Links 1/19/2023

Pooch portraits: Dog Photography awards – in pictures Guardian

Knife-wielding North Carolina man leads police on chase on John Deere tractor, reaching 20 mph

The Age of Free Money Is Over. But There Are Still Opportunities, Investing Pros Say. Barron’s

Slicing Cash Flows for Better Ratings Bloomberg

Inside the High-Yield Spread Verdad. The deck: “High yield is not pricing a recession.”

The uneasy US housing stalemate FT

Can 3-D Printing Help Solve the Housing Crisis? The New Yorker


Davos: There’s life in global capitalism yet Martin Wolf, FT

‘Succession’ has nothing on Davos: Elite conclave mulls next leader Politico. Commentary:

* * *

Henry Kissinger says Russia War Validates Ukraine’s NATO Bid Agence France Presse

Of Course Davos Wants To Hear from Henry Kissinger Spencer Ackerman, Forever Wars


Texas Project Will Use Wind to Make Fuel Out of Water Inside Climate News


Substantial Neutralization Escape by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variants BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 (letter) NEJM. “Our data show that the BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 variants escaped neutralizing antibodies substantially more effectively than the BA.5 variant by factors of 7 and 17, respectively, after monovalent mRNA boosting and by factors of 7 and 21, respectively, after bivalent mRNA boosting. The neutralizing antibody titers to BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 were dramatically lower than titers to the WA1/2020 strain by factors of 53 and 127, respectively, in the monovalent booster cohort and by factors of 80 and 232, respectively, in the bivalent booster cohort. These findings suggest that the BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 variants may reduce the efficacy of current mRNA vaccines and that vaccine protection against severe disease with these variants may depend on CD8 T-cell responses.” Oh.


China welcomes Blinken to visit, ministry says China Daily

China tells the world that the Maoist madness is over – we can all make money again Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph

The East is red:

‘Everyone is crazy’: money-mad mob in grasping frenzy after family in China throws US$3,000 from balcony at birthday party South China Morning Post

Slumping China-bound Japanese exports raises fears of global downturn Reuters

The Koreas

Fatality rate of people infected with Covid-19 twice higher than those infected once Korea Biomedical Review

Jacinda Ardern quits as Prime Minister: Labour to elect new leader, Grant Robertson won’t seek role, general election date October 14 New Zealand Herald. Commentary:

European Disunion

France set for ‘Black Thursday’ nationwide strike over pension reforms Al Mayadeen and French union threatens to cut electricity to MPs, billionaires amid nationwide strike Reuters

Bulgaria to the rescue: How the EU’s poorest country secretly saved Ukraine Politico

Dear Old Blighty

‘Run into the ground’: How did the UK’s National Health Service end up on life support? Euronews

Settling rail disputes would have been cheaper than crippling strikes, admits minister Evening Standard

South of the Border

With 50 Dead in Peru, a Referendum on Democracy NYT. The Times seems reluctant to use the word “coup.”

Lula to recalibrate pace of reforms after pro-Bolsonaro riots, finance minister says FT

Mexico, US sign memorandum to fortify immigrant labor rights Mexico News Daily

O Canada

Inside the Tow Truck Mafia: How Organized Crime Took Over Canada’s Towing Industry The Drive. From March, still germane.

The Montreal Mafia Murders: Blood, Gore, Cannolis, and Hockey Bags Vanity Fair

New Not-So-Cold War

U.S. Warms to Helping Ukraine Target Crimea NYT

Update: The West Signals Support for Ethnic Cleansing in Crimea John Varoli. The deck: “NATO and Ukraine seek control of Crimea; however, the locals want to remain with Russia. There won’t be negotiations. So, the issue will be decided on the battlefield.”

* * *

The Greatest Nuclear Threat We Face Is a Russian Victory The Atlantic

300 nuclear missiles are headed your way. You must respond. What now? FT

Scientists Determine Best Place to Stand In Your House When a Nuke Hits Vice (NL). News you can use!

* * *

Russian Wagner boss sees traitors in the Kremlin and demands YouTube ban South China Morning Post

Winds of New Cold War Howling in the Arctic Circle Consortium News

Russia/Ukraine is not a sports competition. Trying to Understand the World

* * *

End Europe’s Security Welfare Check The American Conservative

The Ukrainian Solidarity Network: The Highest Stage of White Western Social Imperialism Black Agenda Report. Howie Hawkins. Sigh.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Little-Known Surveillance Program Captures Money Transfers Between U.S. and More Than 20 Countries WSJ

Websites Selling Abortion Pills Are Sharing Sensitive Data With Google ProPublica


U.S. cancer deaths fall, study finds Axios

Groves of Academe

A Response to the Harvard Professors Alec’s Copaganda Newsletter

The Bezzle

‘They’re boiling the frog’: SEC’s new crypto crackdown roils industry Politico

Crypto lender Genesis preparing to file for bankruptcy: Bloomberg News Channel News Asia

Peter Thiel’s fund wound down 8-year bitcoin bet before market crash FT

Class Warfare

The FTC’s New Rule Against Noncompetes Could Raise Wages by $300 Billion The Nation

A simple fix to the Labor Department’s disastrous new worker classification rule The Hill

Exclusive: OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic Time

Writing as Strategy Divinations

Culture Study Challenge: One Small Community Thing Culture Study

Antidote du jour (via):

Normally I would crop this, but the setting is important.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. deedee

    r.e. Howie Hawkins, sigh
    Not surprised to see Eric Draitser’s signature on that. The guy is a tool.

    1. zagonostra

      I stopped reading Counterpunch and WSWS when I saw how pro CV19 vaccination mandate they were. Howie Hawkins revealed how clueless he was on a Jimmy Dore show I happened to see. Along with Bernie Sanders, these people are dead to me.

      I hope that some politically organizing body emerges from their ashes, one that brings in the Right and Left together to thwart the “Deep State,” which, according to Jim Risen of the Intercept, tells Aaron Mate, does not exist.

