Links 3/16/2023

The Little-Known World of Caterpillars New Yorker (furzy)

Great apes reach momentary altered mental states by spinning Primates (Anthony L)

Australia toddler chasing snake finds nest of 110 venomous serpent eggs South China Morning Post

Nasa reveals new spacesuit for anticipated moon landing BBC (furzy)

Caffeine May Reduce Body Fat and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Suggests Guardian


Argentina’s record-breaking heatwave has ‘no similarities in history’ CNN (Paul R)

A biologist on the sorrows of documenting the Great Salt Lake’s collapse aeon

To Reduce Methane In Cow Burps, Bill Gates Launching Startup To Feed Cows Seaweed Supplement Cowboy State Daily (furzy)

Climate change is supercharging floods and droughts, new research shows Grist

Battered by flooding, California braces for more rain Los Angeles Times (furzy)

Canada proposes its own foreign agent registry to deafening silence from the West RT. Kevin W: “The EU is also preparing its own foreign agent registry laws.”


Rebuilding US chip industry won’t be cheap Asia Times (Kevin W)

1,100 Scientists and Students Barred From UK Amid China Crackdown Guardian

Chinese Billionaire Guo Wengui Charged With Billion-Dollar Fraud in US Bloomberg (furzy)

New Not-So-Cold War

German Spy Ship Reportedly Sent on Secret Mission to Nord Stream 1 Site Days Before Blast Sputnik (Kevin W)

Canadian FM Says Regime Change in Moscow Is ‘Definitely’ the Goal (Kevin W)

Tucker Carlson Torches Lindsey Graham’s Call to Shoot Down Russian Planes on Hannity’s Show: ‘Anti-American Stupidity’ Mediate

New Bakhmut Report: High Casualties – Low Morale – Russian Tactics Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

SCOTT RITTER ON GEORGIA, BAHMUT, XI JINPING -ZELENSKY TALKS, AND WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE WAR ENDS…YouTube. Important for Georgia discussion. Ritter’s wife is Georgian. Ritter is also hopeful about China acting as an interlocutor but no way, no how will the US and NATO allow that to go anywhere. If it looks like it is, given NordStream, I would anticipate a US-sponsored attack dressed up as a Ukraine attack to poison the talks. Or alternatively, assassinating Zelensky and blaming Russia.

Nasdaq tells Yandex, other Russian firms of plan to delist stocks Reuters

As Russia looms, US seeks influence in West Africa’s fight against Islamists Reuters (resilc)

The United States and ICC have an awkward history Washington Post (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. Maternal Mortality Hits Highest Level Since 1965 Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin)

Uncle Sucker Cato (resilc). When Cato makes sense…..

Surge in arms imports to Europe, while US dominance of the global arms trade increases SIPRI (resilc)

As SVB fails, Icahn says there’s ‘no leadership on the corporate level’ MarketWatch (resilc). As we’ve been saying, but even more important, in executive positions in government too.


Federal investigators examined Trump Media for possible money laundering, sources say Guardian (resilc)


GOP blasts ‘inadequate’ Biden defense budget as it vows spending cuts Defense News (resilc)


Texas abortion pill case: Lawyers requesting mifepristone’s removal from market concede there’s no precedent Business Insider (Kevin W)

Police State Watch

FBI Bookstore Spying in Chicago Eyes Abortion Rights, Cop City, Anti-Development Activists Unicorn Riot (Tim S)


The SVB Failure: Why It Happened and What It Means Richard Vague, Democracy Journal. A detailed, readable treatment.

‘Unfortunate and wrong’: Angry taxpayers respond to the latest bank bailouts The Hill

Ohio State Teachers Retirement System Had Massive Investment in Silicon Valley Bank CleveScene (Carla R)

‘Many More Problems’ To Follow SVB Collapse, Dalio Says Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Silicon Valley, once the underdog, is now too big to fail MSN (resilc)

The role of Goldman Sachs in final days of Silicon Valley Bank Yahoo (resilc)

Goldman Sachs Eyes a Big Payout from Silicon Valley Bank Deal New York Times (resilc)

Rotten Banks

Credit Suisse to borrow up to $54bn from Swiss central bank BBC (Kevin W)

U.S. Treasury reviewing U.S. financial sector exposure to Credit Suisse – Bloomberg Reuters (resilc)

What’s Going on with First Republic Bank? Adam Levitin. Very good compact description of differences among SVB, Signature, and now Republic.

FDIC insured deposit taking bank failures Since 2001 FDIC (resilc)

Wells Fargo’s Carrie Tolstedt Pleads Guilty and Faces Prison New York Times (resilc)

The Bezzle

Sam Bankman-Fried said to have taken $2.2bn from FTX entities Financial Times. Your humble blog focused on to this early via the initial disclosures from new CEO John Ray. Our November 18 headline: FTX: New Ex-Enron CEO Finds “Complete Absence of Trustworthy Financial Information,” $3.3 Billion Loans to SBF, Customer Deposits Not Recorded on Balance Sheets; Confirms Software Backdoors, Auto-Deleted Communications

Exclusive: Effective Altruist Leaders Were Repeatedly Warned About Sam Bankman-Fried Years Before FTX Collapsed Time

Tough luck, Brits: Binance suspends UK deposits and withdrawals The Register (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

‘Net worth of median household is basically nothing,’ says Carl Icahn. MarketWatch (resilc)

February marks 23rd straight month of real wages decline for US workers WSWS

In nursing homes, impoverished live final days on pennies Associated Press (resilc)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    OUR MQ-9
    (melody borrowed from Abilene by George Hamilton IV)

    Our Reaper drone, MQ-9
    Flyin’ high, and lookin’ fine
    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    A Russian jet pissed out some fuel
    Then nicked our prop, that flying fool
    Our Reaper hit the waterline
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    Our Reaper drone, MQ-9
    Flyin’ high, and lookin’ fine
    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    One Reaper drone in the Black Sea
    They’ve got our top technology
    The Rooskies have the whole design
    Of MQ-9, our MQ-9

    Our Reaper drone, MQ-9
    Flyin’ high, and lookin’ fine
    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    (play it a’gin, Sammm . . .)

    Our Reaper drone, MQ-9
    Flyin’ high, and lookin’ fine
    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    A Russian drone right off our coast?
    We’d shoot it down with our utmost
    Like it was some Beijing Balloon
    We’d kill it soon, we’d kill it soon

    Our Reaper drone, MQ-9
    Flyin’ high, and lookin’ fine
    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    We spied upon Sevastapol
    Killing Russians was our goal
    They dropped us in the Black Sea brine
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    Our Reaper drone, MQ-9
    Flyin’ high, and lookin’ fine
    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    Got too close to their red line
    Our MQ-9, our MQ-9

    1. Louis Fyne

      When the US was trying to sell the MQ-9, the price was quoted at >$40 million per drone. $100 million if you thrown in maintenance, etc.

      So for a few hundred gallons of jet fuel, that Russian pilot (who may/may not have went beyond the letter of the law of his orders), put “America’s finest” under 150 meters of water.

