Links 2/3/2023

Astronomers Say They Have Spotted the Universe’s First Stars Quanta

Landmark vaccine for honeybees Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse)

Christine Lagarde: ECB press conference – introductory statement Bank of International Settlements

In Defense of Globalization Finance & Development, International Monetary Fund

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future (Furzy Mouse):


EPA to study impact of concentrated animal feeding operations on water The Poultry Site


The public health emergency is ending. Covid isn’t. Politico

David Leonhardt and the Emergency of Normal w/ Abby Cartus (01/31/22) (podcast) Death Panel

Why Are So Many Americans Dying Right Now? David Wallace-Wells, NYT. “Instead, perhaps several hundred thousand ‘unexpected’ deaths have been explained only by loose conjecture.” Just lucky, I guess!

* * *

Should COVID Vaccines Be Given Yearly? Scientific American. Should we boost uptake of a vaccine that may be obsolete by the time it’s injected?

The FDA Is Considering a New COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy. Roughly Half the Public Appears to Be OK With It Morning Consult

* * *

The continuing puzzle of defining duration of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity (accepted manuscript) The Journal of Infectious Diseases. “A central property of SARSCoV-2 is that symptoms are a poor metric for infectivity. Yet, the [CDC] guidelines focus on symptoms and not viral load which is destined to result in unnecessarily prolonged isolation for many people while occasionally missing periods of asymptomatic high transmissibility in others. On the other hand, while the guidelines were designed to be as simple as possible, they are not being followed uniformly across all sectors of society.”

Airway Mucus Dysfunction in COVID-19 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. “In autopsy specimens, they found high degrees of production of the secreted airway mucin MUC5B and moderate amounts of MUC5AC. Strikingly, they also found occlusion of ∼50% of the small airways by mucus, as well as widespread aberrant expression of MUC5B within microcysts in damaged alveolar parenchyma. These findings have implications for understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of COVID-19 in particular and of viral pneumonia in general.”


Space power China to build ground stations on Antarctica to support satellites Channel News Asia

China’s Xi Jinping a little sobered by Ukraine war, CIA chief William Burns says South China Morning Post

The Lights Wink Out In Asia The Scholar’s Stage

Inside the global battle over chip manufacturing The Verge

Australia likely to announce its future submarine plans in US next month Andalou Agency

European Disunion

Macron vs the unions: What happens next in France? Agence France Presse

Germany grapples with the limits of pacifism FT

Suspicions of state security set-up in Germany’s far-right ‘coup’ The Gray Zone

How Rod Dreher Caused an International Scandal in Eastern Europe The Bulwark. Hilarious!

Revealed: U.S Secret Military Deployment on British Cyprus Internationalist 360°. Speaking of Cyprus.

Dear Old Blighty

Half a million UK workers strike WSWS

Who’s on strike today? Every date of every UK walkout in 2023 Independent

Britain’s new crypto plans step up competition with EU regulations FT. Makes sense.

UK Investment Ad – sketch Larry & Paul

New Not-So-Cold War

White House Denies Joe Biden Offered to Give Ukrainian Territory to Putin Newsweek but Ukraine can’t retake Crimea soon, Pentagon tells lawmakers in classified briefing Politico. Big Z [genuflects] “furious.”

* * *

US to send Ukraine longer-range bombs in latest turnaround AP. Big Z [genuflects] has said he wants Ukraine to be like “a big Israel.” That means he wants nukes, because of course he does. Why don’t we just cut to the chase?

* * *

In High-Profile Raids, Zelensky Showcases Will to Tackle Corruption NYT. Virtue signaling for “In This House” liberals (plus, probably, score-settling and power shifts). New players will step into the newly vacant positions, and the game will roll on.

Proclamations and promises as the EU caravan rolls into Kyiv FT

Is the U.S. Military Capable of Learning From the War in Ukraine? Foreign Policy

Ukraine dispels the myth of American decline Will Marsall, The Hill. From the Progressive Policy Institute.

South of the Border

Chinese-owned copper mine in Peru may halt production over unrest Reuters. Commentary:

Lula Can’t Tell Vladimir from Volodymyr WaPo. The most PMC headline ever….

Biden Administration

Retired colonel has a theory about why suspected Chinese spy balloon is over Montana (video) CNN. Best headline ever but McCarthy calls for intel briefing on Chinese spy balloon over Montana Politico

A Pyrrhic Victory for Meta Over the FTC? Matt Stoller, BIG

The Supreme Court takes up Section 230 Brookings

The Bezzle

Charlie Munger says the U.S. should follow in China’s footsteps and ban cryptocurrencies CNBC

* * *

ChatGPT May Be the Fastest Growing App in History Gizmodo.

Cathie Wood says AI will power the ‘most massive productivity increase in history’ Yahoo Finance. Given that increased bullshit = increased GNP, certainly.

Microsoft injects AI into Teams so no one will ever forget what the meeting decided The Register. “[A]utomatically generated meeting notes.” I love it. I wonder how long before somebody figures out how to game the minutes….

AI Goes to K Street: ChatGPT Turns Lobbyist IEEE Spectrum. Is there anything this wonder engine cannot do:

AI Looks Like a Bubble Every. “Bubble” is a bit off-point because it ignores the fraudulent aspect. “Bezzle” is better.

Police State Watch

Yikes (guurst):

I’ll be waiting for the good cops to step forward and condemn this. Speaking of good cops:


29 physician specialties ranked by 2022 burnout rates Becker’s Hospital Review. #1: Emergency Medicine.

Zeitgeist Watch

The Fukushima Exclusion Zone Is Becoming a Fossil Bed of Lost JDM Cars The Drive. Sounds like a great premise for the next William Gibson trilogy.

Why Is the Floor of the Oculus Already Crumbling? New York Magazine

Class Warfare

MRI scans reveal disparate impact of poverty and other ‘toxic stress’ on brains of Black children STAT

Managing Decline Rational Reflections. Of firms, not empires.

Shellfish Monopolists The Age of Invention. English Parliament of 1621.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas per Bing Crosby)

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Saigon
    All across Ukraine
    When you hear choppers up on the roof
    That’s all you will need as proof
    That everything has finally gone to Hell

    It’s beginning to look a lot like failure
    Things that weren’t planned for
    Like two hundred thousand men
    Who aren’t coming home again
    To their own front door

    We played it fast and loose and extremely obtuse
    And we always doubled down
    Now it’s time to take stock, ipso facto, post hoc
    And get our butts out of town
    We mustn’t be late to close the gate then watch the locals drown!

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Kabul
    A schizoid tornado
    Go round up all our personnel
    It’s time for our big farewell
    There’s too much blood on all this frozen snow

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Ukraine
    Won’t survive beyond
    This war that the Russians bring —
    That’s already happening
    And we can’t respond

    musical interlude

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Saigon
    Another splendid little war
    But it’s looking like Dien Bien Phu
    And there’s nothing we can do
    There’ll be no encore

    What was all this for?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Nice work. To answer your last question – was all about the new swimming pools and paying the private school tuition for those Beltway MIC bandits.

      Don’t cry for them, they’ll find another war to start once the Russians take Kiev.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        To add my own attempt at parody, perhaps best described as doggerel:

        (Sung to the tune of “twistin’ by the pool” by Dire Straits)

        We’re gonna sell some drones today, yeah!
        Gonna bomb a village from a small chalet
        Proxy wars – magnifico!
        You know the cost of killing’s so low


        Yeah! (Yeah) It’s gonna be so neat
        Dance! (Dance) to the beltway beat
        Yeah! (Yeah) it’s gonna be so cool
        Grifting by the, just a-grifting’ by the,
        By the pool

        Sitting’ in a small cafe, yeah
        Swing-swing-swinging with defense stock plays
        Wanna see a movie? Catch a show
        Insider trading like a mofo!

        Repeat Chorus


        And we can spread misinformation
        Lyin’ all about inflation
        No dictators gonna be out of reach
        Send a car bomb, from the beach
        From the beach, from the beach, from the beach!
        A one, a two , a wanna two a three a four a boom!

  2. fresno dan

    Ukraine dispels the myth of American decline Will Marsall, The Hill. From the Progressive Policy Institute.
    Its like the guy never heard of Afghanistan.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Maybe the point is that US trained and armed forces are surviving longer in Ukraine than they did in Afghanistan? So, no decline.

