Links 1/8/2023

Pigeon caught in Canadian prison yard with drugs Anadolu

What’s next for quantum computing MIT Technology Review

Philosophy’s blindspot Aeon


The world’s torrid future is etched in the crippled kidneys of Nepali workers Washington Post

Authorities working to determine source of oil slick off Santa Barbara coast LA Times

Corrected ozone data estimate fracking and drilling produce more emissions than every Front Range vehicle CPR News

Crews divert Kansas creek in the race to clean Keystone pipeline spill and prevent further pollution KCUR


California is getting drenched. So why can’t it save water for the drought? NPR

‘This is no way to live’: Mississippians struggle with another water crisis Guardian


Coronavirus: tens of thousands cross Hong Kong-mainland China border as quarantine-free travel finally arrives after 3 years of restrictions SCMP

China suspends social media accounts of COVID policy critics Al Jazeera

I’m Sorry, but This COVID Policy Is Ridiculous The Atlantic. “The recent attempt to limit the spread of disease from China makes no sense at all.”



India tops Japan to become world’s No. 3 auto market Nikkei Asia


Will Erdogan and Assad soon meet to bury the hatchet? Al-Monitor

US-Saudi Tensions Ease as Military Cooperation Against Iran Grows Antiwar

Old Blighty

NHS recruiting from ‘red list’ countries after Brexit loss of EU staff, says report Guardian


U.S. lawmakers outline next frontiers of China tech competition Nikkei Asia

US waged war on China’s chips; S Korea, Taiwan felt the fallout Al Jazeera

Chinese car makers expected to rapidly expand in Russia in 2023 IntelliNews

Earthling: Cold War II goes lunar Nonzero

New Not-So-Cold War

Ok, Doomer William Shryver. “Legendary Russian fatalism may be alive and well, but it will be ashamed of its doubts in the end.”

Ukraine Humiliated Western Propagandists After Its Defense Minister Admitted It’s A NATO Proxy Andrew Korybko

US sanctions Iran drone suppliers for arming Russia in Ukraine Al-Monitor

Patrick Lawrence: The Sino-Russian Summit You Didn’t Read About Scheerpost


Emerging Europe backs nuclear power to solve energy needs IntelliNews

Europe Imports Of U.S. Diesel, Gasoline To Hit 2-Year High OilPrice

Europe leads pack on LNG imports as global competition for fuel heats up FT

US now world’s top LNG exporter, as Europe boycotts cheaper Russian gas Geopolitical Economy Report

Azerbaijan enjoys surging hydrocarbon revenues amid Ukraine war Eurasianet

Europe watches on as humanitarian crisis unfolds in Nagorno-Karabakh Politico EU


Activism, Uncensored: Drag Event Protests in 2022 TK News by Matt Taibbi

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Slow Death of Surveillance Capitalism Has Begun Wired. We’ll see.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Remembering the Kabul Drone Strike Eunomia

Realignment and Legitimacy

Gingrich and Pelosi Agree: The GOP Is Rudderless Politico

McCarthy’s Speaker Deal Could Stymie Defense Spending Next Year Bloomberg

Democrats en déshabillé

The Right Played Hardball in Congress. The Left Should Take Notes Jacobin

Democrats to Labor: You’re On Your Own Compact

Groves of Academe

Moscow’s Invasion Of Ukraine Triggers ‘Soul-Searching’ At Western Universities As Scholars Rethink Russian Studies RFERL

Supply Chain/Inflation

$7 a dozen? Why California eggs are so expensive – and increasingly hard to find LA Times

Companies rush to tap US bond market as credit conditions ease FT

The Deglobalization We Need Compact

Our No Longer Free Press

Under Musk, Twitter Continues to Promote US Propaganda Networks FAIR

NYT: Binding Arbitration For Thee, But Not For Me Cory Doctorow

Guillotine Watch

How Big Pharma Actually Spends Its Massive Profits The Lever

Class Warfare

FTC Ban on Noncompetes Sets Up Huge Legal Fight American Prospect

Uber drivers strike in New York after company blocks raises and fare hikes Guardian

To Cut Costs, Companies Will Hire Contractors Instead Of Permanent Employees In 2023 Forbes

In This House We Prey: Managing family wealth for dynastic power The Baffler

The Ultrarich Are Getting Cozy in America’s Tax Havens Portside

Sports Desk

There’s Nothing The NFL Cannot Bear Defector

The Bezzle

The Binance Scam Chain Dirty Bubble Media

NFT Marketplace SuperRare Cuts 30% of Staff: ‘We Over-Hired’ Decrypt

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ignacio

    These guys, here I refer to Summers and the like as per the Twitter video, don’t bother any more with optics. IMO this is an indicator they feel enough in control of Western Democracies. The elites rule out any danger from the Western populaces to their political system.

    1. griffen

      I always have a visceral reaction to anything Larry has to say on these matters. Of all the lying liars and a$$holery in the profession he is on his own little short list of the supreme and absolute, smug a*holes of the past 25 to 35 years.

      I cannot stand that man. I despise what he espouses. And he lost a cool billion (I am being kind) of Harvard’s endowment fund and should have shuttled off to the dustbin of history far sooner.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ever notice how whenever Wall Street crashes the economy through uncontrolled greed, the automatic response of the Feds is to say that we have to reduce worker’s wages and conditions to get the economy back on track again?

        1. Geo

          Gotta toss more sacrificial peasants into the volcano to appease the gods. Our deified “Job Creators” demand sacrifice or they will bring famine and pestilence upon us.

        2. Mikel

          Let’s call it a “crash” for some and sell-off for others.
          Now the economy has to be stomped on in order to make the assets available again at a price where Wall Street can ride the market back up …then crash/sell-off again.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        The money quote in that 2:00 clip came in the first thirty seconds or so but I watched the whole thing hoping that the real hook would be some of those tropical murder monkeys you hear about from time to time coming down from the trees and tearing his face off. I was very disappointed. That would have made a really good antidote du jour.

    2. Craig H.

      If I was Larry Summers and best buds with Jeffrey Epstein there is no way I would be photographed, let alone video recorded on a tropical island.

      Isn’t he late for his massage?

        1. JBird4049

          John Bolton is running for president… oh, good, I need the entertainment. If I am not homeless by then, I will have beer and popcorn on the ready for it.

        2. griffen

          Once people get around to actually finding out who John Bolton is and what his career is actually about, I expect the recoil and horror to follow for most sane individuals. I mean we do have our limits or I wish to think. On second thought, well hell let him run after all.

            1. JBird4049

              Whaaa? You could make the same argument about any of our recent main presidential candidates including Biden, Trump, and the last Clinton and Bush. Heck, we have Harris likely as President, if they don’t keep the current one upright and semi coherent.

              Really, besides being backed by the money of the elites, or done as a big f**k you by the people with Orange Man Bad, the only partially successful candidate was Sanders and he got knifed in the back.