      >$40,000,000 payoff from $1,000. I wish I could find returns like that!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Film has just emerged of that encounter and it looks like the Russian Su-27 accidentally clipped one of the props. When it went down the US ordered the Romanians to retrieve what they could but the Russians got there first indicating that the drone was closer to Russian territory. The Pentagon has been saying that they deleted everything on that drone and that the Russians can learn nothing from it while at the same time trying to organize a ship to go after the remains- (42 secs)

        I say play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Rooskies say it was about 30 nautical miles from Sevastopol, which would make it about 200 NM from Constanta.

          Black Sea Fleet could have had patrol boats on site in less than an hour. Even if the crew had some tea and pirogi before embarking.

        2. Louis Fyne

          the reaper only has 1 prop, and it looks like that the Reaper survived the approach in the video ok (last 3 sec).

          A Reaper only weighs ~5,000 kg. A Su-27’s engines can probably throw out >15,000 kg of thrust.

          Being hit by >10,000 kg of thrust is no different than hitting brick wall. Presuming if it wasn’t the jet fuel, it was turbulence (intentional or not)

          1. nippersdad

            Scott Ritter was saying yesterday that gas plumes like that are used prior to giving the jet a turbo thrust; that it looked to him like they were trying to just throw the drone out of the air using the thrust of the plane.

            Sounds plausible.

          2. Louis Fyne

            sorry about the bold-tag. Dunno how I did it. blame my fat thumbs and tiny tablet keyboard.

          3. anon in so cal

            “In WW2 German flying bombs were intercepted by Hawker Typhoons by ‘tipping the wings’, causing them to lose control. They were gyro guided.

            The process didn’t need to touch, but the Typhoon wing could be just by the flying bombs wing to interfere with its lift.

            If they shot them down there was the danger to the Typhoon from the flying bombs explosion.

            The Typhoon was fast enough to catch the flying bombs in level flight. V1 buzzbomb, V for vengeance.”

            — Oldengineer, MoA

            Posted by: Oldengineer | Mar 15 2023 14:27 utc | 20

        3. R.S.

          indicating that the drone was closer to Russian territory.

          60 km SW of Sevastopol is roughly 280 km to Romanian coast, 300+ km to Constanza.

        4. Polar Socialist

          The Russians claim to have located the wreck at depth of 900 meters. The oldest vessel still in service, Kommuna, is being deployed to recover it.

          1. Louis Fyne

            interesting. If the wreckage is 900 meters deep, then the incident did not happen 60km from the Crimea coast as the waters off of Crimea are relatively shallow 100m – 300m deep

          2. José Freitas

            Zakharova has been trolling the US by recommending it hire the Ukrainian team that took the Andromeda yacht to bomb the Nordstream to recover the drone, “since they did such a pro job with so little”. LOL

  2. digi_owl

    Now that is a glorious odd couple.

    And once more my fears come to pass as insane US politician calls for escalation in Ukraine over a bloody drone!

    1. The Rev Kev

      You wonder what would happen if the Russians flew a drone 60 kilometers off the San Diego Naval Station and then turned the transponder off. We had a preview with that insane reaction over a simple Chinese weather balloon. Does the North American Air Defense Identification Zone extend off San Diego too? If a Russian drone penetrated it with the transponder turned off, the Russians could also claim that they obey only international aerial borders and not made up ones.

      1. Polar Socialist

        And unlike San Diego this happened on a war zone – Crimea is regularly attacked by Ukrainian drones.

        I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if Russia just decided to actively diminish the “Ukrainian” intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities for the possible spring offensive.

        1. Ignacio

          Though the neocons in charge will consider that San Diego is legally US territory but Crimea is not recognized by them as Russian legally. They don’t bother with the realities but with their considerations/ideologies only.

      2. digi_owl

        Didn’t someone at the Russian foreign ministry muse during a press conference about sending a token force to Mexico, only to get a near hysterical response from DC?

        1. Lex

          The same foreign ministry today suggested that the US could enlist the help of the Ukrainian divers who blew up NordStream to go get the wreckage of the drone. Russian trolling is really AAA grade.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Australia toddler chasing snake uncovers nest of 110 venomous serpent eggs”

    As an infant in a crib, Hercules was supposed to have strangled two snakes to death that had been sent by the Goddess Hera to kill him. An Aussie toddler hearing that says ‘Hold my beer!’

    1. griffen

      That was incredible and a bit terrifying. Nature, you can only hope to contain nature.

      Or in the words from the quotable song “Signs”, “…To put up a fence to keep me out, or to keep Mother Nature in…”

  4. fresno dan

    Tucker Carlson Torches Lindsey Graham’s Call to Shoot Down Russian Planes on Hannity’s Show: ‘Anti-American Stupidity’ Mediate
    There is also this:
    When will the democrats have some prominent politicians and party members standing up for peace???
    Remember 2016 as Trump made the obvious and popular point that the Iraq war was a disaster, and ALL the other 20 or so republican candidates just had a hell of a time trying to say it wasn’t quite a disaster??? Now the republicans are exactly in the same spot, where their corrupt masters want one thing from their corrupt puppets, but the people who actually vote for republicans don’t want it. Amazing that it is happening again…. Seismic shifts are occurring. The only question is when will the faults start cracking in the democratic party, or is the democratic party more of a dogmatic cult that brooks no dissent?
    Will Rogers once said that he didn’t belong to an organized political party – he was a democrat. Funny at the time and maybe even true, but now a days the dems make the old Soveit politoburo look like a bastion of free love and anarchy.

    1. zagonostra

      When will the democrats have some prominent politicians and party members standing up for peace???

      Well you know Bernie, according to a recent interview, says he hasn’t been following what is happening in Ukraine that closely, but he’s sure that Biden has the right policy in place. In the same interview he expresses concern for climate change, yet 750 miles of pipeline methane being released into the atmosphere doesn’t seem to be noteworthy. Gawd, to think I donated to Bernie BS Sanders.

      1. fresno dan

        Bernie was the first politician I ever donated money to. It was several hundred dollars. NEVER AGAIN

            1. KLG

              Five. Recurring contribution cancelled the day after he allowed as how Joe Biden is his friend. True, perhaps. But irrelevant. Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams might have been friends, somewhat. Also irrelevant in Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park.

            2. Felix_47

              Bernie said he will not support Marianne Williamson and says he is going to back Joe. Joe is that old narcissist with a couple of facelifts (look at the scars anterior to the ears) and hair transplants that shows up on TV from time to time wearing age inappropriate tight suits. The war president. His most notable quote was during the last election when he declared If a medicare for all bill crosses my desk I will veto it. Marianne Williamson was and is for a government universal health care system. She campaigned hard for Bernie.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            I’m still trying to suss out what game she’s playing these days. Hypothesis #1: She’s positioning herself to be Trump’s running mate if he fails to get the GOP nomination and runs as an independent.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘yet 750 miles of pipeline methane being released into the atmosphere doesn’t seem to be noteworthy.’

