Links 8/28/2023

Untranslatable phrases that explain what makes French, Japanese and American people tick The Telegraph

Why Central Bankers Are Unsure Whether They’ve Raised Rates Enough WSJ

Financial stability risks from cryptoassets in emerging market economies Bank of International Settlements

FTC Pauses Challenge to Amgen’s $27.8 Billion Deal for Horizon Therapeutics WSJ. Stoller will be happy.

Purdue Pharma’s Bankruptcy Heads to the Supreme Court WSJ


Tropical forests may be warming to a point where plant photosynthesis fails, study warns LA Times

Lower sulfur, warmer oceans: Scientists debate unintended impact of IMO 2020 Hellenic Shipping News

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Maui’s Wildfire Recovery Is Haunted by the Specter of Colonialism The New Republic

Bare electrical wire and leaning poles on Maui were possible cause of deadly fires AP

Hawaii needs better siren codes The Risks Digest


Navigating Water Conflict in Central Asia: The Amu Darya River and the Qosha Tepa Canal Project Modern Diplomacy


Evidence of leaky protection following COVID-19 vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 infection in an incarcerated population Nature. Important. From the Abstract: “A fundamental question regarding SARS-CoV-2 immunity is whether infection and vaccination confer all-or-nothing or exposure-dependent (“”leaky””) protection against infection.” If the vaccines are leaky, then “the dose makes the poison.” From the Discussion: “These findings also suggest the benefit of layered interventions in general, and particularly within densely packed social settings. In the presence of leaky vaccines, non-pharmaceutical interventions have been proposed in tandem with vaccination in order to reduce exposure and mitigate infection spread…. While our findings are obtained from the investigation of a correctional facility system, in the presence of a leaky vaccine, layered interventions may afford a benefit in other congregate settings and community settings where prolonged, close contact with infected people may occur, such as mass gatherings. If the protection offered by vaccination is indeed leaky, the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant may have contributed to the well documented decline in the effectiveness of vaccination during periods of Omicron predominance.”

A Quick Update on the BA.2.86 Variant Eric Topol, Ground Truths:

Project NextGen, a $5 billion initiative by the US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), is supposed to be funding development and clinical trials of better vaccines, which includes nasal and variant-proof. Initial allocations for over $1 billion were just announced, but it isn’t clear when we will see any real progress and whether a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine is a priority. The “”dream vaccine”” has been written about for nearly 3 years. It isn’t a dream. We can do this; BA.2.86’s appearance tells us once again why it’s so important. You’d think we’ve forgotten how quickly the very potent Covid vaccines were made and validated in the first 10 months of 2020.


Hopefully the public health establishment’s butchered vaccine roll-out hasn’t poisoned the well against new vaccines that are either genuinely sterilizing, or universal. One thing I’m sure of: If they do, it will take a whole new (and non-eugenicist) PMC generation to close the sale, because outside the Blue Bubble, none are trusted, and there aren’t enough Blue Arms for the necessary uptake. Mandy Cohen already makes my skin crawl, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.


Chinese leader Xi Jinping doubles down on ‘social stability’ as top priority for Xinjiang while pushing economic development South China Morning Post

With Xi Jinping facing challenges on multiple fronts, can China’s helmsman navigate through stormy seas? Channel News Asia

Communist Party Priorities Complicate Plans to Revive China’s Economy WSJ

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What Evergrande’s collapse means for China’s economy, consumers and luxury Jing Daily

The back story to a Chinese lessor sale of 737 MAX orders Leeham News and Analysis

Foxconn billionaire Terry Gou announces Taiwan presidential bid Channel News Asia


Children of Notorious Ex-Myanmar Junta Minister Continue Corrupt Legacy The Irrawaddy

Trains Intersect with Everyday Life in Nostalgic Illustrations by Shinjiro Ogawa Spoon & Tamago


Adani’s bid to remake Mumbai slum spurs residents’ doubts, favouritism claims Channel News Asia

