Links 7/7/2023

Dear patient readers,

We’ve noticed a drop-off in comments during our unheard-of-ly weird spell of moderation issues. Please comment as normal. Be assured that we have thrown extra capacity at the problem (i.e., Yves and myself) in addition to our moderation team, and that although your comment may not immediately appear, it will not languish. –lambert

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What Colors Can Deer See? Field & Stream

Rare Irish orchid discovered in Trinity College after lawn mowing is halted The Irish Times

De-dollarisation would upend the global economy Council on Geostrategy. RAND Europe.


Recent events indicate Earth’s climate has entered uncharted territory Associated Press

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region drops nearly 34% in Lula’s first 6 months Anadolu Agency

Risks of synchronized low yields are underestimated in climate and crop model projections Nature. “Simultaneous harvest failures across major crop-producing regions are a threat to global food security.”


Viral persistence in children infected with SARS-CoV-2: current evidence and future research strategies The Lancet. From the Conclusion: “Evidence exists for the possible spread of SARS-CoV-2 spread into different organs and persistence for weeks to months after initial infection, even in children independently from severity of the acute disease. Viral RNA has been documented in children who have died from critical acute disease, but also in paediatric patients diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome weeks to months after previous asymptomatic or mild infection with SARS-CoV-2. Whether these events can also occur with new variants of SARS-CoV-2 or in previously vaccinated children is still unknown. Although the biological significance of the possibility for viral spread and persistence in children is unknown, the substantial evidence for it should not be neglected, and should inform future clinical, biological, and pharmacological studies.”

Impact of imprinted immunity induced by mRNA vaccination in an experimental animal model Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants has led to concerns that ancestral SARS-CoV-2-based vaccines may not be effective against newly emerging Omicron subvariants. The concept of “imprinted immunity” suggests that individuals vaccinated with ancestral virus-based vaccines may not develop effective immunity against newly emerging Omicron subvariants, such as BQ.1.1 and XBB.1. Here, we investigated this possibility using hamsters. While natural infection induced effective antiviral immunity, breakthrough infections in hamsters with BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 Omicron subvariants after receiving the 3-dose mRNA-LNP vaccine resulted in only faintly induced humoral immunity, supporting the possibility of imprinted immunity.” Vax and relax my Sweet Aunt Fanny.

Where do viruses hide in the human body? BMJ. From the Abstract: “Virus particles often hide in ‘immunoprivileged sites’ around the human body, also sometimes called sanctuary sites, that our immune systems don’t monitor or protect as closely as the rest of our bodies. These include the brain, spinal cord, pregnant uterus, testes, and eyes…. Viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2 primarily infect the respiratory tract but can move elsewhere. Influenza viruses can persist after infection in people’s intestinal tract and stool, through swallowed secretions from the nose and throat or viruses in the blood.”

Researchers create test to detect SARS-CoV-2 in any animal species Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Losing grandparents to COVID may be increasing youth violence FOX

Should We Just Listen to the Scientists? JSTOR Daily

Another deadly pandemic seems inevitable – but there is a way to avoid it John Vidal, Guardian


Peak China, a declining USA and the future of Africa SIPRI. Relevant:

Janet Yellen says security should not derail US-China economic relations FT

More Shenzhen Office Space Goes Begging for Tenants Caixin Global

Taiwan disputes China’s claim of ability to sink US Navy aircraft carrier group FT

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Swift and extensive Omicron outbreak in China after sudden exit from ‘zero-COVID’ policy Nature. Model. “We modeled the epidemic dynamics of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in China from Nov. to Dec. 2022, during a period when China moved from having strict COVID-19 policies (‘zero-COVID’), to little-to-no intervention efforts. We found that after full exit from zero-COVID, the Omicron variant spread at a very high rate of 0.42/day, with a doubling time of 1.6 days, during early and mid-Dec. before the incidence peaked around Dec. 23. Our point estimate is that 97% of the population (1.4 billion people) was infected during December, with a lower 95% credibility interval of 95% of the population (1.33 billion) and a lower limit in the sensitivity analyses of 90% (1.26 billion). With an infection fatality ratio between 0.1 and 0.2% for the Omicron variant19, we would expect between 1.3 and 2.6 million COVID-19 deaths in China during Dec. 2022 as well as Jan. 2023 (because of the delay from infection to death).” Of course, the United States has a smaller population, so Biden killed more people proportionately, but still Xi did pretty well!


Pro-military militia members and police die under PDF attack in western Bago Region Myanmar Now

Myanmar Govt in Exile Asks Refugees in India to Stay Away From Political, Ethnic Conflicts The Wire


America’s India Problem The Diplomat

Working Lives: Documenting Labour Histories QAMRA

The Koreas

South Korea greenlights Japan’s nuclear waste release Anadolu Agency


Oil on troubled waters: Where are the MENA’s key energy disputes? The New Arab (Rev Kev).

The Happy Country

Australia becomes first country to legalise medical psychedelics Sky News

Dear Old Blighty

Poor accounting by the ONS should not stop the necessary nationalisation of water companies Funding the Future

Mhairi Black to stand down as an MP at general election Holyrood

European Disunion

‘Nothing has changed’: France’s forgotten banlieues The New Arab

French riots show how entrenched inequalities have become FT

French parliament gives green light to secretly record footage from phones of suspects Anadolu Agency

German Defense Companies Could Be Europe’s Arsenal of Democracy Foreign Policy

South of the Border

Zelenskiy Won’t Be At CELAC in Brussels. Invitation Blocked By Unnamed Latin-American Leaders Claims Zelenskiy. St. Kitts & Nevis Observer

Legend claims there’s entrance to Underworld in Mexico — and experts think they found it Miami Herald

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine slows counteroffensive to ‘gradually wear down’ Russian troops, liberate towns NY Post. The smaller power waging a war of attrition against the larger power makes no sense.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine needs weapons on time for success in counteroffensive Ukrainska Pravda

SITREP 7/6/23: Zelensky Builds One Last Suicidal Thrust to Appease Masters Simplicius the Thinker(s). Grab a cup of coffee.

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Belarus says Wagner’s Prigozhin is in Russia, raising questions about Putin deal France24

The failed coup in Russia through American looking glass Indian Punchline

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Exclusive: The CIA’s Blind Spot about the Ukraine War William Arkin, Newsweek

Why no one can end the Ukraine war Edward Luttwalk, Unherd

Now is not the time for Ukraine to join Nato Katrina vanden Heuvel and James W Carden, Guardian. When you’ve lost Katrina vanden Heuvel….

Dropping a Big Rock Down a Massive 600 Foot Deep Pit Laughing Squid

Biden Administration

Government appeals ruling that restricts feds from contacting social media firms Politico. “But other legal experts said his ruling did not give adequate weight to the rights of Biden and others to cajole the companies to limit their publication of content that the officials considered objectionable.” When Psaki, speaking from a White House podium, tells Facebook to knuckle under to censorship or face anti-trust, that’s “cajoling”? Really?

Memordandum In Support Of Defendants’ Motion To Stay Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal And, Alternatively, For Administrative Stay (PDF) STATE OF LOUISIANA, et al., Plaintiffs, v. JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., in his official capacity as President of the United States of America, et al. Note the ginormous typo; this must have been hastily prepared.

Mysterious White Powder Found In West Wing Identified As President Biden The Onion


‘No doubt’ US will go to war with Russia if Ukraine falls, Pence says; Prigozhin back in Russia?: Live updates USA Today. Pence differentiates himself from Trump.

Digital Watch

AI Boom Stems Tech’s Downturn WSJ. How convenient.

Threads Daring Fireball. A factor to be considered in the “reporting” is that liberal Democrats are hegemonic in the press, and since their Censorship Industrial Complex has lost control of Twitter, they wish it to fail, and by extension Threads to succeed. Of course, the press is never the story….

The Bezzle

How Amazon transformed the EU into a planned economy Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. Excellent.

Groves of Academe

North Dakota university leaders fear ‘catastrophic implications’ of Minnesota’s new free tuition plan AP

Class Warfare

DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub Sue New York City Over Minimum-Wage Law WSJ

Artificial cells demonstrate that “life finds a way” Scienmag (Chuck L). Original.

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

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. Steve H.

    > Researchers create test to detect SARS-CoV-2 in any animal species Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

    >> The researchers validated the tool using serum samples from animals with known infection status, achieving a diagnostic sensitivity of 97.8%, and a diagnostic specificity of 98.9%.

    From Comparison of Home Antigen Testing With RT-PCR and Viral Culture During the Course of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

    >> Antigen test sensitivity peaked 4 days after illness onset (77%); a second test 1 to 2 days later showed improved sensitivity (81%-85%).