      1. Thomas Wallace

        He is 99 and immune to cancelation of any form, except the final, big cancelation. He has been giving away ultra expensive graduate student dorms, which draw considerable criticism. The idea was to promote social interaction by building Spartan bedrooms with expansive social areas. The success was mixed, but the vocal criticism has been uniformly negative. Dorms aside, there has been a trend in group housing to promote public areas by scaling down private space, to gently nudge people into public areas. I have yet to actually see his building but will point out that a luxury single bedroom is analogous to a prisoner in solitary. They are both alone, and encouraging an individual in a single room to get up and around seems well intentioned. hall/munger/ .Munger could have just built a yacht, after all. And the architectural elite who expressed outrage by the audacity of the very idea would have been happier.
        But regarding Munger’s recognition of material progress. Which is on the face of it undeniable…

        It could be argued, maybe even in a way that would be interesting. If anyone bothered to care.

        In the 30’s poor Americans were skinny and hungry. In 2022 they are obese. The only hungry Americans are the anorexic, and those trying to lose weight.
        “9.3% of people are on a weight-loss or low-calorie diet.” and 2/3 of Americans include diet inNew Years resolutions.(source google)

        I would say obesity is worse. After all, hunger can be alleviated by a meal single, which can be eaten with pleasure immediate. Obesity can be alleviated only with a lengthy and difficult process. The problems of affluence are difficult and expensive.

        1. agent ranger smith

          My feeling is that obesity is driven by obesogenic food, which is the only food priced low enough for the poors to be able to afford it. Obesolytic food costs enough that the poors can’t afford to buy it. Am I wrong about that?

          Don’t the lower classes in America have higher rates of obesity than the better off classes because the better off classes can afford to buy more fruits and vegetables and etc.? Whereas the lower classes are allowed only enough money to buy sugar and high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oil and ultra-processed industrial food product made with those things ( and ultra-high-starch white flour and etc.)?

          In other words, is obesity really a problem of affluence? If it is, then the affluent should have the higher rates of obesity. Is that who really has the higher rates of obesity in America?

    3. semper loquitur

      Bill Clinton MC’ing that young women in Democratic politics convention a year or so back is another jaw-dropping example. After being linked to Epstein, Clinton should have been radioactive. But nope, they just trot him out on stage as if nothing happened. They know their legions of dupes either don’t care, will pretend to have not heard about it, or simply won’t believe it. Their assets in the mainstream media will run cover for them. They don’t give a fu(k about anyone else.

      1. spud

        and he teaches a master class to boot. wish someone at one of those classes would stand up and filmed asking billy how much he made selling out america to wall street and the chinese communist party.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Ok, Doomer”

    I can well imagine Russians having a renewed sense of confidence in themselves after this war is over. The same sort of confidence that Americans had in themselves at the end of the Civil war. But of course there will be a parallel development here and that will be the loss of confidence that will be experienced by the collective West. Think about it. No matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on Project Ukraine, all the sacrifices made, the wrecking of the economies of so many western countries – it will be all for nothing. Zip. Nada. And there will be the devil to pay and him out to lunch. How is western media going to spend this total defeat? The fact that in spite of all the western military gear sent to the Ukraine – or perhaps because of it – the Russian gear proved better in in far superior quantities. Worse yet, this will be the tombstone for western dominance of the world and the consigning of the Rules Based Order to the dustbin of history. Others may disagree but that last point is actually a good thing-

    ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ ‘

    1. Ignacio

      If you had asked me only one year ago which I believe is the most powerful country in the world in economic and military terms I would have answered without hesitation: the US. Today my answer would be:

      It’s going down, down, down down
      It’s going down down, down down..

    2. fresno dan

      Some 40% of proven oil reserves belonging to OPEC+ members is owned by Russia, Iran and Venezuela–all of whom are selling to China at major discounts, and all of whom are on board with Beijing’s petro-yuan plan.
      The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)–most notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE–account for another 40% of proven oil reserves, and they are increasingly cozying up to China.
      The remaining 20% is also accessible to China, and China is already the largest importer of crude in the world.
      Remember the sanctions?
      That share of GDP isn’t gonna go back up. And if we keep making our “allies” poorer, it will decline even faster…

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      “Worse yet, this will be the tombstone for western dominance of the world and the consigning of the Rules Based Order to the dustbin of history.”

      This will be far more than the end of the RBO. Centuries from now 2022 may be regarded as the matching bookend of 1492.

      1. Lex

        This is the real story. In fact, Lavrov has said exactly this within the last 10 months. Here is the end of 500ish years of “European” dominance of the globe. The rest of the world feels and sees it, at least as more than an inkling of possibility. I’m most curious as to whether the leadership class in the west can feel it yet. I find it impossible to ignore, but I don’t want to underestimate the disability of the western ruling class.

        1. Val

          Drinkers debate here as to whether 2022 bookends with 1492 or 1096, and how the stoltenberg psychology might ultimately respond. Free lunch in the shining city/garden in the jungle is a helluva drug. A larger than usual distraction will be required fairly soon, and it will have to be possessed of some acute moral dramaturgy.

          Coming to terms with such perfidy and incompetence may not be as emotionally or structurally satisfying for these entities as say, mushroom clouds, but that is not to suggest we avoid imagining what a rational, humane and ecologically coherent future might look like.

        2. Stephen

          I think the crazed reaction and irrational behaviour of the western “leadership” class is a recognition that they do get it at a sub-conscious level. But none of them can face up to it at a conscious level and articulate a rational way forward that recognises reality and seeks to come to terms with it.

          If we apply the Five Stages of Grief then they are possibly still mainly at the first stage of Denial and possibly some may have reached the stage two of Anger. Acceptance is still a ways off.

      2. Mikel

        My gauge for the end of “western dominance”: when the other parts of the world stop sending their children to schools in the West that exalt western dominance.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Possibly closer than you think, after the financialization of elite educational institutions in the US for example. We aren’t there yet, but I can see it on the horizon now.

    4. fresno dan

      from the article
      This partially rebuilt army has now been effectively wrecked over the course of the previous four months of futile – arguably suicidal – Ukrainian “offensives” against layered Russian defensive lines.
      We know this to be true because now the Ukrainian high command is desperately begging the west to provide it with yet a third fully equipped army to throw against Russia’s overwhelming firepower.
      Meanwhile, here at the start of 2023, Russian combat strength is, by almost every metric, significantly more potent than it was a year ago.
      On the other side of the balance, NATO quite literally has nothing meaningful left to deliver except the few remaining crumbs of their obsolete equipment, surplus ammunition, and empty promises of future production, which is highly unlikely to ever materialize.
      Somehow, the US government, or perhaps I inverse the situation, and US capitalism, has amalgamated the government and US tech and media companies into an entity completely incapable of accepting reality. It really is quite astonishing, and one has to wonder how a society manages to get itself into such a situation, especially with the acknowledgement of the Afghanistan debacle so recent.

