Links 8/2/2023

Church of Reality: Barbara McClintock on Scientific Mysticism and Plant Consciousness Superb Owl. From 2022.

We’re now finding out the damaging results of the mandated return to the office–and it’s worse than we thought Fortune

Asking Rents Negative Year-over-year Calculated Risk

As some consumer tailwinds fade, new ones emerge Sam Ro, TKer


‘We have fire all around us and we can’t get out’ High Country News

Just Put It Out Wildfire Today. Review of Running Out of Time.

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Longhorns Long Gone (And Returned) JSTOR Daily

Amazon dark earth boosts tree growth as much as sixfold (press release)  Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)


One Step Forward, 2 Back: CDC’s Proposals for Infection Control in Health Care Facilities Kevin Kavanagh and Jane Thomason, Infection Control Today. CDC in this case = HICPAC (Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee). I cite to Kavanaugh on HICPAC here, and Kavanaugh’s assault on ‘HICPAC in this article is in fact more brutal than my own, here. This article shows what we’re up against; it’s a must-read.

COVID Can Do Bad Things to Your Brain Mike the Mad Biologist. From 2022, linked at NC (“Yikes“):

I can’t help but think that some of the odd behavior people are observing, as well as things like increased car accidents, isn’t just due to the social stresses of the pandemic, but to actual cognitive problems.

 So I’m not the only one thinking this way; see last week’s “The Latest on Covid, Cognitive Impairment, and Social Cognition (‘Theory of Mind’) for a parallel, based on different studies.

Long Covid: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) NHS Blood and Transplant. “If you have ongoing symptoms you will be unable to donate” [bangs head on desk]. “Just the flu” [chants] “just the flu!”

CDC issues leprosy warning for people making Florida travel plans Press Herald


China unveils controversial employment plan, offers to send 300,000 jobless youth to villages to find work WION

China’s Tech Distress Grows as U.S. Chip Sanctions Bite WSJ

Nanaia Mahuta shuts door on NZ joining AUKUS after United States’ Antony Blinken says it’s ‘very much open’ NewsHUb


Sunset in Golden Valley: The rise and fall of Yangon’s high-end rental market Frontier Myanmar

Is Myanmar junta’s partial pardoning of Aung San Suu Kyi a ‘cynical ploy’ for goodwill? South China Morning Post. Throwing a flag on the Betteridge’s Law violation, here.


India’s top court aghast at ethnic violence, ‘breakdown of law’ in Manipur Anadolu Agency


Who is hustling who? Africa is a Country

European Disunion


UGS: Greece Maintains Its Status as Leading Shipowning Nation Hellenic Shipping News

South of the Border

Mexico willing to participate in Ukraine peace talks if Russia invited Mexico Daily

The militarisation of Mexico’s economy FT

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine calls for long-range missiles amid Russian strikes on multiple cities France24

Russia launches drone strike on Odesa port and grain silos FT

Scale of amputations in Ukraine reaches WWI level – WSJ Ukrainska Pravda

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The upcoming ‘peace conference’ in Jeddah: discussion on Press TV Gilbert Doctorow

Ukraine summons Polish ambassador over ‘unacceptable’ comments about gratitude Politico

The EU Can’t Treat Ukrainian Refugees Like Short-Term Visitors RAND. Says the imperial hegemon.

SITREP 8/1/23: The Hegemon Begins To Unravel Simplicius the Thinker


The Trump Jan. 6 Indictment, Annotated NYT. Here is a PDF of the indictment. Turley comments:

Obama’s speechwriter weighs in:

That case of “West Wing Brain” would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

What is in the election-meddling indictment against Donald Trump AP. Interesting to see AP’s editor wheel out the “election meddling” trope previously deployed in RussiaGate against Trump. It’s almost as if “meddling” — besides being, with RussiaGate, at the very best trivial — means “interference with preferred outcomes.”

What Jack Smith Knows NYT. Lots of preening blather about Smith’s work with the International Criminal Court (which the “clean hands” administration of President Obama did not use to prosecute Bush for, e.g., torture in Iraq, and worked hard to undermine).

Trump’s “most consequential” indictment elicits emotional Dem response Axios. I don’t know where the equation of “emotional” with “sincere” happened; sportswriting, possibly.

The judge assigned to Trump’s Jan. 6 case is a tough punisher of Capitol rioters AP

Judge rules Trump false election claims while in office covered by presidential immunity The Hill. In the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

Lambert here. Various thoughts occur:

I skimmed the indictment. As a layperson, I felt the narrative was stronger than the theory of the case (see Turley’s comment above). Of course, if the indictment is designed to affect the course of the next Presidential election, rather than win a conviction, that’s not a bug, but a feature.

It’s crystal clear that if “election meddling” is the crime, then Democrats were equally guilty in 2016, with RussiaGate, and 2020, with Hunter Biden’s laptop. In fact, that Biden has been able to indict Trump, instead of Trump Clinton, speaks more to the dominance of Democrats in the administrative state, and Trump’s sloppiness and lack of focus, than it does to the strength of Smith’s case.

The savage irony is that Trump, through sloppiness, mental laziness, inability to hire good help, whatever, latched onto election theft by Democrats instead of censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, which would have been a slam dunk — beautifully parallel with to the mode of operation claimed for RussiaGate — as later events have shown. Whether that would have made for a less stupid timeline, I cannot say.

Back to the narrative: I was not familiar with the claim that Trump’s “election meddling” included developing slates of alternative elector in several states (beyond Michigan). To me, that makes this Smithian narrative serious (very much opposed to the deeply unserious spook panty-wetting over documents at Mar-a-Lago).

So, we shall see. Oh, and the jurisdiction? D.C. Bluer than blue. One might wonder if an uncontaminated jury pool is even possible.

Spook Country

Biden intel advisers back FISA Section 702 renewal, sound alarm on history of violations FOX

Realignment and Legitimacy

Former President of Baptist State Convention Under Investigation for Alleged Abuse The Roys Report. This keeps happening. Remember the moral panic about satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s? Well, as it turns out….

The Bezzle

Blockchain Sleuths Link BALD Liquidity Rug Pull to Sam Bankman-Fried Decrypt. Some clues:

Under house arrest. Impressive commitment to the bit!

Digital Watch

What Self-driving Cars Tell Us About AI Risks IEEE Spectrum

Chatbots sometimes make things up. Is AI’s hallucination problem fixable? AP

The case for more AI in politics Politico

AI will fuel disturbing ‘build-a-child’ industry FOX

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Nobody Uses Threads Anymore, It’s Too Crowded Daring Fireball

The Secret Life of the 500+ Cables That Run the Internet CNET


A Room-Temperature Superconductor? New Developments Science. A claim of replication from a reputable source:

There are other claims from China, but I don’t know how to assess them.

Scientism and COVID-19 Harpers

Fabricated data in research about honesty. You can’t make this stuff up. Or, can you? NPR

Zeitgeist Watch

Buried Alive: Bizarre History of a Farm Boy’s Survival AgWeb. Try this in a small town?

“”Love and politics.” The Scrum

Black Injustice Tipping Point

‘No better present’: Henrietta Lacks’ family celebrates historic settlement over stolen cells Baltimore Sun

Why biological sex matters Richard Dawkins, The New Statesman

Class Warfare


Best to think of the PMC as a global class, as global as capital. (Also, the health and safety measures recommend masks in the “meeting spaces” but presumably the hallways, elevators, etc. Also so, “We recommend frequent hand-washing,” presumably as a (wrong) Covid prevention measure, but other motivations occur; cf. Matt 27:24).

Shock Treatment in the Emergency Room Moe Tkacik, The American Prospect. Anything by Tkacik is worth a read.

Air traffic controllers shortage dents airlines’ post-lockdown recovery FT. A “shortage”? Something running the product through some sort of …. meatgrinder?

