Links 3/14/2023

How this little see-through fish gets its rainbow shimmer AP

Credit Suisse finds ‘material weaknesses’ in financial reporting controls FT. See NC here, here, and today.


Banking crisis: President Joe Biden says taxpayer money won’t be used to bail out SVB, Signature Bank USA Today

Biden Assures Americans Their Bank Deposits Are Safe In Ukraine Bablyon Bee (Chuck L).

The Biden administration sees bank crisis as a means of expanding their control Tucker Carlson, FOX

* * *

U.S. Bank Collapses Add to Pressure on Global Central Banks WSJ

Regional Banks Slammed by Fear of a Broader Financial Crisis NYT

U.S. Bank Collapse Could Spark Global Crisis: ‘Dr. Doom’ Nouriel Roubini Newsweek

* * *

All the Things We Do Not Know About SVB Barry Ritholz, The Big Picture. Important.

SVB collapse: Peter Thiel’s role scrutinized as spark of bank run Washington Examiner

The Silicon Valley Bank Contagion Is Just Beginning Wired:

The second- and third-order impacts of startups hitting financial trouble or just slowing down could be more pernicious. “When you say: ‘Oh, I don’t care about Silicon Valley,’ yes, that might sound fine. But the reality is very few of us are Luddites,” Kunst says. “Imagine you wake up and go to unlock your door, and because they’re a tech company banking with SVB who can no longer make payroll, your app isn’t working and you’re struggling to unlock your door.”

See, there’s your problem. These people — the tiny, incestuous in-group of 37,466 deposit customers at SVB — think you should need an app to open your front door. Worse, they think anybody who doesn’t buy into that “innovation” is a Luddite. And they think they’re entitled to an endless flow of stupid money. It’s froth. It’s deranged. And speaking of financial cuddle puddles:

Did VCs and twitter trolls help take down Silicon Valley Bank? The American Banker. They were certainly part of the chain of events.

* * *

Silicon Valley Bank parent, CEO, CFO are sued by shareholders for fraud Reuters. That was fast.


Trees Across the U.S. Are Sprouting Leaves Earlier Than Usual This Year Wall Street Journal

How coconuts protect the Jersey Shore, other eroding coasts ABC

Tracing the sources of ancient volcanoclastic rocks in Yellowstone using crystals U.S. Geological Survey. Neat!


SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Hippopotamus, Hanoi, Vietnam Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC

U.S. government agencies may have been double billed for projects in Wuhan, China, records indicate; probe launched CBS

European scientists highlight worrisome H5N1 avian flu mutations Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy


Xi pools mighty force for building great country, national rejuvenation Xinhua

China’s New Premier Li Qiang Says Tough To Achieve 5 Per Cent GDP Target Republic World

Top China property developer Country Garden to book net loss for 2022 Channel News Asia

What’s going on in China? Flu outbreak ushers Covid-like lockdowns as cases rise Hindustan Times

Exclusive: UK approves increased submarine-related exports to Taiwan, risking angering China Reuters

U.S. to sell nuke-powered subs to Australia in unprecedented deal Politico

Indonesians seeking climate justice take aim at Swiss concrete giant Channel News Asia


Commentary: India overtakes China as most populous country, but will it be demographic dividend or disaster? Channel News Asia


Biggest test of Iran-Saudi deal will be in Yemen Axios. This, big if true:

UN buys huge ship to avert catastrophic oil spill off Yemen BBC

European Disunion

France mulls nuclear revamp as Ukraine war prompts an energy mix rethink France24

France’s groundwater situation is alarming, official report shows Andalu Agency

Dear Old Blighty

Junior doctors’ strike: Anger at ‘national scandal’ of unnecessary NHS deaths as thousands start three-day walkout Sky News

Nicola Sturgeon’s successor will take over at a time when a referendum feels more remote than ever Holyrood

What’s In a Full English Breakfast? Don’t Ask the English WSJ

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia Advances Bakhmut Slaviansk, Ukraine Delays Counterattack, Kremlin Only Military Solution (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube (Rev Kev). Yves gets at shout-out near 40:19.

Ukraine short of skilled troops and ammunition as losses and pessimism grow WaPo

Ukraine orders evacuations from liberated city, as Russians creep closer again CNN

* * *

Arm Ukraine or Prepare for China? Wrong Question. Foreign Policy

Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Chief Predicts How War Will End The Cipher Brief. Hagiography, but to what end? Beat sweetening?

DoD keeps Ukraine aid out of its budget, punting to divided Congress Defense News

Russia approves 60-day extension of Black Sea grain deal France24

Kazakhstan seizes property of Roskosmos at Baikonur and demands $26 million – report AKpress. Odd.

Biden Administration

Biden administration approves controversial Willow oil project in Alaska, which has galvanized online activism CNN

Our Famously Free Press

In FBI Case, the First Amendment Takes Another Bizarre Hit Matt Taibbi, Racket News. The conclusion:

The style of the new anti-speech Democrat is clear: define all government critics as lacking standing to criticize, impugn their prior opinions and associations, imply that all their beliefs are conspiracy theory, define their lack of faith in the FBI’s judgment as treasonous, and declare their motivation to be financial. Lastly, when they invoke common constitutional rights, make a note that their activities exist in an uncovered carve-out.

This is the playbook, and we all better get used to it.

Matt Taibbi Squares Off w/ House Dems Over TwitterFiles (transcript) Glenn Greenwald

Digital platform regulation: Governing the ungovernable Chatham House. From February, still germane.


Denied by AI: How Medicare Advantage plans use algorithms to cut off care for seniors in need STAT

The Bezzle

The Dealer Who Sold the World’s Most Expensive Coin Has Been Arrested for Falsifying the $4.2 Million Artifact’s Provenance Artnet


Iran says it’s discovered what could be the world’s second-largest lithium deposit CNBC

China lithium probe puts spotlight on reserves and ESG risks

Imperialism and Natural Resources International Development Economics Associates

Sports Desk

‘Fosbury Flop’ high jumper Dick Fosbury dies at 76 AP

Guillotine Watch

Executive Sentenced for Scheming to Flood Northeast With Opioids NYT (Re Silc).

A Palantir Co-Founder Is Pushing Laws to Criminalize Homeless Encampments Nationwide Vice (Re Silc).

Bill Gates Calls Epstein’s Number Just To Hear His Voicemail Again The Onion

Class Warfare

‘Deaths of Despair’ contribute to 17% rise in Minnesota’s death rate during COVID-19 pandemic (press release) Mayo Clinic. Everything’s going according to plan.

Uber and Lyft shares rise after California court victory lets them classify drivers as contractors CNBC. From a class exploitation perspective, Uber nets out positive.

Labor Power and Strategy Helps Organizers Think Seriously About Chokepoints Labor Notes

Controversy Surrounds Blockbuster Superconductivity Claim Scientific American

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa


    (The End Of The World As We Know It)
    (pronounced Tay-OTT-Walky)
    (melody borrowed from Althea by the Grateful Dead)

    TEOTWAWKI ain’t a mushroom cloud
    It’s more like slow dissipation
    So many things once stood tall and proud
    Now it all needs restoration

    TEOTWAWKI isn’t foreign war
    It’s when a train’s derailed
    When that happens thousand times a year
    Brother, our ship has sailed

    When every state has sacrifice zones
    Some dead or drilled out place
    We add them all to the Superfund
    And blame the human race

    When hurricanes leave a mess behind
    The mess they leave is not redeemed
    When banks fall down we shrug and sigh
    So banks are a wise guy’s dream

    When our politics are screaming duels
    And we don’t show the least concern
    When we vote for the knaves or vote for the fools
    And never, never learn

    When you take out a loan you can’t repay
    To get that college degree
    Then live like a dog throughout your life
    That’s TEOTWAWKI

    When we can’t have the things we need
    Much more often than not
    The time has come to weigh some things
    This space is getting hot

    (You know, this space is getting hot)

    When our selected representatives
    Aren’t fit to be dogcatcher
    Their inside trades and wild tirades
    Display their lack of stature

    Why not behave like we own the place?
    Why settle for the shiny things?
    We argue more about less and less
    Own nothing and think we’re kings

  2. griffen

    Money quote (to me anywho) from the above Wired article. “I think you’re going to see bigger banks of all sizes get excited to be more involved with the tech sector…” Or some highly comparable statement but I digress, this is not a net positive thing as so much of the finance and banking sector becomes ever more dominated by a small handful of powerful financial entities. You know the names, JPM Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, etc…

    And for the record, being a legitimate doubter of the latest and greatest BS to emanate from the Valley or Palo Alto in make believe land is completely different from a Luddite mentality. LS, you have plenty of company in this respect.