      1. OIFVet

        Perhaps not the best argument if one considers (1) Soviet legacy effect on Ukraine armed forces and (2) the Afghan armed forces trained by the Soviets survived far, far longer following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan than the US-trained forces did following US withdrawal. Talking about years vs. days, respectively…

        1. Mildred Montana

          Everyone knew ten years ago that the President of Afghanistan was nothing more than the Mayor of Kabul, living under the umbrella of US protection, with no control of the country outside of it.

          Everyone that is, except the US military “geniuses”, who thought that it would take the Taliban eighteen months to assume control of the country. In the event, as you say, it was a matter of days.

          This excerpt from Wiki is funny, if only unintentionally so:

          “The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on 15 August [2021] and [President Ashraf] Ghani was deposed. That day, Ghani left Afghanistan with his wife and two close aides to Uzbekistan as the Taliban captured Kabul. The Arg, the presidential palace, was captured a few hours later by the group. Afghan officials stated that Ghani had left the presidential palace Sunday morning to go to the US embassy. He has since been described as the former president. A senior cabinet minister said that Ghani fled to Tajikistan, however it was then claimed that he landed in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.

          “Later that day, Ghani wrote on his Facebook that he thought it was better for him to leave in order to avoid bloodshed and called on the Taliban to protect civilians and said the Taliban now faced a “historic test”. On 18 August 2021, the United Arab Emirates acknowledged that Ghani and his family were in that country for “humanitarian considerations.” He was granted stay by the government on humanitarian grounds.”

          As I said, that’s too funny! Ghani knew his a** was on the line and after the US evacuation he promptly fled to a series of sanctuaries. Despite the false assurances of his US protectors, he knew better and eventually landed in the UAE. For “humanitarian considerations”.

          Funny, that word “humanitarian'”. The only human beings collaborator Ghani cares about are himself and his family. But then the powerful will protect the powerful, for any made-up reason.

      2. ChrisFromGA

        But, it took 20 years for the US trained forces to lose in Afghanistan. We haven’t even made it a year yet in Ukraine. Still plenty of time to fail faster.

        1. Wukchumni

          An oldie but a goodie from the 17th year of the war…

          1, 2, 3, 4

          Well the war was now seventeen
          You know what I mean
          And the way it looked
          Was way beyond repair

          So how could we depart & have conflict with another
          Oh, when KBR had standing there
          Well Halliburton looked at fees
          And they, they could see
          That before too long
          They’d fall in love de rigueur
          They wouldn’t dalliance with another
          Oh, when they had standing there

          Well war profits went boom
          When we crossed into the ‘stan box room
          And they held their hands out every time

          Oh they danced through the night
          And they held their money tight
          And before too long
          They fell in love with war

          Now why be a sutler with another
          Oh, when they had standing there
          Well the war profits went boom
          When we crossed that Rubicon into doom
          And they held their hands out each time

          Oh they danced through the night
          And they held onto to manna tight
          And before too long
          They fell in love with war
          Now why have a dalliance with another
          Oh, when they have standing there
          Oh, since they have standing there
          Yeah, well as long as they have standing there

          I Saw Her Standing There, by the Beatles

          1. Susan the other

            Has anybody else seen Woody Allen’s “What’s Up Tiger Lilly?” Somebody should do a blog that dubs new lyrics into old songs. And give the artists their royalties to keep it legit.

    2. Bosko

      It’s no wonder people are so propagandized about Ukraine, when people like that are given a platform to share their idiotic ideas. Absolutely insipid.

    3. pjay

      The “Progressive” Policy Institute – spawn of the old Democratic Leadership Council. Another gift of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party – which is now just the Democratic Party. “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery…”

      1. ambrit

        “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery…..Hillary is President.”

        “Dread Cthulhu, we invoke you.”
        “Hear our pleas.”
        “Lead us out of the Promised (to Others) Land.”
        “We are not the Consumers,”
        “We are the Consumed.”
        “Come, consume us Dread Lord.”

    4. paddy


      how long the russians play with the ukraine army full of dolars is irrelevant, other lessons to see!

      usa learned nothing from the debacles associated with deploying to the balkans in late 1990’s.

      and ukraine is far a longer tote!

      f-16, abrams, bradleys, and the air land battle structure are 50 year old tech spec’ed to fight a ‘collapsing front’ war in germany!

      canx f-35, the ford class, shutter b-21 and ground b-1 and b-2. put more $$ in a-10.

      $20 trilion $$ military too much unaccounted and largely wrong for any missions.

  3. griffen

    EPA to study the impact of concentrated feedlots on water quality. I do not work for the government or the EPA, but if memory serves there were or have been frequent instances of fish kills in the Neuse River of North Carolina. I think that tells any casual observer all you need to know. Fish kills would happen, primarily because this was downstream from many hog farm operations in the rural eastern and southeastern portions of North Carolina.

    Hey it’s your government at work. Seems like others are doing the hard work to stay on top of these things. Up next, the EPA will study the long term impacts of lead in your drinking water.

    1. Wukchumni

      Its worse than you know, Superfund sites have all dropped the ‘d’ and work has been started on 6 Flags Over Love Canal, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Golf Course, Coeur d’Alene Basin Cleanup Hitter Field of Dreams, Rocky E Flats Bluegrass Festival, and others.

      1. griffen

        Golf courses may be about the only suitable but limited reuse when it comes to an old landfill. Dallas did just that in the past decade or so. The US pros would play an annual golf tournament there (Byron Nelson event) but have since moved onward to a nearby location in McKinney, Texas, that was better suited. It is weird to build a private club on top of one.

        1. Wukchumni

          The dump in West Covina we went to when I was a lad, is now covered up in a subdivision of homes, and there are 3 or 4 other similar locales in LA i’m aware of, where regardless of your home’s condition, it’s a dump.

          Given a choice of buying a new home on top of a dump, or one that isn’t, seems like a no brainer.

        2. JTMcPhee

          My hobby is building and flying radio controlled and mostly electric-powered model airplanes. The FAA has just done a solid for Amazon, UPS an various other established and startup delivery operations. I used to be able to take my planes to a nearby sports park and fly when the space was not being used by teams, or to open areas north of Tampa which were being “developed” before the houses were in. A lull of years ago, FAA required that all “unmanned aerial vehicle” operators had to get a license of sorts and register all their “drones” which include little toy-sized quadcopters that kids have fun with. And label these flying machines with the name and contact info and registration number of the “operator.” There was a mandate that I could not fly above 400 feet above the ground, and eventually had to log into a startup’s web site where we must check to be sure no local operations would be “endangered” by my 2-pound plane.

          But since the Big Guys wand unimpeded use of all of the nation’s airspace, FAA now requires that every newly manufactured UAV has to have a “remote ID” system aboard, that can’t be easily disabled, that eventually will report through privatized local networks on the name and personal ID and precise location of the operator and the “drone.” Supposedly because “safety,” but the safety record of UAV operations is many orders of magnitude better than human-piloted or commercial operations in the airspace.

          So now I am limited to flying at a space rented by the club I belong to, which happens to be atop an old landfill, like the other local club about 8 miles away in St. Petersburg. And if we lose the lease there, eventually there will be no place for me and my club mates to indulge our little hobby. Maybe “brownfields redevelopment” sprung from the Superfund program which I worked in while an attorney at the US EPA, will be the salvation of my hobby? Nope, developers of golf courses and water parks and such have their sights set on these spots. So keep your eyes on the sky — delivery drones will soon be dropping packages and falling from above. But at least you all won’t have to worry about little model airplanes and tiny drones flown by kids interfering with your deliveries. In even the tiniest wat.

      2. jhallc

        Golf courses, soccer fields, and solar farms are far better uses for old landfills once capped and gas issues can be managed. Building homes or schools on top are one the worst ideas.

      1. LawnDart

        And as long as we’re on the topic of craping on the environment, here’s a nice graphic from Visual Capitalist:

        The Scale of Global Fossil Fuel Production

        Fossil fuels have been our predominant source of energy for over a century, and the world still extracts and consumes a colossal amount of coal, oil, and gas every year.

