Links 3/11/2023

Colombia Struggles to Control Exploding Population of Over 100 Invasive Hippos Field and Stream

Scientists have revived a ‘zombie’ virus that spent 48,500 years frozen in permafrost CNN [shudder].

California’s ‘Zombie Forests’ Are Cheating Death—but Maybe Not for Long Smithsonian. Zombies in the Zeitgeist right now? I wonder why…


Brazil’s Amazon deforestation again hits record high for February Al Jazeera

US grandfather survives week in snowbank on croissants and biscotti BBC (Re Silc).


Beyond COVID: A Look Ahead​ (interview) Ashish Jha, AARP:

Nursing homes got hit hard during COVID. What are the lessons for the future?

[JHA:] One of the most important systemic changes we can make is improving indoor air quality in nursing homes

​Great. Where’s the money?

At Year Three, Americans Split on Whether Pandemic Is Over Gallup. Very interesting. The “Covid cautious” exist in appreciable numbers (after several enormous propaganda campaigns). Handy chart:

Worth noting that despite the “split” between Republican and Democrat voters, both party leaderships are united in their determination to destroy public health, conceptually, institutionally, operationally….

* * *

New report warns long COVID could be “mass disabling event” Insurance Business

Exposure to Air Pollution Linked to Risk of Long COVID in Young Adults MedPage Today

Long COVID: 3 years in The Lancet

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 infection induces DNA damage, through CHK1 degradation and impaired 53BP1 recruitment, and cellular senescence Nature. From the Abstract: “Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 causes DNA damage and elicits an altered DNA damage response…. We propose that SARS-CoV-2, by boosting ribonucleoside triphosphate levels to promote its replication at the expense of dNTPs and by hijacking damage-induced long non-coding RNAs’ biology, threatens genome integrity and causes altered DNA damage response activation, induction of inflammation and cellular senescence.” Awesome. Next, variant humans. OK, OK, fearmongering!

SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-mediated cardiomyocyte fusion may contribute to increased arrhythmic risk in COVID-19 PLOS One. From the Abstract: “The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can directly perturb both the cardiomyocyte’s repolarization reserve and intracellular calcium handling that may confer the intrinsic, mechanistic substrate for the increased risk of [sudden cardiac death (SCD)] observed during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

SARS-CoV-2 Exposure in Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) from New York City American Society for Microbiology. n = 79. “The host tropism expansion of SARS-CoV-2 raises concern for the potential risk of reverse-zoonotic transmission of emerging variants into rodent species, including wild rat species. In this study, we present both genetic and serological evidence for SARS-CoV-2 exposure to the New York City wild rat population, and these viruses may be linked to the viruses that were circulating during the early stages of the pandemic. We also demonstrated that rats are susceptible to additional variants (i.e., Alpha, Delta, and Omicron) that have been predominant in humans and that susceptibility to infection varies by variant. Our findings highlight the reverse zoonosis of SARS-CoV-2 to urban rats and the need for further monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in rat populations for potential secondary zoonotic transmission to humans.” “Further” monitoring? Further than what?

* * *

Nasal administration of anti-CD3 mAb (Foralumab) downregulates NKG7 and increases TGFB1 and GIMAP7 expression in T cells in subjects with COVID-19 PNAS. Significance: “We show here that nasal administration of a fully human anti-CD3 Mab (Foralumab) modulates T cell inflammatory responses in COVID-19 by suppressing effector features in multiple T cell subsets, an effect also seen in subjects with multiple sclerosis. Immunomodulation by nasal anti-CD3 mAb represents a novel avenue for treatment of inflammatory human diseases.” On the theory that a gold rush profits only the sellers of picks, shovels, and pans, go long intranasal drug delivery….


Li Qiang becomes China’s premier, tasked with reviving economy Reuters. Commentary:

Chinese property developer CIFI posts profit warning, as the cash-strapped firm formulates plan to repay defaulted offshore debt South China Morning Post

China’s local governments boost revenue by selling land to their own entities FT

Is China’s ‘Straddle’ on Ukraine Coming to an End? The Diplomat


Radical monks grace murderous militias in Myanmar Asia Times

A Silent Sangha? Buddhist Monks in Post-coup Myanmar International Crisis Group

Chiang Mai air pollution worst in the world, masks distributed to residents Channel News Asia. Hopefully, the Brownstone Institute can parachute some anti-mask zealots in, to talk the native population out of their benighted ways.


Mediated By China Iran And Saudi Arabia Restore Ties – There Are Winners And Losers Moon of Alabama (Carolinian).

European Disunion

Philippe Martinez, the union leader taking on Macron FT

Dear Old Blighty

Rishi Sunak May Have Exorcised The UK’s Diplomatic Demons In Renewed Friendship With France PoliticsHome

Thousands of Scots nurses ‘with Long Covid left destitute and begging for handouts’ Daily Record. Go long robots, I guess.

New Not-So-Cold War

Divers used chartered yacht to sabotage Nord Stream pipelines – report Guardian. Here is an image of the yacht mentioned by the “report,” the Andromeda:

It’s 15 meters long. The smallest milspec diving chamber I can find is 3 meters long, or 3/15 = 20% of the yacht’s length. Maybe they can strap the high explosives to the deck, or something? Shove the chamber in the galley, the explosives in the cabins, while the team clings to the masts, topside?

Views From Space Show Bakhmut Burning As Ukraine Battles To Hold The City Forbes

Pope says not only Russian ‘imperial interests’ behind war in Ukraine Andalu Agency

Fragmented Globalization Mohamed A. El-Erian, Project Syndicate

Biden Administration

Exclusive: US probe of dog breeder scrutinizes why USDA left thousands of beagles to suffer Reuters

FACT SHEET: The President’s Budget Reduces Deficits by Nearly $3 Trillion Over 10 Years “The President also calls on Congress to require employers to provide seven job-protected paid sick days each year to all workers.” That’s enough for one and 2/7ths paid sick days for multiple Covid infections (if you believe CDC’s five-day limit). In other words, the President’s Budget is completely aligned with the President’s policy of mass infection without mitigation (although, hilariously, “Covid” does not appear on the “fact sheet,” presumably because it’s no longer a fact.

Biden’s FY 2024 Workplace Safety and Health Budget Confined Space


This weekend is everything for Silicon Valley Bank and its customers Axios

What’s Going on With Silicon Valley Bank? WSJ. We gave the tech bros a bank. What could go wrong? Besides not making payroll:

Which $250,000 in FDIC coverage will most definitely not cover:

(Moore played a rather equivocal role in the Great Financial Crash, so very long ago, but this thread is at least link-heavy.)

Silicon Valley Bank shut down by US banking regulators FT. Let’s just hope there’s no contagion:

* * *

Silicon Valley Bank shutdown sends shockwaves through US start-up community Straits Times. That’s a damn shame. Know your customer:

(Not insured above the $250,000 limit, that is. That’s $250,000 / $7,000 per bottle of Petrus = 35 bottles / 12 bottles per case = ~3 cases of wine. That’s not very much.)

USD Coin stablecoin falls further from peg on SVB exposure risk Business Times

How Biotech Could Take a Hit From the SVB Closure Barron’s

* * *

The Fed is Breaking Things (and it could get worse) Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

SVB Chief Pressed Lawmakers To Weaken Bank Risk Regs The Lever

Democrats en Déshabillé

The Democrats Have Lost the Plot Matt Taibbi, Racket News. “There are no more pockets of Wellstones and Kuciniches who were once tolerated and whose job it is to uphold a constitutionalist position within the larger whole. That crucial little pocket of principle is gone, and I don’t think it’s coming back.”

With the Twitter Files, Democrats Support Government Censorship of Lawful Speech Bracing Views


Will Joe Biden Debate Marianne Williamson? Jacobin

Our Famously Free Press

Substack: Empire of Narratives The Generalist

Screening Room

‘The Big Lebowski’ Turns 25: “People Didn’t Get It,” Jeff Bridges Recalls Hollywood Reporter. The opening scene:

(I skipped most of the Sam Elliot intro.)

Zeitgeist Watch

The basic concept here seems to apply to a lot, just now:

* * *

Some Reasons Why Smartphones Might Make Adolescents Anxious and Depressed Freddie DeBoer

The Illusion of a Frictionless Existence Persuasion

Class Warfare

Interview: Auto Workers Region 9 Winner on Rebuilding a Fighting Union Labor Notes

Scabby the Rat is an American labor icon. Why are his manufacturers disowning him? Guardian

The most miserable weekend of the year? What to know about daylight saving time The Hill

The Most Boring Number in the World Is … Scientific American

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. LawnDart

        They can drop a pair, sign-up for the coming democracy-building exercise in Mexico, and go after the rest of Pepe’s crew…

      2. Kouros

        Hippos kill the most people in Africa… I would be extra cautious going on a hippo hunt… Unless you want the destruction of those rich cretins as the actual goal…

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          They should be eliminated in South America since they’re invasive and disrupting the pre-existing ecological balance. Leave them alone and stay away from them in their native Africa, however.