    1. Aaron

      I always try to explain to people the true meaning behind the Luddite movement. It wasn’t an attack on new technology, it was a reaction to new technology that disenfranchised a whole class of people. The Luddites were fighting for their economic livelihood.

      Also, fuck Wired. The most prominent cheerleader for techno babble. That is a tiring magazine

      1. Kfish

        The Luddites fought the factory owners because they thought their way of life was going to be destroyed to benefit a rapacious few. They were right.

  3. zagonostra

    >Matt Taibbi Squares Off w/ House Dems Over TwitterFiles (transcript) Glenn Greenwald

    I think the CIA’s psychologically created phrase to counter reality is losing some of its purchase on the American Mind, such as it is.

    So that’s the Democratic Party for you right there, summed up perfectly…And that not only should we trust those U.S. Security State agencies to censor for us, but we should be grateful to them for it. Because they’re just trying to help…They’re the good guys. We want them censoring information because, as he said, all they’re trying to do is to protect us from speech that harms us or that undermines democracy. Everyone knows that’s what the CIA and the FBI are for. And the only way that you could possibly believe that it might be dangerous to allow these agencies to do that is if you’re a kooky conspiracy theorist

    1. fresno dan

      They’re the good guys. We want them censoring information because, as he said, all they’re trying to do is to protect us from speech that harms us or that undermines democracy.

      I’m so old I remember the Church committee – back when some democrats were skeptical of the CIA (and FBI),controversy%20over%20NSA%20surveillance%20programs.
      Back in the post-Watergate era, Church and his colleagues weren’t concerned with international terrorism. But there was an overseas connection to Chile. The committee was a reaction to revelations that the FBI and CIA appeared to engage in unconstitutional surveillance of Americans during the era.
      There are elements of the story that seem familiar today. On December 22, 1974, Seymour Hersh, a New York Times investigative journalist, reported on a previously confidential CIA operation involving Chile.
      Part of Hersh’s report also detailed what appeared to be illegal spying operations on thousands of Americans by their own government.
      What an era back then. Some democrats concerned about constitutional rights. NYT printing articles from Hersh. Why did it all stop?
      In the aftermath of the violent events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, one year ago today, Senator Amy Klobuchar and other federal legislators reminded us that we have “a republic,” but only “if you can keep it.” The source of this quotation is a journal kept by James McHenry (1753-1816) while he was a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention. On the page where McHenry records the events of the last day of the convention, September 18, 1787, he wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy – A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” Then McHenry added: “The Lady here alluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philada.” The journal is at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.
      Well, there certainly was a riot on January 6. In the scheme of American riots, it wasn’t that violent. And it was unusual in occurring at the Capitol. But I am far more concerned about what the government decrees is the truth, than a guy walking around with a horned hat… Is it that long ago that we were told about body counts in Vietnam and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? We used to have a press that opposed government lies – now they are in cahoots with the deceivers…

      1. Questa Nota

        Press getting advertising support from pharma and others, where the subjects take the risk and the stenographers and talking heads report what they are told. In the Church era and before, there was at least a hint of respectability in those 6:00 news advertisers.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It blows my mind to think how much happier, healthier and more well-informed americans would be if direct-to-consumer drug advertising was prohibited in the u.s. as it is everywhere else on the planet except friggin’ new zealand.

      2. Milton

        I don’t watch a lick of news on the TVs but a recent discussion with a true blue partisan, and how they expressed how the Church Committee was/is a CT, had me trying to find out how pervasive this sentiment was amongst the msnbc/cnn viewership. Did Ms Maddow recently have a piece dissing the findings? Is Team Blue completely disavowing their 1970’s selves? Has anyone here heard of anything similar? Like an idiot, I didn’t press as to where this person got their info but only assumed it was from a “reputable source”.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I blame television. I don’t think a certain age cohort was functionally able to deal with it going from I Love Lucy to pervasive in all aspects of our lives.

          TV is so fast there is no time for reflection or checking. Anything that doesn’t fit with the narrative has to be denounced and can be denounced because the truth is at 17:25 of a 2 hour documentary behind noise.

          Instead the noise becomes the truth, and they are so enthralled they can’t reason. Besides if the Church committee really happened, it would be on television, right? People watch debates as if they will reveal anything that cant be found out with 5 minutes on the internet. Biden lied at the debates with Sanders, but to know that you would need to watch old videos, know anything about Biden prior to 2008, or god forbid, read.

          Then of course, fictional tv broadcasts and movies create the conditions the zeitgeist operates under. The Ghandhi movies is just awful, but people in the US think Ghandhi defeated the English by spinning yarn and non-violence. It was Nehru and the USSR/USA competition, but then again, Spielberg didn’t make a movie about Nehru when Attenborourgh made Ghandhi.

          1. Carolinian

            Blame the movies starting with that chowderhead Ben Affleck although back in Reagan times all those Jack Ryan books and movies tried to define the CIA as the good guys who were intellectual and not just marshal arts supermen. That said, justly paranoid attitudes toward the spooks continue to be a staple of many films. Spy movies are popular because they are about action and movies need to move.

            The real problem are the politicians and those who pay them. The three letter agencies are bad because they give said politicians too much unaccountable power. Our elites are always going on about democracy because that’s the last thing they want.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          My oldest and closest friend, who considers himself of the Left, has the worst case of Trump Derangement Syndrome I have ever witnessed; I have literally feared for his health as he works himself up into moralizing caricature of the Libs that Trump and his supporters love to troll. Our friendship persists only because we have tacitly agreed to not go there (i.e. anywhere near Orange Man or the #McResistance response thereto, such as Russiagate). Anyway, he is absolutely impenetrable regarding anything, no matter how factual and egregious, that might in some way be construed as helping Orange Man: thus, the Twitter files are treyf/haram/untouchable, because whatever censorship took place was directed against Trump and MAGA, which justifies it. Julian Assange being slowly executed in prison for “espionage” against a country to which he is not a citizen? Nothing to see here, because he “helped Trump.” Democrats normalizing Russophobia (leading directly to proxy war), via ludicrous and fraudulent Russiagate “scandals?” It’s all good, because it will magically remove the one they so love to hate (while they support policies and candidates who helped give us Trump).

          In my exerience, they don’t disavow their former selves; rather, they project their current delusions and moral vanity back onto them.

          1. fresno dan

            Isn’t it something? I actually have an old friend who is the exact opposite – it isn’t that he is so much for Trump (well, actually he is), as it is that each, and every problem is caused by a democrat. If only the democrats disappeared from the face of the earth, republicans, who are all exclusively angels, heaven would reign on the earth. He didn’t use to be so foolish – he used to understand the reality of the vagaries of human virtue.
            It is something how people can be black/white, 1/0 or some other binary. I know here on NC I often put in the caveat of how much I detest Trump. Really, I viscerally dislike the man.
            Yet, I will not support those people and a party portion that may escalate the possibility of nuclear holocoust, or who would frame someone for a crime he did not committ.
            Would we really have been better off if Hilary had been elected? Maybe, I don’t know. But I do know the world did not end with Trump being elected. There are many, many, MANY good reasons to despise Donald Trump – I just ask that they be real reasons, and not reasons that could cause a humanity ending world war. I would also like freedom of the press and speech to remain, and that we should not reinstitute McCarthism against people who think Putin is not H!tler.

        3. pjay

          I have not heard that one. I could certainly believe that the msdnc crowd was totally ignorant of that history, but to believe that those hearings were “CTs” would be pretty extraordinary. I’d be interested in any possible sources for this view. I’ve given up on saying “nothing surprises me anymore,” because I keep getting surprised – and not in a good way.

      3. flora

        “Well, there certainly was a riot on January 6. In the scheme of American riots, it wasn’t that violent. ”

        Yes, there was. Coincidentally, at the same time the Capitol’s doors were opened to protestors/rioters the House declared an emergency and halted the ongoing certification of the presidential election, instantly halting the certification process. I’m not sure that’s ever happened before. (Maybe during the US Civil War?)

