Links 3/5/2023

Desperate Crestline residents help one another while awaiting assistance from San Bernardino County San Bernardino Sun. Southern California mountains residents snowed in for more than a week.


Carbon dioxide emissions reached a record high in 2022 AP

A miserable walk on the beach: This is what red tide carnage looks like in Southwest Florida Fort Myers News Press

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ about to get their first US limits AP

Norfolk Southern Chemical Bomb

Residents told to shelter in place after Norfolk Southern train derails in Springfield WDTN

The Checkered Past of the Contractor Monitoring the Air in East Palestine The American Prospect

Ohio law enforcement links Erin Brockovich to potential for ‘special interest terrorism’ threat in East Palestine Yahoo News

The railroad industry’s hold over Washington goes beyond Norfolk Southern Open Secrets


Person in Florida dies after brain-eating amoeba infection, possibly due to sinus rinse with tap water, health officials warn CNN


One-Year Adverse Outcomes Among US Adults With Post–COVID-19 Condition vs Those Without COVID-19 in a Large Commercial Insurance Database JAMA Network. From the findings: “In this case-control study of 13 435 US adults with post–COVID-19 condition (PCC) and 26 870 matched adults without COVID-19, the adults with PCC experienced increased risks for a number of cardiovascular outcomes, such as ischemic stroke.”

Covid-19’s Enormous Death Toll: Worldwide Life Expectancy Has Experienced A Steep Decline Forbes


IAEA chief says agreement struck with Iran to restore cameras, increase inspections at Fordo Diplomatic, by Laura Rozen

Iraq issues arrest warrants in $2.5bn ‘heist of century’ case The Cradle

Top US general Mark Milley makes surprise visit to Syria Al Monitor

House overwhelmingly approves resolution to maintain Syria sanctions after earthquake The Grayzone


102% rise in average cost of electricity purchased from Adani Power between 2021 & 2022: Gujarat govt The Indian Express

Adani shares soar as US investor steps in CNN

India’s Beef with Beef The Baffler

The Koreas

North Korea says UN should demand end to S.Korea-US military drills Reuters


Senate Seeks Covid Origins Information Declassification Bloomberg Law

Beijing calls US world’s ‘primary nuclear threat’ RT

New Not-So-Cold War

Nuclear Armageddon Games in Ukraine CounterPunch

Two Ukrainian pilots are in the U.S. for training assessment on attack aircraft, including F-16s NBC News

Development for whom? The case of USAID in Ukraine’s Donbas Review of International Political Economy. From the abstract: “I focus on the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA) to demonstrate that donor programs serve as mechanisms of capitalist accumulation (for development contractors) and neoliberal responsibilization (for conflict-affected citizens). The analysis points to uneven development and the (neo)liberal peace fallacy in Ukraine’s Donbas. At the same time, it corroborates a wider trend in global political economy to obfuscate the interests of development capital with liberal discourses of vulnerability, resilience, and women’s empowerment.”

Biden, Scholz vow to punish Russia for war in Ukraine Euractiv


UK navy intercepts ‘Iran missiles’ likely headed for Yemen Al Jazeera

Suspected Iranian Weapons Seized by U.S. Navy May Go to Ukraine WSJ. From Feb. 14.

Saab’s Submarines Looking For New Hunting Grounds Naval News



Lavrov, in Baku, tries to shore up shaky Russia-Azerbaijan “alliance” eurasianet

Wall Street Consensus a la Française Phenomenal World

South of the Border

Bill Barr likens Mexican drug cartels to ISIS, demands Biden send military NY Post

Mexico’s president under attack from neoliberals at home and in U.S. People’s World

No, AMLO Is Not Undermining Mexican Democracy Jacobin

Biden Administration

Why Biden Stabbed D.C. in the Back Slate


Biden enlists potential rivals as advisers ahead of 2024 WaPo

The Excellence of Kamala Harris Is Hiding in Plain Sight NYT

Eric Adams’s ‘Worst of the Worst’ Report Violated State Law and a Court Injunction Hell Gate NYC

Poll: Most Trump voters say U.S. has given ‘too much’ aid to Ukraine Yahoo News

Trump vows to end Ukraine conflict in 24 hours RT

61% Believe Feds Helped Incite Capitol Riot Rasmussen Reports

Imperial Collapse Watch

Democrats en déshabillé

Dems want to cut Fox off after lawsuit revelations Politico

California bullet train project faces more cost increases, possible delays KCRA

The corruption of California Unherd

Police State Watch

Paterson violence intervention activist killed in police shooting; AG investigating Paterson Press

Supply Chain

USDA Ag Outlook: Changes Coming to Global Fertilizer Industry, Markets Progressive Farmer

Health Concerns Grow as Oklahoma Farmers Fertilize Cropland with Treated Sewage Civil Eats

Our Famously Free Press

SILENT COLLABORATOR Declassified Australia. Australia’s official neglect of jailed WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is revealed in Federal Government files obtained under FOI legislation.

Class Warfare

Sellers’ Inflation, Profits and Conflict: Why can Large Firms Hike Prices in an Emergency? UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute. From the abstract: “We argue that the US COVID-19 inflation is predominantly a sellers’ inflation that derives from microeconomic origins, namely the ability of firms with market power to hike prices. Such firms are price makers, but they only engage in price hikes if they expect their competitors to do the same. This requires an implicit agreement which can be coordinated by sector-wide cost shocks and supply bottlenecks.”

West Island health authority is willing to hire 16-year-olds Montreal Gazette

10 Body Parts You Can (Legally) Sell MedPage Today

The Bezzle

BlackRock’s tyrannical ESG agenda Unherd

Who was Oliver Harvey? Scalawag

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ambrit

    “Trump vows to end Ukraine conflict in 24 hours.”
    D—! The man is just begging for our votes.
    Coming up soon in the MSM: “Putin ‘drags feet’ of Russian military in Ukraine in bid to help “fanboi” Trump win second term.”
    Last year even I would have considered that ‘headline’ sarcasm. Today? All semblance of logic and intelligence in the MSM is gone.

    1. Craig H.

      Technically the claim is stupid since there is no way the American president could stop Ukrainians and Russians from shooting at one another. On the other hand all he has to do is say so and American participation in the special military operation / whatever stops right now.

      Insufficient belligerence was why Kennedy was murdered so he needs to look out.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I remember he ordered US troops to leave Syria, and yet somehow that did not happen.

        He probably could not prevent the war-party from spending more and more money to “support Ukraine”, but he probably could tell the US military to stop delivering weapons and intel.

        Should the US military obey, it’s quite likely the Ukrainian army would fold like the Afghan army did. And as fast (not the Afghan army the Soviets build, but the one The West left behind).

        1. Bjarne

          Indeed, Trump faced mass insubordination and outright treasonous acts from his ill-chosen underlings in and out of the MIC. The imperial presidency codswallop we’ve been hearing for two decades now only serves to hide the fact that US presidents only have “imperial” powers when they go along with the priorities of the deep state/swamp/MIC/MICIMATT, whatever you want to call it. Which means they only have the power to make war and chaos, impoverish nations and crush labor. The presidency, since JFK’s assassination at the hands of the CIA, has been a neutered position in many ways, just as the swamp wants it to be. This recent putsch against even Biden and Pence, their nominal “allies”, over confidential documents is just another grab for more power by the swamp.

          Trump’s recent video where he declared war on the neocon cabal and the warmongers in govt is a serious threat and they won’t take it lightly. He was never really on their side and they knew it. This war in Ukraine most likely would’ve started in 2017 if Hillary had won in 2016, and may have resulted in nuclear annihilation given her penchant for violence and inherent insecurity and weakness. The world dodged Armageddon with her failure in 2016, whatever Trump’s limitations. He seriously thwarted the neocons in Afghanistan, Ukraine and failed in Syria but did try. He is the only president since JFK, with arguably the exception of Jimmy Carter (and look how Kissinger did him in), that genuinely wants peace. For that alone he will win my vote against the gobalists and neocons.

          1. some guy

            If he were re-elected, he would re-choose the very same kind of underlings. He would probably pick something like Pompeo to be his Vice President.

            So just because Trump keeps ” asking for your vote” does not obligate you to give him that vote. Then again, it doesn’t obligate you not to. Remember though, if you re-elect Trump, you get the Whole Trump Package, not just the Peace In Ukraine. ( Aside from which, the various flavors of UkraNazi are deeply committed to fighting and will keep fighting regardless of what US does or not. If they can’t keep fighting Russia, they will start a terror campaign all over Europe and America too if the can, to get revenge for us “letting Ukraine down”.

            If its Trump v. Harris/Bootedgedge, I will vote for Harris/Bootedgede, because I am not an accelerationist. I would like a few more years of semi-peace and semi-quiet to prepare for my own Separate Survival, and if there are Separate Survivalist groups in my area, to help with local collective Separate Survivalist organizing and preparing. I will not have that Peace and Quiet under a return of President Captain Queeg.

            1. Lex

              That’s why I’m done with voting. I can choose responsibility for helping elect Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

              Also Trump probably wouldn’t end the war tomorrow because of the points already made and the fact that his American exceptionalism is only more crass than the regular politicians. The minute Putin told him no he’d fly off the handle.

              1. some guy

                Well . . . . since I have already opted for Separate Survival, my main concern is which PiParty Division would oversee a slower decline and fall of America than the other one . . . . hopefully a decline and fall slow enough that I can get my Separate Survival preparations made in time. So I will vote my hardest against the ticket I feel ( after my best study and thinking) would crash and burn the country faster than I can crashproof and fireproof my life.

                Obviously, if one thinks either BiParty division winning has the exactly same effect on personal mid-term and long-term survival, then done-ness with voting can be a valid approach.

            2. GC54

              As before he would be shunned by anyone outside The Blob. His bench would be neocons because they are the omnipresent roaches of DC.

            3. Lambert Strether

              > If he were re-elected, he would re-choose the very same kind of underlings.

              I am not sure there are other sorts of underlings to be had. (For example, Russian studies are completely corrupted by irredentists. Or, it would be helpful to have dozen MacGregors, but there’s only one.)

              Trump faced a professional services strike by the PMC when he was elected in 2016; I’m sure they would do the same in 2024, if Trump were elected.

              Bush faced the same issue; conservatives had attempted to solve the it by building a pipeline for their own PMC, especially lawyers, from “Christian” schools like Liberty University, but those schools just aren’t very good, and their graduates aren’t either. Meanwhile, the Federalist Society, which dominates the pipeline from the Ivies, is good, but RINO and not MAGA.

              I’m not sure there’s a solution other than sabotage of the entire enterprise. But even there Trump’s background in real estate doesn’t help him to understand where the weak points are (and people like Bannon just don’t have deep knowledge).

              At least this time, Trump knows what he’s getting into. In 2016, I think Trump’s notions of what a President would be permitted to do were pretty naive, although the naivete no doubt vanished as soon as Clapper, Comey, Brennan, and Rogers showed him the horse’s head (the Steele Dossier) on January 6, 2017. Being from New York real estate, Trump certainly knew an extortion attempt when he saw it, but that knowledge didn’t equip him to deal with it.

