Links 1/16/2023

Reviving the Radical King The Boston Review

US president Joe Biden to give sermon at Martin Luther King’s church, a first Reuters

Who Is Going to Police the New World Trading System? WSJ

Enron, Madoff and now FTX: New York’s Belfer family strike out again FT. “The ability of FTX to woo the wealthy New York family gives a fresh sign of how far Bankman-Fried had penetrated the US elite in his drive to attract investment for his businesses. Billionaire Robert Kraft and several celebrities and well-known athletes are also shareholders in FTX, the court documents show.”


Davos Playbook: Mood music — Protectionism is back — Where are all the Tories? Politico

MORAL LESSON 1: It doesn’t matter how rich you are, you can’t control snowfall.

MORAL LESSON 2: When it comes to climate change, the WEF has made net zero progress. Those endless debates about climate change that have been a feature of the program for years were prescient — take a look around, climate change is literally happening before your eyes.

Even the press notices. Even the political press.


Kraken is dominating U.S. COVID cases, the CDC predicts, as deaths jump 44% in one week Fortune

COVID in 2023 and beyond – why virus trends are more difficult to predict three years on GAVI. I love the tweet:

“As people adapt….” Let me translate: “As global leaders, starting in the West, adopt a policy of mass infection without mitigation….”

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentration and linked longitudinal seroprevalence: a spatial analysis of strain mutation, post-COVID-19 vaccination effect, and hospitalization burden forecasting (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “[O]ur knowledge remains limited regarding wastewater concentration and effects of the COVID-19 vaccination on overall disease burden as measured by hospitalization rates…. Findings: We found strong linear association between wastewater concentration and estimated community prevalence (r=0·916). Based on the corresponding regression model, the 64% county vaccination rate translated into about 57% decrease in SARS-CoV-2 incidence. During the study period, the estimated effect of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant emergence was seen as an over 7-fold increase of infection counts, which corresponded to over 12-fold increase in wastewater concentration. Hospitalization burden and wastewater concentration had the strongest correlation (r=0·963) at 1 week lag time. We estimated the community vaccination campaign resulted in about 63% reduction in the number of daily admissions over the study period. This protective effect was counteracted by the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Delta strain mutation.”

Cardiovascular disease and mortality sequelae of COVID-19 in the UK Biobank (PDF) BMJ. n = 17,871 UK Biobank cases between March 2020 and 2021. From the Abstact: “Individuals hospitalised with COVID-19 have increased risk of incident cardiovascular events across a range of disease and mortality outcomes. The risk of most events is highest in the early postinfection period. Individuals not requiring hospitalisation have increased risk of [venous thromboembolism (VTE)], but not of other cardiovascularspecific outcomes.”

* * *

Biden Administration policy of unmitigated mass infection continues apace:

Maine CDC head who led COVID-19 response leaves for fed post AP. Good, actually. I just hope Walensky and Jha don’t corrupt him. And speaking of corruption–

The Pandemic Erased Boundaries Between Government and Corporate Interests. So Who Can the Public Believe? (excerpt) The Disinformation Chronicle. Even the excerpt is worth a read.

* * *

Ultraviolet light and indoor air disinfection to fight pandemics: A technology long overdue WSWS. Part two. Maybe.


How big is the local financial pressure? A key tax overhaul is coming, affecting everyone What China Reads. Paywalled, but the excerpt is arresting enough. Can any China watchers expand?

Uganda turns away from belt and road rail deal as China stalls on loans South China Morning Post

FBI Counterintelligence Raided Chinese Police Station in New York: Report National Review

The Problem With Primacy Foreign Affairs. The deck: “America’s Dangerous Quest to Dominate the Pacific.”

Japan, U.S. strongly in sync over radical defense buildup Asahi Shimbun

US to Boost Aid to Micronesia in Exchange for More Military Access


Myanmar shadow government raises $100m to oppose junta Bangkok Post. The NUG seems to be a little, shall we say, unworldly about crypto, but nevertheless the rest of the cash will buy some weaponry (and hopefully not be diverted to NGOs).

Fatal Business: Supplying the Myanmar Military’s Weapon Production (PDF) Special Advisory Council for Myanmar


Pakistan province calls for local assembly to be dissolved in win for former PM Khan Reuters. Punjab.

Latin America

Peru declares state of emergency in Lima after deadly protests FT. Somehow the FT manages not to mention the (US-greenlit) coup that brought the protests about.

New Not-So-Cold War

Repaired German Leopard tanks for Ukraine won’t be ready till 2024, says arms maker Straits Times

Ukraine says German battle tanks ‘essential for survival’ Deutsche Welle. So Germany has some leverage, then?

German defence minister resigns after series of gaffes FT

* * *

Bloody Bakhmut siege poses risks for Ukraine WaPo. The URL, which gives the original headline: bakhmut-wagner-battle-strategy. So the reporter thinks Russia has agency. The editor, writing the headline, says Ukraine does.

Subsonic, supersonic, hypersonic and nothing-onic. Empire, Communication and NATO Wars. Mercouris, January 15.

Russia-Belarus begin joint military exercises, sparking fear in Kyiv of new offensive Reuters

Expanded US training for Ukraine forces begins in Germany AP

* * *

Laying the foundations for a settlement in Ukraine Responsible Statecraft. The Nazis would like a word.

Review of Nicolai Petro’s “The Tragedy Of Ukraine” Natylie’s Place: Understanding Russia

How Muscle Works in Moscow Foreign Policy

Biden Administration

The U.S. Can’t Make Enough Plutonium Triggers for Its Nuclear Warheads Vice


Biden may have jeopardized national security with document stash, Schiff says NY Post. D-Calif. Cui bono?

Total number of Biden documents known to be marked classified is about 20, source says CBS. Commentary:

Biden taps problem-solver Bob Bauer as personal lawyer in document probe Reuters. Late of Perkins Coie. Naturally.

Drug-addled Hunter Biden lived at Delaware home where classified docs were kept NY Post. Paying $50,000 a month to the family laundry business.


Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ‘Dune’ Was Never Made, but With A.I., We Get a Glimpse of His ‘Tron’ NYT. No, you really don’t. Every single one of these journos must think that AI is coming for the other guy’s job. Because their own brand is so distinctive or sumpin.

When M.D. is a Machine Doctor Eric Topol, Ground Truths

Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor (PDF). Journal of Economic Perspectives

A Luddite Library Librarian Shipwreck

Gen Z has a new ‘vintage’ technology to obsess over CNN (MN). Flip phones. Quite sensible.

The Bezzle

Addressing the risks in crypto: laying out the options (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. Worth a read. It would be amusing if crypto turned out to be a Trojan horse for CBDC (Cental Bank Digital Currencies), the tool with which finance capital will take our cash away.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records IEEE Spectrum (PU). PU writes: “Dystopian hellscape of a country.” Wait ’til cash is outlawed!

Our Famously Free Press

Is Biden Being Blackmailed to Send US Combat Troops to Ukraine? Bill Totten’s Weblog. Normally, I don’t run Unz Review-adjacent material (and don’t @ me). But this is absolutely egregious. Bing:



Looks like the domestic intelligence operation orchestrated by the spooks, and so well-described by Taibbi et al. in “The Twitter Files,” is still fully functional. Take that, wrongthinkers!


Well, I dunno. That’s satisfying, but my personal favorite is confirming that the organs of state security, the Democrat Party, the platforms, and the press have congealed into a single slime mold-like entity (though, to be fair, everything is factionalized, so “platforms” is really a synecdoche for “hegemonic factions within platform management”).

Sorry, Not Sorry! The Intercept. Guccifer.

Zeitgeist Watch

I know this is Cambridge. But.

Since liberals failed to impose Latinx, they have doubled down, attacking a more vulnerable demographic.

They Can’t Cancel Your Soul The American Mind. This is, in some ways, a moving meditation on “silence, exile, cunning,” but nobody who has the clout to get published by reactionary citadel The Claremont Institute has standing to whinge about exile.


The origins of the ‘household analogy’ Tax Research UK

Realignment and Legitimacy

What the end of the US shale revolution would mean for the world FT. But until that day, it’s win-win, totally:

Democracy and War (II) Joe Costello, Life in the 21st Century

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. DJG, Reality Czar

    Recommending Natylie Baldwin’s review of Nicolai Petro’s book. She brings up interesting dialectic about how to interpret certain aspects of Ukrainian history. I never thought of the Donbass (Maloross) as a region that is also a bridge between cultures. I also note that she and Petro consider the current conflict a part of a rather long war (indeed).

    Later in the review, she brings forward some astute ideas from Petro about what Greek tragedy meant to the Greeks. I happen to be reading a book by Italian classicist Laura Pepe who brings up ideas much like these in her advice on how to interpret tragedy as told by the Greeks–and as it still applies to us. So the second half of the review itself is worth your while.

    1. cyclist

      Petro is interviewed about his book on Aaron Mate’s Pushback podcast of 12.19.22. I thought about buying a copy of the book based on that discussion, but discovered it costs $120. Yikes!

