top flight US trained cardiologists and other doctors we used. That said, the Singapore press prints what the leadership wants said to the masses. Theirs is not a free press.

        Reply
  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    What is Nuland wearing under her blouse?!?! Can’t be a bullet proof vest. Can’t be a medical device, surely someone would make it look less terrible. After coming up with no other guesses….explosives? Lambert found that plausible: “She’s creating her own hostage crisis.”

    It would be irresponsible of me not to speculate, commentariat members.

    It looks, because of the way her jacket is hanging on her right shoulder, that Victoria “Liberator of Brasil” Nuland has an arm in a sling. Washington being the Hollywood of the Ugly, she thinks that she is more glam by putting the arm under her blouse. (Has she just returned from the trenches of Brasilia?)

    Second, and I’m way out here, Canadian-American relations always being friendly, I’d venture that Freeland is being extra touching.

    Then, third: It’s a tumor.

    I am voting for a tumor.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      If you squint your eyes a bit, Freeland and Nuland kinda look like sisters. Of course if you close your eyes altogether, they look a lot better. Both of them daughters of the Ukrainian diaspora and both of them have infiltrated the high ranks in their respective countries to align them with the needs of the Ukraine. And yet through their ruthless actions, they are both of them helping in the process of the destruction of the Ukraine itself. And of course Freeland would like to become the Prime Minister of Canada and who knows what Nuland’s future plans are. It seems like western political systems self-select for destructive psychopaths.

      Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        Come to think of it, Nuland picture reminds of Hillary Clinton in her bright red pants suit. I will never be able to get that picture out of my mind. Especially when she would raise her arms to wave at the crowd.

        Reply
      2. vegasmike9

        Victoria Nuland is Jewish. For Jewish people who emigrated to the United States, the Ukraine was kind of shit hole, which they were glad to escape. My grandparents left the Ukraine in the 1890s. They lived in a part of the Ukraine, that at the time was called Galicia and was basically a province of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many Jewish people don’t even know the town where their grand parents left from. I only learned the town my paternal grandparents escaped from in 2005. I still don’t much about my maternal grandparents history.

        Reply
      1. Lena

        Agreed. I looked at pictures of her taken over the last several years. She is a woman with a large apple shaped body. In the picture above, she seems to be wearing an ill-fitting underwire bra under an unflattering blouse.

        Reply
    2. Not Again

      What is Nuland wearing under her blouse?

      I was hoping she was trying to smuggle in a Tesla but alas, it’s only 10% for the Big Guy.

      Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      People might get Very Bad Ideas if it were apprehended that their ruling classes are, in fact, embodied and vulnerable and have to go to the latrine same as anyone else, and not floating ideals with no very expensive invisible legs.

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        Agree that those two both have scary maniacal grins. I think that hard line is just the fabric pulling, everything is just ill fitting.

        Reply
    4. Nikkikat

      I have seen pictures of Robert Karan. It has been my experience that my husband and I both gain about the same during the holidays. I think we can safely say that Nuland and Kagan eat quite well.

      Reply
        1. Nikkikat

          Lol. Yes there is that edge thing there. Maybe a support belt for all the heavy lifting she has had to do to keep her Ukraine adventure afloat.

          Reply
    5. ibnGibbon

      What is Nuland wearing under her blouse?!?!

      A question I have never contemplated even in my wildest dreams….

      Thanks to the NC team for constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone!

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Americology isn’t always sweetness and light.

        Perhaps there’s too much visible aftermath on the arm to shoop away, like an open fracture or tendinitis surgery.

        Reply
      2. tevhatch

        The two of them earlier went to the SS Galicia altar and sacrificed a young ethnic Russian virgin to bless their day. The OUN boys serving in the Canadian detachment to Ukraine send them regular. Freeland probably gave the old war horse a package of the meat, fresh from the bone. It’s an old way of tenderizing it, learnt from the Huns who supposedly created hamburger by putting meat under their saddles.

        Reply
    6. Craig H.

      Google returns almost nothing for (victoria nuland chrystia freeland).

      On the first page the newest item was February 2022. This is unnatural. On Images there were no results at all.

