Links 3/7/2023

The Stoned Ape Theory: the wild idea that psychedelics shaped the evolution of humans ZME Science (Furzy Mouse). Original from Agricicultural Economics.

Toothed whales catch food in the deep using vocal fry NPR

Why the Recession Is Always Six Months Away WSJ. Because they put Thomas Friedman in charge of the rubber thumbscrews?

Silicon Valley Confronts the End of Growth. It’s a New Era for Tech Stocks. Barron’s


Oil companies line up for billions of dollars in subsidies under US climate law FT

Powerful winter storm hits U.S., leaving at least 13 people dead and over 3 million without power, U.S. The Watchers

Kentucky Residents Angered by U.S. Forest Service Logging Plan That Targets Mature Trees Inside Climate News (GF).


Annals of Scientific Communication:

Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Expanded in February 2023 to Include Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PDF) CDC. Clarifying passage on Long Covid (or in CDC-ese, PASC (Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19)):

Emerging evidence suggests that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, can have lasting effects on nearly every organ and organ system of the body weeks, months, and potentially years after infection (11,12). Documented serious post-COVID-19 conditions include cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, renal, endocrine, hematological, and gastrointestinal complications (8), as well as death (13).

An entertaining spectacle. In the document above, CDC’s definitive views on Long Covid emerge in updated guidance for filling out death certificates. The document itself exists only in PDF form. Here is the announcement of the “expanded” “guidance,” COVID-19 Alert No. 10 from the National Vital Statistics System, part of the National Center for Health Statistics, part of CDC. A search at CDC does not disclose the guidance:

Nor does a search at Google:

Presumably, this is the long-awaited yet oddly undiscoverable guidance through which CDC will jigger the death count, but I can’t be sure ’til I study the document carefully.

Parental Nonadherence to Health Policy Recommendations for Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission Among Children JAMA. From the Abstract: “One hundred fifty participants (25.9%) reported misrepresentation and/or nonadherence in at least 1 of 7 behaviors; the most common behaviors were not telling someone who was with their child that they thought or knew their child had COVID-19 (63 of 263 [24.0%]) and allowing their child to break quarantine rules (67 of 318 [21.1%]))…. The most common reason was wanting to exercise personal freedom as a parent.” So, and unsurprisingly, living with Covid involves a lot of lying. Really, can you imagine not telling the parents of a child playing with your child that your child was infected? As I’ve said for some time: “‘Freedom’ is how a libertarian says ‘f*ck you.'”

What Comes After COVID Asterisk Magazine. Interesting approach. Though I dunno about just bumping percentages up or down as a method, the buckets into which the percentages go are interesting (or example, I think the author over-estimates engineering, and under-estimates social connectivity, which goes far beyond air travel).

What I Learned from Emily Post’s ‘Etiquette’ (1922) The Honest Broker


Xi Focus: Xi stresses healthy, high-quality development of private sector Xinhua v. China’s Xi Jinping Takes Rare Direct Aim at U.S. in Speech WSJ

China’s ‘two sessions’: US$24 billion to be spent on coronavirus control despite end of zero Covid policy South China Morning Post

Commentary: As China’s politicians gather at ‘two sessions’, the ghosts of zero-COVID live on Channel News Asia. Hilariously, the CCP’s National People’s Congress looks #DavosSafe, though the journo makes light of it.

China’s lowest growth target in decades signals new era of caution FT


What Does the Adani Crisis Mean for India’s Growth Story? Foreign Policy

European Disunion

France braces for strikes that could bring the country ‘to a standstill’ for days on end France24

Portugal will no longer issue ‘golden’ EU visas Deutsche Welle

Dear Old Blighty

Meet the British intelligence-linked firm that warped MH17 news coverage The Greyzone

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia’s Wagner Troops Exhaust Ukrainian Forces in Bakhmut WSJ

Zelenskyy: Ukraine sees some of the most significant results in Bakhmut since start of war Ukrayinska Pravda. You don’t want all those sixteen-year-old reservists at the zero line scampering West over the open fields, now do you?

* * *

Ukraine Claims a Drone Strike on a Military Target Inside Russia NYT. Bryansk again.

The Law Professor Flying Surveillance Drones in Ukraine The New Yorker. The most New Yorker headline ever.

* * *

Russia’s Halfway to Hell Strategy Foreign Affairs. Who needs a “big arrow” when Ukraine will throw itself into the meatgrinder again all on its own? “Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.” –Napoleon (apocryphal).

What will it take to end the war in Ukraine? Al Jazeera. Opinions differ:

A coming wider war with Crimea in US sights Asia Times. Interesting detail on Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut. Not sure about the Nuland part.

Ukraine says diplomatic talks with Russia on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant at ‘dead end’ Andalu Agency. This feels like a signal, but of what?

* * *

How Quickly The West Forgot It Was Their 2020 Regime-Change Project That Drove Belarus Into Russia’s Arms – OpEd Mark Ames, Asia Review. Ames, so well worth a read.

Why Ukraine is wary of the Russian opposition Al Jazeera. It would be amusing if regime change in Russia didn’t help Ukraine at all.

Zelenskyy makes series of dismissals in Security Service of Ukraine top management Ukrainska Pravda

Ukraine Hawk Who Heads European Commission Has a Nazi Pedigree She Does Not Want You to Know About Covert Action Magazine (GF). From February, still germane.

Lebanon leans on US dollar to cope as currency, economy tank AP

Nigeria’s top court rules old currency notes still legal tender amid cash shortage Andalu Agency

Biden Administration

Biden set to appoint mass foreclosure cheerleader to the Fed Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

Capitol Seizure

Tucker Carlson releases exclusive Jan. 6 footage, says politicians, media lied about Sicknick, ‘QAnon Shaman’ FOX. Here’s the QAnon shaman, standing at the Senate rostrum, surrounded by camo-clad cosplayers drinking in the spectacle and taking selfies:

It’s hard to believe that anybody organizing a coup would organize this. Leading to the question of whether a “coup” was being organized at all, surely?

Chris Hedges: Lynching the Deplorables Chris Hedges, Scheer Post. Well worth a read.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Inside the Suspicion Machine Wired. Wired got hold of a social credit algo from Rotterdam. A sample: “The comment field in the Rotterdam system, for example, where caseworkers are asked to make general observations, is binary. Any comment is converted to a “1,” while a blank field is converted to a “0.” This means negative and positive comments affect the score in the same way.” And much else like that.

The Algorithm Society and Its Discontents Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate

Your Face Is Your Ticket: A Creepy Convenience WSJ

Police State Watch

Legal Observer Hit with Terrorism Charges After Mass ‘Cop City’ Arrests Daily Beast

Our Famously Free Press

Capsule Summaries of all Twitter Files Threads to Date, With Links and a Glossary Matt Taibbi, The Racket

John Kiriakou: The Threat to Journalism ScheerPost

U.S. Special Forces Want to Use Deepfakes for Psy-Ops The Intercept. What could go wrong?

The Bezzle

The Octopus Test for Large Language Model AIs

Machine magic or art menace? Japan’s first AI manga Channel News Asia

Is there a place for ChatGPT-like tech in banks? American Banker

Questions That ChatGPT Is Not Allowed To Answer The Onion

Class Warfare

Does more money correlate with greater happiness? (press release) NewsWise

Wittgenstein: science can’t tell us about God IAI News

Christ in Purple Silk London Review of Books. On medieval self-hood and the doctrine of coinherence.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote. Good kitty:

Double bonus antidote. Bad kitty:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Wukchumni

    Tucker Carlson releases exclusive Jan. 6 footage, says politicians, media lied about Sicknick, ‘QAnon Shaman’ FOX.
    After My Kevin (since ’07) gave Tucker free rein to look through vast oodles of 1/6 video, this was the best a team of Fox’s most diligent searchers for scandal, could find after a fortnight of looking?

    Is that all there is, is that all there is?
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    1. Dorey

      Yeah, I don’t totally get the readiness here to endorse Kevin’s or Tucker’s one sided representation of the MAGA clown car as mere clowns. It’s not like Tucker’s going to be publishing the videos of more motivated “rioters” or we’re ever going to get third party cross-referencing or an audit.
      If anything we know it’s a tried and true play of tyrants to deploy a mob of useful idiots, while a few shock troops get to operate inside their populist trojan horse.
      And in either case, it’s a win-win for the autocrats and aristocrats. Continue to invalidate and discount the state to create such pessimism about the republic, that the feudal lord’s get to run free.