          1. c_heale

            I’m not completely sure they are upsetting the ecological balance. Humans have done more to upset the ecological balance. I’ve just read a few articles, and the Columbians seem to be looking at all sides of the argument, and taking a considered approach. Maybe we should leave it up to them.

            One argument against this, is that ancestral Hippopotamidae, are exclusively an African, Eurasian species, so may have more damaging effects than if they had historically been an American (as in all of the Americas) species.

  1. Lexx

    ‘US grandfather survives week in snowbank on croissants and biscotti’

    “I cried a lot myself. I didn’t realise how much we take these things for granted.”

    Yeah, that’s pretty much how it works, the ‘not realizing’ and the ‘taking things for granted’. As hardtack goes biscotti are the bomb and I want that recipe. Please share… it could save the life of someone who may go driving in a snowstorm prepared for an emergency with a windbreaker and cookies.

    1. Wukchumni

      Said grandfather was accidentally heading toward Saline hot springs via North Pass, a route i’ve gone dozens of times.

      It has been a no-go for months now, choked with snow.

      A lucky man, getting rescued.

      1. Lexx

        Not arguing he wasn’t lucky; he was very lucky indeed (but not particularly sympathetic). I’m arguing he was a numbnuts for going out in a snowstorm wearing a windbreaker and taking some (damn good) cookies, never mind what road he was traveling. Something Darwinian should have kicked in there… if a couple of generations too late.

        It’s one of those mornings where I’ve ‘lost that lovin’ feeling’ for stories about saving the stupid from themselves. Can I get an ‘amen!’?

        And before you ask, the answer is ‘yes’, both of our vehicles are packed with a ‘winter preparedness’ road kit, even though we don’t often travel in winter beyond the city limits. This is Colorado.

        1. Wukchumni

          I have a ski trip with the dartful codgers in Mammoth starting on the 12th, and no way-no how am I going, as poor Mammoth looks like it can take no more snow as another 5 feet is coming in. Why be a burden to a place I dearly love that doesn’t need outsiders now, they’ve got their hands full.

          Its not only being prepared to travel, but also not going anywhere.

          Going mano y mano against the winter of record for the past 120+ years ain’t my bag.

          1. Ignacio

            Take care with the snow Wuk. I had a hard time once in the Sierra the Guadarrama having to cross a pass with about 600 mm of soft snow pack. 500 hundred meters of it was enough to get me exhausted and I was alone in that trip.

            1. Wukchumni

              We have a coveted wilderness permit to walk the High Sierra Trail starting in early August, and i’d guess the 11k and 13k passes will still have dozens of feet of snow, as in we’re not gonna go.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Our packs would weigh around 40-45 pounds walking the 72 miles, so we don’t have room for snow & ice gear, and truth be said the Sierra Nevada is usually oh so faithful in getting rid of her winter mantle, that you never need the kind of winter skills that will be necessary this summer.

                  I broke my scapula about 15 miles into the backcountry in 1998 after a giant winter when an ice bridge collapsed on me, so i’m more than a little shy.

          2. Klutch Kargo

            Tell me that car he was in is not a Porsche Cayenne? It looks like one to me. It would certainly explain the biscotti.

          3. fresno dan

            never knowing when paralysis could strike, I keep the remote, two nice cabernets, an unopened tin of Danish butter cookies, and 3 cans of vienna sausages within each reach on the couch.

            1. Wukchumni

              …no Underwood* Deviled Ham**?

              * each tin comes distinctively gift wrapped-just attach a festive bow and it makes a perfect xmas gift exchange item!

              ** seemingly pre-chewed, but there’s no way to tell

              1. some guy

                I remember decades ago that mother would sometimes make scrambled eggs with Underwood Deviled Ham mixed in. Still good memories.

        2. JBird4049

          Honestly, I could see myself being that foolish unprepared, unfortunately, although I would think that I would not force myself into any terrain that might trap my car. It is like seeing all those people who drive their, not SUVs or trucks, but their sedans into raging floodwaters that use to be their neighborhood street. I mean really, it is not even being not prepared. It is denying the reality of what is right in front of their eyes.

          That he was thoughtful once he was stuck is something to respect. How many times have we all
          read of disasters consisting of someone(s) being serially monumentally stupid?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Once read this British officer who was talking how even in the midst of a war, that he would always take some luxuries with him. When asked about this while pointing out how young fellas would take along only the bare minimum as survival gear, the British officer replied ‘Any blood fool can be uncomfortable!’ That US grandfather could have just sat there with a tin of baked beans and a bag of trail mix. Instead he went with croissants and biscotti.

      1. Quentin

        Yes, imagine, the guy isn’t just any old man, he’s even a grandfather. Tingling jealousy engulfs me because I can’t ‘identify’. Age-wise more than definitely, progeny-wise not at all.

      2. wendigo

        If I was going to be stuck inside a car for a week, I would prefer the lower fiber option.

  2. dk

    SVB advice thread for business managers:

    If you are the CEO or CFO at a business who banks with SVB; here are some things you CAN do over the weekend

    1. Build a 4 week rolling daily receipts and payments style cashflow forecast.

    2. Gear up finance team to actualize & reforecast every AM by 10am

    15. Write out to your staff. Explain the situation. Be honest, but show them you have a plan and are controlling the controllables.

    Right now your planning assumption should be that you never see your cash again. That your $250k FDIC, plus whatever you secure as an investor bridge, plus what you have in non SVB sources is the last money you have

    Hopefully that’s wrong, but that’s your start point.

    At the (current) bottom is this thread about “spread” banking, distributing deposits in $250k chunks across many banks to extend FDIC coverage limit:

    Giannis lived in Greece when its GDP shrank by 25% during financial crisis and kept those lessons (although having 50 accounts is a fraud risk, so the owner set him up with a wealth manager).

    1. notabanker

      IMHO, this is the real contagion issue. If you are the CFO of a commercial firm, you have to come in Monday and look at everyone of your bank accounts and see what is not FDIC insured and decide where you are going to move that money, which by default is GSIB’s. Any commercial bank outside of that circle is extremely vulnerable. There are going to be a lot of sweaty commercial bankers next week.

  3. doug

    The decompression chamber is 42 inches in diameter as well. There is NO hatch on boat that size with an opening that large. They don’t even strive to tell believable lies.

    1. Carolinian

      Why bother when the intended audience is determined to be credulous? However some reports suggest the rest of the NATO public becoming increasingly skeptical.

      1. ambrit

        Wait now. Since Kubrick “filmed” the Apollo landing, it could be that Cameron “filmed” the Nordstream bombings.
        Moderne Western Politics; “Appearance is reality.”
        Wish hard enough and it will happen. Clap real hard and Tinker Bell, ur, Hillary Belle’s ‘anointing’ will come back to life.

        1. timbers

          Maybe Liz Truss has video of Nordstrean explosions on her cell phone. Someone should ask her.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
      a tale of a fateful trip,
      that started from this Baltic port,
      aboard this tiny ship.
      The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
      the Skipper brave and sure,
      four crews set sail that day,
      for Nord Stream 2,
      Nord Stream 2.

      The C4 nearly sunk the boat,
      the decompression chamber too big.
      If not for the courage of the fearless crew
      the war would be lost.
      The war would be lost….’

    3. Questa Nota

      Alternative explanation?
      The sailboat ferried out crew and, uh, cargo to another vessel. Said vessel was the diving part of the operation.
      How that got there, what happened next, watch for screenplays in the works.

      Hey, it could happen.

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      A 12 foot long rowing skiff with an empty can of spinach under the oarsman’s seat would be more credible.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Biden’s just an old man loosing it who can’t resist bragging. You can see it in his smirk. He knows perfectly well that no one is going to swallow this whopper. That’s the point.

    5. NN Cassandra

      BREAKING: Western investigators were finally able to find and secure the van used to haul all the explosives and equipment. First photos from the crime scene here.

    6. Ignacio

      I wanted a pic of the sonar system but the investigative journalists didn’t bother with those unimportant details i guess. But true, that yacht couldn’t carry an hyperbaric chamber without interference with navigation and manoeuvre.

    7. Kouros

      I am watching this miniseries drama “A friend of the family”. It helps me better understand why Americans can be so easily conned.

    8. Paul Jurczak

      The Andromeda story has all the hallmarks of government misinformation, but the implausibility of placing a decompression chamber on the yacht is not a smoking gun you are looking for. You can decompress from a deep dive in a decompression chamber, if you are in a hurry, or you can decompress in the water. 60 to 80 meter dive presents no problems without decompression chamber:

      1. magpie

        Note the ascent and descent rates. Multiply by the depth of the water at the individual explosion sites, which were at separate (!) locations. Multiply by transit time between dive sites. Did they dive at the correct location every single time?
        Did they anchor every single time? (How long was this yacht rented for?) Note that only two divers (2) are handling all the wet work. Do they need separate trips with hundreds of kilos of explosives at a time, plus gear for attaching the explosives to the targets? North Sea divers use pressurized hot water systems piping warm water from the mothership into their suits to prevent hypothermia in the frigid waters. Did the yacht have such a system? How was it warmed? Did they bring a separate generator aboard? Only two superhuman divers did all this? What was their contingency plan if accidentally discovered? Did the divers have a comlink with the surface? If not, how could the yacht tell them to abort if a boat or an aircraft approached to investigate? How did the yacht maintain position? A Bavaria 50 does not use a computerized Dynamic Positioning System the way commercial dive vessels do, which require thrusters and are too complicated to be hand-operated (see the documentary Last Breath). Did they retrofit an anchor system of sufficient length onto the yacht? How? Where? If the divers were connected to the surface by any means, how did they prevent their lines from tangling? If not, how on Earth did they stay in contact during the operation? In darkness, a diver would hardly know the current was pushing them away. Did they use a small ROV to scout?

        I spent a week on a Bavaria 50 in 2015. It’s roomy, but that roomy? The extra oxygen tanks, the mixed gas tanks (assuming they didn’t use a decompression chamber, which would NOT fit in that cabin without massive remodeling, I know for a certainty) and dive gear alone would take up a ton of space. Remember, they needed enough tanks to do ALL the dives in one trip. How many tanks would that require? But they needed a lot more than that: they needed the explosives and attachment kits and tools, etc. They would have had to ruin the interior to fit everything in. It would reek of machinery and would be a shambles inside. The yacht is steered from a small cockpit at the stern, with one of those big wheels – nothing close to ideal for maintaining position in Currents and wind. Did the captain stand there all night long steering and gunning the throttle manually? He would have to, because even if they anchored, the yacht would still swing in the wind. A Bavaria 50 has one diesel motor, turning one screw. Everyone and their gear would have to work in the cockpit, there’s no other place to do it. Even with the transom down, we’re talking about a workspace roughly the size of a service elevator in a hotel, the transom (about 2 meters wide, maybe a hair more) bucking up and down in the waves, as people pass around heavy tanks and C4 and try not to slip on the deck.

        Just try to imagine how this is allegedly supposed to have worked. Imagine pitching this to a diver.

        1. Paul Jurczak

          I’m only arguing against the necessity of having a decompression chamber on board. I would definitely use a different vessel for this task. OTOH, you are describing an operation with meticulous planning for contingencies. You can find stories of numerous diving stunts with more difficult objectives and higher risk. Some of them succeeded, the others failed. Highly motivated crew will take grave risks.

      2. skippy

        Was thinking the same as lots of deep dives around the world are done on small boats with extra tanks staged at those points, same applies to cave or pit diving in central America. Not to mention the use of exotics or doing a 4 hour pre-dive on pure oxygen to purge all nitrogen out of your blood.

  4. mrsyk

    One does not need a crystal ball to conclude that Williamson won’t get the opportunity to debate Biden.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, I just realized. Just who exactly could the Democrats stand up to debate Biden without tearing him apart? Even Kamala Harris eviscerated old Joe during the last round of debates.

      1. Wukchumni

        Joey will have 2 or 3 handlers at the ready to refute something stupid he uttered while @ the podium of the debate.

        1. ambrit

          Just look closely for the control cable running from behind him and on up his trousers leg. Where that is attached, I do not want to know.

          1. mrsyk

            Reminds me of that ubiquitous campus bathroom stall graffiti “flush twice, it’s a long way to the kitchen”. Choose your own destination.

      2. Objective Ace

        Probably Bernie Sanders. He certainly could tear him apart, but he’s simply too nice and thinks Biden is better then Trump

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Rumor on the street is that RFK, Jr. is considering a run. If that turns out to be the case, they’re gonna need a bomb threat to clear the place, and no time left on the election “calendar” to ever reschedule. No doubt it would be quite a show.

        1. thomas

          Actually, the source of RFK’s “whiney” voice is a neurological movement disorder– “Spasmodic
          Dysphonia”–where the vocal cords move involuntarily causing breaks in speech and produces a strained voice for the speaker. Said strained voice presents differently in SD cases, depending on the type of SD one has.

    3. in_still_water

      The questions at the debate would be as follows:

      Q (biden) – what is your favorite ice cream flavor?
      Q (williamson) – who is the current president of Togo?

      1. some guy

        The way Williamson could be ready for that sort of cynical gotcha-question from a lugenpress “reporter” would be to say right back . . . ” You tell me who the current President of Tonga is and I will tell you who the current President of Togo is.” And see the lugenpress “reporter” squirm over that one.

        “Well?” said Williamson . . . ” I’m still waiting”. . .

        ( And to those who would remind me that Tonga has a King, not a President, I would say . . . exactly.
        It’s a trick question. The lugenpress “reporter” would be too dumm stoopit iggerant to know that.)

    4. Mo

      Jacobin article is very thin gruel. The two have no differences on foreign policy since the most important issue there is the war and Marianne thinks it’s just dandy. That makes her awful.

      As to M4A: what’s a debate going to do? Most people are for it but we’re not getting it. Discussion over.

      And then she’s going to tell you to vote Democrat.

      No thanks Marianne. My aura isn’t feeling you

      1. JBird4049

        It is not that Marianne Williamson is so awful, but what she is compared to everyone else; it is true that it might be a choice of poisons, but so would it be between Donald Trump and everyone else. If I am going to die, I would like to give the proper salute to our betters. Wouldn’t you? And she just might, maybe, perhaps, help all of us, unlike all the others who I know will betray without a care.

  5. Terry Flynn

    Sloane and boring numbers. Fascinating. I used Sloane’s “other” big catalogue for almost 20 years – his (now taken down from its original source but copies exist on pages owned by SAS etc) catalogue of orthogonal arrays and balanced incomplete block designs (BIBDs).

    If more people doing any kind of social research used these, there would be far fewer biases. Thus if you have 13 attitudinal statements, a BIBD in 13 sets, each with 4 statements is great. Each statement appears exactly 4 times and each pair of statements occurs early once.

    Respondents cannot spot any patterns to “guess what the designer is really trying to find out”. Biggest blue-chip bank in Australia uses it in place of psychometric tests during recruitment. A friend was most vexed that he couldn’t “game the system” and it turned out that bank had quietly swiped the exact method my boss invented.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Ooh he put it back up, thanks for checking. I don’t know his reasoning but I think he had taken it down for a while because companies were scraping content without correct attribution or keeping up old stuff that was incorrect.

        He did not put the BIBDs on there originally but if they are there now I’m sure it’ll encourage people to think about why (for instance) 13 is interesting for design statistics whilst 6 is utterly boring.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Ah that figures. In the early days for the BIBDs he directed people to a “more original” directory (as is good practice) or publication.

            The file containing the BIBDs known 20 or so years ago has circulated freely since then, given permission of author. I am not a source for any updated one with BIBDs found for higher numbers.

            Lower numbers remain interesting because there is no BIBD – 17, 18 & 20 are lowest I’m aware of…. We had to get colleagues to somehow increase/decrease number of statements to get a BIBD if they gave us any of those numbers.

  6. Wukchumni

    Living a sheltered life… i’d never heard of Silicon Valley Bank, and assumed it was a sperm bank for tech savvy Illionaires to spawn with one another.

    1. griffen

      It just occurs to me, this will release a virtual blitz of postings on social media for professionals about the shortcomings inherent of this bank and now they must fend for their lives absent a paycheck, you know, since the funds went poof. I imagine a few of these postings will go along with “I have to downsize from daily Starbucks and nightly filet mignon to Jersey Mike’s. Please help.” Fortunately for these folks, I suppose, is the overall health of the job market. Added comment, it’s never fun being thrown out on the street from your job. Contrary to respected economists and the NBER, the recession was not ending in May 2009 (my personal experience, it only just had begun).

      I immediately recalled the circa 2008 South Park episode, where young Stan is encouraged to open a bank account. Which he does and in short order the funds are gone.

      1. Terry Flynn

        This week the episode was co-written by ChatGPT with that as the object of ridicule. SP has been on form again recently!

          1. Terry Flynn

            Yep! Quite meta in its humour this week. As one reviewer said “not on par with the Harry and Meghan one but that in itself illustrates the point that human guidance is needed”

    2. Ignacio

      Illionaire’s spawning season goes all around the year but at some point the species might become endangered if there are no alternative sperm banks.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Some Reasons Why Smartphones Might Make Adolescents Anxious and Depressed”

    Getting young teenage girls depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel. A mature society would put laws in place to protect them and stop corporations from trying to make money out of their problems. Unfortunately we don’t live in a mature society so as far as young teenage girls is concerned, it is open season. The past coupla weeks there has been a TV ad here in Oz showing what young girls are up against these days and it is not good- (30 secs)

    1. Lexx

      Have you noticed how often now a phone conversation stands in for the presence of an actual live character delivering the lines, and that the nature of that conversation is not in any way ‘good news’ for the character on the receiving end?

      I have little patience for the presence of my phone that lives in the end of the kitchen counter, where I may or may not answer when it makes a noise. I have the less patience for alluded-to invisible actors. David Harbour may be playing a ghost on Netflix, but at least we can see him, he can communicate his own emotions, and then the audience can react to his performance. Yay!

    2. Pat

      I have never understood how so much of our supposed female media and politicians just do not get that social media is high school on steroids expanded exponentially. The only difference is the “mean girls” are all sexes and ages. Well I don’t understand until I have my moments of acceptance that we have elevated sociopaths at all levels of society.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        …Instagram is a machine for making you feel like whatever you’ve got isn’t enough. (That’s how it functions financially, through advertising idealized lives.) There are young people out there who have arranged their various feeds such that they’re always a few seconds away from seeing concerts they can’t attend, cars they can’t drive, houses they can’t live in, clothes they can’t wear, women they can’t fuck or whose bodies they can’t have, places they can’t travel to, food they can’t eat, and lives they can’t live…

        Isn’t the story that zuckerberg invented facebook (esteemed progenitor of all things “social” media) to “rank” students’ APPEARANCES from their harvard ID photos?

        Now that mean-spirited, ugly, Gollum of a person has condemned an entire generation and counting to the same misery he surely must feel when he looks in his own mirror, and denied them the smallest opportunity to have even a modicum of satisfaction in their own lives, for fabulous profit selling frickin’ advertising. Or so the story goes.

        And he’s hailed as an “innovator.” A technological “genius.”

        god only knows what hellscape he’s planning for the planet with his “metaverse.” Maybe “virtual” suicide to spare everyone the mess of the real thing.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Yep. Ironically methods from another link, (Sloane who invented the boring/interesting numbers databases) – the orthogonal designs he has listed – have been used since the early 1980s to uncover what people think to be “attractive” or unattractive”. Look up choice modeling or, for 1980s work “conjoint analysis”.

          Thankfully it has very limited success with people when it comes to attractiveness. Whilst some already uncovered titbits were confirmed (greater symmetry of the face often is preferred but perfect symmetry is not) the thankfully greater failure is that the whole approach fails to account for fact that whilst to paraphrase Monty Python “we’re not all individuals”, there are large number of segments and all of these programs that seek to quantify people are flawed at a fundamental level because they can’t get the segments right.

          A “good” thing about the impatience of people using the internet these days is that it is practically impossible to “properly segment them” via getting enough answers from them…… Hence Lambert’s point that the reliance upon what are necessarily BETWEEN person correlations to make statistical predictions are practically, philosophically and theoretically wrong. AI will only work when humans become less impatient. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Maybe a “criticism” of modern life may save us? Although we have already been saved because Zuckerberg ain’t half as clever as he thought he was. Did he ever take a course in mathematical psychology or statistical design theory? I’m pretty sure not.

        2. c_heale

          The whole Internet and most of TV is an instrument for “machine for making you feel like whatever you’ve got isn’t enough.”

          The underlying problem is advertising. And the fact that our society can’t stop these mass media from showing us dangerous (particularly foods) and useless/worthless (nearly all other) products, show how sick a society we are.

          I don’t have a TV, but I do use the internet. I use Whatsapp and Instagram. But I only use Instagram for some art stuff I do, just to see what responses I get (if something is popular, it helps me to see if their is some merit in it – it’s very hard to judge your own work, without a lot of time passing), and sometimes stuff I’m very doubtful about, gets a surprisingly good response, and vice-versa.

          The worst thing to do with the internet is to use it to take away boredom – doomscrolling. Just use as a tool. And don’t get caught up with competing on likes or posts, that is a waste of time, too.

  8. tevhatch

    The Democrats Have Lost the Plot Matt Taibbi,
    Paul Wellstone’s father was Ukrainian Jew, so I wonder if his usual grass roots voting would hold in todays environment. It’s amazing how well that group(?) did in getting into power.

  9. Benny Profane

    Shorter segments of the Democrats grilling Taibbi at the hearing are on YouTube, if you cant stomach the whole thing. It’s quite disturbing and depressing to watch. I never thought I’d practically cheer for Jim Jordan, but, here we are. Dangerous times. At least China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran moved on.

    1. griffen

      I watched a few yesterday, one where they were both accused of the “so called journalist” tag by one clueless Representative; which I found pretty revealing of someone not up to speed. I’m gonna have to find space in my budget for a subscription to Racket eventually, if only to show minimum support at these efforts to have truths reported and sunlight directed into dark corners.

      I thought Taibbi performed well in the few that I’ve watched.

      1. big boots

        Are there any adults in Congress these days, I ask? I have to say yes, I saw some in the House origin of COVID hearing I watched yesterday. But there was also a lot of useless, stupid sniping. Partisanship run amuck. Stop it!

        Those woke Democrats, they hate us for our freedoms.

        1. digi_owl

          To mangle a local “saying”: brat is a state of mind, not an age.

          They may be close to the grave, but they behave like brats.

      2. semper loquitur

        I’m trying to remember who it was that asked Taibbi if he thought the Russians had interfered in the 2016 election. After some back and forth, Taibbi said something like “not actually”. The brain-genius interrogating him then shot back that he didn’t see a difference between interference and not-actual interference. Had I been in Taibbi’s place, my response to that would have led to me being dragged away in leg-irons.

        1. fresno dan

          I never thought after the fall of the Soviet Union that the red scare would be rebirthed, but some things I guess are just too useful….

          1. semper loquitur

            It’s pretty amazing how quickly the Russophobia popped back up, at least to my eyes.

            1. John D.

              It’s been chilling to watch this unfold in real time. I no longer have any questions about how McCarthyism took root in the 50’s or how things went so bad in Germany in the 30’s.

              1. MichaelC

                Me too.
                As cynical as I think I’ve become over the last 20+years, I’m still shocked at my naïveté.
                Watching Debbie Wassersman Shultz ,former (and rightly disgraced) Chair of the DNC) horrific treatment and takedown of Taibbi , a man who heroically upheld all the Democratic values her party espoused post GFC,was surreal.
                How,in a sane world does someone like her still have the power to have a voice in this debate, except as the voice of a useful idiot ,like McCarthy.
                I hope she and her her enablers meet the same fate as him.
                And soon.
                Also horrifying that her key enabler happens to be POTUS
                I’m glad I’m old .(enough)

                1. square coats

                  After watching as much of it as I could stand, which was just a bit past DWS, I find myself wanting to say some very rude things about her. I’m in awe of Taibbi and Shellenberger keeping their cools and making their points well.

            2. digi_owl

              It had been simmering in the corridors since Putin took over.

              But it was massively amplified after Hillary faceplanted vs Trump.

              After that all the latent Russophobia got hitched on the TDS train.

          2. digi_owl

            Reheated McCarthyism has been going for over a decade now.

            Also, there seems to be a kind of revanchism going round in the intelligentsia etc. This thanks to the number of people that decamped from USSR to USA. Many of them seem to treat Putin’s Russia as the inheritor of USSR blood sins, in particular those dating back to Stalin.

            The holomodor has been a particular topic of late.

      3. John Zelnicker

        griffen – Please contact me at zelnickertaxservice [at] comcast [dot] net re: subscription to Racket.

    2. Nikkikat

      I agree Benny, I was actually rooting Jim Jordan on in the clips of hearing. Never thought I would be doing that! The Dems were absolutely insane. Questioning was hilarious as Garcia had no idea what a podcast was and had never heard of a substack as she put it.
      But I did notice they treated the CEO of the train crash in Palestine Ohio better than Matt Taibbi. Truth is a painful thing for these morons. They had a really good thing going on with their censorship of anything and everything that doesn’t fit the neoliberal narrative. They apparently think Elon Musk is the new Putin. Lol

    3. Zagonostra

      Grayzone had a great recap yesterday on their Ytube channel for our those not following as closely as they should, like me. Take away for me is that it doesn’t matter if Dems or Pubs occupy majority, they both serve the ruling elites when they get a hold of power.

    4. Ignacio

      I have heard just a small section of it. How is it that the supposedly democratic institution supposedly in charge of control of the Government turned into harasser of citizens trying to earn their livelihoods honestly? Democracy turned upside down and nobody noticed.

      This was one of the darkest episodes I have ever watched in a so-called democracy.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > How is it that the supposedly democratic institution supposedly in charge of control of the Government turned into harasser of citizens trying to earn their livelihoods honestly?

        Because after Trump’s victory in 2016 the PMC came to consciousness as a class, and declared a state of exception (Ausnahmezustand, in the original German), through the operations of the political party for which they are the base. Now that they’ve done it for eight years, they find they quite like it.

        1. Ignacio

          I very much buy the mechanics as you explain it. You say 8 years. Can we find a particular event or chain of events (apart from Trump victory) signalling the shift or was this a slow motion thing? Did they first become oligarchs, then conscious of their class or caste or is it that only oligarchs are electable?

          I am wondering how, for instance, AOC, as she goes through the neoliberal checks and controls turns into someone very different from what she was before elected.

          1. digi_owl

            I’m tempted to say it started to slowly creep in back when Obama was elected. Then came Occupy. And when that failed to materialized any solid benefits, Trump was pretty much a protest vote by the inland “deplorables” (similar IMO to Brexit).

            That is when the PMC realized that their world view was not the common world view. But rather than introspect on that event, they grasped onto Russia as the big bad evil that had ruined everything.

    5. Kouros

      Debbie was galling for sure.

      All this effort to portray Matt as a scum of a human and a stain on the face of humanity for interfering with the good work of authorities…

    6. Jason Boxman

      This country is run by petulant children that need a nap nap. (Biden might generally be napping anyway.)

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Views From Space Show Bakhmut Burning As Ukraine Battles To Hold The City”

    Bakhmut is supposed to be the biggest battle of the 21st century so far and as it is to a large extent an artillery battle, you would reckon that the damage and burning can be seen from space.

  11. griffen

    The proposed White House budget is presented as building on the “historic deficit reduction” momentum that has occurred thus far under the Biden admin . Think of all the savings we will have in 10 years, comrades! Roads and bridges getting built, potholes filled, children clothed and fed, poverty reduced to basically nil. Okay I went a little far, perhaps. \sarc

    This budget is dead on arrival, if not before. These tax proposals, as presented, are going nowhere fast. And it is always unusual to see a round figure like $400,000 thrown about as a line of demarcation if you will. $400,000 in my neck of the woods of South Carolina goes pretty far, I have to think. $400,000 in LA or Manhattan, maybe not too far. This week CNBC covered how the tax proposals would push the top marginal rate for, by example, New York to like 59% ( that is all in, with state tax rules ).

    Republicans are on the clock to deliver a proposal of their own. I look forward to the unicorn and rainbow budget proposal that they provide as well.

  12. Wukchumni

    California’s ‘Zombie Forests’ Are Cheating Death—but Maybe Not for Long Smithsonian.
    I kinda live in a Zombie Forest, largely populated by Blue Oaks which are hundreds of years old, but there aren’t any young ones.

    None of them are watered by the hand of man, and i’d guestimate i’ve lost a dozen in the past decade from the drought, irreplaceable that they are.

    1. Carolinian

      It’ll be moot when it all falls into the ocean after The Big One. Of course your beloved Sierras are themselves the result of climate change and glaciers that no longer exist. John Muir figured this out long ago.

      I read an interesting book about how AGW will affect the National Parks and it said those iconic Yosemite waterfalls–which depend on snow melt and are already gone by July–will disappear by mid century. But maybe not just yet? We’ll have to enjoy them while we can.

      1. Wukchumni

        If you ever wanted to see Yosemite waterfalls at the peak, this is the year!

        The glaciers that are still in the High Sierra were all formed during the Little Ice Age when temps dipped a few degrees on this wonderful orb of ours, imagine what going a few degrees in the other direction will do?

        I’m giving this planet 30 years to get it’s act in order, or i’m outta here.

    2. mrsyk

      I read on the wiki “Quercus douglasii, known as blue oak, is a species of oak endemic to California, common in the Coast Ranges and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. It is California’s most drought-tolerant deciduous oak, and is a dominant species in the blue oak woodland ecosystem”. (I did not know there are evergreen varieties of oaks.)
      Question; Are there any other varieties of hardwood in your neighborhood forests?

      1. Wukchumni

        Blue Oaks go dormant, while Live Oaks (the other hardwood around these parts) don’t. I’ve lost 50-60 Live Oaks in the drought.

        Blue Oaks are single trunk trees, while Live Oaks are typically 5 to 7 trunked trees-each trunk being around a foot in diameter.

        1. mrsyk

          Thanks, and please accept my heartfelt sympathies. Losing trees is like losing friends. Here in SW Vermont our trees are doing relatively well. Gypsy moths and emerald ash borers are an ever growing problem. Any walk in the forest will take you by numerous dead ash trees. Thrips pose a threat to our maples, but so far no glaring losses. Overall, forest crowns look healthy and robust and I’m hoping they can thrive for awhile longer.

  13. KD

    Is China’s ‘Straddle’ on Ukraine Coming to an End? The Diplomat

    This article is truly bizarre. Let’s see:

    Mounting speculation that Beijing is considering provision of “lethal aid” to Moscow thus raises the question: Why would China shift from this ostensibly successful course?

    Gee, this one is an even bigger mystery than the NS2 sabotage, yet the oracle suggests that maybe Nancy Pelosi could supply an answer, as well as all the billions in lethal aid the US is selling to Taiwan, on top of diplomatic signals that it is dropping ambiguity on the defense of Taiwan and its pledge in favor of the One China policy. On second thought, why would the Chinese care about the U.S. meddling in its internal affairs and providing top draw lethal aid to an insurrectionist province in China? As well as the recent sanctions threats from the U.S. and bans on microchip transfers and fabrication tech.


    Such “personalist authoritarian regimes,” as Sheena Chestnut Greitens reminds us, “tend to be information-sclerotic and avoid delivering bad news and negative feedback to leaders, even when that information seems obvious to an outside observer.”

    No, its all about toxic masculinity, Xi’s bromance with Putin, and the Communist Party of China’s inferiority complex stemming from the Soviet Days.

    What is the harm of this bromance turning into China providing lethal aid to Russia in Ukraine to fight an American proxy (unlike America providing lethal aid to American proxy Taiwan to threaten China):

    Based on a purely interests-based assessment, the benefits to China of arming Russia would appear to be outweighed by the risks. As U.S. and European leaders have made clear, such an action would see the floor fall out from beneath already fractious China-U.S. relations and further alienate European capitals at the very moment Beijing has sought to reinvigorate China-Europe ties.

    Uh, oh, if China provides lethal aid, American and Europeans will get their feelings hurt. Its almost a microaggression. But what is the big threat? Sanctions! China should see that Russia has been brought to its knees by Western sanctions, which have had little impact on Europe. Gee, if America sanctions China, China would have to move toward autarky, and the last thing you would want to be if you had the biggest population in the world, and the largest industrial base in the world is autarkic, especially when you were looking at challenging American influence in Eurasia. This would shift (the already shifting) balance of trade in the direction of SE Asia, Central Asia, South America and Africa. Further, China can withstand loss of European trade, but Europe will go down economically and then politically if they try to sanction China, and if they don’t, that will end NATO and the EU. China actually seems more like Brer Rabbit and the sanctions patch.

    I’m sort of confused actually. It would seem that China’s geopolitical security is way more important than any economic benefits from Western trade, and that sanctions will only strengthen China’s geopolitical position and destroy Europe economically (which has already been harmed by Russian sanctions, Baltic terrorist attacks on infrastructure, and American protectionism such as the Inflation Reduction Act). Not seeing the downside to China by pushing Europe to choose between economic suicide and fealty to its American boss, or breaking its military dependence on America. Its almost like it is the West that has the delusions of grandeur and omnipotence, or maybe its just its just the confidence man insistent that he has a flush but only willing to turn over four of his cards.

    In such a context a Chinese decision to arm Russia, then, while lamentable, would demonstrate that the nature of CCP decision-making coupled to Xi’s personal investment in close ties to Moscow have their own dynamic – independent of what we might conceive of as rational geopolitical calculations.

    The author of this article fails to note that this is, of course, the case when you are talking about Asiatics and Slavs, this has been the burden since the colonial period, only white Western Europeans are capable of rational calculation, and so it is necessary to control the rest of the world for their own good. If China was rational, they would acknowledge this fact and submit to their white masters. Europe is a garden and China a jungle, but if they were willing to kowtow, the generous white people might make China sort-of a garden. It is hard to see how these kinds of arguments wouldn’t persuade Chinese official. /sarc

    A sophisticated reader might conclude the author is echoing a long-standing colonialist trope, and this is a tell as to who the intended audience for this article is: racist imbeciles. In fact, the article would probably be more effective if it made the racism explicit, because racist imbeciles maybe insufficiently subtle to grasp the author’s message. The only remaining question is whether the author is a racist imbecile, or a four flusher con man churning out jingoism for racist imbeciles? [And why does the CIA or Bellingcat or whoever push this crap on educated audiences?]

    1. Lex

      Your analysis was far better than the published piece. I’ll add that the author and editors of The Diplomat chose to misname the Communist Party of China as the Chinese Communist Party, echoing the American political system. Quite undiplomatic if you ask me.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Thanks for this. It’s a point that should be made. Officially, the initials are CPC not CCP. I was listening to a commenter a few weeks ago who said he puts little stock in “analysis” that can’t even get the initials right.

      2. mrsyk

        It would be just like a “Democrat” to do that. If we could survive on irony….
        *I know James Pach isn’t really a democrat but he plays one on tv (re his pro TPP stance “As a Tokyo-based consumer, I am very much looking forward to a better selection of reasonably priced fruit and vegetables, should Japan actually proceed with meaningful concessions.”) This from a Q+A he hosted on Reddit

    2. Boomheist

      Let’s see: At the winter olympics just before the Ukraine SMO began Xi and Putin announced they were in a cooperative partnership. Some have suggested Putin went to Xi to tell him he was about to invade and Xi said, fine. I felt then and feel today the SMO has always been within a much much broader wrapper, which is, a concerted and conscious effort to build another power bloc of non US-NATO countries, and this effort has been going on for years and years, little noticed in the West: Shanghai Cooperative Organization, BRICS, Belt and Road Initiative, heavy Chinese and Russian investments in Africa and South America…..Now the West and NATO and the US are being exposed in Ukraine as overmatched and over extended, and at the same time, a year and more in, we are seeing more and more news of a multipolar world coming into being – witness the latest shocker for the neocons, the Iran Saudi Arabian agreement. Witness the greatly increased oil flows to India and China from Russia.

      All this says to me that the Ukrainian issue is folded within a broader effort to finally break toward a multipolar world, and as the months have passed and Blinken’s running around like a lap dog begging for scraps becomes more and more clear, we are I think abut to see a huge and sudden shift, an Overton Window shift? – such that suddenly we wake up one morning and realize with a shock that 75 percent of the world is against us.

      And, it seems, this is going to happen at the same time as we are struggling with bank runs, a real estate crash, and massive layoffs.

      One might almost think the only solution is to get on a full war footing asap…….

      At least this might explain the otherwise baffling poking-in-the-eye of Russia, China and now Mexico at the same time….

      1. barefoot charley

        Agreed, but we must remember the other Smith’s observation that “There’s a great deal of ruin in a nation.” Our nation’s slow, stupid slide into senescence and imbecility with nukes like dog tags will take much longer to get where we’re going than one would think possible. It took Rome centuries. In fact Adam Smith’s witticism was prompted by English General Burgoyne’s rout at Saratoga, which proved to be the start, not the end of our separation from England, taking another 5 years. Patience.

        1. JBird4049

          About the American revolution, at the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, nobody thought that the American colonies would be in armed revolt against the British Empire. Yet, twelve years later in 1775, American militias with veterans from that war were in open combat against British soldiers; the veterans’ presence was one of the reasons the reasons for the near destruction of the British. The Americans were using the same tactics that they had used during the previous war when fighting as British soldiers. American Revolution effectively ended in 1783 which was twenty years after the end of the Seven Years War.

          Twenty years from loyally fighting as British soldiers to fighting against the British army and twenty years to independence. And again, almost nobody saw this happening and aside from some extreme radicals in New England, no one wanted to secede.

          It is a cliché, but history is often stranger than fiction. Seven Years War was accidentally triggered by Colonel George Washington (yes, that Washington). One of the consequences of the Seven Years War was causing the series of steps leading to American independence with Washington not only being the commander of the Continental Army, but eventually President of the United States. American independence was one of the causes of the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte. Yes, there are probably some big changes coming, much faster than most people would think.

          1. Michaelmas

            JBird4049: About the American revolution, at the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, nobody thought that the American colonies would be in armed revolt against the British Empire. Yet, twelve years later in 1775, American militias with veterans from that war were in open combat against British soldiers

            The trigger that suddenly brought the likes of Washington, Jefferson, and their states into play, where they’d been uninterested in independence hitherto, is no mystery except for those who wish it to be —



            1. JBird4049

              Respectfully, the idea that a possible threat of losing their slaves was the driving cause of the southern leadership to join the growing resistance to British rule is at best very superficial and at worst a canard.

              First, the judicial decision banning slavery affected only England.

              Second, the movement originated in New England and was concentrated in the merchants and craftsmen, in such organizations as the Sons of Liberty, and not in the already declining slave owning class of the region.

              Third, the original battles of Lexington and Concord were in Massachusetts in April 1775.

              Fourth, and more directly, the First Continental Congress convened in 1774 to deal with the passage of the Intolerable Acts by Parliament and its delegates included slave owners from the southern colonies.

              Fifth, the Second Continental Congress began in September of 1775 and again it included slave owners from the south including George Washington.

              Sixth, Dunmore’s Proclamation was in November of 1775, and to reiterate, the starting battles and the First Continental Congress were in 1774, and the start of the second in September of 1775, with both having slave owners from the southern colonies including George Washington.

              Seventh, the British Abolition Society, which is the official start of the abolitionist movement, was created in 1787, six years after the Siege of Yorktown, or five years after the effective end of the war.

              Eighth, the British abolition of slavery across its empire happened in 1833 or fifty-eight years after the start of the American War of Independence.

              In conclusion, the war from its start to its conclusion had little to do with slavery although many people from all sides did note the hypocrisy and money was involved, but that was about the taxes and duties that the colonists didn’t want to pay especially in the way Parliament imposed them.

    3. Darthbobber

      “And why does the CIA or Bellingcat or whoever push this crap on educated audiences?”

      If formal education in and of itself makes people more resistant to this sort of BS, I’ve never noticed.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: US probe of dog breeder scrutinizes why USDA left thousands of beagles to suffer”

    They seem determined to go after these breeders and they do bear a lot of responsibiolity. But what happens in court when the lawyers for Envigo call Dr. Anthony Fauci to the stand?

    1. Lex

      The current domestic tension in Israel as well as increasing tension with Palestinians should probably be considered in the context of Iran and KSA resuming diplomatic relations. That’s not going to lead to immediate or significant balance of power recalculations in the region (probably), but it puts the Israeli state in a real bind, given that Israeli foreign policy was deeply focused on getting the Gulf states onside against Iran.

      Israel further has to consider the imperial overstretch of its protector. One could argue that if Israel is going to make a military move against Iran the time is now before Iranian-Saudi relations deepen. But how much support can the US give with all its attention on Ukraine and its stated plans of making a mess in Taiwan? Note too that only a few months ago the US had to remove 300k artillery shells from “just in case” Israeli storage to send to Kiev. The Su35 order Iran has placed is likely not a future delivery but from a cancelled order and may be transferred almost immediately. And significant Russian air defense systems are already in region with nominal Syrian control.

      A mistimed and failed military adventure is probably the last thing Israel can afford. We should also assume that Iranian-Saudi talks considered the possibility and some degree of understanding about the KSA’s reaction in this scenario was established. (What it is and whether the Saudis will stick to it is a different question.) All-in-all, Israel is probably in the worst position it has experienced since the late 40’s. And there’s no guarantee the US can effectively help it.

      1. flora

        That’s very interesting. Thanks.

        The power grab krystal and co are referring to is Bibi trying to weaken the independent judiciary to remove democratic potential checks on his actions. This is internal state stuff.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I would not be surprised to see in the next few years a turn to China by Israel. Israel owes no loyalty to the US and if they see the US position in the middle east become untenable, what choice will they have but to attach themselves to China to protect themselves?

        1. square coats

          It might be worth mentioning that Israel and Russia maintain a good relationship, at least in a professional sense.

      3. c_heale

        I think this goes back to well before the assassination of the Qasim Soleimani. I don’t believe he would be officially meeting with the Saudi Arabian administration if an agreement was not very close. This means the Saudi Arabian administration wants this agreement very strongly too.

        They can see the writing on the wall. As soon as their big oil fields expire, the USA will abandon them. So better to have good relations with their neighbors.

  15. dumpy the malcontent

    I live in a forest of rotting, standing death white oaks, thousands of acres of them, killed by an infestation of gypsy moths a few years ago. It’s now dangerous to go into the woods when the wind blows. Skeletons, not Zombies.

    1. some guy

      What kinds of plants, saplings, shrubs, bushes, etc. are growing on the forest floor between all the oak skeletons?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Scientists have revived a ‘zombie’ virus that spent 48,500 years frozen in permafrost’

    They shouldn’t be a problem as our own ancestors dealt with them often enough in their own travels. Having said that, it should be fascinating to analyze these old viruses to see what they can do and try to relate them to our DNA to see if they had a permanent effect on us all those eons ago.

    1. Aaron

      Just finished How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu a nice work of speculative fiction which uses exactly this premise as it’s jumping off point.

    2. Bsn

      However, it wasn’t pretty the way that Western Hemisphere peoples dealt with the Zombie virus’ from Europe. I say, just like oil “Leave it in the ground”.

  17. semper loquitur

    re: zombie viruses

    “These are organisms that could bring the dynamics of ancient and extinct ecosystems into the present-day Arctic, with unknown consequences.”

    Just a flight of fancy, but perhaps those ancient organisms could be the start of a new ecological paradigm to supplant the one we are wrecking. I mean, they would have to be, no? If they were active in warmer times in the past and warmer times are coming. Therefore, I think that AGW may in fact be the best way to begin to heal the Earth. I’m off to buy a Mustang.

    1. ambrit

      Forget the Mustang. The locals in the sub-artic tend to ride other aminals, like Oxen and Reindeer.

  18. .human

    Exclusive: US probe of public health policy scrutinizes why Biden administration left millions of people to suffer.

    Fixed it for you Reuters.

  19. froggy de boil

    de boer article fully braindead. young people staring at a burning planet, young women told they must bear the babies of their rapists, regular drills about school shootings but absolutely nothing done to prevent school shootings, vax denialism on the rise alongside a visibly failing health system, on every level, in every direction, clear and substantive proof that they dwell in a miserable hour of history where they will be additionally castigated for failing to perform under such circumstances, and where the only ways out of the morass are abuse of other humans via amoral professional or managerial performance, or inherited wealth.

    but the problem is seeing mansions on instagram!

    comments repulsive, including a feast of apologetics for incels. why is this linked here?

  20. Lex

    If the rumbles are true, Kiev has decided to put all its chips on Bakhmut. If that succeeds it’s a significant victory. If it fails it may be the last gasp. I’m sure this angers Kiev’s patrons who’ve put so much effort into the spring/summer offensive towards the Sea of Azov and severing the Crimean land bridge to give Russia an embarrassing loss. The proxy is becoming increasingly less trustworthy and reliable.

    On Ukrainian TG channels the rising discontent is palpable. Non-frontline military has apparently had salary cut by 50%. The forced mobilization is hugely problematic. And even western Ukrainians are starting to talk about negotiations, much to the chagrin of Danilov who even mentioned it in an interview. So if Zelensky throws everything at Bakhmut and it fails, things may go south quickly.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the actual Russian strategy is to A. Wait until Ukrainian forces mostly exhaust themselves and suffer equipment/ammunition shortages en masse before any serious offensive and B. Keep up pressure until the Ukrainian populace throws Zelensky out or the US withdraws support and Kiev falls without that support. There are risks in this, but no more than a big offensive to conquer Ukraine.

    1. semper loquitur

      I constantly see “news” snippets from The Telegraph on UToob describing how the Russians are on the ropes, their soldiers are at wit’s end:

      ‘I’d rather be in prison’ – Russian soldiers turn mutinous on their commanders

      Russians sent to fight on the front lines are mutinying, fighting amongst themselves, getting locked in basements and lost in the chaos of a faltering offensive, a flurry of videos and messages from inside Vladimir Putin’s army show.

      There are plenty like this. One snippet talked about the Russians being forced to weld boat turrets onto tanks to make up for the lost ones, I tried but couldn’t find the bit.

      If you take The Telegraph at face value, the Russians have lost this war around sixty or seventy times already. That has to be some kind of a record.

      1. Wukchumni

        In WW2 they dropped propaganda leaflets on the opposing side, but here in these not so united states the propaganda leaflets are online fishwraps.

        1. semper loquitur

          That’s an interesting point, they are obviously spending more time and money propagandizing us than the Rus.

          1. digi_owl

            Not really new. There are a whole lot of posters from both WW1 and WW2 from both sides trying to portray the enemy as evil and depraved as possible without overstepping the sensibilities of the day.

      2. Lex

        I will not argue that Russia has no problems or hasn’t made serious mistakes. Its MoD is as corrupt as any other. However, western news sources have become almost pure projection in terms of their relationship to reality on the ground.

        1. semper loquitur

          Yeah, there’s an incredible amount of projection. I’ll see something about Russian soldiers using potato guns or something due to a lack of equipment. A big one is about how Russian tanks are worthless or are being used improperly. And did you know the Russian people are about to lynch Putin?

          Then I’ll come here and read actual analysis of how the Ukies are short on ammo and equipment, how Western weapons systems are buggy, and Putin is as popular as ever.
          The Telegraph is especially revealing because they will have some ludicrous claim up one day, usually an “expert opinion” about why Russia is going down in flames. The next day they’ll have something about X number of Ukie soldiers killed and things are rather bleak.

        2. LifelongLib

          Per Douglas Macgregor*, Russia initially thought that a relatively small-scale military action would demonstrate its seriousness and bring Ukraine/NATO to the negotiating table. This turned out to be wrong, hence the much larger operation we’re seeing now.

          * I listen to him about Ukraine/Russia/NATO, pretty much close my ears when he talks about anything else.

      3. fresno dan

        It was possible to get facts from the MSM as recently 2005 when it was reported that weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq. But it seems bit by bit, foreign policy reporting became anti Russian, amont other things, after that. But the election of Trump was the Rubicon, where pedistrian reality was not as important as deeper truths….
        One incessantly hears how the market supplies what is most valuable at the best price. When will the market supply us with the realest reality? I think it never has, and I think it is getting worse…much worse.

      4. R.S.

        A pretty weird video. At least the guy has no Ukrainian accent. The latest news I’ve found is that the governor of Irkutsk has filed an official request to the MoD and to the Military Prosecutor’s Office, and a team of his has visited the regiment the guys on video claimed to be in. No mentions of any mutiny or huge losses or anything.

        One snippet talked about the Russians being forced to weld boat turrets onto tanks to make up for the lost ones, I tried but couldn’t find the bit.

        Not exactly onto tanks, not exactly forced, but anyway. You may google “MT-LB with 2M-3M”. Fitting MTLBs with anything that, well, fits is a venerable tradition by itself. This particular one is a rather odd contraption, but if it works, it ain’t stupid.

        1. digi_owl

          So basically the MT-LB is built like a general cargo hauler that in its basic config carried troops. But it is not hard to reuse the cargo compartment to mount just about anything with a bit of tinkering.

          Seems the Iraqi was doing something similar back in the day, by putting a ZU-23 AA gun on the back. I guess the naval AA was built as a fixed unit, and thus could be hoisted into place quickly once some brackets were constructed. And being enclosed, provide better protection for the gunner.

          May well be that these are meant as a way to deal with drones, as i suspect there are few other Ukrainian air assets these can threaten.

          Or it can be similar to the German 88, that started as an AA gun but ended up as an anti-tank weapon. I suspect them AA guns work just as well against troops and light vehicles, making these contraptions mobile pillboxes.

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm…. Who else has the Skoda Works supplied fighting vehicles and munitions to in it’s storied past?

    2. Wyatt Powell

      Czechia* and Slovakia have been separate countries for quite awhile now!

      *Formally “The Czech Republic”

  21. Zagonostra

    >At Year Three, Americans Split on Whether Pandemic Is Over

    I look around me right now and I can tell you in SE Florida, it’s over…at least till next scare.

  22. Kouros

    The Diplomat

    “In such a context a Chinese decision to arm Russia, then, while lamentable, would demonstrate that the nature of CCP decision-making coupled to Xi’s personal investment in close ties to Moscow have their own dynamic – independent of what we might conceive of as rational geopolitical calculations.”

    Despite the fact that it reproduced Chinese assertions that it is the US that considers China the greatest enemy. So in the mind of the Diplomat, the rational behavior would be for China to submit to the US demands? That is the only logical conclusion that can be deduced from the argumentation made by the authors Michael Clarke and Matthew Sussex

    Dr. Michael Clarke and Dr. Matthew Sussex are senior fellows at the Centre for Defence Research, Australian Defence College.

    Maybe these fellows should listen to their former PM Peaul Keating for some advice:

  23. LawnDart

    Prigozhin said that in 2024 he will run for president of Ukraine

    Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military company, during a trip to the combat zone in the Bakhmut region, announced that he had political ambitions. According to him, in 2024 he intends to run for president. At the same time, he clarified that he was talking about elections for the highest post in Ukraine.

    “Now there will be a very important political statement that will impress all Russians. Political coming out. I just had some political ambitions. I made a decision in the 24th year to run for president of Ukraine, ” Prigozhin said in the story of military correspondent Alexander Simonov.

    As follows from the statements of Prigozhin, he believes that the current President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and the previous head of state Petro Poroshenko will participate in future elections.

    “If I win, then everything will be fine,” Prigozhin added.

    Source: mk [dot] ru

    1. LawnDart

      I ♡ Russian humor!

      It seem apparent that they’ve decided, collectively, that Western (mis)leaders, the ruling-class, are a bunch of fools– might as well make the most of it and have a bit of fun!

  24. Bsn

    A general comment to my friends in the NC world. When you submits comments, please use “Old School” punctuation when possible. No capitols, sometimes no periods (etc.) make it hard to read what one thinks. The wonderful comments today are a good representation of how interesting people can be. Respectively, thank you.

  25. Wukchumni

    Nobody has mentioned The Big Lebowski so i’ll come through for the dude.

    Perhaps the ultimate LA film, it has everything I remember when living in the City of Angles and knew a few Lebowski types.

    1. YuShan

      I went to see it with my friend and his girlfriend in a small film house when it came out in 1998. Me and my friend loved it! It was instantly one of our favourite movies. His girlfriend however, she left halfway the movie and went home alone because she found it boring! I’ll never forget that.

    2. griffen

      I only recall various bits from the movie. The bowling alley scenes are pretty comical. And let alone the John Goodman performance as Walter. I won’t quote what he actually says but the baseball bat scene vs the Corvette is pretty hilarious. And Bridges has gone on to do some quite excellent films.