        So where was Greta Thunberg when this went down. Did Greenpeace put out any statements and send one of their ships to the Baltic? Has there been any probe by these eco groups to determine the damage caused to the local environment? The silence from these people and groups was deafening.

      3. Cassandra

        Anyone who hasn’t been following the situation in Ukraine “all that closely” needs to be out of government. Immediately. Such a shame Bernie didn’t retire after his heart attack, when he had the perfect excuse and there were still left some shreds of his reputation. I not only gave money to his first run, I gave chunks of my life I will never get back. Blech.

      4. Boomheist

        I have this fantasy that next week Katie Porter comes on television and announces she is breaking from the administration and the party on the Ukraine fiasco, as I think if she did this she would catapult into the lead as the democratic candidate. Oh, wait…..isn’t she from the district or the state where the SVB fiasco happened?………

        Bernie stepped in it big time when he went along with the neocons on all things anti-Russian, and his latest statement only shows how he has diminished….

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Even when they Russiagated him after he won the Nevada caucuses in 2020, he remained loyal to the narrative.

          While I retain some residual respect for Sanders, given his commitment over the years and the political constraints he faces, that was a pitiful and prophetic episode.

        2. Milton

          I remember in 2010, or so, I had fantasies about Obama not playing nice with the opposing party and requesting congress legislate on behalf of the workers. It didn’t take longer for me to evolve from voting for Democrats, to voting against the greater evil, to voting 3rd party only, to never again taking part in this civic charade.

        3. NYT_memes

          Katie Porter represents Orange County – a long ways from Silly Valley.

          Your fantasy will not happen, IMHO, because Katie Porter is too smart to commit political hari-kari.
          Give her time. That is my fantasy in regards to her.

      5. Oh

        If he’s not been following what’s happening in Ukraine, how does he know Biden has the right policy?

      6. some guy

        Wouldn’t the “Russian” side or end of that pipeline have shut-off valves or devices a lot closer to the blast site then 750 miles away? Don’t major pipelines like that have periodically placed ” flow-stoppers” inside the pipeline to contain the loss of rupture-released contents to only a smaller set length?

        Would any pipeline experts here know about that?

    2. flora

      Jimmy Dore had an interesting interview with Dem estab persona non grata RFK Jr, who is thinking of running as a Dem. Interview is about the current Dem party’s failings and how they came to be. I know RFK Jr isn’t a welcome subject at NC, but what he has to say about the party, US politics, and the current polarization is pretty good, imo. utube, ~20 minutes

      RFK Jr. Says He Could Be The Donald Trump Of The Democratic Party

      1. Benny Profane

        He looks and sounds like hell. I’m tired of old, feeble people in charge, and I’m a little older than him. And then there’s the pathetic joke that he’s somehow an outsider. He’s a Kennedy! I know that star has faded, but, c’mon.
        But, he’ll be toast as soon as somebody brings up his heroin possession conviction that was conveniently erased from records. There’s millions who have served time for a lot less, if they first weren’t shot for driving while black or brown or just talked back.

          1. Benny Profane

            I’ll never forget her disastrous attempt to campaign for Senator of NY when the party decided she should be crowned. Then she awkwardly tried to relate to the ravaged citizens of upstate in school auditoriums. She had the sense to walk away.

            Caroline trivia: she sat with Vernon and family at Elvis’s funeral way back on that really hot Memphis day. I forget the connection, but, she was almost family.

            1. pjay

              Caroline Kennedy is very much part of the liberal establishment here. RFK Jr. is very much not. The latter may be “a Kennedy,” but he definitely is not an “insider” as that term is usually used.

              For several reasons I hope he does not try to run for office. Far from being Establishment, however, the Establishment would destroy him.

            2. Michael Fiorillo

              In the early 2000’s they tried to make her the face of corporate school reform/privatization in NYC; even with the money and fawning media coverage backing her, she was totally ineffective and washed out quickly.

            3. upstater

              When HRC resigned to become Secretary of State, the beautiful people in the donor class and others pushed David Patterson to appointment Caroline Kennedy. Instead he appointed Kirsten Gillibrand to the outrage of Manhattanites and DC types. Part of the reason Patterson never ran for governor himself after rising to the position when Elliott Spitzer resigned for hiring hookers. We got Andrew Cuomo instead. Worse than Cali, I think.

        1. Phenix

          RFK Jr was injured by a vaccine.

          He will be toast because the Dems are a party of “science”. It needs to be replaced by something other than the People’s Party.

            1. flora

              Spasms of the vocal cords. Has a long medical name. My cousin had the same thing suddenly start in their 50’s. Who knew vocal cords had muscles? Though, when I think about it, well of course they do. How else could they work?

      1. pjay

        Ok, is it just me, or has Hersh peppered just about every post and appearance (except the big one on Nord Stream) with a Kennedy bashing anecdote? I commented on this the other day, but this seems to be more than just a one-off thing now. He did it in the introduction to his long address to the Committee for the Republic at the National Press Club the other day as well. He even mentioned that he had written a book on this. I’ll say it again. Despite the many positive contributions Hersh has made over the years, that book was a miserable piece of distorted anti-Kennedy propaganda, and has been shown as such. It rehashed some rather ridiculous tabloid stories, passed on CIA anti-Kennedy propaganda (especially on foreign policy issues), and distorted even the factual accounts of key events like the Cuban missle crisis. Hersh’s depiction of Kennedy as a reckless war-monger is distorted, and serves to distort the history of that period.

        If he wants to preserve his legacy he should keep quiet about this book and its claims, yet he keeps wanting to remind us of it. Why?

        1. flora

          Yes, I’ve noticed it, too. Makes me wonder. That said, he does ask questions no one else asks.

          1. LifelongLib

            I don’t know much about Hersh, but (say) Douglas Macgregor and James Howard Kunstler also have some opinions that are a bit jarring. I’ve concluded that when you venture outside the media mainstream, you’re going to encounter a fair amount of eccentricity along with the unconventional wisdom. It seems to go with the territory.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Tucker Carlson Torches Lindsey Graham’s Call to Shoot Down Russian Planes on Hannity’s Show: ‘Anti-American Stupidity’”

    Lindsay Graham may want US fighters to shoot down Russian fighters but there is nothing to say that it might be Russian fighters that might shoot down a US fighter, Tom Cruise be damned. But to have someone like Tucker Carlson nail Lindsay Grahams latest rant by simply laying out the facts would be pretty embarrassing for Lindsay. As much as I disliked the man, Ronald Reagan would never, ever have been so stupid to get into a proxy war with Russia over the Ukraine. He had too much of a respect for nukes and what they could do and it is said that when he saw the TV film “The Day After” back in ’83, that he was truly rattled by what he saw.

    1. digi_owl

      He was also supposedly spooked by the soviet reaction to some last minute changes to Able Archer 83. Him and Bush the elder was perhaps the last US presidents with direct WW2 experience, though Reagan was a PR officer rather than on the front line.

      1. t

        Yes, but he forgot that little detail went on to tell stirring stories of his days in active duty!

        Truly a vanguard in stolen valor.

