Links 2/7/2023

Jupiter now has the most moons in the solar system, beating Saturn thanks to 12 newfound satellites

Creatures That Don’t Conform Emergence Magazine

A bipolar currency regime will replace the dollar’s exorbitant privilege Nouriel Roubini, FT


Phaseout Pathways for Fossil Fuel Production within Paris-compliant carbon budgets (PDF) The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. From the Conclusion: “It will be especially difficult for the poorest, oil-dependent countries to phase out production by the 2040s or 2050, yet this is exactly what is required of them for a 50% or better chance of 1.5°C. Therefore the provision of international financial support will be crucial, in addition to the differentiation of end dates for production developed in this report.”


Pumping Mississippi water to the West still being considered to address droughts MinnPost


Protective Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on COVID-19-Related Intensive Care Hospitalization and Mortality: Definitive Evidence from Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis Pharmaceuticals. I think “definitive” is too strong for any meta-study. Imagine what a meta-study for Semelweis would have looked like! From the Abstract: ” The [trial sequential analysis (TSA)] of the protective role of vitamin D and ICU admission showed that, since the pooling of the studies reached a definite sample size, the positive association is conclusive. The TSA of the protective role of vitamin D in mortality risk showed that the z-curve was inside the alpha boundaries, indicating that the positive results need further studies. The results of the meta-analyses and respective TSAs suggest a definitive association between the protective role of vitamin D and ICU hospitalization.” So, (a) hospitalization, not infection, is the metric, and (b) more studies needed. Hardly definitive. That said, Vitamin D is low risk, potentially high reward, and now is an especially good time to take extra walks in the sunlight (at least in the Northern hemisphere).

* * *

Yes, masks reduce the risk of spreading COVID, despite a review saying they don’t The Conversation. I will be taking a look at this putative review in the near future.

Following The CDC’s Relaxed Mask Guidelines — Cold, Cough, and Allergy Medicines See Triple-Digit Sales Growth Catalina. Yeah, but where’s the RCT?

* * *

Evolutionary rate of SARS-CoV-2 increases during zoonotic infection of farmed mink Virus Evolution. From the Abstract: “In 2020, the first detected anthropozoonotic spillover event of SARS-CoV-2 occurred in mink farms throughout Europe and North America. Both spill-back of mink-associated lineages into the human population and the spread into the surrounding wildlife were reported, highlighting the potential formation of a zoonotic reservoir…. We suggest that SARS-CoV-2 undergoes a brief, but considerable, increase in evolutionary rate in response to greater selective pressures during species jumps, which may lead to the occurrence of mink-specific mutations.”

Exclusive survey reveals ‘worryingly high’ levels of long Covid among nurses Nursing Times. Not to worry. We’ve got telemedicine, AI, robots, and of course concierge medicine for the deserving.

* * *

Children’s immune systems do not develop ‘adaptive’ memory to protect against second time SARS-CoV-2 infection News Medical Life Sciences. Original.

California drops plan for school vaccine requirement CalMatters


China’s mega-rich move their wealth, and partying, to Singapore Channel News Asia

In China’s Covid Fog, Deaths of Scholars Offer a Clue NYT. Breathtakingly rapid pivot by the press from yammering that Zero Covid was a disaster to yammering that ending Zero Covid was a disaster. (I cannot find the comment, but IIRC GM proposed an identical methodology some months ago, although based on Wikipedia entries, not obituaries from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.)

China’s Political Discourse December 2022: A Slap in the Face on Covid Policy Sinocism. Granted, my view is limited — we have a “?” after the “China” category for a reason — but it’s very hard for me to see how, given that Xi has adopted the West’s policy of mass infection without mitigation, the CCP is “Communist” in anything but name, or even socialist. Others may disagree….

President Xi’s Dilemma: Visit Moscow Soon Or Hope That Blinken Still Comes To Beijing First? Andrew Korybko’s Newsletter. Food for thought, but I’m not sure how nutritious.


U-turn! Adani group stocks rally up to 20% to hit upper circuits. Here’s why The Economic Times

Control, Complexity and Politics: Deconstructing the Adani Affair! Musings on Markets. From a long thread by this account:

Why can India be hardly understood as a “civilizational state”? (interview) Vijay Prashad, MR Online

European Disunion

Nationwide warning strikes at Deutsche Post on Monday and Tuesday Market Screener

Regional transport strike starts, garbage collectors’ strike to spread Dutch News

Violent shaking after shallow M7.8 earthquake hits Turkey – Syria border region — more than 500 fatalities, thousands injured The Watchers

Dear Old Blighty

Britain Is Much Worse Off Than It Understands Foreign Policy. The deck: “Things weren’t nearly this bad in the 1970s—but the country’s leaders haven’t grasped that yet.”

British workers stage largest strike in history of health service Reuters. Handy calendar:

Lot of blanks to fill in, actually.

As the UK’s NHS goes on strike, the country’s whole health model is being questioned Le Monde. Yes, privatization is very bad.

Royal Mail just shamed itself twice on the same day the CWU announced a postal strike The Canary

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia Builds Pressure on Ukraine Along Front Line WSJ. Stalingrad, it’s not. Nevertheless:

* * *

Ukrainians are united in rejection of any compromise with the Kremlin The Atlantic Council. Real Blobs go to Moscow.

Bandera mythologies and their traps for Ukraine Open Democracy. From 2016, still germane. They don’t even try to hide it:

Marchenko is a former (?) commander of the Right Sector-adjacent Aidar Battalion. Not nice people at all. And what the heck happened to the German Greens? Were they always like this?

Over 8,000 people submit applications to join the Offensive Guard Ukrainska Pravda. A little over 1% of the 700,000-man force Ukraine started with, but who’s counting?

* * *

US sends long-range missiles to Ukraine WSWS (GF) but Ukraine says it will not strike Russian territory with new missiles Reuters. Oh.

Ammo supply chain crisis: Ukraine war tests Europe in race to re-arm FT

* * *

Russia in Africa: how Moscow bought a new sphere of influence on the cheap FT

UN chief says world is heading towards ‘wider war,’ issuing warnings for 2023 Andalou Agency

Biden Administration

Musk, Tesla win securities fraud battle over that ‘funding secured’ tweet The Register. The splendid deck: “‘Wisdom of the people has prevailed’ SpaceX supremo beams.”

Supply Chain

Tanker shipping consolidation saga watched ‘like it’s Netflix’ Hellenic Shipping News

The Bezzle

The Great Fraud Reckoning Insider

* * *

An interview with AI: What ChatGPT says about itself Yahoo News. Stanford University Professor Johannes Eichstaedt: “ChatGPT has been programmed to offer up answers that assuage our fears over AI replacing us.” Well, now that I think of it, of course.

ChatGPT isn’t a great leap forward, it’s an expensive deal with the devil Guardian

ChatGPT Is About to Dump More Work on Everyone The Atlantic

Sports Desk

Here’s Who Will Be Talking About Jesus On Super Bowl Sunday The Lever


J&J’s pharma group quietly works through global overhaul, with layoffs expected to reach multiple countries Fierce Pharma

Zeitgeist Watch

Ohio crews release toxic chemicals from derailed train Axios Cleveland. “Controlled release.” Quite the visual:


Imperial Collapse Watch

Competitive Nation-Building Noema. The deck: “The geopolitical economy of deglobalization.”

We’re #1! We’re #1!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Government By Panic (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, TK News. This passage caught my eye:

Now take a hypothetical. Say you’re a member of the American political establishment after the 2016 election of Donald Trump. You’re staring at four years as part of a government-in-exile and need a new message to solve your belief problem. What’s your answer?

My hypothesis is such people never bothered to find one. Instead, they declared a state of emergency.

What emergency? Doesn’t matter. Russian interference was a good startup disaster, but you can keep changing them. The important thing is the pattern. One, declare a crisis. Two, spread panic. Three, take emergency measures. If you do this over and over, you end up with permanent crisis, permanent panic, permanent emergency rule. So long as new crises keep evoking unconscious fear and anxiety, the legitimacy of the political establishment is continuously justified.