        This infographic visualizes the volume of global fossil fuel production in 2021 using data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

        Kind of a s#!tty idea, but I wonder if it is possible to do something similar with poop?

    2. John

      I remember the first time I drove in the vicinity of one of those waste “lagoons” and gagged. The smell was all but other worldly. I’m surprised there are still fish in the Neuse.

    3. nippersdad

      And The Waters Turned To Blood, by Rodney Barker, about Pfiesteria piscida outbreaks due to those hog lagoons in NC, came out in 1997. As you say, they aren’t exactly burning the candles at both ends looking for a way to remedy the situation.

    4. Mark Gisleson

      Had some EPA lab tech referrals back in the day. If the EPA gave each lab employee one hour a day to work on their own projects, they’d find cause to remove half the polysyllabic ingredients from our processed foods in no time. But govt promotions go to the obedient and loyal servants, not the actual science people.

    5. Chas

      The problem is farms just keep getting bigger and bigger. Fifty years ago a farmer only had to get big or get out. Now the farmer has to get gigantic or get out. What’s needed is a new guiding philosophy, maybe get small or get out.

      1. ambrit

        The poultry farms are showing us “the way” ahead. Massive die offs of livestock at factory farms is the natural end game here. What else are these factory farms but giant infection breeding facilities?

    6. agent ranger smith

      How much hard work can EPA do after years of being downfunded, many scientists driven out, many political commissars and agents and moles installed, etc.?

  4. Wukchumni

    House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday night called for a briefing of the “Gang of Eight” — the group of lawmakers charged with reviewing the nation’s most sensitive intelligence information — following reports of a Chinese spy balloon flying over Montana.

    “China’s brazen disregard for U.S. sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent,” McCarthy tweeted. “I am requesting a Gang of Eight briefing.”

    Would the Gang of Four hide in my beautiful balloon
    Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
    We could float among the red states together, you and I
    For we can fly, we can fly

    Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon

    The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
    It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
    We can do surveillance and sail along the silver sky
    For we can fly, we can fly

    Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon

    Suspended under a light canopy
    We’ll use GPS to guide us
    If by some chance you find something a satellite can’t see
    We’ll find a cloud to hide us
    We’ll keep the earth below us

    Intrigue is waiting there in my beautiful balloon
    Way up in the air in my beautiful balloon
    If it never lands we’ll chase your dream across the sky
    For we can, verify

    Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
    CCP balloon
    Up, up, and away

    Up, Up and Away, by the 5th Dimension

    1. The Rev Kev

      It could have been worse. The Chinese could have painted it so as to make it look like the Star Wars Death Star. That would have been hilarious that. As it is, the damn thing is flying near the edge of space. Sure there is a lot of outrage as the Chinese tweak DC’s collective noses but if called out on it, I am sure that the Chinese would say that that balloon is a helluva lot further away than a US Navy warship sailing through the Taiwan Strait or a US recon plane flying up to the Chinese border while its transponder identifies it was a civilian airliner. Here is Larry Johnson’s take-

      1. Carolinian


        I think the Chinese are testing the definition of what constitutes acceptable overhead surveillance and may be trying to create a predicate for destroying our satellites if we go after their balloons. The United States has long resisted any legal definition of outer space to avoid restrictions on high-altitude military activities. Advances on the technological front involving satellites and other aerial collection systems has created a very murky area that is not defined by law or treaty when it comes to intelligence collection. At least none that I am aware of.

        Just another episode of It’s Ok When We Do It. Hegemons have a hard life.

          1. Old Sarum

            Re the sub-space force (“Oh the humanity”):

            I’m sure the Red Army choir would have made a better job of that song.


    2. kramshaw

      It’s a good thing for the Chinese that the balloon isn’t a double-amputee, otherwise I’m sure the US would have been able to bring it down by now.

      1. John

        A balloon over Montana perhaps snapping photos of Big Sky, Spanish Peaks, and the Yellowstone Club. Am I incorrect to assume said balloon will drift east hoovering up vital secrets along the way. Perhaps even plumbing the essence of our precious bodily fluids.

        Every nation and corporation spies on its competitors … and its friends. This is somehow different, unique, worthy of even a small kerfuffle in the perpetual news cycle? Why do I doubt that?

        1. Wukchumni

          The powers that be all stress the great danger involved in taking down a balloon flying way up there in the outer limits, said danger being that further propaganda efforts by the main stream media would be for naught.

          1. ambrit

            Being that it is that high, up in the atmosphere, shouldn’t that be “Jet Stream Media?”
            [It is “Black Ops History Month” after all.]

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        DC really has their knickers in a twist. My guess is they are grasping at anything to play to countries outside of the EU and Canada that the US isn’t an imperial power.

        Beware the Chinese balloon! I’m sure VoA is going to have stories out soon asking if Roswell could have been a Chinese balloon.

        Of course, Biden and the rest of the gerontocracy could just be going through depends so fast there is a shortage in the DC area suppliers just can’t keep up with.

        1. nvt

          In fact, intercontinental balloons have been designed and used for attacks between Asia and the US. During World War II, Japan launched incendiary ballons in a program called Fu-Go. They travelled on the jet-stream using high-tech ballast systems. 9300 balloons were launched and about 10% reached the US. On May 5, 1945, six civilians were killed near Bly, Oregon, when they discovered one of the balloon bombs in Fremont National Forest, becoming the only fatalities from enemy action in the continental U.S. during the war.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Apparently Blinken is canceling his visit to Taiwan because of this balloon although they call it a delay-

        ‘Blinken and President Joe Biden decided it was “best not to proceed with the trip at this time,” AP reported quoting a State Department official. The determination was made “just hours” before Blinken was due to board the plane.

        The visit had been arranged by Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia last November, and was due to be Blinken’s first trip to Beijing since 2020.’

        1. SocalJimObjects

          To Taiwan or Mainland China? If a couple of balloons are what it takes, then the Chinese has certainly figured out a cheaper way to discourage further visits from DC people to Taiwan. Massive military drills no longer needed.

    3. Milton

      We seem to have reverted to around the first world War as far as employing the latest in tech and information. Major military operations are being waged viabtrench warfare; the primary prescription for inflation, due to workforce contraction and supply chain constraints, is to reduce spending and tighten money, and super secret espionage is done with balloons rather than spy satellites.

      1. Louis Fyne

        A balloon in the stratosphere is incredibly difficult to shoot down as it doesn’t give off a big radar reflection, maybe one can get a lucky shot as the sunlight heats up one side of the balloon.

        If that balloon wasn’t detected by an ordinary civilian, it is quite possible that the Pentagon would not have made a public admission of the balloon.

        For all we know this was the 10th balloon overflight.

        Though why the Chinese are using balloons when they have satellites and a space station. Maybe it was a weather balloon, maybe it’s a spy flight, maybe the Chinese are just trolling the US Air Force.

        1. LifelongLib

          I did a quick web search to find the merits of balloons vs satellites, and didn’t find much except that balloons are a lot cheaper so you can send more of them. Also (I assume) balloons are more maneuverable — they’re riding the wind rather than orbiting, so maybe they’re easier to move to a specific target?

          1. Michaelmas

            I did a quick web search to find the merits of balloons vs satellites, and didn’t find much except that balloons are a lot cheaper so you can send more of them.

            They actually have serious advantages in some respects over satellites in that:

            (1) LEO satellites have to whiz by in orbit far quicker, whereas balloons loiter and pick up far more detail;

            (2) Geosynchronous/geostationary satellites can be hung over one terrestrial location, but they have to orbit some 35,000 kms (23,000 miles) out from Earth. So, again, they pick up a lot less detail.

            That said, the Chinese may well have wanted to tempt the US to shoot down this balloon so that the legal protocols about when it’s okay to shoot down a LEO satellite get subsequently fudged.

            China has been making clear forcefully for some time — like two decades now — that it’s got the wherewithal to knock down US satellites en masse if push comes to shove. This would be more than a matter of surveillance, but about demolishing the connectivity the US military depends upon to fight at that distance across the Pacific.

    4. fresno dan

      Some would say this is just a lot of hot air….
      but not me! People, people! The Chinese can control The WIND! Do you know what this means???
      Our kite flying industry is in peril!!!! Sure, most of the kites actually come from China, but that is ear elephant. And think how a whole generation, bereft of kite flying, will be so traumatized that they will lose the competitive spirit that powers our free market system and our faith in our electoral system. The horror….

      1. Wukchumni

        Like many, I emulated Ben Franklin-but not to the point of holding metal during a lightning storm while flying a kite, and besides there was no internet when we were young, how would the world learn of our foolishness?

        A tail of two city states, one where everything is made and the other where threats made are everything.

  5. griffen

    If ARKK investor Cathie Wood tells us the sky is blue, then I might believe her. Otherwise, I will take the opposing side of any investment thesis this overly hyped individual professes to believe will be true in the future. A broken clock that was right once, when remote work and being fully equipped to execute work meetings in the pajamas and execute professional documents while riding on a Peloton all came to fruition in 2020.

    Added, even if a Munger or a Buffett said as much about the powerful change of AI on productivity increases I would still doubt it.

    1. Not Again

      i asked Open AI to write a manifesto for a general strike

      This entire passage was just a bunch of gibberish and buzz words. It read like an AOC tweet but without the typos.

      By next year, ChatGPT will announce for president and ask us each to donate $27.

      1. wendigo

        I finally was able to log onto open ai.

        I asked how increased productivity improves things for the average worker.

        I called bs when it said increased productivity would lead to more free time for employees of publicly traded companies.

        It replied with Patagonia as an example of a publicly traded company that uses productivity to increase free time for its employees.

        After apologizing for saying Patagonia was a public company I got a few more apologies for its errors, ending with

        ” I apologize if my previous responses were not to your satisfaction. As a language model , I aim to provide neutral and accurate information based on the data and knowledge I was trained on, without any intention of putting a positive or negative spin on the information.”

        Then it went on about how some companies may choose to alocate the benefits of increased productivity in different ways.

        I asked if Elon Musk was one of its founders.

        Nope, just a donor and not involved in the founding of openai, which operates independently from any individual or organization, including Elon Musk.

      2. Louis Fyne

        ChatGPT is very good in scenarios where (a) the answers and questions fall into a very limited universe (customer call center, taking a food order) or (b) the answers involve collating from established tropes (manifestos, children’s stories, a 80’s sitcom episode).

        For are any Star Trek TNG fans out there, the best analogy for ChatGPT is this scene from a season 3 episode where the gang are in the Holodeck battling Moriarty

        PULASKI: Fraud. You didn’t deduce anything. All you did was recognise elements from two different Holmes stories. Fraud.

        DATA: Reasoning. From the general to the specific. Is that not the very definition of deduction? Is that not the way Sherlock Holmes worked?

        PULASKI: Variations on a theme. Now, now do you see my point? All that he knows is stored in his memory banks. Inspiration, original thought, all the true strength of Holmes is not possible for our friend. I’ll give you credit for your vast knowledge, but your circuits would just short out if confronted by a truly original mystery. It’s elementary, dear Data.

  6. Wukchumni

    Since my 2nd Covid go round, I have been the minister of mucus, prince of phlegm, air apparent when I blow my nose, and recent investor in Kleenex going long…

    Airway Mucus Dysfunction in COVID-19 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. “In autopsy specimens, they found high degrees of production of the secreted airway mucin MUC5B and moderate amounts of MUC5AC. Strikingly, they also found occlusion of ∼50% of the small airways by mucus, as well as widespread aberrant expression of MUC5B within microcysts in damaged alveolar parenchyma. These findings have implications for understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of COVID-19 in particular and of viral pneumonia in general.”

  7. timbers

    That means he wants nukes, because of course he does. Why don’t we just cut to the chase?

    But Zelensky was pictured wearing a suit not fatigues above the narrative of wanting nukes. So it’s OK. Because he’s a serious professional not a plucky crafty Fidel Castro type. He’s One Of Us.

    1. Paradan

      He should go before congress in a suit of plate mail…”This is what we’ve been reduced too, without your help!”

      On his shield he could have a penis hanging over a piano, with a sinister volant dollar sign.

  8. timbers

    Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to be ‘a big Israel.’ Here’s a road map.

    It may be that Russia – not Ukraine – will need to adopt some policies similar to the Israelis regarding keeping her people safe. At least until such time the West stops arming Ukraine with aggressive weapons for the express purpose of attacking Russian people.

    Those similar policies would be a proactive policy of destroying weapons in the new borders of Ukraine that could threaten Russia, and creating new borders at logical geographic posts, such as the Dnieper river.

    The Dnieper river is proving a useful border for Russia in the south at keeping Ukraine soldiers at bay, and can preform the same function in the middle and north only more so given it widens when moving north. For this and other reasons, there is a plethora of highly beneficial reasons for Russia to use the Dnieper as a border and to permanently cut river pf crossings.

    1. hk

      Ukraine as the new West Bank (of the Dnieper)? That is the “Greater Israel,” isn’t it? Clearly, Z misspoke.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The Fukushima Exclusion Zone Is Becoming a Fossil Bed of Lost JDM Cars”

    If you think that this is cool, check out this short video on an abandoned Toyota dealership in Varosha, Cyprus that was abandoned in the 1974 Turkish invasion and now is in an neutral zone- (2:22 mins)

    Bonus points because unlike the Fukushima cars, you do not have to wear lead pants before sitting in one of them.

  10. David

    The framing of the AFP story about Macron and pensions is misleading. The trades unions have taken the lead in organising the protests because they have the resources and the organisational ability. But only about 10% of the workforce in France is unionised, and opposition to Macron on this issue goes far beyond their ranks. By my own observation, the majority of the protesters on Tuesday were not union members: many were students, or even retired people. What can be said, and this is positive, is that the unions are actually working together in a common front. This isn’t always the case, and there have been bitter rivalries in the past, linked to the historical differences between the Marxist and non-Marxist Left.

    Meanwhile, the legislation is starting to inch its way through parliament, in the face of literally thousands of amendments put down by the opposition, and nervousness from LR, the main right-wing group, about being seen to be too close to Macron. Elisabeth Borne, the Prime Minister, was on TV last night try to justify the proposals: she’s a charisma-free technocrat at the best of times, and I doubt whether she convinced a single viewer.

    Meanwhile, check back on Saturday 11 February, when large demonstrations are planned throughout the country, giving those who couldn’t sacrifice a day’s pay earlier the chance to show their opinions. A really big turnout could put considerable extra pressure on the government, but even more on the precarious support of LR for the plans.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for your reports.

      And if Macron campaigned on this and has always said he was going to then how does he endure? France sounds like the ultimate example of divide and conquer–a “democracy” that produces leaders that most voters don’t like. Should we blame their media (like here)?

      1. David

        Macron was elected in spite of, rather than because of, his “reform” plan. He was able to convince the French, yet again, and probably for the last time, that they should turn out and vote for him as the lesser evil than Le Pen. Even then, half the electorate stayed at home.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Space power China to build ground stations on Antarctica to support satellites”

    I suppose that any space-faring country is going to need a global network of ground stations for their program. And since the Swedes shut down on them, having ground stations built in Antarctica would only seem logical. But if some people are going to get paranoid over it, I volunteer Australia to be a place where they can set up a ground station. How about at Pine Gap?

    1. ambrit

      China can cut out a lot of the cost and lease space at the Fourth Reich communications hub in New Schwabenland.
      (I have heard another “secret” base in Antarctica called “New Charles Schwab-land” bu that properly is a facility of the Fifth Reich.)

        1. ambrit

          Ouch! A dozen lashes with a wet rice noodle for you!
          Plus, if the Fifth Reich gets the contract, cue up the ‘jokes,’ (we’ve heard them all before,) about “frozen assets.”

            1. Synoia

              The Penguins in the Antarctic will be corralled into increasingly smaller and smaller areas, to follow the example of Israel.

  12. RabidGandhi

    As much as he deserves a good dunking, I’m not sure the change to Dreher’s Blog is the Gotcha moment author Balázs Gulyás claims it is.

    A few days ago when I first read the headline that Orbán said ‘We are at war with Russia’, I did a double-take because I was surprised to see the Hungarian PM echoing the same bat-familyblog crazy war talk as his Atlantacist nemeses Baerbock and Borrell. And indeed, a look at the context showed Orbán was in fact taking the opposite stance: The EU/Nato are in a war with Russia and Orbán wants no part of it. So Dreher’s original blogpost was unclear and its headline misleading of the actual context. Yet Gulyás would have us believe not that Dreher fixed the post due to the ensuing misunderstanding, but rather ÁVH agents from Orbán’s ‘autocratic’ ‘regime’ prevailed upon Dreher to change his copy (‘Dreher quickly accommodated to the requirements the Orbán regime…’). But where is the evidence of this?

    And even if Dreher’s textual changes were dictated by the government, where is the substantial change in meaning? Gulyás cites the revised blog as saying Orbán doesn’t want Hungary in the EU but it has no other alternative. How is that different to the original text he quotes (‘Someone asked the prime minister if he wanted Hungary to stay in the EU. “Definitely not!” he said, adding that Hungary has no choice…’)?

    I am certainly sympathetic to the idea that Dreher’s tune depends on his funders (and I did not do a thorough scouring of the differences between the original and revised blogposts– that’s Gulyás’ homework). But Gulyás needs more than circumstantial evidence of funding and a few non-conclusive quotes to actually convince me that it is a ‘hilarious’ scandal.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I stopped reading almost immediately. I fear that the substandard bilge pumped out by US propagandists has horribly diluted the quality of propaganda around the world. The author clearly cannot wait to begin assassinating the character of peripheral players (the Hungarian press corps), and is so heavy on the insinuendos that the piece is unreadable (at least to me as I am triggered by poorly written invective).

      I do get that Orban is a “bad guy,” but I must admit that I have trouble taking his critics seriously when everything is so over the top. But at least Hungarians have some family values. Had an American psyop specialist written this, I’m sure there would have been allegations of Orban and Putin sittin’ in a tree…

      1. pjay

        This article appears on Bill Kristol’s neocon rag, so yeah, there just *might* be an agenda there.

        I don’t doubt Dreher might have been led to change his original post for being a little too, um, honest.
        I’m just glad I live in a country where our media is free and would never change, distort, or kill a story due to political pressure! Guys like Orban hate us for our freedoms.

      2. Milton

        Just wondering what makes Orban a “bad guy”? Is he uniquely bad or just one of many when compared with other EU “leaders”.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I’m still trying to figure that out. Wasn’t he widely accused of being a fascist by Western media? [A quick google indicates my memory is still working fine]

        2. Kouros

          His and his party’s policies are a tad to populist and nationalist. Small pickings of the top for the Illuminati.

        3. spud

          orban did the unthinkable, he kicked out the parasites feeding on his people.

          Viktor Orbán and his centre-right Fidesz party won Hungary’s April 2010 parliamentary elections in a landslide, running on a nationalist-populist platform of economic self-rule. This paper explores Hungary’s financial nationalist turn and its surprisingly successful resistance to IMF and EU pressures to change course…

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks RG for a deeper dive than mine below. Some of us may know little about Hungary but have long experience at reading between the lines.

      As for Dreher, he has certainly bigfooted TAC. However almost all of their good articles come from other people.

    3. JohnA

      I was especially amused by this bit:
      “Since Rod Dreher grew up in the United States, he didn’t know that in an autocratic country like Orbán’s Hungary, friendly agents in the media (I’m intentionally eschewing the word “journalist”) are not allowed to write down and publish exactly what they heard if it goes against the interests of their politicians/employers.”

      If the author is right, the word journalist should also be eschewed for pretty much every member of western mainstream media.
      Propaganda by omission is a staple of western media coverage.

  13. Lex

    “largely due to the fact that nations, not sharing universal values, or political and economic systems based on such values in common, are expanding their influences, thereby manifesting risks around the globe.” From the Japanese National Security document (lights went out in Asia link)

    If the values are universal, how can they not be shared by everyone?

    1. hunkerdown

      Universality: Fake it ’til you make it (or the crusade has completed, whichever comes first)

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Germany grapples with the limits of pacifism”

    I don’t think that the authoress – Katja Hoyer – has been really keeping up on current events. Pacifism was working. With it, Germany had access to cheap Russian energy which fueled their economy and making it a major player. And then German leadership hopped on the war wagon. The Russian demands were relatively mild in relation to the Ukraine. No joining NATO so that tactical nukes would be stationed on their territory and stop killing Russian speakers in the east. And that was the basic for the Minsk 2 agreements. But instead, German leadership helped the Ukraine arm themselves for this fight by giving the Ukrainians political cover – as did France. And because of this flight from pacifism, there is this very destructive war, over 170,000 people are dead, Germany is being de-industrialized as they cut themselves off from cheap Russian energy, their leadership has shown themselves to consist of lying warmongers, they find themselves being dragged into this war and as Putin has just said in Stalingrad, once more Russian soldiers are facing German tanks in the Ukraine. So what exactly were the limits of pacifism being tested here?

    1. magpie

      Good observations. Media sneering at and patronizing military restraint shows how deeply the lust for militarism runs in the west, especially in our ‘centrist’ English-speaking press.

      1. Irrational

        Oh, there is plenty of lust for militarism in the German-speaking press, too.
        To the point that Scholz practically got “tank-shamed” into sending those Leopards.
        The most superb irony was when they lamented that hate could not be allowed to take hold at the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, clearly meaning Russia when all they had to do was hold up a mirror!

  15. Lexx

    ‘Why Are So Many Americans Dying Right Now?’

    “We still don’t really grasp the entire spectrum and breadth of disease yet,” the Yale immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki told me. “We are still learning.”

    You would think the scary part of this article were the number of excess excess deaths, but for me it was that statement. The constant reminder that if we ‘don’t really grasp the entire spectrum’ of disease, then we can’t say definitely when someone is ‘perfectly healthy’. We can only say there’s no evidence of detectable quantifiable disease as we understand it, if someone thinks to look, and that’s what we’re calling “healthy”.

    And then there are the ‘known knowns’ no one thought to mention. I went back to tracking my blood sugar on a higher dose of metformin to see if I could bring the numbers under 100. The higher dose seemed to have no effect, if anything glucose was a bit higher. Then I did something to my finger (again) that my NA prescribed prednisone for until I can get in to see ortho. It turns out I’m allergic to prednisone. I found this out because I wasn’t taking benadryl every day (through allergy season) this time (unlike the first two times). Front loading benadryl masked the effects, usually mad itchiness. But if that wasn’t evidence enough, there were the glucose numbers that shot up with every new dose of prednisone until I figured it out myself.

    At no time has a health care professional said to me, ‘Look, blood sugar isn’t just dependent on what you’re eating or in what order. All kinds of things will drive blood sugar higher or lower… cortisol, for example.’ I’m standing there staring at the glucose monitor that says ‘178’, thinking ‘I had a piece of chicken for dinner four hours ago, WTH?!’ That there about ‘other factors’ would have been some useful information (in the form of counseling), but of course that would have required some of their valuable time more profitably spent elsewhere.

    So here we are with our ‘perfect health’ or ‘dreaded disease’ being defined for us by an industry that’s barely paying attention to what happens once we walk back out the door… next patient, please! We arrive for our appointments wearing combat boots and armed with Dr. Google and every other resource we can get hold of to diagnosis ourselves, before our paid professionals kill us with their overworked inattention. We may not be doctors but I’m pretty sure I’ll have earned an honorary degree in medicine before I die, possibly later to be counted as one of those ‘excess’ deaths. ‘Cause of death?’ ‘ Not sure, she seems perfectly healthy… just write down ‘covid’.’

    1. anahuna

      You might be interested to know that prednisone can raise blood levels associated with diabetes for up to six months after you stop taking it. Google provides a number articles about this effect. I ran across one after suddenly testing positive for diabetes for the first time in my life. I couldn’t really believe it. Then I read about the prednisone effect and realized I’d had a two-week treatment (also for the first time) a few months before.

      1. Lexx

        Good point. On Tuesday I was up to 178, by Thursday morning (sans prednisone, plus benadryl) I was down to 106. Quickly corrected but I need to gather more information. The aunt I was named after was on this path, allergic to everything she took. She was also an alcoholic, whereas I rarely drink. No clinical signs of a non-alcoholic fatty liver either.