God-kings and the deification of the rich Carl Beijer

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. griffen

    Honest Abe, officer that was not my odometer. Can’t you just bust someone else, as I never, not ever, exceed the posted driving limit ( sarc )! Honesty in modern life is just so much like nearly everything else aspect, on an “express elevator to hell”. It’s why Congress and the POTUS enjoy their sterling reputations amongst the electorate. Great work by all! Enjoy the circuses (US NFL training camps) and the doles of bread and government cheese.

    Faked honesty is easy to pull off, methinks. Added thought, about “nearly everything else”. I’m close to the line where I am 100% black heart cynical, give it time. “Get off my lawn”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Faked honesty? The comedian George Burns – if you know the name – once said ‘The key to success is sincerity. If you can fake that you’ve got it made.’

      Sometimes you have to sit back and laugh. If you could fire up the flux capacitor in a DeLorean time machine and gone back to 2015 to visit yourself and warn them of all that was about to happen over the next eight years, would you even believe yourself? Covid, Trump, Biden as POTUS, war with Russia, de-dollarization, the de-industrialization of the EU and all the rest of it. That would sound like crazy talk that.

      1. griffen

        In the interest of time, I would go back in time via the Delorean and (self interest here) place a really bigger long term bet on AAPL shares, maybe NVIDIA shares as well. And I would buy a slim odds winner on the baseball downtrodden Chicago Cubs winning a MLB championship. I’d be a visionary thinker by now.

        Hindsight Capital Investing, we win with our 20/20 corrected vision and foresight !

        1. Tim

          That was the plot for Back to the Future 2 actually…

          Don’t remind me about NVidia, that was the one that got away. I had enough money to buy their first graphics card, but not the IPO shares I was intrigued by, because they were doing all the right things, but had no sense for their valuation during the dot com boom.

        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          If I had a DeLorean (or a police call box), I wouldn’t risk it trying yo collect on sure bets like either of those. I’d figure out a way to lease people time off the clock and off the calendar (for a minimal fee of dome sort).

    1. hunkerdown

      Conservatism is the idea that the perfect reproduction of the status quo is the highest use of human faculties. The purpose of taboo is the exception hidden within it. FOX has fully had their psychotic break if they actually believe that image generating AIs have any material effect on one’s children. All of them need to be medicated until they stop lying. Nothing spooky or sophisticated is necessary; castor oil and Phospho-Soda will do.

    1. Ignacio

      I believe this species belongs to a group called Tanagers in English. When i lived in Venezuela i managed not to watch any of these blue and shy birds. :(

  2. flora

    re: Trump indictment comes 1 day after the Devon Archer testimony before the House Congressional committee investigating the Bidens’ business dealings. Of COURSE it comes right after that testimony. Gotta grab the headlines away from the Archer testimony. It’s impossible to be too cynical about the Dems. / ;)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well as the Biden regime says – ‘A week without a new Trump indictment is a week wasted.’

    2. TomDority

      “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
      Seems they are going for conspiracy so, Trump (an expert at not knowing or never intending) like the financial swindlers in 08 claimed ‘ who could have known’ -they just deny that they had any intent – it is the classic way to avoid jail time for conspiracy — Trump (as a con man and coward) is well versed – it is his basic MO ‘me, not me, how could you think that?’
      So criminal conspiracy charges (hardest to prove, easiest to wiggle out of) and, no Misdemeanors for stuff when he was in office. Sounds like a long winded way around to making sure that the Dems can keep pointing finger at Trump – and if Trump runs against Biden – my prediction is Trump will win by wide margins – the Dems can blame the collapse of the economy (if they can drag it that long) on Repubs and Trump.

    3. petal

      CBS radio news was trumpeting it last night as if WW3 had just been declared. They were triumphant. My theory is that The Blob really is terrified of the guy and doing literally everything it can to make sure he’s removed from the equation. He’d harsh their flow, and that cannot be allowed.

      1. griffen

        It’s the stealthy campaigning advertisement for Trump ’24, in case the media horde is unaware, keeping him and him alone above all 2024 challengers squarely in the minds of voters. For good or for ill, I suppose, leaves him potentially in a spot to unleash a media blitz if or once necessary next year.

        Anecdotally if he is (somehow or other) wearing orange in 2024, that isn’t a great look for any candidate.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Hillary’s campaign for President also did everything that they could to support Trump’s candidacy for President as she figured that she would be able to beat him. How did that work out again?

          1. Glen

            Trump in orange suit on your “free speech” platform of choice:

            “Does your life suck? Mine does too. Vote for me.”

            Heck, vote for a guy in jail to “stick it to the man”? He might even grab a large share of a traditional Dem vote because you know … Billionaire Lives Matter.

            Just speculating here… (Man, talk about living in your head, I think I’m starting to think like him too.)

    4. Wukchumni

      My Kevin (since ’07) supposedly called for a pre-expungement on the latest indictment before the ruling.

  3. Robert Gray

    re: Church of Reality: Barbara McClintock on Scientific Mysticism and Plant Consciousness

    While I vaguely recollected having heard the name at some point, I couldn’t really say that I knew anything about Barbara McClintock so after reading this article I went to Wikipedia to see what I could see. Funnily enough — or not! — there I found not even the tiniest hint of the ‘mysticism’ that completely underlies this Superb Owl piece.

    > [She said] ‘Every time I walk on grass I feel sorry because I know the grass is screaming at me.’

    ‘Every time … sorry.’ But not enough to stop doing it?!?

    1. hemeantwell

      McClintock’s mysticism, if understood in connection with her social isolation, seems to fit a process model of psychosis that is worth considering, especially in as much as it is relevant to mysticism generally. In saying this I am not claiming that McClintock should be regarded as suffering from a form of psychopathology, with all its pejorative potential. Instead, she carried out a kind of project of withdrawing from the social world, for reasons we don’t know but which I suspect were at best superficially freely chosen, and then refurbished a replacement with fantasied relationships that drew on her object of research. That she found these relationships within which she felt she lived to be compelling and fruitful worked to both her benefit and ours. It is a remarkable story.

      The forms of this process that we are most familiar with are those in which a person suffers a catastrophic, depressive collapse in which all of their (object) relationships become unsustainable. They then fashion a recovery of relationships that are shaped by delusions, classically paranoid, sometimes grandiose, sometimes not. Back when people were trying to understand these developments instead of erasing them with psychotropics this was often documented, e.g. Andras Angyal’s 1950 paper in the journal Psychiatry, “The Psychodynamic Process of Illness and Recovery in a Case of Catatonic Schizophrenia.” It’s a great paper and it’s a damn shame it’s stuck behind university library ramparts.

      It sounds like McClintock averted a crash and was instead able to fashion a love of sorts with her object of study. It kept her going. My reason for insisting that the underpinnings of her world are social is that most mysticisms bank on being able to cover their roots in banal but terribly important human strivings, and instead serve up an intoxicating brew that promises to get rid of the centrality of human relatedness and put the believer in touch with some sort of Infinite, typically in the guise of an immortal parent. We’re all chock full of dim memories of early childhood, some pictorial, some only sensate, that are based in relationships that are only obscurely registered and yet which can become extremely alluring. Failing to appreciate that is very costly, however much in the case of some individuals the resolution is Nobel-level creativity. .

      1. hunkerdown

        “banal but terribly important human strivings”

        That sounds like a perspective, not a fact. I wish you’d diagnose Plato instead.

        1. hemeantwell

          I used the word banal, maybe mundane’s better. The point is that all of this takes off from universally-shared experiences that are lost track of in systems that float away from their grounding. We could speculate about Plato, but what prompted my response was that the article is using what she made of her life to also tell us something about mysticism. For me that merits asserting suppressed linkages to social life. Mysticism, almost by definition, is obscurantist with regard to its foundations. If we think of Plato’s system in ideological terms, same ballpark.

    2. semper loquitur

      “there I found not even the tiniest hint of the ‘mysticism’ that completely underlies this Superb Owl piece.”