      2. rowlf

        LA County Superior Court Judge, former bomber navigator and planner Ralph Nutter tore into Reagan for being lazy in his book With The Possum And The Eagle. Nutter was on a tight schedule to make a war training film and Reagan was skipping out of work early. Weak sauce.

    2. Ignacio

      Reagan was quite old then already. Then Bush father had some age. Nobody should resort to justify Biden on senility. He has been preparing this for years. And the gals and guys below pushing for war aren’t senile. These are people with an objective not willing to deviate from it no matter the risks. Very dangerous people.

    3. Carolinian

      I don’t think our Lindsey is capable of embarrassment. He’s a small town Carolinian who grew up in a pool hall and now finds himself on national Sunday morning talk shows where war mongering gets him lots of attention from the always war happy MSM. Basically it’s the same deal with Nikki Haley. The war party needs useful idiots from the heartland to pretend the proles are onboard.

      If mine was a politically competitive state then Lindsey would be gone but the Dems are perfectly happy with their strategy of nurturing just enough support to barely get over 50 percent and then pretend it’s a landslide. They have press narrative managers to take care of the rest, or so they think.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        He’s also a closeted gay man (a well-known fact, so I’ve been told by South Carolinians, though you may be in a better position to comment) in a viciously homophobic Party, so he’s always got to play macho.

        1. Carolinian

          I know nothing about his personal life. He himself says he is a “bachelor.” In any case he does not have a history of homophobic statements or attacks. Indeed I’d suggest that the Repubs, while freely using the abortion issue, are a lot less homophobic than you suppose. My very Republican county has rainbow flags, a gay rights parade.

          And if his policy stances are a way of proving his manhood then that would go for a lot of Dem politicos including one who keeps talking about Corn Pop.

          I really think it’s about a poor boy from the sticks making it in the big time. After all here we are talking about him.

  6. fresno dan

    In nursing homes, impoverished live final days on pennies Associated Press (resilc)

    Some politicians have tried to fix the problem, including Rep. Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Virginia who in 2019 introduced a bill to raise the minimum allowance to $60 and cement annual increases tied to those for Social Security. It didn’t even get a hearing.
    Other than because of pure propaganda, why do people believe that dems are for the poor or the old. I wonder what the actual numbers are and how much raising the amount to 100$ would cost, and how much money that would be relative to the amount of money spent on Ukraine?

    1. Polar Socialist

      Simple arithmetic says the $73.2 billion would have been enough to give $60 per day for 3,341,415 elderly citizens. That’s about 6% of the US population aged over 65.

      As a weekly allowance, it would cover 41% of the elderly population.

      1. fresno dan

        thank you for that. So, about half of what aid to Ukraine costs.
        Killing is valuable, helping old US citizens is a waste of money.
        And by the way, this is how much money Google says is going to Ukraine:
        In total, the United States has committed more than $24.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.
        There are SEVERAL references that seriously understate how much money is going to Ukraine, when answering my simple and direct question. Funny how much money is going to Ukraine can be misinterpreted…

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          And ukraine “aid” is not just military–“we” are covering ukrainian pensions and salaries as well.

          Not to mention $500 per night for hotel rooms for illegal “asylum seekers” in nyc.

          And svb depositors vs. fdic limits.

          There is always money when it’s “needed.” But then we all have always known that.

      2. GramSci

        Note that the current indignity allowance is $30/month. So $70B would ‘cover’ some 180% of the retired population.

    2. Rolf

      Other than because of pure propaganda, why do people believe that dems are for the poor or the old.

      I don’t believe it is much more than that: incessant propaganda. Many in the US still cling to the belief — the utter falsehood — carefully reinforced by a mainstream media (viz. MSNBC’s Maddow and other multimillionaire icons) — that Democratic politicians are committed to the poor, to the working class, to children, to the elderly. Many Democratic voters absolutely believe that “Biden and the Democrats are saving the country from the GOP“. People need to understand the plain truth of what is done in their name.

  7. griffen

    Impoverished live their final years on mere pennies, based on a stipend assistance program that much like the Federal minimum wage, by example, isn’t indexed to anything in particular. Except these individuals living on such a limited income have seen a serious dent after the raging inflation of recent years. I can stretch my dollars if I’m really forced into that economic approach, but yikes, $30 didn’t go that far 25 or 30 years ago (but in college I could really stretch $30!). Elsewhere in retiree land, septuagenarians and octogenarians still pretend that they can run the US.

    Greatest country on earth! America, we will be the first country to drop a $1 trillion (officially, as in the budget but anywho) on national Defense. \SARC

    1. Lena

      I used money from my limited income to buy items for my mother in the nursing home because $35 a month did not cover many of the things she needed. Sadly, when I would buy her a nice shampoo or bar of soap to try to make her life a little more pleasant, they would get stolen by nursing home staff. Yes, I know nursing home staff are underpaid but stealing simple items from poor, sick people who have so little is unacceptable. It is a cruel, inhumane world we live in.

      1. DF

        That, and stealing such low-value stuff is really cringe. It amazes me sometimes the kind of stuff people even bother to steal.

        1. John

          The model for the medicaid eldercare system is the American gulag penal system. The elders are just living out hard time incarceration.
          A decadent empire is evil in its last days.

  8. Louis Fyne

    —1/ Mixed signals in the markets right now.—

    Bear Stearns happened 15 years ago this week. And it took 5+ months for “the market” to fully realize the level of rot in the system.

    This time may be the same, or it may be different. That is the $64,000 question.

      1. Mikel

        I’m almost of the notion to say there was a pause and now the GFC back on course.
        Acute phases now continuing.

        These don’t seem like problems that can be solved with the tendency of economists, officials, and various market participants to address a systemic issue like disconnected episodes.

        1. jsn

          To my feeble mind, QE and other Fed/regulatory accommodations tie this inextricably back to the GFC.

          US finance for the last decade has been as viable without life support as Ukraine’s economy.

          Trends that aren’t sustainable can go on longer than you might think.

          1. nippersdad

            That is pretty much how I have viewed it. They never paid off those bad debts, and made more of them even as they engaged in stock buybacks, bonuses and dividend payouts. If they couldn’t survive a rise in interest rates then, it comes as no surprise that they still can’t now.

            Filed under things that will never happen: Barney Frank should be the first in line for a very long prison sentence.

            1. Mikel

              And Europe too.
              Credit Suisse & Deutsche Bank. Should what they have be called balance sheets or rap sheets?
              I think of DB as the hangman’s bank. They’ve had execs and former execs with shorter life spans than drug-addled rock stars not named Keith Richards or Sly Stone.

      2. ChrisFromGA

        Thanks for the history lesson.

        Listening to CNBC (I know bad idea) you might think we’re in phase four already.

        The begging for Fed rate cuts and moar QE was almost too much for me to bear.

        Fortunately the steering wheel survived.

  9. zagonostra

    >400,000 workers strike in the UK, tens of thousands rally in London

    I saw aerial footage on Twitter of protesters snaking through miles and miles of London streets, glad to see BBC covering it, not.

