Links 2/1/2023

This Black Bear Took Hundreds of ‘Selfies’ on a Wildlife Camera Smithsonian

Swift aims to be a bridge for digital currencies American Banker

ECB’s Panetta dismisses ‘programmable’ use for digital euro Global Government Fintech

The $109 Billion Bank Hustle Matt Stoller, BIG. The deck: “Interoperability isn’t just for telecom firms, email, and Facebook. In a high interest rate environment, it’s also how to stop banks from scalping businesses and consumers.” Interoperality is also Doctorow’s thing.

Perella Weinberg banker tied to insider trading probe found dead FT

Lead prosecutor for Najib’s 1MDB case dies, trial postponed Channel News Asia


White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may serve as a wildlife reservoir for nearly extinct SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern PNAS


Man’s best friend in China: boy gives pet dog his Lunar New Year ‘lucky money’, pooch chases owner’s car to say goodbye and missing pet knocks on front door South China Morning Post


Myanmar’s military planning poll, raising fears of more bloodshed France24

Myanmar coup: Two years on, humanitarian groups have their hands tied as aid efforts grind to a halt Channel News Asia. Perhaps the NGOs aren’t addressing the root cause….


Credit Suisse stops accepting bonds of Adani’s group amid Hindenburg row Mint

Gautam Adani called on India’s top tycoons to shore up $2.4bn stock sale FT


Why is Egypt’s Navy commanding a NATO-led coalition in the Red Sea? The Cradle

Iran warns Israel not to ‘play with fire’ after drone attack on defense facility Times of Israel. Ownership. Read all the way to the end.

A game of Snakes & Ladders: Blinken takes US back to square one in Israel Responsible Statecraft

European Disunion

Unions buoyant as 1.27 million French protest pension reform AP

* * *

Polish state TV suspends correspondent who criticised anti-Russian “hate” among Poles Notes from Poland (Mark Ames).

The Croatian President Slammed His US-Led NATO Allies For Provoking Russia & China Andrew Korybko’s Newsletter

Orbán is telling Ukraine to quit Politico

Sahra Wagenknecht on the Ukraine War & the State of German Politics (transcript) Glenn Greenwald

* * *

Helsinki court finds two journalists guilty of disclosing national secrets Helsinki Times

New Not-So-Cold Cold War

Britain says it won’t supply Ukraine with RAF Typhoon and F-35 fighters because it would take too long to train Volodymyr Zelensky’s pilots to fly ‘sophisticated’ warplanes Daily Mail. On the upside, it’s probably a lot harder to sell something large, like a plane or a boat, on the black market. Meanwhile, “tanks for the memory“:

And meanwhile, Ukraine down to technicals:

Italy to join forces with France in supplying air defences to Ukraine FT

The war in Ukraine is a lucrative cash cow for the US ‘merchants of death’ – history shows us why we should expect little else Sky News Australia

* * *

U.S. Says Russia Has Violated Nuclear-Arms Treaty by Blocking Inspections WSJ

Vladimir Putin is not mad, just ‘radically rational,’ says former French president Politico. Hollande.

The Language of Strategy: An Introduction The Bazaar of War

Dear Old Blighty

NHS faces ‘alarming’ exodus of doctors and dentists, health chiefs warn Guardian. Meanwhile (via guurst):

Eurostar leaves hundreds of seats empty to avoid queues at British passport control EuroNews

The UK is wasting a lot of wind power Archy de Berker (PD).

South of the Border

Peru’s Congress still undecided on early poll, as protesters stand firm France24

Biden Administration

The EPA vetoed Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine High Country News

Supply Chain

Rio Tinto sorry for loss of radioactive capsule in Australia Oh.

High Voltage: Tesla’s supersized Gigafactory could need 2 lithium, 4 cobalt, 8 nickel, and 9 graphite mines’ worth of production every year Stockhead

Critically Dependent On Russia & China, US-Led West Look To Secure ‘Rare’ Metal In Ukraine Vital For Fighter Jets, Air Planes Eurasian Times. Titanium.

The Bezzle

Celsius Used New Customer Funds to Pay for Withdrawals: Independent Examiner CoinDesk


The computer errors from outer space BBC. Important.

PayPal to cut 7% of its workforce Payments Dive


Why the western media is afraid of Julian Assange Jonathon Cook

Police State Watch

Mass. Prisoners Could Choose Between Freedom And Their Organs The Lever. Yikes. Sponsored by two Democrats.

Honor Tyre Nichols: Stop ATL’s dumb ‘Cop City’ Will Bunch, The Inquirer


Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in US Health Care JAMA. “Perhaps the demoralization of professionals, the conflicted consciences of many executives, and the anger of the public represent potential political energy that, with proper leadership, can become kinetic.” ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished, and especially ironic given that the AMA — rather, its hegomonic leadership who as usual are a mere synecdoche for the views of the membership — vehemently opposed single payer for many years.

Gross Profit (review) Peste Magazine. Capitalizing a Cure.

Engineering T cells Eric Topol, Ground Truths and The race to supercharge cancer-fighting T cells Nature. As I’ve often said, the word “race” in a headline is a tell; it indicates that the agents impelling the “race” will not be addressed in the article, indeed will not be organic with respect to its framing.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Confronting the Iraq War: Melvyn Leffler, George Bush and the Problem of Trusting Your Sources War on the Rocks

Class Warfare

Checking In With the Starbucks Union as a Supreme Court Labor Decision Looms Eater

With negotiations at a stalemate, Temple graduate students go on strike The Inquirer

The Billionaires Just Can’t Wait Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer. Disaster capitalism.

From ashes to fly larvae, new ideas aim to revive farm soil Channel News Asia

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. ambrit

    “Oh snap!” is so passe. I lean towards using “Oh bit flip!” now to express scatological disgust on the internets.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      @#$! works for me, also %#$! Basically all the a, b, c, f, m and s words all of which can be cartoonishly expressed by hitting shift + any series of number keys. They do not have to end in an exclamation mark but all my personal favorites do.

      1. Old Sarum

        I prefer to emulate American TV productions (so it must be correct) as at least one can express “bleep” verbally as a euphemism. However “What the family-blog?” has its charms despite a limited receptive audience.


    1. Pavel

      One learns more from listening to Mercouris and his buddy Alex for 30 minutes than CNN et al for 3 years.

      The Duran *highly recommended.*

      (I just wish poor Alexander could muster up a better camera!)

      1. tevhatch

        I treat Alex as a video because of his walks, but Alexander could be just listened too, and IMHO does better as a podcasts without the distraction as he does not use visual aids. Rokfin does him without the adverts as well.

  2. griffen

    Massachusetts prisoners, serve your full sentence but if you are given the option, you may choose to donate precious organs or bone marrow and might receive a shortened sentence. Maybe the sponsors of this proposal have their heart in the right place, but should we be checking what is in their minds ? Seems like all manner of risk involved, but hey it’s 2023.

    Sounds like a headline ripped from the fictional “The Island”. Maybe that movie was simplistic in the plot but that was a fun film. Ordinarily I might have a much more cynical take on such a news headline!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they got inspiration from that fact-finding group that they sent to Kosovo. /sarc

      And I’m sure that the Chinese could give them chapter and verse on methodology.

      1. Darva

        Rev. That along with the incipient social credit scores based on your vaccination status.

        Don’t forget the internal passports that they breached during the pandemic.

        Keep a list of all thel local politicians who allow this crap to occur. It will come in handy in the future.

    2. Questa Nota

      Organ grinder warden to prisoners:

      That can supplement your regular blood and plasma donations for my retirement that getaway to the islands the officer’s benevolent fund.

  3. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Thanks for the Memory by Frank Sinatra)

    Tanks and artillery
    The tools of modern war
    Huge guns you can’t ignore
    They boom and shriek on paths oblique
    Producing blood and gore
    Mein Gott! What a mess!

    Tanks and artillery
    So sorry to report
    Ukraine is running short
    They’re desperate for boomsticks
    And logistical support
    The West must acquiesce!

    Ukraine’s gonna break up
    We’ll wake up
    Forlorn on the gray morning after
    The whole world ringing with laughter
    Howling with glee
    And hyperbole

    But it’s tanks and artillery
    Ukraine needs at this hour
    And E-lek-trickle power
    Their grid is shot, it costs a lot
    This war is going sour
    In the cold and snow

    Send tanks and artillery!
    Some more hair of the dog
    More lipstick on the hog
    We’ve sent them every item
    In our weapons catalog
    Where it went we don’t know

    Tanks and artillery
    Zelensky’s paranoid
    He’ll soon be unemployed
    Ukraine will look like it was
    Flattened by an asteroid
    Or a big Russian bear

    It’s all exponential decay
    How it went wrong we may never know
    But we put on a hell of a show
    The whole world is watching it, too

    Tanks and artillery
    Coordinates on maps
    It’s just like shooting craps
    The best laid plans of you and I
    Went to Ukraine to die
    Oh well . . . let’s do lunch!