Row at India’s premier private university sparks debate on academic freedom Al Jazeera


ECOWAS: In Need of Help in Niger? RAND

Nigerien authorities cut off electricity, water to French Embassy: Reports Anadolu Agency

European Disunion

Greek authorities arrest 79 ‘arsonist scum’ in connection with devastating wildfires FOX

France pays winemakers to rip up vines as famous Bordeaux region faces uncertain future CNBC

Dear Old Blighty

Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn: ‘For half an hour, that was it – I thought we had won independence’ Holyrood

Hundreds of hospital wards closed due to Covid outbreaks The Herald

New Not-So-Cold War

Live: Ukraine has ‘liberated’ Robotyne village in Zaporizhzhia region, says official France24:

If you see a tight shot where a wide-angle view is possible, that means there’s something ouf-of-frame that the editor doesn’t want you to see. In this case, I’d speculate that it’s the absence of dragon’s teeth, which would show the Ukrainians had reached or breached at least one of the three Russian defensive lines.

How the U.S. sees Ukraine’s push: No stalemate, but no breakthrough David Ignatius, WaPo. The CIA clears its throat.

To ‘crush the Russian army and strangle the troops in frontline fortifications,’ Ukraine needs to advance 10 more miles, says war expert Business Insider. “Ukraine can break significant ground by bringing Russia’s ground line of communication under its guns and achieve fire control of the land corridor to Crimea.”

“The more your trench looks like a grave, the better your chances of survival.” Things that save, annoy, surprise, and delight soldiers fighting on the front Ukrainska Pravda

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Wagner chief Prigozhin’s death in plane crash confirmed by genetic tests, Russian inquiry says France24

After equating corruption with treason, some cases may be transferred from Anti-Corruption Bureau to Security Service of Ukraine Ukrainska Pravda

The Supremes

Qualified Immunity Faces an Existential Threat at the Supreme Court The New Republic. The deck: “A judicial doctrine that has denied justice to an untold number of plaintiffs may be founded on a centuries-old scrivener’s error.”

Once-suspended Twitter user argues California violated his First Amendment rights SCOTUSblog

Spook Country

Partners in Crime The Tablet. More on the Censorship Industrial Complex and Missouri v. Biden.

Digital Watch

Google Gemini Eats The World – Gemini Smashes GPT-4 By 5X, The GPU-Poors SemiAnalysis

Most of My Instagram Ads Are for Drugs, Stolen Credit Cards, Hacked Accounts, Counterfeit Money, and Weapons 404 Media

Our Famously Free Press

Ralph Nader’s Newspaper Is a Salvo Against D.C. Media The Nation. The Capitol Hill Citizen. PDF only (?!).

Sports Desk

Simone Biles wins record 8th US gymnastics title, a decade after her first Al Jazeera. Impressive:

No “twisties” apparent.

The Bezzle

Deepfake Imposter Scams Are Driving a New Wave of Fraud Bloomberg

“”Anansi’s Gold”” examines one of the world’s biggest con artists The Economist

Zeitgeist Watch

6 Zendaya-Approved Tips to Take the Perfect Instagram Selfie Teen Vogue. News you can use!

Guillotine Watch

Just 22 people are needed to colonize Mars — as long as they are the right personality type, study claims LiveScience. Including servants?

How Wealthy UFO Fans Helped Fuel Fringe Beliefs Scientific American. Beware of squillionaires with bright ideas.

Realignment and Legitimacy

A right-wing sheriffs group that challenges federal law is gaining acceptance around the country AP. Note that the “Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers” view their powers as “self-executing.”

Class Warfare

Symposium from Doctorow and Illingworth’s on Cooley et al. Interesting:

Transnational Uncivil Society Networks: Kleptocracy’s Global Fightback Against Liberal Activism Alexander Cooley, John Heathershaw and Ricard Soares de Oliveira European Journal of International Relations

How the kleptocrats and oligarchs hunt civil society groups to the ends of the Earth Cory Doctorow. Given that oligarchs also fund “liberal” NGOs, I’m inclined to view this as factional fighting within capital. Stimulating nonetheless!

