Links 3/15/2023 Ides of March

Giant seaweed blob twice the width of the US takes aim at Florida The Hill (resilc)

Another atmospheric river pounds California, 27K to evacuate Associated Press (Kevin W)

Snowfall Reports from the Last 24 Hours National Weather Service

A window into the medieval mind The Critic (Anthony L)

As a pianist strikes a chord, visualisations of his notes appear in real time aeon (Chuck L)

From Frankfurt to Fox: The Strange Career of Critical Theory Hedgehog Review (Anthony L)

This Is a Philosopher on Drugs Wired (Anthony L)

Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest: Evidence for Lukianoff’s reverse CBT hypothesis Jon Haidt (Anthony L). Imporant.


Operators of upscale L.A. care facility charged in 14 COVID deaths Los Angeles Times

Broken Sociality Peste Magazine (Allen K)


Satellite Waste Is Becoming A Huge Problem Oil Price

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in toilet paper around the world Guardian (Robin K)


US-led alliances slowly but surely encircling China Asia Times (Kevin W)

On War With China, Australia Is Caught Between A Rock And A Pentagon Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

China’s Petroyuan Stunts Bill Blunden, American Conservative. Note I have repeatedly taken issue with the petrodollar thesis, but even accepting that as a premise doesn’t support a dollar dethronement (any time soon). From Blunden via e-mail:

This was a particularly difficult piece to write as I am no fan of The Hegemon. But the research that I conducted during its preparation literally changing my mind midstream regarding the likelihood of the dollar being replaced as the world’s reserve currency.

South of the Border

‘Mexico is safer than the US,’ Amlo says after attack on four Americans Guardian (resilc)

New Not-So-Cold War

US drone crashes after encounter with Russian jet BBC

US Insane to Fight Wars in Ukraine and Taiwan – Larry Johnson Judge Napolitano, YouTube. At the top, discusses drone downing.

* * *

SCOTT RITTER: The Nord Stream-Andromeda Cover Up Consortium News

Sy Hersh: No follow-up to explosive Nord Stream story Responsible Statecraft

* * *

Ukraine – Media Start To Acknowledge Reality Moon of Alabama (Chuck L).

Russia Advances Bakhmut, Ukraine Losses Mount, Doubts Over Offensive Grow, West MSM Pessimistic War Alexander Mercouris, YouTube

* * *

Russian economic sovereignty has increased – Putin and Russia’s economy with ‘sanctions from hell,’ here’s why the plan failed RT (Robin K)

Thwarting Vladimir Putin: The Ukrainian Economy Just Keeps On Going Der Spiegel (resilc). Just like Terry Schiavo just kept going…

Spain Takes 84% More Russian LNG Than Before Invasion OilPrice (resilc)

* * *

See context: Lavrov calls on UN, OSCE to demand Kiev cease persecution of Orthodox believers TASS (guurst)


Reassessing Mohammed Bin Salman’s Geostrategic Vision In Light Of His Rapprochement With Iran Andrew Korybko (guurst)

Saudi investment in Iran could happen ‘very quickly’ after agreement – minister Reuters

Syrian sanctions relief: An ‘American trick’ The Cradle (guurst)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A 3D Computer Animation of the Panopticon, Jeremy Bentham’s 18th Century Design for an All-Controlling Prison Open Culture (Chuck L)

Ransomware Attacks Have Entered a Heinous New Phase ars technica

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why the US is going full throttle on hypersonic missiles The Hill

Australia’s nuclear submarine plan to cost up to $245 billion by 2055 -defence official Swiss Info (guurst)

Constructive Diplomacy Isn’t Possible When We Are Demanding Capitulation Daniel Larison

Sergey Glazyev: ‘The road to financial multipolarity will be long and rocky’ Te Cradle (Micael T)


Biden’s 2024 Funding Proposal is a War Budget and He Is Leading Us to War CounterPunch (resilc)

Biden Approves Alaska Oil Drilling As Climate Change’s Ravages Go Unchecked Esquire (furzy)

We Should Give Up the Fantasy of Solving the Border Crisis New York Times (resilc)

GOP Clown Car

Ron DeSantis Bans Births In Florida Due To Exposure Of Impressionable Infants To Vagina The Onion

DeSantis joins Trump in pushing GOP toward skepticism on Ukraine The Hill

Our No Longer Free Press

Post-Decency Politics: House Democrats Use Hearing to Attack Both Free Speech and a Free Press Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)


You Are Not a Parrot New York Magazine (Anthony L)

Darwin Award

Sovereign Citizen Driver Killed During Fake License Plate Stop Jalopnik (resilc)

In Final Act Of Mindless Megadeal Stupidity, Warner Bros. Discovery Execs Kill The HBO Brand TechDirt (Mark G)

These Interactive Tools Reveal Your Home’s Future Flood, Heat, and Wind Risk Life Hacker (Dr. Kevin)

SVB Aftermath

Only ONE member of failed SVB’s board had experience in investment banking Daily Mail (BC)

Tech start-ups assess damage caused by SVB collapse Financial Times

BofA Gets More Than $15 Billion in Deposits After SVB Fails Bloomberg. As we predicted

Inside the Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank New York Times (Kevin W)

All the Things We Do Not Know About SVB Barry Ritholtz (resilc)

Bank failures revive bitter Senate Democratic infighting Politico

Bloodbath Has Just Begun: ‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini Says We’re Solely in First Inning of Major Debt Crisis Nouriel Roubini, YouTube (Micael T). Nouriel Roubini is like a negative yield curve: He’s predicted 9 of the last 5 crises.

The Bezzle

Binance Halts UK Customer Deposits and Withdrawals CNBC

Buffalo Wild Wings ADMITS its boneless wings are NOT wings in response to frivolous $9million lawsuit from customer that judge dismissed Daily Mail

Class Warfare

The Austerity Train Wreck James K. Galbraith, Defend Democracy

World Without Men: Inside South Korea’s 4B Movement The Cut (Dr. Kevin)

Ohio lawmakers want kids to work longer hours, saying it’ll keep them off TikTok Business Insider (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. griffen

    Jimmy Jimmy. Your analyst loud mouth is a gift, sir, for it provides a bounty of stupid at times like this. Of all the jobs to be shed, CNBC should put Cramer into the corner until the dust settles. I take the opposite of what Mr. Cramer says at this moment.

    I wanted to fact check on the above twitter, my apologies but these are the times we live in. Soft landing onto a runway of “foam”, to channel former Treasury Secretary Timmy Geithner ala 2009.

    1. tim schulace

      I’m not sure if people know this, but they have created an “inverse Cramer” ETF which was launched recently. Ticker SJIM

      1. Mildred Montana

        There’s only one person as reliable a good stock-picker. That’s a bad stock-picker. I recall Cramer pimping for Bear Stearns in 2008. Shorts take note.

  2. Frank

    Who saw the WaPo article with the picture of Putin sitting in a train car and did NOT think of Doctor Zhivago and Strelnikov?

    1. Bart Hansen

      My thought was how the Post is scraping the bottom. Way back when the NYT was employing Masha Gessen she posted something about monkeys in the Russian streets.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Masha Gessen, like Max Boot, was born in Russia and has a chip on her shoulder about her former motherland which seeps into her writings. The only way her writing would be balanced would be to have a chip on each shoulder.

  3. Geoff Gray

    Jonathan Haidt is a neocon. (he traffics with the likes of Bari Weiss!). Child mental health problems have been increasing for decades–well before the introduction of cell phones– this is well documented. Haidt doesn’t mention this because it conflicts with his narrative. His goal is to restrict access to the internet and to support orgs like prop or not that surveill speech.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is ad hominem. Your comment does not come close to rebutting the Haidt argument.

      And speaking of ad hominem, your e-mail address suggests you are talking your book.

      1. fjallstrom

        Then allow me.

        This is a textbook example of how not to find causation:

        We were excited to have found such clear evidence of the interaction, but when we plotted responses to the whole scale, we found only a hint of the predicted interaction, and only in the last few years, as you can see in Figure 5. After trying a few different graphing strategies, and after seeing if there was a good statistical justification for dropping any items, we reached the tentative conclusion

        The author straight up tell the reader that his original hypothesis was falsified. And then made an ad hoc hypothesis to fit the data, and called it a day. Or to put it in another way, they had a large dataset and mined it until they found the correlation they were looking for.

        This should tell the reader that the author either doesn’t understand statistics or is bullshitting. That doesn’t disprove the hypothesis of the article, just that it’s claims are based on loose sand. There could be any number of things going on, including environmental pollutants, medications, economic factors, fear of an uncertain future, and yes technological or social factors. To check these factors one can look for natural experiments. Does Tumblr usage and depression even correlate? What if you compare with countries where Tumblr never got much market penetration?

        But the author isn’t interested in testing his hypothesis, just to get some graphs to support the narrative.

    2. russell1200

      I second Yves opinion. You pad one critique with a very hostile attack on the author.

      As to the one critique. It is possible they may over emphasize cell phones. But Western society has become more “connected” at a fairly steady rate since the mid-20th century. Cell phones are just the latest (and possibly particularly problematic) stop on that train. By way of example, social media started well before smart phones. It just didn’t have same types of apps. For that matter, television was said to make people more passive: though that would not necessarily be specific to children/girls.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I thought I had retired in 2013 and began writing a novel about a young man born in 2000. The plot revolves around his being sent to live with his grandmother when he was 13. The first thing his grandmother did was to take away his cell phone so I could isolate him from phone culture because I didn’t want him to be that.

        I just didn’t think hard enough about “that,” other than to realize I was never going to understand phone culture so I had to erase it from the book. (Then Bernie came along and erased my interest in finishing the book ; )

      2. Michaelmas

        Apropos of this debate —

        Why Johnny Can’t Read Now; An Elegy

        This piece’s author is an American educator and she bears out what I was seeing before I left the US, i.e. that I was, firstly, encountering sophomore college students who couldn’t construct a sentence with a clause in either speech or text; and, secondly, I was sitting across from some mid-level managers and watching them move their lips as they read.

        The piece is tragic and pathetic. One suspects the situation is worse than the author admits because:

        [1] She labors to come up with a positive side to all this, with rationalizations like, “Maybe they can’t get through a whole chapter of Jane Eyre in a sitting and struggle to understand what Brontë is even saying—but they can build whole worlds together on-line and carry on entire conversations in memes and emojis. They don’t have some of the skills I have, but neither do I have theirs.”

        Spare me.

        [2] Then, too, a large cause of damage that she omits is the enforced pharmacization of American kids in grade schools.

        This is particularly relevant in light of the recent rash of articles about how ‘something is wrong with American boys and men.’ Because one thing that’s going wrong is that the youngest generation of teachers in American schools — say 23-38 years of age — are now as much a product of poor educations and general American cultural illiteracy as the kids in their care, though they may have pedagogy in teaching. So you’ll have a 23-year-old female who’s a professional teacher but doesn’t really know anything except how to teach about the gender unicorn, is rightfully resentful of how she’s underpaid, and doesn’t know how to handle — indeed, often hates — the behavior of boys in her classes. Consequently, to make that teacher’s job easier for them, the school will often tell parents that their kids should take ritalin, adderall, or whatever, .