      Reply
    7. Alice X

      If she injured her shoulder she could require a sling. It may be too difficult/painful to get the arm through the arm of a blouse, never mind a bra.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: Surveillance Footage of Tesla Crash on SF’s Bay Bridge Hours After Elon Musk Announces “Self-Driving” Feature”

    Just goes to show you. The software for this Tesla is really just a beta version but it is being sent onto real roads for testing and improvement. Everything else is just collateral damage – including the people. And that is how modern corporations are allowed to roll these days. But if I am going to be honest here, there are not that many Teslas relatively speaking so the amount of carnage that they can cause is small. I mean, it is not like an experimental vaccination with unknown testing regimes given under emergency authorization under mandatory orders of compliance to millions of people.

    Reply
    1. Foy

      Check out this Twitter account, it’s a Japanese account but no translation is necessary. Every day there are new examples of Teslas randomly accelerating, veering, crashing into things, shutting down with various functions no longer working, crashing into things that are right in front of them, glass windows and windscreens cracking, engineering failures, and most of all, catching fire after a crash. It’s incredible really. Once the fire starts they burn to a pulp.

      https://twitter.com/TeslaqJ

      Here’s a good example of random acceleration. It’s unreal how often this happens but few are talking about it.

      https://twitter.com/TeslaqJ/status/1610916331809050626

      Reply
  8. Alice X

    Divided House Approves G.O.P. Inquiry Into ‘Weaponization’ of Government

    Republicans pushed through a measure to create a powerful new committee to scrutinize what they have charged is an effort by the government to target and silence conservatives.

    It seems to me that a key predicate here is the Twitter Files. The NYT does mention Twitter, but nothing on the recent collective revelations, the journalists involved, or the other items, such as the suppression of covid dissent. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope that the Rs do more than partisan grandstanding, but who knows?

    Reply
  9. Not Agaain

    Jamie Dimon: ‘Retirees, grandmothers, lower-income folks’ have been hurt by crypto

    Bankruptcy Filing Reveals Tom Brady, Kevin O’Leary, and Coinbase Among Major FTX Creditors

    That Tom Brady is absolutely amazing. How many other grandmothers have ever won a Superbowl?

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jamie-dimon-retirees-grandmothers-lower-income-folks-have-been-hurt-by-crypto-223952501.html
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bankruptcy-filing-reveals-tom-brady-015930384.html

    Reply
  10. Mikel

    Amtrak, passengers stuck

    Just looked through the thread. Accounts from people about their trapped on train nightmares.
    Some report even being within walking distance of a station and still not being allowed to get off.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If the track was not too far below the level of the train door (as in getting out would not hazard an ankle sprain), I would have pulled a emergency release to get a door open and would have left, assuming I could have also managed my carry on (I never check bags). What are they going to do, handcuff you? Call 911 and register that you have an emergency or other bona fide pressing need and leave. They have to let people get off the train in case of an emergency like a fire.

      They have a legit basis for not wanting people near tracks with active traffic. This was not even remotely that.

      Reply
        1. Alice X

          So the next trip on Southwest, we should pack a parachute?

          Well, sure, just in case they actually get off the ground. :-)

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          And ‘pack’ that parachute yourself. Parachutes have notoriously stingy warranties. (Return unused portion of product for full refund! [Warranty not transferrable.])

          Reply
      1. Mikel

        They still may get to their destination faster than people flying.
        The hits keep on coming:

        Just hitting the news today:
        “FAA computer outage leads to 5,000 U.S. flights delayed”

        Reply
        1. ArvidMartensen

          Was trapped in a plane once. Left Sydney round 7pm for a 40 min flight, reached destination Canberra, fogged in.
          Circled for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then headed back to Sydney. Got to Sydney just in time to be prevented from landing by the 10 pm curfew.
          What to do? They flew the plane to Melbourne, so another hour in the air. What with circling and all, finally landed round 11.45 pm.
          At least they put us up in a hotel (old days). Then back to the airport am and finally home by 12 pm.
          When my partner rang to ask where I was, round 9.30 pm, was told that this could not be divulged, and when partner got stroppy, was told by staff that partner should be thankful that said partner had the night without hassles of me (haha). Customer service from the national carrier QANTAS was golden, even in them thar days.

          Reply
      2. TheMog

        You would’ve had to leave your vehicle behind, though. My understanding is that this was the Auto Train from Lorton VA to Sanford FL, so getting off the train and use alternative transport to get to your destination might not have been as simple as if it was a normal Amtrak train.