      No surprise at all. Wiki is regularly and harshly policed by members of the debunker community. No matter the topic or evidence, if it’s deemed unworthy by this secret court it’s constantly edited to suit their views.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      Thank you for posting this link. It is a “must-watch”. What an unbelievable mess.

    2. Mikel

      I was listening to the list of countries from all over the world (117 nations) the people were coming from and I thought, “Wait a minute. Haven’t they heard about the emerging multi-polar order that’s going to leave the US in the dust?”

      And housing…like it isn’t already an issue.

  4. Roger Blakely

    RE: We’re now finding out the damaging results of the mandated return to the office–and it’s worse than we thought Fortune

    I am going into the office this morning, and I will be there all day. On days when I go to the office, I put on my chipmunk respirator (industrial painter’s respirator with cartridge filters) as soon as I get out of my car. I wear my chipmunk respirator all day. When I go into the restroom, I put on my chemical splash goggles.

    Wearing a respirator and goggles helps, but it is not perfect. Let me put it this way: If it were not for the respirator, there is no way that I would be able to survive working in the office at all. Susceptibility to COVID-19 depends on one’s genetics. In that sense I have bad genetics. SARS-CoV-2 sticks to me like glue. I wear my chipmunk respirator in all indoor public spaces even though people think that I am a freak.

    All indoor public spaces are riddled with the XBB variant of SARS-CoV-2. My body is riddled with a dozen variants of XBB. I woke up this morning all rashed up with goop in my eyes. There must have been plenty of XBB in the gym last night.

    I can only imagine that people who are genetically susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 like I am and who are working in indoor public spaces are getting destroyed by SARS-CoV-2. They are not wearing respirators. They are just inhaling all of that virus all day long. Of course they would see working in the office as a threat to their health.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Amazing that they wrote a whole article on the mysteriously high attrition rate from compulsory return to office policies without ever once mentioning COVID. As Lambert likes to say, it’s a mystery!

  5. foghorn longhorn

    That antidote video was really cool.
    Thought they only had 2 or 3 babies at a time.

  6. digi_owl

    > Best to think of the PMC as a global class, as global as capital.

    Indeed. Just look at all the bruhaha about remote work, while insisting that UPS and Amazon drivers deliver to them no matter where they decamp to.

    When tilted at the right angle, it starts to look very similar to the colonial era. So, what is the fashion item that is the modern equivalent of the pith helmet?

    1. hunkerdown

      At least the UPS drivers aren’t stuck in an office huffing other people’s XBB.

      If we had a sane society that didn’t confuse sacrifice with orgasm, these things would simply run smoothly wherever they run, and not where they don’t, and home workers (NOT the PMC; there are many class traitors working from home and plenty of service representatives as well) would adjust their lives accordingly.

  7. tegnost

    Re NZ

    Blinken…”Whats a soul, and how much do I have to pay for one?
    I’ll buy two, and give you one to replace the one you lost!”

      1. LifelongLib

        Since the alternative to the man who lies for his country is the man who kills for it, I’ll take the diplomat.

    1. t to see a longhorn walk through a narrow gate or between trees – that casual head twist with a inch or so extra clearance.

      1. Wukchumni

        Imagine having a 10 & 1/2 foot wide rack?

        A fossilized elk rack spanning ten and a half feet wide recently sold at auction for $28,000. The rare antlers and skull of an extinct Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus) sparked a bidding war November 8, with the winner carrying away a pricey piece of history.

        The antlers were sold at auction in Auckland, New Zealand, by Cordy’s Auction House. Sold as Lot Number 093, the set of antlers was appraised for $8,000-$15,000 because of damage to the antlers and/or skull. Restoration work had previously been attempted, with pin fittings present in the skull as a result.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          My bull topped out at 72″ tip to tip
          They know exactly how wide they are, watched a cow gently pick up and move a kitten that had intruded on her feed bucket.
          Slipped the horn under her and moved her right out of the way, gentle as you please.
          Watched that same cow go to a fence corner and beat the h@ll out of the fence trying to get to the always greener grass on the other side.

          In Dobie’s book, there is a story of a bull taking on and killing a grizzly bear.
          Once the upscale breeders starting cloning them, it was time to move on.

          1. some guy

            Weren’t there any downscale breeders resisting the cloning? Or refusing to bring any such clones into their herds?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The EU Can’t Treat Ukrainian Refugees Like Short-Term Visitors”

    Those 6.3 million Ukrainian refugees won’t be going back. There won’t be much left to go back to. Said before that this will be a demographic catastrophe for the Ukraine so consider this. A whole generation of Ukrainians kids will not be growing to adulthood in the Ukraine itself which will severely cripple the future workforce. They just won’t be there in that country but will be in the EU – who is gleefully looking to take advantage of them as a workforce. It’s all a numbers game and the population density of the Ukraine was already on a long decline but now it is going to accelerate-

    1. voislav

      And this is just the refugees to the EU, there is a substantial number that emigrated to Russia or other former Soviet republics. Ukrainian population before the war (excluding Donbass and Crimea) was 35-37 million and now is likely well below 30 million, maybe close to 25 million. Not to mention the massive hole created in the younger age group, if Ukraine survives the war it will be essentially an old age home.

    2. BillS

      Italy has eliminated the need for Ukrainian citizens to produce identifying documentation (e.g. birth certificates) as well as criminal records when requesting citizenship. Citizens of all other countries requesting Italian citizenship must produce this documentation. To me, this sounds like a huge gift to traffickers in human flesh and Ukie mafiosi who want to enter the EU. In effect, the borders have been opened up for white people, but brown people continue to drown in the Mediterranean and get beaten up by Croatian, Slovenian police on the Balkan route.

    1. pjay

      Taibbi: “The cognoscenti never figured out or accepted that the support for protest candidates like Trump or Bernie Sanders even is rooted in wide generalized rage directed their way. To this day they don’t accept it. They keep thinking they can wish it away, describe it away (see Bump’s description of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as “not at this point serious competition”), indict it away. If you drop 76 charges on a candidate and he goes up in polls, you might want to consider that you might be part of the problem. But they can’t take even that heavy a hint.”

      I remember telling family, friends, and local Democratic campaign workers in *2016* that every time I saw the mainstream pundits – the “cognoscenti” – smearing, ridiculing, or writing-off Trump, I knew his popularity would go up 5 points. The Establishment did recognize that Trump was a media creation, but they were oblivious to the nature of his appeal – a big F-U to the powers that be. Naturally the more TPTB go after him, the greater his appeal. Einstein’s definition of insanity on display.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        They will never be able to hear anything that gets in the way of their Ka-ching. That is the problem, the corruption is do baked into the system and is so far working for the political class so well that they cannot fathom a change. I don’t want to vote for any of them at this point.

      2. digi_owl

        I dear say brexit was a similar F-U, in particular from the areas that suffered from the Thatcher union busting and Blair’s finance embrace.

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for link.

      Philip Bump at the Post meanwhile mourned the administration’s bet on “Bidenomics,” which polls show the public overwhelmingly associates with inflation and tax increases. The sudden stream of criticism from outlets that not long ago were in lockstep support of the administration advances a delusion that’s apparently widespread in elite circles, to the effect that Biden’s troubles are the result of traditional policy decisions, as opposed to the more obvious problem that the party in 2020 nominated a corpse with a slew of known corruption issues.

      Clearly The Emperor’s New Clothes got it all wrong. The little boy says Biden is naked and the courtiers in unison reply “no frickin’ way!” And this has been going on for decades. The long ago election of Bill Clinton was supposed to “send a message” about dissatisfacation over “the economy stupid” and our broken healthcare system whereupon Clinton squeaked into office, stripped naked and advocated NAFTA.

      Anyway good to see Taibbi picking up his rhetorical cudgel. He’s been getting lost down there in the weeds.