        The result is a generation of kids not just on cellphones, but zonked out of their minds to the extent that they may never become functioning adults. I’ve dwelled on the situation of the boys, but the girls are in a bad place too, as the Haidt piece addresses.

        1. Wukchumni

          About a year ago I asked my then 14 & 17 year old nephews if they knew what Nazis were?

          Both of them gave me puzzled looks-peering up from their smartphones, and then resumed playing some game or another.

          1. Mikel

            Sorry, but I may have looked at you strangely too, especially if the question just came up out of the blue.

            1. Wukchumni

              The older one was with us for a few weeks a few years ago and as an experiment I handed him a book and asked him to read a page, and oh how he suffered with 1 syllable words-forget about multi-syllabic, and it took him about 8 minutes to complete the task.

                1. Wukchumni

                  I wonder what will become of him, and could realistically see him living with mom & dad until they pass away, along with his brother.

        2. Mo

          My niece is a California 2nd grade teacher. She is forced to use a reading book from Stanford (grift), and that book is awful in every way. I was struck by how frenetic every page is. The (lousy) information is presented in 5 or 6 text boxes per page, with endless highlights and splashes of color (like any web page full of ads). Nothing flows for more than a sentence or two. It is a nightmare to teach from. She is an incredibly dedicated new teacher. And since she really wants her dear students to learn to read, she is surreptitiously using phonics teaching materials from the 1980’s. But this is stressful for her, for that she will be discovered and disciplined for not obeying the rules …

        3. CanCyn

          I am a reader and I understand how scanning online and reading mostly short texts and blurbs affects your ability to focus on longer reads. I had to find the right amount of online scanning that wouldn’t affect my ability to get into a good book. My sister complained about being unable to get into a book and I advised a cutback on FB and Instagram. She did so and reported that after a few weeks, her ability to focus had returned and she was happily enjoying reading books again. The difference between us and the youngsters is that we had those reading ‘muscles’ and just needed to get them working again. The youngsters don’t have those ‘muscles’ at all, never been developed. So it would be more than a few weeks of staying off the sites they scan and practicing long reading and focus before they could engage well with a longer read. And I can’t imagine how you would make that remedial work fun even if, as a concerned teacher or parent, you wanted to try.

          1. Wukchumni

            To me, the root of the issue is that we outsourced remembering things to these handy computers who dutifully did it for us @ no charge, how convenient.

            Why would we expect young ones to be able to read a 200 page book and follow the plot?

            1. CanCyn

              Yes Wuk. I believe that we are thinking along the same lines. Scrolling, reading only highlights and tidbits and texts lacking grammar and spelling and punctuation and using the phone for memory and to get information that they have no skills to judge as good, bad, credible or just plain wrong.
              I admit that, like the author of that article, I often feel like a crotchety old lady who is no longer with it – at the ripe old age of 61. But having spent my career as a librarian in community college, I do know a thing or two about education and what I saw as my career progressed was a degradation in the skills and knowledge and background that students brought to our classrooms. I can’t see a bright side. As these youngsters grow up and become teachers themselves, what on earth will they teach? I have a girlfriend whose sons are in their early 30s, both exceptionally brilliant young men. When they were in high school one of them had a newly graduated math teacher – the son corrected problems on her assignments and my friend showed me more than one atrociously (from a grammar and spelling perspective) written note to home from said teacher. And that was almost 20 yrs ago. What are newly minted teachers like now? Never mind nurses and doctors. It’s scary.

              1. Wukchumni

                I’m your age, and feel the only way to get through to them is a full on retreat from high technology, Pee-Chee folders & #2 pencils worked just fine-we were some of the best educated, our era.

                Bring back rote memorization, it worked for 70,000 years…

                Getting there might be problematic, but leap happens.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              This is minor but I make a point of memorizing phone numbers. Lambert (to my personal frustration, this is not a skill I have) has great recall for text. Can quote many things exactly.

              1. CanCyn

                I think anything we can do to work our memory muscles is a good thing. I try not to look things up (default to the devices) when I am trying to remember something. I used to know my daily schedule at work, rarely having to check my calendar for meetings or classes, etc. And I quickly learned and remembered people’s names but was never great at memorizing text. My Dad had amazing recall for text, he could quote great swaths poetry and songs and movie lines. I put it down to the way he was taught – they spent a fair amount of time on rote memorization when he was a kid. Now rote work of any kind in school is considered akin to torture. I think we lost the idea of basic building blocks in early years and progressing to deeper skills as we moved on in school. That rote work served a purpose to prime our brains for deeper work. My Dad wasn’t just good at memorizing text, he had a quick and thoughtful mind. He left school at 16 and worked construction and then as a janitor, no MBA was he. But like those letter writing civil war soldiers mentioned elsewhere, he was better educated than many kids today.

      3. Boomheist

        I third Yves’ opinion, if that can be said…..
        So we have this smartphone issue, well described in this article. The author mentioned another article about the “free play” issue, the circumstance that since about, say, 1990 (???) or maybe 2000 (???) kids have been helicopter parented and tightly schedules every waking moment of the day and thus entirely restricted from free, unstructured, risk-taking play, lack of which which in my view may be an even more damaging aspect than the damned cell phones. How are people to learn how to fight among themselves, be creative, overcome adversity, take risks and understand the dangers of same, unless they range free for portions of the day? I was a kid in the 50s and early 60s and back then nobody had any homework, ever, until the fifth grade, and there was nothing to do after school, nothing, even in the college town of Amherst, Mass (also a farming town) so we had to amuse ourselves, down back in the fields, wherever, always unobserved or monitored, for hours. Yeah, we smoked cigarettes and sometimes stole stuff from the University construction sites and picked on weak kids or were picked on ourselves, and some of us got in serious trouble and even died, but back then somehow most of us survived and we could all read well and write, too. My kids were born in the 1970-1980 decade and they, too, were mostly unsupervised after school, though they did get some homework by the fourth grade. They survived but two were diagnosed as ADHD at the start of the drugging phase which we were under intense pressure to agree with, huge, by school professionals and the doctors. That was two full generations ago.

        So…this free play thing is to me huge, just as the drugging whole generations is equally huge, just enormous, with ramifications and impacts nobody can anticipate.

        It seems in our efforts to create safe spaces for children to grow and learn we have created bubbles that actually are preventing them from growing and learning, but what do I know?

        This will not go over well, but if you look at collections ( containing Civil War letters from soldiers home to their families, not officers but basic soldiers, many of them men with at best eighth grade educations, and their ability to write complex sentences clearly is astounding. There might be something to be said in favor of teaching children in the first, say, six years of school just simple writing, math, basic history and critical thinking, so they learn to read, count, and think properly, then start loading them up in junior high school with homework after they have had the years to develop as little people in the real world among other little people when not in school.

        1. hunkerdown

          Eh, good on the basic curriculum of basic phenomenology, but homework teaches capitalism, busywork, and total submission to one’s boss, and is best eliminated from the curriculum entirely. If the work place-time is so important and sacred, then work can be left there.

        2. Michaelmas

          Boomheist: …if you look at collections … containing Civil War letters from soldiers home to their families, not officers but basic soldiers, many of them men with at best eighth grade educations, and their ability to write complex sentences clearly is astounding.

          Or consider the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

          “…Each debate lasted about three hours; one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, followed by a 90-minute response and a final 30-minute rejoinder by the first candidate. The candidates alternated speaking first. As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates. They were held outdoors, weather permitting, from about 2 to 5 p.m. There were fields full of listeners.”

          1. The Rev Kev

            The SciFi author Robert Heinlein wrote once about the deterioration of education in the west and as an illustration used his father’s school text books. In spite of the fact that his father was taught in a single, wooden building in rural Missouri, the information that those kids had to learn was on the level of advanced College courses (for the 1960s!) and included foreign languages. And yet those kids did learn that material.

    3. Stuart MacKay

      It does not need to be looked at through a party political or ideological lens. It’s the lack of agency and empowerment that is driving it. This applies to any issue you care to imagine and to anybody, not just teenage females. It also has important implications for future generation’s abilities to solve serious societal and environmental issues.

    4. Mikel

      I thought I was reading Norman Vincent’s Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”
      at some points during the article. It reminded me a lot that.

      And all the baggage that would go with it…so I didn’t finish.

      Anyway, how “ambiguous” are events that happen over and over again? Degrees of ambiguity.

      But I wouldn’t dismiss the effect of social media on mental health.

  4. griffen

    I tend to strongly agree with what Barry Ritholz is saying in the above column. Information moves fast, but this is only the 3rd day with markets open following the solutions provided by FDIC and Treasury in regards to SVB and Signature Bank. And this morning things are still moving fast.

    I would also echo a few of the books he lists when it comes to detailing major and important market busts of the past. The Lowenstein book is well written, and well Michael Lewis is of course famous for those books that have become film ( Moneyball, the Blind Side, Big Short ). There are of course other high level books to be read on financial market chicanery. I don’t list the book about Enron because I was reading about this every day in the Wall St Journal at the time. Hard to figure at that time under Bush 43, that following the blow ups of Enron and Worldcom high level executives were actually convicted and served time.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I am actually not at all keen about the Big Short. Lewis’ heroes in it are bad guys. Their actions fed the demand for the worst mortgages in the toxic phase of mortgage origination. I was loath to link to the Ritholtz piece for that reason and your comment confirms I made a mistake (the movie to its credit is much more ambivalent about them).

      See here for more detail: Debunking “The Big Short”: How Michael Lewis Turned the Real Villains of the Crisis into Heroes

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Lewis, an entertaining stylist, is rigidly locked into his default narrative device of the Plucky Outsider and Iconoclast who upsets old ways of thinking. However, they always do so from within a framework of fundamental allegiance to whatever system they’re operating within. Thus your point about the Big Short protagonists as not really having been the Good Guys: clearly the case, since their brilliant success depended entirely on Bernanke bailing out AIG.

        I imagine Lewis was planning to do exactly the same, and give us Moneyball meets SBF, since he apparently was writing about and following everyone’s favorite PMC miscreant. It’s kind of amusing to imagine how he’s trying to right and re-orient his narrative premise now.

        1. hk

          I would like to suggest, as many others do, that Moneyball helped ruin baseball.

          Good data analysis, coupled with flexible and critical thinking, is a useful supplement to old fashioned baseball smarts, not a substitute. Not all old truisms of baseball are “right,” certainly not unconditionally so and in their entirety. But the useful skill is not to replace them en toto with some new form of “magical thinking,” which a lot of self-claimed sabermetrics people essentially make their art to be, but to separate out grain from chaff, so to speak, for which empirical evaluation of data is indispensible. The same should applies to moneyball “truisms”: not everything is “right,” at least not unconditionally. What parts are good and what parts are bad? You need to answer those questions and you can only do so with real data–even if not via formal statistical analyses, at least through the lens of experience coupled with, again, open mind. Fanatical and uncritical devotees to magic and superstition, even those of the Book of Moneyball, are ultimately obstructions to progress.