As usual, Taibbi simplifies brilliantly (especially on the three-stage “pattern” driving all this). However, I think that (1) “American political establishment” is vague; I would say the Democrat Party and allied factions, expressing the class power of the PMC, which came to class consciousness after the shock of Clinton’s 2016 defeat; and I don’t think (2) “state of emergency” is correct framing; rather “state of exception” (or, in Schmitt’s original German, Ausnahmezustand). The merger of the intelligence community, the Democrat Party, and the platforms into a single network is one example of such a state.

Class Warfare

How My Co-Workers Got Me Reinstated at Amazon’s San Bernardino Air Hub Labor Notes

Neanderthals lived in groups big enough to eat giant elephants Science

Returning to millet, crop of ancestors, to improve food security Andalou Agency

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 Twelve Miles High by The Byrds)

    Twelve miles high
    Till it was brought down
    A shot that will
    Surely rebound
    The USA
    Had a nervous breakdown
    Chased a balloon
    Like it’s Satan’s Hellhound

    People can
    Read between the lines
    Most think that
    We’re out of our minds
    Outer space
    Has certain guidelines
    Start a war there
    And the whole place unwinds

    A war in space
    Against the Chinese
    Such war spreads like
    An infectious disease
    Whose wise plan
    And whose expertise
    Tells us we can
    Just do as we please?

    1. skk

      A comment on Twitter said that this flight of the balloon is a indication of the massive decline of the US Empire the way teenager Mathias Rust’s flight in Cessna from West Germany thru Soviet defences and landing in Red Square pointed out to all the decline of the Soviet Union.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Mathias Rust took off from Finland, not from Germany. Besides giving a good scare to the Finnish air traffic controllers (who lost him over the Gulf of Finland and launched a search and rescue effort), he was most of the time tracked by the Soviet Air Defences, Soviet Air Traffic Control and even by Soviet fighters. There also many fubars that day, that is true.

        But in the end, he was not shot down because none of the weapons systems tracking him received authorization from the higher ups. After all, it was a civilian aircraft, not a spy balloon.

      2. LifelongLib

        FWIW, the U.S. is testing similar balloons. As I’ve mentioned before a couple of them were in the sky over Honolulu last year, launched IIRC from Georgia. At the time news reports said the balloons had no surveillance capability, but could be equipped for it, or for weather research etc depending on the payload.

    2. Steven A

      Excellent! One small nit to pick: The balloon was twelve miles high (at least!), but I checked the original album (Fifth Dimension, the Byrds’ third album) and the name of the track was Eight Miles High. I understand they wrote it while flying at 40 thousand feet on the way to a tour in the UK.

  2. Samuel Conner

    One wonders whether the military officers in the chain of command from “head of state” to “launch button” are being regularly tested for neurological sequelae of COVID.

    In an old sci-fi novel, “World of Ptavvs”, a galaxy spanning civilization committed suicide on command (a device that amplified the telepathic powers of the dominant species, the Thrint, was used to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy, including the Thrint, to suppress a rebellion that they were not able to control with telepathic powers). We seem to be doing something similar, albeit more slowly.

    An interesting feature of the ancient dominant species was that its ability to get what it wanted by ordering others around had a negative effect on selective pressure for development of high intelligence. The Thrint were powerful but kind of stupid. It feels apposite to our present situation.’

  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘Pantone, which has been anointing a Color of the Year for two decades, just revealed its de rigueur shade for 2023: Viva Magenta 18-750.’

    Rats! And here I was backing Viva Magenta 18-748. Seriously though, why is this a story? And why am I thinking about cats and laser dots?

    1. CanCyn

      It’s all about the benjamins Rev, we are now expected to go out and buy things that colour in order to update our homes and wardrobes.

      1. cfraenkel

        There is a real story buried in here somewhere. As in who is Pantone talking to? A color for *this* year is meaningless for any consumer product – anything on the shelf in 2023 was designed, specified, out-sourced, inspected and shipped a year ago, if not two. Fashion magazine editors, perhaps? Can’t they use their eyes? Do they really need to be told ‘Oh look, everything is magenta this year’? What industry segment needs to be told ‘look what the popular kids are doing’?

        It can’t be purely an empty PR exercise to keep the Pantone brand in the press, can it? Surely the media would have seen through the emptiness by now?

        1. Jeff W

          It’s not just Pantone, of course. Eight other companies all come out with their “colors of the year”—they’re all paint companies so it makes a bit more sense (but not much more).

          I’ve always viewed it as some kind of capitalist thing, creating demand for the latest “in” thing and for those who can mystically divine what that is. I guess the more benign interpretation is, if you don’t have a clue as to what color to paint your living room or something, take one of these suggestions from one of the companies, complete with palettes of complementary colors so you can’t go wrong. (Personally, if I were choosing a color for something, I’d go out of my way to avoid the “color of the year”—I don’t need some company telling me what’s trendy and, besides, assuming it’s what the name says it is, it’s immediately dated the following year.)

          1. Kouros

            Boys wear blue, girl wear pink… Ooopsie, do we have an increase in sales? Who would have thought that?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Seriously though, why is this a story?

      This will help, although it’s about Blue, not Magenta. Watch all the way to the end:

      However, I must confess — and this is why I field it under Zeitgeist Watch — my first thought on seeing the image was “There Will Be Blood.”

      1. BlakeFelix

        Ha, although that scene sounds good it’s complete BS, none of that happened. It’s an elite PMC using her credibility to buffalo an underling with a just so story to cow her into submission.

      2. Brunches with Cats

        Funny, my first thought was, “Barbiecore!” Granted, it’s a bit dark to be Barbie Pink — which, believe it or not, is an actual Pantone color (219 C), trademarked and owned by Mattel — but a search will turn up many variations, some on the darker, more purple side, not to mention the limited-edition Barbie doll dressed in Pantone swatches. In any case, CNN article confirms that it’s all about marketing. Even Ken is wearing pink now, and it’s showing up in designer menswear collections (along with skirts, floral prints, and see-through shirts).

        Bonus useless trivia: the inverse color of Barbie Pink is UFO Green.

      3. Stephen

        You know that film brings back memories.

        For anyone who has worked and climbed the slippery slope in any so called elite organisation in banking, consulting or law the whole behaviour and incentive pattern resonates I believe.

        Usually not as openly overt, of course, but there nonetheless.

  4. Huey Long

    RE: Pumping MS River Water to Arid West

    Reclamation had a similar plan to pump MS river water up to the high plains to charge the Ogala (sp?) aquifer that never amounted to anything because it would have cost an arm and a leg.

    Now they want to pump water over the continental divide AND the sierras?


    Not even Dominy would have signed off on such a boondoggle.

    1. Carolinian

      The up above link is just a link to this

      Viadero’s team estimated that the sale of the water needed to fill the Colorado River’s Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the largest reservoirs in the country — would cost more than $134 billion at a penny a gallon. The price of construction would add to this bill, along with the costs of powering the equipment needed to pump the water over the Western Continental Divide.

      The project would also have to include the cost of land to secure water rights, which leads to an even larger set of obstacles, legal and political. It would have to overcome protections for endangered species and wetlands, drinking water supply considerations and interstate shipping protections. Precedents set by other diversion attempts, like those that created the Great Lakes Compact, also cast doubt over the political viability of any large-scale Mississippi River diversion attempt, said Chloe Wardropper, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor researching environmental governance.

      But then who ever said a Cadillac Desert was going to be cheap? Arizona has an alternative proposal of a desalination source in Mexico and that may actually happen. It will make future water rates much more expensive.

    2. Bart Hansen

      But as Cokie Roberts would say, “Now it’s out there” for all manner of water theft to be considered.

      “Most recently, the Arizona state legislature passed a measure in 2021 urging Congress to investigate pumping flood water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River.”

      And who’s to say which water from the Mississippi is flood water? Much of the flood water ends up in nearby farm land.

      I’m stopping now, as the idea of water diversion all the way to AZ looks like a real rabbit hole…..

      1. Questa Nota

        Less pumping to get the water to the Colorado for the direct route, to pacify locals, and to the Rio Grande for the great southern diversion through El Paso and westward along the border. Heck, even some handy railroad rights of way along there.