      Even if the Trumpsters are so cowed by the powers that be that they can’t manage a successful coup, doesn’t mean the whole orchestrated action wasnt intended to keep Donny in power and they wouldn’t have killed Pelosi or Pence if given the chance to prevent the constitutional requirements to transfer the executive.
      Honestly, I’m still mostly surprised some other sort of anti-American terrorist didn’t get in there with a suicide bomb. No matter their ideology, if they had framed the Trumpsters, while killing a few of them, some cops, or congressmen all at once, there’s no way we’d ever have been able to sort it out.

      1. tegnost

        . It’s not like Tucker’s going to be publishing the videos of more motivated “rioters”

        You can find that on fox’s sister station, MSDNC…

        1. Pelham

          Exactly. That’s all that MSNBC and CNN have been showing. Of course, it’s real. But so is what Carlson ran last night.

    2. Publius Flavius

      I think Karl’s take is more Ack Writ….

      “This is a serious problem for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the number of people sitting in prison — or convicted on connived, false claims with no ability for their defense to access the evidence proving that in many cases they were escorted.”

  2. Stephen V

    Dang Lambert. Epic set of links today. Wish I could stay home from work..and if that white cat is photo-shopped or deep faked–I don’t care!
    And what about a Darwin Award for the Q Shaman?

    1. lambert strether

      > Epic set of links

      [lambert blushes modestly]

      The white cat photo had some really blown out highlights, which I cropped away. I think a fake photo would have been “better” (absent a really Machiavellian algo).

  3. Jeff Stantz

    I watched the footage Tucker Carlson released. It is really insane. If anything, Jacob Chansley should be exonerated immediately and let out of jail.

    Those cops, about nine of them did nothing, and several were walking right in front of him. How was Jacob supposed to assume what he was doing would land him in jail for four years if the police had no objection to his movements?

    The whole think stinks, and as usually, the mentally ill person get screwed and all the cops are free.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know if I should go so far as to draw parallels between ‘Q Shaman’ and ‘van der Lubbe,’ but there it is.
      Reichstag fire:
      The 1930 “event” led directly to the “Enabling Decree.”
      Enabling Decree:
      The Jan.6 Committee looks to be set up to deliver similar results.
      Many people would say that the 9/11 “events” were our modern “Reichstag Fire,” but I’ll go on record as saying that the post-9/11 orgy of lawmaking was the ‘warm up’ to today’s concerted attacks on the Body Politic.
      I don’t ‘do’ CHATai, or whatever it is called, (has anybody asked the AI itself what it wants to be called?) but I would be interested to find out ‘it’s’ views on the Reichstag Fire.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        The Reichstag Insurrection?

        The Reichstag Star Chamber?


        I keep playing with this and gets less funny with each try.

        1. ambrit

          “Things” have gotten so ‘out of joint’ today that, if Trump were to win the Presidency again in 2024, I would not be at all surprised to see operatives connected with the Democrat Party attempt an actual coup.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That’s an interesting thought that. When you look at it you could not really argue that that would never happen. And when you consider the extensive campaign by the blob, media, Democrats, etc to have him lose his re-election plus the Capital Hill fiasco, well, I don’t think that they would stop at anything.

            1. GiGi

              The Republican establishment doesn’t want him either and never did. If he somehow manages to again wrest control of the primaries and ends up as the Republican nominee, he will never be allowed to win.
              Victory depends on a few tens of thousands of votes in a few battleground states. You may be quite sure that all manner of skullduggery is already in the works. And not just on the part of the Democratic Party apparatus. Nope, the forces aligned against a Trump victory will be far wider and deeper than that.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                The Republican establishment eventually accepted him the last time, though. If he does well in the primaries, I think they may very well do it again, secure in the knowledge that they can always stab him in the back later. All else aside, it looks to me as if Republicans like winning elections more than Democrats do.

                1. semper loquitur

                  ” All else aside, it looks to me as if Republicans like winning elections more than Democrats do.”

                  How else can you always be “resisting”?

              2. no one

                Oh come on. Trump was the most successful Republican president since the 50s, perhaps longer. All the stink from the Democrat party is because of his implementation of agenda items directly drawn from the Republican platform. Massive tax cuts, partisan judicial appointments and regulatory de-form have been on the party’s agenda since the 70s at least. That’s why they fought voting rights, anti-gerrymandering efforts, and campaign finance reform since Nixon’s first emergence.

                Pearl clutching Republicans fell into line regarding Trump when they looked at what was their topmost value, tax cuts for the rich. Perhaps they will again because their agenda has not budged an inch.

                The Democrats have become the Republican party of my youth: a few high profile electeds, frequent strutting before and moaning in the media, but, even in power, an unwillingness to tackle the job of governing except for occasionally tossing sand into the gears of government.

                The mediocrity of both parties is stunning to the long time observer.

            2. Carla

              Oh, yes, they would, and have. The Dems always come to a full stop when they have a majority and could actually govern according to the, ahem, precepts they have claimed to hold. That stops ’em cold every time.

          2. Watt4Bob

            There was that guy back in the early 60s who tried to stop the war machine…

            …and fired Dulles IIRC.

            1. ambrit

              And then Dulles “fired back.”
              I wonder how far I could get hawking a line of tastefully designed “Tinn Foyle” lined berets? In a Rainbow of colours, naturally, or unnaturally, as you prefer.
              The CTverse seems to be leaving the realm of ‘Cottage Industry,’ and entering a period of ‘Early Capitalism,’ ie. Neo-primitive Acquisitions Phase; sort of a “Psychic Enclosure of the Commons.”

          3. Dorey

            Ah, the absolute classic, self-reinforcing pre-emptive strike rhetoric.
            Let alone the “Democrat Party” Newt Gingrich throwback.

            1. ambrit

              Interesting you should put Newt Gingrich right next to the Democrat Party. Birds of a feather and all that.

            2. tegnost

              The democrats are democratic in name only.
              Oh, and if one doesn’t like a nickname the very last thing one should do is express displeasure at it’s use.
              The democrat party is dead to me and I voted for every democrat presidential candidate since carter until the second obama with all of his socialism for the rich and f@ck everyone else. “Get in line” says about everything one can say about the democrat party.

    2. Stephen

      I agree. It’s not exactly The Storming of The Bastille. Which I think was always reasonably clear to objective observers. Although this footage amplifies that still further.

      Not sure why American (and wider western) political life is so screwed up these days and why pure fiction is believed so avidly by so many people.

      But we are increasingly living in an age where reality and truth are seen as irrelevant. It is exactly what you need in order to make totalitarianism happen.

      1. Wukchumni

        There was only a handful of guards & prisoners in the Bastille, when the mob stormed it.

        Not too dissimilar to what the 1/6 crashers found in the Capitol.

        1. ambrit

          Another similarity between the Bastille and the Capitol building is that both were/are centres of greed, graft, and perversion. The most “famous” inmate of the Bastille just missed by the mob was the Marquis de Sade. He left ten days before ‘Bastille Day.’ De Sade was the ‘original’ “Pizzagate Conspirator.” It’s a real shame that a popular mob didn’t get to “storm” Epstein’s Island. Draw your own conclusions.

          1. JP

            The Bastille was a broken down medieval tower being used as a prison for a few political prisoners. It was most definitely not a center of anything but it was in Paris, which is primarily where the revolution took place. For the rest of France the revolution was largely an act of vandalism, of course until Napoleon. But the Bastille was a symbol of the aristocracy. The capitol may well also be a symbol of the aristocracy but the basic thrust of the 1/6 protest/riot was to nullify the election.

            Long live Charlotte Corday. I mean guillotine Pence.

        2. Stephen

          Although I think the Stormers of the Bastille were themselves actually armed!

          But I agree that what they found was not so different from the Capitol…..

          Both were / are symbols more than anything else.

          1. Wukchumni

            Another close parallel with the French Revolution was rampant gambling among all classes.

      2. digi_owl

        Because there are no adults around anymore.

        Only kids that has extended their childhood right through college. And now dream themselves being Hunter S. Thompson, while writing purple prose about having lunch with their DEI college roommate from some PR department.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      The Jan. 6 “hearings” were “produced” by an abc television “producer.” It was no secret.

      That’s really all anyone needed to know.

      1. ambrit

        And since Disney owns ABC, it is literally a ‘Mickey Mouse Show.’
        The chorus goes like this:
        “Creepy Joe,”
        “Donald Trump!”
        “Creepy Joe,”
        “Donald Trump!”
        “Forever we will hold the People, down, down, down, down!”
        “Come along, sing the song, and forget we were once free.”