  2. PlutoniumKun

    How big is the local financial pressure? A key tax overhaul is coming, affecting everyone What China Reads

    In simple terms, local governments in China have always been very heavily dependent on land sales for revenue. Local taxation systems are very weak. It started out as a means of funding housing, but expanded to become the primary means of funding nearly everything. The problem is, that it depended on continuously expanding property prices and demand for housing. Now its at an end, and they have to put in place either a proper local taxation system, or Beijing needs to directly fund local governments. Both are very difficult to implement for multiple reasons. So there are lots of proposals floating out there, but I’m not sure anyone knows what the final result will be – probably some sort of messy compromise.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Repaired German Leopard tanks for Ukraine won’t be ready till 2024, says arms maker”

    This is getting to be true for a lot of the gear promised to the Ukraine. That they will not be sending it this year but sometimes next year. By next year it will be likely to be all over bar the shouting. Of course countries like Germany and Poland could send their Leopard 2 tanks much quicker. They could take them from those that their army units use. So for Germany, Scholz could ring up the head of the Bundeswehr and tell him that he has promised Big Z that he will give him a dozen or more tanks. So if the Bundeswehr could just hand over the tanks and all the ancillary gear for a full tank platoon, that would be great. Then maybe those tank troopers could get sent to infantry units or something. It would be at that point that you would see a real revolt in Germany. So Scholz will just go with getting older tanks out of storage and have them rebuilt so 20204 it is then.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      My understanding is that the Leopard manufacturing line has already been dismantled – recent ‘new’ Leopards are in effect refurbished tanks on older chassis. The idea was that this would encourage the government to fund a whole new tank, which of course is a decade or more away.

      1. digi_owl

        I don’t think any nation in Europe or NA has the lines building new tanks right now.

        Closest one come is Samsung of all companies!

        1. vao

          The German Leopard 2 was designed when Brezhnev was head of the USSR; production stopped in 2014. The French Leclerc, the British Challenger 2 and the Italian Ariete were all designed when Gorbachev was head of the USSR; production stopped in 2008, 2002 and 2002. I am a bit skeptical about the ease of restarting complex industrial production lines that have been mothballed for 10 to 20 years (what about the personnel to man them?)

          I am also skeptical about the remaining competence to design new tanks successfully after having not done so for decades.

          1. digi_owl

            Got me looking around a bit more, and it seems that for most the plan is to slap a new turret on an existing chassis and call it a day.

            And a repeating pattern seem to be to reduce the size of the tank crews by introducing autoloaders etc.

            Oh, and i got Samsung and Hyundai confused earlier. Samsung is making artillery while Hyundai is making tanks.

    2. rudi from Butte

      FROM: Michael Hudson

      “Behind it all, of course, is the military threat, as you were saying, in Ukraine. But it turns out there isn’t really any military threat by the United States. Not only have the U.S. and NATO run out of normal military arms, but America really can’t mount a land war anymore.

      There will never be another Vietnam. There will never be the United States invading another country, or Europe invading any other country, because you’ll never get a population willing to be drafted, since the anti-war movement.

      And without that, America has only one military leader against other countries: the hydrogen bomb. There is nothing in between a targeted assassination attempt and an atom bomb.”

      1. Mikel

        “…because you’ll never get a population willing to be drafted, since the anti-war movement…”

        I don’t know how much of a percentage of the population has to be willing for them to go through with it and there is still registration for the draft.
        They have a lot of ways to sell that propaganda too…from video games to other means.
        And what anti-war movement?

    3. digi_owl

      Sounds like the scheme Norway cooked up with UK about MLRSs Norway had in storage since the cluster munitions ban. The rebuild to make them capable of using other ammo had been kicked down the road time and time again. But now UK wanted to send a bunch of theirs that were already rebuilt to Ukraine, and Norway agreed to either give or sell those in storage to UK so UK could replace the ones going to Ukraine.

    4. Lee

      “By next year it will be likely to be all over bar the shouting. ”

      This comports with Gonzalo Lira’s speculation that the Russians, spurred on by current Polish mobilization of an additional 200K with an eye on possibly taking Galicia, will have achieved their military goals by this coming September. He believes that the Russians, having positioned a force of 650K around Ukraine indicates their intent to occupy the whole of Ukraine.

      From an interview yesterday with George Galloway. (1:20)

  4. davejustdave

    The antidote du jour reminds me of one of William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell:

    18. The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.

    See also Richard Schwartz’s No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model.

  5. griffen

    New York wealthy family continues to lose their shirts, and yet they remain incredibly wealthy. As the saying goes it is a big club and you ain’t in it (me neither). I am sure this family is down to rations and drawing down their prepper supply of Ramen noodles (\sarc). Personal experience, I can afford to lose my shirt approximately once, and the lesson is seared into my head. Example 1, the share price of Ford common equity hit a $1 handle circa late 2008 – early 2009.

    It is worthwhile to run a quick search for the article if one is inclined. So the Enron angle is that their family company was acquired by an Enron predecessor in the 1980s. Presumably any wealth accumulated afterwards was perhaps divested away from direct exposure to the company stock price for Enron. Inquiring minds would think it possible, given further in the article they were withdrawing funds from Madoff before that firm’s collapse.

    1. Craig H.

      This morning I did my periodic google search for Yves’ first usage of bitcoin as prosecution futures. Several interesting hits but the first instance remains elusive. In another few years it will be as elusive as proto-indo-european language seed.

  6. Stephen V

    …to attract investment for his “businesses.” Fixed it for ya.
    I’ve lost sympathy for these “victims” long ago.

  7. timbers

    Subsonic, supersonic, hypersonic and nothing-onic. Empire, Communication and NATO Wars. Mercouris, January 15.

    Wikipedia lists 36 bridges / crossings on the Dnieper in Ukraine, connecting west to east Ukraine. Many look to be solidly built and many are quite handsome. The crossings in Ukraine look much more substantial than those in Belarus and Russia perhaps because the Dnieper widens as it flows south. It will be a tragedy if they have to be lost and no doubt every Russian involved in making that choice (if it is even being considered) will do so with a very heavy heart contemplating the loss in terms of Russian history and national pride.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They don’t need to actually destroy the whole bridge to knock them out. They only have to take out a coupla spans and that would be it. So long as the infrastructure that holds those spans up is intact, then those bridges can be soon repaired. Remember when the Ukrainians got a truck-bomb on the Kerch bridge? Three spans of the roadway deck on the Kerch-bound side were damaged with two collapsed into the water. But it took the Russians only a few weeks to have those spans being replaced. The same would apply to those Dnieper bridges.

      1. LifelongLib

        My understanding is that after WW2 bombing the bridge superstructures would be largely destroyed but the piers were usually intact. Bridges were often rebuilt with different superstructures than what they had originally. I couldn’t find a reference but IIRC this is what led to the popularity of cable-stayed bridges.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Girls (K – 5th grade) and their families are invited to learn about local teams and explore new sports. Attend Cambridge Sports Night for Girlx on January 18, from 5:30-7 PM at the War Memorial Field House to learn more’

    Personally, I do not see a problem here. After all, the Menx, Womenx and Transx readers here are quite mature about such things.

      1. flora

        Pronounced “boiks”. Then there’s “girlks” and “menks” and “womanks”. Rolls easily off the tongue donn’it? / ;)

        1. flora

          And, I submit, the PMC class renaming whole groups of people with the -x addition, which the renamed groups find ridiculous or worse,falls into exactly what Rich says here. These groups are still erased as people by the PMC naming groups.

          “When those who have the power to name and to socially construct reality choose not to see you or hear you…when someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked in the mirror and saw nothing. It takes some strength of soul–and not just individual strength, but collective understanding–to resist this void, this non-being, into which you are thrust, and to stand up, demanding to be seen and heard.”

          ― Adrienne Rich, Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose, 1979-1985

          1. digi_owl

            A bit of a tangent, but this got me thinking about some flavor item in a Cyberpunk RPG that would real time edit the “wearers” senses to hide beggars and similar “deplorables”. Funny thing is that most of the people responsible for that game were of the crazy haired lib kind, and the item meant as a dig against conservatives. Pot, meet Kettle.

          2. Soredemos

            renaming whole groups of people with the -x addition, which the renamed groups find ridiculous or worse

            The most obvious example being Latinos/Latinas, who, if they’ve even heard of the Latinx nonsense, almost universally reject it. In fact it’s basically unpronounceable in Spanish.

            This woke renaming stuff is itself a giant exercise in linguistic and cultural colonialism.

        1. digi_owl

          Seem to recall reading the that Girl Scouts were planning to rename brownies because it could be offensive to some.

      2. Miller

        I am a 3rd grade teacher. Always make a point to greet my class every morning with a hale “Good morning boys and girls.”

        The last female teacher to pretentiously use three names in our school has reverted to her married name. I sense the semantic nonsense is coming to an end.