          2. in_still_water

            Still having a real hard time wrapping my head around the fact that every single Democrat votes for war and to hide that parties corruption (and the Rs corruption). Every single democrat voted for Hakeem as their leader.

            1. some guy

              An analogy between the Democratic Party and ” The Wind In The Willows” occurs to me.

              When the Weasles took over Toad Hall, it was still called Toad Hall but it was really Weasels’ Hall. So, when the DLC/Hamilton Project Clintonites took over the Democratic Party, it was/is still called the Democratic Party but it is really the DLC/Hamilton Project Clintonite Party. They have just left the “Democratic Party” sign on the building to fool people.

              If there are enough toads-in-exile who think that the toads-in-exile can retake Toad Hall and eject all the Weasels and make it Toad again, they can try that. If other toads-in-exile think the answer is to burn Toad Hall down in hopes of burning every Weasel inside it, so that they can build a new Toad Hall on the ashes, they can try that.

              Or they can try building a new Toad Hall somewhere else, but then they will have to prevent all the Weasels in Toads Clothing from infiltrating it.

              1. Lambert Strether

                > The Window in the Willows

                Here’s the beginning of the set piece where the the Badger, the Mole, the Water Rat, and Toad take back Toad Hall from the Weasels. Fascinatingly, the Chief Weasel is delivering a speech to the other weasels:

                The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, “Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer”—(great applause)—”but before I resume my seat”—(renewed cheering)—”I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!”—(great laughter)—”Good Toad, modest Toad, honest Toad!” (shrieks of merriment).

                And it goes on. Violence!!

                This is children’s literature. Nothing like this would permitted today, even if we had the writers to write it.

    2. Tom Finn

      Uhm…Can one say “Peace Talks” with immediate cease fire first condition?
      Granted, may not ultimately end war but US demand/support for such would have a chilling effect on Ukrainian ability to continue conflict.

    3. Bosko

      If Trump were elected (or even made a good showing at the polls) on an anti-war platform, it would send a very strong message to the uniparty and its colleagues in the State Dept., and I do think, even as deaf as our government is to the will of the people, that would have an impact–without Trump lifting a finger.

      Beyond that, well, Trump was already pretty skeptical of deep state ‘experts’ the first time around. He certainly slipped up by hiring someone like John Bolton, but I think there’s reason to believe he would be even more skeptical of them in a second term, especially if believed the electorate wasn’t entirely made up of NYTimes readers with $400k incomes and Ukrainian flags on their front lawns.

      1. Objective Ace

        There’s skeptical, and then there’s realizing you were played like a fool. One of Trumps faults is he is a terrible loser, however, given certain circumstances this “fault” could be great for the American people

    4. LawnDart

      The “tell” in the con is the fact that they’re players in the big-con– US “elections.”

      Keep in mind that a vote– any vote– is a show of support for this system.

      Until the proles withhold their consent, the ruling-class reigns.

      1. LawnDart

        Lest we fail to see past Don the Con’s pretty-words:

        …Obama foreign policy officials had doubts about supporting the Saudi-coalition’s war. In December 2016, a multimillion-dollar bomb sale was stopped. When Donald Trump became president, the deal was revived and finalized. In 2019, Congress tried to block an $8.1 billion arms package but Trump vetoed the attempt. Included in the package was support for the Royal Saudi Air Force, which would continue to bomb Yemen.

        Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, was quoted as saying, “Trump is leading a concerted, aggressive effort to violate basic human rights of those who are in most need of protection while at the same time undermining the legitimacy of international bodies in charge of holding all governments accountable.”


    5. Neckmann

      If he does not let the world know immediately how to stop the war in 24 hours, then he is indirectly responsible for the conflict deaths in Ukraine that will occur in the next 22 months. Perhaps a million?

      Please please please tell us the secret master!

  2. griffen

    The Excellence of Kamala Harris is Hidden. Have fun with the rewrite and try your own ! Glad I’m reading headlines on an empty stomach.

    Okay, Donna Brazile now pull the other one. FFS.

      1. hk

        It’s funny: I almost wrote something about Hillary Clinton’s toxic femino-masculinity (her incessant obsession to prove that her balls are bigger than any man’s and the willingness to blow up the world to show it) in response to another comment. While this is itself an overreaction to existing sexist stereotyping (the presumption that women leaders are somehow “weaker”), it has been a recurring enough pattern (pretty much every woman foreign policy leader has been a warmonger in the past few decades) that I am deeply fearful of what to expect from a President Harris if that were ever to happen.

        1. some guy

          What might be a shorter simpler word for toxic femino-masculinity? Femachismo? Femichismo?

      2. semper loquitur

        “This Women’s History Month, I want to celebrate a man…”

        Yeah, for that and Women’s power lifting…

        “But as the first man in this role, he is not only shattering perceptions of gender roles; he is also taking a sledgehammer to toxic masculinity.”

        This sentence is a gem. He confronts “toxic masculinity” by “shattering” and “taking a sledgehammer” to things. The author suffers from an irony deficiency…

        “And when Biden and Harris won, Emhoff left the firm to be by Harris’s side.”

        Truly, the burdens of the saints have been laid upon him. Jetting around the world on the taxpayer’s dime, bathing in the limelight of being the first Jewish second husband of the first Blasian second fiddle. I’m sure his legal career will find it’s footing again when he joins some Democratic legal rat-fu(kery factory after Kababble’s career goes down in flames…

        “I want more Kamala Harrises in the future…”

        said the mad scientist to his evil henchman…

        “We’ve kind of confused what it means to be a man…”

        Paging Admiral Rachael Levine…

        “ask him about her, and his eyes will glisten”

        Then ask him about Willy Brown…

        “With every activity he does, he chips away at our calcified notions of power, gender and masculinity.”

        A journey of discovery for us all. Meanwhile, his wife chips away at grammatical usage and sentence structure…

        “The full impact of his example might not be seen for a while, but he’s starting to hit a nerve.”

        Boy howdy.

    1. petal

      I clicked on the link because I just had to see who the author was because the title was just so ridiculous, and when I saw “Donna Brazile” I said a naughty word.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I figure the Harris replacement rumors must be true if Harris has Brazille trying to salvage the wreck.

        1. some guy

          Isn’t Brazille a Clintonite? Doesn’t that mean that the Clintonites as a group are trying to salvage the wreck? And doesn’t that mean that the Clintonites will declare the wreck to be “salvaged”?

            1. some guy

              Well, that’s it, then. Sounds like a Harris/Bootagoog ticket being engineered for either 2024 or 2028. Biden will cling to the Presidency the way a limpet clings to its scar on the rock. Will the Democrats have a crowbar big enough to pry Biden off his scar on the rock?

              ( The only thing more horrible would be a Harris/Clinton ticket. I wonder if Clinton is plotting towards that end even as we speak).


              Here are some images of limpets and the scars they wear into solid rock over time with their shells.

          1. ambrit

            I’m telling my ‘underground kinetic engineers’ to get cracking on renovating the old M-60 tank “parked” in front of the local VFW. Time to start planning on shelling the Capitol Building?
            Of course, we could make it a Kardashians/Hiltons joke and call it ‘Paristroika.’

      1. hk

        Maybe she’ll send tanks against Congress (in the name of democracy(tm)) and fall into a vodka pit afterwards.

        1. Wukchumni

          When Kamala said she did dope, how was anybody to think it could be anything other than marijuana?

      2. semper loquitur

        Delicious. We will all be very busy if Harris gets a chance to restructure American society. Deciphering her pronouncements on one hand while fending off cannibal meth gangs with the other…

    2. Mildred Montana

      Brazile credits Harris with casting the third most tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Does that matter? Her position as tie-breaker was merely an electoral accident, a result of a Senate evenly divided. No credit due. A non-accomplishment.

      1. cfraenkel

        It matters in being the only measurable ‘accomplishment’ Brazile can scrape from the bottom of the barrel. Showing up for meetings doesn’t count.

      2. hunkerdown

        Statecraft is pantomime. Politics depends on futile action being coded as valuable and important achievement.

        1. flora

          Politics for us, the Main Street crowd, has become a pantomime. The real business goes on in the financial centers and the tax havens. Say, has anyone seen SBF guy lately? That FTX thing dropped out of the MSM news almost as fast as the Ohio train wreck(s). Too cynical? / ;)

    3. semper loquitur

      I think all you Harris-phobes need to be reminded of the many good deeds that she has bequeathed upon the world. For example, did you know she invented the Venn diagram?:

      CRINGE: 1 minute of Kamala Harris explaining Venn diagrams’

      Of special note is watching Don Lemon’s neurons misfiring as she breaks Venn diagrams down for him.

      Then she has contributed to the field of reproductive biology:

      VP Kamala Harris sits down with CNN for her first interview after Roe overturn

      “I thought of it as a woman…and the daughter of a woman, and the grand-daughter of a woman.”

      She has been a strong advocate for outer space:

      Kamala Harris mocked for Nasa video with paid child actors

      Kamala Harris was mocked after it emerged youngsters who appeared with her in a video to promote space exploration were professional child actors who auditioned for the parts.

      “you’re literally going to see the craters on the Moon with your own eyes! With your own eyes!!

      as well as electric school buses:

      CRINGE: Kamala Harris Rambles On About How Much She “LOVES” Electric School Buses

      “Raise your hand if you went to school on a school bus!”

      and of course her important work on the relations between church and state:

      As San Francisco DA, Kamala Harris’s Office Stopped Cooperating With Victims of Clergy Abuse

      Harris specialized in prosecuting sex crimes and child exploitation as a young prosecutor just out of law school. But when it came to taking on the Catholic Church, survivors of clergy sexual abuse say that Harris turned a blind eye, refusing to take action against clergy members accused of sexually abusing children when it meant confronting one of the city’s most powerful political institutions.

  3. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Bill Barr likens Mexican drug cartels to ISIS, demands Biden send military NY Post

    “Mexican cartels have flourished because Mexican administrations haven’t been willing to take them on,” wrote Barr, who took particular issue with current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration, which he called the “chief enabler” of the gangsters.

    Can’t wait for the time, next couple of years, when, in an extraordinary display of “bipartisanship,” the two EX-“top law enforcement officials of the u.s.” publish a joint op-ed in the nyt declaring that, “This is a really bad situation and somebody should do something about it.”

    1. Not Again

      Has anyone else noticed that the less these foreign leaders support the war in Ukraine, the “worse” they are? Orban bad. AMLO bad. Lula bad.

    2. pjay

      I actually think Barr’s comparison is appropriate. As with ISIS, so, too, with Mexican drug lords. Some are designated “bad guys” and make convenient scapegoats, while others serve as US intelligence assets and tools of US foreign policy. It’s a nice racket.