    2. Louis Fyne

      once the dust settles, there absolutely needs to be a progressive assst tax on banks with more than $1 trillion in asssts. (not holding my breath) Only a literal handful.

      Yellen-Powell has managed to both hobble small banks (who are vital) and make the system more fragile. heckuva job.

    3. griffen

      Added thought. While of course I wrote the above, I was kinda careful (but maybe not I guess!) about heaping praise on the Lewis version of events and thought just to highlight that he is more famous now that these books were turned into a film version.

      And as a sport fan, I think Moneyball has (in hindsight) been a ruinous tome that since infected every single sports reporting outlet, what with the creation of ridiculous metrics just to reiterate whether a professional athlete is worth their salt or they’re not. And for all the hype of the book and film, the Oakland Athletics are a dreadful franchise some 20 years later.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          The As haven’t won the World Series since when…1989? Almost winning doesn’t count in professional sports.

      1. FlyoverBoy

        Speaking as a sports nut, this criticism of Lewis via Moneyball doesn’t entirely stick. His book and film merely popularized a movement in sports management that was already well under way anyway. Once teams discovered that advanced statistics gave them a real competitive advantage, that particular toothpaste was never destined to get stuffed back into the tube. We as fans can grumble that it ruins our romantic notions about sports, and certainly it’s hyped to death by various hack outlets like Disney’s ESPN, but that doesn’t mean it was otherwise destined to go away.

        As for the Oakland Athletics, measuring them by whether they’ve been consistent winners is an unreasonably unattainable metric. They have less funding, a lousier facility and fewer fans than the top franchises in the sport. That they’ve even had SOME successful seasons was a real achievement. If US baseball used the same “relegation” system as European football, they’d probably have been booted to the minor leagues a long time ago. Fair is fair.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think the film makes it clearer it’s easier to find diamonds in the rough and micromanage rosters. They aren’t relying on the most recent scouting report. Beane was good in that he recognized he needed to look beyond the usual and even advanced metrics. The righty/lefty bit was he recognized these are MLB caliber players. They aren’t going to be shocked by the angle the pitch comes in at. Taking out a 320 hitter for a 270 hitter because of a lefty right match up doesn’t make sense. The Simpsons made fun of this practice in 1992.

          He still scouted guys like Hatteberg. He went to his house to see if he was still hungry. As far as playing 1st, c’mon, all these guys came up playing shortstop and catcher while being the best local pitcher. A few guys who were obsessed catcher came up as catcher. Hatteberg just learned 1st at 30 instead of 19.

          Dave Justice just needed to recognize he wasn’t dating Halle Berry anymore but was still a good hitter. Beane explained that to him.

          The Red Sox leading up on the movie season recognized they had a bunch of power hitters basically hitting doubles with guys who could get to first of contact hitters who couldn’t get it first and didn’t work the pitcher. They overpaid for Damon to jump start stealing. They took a flyer on Ricky Henderson the season before to see if he could still steal. They knew they could stash Manny at Left, who had a great arm, and overpay for a limited slugger coming off an injury. They even knew Manny is scouting book guy and wants to see as many pitches as possible, so they brought in a guy who hits a bunch of fouls so Manny can see the pitches and wreck the pitcher. Many of these moves were in place before Theo Epstein arrived, who was recommended by Beane.

            1. hk

              Yeah. I always had the sense that well-run baseball organizations, like Oakland, were good at combining old fashioned baseball thinking with sabermetrics, although taking a bit more risk on the latter because of financial constraints. The kind of notion that Moneyball sold, of the iconoclast struggling against the established orthodoxy and obscurantist old timers is defamatory (certainly to people like Howe) and falls too far in the direction of undue idolatry (and even self-aggrandizing–although I don’t know how much Beane had to do with the adulatory tone of the book).

        2. griffen

          I had a fun comparison in mind, since I grew up a fan of the Atlanta Braves ( the Dale Murphy version was the first of my young life then, when they became popular and worth idolizing in the early 1980s ). Baseball serves as the ideal sport ( my little two cents ) for drawing comparisons on a practically equal basis.

          Oakland Athletics, 1990 to 2022, winning percentage of 0.5185. 2,684 – 2,492.
          Atlanta Braves, also 1990 to 2022, winning percentage of 0.5574. 2,884 – 2,290.

          Yeah the Braves are better on the overall average basis; with much of the edge gained during the great run by Atlanta from 1991 to 1999. I guess in hindsight I could choose one of a few other choices when it comes to impugn a “dreadful franchise” in US professional sports. Money starved franchise might be more of an apt description, as well.

  5. Ignacio

    Spain Takes 84% More Russian LNG Than Before Invasion OilPrice (resilc)

    An anxiety booster for the neocons on both sides of the Atlantic? Anyway good example on how difficult is to control Russian NG and oil exports. You plug a gap, another one opens.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Syrian sanctions relief: An ‘American trick’”

    Trying to turn that country into a humanitarian disaster after Project Syria failed was bad enough. But to be seen to take advantage of that massive earthquake to squeeze that country even further just got too much for the countries of the Global South as well as those of the Middle East. It was just cruelty. At that point the US was forced to relent and let supplies to be flown into Damascus for distribution and not just Jihadist-controlled Idlib. And then in a complete coincidence, Israel started a series of attacks on Damascus International Airport forcing its closure to international aid flights. Here I do not think that it was just the Israelis deciding to do this but that Washington outsourced shutting down those aid flights to the Israelis who willingly obliged.

  7. fresno dan

    Glenn Greenwald
    Most of the media simply ignores the fact that Obama spent years vehemently arguing that Ukraine has never been and never will be a “vital interest” to the US, whereas it is and always will be that to Russia. That was his answer to neocons complaining he didn’t do more:

    Max Abrahms
    Media went from supporting Obama’s view that Ukraine is not a vital interest to describing the same view as dangerous and absurd when DeSantis says it.
    First, why should there even be a media narrative to begin with, instead of just a dispassionate reporting of (both sides) facts? My own theory is that there is a LOT of time to fill on TV, so there is a lot of analysing, which than leads to the correct, or moral, or virtuous conclusion – hard to conclude that wars happen and they can be ignored and still appear to be caring.
    Second, why did the view that Ukraine is not a vital interest change??? Russiagate? Simply Biden thinks Ukraine is vital…but if so, why does Biden think that?

    1. LY

      The media, the right wing media, hammered Obama’s “weak” response to Russia. At least that’s the impression I got secondhand… I don’t watch TV news.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I don’t know why Obama had that reputation as he got really dirty with the Russians and did stuff that sounded like coming from pure spite. Like closing those Russian consulates before he left office which was kinda illegal and giving those diplomats minimal time to pack up and leave. And helping Jihadists attack Russians in Syria while breaking agreements with them.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Hillary gang were going in with their narrative on why they lost, and Obama wanted to look like he was alert of “OMG Russia” to sell books to the Hillary-stans. At that point, Obama couldn’t come out and say Hillary is a dimwit who already lost to him in 2008. Hillary would turn him into public enemy number one if possible. Obama is about Obama first and foremost.

          1. Oh

            I love Hill as much as I love the plague but Obama cut in line and grabbed the Democrat nomination with a lot of help (read $$$$$) from Wall Street. Hill was a dimwit only because she didn’t beat him to the funding spout. Both these people need to be sent to Gitmo for “questioning”.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think the msm and the neoconservatives were caught off guard by Obama’s apparent change of heart. There is the reported story of Dempsey explaining to Kerry in the Rose Garden that escalation in Syria would invite retaliation. I suspect Dempsey leaked a story about Obama, not Kerry. Then Obama likely sobered up when the Russian cruise missiles took off from light corvettes. It may not seem like much, but Obama is smart enough to ask where bases are after hearing about combat ranges. Guys like Biden hear combat range and think they can one shot that with only stops for gas.

        The branded right wing media did attack Obama, but they were running into a population that through military service and troop worship isn’t as naive and so they’ve been and send questioned the Syrian war at least officially.

        I avoid the guy like the plague, but we haven’t seen much of Obama on foreign policy. I don’t expect him to denounce Biden, but his silence is curious. Admittedly, his record is terrible, and he needs to stick to reposting People’s Best of list as his own.

        1. Pat

          There were a bunch of indications that Libya and being able to put Hillary on silent actually improved Obama’s foreign policies. I put Libya first, because despite American silence it was and continues to be a mess that Was caused by American hubris. And despite Hillary’s victory laps, I think Obama realized it. There were still too many entrenched military and intelligence interests, not to mention corporate interests that Obama either wanted to court for personal advantages or not piss off because of possible personal disadvantages for a necessary clean out, but some of the worst ideas were ignored.

          And since I have him tied for worst President of my lifetime you know that was said grudgingly.

    2. IMOR

      Yes to your ‘lousy analysis is cheap and we need to fill airtime’ point. I thought it was very clearly the case the provebial about ten minutes after CNN went up nationwide, certainly from Gulf War I forward. It’s a morass laid out as inverted pyramid: fewer and fewer actual reporters and researchers feeding more and more 24/7 gibberish outlets. At the root of much of the failurs of public discourse.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Journalists love them some war. That’s about it. Remember when Trump attacked Syria over the staged chem attacks, and journalists all lauded Trump as finally being presidential, worthy of the office. Fun times.

  8. TomFinn

    I found the article on the depressed state of liberal young women not only cogent but containing considerations crossing gender, age, and political associations.
    There’s a malaise on the land…
    A more complete listing of characteristics defining Gen Z made me wonder that it’s not worse for them:

    1. Don

      “Gen Z has become more external in its locus of control, and Gen Z liberals (of both sexes) have become more self-derogating. They are more likely to agree that they ‘can’t do anything right’.”

      But did they adopt that notion from social media, or from observing their parents, or by watching CNN?

  9. timbers

    Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest: Evidence for Lukianoff’s reverse CBT hypothesis Jon Haidt (Anthony L). Important.

    Somehow, I think this is related because of the kneejerk social identity response I received that IMO, completely missed an entirely nonsocial identity theory to remove an obstacle. I was completely taken aback by the response, below.

    A few weekends ago, I viewed a condo on the market as I am thinking I may have a way to defeat in a very limited way, Massachusetts law that allows pre-meditating tenants to live free (without paying rent) for about a year while forcing the owner to spend about $10,000 to remove them. Anyone living in Massachusetts has probably heard horror stories from friends of this happening and how much it cost them. The plan: to buy an investment condo close to my house, and live in it 50% if the time while having a roommate who pays rent. The point being, a roommate cannot legally keep me – the roommate landlord – out of the place he is living it and this may greatly screen out tenants who might be planning to abuse the law to live free. Because daily interaction and my right to access the unit will deter this, and most scheming to use the law to their advantage will avoid roommate situations. And even if that fails, I can change the locks while legally occupying the place….this is important because it means the tenant – not the landlord – must spend money and time to begin legal proceedings and that too will act as a deterrent and save me from spending money first. This turns the tables on the tenant who intends to live without paying rent.

    Point is: when I shared my theory while viewing the property during an Open House with the female minority broker who appeared to use English as a second language, she immediately responded: “So it comes down to who has the bigger balls. Would you like me to refer a lawyer you can talk to?”

