Links 3/12/2023

Mutant, Parasitic Impostor Queens Lurk in Ant Colonies NYT. And speaking of zombies:

Something in the zeitgeist….

19 States That Have Passed Permanent Daylight Saving Time and Why They Haven’t Implemented It Gizmodo. 2:00AM: And there it is. I just lost a [family blogging] hour, and for no good reason.


Farm Bureau Finds 2022 Weather Disasters Amounted to $21 Billion in Crop Losses Daily Scoop. Handy map:

Global SUV fleet produces more carbon emissions than most countries Interesting Engineering

Insurers need to ‘step up’ on catastrophe coverage, says risk modelling chief FT

Inside the Global Race to Turn Water Into Fuel NYT


Silicon Valley Bank: the spectacular unravelling of the tech industry’s banker FT. The deck: “While its collapse happened quickly, problems had been festering for years.” You don’t say. Libertarian gotta libertarian:

UK finance minister and Bank of England work to contain SVB fallout Reuters (Re Silc). Letter to Jeremy Hunt: “This weekend the majority of us as tech founders are running numbers to see if we are potentially technically insolvent.” There’s your real problem; preserving that “ecosystem” (akin to the problem Democrats faced in 2008, albeit on a smaller scale).

Larry Summers says Silicon Valley Bank doesn’t present systemic risk as long as it’s handled reasonably Yahoo News. Summers defines reasonable: “”What is absolutely imperative is that, however this gets resolved, depositors be paid back, and paid back in full.” Opinions may differ:

Silicon Valley Bank employees received bonuses hours before government takeover CNBC

* * *

Saturday Night Thoughts on the Need for a Lender of Last Resort Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality. “Then chaos monkey Peter Thiel showed up: advising companies to pull their money out of SVB.” A fine operational definition of an extremely robust banking and regulatory system. I say let’s use it for payroll!

After big bank failure, renewed questions about Home Loan Bank System American Banker

The Fall of Silicon Valley Bank The Rational Walk. SVB’s 10-K.

Roku Says $487 Million of Its Cash, or 26%, Was Held in Failed Silicon Valley Bank Variety. Streaming media, what a shame.

* * *

Crypto’s bedrock bank implodes Felix Salmon, Axios. Silvergate Bank, not SVB, Yo, Elon! Yo!


On the Covid-19 Lockdown’s Third Anniversary, Biden Has Moved On WSJ. I wonder if this is happening MR SUBLIMINAL I’m not saying “brain fog” but feel free to think it with a lot of private jets?

Understanding the future economic consequences of the covid-19 pandemic (PDF) The Economist

Disabled were 13 times as likely to die from Covid-19 – report Stuff. Or, in the original German, Lebensunwertes Leben.

Do SARS-CoV-2 Variants Differ in Their Neuropathogenicity? American Society for Microbiology. “SARS-CoV-2 is able to infect a wide range of neuronal cells, including olfactory sensory neurons in the olfactory mucosa, cortical neurons, dopaminergic neurons, astrocytes, and choroid plexus epithelial cells, although replication is often inefficient or abortive…. Studies investigating differences in the neuropathology of SARS-CoV-2 variants are scarce. Since differences in the neuroinvasivenes and neurotropism of SARS-CoV-2 variants have been observed it is likely that there are also differences in the neurovirulence. … Neurological complications after SARS-CoV-2 infections are a huge societal problem so we need to acquire more knowledge on the underlying mechanisms of how SARS-CoV-2 impairs neural homeostasis, which will guide the development of effective intervention strategies.” Sorry, that word. “Societal”?

Cochrane Says Review Does Not Show That ‘Face Masks Don’t Work’ Against Covid-19 Forbes. A good round-up.


China’s ‘two sessions’ 2023: central bank and finance chiefs retain spots in cabinet shake-up South China Morning Post


The Challenges of Regulating Rice in Myanmar JSTOR Daily

Commentary: Backlash against K-pop star Hanni shows Vietnam still struggles with legacy of war Channel News Asia

The Koreas

South Korea Says It Has Deal With Japan on Forced-Labor Dispute WSJ. Commentary:


Russian-Iranian Deal For Su-35s Finalized, State Media Reports The Drive

Energy giant Saudi Aramco reports ‘record’ US$161 billion profit on back of Russia-Ukraine war Channel News Asia

Netanyahu, rivals trade accusations over ‘dangerous’ Iran-Saudi detente The New Arab

Syrian Women Exploited in British Infowar Offensive Kit’s Newsletter

European Disunion

French Senate approves Macron’s pension reform as strikes continue France24

Eurovision 2023: Loreen wins Melodifestivalen as Liverpool contest line-up is completed BBC

Dear Old Blighty

Labour’s polling lead fell by more than half since October Skwawkbox. At least by American standards, Labour’s lead is still enormous.

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia casts Georgia protests as coup attempt, accuses West of fomenting unrest France24. Maybe. It’s not like the US doesn’t have form. Oh, look. An NGOrgasm:

US, Georgia agree to maintain economic pressure on Russia amid Ukraine war Andalu Agency

* * *

Nord Stream mystery: the tanker Minerva Julie spent 7 days idling near the attack site Insider (Rev Kev). Deep in the story: Bellingcat finally makes an appearance, posting photos of the Andromeda (S.S. Six Guys, High Explosives, And A Hyperbaric Chamber).

* * *

Frontline in Bakhmut runs through city centre – UK Intelligence Ukrainska Pravda. Translation: The front line is west of city centre.

How to win the hot war in Ukraine and the cold war that will follow it Economist (dougiedd).

* * *

Head of Wagner paramilitary group says he intends to run for president in Ukraine Andalu Agency

Oscars Reject Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Bid to Appear on Telecast (EXCLUSIVE) Variety. Zelensky should be at the Oscars. In fact, he deserves one.

The Space Race’s Shifting Center of Gravity Foreign Policy

Biden Administration

An End to Airline Consolidation? Matt Stoller, BIG

Biden’s Commerce Sec. Says She’s Reluctant to Ban China’s TikTok Because Democrats Would ‘Lose Every Voter Under 35 Forever’. Raheem Kassam’s Substack

Democrats en Déshabillé

On this day in history, March 12, 1933, FDR gives his first ‘fireside chat’ radio address FOX. How odd that a story about a liberal Democrat icon only appears in FOX:

But not in the New York Times:

From FDR’s first fireside chat, “On the Bank Crisis“: “I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking.” Perhaps “tallking to the American people” is something liberal Democrats have lost the capacity to do?


Trump indictment? Possibility throws wrench into campaign plans The Hill


Fetus Removed From Brain of 1-Year-Old Girl MedPage. In China, so I guess the operation was legal.


New research explains why a bad first impression cost Google $100 billion—or more TechXplore (KS). I wonder why ChatGPT got such good press:

Sex parties and polyamory in Silicon Valley? It’s more common than you might think South China Morning Post. No, I don’t think it is.

Ted Chiang: Fears of Technology Are Fears of Capitalism

Supply Chain

The Fed’s supply chain pressure gauge just went negative Freight Waves. Back to normal.

Police State Watch

Autopsy reveals anti-‘Cop City’ activist’s hands were raised when shot and killed NPR


How the brain senses a flu infection — and orders the body to rest Nature. Mouse study. “The results tell a narrative of illness: flu viruses enter the airway and infect throat cells, triggering prostaglandin production, and these previously unappreciated neurons respond. The infection alert then travels along the neurons’ branches on “a dedicated highway to the brain”, Abdus-Saboor says. Neural pathways do something blood-borne signals cannot: they give the brain information about exactly where the infection is occurring. The authors note that many other types of neuron have receptors for prostaglandins and other immune-related signals. They suggest that further dedicated pathways could exist, including ones for detecting gut infections, triggering nausea.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Six war mongering think tanks and the military contractors that fund them Liberation News (RK).

Class Warfare

The Company Testing Air in East Palestine Homes Was Hired by Norfolk Southern. Experts Say That Testing Isn’t Enough. ProPublica

Police: ‘Suspicious’ man who offered boy candy was participating in Random Acts of Kindness Day ABC7

How to Grow Re-enchanted with the World: A Salve for the Sense of Existential Meaninglessness and Burnout The Marginalian. This is the most Marginalian headline ever, but the article is still intriguing and useful, especially as the days lengthen but are not yet long (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).

Antidote du jour (via KLG):

KLG writes: “How to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder (my daughter’s back yard).
Looks like a young red tail hawk to me. They are very common where we live. There is another on the swing set in the background.”

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. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Mooooooornig Fiatnam!

    The platoon was already well versed in the ongoing War On Cash and had been through many ambushes, but were mystified by the War On Cash Deposits now entering the critical phase @ SVB.

    16th largest bank and what do you get, nothing over $250k and the rest forget… was the cadence we sang out when marching past the line of those caught in the financial maelstrom on the outside looking in.

    1. Deena

      If “Corporations are people,” then no corporation deposting in SVB should get one cent out of the FDIC beyond $250,000.

      If we taxsuckers bail out any of them beyond that, then we’ll know that the system is rigged. /sarc

      1. Susan the other

        So, good point because SVB is the clearest evidence possible that corporations are not persons. That was just another glib assumption by stupid people who legislate idiotically that has no actual meaning whatsoever. But Brad Delong makes the most rational point – that we should simply and asap insure all commercial banking deposits fully. Because otherwise the banking system is really as absurd as it has been looking. It was hung out to dry by the Fed’s very own action of rapidly raising interest rates. Well, we’re all third world countries now. Therefore, legitimate deposits (not crypto garbage) should all be insured. We need to ask ourselves why this safeguard has been shunned. My guess is because catastrophe capitalism is a banquet for the sharks. So let’s all get real and pass legislation that is actually prudential. And just ignore all the screaming right wing lunatics who think that somehow such expedience as full coverage for all is a commie plot. this is really an unnecessary fiasco.

        1. Ken Murphy

          No, corporations are not people. The act of incorporation gives them an imaginary “corp” or body as a courtesy and consideration to allow them access to the courts, which are for human beings with tangible corps to resolve their disputes in a non-violent manner.

          I’m reminded of a proposal that kept coming into a bank I used to work for, for an outfit that would mange your deposits such that you would never have more than $250,000 exposure at any one institution. Balances would be set such that accrued interest would not push the total over that limit. Rich folks and their problems; boo hoo.

          Never been a big fan of this sort of thing as it strikes me as “gaming the system” for unfair advantage. The rules of the marketplace are for everyone so that we can at least pretend that we have open and transparent markets and we’re getting a “fair” deal. Too many side deals in the shadows just corrupts and poisons the marketplace, driving people to look elsewhere for their commerce.

          1. Wukchumni

            A well-heeled friend in LA had $900k in one account as he watched the mess @ IndyMac Bank go down and opened 9x $100k accounts at different banks all in one day, back when the FDIC insured you for $100k per account.

  2. digi_owl

    That is quite the hawkish antidote.