Bagmen for the Transnational Oligarchy Nina Illingworth Dot Com

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Who Gets Sick from COVID-19? Sociodemographic Correlates of Severe Adult Health Outcomes During Alpha- and Delta-Variant Predominant Periods, 9/2020–11/2021 (accepted manuscript) The Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “Per infection with SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality were higher among non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native persons, non-Hispanic Black persons, and Hispanic or Latino persons compared with non-Hispanic White persons, males compared with females, older persons compared with younger, persons in more socially vulnerable counties compared with less, persons in large central metro areas compared with rural areas, and persons in the South compared with the Northeast. Meaningful disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality per infection were associated with sociodemography and geography. Addressing these disparities could have helped prevent the loss of tens of thousands of lives.” How can you claim to do “sociodemographic” analysis without considering income?!

Amid the New Normal of COVID, There’s an Old Normal Too Capital & Main. Remember “essential workers”? Good times.

Workers exposed to extreme heat have no consistent protection in the US AP

Is It Real or Imagined? Here’s How Your Brain Tells the Difference Wired. Don’t tell Marketing!

Antidote du jour (via):

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. southern appalachian

    A side note, this description of one the few Democratic Biden alternatives:
    “ All five CPUC commissioners were appointed by Newsom, including the former Cruise attorney.

    “If you’re looking for an example of regulatory capture, you’re seeing it now,” Peskin said. “It’s unethical and immoral but legal,”

    Big sigh.

  2. furnace

    I’d like to hear some opinions from the well-informed commentariat here, but for all the bluster that China is becoming Japan, and that their economy is stagnating, isn’t still growing 5% per quarter pretty good still? (As referenced in the SCMP piece shared in yesterday’s links) That’s the sort of growth rate European economies (not to mention Japan, obviously) could hardly even dream of having. Yeah, it’s not the 10% per annum of the previous decades, but it’s hardly the “lost decade” level of crisis.

    I do see that the Evergrande and other developers debt crisis is pretty bad, but is it that worrying?

    1. Random

      Read “China is becoming Japan” as “the goal is to turn China into Japan”.
      We’ll know if it worked or not in a few years.

    2. digi_owl

      Wish fulfillment thinking.

      Keep in mind that Japan didn’t just up and turn that way, it was induced via the Plaza accord.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, go look at Japan GDP growth after the Plaza Accord. Only a blip and it was soon back on track. Growth tanked when it tried to freeze a bank crisis when its massive joint real estate and stock market bubbles imploded.

        The big reason for that was the US forcing rapid bank deregulation on very unsophisticated banks (( can say that because I consulted to and later worked for Japan’s then supposedly very best bank0. They did not do any cash flow analysis, let alone NPV analysis. No risk weighting of loans. Counted safe fee income the same as income from loans. The were also loaning 100% against Japanese city real estate and started doing zaitech, as in Japanese stock warrants and other derivatives. The effect was to blow already substantial real estate and stock market bubbles sky high.

    3. TomDority

      “I do see that the Evergrande and other developers debt crisis is pretty bad, but is it that worrying?”
      Yes it is worrying to private investment designed to bubble the housing market and other commodities, ie- driving asset price inflation to make a buck…. a proud finance capitalism (neo-liberal) tradition which has brought such great things to the US….. like a super high Geni co-efficient and high cost of living…a debt peonage. So for the Rentier class – it’s worrying and thus the finger pointing at China to distract from the middle finger the FIRE sector points at us.
      China is ticking along despite US attempts to trip it up in this Free Market race

    4. SocalJimObjects

      It’s not just a question of GDP growth, there’s also the corresponding debt growth. Now I don’t know the concrete answer but I am willing to bet that debt is growing much faster than GDP. Also, there’s no way China’s economy is growing 5% per quarter, I think that’s an annual figure. 5% per quarter implies an annual figure of more than 20%.