    I respond: “The point of my theory is to avoid that.” I felt she missed the point of what I was intending.

    1. t

      My problem was with “liberal girls” is I know many many conservative girls and women and a big ol batch of then appear to me, a non-profeasional, very depressed (frequently quietly medicated) and their TikTok champions are all black-and-white thinking personified and raging about things being done to them by bad people or the jealousy of others. There is still plenty of shame and stigma around mental illness, and it’s worse among conservatives.

      Does the data still show that heavily LDS communities watch the most internet porn and have the most medicated women?

      Has anyone here ever known a lefty who had to go to anger management classes because of problems at work? (Must happen but, you know, sometimes hens have teeth.)

      Self-reporting is not a great tool is, I guess, what I’m saying. Also, a lot of us are parrots!

      1. Objective Ace

        They’re using time series data. Any limitations/improper grouping of oneself should carry over to the next year. Changes from year to year are attributable to something else

      2. ambrit

        “Has anyone here ever known a lefty who had to go to anger management classes because of problems at work?”
        Yeah. Trotsky seems to have been a “lefty” with serious anger issues. His therapy method was the Russian Civil War.

  10. Robert Hahl

    Re: A window into the medieval mind The Critic (Anthony L)

    The great little novel “A Month in the Country,” by J.L. Carr, involves an art restorer hired by a small English church to uncover a medieval painting. He describes a lot about the medieval mind visible in the picture. If you like Thomas Hardy don’t miss this one. And the Introduction in the New York Review of Books edition is also wonderful.

    1. zagonostra

      For my money, Ivan Illich’s In the Vineyard of the Text has the best analysis of the “Medieval Mind”

      [full text available on]

      Wisdom is, above all, in the heart. But it is also in the object. In De unione corpo¬
      ris et spir’tus (PL 177, Z87A-B), Hugh deals with the element of fire, distinguishing it
      from earth, water, and air because of its subtlety and mobility, and stresses its special
      relationship to the spirit, by calling it sapientia vitalis. The medieval speculations on the
      substantive nature of spiritual light have been poetically summed up by Dante.

    2. britzklieg

      Absolutely! “A Month in the Country” is wonderful. J.L. Carr is a fine writer with great range. His “The Harpole Report” is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

    3. petal

      Watched the movie recently-had the young Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh in it. A lot of food for thought.

    4. Insouciant Iowan

      The novel was made into a film featuring Colin Firth and Kenneth Branaugh. I recommend it.
      The lives of the church’s pastor and his wife–he bored with the church and his wife and she reserved but longing for human warmth–are intertwined with Firth’s character.
      A well-done, small film.

    1. Paul O

      They were fun. Thank you. The Hedgehog article was enjoyable too.

      My father was heavily versed in CT and taught as guest prof. for two years at Frankfurt. The first being during Habermas’s final year and then, again, a couple of years later. I visited and met much of the faculty but was a young lad at the time.

      My father is long gone and we never discussed such things much. I’m also an engineer (hardware/software) but later went back to graduate in Politics and Philosophy. I have read some of these texts during and since, I find the history of the movement through the 20th century interesting enough. I have never put in the time to form opinions strong enough to voice with any confidence on this subject and likely won’t go back down that path, but it always perks the interest. These days I have taking to making Techno – simpler and perhaps ultimately more rewarding I think. At least one can dance to it :-)

      1. pjay

        I think Malloy Owen (“a PhD student in Political Science at Stanford University”) has the right idea. He tries to point out that “critical theory” once had a specific referent – the work of the Frankfurt School. This body of “theory” focused on a specific set of problems reflecting a particular time and place – Western capitalism in the second half of the 20th century. These problems were legitimate. Their “solutions” were problematic but understandable in context. What happens as “critical theory” devolves into a variety of catch-phrases and academic fashions is precisely what the Frankfurt theorists would have feared and abhorred. Ideas intended to expose power and enhance human freedom become absorbed by our “totally administered society” and turned into their opposite. Unfortunately, I think this piece would have benefited from stepping outside academic discourse a little more and situating this theoretical history within concurrent “real world” developments (if I may use that phrase here).

        One cannot understand the US without understanding the history of racism, including its legacy that persists today. Most right-wingers attacking “critical race theory” simply want to repress that knowledge. Yet the Robin DiAngelos of the world, nurtured in their privileged academic bubbles, have twisted the “critical theory” of racial ideology into a discourse guaranteed to divide groups and repel the very people they claim they want to educate (while not coincidentally signally the moral superiority of its proponents). Our increasingly fragmented “mass” media reinforces these divisions, reinforcing existing structure of power while the rest of us scapegoat each other. I think the original Frankfurt theorists would have recognized this process.

        1. JBird4049

          Just as with the idea of intersectionality from the Combahee River Collective being deliberately twisted from the idea of connectiveness to one of separateness.

          If I was of a paranoid mind, I would suspect that this is a deliberate process. IIRC, one of the ones that did this is Chirlane McCray, wife of former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, did with intersectionality.

          We have the racist twits from the Right suppressing history and the racists twits from the Left twisting history to divide society into more easily controlled bastions for their personal ambition and power. Great.

      1. skk

        I was getting alone fine with “How To Deconstruct Almost Anything” until I read this:

        “Deconstruction” is based on a specialization of the principle, in which a work is interpreted as a statement about itself, using a literary version of the same cheap trick that Kurt Gödel used to try to frighten mathematicians back in the thirties.

        Calling Gödel’s incompleteness theorem a cheap trick is really just a cheap trick – and do so shed an unexpected light on the entire piece.

        1. semper loquitur

          I wondered about that myself, I’m not familiar with the theorem but I know it’s widely considered valid.

  11. Roger Blakely

    World Without Men: Inside South Korea’s 4B Movement – The Cut

    This movie is coming to a theater near you.

    From a man’s point of view I want to point out some blind spots in the perspective that generated this article.

    “Beginning in 2013, the rate of college enrollment among Korean women surpassed those of men; today, nearly three-fourths of women are enrolled in higher education, compared with less than two-thirds of men.” We see gender equality in education. What ends up happening is that women will not mate down. Women are hypergamous. Women will date or marry a man of lower educational and economic status. We are seeing this phenomenon all over the world.

    “In online forums and on social media, disgruntled men began labeling college-educated women kimchinyeo, or “kimchee women,” giving a name to “the stereotype of Korean women as selfish, vain, and obsessed with themselves while exploiting their partners,” wrote feminist scholar Euisol Jeong in her doctoral thesis on “troll feminism.””
    “To the Ilbe community, the entire female populace is gold-digging and shallow.”
    “Members of Megalia, one of the more prominent feminist sites in this period, coined the term hannamchung, or “Korean male-bug,” which stereotyped Korean men as “ugly, sexist, and obsessed with buying sex,” wrote Jeong.” Why are men obsessed with buying sex? Because they can’t get a date. In the dating market here in the US men are getting nowhere due to women’s unrealistic standards. In the dating market women are throwing themselves at the top 1% of men and ignoring the other 99% of men.

    “A widely circulated 2018 tweet encouraged 4B women to save the money they would have otherwise spent on “self-fashioning labor” to sustain an independent life instead of winding up “a penniless granny with a wardrobe full of clothes.””Women who commit to 4B “just work hard, because they know they will not have a breadwinner man or husband,” said Jeong, the scholar who wrote her doctoral thesis on troll feminism, adding that some take two or three jobs.” It is hard to be a granny when a woman never got married and had children. Women are not making enough money to sustain themselves into old age. The future is going to be destitute old women dying in the streets. Men are tired of being objectified as nothing but sperm and a bank account.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Possessing women isn’t wrong as long as I can have one too”

      Nah, the entire classical ideology of the family as a sovereign state in miniature ruled by a “rational” patriarch is a false property claim and needs to be burned with fire.

      As for “hypergamy”, the fact that you conflate sex and marriage is a sign of either ideological capture or intellectual dishonesty, and I think you should fix that instead of rehearsing Lysistrata‘s antagonist.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I can certainly attest that subjectively, foreign women were more willing to date down with me than American women. Like, overwhelmingly at the 100 to 1 ratio. Just my experience, though, in New England and Florida. Maybe different further west.

  12. GramSci

    Re CBT:

    Dubya killed a million Iraqis for no good reason. I should not be angry. I should not worry. I should be happy. Got the message. I’m healed! Hallelujah!

    1. CloverBee

      CBT gets you to ask, what can you do about it? And only take action that makes logical sense. I can host dinner parties and convince friends and family who support imperial wars to oppose them. That is doing something. And that is pretty much all I can do. Not healed, but I can manage my anger and depression at how these are going.

      1. GramSci

        I’ve been doing those things and don’t see that I’m doing much of anything. So guess I should stop doing those things as they only make me depressed and angry?

        1. Chris Smith

          Sometimes there really is nothing you can do and you have to accept this fact. I know this personally because I used to be a legal aid lawyer and dealt with it on a daily basis.

          I accept that George W. Bush will never be brought to justice for his war crimes. He will live out his days making mediocre paintings and will be praised by Democrats after giving a lozenge to Michelle Obama because, for Democrats, the slaughter of 100,000s Iraqis (who are brown people) is nothing compared to Trump mean-tweeting at nice white PMC people.

          I don’t like it. It isn’t right. There is nothing I can do about it. I am going to refocus my efforts where they can do some good and not fume about what I am powerless to affect. This is Buddhism, Stoicism, and apparently CBT.

    2. SeventyTwoTrillion

      yeah, that article made me uneasy too. I mean, absolutely no denials from me that spending your time doomscrolling and comparing yourself to others on the internet will make you feel worse, that’s clearly an important factor in Gen Z mental health.

      but the largest factor here imo is declining conditions: spending more and more on rent, in less well-paying jobs, for impolite people who are also angry because their conditions are declining; the visible degradation of the environment (droughts are becoming increasingly common); the inability to buy homes for affordable prices; the attacks on human rights in many places around the world now; not to mention whatever affects microplastics and forever chemicals are doing to people’s bodies. it might not even be so bad if their parents and grandparents hadn’t had better lives with which to compare yourself.

      the “did you know that you’re actually living better than a 17th century king? they couldn’t imagine the luxuries of TV and phones that you have!” rhetoric you get from the liberals like Stephen Pinker feel rather ridiculous if you’re just the average guy in your 20s deciding whether you’re more desperate for food or heating that day, because you sure as hell aren’t getting both given energy and food price increases and inflation.

      you ain’t gonna stoicism yourself out of that. you aren’t going to get many or even any gen Zers to sit under a tree for a day and mentally remove themselves from all earthly wants. to be absolutely clear, I’m not dunking on CBT, I support it, but I don’t agree with framing the problems of young people as some kind of purely or even largely mental phenomenon.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎
    🇨🇳🇮🇷🇷🇺The Chinese Defense Ministry announced joint naval exercises planned for March 15-19 in the Gulf of Oman with the participation of Iran and Russia’

    I don’t suppose that the Kingdom of Bahrain will allow those Chinese, Russian and Iranian sailors to have shore leave in their wonderful country?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Two pieces fit together well (assuming you disregard the significance of devices and focus on more core issues). Warner is correct that phones didn’t cause this problem but clearly they did exacerbate it. The term “helicopter parenting” didn’t appear in the Warner article, but I sure found myself thinking those words a lot while reading it.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Carl Beijer also addressed it, although his article is paywalled. He read the study and, in his submission, Haidt and the pundits misrepresented the study’s conclusions – that is, the conclusions the pundits are making are pretty tendentious and quite drastically removed from the actual conclusions of the study, which are pretty reserved and inconclusive.