    Almost all industrial action in Scotland and Wales has been brought to a halt. The Educational Institute of Scotland cancelled action by tens of thousands of school workers two weeks ago to ballot on a below-inflation deal.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Z.

      The BBC is barely covering the strike by its local radio and tv services. These local staff are paid a fraction of what the London and Manchester based national staff get. In addition, the BBC is prioritising and protecting its US output, somewhat justifying the recent assertion / complaint that the BBC, Channel 4 and the Grauniad are US media outlets, but based in the UK.

      Yesterday morning, BBC World tv and BBC World Service radio featured strikes by refuse collection workers in Paris and medical personnel in Sri Lanka. The BBC does not see fit to cover strikes by their UK brethren.

      1. Cassandra

        I don’t know if it is so much that the BBC et al are US media outlets, as UK and US media are both owned by the same owners and represent their owners’ interests.

      2. Ignacio

        I frequently add El Pais to that list of yours though based in Spain, -so barely important to be noticed elsewhere- ;)

        1. GramSci

          Unfortunately true, Ignacio. When my daughter moved to Spain ten years ago, I had hope for El Pais, but then had to watch it slip, sadly if predictably, into the Anglo orbit.

  10. Noone from Nowheresville

    Nursing Homes article:

    In the article it’s mentioned multiple times about Medicaid or Disability residents not able to afford things all of us take for granted. Cell phones are mentioned more than once.

    That said, there is something called the Affordable Connectivity Program via the FCC. If someone is on Medicaid, then they may qualify for a free cell phone plus phone service. It varies by state just like Medicaid does so not everyone gets a free phone or unlimited talk. Even so, something is much better than nothing.

    The application is very straight forward. It is income based so if one isn’t on a government program, they may still qualify.

    Partial payment for internet service is also an option within the program.

    1. griffen

      I’m sure more headlines will be coming out in the next few weeks. Maybe a problem, but honestly many of these retirement funds for state teachers / state employees are just incredibly huge. I can pull the STRS Ohio latest reports, based on a fiscal year close of June 30, 2022. Total investment funds of $88 billion; a few indications of their concentration regarding to top 10 Equity holdings are Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, United Healthcare, Mastercard…

      These state level retirement funds are really really large portfolios. That being said, these events leave a mark of some sort on investors big and investors small.

  11. Wukchumni

    Battered by flooding, California braces for more rain Los Angeles Times
    A neighbor showed me something yesterday, a 5,000 pound boulder was moved about 150 feet from where it had been before by way of 26,000 cfs river flow.

    It looked like just another boulder until he pointed out that a hole had been drilled in it to put a 9 foot wide patio umbrella, that another neighbor used in the summer to ward off the Sun while hanging out in the river, amazing!

    Both Lake Kaweah & Lake Success are chock-a-block full and releasing water currently much slower than its coming in, and luckily we have a 3 day respite from the next storm which will be good for another 3-4 inches of rain in the foothills, and more like 5-7 inches in the mountains thanks to orographic lift.

    At some point the all-time record winter will have to melt out, and you never know when we’re gonna get a heat spell, it hit 90 degrees on this very day here in 2015.

      1. Wukchumni

        Every dam in Cali is damn near full thanks to catastropic storms with more to come, Lake Isabella had practically bupkis in it when I last did a drive by 4 months ago and now its a whole bunch of tokes over the line, sweet Jesus, with Bakersfield below.

    1. Ignacio

      So if you have now heavy rain over a thick snow pack in the mountains that could be total catastrophe. Cross the fingers.

      1. Wukchumni

        Nadir versus Zenith

        One of the worst drought years followed by the biggest snowpack ever.

        I was e-mailed a map of road damage here in tiny town and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and we’re unincorporated here so Tulare County has to come through-with the idea that damn near the entire county will be under water down below in the fruited plain and everybody is going to need their help, not to mention what the Big Heat could do, and the maddening thing about these storms is they give us 3 or 4 really beautiful & mostly sunny days in Elysierran Fields before lowering the boom again, these not so slow drip torture sessions.

    2. JP

      That’s nothing, I have a 20 ton boulder blocking one lane of the road at the top of my property. I am afraid the county will just push it off the side and let it destroy all the oaks it encounters on its way to the river.

      I haven’t seen the county yet in my neck of the woods. The incident response here has been CalFire. They brought a back hoe up the road but the road will not take any really heavy equipment. The last time I saw equipment move a boulder that size it took an excavator pulling from the top and D8 size dozer pushing from the bottom just to roll it. I don’t know if the county currently has the capacity to blast it.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>I don’t know if the county currently has the capacity to blast it.

        With the understanding that I know nothing about blasting a boulder of any size, why not?

      2. juno mas

        Depending on the rock type (granitic, metamorphic, sedimentary), blasting a large boulder into fractured pieces takes heavy duty drilling rig and explosive expertise. And major safety precautions before lighting the fuse. The boulder will either not crack, will crack enough to move it in parts, or send rock projectiles in the air and land a mile away. BTDT.

  12. fresno dan
    For months, Ukraine’s defense of the eastern city has held up and worn down Russian forces while serving as a potent symbol of the country’s defiance.
    It is an amazing thing – going off to certain death. If facts were presented dispassionately and accurately, I doubt one man in a hundred would go off to war (especially in Ukraine – yet they continue to do so). Yet human society encourages such delusion.
    A very few convince the very many that their very lives can be used up for useless causes and false beliefs, e.g., potent symbol of the country’s defiance. Why wasn’t it written: as a potent example of obstinate stupidity to sacrifice human life and treat it as if it were of no more value than a dixie cup. Well, humans discount their very own lives…

    I have posted this quote by Goering several times, because it really explains best all the illogic and propaganda that supports war.
    We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
    “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”
    “There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”
    “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
    Several countries now have nuclear weapons. I find it very difficult to believe that humankind will not blow itself up. Think about how many people believe that it is right and just for so, so many Ukrainians to end their lives in an obviously futile and hopeless cause.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>…and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

      That is in the past tense nowadays. It used to be in the the United States only Congress could declare wars.

  13. begob

    UK court of appeal holds Ukraine can plead duress in voiding $3B in notes (issued pre-Maidan, maturing post-Crimea annexation but pre-SMO), which are held on trust for Russia.

    Just skimmed this – it chews over the issue of duress around the time of the Minsk agreements, which is a talking point for Ukraine supporters in dismissing Russia’s justification of the invasion.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That does not sound like a good idea of the Ukraine trying to cheat Russia of that $3 billion in notes. Sooner or later this war will end. And when it does, the Ukraine will seek to rebuild their electrical grid to power up their country again. Guess where it is that they will have to buy the replacement gear from? The only place in fact. Go on, guess.

      1. R.S.

        That does not sound like a good idea of the Ukraine trying to cheat…

        That’s almost their established modus operandi. For instance, you may look at the history of the Chinese projects in Ukraine. To name a few:

        2012, a $3bln loan from the Export-Import Bank of China for the “State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine” for various agricultural projects. Still to be repaid.

        2013, a $0.4bln loan for a high-speed suburban rail in Kiev. The money was absorbed at a blazing speed for sure; as for the construction, not so much. In 2018 the gov’t had to step in and fund a new project.