        Doesn’t mean that Amtrak shouldn’t have handled this better, though.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Tell me what prosecutor would take that up. I can tell you: none.

          It would have to be a Federal suit. The DoJ would not be willing to expend scarce resources, separate and aside from the horrible optics.

          Reply
    2. fresno dan

      Mikel
      I took the Amtrak, getting myself a sleeping car, from Washington DC to Miami back in late 90’s or early 2000’s. What an ordeal. Time and time again we just STOPPED for a couple of hours, and we stopped overnight. I had wanted to just enjoy the scenary, and I had many experiences in Europe ridng the train that were delightful.
      It seemed to me they were TRYING to make the experience miserable.
      And despite that, when I retired I took the train from Fresno to “San Francisco” (the train stops across the bay). I should have known – it would have been faster skateboarding…
      I will never take the train in America again.

      Reply
  11. flora

    re: Right-To-Repair Advocates Question John Deere’s New Promises – Wired

    Promises, promises.

    Get it in writing.

    Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Pakistan set to dispatch 159 containers of ammunition to Ukraine”

    Is this wise? I mean, Russia has sought to have good relations with Pakistan over the years but doing this will help blow up those relations. Unless this is the plan. And then I saw why they did this-

    ‘In return, Pakistan may receive Ukrainian assistance to upgrade its Mi-17 helicopters. A Ukrainian firm engaged in manufacturing aircraft engines as well as industrial marine gas turbines is reportedly assisting in upgradation of Pakistan helicopters, according to people familiar with the matter, ET had earlier reported.’

    So where will this work be carried out? That firm is probably ash by now and its workforce buried long ago on the eastern front. And I remember how before the war a country send some military aircraft to get some upgrading done and nothing happened as that firm pocketed their money. And this is the country where Pakistan wants to have some of their military helicopters upgraded? I am sure that India is having a big laugh right now. And it may be that India will now start to receive some military help from the Russians with some of the gear that they face off Pakistan with. Big mistake Pakistan.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Unless the Ukrainian factory, (mainly the “brains” of the outfit, engineers, artificers, technicians, etc.,) is moved to Pakistan. I’ll bet that a lot of Ukrainian techies, engineers, etc. are looking for ways to leave the country before the Russians arrive.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        For many years Ukraine has been providing under the radar military tech services to a lot of nations, especially in aerospace. It would not surprise me if there has been some input to Pakistans nuclear and ballistic programs.

        The Pakistani’s have long been very skilled at playing off the West, China, and the various Gulf States for various military and economic objectives. I doubt they have any interest whatever in what is going on in Ukraine apart from seeing how they can benefit from it.

        Reply
        1. Chaos Coming

          A thought: since a lot of the weapons sent to Ukraine never makes it to the front but turns up in Spain, Nigeria, Finland etc., it seems as if this is by design:
          1) selected people earn loads of money
          2) weapons to be used for creating chaos in a multipolar world is being prepared.

          Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      Wasn’t that helicopter engine manufacturer from Dniepro just arrested due being happy Russians took his factory (Motor-Sich?) out of operation so he wouldn’t have “work for those Nazis anymore”?

      Ukraine is a big country, but I doubt there are that many helicopter engine manufacturers there.

      Reply
    3. Kouros

      Wasn’t the new Pakistani PM in a rush visit to Moscow just after he started, groveling to Putin and asking for a gas pipeline to Pakistan?

      Reply
  13. polar donkey

    -Paging Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg. Paging Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg. What do we say about the FAA computer system?
    Buttigieg:The usual. The Russians did it.
    -Twitter doesn’t work well anymore and Republicans are going to call hearings.
    Buttigieg: Can I retroactively adopt a child and been on family leave since 3rd week of December?
    -Probably not work this time
    Buttigieg: when I got into big trouble in South Bend, I went to Afghanistan and drove generals around the base. Any driver positions available in northeast Syria

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      To be fair, Mayor Pete made the South Bend to his will…

      The way out this time for him is to generate more faux rage over nothing, with an all too willing member of the main stream media spoon feeding him~

      Reply
    2. Not Again

      Between Southwest, the FAA’s computer and the people slowly starving to death on an AMTRAK death train, it’s time for the presentation of our “Heck of a Job Brownie Award”.