      From the BAR article:

      For a number of individuals who signed on to this pro-Western, pro-war letter, they are in a familiar place. However, I suspect a few of the individuals on that list were probably confused or not paying attention…

      That of course, is not the case for some of the key supporters of this initiative. Individuals like the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, Eric Draitser of Counterpunch, and Bill Fletcher

      1. The Rev Kev

        You gotta admit that between the Pandemic and the NATO-Russia war, that we are getting a pretty good look at who is really for freedom, human rights, critical thinking and the like and all those who claimed to be but who turned out to be for censorship, authoritarianism, militarization, extreme policing and the like. Best example of course is so-called progressives who turned out to be hard right regressives and are all in favour of the deep state.

        1. albrt

          We are getting a pretty good look who is NOT for freedom, human rights, critical thinking and the like, but it turns out to be basically everybody who is anybody. At least in the West.

          Not a lot of alternatives.

          1. Synoia

            One suspects there is much Critical Thinking – How it and by whom, it is directed would be enlightening.

        2. JP

          I think it is more complicated then that. Many of those who are for freedom, human rights and critical thinking were very alarmed at the hard right (authoritarian) swing characterized by the Trump victory. They pulled whatever levers they could. The effective levers are supposed to be found in the electorate but those failed and they found traction on the dark side.

          The right knew this and declared a propaganda war against their former pals using the moniker Deep State. The labels progressive, liberal and conservative are all just mush and the reason its called a sausage factory is because it all gets ground up. The deep state is hardly a monolith. It has all the factions and probably more territorial wars then the PTA. It is used by anyone who can.

          Indignation, anger and conspiracy is the primary product of the media. Gotta read between the lines. Nobody is for freedom, animal rights or slow thinking when the polar bear is knocking down the door.

          1. Kouros

            The polar bear IS knocking down the door. The picture is revealing: that polar bear cannot go out on the ice and hunt seals. So Alaskan women and their children are mauled in their communities by roving hungry polar bears…

        3. BlakeFelix

          Although I tend Libertarian but not to the point of thinking people have the right to spread disease in a pandemic, that’s not a traditional right. Where that line is is questionable, but IMO if a state can’t deal with a pandemic or a war it won’t be a state forever.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Likewise, it hurts to see… while on the other hand, it’s little surprise to see Howie Hawkins name there, since the Greens are politically vapid tools.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            The author of the piece who calls out Hawkins, Ajuma Baraka, was the VP candidate on the 2016 Green party presidential ticket along with Jill Stein.

            Not sure if he’s still affiliated with the Greens or not, but good on him for not pulling any punches.

        2. FredW

          Fletcher is a frequent guest on Philip Madari’s Sunday morning show on KPFA, Berkeley; and every time he’s on they talk about how bad Russia is and how necessary it is to support the Ukraine war effort. I’ve gotten so I can’t stand the guy.

          1. FredW

            And John Feffer, another signer, appears on the KPFA Morning Show every Monday at 7 am as a guest of the host, Brian Edwards-Tieker, to give a weekly run-down on the Ukraine war where, again, both host and guest bash Russia and up Ukraine. (And, by the way, it’s Philip Maldari, not Madari.)

            I’ve been listening to KPFA for probably 50 years and still do out of habit, but I really can’t stand their political line now in many (not all) ways: all woke-ism, TDS, race baiting, and “progressive” war mongering. I think my disillusion with KPFA started with Amy Goodman’s anti-Syria and then anti-Ghadafi support for the Empire.

      2. Diogenes

        Amen. I find myself politically and journalistically homeless for very similar reasons.

        I don’t suppose those positions command a majority, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t command politically consequential numbers.

        How long before the schism opening up beneath the two party system cracks it into something else? Something that provides representation to people who believe the in basic egalitarian, anti-authoritarian, anti-war, anti-surveillance, and some basic civil libertarian/Englightenment principles of freedom?

        1. jsn

          When people put down their cell phones and withdraw from social media.

          Until then, any crowd is putty in the hands of The Narrative.

            1. digi_owl

              Yeah i think the smartphone has become the primary computing device for most these days.

              A really worry though, given how much say the MAFIAA etc there.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        I’m at the point where I honestly believe that if their readers stopped supporting them, outfits like Counterpunch would still somehow find funding to stay online, not that they’d ever tell us where the money came from.

          1. Jonathan King

            I read Counterpunch regularly and support it financially. I don’t listen to the radio/podcast so have no opinion about that, but I enjoy the heck out of Jeff St. Clair, who I remember from the early ’90s when he edited Forest Watch, a dissident pub for US Forest Service staff. More than anything, I appreciate their willingness to publish just about anything by just about anyone, under pressure from what I perceive to be very few shibboleths and minimal liberal finger-wagging. (And with the most minimal editing, which I as a reader find a bug, not a feature.) The volume of material they publish yields a lot of dross, but also a lot of useful commentary, in my experience. I do wish they’d hire a copy editor, especially for St. Clair, but that’s another issue.

          2. Oh

            I agree. Counterpunch authors are many and varies and don’t share the same opinions. I was gonna lnk to the same Robert Urie article as an example. It would be unwise to tar all authors on the web site with the same brush and reading Counterpunch would be to miss out on a lot of good articles.

  2. Matthew

    Re Peru, I mean he tried to unconstitutionally dismiss the legislature and they impeached him constitutionally, so in what sense was it a coup? The issue is that the constitution was established under a dictatorship and has no democratic legitimacy not that there was a coup

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      Your comment seems to indicate that you’re really new to the game in peru. How much history do you know? Do you know anything about the 17 months that he was president? Do you know anything about the past 5 years in peru? Do you have any reflections on events in those time periods and how they relate to the Constitution? I for one would be interested.

      1. Carolinian

        I can’t link it but I saw an article saying that the situation in Peru mirrors the coup in Bolivia with Dina Boluarte in the Anez role and a CIA connection via the current US ambassador. The former is probably speculation but the latter was mentioned in an article here.

        By this (perhaps CT) Castillo was an unwitting populist front man who served the purpose of failing and thereby giving power to Dina Boluarte.