        2015, a $3+ bln credit “to reduce the dependency on Russian gas” (sounds familiar), i.e. three coal-to-gas plants and a major overhaul of some existing power plants. At least $1.5bln went to Ukraine, but I’m yet to see a CTG plant there.

        Then, there was the whole Motor Sich saga. A major aircraft engine manufacturer, Motor Sich used to receive some 70% of its revenues from the Russians, and was about to go belly up after the Revolution. The Chinese (Skyrizon) started investing heavily in it somewhere in 2015. By 2017 they controlled 56% of the shares, and then tried to streamline and consolidate the ownership structure. What ensued was a legal horror show, with prosecutors and the SBU opening up cases of sabotage and high treason, raiding premises and so on. The Chinese were then offered an off-ramp: they just had to donate (as in “free of charge”) 25% of the shares and $100mln to the state-owned “Ukroboronprom”. In 2018, the Chinese caved in and signed the deal. The authorities blocked this new deal again, citing antitrust laws. Finally, in early 2021 Ukraine sanctioned the Chinese investors outright and froze their assets. The last news I’ve seen is that Skyrizon was suing the state of Ukraine for some $4.5bln of damage.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Before then, the Russians had refrained from bombing their factory as the Chinese still owned it. After the Ukrainians kicked the Chinese out, the Russians duly bombed the place.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    I was already pretty steamed about the SVB bailout, and even moreso now.

    Just found out that my family which has run a small dairy farm for about 100 years is going to be selling their herd very soon as they can no longer make a go of it. The price of farm inputs is going up rapidly and yet they still aren’t able to set their own price for the milk they produce, and the price they are paid for it is not going up.

    This didn’t happen by accident. NC readers are well aware of the political and big ag corporate decisions that got us in this position where family farms struggle to even break even. Yet there is no bailout forthcoming here, while bankers who make bad gambles are made whole again, despite the rules they all knew about going in. In fact the economists and big banker types are largely responsible for creating the economic system that drove my family’s farm into the ground.

    To say I’m a little hot under the collar this morning would be a gross understatement. [family blog] the lot of them.

    1. flora

      I am truely distressed and sorry to hear this. I know many small family farm farmers who for decades have had to fight the casino capitalism. I think last year’s number is 10,000 small family farms sold out to large Big Ag corporations, mostly because of the way the financial game is tilted in favor of Big Ag thought the entire market and processing chain. The current high price of eggs in the grocery store isn’t because farmers are paid more for the eggs they sell upstream.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        I am so sorry to hear, LAB.

        It won’t surprise the NC community that it’s happening in the UK and France. although in France big ag, absentee landlords (like the Gates Cascade Investment, Bush family and electric appliance magnate James Dyson) and financial engineers are not as present.

      2. Robert Gray

        > I think last year’s number is 10,000 small family farms [in the US] sold out to large Big Ag corporations

        A couple of weeks ago there was a story

        about a farm accident in Wisconsin in 2019 in which an 8-year-old boy was killed. Wisconsin is of course famous as the Dairy State (although nowadays California is actually bigger in this area, as in so many others). The article mentioned in passing a statistic that I found shocking:

        > [In 1991] there were more than 32,000 dairy producers in the state [i.e., Wisco]. … Today, some
        > 6,100 dairy farms are left.

        1. flora

          Mightst one suggest the Wall St. commodity speculators just love something approximating monopoly control of the grain/food stuffs commodity markets? (How close are we now to the 1890’s?)

          1. flora

            adding: a competent PBS reporter might be expected to know that much farm work is now done by Spanish speaking immigrant workers, and therefore said reporter might be expected to take a fluent Spanish speaker with them on assignment. Guess not, based on this story.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about your family’s farm. This sort of thing is happening everywhere and the big boys are always given what they want. All I can say is to make sure to take plenty of images of that farm before it is taken over and ‘modernized’ so that your family has something to remember it by. Afterwards it will be too late.

    3. GramSci

      My extended families operated many dairy farms after arriving in the US. I regret that after ≈150 years almost all of my cousins and I sold out and moved to the big city. In 50 years our children will curse us for not educating them to feed themselves.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        So far at least it’s just the herd being sold off. The farm is one that appears on postcards from the area – it’s beautiful undeveloped acreage with that innocent pastoral look about it. It has also been encroached upon for years by multi-million dollar Mcmansion homes built by rich flatlanders who occupy the residences for a couple weeks per year and flip the homes to some other multi-millionaire as soon as there’s a jump in real estate prices. They have no long term ties to the area and having a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) home in the area is just what rich NYCers do to keep up with the Joneses, forcing the long term locals away.

        My fear is the real estate vultures will descend once they know that a few hundred acres of beautiful real estate is no longer going to be farmed. Hopefully the family will hold out from selling the land. My parent’s generation never would, and I don’t think mine will either, but my generation are in their 50s and 60s now. It’s the next generation I’m worried about. They can no longer afford to buy a home in the area since you need to be a millionaire or better to do that now. The only way they may be able to ever get ahead is to sell off the land.

        At one point my entire extended family were dairy farmers. My grandfather ran this farm, his brother had an abutting farm, and his sister and her husband had another one a couple miles down the road. They sold off the herd of my great uncle’s farm when I was a child but kept the land. They sold the herd and the land of my great aunt’s farm decades ago after she and her husband passed away and I still find it sad driving by it, knowing it’s been bought up rich out-of-staters who probably have no idea how many teats a cow has in the first place.

        My hope is they do keep the land and use it for some agricultural purpose going forward. It’s been farmed for so long all you need to do is scatter a few seeds and you’ll wind up with a bumper crop, the land is so fertile. I hope I’m wrong, but given the ongoing Jackpot we can all see happening before our eyes, we can’t depend on being able to get sustenance from the grocery store forever and having arable land to grow our own food on may be a necessity again sooner rather than later.

        Grow some beans and save the seeds, people. Could be more valuable than you realize.

        1. upstater

          Does your state not have conservation easements to retain ag land? There are a number of sizeable farms which no longer have cattle, but remain unsubdivided.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I believe they will be able to keep the land in current use status even though it won’t be a dairy farm. My folks’ property is just up the road from the farm and used to be pastureland for the farm several decades ago, and it gets the current use status and the resulting lower tax rate as long as they let someone harvest a few logs from it every so many years.

    4. LaRuse

      I am so sorry for the loss of your family’s farm. Truly. I have good friends who are small scale dairy farmers and cheesemongers in Southern PA and I often wonder how long they can hold out. They suffered a massive fire in their milking barn back in December so its been GoFundMes and local Amish and “english” community labor for much of the rebuild since of course, their insurance doesn’t value the buildings and equiment at nearly what replacement cost is.
      And they explained to me years ago about the stuggle with selling milk and how the price they get is basically set by a cartel and what we pay in the market has no bearing whatsoever on what they can sell their milk for. It galls me to pay $5.49 a half gallon for half and half creamer (store brand) these days and know our farmers are getting only pennies of that, despite their sweat and blood literally making something as bougie as my coffee creamer come into existence.
      My sincere condolences. The snake is eating its own tail faster and faster it seems, and that can only end badly for all of us.