        More opportunities for anti-cartel defense contractor work, too. /s

    3. Displaced Platitudes

      Drawing water from the Mississippi, especially in Minnesota, is unlikely to be financially feasible and given our history with big projects with a lack of public input being considered is perhaps a higher-risk project than might be expected:
      Guarding a thousand miles of pipe running across rural ground would require the national guard, sheriffs, highway patrols, and countless other agencies. Certainly possible, but desalinization might be cheaper in the long run.

    4. Stephen Taylor

      Why not use trains to move rainwater from where it’s raining (sometimes too much) to where everything is dry? There’s already plenty of track laid all over the landscape, so infrastructure requirements would be minimal. You probably couldn’t move as much water that way as your could via pipeline or canal, but at least you could get some water to the places that are desperate for it. Something generally is better than nothing. For that matter, I’m surprised that private concerns like farms in the CA central valley don’t have their own trucks–tanker trucks with openings on the top–that they can send to stormy places, park them there and collect some rain, then drive it back to the farm for irrigation. May sound stupid or crazy, but eventually people are going to have to get creative to deal with the lack of liquid in the West, and individual interests will have to resort to Jerry-rigged systems in order to make do.

  5. Wukchumni

    Here’s Who Will Be Talking About Jesus On Super Bowl Sunday The Lever

    Invisible investment scheme takes over for invisible investment scheme in Super Bowl commercials…

    1. The Rev Kev

      I know who will be talking about Jesus on Super Bowl Sunday – the fans!

      ‘Jeezuz. Did you see that tackle?’

      ‘Jesus H. Christ. Doesn’t he know how to catch?

      ‘Christ on a Bike. Whose their coach – Stevie Wonder?’

      ‘Jesus Christ. What a mess. I bet twenty bucks on those a*******!’

      1. Arizona Slim

        And, speaking as a long-suffering fan of Philadelphia pro sports teams:

        JFC, how did the Eagles manage to let this one slip away?

        Oh, Reverend, I will also speak from personal experience when I say that no one knows how to take the Lord’s name in vain like men and women of the cloth. In my personal circle of acquaintances, the best and most creative taker-in-vain was a Jesuit priest.

        1. griffen

          I would say Buffalo Bills fans see the long-suffering and raise you ! I say this with no proverbial dog in the hunt this year in the Super Bowl. At least we are spared of any preening ads from Crypto bro firms this year.

          By the way, Eagles fans may be shocked, shocked I say, to see a functional team opposing their team’s progress on Sunday.

          1. PhillyPhilly

            I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for that shock. I have a feeling the Birds won’t be winning by 30 on Sunday.

            1. Arizona Slim

              Me? I’ll be listening to the game on the radio while doing housework. And I may take a pizza and beer break.

        2. tevhatch

          JFC always had me scratching my head, that is celebrating a one-on-one coupling, I thought dogma was it’s a full on ménage à trois.

          1. Pooblius

            yep, like the dick of Osiris, Isis and her son symbolized in the streets of the District of Columbia, the City of London, and the Vatican…

            ..coincidence surely…

  6. griffen

    Coming to a theater in 2027. Top Gun: Operation Helium Lge Condom. After the exciting conclusion to the previous installment in the film series, America cheers Maverick and his cohort of fighter pilots as they take apart that big a$s balloon. \SARC

    Poor bastard balloon. Never saw it coming! Mission accomplished, beers for everyone.

  7. Paul J-H

    About the German Greens: for the Netherlands and Germany their development is pretty similar – grew out of social movements connected with pacifism, anti-nuclear, environmental issues, leftism etc.

    So no, they haven’t been like this forever. However, I think it is a case of this party wanting to look tough, to be a party that can also take serious foreign policy action (and not leave it to CDU/FDP etc.) A bit like Democrats showing they can be tough on economic issues as well.

    I must say I am very disappointed with the Greens. I could have expected this from right-wing parties but I thought the Greens in general had a more complex understanding of the world.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I did hang around with some local greens (not German, but I think there’s parallel) in the 90’s, and most of them were kinda one issue activists gathering under the “Green” banner. I did leave the circles when blatantly neoliberal – yes, they said out loud that only markets can save the environment – people took over.

      I assumed at the time that these “new breed greens” came from the center-right families but had too much “social and ecological conscience” to remain there. Now I think it was not an issue of conscience but they just did not have room in old school center-right parties so they came and took over one that was not really a party, but a co-op.

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah it seems “social conscious capitalists”, aka neolibs, have spread themselves thin across the European “labor” and green parties. I guess it comes down to what kind of cause they see need the biggest priority, but the core belief is that the market is sacrosanct.

        1. Kilgore Trout

          Intentionally co-opted by Neo-con/Neo-lib foundations and think tanks, all with “Democracy” in their titles? In the Green’s case, sort of like high school–getting invited to sit with the cool kids. Many already had the proper breeding and background–the German equivalents to our Ivies and familial provenance. Groomed for group-think and the best of all possible worlds.

    2. ambrit

      I think it would be appropriate to say that this shows how a political party, any political party, can evolve from a group of activists into a group of politicos. Originally, the Greens were all about “pacifism, anti-nuclear, environmentalism, leftism, etc.” but now are very much about obtaining and keeping political power; two very different objectives.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Green Party in the USA (they couldn’t very well call it ‘The Dead Presidents Party’) is alive and well, green with envy that the other guys are pulling down more moolah than they are through contorted dirty deeds not done dirt cheap.

      2. Carolinian

        Four legs bad, two legs good? Idealistic revolutionaries turning into power focused autocrats is something so common as to be considered trite in a fiction story. Conservatives throw up their hands and call this tendency human nature as a way to justify their own supernatural belief in good breeding as the alternative. Man the rationalizing animal…..

    3. David

      In France, the Greens (who also have “Europe” in their official name) are best understood as that part of the professional middle class which gets off on feeling morally superior to everyone else. They still have a few tired environmental planks in their platform, but they’ve largely inherited the good-thinking part of the old Socialist Party, and their platform is now a rag-bag of all the latest fashionable ideas. (Pacifism isn’t cool any more.) Once you see the party as the class representation of a vaguely progressive, quite well-off mind-set that wants to feel superior and wants others to suffer to save the world, things become much clearer.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        That sounds like the scoundrels on this side of La Manche.

        With regard to superiority and showing us peasants up, next door Oxford(shire) gives Islington and Brighton a run for their money.

        Sara Wagenknecht talked about that in a recent interview.

      2. Stephen

        These must be the same PMC members who also contribute 95% of the posts on Linked In. It makes sense. Thanks.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I have a game that I play with LinkedIn. I note the time when I log in, then figure out how much time will pass before I’m so annoyed that I log back out again.

          In today’s round of the game, I lasted less than two minutes.

          1. Stephen

            Its intended use, of course, is corporate ads and job search to fund it overlaid by mega virtue signalling.

            I usually last no longer than two minutes these days.

            My main use for it is to keep tabs on the status of approved PMC ideology. But a strong stomach is essential.

        2. LifelongLib

          I get emails from LinkedIn saying I’ve been noticed by somebody or other. This is even though AFAIK I never signed up for it (and so can’t get rid of it) and have been retired coming up on five years. Go figure…

    4. TheMog

      I grew up in Germany at the time the Greens started to become first a party that people laughed at and eventually an actual political force. As you mentioned, they came from an anti-nuclear, environmental protection, pacificist and generally “left” (as in left of the SPD, not left of the DKP) background. In a sense, they were the manifestation of the student movements in the late sixties and early seventies as a political party. Yes, the same ones that gave also us the RAF and Bader-Meinhoff and protested vehemently against the politics of their parents’ generation (and IMHO with good reason – the protests, not the terrorism). I’m pretty sure that at least back then, the thought of openly embracing fascists and actual self-declared Nazis as their friends would’ve been entirely alien to them.

      In the 80s especially but also part of the 90s (maybe even into the early 2000s, but by then I had left Germany), the Greens were basically split into two factions vying for control, the party fundamentalists (aka the “Fundies”) and the wing that was more interested in governing and Realpolitik, aptly named the “Realos”. Joschka Fischer for example was a prominent member of the Realos faction. Eventually the Realos gained the upper hand and with a general move to the centre (which itself was moving to the right noticeably, thanks to the SPD’s copying of “third way” social democracy), they followed the general move of (not only) European politics further towards the right.

