Links 1/2/2023

Readers: Happy day after New Years Day, and many more of them, too! –lambert

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Taylor Swift’s Cat Is Worth $97 Million (and No, We’re Not Kidding) Yahoo News. Good kitty!

Recession will hit a third of the world this year, IMF chief warns FT

Southwest Debacle

Southwest’s historic meltdown was the result of ‘benign neglect’ years in the making, experts say KERA

Cancellation-plagued Southwest has raked in billions from US government for upkeep Washington Examiner

Southwest Airlines’ Christmas Meltdown Shows How Corporations Deliberately Pit Consumers Against Low-Wage Workers The Column


Droughts and Dams Phenomenal World

UK climate group calls temporary halt to disruptive protests AP

For Planet Earth, This Might Be the Start of a New Age NYT


WOTUS Update, “EPA Revises Clean-Water Protections” Farm Policy News

How Old is the Water We Drink? Discover


Persistent post–COVID-19 smell loss is associated with immune cell infiltration and altered gene expression in olfactory epithelium Science. From the Abstract: “T cell–mediated inflammation persists in the olfactory epithelium long after SARS-CoV-2 has been eliminated from the tissue, suggesting a mechanism for long-term post–COVID-19 smell loss.”

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Fauci Leaves a Broken Agency for His Successor Newsweek. “Imagine if, in February 2020, Dr. Fauci had marshaled his $6 billion budget, vast laboratory facilities, and teams of experts to conduct a definitive lab experiment to establish that COVID was airborne. On this question and many others throughout the pandemic, our problem was not that the science changed—it’s that it wasn’t done.” Yep.

Elon Musk teases release of bombshell Fauci Files in this week’s Twitter document dump amid his war with America’s top infectious disease expert: ‘One thing is for sure, it won’t be boring’ Daily Mail

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Lula launches stinging attack on Bolsonaro in inaugural address FT. Lulu: “The responsibilities for this [Covid] genocide must be investigated and must not go unpunished. It is up to us now to show solidarity with the relatives of almost 700,000 victims.” Finally, somebody said it.

CDC Director Walensky Tweets ‘We Can’t Stop The Spread Of Covid-19,’ Here’s The Pushback Forbes

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Safety and Effectiveness of SA58 Nasal Spray against COVID-19 Infection in Medical Personnel:An Open-label, Blank-controlled Study (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “The effectiveness of the SA58 Nasal Spray for preventing COVID-19 infection among medical personnel was evaluated as 77.7% (95% CI: 52.2% – 89.6%). In conclusion, the SA58 Nasal Spray is well-tolerant and highly effective against COVID-19 infection.” SA58 is Sinovac. If China had had their own Operation Warp Speed, this would have been ready for use by the time they adopted “Let ‘er rip.” Oh well.

Does Using Corsi–Rosenthal Boxes to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission Also Reduce Indoor Air Concentrations of PFAS and Phthalates? Environmental Science and Technology. From the Abstract: “CR Boxes reduced exposure to several lower-volatility phthalates and sulfonated PFAS previously reported to be found in office building materials and products, with potentially distracting increases in sound levels.”

As COVID turns 3, experts worry where the next pandemic will come from – and if we’ll be ready AP


Chinese cities pass Covid-19 peak, but rural surge still to come, researchers say South China Morning Post. “According to a mathematical model.”

1 year on, EU alternative to China’s belt and road fails to deliver South China Morning Post but EU to launch Global Gateway projects, challenging China’s Belt and Road Politico

Inside the world’s biggest tech bazaars Rest of World

European Disunion

‘There’s not enough gas in the world’: Can Europe keep the heating on this winter? Agence France Presse

Unusual winter warmth to cap toastiest year on record for parts of Europe WaPo

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EU Commission head lauds Croatia on eurozone, Schengen entry Deutsche Welle

Update on the Catalonia UBI pilot Basic Income Earth Network

Dear Old Blighty

Idea: Break up the NHS for parts and sell them off to American consulting firms. That was the goal all along, right? I assume Sir Keith is on board, always has been?

Patient forced to wait FOUR DAYS for a bed and child sleeps on a chair in ‘grossly overcrowded’ A&E as hospitals run out of oxygen and mortuaries near capacity amid NHS winter crisis Daily Mail

Terrifying reality of the crisis in our NHS laid bare Liverpool Echo

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia-Ukraine war live: Ukraine shells Russian-held Makiivka; power and heating outages after Kyiv targeted by drones Guardian. The Guardian needs to get with the program; Kyiv says Ukraine shot all the drones down.

Update on the situation in Ukraine: December 2022, end of year report; Corruption and repression to save a neoliberal regime in Ukraine New Cold War

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledges victory in 2023 as Ukraine shoots down Russian missiles FT

The Crucial Next 6 Months in Ukraine — What Comes After? Thomas Lipscomb, A Son of the New American Revolution. Oh gawd. Zelensky units.

A pivotal time: Does the ‘free world’ care about the freedom of others? The Hill

‘OK, Mexico, Save Me’: After China, This Is Where Globalization May Lead NYT


Spare Us a Trump-Biden Rematch Peggy Noonan

2020 Post Mortem

Study suggests the 2020 election resulted in increased anxiety and depression across political spectrums PsyPost

The Bezzle

Attorney General Denise George Has Been Terminated The Virgin Island Consortium. “[J]ust days” after Ms. George had filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase for facilitating convicted felon Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of women, without first informing Governor Bryan of such a major action.

Troubles at Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Began Well Before Crypto Crash WSJ

How NFT video games crashed and burned Polygon


Machine Learning Could Create the Perfect Game Bosses Wired. The deck: “The next generation of video game characters could be powered by AI, making them more engaging and challenging.” That’s not the motivation.


The start-ups seeking a cure for old age FT. Distributed via sortition, no doubt.

When does life begin? NYT. The question-begging is right in the headline. “Life” began more than 3.4 billion years ago.

Police State Watch

LILLEY: Twitter Files on COVID show government attempts to silence dissent Toronto Sun. Since the platforms are global, the “psyopcracy”* is global as well. NOTE * Hat tip, Joe Lauria. Google really, really wants to give me results for “physiocracy.”

Sports Desk

To Think Of Soccer Is To Think Of Pelé Defector

Pele will be buried overlooking the Santos pitch that made him famous – on the NINTH floor of ‘vertical cemetery’ in a nod to the Brazil legend’s father who wore the number when he too was a player Daily Mail

Oh my goodness:

New Year’s Post-Game Analysis

End of Year Lists (1):

End of Year Lists (2):

I think the dates are for illustrative purposes only….

Imperial Collapse Watch

De-dollarization: Slowly but surely Al Mayadeen

Class Warfare

Your Coworkers Are Less Ambitious; Bosses Adjust to the New Order WSJ

The Uncounted: People of Color Are Dying at Much Higher Rates than Covid Data Suggest Texas Observer

Part of the Punishment (review) LRB. Convicts: A Global History. “In virtually all overseas and overland imperial territories, ‘convicts’ of various sorts became vital frontier workers and sometimes active agents of expansion and consolidation.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. Alice X

    So, this piece appeared in the Guardian last Friday. It’s a quasi film review with a psychological premise. The hoarders of vast wealth come to live in an isolated bubble of mistrust. Suspicion of the motives of those more ordinary mortals around them, except for maybe other successful wealth predators, although I would guess there is plenty of room for doubt even there.

    Maybe other readers might have some further insight. Personally I have no such problems. I haven’t seen the film, and I won’t be streaming it anytime soon in my adobe hut.

    He concludes the piece with this:

    Throughout Glass Onion, it becomes increasingly clear that the rich often do get burned, and that wealth corrupts people because it robs us of life’s true treasure: friendship. After the credits roll, maybe you’ll be left not wanting to buy a lottery ticket either; and instead, wanting to hold your own friends a little closer.


    Clay Cockrell at the Guardian, December 30, 2022:

    I’m a therapist to the ultra-rich. Trust me when I say Glass Onion is not as far-fetched as you think

    The greatest heartbreak that comes with extreme wealth is not being able to trust even your friends

    1. Martin Oline

      I have seen Knives Out and the sequel (?) Glass Onion. The first movie had an interesting storyline, compelling characters, and was an old fashioned who-done-it. This is more of a why-bother. There are no sympathetic characters and to use the description by the one of the actors they were a bunch of s#!+ heads. See the first and skip the second. It will be on video next week.

      1. .Tom

        We really liked it. Very funny movie, entertaining movie. There are three sympathetic characters, two are protagonists and the third is a kind of Big Lebowski, an avatar of us, the audience, occasionally interrupting the action to go get a snack, a beer or a joint. It’s fast moving, great David Barry Bond-style soundtrack, sumptuous to look at, and the villains are grotesque. The Miles Bron main villain is a mix of an old-school Bond villain and Elon Musk. The others are even more hilarious.

        I want to watch it again and concentrate on all those fun little jokes, references and cameos they put in, like the moment with Serena Williams.

      2. playon

        I agree with you Martin, I thought the Knives Out sequel was pretty meh. Daniel Craig’s southern accent is abominable, perhaps that is supposed to be part of the joke but it didn’t work for me. The movie is also too long.

    2. semper loquitur

      I worked for and lived with two millionaires, both in their mid-seventies. Complete whack jobs, money grubbing till their last breath. Disdained by their families, no friends. The woman would drink a half a fifth of whiskey a night like it was Kool-Aid. All they ever thought about was their money, either making more or worrying about someone trying to take it.

      One accused me once of coveting her numerous homes. I told her no, I’d seen what owning that much can do to a person. I thought she would be pi$$ed but instead she looked frightened and sad.

      Do you really live in a adobe hut?

      1. griffen

        Them rich folk sound a lot like the Duke Brothers, fictional of course, from the excellent film Trading Places. Back on topic, I’ve only seen Glass Onion and that was over the Christmas holidays (or the Festivus for the rest of us if you choose!). Thought it was entertaining and a little brain tease on how the obscene wealth bestowed on many is just wasted or frivolously spent. And what steps one takes to protect privacy and little secrets.

        One of the funnier lines comes from the boat arriving at the wealthy host’s island paradise in the first 15 or 20 minutes.

        1. JCC

          “a little brain tease on how the obscene wealth bestowed on many is just wasted or frivolously spent”

          Not to mention clearly displaying the luck and fraud of the characters in gaining that wealth.

          As a who-donit it may be a little weak compared to some classics, but it does a cute job in characterizing, and satirizing the wealthy we’ve been exposed to over the last decades.

      2. Lupana

        I thought it was just me and wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to ask – but I would like to hear about the adobe hut too… My grandmother’s house was adobe and I loved it..

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Adobes are the only way to go in the mountain southwest. They even out those big 30-40 degree temperature swings at those altitudes. They’re also a low-tech, low energy way to build.

          My spouse and I built one–as in laying the bricks–in the Sangre de Cristos in the 80s. Not large, a thirty foot square with a pitched roof that made it a story-and-a-half. Now some traditionalists might complain that the pitched roof was not adobe-like, but at 7,500 feet and as much as 10 feet of snow in the winter, the flat roofs you see in Albuquerque or even Santa Fe just won’t work there, so the locals have always built simple gable roofs topped with tin.

          We also put an adobe wall running down the center to serve as a heat sink, and we had lots of south-facing glass, not nearly enough to make the house passive solar, but we thought it cut down on our wood use.

          We sold the house when we moved back into the mainstream, and were pleased to see it survived the terrible fires that burned through that area last summer. Of course, adobes with metal roofs are pretty good at that.

          1. Lupana

            My grandmother’s adobe house was and still is in Monterrey, MX. It was probably quite small but because all the doors and windows remained open, the outdoors felt like part of the indoor flow of space. They ran a small grocery store out of the front of their house so there were people constantly in and out which connected them to everyone in the community. The adobe I suspect kept it cool even without any other form of cooling other than those cardboard fans everyone was constantly waving.
            Your previous house sounds like heaven – Sangre de Cristo Mountains + adobe house + south facing windows – what more can anyone want?

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              It was beautiful when we started building the house. The view out the south window was Hermit’s Peak, a marker on the Santa Fe trail. To our east was the first range coming up out of the High Plains. To the west was ridge around 10,000 feet high. Over its top, we could see the snow-capped Truchas. It was a hard place to leave, but today, it’s mostly a burned wasteland. Even when we were there in the 80s, the Ponderosas were dying of bark beetle.

              But adobes do make wonderful houses in that part of the country. Wouldn’t work in the Pacific northwest though. That humidity would eventually melt the house.

              1. juno mas

                Adobe was used in Alta California in much of the construction (before it became just California, in 1850).
                The Santa Barbara Presidio was built exclusively with adobe. Other early, local private buildings used the adobe technique, as well.

                I lived on the grounds of the historic Hosmer Adobe in Montecito, CA in the 70’s. The owner of the property asked me to pitch my hand-made, replica Sioux Indian tipi there to attract Native American spirits (no kidding). I spent the summer creating picto-graphs on the inner lining with selected guests. The tipi structure predated the adobe, historically.

                I’ve also lived in a geodetic dome self-built on the acreage of Picabo Street’s parents land in Triumph, Idaho. Living in non-traditional abode is a trip!

      3. Alice X

        Do you really live in a adobe hut?

        Well, only figuratively speaking, but I suspect that’s what the über-wealthy would call it, maybe even others not so lofty. It has a roof, four walls and a floor, somewhat dilapidated, with plumbing that only half works and it is quite small. It would easily fit in the garage of a number of the palaces around metro Detroit and wouldn’t even do as some of the servant’s quarters I’ve seen. The furnace, which habitat helped me get, works nicely though I keep the thermostat at 60° F and that’s a little challenging given my advancing age. I have some very good friends and I’m happy. I suspect that those in genuine adobe huts who have found what is truly essential in life are too.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have about 10 adobes here in Tiny Town and where they really shine is during the 100 days of 100 degrees (an exaggeration, there’s only around 70 days with high heat) and those 2 foot foot walls keep the hot out.

          Also pretty much fireproof~

          1. Alice X

            They would work great in Michigan, no earthquakes. But we have too much moisture so they are never done.

      4. Goingnowhereslowly

        I may know the exceptions to this rule. I have neighbors who are quite wealthy—although not ultra-rich—and are absolutely lovely. The husband comes from oldish money and is a lawyer who has argued before the Supremes. He also has slightly crooked teeth. The wife worked in historic preservation and did a fantastic job of converting a historic house that had been everything from a hospital to a coop clubhouse into a functional, comfortable, but not at all ostentatious home. They have ordinary, practical cars. I occasionally run into them on their way to the community compost bins. They have raised two congenial and functional 20-somethings, one of whom dropped out of law school to pursue a PhD in philosophy. In short, they are the opposite of the stereotypical plastic, anxious, preening a$$holes we see in film and often in real life. They know what money is for—to facilitate comfort and the pursuit of genuine interests—and they are clearly aware of and avoid the abuse of it in the service of status and display.

        If the majority of rich people were like them, it would be a different and so much better world.

        1. DDeaton

          I think the key here is “old money”. People who’ve had money for generations know what it can and can’t do, and why it’s potentially dangerous. The behavior people are calling out here is associated with the “nouveaux riches”. I’m not saying that old money types are automatically nice people. I’m just saying that a long generational familiarity with money helps put that money in its place.

            1. Wukchumni

              I come from old money (er, not that kind) and it was a really good business and I know fellows who are at this very moment working feverishly on big pile of money #7, to stick on big pile of money #6 and so forth.

              Its what they do!

              1. JBird4049

                But why do so? It seems to be an extremely boring, mind killing hobby. Creating the world’s most extravagant private kon tiki bar or breeding varieties of miniature gerbils would have more value (and fun). It is like having your fourth baronial estate; what is the point or enjoyment? Heck, many wealthy people have a completely atrophied sense of style or taste, thinking that bathroom fixtures made from solid gold is it.

                1. Wukchumni

                  We’ve made the idea that everything centers around money, so why wouldn’t you devote everything to getting more?

                  For people such as this ‘enough’ is frankly a swear word.

                2. Hepativore

                  I wonder if a lot of people lose their creativity with extreme wealth. A lot of the mansions and estates that wealthy people build seem to be carbon copies of each other.

                  Really though, I would be happy if I had enough money to live by myself wherever I wanted in a home of my own design and not have to constantly worry about making ends meet.

          1. c_heale

            If you look at the people who have old money in the UK, they are as repellant as the nouveux riches in general.

        2. Mildred Montana

          >”They know what money is for—to facilitate comfort and the pursuit of genuine interests—and they are clearly aware of and avoid the abuse of it in the service of status and display.”

          “Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.”
          —–W. Somerset Maugham

          1. Joe Renter

            I worked with a guy in Alaska years ago and he quoted his mom to me,” I rather be rich and miserable than poor and miserable”. Myself, if I just had enough money to pay for health care and a roof over my head, I would be quite happy. Funny how priorities change when you get older (sometimes wiser). Oh, I wish I could have my old girlfriend back. I would sell a kidney for her.

    3. .Tom

      I think the Guardian has it backwards. Our economy, politics, corporations and institutions have hierarchies that select for the worst people so that at the top we have mostly sociopathic maniacs. I think Glass Onion directly represents this, with a group of strivers desperately trying to move up.

      1. wol

        Dr Gabor Maté echoes this take in The Myth of Normal. Narcissism + capitalism. I worked for these people in my day job as a contractor. Now I want to watch the movie.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          for 25+ years, when i’ve been allowed(even asked) to hold forth on the state of the world, the statement…and exegesis thereof….that “the system selects for psychopathy”, has gotten the most head turns…and the most agreement.
          literally everyone i’ve said this to, aside from a handful of rich dudes, nods their heads in agreement…if not immediately, then after some thought, and the exegesis.
          hafta either be a psychopath…or at least pretend convincingly that you are.
          too much integrity for that?
          here i am as an object lesson as to the wisdom of boning up ones’ psychopathic plumage,lol.

          when one includes in such exegesis the words of one Jesus…especially Matt.25, etc….it hits home even harder.
          there’s often an initial shock….a faux pas has been committed…like farting in church.
          i’ve often heard later from folks that they went on to do a walk of emmaus or something…and thought about the crazy hippie,lol.
          ie: it’s perfectly obvious that things are this way…and have been for a long time…and that the whole is largely the sum of our collective participation…and that it is wholly contradictory to who we think we are…whether as xtians or as americans…or simply as good people.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            and as someone said somewhere, here…yes, i’ve known a handful of authentically Good Rich Folks in my time.
            usually either strong Catholic, or that sort of Protestantism that builds house and feeds po folks and doesn’t claim it on their tax filings.
            they exist…and i hope that, were i to win the lottery, i would be that way, too.
            wife and i often talked about what we would do with an obscenely large pile of $…fave topic on datenight in the Falcon(golfcart) in the pasture.
            my more radical ideas(buy a certain 50 acre field adjacent to barrio, but outside of city limits, and put up a big ass windgen or solar farm, and give the power to the barrio, and dare the city to object, publicly) would obviate anonymity.
            wife’s more conventional things would often not.
            whose methods would have the greatest effect remains unknown.
            that Mackenzie woman(Bezos’ ex) seems like a good rich person, near as i can tell.

            1. skippy

              As noted on NC yonks ago the Army did a post Vietnam study and were shocked to find out only about 10% of troops put sights on bodies. So from a Nash, Newman, McNamara stand point and wasted ammo they were shocked.

              So they got some top behavioral psychologists and fixed that dilemma.

              Nothing changed with the human recruits, just the environmental indoctrination. This is also why they were keen with online MOG as well virtual simulation for training … something about repetitive conditioning.

              This is something I’ve seen since a kid with wrt famialy and the social bubble effect, which then fleshes out the PMC dynamic – washed vs unwashed aka Victorians. In saying that my mid 90s years in Oz was a breath of fresh air as the lines between classes was not so bright just from the aspect of living in close proximity and the local pub. Sadly since RE has followed the U.S. template that has changed and with it the social dynamic.

              So as big corporations are authoritarian vertical structures and the incentives brought in by the Chicago school/Slone et al its not hard to understand how it all becomes a self reinforcing loop. Especially when those that make it to the top are help up as a exemplar for all to worship. Just makes me think of all the times I was pulled aside and offered mentorship by such individuals and all that entails. My problem was I grew up understanding the dynamic and not some fresh faced kid with stars in their eyes ….

              1. Procopius

                There’s nothing new about that (sights on bodies). S.L.A. Marshall wrote several books about it going back to Second World War, and it was a problem in the Civil War and probably in the Seven Years War. IIRC Marshall described a program which had some success either in WWII or Korea, but I’m sure it didn’t last.

      2. Mildred Montana

        >”Our economy, politics, corporations and institutions have hierarchies that select for the worst people so that at the top we have mostly sociopathic maniacs.”

        A brief illustrative anecdote: I once saw a down-and-outer rummaging through a garbage can. Watching him was a clearly well-off man. The look on his face? Pity? No, it was undisguised, almost hateful, contempt.

        Now if that ain’t a picture of sociopathy.

    4. ambrit

      This sounds like a bit of the old “poor little rich kids” plot line. “Don’t throw me in that briar patch Mr. Wolf!”
      As usual, the lives and travails of the rich and powerful are fascinating subjects for various reasons. The lives of the plain and poor don’t come off so well at the box office. I wonder why? Perhaps it’s because, at the root, “popular entertainment” is an escape valve for the individual, and, most importantly, for the society. Who wants to observe and analyze the indignities and outrages of everyday life? We can walk down any street or contemplate which bill or need to ‘juggle’ this week to experience that.
      Now, if someone were to come out with a modern version of “Battleship Potemkin,” which was based on a real happening.
      Looking around, one subject pops into focus for me, the coordinated crushing of the ‘Occupy’ movement by the Ruling Elites back in 2011. That was when ‘The Powers’ tipped their hand. Dissent will not be tolerated when it begins to become effective. Only performative protest will be allowed. “What’s your gender preference you long haired hippy freak!”
      That will be a proper use of film.

      1. .Tom

        > This sounds like a bit of the old “poor little rich kids” plot line.

        Not really. The actual and wannabe rich in Glass Onion are monstrous, grotesque villains.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          The film sees our elites in a way quite similar to “Don’t Look Back” and “Sorry to Bother You.” Satirical, of course, but there’s not much room to exaggerate our elites’ short-sighted stupidity and self-absorption.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Yep, absolutely. Where are the films about the politics of repression carried out by those poor, sad, pitiable rich people?
        Hell might freeze over before we get real movies about how the poor sad rich have busted health care, lived on oxycontin profits, thrown people out of their houses.
        We need a movie about how the rich can send trillions to Ukraine and at the same time fight raises for people on starvation wages who live in their cars. Such a movie could be amazonian.

      3. anon in so cal

        Took a peek over at DU and egads. Cesspool. Can’t believe I used to read and post there.

      4. witters

        Nothing is so beautiful and wonderful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstacy, as the good. No desert is so dreary, monotonous, and boring as evil. This is the truth about authentic good and evil.

        With fictional good and evil it is the other way round. Fictional good is boring and flat, while fictional evil is varied and intriguing, attractive profound, and full of charm.

        Simone Weil On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God

    5. Craig H.

      The greatest heartbreak that comes with extreme wealth is not being able to trust even your friends

      Five years ago Mohammed bin Nayef was wealthier than Bill Gates or Warren Buffet will ever be. I bet right now he would gladly trade places with just about anybody reading this. Not trusting his friends would be in the top ten but I don’t think it’s in the top three.

    6. Thistlebreath

      30 odd years ago, our oak grove was dark at night. Even with a minimum lot size of 2 acres the area’s been infilled with McMansions. Each sports multiple quartz and sodium vapor “fraidy lights.”

      Proverbs 28.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Ideas similar to Hebrew Wisdom literature are found in the Tao te Ching (Le Guin rendition):


        Nobody can protect
        a house full of jade.
        Wealth, status, pride
        are their own ruin.


        Racing, chasing, hunting,
        drives people crazy.
        Trying to get rich
        ties people in knots.

        # 53:

        People wearing ornaments and fancy clothes,
        carrying weapons,
        drinking a lot, eating a lot,
        having a lot of things, a lot of money:
        shameless thieves.
        Surely their way
        is not the way.

        At the end of #53, Le Guin includes a one-line comment:

        So much for capitalism.

        1. Joe Renter

          Thanks for quoting the Tao. I have seen you done that a couple of times. I came across the Tao when I was a young man and still consult it quite often. It has such a unique essence. Deep running wisdom that endures the test of time.

    7. Marvin

      The Rothschilds, worth Trillions, think of compounding interest over hundreds of years, they must be living in ongoing purgatory.

    8. eg

      I am put in mind of this anecdote:

      ‘At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history.
      Heller responds,“Yes, but I have something he will never have — ENOUGH.”’

      Also, don’t underestimate the value of anonymity, something the famous (or infamous) can never enjoy …

  2. griffen

    The net worth of a cat trails the net worth of a dog named Gunther VI (whom I recall a few articles floated here in the past year about the generational wealth of that German Shepherd). Who knows in the future, maybe Olivia Benson will have some offspring heirs to transfer the net worth on to as well.

    Also conjures a funny line from the Big Bang Theory. Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…

    1. Wukchumni

      There’s a few breeds that’ll set you back hundreds of $’s, but generally, cats aren’t worth anything compared to the multitude of dog breeds, which I think is where much of the cat-dog angst comes from, they know.

      1. tevhatch

        Robert Graves considered himself a poet and his occupation, writer. “I breed pedigree dogs to feed my cats”. The dogs were his prose, the cats his poetry.

      2. Mildred Montana

        Has anyone thought of “pet-napping” as a way to make an easy living?* Animal lovers will pay almost anything to get their beloved pet back (just look at the vet bills they’re willing to pay!) and if they don’t play ball the resale market for well-bred pets is lively.

        The chances of a successful ‘napping of a dog or cat are much, much greater than that of a wealthy businessman or socialite. Fluffy or Rusty won’t be able to identify you in court and the penalties if convicted should be about the same as those for common theft or, at worst, extortion.

        *Just an observation, not a recommendation.

        1. Wukchumni

          One of the many plot lines in The Good Soldier Švejk is the protagonist who steals dogs for a living in civilian life… ha ha

          Not enough thumbs up on this marvel of a book, really needs 3 or 4 thumbs up to do it justice.

          1. ambrit

            Kidnapping dogs and “returning” them for the reward money is a plot device in the 2012 film “Seven Psychopaths.” Hilarity ensues.

            1. Wukchumni

              One of the characters in The Good Soldier Švejk is Police Agent Bretschneider: A secret policeman who repeatedly tries to catch Švejk and others out on their anti-monarchist views. He is eventually eaten by his own dogs, after buying a succession of animals from Švejk in an attempt to incriminate him.

        2. marku52

          Stealing French Bulldogs is a thing (not sure why, they are hideous looking)

          LAT had an article today about someone walking one, it was stolen at gunpoint.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          Stealing pet dogs and cats, for both ransom and just to sell on for breeding, is quite a significant problem in many Asian countries – I’ve heard of it as a significant problem in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Vietnam there have been cases of the kidnappers being beaten to death when caught (although in those cases, I believe the dogs were stolen for the… erm… culinary trade).

    2. davejustdave

      That rhyme is not original with BBT – I traced it to a book of children‘s songs from the 1950s, and it may go back even earlier.

  3. Steve H.

    > De-dollarization: Slowly but surely Al Mayadeen


    > Over fears that china will endure a fate similar to that of Russia, that it will lose all its assets and dollars in case tensions increase, China has resorted to converting its bonds into real assets and proceeded by investing them in the third world as a counter-hegemonical strategy. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the gateway to transforming US-denominated money capital into real capital.

    answers this question from 2018:

    >> That leads to the question of when. A keen and felt understanding of financial destabilization, and an investment in undercutting dollar hegemony, means the timing is based on when they feel they need to get rid of the dollars and get something. Ukraine owes dollars, what’ve they got?

    1. Robert Hahl

      I think the BRI must be an important source of inflation. As to why the dollar remains popular, the article explains it at the top: ” Where else can financial wealth be placed safely, traded and cashed in quickly other than the US market?” So, water’s for fighting, dollar’s for speculating. That will go on for a long time but it doesn’t seem very important to the productive economy.

        1. jsn

          Safety, I think, stands second to availability.

          For a currency to displace the dollar it needs to be equally available abroad as the buck.

          Making a currency that liquid and available comes at the cost of domestic employment, so no one’s willing to create that condition. This issue is what’s allowed the US & UK get away with the bald theft of other countries reserves.

    2. begob

      I pulled up short on this Platonic assertion:

      Money is also an idea (a form) with an aura whose very allure is to reproduce the social conditions for the creation of more money, through credit of course.

      … and am now brooding over it on this long winter evening.

  4. griffen

    Southwest Airlines did not prioritize technology upkeep or upgrades. That’s pretty darn short sighted, but what else is surprising or new when it comes to airlines or a big manufacturer like Boeing. Always thinking in terms of the next quarter, next earnings report.

    I know what these corporations need. Taxpayer money to solve these problems! \sarc

    1. rowlf

      Some airlines get stuck being frugal during lean times and never shift gears to move ahead during good times. There is a sweet spot between saving too much money (very expensive to do with aircraft as the chickens – reliability – always come home to roost) and spending too much money.

      Some airlines and their corporate cultures never make the shift to be ahead of the problems.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “EU Commission head lauds Croatia on eurozone, Schengen entry”

    Not often that you see an entire country commit an act of self harm. They have now gotten rid of their own currency – Croatian Kuna – and have adopted the Euro. And as the EU falls into all sorts of strife this year, Croatia will find themselves in a financial straight-jacket with only limited room for maneuver. Croatia has now checked themselves into the Hotel California.

    1. spud

      to those who despise brexit, just look at the eurozone. now that is suicide. it will be easier to get rid of the thatcherite/blarites, then to untangle the mess made by the free trade block, the eurozone.

      1. Anonymous 2

        And yet when asked in opinion polls if they want to leave the eurozone or the EU, the populations of these countries say that they do not want to leave. So perhaps being in the eurozone and the EU has more in favour of it than you are prepared to allow?

        The UK economy has taken a big hit as a result of Brexit, the NHS is in dire straits because the UK Government cannot/will not fund it properly and large sections of the UK economy are now on strike as the workers resist the real pay cuts which the Government are trying to push through to repair the damage done to government finances largely by Brexit.

        Brexit itself only occurred after decades of black anti-EU propaganda and lies in the British press. Do you think Murdoch and his allies backed Brexit because they thought it would benefit the British working class? I hope not or I would deem you to be very naive.

        1. Kfish

          The UK’s woes are largely self-inflicted. With a soft Brexit to preserve some EU trading rights, and holding their own currency, they could have mitigated most of the potential harm.

          Unfortunately, a lot of the swivel-eyed Brexit backers saw an opportunity to rid the UK of the EU’s worker and consumer protections. The rest of the ideologues refused to compromise on anything with the EU’s trade negotiators, so here they are.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Yes. Both the Euro and EU are very popular right throughout the region, especially in smaller countries (yes, even in Greece). People may grumble or complain about one or more aspects of the EU, but suggest to them that the alternative is to lose their EU passports and have their lira or whatever back, and they swiftly backtrack. Both far left and far right in Europe have learned that while an anti-EU stance may help initially in getting attention, if they want sufficient votes to come close to power they have to be at least neutral (or as in the case of the Irish far left, simply lie about it). The UK was an exception born of the peculiarities of the history of that nation.

  6. zagonostra

    >A pivotal time: Does the ‘free world’ care about the freedom of others? The Hill

    Yearning, longing, fighting for freedom, courageous resistance to Russia’s genocidal war, brave protests, courageous Ukrainians, human spirit, all this in the first paragraph. Wow. And it goes on and on about the “enemies of freedom” and points to a “..moral relativism, economic globalism, isolationist tendencies and identity politics of our time provide excuses for inertia.”

    Who is the audience for this article. It feels so much like a first year college essay written by a teenager who knows nothing of history, psychology, or metaphysics.

    That someone with a PH.D wrote this is startling, or maybe it shouldn’t be, I have to save it as proof of where academe has ended up at the beginning of 2023.

    1. digi_owl

      The only PHDs barely worth it are STEM related, and even then only while sticking to their tiny slice of science.

      In this particular instance, the PHD they are so coy about is one of philosophy. Thus the purple prose should be of no surprise.

    2. pjay

      This is a truly stunning piece. It’s worth reading for entertainment value alone. I originally skipped it, figuring that it would just be the usual Establishment propaganda. I was wrong – it is quite exceptional in its level of total obliviousness. The author – Anne R. Pierce – almost makes Anne Applebaum sound like Stephen Cohen by comparison. I was so intrigued that I tried to find out more about her. Though your teenage freshman analogy is apt in describing the article’s content, she has high-powered academic credentials and, probably more relevant, she seems to have connections to some high-level, spook-connected propaganda organizations. Though she might just be a true-believing useful idiot, she wrote a book ripping the foreign policy of Obama and his two Secretaries of State – Clinton and Kerry – for being *too soft* on the world’s brutal dictators (which, as this article shows, all happen to lead countries resisting US policies).

      People like this get to write opinion pieces in The Hill (and elsewhere, as her resume indicates). It’s hard to believe that there is an audience for this level of “humanitarian” BS after the last 30 years of US-instigated global destruction. But nothing surprises me anymore.

  7. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Oh, Mexico Save Me

    Well clearly the Gray Lady’s New Year’s resolution wasn’t to write less stupid propaganda for the benefit global capital.

    We are told –

    “Basic geography is a driver for American companies moving business to Mexico. Shipping a container full of goods to the United States from China generally requires a month — a time frame that doubled and tripled during the worst disruptions of the pandemic. Yet factories in Mexico and retailers in the United States can be bridged within two weeks.”

    Wow, that really shortens things up! But if basic geography is such a driver, why couldn’t we cut times even further by manufacturing goods in a country even closer to the United States like, well, I know it sounds crazy – the United States! The article doesn’t say why that’s not possible. ‘Tis a mystery!

    And then –

    “The reality is that Mexico is the solution to some of our challenges,” said Shannon K. O’Neil, a Latin America specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Trade that is closer by from Canada or Mexico is much more likely to create and protect U.S. jobs.”

    That’s right – having stuff made for US citizens in Mexico rather than in the US is more likely to save US jobs. It won’t actually save them, but it’s more likely to. It’s easy to see if you do the math. If there is a 0% chance of a worker in China saving a US job, and Mexico is 100 times closer to the US than China, now we have a 100 x 0% chance of saving a US job. It’s a win-win! It’s like selling things at a loss but making up for it in volume!

    Then there was a bunch of “AMLO bad” thrown in for good measure. Sounds like some country could use a little regime change to really help save US jobs!

      1. Mikel

        “Yes, the US should reshore, but profit seeking corporations won’t do it.”

        Not without turning back the clock to a regulatory and labor era reminiscent of the 17th/18th Centuries.

    1. Carolinian

      CFR–say no more. Perhaps we should turn to Mexico for our foreign policy pundits. Anything would be an improvement.

      Dean Baker used to make this point all the time–that if we imported economists the way we use other countries for consumer goods then suddenly free trade would be declared monstrous.

    2. anon in so cal

      Outsourcing jobs or production phases to Mexico is a form of globalization, and criticizing globalization meets the definition of a “domestic extremist,” according to Biden’s DHS.

      “As I’ve previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security’s new definition of “domestic extremist” includes not only anti-government groups on the right but also anti-establishment left-wing groups such as animal rights and environmental activists:”

      1. Mikel

        “criticizing globalization meets the definition of a “domestic extremist,” according to Biden’s DHS.”

        Thanks for the reminder about that bit of thin-skinned extremism from The Blob.

        It only re-inforces the dangers of their globalization…the over-financialized, extractive, destructive, and authoritarian hegemony dominating in areas of trade.

    3. Diogenes

      The problem is you didn’t read far enough.

      Ya see: “The reality is that Mexico is the solution to some of our challenges,” said Shannon O’Neil, a Latin America specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Trade that is closer by from Canada or Mexico is much more likely to create and protect U.S. jobs.”


    4. marku52

      There was a really good article on AmLo in the LAT recently. The investigative anthropologist wanted to know why on earth a socialist like AmLo was very popular?

      Amazing really. He did stuff for poor people. Raised the minimum wage and increased pension payouts for just a few.

      1. Anonymous

        He gave out scholarships to most schoolchildren in the country, gave pensions to every single person over 65 and had a special program for “ninis,” (young people who do not study and/or work) in which the government would pay their salaries for up to a year while they received on-the-job training. The amount is significant if you consider the country’s minimum wage. High school students, for example, receive $40 dollars every month, and university students receive $125. For comparison, the minimum wage is aprox. $315 per month. The money goes directly to the beneficiary with no intervening steps, meaning the kids get a check to their names each month. He hasn’t precisely fixed the country or lifted people out of poverty, but if you’re having difficulties eating those extra $40 dlls per household go a long way. That’s more than any of the previous presidents ever did, and has gained him rabid support from poor people which, in Mexico, is the great majority of people.

  8. griffen

    Summary of the Worst COVID takes of 2022. Well we get all manner of lies and malfeasance from the CDC (thank you), lies from this administration (the Pandemic is over). At least they whiz down our backs and tell us it’s raining with a straight face. Liars, the lot of them.

    I think the curation on this broad reaching topic is one of the best features here. And to add, the frequent observations from those better informed than myself on protocols and peer reviews.

      1. cnchal

        OK, I went there and here is what I am going to do. Twitter is The Sewer.

        Wear an N95 wherever it is needed, stay the fuck away from death breath idiots and they can continuously reinfect each other by breathing an airborne pathogen into each other’s faces.

        Whenever I read that masks don’t work, I ask why don’t you rip that useless air filter out of your car. Air filters don’t work!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Lula launches stinging attack on Bolsonaro in inaugural address”

    Bolsonaro was supposed to hand over some traditional flag of office to Lula but instead, he was a no show. Not only to all the people attending that inaugural address but also his own supporters. He took off in a jet to Florida which makes me wonder if he went to visit his good buddy at Mar-a-Lago. I can see it now – Bolsonaro, Trump and Juan Guaidó all hanging around a bar trying to pick up girls. Bolsanaro says hey babe, I was just the President of Brazil while Trump says he can do one better as he was the President of the United States. But when Juan Guaidó pipes up to say he was the President of Venezuela, both Bolsanaro & Trump tell him to shut up as he was onlyever a pretend-President.

    1. JohnH

      Guaido, Trump, and Bolsonaro are hanging around a bar in FL as you describe, when Guiado says it’s nice, but he knows a place back in Caracas where every third drink is on the house. Pfffft, Bolsonaro interjects, there’s a bar in Rio in which every other drink is free. Trump says that’s nothing, boys, I know a beautiful, beautiful place back in DC where all the drinks are totally free AND when you have had enough to drink they take you upstairs and get you laid too. Astounded, Guiado and Bolsonaro challenge Trump, this place can’t be real. Trump replies, well “I’ve never been there, but (female Trump family member or admin figure you like least) told me about it.”

    2. digi_owl

      Makes you wonder if “elected leaders” are anything more than pretend these days, as the bureaucracy/deep state/swamp/whatever is perpetual and faceless.

      1. johnnyme

        Douglas Adams nailed this way back in 1979. From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

        The President in particular is very much a figurehead — he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had — he has already spent two of his ten presidential years in prison for fraud.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        The Links article ‘Southwest Airlines’ Christmas Meltdown Shows How Corporations Deliberately Pit Consumers Against Low-Wage Workers’ describes “the deliberate, built-in ways corporate “customer service” is set up to not only shield those on the top of the ladder—executives, vice presidents, large shareholders—but pit low-wage workers against each other in an inherently antagonistic relationship”.
        This is how the real owners of our society operate. Government {elected leaders and even the so called bureaucratic deep state) is the customer service that shields the oligarchs from the mob with the pitch forks. Antagonism is directed at the government that essentially does nothing that is not directed by these real owners.

  10. Acacia

    The effectiveness of the SA58 Nasal Spray for preventing COVID-19 infection among medical personnel was evaluated as 77.7% (95% CI: 52.2% – 89.6%).

    Sounds pretty good. Rather better than the mRNA shots, at least. Is there any catch (aside from it prolly never being approved in the US)…?

    1. Nikkikat

      This seemed like a spot to tell my weekend bad story. I’ll make it short if I can. I fainted. Fell and hit floor leaving a small bump on the back of my head. Husband always panicky in any kind of emergency or not. He called 911 four maskless paramedics. Stuck their maskless faces in mine. At hospital NO one in a mask in emergency room, no one in CT dept. no in MRI dept. one of these people kept coughing on me. I completely lost it. I raised up told this person to get the family blog away from me. And yelled where are your fam, b masks? That when I was told that according to the CDC the pandemic was over. Another @&$#.=&$ stream from me about what could be done with the @#$&* CDC. Because you know it’s not over. From that point on I had a mask and anyone in contact had a mask. Not a good mask but at least it was a mask. Right now my anger knows no bounds. I’m back home praying none of these %@#&$ gave me Covid. I have not had a life for three years. I do not see anyone I do not go any where except the store. I wear a N95 and I had the bad luck to have to go to the emergency room and a hospital, where I will be lucky not to get Covid, and die. I am 68 years old. I have managed all of this time. I could truly just scream and cry.

      1. anon in so cal

        That is a horror story. I hope you did not catch Covid! Not sure if you can still use betadine.

      2. Carla

        @Nikkikat — I am screaming and crying with you and for you. What a nightmare.

        I have an 83-year-old in-law who has been in a nursing home since 2019 due to advanced Alzheimer’s. Her 86-year-old husband visits her every day. No one at nursing home masked, and he doesn’t mask because “covid’s over.” A few days ago, while his daughter was visiting from out of town, he got a call from the home that his wife has covid. A day later he was symptomatic and consequently tested positive. His daughter made a several hundred mile drive home feeling rotten and when she got there, tested positive. Both of them had escaped covid for almost 3 years, until this week. He went to the ER a couple of days ago due to his afib on top of the covid. Eight hour wait. I think they require surgical masks in that hospital but people wear them under their noses, etc. and they’re not very effective anyway. So he had a chance to infect everyone waiting who wasn’t already infecting others.

        Hope Lambert will keep us updated on that latest study showing that each MRna booster increases our susceptibility to the new variants. I’m sure there’s been a great effort to hide that info ASAP.

        I’ve been following the substack of Eric Topol who unreservedly urged the bivalent booster esp for us older types. Utter silence from him lately.

        1. britzklieg

          yes, all the grief I got for calling the vaccines crap was worth it and I’m definitely taking the opportunity to say “told you so.”

          1. Mildred Montana

            Gore Vidal: The four most beautiful words in the English language, “I told you so.”

      3. Lee

        At 75, with a long list of health problems, I too have been living as you have for these past three years. I had a necessary procedure which required I be rendered maskless about a year ago. Everyone at the facility wore masks and had tested negative for Covid. I’ve got another procedure coming up and again will have to remove my P-100 Ellipse mask for the general anesthetic. I don’t know if the facility will be operating with the same Covid protocols or not. I guess I better ask. But then there’s the flu and RSV going around. It’s a jungle out there.

      4. Verifyfirst

        There have been various studies looking a povidone-iodine dilutions, nitrous oxide, carrageen, other things, for prophylactic or post exposure Covid mitigation via nasal lavage. This one looked at saine rinse:

        Showering and changing clothes can’t hurt?

        Hospitals as permanent super spreader sites–I saw a study in England that found something like 20 or 30% of patients acquired Covid in the hospital. Were US hospitals not granted legal immunity?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Given how “effective” the mRNA shots were initially claimed to be and all the bs required to keep that fiction going long enough to create a few covid pharma billionaires, I can think of one or two “catches” that might just crop up….

    3. Lee

      On TWiV 966: 1918 influenza with Jeffery Taubenberger, at one point Taubenberger suggests that a combination of injectable and nasal vaccinations might provide the best protection against Covid.

      As for post-infection antivirals, it looks like an oral form of Remdesivir is in the works, solving the problem of drug interactions posed by Paxlovid. Since most of the world, not including me and some others, is giving up on prevention through non-pharmaceutical measures, better drugs looks like the way forward.

      1. ambrit

        Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t it true that there has never been a sterilizing vaccine against a coronavirus?
        So, for Covid, vaccines are worse than useless, for various reasons? (As in their widespread use facilitates the rapid evolution of “better” coronaviruses?)
        My problem with anything drugs based today is that the Bigg Pharma have been caught lying straight faced to us all, time and again.
        The socio-political outcome of this process is the destruction of any public trust in the “Public Health” authorities. Watch previously preventable diseases begin to return to endemicity. The cynic in me wonders about motivations here.
        It’s looking like “The Jackpot” was more than a mere plot device in a cyberpunk novel. It was a warning. Good Science Fiction is predictive.

        1. Lee

          I don’t think any vaccines are sterilizing in that they absolutely prevent temporary habitation by a virus within a host. What the best of them do is prevent disease when a transient viral habitation of a host occurs. For example, there’s probably a lot of polio virus being passed around in the population. It’s just that the vaccinated don’t develop disease symptoms. Likewise with other pathogens.

          “Good Science Fiction is predictive.” Agreed. I’m reading Ministry for the Future, and it feels like I’m reading about events that will take place the day after tomorrow.

          1. ambrit

            I need some ‘engaging’ reading for the winter doldrums. Another mention of Robinson’s book. I’m going to have to steal a few more hub caps this month and buy a copy of the book. I just checked. Our local Library has three copies, all on the shelf right now. I might walk down there tomorrow, (they are closed today for ‘Late New Years Day,’) and check out a copy. [Good excuse for some exercise too.]
            Stay safe!

            1. Wukchumni

              I too struggled with the concept that Ministry for the Future was in fact, fiction.

              Great read, the first chapter is a humdinger, wow.

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              I’m in the middle of Green Mars, and find him wonderful.
              first newtome scifi i’ve read in a long, long time.

              thanks to yall, i’ll prolly hafta tackle wm gibson, next.

  11. Lemmy Caution

    Your Coworkers Are Less Ambitious; Bosses Adjust to the New Order” WSJ

    How does WSJ define ambition?

    “For a growing number of professionals, the days of unpaid overtime and working through weekends are in the past. Firms add people to finish projects, close for holidays and take other steps.”

    I fear for this country when workers aren’t enthusiastically lining up to be overworked and exploited.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Spare Us a Trump-Biden Rematch”

    Peggy Noonan really wants old Joe to step down but it looks like he won’t. Come the 2024 Presidential election, I do not think that there will be much enthusiasm for it. Trump got in back in 2016 as a revolt against the establishment trying to force Hillary down people’s throats. And both Biden and Kamala each were individually disappearing into political oblivion in 2019 when suddenly the establishment made them a Presidential team for the Democrats and went all out to undermine Trump. And in the past Bernie Sanders has twice stirred up enormous enthusiasm but I do not think this will happen a third time. As twice now he folded under pressure and shepherded his voters to the Democrat’s final candidate, I do not think that people will want that a third time. Not again. And when push comes to shove, more and more people really don’t know how secure the elections are and this goes back to at least 2000. Sure you will see all the ads and the ra-ra and maybe Pete Buttigieg will even revive his High Hopes flash mob. But overall, there seems to be less enthusiasm with each Presidential election. And that is really bad for the nation that.

    1. Carolinian

      Trump is now threatening to go third party if the Repubs block him from being the nominee. It’s unclear what third party that would be.

      1. griffen

        And what a beautiful, wondrous third party it will be. Just a magnificent party, for all my wonderful, supporting and adoring MAGA people. \sarc

        In a more thoughtful response, what is to stop him. The media outlets will continue to shower coverage upon him and his new party movement. They, collectively, will be unable to resist on pointing out that he reflects the ruination of “our democracy”, the “soul of our nation at stake..” And they, collectively, cannot grasp or fathom that anyone might have benefited during his Presidency, surely not the proles who enjoy circuses and bread. I’m no fan of Trump but he will not go quietly, my thoughts.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          The problem is creating a third party takes actual work, something Trump is averse to. You don’t just get to tweet out a new party name and suddenly get on a ballot. The two major parties have put up many impediments to getting third party ballot access, and those impediments vary by state. I wish it were easier to get on the ballot, but it’s not, and over the years I’ve seen Democrats move mountains to deny ballot access to actual lefties, while paying scant attention to their Republicans opponents.

          Trump could run as a write in candidate, but nobody actually counts those votes.

          1. Wukchumni

            An awful lot hinges on My Kevin (since ’07) and what happens tomorrow. Kev’s a master bootlicker who owes everything to His Donald.

            Trumpism could be effectively finished, tomorrow.

        2. John k

          Dems and reps job 1 is to block ballot access. Imo Bernie coulda been the green candidate, but hard to imagine trump getting the invite.
          And harder to imagine trump trying to get on ~40 state ballots.
          Sounds more to me he’s just bluffing.

        3. Pat

          Flashing on Connecticut for Lieberman. It didn’t hurt that he still had the mainstream Democratic Party behind him AND Connecticut suburban Republicans split between him and their own candidate, but Joe Lieberman did pull it off.

          As for the work that’s what you hire people for. Depending on who the Republicans nominate besides Trump and how bad multiple fronts go for Biden, he could be a huge spoiler… or even a winner. Do I think he can pull it off? Let me put it this way, I thought Lieberman would lose and I underestimated Hillary Clinton’s laziness and incompetence and thought she would win by the skin of her teeth. I have learned that one should never take people’s positions and actions for granted. They can and often will surprise you.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            My theory was Trump was a none of the above candidate in the GOP primary. He became the guy when Jeb’s sheepdogs attacked none of the above voters. Trump wasn’t their guy as much as Jeb wasn’t. Then he won the big prize.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        That rule of 1951 to stop anyone from being prez for more than two terms could be changed back. Yes siree. that rule was only brought in to stop them socialists like FDR. And Obama is a standout at doing what we want and also at killing people, our #1 industry. Hands down best option.
        Only, dang, people like FDR, who waste money on the deplorables, them (spits) populists, might get elected in the future. But we could just get our AI to run the voting and the media to run PR around how AI is preserving our democracy.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      My God, what people would say. “What a great man.” Your reputation will be raised high forever—you actually walked away from the limelight in order to ensure that power stay in the party that stands for the better things. What a legacy.

      Could he do this? Yes. Should he? Yes. Will he? Well. He likes being president. He likes the whole thing, the house, the salutes, the state dinners, the centrality to all events, the cynosure of all eyes, being taken seriously after a career of being considered a cornball glad-handing pol, a guy who wasn’t that bright but had a huge ego . . .

      If nooners actually thinks that this biden “presidency” is rehabilitating him into a “great man,” she really has another think coming.

      “great man.” OMFG.

      1. ambrit

        I’m beginning to wonder just how many times “nooners” has had Covid, or the jab. Looks like accumulative cognitive degradation to me.

    3. digi_owl

      From day one it felt like certain elements of the democrats were betting on Biden either croaking or stepping down because of health, thus getting their madam president in Kamala Harris that they were so rudely denied by the hicks that voted Trump over hillary. Because to them, symbology is more important than substance. New ages witches, the lot.

      A retry of the Truman putsch if you will.

  13. Skip Intro

    So Pele was hospitalized for covid, but died “after a long struggle with cancer”. The memory hole is getting more voracious by the day.

    1. Yves Smith

      STOP POSTING FALSEHOODS!!! And in keeping, no links.

      I will not tolerate disinfo. You are asking to be blacklisted.

      He was hospitalized for a lung infection following a Covid case 3 weeks earlier.

      Since he was being treated for cancer, he was on immunosuppresive drugs.

      She added: “Three weeks ago he had Covid. He is vaccinated with all doses but because of the cancer medication, the chemotherapy that makes him more fragile, he’s got a lung infection, and that is why he went to hospital.”….

      On Saturday, the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo issued a statement saying Pelé remains in stable condition after he was admitted to a hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday for a “re-evaluation of the chemotherapy treatment over colon cancer identified in September 2021.”

      The hospital added that he has shown “good response to the respiratory infection care, not showing any worsening of his condition in the last 24 hours.”

      The Covid infection was long enough ago that it appears to be at most a secondary cause of his lung infection.

  14. flora

    Now for something completely different. Joe Rogan talking to Graham Hancock about his then new book. (This is from a few years ago). Full episode. Long. utube.

    The bit that caught my attention was the new DNA information about the closest population group related to ancient Latin and South American populations. Turns out it’s not European/ EurAsian/ Asian peoples; it’s Austrialian/polynesian peoples. Because there’s no DNA record of their passing through N. Americas and N.American peoples, on foot from the northern land bridge, then how did they get to S. America. The ancient Polynesians had extraordinary seagoing ability, but without compass or navigation gear we think of as necessary to sail oceans, how did they navigate an ocean far beyond out sight of land? I came across the following information a few years ago. (I like starting the new year with an intriguing mystery or two. / ;)

    Here are two links about the ancient Polynesian wayfinding skill.
    from BBC:
    from NOVA:

    “… more things in heaven and earth than are dreampt of….”

    Happy New Year, NC.

      1. JBird4049

        Between the coastlines and sea-levels bouncing around, examples like the similarities between North American East Coast and European stone age culture during the ice ages with the often drastic exposure of the continental shelf as well as the costal migration on the West Coast at the same time. Then add the later Pacific voyages, it should not be strange that the Americas have had multiple waves of immigration. Also, we are talking tens of thousands of years and not a few centuries. That is a lot of time for things to happen.

        The details really are debatable including just when the original Americans arrived as well as the various waves were, but I believe that much of the doubt especially from academe is just parochialism and/or barely disguised racism.

    1. Janie

      Kontiki by Thor Heyerdahl was quite popular some decades back, proposing west to east travel, to great popular fandom and great academic ridicule.

      1. ambrit

        The best part of the Kon Tiki project is that it was an example of actual field work. Heyerdahl and crew really sailed from South America to Polynesia. As I have heard before, and from some truly intelligent people, one concrete fact will destroy hundreds of ‘learned’ theories.
        Then the man goes and sails a reed boat from Africa across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. (It took them two tries, but, there it is.)
        How many people by now have rowed small boats across the Atlantic, many single handed? Think the Basque fishermen on the New Foundland Grand Banks.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a fair number of ancient Roman shipwrecks off the east coast of South America, in theory the ships were headed to northwest Africa, but shift happened.

          1. ambrit

            And also the small tribal area in the eastern andes where red hair and other celtic attributes are seen. (The region had these people when the Spaniards first showed up.)
            My big problem with the “History’s Mysteries” type of videos is the constant; “What if Gamera really did travel to Aukland?” sort of click baity dialogue.
            As Dragnet put it; “We just want to get the facts, sir.”
            An oldie but goodie:

  15. Wukchumni

    There’s one storm after another coming to Cali the next 10 days with probably a lot of flooding all over the state with the potential if they keep coming for a few months of a 1861-62 ARK Storm which would kill off the largely orchard based Ag economy here, and create a large temporary lake in the process.

      1. Wukchumni

        Get a load of this NWS statement from the Bay Area…

        To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while. The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life. This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at and needs to be taken seriously.

    1. juno mas

      An 1861-62 ARK Storm would also drown many of the cities adjacent to the LA River (flood control chute). Trucking in/out of the Port of LA/Long Beach would likely come to a hault.

  16. timbers

    Duran quoting Lavrov on Russian TV interview: “Very soon we will be in a position to make stronger action in Ukraine. We see the West continuing to pump Ukraine with more advanced weapons. Retired military experts say this needs to be cut off. We are talking railways bridges and tunnels.” (Loosely from memory). Hurrah. “Just do it”

    1. Daryl

      Railways, bridges, and tunnels? Bah, that’s boring stuff. Wars are won with flashy marketing, not logistics. /s

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      they’s a rooski outfit, donchano…
      i think of them as a sort of middlebrow russian/eurasian rand corp-brookings-aei, but more accessible…the Blob thinks of them as a russian propaganda outfit, akin to alex jones.

      but i continue to like reading from the horses mouth the ideas, etc of people we are admonished to hate.
      so i’m prolly too polluted(as in Precious Bodily Fluids, etc) to offer a credible opinion.


      they not only carry Pepe and Alisdaire, but Yannis(sp-3) and Zizek and a whole wide variety of others.
      Gailbraith’s boy is on there a lot.

      1. Yves Smith

        That link should not have been approved. Makes the site look terrible.

        Strategic Culture Watch regularly runs rancid anti-Semitic posts.

        Anything Pepe Escobar posts there of any merit he also posts elsewhere.

  17. JBird4049

    >>>would kill off the largely orchard based Ag economy here, and create a large temporary lake in the process

    You seem to think that this would be a bad thing. All those almond trees formerly sucking dry the aquifer all drowned dead, dead, dead. Pity that.

    1. Wukchumni

      It takes 7-10 years for new orchards to bear nuts or fruit in commercial quantities, and also should it come to pass, everybody will be terra fied to re-plant trees, what if another flood event comes?

      Much of the Central Valley was devoted to dry wheat farming once upon a time, and it might go back to that.

      1. Kfish

        It was truly surreal to drive down I-5 and see the orchards glowing unnaturally green, against the Mediterranean tones of the unwatered hillsides.

  18. korual

    “When Does Life Begin.”

    Lambert: 3.4 billion years ago.

    Correct! Here is a supplemental question. When is a human fully conscious?

    Maybe we should all strive for that before we die? It is New Years’ Resolution time, after all.

  19. Pat

    After finally reading the article about the net worth of Taylor Swift’s cat, I am struck by how many business opportunities the cat has had and how tied they are to Swift.

    And nothing against the adorable Scottish fold, but other than not personally trading on her famous relative’s position and network as Swift did that herself, “Olivia Benson” could be the epitome of the meme “Nepo Baby”.

  20. thousand points of green

    Making kale good enough to eat . . .

    Here is a New Year offering. Many people don’t like kale. Some people hate kale. The nutri-value of kale does no good for people who find it too hateful to eat.

    For people who find its hard chewy toughness to be the problem, here is a solution I found. I cut the ribs out of the leaves and scatter them in the bottom of a pressure cooker. I put in enough water to cover up the scattered ribs. Then I put the de-ribbed leaves in on top of the ribs without any cutting at all. Then I put on the lid of my presto-type pressure cooker with the heavy little dancing weight on top and turn up the heat. When the cooker reaches full pressure and the regulator is dancing at full steam-hiss-release volume, I let it keep cooking that way for exactly one minute. Then I turn the heat off and let it keep passively cooking on its own stored heat. I can come back to it later at leisure when it has cooled all the way off, take it out, cut it up fine now that it is super soft and put it in a normal cookpot with whatever else I want to cook with it, and cook it normally. It tastes just fine to me and there is no endless chewing of tough kale.

    It worked for lacinato kale, curly kale, and collards.

    Now if the taste itself is the problem, no matter how mushy soft the kale has gotten, then all one can do is eat one of the other brassicas that one does not dislike. Or hate. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower?
    There is also a whole range of East Asian brassicas which are so innately soft and tender to begin with that they don’t have to brag about how “soft” and “tender” they are. And if they have half or a third of the nutrients that kale has? Just eat twice or three times as much.

    Here is a whole bunch of images of perfectly non-hateful Oriental brassicas to consider if kale remains hateful no matter what.;_ylt=AwrFQRPXULNjfj83EHhXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANMT0NVSTA1M0JfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=oriental+brassica+vegetables+image&fr=sfp

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      kale is just another green.
      like lettuce, but with celery features.
      just include it n yer soups, sautes, stir frys, whatever and dont freak out.

  21. LawnDart

    Visited buddy in Chicago over New Years– a diehard liberal dem, very anti-Russia. We’ve clashed.

    This time I asked, “We were lied to about Iraq, Afganistan, Covid… …why do people trust what they’re hearing this time, about Ukraine?”

    “But that’s what all the media is telling us, and that’s all we have!”

    Not true.

    We discussed MSM and corporate ownership versus state media, confirmation bias, the profit motive, etc.

    I didn’t share the link to the Al Mayadeen story on de-dollarization (that would be too much, too quickly, and destroy his mind!) but directed him to the “about us” page. If he goes beyond that… …one at a time, a crack that lets the light in.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      shame there aint a pasture and a golf cart.
      i find them very conducive to such conversions/epiphanies

      one mind at a time
      until we win

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