      Barr was neck-deep in the Iran-Contra coverup, so I’m sure he remembers our friendly, drug and death squad running Contras. But of course they were “freedom fighters.” As Bush I Attorney General I’m sure he remembers Noriega as well – a lesson to “good guys” who outlive their usefulness.

  4. griffen

    I am not intending to be overly dismissive to this reporting, but the above article “The Railroad industry …hold over Washington.” is of a sort of the dog bites man report. This article does include juicy tidbits, but it is the playbook known all too well. Railroad consolidation begets a sort of duopoly but not quite. Instead of 2 we have like 4 or 5 !

    Regulations get passed, the industry protests too much, a different administration moves in to water down the aforementioned regulations that were passed. Oh and then a new administration deflects to the previous administration’s dereliction of duty. Wall Street. Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare. Meat and Big Agriculture. Defense and the MIC. Lobbying is done for the sake of, well, the industry that is doling out the cash.

    1. jsn

      Best government money can buy!

      The last year has seen most news veer into self satirical abuse of language, wrestling, hell, clubbing frames into positions around inexplicable facts. Most days I can just scan links headlines knowing the story to see what new tortures are being applied to the “framing.”

      Unsustainable trends can go in much longer than we want to imagine, but it’s really getting weird!

    2. upstater

      In most cases for shippers railroads are a de facto monopoly. One doesn’t pack up and move an industrial plant. Intermodal containers at ports often have a duopoly of two carriers. Back in the day of ICC regulation, rates were published and minor railroads could compete against large systems based on service quality. Now rates are negotiated in secret contracts. Thank you Jimmy Carter! Reagan and Clinton presided over massive industry consolidation.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    The “socially conscious investing” (ESG) crisis seems to me to be manufactured.

    Masko’s article in UnHerd about the “tyranny” of the “ESG agenda” reminds me of a couple of things: My definition of libertarian, for instance, which is, A libertarian is a white boy who doesn’t want to pay taxes. Masko also seems to believe that money and investments have no moral aspect–a view typical of the U.S. elites and a part of the impunity and lawlessness of the U.S. white-collar class. Heck, there’s money to be made in underpaying kids in India!

    And then there is this rot: “In 2022, eight of the top ten actively managed US ESG funds (including one of BlackRock’s) performed worse than the S&P 500. This demonstrates two things. First, that ESG funds are not some financial miracle. And second, that the performance of ESG funds is tightly bound to the tech industry, which had a terrible year in 2022.”

    First, 2022 is one year, a weird year, financially. Does any investor put money in a mutual fund for a single year? I have had money at the Pax funds for some thirty years. Likewise, Domini, a rather quirky fund that makes its moral choices evident.

    Second, yes, that slop about getting more women on boards means higher profits is just slop. Yet I recall the days when my (very rightwingish) accountant talked me into buying General Electric stock. What a collection was on that board of directors. Poltroons and carnival barkers: Sam Nunn, a “reasonable” former senator, channeling connections. There were more than one former executive who had run a company into the ground and bounced into GE’s board. Walgreen’s, which I also held, wasn’t quite as obvious, yet paging through the annual report turned up stories worthy of Procopius’s Secret History. Private jets? “Life partners” in the marketing department?

    Third: That business above about over-dependence on tech stocks simply isn’t true. (Does Masko take the time-honored advice, Read the prospectus?)

    All in all, though, after many years of socially conscious investing, I came out far ahead. And I have heard of plenty of others who were more speculative than I who lost it all. There is something to be said for Pax or Domini and their rather earnest, gray, semiannual reports.

    1. Yves Smith

      Basically what gets seen as virtuous under ESG is arbitrary. No public company is clean. It’s just yet anther scam for fund managers and consultants to pull more $ out of investors. The only part of ESG that pays off for investors is the G, governance.

      I recall 2 members of my HBS study group approached me about a new ESG model they had, supposedly a better mousetrap. This around the time of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. They maintained the stories about all the environmental damage were made up by the press (recall there was an argument early on about that, that the concern about the leak was the media making a mountain out of a molehill). They insisted the bad press about the leak was a crock because their ESG model said BP was a great company. I kid you not.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Understood. In the “your eyes almost get tired from rolling” department, I recall that more than one of my ESG investments, either Pax or Parnassus, or both, held Amazon stock. Amazon? Under what criteria?

        And my Pax global environmental fund has a penchant for privatized water systems. The penchant ebbs and flows, but it is counterproductive and rather absurd, given how much you have covered privatized water systems here at Naked Capitalism.

      2. Nick

        A few years ago I interviewed at Michigan’s School of Sustainability for an academic position. At one point I was talking to a top dog, National Academy of Sciences member IIRC, who told me that their institutional goal was for their Masters in Sustainability degree to become the new MBA. Was not sure how to respond to that!

    2. Mikel

      I thought the writer was also making a point that it’s more of an exercise in branding/marketing for corps like Black Rock.

      But this part:
      “…In other words, from the very beginning, the goal of ESG was to harmonise the priorities of political elites with those of business leaders.
      This approach was nothing new in Europe, where Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum (WEF) had long blurred the lines between business and government. But in the US, where the WEF ethos had failed to take root and the shareholder remained king, it was a radical departure…”

      I guess maybe if only thinking in terms about the alleged power of individual shareholders or a specific kind of regulation, but I’ve seen the WEF presentations. Most are in English. They all give interviews in English.
      But most of all, it’s a claim that zaps a long history of blurred lines between business and government in the USA.

      1. Tom Doak

        The very premise that BlackRock is burning bridges to make the world a better place, rather than gaming the system and pretending to be socially conscious in order to attract more investors through its funds, is pretty funny.

    3. Cetra Ess

      Can I just say I think Masko is missing the insider view, also viewing the ESG phenomenon from the wrong lens.

      ESG is not a phenomenon of wokeness being imposed on the FI’s from outside eco-fascists or whatnot, it has been each FI conducting their own analysis and making their own discoveries about which investments are proving sound and why.

      At some point along the way it was discovered by the FI’s that, by their own numbers, if you measure corporations on ESG fundamentals, good corporate citizens are proving to be solid investments with solid growth and returns.

      Speculation (and finance is speculation coupled with risk analysis and management) ensues as to what those ESG metrics are, but there is general trend or consensus.

      High ESG companies are those which aim for, say, pay equity between genders, equitable hiring practices, anti-harassment policies, provide anti-bias or anti-discrimination training, or make an attempt to assess and manage risk on investments which have environmental or societal impact, or to create conflict of interest rules, create ethics hotlines and ensure by example and follow through a culture of ethical practice.

      In other words, ESG is about investing in companies trying NOT to be Enron’s, Worldcom’s, Tyco’s, Goldman Sach’s, etc., for realz, not pretending but actually doing.

      And by the way, if you’re an investor you’re going to tend to prefer open and transparent companies which don’t engage in unethical shenanigans, shenanigans expose your investment to unmanaged and unanticipated risk. ESG, for you, is about trying to identify companies which don’t do unethical shenanigans so your investment strategy can work.

      Also by the way, toxicity in the work place has a real finanicial and legal cost. You’ll want to eliminate such costs as way to improve bottom line.

      So, if debunking ESG as a scam then a necessary first step is to show that the numbers are wrong – that these companies and investments do not, in fact, do well as investments – that it is not a good metric or analysis tool.

      I would say good luck with that because there’s another dynamic to this.

      The same FI’s conducting their internal ESG analysis were also discovering millennials coming into the workforce had very different generational values, weren’t all about profit, avoided companies seen as predatory, exploitative and toxic, the younger generations wanted to see themselves and their role in the world as a force of progressive good and therefore went to those companies they perceived as matching their orientation. When its patently obvious how and why the world is wrecked, you don’t want to participate in the activities known to be doing the wrecking.

      So companies realized if they didn’t adjust accordingly they’d go the way of the dinosaurs, would come to be seen by the younger cohort as an older cohort responsible for disaster, would prefer to join a vehicle for channeling repair and positive change.

      So you see…ESG is do or die, but not for the reasons given, not because wokeness is being imposed, rather because it’s being realized.

      And by the way, Marx predicted capitalism would subsume itself in this way.

      1. Yves Smith

        You have pretty much everything wrong.

        First the FIs overwhelmingly do not do their own analysis. They use consultants. Consultants have an incentive to cut the numbers to make ESG look like it works. That sort of thing is pervasive. For instance, 77% of the private equity funds have made themselves look like they have top quartile performance.

        Second, as I said, the only element of ESG that has been shown to be beneficial in investment terms is G, governance. The rest restrict the investment universe without producing upside. That = more risk in bad years for not improved returns in good years. Some ESG moves like getting rid of tobacco stocks have proven to be huge losers, see CalPERS.

        Plenty of confirmation had you gone looking:


        To begin with, ESG funds certainly perform poorly in financial terms. In a recent Journal of Finance paper, University of Chicago researchers analyzed the Morningstar sustainability ratings of more than 20,000 mutual funds representing over $8 trillion of investor savings. Although the highest rated funds in terms of sustainability certainly attracted more capital than the lowest rated funds, none of the high sustainability funds outperformed any of the lowest rated funds.

        That result might be expected, and it is possible that investors would be happy to sacrifice financial returns in exchange for better ESG performance. Unfortunately ESG funds don’t seem to deliver better ESG performance either.

    4. Karl

      My definition of libertarian…[is] a white boy who doesn’t want to pay taxes.

      As a former white boy Libertarian myself I thought this was amusing, but on reflection this definition needs work. I get your meaning, but who “wants” to pay their taxes? And why “white boys?” A bit racist and sexist maybe?

      1. Victor Moses

        Haha. Presumably those who have wealth are the least inclined to pay taxes. And given the history of the past 250 years in the US – that would highly correlate with white males. As to paying taxes – one should want to pay taxes not to provide oneself with services but to ensure your neighbours are not left to fend for themselves in some kind of Darwinian contest. Whether that tax rate should be 50% is an entirely different matter.

        1. Procopius

          Whether that tax rate should be 50% is an entirely different matter.

          Yes. One of the policies that needs immediate change is cutting taxes for the wealthy. We need to go back to income tax rates from JFK’s days. Even better would be Eisenhower’s tax rates. Tax everything over $1 million a year at 92%; everything over $5 million at 95%; and everything over $10 million at 99%. High tax rates do two things. They limit the number of billionaires (actually, more tax policies are needed for that), and they are a great incentive to work harder for those who are striving at that level.

  6. Mikel

    l”Ohio law enforcement links Erin Brockovich to potential for ‘special interest terrorism’ threat in East Palestine” Yahoo News

    “According to the FBI, special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change,” the report states. “Such extremists conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to the extremists’ cause.”

    Erin B. is with a group going to explain legal rights to the people being poisoned.
    So essentially, the cretins in authority are threatened by people expressing any right not to be poisoned.
    The violence and terror carried out by all of these agencies in service of corporations is terrorism.
    Wanting to make them eat and crap copies of the 70s Powell memo is an act of self-defense.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      …Brokovich has urged the community to use common sense and ask questions. Brockovich is also placing blame solely on Norfolk Southern…

      That there is is some subversive shit.