      2. Gregorio

        I’m sure it was just coincidental the the Peruvian Defense Minister met with the U.S Ambassador, who just happened to be a veteran CIA officer, the day before the coup. I mean, who could be more qualified as an ambassador for a South American country with leftist leanings than someone from the CIA, which has decades of experience in fomenting coups of popularly elected leftist leaders?

    2. hunkerdown

      Tenure is not a property right, no matter how much the PMC and other religionists whine about it. Like all rights, tenure is a contingency and an instrument that we extend at our pleasure for the purpose of getting things done.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Henry Kissinger says Russia War Validates Ukraine’s NATO Bid”

    Future historians are going to be very harsh on the career of Henry and this latest statement will be one reason why. If the west had guaranteed that Beloruss and the Ukraine would be neutral countries, there never would have been any war. Henry can give all the opinions that he wants but right now it is the Russian armed forces that will settle the matter – and be backed up by the Russian diplomatic corps. You want to know the sad part? At 99 years of age, Henry still will not speak his real thoughts but will only say what will please his political brethren lest he be ostracized. Last time he went off script, there were a lot of frowny faces among very important people and Henry found himself on the Ukrainian kill list. Now here he is playing ball to get back into their good books again. At 99 years of age you should have the freedom to shout ‘Sod the lot of you!’ but not Henry. What a coward.

    1. John

      You beat me to it. Only if you ignore the existence of Russia is Ukraine in NATO justified, but then what would be the point of NATO save as the brute squad for the US. On second thought NATO’s brute squad needs a brute squad.

    2. JTMcPhee

      One of the sites, maybe “Redacted,” had someone point out that Kissinger heads a couple of “consultancies” that serve the oligarchy, so he’s back to talking his book. There’s a lot more on his participation not only in the “realpolitik” that has brought death and destruction to many parts of the world, but in the Big Business machinery. He has been a real Eveready Bunny in the realms represented by Davos, for generations:

      Any bets whether he will get a state funeral from the Borg in DC?

      1. Synoia

        Kissinger will not need a state funeral. He is a creation of the Borg, and will be maintained for ever./s

        We are already on Kissinger v3.5 or so. (Vietnam 1.0, Iraq 2.0, Syria Libya 2.5, Ukraine 3.0 and Russia in the planning stage at 3.5

        1. Alex Cox

          Yes! Like the head of the fascist dictator preserved in the basement of the NICE in C S Lewis’ That Hideous Strength…

    3. digi_owl

      Coward, or completely convinced that he never did anything wrong in his life and career.

      The latter is far more worrying, as that kind of conviction can enable someone to do unspeakable things in the name of a higher purpose.

  4. zagonostra

    >Culture Study Challenge: One Small Community Thing – Culture Study

    I think about the hard work of community formation all the damn time.

    Unlike the author, I don’t live on an island of 800 full-time residents. However, I do split my time between a large SE Florida city and a small town in Central, PA that is the county seat, with a very nice courthouse and gov’t buildings. I do think about “community” but within the political context, one where there can be political group that exists outside the one UniParty.

    The county seat has a pretty nice downtown, with small restaurants and shops. A lot of people know each other but there is enough diversity that you will encounter new people. The large city, especially one like you’ll find in SE Florida is ever changing, completely dependent on an automobile, and has no sense of community, at least that I have seen, though there are clubs, political parties, and other institutions you can affiliate with if you have the leisure.

    Based on what I see, the only viable organic emergence of a “grass-roots” body is at the county seat level. If such a body formed, it could connect with other counties and eventually form into a higher regional and national level. It won’t happen in a big city where the PolMachine has a death grip, and the small struggling city doesn’t have the required mass.

    So I’m ok with with the author’s “challenge,” but not necessarily to form self-enclosed communities, but to stop the craziness of a country that is hell-bent on self-annihilations.

  5. griffen

    Driving a John Deere tractor, the knife-wielding man led local enforcement officers on a slow goose chase at 20 mph. Unlike Ricky Bobby, he decidedly does not want to go fast.

    Alas, dear Boone (North Carolina) you are known for more than just being home to a college football team (Appalachian State!) that occasionally insults the big name host football team, taking a big payout and winning the game.

  6. cnchal

    > A Response to the Harvard Professors Alec’s Copaganda Newsletter

    Has Harvaaard become a haven for venal intellectuals?

    When it comes to the police, why do the good cops never ‘gang’ up on the bad cops and beat the crap out of them. Why is it that the bad cops bully the good cops and the good cops always take it?

    Tangentially, speaking of productivity, it is typically measured as a positive but In Larry Summer’s case it is measured as a negative and frankly Harvaaard didn’t pay him enough to work his productivity magic and he lost only $1.8 billion, chump change for the most brilliant mind on the planet. If Only Larry had of been moar productive, he could have done the world a good favor and wiped Harvaaard from the map, and these two perfessors would never have seen the light of day.

    The US needs a half million moar cops like the US needs a $3 trillion military budget.

    1. hunkerdown

      The purpose of the university is class formation. In other words, it never wasn’t a haven for venality and rationalization, and the creation of the professional-managerial class only made it more productive (in the ontological sense).

      The purpose of the police is class enforcement. All the same exposition applies.

      1. eg

        The “tell” where the purpose of the university is concerned is the original sin at its conception as offspring of the established churches in both Europe and America.

    2. Glossolalia

      I’ve read stories that suggest that if you’re a cop and perceived as snitching on bad cops that your back up may be slow to arrive when you really need it.

  7. OnceWereVirologist

    If Germany has truly learned from its history, it will send tanks to defend Ukraine – Timothy Garton Ash

    Takes a special kind of chutzpah to write an article claiming that there’s some kind of expiation of WWII guilt available to Germany by way of sending tanks to Ukraine. If only the Germans would help the Ukrainians clear the Russian orcs slash Untermenschen out of the Donbass and Crimea by way of overwhelming firepower then all historical debts could be forgiven.