  4. Stephen

    Britain not supplying F35s

    Feels a reasonable jumping off point to discuss Abrams tanks, maybe a too popular topic though. Douglas MacGregor said last night on Judge Napolitano that they have to be manufactured because the ones in store have special armour. No one in the Pentagon wants that to fall into Russian hands so apparently they have to built with 1970s armour.

    I am sure Ukrainian tank crews will be queuing up to man these tanks. If they ever arrive.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If F-35s get supplied to the Ukrainians and they start getting shot down, that will not help world-wide sales of this plane. And that is why it will never happen.

      1. Stephen

        Right. Supplying derated tanks gives a cover story too when they get destroyed. Hard to derate aircraft!

        1. Benny Profane

          But there has to be evidence in the media of the destruction. Where are the photos or stories of the existing carnage of the hundreds of Ukranian tanks and planes shot down? Right, you’re seeing only what they want you to see, or, nothing at all.

          1. Lex

            You’re joking right? The photos, stories and videos are all over telegram. Not to mention that Ukraine started with ~2,000 MBTs from its own stock and something like 700 have been supplied to date. If those were even mostly still extant would there be a desperate need for a few hundred western tanks? These western tanks are not orders of magnitude better than what Ukraine started with and plenty of them have been destroyed by irregular fighters in plenty of places using anti-tank weaponry less capable than what Russia brings to the situation.

            1. Alan Roxdale

              Telegram requires a phone number to sign up. And is app only.

              Aside from the RT ban, I can list no larger info barrier amidst this war than Telegrams lack of an open website version.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Oddly enough, approximately 95% of my Telegram browsing is done on a browser without logging in or even subscribing any channels.

          2. Stephen

            If tanks had not been destroyed then Ukraine would not demand more.

            By the way, I think attrition is normal. In WW2 apparently, the survival time for a T34 in combat was measured in hours. When you read narratives of battles such as Alamein or Kursk both sides suffered massive tank losses. Crews may often still survive and some of the losses get repaired but attrition is still high. The Russians lose tanks too and this is why they ramped up production. I have no idea whether they lose more or less tanks than Ukraine (I suspect fewer) but it is not the pertinent point anyway.

            The pertinent point is that industrial warfare requires mass production capability. Not simply finding penny packets from depots. This is also why photos of tank losses are actually meaningless. Never comprehensive and in line with expectation.

            Nobody in the west has experienced true combined arms industrial warfare since Korea (I am not sure Vietnam counts, it might…) and so we are not used to the idea of needing to replace losses.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I would go so far as to say that the real weapon is those tank crews and not the tanks themselves. You have a tank destroyed or damaged but the crew survives, they are soon back in action along with all their hard earned experience. You lose a crew but not the tank, you had better hope that the replacement crew is just as experienced. No, those crews are the actual weapons.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Just yesterday I read an article by Brian Berletic where he quotes former US Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis, who participated in the 2003 invasion or Iraq saying that US would have won even if they had used the Iraqi T-72s and the Iraqi crews would have had Abramses.

                They were just so much better trained on every possible level.

                So, should we compare a Ukrainian crew with 5 weeks of “sped-up” training in a worn out Leo 2A4 to a DNR crew with 9 years of war experience in their brand new T-72B3M (which, according to Uralvagonzavod, has ESU-TZ unified tactical control system – a.k.a. C3/SA)?

            2. Polar Socialist

              the survival time for a T34 in combat was measured in hours

              Not always. Apparently the second Jassy-Kishinev operation in 1944 merely petered out because the T-34s had traveled and fought over 1500 km since summer, and were completely worn out.

        1. Wukchumni

          It isn’t likely the Abrams F-35 tank-fighter will be ready for flight trials by the time the war is over, and experts suggest it will only be used for really low altitude sorties because of its heft.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Zelensky is asking for advanced German submarines and planes designed 50 years ago…I didn’t hear a request for f-35s.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      According to Wikipedia as regards the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade seen in the video clip above : The brigade was formed in coordination with the Azov Regiment, and is considered to be a fully-fledged combat unit within the Ukrainian Ground Forces. The formation of the brigade was done with the aim of providing a highly mobile, well-armed and well-trained unit that can effectively engage in both defensive and offensive operations.

      If a unit like that is reduced to operating technicals – then I’m not sure the Ukrainian armoured forces are in a position to be picky.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Swift aims to be a bridge for digital currencies”

    Swift used to be the standard mechanism for currencies. That is, until DC decided to weaponize it. First against Iran – twice – and now Russia. But because of what they did to Iran, both Russia and China had received a heads up on what was planned to them and set up their own transfer mechanisms. With this in mind, perhaps the Brussels-based Swift system has decided that they have to have a gimmick that the Russians and Chinese don’t have that will set them apart and keep them relevant, hence them wanting to be a bridge for digital currencies. We’ll see how that works out.

    1. Wukchumni

      A modest proposal for preventing the children of poor countries From being a burden to their parent country in lieu of the USA, and for making transactions beneficial to the public~

      A young healthy country well nursed in reserve currency nuance, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.

  6. Stephen

    Croatian PM comments

    Seems very sensible. Interesting that Austria, Croatia and Hungary were all part of the old Hapsburg Empire. Old alignments may be resurfacing.

    Austrians also can remember that Soviet troops left in 1954 by negotiation and in return for Austrian neutrality. Galicia including Lviv as Lemberg was also Austrian for two hundred years until 1919. When the 2014 crisis broke out one of my Austrian friends did tell me that things were far more complex than the simple mass media narrative of the time.

    This whole region has of course never been close to Russia in the way that Serbia and Bulgaria have but to my knowledge (not sure what others think) has never been very Russophobic either. So this more balanced approach feels in line with expectation sans US / EU pressure.

    The treatment of the Polish TV Rome correspondent sums up attitudes there. They do not even seem to deny the truth of what she said but don’t like it. Methinks they do protest too much. Without the hope of the US security umbrella Poland could never poke the bear and poke the Germans simultaneously in the way she is doing. I fear for them when the empire moves on.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said, Stephen.

      With regard to your Austrian friend, last year, BTL on one of Craig Murray’s posts, a reader, who said he / she was descended from the Galician aristocracy that served Habsburg imperial interests, said similar, including how the Austrians encouraged the growth of the Greek Catholic church in the region and import of German, Polish and even Yiddish words into Ukrainian, so as to harden the differences. Murray studiously ignored the comment.

      Your final sentence reminds me of what my father said he heard from an uncle circa 1960. The uncle had just returned from studying at Makerere university and said that the Indian community was storing trouble for itself with its behaviour, especially once their imperial sponsor withdrew (as plans were afoot). More than five decades later, when my father returned to the UK and heard on the news about Priti Patel’s bullying of civil servants, he remarked, “They haven’t learnt their lesson, have they.”

      1. Stephen

        Exactly. Russia and Germany are not going anywhere. They will always be there. The U.S. will not.

        I had wondered about the Greek Catholic Church in Galicia. Makes sense that the Hapsburgs encouraged it given their strategic challenges at the time with Russia and Orthodox Serbia.

        Dominic Raab (my local MP) now seems to be accused of bullying. Seems to be a lot of it about in the U.K. government these days.

        1. Kouros

          They did that in Transylvania too. However, that helped a bit against Hungarian position. Divide and rule…

  7. zagonostra

    >Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in US Health Care

    Few, if any, other developed nations tolerate the levels of avarice, manipulation, and profiteering in health care that the US does…

    What to do about greed? No answer is easy, not least because of the political lobbying might of individuals and organizations that are thriving under the current laxity. The cycle is vicious: unchecked greed concentrates wealth, wealth concentrates political power, and political power blocks constraints on greed.

    Nothing new in this article. I can’t wait until Bernie Sanders is out there on the campaign trail telling us what we already know and what he and his ilk will never deliver on. I am reminded of the late great Leonard Cohen:

    And everybody knows that the plague is coming
    Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
    Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
    Are just a shining artifact of the past
    Everybody knows the scene is dead
    But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
    That will disclose
    What everybody knows

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Strictly speaking, much of the “profit” in for-profit “healthcare” does not come from the actual delivery of actual healthcare, but from corporate criminality that, in a less corrupt environment, would be shut down and prosecuted.