    1. petal

      Another reminder why I’ll never move back to that area, let alone state, no matter how many jobs get waved in my face. I volunteered for years there for an org that gave girls(real, actual girls, with XX chroms) athletic and educational opportunities, and mentors. Seeing things like this makes me want to cry. I get really angry about it, also because I was an athlete myself and we had to fight for equal funding and treatment. The progress we made is being erased. Females are being pushed around and told to shut up all over again. Cambridge may as well be on another planet. So glad I left. It’s like these people are in a race to out-moron each other while destroying the community at the same time.

      1. flora

        Thank, Petal. Everything you said, especially about women’s sports is right on.
        It’s like being in an endless telephone menu hell “press 1 for this, press 2 for that” that makes everything slower, more annoying, and gets nowhere. / my 2 cents. utube, ~9 minutes. Good fun.

        Oxford Union debate:
        Konstantin Kisin | This House Believes Woke Culture Has Gone Too Far – 7/8 | Oxford Union

        (I can already hear the woke cries of “white menx bad. Shut him up.” ha.)

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Just look at those smiling, adorable faces. What kind of twisted ghoulx insist on condemning them to a lifetime of sharing their most intimate spaces and athletic and professional achievements with a group of sexually confused individuals who have dic….er….Y chromosomes, to score a few miserable political points.

        And if those individuals turn out to be predators in skirts and blond wigs, well, too bad for the girlx.

        1. anna

          I love the NC comments, but when it comes to trans stuff, there’s just so much stupid thinking and thoughtless vitriol. This comment is a fine example of that.

          Though maybe two can play at this game: The chromosome rhetorical gambit (xy chromosome and therefor not woman) is is rich coming from someone whose thinking indicates they have one chromosome too many (and by their own logic wouldn’t count as human)

          1. flora

            I guess my question is why young (aged 8-18) trans-women who are still physically male, aka still pack’n a package shouldn’t still use the guys’ lockers and restrooms? Are they afraid of getting beat up in the guys’ rooms? If so, why are girls and parents of girls wrong to be afraid of the same thing letting a still pack’n trans into the girls restrooms and locker rooms?

            Sorry, it doesn’t fly. Even for those of us who are sympathetic.

            1. ChiGal

              you have made some nuanced comments on this thread but this isn’t one of them. for obvious reasons, don’t you think a genuinely trans child is much less likely to beat up girls in the locker room than get beat up by boys in the locker room?

              1. flora

                How do you tell a genuinely trans child from a clever sexual predator wearing a disguise? Can the school board tell the difference? (I expect you’ll find this question non-nuanced.) How do you assure parents the children are protected? How do you assure the children they themselves are protected and valued in themselves?

                I imagine the social negotiations around this issue will take a generation at least, having been through a different social negotiation of acceptable gender roles changes in the work place in an earlier age.

                1. flora

                  Much shorter: being on the front lines of change is never easy, is never straightforward, and demands a slow and long term back-and-forth understanding/negotiation of the world one is trying to change. (They never tell you that in “hero with instant results” school.) / My 2 cents.

              2. Medbh

                That’s irrelevant. Girls are not physical shields or emotional support therapists for boys. If there is a problem in the boys locker room, then fix the boy’s locker room.

                There are physical differences between the sexes, and girls need their own sports category for fair competition. Bathrooms and changing facilities are separated to provide provide privacy and safety for females. There’s no way to tell which males are “bad,” so it’s a blanket rule for all, including men identifying as women.

            2. anna

              I guess my response is that I try to limit my fears to things that have actually happened around me or to people I know or to real large trends. To be honest, I haven’t heard or experienced or seen evidence that trans people (adults or kids) are being involved as victims *or* perpetrators in bathrooms.

              It seems like a fun salacious thought experiment, but i suspect the reason why we don’t hear about trans girls getting attacked in boys bathrooms or attacking other girls in girls bathrooms is simple: they are using the bathroom they feel most comfortable in and things are working out fine.

              we’re regular boring people who make regular boring risk assessments. I’ve lived in many places across the country and I’ve simply never come across this being an actual practical concern. I’ve only come across it as a hypothetical (though titillating) what-if concern, and in the face of an absence of evidence to the contrary, I don’t pay attention to it

              1. ArchieShemp

                Thank you ditto, anna.

                And yes, it’s not a legitimate problem.

                It’s yet another fear-mongering bit of panic-button pushing, ginned up by political forces on the far right that have little in their political playbook that works anymore aside from fear and hatred.

                1. ambrit

                  The problem is that “Fear and Hatred” have always worked. The degree to which the strategy is successful is determined by the degree to which the population has been conditioned.

          2. ChiGal

            it takes courage to speak up here sometimes, good for you. but do see Flora’s comment above at 12:45, I think some here acknowledge the nuance and do not conflate actual people with PMC exploitation of them, as you advocate for below.

            fight the power!

          3. The Rev Kev

            It’s not the trans stuff that is a problem here but how the whole thing can be played out. So you have a women’s shelter for those fleeing perhaps a violent relationship and who have children with them. Then they find in the shower room a self-identified ‘women’ who is still packing but the people who run the shelter to shut up about any complaints, no matter how that person behaves. And how many athletic competitions have you seen where a guy is competing and winning against women because they say they are a women and beat them easily because of size or upper body strength? Or how lesbians are told that they must sleep with a guy who is packing by the rest of the LGBT community because to do otherwise will identify them as transphobic. And speaking as a guy, I see a pattern here where it is women that are left with the short end of the stick covered in something brown and smelly-


            1. anna

              yes, a nice catalog of the fear-mongering scenarios that are presented to rile and scandalize. My point is that these are sensationalized media-driven concerns and that on the ground they are insignificant. I think we should be more savvy and skeptical about the ‘debates’ that come through our screens.

              I’ve lived in various lesbian communities and friend groups everywhere from iowa to san francisco to st petersburg russia and I can assure you, trans women are welcomed and accepted as a general case, and rightfully ostracized when/if they act in the way you describe. I’m talking irl, not on the internet.

              Your shelter scenario is not an actual widespread phenomenon, though I haven’t personally spent time in any shelter, and I’m sure you haven’t either.

              the sports question I have a maybe idiosyncratic take on, but sheesh, what a barrage of received nonsense

              1. The Rev Kev

                These aren’t scenarios but where the rubber meets the road. Personally I do not worry or care about trans people as it is their lives, not mine, so they have the freedom to live their lives the way they want. As for that shelter scenario that is actually happening and just a few days I read about a women that had to set up a shelter with only biological women that could go in. No, I have not spent time in a women’s shelter but if I started to identify as a women, then I could. What riles me is those guys who play the rules like this guy-


                Call me old fashioned but this is wrong. Women do not have the average strength, particularly the upper body strength, that men have and that is a biological fact. I really do think that South Park had it right here-

       (3:11 mins) – some language

                1. anna

                  I’m exhausted with this. The only time I ever am even reminded of my trans status is when I go online and see the fomented hubbub. You read about scenarios, wow. My contention is that these are sensationalized and one-off scenarios, your response is to link to south park and some bicycling story from 5 years ago?

                  I don’t think your points, such as they are, are much worth responding to. But to show that I’m not entirely stingy with my good faith, I’ll say that I do think the trans question in sports raises really interesting questions. My view is that sports as we know them today are radically *unlike* the way sports existed in the past and that trans participants cause interesting problems with the way that sports are currently and recently (and perhaps temporarily) set up. From hyperintensified high school and younger sports, to corrupt and corrupted college, pro, and olympic sports, the modern sports landscape is a reflection of neoliberal capitalism with its attendant unsustainable and warped priorities.

                  That fact that trans participants sometimes don’t work well in this area is far from an indictment of the trans participants, who in the vast majority of cases are regular, unremarkable people who play without any special consternation. but goddamn, give us (again, real, normal people who exist around you every day without problem even if the sensational media tell you otherwise) a fucking break.

              2. flora

                Well, except most girls understand from the word ‘go’ the dangers men can present, have presented, and will in future present to them and their well being. A danger one is always aware of, no matter how many wonderful men are in one’s life.

                I guess a trans woman – and, really, no offense meant – telling me and mine that our lived experience is just not on is, well, man ‘splaining of the worst sort.

                1. anna

                  have you ever known a trans woman? I think if you actually ever were to meet and get to know someone like me in real life, sincerely, you’d realize how off-base this is.

                  1. flora

                    Yes, I have. And she mansplained to me that I was not good on fashion, not sufficiently feminine. That I failed to fully appreciate her outfits’ accessories, according to her. Other than that, she was nice.

                  2. The Rev Kev

                    You’re missing my point entirely. It’s not trans people that I have a problem with. Different stroke for different folks so to say. It is pretend trans people that are gaming the system that I am having a problem with and who are probably not even trans in the first place.

                    1. anna

                      Once you see that the ‘pretend trans people that are gaming the system’ are figments of the media or at best rounding errors, then you’ll see the truth.

