Links 1/21/2023

Hunting for future-proof marine plants in the acidic waters bathing a volcano Monga Bay

All hail, ‘Toadzilla’: Giant toad in Australia could be world’s largest WaPo

Things are looking up for the global economy FT

Violence was widespread in early farming society, says new study Phys.org (AL).

Davos

World Economic Forum: Here Are All The Covid-19 Precautions At Davos 2022 Forbes. Oddly, I’m not seeing any take-up on this story from official organs like WaPo or the Times. Commentary:

The 5 Creepiest Moments at Davos Ken Klipperstein

Climate

Temperatures in One of Earth’s Coldest Corners Are the Highest in 1,000 Years Scientific American

Solar expected to see demand boom from Inflation Reduction Act in 2023 as supply chain remains uncertain Utility Dive

Biofoul: The Stowaway Turning Dream Cruises Into Trips to Nowhere NYT

#COVID19

The costly lesson from COVID: why elimination should be the default global strategy for future pandemics The Conversation. A natural experiment in Canada:

A point-by-point rebuttal of the Washington Post’s double down on Covid deaths being “overcounted.” Inside Medicine

Nick Bostrom, Longtermism, and the Eternal Return of Eugenics TruthDig

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What we know about how COVID-19 vaccines may affect menstrual cycles The Hill

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What’s standing in the way of wastewater data becoming a more mainstream public health tool STAT. So, after the Biden administration destroyed case counts from testing, we’ll have to wait at least three years for a national wastewater system to be built, hopefully in time for the next pandemic, good job.

We Need a Revolution in Clean Indoor Air The Tyee

China?

China Helped Raise My American Kids, and They Turned Out Fine NYT

Japan was the future but it’s stuck in the past BBC

The Lucky Country

COVID is still wreaking havoc across Australia but political and medical debate seems to have succumbed to pandemic weariness ABC Australia. “Pandemic weariness”/”Pandemic fatigue” seem to be the latest talking points in support of mass infection policies.

European Disunion

French government plays down cost of strikes after huge turnout against pension reform France24

French unions call for more protests on Jan. 31 against pension changes Angel Angelou

On corruption (ctilee):

New Not-So-Cold War

Russo-Ukrainian War: The World Blood Pump Big Serge Thought (Rodeo Clownfish). Excellent tour d’horizon, and backed by good collateral. Though I must say I wish I knew who “Big Serge” is. A friend of Fat Tony?

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Defense chiefs fail to resolve dispute on tanks for Ukraine AP

US still holds back long-range ATACMS missiles from Ukraine Defense News. The deck: “‘Our judgement to date is the juice isn’t really worth the squeeze,’ says top defense official.”

The New Crimean War? The American Conservative

How far should US intelligence go in supporting Russia’s armed opposition? The Hill

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Russia’s Fifth Column in Ukraine Is Alive and Well Foreign Policy. I thought SBU and Azov would have whacked them all by now?

Don’t Fear Putin’s Demise Foreign Affairs

DC think tank addresses undisclosed conflicts of interest Responsible Statecraft. The Atlantic Council.

South of the Border

Despite tear gas, Peru protesters vow to keep demonstrating AP. Also despite the US-backed regime whacking 40 or so of ’em, post-coup. Really remarkable watching the story being force-fit into the “demonstration”/”protest” frame.

Peru’s Democratic Dysfunction Foreign Affairs. Matt 27:24.

Peru unrest threatens to choke off almost 2% of global copper supply Mining.com

Biden Administration

68 Days of Silence: Why the White House Stayed Mum on Classified Documents NYT. “Since the Biden documents were found last fall….” Note lack of agency.

Ex-Clerks and Experts Left Puzzled by Vague Report on ‘Dobbs’ Leak National Law Journal. The deck: “‘I suspect the justices decided that the risks to the separation of powers were greater than the risk of not finding the leaker,’ said law professor Josh Blackman about the high court’s choice to not use federal investigatory resources.”

Analysis Shows Corporate Prosecutions Hit Record Low in 2022 Under Biden Common Dreams

Democrats en Déshabillé

CrowdStrike, like a bad penny:

And:

I seem to recall a similar case

Larry Summers Advised A Possible Crypto Fraudster. Is Anyone Going To Ask Him About It? Revolving Door Project

Healthcare

Aspirin or Low-Molecular-Weight Heparin for Thromboprophylaxis after a Fracture NEJM. From the Abstract: “In patients with extremity fractures that had been treated operatively or with any pelvic or acetabular fracture, thromboprophylaxis with aspirin was noninferior to low-molecular-weight heparin in preventing death and was associated with low incidences of deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and low 90-day mortality.” Hmm. I wonder which one is cheaper.

Tech

Generative AI and the future of the creative industry: ‘there is going to be pain’ The Drum

Abstracts written by ChatGPT fool scientists Nature and Comparing scientific abstracts generated by ChatGPT to original abstracts using an artificial intelligence output detector, plagiarism detector, and blinded human reviewers bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “ChatGPT writes believable scientific abstracts, though with completely generated data. These are original without any plagiarism detected but are often identifiable using an AI output detector and skeptical human reviewers. Abstract evaluation for journals and medical conferences must adapt policy and practice to maintain rigorous scientific standards; we suggest inclusion of AI output detectors in the editorial process and clear disclosure if these technologies are used. The boundaries of ethical and acceptable use of large language models to help scientific writing remain to be determined.”

Dr. OpenAI Lied to Me MedPage Today. Uh oh:

What’s the evidence for that, please?

OpenAI came up with this study in the European Journal of Internal Medicine that was supposedly saying that. I went on Google and I couldn’t find it. I went on PubMed and I couldn’t find it. I asked OpenAI to give me a reference for that, and it spits out what looks like a reference. I look up that, and it’s made up. That’s not a real paper.

It took a real journal, the European Journal of Internal Medicine. It took the last names and first names, I think, of authors who have published in said journal. And it confabulated out of thin air a study that would apparently support this viewpoint.

How Smart Are the Robots Getting? NYT. I wonder if people ever ask them hostile questions….

It’s 2023, where are the sex robots? ‘They will probably never be as huge as everyone thinks’ Guardian

New study finds libertarians tend to support reproductive autonomy for men but not for women PsyPost (PR). Shocker!

Supply Chain

Polycrisis to disrupt commodity supply and demand Hellenic Shipping News

Imperial Collapse Watch

Imperialism’s Death Spiral Glen Ford. From 2014, still germane. (Ford was a founding member of Black Agenda Report.)

Now is the time to save the all-volunteer force. Brookings Institution

Guillotine Watch

One last con! Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes tried to FLEE to Mexico on one-way ticket after being convicted, prosecutors claim as they urge judge to lock her up by April Daily Mail (BC).

Class Warfare

Age of Invention: The Bourgeois Supremacy Anton Howes, The Age of Invention

PMFault: Faulting and Bricking Server CPUs through Management Interfaces (PDF) University of Birmingham. Halt and Catch Fire (HCF).

Free Will Is Only an Illusion if You Are, Too Scientific American

How Should We Teach Kids to ‘Pay It Forward’? The Cut

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.

222 comments

  1. c_heale

    It’s ironic the BBC saying Japan is stuck in the past, when the BBC is the state broadcaster for a country which doesn’t even have one high speed train.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When I plied my time in merry olde on British Rail in the 1980’s, in order to open the door of a carriage when you were in the train, you needed to roll down the window on the door and open it from the outside by reaching through window and turning the knob-a very English safety device-that.

      …and meanwhile over in West Germany, all the trains had electric push buttons that opened car doors in a jiffy

      You kinda wondered who won the war?

      Reply
      1. .Tom

        Those door latches can be operated when the electric supply fails. The handle on the outside is a good safety design. I would like it if my car had this much electronics and software.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        The last of those trains were taken off in the late 1990’s. I was horribly confused the first time I was in one, I held up a lot of disgruntled commuters waiting for me to open the door. I grew to them, although I always had a disturbing feeling that I was going to fall out of one during the journey (they were already right beside your seat).

        Reply
        1. spud farmer

          Sweden and Norway seem to be essentially copying the EU’s ‘Open Rails’ policy directive, which is basically state-enforced privatization, that’s modelled on the low cost airline market. Think many Ryan Air-like passenger rail operators, with a few ‘premium’ brands in select markets, competing with the state railway companies.

          While China built 40k of high-speed rail lines in 20 years the EU’s brilliant scheme to ‘modernize’ its rail system is to replicate the disaster of British railway privatization. All this does is insert many parasitic middlemen into the system that suck out profit wherever they can while forcing state railways to cut costs and compete in a market environment while passengers are left with a fragmented and chaotic rail ‘system’.

          This is what happens when ideology comes first.

          If the EU and its copycats were truly interested in developing and maintaining a world class passenger rail network they could look to Switzerland and Japan for inspiration. But they chose to be diehard neoliberal true believers instead.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            Yep, EU directives are basically the excuse used. But i fully suspect that the right wing would have pushed for it even without the EU fig leaf.

            And frankly if one want rail to behave like airlines, one would have to build bidirectional tracks everywhere. Not that it would make any sense, as i daily have multiple jets buzzing overhead going between the largest regional and the national hub. others meanwhile get barely a single prop plane a day. And i fully suspect those jets to be flying half-full at best each trip. The environmental cost pr seat must be horrible.

            Reply
            1. Alex Cox

              Craig Murray posted six reports of his European tour in support of Julian Assange, and recounts that Deutsche Bahn has been wrecked by a recent privatization. He also had two laptops nicked. He’s an increasingly good writer!

              Reply
            2. PlutoniumKun

              The Directives say nothing about privatisation – its entirely an excuse that some countries use.

              The open rails policy has had some successes – there is a growing wave of cross-continental night trains using spare capacity. But as always with policies invented by people who don’t understand the infrastructural constraints of the systems they are dealing with you end up with anomalies and private companies profiting through manipulating the system rather than by servicing customers.

              I’m not sure any country with the possible exception of Switzerland really gets rail policy right. Countries with outstanding networks such as Japan only do so at an enormous expense (plus, they carry almost no goods whatever on their network). The Chinese HGV infrastructure system is now completely out of control, with high speed trains to know where being built everywhere (exactly the problem the Japanese ran into). The French system is very good at a national level, but not nearly so good at the level of smaller towns and communities.

              The particular tragedy of the UK is that the post war generation inherited a centuries worth of outstanding infrastructure, by far the best in the world, and then went and systematically dismantled it.

              Reply
      3. Terry Flynn

        BTW 2005-2015 on my work visits to Netherlands – many trains to airport originated in Germany. Uniformly late.. When mentioning this to my Dutch hosts they laughed, saying “yeah Germany balancing its budget means we avoid their trains as much as possible…. Be glad you aren’t driving a car taking advantage of lack of speed limits on autobahns….. With number of potholes say goodbye to your tyres and/or suspension.”

        I started reading up on MMT at that point.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Germany has suffered badly from a couple of decades of entirely self imposed austerity which has hit capital investment particularly hard. From what I know, German railways have always had an entirely unfounded reputation for efficiency. Apart from a lack of investment, a part of the problem in Germany is that the very decentralised governmental system makes agreeing on national scale investment horribly difficult (the same problem applies to their electricity network). Individual German cities work very well – but the links between them…. much less so.

          Reply
    2. OIFVet

      Perhaps they compared the respective monarchies? The Japanese imperial family is reclusive, private, and distant from the Japanese hoi polloi. The British royal family is just like John and Jane Bull after 30 years of marriage, airing their dirty unmentionables in public view daily. We can even call them professional reality showrunners, it’s very forward looking!

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        The Japanese royal family has been for show since the days of the shoguns.

        When the WW2 surrender was announced it was the first time the Japanese public had heard the emperor speak. And his Japanese was so old fashioned they had to air a re-reading in modern Japanese afterwards. Basically not much better than the forbidden city of China right before it collapsed.

        Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      I have up half way through that article, it was like an AI generated list of cliches about Japan. Actually thinking about it, maybe thats the future of journalism.

      Although strictly speaking, Eurostar is a HSR, albeit a strange hodgepodge of one. and of course its designed to get you out of London as fast as possible.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Care to rebut in more detail? Knowing nothing about Japan that doesn’t involve movies I thought it was a good article.

        And there are lots of interesting looking links today. Thanks Lambert.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          There are lots of things I’d take issue with, but what annoyed me was his implied comparison of modern, thrusting multiracial Britain with staid, traditional and (he implies) racist Japan.

          I honestly would question his knowledge of Japan from some of his comments. He talks about the resistance in small villages to incomers as if this is something unique to Japan (for what its worth, I’ve done lots of wandering in rural areas in Asia and I’ve found Japanese elderly rural people significantly more open, fun and welcoming to a stranger than many other countries including China and South Korea). But this is pretty much universal around the world. I’ve gone to pubs in small villages in rural England with my English (but partially mixed race) friend and noticed a distinct change in tone when he walks in (and yes, he is well aware of it too). Plus, the writer refers to ‘haifu’ as a pejorative term. It most certainly is not – its widely used by mixed race people in Japan to describe themselves (unironically). The word simply means mixed race and nothing else. If he can’t get that right, I really do wonder how much he knows about the country – although to be fair, the article is probably written more for confirming the readers prejudices rather than informing them, which seems par for the course in most UK media these days.

          This isn’t to defend the way Japan is so hierarchical and has such a sclerotic and closed political system. But Japan has beyond doubt navigated the challenges of the past decade or two better than the UK. Bad and all as they are, I’d rather be ruled by the Japanese Liberals any day over the Tories. At least they are vaguely competent and consistent and don’t screw around with things they don’t understand.

          I could go on about his usual orientalist take about Japans traditionalism contrasting with modern technology and so on – but this sort of thing really shows a deep lack of understanding of modern Japanese history and culture. Japan quite deliberately and systematically dismantled its ‘traditionalist’ culture more than once in the past two centuries and created its own realities. Its entirely over any ‘conflict’ – this is very much a construct of foreigners trying to make sense of Japan. Japan just is Japan, it does its own thing for better or worse.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Thanks for the reply. Guess I was responding more to his comments about the economic situation. I remember when Japan was touted as the next big thing and then the computer revolution seemed to leave them behind–new thing wise.

            However I have seen lots of Japanese movies which are hard to stereotype–running the gamut from sentimental to modernist. Know you like Kurosawa who both influenced American movies and was influenced by them.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              Well, again on economics – you’ll find a huge disparity in analyses of Japan as it is very much the world vanguard in trying to find out what happens when you have an advanced economy but your demographic profile flips upside down. I’m old enough to remember when Japan was going to overtake the US as world no.1 and treat Europe as worthwhile only as a cute place to go on vacation (yes, thats literally what some Japanese and others thought). Thats one reason I’m always a little sceptical when someone declares that China (or someone else) will inevitably overtake the west.

              But I think all in all the Japanese will do fine. They are in steep decline in absolute terms as an economic force, but i think they have sufficient foundations to maintain their wealth in pp terms, which ultimately is all that matters unless you are into geopolitical game-playing. They have been slowly laying the groundwork for regional alliances (below the surface of the much hyped US-Japan alliance) especially with countries like Vietnam) which I think will allow them to maintain some form of political autonomy. Contrary to what you’ll hear from many on the left and right, Japan is nobodies poodle. But they do know how to play the poodle when it suits them.

              As for Japanese cinema – well, thats a big topic. One thing to understand about Japanese culture is that the Japanese are as prone as everyone else to orientalism and Japanophilia. A lot of ‘pure’ Japanese culture is quite synthetic – it plays into a sense of uniqueness. Ozu’s ‘Tokyo Story’ for example is often held out as a pure expression of Japanese cinema. Its actually a remake of a Hollywood movie from the 1930’s! There is a Netflix show at the moment on called The Makanai, which overtly harks back to classic 1950’s Japanese cinema, and has been adored by western critics, seemingly unaware that its main influence seems to be K-Drama. Its typical of the Japanese to rip off someone elses idea and then convince everyone that its somehow uniquely Japanese. Kurosawa was somewhat unusual in that he never hid is influences behind a false sense of Japanese culture. He called things as he saw it, which is why I think he was a much more honest film maker than the Ozu’s and Naruse’s and Mizoguchi types who loved to portray themselves as culturally pure.

              Reply
      2. Revenant

        Indeed. The headline was just boorish and the article a weird mix of Orientalist bothering and selfpity at not being accepted as Japanese. Let’s hope he doesn’t retire home to a rural English village where you’re not local until you bury the third generation!

        Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Basically Thatcher put the nation of a blood transfusion from Europe when they joined EU. Thing is that plenty in UK is still sore about that era, as seen by the number of people publicly cheering and singing “the witch is dead” when she died. Thus it may well be that many that voted leave, knowing full well it would be messy, did so out of spite.

        Reply
    4. Revenant

      UK rail has missed many opportunities to upgrade and the BBC article had a very partial and snide headline applied to what was ultimately a more nuanced article but the lack of a UK bullet train is hardly a gotcha!

      We had the world’s fastest diesel passenger service for a long time (at 125mph vs 130mph for the 1st gen bullet train and latterly 140mph in the UK) and our average city-pair line speeds are very high. We also invented the tilting train. Whereas until the 1990’s the shinkansen was essentially a single line (albeit covering most of Japan’s key cities), relying on traditional lines with slower than UK speeds for distribution of passengers to final destinations. We also invented Concorde. Both nations have a history of futuristic technology grafted onto traditional society.

      The BBC headline was stupid. What agenda are they selling? Matthew Perry and the Black Ships to open Japan to Ukrainian refugees…?

      Reply
    5. Terry Flynn

      British Rail engineers perfected the barcode about 60 years ago and the tilting train (to allow high speed rail on corners). The story of the latter is pretty well-known: Thatcher brought forward the inaugural journey against the wishes of engineers who had a couple of issues to iron out (but were designed and just needed testing but weren’t on the test trains).

      Journos on train plied with drink, got drunk, the 95% ready tilting train plus booze caused nausea and the roll out was a disaster (just as Thatcher wanted). We sold the tech to Italy at knock down price. They implemented the last 5% of BR tweaks then sold it to Branson as the Pendolino to drink at the teat of the taxpayer. Scandalous.

      Reply
  2. ArkansasAngie

    From …What we know about how COVID-19 vaccines may affect menstrual cycles …The Hill

    “Overall, research suggest the benefits of vaccination could outweigh the risks when it comes to reproductive health.”

    Could … might.

    First do NO harm.

    Quite frankly … the cancel culture … the censorship … the blatantly withholding of pertinent information is unconscionable. .

    Please do assign fault.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      But wait, there’s more:

      Beyond the apparent impact on menstrual cycles and symptoms, however, it’s still uncertain whether COVID-19 vaccines do affect fertility and reproductive health. Initial studies suggest that COVID-19 vaccination may not affect fertility.

      More studies with larger sample sizes and longitudinal datasets, where researchers follow up with individuals and link their data through time like with the Nurses’ Health Study, would help improve understanding of how the vaccines affect both men’s and women’s bodies and reproductive health.

      uncertain whether…may not…more studies…follow up…improve understanding…

      I guess these are what have come to be referred to as “unknown unknowns.” Kinda makes you wonder if there were any “known knowns” at all.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        Here I am thinking there is a link between menstrual cycles and reproductive health.
        Or does that have to be proven all over again? The way it goes with so much these days.

        Reply
    2. griffen

      Not being a parent, or a female, I have lingering questions about my several nieces taking the vaccines. This is Donald Rumsfeld territory all over again, one supposes (in jaded reflection) acknowledgement of unknowns is part of the battle.

      If I were a parent I’d be furious if this vaccine placed my daughter at health risk just for the benefit of precluding a harmful covid infection. Personal risk assessment my eye.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Getting “vaccinated” affected my daughter. I was not amused. Our family will not be getting any further “vaccinations”.

        Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        preclude

        prĭ-kloo͞d′

        transitive verb

        To make impossible, as by action taken in advance; prevent. synonym: prevent.

        As we now know, and as we now know pfizer knew all along, the “vaccine” didn’t “preclude” anything. Except, perhaps, the possibility of giving birth to healthy children.

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      I’m trying to remember when the first reports of this appeared in comments here on NC. I think that it may have been late 2020 and this guy was talking about how two bar girls he knew were complaining about problems with their cycles.

      Reply
    4. Spider Monkey

      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35350834/

      I can’t seem to find full text anywhere for that.

      My sister in-law had a miscarriage about a month after the 1st jab. To be fair though miscarriages already have a high rate anyways but that one seemed pretty obvious still. My wife got a booster while pregnant with our last kid, I was never more nervous and mad in my life! Fortunately everything worked out it appears. In a sick fashion I will be able to observe our kids against each other and see if that one stands out long term.

      Reply
  3. OIFVet

    That FP piece by Kasparov and Khodorkovsky is breathtakingly delusional. It reads like the wet dream of the Western hawks who seek to break up Russia into smaller, more manageable pieces which would be easier to plunder.

    That said, I am having a hard time deciding whether Kasparov and Khodorkovsky are grifters looking for some NED money for themselves or whether they genuinely believe everything they have written, including “transitioning to a foreign policy based on peace, partnership, and integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.” I am old enough to remember the 90’s and the early aughts, and so are the authors. Grifters is more likely but I have learned never to discount people’s capacity for delusion, chess grandmasters included.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Khodorkovsky certainly has a bug up his a** about Putin. About twenty years ago Khodorkovsky got hold of a lot of Russia’s oilfields and was about to sell them to US corporations through an auction. This would have meant that Washington would be forevermore able to throttle the Russian economy so Putin shut that auction down and threw him in the slammer for a coupla years. Some judge in Texas ordered that that auction go ahead but when the Russians checked their maps, discovered that Texas did not have jurisdiction in the Russian Federation so ignored him. It was about that time period that DC started to get an intense disliking for Putin and started to think about regime change.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        I remember that well, but I still can’t decide whether he is grifting for a NeD grant or if he is a true believer. Same for Kasparov. Frankly, their article reads and sounds just like the Bulgarian Euro-Atlanticist sprats. None of them truly believe what they say and write, but airing the daily two-minute hate/loyalty oath is the way to prove themselves worthy of the next US/EU grant. They got bills to pay too, and living high on the US grant teat is so much better than getting a real job.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe Khodorkovsky wants to be President of the Russian Federation – or what will be left of it – while Kasparov will be his Prime Minister.

          Reply
      2. rkka

        Yes, “Saint Mikhail of the GulAG” was about to sell off to Exxon-Mobile, but got nailed for flagrant tax fraud on the way. Essentially, Yukos would sell oil at a very low price to a letterbox company in a domestic Russian tax haven, make the sale to the final domestic of foreign customer, then return the proceeds to Yukos as a tax-free gift. The Russian government, surprisingly, thought this was a fraudulent scheme do dodge taxes.

        Mikey felt hard done by, so in 2005 he sued the Russian government for $98b at the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that (1) the whole case was fabricated, (2) that Yukos had done nothing wrong, and that (3) all the other Russian oil companies had been doing exactly the same thing.

        The World waited with baited breath as the ruling approached. The Economist, Financial Times, he Times, The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy… all waited to see how Eeevul Putin would respond to a damage award of 98 gigabucks.

        Then in 2011, Their Honors ruled, awarding Mike’s high priced legal team 35k Euro for various violations of EU legal proceedure, but rejecting all his main claims, saying the legal process constituted “legitimate actions… to counter the company’s tax evasion”.

        https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-14990925

        In 2013 Their Honors ruled that the Russian government’s case had “a healthy core”

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323971204578628220764268776

        It was pretty funny listening to the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy (AFPE&P) squirm after being shown to be so full of bovine fecal matter!

        Reply
    2. OnceWereVirologist

      Reads like a modern-day Treaty of Versailles. And apparently these exiles propose to waltz in after Russia is chastened by defeat in Ukraine but still the largest nuclear power in the world and just impose it through … who knows. Shout out to Aurelian again and his brilliant conception of modern Western strategic thinking : 1. Defeat Russia. 2. Stuff happens in Russia. 3. Russia accepts status as new American vassal lower on the totem pole than even Germany.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        You see, that’s exactly why I can’t decide if they are a pair of Rooskie charlatans looking to grift off American stupidity, or if they have indeed drank the kool-aid. It’s a tough call and for some reason my inability to make it is making me a bit irritable.

        Screw it, I will make the call: these are a pair of bold-faced charlatans.

        Reply
      2. digi_owl

        4. Russia is stripped down to the land surrounding Moscow, and the new nations have western leaning puppets installed.

        5. said puppets join up to start a border spat with China.

        Reply
    3. Maxwell Johnston

      Not to be nitpicking, but it was published in Foreign Affairs, not Foreign Policy (FP). FP is a relative newcomer and somewhat downmarket, whereas Foreign Affairs is the staid old official voice of the USA’s foreign policy elite. Foreign Affairs used to have high standards, and one could be reasonably sure that anything it published (whether you agreed with it or not) had been carefully vetted and was essentially intelligent and rational. This article is written by a chess player (admittedly a very good one) and by one of the most odious oligarchs spawned by the ex-USSR. Neither of whom has lived in Russia for many years now; “The experts speak.” I don’t think they’re grifters (both are well-off financially), but they are both blinded by hatred and therefore genuinely believe what they’re writing. What I find disturbing is not what they think, but that Foreign Affairs prints it and then the USA’s PMC reads it and believes it. Not good.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        FA, my bad. They are so… interchangeable.

        However, I beg to disagree about the well-off being less likely to be grifters and Khodorkovsky’s past in particular proves it. And heck, it ain’t like there isn’t serious money to be made by suckling at the US regime change piggy teat. Remember when Nuland admitted that there had been $5 billion spent on regime change in Ukraine in that recorded call with Piatt? Greed and hate can only be mutually reinforcing in this case, for Khodorkovsky’s greed is what drove Putin to make an example of him and thus reign in the other oligarchs.

        But the question really is, are Kasparov and Khodorkovsky delusional enough to get high on their own supply? I submit that they are not and that they know full well what kind of snake oil they are selling. So long as there are Yankee Doodle suckers to buy it, might as well get in front and center on the lucrative US regime change budget and milk that for all it’s worth. In effect they would make serious dough while engaging in their revenge fantasies, a twofer for a any grifter separated from his main graft. Being seen as “Good Russians” in a sea of bad asiatic Rooskies is the cherry.

        All in all, there is a reason why hucksters and PT Barnum seem to thrive in the US. Lots of suckers there, especially in high DC places.

        Reply
      2. OnceWereVirologist

        Trial balloon for a bigger war, perhaps ? If you’re a neocon who believes that the Ukrainians are going to kick the Russians out of Crimea, then you’re probably not going to want to stop there. That’s a half-victory at best. Why not keep on supporting the Ukrainians for the march to Moscow ? When they succeed, we’ve got just the right group of quislings to install at gunpoint who’ll build the new improved Russia we tell them to.

        Reply
    4. Mildred Montana

      >OIFVet: “…I am having a hard time deciding whether Kasparov and Khodorkovsky are grifters…”

      I can’t speak to Kasparov but Khodorkovsky is definitely one. Anyone who loots the Russian people in the 1990s by snapping up a public asset like Yukos at a fraction of its real value is a conscienceless grifter. And all his recent talk about being persecuted and imprisoned by Putin in 2003 for being a “figurehead for the democratic, Western-friendly, internationalist future that many of us wanted for our country” [his words from his recent book] is a bunch of grifter poppy-cock.

      He didn’t care about his country in the 1990s when he was stealing Yukos from it for a pittance on the pretense of “better, more efficient management”. Why would he genuinely care about it now? Leopards don’t change their spots. He is speaking out only because he was driven from the pack of grifters, nothing more.

      I wouldn’t pay attention to a word he says.
      .

      Reply
    5. tevhatch

      Jimmy Dore has a video where he was invited to another Kasparov grift in Norway, so yes, these are men who have an axe to grind, but have also figured out how to make money at the same time. They remind me of Chrystia Freeland, Victoria Newland, and a lot of the OUN gifters in the diaspora, the hate is real, but so is the dishonesty and greed. Nazis are about racist ideology, but that doesn’t stop them from being crooks at the same time.

      Reply
  4. Terry Flynn

    The sex robots link reminds me of one of the old Essex girl jokes:
    Her: complains about size of his organ.
    Him: “I’ve never had to play in a cathedral before”.

    Apologies to all Essex residents. Except those who keep voting Tory and buying Alexas.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Mine is ‘how do you know when an Essex girl orgasms?’

      Answer: She drops her chips.

      I used t think those jokes were untrue and cruel, but the very first evening I went out for Friday drinks in an Essex town I was walking behind two high heel wearing blonde girls holding each others arms tight for balance. One managed a single motion twist and genteelly puked into a shop doorway. The impressive thing is that she managed this without breaking her stride or knocking her companion off hers.

      Reply
    2. griffen

      Sexy robots and future tech for the discerning adult consumer. Well if they can model one who looks comparatively close to a real life Alicia Vikander then I am all in favor of the tech advancing. Wishful minds can disagree on one’s preference, of course! Wait I am not sure how to add a “blushed” tag.

      Scarlet letter for the modern times, placing your out of service sex toy by the curb ? Gives a new meaning to the phrase of a “out-dated technology device” if like an Iphone or Android the tech ceases after several years to be functional.

      Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Defense chiefs fail to resolve dispute on tanks for Ukraine”

    The Germans know that the US is trying to throw them under a bus – or a tank – here. I can imagine how this meeting would have gone down-

    Lloyd Austin: ‘Now Scholz, we need you to give us those Leopard 2 tanks. It will be great. We could have an entire brigade of German tanks leaving your country and roaring across the Polish plains.’

    Olaf Scholz: (spins head around)

    Lloyd Austin: ‘All that footage of German tanks charging across Poland to the Ukraine will be great PR!’

    Olaf Scholz: (loosens neckties)

    Lloyd Austin: ‘Can you imagine how great it will be having all those German tanks fighting and killing the Russians?’

    Olaf Scholz: (groans)

    Lloyd Austin: ‘Now its true that we cannot stop the Ukrainians painting the Balkenkreuz on those German tanks like they have done with other German Gear…..but we are prepared to accept that risk. Can’t stop footage of that leaking out though.’

    Olaf Scholz: (considers how Lloyd Austin would look with a Leopard 2 tank parked on top of his head)

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      There is an opportunity to set a limit in the West to neoconservatives. I don’t know how far can they go if nobody sets limits to their desires but gowd, these guys are dangerous.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Thanks for the memory
      Of things I can’t forget, Panzers in Paris-you bet
      That wond’rous week in El Alamein and of course Kursk
      How lucky I was

      And thanks for the memory
      Of Heavy metal in Dunkirk by the sea, down and out in Kasserine
      We had a pad in London but they couldn’t get to me
      How cozy it was

      Now since pre-67 border breakup I wake up
      Alone on a gray morning-after
      I long for the sound of Dayan’s laughter
      And then I see the laugh’s on me

      But, thanks for the memory
      Of every video from Desert Storm a thrill, I’ve been through the mill
      I’ve lived a lot and learned a lot, you loved me not and still
      I miss you not so much

      Thanks for the memory
      Of how you used to be adversary free
      That was before suicide drones came for thee
      How do you plan on stopping them, O.G.?

      Thanks For The Memory, by Frank Sinatra

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhD9e2SzytY

      Reply
      1. Antifa

        BATTLE HYMN OF THE NEOCONS
        (melody borrowed from the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

        Mine eyes have seen the glory of a mighty Panzer horde
        Just as many Leopard battle tanks as Berlin can afford
        Rolling east to Mother Russia where our oil and gas are stored
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles!
        Whatever Reich you want to call us!
        We’ll reach the Volga just like Paulus!
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        I have seen a way to stop the West from deficit collapse
        I have drawn big lines and arrows on Zelensky’s battle maps
        I have marked our road to destiny, and victory, perhaps
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles!
        Whatever Reich you want to call us!
        We’ll reach the Volga just like Paulus!
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        There are mobs of German citizens with not enough to eat
        Families huddled in their houses burning furniture for heat
        Just think of how they’ll cheer when we lay Russia at their feet
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles!
        Whatever Reich you want to call us!
        We’ll reach the Volga just like Paulus!
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Let us march unto the Urals and then unto the Arctic Sea
        We shall rid the world of Russians then transgender you and me
        Only when we all own nothing can the Davos crew live free
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles!
        Whatever Reich you want to call us!
        We’ll reach the Volga just like Paulus!
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles!
        Whatever Reich you want to call us!
        We’ll reach the Volga just like Paulus!
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles!
        Whatever Reich you want to call us!
        We’ll reach the Volga just like Paulus!
        With Lebensraum for all . . .

        Reply
        1. John Zelnicker

          Thank you Wuk and Antifa.

          These are the first songs I’ve seen in a couple of weeks and they are both excellent.

          The first volume of The Naked Capitalism Songbook is almost ready. I’ll post a link soon.

          Reply
        2. Janie

          This is great! I can’t stop singing it! I’ve loved all the song parodies, but I’m old enough that I don’t know a lot of the more recent songs that the parodies are based on. This one though tops them all.

          Reply
          1. Skip Intro

            I think the meme mashup of singing Deutschland Über Alles to The Battle Hymn Of The Republic really brings it to the next level.

            Reply
  6. Ignacio

    A crow day. That one in the snow, seems to have an expression of self-confidence. Yeah, I know, i know, one mustn’t humanize animals but the pic transpires crow self-confidence, as if a Davos crow(d).

    Reply
        1. griffen

          I’ll go with the velociraptor; much like the capitalists of today, they were pack hunters. And some of the capitalist titans even have intelligence.

          Reply
      1. OIFVet

        That comparison is unfair to vultures. They have important ecological and biological roles. The Davos Man is a parasite and as such has nothing to offer the world.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          You should see the latest Duran video called ‘Real world leaders avoid Davos WEF’

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UUKKGgVbEU (15:53 mins)

          China, Russia and India aren’t even there so what is left? The boys say that people used to be impressed if you went to Davos but now they mock people there. And Mercouris was saying that this applies to other western institutions as well and says he no longer knows who is the head of the IMF as that knowledge is no longer important.

          Reply
            1. Jen

              Really makes me want to ask her what she thought of the Covid protections there and why the faculty, students and staff at our esteemed institution do not deserve the same.

              Reply
      2. Questa Nota

        Crows and trains, the link.

        British Rail, and subsequent purveyors or conveyors, employed railway inspectors. Those were seen walking along the tracks slowly, inspecting rails, sleepers (known as ties across the pond) and such, with head slightly bowed, bobbing somewhat due to hands clasped behind backs. Their gait reminded many a schoolchild and not a few others of crows.

        Mind the gap, back into the carriage for the rest of the journey.

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      That was some high order reasoning on the part of that crow and shows a keen intelligence. John Michael Greer wrote a story called “The Next Ten Billion Years” and in it, humans are extinct in the next ten million years or so and the next global civilization will be populated by the descendants of crows-

      https://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-09-05/the-next-ten-billion-years/

      From videos and articles that I have seen here on NC over the years, I can believe that very easily now.

      Reply
      1. Skip Intro

        Ad Corvid Per Covid
        To corvids through covid!

        I for one, welcome our new corvid overlords. If there has to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.

        Reply
      2. Mildred Montana

        I demur, although I am by no means minimizing the intelligence of crows. First of all, if one attaches a segment of pipe cleaner to the end of a stick, isn’t that a clue to the bird as to the solution of the problem and therefore a reason to downgrade its intelligence?

        Secondly, if that bird was really smart it would have taken the stick and beaten the camera-person with it until given the treat. ;)

        In every video there is always someone filming, which affects what we see. A sort of Heisenberg’s Principle.

        Reply
  7. vao

    Some time ago, I followed a series of twitter messages about people discovering the faults of Chat-GPT and stumbled on a case similar to the one discussed in “Dr. OpenAI Lied to Me”. A researcher asking for a list of articles on a very specialized topic was overjoyed to see Chat-GPT return a list of references unknown to him. While trying to retrieve the papers, he found that they either had nothing to do with the topic, or that they were completely made up (e.g. authors and journals might be real, but titles, issues, combination of authors, etc, were fake).

    My take is that this is going to get worse — once Chat-GPT produces even more plausible output, everything will be suspect and will have to be checked: not just references, but also graphs, statistical tables, images, etc.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I keep getting free trail trial offers from Hike-GPT where I type in my intentions in terms of miles, terrain, altitude loss & gain and it walks my walk for me, leaving me with oodles of time to do other stuff.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        An app that runs a video of a trail on a big screen display unit in front of a treadmill as you ply the stationary trip machine. That would work.

        Reply
    2. earthling

      And who will check them–all those knowledge workers who got laid off? Incurious “journalists”? Nobody will. Mission accomplished. Generate trash, people believe it. Just another branch of the mass media misleadya machine.

      Reply
    3. GF

      “once Chat-GPT produces even more plausible output, everything will be suspect and will have to be checked: not just references, but also graphs, statistical tables, images, etc.”

      You mean like editors doing their jobs?

      Reply
      1. vao

        I have read so much about scientific articles entirely plagiarized or containing falsified data that I have a deep scepticism about current reviewing processes. The problem goes much further than scientific publications though.

        Consider: in our society, organizations strive to eliminate human labour through as much automation as possible, and AI is an enticing prospect to get rid of white-collar positions. On the other side, workers perform underpaid piecework, or are overloaded with tasks; thus, they are also enticed to rely upon AI to reduce the time they spend on their (too numerous, poorly paid) tasks.

        Media already automated sports and finance reporting. Imagine Chat-GPT applied to other news systematically. Or to travelogues. Or cookbooks, Sunday sermons, textbooks, user’s manuals, architectural drawings, software, trial decisions… Every time when a relatively routine piece of information with a well-known structure must be produced frequently.

        Do you think society will be able to function when nobody is able to trust information of any kind because it might have been produced by a well-read entity that is also a superficial, if clever, reasoner and a compulsive liar?

        Reply
    4. digi_owl

      Again and again these “AIs” take on the language and behavior of social media mavens.

      Some years back Microsoft put a chatbot online with a lot of fanfare. Within a week they had ot pull the plug because a cascade of bored teenagers had managed to make it spout fascist slogans to their great amusement.

      Again and again these systems makes the most sheltered kid look cosmopolitan…

      Reply
    5. square coats

      My friend has been putzing around with chatGPT trying to get it to help him code and recently he texted me that chatGPT has been “lying to [him] and making up apis and libraries out of whole cloth”

      Reply
      1. vao

        Do you remember that AI application released a few years ago and that was able to generate photographic images of people who do not actually exist? Contriving some information “out of whole cloth” is a feature present, in more of less extensive form, in Chat-GPT and all other AI that “predict” (the next word, sentence, melody, etc), “complete” (missing parts in a text, an image with an occlusion, an incomplete partition, etc), or “generate” (an image, a text, a program, etc).

        Reply
        1. square coats

          I showed my friend your comment and he wonders if there’s any relationship between this and how neural networks can “hallucinate”, which I don’t really understand. He said “a major step in text to image diffusion was feeding the outputs of a neural network back to the inputs to cause it to ‘dream'” which is “part of a neural net’s capacity to ‘fill in the blanks’ in some ways but in an imaginative original capacity not a purely predictive one”. He considers the term “hallucinate” to be important in distinguishing between imaginative/original capacity vs. purely predictive capacity.

          I was looking into GANs jumping off from your link and, while I definitely don’t understand them particularly well, they seem like a possible response to this problem of inaccuracy with AI/neural net generated content? I’ve heard that chatGPT is so far not doing well with attempts to make it able to sort of police the accuracy/actuality of its generated content, but it seems entirely feasible to make at least purpose-specific programs that can check all that after having chatGPT produce the content to be checked (not like I’m trying to advocate for any of this! I definitely don’t like any of it).

          But this also brought to mind for me that google brain encryption experiment where they had “Alice” and “Bob” try to communicate encrypted messages while “Eve” tried to break the encryption, and basically “Alice” devised an encryption scheme that was totally opaque to the human researchers, or something like that anyway. Black boxes indeed!

          Reply
    6. c_heale

      This is the major problem with AI, basically it’s a black box and the truthfulness of anything it produces is impossible to verify. Okay for a washing machine, not so good for medical equipment, or a vehicle.

      Reply
  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Covid death count–

    Nice refutation of Leana Wen’s piece in WaPo. There was also an interesting link to a YouTube of Mehdi Hasan’s MSNBC segment on the issue. First of all, kudos to Hasan for addressing this issue, BUT…

    Hasan does a nice job of exposing Wen as a shill, but he studiously avoids asking a shill for whom. His chief concern seems to be that Wen and WaPo are buttressing the minimizers who have long contended that the Covid death count is inflated. Even though Wen has migrated from Covid vigilance to Covid denial, Hasan doesn’t investigate why Wen has changed and, for that matter, the Democrats, who have migrated right along with her. It’s not because our Dem PMC-ers want to jump in bed with anti-vaxxers. Could it be that both parties, Wen and WaPo are serving the billionaires who want us working and consuming regardless of the risk to us while they live surrounded by layers of protection?

    Reply
  9. Ignacio

    The New Crimean War? The American Conservative

    Though i have mixed feelings about the details in this article that looks as a realists vs. neocons discussion I have to say it is a very positive to find in US media people contesting the lunacy of neocons. The NYT sends an escalation probe to check what reactions appear and there is, at least, some opposition to it. Some hope that the lunatics might not always get their way. It is free to dream.

    Reply
    1. OnceWereVirologist

      I never thought to see the day that Rod Dreher, a man who has posted about the reality of demon possession & the dangers of freemasonry in provoking it, would ever come to be the voice of reason on any topic. Interesting times !

      Reply
            1. britzklieg

              when I became “nouno” (godfather) to my niece, the most surprising part of the (Greek) orthodox service was the beginning when we stood at the front door in the narthex and spit at the entrance to keep the devil out. I’d grown up in the church… understood only a few words of the liturgy… but eventually came to understand that it was essentially mysticism.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                “… but eventually came to understand that it was essentially mysticism.”
                There you have ‘essentially’ defined all religion.
                Trying to comprehend the unknowable. That’s a difficult enough job without introducing “agendas” and “ideologies.”

                Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Having read the article I’m not that impressed.

        The Russian leadership is now signaling that if it should lose the Ukraine war, the world could be looking at nuclear war. Who wants to call their bluff?

        As the more knowledgeable have pointed out that’s not what they have said. Rather they have said should NATO turn to nukes in order to win then Russia will respond in kind.

        Dreher says that the war is insane but you don’t have to be a genius to figure that one out. Mere common sense is enough–that and enduring skepticism toward the MSM.

        Reply
  10. griffen

    Larry Summers, a favorite punching bag among many here I am certain. Well, we need another bag of rocks to throw at his effigy in light of his long standing support for a bitcoin firm. Now conveniently that support is apparently expunged from his personal bio, which let’s all agree is an unvarnished, lengthy track of success upon success.

    Except for this one time at Harvard, well, he did some things and even said some things that just ticked people off. I find him a most repulsive individual. I’d like to see him in a reality series, ala Survivor. “The Economists Can Opener Games”. Best to include a hungry T-Rex too.

    Reply
  11. Pat

    Talk about looking at a situation and taking exactly the wrong lesson…
    A friend told me about a tweet they saw (and unfortunately approved of) regarding the obvious Davos Covid ventilation precautions. It told anti-vaxxers to take a lesson.

    Yup wealthy and powerful leaders taking all possible ventilation measures aside from masks to avoid Covid, precautions that WHO, CDC, NHS etc have studiously avoided putting in the forefront, was used to promote the only precaution they have relentlessly pursued – vaccinations.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Think ‘outside’ the link. You never know what you will find. (I worry about what could ‘find’ me when I link to something.)

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “All hail, ‘Toadzilla’: Giant toad in Australia could be world’s largest”

    I can honestly say that that is a good cane toad. How so? Because they euthanized it and in my book, the only good cane toad is a dead one.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m loathe to admit this as PETA is no doubt already reporting yours truly to the authorities and my only savings grace is the statute of limitations has long since lapsed in a scenario where the goods were odd, but odds were good you’d win if you had the best entry in the Wukchumni family cruise to the Mexican ‘Riviera’ circa 1990.

        My sister threw down the challenge of buying something made out of an animal, and I found the cutest lacquered bullfrog playing the guitar in a bazaar in Mazatlan-poised upright on it’s very own pedestal, my brother brought a lame shot glass made out of a hoof after bovine intervention and another sister acquired an armadillo purse, but how we were to compete against my oldest sister and her chupacabra throw rug?

        Reply
  13. notabanker

    This is the lowest number of criminal prosecutions of business entities for white-collar offenses since federal prosecutor tracking began for these in FY 2004,” TRAC observed. “The decision to criminally charge a business in contrast to an individual for engaging in white-collar criminal activity is exceedingly rare (just 1%).”

    How’s that Anti-trust stuff coming along Joe?

    I’d be all for individual over corporate prosecutions, if the individuals charged were the ones that actually ran the corporations.

    Reply
  14. Craig H.

    Elizabeth Holmes

    If she has expressed one remorseful sentence and it has been reported I missed it. Tech Lead youtube guy says her conviction is an injustice travesty and Gwern says she will be back doing Silicon Valley startups a week after she gets out. I was surprised by her defense which could be succinctly and accurately paraphrased as:

    I didn’t do anything outside the norms of contemporary business practices.

    Reply
    1. Mildred Montana

      Holmes purported to be (and still might be?) under the influence of a much-older Svengali, Ramesh “Bunny” Balwani, her co-conspirator at Theranos. She was (and still might be?) a zombie, controlled and directed by the evil Balwani.

      Did he tell her to defraud her customers and investors? Did he tell her to buy a one-way ticket to Mexico? If the answers to these questions are “Yes”, she is clearly innocent of everything. /sarc

      Reply
    2. SocalJimObjects

      Pretty sure Tech Lead created his coin which has since cratered in value. He also made some misleading statements about said coin. To a guy like him, perpetrating a scam and getting caught/called out is the very definition of injustice. Not sure if it’s related to his character, but his wife left him and took the kid.

      Reply
  15. Stephen V

    “Big” Serge indeed. Extremely detailed and lengthy, I’m guessing he’s an academic.
    His conclusion:
    …so the reticence to hand over tanks suggests that NATO thinks that this is only a dream anyway. Instead, they continue to prioritize weaponry that sustains Ukraine’s ability to fight a static defense (hence, the hundreds of artillery pieces) without indulging in flights of fancy about a great Ukrainian armored thrust into Crimea.

    However, given the intense war fever that has built up in the west, it’s possible that political momentum imposes the choice upon us. It is possible that we have reached the point where the tail wags the dog, that NATO is trapped in its own rhetoric of unequivocal support until Ukraine wins a total victory, and we may yet see Leopard 2A4s burning on the steppe.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      The NATO countries are reminding me of the story of the guy that was found to be hitting himself in the head with a hammer. When challenged why he would be doing such a thing, he said ‘Because it will feel so good when I stop.’

      Reply
    2. Bsn

      NATO also prioritizes weapons that can be easily sold on the black market. 5-10 stingers are a lot easier to off load than a few 20 ton tanks. Got to pay the rent on their lodgings in Monaco.

      Reply
      1. Kilgore Trout

        I think both the Leopard and Abrams top off at 70-80 tons. Too heavy in terms of weight for the built terrain, as well as too maintenance-heavy. But the inability to black market them might even be a selling point in favor of sending them to Ukraine, at least in the deranged minds of the neocons. The subsequent sight of flaming Leopards and Abrams can de-digitized in the reportage to the homefront.

        Reply
  16. KD

    Nick Bostrom, Longtermism, and the Eternal Return of Eugenics

    Darwin was Wrong: Intelligent Design for $hitlibs?

    If genes -> behavioral phenotypes -> selection pressure -> redistribution of gene frequency in population, then different populations under different selection pressures will evolve to have different behavioral phenotypes, and different gene pools. In other words, take Darwinian evolution and a few, not very unreasonable historical assumptions (populations separated by geographic isolation and different vectors of social development and velocity of evolutionary change), and the result is something similar to what has historically been denotes as “scientific racism.”

    If you look at history, “scientific racism” and “eugenics” emerged in the early 20th century because of the rise of Darwin’s theory of evolution combined with the scientific development of genetics. If you don’t like subjects like HBD, eugenics, psychometric testing, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral genetics (and frankly, neuroscience and embryology because the genes that are associated with educational attainment are also associated with brain development in embryos), then ultimately you are against Darwinian evolution.

    Stalin banned genetics for a reason, because he clearly understood that genetics as a science contradicted the tenants of Communist ideology, which is dogmatically blank-slate, and dogmatically committed to believing all inequality results from environmental factors, in specific, social relations of political oppression (as compared to lead paint). (I hate the term “cultural Marxism,” but ideological formulations that are denoted in that fashion do share the same ideological assumptions as Marxist Leninist orthodoxy on these points. . . and Anglo-Saxon enlightenment empiricism is blank slate with a dose of Lamarckian evolution, so 18th/19th century British ideas deviate only for want of “the man” to explain inequalities.)

    Frankly, Stalin and Pope Leo VIII were both absolutely correct as political actors in their political decisions to suppress scientists and scientific inquiry. Its much harder if you accept that genes influence, for example, grain yields in populations of grains, but has no material impact on human populations.

    Rather than call people morally-charged names, you have to destroy the paradigm of Darwinian evolution, you have to destroy genetics as a scientific paradigm, and you have to get rid of statistics, as folks like Galton were really developing the application of statistics for the study of human populations in politically incorrect ways (from a contemporary perspective).

    There are folks that are Creationists that work in fields like biology, that survive by compartmentalizing their religious views with their professional work. There are obviously plenty of Blank Slate true believers that survive by compartmentalizing their political views from their professional work, and obviously, plenty of people who survive by pretending their professional work has no implications for good thinking Blank Slate ideologies, but it does not work broadly in society, because most educated people are capable of drawing the logically consistent conclusions from the science, even if they won’t say it out loud for fear of the Inquisitors. It is much easier to make a paradigm taboo, than it is to institutional embrace a scientific paradigm, but maintain moral taboos against mentioning the implication of that paradigm to certain sensitive political questions–in the long term, probably impossible.

    Hume posited the “ought/is” dichotomy, that all the is’s in the world do not add up to an ought. That is to say that normative beliefs are categorically distinct from descriptive beliefs. I think you can fairly criticize a person’s normative beliefs. I am not sure that stigmatizing descriptive beliefs like accepting a 17th century pseudoscience like Copernican astronomy actually makes any sense, or should make any sense amongst grown-ups. Can I be bad because I think the fiat currency model for explaining monetary system is a better description of how the world works than accepting the classical barter-theory of money? Am I acting in bad faith and I am racist, anti-Semitic eugenicist who hates freedom because I follow the views of the racist, anti-Semitic and eugenicist Keynes? Am I acting in bad faith and I am racist, anti-Semitic eugenicist who hates freedom because there is a statistically significant, if small, correlation between brain volume and cognitive ability, and Lewis’s 2011 replication of Morton’s results suggest that there are differences in brain volume across continental populations?

    What exactly am I supposed to do if I am persuaded that the world happens to work in a particular way, lie about it? Try to hypnotize myself to believe what I view as bullshit so I can be a “good person”? Am I just a bad person because I read both sides on the issue and look at the studies and the data and follow things through to their logical conclusion–are these habits of mind the true danger to the Republic? Should just clap when motivated rhetoricians issue their moral denunciations on subject matter they don’t understand? It certainly doesn’t help to read a journalist who clearly doesn’t have a rudimentary understanding of the scientific body of thought they are talking about straw man the imagined opposition, and then wanting to impose a bunch of morally charged language over a class of modes of discourse.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I think the point is not whether genetic inheritance is true but whether we know enough to start playing god with nature and human societies. After all you didn’t need Darwin to foster theories of superior genes. It was the basis of inherited kingship throughout history. Indeed it could be our genes themselves give us a bias toward thinking that our own are more valuable than that of others.

      So compartmentalization is quite appropriate and applies broadly, not just to religion. Science is a way of seeking the truth, not thinking that you have all the answers. Often intelligent people have an “all the answers” bias that can lead them down many wrong paths.

      Reply
    2. Greg

      If genes -> behavioral phenotypes -> selection pressure -> redistribution of gene frequency in population, then different populations under different selection pressures will evolve to have different behavioral phenotypes, and different gene pools. In other words, take Darwinian evolution and a few, not very unreasonable historical assumptions (populations separated by geographic isolation and different vectors of social development and velocity of evolutionary change), and the result is something similar to what has historically been denotes as “scientific racism.”

      Thanks for this comment. I’ve been ruminating along similar lines recently (I’m halfway through a masters in a genetics-adjacent field).
      I am not entirely convinced that there has been sufficient and consistent differential selection pressure on human populations for the traits that would trigger accusations of racism. However, that doesn’t change the outcome, because linkage disequilibrium does the job just fine.
      It’s fairly uncontentious to say that there is selection for say, skin colour, based on population-correlated environmental factors. Skin colour is determined by a number of different loci. Each loci under selection drags a bunch of nearby genes along with it. There hasn’t been strong enough selection or sufficient generations to remove only weakly-disadvantageous genes that were dragged in and cut the selection to a finer point (ie an effective back-cross hasn’t happened because selection pressure across the multiple loci is diffuse and weak). A clean back-cross can get mostly specific in say 7 or 8 generations, but with weaker selection pressure and multiple loci that number goes way up, and we aren’t really very many generations into technologically competent Homo sapiens.
      Some of those coincidentally-selected genes could be for (some of) things like intellectual capacity, or empathy, or other things that it would be racist to speculate about but which haven’t been disadvantageous enough over a long enough period to be selected against aggressively, yet.

      To my mind it seems the most anti-racist thing to do would be to get really detailed understanding of which loci control skin colour, and then comprehensively catalogue every nearby gene to disprove the small chance that they’re associated with traits that could fuel racism. But I think that wouldn’t get funded because it sounds awfully eugenic (and of course the same understanding could easily be weaponised). So we’ll probably stay in the fog of plausible scientific racism for a while yet.

      Reply
    3. Kouros

      And then you have the field of epigenetics which shows how environmental factors turn genes on and off, i.e. different ambient temperatures during hatching period yields different M/F ratios among species of reptiles.

      Reply
  17. antidlc

    From 2021

    The Biden administration was in direct contact with Leana Wen, Peter Hotez, and others.

    https://www.politico.com/newsletters/west-wing-playbook/2021/12/15/bidens-twitter-doc-army-turns-on-him-495478
    Biden’s Twitter doc army turns on him

    As the Biden administration has worked to confront the lingering Covid-19 pandemic, it has cultivated a group of medical doctors with large Twitter followings to help them with the task.

    Since the transition last winter, Surgeon General VIVEK MURTHY has been leading periodic off-the-record discussions that include a few dozen physicians, academics and other well-known Covid-19 commentators with large Twitter followings like Baltimore’s former health commissioner and CNN analyst LEANA WEN, Baylor University virologist PETER HOTEZ and New York University epidemiologist CÉLINE GOUNDER, according to several people familiar with the calls.

    Other top officials like CDC Director ROCHELLE WALENSKY and the president’s chief medical adviser TONY FAUCI have joined the calls too. These public health experts — referred to by some White House officials as the “Twitter docs” — have often helped disseminate best health practices and shaped public opinion on the country’s most pressing issue. Administration officials believe they’ve been valuable outside validators and communicators in the campaign to encourage mask wearing and vaccinations.

    Reply
  18. Foomarks

    Re: Japan was the future but it’s stuck in the past

    Lol, Rupert has so many mixed emotions! Is this what it’s like when colonial expats have to return home?

    Reply
  19. Questa Nota

    Yanis is onto something about the North-South split.
    Cis-alpina low-level, low trust.
    Trans-alpina expand that high-level breakdown throughout, dissipate what remains of once higher trust.

    With ongoing questions about survival of the EU, will stand-in modern Gaul be in three or more parts?

    Reply
    1. OIFVet

      Yep. I’ve been telling friends in Bulgaria for a while now that the corruption in Europe and the US is far more advanced, lucrative and prevalent then it is in the Balkans. It’s a diffence of both scale and technological sofistication, and in the latter I include the ability to make corrupt practices legal by knowing how lawmaking works and exploiting that knowledge to provide a legal figleaf.

      In contrast, one of the recent corruption scandals in Bulgaria involved an MP and two tons of dry-aged sausages. I’m not making it up.

      Reply
      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        OIFVet

        Yep. Having lived in the U S of A, and for almost all of that time in Chicago, I was taken aback at how penny-ante scandals in Italy can be.

        Anglo-America has simply built the looting and pillaging into the system: See Nancy Pelosi.

        Meanwhile, at the level of dry-aged sausages, have you followed the “Qatargate” scandals at the Euro Parliament? You have (mainly) Italian politicos stuffing banknotes into suitcases. Eva Kaili’s apartment was stacked with cash. An oddity is the brib-ees with expensive clocks. No one in the U.S. Congress could be bought with an expensive clock. And then there are the delicious details of Kaili (age 44) and the ex assistant Francesco Giorgi (who seems to be what Italians call a toy boy, although he’s 35, so toy-man).

        All told? Estimates are a few hundred thousand euro (and rising! as suitcases turn up). Why, Nancy Pelosi makes that in a good day of “glorious free-market” stock trading.

        Reply
        1. OIFVet

          Expensive clocks probably indicate good esthetic sense, I would think. Why would Ms. Twin Sub-G want such a thing I her manse by the bay?!

          In all seriousness, that scandal does prove the point. We in the south are pointed out for being corruption-riddled yet we are rank amateurs compared to the northern Euros and the Anglo-Saxons. Ms. Kaili possesses a lovely visage and the good sense to have a southern boy toy, rather less mechanical than a German or a Dutch would be, I assume. OK, just kidding, hope no fellow commenter from the Netherlands or Germany will get his trousers in a twist :) In any case, I assume she must have gotten on Frau[d] von der Leyen’s protestant nerves with her libertine ways and thus the hammer fell on her in these woke times where the EU just had to show the Qataris how wonderful it is to be woke, and the German national team showed up to display an armband, not to play soccer. It seems the EU and most of its members are governed by way or performance virtue signaling art, while behind the scenes the Brussels establishment is busy selling Europe’s future for things like NATO chairmanship and such.

          All I can say is, let’s hope the South manages to shake off Northern European idiocy. With Turkey about to become the new energy player due to Gazproms hub, industries may well have to move down south and the Balkans and the Appenines might even fill up with German gastarbaiters, or however that’s spelled in German. The irony would be delicious :)

          Reply
        2. Carolinian

          Michael Hudson says that the US controls Euro politicians by giving them envelopes full of cash (or so he was told). Sounds like it might not be that hard.

          Here we give them lobbying jobs on K street–much more lucrative. Or there’s Pelosi’s uncanny luck with stock picks.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            While it would not surprise me, i suspect the envelopes are reserved for lower tiers. As they gather more media attention, it seems the go to solution is speaking gigs and board positions to legitimize the money flows.

            Reply
      2. vao

        one of the recent corruption scandals in Bulgaria involved an MP and two tons of dry-aged sausages.

        OK, this sounds… uncommon. Any links in a Western European language about it?

        Reply
          1. OIFVet

            Hah, that beach assault by dinghy sure paid dividends by eventually giving the chance to the Change Continues party to stop importing Russian gas from Russia and to instead import Russian gas from Azerbaijan through middlemen, which naturally are connected to them. Shows more sophistication than Sudjukgate, but then again it very well should, given that the honchos of Change Continues are Harvars grads and presumably above dry sausage-level chicanery :)

            Reply
      3. Kouros

        Oh, the backwater westernmost province of Canada, gives pettiness a real luster (and this coming from a Romanian imbued with chicken thievery of his nationals):
        – scandal on a premier that accepted as a perceived bribe building of a $5,000 back porch on his house.
        – the chief officer of the provincial parliament getting thousands of dollars worth of parliament liquor, appropriating a woodcutter/splinter for is own use;
        – messing up with pensionable time
        – other small petty charges…

        Industrial scale bribery/corruption does exist

        Reply
        1. OIFVet

          Chicken thievery is for amateurs :) My Roma compatriots had kidnapped and murdered some of the queen’s swans and roasted them in a public park in London. Apparently they didn’t know that roasted swan had the same texture as rubber.

          Reply
  20. Michael Fiorillo

    I enjoyed the Ken Klippenstein article about Davos, but next time The Intercept should try to get a reporter into the after-parties… you know, where guests dine on roasted African babies after getting blood transfusions from Ukrainian teenagers.

    Reply
  21. Not Again

    How far should US intelligence go in supporting Russia’s armed opposition? The Hill

    I am offering this as a public service: Don’t waste your time on this one. It’s written by an ex-spook (like there is such a thing) and it is not only stupid but wrong. Try this out for a first graph:

    “The horrific images of Russia’s latest targeted strike on an apartment building, killing dozens of Ukrainian civilians, provoked renewed pleas for the U.S. and its allies to provide Kyiv with more capable weapons to aid its defense and make Vladimir Putin pay a greater price for such atrocities.”

    I understand that The Hill is pretty widely read by Congresscritters and their staff. Maybe they ought to make their contributors read it before they offer any opinion pieces.

    https://thehill.com/policy/international/3816186-zelensky-adviser-resigns-after-blaming-ukraine-for-dnipro-apartment-bombing/

    Reply
    1. David Mills

      My rule is that everything gets discounted after the first lie. It wasn’t a Russian “targetted strike”, UAF AD knocked the missile down. I weep for the quailty od this thought.

      Reply
  22. Maxwell Johnston

    How far should US intelligence go in supporting Russia’s armed opposition?–The Hill

    Russia’s Fifth Column in Ukraine is Alive and Well–FP

    Reading these two articles back-to-back was jarring. In the first one, it seems that anyone in RU who doesn’t like the government is an “oppressed minority” from a “neglected region” and fully deserving of western support. In the second, anyone in UKR who doesn’t like the government is a “collaborator”, “traitor”, “agent”, etc. And as the charming editor-in-chief of a UKR non-profit is quoted as saying: “We need to get rid of them.”

    Reply
    1. Donald

      The fifth column piece was very blunt in its support for political repression. I much prefer it when people are hypocritical and pretend not to know about the human rights violations of the people they support.

      Reply
  23. Martin Oline

    Thanks for the except of the abstract in todays healthcare section. I love thromboprophylaxis with aspirin was noninferior to low-molecular-weight heparin. Is noninferior even a real word? I can’t decide whether it is an oxymoron or an attempt to obfuscate.

    Reply
    1. Raymond Sim

      Is noninferior even a real word?

      I hope so. The real world can use it. If you’ve falsified “A is inferior to B” what have you got?

      Reply
      1. Greg

        I mean, “A is superior to B”* seems the obvious and proper usage.

        Double-plus-good “noninferior” as doublespeak though, just like when we stopped saying A was bigger than B and started properly saying A is notlittler than B.

        *”superior or equal to” if you’re being precise

        Reply
        1. Revenant

          It is a term of art in FDA clinical trial hypotheses. BigPfarma “my drug X is non-inferior to competitor Y”. It is a safety shot, the easiest thing to prove. Proving superiority is tougher. You can always come back with another application to prove superiority once you have got onto the market. It tends to happen in crowded clinical spaces with existing options, e.g. cancer, where say achieving a better safety or tolerability profile might be worth a lot provided the new drug is no worse.

          Reply
  24. pjay

    – ‘How far should US intelligence go in supporting Russia’s armed opposition?’ – The Hill

    These articles are so common now that they scarcely deserve a mention: ridiculous propaganda of the “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery” variety. However, this blurb about the author might be noteworthy:

    “Douglas London is an adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies and a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute. He served in the CIA’s Clandestine Service for over 34 years. He is the author of “The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence.”

    Remember the good old days when Operation Mockingbird was supposed to be a *clandestine* operation? They don’t even have to pretend anymore! CIA reps openly have access to any major media platform while comfortably fixed in influential academic posts and can literally say any made-up bulls**t they want. The Smith-Mundt Act didn’t do much, but at least it required some degree of pretense. Good times!

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      And if they are not CIA (there is no ex- when it comes to the TLAs), they are Ukrainian expats or “freelancers”…

      Reply
    1. griffen

      Quite interesting, starting about the 5 minute mark you can just watch more debris go sliding downhill. Speaking just for myself, doubtful I would have stood there that long. Yeah I’m sure there is gonna be more of that.

      Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I imagine a few folks who live in the mansions near the edge further South in Del Mar and La Jolla may feel a little uncomfortable, along with a lot of the people living in the less tony neighborhoods along the ridge in Clairemont.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        There are like $10 million bitchin’ cribs in the toniest part of La Jolla a little way back from where those cliffs used to be.

        I was right in that very spot with him on e-bikes on the beach just 3 days ago…

        Reply
      2. Realist

        When i lived in San Diego, every once in a while a “mansion” would slip down the steep hills facing the ocean in La Jolla, and i would chuckle to myself as the local news interviewed the (usually mean looking and unsympathetic) owner, who was probably receiving their first dose of well earned comeuppance.

        In retrospect, i can’t believe i used to actually watch the local news!

        Reply
    3. John k

      Amazing. I walked that beach several times when living in Del Mar. blacks beach, a one-time swimsuit optional and now mostly gay beach, is just a little further south. Glider port is on top of the cliff, a shadow of one is in the video.
      Never saw anything like this video. Erosion can be like bankruptcy.

      Reply
  25. Cetra Ess

    re: New study finds libertarians tend to support reproductive autonomy for men but not for women

    Given this and many other reasons, it seems to me we need to insert a “so-called” before any “libertarians.” So-called libertarians are also pro-police, always and without fail, for example, therefore pro-state and pro-authoritarianism. And the early so-called libertarian movement was incredibly hyperfocused on fighting alimony and visitation arrangements in divorce settlements, despite that these originated from the male dominated courts somewhere around the early 1800’s, before even first wave feminism – nevertheless the movement equated it with feminism and was anti-feminism.

    Any true libertarian movement would be pro-feminist and, indeed, feminism is in practice and theory more libertarian than so-called libertarianism has been. So-called libertarians wish to return to the days when women and children were legally considered chattel, owned like furniture. This is not proper libertarianism.

    Reply
  26. Jason Boxman

    Liberal Democrats, take a bow: Most Abortion Bans Include Exceptions. In Practice, Few Are Granted.

    Last summer, a Mississippi woman sought an abortion after, she said, a friend had raped her. Her state prohibits most abortions but allows them for rape victims. Yet she could not find a doctor to provide one.

    In September, an Indiana woman learned that a fetal defect meant her baby would die shortly after birth, if not sooner. Her state’s abortion ban included an exception for such cases, but she was referred to Illinois or Michigan.

    An Ohio woman carrying triplets faced a high risk of dangerous complications, including delivering too early. When she tried to get an abortion in September through Ohio’s exception for patients with a medical need, she was turned away.

    Time to keep fightin’ for women’s rights, I guess.

    Reply
  27. Jason Boxman

    How Charlie Javice Got JPMorgan to Pay $175 Million for … What Exactly

    JPMorgan’s legal filing reads like pulp nonfiction, with jaw-dropping accusations. Among them: that Ms. Javice and Olivier Amar, Frank’s chief growth and acquisition officer, faked their customer list and hired a data science professor to help pull the wool over the eyes of the bank’s due-diligence team.

    What’s amazing is how many people Javice duped. I guess those top N under AGE lists don’t really mean much of anything.

    Reply
  28. fresno dan

    https://www.eurointelligence.com/
    Divesting from Russia – really?
    Western companies have mostly not divested from Russia since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. This is in contrast to the image portrayed in the press, and in spite of the sanctions and reputational damage those companies risk encountering. A new study from the University of St Gallen has found that of the 1400 EU and G7 companies that had subsidiaries in Russia before the war only 120 have divested at least one subsidiary from Russia by November 2022.