    Also, i suspect that far more than squirrels are shying away from that feeder.

    1. ambrit

      Those hawks are active around here, in the North American Deep South as well at this time. I caught a glimpse of one swooping down to catch a squirrel out of a tree at the back of our yard a week ago. Also notice the wisteria in full bloom behind the swing set. The same here also. We also have a white wisteria blooming along one of the nearby alleys. It grows more like a spindly shrub than a vine.
      The owls are very active after dark now. We hear them singing in chorus a lot lately, even during twilight.
      Stay safe!

      1. John Zelnicker

        Hello, ambrit. The wisteria is in full bloom here, too. I love the white ones. There’s a magnificent specimen around the corner form me.

        It is possible to prune wisteria into a bush over a number of years. My father did it many years ago and the bush was about 4 x 4 feet and not spindly.

        1. ambrit

          Ah, greetings fellow NADSler! I didn’t know about making wisteria topiary. The ‘growths’ I see do fit that category. Just another reminder of the ‘age’ of the urban landscape in general. When I worked for the surveyor, we would identify old farm sites through the small “groves” of fruit trees encountered. By Mandeville, Louisiana, we often saw clusters of persimmon trees.
          Stay safe. Keep your feet dry!

    2. juno mas

      Yes, and a good field identification. Classic splotted breast colors for a juvenile and the bird in the background shows the truer brownish coloring of a young red-tail. The square-cut tail feathers are also an indicator.

    3. TimmyB

      We used to have a bird feeder in our back yard that attracted morning doves and sparrows. That is, until we removed it once the red tailed hawks turned our property into a killing field.

      1. Daryl

        We had one too but perhaps because it was a more wooded area without a great angle to see and swoop in on the customers, never had problems with the hawks killing other birds, even though they were certainly present. Actually, the only time I can recall seeing a hawk fighting with other birds, it was one flying away while being harassed by a murder of crows, who don’t fight fair.

  3. Pat

    Larry Summers advocating that SVB’s deposits be guaranteed in full raises only one question in my mind – how much will Larry Summers and his backers lose if the traditional FDIC deposit insurance remains the same as it would be for my credit union? Because we all know that if my credit union had been as badly run as SVB, Larry would let my credit union crash and burn and probably complain about the fact that any deposits were backed by the FDIC.

    I know that there will be a lot of people advocating for the same as Larry, but if there is a god they will be ignored. There is a minor chance of this happening because so many of the donors that would call for this will no longer have the discretionary income to grease the palms of our feral political bureaucracy. Unfortunately there may be too many who didn’t crash with SVB, who fear doing the same when their financial institutions go down to make up the difference.

    1. semper loquitur

      I was literally in the process of writing the same thing. If my measly savings were in jeopardy, Summers would be saying something like “Creative destruction!” Then he would return to chatting up the neighbor’s tween-age daughter…

    2. timbers

      Good point, and I am seeing lots of online chatter like this:

      SVB paid out bonuses hours before being shut down by being seized by US Govt, and…





      I say let them burn. No bailouts. Or as Lambert reference: “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

      If Larry Summers or Bill Ackman want a bailout for SVB, make them pay for it with their OWN $$$.

      1. bob

        It would be like student loan forgiveness. The Government choosing who gets taxpayer money and who doesn’t. What a better way to buy votes and influence.

      2. griffen

        I see there was a subsequent tweet, which I don’t believe is directly after but is tangential. From none other than resident hedge funder and a$$munch Bill Ackmann. Ackmann is making a prediction of the near future when the markets open Monday. No doubt from the goodness of his black heart and “glass onion” soul.

        This is strictly and only supposition, but hedge funders always discuss the notion of “dry powder” for such circumstances. So surely they will buy when others begin to panic.

      3. Eclair

        I was sharing the gory details on SVB with my husband, over morning tea: lots of salty language flying about. They literally make (and remake) the laws, whining about getting the government off their backs so free enterprise can, well, be free to innovate and break things. Then, scream for the government to come to their rescue when they have screwed things up. But first, making sure they have sold the stock before it crashes, distributed the bonuses before accounts are frozen.

        In my days of reading the entire Patrick O’Neill saga of Captain Aubrey, I seem to remember that one warning a seriously unhappy crew gave to an errant captain (not Aubrey, natch,) was rolling a cannon ball across the wooden deck during the night. Captains, lying below decks in their berths, ignored that deep rumbling sound of metal against wood, at their peril.

        Tumbrils. Those two wheeled wooden carts, used mainly for hauling manure …. or French aristocrats. The sound of wooden wheels rumbling down Sandy Hill Road at 2 AM. Echoing through the towers lining Wall Street. Or around the Congressional Office Building. Guess that would be illegal. Even if it was Theater. Too bad we don’t live in a democracy, where the common people, the demos, have the power, kratos, to make the laws.

        1. Cassandra

          That would be the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his particular friend, physician and naturalist Stephen Maturin. A series for lovers of the English language.

          Perhaps we could try sending a message by humming “Do you hear the people sing?” whenever out and about, although I fear that in the end, the result would be the same as it was in the musical.

      4. Revenant

        I don’t understand the Schadenfreude for the depositors that is being exhibited by commenters here. The depositors were not all Uber etc by number. Indeed, the really big tech companies can obtain global corporate banking services from bulge bracket banks. SVB’s major clients are the tech equivalent of the Mittelstand instead.

        The money that has been lost by SVB’s managements’ recklessness belongs to the pensioners who invested in the pension funds which invested in the VC funds (boo, hiss, evil apparently) which invested in startups, which are mostly not trying to create Skynet or financialise daily life. The sourness is small and unbecoming.

        The fact that post-financial crisis cockroaches like Larry Summers are advocating a bailout of depositors is not a reason to reject it. We are not suggesting bailing out other creditors like counterparties in exotic financial instruments. If the US does not bail out depositors in banks, they will run around trying to split their funds into sub $250k parcels.

        If SVB management has cashed out on inside information, those sales could be pursued by the SEC and shareholders but those sales are not directly related (other than by management venality) to the cause of SVB’s failure and again don’t make a reason to let the depositors hang. The imperative of giving corporate depositors somewhere safe to park their capital during the Fed rate rise strategy ought to figure highly in regulators’ eyes because otherwise the excess capital inside SVB which sank it will slosh into other banks and destabilise them while the Fed keeps raising rates and hurting the bond market (admittedly, by less and less with each raise: the first cut is the deepest!).

        It is likely that several startups will have lost months of runway and will be much closer to insolvency.

    3. griffen

      Larry just being his usual a$$hole self. He’s right less than a broken clock, and with less frequency. I started thinking about knock on effects, and there almost always will be a few lingering details that people including the regulators just miss. I want to assume this is such a one off failure of a large depository institution, given their book of business was so much VC focused.

      I will make a supposition on the regulatory outcome, and one that in the DeLong article above basically gets to as well when it comes to the depositors. Regulators seem likely to ring fence the institutional bad apples from the remaining good ones, and hopefully send the good ones off to a new home / large bank buyer with the proper credentials for the transaction.

      Back to Summers. Creative destruction is perfectly acceptable as an outcome when shifting manufacturing jobs overseas. But then the same “destruction” is less acceptable in this bank failure scenario? And this is why many of us collectively despise Lawrence Summers.

    4. Stephen V

      Matt Stoller’s take with CBDC punchline!
      Because nearly all deposits are uninsured, and the FDIC has to resolve the bank in a manner that is least costly to the FDIC insurance fund, it doesn’t make sense to sell SVB to another bank. It will be wound down. That said, the FDIC knows what it is doing, this isn’t 2008 and this is more a temporary inconvenience than anything else. These assets are solid if slightly lower in value, and the losses probably aren’t going to wipe out very much of the depositor money. I could be wrong about that, there might be some fraud, but so far I haven’t seen indications of it.

      What’s going to happen is that on Monday, depositors will have access to $250,000 of cash. Over the next few days, depending on how bad the losses are, the FDIC will give customers access to most of their uninsured deposits. The rest will be available, minus losses, over the next two to six months. And there are indications that even among firms holding funds at SVB far in excess of the $250k limit, the situation is annoying but manageable.

      The lesson here is that banks should face more stringent regulations, and that we need a central bank digital currency so small businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities can keep cash risk-free at the Fed if they want to do that. There’s no reason to force them to give their cash for safekeeping to gamblers.

      1. hunkerdown

        We don’t need a CBDC/social credit system for everyone to have an account at the Fed, just a set of storefronts. What novelty-obsessed perseverating drove that trash take?

        1. Mikel

          Exactly. For example: Treasury Direct site is working just fine without knowing a thing about my private or social life.
          I’m sick of all this desperation. Desperate and NOSY thieves.

      2. ambrit

        One big problem with the SVB collapse is that a lot of VC startups were contractually obligated as part of their ‘loan’ agreements to do all of their banking at said SVB. Thus, a lot of Tech startups were running their payrolls through the SVB. Now, they cannot ‘make payroll.’ A lot of so far middle class workers at those Tech firms are going to lose everything because they cannot service their private debts. A sudden lack of money will do that to a person’s finances.
        As for the “insiders” bailing out of the bank’s stock early. Isn’t investigating and ‘dealing with’ that what regulators are for?
        How much of a hit will the Volume of Money Flow take this week?
        The wee problem with the Central Bank Digital Currency is that it assumes that the Government agencies will be honest and straightforward. What could be the ramifications of the actual national money supply coming under the direct control of unscrupulous financial actors? Enquiring minds want to know, before the experiment is run.
        Stay safe, stay financially liquid.

        1. playon

          Silly-con valley property values may take a hit if too many tech workers are unable to make their house payments. The median home price in the area is $1.5 million.

        2. chri

          I really struggle to sympathize with the businesses or workers in this situation. I know that what they workers earned technically puts them in the middle class. But they mostly earned many multiples of the median salary in the US while using their relative wealth to make California a worse place to live in. They also sneered at so many of the lifestyles of my friends and family who worked as trades people, service members, etc. and who didn’t “learn to code”.

          I’d work with them all in solidarity to protect the workers losing their jobs due to the malfeasance of their corporate masters but I know it wouldn’t last. I’d support making our unemployment insurance much more robust. But they’d be back to sneering at the people in East Palestine the minute their first paychecks were deposited.

          As for the VCs people and others involved in this mess… no mercy. Tar and feather them and kick them out of the system. Let them take their libertarian fantasies with them on the way to financial insolvency.

        3. Another Scott

          Didn’t many of the same VCs and tech company executives who force their investments to park their money in the bank also get submarket rates on their mortgages from SVB? That sure sounds like a conflict of interest to me and something that should be illegal if other people’s money is involved.

      3. Will

        Just curious, why is a CBDC required in order to allow some entities to bank with the Fed? Also, why limit it to businesses and municipalities?