      Little Petey, they gave you a job that Ray LaHood could handle. How the hell could you screw this up? Falling upwards into the presidency in 2028 for sure.

      Reply
    3. poopinator

      Pete was eminently qualified. He had a train set as a child and is good with spreadsheets. I think we all know this is Bernie Sanders getting payback on Secretary Mayo

      Reply
    4. Daryl

      I’m laughing that this guy was given this job because nobody wanted him doing a real one, and now it’s a series of nonstop disasters. Can’t he roll up on a bike and kick in the windows of that train, or do something?

      Reply
  14. Skip Intro

    Planes and trains… what next? I posit that future generations, should they exist, may think the Peter Principle was actually named for our own embodiment of the phenomenon, the estimable Mayo Pete Buttigieg.

    Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Louisiana Begins Requiring Government ID to Access Online Porn’

    If you could, it would be nice to set up a false Government ID in the name of John Bel Edwards. So is Louisiana the trial balloon for all the other States? Will it apply to adult sites that are not even based in the US much less Louisiana? Will that list of people using a government ID to access an adult website be leaked by some do-gooder? You know that it will happen sooner or later. But this whole idea will never work. How are people expected to type in a Government ID number using only one hand?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      It’s like the old Italian taxi driver joke. (I originally heard it as an Italian joke, it riffing off of the “Latin Lover” stereotype. Feel free to, um, insert the ethnicity of your choice in the subject line of the joke.) [Is it just me, or is this trending towards a BDSM theme?]
      Anyway, stay safe and keep up to date on your tetanus shots.

      Reply
    2. flora

      Eh, the sites will just setup off shore and “advertise” by word of mouth, the way online gambling sites have done to get around state laws against online gambling.

      (I still remember the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill confirmation hearings where the pols suddenly became aware that video rental stores (renters of x – xxx videos in the adult section) could have their customer lists and rental histories subpoenaed. Something about a video titled “Long *ong Silver.” Suddenly, a law was passed to prevent the subpoena of video store customer rental histories. hahaha. Congress can act at lightening speed to protect their members.)

      Reply
      1. Stephanie

        Lots of work-arounds to this law, but probably everyone involved realizes that. I’m guessing the goal is remove the liability of some eight-year-old showing a copy of 2 Girls, 1 Cup to the rest of the school at recess off the state and on to the tubes.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I had to look that one up.
          Wow. Just wow. And I thought that I was twisted.
          It looks like the “modern day” social media are the Krell’s “Monsters From the Id” rebooted.
          Stay safe!

          Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Escobar has a habit of adding 2+2 to make 400. For all his travels, he seems not to understand that sometimes local politics has its own agency and does not have to be connected with Washington or Beijing or Moscow.
      Washington may not like Lula, but they have no interest in bringing a clown like Bolsonaro back to power, he did a lot more harm than good to the US’s interests in Brazil. Unless (and this isn’t impossible), there is some inter agency competition involved there is simply no motive there. And whatever you say about the CIA in South America, you can’t usually accuse them of incompetence, and this ‘revolution’ was clearly organised by morons.

      Reply
      1. John k

        I remain suspicious… and for a long time I thought jfk had a lone gunman.
        Particularly re the argument ‘cia is too competent for that’.
        In c 1989 my recollection is that cia said ussr would last another 50 years.
        Recently dc assumed sanctions would collapse Russian economy; presumably that thought was backed up with analysis? Granted, he who picks the analyst picks the analysis.
        maiden was successful, but the other color revolutions not as much… and putin criticizes himself for not doing more in 2014.

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          Based totally on reading (some of it fiction), my impression of the CIA is that it’s not a monolith but a bunch of (mostly) guys running their own little ops, some at cross-purposes. Supposedly Truman founded it because he didn’t trust the various military intelligence services to give him straight info, but the old OSS types got hold of it and took it off the rails pretty quick.

          Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        I didn’t quite get Escobar’s reasoning in this article either, but the CIA did aid in the coup/”corruption investigation” that impeached Roussef and jailed Lula so he couldn’t run against Bolsonaro. Sure seems like the US wanted Bolsonaro there the first time around at least. Also, there have been a few coup attempts in Venezuela in recent years that appeared to be planned and executed by the Keystone Cops.

