Links 5/26/2023

Archaeologist unveils mysteries of Mexica fascination with crocodiles Mexico News Daily

Investors Are Getting Some Negotiating Power Back. But Not as Much as You Think. Institutional investor. Limited partners in PE.

The stark ‘de-risking’ choice facing economies Mohamed El-Erian, FT

Another Blow to the Return to Offices: Everyone’s Got Allergies WSJ. Allergies.


Norway’s oil fund sides with climate activists against ExxonMobil and Chevron FT

The Climate War Between the States Heat Map

Science and the legal rights of nature (abstract) Science. “The right to evolve.” Hmm. “Let ‘er rip” embodied that right, no?

Leaked Brownstone Institute Emails Reveal Support for Child Labor, Underage Smoking Walker Bragman, Important Context. Because freedom, no doubt.


Evolutionary characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants adapted to the host Nature. “[E]levated infectivity of Omicron sublineages” in China (a popularization).

Ending Zero-Covid Coming Home To Roost For China Ian Welsh (MT).


Xinhua Commentary: De-risking is just decoupling in disguise Xinhua

China’s Port Power Foreign Affairs

China’s C919: maiden commercial flight will span busiest domestic route on Sunday South China Morning Post

With firm allies like Japan and Australia, the US can afford to take its eye off the Indo-Pacific when it needs to South China Morning Post


Myanmar Junta Turns to Iran for Missiles and Drones The Irrawaddy

Myanmar, China hold border trade fair in Nay Pyi Taw Xinhua


Indian PM Modi wraps up Australia visit with new agreements on migration, green hydrogen Channel News Asia

Dear Old Blighty

The Tories have a dirty secret: they don’t want to reduce immigration Telegraph. We’ve got 400-year-old lawns to roll!

Silencing the doubters on British cuisine:

New Not-So-Cold War

36 Hours in Bakhmut: One Unit’s Desperate Battle to Hold Back the Russians WSJ

US hopes to snatch victory from jaws of defeat in Ukraine Indian Punchline. Quoting MacGregor: ” [The United States is] not a land power anywhere but in our own Hemisphere. We are primarily an aerospace and maritime power, much like Great Britain. And what does that mean? When things go badly for us, we sail away, we fly away, we go home… That’s what we always do. Eventually, we just leave. And I think, that’s on the agenda now.”

* * *

From the Ukraine Defense Contact Group’s monthly meeting:

Ukraine is capable of liberating all territories, but not in near future – General Milley Ukrainska Pravda

F-16s won’t be ‘magic weapon’ to win Ukraine war, top US general warns NY Post. Milley again.

With Ukraine Set to Get Another Weapon from Its Wish List, Democrats Push for More Defense One

* * *

Ukraine’s coming counteroffensive has a good chance of succeeding The Atlantic Council

Ukraine’s Coming Counteroffensive? Lower Your Aim CEPA

* * *

The rise of Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov — NV profile New Voice of Ukraine. We should ask this guy where Zaluzhnyi is; he probably knows!

Ukraine is already looking to a postwar digital future Gillian Tett, FT. The Nazis only had IBM punch cards. So, progress!

Interpreting The Three Nuclear-Related News Items From Thursday Andrew Korybko’s Newsletter

An Unearthly Spectacle: The untold story of the world’s biggest nuclear bomb Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. From 2021, still germane.

Biden Administration

Why Are These Biden Officials Leaving Their Top Posts? Moon of Alabama (Chuck L).

‘Inching towards a deal’ on the debt ceiling Politico. “It’s time to bring the president off the bench.” Or the gurney.

US Says Will Restrict Visas of Those Seen to Be ‘Undermining’ Bangladesh Elections The Wire. Hmm. How long before this policy is applied to domestic elections?

The Supremes

Supreme Court curtails Clean Water Act SCOTUSblog

Samuel Alito’s Assault on Wetlands Is So Indefensible That He Lost Brett Kavanaugh Slate

‘The Court’s Position Is, No One Can Tell Them What to Do’ FAIR


DeSantis torches Trump over COVID lockdowns: ‘He turned the country over to Fauci’ FOX

Digital Watch

Minnesota governor OKs broad right-to-repair tech law The Register

Why risk management in enterprise I.T. systems starts with reducing complexity Actuaries Digital

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Credit Suisse ordered to pay $926mn to former prime minister of Georgia FT

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

JPMorgan Chase says Jeffrey Epstein paid tuition for kids of U.S. Virgin Islands governor CNBC. Pass the popcorn.

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon set to face questioning in Jeffrey Epstein cases FT


Column: This company made billions by surprise-billing helpless ER patients. Then justice arrived LA Times

Part D (05/25/23) (podcast) Death Panel. “[W]hy private Medicare Part D plans are able to deny necessary care to people with rare diseases, and what it says about the US welfare state.” Commentary:

Sports Desk

The Subtle Moments That Separate Nikola Jokic The Ringer

Imperial Collapse Watch

Start-Ups Bring Silicon Valley Ethos to a Lumbering Military-Industrial Complex NYT. “Ethos” like what? Fraud? Rental extraction as a way of life?

Guillotine Watch

The Man Who Spends $2 Million a Year to Look 18 Is Swapping Blood With His Father and Son Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Eating Disorder Helpline Fires Staff, Transitions to Chatbot After Unionization Vice. No doubt the funders approved. I suppose the left is so beaten down’ there’s no need for NGOs to co-opt it any more?

Billionaire Funding ‘Abolish the Police’ Activists Invests in Private Security Start-Up Lee Fang. The Pritzker family portfolio could in interesting.