    This is not the story we keep hearing. The media reported earlier on the likes of Ford, Renault, McDonald’s, Ikea and Shell completely pulling out of Russia, according to a list compiled by Yale University. But these are not representative. Unilever and Subway are still operating there, for example. And now the data suggest that those who pulled out are the exception rather than the rule.

    If we look at the geographical breakup in this Swiss study, it shows that among the western companies with subsidiaries in Russia, fewer than 18% of US companies and 15% of Japanese ones have completely divested by November 2022. Only 8% of European companies did so. Of those G7 and EU companies who kept their Russian subsidiaries in place, 19.5% are German and 12.4% are US-owned. This imbalance does not surprise us.

    So the narrative of a vast exodus of Western companies from Russia is clearly not matched by real data, according to the two authors of the study, Niccolo Pisani and Simon Evenett. It shows the resistance of companies to political pressure. If this is not working in Russia, why should it work in China over human rights concerns? The evidence we are seeing from Germany is that the corporate sector is resisting political pressure to reduce its engagement in China. This is possibly the next source of transatlantic conflict.
    ===================================================
    I had assumed most western companies were leaving Russia
    But then I see something like this:
    https://www.barrons.com/news/only-8-5-of-western-firms-have-left-russia-study-01674129008

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      My longtime backpacking partner lives near Sunland Produce in Sun Valley in LA, and as far as i’m concerned-the coolest grocery store in all of the City of Angles, with easily 2x or 3x the vegetable & fruit selection of a chain grocery store, along with funky frankly exotic foods as the owners are Armenian-American, I bought a made in Moscow milk chocolate bar for $2.39 that had a baby on the wrapper which tasted a lot better than a Hershey’s bar and not quite as good as a Swiss milk chocolate bar, along with loose tea of all kinds, they have quite the variety.

      Seemed as if there were say a hundred imported Russian food products on the shelves.

      Reply
    2. digi_owl

      And as i understand it, those that pulled out have arrangements in place that makes it easy to return to status quo ante once everything settles.

      Not that different really from the various arrangements US companies had in Europe during WW2…

      Reply
  29. bayoustjohndavid

    The final paragraph of the article about violence in early farming societies was depressing — for what it says about the assumptions of educated elites today. Even scientists who probably consider themselves apolitical assume that most likely cause of violence between groups is jealously on the part of have-nots.

    The study raises the question to why violence seems to have been so prevalent during this period. The most plausible explanation may be that the economic base of society had changed. With farming came inequality and those who fared less successfully appear at times to have engaged in raiding and collective violence as an alternative strategy for success

    Must have been populists stirring up trouble way back in the neolithic age.

    Reply
    1. Kouros

      In Against the Grain, the author posits the opposite, that cities with agricultural hinterland tried expanding on non-agriculturalists for slaves/forced labor: in the city textile shops and on fields – grain is easy to control as a crop…

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        I thought of that book, and also Graeber’s Debt. There Graber notes that ancient city states based on agriculture created inequality so that many citizens fell into debt peonage, and rather than seeing their families enslaved, people simply fled to the hinterlands. After enough time passed, there would be more people in the hinterlands than in the urban environment, and they would start to get ideas. Wise rulers would forgive debts and allow former debtors to rejoin society, while others would not, leading those in the hinterlands to take more desperate measures, which might be where all those shattered skulls came from.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          There was also the Roman arrangement, where service in the legions entitled one to a parcel of land in the conquered territories.

          Reply
          1. Kouros

            Yeah, but the Senate had to take its cut first, eh?

            One of the reasons Ceasar was cut down was the fact that he wanted to give too much to his soldiers…

            Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      The violence may have been actually between those early farming communities and those who still kept a nomadic lifestyle. Those nomads would view those farming communities as fixed targets ready for plunder.

      Reply
    3. Lee

      Don’t despair. That one finds such a thing “depressing” as opposed to unremarkably normative might well be an indication of an evolution in consciousness.

      Reply
  30. manderson

    Regarding “How Should We Teach Kids to ‘Pay It Forward’?”, how about parents “be the change they want to see in the world”? Less splurging for themselves, more time with kids, less work, funding opportunities instead of saving up for when the kids leave, etc. Kids quickly realize the general flow of money (the big vectors) and it engrains selfishness.

    Reply
    1. chris

      I feel like if you’re a family that is asking these questions and needs to read an article like that, it’s not going to happen. Kids don’t glean habits and attitudes for parents who are faking it.

      Reply
  31. Screwball

    Reported by Bloomberg via Twitter;

    President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, is preparing to leave his post in the coming weeks, a high-profile departure as the White House faces two years of a divided Congress and prepares for an expected reelection bid, people familiar with the matter said.

    I can only imagine the swamp creature to replace him.

    Reply
    1. chris

      Yeah, I saw that too. It must be real because the Guardian and other propaganda outlets are stone silent :D

      I still think the best approach on all this is to be quiet too. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself making predictions. And there seem to be consequences these days for speaking out. Hate to say that the self-censorship regime has gotten to me, but it has. I just don’t talk about it in public. And when topics do come up and people ask related questions, I am very cautious about what I say. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with people in real life. But it doesn’t seem like that will be a good option for a while, if ever. I’m half afraid to even chip into the MOA fund raiser. If I do that using PayPal or Zelle, will I be fined? I don’t know. Not interested in taking the risk. And so it goes…

      Reply
  32. Daryl

    Reporting in from a drive across Texas. Fair amount of Trump memorabilia spotted, including a “miss me yet” cardboard cutout visible from the interstate, and quite a bit in the local Tex Mex spot where I grabbed dinner for the night. One “Biden 2024” graffiti on the back of a truck.

    Reply
  33. Jason Boxman

    So just in NY times breaking more docs found at Biden’s. I agree with Lambert that it seems some element of the press has it in for Biden. They also went after him on Afghanistan viciously. I wonder what’s up. Will we ever knew?

    Imagine if they turned on him over whacking the railroad workers. If only. Sigh

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      Media may be trying to get him to resign, thus having Kamala become madam president.

      Western media seems to be very obsessed with symbolism, even if the actual usefulness is borderline negative. And being refused a madam president with Hillary seems to be what triggered their TDS at the time.

      Reply
    2. c_heale

      Something definitely seems to be happening. Biden has brushed aside everything else, but this story just keeps on going.

      Reply
  34. none

    Ex-Clerks and Experts Left Puzzled by Vague Report on ‘Dobbs’ Leak National Law Journal.

    According to reddit commenters, 1) the court investigators checked into all the law clerks, typists, janitors, anyone who could have gotten access to the draft except the justices themselves, without finding a culprit. 2) (light bulb goes on) the redditors are in solid consensus that the leaker was Alito.

    I didn’t pay attention myself so I’m just relaying this.

    Reply
  35. Karl

    RE: Tidbit on Germany saying “No” to Leopard tanks

    Saw Mercouris last night and he mentioned (at the 32 min. mark) a German General Ikuya (sp?), former chairman of various NATO-Russia defense councils, who said in an interview for a German magazine that NATO was applying unprecedented pressure on Germany to send Russia Leopard tanks, and that part of the motivation was to so poison German-Russian relations that no post-war “rapprochement” with Russia would be possible. This General also mentions that Germany has been “disarming itself” and being “cannibalized” in order to provide military supplies to Ukraine, and whose inventories are depleting.

    I can hardly believe that the US could be so stupid as to put Germany’s leadership in such a politically tenuous and unpopular position (in Germany) of seeming to cave to these very public US demands against Germany’s own interests, all for a few tanks that won’t tip the balance in any case. Is this how the U.S. treats its friends?

    If this is true (big IF, but this General seems like a NATO insider), it would seem that NATO itself is at risk of fracturing if this kind of pressure continues.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      From one kind of bad (Trump) to a different kind of bad (Biden), and still the (western) world cheered when the latter took office.

      Also, this is not the first time USA tries this gambit. It looks very much like a carbon copy of the jet deal they did with Poland early on, where in the end Poland put USA in a bind by refusing to be the ones to deliver said jets to Ukraine. Likely Poland understood that it was a high chance that Russia would pop the jets the second they crossed into Ukraine airspace, and didn’t want to risk Polish pilots.

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Said the guy that was responsible for much of it.

        I swear, he must really believe he is on the side of the angels. Because he seem to have a profound lack of self-awareness.

        Reply
  36. Vikas Saini

    Re: Aspirin vs LMWH — like with coronary stents, PA catheters, and on and on… a key part of the system is that it took several decades before a trial like this even got done. Lots of time for rent extraction.

    Re: non inferiority — in this case it’s a perfect goal post, given that aspirin is the ultimate generic comparator/competitor

    Reply
  37. tindrum

    The FAA seems to be having a problem with pilots not passing the EKG tests for-whatever-reason so in order to solve the problem, they lowered the requirements. In a further interesting development it seems that billionaires are asking for unvaccinated crew for their private jets, I wonder why?

    https://stevekirsch.substack.com/p/the-faa-has-very-quietly-tacitly?r=k5sck&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

    https://sandrarose.com/2023/01/billionaires-requesting-unvaccinated-pilots-for-private-jets-video/

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Please don’t use the comments section as a dumpster.

      1) The sourcing on the first post is bad. Anybody who writes something called “In the October 2022 version of the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners” without giving a link to the source or citing to a page is singing to some sort of choir.

      2) The sourcing on the headline claim of Rose’s post is ridiculously bad. It’s a video, quoting a second source, and there’s no way to verify the second source.

      Let’s try to use our critical thinking skills, instead of practicing low-grade meme propagation, shall we?

      Reply
  38. Insouciant Iowan

    ’ Leak National Law Journal. The deck: “‘I suspect the justices decided that the risks to the separation of powers were greater than the risk of not finding the leaker,’ said law professor Josh Blackman about the high court’s choice to not use federal investigatory resources.”

    What a lack of imagination! SCOTUS could have chosen the neoliberal path and privatized the investigation if they don’t trust the Executive Branch.

    Reply

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