    4. Cetra Ess

      A common police tactic in riots is for police to deliberately thin a particular line, which protesters then see as a opportune weakness to exploit and funnel through. In this way, protestors are easily controlled, shifted in whichever direction on command. There were also videos of police giving verbal instructions to head thataway, and footage of police moving barricades out of the way, opening gates.

      Even on the day of I was getting a sense that this was a staged production and not by the protesters, and I don’t think by Trump either.

    5. Nikkikat

      I watched it live on television. I have since the beginning wondered how all those cops as tour guides and doorman managed to escape any scrutiny whatsoever. I have also wondered why there was no scrutiny of the people in charge of the capital police or anyone with authority. The whole thing looked like a set up and of course all of this ignored by the MSM.
      Reading Chris Hedges column here today of the outsize sentences given to these people also an eye opener. I agree with Hedges, this is going to lead to some very bad outcomes.

    6. Kyle

      If they went through all the footage and all they can give us is the QShaman being escorted around (after Capital Police have said they basically gave up trying to stop people in fear of their lives) than this falls as a nothing burger to me.

      The twitterverse was screaming with “SEE IT WAS ALL AL LIE!!!!” which is….. a bit of a stretch.

      I watched this unfold live, you cannot tell me these people were not violent as they entered a restricted government building. Imagine what these same people would say if the social justice protestors stormed the capital like this – they would be calling for peoples heads.

      Our political discourse has devolved into shit flinging and its awful to wade through.

      1. Albert Hoffman

        These people were not violent.

        If ‘antiqueefa’ had made the tour no art would remain.

  4. KD

    Textualizing the sacred:

    This ground is sacred.

    This ground is sacred.

    Memorial Day.

    Memorial Day.

    In script, we use bold or italics to emphasize something. In meatspace, you generally employ a recurring ritual.

    It takes a special kind of fool to say “Memorial Day is after just another day called ‘Memorial Day’ and Easter is just another day called ‘Easter’.” Someone can understand the words without understanding their meaning.

      1. KD

        No, because the fool neither understands the need to exalt a particular day, nor would he understand your need to denigrate it. For the fool, it is just another day, he comprehends the facts, but does not understand their meaning. He is mystified both by the need to build idols, and the drive to smash them.

  5. zagonostra

    >Russia’s Wagner Troops Exhaust Ukrainian Forces in Bakhmut – WSJ

    This is a complete inversion of what I’ve been listening to from sources such as The Duran, Douglas MacGregor, Scott Ritter, Brian Berletic, NC and other sources.

    A Wagner fighter doesn’t have an option to pull back. Their only chance of survival is to keep moving ahead,” he said. “And this tactic works. It’s a zombie war…They are throwing cannon fodder at us, aiming to cause maximum damage. We obviously can’t respond the same way because we don’t have as much personnel and we are sensitive to losses

    Wagner is running out of people, too. They can’t sustain this,” said Lt. Vladyslav, a company commander in Ukraine’s 80th Assault Brigade whose men are protecting one of the access routes to Bakhmut, and recently took another Wagner prisoner. “Even in Russia, they don’t have enough men who seek suicide on our land.”

    1. Polar Socialist

      Just yesterday I read a completely different account by an Ukrainian in Bakhmut. He said that the Wagner first does slow reckon, and when the Ukrainians open fire, they pull back. Immediately after that come the small drones, and once they get a fix on your location, the artillery shell start landing, to be joined by a tank or two firing from point-blank range.

      Next thing you know is that the building you’re in is starting to collapse and burn, so you have to exit it and that’s when the Wagnerites open fire with everything they got. And they got everything.

      All in all, it’s very likely that there are far less Wagner mercenaries in Bakhmut than there are Ukrainians, so human wave tactics would really not work for Wagner. At least they would not work for month after month.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Rumors about divides in the Kiev high command have been around for a while, but i figure Zelensky sees victory is his only survival. He needs NATO to intervene to win (pretending that wouldn’t result in a nuclear exchange), and he essentially would need the US to wreck a significant portion of its total air power to create air supremacy in the theatre if it’s possible.

        He may have bought Putin is about to be overthrown stories. Zelensky is deciding with the knowledge he’s surrounded by Azov or likely to be followed if he flees.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      This isn’t a case of he said she said. It’s a case of artillery and basic math. People on the receiving end don’t have artillery fighting chance. The US strategy of combined arms is meant to work with air supremacy where the units can move unimpeded and call in air support within 10 minutes. Stores and production of ammunition are fairly public, and then the problems with industrit capacity means we aren’t bringing those up.

      The Ukraine story is the same tale told by German generals about soviet tactics.

      The basic Ukraine strategy seems to be to run cannon fodder until miracle brigades trained in NATO magic and air power start to exist, hence the begging for planes. Zelensky said he didn’t realize it took 3 years to train a pilot. I think it was revealing. He knows the US can’t supply artillery anymore, so he’s going back to air power to keep Russian artillery from being to advance. Like the actual reluctance to send tanks, any promised planes will be shot down as they come up if they don’t come up in force.

      Then what happens to Zelensky if people realize what he is doing. He needs a story to tell grieving families. To be fair, he likely expected more back in December. His problem is the supporters are the people who thought a nofly zone could simply materialize because NATO is white. Number of planes, airfields, combat ranges, and missile ranges matter. Despite calls for even more combined arms, we’ve been sending weapons piece meal as the basic problem is the Russians have way more artillery and can rain fire along a 1200km front at a moments notice.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I distinctly recall Zelensky boasting that Crimea would be re-taken by end of 2022. It was maybe in September or October, after the Russians retreated from Kherson city on the west bank.

        So, he’s a good spinner of tall tales.

    3. KD

      The hermetic key to understanding Western MSM reporting on the Ukraine conflict is to substitute “Russia” every time it says “Ukraine” and vice versa. Its the old tactic of when your wife finds evidence that you are conducting an affair, you accuse her of cheating. The Ukrainian army waited too long to pull out, all the roads are under fire control by the Russians, and the ground is too muddy to conduct a retreat without massive casualties, so now we put a spin on it that this is some master stroke of attritional warfare against the Russians despite the obvious asymmetry in artillery. Bakhmut holds, Salva Ukraine!

      Unless the Ukrainians can put together a massive attack on the Russian flanks and reopen the roads, those soldiers are toast.

      1. Ignacio

        That is quite true. Russians running out of ammo means Ukraine is running out of ammo. Wagner’s losses are enormous means Ukraine’s losses are horrible, and so on.

        And it seems as per the Bild reporting the West is being prepared to put the blame on Ukraine collapse on Zelensky for trying to resist in Backmut till the end. Not our fault, will the hypocritical Western leadership claim. What a bunch of … (put here your favourite adjective).

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    Someone doesn’t know much about history: “The rise of cats in Istanbul dates back to the people who settled in the city, the Ottomans. As a result of their long history with cats, felines have become an essential part of Turkish culture and the city of Istanbul.”

    1. Daniil Adamov

      IIRC the subjects of the Ottoman sultans were often referred to as the Ottomans/Ottoman people. “Turk” was seen as pejorative, something like “hick”. And the subjects of the Ottoman sultan certainly have settled in the city that would come to be called Istanbul, after its previous incarnation was severely depopulated before and during the conquest.

      1. Polar Socialist

        In 2020 or so Turkish archeologists found a lot of cat bones from byzantine times. Turned out that while in most of Europe cats were harassed and killed en masse*, in Constantinople they were liked and well kept.

        * making way for certain disease spread by vermin that cats naturally take care of.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Cats were generally well-regarded in both Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam. The former regards them as clean animals, unlike dogs, so they are much more likely to be allowed inside churches. There are Eastern Orthodox monasteries associated with cats (St. Nicholas of the Cats on Cyprus, most famously, but the Optina Pustyn’ monastery in Russia also has cats as this video attests: ). All that is to say it is not a surprise that this extended to Constantinople.

          1. Polar Socialist

            This was more about Pope Gregory IX declaring a crusade against Luciferianism allegedly rampant in German speaking areas. As a significant part of the satanistic rituals, cats were to be killed on sight.

            Obviously anyone growing or storing grain would understand the benefit of not “seeing” any cats around.