      Something tells me, regardless of how gullible and stupendously uncritical the american public has proven to be, Erin Brockovich as a domestic “terrorist” is gonna be a bridge way, way too far. See, there’s this movie…with Julia Roberts ferchrissakes.

      My guess is that even Bernays would call this one a “no go.” For desperate measures in response to desperate times to work, there’s got to be at least a kernel of plausibility someplace.

      1. Eclair

        And now, Susie, what do you want to be when you grow up?

        I wanna be a ‘Special Interest Terrorist.’ I leaves my options open: I can agitate against: Big Ag and Factory Farms, Big Pharma and their ‘deaths-of-despair’ causing drugs, labor-busting Rail Monopolies, polluting Resource Extraction Conglomerates, the Weapons of Mass Destruction overlords …… I mean, the possibilities are endless. It will offer a lifetime of meaningful employment. Although, that ‘lifetime’ will be a short one …….

    1. CanCyn

      Moose are very big animals indeed. I grew up in northern Ontario where you don’t want to run into a moose on the road. Had a friend who was on a bus to Thunder Bay that hit a moose. It didn’t kill the moose! My brother’s best friend’s brother and sister-in-law were killed when their car hit a moose head on. My brother’s friend ended up raising his nephew who was only 6 at the time (and not in the car when the accident happened).

        1. some guy

          Awfully gracious of those mooses to run away from the car instead of running right in front of it.

  7. Louis Fyne

    —-California bullet train project faces more cost increases, possible delays KCRA—

    $128billion ($90+ billion over budget) could have rebuilt the mass transit systems of every major California city.

    What a family-blog waste and misallocation. What California needs (and is best for the environment) is a way for the bottom 85% to conveniently commute within their metro area—not a LA-SF shuttle, especially when that rail routeis through the most challenging seismic environment in the country.

    More buses, some subways where appropriate. That is where transport spending should be. America

    1. Lex

      Meanwhile in Russia, a new outer ring metro with 36 stations, 3 train depots, numerous connections to the inner ring and radial spokes and 70km of new track were constructed in 11 years. All of the construction was done in fully developed areas of the city.

    2. Questa Nota

      The Guv needed those key Central Valley votes for that showcase project.
      The votes came at a ridiculous cost and set the tone for the rest of the failures to come.
      Never mind any consideration for viability, cost overruns or similar rational concerns. Sacramento is not a friend to Californians.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yuri blasted into outer space about the same time I blasted into inner space, and more importantly-the LA Red Car System stopped running about the time of my conception and didn’t exist anymore when my coming out party happened later in 1961.

        LA was a terrific place to grow up back in the day, with the emphasis on ‘was’.

    3. Wukchumni

      Its essentially a train going from Chinatown in LA to Chinatown in SF that struggles to be built, while China has new HSR criss-crossing the country.

      Not that i’ve been looking all that hard, but from my perch here in the Central Valley, I see nothing being done on the project in my driving forays into Godzone.

      1. griffen

        Now I’m thinking about music and songs about the train, or trains generally. Get quite a few hits on that topic from the interwebs (below is but a fraction).

        Long Train Runnin – Doobie Brothers
        Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
        Downtown Train – various artists
        Driver 8 – REM
        Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

        Metallica has a song which incorporates freight train in the lyrics, and is a personal favorite from their work on the S&M album…video is linked below for “No Leaf Clover”

        1. digi_owl

          This got me thinking about The Gambler by Kenny Rogers.

          And that in turn makes me think about how we rarely get these kinds of encounters now a days. In part because planes and busses are not arranged for such interactions, and in part because everyone will have their noses buried in their phones etc.

          Still, passenger trains, In particular long haul ones like say coast to coast US, are effectively land cruises. This complete with dining and sleeping cars.

          Taking a train long distance, or a ship across the oceans, meant having days of nobody but your fellow passengers to interact with.

        2. QuicksilverMessenger

          Down Bound Train- Chuck Berry
          Downbound Train- Springsteen
          Orange Blossom Special- Johnny Cash
          Train in Vain- Clash
          It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry- Dylan

            1. Martin Oline

              Perhaps he wasn’t really familiar with railroads?
              Mona tried to tell me
              to stay away from the train line.
              She said that all those railroad men
              just drink up your blood like wine.
              And I said “Oh I didn’t know that
              but then again there’s only one I’ve met
              and he just smoked my eyelids
              and punched my cigarette.”
              – Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again

            2. QuicksilverMessenger

              The song started out with the title “Phantom Engineer”, at a much faster tempo. And some different lyrics: The brakeman lyric is not in this original:

              ‘Don’t the moon look good mama shining thru the trees/
              Don’t the angel look good baby sitting on his daddy’s knee..’

              And the then the lyric changed to

              ‘Don’t the moon look good mama shining thru the trees/
              Don’t the ghost look good baby sitting on his madman’s knees’

              Ghosts, phantoms, madman, angels, brakeman and engineer. Dylan 1965-66!

    4. Glen

      Both LA Metro expansion, and BART expansion are occurring, and being coordinated with California HSR:

      LA Metro pushes timeline to complete key rail projects by 2028 Summer Olympics–58506

      Silicon Valley BART extension

      And city transit systems are also being expanded to match up with the regional systems:

      Bay Area Transportation Project Road Map

      So, it’s sorta happening.

      Is America good at it? As good as China or Russia? No [family blogging] way.

      But that bleeds back to a LARGER question/observation. Why is America so crap at doing ANYTHING without excessive cost and $hit performance?

      I mean the example staring us in the face is how in the [family blogging] h#ll is Russia pretty much holding it’s own against the whole West with a military budget of $66B? $66B!

      The Rand corporation will probably get that much from the Pentagon to write a paper telling us how that happened. (And it will be wrong.)

      1. LY

        Seems to me mostly happening at the state and local level. California is the spiritual home of car culture, and also where things got worse before getting better, as seen first with air quality, and now with the realization that its impossible to build one’s way out of traffic.

        Like anything else, getting **** done requires governing and long term planning. But there’s no leadership or shared interest. The national Republican party is allergic to mass transit. The entities that fund politics (corporations, PMC, etc.) don’t care or are hostile (NIMBY, class).

        1. Glen

          Yes, it’s notable that California HSR is the ONLY viable HSR project in ALL of America:

          High-speed rail in the United States

          And that it was approved by a VOTE:

          2008 California Proposition 1A

          I’d like to know more about how that happen because as you point out, it was probably NOT popular with the elites that run the state. Seeing some California based elites call California “unlivable”, leaving and taking their companies with them, would seem to clearly indicate that things like mass transit or healthcare for everybody is just not something they will support:

          California Businesses Leave The State By The Thousands

          Course, I’m not sure the “for hire” politicians that run the state support it either.

          But my comments about America in general goes more towards that this problem of high cost/low performance seems to be more than a California infrastructure problem, it seems to be endemic to America at large: in our MIC, in our education systems, in home cost, most everywhere you look.

        2. JBird4049

          I was going to whinge about what has happened to my state, but instead, I will whinge to what happened to California’s Republican Party. The local party went insane before the national party leaving, at the time, only the California’s Democratic Party sane and competent. But now it has become corrupt and incompetent, not to mention a bit crazy.

          Most of the combined parties’ leadership needs to be sent to San Quentin or Soledad, Pelican Bay being too cruel.

          1. Tom Doak

            The local party went insane before the national party leaving, at the time, only the California’s Democratic Party sane and competent. But now it has become corrupt and incompetent, not to mention a bit crazy.

            Once again, as California goes, so goes the nation.

            1. JBird4049

              >>>Once again, as California goes, so goes the nation.

              Yes, it does, but I would also say that while a similar process is happening across all states, the crazy in each one arises from each state’s particular vices. I think that each party, whether by choice or just chance, glommed onto the different sets of cultural weaknesses or vices that divide the nation’s cultures. Many people, including Americans do not truly understand that there are a number of separate cultures that float in the American cultural sea.

              The South really is a separate nation from the rest of the American nation, but yet is still a part of the American nation. Expanding on this still greatly oversimplify description, same can be said for New England, the West, the Midwest, Southwest, the West coast, and the various Native American nations, but while different, it looks like they all have one of two or three sets of vulnerabilities, maybe vices might be a better description. To really oversimplify even more, the Red areas and the Blue areas.

              I do not think that it was planned, but I need to dig into my own library as well as the college’s to better understand. It might be that the local vampire squids stumbled onto the process. However, both parties want to create, maintain, and rule over the seeds of corruption placed into the nation by corporations and the wealthy.

              I think the Powell Memo charged up the New Deal’s counter-revolutionary enemies although the assault’s planning had started in 1935. This assault required massive amounts of money over several generations. The ambitious and morals free people across the political spectrum in politics, social activism, business, the arts, religion, and anything else in our society also glommed onto this gravy train.

              In fairness, I do not think that the reactionaries including their sycophants and flunkies, some of who could be called American Ultras wanted this possibly lethal amount of lawlessness, greed, and incompetence; they wanted a wrecking crew to get rid of the changes that they did not like, and they made no efforts towards reconstruction or accounting for the actions of other factions in American society such as the security state, or neoliberalism, or just the criminal, thus leaving a poisoned and ruined society we all get to live in. Stupid, really, to clear cut society’s forest, and expect nothing bad to happen when you do not put in the plants you do like.

              Maybe I am overthinking this, but I am seeing the use of two broadly similar set of attacks to take over each state by using its own weaknesses, sometimes its own strengths, which is genius. This still leaves us with fifty states and umpteen municipalities each “governed” by a single increasingly corrupt, incompetent, and crazy party. The tactics might be different, but the results are the same.

      2. Carla

        “Why is America so crap at doing ANYTHING without excessive cost and $hit performance?”

        Capitalism demolished its enemy, government. And this is what you get.

    5. upstater

      The Long Island Railroad Eastside Access cost $3.5B per mile to construct, $11B total and more than a decade late. By far, the most expensive public transit project in the world. In fairness, the Grand Central Madison terminus of 8 tracks 130 feet below ground is an engineering feat, but not an $11B feat.

      Given the expense of LIRR’s debacle, Cali HSR reallocated to BART and LA Metro might buy a few miles of transit. But it wouldn’t get anyone very far.

      We should outsource rail and transit to Russia and China.

  8. notabanker

    I mean, sure, ESG may just be another corporate alphabet cause, but think of all the jobs created!

    You need experts to tell you what constitutes an ESG investment, so you hire those experts. And those internal experts need external experts to validate that their conclusions are accurate. And because the external experts actually work for your internal experts, you need third party independent experts to validate that the internal experts haven’t been led astray. And of course, none of those experts can be held legally liable for their opinions so you need more experts working for the government to make sure the non-government experts don’t (I know, gasp!) come to conclusions that could have ulterior motives.