      I confess I have not read the original study but did not find Haidt’s bloviating especially persuasive even beyond this evidence of bad faith interpretation. It’s also not surprising to me that Panglossian arch-defenders of the status-quo like Haidt and Yglesias want to detract from actual material conditions which are actually quite fraught and, well, depressing for many actual young people, with generally diminishing prospects of future health and prosperity (particularly in the US, correct me if I’m wrong), and instead blame growing despair not on these material conditions (how gauche) but on woke campuses or whatever (and here burnishing their arguments with a veneer of scientism by way of reference to CBT).

    3. GramSci

      Thanks for this. I contend the problem originated with compulsory mis-education (cf. Paul Goodman), but more specifically, the age-stratification of education that locks children into Hunger Games peer culture competition from K through 12.

      The damage has been inflicted upon the losing classes for a long time, but it has only recently begun to touch the class that reads The Atlantic.

      Oh, the humanity!

  14. flora

    About the FDIC or the Feds deciding to guarantee *all* deposits at failed SVB Bank, even the huge uninsured deposits; the quotes from Ackerman’s letter sure read like a threat of some kind from a billionaire, imo. Along the lines of ‘Nice banking system ya got here. Be a shame if something happened to it.’

    Fix mistake in ‘48 hours’ or face ‘destruction’ — Bill Ackman warns government

    (And this is why ya don’t make uninsured deposits guaranteed. It leaves banks and the banking system open to financial hostage situations by the billionaire crowd. )

    1. flora

      adding: I’m pretty sure small and regional banks don’t have the majority of their deposits in the uninsured basket, unlike SVB. / ;)

    2. flora

      adding (and then I’ll stop):

      I think still-lax regulation led to this. There still was regulation, however, and the bank examiners (no doubt after several quarters – this doesn’t happen all at once) decided the bank had failed, took it into receivership, and reopened the bank under new management and a new name with all insured deposits intact on Monday morning.

      Now imagine the FDIC guaranteeing all deposits with no limit at all banks. That’s a great incentive for the FDIC to regulate less, to examine less, especially on the big banks, lest they have to shutter a spiraling bank and cost the govt billions of dollars that would normally have been uninsured. In other word, the FDIC and the Fed would have a financial incentive to look the other way, imo.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        About those “lax” regulations. It would seem that the “financial system” of the u.s. suffers from the same ailment as that other critical american “system”–national “security”–namely “siloes,” a euphemism for too-many-cooks permanent bureaucracy. From Wikipedia:

        Bank regulation in the United States is highly fragmented compared with other G10 countries, where most countries have only one bank regulator. In the U.S., banking is regulated at both the federal and state level. Depending on the type of charter a banking organization has and on its organizational structure, it may be subject to numerous federal and state banking regulations. Apart from the bank regulatory agencies the U.S. maintains separate securities, commodities, and insurance regulatory agencies at the federal and state level, unlike Japan and the United Kingdom (where regulatory authority over the banking, securities and insurance industries is combined into one single financial-service agency).[1] Bank examiners are generally employed to supervise banks and to ensure compliance with regulations.

        And to the extent that the federal reserve has any “responsibility” for what goes on at u.s. banks, guess who was a director of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. Why the former ceo of SVB, of course. (Courtesy Karl Denninger at

        An then there are the watchdogs in the financial press, keepin’ the public “informed.” Denninger writes: “And what did Forbes think of all this? Why it was good for five straight years of SVB being rated one of their BEST BANKS!”

        Let’s face it. “Financialization” is, what, 40% of the “economy?” Does anyone really believe that no one knew / knows that it’s a house of cards and ANY “regulator” would have called out the bad actors while the gravy train was still chuggin’ along?

        1. flora

          Wiki is correct on the fact that there are nationally chartered banks, regulated by the comptroller of the currency, and there are state chartered banks.

          It’s error is in assuming that greater consolidation and fewer options will lead to a sounder financial system. I strongly disagree. I’d say that under neoliberal capitalism, tighter consolidation and monopoly-like control over a whole financial ecosystem is exactly the wrong way to go. I know that my money in state chartered and regulated small or medium sized bank and savings and loans is, imo, better regulated and safer (after the s&l crisis was dealt with correctly), than I think it would be in a too big to fail bank. If too big to fail is a problem, and I think it is, then consolidating all regulatory into one agency makes that one agency too big to fail ; aka the corruption could run rampant with reg capture and there would be no alternatives. Fewer eyes and fewer ecosystems does not necessarily lead to better outcomes.

        2. flora

          I have a comment in mod land. As for the UK and EU banking, both seem in worse shape than the US system, and their customers have fewer options. imo.

          adding: there was a very good reason for Glass-Steagall.

    3. griffen

      Of all people, Sen. Cotton (R) was on the TV this morning. He pointed the blame cannons at the Biden bailout and the lax or perhaps negligent risk management decisions by the leadership and executives at SVB. When CNBC anchor Sorkin tried to genuflect and ask questions about the rollback of regulatory constraints under Trump, Cotton just did a duke and dunk to avoid answering. It’s the bank, it’s the lousy Biden supervisors; for the record that’s a stupid line; supervisory work by the regulators is not tied to either a Dem or a Repub administration.

      I suspect Cotton was looking for some lay up wins on easy questions, but he came away as just another Republican who should acknowledge that annoying rules became less annoying under the Republican president. Cotton is not a stupid person, I don’t believe.

      I read the twitter stuff from Ackman during the weekend. Vomit worthy, but hey I set a low bar for capitalist vultures such as Bill. Ackman was pulling a comparable stunt 3 years ago, at the very onset of the Pandemic.

      1. timbers

        The Mr Markets are very very upset this morning. They are having withdrawal symptoms and want the Fed to make everything all right again with ZIRP and eternal QE because that’s the only way to save the Universe with free money for them to save it. And they are going make more panic about banks failing if the Fed doesn’t do that. The FDIC or Washington needs to insure all deposits above $10,000 fully insured, and anything below 10,000 doesn’t need to be insured because that’s not important plus it will save money, but they also need to insure non deposits too like crypto and stocks and Hedge Funds if they are big and important and rich and job creators.

        1. Mikel

          I’m wondering if it’s dawning on people that if that much cash is lying around, there isn’t much interest in Mr. Market’s stock at current prices.
          It’s one thing being told “there’s cash on the sidelines.”
          Another thing to see panic inducing or crisis levels of cash on the sidelines.

        2. flora

          Anything below $10,000 doesn’t need to be insured? So foaming the runway (again) for the billionaires (again)?

          Because “the Free Market is the greatest information processor known to man” (says the neoliberal), until it isn’t and goes haywire. “Hands off” the Free Market because is it a self-correcting entity, until it isn’t.

        3. flora

          “but they also need to insure non deposits too like crypto and stocks and Hedge Funds if they are big and important and rich and job creators.”

          I wonder how many like VC and tech billionaires lost a bundle in the FTX meltdown with no recovery possible. So now they want the FDIC to guarantee whatever they have left in actual banks, no limits? Just an idea. / ;)

  15. .Tom

    Are US banks allowed to send money to Armenia or Georgia? I’m in the US and am trying to send to a USD account at a bank in Armenia via a correspondent bank in Georgia. When we tried initiating a transfer from our account, it was eventually returned (with various fees deducted) no reason given. I’m not sure if that was bank incompetence or something else. Later we tried a fintech app called and the first transfer worked but the second has been lost. It’s just mystifying. The process is opaque and the people we ask about what’s going on seem to not know anything.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I spent most of December trying to send money to a friend in Rostov-on-Don. I was baffled by how hard this was to do. My banker literally looked me in the eye and said it wouldn’t be safe to send a wire transfer to Volkswagen Bank in Germany (from which it would have been transferred to Byelorus and then to Georgia).

      In the end I paypal’ed cash to someone in New Jersey who then did something something and less than a day later my Georgian friend had the money.

      All my research came up with dead ends. The successful route was simply a network of expatriates helping out friends in the old country. (It helped that at least one of the old friends of my friend was a banker ; )

    2. griffen

      The functions performed by OFAC department within Treasury are real and one best believe, they actively know what to look for when it comes to specific transactions. I’ve not much else to add. Bank compliance with such controls is or can be pretty rigid, with a few moderate exceptions in the past decade involving money laundering. No seriously, large international banks were getting busted for infractions where they failed to monitor. Just paid a fine and moved along.

    3. marku52

      Martyanov has a Utoob linked where a US vet with PTSD moved to Irukst in Siberia. He is living on a soldiers pension. I did wonder how the heck that worked in Russia. Somehow, it seemed to.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      You can send money overseas but you have to go to a branch in person. This has been the case for years. It’s an anti-money laundering thing. My bank charged a fee of $40, may be more now.

      You are better off using a transfer service. Wise is popular. I use Moneycorp. Another option I have heard recommended is Payoneer (sp?)

      1. .Tom

        For the first swift transfer that failed, we did go to the branch in person. Will try Wise next. thanks for mentioning the others

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Australia’s nuclear submarine plan to cost up to $245 billion by 2055 -defence official”

    They’ll be lucky if the costs don’t blow out to double that. There is so much wrong with this deal that I do not even know where to begin. Let’s just say that it would require a post in itself but I will list a few things wrong. We are, with this deal, not only outsourcing our foreign policy to Washington but our defence policy as well. We will turn our country into an advanced base for Nuclear submarines to threaten China with which makes us a priority nuclear target. In the same way that the British totally gutted their entire defence establishment for the sake of two carriers to work with the US Navy, we will end up gutting our own defence establishments just so that we can pay for nuke subs to work for, not with, for the US Navy. They are already talking about mixed crews of Aussies, Brits and Americans aboard those subs. We are suppose to be buying three Virginia class submarines first but going by our own history of buying gear from the US, they will likely be rust-buckets by then that will need a total rebuild which we will have to pay the US to do for us. The present subs we have are starting to age out but it is likely to be decades before we get any of these “new” subs. I’ll stop here before I blow a gasket but even ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating – a man who does not suffer fools gladly – came out in public and called it the “worst international decision” by a Labor government since conscription in World War I-

    1. Stephen

      When I was in a restaurant yesterday I noticed a UK newspaper headline: “Nuclear subs to tackle the China threat”.

      The so called China threat is now a given in corporate media here.

      Even if there were a threat independent of US goading it is hard to see how subs that will take decades to build even address that. I agree with you: this does sound like the albatross UK carriers and the related F35 program all over again.

