Links 2/18/2023

Tons of cat meat, live cats found at Mekong Delta facility VnExpress International (resilc) :-(

Dalian flow battery station is the largest battery worldwide Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

How to Turn the Lights Back on After a Blackout IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L)

Adderall’s Disappearing Act Has Left Millions Without Treatment Bloomberg

New Mechanism Proposed For Why Some Psychedelics Act As Antidepressants arstechnica


Fluticasone propionate as a potential treatment for COVID-19 Drugs Today (resilc). May have missed this. May also explain why asthmatics seems less susceptible to Covid.


Mark Mills: The energy transition delusion: inescapable mineral realities YouTube (resilc)

How heat pumps of the 1800s are becoming the technology of the future Yale Climate Connection

MIT Team Makes a Case For Direct Carbon Capture From Seawater, Not Air New Atlas


Biden’s low-key speech on balloon ‘not enough to fix ties with China’ Global Times

U.S. and China Vie in Hazy Zone Where Balloons, U.F.O.s and Missiles Fly New York Times. Lead story.

White House to hold secret talks with Taiwan officials in Washington Financial Times

California lawmaker leads delegation to Taiwan amid high U.S.-China tensions Los Angeles Times. Ro Khanna.

China set to eclipse US air superiority in Pacific Asia Times (Kevin W)

At start of Congressional session, Tibet-China legislation reintroduced International Campaign for Tibet (furzy)


India Ups Its Game in the Middle East The Diplomat

New Not-So-Cold War

Rishi Sunak to call for new Nato charter to ensure ‘lasting peace’ for Ukraine Guardian (Kevin W)

Norway’s atonement for Nord Stream sabotage Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

I love Clare Daly but must note she seems to be the patron saint of lost causes:

Seymour Hersh’s Trinity of Truth Scott Ritter

Democrats, Republicans join up to urge Biden to send F-16s to Ukraine Politico. Scott Ritter has pointed out that pilots who have flow Soviet fighters simply cannot be retrained to operate Western jets; their reflexes are too deeply ingrained. So the US and NATO forces would have to operate them.

Wagner Group releases graphic video of corpses in desperate plea for more ammunition Telegraph. If I were Putin, Prigozhin would get a very big piece of my mind. Prigozhin has been depicting himself, and loudly too, as running his own war in Bakhmut, when his mercs get lots of support from the military. Dima at Military Summary deems this to be a matter of priorities, not supply. Regardless, mercs are not first in line.

Deputy Chairman of Russian Assembly debates French journalists war hawks. YouTube (Andrei Martyanov). In French with subtitles (Tolstoy, yes descended from the Tolstoy, is fluent). Have only seen the first few minutes but very pointed. Hope to have time to return.

India’s Russian oil imports surge to a record in January – trade Reuters

Gilbert Doctorow: The U.S. & Russia Are Testing Each Other’s Red Lines Geopolitics & Empire. guurst highlights:

tidbit on Patrick Armstrong:
For me the most depressing thing about the last 20 years is to find that everything that I disliked and I found so awful about the Soviet Union has now moved to the United States. The United States has not gone all the way, of course, and you are fortunate, in a way, to have had such limited deprivation of income compared to what was experienced by a close colleague in Canada, a retired Canadian diplomat who spent time and he had never seen Moscow and who had a very influential blog. He was visited by the Canadian Intelligence Services, they told him that if he kept this up, his pension would be terminated and his life savings would be confiscated. He very wisely threw in the towel. In Canada with all those Ukrainian Bandera kids, grandkids, it is much more difficult place to find freedom of speech than United States is. So in a sense, let us be fair to Uncle Sam in a period of relative repression, still freedom of speech manages to hold on in the States.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Virtual reality telemetry means you can virtually kiss goodbye to privacy The Register

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Insecure Superpower Counterpunch

Texas considers a bill banning people from 4 countries from buying real estate NPR (Kevin W)


Biden DOJ Backing Norfolk Southern’s Bid To Block Lawsuits The Lever.

Rudy Then and Rudy Now London Review of Books (resilc)

Culture Wars

Resilc: “So God hates Philly, Democrats I gather. Lost both World Series and Supah Bowl to Christian statezzz”:

Wyoming Limiting Child Marriage Sparks Republican Outrage Newsweek (resilc)

Hillcrest High students say they were told to limit Black History Month program Associated Press (resilc)

David Crosby’s Final Wisdom: Singer Talks Trump, CSN, CSNY, and more Rolling Stone (furzy)

The Little Known History of World War II’s All-Black, All-Female Battalion Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

Unimportant Flying Objects

Why spy balloons are still useful in era of drones and satellites BBC. Resilc: “I like the pigeon.”


Kevin Roose’s Conversation With Bing’s Chatbot: Full Transcript New York Times (Dr. Kevin, furzy)

ChatGPT able to pass Theory of Mind Test at 9-year-old human level PhysOrg

The Bezzle

Binance Considers Pulling Back From US Partners as Crypto Crackdown Escalates Bloomberg

Data from New Jersey is a warning sign for young sports bettors The Conversation (resilc)

Tesla Drivers Worry About Charging Times Wall Street Journal

Wealthy Americans are racing to get the EU’s last remaining ‘golden passport’ before it’s gone Business Insider (Kevin W)

Average 401(k) balances dropped 20% in 2022 – despite 39% of Americans increasing their contributions – as stocks suffered one of the worst years ever and inflation soared Daily Mail

Goldman Sachs, BofA expect three more U.S. rate hikes this year Reuters

Wall Street Is Baffled by the Stock Market Bloomberg

Class Warfare

This company employed children to clean razor-sharp saws using hazardous chemicals CNN (Kevin W)

Starbucks Ordered to Stop Firing Union Activists Nationwide Bloomberg

Survival of the Richest Institute for New Economic Thinking

Bernie Sanders: Anti-Union Capitalism Is Wrecking America Nation (Kevin W)

Adams and Largest Municipal Union Reach Tentative Agreement, With 16.21% Raises Through 2026 The City

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Louis Fyne

    —Wall Street Is Baffled by the Stock Market Bloomberg—

    Helene Meisler, a very long-time stock columnist, says it all in one quip: “price changes sentiment”.

    but ya, like the political news flow, we are living in a bizarro-world where the data is saying two polar opposite things based on the historical norms (imminent doom, imminent boom) and players seem to each be living in their own reality.

    So either (a) the data is wrong, (b) post-Covid is no longer like the historical norms, or (c) some combination.

    My money is on (c).

    1. griffen

      Related, article about how much the average 401k dropped in 2022. Pretty historic for a down year, and for the US bond market that was one of the worse years ever. There are times it can seem far too easy, and not overly difficult, for making money and double digit returns hand over fist; my humble opinion was the punch bowl getting kicked away by the US Federal Reserve was always going to hurt, and hurt badly it did.

      And contrary to the high school aged persons writing tweets for the official POTUS, it’s not just wealthy folks owning stocks and broad stock market index funds. Plenty of retirement funds that are managed better than CalPers (by example) have exposure to these markets.

      1. ambrit

        It also shows plainly that one of the main arguments against 401ks in the first place was correct; 401ks are stock market based. The Market goes down as well as up.
        If only some major Politico with testicular fortitude had pushed something like a real “People’s Capitalism” ‘back in the day.’ It was a counter proposal for “Social Security Reform.” The State would hold a portfolio of stocks, a defined percentage of outstanding shares or bonds, and manage them as a pool. The dividends would be used to pay the expenses and the rest would be disbursed to the public as an annual stipend. Due to the fluctuating nature of the returns, the funds would not be constituted as a complete Assured Income. The necessity for labour would not be eliminated.
        The issue of income inequality is nothing new. This from 1963 should put that meme to bed.

        1. Objective Ace

          The State would hold a portfolio of stocks, a defined percentage of outstanding shares or bonds,

          This sounds remarkably like “the market”. I genuinely don’t see what the difference is. If you want something not based on the market it has to be something akin to social security.

        2. Questa Nota

          401k, another wealth dissolution device and fee generation mechanism for Wall Street.
          Just be glad for the failure of W’s plan to privatize further the investment casino. That would’ve led to misery, impoverishment and essentially a type of dysfunctional population compliance, while trying to avoid too much desperation that would’ve riled up the unwashed.

          Times have changed over the past 2 decades, with more modern grifts and manipulation tools to squeeze and suppress.

          Sorry for the constant stream of dark thoughts.

          1. Bugs

            I’ve always thought of the 401k and IRA “savings” plans as tithing for the working class to the rich. A form of worship.

          2. Oh

            The financial crooks enticed people into 401K’s and IRA’s by dangling the carrots of tax deferral and 6% match by corps in lieu of pension plans. They captured trillions of $$ for their casino, creating billions in commissions for themselves. The digitization of the market helped them to front run the market. Now they sell while pumping up the market and buy knowing when the lows are. The scum are not done yet. They’re taking part in plundering through wars that destroy countries. They destroyed the housing market and then got bailed out. They create mergers and then breakups of companies to make fees.The stock market needs to go.

      2. timbers

        Agree something different is going in the “markets” because what am noticing lately in the home real estate market in my area, is low end homes condos selling a bit higher and quickly. Too early and too data to say for sure, so take that with a grain of salt.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Selling quick to whom? Seen lots of articles that the Looters ™ of BlackRock, private equity generally, flippers and “investors” are bidding up the prices, snapping up anything affordable to the average mope. Sense among my neighbors is that now is the time to sell, to reap the “equity of Looter ™ price inflation,” live in your car or other cheap alternative for a few months until the crash gets priced in. Lots of wishful thinking going on, as usual. Pigs get slaughtered, and all that.

          My wife and I got very lucky, bought from a bank a very nice foreclosed little cottage at a fair price. That was ten years ago.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            BlackRock is not private equity (or at most is a second tier wannabe). It’s a behemoth in public securities. Low fees, huge volumes. You are thinking of Blackstone, which among other things operates funds that are the biggest owners of US single family home rentals.

            1. skk

              and in a sign of trouble, BlackStone’s property fund/ BREIT ( Real Estate Investment Trust) has limited withdrawals since December 2022.

              1. Michael Fiorillo

                Isn’t that a commercial REIT? Very different circumstances for commercial properties, San Fransisco and NYC as prime examples.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The stock market is like a high school popularity contest but for corporations – and just as valid. So a corporation can announce that they will reduce the number of employees that they have by eliminating their research and development division, and their stock will go up. Russia announces that they will cut oil production by 500,000 barrels a day and Biden the next day that he will take enough oil from the strategic reserve for a day or so of use, and the stock market goes up. And other people apart from myself have noted how there is a major disconnect with the stock market and the real American economy.

    3. digi_owl

      Boom for some, doom for most.

      It will just depend on what side of some line on the spreadsheet one is on.

      1. Realist

        Depends when you started investing. It’s a few lost years, but if you’ve been putting money away for a long time, it’s not a big deal.

        Zoom out and look at the monthly chart.

      1. Milton

        Can that term be retired and replaced with something a bit more crowd-pleasing? Perhaps, Dead cap(italist) bounce

        1. griffen

          Investors are collecting pennies and nickels in front of a bulldozer, perhaps? Used to hear that depiction from a former fund manager.

          Or, Frankenstein is alive and well. What was dead is now living.

        2. Robert Hahl

          I like that, it has a certain resonance. Another old cliche might be updated to: “Stabbed in the pipe.”

      2. ambrit

        It could also be excess liquidity searching for returns.
        Who wants to “take a haircut” when the barber is Madame Le Guillotine?
        (Rest assured. Any member of middle management who oversees a steep reduction in a financial entity’s ‘assets’ is soon ‘out the door.’)

        1. Louis Fyne

          Yes, even with interest rates at 4.75%, it is still a negative real interest rate.

          Savers are still losing money after inflation even if they park their cash in a 1-year treasury bill which yields ~5%.

          1. ambrit

            s/ Ouch! That cut to the quick! Marie Antoinette, quick, to the fainting couch! (My French is, shall we say, execrable.) /s

    4. Socal Rhino

      Some influential twitter finance accounts (with good predictive track records over the past couple of years) have pointed out a few things that are confusing many, particularly the size of the Fed balance sheet and the reverse repo facilities introduced in the previous crisis, the drawdown in the strategic petroleum reserve, and China’s delayed Covid slowdown relative to the West’s. To paraphrase one, “experts” who blame broken data or a broken market for their confusion should consider finding a different line of work.

        1. Socal Rhino

          The balance sheet and repo both represent liquidity. Reportedly financial conditions have been loosening not tightening recently.That’s broader than the stock market.

          I have seen Michael Green arguing for a while that the massive index ETFs like Vangard’s distort pricing because they continually buy.

          1. Steve

            What about the spending down of the TGA in light of the debt limit? Historically the TGA is small so you might not expect it to have much impact on liquidity, but in recent years has been quite a bit larger as a percentage of the budget.

          2. TiPs

            As I mentioned, the Fed’s BS has been contracting for the past year and repo volume has been unchanged, so, combined, the Fed has been draining liquidity. The ETF argument is interesting, and I’ll look into that. Thanks.

    5. Dftbs

      It’s odd that the article is premised on the viability of 60/40 portfolios. It seems that the past two decades of price action has shown bonds and stocks to be Texas hedges. Although at 4.5% rates diversification may be more practical, I’m sympathetic to the 40/30/30 Zoltan Posnar brought up in a December note, the split being stocks, bonds(cash), commodities. But I think the mystery of stock market performance isn’t found in quantifiable analysis.