      I should scan the interwebs for refreshing my memories of seeing it on VHS ( back in the day when VHS and Blockbuster were still a thing ).

      1. ArchieShemp

        I loved the Nihilists who torture The Dude with a ferret. His scenes with Ben Gazzera as a pornographer are pretty choice too. Oh, and Hoffman as the other Lebowski!

  26. Cetra Ess

    Re whether the Andromeda could have been used to blow up the Nordstream pipelines.

    I think there’s a fundamental problem with this theory. The boat in question has high topsides. Unless there was zero wind and waves it would have been very difficult to stationkeep, which would have been necessary if using air hoses.

    Also, each diver would have needed 80 to 110 m of air hose. That’s about 262 feet of hose the diameter of garden hose. I have a 50 ft garden hose and I’m imagining the size of my hose reel times 5. That would be a pretty big reel indeed, then that times number of divers. Such a sailboat with such gear on deck would have looked very strange to any passersby, even from a great distance with the naked eye you’d want to check it out with binos, probably adjust course for a closer look. Even apart from a boat laden down with equipment on deck I think most people would adjust course to investigate a sailboat in the Baltic with sails down, lying ahull or hove to, may even try to make radio contact. And these are very busy waters.

    I’m not a diver and I’m getting a bit Tom Clancy here, but this suggests to me air hoses and all the gear and air pumps would not have been used if such a boat were used.

    So the only way this boat works is if the divers had something like this:

    There are other kinds of commercially available rebreather.

    I imagine the divers would also need a weight with line so they can work in series and repeatedly return to the target locations, then attach another line so they can find/return to the weight. Did the “investigators” recover this, I wonder. Although, likely the anchor winch would have been used to recover the weight.

    But I’m curious, to my mind would the divers have needed decompression stages which would require tanks waiting at each stage of the line? I don’t know enough.

    Then there’s the question of how did they drill through the concrete? A quick google says you’d need this piece of equipment:

    Notice the hydraulic hoses.

    Otherwise a quick search says there’s only one company in the world, it seems, that makes submersible battery operated impact drills and the drill bits don’t seem like they would have enough diameter for this task, unless some custom bits were made….

    So all in all I think it’s feasible and plausible such a boat as a 50 foot Bavaria may have been used but I’m still leaning towards the US Seventh Fleet during “training exercises” planting the explosives since they were directly over the locations earlier, which is far too much of a coincidence for me.

    But if that’s all it takes to blow up pipelines, rent a sailing yacht, get some rebreathers and simple tools, then the world’s underwater pipelines are in trouble.

    1. chris

      Yves mentioned it already but the smallest decompression chamber she can find specs for is about 3 m long, and when you consider power needs and other utility connections for it, can’t really fit on a sailboat.

      I’ve been involved in tunneling projects, pipeline projects, and construction details for underwater components like rigs. I find the notion that anyone considers the sailboat fantasy even remotely plausible to be sad. Like you said, you’re not a diver. Me neither but I have worked with divers, contracted divers, my friends are divers, and I work with underwater welders. The deepest I go snorkeling is about 30 feet underwater.

      So take all the diving details away then… you’re telling me you think it’s possible a couple of amateurs could operate the kind of equipment you think could do this under serious time pressure, in the dark, underwater? You ever operated jackhammers or other serious construction equipment above water? Do you know how tired that makes you? And these people are going to do it underwater with limited breathing capabilities? And they’re going to do it well enough and quietly enough so that things like acoustic emission sensors that we use for pipeline monitoring aren’t going to trip and alert people something is going on?

      No family blogging way.

      1. Cetra Ess

        No need for a decompression chamber, this isn’t a deep ocean dive, only 100m, so just air cylinders/tanks at decompression stages would be sufficient.

    2. Cetra Ess

      Replying to myself, I just had a further thought. What if the Seventh Fleet exercises were used as cover to interdict and redirect curious passersby from the Andromeda?

      This has the benefit of compartmentalization. Most participating in the exercises would deny they had seen or heard anything to do with the bombing. Military ships would have been kept out of visual but not radar range of Andromeda. Meanwhile, commanders could have been given instructions to report but not confront any vessels in the area. Command would then sift through such reports and, if not Andromeda, instructions would be given to send a harassing party to shoo unwanted vessels away, citing military exercises underway.

      So I think I’ve just changed my own mind, it was both the Andromeda AND the Seventh Fleet supporting it. Commanders participating in the exercise need not have known what their real purpose was in being there.

        1. Cetra Ess

          Thank you for the correction, I meant 6th fleet, the one that participated in BALTOPS just before the pipeline explosions.

    3. Not Equipped to Comment

      I’ve no experience with boats this size but in my little toddler of a 4m I recall that anchoring required an anchor line 7 – 10 times the depth of the water – so you’re talking here of a minimum 560 meters (1,850 ft.) of anchor line probably little different in diameter to an air hose. Moreover all that line in tidal water is going to experience considerable drag so you’d need a very chunky anchor to hold, particularly in silt, and a good long, heavy chain at the anchor end to help it set. Pleasure boats even of the Andromeda’s size wouldn’t expect to have to anchor in anything like 80m of water or be equipped to do so, so leaving harbour with that lot on the foredeck – as the locker would never hold it all – might draw attention.

      Moreover a rode that long is going to give the boat a very wide arc to swing in response to wind and current, and you can’t use the boat’s engine and stern prop to counter that. You’d need at a minimum an inflatable with an outboard to push against the beam to hold it in place.

      1. Cetra Ess

        Quite right, no boat will have that much rode by default, I don’t think even big ships have that much. So I don’t think the boat would have anchored at all, only used a line with weight solely for the divers benefit, not the boat, and otherwise just used the engine to marginally stationkeep.

      1. Jason Boxman


        Think of the two resources that made our modern world: oil and gas. By a miracle of geology, you can find them concentrated and nearly pure in the structures we call “wells.” Drill a hole into one of these wells, and often oil will flow out by itself in huge gushes. Sometimes you have to pump it out, but it still remains a miracle that you can have so much of it, and so concentrated. That’s how we could create an entire civilization based on it.

        And by first thought was lithium. No so easy. Although oil sands is another, of many.

  27. Wukchumni

    Now that bank runs are in again, let me once again recommend a great book on the Great Depression via diarist Benjamin Roth who was a lawyer in Youngstown Ohio.

    His diary starts in 1931 and there are runs on banks everywhere, which all start closing down across the country, and the only way to unlock the money is to buy the bank’s real estate and yuck! who wants that?

    So say you had money in a closed down bank, there’d be buyers of your deposits for anywhere from 30 to 65 Cents on the $, as it allowed them to get a ‘fire-sale’ on real estate the bank had.

    That’s just one bit of interesting tales of the time.

    The one thing to emphasize is that everybody was stony broke, highly deflationary. He bought a bushel of apples for 25 Cents to give you an idea of prices. That’s about 125 apples.

    The Great Depression-A Diary, by Benjamin Roth

    1. skippy

      Yet none of that has anything to do with the trade flows or contracts which shaped markets, at on set, or changes later on, so why would one use that framework to determine cause and effect.

        1. skippy

          The deReg given against advice just like Born sows it …. then again postal banks …

          Its a system problem accentuated by ideological notions which enable periods of such fear. Then again history is full of it.

  28. Glen

    An honest look at Chinese chip technology:

    China doesn’t want me to have this GPU

    So these guys doing the review exist in the PC gamer space and provide great reporting on that, but this is a bit unusual for them – they somehow got their hands on a “retail version” of a Chinese GPU (and they play games!)

    But what’s more interesting is how China developed this GPU, who is backing the effort, what technology did they find, and how much is being SPENT on this effort (hint – it make’s Biden’s Chips Act look like complete peanuts).

    This is, without a doubt, some of the most straight forward, honest reporting on the state of Chinese chips. Enjoy!

  29. Jason Boxman

    More Retiree Health Plans Move Away From Traditional Medicare

    Medicare privatizion is continuing apace.

    Retirees whose former employers offer health coverage are being shifted to privately run Medicare Advantage, often against their wishes. The change saves millions for employers.

    And eventually with so few people on real Medicare they can just end it. After all, obviously no one must like it, all being forced off or duped out. Makes a case for repeal. The market has spoken!

    1. Rod

      The North Carolina State Health Plan made this shift in 2022.
      Humana for the win.
      Roiled in turmoil and confusion.
      State Treasurer Dale Folwell likes talking about the system savings.
      Read everything twice then have someone else read it for comparison.
      I personally found the shift and options presented in the decision literature very deceiving.

  30. some guy

    It has been suggested that radical conservation will not be possible in America as long as America contains a powerful radical anti-conservation community numbering in the millions.

    Here is an example of the radical anticonservationists at work in Texas. The article is called . . .
    “Texas state lawmakers unveil plan to curb renewable energy, subsidize natural gas”
    Here is the link.

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