      That said, I’m very much getting the impression that they overshot that centre target considerably and ended up to the right of the CSU in certain aspects.

      So no, they weren’t always like that. but then again these days I suspect the only major-ish part left in Germany that is, err, a real left to center left party is Die Linke.

      1. Carolinian

        Sounds like the Democrats. They’ve gone from putting flowers in gun barrels to the new domino theory. What a world…

        1. Polar Socialist

          Back then the left internationalism meant rising the living standards everywhere towards the highest levels, but nowadays it’s been replaced with globalists moving living standards everywhere to the lowest level.

          I guess it’s still the same principle.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          I don’t know how many of the flowers-in-gun-barrels folks were Democrats at the time. It was a Democrat in the White House who was waging the war.

          1. Carolinian

            Fair enough. But over that period the Dems did go from LBJ to McGovern. So perhaps “some Democrats” a better formulation.

            1. BillS

              And McGovern proved the wishy-washy indecisive Democrat and could not win over the Youth vote and went down in flames – especially after his disastrous choice of veep and handling of the resultant scandal. !!USA USA!! preferred to elect the GOP Crook and his Southern Strategy.

              The Democrat Party rot was already taking hold 50 years ago!

              1. LifelongLib

                Much of the electoral decline of the Democrats in the 60s/70s was related to the loss of the white South and big-city working class over issues like civil rights and school bussing, as well as the left over Vietnam. Except for the last I’m unsure what the Dems could have done differently. Maybe focused on integrating labor unions rather than schools.

              2. Michael Fiorillo

                McGovern was a very decent man (and to think that people like him were elected all over the Plains and Mountain West in that era!), but it was the staff and professional cohort, led by people like former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, who set the Party on it’s current PMC-to-oblivion trajectory…

            2. Henry Moon Pie

              No, check out the Wiki on the photo you must be thinking of. It list two possibilities for the identity of the demonstrator pictured:

              Harris, who performed under the stage name Hibiscus and co-founded The Cockettes, a “flamboyant, psychedelic gay-themed drag troupe”, died in the early 1980s during the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.[1]

              Paul Krassner, in a 2008 blogger’s article written for the Huffington Post a week after Bernie Boston [the photographer] died, said the young man in the photo was Joel Tornabene, a fellow counter-culture leader of the Youth International Party

              Even in ’72, I doubt either of those fellows were Democrats, much less in ’67 when the photo was taken at the March on the Pentagon.

          2. jax

            The small minority of us who joined the radical left during the late ’60s – Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, Southern Christian Leadership Council, Students for a Democratic Society, the emerging radical feminist groups, et al – called the duopoly parties ‘Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.”

            Back in that glorious day when we actually thought we could effect change both within the two parties and from the streets, the government put tanks on the streets of Berkely and murdered a few activists to drive their point home.

            In the ensuing decades, I haven’t changed my mind about the duopoly parties. They remain a surreal version of ‘good cop, bad cop.’

      2. vao

        In the early days of the Grüne, there was a significant influx of activists formerly belonging to the K-Gruppen — a maoist movement that disappeared a few years after the death of Mao Zedong. Being maoists, and this being the late 1970s, they were also staunchly anti-Russian. Amongst prominent Green party members coming from the K-Gruppen:

        the current minister-president of the Land Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann;

        former environment minister (under Schröder) Jürgen Trittin;

        former mayor of Bremen Ralf Fücks;

        former members of the German Parliament Winfried Nachtwei and Krista Sager;

        former member of Joschka Fischer’s cabinet Joscha Schmierer.

        Most of these hold or held important positions within the party, and within think tanks, notably the Heinrich-Böll Stiftung.

        So whether Fundis or Realos, the hysterical russophobia of the current Green party has another unexpected, deep root.

        1. tevhatch

          Katrin Göring-Eckardt looks very Gestapo in her leather trench coat. Hitler, Herman Göring, and Goebbels had an environmental plank in their platform which they raised often in public speaking and which showed up in many propaganda films. Yesterday I wrote a comment on use of this nostalgia, sort of MGGA but an environmental version of MAGA, not Trumps’s lets go back to burning the candle at both ends.

      3. tevhatch

        Recall reading some time ago that MIC money, mostly funneled through labour unions in Kiel, took over the German Greens. Tis odd physics but tests show a 1 kg brickbat dropped 1 meter onto a desk makes far less impact that 1 kg brick of €100 banknotes gently placed.

      4. JBird4049

        In the 80s especially but also part of the 90s (maybe even into the early 2000s, but by then I had left Germany), the Greens were basically split into two factions vying for control, the party fundamentalists (aka the “Fundies”) and the wing that was more interested in governing and Realpolitik, aptly named the “Realos”. Joschka Fischer for example was a prominent member of the Realos faction. Eventually the Realos gained the upper hand and with a general move to the centre (which itself was moving to the right noticeably, thanks to the SPD’s copying of “third way” social democracy), they followed the general move of (not only) European politics further towards the right.

        I could use this entire passage as template, fill in the names and some of the terms, and use it to describe the Clintons’ and their slimy DLC (Democratic Leadership Council), which they used to kill the last of the New Dealers, plus the few socialist-lites remaining, and make it much easier to convert the Democratic Party into a grift and get that sweet, sweet donor bribery donations.

        I think a similar process happened in Great Britain, and somewhat in the Republican Party. Remember, none of the major political parties are actually political parties like those in the last century with people who want to govern, but grifts with people who want to make money; there has always been some corruption, but the underneath that was the serious process of governing even if a goal was to skim off the top.

    5. communistmole

      I am amazed that anyone is amazed at the current behavior of the German Greens. I am old enough to remember the Kosovo war, which was a prelude. At that time it was the Serbs and Hitler’s revenant was Milošević. Even then, the demand that Auschwitz must not be repeated was used as a justification to bomb a former enemy of World War II (it’s an old tradition in Germany; already in World War I the proganda was: Serbia must die [Serbien muss sterbien] and every shot a Russ [jeder Schuss ein Russ] …).

    6. Cetra Ess

      It’s not just the German Greens. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon across the whole lefty spectrum – pacifism/antiwar is out the door, American imperialism is embraced. Suddenly people whose ideology and politics were allegedly left, who had spent lifetimes opposed to war, who had been suspicious of every American antic since WW2, switched sides overnight – joined the Russia must be destroyed at all costs crowd, became patriotic. Those of us who were reminding about NATO’s similar behaviour around Kosovo, drawing the historical parallels, were accused of “whataboutism” and banished from the tribes.

      The usual left-leaning groups were controlled quite rapidly and easily the same way they always were, it doesn’t take much. However, I do also think there’s a visceral, primal unaccounted-for hate-on for Russians which runs deep and predates all of this. Would love if anyone can recommend some reading around this aspect as I’m not sure I understand where it comes from, all I know is I don’t hate the Russians, or any one group. And for people who aren’t even Ukrainian, how do they come by this view that Russians are inferior, should be made to heel?

      1. Polar Socialist

        Creating Russophobia by Guy Mettan is a good introduction, I’ve heard.

        I’ve only browsed it quickly, so I don’t know he goes to the sources or comes up with an explanation, but I think he did bring out the everyday russophobia present in western public sphere already before this war.

        Mettan’s motive, I believe was marrying a Russian and having Russian children and starting to wonder why people wished them harm just because they were Russian.

      2. digi_owl

        It can perhaps be traced back to Russia getting involved in Georgia. But even after that it just simmered in the background until the combo of Trump and Russiagate.

        This acted both as distraction from the email server controversy, and also a way to explain to away how Hillary lost. Rather than having to admit to themselves that a gender platform was a hard sell during a drawn out recession that had produced Occupy Wall Street.

        This then amped the simmering dislike for Putin into full on hatred, that manifested itself in such fervor when the SMO in Ukraine kicked off.

        Also, what has happened is that journalism in particular has gone from being a “all walks of life” profession into one dominated by humanities graduates. Thus they have become mentally and economically disconnected from the daily struggles of the industrial workers and like.

        Thus the press has gone from being an interrogator and critic of the seats of power, to their cheerleaders.