      1. The Rev Kev

        They have just announced a multi-billion dollar package for military gear to the Ukraine while both France and Germany are sending light vehicles. Brian Berletic just dropped another video where he takes that list apart and shows it to be mostly useless- (35:42 mins)

        In short and not knowing what else to do, the west is just scraping up every piece of spare gear that they can find and sending it off to the Ukraine where the Russians will dutifully destroy it. Hmmm, systems thinking seems to be a lost art in the west. Unfortunately, we live in the west. But there are two things that I do wish for. One, I wish that our media would stop peeing against our legs and two, I wish they would stop saying that it is only rain.

        1. YankeeFrank

          The question is who are they really fooling? The sad fact is that the propagandists in the MSM, not being directly dictated to by some kind of govt propaganda arm, but only nudged and “access-journalismed” into their illusions, are staffed by fools who are in their jobs because they believe the swill they peddle. First and foremost they fool themselves, and the few rubes who continue to take anything they say seriously do so to fluff their own silly and childish prejudices and desired worldview. Sad!

          1. playon

            The propaganda is all over social media as well. If you go on youtube and type in “Ukraine” all of the search results are pro-western powers. In fact when searching that term I didn’t see any results at all from critics of the war. They exist, but you have to already be aware of the channel.

            1. Fischer's Fritz

              Though of course we know that the algo is heavily rigged.

              Youtube is being manipulated and manipulates at least as hard as Twitter.

              I think it was Mark Sleboda who once talked about Youtube constantly pushing nonsense that even the Financial Times would be embarrassed to print.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Do you really think people like Rachel Maddow believe the crap they peddle? Or Rush Limburger? It’s just entertainment, they say. And $$$$$$$$$.

          3. eg

            Unfortunately I have friends who believe it, and these aren’t ordinarily stupid people — they just don’t look beyond the headlines.

        2. Lex

          For me the tell is how they keep publicizing these aid packages. They won’t ever fool Russian intelligence completely, but if the plan is to build a 75k strong army equipped from scratch with more western material for a spring/summer offensive. Shut the hell up and do it quietly. (Granted, there may be more happening quietly.) the blaring headlines suggest it’s more chips on the table in hopes the bluff won’t get called.

        3. britzklieg

          I can’t find the video, but Dan Kovelik says the US alone has sent Ukraine more money than was spent on the entire Vietnam war.

        4. GF

          You will know the west have hit rock bottom when they requisition the surplus military equipment Obama handed out in the USA to the “police”.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I’d hope for something like that, but the PTB know the lid is coming off the frog boiler and they are hoping the local constabularies and state militias can keep it tamped down yet awhile. And what Constitutional Sheriff is going to let the ZOG recover all those Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles and M-113 armored (weakly) personnel carriers and the other stuff they will want to establish their warlord fiefdoms across a tattered landscape?

            “From my cold, dead hands…”

        5. skippy

          Remember all the gear that was left in Afghanistan because it was too expensive to transport back.

          1. JTMcPhee

            And procuring new stuff its where the money is, and no doubt the CIA has plans for how it can be returned to service of the largest criminal organization in the world…

            Of course, with what is going on in Sinaloa State in Mexico (now THERE is what in insurrection looks like, and how about Boltonaro’s Boys in Brasilia) maybe the US federal Government better have a lot of dry powder, either to actually control the border or to negotiate a merger with the Mexican drug “corporation…”

            1. skippy

              All that gear was pretty add hoc, beat to death, and predominately wheeled. Yet as you say the money for the top players is in new orders and some yobs for the right congressman’s state. All of which is perfectly rational in a ‘Market State’.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Before you say it was all for nothing, you might want to check the quarterly profits of the defense contractors. They never lose.

      1. Skip Intro

        The US was willing to sacrifice Europe’s ability to compete with it, and their independence of US imports — the touching nobility of a great nation holding its allies close.

    6. Keith Newman

      @Rev Kev, 7:29 am
      “How is western media going to spin (corrected) this total defeat?”
      Easy: the evil and insane Putin was foiled in his attempt to march across Europe to enslave it by the brave Ukrainians. True Ukraine lost half (?) its country but let’s help them by accepting the new migrants (thank God, WHITE immigrants). Maybe Ukraine was actually punching above its weight and our expectations were unrealistic. And, hey, it looks like there really were some neo-Nazis there as we used to report before Feb 2022. But whatever, who cares, we didn’t lose a single (official) soldier, Russia was seriously weakened and Putin will be overthrown any day now. Yay us!

      Next the media shifts to the another hotspot and celebrity and sports news. Switch on the TV, pass the beer and the bowl of potato chips (or crisps).

    7. Mikel

      Ok, Doomer:..”a great many in Russia have instead sought to reestablish the cultural guidance of their ancient Orthodox traditions; to reemphasize the family as the fundamental unit of society…”

      “In This House We Prey: Managing family wealth for dynastic power” The Baffler

      The West has its own version of “reemphasizing the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

      And Russia is not without its own oligarchs and dynastic wealth.

  3. dftbs

    With respect to the Russian studies piece. I’ve always felt that despite the possible good intentions of their participants, a large part of the purposes of cultural studies within Western academe, was to establish the framework for domination through definition.

    We create academics, who although light years removed from the material conditions that inform a culture, wrap themselves up in the fetishized trappings of said culture and purport to speak for that culture. Ethnic extraction is irrelevant here, we’ve gotten more adept at using American born Asians for Sinic studies and Spanish speakers from Miami to bad mouth the governments we don’t like in Latam; but just because these people share physical characteristics or a language doesn’t make them participants of the culture they’re trying to exert authority over.

    I think one of the big dialectical developments that is happening overseas is that definitions go both ways. Whereas one may consider themselves Chinese American, Russian American, Cuban or Venezuelan American or Iranian American. The people of those counties just see you as American. We may think we are a mosaic of different cultures or something, but from the outside looking in i don’t think they see that.

    1. digi_owl

      At best, USA is the place where obsolete cultural expressions from elsewhere gets put to pasture.

        1. Catchymango

          And then potentially even re-exported to the country of origin lol. Just look at Iran or my native India lol, amongst other examples. Or Israel!!

    2. The Rev Kev

      I can’t speak for Russian studies but I am reliably informed that if you want to do Chinese studies, a prime qualification is hating the present day China. You demonstrate that and you are in. I would expect going forward to have Ukrainian scholars adding their ‘understanding’ of Russians to Russian Studies in the West. That should be a hoot that.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        “. . . a prime qualification is hating the present day China.”

        Thorsten Pattberg, a German China scholar, would agree with you and then some:

        “Do you ask my advice for Western students who would love to come to China and get a Chinese degree? That is not advisable. The EU for example will not accredit your Chinese credentials. So you will have to go with a governmental-approved exchange program. For example, American planners are training their future “China experts” at Schwarzman Scholars (Jewish) at Tsinghua University or at Yenching Scholars (Harvard) at Peking University. Most Western universities have some form of official exchange programs with China, but unfortunately, about 95% of them are just fake ‘Chinese for Foreigners’ language courses, so be careful.
        If you really want to study like a Chinese person at a Chinese University, you will immediately have American CIA, British M-6, or German BND agents blowing up your neck. I describe how it works in my books. Journalists are in this, too. My Institute a Peking University was run by the Harvard professor Tu Weiming. He had briefly worked for the CIA before, which is unavoidable in the USA as a Taiwanese Chinese.