      4. Katniss Everdeen

        For about 60 years we had a way to keep the gamblers away from depositor’s money called Glass-Steagall, no bits or bytes necessary.

        Maybe we should try going back to that plain old pencil and paper law first, instead of “solving” the problem with “innovation” and “technology” that somehow never seem to live up to their hype and, more often than not, cause new, bigger headaches or injustice.

        1. tegnost

          Yeah, Linda Green.
          The name of the tech escapes me now but the whole deed transfer going from paper to digital was a harbinger for me…
          Silly con valley not so silly I guess…
          Silly- We can do this thing and make a lot of money
          Public- We don’t want that
          Silly We did this thing that and we are making a lot of money
          Public- We didn’t want that?
          Silly-Get used to it

          1. Mikel

            All of that upper-class helicopter parenting. The parents hold or held positions of wealth and/or power. Their spawn had an idea for a start-up dammit and everyone will bow down to make them happy!

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      I posted in the wrong spot, but Eastern associate Larry Summers is worried about techbros being made whole. Perhaps, he wants to be invited to their parties?

      1. hunkerdown

        I prefer my techbros ground finely and spiced for chorizo.

        Alas that I missed Lebowskifest yesterday, but Summers does not hear “Do you see what happens, Larry?” nearly as often as he should.

        1. chris

          What does it take to get that ideological corpse off the stage? He adds nothing to the conversation besides being the distilled id of the PMC masters. Not the actual professionals. Larry boy is one of those select few in charge of getting millionaires to take money from billionaires so that the middle class are convinced poor people are the problem.

    6. Mikel

      ⁶At one point, before it all hit the fan , SVB was trying to raise $20 billion or so dollars.

      Where was Summers, Theil, Elon, and all the other honchos SVB pampered with the cheap money for the past decade?

      On a whole other note, SillyCon Valley has produced amazing innovations for bank robbers.

    7. lyman alpha blob

      Badly run is an understatement according to that Rational Walk link. SVB had invested a ton of money in mortgage backed securities (remember those?!) which quite predictably started going down in value as interest rates spiked.

      I thought the Silicon Valley types were supposed to be the smartest guys in the room. Haven’t they heard of hedging? Especially after a years long run of practically free money where the only direction rates could go was up?

      If the figures in that article are accurate, there really was no complicated fraud here that fell apart – just plain old fashioned white hot stupid.

      Summers and his buddies deserve to take it right in the chin.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The oriole with student loans are dead beats. These brave heroes made an app that tells when your dog wants to eat and go for a walk!

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Just noting that the deLong piece does mention that holding securities to maturity was considered a hedge –

        “Even so, SVB knew it had gotten itself into trouble—that it had put too large a share of its assets into long-term Treasuries that it intended to hold-to-maturity, and that while it was notionally hedged against interest-rate duration risk by this hold-to-maturity strategy, that strategy put those assets outside the circle of those available to meet unexpected withdrawals, and so caused liquidity problems.”

        If I’m understanding this correctly, this notional hedge meant the bank wouldn’t lose money on the bonds (Treasuries in this case, not MBS) since it wasn’t planning on selling the bonds whose value tanked when rates went up. But that made them illiquid and no help in a bank run. So a hedge maybe, but not a particularly robust one.

        By no means am I a financial expert here and I’m probably missing something. But it sure does seem the investment strategy was not well thought out and just took ZIRP Forevah! as a given.

        1. ambrit

          “But it sure does seem the investment strategy was not well thought out and just took ZIRP Forevah! as a given.”
          It does seem to be an extreme case of ‘Short Term Thinking.’

        2. blowncue

          That’s not a hedge by my standards. To me a hedge is an instrument that is deployed that’s going to offset gains and losses whether realized, or unrealized.

          To me an interest rate swap is a true hedge, in this case fixed for floating. I pay you a fixed rate of interest in exchange you pay me a floating rate of interest. Zero sum game with the counterparty.

          What happened here to me is just an accounting maneuver, a declaration that we are going to hold this IOU to maturity such that we will get all our money back that we lent out plus 1.9% interest.

          Therefore, everybody can move along nothing to see here, even though the price of this IOU on the open market right now is below Par.

          In reality these assets were misclassified and needed to be classified in the we-have-a-gun-to our-head section of the 10K.

          Except there is no such section in the 10K.

    8. scott s.

      Of course credit union deposits are insured by NCUA. I think the business model of credit unions is a bit different from commercial banks.

  4. Wukchumni

    March is the time to plant vegetables, salad and other annual crops in Cali, but nobody can do so in much of the state now, with the forecast of only more rain to come. The window to plant is closing, another casualty in our ability to nourish ourselves.

    When the golden state was mired in a long drought, it took a massive volcano blowing up real good to alter the atmosphere, and along came Pinatubo and lots of precipitation afterwards.

    Because nobody saw it happen ala Vesuvius or Mt. St. Helens, it was as if the massive Tongan volcano erupting didn’t occur last year unless you were a satellite, no real fallout, no ancient Roman cities covered in ash, or Ford Pintos in Portland with ash all over them.

    The predictions for winter here 6 months ago were solidly another bad drought year, no doubt about it-nobody saw this coming, the great Hunga about to lay waste to appetites.

    There is much precedence for big volcanoes erupting being a game changer, and oddly similar to the Tongan one, nobody knew nothing during the Seven Ill Years in Scotland in the 1690’s that a few volcanoes had erupted, and the resulting bad harvests were probably because Scots didn’t pray hard enough. And similar to much of the west now, things got much colder in Scotland, this being about the coldest winter I can remember here.

    Something like 5-15% of the population starved to death, and in desperation everybody put most all of their eggs into one basket with the Darien Scheme which failed completely, leading to the union with the UK in 1707.

    The French experience was failed harvests after 2 Icelandic volcanoes blew up in 1783-85, and you know where that ‘Let them eat cake’ quote emanates from?

    The price of bread had risen to 50% over a Frenchman’s daily wage, because of a series of bad harvests, next step-revolution.

  5. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Gilligan’s Island Theme Song by CBS)

    The sailing yacht Andromeda
    Set forth from a Polish port
    To blow up all four Nordstream pipes
    As Biden’s last resort

    Their passports were all counterfeit
    Their diving skills were nought
    They had no sonar for to find
    The pipelines they sought

    The pipelines they sought

    They had no means to excavate
    Those pipelines from the mud
    No decompression chamber
    To fix bubbles in their blood

    The bubbles in their blood

    Andromeda dropped anchor off of lovely Bornholm Isle
    No oxygen . . .
    No helium . . .
    Some swim fins, and a knife
    A well stocked bar
    And a lovely lady doctor who was
    Not yet anyone’s wife!

    They stuck around for about a week
    Planting two tons of C4
    I guess they all just skinny dipped
    To the icy ocean floor

    They moved eight metric tons of mud
    Then wired the pipes to blow
    They did it while they held their breath
    ‘Twas all touch and go

    No hose, no lights, no submarine
    Not a single luxury
    Like Davey Jones himself
    It was as cutthroat as can be

    And after ’bout a week, my friend
    They sailed on a rising swell
    While a timer that they left behind
    Blew NordStream all to hell!

    1. ChrisFromGA


      It needs to be blasted (no pun intended) from a PA system across from the WH at decibel levels approaching a Ramona’s concert in the 80s.

  6. Wukchumni

    My Kevin (since ’07) is really a dullard who can only think out checkers moves 1 play in advance, there’s not much going on upstairs, but the few times his 30-something minions came to tiny town to lie to our faces, I was impressed in that you got the feeling they ran the show with Kev as a puppet…

    AFTER SUCCESSFULLY LOBBYING, for the rollback of new rules applied to Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis, lobbyists for Silicon Valley Bank immediately began pressing their case further to the federal authority that insures bank deposits in the event of another crisis, according to lobbying disclosures reviewed by The Intercept. The lobbying effort managed to exempt banks the size of SVB from more stringent regulations, including stress tests aimed at uncovering the type of weaknesses that led to the bank’s implosion last week. Two of the bank’s top lobbyists previously served as senior staffers for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who himself pushed for the repeal of significant pieces of the landmark Wall Street reform legislation known as Dodd-Frank.

    A chief culprit, economists say, is legislation signed into law by President Trump in 2018, which rolled back key parts of the Dodd-Frank banking regulations passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. That 2018 legislation, called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, passed with strong support from the Republican Party and critical support from some Democrats. Among those leading the charge was then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is now House Speaker.

    “We’re going to move this Senate bill directly to the president’s desk to ensure these reforms help the economy to grow further by making community banks stronger,” McCarthy said of the legislation in 2018. “This is going to free up a great deal of capital and this will help a lot.”

    Two former staffers for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are registered lobbyists for Silicon Valley Bank, with one specifically lobbying on the 2018 Dodd-Frank repeal law that experts say made this crisis more likely, according to federal lobbying disclosures reviewed by The Intercept.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Your Kevin did work for Bill Thomas, who apparently made Amy Klobuchar look like a mere piker, so it’s possible, he’s there because he is easily controlled and accepts abuse. The GOP caucus is made up of wave elections, and there isn’t anyone who really dominates the caucus through personality like Newt or LBJ. There are all the same dullard.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Oscars Reject Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Bid to Appear on Telecast (EXCLUSIVE) Variety.”

    ‘Zelensky should be at the Oscars. In fact, he deserves one.’

    He’s already got one. The one that Sean Penn loaned him the last time he went to the Ukraine. You can see it if you go to Zelensky’s page on eBay.

    1. griffen

      It’s been a year since The Face Slap Heard Round the World. I can’t help wondering just what the host this year, Jimmy Kimmel, can do or attempt to top that performance. A celebrity death match on stage against late night arch rival from CBS, Stephen Colbert ?

      1. The Rev Kev

        And Will Smith has yet to pick up the phone to Chris Rock and give him a personal apology. I saw a very old interview with Charlize Theron and in it, two or three times she made the point that Will Smith was “broken” but the late night host did not want to go there and blew past it.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        How about a celebrity mass shooter? I know our betters are usually protected from such vulgarities, but considering the daily occurrences of powerless nobodies lighting up a WalMart or a school, aren’t we due for Hollywood to show us how it should be done? Plus, where do they go after “The Slap”(tm)? Maybe there’s a Baldwin who could do the deed?

    2. Lex

      Kubela was talking on TV and is big mad that Zelensky isn’t speaking at the Oscars. You’d think he’d been denied F-16’s or something judging by the tone.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Larry Johnson has made claims about the quality of intelligence US policy makers are receiving, and even if it’s not public, a Pentagon Papers type event in Congress along with a public that has moved on, there might be a rapid collapse. Wuk’s Kevin (Speaker McCarthy) doesn’t want to be seen hugging Zelensky too. Maybe he knows (unlikely), but outside of the Hillary die hards who can’t figure out how she lost, no one really wants to see more blood and treasure spent on this. Americans like easy victories, and right now, we think any moment it will change.