        Reply
      3. Catchymango

        While I agree that it’s worth taking the article with a grain of salt, I think you misunderstood what he was saying here. CIA’s interest wasn’t about rehabilitating Bolsanaro, but about creating a self-serving narrative that would diminish Trump by tying him to this shambolic failed “coup”. In other words, whatever CIA involvement he was alleging was motivated by how the optics would be perceived back home. With trump out of office and arguably a diminished character since the midterms, seems like William Burns CIA might have been looking for a way to keep Democrats’ Trump derangement syndrome going by creating a “January 6th” spectacle in Brazil. They’ve long over-hyped Steve Bannon’s Fascism International, and to me it seems like Bolsonaro falls more in the “Orban” category of right wing strongman for Biden, ie the kind they perceive as being pro-Trump and whose policies are insufficiently aligned. Bolsonaro didn’t like Biden’s Amazon policies, and sought to balance by activating greater BRICS trade to compensate.

        Two things that perhaps lend credence to this interpretation is the complete silence from the Squad on Peru (AFAIK) where much worse has been happening for over a month now, as well as apparently false rumours that were circulating last week that Bolsonaro was running to Mar-a-lago rather than Orlando.

        While I don’t think we have close to the whole story (Pepe says the plot failed, I wanna know what success would have been bc I doubt they want to coup Lula atm), definitely something worth keeping an eye on.

        Reply
    1. ArvidMartensen

      I tend to the camp of trauma never acknowledged or treated. Stiff upper lip and all that.
      The upper classes of the Brits, and those with pretensions to be upper class, seem to be just brutal in their treatment of their children. We were in a British Shell outpost for 3 years, full of expat Brits. One couple sent their 7!! yo boy a few thousand miles away to boarding school, He used to stand in his front yard plaintively asking children as they went past would they play with him. He got nanny care and was expected to be no trouble.
      Another was getting ready to send their 8 yo daughter. Mother, very social, found that her new baby was crying for the nanny and not her. Solution? Sack the nanny and replace her, but make little effort to spend time with the baby herself. Brutal. All teens were shipped off to private schools in the UK, thousands of miles away. Perhaps they got to visit mum and dad once or twice a year.

      How do any of these children survive intact without love and affection? I suppose some go mad, some emulate their parents, some end up bitter and twisted, some end up as man-children.
      The UK Parliament is just a showcase for all of this. Tory MPs in particular full of weird mannerism and no empathy whatsoever. But the mega-ferocious PR of the monarchy hides it until there is a whistle blower, as damaged as that whistleblower might be.
      Harry might not know it yet, but most whistleblowers find their life destroyed by the well-connected, steamrolling, vindictive organisations they shine a light on.
      My guess is that Harry will become a figure of fun first and then persona non grata in the western world.
      His clumsy attempts at getting his pain heard by his family, maybe fuelled by his American (let it all hang out) wife, will get nowhere and he runs the risk of being embittered by this experience. They will work hard to crush him.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I saw a cartoon yesterday saying that Charles, William & Kate get the Royalty while right now Harry & Meghan are getting the Royalties.

      Reply
  16. anon in so cal

    Getting near the end for the AFU.

    “The WSJ spoke with one of the commanders of the Ukrainian troops fighting for Bakhmut (identity not disclosed).
    He talked about heavy losses and said that if this continues, the Ukrainian military “may end there”.

    https://twitter.com/Trollstoy88/status/1613178701470134272?s=20&t=nw20JncVpWaR9ijlxboVQA

    Plus, Prigozhin in a salt mine:

    https://twitter.com/Trollstoy88/status/1613181898834194432?s=20&t=nw20JncVpWaR9ijlxboVQA

    Reply
  17. Sub-Boreal

    I think there’s an error about the physiology of maize in the Aeon article linked today.

    In a list of this crop’s attributes, the article says: “as a so-called C4 plant, it fixes nitrogen more efficiently than do C3 cereals such as rice and wheat”. Maize is not a nitrogen-fixing plant, like the legumes (e.g. soybeans); in fact, it’s a real hog for artificial nitrogen fertilizers.