    1. Ignacio

      Just before coming down to your link (I enjoyed your comment) i had read Aurelien’s (David) article linked today, which I strongly recommend, we all need some brain refurbishing these days and this post does a very good job. So, i will try an easy reading/commentary with the scope given by David on Ash’s piece which could be burn to ashes with nothing to lament. I will try with a single paragraph:

      On a sober strategic analysis, the only realistic path to a lasting peace is to step up military support for Ukraine so it can regain most of its own territory and then negotiate peace from a position of strength. The alternatives are an unstable stalemate, a temporary ceasefire or an effective Ukrainian defeat. Putin would then have demonstrated to Xi Jinping, and other dictators around the world, that armed aggression and nuclear blackmail can pay off handsomely. Next stop, Taiwan.

      We see here some of the sport competition narrative (stalemate, defeat, regain territory) and it is possible to do a similar exercise as in David’s post on the war objectives as set by TGA.

      1. Gain some territory which automatically…
      2. Gives Ukraine strength in a supposed negotiation. The outcome of such negotiation omitted among the objectives.
      3. This allows us to go for (against I guess) the next dictator on the far east.

      Do this line of reasoning have the slightest possibility of success or victory? Isn’t it outside any realistic assessment of the situation in Ukraine no matter how many Leopard tanks are sent there? Isn’t TGA running wild in the Guardian?

  8. griffen

    Best place to stand in your house in the event of a nuclear detonation. Indeed this is news you can use! I would have stood on my apartment balcony and watched the fireworks but now I can mentally prepare ahead!

    Next on news you can use, golf course etiquette during a lightning strike. Stand near the tree holding a 3 iron was not recommended. \sarc

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        I’ll stick with the advice Sergeant George Rowan, the DI of our Army basic training platoon, gave us recruits and draftees 60 years ago. After finishing the nuclear piece of the CBN session he said, “That’s what the Army says we should do in event of a nuclear attack. But all you really can do is bend over at the waist, put your head down between your legs and kiss your a** goodbye.”
        We tended to take what the good sarge said seriously. He bore a disturbing resemblance to Sonny Liston.

    1. Screwball

      I think it was Lee Trevino, the professional golfer, part time comedian, who said to use a 1 iron “because even God can’t hit a 1 iron.”

      1. Tom Doak

        And Trevino’s career was derailed after he was struck by lightning at a Tour event in the mid 1970s

    2. Mikel

      Except the article is about buildings and structures in general – nothing specific about the home is mentioned.

      Taking the info provided and thininking in terms of the home, the most obvious safe place would be the bathtub. And, if time, covering oneself there.

      Actually, I don’t think there’s going to be that much luck to see the end of these networks of elites by them nuking themselves and the systems they’ve created.

      So no need to be frightened – nobody’s going to be that lucky.

    3. shinola

      As a boomer who regularly experienced ‘civil defense’ drills throughout my school years, I came to the conclusion that the best place to be in the event of a nuclear attack would be ground zero.

      1. Kilgore Trout

        Amen to that. Which reminds me of Krushchev’s famous line; “After a nuclear war, the living will envy the dead.”

      2. Mikel

        More mileage is gained from using them as instruments of fear and terror than actually using them en masse as weapons.

        Anybody that think the US nuclear threat is only aimed at external countries is missing the point.
        The populace must remain in terrified by the weapons and thus look to the same people in the status quo for guidance and protection.

        1. Kouros

          “Contrary to the narratives displayed by some U.S. antagonists, for the American “deep state” the true reasons for the repeated large-scale massacres—it is difficult to call them modus operandi otherwise—do not have as their fundamental ultimate goal world domination, per se, for domination’s sake.

          This qualification is not entirely accurate. The ultimate goal is far more pragmatic: the survival of the United States of America.

          Not just survival as a state entity, but the survival of the structures that enable the realization of super-profits for the elites, on the one hand, and, on the other, the survival of the model and standard of living acquired by the country with the end of the Great Depression, which ended with the beginning of World War II and the revival of the American economy through the military industry.

          This survival is simply impossible without military-economic, or more precisely, military-financial world domination.

          It is no historical coincidence that the military budget, called “defense budget,” of the United States alone exceeds one-third of world defense spending, a crucial element in maintaining financial dominance on a global scale.”

          I do hope for karma here, and the wishes of UCS elites for regime change in Russia to actually happen in the US…

    4. Cat Burglar

      Glad to know how I can survive the blast effects of a nuclear explosion. Then I will be intact enough to be incinerated by the heat and light energy or the radiation.

      This article is a model of how to present science without a lick of common sense. The study singled out just the blast effect for examination, and showed how and where that might be survivable. The journalist refused to refer to any of the many studies about the other effects of such an explosion — Central Park, that wonderful denominator (like Rhode Island or the flavor of chicken) for people who know about nothing else, might not exist after a blast, but many of the “safe” zones would burn instantly and be too radioactive for life. If this is not propaganda, how can a writer that dumb get regular work?

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    John Varoli, West Signals Support for Genocide in Crimea.

    As with the recent eruption of the Biden Combutta’s classified papers, one must wonder who benefits.

    First, suddenly various NATOish groups are bringing up Crimea as non-negotiable. As with other scams Ukrainian, one cannot tell if the buncombe originated with Zelensky, if it is a concoction by his right-wing-looney circles, or if it comes from Boris Johnson, who remembers something a Crimean War, Britannic Glory, and balaclavas. {Maybe even baklava.}

    Or is this Crimea Liberation stuff just dazzle-camouflage for Zelensky to offer NATO the naval base at Sebastopol? From there, natch, the NATO fleet under Admiral Zelensky would sail south to shell Istanbul and the Sea of Marmara into submission.

    Or is it a “meme” to kill off any potential negotiations? Are Zelensky and the contemptible Melnyk and other such bottom-feeders actually agreeing to continue a war to ruin their own country?

    My mind would boggle, but with the recent revelations about Seth Rich and the FBI, the FBI and Twitter, and even sudden new mentions of Hillary’s Wayward E-Mails, it may be that we are in a January of turdettes floating to the surface.