        There is an episode of It’s Always Sunny where the twins start a podcast, the future of radio, and interview a soldier who clarifies where he served. Dennis who is a Penn alum was surprised to learn there were two wars and inquired if either of these wars were on “American soil.” If Zelensky isn’t at the Oscars, Americans won’t care, and the upside of supporting Kiev simply won’t materialize especially while America’s trains crash on time.

  8. Objective Ace

    They are all libertarians until they are hit by higher interest rates.

    I’m not sure this is really fair. The libertarian position is the Fed shouldnt exist. If interest rates were allowed to be dictated by the market you wouldnt have the wild swing we had over the past 15 months

    1. Tom Doak

      If interest rates were allowed to be dictated by the market you wouldn’t have the wild boom we had over the past several years.

      1. Objective Ace

        Exactly–thats my point. The Libertarians are correct here. I’m not sure why theyre being bashed in this case.

          1. Objective Ace

            You find it appropriate that the Federal Reserve gives handouts to the 1 percent?.. Look, I’m against the Libertarian’s “I’ll do me”, who cares about externalities attitude as much as you — but this binary thinking doesnt get us anywhere good. They can be wrong about 90% of things and still be right on others. Incidentally, their position on war mongering and whats going on in Ukraine matches Yves’ and most of the NC community

    2. playon

      Today’s interest rates are a fraction of what they were in the 1970s and 80s — historically 6% is not that high, but there is a lot more gambling going on today, much of it with other people’s money.

      1. Objective Ace

        You can call it gambling–but we’re talking about treasuries here. I’m with you, it was stupid for the banks to load up on longterm low yielding debt, but it was also stupid* for the Fed to raise rates from 0 to 5 percent over a 12 month period.

        Stupid* might not be the right word to use for the Fed, since as they continue to tell us, they are actively trying to sabotage the economy. Looks like theyre finally getting their wish

    3. spud

      libertarians are the only people i know that are constantly outraged at the results of their own polices, then they blame government.

      no need to supply the source for the quote, its mine.

      1. Objective Ace

        Yes — I agree with your observation. However, this policy (jacking up interest rates abruptly) was not one of their policies. They are/were against fed meddling

    4. eg

      The “market” cannot dictate interest rates on a sovereign fiat currency which is a simple public monopoly.

      Try again.

      1. Objective Ace

        A) Even when a monoploy is present there is still a market. The monopoly sets a price that maximizes their profit. And the consumer then buys or doesnt buy their product in the market

        B) You seem to be confusing the monopoly on printing money with the actual money. Here’s an example that might clarify the difference: There’s a market on used mustangs that Ford cant control. Even if Ford were the only car company they couldnt (fully) control how much people bought and sold used cars for.

        1. spud

          To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

          the fed is simply regulating the value of money. the libertarian greenspans fed is gone, along with all of the libertarian economic nonsense from the 1990’s. obama bailed that all out, but cannot put humpty dumpty back together again. its over.

  9. timbers

    Larry Summers vs Nuke The Entire Site From Orbit:

    I have a better idea than Ridley’s of nuking the entire site from orbit:

    Round up the CEO/CFO/CMO and the ones who decided to pay bonuses hours before being shut down the the FED’s, and strap them to a Norfolk Southern train loaded with toxic chemicals and make them take a joy ride for an entire month.

    CEO sold 11% of his holdings
    CFO sold 32% of his holdings
    CMO sold 28% of her holdings

    And for good measure, add Larry Summers to that list. They can keep each other company.

    “I’m the only one standing between you and the pitch forks” would not be bad addition, either.

    1. Wukchumni

      Silicon Valley previously was full of fruit trees and known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight, and I feel confident there would have been many pitchforks back in the day, but all Silicon Valley ever did was ‘pitch folks’.

      1. Joe Renter

        When I was a kid in fourth grade, I lived in Cambell (Santa Clara County). Next to our housing development, there was a large Victorian style house in decay that I believe was left from the days of orchard estates. At that time early 60’s you could still run across acres of nut and fruit trees. But not for long… I recall seeing an IBM building, a sign of tech that was to come.

    2. Jason Boxman

      So isn’t this like insider trading? Can’t these people be prosecuted? Wouldn’t everyone sell their shares if they knew what these insiders knew?

      Curious Americans would like to know.

      1. JP

        I don’t know what the FDIC rules are but if it was a bankruptcy any dispersements made within 90 day are subject to clawback.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Russian-Iranian Deal For Su-35s Finalized, State Media Reports”

    This is a pretty big deal and has to be seen in context of the Iran-Saudi agreements that were brokered by China. Some sort of important guarantees were swapped by the two countries and the Saudis felt enough trust that they gave the go-ahead for the Russians to sell Iran 4th generation fighters. In other words, the Saudis are no longer worried about Iran attacking their oil facilities and have agreed that Iran update their defenses to eliminate the threats from the US and Israel. By now, I think that the Saudis suspect the US of wanting to start a war in their region to suit their interests involving them and Iran. If in the next few years both the Saudis and the Iranians received S-400 anti-missiles systems, I would not be surprised to see both countries tie together their system for strategic depth.

    1. Willow

      Not only Saudi Arabia & Iran but also Turkey. You have the three cornerstones of Muslim world coming together & burying animosities. This is huge. Western (woke) liberalism seen as a greater moral/cultural threat than differences within Islam. Middle East + Turkey will become an even richer gateway for trade between Asia & Europe which will enhance their independent power. West’s utter selfishness during Covid & Ukraine war seem to have triggered a very strong anti-colonialist (ironically pushed by woke Left) blow-back across the Global South.

      Risk to the petro-dollar & USD hegemony is closer than many think. We are in for some very interesting times. $trillions in USD linked derivatives staked up like a house of cards.

  11. Wukchumni

    Nobody made whole on Sand Hill Road
    Nobody made whole over by Bay Beach
    I feel it in the air
    Larry Summers awful long reach
    Empty bank, emptied out
    The sum goes down alone
    I’m driving by the bank
    Don’t know how to atone

    But I can see you
    Your Ivy League cred shining in the sun
    You’ll get that money back
    And your game on, baby
    I can tell you my loathe for you will still be strong
    After the ploys of Summers have gone wrong

    I never will forget those times
    I wonder if it was a dream
    Remember how you made Harvard crazy
    Remember how you made them scream
    I don’t understand what happened to their investments
    But, baby, You’re gonna get SVB’s manna back
    You’re gonna show them what you’re made of

    I can see you
    Your Ivy League cred shining in the sun
    You’ll get that money back
    And you’re smiling at everyone
    I can tell you my loathe for you will still be strong
    After the ploys of Summers have gone wrong

    The Boys of Summer, by Don Henley

    1. griffen

      That’s a high value effort there, well done. Kudos on the inclusion of those key words as well ! Glad I got to see the real thing in person last April. Don Henley can still perform pretty well in his mid-70s.

      Or as Joe Walsh succinctly put it during that show, it was more fun during the ’70s in my twenties, than during the ’20s being in my seventies.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘Thousands of people staged a second straight day of protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, rallying against a ‘foreign agents’ law which critics say signals an authoritarian shift and harms Georgia’s chances of closer ties with Europe’

    What started that rent-a crowd was a law that the Georgians wanted to pass saying that if a Georgian organization received more than 20% of it’s money from foreigners, then they would have to disclose it to make them more transparent. The National Endowment for Democracy and the Soros organization were very sad about this idea. The media was saying that they were trying to pass a Russian law and it was Putin meddling in Georgia but apparently that bill was actually modeled after the legislation that the US uses. Didn’t matter as this was all about democracy or whatever but I do wonder what those crowds were actually chanting-

    ‘What do you want?’
    ‘Foreign Meddling!’
    ‘When do you want it?’

  13. upstater

    While airline industry consolidation has brought worse service at higher fares (especially for second or third tier cities), I wonder in Matt Stoller has ever flown on the likes of EasyJet, Ryanair or Wizz? The experience is convincing the “you get what you pay for”. Those European low cost carriers are dreadfully bad. They are mostly non-union and treat employees like draft animals. Plenty of flight attendants that act as carnival barkers selling too much alcohol, trinkets and lottery tickets (no doubt to supplement meager pay). The passenger experience is culturally enlightening for an American.

    I would prefer the old days of CAB regulation. Airlines had timetables that included printed fares and competed on service. Smaller cities had mainline jets a few times a day. Cheap fares are now part of the problem.

    1. JohnA

      SAS (Scandinavian flag carrier airline) set up a new company in Ireland staffed by employees on far less generous terms and conditions. There is a huge difference in quality of service etc., between the 2 types of crew, on flights I have taken between London and Stockholm, but at time of booking there are no clues as to which is which.
      Actually Ryanair is OK if you treat is for what it is, a bus service with no frills. If you are prepared to just take a small backpack, and accept whatever seat is allocated you, it is pretty cheap and cheerful. And as time is very much money to them, usually very punctual. If you need to change your flight, it is usually cheaper just to buy another ticket and write off the original.

      1. digi_owl

        Sadly Norwegian (Air Shuttle) also pulled the same bull, flying international flights via their Irish subsidiary. Apparently it even managed to get in trouble over its use of non-US cabin crews on flights between US airports.

        Sadly Norway is seeing more and more companies move operations (in particular those related to international trade) to Ireland or Poland while still marketing as if wholly Norwegian.

      2. playon

        At least most flights in the EU are mercifully short.

        I wonder if the flight attendants get a percentage of the food & drinks sold as a bonus.

      3. Jeff V

        I’m more familiar with EasyJet, but I always take hold luggage (and pay for the privilege). I get on the plane as close to last as possible, sleep for a couple of hours, and wake up at my destination. I don’t care where I sit (although EasyJet now has allocated seats) and there is no “service” I need from the flight attendants. Works fine for me.

    2. semper loquitur

      Years ago, I flew on a discount carrier, JetTrain or something like that, from PA to FL. The attendant came out with a bag of honey-roasted peanuts at one point and literally began tossing them to people from the aisle. It was all rather funny at the time, people made a game of it, but probably symptomatic of deeper problems.

    3. Tom Doak

      The subject of the takeover, Spirit Airlines, is as bad as any European discount airline, if not worse. But the alternative does keep prices down on American and Delta.

    4. GC54

      Ditto JetStar. Once good deals flying e.g. Sydney Tasmania & Auckland Dunedin, a challenge to squeeze everything into a carryon pack.

    5. Wukchumni

      I’m at 4 domestic flights since 9/11 and you can’t really miss something you never do anymore…

      Circa 1982 i’m in San Diego for the ANA coin show, the big palooza of numismatics, dude.

      A couple Aussie coin dealers want to go to Vegas so we hop on a $29 round trip champagne flight to sin city and the stewardess is like the hawtest stewie ever, oh my gawd-down boy.

      She comes down the aisle holding a bottle of ‘JFJ Champagne’ and I ask her what brand is that, and she leans over into my ear and says softly ‘it just {family blog} junk, and flashes me a wink.