    3. pjay

      I think this has been posted here before. It’s very relevant in interpreting such dreck:

      “Russian studies” has always been dominated by pro-Western bias, at best, though there have been the occasional objective voices over the years. This RFE/RL propaganda piece by one of our major propaganda units is the epitome of projection and Newspeak.

      The FAIR article in today’s Links discusses how the intelligence community controls the media. It does the same with elite academia. In both cases there are a small number of independent voices which are ignored, marginalized, or silenced.

    4. magpie

      ‘…to establish the framework of domination through definition.’ That’s a good take, I hadn’t thought of it that way. You are probably right to recognize that participants may have good intentions. I really wonder how this decolonized, “decentered” (spell check pops up for this word, spell check needs to be decentered) reimagining of the world can prepare give anyone, anywhere a useful understanding or intuition of geo-politics.

      Could any of these ridiculous wordsmiths conceive a workable solution to this war that would actually secure peace? How many of these intellectuals would support expelling Russia from the Security Council because it world help “decenter” Russia imperialism?

      On a personal level, much like griffen’s comment on Lawrence Summers above, I feel a visceral reaction to how the establishment covers and describes the Russo-Ukrainian War. Their moral panic is synthetic and loathsome. This is not to downplay what’s happening in Ukraine – unlike Doctorow, I do sympathize with the huge masses of innocent people caught in this war. Nobody gave them a choice. They don’t live in a functioning democracy. What I find contemptible is how Arab and African lives were given no value by the establishment in ’03, or ’11, or any year you care to choose – but now we are to believe that the establishment, including the Groves of Academe, feels a sudden moral crisis? What trash.

      1. Acacia

        And just to stick with the Ukraine… how many liberal academics cared about the 2014 coup or civil war against the eastern oblasts — something like 14,000 dead —, but they are now all up in arms and sporting yellow and blue flags, because “Putin invaded!!!”

  4. Wolfman

    David Bakhurst is George Whalley Distinguished University Professor and John and Ella G Charlton Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University in Ontario. ……He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and executive editor of the Journal of Philosophy of Education.

    ‘The wolf travels in a nuclear family consisting of a mated pair and their offspring, and engages in the cooperative hunting of prey, usually large, hoofed mammals and smaller animals’ or ‘In the mating season, the bull moose stops feeding for two weeks.’ It is important that such descriptions can be true of ‘the wolf’ or ‘the moose’, even though this wolf might be lone, and that moose might not fast. The dog is four-legged, even if Fido has only three. Natural-historical description is thus inherently normative: it describes how a creature of this kind ought to be. One who departs from the norm, such as poor Fido, is to that extent ‘abnormal’ or ‘defective’.

    What properties are descriptors of Distinguished professors?

    1. semper loquitur

      I find this argument fairly weak. This isn’t aimed at you Wolfman but rather the excerpt you provided. I think that science is fully capable of holding the concept of the lone wolf or the non-fasting moose in it’s collective mind. What they are are statistical outliers.

      The inclusion of the example of a three-legged dog is a strawman. A three legged dog is defective: it’s missing one of it’s legs. It doesn’t mean it’s not a dog and no one would claim that. It means it deviates from the statistically dominant form of a dog, four legged, as well as being at an enormous physical disadvantage. It smacks of the argument that part of the definition of a woman cannot be that they are the sex that carries a foetus because some women are born without wombs.

      The lone wolf or the non-fasting moose may also be defective in some way but they may not be either. Perhaps the moose lives longer than it’s peers. Perhaps the lone wolf avoids many of the dangers of pack life. We don’t know, but we do know that missing a limb is not a good thing.

      It seems that the author of the piece is fudging the meaning of the word normative. Normative here isn’t describing an “ought” as some kind of moral claim, it’s describing a statistical norm. In the case of the three-legged dog, it’s describing a statistical norm as well as a huge impediment to survival. The dog “ought” to have four legs because three legged dogs don’t do as well in the world.

      I could be off base here but it all stinks of post-modernist word games. It’s not the first shabby critique of the concept of “normative” I’ve heard from that quarter. Often, it’s presented as a critique of “essentialism”, a critique that then throws open the door to all manner of !diotic claims.

      1. witters

        A particular dog can be understood as a particular dog only if you have a more general conception of dogness (one that can subsume more than this singular case). That conception, for many today, is given in the evolutionary history of a particular species (Canis familiaris). I think that is the ‘normative’ aspect of the argument.

  5. griffen

    Contract employees amid a hiring freeze or hiring slowdown. This may be true in the short run, but last I had noticed there were still a surplus of job openings posted per the JOLTS survey for every person actively seeking work. I think what could take place during this year and beyond, is that the contract position becomes more desirable as a life balancing issue and honestly, commuting hours are wasted hours. For a remote contract role, it is not necessary to move or find a new place to live. And on top of that, not commuting means fewer miles driving on older Honda Accord.

    I have been in a fully remote, contract position since March 2022. I am now actively looking for full time employment as well, just to have a better certainty on income and benefits but in my view I can still perform in the existing contract role and do it overall to satisfactory standards. Understand that I state all the above after a varied professional career, stretching from 1997 to 2021 that had ups, downs and dead ends in finance roles at an investment firm and varied finance institutions and finance companies. And though I am not well credentialed, but have the experiences necessary for most of the positions I apply into.

    Some managers might likely care, in the end, about a career profile of varied stops and the length of time at each job. There will be some that just need a live body with a decent mind to filter through daily problems and those highly infamous TPS reports. I am focusing on the latter scenario. YMMV.

    1. jefemt

      I’m still pretty firmly of the mind that employers have no intention of filling most of the posted vacancies.
      Every penny saved on wages/ salaries inures directly to the bottom line.
      Every ‘new chemical’ employee added to the mix brings potential disruption, and 30% hard dollar costs for benefits.
      Flog the existing workforce, with the charade of perception that you’re beating the bushes hard for help, but darned there isn’t anyone willing to work (or is it there is no one able to afford to live where you insist they work?)

      Maybe some of all of the above?

      1. Objective Ace

        Agree, having a job opening still available just means you aren’t offering enough money for someone to accept the position. We assume more job opening equal more demand, but it could just as easily mean an increase in concentration and more monopsony/monopoly power

  6. bassmule

    The latest fantasy from the NY Times:

    Now Fighting for Ukraine: Volunteers Seeking Revenge Against Russia

    Choice bits:
    Despite their evident value to the Ukrainian military, the commanders of ethnic battalions complained of a lack of support from Kyiv. The Chechen battalion leader, Mr. Madiyev, said that beyond weapons and ammunition, the units have to provide for their own food, fuel and equipment.

    The leader of a Russian regiment, a far-right nationalist who uses the code name White Rex, said he ran into multiple obstacles when he formed the unit shortly after the Russians invaded.

    and this one made me spit my coffee:
    “Our aim is the liberation of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria,” a Chechen fighter said, using the name of the erstwhile self-declared republic, “and to help all the nations who want it, to gain freedom.” In accordance with military protocol, he gave only his code name, MAGA.

      1. digi_owl

        What is that line again? The difference between reality and fiction, is that fiction has to make sense? Because reality has not been making sense for a few decades now.

      2. semper loquitur

        From what I can tell, they have been “using ChatGPT” before the thing was invented…

  7. The Rev Kev

    “US-Saudi Tensions Ease as Military Cooperation Against Iran Grows”

    I really find this hard to believe. I could be wrong but I think that in a way the Saudis are playing Washington. In the same way you can get a cat to chase a laser dot, if the Saudis want to distract Washington they only have to mention “military cooperation against Iran” and off Washington goes chasing that red dot. So here the Saudis are using it to stop sanctions against them for the OPEC+ oil production cuts. The relationship between the Iranians and Saudis may be more better than you might think. How you might ask?

    So Iran is walking down the street when it sees Saudi Arabia walking and laughing loudly to himself-

    Iran: ‘Hey, Saudi Arabia. Where are you going?’

    Saudi Arabia: ‘I’m off to the bank. And you?’

    Iran: ‘Me too. Let’s walk together. So how are things going for you?’

    Saudi Arabia: ‘Great. Because of oil prices, I have never made so much money in my life. And you?’

    Iran: ‘The sanctions are still there but I’m making money hand over fist too. Hey, I saw you talking with America. What did they want?’

    Saudi Arabia: ‘Oh, they wanted us to help attack and bomb you thus devastating your economy.’

    Iran: ‘And then we would have to destroy your oil infrastructure and totally devastate your economy of course. So what did you say?

    Saudi Arabia: ‘I told them that I really think that that is a great idea that.’

    (Iran and Saudi both look solemnly at each other for a few moments)

    Iran & Saudi Arabia: ‘MWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!’

    1. The Rev Kev

      Funny that. Mee thinka he may be improvement. You want to know what else is funny? You had so many people in the media and the Democrats – like AOC – attacking those Republicans for not crowning Kevin automatically like they would. So Kevin got there in the end but here is the thing. He is more or less Trump’s man. Trump leaned heavily on those holdouts to support Kevin and when Kevin was finally elected, the very first person that he thanked was – Donald Trump. So how come the media and the Democrats are happy to have Trump’s man as Speaker in the House now? Are they cool with Trump now?

      1. Jade Bones

        Couldn’t the dems have thrown a couple dozen votes towards McCarthy to trump (sic) the group of 20’s machinations?

      2. Richard

        No, no, no.

        McCarthy is not “Trump’s man.”

        About legislatures: you are a member or you’re not. A member has a vote, to use, to trade. When the game gets serious, everyone else is just in the way. Including ex-Presidents.

        Of course Trump called. He can say he did it, which he did say. Of course they took his calls–and flattered him. Who wants to be on his s–t list? But does that mean any one of them did what they did because of him? No way.

    1. marcel

      200 per day over 300 days is even bigger than that.
      The fighting over “Bakhmut” (1 city on a ~1000km frontline) is reported as a battallion of victims per week, again this is almost 100 per day, and only on that sector.
      There is a reason nobody wants to talk about it, or that there are instructions not to put the Ukrainian flag on top of graves of fallen soldiers (there are videos out that show row after row of these flags in far away locations, not big city graveyards).
      The other side doesn’t give figures, but I think they also crossed the 100K victims threshold.
      Trench warfare is bloody.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Make that a battalion’s worth a day and – sometimes two battalions a day. Last estimated death toll I heard was about 120,000 Ukrainians dead so you would expect there to be about triple that number in wounded. And that gives roughly 500,000 casualties in this war so far.

        1. Keith Newman

          @Rev Kev, 9:29 am.
          In a video interview on Judging Freedom from a few days ago, Colonel Douglas MacGregor (ret) said his sources informed him that total Ukrainian casualties were 450,000, of which 150,000 were deaths.

        2. Earl Erland

          Lack of Modern Battlefield Medical capabilities/the Golden Hour has lead some here and some quoted here to suggest the ratio looks more 19th Century.

      2. curlydan

        200*300=60,000, but whatever the losses, the Ukranians’ desperation in drafting and pulling in new recruits is a tell that the casualties are huge and unsustainable.

    2. Skip Intro

      The KIA have been widely estimated to be over 100k, even by conservative sources. 5x that in casualties total does not seem implausible. That ratio is not a great survival rate.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      The number is probably right but the real question is: How many casualties on the Ukrainian side are not Ukrainians?

      I can’t even guess at how many American “advisers” have died so far, and I’m pretty sure I’ll go to my grave without that number ever being published or acknowledged.

      1. JTMcPhee

        At least one of them got burned up, apparently, in the ad how crematorium the Heavenly Azovs set up in the basement of the Azovstal plant. Of course maybe that half-charred corner of a US passport was just a false flag by those pesky Rooskies…

        And how about the Ukies apparently using HIMARS rockets (which invariably are subject to US targeting and deployment oversight) to blast the Olenivka prison where a bunch of Azov “nationalists” were housed after capture by the Russians.

        “Dead men tell no tales…”

  8. Societal Illusions

    to your point, saw this in memex recently:

    ”I think this is what’s wrong with our political system. It’s organized to get people elected, then the people we elect do the work of big companies. And their work is to squeeze every bit of value they can out of the natural and intellectual resources of the world, and keep it for themselves. If they can kill something that’s worth $100 to reap $1 of value from the corpse, they see that as good business. That’s the approach that has got our species into the climate change corner we’re in. If you burn everything all you’ll have left to breathe are smoking corpses. That’s where we are in everything humans do. That’s why we feel a void for ourselves, collectively. We blame the government, but we’re the ones who believe the lies. We know they’re lying but we believe them anyway.

    * Dave Winer, as part of a blog post explaining why he was so disappointed by Obama’s Presidency, despite having supported him in every way he could.

  9. shpedoikal

    Crews divert Kansas creek in the race to clean Keystone pipeline spill and prevent further pollution KCUR

    When dilbit pours into a river or stream, it soon starts sinking — flummoxing traditional cleanup methods that focus on containing and recovering floating oil.

    This raised a risk that dilbit could flow through large, underwater holes in the two emergency dams that were set up to stop the huge slick of floating crude oil in Mill Creek from moving downstream.

    A National Academies of Sciences study found little in the way of reliable options to detect dilbit once it begins moving below the water’s surface. The weathering process that causes the stuff to sink can start within a matter of days. The spill occurred nearly one month ago.

    So we’ve begun piping tarsands oil with no viable ways of cleaning it up in case of a spill. Super.