    And all of those experts need certifications, so someone has to teach them all how to be experts, and because this field is so nascent, er um, emerging, those people are very hard to find and in high demand, so they are not cheap = great wages. Or is that fees?

    1. Robert Hahl

      If anyone out there believes that ESG funds will help the environment, I have a carbon offset credit to sell you.

      1. Milton

        Ties in nicely with the AP’s blurb re: record CO2 levels in the atmosphere. I will guarantee with 99.999% certainty that this will be an annual repeat for the next 100,000 years.

  9. timbers

    Not So Cold War

    Defense Politics Asia is based in Singapore. Hence their updates in Ukraine can sometimes seem more timely. Today they report Ukraine is in a full scale evacuation – vs the prior days partial – from Bakhmut to Chasiv Yar. These updates on Ukraine at DPA are briefer and better spoken English vs Military Summary Channel, but less detailed and less regular.

    1. kriptid

      Of note, Russia has fire control over the two remaining paved roads leading out of Bakhmut. The only route left for the Ukrainian retreat is what looks like a dirt (mud) road from the satellite imaging. Will be interesting to see what kind of Wunderwaffen the Ukrainians are forced to leave behind in Bakhmut for the Russians to plunder. Imagine Wagner will be releasing some nice footage of the booty in the next few days.

      1. timbers

        “This situation is completely in the Russian favor…” – Dima at Military Summary

        Well, they’d better perform. If they can not get a large number of the AUF now when they are supposedly out of artillery encircled and on the run, this war is going to go for a very long time. And there are layers and layers of fortified areas beyond. At some point the West will have the production to resupply Ukraine if this goes on too long.

        1. LifelongLib

          Also, long wars become unpopular. My guess is that (for Russia) the war will be politically untenable before it’s militarily untenable. The Russians will do what they have to to bring it to an end well before that.

        2. kriptid


          One of the best parts of Defense Politics Asia’s mapping compared to other mapping pundits is the marking of all of the entrenchments that have been built in the Donbass prior to the conflict. What this reveals is that there was always an eventual expectation of war in Ukraine from the Kiev regime. Layers upon layers of entrenchments going deep into the Western Donbass in regions where the DPR/LPR militias could never have reached. There are undoubtedly many more now that cannot be seen with 2+ year old satellite images from Google Maps.

          1. timbers

            Yep. It’s not popular to say this on NC, but Russia is still fighting with gloves on and this is a truly huge miscalculation to fight an existential war that way. She needs to destroy Ukraine supply routes. Sooner the better. Delaying doing so = more Russian lives lost and more time for the West to fire up production and turn the war of attrition tables upon Russia. And Dima has repeatedly said Russian slow pace has allowed Ukraine to build new fortifications that greatly slow her advance. Russia must cut supply routes.

            1. hk

              I think Russia keeps gloves on because Ukraine is not the “real” war to them. I’ve been musing that Russia is seeking to demilitarize United States and denazify France and Germany, all the while keeping the fight in Ukraine–Russia lacks the expeditionary capability necessary to take the fight far from its own borders. Swiftly smashing Ukraine, then, is counterproductive for this purpose. They have to make sure that the fight drags on until United States empties armories and political crises break out in France and Germany. (Not sure if these developments will actually take place, but just saying that that’s my sense of Russian strategy.)

              From the US and European perspective, the best response should be to cut loose from Ukraine as soon as possible. Biden and the neocons are ensuring that things get ever worse, even for US and the West.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Considering the estimates that are thrown around about the Ukrainian losses so far, maybe the gloves are off, but it’s still not yet a full blown war. And from a Russian perspective, the current battles are in Russia, not Ukraine.

                The smartest thing Ukraine could do now is to withdraw from the areas Russia claims are now Russia, and thus shorten their logistic routes while forcing Russia to extend hers. And also exchange area for time to build up new reserves.

                Russia has all the advantages at the moment: initiative, firepower, manpower, logistics, endurance. So it doesn’t have to take any risks that come along with maneuver warfare – as things are, this is for them to lose.

                As you point out, the Russian operations and their tempo are most likely dictated by a much bigger strategy than merely beating the living daylights out of Ukraine. What Lavrov does is as important as what Shoigu does.

            2. some guy

              If Russia blows the bridges connecting the front to the West, how will the West get tanks, shells, etc. to the front where Russia can destroy them?

              If the long term Russia goal is to drain the West’s weapons tanks, tank tanks, etc. down to zero over the next few years, keeping the bridges up would serve that goal.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                This of course assumes that the West is completely incapable of rebuilding a weapons industry over the next few years. They may or may not do so – there are good reasosn to believe that they will not, simply from lack of interest in sorting out the many organisational and logistical difficulties involved – but it seems a poor assumption to stake a strategy on.

                Assuming one actually does believe this war is in any way “existential” for Russia, anyway.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    re: the sudden usa belligerence towards mexico:wasn’t there a huge lithium deposit discovered there recently?
    i foresee…have foreseen…a “pivot” to shoring up the monroe doctrine(a la Reagan)…after more distant activities prove impossible.

  11. Mikel

    “Mexico’s president under attack from neoliberals at home and in U.S.”

    I was under the impression that his administration hasn’t strayed to far off the neoliberal reservation.
    But that just goes to show the uncompromising (and greedy) nature of neolibs and neocons. They don’t do agreements…they do diktats.

  12. Dorey

    >61% Believe Feds Helped Incite Capitol Riot

    The original question was “How likely is it that undercover government agents helped provoke the Capitol Riot? And it was only asked of “Likely US Voters.”
    What’s brilliant about this bad faith headliner framing is first it doesn’t explicitly indicate that 61% believe anything, but merely their opinion of a likelihood that it might be true. You can group the inconclusive skeptics in the middle into which ever side you want.
    What’s even better is that it doesn’t disentangle whether having ex-military or off-duty cops or the currently seated politicians and employees in the MAGA crowd qualifies as “undercover government agents” or not.
    It gets even more difficult if you think maybe Donny counts as a member of the government or a “Fed” and maybe had some folks working on his behalf with Roger Stone, etc to rabblerouse. It might also extend to whoever one thinks is responsible for not calling in the National Guard.
    Or if one is a real brain broken sicko, it can extend to the victim complex of the right-wingers claiming they were provoked by an imagined deep state or whatever that stole the election in the first place, because the powers that be knew a real patriot would have no choice but to respond in such a way, or however many levels of conspiracy they need to go.

    Honestly, what’s the point of even publishing this stuff that was specifically designed to cloud the issues?

    1. tegnost

      It’s occams razor. The DC law/military/ capitol protection services and their fusion centers had all the data they needed so the simplest answer is they didn’t do anything because they didn’t want to.
      Go watch some videos of the seattle police dealing with demonstrators.

    2. Objective Ace

      You’ve resulted to making up your own definition of “undercover”. Really — Donald Trump was undercover?

      There’s 0 dispute that ex-military or off-duty cops were there. The whole question relies upon whether they [or active members who we do not know about] were involved in secret work within a government organization–which incidentally is the defintion of “undercover” I just pulled from Oxford. The only way people could twist this question is if they do not know the definition of undercover

      1. JBird4049

        “Or if one is a real brain broken sicko, it can extend to the victim complex of the right-wingers claiming they were provoked by an imagined deep state or whatever that stole the election in the first place, because the powers that be knew a real patriot would have no choice but to respond in such a way, or however many levels of conspiracy they need to go.”

        This leftist brain broken sicko has seen the police state going after the leftists and liberals numerous times with them being informed ahead of time by both numerous informants and spyware like our cellphones. The FBI said that they had informants among the protesters. If the Capital Police did not know beforehand, I would be truly surprised. What is being done to the 1/9 protesters is standard practice with the only difference being the designation of conservative instead of leftist, but it is all the same except for the details particular to this operation.

        Really, why the surprise or pushback?

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Honestly, what’s the point of even publishing this stuff that was specifically designed to cloud the issues?

      Well, it’s Rassmussen (who seems to have adopted the role of content provider as well as pollster).

  13. Carla

    I don’t like depending on Twitter for information and in fact, canceled an account I very seldom used. But since we get so many snippets of information (and snippets are all Tweets provide) on NC links, I am often intrigued and sometimes going searching for the original sources. Such was the case this morning, when I looked up the Edelman 2023 Barometer.

    Here’s what I turned up:

    So, the conclusion of this outfit is: rebuilding trust in government depends on: No, No, No, NOT better government. (What’s wrong with you, anyway?)

    Rebuilding trust in government depends on building better public/private partnerships, since Business is the Most Trusted institution in Amurica. More corporate control. Just what we need.


    1. Dorey

      I think you’re proving a good reason why Twitter might not be that great of a way to accumulate information, especially with Twitter’s inherent bias towards snippets of information, and the perverse malleability of those snippets.
      “The medium is the message…”

    2. GramSci

      Having exactly the same attitude to Twitter, I did exactly the same thing. Edelman simultaneously published almost exactly the same article on prnewsline. They’re a PR company. I had to laugh how they had to sugarcoat their findings so as not to offend their business clientele: ‘The Chinese government is the most respected, but in Amerika, business is more respected than government!’ USA! USA! USA! LOL.

    1. Lexx

      See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
      See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
      Can’t you see you’re in my way now
      Don’t you know you cramp my style

      I thought that fence bent like plastic meant to look like metal… but probably metal, so I adjusted my underestimation of a gators strength to something survivable… like running. I’ve read those short legs are fast on land too. Yikes.

      1. Martin Oline

        It was probably extruded tubing with a thin wall thickness of 1/16″. 1/2 ” square regular steel tubing runs $3 a foot and aluminum is $5.65 a foot. Appearance is everything to most people, so plastic is not out of the question as it doesn’t rust, but it was probably steel.

      2. semper loquitur

        Yikes, talk about “Crapification Watch”. That gator didn’t seem particularly big either.

      3. Ellery O'Farrell

        Remember a tidbit from the past that, while you can’t hold a gator’s jaw open, you can hold it closed. At least, someone once recommended it as a survival tactic. If my memory is right….

  14. Carolinian

    Re The Real News “The Deafening Silence of the Intellectuals

    The author, a Portuguese university professor, expresses puzzlement about our current pro war climate and then goes on to state about WW1

    Intriguingly, no major German intellectuals were heard speaking out against the war at that time. The case of Thomas Mann is worthy of reflection.[…]

    Mann concluded by writing that “Law is the friend of the weak; it would reduce the world to a level. War brings out strength

    But perhaps this example is not so “puzzling” and more the norm with the Vietnam period, in living memory, being more the aberration. Perhaps it’s intellectuals with their theories and rationalizations who give rise to movements like Italy’s fascism and the Nazi madness. The article says that Mann eventually turned against the Nazis but a little late. The author cites Tolstoy as a counter example but isn’t Tolstoy’s book more a depiction of his own journey from Napoleon fanboy to disillusioned social critic? In other words intellectuals are great at analyzing their mistakes after they’ve made them. In the here and now we may need something else.