        2. chris

          You can’t write Title IX without an X…

          Yeah. As a parent with two girls this is frightening and frustrating. It’s one thing if people want to argue that people born biologically male should be allowed to compete as women. It’s another thing completely when you deny the existence of girls and rename them to be something else to fit whatever construct you believe allows you to control society more efficiently. These people must have some kind of sickness in their souls to keep pushing this on others.

      3. Dandelion

        What a commanding privilege it is, to be enable to enact in law and policy that people deny what they perceive as true through all five of their senses.

        One might be forgiven for concluding that a movement able to wield such legal and social might are not in fact those most vulnerable but instead a demographic long at the apex of political power.

    2. anna

      I feel I see a dynamic in which various social justice concerns (of the sort that mlk and thankfully countless others fought for) are cynically or naively co-opted by PMC apparatchiks and then presented back to us in insulting and baffling ways, which in turn stokes the enemies of those concerns and tricks otherwise sensible people into disavowing their fellow people.

      This girlx stuff is just another example. No girl, trans or otherwise, is asking for this term. Yet here we are talking about it. These things just serve to rile up people who want to get riled.

      It feels similar to me to the ‘participation trophy’ trope. No kid asks for a participation trophy (and kids can obviously tell who the skilled and unskilled teammates are), but the existence of such participation trophies are used to mock kids. Same with stuff like girlx. I’m trans, and if i can speak for all of us, no one wants this junk and we can also obviously distinguish trans girls from non-trans girls.

      I often feel like I’m some metaphorical ball batted around by careless media forces on both/multiple sides

        1. Anna

          who is ‘they’ here? I think you might be conflating the PMC/media/PowersThatBe, who surely serve to obscure/control these economic concerns, with their plaything, the millions of regular people who are just as concerned about economic exploitation as anyone

          1. flora

            Indeed they are. The first BLM movement was organic and focused on real community issues in a way the – what I can only call co-opted for profit and pushed by the MSM, later Patrice Cullors (sp?) & co movement was not. Where did all the money raised go? Apparently a lot of it went into high priced real estate for a few “leaders”. Amazon hangs up a We Support BLM banner while firing the black guy working to unionize one of its warehouses. etc Shorter: being morally bludgeoned by scam artist is getting old. /;)

            1. digi_owl

              This goes all the way back to Occupy. When people started insisting on priority access to the megaphone based on gender and ethnicity, things started to fall apart. Soon after it was easy for NYPD and FBI to mop up the fragmented stragglers.

              1. JBird4049

                >>>This goes all the way back to Occupy.

                That was an improvement of what was used to damage the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements as well as the unions in the 1950s and 60s.

                It is a favorite part of the government’s use of coups. Both internationally and domestically the use of surveillance, bribery, subversion, incarceration, torture, and assassination in that order are what the federal government uses. I can see this also by local state and municipal governments. The subversion of the NGOs including old ones like the American Red Cross are a part of it; actually, the creation of an environment where such subversion is done automatically with no direct supervision is the goal, I think.

                Really, it is form of divide and conquer.

                  1. Jeff W

                    “odd, seems the url use a extra long dash or something between FBI and King”

                    It’s the en dash (converted to its Hex UTF-8 equivalent) in the title of the Wikipedia article between FBI and King. (Presumably, it’s used to show the connection between the FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. with regard to the letter in question.)

    3. Mildred Montana

      Re: Cambridge Sports Night For Girlx (open to all those who identify as girls or with girlhood)

      “Wokeism”, I hope, is entering its terminal phase and this little gem might be an example of why. What’s gonna happen to those Girlx Sports Nights when a 30-year-old man who “identifies” as a girl shows up for some fun and games?

      Wokeism is slowly but surely reducing itself to an absurdity.

      1. semper loquitur

        “Wokeism is slowly but surely reducing itself to an absurdity.”

        I wonder if that is a feature, not a bug. It’s only absurd if people think it is, setting aside ontological questions. What I mean to say is if you get enough people to play along, objective realities such as the differences between men and women will be happily ignored. Woke identity politics and their attendant idiocies are many things: money making schemes, power plays, moral shibboleths to name a few. But I also suspect they are a kind of social engineering. There is big money and a lot of power behind these ideologies. If you can convince someone that it’s the right call to have their child’s sex organs mutilated, what can’t you convince them of?

      2. Dandelion

        Unfortunately, in many US states, the entire Anglophone world, many European jurisdictions, and a couple of South American countries, laws have already been enacted encoding “gender identity” as superceding the material reality of biological sex.

        Also encoding legal protections for the Iatrogenic Bodily Dissociation For Profit industry.

        It will years to untangle and reverse all of it, and international NGO money is NOT flowing in that direction. It is flowing in the direction of further encoding.

    4. semper loquitur

      Those little scamps need a mascot! How about recently divorced Steve? He’s girl-identified, wears a puppy costume, and always has candy to hand out!

      I’ve said it before and I’ll probably have to say it a million more times: the $hit-libs have absolutely no moral bottom line. Anything to promote their ideology and agenda. At least conservatives believe in something, more or less, although their leadership is bereft of any moral substance of course. But the $hit-libs will literally put children, even their own, in harms way just to make a point. To try to appear righteous.

      1. Screwball

        I had a conversation with some $hitlibs about woke. Bad idea. I was told; with regard to “woke”….. it just means people are pissed off they can’t use the N word or make fun of gays anymore and the bitch about “woke” as a placeholder.

        That’s when I figured out it was worthless to even engage these people. They have an answer for everything, even as wrong as it may be. In this case, these people’s brains have been taken over by stage 5 TDS, and everyone but them are Trumpers and therefore racist and homophobic by definition.

        1. semper loquitur

          Helen Joyce and Helen Pluckrose have written and spoke extensively about the utterly illogical and irrational natures of the Woke ideologies:

          It springs from the soi- disant thinking and tortured writings of the postmodernist “philosophers”, exemplified most recently by the patent gibberish of Judith Butler, the roller-coaster loops of rhetoric of Kendi X Ibram, and the grade-school classroom snitch lectures of Robin D’Angelo. Empirical observations are ignored in favor of language-generated “realities”. Logic is applied when it’s deemed useful, when it’s not it’s abandoned as being simply another construct of white hetero-normative blah blah. Ethics are a one-way street wherein violence is decried unless it’s violence against the right people, censorship is decried unless it’s censoring the right people. The three are freely intertwined without regard for conceptual integrity. The goal is to overwhelm and wear down one’s opponents. Free speech as bigotry; equality as racism. When you point these things out, you are simply demonstrating your closeted hate, your privilege, and are therefore worthy of shaming and worse.

          When I was studying philosophy in college and briefly grad school, we would occasionally have students take a class whose response to tough, nuanced questions was to vomit out verbiage in a desperate attempt to appear to be comprehending the discussion. The class would just go quiet while the instructor tried to mop up the mess. Those types didn’t last long.

          Now, we see that pathetic defense mechanism has become an entire field of “intellectual” pursuit. I think one of the most successful aspects of Woke and the septic tank of ideas that gave birth to it is that it is quite simply stupid. It’s the ideology of people who really cannot string complex or nuanced thoughts together. Who eschew notions of truth because it’s often strenuous work to really delve down into what makes something true or not. It’s one of the reasons for it’s popularity, anyone can get aboard because there are no standards of conduct. Anyone can be a postmodernist “thinker”. That’s why it is so easy to spoof:

          The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. To generate another essay, follow this link.
          If you liked this particular essay and would like to return to it, follow this link for a bookmarkable page.


          The Grievance Studies Affair – REVEALED

          This is first video revealing the behind-the-scenes story of how a trio of concerned left-wing academics (James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose) published seven intentionally absurd papers in leading scholarly journals in what has become known as ‘The Grievance Studies Affair’.

          and for the win

          The Mein Kampf Rewrite in the Academic Journal Hoax

          PERSPECTIVES | An trio of academics submitted several arguably nonsensical papers to feminist and gender studies publications as a hoax to prove the weakening of discipline in the world academia. None may stand out more, though, than their use of Mein Kampf ideas in one of their papers and its acceptance. Our Ariel Levin-Waldman has the story.

        1. ambrit

          And then hold the overnighter at an empty pizza parlour. Checks all sorts of boxes, round ones, square ones, and oblong ones.

      2. anna

        What’s with this aggressive disparagement of, well, not actual gay or trans people, but corporate media-induced effigies of those people? It’s a sight to behold, otherwise skeptical people swallowing whole bogey-men versions of their neighbors. It’s a shame to see here in the NC comments.

        1. flora

          erm…maybe it’s just me…but I think the comment you’re replying to is exactly a mockery of the corporate media-induced effigies, not a mockery of real people.

          Satire and sarcasm are very hard to do with the written word in short form, especially on politically volatile topics. Guess I read the original comment as agreeing with your main point. Maybe I’m wrong. / My 2 cents. ymmv.