      That’s how I want to remember the jet age!

  14. semper loquitur

    re: re-enchantment

    I’m happy to say that I’ve never lost my sense of enchantment with most of the world. My thaumaturgical practice keeps that fresh. What has dulled is my sense of enchantment with humans. Not entirely, but the last few years have really put a dent in that. A slavish, blinkered lot.

  15. griffen

    Kudos for the link above to the article discussing the still fresh out of the box 10K release from Silicon Valley Bank. That’s fertile ground for the roving eyes of quantitative finance nerds and general finance nerds such as myself. Management and executives can choose their words carefully, but the figures from a 10K form tell the story quite well ( and the story will be ongoing for some time ).

    Elsewhere in that article, there was reference to another recent news release, the list of Best Banks for 2023 as summarized by Forbes. Guess where the still warm carcass of Silicon Valley Bank landed on the list? No peeking allowed! That is right sports fans, this bank just became the second best of a different listing behind only Washington Mutual.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “South Korea Says It Has Deal With Japan on Forced-Labor Dispute”

    Maybe. Deals in the past were based on the governments of Japan and South Korea getting together and cutting a private deal while those who had been enslaved were not even allowed a look in but were told to accept what was given to them. This promises to be more of the same. Look at the following from that article-

    ‘South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the funds would be raised through donations from local companies, after Japan said its companies wouldn’t pay. He said he hoped Japanese companies would make voluntary contributions to the fund. Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said Tokyo would work with South Korea but declined to comment on possible contributions from the Japanese side.’

    In other words, the Japanese will be on the hook for zip and those South Korean victims will have to depend on the benevolence of South Korean companies to arrange compensation. If the US is hoping that this deal will help create a more united front against China and North Korea by burying past claims, it is not going to happen as I would think that in South Kora eyes, Japan once more gets to skate away from their responsibilities – and sticking the bill with the South Koreans. Insult, meet injury.

    1. hk

      To be honest, SK position on this is basically stupid and unproductive, built on what has essentially passed into the realm of myths. Nothing that can realistically be done to “address” the wrongs because of the mythical proportions that they have attained and too many South Korean politicians have gotten mileage out of milking the stories. Precisely because the way SK politicians cynically milk the issue has gotten so obvious, cynical obscurantism has taken on the appearance of responsibility on the Japanese side (undeserving my, but understandably). What was already a difficult case has gotten toxic and explosive. Nothing that can be realistically done would make anyone happy.

      Given the way the topic has been hyper politicized on both sides, the best course of action would have been to keep mum and not touch the issue with a 100m pole until everyone forgets. (Unjust, perhaps, but necessary for getting beyond the issue.). Unfortunately, there has to be some idiot who thinks that some people can be paid off with mere money to make the issue go away. It can only cause more problems, by drawing unnecessary attention.

  17. Carolinian

    NPR Atlanta training center story

    A second autopsy of an environmental activist who was shot and killed by the Georgia State Patrol on Jan. 18 shows their hands were raised when they were killed, lawyers for their family say.

    Just as a refresher weren’t they inside a tent when they were shot by multiple officers? The family accuses the GBI of a cover up but what facts are they leaving out? Also grammatically speaking shouldn’t it be “environmental activists who were shot”? The NPR style sheet is confusing.

    1. J.

      The activist was in a tent, the encampment was raided by several law enforcement teams, there was shooting. A Georgia State Patrol officer was injured and the activist was killed.

      The GBI is not releasing any information about the killing or the activist’s autopsy and is preventing the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County from releasing evidence, after the city released some bodycam clips from Atlanta PD officers commenting that friendly fire hit the injured GSP officer.

      The GBI has a history of not investigating bad cops very carefully.

      1. Carolinian

        The tent, if true, is the relevant piece of information. We have two versions here. The initial reports say the ‘activist’ fired from within the tent and badly wounded an officer and then presumably refused to come out or perhaps was immediately shot by multiple state troopers who, because of the tent, were unable to see if his hands were up or still holding a gun.

        The ‘he was murdered’ version says that after clearing out a number of activists on the site without injuries the group of officers fired into the tent merely because activist called them bad names or refused to come out and in the process the troopers injured the officer and all conspired to cover this up. There is also the GBI reported claim that the pistol found at the scene was provably purchased by the activist and the bullet from said gun matches the one that hit the officer.

        There certainly needs to be an accounting and full explanation and I’m sure there will be given the controversy and possible lawsuits but based on the above one can speculate about which version is more credible. I say the police version. Those who hate the police–not in this instance the Atlanta Police btw–are going to believe what they want to believe regardless.

  18. Wukchumni

    Lucifer’s Hammer was set above Springville Ca. in the next river system south of us on the Tule, and there is much drama unfolding as Lake Success is about full with another atmospheric river coming tomorrow.

    Porterville is the neo-Jamestown below which would be wiped out if the dam breaks, and a little thing about Success Dam, you really ought to know:

    The USACE found in 1999 that the alluvial deposits that form the foundations of the dam were unstable and that the dam would be at a high risk of failure in the event of an earthquake. In 2006, new regulations were passed that limited long-term water storage in the reservoir to 28,800 acre-feet (0.0355 km3), 35% of capacity. A proposed $500 million project would increase the thickness of the dam by 350 feet (110 m) so that it could better withstand a quake in the region. (Wiki)

    Somebody’s eyewitness account from yesterday:

    “Brought my Mom up to Fresno from the Springville area yesterday (sister is still there). Wasn’t able to do too much sight seeing, but what I did see is very amazing. I was able to see portions of the Tule below Lake Success and just above, plus the lake. Lake is at maximum storage and full of logs and floating debris. If it spills (brand new spillway), lots of debris is likely to head downstream. River cut some new channels just upstream of the reservoir.”

    1. Wukchumni


      My Kevin (since ’07) passed legislation to address the issue a few years ago and Success Dam is no more and has been renamed the Richard L. Schafer Dam.

  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    Summers is calling for the tech Bros to be “fully” compensated. So much for moral hazard…hey look at that articles about structural sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. I’m fairly convinced Summers’ economic policy is dedicated to conditions to make sure people are worried enough to sell themselves.

  20. Dorey

    Re: Nord Stream mystery: the tanker Minerva Julie spent 7 days idling near the attack site

    Finally we get around to a halfway decent plot narrative rather than that abysmal pulp story Seymour Hersch was trying to peddle.
    It certainly makes more sense that there were multiple groups involved, in a way that kept incriminating information off of ship logs, and away from individual actors who might undermine the whole thing, while giving each rube some plausible deniability.
    The cargo ship could easily carry all of the large, non-incriminating equipment, a smaller crew on a smaller boat could carry the stuff you wouldn’t want on a manifesto. A small boat can easily be rented from some Ukrainians in Poland, out of convenience, or a red herring. The cargo captain and co could get paid off for relatively cheap, and manufacture an excuse to tell the crew and coast guard about why they had to park for a week. The captain could be told the diving exposition is merely some corporate geology or biology data collection that’s unnecessarily difficult to get rubber stamped by the state, let alone it risks potential trade secrets being published.

    Al beit, when an (actual) conspiracy gets too large, it gets statistically impossible for it to stay secret, all the alibis to check out, and that’s what this story is approaching, but it’s at least more reasonable. But then again, that’s cold war bread and butter.

    The only thing is, are the contrarians and grifters who championed the US sabotage story without any cross referencing or verification, all to take potshots at NATO and EU and DE and Biden, etc, going to take any accountability for maybe being a little quick to the jump, and express any regret for contributing to this world of misinformation that makes collective action impossible?
    I mean, that’s such a wide cast of bipartisan characters from Matt Taibbi to Amy Goodman, it might even give us a glimmer of hope for “the establishment” and “the mainstream media.”

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Not sure your comment is serious or parody, but Insider was eager to publish a smear of Hersh following the publication of his Nordstream article, so them jumping on this story comes as no surprise. This features intrepid OSInt investigator Alexander Oliver, another character who has taken cheap potshots at Hersh, and Bellingcat, whose ties to the British and American government is well known.

      Until hard evidence is forthcoming, I will take Hersh over Insider every day of the week.

    2. hunkerdown

      Do you really believe that performing obviously received partisan emotions about some childish mythical PMC narrative and their infantile just-world talking points are going to earn points around here, or for that matter anywhere outside your PMC cuddle puddles?

    3. tegnost

      halfway decent plot narrative

      I’ve been thinking this is it exactly.
      Put out a completely implausible theory and let internet jockeys first claim not possible, followed by a great deal of creative writing coming up with ways this impossible thing could have have actually been done.
      It’s called strategic ambiguity.
      The US blew up the pipelines.
      Means, madness and opportunity.
      They literally said they were going to do it in multiple venues.
      There is no glimmer of hope.

    4. Offtrail

      Ha ha ha. Has anyone else noticed recently the drive by commentators who criticize anti-establishment figures like Hersh with remarks that, when you reall examine them, make no sense? This has become a thing here at NC.

      1. chris

        God yes. And their comments are becoming more and more unhinged. It’s like they think if they keep talking to themselves about nonsense that constitutes sufficient narrative reinforcement on anti establishment sites like NC.

    5. Donald

      The mainstream media initially pushed the utterly lunatic notion that Russia blew up its own pipeline. They only now say it was the Ukranians because Western governments told them so. It seems odd that you forgot that in your rush to praise the establishment. Nobody ever said the press wasn’t very competent in passing on whatever storyline Western governments gave them.

      I don’t know which theory is true. I only see that Biden and others openly talked about destroying the pipeline. And whether Hersh is correct about the details, I suspect that the US at the very least knew this was going to happen and probably helped. That seems more plausible than private actors doing this under the nose of unsuspecting governments.

    6. NN Cassandra

      It’s fascinating to see how after six months of silence there is mad dash to make the sudden nonsensical “suggestions” of unnamed officials at least hypothetically possible. Investigators found some little yacht, but apparently missed the tanker that was supposed to camp right above the crime scene and hold all the equipment and explosives.

  21. Kevin Smith

    “Disabled were 13 times as likely to die from Covid-19”.
    Maybe that was not a bug, could be a feature …

    1. tegnost

      The only people I know who’ve dodged covid are work from homes.
      They’re also the most vocal (still, wtf) pushing vax vax vax.
      This among other things makes the vax effectiveness numbers suspect.
      If you got vaxxed and were never exposed to covid, did the vax work?

      1. c_heale

        I have seen no correlation between people working from home and increased vaccination rates. Are their any scientific papers on this?

        I would expect a negative correlation to be true.

        1. tegnost

          I had a more simplistic idea in mind, say you work from home and are fully boosted, but you come in contact with very few people outside your very immediate circle thus not exposed as say a barista would be, and you never got covid…did you not get covid due to being vaxxed, or due to not being exposed.