            1. BillS

              The Luciferous cults were geographically limited and the injunction was based heavily on lurid medieval ideas of devil worship, and involved toads and “pale white men” as well as cats. Given that Gregory was dealing with various political difficulties masked as heresies (Cathars, and the political maneuvers of the wily Emperor Frederick II, Fractious German princes and the attempts to absorb various Orthodox Slavic cultures into Western Christendom, etc.), he was not beyond smearing his enemies in a most lurid way.

              There is not much evidence that medieval people persecuted cats in any meaningful way – any more than they went after toads or pale, skinny men. Jews had it much worse than cats, with the common ex iudicio heresy condemnations and burnings, despite the frequent Church denunciations of these pogroms!

                1. ambrit

                  Indeed, if the Cathars are any guide, I might be tempted to say that Social Justice had a Provencal Provenance.

        2. semper loquitur

          Somewhere I have a book entitled “The Great Cat Massacre” which, if memory serves, was about the widespread slaughter of cats in medieval Paris. The main reason was a product of class struggle. Wealthy and privileged Parisians could afford to keep cats as pampered pets. The poor could not. The pets became symbols of the inequality of the economic order and were attacked thusly.

      2. JohnnyGL

        You and DJG inspired me to dig up this graphic on the top 5 biggest cities in Europe.

        Best estimates are that late byzantine era in 1300s and 1400s saw the city under 100k for population. They have 75k in there as a placeholder.

        By the mid-1500’s, constantinople was back to being the biggest city in europe.

        Quite the revival project from the Ottomans.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Indeed. Part of that is the difference between a capital of a flourishing empire and a capital that has been nearly reduced to a crumbling city-state. Obviously the former would attract a lot more people in very short order: courtiers, bureaucrats, soldiers, merchants and craftsmen catering to the other groups. Also, the Ottomans began settling their existing subjects (whether Muslim or not) in the city immediately after conquest.

      1. Terry Flynn

        If I were Keir Starmer I’d launch a massive part of his Labour General Election campaign upon the point that the tories even entertained killing cats to kill COVID.

        This isn’t an original point – on NC or generally – but it would work.

        So he won’t do it. The “anti McDonald’s Starmer” of the 1980s is gone. Now we have a pale shadow. Broxtowe Notts Labour engaged in civil war…. A key red wall seat…… FFS are you Labour members TRYING to lose an unloseable election? We look more like the USA Democratic party day by day.

    1. ambrit

      Ah, the old inversion of responsibility trick.
      From what I have experienced in my life, “real” Libertarians are perfectly willing to encompass the death of “the other” to get their desires met. Instead of moving, the “aboriginals” can also respond in kind.
      When one group throws away the “Rules of Civilized Living,” it is only fair that the other groups in opposition also enjoy the same ‘relaxation’ of standards.
      Beware of what you wish for.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Agreed. Plus figures that a few Libertarians look up to as gods (Adam Smith etc) knew and argued passionately as to why the “you can move” argument was totally incorrect since land value was “conveniently” ignored by certain right wingers.

        You can’t move under most modern versions of libertarianism unless you have wealth already. Smith knew this. He hated it. Smith (if you read his Theory of Moral Sentiments) shows he thinks it’s rubbish.

      1. hunkerdown

        The very act of privation which constituted capitalism and which it continuously repeats fractally.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Under the Discussion section of that article, there is a paragraph with a strange last sentence that doesn’t seem to belong.

      These results suggest that some PHMs [public health measures] implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19 may have been compromised due to misrepresentation and nonadherence by parents on behalf of their children, contributing to COVID-19–related morbidity and mortality. In addition, some children appear to have received a vaccine that was not fully tested and approved in their age group.

      If I thought my child had been injected with an untested, “unapproved” vaccine version, I’m thinking a “fuck you” to the “public health” authorities would be entirely appropriate, and nothing to do with libertarian leanings.

      1. Terry Flynn

        The vaccine was not tested to traditional standards in any age group…. That is one point being made as to why “we are in the stupid timeline”. I don’t blame you for being more sensitive about kids but the health economics literature (read anything by Alan Williams of York UK) has reinforced the whole “we should ALL shut up and accept the establishment” line.

        I have said above how I dislike major libertarian arguments.
        You don’t need to use kids to attack the establishment – people like Lambert have done plenty to show their missteps already. And this doesn’t mean anyone should reject the whole public health establishment when it comes to vaccines….. That’s called throwing the baby out with the bathwater….

      2. Don

        I read the bold face text as indicating that the parents of the kids provided with vaccines approved only for adults were onside with/involved in said kids being thusly vaccinated. Can’t see a likely scenario where that wouldn’t be the case.

    3. semper loquitur

      You can try to argue against the point. But no, like the pomos, libertarians cannot really ever defend their positions. So, like the pomos, they devolve into quasi-threats and smears.

    4. Forrest

      Not my quote to defend.

      Libertarians wont try to make you do anything.

      People who are dirt poor move everyday to escape poor governance, just look to the usa’s souther border.

  7. ArkansasAngie

    The parents lying directly or thru omission aren’t doing it because they are some ““…libertarian say(ing) ‘f*ck you.’”

    They are selfish %^$#%’s

    Tar and feather accordingly

    1. Objective Ace

      Or they’ve been lied to so much by their government they genuinely believe Covid is “just a cold” and they arent doing any harm. Combine that with living paycheck to paycheck and a society where they have no sick leave and cant afford to take off work

      I’m sure there’s selfish people acting terribly as there always is. But I’m not so quick to cast everyone in that light. Not everyone has the time and resources to enlighten themselves on blogs like NC like we do

      1. jefemt

        And a round-table of ten NC, or generally voracious readers, in March 2023 might disagree about many aspects of covid, vaccines, masking, etc.

  8. upstater

    East Palestine, Norfolk Southern, bearings, etc

    NYT, Last week’s news today. Better late than never

    Rail Heat Sensors, Under Scrutiny in Ohio Crash, Face Few Regulations
    >Safety experts said the East Palestine derailment might not have happened had Norfolk Southern placed sensors closer together. The federal government doesn’t require or regulate their use.

    A better solution? Sensors on cars that identify incipient failures of bearings. As an aside, the electronics packages could be multi purpose for bearings, ECP, location, car integrity, etc. Trains magazine (Bill Stephens reporting is top notch):

    Wheel bearing expert: To prevent derailments, railroads should equip freight cars with sensors

    Unlike wayside detectors, on board sensors can detect bearing defects months before they become a safety hazard.
    Taranweh says it might cost $1,000 to retrofit a freight car with a wheel-bearing sensor system.

    Byron Porter, the founder and CEO of telematics company Hum Rail, which licensed the rights to the University of Texas system, estimates that wheel bearing monitoring would cost between $400 and $500 per year for the 15-year life of its equipment. “That includes hardware, bearing condition, wheel kips (exactly like a wheel impact load detector system), truck hunting monitoring, impact detection, GPS, software and firmware updates, and data access, either through APIs or through our own website,” he says.

    Around two-thirds of the 1.6 million freight cars in North America are owned by shippers or leasing companies.

    “What I’ve been telling folks is there are three ways to look at the additional cost to outfit their own fleet,” Porter says. “A fraction of the total cost for a new build (0.5-2%). An insurance premium that keeps your name out of the headlines. Less than the East Palestine derailment is going to cost NS.”

    It costs about $200,000 to install a hotbox detector on a single track main line and $350,000 on double iron. More than 6,000 hotbox detectors are currently in service. To double that figure to reduce spacing between detectors, it would cost between $1.2 billion and $2.1 billion.

    Equipping the entire freight car fleet with wheel bearing monitors might cost $1.6 billion or more. But the telematics system would also provide shippers with real-time car location, other car health data, and significantly reduce the number of trains that need to stop and set out cars while en route.

    Sounds pretty cheap to me, especially if piggybacked with ECP. The industry is working overtime to bury these potential regulations. But Joe and Pete will hold firm /s.

    1. Screwball

      Good article, thanks. The suggestions and what they are testing in that article make perfect sense, and it would greatly increase the safety. The technology is here. It will be interesting to see where this all goes, which might be directly proportional to how much they care about safety over cost.

        1. Screwball

          LOL! Probably. Somewhere, maybe here, I read a headline about the new bill going through congress for train safety has loopholes big enough to drive a train through, or something like that.

          I think this will be the same. Congress tells us they are fixing train/rail safety, the critters will take credit. At the same time, the rail industry lines critters pockets to get the bill gutted of things they don’t want. Win/win for rail and congress, lose for safety/people. Same as it always is.

          1. Wukchumni

            They don’t allow anything other than standard 18 wheelers here in Cali, but bob’s your uncle in Utah and elsewhere in the southwest where you’ll see 3x 53 footers in tandem, git along little doggies!

