Links 1/17/2023

Women beekeepers ‘astonished’ by global response to world record attempt ABC Australia

Scientists Gave Penguins a Mirror, And We Have Lots of Questions Science Alert

The Who-Ate-Whom of Terms in Biology: Virovory Small Things Considered. Fascinating. Keep reading

Why Was King Tut Buried with a Trumpet? The Honest Broker

MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. Was More Radical Than We Remember Teen Vogue. From 2020, still germane.

A Collection of Rare Color Photographs Depicts MLK Leading the Chicago Freedom Movement Smithsonian

Davos

How the Davos elite took back control Unherd. In the usual ways:

Manchin, Sinema and Coons meet with CEOs at private Davos luncheon for World Economic Forum CNBC

Belarus opposition leader warns of ‘massive disobedience’ if Lukashenko mobilises for Ukraine war FT. A-a-a-a-a-n-d the deck: “Dictator is more vulnerable than he looks, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya tells FT in Davos.” The subtext here is not hard to read.

Climate

Activists criticise insurance industry’s first attempt to measure carbon emissions FT

Water

Skipped Showers, Paper Plates: An Arizona Suburb’s Water Is Cut Off NYT

#COVID19

SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection is Preceded by Unique Biomarkers and Related to Initial Infection Timing and Severity: an N3C RECOVER EHR-Based Cohort Study (preprint) medRxiv. From the Discussion: “However, it is notable that in Figure 1, initial infection during Delta appeared to be more protective against reinfection during Omicron than initial infection during WT COVID or Alpha, Beta, Gamma. This difference disappeared during Omicron BA.” And: “This study contributes novel findings of the relationship of reinfection with Long COVID diagnosis. The largest proportion of Long COVID diagnoses occur among individuals with a first reinfection in the Omicron BA epoch. Long COVID diagnoses also occurred much closer to the index date following both initial or first reinfection in the Omicron BA epoch as compared to earlier Delta and Omicron epochs. The rate of Long COVID diagnoses has been increasing for reinfections in more recent variants.”

* * *

Data Snapshot: Are we overcounting Covid-19 deaths? No. Inside Medicine

China’s COVID Death Data Underestimates Actual Toll; Might be Just the Tip of the Iceberg: Report Bloomberg

* * *

Airplane lavatories deliver new hope for the CDC’s variant hunt Politico. I’m imagining the next William Gibson trilogy, where one of the protagonists is paid to travel the world er, gaming wastewater detection systems with engineered viral loads.

Several celebrities test positive for COVID after Golden Globes ABC. They just can’t quit the superspreading.

The Chinese View of the World: Is a Non-Zero-Sum Game Possible? Valdai Discussion Club

China?

Commentary: China might not get the economic boost it expects in 2023 from ending zero-COVID Channel News Asia

Construction Resumed on One-Fifth of Stalled Housing Projects by Year End, Survey Finds Caixin. Driving local budgets? Driving the end of Zero Covid? China hands? Commentary:

Chinese chip giant weighs IPOs, land sales to slash debt burden Straits Times

China population: 2022 marks first decline in 60 years South China Morning Post

Chinese-owned nickel smelter operational after a Chinese and an Indonesian worker died during riot South China Morning Post

Environmentalists lambast Indonesia-Malaysia palm oil pledge over deforestation concerns The Straits Times

“Red Card” for the President? Vietnam’s Biggest Political Drama in Decades Fulcrum

Record fish release aims to aid Cambodia’s biodiversity Globe_. That this should be necessary is already a tragedy.

The Koreas

South Korea president, in UAE, backs return to nuclear power Stars and Stripes

The Lucky Country

Should somebody check in on Australia?

Alan Tudge, Christian Porter and Rachelle Miller to front robo-debt inquiry Brisbane Times. More on Robodebt:

Awesome. They’re making us look like amateurs.

Australian governments have kept much of their COVID research and modelling secret. Why? ABC Australia

Friends with Benefits London Review of Books. The Five Eyes.

New Not-So-Cold War

The Dangers of False Metrics and Nuclear Annihilation Empire, Communication and NATO Wars. Mercouris yesterday.

Russia produces first batch of nuclear-armed Poseidon torpedo drones ‘capable of wiping out entire coastlines with radioactive tsunamis’ – as Putin cronies call for Britain to be ‘demolished from the face of the earth‘ Daily Mail

No Russian and no Russians: Ukraine invasion has supercharged Latvian nationalism Vancouver Sun

South of the Border

After the rampage: Brazil’s new leaders to fight hard in wake of ‘insane’ coup attempt Guardian

Biden Administration

POLITICO Playbook: A tale of two Biden speeches Politico

2024

House GOP demands visitor logs in Biden classified docs case AP

Biden uses his lawyers to find his classified docs — to shield from the FBI NY Post. Standard Operating Procedure for Democrats

Our Famously Free Press

Covid-19 Drugmakers Pressured Twitter to Censor Activists Pushing For Generic Vaccine The Intercept

Wikipedia needs different safety rules, says foundation BBC. Wow, it sure would be terrible if a lot of small sites were put out of business by onerous reporting requirements (“But the children!”) that ginormous monopolies could easily fund.

Explaining online conspiracy theory radicalization: A second-order affordance for identity-driven escalation (abstract only) Information Systems Journal. Hilariously, doesn’t mention RussiaGate (“But– But–“).

Recalling CNN’s Fraudulent “Interview” With A Seven Year-Old Syrian Girl Caitlin Johnstone

Supply Chain

Asian Markets Are Dominating Russian Crude Trades Hellenic Shipping News

Guillotine Watch

The Rich’s Search for the Key to Immortality Is Harmful to the Rest of Us Jacobin. Commentary:

The modern family size is changing. Four charts show how. NBC

Class Warfare

Corporations Are Pushing The Supreme Court To Crush Unions Unherd

The Getty Family’s Trust Issues The New Yorker

OSHA: American Airlines punished flight crew for reporting toxic fumes HR Dive

See, this is why we need to privatize Social Security (ctilee):

How to Swim Against the Stream: On Diogenes Los Angeles Review of Books (AL).

The Psychology of Veridos: A Study of Moral Heroism of the 5% or Less Internationalist 360°

The Things You Own…Can’t Own You Daily Stoic

Antidote du jour (via TS):

TS writes: “A Kadee replay, she’s giving her best impression of a beaver.”

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.

168 comments

  1. griffen

    To quote Fight Club, I am Jack’s utter lack of surprise. That is my conclusion, after reading the headline about a few celebs testing positive for the covid 19 after the Golden Globes. Now wait just a second, I heard tell in recent months that the hard charging son of a gun and US President pronounced this whole pandemic thing was over. Come on man.

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      ABC: “It is well known that infected individuals can expel droplets that move throughout an entire indoor space and even linger after a person leaves the area.”

      So weird (and pathetic) that they cling to their droplets, just as they continue to idealize their Ukraine and identity wars.

      Reply
      1. synoia

        When do droplets become vapoor?

        I believe that is a decision of the beholder. Can one of our esteemed press ask our revered public servants?

        Reply
    2. Verifyfirst

      Jessica Chastain (an apparently famous actor) wore a lovely coordinated mask to the Globes, and is crowing about not having caught Covid before her new Ibsen play opens.

      The mask is impresive! High fashion.

      Reply
    3. pjay

      Plus, wasn’t it worth the risk of infection just to be present for Sean Penn’s historical introduction of the Z-Man? To be able to say “I was there” at such a moment…

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Russia produces first batch of nuclear-armed Poseidon torpedo drones ‘capable of wiping out entire coastlines with radioactive tsunamis’ – as Putin cronies call for Britain to be ‘demolished from the face of the earth‘ ”

    For the present US government, this weapon must be the ultimate nightmare. Think about it. The Russians could launch two Poseidon torpedo drones – one at the New York coastline and the second at the Californian coastline – and wipe out those regions. And as these two regions are Democrat strongholds, it would mean that the Democrats would be finished and you would have Republican governments in Washington as far as the eye can see. And honestly, who would ever bother funneling bribes and largess to an insignificant party that hardly has a base anymore?

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      I’m guessing that tsunami-nuking LA or SF has little military value. My bet would be one aimed for the funnel south of NYC/Manhattan and another aimed for the Maryland-Virginia Atlantic Coast.

      The radioactive tsunami/back-wash would all flow right up to the Beltway, while the radioactive cloud would take out Langley, Fort Meade along the way.

      Only POTUS and very highest tier of officials would have the theoretical means to evacuate via helicopter. Sorry Mayo Pete.

      Reply
      1. britzklieg

        MacDill AF base in Tampa FL would surely be a target… and despite my fondness for the state in which I grew up and all my dearest friend here, I do understand why much of the country would not be sorry to see Florida go. I’d tolerate just about anything to see DeSantis stopped before he can do even more damage.

        Most people don’t know that Florida has a history of strong liberal Democrats (Claude Pepper, Rueben Askew, Leroy Collins, Lawton Chiles, etc) despite being solidly Dixie Democratic before the reformers (Collins in particular) changed that course.

        Today’s Florida Democrats are best explained with one name: Charlie Crist. Ugh.

        Reply
    2. GM

      Poseidon is a very asymmetric weapon, and very ingenious.

      Note, however, that I highly doubt one will be enough for each coastline. This is asteroid impact territory and while you don’t need a Chixulub-level explosion to trigger a huge tsunami that will inundate a whole coastline, you do need a lot more than even Tsar Bomba.

      Tsar Bomba was 50 MT, the Chixulub impact is estimated at a million times that (yes, six orders of magnitude).