      1. hk

        Many variants of the story (mostly told outside US) have the boy never being seen again afterwards in some fashion (and people really believing that the emperor is not naked as consequence). I suppose the same change may be made to the US version, too, now.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for the link, Flora. I’ve learned over the years that when I encounter the word “like” in a Taibbi piece, I should make sure there is no liquid in my mouth because one of Matt’s LOL similes may be on the way. This article was full of them.

  9. ChrisRUEcon

    > Best to think of the PMC as a global class, as global as capital.

    … and further: the PMC as a global class which serves to maintain the hegemony of global capital.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Ha! Comparison to the mafia suggests “explicit” behaviors … ;-)

        I think for many of those in the PMC, it’s a far more implicit set of behaviors. Think “Vote Blue No Matter Who” … :)

  10. Stephen

    “Since the beginning of the Russian military aggression, the number of Ukrainians left without one or more limbs has reached 20-50,000, which is comparable to the scale of amputations during the First World War.” Ukrainian Pravda

    Sounds horrific.

    As a comparison: At the end of World War I there were at least 29,400 British lower limb amputees and 11,600 upper limb amputees, and at the end of World War II a further 12,000 amputees. The Falkland conflict produced a further 32 limbless servicemen. In addition there are amputees from other conflicts but the numbers are not available. (Source British Limbless Servicemen’s Association personal communication quoted in a 1999 paper). As comparison, Britain suffered circa 900,000 deaths in WW1, circa 400,000 in WW2 and circa 500 in the Falklands.

    A simple extrapolation of the recent data would imply a much higher number of ‘Ukrainian KIAs than admitted. However. I do not think we can use such a methodology.

    On one hand, modern surgical techniques and first aid compared to WW2 might mean that more men survive who otherwise would die. But a consequence could be more surviving critically wounded who need amputations. However, the Falklands example (albeit quite a different conflict) of such a relatively few number of amputees versus deaths might refute that.

    On the other hand, we have heard that there are challenges to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield. So modern medicine may be delayed resulting in minor wounds festering and leading to more amputation as a percentage of total wounds. This would also imply more deaths as a percentage of total casualties. Maybe even more so than during WW1 when the British Army lacked penicillin but did already understand the need for cleanliness and rapid medical attention with respect to wounds.

    Strangely too, there have been no obvious appeals for medical supplies or personnel for Ukraine either that I have seen. Although there does seem to be a strategy in place to sanitise western populations from the horror of the war other than specific “events” which can be used to demonise Russia.

    It is therefore hard to know exactly what these statistics really imply about overall casualties other than there is a scandal of some form that should erupt but probably will be suppressed. However, on their own these statistics seem pretty bad. Odd how data like this suddenly “appears”.

    1. digi_owl

      I have seen it claimed that the way weapons are built has changed, so that the focus is not on killing but maiming. This with the cold logic that a maimed soldier will tie up other soldiers having to do medivac etc.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        IIRC there was something in an earlier Links thread about Ukrainians self-admittedly focusing on maiming Russian soldiers, both for this short-term advantage and for the long-term benefit of forcing the state to spend money on taking care of them.

      2. Polar Socialist

        That claim has been going around a lot so it may have some legs (I mean, I was told so in the army!), but I think there are two separate development tracks that together can explain this equally well.

        The weapons have developed to be more lethal in the sense that there’s more stuff going trough the air than ever before – fragments and bullets are smaller, but there’s much, much more of them to ensure greater probability of hit. The fact that they are less likely to kill the target initially is merely a side effect, not the purpose.

        At the same time the field medicine and especially medical evacuation has taken huge steps decade after decade, which probably has much more to do with soldiers surviving their wounds. And I wouldn’t dismiss even things like modern day people in general being in much better health to begin with than their predecessors during the WW1 or earlier.

      3. Maxwell Johnston

        This has long been the case (at least since when I served in the 80s). The actual bullet of the M-16’s 5.56 round is only about 1 inch in length, and it was designed to roll inside the victim’s body to produce maximum internal damage. If you kill one enemy soldier, you take out one enemy. But if you wound one enemy soldier, you effectively take out three enemies (two of his buddies will risk their lives to drag him back to safety), plus you set off a huge behind-the-lines activity of medevac and hospital treatment, all of which attrits enemy resources.

        Ditto for equipment. Killing a tank is hard, but damaging a tank is pretty easy; again, this triggers an enemy response (recovering the tank, dragging it back to a safe repair depot, making the expensive repairs) that attrits the enemy. Sinking an aircraft carrier is really hard, but damaging one (read what happened to the USS Forrestal in 1967, just friendly fire, no enemy action required) is a piece of cake and will set off an incredibly expensive sequence of events that cost the enemy loads of resources.

        Welcome to 21st century warfare!

      4. Kouros

        Israel defense Forces can provide anyone with lessons. I read a magazine article some years ago with interviewed IDF snipers in competition to smash ankles of palestinians…

    2. Ignacio

      Did you see Stephen an article linked here on the ocurrence in a single Ukranian impatient of 6 different multiple-drug resistant bacteria?. An outcome linked with previous stay and treatment in an Ukrainian hospital. Ukrainian hospitals are overwhelmed.

      1. Stephen

        I didn’t but I guess that might explain too why casualty ratios from other wars cannot be applied here!

        1. Ignacio

          As you say there are now much better treatments than DURING WWI. In the case of antibiotics there are also new risks: the MDR strains. There are two posibbilities for this to happen IMO. Soldiers with such wounds that require amputation must be given antibiotics by default. Yet, the concentration of antibiotics reaching these wounds might not be enough for efficient control of bacterial growth (bad práctice) allowing bacteria to develop MDR or the hospitals are so overwhelmed that treatments aren’t completed (shortened) with the same result.

      2. c_heale

        The drug resistant bacteria could also be a consequence of the biolabs found in Ukraine, since horizontal gene transfer is not uncommon in bacteria.

        1. some guy

          If they are different than any other drug resistant bacteria in any of the hospitals of the rest of the world, then it could be.

          But if they are the same drug resistant bacteria which have been showing up before this in hospitals here, there and everywhere; then they likely got there from those other hospitals one way or another.

    3. Aurelien

      It’s not clear whether the “20-50,000 figure is supposed to include just military, or civilians as well. If military, this is a good indication of the effects of modern mines on the battlefield. Most anti-personnel mines, for some time now, have been designed to injure rather than kill, because by injuring a soldier you tie up others trying to rescue him and save his life. They are essentially a counter-mobility weapon. Add to that the possibility of even quite minor wounds going sceptic without prompt treatment and antibiotics, and such figures seems reasonable by comparison with past conflicts such as the Falklands and WW2 where mines were not as developed. By contrast, a large number of casualties in Afghanistan were amputees, because of the widespread use of IEDs. In that case, though, prompt medical help was available, and those who would have died in earlier wars survived, though triple amputees were not uncommon.

      1. digi_owl

        I think in part the IED, and maybe the same applies to artillery strikes in Ukraine (often IEDs were recovered shells or bombs supposedly), amputation was thanks to body armor. That is they protected the head and vital organs, but left limbs exposed.

        Some quick wikipedia reading suggests that while kevlar etc was introduced back in the 70s, they were ineffective against high caliber rounds and larger fragments. Modern vests seem to include hard plate inserts to help deal with that threat.

        Thus it may well be that a soldier that as late as the 1990s would have been killed by a nearby shell or bomb, now can survive it. But with most of their limbs mangled beyond repair.

        1. Robert Gray

          > But with most of their limbs mangled beyond repair.

          In the mid ’70s, when I first went to Paris, there were many of the World War II generation still around, including military veterans, including amputees. I was astounded — to the extent that I remember it to this day — by the sign next to the ‘reserved’ seats on the metro (in 2ème) explaining who had priority. One category was the shudderingly honest mutilés de guerre, which struck me as so much more powerful than the euphemistic ‘disabled vet’. Not sure when it changed in Paris but the wording is now different; that phrase no longer appears.

      2. Stephen

        Yes that would be a smart hypothesis.