      The real reasons for this are clearly a boondoggle for the MIC, more campaign donations and a way to bind Australia into the U.S. alliance infrastructure. The length of the program is as much a feature as a bug. All the better to be a boondoggle and obviously impossible (or very painful) to cancel part way through.

      The UK article also talked about how thus would develop technology too. Quite what the benefit of building nuclear subs is in technological terms other than as an end in itself to build more subs in the future was not clear either.

    1. Robert Gray

      The interviewer is Ania K. Where did you get the idea that she is Georgian? She is Polish.

  17. Marc

    The Haidt article
    Is it an American Thing to believe that everyone is getting cancelled? It seems like a massive majority of every colour can find a platform. Anyways, we might disagree. I would find it interesting to hear the thoughts of others on this 3 untruths that cause all this palaver. I find it doubtful and unproven in the article that more than a tiny minority believe books can harm you and that emotions are a guide to reality and that there are only good or bad people. It seems slightly silly, completely out of sync with every person I’ve ever met and not proven at all beyond anecdata in the article. Which was long and therefore I might have missed it. But does he not say many campuses have lists of words to be avoided and then only mentions 5, one of which took the list back. Seems there is not much to extrapolate from there. But social media will probably fuck you up. That seems right.

    1. hunkerdown

      1. Well, yes, people can be harmed by learning stupid ideas about reality.
      2. Well, no, emotions are points of manipulation available to those who have the leisure time to rehearse the appropriate performances, not really a guide to anything.
      3. Well, obviously not, we should really cancel Haidt and every other bourgeois casuist for lying and moralizing.

  18. Stephen

    This article from Market Thunking is a summary of what he sees as the drivers.

    Makes the analogy to the UK pension fund problems in the Autumn which had a similar root cause. That is that the market value of bond assets was devalued by interest rate rises. This then required additional collateral from the funds to support the loans they had used to purchase the bonds. They lacked that collateral in liquid form and so took losses on bond sales in order to obtain the collateral.

    A question is how many more of these issues will arise.

  19. fresno dan
    Police opened Allan’s car door when he refused the comply with direction. He seemingly reached for the side of his body where his gun was located in its holster, but it’s unclear what he was reaching for. One of the officers shouted “Gun! Gun!” and he and five of his fellow officer opened fire, shooting Allan several times in the chest. The gun was later found on the floor of the passenger side of the vehicle.

    Google: Last updated January 3, 2023 . In 2021, Utah eliminated its permit requirement for concealed carry. Anyone 21 and over who can lawfully possess a firearm is free to carry a loaded, hidden firearm in public
    First, it is just unwise to disobey police. And I don’t agree with open carry laws, or in Utah’s case, concealed carry, and I can understand police being nervous when somebody is armed. And wouldn’t everybody be nervous if somebody is walking around with a holstered revolver at the mall or grocery store? And say you are a person of color and a white guy (or reverse the races) is walking down the street with a AR15 – is he doing that for self defense, or is he doing that because he wants to go on a shooting spree? What exactly are the critieria used to distinguish the mass shooters carrying guns from the people carrying guns for self defense?
    But 5 cops shooting? First, I don’t think this society can do an impartial investigation of police shootings and hold police to the same standards as non police. Second, I would say the legislators who sponser and pass laws that encourage gun carrying in public bear quite a bit of responsibility for these deaths. It seems obvious to me that if the police suspect more people are armed, police will act with lethal force with even less restraint than they do now – after all, in this case the police yelled gun, gun, gun!!! and NOT here is a man exercising his second amendment rights!!! If the standard is merely that the police thought he was about to reach for his gun, which is the defacto standard, than it is ridiculous to allow ever more people to carry firearms – yet at the same time, these self same legislatures will do nothing to assure greater police accountability.
    It really seems this county is getting more and more screwy…

    1. Carolinian

      The story makes fun of the “sovereign citizen” and implies that he had it coming but there’s an interesting comparison to other instances of would be sovereignty where a group defies the police and then claims victimhood. I’m thinking of the police training center controversy in Atlanta. While we still don’t know the full story of what happened to the dead activist it certainly sounds as though he was in his tent, refused to come out, and–according to the initial reports–shot out of it and hit an officer. Even if that last part is not true you aren’t allowed to defy a police eviction from what isn’t your property unless you think it really is your property. This is what the Atlanta situation is really about–a power struggle between an activist group and police over who is in charge. We’ve been getting silence from one side and a great deal of propaganda from the other. The truth of all of it is still inside that tent.

      1. hunkerdown

        Police propganda is ubiquitous among the “middle”. It is only by force that they can separate and elevate themselves like the boobs they are.

        1. Carolinian

          Generalizing much? The Police are not some monolithic evil force and it’s just possible that those young activists who claim to be speaking for the masses, or perhaps just the African American masses, don’t in many cases have much life experience of what their charges really want. Crime is a thing and particularly black on black crime and if you pretend that it isn’t that’s just dumb–or self serving.

          But then maybe those “sovereign citizens” agree with the protesters in Atlanta about the evils of government. And that’s my point. You can’t make fun of the one and then automatically assume the bona fides of the other. Or you can’t unless you accept the overriding premise of our current so called left which boils down to “it’s ok when we do it.”

          Peacefully protesting the police center is one thing. Burning bulldozers and rioting is, IMO, another. If you want a pocket revolution then don’t complain about the consequences.

          1. hunkerdown

            The point I mean to make is that pro-police and pro-policing propaganda is so tightly woven into bourgeois society — and ostensible working class society too, to see all the Thin Blue Line flags ostensibly volunteered on oversized vehicles and dive bars — that police have no need to speak up for themselves. (In fact, silence is a counter-signal that they are inherently superior and have nothing to prove to anyone.)

            A collapsitarian perspective on the distinction between the sovereign citizen and the ACAB activist sees one as trying to conserve traditions of personal exploitation such as plantations and patriarchy, while the other is trying to make those traditions impossible.

            1. hk

              So the role of the police is to be the vanguard of anti-whatever movement and make those traditions impossible? I think the tradition that the Carolinian is (and, well, I am) trying to make us that “right” does not make might, especially when the target of the might does not agree with the “right” being imposed by force. It does not matter whom the “might” is directed at.

              1. hunkerdown

                Precisely backwards. The role of the police is to conserve property (the state of being proper, which is rather subjective) through force. The role of the ACAB activist is to stand athwart that activity, yelling not “Stop” but something closer to “Attica!

                1. JBird4049

                  Something like 15% of those killed by the police are not even armed with anything. Many of the remainder had their gun stowed away as in a holster, pocket, or drawer, and not in their hand. Others did have their arms in their hand, such as a rock, stick, or knife.

                  And this is not to mention those deceased who were either innocent, the wrong person, or who were never informed of the shooter’s (the police) identity often while in their own homes.

                  Let me restate this. More unarmed Americans are killed every year by the police than the number of police who die from all causes. Yet the justification for killing men, women, and children is that they were afraid for their lives. Hello?

                2. hk

                  I need to /s at appropriate places. The bottom line is that use of violent force by police is everywhere, towards all sorts of people. Yet there seem to be people practically cheering police violence on the “wrong kinds of people,” then promptly turn around and denounce violence on the “right kind of people,” then turn on people who think excessive use of force by police is wrong in all circumstances for equating “wrong kinds of people” who deserved to be shot with the “right kinds of people.”

                  1. JBird4049

                    Nuance is a pain isn’t? Black and white, good and evil thinking is much easier. Which is why many people don’t want to do it.

                    But yes, while denouncing the police for their violence and corruption, I have to remember that much of the police, like most people, are messed up people trying to get through the day in a messed up system that they have inherited, not created. Not angels or demons, but humans.

    2. Wukchumni

      Of all the fringe group nutcases I ever encountered, sovereign citizens were @ the top of the heap in sheer foolishness, pseudo little islands unto themselves.

      1. Carolinian

        Hey they live in a cabin in the woods and you (sometimes) live in a cabin in the woods. Just sayin’. True you probably don’t have your own flag.

        Personally I often wish I could live in the woods but the rangers would evict me after fourteen days.

        1. Wukchumni

          The ones I saw would come into a coin shop and want to buy a certain series Federal Reserve Note from 1963 that proved they were on the right path, and then they’d buy $35 worth of junk 90% silver coin as a bulwark against the man.

          Complete nutters.

          1. Bugs

            Wow. Looking this stuff up leads down a heck of a rabbit hole. I had no idea. Why isn’t anyone keeping these people from hurting themselves? It’s a cult, isn’t it?

            1. hunkerdown

              But they’re useful nutters for the capitalist order. Most of the militant right was assembled in the late 1940s-early 1950s in reaction to the possibilty of American communism, and their virulence can be explained in terms of what was eventually called “madman theory”.

    3. Ken Murphy

      “ And wouldn’t everybody be nervous if somebody is walking around with a holstered revolver at the mall or grocery store?”

      No. I’m aware, but not nervous. Holstered handguns are little different from a hammer or screwdriver on a tool belt. All three are -potentially- lethal, but in a standby state.

      Unholstered weapons, one the other hand, are of definite concern. I’ve gone over with my team what to do in the event of an active shooter (1. Get down. 2. Put mass between you and the shooter. 3. GTFO).

      Frankly, I’m more scared of ‘roided up cops with guns than I am of your average civilian with a holstered weapon. I -know- the cops don’t have my best interests at heart, and are more than happy to protect and serve the [family blog] out of me. The guy with the holstered gun? Might have been out in the fields earlier and needed something for varmints and pests, then came into town for something.

      The main thing in weird/bad situations? Keep your head and outthink whatever you’re facing.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve been unnerved seeing galoots with a holstered weapon on their belt in Dunkin’ Donuts ordering a cruller, but its the assault weapons (please stop right now from responding that they are most definitely not assault weapons because they fire semi-automatic like pistols, a lame argument at best-revealing your idiocy at worst) that kind of resemble a broadsword when worn diagonally across one’s chest when using a strap, that are really meant to represent a menacing presence, and oh how effective it is.

      2. MT_Wild

        I’m about as pro gun as you can get. But not a huge fan of open carry. 1. I think it’s tactically unwise to advertise the fact that you’re armed. 2. Encounters with law enforcement such as this one and 3 I sometimes question the mental stability of people who feel the need to show the world they have a gun. I make the obvious exception here that if you’re hiking or backpacking in bear/moose country and you need it in a more accessible location due to other external gear.

        I get that the regulatory environment sometimes forces this issue because people are unable to get a concealed carry permit. But that’s changing fast in a lot of States. And if you’re too lazy to get a concealed carry permit then I’m kind of worried you’re too lazy to practice firearm proficiency as well.

      3. marku52

        Makes me want to get out of Dodge. Fast.
        First of all, open carry is stupid “Hey look, I have a gun and you can easily see how it’s holstered, yeah when he leans into the vegetable bin, I’ll just come around behind and grab the sucker!”

        Secondly, did he just get laid off? His wife leave? Dog get run over? I know nothing of his mental stability.

        I get away as fast and as calmly as I can.

    4. Mildred Montana

      Just an anecdote to highlight the difference between the US and Canada:

      Five years ago a 17-year-old male relative of mine (Canadian) was in Oregon for a music concert. Oregon is an open-carry, no permit required state.