    1. chris

      Yeah. That’s been the story for a while. We’ve also continued to let the pipeline companies underestimate risks and what resources are required to clean up spills. So any bonds or policies they take out result in covering 1/3 or less of the actual costs from the events I’m familiar with. Not a great system. Seems to be the only one we’ve got too :/

    2. BeliTsari

      Dilbit & slick water fracking (& ethane cracking) came along during a perfect storm in all associated industries. Pipe & rolling mills, PHMSA, 3rd party auditors, FBE coating, pipeliners… AND the gas & oil QA/ QC hands’ contracts were bought out, early retirement forced to hire in whomever would get the most loads out the cheapest. 1099, temps, undocumented, race-to-the-bottom & no oversight as Indian & Russian oilgarchs built CRAPPY spiral mills or got tax breaks to slap together decrepit pre-WWII mills & itinerant laid-off contractors replaced by gig-serfs & work-release victims, devoid any training or BS certification & were audited by folks, fleeing PO, deputies, skip-chaser, repo men or ex-spouses? Then Katrina hit & Cheney, Obama, Hillary, Shrub…

  10. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Slow Death of Surveillance Capitalism

    Meh. It’s just talking about “targeted” ads which I don’t believe are actually very well targeted, although the grifters at Fleecebook do market them as such. But what do I know, since I use a readily available and easy to use ad blocker and don’t see any ads to begin with, targeted or otherwise.

    One of these days a lot of CEOs are going to feel really stupid once they realize the scam these big tech ad agencies pulled off at their companies’ expense, allowing [family blog]ing] ad agencies to become that huge in terms of market cap. The stupid feeling will last for about 30 seconds before they get promoted upwards once again.

    1. fresno dan

      what is amazing about the targeted ads is the plethora of ads I get for a coat or a pair of jeans AFTER I have bought a coat or a pair of jeans…

      1. Mark Gisleson

        The people selling ads aren’t trying to sell product, they’re trying to sell ads.

        Is there any aspect of commerce these days in which sellers try to help buyers buy the best product or service for their needs? I think they used to call it relationship selling.

        Yes, I’m really old, why do you ask?

        1. Mikel

          More specifically they are selling the reproduction of consumer culture. That’s why the youth market is usually prized. In the ad and marketing world they talk about lifestyles more than the products.

          It’s only price point (on sale now for __,etc) ads that have any type of relationship to selling a product.

    2. Questa Nota

      The embedded base of so-called smart televisions provides plenty of ongoing surveillance.
      When not just being a couch potato, you may be, er, noticed by your roomba, so-called smart speaker like Alexa or other speech- and data-hoovering devices.

      Then escape to your car where On-Star, and untold others with Sting-Rays or similar, may listen in or monitor, before you even consider that so-called smart phone as yet another invasive device. If that isn’t bad enough, consider those kill switches being forced soon on new car buyers.

      I know people who have dusted off 3G phones to provide some semblance of privacy while existing talking on a cell phone. Somehow they manage to exist without data being pushed into their worlds.

      In the meantime, do continue to notice any tinnitus, or lack thereof, when in the presence of any of the above. Then find a place in nature without cell towers, microwave towers, transmission towers or anything else electro-mechanical and see if there is any difference. You may be surprised at the results. Think of nature as your own beautiful, relaxing and accessible HANS device Dalkon shield fresh air Faraday Cage.

    3. earthling

      It’s not ‘meh’ if these companies begin to decide, or are forced to admit, they can’t make money off tracking every move we make.

      Praying for the day surveillance goes out of style because it’s just not worth the cost versus the profits.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Will Erdogan and Assad soon meet to bury the hatchet?”

    ‘US policy unlikely to change. US policy includes supporting humanitarian access throughout Syria; promoting accountability for the Syrian government’s human rights and nonproliferation violations via sanctions; supporting the UN political process; and preventing the resurgence of Islamic State, which the US characterizes as a ‘low-level’ insurgency.’

    Actually stated US policy is to steal Syria’s oil so that they cannot use it to reconstruct their country and to also occupy and steal the wheat in Syria’s wheat-belt so that starvation is a major problem in Syria, including for their children. ISIS is not really a problem as if the US pulled out, Syria would deal with them using their highly experienced army. Washington will never forgive Syria for not being defeated by those western-backed Jihadists but as Syria goes back thousands of years in history, Syria will just wait Washington out. Actually, I would not be surprised to see them join that Russia-Iran-China core block leading them to become integrated with the east. After what the west did and is still doing to their country, like Russia, they will probably turn their backs to them.

  12. LawnDart

    Re; US waged war on China’s chips; S Korea, Taiwan felt the fallout

    Also see: The Dutch get ensnared in US-China chips fight

    Ain’t this chip-thing just some “Look! Squirrel!’ BS… …a crass pretext designed to coerce “our partners” to “pick a side” and publicly declare their fealty to the Empire– Oh, glory to Rome!

    Pretty-sure China recognizes the need of the vassals to placate their “crazy-uncle” and will continue with quiet relations.

  13. notabanker

    How Big Pharma Spends….
    “The pharmaceutical industry is saying, ‘We need the higher prices to reinvest in the next generation of products and give people access to medicines, if we don’t get the higher prices we won’t be able to do our job,’”

    Super, what the numbers say is that circa $320M a year in lobbying nets $156B in annual investment cash. The moral of the story: At .2 of a basis point, Congress is cheap.

  14. fresno dan

    There’s Nothing The NFL Cannot Bear Defector
    Remember when Trump was president, and Trump made a big deal about Kaepernick kneeling at the beginning of NFL games? It was quite a thing on the right wing websites – all the 40, 50, and more year fans who were gonna stop watching the NFL…

    Is the drop off due to politics, a new generation not as enamored of football, or just random variance? I doubt politics, if it has had any effect, amounts to even 1% of any loss of viewship. With football games as ubiquitous as Starbucks, it was inevitable that the popularity of football would plateau.
    I would watch it occasionally, but I no longer have cable…and I am too cheap to get cable.

  15. ArchieShemp

    Re the tiny Taibbi piece, must everything with his name on it receive attention?

    It’s just him and someone else praising a video, presumably because it shows both sides at drag protests swearing at and otherwise being vile to each other. I mean, come on, surely one side is in the right there (by which I mean, not the far-right side).

    1. flora

      I like Taibbi’s reporting and commentary.
      For articles in the links I’m not interested reading my computer mouse scroll button works fine. / ;)

    2. BillS

      What I found interesting about the Taibbi piece were the scenes where armed lefties were present to protect the drag events. It was also interesting that, faced with two opposing armed protest groups, the cops did not intervene in any significant way and no one was hurt. Only in NYC, where no armed protestors were present, was one person arrested.

      If only all that energy could be directed at our oligarch overlords!

      1. ChiGal

        yes, I watched about half of it and my takeaway was, what a waste of energy. I myself am not on any front lines these days, and this particular filmmaker provides a window into what is actually going on in this country.

        regardless of who is “right,” there’s just so much ugly out there.

      2. John Beech

        Had the good fortune to meet a guy in drag once. Interesting fellow. Didn’t realize it at the time until someone took me aside and asked in a scandalized tone, what I’d thought. Took another look, still a pretty good looking gal, except it wasn’t. Being married doesn’t make me immune to the charms of the opposite sex and as it turned out, those of the same sex whilst in drag. Anyway, the conversations had been stimulating (I wasn’t on the make because it’s not what I do) and I suspect had this been the case, the fellow would have known to advise the other party before things proceed further. Regardless, not my business how others choose to live their lives because I have my own life to take care of. If I have any words of wisdom, I suspect the whole world (the drag scene, plus LGBT+, included) would be wise to chill before going to war.