            1. Don

              When I used to drive them, long ago in another life, we called tractor-trailers (they’re not called semis here) with a second, shorter trailer behind the ±60′ main trailer, tractor-trailers with a pup. We didn’t like to drive them, particularly if empty — tended to get blown out of their lane by sudden gusts. Haven’t seen one in decades, so they may be no longer allowed in Canada.

  9. zagonostra

    >”Capital Seizure”

    The Capital wasn’t seized, you should go back to the “1/6” rubric.

    It’s hard to believe that anybody organizing a coup would organize this. Leading to the question of whether a “coup” was being organized at all…

    IMHO there was a “coup,” just not the one that the MMS pounced on and gleefully reported. It was more of a psyop in the same vein as a color revolution but designed for domestic consumption.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Special Forces Want to Use Deepfakes for Psy-Ops”

    I myself can verify how dangerous these can be. I have seen one used to try to discredit the President of the United States. It showed the mostly naked son of the President sniffing a line of cocaine off the butt of a Russian hooker in a seedy hotel room while holding a gun and making sure that he was recording everything. If you believe that deepfake, you will believe any of them.

  11. Wukchumni

    Powerful winter storm hits U.S., leaving at least 13 people dead and over 3 million without power, U.S. The Watchers

    Why does everybody always cry uncle, and never an aunt?

    While i’m not to the point where i’ll write my name & social security number on a body part with a Sharpie, NWS says to expect 6 to 8 inches of rain to at least 8K in a few day stretch-and thats only the opening round of a week long bender. There is 5 feet of snow @ 5k and around a dozen @ 8k, a good chunk if not all of this will melt off this storm stanza.

    The X factor being very spread out almost all fairly vertical burn scars from 3K to 8K, and not having any experience with what that can do, I can only wonder.

    Walked a fair bit on said scars last year in our winter of missed content and we were walking to the Oriole Grove of Giant Sequoias where the fire didn’t miss a thing and the slog uphill to get there greatly reminded me of hiking up a sand dune-a dirty one, where every step your boot would sink 4-6 inches into the mire, be your very own moonwalker!

    An interesting thing has developed here in tiny town with leach fields that can take no more water and septic systems backing up, with about 10 more angry inches coming our way.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      What a year you’ve had, Wuk. Surely you’ve seen at least two or three of the Four Horsemen?

      Stay safe, man.

      1. Wukchumni

        Had bet on a 4-1 exacta combo with the Four Horsemen @ the ‘oval office’, but the #4 horse ran out of the money.

          1. indices

            I like the expression “…read the writing on the wall…” which I encountered several days ago in Doomsday for America: Sea level rise could mean our financial ruin – here’s how. The article chronicles how the melting Thwaites Glacier will affect Florida, and more. The events in California during the recent past make me wonder if the focus on Florida will be upstaged by the continuing (seemingly snowballing) weather story the West Coast is telling. The “writing on the wall” may show up in Florida, but I think the “writing” in California is pretty scary too. Throw in an earthquake for good measure…

      2. griffen

        I opined yesterday in WC that the Rapture Index is perhaps doing an undersell of the situation. Record levels of precipitation in an otherwise drought stricken land would seem to tick up on the climate and catastrophe that implies.

        To append along with the timely suggestion to the Four Horsemen. And since America is such an exceptional country, why are we just limiting ourselves to a mere Four ? Eight Horsemen of the Apocalypse seems like a bigger, well rounded amount.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have around 300 AirBnB’s here, who replaced the sense of community that used to prevail…

          Do you really want to count on Bob & Betty Bitchin’ from Burbank and their fetching kids Trevor & Truly, in a pinch?

          1. indices

            An AirBnB must be a treat when the septic tank is no longer functioning and that toilet doesn’t flush.

  12. Stephen

    This article by Market Thinking might be of interest.

    The early stuff is about share valuation so probably of less interest but his final section on longer term thoughts plays into the theme of emerging blocs, a new Cold War and a redollarization of NATO plus Japan.

    Not sure I agree with the perspective that the US has given up on global hegemony yet. This is as opposed to just dominating NATO plus Japan in a bloc versus the rest but his thoughts may be a potential scenario that ends up playing out.

    Tricky to make that work though. Fully autarkic blocs with respect to trade, currency, investment and technology would be a hard outcome to achieve, as NotTimothyGeithner pointed out in a comment a couple of days ago. Additionally, the west is far less relatively powerful than it was. So full autarky feels unlikely but this could be the direction of travel.

    History may very well see the current crop of European politicians as “collaborators” with the last gasp of the dying empire.

    1. Dftbs

      Or rather as the linked piece posits, collaborators at the birth pangs of the DXY empire. We may be ruled by evil fools or crazy fools, one thing we can be sure of is that they are fools. If of the evil variety, DXY empire seems the most attainable “evil” goal.

      Foolish and evil because it limits the West and its populations to its own non-existent productive capacity and has no process for increasing this capacity to meet the consumption needs of its society. Thus the only outcome is dramatically decreased qualities of life, where Western populations are squeezed like lemons to support the political structures of power that govern/oppress them. They are literally driving our society to a dark age. Better to rule in hell. And that may be the best case scenario, if they were crazy fools the other options seem to involve us being on the receiving end of a Sarmat or DF-41.

      Dramatics aside, the DXY empire has always appealed to me as the most realistic outcome of the de-dollarization process. The Chinese are not fools enough to want to supplant the USD as a “global reserve” currency and doom their people to the “America way of life”. They and their “bloc” will develop a central bank settlement currency to manage trade. But here in the West the USD will not become worthless as all the gold bugs and crypto doomers expect. It will actually become scarce and priceless at the individual level. It will lord over its vassal currencies as the European and “western” Asian elites fire sell and jump into the USD life raft. Fun times ahead!

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Kentucky Residents Angered by U.S. Forest Service Logging Plan That Targets Mature Trees”

    ‘Biden pledged to protect old-growth trees, but proposed clear-cutting in national forests collides with climate policy.’

    It was always Biden’s plan. The article says-

    ‘He directed the Forest Service to conduct its first ever inventory of mature and old-growth stands in National Forests, with an eye to creating new policy protecting them.’

    No he didn’t. He did that so they would know which trees to chop down first.

    1. Carolinian

      The Forest Service has always had many excuses for their timber industry service agency.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        It’s no accident that the Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture.

    2. Kouros

      Coming from Europe with a forest management degree under my belt I was aghast to find out that the only silvicultural treatment used in Canada and the US was clearcutting.

      The waste in forestry schools here. People would need some 1 max 2 years college degree to learn how to efficiently and maybe safely remove trees from the forest…

  14. Alex

    Re Inside the Suspicion Machine

    I agree with many points that the article makes (lack of transparency, inadequate training data etc), but it omits something crucial. The algorithm in question was used to investigate welfare fraud. If this algorithm was never implemented, the city would have selected whom to investigate based on “random selection, anonymous tips, and category checks.” Other than random checks, these selection criteria are also subjected to bias – you can easily imagine who and on what basis becomes the subject of anonymous tips. Likewise, category checks are subject to the bias of the person who determines the categories to be checked.

    So the real question is whether the ML model is more or less biased than the status quo.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “What I Learned from Emily Post’s ‘Etiquette’ (1922)’

    You gotta love how books like these give an insight into how people behaved in former times, even if only the elite. Etiquette would have been a way for a person to judge if another person had the ‘proper breeding’ too. So when the author asks ‘Who can follow all the rules and requirements that Ms. Post sets down in this big book?’ it was probably true that those people had been learning those lessons from birth and was thus second nature. When those actors were playing their roles on the UK TV show hit “Downton Abbey”, they not only had to learn their lines but they also had to learn how those people back then moved. Not something that you would normally think about.

    1. tevhatch

      A favorite line from Terry Pratchett in his book, The Truth: #

      “Insofar as he’d formed any opinion of her, it was that she suffered from misplaced gentility and the mistaken belief that etiquette meant good breeding. She mistook mannerisms for manners.”

      #which should be required reading for journalist (except they’d read it wrong)

    2. Mildred Montana

      Interesting that Joan Didion, who had recently lost her husband, found comfort in Post’s passages on the “etiquette of grieving”.