      Well, the first time he set eyes on some average Joe packing heat, he was aghast, stunned, horrified, and appalled; his reaction was this and more. Without exaggeration, it might have been an epiphany for him.

      Poor innocent Canadian teenager. Welcome to Oregon. Don’t worry, you’re safe. Just be careful not to criticize the 2nd Amendment or say something that might annoy heat-packin’ Joe.

      1. Stephen

        I had a similar experience. When I was in my twenties I went to university in the US. Coming from England I was used to police officers typically not being armed. I had seen continental European police carry guns but they usually do so in a subtle way.

        I was then freaked out by Cornell University even having its own police force (Oxford University had nothing like that!) with officers carrying guns very obtrusively and then even having to be on duty with their guns at any event that served alcohol. The whole thing was frankly shocking. The officers all seemed friendly enough but I kind of sensed that it would be a bad idea ever to argue with them. In England arguing with a police officer is typically not a way to get shot. Ithaca, NY, of course, is not a violent city either. People even left their cars unlocked.

        The gun culture clearly has an effect. I can see why police officers behave as they do. They feel that every traffic stop is potentially life threatening to them. Which might even be true. But it is very unique in the developed world. I have also lived in South Africa (quite a violent place) but the police there do seem less officious and keen to use their guns than typical US police officers. My perception.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      I doubt this sovereign citizen thought any gun laws applied to him. People in comments said there’s an active illegal gun trade in that community.

      You can argue the police were trigger happy but I gather from comments on the article that sovereign citizens have shot police when challenged, so they had cause for being jumpy, particularly after the guy threatened them (“We’re going to have an issue”).

  20. Milton

    Re: liberal girls..
    It sure looks like the liberal girls are getting more external while the conservative girls are, if anything, trending slightly more internal in the last decade, and the boys are just bouncing around randomly.
    Apparently the author failed to look closely at his own chart and notice that since Trump came to the scene, conservative boys have broken with liberal boys and now are more aligned with liberal girls by agreeing that: Every time I try to get ahead, something or somebody stops me.
    Can this be attributed to the lockstep control that popular media and news have in trying to control anything but the pervading (for lack of a better word) “woke” narrative? Who knows, but as an academic, the author shouldn’t glean over an obvious break in the data to further his original point.

    1. in_still_waters

      Part of the U.S. national freight system has been handed over to the Canadians. While the Canadian government has invested billions more for their port infrastructure, their exportation of ‘Precision Scheduled Railroading’ has not worked well in this country. More american jobs will be lost. My guess is that Joe and Pete will not be pressuring the cartels about which method of operation Mexico’s nascent freight rail system will be operating under. Guess there’s always trucking.

      Another top ten railroad’s (besides Kansas City Southern) flag has recently fallen – the Montana Rail Link .

  21. Wukchumni

    Another atmospheric river pounds California, 27K to evacuate Associated Press
    Film pitch:

    ‘Mutiny of the Bounty’

    Cali dam masters wrestle with the idea of jettisoning as much water as they can, of a not so long ago coveted resource.

    Tom Cruise is my pick for lead actor in the aquadisaster flick~

    One thing I followed during the punishing drought was the going price of an acre foot of water, and as luck would have it just down the road a piece is Terra Bella, which translates to ‘Beautiful Earth’, and unlike the rest of Godzone where every orchard was pumping water out of the ground like mad, poor Terra Bella had terrible groundwater and the extensive citrus orchards there had 2 choices in to let their orchards die, or pay the going rate for H20 and keep things alive and get a crop out of them to pay for the water and maybe make a profit.

    Prices got up to around $2k an acre foot, but you couldn’t get 2 Cents for an acre foot around these parts, a whole different ballgame now as too much liquid this way comes.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Big Feller upstairs certainly has it in for California lately. It seems that every other day I am reading about a new weather system about to slam California. Hope that you can keep safe in your neck of the woods.

      1. Wukchumni

        Notes on a scarecard:

        About 150 homes were evacuated in the dead of the night in Porterville yesterday. Things are getting interesting with Lake Success letting out water slower than its coming in by a wide margin.

        A buddy was at Lake Kaweah yesterday (we managed to get up to 22,000 cfs on the Kaweah River, a good showing!) and there’s interesting issues in that we had an incredibly windy event in the spring that tossed the 100 or so houseboats all over the lake and nothing ever was done about them, well-they are all migrating towards the spillway, along with hundreds of yards of trees, tree debris and assorted flotsam, as the lake is going tilt~

        A buddy drove back from Mammoth the other day on 395 and saw 18 distinct slides that came down the eastern flank of the Sierra.

        1. JP

          This is getting confusing to me. The Porterville distorter, I mean Recorder on the evacuation order states the Army Corp is planning to increase the storage capacity from 82k acre ft to 110k by increasing the width of the spillway. Unless radial gates are installed in the spillway the level of the lake cannot be raised. Or they mean to say they will raise the level of the spillway. Full pool is defined as the spillway elevation and elsewhere it is showing current pool elevation about 100 ft over full pool elevation. Well that’s impossible.

          I’m sure the Army Corp has the real story but the reporting here is suspect. The Army Corp site only has recreational information. Now is not the time to bug the dam operators but I will get to the bottom of it.

          The evacuation order is for the Bartlett Park area just below the spillway. It is not about the dam failing, it’s about the splash zone.

          1. Wukchumni

            Sometimes I think the Porterville Recorder and the Visalia Delta-Times have trained chimpanzees on staff, both utterly useless. Oftentimes the lead story in the VTD is a high school sports score, in a town of 140k.

            I got the feeling from the press release that both Porterville & Visalia sent out was very CYA in that they stated in bolded out language that the dams were safe as per US Army Corps of Engineers, weird that.

            And the idea the Corps been quiet as church mice and all we get is idiotic local fishwrap’s take, who knows?

            Let us know what you find out…

  22. Destruction

    Are there any parallells between NordStream 2 and the EU banking system?
    Can the US pull some sort of attack on Credit Suisse or other shaky EU banks analogue to the NordStream sabotage?

    1. marku52

      I wonder about this new US “All bank deposits of any value are insured”. Won’t this lead to EU billionaires taking their money out of Credit Suisse and parking it in the US somewhere?

      Opening another front in the US’ war on Europe?

  23. Carolinian

    Re ATT/Discovery/Warner Brothers–it’s a sad tale and also history repeating in that years ago the WB/AOL merger was a disaster for shareholders and effectively ejected Ted Turner in favor of similar inept corporate-think. Not that Turner himself wasn’t a mixed blessing but his version of CNN was at least better than the commercial clogged ratings bottom dweller that exists today.

    However one should point out that HBO itself still very much exists and that even Disney is now having doubts about streaming after initial huge success for their service. My impression of many of these streaming and cable miniseries is that the first episode–the pilot that sold the show–is often good and that they then drag out into the filler necessary to make a short story long enough for eight or ten episodes. It’s a product as much as creative work just as those pointless live remakes of Disney animations are a financial idea to “monetize” their intellectual property. Which is to say it’s not just Warner Brothers. It’s telling that often the big Oscar winners lately (and just last Sunday) are from foreign or independent studios.

    1. Questa Nota

      One of the humorous sidenotes of that long-ago merger was that the AOL people insisted that WB adopt their platform for internal communications. Cooler heads prevailed and the AOL desktop got ****canned.

      Wonder if they also handed out leftover sign-up diskettes to use as coasters with the cool AOL mugs? /s

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘Philip Pilkington
    LatAm is now basically all in on China. The Monroe Doctrine died of straightforward neglect.’

    Not the first time that something like this has happened. About fifteen, twenty years ago the Bush White House was so obsessed with Iraq that everything else went on the back-burner, including South America. The result was a series of left-leaning governments taking power in different South American countries. it took years to turn back the clock with some of those countries which included a spate of leftists suddenly developing cancer like Hugo Chávez. And now the Biden White House is totally obsessed with the Ukraine and is pushing a lot of things on the back-burner. And of course this gave China a wide open lane to cruise down on and telling those South Americans that the IMF is no longer the only game in town for them anymore.

    1. Lex

      This is a really important point. The POTUS can’t even be bothered a major environmental disaster he’s so focused on Ukraine (and in second place China).

      I’m coming to the conclusion that part of Russia’s go slow is that for as long as Ukraine is such a focal point, all the heavy lifting of multipolarity goes on without much US pushback or even recognition.

  25. Robert Hahl

    Re: In Final Act Of Mindless Megadeal Stupidity, Warner Bros. Discovery Execs Kill The HBO Brand TechDirt (Mark G)

    “All told, this series of pointless mergers only really illustrates the media industry’s mindless “growth for growth’s sake” mindset…”

    Yes but this piece does not graso the actual mechanism driving those crazy decisions. It is the imperative to repay higher and higher debts that are created during the mergers. A company borrows money and uses it to overpay for some other company, based on the assumption that the combined companies can service the enormous debt. Left unsaid is that there will be no cash flow left over to actually invest in the combined businesses, so they are sold off for parts or just shut down to reduce expenses.

    I saw this in biotech from the patent side. A small company would close a joint development deal with a large(ish) company, but that one would be acquired by a larger drug company, and suddenly there wouldn’t be any of the money earmarked for the development project because it was needed to pay bank loans.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “US drone crashes after encounter with Russian jet”

    Washington hasn’t been so upset about losing a drone since the Iranians spoofed an US RQ-170 drone to land in Iran and which gave their drone industry a big boost – as we are seeing in the Ukraine. And it is not like it is the first time that the US has had a MQ-9 drone crash. The Houthies shot one down back in 2017. But this time it is different. As in how dare they. I can just imagine how the phone call went between DC and the Kremlin-

    DC: ‘You shot down our drone!’

    Kremlin: ‘No, no. no. Your drone pilot lost control and it went into the sea.’

    DC: ‘But one of your pilots crashed it into our drone and damaged it first. That is not professional that!’

    Kremlin: ‘So what was that drone doing off our coastline anyway?

    DC: ‘Only standard reconnaissance so we can give our Ukrainian friends targeting information.’

    Kremlin: ‘Of our people.’

    DC: ‘Well, yes. But that does not excuse your pilot. Just who does he think he is anyway touching US property?’

    Kremlin: ‘We actually talked to that pilot and Captain Tomsky Krewsky told me to tell you “Oops!” ‘

    DC: ‘But those things cost over 30 million bucks a pop.’

    Kremlin: ‘That is not a problem. We can pay you for it. Oh, wait. You can’t take payments from Russian banks. So sorry. Paka paka.’

    1. Carolinian

      I like the “oops.” And I’ve seen claim it’s more like 100 million. But then who’s counting?

      Perhaps dumping jet fuel on drone is akin to peeing on your territory–a golden shower as it were.

      1. Polar Socialist

        According to the Russian media it’s apparently a standard procedure before engaging in aerial maneuvers during an intercept mission. It’s the same procedure whether they’re doing circles around a B-52, a P-3 Orion, a MQ-9 Reaper or an Arleigh Burke. I assume it’s dumping fuel from the internal wing tanks to have faster roll rate and less stress on the spars.