          1. flora

            adding: I once had a long time friend who knows my political leanings, (we share similar point of view on most things), accuse me of being a Trumper for some entirely non-political and reasonable statement I made about something non-political and non-social, which reasonable people could disagree about. I was taken aback, as in astounded by their accusing me of some blind political bad faith. (The MSM has certainly works hard to make us all tetchy about our particular (MSM prefab) “silos”.) /My 2 cents.

    5. Eclair

      Ouch! Lotta emotions running about in this thread. And, yeah, ‘girlx’ is a bit much.

      But I wonder, often, how the tendency of our society (and others) to go 1 or 0, no in-betweens (on many issues) affects some kids. Masculine equals strong, muscular, bearded, beer or whiskey drinking, fast car loving, football-crazed jocks. Feminine equals pink loving princess with tiny waist and big bxxbs, excuse the expression. Although recent films and streaming series do feature some kickash females.

      But, maybe I am out of date. Maybe in today’s junior and senior high schools, the small, thin voiced, nerdy, male who does not go out for team sports, is not a chick magnet and is the butt of jokes about sissies (and may end up wearing a long leather coat and blasting his tormentors into a red mist, just to prove a point) no longer exists. But is revered because he may become the next Bill Gates.

      While sex is a given binary and we can’t fight our genetic heritage, can ‘gender’ be a continuum that, under current mores, is not allowed to happen? If our culture became more accepting of males wearing skirts and makeup and high heels, and of females with shaved heads and combat boots who want to lead a motorcycle gang, would we still have young people taking hormones and having bits cut off? Or would it be seen as another sign of western decadence?

      1. anahuna

        Eclair, you seem to me to be asking the right questions. Taking this out of the realm of theory, where it doesn’t really belong. While those who enjoy philosophical games continue to set up oppositions, all in the name of introducing nuance, can’t we remind ourselves of a simpler intention: What’s the best way of protecting those who are likely to become targets of scorn and abuse?

        There is probably no single answer.

      2. digi_owl

        Nah, that nerdy stereotype is still “vilified”.

        The tech world is now overrun with hard “working”, hard partying, “tech bros” that are a near adjacent to the typical jock stereotype.

        1. flora

          Not vilified in the upper level colleges. (Harvard, Northwestern, etc.)

          “That’s alright, that’s OK, You will work for us some day.”

          A college students’ cheer from one of the “nerdy” colleges. Really. Losing a sporting match elicited this cheer from the student seating section. Really. Were they wrong? / ;)

      3. Medbh

        Yes, this is the way. There are two sexes, and infinite personalities, styles, and interests. Sex matters for sports, medicine, and undress (i.e. intimate care, restrooms and changing). Gender is just stereotypes, and it’s oppressive to everyone.

        1. Eclair

          And sex matters as to who bears the babies and produces the milk that feeds them in their first months of life. And who produces the sperm. At least with our current technology.

          The Swedes for one seem to be ok with one bathroom fits all. And I recall, cycling in a seedy town on the outskirts of Paris and sharing a bathroom with a guy using a urinal.

      4. ACPAL

        My theory is an extension, or lateral, of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Where he says evolutionary changes happen I believe that there is the equivelant of a randomizing gene that makes those changes happen. This should be a thesis but this is not the forum for that so please forgive the brevity.

        As a freshman in college a prof noted that the IQ of individuals can be plotted as a bell curve with the mean being the average of the parent’s IQs. Whether this is accurate or not I’ve noticed, in the intervening 45 years, that there is a lot of variation in every aspect of people’s physical and mental makeup from height and weight to artistic ability, and so on. So I pondered why this would be advantageous to a species and I came up with this.

        If some people are fat then they would be more likely to survive periods of famine. If some people are lean then they would be more likely to outrun a predator. And the list goes on for people who are more physically inclined, scientifically inclined, organizationally inclined, and so on. A species that is more diverse is more likely to survive more diverse situations and changes in their environments.

        This diversity extends to all psychological aspects including sexuality which itself has multiple sub-aspects. For example, some men prefer very feminine women while others prefer tomboys or even masculine women. With this variety it should be no surprise that some men prefer other men with a similar range from the effeminite to the masculine. The same goes for women. And since this is genetic it has existed for as long as humans have and any attempt to demonize it or change it through social pressure is doomed to fail.

        As for how this improves the the species chances of survival I can think of a couple possibilities. In a war with another species, say troglodytes, apes, or Klingons (we weren’t programmed for this yesterday) the winning strategy may be either passivity, where aggressive masculinity gets you killed, or extreme agressiveness, where weakness gets you killed. Another possibility is a disease that is selective through sexual behavior. Or it could be just a byproduct of the the randomizing gene.

        In the children’s book “Leo the Lop” by Stephen Cosgrove the rabbits realize that “normal is what you are.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      The difference between how Trump and Biden are being treated about these classified docs is really getting too gross to ignore. To be fair, Trump probably had those docs in a safe. At Mar-a-Lago that had full security and security cameras watching everything and alarms galore. And as Trump was an ex-president, there are probably a contingent of Secret Service agents living on site watching everyone going in and out the place. Old Joe had his docs in a cardboard box in his garage that had an ordinary garage door lock on it. And others were in his home. The same home that had a drug addict with connections with Russian hookers living there. One of these things is not like the other. Just sayin’.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        If the story about Hunter making a $49,000 monthly rental payment to the Big Guy is true, I’d say Joe has a much bigger problem on his hands than just a few errant classified docs.

        Granted, the Biden’s Wilmington DE home is a 3 bedroom, 4 1/2 bath “mansion” according to this NY Post article.

        But according to Zillow, the monthly rental for this comparable 6 bedroom, 4 bath Wilmington home is $6,000.

        So the question is, will any reporters question why Hunter’s rent for Joe’s abode is too damn high, and what will Ole Joe come up with by way of an explanation?

      2. Skip Intro

        I particularly love the way classified materials are referred to. For Trump it was all about state secrets and national security. The tell for the Biden flunkies is that they can’t even say classified documents, but have to phrase it as “documents marked classified”. I guess that leaves open the old “Hunter and his hookers got hold of the classified stamp and 50µg of pure adrenochrome, and stamped everything in sight” defense. After all, boys will be boys.

      3. notabanker

        Latest from CBS: Discovery of Biden documents marked classified creates political problems for president

        Political problems. Not legal problems, not impeachment problems, not if any one of us commenting here did this we’d go to Gitmo problems. Political problems.

        Oh, and visitor logs to the beach residence that taxpayers are spending $500K to build a wall around do not exist.

    2. tevhatch

      One of my mentors was a also a Tibetan scholar ex Princeton U who had nothing but kind words about Berger’s efforts to bring about reconciliation between the Dalai Lama camp and Communist Party of China(CPC). I suspect a lot of his grief for doing what others were doing is because the CIA was not happy with him, they wanted to build a Buddhist version of the OUN.

  9. tevhatch

    UVlight sterilization of air: Will certainly help evolve UV tolerant fats that the genetic package & locking proteins are wrapped in, so there’s that.

  10. griffen

    Flip phones are trending with Gen Z. Probably coincides with their love for belting out Bon Jovi “Livin on a Prayer” too! Nostalgia is strong. I had a slider phone that was perhaps indestructible, but I never found if that were the case. I had gone a long while without a smart device until Feb or Mar 2015; upgraded at last out of necessity to communicate with close friends and immediate family. I would have preferred life continuing without but once I made the decision, the immediacy to read urgent emails was worth it.

    Back to flip phones, if the appeal of grainy pictures is a part of the appeal how about taking old Polaroids with the instant film ? PS. If nostalgia is trending, please by all things good and decent leave corduroy pants where they belong, in the past !

      1. SteveB

        Never had a smart phone. I must be ahead of my time as I still have a flip phone it’s a Kyocera 4g
        that is bullet proof…. My kids tease me but I just say ” on my phone I don’t have to spell out my words. I push a button and SPEAK to people !!!”

    1. Mildred Montana

      Re: Flip phones and nostalgia

      From the article: Reagan Boeder, 18, said she’s trying to get her sorority sisters in on the trend. “I think people are going to go out more and more with flip phones just because it’s so fun and nostalgic and honestly a vibe,” Boeder said.

      Gen Z (~15 to 25 years old) feeling nostalgic after only fifteen years or so? This world is moving too fast for me.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. I remember when you could ‘modify’ an old crank phone into a dandy “Electric Current Confession Stimulator.” Now ‘they’ have an app for that.

    2. digi_owl

      Them Polaroids have already been trendy for a few years now, best i recall.

      Just hope the return of flip phones make certain parties stop bellyaching about the color of the bubbles on their iphones.

      1. johnnyme

        You are correct. Fujifilm’s modern take on the venerable Polaroid, the Instax series of instant still cameras, are a major cash cow for them, generating ¥219 billion in revenue in FY2021 alone (scroll to page 15) which is almost twice as much as the revenue they generate from their digital camera division and more than Nikon’s entire imaging division.