      Also, GDP Now is showing the US economy growing at an annual rate of close to 6% this quarter. USA, USA, USA!!!

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        babe in woods on such high level details…but, as stated above, its the rentiers that require Groaf uber alles, no?
        perhaps too far into my “balance sheets are paper”(and so is $) esotericism…
        i understand how “we” do things…but a lot of the time, it seems like China has different metrics and goals, at least internally.
        for years, its felt like all their public numbers were to keep the west’s oligarchs complacent and distracted by all the gravy on their chin.
        are they playing a different game?

        1. The Rev Kev

          A different game with different metrics? I’m sure of it. Something tells me that the west chose ‘efficient’ whereas the Chinese chose ‘effective’. So it was ‘efficient’ for the US to ship most of their industrial capacity to China but for China it was more ‘effective’ to invest in building up their own industrial capacity.

        2. notabanker

          Yes, my first thoughts as well. The Chinese care about those numbers about as much as I care about GDP, inflation, CPI or unemployment numbers, which is to say not at all.

        3. skippy

          A good observation is decades ago 1 dollar spent by Gov = 1 dollar in GDP … today its 3 to 1 ratio …

      2. furnace

        You’re right. It felt a bit high for me, but I didn’t do the due diligence. It’s probably the quarter growth projected to the whole year giving a combined 5% growth.

    5. Edgui

      It is, like most of the moderately relevant coverage in the Western press, a projection of their frustrations. Their economies will not grow like China’s even if it continues to slow. Michael Roberts has written extensively on this. You can read his latest post here.

      1. furnace

        I like Roberts quite a bit, haven’t been following his most recent posts though. Thanks for the tip, I’ll take a read. I know that things are obviously more complex than that, but I can’t help but be reminded of Martyanov insisting that Russia’s economy produces actual goods (ditto for China, obviously, and whose quality has become impressive indeed: I remember when Made in China was synonymous with poor quality) and so for whatever may come to pass, it’ll take a distinctly different trajectory than the West in currently heading.

        1. jrkrideau

          I remember when Made in China was synonymous with poor quality

          I am just old enough to remember when “Made in Japan” was synonymous with poor quality.

          That was just before the Japanese motorcycle, and then the auto, industries devastated the North American industries.

    6. PlutoniumKun

      Don’t focus on GNP growth, its not a relevant measure for comparing developing and developed countries, especially how its measured in China. Pettis gives a long form explanation here. It terms of assessing what the ‘real’ economy is doing in China, its a pretty much useless measure.

      Only time will tell if this is an existential economic crisis for China or just a very unpleasant blip. But the reality is that a crisis is inevitable for any country pursuing an unbalanced growth model – i.e. by focusing on investment and exports over domestic/consumer led growth. This is baked into the standard model – and the Chinese are fully aware of this, and have been since at least the 1980’s and 1990’s when I started following (from afar) the Chinese economy from a development economics perspective. Back in the 1990’s the Chinese devoted very significant resources to studying the Japanese late 80’s collapse, later the 1990’s Asian crisis, and the multiple crashes which foiled numerous countries over the past century or more from crossing the threshold from upper-developing to developed country status. There is a line of thought among some China analysts that Xi was selected and given extraordinary powers specifically to deal with what was foreseen to be a very difficult transition from a the current development model to ‘developed’ status, which has always overtly been the holy grail for the CCP.

      I don’t think there is much doubt that the current situation in China is very serious. In my opinion, the housing crisis is a symptom, not the cause of the current problems (in reality, the Chinese economy started showing signs of strain even before Covid). The core problem being several decades of internal debt build up and chronic mal-investment along with an overdependence on rising property values to underpin spending at a local level. But the housing issue alone is gigantic – by any objective measurement it is vastly greater as a proportion of the economies size than the Irish and Spanish crashes of 2007-9. When you add in demographic issues and climate induced strains, this is potentially much more than just a cyclical downturn.