  22. Lex

    The company responsible for a spill hiring a contractor to perform sampling/monitoring, cleanup, etc is standard practice. The EPA doesn’t have the field staff necessary to perform that work at scale. What’s supposed to happen is that the EPA oversees everything from approval of sampling plans to review of data to public communication. Additionally EPA will do confirmation sampling/monitoring with their samples sent to an EPA lab rather than a commercial lab. (This isn’t a value statement just a description of how it’s traditionally done.)

    How EPA administrators treat an event is variable and there’s a lot of politics involved. It’s hardly uncommon for EPA admin to go hard or easy on a company’s spill response based on how deferential the company is to the administrator. The technical field we’re talking about is also extremely small and personal relationships mean a lot. Far more than they should. Some EPA administrators have, let’s call them reputations.

    As to the monitoring/testing performed, the video linked in the link shows good and bad. The handheld units highlighted are not appropriate but they’re often what’s available for the initial response. Some of the other equipment is appropriate, but in this field the answers are dependent on the analytical questions asked. The location of sampling/monitoring is critical. That’s why EPA review of sampling plans is critical. It’s pretty easy to honestly game the system; that is, be able to present data that’s valid but inappropriate.

    If you watch the video you’ll see that CTEH relies heavily on very young (inexperienced) field techs with low pay for the responsibility. You can see the salary ranges on their site. It’s not that young people are incapable of doing the field work but that they’re unlikely to ask questions about the plan because they don’t know enough to ask the right questions. Unfortunately the CTEH model is taking over the industry. Smaller companies with a reputation of integrity are either being bought out and consolidated or modeling their business on the likes of CTEH. I’m watching it play out in real time, directly and expect I’ll leave my current employment or be asked to leave it soon mostly for these reasons.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Wouldn’t asking the right questions be toxic for your employment, if the culture is rotten as well? The whole model of having the polluter pick the investigator seems suspect to me.

  23. THe Rev Kev

    “Sex parties, polyamory in Silicon Valley? It’s more common than you’d think”

    A nothing-burger of a story. You should read some of Larry Niven’s book descriptions of early Hollywood to get an idea of how long this stuff has been going on.

    1. ambrit

      This is both Silicon Valley and the Woke Coast, so, let us avail ourselves of a newfangled term: TransEamory.
      It ticks a lot of “boxxes.”

    2. hunkerdown

      “This stuff” sounds awfully dismissive, maybe even jealous. Sex parties happen when empowered people attend to their embodied needs. If the proletariat weren’t systematically disempowered by Puritan ideals and culture, and didn’t see their relationships as some kind of private property they must protect from “dishonor”, they would have such soirées more often and the effects on the stupid game of the social order would be salutary, perhaps not by its own standards but idgaf.

      But the article, more of a book tease really, is well-plundered ground. A 2000 piece from Annalee Newitz, If code is free, why not me?, from a more libertarian Web 1.0 time, before Ehmke and their neo-Puritan flex nets pushed the old code-first guard out of the office and pushed the fiat empowerment of diversity/inclusion/equity in.

      1. ambrit

        The problem with your assertion that, “…empowered people attend to their embodied needs” is that said “empowered people” often hold the opinion that “less empowered people” are theirs for the taking. Abuse becomes a foundational aspect of such socio-sexual interactions. Which simply extends and continues the pre “sexual freedom” period mores.
        Secondly, your formulation of”…see their relationships as some kind of private property…” does highlight a very important aspect of social relations, in all of it’s aspects. To wit, Privacy means being able to say No to importunings.

        1. semper loquitur

          ” “empowered people” often hold the opinion that “less empowered people” are theirs for the taking.”

          Yes. A lot of that world is about people finding other, usually vulnerable, people to manipulate and abuse under the guise of a “lifestyle”. It’s a depressing and degrading affair for all parties when taken too far, and it’s almost always taken too far. Power is a hell of a drug.

        2. hunkerdown

          FWIW, BDSM has a strong community ethos. They routinely play with dangerous toys. They can’t afford to have predators or abusers circulating among them, making promises they can’t or won’t keep, giving poor advice, possibly doing serious or permanent injury to someone. Event organizers tend to exclude them and to pass warnings amongst their peers in surrounding communities. (Occasionally there is community drama as well.) OTOH, community poly, in my experience, has a lot of messy drama, and some very interesting things occasionally percolate out of leadership’s personal affairs and legal filings, including things pertinent to the other thread on which we have conversed today. I know very little about swing, only that it tends to be male-oriented, they aren’t trying to change the world, and they’re well-behaved, cheerful guests.

          Proles are certainly within their rights to play jealousy games, but it’s not a very efficient use of time or emotional energy IMO. They could buy an eighth from the $15 shelf and entertain some very close friends instead, as they might learn to do while away at uni. It is another disappointing example of how class forms people and manufactures dubious importance.

          It is also true that Privacy must also mean being able to say Yes to importunities, and compliments on your superb word choice.

      2. semper loquitur

        As someone who has attended numerous sex parties, I can assure you that they are not peopled with the empowered. It is more like they are peopled with those who are dealing with their personal hang-ups and living out oftentimes rather childish fantasies. They are not, in general, healthy affairs. They are inherently reactionary, as in the behavior represents a reaction to repression, not some revolutionary rejection of it. They normalize physically and mentally unhealthy behavior under the guise of liberation.

        There are at least three tiers of sex parties, setting aside some kind of private group. You have the one’s for unattractive people, which mostly go under the rubric of public polyamory Meetups. “Join a mindful group of open minds and hearts!” or some such tag-line. “Sex positive!” In that context, “poly” means I cannot get laid in a brothel on payday so I’ll have sex with anything that draws breath.

        Then you have the one’s I attended, with much more attractive people but tons of manipulation and bull$hit. They can be a lot of fun but more often than not they are just a bunch of frustrated, horny dudes chasing a much smaller group of ladies. A buddy and I had a code word to alert us to a bad party: OMA, that we would send to each other before both of us paid for a party. That stands for “Old Man A$$”, meaning there weren’t any ladies but just a ton of old leather chap clad grand-dads standing around with whips.

        Then there are the super-high end exclusive richy-rich ones, with models and actors and 500+$ covers, per head. Never been to one of them but from what I heard it’s what you would expect: lot’s of privileged, entitled people slapping uglies and looking at themselves in the mirror at the same time. It’s conspicuous carnality.

        This can all be traced back to those very real Puritanical influences you noted. But I don’t think, in a stable and free society, you would find tons of sex parties. The promiscuity they are premised upon is a symptom of something, not a cure. This isn’t to say that “trad” sexual relationships are the only way to go, I’m all for consenting adults doing what they want, when they want, with who they want, in bed.

        1. ambrit

          “..of old leather chap clad grand-dads standing around with whips.”
          I had to laugh out loud. That reminded me of one or two rather depressing parties I went to when I lived in New Orleans.
          As for unequal power relationships; I remember standing around down the block from a certain street corner in the French Quarter after midnight watching the parade of “nasty chickens,” (young male hustlers,) bantering with a constant stream of generally older men driving slowly alongside the curb in usually new and expensive cars. Occasionally, the “nasty chicken” would climb into a car and drive off with the older man. The object of the older men was sex. The object of the “nasty chickens” was money. A classic case of capitalism in action. That street corner action was the Market.

        2. hunkerdown

          Monogamy is actually the social construct here, for the convenience of land and inheritance (and the household supply chain, and to teach the poor worker a love for private property by normalizing sexual exclusivity). It is possible that people might instead do their recreational cavorting three or four or five at a time on some shared day or night off, or renting a hotel room or a camping spot or whatever. I don’t know that the world is ready to bring back a proper Beltane (yet).

          Pretty scathing indictments, there. Some of the cringe is certainly real. Some of those harsh words might be due to the presumed conventional attractiveness and neurotypicality of their source and to their comfort with hustle-based life. I’m more willing to give people some benefit of the doubt because autism and familyblog work.

          Anyway the good parties are private and anything actually worth going to will 1) vet you 2) feed you and 3) thoughtfully curate the guest list to avoid gender imbalance and accommodate community drama. These usually set attendees back about $30 and up ten years ago, with no man premium because 3).

          1. semper loquitur

            There can be more than one social construct in the world. And there are other reasons for monogamous relationships besides property rights, although I agree they play a role. There are also health concerns, specifically STIs. There is also the emotional security of knowing someone has invested themselves in you, has willingly chosen to forgo other relationships to focus on the one you share. There are trade-offs in either direction; most assuredly neither is problem free.

            Call it a “Three Body Problem” for relationships. With the addition of a third, all the calculations get near infinitely more complex. The most likely result is that the whole thing flies apart. And that goes for casual sex parties as well as polys. Few people can maintain the proper boundaries. One slip up can ruin a relationship of many years. Jealousy is always waiting in the wings.

            That being said, I’m all for people having fun however they see fit.

            There is nothing conventional about the attractiveness of the source of those words. Nor is that source neurotypical by a long shot. It’s nice to give people the benefit of the doubt but when you haven’t actually seen the people under discussion, that notion devolves to a mere platitude. I was in the NYC sex “scene” for around two years. There were a lot of fun nights but overall it was draining and unfulfilling. I wouldn’t trade it for what I have now.

            I don’t disagree that the private parties are far better, which is why I excluded them from my list above. I just found that I didn’t need them. I had OKCupid. Why would I want another guy around?

            1. ambrit

              Agreed to your observation about multiple “social constructs.”
              What fascinates me is the purpose that those ‘traditional’ social constructs were evolved to fulfil. Roughly speaking, (not a reference to the ‘rough trade,’) monogamy seems to be a social construct aimed at supporting child rearing.
              As a certain Matriarchal Cult Figure has opined, it takes a village to raise a child. However, this presupposes a ‘village’ in which social norms and traditions are generally accepted by all the members of said community.
              Anyway, we are today dealing with a long standing tradition of a now crumbling nuclear family structure upon which child rearing has been heretofor solidly based. This ‘nuclear’ family has, until recently, included older, non reproductive members of the family line. Called now “extended families,” this is actually the traditional family structure.
              I have seen it written that a woman will sleep with many partners when possible, but will be very selective about whose child she brings to term. This underlines the point stated above. Poly is about sex, while Monogamy is about family.
              Anyway, that’s my sordid story, and I’m sticking to it.

      1. hunkerdown

        Maybe Puritans need to be kicked in the junk until they remember that what other people do with their genitals are NONE of their familyblogging business until and unless they are specifically and personally invited.

        1. ambrit

          As I said above, when the “invitation” is couched in terms of a demand, the ‘relationship’ is toxic and exploitative.
          What many miss is that a large segment of the “Libertarian/Libertine” movement views the age of consent as being the age of puberty. Many go even further back. Child sexual abuse is a major disrupter of Terran human emotional development.
          The operational phrase for the “Neo-Sexual Revolution” must be “Consenting Adults.” Anything less is barbaric.