A Model of Influencer Economy NBER. “The assortative matching between sellers and influencers remains under endogenous influence-building, with the maximal differentiation principle recovered in the limit of costless style acquisition.” In English, please.

On the Reign of Cleopatra A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry

Antidote du jour (via):

By any rational standard, ecological engineers are more important than Supreme Court justices.

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. OIFVet

    BOLO for an international sh!tstorm involving Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, and an unnamed embassy in Sofia Bulgaria (given the Harvard background of the CC party, I will give you one guess whose embassy). In a highly charged internal situation around forming a coalition government between the “reformists” from the Change Continues party and the known corrupt GERB party and its leader Boyko Borissov, a tape from the national council of Change Continues emerged today that shows the party leaders openly discussing appointments to national security agencies being cleared and approved by “the embassies,” Ursula von der Leyen promising to help circumvent inflation rules governing entry into the Eurozone, and a procedural “umbrella” being prepared for Boyko Borissov to protect him from a possibly imminent request to have his parliamentary immunity lifted and be indicted on corruption charges. All of these in the name of protecting “democracy” and “Euroatlantic values,” of course. It’s explosive stuff and shows the corrupt European garden at its worst.

    “The recording released by Vasilev implies that there is an understanding to replace the heads of the special services and “the names are to be cleared with the embassy”. There are also allegations about meetings with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel to discuss how Bulgaria can join Schengen and circumvent the eurozone entry rules.”

    1. digi_owl

      Again and again i want to be there when Norway officially put the torch to the EEA agreement, but most of our politicians wants us to become full EU members.

      Even Varoufakis seems to have given up on salvaging EU lately.

  2. Steve H.

    > The Subtle Moments That Separate Nikola Jokic The Ringer

    What the best ever has to say. This is after the first game of the Lakers/Nuggets series.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Archaeologist unveils mysteries of Mexica fascination with crocodiles’

    Archaeologist Erika Lucero Robles Cortés’ really knows her stuff and appears to welcome experimental archaeology as well. She notes that the crocodiles natural habitats are in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and that these were hundreds of miles away from the Aztec capital. I wonder if the implication might be that there were villages or settlements in those regions that specialised in the capture and transport of crocodiles to the capital then. It would make sense for some specialisation to happen if it is so difficult to transport one.

    1. Wukchumni

      Crocodiles must have been just as exotic and fearsome to the people of the ancient world as they are to us today. To the Romans, the crocodile was most familiar as the emblem of Egypt, and its appearances on Roman coins were in reference to that province.

      The first time a crocodile appeared on a Roman coin was in about 37 B.C. by an official who had authority over the Greek island of Crete and the North African region of Cyrenaica. He issued copper pieces signed CRAS or KPAΣ, leading most scholars to identify him as M. Licinius Crassus, the eldest son of the wealthy triumvir Crassus, who in 53 B.C. infamously had led about 20,000 Roman soldiers to their death in a poorly executed campaign against the Parthians.

      As might be expected, crocodiles appear most often on coins produced in Egypt. Though the Romans struck untold millions of Egyptian coins with crocodiles, very few use this creature as the principal design. Indeed, those instances are limited to a minor denomination, the copper dichalkon.

  4. Ignacio

    Science and the legal rights of nature (abstract) Science. “The right to evolve.” Hmm. “Let ‘er rip” embodied that right, no?

    I believe that Aurelien had already written about this here. The fact is that our legal systems have great difficulties dealing with this matter. Establishing “personhood” for some species, natural environments is quite an artefact and we have traditionally resorted to make this via converting whatever to be protected in a public interest or state interest like the National Parks, the conservation of fish populations etc. Not being expert on law issues I hope someone might chime in.

    1. jefemt

      The Stone Law Review article is a small book, loaded with footnotes and case references… but really worth a read. (Stone)

      Gerry Spence, the trial lawyer, wrote a great essay on the rights of nature- Tree-Hugger- The Tyranny Viewpoint.
      Its an essay in the back of a book that mostly covers on his trial defending Randy Weaver, the Ruby Ridge siege by the US Gubmint. Tough subjects- but hey, he’s a boot-strapping wyoming cowboy!

  5. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    Trillions for defense, but not one Cent for tribulation!

    Was the battle cry of the new XYZ affair, a drawn out skirmish over how much further in arrears the country would proceed, and despite patriotism being the last refuge of a scoundrel, even fluttering old glories and house eagles behind the dais were to no effect as the last days of My Kevin (since ’07) were certainly approaching, with only 1 dissenter needed to oust oh la vista the 3rd rock from the sum, er 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine is capable of liberating all territories, but not in near future – General Milley”

    Say, wasn’t General Milley the same guy that said that he was just talking to Zaluzhnyi on the phone three days ago and that there were no problems? And now it is coming out that Zaluzhnyi was severally wounded in a Russian missile strike leading to him having to undergo brain surgery with the likelihood that he will never return to service? Good thing that General Milley is retiring this year but I do wonder if he will put the camos that he was wearing when he and Trump walked from the White House to that shut down church for sale on eBay.

    1. tevhatch

      This is actually very strategic. Milley is being used to by Gates/Microsoft to make the case that AI is superior. At least the word Intelligence is associated with AI, where as Pentagon, General, and Milley all are associated with a lack there of. In their case the less intelligent are the most successful, they can only read scripts, when they occasionally go off script it’s almost a disaster if not a joke.

    2. Samuel Conner

      > he was just talking to

      perhaps it was an AI chatbot feeding into a deepfake audio synthesizer.

      This is, after all, an information war as well as a kinetic war.