    I think that writer meant to say carbon rather than nitrogen. If I remember my basic biology correctly, C4 and C3 refer to the two main types of photosynthetic pathways, of which C3 is by far the dominant one. C4 plants tend to be more common in the tropics where this pathway for fixing carbon (from atmospheric CO2) is advantageous because it’s more efficient than C3 photosynthesis at higher temperatures and in drier conditions. Biologists in the readership, please weigh in if I’ve garbled any of this.

    Despite this one error, it’s an interesting article, and it really was news to me to learn that maize is such a major crop in Asian countries that we usually think of as being rice-eating cultures.

    Reply
  18. antidlc

    Southwest Airlines Announces Leadership Promotions

    https://swamedia.com/releases/release-d478bd7a333f17854c23f8f62701740f-southwest-airlines-announces-leadership-promotions

    Jan 9, 2023

    DALLAS — Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today announced five Leadership promotions across several Departments. These changes, which are effective immediately, represent phase two of the organizational structure work that began in September 2022. This phase will provide strong synergies by bringing Teams together, which will strengthen our operational execution and better serve our People and Customers.

    Reply
  19. Kid doc

    IM Doc – Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and frustrations.

    With measles and polio back in the news, the harm from politicized public health is increasingly hard to ignore.

    Yves and Lambert – keep up the links that include references and raw data, helping the many of us trying to stay informed, and help us to share with others.

    Reply
  20. russell1200

    The article on Turkey/Greece relationship getting dicey was interesting. It brought a lot of details of what is going on the area that you don’t hear about very often. Although simplifying any area conflict as being between two countries (Turkey-Greece in this case) is problematic.

    Israel is one of the parties in the Cypress mix. They also don’t bring up that Israel just signed an economic agreement with Lebanon (Iran Client -LOL whom they are still technically at war with) on offshore oil. And just to make it more confusing, Israel only just this last summer made a point of regularizing relations with Turkey. If Israel was somehow involved on the Greek side of a dispute, the balance of power would be much more even.

    Reply
  21. marku52

    IIRC, one thing that came out of the Benghazi investigation was the existence of Hillary’s server. So not entirely a nothingburger.

    Reply
  22. antidlc

    FDA vaccine advisers ‘disappointed’ and ‘angry’ that early data about new Covid-19 booster shot wasn’t presented for review last year

    https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/11/health/moderna-bivalent-transparency

    Some vaccine advisers to the federal government say they’re “disappointed” and “angry” that government scientists and the pharmaceutical company Moderna didn’t present a set of infection data on the company’s new Covid-19 booster during meetings last year when the advisers discussed whether the shot should be authorized and made available to the public.

    That data suggested the possibility that the updated booster might not be any more effective at preventing Covid-19 infections than the original shots.

    The data was early and had many limitations, but several advisers told CNN that they were concerned about a lack of transparency.

    Reply
  23. Mad Scientists

    Sweden sinking lower and lower.into stupidities

    A Swedish band singing about war was awarded a prize ny a group of scientifically oriented people for the band’s educational efforts. The band went to Crimea and played. One of the members said that life in Crimea was better than the Swedes were led to believe. So they applied some scientific approach of having a look. For this they are kow being considered for revokatoon of the prize.

    https://metalinjection.net/news/sabatons-public-education-award-may-be-revoked-over-comments-about-crimea

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      No dissent from the narrative will be allowed, especially if it is against the consensus. I have heard a bit of Sabaton’s music and am guessing that they won’t give a flying *** what those critics say. As the band went to Crimea in 2015, probably a complaint was lodged by the Ukrainians because they have a law against that or something.

      Reply
  24. Foy

    Just on the G7 Russian oil price caps. This article implies that the G7 oil price caps are having an effect, Urals crude is trading at around $37.50 a barrel which is a 53% discount to Brent crude. Urals crude before the cap was previously trading at a discount of 30-35% to Brent and before the war it was only about 6%.

    And that has lead to a $56 billion Russian budget deficit last month wiping out budget surpluses for the first 11 months of the year – although those numbers are a Bloomberg calculation so grain of salt required.

    https://www.theage.com.au/business/markets/crude-reality-oil-sanctions-on-russia-are-having-a-big-effect-20230111-p5cbqd.html

    Maybe the lack of insurance and tankers are having an effect. But these articles never talk about how Europe’s manufacturing and production is getting smashed in the meantime.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not what market sites say.