      An aside on death and grieving, from Wiki: “Until the late 19th century, the front parlour was the room in the house used for formal social events, including where the recent deceased were laid out before their funeral. This room had only traditionally been used on Sundays or for formal occasions such as the ceremonies of deceased family members before proper burial…”

      Back in Post’s day (a century and more ago) most people died at home. Since the parlour was reserved for the dead, there was need for a “living” room. That sounds like a good explanation for how the term came about and John Updike said the same in one of his essays. I am inclined to think it’s accurate.

  16. Lexx

    ‘Double bonus antidote’

    I understood that was how porcupines protect themselves and their young, but I’ve never seen it. Damn, Mother Nature, that was impressive! Also, that the babies had been schooled to stay between the parents on the inside and away from those snagging kitty paws.

    1. JohnA

      TBH. after their brave parental heroics, I half expected a truck to hurtle along the road and run the babies over accidentally.

    2. Mildred Montana

      Porcupine parents to leopard: “Hey leopard, how would like those whiskers of yours replaced by quills?”

      Amazing how it seemed aware of the danger, despite all sorts of physical advantages, and declined the offer.

    3. juno mas

      After the big cat momentarily ogled the camera I wondered if the video maker presence didn’t affect the cats attention span. Although, having been stuck with a Porc’s quill, leaving the scene was the best option for the big guy—the pain and quill will remain in the cat’s paw for days.

  17. Carolinian

    Thanks for the Hedges link. I’d almost say it’s a must read.

    Meanwhile in Atlanta still more have been charged with “domestic terrorism” after the latest police training center riot which allegedly included the throwing of Molotov cocktails. Perhaps one should suggest that one inspiration for what happened on Jan 6 was the example of the “peaceful” riots that had been taking place in Portland and elsewhere the year before. As Hedges says, in our new criminalization of protest era draconian punishments can be leveled on Antifa as well as Viking hat guy depending on who is doing the leveling. Those who think they can play this card with impunity and then lawfare the opposition via the same basis may need a serious rethink. Putting your feet on Nancy’s desk can’t be claimed to be worst than throwing gasoline bombs just because you claim your motives are pure (are they?)

    1. fresno dan

      So I saw some Carlson clips of the Shamen guy walking about the capital, in the presence of several police. And as far as I could see few if any other insurectionists, rioters, strollers, call them what you will were in the area preventing police from making arrests. Indeed, seems like escorting was going on… And the Shamen wasn’t arrested. Discretion is the better part of valor?

      1. Carolinian

        So if there’s a cop at an intersection and he waves me through a red light can I be charged? How about if he’s just standing there with his hands at his sides while other people run the light and then I do it too?

        As Hedges says the law is about justice only when the people running it are about justice. There’s a movie about Sophie Scholl who faced a Nazi kangaroo court and then the guillotine for merely distributing leaflets about the German defeat at Stalingrad. The prosecutor plays her naivete and then she realizes with a sudden shock that she is about to be executed. Supposedly a key feature of our justice system turns on whether the accused realized their actions were wrongful and they were competent to understand as well as that the punishment will fit the crime.

  18. ChrisFromGA


    Historically, when authoritarian regimes go to war, they almost always use repression to make the country more unified, usually by ruthlessly attacking perceived internal enemies. Typically, such crackdowns are aimed at those who dissent from the leader’s views, as well as elites, to make sure they do not waiver from the official line. Such repression can sometimes be systematic, as for example in Russia itself under Stalin and other leaders.

    Hmm, seems that the author lacks the self-awareness to realize that he/she is describing the US and the Zelensky regime very accurately.

    Also, the article mentions that Russians who fled the country to escape mobilization are now allowed to return without the threat of conscription.

    Ukrainians should be so lucky.

  19. tevhatch

    Thank you for introducing Ted Gioia Substack. This may have been linked earlier, but Google/Bing both failed me so I’m guessing not. However I think it also would be of interest to readers of this blog, it confirms my feeling about why Taiwan has some of the greatest bookstores in the world, and certainly for Asia, but is also key to other cultural items like food, radio, architecture, and how monopoly power destroys culture.

    1. CanCyn

      The Barbes and Noble story from Gioia was linked here a while back. It is a great story and my intro to Gioia, I’ve been checking in from time time ever since.

  20. Lexx

    ‘Chris Hedges: Lynching the Deplorables’

    Making an example of the participants as a warning to others who may be thinking about a similar run at the Capital. The legal equivalent of killing them and posting their heads on spikes at every road that leads to the feds center of power. Every charge, however twisted, they can make stick will be used again but more swiftly.

    Two very different interpretations regarding ‘transformation’ on the Road to Damascus.

    1. flora

      From C.J.Hopkins latest essay. (His point does fit in with Hedges’ point, even though it begins with a seemly unimportant cultural dustup.)

      This conflict (i.e., global capitalism versus a global “populist” insurgency) is at the root of all the madness of the last four years. To understand it, one needs to understand that it is primarily an ideological conflict, a global war for hearts and minds. Trump, Johnson, Corbyn, Sanders, and other so-called “populist” figures, were never a real threat to GloboCap, not in any material sense. They are symbols, figureheads, representations of resistance to global capitalist ideology. It is this resistance to its ideology (from both the left and the right … it makes no difference), more than any particular political leader or movement, that GloboCap has been trying to crush. It needs to put down this “populist” insurgency, so it can get on with the business of transforming the entire world into one big value-less marketplace … which is what it has been doing for last thirty years.

      1. Lexx

        A thoroughly enjoyable read! Put his latest collection of essays in my queue. Thank you!

  21. Andrew

    “Whence The Great White Kitty Returneth to The Lilac Tree A New age of Peace and Happiness Shall Commence Upon The Earth”
    Ancient Feline Proverb.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Meet the British intelligence-linked firm that warped MH17 news coverage”

    You could see the efforts to shape the narrative right from the get go. For example, they were criticizing local troops gathering the bodies to be put into cold car railway carriages. Apparently they should have left the bodies where they were. In the Ukraine. In July. In high summer. One poor woman had a body fall through the roof of her kitchen. Was that body supposed to stay? Another one was this rough looking DPR soldier holding up a kids stuffed toy as if to boast. But that image was taken from a video where he picked it up, turned to the camera to show a child had died, put it back gently and then crossed himself. A final one is how often when a team turned up to investigate that crash site, it just so happened that the Ukrainians were firing artillery on the site making it impossible and contaminating evidence. If you weren’t buying the Russaididt narrative, there was a lot of truth to be found. And I am ashamed in how my own country uses the families of those Aussies killed to do stuff like protest outside the Russian Embassy on the anniversary and are given airtime to spread the narrative.

    1. David

      A lot of narrative shaping went on over that episode, but the article provides no evidence that this company had anything to do with it. The only “links” with intelligence organisations seem to be in the mind of the journalist, and the story itself wanders all over the place from episode to episode around the world, often talking about entirely different organisations.

      The reality is that in many parts of the world, journalists, but also aid workers, humanitarian NGOs, UN staff and others need to travel around in insecure environments. Over the last generation or so, an industry has grown up, usually employing ex-soldiers, that does two things. The most important is to provide experienced close protection teams to keep you safe. They may or may not be armed, depending on what the threat is, but their job is to keep you out of trouble, by avoiding dangerous situations or getting out of them as fast as possible. To do this, they have to have a good knowledge of the country, and contacts in the local power structures. In countries where kidnapping is an industry, such companies have the subsidiary task of negotiating the release of hostages, usually for money. Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe such incidents rarely end in shoot-outs or daring rescues. Indeed, if you go to one of these countries you are usually briefed about how to behave if kidnapped: don’t resist, don’t arouse suspicions, don’t try to escape yourself etc.

      I hadn’t heard of Pilgrim before but this sounds like the kind of work they would do, and, as I say, it’s a large industry. I wonder what the journalist’s own experience is of reporting from dangerous places?

  23. mrsyk

    From a google search for “East Palestine” from last 24 hours.
    Norfolk Southern agrees to pay for East Palestine residents to relocate during cleanup. (90.5 WESA Pittsburg), “Oda Sponsel, 58, who lives 1.5 miles from the derailment site in East Palestine, said Norfolk Southern offered her a prepaid debit card worth $500 per week when she visited the assistance center on Monday. But Sponsel said she objected, saying that her housing alone would cost about $2,200 per month because she needs to take her two dogs with her and hotels charge more for dogs.

    After about three hours, she said, a manager at Norfolk Southern agreed to pay for the housing option she found but told her that she would have to return to show them the specific housing option once she secured it to get approval. And because Sponsel didn’t take the prepaid debit card, she said, the manager told her she will be responsible for paying for all costs upfront and submitting receipts for reimbursement. Sponsel said she asked for a copy of the agreement and was told that she couldn’t have a copy but that it would be in her file.