        I suspect something is going on with my immune system on a low-symptom continuous basis. The symptoms of a third drug allergy moves me into the category of ‘Multiple Drug Hypersensitivity’ and back in an allergist’s office. I broached the subject of drug desensitization there before, some five years back. I thought they looked uncomfortable. Maybe that’s a specialty within a specialty.

        1. Michaelmas

          @ Lexx

          Setting aside the dysfunctional/dystopian features of the US for-profit “healthcare system” for a moment, you write: –

          (1) You would think the scary part of this article were the number of excess excess deaths, but for me it was that statement. The constant reminder that if we ‘don’t really grasp the entire spectrum’ of disease, then we can’t say definitely when someone is ‘perfectly healthy’. We can only say there’s no evidence of detectable quantifiable disease as we understand it, if someone thinks to look, and that’s what we’re calling “healthy”.

          This Yale immunobiologist guy, Akiko Iwasaki, is telling the truth. All that is absolutely true. Furthermore, we especially don’t know much about the immune system, given that it’s arguably more complex than the central nervous system and maybe more complex than our little monkey brains can comprehend unaided.

          Fortunately, contra Lambert S, it turns out that some AI systems’ non-monkey pattern-recognition capabilities occasionally can help us figure out things about the immune system that we’d never have figured out on our own.

          (2) At no time has a health care professional said to me …

          And talking of monkey brains, ‘healthcare professionals’ are by and large not scientists — though they may pose like they are — but monkeys who’ve had a bunch of rote knowledge, often out of date, drilled into them.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “So here we are with our ‘perfect health’ or ‘dreaded disease’ being defined for us by an industry that’s barely paying attention to what happens once we walk back out the door… next patient, please!”

      Well I ask you to consider — if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the Board of Directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I tell you something — the faculty are a bunch of employees and we’re the raw material!

      Mario Savio, address during 1964 Berkeley Student Revolt

      Maybe the best Savio-like analogy for the role of the patient in the American Medical Industry is of an aluminum can undergoing recycling.

  16. Carolinian

    Re Rod Dreher–apparently the scandal is that Dreher is pro Orban as reported by a writer who is pro Ukraine

    a country that is putting up a valiant fight against the Russian aggression

    Of course the innumerable writers who share the above sentiment have no conflict of interest or feel no pressure from various governments not in Hungary to conform. Their motives are pure.

    I do scan The American Conservative and don’t particularly like Dreher but this tempest is in a very small teapot–IMO.

    1. t

      The scandal is that Rod is such a busy little boot licker he failed to understand how certain boots should be licked. He thought he was the bestest, smartest boy and paid no attention to how the other children were doing their assignments. Then he had to do extra credit work to get back in teacher’s good graces and get more gold star stickers.

  17. Questa Nota

    Bidet and his press sec’y BFD or SPF or whatever now planning to showcase one of the neighborhood signs?

    In This House We Believe
    in the rule of law
    that we serve no wine before its time
    that we live in a reality distortion zone*
    that rules are for the little people non-Bidet
    that our media stenographers will regurgitate practically anything as long as they are called on
    that the chopper is waiting, so wrap it up
    that the key gubmint position is the one where he/she/they controls the volume kill switch

    *Hat tip to Steve Jobs, the inspiration for that phrase, and who actually added to the world

  18. antidlc

    More coverage on long covid — CNN Business
    Is the Fed ignoring long Covid in its inflation fight?

    Federal Reserve officials have for months blamed a dwindling supply of US workers for elevated inflation levels. During his December press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that Covid-related deaths accounted for a large chunk of the structural labor shortage in the economy.

    That’s why some economists and health care advocates were surprised on Wednesday when central bankers decided to no longer list public health readings among the data points they’ll consider in assessing economic conditions and prescribing monetary policy changes going forward.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Is the U.S. Military Capable of Learning From the War in Ukraine?”

    Foreign Policy still does not get it because of course they don’t. They still think that it is a matter of awarding the contracts for the right tech toys and gadgets like drones. It is not a matter of equipment. Colonel Douglas Macgregor said in a recent video that US troops were so highly trained back in the Gulf war that they could have swapped tanks with the Iraqi and the results will still have been the same. The big lesson from this war is that industrial warfare is back again and with a vengeance. So let’s try the following scenario. Washington decides to send the US military into the Ukraine to fight the Russians and both sides have agreed no nukes.So, how much ammo does the US military have to shoot? The Germans have 2 days and the French 4 days so considering that the US are drawing down on stacks all around the world, I would guesstimate a month. And note that the US military would be at the end of a very long supply chain. And does anybody think that the Russians will give the US half a year or more to get ready for this fight like happened for Iraq? More ominously, any US combat vets would have gotten their experiences in the Sandbox. Ivan has been in combat for a year and has shaken out the kinks in their gear and organization and are heavy-duty combat vets themselves. It would be worse than Kasserine Pass. But I will let John Boyd have the last word here-

    ‘People, ideas, hardware—in that order’

    1. Realist

      In that hypothetical, but unrealistic, guarantee of no nukes situation, the US could just launch thousands of cruise missles and drones to overwhelm the air defense in the area, without ever getting into range of the artillery tubes. Once the air defense was suppressed, they could roll in with air cover and would probably win.

      If you get into a fight to the death with Mike Tyson, you don’t put on boxing gloves for it.

      That’s why Russia has multiple thousands of tactical and strategic nukes. To make sure that the US can’t risk going in.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Erhm, US doesn’t have thousands of cruise missiles, and it doesn’t have the capability of launching them at the same time. And even if she had, most of the launch platforms would have to be in the range of Russian counter-action.

        And in order to suppress the air defenses, you would need to know where they are – unit by unit – which requires actually going in to the airspace and finding out the hard way. The scuttlebutt in Russian Telegram is that the Russian air-defenses are actually waiting for Ukraine to get the F-16 – it’s what they have been training for decades.

        1. Realist

          What about JASSM? I thought they had many thousands of them. Couldn’t they just lob them from Lviv and go and reload in Poland 24/7…

    2. Antifa

      The Ukrainian proxy war is utterly dependent on the 20,000 or so Starlink terminals distributed to the UA troops all along the battle line. Those terminals feed NATO satellite data to Ukraine’s military so they know where to shoot, what to shoot, and where the Russians are.

      Russia is testing a new passive detection system that will let them target every Ukrainian outfit that is using a Starlink terminal. And obliterate it.

      Taking out Ukrainian artillery, command bunkers, and troops by their Starlink connection is like a DDOS attack with high explosives. If these Borshchevik units work as predicted, any Ukrainian soldier with ears to hear Starlink signals will be subject to sudden death by missile and artillery.

      In future, no military in the world can depend on receiving satellite data without being targeted for doing so. This will be a huge change in battle tactics. Might not even be possible to have a war.

      1. agent ranger smith

        Perhaps a new Mongol Archer Army under a new Genghis Khan will conquer the world all over again using strictly analog methods.

        1. Antifa

          Einstein said World War Four with be fought with rocks and pointy sticks.

          Or as our descendants will call them, analog ballistic projectiles.

      2. hunkerdown

        If true, TV Licensing UK must feel really jealous right now.

        I wouldn’t get too cackly. I presume the detector looks for active StarLink units, or sends specific StarLink probing messages to them so that they illuminate themselves. Bidirectional comms like StarLink may become a giant kick-me sign for the plucky insurgent, but receive-only radios can be made electromagnetically quiet at 1km. The problem is getting them into the theater on the sly, and the close-range (10m) EM visibility of the receivers. EM-leaky antennas are a little bit of a problem too.

        As long as coded messages can be broadcast and received, there can be command, and so there can be war.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I think the Russian device is trying to capture the sidelobes of the Starlink terminal’s antenna, when it transmits. Due to the physics, it’s impossible to design an antenna without some “leakage” in unwanted directions. And also due to physics, the sidelobe streangth depends on it’s angle to the mainlobe, so with a simple formula and some guesswork it’s relatively easy to figure out where the transmitter is.

          As for receive only radios, back when I was in the army, my nation had a system (tested every year) that transmitted the national air-threat situation on certain FM frequencies, so any military unit with a receiver could be aware of the air-threats.

        2. digi_owl

          Yeah, this is likely to be an anti-radiation missile tuned to whatever frequency Starlink uses rather than its typical radar station target.

          And there are already claims of using mobile phone activity by careless soldiers to target them with artillery etc.

          Yet another reminder that a NATO v Russia (or NATO v China) engagement will be nothing like anything USA/NATO have been involved with since the cold war. It will be a match of peers, that can pull all the same tricks.

      1. Antifa

        Agreed on the article.

        But Russia is actually testing these passive Starlink trackers. They are real, and they work.

        If nothing else, they relieve Russia of any pressure to shoot down Elon’s low-earth-orbit satellites, or to jam them, in order to cut the constant comms between NATO and Ukraine’s soldiers. This new method does that while using the Starlink terminals to further attrit the UA troops.

    3. Stephen

      I just read that article by two Rand analysts.

      Awesome propaganda for the US MIC.

      The underlying message that there is nothing to learn from Russia is clear.

      Articles like this are awesome for reinforcing the propaganda of Russian incompetence. They just take it as a given so that no one questions it. It is embedded in the psyche of the readership.

      On the other hand, lots to learn from Ukraine it seems.

      Rand analysts are definitely smart. Misguided and wrong but clearly intelligent. They know who pays the bills.

      1. Ignacio

        Then it is no brainer to conclude they are underestimating their enemy. At the risk of everybody with Ukrainians as first human shields.

  20. pjay

    – ‘Should COVID Vaccines Be Given Yearly?’ Scientific American.

    Ok, I really don’t want to start a big thing here. But come on. A discussion on this topic with absolutely *no* acknowledgement that there *might* be some safety concerns with the vaccine? Further, the author mentions the very low uptake numbers for the boosters without any hint that this concern just might be one of the reasons for these low numbers. Further still, as another article in today’s Links points out, vaccine uptake is strongly correlated with age. Given the growing evidence that this might be *rational* due to the risk/benefit ratio for younger people, you would think that this issue might also be relevant in discussing yearly COVID vaccines.

    I hope I am not coming off as a “vaccine denier” by bring up what to me seems a blindingly obvious point.

      1. Yves Smith

        Not quite right. I think they were not terrible v. wild type. People did spend weeks in the hospital coughing up their lungs before they died. But still inadequate risk assessment and a worrisome finding on a small data set that all cause mortality was one person worse on the Pfizer sample (!!!!) but lower with the J&J. Yet J&J was clearly on the receiving end of a PR campaign, with a de minimus increase in clotting risk trumped into something major.

        And this is from someone who was very pissed off to have a J&J side effect that required a lot of time and cost (thank goodness nearly entirely covered by insurance) to remedy.

        The all cause mortality result should have led to much more serious study of risks for the mRNA vaccines.

        And I do agree the risk/return tradeoff is more questionable on later variants.

        1. britzklieg

          Thanks for the sober reply to my extreme and overstated eruption. It reflects more a sense that overkill is the only way we might knock the vax-only approach off balance and force more work on therapies and nasal vaccines -not because they would definitely work but because they have been shunted to the side in favor of profit, never mind the growing indifference to the virus itself. It’s beyond frustrating and so I resort to shock lines.

          I know and respect that you and Lambert have approached covid with professionalism, genuine concern and dedicated research. Any barbs that landed on you have been shrapnel from my scattershot method – a weak defense, granted… and I understand that my way probably doesn’t actually work. Vestiges from my time with Act Up perhaps, and deep seated suspicion of everything Fauci, but as much as covid is different from AIDS, my response to it has been viewed, inevitably, through that lens.

          The people in charge failed on so many levels, including over-hyping mRna.

          A check is in the mail!

          (btw – the address associated with this handle is no longer my primary e mail but I fear using a new one might screw things up. That address is still active but I almost never check it anymore.)

        2. Ignacio

          On your last statement I would add that it is very likely adverse effect risks increase with boosts too, independently of the circulating variants. Less benefits and more risks on average.

  21. tegnost

    defense of globalization
    A global labor market pressed wages down in rich countries, and poorer countries wanted monetary stability so they could access global markets without disruption.

    Thats nice framing to get the article started…but it needs an edit…

    A global labor market pressed wages down in rich countries, and rich countries wanted monetary stability so they could exploit global markets without disruption.

    They don’t call them banana republics for nothing.
    Not finding it much of a convincing argument, myself.
    “The messenger RNA vaccine, for example, had been under slow development ” {{paid for by .gov}} “since the 1990s, mostly as an answer to rare tropical diseases. Then its use against COVID provided a model, and now applications for the treatment of other diseases, chiefly cancers, follow.”

    Curing cancer, one EUA at a time. Sure thing.
    I still don’t believe the hype.

    1. Mikel

      I can’t with a lot of the “wording” of this defense. Another example of talking out the side of one’s neck:

      “What is usually thought of as the first age of modern globalization began in the middle of the 19th century with the hunger crises. It was interrupted by World War I, followed by the Great Depression…”

      Hunger crises “interrupted” by war and the Great Depression? LOL
      Two things that would exacerbate a hunger crisis in many places.

      1. JBird4049

        World trade did not reach its 1913/14 peak until about 2000 as I remember. I see a connection between the crushed American industries and this.

        And the first winter of the Great Depression, some Americans in New York, did starve to death, and I assume elsewhere in the large cities. It was easy to hide them as they were found in singles on beds in apartments, buried in snow drifts, emergency rooms and they were found over months. It was something, as with the adjusted figures for San Francisco’s 1906 Fire and Earthquake, that the local government would not want it to be known.

        As far as I know, unlike with San Francisco, there has never been a serious study done to count the true amount of deaths, but San Francisco’s despite the very suspicious low deaths did not really get one until decades afterwards. I think is still going on actually, but 117 years after, I am sure that they will never get a much more accurate accounting aside from thousands more than the official numbers.

        Just like how the American Civil War deaths only probably have a somewhat accurate number a hundred and fifty years after is because people spent years on the project, building on the past work. It would be nice to get an accurate number for that first winter of the Great Depression.

        Fortunately, there were churches, charities, and local governments who were both competent and determined. The next winter was much better. Did not mean people didn’t go hungry, but true starvation, no.

        I bring up that first winter because it was something done on the run, by people who were not concerned about money in organizations that were competent even if some were still corrupt. Today, we still have globalization and very degraded churches, charities, and all levels of government that have been transformed into grifts. Maybe, we might not have a decent second winter if/when the Second Great Depression arrives? Honestly, how does one replicate the large and successful efforts of 92 years ago when everything is crapified; neither the nonprofits
        or the governments wanting reforms or preparations for the obvious incoming dangers as that would interfere with the grifting?

    2. eg

      Bingo. This Princeton hack is fooling precisely nobody — colonialism never really went away, and the Metropole continues to extract surplus from the periphery, both the working poor in foreign lands and their own fellow citizens in “fly over” rural regions right at home.

      1. agent ranger smith

        Well, to whatever extent the Metropolians are eating GMO corn food product and GMO soybean food product, and drinking/eating/breathing Roundup residue, gender-bending hormones, cancer juice, etc. every minute of every day of their lives; then to just that extent the joke is on the Metropolians.

  22. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept: High Sierra Trail

    I’m not one of those backpackers who walks a few thousand miles on the PCT-that ain’t me babe.

    I do enjoy a long hike where i’m self-contained and going from point A to point B and not repeating any of the scenery en route, and thats where the High Sierra Trail comes in, the first long backpack I ever did some 32 years ago, and this will be my 6th time walking across the Sierra Nevada.

    5 of us walked it 6 years ago and enjoyed it so much, the same crew and a few more will be walking 72 miles of playdirt in six months from now starting from a grove of Giant Sequoias and ending up @ Mt Whitney before walking down to Whitney Portal.

    1. Ignacio

      Looks great that. I did such trails long ago for about 1 week or so and have enjoyed all. Even those with ugly weather. As we said, the 13th is with us to stay. Now I am wanting to organize something with bikes.

  23. TimH

    In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth Miami Mayor Ponzi Postalita Francis Suarez just unveiled a Black History police cruiser with images of Africa all over it.

    So Black History for African Americans doesn’t include their US history? Just Africa… with a subtext of you-don’t-fit-in-here, and please-go-home?

  24. tegnost

    FDA considering…

    Closing sentence…
    However, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra hinted last week that the United States is moving closer to a once-a-year shot, noting that updated boosters for omicron subvariants work better than earlier versions of the vaccine.

    Not sure that’s true, there are many more variants now,,,but doesn’t surprise me

    1. marku52

      Nope. The new ones did worse than the original. They suspect immune imprinting, also know as “original antigenic sin” if I have this correctly. Brings the entire value of any further “boosters” into question.

      But hey, when all you bother to have is a hammer……

  25. Mark Gisleson

    NYTimes still writing about McGonigle and how horrible he is. [ link]

    Honestly thinking McGonigle must be a major contributor to Durham’s eventual report because he’s being accused of doing what they all do and now I’m flashing back to all the bad stuff said about Trump which seemed to also describe everyone else who’d ever “earned” a billion dollars.

  26. Richard H Caldwell

    Lambert, you are on fire today — your comments are ‘way more interesting than the links. Bravo for an enjoyable experience.

    1. NewLens

      And several of the links were must reads imho: semiconductor chips explained including in the context of the great game; SCOTUS cert for Section 230. Thank you!

  27. spud

    the article about what orban said should not be shocking anyone. orban is correct to insinuate a exit from the free trade E.U. maybe on the horizon.

    what good is a 85% export rate to the rest of the E.U., if to attain and keep that, you must endure strife, poverty and war.

    the free trade parasites breed the orban/trump types, and maybe the worst is yet to come.

    1. Wukchumni

      Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to selling signed Star Wars posters.

  28. spud

    the IMF article is at the best, entertaining and delusional all at the same time. i could only read the first few paragraphs(and i stopped there) because it was obvious that the author was a hard working ironic comedian.

    once we get the star trek economy, matter transfer and replicators, then free trade may become more efficient to all. today its only efficient for a few, to the detriment of the many.

    1. eg

      He is a shill for his corporate masters and their comprador elites in the Global South.

      Would that I could live to see the richly deserved reckoning …

  29. Mo

    “Why Are So Many Americans Dying Right Now?” How can you write such an article without at least giving a nod to the elephant in the room? Especially right after the project Veritas video?

  30. spud

    Why Is the Floor of the Oculus Already Crumbling?

    because civil society started to crumble the minute nafta was signed, and has been in a speeding downhill freight train ever since then, the floor is no different when run by markets.

    the floor is like a foundation. any attempts at fixing a foundation built on sand, will fail.

  31. John k

    The Taiwan chips article was interesting and describes the difficulty of somebody matching Taiwan’s chips.
    I’ve long thought either side would take out those factories if they were forbidden access.
    But what I thought odd was at the end is the assumption Russia is doing very badly in Ukraine; another link had a similar perspective.
    I wonder…
    Do they think that, or is it that one must throw in that assumption to get published? Could it be both?
    Do they think Ukraine’s begging for ever more powerful weapons, including nukes, is to invade Russia?
    I thought msm was beginning to pivot reality just a little.

  32. Cetra Ess

    99 red balloons
    Floating in the summer sky
    Panic bells, it’s red alert
    There’s something here from somewhere else
    The war machine springs to life

    And this time it’s the Americans doing it.

  33. Susan the other

    So if we can see the first generation stars which produced heavier stars which produced us, can we go there? More to the question, can we come back?

  34. agent ranger smith

    One wonders whether “In This House” liberals will become a successor phrase to ” NPR totebag liberals”.

    If I had more ambition than I have, I might have the phrase ” In This House ” embroidered or sewn-onto ( or whatever the word is) a whole bunch of totebags just to see if ” In This House” liberals would buy them.
    Then we could have ” ‘ In This House ‘ totebag liberals ” .

    If somebody wants to actually try that in reality, I won’t mind. I hereby CopyLeft the idea of “In This House” totebags. If I ever see such a totebag in the analog meatspace-reality wild, I will smile inside and say …” that was me, having an impact”.

  35. Deltron

    If not already posted in Links when published, this is a potential addition to the COVID section that I came across. It confirms what we already believed to be true, re: Vitamin D and COVID.

    “Protective Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on COVID-19-Related Intensive Care Hospitalization and Mortality: Definitive Evidence from Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis”

    From the abstract:
    The purpose of this meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA) was to better explain the strength of the association between the protective role of vitamin D supplementation and the risk of mortality and admission to intensive care units (ICUs) in patients with COVID-19.

    Discussion: The results of the meta-analyses and respective TSAs suggest a definitive association between the protective role of vitamin D and ICU hospitalization.

  36. JBird4049

    >>>Thursday in California, armed cops shot and murdered a double amputee who was running away on his leg stumps. I’m absolutely serious. His name was Anthony Lowe Jr.

    Years ago I read a news report about a police officer fired for shooting a chihuahua biting or nipping his ankles; does anyone believe that the police officers here will be fired, heck, even just suspended for shooting a black man, running away on his stumps, admittedly with a kitchen knife, ten times in the back?

    I am quite sure that keeping up with a man running around with his stumps and since he was not white or even a dog, maybe he life was just not worth much to the police?

    Normally, I would add a sarcasm tag to my last sentence, but it just does not feel like sarcasm. It feels like fact. Also, ten shots fired from directly behind the man is both dangerous and excessive. I mean hardly anyone every mentions the chance of someone else dying if the bullets miss. They don’t have a magic disappear feature. They just keep going until they hit something(s) hard enough or go far enough to stop. Hundreds of yards, or several cheaply made walls, or a person or two. They are risking other people’s lives for their personal “safety.” And I assume that the officers would have been trained enough to not need ten shots for such a easy… target. But maybe I’m just being silly. About the training, that is

  37. skippy

    Ref cop shooting …

    So then that would depend on if they had any psychological dramas e.g. unable to make choices, especial when in a heightened emotional state, and then the best option – for all involved – is too deescalate the situation. I think the evidence at this time shows a completely messed up mindset in cops all over America – see the Scorpion Unit dramas et al. This of course has its origins in military training for cops going back to the late 70s. I was an instructor whilst in the military for the original Swat boys or as we like to call them Bug Eaters … I mean we were instructing these boys in dealing with situations like they had just over run an enemy position in war. Its brutal, fast, hard, and violent, because you don’t have time on the battlefield to muck about and you need to secure the position fast because of the likely hood of a counter attack.

    This then filtered through out the lower ranks of weekend warrior sorts with a macho attitude e.g. all want to be badasses[tm] with body counts for street cred. You know sorta like in jail cred.

    This is acerbated by the ability of cops to front court and just – say – they felt[tm] their lives were in danger and that justifies any deadly force they used. Come on this guy was not a threat to anyone, option of taser was ignored, shot in back how many time and how many rounds were required. Heck it would have taken me only one round to wound him, without killing him, and then incapacitate him. Naw how many officers just jack hammer the trigger with spray pray targeting regardless of stray rounds and not to mention loss of their mental facilities in the moment.

    Yet they would all soil themselves if they ever really experience combat where the opposing side had the weapons and the drive to kill them dead first. Would really enjoy seeing these sorts take on a Gurkha unit in close quarters combat as it would be hilarious …

    Shooting was not necessary at all … but if all other options were expired then a clip of the knife shoulder would have sufficed. At that range if a cop can’t wing a bloke on two stubs is not something to be proud about. Just from the aspect of marksmanship its a total failure. I grew up with and was educated by men that took pride in marksmanship, more so the mind behind taking a shot, when and where, without vulgar/spastic emotions e.g. you were in control the whole time.

    Further more sometimes in life killing something else is necessary i.e. a chicken or cattle but how your mind is set to the task is the important thing, no glee in it, done skillfully to reduce suffering, its not a sport, you don’t beat your chest afterwards, you don’t do it too impress others for social status.

    1. JBird4049

      What scares me is the reflexive use of guns done without any concern of anyone else. Like I said in my earlier comment, the bullets do not stop if you miss. Sometimes they don’t even stop when they do hit a person.

      Also, in situations like this, what is the point? He was not going to escape and the police were in no danger. They murdered a man and endangered who knows how many people for no real reason.

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