    3. B Flat

      I would like to read the rest of the article but can’t afford the privilege right now. I spent my youth out in the clubs, wigstocks, ACT Up, AIDS walks, the whole nine, and all I can say is, drag is adult entertainment, the scene is for adults. I side eye the sudden political necessity of incorporating children into shows, etc.

      1. ArchieShemp

        I’ve been to a couple with children present, and the jokes and such were either clean as a whistle, or double entendres only adults would get (a la Disney movies).

        Stand-up comedy tends to be too raunchy and/or sexual for my kids too. Doesn’t mean kids should be kept out of the scene entirely. Again, if risque material crops up, the adults present nearly always know they should tone it down.

  16. fresno dan
    It is never very easy to understand what is going on in the world if you depend on The New York Times for an accounting of daily events. This is especially so in all matters to do with Russia, China, or any other nation The Times has on its blacklist because the policy cliques in Washington have these countries on their blacklist. Rely on The Times for its reporting in these cases and you are by definition in the dark. No exceptions. This is what the once-but-no-longer newspaper of record has done to itself and to its readers over, I would say, the past 20–odd years. It is now nothing more than an instrument of the imperial ideology emanating from our nation’s capital.
    I would encourage everyone to read the entire post to get some idea of what has actually been going on between Putin and Xi. I would only quibble with the post because of the phrase – Rely on The Times for its reporting in these cases and you are by definition in the dark – and change “in these cases” to “every case”.

    1. curlydan

      Thanks, Flora. After the recent California deluges, SW Kansas is the undeniable ground zero for “exceptional drought” in the U.S.

      My prediction for upcoming debates in the Kansas legislature on this: stalemate. In the future, it might be a case study for how individual consumption provides worse outcomes than collective and cooperative action.

      On interesting thing about the drought map is in Texas where there’s a small circle of exceptional drought over San Antonio. San Antonio gets most (all?) of its water from the Edwards Aquifer. But the Edwards has one huge advantage over the Ogallala–better recharge. There are creeks in the Hill Country in Texas that simply stop flowing in mid-stream. Why? All that water suddenly drops underground to recharge the aquifer.

    2. earthling

      Well that’s depressing. They needed to guard that aquifer 50 years ago; today with decline accelerating and widespread droughts, they are still arguing about whether they should maybe do something. Long past time for stringent control on irrigation. Oh well, maybe after all the families have died out and nothing is left but giant agribusiness, the robots won’t care.

  17. anon in so cal

    After I replied to one of my listserves with a list of links and excerpts and suggested that at least one colloquium present an alternative [aka accurate] perspective on the US war against Russia, I was deleted from the listserve. Anecdotally speaking, US academia is lost.

  18. Lex

    OK, Doomer is a really good piece. What in the remembered history of all but a tiny sliver of Russian society would give them the sort of “it’ll work out” optimism that’s the American default? Russians may or may not be prone to cynical melancholy, but facts are facts. Paired with the recent Doctorow piece about wars making nations, we can begin to see a process of formation in Russia. That is, this is finally the end of the great humiliation from the fall of the USSR. But birth is a messy, painful process with no guarantee of success.

  19. Mikel

    “In This House We Prey: Managing family wealth for dynastic power”The Baffler

    “…During the peak months of the pandemic, between 2020 and mid-2021, surging asset prices catapulted almost one hundred new billionaires onto the Forbes list of richest Americans…”

    And family offices and hedge funds alike also provided plenty of tax write-offs for the wealthy.
    I read alot of narratives about the fall in asset prices that portray it all like an “evaporation” of wealth – as if none of those involved sold any of the inflated assets for profit.
    Remember, even members of the Fed were busy selling their personal holdings for profit in 2021.
    Check out the Netflix doc on Madoff. A very interesting bit involves Jeffry Picower’s “investing” with Madoff. As much as he helped Madoff float his Ponzi, he had Madoff by the balls. Madoff also had made up losses for Picower to avoid taxes as a return favor.
    “But by the first decade of the millennium, more and more firms were going private, while startups were waiting much longer to make an initial public offering—if they chose to do so at all. Private investment funds have grown precipitously since the global financial crisis and now command so much capital that they offer a serious alternative to public securities markets. As recently as the early 2000s, the only real options for companies that wanted to expand was an IPO or the corporate bond markets. Today, it is no longer necessary for a company to go public when it wants to scale up operations; it has only to find a congenial investment fund to shepherd it through the transition phase….”

    And enter crypto. To give a sandbox for retail investors to play in.

  20. Jason Boxman

    From: To Cut Costs, Companies Will Hire Contractors Instead Of Permanent Employees In 2023

    The Bias Against People Stuck In Contract Roles
    Contract, gig and temporary roles used to be seen as the province of blue-collar, frontline and creative workers. However, there is a burgeoning trend of recent college graduates and highly experienced, well-credentialed professionals getting stuck in a cycle of short-term contract roles.

    Yep. This is the kiss of death. Because you’re been contracting you must want to be contracting. You’re trapped. And screwed.

    And none of this is contracting of the more traditional nature. This is “40 hours weekly” contracting where you’re essentially doing the work of a full time employee in every way. You can’t take on other work, nor set your own hours. All the bad from a full time job, none of the benefits.

    Worst of all worlds.

    Upwork’s Freelance Forward: 2021 survey of 6,000 working Americans found nearly 80% of the respondents said autonomy over their schedule was a key driver in pursuing gig work.

    Heh. Except for a handful of highest performers, Upwork is a wasteland of people doing work for almost nothing, where you complete with workers from all around the world racing to the bottom. Upwork is nonetheless distinct from ‘fake contract’ work in that it’s the real deal, but at the lowest end of the spectrum with an even worse situation.

    Highly paid contracts with desirable payors it is not. And Upwork takes an unconscionable cut of your pay.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Oh, the Atlantic: I’m Sorry, but This COVID Policy Is Ridiculous

    By now, it’s well known that travel restrictions can’t stop COVID from crossing borders. At best, they slow its entry. When Omicron was first detected, in South Africa in late November 2021, America blocked travel from southern-African countries in an attempt to prevent the variant from spreading; by mid-December, Omicron dominated the United States. Restrictions can delay the spread of a variant only if they are implemented while cases are low and before travelers have had a chance to spread it. Such policies were more effective early in the pandemic: A BMJ Global Health review concluded that the initial ban on all travel into or out of Wuhan, China, in January 2020 significantly reduced the number of cases exported to other countries and delayed outbreaks elsewhere by “up to a few weeks.” Later on, such restrictions lost value. The COVID Border Accountability Project, which tracks travel restrictions around the world, has found that border closures did not reduce COVID spread, at least through April 2021, Mary Shiraef, the project’s principal investigator and a political scientist at Notre Dame University, told me. (According to the study, domestic lockdowns did slow transmission.)