      3. eg

        English loathing of Russians is at least as old as the 1830s and stems from fears that they could threaten India overland — they called it “The Great Game” which featured, among other incidents, the Crimean War

      4. Felix_47

        Here in Germany the greens are really the party of the Karens. Like the Dems the greens have managed to make the Green identity the “good” and the others evil. My relatives, all PMC (legal, medical, government workers) are solid Green voters. They are too lazy and too concerned with appearances to do anything else. You do not want to discuss politics with them. And my American relatives, all PMC, (Law, medicine, clergy, academic) are just as unwilling and unable to see beyond labels. And raising any objection to the deification of Biden and the Democrats will guarantee a cold stare and unpleasant evening. The default position of both groups is to just focus on appearances. That is why I think Wagenknecht is so despised by the political class. She says things that are unpleasant and force people to think. Speaking of appearances the Joan of Arc of the Greens, Baerbock has a full time beautician on the government payroll to do her hair and face for all appearences paid something like 8000 per month plus all expenses. She travels with her worldwide. And Habeck, the childrens book writer, now economic minister has a full time government paid (255000 per year I heard) photographer who follows him around. He probably has a beauty specialist as well. It is all about appearances for the Greens, just as it is for the Dems…(consider Biden’s hair transplants and plastic surgery) as Bernays figured out when the Anglophile Wilson was itching to get into WW1….and this episode is simply a continuation of WW1 and 2. A third inning and maybe the last for humanity. Einstein said the next world war will be fought with sticks and stone, I believe.

    7. pjay

      Diana Johnstone has written a lot about the European Greens from her first hand experience, both in numerous articles and in her book Circle of Darkness. A number of the articles appear at Consortium News. Here’s just one example that touches on several points made by commenters here:

      Fall of the USSR, Yugoslavia as the opening salvo, the rapid move to the neoliberal “Third Way” right of all the various social democratic parties in Europe and the US, etc.

      1. Cat Burglar

        The Irish Green Party was in the cabinet that approved the bank guarantee bailout in September 2008. IIRC, they lost all their seats in the Dail in the next election as a result.

    8. OIFVet

      Perhaps uniquely amongst European Greens, the Bulgarian Greens do not have their origins on the left. They consist of PMCs who are amazingly similar to the US Democrats when it comes to virtue signaling and acting as attack dogs against any and all vaguely leftist ideas. They describe themselves as belonging to the political “right,” but in reality are neoliberal centrists. They are useful on some environmental issues, depending on which oligarch stands to benefit. If it is their patron oligarch who stands to benefit (a media magnate and America for Bulgaria Foundation grant darling Ivo Prokopiev), then one doesn’t hear a peep from them, regardless of the potential environmental damage.

      Such has been the case over the past year, when articles exhorting fracking in Bulgaria’s breadbasket began to appear in his newspapers, timed to a visit by Mike Pompeo, a member of the board of a certain US fracking firm which had just acquired a majority stake in a Bulgarian firm which holds certain shale gas lots, should the fracking ban in Bulgaria be lifted. Not a peep of protest from the BG Greens about Prokopiev and Pompeo’s (for that matter, the State Department’s, too) lobbying on behalf of fracking.

      I have been working with certain Greens and Green NGOs as part of a group trying to stop a proposed incinerator for RDF trash in the town of my birth. It would be the largest such incinerator ever built in Europe and it would be an environmental catastrophe on a regional level if it is given the green light. The Greens have been very helpful in this fight, providing expertise and certain political access. The incinerator would benefit an oligarch close to the ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, a major hub for Bulgarian corruption since the Berlin Wall came down. As such, the oligarch is a political enemy of the Greens. However, when I did press them about their silence on the issue of fracking, all they would do is shrug and try to change the subject. They certainly know which side their bread is buttered on and won’t rock the boat.

    9. Kouros

      I think the 2003 Iraq invasion was a shock for the US establishment, when Canada, France, Germany, etc., refused to align with the US. Since then a lot has been invested in grooming all over the western world. One would claim that as a success story for US deep state.

    10. Biologist

      Thank you.

      The Dutch greens (GroenLinks, or GreenLeft) were formed at the end of the 80s or early 90s from 4 parties: a pacifist socialist party, ‘The’ communist party (CPN), and 2 christian/evangelical parties which themselves were offshoots of mainstream christian democratic parties.

      Many, even most, ‘sensible’ progressive people I know vote for them. A handful of people I went to school or uni with are members and active in politics.

      I’ve voted for them in the past, as they were one of the few parties that unequivocally stood up for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights.

      But Kosovo 1999 was the breaking point for me. GroenLinks supported the bombing of Serbia, like other green parties across Europe, and I think this was a turning point for many former pacifists / leftists: captured by the ‘humanitarian intervention’ rhetoric, just like today with Ukraine. Sadly many of my friends have drunk the koolaid.

      They have been ruling local politics in Amsterdam for many years now. I know some environmental activists who are fighting against destruction of some nature area for developing a distribution centre, owned by some foreign investment company. The local GroenLinks bureaucrats are squarely on the side of capital.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Neanderthals lived in groups big enough to eat giant elephants”

    Not necessarily. What about separate clans coming together to cooperate in a huge kill. In the feasting afterwards, it may have been an opportunity for the unattached females of a clan to be swapped with those of other clans to diversify the genetics. What they call exogamy. Anyway, you would probably need the manpower to trap and kill one of these elephants hence several clans coming together. Four tones is a lot of meat but an important factor would be when this kill was made. So if it was made in or at the beginning of winter, the extra meat could have been buried in a snow bank to be frozen and eaten later at leisure. Hell, for all we know they also smoked their meat. Lots we don’t know about them yet.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Or maybe they just wanted the skeletons? After every 50 moon cycles they butchered an elephant, scrapped the skeleton white and made a new elephant totem out of it.

          1. t

            Are these the same bones with some weird fetishist or totem handling of one shoulder blade? I agree the notion that they must have eaten it all, quickly, because they thoroughly butcher and cleaned the bones relies on a pretty narrow view of options.

            Maybe they had a massive Lady Gaga ceremony where they all dressed in meat.

    2. Michaelmas

      Rev Kev: “Neanderthals lived in groups big enough to eat giant elephants” Not necessarily.

      But very probably they did. That being said, they were capable of cooperation on larger scales, too. I once had the opportunity to chat with paleoanthropologist John Hawks —

      And he mentioned a few physiological facts then being uncovered about Neanderthals that suggested they probably were constrained to have greater intra-group cooperation than Cro-Magnon Homo sap during mammoth hunts because of factors like a greater propensity for lower back injuries — i.e. potentially crippling spinal damage — than us.

      At the same time, they operated on larger scales than that (including being arguably the first cowboys). See: —

      “…what is archaeologically visible today was almost certainly socially visible in the past. When hunters in a small-scale society make a big kill, word usually spreads far and wide to neighboring groups. In historic societies, these neighboring groups are all connected by kin relations, clan membership, and other affinities that their cultures define—relationships that can be maintained and strengthened by sharing parts of a kill. The travel time of people from kilometers away makes the sharing of a single large carcass a multi-day event.

      “This is what interests me about scenarios where Neandertals were killing many animals at once. The meat from several bison is far more than a single group of people can eat at a time. Neandertals may have dried meat or practiced other methods of storage, but in one important way, the long-term payoff of a big kill is more valuable than the meat, furs, or other materials that it yields. A big kill is a social event. The long-term value of a big kill is in the social relationships that it builds.”

    3. jrkrideau

      Hell, for all we know they also smoked their meat.

      My first thought when I read that they left no meat on the bones was that they had sophisticated food preservation techniques. Assuming a “shelf-life” of, say 7 days to consume fresh meat one is unlikely to be scraping bones like that.

      On the other hand with decent storage technologies it is worth the effort and the fat content may have been important in preservation.

      Pemmican immediately came to mind.

  9. Wukchumni

    A bipolar currency regime will replace the dollar’s exorbitant privilege Nouriel Roubini, FT
    Can’t break through the grate paywall, but i’m guessing Count Formaldehyde wants Boris Johnson to be the new currency, although i’ve never really considered him bipolar, just useless.

    The only way a competing currency takes over for the almighty buck is to have it backed by something other than strokes on a keyboard from the Mouse Clique.

    1. The Rev Kev

      For what it’s worth, Wuk, just put the title in a Google search bar and the first result back should be for the FT article. When you click it it will open up for you. Meanwhile, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said ‘The situation has shown that now this [dollar] is a completely unreliable instrument … Therefore, we have no confidence in this kind of unit of account. It is lost.’ And they wouldn’t be the only country thinking along these lines.

      1. Wukchumni

        ‘The Day of the Triffins’

        Roubini talks about the Trffin Dilemma, but it really was in regards to bear raids by foreign governments on Fort Knox before Tricky Dick closed the window.

      2. t

        BTW, this has never worked for me on my phone. I log in at work when I remember for FT, NYT, and WSJ articles. Because I have a glorious email job with perks!

        The many amd varied methods of getting around paywalls are not 100%. Not even paying! Can barely get to my local paper and I subscribe!

    2. Questa Nota

      Roubini and other currency cliquers need to spell out for the general public just what they envision.
      What happens to, pick a topic like you, your job, your groceries, your everything beyond being a punchline about exorbitant privilege?

    3. Kouros

      Michael Hudson, in the yesterday link was commenting that such “currency” would only be used between national banks

  10. ranX

    Competitive Nation-Building:
    “Visions of convergence — that we will all converge on the same set of best available practices and institutions — are a disaster.”

    I re-read John Gray’s “False Dawn” recently.
    He said – more or less – the same thing back in ’97.
    And here we are…
    I’m more and more convinced that knowledge just gets us around the circle of history faster.

  11. johnherbiehancock

    “Katrin Göring-Eckardt” … wondered if she was related to that other Göring, of “reichsmarschall” fame, which would be a little too “on the nose,” but not unexpected these days. But “Göring” is her ex-husband’s name, and he was apparently a Lutheran pastor. He’s not famous enough to have a wikipedia entry in English for me to read, but there doesn’t appear to be a connection. At least I don’t see any links to Herman on his page

    1. Wukchumni

      Butch Goring was my favorite hockey player on the LA Kings, and he was the missing piece in those great Islander teams which won a bunch of Stanley Cups, after being traded.

      No umlaut though…

    2. communistmole

      She was the parliamentary group leader of the Green Party under Schröder and at that time a strong supporter of the German combat mission in Kosovo and a proponent of Hartz IV, so no surprise…

    3. TheMog

      I had a quick look at her German language Wikipedia entry and it doesn’t look like he merits an entry there either, at least not as a link from her bio. She is/was pretty active in the protestant church, but that’s not uncommon for politicians from the Eastern part of Germany.

      Goering (sorry, no umlaut on the keyboard) is an uncommon but not that uncommon name in Germany. I don’t think any of the ones I’ve met were relatives of the late Herman.

      1. johnherbiehancock

        I saw on her wiki a reference she was involved in the “evangelical church of Germany”… are they similar to evangelicals in the US? Like speaking in tongues and all that?

        Either way, not something I would expect from a “Green Party” politician anywhere on the planet really.


        1. vao

          In Germany (and Europe in general), “evangelical” traditionally designates a reformation church — mostly lutheran or methodist — except the calvinists, which for whatever reason are reformation but not called evangelical (there are plenty of officially “evangelical-lutheran” and “evangelical-methodist” churches, but no “evangelical-calvinist” ones).

        2. DJG, Reality Czar


          German Evangelical church: Think Lutherans.

          No speaking in tongues. Stollen after the liturgy in the basement meeting room.

          1. vao


            Eating Stollen when not during the Christmas season is already overstepping into the domain of blameworthy earthly excesses.

        3. TheMog

          I haven’t looked at the English language Wikipedia page, but according to the German page she is and has been involved with the Evangelische Kirche, which is the mainstream Protestant church in Germany. Keep in mind she’s from the eastern part of Germany and Protestant churches played quite a role in political organizing during the collapse of the GDR and shortly thereafter.

          There was some mention that she’s not a huge fan of the US type of evangelical churches, although at least the mention in the Wikipedia article didn’t go into detail as to why.

      2. Alice X

        On a Mac type option u (¨) and then the vowel. ä ë ï ö ü

        I don’t know about Windows but it should be in the character set.

  12. Martin Oline

    Color per annum is Magenta? That reminds me of the second Mink DeVille album in 1978 called Return to Magenta. They were joined on this effort by Steve Douglas on sax and Dr. John on piano. Personally, I liked their first album Cabretta better. Desperate Days

    1. Lunker Walleye

      Pantone’s Viva Magenta: Foreshadowing “blood red”? That is an odd photograph. It looks like a macro of a scary rose. — Or maybe it predicts the coming together of red and blue (political) since on the color wheel magenta is half way between those two primary colors.(sarc) Wikipedia has an interesting entry of the cochineal insect from which the color originally came.

    1. Martin Oline

      Not Ukraine, China, or Russia. That would lead to immediate immolation, leaving me smoldering on the couch. How about inclusion or diversity? I don’t think I have the stomach for watching it but if there is a separate thread here I can drink vicariously.

      1. The Rev Kev

        How about watching it on the telly live but having the sound turned off. And then you have a radio description of the game playing instead, also live. My brother used to do it for watching cricket and reckoned it a better experience.

        1. Charger01

          “C’mon man”
          “Child poverty”
          “End of DIVOC”
          “Best economy since the 1990s”
          “Low unemployment”

          Woof, I feel like drinking after mentioning these. Dark times.

      2. johnherbiehancock

        … or any time he wanders off-script into some strange digression about something like children rubbing their hands on his hairy legs when he gets out of the pool… DRINK!

        (would love to be in the room with his handlers when that starts)

    2. RabidGandhi

      ‘Airborne transmission’, ‘securities fraud’, ‘excess mortality’, ‘peace negotiations’, ‘universal benefits’, ‘aggregate demand’ and ‘defence cuts’.

      (i’m on the wagon)

    3. britzklieg

      Seems to me the best response to Biden’s inevitable bs show is to not watch or listen at all. That’s my plan. These idiots care only for rigged ratings, hollywood optics and unverifiable stats which can be used to “prove” they have god on their side. Best reason to watch is to confirm that pharmaceuticals exist which can convincingly animate a mummy. I won’t participate.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Mine too. I have a really good Southwestern gardening guide on the end table, plus two seed catalogs. Oh, there’s a seed saving manual just waiting for me to delve into.

  13. GM

    In China’s Covid Fog, Deaths of Scholars Offer a Clue NYT. Breathtakingly rapid pivot by the press from yammering that Zero Covid was a disaster to yammering that ending Zero Covid was a disaster. (I cannot find the comment, but IIRC GM proposed an identical methodology some months ago, although based on Wikipedia entries, not obituaries from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.)

    Great that someone did a systematic analysis.

    I used Wikipedia because that is what was easily accessible. Far from everyone in those institutions has a Wiki page.

    Their numbers would suggest that all-cause mortality shot up at least 400%, perhaps 600%. Which is in line with what was expected.

    Note that COVID increases everyone’s risk of dying by about the same factor (well established at this point from lots of data), so looking at any age group is sufficient to estimate all-cause excess mortality. Thus these estimates are not biased by only looking at the quite old top scientists, in fact if there is any group you want to pick for such estimates in the absence of overall all-cause mortality data, it would be the old, because you have the most deaths there and thus the variance of your estimates is minimized. If there is any bias, it is likely downwards, because in this case these are members of the elite so they certainly got better treatment than average.

    400-600% excess mortality also matches with what happened in NYC in March 2020. Back then NYC lost 0.35% of its population, with an attack rate of 20-25%.

    Right now, with vaccination, even though mismatched and nowhere near sufficiently effective, and Omicron not being anywhere as bad as Delta to compensate for that, 0.35% of the population dying is about what you would expect at infection to saturation (back then it would have been 1-1.5%, or ~4M people in the US during Round 1; no big deal at all)

    And for China this isn’t 1 million as they say in the article, it is ~5M people. Perhaps fewer than that — Hong Kong got away with the equivalent of 3M in China when they let it rip, but that was with a less divergent strain and better healthcare. But certainly a lot more than 1M.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Yes, masks reduce the risk of spreading COVID, despite a review saying they don’t”

    Went looking for the conclusions for that review and this is what I found-

    ‘Authors’ conclusions

    The high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions. There were additional RCTs during the pandemic related to physical interventions but a relative paucity given the importance of the question of masking and its relative effectiveness and the concomitant measures of mask adherence which would be highly relevant to the measurement of effectiveness, especially in the elderly and in young children.

    There is uncertainty about the effects of face masks. The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect. The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection. Hand hygiene is likely to modestly reduce the burden of respiratory illness, and although this effect was also present when ILI and laboratory‐confirmed influenza were analysed separately, it was not found to be a significant difference for the latter two outcomes. Harms associated with physical interventions were under‐investigated.

    There is a need for large, well‐designed RCTs addressing the effectiveness of many of these interventions in multiple settings and populations, as well as the impact of adherence on effectiveness, especially in those most at risk of ARIs.’

    So it is a bunch of waffling. On the other hand, a day or so ago I saw a chart showing annual flu infections for the past several years. Every winter there is a big, giant spike except for 2020-21 when there is – nothing. Nada. Completely flat lined. Yeah there were lockdowns but most people could not but what people were doing was wearing masks and that was enough to stop the flu stone cold dead that winter. So if it stops the flu, I am thinking that it will also work against COVID as well.

    1. Lex

      It’s going to be really hard to ever get a good study of mask usage/effectiveness simply because there are two ways to use masks and have them be effective. A surgical mask is never going to be very effective at protecting the wearer (and that’s now how medical professionals use them), while an N95 or respirator will be variably effective at user protection (dependent on fit, viral concentration outside the mask, etc). But that will only work at the individual level and has complications based on mask type. An N95 filters in both directions but a true respirator does not filter the exhalation at all.

      Masking is something that can be very effective in terms of limiting viral spread but it’s wholly dependent on population uptake percentage. The minute the population starts dipping below a certain level wearing masks, the total effectiveness of masking is going to plummet. It will fall less with N95 or similar than it will with surgical masks.

      The real point of masking is the potential to reduce the contaminant concentration in a given space. Contaminant exposure is always a function of concentration and exposure time.

    2. anon in so cal

      Near as I can gather, some of the main flaws of the Cochrane study (which I have not read) include:

      conflating “surgical masks” with “N95 respirators”

      conflating “asked to wear a mask” with “adhered to strict masking protocols at all times, in all situations”
      (“the authors of the Cochrane Review acknowledged compliance with masking advice was poor in most studies”).

      Plus, there are plenty of valid studies showing that properly fitted N95s block Covid.

      Separately, early in the pandemic there were studies showing that Covid is much more infectious than influenza. One needed contact with significantly more influenza virions than Covid virions, to become inoculated. So, minimal Covid protection provides maximal influenza protection.

      It is infuriating when people repeat the idiocy, “what happened to the flu?”

    3. Aumua

      I say if your mask doesn’t work then you’re wearing the wrong mask. it’s not rocket science. if the air you breathe is being filtered through the mask completely, or mostly, it’s going to improve your chances of not catching an airborne virus, significantly. how the hell are we 3 years into this and still so muddy on this point?

    1. vao

      Look at the Wikipedia page on magpies (especially the oriental and azure-winged ones). Plenty of colourful corvids there.

      1. digi_owl

        True. But this particular kind of bird is near and dear to me, as i had a pair showing up in the bushes here for a few years.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “President Xi’s Dilemma: Visit Moscow Soon Or Hope That Blinken Still Comes To Beijing First?”

    For Xi, there is no dilemma. He goes to Moscow and he sets up agreements, trade deals and coordinates strategy. What could come out of meeting with Blinken. Blinken would probably repeat his demand that China should tell Russia to get out of the Ukraine. But what could he possibly offer China? Better relations? Trade deals? Easing of trade restrictions? Not going to happen. There won’t be any new Détente with Biden as Biden is doing nothing but restricting Chinese trade and technology, militarizing Taiwan, surrounding China with yet more bases and threatening war with China by 2025. And Xi knows that DC’s agreements and negotiations are worth nothing as there is no trust in DC to actually follow them. Having a visit by the US Secretary of State these days is probably more hassle than it is worth.

    1. Alex Cox

      Why was Blinken scheduled io meet Xi in the first place? Protocol would have the US sec of state meet with the Chinese foreign minister, wouldn’t it?

      I thought presidents only met with presidents.

      1. Stephen

        Maybe Xi figures that meeting Biden is unlikely to yield a cognitively coherent conversation.

        So better to try Blinken instead?

        But the RevKev comment above also makes sense. Meeting some regional party leader from an inner region of China is likely to be a better use of time anyway.

  16. Mikel

    “Nationwide warning strikes at Deutsche Post on Monday and Tuesday” Market Screener

    Everyone is feeling the impact of increasing priced. The strike story made me think about this article from today:

    While the war in Ukraine rages on, the front lines for Europe’s biggest economy can be found in cities like Leuna and just offshore in the North Sea.
    About energy and chemical production.

    This part, however…well…this part:
    “…The UPM Biochemicals plant will use locally sourced beechwood to produce so-called second generation sugars, which will be transformed into renewable biochemical for such products as PET bottles, textiles, fragrances and cosmetics.

    “In Leuna, we will only be using certified beechwood, hardwood from regional forests, and we are transforming this sustainably sourced woody biomass into building blocks for the chemical industry, enabling the vital shift away from fossil-based to renewable materials across a range of industries, including automotive,” Gerd Unkelbach, director for molecular bioproducts research and development at UPM, told MarketWatch…”

    Don’t forests help to take carbon out of the air?
    But especially amusing was how it was described as “locally sourced” wood . I guess to give it that “green” PR sheen.

  17. flora

    Taibbi’s link. Thanks for that. Rule by panic. Taibbi mentions in passing the build-out of new shadowy outfits with lots of money behind them to keep policing the official narratives. Can’t have counter narrative voices out there. Might break the panic spell.

    I’ve started reading a twtr user, a conservative who’s interested in maintaining freedom of speech in the online space: Mike Benz. Here’s a link to his twtr. /ymmv

    adding: since the country is still under the 9-11 emergency powers, (it keeps getting extended under both parties), I can’t imagine any admin giving up any emergency declaration that gives them new powers. (Weather disaster emergencies don’t create new govt powers, so they end. my 2 cents.)

      1. fresno dan

        a balloon gap. Surely you don’t want us to fall behind the Chinese in balloons?!?
        I’m not a betting guy, but I get 100$ the balloon comes up in the SotU. Somebody will have to tell me – I just find watching the SotU worthless. Not nearly as entertaining as watching the Superbowl commercials…

    1. Gaianne

      “Will a bipolar currency regime require large amounts of lithium to maintain stability?”

      Why yes, yes, it will.


  18. pjay

    Re Taibbi’s ‘Government by Panic’

    I don’t think this is overstated. “Permanent crisis, permanent panic, permanent emergency rule” has pretty much been the norm since 9/11. What seems to have changed is the the bipartisan nature of this strategy. “Permanent panic” – about a dictatorial “Big Government” or “New World Order” run by “commies” or “pointy-headed liberals” (pretty much interchangeable) has always been a right-wing strategy for mobilizing its key constituencies. Eventually, the “liberal” faction of the ruling elite caught on and caught up with this strategy, so now it’s 24/7 panic about the danger of Russia and our home-grown deplorable Fascist armies destroying “Democracy” here and throughout the world. Two minutes of hate does not describe our situation today; Taibbi captures the bipartisan nature of this in his book ‘Hate Inc.’

    I agree that “establishment” is a fuzzy concept, but I think there is one. It is “fuzzy” because it includes competing factions with somewhat different interests, ideologies, and political constituencies. It’s a big club, but most of us ain’t in it. Dominant corporate interests, the CIA, neocons, etc. can shift their strategies to appeal to whatever constituencies are politically expedient at the moment, supporting whichever politicians and demonizing whichever “enemies” are most beneficial to their interests.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree that “establishment” is a fuzzy concept, but I think there is one. It is “fuzzy” because it includes competing factions with somewhat different interests, ideologies, and political constituencies. It’s a big club, but most of us ain’t in it.
      I agree. Like a lot of clubs or organizations, it is not a monolith. Indeed, the fact that it does not impose rigid criteria for membership stregthens it. But I think there are members, who if not nominally the “leadership” are definitely the most focused on one goal, on increasing the wealth/power of the wealthy. And because money plays such an outsized role in this society, the rich always get to have an inordinate influence in any organization (that is successful in Washington). And if one looks at the ever increasing inequality and the ever increasing share of wealth held by the wealthy, their strategy has worked very well. I doubt this subgroup cares much about what happens in Ukraine, but on the other hand, they don’t care what happens to Ukrainians either. But whatever happens in Ukraine, you can bet the prism this group looks at events through, is working on making it as profitable as possible. (there has to be market incentives!!!)

  19. earthling

    Admiration for the organizer in the Amazon story, and coworkers who ‘had her back’ when she was targeted by expensive union-busting “consultants”.

    Jeff Bezos should be ashamed of himself. A squillionaire begrudging people breaks in heat waves, fighting to crush the people who earn his billions. Sickening.

    The bright light? Revival of solidarity in a new generation that refuses to be picked off one by one by devious management. Hoo-rah for the old American spirit trying to re-assert itself.

  20. ddt

    Hi Lambert. Just a small typo that I’ve noticed past few days. It’s “Anadolu” not “Andalu” Agency.

  21. dftbs

    In The Question of the Civilizational State, Vijay Prashad has a good response to the doubts of our gracious host.

    …but it’s very hard for me to see how, given that Xi has adopted the West’s policy of mass infection without mitigation, the CCP is “Communist” in anything but name, or even socialist. Others may disagree….

    Namely, that the material outcomes the PRC garnered for the Chinese people were not a result of some inevitable historical determinism, but rather the consequence of the impact of Socialism on Chinese civilization.

    As a citizen of the US, I can understand the skepticism with which Americans view government actions. Nearly all US Government policy over the past 5 generations have been detrimental to the well-being of Americans. The opposite is the case if you are a citizen of China. Americans, in our self-centered nature, can’t help but project our motivations and inadequacies on to others and assume that China’s government is screwing their people over the way our government did. But the combination of greed and incompetence is probably unique to us, and this is clarified by the track record of the PRC, as measured by their historical material results.

  22. Irrational

    So touching that the UN Secretary General is concerned about a wider war after he has pretty much openly sided with the “collective West”, abandoning any semblance of UN neutrality.

  23. Jason Boxman

    You gotta admit, the Times is consistent in concern trolling China about whatever the party line is. If you’ve read the CJR 4 part series on RussiaGate, it’s clear the Times is a top malevolent actor that is unrepentant.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > it’s clear the Times is a top malevolent actor that is unrepentant.

      Yep. I wish Twitter would start labeling the Times and WaPo with “State-Sponsored Media.”

  24. Jason Boxman

    Children’s immune systems do not develop ‘adaptive’ memory to protect against second time SARS-CoV-2 infection

    “Because children haven’t been exposed to many viruses, their immune system is still ‘naive’. And because they don’t develop memory T cells, they are at risk of getting sick when they become reinfected. With each new infectious episode as they get older, there is a risk of their T cells becoming ‘exhausted’ and ineffective, like the T cells in older people. This is why we think it’s important to vaccinate children,” he says.

    (bold mine)

    Wait. What? What’s that got to do with anything? Is there evidence that giving shots to children prevents T cell exhaustion?

    When the only tool you have is a broken hammer, I guess.

  25. Wukchumni

    We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  26. fresno dan
    A Hudson doctor has been sentenced to prison for his role in a prescription drug scheme where he was compensated for issuing prescriptions for a drug that treats uncontrollable bouts of crying and laughing.
    Dr. Deepak Raheja, 66, faces 30 months in prison and was ordered to help pay $2,163,995 in restitution and a $50,000 fine for his role in promoting the drug and issuing prescriptions to patients who did not need it.
    U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi on Friday also ordered Raheja on Friday to surrender his medical license.
    The case centered around a pharmaceutical kickback conspiracy.
    Some of these prescriptions, prosecutors say, were given to patients who did not have PBA, or he falsely diagnosed patients with PBA and even recorded fictitious symptoms in patient records to support the diagnosis.
    Its hard to get a doctor not to write prescriptions when he gets more money for writing prescriptions…
    apologies to Upton Sinclair
    Show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome
    Charlie Munger

    1. Felix_47

      That is why fee for service medicine is a disaster. There will be no solution to our medical problems as long as there is fee for service. Fee for service more or less worked when there were strong social constraints on doctors and a relative excess of sick patients. Then doctors could treat those that would benefit and not treat those who would not. When health care became a government or insurance funded right demand soared and doctors were sucked into the US from every corner of the world to make large amounts of money. When one has a excess of doctors and excess consumer demand due to a variety of non medical factors and funding is not by the patients the best option is a national health service with providers on salary. Let those who are trained make the decisions as to what should be treated and what not.

  27. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    USAF vs. Balloon

    I think we have a new Top Gun sequel to look forward to. Maybe Top Gun: Bursting Your Balloon?

    1. Mildred Montana

      Or, a comedy based on the 1980 hit “Airplane!” Working title: “Hullaballoon!”

      Tentative plot: An incompetent jet-fighter crew, perhaps played by Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey from “Dumb and Dumber”, chase a hostile balloon which seems to be headed for Washington. While politicians panic and the media freak out, Jeff and Jim crack jokes, nearly collide with other planes, and fire missiles wildly.

      Hilarity guaranteed.

      1. hunkerdown

        Top Gun 23: Party Pooper is on my to-view list.

        Is that balloon filled with nitrous? Because I’m lmfao.

  28. Van Res

    Iran’s Natural Gas Ambitions Face A Tough Geopolitical Reality By RFE/RL, Feb 06, 2023, Oil Price. com,

    Iran has also not received any of the 55 million cubic meters of Russian gas it was to import under the deal with Moscow.

    The Russian supplies, Shokri said, would have been used by Iran both for domestic consumption and to pull off a swap under which Iran would receive Russian gas and send its own gas to Russian customers in the region, taking a cut along the way.

    In the end, the deal did not pan out, in large part due to Moscow’s existing gas transit routes through Turkey, which left no excess gas to be delivered to Iran. Russian reluctance to aid a potential gas exporting rival also played a part, according to Shokri.

    “Considering that Russia can no longer play an important role in Europe’s energy security, the country’s oil and natural-gas export market will shift to Asia,” Shokri said. “Moscow does not want Iran to be a competitor in the energy market of Asia.”

  29. Matthew G. Saroff

    If I recall, and it’s been a while (about 2 years) since I have read the article, some people are arguing that the observed benefits of Vitamin D are actually benefits of sunlight, which does more than create Vitamin D.

    1. marku52

      Sunlight is great but if you live in OR and never see the sun in the winter, you take D or you get respiratory infections all the time.

      Personal experience.

      Also, low blood levels of D correlate with poor covid outcomes. So D all by itself does something.

      1. tevhatch

        D without sufficient K and magnesium will also do something else, it will speed up deposits of calcium onto your arteries. Then again, magnesium has a lot of risks associated from improper dosing, so as always remember advise of Paracelsus on poison.

  30. spud

    on nation building. glad to see rodrick come around to my point of view and endorse GATT, which was built off of smoot-hawley, which allowed TARIFFS and other protectionist policies that allowed for a civil society.

    “Overall, the new geopolitical economy could revert to what Harvard Professor Dani Rodrick calls “a thin and unambitious set of rules” not unlike the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that preceded the overly invasive World Trade Organization. “The secret” of the GATT success, which expanded world trade and the attendant prosperity significantly, says Rodrick, “was that the old regime understood that you need to provide countries with much greater policy space. … I am in favor of allowing countries much greater latitude in the conduct of industrial policies. When they succeed, this is good not only for the countries themselves, but also for other nations because it enables greater economic growth, and hence greater trade opportunities. When they fail, the costs are borne primarily by domestic consumers and taxpayers.”

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