      And why in the world is private equity looting of emergency rooms or air ambulance companies considered a “healthcare” cost?

      Upcoding and overstating subscribers’ medical conditions by Medicare Advantage are insurance fraud. (See “senator” rick scott.) Drug company and hospital corporation monopolies are prohibited by existing anti-trust laws. Lying about the efficacy or potential for harm of new drug products is fraud, and bribing fda officials, who don’t have the fig leaf of campaign “contributions,” is illegal. As everyone here knows, there’s plenty more of this shit where that came from.

      Who knows what the real cost of caring for the “health” of the people of this country is? I’d go so far as to say that the bulk of what is called “healthcare” cost in america today is really money spent to support malfeasance by corporations in the “healthcare” space, and “patients” are only there to give the whole corrupt system a seemingly legitimate reason to exist.

  8. Lexx

    ‘Mass. Prisoners Could Choose Between Freedom And Their Organs’

    ‘Yikes. Sponsored by two Democrats.’ Deadly droll, couldn’t stop laughing and I haven’t even gotten to the article yet…

    …. I know it’s not logical, but there’s something MST3K and ‘The Crawling Hand’ about this proposal.

  9. Wukchumni

    This Black Bear Took Hundreds of ‘Selfies’ on a Wildlife Camera Smithsonian
    I don’t want to start a generational war, but that black bear looks to be Gen Z-so not surprised, its probably figured out how to photo-shop blemishes out too when posting images online.

    1. Ignacio

      That bear was so funny! It would have also been very funny to check the reactions of those who took a look to such extensive graphic production.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      If it isn’t too much of a strain for you or your preconceptions, try going back in and look at what they describe as “low-certainty evidence.”

      And there’s this:
      “The high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions.”

      The study of studies that you link to is about as inconclusive as they come.

      Next up? Does fluoride cause communism?

      1. Joe Renter

        maybe it does not cause communism, but certainly robs you of your precious bodily fluids per Doctor Strange Love.

    2. lambert strether

      I will have more to say in Water Cooler, but whether masks of a particular compositions stop particles of a given size is an engineering question that these authors are not competent to comment upon.

      1. Ignacio

        They don’t do that. In fact what they do is so idiotic I cannot still believe what I read in the abstract.
        To tell the truth they conclude, and this is their first conclusion, that:
        The high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions.

        In short, the paper is BS but they realised only after writing it.

        1. Diogenes

          I don’t see what the hubub is about here. Isn’t this how science is supposed to operate?

          1) forumulate a hypothesis: masks help prevent respiratory virus transmission.

          2) investigate the null hypothesis (i.e., that they masks DON’T help prevent respiratory virus transmission) and see if there’s empirical data to refute it, in this case, in a meta-study reviewing the existing literature.

          Finding not much high quality data to support rejecting the null hypothesis (masks don’t work), the alternative hypothesis (masks work) is not further supported. That doesn’t provide a basis for concluding masks don’t work. Simply that, on the evidence found in the meta-study, they may or may not.

          1. Ignacio

            No it isn’t. This being a meta analysis they should first had tested whether the data available sufficed to do those tests without leading to confounding conclusions. None of the papers reviewed had data under controlled situations that would allow to check whether contagions (outcomes in the language of the paper) occurred in the situations described. For instance, a physician using N95 mask in the hospital might get flu at home when unmasked, or at an unmasked meeting in the same hospital or… etc. Not controlled. One might then conclude, possibly, that the situations when physicians use masks do not account for a majority of the situations in which physicians can get infected in or outside the hospital.
            Publishing your results and at the same time saying the results are BS is bad science IMO. Just don’t publish conclusions that cannot be sustained by the data.

            1. Harold

              According to Dr Osterholm is is very very difficult to ascertain whether an N95 fits properly. If air can leak around the sides then it doesn’t fit and protection is compromised. To get accurate information about whether a mask fits requires laboratory conditions

              1. Lex

                It is very, very difficult. The best way requires ruining a mask, but the problem with an N95 is that they’re disposable so the fit may not be exactly the same from mask to mask and may not even be the same each time someone reuses an N95. They are classified as respirators by OSHA, but they’re not actually allowed to be used as respiratory protection for contaminant exposure beyond “particulates not otherwise regulated” (dust) and IIRC, they’re not even allowed for that if the environment produces a PNOR exposure above the permissible exposure limit.

                1. Joe Renter

                  The test may be conducted with a half mask 3m type that is made of flexible plastic. Different cartridges are use such as a hepa or VOC type. I have had several test performed when I was as a union painter. Having a beard is a no -no for proper and function of said mask. There may be a test for N95 but I can’t see how it would be done.

            2. Cassandra

              >Just don’t publish

              Egads! Heresy! ***fans face rapidly***

              You are clearly unfamiliar with modern science, sir!

            3. Diogenes

              They didn’t say their results are BS. They cited limitations of the underlying studies.

              It would be *nice* if there were an existing body of literature comprised of studies with large samples, perfect, unconfonfounded results, etc. but having a perfect underlying set of predicate studies is neither realistic nor a necessary precondition to do a useful meta-review. This review answered an important question: does the particular body of literature analyzed support the idea that masks and other physical interventions are effective against respiratory viruses with a “no”. The underlying studies’ shortcomings support the meta-review authors’ (de rigeuer) conclusion that more, well-designed, well-powered studies are needed.

              Are you sure your real beef isn’t that you have a prior pet conclusion, and this doesn’t add any support to it?

              1. Ignacio

                Oh god… of course they don’t say it is BS they just say they cannot obtain “firm” conclusions, how would they be able to publish if they did? In reality they should admit they cannot reach any conclusion because of the reasons they give and almost certainly others they don’t. As Harold says above analysing the effectiveness of masking is not easy stuff and requires lots of controls and most if not all of those previous studies don’t do that. I took at least the pain to look not only at this paper but to check a couple of the old references prior to the pandemic included in the paper and it is obvious they don’t run to the conclusions this “meta-BS” arrives with. In contrast those I checked admit their limitations and don’t try to draw confusing conclusions on the effectiveness on masking and some mostly argue about behavioural stuff. These are more serious. But if it suits you to declare the problem is my priors, be happy. And please, let me know what my priors are on this issue.

                1. Diogenes

                  Sure, and thanks for your concern for my state of happiness: you give the appearance of having an emotional stake in the efficacy of masks.

                  I have good news for you: it’s not foreclosed by this meta-study. They merely said the underlying studies they reviewed do not much support that conclusion.

                  The alternative which you propose (not publishing unless you find some particular pre-existing preferred outcome) is what’s known as “publication bias”, and is generally recognized as a bad thing for those in pursuit of truth.

          2. will rodgers horse

            Precisely. that is what they did. they don’t claim otherwise.
            folks may not be happy with these conclusions fearing that they are thereby less safe.

    3. Lex

      HEPA (which is what the N95 masks are made of) is rated to 0.3 microns because that’s verifiable and for most HEPA applications more than good enough. HEPA is actually capable of filtering particles smaller than that because it works primarily via electrostatic charge

  10. griffen

    Billionaires can’t wait and disaster capitalism. Reading that brings immediately to mind the Jackpot and varied themes from the Peripheral. I know these future scenarios do get a high amount of mentions, and not without reason.

    We aren’t just ruled by as$holes, which is a truism. We are ruled by psychopathic as$holes. Otherwise thoughtful people with loud voices like, oh, Jim Cramer of CNBC really want the employee beatings to continue until morale improves. They just can’t imagine what is wrong with us plebes and proles and our “quiet quitting” ( which I don’t encourage but will not condemn ). The aforementioned beatings can start to leave a mark.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I just want to know how we got from “nobody wants to work anymore” to mass layoffs all over. I mean, I know how we got here (or at least I have a pretty good theory) but I’d just love to hear the Cramers of the world explain it.

      1. Kouros

        The persistence of extreme inequality will depend, primarily, on the effectiveness of the apparatus of justification.

        Thomas Picketty

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Larry Summers has ‘splained it to us over and over. When the government gives money to poor people, it angers The Invisible Hand, who hates poor people intensely. The Invisible Hand curses The Economy because of the Trump and Biden payouts, and we get inflation, high interest rates and dogas and cats living together.

        The only solution is to throw lots of people into the economic volcano, i.e. layoffs. This expiates the sin of giving money to poor people and restores The Invisible Hand’s beneficence.

        The causality if very straightforward. ;)

    2. playon

      I totally support what is referred to as “quiet quitting”. It’s not that people don’t want to work, it’s that they don’t want to be exploited.