        Afterward, the election was certified by unanimous consent with no challenges allowed.

        1. wendigo

          I guess I don’t understand how the certification worked because I see votes of 6 to 93 in the Senate at 10:10 pm and 121 to 303 at 11:08pm regarding Arizona which does not look unaminous, as well as votes for a few other states later.

          1. flora

            Yes, but were any challenges allowed during the restarted certification process? That’s the question I guess.

            1. marym

              “Debate on the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes resumed at 8:00 p.m…Objections to the electoral votes of Georgia, Michigan and Nevada were raised by Republican members of the House, but were not sustained because no senator joined the objection. In the case of Georgia, Senator Kelly Loeffler (R–GA) had withdrawn her objection after the unrest…The next state objected to was Pennsylvania…”

              “8 p.m.: Congress resumes Electoral College tally…The objections to Pennsylvania’s vote count trigger another debate and a vote in both chambers after the first objections to Arizona earlier that day…’


      4. John Zelnicker

        fd – Even before the Church Committee, there was an investigation in 1971 or so led by Sen. Sam Ervin of South Carolina, IIRC.

        Apparently, the US Army was keeping surveillance files on antiwar demonstrators at a base in Ohio. I think they were called the “Red Files”

        The Army was ordered to destroy the files, and they claimed they complied. However, none of us in the antiwar movement believed them and I’ve always wondered where those files ended up. I’m sure I was included.

    2. Carolinian

      Bookwise there have been some recent look backs at both the FBI and the CIA and arguably the CIA is far more sinister. Hoover grew up in DC when it was still very much a Southern town and his racist Jim Crow attitudes toward MLK and others reflected those early 20th cent beginnings. However his anticommunism was more a mirror of the later Cold War era and the Congressional allies he partnered with. His real goal was power within the bureaucracy and he would pull back if the FBI’s unsavory methods were in danger of exposure that would damage its carefully manicured public image.

      Whereas the operations side of Truman’s CIA quickly became a kind of secret government whose only restraint–supposedly–was keeping hands off domestically. Since these Ivy League foot soldiers of the ruling class were mostly interested in foreign manipulation at the service of big business that division persisted if more customary than legal.

      All of which is to say that the FBI is more susceptible to reform than the CIA which is incompatible with any democracy and exists for imperial purposes. But the FBI as well was always an agency seeking to define its mission. We could easily lose both of them.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Harry’s final opinion on his “creation,” the CIA, was delivered via a New York Times op-ed published December 22, 1963:

        But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.

        We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

    3. flora

      re: In FBI Case, the First Amendment Takes Another Bizarre Hit – Matt Taibbi, Racket News.

      They hate us for our freedoms.
      (Where have I heard that before?)

      1. Carolinian

        Those of us who read this blog have been offered plenty of evidence and opinion from day one that J6 was not an “insurrection” and polls show that much of the country still doesn’t accept this framing. One needs to ask why the Dems or at least some of them are so fanatically committed to their MAGA=traitors narrative. Taibbi is surely right that these tactics are not doing them any good because they are clearly unhinged.

  4. Louis Fyne

    so I was watching some non-US TV news, which is sometimes fun as they run B-roll footage that never sees the light of day in the US.

    The striking part was a scene outside a Boston Silicon Valley Bank branch on Monday. All the depositors are queued up….

    And it’s the soon-to-be unemployed bank manager who is the calm, collected one explaining to a stressed out person (LARP-ing as a pleb in her athletic hoodie) that her deposits will be available for transfer that day.

  5. Wukchumni

    The Dealer Who Sold the World’s Most Expensive Coin Has Been Arrested for Falsifying the $4.2 Million Artifact’s Provenance Artnet
    Pretty much all ancient Greek & Roman coins come from the ground, as Bank of America wasn’t around yet in Europe, nor did they have safe deposit boxes.

    They keep finding hoards of 100,000 cheap ancient Roman bronze coins circa 250 AD worth a few bucks a piece (essentially the equivalent of finding 100,000x 2023 Lincoln Cents in 3821) and nobody gives a rats patootie about provenance, but if it’s a rare coin like this one-righteous indignity!

    Coins are by far the commonest antique in the old country as nobody throws money away, but they did tend to bury it.

    By the way, a disaster is unfolding here on the Ides of March (that’s what the $4.2 million Roman coin commemorated) in that Lake Success is full up and Lake Kaweah not far away, and the atmospheric river is about to dump again overhead, followed by almost another week of rain afterwards.

    It’s not the world’s most expensive coin-incidentally, a 1794 Silver Dollar fetched $13 million.

    1. Wukchumni

      On Monday morning the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers reported Success Lake’s storage was more than 88,000 feet which is technically more than the storage capacity of about 82,000 acre feet.


      Its only 6,000+ acre feet over capacity, no biggie.

      325,000 gallons x 6,000, for those of you scoring @ home.

      1. griffen

        So that level of water would fill a few SoFi football stadiums, one presumes. Just picking a random structure to hypothetically determine just the volume of water described.

        1. Wukchumni

          Water is 8 pounds per gallon and math isn’t my long suit, but that’s a veritable shitlode of water.

          1. redleg

            One butt=2 hogsheads=128 gallons.
            So a buttload of water weighs just over half a ton or 1078 pounds.

      2. JP

        The core of the lake is bowel, but as it approaches spill hight it becomes a saucer. I assume the reason the edison substation in Fraiser valley has a dike around it is because it is about at the spillway elevation. That implies a very large area, easily 6000 acres. So maybe a foot over the spillway or maybe meaning the water going over the spillway is a foot thick.

        I have not walked the new spillway but it is clearly visible from hwy 190. A broad apron with high walls. Even if the water got higher than the walls and eroded the spillway it would not broach the dam. That said, earthfill dams have a bad habit of failing from the bottom not the top. But before they raised the spillway they did bore a bunch of holes to insure the stability of the foundation. I would be a little nervous if I lived on the old flood plain. The old building inspector once told me that in the 1955 high water event the river was a mile wide at Porterville. That you could have rowed from the developmental center to what is now the courthouse.

        1. Wukchumni

          Thanks for the detailed explanation, appreciate it!

          I’d go with an abundance of caution if I was living below the 2 dams, and collect my things that were irreplaceable and get in my car and drive west to a Motel 6, where they’ll leave the light on and allow pets.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Iran says it’s discovered what could be the world’s second-largest lithium deposit”

    Of course if old Joe had re-upped the nuclear deal with Iran after becoming President, that the US would get a shot at buying that lithium on the open market. And now? I expect that all that lithium will be headed to China now.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    The NC commentariat has noted the importance and uncertain supply of phosphates before. Now the Guardian has noticed that phosphates are an excellent example of limits to growth. Proven reserves are insufficient to maintain the current level of use. Moreover, current use levels contribute to fresh water pollution that can render drinking water unusable in places like Toledo because of phosphate’s effect on algal growth. On top of that, phosphate runoff encourages plant growth in fresh water lakes and rivers. These these plants die off, their decay process produces the potent greenhouse gas methane.

    The Green Revolution is turning brown. The problem is that the only solution is greatly increasing the labor input while rapidly reducing the unsustainable use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

    1. Some Guy

      I am a firm believer that we are seeing limits to growth and have been for some time, and that energy resources are the key to this, however, I am skeptical about pointing to specific elements and predicting shortages as capitalism remains good at finding more supplies or ways around as needed in these cases.

      For phosphate in particular, there is plenty out there, it would just take slightly higher prices to flush it out. For example, Arianne Phosphate is a tiny Quebec company that has been sitting on a huge phosphate deposit in Quebec for over a decade, just waiting for a sustained price increase to make the mine viable.

      Phosphate run-off is a different question, since we have no way of pricing pollution, capitalism doesn’t handle it very well, as we see every day.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        My bad. The article was talking about the growth of underwater plants being increased, and their death and decay releasing methane.

        1. juno mas

          Releasing excess Phosphorus into water bodies, from any source, changes the ecology (plants/invertrebrates/fish) of that water body.

          In freshwater, algae growth can disrupt longer living bottom growing plants and remove oxygen from the water that keeps fish alive. Fish as scavenger/predators maintain a balanced food chain. Phosphorus catalyzes Nitrogen absorption in photosynthesis and energizes algae blooms.