    1. schmoe

      Odd also that this Crimea talk is bubbling up as the Donbas situation is not inuring to the benefit of Ukraine (to paraphrase the Emperor’s speech in August 1945),

      My guess is that Crimea is being pushed as there do not appear to be any other ways to get Russia to use nuclear weapons, which I believe is greatly desired by the neocons. Nuclear weapons are still largely the province of Western countries and Israel, so breaking the taboo on their usage might allow them to be used on Iran or other disfavored countries.

  10. General Jinjur

    This from WAPO this morning:

    « Three accountable care programs will provide services to more than 13.2 million people enrolled in Medicare this year, CMS announced yesterday, as it seeks to grow the number of older adults in such arrangements.« 


    It seems so benign. But can MA for the over 65s be the end game?

    1. nathe

      they are moving very quickly on many fronts, locally and nationally. the debt-ceiling “crisis,” will allow biden to let the republicans cut medicare and social security services while claiming that he’s against them. the ACOs are no more accountable or caring than the medicare advantage plans are advantageous to anyone except the plans’ profits as they delay, limit and deny people having tests, procedures and operations. and i don’t see anyone, politician or media, calling them out on it even as it becomes too obvious to ignore. anyone who claims to be for medicare for all while remaining silent about the rapid move to medicare for none is useless.

        1. marym

          Jayapal knows there’s a really good way to ensure that Medicare “does not give corporate profiteers yet another opportunity to take a chunk out of traditional Medicare” From 2003 to 2017 it was called HR 676 and included:

          (a) Requirement To Be Public Or Non-Profit.—

          (1) IN GENERAL.—No institution may be a participating provider unless it is a public or not-for-profit institution. Private physicians, private clinics, and private health care providers shall continue to operate as private entities, but are prohibited from being investor owned.

          Then the Democrats got control in the House, re-assigned the bill number to some other purpose, and Jayapal “sponsored” HR 1384 which did not include this provision.

      1. General Jinjur


        « This growth furthers achieving the CMS’ goal of having all people with Traditional Medicare in an accountable care relationship with their health care provider by 2030.« 

        Which means that likely those on MA and those with traditional Medicare will be (corralled) merged together. With any luck by then my husband and I will have departed to the great Universal Free Clinic in the sky.

    2. John

      What exactly is MA? Seems the use of never explained initials is a signal to the in-group and I ain’t in it. An annoying trend but one that allows one to ignore the substance.

        1. Synoia

          In practice: Medicare dis Advantage.

          Because if you leave home there is little or no coverage.

          In Theory

          Choosing specific medical practitioners with no way to check for their skill or effectiveness.

      1. General Jinjur

        I often have the same complaint. It’s the context that often helps. MA would probably have referred to the state of Massachusetts if the comment had been about localities.

        Trust me, I have never been a member of any in-group unless you include hermits anonymous. A group that is happy to be unaware of its own membership.

      2. Rod

        Medicare Advantage, I believe.
        A reference to last weeks post by Yves Smith with great add ons by Antidlc:
        If you are on Medicare, know someone on Medicare, approaching Medicare age–or just HATE a sham and shamsters please read it and act on it.

        a side note that my first correspondance with this months new provider– Humana Medicare Advantage –was to inform me the Indigestion prescription for Ondasetron would not be a covered medication.
        So I paid the 1.96$ out of pocket.

      3. Jason Boxman

        Medicare Advantage plans, which are not Medicare and are run by the profit seeking insurance industry.

      4. juno mas

        Use Google.

        I searched on “MA and medicare” and “Medicare Advantage Plan” was second on the list.

        The commentariat is not an “in” group. It’s that medicare discussions are a long running discourse at NC. Search the archives. Getting up to speed here takes some time and effort.

    3. zagonostra

      I saw an interesting stat today, more than half of the U.S. is under some sort of Gov’t funded healthcare. I guess if you add up, medicare, medicad, VA, Obama Care, gov’t workers, military, etc., it adds up.

      What a grotesque “system”

      1. JTMcPhee

        What is your point? Privatized medical system of for many, not even “access” is not very attractive as a “choice,” that bribery and scamming wrecks public programs due to corruption and greed is not an argument that supports throwing all of us to the effing jackals.

        1. zagonostra

          My point is that if we are providing tax money for 50%, then damn it why are we not willing to cover the other 50%. I say 100% coverage of a the population, not just 1/2. I want everyone to have healthcare similar to what my friends and family have living in Europe.

      2. earthling

        Tell somebody who makes above poverty income that the government ‘funds’ their large monthly Obamacare premium.

        And yes, it is grotesque that we have a costly deadly patchwork of ‘coverage’ that still leads people to bankruptcy and others without care.

        In civilized countries, the government funds all healthcare and they don’t waste 40% of the money on administrative paperwork and ‘health”care’ corporation profits.

    4. Cat Burglar

      I just signed up for Medicare, so I am waiting to see if they stick me into ACO-REACH. As far as I know, no appeals process exists to get you out. So if they do it, I will line up all the documentary ducks and go right to my US Senator’s webpage, click on the “Help With Government Agency” button, and get assigned a case worker. I have met people socially who have been constituent services case workers for senators, and know it is their full time job to do something. As I have found, they often get the job done. Right now, when the ACO scam is in its early days, it is important to cause a lot of trouble for Senators to let them know this won’t go away.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The Greatest Nuclear Threat We Face Is a Russian Victory”

    But Chrystia Freeland wants you to know that if the west can keep on pumping money and weapons into the Ukraine so that they can win, that it ‘would be a huge boost to the global economy’ (1:12 mins)

    1. Cat Burglar

      Schlosser has been a good reporter on food safety and nuclear weapons, so this article is kind of a puzzler.

      There is some good reporting on nuclear war threat, but he is really at sea about the history of the conflict (he basically sidesteps any discussion by flatly asserting the Russian position is all based on lies) — and is profoundly naive about the motivations of NATO.

      He apparently has never read any histories of US wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria. It must take a lot of energy to constantly maintain a cloak of invisibility over so much of the historical record of the profound cynicism of US policy elites, but I guess that is a job they are hiring for these days.