  11. The Rev Kev


    Been always lurky about posting a comment on this area as to tell you the truth, I really do not know if I really have a handle on what is happening there and why. As an example, Aung San Suu Kyi is, or rather was seen as a politician that would help bring about change in Myanmar. And then you see something like this-

    ‘Famed Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) were among those present to pay tribute to Burma’s democracy movement, which was honored with the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2012 Democracy Award at a Capitol Hill ceremony on Sept. 20.’

    1. lambert strether

      ASK has great branding, especially among NGOs and the “international community,” but her role in the sit-tat’s massacre of the Rohingya must disqualify her for a place in government. I believe that actions on the ground reflect this reality, and she has no role in the NUG, rightly.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Aung San Suu Kyi’s day has come and gone. But you do wonder who her replacements are. It’s like that old adage with the spy game. If you have just busted an enemy mole in your intelligence services, then you can be sure that there is at least one other mole still in place undiscovered.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The West has become so gross in recent decades, they can only recruit guys like Navalny in Russia or Azov. Obama was openly promised as an opportunity to change course, but he chose a different path. Then you have people like Guaido who have been dismissed. The expectation the assets will be rescued is important. There aren’t communist vanguards out to displace the bourgeois. A colonel in Brazil isn’t worried about Lula the way he might be worried in the 60’s. Leaving home for digs in McClean (Northern Virginia is just godawful; every mcmansion and suburbia hell stereotype) makes no sense.

          Even in a country as large as Burma (take that junta), there may not be a single photogenic, competent person willing to take on the regime and work with the US. George Washington was an international celebrity from his time in the prelude to the first 7 Years War. The British officers raved about him, mixing aristocratic traditions with American folksiness. John Adams took one look at the guy and went yep thats the guy. George could have just sat at home and been fine.

          Biden is supposed to meet with Zelensky next month in Poland. Is he picking him up? The jungle v garden discourse is feeding Russo-phobia in Eastern Europe, but without it, they would see what the US was doing.

          1. tevhatch

            Similar with Franklin, both tall and imposing. Franklin was taken as a new species of man in France, like the giant fauna of the new world.

        2. agent ranger smith

          Why should we view ASK as a Western mole, if that is what we are being invited to do? Why not just view her as a Bamar Nationalist who wanted a kinder gentler Bamar-Dominated Burma ( or Myanmar or whatever someone decides to call it next)?

          That’s probably how the NUG sees it. They see her time as having come and gone, and they want something better and are trying to do it themselves.

          They want Western help, but that is only because they don’t know what Western help means and brings with it. Their chances of success are slim now, given ChinaRussia support for the Tatmadaw CoupGov. If they got any Western help, their chances of success would go to immediate zero, because ChinaRussia would give the Tatmadaw more counter-help than the highest amount of help the West would ever give.

          As long as the West gives the Rebel forces zero help, Russia will give the Tatmadaw the absolute max it can give regardless. But China might take a more Darwinian approach, possibly cutting the Tatmadaw loose if it looked like the Tatmadaw could not win the kind of victory which would guarantee undisturbed contracts for China.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘Why should we view ASK as a Western mole’

            It’s right there. The National Endowment for Democracy is an infamous CIA front going back decades. And having John McCain there? This was the guy paling up in photos with Al Qaeda Jihadists in Syria and Azov Nazis in the Ukraine. The guy was a literal merchant of death. And if ASK wanted to buddy up to him, then that was all on her. Pelosi was just the icing on the cake.

    2. Don

      And then there is her history as a very vocal supporter of the US in the Vietnam war. Never been someone that I admired.

  12. David

    The AP story on yesterday’s strikes and demonstrations in France covers the ground pretty well. Here’s a bit of extra background for those who are interested.

    It’s clear that turnout was higher than last time, and enthusiasm was greater. This was very noticeable in the local demonstration I attended. The trades unions had a united front, for once, and all ages and classes were represented. The penny appears to have dropped with the already retired that it’s their children and grand-children who are going to suffer. Two more days of strikes and demonstrations have been called for next week, when the law is being debated in parliament, and a day of mobilisation for the following Saturday.

    The government’s problem is that it is trying to pass a deeply controversial law, opposed by the vast majority of the population, without a majority in parliament. Thus, they have to look for allies, and need an extra 40 votes to avoid defeat. So far, they have got these from The Republicans (LR) but those 40 votes represent around two thirds of the LR’s deputies, and some of them have already started to make rebellious noises. LR had a very bad result in the parliamentary elections earlier this year, and if it doesn’t manage to retain a separate identity, it could simply disappear in 2027. Likewise, having voted for a desperately unpopular and controversial measure isn’t a good platform on which to stand next time. So, although LR are politically in favour of raising the retirement age, wider political considerations could make them less likely to vote for it. In particular, they still have a lot of representation and power at local level, but much of their core voting constituency is against the changes, so they could risk annihilation in local and regional elections over the next couple of years.

    The Prime Minister has a couple of options. Almost certainly, there will be negotiations with LR (they have secured some changes already.) It may be that they will squeeze through by a handful of votes, but, even then, I don’t think the opposition in the streets will stop. Or Borne might resort, once again, to Article 49,3 of the Constitution, which allows the government to turn any vote into a confidence issue, such that if they lose, there’s an election. This has historically enabled legislation to be rammed through. But Borne has already used this measure ten times, and there is a point beyond which it becomes increasingly politically difficult to use it. And of course the threat to provoke an election cuts both ways.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      Borne seems like Theresa May, a terrible campaigner and over promoted.

      I don’t know if you or the other members of the NC community resident in France saw Gabriel Attal’s interview on TF1 yesterday evening. The lad said these reforms are to help the people who get up early for work. Young Varadkar said similar some years ago. John Howard said similar many years ago, but called them battlers. Don’t neo-liberals do originality or do they just plagiarise, not agonise?

      Someone should wind up the outsiders Attal and Varadkar, both elected in culturally Catholic countries, that it’s Protestants who have the work ethic, not us left footers. We are cavaliers, not round heads.

      1. skippy

        John Howard also said he wanted Australians too sleep through the socioeconomic transhition[tm] he was advancing ….

        Post his retirement and numerous election cycles and now the LNP is a big smoking hole in the ground where once the temple stood. At least he kept a leash on the loon pond, once that was gone they had their go and now here we are. Sadly so much over so long is now burnt into the socioeconomic model and flow of funds, meddling with it too hard can cause dynamic feed back and with it political consequences.

      2. Eclair

        Ahh, “the people who get up early for work,” would translate to, in my neck of the woods, “the people who take their shower in the late afternoon, after work, rather than in the late morning, before work.”

    2. spud

      the real problem facing france is not Macron. its these guys

      and those guys also own lots of other stuff world wide.

      Macron means nothing to them if he is ousted, the above guys have a bill clinton or tony blair in all of the parties, just chomping at the bit to take Macrons spot.

      the bill clintons and tony blairs have a lot of leverage and influence left in the world, because we simply will not make the elites pay for their follies.

      the releuctant unions run by neo-liberals, its just dawning on them they may have to pay a price if they do not abide by civil societies beliefs.

      so as long as the french ignore belonging to the E.U./W.T.O. free trade fascist regimes, they can replace the Macron types indefinitely.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Richard Medhurst
    The White House tricked the Germans into sending tanks by not committing to a timeline. Lol’

    I can just hear the conversation between Scholz of Germany and Biden now-

    Scholz: ‘You tricked us. A close ally of yours!’

    Biden: ‘Well it’s your own fault.’

    Scholz: ‘Howso?’

    Biden: ‘You trusted us.’

    In news today, Poland has assured everyone that they have good news on those Leopard 2 tanks-

    ‘If we intensify training (by maximising the number of) instructors, our time and our weekends, we can train an entire crew in five weeks’

    In other news, those Polish instructors are a lying bunch of b*******.

  14. Ignacio

    The POLITICO piece on Hollande had some interesting pieces in it though one has to pick them up carefully from Politico’s narrative. An interesting bit, IMO, is that of French-German relationships with Macron, less interested to cultivate those than Hollande before. IMO this is proof of the kind or “smart” globalist Macron is including vassal behaviour to anything coming from the Pentagon. He is a Pentagon asset! Here I would appreciate David’s comments.