          In saltwater (Baltic Sea) it does the same, but the environment is more complex.

          In any case, more Phosphorus and Nox (Nitrous oxide) in the environment (it is increasing through anthropocentric activity) means a changing ecology for the oceans of the planet.

  8. zagonostra

    Donald Trump’s response to Tucker’s question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?

    “No. We should support regime change in the United States. That’s far more important.”

    Say what you will about Trump, he has a powerful political instinct. On the other hand in a live Jimmy Dore interview with RFK Jr. that had at least 20K live viewers last night, Trump initially asked RFK Jr. to chair the vaccine safety during development only to have Pfizer insert their own person in charge, after “donating” 1 million dollars.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suspect Trump is like Shrub in that the last person in the room is the decision maker. It’s just DC has been in such decline the actors who learned Trump was stupid probably didn’t recognize what was going on. They likely left the room after getting the okay while more experienced hands got their way.

      Not that I would want RFK Jr having actual authority, but the optics make sense.

  9. Wukchumni

    U.S. Bank Collapse Could Spark Global Crisis: ‘Dr. Doom’ Nouriel Roubini Newsweek
    Count Formaldehyde never disappoints and is still livin’ la vida crash 2008, the last time he was right about something.

    Broken clocks are slightly more reliable…

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Biden administration approves controversial Willow oil project in Alaska, which has galvanized online activism”

    Say, how is that idea of the Democrats & Progressives doing everything to get Joe Biden elected as President and then pushing him left working out? Is Noam Chomsky saying that everybody has to vote for old Joe to save the environment from Trump still a viable strategy? Having seen plenty of old videos showing what old Joe was all about tells me that he was always going to do stuff like this. It is in his nature.

    1. zagonostra

      >”It is in his nature”

      Reminds me of Aesop’s fable of the Scorpion and the Frog

      A scorpion wants to cross a river but cannot swim, so it asks a frog to carry it across. The frog hesitates, afraid that the scorpion might sting it, but the scorpion promises not to, pointing out that it would drown if it killed the frog in the middle of the river. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: “I am sorry, but I couldn’t resist the urge. It’s in my nature.

    2. mtjefe

      Funny, when I browsed that, I was thinking of Obama’s declarion of Trumps mendacity, and wondering, is Biden or Trump more mendacious. I know there was a Trump lie counter rolling along during his tenure… surprised to see no one has started a Biden counter.

      Maybe my datapoints, algos , AI are keeping the Biden Lie Counter from what the internet feeds me.

      Me and My Silo.. (sung to the tune of Me and my Arrow)

      1. Synoia

        ” Obama’s declaration of Trumps mendacity,” I consider Obama an expert in mendacity/

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      but…but….but Joe is pushing to ban gas stoves. That gives him cred with the enviros.

    4. some guy

      I predict: if anybody asks Chomsky “whom to vote for”, Chomsky will say that everybody has to vote for Biden or Harris or whomever the DemParty finally nominates in order to save themselves from a worse fate under President Trump 2.0

      He may be right. He may be wrong. But that is what he will say if asked. Or maybe even if not asked.

  11. fresno dan

    Matt Taibbi Squares Off w/ House Dems Over TwitterFiles (transcript) Glenn Greenwald
    Remember for four years during the presidency of Donald Trump, we heard that any time a mean thing was said about Jim Acosta or Wolf Blitzer, there was some kind of grave crisis where our free press was under assault? …..
    This grave danger means that occasionally Donald Trump and other Republican politicians said critical things about him. What happened today in the House before the House Judiciary Committee is in a different universe as Democratic members of Congress didn’t just criticize these two journalists, but tried to invade their relationship with sources, tried to impugn the motives why this journalism was done, to claim that these journalists were directly threatening people who are citizens with different views, really trying to gin up hatred and even violence against these journalists. If even 1/10 of this were done to Jim Acosta or Taylor Lorenz or anyone on MSNBC, there would be weeping and all sorts of segments about the trauma these journalists are suffering. And yet none of the Democratic-aligned parts of the corporate media had a peep of protest as Democratic Party members of Congress threw rocks, figuratively, at these two journalists for the crime of exposing the FBI, the CIA, and Big Tech.
    The world to me is so upside down from my youth. When I was young, it was democrats who defended Daniel Elsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Now the democrats are the war mongering party that will stop at nothing to support the CIA and fake news about Ukraine.
    Things change. If I were not seeing it with my own eyes, I would not believe it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Last gasps of the gerontocracy and their hanger ons. Bill Clinton was the only Democrat active in the 90’s more or less, and today, Josh Gottheimer is the only Clinton White House lackey in Congress. It’s a far cry from FDR or JFK’s alum network.

      Neera Tanden has a job because of her connections to HRC, but every day that goes by Hillary nostalgia voters die. Hell, Biden’s VP is widely seen as only becoming president if Biden dies. The DLC types regardless of how they brand themselves can’t expand anymore. They need to keep everyone from associating them with their policies.

      It’s like Mayo Pete. Those paternity leave stories are great fluff, but his role as transportation secretary…well thats just Tucker Carlson being mean. I figure anyone in Feinstein’s office will be sent home with a new Senator. It’s California. They won’t run out of qualified Democrats who want those jobs associated with the Senator’s office.

      1. fresno dan

        You know, at the time I hated LBJ, Nixon, Ted Kennedy, Carter, Ford. I thought Humphrey was OK. Now I think they are giants. Am I wrong – am I being unfair to the politicians of today?
        And what a thought – will people 30 years from now long for Trump and Biden???

        1. JBird4049

          No, you are not being unfair. The politicians you mention as well as their contemporaries all had their flaws, but they also had strengths that I am not seeing in our current politicians. And if people in the future long for Trump or Biden, then there will probably be nothing much left of our civilization.

    2. Alan Roxdale

      It’s not surprising if you view power not in terms of party politics, but in terms of institutional culture. Washington as a whole was inclined to sway this way, so it was going to be one party of the other who took the lead. The problem is the town, not how the river divides it. (Figurative river, not the Potomac).

    3. Spider Monkey

      From TR and Wilson, warmongering has been a component of progressivism for over a century now. I’m not saying the republicans are any better to be clear…

    4. Michael Fiorillo

      Then: Mike Gravel enters The Pentagon Papers into the Congressional record.

      Now: Adam Schiff enters the Steele Dossier into the Congressional Record.

    5. FredW

      “And yet none of the Democratic-aligned parts of the corporate media had a peep of protest as Democratic Party members of Congress threw rocks, figuratively, at these two journalists for the crime of exposing the FBI, the CIA, and Big Tech.”

      As far as I know (Democracy Now, NPR) they haven’t even mentioned it.

    6. some guy

      That was a whole other bunch of Democrats back then. This is a whole new bunch of Democrats now.
      And their base is millions and millions of fanatical Clintanons. And a few million Obamabots.

      The days of “Church” and “Ellsberg” were many long decades ago.

  12. The Rev Kev

    #COVID19 News

    ‘The Covid-19 pandemic will no longer be considered a global health emergency by the end of this year, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.

    Speaking at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded the Thomas Francis Jr. medal for his contribution to healthcare, Tedros said he’s “confident that at some point this year we will be able to say that Covid-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern – and as a pandemic.”

    The WHO chief noted that the weekly number of reported deaths is now lower than when the organization first used the word “pandemic” to describe the Covid-19 outbreak three years ago on March 11, 2020.’

    The WHO needs to be burned to the ground. Ted Bundy did his murders retail as in one at a time. Ghebreyesus plans on doing his wholesale. If you think that is harsh, what do you call it when you kill people?

  13. Benny Profane

    Just found this comment in, of all places, a WAPO comment section. Witty.

    “Someone wrote yesterday, the sanctions were supposed to make Russian banks go bankrupt, instead it is our banks going bankrupt. :-(“

    1. The Rev Kev

      Come to think of it, as all links were cut between Russian banks and western financial institutes last year it may be they will remain rock steady. And if you are an investor in say the Global South and want your money safe, this may become an active consideration when you see the spreading contagion in the markets.

      1. Wukchumni

        There have been numerous gaps when other stuff filled in for money throughout history since the Lydians came up with the concept, but they always went back to the real thing.