    1. GramSci

      The Vietnam War was no aberration. If the Harvard faculty was any indication, the ‘intelligenCIA’ was united to a tenured chair in support of the war. I wonder if Noam Chomsky himself would have publicly (and somewhat belatedly in 1967) opposed the war if the CIA (per the ALPAC report) had not cut off his machine translation funding in 1966.

      1. Carolinian

        And Ellsberg worked for the MIC before exposing it.

        My dad’s favorite expression was “nothing beats experience.” You need more than an ivory tower.

      2. digi_owl

        Vietnam was the dawn of video news.

        Now you could have independent reporters on the ground showing events.

        And the MIC has yet to get their claws into the media houses, so they were not beholden to delivering the propaganda. Thus the rose colored glasses of the world wars vanished, and the students could see on TV what hell the draft would send them into. And they recoiled.

        So after that, no draft and careful curation of news coverage. Gulf war was the first new media war, with CNN carefully showing how effective and accurate pentagons new toys were live from downtown Bagdad. No mass napalming of villages and crying blood covered kids here, no sir. Just laser precision shock and awe.

        But then came broadband internet, and Wikileaks. And suddently war was hell again.

    2. communistmole

      There was Karl Kraus in Austria/Hungary and his ‘Fackel’ (The Torch), which appeared under censorship during the war. From this came ‘Die letzten Tage der Menschheit’ (‘The Last Days of Mankind’), probably the most important German-language work against the war.

  15. Lex

    The article on PFAS has some misleading bits. The family of chemicals has not been banned. Specific compounds have been taken out of production, but the major manufacturers have been replacing them with new versions. The story is that the length of the carbon tail on the compound is what makes them so bad, so different carbon tail structures will make them safe. There’s no proof of that.

    1. Carla

      Yeah. Business: the Most Trusted Institution in America, per Edelman, above. Not in East Palestine, it ain’t. They have NOTHING to trust, and they know it.

    2. cfraenkel

      Is that glass half full or half empty? If given a choice between suspecting ‘x’ is harmful, and doing less ‘x’ now before getting rigorous proof, or continuing to do ‘x’ while the proof is slooowwly determined, I know which path I’d choose.

      The alternative is Exxon / Shell’s approach wrt carbon emissions. Ford / Pinto gas tank. PG&E / transmission line maintenance. Norfolk Southern / wheel bearing maintenance. etc.

      1. Wukchumni

        Ouch, that hurt.

        I was the 4th recipient of our family’s 1974 puke green (the manufacturers claim of hue being avocado) Pinto.

        I rear ended some lady in Buena Park early on as a driver in the car’s demise down to the scrap yard, thanks goodness it wasn’t the other way around.

      2. Lex

        More than half empty. The only research done on the new compounds is in house from the manufacturers. But the way the US regulatory system is set up, someone has to prove something is bad before it gets regulated or even investigated.

        In pieces like this we get the subtle elimination of questions with language like saying they’re banned without qualifying what’s actually banned or pointing out the replacements are proven to be better. And this is after the trump era attempts to incinerate PFAS by DOD that mostly didn’t work but did make novel PFAS chains.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > the way the US regulatory system is set up, someone has to prove something is bad before it gets regulated or even investigated

          That’s the issue. Reverse that.

        1. ambrit

          “Teary stoned glass eyed,”
          “Horizontal West Coast Veep,”
          “Serviced with a smile.”

  16. Vikas

    Re: The JAMA piece on PASC/PCC/Long COVID. This and most studies to date have two significant limitations in that they are examining Long Covid from the wild-type virus which had the highest rates of complications from the acute illness, and they are using people without any COVID infection as the comparison group. In other words, the high rates could be from the original illness and not from the Long Covid symptom complex per se..

    I suspect this raises the overall adverse rates and makes the diagnosis more dire than it may be in others. At least I hope so, because I am conflicted on this point. As someone who has had Long Covid for over a year now I am really interested in what the numbers would be from a more recent, vaxxed cohort. And particularly interested in a comparator group that actually had COVID but is free of sequelae…

  17. cnchal

    > Sellers’ Inflation, Profits and Conflict: Why can Large Firms Hike Prices in an Emergency?

    Always and everywhere it is a price – wage spiral.

    From the PDF

    We argue that firms with market power typically refrain from lowering prices and raise prices only if they expect other firms to do the same. Besides a formal cartel and norms of price leadership, there can be implicit agreements that coordinate price hikes. Sector-wide cost increases can generate such an implicit agreement: since all firms want to protect their profit margins and know that the other firms pursue the same goal they can increase prices, relying on other firms following suit. If firms deviate from this price hike strategy, the threat of share sell-offs by financial investors can enforce compliance with such implicit agreements. Bottlenecks can create temporary monopoly power which can even render it safe to hike prices not only to protect but to increase profits.

    Powell, a Wall Street animal, is charged with beating inflation by beating labor. You see, when a price gouging Biggie causes inflation eclownomists call it a wage – price spiral and put the blame on us for having the temerity to pay any price to eat. Of course eclownomists can always substitute down from their S class to an E class and still afford steak and caviar.

    1. cfraenkel

      So when they coined ‘wage – price spiral’, they left out the part where it was the financier’s wage they were talking about?

    2. skippy

      Had a Austrian economic sort tell me that due to regulations being stripped out/gutted they had no other choice than raise rates, fully knowing how it only effects wage labour …. that will fix the economic dislocation thingys ….

  18. Wukchumni

    In regards to hazardous materials in trucks, those lozenges on the back of 18 wheelers tell the tale of what‘s in them, with the commonest being a 3 on a propane truck, but watch out if you’re behind an 8 or a 9 which is hauling something wicked, and best get ahead of them.

    John McPhee’s Uncommon Carriers is all about the dangerous long haul from a trucker’s perspective, recommended!

    1. Ellery O'Farrell

      Walked across the GWB a couple of days ago on the new Northwalk–a very enjoyable journey with spectacular views, as you might expect, at least before the bikes take over as the good weather arrives–and saw two trucks in the far right eastbound lane with not one but two official-looking vehicles with lights in full flash behind them. The traffic in the other eastbound lanes was rushing past.

      I’m glad they had an escort. Don’t even want to think about a hazmat accident on the GWB….

  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Biden and DC

    A perfect encapsulation of Biden as a classic bully. He gets to dunk on little people who have supported him while avoiding fighting the GOP and can even tell due to GOP framing the actual denizens of DC “why don’t you stop hurting yourself”.

  20. Mikel

    “Adani shares soar as US investor steps in” CNN

    Not surprising. It’s a long time fave global investment play for the elite: privatize the profits and socialize the losses (aka “private-public partnerships”). The ideology TBTF.

  21. chuck roast

    Sellers’ Inflation, Profits and Conflict: Why can Large Firms Hike Prices in an Emergency?

    Thanks to UMass PERI for belaboring the obvious. Well, somebody’s got to do it. Here in a world were we have about a half-a-billion blind establishment economists probing and feeling the poor elephant. Their limp and dreary descriptions of the beast are as repetitive as they are inaccurate.

    Most recently we have the neo-classical princeling Mohamed El-Erian pushing boundrys of orthodoxy to the Rubicon in an FT piece “It is Time for the US to Upgrade its Fight Against Inflation”. Astonishingly, El-Erain posits that, “In my opinion, the fundamental medium-term characterization of the US economy has shifted from one of deficient aggregate demand to one of deficient aggregate supply.” Deficient aggregate supply! One would initially think that the boy had dusted off an ancient macro-economic text on imperfect competition, but no! No mention of monopolies and oligopolies controlling every sector in the supply chain. The problems it seems, are green transition in energy and elsewhere and changing globalization and blah, blah, blah.

    I like El-Erain. He has got the chops and the rep. to go where the ‘about a half-a-billion’ fear to tread. But, he ain’t crossing the Rubicon anytime soon.

  22. spud

    this article is the poster child on how why you can’t internally regulate and tax under free trade. and why even if you could get a Macron type to exit, another will simply take his place.

    if you don’t shut down free trade with capital controls, tariffs and protectionism, oligarchs will simply go on as business as usual.

    Adani shares soar as US investor steps in

  23. KLG


    I would send this to my many PMC peeps, but cannot bear the waste that many pixels. They belong to the Holy Church of Rachel Maddow, to a person.

  24. Boomheist

    Re: Mexican President remarks castigating the US: All of a sudden (it seems) there are reports everywhere about how nations in the Global South (which means all the nations except for the US and NATO and Japan and South Korea) are starting to do a lot more than sing the same tune. We see several new nations about to join BRIC, plus a huge expansion of trade among them in response to the Russian sanctions. From China’s recent rhetoric one can believe that China has decided to align with Russia and not the US, and while I doubt China will send actual arms and ammo to Russia I expect they will start sending other materials in support of the Russian effort. India has switched to Russian oil as well. All of which to say, one morning we will all wake up and find a world where the bulk of nations and people are aligned against the US-NATO group.

    That will be difficult to accept. At the same time, in another NC post today I saw a chart showing the the bulk of increased U.S.natural gas demand growth is because of LNG now being sent to Europe. This surely will shortly see a huge spike in domestic natural gas prices in the US, which will be felt at the local level as inflation.

    All of this is to say, after 33 years of the US being the one great power in the world it is starting to look as if the Global South is taking those reins. And, ironically, all of this has been accelerated, if not caused by, the sancti0ons the US slapped on Russia a couple days before Putin invaded the Donbass.

  25. Fischer's Fritz

    Reportedly Chinese Elites, both party and private sector, are even more obsessed with trans humanism than their western counterparts.

    At least western transhumanists claim that, and it would not surprise me at all if true.

    To the, probably limited but real, degree that cultural traditions and predispositions play into the question of how receptive nations and populations, especially of course their elites are to the promises of trans humanism…..

    Well, the ideas of the possibility of quasi infinite individual human improvement, of ascending to “godhood” or some higher level of existence, at the very least of gaining physical immortality on earth, are all very long known and established in various influential strains of traditional Chinese religious and philosophical thinking.

    And it’s not just an elite thing, but part of everyday folk beliefs.

    Certainly it is nothing frowned upon, the way it often is in predominantly christian societies.

    Now, of course most of the promises of Transhumanism are empty, the more outrageous once anyway, but even the more basic will not be as easily realizable as the slick marketing claims, if at all.

    But not all of it will turn out to be smoke and mirrors, and I would not be surprised by the Chinese eventually being amongst the first to realize that which can be realized.

    And if there are technological ways to make oneself independent of the many vagaries influencing “natural” demographics, up to and including basically “factory producing” the next generations, they’ll go for it.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “Well, the ideas of the possibility of quasi infinite individual human improvement, of ascending to “godhood” or some higher level of existence, at the very least of gaining physical immortality on earth, are all very long known and established in various influential strains of traditional Chinese religious and philosophical thinking.

      And it’s not just an elite thing, but part of everyday folk beliefs.

      Certainly it is nothing frowned upon, the way it often is in predominantly christian societies.”

      There’s some pretty amazing assertions in there. Would you care to flesh any of them out?

      In general, I found this piece pretty curious with the only proper nouns being “Chinese,” “Elites,” and “Transhumanist.” Maybe some places names, some people’s names, some religious or philosophical institutions might help.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        How about Taoism? I am not sure how prevalent it actually is but I have encountered quite a few mentions of Taoist sects or practices aimed at obtaining immortality through alchemy and whatnot. I suppose that is kind of like Transhumanism, if one wants.

        Though speaking of “Christian societies”, there is also a somewhat influential Eastern Orthodox strain aspiring to Transhumanism, most notably associated with Fyodorov.

    1. Bugs

      That’s on top of the 2 metric tonnes they already picked up. Or to put it in street terms – 2,850,000 grams, 80-90% pure, according to the gendarmes.

      The first day it started coming in on the tides, certain um, gang types, suddenly showed up on the beaches with brand new quads, scaring the locals. They’ve apparently got it sort of under control now but are still warning against “narco-tourism” and against anyone trying the extremely high quality of the dope that’s landed, lest they OD. This is up in the Cotentin peninsula, which is a wind swept and wild part of Normandy, a chill place one would go to for a long weekend to hike the dunes and tuck into some fresh oysters and scallops…

  26. Henry Moon Pie

    Marianne Williamson’s announced run in the Dem primaries was covered in Links earlier this week. This morning, she submitted to an interview by the smug and cynical Jonathan Karl. Marianne can always hold her own with this type, and she did so this morning, but I came away disappointed and hoping she decides to take a different tack.

    Williamson seemed agitated, almost angry. Her topic was the absolute necessity of radically revising our economic system, and there’s no question that can make anyone agitated and angry. But Marianne has been in the business of teaching people how to reduce agitation and anger and find peace. And she neither mentioned the apparently taboo five-letter word nor our foreign policy. She talked about that plenty in 2020, and I wish that now she would talk and act peace. We’re a people desperately in need of a way to find peace with the rest of the world that we’ve bullied for decades. We desperately need to find peace with each before we break into dissolution or even civil war. And we desperately need to find peace with ourselves in a nation where all the old Durkheim indicators are flashing red.

    I think a lot of people are ready for such a message. We’re hearing nothing from our billionaires’ gofers except more war against more countries. We’re seeing social breakdown all around us. We don’t need more angry messages though there are ample reasons to be angry. A regular politician could never do it. The best Bernie could muster was Amos. We need peacemakers. I wish Williamson would at least try.

  27. fresno dan
    There is a growing trend on social media today. Plenty of Americans are beginning to see Vladimir Putin as a hero and the president they only wish they had.
    The United States no longer being the nation we once thought we were, Putin’s questionable past has now been reframed to meet the new understanding and circumstances of today. Bereft of a true leader, human nature strives to fill this void, and Putin is undeniably well within Americans’ apertures thanks to technology and social sharing. What they think they see, they like.
    This doesn’t mean that the story being manufactured about Putin on these platforms is accurate. What it shows, however, is how desperate the American people have become, that they would envy a once sworn enemy’s ruler because of his perceived exceptionalism and devotion. Talk about a historical first and testament to the complete and utter failure of the Biden administration. In two years’ time, life has become surreal, unaffordable, and maddening to the point that defecting to Russia is beginning to look good to some.

    Whether or not these folks truly understand who Putin actually is, Putin appears to be no longer the villain in the story, but a leader who would rather die than let down his people. With desperate times ensuring interesting bedfellows, Americans are desperate, which makes Putin seem like a panacea…right, wrong or indifferent.
    I think it is the system. The US system is of the money, by the money, for the money.
    When Biden goes to Ukraine, and obstinately refuses to go to East Palestine, I can’t think of a clearer or more obvious statement that the dems support (and let’s be real – it isn’t like the US has a party that supports the average American) the railroads and the chemical industries. Nord stream shows the support of oil and gas. Really, the US supports, and only supports, anyone with money….
    If Putin could be nominated for the presidency, I would vote for him – there is NO US politician that I think would actually do more for the average US citizen than Putin. Anyone in the US political system has been filtered through a system that permits only the corrupt.
    I have to say I an not familiar with the American Thinker publication, but it is supposedly conservative. I don’t know, but I hope conservative, liberal, whatever, are coming to understand that war is a racket, and that most times it is done for the benefit of the few, not the many…

    1. cnchal

      Isn’t there a good reason for Joe not going?

      One whif of that shit could kill him. Perhaps they could bring in some fresh air just for him like they did when lecturing children.

    2. Wukchumni

      My clique if largely lefties still grimaces as in they don’t grasp Putin when I bring it up, and I know what they’re thinkin’ ‘has Wuk gone righty-tighty-gawdalmighty on us?’

    3. Fischer's Fritz

      As usual the questionableness of Putin’s past is just asserted.

      What actually IS that questionable about it that is not US propaganda and smearing?

      I’m sure that is also one of the many blasphemous questions a considerable number of people are posing these days.

      What really IS the worst that he can be accused of, long before the SMO, that western leaders haven’t done to a greater degree and quite possibly/likely for far more selfish and shortsighted reasons?

      Is there any amongst them who brought their country back from the brink of total destruction almost single handedly?

      And there is no doubt he was faced with many, many genuine criminals and traitors in powerful positions in the early days of his presidency of a state where nothing was working as it should.

      If indeed he had some of those powerful traitors and criminals eliminated, which I think is possible, but certainly vastly overblown, then yes, to me that actually sounds pretty “heroic” under the dire circumstances.

      There were certainly plenty of people who wished that Trump would have had the strength and guts to do the same, and who can seriously blame them?

      There probably is no other way to turn a country in free fall around.

      A revolution from below would of course be preferable, but the people are often too tired and demoralized, and then unfortunately a competent, non insane strongman who actually cares about the country probably IS the best thing one can hope for.

      Russia had the extraordinary luck to have exactly that in it’s greatest hour of need.

      And contrary to western propaganda it is now closer to actual democracy than it was under the 90s pure mafia oligarchism.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        “What really IS the worst that he can be accused of, long before the SMO, that western leaders haven’t done to a greater degree and quite possibly/likely for far more selfish and shortsighted reasons?”

        The Nord-Ost theater siege springs to mind, in which he and his prioritised the elimination of terrorists over the lives of hostages, killing over a hundred of Russian civilians. I won’t say Western leaders wouldn’t do the same under the circumstances – I have a low enough opinion of them as well as of Putin – but have they done it?

        Indeed, prioritising the elimination of terrorists and other “bad guys” over the lives of any civilians in the way is something of a consistent thread for our ruler, and enough for me to reject the adulation he receives in some quarters. I will grant you that the American authorities are much the same in that crucial respect, however.

    4. Lex

      I disagree with a fair amount of Putin’s overall politics, but I would vote for him. It’s not even hard to find Russians who say exactly that and then vote for him. Because what’s undeniable is that in roughly 20 years he took Russia from the despair of being a failed state to a functional and even successful state.

      There’s no Putin on the American political horizon.

  28. spud

    anyone who ignores free trade, or refuses to believe free trade is a problem, and thinks all we have to do is regulate and tax the rich is a fraud, and this shows us why.

    BlackRock’s tyrannical ESG agenda

    “In 2009, BlackRock had acquired Barclay’s Global Investors Ltd, making it the largest investment firm in the world with almost $3 trillion in assets under management (AUM), a sum larger than the total revenue of the US federal treasury”

  29. Alice X

    >Dems want to cut Fox off after lawsuit revelations Politico——

    The revelations are only from the plaintiff’s brief. Fox, the defendant, has not yet responded. Lawyers writing for a plaintiff naturally portray facts in the best light for their clients. Lawyers for the defense will try to show in their response how the facts are taken out of context, misinterpreted or even misrepresented. The presiding judge will look at both documents and decide if a case should move forward.

    Glenn Greenwald on Friday 3/3/23 spent considerable time taking the brief apart, demonstrating certain inconsistencies. One inconsistency was the incorrect claim that prime time Fox people supported Trump’s claims on air. As Greenwald put it.

    His main point, however, was that the Liberal Media took the claims of the brief as gospel, when it actually is just one side before there is a response yet alone a trial.

    I linked to GG’s Rumble piece yesterday but it went poof. So maybe the link was the problem.

    Well, it is awkward to appear to defend Fox, but fair is fair. I don’t watch any corporate media.

    1. Jason Boxman

      James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist, said there was no reason to approach the network differently now because of the Dominion lawsuit revelations.

      “They get viewers only because they tell viewers what they want to hear or see,” he said. “They want to be brainwashed. They show up at the front door of the cleaners. They leave their brain there — ‘wash and fold and I’ll pick it up.’”

      I thought Carville was describing MS NBC, or was it the New York Times? NPR? I can’t keep all the liberal Democrat propaganda outlets straight any longer.

      1. Alice X

        Early in Clinton’s first term there was an allegation of an inappropriate sexual dalliance. Carville was the one who said drag a hundred dollar bill around a trailer park and see what you come up with, or something close to that, meaning to impugn the accuser. Well, I thought at the time that he and his ilk had really left the farm. I lived in a trailer park, I was poor. I have never voted Republican, and after ’92, I never voted Democrat. Not just for that reason of course, Clinton himself provided all the demerits needed.

    2. marym

      > just one side before there is a response

      (not a lawyer)

      An April 2023 trial date was set in 2022. As far as I can tell, Dominion and Fox each filed for a summary judgment. Then each filed an opposition to the other’s motion for a summary judgment. I can’t find the Appendix referenced in Fox’s “answering brief.”

      Dominion’s brief in support of its motion for summary judgment (dated 1/17/2023 192 pages)

      Fox’s opening brief in support of its motion for summary judgment (dated 01/17/2023 – 32 pages)

      Dominion’s answering brief (dated 2/8/2023 212 pages)

      Fox’s answering brief
      “Dominion challenges 115 distinct statements [p. 1]…As Fox News details in its own summary judgment motion and appendix, Dominion cannot meet that burden as to any of those statements. FNN.MSJ.56-120; FNN.MSJ.Appendix. [p. 66]

      1. Alice X

        Thank you! It is beyond my bandwidth to evaluate all of that.

        Greenwald didn’t bring any of those up in his 3/3/23 Rumble piece.

        The NYT just published a piece:

        Inside the Panic at Fox News After the 2020 Election

        “If we hadn’t called Arizona,” said Suzanne Scott, the network’s chief executive, according to a recording reviewed by The New York Times, “our ratings would have been bigger.”

        I haven’t read it but I will. Perhaps it supports Greenwald’s thesis.

      2. Bugs

        It’s kinda hard to pick sides when it’s a lawsuit pitting the biggest maker of voting machines against FoxNews. Hopefully, they both lose and the lawyers walk away with the money (which is always the case, right?)

        IMHO, Greenwald is not a reliable source when it comes to Fox. It’s his major (only?) MSM outlet.

        1. Alice X

          >IMHO, Greenwald is not a reliable source when it comes to Fox. It’s his major (only?) MSM outlet.

          Indeed, they are all playing to their audience. NYT, Fox and Greenwald.

  30. Tom Stone

    The Democratic party is now the party of sadism and slavery, 42,000,000 cut off foodstamps and now punishing Syrians for the fun of it.
    if it gives old Joe a woody I guess it’s worthwhile.

  31. Jason Boxman

    tl;dr we’re all screwed

    So I realized this morning, there won’t be any change in public policy regarding the Pandemic, because the capacity for self delusion is strong (particularly among liberal Democrats) and I have no doubt that the Biden administration evaluates its response as amazing, amazingly successful. The Pandemic is over. They’ve saved lived. They’ve given people tools. They balanced saving lives with opening that (their) economy, they’re starting to tackle the deficit.

    Just an amazing, amazing success, right?

    So there is no failure to evaluate. There’s nothing to review. This was a win.

    And there’s no leadership on this from Sanders or the Congressional Progress Caucus, and certainly Republicans never thought there was a Pandemic, just the flu, right? A Hoax.

    Efforts like Corsi boxes are valiant and I have no doubt we have pockets of citizens in this country saving lives and protecting themselves and others, but this obviously requires a society wide solution and there’s no leadership available to provide it. We’re f**ked. Even a highly effective intervention like wearing a respirator, so common in many Asian countries, is verboten here, the lowest of hanging fruit. And Biden let all the domestic manufacturers of respirators go out of business. No help from Biden, nor from liberal Democrats in Congress. Just left to fail.

    We have no cultural leadership, if you will, that can normalize respirators as socially acceptable, or taking any other precautions. Instead we get the exact opposite. No model of good behavior, elites skipping out doing so when we had mandates.

    This country’s national and state leadership just doesn’t have the capability or the legitimacy to face this crisis, which is no longer even acknowledged as such.

    Stay safe out there! Or from Day on the Edge of Tomorrow:

    “Watch your back sir!”
    “[chorus]: No on else will!”

  32. Lexx

    ‘India’s Beef With Beef’

    The bit of background on how the cow came to seen as sacred in India was interesting.

    Definition of ‘purity spiral’ from the Urban Dictionary:

    ‘A social ratchet effect within a community. A process of moral outbidding, unchecked, which corrodes the group from within, rewarding those who put themselves at the extremes, and punishing nuance relentlessly.

    Not to be confused with ‘virtue signalling’, ‘woke culture’, or ‘online mobs’.

    A purity spiral can contain all of these things, but it is defined by the fact that it takes place in a defined community or society, where being purer-than-thou is always being rewarded, and holding a divergent, ‘less pure’ opinion is normally punished, a dynamic which leads to an inevitable escalation as only the most extreme can ‘win’.

    Could be anything, from Mao’s Red Guard, to Neo-Nazis, to The Crucible, to Instagram knitting.
    After Louise denounced Nike as bourgeois, the village fell into a purity spiral where first Nikes, then all sneakers, then all shoes, and later, socks, were burnt on a pyre by the villagers.

    Foot amputations followed in the Spring,’

    Instagram knitting? We don’t social media here but I do knit, missed that one.

    When Husband is out of town in July and I’m left to feed just myself, I go to a local Indian restaurant and buy a container of their baingan bharta (with rice) and eat it like dessert (slowly!) for three straight dinners. I wish this little city had take-out curries in the way Brits seem to take as commonplace… a curry shop on every corner, especially if it smells like bharta. It’s vegetarian but I think of it as a ‘whole food’ in that it seems to hit every pleasure center in my brain. It appears to be a dish that’s popular throughout India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh with lots of regional variations. I’ve tried making it myself and repeatedly fell short of the bliss-in-a-carton I purchase at Star of India.

    I tried to imagine waking up one morning and reading that bharta and bharta eaters were being targeted for hate. Death to eggplant killers! Dead bodies in the streets with gardening trowels sticking out of their eye sockets. There can be no logical end to purity spirals where logic has no part of the conversation to begin with.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Definition of ‘purity spiral’ from the Urban Dictionary:

      A “purity spiral” could be a circuit of symbolic capital (leading to the accumulation of symbolic capital somewhere, by some player; it’s certainly not evenly distributed.

      One might also see FlexNets, considered dynamically, as “circuits of symbolic capital” (i.e., M-C-M’ is a circuit of capital. Is a similar notation possible/useful for symbolic capital? S-A-S’, where A is for Agent?

      1. Lexx

        I understood none of that, Lambert, but there’s still hope of understanding in the future. I was interested in Yves suggestion of the book, ‘The Shadow Elite’ in a reply here a few weeks ago and started reading it yesterday. ‘Flex’ is the author’s premise throughout. Is that usage the direction you’re intending here?

        I’m just getting started but it makes sense in part to explain how and why voters have been cut off from having any meaning agency in this democracy. .. it’s felt like pageantry to me for years now.

  33. Wukchumni

    Not to worry anybody needlessly, but i’ll give it my best shot…

    The 1859 Carrington Event also had such sights in the skies above in places where you wouldn’t expect it~

    Auroras were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere as far south as the Caribbean. The aurora over the Rocky Mountains in the United States was so bright that the glow woke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People in the Northeastern United States could read a newspaper by the aurora’s light. The aurora was visible from the poles to low latitude areas such as south-central Mexico.

  34. Jason Boxman

    At Scotiabank, which has 90,000 workers, executives decided in late 2020 to stop looking at résumés for applicants coming out of school. The campus hiring program is now focused partly on Plum [personality test] results, and the new approach is bringing in more diverse candidates, the bank said, because hiring managers are looking beyond familiar credentials. The share of Scotiabank’s new employees who are Black rose to 6 percent from 1 percent, and over half its hires are women.

    Whut? This stuff is bizarre. But it aligns with DEI, so I bet we’ll be seeing a lot of it!

  35. thousand points of green

    I see that the ” Free Range Eggs” in the Basel Musherbash tweeted photo are $7.29 per package. I am guessing that each package has a dozen eggs.

    Here at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, the Shetler’s Organic Produce stand (Amish) is selling a dozen eggs at $5.50 per dozen. I don’t know if it is really Organic. But as far as I know, it is really Amish. If the town where those eggs are $7.29/dozen has a Farmers Market, what would eggs cost at that Farmers Market?

    If course, if you have enough of a back yard to keep a few Legal Chickens, you could grow your own eggs. Would they work out to less than $7.29/dozen? I don’t know.

    1. Jen

      I figure my flock of six, which probably give me about 80 dozen eggs cost me about $2 per dozen in feed, using organic feed that has almost doubled in price since last year. Of course there’s also the coop, run, electric fencing to keep out the bears, treadle feeder which set me back $100 buck but more than made up for it in preventing rodents from eating the feed…and attrition. Even still, I think over the 13 years I’ve had chickens, I’d be at well under $7.29 per dozen.

      Plus I get free entertainment, bug control and fertilizer.

      A local farm is selling their organic eggs for $4 a dozen.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      Yo TPGreen – they sell organic eggs at the Dexter Mill for $6.00 – i get mine from Blue Spring Farm down the road and know positively they are organic for $6.50 – Blue Spring Farm also do farm shares during the growing season if you’re interested – – i think they also sell their eggs at the Argus Farm Stop – great folks – jb

  36. Cat Burglar

    Delightful article on California corruption.

    The California Department of Motor Vehicles I knew as a kid getting my first license was a formidable and effective organization. But not today. A friend trying to register her motor scooter was repeatedly refused because the manufacturer’s sticker showing California Air Resources Board approval was formatted incorrectly. It took a downloaded hard copy of CARB’s list of approved scooters and repeated calls to the regional DMV managers to persuade the frontline clerk to take the documents to the local office manager (sitting behind a mirrored glass window) to just register the scooter, though with a harsh warning that the approval was only conditional.

    It is not just the DMV, either. During the covid crisis, telephone contact with the employment security department was not going to happen — you could hear nothing but a busy signal on their line for more than a year. They did not want to hear from you.

    When I missed a deadline for a low-income energy assistance program a few years ago, I complained to the PUC after routinely getting misinformation about reapplying from the utility. After the PUC customer service told me that I should not expect perfection from a multibillion-dollar business, the utility shunted me into the hands of a quasi-governmental energy conservation NGO…and I ended up with a free, brand-new refrigerator! The system did not work, did not do the job it was designed to do, and did not get me what I wanted…but it gave me something that somebody might want, something that they were willing to give me, and if I wanted to accept that, well, then we had a deal. It reminded me of stories I had heard about living in Mexico under the PRI. That’s California under Newsom.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, American societal collapse continues apace and predates COVID by quite a bit. Provision of the general welfare is continually dismantled at all levels of government in this country. I wonder how long that can go on? It seems to be a very very long time.

  37. The Rev Kev

    “Two Ukrainian pilots are in the U.S. for training assessment on attack aircraft, including F-16s”

    Alexandr Christoforou reported the call-signs of the two Ukrainian pilots. They are “Maverick” and “Iceman.” He was chuckling in reporting this and I thought that he was going to say that it was his joke but no, they are actually their call-signs. This is the sort of propaganda that you tell children.

    1. Eclair

      My spouse and I viewed a Tom Cruise Special for this week’s Movie Night: we watched Minority Report and Top Gun.

      Wow, the latter film holds its own as blatant propaganda for the US as belligerent good guy! Great footage (provided by the US Navy?) of aerial dog fights against an unnamed antagonist who drives MIGS (nod nod, wink wink), studly guys in pristine white uniforms (when they’re not stripped, sweating, and playing hard ball volley ball on the San Diego beach), liquid California sunsets over the Pacific, the tear-jerker death of a pilot, reminding us of the grieving widows and children our Warriors leave behind. Plus a redemptorist link, through the hero, “Maverick” to the Viet Nam, um, debacle. Bet they make those Ukrainian pilots watch it every night.

  38. The Rev Kev

    “Biden, Scholz vow to punish Russia for war in Ukraine”

    That wasn’t the only thing. Biden was leaning on Scholz to move the German defence industries to the US because of protests, disagreements and, you know, not enough energy required for them in Germany itself. That is real mafia tactics that and would cause massive German unemployment – because of subsidiary industries relying on them – and amounts to strip-mining Germany of their industries.

  39. Lambert Strether

    > Clearly those placards are incredibly important for emergency responders who are on scene and need to know what’s in tank cars.

    The placards are a regulatory requirement from the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975 (strengthening the Hazardous Materials Transportation Control Act of 1970).

    So why on earth were melting placards permitted by the regulations? Couldn’t they be metal, with the data stamped on, instead of plastic?

    I recollect seeing, from my travels, that either the 1970 or the 1975 Act was the result public outcry after some sort of massive chemical release or explosion, possibly from a derailment, possibly in the Upper Midwest, but I can’t dig that factoid out again. Perhaps a reader can help.

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