    5. fresno dan

      its an outrage. It is a terrible thing how failures in scams have to be protected, but real production is considered something to be ended. Astonishing actually.

    6. Wukchumni

      Sorry to hear of this, and one of myriad of miseries to come of the flood now and the one to come when everything melts out in the First National Snowbank of the High Sierra, is an awful lot of Ag in Godzone is gonna know Noah, including Big Teat-which used to be down in Chino, but cows don’t pay property taxes, and LA-adjacent real estate became more desirable-seeya Betsy.

      They use quite the cacophony of funky farm chemicals, fertilizers and what have you on what is almost all tree crops in this part of the Central Valley, which will all get flooded-and this coming when the trees have dropped dormancy, they’ll all die.

      There’s still a lot of little guy growers here, mixed in with Big Farm, but not that many. I’ll give you an example: I met one of the cabin owners in Mineral King and he related that he had 700 acres of citrus and it had been in the family for 100 years, that sort of thing.

      I asked what sort he was growing and now its all Navel & Cara Cara (eat out of hand) oranges and no Valencias (juice orange), and I inquired as to why, and he told me that they’re ripping out rainforest in the Amazon to plant citrus and are undercutting his ability to make a profit growing them here.

      To add irony, the Navel orange originated in Brazil and was first grown in Cali in 1873, but can no longer be grown in Brazil because the climate has changed

      What do you do with a veritable shitlode of dairy cow shit that also will be flooded out? …so later on the menu, the chef’s special:

      Hanky Ag chems mixed with steer manure, and its only just getting going as they’re releasing water from Lake Kaweah.

      Check out the U-boat pistachio orchard just off of Hwy 198 that was planted about 10 years ago and had yet to have a commercial crop, photos from yesterday.

      1. Carolinian

        Could be time to flee. My friend in Arizona says that some there joke that they need a wall on the Cali border to go with the one down south. It sounds like a stupid joke until you recall that scene in Grapes of Wrath where guards challenge the incoming Okies back in the 1930s. Has the Dust Bowl now been replaced by the Flood Bowl–only a few months ago the Drought Bowl?

        1. Wukchumni

          Grapes of Wrath was filmed based on research of homeless jungles in nearby Visalia.

          There’s color footage of now non existent Tulare Lake-the biggest lake in the west once upon a time, in part 1 of an excellent PBS Series from the 90’s.

          Cadillac Desert – Part 1: Mulholland’s Dream

        2. JBird4049

          >>>It sounds like a stupid joke until you recall that scene in Grapes of Wrath where guards challenge the incoming Okies back in the 1930s.

          IIRC, the Supreme Court finally had to rule against such border closures.

  15. bwilli123

    Re Australian nucleeer subs
    Possibly a cunning move by PM Albo & Penny Wong (FM). A bet that the UK in the next 10 years keeps going the way it has for the past 100.
    By then UK will be even less able to build them for Australia, than they do for themselves now.
    No new subs= no payment.
    Bonus points- In the meantime it gets the Americans off our backs.

    Comment from retired UK Admiral (Posted by ex PM Turnbull)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Trying to have sub construction with the UK involved will be problematical but sub construction with the US has its own problems. At the moment, US shipyards are having serious problems with trying to build subs for the US Navy and are falling behind in scheduling all the time. From what I hear, we are suppose to build the front end of the boat while the US builds the rear of the boat that contains the nuclear gear in it. Then we ship the front end of the boat to the US where they will weld the two sections together before it is tested and sent back to the Australia. I can only imagine the delays that will occur but hopefully the front of the boat won’t fall off.

      1. Vandemonian

        I read somewhere (can’t remember where, sorry) that the cost to the US of sending outdated guns, shells and tanks to Ukraine is a lot less than the cost of recycling that old stock of munitions.

        It occurred to me that the same thing might be going on with the old Virginia class rustbuckets we’re buying secondhand until the new ones are built. Suddenly getting rid of spent nuclear fuel is Australia’s problem. Australian state premiers are starting to squabble about which state gets to have the waste dump.

  16. Carla

    “In fact the economists and big banker types are largely responsible for creating the economic system that drove my family’s farm into the ground.”

    Bill and Melinda Gates, too. I’m so sorry, l.a.b.

  17. fresno dan
    Ron DeSantis came out against our current blank check n’ hack cliches Ukraine policy, stating the indisputable truth that Ukraine was not a vital US interest worthy of risking World War III with Russia. The next day he was proven right when a Russian SU-27 knocked a US Reaper drone into the Black Sea. Hey, feeding Russians (and Ukrainians) into a meat grinder is all fun and games until we get dragged into the abattoir too. Of course, all the right people got really mad about it – when Bill Kristol, Adam Kinzinger, David French, Max Boot and Mitt Romney are all for something, you need to be against it.
    Americans are not pacifists, but they are sick of failure, and that’s what Ukraine is looking to become. Most Americans feel that Ukraine is corrupt, which it totally is – I saw it personally. They feel sympathy for the Ukrainians, as do I (I trained Ukrainian soldiers in Ukraine for the Army). And they agree with DeSantis that this territorial dispute – which it is – is not a vital American interest that overcomes other priorities and that is worth endless treasure and maybe even blood. We generally hope Ukraine wins, but this is not our fight. Nor is the war likely to spread to NATO countries where we have treaty obligations – the idea that we need to retake Crimea so the Russians don’t show up in Berlin, much less London, is ridiculous.
    Schlichter is not a character I much agree with, but I post this because I think it is emblamatic of the schism in the repub party. And by schism I mean the people who get themselves elected and the voters. It is a remarkable aspect of American representative government of how little of what Americans want actually is done by government, and what Americans don’t want IS done. And it is sad that apparently only one party has ANY politcians who are willing to stand up to the US war machine.

    1. hamstak

      To my mind, there are two parallel voting systems: the one-person-one-vote system which decides who “represents” the electorate, and the one-dollar-one-vote system (aka campaign contributions) which decides (or rather dominantly influences) what policy gets implemented by said “representatives”.

      Maybe the lobbying complex could be said to be a shadow legislature of sorts.

      1. hunkerdown

        And the first one is only of ritual importance, given that the second one owns and operates the theater. Graeber’s “battle for access to the right to behave altruistically” sums up the real effects nicely.

  18. GramSci

    I didn’t see David/Aurelian’s latest essay in today’s links, but I though it was especially good, so I’ll drop it here. I appreciate how he picked up his Carl Schmitt theme and focused on ideological friends/foes.

    I would quibble with his laying modern ideological warfare at the door of WWI liberalism–the U.S. Civil War was every bit as brutal, albeit parochial from the European perspective. And although one might choose to trace the cause of that war back to European liberalism, I think it runs more directly back to Christian crusades, maybe even to Akhnaten. But this is just a quibble. A well-wrought essay, IMHO one of his best. Well worth a read.