  14. TomDority

    “UN buys huge ship to avert catastrophic oil spill off Yemen”
    You would think that with record oil industry profits…that those companies would just get together and off-load that oil pro-bono.
    But I guess them execs are just plain idiots….. even the congress critters could show a little environmental cred and get it done… but no.
    About that oil drilling in the north… I thought congress was to make or break it and then seek Biden up or veto on the contract… which apparently he gave the thumbs up. My point being, and this is no support of Biden (he lost that almost immediately after I voted for him as I had no one else to vote for), Biden is not a King , so why does everyone give him the royal treatment and instead of issuing exec orders he should be lighting a fire under congress’s butt using the bully pulpit to get these things legislated…. instead we have no action because of a fear that it would go to court for a decision.
    Rant rant rant — sorry

  15. lyman alpha blob

    NC readers may be interested to learn that companies are wasting no time in installing chatbots to do their customer service for them.

    I was just told by a large multinational company that you’ve all heard about that if I have any questions for their accounting department going forward, my first point of contact will be their new accounting chatbot.

    I will not be taking them up on their offer, although I am somewhat curious what it would say if I asked it to wire all of said multinational’s cash to my own bank account, or if I asked it to just go [family blog] itself.

    Sarcasm aside, white collar workers should see the writing on the wall here. Living in tents and cars isn’t just for deplorables anymore!

    Scifi author and computer scientist Charlie Stross’ book Accelerando, where digitized corporations rule and we meat puppets have become irrelevant, seems more prescient every year. Great read which Stross has made available for free here.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I got an email yesterday that the subsim community is finally getting an AI bot to help out the founder with various tasks. I can’t wait! This stuff is pervasive. It has taken female form. Are all chat bots and AI assistants female?

    2. LifelongLib

      IIRC Ray Bradbury wrote a story titled “Night Call, Collect” where an astronaut stranded on Mars sets up a network of chatbots so he’ll have something to talk to. The bots eventually kill him and end up talking to each other.

  16. Mikel

    “Imagine you wake up and go to unlock your door, and because they’re a tech company banking with SVB who can no longer make payroll, your app isn’t working and you’re struggling to unlock your door.”

    I call this kind of non-sense “tech.”
    That’s part of essence of air quote “tech.”
    Air quote tech (“tech”) are often great ideas for improving life for the hanicapped/ disabled, but are mass promoted for data mining reasons and rents.
    Another example is calling companies like WeWork “tech.”

    1. griffen

      If America ceases to innovate with these technology breakthroughs, we will surely be set adrift without the leading lights of Palo Alto and Silly Putty – Easy Money Valley to innovate freely. Because, you know, markets and freedom. Scooter rides!! \sarc

      Yeah We Work is a great example of the breakthrough we really needed! Now on the other hand, more timely information to monitor glucose levels that effects diabetics is an actual, legitimate breakthrough.

      1. Mikel


        “Denied by AI: How Medicare Advantage plans use algorithms to cut off care for seniors in need” STAT


        1. griffen

          Today it’s healthcare “delivery” or quite likely non delivery as the case may be, either remotely with Tele Dox or in person if you can really really be well insured. As for future tech, today it’s healthcare and chat bots.

          In a future scenario, it’s the android Ash from the Alien film. You know, priorities for the company first and all else is secondary. Nope not including the sarcasm tag as it just seems very likely that a Weyland Yutani corporation will do such a thing.

    2. funemployed

      I recently had to shop for a range. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and was willing to spend a little more than baseline. I preemptively ruled out digital touch screens and controls, and built in internet connectivity, and so wound up going with the baseline model anyway. I am quite confident there are many people other than me would would buy appliances without internet connectivity if there were more options available.

      1. Boomheist

        This was years ago, at the start of placing chips in everything. In about, say, 2000 (??) we bought one of those direct-contact stoves in Ballard Washington, and because it had some computer elements, chips and limited programming (this was probably at the very start of chips being shoved in everything, like cars) I bought the longest and most expensive warranty I could, which gave me I think 5 years of guaranteed replacement of things. When I did it I wondered if I was being an idiot.

        Within three years something burned out or something and the direct contact burners did not work. With warranty in hand I called the service company, and after a couple weeks someone came to the house, this guy and someone he was training (more about this in a bit). He unscrewed a couple of screws and lifted the burner top and I was shocked to see beneath it coils of wired and feeds, these being the stuff that heated the burners. It was obvious to me, at least, that the basic brain of the thing had burned out, but there was this process. First was a replacement of a couple feeds, that was the repair, which did not work, of course, and then I had to call them back to do something else, and then once again before they finally and very grudgingly agreed to replace the brain. This all took several visits and months. Meanwhile that young assistant changed, twice, and I learned the guy who ran the repair company could not get and keep help. Point being, software elements wear out, fast, and these warranties are set up to so infuriate the customer he or she just buys a whole new stove, and that is the entire point.

        We moved to Tacoma, found a house with a gas stove. Dials, knobs. Simple. All the hoo-hah right now about gas stoves being dangerous is twaddle, fear mongering, trying to get us to go for the “new” chip based crap that now fills all our shelves.

        Right to repair is a noble and worthy thing, but most new stuff cannot be repaired.
        This is where we are.

        1. funemployed

          I remember being at my grandma’s house as a child and a toaster broke. She called the company, was connected to a person right away, and was offered the option to mail it in for repair for a nominal fee or receive the replacement part in the mail. The toaster was at least 15 years old at the time, but they kept spare parts around for the old models just in case.

          She said “I tell you what, if I ever buy another toaster, it’ll be from xxxxx.” I don’t think she ever did though. And I have never encountered, in my adult life, a retail toaster that toasts as well as hers did.

        2. Glen

          I not only completely agree, but would urge people to avoid internet connected devices when ever possible. Two big reasons:

          1) Parts obsolescence. Things in the chip world can move very fast (three year roll over to newer technology, newer parts) so parts become very hard to get unless it’s a manufacturer that makes a large effort to maintain spares. Remember just-in-time supply chains? Most manufacturers decided a while back – no parts inventory.
          2) Firmware updates that don’t happen. Once an SOC (system on a chip) or other “smart” device is embedded in anything, it needs to be constantly updated to ensure it is not exposed to the latest and greatest attack vectors coming from the internet, but for the above reason, most smart devices will get updated at most, a hand full of times. To some degree keeping your home internet firewall up to date can mitigate this, but just imagine what could happen if the America/China cold war goes hot, and China decides to use all those back doors to turn your range into a dead appliance?

          So I would recommend keeping those appliances dumb, or if you have an internet enabled device, don’t connect it if that is possible.

        3. Vandemonian

          Back in the day, you could buy a torch (flashlight) and it would last, seemingly, forever. The globe (bulb) would burn out after a bit, but could be replaced cheaply and easily.

          Now we are ‘blessed’ with expensive LED torches, which include a fancy logic circuit to turn them on and off. I’ve had two fail within a year, with very little use.

    3. some guy

      If I had more patience, I would write a letter to Wired saying . . . “Well, it would serve you right for being dumm enough to buy a smart door.”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Arm Ukraine or Prepare for China? Wrong Question.”

    This is delusional. His idea is to repeat something from the 1940s where foreign companies buy American weapons and the money they used to build factories and upscale production. Forget it. Most modern corporations would instead use that money for stock buyback and giving themselves executive bonuses to boot. There is trouble enough producing 155mm artillery rounds as the profit margins on them is not that great and those corporations want to make ones packed with electronics which make far more profit. And the US is hardly going to nationalize some manufacturers as that is “communism” that. There is no industrial policy and to tell the truth, there is less industry in the US than there was before NAFTA. I have no idea how they are going to be able to square this circle if they want their war with China.

    1. fresno dan

      I was reading a critique of the Biden “industrial policy” of building chip factories in the US, and how, not just the amount of money is rather paltry, but that no real effort is being made to streamline and coordinate all the ancillary things necessary to have real industrial scale manufacturing occurring. Any opportunity to increase the bottom line by outsourcing aspects of production to Vietnam, Malaysia, India, etcetera (and I would not doubt surreptitiously to China), if it can occur, will occur.
      You know what is missing? In WWII, there was a real willingness to sacrifice. Would any modern corporation make any real sacrifice? Any dampening of incentives is UnAmerican and communistic…any diminishment of profit is against shareholder interests.