    1. David

      One of the unnoticed sub-plots of the Ukraine crisis has been the almost-terminal situation of the Franco-German “couple.” Now to be fair, the idea was reconciliation between the two countries to prevent war, it didn’t necessarily imply complete identity of views on all subjects. But as the ambitions and size of Europe have expanded, the “couple” have come under increasingly greater strain. The rot began with Sarkozy (2007-12) and now seems irrecoverable.
      Foreign policy has always been problematic for the couple, dating back to the fighting in Yugoslavia. In the case of Ukraine, though, Macron finds himself in a particularly awkward situation. His core political support comes from the educated, globalist, reasonably prosperous, Atlanticised, post-modernist middle classes, for whom Russia is an existential enemy, and must not just be defeated but trampled into the dust (have a look at the genocidal comments BTL in Le Monde if you can bear to.) On the other hand, any French President has to be seen as an independent actor vis-à-vis the US. This does not mean pointlessly disagreeing for the sake of it, but rather it means that if the French do come to an agreement with the US, it’s based on their own analysis and their own interests. (Which is why they maintain their own technical intelligence gathering systems, for example) This is how every President of the Fifth Republic has worked, but Macron is probably the least skilled and experienced President in foreign affairs that France has ever had, and it shows.

      As for the Hollande interview, it has to be said that his Presidency was not quite as disastrous on foreign policy as it was in every other way. But he remains the man who destroyed the Socialist party, and ultimately let Macron in.

      1. Ignacio

        Thank you very much David. I get the idea though I cannot avoid being puzzled by Macron’s foreign policy (or Habeck/Baerbock’s). To be sure, Sánchez in Spain is, regarding FP, not that different from Macron but Spain really doesn’t have a (recent) foreign policy line except that of entering and complying with the EU and a few issues in Gibraltar and West Sahara.

  15. Wukchumni

    Goooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon was already scheduled to do war games @ Rocky Mountain NP, but little did we know that any nick-nacks in the gift store or meals ready to eat in the coffee shop couldn’t be consummated with FRN’s, we’d stumbled into an ambush with another incursion in the War On Cash.

    99% of RMNP was cashless already as the wilderness doesn’t do money, but in the near wilderness that was the other 1%-they’d done away with cash registers and even made mention of how singles and $5’s made for good kindling in a pinch-oh the humanity!

    The enlisted men got to making atlatls, with the hardest part to source being the leather thong where you place the projectile point, in this case Kennedy Half Dollars-the largest denomination of ad hoc weaponry we had in our arsenal, and deadly if you hit a chipmunk, but unlikely to do grievous harm to humans.

    We encircled the visitors center and make ‘donations’ to the NP, and while it was doubtful any of the halves made it into the clear plastic donation box that gratefully accepted old school money (I could say something here in regards to their digital duplicity in accepting coins & currency as alms when they claim to be halves not, but c’est la guerre) and shortly after the initial bombast, a rather generic looking white souvenir t-shirt with a wolf on it that looked the same as a t-shirt you bought in many other NP’s was lashed to a selfie-stick and held aloft-they’d surrendered and requested we donate the rest of our ammo in the plastic box, and I must say, our aim was much better up close.

  16. Martin Oline

    FYI at the three minute mark of this morning’s Weeb Union four minute Ewe Tube report is a weather forecast for Ukraine. It will drop below freezing for a week on Thursday in the Kiev and northern Ukraine and on Friday for the rest of the country. We will see if the anticipated Russian offensive is waiting for the weather by this weekend.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: High Voltage: Tesla’s supersized Gigafactory could need 2 lithium, 4 cobalt, 8 nickel, and 9 graphite mines’ worth of production every year Stockhead

    Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has announced a 100GWh Gigafactory expansion in Nevada

    It could need up to 115,000t lithium, 15,000t cobalt, 14,000t manganese, 125,000t nickel and 170,000t graphite anode per year

    “t” is for TONS. Per year. For one factory. And the tonnage of rock that needs to be moved and refined is orders of magnitude greater than the tonnage “produced.” The numbers are, at best, unfathomable. The people pushing this “green revolution,” not including dementia joe who “knows” nothing at this point, must know this.

    So while joe is doing photo ops in electric hummers and mayo pete is on cnbc this morning (sweating profusely!) touting the “investment” in charging “infrastructure” that will save the planet and create MILLIONS of “good-paying” jawbs courtesy of “Build Back Better,” real people doing real analysis are screaming into the wind about the absolute lunacy of it all.

    Here are just a few of the realities of said lunacy. Read ’em and weep.

    …a single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.

    Oil, natural gas, and coal are needed to produce the concrete, steel, plastics, and purified minerals used to build green machines. The energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil is used in the processes to fabricate a single battery that can store the equivalent of one barrel of oil.

    By 2050, with current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels—much of it nonrecyclable—will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades. By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage.

    1. Screwball

      So while joe is doing photo ops in electric hummers and mayo pete is on cnbc this morning (sweating profusely!) touting the “investment” in charging “infrastructure” that will save the planet and create MILLIONS of “good-paying” jawbs courtesy of “Build Back Better,” real people doing real analysis are screaming into the wind about the absolute lunacy of it all.

      Jeez, give the guy a break. He probably just rode his bike from DC to NY just to give us that earth saving news.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Dunno. My first thought was that there’s a positive covid test in his immediate future. He looked less well than usual.

    2. Realist

      Has anyone else noticed that all the conservative think tanks suddenly started caring about exploiting the earth and the those poor miners in Africa, when those mines were producing something that threatened their benefactor’s fossil fuel billions?

      1. Joe Renter

        Synoia for the win! It’s a pity that that is quite dangerous to use one in many areas (I live in Las Vegas, it’s scary). But Greener than many options for sure.

    3. Karl

      Sad to say, this Manhattan Institute study is ludicrously weak.

      Cobalt ore has approximately the same metal/rock ratio as copper. Lithium’s ratio is comparable to silver. It’s not the tonnage of ore that must be mined but the rarity of the ore–supply and demand–that is important.

      R&D and the profit motive will prove useful in such areas as recycling EV batteries. I can envision a point where most of the rare material components of EVs derive from recycled components.

      Great strides are being made to recycle EV batteries. EV material recovery rates (according to the Union of Concerned Scientists) can be 90% or more.

      The statement that 100 barrels of oil are needed to produce a battery capable of storing one barrel of oil (if true) ignores that each year that battery will charge-discharge one barrel per day or 3,000+ barrels over ten years. The Manhattan Institute doesn’t seem interested in giving a balanced picture.

      I’m not saying materials supply issues aren’t important. In the early days of the petroleum era, lots of folks were constantly worried about the fact that there were only 10-20 years of proven reserves for each year’s consumption. Where, oh where, would we get more supply?

      The doomsayers about lack of supply of critical raw materials for any new technology have been consistently proved to have been too pessimistic because of new ore deposits being discovered, substitution of new materials, new methods, new technological developments etc. I believe economics, science, engineering–and not fear–should guide us in the future.

      The Manhattan Institute got its start in the Reagan Era as a major proponent of supply side economics. Since then it has taken on such conservative causes as promoting oil extraction via fracking, opposing mainstream science on climate change, cutting corporate taxes, opposing Obamacare….

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        “Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.”

        This in particular is a ludicrous statement that illustrates the dishonesty of the report. They appear to be the comparing the weight of raw materials that go into the construction of a battery with the weight of refined material that goes into fuelling an IC. These are incommensurables – not validly comparable in the first place – but nor is it exactly a surprise that the weight of unrefined raw materials required for the construction of a thing is much greater than the weight of refined material used to power a thing.

    4. juno mas

      Solar (PV) panels degrade at the rate of 0.04 per year. In fifty years from today they will produce electricity at 80% of original performance. I have installed them on a design project 30 years ago. Still going strong.


      Well manufactured PV panels last a long time and are not going to be recycled anytime soon.

  18. pjay

    – ‘Confronting the Iraq War: Melvyn Leffler, George Bush and the Problem of Trusting Your Sources’ – War on the Rocks

    This is actually a pretty good review. But I had to laugh at how, as with many good War on the Rocks contributions, the author had to establish his “adult in the room” perspective with this statement:

    “This book provides a welcome counter to accounts of the Iraq War that stress nefarious oil interests, neoconservative cabals, or outright lies by the administration.”

    So, no “conspiracy theorizing” by Melvyn Leffler! Must be a “serious” book. But then the author of the review proceeds to show in detail how the invasion of Iraq was *precisely* the result of neoconservative ideology and “lies by the administration”! It is true he doesn’t discuss “nefarious oil interests,” though these could have easily been brought into the review as well. It seems Leffler’s book suffers from having too much faith in its sources. Who are these sources? Why, key figures in the Bush administration!

    Again, this is ultimately a pretty good review. But I find it humorous that, given the reviewer’s own position, and the platform in which it appears, he has to go through these motions before essentially trashing the book – while pretending not to.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I still think the Woodruff recounting of Rumsfeld griping about no targets in Afghanistan fit for CNN and 41’s 1992 popularity collapse while running against a clown like Clinton was the primary reasoning. 43 after all stole an election.

      There’s a bit in Sorkins “The American President” where Michael Douglas’s advisors tell him how presidential he is by bombing Libya and he gives them a speech about how it’s not presidential. The room is just like Michael Douglas is so presidential in response. It’s just a bit of liotetes, but people buy that garbage.

      Remember Obama’s lament about being good at killing people. He’s so sorry. Now you know those people deserved to die.

    2. hemeantwell

      Last February I thought it necessary to do a lot of background reading to prepare for well-reasoned discussions about the SMO that, sad to say, never happened. Leffler stood out as being very capable at ridiculing the arguments of state historians like John Gaddis. So he’s, for example, great at decisively pointing out how Gaddis burnbags any consideration of the calamitous losses suffered by the Soviet Union at the hands of the Nazis, which is pretty relevant in understanding the current moral-political vacuity of NATO ideology. However, when we get past appropriate sympathy for the opposition to explaining the Cold War, he sounds like apologists for the British Empire who talk about it being created in a fit of absence of mind. It’s that tendency in Leffler that the reviewer seized upon.

      1. Kouros

        Norman Finkelstein has some good arguments defending the SMO from a moral ground, not legalistic ground. Albeit one could defend it from a legalistic point as well, given the Kosovo precedent and ICC decision on that, but this time with Russia first recognizing the independence of the two republics…

  19. Amfortas the hippie

    e: biochar…i call it tierra prieta, since anthropology is where i first learned of it.
    been in the works out here for a long time…entertainment fires where the bar is now…doused with water when the beer runs out…charcoal galore picked out and crushed in the morning, and applied to the beds.
    not only does the carbon provide food, structure and lots of surface area/nooks and crannies for the microflora and fauna to thrive, said nooks and crannies sequester nutrients, like N PK and assorted micronutrients…AND, the enhanced activity of the microbiota breaks down the persistent herbicides im always on about that is all but universally present in manure and hay…which are integral to my farming practice.
    (since we feed the sheep hay in winter…and use it for bedding for them and for all the birds…even my own manure on-farm is contaminated.)

    i have all the parts for a double barrel retort to convert the huge quanities of brush and weeds we make every year into charcoal…just awaiting a day that i have help to weld the thing together.
    i cant wait to do the test run.
    if i can figger out how to send the vid, i will(perhaps my youngest can help)
    i also intend to use that retort(and maybe another, pending the experimental phase) to heat the 3000 sq ft greenhouse…the frame of which is slowly, slowly growing skin(hafta wait for youngest to do that, as well…involves ladders scaffolds, a manbucket on the tractor forks, and a bit of monkey-like behaviour, at which he excels)
    put a wall of 55 gal steel barrels of water around it as a heat sink/firewall…add a few ceiling fans and an elevated shop fan, and i expect good results….given years of experimentation in my little greenhouse.

    1. Hopelb

      We have a very old, cast steel, fire bricked, wood, coal, etc., burning furnace, we need to sell.
      It was made by the Armstrong Furnace Company in Columbus, Ohio. If you are interested let me know.

    2. Bruce F

      Hi AtH,
      A friend of mine has built a greenhouse in Chicago that’s heated by “Ground – Air – Heat – Transfer” (GAHT). I haven’t kept up with the project, but it seems to be a good way to passively heat a greenhouse.

      Pics and videos at his link.

      In cold climates a substantial amount of supplemental heating is required to run greenhouses during the winter season. Based on research established here in the United States most famously by Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Harborside Maine. Based also on the Chinese solar greenhouse experience and a study conducted in Canada titled “Winter performance of a solar energy greenhouse in southern Manitoba” we intended to implement and use proven techniques to grow food year round in Chicago with minimal supplemental heating.

      Following our farm capitol plan we plan to erect a Chinese style solar greenhouse in 2019 to grow food 12 months a year. With our Chinese solar style greenhouse we intend to employ several passive techniques to minimize supplemental heating:

      a GAHT (ground-air-heat-transfer) system (already installed);
      a thermal night blanket;
      a wall of reclaimed city brick to act as a thermal mass;
      an efficient 3-layer polyethylene film greenhouse cover;

      A traditional geothermal system is a closed circuit, pressurized type system. A GAHT (ground-air-heat-transfer) system is like geothermal-lite. We decided to employ this technique as one of the methods to grow year-round in our hoop-house.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Says Russia Has Violated Nuclear-Arms Treaty by Blocking Inspections”

    The New START Treaty is probably as good as dead and I think that it is the last arms treaty between the US and Russia still active having been agreed upon back in 2010. I believe that it was under Trump that the US said that they would not extend the treaty without China as part of it, even though that country was not a party to it. Anyway, ‘The US State Department submitted a report to Congress on Tuesday in which for the first time it accused Moscow of breaching the terms of the agreement. Specifically, the report claimed that Russian officials had rejected American requests for on-site weapons inspections and compliance talks.’ What happened is that the US withdrew more than a hundred strategic weapons from accountability under the treaty – which was illegal – and which led to this Russian action.

    Oddly enough, a nuclear arms treaty is based on the old I’ll show you mine if you show me yours idea.

    1. Irrational

      And IIRC< Russia alleged that US did not want to give Russian inspectors visas for the US, so they could not inspect the US.
      The same story was on the FT website in enormous font for the American allegation and of course the Russian counter was posted below the fold in much smaller font…

    2. tevhatch

      Scott Ritter has written and spoken on this lie by the USA, so I’m not surprised to see the WSJ repeating it. What got me in a flunk for a while was when Bloomberg’s industry reports, which are pretty expensive, began to have propaganda, and then around 2017 lies that were relatively easily caught by people in the industry covered began to appear. My first catch was reports on solar power plants in China that had not yet been given permission to connect to the grid, (and who I was able to eyeball were missing the physical tap lines) were reported as generating sales. First a trickle, the it was as if every report had to have one easily verified falsehood.

  21. Lex

    re the cesium capsule in Australia, and this is why finding someone to take on the job of radiation safety officer at any organization in my field is like pulling teeth. Whether its the major organization or a third party consultant like me. “Would you be willing to take on the radiation safety officer position?” “oh hell no, nope, not a chance”.

    1. wendigo

      I would understand that, as a consultant, a lot of required training and responsibility.

      As a worker in the decommissioning world, the RSO position usually means much less actual radiation dose and much less physical labor.

      My experience is the math required to complete the training is the major cause of “oh hell no, nope, not a chance” .

      The capsule was found by people driving down the highway, probably using a NAI scintillation detector, capable of detecting the capsule from hundreds of feet away.

      Picking up the capsule with tongs and putting it into a flask would result in a dose of less than a chest xray.

  22. Matthew G. Saroff

    Mr. Strether, when you say, “Perhaps the NGOs aren’t addressing the root cause….,” you imply that they are not doing so because they want to exist in the world of the self licking ice cream cone, giving them a reason to exist, and a reason to pay staff, forever.

    I agree with you, but I think that you should state this more bluntly.

  23. Matthew G. Saroff

    It should be noted that Titanium is the 9th most common element on earth.

    The issue here is not a lack of the material, but no refining capacity in the US.

    This was true in the 1960s, when Lockheed had to use intermediaries to purchase Titanium sponge from the Soviets.

    1. Willow

      Yes. There isn’t a shortage of titanium ore reserves. Australia has huge reserves easily accessible. Only 5% of titanium mined is used for manufacturing. The rest is used in pigments. Problem is that production of titanium sponge is very energy intensive not environmentally friendly. China & Russia refineries are able to produce a lot of titanium sponge because of lower environmental standards and cheap energy. Ukraine similarly had large refining industries which operated profitably from this regulatory arbitrage & cheap nuclear energy. Highlights moral hypocrisy of West’s environmental high ground when dirty work is simply outsourced to developing countries.