        Now, if they could only get the band Japan to reform and release Gentlemen Take Instaxes, the long overdue sequel to their classic 1980 album. ;)

    3. Jason Boxman

      Not entirely surprising. When I used to go clubbing, the kids loved them some 80s real hard. There was always an 80s night. I prefer trance and EDM, so it wasn’t really my scene. finding a good EDM place was nigh on impossible. Sigh.

  11. LawnDart

    Re; Expanded US training for Ukraine forces begins in Germany

    My grandfather, a WWII vet, must be spinning in his grave at the fact that USA now supports the Nazis.

    Of course, my other grandfather, a Latvian refugee, did support the Nazis… …he could be spinning the other way, perhaps creating a balance, an eqilibrium of sorts…

    The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born, now is the time of monsters.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The plan for those Ukrainians is for a battalion of some 500 troops to get back to fighting Russia in five to eight weeks. Seriously, five to eight weeks. Here in Oz, they spend 80 days just to train a guy up in the bare basics to be a passed trained soldier. And it is only then that their real training begins. I have read reports of these western trained soldiers after they return to the Ukraine and sent into battle and you can guess the results. But my own personal belief is that those guys are really only there as a sort of smokescreen to distract from those Ukrainians being trained up as commandos, scouts, saboteurs and murder squads-

    2. digi_owl

      I guess that made for some “interesting” family gatherings.

      Or did the old men agree to not talk about the war years?

      1. LawnDart

        As far as I know, they met exactly once: at the wedding, and never again.

        Both were good to us grandkids, but hard as hell on their own.

        Needless to say, the result was a true nuclear family– in the sense of atomization.

      2. LifelongLib

        Through marriages, I had an aunt who grew up in Nazi Germany and an uncle who was Hungarian (and Jewish). They apparently got along fine until they had a falling out over something completely unrelated to their backgrounds. They lived in different parts of the country (U.S.) so I only met her once and never met him.

  12. Art_DogCT

    The Ibex image is a favorite amongst them what stan horns (e.g., me). It is a well-done work of imagination rather than nature, sadly. The discontinuity of the ridges of the horns gives it away.

    To be possessed of such horns would be An Magnificence, albeit ungainly. As Professor Farnsworth says, “A man can dream.”

    1. ArchieShemp

      >The discontinuity of the ridges of the horns gives it away.

      Good catch!

      And thanks, I fell for it at first.

      Though I guess what gives the lie for me on a second look is continuity. The ridges and colorings in the two horns are too similar.

    1. ambrit

      I’ll wager that this Bauer is thanking his lucky stars that “Creepy” Joe didn’t tell his minions to ‘double tap’ him.

  13. Milton

    Google covering their behinds…

    Result now when you do a search on the billionaire / media phrase:

    It looks like the results below are changing quickly
    If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for reliable sources to publish information
    Check the source
    Are they trusted on this topic?
    Come back later
    Other sources might have more information on this topic in a few hours or days

    1. Mikel

      DuckDuckGo first stories to pop up when searching the phrase:

      “Extra level of power’: billionaires who have bought up the media” The guardian 2022

      “These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies” Forbes 2016

      “The Science of Power: Billionaires, Elites, and Social Mobility” 2014

      The Biden story mentioning “billionaires” “elite” and “media” is on the first page too.
      But seems like there is a mix of national, international, blogs, and studies to choose from on the subject.

      Why are peiple still bothering with google search?

      1. William S

        A Google search with quotes looks for the exact string. In this case, a page full of the “Biden Being Blackmailed” article comes up. I’m left wondering why the top search result is not shown in the Google screenshot posted here, while it is shown for the other engines.

  14. Lex

    Potential catastrophe rating of Joe Biden giving the sermon at Ebenezer: 7 out of 10.

    Nobody’s blackmailing Biden to escalate in Ukraine. Ukraine has been his project going back to 2008 (and his Senate time on the SIC likely pushes it further back). His personal project. His favorites from the Clinton DoS that assisted him back then all got nice promotions in his admin. IMO, the whole reason he ran in 2020 was to execute the Ukraine plan because Trump had messed it up and nobody in the field was going to be reliable enough to really run with it. He’s a violent and angry man. He wanted more war in Yugoslavia, he was all in on Afghanistan and Iraq and in the Spring he was publicly talking about bringing down Putin as well as informing enlisted soldiers in Poland that they’d be in Ukraine soon. If anything, people are holding Joe back. Consider the documents could be used to get Joe out of the way because Ukraine can’t be wound down as long as he’s POTUS.

      1. tevhatch

        I think this is a way of the CIA and many old members in Congress pouring the dirt from the handwash basin onto Joe Biden’s head as the war goes bad for USA.

      2. pjay

        I agree with all of these points regarding Biden and Ukraine. Nevertheless, I *still* think Whitney is correct. This is not to support any principles Biden might have, but simply to point out that, regardless of his current mental state, he is not quite as *psychopathically insane* as the neocons who dominate foreign policy and media discourse today. One can see in his comments, however inconsistent or erratic, that he does still understand what WWIII means, and how it connects to Russian perceptions. Those who apparently control our policy either don’t understand this, or don’t care. Look at what they did to Trump; his actual policies were in reality extremely anti-Russian and directly exacerbated the Ukrainian conflict – but he was not dependable enough for our psychopathic warmongers. Same with Biden.

        And who are the people holding Biden back??

        1. .Tom

          > And who are the people holding Biden back??

          Idk but I assume he has competent military people who can give realistic assessments. But if so then I’d have to assume that he’s had that competent military council all along. In which case why did he start this? Because he believed he’d win the economic war, which wasn’t the Pentagon’s job to assess and plan.

          The maniac nature of the propaganda reflects how the economic war demanded international coordination and hence total narrative control throughout the participating nations. But in the end, some realistic self-interest must surely remain in the White House.

          1. ambrit

            “..self interest..” is doing some heavy lifting there. This assumes that “Creepy” Joe and some of his close advisors have an authentic sense of self. This is not an automatic given. There is a lot of ‘Magical Thinking’ on display within the Beltway these days.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Its a rubber meets the road situation in regards to the Pentagon. They can be dim as door knobs up to the point where they have to present more than making pew pew noises.

    1. tevhatch

      Garland Nixon frequently mentions the ACLU sold out, and I guess we can confirm he’s onto something by board of directors. Quite a few must be behind letting Joe Biden, proud segregationist and generator of modern slave labour though all of his crime bill activities, speak at the church of MLK, wow. The hate, particularly race driven hate, whether it is against Blacks or Slavs just drips off the man.

  15. Carolinian

    Re Biden–Turley says that the use of Biden’s personal lawyer to search for and handle those classified documents is itself legally dubious.

    And the reports about Hunter living in that house say that the top rent in Delaware is $6000 per month. If Hunter really did pay $50,000 per month then what explanation can they’re be other than laundered money? Why would wealthy Biden charge his son rent at all?

    Add to all this Biden’s obvious recklessness as seen in his conduct of foreign policy and you do indeed wonder how much longer he will be around. Even his talk about running again at his age seems slightly unhinged–betraying a possible desperation to maintain control of events.

  16. Questa Nota

    Ukraine, a mystery inside an enigma in a fish wrapper.
    It is hard to keep up with news from that part of the world.
    There were all those other breaking stories that would change views and really get action.
    They seem to get traction for about three score and twelve hours, only to be reabsorbed.
    The Grey Lady instructs, minions destruct.
    Hey, Google, watch out for AI results.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you want to know what the Ukraine is all about, just follow the money. Alex Christoforou says all roads lead to the Ukraine and he is right. Look at those with connections to the Ukraine – Joe Biden, Hunter Biden Pelosi’s son, FTX, Raytheon, etc. The place is a huge washing machine where government money goes in, is washed and then sent to some very connected people and corporations. So just follow the money.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . government money goes in, is washed and then sent to some very connected people and corporations. So just follow the money.

        I think of them as the S class – it’s what they drive. Corrupt asses coddled in luxury seats.

      2. Wukchumni

        You’d hate to see America flame out on account of Joey, so lets blame everything on Beau, yeah thats the ticket!

  17. Carolinian

    Interesting story about the lack of Plutonium pits for the Pentagon’s planned nuclear weapon expansion. If our warmongers really want to take a time machine back to this aspect of the Cold War they are going to have to deal with the fact that making bombs is a dirty business and public opposition may throw a spanner in the works. Here in SC the Savannah River Site produced Tritium for Hydrogen bombs but now is mostly about cleaning up the mess that was made. I actually went there once on a high school trip and we all wore radiation badges.

    Back during the original Cold War the American public were largely ignorant of the dangers they were exposed to or willing to accept them due to what was regarded as a genuine threat. As our current kabuki Cold War turns into the real thing–largely for the benefit of weapon company grifters–the ignorance is gone and the perhaps the acceptance as well.