      1. jefemt

        All wars are both info and kinetics.

        2023: and we have never been in the speed of light information age all devices everywhere 24/7 as we now are.

        I’m reading a great collection by the climber/soldier H W Tilman, and his insights and quips about military intelligence and narratives (he served in both WW1 and II ) would indicate that the fight for hearts and minds is as timeless as war itself.

        I for one wish humans would try, ‘NOT war’.

        Anyone yet put together a pool for jackpot and the date of significant extirpation of Homo ‘sapiens’ ?

        No one to collect the winnings. Haw!

        1. LawnDart

          I’m planning on stopping by the library today to check out some of his books‐- they look like a great way to kick-off summer reads and adventures!

          If we don’t go straight from spring into nuclear winter, that is… June has me a little wary of the potential for NATO/Ukraine escalation against Russia, for these reasons:

          A. Even Ray Charles can see that the war is not going well for NATO, so “desperate times/desperate measures.” [Yes, I know that he is dead.]
          B. One of the largest ever NATO exercises ever planned is scheduled to begin in June.
          C. Something that the ruling class has taught me and made perfectly clear is that they will accuse you of doing something in order to justify they themselves doing that very same thing that they are accusing you of– it’s like a standard M.O., so this constant accusation that “Russia’s planning on using nuclear weapons in Ukraine” sounds to me like some of our more unhinged masters are seeking justification or rationale for a “pre-emptive” nuclear attack (or “strike”). And I’m pretty sure that more than a few Russians have the same concerns, which leaves us..?

          If we make it past June, I think that we can kick the date of the jackpot down the road a bit, unforseen events excluded.

          1. j

            LD -“C.” is what keeps me up at nights sometimes – “unhinged masters” is far too kind and bestows intelligence where there is none, except the capability to believe their own lies and act upon them in the most foolish manner –

            1. LawnDart

              Not my experience, but it’s true that if you come from a “good family” you can be an utter moron and you’ll still be taken care of– nice house, good food, high-paying job, etc..

              It’s never wise to underestimate your opponents, and especially while they retain a capacity and willingness (or even a desire) to cause you harm. Additionally, those in the ruling class always have at least a few toadies at-hand who are eager to serve and please them.

              If there is a thread common to our ruling class that has emerged as dominant over recent decades, it is psychopathy.

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                I ran across the old (2014) Paul Jay interview of Chris Hedges titled, “The Pathology of the Rich.” Hedges draws on his apparently pretty unpleasant experience at one of the New England prep schools. Hedges and Jay talk about the New Deal, Marx’s understanding of the pathology of the rich, and the cultural domination that the rich owners of media enjoy.

                I ran across that interview after watching a new Hedges interview Andrew Bacevich about Bacevich’s new book, Bidding Farewell to the American Century. The elites come up for discussion there as well along with the New Deal and Bacevich’s evolution from a gung-ho junior officer in Vietnam to a critic who now believes only radical change can save us.

                Both interviews are roughly 30 minutes long.

      1. Wukchumni

        A sippy cup can be turned into ad hoc weaponry if said receptacle is full of nitric acid and then hurled at the shooter by a tyke.

          1. LawnDart

            That is a brilliant idea– a most-clever way to get that orangish powdered-drink cr@p out of our schools. And maybe we also could arm the kids with bananas that could cause intruders to slip as well as provide them with apples to throw at ’em.

      1. Wukchumni

        Laugh now, but when the book wins the Caldeshott medal for most distinguished American picture book for children in a high velocity vein, Texans will have the last word.

    1. ewmayer

      The wonderful thing about triggers
      Is triggers are wonderful things
      Their fronts are made out of metal
      Their innards are made out of springs…

  7. Samuel Conner

    “Everyone’s got allergies”.

    Perhaps that headline should have put “allergies” within quotes.

    I recently noticed this item, on allergy symptoms from CV infection with a recent variant

    (not sure if this issue made it into NC/WC links; most of what I notice is via those links, but a hasty search did not turn up an obvious source)

    apparently this correlation has been getting episodic notice for more than a month.

    “just a cold”

    “just allergies”

    I’m beginning to think it may be “just a death wish”

    The WSJ item is behind a paywall; I’m curious whether the possibility that some of these allergy symptoms are actually CV infection symptoms is noticed in the article.

    1. BeliTsari

      This has been a little less amusing, over the last three years. We’d preface ANY mention of PASC’s MCAS, pro-inflammatory cytokine, autoimmune & NO/ONOO cycle style symptoms with, “now, I know it’s pollen season & lots of folks are WFH in cramped, musty NYC apartments FILLED WITH scent, fabric softener, surfactant, pthalate, cat urine, laundry, cleaning & shit like SPORES; than I’d EVER been exposed to in heavy industry!” During my 2019 “retirement physical” I’d NO allergies, or 7-9 other chronic health concerns. NOPE, until March 14, 2020 I’d NONE of these cascading autoimmune disorders?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So, just for a little allergy “context”:

      anthony fauci began his tenure at NIAID in 1968. After occupying various posts, he became the agency’s director in November, 1984 (Wow!) and has been in that position for the last 40 years.

      NIAID stands for National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It has been specifically tasked, by congress, to investigate and prevent allergic, autoimmune, and chronic disease. The incidence of these diseases has exploded during fauci’s tenure, and a plethora of pricey, patented, customer-for-life meds as treatment, never “cures,” have helped build big pharma into the diabolical behemoth it is today.