        The assumption in the Russian media is that one of the Su-27s “merely” did a heavy-G banking turn in front of the drone and the ensuing slipstream vortexes caused the Reaper to enter “uncontrollable flight”.

        So, “oops”, indeed.

    2. Willow

      Very likely drone downing was in response to this B52 flight possibly momentarily crossing into Russian territory. Russia won’t want to do anything that could lead to US deaths but drones would be open game.
      Which would explain the high level conversations, likely more focused on the B52 incursion than the drone downing.

    1. Mikel

      “and it turned out that the real estate that they had pledged as collateral was fraudulently overvalued…”

      Any claim that anything that happened during the GFC of the 2008 era was “corrected” is hard to sell to me.

  27. semper loquitur

    Women should agree to disagree

    Feminists should forget about pronouns and labels and tackle the real issues of women’s lives

    ““Self-identification” is a blatant affront to sex-realism, so it is no wonder its most vocal proponents are keen to emphasise this disembodied paradigm of choice. Appealing to control over the body looks indispensable in the abstract, but of course, any serious sex-real feminist ought to be sceptical about the extent to which we can, any of us, actually enact bodily control.”

    1. OwlishSprite

      Perry’s book properly interrogates the question of whose interests contraception serves: the answer, which is quite painful for many feminists to admit, is a small number of elite men.

      I can’t really agree with that statement. As a young woman, contraception to me meant protection for a human life that was not planned for or, frankly, wanted. You can not try to force a man to love and take care of a baby he never wanted and expect a healthy outcome. It took me a long time to understand why women were expected to have a baby no matter what. I still do not understand women who ally themselves with men to build a successful career and then suppress women because now with their busy careers they need affordable child care.

      1. semper loquitur

        I believe the argument the author is making is that female contraceptives come with problems:

        “It was not uncommon to hear of some of the more unpleasant effects of different contraception: suicidal thoughts from the contraceptive pill, weeks of bleeding with IUDs, to monitoring bone density from the contraceptive injection. Just hearing of these reinforced my decision to avoid it all.”

        and that the men who want to have pregnancy free sex should take it upon themselves to wear a condom. Of course, they aren’t problem-free but then a spermicidal foam would be the next step. This seems preferable to a constant regime of drugs or some sort of implant. But I am only theorizing here, I leave it to our female readers to make that call. In general, I totally agree with you that women should have options available to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

  28. Alice X


    I’ve been watching most of GG’s System Updates. He’s quite correct on the increasingly sinister Dems but his approach to the intrinsically sinister Repubs is sometimes unsettling. He often compares what he calls the populist right with the populist left. Neither are establishment entities in theory, at least to me. The former is associated most with the MAGA people.

    This piece by Chris Green at Counterpunch caught my eye: Glenn Greenwald in Lalaland. I would suggest that the author has a bit of MAGA derangement syndrome. He starts with this:

    Glenn Greenwald, along with his buddy Matt Taibbi, is currently the most prominent ideological turncoat emanating from the American left.

    To put Taibbi in that sentence really ticks me off.

    I was out on a recent walk and saw a bumper sticker on a huge pickup truck that said: I don’t trust the liberal media, well neither do I, but I would call them Corporate, not liberal; and I’ll keep my guns, thank you!, or something like that but I am certainly not pro-gun. So sometimes you agree on some things.

    So I don’t have MAGA derangement, at least I don’t believe so, I would like to understand what the people are thinking. I suspect they want to strike at the system, and they bought Trump’s spiel. But sadly for them and all of us, Trump was part of the system, just not the same part as the blob which revolted.

    So I’ll just throw this out to see what others think. As Rupert Murdock reportedly said: It’s not Red or Blue, it’s Green!

    And on Ukraine, Obama did have Victoria Nuland and Maidan.

    1. Alice X

      Another thing in the Chris Green piece that ticks me off is him calling Rumble a right wing site. I haven’t watched anyone there but Greenwald and Russell Brand, but watch the latter, that is anarchist, which is right down my alley, and it sure isn’t right wing.

    2. fresno dan

      Alice X
      The thing about
      Glenn Greenwald, along with his buddy Matt Taibbi, is currently the most prominent ideological turncoat emanating from the American left.
      is that I am interesting in people who are giving me FACTS, and the background to put the facts in perspective. What exacty is the betrayal of Taibbi and Greenwald? I imagine Green thinks it is mostly NOT believing in Russiagate. And it seems to me Green believes in a dogma, and if you don’t accept it, you must be excommunicated. I gave a long spiel about how I despise Trump yesterday, so I won’t bother to repeat that. But I can’t go along with framing Trump for treason because the dems nominated a lousy candidate and lost the election, and I won’t go along with falsehoods to make it seem Russia interfered in our election and poses ANY kind of threat to our representative government. The people slandering Taibbi and Greenwald are the true threats to representative government in this nation, as well as freedom of speech, honor, decency, and just being able to accept reality.

    3. hk

      I think an important part of the political derangement syndrome (affecting both left and right) is to automatically dismiss people in “the other camp.”

      The characteristic of both populist left and the right is that they are disaffected by the orthodoxies in their respective “camps” and disagree with their dictates, usually for reasons that are very obvious to them (i.e. things affecting their lives, or at least, those whom they interact with frequently, directly) However, because of their residual loyalty to their camp and distrust of “the other camp,” they will appear as “dissidents” of their present camps. Still, their ties are rather marginal–after all, they don’t buy into the “profession of faith” and, indeed, that’s why they are disaffected in the first place.

      What keeps them out of the other camp, though, besides the inertia of their existing ties, is that they are not willing to buy into the profession of faith for the other camp either. In some sense, these populists are real “moderates,” who adhere to neither set of “orthodox” beliefs, and the real life moderates, polling research has repeatedly shown, are distinguished not by “moderate” beliefs on policy, but sets of policy beliefs (often extreme ones) that don’t neatly fit into either of the orthodox beliefs.

      So either party can win them over if they don’t insist on their orthodoxies as set gospel that all followers must adhere to and instead offer them real solutions that they can see to the real problems that they face (essentially, Murdock’s point, too, but from the other direction–material benefits are useful to the poor(er) people, too). But if the first reaction of the political people, like, I think, Chris Green’s seems to be, is that, if they don’t believe our creed, they are barbarians (or “deplorables”) not worth looking at, then that’s where the growing disaffection with politics in America comes from. Not that many people are so consumed with politics that they’d profess their allegiance to all points of the tenet all the time–most people don’t really care that much.

      1. Alice X

        Well put, thank you! An yes, material conditions are front and often foremost to we poors.

      2. digi_owl

        So the basic pillars of needs: food, shelter, health.

        Any party that can deliver that, not just in word but in deed, will be running a majority in short order.

        But for the PMC neither of those are lacking, so they are off having the secular equivalent of debates over the number of angels on the head of a pin.

        And that suits Wall Street just fine. Because invariably to deliver the pillars mentioned there will be taxes on them.

    4. Lex

      I’ve never trusted Greenwald and I was on a private email list with him for years back in the early 2000’s. His “liberalism” was a road to Damascus moment and was never real. He’s never been a leftist. People just accepted him as that because he came out agains W. At best he was a libertarian of convenience. But most importantly (and I say this as someone who’s had him direct a solid 10,000 word e-mail to a group about me because I didn’t agree with him), his primary personality trait is that he must never be wrong. Or at least he must never be questioned.

      Which isn’t to say he’s not right about things sometimes, even regularly. He’s been right plenty. But his goal isn’t getting it right. His goal is always Glenn’s self-interest.

      1. Alice X

        Thank you! I once was much more ideological. I suppose there are some who would have called me an anarcho-communist. Today I have softened a bit. Above, hk offers some astute thinking on political derangement, of which there is plenty everywhere you go.

        What I want to know with Greenwald, and anyone in an important thought position, is whether or not what they say is true. I have found recently with GG that he has fallen short of that. I just keep track and see what more I can learn.

  29. flora

    Interesting twt about the SVB FDIC resolution. If the guest is serious about real investigations (not simply a political grandstanding exercise) into what’s going on in the banking world, I’d welcome that.

    Kevin Hassett reveals “there were buyers who were willing to step in & buy [SVB, but] the radicals at the @FDICgov
    basically weren’t going to allow that to happen … the Biden Admin had a whitelist of companies that were allowed to buy the failed bank & companies that weren’t.”

    (This sounds much like what the O admin did during the GFC. If this is in fact what happened.)

  30. Alice X

    Another thing in the Chris Green piece that ticks me off is him calling Rumble a right wing site. I haven’t watched anyone but Greenwald and Russell Brand, but watch the latter, that is anarchist, which is right down my alley, and it sure isn’t right wing.

  31. Wukchumni

    ‘Critical Synching’

    Is what we’re going through, it wont end well, but how does it come a cropper?

  32. antidlc

    A question for the NC commentariat:

    Can assets from an FDIC-insured bank be moved(sold?) to a bank that is not FDIC-insured?

    Maybe I’m just paranoid with everything going on in the banking world
    right now, but I’m wondering about this announcement from November, 2022:

    Is there any way they can move assets from currently FDIC-insured
    accounts to the new bank where the accounts would not be FDIC-insured?

    Here are the investors for the new bank :
    “The new investors that will each own non-controlling interests in the
    bank after the transaction closes are funds managed by Stone Point
    Capital, Warburg Pincus, Reverence Capital Partners, Sixth Street and
    Bayview Asset Management.”

    Also, the related press release for this deal indicates the following:

    “J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to TIAA. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal counsel to TIAA. Jefferies LLC acted as lead financial advisor, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as financial advisor and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel to the new investors. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP served as legal counsel to Sixth Street. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel to Bayview Asset Management, LLC.”

    The timing of this announcement seems a little weird to me.

    Maybe I’m just paranoid.

  33. Alice X

    Pat Schroeder has died. After the first Iraq war I remember her saying that the US had succeeded in making the middle east safe for feudalism. I can be pretty cynical about politicians and she was not all I could have wanted but I liked her wit and grit.

  34. Jeremy

    Further to the “Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in toilet paper around the world”, and definitely filed under “We just can’t have nice things”, this study from last year: PFOA in rain worldwide exceeds EPA advisory level (from August 2022).
    The delicious icing on this pernicious cake:

    The American Chemistry Council is taking the EPA to court over the advisory levels for PFOA and a related compound, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), in drinking water. The industry organization, which includes companies that may be liable for cleanup of the chemicals, claims the agency did not use the best available peer-reviewed data to establish those levels. PFOS poses health hazards similar to PFOA’s, according to the EPA.

    Le sigh.

  35. Willow

    Re; Haidt, figure 4. Interesting the clear break in 2019 due to Covid & lockdown & conservative males show signs of becoming an ‘incel’ problem. Divergence for Liberal females & Conservative males, do they feed off each other? Similar to polarization of politics, extremes are reinforcing?

  36. rowlf

    Nice skunk image. My mother had one as a pet in the 1950s, but maybe not the best domestic pet. Hell on kitchen cabinets, plus all the nocturnal activity.

    Oh yeah, vote Skunk Party!

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