      It is highly unlikely for there to be a financial crash as the Chinese banking and finance model is very different from in the west, or for that matter, most other Asian economies. In simple terms, Beijing has plenty of tools to stabilize the finance side of the economy, and not having external debt is a huge advantage – not to mention the enormous strides made in just the last decade in gaining competitive advantage in a wide range of important manufacturing sectors. But it is increasingly recognized within China (this is very obvious reading between the lines in various statements from Beijing) that the current model has finally run out of steam and needs fundamental overhauling. The problem is that this has been pretty obvious for some time, but despite numerous policy statements going back at least 2 decades (the big ‘change’ was supposed to happen after the 2008 Olympics), very little has been done, its always been easier to open up the spending spigots and kick the can down the road. In particular, the funding model for local government – which has always been the big driver of growth – is now not fit for purpose and must be replaced by either a proper local taxation system or direct funding from Beijing. But that is easier said than done. There has to be a very significant transfer of wealth to ordinary citizens through higher wages and better social welfare provision in order to boost consumer spending (one of the few things orthodox and heterodox economists agree on when looking at China). And as for debt – in theory, this is a simple problem to address (i.e. monetize/forgive it in one form or another), but there appears to be an unwillingness to even discuss this option within high level circles in China.

      The irony to me is that having studied the Japanese crash intensively, the Chinese may somehow manage to replicate exactly the mistakes the Japanese made. There appears to be a lot of pressure to go for yet more concrete pouring and refinancing of debt as a ‘solution’. This will risk deflation, zombification and/or a greater crisis further down the line. While it can be argued that the current property/investment boom is not as bad in China as it was in Japan, in other respects the Chinese economy may be a lot weaker than Japan was at the time – for all its modernity, China is still essentially a poor country – significantly poorer than, for example, Russia or Turkey, and probably not even matching Mexico. What is unique about China is its enormous size, which allows it to mobilize resources and dominate economic sectors in a way small developing countries can’t. But then again, this has never helped India, which also has some very advanced technological sectors.

      The other huge problem – ironic given demographic problems – is youth unemployment. This seems to be a characteristic of fast growing export-led economies once they rise above the sweatshop levels of development – both Japan and South Korea have had huge problems in keeping up employment levels even at times when their economies have been seen to be healthy when measured in GNP. In simple terms, I don’t think you can keep up a high level of employment if you insist on suppressing wages and consumer demand. But this is integral to an export/investment model of development.

      If you want to understand whats happening in China its important I think to forget the whole China vs US thing (the US has almost no direct or indirect influence on what is happening in China) and look at it as it is – a typical, if unprecedentedly large, example of a country pursuing very rapid growth using what used to be called the ‘American’ system (later refined by the Germans, South Koreans, Taiwanese and Japanese). Each of those economies have unique features, but the underlying advantages and disadvantages of combining high levels of internal wage/spending suppression in the domestic economy with an insistent on export and investment led growth all seem to lead in the same direction. The only question is whether they can achieve the transition to a more balanced economy (i.e. ROK and Taiwan or even Russia) or end up butting their heads against the ceiling Argentina or Brazil style, or perhaps end up in some sort of Japanese style limbo, albeit at a much lower level of development than Japan. A few years ago, I would have been fairly confident that the CCP could pull it off, especially with someone as impressive as Xi at the helm. But more recently there are increasing signs of inept leadership, groupthink and poor decision making at higher levels of government in Beijing, going right to the top. There is a lot of rot among our leadership classes everywhere, not just in the west.