      What I got out of it was that the greatest nuclear threat we face is if the NATO-Russia war continues.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Russia/Ukraine is not a sports competition. Trying to Understand the World

    This is a very definite must-read. One of the best and most succinct analyses of strategic failure I’ve ever read.

    1. Dandelion

      I find every publication by Aurelian to be a must-read. What an astonishing breadth and depth of knowledge.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    U.S. cancer deaths fall, study finds Axios

    While there is little doubt that cancer treatments have advanced significantly in recent years, I think all such studies have to be taken with a grain of salt until someone looks closely at the extreme rate of over-diagnosis of cancer in the US.

    The mass commercialization of cancer tests in the US has led to very large numbers of people being treated for cancers that would never be identified as such elsewhere – either false positives or benign tumours being treated as malign as a precaution (i.e. because there is more money in treatment than observation).

    1. Mildred Montana

      >”…the extreme rate of over-diagnosis of cancer in the US.”

      The diagnosis of cancer is not as easy as the layman might suppose. Furthermore, some cancers are indolent and therefore relatively benign while others are aggressive. Even trained pathologists, examining cancerous biopsy tissue, often have difficulty determining which is which or how the behavior of the tumor will change over time.

      Nothing is simple when it comes to cancer diagnosis, treatment, and statistics. That is why it is such a pernicious—and persistent—disease.

    2. Harold

      They do gene sequencing on some cancers now to determine the precise treatment needed. Sometimes treatment can be minimal. This is just in the last five years. This is a true advance.

  14. tevhatch

    Tweet: Slick move by ex-NYT editor Jill Abramson to structure the sentence so it read as “The Times of Davos“.

    My English is far from perfect, but it’s good enough, and in someway maybe even better than a native speaker to be sensitive to this sort of (perhaps subconscious) word play.

  15. jefemt

    Anyone else scratching their heads over the North Texas wind farm green hydrogen article? I was drawn to it to learn about where they were getting the water.

    No answer to that water question (my recollection is cows, arid high plains desert, wind, and no water.
    (I mean, the Arkansas flows like a ditch between dewatered reservoirs, and I imagine is over-subscribed like Physical gold relative to the paper referring back to it…)

    But the amount of hydrogen produced, relative to the US demand for conventional transportation fuels… wow. That the thing was built … we are nuts and on fumes.

    Tags: Pork, market distortions, subsidies, picking winners at any cost, irrationality….

    Next up: Moar Of Everything Bill Gates ‘safe’ salt reactors as the cure-all:

    Bill: he picked the right state in Wyoming… ecars will be illegal there after 2035…

    1. Martin Oline

      Interesting point you have made. I suppose electricity is much more portable than water, so any success of this project would convert the power to hydrogen somewhere east of the “Great High Plains”, as in: I Had My Hopes Up High

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The amount of water used directly to convert to hydrogen would be negligible compared to most industrial uses. If producing 200,000 kg of hydrogen a day this equates to around 2 million litres (it takes around 10 litres of water to produce 1 kg of hydrogen). That’s about half a million US gallons per day. As the average Texan uses around 250 gallons of water a day, thats the equivalent of the daily use of around 2000 Texans, or probably a few hundred Texan cattle. And the water doesn’t have to be particularly clean, for a process like this processed sewage water or slightly brackish water would probably be fine.

      I doubt very much the hydrogen production would be ‘on site’. Most likely they would have an electricity connection to the closest industrial centre, and the hydrogen would then be integrated with a variety of industrial uses. This is the big advantage of hydrogen produced in industrial hubs – it can be used in a wide variety of processes, including cement and fertilizer manufacture, or mixing in with methane.

      1. Synoia

        Maintenance of Hydrogen plants, especially storage of plants, is on the critical path. We are not good at preventative maintenance, cutting maintenance has good effects on profitability, until we have a stunning, or explosive, display of bad maintenance.

    3. Oh

      This is a way to farm the dollars from the “Inflation Reduction Act” just like the Solar Energy company did during Obama’s ‘reign”. Seeing that there is really little information on the company getting the fundng and noticing that Air Products is involved it makes me smell a rat.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “300 nuclear missiles are headed your way. You must respond. What now?”

    These stupid scenarios sound cool but they aren’t. They should have more emphasis on the ‘What now?’ part. So you don those headsets and become President and must deal with what comes after. Here is an example.

    ‘Mr. President. How are we gong to grown our food crops to feed the survivors?’

    ‘I understand that our food bowl did not get hit so what is the problem?’

    ‘They may have not gotten hit but got clobbered by radioactive fallout instead. Any food we grow there will be radioactive.’

    ‘Can’t you just scrape the top layers of contaminated soil aside to grow those crops?’

    ‘Sir, that would be the top-soil that you are talking about.’

    And of course the problems presented to you as President go down hill from there on end. It would be a scenario where there would be no good answers to any of the problems created and only lead to other problems.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Seems simple enough. What survivors? The situation will likely rapidly sort itself out and there won’t be any remaining human life for these society wide questions to apply. So the questions begins with the false premise that humanity’s timeline continues after detonation for any meaningful length of time.

      1. JBird4049

        Humanity is tougher than many people believe. I am pretty sure that some people would survive. Civilization, not so much.

  17. IMOR

    “Howie Hawkins!”
    Yeah, and Eric Draitser, wtf? It’s long been observed that post-WWII, most U.S. reformers and leftists very sound domestically, completely lose their [fam blog] as soon as they dip a toe in the water of the Atlantic- but I’m still disappointed every time.
    And while Draitser is by no means coextensive with Counterpunch, this is symptomatic of why I stopped reading their Ukraine selections.

  18. Sutter Cane

    Fatality rate of people infected with Covid-19 twice higher than those infected once

    I feel that I can’t forward this article to anyone I know as everyone except me has been infected at least once. Instead of seeing it as an urge to caution, they’d see it as a personal attack or “fearmongering”.