    1. fresno dan

      The Fed’s $9 trillion of QE (not counted as part of the budget deficit) fueled an asset-price inflation that made trillions of dollars for holders of financial assets, with a generous spillover effect for the remaining members of the top Ten Percent. The cost of home ownership soared by capitalizing mortgages at falling interest rates into more highly debt-leveraged property. The U.S. economy experienced the largest bond-market boom in history as interest rates fell below 1 percent. The economy polarized between the creditor positive-net-worth class and the rest of the economy – whose analogy to environmental pollution and global warming was debt pollution.

      But in serving the banks and the financial ownership class, the Fed painted itself into a corner: What would happen if and when interest rates finally rose?
      thanks. if it was linked before, I missed it too.

      1. Karl

        What goes up (bond boom during QE) will come down (QT). You’d think the Fed would have prepped banks better to prepare for the coming rise in interest rates early in 2022, or if they did, SVB didn’t get the memo. Oddly, you’d think SVB would have been particularly sensitive to risk, given that 80+% of their account holders were above the $250K FDIC cap. Cipolla’s five laws of stupidity demonstrated again! I mean, the CEO was formerly with Arthur Anderson and Lehman. Stupidity is the contagion we need to be most worried about.

  18. Craig H.

    Trees Across the U.S. Are Sprouting Leaves Earlier Than Usual This Year

    I’m not seeing too many buds. I am seeing a few. But the birds seem to be getting a brisk start up. What is the word for the system is rebounding energetically from the deep depression of a brutal winter weather session? That is a thing, isn’t it?

    Up until around a month ago this was a nasty winter. More than 2 X 2 X worse than last year. Maybe 8 X worse.

    1. herman_sampson

      Here in mid-Indiana trees seem to be budding early. Not too capable yet with yet, but searched on WSJ’s source, the USA National Phenology Network, which seems to a great example of citizen science.

      1. Wukchumni

        My dozen different cherry trees have nothing going on, and its late in the game.

        I think the Tongan volcano blowing up real good, completely messed with growing seasons.

      2. hunkerdown

        Please avoid posting blind links including and friends. Anyone who positively wants counterintelligence students to supervise their Web usage can set as their own browser’s start page and paste new URLs into a different text box, or install one of the several browser extensions which intercept URL requests and redirect them to an archived version. Those of us who don’t want that can skip it.

        Besides that, why would you use an archiver when there is no paywall to bust and no other reason to?

  19. fresno dan
    Max Boot wants us to know that he is a “neocon no more.” In a long essay for Foreign Affairs, ostensibly the nation’s premier international relations publication and the flagship journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, Boot rebrands himself after a quarter century of promoting chaos…..

    Boot is penitent. “Regime change obviously did not work out as intended. The occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were, in fact, fiascos that exacted a high price in both blood and treasure, for both the United States and—even more, of course—the countries it invaded,” Boot writes with characteristic humility. The high price, in this case, is quite literally over $8 trillion and counting, thousands of American casualties and life changing injuries. The Middle Eastern death toll is considerably higher.

    As the saying goes, when the facts change, I change my mind,” Boot adds. “Although I remain a supporter of democracy and human rights, after seeing how democracy promotion has worked out in practice, I no longer believe it belongs at the center of U.S. foreign policy. In retrospect, I was wildly overoptimistic about the prospects of exporting democracy by force, underestimating both the difficulties and the costs of such a massive undertaking. I am a neocon no more, at least as that term has been understood since 9/11.”

    Well, that’s nice to know.

    On one hand the discomfort of his fellow neocons is a good thing to observe. I am a cynic, but in this case, let us consider that Boot’s change of heart is genuine and accept it in the spirit of human charity.
    I don’t know if he (Boot) is trolling or being obtuse. The claim that Ukraine—a country that forcibly eradicated a whole second language among a section of the population; where Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy are “decolonized” because they are Russian; where a paramilitary affiliated with the government wears a Schutzstaffel armband; where the government lies about a stray missile strike from its forces to a NATO country for over 48 hours, in order to drag NATO to a war with Russia; and where defectors and “traitors” are tied up to poles in ritualistic humiliation—is a “liberal democracy” will give a historian a serious bout of involuntary emesis. The idea that we fight to uphold the norms where the principles of non-violation of international borders are sacrosanct will be a dark joke to Libyans and Syrians. Boot still flies the Ukrainian flag, crucially, ahead of the American flag in his twitter bio. To claim that one should be committed to a normative cause, while flying a foreign flag ahead of one’s country’s flag in a twitter bio, can be a lot of things, but not a sign of sudden dawning of realism.
    I read the article in Foreign Affairs by Boot, and it is an exquisitely satisfying, sublime, pleasurable, delightful, and delovely to read Boot confess how wrong, wrong, WRONG he was with regard to Iraq and associated issues. However, Boot still can’t understand that Ukraine is Afghanistan – apparently, the man is doomed to be a few steps…miles….lightyears behind. Still, after reading how democrats want war in Ukraine and to reinstitute McCarthyism to defend their warmongering, it is nice to see someone own up to being an imbecile.

    1. hunkerdown

      All his moralizing is irrelevant. The simple answer is that the checks started bouncing.

      Boot needs his “place” canceled and everything he loves destroyed for even asking for a redemption arc.

    2. pjay

      Another very relevant observation from the American Conservative article:

      “It is remarkable that someone can attempt a rebranding in Foreign Affairs about how his worldview cratered the relative power of the country he lives in, while those who were right on pretty much everything for over twenty-five years are still overlooked (when they are not being called fascists) as they argue against further escalation over an eastern European backwater.”

      Many are aware that Boot has been one of the most viciously hawkish warmongering neocons in existence. Let me emphasize that he is also “the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.” So it is not so remarkable. He is the very epitome of an Establishment propagandist. I recommend that everyone read his Wikipedia entry (and that’s not something I usually recommend!). He checks all the boxes, complete with immigrant background (Russian Jews escaping from the USSR, no less), elite education followed by a series of “journalistic” posts at elite outlets and links to elite institutions (like the CFR). His role has been as mouthpiece for the hawkish “neocon” wing of the Establishment, which he has played very consistently his entire career. Now, for some reason he thinks rebranding at this point to the “other side” is a useful move. But as the TAC author points out, such a rhetorical tactic is meaningless.

      “Samantha Power and Hillary Clinton also prefer “promoting” democracy to “exporting” it. It is pure sophistry and means nothing when it comes to actual policy. There is fundamentally no difference between a liberal internationalist and a neoconservative, as the latter is the muscular policy conclusion of the former theory.”

      I liked the American Conservative take-down, but in my opinion it was still too kind to such a despicable tool.

    3. Karl

      To me this was a crucial sentence:

      “Having lived in a communist dictatorship, I supported the United States spreading freedom abroad. That, in turn, led me to become a strong supporter of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

      He was born in Moscow, and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 7 with his Jewish parents in 1976.

      Boot’s chosen mission is understandable given this history. He loved the freedom he found here, but this history prevented him from being objective. God, please free the USA from the influence of those from Eurasian emigre families with a mission — Brzeznski, Kissinger, Albright, Blinken, Nuland, Vindman….

  20. ChrisFromGA

    Kagan clan … the Kagan clan … alright everybody, gather around, what kind of revolution do your want? Orange, green, anything you want! You’ve come to the right clan, cause we’re the Kagan clan!

    Verse 1:

    Who can run a think tank? (Who can run a think tank?)
    Leverage it for gain (leverage it for gain)
    Spread color revolutions from Bolivia to Ukraine
    The Kagan clan … The Kagan clan …
    The Kagan clan can! (The Kagan clan can!)


    The Kagan clan can, cause they’re mixed up with our gov, and make the world feel bad

    Verse 2:

    Who can loot a country? ( repeat)
    Wrap it up with lies (wrap it up with lies?)
    Soak it up with scum and make a groovy failure pie
    The Kagan clan … The Kagan clan …
    The Kagan clan can! (The Kagan clan can!)
    The Kagan clan can, cause they’re mixed up with our gov, and make us all feel bad (make us all feel bad)

    The Kagan clan makes, boatloads of mistakes
    To satisfy their vain ambitions
    Everything they do’s suspicious
    Not to mention it’s pernicious

    Verse 3:

    Who can ruin tomorrow?
    Make us want to scream
    Bomb a nordic pipeline and make a dystopian dream
    The Kagan clan can … The Kagan clan can
    The Kagan clan can cause they’re mixed up with our gov, and make the world feel bad

    1. ambrit

      I’ll just drop in a crib from a Bob Dylan song as counterpoint.
      But then again, maybe I shouldn’t.
      Preaching to the choir here.
      Singing to the FIRE there.
      Soon it adds up to real money.