    1. Carolinian

      You mean DWS? I used to watch her on C-Span and she does seem a most unimpressive politician.

      1. Benny Profane

        And yet, she’s still there, getting her five minutes, after all she’s been through.

        I try to imagine her doing a fund raiser in her district, and then recoil in horror. The extreme tans and the jewelry alone.

  19. Wukchumni

    Silicon Valley Bank: ‘Vini, Vici, Vici, FDIC!’

    Breaking rules is dangerous as it sets a precedent for precedents not meaning anything anymore, we’re certainly not 3rd World yet-but en route.

    What we have here was a failure to accumulate!

    1. griffen

      I don’t have the lyrics fully formed, but start thinking of using a tune from my college years. Mama Said Knock You Out, performed by LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James. ..)

      Don’t call it a Bailout,
      We’ve been here 40 years,
      We’re rocking duration by years,
      We rank well, vs our Bank Peers,

      Papa Biden said Bail You Out
      Mama Yellen said Bail You Out

      Like I said, needs some serious elbow grease on the lyrics.

      1. Wukchumni

        Hey Janet (Yes Biden?), I’ve got something to say.
        I really loved the skilful way
        You beat the FDIC to the SVB bouquet!

        The river of denial was deep but I swam it, Janet
        The future is ours so let’s plan it, Janet
        So please don’t tell me to man up it, Janet
        I’ve one thing to say and that’s

        Dammit, Janet, I love you…

        The road to ruin was long but I ran it, Janet
        There’s a fire in my heart to run in ’24 and you fan it, Janet
        If there’s one fool for you then I am it, Janet
        Now I’ve one thing to say and that’s

        Dammit, Janet, I love you…

  20. The Rev Kev

    “February marks 23rd straight month of real wages decline for US workers”

    This is something I find hard to understand. The US is supposed to have a consumer economy meaning that it literally depends on people consuming. This is so important that after 9/11 George Bush’s advice to his fellow Americans was to actually go shopping. So here is the thing. Each industry in the US is trying to skim as much profit as they can from each consumer and it does not matter if you are talking about education, healthcare, rentals, etc. But sooner or later the consumer will have to run empty on this ill-coordinated assault of their finances. And the trend is to make consumers mostly live from hand to mouth. So what happens to the supposedly consumer economy? Rich people only buy so much and not to scale. As an illustration of how things use to work, when a couple brought a house with a mortgage, that is when the fun began. They would have to buy furniture, outfit the kitchen, buy garden gear like hoses, lawn mowers, etc. They might later erect sheds or garages or do some renovation. The point is that a simple house purchase led to scores of industries supplying the goods for that house for years to come providing each with employment and profits. So as fewer people can affords to buy a house and just rent, think of all those industries that will have reduced demand and perhaps go out of business. And the same thing applies to car ownership. So where does his leave the so-called consumer economy then especially when real wages are falling?

    1. digi_owl

      Credit cards etc. It has pretty much been what has sustained things since the 70s.

      Rack up the debt, go bankrupt, rinse and repeat.

    2. Ben Gunn

      The Rev Kev: “So where does his leave the so-called consumer economy then especially when real wages are falling?”

      The mechanisms of wealth extraction are firmly in place in the US, the western world, and elsewhere. It seems to me the only thing that can explain what is happening is that those who are extracting wealth don’t care about the long term health of the wealth-generating systems. Maybe the beneficiaries of wealth extraction are getting what they can before the societal sustaining systems fail.

    3. hunkerdown

      We’ve been honoring that Puritan institution of the “servant service economy” since the 1980s, at least. Witness the appreciation of intellectual property, for instance.

  21. KD

    I would anticipate a US-sponsored attack dressed up as a Ukraine attack to poison the talks. Or alternatively, assassinating Zelensky and blaming Russia.

    This was my thought on hearing Ritter’s claims about the Chinese Plan. Wouldn’t the West just kill Zelensky and put some pro-NATO stooge in his place who can take directions? On the other hand, if the war is hopeless, Ukraine runs out of ammo in 6 months, the army collapses, the entire caste of Ukrainian elites and Oligarchs will get wiped out of existence presumably, so it may be that the Ukrainian leadership has an offer they can’t refuse from China. On the other hand, there is always a Brutus, so it would come down to whether the Russian security presence can protect Zelensky from the NATO security presence within the government. Sounds dicey.

    1. Susan the other

      Scott Ritter seemed more emotional than usual. Telling personal histories can do that. I get the feeling that the decision has been made in NATO to end the war in Ukraine and Ritter is setting the stage. Xi will visit Moscow before his meeting with Zelensky where he will offer to help rebuild Ukraine. It sounds like unexpected consequences on the part of the West. But telegraphed in advance as if it was always one possibility – when in fact it seemed just the opposite last year – that then our never actually stated goal was to prevent any and all Eurasian economic cooperation. So I’m puzzled.

  22. anon in so cal

    Iran will stop assisting the Houthis in Yemen as part of the China-brokered truce between Iran and KSA…

    1. Anon

      I imagine the Houthis received concessions, but those bits would be too embarrassing for the Saudis to air… and if not, well, hmm…

  23. anon in so cal

    Marianne Williamson’s “peace and love” also apparently included “foaming, spitting, uncontrollable rage,”

    (said a former staffer, who, like most people that spoke with POLITICO, was granted anonymity because of their concern about being sued for breaking non-disclosure agreements. “It was traumatic. And the experience, in the end, was terrifying.”)

    1. Jason Boxman

      Seems legit. We know of some senators that abuse their staff, so why not? She’ll fit right in!

    2. wol

      I’m not registered to vote and don’t intend to but I’m entertained by Trump and encouraged by Williamson’s takes (excepting W’s Ukraine). Whether anonymous comments/leaks are the source or the blob is anyone’s guess.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      I have no intention of ever supporting a self-help author/life coach with no public service experience become President, but the timing of this report just makes me think of Biden/DNC operatives feeding these stories to Politico.

      1. Lena

        Has Hillary called Williamson a “Russian asset” yet? Or do we still have that to look forward to?

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Hmm, good question. Perhaps Williamson’s crypto-statement of support for Banderastan the other day was an attempt to inoculate herself against the charge.

      2. britzklieg

        If he’s still alive, already questionable, the only way Biden wins is if there is no alternative which means any resistance within the “liberal” bubble (emphasis on PMC. a class susceptible to the self help/life coach grift) must be silenced which means crushed when the DNC hammer is swinging. Overkill must be thrilling to those behind it.

        Joe’s re-election is anything but certain, however, and partisan fealty might not be enough as the ever menacing populist blowback energizes a credible comeback for President Combover.

        Oh joy… Trump as the peace candidate.

  24. Jason Boxman

    This latest study used a technique known as Mendelian randomisation, which establishes cause and effect through genetic evidence. The team found two common gene variants associated with the speed of caffeine metabolism, and used these to work out genetically predicted blood caffeine levels and whether this was associated with lower BMI and body fat.

    Does make me wonder, as COVID damages different aspects of the body, to what extent in the coming years this is going to impact research into all manner of aspects of human physiology.

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