    The Norfolk Southern representative told Sponsel the remediation would likely take about six weeks. Sponsel is looking for housing near the Wexford Giant Eagle, where she manages the deli. She’s been working for the company for 30 years and said she’s poured savings into her home.”

    1. mrsyk

      Dems performing political theater. From The Hill; Democrats call for answers from Norfolk Southern on East Palestine derailment. Link at the bottom, but you all can write this piece yourselves. Quote (sorry) “Norfolk Southern’s promises to do better after the East Palestine spill “cannot be squared with the company’s history of aggressively lobbying against sensible railroad safety measures,” the Democrats wrote.” Glad that’s sorted.

    2. mrsyk

      From The Columbus Dispatch; Here are the symptoms East Palestine residents reported experiencing in wake of derailment (link at bottom). This one’s worth a look. The article has a link to a field survey on symptoms (n=168) issued from the office of Gov DeWine.

    3. Screwball

      Thanks for the links mrsyk.

      IMO, these people are so screwed, and have already been treated so awful. And they have no idea how bad things really are, now, or going forward. The response by Norfolk Southern has been disgusting, and the same holds true for .gov (state and federal).

      In a town hall a week or so ago, a lady named Erin Brockovich made an appearance in East Palestine. It reminded me of the movie by the same name, so I watched it again the other day. It was made in 2000. It appears we haven’t learned much since then. The coverups, bribes, and BS are just newer and a little more polished.

      1. mrsyk

        Thank you Screwball. For me, this terrible event and criminally negligent response sweep away any doubt about how little the State cares for its people. We’re all deplorables in the end, nothing more than a penny stock commodity (sic but poetic), not worth nurturing, valueless under duress. We need more Erin Brockoviches and fewer Mayo Petes.

      2. flora

        Why is NS running the testing , the cleanup procedures and the financial compensation determinations and payments.

        Buttigieg ADMITS Ohio Failure, But There’s A Catch | Breaking Points

        From Krystal and Saagar, utube. Breaking Points.

        1000 train derailments a year? We’re number One!

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          No wonder the Chinese foreign minister said the U. S. better get its act together or it would “go off the rails.”

  24. Calm

    The Capitol is like a museum with priceless artifacts. (Paintings, statues and Documents)
    The guards whole intention was to prevent destruction by not acting violently inside the structure.
    The guards would of banged heads just like with street protests, if it was not for the huge financial destruction threatened.

  25. antidlc

    RE: Clarifying passage on Long Covid (or in CDC-ese, PASC (Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19)):

    Emerging evidence suggests that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, can have lasting effects on nearly every organ and organ system of the body weeks, months, and potentially years after infection (11,12). Documented serious post-COVID-19 conditions include cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, renal, endocrine, hematological, and gastrointestinal complications (8), as well as death (13).

    So the CDC (Centers for DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION) acknowledges the harm, but does NOTHING to prevent transmission.

    From their website: CDC 24/7: Saving Lives, Protecting People

    Someone please wake me up from this nightmare.

  26. meddle

    Von der Leyen: one detail incorrect. She is not actually descended from the Nazi Gauleiter of Galicia.
    Her husband is.

  27. Jason Boxman

    Hold on to your hats, boys and girls!

    Intelligence Suggests Pro-Ukrainian Group Sabotaged Pipelines, U.S. Officials Say

    U.S. officials said there was much they did not know about the perpetrators and their affiliations. The review of newly collected intelligence suggests they were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation. U.S. officials declined to disclose the nature of the intelligence, how it was obtained or any details of the strength of the evidence it contains. They have said that there are no firm conclusions about it, leaving open the possibility that the operation might have been conducted off the books by a proxy force with connections to the Ukrainian government or its security services.


    This is otherworldly, to put it mildly. I kind of wish someone in Biden’s administration had the balls to up and say, “we did it”. “F**k you” “F**k the rules-based order, we do what we want.”

    At least it would be honest.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Okay, that is funny.

      I remember that months ago there was some Ukrainian official promising terrorist strikes in major Russian cities, conducted, of course, not by the Ukrainian government but by a mysterious underground resistance group on the ground. Perhaps this same mysterious group is responsible. Still waiting for the promised strikes here, though.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      In all seriousness I wonder if those US officials are positioning some foreigners to take the fall for this later, if need be.

    3. pjay

      Well, there did seem to be one “firm conclusion”:

      “U.S. officials said no American or British nationals were involved.”

      Well alrighty then!

      This is proof positive that they feel like they don’t even have to try anymore, but can just make up ludicrous s**t with impunity.

      The three stenographers – I mean authors – of the Times piece are Adam Entous, Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman. If memory serves, I believe they have a track record on this sort of thing.

      1. wilroncanada

        Only one conclusion can come from such a strident denial: that the attack was carried out by American and British nationals.

    4. KD

      I’m sure the US can round up the real culprits and stick them in Guantanamo until they confess the Truth and stop spreading misinformation, and then they can stay there forever because national security and anyone who questions the guberment line is obviously working for the Axis of Ehh-vell because Biden is good and saved us from the Ehh-vell of Donald Trump and wouldn’t lie to us. I personally suspect QAnon Shaman was probably behind it working as the head of sinister group of conspirators even from behind the wall of Federal Prison. Where is Adam Schiff when we need him to expose these hard truths?

  28. chuck roast

    The Algorithm Society and Its Discontents by Brad DeLong

    The piece is paywalled, so I could not read it in its entirety. But it would be irresponsible not to speculate…particularly in the case of the long-time would-be US Treasury Secretary DeLong.

    The header says it all: Bradley chucks in “redistribution” and “reciprocity” as foundational blocks of our modern, market civilization. Here you go, ‘Modern civilization was built by adding markets and bureaucracy to other, much older modes of human organization: redistribution, reciprocity, and democracy.’ DeLong’s easy abuse of Karl Polanyi should not go unremarked upon.

    As Polanyi would have it DeLong got the older modes right, but they were less built upon by modern civilization than crushed by market economies. You need to go no further then to listen to one of Michael Hudson’s lectures on the centuries of debt forgiveness and debt jubilees in the ancient world. The rise of the western oligarchies and bureaucracies put paid to all that.

    Those of you who read the entire article may wish to enlighten me: does Brad’s smugness shine through?

    1. c_heale

      I used to read Brad DeLong’s blog around 2008. I gave up in the end, because it became obvious (unlike Roubini who I read around the same time), he was a total neoliberal, and had nothing new to say.

  29. fresno dan
    this is like THE most exquisite, delightful, wonderful schadenfreude EVAH!!! I imagine Pompeo will be joining Bolton shortly. I only hope that many others feel confident enough to join in calling for Trump not to be nominated, so that when Trump is nominated, the irony will be so delectable. Hmmmm – is it worth having Trump win the presidency merely to get these a$$h*les prosecuted and convicted on trumped up charges??? you betcha… *
    * seriously. These people have instigated war crimes, if one takes seriously what they have done.

  30. TimH

    Does more money correlate with greater happiness?

    This is a dumb question, because obviously it does for the poor.

    The better question is “Does excessive money correlate with greater happiness?”.

  31. CNu

    The headline article The Stoned Ape Theory: the wild idea that psychedelics shaped the evolution of humans is not connected to the article about religious risk-taking Ethiopian farmers.

    More importantly, it’s a horribly sloppy account of what McKenna was on about. If you search on this page for McKenna – a nice sampling of his bibliography is available for download. I’m very partial to his earliest talk at Esalen on Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness

    Contrary to the talking points commonly used to denigrate non-archeologist Graham Hancock, I strongly suspect that this is the very same hypothesis which has made Hancock an establishment persona non grata.

    1. Alice X

      Of course a pro-Ukrainian group sabotaged the pipelines. It was a group of DC power elites that ordered it.

      I was going to roll on the floor and laugh my @‡‡ off but I might hurt myself.

      How stupid do these people think we are?

      1. ambrit

        Stupid enough to put out trash like that with a straight face.
        Secondarily, this attitude is doubly troublesome when the elites begin to internalize the demonization of out groups. The next step is the legitimization of the “liquidation” of individual members of the out groups. Then comes the liquidation of out groups in toto.
        I am seriously wondering about just when we will begin to see ‘Death Squads’ plying their trade in the Homeland. That is almost SOP for tyrannies.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My thought is Zelensky may not be long for this world, and Zelensky just said his generals who are rumored to have called for a withdrawal weeks ago agreed with him. Then any hope of a NATO air intervention should have dwindled to zero.