      As just one example, peanut allergies, virtually unheard if 50 or so years ago, have become so ubiquitous that they can no longer be served on planes, and schools must provide spaces in the lunchrooom where allergic kids can be kept “safe” from their PB&J wielding peers. Not to mention that the “remedy” is an epi-pen, peddled by a senator’s daughter, in packs of 2 only, for $600, and required to be provided by the afflicted kid’s family to be kept in reserve at school per a law pushed by that same senator’s wife.

      Nobody, including the outgoing head of NIAID, seems to have the slightest interest in why so many people are suddenly allergic to peanuts, but are vitally interested in how to keep the condition contributing to gdp.

      Allergies, like cancer and diabetes have become “industries” now, thanks in large part to the direction of the “public health” agency tasked with preventing them as determined by its august “director” for the last 40 years.

      As far as “is it allergies or is it covid” goes, it doesn’t matter as far as fauci’s concerned. He’s got his grasping, grubby little paws in both.

  8. Jabura Basaidai

    i subscribe to online NYT so i can read full articles – this morning was a spit out the coffee guffaw – didn’t see this one in the links – David Leonhardt made me laugh heartily – writing about the defeat in Bakhmut and supposed counteroffensive – i’m sure Vlad is quaking in his boots – whatever David’s smoking i want some –

    “The outcome of that counteroffensive could shape the outcome of the war. A successful campaign by Ukraine, retaking territory that Russia now controls, could cause President Vladimir Putin to fear outright defeat and look for a face-saving peace deal.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The whole premise of the Western strategy was Russia would fold then collapse. A few doofuses dreamed of no fly zones without understanding issues like combat range of planes. I’m sure much of the State Department wouldn’t be able to find Ukraine on a map. Everything flowed from a Yakov Smirnoff routine.

      It’s all just a matter of time is the cope. The West can’t escalate and be successful. The only people who approve of the NYT’s left are the brain addled msdnc consumers. They won’t handle reality well. Hillary will call Biden a traitor at the first opportunity. They need a narrative to avoid the wrath for why our wonder weapons aren’t working and preschoolers are getting guides on how to avoid school shootings.

      1. Will

        re Russia collapsing, Big Serge, who has sometimes appeared in Links, retweeted a rumour of a Ukrainian commander being killed by a subordinate for ordering what amounted to a suicide mission. Apparently there is video of the incident.

        Fake news? Perhaps, but certainly wouldn’t be surprising if true if you believe things are not going very well for our plucky heroes.

        re unrealistic no fly zones

        Moon of Alabama included snippets of a Twitter thread detailing the problems of operating F-16s. Basically, they need pristine runways to take-off from as their air intakes are low to the ground and liable to suck in debris which would be fatal to the engine. This, combined with short operational range without mid air refueling, may further limit their utility since the Russian’s have made sure there’s nowhere suitable to base them and any attempt to prepare a runway would only invite bombing.

        Interesting details as well on the design of older Russian MIGs that the Ukrainians have been flying that allow them to operate in less than ideal conditions. Almost as if less than ideal operating conditions were a design criteria.

        However, the author of the Twitter thread is unknown, so usual caveats.

        Then again, may not matter if all they’ll be used for is as a launch platform for long range missiles like the ones recently provided by the UK. Surely there are air bases in Western Ukraine that are out of reach of Russian missiles?

          1. Skip Intro

            The key to understanding the role of the F-16, is that it is a good plane that is blocking sales of the much more profitable and US-dependent F-35. The US has to get those things out of western stockpiles and into range of Russian air defense as quickly as possible. Any analysis that disregards the needs arms industry controlling the West is incomplete.

            1. Polar Socialist

              The oddest thing is that as one Western weapon system after the other turns out not to be very good for fighting actual wars – not to mention being the wunderwaffe they are touted to be – doesn’t seem to lead into any self-reflection or any putative clients going “hmmm….”.

              With the exception of the US Army apparently canceling the order for Switchblades.

        1. Acacia

          Not an airplane expert here, but even I have seen many references to the air intake louvres on Russian MIGs. A quick google search turns up many discussions and photos.

          Agree with @Will, above, that the F-16s are going to have trouble operating in this environment.

          Also, the Kinzhal has a range of 1,500–2,000 km, so no runways in western Ukraine are safe.

          1. digi_owl

            Yeah i think just about the only western jet that could be useful to the Ukranians given current conditions would be that Swedish Gripen.

            Built to use roads as runways in a pinch, and refueled and rearmed from trucks. Russia would have to crater ever 1km of straight road for that bird to have no place operate from.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “36 Hours in Bakhmut: One Unit’s Desperate Battle to Hold Back the Russians”

    If you cannot read the Wall Street Journal article, this one talks about what is in it. One guy said that he told a sergeant major that he had never fired or even held a gun before. ‘Bakhmut will teach you’ he was told. If these guys had been given a short intensive training period of how to shoot, disassemble, reassemble and how to keep their rifles clean, they would gave been of far more use to the Ukraine-

    Come to think of it, I have read about this sort of stuff before. I have an autobiography of a US soldier that went to ‘Nam. He said that to be sent, you had to qualify on your M-16 so his training unit were trooped down to the firing range, were given their rifles for the very first time, fired a clip of ammo down range and that this made them ‘qualified’ on paper. This guy annoyed his sergeant by taking his time to shoot off his rounds as that would be the only chance he would get to practice before being sent over.

    The unit were then given instruction of how, step by step, to disassemble their rifles and then to reassemble them. This guy told his sergeant that he had a few bits left over but his sergeant told him not to worry about it as the armoury sergeant would put it back together again. This guy then asked his sergeant if the armoury sergeant would be coming to ‘Nam with him. And you know that I am not making this up. It got so bad that in ‘Nam the army set up training camps to put the new arrivals through basic training.

  10. John

    There is a spate of “Ukraine is on the road to victory.” articles in Links this morning. I now assume that whatever is coming from the government or its mouthpieces is the opposite of the real situation so the end must be near. The Leonhardt quote in an adjacent comment seals the deal.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My guess is its a strategy to distract the omg Russia types. Summer is here. The TV schedule will be disrupted. When they come back in September, they will be onto “praise Biden or you will cause the end of america” with China replacing Russia as public enemy number 1.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The danger lies in if the neocons get so desperate, that they threaten Russia that if they do not let the Ukraine win, then they will send in NATO. At most that would be troops from the US, Poland, the UK and maybe Romania but they are running out of ways to escalate this war in the Ukraine’s favour. That is a major reason why Russia is going slow. You don’t make any sudden movements in front of crazy people.

      1. digi_owl

        Ugh, don’t get me worrying that they will start a second front up north. Given that USS Gerald R Ford is visiting Oslo these days, and is said to be sailing northwards later on. Just in time for them to crash a joint Nordic air force exercise.

    3. johnherbiehancock

      “Ukraine’s coming counteroffensive”

      I think this has become the “Friedman unit” of this conflict.

      Did they officially drop “Spring offensive?” It’s almost summer, so that makes sense. Would be curious to go back and review headlines to see when talk of “Ukraine’s (spring/counter) offensive” first started popping up. Maybe last winter? December or January? Earlier?

      For the next year or so, expect that Ukraine’s next offensive will be always *just* about to start… once they get those F-16s… or Abrams-es… another $50 Billion… more HARMS… etc.

      1. ambrit

        That’s if the Ukraine lasts another year. The general rule seems to be that everything “at the front” is going fine until a sudden overall collapse happens. Then “valiant rearguard units” sacrifice themselves to hold back the onrushing hordes to allow the Elites enough time to pack up anything portable of value and flee the country.
        We will soon see communities of “Ukrainian Emigres” inhabiting an Arrondissement of Paris.
        This entire situation has more than a whiff of Europe 1917 to it.

        1. tevhatch

          Scott Ritter, etc, tend to forget that one of the long term goals of Russia is to move NATO infrastructure back to 1990s location. What if it’s not so much moving the borders of the military infrastructure back, but simply turning NATO’s members into failed states so that there is no decent infrastructure anywhere. If that’s the planned case, then the longer Russia Keeps Ukraine bleeding USA and EU, the better.

        2. Polar Socialist

          It was actually only in 1920 when the Ukrainian “nationalists” were forced out of Ukraine to Poland to be disarmed, confined and eventually to become terrorists freedom fighters.

  11. SocalJimObjects

    The NBER paper. “The assortative matching between sellers and influencers remains under endogenous influence-building, with the maximal differentiation principle recovered in the limit of costless style acquisition.”

    I wonder what ChatGPT will spit out if it’s prompted with that sentence? NullPointerException?

    1. vao

      Ever since the Sokal affair, it has been repeatedly shown that texts that cleverly highjack the jargon and stylistic mannerisms of a particular academic field, literary clique, or political sect can fairly easily pass as credible discourses — even when they put forth breathtaking assertions or absurd reasonings based on nonsensical associations.

      You can even find tips and tricks on how to formulate such essays — and some have been proposed a long time ago, years before those language-model AI systems were developed.

      I presume that ChatGPT will have no trouble dealing with such sentences and will produce a suitable (if meaningless) amphigory in response, replete with the appropriate vocabulary and circumlocutions.

    2. davejustdave

      I asked Bing Chat to paraprase and explain the sentence you quoted. It replied:

      “The assortative matching between sellers and influencers remains under endogenous influence-building, with the maximal differentiation principle recovered in the limit of costless style acquisition.” means that the matching between sellers and influencers is influenced by factors that are internal to the system, rather than external. The maximal differentiation principle refers to the idea that sellers and influencers will differentiate themselves as much as possible to maximize their profits. Costless style acquisition refers to the idea that sellers and influencers can acquire new styles without incurring any costs.

    3. skippy


      Thus, depending on the importance consumers place on each attribute, in two dimensions there
      is a max-min equilibrium, a min-max equilibrium, or both. In three dimensions, depending
      on the weights, there can be a max-min-min equilibrium, a min-max-min equilibrium, a min-min-max equilibrium, any two of these, or all three.

      Curse you Lambert … having flash backs before 6AM … will require a entire day on the floor sander and Festool gear to expunge – once – again … Slone/Stern argh – !!!!!

  12. Sub-Boreal

    Re: article linked from “The Canadian Patriot”

    Note the following from this outlet’s “Mission” statement []:

    The views expressed in the Canadian Patriot Review are inspired by the philosophy and strategic outlook of Lyndon LaRouche.

  13. tegnost

    Ukraine sent untrained recruits into the battle of Bakhmut to save its professional soldiers for an expected counteroffensive

    Ukraine sent untrained recruits into the battle of Bakhmut to save it’s (rhymes with yahtzees).

    There, fixed

    1. Polar Socialist

      Yeah, would have been stupid and immoral to cede Bakhmut and train those untrained troops for the coming offensive instead.

      If only the Rooskies had gone into defense in last November, so there could have been a way for the Ukrainians to bide their time and train a proper army. /s

      1. digi_owl

        Lately i have found myself wondering from where in Ukraine those units sent off to UK and other NATO nations to train come from. As i can’t shake the feel that the Ukrainian army, if there one left, is two tier.

        With the trained troops being from the western parts near, and packed with loyal Banderites, while the rest are barely trained and equipped ones that have been press-ganged from the eastern part.

        I suspect there will be some ugly revelations in the years to come, if the planet survive a throw down in the South China Sea.

        1. Scylla

          I’m late to this- but it has been clear to me for a while that Ukraine has been using conscription to perform a backdoor genocide. They are preferentially and forcefully conscripting ethnic Russians and ethnic Hungarians, and forcing them to the front at gunfight to be removed from Ukrainian society (under their assumption that there will be a Ukrainian society in the future) and thus “purifying” the populace.
          Someone has written a book about this practice being used in the past as well, but for the life of me I cannot recall the author or title.

  14. Michael Fiorillo

    It’s fitting and instructive that Pierre Omidyar is simultaneously financing Defund The Police – the worst political slogan, ever, with predictably bad consequences for the faux-gressive Left – and private security businesses, since the terminal logic of Defund inevitably leads to private policing. Should work out great: Patrice Collours-types will continue to buy luxury houses, ex-Navy Seals will make the big bucks, billionaires might feel a bit safer in their Xanadus… and the icing on the gravy is ever more revenue opportunities and a political climate turning harsher, nastier and more fragmented…

    1. GF

      Yeah. Should work out great with 50-100 private police forces roaming the city. At least taxpayers wouldn’t be footing the bill.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘The rise of Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov — NV profile”

    Right now the Russians won’t kill Zelensky as they guy is such a disaster as a leader, that he ends up helping the Russians such as at Bakhmut. And abroad, Zelensky insults and mocks the leaders that he meets so there as well, he helps the Russians. Budanov, however, is on the Russian list of people to kill. This is the guy that has boasted how he is behind the terrorist attacks in Russia such as the car bombing of Darya Dugina and the murder of that journalist in that cafe bombing. The guy even came out and said ‘We’ve been killing Russians, and we will keep killing Russians anywhere on the face of this world until the complete victory of Ukraine.’ So it is only a matter of time until the Russians punch his ticket. And yet this article bobs up like an unflushable turd. Could it be that this article is a trial balloon where Budanov wants to be the guy to succeed Zelensky? But there is no way that the Russians will let him become the leader of the Ukraine. America was more likely to have made Osama bin Laden the US President.

    1. digi_owl

      Best i can tell, Russia wants to keep Zelensky around to sign the surrender. This in order to legitimize it, as anyone that replace him violently will easily be dismissed by NATO as a Russian puppet. Never mind the potential for martyrdom and a rally point for the army.

  16. Carolinian

    Minnesota right to repair bill

    The omnibus bill (SF 2774) signed into law contains a “digital fair repair” section that covers all digital electronic products, with the exception of motor vehicles, agricultural and construction equipment, video game consoles, advanced cyber security tools, home energy storage systems, and medical devices.

    So they covered just about everything–oh wait….

    According to Proctor, this is the first time Right to Repair has been extended to appliances, enterprise computing and commercial equipment like HVAC systems. The Minnesota law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2024 and applies to products made after July 1, 2021, also extends to mobile, tablets, and laptops like the New York law.

    Thing is though I can get parts for my electronically controlled refrigerator now but if the controller is proprietary then the replacement ordered online may cost a couple of hundred dollars.

    The real issue is not the right to repair except on very expensive equipment which seemingly isn’t covered anyway. For ordinary people it’s more the cost to repair and whether it isn’t cheaper to just to buy new. To really address both cost and the environmental issues a considerable revision of our intellectual property regime would be necessary. Legislative timidity (and campaign contributions) look to make this unlikely.

    1. vao

      with the exception of […] agricultural and construction equipment

      Agricultural equipment was precisely the big item whose deliberate unrepairability caused the ire of so many farmers and was the target of all those “right to repair” movements throughout the USA. Good lobbying job, John Deere and Massey-Ferguson!

  17. flora

    From Martin Wolf at FT, this is an archived version, public access.

    Opinion G7

    The G7 must accept that it cannot run the world
    American hegemony and the group’s economic dominance are now history

  18. Wukchumni

    Tiny Town is the 3rd most charming small town in Cali, or so is the claim…

    For a rugged adventure up north amid the awe-inspiring giant redwoods near the Sierra Nevada foothills, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in Three Rivers is your spot. Great for a family adventure of whitewater rafting, cave exploration and waterfall hikes, the rustic downtown area offers big-city excitement too—and potential for living out your Virgin River fantasy. Three Rivers Brewing has a lovely patio for sipping a flight of suds surrounded by nature, Reimers Candies is the place for old-school local sweets, and you can shop for handmade crafts at Gathered in Three Rivers or Totem Market & Gift.

    1. Jeff W

      Finally I know what place “Tiny Town” actually is. (You mentioned “Three Rivers” before but somehow I never put the two together—a bit dense, I guess.) To me at least, the alias “Tiny Town” always sounded a bit too precious, like something out of a Victor Herbert operetta—the actual place sounds more, to use a word from the description, “rugged.” Seems like a very nice place to live. Thanks for sharing the link.

      1. Wukchumni

        Kinda like a bouncer who is 6 foot 7 and weighs 432 pounds and is named ‘Tiny’, we are about 45 sq miles large and only 1,500 full time residents, it’d be like the City of LA having that population base, thus ‘Tiny Town’.

        We are surrounded on all sides by nature…

        It’s a great place to live~

  19. Mildred Montana

    >The Man Who Spends $2 Million a Year to Look 18 Is Swapping Blood With His Father and Son Bloomberg

    Reading articles about the stupid rich attempting to defy aging and death always raise my gray hackles, turn my red face into a redder wrinkled scowl, and trigger a dangerous blood-pressure spike.

    John Kenneth Galbraith repeatedly said that wealth is all too often mistaken for intelligence. Bryan Johnson, the subject of the article and a rich 45-year-old Californian entrepreneur, is just another example that he was right.

    Outside of spending $2 million a year and $1000 an hour on treatments (is his doctor’s name P.T. Barnum?), “Johnson, who has a medical facility in his own home, also adheres to a hyper-strict exercise and eating ritual, taking two dozen supplements/other medicines at 5 a.m. each day, consuming 1,977 “vegan calories a day,” exercising for an hour…”

    Now, two things from that quote to question or mock:

    1. My strictly non-medical advice to him—and it’s free!—would be to stop obsessing about staying young and living a long time (stress is not healthy). Start getting more sleep (sleep is healthy). And relax Bryan, forget the 5AM pills, and sleep in once in a while. You might live longer.
    2. To the best of my knowledge, the claimed 2000-calorie a day diet is impossible to sustain for any length of time if one is reasonably active and exercising. Given that merely lying on the couch or in bed for a whole day (resting metabolic rate) burns an average 1700 calories, could this be typical Silicon Valley BS?

    1. griffen

      I was awaiting for some spoiler alerts, but alas he’s just another rich a-hole doing what they do. Unbelievable. I mean that daily regimen is quite specific. I was able to find a comparable article, apparently he wishes to keep his kidney, liver and other things in proper working order. And an added thought, since in a WC thread yesterday that was discussing the 1979 premiere of the original Alien; this tycoon seems an awful lot like Peter Weyland in the Promotheus movie. Maniacal about finding the answers of life, be it finding any “Engineers” or living longer than Methuselah.

      He’s like a miniature healthcare economy, I’ll grant Johnson that.

    2. digi_owl

      It does seem that the current zeitgeist is uniquely fearful of growing old, never mind retiring. And thus prone to nostalgia, given all the remakes and remasters we are seeing off late.

      Heck, i feel the tug from time to time myself. In large part because i see humanity slowly circling a sink hole of our own making.

  20. polar donkey

    Friday night, we went to our neighborhood pizza parlor. Had Lakers -Nuggets pregame show on tv’s. My two sons, 7 & 9, had just seen Space Jam in the last week and over the past month had just started watching the Batman cartoon show from the 1990’s. They were excited to see LeBron James. I told them “see that big white guy on the other team, his name is Joker and he’s going to rip the Lakers apart.” They were in disbelief of his name, a villains name, and my claim of beating LeBron James. I told them every morning about the nuggets victory the night before, to their horror.

  21. wol

    I might get interested an NBA that Looks Like America. When NBA HR mandates the makeup of each team according to the % of the population, e.g. women, minorities, trans, differently abled. /sarc, except it could be interesting.

    1. Mildred Montana

      “…differently abled.”

      That’s such a euphemistic, obfuscatory, PC phrase. It sounds oh-so-nice and sympathetic and understanding yet is easy to put the lie to. Is there anyone in this world who would rather be “differently-abled”? Nope. They’re quite happy the way they are and would prefer not to explore the possibilities of “different abilities”.

      Therefore much better to be honest and frank and call it for what it is: Disabled, handicapped, paraplegic, quadriplegic, etc. I am surprised that the people in such unfortunate positions tolerate this PC minimization of their physical deficits. I am sure they’d rather have their disabilities acknowledged and not swept under the carpet with some anodyne phrase.

      1. JBird4049

        If anyone called me “differently abled,” I would think it silly. I am hard of hearing and what’s so hard or insulting about that? This is like using Latinx for Latino.

        1. LifelongLib

          One of the founders of the Church of the SubGenius described himself as a collector of “kook pamphlets” or “writings by the differently sane”.

      2. Ana in Sacramento

        Interesting comment. I’m 70 and used to be someone in the disability community. The first fight about the right name to be called was back in the 1980’s and took place in the 3rd floor conference room of the Calif Dept of Rehabilitation on K Street in Sacramento.

        It was a fight internal to the disabled community, and we were writing legislation that would become the Americans with Disabilities Act after we tried it all out here in California.

        Some of the words you mentioned are a medical diagnosis. Some reflect a functional limitation. None encompass the breadth of the disabled. We had to get all the assorted groups and their legislative contacts on the same page to get the legislation through the sausage grinder.

        After some very bitter fighting, eg the early onset deaf regard themselves as having deaf culture rather than hearing culture and do not regard themselves in any way as disabled. The late onset deaf do regard themselves as disabled.

        At the end of the day, after a year or so of fighting, we all finally agreed that we were people before we were a diagnosis or a limitation. Thus we all became persons with disabilities rather than the handicapped.

        The fight moved on to deciding who hands out the label “person with a disability”. Is it a doctor? If so we are back to becoming a diagnosis. Is it an inability to do a particular activity that a normal person can do? And we are back to fighting about what “normal” is.

        We ended up with a mishmosh. You yourself can decide you are disabled. Or an official type person such as a gatekeeper/doctor can decide. My contribution was that you can officially be disabled if you are treated as if you are disabled-no medical or gatekeeping needed. In other words you are disabled on the bases of others treatment of you even if you yourself do not consider yourself to actually have a disability. Which brought in the early onset deaf as well as those who had medical conditions but who were above normal in function.

        The absurd “differently abled” was foisted onto the community by the next generation who had nothing meaningful to contribute and who polished their credentials by inventing meaningless word changes.

        The old soldiers such as myself consider them to be parasites. Yep. Crabby old person with a disability here.

        Ana in Sacramento (who is 71 this year)

  22. Trainer

    “JPMorgan Chase says Jeffrey Epstein paid tuition for kids of U.S. Virgin Islands governor CNBC. – Pass the popcorn.”

    Pass the popcorn indeed!

    Epstein’s dealings with this former governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands family allowed him to obtain extraordinarily unusual tax exemptions for at least one company that he was operating in their country. According to the Miami Herald:

    “At issue is Southern Trust, a purported data-mining company that Epstein incorporated in the USVI in 2011, and that the government believes was a sham to cover up his illegal activities…In December of 2012, he went before the islands’ Economic Development Authority (EDA), where Gov. Bryan was the chairman at the time, to ask for tax breaks for Southern Trust Co…Southern Trust was given a 90 percent exemption from its income tax and a 100 percent exemption from gross receipts, excise and withholding taxes…the lucrative deal allowed Southern Trust to avoid paying $73.6 million in taxes from 2013 to 2017 on aggregate income of $656 million, according to court documents”

    I find it hard to believe that Epstein was able to generate $656 million in income (its revenues were likely several orders of magnitude higher) over five years running a data-mining company in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Remember – most of the cash running through this company is tax exempt. Something else is going on here. According to another published source:

    “Under former Governor John de Jongh, Southern Trust obtained lucrative tax breaks. At the time, de Jongh’s wife, Cecile, on paper, managed Southern Trust operation. Southern Trust gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Virgin Islands politicians, including current members of the Legislature and the territory’s delegate to Congress.”

    My guess is that Epstein was using Southern Trust, and possibly other similarly set up companies to help wealthy individuals evade taxes or launder money. It’s widely known that Leon Black, a billionaire and co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, paid Epstein $158 million over five years between 2012 and 2017. This corresponds to the time period that Southern Trust obtained tax breaks from the USVI. And according to the NY Times:

    “So what did Jeffrey Epstein do to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from a handful of wealthy clients like the private equity billionaire Leon Black? The answer: help rich people pay less in taxes.”

    The Wall Street journal later reported that Epstein was scheduled to meet four billionaires, who were Bill Gates, Thomas Pritzker, Leon Black and Mortimer Zuckerman, on one day in 2014. Bill Gates accompanied Epstein to most of these meetings. Note the year of this meeting also corresponds to the time period that Southern Trust obtained tax breaks from the USVI.

    Lots of billionaires are now associated with Epstein during this time period, either through media reports, or via the U.S. Virgin Islands pending lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase. They include Bill Gates a billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, Elon Musk the CEO pf Tesla, SPaceX, and Twitter, Sergey Brin and Larry Page the co-founders of Google, Michael Ovitz, the former president of Disney and co-founder of the leading Hollywood talent agency CAA, Mortimer Zuckerman a media owner and real estate magnate, Thomas Pritzker the executive chair of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Leon Black a billionaire and co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, and Ariane de Rothschild, chief executive of the Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild Group. According to the USVI’s lawsuit, Epstein attempted to maintain his ties with JPMorgan by touting his connections with some of these high-worth individuals as potential bank clients.

    How all of this will play out is anyones guess. But it’s definitely going to be an interesting show!

  23. flora

    This week the WHO has been meeting in Geneva to iron out the details of its updated pandemic treaty and protocols. (Did you see anything about this in the MSM? No?) The final vote whether or not to adopt the changes will be one year from now. It is the largest global power grab by an unelected, undemocratic entity in history. Here a generic draft letter for UK citizens to send to their MPs.

    WHO Pandemic Treaty and IHR Amendments

  24. Wukchumni

    The stark ‘de-risking’ choice facing economies Mohamed El-Erian, FT
    Cap’n, could use a wee bit of de-riskium crystals, the shields they canna hold much longer.

  25. some guy

    About ” Climate War Between the States” . . . there must be people in those states who do not want to suffer the effects of runaway global heatering. They will just have to figure out how to find eachother and take state government power away from their Republican Rulers if they can.

    Meanwhile, the Emissions Reduction states will have to try down-using fossil fuel even faster and harder, so as to reduce their purchase of fossil fuels from Republican ruled pro-fossil-fuel states. If people in the Emissions Reduction states decide on the simplistic response of “boycotting the pro-fossil states” as much as they can, one hopes they make their approach more high-precision focused. Buying low-fossil organic food, cotton, leather, etc. from a Fossil Fuel state helps to reduce fossil fuel use just as much as if that low-fossil organic food, cotton, leather, etc. had come from an Emissions Reduction state.

    Meanwhile, pro-conservation thinkers and brain-war fighters might think of a way to erode the Red vs. Blue terminology and erode it away in this context. Perhaps they could try color-recoding the Emissions Reduction states as ” Green” and the Emissions Increasing states as ” Sooty”. So . . . the Green States versus the Sooty States. Or the Brown States. Or whatever the most appropriately coding color might finally be decided on.

    1. Late Introvert


      Greggery Peccary

  26. spud

    as usual, Urie has a good one out.

    “Prior to recent revelations, suggestions that the Feds were behind Russiagate were arrogantly dismissed as Russian propaganda. A large and intrusive Federal effort to counter ‘disinformation’ was created to prevent revelations that now appear to be true from ever reaching the public. In other words, the task of the Federal (and private) disinformation industry is to insure that only Federally-sponsored disinformation and malinformation gets distributed. Who says that liberals and the American left are completely useless?”


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