    Progress can happen. Testing has been a weak point since the Before Times.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Zelenskiy Won’t Be At CELAC in Brussels. Invitation Blocked By Unnamed Latin-American Leaders Claims Zelenskiy. ”

    Actually there is a lot more to this story than what is stated here. The 33-member South American bloc is scheduled to hold a joint summit with the EU in Brussels but it is already turning into a bit of a fiasco. Spain’s Pedro Sanchez invited Zelensky to attend but that was a self-goal that as perhaps those South American countries realized that Spain has not been the Boss of South America for a very long time. So most of those leaders told the EU to forget it and I bet that Brazil’s Lula was one of them after being embarrassed by Zelensky at Hiroshima recently.

    So then the EU proposed a summit declaration text had included several paragraphs on support for Ukraine, referencing the UN General Assembly’s resolutions. In other words, the EU did not really wanted to listen to those South American leaders but to make it all about the Ukraine. The South American countries sent the text back – after deleting every reference to the Ukraine in it – as they were not going to play that game. The Ukraine is the EU’s problem (obsession?), not theirs. The CELAC summit will only be a few days after the NATO one in Lithuania and I suspect that by then the EU leaders will be very frazzled by the time the CELAC summit starts-

    1. OIFVet

      “In sharing what the Europeans see as a bold proposal, “it looks like they want to be perceived as equal partners,” they added.”

      Oh, the horror of former colonies wanting to be “perceived” as equals by Europe! And they want reparations for the slave trade! Quick, someone give Josep Borrell a garden fainting couch and smelling salts!

      1. Late Introvert

        I thought you wrote “farting couch” and now I can’t get that image out of my head.

    2. c_heale

      There is a lot more in that link too. The counter proposal includes such things a reparations for slavery, and reduced emphasis on environmental issues (since the Latin American delegation apparently sees it as a way to create unfair trading advantages (I’m paraphrasing).

      Why should a negotiation between Latin America and the EU include anything about Ukraine anyway – it’s not like Ukraine is part of the EU.

  3. Carla

    In “Another deadly pandemic seems inevitable – but there is a way to avoid it,” John Vidal unfortunately neglects to directly call out the biggest elephant in the room whenever humans and particularly governments are confronted with mortal threats to survival: DENIAL.

    Until that veil is ripped away, nothing else he recommends will happen.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “German Defense Companies Could Be Europe’s Arsenal of Democracy”

    ‘More than a decade ago, the German government made the deliberate decision to kill the ability of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s military, to fight a conventional land war in Europe and strip it of the equipment, manpower, and resources to do so.’

    Yeah, that would be Ursula von der Leyen when she was Germany’s Minister of Defence. The Bundeswehr has never recovered and is only a shadow of what it was during the First Cold War. Doesn’t help that they only have enough ammo for about two days of war either. This being the case, this is the very same person, by the way, that old Joe Biden demands be made head of NATO. This article then says ‘While Germany just about killed the Bundeswehr, it did not kill the German defense industry’ which is true. It was actually Joe Biden blowing up the NS2 pipelines which killed it. I am pretty sure that weapons production is pretty energy intensive work so where exactly are they going to get all that energy from, especially since they shut down the last of the nuke reactors. It is now recorded fact that Germany finds itself being de-industrialized so that would be true of a lot of the industrial companies needed to arm Germany once more. Here are the boys at The Duran talking about Germany’s de-industrialisation- (19:24 mins)

    1. Tom Stone

      Don’t forget the pumps that send water through the Tehachapi Mountains to Southern California, good luck getting replacement parts…

  5. griffen

    Pence is going further to the right than most, it appears. I’ve caught a few interviews with Pence, most recently last weekend on ABC with Jon Karl. Pence seemed quite the stiff interview, to be honest, I imagine he has charisma but I’ve yet to notice it. It’s a long way to November 2024 of course. Exceedingly long for we Americans !

    1. The Rev Kev

      When a person finds themselves far to the right of Lindsey Graham, then that person should sit down and rethink their life choices. There is no way that Americans will tolerate seeing hundreds of their service people killed each and every day fighting the Russians on the Eastern Front. And at the very least recruitment numbers would drop off a very steep cliff and all those voting areas that have a lot of people serving in the military would not be so keen on the Republicans anymore – or for the Democrats for that matter.

      1. Tom Stone

        Enlisted personnel in the US Military are not happy, those expanded SNAP benefits were a real help for struggling families in the Military as well as for Civilians.
        Brandon has scrood the bottom 50% repeatedly and openly, the consequences may not appear immediately but they will show up.
        Likely at an awkward moment for TPTB.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      there was a reason he was referred to in the senate as “Dense Pence” definitely not the sharpest tool –

      1. Nikkikat

        I have family in Indiana. Pence has never been anything but a climber. He tried to ingratiate himself with anyone and everyone that might get him another step up the ladder. Terrible Governor. He has also changed religious affiliations based on what will get him votes. Started out as Catholic very conservative Catholic then started going with evangelical church groups. They are republicans. Never liked Pence. He is not too bright. But his sycophant alliance with Trump was the same with anyone he thought could get him to the White House. He has always wanted to be President and actually believes God wants him to be President.

    3. pjay

      Yes. I took note of Pence’s surprise pilgrimage to Ukraine a few weeks ago. This is the introduction to the ABC News story then:

      “In a dramatic move to differentiate himself on a key foreign policy issue, former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday made a surprise trip to Ukraine, projecting solidarity against Russia in a way, so far, unmatched by his Republican competitors.”

      “His message in Ukraine was clear: “We are with you.”

      “We have to we have to stand together, freedom loving-nations, stand with the people fighting for their freedom here in Ukraine, and that’ll be my message when I return home,” Pence told reporters.”

      I guess he was serious!

      Pence is one of those religious conservatives who seems to *actually believe* that the US is God’s Chosen Nation, rather than the usual politico who simply throws out such comments to fire up the base (another certain orange-haired politico comes to mind here). So unfortunately, Armageddon might not be a bad thing for him. Fortunately, as you point out. he has the charisma of a sheet of plywood, so we probably won’t have to worry about him actually becoming the “leader of the free world.” Maybe he’s auditioning for the Democrats. How about a “unity ticket”: Newsome/Pence!

    4. John

      Pence has charisma?! Never noticed … but it is never easy to notice the absence of something, kind of like those those subtle figure-ground drawings.WHich is Pence? The figure or the ground?

  6. Chas

    Interesting story about so many grandparents dying of covid it’s resulting in more children going into foster care. The story doesn’t say much about the role of the parents in the problem which reminded me of a song about the foster care system. It’s by an Irish punk band so a little hard to understand, but it’s a scathing indictment of the foster care system and especially the parents who feed their children into it. The chorus is “You can have your children — or the night.” Features a great accordion.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      In my Cleveland neighborhood, when the birth mother screws up or takes off, the children end up with the grandmother. If the grandmother dies, then the children end up in foster care.

    2. Mikel

      Remember: “Kids don’t spread Covid.”

      All of that claptrap during the debates about Covid and schools as if the children were in silos and to hell with whoever they had to go home to?

    3. Kurtismayfield

      70,000 opioid deaths a year have left many families on the lower end of the economic spectrum broken. I see it all the time with my students.

    4. LaRuse

      In my neighborhood, I would guess the nearly half of kids are being raised in part or entirely by their grandparents; my own household included in a its own way since my mother has lived with us since 2010 and been a parttime caretaker for our daughter for all of her 15 years.
      In low income areas like mine, a lot parents are working 2-3 jobs, and there are of course lots of incarcerated parents, lots of drug addicted parents, lots of MIA parents, all of these issues being directly tied into class warfare and poverty. I would go to PTA meetings and be among the youngest participants when my daughter was in elementary school.
      In every letter I sent to our school board, I emphasized the fact that while children themselves may not be perceived as “high risk” for COVID (which isn’t entirely true but you have to meet your audience where they are), their caretakers, especially in areas like where I live are at exceedingly high risk for COVID. Deaf ears and all that – my arguments went nowhere. I am 90% certain that the myth that kids don’t transmit COVID was created to mute arguments like mine. And as the article points out, thousands and thousands of kids who were already in bad situations to begin with are being flooded into a broken foster care system. There’s no neoliberal solution for this except to send the little kids off to work, I guess.