          1. hunkerdown

            I absolutely agree that sexual-social creativity, whatever we wish to call it, rightly belongs to 1) consenting 2) adults, and that adults-only spaces are a worthwhile institution. I am open to conceding that my knowledge could be dated, that maybe things have gotten grosser in SV over the past 10-20 years, as elites and both wings of the aristocracy have “reformed” the field to serve their personal and social needs.

            That said, it is problematic to aggregate “Libertarians” and alternative lifestylers as a harbor for some “large segment” of proposed moral terrorists, a charge which sounds melodramatic and tendentious to my ears. Kink, poly, and swing, for their part, tend to be much more interested in private adult recreational hedonism of their own favored flavor among themselves than, say, LGBT+ which has access to mainstream social reproduction and AFAIK barely familyblogs anymore. I will say that, of the first three, the poly community’s policing of abusers and dangerous people out of the community is weakest, but the kink communities are very good and organized about it.

            1. ambrit

              I must plead a bit of “moral outrage” here. It may look melodramatic and tendentious, until it happens to you. The scars last a lifetime.
              My argument against Underage poly etc. is that the Terran human species has managed to ‘build’ itself into a ecology defining species by extending “childhood” past the onset of puberty. “Keep them barefoot and pregnant” has been rightly reviled as misogynistic trash talk, but it does hide in plain sight an ugly side of the Terran human social matrix.
              Women have been considered as breeding stock by dominant males for millennia. So much so that examples of equal rights between the sexes have been put forward as unusual exceptions to the patriarchal rule.
              Thus, the “excesses” of today’s Feminist cadres can be viewed with a degree of equanimity. This dynamic can be seen as a case of ‘The Pendulum’ swinging a bit over the mark in it’s fevered gyrations. One of the kensho moments I experienced at University was when I suddenly realized that ‘average’ was precisely that. Not a static state, but an average of some pretty wildly varying oscillations.
              Anyway, my neurological sequelae are making themselves felt and I need to rest.
              Stay safe! (In everything you do.)

        2. Carolinian

          Do I have to add an /s to all my comments? The Hays office was a bad thing. Also the antimatter version of the Hays office that wants to censor and cancel all objections to sexual difference. If free speech is a thing then it is for everyone but let’s not confuse grammar schools with Hyde Park Corner. Tax paying parents have a rightful say in the education of their children. Education majors are not the same as child psychologists. IMO.

          1. ambrit

            That /s tag is something I occasionally wish I had appended, after the fact.
            Insofar as many today have handed over the socializing and developmental guidance of their offspring to the School System, there is a strong case to be made for school teachers being trained in child psychology. This then brings up the question of just how high a social status and pay grade we as a society should give to those school teachers. That next gives rise to the observation that Neos of various stripes tend to be sociopaths, the exact opposite of what we must demand of our socio-political elites. It’s simply a case of societal self preservation.

          2. c_heale

            Most education majors have some training in child psychology, and there are normally trained psychologists in elementary schools. If anything grave is suspected, normally social workers and then the police investigate.

            A lot of child neglect and abuse is detected in schools, and this neglect and abuse is often carried out by the child’s own family. When I did my teacher training I heard some horrendous stories.

            What does tax paying parents have to do with this issue? Should children from underemployed or unemployed (or even rich who pay nothing due to tax avoidance!) families be treated differently.

            I am aware that the prior comment is probably more about the trans debate, but it overlooked this other issue.

            Regarding the trans debate, I believe it is being used as an issue to divide people, by both right wing and left wing ideologues, and a more nuanced approach would be beneficial. I also think that some of it is an attack on women’s rights, by cynical and self serving politicians.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’re right, Lexx. My mistake. It was David Niven who at one time shared a place with Errol Flynn. Some of his stories are hysterical and if filmed, would require an R rating. Like the time this pushy guy demanded that Errol Flynn invite him to one of his supposed orgies. Finally Flynn agreed and at an agreed night, the guy turned up at the house. A topless young girl met him and told him that he would have to undress completely before entering the room. The guy did so and when he entered the room, found the men wearing tuxedos and the women gowns and all were staring at him. Flynn had a wicked sense of humour.

    1. earthling

      That’s right!! I hear Amazon warehouses have openings on the graveyard shift. Or they could learn to code!

  24. flora

    re: banking

    Tucker and S. Dakota’s gov. Topic: Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC)

    South Dakota’s Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Paved the Way for Central Bank Digital Currency

    Kristi Noem: “We saw the section of the bill that changed the definition of currency. And essentially, what it did was paved the way for a government-led CBDC. And it also banned any other form of cryptocurrency or Bitcoin or digital currency that existed.”

    “You know, I don’t know if the legislators read the bill. The bill was over 100 pages long.” – Noem

    1. digi_owl

      Massive, multi-issue, bills seems like yet another way to deadlock congress and play blame games at the same time.

      Toss a bunch of controversial issues onto the same bill. And when it gets vetoed over one or more of them, blame those vetoing for being against some other part that could benefit the masses.

            1. flora

              Don’t know. Maybe they the customers and the bank both counted on the so-called Greenspan put if anything went wrong, or on the Son of Greenspan put: Quantitative Easing (QE). I don’t know. / ;)

      1. some guy

        Perhaps we should call them ” Poison Pill Bills” . . . . named after the Poison Pill veto-bait hidden in them.

        Trying to strip out the poison pills while saving the bills is what leads Senators into uttering public faux pas like ” I supported the bill before voting against it before supporting it again” or something like that.

        It appears to be the flip side of hiding sneaky little payloads inside big fancy Delivery Vehicle Bills.

        1. flora

          Or like pols saying, “We had to pass the bill to read what was in it.” Uh …don’t the pols have staff for doing that sort of thing, reading bills and advising their pol before the vote? / ;)

          1. flora

            adding: pols at the State House level may not have staff qualified to carefully vet pending bills. State House pols are “part-time” and have small staff, mostly public outreach staff. So there’s that. (At the US Congressional level the pols should have staff qualified to vet bills before a vote is taken.) / my 2 cents.

            adding: a few years ago, one of the US’s Koch brothers said they’d gotten almost everything they could get and wanted to get from the US Congress, now their focus would be on the states’ State Houses. That was where the action was going to be, they said. (Sorry I can’t find a link confirming what I read a few years ago.)

            1. flora

              adding: the Koch bros industries was very much on board with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TPIP, both of which would have relegated state laws and local laws of regulatory control to “the dust bin of history”, as the saying goes. The TPP and TPIP hate local control. This explains the big push to roll back environmental laws in the states before the TPP and TPIP votes in Congress back then.

              OK, I’ll stop now.

              1. JBird4049

                (At the US Congressional level the pols should have staff qualified to vet bills before a vote is taken.)

                Congress has cut back on the staff and budget its members, many bills are written by lobbyists, the bills are often very large to hide stuff, and giving a few hours to read the bill before voting is feature, not a bug.

  25. Carolinian

    Re SUVs–I have a Hyundai compact, not subcompact, sedan that gets well over 40 mpg on the highway despite being 1000 lbs heavier than the Volkswagen that I long ago owned and that got high 20s at best. Under government pressure the car companies have shown that they can improve gas mileage through engineering improvements and greater use of electronics.

    But the US government also gave the car companies an out when it came to truck like vehicles and so high mileage sedans are less a sign of virtue than a kind of “carbon offset” to maintain government required fleet averages. One hand giveth while the other taketh away.

    Surely these monster trucks and Chevy Suburbans are visible evidence that the country isn’t serious about AGW and I’m contributing too if a bit less so. But these needlessly oversized vehicles go beyond ignoring the problem to actively defying it. For all the talk about “narrative,” in capitalist America the most pervasive form of it has always been marketing and advertising. Will those mountain top car commercials have to be banned the way cigarette ads once were?

    1. some guy

      Wasn’t the particular “government” which did that composed of some Reagan Republican stealth-embeds injected into the relevant rule-writing agency?

  26. Sub-Boreal

    I’m glad to see that someone else is bothered by using “societal” when “social” would do the job. I’ve seen some attempts to excuse this bit of syllable inflation, but in almost all cases it’s just an attempt at academic puffery.

    Another peeve: the increasing use of “-ality” and “-alities” (or “-ivity” and “ivities”).

    Example: Bailouts from the IMF, however, came with strict fiscal conditionalities, complementing neoliberal policies in the core countries. [Source:] Fer Pete’s sake, why not just say “conditions”?

      1. some guy

        In his book Class: A Guide Through The American Status System, Paul Fussell claimed that syllable-inflation was a sign of middle-class style-and-status insecurity on the part of people who did it, along with “euphemistic” language.

        Middle-class people say “ill”. Upper-class people say “sick”. For example.

        Paul Fussell was writing about the Style and Status class ladder more than the Marxist-type relationship-to-the-means-of-production pyramid.

        I imagine Fussell would have called Trump a ” low-class billionaire”. Tom Wolfe once coined the phrase ” hog-stomping baroque” for ” low-class billionaire style”.

        1. Wukchumni

          Read that book when it came out and loved, loved, loved it and I still mentally deduct 15 IQ points from any male adult wearing a baseball cap backwards, who isn’t a catcher.

          1. some guy

            Hmmm . . . . so if I want to trick people into mis-underestimating me, I just have to wear a baseball cap backwards. Do I trick people into deducting even more IQ points if my cap says something like John Deere or Pioneer Hy-Bred on it?

              1. ambrit

                Is that why we dance around the May Prole on May Day? Who knew that some so called “moderne” customs had such deep roots?

              2. some guy

                Well . . . I have on occasion been mistaken for homeless by homeless people, so perhaps I can get myself mistaken for prole. Though maybe, at $46,000 per year in bi-weekly wages, I really am a prole and no mistaking is necessary.

              1. ambrit

                Down here in the North American Deep South we drink Community, Coffee with Chicory. (Those of us “in the know” that is. Carpetbaggers drink Folgers.)
                Curiously enough, the big coffee roasting plant for the Folgers brand is in New Orleans, out in New Orleans East. It is situated on the Mississippi River and, on the right days, you could smell the coffee, rich and strong, throughout the metropolis.

                  1. ambrit

                    Good catch. Regionalism used to be a big thing in America. I vaguely remember when most large cities had their own beer brewery, sometimes more than one.
                    At least New Orleans still has Dixie. But wait, the name Dixie has been “retired” due to adverse ‘racial’ implications and the trendy name Faubourg replaced it.
                    The Benson Family. Family blog them.

            1. albrt

              Farmers get paid to not plant crops. I would say they are pretty smart.

              A clearer correlation would seem to be walking with your pants down around your knees. The pants can’t function as pants – they become a form of hobble. It is almost impossible that a smart person would do this.

              I can tell you first-hand though, from volunteering at an urban bike co-op, the desire to ride a 20″ BMX bike as an adult correlates to an astonishing extent with homelessness.

    1. hunkerdown

      I’m only a little bothered by societal, as social as drifted in meaning toward the cultural and aesthetic spheres, away from the material sphere.