    2. Lexx

      I was thinking about the lyrics of that song watching ‘Shrinking’ on Apple TV, where ‘Alice’ introduces ‘Paul’ (Harrison Ford) to ‘Fun Dip’… ‘you can even the dishes!’ Of course Alice is the teenager and Paul is the elderly adult psychologist with daddy/daughter problems. It’s what they do for each other, make reality more palatable.

      The Candyman makes everything he bakes
      Satisfying and delicious
      Talk about your childhood wishes
      You can even eat the dishes!

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Those good old Kagans deliver a different kind of treat, more like a horse manure sandwich.

        The lyrics for that one kind of just wrote themselves.

      2. davejustdave

        One memorable episode from The Aeneid involves eating the dishes, metaphorically speaking. This was a “fulfillment” of the curse of the Harpies that they would suffer famine – they would be so hungry they would eat their tables. The incident’s benign nature shows Aeneas that the Trojans have found the right place.

        But when the Trojans finally arrive in Italy, famine does not haunt them. Rather, after a meal eaten using flatbreads as plates, the Trojans, still beset by hunger, eat their flatbreads. When Aeneas’s son jokingly points out that the Trojans just ate their tables, Aeneas realizes that the prophecy has passed without harm. Even better, he knows the Trojans are finally home.

  21. Lexx

    ‘A Palantir Co-Founder Is Pushing Laws To Criminalize Homeless Encampments Nationwide”

    I thought they buried the lead somewhat. To get this legislation introduced they needed a willing sponsor…
    the face of which is Rep. Brian Awerkamp, a member the Society of Saint Pius X.

    The Republican who introduced the legislation is Brian Bergkamp. He’s a busy fellow.

  22. Alan Roxdale

    Ukraine short of skilled troops

    “skilled”? As in they have plenty of “less-skilled” troops. Surely a study in editorial callousness.

  23. troutcor

    All of this slicing and dicing about the cause of SVB.
    It was VC vultures. It was Peter Thiel! It was the Fed tightening too fast. It was poor management! It was Trump-era degreg.
    Come on, people.
    The Fed goes through two periods of massive money printing – creating trillions of dollars out of thin air and handing it to billionaires – and you are surprised the US financial system is a bubble?
    Why is Naked Cap so resistant to this base truth?
    Is it because you keep hoping massive government borrowing will be used for things which HELP average people?
    Dream on, and keep missing the forest for the trees.

    1. ambrit

      One can be excused one’s denseness if the underlying premise is false.
      The financial relationship that you point out is not foreign to the readers of this site. So is the basic dysfunction of the political class of America today. Alas, the conclusion to which you ‘naturally’ come is not determinate; A does not cause B.
      The “printing” of money is a separate issue from the use to which said funds are put. They can be coordinated. They can be uncoordinated. The determinate factor is Political Will.

    2. Wukchumni

      Peter paid an appalling price, Illionaires-what are they good for?

      Absolutely nothing, say it again.

      Why shouldn’t we treat money gluttons as derisively as we would a good old fashioned glutton who stands 5’7 and weighs 677 pounds?

    3. Mikel

      Yesterday, Yves Smith pointed out a basic truth about where this situation stands – no matter what side of the interest rate battle is taken:

      “…One of the effects of a program that gives banks a back door for getting out of losses resulting from interest rate increases. If the Fed and Treasury can manage to calm depositors’ rattled nerves, it will have created a mechanism that will spare banks from Fed induced damage, the better to crush ordinary workers.”

    4. hunkerdown

      What you see is not borrowing. It’s fiat debt creation. It’s how the ruling class establishes positive command over its wage slaves and house hands, and mystifies that power through quantification according to the neoclassical cosmological myth. Debts are, in fact, a (dubiously) consensual hallucination.

      I too share your skepticism of the religious myth of reform. But this is, after all, a financial blog, predominantly oriented toward heterodox but nonetheless classical capitalism.

    5. JP

      The Fed really has a big hammer and only one nail. It was first instituted to stabilize banking. Congress modified it purpose to include protecting the dollar and maximising employment. Those two things are now apparently contradictory. Mostly congress has abrogated its fiscal responsibility by spending as much as possible in time of plenty and indulging in political theater when things get tight. There is a pretty simple accounting identity: Any moneys spent by the govt. accrue to the private sector. Spending money gets you elected then blame the debt on the other party and especially on the Fed.

      The Fed is doing what it is supposed to do but its purpose has been perverted by congress. You do not understand the base truth. Fiat money is created out of thin air but it is supposed to be collateralized. That is, it is created by banks not the Fed. The Fed facilitates.

      When you say hoping govt. borrowing will be used to help people you are on to something. Keynes idea was that the govt. should spend during economic downturns and tighten up when happy days are here again, Now govt. spends all the time. Govt. spending is debt but there is good debt and bad debt. Good debt would be that which payback makes our society stronger. In this case, bad debt is that which makes our society less equitable.

  24. Alice X


    By backing all of SVB’s depositors, it seems to me that, in effect, they are back-stopping the entire banking system. Does that not encourage further looting?

    Someone will have to explain to me how that is a good thing, because I don’t get it.

  25. Alice X


    By backing all of SVB’s depositors, it seems to me that, in effect, they are back-stopping the entire banking system. Does that not encourage further looting?

    Someone will have to explain to me how that is a good thing, because I don’t get it.

    Why would the banking system not be nationalized? Oh wait, that one I know.

    1. Wukchumni

      We’re in the last stage of a ‘confidence game’ where everybody agreed that despite the empire’s new money being backed by nothing, you could still buy stuff with it.

      Some child will come along and exclaim, that money is naked!

    2. hunkerdown

      Yes, that’s what they are doing, and it is good because it preserves the capitalist order in which labor is divorced from its conditions. Good for elites and other beneficiaries of systematic labor exploitation, not so good for the rest of us.

      1. mtjefe

        In 2009, my son made a T-shirt featuring the seal of the Federal Reserve, with a note that stated
        “We put The Con in Economy”

        Time to pull that back out.

        1. hunkerdown

          Nice! There are “SiVB Bank Run ’23” t-shirts available now from the usual Internet bazaar stalls that grab every design to which anyone ever reply-tweeted with “I want that on a T-shirt”. I’m a little tempted.

          1. TheCynicalOne

            Couldn’t resist once you mentioned that…a little humor on a T-shirt never hurts, I say!

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Has anyone stopped to consider that blowing off the strict FDIC deposit “insurance” limits “this time” not only makes a mockery of FDIC “authority” itself, but means that nothing is set in stone.

      Is it so hard to conceive that “next time,” under a different set of “emergency” circumstances, the FDIC could just as easily say, “Lo ciento, $250,000 is just too much. No can do. Depositors will need to take a haircut for the good of the banking system.’ “

      1. fresno dan

        instead of all this riggamarole, we need a concise statement of how it really works:
        we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of wealthy people.
        Likewise, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the poor stay poor.
        There, I think that succintly sums up the US economic system…

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      Neoliberal Commandment # 4: Thou shalt never allow people who are rich and connected to lose money.

      (Neoliberal Commandment #1: Thou shalt have no gods above Money.)

      (Neoliberal Commandment #9: Never give poor people money. As revealed to The Invisible Hand’s prophet, Dr. Larry Summers.)

    5. JP

      Any economy could be considered a potential house of cards. How much an economy is damaged by an exogenous or endogenous event depends on how close to the foundational structure a card is pulled.

      The banks should have been nationalized in 2008 but the powers that be decided to save the banks instead of the banking system. But this is not that kind of systemic corruption. This is not a failure of loan repayment or leverage especially. It is mismanagement of liquidity risk that is supposed to be regulated. Doesn’t really have anything to do with the Fed or the FDIC but with the regulations set by congress.