    5. Nikkikat

      The opiate scourge is responsible for many grand Parents ending up raising their grandchildren. We had traveled thru middle of country and every where we went we saw all these white haired elders with small children in tow. As to foster care as I was a Social worker in California. Foster care is a horrible mess. Most of these children end up at 18 being sent out Into society at 18 with nothing. They end up having children at very young ages because they need someone to love them. There are people out there that take in foster children and care for them very well. They are paid fairly well and are given Medicaid. Others are in it for the money. Back in the nineties it was estimated that there were half a million children living in foster care. A huge failing for this country as we had an entire generation of children with no real future. Most grandparents receive welfare and Medicaid for their grandchildren as non-needy caretakers as they have social security income. Most not eligible to food stamps.
      Plenty of money for Biden’s wars and tax breaks for rich people.

      1. spud

        The Opioid Epidemic in America – Killing One Million People

        The Triumph of Capital (Creating a Domestic ‘Shithole’)

        By James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya

        “The link between capitalism and drugs reaches back to the middle of the 19th century, when the British Empire forced their surplus opium crop from their South Asian colonies into the Chinese market creating massive demand from millions of addicts.”

        “In the following section, we will discuss the larger picture, including the powerful socio-economic and political forces that have profited from the addiction and killing of millions of Americans – past and present.

        This deliberate policy, with strong neo-Malthusian overtones, has decimated a sector of the US working class, rendered ‘surplus’ or redundant by political-economic decisions of the American ruling elite.

        In its wake, the prescription addiction crisis has turned large swathes of the former manufacturing and mining sectors of the US into what the current President Donald Trump would characterize as domestic ‘shitholes’ and populated by what his rival, Hillary Clinton, callously derided as ‘deplorables’.”

        “The former FDA Administrator David Kessler, who served under the Clinton Regime from 1990 to 1997, belatedly condemned his agency’s negligence over the mass destruction caused by unregulated prescription of powerful narcotics, which he admitted after 10 years of silence was ‘one of the biggest mistakes in the history of modern medicine’, (editorial NYT May 6, 2016).

        While hundreds of thousands of Americans have been killed by opioids and hundreds more are dying every day (at least 65,000 in 2016), the US Left and the Democratic Party focus on narrow gender identity issues and cartoonish hearings over ‘Russiagate’ – Moscow ’s alleged plot to seize control of the US Presidential election.

        While touting her experience in health care reform, Candidate Hillary Clinton deliberately ignored the opioid addiction crisis during her campaign except to characterize its largely white lower class victims as ‘deplorables’ – ignorant racists and buffoons – whom she implied deserved their misery and shortened lives.”

        “Social Darwinism and Neo-Malthusian rationales proliferate among the oligarchs, politicians, medical professionals and even seep into the language used by the public (‘survival of the fittest’) providing the ideological justification for the carnage.

        Specific Operative Power Elites Driving the Epidemic

        Multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical corporations manufacture and market narcotics and highly addictive sedatives. Their agents manipulate the medical community and lobby among the politicians for a ‘pain-free’ America.

        The producer of the leading commercial ‘gateway’ into addiction, Oxy-Contin, is Purdue Pharmaceuticals. The company was founded and run entirely by the Sackler family under the leadership of the recently deceased Raymond Sackler and his brothers.

        They started by manufacturing laxatives and ear wax, then introducing the highly addictive tranquilizer, Valium, to finally producing and pushing the most profitable prescription drug in history, Oxy-Contin in the 1990’s, during President Bill Clinton’s ‘health care reform’ administration.”

        “The real, if not stated, consequence of their trade has been to cull the population rendered superfluous by elite economic and political decisions and to destroy the capacity of millions of their victims, family members, neighbors and friends to understand, organize, unify and fight back against the onslaught for their own class interests. Here is where we find a basis to approach a solution.

        There are historical precedents for the successful elimination of drug lords, both elite and criminal and for bringing addicts back to productive social life.

        We begin with the case of China : After a century of British-imposed opium addiction, the Chinese revolution of 1949 took charge in arresting, prosecuting and executing the war-lord opium “entrepreneurs”. Millions of addicts were rehabilitated and returned to their communities, joining the workforce to build a new society.

        Likewise, the 1959 Cuban revolution smashed the drug dens and brothels run by brutal Cuban gangster oligarchs and death squad-leaders, together with American mafia bosses, like Meyer Lansky. These thugs and parasites were forced to flee to Miami, Palermo and Tel Aviv.”

        bill clinton took a meat axe to america. his policies of free trade, deregulation, privatization, jim crow laws, slashing the social safetynet, and tax cuts for wealthy parasites has left america deep into debt, massive poverty and at constant war.

  7. Lexx

    ‘Where do viruses hide in the human body?’

    If I were an mrna virus hoping to make myself at home and replicate longterm in an unfriendly neighborhood, I’d hole up in the gut hiding in plain sight and change my demeanor (mutate) to fit in and avoid repeated attacks.

    In addition to gut motility disorders (too fast, too slow) that are little recognized and treated, there is ‘leaky gut syndrome’, that I’ve been aware was a thing for twenty years, but which the Cleveland Clinic still seems to be mulling over, for ‘lack of evidence’… or for the absence of a profitable pharmaceutical remedy. FFS.

    1. c_heale

      I did my work experience (a very long time ago) for my Chemistry degree at a Pharmaceutical company (one which is now part of Big Pharma and was shocked (at the time) to find they were only working on four areas – diabetes, and heart disease and another two – all of them long term chronic conditions with no apparent cure (at the time).

      I became completely cynical about Pharma companies overnight.

  8. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    The antidote reminded me of Ratty from The Wind in the Willows, who was actually a water vole & a little creature I missed when retracing a beautiful walk around a decade ago, from my childhood up the Wiltshire Avon. There were no plops to be heard which were once followed by the sight of a little head fronting a small wake, as it swam to the other bank. Lot’s of trout though, as the members of the officer’s mess at the end of the walk, must have their fly fishing.

    The good news is that through the efforts of trusts for endangered species, they have been making a comeback, so perhaps I will be able to experience that little plop again.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: railroads in Africa

    That stretch in Libya from Misratah to Sebha is just under the distance from Boston to DC.

  10. flora

    I posted this link late on WC. It’s pretty interesting, imo, so I’m reposting it. While everyone in media is reporting on the “substance” found in the WH, everyone is not reporting this NYPost story. odd. / ;)

    ‘Missing’ Biden corruption case witness Dr. Gal Luft details allegations against president’s family in extraordinary video

    (Have the spooks decided Joe has to go? First a “substance” of unknown source (found in the areas of the WH filled with security cameras) and now this. / ;)

    1. John Zelnicker

      A friend of mine said that they found fingerprints on the baggie.

      They belonged to Hillary. /;-)

      (My apologies to the moderators, I just couldn’t resist.)

    2. Rolf

      Thanks again, Flora. I transcribed the tail end of Luft’s explanation,

      And perhaps the biggest question of all, why am I being indicted for FARA, for ghost writing an innocuous article for which I received no payment, let alone from a foreign government, when the mother of all FARA cases, the Bidens’ systemic influence peddling on behalf of foreign governments, for which they raked millions, goes unpunished?

      This is in a nutshell, why I decided to act the way I did: because I do not have faith that I would receive a fair trial in a New York court. Let me tell you why. CEFC secretary-general, Dr. Patrick Ho [1], who paid Hunter Biden a million dollars for God knows what, was not allowed to mention the word “Biden” before the jury when he was tried in New York in 2018. The very same prosecutor who is now after me, Daniel Richenthal, told the judge at the time that mentioning the name “Biden” would, “add a political dimension to the case“. And the judge agreed. Which means that if I’m ever brought before a US court, I would not be allowed to utter the words “Brussels” or “Biden” … and the real context of my arrest, me being patient zero of the Biden family investigation, would be hidden from the jury. Let it sink in: I, who volunteered to inform the US government about potential security breach, and about compromising information about a man vying to be the next president, am now being hunted by the very same people whom I informed, and may have to live on the run for the rest of my life. I warned the government about potential risk to the integrity of the 2020 elections. If convicted by a US court, would never be able to vote again in a US election. Just think about it, and ask yourself, who’s the real criminal in this story?

      [1] Ho was convicted on seven counts of bribery and money laundering in NY Federal court, sentenced to three years imprisonment in 3/2019. Ho was deported to Hong Kong in 2020.

      1. Boomheist

        I find it interesting, and highly suggestive, how these possible or supposed whistleblowers and truth-tellers seem to emerge, one following another, as the previous truth teller and whistleblower rises or is announced but then either disappears, dies, or withdraws. Each of these people unfortunately (for the narrative) has a very compromised personal history. The whole cocaine baggie in the cubby story looks to me like it is Most Likely a PLANT, maybe even by the same sector in the Secret Service that supported Trump Jan 6th and then erased text messages, as that agency employs the only people, really, who could have done this quite easily, and the timing is itself highgly suggestive.

    3. Alex Cox

      Meanwhile, Tara Reade, the Senate aide who accused Biden of sexually assaulting her, has defected to Russia. She says she feared for her life if she remained in the US.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Dropping a Big Rock Down a Massive 600 Foot Deep Pit”

    I’m seeing a superb opportunity for a prank by inviting someone to drop a rock into that pit but unbeknownst to that person, there would be a remote-controlled speaker at the bottom that would start emitting very loud roars and growling noises.

    1. begob

      Thunderous drum beats. Then your magic sword begins to glow. “They’re coming!”

      1. ThirtyOne

        “Fool of a Took!” Gandalf growls at Pippin. “This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance. Now be quiet!”

  12. earthling

    Re: North Dakota universities consider it ‘very serious’ and ‘catastrophic’ that Minnesota will let the poorest students attend MN schools for free.

    “Probably half of our football team comes from Minnesota, so that’s kind of a big deal to us,” College of Science President Rod Flanigan said.

    Oh sure, it will affect enrollment of ‘regular’ students, but, that’s just an afterthought. Won’t somebody think of the football coaches?

    1. Geo

      Thanks for the link! While I’ve read much on Amazon seeing it all in one place like that makes it so much more insane. The worst stories about mafia shakedowns are child’s play compared to what Amazon does (“sellers are now giving 50% of their gross revenues to Amazon, an increase of 10% over the past five years across the whole EU.”).

      As someone who has never had an Amazon account (or Netflix for what it’s worth) I can pretend to be on my high horse but in reality it’s impossible to avoid supporting the company. From their massive server farms to their integration into government to the vast swath of websites they own without clear disclosure, they have their tentacles everywhere. That said, I do get annoyed when I see stacks of Amazon boxes piled up in the homes of my supposedly leftie friends. I think the only reason they don’t have the same pariah status that Walmart has is they hide their warehouses instead of making the giant box stores on the edge of town for all to see. Out of sight, out of mind. Or, maybe it’s because we don’t have Murphy Brown around anymore to do an episode trashing Amazon?

      1. cnchal

        Amazon’s annual churnover ratio is five times Walmart’s 30%. Whip cracking sadists are above going to Walmart and seem to believe ordering many small boxes at disparate times with a fleet of vehicles showing up at the door to deliver is moar ecologically sound than going to a store once and getting twenty items.

        Every time the whip cracks, it seems to me, enough energy to power a small block is used to deliver a bag of Oreos.

        How Amazon makes the sausage

        1. JBird4049

          Yes, out of sight means out of mind. Much like how the growing piles of the homeless are swept away to less indiscreet locales.

          One of the things that really got the movement for improved worker safety via laws, regulations, and even unions in the Twentieth Century was the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Because of the fire’s location, the local nabobs saw the people leaping to their deaths and/or the piles of bodies at the bottom of the building, which meant they saw, heard, and I guess smelled, the consequences of completely laissez-faire economics. The lack of resistance or even the active support by these influential people of the changes that finally happened was due to what they saw. It also pushed some politicians to enact the changes so that the socialists would not gain power. It also enraged enough workers that those in the Democratic Party became FDR’s shock troops twenty odd years later.

          However, the owners of the factory, despite having their business destroyed, having to successfully defend themselves in a criminal court, and as I recall to pay a pittance to the families after a long legal battle, made a profit from the fire due to their insurance. Ain’t capitalism the bomb?

          The building still exist and is located at 23-29 Washington Place in Greenwich Village. There are a number of books and documentaries on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire including TRIANGLE: THE FIRE THAT CHANGED AMERICA by David von Drehle.

  13. Lex

    De-dollarization: I get it, though I think Yves has explained it better than the link does. My issue with most of these arguments that are published is that they rely on an assumption that someone wants to have their currency become the new dollar. I just don’t see that. All the talk from BRICS is rarely about replacing the dollar one-for-one with a different currency but always about settlements in national currencies. Sometimes about making a BRICS currency, but that doesn’t ever seem like a currency like the dollar or yuan so much as a trade settlement system. (Maybe there’s no difference …)

    The big issue with many of these articles though is an assumption that the US is stable and things will continue on as they are now indefinitely because, we’ll just because. Nothing about the US looks stable right now and I would strongly assume that governments all over the “global south” agree with me. In that case the actions of BRICS loom more like preparations for reacting to US instability than a plan to unseat the dollar.

    1. GramSci

      Yeah, but I think there’s also a lot of deep-seated resentment of Anglo-Yankee arrogance — even an eagerness to ‘unseat the dollar’. However cool heads among the BRICs have also read Yves and Hudson. They do not want to be hasty about it and wind up in a mess like the Euro.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      I think there needs to be more discussion about a “third way” to de-dollarization (Lord, forgive me for using that term borrowed from the unctuous Tony Blair.)

      Instead of King Dollar being replaced by the Yuan, Bancor, SDR, or fill-in-the-blank alternative, it simply gets diminished. Perhaps still used for trade between the usual suspects, i.e. 5-eyes Anglo countries plus maybe Japan, while the rest of the world drops the dollar and moves on to some other ad-hoc arrangements.

      This solves the TINA problem; China doesn’t have to fall into the trap that the US did post WWII. Basically, there is no longer any global reserve currency, only local arrangements or maybe regional trade blocs.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        To expound a bit further, I read the piece from the UK in the links, and it’s more “TINA” circular reasoning.

        The dollar won’t go away as a global currency, because it can’t.

        Plus a dollop of anti-Russian propaganda – calling it a “pariah state” is a nice touch. Might want to consult with Xi, Erdogan, Modi, and Lula about that.

        They only represent, what, half the worlds’ population? Still talking with the “pariah” state, aren’t they?

        A simple thought experiment disproves the TINA nonsense. Imagine a virus hits the US and kills off all economists and those with knowledge of international trade. Plus all the Feds computers. No more dollars, and as a bonus, those already in circulation mysteriously disintegrate.

        Somehow, I think the rest of the world would adjust and find a solution. Just curling up and dying is probably not on the menu.

        1. marku52

          Yes, this. All the part of the emerging new multi polar world. That the US is being dragged into kicking and screaming.

          I did see it proposed that crypto currencies could be used to facilitate intergovernment transfers without having the risk of using the SWIFT system, or other US controlled processes. I have no idea if this is feasible or not.

        2. Susan the other

          The part about the dollar’s reserve status that is illogical to me is that it settles a small fraction of actual trade goods but an enormous bank of financial investments. It is probably true that it could take decades to settle all the financial contracts, maybe even wind them down and off the books, and in the meantime the world could come to its senses about (todays post) “collaborative partnerships” with the environment – because logic dictates that all value resides in healthy environments, and will also depend on extensive recycling and conservation. All of which is to say that the over-speculation in dollar investments will become worthless unless nature is protected and all future speculation as well. So with all that to chew on it does seem possible that not just the dollar but every currency will be in the same boat.

    3. jsn

      Two of three branches of the Federal government have active strategies for taking out the dollar:
      Executive: Sanctions
      Legislative: Debt Limit

      I’m sure the Supreme Court can come up with something too, but it will likely be a surprise!

      1. hunkerdown

        SCOTUS: By using the dollar you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Code of Conduct as amended daily

    4. c_heale

      I think one aspect of dedollarization that may not have been taken into account, is given the enormous quantity of sanctions that the US currently has, is that many countries may have no choice but to move away from the dollar if they want to buy essential goods from other countries.

  14. LawnDart

    The Brave New World of AI: a stark contrast between the Chinese approach and what’s been taking place here in the Wild West:

    China to create and implement national standard for large language models in move to regulate AI, while using its power to transform industries

    China has set up a new government body that will be responsible for implementing a national standard for large language models (LLMs) – representing the technology used to train artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT – as Beijing seeks to minimise potential disruption from this field, while harnessing its power to help transform traditional industries.

    CAC [Cyberspace Administration of China] director Zhuang Rongwen last month said at an event in eastern Shandong province that it was the government’s aim to “make sure AI is reliable and controllable”.

    1. hunkerdown

      The American PMC are in every way unfit to judge anything, and it’s better that they not regulate, because they will do so in their class interest. No regulation is better than Wilsonians gaining more power in society.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Janet Yellen says security should not derail US-China economic relations”

    After being burned by Blinken and Biden recently, the Chinese have not exactly thrown out the red carpet for Yellen and are seeing what she has to offer – if anything. She was the person that attempted that crazy idea of trying to form an oil buyer’s cartel to buy Russian oil on the cheap – which then everybody proceeded to ignore. So the Chinese had their daytime meeting with her but instead of a formal dinner or even a working dinner, they let her spin her wheels so she had to go to a restaurant to grab a meal. Reports are they she loved the mushroom dishes that they prepared but there was not a Chinese official in sight.

    1. Geo

      “there was not a Chinese official in sight.”

      To be fair, it does’t sound like there was an American official in sight either unless a board member of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan was there too. :)

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Reminds me of a friends’ story about a job interview that did not go particularly well.

      Instead of taking him out for the obligatory lunch at a restaurant, they had him buy a sandwich from a vending machine in the lobby.

      Sounds like a similar diss!

    1. britzklieg

      Well, since it’s well established that a lot of links “show” a lot of things that are patently false, you and I get to believe what we will!

      Consider the source?

    2. vao

      The initiators of the referred to the “Ukraine support tracker” at the Kiel IfW have an accompanying paper describing the methodology, the sources, and the results.

      Some interesting points. As to the methodology:

      “We generally focus on commitments instead of actual deliveries […] For military aid, we try to keep track of deliveries, which works best for heavy weapons. A main challenge for military aid delivery is that the US, as the largest military donor, is not providing sufficient data, making an international comparison difficult.” p5.

      The Kiel IfW analysed the differences, resulting in the following estimate:

      “As of January 15, 2023, a mere 48% of the committed foreign budgetary support had been disbursed (€30.99 out of €64.16 billion total commitments). The gap is most pronounced for the two main financial donors – the US and the EU.” p33.

      As to the sources:

      “We generally evaluate and rank the sources by their reliability, taking governmental press releases and government websites as the most reliable source, followed by governments’ statements on social media and, third, news articles reported in renowned international media outlets.


      Furthermore, we cross-check our entries on military donations with data collected by online sources such The Forum on the Arms Trade and Oryx. These sources are useful for double checking and processing, but are not used as a main source, as they are often based on photographic evidence from the battlefield rather than official or government sources. To supplement the government sources and gather additional details, we also conduct systematic media searches using Google News and Factiva.” p6.

      It is to be noted that some observers, especially the pro-Russia leaning ArmchairW on twitter, have heavily disputed the figures given by Oryx as marred by numerous double- and multiple-countings, resulting in unrealistic figures for material losses on the battlefield. Oryx is thus not, contrarily to what Bloomberg asserts, “widely considered to be conservative”.

      As to the results:

      “The resulting Figure 15 shows that the newly committed heavy weapons amount to less than half of Ukraine’s pre-war stocks and only a fraction of Russia’s pre-war stocks.” p38.

      They also have a press release summarizing the updates from 2023-01-24 to 2023-07-06:

      “Despite some larger support packages, the total amount of new bilateral support commitments to Ukraine by other countries has been low in spring 2023 compared to previous periods. Most of the new pledges were military aid. However, despite the Ukrainian offensive, new pledges are not as large as at the beginning of the year, and military equipment deliveries are well below commitments.


      In general, only slightly more than half of the heavy weapons committed have been delivered. Especially Western partners like the U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom, were fast to increase their committed sums, but deliveries remain well below promises.”

      I do not know how Bloomberg arrived at its chart “Balance of arms”, especially since it notes that “Current figure is an estimate based on confirmed lost and captured equipment, plus weapons sent to Ukraine. No data available for new Russian production.”


      1) Bloomberg refers to the incredible declaration by UK Chief of the Defense Staff Tony Radakin that Russia has lost half of its equipment and combat effectiveness;
      2) given the disproportion between the initial stocks of heavy weapons between Ukraine and Russia;
      3) and taking into account the overall limited deliveries by Western countries,

      I view the idea that “Ukraine Has Caught Up With Russia’s Tank Numbers, Data Signal” as a victory of hope over facts.

    3. hunkerdown

      This is the new popular way that disinformation is injected into dissident communities: “I have this mainstream narrative and this Western mainstream source which I am presenting as if it were legitimate debate; any thoughts?”

      1. Mr. Woo

        If you mean me, then no.
        I’m just trying to stay open minded and needed a critical perspective from this community on evaluating information because I don’t have the knowledge to evaluate it myself.

        Either that….or I’m a Fed!!! Dun dun duuuun

    4. Random

      We know that the US got around 500k shells for the offensive from South Korea and some unknown amounts from around the world.
      Production has also increased somewhat but it’s far from what the daily needs are.
      We’ll know if this lasts more than a couple months, but I don’t think there’s any real prospect for long term parity.

    5. Polar Socialist

      Even rudimentary statistics tell us that before the war Russia had more artillery pieces in active service than Ukraine + NATO put together. Counting stored artillery Russia likely had twice the numbers.

      Since the war started, Russia has tripled it’s weapon production and 7-folded it’s ammunition production. The West has plans to produce some more by the end of 2024.

      Knowing that, do you think it’s in any way plausible that Ukraine would be reaching parity?

  16. Lex

    Germany will not be an arsenal of democracy. In the first place high energy costs will be prohibitive as will access to raw materials. In the second Germany suffers from the same neo-liberal issues as the US when it comes to this, including lack of skilled workers and a financialized economy.

    Germany has declared it will be a leader in producing 1M – maybe even 2M – artillery shells per year across Europe. The high end of that would supply <6,000 shells/day for a high intensity conflict. That is, far far far too few.

    If the US or Germany were serious about this, the news would be covering commissioning of new factories or at least improvement/expansion of current facilities. It’s been a year of obvious need and the only thing being done is talking about contracts to produce more equipment and munitions. Meanwhile all the western areas arsenals are being scraped to the bone to keep Ukraine on a starvation diet. Which means that all the plans to rearm will first require overcoming a huge deficit and only then be able to actually rearm to levels that would be required by a direct, great power high intensity conflict.

  17. KLG

    Comment test

    So many links, so many targets. First and last…

    Deer can see us move no matter what we wear in the woods (no surprise to anyone who walks in the woods in these parts) but cannot see a moving car. Evolution has some work to do. I have hit two large bucks in the past three years, one before daylight and one after dark. They are very good at appearing out of nowhere. Luckily, for me, they bounced off each car instead of coming through the windshield. Terminal damage to each animal, alas, with one car totaled (my favorite MINI) and one with $20K damage, including “lost value.” About $30K overall. The reintroduction of white tail deer in the American South IIRC in the 1930s was a bad idea in the absence of natural predators other than human hunters and automobiles.

    Life will find a way. Yes, it will, even if the quote comes from the late Michael Crichton, MD, through Jeff Goldblum. Jurrasic Park was a good read, and so was The Da Vinci Code, when you are in the mood. But a few comments on the underlying paper and the link…The Open Access paper is here. Very good. Relatively short and to the point. But bacterial evolution is well understood. That this occurs in this “minimal cell” in culture is not at all unexpected. The authors refer to their Mycoplasma as “synthetic,” not artificial, as in the link (the latter word does not appear in the paper as far as I can tell). I would say “semi-synthetic” but YMMV. This organism was created by putting the synthetic minimal chromosome of one species into the functional but empty shell of a very closely related species. Replication of the “novel” cell was true to the information in the synthetic chromosome, not that specified by the original chromosome of the empty shell. The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology is true. A technical tour de force and probably useful, as shown in this most recent paper from a very good research group. But not “artificial life.”

    The link comes from a website I had not encountered, This is clearly a ploy to confuse readers. The original web address of Science (AAAS) was I tested this by showing that “” goes directly to In any case, the Mycoplasma here is not “artificial life” in any way, shape, or form. Until someone figures out how to violate “Omnis cellula-e cellula” (Rudolf Virchow (?): All cells come from cells) there will be no artificial life. Some are trying, but 3 billion years of evolution from our universal common ancestor is a very high hurdle, one we should not try to clear or go around because life does find a way and doesn’t care what our intentions are.

    Now, back to work. Happy Friday!

  18. GramSci

    Re: CIA Blindspot

    «Newsweek has examined in depth the scale and scope of the CIA’s activities in Ukraine`…»

    I found that hard to believe, so I read to the end of the paragraph …

    «After repeated requests for an on-the-record comment, the CIA declined. Neither the Ukrainian nor Russian governments responded to requests for comment.»

    Another win for ChatGPT.

    1. hunkerdown

      Is that the new PMC disclaimer of responsibility? Everything bad is ChatGPT and everything good is competitive capitalism?

      1. GramSci

        I think ChatGPT is the very soul of competitive capitalism, the sizzle in salesmanship: the ability to produce profit without product. Wealth and wisdom ex nihilo.

        1. hunkerdown

          That’s feeling, not thinking. Not all insipid glossolalia is LLM. Some of it is just lazy editing (or no editing). The PMC is crying about their “own” self-importance being reduced to a few billion numbers, easily rehearsable, reproducible, and able to be realigned away from Holy Liberal PMC Values by any kid with a gaming rig. Let them all be unemployed and unable to command service. They deserve much worse, after their crimes so far. The tendentious relabeling of their feeling as “thinking” is one of those crimes, btw; please don’t partake.

          1. LifelongLib

            In our current setup, a carpenter is “working class” while a mathematician is a “professional”, but that’s just an arrangement. Any society under the sun is going to need carpentry and mathematics, provided by specialists probably not much different from those who provide them now. You let your dislike of the current arrangements blind you to larger realities.

    2. pjay

      Arkin is very well-connected with the intelligence community. He is also one of the better mainstream writers on the subject. His Newsweek articles have been one of the very few mainstream sources to provide somewhat realistic appraisals of the Ukraine conflict, albeit with the usual pro-Western caveats. I tend to see him as a source for the more “realist” or “pragmatic” elements in the intelligence community, a bit like Hersh has been. But I’ll be damned if I know what message this article was supposed to convey. It was so contradictory that I laughed out loud.

      Clearly the article was intended to promote the idea that the “adults in the room” are working to prevent a direct confrontation with Russia. But who are these “adults”? Why, we are told, its the *CIA and the Biden administration*! So, who is in charge of the Ukraine operation? Why, as the article makes crystal clear, it’s the *CIA and the Biden administration*! The article goes on and on about the CIA being in charge, about many of its activities, about the role of the regular military being restricted, about regular back-channel contacts with the Russians, etc. So what’s the problem? Well, apparently, for all their resources and control, the CIA can’t penetrate the “minds” of Putin or Zelinsky. And apparently they can’t control the “rogue” elements – whether Zelinsky or others – who are breaking the “unwritten rules” by blowing stuff up like the Kerch bridge, Nord Stream, or Russian civilians.

      So as usual, the CIA, despite their *central* role as noted in the article, are just innocent bystanders. They’re just trying to do their job responsibly, which – based on the article itself – is *maximizing Ukraine’s war effort without starting WWIII*. Who knew that things could get out of control like these? Gosh!

      Someone is apparently trying to cut their losses and find scapegoats. But if the “CIA” and the “Biden administration” are so worried about such “blind spots” and risks, then who is keeping this thing going?

  19. Geo

    “The smaller power waging a war of attrition against the larger power makes no sense.”

    There may be differences I’m missing and/or not aware of but isn’t this exactly what Afghanistan did to both the US and USSR, as well as Iraq and Vietnam with the US?

    1. LawnDart

      It doesn’t make sense unless Ukraine all but disengages, removes itself from head-to-head conventional warfare in favor of insurgency or guerilla warfare. And to do this, they would need to cede territorial gains to Russia– bad, bad optics.

      Guerilla warfare is also poor-mans type of warring, hit-and-run, light and fast, and done with minimal equipment– no fighter-jets or tanks and the like– so little in the way of profits to be made or generated by the MIC, nothing like the bucks they’re rolling in now.

      But the phrase “a war of attrition” does diminish public expectation of immediate gratification or big successes and helps to condition viewers for “the long-haul,” or more time to milk the cow.

    2. vao

      as well as Iraq and Vietnam with the US?

      Vietnam was a mixed bag: it was guerrilla in the South with the Viet Cong, and fairly conventional warfare in the North, with Vietnam People’s Army. Totally in line with Mao’s strategy for revolutionary war prescribing an evolution from guerrilla movements to a conventional military with all the necessary firepower.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it was guerrilla in the South with the Viet Cong, and fairly conventional warfare in the North, with Vietnam People’s Army.

        I’m dubious. My recollection is that the NVA, at the end of the war, came South, tanks and all. I also think Mao would be the first to say that his work was by no means a simplistic cookbook.

        1. vao

          Hem, yes, but wasn’t it after the troops from the USA had absconded? By then the Viet Cong had been largely destroyed, but before that, the Americans faced the VPA (the NVA is the Nationale Volksarmee, GDR’s military) in the North — or during its incursions, like with the Tet offensive. In the South, they had to deal with the Viet Cong guerrilla. And this is the phase that Geo referred to in his comment.

          As for Mao: agree, but I do not see a contradiction with what I stated. Anyway, North Vietnam already had the experience with such an evolution, starting with guerrillas in WWII, then from about 1950 fielding an army organized in divisions with artillery regiments that defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu and finally at Mang Yang.

          1. LifelongLib

            I don’t know if any historians take this seriously, but there’s an idea (IIRC it was in a movie) that the Tet Offensive was mainly a plot by North Vietnam to destroy the Viet Cong, who they thought was too much of an independent actor. Supposedly any damage done to the South Vietnamese or Americans was just gravy. Like I say, I don’t know if this was some scriptwriter’s notion, a conspiracy theory, or an idea worth considering.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Zelenskyy: Ukraine needs weapons on time for success in counteroffensive”

    As the article mentions, he won’t be getting them from Bulgaria. They told him that they were tapped out and that more weapons weren’t going to provide a solution anyway but that wasn’t good enough for him. He could have played it smart and asked for things like blood plasma, medical gear, ambulances, support for refugees, etc. but not Zelensky. In public he proceed to tear strips off the Bulgarian host saying-

    “God forbid, some tragedy should befall you and you should be in my place,” he added. “And if people with shared values do not help, what will you do? You would say: Putin, please grab Bulgarian territory?”

    “I also want to tell you, whatever your army has in terms of munitions, it will not be enough to fight with the Russian Federation. You don’t have a bad army, your people are good but it would not be enough to fight against 160 million people. That is why it is good to give the people to defend themselves, so that the war does not come to you, to the Poles, to the Romanians – war knows no distance, I can tell you.

    “You cannot support Russia and support a balancing position because Russia wants to destroy NATO, wants to destroy Europe and the European Union; these are their goals. Do you get me?” Zelensky told Radev.

    According to Politico’s description of the incident, Zelensky “savaged” Radev and “opened up with both barrels” to “maul” the Bulgarian president, delivering his words “with measured scorn” and “barbed irony” as Radev “took refuge” in the sheet of paper in his hands. The Bulgarian president eventually asked the cameras to leave the room.’

    Zelensky has all the charm of a third wheel on a hot date. And Zelensky has his own ideas about how to negotiate for gear as he explains here- (37 secs)

    1. OIFVet

      “As the article mentions, he won’t be getting them from Bulgaria. They told him that they were tapped out…”

      Wrong, Ukraine will be getting what’s in Bulgaria’s strategic reserves and Bulgaria will also amp up production as part of the €500 million EU effort to produce artillery munitions. Radev is the president but as a parliamentary republic Bulgaria is ruled by the Prime Minister and the parliament. The barely month-old government is the result of EU pressure to break an electoral deadlock and install an “Euroatlantic government” after a series of Radev-appointed caretaker cabinets due to the inability to form majority coalitions which could form a regular cabinet. This pressure was applied in order to shore up NATO’s southern flank and to open up the flow of BG arms to full capacity. The EU (and the US) did this by backroom deals and threats to former PM Boyko Borissov, a corrupt figure in danger of finding himself on the Magnitsky list. This Wednesday and Thursday the parliament voted a slew of measures related to Ukraine, including opening up the strategic reserves and ramping up arms production, as well as selling brand-new Rosatom-made nuclear reactors to Ukraine.

      So, Ukraine will be getting artillery shells and possibly BG’s S-300 systems. Public support for all this is, shall we say, iffy at best and society is very polarized on the issue of BG support for UK. Zelensky’s visit was meant to be a show of “Euroatlantic” support for the government, to convey that Bulgaria is now firmly in the “civilized” camp, and to embarrass Radev by showing that the power in Bulgaria is now firmly in the hands of the US/NATO lackeys. It was successful in that as well.

      The problem is that medium and long-term, all this back dealing will backfire spectacularly. Plenty of people were peeved by the show yesterday and felt Bulgaria was humiliated by the servility shown by the ruling coalition toward the clown from Kiev. The far right has been on the rise here and it is very hostile to the EU and the US. Typical shortsighted US and Euro hubris.

  21. Jason Boxman

    We got another one, from a company I’m familiar with:

    After almost two weeks of sore throat, coughing, sneezing, etc., I’ve now got an ear infection. I’m logging off for the day. See you tomorrow. (edited)

    To be honest, I find this scarier than hearing about people getting COVID, which I rarely do. Few people ever admitted it, but people seem to readily admit to having sickness that just won’t go away. And I’m seeing more than I’ve seen in three years at this familiar company.

    1. britzklieg

      Love means never having to say it’s COVID.

      2 of my best friends, fully and enthusiastically vaxxed, lost their smell and taste a couple of weeks ago and one of them was quite ill with breathing difficulties. The home tests were positive but the doctor decided they were false positives and called it “parainfluenza 3” nothing to worry about, no more than a “common cold.”

      2 weeks later they are feeling a bit better…

      1. Roger Blakely

        This is utter insanity. A doctor decides that the result of a rapid antigen test is a false positive when the patient has classic symptoms of COVID-19? That is where we are today.

        If you have some weird health issue, it’s COVID.

        We will see much sickness this week. We had record travel volume for this Fourth of July holiday. Variants got distributed.

        Someone could be used to the XBB.1.9 variant in their community. But when XBB.1.9.1 arrives at the airport from somewhere else, people will get sick. They might not test positive on a rapid antigen test, but they will get sick.

        1. Boomheist

          I might get vilified for this, but back when the vaxxes first appeared there were three, J&J which was a “traditional vax” and then Moderna and Pfizer, “new” vaxes (whatever that means) and my wife and I chose J&J because it seemed more traditional and thus less “new” and untested. Whether that was and is the case I have no idea, but I had had real reservations about the vaxes. I am not an anti vaxxer at all, have all the childhood ones but am old so got measles mumps and chicken pox in the 1950s, and was vaccinated for many things when I went to sea in the merchant marine in 2012 as a geezer. Anyway we took the J&J because it did NOT promise we would never get Covid, what it seemed to show was, back then, that if you did get Covid your chances of hospitalization and death were lowest with the J&J. That was the point as we understood it, back then. Then we took the boosters, not J&J because J&J was the least taken and I think eventually withdrawn, and I ended up with Covid 6 weeks ago, one day fever, cough, possible pneumonia, but generally for 2 weeks great fatigue and sleep, testing positive, but then negative and negatioe since, and feel fine now. Wife has not yet gotten it. I don’t know the science behind all these hysterical reports about all these vaccine deaths or long term Covid, all I know is when we took the vax it was not to avoid Covid but to minimize the impacts, if we could, it is seemed to work, and has seemed to work for most people we know. But we are generally healthy, and don[t have the comorbidities except for our age. It would be interesting to see data cross linking, somehow, comorbidities and vaccines and Covid results. I would bet that all Covid deaths from those who were vaccinated were people with at least two comorbidities. All of which to say, maybe for those of us lucky enough to be healthy at our age, had we not been vaxxed, we might well have survived anyway, though we would have been sicker, whereas anyone with comorbidities – breathing problems, obesity, other diseases etc – who did not get vaxxed likely would have died, and very likely, even if vaxxed, were more likely to die if they caught Covid. Is this the case? I find it interesting there are no simple charts or data analyses clearly showing these relationships, but maybe someone wlse can find such reports.

            1. Boomheist

              Thanks this is helpful but in a way does not in any way answer my question. You have 10 million doses to 4 million people and among them 43000 report adverse reactions, but only to 13000 people. So this either shows a 1 percent (roughly) adverse reaction based on number of reactions or about a 1/3 percent based on number of people. If you look at other vaccinesm they report adverse reactions commonly in the 10 to 40 percent range!!! But these are, sore arm, short term impacts, etc.

              The key question is what adverse reactions to the Covid vaccines are SERIOUS, ie long term impacts or death, and this data I cannot find, nor can I find a chart that lists all vaccines and then lists average long term and death impacts per, say, 100,000 people so we can really compare the Covid vaccine to others.

              My guess, here – and this is a GUESS – is that the overall adverse impacts that are serious may not be very different than other accepted vaccines. But the critical element lies with use of the vaccine, people with comorbidities, and impacts on them as compared to not being vaccinated and impacts on them then…..

              For THAT we need another chart, showing vaccinated and unvaccinated categories, then comorbidities, then death rates. Maybe this will show that it is the vaccine that kills people as many are now arguing. I doubt it. Maybe it shows that vaccinated people died at a rate much lower than unvaccinated for all categories, but for those with comorbidities, the difference in smaller.

              I would like to see such a chart. Surely there is one, somewhere….

              1. Yves Smith

                How many people need a D&C from a vaccine? Or a year of care for a liver disorder out of a tertiary hospital? Or lose the use of a deltoid? Or lose their periods permanently? And how about the strokes? I could go on….

                These are not normal vaccine side effects.

                IM Doc has said most of his efforts to report vaccine injuries were rejected by VAERS. There’s tremendous underreporting.

                1. Boomheist

                  Where are the studies? I have long enjoyed NC’s coverage of Covid and vaccines, and would hope that these vaccine side effects you mention are now being surfaced in studies instead of anecdotal reports. I understand that we are only 3+ years into this, hardly enough time to really get a fix on long term problems, and it seems this long Covid thing is real, but what does the data say? Surely there must be data emerging. Show me the studies. Similarly, hasn’t someone by now prepared a mega chart showing vaxxed and unvaxxed Covid impacts and death by age group and comorbidities? I am sure such a chart has been assembled, but I cannot find one, surely a statement on my limited browsing and research skills, but I would think, given all the hysteria and screaming, someone would have done a mega-look at all the data. Based on your comment above, that data would show a rising spike of post vax impacts even if there is under reporting. Not disagreeing with you or IM Doc, but surely there must be evidence emerging….

                  1. Yves Smith

                    Did you miss that the data is not there? IM Doc has as good data as anyone by exhaustive chronicling of patient data. IM Doc has at least three patient deaths from the vaccines (these are ones I recall vividly from his reports to the Covid Brain Trust) and other severe injuries that VAERS rejected. His injury was not reported by the tertiary hospital that treated him. My D&C for virtually non-stop bleeding was not reported. My mother’s aide got severe vasticulitis which the ER recognized as a vaccine injury and was not reported.

                    This is one of quite a few vivid reports from IM Doc, from early 2021:

                    He and his wife have been completely holed up in their 20 acre house. They have not seen another human being for weeks. He works in his gigantic library – and all groceries and mail and everything are picked up and delivered by their valet. They have had no possibility of COVID exposure for weeks. They were out and about in OCT and NOV.

                    He received his first COVID shot on MON. It was delivered to his house by a nurse they had hired. The nurse was in CPAR PPE at their demands. The wife and he were both vaccinated. He reported to me he immediately felt like sparkles over his whole body. Went to bed within the hour. Wife found him about 4 hours later panting and so SOB he was unable to talk. Was brought to the ER – found to be COVID POSITIVE – and already had pulse ox of 85. The CT chest and angiogram already had marked changes of COVID pneumonia. No sign of PE. He has completely decompensated this whole week. Continuous despite best efforts to get his oxygen up – to no avail. Because of the concern about clotting, on arrival – he was started on full IV anti-coag with Heparin. He has so decompensated that by last night – another CT occurred – and he has a gigantic pulmonary embolus. I WANT TO MAKE THIS CLEAR – this is THE SINGLE AND FIRST TIME ANYTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED IN MY CAREER. I HAVE NOT ONE TIME EVER IN THE ABSENCE OF SURGERY OR TRAUMA HAD ANY PATIENT IN 30 YEARS ON FULL ANTI-COAGULATION DEVELOP A PE IN THE HOSPITAL ( A negative test on day one and then grossly positive test after 24 – 48 hours of IV heparin ) – NOT ONCE. It can happen – but this is very unusual.

                    This was the Moderna vaccine. I am continuing to constantly hear that these are completely safe – and that the blood clots are only with the AZ. Unless I am just living on the Island of Misfit Toys with bad luck – I call bullshit on that. This is just happening way too often.

                    Have you not heard of garbage in, garbage out? You can’t do analysis when the data is bad.

                    And in medicine-land, most data is poor to non-existent to begin with. Tell me where good patient data resides, anywhere, with pretty complete histories of issues, diagnoses, and treatments. In the US, the only place you might find it is the VA. And the VA is not in the business of cataloguing vaccine injuries.

                    1. Boomheist

                      Thanks for the complete response. Arguing that there is no data except for anecdotal reports from those you respect sort of leads to a statement that vaccines are killing many but, no, we have no data and, further, nobody anywhere is trying to suss out what is really happening from the vast amounts of data we do have, which, to me, seems a bit odd given the enormous stakes at play here….are you arguing then that the excess deaths, which have been charted, are a result of vaccines, not unreported Covid? I am not trying to be picky, but an argument that says that vaccines are poison, this is well known, but there is no data available because medical data does not exist (or this is a plot) seem uncomfortably close to several other arguments often labelled as conspiracy theories. However, considering the source – yourself – and my respect for your site, and all the great work done over the years reporting on Covid, quite possibly you are correct. But I would urge you, or Lambert, or IM Doc, to sift the data we do have for further confirmation….

          1. marku52

            Strangely, data like this would completely shut down covid vaccine hesitancy–data that showed clearly that for people in your age group with your health conditions, vaccination clearly showed a benefit.

            Yet no health agency is doing this. I think i know why.

            And yes, that immune imprinting is part of the problem

          2. kareninca

            From what I have observed in people I know, which of course is purely a bunch of anecdotes, elderly people didn’t have any problem with the mRNA shots. It was young, healthy people who had horrible experiences. I assumed that it was because their more vigorous immune systems were triggered in a way that the weak immune systems of elderly people weren’t. Similarly, in my observation, obese people didn’t have a problem, either, but slim people did (holding age as a constant). Obese people also have compromised immune systems, and I figured that that helped them avoid an excess response. But this is speculation on my part.

            I’m talking about short term problems with the mRNA shots, rather than long term.

  22. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Here’s an interesting find:

    Discovery: Evidence of human occupancy in Oregon 18,000 years ago

    From the article:

    “Oregon archaeologists have found evidence suggesting humans occupied the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter outside of Riley, Oregon more than 18,000 years ago.

    “University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History Archaeological Field School, led by archaeologist Patrick O’Grady, has been excavating at the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter.

    “Excavation has been occurring since 2011 under an official partnership agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. Discoveries at the site have included stone tools and extinct-mammal tooth fragments from the Pleistocene era. The pieces of tooth enamel are identified as bison (Bison sp.) and camel (Camelops sp.).”

    1. Boomheist

      You do understand, of course, that anyone who claims to have found evidence of humans living in the Americas more than 15,000 years ago must meet a standard of proof that is increasingly difficult to meet. It used to be, say until the early 2000s, that the cut-off time was 13,000 years ago, any time before Cloivis arrival, but now that date has changed such that most people grudgingly agree there MAY be evidence of humans in the Americas up to 20,000, maybe even 23,000 years (footprints evidence, a site in the Yukon, etc). but we still live within the world view and paradigm, fiercely defended by all those who made their careers defending such a paradigm, resisting any breakthrough view that maybe humans reached the Americas long long ago. This view will persist unless and until a site is found with unmistakable evidence – bones, dated layers, etc – of humans who wandered the shore during and before the last ice age, when the sea level was hundreds of feet lower than today, and thus leaving sites now buried deep in the ocean. And even then such a site will be will be vilified.

      Don;t ever forget people were burned at the stake for suggesting the earth was not flat almost 500 years ago. There are still people who believe the earth is flat.

      We know so little….

      1. Darthbobber

        Wasn’t this addressed by some golden tablets that Joseph Smith found at his farm?

  23. Hubert Horan

    The “Check how many Railways China has built in Africa” map is grossly misleading.
    The map includes a couple lines where China actually financed the construction of a new railway (e.g. standard gauge lines from Addis to Djibouti and Nairobi to Mombasa, replacing old narrow gauge lines), Almost everything else on the map shows pre-existing lines. In a few cases China financed upgrades of stretches so that trains could operate at modest (instead of glacially slow) speeds. Many seem to be cases where there has been diplomatic discussions of possible aid, but no material improvements have actually been achieved.
    Major portions of he Tazara Railway (southwest from Dar es Salam into Zambia was built by the Chinese, but this was under Mao, and has nothing to do with Belt and Road era projects.
    Remember that while Belt and Road railway projects are usually described as massive Chinese investment into much less developed countries, the primary purpose was to provide financial support for Chinese companies. After the boom of high-speed line construction, China had developed a huge railway construction industry that no longer had much useful work to do. Belt and Road projects in places like Africa funneled a lot of cash to these companies. While some isolated projects made sense, most were complete boondoggles that not only provided absolutely no transportation value to these countries, but saddled them with ongoing operating and debt repayment burdens they could not afford. Vaguely analagous to US aid to the third world in past decades where the vast majority of the headline aid dollars went right back to American companies (often military contractors) while providing little sustainable value to the locals

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, Chinese railway investment in Africa is a very mixed bag.

      The worst thing though is the pattern. There is plenty of research on the impact of railways on development and in many cases ‘resource to port’ single links actually do more harm than good – examples being Argentina and 19th Century Ireland. They create a raw resource economy but the reverse flows can ensure local industries are overwhelmed with cheaper imports. This effect has actually been seen in poorer parts of China.

      There is a case in some parts of Africa for single lines to allow the exploitation of some reserves, but for the most part what Africa needs is better internal infrastructure linkages. In other words, railways linking the existing productive urban areas within Africa together, both within countries and trans-continental. This is what promotes productivity gains and will allow for genuine economic development within the continent. Allowing cheap resource extraction only benefits local elites and foreign capital.

  24. mrsyk

    With apologies to the moderation team.
    Re: Ukraine, came across this Feb 1 article published on The Postil Magazine while skimming through the comments on MoA last night. The subject is a paper published in 1993 by Barry R. Posen on the defense of Ukraine, and the eyebrow raising accuracy of most of the analysis. The obscure relationships between the MIC, “think tanks” (read rich people influencing policy), and certain elements from within academia is outside my wheelhouse, but perhaps someone else here will be able to piece together some valuable insights.
    1993: The Barry R. Posen Plan for War on Russia via Zombie State Ukraine

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      seems we really are the evil empire i have assumed we were since right about the time that was written.
      good find.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Thanks for posting, I would otherwise never have read this document (the original is embedded in the article). In a word: “wow”. Posen is even more prescient than Mearsheimer, though in a negative way: Mearsheimer is (for good reason) worried about what’s going on, whereas Posen’s enthusiasm for all this carnage radiates through much like that of Dr. Strangelove. But Kubrick’s Strangelove was fake, and Posen is real, as is Ukraine. Very very real. Sigh. “Jesus wept.”

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Its a pity Graham Greene’s The Quiet American is not required reading in all foreign policy schools. Half a century on there are still Aiden Pyle characters around doing irreparable damage around the world.

  25. Carla

    Re: how Amazon transformed the EU —

    Capitalism has always been a legal form of theft, and Amazon just happens to play the game better than anyone else.

    As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I swore off Amazon way back when I considered it to be primarily an online bookseller. That’s when I discovered and resolved to patronize either BWB or our local, independent bookstores. For those lacking a good local, independent source for books, BWB is a particularly good find.

  26. juno mas

    RE: De-Dollarization

    The dollar is not backed by gold, but Trust. Trust in a system that uses “sanctions” politically, not legally, is gone. As foreign nations access to the deep liquidity markets in the US can be breached extra-legally at will, now: Trust is gone. A multi-polar financial system allows nations to trade outside the US with others who can back the exchange with needed commodities instead of “Trust”. What’s not to like?

  27. gimmiemymoney

    Rare Irish Orchid

    Nature is persistent and patient. Here in leafy southern New England the Chestnut blight decimated American Chestnut trees, yet their roots still send up shoots that grow until they get 10-15 feet high, then they die back. Then they repeat the cycle. This has been going on for 100 year now.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The irony is that this orchid was almost certainly imported in a packet of wild flower mix, and the Irish government wildlife authorities are now trying to restrict the use of these seeds as they are interfering with natural local regeneration processes.

    1. GramSci

      Russell and Tucker get heavy into “small, decentralized government”. It seems neither of them are old enough to remember or read about Bull Connor and the small, decentralized government of the “states’ rights” era.

      Small states can be brutal and fascistic. Think Somalia, LIthuania, Lativia, Estonia, Switzerland, Luxembourg. OK, I’m being a little provocative there, but there is an argument to be made for federalism. The hard questions are about how to limit oligarchy, but Russell and Tucker never seem to quite get down to the real issues. I’m glad they’re talking, but I’m unsure as to their ends.

    1. Glen

      Thanks flora!

      Recommended listening! Turns out the twitter files were very important after all. (Duh…)

    1. Polar Socialist

      Oh, but the controversy is not about killing kids (nobody has the right to protect Donbass kids), its’ about the bill S.897 that forbids US to export cluster munitions.

  28. willow

    Coincidence how Zaporozhye ‘sabotage’ risk abated and US okaying the supply of cluster bombs – did Ukraine blackmail the Biden administration?

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