      -ality and -ivity are important suffixes that indicate generation. Conditions, in the sense of requisites, can be performed, evaluated and finalized at some moment of consummation. IMF fiscal conditionalities call for the ongoing production and performance of new requisites. “Conditions” would give a false sense that an IMF supplicant state merely needs to reshuffle its portfolio, not change its religion. The IMF, and we, know that isn’t the case.

      1. Sub-Boreal

        “call for the ongoing production and performance of new requisites” – what used to be known as “moving the goalposts”.

        1. hunkerdown

          More like “commitment to capitalist self-improvement”. Conditionality evokes a continuing aspect that conditions does not and could walk away from.

  27. Tom Stone

    Inflation report from Sonoma County, I bought a donut for the firsts time in several years and paid $ 5.50 for one Cinnamon twist, 6″ long at Johnny’s Donuts in Santa Rosa.
    “Superburger” across the street lists their signature burger at $23.
    It’s going to be a very interesting year…

    1. BrianC - PDX

      My local donut shop I can get:
      – maple bar
      – plain cake donut
      – 12 oz coffee (60 cents, senior rate)

      All for $5.05

  28. LawnDart

    Must. Invade. Now.

    This should move Iran back up the list:

    Iran’s Discovery of Huge Lithium Reserves Could Revolutionize Global Mining Industry

    In February, the Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry announced that they had discovered one of the largest lithium reserves in the world. The discovery was made in western Hamedan Province and is estimated to hold up to 8.5 million tons of the element. Iran’s industry officials suggest that the country could hold up to 10 percent of the world’s total global reserves.

  29. Jason Boxman

    So, something I wondered last night: If Obama had actually prosecuted fraud and right-sized the financial sector, rather than betraying Americans, would we have had ZIRP for so many years as to lead to the kind of speculation we’ve seen for a decade? Would SVB have gotten so big with so much money chasing startups? Would the crypto con?

    1. Another Scott

      One thing that I think contributed to the crypto boom was a lack in faith in the financial system and it’s relationship with the government in light of the Obama administration. The failure to prosecute the fraud might have led many of the so-called Crypto Bros to become excited by alternate investments like crypto and many of the meme stocks.

      1. Mikel

        Consider: The Obama administration’s actions showed that deregulation still ultimately ruled the narrative. This spurred the Crypto Bros’ imagination.

  30. marku52

    That C650 landing (or not)was amazing. Incredible hand holding by ATC. The pilot should have been drug tested on arrival. A student couldn’t have performed that badly.

    But maybe it is LC brain fog. The FAA director mandated a safety reset because of all the near misses recently. The Fedex that almost landed on top of a Southwest taking off. The 2 jets that ran into each other at JFK. The taxiing jets collided at LAX.

    Flying not safe these days. Or taking the train.

  31. flora

    re: banks, pt 2.

    This is a 2009 Simon Johnson article about the banking crisis in 2008. I link it here from time to time. This seems like another good time to to post the link. Nothing was “cleaned up” in the banking sector then, the regulation of banks did not become stricter, Big Bank CEOs did not lose their jobs, though many small banks were destroyed. The problems were left to smolder. And here we are. Again. From 2009:

    The Quiet Coup

  32. poopinator

    Regarding SVB:

    1) Isn’t this the kind of “disruption” in markets that you encourage?
    2) SV Tech companies contributed to the failure by encouraging the run on their own bank.
    3) You destroyed the jobs and industries of the poor and working class with shitty AI and gig jobs. Why should they bail you out?
    4) What happened to the libertarian values that you’ve so fervently espoused over the years?
    5) These are the geniuses that are bringing us the next generation of FinTech and they don’t understand basic concepts like diversification and risk management?

    Considering that the next Ukraine installment will be around $50 Billion, why don’t we allow for the bailout on the condition that the Tech Bros are all conscripted and sent to Bakhmut to fight in the war?

      1. poopinator

        Just heard through the grapevine that Merle Hazard will be releasing a double album next. Possible Ned Ludd duet? We’ll see.

  33. Glen

    OK, here’s a retired F-35 pilot telling it like it is – a critical flaw in the airplane! This problem has contributed to NINE crashes!

    The CRITICAL FLAW in $100 Million Fighter Jets

    Makes sense, but does have me wondering what’s flying around in the cockpit during high G maneuvers.

    1. Wukchumni

      I read it differently, in that all the blame for crashing those F-35’s is because pilots had to pee real bad, how convenient.

      When the pilot uses a newly designed pee bag, everything is aces.

      So, where does the retired F-35 pilot get a F-35 to test it, unless he has implicit air force support?

      Very fishy!

      1. Glen

        Fighter pilots never really “retire” until they hit their age limit or fail a physical. I’m not sure, but he could be flying for the Air National Guard, or be employed by a MIC company directly involved with F-35s. Given that he’s in a trainer, I’d guess the latter. Anybody ticketed to fly F-35’s has many employment opportunities, and can be recalled back to active service rather quickly.

        But biased reporting? Of course it is, by design and selection. Because the fighter pilot that doesn’t think it’s a hot plane, and they’re a hot $hit pilot either never makes it through the training to become a fighter pilot or ends up dead. It’s not a forgiving profession, and self doubt is not rewarded.

  34. Ranger Rick

    That map is inaccurate; the billion-dollar wildfire in Colorado happened the day before New Year’s Eve. Middle of winter. Not a week later there was a foot of snow on the ground. We then had months of people expressing the sentiment that there was no such thing as a wildfire season.

  35. spud

    the statement by powell was hilarious, in just a few short sentences he debunked the wage price spiral, that indeed, free trade does not work its inflationary, and that housing which is driven by free trade(think appliances, construction material, tools etc,) is now driving inflation, and that its not going away anytime soon. plus even if we spent on services, when was the last time anyone purchased a made in the u.s.a. computer or printer, let alone a pencil or a ink cartridge, even the ink:)

  36. spud

    someday the french might figure it out. Macron and his polices, are the policies of the foreign oligarchs freed up by free trade, that writes the macrons of the worlds pay checks.

    as bad as brexit was handled, and as bad as the u.k. leadership is, and even if the u.k. devolves into just a two state combo, at least they might be able to handle the internal oligarchs into a belly flop landing that does not explode into a burning wreck.

    the shape the u.k. is in today, is not the results of brexit, its the results of thachers feverish ideology for free trade, which resulted in the joining the fascist construct the E.U.

    1. ambrit

      I believe it was Col. McGregor who viewed pictures of the equipment being unloaded at Poland and remarked that it showed only enough equipment for a single Brigade Maneuver Battalion, (only about 1000 troops.) NATO would need numerous of such units to stand a chance against the recently upgraded Russian Army in the Ukraine.
      Any European politicos who buy into this crazy idea should soon be seeing the collapse of their political careers. (Whether before or after WW-3 happens is open to debate.)
      Pro tip: Go ‘long’ preps.

      1. paddy

        abrams’ fuel tank holds about 600 gal.

        per wiki:

        An ABCT [armored brigade combat team] includes 87 Abrams, 152 Bradley IFVs, 18 M109s and 45 armed M113 vehicles.[10] The operational cost for these combat systems is $66,735 per mile. The range of the Abrams limits the brigade to 330 km (205 miles), requiring fuel every 12 hours. The brigade can self-transport 738,100 L (195,000 gallons) of fuel, which is transported by 15 19,000 L (5,000 gal) M969A1 tankers and 48 9,500 L (2,500 gal) M978 tankers.[11]

        not listed are a number of logistics and other troop transport vehicles, mostly medium tavctical vehicles.

        range indicates the 19500 gal tankers are empty at 205 miles….. not sure how they get all the finest diesel fuel up to the brigade in a hot environment or one with lousy roads!

        and behind the armor brigade is division level logistic formations to service all those quirky vehicles.

        1. ambrit

          Yep. Puts some ‘teeth’ into the phrase, “boots on the ground.”
          The Russians, as far as I can glean from online information, are waging a war of attrition against the Ukrainians. The NATO forces look to be geared towards big maneuver strikes. So, the Russians seem to be doing well using a lower mobility troop style.
          Secondly, those great armoured advances are predicated upon either complete theatre air superiority or at the least, parity in air power over the battlefield. At present, absent some legitimate “wunderwaffen” showing up on the NATO side, I do not see the NATO armour venturing forth upon the Eastern European plains with any degree of safety.
          As for fuel constraints for armour; the famous case is Patton’s Third Army having to slow on it’s way to the Rhine River during 1944 to wait for fuel to be bought up by supply transport.

    1. Mikel

      FED/FDIC statement.

      “The Federal Reserve on Sunday announced a new emergency loan program to bolster the capacity of the banking system in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

      The program will help assure banks have the ability to meet the needs of all their depositors.

      Under the new program, banks and other lenders will be able to pledge Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities for cash.

      This will eliminate the need for a bank to quickly sell its assets in times of stress…”

        1. Mikel

          “The Fed noted that is emergency-lending “discount window” is open and available for banks…”

          So familiar…
          All the rentier start up projects back in action.

  37. Glen

    Breaking News!

    SillyCon Valley Tech Billionaire Libertarians All Get The Government Teat!

    All Silicon Valley Bank customers’ funds guaranteed, U.S. government says

    Must be nice to be all bailed out and still pulled up by your own bootstraps, your own brilliance, your own smarts, your own billions taken from Americans living paycheck to paycheck.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      “No losses associated with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank will be borne by the taxpayer,” the statement added.

      So are they going to make Russia pay for it? Maybe Mexico? Or is it a tacit admission of the government’s dependence on MMT (for the benefit of rich folx only, of course)?

      1. Glen

        My guess is we’ll be hearing much more about how Social Security and Medicare have to be “saved” (i.e CUT).

        The irony is that there should be more than enough private funding available in SillyCon Valley to fix this like JP Morgan did:

        The Panic of 1907: J.P. Morgan and the Money Trust

        But whatever, they’re oligarchs and made some phone calls and our for hire politicians will do what they’re told by their bosses.

  38. Mikel

    “Signature Bank, a New York financial institution with a big real estate lending business that had recently made a play to win cryptocurrency deposits, closed its doors abruptly on Sunday, after regulators said that keeping the bank open could threaten the stability of the entire financial system…”

    So a lot of banks with crypto crazed depositors stirring up BS.

  39. some guy

    GA State Democrat hooks “Cancun Ted” with baited bill . . .

    The clever comebacks subreddit noted Georgia State Rep’s clever comeback to Ted Cruz calling him out for submitting a bill to mandate vasectomies for all men over 50 or with 3 children. ( The bill was a rhetorical bill written to prove a point, not to get passed – – which it never ever would).

    Here is the link.

    1. ambrit

      Ye gads! The “A” Team is on the case!
      I just figured it out. This is all Hollywood. Sy Hirsch’s source was Scooby Doo!


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