    1. Wukchumni

      One of the more interesting encased coin is the “Irradiated Dime”. Irradiated dimes were created as a way to demonstrate atomic energy principles and as a souvenir. A visitor to the American Museum of Atomic Energy could place a dime from their pocket in to the “dime irradiator”, where it was subjected to radiation. The coin was returned in a plastic encasement.

      The original pieces were encased in a round 25mm holder with a rolled rim and a plastic convex cover over the dime. The reverse of the dime does not show through the back of the encasement making collecting by mint mark impossible without removing the coin.

      The dimes were prepared ahead of time or visitors were allowed to supply their own dime and have it irradiated. The prepared coins were encased in a circular holder of aluminum with a plastic cover protecting the dime. The inside edge of the dime, underneath the cover, was a label that read “American Museum of Atomic Energy – Neutron Irradiated” or “Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Neutron Irradiated.” The dime went into the chamber, was irradiated and came out. It’s radioactivity was detected with a Geiger counter. When sealed the holder and the dime were a finished souvenir.

      1. Carolinian

        Sounds like a Simpson’s episode–Homer takes coins to the nuclear plant to be irradiated. I may be old enough to remember X-ray machines in shoe stores and of course watches once had radium dials that were tragically painted by poor factory girls who licked the brush tips to make them sharp.

        Meanwhile Hanford, Washington is still a hot mess and there was a story the other day about how nuclear processing plants have been abandoned for the taxpayer to clean up.

        In a sane world we would want to walk away from all this instead of using it as a club against countries like Iran that we don’t like (and who, ironically, don’t want to make nuclear weapons anyway). The MIC is the thing that wouldn’t leave.

  18. John

    The Pandemic Erased Boundaries Between Government and Corporate Interests. So Who Can the Public Believe?

    I have the answer for the one or two who remain puzzled. Neither one. I say again. Neither one.

    1. tegnost

      Thanks Carla,
      It’s a good rehash of an eye opening study published Nov. 10, unsurprisingly (we’re spoiled) linked on NC Nov.11.
      That was at the beginning of my own acute phase so i read it a number of times and never came away with anything but worry…

      1. Carla

        @tegnost — Oh, I do hope you’re feeling better.

        Knowing about this disease doesn’t make us happier or more popular, but facing reality has its own rewards. I hope.

        1. tegnost

          Thanks Carla, yes I do feel better
          for some reason I think the 90 day mark will mean I made it past the highest risk time so a couple of more weeks until that comes around.
          Following the tenets of another NC sage
          Eat sensibly (salt seemed to make things worse), exercise, no smoking, try not to stress,
          and keep masking

  19. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    Obviously benefiting from FTX being handled with kid gloves, on account of high placed persons possibly getting the shaft, Bitcoin has gone from recent lows of around $16k to nearly $21k, a tidy 30 pieces of sliver percentage increase for those of you scoring @ home.

    Having bought in on the basis of $56k, I was down to about a buck, but now its nearly a buck fifty!

  20. Jason Boxman

    What planet is Topol on?

    That gets us back to the premise of Deep Medicine, AI has vast transformative potential to improve accuracy and precision of medicine, provide more autonomy for patients, and ultimately achieve the far reaching goal of restoring the patient-doctor relationship that has eroded over many decades. Undoubtedly, over the years ahead, these models, combining massive data and computing power, deep learning on steroids, will find their way to the multitude of medical tasks. I’m optimistic this new era of AI can accelerate the progress that is desperately needed. Stay tuned!

    Deep Medicine isn’t how we set about “restoring the patient-doctor relationship”. wtf.

    AI is going to solve our private equity problem? Our financialization of health care problem?

    LOLz whut?

  21. Jason Boxman

    Did an addled child write this Vice piece on nuclear weapons?

    The U.S. Can’t Make Enough Plutonium Triggers for Its Nuclear Warheads

    There is a renewed nuclear arms race with China and Russia. Moscow had repeatedly made nuclear threats during its invasion of Ukraine and Putin has teased new advanced nuclear weapons over the past five years. China, which once had a relatively low amount of nuclear weapons for a global superpower, has been building more.

    LOL. Why is there a renewed race? Because we started reneging on our commitments under W Bush?

    American power relies on the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. One of the reasons the U.S. military is so powerful is that the country is sitting on more than 5,000 potential world-ending nuclear weapons. But those nukes are aging and America hasn’t been building more.

    The US has lost tons of wars recently, so clearly possessing nuclear weapons doesn’t in any way equate to a victory in conventional wars.

    I honestly feel dumber after reading this Vice post.

  22. Lee

    “COVID in 2023 and beyond – why virus trends are more difficult to predict three years on
    One thing is for certain though – the pandemic is not over yet.”

    In his Covid update, Dr. Osterholm, says we are flying blind in a plane with faulty instruments.

  23. KD

    On the Unz article:

    Pure speculation on my part, but you have to wonder about the deal that was struck for everyone to back Biden to kill Bernie’s campaign. Presumably, everyone came to the table on the promise Biden would be a one-termer. When news last summer began leaking that he was testing the waters over another bid in 2024, you have to assume the knives came out. The fact that the classified documents scandal came out after the mid-terms, and now everything is hitting the news now, at the least dangerous time to the Dems, suggest that the goal is to knee-cap Biden while preventing damage to the Democratic Party and their 2024 prospects. My prediction, if this thesis is correct, is that if Biden publicly acknowledges that he will be a one-termer, then all the press heat will disappear. . . the same way they stopped calling Trump the next incarnation of Hitler as soon as he bombed Syria.

    I have to doubt anyone who isn’t an idiot wants to send US troops into Ukraine. Certainly not the Pentagon people, so I can’t believe the Deep State is actually interested in a direct conflict with Russia, its all about LNG to Europe and defense contracts. NATO is the indispensable alliance, not because NATO is about winning wars, but because its about selling overpriced weapons platforms. In this sense, Ukraine is the de facto NATO member par excellence.

    1. Carolinian

      I agree with what you say and would go further and speculate that the real reason Biden somewhat improbably decided to run in 2020 was to keep the lid on investigations of what he and his son had been doing since 2016. Now, with a Republican House, the cover up is in jeopardy. If allegations based on Hunter’s laptop are true then the Dems themselves are at risk.

      And re Ukraine your version is entirely possible and arguably more likely than suggestions of WW3 because the US FP deep state is under existential threat. Real life villains tend to be grifters seeking short term advantage. There’s little coherent strategy in what the US is doing. But there is money to be made by some.

    2. pjay

      I think there is a convergence of interests here, and you’ve pointed out several: Democratic party operatives and/or Presidential hopefuls, defense contractors, US energy companies, NATO. Nevertheless, as I said in an earlier comment, I think there is a group of foreign policy ideologues that have infiltrated the National Security Establishment and dominate the media, and that have an extremely dangerous view of the “indispensable” role of the US in the world, and of our power to enforce this role. Whether “liberal interventionist” or “neoconservative” variants, in my view it is *these* people who are the the greatest “fascist” threat today. I can see them fearing that Biden is too “weak” on Ukraine – as ridiculous as that might seem to most of us here.

      I do believe that there are elites who have a more realistic view, especially in the military but also within the intelligence community. But these voices have been almost completely repressed. This probably sounds overly melodramatic, but to me understanding how this situation came to be is the most crucial question we face at this moment in history.

    3. Dftbs

      There’s an assumption that within TPTB, there are rational or reasonable actors that will cut off the attempts of the crazies to escalate. Ultimately things will cool down because the Deep State doesn’t want a direct conflict with the RF. A lot of the non-mainstream analysis operates under the assumption that there is some professionalism and rationality left within the armed forces and they would stop an escalation.

      But I don’t see any indication of such reasonableness. If anything it seems to me that the military men do want escalation because they think they can do it on their terms. They think they can guide missiles onto RF airbases or conduct terrorism and sabotage within the RF and at the same time stay off the path of nuclear exchange. They can’t comprehend that they aren’t in control, the other guy has both agency and the advantage to boot.

      So it does seem likely that there is a full court press on Biden. His “escalation” isn’t as escalatory as that sought by the real “escalators”.

  24. DGL

    Covid Fortune: “There is currently no evidence that Kraken causes more severe disease than other Omicron variants, the agency said. A risk assessment released earlier this week by the World Health Organization came to the same conclusion, adding that the new variant also doesn’t appear to be substantially more immune-evasive.”

    ‘Substantially’ is doing a lot of work in this use by the WHO. Isn’t WHO now a private entity with the Gates Foundation being the leading financial support?

    I have not believed the USA elites since I got out of high school. But, I must admit I am still disappointed every day by their actions. And their success at continuing suppression. I should not be disappointed, I agree with Jay Gould, “I can hire half of the working class to kill the other half.” At least Jay recognized that the USA is a class stratified country.

  25. Martin Oline

    The classified documents found at Biden’s various residences makes me wonder which Democrats benefit from this. The timing is suspect and there is no way Harris is doing it. She is an outsider to the DC power structure regardless how much she benefits.
    I would suspect the Clinton or Obama camps. I see Adam Schiff is now throwing Biden under the bus. That points to the Clinton family as they were intrumental to his election. I found this article that deals with Schiff’s election being a result of the Clinton impeachment. Clinton’s Revenge

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t forget Republicans. The number needed to move the needle in enough states to flip the results wasn’t that much..