      The takeover of SVB by the FDIC is a kind of nationalization. But nationalization of banks should be a temporary thing. The primary income for banks is derived from loans. Loans are collateralized. If a loan officer makes a bad loan he gets fired. Enough bad loans and the bank is out of business. You don’t want the govt. making loans because the govt is not in it to make money. They are in it to make their friends happy as Henry points out in #4 above.

      1. Alice X

        >Loans are collateralized. If a loan officer makes a bad loan he gets fired. Enough bad loans and the bank is out of business.

        Since the repeal of Glass–Steagall, banks sell loans to other banks where they are then cobbled together in various instruments in various tranches of various risk factors. The fraud in 2008 was greatest when all the tranches were rated grade A. But the originating loan officer paid no price because the loans were long gone.

        What did SVB in was the fall in value of its investments.

        If the Gov is going to back-stop the entire industry there will need to be much more rigorous regulation than now. How likely is that?

        There are twenty trillion in deposits.

        1. JP

          Don’t know if packaged loans extend to the type of commercial loans in the SVB book. The 2008 debacle lnvolved MBS failure. That is mortgage backed securities and their derivatives. I don’t think Moodys would be assigning a grade to commercial packages at any rate.

          I still say what did SVB in was liquidity risk management but as Ritholtz says it will be a while before there is a complete picture. There shouldn’t be a mark to market on treasuries held to maturity but there should be a vehicle for regulator intervention and resolution rather then let it fail then the well healed crows can pick the remains.

  26. farmboy

    60 day Ukr/Rus grain deal extension means it’s the end. Shippers will not be able to do the turnaround in that amount of time. Automatic 120 day extension if no new agreement. Worth watching for condition of conflict status.

  27. Carolinian

    Re the homeless story–it links to this mostly fair NYT backgrounder that eventually does peg a lot of the problem on the real estate industry and not just the well known closure of mental hospitals. Adding in Bill Clinton’s “ending welfare as we know it” should also get a mention. The Reagan era roll back of the War on Poverty was in many ways a bipartisan project

    Where I live the rental housing base is being vastly expanded but they all seem to be high end luxury units albeit in at least a couple of instances luxury units open to the subsidized poor. Simple downscale options are not popular other than perhaps from Habitat for Humanity. Meanwhile much of the city’s old and deteriorating public housing has been torn down.

    The NYT story admits that wealthy Houston’s approach is “inching” along. Solution? Or bandaid?

  28. Mikel

    “All the Things We Do Not Know About SVB” Barry Ritholz, The Big Picture.

    All things that will be revealed by following the money.

  29. anon in so cal

    CALPERS… invested $67 million into Silicon Valley Bank and roughly $11 million into Signature Bank, which also failed…but that’s just “a small percentage of our overall portfolio…”

    1. Mikel

      What if all of their portfolio is small percentages of garbage?
      But then…who doesn’t wonder that at times?

    2. JustAnotherVolunteer

      “ Ms. Musicco congratulated the investment team for the speed in which it provided her information on CalPERS’ exposure to SVB and other regional banks.

      She also said that last weekend’s developments revealed that CalPERS is not only resilient but also innovative. CalPERS team got a number of inbound calls, she said.

      “I think the word is finally getting … that we can be a very strategic partner, we can be thoughtful… and agile in providing solutions for balance sheet restructuring and in general patient long-term capital,” Ms. Musicco said.”

      Gentle Reader Frowed Up

  30. fresno dan

    Excerpting more than I should, but I don’t read the Washington Post. Nice to see that finally reality has to be confronted. Reminds me so much of Mr. Boot, but just like Mr. Boot, the next fiasco that the US government wants to get us into, the Post will be rah-rahing.
    MoA Finally some truth about the real state of the Ukrainian military is sneaking into main stream media. It is as bad, still not fully disclosed, as we have described it again and again.

    As the Washington Post (WP) provides:
    Ukraine short of skilled troops and munitions as losses, pessimism grow

    The quality of Ukraine’s military force, once considered a substantial advantage over Russia,* has been degraded by a year of casualties that have taken many of the most experienced fighters off the battlefield, leading some Ukrainian officials to question Kyiv’s readiness to mount a much-anticipated spring offensive.
    MoA The spring campaign will be made up of green recruits which will use a wild mix of weapons they are not familiar with. Unless there are some ‘western’ surprises I see no way how it can overwhelm the well prepared Russian defense lines.

    WP Án influx of inexperienced draftees, brought in to plug the losses, has changed the profile of the Ukrainian force, which is also suffering from basic shortages of ammunition, including artillery shells and mortar bombs, according to military personnel in the field.
    “The most valuable thing in war is combat experience,” said a battalion commander in the 46th Air Assault Brigade, who is being identified only by his call sign, Kupol, in keeping with Ukrainian military protocol. “A soldier who has survived six months of combat and a soldier who came from a firing range are two different soldiers. It’s heaven and earth.”
    “And there are only a few soldiers with combat experience,” Kupol added. “Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded.”

    Such grim assessments have spread a palpable, if mostly unspoken, pessimism from the front lines to the corridors of power in Kyiv, the capital.
    MoA Ukrainian losses, estimated to be nearer to 200,000 than to 100,000 dead with even more wounded, are especially felt at the lower command level. One can not just take a salesman or teacher from the street and put them into a junior command role.

    WP Kupol said he was speaking out in hopes of securing better training for Ukrainian forces from Washington and that he hopes Ukrainian troops being held back for a coming counteroffensive will have more success than the inexperienced soldiers now manning the front under his command.
    “There’s always belief in a miracle,” he said. “Either it will be a massacre and corpses or it’s going to be a professional counteroffensive. There are two options. There will be a counteroffensive either way.”
    Kupol, who consented to having his photograph taken and said he understood he could face personal blowback for giving a frank assessment, described going to battle with newly drafted soldiers who had never thrown a grenade, who readily abandoned their positions under fire and who lacked confidence in handling firearms.
    His unit withdrew from Soledar in eastern Ukraine in the winter after being surrounded by Russian forces who later captured the city. Kupol recalled how hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers in units fighting alongside his battalion simply abandoned their positions, even as fighters for Russia’s Wagner mercenary group pressed ahead.

    After a year of war, Kupol, a lieutenant colonel, said his battalion is unrecognizable. Of about 500 soldiers, roughly 100 were killed in action and another 400 wounded, leading to complete turnover. Kupol said he was the sole military professional in the battalion, and he described the struggle of leading a unit composed entirely of inexperienced troops.
    * what serious person EVER thought that?

  31. fresno dan

    Reading the comments at Moon of Alabama, and I get the impression this comment from a non Westener, and is a difficult, but true insight of the USA

    I m surprised by the fact no one mentions anywhere quality of the top leadership in China&Russia compared to what west has.
    Putin believed in th ussr and was somewhat successful within it and then the world he knew crumbled around him and he was left with nothing.
    Xi had it worse, brought up as the eldest som of one of the ruling elite cloistered within privilege to be the successor to his father and bam everything crumbled he was threatened with death every other day his sister committing suicide and he was sent to countryside living in caves.
    Both of these men lost everything yet fought their way to the top.
    This speaks of hard men with immense capabilities.
    West on the other hand is led by a man going through cognitive decline adviced by soft chickenhawks out to enrich themselves.
    And his fellow partners in crime r not that better.
    Also they were intimately knowledgeable about the struggles of the common men unlike most of the leadership of west.
    In a confrontation better leadership might prevail as long as they r not faced with overwhelming odds and west does not have overwhelming advantage.

    Posted by: A.z | Mar 14 2023 11:17

    1. Polar Socialist

      Russian MoD stated that the drone entered the designed military operations area that is prohibited airspace published according to international norms and protocols, and when two fighter were send to identify it, it started maneuvering sharply, went into uncontrolled flight and crashed into the Black Sea.

      At no time during the intercept did the Russian fighter use weapons or came into contact with the drone and both fighters returned safely to their base.

      So for now they deny.

      1. ThirtyOne

        I found this tweet interesting:

        Conspiracy theory time after reading various theories. Kinzal strike on NATO HQ in Ukraine probably legit bc Ru has intel that UA are going ahead with Crimea offensive, queue the B-52 near St.Petersburg as a response > US doesn’t get the message > Down goes MQ-9 > We are now here

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