      1. furnace

        Thank you for the very detailed answer. A few years ago I read The Great Rebalancing by Pettis and found it to be a very good book. In the end I suppose China is due for some very painful changes, and maybe “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” will have to take on a different form from now on.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I haven’t read that book, but Pettis has been pretty consistent in his arguments for quite some time, and so far I think he’s mostly been proven right by events. I don’t agree with everything he has written, but he is one of a rapidly shrinking group of English language commentators on China who at least try to maintain some sort of objectivity. Some recent commentary in academia has been quite shocking to me in that they are not even pretending anymore to being objective – there is a very dangerous closing in over the Overton Window on Chinese discourse – and not just in the centrist/conservative mainstream media. A lot of commentators on the left have lost all sense of perspective and simply assume that because China is the target of US aggression that this makes them all wise and good.

          I’m always dubious about claims about the current Chinese system having much to do with socialism (but there are still plenty of old style socialists within the CCP), although in the past decade or so there have been some very impressive improvements in basic protections for citizens and quality of life improvements. It is still though, a very dog eat dog society and from what I can see, one increasingly dominated by a corrupt elite. Even quite privileged Chinese I know seem quite frustrated and disenchanted. If you are not part of a very small in-group, your chances of getting ahead are narrowing. It’s not always wise to extrapolate from anecdote, but the very small subset of Chinese people that I know have become very increasingly worried about the economy, even within just the past few months.

      2. hk

        I always wondered, between China and Russia, it is China that is less stable politically. The impression I’ve had is that China is less “functionally democratic,” that is, with fewer avenues for popular discontent to shape the policymaking process–ironically, a bit like combination of EU bureaucracy and US party organization.–that render the leadership less responsive. This struck me as a likely danger during the Bo Xilai affair and I haven’t had too much reason to think otherwise (granted, I’m not very current on Chinese politics these days).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It is an interesting question. If you take a very long (simplified) historical big picture look at both countries, Russia has managed to maintain its core stability over very long periods, while China has tended to go through cycles of rapid growth and near total collapse as a centralized state. I think you are right to say that Russian society and culture tends to allow for the system to bend under pressure without breaking, while the Chinese system is strong, but essentially brittle. If there was a severe loss of faith in Beijing for some combination of reasons its entirely possible that China could spin apart quite rapidly, as so much power and wealth lies in the provinces. It wouldn’t even necessarily be bloody or violent – you could see local leaders simply refuse to do what Beijing tells them to do, with the military refusing to intervene, leaving Beijing as a purely symbolic capital.

          Just to be clear, I’m not predicting or expecting this to happen, but if I was forced to bet on one or the other breaking apart over the next half century, I’d definitely go for China.

    7. Dan Berg

      gdp “with Chinese characteristics” ain’t the same as gdp in US. In China, CCP announces: gdp WILL grow at 5% – and it does. In US, gdp is a result; in China, a command.

    8. Jessica

      The Plaza Accord determined when Japan became Japan (its growth slowed permanently) but not that it would happen. Japan’s economic model (suppress consumption, feed the proceeds into plant and infrastructure investment, use exports to balance soaring supply vs. stagnant internal demand) was about to run out of runway. In a few years of continued exponential growth of production and export, they would have needed another planet to export to. US intervention just brought the expiration date for that model forward a few years.
      China ran into the same wall (lack of new buyers for their exports) in the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Since then, they have replaced just enough exports with internal infrastructure construction and borrowing and a massive real estate bubble. The same as Japan 1985-1990.
      In theory, the Communist Party of China could decide to redistribute toward ordinary Chinese to stimulate consumption, but so far there an amazing lack of signs that they will. Repeatedly, they acknowledge the shortfall in demand, they announce supply-side solutions.
      Basically, a few decades with this model swells the power of the social forces that benefit from it so much that it is impossible to switch to a different model.

      1. Yves Smith

        It is also tendency of emerging economy currencies to strengthen. Japan’s annual growth rate in 1981 was 4.1%, versus 6.7% in 1988, 4.9% i 1989 and 4.9% in 1990. I was working for a top Japanese bank in a senior capacity, and I can tell you that after the Plaza and then the Louvre accord, there was no whinging about growth in Japan.