      The hypocrisy is sufficient for anyone to make this story have legs.

  26. farmboy

    Turkey is #1 flour miller exporter in the world “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin told me: ‘I’ll give you the grain for free, and you deliver it to poor African countries,'” Erdogan said on Sunday at an event in the southern Antalya province.

    “And we say: ‘Okay. We’ll get this for free from you. Let’s turn it into flour in our factories, and send it to these poor African countries.’ We agreed,” he added.
    Russia agrees to give wheat away

  27. Mildred Montana

    >Enron, Madoff and now FTX: New York’s Belfer family strike out again FT. “The ability of FTX to woo the wealthy New York family gives a fresh sign of how far Bankman-Fried had penetrated the US elite in his drive to attract investment for his businesses. Billionaire Robert Kraft and several celebrities and well-known athletes are also shareholders in FTX, the court documents show.”

    Sam Bankman-Fried stated unashamedly that he never read books. Perhaps he should have. Then he would not have made the cardinal error of stealing from the rich (see the late Bernie Madoff and the regrettably un-late Elizabeth Holmes for a similar mistake). It took the otherwise sleepy DOJ (headed by Rip Van Garland) all of a week to gear up and indict him.

    If only he (SBF) had read a bit. He would have learned that the way to wealth is to steal from the government. That is, taxpayers (see: banks circa 2008). Or, if that road to riches was not to his taste, then steadily steal a few dollars a day from many millions of people (see: again banks, government, insurance companies, HMOs, etc.) It would have added up Sam, believe me, it would have added up.

    But no, you had to be a wise guy and now you’re sitting in your parents’ house waiting for your reservation at the crowbar hotel. If there is any justice in this world, you will soon be sharing sob stories with Elizabeth Holmes.

    1. Wukchumni

      Maybe a decade ago I was watching a big money poker tournament on the telly and the young winner made a point of saying that he’d never read a book, and I think he was proud of winning sans tome, but I thought how utterly sad of a comment.

      The thing is, the card player wasn’t hurting anybody else though.

  28. will rodgers horse

    “It would be amusing if crypto turned out to be a Trojan horse for CBDC”
    If? Amusing?
    I think you mean: ‘When’ And ‘Terrifying’

  29. Eclair

    RE: A Luddite Library.

    Word of the day: technophilia.

    ‘Machine-breaking’ is what the workers did, to protest the enclosure of their working commons, the privatization of their right to make a living. Taking out their righteous anger on a soulless machine, when they should have been engaging in ‘capitalist-breaking.’ Then capturing the machines for their own use: owning the ‘means of production’ in other words.

    For the Luddites, even breaking the machines was punishable by death. Breaking the owners and promulgators of the new technologies was beyond the pale, literally unthinkable.

    Two observations: what do the actions that a society punishes by death (and death could include incarceration in a living hell, when even eventual release would sentence one to a lingering economic death, or deaths of omission from being old, poor, homeless, or not-white) reveal about the values of that society?

    And, are there present day Luddites, machine-breakers, among us? What form are they taking? And are they, like the original Luddites, destroying the wrong things? As the last of the commons disappears, as even our personal data, and faces, and photos, and gene sequences become the property of the capitalists, are we focusing our anger on the objects rather than on their perpetrators?

    Golly, Yves, Lambert, and Connor, the links the last couple of days have left my brain in a shambles. Gonna go for a long walk and then bake some more bread.

  30. .Tom

    > “the organs of state security, the Democrat Party, the platforms, and the press have congealed into a single slime mold-like entity

    What’s wrong with slime molds? Elsewhere on NC we read

    > “Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants!”

    Can’t we just call it by its technical name as generally accepted in the academy: The Blob?

  31. Aaron

    Regarding the Intercept piece on Guccifer, — Does anyone remember anything about Sam Biddle vis a vis Barrett Brown? For some reason I remember that Biddle was cooperating with the security state — maybe not in an official way, — but in an useful-idiot way. Does this ring a bell to anyone? Does anyone remember the critique of Biddle?

    1. Aaron

      A paragraph from the piece:

      “In the end, the way Guccifer might be best remembered was in the cooptation of his wildly catchy name for a Russian hacker persona: Guccifer 2.0. The latter Guccifer would hack troves of information from Democratic National Committee servers, a plunder released on WikiLeaks.”

      Am I correct in thinking that years of Russiagate critique has found this claim to be lacking?

      1. Skip Intro

        Yes indeed. Check the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) IIRC, they had a thorough analysis of the provenance of the batches of leaked Clinton emails, one exfiltrated on a thumb drive, not hacked, and one from Guccifer 2.0, visibly fake-Russian, and possibly a limited hangout.

  32. Carla

    In the “History I never knew — did you?” department:

    Today is of course Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

    It turns out January 16 is also Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the forerunner of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Dr. King supported the separation of church and state; I can only imagine he would have approved.

    Based on an original bill authored by Thomas Jefferson in the 1770’s and modified only slightly, “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom” was passed by the Virginia Senate on January 16, 1786, and signed into law three days later.

    Here are some of Jefferson’s words, from the Preamble to the Bill:

    “Almighty God hath created the mind free,” and that “all attempts to influence it” by civil authorities, through financial burdens or legal punishments, only “beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion.” As men who are “themselves but fallible,” such politicians should not assume “dominion over the faith of others.” And because religious beliefs do not bear on citizens’ civil rights, restricting those beliefs “tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage.” Jefferson, continues, stating that government should not regulate opinion and only protect citizens from “overt acts against peace and good order,” and “that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself.” ‘

    There’s considerably more of the fascinating history here:


    For the record, I am a dues-paying member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and just today renewed my membership in the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Both of these excellent organizations strive to ensure equal rights and freedoms for members of every religion, and for those like me, who subscribe to none.

    1. GramSci

      Thanks Carla. If it remains the same organization, I was a dues-paying member of FFRF decades ago. I considered announcing on Yves’ recent post about the evils of Medicare Advantage that Juana and I just switched to Advantage. We also just ordered DO NOT RESUSCITATE amulets so that if all goes according to plan, the money that would have gone to fee-for-service will go to NC and FFRF and, for Screwball and the others with roots in Ohio, to

      1. Carla

        I’ve been a member of SPAN (Single Payer Action Network) Ohio since 1999. I lost the heart to be a regular activist for single payer in 2009 with Obama’s seamless capitulation to the dark forces of profit in medicine, but I always pay my dues to SPAN Ohio, and attend one or two events (usually protests) a year. I felt a need to work on something even more fundamental and became active with supporting the We The People amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Corporations are not people, and money is not speech (HJR-48)

  33. Mikel

    “Democracy and War (II)” Joe Costello, Life in the 21st Century

    Thought I should read part 1 first. Si i go to the beginning and immediately stop.
    The basis of his report assumes a non-basterdized form of “democracy” existed in the places he discusses.

  34. Carolinian

    NC meets the Twitter files? I know ZH is verboten here but they do pick up articles from this site and a new ZH post based on latest Lee Fang reporting says this Nick Corbishley NC post

    as reprinted on ZH earned a censorship request from Moderna/Pfizer-funded “disinformation” campaign. The offending passage from Corbishley’s article was

    if a vaccinated person and an unvaccinated person have roughly the same capacity to carry, shed and transmit the virus, particularly in its Delta form, what difference does implementing a vaccination passport, certificate or ID actually make to the spread of the virus?

    So big brother has been watching people who read Naked Capitalism–if only via unapproved copy and paste.

  35. flora

    From UnHerd:

    How the Davos elite took back control
    The WEF is insulating policy-making from democracy

    “While this may sound fairly benign, it neatly encapsulates the basic philosophy of globalism: insulating policy from democracy by transferring the decision-making process from the national and international level, where citizens theoretically are able to exercise some degree of influence over policy, to the supranational level, by placing a self-selected group of unelected, unaccountable “stakeholders” — mainly corporations — in charge of global decisions concerning everything from energy and food production to the media and public health. …”

    1. spud

      bill clintons W.T.O. is exactly that already.

      The WTO Is Inappropriately Usurping American Sovereignty
      July 14, 2017

      The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization that was created to promote free and fair trade. Unfortunately, this organization is exercising authority in excess of its foundational treaty resulting in the usurpation of American sovereignty.

      It is axiomatic that national sovereignty, at its most basic level, must include a state’s authority to make policy choices regarding self-governance. When sovereign nations join international organizations such as the WTO, they explicitly consent to relinquish a certain degree of independent decision-making authority, but only to the extent provided for in the international agreement or treaty. As the WTO Appellate Body has remarked:

  36. Alice X

    I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.


    His legacy is routinely sanitized, in truth, his economic message was too radical for the PTB. That and his anti-war stance meant he had to go.


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