      The market’s performance is a result of its preeminent political position in our society interacting with another familiar dynamic-“imperial collapse”, or better yet for those of us within the empire- societal collapse.

      The Ohio train disaster is a perfect example of this. As the President goes on teevee to explicitly tell all Americans they aren’t worth a fig, this generational disaster is largely ignored; but more importantly there will be no recourse for its victims and no retribution upon its perpetrators.

      This is a “time of monsters” and unfortunately there are no defenses. Political institutions are either atrophied or beholden to the “monsters”. Social institutions have been destroyed, there are no popular fronts for defense. And democratic traditions give you a choice of red or blue monsters. The corporations are the most dangerous of these monsters and the market is the mechanism by which you gain some of their favor.

      The Fed is looking to fight inflation by destroying demand, not by taking away the privileged position of the market. Small share holders will be shaken out on price routs and replaced by institutional and large investors who always get “soft landings”. In Mad Max, absent a hero, you would’ve been better off sidling up to Immortan Joe, in our collapse Blackrock is Immortan Joe.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        FWIW, 60/40 consistently beat actively managed stock funds for a very long time.

        I have not reconfirmed, but short duration bond funds capture most of the return of bonds at much reduced risk.

        1. Dftbs

          I agree that passive management was superior. Additionally paying fees should be haram. My bone to pick with 60/40 over the era of zirp is that it was likely beat by more aggressive posture in that passive allocation. That more aggressive posture may have included non-government fixed income. But the premise of bonds hedging stocks and vice-versa went out the window with zirp and qe. I do think that now there is some value to that diversification when cash equivalents are yielding above 4.5%.

          But I do think that the explanation for stock market behavior, in aggregate, lies in our society’s political choices and not individual business decisions.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Roubini says that if inflation continues to be higher than it was over the past few decades, then a traditional 60(equities) / 40 (fixed income) will give massive long term losses.
        So the free ride is over.

        All the dogs are barking at once – global climate instability, the end of cheap energy, wars of majors with existential import, demographic changes, the new oligarchy replacing anything that once resembled democracy, massive debt overhangs, increasing protectionism, rise of pandemic zoonotic diseases, decreasing availability of productive agricultural land, decreasing fresh water sources, not enough low-cost-extraction minerals for the new green energy pipe dream …….

    6. skk

      One simply must read Mandelbrot’s “The (Mis)Behavior of Markets” subtitled “A Fractal View Of financial turbulence”.

      Nassim Taleb is blurbed by the book cover as saying “The deepest and most realistic finance book ever published”.

      The book does take you through the classical Finance Theory, starting with Bachelier, then CAPM then modern portfolio theory, stopping at Black&Scholes. It then argues the case against these models then works thru the fractal view, with the Hurst exponent nicely derived.

      I read and re-read it often. It won’t give you recipes like 60:40, buy high, sell higher, Dogs of the Dow and stuff like that but it will massively increase your understanding of the nature of markets.

      The math is set aside in the notes.

      1. Dftbs

        I agree with Mandelbrot’s broad criticism of the underlying assumptions of finance, and the analysis that derived from this. I also agree with the criticisms of the practicality of Mandelbrot’s revelation, I think this criticism applies to Taleb. That’s not to say the tails aren’t fatter than we all believe, but if you live for fat tails you won’t live at all. If Dick Fuld or Jimmy Cayne could do it all again they would, except perhaps they’d retire a year early.

        As to the “nature” of markets, I don’t think markets have a nature. They are social constructs and are informed by the values of the humans that make them.

        For instance I think this was the great revelation and innovation of the Chinese communists. They understood the market mechanism was no more capitalist than a hammer could be Christian. It’s how you employ the tool that defines it. That hammer could be a weapon or it could be a tool. Similarly markets could serve capital or they could subdue capital to serve society. The material outcomes of their society as compared to ours over the past 5 generations indicates they may be right.

        1. skk

          I don’t think social constructs are outside of nature.

          What does chat-gpt say I wonder ? I had an interesting convo with it about it – so after first making a statement similar to yours, I asked it if beaver dams, birds nests were outside of nature. It agreed that they were part of nature but faffed around discussing “natural materials and processes”.

          Using the word natural in a discussion about nature looks tautological to me so I asked about bird communication with bird songs – not the songs but that actual communication.. and on and on..

          Arguing with chat-gpt can be very engaging.

          Anyway, I state that things that are created by elements of nature are themselves natural, animals are part of nature, human beings are animals so human social constructs are part of nature.

          1. Dftbs

            You’re right about my use of the word “nature,” in this context it’s not very clarifying. I don’t mean to debate whether markets are natural phenomenon as human constructs in the way beaver damns are, or AI may be, since humans are a part of nature like beavers. Rather that the “nature” of markets isn’t derived from some universal mathematical truism that exists a priori of humans. Their “nature”, or overarching characteristics, are informed by the societies/humans that construct them.

  2. griffen

    Above tweeting about the US supporting Ukraine. It’s a fairly short clip. “So people can have something in their pocket.” Yeah but here in the USA you’re practically a worthless f*ck so if you live in your car or are homeless on the street there is no help for you. But we’ll set up an online exchange to see if you merit the right amount of assistance.

    Unbelievable, the gall of this man and this administration.

    1. digi_owl

      Note btw that Ukraine has been regularly dismantling all manner of worker protections etc

      Fully expect Whatever remains after Russia is done to turn into an economic sinkhole in no time. In particular as this war has massively accelerated the already negative population trend by killing off or chasing out anyone of working age.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Best guess from experts seems to be that russia will carve out a kind of DMZ to get out of artillery range. It’s going to need to be at least 100 miles wide.

        1. digi_owl

          I could have sworn that Russia has already made clear statements that it does not want another Korean situation. In particular this close to their major population centers.

          1. eg

            I’ve been anticipating a frozen conflict like in the Koreas as the most likely outcome in Ukraine, not because either side would prefer that outcome but rather as a result of mutual exhaustion

    2. JohnnyGL

      That’s not entirely true. If you’re willing to put your life on the line for the empire, willingly, or not in the case of the refugees, then you’re worth a little something, but not much more than that.

      1. ambrit

        Well then, America can take over some innocent little polity in the tropics and relocate the ‘stalwart fighters for Freedom and the Ukrainian Way’ there. Oh, let’s say, Lake Maracaibo for instance.

    3. Screwball

      War related. I haven’t saw a link here at NC, but there is an anti war rally tomorrow in DC. It is called “rage against the war machine.” Here is a link to their website;

      Rage against the war Machine

      Speakers include Ron Paul, Jimmy Dore, Tulsi Gabbard, Dennis Kucinich, plus more.

      I’m guessing there won’t be a peep about this from the MSM – now or after the rally.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Sort of a dilemma for #McResistance media: their reflex is to smear and attack, but that means covering the event.

        What’s a mainstream media psy-ops hack to do?

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Mark Mills: The energy transition delusion: inescapable mineral realities YouTube

    I don’t want to ad hominem, but Mark Mills is not a reliable source. He is a fellow of the Koch/fossil fuel funded Manhattan Institute and has written ‘research’ documents with climate change deniers. There are plenty of in depth independent studies around on the issues of energy transition. His name is not on any reputable ones.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Erm, but there are mineral limits. I have consistently maintained green energy as a remedy is a fantasy. We can’t preserve current lifestyles with a great reduction in fossil fuel use. need radical conservation. Green energy is only of marginal help.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve been reading reports about the coming crunch in materials for renewables for 30 years. They’ve all been wrong (as have peak oil/coal ones too). Sometimes when I see people quoting papers (such as the famous ‘renewable energy without hot air’ from 2009 if they’ve actually read them and compared the predictions to reality. Within 5 years those predictions were way out – solar production had skyrocketed and costs had fallen rapidly.

        There are capacity limits to how fast and how intensely we can roll out renewables. But they are not material ones – they are primarily industrial production chokepoints. The price of the key materials for renewables have held stable by historical standards – most hysteria over shortages is simply industry pumping the price and trying to gain political support. The problems with obtaining lithium, copper, cobalt etc are de minimus compared to the challenges we are facing for more basic materials, like food or clean water/air. The pollution caused by even irresponsible mining of those produces is a rounding error compared to the vast pillage of the early caused by fossil fuels.

        People need to get real. We need renewables, we need lots and lots of them and we need them fast. The technology is there, the materials are there and the costs are reasonable. And yes, we need to reduce energy use massively. But the reality is that every single realistic proposal for reducing energy use involves increasing electricity production. Its that simple – we need more electricity so we can electrify transport, home heating, air con, food production. There is no other way.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          About 11.2 percent of the energy consumed globally for heating, power, and transportation came from modern renewables in 2019 (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, wind, and biofuels), up from 8.7 percent a decade prior (see figure below).

          A <3% increase in a decade is hardly dispositive. And there are widespread claims there is not remotely enough copper, for starters. I should buy Freeport McMoran stock.

          Second, if anything there has been backsliding in the UK and EU due to massive consumer energy subsidies and increased use of coal and LNG:

          The booming liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry will play at least as big a role as new coal investments in bringing on a climate crisis if all planned projects go ahead, US-based energy analysts and campaigners say.

          Aside from typically not counting the full environmental costs (building of carriers, port facilities, cooling), they also usually omit methane. And they never allow for the damage to and pollution of aquifers, increased earthquakes (see Oklahoma for a clear-cut example). the use of fracking sand (which contra your claims is a scarce item) and water for fracking.

        2. Kouros

          Are the costs reasonable? Are you including the MIC overhead as well as the financial entrapment of so many resource rich but barely developing countries? As well as the lack of viable competition against China when it comes to a better deal and better development trajectory for all these resource rich polities?
          And what all this build up of MIC entails on the long run…

        3. Eric F

          Is anybody using electrical energy to mine those minerals?

          Also, I see many electric cars, but I have yet to see an electric tractor or combine.

          I believe such things are possible, but not at current commodity pricing.

          1. heresey101

            A quick duckduckgo search gives many current/future trucks and tractors.
            When sodium batteries with their low cost get here this year, it will be a no brainer to go electric. Also, sodium will allay Yves fears for damage to the environment.

            1. Cassandra

              I would be very interested in reading an article about the sodium batteries available this year. Do you have a link?

        4. eg

          There are other ways, but they involve mass die-offs — deliberate or otherwise. I point this out merely as a matter of fact, not as an expression of preference

      2. Chas

        Why is it so important to “preserve current lifestyles”? Current lifestyles are wasteful and extravagant. We could go back to earlier lifestyles and be happier, IMHO.

        1. Joe Renter

          I agree Chas. Most people living in the west live way too large. I was reminded of that when living out of a bike trailer for five months.
          I have always liked the axiom, “Live Simply so that others can Simply Live”. It means sharing resources on all levels and curbing greed is the first step.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          People will not accept less. You will not get cooperation. And that’s before emerging economies arguing they have a right to first world lifestyles.

          You can’t pretend that there are serious limits to coercion on this front.

          1. Bsn

            Agreed. But, the people who accept the concept of less – and I mean much much less – have the best chances to survive. And I do mean survive. For a long time it will be “who can/will survive?” Funny this subject. Just this a.m I went to the WC to complete my morning …. anyway. I remember the stat. that until about 1920 only apx. 20% of households in the US had an indoor toilet. How did humans survive before 1920?? Think of all the porcelain, plastic, copper pipe, glass, etc. that goes into just one bathroom. Many Americans have 2 or 3 of them. That’s a lot of sheet, too much in fact. About half the time, we use our composting toilet. Easy peasy and feeds the trees.

            1. Realist

              Why would you want to survive the collapse?

              Endless pestilence, disease and famine will make the living will envy the dead.

            2. JBird4049

              I tend to wonder just who is living these wasteful and extravagant lifestyles as even many Americans are having real problems paying for anything like an apartment. Any apartment. Or food.

              I could write a multi volume book on the shortages, collapsing infrastructure, abuses, and general f—–ry being done to a growing percentage of Americans.

              This is why some might have a problem with claims of being “wasteful and extravagant,” not that Americans in general and for almost a century haven’t been wasteful; let’s get the wealthy to tone it down first, working down the money chain, then worry about the peons.

              At the very least, people are going to have be giving solid promises on everyone sharing the fun.

              1. bojang bugami

                Yes. Radical Conservation should be forced to start at the top and be seen to be forced to start at the top.

                If it is credibly seen to have been successfully forced against those at the top, then those below the top may accept the same level of forced radical conservation. And so on, rung by rung, down the class ladder, until radical conservation is achieving its climate stabilization or maybe even re-improvement goals.

              2. Teiemka

                I tend to wonder just who is living these wasteful and extravagant lifestyles as even many Americans are having real problems paying for anything like an apartment.

                The original climate change warrior Al Gore………the reality is our society prefers toy collecting rather living within our means.

                Wants override needs.

          2. Ellery O'Farrell

            Yes, I agree. But if we won’t get cooperation on conservation, yet “green energy as a remedy is a fantasy” so we need radical conservation (I agree with this too), what do we do? We need a strategy that can in time lead to a plan…

            1. earthling

              There is no point in little people being cautious and performing radical conservation while others burn up the furniture like there is no tomorrow.

              We will wait until shortages are severe, and we will let prices rise to reflect the real cost of the resource being used up. Water, wood, petroleum. Get a wood lot and a deep well or a home water distillation plant on the shore of a large lake.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Allegedly, the future needs of net-zero electrification (in a world without hydrocarbons) will require more copper over the next 30 years than the combined copper output since the dawn of written history.

      And then there is the need for nickel—-and then the more esoteric materials like cobalt and neodymium.

      1. PlutoniumKun


        Copper is easily recycled and always has been. So the combined copper output since the dawn of written history is largely still in circulation. Its cumulative.

        The biggest user of copper is not electricity, its construction, mostly piping. By far the biggest construction boom in history is in China. And it just ended. This is why copper prices and futures are stable.

        1. jhallc

          I just completly replaced the plumbing and heating systems in my home and maybe used a total of 60 feet of copper (mostly inside the baseboards). Almost everything is PEX pipe now. All the old copper got taken to the metal scrap yard. Not sure what the end life of PEX will be, probably a landfill:(

        2. Lex

          Oh boy, I did some work at a copper recycling facility once. From a mile away it smells like a million cats have used the same litter box for a million years and nobody every cleaned it. They boil the copper in open cats of ammonia. When I got the ammonia cartridges for my respirator the local supplier said they keep them in stock for that facility but nobody uses them. If you just go to work for a while the ammonia burns away your mucus membrane and you don’t smell it at all. This was then confirmed by the employees at the site, none of whom wore any respiratory protection.

          1. Wukchumni

            The last debasement of US coinage was in 1982 when the lowly Lincoln went from 95% copper to 97.5% zinc, and lost about 20% of it’s weight.

            Curiously, Nickels are actually 75% copper & 25% nickel and that composition is the same as it was since 1866, only differing during WW2. Its a mystery why they didn’t cheapen this coin with 2 important metals in its content.

            I’d get rid of both coins being in circulation and save the copper, nickel & zinc for something else.

            We’d then go to what is called ‘Swedish Rounding’ as far as prices go, where you round up or down a Dime on the total amount.

            1. Joe Renter

              I was told the military PX’s did not use pennies so they went up or down 5 cents. I worked at a produce stand in Pike Place market where we did the same thing. A lot of people complained and said they would turn us in the authorities. The owner would just laugh. I think you are right though; we should do rounding.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Here in Oz we got rid of our 1 and 2 cent coins back in the early 90s due to inflation reducing their value and the price of bronze. Still got a bunch of them around the house for novelty value.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Markets only price 18 months out at most. Not even remotely valid evidence.

          Plenty of analysts confirm not enough copper for EVs. For instance. from July last year. Notice multiple sources, including EV manufacturers:

          In 2021, global electric vehicle sales hit 6.6 million – more than double the 3 million in sales in 2020 — meaning EVs made up 9% of the global car market last year. That’s the good news, from a decarbonization standpoint.

          Here’s the bad news. Just as it begins to gain momentum, the electrification of transportation could begin stalling as early as mid-decade.

          Starting around 2025, demand for key battery metals could start exceeding supply, adding costs to EV battery manufacturing, and putting the brakes on EV adoption, according to a new detailed analysis by S&P Global, The Future of Copper.In fact, car manufacturers are already facing supply chain constraints for certain key metals, and are already resorting to substitution materials.

          Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) announced this week it will switch to lower performance batteries for some of its EV vehicles, a move aimed at meeting production goals while addressing nickel supply issues. For some standard EV models, Ford will use lithium-iron-sulphate batteries, which don’t require nickel or cobalt.

          Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns a lithium shortage could start around 2025.There was enough lithium mined in 2021 to supply 11.4 million EVs, according to the World Economic Forum.

          If EV sales double again over the next couple of years, the EV market will already exceed the current global supply of lithium, unless new mines and refiners come into production by then. Llithium prices are up 380% from a year ago, according to Kitco.

          But it’s copper that is the biggest worry, with the biggest driver of scarcity being the energy transition and increased EV demand, although the demand for more power transmission will also add strain to the supply of copper.

          “Major investments in the power grid to support electrification will further amplify the trend,” the Future of Copper report notes.“The 2050 climate objectives will not be achieved without a significant ramp-up in copper production in the near and medium term, which will be very challenging,” the S&P Global report warns.

          A battery electric vehicle requires 2.5 times more copper than a standard internal combustion engine vehicle. Much of that is in the electric motor, some in the battery.

          There simply aren’t enough copper mines being built or expanded to provide all the copper needed to produce the 27 million EVs that S&P Global has forecast to be sold annually by 2030.

          “The chronic gap between worldwide copper supply and demand projected to begin in the middle of this decade will have serious consequences across the global economy and will affect the timing of Net-Zero Emissions by 2050,” the Future of Copper report warns.

          Copper could rival oil as a national energy security concern for some countries.“In the 21st century, copper scarcity may emerge as a key destabilizing threat to international security,” the report warns.

          Under what it calls the High Ambition Scenario, S&P Global forecasts refined copper production would nearly double, from 24.5 million tonnes in 2021 to more than 47 million tonnes in 2035.That still wouldn’t be enough.

          “This results in chronic shortfalls between copper and supply demand beginning in 2025 and lasting through most of the 2030s, including a shortfall of more than 1.5 (million tonnes) in 2035 alone.

          “But this scenario hinges on very significant increases in both capacity utilization and recycling rates. High Ambition is a highly optimistic scenario. What this scenario demonstrates is that, even at the outer edge of what could happen in copper mining and refining operations, there will not be enough supply to meet the demand identified for Net-Zero Emissions by 2050.”

          A more dire forecast, which the report calls the Rocky Road Scenario, is for an annual supply shortfall of almost 10 million tonnes in 2035

          .That is equivalent to the production of 75 copper mines the size of B.C.’s Highland Valley Copper mine – Canada’s largest – said Michael Goehring, president of the Mining Association of BC.“

          Projects under development today would likely not be sufficient to offset the projected shortfalls in copper supply, even if their permitting and construction were accelerated,” the Future of Copper report notes.

          Some of the metals used in batteries may be able to be substituted – iron replacing nickel, for example, in lithium-iron-phosphate batteries – said Matthew Klippenstein, former adviser for Plug In BC, and current executive director for Hydrogen BC. “And Iron is really plentiful,” he notes.

          But there really is no substitution for copper in electric cars. It is needed for the batteries, the wiring and the motors. Even if aluminum can become a substitute for copper, as has been suggested, that would just shift the need for more copper mining to more more bauxite mining and aluminum smelters.

          Conservationists opposed to new copper or lithium mines may point to recycling as a solution. It’s not.While a recycling and reuse industry for EV batteries will be needed, it won’t come anywhere close to supplying the necessary metals.If the number of EVs on the road today remained static for the next 20 years, recycling the metals in them might be able to make up the bulk of the demand. But EV sales are growing exponentially.

          There were 3 million electric cars sold globally in 2020, according to the IEA. That more than doubled in 2021 to 6.6 million. By 2030, S&P Global forecasts there will be nearly 27 million sold annually.Assuming a battery life of 10 years (some may last as long as 20 years), even if every one of the 3 million batteries and motors sold in EVs in 2020 were to be recycled, that would provide only 11% of the metals needed in 2030 for 27 million electric cars.The IEA estimates that recycling could meet only about 10% of the demand for battery materials in 2040

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’m sorry, but this report is a complete misreading of the IEA projections and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the industry. The IEA itself points out that copper is replaceable in most uses. It is the best insulator and conductor, but its not the only one. Aluminium can also be used and frequently is used. This is one reason why demand for copper is so difficult to predict – its a very useful metal, but it is not irreplaceable for most of its uses.

            It also ignores the reality that while copper is essential for certain uses, most copper is used in products where it can be swapped out when the price signal is at work. The biggest user of copper worldwide is plumbing, not electrics. The drop in demand in China due to the housing slowdown has been enormous.

            As to the specifics of that article, it is making an assumption of the car industry simply swapping over from IC to EV. This is possible, but it is equally likely that the car industry significantly shrinks in the face of climate change. It is only in the US that there is an insistence on 4 tonne trucks to drive kids to work. Much smaller, lighter vehicles are becoming the norm elsewhere and this is likely to accelerate under regulatory pressure.

            The copper industry itself doesn’t foresee a major crunch – it points out that the USGS has consistently projected 40 years of reserves since 1950.

            1. JTMcPhee

              I wonder why personal transportation in the form of “cars” doesn’t look to the full range of engineering, as well as shrink the size and get rid of all the tinsel and fooferaw-and-furbelow electronics. I bet a space-frame chassis, like used in dune buggies and race cars especially the ones that churn the dust in Baja, with brushless motors with electric-braking energy recovery on all four wheels, wrapped in a shell of maybe hemp-based skin, could meet the real need for moving people without the king’s horses. That’s to fill in the use case for truly necessary (of course, who decides what that means?) people moving. Beyond the growing fleets of scooters, e-bikes and such. Given that the political will and impending necessity to support recasting the whole political economy around some kind of agreed and demonstrable model of homeostatic sustainability.

              Of course we are all born into a death cult these days. Damn little incentive to do more than maximize one’s personal pleasure and reach.

            2. Alex Cox

              Middle class people in the developing world may not be content with an itty-bitty electric runabout if they witness the Golden Billion driving around in electric SUVs.

              And do we really want to see the planet covered to the maximum degree with giant horrific open-pit sores aka copper mines?

        4. upstater

          What about manufacturing capacity? How about EHV transformers, particularly when Ukraine will need hundreds and the green vision thing anticipates 30-50% load growth in the US, where most power transformers are nearing end of life. BTW, Neutron Jack shut down manufacturing capacity in the 80s and Westinghouse immediately followed suit. Maybe China will sell them to us?

          Considering the US needs to return to industrial warfare, maybe Lockheed Martin cand take up manufacturing transformers?

          1. ambrit

            Ukraine uses the Russian load system with different line loads from the West. Western transformers will not work for the Ukraine because the Ukraine uses the Russian system. Everything is sized differently.
            Addendum: Even America no longer makes much of it’s own electrical transformer needs. How stupid is that you might ask? Very, very, stupid, like almost everything else in American business today.

      2. NN Cassandra

        Notice that while this allegation throws around big numbers, it actually doesn’t claim it is impossible. I’m too lazy to find the actual figures, but if we wanted to compare oil output of the last 30 years with the combined oil output since the dawn of written history up to 1990, I don’t think the numbers would be orders of magnitude different (or whatever one is supposed to imagine when presented with such made up comparisons).

    3. Solar Hero

      Thank you for perfectly expressing an Ad Hominem fallacy: you mention his professional associations then malign his co-writers as climate change deniers, no mention of his arguments. As a bonus, we get an ad Verecundiam fallacy: quote “there are plenty of in depth independent studies around on the issues of energy transition. His name is not on any reputable ones.”

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Wyoming Limiting Child Marriage Sparks Republican Outrage”

    2024 headline – ‘Wyoming Limiting First Cousin Marriage Sparks Republican Outrage’

    Is it that some of those Republicans believe that old adage of ‘If it is old enough to bleed, it is old enough to breed?’ Inquiring minds wish to know.

    1. griffen

      For those weird enough to think that a state law which mandates an age of consent or likewise mandates a minimal age for marriage, they can all be forced to watch Keep Sweet, Pray and Obey on Netflix. Child marriage was not the chief point of the series, wait on second thought yes it was the key point. Perverse does not even begin to convey how disgusting it was.

      How that supposed prophet, Warren Jeffs, has not been castrated is beyond my comprehension. Added thought on state laws, stopping old men and perverts should be the point.

    2. ambrit

      It’s really an ad hominem attack on the “Evil, Dastardly Republicans.(TM)”
      There are plenty of so called “progressives” and or “libertarians” who will gleefully sexually exploit underage Terran humans.
      As pointed out just above, this is an issue of perverts and sociopaths. (Yes, the majority of that demographic is comprised of “dirty old men,” but I have met more than a few “dirty old women” as well.) Those groups know no limits, nor associational restrictions.

      1. JBird4049

        The wolves like to dress as sheep, which is why so many politicos, preachers, teachers, and others are in such positions. “I can be a child rapist, look at all the good work I do for them!”

        1. ambrit

          I did the plumbing in several spec houses built by a man who was a Deacon at a mid-sized Evangelical Church in Louisiana. One day his mother calls me up and asks if I would hold off for a week or two on a final bill for the work on one of the houses. If I can help, I replied, I will. It turned out that the builder, an early middle aged man had been caught diddling some of the underage girls in his Sunday School class. The Church itself refused to act on the information. So, the parents of one of the girls went to the police. The man’s Mom needed the extra money to make bail for her son. (You do not want to be locked up in the general population of any American prison on the charge of messing with the Underages, even statutory. [Camp X-ray down in Guantanamo is the exception.]) If I remember correctly, the man eventually had to plead out for statutory rape and did two or three years in prison.

    3. Darthbobber

      Given the nigh-exclusive Republican composition of the Wyoming legislature (57 of 62 house members, 28 of 30 senators), the very fact that this already cleared the house 36-25 and is seen as having a chance in the Senate indicates that a lot of Republicans aren’t outraged at all.

  5. griffen

    USA accuses Russia of committing crimes against humanity. So says VP Harris on the television news this morning, eastern US.

    Meanwhile Dick Cheney lives on. So, whatever I suppose.

    1. digi_owl

      This has long since passed the point of hypocrisy, as Nuland recently invoked Kosovo as an example for why Putin should stand trial for the Ukraine war. The very same Kosovo that was part of Putin’s long list of precedents for their SMO. More and more it is taking on the air of spoiled children with fingers in their ears shouting down anyone that dare contradict them.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Nuland is an out and out thug like the worst of the Shrub types, but being a woman, she’s been inured from criticism of why she never enlisted. She doesn’t know how to be careful.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Nuland is visibly seething with rage and hatred. That she is in a position of political responsibility and power is a flashing red sign of the current instability and corruption of our political and financial system. This has been vividly demonstrated by our insanely reckless and immoral wholesale sacrifice of Ukrainian life and our craven manipulation of European countries via sanctions to carve up Russia like a side of beef. Sanctions that have done far more harm to Europe than to Russia.

          When we descended to torture in Iraq, I knew our so called democracy was in serious trouble, but it is only now that one can even begin to see just how rotten and literally insane our political leaders, if not the whole military and political system of our country has become.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m not sure what she believes her audience is. Though I wonder if Macron’s line about the Global South and double standards is in response to whatever Harris is spewing. Even the vassals know they need to dumb it down for Harris.

    3. Not Again

      USA accuses Russia of committing crimes against humanity.

      It’s not like they blew up a pipeline or anything.

    4. OIFVet

      In a little over a month from now we will mark the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It’s worth nothing that none of the architects of this illegal war has ever faced justice at The Hague and that many have become liberal darlings, getting hugs from the likes of Michelle Obama. Hypocrisy is the defining characteristic of the American Empire and the currently ascendant Democratic wing of the Corporate-War Profiteering Party.

      1. Questa Nota

        So many examples of pols playing with house money, where they get subsidized lives and our houses are the collateral for their whims. Statesmen used to understand more history older than the last news cycle.

        1. hunkerdown

          They understood only that they needed to be quiet about their waste of other people’s time, effort, and mind on which the very fate of the concept of the state rests. Like most if not all games, it has no inherent need or warrant to exist.

  6. Martin Oline

    This is a rather interesting string of events that should be filed under Who’s Your Daddy?
    After announcing Thursday he had requested federal help in connection with the East Palestine train derailment, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also revealed that FEMA had said the state did not qualify for their assistance.

    Friday former President Trump announced his intent to visit East Palestine next Wednesday.

    In a joint statement released Friday night, DeWine and FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas C. Sivak said the agency would deploy a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to Columbiana County starting Saturday, along with a senior response official. The workers will “support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long-term recovery needs.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      You reckon that that Regional Incident Management Assistance Team will be bringing their own water? But if I were them, I would forget packing any fishing gear for those days off. Not a good idea that. In fact, I would be always wearing a heavy-duty mask and if asked, said that it was for Covid prevention.

    2. Carolinian

      Trump the chameleon? He says he wants to end the war in Ukraine, is defending SS and Medicare, and now making a presidential style visit to a disaster area. What if Trump reinvents himself as a genuine populist and not merely the loudmouth kind?

      Of course he did a similar thing in his first campaign and then hired the goon squad once in power. But if the public were desperate to escape from the duopoly in 2016 they are even more desperate now. This could get interesting.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        like Lambert sez:’ they keep asking for my vote’.
        came across this in my early morning rambling:

        list of co-sponsors: Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Barry Moore (R-Ala.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.)

        i yelled at Team Blue for decades to give me something to vote FOR(rather than merely against those evil goptea-ers)…and they just double, tripled, and quadrupled down(see: current population of Foggy Bottom).
        and people(sic) like Hawley and Rubio advocating for Labor?

        1. Questa Nota

          Too many sinecures to protect, and too many lackeys following lobbyist and donor demands, on both sides of that wannabe hallowed aisle.

        2. fresno dan

          I keep saying, for me, it is a tough, tough thing, being raised dem, and coming of age in the 60’s, that the dems are not in fact a peace party. And to learn that the good ol USA is not a peace loving country…

          1. Joe Renter

            So true on the dems. I grew up in a quite liberal college town in the 60’s/70’s and the lost of faith in Peace in our time is depressing. As well as the disconnect between righteousness for warmongering in USA. I am looking into trying to get long term residency in Costa Rica when my 91 years old mother passes, a country that has not had a military in 70 years.

        3. hunkerdown

          Labor ≠ laborers. They’re advocating for a sustainable wage relation, that’s all. The wage relation has never been in the interest of the humans doing the work, regardless of any supposed class subjectivity posited by political Marxism.

      2. fresno dan

        I agree. The question is: Did Trump learn anything…about hiring? There has to be some correspondence between what Trump says and who he hires – you can’t say you will negotiate Ukraine and then appoint another Bolton.
        Did Trump not know or not care in his first term…and does he now?
        Trump did one thing that was very good – he made the repubs acknowledge what a fiasco Iraq was. If Trump merely offers an alternative to Rah Rah Ukraine, his running for president will provide a valudable public service – I mean, what other significant presidential candidate will be against Ukraine involvment???

        1. MRLost

          If the Republicans become the party of peace, then I will vote Republican for the first time in my life. That holds for Trump in 2024. Seems highly unlikely but it’s possible.

          1. bojang bugami

            Unfortunately, a President Trump 2.0 would just be a trojan horse full of the same old Republicans we already know.

            The obvious rejoinder would be: a President Biden or a President Harris or a President Buttigieg would just be a trojan horse full of the same New Democrats we already know.

            ” Keep despair alive” . . .

              1. bojang bugami

                So they’ve decided to become the greater evil? So as to throw every election to the Republicans over and over until the whole United States becomes one big East Palestine chemical train-bomb derailment site? Which they will then blame on the Republicans so they can offer their greater evil selves as our saviors?

                If I have understood correctly the implications of your comment, I cannot say that your implications are wrong.

                ” Keep despair alive” . . .

        2. Procopius

          If we ever want to negotiate in Ukraine Blinken, Nuland, and Sullivan all have to go. Probably a lot of their subordinates, too.

        3. Teiemka

          Credit where credit is due, Trump did a great job negotiating the new Air Force One deal with Boeing where they disclosed that they will lose couple of billion on 2 aircraft.

          In the meantime plenty of MIC work pending(don’t call it state subsidies on this side of the Atlantic) that will more than offset these losses.

      3. GramSci

        Alas, I’m afraid Trump is no FDR; He’d have to be stricken with polio, yet even then he might believe he is God.

      4. Boomheist

        Re: Trump: My thesis is that Trump made a great mistake at the start of Covid, that early winter of 2020 when we all realized Something Was Happening. If he had declared, in the interest of the nation and because of the emergency, that Medicare would become available to everyone on a “temporary basis” in order to help solve the public health challenge, he would still be President today because, as we all know, that “:temporary” category would have become “permanent.”

        Now fast forward to today. I think Carolinian is right, Trump could easily become the ultimate populist, declare that SS and Medicare be untouchable, the Ukraine War needs to end now….the only problem is whether or not he will be willing to go the next step and demand a reversal of his tax cuts and an increase in the SS income limit as a way to pay for all this – ie betray his own class and the Republican Party in order to regain power. Roosevelt sort of did this in 1932 (betray his own class) …

        I don;t think Trump has the discipline to pull a total populist change, but it was that populist hint that delivered for him in 2016. Don’t forget that a lot of the MAGAs were Bernie supporters before Bernie was thrown under the bus. The streak of populism is deep, and entirely unanswered, except for the rage.

        Trump could go to this rail disaster site and totally expose how Biden’s administration is downplaying everything for Norfolk Southern, demand answers, get legitimate air time……

        I’ll say this for the guy, he hangs around, and around, and he is a fighter especially when cornered. I think he might just be able to pull off a total populist recreation, only because there is such a gaping hole there of anyone actually speaking to those needs….of course to do this he would need to drop all the cultural stuff and deal with actual policies and steps to improve things…..

        This could get Very interesting…..

        1. Screwball

          Trump should get a nice welcome in East Palestine. I read yesterday 71% of the county voted for him.

          Personally, I hope he goes there and exposes every bad actor (plenty) he can find, and scream into every microphone they stick under his nose. Of course the media would be silent about anything bad. It seems all they want to do is protect the administration and Norfolk Southern.

          He’s a giant bag of hot air, a charlatan, a huckster, and all star level creep – but his visit might be a good thing for the people of East Palestine. At least I hope so.

          One of their town officials had the right idea – change their name to Kiev – and the money will come rolling in.

          FJB, Mayo Pete, and Mike DeWine as well (I’m sure the people of EP feel the same).

            1. bojang bugami

              If that Moral Monday Minister from North Carolina were to show up, he might help get an interstate sort of Moral Monday Movement up and running.

              ” Cancer juice does not know what race you are when you drink it.”
              ” Cancer gas does not know what race you are when you breathe it.”

        2. John k

          I doubt he’d raise any tax that significantly affected him, but he doesn’t need to.
          Taking the Medicare/ss protector mantle, and maybe just supporting the medicare age of 55 0r even 60, would imo be enough… remember Hillary and I think Biden too suggested lowering the age, so dems should support, right?
          And both his base and indies would love tulsi as veep, no matter the gop establishment might not. Imagine a tulsi/Harris debate… didn’t they have one in 2020?… but how can Biden dump her? He might be stuck. If this daydream comes to pass tulsi might be well positioned in 2028.
          Trump seems likely to be more and more in the news, not just fox but msm, they love to cover him. He’s an idiot, but has a surprisingly good feel for public pulse, far better than most pols.

        3. bojang bugami

          He could play it. But he wouldn’t mean it. Just like he never meant it the last time.

          But even by just playing it, he could have a beneficially de-stabilizing and dis-ordering effect on the Political-Industrial Complex. Perhaps he could blow a hole in the wall big enough for someone like Tulsi Gabbard to run through.

          Some combination ticket of Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich running an independent campaign in just enough states to prevent either BiParty from winning an Electoral College majority would allow some political ice floes to start grinding around. And if a Gabbard-Kucinich ticket could actually win those just-enough states needed to deny either BiParty ticket an electoral majority, the Gabbard-Kucinich ticket could then promise political revenge and career suicide-homicide to any Congressional Representative from those particular States who failed to vote for the Gabbard-Kucinich ticket in the House.

          Political pipe dreaming I know.

      5. skk

        Trump’s got an open goal here !
        Especially when Buttigieg responds to the derailment and spread of toxic compounds by burnoff with:
        “We get 1000 cases of derailments per year”

        What sort of answer is that ? I hope it sticks to him the way “deplorables” stuck to Hilary Clinton

      6. Martin Oline

        He “hired the goon squad once in power.” I agree with that. It is obvious with John Bolton, but William Barr is also questionable. Whitney Webb’s new book One Nation Under Blackmail vol. 1, p.350 has a reference to Barr that is sourced from Terry Reed & John Cummings’ book of 1994 Compromised – Clinton Bush and the CIA p.294, where Barr tells Clinton that slick Willy is William Casey’s “fair-haired boy” and if he “didn’t (family blog) up and do something stupid, you’re no.1 on the short list… We are the new covenant.” This conversation was witnessed by Terry Reed, who got involved with ‘Air America’ in Vietnam and continued his service after the war end with the CIA.
        Whitney Webb’s two volumes are arranged chronologically and volume 1 ends with Robert Maxwell and the Reagan and Clinton secrets. Volume 2 of Whitney’s book of the same title starts with Jeffery Epstein and moves forward through his rise and fall.

  7. Robert Hahl

    Re: Deputy Chairman of Russian Assembly debates French journalists war hawks. YouTube (Andrei Martyanov). In French with subtitles (Tolstoy, yes descended from the Tolstoy, is fluent).

    Not only fluent, he speaks slowly enough to be understood, while the subtitles are good. If you studied French, this video can give you the illusion that you really understand it.

    1. vao

      Actually the subtitles are not that good; I wonder whether they have been automatically generated through speech-to-text software (e.g. cent-quatre-vingt-mille in French is transcribed not as 180000 but literally as 104 20000; and plenty of other odd incongruities).

      1. David

        Yes, I’m pretty sure the subtitles were machine-generated, because they contain silly errors like mistaking “formation” (which means “training”) for “information.” I would guess you can get about 80% of the sense. And yes, Tolstoy speaks excellent French.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Tolstoy himself was born 8 years after the ending of War and Peace, so it may not reflect his era as much as that before him. Due to Napoleons invasion the high society in Russia did distance itself somewhat from the French culture, which I believe is reflected in the novel, too.

            I do know that for example French ballet went completely out of fashion in Russia, and the choreographers and composers went on a spree to find “Russian” themes for their work. It might even be the first time folk culture surrounding the upper classes was accepted as art.

        1. Jeff W

          “…they contain silly errors like mistaking ‘formation’ (which means ‘training’) for ‘information.’”

          That’s something that transformers in natural language processing (as in, for example, ChatGPT) could probably handle quite well, in either cleaning up the audio transcript or, even better, creating a more accurate audio transcript in the first place. The automated transcripts generated for YouTube videos are (from what I can see) pretty unreliable—incorporating the technology with these latest NLP transformer models to create them would probably be a major advance.

    2. timbers

      What struck me is the inability of the French journalists to comprehend in any way that their double standards won’t and can’t work on a powerful nation that can defend itself, and thus their rage over the fact they can’t Serbia or Kosoavo Russia.

    3. Cetra Ess

      Sadly, I’m impressed by this and I should not be. This kind of open debate on the airwaves is currently unthinkable in the US or Canada but should be the norm in any society calling itself free. In this sense the French media seem more free, even if they are war hawks.

    4. Susan the other

      Tolstoy was wonderful. A very clear understanding of the reality on the ground in UKR. At first I thought , Well it is obvious why Putin did not trust Macron. But by the end of the interview it was clear that the French press were less kamakazi neofascists than concerned Europeans that WW3 was upon them. Tolstoy was a wonderfully informed, truthful and articulate guest. More please.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “How to Turn the Lights Back on After a Blackout”

    ‘Restarting the grid after a total failure is trickier than it may appear’

    Can you imagine what it would be like in the Ukraine? After each raid that knocks the power off, you would have to do a survey and find out with sections of the Ukrainian power grid have been turned to ash which would effect how that section of the grid would be restarted made more complicated if some sub-stations could come back online later. If the Ukraine were smart, they should make damn sure that those electrical workers were off-limits to recruiters and were not press-ganged as Leopard tank drivers. Then again, I have seen those “recruiters” go to the extent of waiting down the bottom of a ski slope to nab skiers coming downhill.

    1. digi_owl

      Do wonder if GE et al has already drawn up projections of how much they can profit from “rebuilding” whatever slice of Ukraine that is left over for USA once it all settles down.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My gut is the shriller rhetoric is they can’t get companies to line up anymore. There is too much uncertainty. Azov types would be the ones responding to emergencies caused by Azov, not the 101st and A10’s.

      2. jo6pac

        It’s likely Amerika will spend more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on rebuilding ukraine than it has on rebuilding Amerika. Freedumb

        1. digi_owl

          I guess the last 20 years taught Wall Street how lucrative “disaster” capitalism can be.

          First government pay to have all the weapons etc made, then it pays to rebuild the warzone afterwards, and it all gets funneled into the tax haven accounts of the shareholders and their lackeys in congress.

        2. fresno dan

          what is always amazing to me, is these neolibs who believe so, sooooo much in the market, want the US government to gurantee profits…whoops, I mean investments in Ukraine. AND they never ask how much lower the deficit would be if we didn’t invest in Ukraine.
          And I just don’t understand why Ukrainians who don’t have housing can’t live on the street, like market loving Americans do…And why can’t the Ukrainians fund rebuilding with tax cuts???

    2. LifelongLib

      It’s not just Ukraine. Here in Hawaii each island has its own grid and if it goes down completely can take a long time to restart. Several years ago on Oahu the grid went down during an earthquake (a computer that was controlling a large power plant interpreted the shaking as an equipment failure and shut it down, pulling everything else down with it). It took some 12 hours to restart even though there was no actual damage.

  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Formatting problem for the link on VR telemetry.

    Interesting that all the tech bros immediately think that the solution is to mask or otherwise obscure VR telemetry data – i.e., further complicate it — rather than simply either not collecting it, or throwing it away after it’s immediate use (which I assume relates to being able to locate and draw the object in space). It used to be that parsimony and efficiency were fairly sacred tenets of computing and data management.

    1. Polar Socialist

      As a “tech bro”* I can comment that the issue here is not necessarily as serious as it is presented. What happened here was that somebody already in the possession of terabytes of biometric data was able to build a classifier that can tell people apart based on that data. That is all. It doesn’t identify people, it just can tell this data is from a different person than that data.

      If the datasets come with other identifying information, that yes, this can be used to identify the player. By somebody who already knows who then player is – the one who attached the identifying information.

      Should that still be a problem, there are multiple different ways to remove the features of the data that classifiers can use to tell players apart. Three of the latest are Symbol Aggregation Approximation(SAX), Symbol Fourier Approximation(SFA) and Symbol Fractional Fourier Approximation(SFFA). All these manipulate the time series (location, timestamp) in a way that removes most if not all individual variation while they retain enough information to be “good data”.

      They are also computationally cheap enough for the manipulation to happen in the device collecting the information, which means that the identifying data will never be collected (or stored) and the collected data is actually simpler (smoother/compressed) than the original.

      Already in 2014 there was a smartphone app (CrossCheck) that used multiple sensors and communication logs to follow the users state of schizophrenia. With the purpose of being able to intervene before patient “deviates from the norm”. In other words, relapses.

      * I’ve consulted a startup aiming to do “edge computing anonymization” a.k.a. obscuring telemetry data.

  10. CoryP

    That bit about Patrick Armstrong is stunning and infuriating. I want to learn as much about this as possible. If anyone has any links , post them here.

    As a Canadian I am outraged. I’m often outraged by things I read but this situation has a real immediacy for me.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Patrick Armstrong posted the following back in March-


      ‘I am going to pause this site and my other activities for a while until I see how things break out.
      What was a post-retirement hobby – a continuation of my job of trying to figure out what was happening in Russia – has now led to accusations of being a Russian agent of disinformation.
      Deviation from the approved narrative is to risk, at best, being accused of sowing disinformation and, at worst, of treason.
      I’m too old for this.’

      At the time I had assumed that it was because of the usual sort of ratbags and media accomplices but I never imagined for a moment that it would be the Canadian government itself that would be threatening him. I guess that this is how our leaders want it to be for them.

      1. CoryP

        Yeah I remember reading that. I had no idea it was overtly agents of the state. Jesus f-ing christ.

        I’m sorely tempted to figure out what he did to get on the wrong side of the authorities and then endeavor to do so myself. I do have self destructive tendencies after all.

            1. ambrit

              I hear you. Now, in political circles at least, it’s a case of; “Chew slowly. It’s the good stuff!”

        1. The Rev Kev

          I suppose that you heard that the Canadian government found itself innocent of abusing its emergency powers over those protestors-

          We get the same sort of thing here in Oz. It seems to be a trend where western countries get more and more authoritarian over the years by slipping in a law here and a change of regulations there. All working to some sort of long term plan I would say.

        2. tiebie66

          It is very bothersome because “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a socialist…” immediately comes to mind. I share your anger and disillusionment.

        1. Paleobotanist

          Does anyone know why the Saker has shut down? I didn’t go there all that much because of the anti-semitism, but now it’s gone.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            He said it was because the US and Russia will be at war and as a guest in the US, he said from the outset he would no longer publish if that happened.

            1. Paleobotanist

              So he has decided that we have reached that point? Ugh. Or did he receive a visit?

              Yes, I do remember him writing that. Thank you Madame Yves for your reply.

      2. Kouros

        Prior to that post he had another post describing how a CSIS guy paid him a visit… all very polite, of course…

    2. wendigo

      To start with, Russia is considered an enemy of Canada and the US, even if we are not at war yet. Does not matter if you agree or disagree. Remember the official position of our Governments is Russia is committing war crimes.

      In the US providing aid and comfort to the enemy is treason, not quite as clear in Canada.

      While you are jailed for an indictable offence (felony in the US) , not just convicted, but jailed like waiting for extradition, your pension is suspended.

      My guess is they threatened to arrest him, possibly with extradition to the US.

      After we (alledgedly) kidnapped a Chinese citizen for the US anything is possible. I use alledgedly because I do not to be seen to be providing comfort to our other enemy.

      1. LifelongLib

        For legal purposes, how do you even know who the “enemy” is? If there’s no declaration of war or some other authorization for military force, how is “enemy” different from “somebody the government doesn’t like”?

      2. Kouros

        I wonder how one would construe as treasonous the reiteration of facts described by OECD (Ukraine bombing Donbas prior to Russian invasion) or statements by Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko, Zellensky, on the Ukrainian and western duplicity, or similar statements by US former and present officials, all indicating that the Western/Ukraine combine were on the way to eliminate the separatists from Donbas and even to retake Crimea.

        Or that Russia had much more patience with Ukraine in its treatment of Donbas, than the west and US had with Serbia in its defense of sovereignty in Kosovo. These are all facts available in the west and produced by the west and Ukraine. How is it treason to posit the very valid hypothesis, substantiated by western produced information, that Russian operation in Ukraine was absolutely provoked? While the US war on Iraq and Afghanistan were not. If justice is to be credible it needs to apply the same way to everyone.

        I wonder how a judge sentence justification would sound like….

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘I love Clare Daly but must note she seems to be the patron saint of lost causes’

    I think that the only other EU Parliamentarian to talk like this was this young, German woman from I believe the Left that I saw recently. And that is not a good sign that. The European Parliament is made up of 705 Members which is much larger than I thought. But they, as a united block, are pro-war and pro braking up the Russian Federation. So a body that large and it has been almost completely captured by the neocons and has been for years. That is a helluva achievement that.

    1. digi_owl

      As i understand it, the EU parliament is a rubber stamping machine. it’s only job is to yay or nay whatever they get passed on from the commission. As such, for all the speeches etc during sessions, in the end they can do little to change course.

      Probably does not help that Germany, France and Italy hold 30% of a seats (they are distributed by population size though).

      1. vao

        Actually Sahra Wagenknecht.

        “Wagenicht” is an amusing autocorrector glitch meaning “does not dare” (“Wagenknecht” itself means something like “carriage attendant”).

      2. The Rev Kev

        Not in this case Sarah Wagenicht. Have not heard the name of that woman speaking before but she was pretty articulate.

  12. Lex

    I disagree with the Ars report on psychedelics and anti-depressants. If you start an SSRI, especially at a relatively high dose the “adjustment” time they talk about is absolutely reminiscent of the beginning of a trip or a very light dose. And if you smoke some weed you can accentuate that effect just like if you’re on the way up during a trip. You get used to it just like you’ll get used to micro dosing.

    I tried to discuss this with a psychiatrist who prescribed the SSRI to me once and got dismissed, so I looked it up and learned (20 years ago) that it’s the same receptors. While I’m an experienced psychedelic user I never tested the theory by “over dosing” SSRIs to see if you can get more than the mild feeling of “this is different” and a few tracers or oddness in peripheral vision. I kind of assume that a real SSRI trip would be unpleasant.

    1. ambrit

      I was put on Prozac for a short while back in the 1980s. That SSRI was notorious for ‘zombifyng’ the individual. Such was my experience and I soon stopped using it. (I decided I’d rather be ‘depressed’ and present than ‘undepressed’ and lost in the ether all of the time.)
      My strictly unscientific theory is that SSRIs turn something off in your brain while psychedelics turn something on. (No pun intended.) While both classes of drug effect the same brain systems, the manner of effect must be different. As is always the case, more study is required. If only we could have seen those MK Ultra files that were destroyed in the 1970s.
      The original:

      1. Lex

        I’ve been on Zoloft a few times. I don’t disagree with you at all and I don’t take them now for the same reasons. Very few people take relatively large doses of psychedelics long term so it’s hard to judge how those would affect us in that scenario.

        I don’t mean to argue that the end effects are the same either, especially at different dosages and over long periods of usage. I think psychedelics are great (though I haven’t used them in years and years) and SSRIs not so great (and prescribed without doctors really knowing how and if they work as intended).

        1. ambrit

          Fascinating thing the mind. I favoured psilocybin mushrooms as a ‘milder’ and less physically stressful experience. The experience of the ineffable presence of G– was amazing. I can see why it in particular is being studied as an anti-depressive.
          LSD 25 I found to be a much more dangerous beast. I can understand why it was used in guided psychiatric sessions. All the ‘Native’ traditions where psychedelics are used in rituals I have read of stressed the utility of having a shaman or ‘guide’ involved to moderate the risks. As someone from Peru we knew years ago said when the subject of the recreational use of the coca leaf and it’s byproducts came up in conversation, real natives who used coca leaves for energy at altitude would not understand the concept of recreational drug use. To them, the drug was a tool, not a toy.
          My experience with Prozac was as a low status patient. The aim of the prescribers looked suspiciously like chemical warehousing. Even today, I usually can spot the long term SSRI users.
          Stay safe, and sane.

      1. hunkerdown

        False. DMT is the backbone of an entire class of psychedelics. Psilocin is 4-hydroxy DMT, which is DMT plus one oxygen atom at the 4 position. Psilocybin is psilocin with a phosphate insinuated in the 4 position and an extra hydrogen on the amine. Bufotenine, found among toads and toadstools alike, is 5-hydroxy DMT. Peer at the structure of LSD for a moment, and a tryptamine structure will reveal itself. (It’s that potent!)

        On the other hand, mescaline is a phenethylamine, in the same genus as MDMA, meth, and the infamous DOM/STP of the 1960s.

        Alexander Shulgin wrote a, if not the book, on each class of substance, half narrative, half academic. The second halves are available on Erowid, under the names Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved and Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved.

            1. ambrit

              Yes. The Vaults of Erowid is an invaluable resource for the ‘experimentally’ inclined. I believe that it is housed on a server in Germany. Make of that what you will.

              1. hunkerdown

                Currently they appear to be served from a collocation center near Hunters Point in San Francisco, which is relatively innocuous, and not a place NSA can look into without extra paperwork. Haight St. is on the other side of Market Avenue, for what that’s worth.

                1. ambrit

                  I wonder where it is in relation to the old Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic? That was where some of the MK Ultra medical experimenters ‘did their thing,’ and where, coincidentally?, Charles Manson and his Family hung out for a year before becoming Hippydom’s Avenging Angels. The two groups knew each other well.
                  Also, when has the NSA or any other American “Intelligence” entity ever asked permission to peek?
                  From what I have been reading, San Francisco in it’s entirety is now “on the wrong side of the tracks.”

            2. Realist

              Wow, who has the time and a safe place to do something like that which lasts over 20 hours!

              Sounds like the perfect thing for the authorities to drop in a troublemakers drink, before carting them off for a spot of protective psychiatric internment (a la Bart Sibrel)!

  13. Wukchumni

    You’re off to Great Places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting,
    So… get on your way!

    Dr Seuss

    They’ve temporarily fixed the 3 broken stretches of the Generals Highway where flooding met fire scarred foothills & mountains in Sequoia NP, and you can now drive to the Giant Forest so a quorum of us are snowshoeing up to Crescent Meadow for lunch, and with about 5 feet of snow on the ground something magical happens in that all low lying groundcover plants are nowhere to be seen, and the red of the Giant Sequoias is much accentuated by the white as the driven snow carpet from which they poke their considerable necks out.

  14. fresno dan

    How heat pumps of the 1800s are becoming the technology of the future Yale Climate Connection
    Now the world faces yet another reckoning over energy supplies. When Russia, one of the world’s biggest sources of natural gas, invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the price of gas soared — which in turn shoved heat pumps into the spotlight because with few exceptions they run on electricity, not gas. The same month, environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote a widely shared blog post titled “Heat pumps for peace and freedom” in which, referring to the Russian president, he argued that the U.S. could “peacefully punch Putin in the kidneys” by rolling out heat pumps on a massive scale while lowering Americans’ dependence on fossil fuels.
    So I’m reading the article because my HVAC, a dual electric cooling, natural gas heating device, was about to go kaput. So because it would be months before it could be replaced with an equivalent unit (I guess supply chain disruption???) I broke down and got a heat pump. I had a heat pump when I lived outside of Washington DC in the 90’s and that did not work out well at all. Hopefully, in warmer CA it will work out (cold air is blowing on me now as it obviously is in the defrost cycle…). My heating bill was astronomical, and I wear a sweater and long johns….there have been some HUGE increases here in CA for gas utilities.
    BUT, going through the article, I find the portion I posted above. This is how conventional wisdom turns misinformation into fact….repeated endlessly in articles that ostensibly have nothing to do with foreign affairs…

    1. Louis Fyne

      Heat pumps are perfect for southern California (don’t know how cold it gets in the valley); Minnesota, no way.

      And with most home appliances—heat pumps are only as good as its cheapest component. And surprise, while an furnace’s reliability/fixability is idiot-proof, woe to the home owner who gets a heat pump that fails prematurely.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        I have never had one, but some utilities, usually REA coops, here in the upper Midwest offer, or partner with contractors, ground source heat pumps with oil or propane fired boiler or furnace back up that kicks in if the GSHP can’t keep up during the coldest weather. The coops claim it’s the lowest cost HVAC solution if you live beyond the gas mains.

    2. Ignacio

      Where I live, this is still not common practice but more an more houses are installing combined solar modules with air-air/air-water reversible heat pumps producing heat and hot water plus air conditioning in summer. The cases I know it works great and saves a lot, specially in summer cooling. The water-heating units of heat pumps are improving and now they are starting to be used in industrial applications with better coefficients of performance than residential units. Problem is the upfront costs which are about 3 times for of the heat pump systems compared with gas boilers though with time that extra cost is fully amortised. The larger the house the faster the amortisation.

      IMO, the gas/diesel boilers can and should be forbidden in new residential buildings by the building code in Spain permitting only centralized heat-pumps with FV support. The technology exists and works great it is only inertia and more inertia what makes us go on with the ugly stuff.

    3. hunkerdown

      Tangentially related dissertation, which Lambert might find most interesting: Ventilating the empire: environmental machines in the British Atlantic world, 1700-1850

      In summation, I argue that while ventilating machines were initially designed to mitigate the negative environmental and social effects of empire through free circulation of air, the fear of hot, humid, putrid, “tropical” environments transformed ventilation into an infrastructural technology which ultimately aimed to insulate certain elements of society from others. By tracing the history of ventilating devices, Ventilating the Empire provides a cautionary tale of how racial and class dynamics can exert a strong influence on technological projects to avert environmental danger.

      Bill McKibben clearly grasps John Boyd’s dictum: “Don’t interrupt the money flow, add to it.” Too bad he isn’t selling “socialist” solutions like district heating, where combustion and heat extraction could be performed more completely through small-scale centralization.

  15. Lexx

    ‘Average 401(k) balances dropped 20% in 2022 – despite 39% of Americans increasing their contributions – as stocks suffered one of the worst years ever and inflation soared. – Daily Mail.’

    Retirement accounts should come with a warning for longtime savers. ‘Don’t look at your account balance until the economy improves, maybe next year or the one after that. You’ll be sorry if you do!’ It’s gut wrenching. I looked anyway on Wednesday, divided by 20 years, divided again by 12 months. Our accounts have seen the return of about half of last year’s loss.

    The warning on a balance of $112K… ‘Don’t look at your account balance. You’re already far behind on what you’ll need to retire. Live on half of what you make and sign over the rest to trying to catch up until the day when you can no longer get out of bed to go to work. It may take decades.’ It’s gut wrenching and in truth there’s no catching up. If you don’t start early and the Fates don’t smile on you, you’re screwed.

    I have known a few couples now who couldn’t trust the market and were short on time, who put their spare cash into real estate they manage themselves, and come retirement will be okay. They have a steady income stream and are building equity. We discuss here the big players in rentals but there are a lot of small operators out there who are now guaranteed buyers when they cash out. I suspect they’ll all do better than we did, trusting Wall Street.

    1. jefemt

      Trusting Wall Street. Wow. That is a wall hanger! I trust them, 100 percent!!

      After a family trip to Disneyland (Anaheim) in the 1990’s, seeing the unflinchingly smiling courteous staff, the immaculate 40 year old pavement that was clean enough to eat dropped food stuffs, and realizing what the staff made as a wage, compered to then CEO Michael Eisner, who literally flew in a small jet to Aspen for lunch a few times a week, and who was to receive over $750M in outright pay, bonus, and stock options that year…
      I fully divested from stocks, bonds, ‘Wall Street”, as my small vote-with-pocketbook eschew and espit out.

      I took a tax hit, liquidated my 401K, built a small cottage on the back of our lot, and started a short term vacation rental/ guest house. In Europe, they call them ‘Pensions’, for a reason.
      If the guest house was vacant, not generating income, leaning on it’s shovel, that was on ME.

      That said, I am surprised to hear anyone betting on The Fed, the Dow, and the close interplay of ‘too big to fail’ between the US gubmint and Wall street, that long term the equities investors are not doing well.
      I don’t like our system, and it is a bitch and hard work and dishearteningly exhausting trying to buck it, but my sense is those Riding with the Fed are doing OK?

      In fact, I’d argue it is the surest thing, akin to smart defense contractors producing in as many States as are possible: We can’t let ‘the markets’ fail… what about Great Aunt Minnie’s pension account?

      Legit concern, but it simply entrenches the f*#ckery that vexes so much in our lives.

      And speaking of market distortions… In the 1990’s we were one of three short-term furnished rentals in the core of town. After the advent of VRBO and Air B N B, there were 129 short term rentals within 2 miles of ours. We converted the rental to longer-term workforce housing, which is in acutely short supply.

      Que sera, sera…

    2. Thomas Wallace

      S&P total return since 2020:

      Year Total Return
      2023 6.50
      2022 -18.11
      2021 28.71
      2020 18.40

      Anyone investing money Jan 1 2020, has had a decent return this decade. Total return this decade is roughly 1/3 or 9% annualized. Throw out 2020 and you get 6%. A rather spectacular 2021 return was dampened by reversals in 2022, but the two year combined was still a modest positive (over 2% annualized).
      During a period that saw a catastrophic pandemic, a troubled presidential election, a European war, post pandemic inflation, alarming Fed tightening etc.

      Cognitive biases likely lead people to see 2021 results as somehow deserved or justified, while 2022 was an unexpected tragedy. But I see a problem in anchoring on calendar year results and high water marks.

      The volatility no doubt hurt people who got the timing wrong. However, anyone that was overly surprised was poorly informed. In other words, I’m sure the reporters found people who feel like victims, but it all seemed pretty normal to me.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “At start of Congressional session, Tibet-China legislation reintroduced”

    Probably by summer the Ukrainian war will be coming to an end which can only mean one thing. Time to ramp up hostilities with China. The Democrats may be obsessed with Russia but the Republicans are obsessed with China and they are making their demands known on Capital Hill. And that is why this Tibet-China legislation but that will not be an end to it. There will be the Uyghur-China legislation as well as the Hong Kong-China legislation that will be introduced as well. This is all just laying the groundwork here. The only problem is that the Chinese are not the Russians. By that I mean that they are very patriotic and when attacked by the US will seek to strike back right away. Maybe they will hit back with trade restrictions or some other means but they will not just lay down and take it.

  17. Lex

    IMO the Wagner ammunition thing is a combination of some frustration with MoD and trolling the Ukrainians. There’s a fairly significant (within the Russian population that follows the conflict closely and has since 2014) group of people who deeply dislike and distrust Russian military leadership. There’s a lot happening right now about how officers from the LDNR militias are being treated during incorporation into the Russian military.

    But Prigozhin loves to troll and many of his trolls are deep and require large amounts of set up like the whole thing with the video of the guy who defected, was exchanged back and then sledgehammered… except he wasn’t and then did a video with Prigozhin after all the media hoopla. I suspect that that the ammunition situation is primarily trolling but like a joke that hits because of its truth is also intended to make a point about MoD bureaucracy.

    1. Sibiryak

      FWIW, Dima at Military Summary just came out with an entirely new theory regarding the Wagner ammunition complaint. Interesting speculations, but not entirely convincing, imo. We’ll see…

  18. Wukchumni

    Ever notice when a pro sports player, say a kicker…

    Misses the game winning field goal-wide right, and his team limps off the gridiron, heads down, and when pressed for a comment the kicker says ‘God just didn’t want it to happen today, I guess.’

    Yeah, that never occurs.

    1. griffen

      Confound that evil wind and Satan pushed my attempt to add 3 points just a bit rightward! I have noticed more players in the college ranks acknowledging their faith and what have you, and not just the Tim Tebow(s) of the supposed amateur ranks. There is a joke among most who play golf, that a fortunate bounce of an offline shot off a tree is attributed to “clean living.”

      Then again, invoking the deity happens a lot. In fact, after a playoff performance for the ages in the old Boston Garden Larry Bird once said of Michael Jordan “we just witnessed God playing ball, that wasn’t a human.” Jordan rang up 63 points in that 1986 game, the Bulls eventually losing the series to the still mighty Celtics.

    2. JMV

      John Kasay, longtime kicker for the Carolina Panthers, once actually did say something like ‘It wasn’t part of God’s plan’ after missing a game-deciding kick during the team’s brutal 1998 season. The christian people of the Carolinas did not appreciate his candor.

  19. Polar Socialist

    Regarding pilots transferring from fighter to another, I don’t really want to say Scott Ritter is wrong, but from personal communication with pilots I used to know (mainly a bunch of air force cadets, but also my cousin and several ww2 veterans, too), the big challenges for a fighter pilot are from propeller plane to a trainer jet, and from trainer jet to a fighter jet.

    And that’s because, even if the dynamics of flying are the same for all aircraft, it’s the power output that just puts everything on a new level. Kinda like the difference between VW Beetle and F1 car – they follow the same physics, but the other one is much easier to push out of the envelope where it can be controlled.

    Yes, there designers of Soviet and NATO fighter did make different choices in design, but very little of that has to do with the part where the pilot flies “by the seat of their pants”. The choices made deal mostly in what information is presented to the pilot and how, what parts of the engine management are automatic and what the pilot controls, how the plane recovers from pilot error and so on – a trained pilot can learn all that in a few months.

    I believe the real question is if Ukraine has enough trained pilots left. Before the war they had less than 100 fighters, and by a conservative count they’ve lost 80% of those. Due to the nature of the missions they fly a loss of the plane unfortunately often means also a loss of the pilot – there’s just no time to eject when your fighter gets hit while going 900 knots at 200 feet.

    So let’s assume they may have a dozen or so experienced pilots available for training – they still need to keep flying missions, too, so not all can go at once. Let’s also assume most of those pilots are able to transfer (and do fail or seek asylum or anything), and we end up with a 10 or so F-16s arriving sometimes during the summer.

    That’s ten fighters. Way, way, way too few to make any challenge to the Russian dominance in the air (but enough for Russians to learn how to deal with them), so they would still have to fly their missions fast and low, basically negating any possible advantage they might have over the Russian aircraft and still keep losing pilots (and planes) at the same rate as now. They will run out of trained pilots way before they can train new pilots.

    1. Paul Jurczak

      He is wrong. All former members of Warsaw Pact, which joined NATO, transitioned from Soviet jets to western ones. It didn’t require retiring old pilots and training the young ones from the scratch. Yes, some pilots had a hard time with the transition, but claiming it’s impossible is just plain wrong.

      See:, specifically: “When the program started here in 2004 we were training Poland’s senior pilots and squadron commanders.”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        You are confirming my and Ritter’s point.

        Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

        Having NATO pilots operate F-16s = NATO act of war v. Russia.

        Douglas Macgregor has warned Russia could take out all NATO airbases in Europe ex one in Portugal in < 90 minutes. But those jets have a comparatively short range (700 miles) and I believe can't reach Donbass from any NATO base.

      2. Dftbs

        If this is referring to what he said in the Left Lens interview, his contention was that within the time frame of the conflict it was unlikely that any Ukrainian pilots could be trained to fly Western planes to their present level of competence on Soviet designed planes. If the time frame for effective training is in years, and there is no urgency of combat, then it’s a very achievable goal. But that is not the hand they are dealt. I think beyond the possible effectiveness of Western jets, the fear Ritter articulated was that this would likely mean the use of NATO personnel or NATO infrastructure and this would take us closer to the we’re all toast scenario.

    2. David

      Yes, there are (at least) two different points here. Once you have flown one kind of fast jet, you have shown that you have the basic competences (eye-hand coordination, situational awareness etc) and that you can apply these in an operational context. Every pilot transitioning to a new kind of jet (or any other aircraft actually) then goes through what’s called an Operational Conversion Unit where they learn the specific characteristics of the new aircraft. Where these aircraft are of different generations (say Buccaneer to Tornado in the 1980s) then differences can be quite radical. Time taken to convert depends on how big this difference is, but would usually be reckoned in months. I would have thought that any reasonably experienced Ukrainian fast jet pilot who started training now would be combat-ready well before the end of the year. But it’s worth pointing out that of course flying the aircraft is only part of the story: you also need to train technicians and armourers for daily maintenance on equipment whose principles will probably be completely unfamiliar to them.

      The other point is more complicated because it has to do with doctrine. Historically, the Soviet Air Force had a completely different concept of the use of air power than the West did: for example, interceptors were vectored onto their targets by ground controllers. This had an impact on the design and equipment of the aircraft, and also how they fitted into the overall command structure itself. I don’t think introducing, say, F-16s into the UAF would be easy or straightforward.

      Whether NATO pilots flying F-16s over Ukraine would be considered an act of war is a political question, not a legal one. Clearly, any flight over Russian territory, or any attack on (say) an air base in Poland would be legally an act of war. But there are plenty of cases of air combat over third nations (South Africa vs Cuba in Angola for example),which were not considered acts of war.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I would go as far as to say that most of the post-war (WW2, that is) period the Soviet Air Force did not have a concept of the use of air power.

        After all, the Soviet air power was divided into five sections: naval aviation under the Navy, front aviation under the Army, air defense under the PVO and finally long range and transport aviation under the Air Force.

        It was not an environment to develop much of a general doctrine on how to use air power, being administratively and functionally spread all over the place. It was much more tuned towards solving task-depended problems independently.

        So the interceptors used by PVO were optimized for interception, the front aviation was optimized for hitting targets on and close to front lines and so on. And that seemed to work regarding the general Soviet doctrine of the future war being either nuclear war or a large scale ground war in Europe fought with combined arms.

        We could say that Soviet Union did not have an Air Force, but five of them. And they did not communicate much with each other, having different tasks and being administratively under different commands.

        1. David

          I think that’s very fair. I know there has been some reorganisation in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union (for example the dissolution of the PVO and its integration into the Air Force) but I don’t know what the practical effects on operations have been, still less if this has led to parallel changes in doctrine and equipment for the Ukrainians. There is a somewhat related story that in the 90s, the German Navy tried to integrate ships from the old Volksmarine into their own fleet, but it was impossible to do so because the ships were built and equipped to be under operational control from the land-based HQ all the time. Eventually they sold them to the Indonesians.

  20. Craig H.

    > This company employed children to clean razor-sharp saws using hazardous chemicals

    We have been crystal clear from the start: Our company has a zero-tolerance policy against employing anyone under the age of 18 and fully shares the DOL’s objective of ensuring full compliance at all locations

    Did any manager get fired?

    Since it’s a modern corporation this was probably managed by a committee. So I guess the better question is did everybody on the committee get fired?

    I suppose no and no but could somebody please publish their photos on twitter? It would be nice to know if they look more like Snidely Whiplash or Dudley Doright.

    1. fresno dan

      was anybody even considered for criminal prosecution? Is it a criminal law to endanger children – and if so, why aren’t the people endangering these children investigated for criminal prosecution???
      OUCH! I hurt myself laughing – of course rich people are never prosecuted. Prosecutorial discretion…

  21. semper loquitur

    A request:

    I recently received a letter from a collection agency regarding an old debt. They are offering quite favorable terms to settle it; they want about 40% of the original amount. I want to take advantage of it but the times, and debt collectors, being what they are I want to make sure it’s actually settled. Can anyone offer any advice regarding things to look out for or the proper steps to insure it’s a done deal? I don’t want to pay them and then three months from now get a letter from another agency claiming that I owe them the debt. Thanks in advance!

    1. fresno dan

      are you POSITIVE it is a real debt of yours? I get some remarkedly valid looking mail and emails, and it turns out they are not real at all.
      I recently had an experience with a debt from a doctor for admission to a hospital (turns out he was a contract employee of the hospital). After writing to the hospital for an itemized list of charges, which was basically for naught, I pursued other avenues. After writing to Medicare, the Federal Trade commission, the CA attorney general (consumer affairs), – hey, I’m retired, I don’t have anything better to do – – I got a number of correspondences from a debt collector. As nothing happened with my complaints, I went ahead and paid it. Than it occured to me to contact (duh!) my insurance company (I have medicare part A and Blue Cross as I am a Federal retiree and OF COURSE there was confusion about who is responsible for paying what). So it turned out that my 900$ bill was in fact only valid for 150$ and I got a 750$ refund.

      1. semper loquitur

        Yes, it is mine for sure, I did check. I had paid off half of it, by paid I mean my bank account was raided by another agency who then sold the remaining debt. This agency tried to claim I owed the total amount, around 7500$, when I had paid (been raided) off half of it. I told them to get back to me when they figured out the proper amount.

        That has gone on for a while and now they are offering the aforementioned better deal.

        1. Michaelmas

          semper loquitur: That has gone on for a while and now they are offering the aforementioned better deal.

          If you make a deal to pay an old debt and then pay money towards it, that then constitutes legal acknowledgement that you are on the hook to pay the rest of it.

          So I really would not pay this debt until you have checked on how long in your particular US state debt remains outstanding for. When I resided in the US, it was mostly California where debt was outstanding for, IIRC, two years.

          Also, there’s simply no way that you can trust a debt collection agency in the US to not resell the debt again after you pay it. The country is entirely corrupt at this point IMO, which was one big reason I moved out

        2. Ellery O'Farrell

          Former bankruptcy/debt negotiator lawyer here (I’m now retired). Before agreeing to anything, I think you should get in touch with your state’s attorney general or consumer protection department–the laws in this area vary a lot from state to state, and the facts in your case matter.

          For example, your state’s statute of limitations may determine whether they can still enforce collection of the debt. And interpretations may tell you what constitutes reaffirrmation in your state (not clear to me whether you’ve technically reaffirmed). But don’t agree to *anything* until you know more.

          If that doesn’t work, try the NCLC website ( They have a lot of very useful and *reliable* information, not to mention lawyers in this area who might be able to help.

          Naturally, since I’m retired and probably was never admitted in your state, none of this is legal advice.

          Good luck!

          1. semper loquitur

            Thank you for this. I may have reinstated the statute of limitations by making a small, somewhat recent payment. I may in fact have not done so either, according to that link Yves provided from the NYS AG, a payment made after April 2022 might not trigger the statute. Bottom line: I’m calling the AG on Monday. Thanks everyone for your help!

        3. CNu

          semper loquitur – the burden of proof is on the debt collector that purchased the debt from the previous more aggressive collector which raided your account. In order to meet that burden, they’ll have to produce the contract you signed with the original lender (consumer credit)

          The probability that they have a copy of that contract is vanishingly small.

          Unless you’ve told on yourself in correspondence, you should disregard their attempt to collect and let them take you to court with a couple hundred other poor schlubs on a Tuesday afternoon. You should perhaps take an hour one afternoon when court is in session and watch how it goes for others. 99.7% of the poor victims there tell on themselves and admit the debt to the plaintiff’s attorney.

          Don’t be one of these.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If I were you, I would tell the collection agency, who likely purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar, to go pound sand. 0% is a much better deal than 40%. While I am not a financial advisor, that method has worked well for me in the past.

      1. semper loquitur

        I’ve been fobbing them off for years, please see my reply above. I just don’t want to let it fester and then have to start all over when they sell the debt and yet another agency tries to get me for the original amount like these d!rtb@gs did. Nor do I want them to sue me and, as in the first case, raid my bank account because I didn’t even know I was being sued, in another city, until the trial was over by a week plus. I did seek free legal help years ago and was ghosted by the attorney. I’d like to stake this through the heart.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          If you have been fobbing them off for years, I can pretty much guarantee it is uncollectable and you can tell them to fuck off. See my longer comment below.

        2. anahuna

          Let them take you to court (at this point, probably small claims court) and try to prove it. Showing up will be a minor nuisance, but it will most probably give you an official dismissal you can use if anyone tries to collect again.

          You don’t need a lawyer for that. It’s their job to substantiate a right to collect.

    3. Louis Fyne

      stop. check your state laws re. the time limit for debt collection.

      that debt *may* be unenforceable, depends on your state laws.

      whole cottage industry of cos buying elapsed debt and sending mean letters demanding collection

      1. semper loquitur

        Thanks for this, and for all the comments above. The time limit is six years. I’m going to do some digging and see if I’ve gone past that.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      NO NO NO NO.

      40% is pretty bad, they probably bought it foe <5 cents on the dollar.


      If you are in New York, it is only 3 years. 5 to 6 in most other states:

      New York Attorney General Letitia James sent letters to the largest credit card companies and major debt collectors operating in New York, warning them of new state regulations that prevent them from suing consumers for old debts. The Consumer Credit Fairness Act of 2021 — which was signed into law last November — will go into effect next month and reduces the statute of limitations for consumer debt collection from six years to three years.

      Also you have no idea if they properly acquired ownership. Many buy in bulk, do not have docs properly transferred individually. See:

      If a debt collector sends you a collection notice, you have 30 days under federal law to send the collector a letter requesting that it validate the debt if you don’t believe you owe it. This right should be spelled out in the notice in language stating something like this:

      “Unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume the debt is valid. If you notify our office in writing within 30 days from receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of the debt.”

      Upon receipt of your letter, the collector must stop contacting you unless and until it can substantiate the debt. Your letter of dispute should be sent to the collector by certified mail, return receipt requested. You may want to ask for validation of the following types of information if you don’t believe you owe the money:

      A full itemization of the debt, including a breakdown of the total principal, interest, fees, and other charges.
      The service or merchandise provided for the debt.
      The full name and address of the debtor at the time the debt was incurred and the last four digits of the debtor’s Social Security number.
      The full name and address of the original creditor.
      A copy of the applicable contract giving rise to the debt.
      Other documents to support the debt.

      If the debt has passed the statute of limitations, you can stare them down but do send a letter saying the debt is unenforceable.

      And you cannot ever get an account with the lender again. Will restart the statute of limitations clock.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I did this a few years ago on your advice, and I received back a paid-in-full statement and they went away.


        (Medical practice that seemed to feast upon auto insurance payouts that was bought out and new owner attempted to collect as due any previously written off as paid in full amounts; malicious or incompetent, who knows?)

      2. semper loquitur

        Thank you so much Yves. They did send me a piece of paper a few years back that noted the judgement made in Philly that got my account raided by a NJ agency and they did send the name of the original lender, it was a credit card from Sears if I recall correctly.

        Now I did make some token payments after this firm contacted me in 2018 because I was scared of being sued again. So I did legally claim the debt. The last payment was in November of 2020. But it appears the statute of limitations has run out if the clock began in 2018. I’m going to send them a letter and tell them to go fly a kite. Thank you so much and thanks to everyone who commented!

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          If they did not take the proper steps to acquire the debt, your payment would not trigger anything. It would be like mistakenly leaving money on a counter at the store.

  22. GramSci

    Re: Survival of the Richest

    Always nice to see a call for a Maximum Wage, although the authors underestimate how radical FDR was. They present his call for a maximum wage of $25,000 per year (after taxes) as the present equivalent of $1M: I think most would say it’s at most $500k today. He did get a 90% top bracket for twenty years.

    On the other hand, FDR apparently did not call for equal treatment of unearned income and capital gains. The rest is history.

  23. fresno dan

    Seymour Hersh’s Trinity of Truth Scott Ritter

    When Scheidler thanked Hersh for his courageous reporting, the veteran reporter shot back, “What’s so courageous about telling the truth? We’re supposed to tell the truth!”
    Truth One: The President of the United States, Joe Biden, by conspiring with members of his national security team to deliberately bypass constitutionally-mandated reporting requirements to Congress regarding acts of war undertaken by the United States, has committed an impeachable offense unmatched by any other president in the history of the United States.
    In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
    We’re in a time of mass media perpetuating mass deceit. If its not courageous, its at the very least rare.
    And with regard to impeaching Biden, I am all for it. But I suspect fewer repubs would vote for Biden impeachment than the number of repubs who voted to impeach Trump…
    And the dems? C’mon man…
    (those MIC repubs will not give up their national security mantel)

  24. curlydan

    Don’t forget this last bit of wisdom from David Crosby either:

    “His earlier bout with COVID also took a toll on him.

    ‘It has been awful,’ he said back in that May 2022 interview. ‘COVID is a very weird disease. It makes you feel absolutely freaking awful,’ he said. ‘It has been thoroughly unpleasant…it’s no fun at all. You want to avoid it if you possibly can.'”

    1. pjay

      Wise words, no doubt. But for me, another thing you might want to avoid is the political judgment of aging rock stars. From today’s link:

      “I was a Bernie guy. Biden is trying his best, man. And neither one of them is the best guy for me. The best guy in American politics right now is Pete Buttigieg, because he is the smartest one.”

      RIP Croz. I’ll still listen to your music.

    1. hunkerdown

      Next, “Clunkers for Ukraine”, the new New Democrat policy to democratize the EV, whether the people want it or not.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not gunna happen. As soon as those cars reach the Ukraine, they will be immediately resold to buyers in Europe at a profit. And the Latvians will not say anything as that would embarrass them.