        The US had a very bad recession in 1990-1991 due to its S&L and LBO loan bubble bursting. Japan already had very large reel estate and stock market bubbles which blew sky high in the later 1980s due to the US pressuring Japan to deregulate its very unsophisticated banks rapidly for the benefit of US investment banks. Japanese banks did no cash flow based lending analysis. They would lend 100% against the value of urban real estate. Japanese companies were borrowing against this land to buy companies, buildings, resorts, and golf courses abroad at inflated prices and do even more speculation in the Japanese market with newly created derivative products (called zaitech). The bursting of that bubble is what killed the Japanese “miracle”.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think its an interesting ‘what if’ of history to speculate what would have happened if Japan had not fallen into the trap of the Plaza Accords. When the rest of Asia hit the buffers in the late ’90’s I think it was a mix of blind luck and nimble leadership that allowed the ‘winners’ – ROK, Taiwan, Singapore – to carry out the necessary changes to allow for recovery and ultimately became stronger for it while others (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc) fell back badly in the long term.

          Its tempting to say that Japan was institutionally strong enough to manage any internal or external crisis and would now be much wealthier and stronger, but its also of course a truism that the Japanese system is somewhat supertanker-like in its refusal to change course until it hits something very large and nasty. So I wouldn’t rule out a scenario where Japan somehow managed to build its own trap for itself.

          1. Yves Smith

            Again, the Plaza Accord simply was not the driver. In fact, my sense is the Japanese may have not minded too much because it enabled them to attempt to shift to more domestic consumption. The Japanese call it gaiatsu, or “foreign pressure,” using the excuse of foreign demands to do necessary or desirable things that would otherwise be difficult due to factional opposition.

            Again there’s no good data as to why it didn’t work but the BoJ and domestic pols perceived that their efforts were producing too much divisive inequality. That was a significant driver for the interest rate increases. There is an obvious reason why trying to increase consumption would not go very far: Japan’s tiny apartments. What can you spend more $ on? Gold leaf on your sushi? (that was a real trend). Trips to Paris to buy Chanel bags and Hermes scarves? For the better off, golf club membership….

            The Japanese had already agreed to voluntary curbs on auto exports in 1981. Despite that, when the dollar shot to the moon after the Volcker shock ended (1982-1984) US automakers lost huge market share to the Japanese and never got it back. Mind you this would have probably happened inevitably; when I was in business school (1979-1981) both the business press and the HBS profs saw a lot of US manufacturing management, and the Big Three above all, as sclerotic. It was also widely believed that the Germans and Japanese had the upper hand via newer infrastructure generally and newer auto factories….an unexpected advantage of post WWII rebuilding.

            1. Acacia

              Yves, if there are any books on the Japanese economy that you feel ‘get it right’, I’d be happy to learn of them.

  3. timbers

    After equating corruption with treason, some cases may be transferred from Anti-Corruption Bureau to Security Service of Ukraine Ukrainska Pravda

    Maybe we should think about doing this in the USA which like Ukraine is at war (since 2003 with no sign this will change anytime soon thank you, Supreme Court and others), and given the Supremes have practically made it impossible to prove a crime involving corruption in a US court…well It’s obvious – prosecute corporate and government corruption as treason (and please lets start with a few of Supreme Court members with their sanitized bridery schemes by immediately arresting and charging them with treason w/o bail).

    If we can’t nuke’m from the skies to be sure, than at least aim at the heart of the nest.

      1. Procopius

        I’m not so sure about that. Sometime around 1967 the Supremes ruled that the United States was effectively at war, despite the lack of Congress obeying the constitution. I don’t know the name of the case, but it had relatively little effect. The military forces had already stopped prosecuting soldiers for desertion, because (a) it was too hard to prove, and (b) there were too many of them. I suppose the ruling saved some insurance companies money on their war clauses. In fact a lot of people wanted Jane Fonda to be prosecuted for treason, and I think she was eligible although I agreed with her.

    1. mrsyk

      It would be great as you see it working out, but careful what you ask for. “Anti-corruption” is often synonymous with anti-political opposition. