Links 6/21/2023

Is the yield curve lying? FT

Unanswered questions about stolen body parts eroding public faith in Harvard, crisis PR experts say Boston Globe

Fed publishes master account list Banking Dive

Why Americans Are Still Splurging Even as Inflation Bites Barron’s. Carpe diem….

Tourist Submersible Debacle Watch

Titanic tourist submersible: Search relocated after noises heard BBC

Coast Guard Sends Another Submersible Full Of Billionaires After The First One The Onion

Submarine missing near Titanic used a $30 Logitech gamepad for steering Ars Technica

Missing Titanic Sub Once Faced Massive Lawsuit Over Depths It Could Safely Travel To The New Republic. And speaking of depths–

‘My family would want me to be here’: Stepson of British billionaire on board missing Titanic sub attends Blink-182 concert AFTER learning of disappearance and says: ‘Music helps me in difficult times’ Daily Mail


UN members adopt first-ever treaty to protect marine life in the high seas AP. Orcas fistn-bumping. “We did it!”

Himalayan glaciers could lose 80% of their volume if global warming isn’t controlled, study finds AP

Al Gore: The Intersection of A.I. and Climate Change (interview) Eric Topol, Ground Truths

On Marshy Ground London Review of Books. For NC on peat, see here, here, here, and here.


SARS-CoV-2 and the host-immune response Frontiers in Immunology. From the Abstract: “The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the COVID-19 disease have affected everyone globally, leading to one of recorded history’s most significant research surges. As our knowledge evolves, our approaches to the virus and treatments must also evolve…. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 by summarizing the virus and human response. The focuses are on the viral genome, replication cycle, host immune activation, response, signaling, and antagonism.”

Differences in airborne stability of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern is impacted by alkalinity of surrogates of respiratory aerosol Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Important. Press release. From the Discussion: “The data reported in this study fully support three mitigation techniques: improved ventilation, social distancing and mask wearing; all are key to minimizing the number of infectious droplets reaching another person with the virus still infectious.” And: “[W]hile effective to control fomite spread of SARS-CoV-2, the use of bleach could inadvertently increase the length of time SARS-CoV-2 remains infectious in air through buffering the pH of the exhaled aerosol. The interplay between volatile acids produced from cleaning products with the survival SARS-CoV-2 in the aerosol phase should be explored further.” Hoo boy.

The Potential Nexus between Helminths and SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Literature Review Journal of Immunology Research. From the Abstract: “Chronic helminth infections (CHIs) can induce immunological tolerance through the upregulation of regulatory T cells…. CHIs may reduce the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection by reducing hyperinflammation and exaggerated immune response. Thus, retrospective and prospective studies are recommended in this regard.”

Support for “doing your own research” is associated with COVID-19 misperceptions and scientific mistrust Misinformation Review, Harvard Medical School. Like I’m gonna wait for Harvard to sort out nasal sprays for me. Or aerosol transmission, for that matter.


China hits out at US after Joe Biden calls Xi Jinping a ‘dictator’ FT

America’s Goal Should Be a Democratic China Foreign Policy. “America’s Goal Should Be a Democratic China America.”

Boeing, GE optimistic for return to normalcy with China Leeham News and Analysis


New Delhi Is Backing the Wrong Horse in Myanmar The Irrawaddy

The Koreas

Jeju Island’s peace message – truth and reconciliation in Korea Pearls and Irritations


Poor people’s lifeline, Indian railway network, is collapsing Asia Times

Modi visits US to deepen ties, says no doubting India’s position on Ukraine Channel News Asia

European Disunion

Rheinmetall expects German ammunition order worth billions soon, CEO says Reuters

New Not-So-Cold War

End game in the Ukraine war approaches with lightning speed Gilbert Doctorow

Ukrainian Counteroffensive’s Second Week Ends in Failure Internationalist 360°

* * *

Biden walks back on Ukraine’s Nato accession Indian Punchline

NATO Chief Says No Formal Invite for Ukraine to Join Alliance at Vilnius Summit

* * *

Dissecting West Point Think-tank’s New Analysis of Russia’s Military Evolution Simplicius the Thinker(s).

Europe slow to sign military procurement contracts needed to supply Ukraine with weapons BNE Intellinews

Pentagon overestimates value of weapons, equipment given to Ukraine by $6.2B Anadolu Agency

Russia moves to legalise prisoners fighting in Ukraine war Al Jazeera

South of the Border

Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturers visit Mexico Mexico News Daily

Biden Administration

USA Today publisher follows DOJ in alleging Google runs online ad monopoly Yahoo News

The Supremes

Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court Pro Publica but Justice Samuel Alito: ProPublica Misleads Its Readers WSJ

Democrats en Déshabillé

A Neocon Monster: The Ruinous Lies & Crimes of Bill Kristol, Now a Major Foreign Policy Thought-Leader in the Democratic Party Glenn Greenwald.

Democrats fed up with Tuberville want to change Senate rules The Hill. But not the filibuster, oh no no no no.

Digital Watch

Dialogue Balloons: AI and Soul The Comics Journal

How Should the U.S. Government Buy AI Tools? RAND

No, GPT4 can’t ace MIT Raunak Chowdhuri, Neil Deshmukh, and David Koplow.

* * *

I miss Twitter Jonathan Katz, The Racket

More on Preemptively Blocking Facebook’s Imminent ActivityPub Entry Daring Fireball

The Bezzle

SVB Customers Who Lost Their Deposits Remain on the Hook for Loans WSJ


‘It’s beyond unethical’: Opaque conflicts of interest permeate prescription drug benefits (excerpt) STAT

No, We Haven’t Lived with Diseases for Millions of Years. Jessica Wildfire

Experiences of US Clinicians Contending With Health Care Resource Scarcity During the COVID-19 Pandemic, December 2020 to December 2021 JAMA. N = 23, 21 doctors. From the Conclusion: “[M]any theoretical plans intended to protect frontline clinicians from decisions about resource allocation were ultimately unworkable, leaving clinicians in the difficult position of having to allocate scarce resources and adapt care as best they could. Collectively, our findings highlight the importance of integrating frontline clinicians into institutional planning and operations when dealing with the realities of chronic resource limitation.” So, an administrative debacle?

Realignment and Legitimacy

Analysis: John MacArthur Disqualified Others for Their Kids’ Behavior But Exempts Himself The Roys Report

Class Warfare

Kaepernick on joining Marxists to edit new book: Black liberation ‘isn’t possible under capitalism’ The Hill

Teamsters strike with UPS could snarl commerce as labor flexes muscle The Hill. Just give the workers what they want and deserve.

The unfinished business of East Palestine Politico

Inside the Fashion World’s Dark Underbelly of Sexual and Financial Exploitation: ‘Modeling Agencies Are Like Pimps For Rich People’ Variety (Re Silc).

A Non-Definitive Guide to Non-Duality Every

What if things could turn out differently? How the multiverse got into our heads and didn’t let go AP

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote and/or anti-antidote (John Zelnicker):

On June 4, my daughter, Lynn, got up and went out to feed her two dozen ducks. Much to her surprise, there was an alligator walking through her back yard. Fortunately, he was headed back to the swampy woods at the bottom of her yard:

Six days later, when she went out to feed the ducks the alligator was on her back porch! He had broken through a low fence and was probably looking for more ducks to feed on as he had already taken a couple over the previous few days.

It didn’t take him/her long to find the duck house and head over there looking for more ducks to eat:

Lynn called the local police and the operator laughed and said they couldn’t help. However, not long after, a police officer showed up. Eventually, there were four officers trying to get a lasso around the alligator’s head without success. Finally, one got an assault rifle (?) and shot the gator between the eyes. (Gators are hard to kill. If you don’t hit just the right spot on their forehead, you’re likely to get shrapnel bouncing back at you.)

The alligator was about 8 (!) feet long. I’m not including a picture of the dead, bloody body where the length is more obvious than in the pix I’m sending you.

After 3 days, Lynn was finally able to get some local agency to get the carcass out of her duck house and dispose of it.

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. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War / End game in the Ukraine war approaches with lightning speed Gilbert Doctorow

    So taking out decision making centers will shorten/end the conflict if done now, but would not have earlier?

    Nice selective logic going on there.

    1. chris

      Very little about this conflict has made sense to me and when I read what is written about it I am often more confused than enlightened. But I can kind of see why this might be.

      If all the decision centers in Ukraine are taken out, as could have been done at any time in the past, it is intended to signal to the people backing the proxy war that the Russians are done playing with us. It also means they are done with Ukraine as currently constituted and will likely be on the path Yves and others have suggested. Ukraine will be torn apart and divided to create the desired buffer state while also preventing NATO growth further east. The results of that process will be intended to warn other states that being the proxy in future conflicts is a poor decision.

      At least that is how I read what Gilbert wrote in the context of the last 2 years.

      1. Yves Smith

        Remember Russia is playing to a global audience as well as out to win the war. Russia has managed to get a lot of sympathy around the world despite being an invader because they are bending over backwards to show that they are not escalating until they have to. Admittedly they have been helped because (contrary to that) they have been shelling the shit out of targets all over Ukraine. Even though Russia seems to be successful in hitting military assets and not much civilians, the fact that Ukraine and the West feel it necessary to deny how much damage Russia is doing (because it would confirm Ukraine/Western lack of air defenses) is making Russia look less destructive than it has been.

        As as we pointed out, Russia has also taken notice that the US leadership is deranged (see Biden today with his Xi remark). There are plenty of Dr. Strangelove wannabes that have an audience. So Russia seems to be following a rule I articulated earlier: “No sudden moves around crazy people.”

        Plus Russian like attritional war and separately (but here they work together) wants to minimize casualties. This isn’t just sentimentality; seasoned soldiers are very valuable and not to be put at risk casually. And Russia knows it can’t subdue a territory as big as Western Ukraine.

        So I think it would rather have other outcomes, like a nice puppet regime in Kiev. But the US won’t tolerate that. So the fallback is a West Ukraine that is so wasted no one much wants to live there.

        1. Tom Stone

          Biden IS deranged and I don’t think most people are giving that enough weight.
          He is also sadistic, having cut food assistance and expanded medicare for millions for no other reason than the joy of causing pain to desperate people.
          Remember the $600 promised and not delivered?
          Biden knew he would lose a lot of votes by doing this and did it anyway, for the jollies.
          Due to the control of the MSM by the blob no one knows what the mood of the US populace is, my guess is that it not a happy one and that it will get a lot worse over the Summer.

          1. Procopius

            Errr… He didn’t lose lots of votes (at the time). The checks didn’t go out until after the Georgia election. He’s certainly lost a lot of future votes, including mine. I still can’t figure out who persuaded him it was a good idea, but it doesn’t matter, since, as you point out, he’s done so many stupid, mean things.

      2. .Tom

        Scott Ritter said very early on in the war that Russia needs Kiev because they need to do politics with a government that the west recognizes. All along RF’s position towards UA kinda comes down to “do politics with us or we proceed with war, your choice Kiev”. I think Shoigu’s statement is to tell Kiev and the west that attacking Crimea with Himars and Storm Shadow will lead to the end of this policy.

      3. tegnost

        I’ll add that winning to quickly does not achieve the goal of demilitarization and denazification.

        1. Wæsfjord

          Correct. Whenever in doubt as to what Russia is doing in Ukraine, go back and check their SMO aims: Demilitarization, deNazification and deNatofication. The Russians do what they say. That is why Churchill found them such an enigma in a riddle in a mystery blah blah drunk talk.

    2. Polar Socialist

      If you read it carefully, Doctorow said “we are entering the final phase of the Ukraine war as a war limited to the geography of Ukraine“. He was not talking about the end of the war, he was talking about end of Special Military Operation.

      Because, as you may have missed it, Shoigu also said that if a HIMARS lands on Crimea or Belogorod area, Russia accepts USA as a co-belligerent. Same with Storm Shadows. A flatly delivered quid pro quo for Western missiles hitting Russia proper, if you will.

      Doctorow ends with “the ball is in the court of Washington and London”, but we shouldn’t forget that it’s the Ukrainians targeting and launching those missiles. At least in theory.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I thought the consensus was that the USUK provided the targeting information and selection for HIMARS, small diameter bomb rocket artillery, Storm Shadow and other precision guided weapons, and also that “western” techs operated a lot of them.

        USUK warriors have been pushing constantly to prove that the Rooskies do not really have any “we really, really mean it this time” red lines. Neocon “victory” in attacking Kerch bridge and other spots in Crimea and Moscow and airfields and assets deep in Russia would be all of a part with this death cult behavior.

        Anyone doubt that there is/are “decision centers” where USUK -“NATO” battle space managers sit around in ergonomic chairs and direct traffic in the Ukie war machinery? People who are getting really frustrated that Russia is doing so well, despite its late and slow start? Desperate to show some “wins?”

      2. Ignacio

        Mercouris discusses this. Russia might attack decision making centers in which there is UK/US personnel involved and that so far had been avoided.

        1. Polar Socialist

          If NATO, through Stoltenberg, once again states that they are against a “freezing” of the conflict in Ukraine, then they want to fight. Let them fight. We are ready for this. We understood long time ago the aims of the NATO in Ukraine. They were set after the coup d’état. Now NATO is trying to implement them.
          This is their choice. If they claim at the same time that they are not waging war against Russia while in fact doing exactly that; they admit that without pumping the Ukrainian regime with weapons, without providing targeting information from satellites, the Ukrainian situation would have ended long ago. This is effectively an admission that they are a direct participants in the hybrid and hot war declared against Russia.

          Mr. Lavrov, yesterday in Minsk (from To me that sounds like Russia being tired of The West pretending to not be participants in the war, and is pretty much telling them to either stop pretending or stop supporting Ukraine.

          1. Ignacio

            Today’s link by Simplicius the Thinker is IMO the best I have read on how this war is waged and of course the role of NATO with it’s assistance in various ways. Ukraine would have lasted very little, not just because the economic support plus the weapons provided (an increasing array of weapons) but, critically, military intelligence, satellite information, communication tools, electronic warfare etc. So far, while the war is waged in Ukraine, the Russians consider NATO is helping with Ukraine defence, but the moment Ukraine attacks Russian Federation territory with Western support, now delivering for instance long range artillery their stance changes…

        2. The Rev Kev

          I think that there have been at the very least two occasions where the Russians have attacked decision-making centers in bunkers knowing that there were NATO personnel there and that there have been losses. The last one saw planes of injured being flown to Berlin which you would not see with Ukrainian casualties.

    3. KD

      If you look at the score card, the Ukrainians defended Bakhmut at enormous cost of lives and lost it anyways. They are currently conducting a “counteroffensive” with Western wunderwaffen and getting destroyed without contacting the first line of defense. Re-taking Donbas is hopeless. They have no air defense. They don’t have sufficient artillery. Once the Western tanks are gone, what is left? F-16s aren’t going to make up for no air defense or artillery rounds or tanks. They are on wave of mobilization no. ??? Its pretty hopeless. Maybe they can bring in the Poles to fight their war for them for awhile, but even that has to sting.

      If you look at the pressure on the Ukrainian government right now, it is enormous. If Russia manages to take out part of the senior leadership, what kind of legitimacy will the newbies have? They won’t have been elected to those positions. You will probably see a power vacuum and a contest between factions, similar to the Russian Revolution, and you have a hopeless war. Maybe it becomes a military dictatorship, but even here, there will be a struggle to see who would be dictator.

      At this point, destroying decision-making centers would put enormous stress on a regime that is already on the verge of cracking. It could destroy the Ukrainian State’s capacity to conduct the war.

  2. zagonostra

    >What if things could turn out differently? How the multiverse got into our heads and didn’t let go – AP

    Whatever the subject matter, these works are united by one theme: There are always possibilities, for better and for worse, and exploring them is entertaining, enlightening and escapist.

    Reading this AP article made me think of something I read in the preface to a gem of a book I found at a local thrift store last weekend.

    America lives in fantasy. Movies, television, modern music – all designed to strengthen your imagination and remove you from reality…God gave us all a most perfect organ – the brain – with which to think and reason. Without factual input, it will produce only unfactual conclusions – phantasy. – Trilaterals Over Washington, Antony C. Sutton and Patrick M. Wood.

    1. Acacia

      Thanks for that quotation, zagonostra. As the article suggests, there is a long history of films and literature concerning “possible worlds” (though obvious origins such as Leibniz and Voltaire’s Candide are somehow forgotten). But what strikes me is the proliferation of this idea in cultural products of the present, and indeed, even the “franchise-ification” of this idea in a cultural edifice like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

      But what does the proliferation of the multiverse tell us about our present?

      Is it really, as the article suggests, that the “multiverse got into our heads and didn’t let go”, or is it rather that we somehow needed the multiverse as an idea or worldview that could facilitate an escape from our present condition?

      Consider the opposite: at the end of the nineteenth century, Nietzsche drew attention to the ancient idea of amor fati, reading it as an affirmation of life as it is, and that, even faced with the possibility of living otherwise, we would choose the same life. I.e., the eternal return.

      Ethically and spiritually, is this not the total opposite of the desire for the multiverse?

      1. hunkerdown

        There is nothing wrong with alterity. The neo-Platonic universe of fractal submission to a One as it Be is an idiotic but all too transmissible idea.

        And nihilism is good, actually, considering the diseases that propertarianism has brought us.

      2. semper loquitur

        “even the “franchise-ification” of this idea in a cultural edifice like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).”

        One reason for this is that it opens up new storylines for the most popular characters. A black Superman, a trans Captain America, a gay Batman. The possibilities are literally endless So are the sequels!


    2. playon

      As a musician I would say imagination is crucial to our species. The whole point of music and art is to take you to a different place, and world based only on rationality would not be a world I want to live in. I get your point though – I’ve never seen the levels of fantasy entertainment that we have today, especially in film and television.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Somehow, this corner of conversation reminds me of what DEATH said dbout humans near the end of Hogfather: “YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T REAL. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME?

  3. Stephen


    Have not been following this in detail but it is kind of a bit unbelievable, or maybe too believable given how the world works:

    Bolted shut from the outside
    A game controller for steering
    No locator beacon (apparently).

    Oh, and an apparent whistle blower who got fired with a settled law suit.

    Now other people have to risk their lives (after all, that is exactly what rescuers do) to try to save these people.

    1. Onward to Dystopia

      The whole thing is pretty unbelievable. A lot of corners cut it seems. At least they talked him out of installing the screen door. I guess when you got that much money you think you’ll get away with almost anything.

      1. Carla

        And they think that because they CAN get away with almost anything — does anyone think this search would be going on if they weren’t billionaires?

        1. nippersdad

          “does anyone think this search would be going on if they weren’t billionaires?”

          Certainly not to the degree that it is being executed. I am reading that they are sending out all kinds of aircraft and ships for this effort. In the news video reports I keep seeing images of nuclear subs! I think we are seeing in real time just how valued the donor class really is.

          “Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the president of The Explorers Club, wrote an open letter to his club’s adventurers, saying he had “much greater confidence” about the search after speaking to officials in Congress, the U.S. military and the White House.”

        2. Mildred Montana

          >‘My family would want me to be here’: Stepson of British billionaire on board missing Titanic sub attends Blink-182 concert AFTER learning of disappearance and says: ‘Music helps me in difficult times’ Daily Mail

          The stepson prefaces his justification by saying, ”It might be distasteful [my] being here [at the concert]…”

          Yup, but that’s no reason to let a little distaste, ie. the feelings of others, get in the way of the therapeutic effects of music (or more likely, those of doing just what one pleases). As you say, the wealthy really do believe they can get away with anything and make ridiculous excuses for it because they are…well, different, superior. Not bound by moral and ethical rules that are meant only for the rest of us.

          However, I am grateful to the stepson for answering that age-old question: Sociopathy: nature or nurture? Turns out it’s both—genetic 𝘢𝘯𝘥 environmental. Learned behavior can be as strong as innate behavior. Good to know.

          1. Half Bankrupt

            I’m not sure why the stepson isn’t emphasizing the “step” part of that relationship more.

            Like “yeah sure, it’s troubling but I’m not really related to him soooo…. I’m going to the concert.”

    2. LaRuse

      I have been contemplating how after 111 years, Titanic still manages to take down billionaires. It’s a tough job (just ask the US DoJ) but she’s keeping up the good fight!
      Maybe it will start to sink in that people need to leave Titanic alone?

          1. Wukchumni

            The hope is that the fivesome were wearing Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches, which can withstand the elements down to over 36,000 feet.

            1. ambrit

              Those wouldn’t be Professor Challenger watches, would they. You know, the ones that went to the bottom of the Maracot Deep.

      1. Mildred Montana

        New show coming to the History Channel: “The Titanic Triangle”. Woo-woo. 1500 dead and now another five*. What kind of paranormal things are going on? How many more will the Titanic claim?

        *I don’t normally make predictions, but those guys are dead. Furthermore, there’s a very good chance their small submersible will never be found at those depths or in that darkness. After all, it took more than seventy years to find the debris field of the Titanic and it was huge.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      Saw an insightful comment on Reddit to the effect that a submarine built / designed by a rich person is destined to fail since rich people generally get rich by cutting corners and paying off others for favorable treatment… exactly what you don’t want in submarine construction.

      There was also a letter sent by concerned MUV (Manned Underwater Vehicle) engineers saying that the Titan was unsafe and a single accident could bring down the entire industry.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Although I agree with your sentiment in general, I must point out that NASA (purportedly publicly-funded) has had its catastrophic failures as well: Apollo 1, three dead in a launch-pad test (1967); space-shuttle Challenger, seven dead (1986); space-shuttle Columbia, seven dead (2003).

        As to the extent which out-sourcing to private companies (cutting corners, favorable treatment) contributed to these NASA catastrophes I do not know and will not speculate.

        Whether private or public however, it is clear that “going where no man has gone before” is a risky endeavor.

    4. Laughingsong

      “Coast Guard Sends Another Submersible Full Of Billionaires After The First One The Onion”

      Keep sending….. “For as long as it takes”

      1. griffen

        It’s the best headline for the stupidest timeline, life in exceptional America 2023 ! Darwinism to the captain’s chair and control panel please.

    5. Sub-Boreal

      Q: What do you call sending a billionaire to the bottom of the sea in a can?

      A: A start.

      1. ambrit

        A crushing defeat? (Sorry, but there are some “good” people in there with the rich guy.)
        Fritz Lieber had exactly such a scenario in one of his Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories. The Prince of Lankhmer wants to go to the fairyland at the bottom of the sea. The available tech is not up to the task.

  4. Acacia

    COVID variant news in East Asia:

    In Thailand a new form of #SARSCoV2 — dubbed FU — is spreading very rapidly. In the Philippines another new variant, FE.1, has taken hold.
    Will we have a XBB booster #vaccine in the USA before one of these new strains slams us?
    Will we always be behind, making vaxs too late?

    Via Anthony Leonardi, @fitterhappierAJ, who asks:

    Why didn’t you get ready for the forever plague? You don’t like the opportunity to ‘fortify your immune system with exposure’?

  5. Acacia

    Re: Unanswered questions about stolen body parts eroding public faith in Harvard

    Speaking of which, another thing Harvard is sitting on are films of the MK-ULTRA experiments conducted on Ted Kaczynski. Background:

    Before He Was the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski Was a Mind-Control Test Subject

    How ‘Manhunt: Unabomber’ built Ted Kaczynski’s backstory

    There are videotapes in Harvard’s archives of some of the sessions. We can’t see the tapes of the sessions because Ted has publicly talked about them, and so they are under lock and key until Ted dies.

    Kaczynski passed away this month.

      1. hunkerdown

        A1: They’re perfectly sane. They just don’t care about your values and don’t need to. They have an Order to manage and we are bulk inventory.

        A2: Statecraft is managed insanity and they are simply practicing their grand profession.

  6. zagonostra

    >Pentagon overestimates value of weapons, equipment given to Ukraine by $6.2B – Anadolu Agency

    There must be an accountant in the NC house who can chime in on how likely it is that the Pentagon “used replacement costs rather than net book value, thereby overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from US stocks and provided to Ukraine…”

    I don’t think the person in charge of financial accounting in the company I work for would ever let something like that slip by her.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Right. It’s all just an accounting game to send a few more surplus items to become scrap metal on the steppe.

      2. flora

        Look, if Ukr isn’t reduced to rubble there’s the chance that embarrassing bribery information might still exist and survive to reach the wider world. (Bribery to whom isn’t mentioned.) / ;)

    1. hunkerdown

      No system can generate itself, and no order can enforce itself. All orders must transcend their own rules in order to maintain their existence aganst any possible eventuality.

      The error is believing in (i.e. treating partial perspectives as true) liberal mythologies of equality in subordination (i.e. the rule of law) when any state that really believed in them would shatter in a generation.

    2. Louiedog14

      Well, if the cost, for instance, of a Bradley fighting vehicle is 3 million, but it is quickly reduced to a smoldering heap of scrap metal at a Value of say 1000 bucks….then I’d say they overvalued the aid given by a lot more than 6.2 billion.

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    Jessica Wildfire, No, We haven’t lived with diseases.

    I have some quibbles, but I recommend this article highly. Jessica Wildfire is taking the long view. So many Americans don’t realize that 120 years ago, even 100 years ago, the majority of the population lived with chronic pain. Yes, many Americans have chronic pain now, but back then, almost everyone was doomed to it.

    A cause was bad teeth. I’m in my sixties, and I recall that in my parents’ generation, it was normal to get dentures. My father had them, as did my uncle, his brother. So did my aunt, my mother’s sister, as well as her husband. With the exception of my father, who held on to his teeth into his fifties, the other three got dentures quite young.

    A cause of better teeth (and a lessening of suffering)? Fluoridation. Yet you still hear of people who think that fluoridation is a communist plot, along with better dental hygienists, I suppose.

    This is one of the reasons that I am skeptical of RFKJr, and one of the reasons why I am appalled that public-health experts can’t seem to defend themselves. Vaccines are worth the risk–especially a sterilizing vaccine like those against smallpox or polio. Polio is horrifying, yet we seem to have lost a historic memory of the enormous suffering caused by smallpox.

    And I’m a tad leery of RFKJr bloviating about “it’s in the water.” Fearmongering about poisons in the water is an ancient form of sowing panic. Fluoride? Is that the problem? Or are people poisoning the wells, a traditional slur?

    RFKJr seems to want it both ways: Well, vaccines are kind-of okay. But he’s worried that his kids, all scions of the U.S. aristocracy, with plenty of money, have allergies. Meanwhile, so-called scientists can’t seem to defend the polio vaccine or the measles vaccine.

    It’s nihilistic. And Jessica Wildfire gives you a tour of just what happens when ignorance rules–and now, when there is no excuse for such ignorance, when nihilism rules.

    [[A quibble. In much of Italy, not all, the reasons certain cities flourished were their geographical locations and good water. Rome has a millennia-old reputation for its good water, which still comes in by certain ancient aqueducts. The Romans also were rather fussy about public cleanliness–the famous Cloaca Maxima drained, and still drains, the city. To this day, there is a strong sense of public tidiness in Italian culture. Here in the Chocolate City of the Undisclosed Region, people wash the sidewalks.]

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        That article, and your posting it, is violence against 2SLBGTQIABZ+ people!!!! … /sarc

      2. semper loquitur

        Has anyone alerted the trans industry? The Pritzkers? They will have it sorted in no time.

      3. Mike Mc

        Keep a weather eye on Iowa water quality news. A state drenched in ag chemicals and CAFO effluent is having major problems with contamination? Next you’ll tell me southwestern states are running out of water for their ag production!

    1. chris

      I, too, am frustrated that no one in authority seems willing to defend obvious public health goods. Sterilizing vaccines against disease like measles are unqualified goods. We should have a list of people lining up to say so.


      The rest of what RFKjr. is talking about is deservedly on the heads of the establishment and they should answer for it. As a small example, consider that we do know that the temperature at which reptile eggs incubate does affect their sex. And we do know that chemicals in the water do affect the sex organs and other structures on amphibians. Then, when LGBT+ activists use “science” to refute people trying to say XX chromosomes = female = woman, and these same activists point out how weird life can be using other life forms such as star fish, why can’t the people who disagree with the LGBT+ agenda push back and say that “if you’re making that argument, you own the whole statement”? As in, if poison in the water makes weird frogs, why doesn’t it make weird people too, therefore, you’re not enlightened or trans, you’re just a sick freak?

      Now I think that is incorrect on a bunch of levels. I believe there is a non-zero population who are choosing to be trans for reasons that have little to do with environmental exposure to chemicals. But it is an argument that gender ideology advocates seem to avoid even as they continue to invite such things with their statements. What RFKjr is doing, perhaps sincerely, is giving voice to those questioning such advocacy and pointing out that just like the science that we are told isn’t so cut and dry with respect to sex and gender, the position that these people believe isn’t beyond attack using the same kind of science. The same goes with vaccines.

      I trust the people I know who make vaccines and medicine. I don’t trust my government or the business side of those companies making the vaccines. That’s a difficult position to reconcile. But RFKjr is giving voice to it.

    2. Aaron

      I have MAJOR quibbles with this article. She is trying to browbeat the public into adopting apro vaccine, pro medical industry assurance. Where in her article does she talk about the distrust engendered by the disastrous side effects of the covid vaccine?

      She completely ignores many of the valid reasons that or public health is degrading. Blame the fear mongering media, and highlight the anti vaccine crowd. That’s a piece of it, but where is capitalism indicted? She mentions how we may run out of life saving drugs later this year, and how anti biotics are becoming ineffectual. Let’s not point out the over dependence on pharmaceuticals and the lack of training in nutrition and proper lifestyle.

      You mention that she is taking the long view, but she is only looking at the last 100, 200 years of human existence. She claims that humans have always suffered through plagues and horrible diseases. That is simply not the case. Look at the history of any hunter gatherer tribe to see an example of how humans have actually existed for 95% of our existence.

      1. Yves Smith

        This is serious Making Shit Up, which is a violation of house rules. I take umbrage at having to waste time disproving reader-provided misinformation

        There were major plagues in ancient Greece. Pericles died of that, for instance.

        Recent work suggests bubonic plague originated in ancient Egypt:

        Other studies point to Bronze Age plague:

        Hepatitis B, smallpox, and tularemia also date to the Bronze Age:

        1. Aaron

          How so? Are you mainly referring to agricultural city centers? They were the exception to human lifestyle until recent history. Hunter gathers didn’t have many is infectious diseases:
          “One thing hunter-gatherers didn’t need to worry much about, however, was virulent infectious diseases that could move quickly from person to person throughout a large geographic region. Pathogens like the influenza virus were not able to effectively spread or even be maintained by small, mobile, and socially isolated populations.

          The advent of agriculture resulted in larger, sedentary populations of people living in close proximity. New diseases could flourish in this new environment. The transition to agriculture was characterized by high childhood mortality, in which approximately 30% or more of children died before the age of 5.”

          I am wrong in my 100,200 year date range, because there are many examples of city-centers and sedentary populations before that, but I stand behind my statement that for most of human existence we have lived in Hunter gatherer tribes, which did not have many infectious diseases.

          1. Yves Smith

            You have shifted the grounds of your argument. That’s bad faith, which is a violation of our written site Pplicies.

            This was your earlier assertion:

            She claims that humans have always suffered through plagues and horrible diseases. That is simply not the case.

            And I had to waste time on your again. Hunter gatherers did get the plague:

            And they suffered at high mortality rates from infectious diseases:

            Due largely to high infant mortality from infectious disease, the expected lifespan at birth for hunter-gatherer populations is lower (typically 30s–40s) than developed countries today,

            They weren’t as subject to epidemics as modern settled communities, but to suggest they were not vulnerable to deadly contagions is false.

            I trust you will find your happiness on the Internet. Elsewhere.

            1. Kouros

              I think the diseases most prevalent in the prehistoric communities of hunter gatherers (not nowadays hunter gatherers) were intestinal parasitic diseases, TB and leprosy. Infectious diseases like influenza, smallpox, etc came later, with animal husbandry…

        2. Raymond Sim

          There is a seemingly fairly influential view of prehistory in which agriculture essentially stands in for original sin.

          Folks who subscribe to it get a lot of things wrong, but most particularly they take ‘hunter-gatherer’ to mean ‘humans not competing for limited resources.’ In other words they’re guilty of magical thinking. Homo sapiens is just as subject to predator-prey cycles as any other creatures.

        3. Michael Hudson

          Hammurabi’s laws say that if an outbreak of disease (among other problems) prevents crops from being harvested, the debts (traditionally due at harvest time, weighed out on the threshing floor) do not have to be paid.

          1. ChrisFromGA

            Thanks for that history lesson. Were the debts entirely forgiven, or just delayed until the next good harvest (an early form of forbearance?)

            It got me thinking, what if a similar line of legal thinking had prevailed during the pandemic?

            Instead of bailing out industries like airlines and such, the corporate bonds were ruled as unpayable and canceled. Private industries like restaurants could have their lease payments frozen.

            Of course, we cannot have that in a debt Ponzi. Long-term readers of this blog are no doubt howling in laughter at my naivete.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        The “history” of any hunter-gatherer tribe? What history would that be? That The Earth Goddess/ Pacha Mama protected humans in a way that she refuses to now?

      3. tevhatch

        “Look at the history of any hunter gatherer tribe to see an example of how humans have actually existed for 95% of our existence.”

        Pray tell, where is this history of pre-history arcuately recorded and archived?

        1. Tom Stone

          It’s a SECRET HISTORY!!!
          Archived in the subterranean bowels of the Vatican, of course.

        2. DL

          There is a generally accepted body of research asserting that prehistoric and historic hunter gatherers were generally healthier and less prone to pandemic diseases compared to agrarian populations.

          Smallpox and flu both came domesticated animals. Typhoid and dysentery are closely tied to polluted water sources. That doesn’t mean the pre-agricultural population didn’t have disease, as there were plenty of parasites, chronic diseases, and ailments like tooth decay. COVID almost certainly wouldn’t have spread in a world of hunter gatherer bands.

          1. tevhatch

            Au-contrarie, Covid-19 has been found in deer, transmitted to them from humans, and possible case(s) where the reverse has also occurred. You probably are not one of them, however I find it odd that a considerable number of people see China relatively low consumption of wild game “high risk” while giving a pass to people who did nothing but consume game.

      4. nippersdad

        “She claims that humans have always suffered through plagues and horrible diseases. That is simply not the case. Look at the history of any hunter gatherer tribe to see an example of how humans have actually existed for 95% of our existence.

        There is an entire discipline for looking at how humans have existed in prehistoric times wrt disease. It is called paleopathology. From Wikipedia:

        “Archaeological infectious diseases
        Several diseases are present in the archaeological record. Through archaeological evaluation these diseases can be identified and sometimes can explain the cause of death for certain individuals. Aside from looking at sex, age, etc. of a skeleton, a paleopathologist may analyze the condition of the bones to determine what sort of diseases the individual may have. The goal of a forensic anthropologist looking at the Paleopathology of certain diseases is to determine if the disease they are researching are still present over time, with the occurrence of certain events, or if this disease still exists today and why this disease may not exist today.[13] Some disease that are found based on changes in bone include


      5. Dr. Rexx

        Lots of mocking going on in the comments. Where are the actual reasoned rebuttals to Aaron’s statements?
        Yves makes some good points, but from my understanding those are agricultural centers, which had and still have (we call them urban centers) much higher infectious disease levels than hunter gatherer tribes.
        Donald pointed out another consequence -the height of paleolithic peoples.
        Population density is a major driver of infectious disease spread and overall public health.

        1. JBird4049

          Most cities were until the twentieth century were population sinks. That is five thousand to seven thousand years. With the increasing urbanization, they became more effective population sinks.

          However, mass death from disease is not just an urban phenomenon, nor was humanity always a major species population wise. In areas where we first evolved or eventually moved to tens of thousands of years ago, there were plenty of diseases that kept the population in check.

          Subsaharan Africa, which is where Hominids first evolved has had a large number of lethal diseases, most of them having evolved tens of thousands of years ago with humans, with the notable ones being malaria, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, and formerly smallpox. This is the reason why the European colonial powers could not successful colonize subsaharan Africa outside of the Cape. The Europeans just died far too much until they developed ways to reduce the deadliness of tropical diseases starting in the late nineteenth century.

          In fact, for roughly three million years of hominid existence, even if you included all the separate species and subspecies comprising hominids that existed at any one time, there was never more than a million people on the entire Earth. Usually, it was a lot less with disease especially in Africa being a prime reason. Hunger as well, which is probably why we are so omnivorous, but definitely disease. I believe that only in the last hundred thousand years has the population regularly been in the multiple millions

          Diseases like yellow fever, smallpox, and malaria regularly hit the area now known as the United States until the middle of the twentieth century. Aside from the Antartica, smallpox hit everywhere every generation. Malaria was common in parts of Europe and existed as far north as Scotland. Living in the countryside only reduced the chances of getting these diseases and the mass deaths of children was normal although if you survived childhood, you might live 60, 70, even 80 years.

          The age of mass death and injury from epidemics only mostly ended in our (great) grandparents lives. All but the youngest American has know someone who lived at the end of these epidemics. There are even a few Americans still living who did.

          I would have thought that the oldest Baby Boomers who lived with the direct memory of such fun would not have taken down our entire system for dealing with disease, but I would be wrong. I am not really mad at the anti-vaxxers, there are always foolish people, and honestly, when looking at our government and medical establishments, I do not get a sense of trust. Looking at how Covid was (not) handled, who can blame some for not trusting vaccines wholeheartedly?

    3. Lexx

      I suppose it depends on what she means by ‘we’. Homo sapiens have only been around for about 300,000 years, so technically she’s right, we haven’t lived with diseases for millions of years. But we are the survivors thus far in the microbial world… yes, even that moron who cut you off in traffic. All of us, with some/alot of help from modern sanitation and medicine, troubled as they are.

      My grandmother was born dirt poor in 1900. She was pregnant seven times, five children lived to adulthood, none of them lived to be older than she was when she died at 87. She was of prime age to be infected in the 1918 influenza; her whole family survived (both parents and four sisters). I’ve wondered – how? What were the circumstances that favored her family while wiping out others? It sure as hell wasn’t money, access to physicians, or even indoor plumbing.

      That was just over 100 years ago in Tennessee… a very small amount of time in human history. We are a shortsighted species whose crisis-riddled timeline is making us even more myopic. Me… now!

      (Regarding our current plagues… ‘The ability of metformin to counter insulin resistance and address adult-onset hyperglycaemia without weight gain or increased risk of hypoglycaemia gradually gathered credence in Europe, and after intensive scrutiny metformin was introduced into the USA in 1995.’ It is considered a ‘safe’ medication… but it too may have side effects. That’s just 28 years on the market.)

      1. Boomheist

        My parents were born in 1912 and 1915, and they grew up as really the last generation among thousands defenceless against most diseases except by getting the disease, surviving (if lucky enough) and thus having antibodies.Everyone back then got measles, mumps and chicken pox, as did I in the 1950s. I don’t know for sure, but I am guessing that thousands died every year from those diseases among the millions who0 caught them.

        To show you how short our lives have been in this modern age of antibiotics, vaccines, and widespread generally good public health, my father’s younger sister was among the first people ever on earth who took penicillin, which I believe was first used during WW2, that is, the 1940s. Go to any cemetary in New England or the Midwest, look at the gravestones, and see row on row of families with father, mother and up to ten little headstones of the babies who died before they were five. People had large families then because they needed big families to work the farms and even more because most kids died.

        I remember when polio vaccines were introduced in the 1950s, and all we kids lined up for shots (first) then sugar cubes (second) in school to get shots. Back then there weren’t many anti vaxxers because we all knew and had seen what polio did to classmates. Similarly, scarlet fever was still around then.

        Long way of saying that we humans forget the past, amazingly fast, and now, two or three generations beyond a history of life when disease ravaged communities we seem to be blaming the doctors for side effects instead of understanding that some side effects might be the price to pay for overall better health.

        1. Lexx

          My parents were born in ’36 and ’38, and when they became parents they couldn’t get their kids to the doctor to get those vaccines too soon. For them modern medicine and access to it was a miracle. They had seen a lot of disease and death, not in their immediate families but their extended tribe and neighborhood. And violence… a lot of violence in OKC. My father would say, ‘where I grew up, an insult could get you killed.’ People were more circumspect about who they addressed and what they said to each other.

      2. LifelongLib

        It’s anecdote and not data, but AFAIK my grandfather’s brother was the only person in our extended family to die in the flu epidemic. He’d had rheumatic fever that caused heart damage when he was a boy, so he was especially vulnerable. Family lived in rural Montana, same basic conditions as yours in Tennessee…

    4. Ignacio

      To be frank I just cannot understand what the debate is about. Some new kind of disease wokeism?

      Please, don’t reply to explain me. I don’t want to know about the latest idiocy in town.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      @ DJG:

      Vaccines are worth the risk–especially a sterilizing vaccine like those against smallpox or polio.


      I, too, am frustrated that no one in authority seems willing to defend obvious public health goods. Sterilizing vaccines against disease like measles are unqualified goods. We should have a list of people lining up to say so.

      Drugs that do not prevent their target diseases are properly called therapeutics not “vaccines,” at least until the official definition of a vaccine was changed to accommodate the covid shot.

      Referring to the covid shot as a “vaccine” was meant to be coercive, and imply that the drug had capabilities that the white coat “experts” knew it did not have. It was NEVER tested on pregnant women, for example. See the video linked below by flora.

      No one is stepping up to “defend” it because what was done is indefensible.

      1. Yves Smith

        A vaccine does not confer a particular result. Our flu vaccines regularly have low efficacy because their producers made a bad projection of what strain would become the winter flu that year.

        A vaccine is a technology. It is introducing an infectious agent to your body, typically a virus but some are for bacteria, to teach your body to make antibodies to it. The vaccine dose/method should be less dangerous than getting the disease.

        Your beef is off base. The Covid vaccines are properly called vaccines. The fact that they have lots of problems is a separate matter.

        If you repeat line of argument after it has been debunked, that’s broken record, a violation of written site Policies.

        1. Bugs

          Thanks for making this clear. I get screamed at when I try to explain to my family and in-laws why not every vaccine proffers long term immunity or needs boosters, etc. For example, the Yellow Fever vaccine is awesome. Nobody talks about it, because it just works but not many people get it. However, it is going to knock you out for a day or two.

          Never mind that I studied at Pasteur. They “did their own research”.

          1. Yves Smith

            You are asking to be banned with a shitty attitude like that when you were politely told why you are wrong. You are acting like a resentful child.

    6. scott s.

      Flouride in water is only available to customers of US military water systems in Hawaii. Public water authorities don’t allow it. Tulsi Gabbard’s father Mike is a state senator and a big proponent of keeping flouride out of our water.

      1. Lexx

        Went looking to see if the fluoridated water I drank as a child in OKC was still what came out of the tap there… it is. The school nurse who saw me when we first moved to Washington state (4th grade) knew I wasn’t from there by looking at my perfect cavity-free teeth. I had never been to a dentist. She was accustomed to seeing kids with fillings.

        On Monday my nurse practitioner was telling me how she was counseling patients that drinking tap water wasn’t good enough anymore because all the minerals have been stripped out….. huh.—events/newsroom/2022/february/oklahoma-water-systems-recognized-for-community-fluoridation.html

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Submarine missing near Titanic used a $30 Logitech gamepad for steering”

    Has anybody thought to check the message bank of Logitech’s service center?

    1. Jason Boxman

      If it was good enough for Riker in Star Trek Insurrection, it’s good enough for a submarine! Manual control!

    2. scott s.

      They made the mistake of installing Logitech’s “G-Hub” software and didn’t realize older controllers weren’t supported.
      (Note: I will give up my Harmony IR remote when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.)

  9. Sardonia

    The non-duality article is kinda cool. A bit scattered, but then, how else can one write about an experience which can’t be described, but only experienced?

    “He who speaks does not know; he who knows does not speak.” – Lao Tzu

    Plus, I’ve toyed with non-duality quite a bit – various meditative practices, but more so, stray lines from here and there that ignite a flash of a very different perception of “self” (in which the boundaries dissipate). As the writer says, he often gets this “shifts” from random lines he has read, lines which the original author probably didn’t even remember writing.

    The reality is always there, so anything might disarm the illusion that keeps us from noticing it.

    And I like that he gives a shout out to 2 of my favorite people whose stray lines managed to shift my perception frequently enough that the shift has never shifted back – Nisargadatta and Ramana Maharshi.

    1. Tom Stone

      If the Universe is integral there are interesting implications.
      And that has been my experience, twice.
      And it is not an unusual experience for humans, several posters here have clearly had that realization.

    2. Tom Stone

      Transcendent experiences are not uncommon for humans, the realization that the Universe is integral has been around for a long, long time.

      1. semper loquitur

        Check out Bernardo Kastrup’s Why Materialism is Baloney for a modern and accessible philosophical take on these issues:

        Kastrup is a monistic Idealist. Which, incidentally, is not Hegelian Idealism. It is Schopenhauerian Idealism. I understand the two are quite different. Also, Schopenhauer thought Hegel was a m0ron.

    3. semper loquitur

      “So we all know that the hard boundary we place between ourselves and the world is somewhat artificial. Sure, on one level you are a separate being, different from any other. You can move your own arm, you probably can’t move my arm. On the other hand, your life is a product of an incredibly complex enmeshment of influences that can be traced back long, long before you were born. At any given moment, your consciousness is being influenced by many things that are not “you”—the global political climate, the societal memes you absorbed in childhood, the words on this page.”

      Does this describe the duality/non-duality problem? I don’t believe it does. The question isn’t one’s sense of self versus being a part of the world. It’s whether there are two distinct substances in the world, consciousness and matter, or does one constitute the other. He seems to go off on some po-mo numbskullery tangent with his “we’re all part of a bigger picture, isn’t that amazing” fluffiness.

      On a personal note, it’s always interesting to note Westerners who gobble up and poorly digest Eastern Mysticism but would guffaw at the notion of practicing Western Magic.

    1. zagonostra

      Maybe rather than necrophilia they were looking for evidence that the Titanic did not hit an iceberg. Instead, based on one of my favorite “conspiracy theories,” JP Morgan who was supposed to be onboard that fateful day decided to not to at the last moment knowing that it would be sunk and letting Astor and others who were opposed the the 1913 Federal Reserve Act go down to meet Davie Jones.

      It’s almost as good as Stanley Kubrick faking moon shot landing.

      1. LifelongLib

        FWIW J.P. Morgan actually owned the White Star Line (and therefor the Titanic) through a holding company.

        The Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic were partially financed by the British government, under a program that allowed the Royal Navy to take the ships for military use in wartime. This may have looked like a good deal c. 1910, but in 1914 the navy took the Olympic as a troop carrier and Britannic as a hospital ship. Olympic survived WW1 but Britannic was sunk by what was probably a mine.

  10. eg

    I was pleasantly surprised to see that Martin Wolf’s FT summer book list includes Michael Hudson’s latest, The Collapse of Antiquity which I just finished reading. I’m looking forward to the third of the trilogy to see the history of how we inherited the failures of Greece and Rome to incorporate the Near East clean slate edicts/Jubilee and the implications for ongoing socioeconomic polarization and crises.

  11. Kyle

    Holy….Altos lengthy legal excuse for why he didn’t report a rather expensive fishing…

    If you truly believed what you did was right, all you have to do it say it. Spending half a page discussing the legal meaning of words just oozes….something….

  12. The Rev Kev

    Re the Bonus antidote. You would hope that after all the hassle that John Zelnicker’s daughter Lynn had to go through to get somebody to actually, you know, do their jobs that they very least that she would get out of it would be a nice new pair of Alligator shoes. Shame about the ducks though.

    1. CanCyn

      I have to say I thought it was weird that a farmer would call the police to ask them to protect her livestock from a predator. I live in farm country and I am pretty sure that none of the farmers I know would think to call the police when a coyote threatens their cattle.

      1. flora

        None of the farmers I know would think twice about using their rifle or shotgun on a predator that’s after the livestock. Non-poisonous snakes, poisonous snakes, (they love eggs), raccoons, fox, coyotes, wolves, etc. (Now alligators?) Were these ducks being kept in town within the city limits? That would mean a call to law enforcement instead of discharging their own firearm in town. / ;)

        1. flora

          I once house sat at a small farm for the vacationing owners. Watch the house, feed and water the animals, collect the hens’eggs. The man showed me where he kept a small .22 rifle and where the ammo was stored. Poisonous copperhead snakes would get into the hen house occasionally to devour eggs and chicks. ( Reaching one’s hand into a nest to collect eggs without looking was dangerous. Having the rifle handy meant the end of that snake.) The man asked me if I was afraid of guns. No. Did I know how to shoot a rifle? yes. Was I comfortable shootiing a snake? I never had but it wouldn’t bother me. I picked up the unloaded rifle he showed me and demonstrated easy familiarity and correct handling with such a tool. He seemed relieved to know his livestock would be safe… or as safe as possible while he and his Mrs. went on vacation.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Not everybody wants to own a gun much less use one. And it is not like having an Alligator show up in your backyard is an everyday occurrence. In such a situation, who do you call that have guns to deal with an Alligator that size? So yeah, the police unless you know a neighbour that will help out. Myself, I would have called in an airstrike

        1. flora

          The most dangerous predators in farm country are men looking to rob houses or machinery. Bright yard lights and 2 or 3 large farm dogs are the best defense against that. / ;)

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Has it gotten that bad? I grew up on a Midwest farm in the 50s and 60s, and we had one those photo-sensitive night lights. It came with hooking up to the REA. It came in handy if you had to do some chores in the dark on a moonless night.

            But worry about men looking to rob houses? Even when In Cold Blood came out and was read by everyone in my mother’s book club, no one locked their doors or cars. It’s tragic if things have gotten that bad.

            1. flora

              Location, location, location. Near to large cities or a good highway exit – quick in quick out – it has become a problem. Generally, though, thieves look for signs that no one is around for a day or two. Nab stuff while the owners are on vacation or otherwise away from the farm.

        2. Wukchumni

          I keep an Assault Alligator here on the all cats and no cattle ranch in case somebody is trying to rob me, it’s full auto.

        3. Raymond Sim

          I’m gonna say that anywhere in the southern US where there are alligators, any yard that backs up against marshy woods and has livestock in it will be visited by alligators from time to time.

          It might not be an everyday experience, but medium-sized ones can be quite peripatetic.

          Now that we’re living with endemic alligators, perhaps we can view our forebearers’ admittedly misguided zero ‘gator policies with more sympathetic eyes

          1. Wukchumni

            Growing up in the SoCalist movement, we had alligators and crocodiles to deal with if you were near Buena Park, that is.

            it moved to Buena Park, California in 1953, where it was renamed the California Alligator Farm.

            The Buena Park location was a “two-acre, junglelike park” across from Knott’s Berry Farm. Circa 1974, it housed “more than a hundred species representing all five orders of reptiles, with an emphasis on crocodilians.” Alligator and snake shows were held daily in summer and weekly in the off-season.

            The attraction was shut down in 1984 after attendance dropped below 50,000 people annually, and the animals were relocated to a private estate in Florida.


            1. ambrit

              That “private estate in Florida” wouldn’t happen to be the Everglades, would it?

          2. ambrit

            Heaven forbid some genetic lab in central China doesn’t come up with an AlliPig hybrid. Although I don’t quite figure out yet how EcoHealth Alliance will get it into America.
            It’s a Headhunting site, I know, but it shows where EcoHealth’s head is:
            I laughed to see one of the jobs, an Administrative Assistant, bachelor’s degree required, in the New York area, with opening salary offer of $48K to $53k USD. Who could afford to work a white collar job in New York for that salary?
            Oh well, they could learn to code.

      3. John Zelnicker

        CanCyn, flora, Rev, Wukchumni, and Raymond – Here’s a bit more context:

        First, Lynn lives in an industrial/bedroom suburb of Mobile. It has plenty of woodsy areas, but it is not farm country. Her house is on almost an acre with 30 or so acres of woods and swamp behind it that extends to a commercial district about 300 yards away.

        Second, her city, Saraland, does not allow firing guns and the 911 dispatcher told her she couldn’t shoot the beast unless it was an immediate threat to her or her daughter.
        However, she does not have access to a large enough gun to deal with an alligator.

        Raymond – You’re right, although this one was a bit bigger than medium size. We figured he came from Bayou Sara, a navigable creek about a mile away. There are woods and tunnels under the roads that would allow the gator to get from the Bayou to Lynn’s house undetected.

        It is too bad that Lynn couldn’t find someone to skin the gator quickly enough. It was most likely a quite valuable pelt.

        1. flora

          Ah, a one acre plot of residential land within the city limits. Now the story makes more sense. Thanks for the update.

    2. ewmayer

      “After 3 days, Lynn was finally able to get some local agency to get the carcass out of her duck house and dispose of it.”

      1. Grab shovel
      2. Dig reasonably deep hole in suitable spot
      3. Put on rubber gloves and N95 mask
      4. Grab dead ducks by legs and put into hole
      5. Fill hole with dirt and pack it down.
      6. [optional] Put heavy stone on top of filled-in hole.

      Is there something I’m missing about Lynn’s situation that precludes the above DIY and requires “a local agency”, thus entailing 3 full days of carcass ripening?

      1. John Zelnicker

        Yep, you’re missing that it’s the alligator carcass that needed to be disposed of. Note the picture of him in the duck house. He had to be dragged out with ropes and a tractor.

        There weren’t any duck carcasses. The alligator doesn’t leave anything but a few feathers, maybe.

        1. ewmayer

          Ah, thanks – yes, sawing a gator carcass into manageable pieces is likely a bit much for most folks. But wait! First dig a long shallow trench, then roll that gator in and cover up. Easy-peasy. :)

  13. Donald

    I don’t understand the Katz article bemoaning the loss of Twitter— I read it less now than I did a year or two ago ( it isn’t healthy to read it too much) but I can still see the same people and the same mixture of smart and stupid comments. I know Taibbi complained about Musk recently, but for me it hasn’t changed much. I can still read Aaron Mate, “ the Angry Arab” and so forth. And the same rightwing and centrist liberal types are still there.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the guy misses Twitter when it was a nice ‘garden’ and all the people that disagreed with you about vaccines, Russia, Trump, China, etc. were made to ‘go away’ and all the right people had Blue Checks to show you that they were the right people. Now it is more a ‘jungle’ and he does not like it. The early days of the internet were likened to the Wild West too – until commercial corporations moved in to make it sort of like a Disneyland park. And I don’t mean that in a good way either.

      1. digi_owl

        Even the early days had ways to filter out the noise.

        But i suspect that takes effort, and makes one cognizant of ones bias. Better to have big bro corp deal with it in a background.

    2. hunkerdown

      It’s just PMC entitlement whining about the dispossession by evaporation of his aristocratic Credentials, that’s really all it is. Treat the entire PMC as a gaggle of crying toddlers with precocious rhetorical skills and make sure they don’t pick up any weapons while they cry themselves out.

  14. Jason Boxman

    For more on the multiverse, check out Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga if you’re into swords and sorcery.

    Also, someone here recommended Counterpart, and that’s a great two season series as well.

    1. Laughingsong

      Zelazny’s Amber series also has an interesting take on multiple worlds within and around everything.

        1. ambrit

          There are also the “World of Tiers” books by Phillip Jose Farmer. The one who gave us “Riverworld,” another techno thriller resurrection tale.

    2. semper loquitur

      Even better in my opinion is the Von Beck saga, I read The City in the Autumn Stars years ago and parts of it still come back to me.

  15. Wukchumni

    Goooooooooood Mooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    When underwater on an asset such as a left on the road dead lunar buggy on the Moon, or a tiny sub mired on the floor of Davy Jones Locker 2 & 1/2 miles down with famous Hamish on board, the best way to max out on your investment is to auction it off with the proviso that the winning bidder has to go collect the lot themselves.

    Atlantis fetched $235,000 in spirited bidding last month, to give you an idea.

    1. hunkerdown

      SA is a radlib organization. Radlibs believe that capitalism is liberation, because it preserves the ontological need of slaves to exist. Their thoughts aren’t very interesting.

        1. hunkerdown

          They may fancy themselves Trotskyist in method and spirit, perhaps, but their “democratic socialist economy” (i.e. radlib) eschaton is just “capitalism with a heart”, i.e. the expansion of capitalist appropriation into the emotional sphere. They’re still larping 1848 the same way society wives larp the Civil War every year or two. I’m afraid I can’t be impressed with organizations that seek to expand capitalist relations.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Not bringing it up to defend them – I’ve had testy relations with Trots, the thankfully now-defunct ISO in particular – but in the interest of clarification. My understanding is that they identify as Trotskyists, take it however you may.

        2. Don

          Back in the sixties, when they put the starch in the antiwar movement, most (but not all) who considered themselves Trotskyists were Trotskyists. Now, they are all over the map. From my admittedly cursory familiarity with Socialist Alternative, they are liberals, or to put a shine on it, maybe Social Democrats, but that is a pretty subtle distinction.

  16. Carolinian

    The Variety story on modeling is horrifying–Epstein just the tip of the iceberg?

        1. hunkerdown

          I don’t see why people are so excited about something whose existence can’t be explained outside of an intelligence agency’s honeypot, but you do you.

          1. Acacia

            Well, I’m not “excited” about it, just vaguely curious about what, exactly, has captured the attention of millions of young people. Also curious about the intel agency tie-in(s) — an angle on K-pop that I’d never heard of before —, if you’d care to elaborate on that.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “End game in the Ukraine war approaches with lightning speed”

    Pretty sure that when NATO planned this offensive, that it would not end up like this- (29 secs)

    A coupla months ago I said in a comment that they will have to have spaces for a Leopard 2 and a Abrams tank at the military museum in Moscow. I think now that they will have to open up a whole new wing for captured NATO military gear because of the sheer variety. Dima, in a recent Military Summary video, was saying that the Ukrainians had to abandon 50 vehicles in a battle a coupla days ago.

  18. Screwball

    RE: East Palestine Train disaster.

    Thanks for the link. From the article:

    Back in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine is resisting calls from some protestors to declare an emergency — his office says FEMA has made it clear they’d reject it — and Norfolk Southern is fighting state and federal lawsuits trying to force the railroad to cover more of the costs of the cleanup. Some residents have called for the CDC to do a long-term health study, amid fears that a “cancer cluster” could hit the community down the line. When the CDC sent a team to East Palestine in March to study the health effects of the disaster, half the team got sick.

    If Wednesday night’s community meeting goes off script and becomes a forum for residents to vent their frustrations and fears, this is the sort of dirty laundry that might get aired.

    Bold mine.

    If that meeting goes off script and frustrations are vented, it might be worse than airing some dirty laundry. They were not happy last week when they were shown the door in congress (I don’t have a link but I watched the video). I wouldn’t want to be any official going there. I’m guessing their patience is getting quite thin at this point, and I don’t blame them one little bit.

    And why would FEMA reject declaring an emergency????? Unreal.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Was Dewine not one of the big shots on site who either approved or didn’t object to the burning off?

      How are people supposed to protect themselves from these marauding railroads that have bought off all the politicians and regulatory agencies?

      1. Screwball

        I believe he was. IMNSHO, everybody that could have dropped the ball – dropped it.

        They have some sort of meeting today/tomorrow in the town. I expect some interesting reporting out of that – if it is allowed to be put in print or on the web.

    2. notabanker

      It is just incredible how brazen the narrative is here. If my whole family was at extremely high risk of cancer or worse I would be somewhat beyond thin patience. This company poisoned a whole town, it is probably uninhabitable and 90% of them are going to die early, and the government is colluding with them to avoid paying for it. Just unreal.

      1. Screwball


        This article is from Bloomberg earlier today. It tells some of the horror stories about health issues, but also talks about people turning on each other, which is something I had not considered.

        What a complete $hit show and so heartbreaking. I feel for these people, and having a railroad running 3 blocks from my house I wonder when it happens here. And since we are similar to East Palenstine (small rural town) we will be forgotten too.

        Months After a Toxic Train Derailment, East Palestine Is Fracturing

  19. Wukchumni

    Lime and limpid long green, a second scene
    Now fights below the blue you once knew
    Floating down, the sound resounds
    Around the icy waters underground
    Famous Hamish is on Titan, stars can frighten

    Blinding lack of oxygen signs flap,
    Flicker, flicker, flicker blam, pow, pow
    Still life portrait stare, $250k a dare, who’s there?

    Lime and limpid green, the sounds around
    The icy waters under
    Lime and limpid green, the sounds around
    The icy waters underground

    Astronomy Domine, by Pink Floyd

    1. Tom Stone

      Can you do anything with the lyrics from “We Love You Papa Doc”?
      It was the most popular song in Haiti for decades…

      1. Wukchumni

        Doesn’t appear to exist online, perhaps the Tonton Macoute scrubbed it off the internet?

  20. tegnost

    I get a kick out of these “Pentagon discovers a few billion extra dollars” stories when they can’t seem to be able to keep track of all the other cash they’re in charge of…

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Ukraine is our Widow of Zarephath. (I Kings 17) It’s a miracle! Or just contempt for the citizenry of both countries. Come to think of it, the widow had a pretty good take on what Neoliberalism would be like:

      As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

      “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Biden walks back on Ukraine’s Nato accession”

    Macron has a bright idea to finish this war and square the circle of NATO and the Ukraine. The French will get the Ukraine to the negotiating table to make an agreement to end this war with Russia. And once that is done and the war over, then France will fully back the Ukraine’s entry into NATO. I know that Macron thinks that he is helping but he really isn’t. This would only pause the war and when it started again, this time it would be a direct confrontation between Russian and NATO troops which could easily slip into WW3. Unless Macron plans to just do the dirty on the Ukraine and tell them that not all the countries will agree to have them in NATO. There is such a thing as being too smart by half-

    1. Acacia

      Hah, yeah. Macron flatters himself.

      As if the Russians would believe the Ukraine or France are agreement capable after the Minsk deception.

    2. hunkerdown

      Perhaps Macron’s bosses actually do want WWIII, as a restorative to the apparent lack of general respect for their values and their properties. Think of world wars as religious wars.

    3. Glen

      I’m slowly and reluctantly coming to the conclusion that what really, really confuses Western world leaders about Russia/China is that they routinely pull this same [family blogging male bovine droppings] on their own country’s citizens, and get very very confused trying to figure out why it’s wrong to treat other countries in the same manner:

      Macron calls Putin a dictator and then passes a law hated by his own citizens who erupt in country wide riots.

      Biden launches his re-election campaign calling himself the most pro labor President ever after stopping a railroad workers strike, and never visiting the town poisoned by a train wreck which resulted from exactly what the railroad workers were going to strike about.

      I mean honestly, when Putin calls the West “not agreement capable”, I’m stuck comparing what campaigning President wannabes say, and then what they do when elected. Yeah, he’s right, the say anything to get elected style has morphed into a complete governing philosophy.

  22. Carolinian

    Re I Miss Twitter–at first I was wondering whether Taibbi now featuring op-eds but a little searching revealed that the writer Katz has something called The Racket and Taibbi’s handle is simply Racket.

    Other diff: Taibbi is a journalistic bigfoot who has exposed the dark underbelly of the original Twitter. Katz is a journalistic littlefoot who misses his former cozy world. We feel his pain, really we do…..

    1. ArvidMartensen

      Yeah I got fooled, and couldn’t understand why Taibbi was putting out a cookie cutter Musk is bad/stupid/crazy piece which is a hallmark of lazy journalism. Thanks for clearing this up.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Modi visits US to deepen ties, says no doubting India’s position on Ukraine’

    Türkiye might be a bit sour about how Indian seems to be getting preferential treatment. So Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Singh was giving a press briefing when a reporter asked about why the US were taking measures against Türkiye for buying the Russian S-400 air defense system but that India was given a pass for doing exactly the same. She said that it was because they were two different cases and India needed to diversify its military equipment- (37 sec video)

    1. Kouros

      And Turkey didn’t need to diversify, since was already buying US kit. But not sold Patriot for instance. Porcine maquillage, as Yves would say.

  24. Alice X

    10:58 am EDT, we’ve just passed the summer solstice. Happy summer in the northern hemisphere. It’s downhill from here.

  25. Mikerw0

    Re: No We Haven’t Lived with Diseases…

    This is a near perfect response to the Neoliberal cruelty that still governs. In NYC, and many other places, when COVID hit the rich fled quickly. Off to the Hamptons, mid-State NY, anywhere they could maintain their comfortable lives with minimal hassle and disruption or inconvenience. Who cares that emergency medical systems were under dire stress. Their lives were good.

    And now that the pandemic is ‘officially’ over no masks, no further vaccine development, nothing. Life is just dandy.

    1. ArvidMartensen

      The billionaire/secret enforcement services/politicians network must have a set of shared assumptions, even if they don’t trust each other as far as they can spit.
      Things like –
      # we are wealthy because we are superior in every way: intelligence, culture, work ethic, productivity, planning etc.
      # the poor are poor because of their inferiority in everything.
      # So it is the duty and burden of the rich to make all the decisions for the planet, and
      # taking notice of the poor’s opinions just degrades the quality of decisions.
      # The world would do a lot better if there were fewer poor people draining resources and polluting.

      Those sorts of assumptions just might lead to a let-er-rip strategy for say pandemics, or for global chaos due to heating.

  26. Wukchumni

    Polio has been around forever, and yet only turned into a scourge and quite the plague after the introduction of aluminum in metal form via bauxite alchemy, a heretofore incredibly rare natural occurrence otherwise.

    The engine of the Wright Brothers plane was made of 92% aluminum & 8% copper, to give you an idea.

    Major outbreaks started to occur in the late 19th century in Europe and the United States, and in the 20th century, it became one of the most worrying childhood diseases. (Wiki)

    1. GramSci

      Link? I couldn’t find any reference to an aluminum-polio linkage beyond aluminum being used as an adjuvant in (some) (polio) vaccines.

      However at (Wiki) I was surprised to read that polio “is highly infectious, and is spread from person to person either through fecal-oral transmission[1][6] (e.g. poor hygiene, or by ingestion of food or water contaminated by human feces), or via the oral-oral route.”

      I had imagined it was airborne, so great was the panic during my childhood.

      1. Wukchumni

        Sounds more like Cholera than Polio, and all those conditions existed for thousands of years previously, and never was it the scourge it was in the early 20th century. Guilt by timing association speculation-nothing more.

    2. ewmayer

      Sorry, Wuk, but you need to provide some links to credible studies to support your outlandish-sounding claim. The accepted reason is interesting in itself, though. Per Wikipedia:

      “Before the 20th century, polio infections were rarely seen in infants before six months of age, most cases occurring in children six months to four years of age. Poorer sanitation of the time resulted in a constant exposure to the virus, which enhanced a natural immunity within the population. In developed countries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, improvements were made in community sanitation, including better sewage disposal and clean water supplies. These changes drastically increased the proportion of children and adults at risk of paralytic polio infection, by reducing childhood exposure and immunity to the disease.”

    1. ambrit

      “Creepy” Joe had better be careful he doesn’t redline the mill. He wouldn’t want to get caught russian it.
      Coming up, “Fast and Furious XIII: Return to the Street Without Joy.” I worry about how “Creepy” Joe and his clique will handle the New Missile Giap. They will probably get Rand to do a study.

    1. ambrit

      No wonder many of us have lost all trust in “official” medicine. It comes across as a confidence game where the “goalposts” are constantly being moved to cover the latest objections. I wish I wasn’t so cynical, but it has turned out to be a strong survival strategy.

      1. Pat

        When I was explaining my skepticism about the vaccines early on, I said forget the unknown side effects to a friend and pointed out that lying and misrepresenting what the shots would do would eventually decimate the trust in the public heath system. And that the documentation already meant they were doing that.

        All to get people back to work…

  27. Wukchumni

    Another mass shooting on Saturday @ the campground of a concert venue in Washington state, a little light on the dead & wounded to matter… otherwise i’d have heard about it.

    News reports told of campers scurrying into their tents when shots rang out, which could lead to big business for Kevlar walled tents, another growth industry.

  28. Tom Stone

    People have been DYING with from diseases for as long as there have been Humans, they have also been damaged short of immediate death by disease since there have been Humans.
    This is “IBG Go Die” with vanilla frosting.

  29. Tom Stone

    If the article at the “Intercept” is correct about who the “Patient Zero” of the current pandemic is, when do the lawsuits start?
    Do any of the better qualified commenters here have any thoughts about the matter?

    1. ambrit

      This will be a “teaching moment” where the power and unity of the international PMC is displayed. No one will be allowed to be sued. Who in the rest of the World would have “standing” in a Chinese court to sue? The only recourse would be military action. That isn’t going to happen. Besides all of that, don’t forget that the American NIH is heavily involved in the funding for the experimental work done at the Wuhan Institute. Thus, we end up with some Chinese scientists, American money, and International Pharmaceutical companies making bank on this. Try untangling that Gordian Knot. (Hint: Alexander managed it but his method wouldn’t be usable today in our heavily nuclear weaponed world.)

  30. Wukchumni

    UFC* #86

    5 go into the submersible and no one comes out, that is until they all realize if they strangle one another-they can make the oxygen last longer…

    $49.95 PPV
    $59.95 PPV HD

    *Underwater Fighting Championship

  31. Sub-Boreal

    Re: today’s bonus antidote

    Fortunately, there are no alligators on Vancouver Island, but there are other wildlife perils. Fear not! (The reporters were having way too much fun with this.)

  32. tegnost

    The fed…
    Sentences like this one raise instant red flags.

    More than two dozen institutions have submitted applications for a Fed master account, and 20 are not federally insured, according to the list.

    why not say 25 institutions, 20 uninsured?

    1. GramSci

      I’ll say. Further on we read:

      «According to the database, 414 current master account holders do not have federal deposit insurance.»

      I’ve been waiting for someone knowledgeable about Fed affairs to comment further on this.

  33. John Beech

    Correct me if I’m mistaken but wasn’t President Xi elected by the 12th National People’s Congress? Doesn’t this automatically mean calling him a dictator is wrong?

    Anybody arguing their elections are less fair than ours needs their head examined.

    I favor publicly counting paper ballots placed in clear plastic boxes. Nobody asks me.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Maybe so, but according to a Canadian opinion poll from 2021, Xi has an approval rating of 98% in China. Obviously he’s a dictator, why else people would like him?

      Isn’t a best sign of a functional democracy that people hate their elected leaders and none of the popular policies are implemented?

      1. Pat

        Obviously he has to be a dictator, popularity has nothing to do with getting elected. See our last two Presidential elections. Here in America with popularity like that Xi wouldn’t have made it through the primaries.

      2. digi_owl

        Because the way to become a popular leader is to deny the monied their toys.

        More and more it seems the English spent the enlightenment redefining words in favor of the merchant class. And those changes seeped into international politics as English replaced French as the language of diplomacy after WW1.

    2. Ranger Rick

      I believe the dictator comments are in reference to Xi being popularly identified as “president for life” after that same People’s Congress removed term limits on his position. As opposed to actual tyranny, of which he is also accused.

    3. Daniil Adamov

      Depends on how you define dictator. There were some American newspapers that hailed Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the people’s dictator when he was first elected. Clearly being elected was not considered incompatible with being a dictator; nor was dictator necessarily a term of abuse. It generally is nowadays – but… what does it mean, other than a ruler that a self-identified supporter of democracy doesn’t like?

      1. jrkrideau

        The Roosevelt dynasty.

        My mother who was teaching in Detroit about the time of FDR said she had a least one Gr. 8 student sound surprised that you did not have to be a Roosevelt to be president of the USA.

  34. ArvidMartensen

    re the article on things turning out differently.
    For some strange reason, it was all pitched at the individual level
    But it might have been better with some other examples, such as

    What if political parties and politicians could only accept a total of $5 from any one person or corporation?
    What if the voting was all done using paper ballots, hand marked with no electronics allowed?
    What if the country banned all guns, including for huntin’ and policin’ ?
    What if every school, college and university was given the same level of funding throughout the country ?
    What if the level of funding to all educational institutions was adequate to give all students a good education, including how to think analytically and how to see through propaganda?
    What if politicians had KPIs based on their election promises, to be assessed at the end of every term by local community meetings with the results tabulated nationally and tranparently?

    I could go on …..

  35. spud

    although i respect Glenn Greenwald a lot, he sorta missed the boat, here is the guy who gave PNAC its voice in the american government, in fact, bill clinton enshrined PNAC into america law.

    “An additional step has been taken with military preparations against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador following Mexico, Colombia and British Guyana. The team responsible for co-ordinating these measures is from the former Office of Global Democracy Strategy.

    This was a unit established by President Bill Clinton, then continued by Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz. Mike Pompeo, the current director of the CIA, has confirmed that this unit exists. This has led to rumours in the press, followed up by President Trump, of a US military option.”

    “Moreover, the Clinton-era policy made the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq possible, both in terms of practicality — Bush and UK prime minister Tony Blair dramatically escalated the no-fly zone strikes in the months before the “shock and awe” campaign that opened the Iraq War — and in terms of justification: Clinton and Bush defended their actions by pointing to Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and the need to topple Saddam at all costs.

    The Clinton administration’s fixation on weapons and its desire for regime change were clearly on display at a February 1998 town hall, where Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tried to sell the public on bombing Iraq.

    Albright was repeatedly interrupted by antiwar activists, and pressed about why the US was so keen on attacking Iraq when there were many other, similarly terrible dictators throughout the world.

    Albright replied, “No one has done what Saddam Hussein has done, or is thinking of doing. He is producing weapons of mass destruction, and he is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other dictators.” Albright then proceeded to lecture the audience, telling them “I’m really surprised that people feel they need to defend the rights of Saddam Hussein.”

    Just a few years later, similar scenes, with different players, would be reprised in the buildup to the Bush administration’s invasion.”

    “Clinton’s determined parrying underscores the fact that while Bush set the sanctions in motion, Clinton not only embraced them but used them as a tool of regime change. It is he who bears the lion’s share of responsibility for the death and suffering of countless Iraqis.”

    “But even France, one of its coalition partners, began to doubt the legality of the actions. After the US and the UK expanded the no-fly zones without international authorization in 1996, France partially pulled out of the coalition.

    In 1998, it dropped its role entirely. France would later call for the zones’ discontinuation and accuse the US and the UK of violating international law by bombing Iraq.

    Like his successor, one of Clinton’s early acts in office was to bomb Baghdad. In 1993, he sent twenty-three cruise missiles to hit the city, allegedly in response to reports that Hussein had plotted to assassinate George H. W. Bush two months earlier. (The intelligence backing this claim, like so many claims used to justify the US’s war in Iraq, turned out to be rather questionable.)

    In an Oval Office speech defending the decision, Clinton cited the revolutionary slogan “Don’t tread on me.” The people Clinton ensured would never tread on the US were nine civilians, including Iraqi painter Layla Al-Attar.

    Five years later, Clinton signed the “Iraq Liberation Act” into law, formalizing the US’s demand for regime change. The legislation, which also appropriated $97 million to fund Iraqi opposition groups, was followed up with yet more military action: Operation Desert Fox.”

    “The Clinton years should not be shrugged off as distant history. Bill Clinton played the role of relay runner, handing off the hawkish baton that Bush’s father had first passed to Clinton.

    While in office, Clinton cemented the goal of Iraqi regime change and eagerly used the instruments of war he inherited — sanctions and the no-fly zones — to achieve this aim.

    Simply put, Bush’s even bloodier invasion and occupation was an escalation of Clinton’s “quiet war.” ”

    “Following its bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the United States wound up with military bases in Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia.”

  36. Anthony K Wikrent

    Re: No, We Haven’t Lived with Diseases for Millions of Years, by Jessica Wildfire
    The role of government in fighting disease is central, One indication is to scan the list of Nobel Laureates affiliated with or funded by the USA National Institutes of Health.

    “To date, 169 scientists either at NIH or whose research is supported by NIH funds have been the sole or shared recipients of 101 Nobel Prizes.”

    And, then there is the fight for clean water supplies.
    Chronology of American Waterworks from 1649 to 1865
    Chronology of American Waterworks from 1866 to 1880

    Without government funding and support for public health, disease research, medical technology, clean water, and so on, we will be increasingly vulnerable to Lambert’s Second Law of Neoliberalism: “Go die.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Based of the spectacular success of this idea in Nigeria? If they tried to introduce this idea, they would once again make it illegal to posses gold – or even silver for that matter – because only criminals, terrorists and child molesters own gold & silver don’tcha know.

  37. flora

    Hmmm. Maybe B saber rattling toward China will help Xi domestically to focus the angst onto external forces like the ‘ugly Americans’ … or something.

    From Ed Dowd:

    “Nothing says stability like a record unemployed male population with a record 104.61 to 100 male to female ratio. We call this a toxic mix.

    “China’s youth unemployment hits a fresh record high in May, major data disappoint ”

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