    Of course that’s nonsense. They do work. We’ve seen that they work, provided there’s a quarantine period of appropriate length, handled correctly.

    This is like saying because some houses burn down when there’s a fire, we ought to give up on fire services, fire suppression systems, and fire resistant building codes. (Notice anything? Defense in depth.)

    The urge to believe we can’t do anything about COVID is quite strong.

    1. Anon

      Who wants to be locked in the house for a year? Any association with the pandemic is to be removed from polite existence (not my rules). 2020 was like 9/11 trauma to the American psyche; though not for the right reasons, despite the abundance of reasons… it could be perceived as a perpetual 9/11 (curiously, we got 1/6 instead). There is no palpable, spiritual mourning, social solidarity, or well of intellect, to motivate an adequate response, instead we mourn democracy. A familiar pastim – “What’s that? Democracy won this time? Did they ever take down that fence?”

  22. indices

    ARkStorm: “An ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1,000) is a “megastorm” scenario proposed based on repeated historical occurrences of atmospheric rivers and other major rain events, first developed and published by the Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project (MHDP) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2010[1] and updated as ARkStorm 2.0 in 2022.”

    This seems somewhat alarming…

  23. Mikel

    “FTC Ban on Noncompetes Sets Up Huge Legal Fight” American Prospect

    “…These contracts mean that a minimum-wage worker in the service or industrial sector can’t take a better-paying job without facing legal retaliation from their employer; a hair stylist fired from a salon isn’t allowed to take their practice to a nearby shop for over a year; patients can’t see their regular physician, because she’s barred from opening her own clinic within 35 miles or retaining any of her former patients…”

    The non-competes are more prominent in the tech world. And it’s the massive layoffs in industries labeled as tech that has spurred the FTC into helicopter parent mode and not any major concern for those earning under six figures.
    And it’s about concern over the status of HB1 visa holders more so than hairstylists or patients seeking care.

    1. hunkerdown or other blind links are bad. Please post the direct link to the author’s website so that we can use the IC honeypot only if we choose.

  24. Mikel

    “To Cut Costs, Companies Will Hire Contractors Instead Of Permanent Employees In 2023” Forbes

    Wow. Healthcare and health insurance costs were not mentioned once in that entire article.
    And that is what will make the growing gig and contract work the deathnell for any business not part of a monopoly or cartel that has captured governments.

  25. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    September 2 last year Paul Krugman offered this opinion Wonking Out: The nightmare after Gorbachev on Russia’s economic failures.

    John Walsh, often citing Jeffrey Sachs, provides a much-needed historical corrective The first US onslaught to ‘weaken’ post-Cold War Russia: Even before NATO expansion, the West sought to strangle Russia economically

    In his article Krugman describes the difference in outcomes between Poland and Russia but he does not describe different factors that distinguish the two countries and might serve as causes of the different outcomes. Sachs points out one such cause which he witnessed first-hand.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That Asia Times article is not a bad one and I have heard Sachs in a video talking about how Poland and Russia were treated differently when he was working with both countries. The neocons failed to break up Russia twenty years ago because they got distracted for all those years in the Sandbox because of all that oil. Well now the neocons have failed in the Sandbox, Russia has come roaring back and China almost unnoticed was moving towards being the premium world economy. They tried for world domination and have now brought about the looming impoverishment of the collective west. Heckuva job, Neocons.

  26. RobertC


    This a fascinating article Chinese car makers expected to rapidly expand in Russia in 2023, Russia being a large country rich with petroleum and other resources whose population wants/needs more individualized transport. Thanks very much for this link.

    “In many ways, the Chinese are proven to be remarkably ahead of the game when compared to the withdrawal of EU auto manufacturers from the Russian market. This is not purely a reflection of the loss of the EEU markets in particular, but also a complete loss of future EEU market potential,” Silk Road Briefing reports.

    The implications for Chinese auto manufacturers using the EAEU [EEU] in particular as a springboard into other markets is highly significant,” Silk Road Briefing adds.

    Translation aids:

    robot => automatic transmission
    mechanics => manual transmission
    variator => continuously variable transmission (CVT)
    atmospheric engine => naturally aspirated engine

  27. Glen

    More on the SWA failures. Pilot’s association letter to management:

    Two Legacies

    And one take on the letter.

    Southwest Airlines pilots to disastrous bosses: It’s your education, stupid

    I completely agree with the SWA pilots analysis of the problem because I see the exact same problem where I work. But it does lead back to my trite solution about how to win the “New Cold War” – take every one of these (borrowing a phrase from last week) “swivel eyed” MBAs and drop them on Russia so they can wreck that country just like they wrecked ours.

  28. kareninca

    My elderly mom lives in eastern CT. She heats with oil, and her electricity bill is about $100 per month. She just got a notice from the utility saying that the typical customer’s bill will soon be going up by about $85 per month. She was astounded and asked me why this was happening. I started to answer but it turned out that she didn’t actually want to know since the answer involved politics and like most normal people she is just nauseated by political discourse.

  29. Jason Boxman

    The world is so bleak, my thanks to those that suggested Third Body Problem and Black Sails, The Boys, and Counterpart. Chernobyl was terrifying as well. Also Giri/Gaji.

    It’s nice to have distractions.

    The Real Count of Monte Cristo was a good read.

    Mostly given up on movies though.

  30. RobertC


    After reading M.K.Bhadrakumar’s 8 January essay (which I’m sure will be in tomorrow’s Links), reread his 6 January essay:

    Unsurprisingly, India feels uneasy that the centre of gravity in BRICS is poised to shift further to the left of centre. Equally, India will find it difficult to maintain its role as a regional leader with the entry of Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia into the portals of BRICS. Being an acolyte of the US-led “rules-based order,” India faces the spectre of isolation.

    Russia is acclimating to the multi-faceted benefits of its new relationship with China. India needs to study its border maps more carefully.

  31. Ben Joseph

    Re:deglobalization we need

    Maybe China gave up on zero covid when they realized the west was planning on abandoning their supply capabilities in either case?

  32. Fischer's Fritz

    Morbidly funny reading between the lines of that poll.

    Of course one can not admit that the people in the “most affected by Russian aggression” areas very often don’t see it as aggression at all, but as liberation.

    But even less pro Russian people in the areas where the actual fighting takes place still see for themselves a number of things that we are all tooo well aware:

    The sheer savagery and constant atrocities of the Nazis, including on Ukraine’s own soldiers.

    Obviously the that the Ukrainians are dying like flies.

    The way the Russians immediately start rebuilding in all the areas they occupied/liberated, with it not taking long for some places to look better than when Ukraine left to rot everything it didn’t shell.

    The way Russia sees to it that the areas they control have power, and of course that wages are paid, food is available, etc.

    It seems a strong hint that these factors count for more than the endless stream of propaganda and even Azov intimidation.

    And OF COURSE they cannot account for the many Ukrainians who have preferred to flee eastwards.

    But such things must be left either as an inscrutable mystery, or sidelined into a throwaway sentence hoping that people won’t think about it closely.

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