        Must admit I had believed that most casualties in this war were caused by artillery in similar fashion to WW1. Especially given that much of the war has not involved advances but holding fused positions. But mines may be more important too and the amputees might reflect experience of the past few months when Ukraine has been advancing.

        Really tricky it seems to make sense of this type of information and I guess we should be wary of anyone who extrapolates too much quantification from it.

    4. vao

      modern surgical techniques and first aid compared to WW2 might mean that more men survive who otherwise would die. But a consequence could be more surviving critically wounded who need amputations.

      I am a bit dubious about those “modern first aid techniques” in Ukraine.

      I have watched a fair amount of harrowing videos of Ukrainian soldiers evacuating injured comrades, and, in every single case, tourniquets were applied to all and every kind of limb wounds.

      My instruction in first aid lies a really long time ago, but then it was impressed upon us that the tourniquet is a dangerous expedient, only to be used for some specific kinds of wounds (notably a severed artery), that otherwise a compressive bandage should always be the first choice, that a tourniquet must be monitored and slightly released at regular intervals, and that a physician must take it away and place clamps to stem haemorrhage as soon as possible.

      I wonder whether overdoing it with tourniquets is not fatally damaging limbs that could be saved with more appropriate techniques. On the other hand, perhaps war medecine just relies upon brute force.

      1. JBird4049

        Maybe I can make a comparison with the American Civil War. After a major battle, the sheer number of casualties would overwhelm the surgeons. thousands of wounded from each army in a single day. The surgeries would go on for days. The already primitive surgery devolved into simple mass amputations especially as there was no effective treatments for infections. Add that the large bullets such as the .58 calibre Minié ball/bullet of the standard Springfield rifled musket put large holes and obliterated or just removed any bone in the way meaning there was not enough of the limb remaining to repair. More, there was not enough time, meaning that the wounded could take days to get to a surgeon. Just as now, people knew that the sooner a person could be treated, the greater the chance of survival.

        (For a comparison, the M-16 rifle’s bullet is .223 calibre. Perhaps more lethal, but not as destructive to a limb, leaving enough to work with.)

        I know more about premodern 18th and 19th surgery than modern, but I imagine that Ukrainian battlefield surgery is similar. Massive casualties, few effective antibiotics, overwhelmed surgeons treating injuries sometimes hours (days?) after they occurred. The injured gets dropped in front of a surgeon who has been working for days with little sleep; a massive, older injury, perhaps already infected and the Ukrainians are running out of effective antibiotics; clean out wound, then chop and slice like a butcher to remove the possible infected area, bandage it. Next!

  11. Steve H.

    > Shock Treatment in the Emergency Room Moe Tkacik, The American Prospect. Anything by Tkacik is worth a read.

    No kidding, that is an amazing piece. The way it builds, like a quality disaster comedy.

    Coming up on Janet’s two year anniversary of retiring from nursing. Hasn’t sunk in, three of our parents died since then so it’s been kind of a chronic hospice protocol. Every day I tell her, I’m so glad you’re out.

    1. Mikel

      “So why are you seemingly so desperate for money? They were behaving like someone who has a gambling debt.”

      That’s exactly who they are. Degens who turn lives and healthcare into “derivatives” to bet on.

    1. digi_owl

      Would that not be the responsibility of FEMA, and only if the governor relinquish authority?

      It is interesting to see how seemingly well organized China can be, except for Shanghai apparently. Supposedly because it is their most “westernized” city.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Remembering bloated bodies floating down the streets of New Orleans, my guess would be no. And it would surprise me if things were not worse now than in ’05.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          That and well-armed whites standing on a bridge, aiming at black people trying to cross to safety. That’s a pretty sick first reaction.

          I was abroad beginning just before Katrina to just after the fall of Lehman. We had been involved in international recruiting during the Bush administration, and the sympathy for the country from the European managerial class was considerable. After the Iraq lies, Katrina and the financial crisis, we really blew the wad fast.

  12. Dan S

    Re that Fortune article – My fellow middle-managers and I love when the HR flunkies roll out the annual management training garbage that notes that employees are not really motivated by money or career advancement. It’s all about creating a positive work environment and a team atmosphere. We all know it’s BS as we were all line workers at one time. I really wonder if you have to just shut off your working part of your brain to believe that HR nonsense. I guess if you’ve only worked in HR and never had to actually manage employees to complete tasks, that could be an excuse for the complete ignorance of how 99% of people actually function. Now, I will say that the Gen Z and Y folks do need to be given a sense of purpose in their tasks and constant pats on the back and check-ins. They also value flexible work schedules and do not want to put in extra hours off the clock. I don’t say that in a disparaging manner – it’s just reality. However, they will not stick around if they don’t see any path for career advancement and the increased salary that goes along with that. People will put up with a lot of corporate BS if they are paid very well. Take that away and what’s the point. No amount of team-building exercises and trust-falls will overcome that.

    1. MEC

      Once, and only once, I accepted a position as a middle manager. The very definition of Hell. Shortly thereafter I had to attend a management training which featured a video on how to be a hard ass to an employee whose life had just fallen apart. I looked around me at the other managers in their spiked heels and tasteful scarves in contrast to my choice to still dress like a clinician and opted to not ask my question about being flexible with a subordinate. Ten minutes late is never a catastrophe, and why aren’t please and thank you part of the vocabulary? I ran away from that position as fast as I could, and never made that mistake again.

    2. digi_owl

      Sounds like it was derived from silicon valley brogrammer startups, not assembly line factories.

    3. jhallc

      I was taught the office management mantra of the importance of the 3 S’s, Salary, Security, and Space. Everybody wants the window seat, nobody wants to sit across from the bathrooms.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “SITREP 8/1/23: The Hegemon Begins To Unravel”

    The most interesting story is the first one about Niger. Back in 2011 when Libya’s policies threatened France, France & NATO attacked them and managed to turn one of the most advanced, prosperous countries in Africa into a hell hole with slave markets. But now? Niger and other countries are coming together to force French colonialism – there is no other word for it – out of their part of Africa. France trying to attack Niger is not an option and if Africom tries to attack that country, it might mean that all those US bases in Africa would be subject to possible assault. I would not mind betting that the CFA Franc will come under attack as well as that was the original aim of Libya – before it was destroyed. Talk about an exorbitant privilege. I suppose that you can say that the long term expulsion of France from North Africa may also be one for side effect of the Ukrainian war. Maybe when all those African leaders were in Russia, that they told him that they will help them, as probably will the Chinese as well. Maybe the same will happen to France in Polynesia. Macron was just there and told them that it was vital that France stayed there as a counterbalance between the Chinese and the Americans. Should I say it? The gall of the man.

    1. digi_owl

      Except that supposedly US trained officers are involved in the Niger coup, unless i am confusing it with something else.

      And it would not be the first time France and USA go proxy war in Africa. Supposedly that is why DRC has been a hellhole for so long.

    2. Aurelien

      Simplicius’s article is a good example of why pundits should stick to what they know about. He’s generally good on military affairs and Russia, but he knows sod-all about Africa, and it shows. Just for the record, Gaddafi’s African Bank idea was never a starter: it was one of his delusional fantasies, like his African Army of which he would be the commander, and no African nation would have been prepared to hand over its economic policies to someone so unstable. After Libya’s rehabilitation in 2004, a new age appeared to dawn of bilateral cooperation, and Gaddafi was invited to Paris with great ceremony in 2007 to sign export contracts for civil and military equipment. NATO nations set up programmes of intelligence cooperation because he was seen as an important ally against Islamic terrorism. Western countries massively over-estimated Gaddafi’s popularity and his hold on the country, and were completely taken aback by the uprising of 2011. When it became clear that Gaddafi was finished, NATO nations joined in on the side of the rebels, in an attempt to curry favour with the incoming regime, and preserve the economic benefits that had been promised.