      1. Rodeo Clownfish

        ISTR that the Donbass has anthracite coal which enabled the local titanium refining over many years. Not sure the condition of those refineries anymore. Ukraine forces have a habit of using industrial sites as fortifications. Then those sites get shelled…

  24. Wukchumni

    Now look here Joe, quit acting like its war sport
    Stop being that old brazen sort
    Don’t you go sellin’ this country’s ammo short
    No, no Joe

    Just because you think you’ve found
    The Ukraine procurement system that we know ain’t sound
    Don’t you go throwin’ your weight around
    No, no Joe

    ‘Cause the Kaiser tried it and Hitler tried it
    Mussolini tried it too
    Now they’re all sittin’ around a fire and did you know something?
    They’re saving a place for you

    Now Joe we get it clear
    You can push folks around with fear
    ‘Cause we scare easy over here
    No, no Joe

    What makes you do the things you do?
    You gettin’ folks mad at you
    Don’t bite off more ‘n you & Hunter can chew
    No, no Joe

    ‘Cause you want a scrap that you can’t win
    You don’t know what you’re gettin’ in
    Don’t go around leadin’ with your chin
    No, no Joe

    Now you’re giving tanks, some fair size tanks
    But you’re acting like a clown
    ‘Cause man Putin’s got tanks, a mess of tanks
    And you might get caught with your tanks breaking down

    Don’t go throwin’ out your chest
    You’ll pop the buttons off your vest
    You’re playing with a hornets’ nest
    No, no Joe

    You know, we think you’re somebody we should dread
    Just because you’re seein’ the MIC well-fed
    You better get that foolishness out of your head
    No, no Joe

    And you might be itchin’ for a fight
    Quit braggin’ about how your vaunted military can bite
    ‘Cause you’re sitting on a keg of nuclear dynamite
    No, no Joe

    No, No Joe, by Hank Williams

    1. Mildred Montana

      I’m a-thinkin’ Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” might also offer some opportunities for parody:

      “Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?”

      1. Wukchumni

        Hey Joe is ok, but doesn’t have the Cold War gravitas circa 1950, of Joe the Georgian-not Delawarean.

  25. fresno dan
    Veteran journalist Bob Woodward revealed in a new interview that Washington Post reporters essentially ignored his warnings about the shortcomings of the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, amidst the feverish Russiagate media coverage that dominated the Trump administration.
    But was Woodward really above the fray? In some ways, he did cast more doubt on the Russia collusion hoax than others. Yet, he still promoted Robert Mueller as “having something” on Trump, suggesting there was a “secret witness.” He also encouraged reporters to go to Moscow to find evidence Trump colluded with the Russians. Obviously, he wasn’t immune from baseless hysteria surrounding the topic even if he did his best to seem more reserved while pushing it.
    I commented on the Columbia Journalism Review story yesterday – about how when Strzok starts trying to distance himself from the Russiagate reporting, it indicates a change in the zeitgeist.
    Now we have Bob Woodward doing the same thing. Another rat leaving a sinking ship. Which is good, because it is good when people start to see and accept reality and it forces the media to acknowledge that reality. I tend not to be optimistic, but it is good when the conventional wisdom shifts from pure fantasy (Trump is Putin’s puppet) to something less emotional and hysterical.
    Its a small and long overdue correction. It doesn’t absolve the media of their Ukraine reporting, but it is better that it happens than that it doesn’t happen….
    And one other point – as bad as the media is, it didn’t start this – the media, by reporting uncritically actually revealed the duplicity of the “legal” system in the US. It certainly dispels the self regard of the media that it afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My guess is the Ukrainian collapse is coming soon. The tanks aren’t meant to arrive. They are just cover for the “OMG Russia” mob. They did what they could. Zelensky was betrayed by Putin moles. I suspect Biden will bring him back from Poland next month. Biden will physically rescue the Ukrainian government in exile.

      1. Wukchumni

        I wonder how often the English & French told Poland that ‘help was on the way’ after they declared war on Germany?

        1. Carolinian

          Pat Buchanan wrote a whole book about how the Brits made a promise to Poland that they knew they couldn’t keep and that this in part encouraged the Poles to defy Hitler. Of course Buchanan like lots of Brit aristocrats thought the war should have been Germany v Russia instead of the West. Anyway so much for strategery, Pat and Chamberlain.

          1. Mildred Montana


            There is a school of thought that Chamberlain’s “appeasement” was not a total failure. It bought England a precious two years in which to re-arm against the coming Nazi assault. Fwiw.

            1. Polar Socialist

              That school of though seems to forget that England was ahead of Germany at the time, so Germany also got two precious years and proceeded to kick England practically out of the war for almost another two years.

            2. Realist

              I tend to think that the reason they were appeased is because “we” were simultaneously arming and financing the Germans and the Russians, hoping that they would get into a big war and destroy each other with no clear winner.

              “We” only got involved later on when it looked like the Russians would win, so “we” could stake our claim to Western Europe.

            3. Karl

              There is evidence (e.g. see Adam Tooze’s “Wages of Destruction”) that the Munich agreement gave Hitler crucial additional time also. There is evidence that Hitler’s generals were plotting to get rid of him if he remained firm on invading Czechoslovakia in 1938. Interestingly (in light of the Ukraine war) the Wehrmacht planners’ biggest concern was inadequate stocks of artillery shells to wage a multi-front war longer than a month or two. Goering had to organize a special “Artillery Project” Committee in late 1938 to address this problem. The Munich agreement also had an impact on Stalin. Reportedly, after Munich he tried to form a tri-partite alliance with the Western powers, but Britain resisted due to objections from Poland. Hitler was so rattled by his generals’ worries about a 2-front war (as in WW I) that he signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin in 1939.

              I think most historians would agree that the Munich agreement was a catastrophe for the West and ultimately Russia.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      I didn’t finish the CJR series until late but one impression was that the series appears to have been written with the cooperation of the FBI and glosses over most bad FBI behavior.

      It felt good to hear the basics reiterated but if this was history’s final draft, I’d say it falls considerably short and omits the most important information but it was a welcome palate cleanser after reading the NYTimes’s terrible take on Durham the other day.

      I no longer worry about the truth coming out. Now I just worry about whether the media will ever tattle on itself and I’m thinking not.

    3. ArvidMartensen

      By all accounts, Woodward could be a very slippery character. Lots of obfuscation over the years.
      Bit of a murky history as to how he just happened to get a job at a prestigious paper with no journalistic experience, who he actually talked when investigating Watergate.
      And the links between the various characters with various military brass, secret service doings etc makes your head spin. Just one view:
      In short, I have completely re-evaluated my understanding of Watergate. From Woodward told it more or less, to I have no idea wtf was going on but I do now think it was an operation of some sort to nobble and get rid of Nixon from the get go. Maybe they moved from assassination ( terribly public and resource intensive) to the subterranean methods they now use as a matter of course.

  26. flora

    MSM. Two interesting headlines:

    ChatGPT is about to write BuzzFeed content – and investors are loving it

    and from WaPo’s op-ed:

    Newsrooms that move beyond ‘objectivity’ can build trust

    riiight… see Taibbi’s tweet below.

    1. Carolinian

      From the WaPo

      More and more journalists of color and younger White reporters, including LGBTQ+ people, in increasingly diverse newsrooms believe that the concept of objectivity has prevented truly accurate reporting informed by their own backgrounds, experiences and points of view.

      War is peace. Subjectivity is objectivity. You wonder what Walter Cronkite would think of Len Downie, professor at his eponymous journalism school.

      In truth it’s this matter of experience that is the real problem because 25 year old reporters sporting journalism degrees don’t have any. Whereas reporters once worked their way up through the system and had time to learn that there are indeed two sides to every question and it’s not their job to choose. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with choosing, just that as news reporters it’s not their job. Plus there’s a vast amount of hypocrisy given that current journalism gives a great deal of deference to government sources using the excuse of “objectivity.” They make up their ethical standards as they go along–based on “experience” of course.

      1. flora

        re: what would Walter Cronkite think?
        Don’t know. Cronkite’s on the spot reporting during the WWII blitz on London and the low countries is something for history to sort out. / ;)

        1. Carolinian

          Actually we know what he would say. He said the only thing a news organization has to sell is its credibility. He operated in an era where a news outfit peddling whoppers would cause readers/viewers to vote with their eyeballs and go somewhere else. Now we live in an infotainment era that was much fretted about in Cronkite’s day (Lumet’s Network) precisely because it would trivialize our civic life.

          And so it has happened. Downie’s defense of his colleagues is ridiculous sophistry.

      2. flora

        adding: I suppose if were to say “Eff the WEF and their nonsensical you’re-all-belongs-to-us demands” would make me an “untermesch”, a subhuman. / oy’

      3. digi_owl

        More and more it seems like these people are the end product of the new age wicca idea of making one’s own reality. They are liable to insist that rocks can fall upwards if it helps them get through the day.