      Price of Urals crude as of Jan 10 = $51.06

      https://uk.investing.com/commodities/crude-oil-urals-spot-futures

      This Thompson-Reuters chart tracks the Urals-Brent spread and is more or less consistent:

      https://www.neste.com/investors/market-data/urals-brent-price-difference

      The page that shows Urals and Brent as an overlay has a lower price for Urals than the investing.com site. Investing.com is using a spot price while Neste is using a five day average.

      https://www.neste.com/investors/market-data/crude-oil-prices

      As you can see, Neste has a 1/11 price of $46.89 for Urals. And no way, no how was the price in the $30s.

      Alexander Mercouris went through long form how a Bloomberg story that claimed that Russian oil exports had fallen by over half was fundamentally false, misrepresented tanker data and didn’t properly count petroleum end and by products. More recently, he criticized a Bloomberg story for claiming Russian manufacturing had gone over almost entirely to military production, when as Mercouris pointed out, the data they provided didn’t establish in any way, shape or form what the output actually consisted of.

      Reply
      1. Foy

        Ah ok thanks Yves, I also saw that Bloomberg story which had that very low price. I hadn’t seen Mercouris had debunked it. The journalist in The Age is normally very reliable, has been writing finance and economics for 30 years. I’m going to enjoy writing him a response.

        Reply
  25. Karl

    RE: Hawks blow a lot of hot air over budget cuts (Responsible Statecraft)

    So, the CBO takes on the National Defense Strategy to say that saving $100B per year isn’t too difficult:

    The Congressional Budget Office released a study in late 2021 that outlined three options for saving over $1 trillion in Pentagon spending over the next ten years without damaging our defense capabilities. All three options involved cutting the size of the armed forces, avoiding large boots-on-the-ground wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, and relying on allies to do more in their own defense.

    The CBO recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg of what could be cut under a more restrained, realistic approach to defense. The current National Defense Strategy (NDS), released late last year, is an object lesson on how not to make choices among competing priorities. Major commitments included in the NDS include being able to win a war against Russia or China; defeating Iran or North Korea in a regional conflict; and continuing to sustain a global war on terrorism that includes military operations in at least 85 countries, according to an analysis by the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

    A strategy that forswears sending large numbers of troops into regional wars, takes a more realistic view of the military threats posed by Russia and China, relies more on allies, and rolls back the Pentagon’s dangerous and unnecessary nuclear weapons buildup could save sums well beyond the $100 billion per year set out in the CBO’s illustrative options.

    Reply
  26. The Rev Kev

    Something for the end of the day. Pro tip – if you find yourself on a battlefield and are offered a chance to surrender when an enemy soldier has the drop on you, immediately do so and put your hands up in the air and tell that soldier that you surrender. Do not attempt to keep your rifle as it will not end well-

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/mSsqh8QVq3m8/ (1:42 mins) – brutal footage.

    Reply
  27. The Rev Kev

    Zelensky at the 80th Golden Globe awards introduced by Sean Penn-

    ‘I addressed the participants of the 80th @goldenglobes
    Awards. This award was born at a special time. WWII was not over yet, but the tide was turned – all knew who would win.
    It is now 2023. The war in 🇺🇦 is not over yet but the tide is turning & it is already clear who will win.’

    https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1613126818823012352 (3:27 mins)

    The way Sean Penn started off mentioning the protestors in Iran and the women of Afghanistan before introducing Zelensky – could he be a CIA asset?

    Reply
  28. thousand points of green

    About that “maize in Asia” article, where the writer wrote . . . ” as a so-called C4 plant, it fixes nitrogen more efficiently than do C3 cereals such as rice and wheat.” , surely the writer meant to write “fixes carbon dioxide more efficiently” because that is the advantage C4 plants have over C3 plants. Fixing nitrogen or not is a whole separate issue.

    And where it says . . . “When converted into either sugar and syrup (or dextrose, which is chemically indistinguishable from glucose) or corn starch (dextrin)” . . . . I think, wait . . . . isn’t the syrup made from corn rich in fructose? Isn’t that the point of the syrup?

    Reply
  29. will rodgers horse

    Yves, when you say “natural Immunity” is a destructive falsehood” what do you mean?
    Surely you dont mean there is no such thing as natural immunity? Perhaps you mean that the idea that we are fully protected from a disease after having it is not applicable to respiratory agents like Covid19?

    Reply

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