      The coup in Niger is a sordid little African affair of the same type that has been characteristic of the continent since independence. The Commander of the Presidential Guard, fearful of being sidelined and losing his job and the attendant financial benefits, staged a coup against the elected President. This coup has been condemned by the African Union, who have given him fifteen days to hand back power, and by ECOWAS, the sub-regional organisation. The AU has generally taken a very strong political line on coups since its inception, but neither they nor ECOWAS have the military capability to return the elected President to power. A couple of small countries nearby, also in bad odour with the AU because of military involvement in government, have made belligerent comments, following the one invariable rule of Francophone African politics: when in doubt play the anti-colonial card. But as far as I can see, nobody in Africa is taking that seriously. Oh, and this has nothing to do with the US other, or for that matter Russia or China. Africans are perfectly capable of doing these things on their own.

      1. Irrational

        Agree he should stick to his area of expertise, but there I thought the mention of two ways to estimate UA casualties (obits and SIM cards) were very interesting and, of course, profoundly shocking. Your piece on the PMC perfectly applies to Western politicians.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Going to have to disagree with some of your points. I mean, NATO was just minding its own business doddling along when suddenly there was war in Libya and then in a panic, sent in their own forces to curry favour? They had nothing to do with it at all? And certainly not Hillary as well?

        As for Libya’s gold-backed coinage was not a serious proposition, then why were the French so keen on the mission? Don’t happen to know what happened to all that gold and silver after the invasion by the way. It seems to have gone MIA. I happen to agree that Africans are perfectly capable of doing these things on their own. And I think that that is what is happening here and there will be no repeat of Libya.

        And I note that those African countries going their own way and ‘in bad odour’ contrast against those who have no problem letting US or French bases being set up in their country and sending their officers to be trained by the US – which tends have to those very same officers doing a coup in their own country. Strange that one.

      3. c_heale

        “…a sordid little African affair…” sounds like the British Empire colonialist rhetoric. Racism at its best.

        The simple fact is that Niger supplies France with a lot of uranium and that is the main reason France is upset by this coup.

        The West happily supports any kind of dictatorship which gives it more access to other countries’ resources, and is against any government which tries to hold onto these resources, or get a fair price for them.

      4. Bill Malcolm

        I make no claims to being an expert on Niger or other African nations. However, it takes not much online research to discover Niger is at the very bottom three or four of the entire world in terms of per capita income. There are about 26 million Nigeriens.

        It also transpires that Niger has reserves the highest grade uranium ore in Africa, and is about at number 7 in the list of countries exporting such ore.

        Yesterday, August 1, a Canadian Broacasting Corp radio program re-broadcast a BBC program on the French electricity generation plans for the future. State-owned Electricite de France generates about 70% of its electricity from its 56 nuclear power plants. Renewables were part of EDF’s plan going forward, but this has apparently been ditched in favour of a renewed focus on nuclear. To that end, new design nuclear plants will shortly be under construction, with the first due to be commissioned in the 2033 to 2035 timeframe, followed by many others as the old plants are decommissioned. Big money involved to accomplish this huge investment.

        From Reuters today: “Niger has one major mining operation in the north operated by France’s state-owned Orano, another major mine which closed in 2021, with one under development.”

        Quelle surprise why France would get edgy about the “coup” in Niger,one would have surmised. To my obviously outdated and uninformed way of putting two and two together and obtaining five, after three quarters of a century roaming the planet in a complete fog, I can see no connection between a French state-owned uranium mine in Niger and the French state-owned EDF. Perish such thoughts. I’m sure France pays well over the world going price for Niger’s uranium ore, because France is such a civilized decent country which cherishes its old African colonial outposts. France is but the last of the old now long-forgotten colonialist countries with what, fourteen old African colonies that it doesn’t try to dominate in any way whatsoever, despite issuing currency notes for them. And so on. The old colonies are swimming in cash from French beneficence, that’s for sure.

        Since you are the expert on all things French, maybe even Africa too, who knows, perhaps you can explain to me why I’m connecting the dots incorrectly as to why Macron is threatening military action in Niger over the coup. I know, because the African Union is a neutral body and not aligned West nor East and is calling for the coup to end in 15 days and France just wants to help. How civilized of them if true. And certainly not because France needs uranium ore for its nuclear electricity program, and a old colony held in poverty can supply a good chunk of the required ore annually for not much cash, but every little bit helps, mais non?

  14. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Moooooooorning Fiatnam!

    Everybody kinda knew that the bear market on Wall*Street was merely a trader in a bear suit waving from the trading floor, ‘see, it isn’t real-the down market’ was heard on a few occasions on the NYSE, which frankly was suffice for the show to go to infinity and beyond in Dow Jonestown.

    1. Stephanie

      “You might be a woman if you can tell the difference between farmhouse white and Swiss coffee white at a glance.”

      So, basically anyone who has ever run an offset litho press is a woman. Got it.

    2. Mikel

      Why didn’t they also ask “what is a man?”

      Gives more credence to the musings that this gender gaming all has roots in confining women.

    3. c_heale

      Dawkins is completely wrong in asserting there are only two sexes in humans. There are at least four since there are individuals with an extra X chromosome. The female version of this, Trisomy X, is apparently quite common (1/1000).

      I learned about this in secondary (middle school) sex education, so Dawkins ignoring this is egregious.

      1. Anthony Noel

        Except male’s with an extra x chromosome are still biologically males, and females with an extra x chromosome are still biologically females, there is no biologist in the world who would argue that females with Trisomy X are in any way another biological sex.

      2. Kouros

        There are only two sexes in nature. Everything else are viable accidents that can or cannot reproduce like one of the two sexes.

        The sex is one of the greatest invention of nature through which the genetic material of parents is recombined in a random fashion (the chromosome dance) to produce the gamets for the next generation. Thus, life is ensuring chances of success in a dynamic, ever changing universe. Those recombined gamets then are finding their way to meet their complement gametes from the opposite sex (in some species the males have similar sex chromosomes) to create a new individual.

  15. Wukchumni

    I’m elated to announce the launch of an exciting new cryptocurrency which should trump all other comers.

    Coinspiracy Theory goes up in value every time somebody on the internet states a belief that some secret but influential organization is responsible for events otherwise not explainable.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “UGS: Greece Maintains Its Status as Leading Shipowning Nation”

    • 31.27% of the world oil tanker fleet
    • 25.32% of the world bulk carriers
    • 22.65% of the world Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers
    • 15.79% of the world chemical & product tankers
    • 11.46% of the world Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) carriers
    • 8.92% of the world containerships

    Greece was always smart this way. But I am going to take a guess. At some point in the future, Brussels will mandate that it is wrong for any country to have such a high degree of ownership and will sanction them until there is a more diverse range of ownership among the EU countries. It’s too big a honeypot for Brussels to ignore and they want their cut.

    1. vao

      My understanding is that Greece is such a powerhouse in maritime transport only because it granted its shipowners the most fantastic fiscal privileges imaginable. Meaning that either

      a) the EU maintains those fiscal arrangements, and therefore there is little, if anything, “juicy” for other countries to lay their greedy hands on;

      b) or the EU harmonizes the fiscal situation of the Greek shipping industry onto EU standards, and then those shipowners promptly transfer the registatrion of their ships to a PanLibHonCo flag of convenience.

  17. Wukchumni

    CDC issues leprosy warning for people making Florida travel plans Press Herald

    Did you hear about Florida Man?

    Thanks to the long incubation period for leprosy, nobody knows he’s contagious…

    1. Wukchumni


      I purposely never dealt in leper colony coins or paper money as most of it wasn’t worth all that much, and why take the risk?

      Leper colony money was special money (scrip or vouchers) which circulated only in leper colonies (sanatoriums for people with leprosy) due to the fear that money could carry leprosy and infect other people. However, leprosy is not easily transmitted by casual contact or objects; actual transmission only happens through long-term, constant, intimate contact with leprosy sufferers and not through contact with everyday objects used by sufferers.

  18. Anon

    Re: Ukraine summons Polish ambassador…

    It would be interesting, if in a drugged up fit, Z calls a press conference, surrenders unconditionally, live, and shouts with a thick Ukrainian lilt ,“Let us go Brandon!” as he mounts a horse, and rides into the sunrise. Surely he’s on suicide watch.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine calls for long-range missiles amid Russian strikes on multiple cities”

    Well of course they want long range missiles. They want to hit Russian cities. For seven years they constantly bombarded civilian towns and cities in the Donbass and during this war, no matter how short of ammo they are, they have been using them to hit civilian targets time and again. Twice now they have hit the skyscraper district in Moscow with long range weapons. There are no military targets there but just civilian ones. It’s like the German V1 and V2 attacks of WW2 which was all about vengeance. That is what the ‘V’ stood for – Vergeltungswaffe or Vengeance Weapon. And you know what? You just know that the west will supply them because they think that they won’t have to pay a price. I wonder how that will work out?

  20. Wukchumni

    Just Put It Out Wildfire Today. Review of Running Out of Time.

    Therein lies a very old problem: How to quickly and completely extinguish a wildfire after it has escaped initial attack and burned thousands, or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of acres of wildland. It soon emerges in Running Out of Time that the answer is to have more airtankers. A lot more. “[T]he government should purchase a fleet of 200 SEATs, 75 to 125 large airtankers (LATs), and 30 to 50 very large airtankers (VLATs).” And more helicopters and bulldozers, too.

    Had the useless F-35’s overhead yesterday out of NAS Lemoore, and what do they do for us other than supply thrill rides for a 20 something sky pilot, not as if they are going to war against our sworn enemy, wildfires.

    An area the size of NY state has burned in Canada so far this summer, if that isn’t a warning shot across the bow, what is?

    1. greenfire

      Not surprising one of the authors was, for a time, a Lockheed executive. Theirs is a purely disaster capitalist approach. More airtankers is not a panacea. Ask any wildland firefighter – air support is nothing without boots on the ground to improve the water or retardant drops. Oftentimes, wind speeds or more likely poor visibility ground all air assets.

      1. Alex Cox

        Both authors were consultants for Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. I am sure they know their stuff where asset-stripping and stock buybacks are concerned.

        Wildland firefighting?

    2. marieann

      I recently read this book recommend from someone in this group

      Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape our Future by Ed Struzik
      I read most of it in one night. It was a fascinating story and a very good read

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Russia launches drone strike on Odesa port and grain silos”

    Yesterday we saw a ship sneak into the Ukraine. By attacking the ports and grain silos, this is telling the west that not only will be there no facilities to load and offload cargo for ships, but if any ships that snuck in gets hit, it is all on them. Play stupid games…

    1. Vandemonian

      Does maritime insurance cover damage to a freighter incurred following entry into a theatre of war, one wonders…

  22. Henry Moon Pie

    Love and politics and the Tao te Ching–

    The article is based on Tao te Ching #61. I did not recognize the verses that appear at the top of the article, and the reason is that the rendition is very idiosyncratic. The version that appears belongs to Stephen A. Mitchell, a fellow who produced a number of “translations” without any background in the original languages ranging from the Tao te Ching to Gilgamesh to the Iliad. His rendition of the Tao te Ching has been subject to some criticism. I’d invite the interested to compare this long list of translations and renditions of Chapter 61, a list that includes Mitchell, and see if they find anything like Mitchell’s switching of “a small country” for “a great man.”

    This article relies heavily on that personalization and is essentially, an edifice built on sand.

    Those familiar with my frequent quoting of Ursula Le Guin’s rendition of the Tao te Ching might feel I’m being inconsistent here. Le Guin doesn’t know Chinese either. But Le Guin explains that the highly respected Chinese scholar Arthur Waley’s translation serves as the foundation for her rendition. When Le Guin’s version seems odd to me, I check my other translations for comparison, but she is never as idiosyncratic as Mitchell with Chapter 61.

    “Idiosyncratic” is not a compliment when applied to translations.

    Castles Made of Sand

  23. greenfire

    Just Put It Out Wildfire Today. Review of Running Out of Time.

    As is in vogue today, business experts are allowed to pose as experts in any and all things. While the authors, David Auchterlonie and Jeffrey Lehman, do get some things right, like the need to restrict development in fire prone areas, they mostly miss the mark. But hey, these are business guys for whom growth is sacred. They tried to acquire a highly profitable aerial firefighting company, as part of their vulture capitalism, but were unsuccessful. This book seems to be an ill-informed vindictive response to their inability to jump on the wildfire profiteering gravy train a la Haliburton. With no experience whatsoever in fire ecology or even wildland firefighting, they decry a culture that dares to consider ecosystem health and, instead, double down on suppression – the dominant, albeit failed, policy that has driven all the land management agencies since their inception. For the authors, an all-out reliance on technology and heavy equipment – privately owned, of course – is the only answer to the growing wildfire problem. This is disaster capitalism at its finest. They also reinforce the dominant belief in the industry-captured U.S. legislature that only more “forest management” (a.k.a. logging) can solve the wildfire problem. This process of thinning mature trees can only influence crown fire propagation, but does nothing to treat the surface fuels, the very thing that prescribed fire does eliminate. The “service work” of thinning non-merchantable materials and pruning lower limbs today comes only on the heels of a successful timber sale. Removing the slash, burning the piles, conducting understory burns all comes as an afterthought, using the proceeds from timber sales to get the work done. No timber sale often means no actual wildfire risk reduction. That is beginning to change under the new U.S. Forest Service Wildfire Crisis Strategy. Of course, more logging is proposed, but an increased emphasis on prescribed burning, putting it on par with the open checkbook always available for suppression, is also in the works. And don’t get me wrong. Removing merchantable sized trees has a place in forest restoration, for instance to protect ancient groves of Giant Sequoias or to restore oak woodlands, but this should all be done with the interest of returning fire as a process to these fire-adapted landscapes. If you live near a forest, it is not reasonable to expect you will never experience smoke. It is not the job of wildland firefighters to die protecting people’s stuff or to prevent the public from being inconvenienced by smoke. If you think that is their job, I would invite you to get out there and give it a whirl, yourself. With today’s climate-charged wildfires, it’s all firefighters can do just to get people out of the way. No amount of airtankers or bulldozers will put the fire out. Only a break in the weather does the trick. In the meantime, wildland firefighters have to contend with the likes of the authors and others who have permanently ensconced into the MAGAsphere of conspiracy thinking that “the government doesn’t put out fires anymore.” Their remedy is to remove all barriers to private for-profit wildfire suppression. How is that going on the war-fighting front? For a sound and well-reasoned look at where money could best be spent to reduce the loss of homes and lives to wildfires, I would direct NC readers to this report, entitled Missing the Mark: Effectiveness and Funding in Community Wildfire Risk Reduction by the Headwaters Economics and the Columbia Climate School. We need to focus on zoning, building materials and fuel reduction in and around communities. Suppression is purely reactive, though it always elicits the “hopes and prayers” politicians so crave. It’s time to get behind proactive measures, rather than villifiying those same brave firefighters who conduct prescribed fires when one of the fewer than 1% of prescribed fires go awry. Away from communities in the wildlands we need to learn to live with fire, rather than continuing the hubris of believing all fires can or should be extinguished. The growing technology of fire behavior prediction and risk management should be fully put to those ends, rather than standing up more airtankers and bulldozers.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for an excellent comment.

      “They also reinforce the dominant belief in the industry-captured U.S. legislature that only more “forest management” (a.k.a. logging) can solve the wildfire problem.”

      Gates has an even better solution: just cut the trees down and bury them, as long as the government will provide some sweet and juicy tax breaks.

      Why does Bill Gates hate living things so much?

  24. Lambert Strether Post author

    This video from Berletic, which appeared after I put Links up, is the most recent information I can find on Gonzalo Lira, and it’s very thin. Basically, Lira hasn’t been seen since the last video he posted, supposedly on the border with Hungary (IIRC, no geolocation has been done). Needless to say, that’s not good news.

      1. Irrational

        There was a post on Mark Sleboda’s TG channel saying Lira was stopped on the Ukrainian side of the border. Not clear if he has evidence.

    1. skippy

      After the whole extraordinary rendition and full suspension of legal rights, if branded a terrorist[tm] thingy, I think Lira’s, or others expectations, wrt him getting out unscathed is quite low. He made himself a huge target whilst talking about aspects of the Ukraine during the conflict, after moving there for the ambiance of its female companionship and its wild west libertarian back drop. Per the Libertarian mindset he only got triggered once the conflict started, don’t remember any dramas wrt the Ukraine pre Russian invasion = great place to live and start a family …. or set up HQ for branded YT videos and the like.

      Ugh …. one of my cornerstones to intelligence/intellect is ***Staying Alive*** and Lira seems intent on putting that theory to the test. I mean how much is the YT or other income streams from jawboning worth at the end of the day, because you don’t have a real job or skill other than bloviate at all the time to the little people.

      Best bit is if he is winging it to get to Hungary without a top shelf handler – that has all the connections and knowledge – its pure luck to get across. He would have to know some bad dudes and then owe an epic favor too just so it worked. Not to mention the Ukrainians could punch his ticket so many ways at the moment and wash their hands of it and who would care at the end of the day. I mean they might just be Fking with him for fun and giggles which then sends a message to others.

      Sorry, but, soft pudgy guys dressed like they do bongs for breakfast and spew ideological stuff don’t fair well when it gets serious.

      1. Savita

        Hey Skip

        ‘Sorry, but, soft pudgy guys dressed like they do bongs for breakfast and spew ideological stuff don’t fair well when it gets serious.’

        This is about the most Australian (sorry Rev Kev) comment I’ve read on this blog ever! Priceless!

        NB for the non-Antipodeans, ‘Skippy’ was the name of a long running childrens show. Featuring a kangaroo that didn’t talk but, in cahoots with a couple of aussie kids, had amazing capacity for, I dunno, defusing IED’s and breaking international smuggling rings.

  25. Wukchumni

    What caused the dearth of vending machines in the USA?

    When I was a mere tyke there were oodles of vending machines, with my favorite being the coke machine that deposited a cup and then ice followed by Coca Cola, and you knew it was ready for you to take it, as a see-thru door opened up as if by a genie!

    You hardy see any vending machines these days, why is that?

    In Japan they are all over the place and dispense damn near everything.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The really cool version of those allowed you to mix and match pop options by pressing the appropriate button as things were still flowing. Orange Coke. Prune Juice (Dr. Pepper) Coke. It tasted good when you were 12.

    2. Pat

      They are still around. My personal favorite is a CVS branded vending machine that offers medicine packets, toothbrushes and at one time at least umbrellas. All on the outer concourse of the Union Square subway station at the Broadway and 14th Street entrance. All credit card based of course.
      At least it was there the last time I was about nine months ago.

      1. Wukchumni

        At Marineland in LA in the 1960’s they had this vending machine that made a wax replica of a dolphin before your very eyes for 2 bits, whee doggies!

        1. Robert

          You brought back a childhood memory. I bought one of those very things when I was there years ago. As I recall, it was brown in color. Blue would have a nicer, more appropriate shade.
          On that trip, somewhere around Marineland, I remember seeing a massive mega-church structure. With so much glass: spires, siding, and windows, it glittered in the sun.

          1. brian

            Could the church have been the Crystal Cathedral?
            40 miles from Marineland, but nearby if you were from outside the area, doing a tour of LA.

    3. Ranger Rick

      The war on cash is my guess. That and inflation. If you carry money at all, is it going to be enough for even one item? I’ve seen a few machines that take cards, but they’re all in very high traffic and high infrastructure areas like airports.

    4. FreeMarketApologist

      They’ve moved to the private sphere? In my office at NYC BigBank, there are 2 vending machines on most every office floor – one for drinks, one for snacks (not subsidized, fortunately or unfortunately).

    5. Synoia

      A vending machine does not up-sell. Hence they are a barrier between the customer and expensive, high margin, useless trinkets sold to the customer.

  26. upstater

    The party line in the NYT is seeing the dawn of reality:

    Ukrainian Troops Trained by the West Stumble in Battle

    Ukraine’s army has for now set aside U.S. fighting methods and reverted to tactics it knows best.

    “The counteroffensive itself hasn’t failed; it will drag on for several months into the fall,” said Michael Kofman, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who recently visited the front lines. “Arguably, the problem was in the assumption that with a few months of training, Ukrainian units could be converted into fighting more the way American forces might fight, leading the assault against a well-prepared Russian defense, rather than helping Ukrainians fight more the best way they know how.”

    Seeing how it has been 70 years since the US fought such a conflict (Korea), obviously training is not based on experience and 80 year old doctrine (WW2). The trainers need training.

    1. nippersdad

      They also might profit from noticing that the US never goes into a fight without sufficient air and artillery cover. It is hard to do combined arms warfare without the arms and people who know how to use them.

      1. The Rev Kev

        They call it overmatch. During the Iraq invasion an American officer was explaining that they would send in air power to wreck Iraq formations followed up by long-range artillery. By the time infantry went in, it was mostly to mop up what was left. But that was never going to happen in the Ukraine but they sent the infantry and armour in anyway.

      2. c_heale

        Given it’s geographical position, The US has military has evolved to be completely reliant on both air and naval power.

        Since Russia has dominance in these two sectors in the Ukraine war, US military doctrine is completely useless.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Alexander Mercouris was making the same point. And he said that as a result of this, that if a war goes bad – like in Vietnam or Afghanistan – they can simply sail and fly away and abandon the place. Remember that image of that US general being the last to board the last plane out of Afghanistan?

  27. Wukchumni

    A Stairway to Nowhere Sells for $32,000 in London

    There’s an investor who’s sure all that glitters is gold
    And he bought a stairway in Twickenham

    When he gets there he knows, the fire exit is all closed
    With clean title he can get what he came for

    Ooh, ooh, and he’s bought a stairway in Twickenham

    There’s a sign on the door that says ground floor, but he wants to be sure
    ‘Cause you know sometimes investment words have two meanings

    In a stair by the 4th floor, there’s a place for your things
    Sometimes all of our thoughts about value are misgiven

    Ooh, it makes me wonder
    Ooh, makes me wonder

    There’s a feeling I get when I look to invest
    And my bidding paddle is staying up, not leaving

    In my thoughts I have seen rings of stairways just for me
    And the voices of those who stand looking at who bought it

  28. Ranger Rick

    Re: buried alive

    In a similar vein, I’m reminded of a PSA/fundraiser a farmer did not too long ago to help with grain bin accidents. It’s the farming equivalent of construction workers getting buried in soil collapses.

  29. Wukchumni

    Youth in Asia update:

    China unveils controversial employment plan, offers to send 300,000 jobless youth to villages to find work WION

  30. Jason Boxman

    Shock Treatment in the Emergency Room

    Remember to thank Obama!

    “There’s no doubt in my mind that [APP has] committed crimes,” said the Manatee hospital physician, who posted on TMB last night to inform his colleagues that APP had finally coughed up his June paycheck. “But I mean, this is the United States. It doesn’t matter. If no one went to jail over the financial crisis no one is going to jail over this. I’ll tell you, though: Never in a million years would I have imagined members of my profession talk about joining a union.

    Without a doubt, the worst president in American history, with his liberal Democrat accomplices.

  31. some guy

    There is a restaurant in Oklahoma which claims to use actual Longhorn-breed beef in its own house-made hamburgers. ( Do they use this same actual Longhorn-breed beef in other ways in their restaurant?) Here is the link.

    Here is a source claiming to be for actual Longhorn-breed beef in Texas. Here is the link.

    Further search engining finds other sources purporting to offer specifically actual Longhorn-breed beef.

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