      How big exactly the Poseidon warhead is we don’t know.

      The Western press claims it is 2 MT, which is really not much at all, ICBMs were deployed at various points with bigger warheads, the Chinese DF5 ones still are in the 3-8 MT range to this day.

      Nobody would bother putting together an extremely expensive 100-ton (in physical weight) supersophisticated nuclear-powered UUV to deliver a 2-MT warhead. Doesn’t make sense in terms of resource investment.

      So the numbers reported by the Russians — 200 MT are more likely to be correct.

      It could be even bigger though — you can scale up hydrogen bombs pretty much indefinitely, and there is room in such a behemoth for a really giant nuke (it also allows for optimizing the geometry in a way that the space constraints imposed by airborne delivery methods do not). It could be even bigger than 200 MT. Already back in the days Tsar Bomba was deliberately scaled down in order not to do too much collateral damage, the original design was for 100 MT. So you can easily do that and even more.

      But still, that will not generate asteroid impact-level tsunamis, which is what you need for “entire coastlines”.

      You can wipe out a more localized area. Which is why the Belgorod sub carries six of these, not two. So perhaps one Poseidon in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay (geography is complex there, but it might be possible to wipe out Norfolk, DC and Baltimore with a single shot; I am sure the Russians have done the modeling), one in the waters around Manhattan, one in the San Francisco Bay, one in Los Angeles, one in Seattle, and one in London.

      The one problem is that none of this has ever been tested, nor can it be tested. The last time anyone actually detonated a bomb over 10 MT was in 1962, and even Tsar Bomba was only 50 MT. That whatever the Poseidon design is will actually achieve 200 MT has not been tested in practice. Nor has the tsunami effect been tested. There are computer simulations, of course, and yet real life often throws various surprises. But this is such a doomsday weapon that you simply cannot test the tsunami effect. Where would you do that?

      BTW, this problem isn’t limited to Poseidon — ICBMs were only ever tested end to end once, when the US detonated one in the Pacific Ocean in the early 1960s. That was just before the surface test ban. Now you have multiple countries with ICBMs, and they all assume everything will work in practice, but again, nobody has ever fully tested it. Even the warheads themselves haven’t been tested in 30 years.

      Anyway, back to why Poseidon is so smart — there is no viable response. Could the US develop the same thing? Sure, they could, but what are they going to hit? Pretty much all really important Russian cities are deep inland. They can live without Vladivostok and Murmansk, St. Petersburg is the only exception, but if you detonate something like this there, you also wipe out Finland and Estonia (assuming the US cares about those)

      This is the ultimate vulnerability of the Island empire that the Eurasian land power does not have.

      P.S. It might also come handy longer term if one day there is confrontation between Russia and China — the key Chinese cities are concentrated and exposed on the coast similarly to those in the US…

      Reply
      1. David

        As far as I know, very little is known about the actual effects of underwater nuclear explosions. The US carried out a number in the 40s and 50s but these were very low-yield, and almost certainly designed to test nuclear warheads against ships and submarines (which was pretty much their only use in the Cold War, as I recall.)

        Water is more dense than air, so propagation will be different. I don’t know about basic yield: remember the massive Soviet weapons of the 50s were designed to be so powerful partly because they were so inaccurate. The modern equivalent of a 20MT warhead would probably be three 200KT warheads carefully spaced. I have no idea how that would play out in an underwater explosion though.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          If you want to create a giant tsunami, you don’t place the nuke close to the harbour, you place it on some convenient continental shelf and try to get it to collapse or subsist. This is why tsunamis are so hard to predict – its not the power of the earthquake that creates the biggest waves, its the collapse of sub-surface features. The giant tsunami that turned the Dogger Bank from a big island to a shipping forecast were caused by unstable moraine deposits left perched on continental shelves by rising sea levels. They did a lot of research into them in the 1970’s and 80’s when opening up the North Sea for oil production.

          I knew a slightly eccentric but very highly regarded geologist who used to tell us that when his wife was house hunting he insisted that the house be at least 40 metres above sea level as he calculated that this was the maximum hight of a wave hitting Britain and Ireland if the shelf off the Azores collapsed.

          So basically if Putin really wanted to flood every western city, the best place for a nuke would probably be off the Azores or possibly 100km or so west of Norway.

          Reply
          1. Olivier

            That is basically the plot of the new Amazon series The Rig, except the attacker is not Russia but something else. It managed to trigger another Storegga event; you’ll have to watch the series to find out how and why.

            Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        I’m convinced that a lot of these Russian new nuclear weapons are essentially maskirovka, intended to pin down western resources in places the west doesn’t want. You’d really have to ask what the point is with a weapon like this when you already have plenty of capacity to nuke any harbor or city you want. If you really wanted to cause tsunami’s, then just laying a big nuke out the back of a submarine would be a lot cheaper, a little like WWI U-boats set minefields along British harbors.

        Ultimately, having the possibility of delivering nukes in multiple ways is just as useful as actually having the capacity. As North Korea has demonstrated, even possessing a very crude and probably non-functioning ability to hit US soil with a nuke fundamentally changes the strategic equation positively for them.

        For Russia, weapons like this (and others in the pipeline, including long range stealth bombers and various hypersonics) forces the US into putting vast resources into countermeasures. Essentially, Russia is keeping the West guessing while forcing them to spend hundreds of billions on countermeasures to weapons that may or may not exist in reality. The Russians have always done this – much of their nuclear capacity in the 1950’s and 60’s was little more than theatre, but they have a particular incentive to do it now.

        All the major countries of course to some degree use ambiguity to some degree to their benefit (this, arguably, is the major benefit of stealth aircraft – an enemy can never quite be sure if their countermeasures will ever work). But Russia is in a position to use it more effectively than most.

        Reply
        1. cfraenkel

          The Russians have always done this – much of their nuclear capacity in the 1950’s and 60’s was little more than theatre,

          Theater certainly, with SAC / CIA as director, producer, & landlord. After Corona, they knew there was no bomber or missile “gap” (more, they knew the US was many times in the lead). But for some strange reason they continued to lie to Congress and the rest of us.

          And the Russians remember this, obviously.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            Yeah, from some recent Putin quotes it seems he is deeply aware of what the cold war arms race did to the soviet economy and wants to avoid Russia going down that route again.

            Reply
              1. JTMcPhee

                So, given the givens, would I. I actually was sucker enough to enlist to go fight for my country, little knowing that it was not mine, never had been, “dominos” was a fraud and Gulf of Tonkin never happened, except as a scene in “wag the Dog.” And it’s already happening from what I read here and other places. Our globalist neocon neoliberal rulers have started the timers on a number of suicide vests that the rest of us are locked into, like for-profit “health care,” debt-financed everything, various addictions (many to fatal substances,) attempts to emplace first-strike nuclear weapons aimed at Russian command-and control which these people ought to know (and surely do) has a dead-man switch that will launch all of R’s considerable strategic and conventional weapons at the “West” on a WARNING that an attack is underway. The West is a place where a lot of the rulers don’t even live, having established bolt holes and hideouts deep in the southern hemisphere.

                The great powerless mass of the “Golden Billion” likely don’t know they are, and surely do not want to be, the little pieces in this mammoth Game of Risk crossed with Monopoly, but the rulers have worked it out so they have no voice, no preference, no choice.

                Stick a fork in us, Serge — you’ll see we’re cooked.

                Reply
      3. Michaelmas

        GM: but if you detonate something like this there, you also wipe out Finland and Estonia (assuming the US cares about those

        Curtis LeMay and his successor at SAC, Thomas Powers, certainly didn’t care during the 1950s and early 1960s. According to everybody who ever saw the USAF’s targeting plans then, most of Europe — even unto, quite possibly, France, Germany, and the UK — was simply written off as necessary collateral.

        On current evidence, with EU being fed into the maw of the Ukraine war, not much may have changed.

        Reply
      4. Polar Socialist

        St. Petersburg is the only exception

        St. Petersburg is sort of protected by the “Saint Petersburg Flood Prevention Facility Complex”, also known as St. Petersburg Dam. Closest you can get is about 12 miles, unless you really take them by surprise.

        Anyway, I always assumed the forte of Poseidon is the nuclear engine giving it ridiculous range and speed (when needed). It can loiter for days or weeks in Chesapeake Bay’s noisy surface waters waiting for a carrier (group) or convoy to steam out of Norfolk.

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        The Gulf Shore of America is a “Target Rich Environment” as far as major population and infrastructure centres is concerned.
        Putting aside the questions about warhead yields, the “stealth” nature of the device is it’s main strength. If the Russians have figured out a way to defeat America’s world oceans spanning acoustic listening systems, then it well and truly is, “Game On!”

        Reply
        1. tevhatch

          Both China and Russia reputedly already have a solution to USA sensor grid, it sounds interesting in their approach, each showing a particular national ethos. The Chinese are building a fleet of drones to find all the “sonar and infrared” sensors, map them and then have a fleet ready to take them out at the right time. The Russians plan is to nuke all the communication nodes, so the bots can listen all day long, but can’t transmit to HQ or remote submarines.

          Reply
      2. Ghost in the Machine

        The petrochemical industry along the Houston ship channel is an obvious target. A storm surge right up the channel has been the nightmare scenario for a long time. Right now plans are being made to build a huge dike, the Ike Dike, to prevent such a scenario. It would completely alter the ecosystem of Galveston Bay.

        Reply
      1. tevhatch

        The cockroaches will like be the most “intelligent” life by then, if not then it will be the tardigrades. These are counter-response dooms day devices.

        Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        That depends on the local ground permeability. Langley could be drinking the worst of it for decades. [spoiler]The god of Abraham wrote off 1/3 of the fish in the leaked season finale, so I’d plan on it regardless.[/spoiler]

        Reply
    3. XXYY

      For all the frenzied theorizing about using nuclear armed torpedoes against coastal cities, it’s probably more fruitful to think about using them in a traditional torpedo role. Doubtless one of these things could vaporise a naval formation of almost any size with zero warning, anywhere, in any ocean.

      In other words, the entire US Navy (and all other national navies) just became completely useless as a military force.

      Quite remarkable.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Both the Americans and the Soviets had nuclear torpedoes by the Cuban Missile Crisis. IIRC, a Soviet submarine commander during the crisis decided to not use his on an American destroyer that was harassing him, which his orders had given him permission to do.

        Reply
  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    Recommended: How to swim against the stream, about Diogenes

    Author Bradatan’s biggest insight is Diogenes as an embodied philosopher. Diogenes using his body to make a philosophical point. Diogenes, then, is always in the world, which is why he could make fun of Socrates and Plato and their categories like featherless biped, tableness, chairness, and goodness.

    Yet we spend too much time trying to get past the people who want to platosplain us all about caves and images and such. Sheesh. Meanwhile, Diogenes like Joshu just says “mu!”

    I happen to have a double translation, a little book of Herakleitos and Diogenes, done by Guy Davenport.

    Many fragments and brief quotations. Yet they hint at the “left-hand” path that one must take to get out of the world that thinks that such a thing as tableness exists.

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      Your “left-hand” comment made me think of Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World where he sees the relationship between left and right hemispheres manifested in history as well as our own “grasp” of reality.

      I enjoyed first half of the book, second half not so much, he gives the middle ages short shrift.

      https://www.amazon.com/Master-His-Emissary-Divided-Western/dp/0300188374

      Reply
      1. Bsn

        If people have a chance, support – and buy books – via Bookshop.org. Avoid “at all cost” (he he) Amazon – a purely criminal organization. Vote with your wallet since ballot casting is pointless.

        Reply
      2. Michaelmas

        Ah, thanks! I hadn’t come across McGilchrist. He appears to have turned the thesis of Julian Jaynes’s The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind on its head.

        Reply
        1. zagonostra

          Exactly, it him a long time for him to mention Julian Jaynes, and when he doe, he doesn’t covere deeply enough, IMO.

          Jaynes theses was that the corpus callosum developed to a stage where it integrated the left and right hemisphere that led to the emergence of “Mind.” McGilchrist makes the argument that the main function is to keep the asymmetrical hemispheres from too much integration, it’s main function is inhibitory: There are two brains that run in parallel, and not in harmony. It’s a good read, and yeah try and avoid Amazon.

          Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      C’mon man. All those people at Davos are doing God’s work. They work hard and they play hard-

      ‘The Swiss escort agencies near Davos are already fully booked ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum, the elite gathering that brings together heads of state, corporate executives, and influential non-profiteers, Austrian outlet Exxpress reported on Sunday, citing a missive purportedly sent from one such agency.

      In a message to unnamed hospitality staff and published by Express, escort agency Sensuallounge Escort urges readers to book their “fine selection of ladies and gentlemen” ahead of time to ensure “the best possible care and company during the World Economic Forum.” 

      Sex workers also await in hotels and bars frequented by guests, according to a 2020 report from the Times UK, and women – even if they are accredited WEF attendees – are “routinely harassed” by the men who dominate the conclave. Indeed, the event began warning women that year not to go out alone after dark, “because if something happens with some big CEO, who is going to be believed? You or them?”’

      https://www.rt.com/news/569971-escort-services-booked-wef-davos/

      Reply
      1. Paradan

        I think the next James Bond movie is coming to me…

        Bond has to sneak all the hookers out of Davos before it gets nuked.

        Reply
      2. John

        While I reluctantly recognize the import of the final question, I have a question of my own. Other than position, power, and wealth, what makes a big CEO believable? There is ample public evidence that this is no more the case for them than it is for anyone else.

        Reply
        1. JohnA

          I imagine la Zelenskya, scheduled to make a begging speech at Davos, will walk away with the biggest bundle of moneylaundering loot, adding up to far more than all the rest of the ladies of the night may earn this week.

          Reply
          1. tevhatch

            Indeed. He’s a gigilo of a far more expensive class than the ladies he pimps, worth every penny to the right client, like Ms. Freeland, Ms. Nuland, Ms. Clinton, or Mr. Kagan. The move from piano playing organ grinder to a man capable of screwing an entire country to death is quite some accomplishment, worthy of Washington level high office. Maybe Sean Penn traded his Oscar and PR work for the aphrodisiac recipe and training manual.

            Reply
      3. Stephen

        The whole Davos thing is disgusting and sinister.

        I have former colleagues who go there and who have also collaborated on various WEF reports in the past. My Linked In feed is now full of cringeworthy notes from these people giving updates on what is happening and how inspired they are. But they are just repeating the current PMC dogmas. Zero insight. Most of it is corporate gobbledygook.

        As a former member of the PMC it is fun to look at these things from a detached perspective and laugh. But the whole thing panders effectively to egos, enables people who work for all sorts of organisations that are less than savory to feel good about themselves and virtue signal while at the same time making lots of money. Professional services firms (for example) see the whole thing as a gigantic selling opportunity. The escort agencies are just yet another set of organisations prostituting themselves.

        Reply
      4. Synoia

        At Davos, during the day, we get s….., and at night thy practice for the next day….and the Winners are the ladies of the night.

        Can one govern with one’s pants (trousers) own?

        Reply
      5. spud

        the russians and the chinese know from WWII that replacing hitler and musolinni would have been a mistake, after all, like the davos crowd, they ran the economy and the war like the towering mental midgets they are.

        if the davos crowd is replaced with someone who is even barely competent, they would have a harder time remaining sovereign.

        the davos crowd is about to take apart whats left of americas civil society, because slaves, forced labor, indentured servants, makes for a economic and industrial power house(sarc).

        Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Australian governments have kept much of their COVID research and modelling secret. Why?”

    Gunna have to put this on Scotty from Marketing for starting this. In the first year of the Pandemic the government would talk about their models which they were using to decide public health policy but would never reveal what they showed with their raw data. The same data that taxpayers kinda paid for. Of course that let the government free to choose some pretty shonky people and think tanks to decide how they would tailor government policy to deal with this virus which eventualy led to Operation Let ‘er Rip. Of course nearly 17,000 people have died since then but we all know that the dead do not complain. The worse part is that ever since Scotty from Marketing got the boot in the last election his successor from the other party – Albo from Marketing – is continuing these policies so it is a uniparty policy to let the virus spread. Not working out to good that approach but the media tries to ignore it.

    Reply
  5. upstater

    Re. No Russian and no Russians: Ukraine invasion has supercharged Latvian nationalism Vancouver Sun

    Just more confirmation that the Baltics are run by madmen that harken back to their Nazi collaborator forefathers. Can you imagine a country that is 1/3 Russian outlaws the Russian language? The article has a photo of monument to the Latvian Riflemen, a militia goon squad used to impose quasi fascist order from the interwar years, probably now reconstituted like the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union. What kind of country has an annual parade a a memorial to their 2 Nazi SS divisions that fought to the bitter end? What kind of country bulldozes the graves of Red Army soldiers that drove the Nazis out?

    Ethnic Russians have lived in the Baltics for hundreds of years, even before the empire.

    The political similarities to the Banderites and Ukraine are identical. Latvia, of course, lacks the strategic depth or size of Ukraine. I wonder when Russia decides to cut the Baltics off their electric grid? Those DC ties to Sweden or Finland can’t supply the voracious winter appetite for electricity.

    My mom was Lithuanian and I have citizenship. I have no desire to visit the Baltics again.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Can you imagine a country that is 1/3 Russian outlaws the Russian language?’

      I suppose that would be like the US government forbidding the teaching and speaking of Spanish throughout the country, especially in the American SW. Removing their right to vote or to have passports. Removing any Spanish names for streets and towns. And then forbidding those people from having certain jobs in society because they are seen as a threat. Because this was happening in Latvia, wouldn’t you know it. Discriminating against a population is OK with the EU because that is not against EU “values”.

      Reply
      1. JohnA

        Plus banning the catholic religion and looting catholic churches and monasteries, beating up priests.

        All good democratic practices reflecting western values, of course.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          There is precedent.
          England’s Henry VIII did exactly that back during the Reformation and profited mightily from it.
          I’ll argue that The Reformation is a formative influence on what we call “Western Values” today.
          America is carrying on one of the biggest of Big Lies by pretending that it’s Federal Republic style of political organization is an exemplar of ‘Democracy.’

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            As i understand it, it was not uncommon for churches and monasteries to act as “banks” back in the day. This because they were neutral ground to any proper christian. Didn’t help them much when pagans showed up in longships though.

            Reply
      2. ilya g.

        “This little Baltic nation of three million” – according to the CIA World Factbook, Latvia’s population is only 1,842,226 (2022 est.)

        Reply
      3. Eclair

        Or renaming all the natural features of a country, the mountain peaks and the rivers, the native trees and fauna, in an alien language. And then forbidding the speaking of those indigenous languages. We can see from our south-facing window, on those days when it deigns to reveal itself, Tahoma.

        That is its true name. Mount Ranier is an alias.

        Reply
    2. LawnDart

      Let’s not forget why there are a lot of Russians in the Baltic states– it’s not like Boris packed-up Irma and the kids and said, “No picnic in Sosnovka Park this weekend, we’re gonna decamp for Riga instead!”

      Before WWII, the Germans looked at the Baltics as some from Minnesota or Illinois look at Wisconsin: it’s where they spent Summers and had vacation homes– ties between Balts and Germans were strong, as was identity and nationalism.

      The Soviets attempted to weaken this nationalism through use of forced-migration– Russian workers to Latvia and Latvians to Siberia– to foster a Soviet mentality.

      Persons of Russian heritage who currently live in the Baltic states, the oldest were only children when this happened. And those responsible, the Soviets, are long gone.

      What is taking place are attempts at making children responsible for the real or imagined crimes of their parents…

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

      Reply
    3. Mildred Montana

      My long-dead father was Lithuanian. With the arrival of WWII he was forced to choose between the Russians and the Germans. He chose the Germans and served as a doctor in their army. He emigrated to Canada shortly after the war and spent the rest of his life in Hamilton, Ontario, which for some reason attracted a lot of Lithuanian immigrants.

      As a young native-born Canadian there were two things about my Dad and his Lithuanian friends that I could never understand: Their passionate loyalty to their old faraway country and the casual, accepted anti-Semitism they brought with them to their new. At Lithuanian get-togethers derisive comments about Jews were common. I was shocked. Nobody else was.

      Reply
      1. jhallc

        Mildred-
        I’m guessing that the steel factories located in Hamilton had something to do with the immigration attraction. Similar occurrence happened in Buffalo/Lackawana area where Bethlehem Steel was located. My Great Great German Grandfather rolled through Hamilton, Ont. before making his way to Niagara Falls on the US side.

        Reply
      2. 'Ski in Bay View

        Well, I can say that it was pretty much the same growing up in a Polish neighborhood in Milwaukee in the ’50s and ’60s. Not so much the passionate commitment to the old country: three of my grandparents were themselves second-generation, with only my mother’s father having come over on the boat himself, before WWI, as a teenager. But I grew up believing that ‘Polish Jew’ was an oxymoron. And, being a person of her time and place, my grandmother didn’t have much good to say about black people either. (N.B. Milwaukee was then, and remains, the most segregated of large US cities.)

        Reply
    4. Jessica

      As part of the anti-communist crusade, there has been substantial support for a century for the most vicious forms of nationalism among diasporas from the Baltics and eastern Europe in the West.

      Reply
  6. Steve H.

    > The Psychology of Veridos: A Study of Moral Heroism of the 5% or Less Internationalist 360°

    Mmh. One sociological definition of deviance is any behaviors done by 5% or less of the population. So there’s a perspective in which this reframes as The Deviance of Moral Heroism.

    As Barth said, “Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.” Here’s an issue:

    > the too few courageous people who have made personal sacrifices to speak truth, expose secrets, and challenge oppressive authority to advance the progress of humanity.

    imo both the Hillary supporters, and the Trump supporters, who were hollering about stolen elections were meeting this definition. And I’d bet if you added them together, they’d make more than 5%. The bias of the article is seen here:

    > Consider Lloyd DeMause’s observation that “psychoclass” emerged from a particular style of childrearing

    which makes me uncomfortable, in a chicken-or-egg way, of who gets to define ‘heroic’.

    > your attention is drawn to the ranking list and diverted away from its authors, for whom the very fact of drafting it renders them legitimate drafters of ranking lists. [Bordieu]

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      There are permanent outsider groups in our system. Some are ideologically driven but as Dr Perlman explains, some honestly believe they’re promoting real truths and not just clinging to old values.

      I was hyper-partisan most of my life but through political engagement it was hard not to see the people who showed up every time I was on the morally correct side of a big issue. When I didn’t see those people, it usually meant I had strayed from the path, almost always in the name of expediency trying to win in the short-term without any thought as to the long-term consequences.

      I believe that the core of Naked Capitalism’s readership is ready to evolve past the “idealism” of [meritocratic PMCs, Du Bois’s Talented Tenth, the Best & the Brightest, etc.]and into the realm of the Courageous 5%. You cannot separate your ideals from reality, and you are not permitted to fabricate your own reality (a bubble). If you see the world as it truly is, the only requirement for becoming one of the Courageous 5% is that you not deform your speech/actions to accommodate the 94.9% who go along with the authoritarian .1% all the time (assuming they’re pitched right and incentivized).

      I really liked Dr. Perlman’s take on how we see the world. While I was still embedded within the Democratic party, it was easy to fixate on the short-term but over the years it became painfully obvious that the more I might fixate on a single issue or candidate, the more warped my worldview became. Moving past the party was liberating (and that was a liberation process that took decades to achieve).

      I do not feel like a deviant. I feel like someone who just escaped the whorehouse I grew up in and is finally seeing the world as it really is, that you can be free to be something other than a whore or a john.

      Yves/Lambert, sincerest thanks for this link.

      Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        This is a quick reply, and not intended as a comment on your particular experience.

        The world is such a varied place that you can see just about anything you want to in it. Having a minority opinion is no guarantee of having the truth. For all I know Nazis and flat-earthers see themselves as brave truth-tellers battling a sea of lies. And I suppose even Democrats (and Republicans) tell some, or partial, truths when it’s convenient.

        My point: there are no shortcuts. On some subjects you may be in the 5%. On others in the 94.9%. I leave out the .1% because I don’t think any of us here are in that category.

        Reply
      2. Steve H.

        Mark Gisleson, this is a late comment, as I was considering what you said, and LifelongLib did well drawing out the implications. Part of my upbringing is that my father studied deviance, and my phrasing didn’t help clarify my argument.

        That upbringing means that I recognize the parenting style they describe, which could be called academic. Or PMC. (The author self-describes as “Diane Perlman, PhD”). My problem is when a class describes their own parenting style as that which leads to moral heroism, they are saying the other 95% don’t. Deplorables. The big power issue is, who determines what is right?

        In particular:

        > A subset of Veridos have been “health nuts” for decades, using preventive, functional, naturopathic, and regenerative medicine, natural remedies, healthy food, immune boosting rather than prescription drugs. Some gave birth at home, raised children naturally and did not vaccinate them.

        So we are clear, this person is saying that the moral heroes are anti-vaxx. Not anti-EUA-mRNA-vaxx. Straight up anti-vaxx.

        Villain or hero, who gets to decide?

        Reply
        1. Mark Gisleson

          I did not get the sense of complete anti-vax sentiment. What I read was anger at specific Big Pharma companies for specific inadequately tested products.

          I have been very slow to climb aboard the anti-vax bandwagon despite not being vaccinated (I explained at the outset my unique circumstances: extremely remote location, very small isolated town, hermit like existence, letting my drivers license/car tabs expire, no one in my house and me not in other’s houses, minimal shopping, non-AIDS immune disorder, etc).

          Ron Johnsons’s hearings tipped me, and nothing since has convinced me otherwise. I have very little respect for Johnson, but those hearings are why I have any respect for him at all.

          As for the PMC angle, I would suggest that this is one example of PMCs being a marker for societal change not because they are PMCs but because the “leisure class” is capable of producing altruistic offspring. I predict the children who grow up in failed PMC households (surplus executives) will grow up to be adequately selfish.

          I think the Veridos label is useful. I’ve always explained my windmill jousting away as the result of a failed Christian upbringing (all the values, none of the beliefs). Dr Perlman describes a very real group of [not Boomers altho the context suggests Boomers but I think her point goes beyond generational issues] but the hard fact is that at every step of my evolution through and beyond the Democratic party I have encountered a small minority of activists who, like myself, have a sense of the forces arrayed against us and fight back, often at great personal cost (if poors could declare bankruptcy I probably would have done so after every major election cycle I worked).

          And, thinking about it, the Veridos in my experience have been overwhelmingly childless or empty nesters. It’s not a lifestyle that lends itself to raising children but all the Veridos I have ever met have been concerned about overpopulation and chose not to reproduce.

          I appreciate your thoughtful comment (actually I appreciate any response to anything I write) however I subscribed to Perlman and slowly working my way back through her posts I am finding — regardless of her specific views — a valuable ally on my left, not something I run into very often. Perlman is aspirational but that’s not surprising. I always position myself as far left as pragmatically possible. Anyone to my left is either aspirational or delusional (imo) and I do not think she’s delusional. Western style medicine is not being properly practiced, it’s being exploited by sociopaths hiding behind sciencey greed.

          Reply
  7. zagonostra

    >Martin Luther King Jr. Was More Radical Than We Remember Teen Vogue

    Unfortunately, King was killed before he was able to complete the Poor People’s March.

    That’s it!? No mention of the 1999 court case that determined that Jowers and others had conspired to assassinate King. Next time “Teen Vogue” updates their MLK account they need to keep one essential name in mind, William Pepper, the man is heroic.

    It is odd how every year MLK day comes and goes without any mainstream or alt news covering the trial’s conclusion and its ramifications. No rather, let’s focus on some aesthetically atrocious sculpture, watch the shinny object, not the hand that’s wielding it.

    Coretta Scott King said after the verdict: “There is abundant evidence of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.” The jury found that the mafia and various government agencies “were deeply involved in the assassination. … Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.

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

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That is why it was done that way. It means nothing and is completely divorced from the messages that MLK left behind. It is nearly twenty tons of metal that tells you nothing about the man so mission accomplished.

        Reply
        1. John Zelnicker

          Rev – It really is just another distraction from the reality of King’s mission, and it’s ugly, too.

          There has been a bit of pushback in the past day or so against the white-washing of King’s legacy.

          See this: https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/15/us/mlk-i-have-a-dream-speech-blake-cec/index.html

          Key point is King’s definition of integration which no one talks about anymore because it scares people “Dr. King meant mutual acceptance, interpersonal living and shared power.” E.g., if a black neighbor comes to a white family’s door asking for a cup of sugar, they are seen as a neighbor, not as a threat. We aren’t any closer to that ideal than we were in 1966.

          And this: https://scheerpost.com/2023/01/16/kingmaker/ which kinda encapsulates the motives for suppressing knowledge of King’s radical beliefs.

          This old Phil Ochs song is just as relevant today as it was 57 years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nFvhhCulaw (4:39).

          Reply
    1. curlydan

      When TPTB heard MLK’s speech at Riverside Church, it was always going to be trouble: “I’m convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”

      https://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/c.php?g=819842&p=5924547

      Reply
      1. John Zelnicker

        curlydan – IMNSHO, it was the greatest of King’s speeches, yet I haven’t seen any mention of it in the flood of articles and posts about him over the past few days.

        He gave that speech exactly one year before his assassination and it may have sealed his fate.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          JZ
          It just strikes me that King is boxed into a racial narrative, because that doesn’t cost anything. Bringing up the poor people’s campaign (which I note is not poor black people’s campaign) might bring up actual policies that COST money or LESSEN profits for things like homelessness and health care. And would also make it a much more successful political program…funny how it just is never talked about

          Reply
          1. John Zelnicker

            Excellent points, fresno dan. They also fit well with the point I made above about the complete lack of discussion or notice about King’s concept of integration.

            It really is a virtual neutering of his radical views.

            Reply
    2. pjay

      King’s increasing radicalism has indeed been “whitewashed” in our official history. But in my jaundiced view, the purpose of most articles like this is to reclaim King for the “woke” crowd seeking to “unearth history not told through a white, cis-hetero-patriarchal lens.” To her credit, the author does note the importance of King’s increasing opposition to the Vietnam War. But the evolution of his class-based understanding and activism is undermined, in my view, by framing it as a growing awareness of the depth of “white privilege” that makes *white* Americans uncomfortable.

      To your points (and again, in my own view), had King’s message remained focused on race, his fate might have been different. But among progressive academics writing today, some types of “radicalism” are more acceptable than others.

      Reply
  8. russell1200

    Back in the day, there were nuclear torpedoes – mostly to fight submarines, and nuclear anti-air missiles – to knock down hordes of nuclear armed bombers. In general, precision weapons were found to be easier to use and more effective.

    So it is strange that the Russians would build a nuclear torpedo to do something (blow up shoreline cities) very easily with the weapons they have on hand (AKA ICBMs).

    It seems far more likely that the torpedoes are intended to take out our ICBM armed submarines in their sanctuary areas or maneuvering aircraft carrier groups. The relatively short range shot of the nuclear torpedo would make last minute adjustments of targeting relatively easy.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      in my opinion, the nuke torpedo is more a “dead man’s switch” doomsday weapon.

      Russian military has been terrified by a western decapitation first-strike for decades, which destroys the Russian leadership before a retaliatory counter-strike is ordered…..not too difficult if missiles are placed in Eastern Europe, flight time to Moscow in <10 minutes.

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Also why Ukraine is such a sore spot, as the land between Kiev and Moscow is pretty much flat. The most famous tank battle of WW2 took place pretty much on that border.

        Reply
    2. tevhatch

      Water transmits force so much better than air, it’s why ultrasonic testing uses water(as a jell) as a coupling agent. The force will transmit for a far greater distance, and the contamination spread along with it. It’s a nasty clever way of getting a hell of a lot more oomph per gram of plutonium.

      Reply
    3. cfraenkel

      Can current ICBMs take out a city? Sure. Can they accomplish their primary mission of deterance? These days, with the unhinged yahoos inside the beltway? Not so clear.

      I think the Russians realized this some years ago and decided they needed to engage with the schoolyard thinking that passes for strategy in DC. (“Mine’s bigger” seems to be the level we’re operating at.)

      Reply
  9. griffen

    Hoo boy, the article on the Getty Family Trust is a long form but worthwhile reading. Tax planning and estate planning 101, for anyone fortunate / lucky enough to be 1. born at the right time and 2. born into the right family, legitimately or perhaps less so. For whatever one generally thinks about taxing the rich, they are all broadly many steps ahead of the IRS and what piddling efforts that individual US states can throw at them.

    This article is specifically about the third, and fourth, generation heirs to the J. Paul Getty oil fortune. But one could pencil into the article any other prominent example of generational fortunes for landmark household names. Even an Oscar Mayer heir gets a mention. Previous articles much like this one have focused on the workings of dynastic trusts, for the Mars candy fortune and for the Busch beer fortune. The rich just ain’t like the rest of us.

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      griffen – I studied estate planning while in the life insurance business and I’m not sure such a dynastic, multi-generational trust could be established today due to changes in tax laws.

      There are limits now on how far down the line of descendants a trust can remain in force before it has to distribute the corpus and terminate.

      Reply
      1. griffen

        Well per the article, there have been a few upgrades to the loopholes in the past few decades. The article goes fairly in depth as to the ability to establish specific trusts, in particular those initiated by grants of company stock at presumably low cost / low share price valuations. There was an infamous court case which basically set a precedent in the early 2000s, whereby a Walton family heir (yes that would be Wal Mart) established a trust using company stock.

        The article also presents a few examples of how particular states like South Dakota or Nevada have set the bar incredibly low. And in the case of the Getty family trust the details are highly specific on how, and where, the business doings of the trust are carried out. It is a well done article, my opinion.

        Reply
  10. Carolinian

    Interesting story on AZ/water/Rio Verde and also some creative photography (the camera looking up from inside the water tank–water tank POV). My friend who lives in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa has become disillusioned with the place and not just because of the water threat. The rampant development means more crowding and worse traffic even though 20 miles from downtown. When it all goes bust the California refugees will doubtless move on–perhaps to the sunny South (aieee). Water we have.

    Apparently it has been raining and now snowing this winter. So a little relief at least.

    Reply
      1. Carolinian

        I saw a story on the Colorado river pact that said AZ has been filling out its allocation by pumping during the winter non grow season to, among other things, fill up the aquifer underneath Tucson. Don’t have the link but here is an alternate version.

        https://www.wvpublic.org/2022-09-15/tucson-has-5-5-years-of-excess-colorado-river-water-stowed-in-a-secret-reservoir

        There are also now laws that say developers have to have an arranged water source before they can build. This has become an issue for a huge housing development west of Phoenix.

        Reply
        1. Slaine

          Central Arizona Project has been banking water in 6 groundwater recharge projects along the canal ending in Tuscon. There is supposedly enough water to cover 2 years worth of Colorado River supplies. Trouble is, no one is quite sure who is going to pay to pump that water back out.

          Reply
  11. Realist

    Skipped Showers, Paper Plates: An Arizona Suburb’s Water Is Cut Off NYT

    I have family in that area and was there over the holidays.

    The article doesn’t mention the many hundreds of new $2-3m mansions that Scottsdale has approved, currently being built in what used to be pristine desert preserve. Multiple giant subdivisions, less than a mile away from the homes in the article. eg https://storyrockaz.com/ is one of many.

    I imagine the city council threw those existing homeowners under the bus at the behest of the new developers. There’s certainly something fishy going on!

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The story says that most of them had been hauling in water since they moved in and have large built in water tanks to accomodate this. What’s new is that it used to come more cheaply from Scottsdale.

      So “fine print” or no it’s not like they didn’t know the score going in.

      The problem is not just water but also people building houses in pristine desert or right up the sides of the scenic mountains. Because Phoenix has large Indian reservations the buildable land is squeezed out like toothpaste from a tube and while the state has plenty of desert the long time residents are not at all pleased to see their scenery turned into houses.

      Western water law has always been first come first served but when the supply runs out this may have to change. Surely those Scottsdale golf courses should be the first to go.

      Reply
  12. Lexx

    ‘The Rich’s Search for the Keys to Immortality Is Harmful To The Rest Of Us’

    ‘It is an obvious and unmitigated good to save the lives of teenagers with cancer.’

    It’s not coincidental that the occupants of ‘cabins-in-the-woods’ are teenagers. We, the audience, shovel popcorn into our faces and place private bets on which already-loathed-within-the-first-five-minutes teeny bopper dies horribly first.* The third wheel black guy and mean girl are easy money. The nerd is usually in the top three unless he can engineer their survival. Numb-nuts alpha male? His depressed second in command? A surprising number of Velmas smart girl their way out of the forest to live another day, like Little Red Riding Hood.

    We were all teenagers for the same number of years, once upon a lifetime. Brian Kohberger was a teen for seven years. Is saving every teenager an ‘obvious and unmitigated good’, cancer or not? If we agree that it is, then denying ‘the riches’ immortality is just ageism and classism.

    Billionaires got to that place through taking unfair advantages (or creating them). A rigged system is the product of their pathology. What are the odds they’ll change their spots?

    *One episode into ‘The Last Of Us’ and I’m already pulling for the zombies. There’s nothing sympathetic about teenage girls. That’s why their chosen to play that role, for the tension it creates on the audience who want to strangle them. It’s amazing how many live to adulthood.

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      I’d love to see a horror movie about grumpy old men ice fishing in the middle of nowhere being terrorized by a militant splinter group of snowmobile-mounted Juggalos with chainsaws.

      Reply
    2. Mildred Montana

      Let’s assume, for the sake of some fun at the expense of the deluded rich, that they do indeed find the “cures” for aging and death. They have finally found immortality, they will live forever, they are Eternal.

      Let’s further assume however that, although they have succeeded in conquering all the natural causes of death, they have still found no way to put back together shattered bodies or revive a dead brain. I think that’s a safe assumption. So they have a private-jet crash, they fall off a mountain, they drown…they’re officially and eternally dead, just like the rest of us mortals.

      I like to look at things on the bright side. If our new class of “Immortals” were to die in such accidents, wouldn’t that be a cause for celebration among the mortal? An occasion for parades, fireworks, even a declaration of a national holiday? I imagine a calendar marking the passing of various “Immortals”.

      After all, in their hubris, they thought they could escape death. They were wrong. Fate and time determined that they were, in the end, inescapably and fatally human.

      Reply
      1. Lexx

        ‘I like to look at things on the bright side.’

        Clearly. You had me at ‘shattered bodies and brain dead, jet crash, fall off a mountain and drown… officially and eternally dead’, but then you cranked up the sunshine to eleven! Best comment, I loved it so much!

        Reply
        1. Stevne A

          “Let’s assume, for the sake of some fun at the expense of the deluded rich, that they do indeed find the “cures” for aging and death. They have finally found immortality, they will live forever, they are Eternal.”

          Let’s also assume that the rest of humanity will continue to evolve beyond homo sapiens, to a new species. The “deluded rich” would find themselves existing as lower primates and, after (say) 100,000 years, could be somebody’s pets or zoo exhibits.

          At any rate, the “cures” would only immunize them from dying of natural causes. They would not be immune to wars, natural disasters, civil unrest, homicide, suicide and accidents. Over time, it is virtually certain they would succumb to one of these.

          Reply
  13. jhallc

    In the photo of our Congressional delegation attending Davos, [Manchin, Sinema and Coons meet with CEOs at private Davos luncheon for World Economic Forum], no masks to be seen.
    The group of people in the background looks to be all masked. It seems to me like these folks are all dressed alike and are possibly event staff or just a smarter delegation. Masks for thee and not for me:(

    Reply
  14. Jessica

    About the penguins and mirrors article, it is adorable that the collective noun for penguins is a waddle of penguins.

    Reply
    1. Lexx

      Went to see an ob/gyn this morning for the first time in years. Sat in the third floor waiting room with three young couples, the women all hugely pregnant and dressed in black and white. I told the couple I’d rode up in the elevator with about the penguins. ‘Today I learned that a group of penguins is called a ‘waddle’. Isn’t that the cutest thing?’ The husbands guffawed and agreed it was. The moms-to-be heard the word ‘waddle’ and stared at me with their mouths open, then looked at their partners, who were being careful not to make eye contact.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Belarus opposition leader warns of ‘massive disobedience’ if Lukashenko mobilises for Ukraine war”

    ‘ “Dictator is more vulnerable than he looks, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya tells FT in Davos.” The subtext here is not hard to read.’

    Yeah, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya wants Lukashenko’s job. After disappearing from the media since that aborted coup, she suddenly popped up on the TV news again tonight. And she is now in Davos but normally lives in Poland where she is a very busy woman. Would you believe that ‘on 10 September 2020 a law was passed by the Lithuanian Parliament which recognises Tsikhanouskaya as the “elected leader of the people of Belarus”.’ The EU is on board with this as well of course-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sviatlana_Tsikhanouskaya#Work_with_Coordination_Council

    Reply
    1. CaliDan

      Also worth reminding folks that promoting regime change in Belarus is geopolitical measure number three (of 6) of the RAND corp recommendations for “[over-]extending” Russia (2019).

      The others being: 1) provide lethal aid to Ukraine; 2) increase support to the Syrian rebels; 4) exploit tensions in the South Caucasus; 5) reduce Russian influence in Central Asia; and 6) challenge Russian presence in Moldova. And, just for fun, the recommended economic measures: 1) hinder petroleum exports; 2) reduce natural gas exports and hinder pipeline expansions; 3) impose sanctions; and 4) enhance Russian brain drain.

      To the doc: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3063.html

      Reply
      1. Kouros

        There is no Russian presence in Moldova. No Romanian/Moldovan would consider Transnistria as Romanian/Moldovan territory. Also, Romanians/Moldovans will not fight Russia on behalf of the US to the last Romanian. Same way Romania turned against Germany in August 1944, same way, given the right losses/incentives, it can turn against the US… And this time Hungary will have its back…

        Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    A splendid trip on the slopes for the Dartful Codgers in Utah, SLC is perfectly placed in proximity to oh so many excellent resorts, Snowbasin being the most opulent i’ve ever seen with the toilets having white marble walls, it was as if I was in Davos, and talking about the WEF, does anybody ski whilst the forum is in progress?

    I managed to miss the onslaught on high and will return to Tiny Town in a few days and modestly take credit for the week of predominantly sunny skies to come, and you’re welcome California.

    The damage to my driveway in Mineral King is quite impressive and not surprising, as there is 10 miles of lunar like surface above and below the road from the 2021 KNP Fire with nothing to hold everything together, along with bold boulders no longer harnessed to their surroundings, its a mess and there’s a lot of winter left to do its worst. I get the feeling i’ll be walking in this summer-not driving.

    https://mineralkingca.blogspot.com/

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Wow your town has a website–remote yet famous?

      And don’t suppose you hit Park City, home of the Sundance film festival and also, I think, a ski resort. Redford married a Mormon and lived there (in an A frame he build himself) even before Butch Cassidy. He even has a ski movie–Downhill Racer–about Olympic skiers.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We were on the Ikon* trail, and Park City isn’t part of the season pass system, and daily lift tix were spendy, so a no go there.

        We went to Alta, Deer Valley, Snowbasin & Powder Mountain, the latter being a new favorite with oodles of terrain and an unusual resort in that you start from the top and ski down, it’s almost always the other way around.

        * Park City wanted $269 for a daily lift ticket, my Ikon season pass is $700 and i’ll ski around 20 days this winter, bringing it down to $35 per day, in comparison.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Yes, you ride the lift back to your car.

            There’s a local 2 lift resort near Kernville with the same set up of skiing from the top down called Alta Sierra, but it suffers from being at low altitude and is dependent upon Mother Nature coming up with the goods.

            Reply
    2. Sam

      Glad you got to enjoy what once was Utah’s best kept secret ski resort. I grew up skiing there when lift tickets were only $8 a day. The olympics put the Basin on the map and now it’s going the way of the SLC resorts with lots of condos being built and tickets placed outside what the locals can afford. And it’s going to ruin Ogden valley because lots of rich people are flooding into the area.

      I live on the backside of Mount Ogden and today the towers are coated with snow.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I think I was somewhere near the Hastings Cutoff that doomed the Donner Party while @ Snowbasin, but none in our party had to resort to long pig-only carnitas, thankfully.

        Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Alan Tudge, Christian Porter and Rachelle Miller to front robo-debt inquiry”

    Once again, this is all on Scotty from Marketing as it was his pet project. Lawyers tried to warm him about how some parts were actually illegal but Scotty does what he always does – go into Bully mode and threaten people that disagree with him while later pretending that nobody said anything to him. He wanted to be a sort of “welfare cop” and get back as much money from welfare recipients as he could. The consequences were appalling and people faced false astronomical bills that they could not possibly afford and some people committed suicide because of the the pressure involved. That’s right, people died. And people here wonder why I despise this man so much. He is a neocon so of course has no reverse gear and would never in any case apologize for anything that he does. It is not in his nature.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/dec/17/how-morrison-launched-australias-strong-welfare-cop-and-the-pain-robodebt-left-in-its-wake

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We dodged a bullet (I believe it was a 105mm shell) with all those evangs (Trump wasn’t one, but catered to their every whim) leading countries just a few years ago.

        Reply
    1. ArvidMartensen

      Minister Tudge was a very willing participant in the attempted looting of “undeserving” social security “customers”, and was certainly a co-conspirator.
      As was the head of the Department at the time, Kathryn Campbell, a very ambitious, hard-nosed, pugilistic type with military leanings. When questioned by Commonwealth Senators at Senate Estimates a few years ago, her attitudes were 1. how very dare they question her, and 2. how very dare they question anything to do with her sacrosanct Minister Tudge. She may have also used a bit of “I don’t recall”, along with obfuscation. A great performance from someone supposedly reporting to the Australian people via their elected representatives.

      Autocrats like her, and the CIO was another one, surround themselves with pet staff whose major skills are how to nod in the right places, how to be the messenger boys and girls for unwelcome CEO/CIO messages to staff, and how to make these autocrats feel good about themselves.

      Staff who have a contrary view are invisible, frozen out, sidelined etc. A very career limiting move indeed to keep harping on the fact that something KC was doing was illegal, unethical or both.
      And the funniest thing is that a few years before RoboDebt, KC had all the staff carry out mandatory ethics training. Obviously she and her lackeys were too busy that day.

      When the Minister, and his Office of young wet behind the ears political wannabes, and the CEO and the CIO are all furiously in agreement, staff have no voice, except to resign and work elsewhere.

      Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    Why Was King Tut Buried with a Trumpet? The Honest Broker
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Great article and story, enjoyed it!

    Closer to home, I bought an Anasazi Flute a few years ago which was a faithful copy of flutes found in a cave in Arizona (they also found Kari Lake’s political ambitions there too) which date from the 8th century.

    I’m not as good of an Anasazi Flute player as this gent, and frankly have used my talents in order to dissuade insects and small children from being anywhere close, and so far-so good.

    Anasazi Flute: Silent Mystery: Scott August

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jLtxdvMCgs

    The Anasazi flute is the name of a prehistoric end-blown flute replicated today from findings at a massive cave in Prayer Rock Valley in Arizona, United States by an archaeological expedition led by Earl H. Morris in 1931. The team excavated 15 caves and the largest among them had 16 dwellings and many artifacts including several wooden flutes, which gave the site its name, the Broken Flute Cave.

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

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Anasazi flutes were mentioned here back in mid-2020 and they are so beautiful and haunting to listen too, that I downloaded a video of a guy playing one. As for Tut’s trumpet, probably find that the Egyptian army used trumpets to give commands back then so these two trumpets were put into his tomb to reflect Tut’s military power.

      Reply
      1. Jorge

        2 near-identical trumpets would have excellent interference-phase characteristics. The pair would sound unworldly, very loud, carry a long way. It was the only way to make that much noise at the time.

        Reply
  19. Alice X

    Today in an interview at Democracy Now, at 28:54, Ro Khanna used the phrase working class families. Well I’ll be jiggered but working class is a phrase the DC types are not suppose to use. But then the Donkeys do tend to grow more rhetorical spine inverse to their power.

    Reply
  20. Ghost in the Machine

    “The rate of Long COVID diagnoses has been increasing for reinfections in more recent variants.”

    This is very bad news if accurate. Maybe due to increased awareness? Probably wishful thinking.

    I don’t think this can be hidden from popular recognition for longer than another year, maybe two.

    Reply
  21. fresno dan

    https://jonathanturley.org/2023/01/17/word-from-the-wise-former-intelligence-official-admits-that-they-always-knew-the-hunter-biden-emails-were-likely-genuine/
    excuse me if this has been posted previously – I just find it so astounding.

    Douglas Wise, a former Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director and former senior CIA operations officer, is back in the news this week. In an interview with The Australian, Wise admits that he and others always knew that the emails on the Hunter Biden laptop were likely genuine. It was a remarkable admission from one of more than 50 former intelligence officials who signed a letter dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 presidential election as likely “Russian disinformation.” Yet, Wise still maintains that, while true, he and the other officials were right to call it out as likely “disinformation.” Arguing that something is true, but still constitutes disinformation sounds a lot like . . . well . . . disinformation.
    ….
    Wise, however, has tried to find some redeemable role in the letter. He told The Australian that “All of us figured that a significant portion of that content had to be real to make any Russian disinformation credible.” So the emails and photos showing criminal acts with prostitutes and thousands of emails on influence peddling was likely true, but that truth only made them more dangerous forms of Russian disinformation.
    It is that easy. True or not, the story was dangerous in detailing the corruption of the Biden family before the election. Done and done.
    ….
    Wise and the other signatories did not want to wait for any facts to support their claim. They rushed out the letter to an eagerly awaiting media to spike the story before the election. Now, they are seeking plausible deniability that they were political operatives sent on a political hit job. It is as implausible as calling a presumed true story “disinformation.”
    ===========================================
    The fact that the 50 signatories of the letter about “Russian disinformation” (aka reality) actually are ALL partisan political operatives, and WORK for the media now, says something about the objectivity (excuse me, non objectivity) of the MSM. The media is not making errors, the media is purposefully working to dispense….dare I say it??? – MISINFORMATION
    What isn’t clear is why it was labeled as misinformation by the fifty. Is anything said by Russia misinformation (e.g., even saying the sun appears in the sky is wrong?) or is anything critical of a Biden misinformation (Biden is all good so he CAN’T do anything wrong)??? Or Both?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Sorry fresno dan, but all Goodthinkers know that the Sun shines out of ‘Dear Leader’s’ fundament.
      All this “Throwing Under the Bus” concerning “Creepy” Joe has me wondering just who is to be “The Anointed Successor” to the soon to be “Disgraced Deviant Democrat?”
      Stay safe in the Flood Zone.

      Reply
    2. cfraenkel

      It has nothing to do with true or false. It’s disinformation because it’s the wrong truth. It’s not the truth we were supposed to be consuming.

      Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    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.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A widely acknowledged smart guy got hoodwinked into investing an awful lot of money into the South Sea Company nearly 300 years ago to the day, obviously not realizing the gravity of his error in judgment.

    Reply
  23. Louis Fyne

    Re. hedge fund fees….

    Now the millennials have learned to ask “Where are the Customers Yachts?” (first published 1955″

    https://www.amazon.com/Where-Are-Customers-Yachts-Street/dp/0471770892

    “….Six decades ago, Fred Schwed wrote a book called Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? The title came from a story about a visitor in New York more than a century ago. After admiring yachts Wall Street bought with money earned giving financial advice to customers, he wondered where the customers’ yachts were. Of course, there were none. There is far more money in providing financial advice than there is in receiving financial advice….”

    Reply
    1. Pat

      I am fixated on films today. I really do not like “Wolf of Wall Street”. Yet I have sent a whole lot of people to see Matthew McConaughey’s scene early in the film. It just says it flat out, in a way that makes it very clear.

      About Wall Street trading in general not specifically hedge funds, but the principle is the same.

      Side note I did watch the Madoff series on Netflix after it was talked about here, good but deeply depressing. We are so screwed.

      Reply
  24. Pat

    Ever since I stopped trying to see “acclaimed” films before the Awards season, this is the first time I have been happy about the glut of celebrity smooze and preen activities in January and February. This crush made finding that the Globes had been a super spreader unavoidable.

    Does anyone really think we would be hearing about so many actors getting Covid if they hadn’t to inform various groups that they wouldn’t be attending because of positive tests?Most of them were either nominees or part of the press group for nominated films at the Critics Choice Awards. I might have a fondness for the Bafta Tea, but it wasn’t about that. I have been of the opinion for awhile that we don’t really hear about most of the infected after big public likely super spreading events, because many do not have to make getting Covid public.

    I also have to laugh that Jamie Leigh Curtis showed three positive test results, not in the way she intended. What it tells me is that she really really wanted to go, and a negative test would have trumped any positive tests. She only needed one positive, if people’s health had been the priority.

    Reply
  25. fresno dan

    https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/16/richest-1percent-amassed-almost-two-thirds-of-new-wealth-created-since-2020-oxfam.html
    Over the last two years, the richest 1% of people have accumulated close to two-thirds of all new wealth created around the world, a new report from Oxfam says.
    ….
    “A billionaire gained roughly $1.7 million for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90 percent,” the report, released as the World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, reads.
    ….
    The research contrasts this wealth creation with reports from the World Bank, which said in October 2022 that it would likely not meet its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down efforts to combat poverty.
    ========================================
    funny how a world bank can never figure out how to end poverty…

    Reply
  26. Wukchumni

    Usually the southern Sierra lags behind the more fruitful northern climes when it comes to precipitation, but not this year…

    There has been a rather amazing 43 inches of rain (or snow equivalent) in the Giant Forest of Sequoia NP where the majority of trees of size hang out.

    It’d be great for skiing about right now, but you can’t get there, as the Generals Highway is broke in 3 places and winter is only just getting going~

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af06e5e7906272af32de6b72e1323eb67c7845edf472351915160c4a779928a3.png

    Reply
  27. Jason Boxman

    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/17/magazine/tesla-autopilot-self-driving-elon-musk.html

    I found David Alford on YouTube, where he posted a video called “Tesla Full Self-Driving Running a Red Light.” In it, we see the view through the windshield as Alford’s car approaches an intersection with a left-turn lane that has a dedicated traffic signal. With a few hundred yards remaining, the light shifts from green to red, but the car doesn’t stop. Instead, it rolls into the intersection, where it’s on track to collide with oncoming traffic, until Alford takes over.

    In the comments, Tesla fans grow angry with Alford for posting the video, but he pushes back: “How does it help put pressure on Tesla to improve their systems if you are scared to post their faults?” Replying to one comment, he writes that F.S.D. is “unethical in the context they are using it.”

    When I called Alford, I was expecting someone suited for r/RealTesla, but he ended up having more of an r/TeslaMotors vibe. He told me that he would be willing to take me to the site of his video and demonstrate the failure, but first I had to make a promise. “The only thing I ask is try not to put me in a bad light toward Tesla,” he said. “I don’t want anybody to think that I hate the company or whatnot, because I’m a very, very big supporter of them.”

    Alford lives in Fresno, Calif., and before I went to meet him one day last fall, he told me some exciting news: He had just received the F.S.D. 10.69 update. Our drive would be his first attempt to navigate the intersection from the YouTube video with the new system.

    (bold mine)

    What a completely broken country, that we’re allowing people to beta test some billionaire’s fantasy toy on our roadways! If these people want to kill themselves, rock on, but stay off our public roads!

    His white 2020 Tesla Model 3 had a magnetic bumper sticker he found on Etsy: CAUTION FULL SELF-DRIVING TESTING IN PROGRESS. He said he drives in F.S.D. mode 90 percent of the time, so his car is always acting a bit strange — the sticker helped keep some of the honking from other cars at bay. He seemed to be, like Key, an ideal F.S.D. beta tester: interested in the software, alert to its flaws, dogged in his accumulation of autonomous miles.

    Holy s**t. These people should be in jail along with Musk.

    Reply
    1. square coats

      Whenever I read these stories about teslas I find myself pondering how maybe state by state we oughta be able to vote on whether to allow such self-driving within our state borders.

      Reply
  28. fresno dan

    https://aeon.co/essays/we-will-never-be-able-to-live-on-another-planet-heres-why
    At the start of the 22nd century, humanity left Earth for the stars. The enormous ecological and climatic devastation that had characterised the last 100 years had led to a world barren and inhospitable; we had used up Earth entirely. Rapid melting of ice caused the seas to rise, swallowing cities whole. Deforestation ravaged forests around the globe, causing widespread destruction and loss of life…. We built powerful astronomical telescopes to search the skies for planets resembling our own, and very quickly found hundreds of Earth twins orbiting distant stars. Our home was not so unique after all. The universe is full of Earths!
    Given all our technological advances, it’s tempting to believe we are approaching an age of interplanetary colonisation. But can we really leave Earth and all our worries behind? NO.
    ….
    Still, let’s for a moment optimistically imagine that we find a perfect Earth twin: a planet that really is exactly like Earth. Let’s imagine that some futuristic form of technology exists, ready to whisk us away to this new paradise. Keen to explore our new home, we eagerly board our rocket, but on landing we soon feel uneasy. Where is the land? Why is the ocean green and not blue? Why is the sky orange and thick with haze? Why are our instruments detecting no oxygen in the atmosphere? Was this not supposed to be a perfect twin of Earth?

    As it turns out, we have landed on a perfect twin of the Archean Earth, the aeon during which life first emerged on our home world. This new planet is certainly habitable: lifeforms are floating around the green, iron-rich oceans, breathing out methane that is giving the sky that unsettling hazy, orange colour. This planet sure is habitable – just not to us. It has a thriving biosphere with plenty of life, but not life like ours. In fact, we would have been unable to survive on Earth for around 90 per cent of its history; the oxygen-rich atmosphere that we depend on is a recent feature of our planet.
    =================================================
    The fact that the idea is EVER put forward that within the time humans will exist that we could advance enough to get to another planet is ridiculous.

    Reply
  29. djrichard

    The dimension I find fascinating with respect to Biden / classified documents is the media angle. Normally the media would just call this a nothing burger and move on. But they’ve partnered with the dems in setting the stage that classified docs are anything but a nothing burger. They only really have two options:
    a) nuance the case on behalf of Biden and appeal to the critical faculties of media consumers
    b) bludgeon the media consumers into submission with Trump = evil doer, Biden = virtue

    Either way, it’s going to require the media to carry water all while trying to maintain pretense of their nuetral bonafides. Not that they haven’t been doing this previously, burning through their bonafides in the process. But this time I have to imagine they’re wondering if they’re being asked to go to the well one too many times. i.e. this is a big ask. I think the media will be praying for an out – a different story to tell instead. In the mean time, go through the motions to defend Biden until they get that reprieve.

    Not all that different than the media conundrum for Ukraine it seems.

    Reply
  30. anon in so cal

    Russia announces it will create new commands near Europe and expand its military to 1.5 million troops.

    “New structures in the regions around Moscow, St. Petersburg and Karelia on the border with Finland will be created under the program, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told commanders Tuesday, saying the major changes will start this year and continue through 2026. In addition, he said, “self-sufficient” units will be set up on the Ukrainian territories…”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-17/russia-to-boost-troops-in-west-with-army-expansion-shoigu-says?srnd=premium&utm_content=tictoc&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&cmpid%3D=socialflow-twitter-tictoc&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic

    Reply
  31. Karl

    RE: South Korea backs return to Nuclear Power

    South Korea can build nukes at 1/5 the cost of the U.S. . $2000/KW vs. $10,000/KW. France and India seem to have similar low cost experience.

    The Vogtle plant in the U.S. will end up costing over $28 billion, and construction is still not finished after 14 years.

    The U.S. is doing something wrong, yes? It’s not just nukes. Large scale construction projects cost so much more in the U.S. This is well known, yet nothing gets done. What gives?

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      >>>What gives?

      Corruption. Just as with government, police, medicine, NGOs, there is a vast amount of corruption with everyone demanding their cut. The country is like Ukraine only not as corrupt.

      Reply
      1. tevhatch

        I think you had a typo. The country is like Ukraine, only Ukraine is not as corrupt.

        The people in the USA have normalized corruption, made it safe and clean. Go for it as long as it conforms to the acceptable form. Where as in Ukraine it’s still something a bit less common because it is dirty and dangerous.

        Reply
        1. tevhatch

          I use to joke in all seriousness that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong has the function of stopping corruption at the bottom so more of the cream would rise to be skimmed off by the top. It was so successful that the oligarchy in one of the nations that probably has more corruption as a percent of the GDP than the USA, adopted not only the model but the name.

          Reply
  32. RobertC

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Captain Sam J. Tangredi, U.S. Navy (Retired) provides a salty analysis with USNI article Bigger Fleets Win In naval warfare, a smaller fleet of superior quality ships is not a way to victory. The side with the most ships almost always wins.

    He begins with

    “I’ve [Joe Gould and Megan Eckstein] heard a lot of people saying recently, ‘Quantity has a quality all its own.’ And I just want to be clear: No, it doesn’t. That’s one of the dumbest damn things I’ve ever heard.” With respect to the quoted speaker, not only does quantity have a quality all its own, but it also almost always proves decisive in naval warfare when professional competence is equal.

    and he ends with

    A naval war against China in the western Pacific in this decade would pit a smaller U.S. naval force against a larger PLAN, on China’s home turf, within range of the PLA’s air and rocket forces. U.S. leaders must ask themselves to what extent they are willing to bet on technological—without numerical—superiority in that fight.

    Meanwhile the whiners [navalists] at CDR Salamander shifted from asking Where are the ships? to Where are the crews?

    For those willing to drink from the defense policy fire hose may I suggest Sino Defence Forum – China Military Forum

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t see how the US has technological superiority if China can sink its ships. The superiority it would need to have is in air defense that can be delivered from a ship.

      Reply
      1. RobertC

        You are quite correct. Capt Tangredi makes that point

        Inspired by [Captain Wayne Hughes, the late great professor of tactics,] work, my decades of research have brought me to this conclusion: In a naval struggle between near-peers, mass (numbers), and the ability to replace losses bests technological advantage. As the mass of one opponent grows, the chance of its defeat reduces. At a certain point of imbalance in mass, the larger naval force cannot be defeated, even when the opponent attacks effectively first in any one engagement. The advantages of mass listed in Table 2 explain why.

        Capt Tangredi then explains why Naval warfare is different

        This difference from land warfare can be most easily understood by observing that one cannot maneuver around or envelop an enemy fleet. There are no fixed lines to defend, breach, or avoid. There is no operational defensive. Therefore, attrition is the sole goal of naval warfare. As Hughes repeated throughout his years of research: attack effectively first.

        One might assume that superior ship capabilities rather than mass can provide this effectiveness. But that is not what operations research indicates. As Naval Warfare Publication 3: Fleet Warfare notes: “Hughes’ salvo equations indicate that twice as many shooters beats half as many equivalent shooters firing twice as fast.”

        Two points for consideration:

        ● I believe both the US and China will carefully avoid firing the first shot (Casus belli) no matter the first mover advantage.
        ● I believe both the US and China will carefully avoid firing at land targets of any nature except in extremis (the CSIS analysis hinted at this).

        Thanks for allowing my comment. This is a difficult topic.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          If one wanted to be historically pedantic, there are plenty of examples in history of smaller fleets destroying larger ones (either in numerical terms or in terms of tonnage). The great Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin defeated 200 Japanese vessels with just 13 of his own in the Battle of Myeongnyang. In the early stages of the Pacific War the Japanese navy (with air support) devastated the numerically superior allied navies by having superior vessels one on one and better tactics (in the long term of course, scale won that war). In mid 20th Century conflicts having just a minor advantage in range, accuracy, or armour could allow one vessel to take on and defeat several opponents of equal size. And luck plays a large part too, as the crews of HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales found out to their cost.

          Its very hard to predict with a modern war where intangibles such as accurate long range tracking, the stealthiness (or not) of submarines and the ability to kill ASM’s will be key. Plus, there has probably never been a time in history when there has been such divergence in basic naval strategy. The Russians in particular take an entirely different approach to ship design and tactics from the US. The Chinese seem more intent on ‘matching’ the US ship for ship than the Russians have historically done. The one area they diverge is that they seem particularly keen on the notion of using numbers to ‘swarm’ opponents. This may work through sheer numbers, but its not a surefire remedy, especially if the US applied its air power appropriately.

          Reply
  33. RobertC

    To a large extent I believe history was Capt Tangredi’s hook for readers.

    After some history discussion he proceeds to his main thesis, the change in naval warfare from Lanchester’s Square Law gunnery equations to Capt Hughes Salvo Combat missile model

    First, the basic salvo equations form a discrete time model, whereas Lanchester’s original equations form a continuous time model. Cruise missiles typically are fired in relatively small quantities. Each one has a high probability of hitting its target, if not intercepted, and carries a relatively powerful warhead. Therefore, it makes sense to model them as a discrete pulse (or salvo) of firepower.

    By comparison, bullets or shells in a gun battle are typically fired in large quantities. Each round has a relatively low chance of hitting its target, and does a relatively small amount of damage. Therefore, it makes sense to model them as a small but continuous stream of firepower.

    Second, the salvo equations include defensive firepower, whereas Lanchester’s original equations include only offensive firepower. Cruise missiles can be intercepted (shot down) by active defenses, such as surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns. By comparison, it is generally not practical to intercept bullets and shells during a gun battle.

    And as you pointed out with predictions there are embellishments on the equations including Scouting, Defensive Alertness, Training, Weapon Reliability and Accuracy, etc. The equations and their embellishments enable wide-ranging exploration of naval warfare preparation and execution tradeoffs that can be further validated with table-top and real-world exercises.

    The benefits of formal analysis for naval warfare are often unappreciated by those adversely affected by its findings.

    BTW I enjoyed the Wikipedia’s citing two of my favorite classes, the USN DDG-51 and the PLAN Type 022.

    Reply

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