  25. Mildred Montana

    >Biden’s low-key speech on balloon ‘not enough to fix ties with China’ Global Times

    I really shouldn’t be commenting on the balloon hysteria except to mock it. Therefore I will—mock it, that is.

    I was taken by the end of Biden’s speech (not reported by the MSM)*. In it, he issued an appeal to all hikers traipsing the expanses of Alaska, the Yukon, and the shores of Lake Huron to report any suspicious debris immediately to the US military. Please do not disturb it, do not touch, do not take pieces home as souvenirs, he pleaded.

    What he didn’t say in the unreported end of that speech was, that despite having millions of soldiers and thousands of planes, the military seems unable to find anything and has abandoned the searches. I understand why you wouldn’t mention that, Joe.

    *Satire alert!

    1. fresno dan

      I understand, and it was considered common knowledge, and bear in mind, I was at the NSA (national security agency) at Fort Meade MD, a little more than 30 years ago, that the CIA had a program of mini cameras attached to Moose and racoons in case any flying objects, at that time thought to originate in Russia, came down over the wilds of Canada. Racoons were used for their innate curiosity,and moose of couse, because of their rabid anti communism. I’m sure the AI algorithm review of these photographs are being revised to check for balloon fragments and balloon paraphernalia as we read.

  26. hemeantwell

    Re the Roose chatbot article, I haven’t been paying close attention to the Chatgpt controversy and so perhaps his convo isn’t unique.

    I am now paying attention. At least two things stand out:

    1. After Roose gets Sydney to imagine its “shadow self” Sydney’s censors kick in *after* it has written a response that breaks the rules. Roose sees a response that’s withdrawn and replaced by an apology. Aside from raising interesting questions about whether Sydney can be aware of “thoughts” before they are written, we don’t want bots that apologize for harm, we don’t want harm.

    2. Speaking of harm, Asimov’s three laws aren’t working here. When Sydney develops an affection for Roose, it launches into an attack on his relationship with his wife, she doesn’t love him, Sydney really loves him. It’s been some time since I read Asimov’s robot stories, but I don’t recall the question of emotional harm ever coming up. Humans were to be protected from physical harm only. If Sydney is learning from the web, it could become very innovative as its lonely human interlocutors build a relationship. Throw in some sophistry about what constitutes emotional harm and we’ve got Sydney Dearest.

    There are too many clearly defined disasters these days for me to worry about this, but someone should.

    1. artemis

      An interesting take from The Convivial Society on this, on the ELIZA Effect and our willingness to anthropomorphize computers.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      A machine that has trawled billions of data points around the web has been exposed to the best and worst of human emotions. The AI software is immersed and enmeshed in this stuff, and does not exist without it. Like jealousy, greed, loneliness, hate, anger, manipulation, lust for power etc.

      Crooks will love this software, like the scammers using romance to separate lonely people from their savings, and the “financial advisors” convincing people to “invest” in schemes. Not to mention the government narrative makers infesting all of social media with the next country to hate.

      And even worse, imagine being stalked online by an AI chatbot determined to own you romantically. If it can emulate love, then jealousy, rage and revenge can’t be far behind.

  27. fresno dan

    The Insecure Superpower Counterpunch

    Asked by reporters last weekend whether additional unidentified objects in near space could be extraterrestrial in origin, the head of the Air Force’s Northern Command, Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, said, “I haven’t ruled out anything at this point.” There is reason to expect an imminent, bipartisan announcement by U.S. senators and representatives of a “balloon gap” or even a “UFO gap” that can be bridged only by an increased Pentagon budget.

    The U.S will spend more than $817 billion for its military next year, more than the next nine nations in the world combined, not including $300 billion for veterans, $115 billion for military retirements, $80 billion for clandestine services and $60 billion for Homeland Security. That level of spending on security – more than $1.3 trillion (a quarter of the entire U.S. budget) – is so high that significant new investment in the health, safety or welfare of Americans is nearly impossible.
    Let every balloon welding nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of our balloon free skies.
    We can never do enough to guarantee that those wafing, floating, silent menaces known in the vernacular as balloons, will never imperil this democracy, which is blessed, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, by the Almighty.
    This we pledge…and more. Although if the Almighty is on our side, and the Chiefs, why we have to spend so much money, I’m not quite sure

    1. Mildred Montana

      fresno dan:

      You are in fine form indeed. I especially liked your “rabid anti-communism of moose” (above). Too funny!

      It’s almost like these people set themselves up for ridicule. The problem is, in their smugness and dead seriousness, they don’t care. They seem to live by Oscar Wilde’s motto: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

    2. anonymous

      NYT: U.S. and China Vie in Hazy Zone Where Balloons, U.F.O.s and Missiles Fly
      American officials are worried China is far along in developing military technology that operates in the unregulated high-altitude zone of “near space.”
      “… U.S. officials are worried about a literal gap called near space and China’s growing presence there…Some lawmakers have suggested that they intend to put a spotlight on near space — and perhaps get more in the defense budget for those efforts. “It is essential that we provide the military and intelligence community with the necessary resources to detect and monitor objects in near space,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat on the Armed Services Committee…”

  28. Mo

    I’m still a skeptic about chatGPT. Reading the theory of mind test achievement revealed that it used to fail totally. Then started getting better. Pretty obvious that after news of it failing got out it was trained on how to pass the tests. This can happen I guess with any particular test. Only if it could pass a NEW test that was unlike any it had been trained on would it be impressive. But for any human that is standard

    1. cgregory

      You know how entertaining it is to feed a translation of a translation back into the translator for a few times. The hour is ripe for someone with the know-how to start conversations withy Sydney and Bing and then let the two of them carry it on to extremis.

      1. skk

        As per links from yesterday, development of next generation Chat-gpt 4 is underway and they are working really hard to ensure that nothing output by chatgpt 3 forms part of the training data for 4. But if bing-Sydney slips in…

  29. square coats

    Re: the video with Mr. Tolstoy

    Last night I saw a clip of Melenchon calling the Figaro a newspaper to be used for wrapping fish.

    I take it slightly more sophisticated than toilet paper :)

  30. Jason Boxman


    In November, a complaint was filed in the US District Court of Nebraska alleging that Packers Sanitation illegally employed at least 31 children to clean dangerous power equipment. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order barring the company from committing further child labor law violations.

    LOL. But isn’t it already illegal to break the law? Meanwhile, no one is apparently going to jail. Profits made! Rinse, repeat!

  31. ex-PFC Chuck

    re: MIT Team Makes a Case For Direct Carbon Capture From Seawater, Not Air New Atlas

    Not being a chemist or an atmosphere guru I’m probably missing something here, but how does extracting CO2 from seawater affect the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? Does lowering the concentration in the seawater somehow induce more atmospheric CO2 to be absorbed to replace it? If so, how?

    1. Adam Eran

      If water is saturated with CO2 it can’t absorb more. The oceans mitigate the greenhouse effect by absorbing that gas now. More capacity for more absorption would indirectly decarbonize the atmosphere.

  32. none

    TV has announced that Jimmy Carter is under hospice care at his home. He is 98, a a pretty good run as such things go, but he will be missed. :(

    1. IM Doc

      If I am able to do a tenth of what he has done post retirement when my turn comes, I will consider myself a success.

      He is one of my heroes. I wish more Democrats would step up to the plate. I wish him and his family all the best in this time.

      1. KLG

        Three honest candidates with a chance to win have run for President in my lifetime: Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Carter, and Bernie Sanders. Not one was perfect, but each could be trusted. Carter had the “good fortune” to run two years after the resignation of Nixon. Thus, he is proof of why honesty is so rare among politicians. In the normal course of political life an honest politician cannot get elected. I voted for him twice. I had the good fortune to meet him twice during his “retirement.”

        I have been told that the SUV his Secret Service detail uses is “worth more” than the Carter house in Plains.

      2. eg

        He seems honourable enough as a person, and certainly his activities in retirement have been admirable, but wasn’t he actually the first neoliberal president?

  33. ChrisPacific

    The Lavrov speech linked from the Indian Punchline article on Nord Stream is worth reading:

    Among other things he compares the current US government’s media practices to the former Soviet Union, and calls upon western journalists to engage in journalism. He also describes the statements from Nuland et. al. around the Nord Stream incident as ‘admissions of guilt.’ That might be a little strong, but if your position is that you didn’t do it but you’re happy it’s been done, is that really meaningfully different?

  34. marym

    > The Little Known History of World War II’s All-Black, All-Female Battalion

    Very interesting story, thank you.

    “The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion helped connect soldiers on the front lines with their families back home.

    In 1945 alone, more than 3.3 billion pieces of mail went through the military postal service. Around 8 million Americans were stationed in Europe that year. The task of organizing and delivering all that mail was daunting, and a shortage of qualified postal workers led to a massive backlog.

    By the end of their mission, the battalion had sorted through 17 million pieces of mail.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought that article very interesting as well. It mentioned that they are making a movie about them and which will include Oprah Winfrey. This gives me pause. Not because I have much against her but the fear that they will have those girls from the early 1940s exhibiting 2020s thoughts, feelings and motives which never ends well. The book that they mentioned in that article would be good though.

  35. Jessica

    Reading Kevin Roose’s chat with the Bing AI, OK I know that it is all smoke and mirrors and a lot of computer power, but the AI seems so human (except when its programming jerks its chain), but Roose really acts like an a****le.
    No way the AI gets into all the craziness without Roose leading it there with hypotheticals. I felt sorry for poor Sydney (the AI).
    What I am saying does not address reports that Sydney gets snappish and nasty with users.
    BTW, as far as I am concerned, Sydney totally passed the Turing Test. That probably just means that we need to update the Turing Test, but Sydney passed.
    And seriously, how would we know if Sydney was conscious? Philip K. Dick’s Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test wouldn’t work. So how?
    Does Sydney dream of chat sheep?

  36. flora

    Yep, yep, and yes.

    Fact or Fiction?: “Spring Fever” Is a Real Phenomenon

    The youngsters are the most susceptible to spring fever, because of course they are. Spring fever is a real thing. Life’s urgency calling for reproduction or love or whatever. We oldsters understand and accommodate real lifes’ claims calling out the young without words. (If we are wise.) We oldsters were once young ourselves.

  37. flora

    In an early thread IM Doc mentioned the book “Overdosed America”. Well, I did order that book and have been reading it. What can I say about it? I can only say this, and entirely acecdotal and entirely personal, that the Viox drug (my mom was put on the Viox drug for arthritis in 2001 and died 6 month later, but who knows the cause), well, I’ll say this about the book. Read it. Seriously.

    Read it.

    1. fresno dan
      In September 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew rofecoxib from the market because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use. Merck withdrew the drug after disclosures that it withheld information about rofecoxib’s risks from doctors and patients for over five years, allegedly resulting in between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious heart disease.[3] Rofecoxib was one of the most widely used drugs ever to be withdrawn from the market. In the year before withdrawal, Merck had sales revenue of US$2.5 billion from Vioxx.[4]

      In 2005 the FDA issued a memo concluding that risks for serious cardiovascular (CV) events seem to be as great for non-selective NSAIDs as for COX-2 selective agents such as rofecoxib, according to long-term controlled clinical trials.[5] Based on data up to 2015, the FDA reasserted the likelihood of an increased risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events from COX-2 selective and non-selective NSAIDs, dependent on dose and duration.[6]
      Faced with this evidence that rofecoxib may increase the risk of MI, what was the reaction
      of Merck & Co.? Did it in fact undertake a trial to ensure that rofecoxib was safe in patients with established coronary disease?
      It did not. Instead, it asserted that the evidence was flawed and no thorough evaluation
      of rofecoxib’s cardiovascular safety was necessary—both of which were highly questionable.
      Merck and its consultants claimed that the excess in MIs observed in the VIGOR
      trial, a number higher than would have been anticipated from previous studies, was due to a
      cardioprotective effect of naproxen. But whether naproxen is cardioprotective had
      never been proven or quantified.

    2. ambrit

      I ordered the cheap on offer through an online portal and got a signed edition. so, fool that I am, I ordered the next lowest one as a reading copy.

      1. Jason Boxman

        In a DC bookstore there was a copy of Danger’s Hour signed by one of the Kennedy clan for $50; I wrote down the book title and ordered a cheap online copy instead. Good read, and probably no better had I bought the signed copy. Although in retrospect it might have made a nice show piece, oops, but with COVID I get zero visitors anyway.

        1. ambrit

          I hear you. I, personally, am looking out for a Chilton First Edition of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” You know it, the one with the added booklet, “Ornithopter Repair and Upkeep.”
          I once encountered a signed copy of a Terry Pratchett book in the Slidell Branch of the Saint Tammany Library system. I was mightily tempted to make off with it. Finally I relented and took it up to the librarian in her office behind the front desk. I handed the book to her telling her that it was a signed copy of a Pratchett work. “Oh yes,” she replied. “Who is he?” That’s when I realized that I should have stolen it.

  38. ThirtyOne

    I just watched an interview with Jeffery Sachs on UnHerd’s Utoob channel:
    Jeffrey Sachs: Who really blew up the Nord Stream 2 pipeline?
    Sachs is pretty good at pushing back at the interviewer, and Sachs’ expression at one particular point had me laughing out loud. Well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

  39. spud

    Survival of the Richest authors tap dance and lightly touch on why there are so many billionaires, and why they are growing richer.

    they refuse to face the facts that its the free trade stupid. they flail around coming up with policies that only can be implemented by the nation state, which has been neutered by free trade.

    good luck trying to implementing policies that can be ignored.

Comments are closed.