    2. semper loquitur

      From the WaPo’s objectivity piece:

      “But increasingly, reporters, editors and media critics argue that the concept of journalistic objectivity is a distortion of reality. They point out that the standard was dictated over decades by male editors in predominantly White newsrooms and reinforced their own view of the world. They believe that pursuing objectivity can lead to false balance or misleading “bothsidesism” in covering stories about race, the treatment of women, LGBTQ+ rights, income inequality, climate change and many other subjects. And, in today’s diversifying newsrooms, they feel it negates many of their own identities, life experiences and cultural contexts, keeping them from pursuing truth in their work.”

      Setting aside the pearl-clutching over “bothsiderism”, which is ubiquitous in today’s diverse mainstream media, think the Israeli colonization of Palestine, I think this paragraph is a great example of the corrosive effect that Woke ideology has on, well, pretty much anything it touches. While it is undoubtedly true that newsrooms of yore were dominated by white, heteronormative men and their perspectives, this doesn’t mean that objectivity is invalid as an idea. While never attainable in some pure form, it is still applicable and desirable. It is a standard to be worked towards, through critical reflection and debate.

      It’s a confusion of the applied with the theoretical. And it’s simply an excuse to propagandize, with a veneer of the ever present, ever righteous morality that the $hit-lib progressive holds so dear. It’s also a race to the bottom, for example the notion that math is somehow white and therefore 2 + 2 doesn’t equal 4. Or that logic is invalid. Or the scientific method is racist. It’s denying the people who are new to the scene the benefit of centuries, even millennia, of accumulated knowledge. It panders to ancient grievances but offers only ignorance. Ultimately, it serves entrenched power to the detriment of all else.

      1. digi_owl

        Was reading what amounted to a diatribe from a correspondent in Moscow the other day. It opened with a quote from Lavrov taking a jab at western journalists, and then ranted about the treatment of same by Russians. And it ended with a reminder of how Russia was treating the alphabet soup “minorities”.

        Got me thinking about how right after the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan the refrain in the media was that “we need to go back” because Taliban was going to put the veils on the women again.

        I swear, they would be happy to see brown shirts once more goose stepping in the streets as long as they wore a random pin on their lapel…

  27. Glen

    So I haven’t really seen any “cohesive” reporting on this but all the big layoffs in America seem to be coming out of the “high tech” industry, Wall St, etc. All those “this is the future of our economy” seem to be in trouble.

    5 takeaways from the massive layoffs hitting Big Tech right now

    Wall Street layoffs pick up steam as Citigroup and Barclays cut hundreds of workers

    And yet, the government is now handing out hundreds of billions to re-shore manufacturing to the exact same C suites that off shored manufacturing:

    The United States Passed a $280 Billion Bill to Re-Shore Chip Manufacturing

    I’m sure they’ll take the money. Of the rest, I’m not so sure because they were also very successful at destroying the middle class that knew how to run those plants and make stuff. They were very successful at destroying the excellent free educations in the professions and trades required for those plants. Heck, they’ve been so successful at destroying all the other aspects of life (housing, health care, child care, food, etc) that just getting employees is hard.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the links. I welcome any serious re-shoring of manufacturing, and especially of defense related manufacturing. (note: this doesn’t mean I’m pro-war.) I think if the govt is serious about re-shoring manufacturing then they need to not only offer direct financial aid (the carrot), but also remove a lot of the tax breaks corps were granted to off-shore (the stick). The tax situation is long and complicated. Anyone interested can find the details online. (Bill C’s “bridge to the 21st C” is looking more and more rickety. ) / my 2 cents

    2. spud

      the third link was hilarious, i could not get past the part where the author says the usual, it makes sense to offshore for cheap labor.

      made sense for whom? surely not america. i am sure he must say something on that order to keep the free trade cult off of his back.

      if it made sense, then we would not need the chips act.

  28. polar donkey

    Coming soon to a dealership near you, the Ford F150 quad cab with technical options package. 50 caliber machine gun sold separately. Ford was going to sell these to Ukraine. But now patriotic Americans can use their technical F150s to hunt covid deer and feral pigs, at the low cost of $80,000. 10 year financing available. Built not quite Red Army tough.

  29. spud

    The Clinton university scandal
    By Post Editorial Board
    June 12, 2016 8:06pm
    Kudos to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley for asking why the media aren’t asking about the $16.5 million paid to Bill Clinton by Laureate International Universities…

    1. agent ranger smith

      I remember once trying to read Moon of Alabama and a thread some years ago. I remember at the time some antisemitic conspiracy theories being offered in the threads and then Bernard ( I think his name was) saying something like . . . . ” every time I want to discuss zionism a bunch of nuts rush in with their irrational nonsense” or something like that.

      It occurred to me that since he is one lone blogger and would have to do his own moderation and he got huge numbers of comments at the time, he could not possibly physically do anything about the anti semite morons.

      Its like with the James Howard Klunster blogsite. Klunster has so many raving lunatic commenters that there is nothing he could possibly do about them except remove the comment section altogether.

  30. zagonostra

    Jimmy Dore/Tucker Carlson/Thom Hartmann

    JD did another interview with Tucker Carlson and it seems to be going viral on Twitter. In the interview, Tucker has this dumb look of incredulity on his face while Jimmy Dore rips the MIC and endless wars. Curious thing is I could only find the link below from the Hill on Ytube and one other channel that I had to dig hard to find. Definitely a case of Ytube suppressing views.

    Curious thing is that those who I always have politically aligned with can’t get beyond TDS. Hartmann Tweeted the following yesterday.

    Trump secretly colluded with Russia to became president: Bill Barr knew it, and helped cover it up. Putin and Barr’s corruption of the justice Department and the FBI is the scandal of the century…

    The Left has left the world of reality and is now in a la la land of their imagination and is completely untethered.

      1. agent ranger smith

        You go to politics with the left you have, not the left you wish you had or would prefer to have at some later time.

  31. XXYY

    Antidote du jour

    This cat has circular pupils rather than slits. I have never seen anything like that.

    What species is this?

    1. Don

      I think it’s a lynx, but my cat (a Bengal) has round pupils in low light which become slits in bright light — aren’t all cats like this?

      1. juno mas

        Domestic cats are ambush predators (also called sit-and-wait predators) who capture their prey by stealth rather than speed or strength. The eyes of ambush predators are located in the front of the skull. The vertical pupils enable them to gauge distance without moving their head (and alerting their prey). Two visual cues help the cat to gauge distance; binocular vision and blur. Binocular vision works better when contours are vertical, and the object is at a distance. Blur works for horizontal contours and objects close by. Vertical pupils can maximise both cues.

        ___Cat World (on the Interwebs).

    2. berit

      Lynx. A wild cat, few in Norway, because of grazing sheep and “development” encroaching their territories. Hunting allowed when the number grows and may exceed a decided limit. Very shy animal. Wisely so, as their fur is much appriciated.

    3. bradford

      I thought lynx, too, until you pointed out the pupils.

      Wikipedia says the round pupils are unique, among Felinae, to the Pallas’s cat. Large areas of Asia. Other pictures that I’ve seen look less lynx-like than this one.

      1. agent ranger smith

        Wikipedia says that? I thought I remember reading that a lot of the Big Cats have round pupils.

        The cat in the picture is either a lynx or a bobcat and my feeling is that it is a lynx. The Pallas cat is in its own separate subfamily from all the rest of the ” truly modern” cats. The Pallas cat has a low sloping forehead leading into a very flat-topped head in general.;_ylt=AwrNZ3IMattj_O4WwJdXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANMT0NVSTA4OV8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=pallas+cat+image&fr=sfp

        1. Polar Socialist

          Wikipedia can be wrong, at times. It’s my understanding that in general the cats that chase bigger prey have round pupils, and cat that pounce on smaller prey have slits.

  32. LawnDart

    Re; Jonathan Cook on Assange

    “At its best, journalism is simply gathering and publishing information that serves the “public interest”. Public: that is, it serves you and me. It does not require a diploma. It does not require a big building, or a wealthy owner. Whisper it: any of us can do journalism. And when we do, journalistic protections should apply.”

    I honestly think that we need to promote objective journalism as a hobby, and as a public service. I’d like to see this take-off amongst the retired-set, while acknowledging that this reporting may be somewhat skewed as it would be done by those who can retire.

  33. MarkT

    Re South of the Border:

    Recording breaking floods down here. Auckland got a whole summer’s rain in one day. Media pictures focus on millionaire mansions teetering on sea cliffs, and washed out homes. The damage is widespread and bad.

    1. MarkT

      Government ministers admit, on TV, that some parts of New Zealand may become uninhabitable because of climate change. Major roads washed away.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Been watching that on the news the past coupla days. I hope that this is not going to become a new norm for New Zealand.

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