        The White House wants a “plausible story” for foreign consumption before a change in personalities.

        Even though there isn’t a need for Zelensky in the Hersch version of events, there might be enough of Zelensky pleading for a more open economic war.

  32. Mikel

    “France braces for strikes that could bring the country ‘to a standstill’ for days on end” France24

    The financial sector is making sure the class that holds stocks in Europe is being taken care of and stays in support of all the war mongering.
    All those energy problems, business closings or moving off shore, labor unrest: indexes at all time highs. Maybe in the sense of whichever businesses are hanging around have less competition it makes sense, but that doesn’t speak favorably about the future of inflation (among other problems).
    Have to keep the PMC pacified or they might think something is wrong…

  33. semper loquitur

    re: Saint Wittgenstein

    “Anyone who wishes to transfer the grammar of observation talk in science to God is guilty of making a ‘category mistake’, as God is necessarily unobservable and not just contingently so (as are electrons, for instance).”

    I have, arguing from first principles, been saying this for a long time. This article is wonderful, it puts goofballs like Sean Carroll with his “God is not a good theory!” in their place. This is bookmark worthy.

    However, I am inclined to believe there is evidence for a higher power. It is the existence of our consciousness. As we know only conscious states, and that’s not a tautology as we both are conscious and are conscious of our consciousness, adhering to a parsimonious ontology we must say that the world is of conscious states. To claim otherwise is to claim that there is the world of experience and yet another, a distinct and fundamentally unknowable world of non-experience.

    But it is obvious that the world is not of our conscious states, in other words the perceivable world is not of our making. The earth and the heavens are not within my skull; they have a separate existence in a “consensus” reality. Who, then, is the author of this wider realm of experiential states? It must be a big “C” consciousness.

    The Dreamer Dreams Earth, Sky, and Sea,
    The Dreams reflectively.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Theoretical physicists have finally got the origins of the universe down to 10^-42 seconds after the Big Bang. After that the laws of physics break down and they are barred from going further, from knowledge of the very Beginning itself. It is as if they have spent a century climbing an Everest, almost summiting, only to find at the top…the theologians!

        1. hunkerdown

          More than one planet in our own solar system cannot be positioned with certainty before a few thousand years ago, due to the fact that the solar system is an open system. No “miracle” was necessary, no subject-object inversion, just a random ice ball of sufficient size in a relatively very tiny corner of the universe.

            1. fresno dan

              The Universe Is Not Only Queerer Than We Suppose, But Queerer Than We Can Suppose
              J. B. S. Haldane

    2. LifelongLib

      I haven’t read Wittgenstein, but based on the article his view of religion is a bit narrow. He appears to think a religion must be a body of doctrine (as in Christianity) and not just a way of life. It brought to mind an interview with Noam Chomsky in which Chomsky says traditional Judaism is a religion of practice rather than belief. Speaking of his grandfather, IIRC Chomsky says “…he observed the practices (he was very orthodox)…I never asked if he believed what he was saying because it kind of wasn’t relevant, that wasn’t what the religion was…”. It sure sounds like membership in at least some religious communities doesn’t necessarily require a belief in (say) the supernatural.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>It sure sounds like membership in at least some religious communities doesn’t necessarily require a belief in (say) the supernatural.

        It sounds to me like modernist (neo)liberalism where to to actually believe in anything is for the rubes; there is nothing, nothing at all to believe in, not good and evil, patriotism, god, community, whatever. It is all performative, a deception, not to be believed and lived.

        If you do not believe in anything, just how do you stand for anything, and what do you think of those who do and can?

        1. LifelongLib

          As you will note if you read what I wrote, I was referring to religion specifically and Wittgenstein’s (alleged) perception of it. Christianity has historically been defined by doctrine. Wittgenstein appears to believe this is universal. As others point out, there are religions that are more defined by practice. I used the example of traditional Judaism; I have heard that Islam is similar.

          As for what (neo)liberals believe or don’t, you’ll have to ask them. I consider myself an old-fashioned New Deal/Great Society liberal. I want a political/economic system that provides everyone (to the extent that any human system can) the basics of a decent life — safety, food, housing, health care, education, a job, etc., and the liberty from there to pursue happiness as they see fit. But living in the U.S. I am a citizen of a nation that seems increasingly unwilling to provide those things to its own residents, and rather blithe about taking them away from those who reside elsewhere.

          1. Karl

            We seem to have a government whose “beliefs” are right (as in public nostrums, platforms and PR) rather than whose praxis is right (actually getting things done in the public interest). Rather, the praxis is for the special interest, sanitized by good PR.

            Churches went in that direction too, serving the State and public “order”, particularly when it was called upon to champion war, despite what Scripture clearly says about loving one’s enemies.

          2. JBird4049

            I am not knocking anyone. I was also not referring directly to Wittgenstein. I was thinking more about how it is difficult for some to believe that other people can have faith in religion or any ideology really; it is all a con or a grift with any real believers being rubes, fools, or mentally ill.

            If they think that the system is only that of a preaching confidence man and his marks, that there is nothing to believe and anyone who says that otherwise is just acting and not believing, or a fool, then just how can they stand for anything? Or believe that anyone can believe and therefore stand for something? Even if someone is doing all the right things, they must be acting or they are being fools and dupes. For some disbelievers, at least unconsciously, it is all about money or other material things with everyman for himself. He who dies with the most toys wins.

            Which makes being a faithful New Dealer foolish to them. Same as having faith in any religion. The same with being honorable, trustworthy, compassionate, or being willing to suffer for anything other than money, status, and power. It will be at least very difficult to do and would explain our ruling class’ increasingly performative, often repulsive actions and their contempt of others. He who dies with the most toys wins. Everyone else just dies.

      2. KD

        You probably should read him, at least the post-humous publication entitled Culture and Value and his essay on Ethics. He was the “Forms of Life” guy, I do see how there is any hostility to orthopraxy there. He did say religion is a passionate commitment to a frame of reference, but this doesn’t have to be doctrinal, it could be praying 5 times a day facing Mecca.

  34. Cresty

    Lambert, for what it’s worth, Scott Ritter has accused Gonzalo Lira of being run by SBU. Thefirst video he stated that, that I saw was the one with anti war people, starting with an older white man, also featuring a black woman. (helpful I know)

  35. Jason Boxman

    For what it’s worth, from “SARSCoV2 Variant Dashboard – USA | 15-DAY TRENDS | NYITCOMResearch Report”

    XBB1.5.13 is now at 3.19%. CH1.1 down to around 1%. 1.5.13 is the only thing of late that seems that it might be increasing.

    1. JBird4049

      They expected to save just $620,000 yearly by diluting the gold, which means that they are now on the hook for a nine billion dollar recall. It does read like modern business alright.

      1. mrsyk

        My read of this is the Shanghai Gold Exchange decline to force the recall in exchange for some assurances. I’m guessing it would be difficult to find a new source at that scale. But yeah, $620K? There’s where your reputation is going down the drain.

  36. Willow

    ‘Stoned Ape’ or ‘Sneaky Fuckers’ as key driver of human evolution?

    “The term “sneaky fuckers” was coined by evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith to describe subordinate males who take advantage of opportunities to mate with females while dominant males are otherwise occupied, leading to their reproductive success (Smith, 1993).”

  37. flora

    Private Equity makes another kill(ing). Readers in OZ may want to stock up on groceries.

    Receivers of collapsed trucking giant admit ‘continuity of food supply’ can’t be guaranteed

    Food supplies to Australia’s biggest supermarkets can’t be guaranteed after the shock collapse of one of our biggest trucking firms.

  38. flora

    Interesting interview from The Real News Network. Talking about the structural crisis in global capitalism.

    William Robinson: How COVID-19 will lead to a global capitalist police state
    The coronavirus pandemic is thriving under capitalism, and in the process creating conditions for an even more repressive system to emerge.

    “But let me conclude this introductory summary by saying the problem of surplus capital has its flip side in surplus people, surplus humanity. The more the surplus capital, the more hundreds of millions, even billions of people become surplus humanity.

    And what that means is that the ruling groups have a double challenge. Their first challenge is what do they do with all the surplus capital? How do they keep investing in making profit? Where can they unload this surplus capital and continue to accumulate? But the second big challenge, because the flip side is surplus humanity, is how do you control the mass of humanity? Because there is a global class revolt underway. ”

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