    I’ve just been lucky to remain a holdout this long in avoiding the initial infection. I’m sure my time is coming, eventually. I just hope to delay it as long as possible.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Jacinda i’d like to remember is the one who took action in a country while not chock a block full of guns as the USA (what country is, aside from 1990’s African countries @ war with themselves or another country?) there was still considerable amounts, roughly 1 gun for every 3 citizens.

      Of course, some hand cannon advocates will claim, no way were those steely dans assault weapons on account of them only semi-ejaculating lead, but its the damage they do by using a military grade round that leaves an apple sized exit wound, good riddance.

    2. Louis Fyne

      don’t cry for Jacinda, Argentina.

      Next Klaus II will be a woman and/or non-Caucasian—with a more photogenic face than Klaus.

      Jacinda will be a favorite—-she passes all the litmus tests and fair bet that Jacinda finds NZ too provincial with too small of a bully pulpit.

    3. MarkT

      My recollection is that she didn’t want the job. She’s been looking tired and unhappy for some time now. Her locking down the country and saving so many lives will always bring tears to my eyes.

  19. Mikerw0

    Another study shows that most stuff developed by the Pharma industry is about profit enhancement not either to improve treatment efficacy.

    We always find it sad that so many Crohn’s treatments are advertised (our daughter has it). It is an orphan disease and if the GI you are using doesn’t know the major options get a new GI. Also, in these drugs it is a bit trial and error to find the right one in the right dosage. You can’t do it from advertising. Alas.

  20. outside observer

    re:French union threatens to cut electricity to MPs
    Something does not compute when we increasingly hear calls to raise the retirement age because people are living longer (heard this on NPR this morning as well), when we know that life expectancy has decreased and will continue to do so unless we stop the Covid reinfections. Seems if they wanted to achieve the simultaneous goals of culling the world population, enslaving those remaining, and stealing all the built up retirement benefits people will not live long enough to enjoy – they couldn’t have devised a better scheme.

  21. Nick

    Pooch portraits.
    The second picture is a prime example of animal abuse. A dog leaping on frozen ground is a recipe for numerous disabilities.
    I detest the sport where high jumps are included unless over water or soft landing areas.

  22. ron paul rEVOLution

    >‘Everyone is crazy’: money-mad mob in grasping frenzy after family in China throws US$3,000 from balcony at birthday party South China Morning Post

    Wasn’t it Abbie Hoffman who did this on Wall St.? First as social commentary, then as farce…?

    1. Wukchumni

      I think Abbie had 300 crisp brand new Dollar bills the hippies let flutter onto the trading floor of the NYSE, stopping action in its tracks.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      According to Paul Krassner’s (very entertaining) autobiography, while Abbie got the renown for that brilliant piece of political theater, the idea was actually that of Jim Fouratt, a young Yippie who later became a prominent downtown Manhattan nightlife impressario.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I traveled gobs around the world in the 80’s and 90’s there was always countries currencies going bk via hyperinflation (no digital money back then) and you could pick up brand new 100 count bundles for $10-15 of the latest failure financially, and European railroad stations were a great place to scatter them to watch reactions, too much fun.

        How could a Polish 10,000 Zloty banknote not be worth something?

    3. Duke of Prunes

      I heard a similar story told during a radio interview by someone in Elvis Presley’s entourage. He said they were staying at a fancy hotel and one of the rooms overlooked the entrance, and there were many fancy people coming and going. Elvis said “You see all those rich people down there, let me prove to you that they are not rich”, and he threw a bunch of cash out the window. Now, many of the so called rich people all scrambled to grab the cash, some even going into the fountain. Elvis said “If someone makes such a fool of themselves for a couple $100, they are not really rich”.

      1. Wukchumni

        One day about 35 years ago I was @ Los Alamitos racetrack in Orange County for the horse races and the first race went off seemingly fine, and there was an inquiry that lasted about 10 minutes and they announced that due to a failure in the starting gate, the race was null and void and all tickets would be refunded, thus every ‘losing’ ticket on the floor was tantamount to cash, and the mad scramble that ensued!

        1. Mildred Montana

          Same thing happened here in Canada about twenty years ago. After an interminable delay the track announced a total refund on a race.

          As it happened it was the last race of the day. Nearly everyone with “losing” tickets had thrown them away and beaten a path to the parking lot. There were few people left to harvest those valuable tickets. I’m sure the track sweepers did well.

          One poor bettor I talked to didn’t do so well. If the race had been declared official he would have had a superfecta ticket worth somewhere around $10000. Instead he got a refund.

  23. Wukchumni

    My ‘driveway’ is pretty wrecked…

    You all know that the Mineral King Road has been closed for the winter, and most of you have read about the damage to the road caused by this month’s storms.

    That damage is far greater than what anyone might have imagined. While there are many mudslides, fallen trees and large boulders blocking the road, those are the least of the problems. There are many places where large segments of the road have been washed away — and worse, many places where the remaining pavement has been undercut, leaving what is left subject to collapse under any weight which might be placed upon it. And that kind of damage is visible now only on the lower part of the road which is not buried in snow.

    As a result the road is now closed to all visitors. The combination lock which has allowed cabin owners to access the road is no longer accessible, and will remain locked off until the Park Service can be satisfied that minimal traffic might be safe. That will take a great deal of time, because until the snow melts it will not be safe to push a plow over what might well be an unsupported section of asphalt, and some of the required repairs may be very time consuming.

    Under the circumstances, no one can predict when the road might again be open — it may not be until well into the summer. As difficult as it may be, please try to be patient.

    The Park Service is doing everything it can to survey the damage (even by hiring a helicopter to make aerial observations), to determine what repairs will be needed, to secure emergency funding to help pay for that work, and to secure the manpower, equipment and materials to do the work. And we are not alone with this problem. There are many other roads within the park which have been damaged — including multiple washouts in the General’s Highway.

    The road below the lower gate, for which the County is responsible, has also suffered considerable damage. So PLEASE do not try a sightseeing drive up the road to see how far you can go, much less jump the gate and try to proceed further on foot or on skis.

    The Park Service and the County will keep us advised of any changes in the road conditions and progress in the repair work, and we will immediately pass that information on to you.

    Incidentally, the Park Service will be conducting a public briefing on conditions within the park tonight, January 19, at 6:00 PM at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. All are welcome to attend, and the program will also be available live on the Park’s facebook page [] — and it will also be recorded for later viewing.

    1. Carolinian

      So very sorry. I haven’t attempted a Street View of your valley but should we assume portions of the road involve sheer cliffs? It does appear from my map that there is no other vehicle access.

      1. Wukchumni

        The road is closed to the public in the winter months and only cabin owners have access, but not this winter, it’s a no mans land, and quite steep in sections.

          1. Wukchumni

            The situation is a little desperate, had Pad Thigh the other day, tastes like chicken if you grimace enough.

      1. Polar Socialist

        They also live in an environment where everything that has a heartbeat and is not a polar bear goes to the category “food”.

        1. semper loquitur

          Joe Rogan pointed out once that they are predominantly carnivorous as opposed to omnivorous like all other bears.

      2. jrkrideau

        A friend of mine spent a winter in The Pas Manitoba. He said one had to forify the house to keep out passing polar bears.

        1. digi_owl

          Yep, seen some videos of people having spiked shutters on every entryway of their cabins.

          That said, there was a story about a Russian guy that lived a solitary life at some weather station. While a young male eventually got the better of him, he did manage to keep the polar bears away with a long stick and shouting for years.

    1. tevhatch

      I believe humans are the most dangerous preditor to polar bears.
      Knud Rasmussen in one of his publications on the Greenland Inuit described the Inuit hunting of them, and gave a description of how when the semi-dugout he was staying at was being attacked, the owner was so excited about the prospect of bear he went out nearly naked with just a spear and soon enough came back to borrow his knife to get the bears heart out, served hot from the body.

    1. Screwball

      He should be in a Home Depot on a shelf in the tool department (along with many others of the MSM).

  24. Carla

    An Old TB Vaccine Might Help Stave Off Diabetes, Cancer Alzheimer’s, and More

    “Because BCG is not protected by a patent—a dose would cost about six cents—pharmaceutical companies are not gearing up to conduct the necessary trials to obtain regulatory approval for such use of the vaccine. “The challenges that we face are not really scientific,” says Jaykumar Menon, chair and co-founder of the Open Source Pharma Foundation, a nonprofit attempting to develop affordable therapeutics. “It’s a story of market failure.”

    NO. That’s not a market failure. That’s a societal failure.

    1. Pat

      While it perhaps shouldn’t be their responsibility where are the American Diabetes Association, the Diabetes Research Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society, and numerous other charities.
      Forget Pharmaceutical companies, they aren’t interested in cures or even truly effective medications, they are only interested in how much money they can make. And frankly I for one don’t trust them to study diddly*. The government and then charities should be funding the studies.

      *And the government shouldn’t either.

    2. fresno dan

      NO. That’s not a market failure. That’s a societal failure.
      Actually, it is a market success – the fact that success is typically accompanied by monopoly, excess profits, and significant numbers of humans unable to obtain health care that they can afford is how it really works. What is amazing is that with all the people not getting necessary health care and housing, that people actually believe that the market works…

  25. Mikerw0

    Fingers crossed that NC has a forthcoming piece on the implications of not raising the debt ceiling and the US defaulting. I know a lot of this is political theater, on both sides. That said, it is also possible to sleepwalk into a potential real tragedy of neither side blinks.

    One could say in someways so what. The markets will have a hissy fit and a bill will get passed a la TARP(?)

    Or the entire structure of credit could get scrambled — as in its a fragile house of cards with all kinds of obscured points of failure that get tripped in a default scenario (e.g., all the CDS and other instruments that reference off Treasuries)…

    I know its hard to try and figure these things out (not the politics of how it we may get there and the odds of it being prevented) more along the lines of what happens if we do cross the rubicon.

  26. jrkrideau

    Winds of New Cold War Howling in the Arctic Circle
    Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States — formed the Arctic Council

    Can anyone tell me why Finland is a member? Unless my various maps are wrong Finland has no physical link to the Arctic Ocean.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Neither does Sweden. Membership is not defined by the Arctic Ocean, but by the Arctic Circle.

      It’s supposed to be all about protecting the environment of indigenous people of the Arctic, but because Ukraine, The West dropped half of them – those living in Russia.

      1. agent ranger smith

        It was supposed to be about that at one time. Is it really about that now? Will it be the least bit about that in the future?

        The “polar powers” all quietly welcome and support global warming in the expectation that an Ice Free Arctic Ocean will be the “New Mediterranean” of a New Power Dispensation. What protection will there be for indigenous Arctic people in that strongly pursued future world?

    2. agent ranger smith

      If the Arctic Council is for any country with land north of the Arctic Circle, then Finland doesn’t need Arctic Ocean sea front to have land north of the Arctic Circle, and therefor to belong in the Arctic Council.

  27. Tim

    Jeez, the COVID vaccines are a minimum of 7 times less effective than before at doing anything? How many basis points above zero % effectiveness are they at this point? Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

  28. tevhatch

    3-d printing to save the day on housing?

    1st, there is no shortage of housing in the USA, there is a shortage of available housing. It’s a political problem. I don’t see how 3-d printing can solve that, unless it’s going to print out politicians who are not corrupt proxies for Blackstone.

    2nd. 3-d printing prints mono-block materials. Now, Just look at any modern wall, even in a concrete jungle like Hong Kong. It’s composed of 7 layers in Hong Kong; a lot more layers are in American detached housing because wood and has to provide easy maintenance and modification. In Hong Kong modifying your walls can and will get you arrested. Some layers are paper thin, and each performs at least one and usually more essential functions, I don’t know of any material, including steel, which can replicate all of the functions in one swoop. As to concrete housing, as any builder of concrete housing will tell you, pouring the concrete is the fastest and easiest part of the process, what ever saving getting a printer to replicate this part, it will not be significant, and I can just see the maintenance headaches with the equipment, much less the finished product.

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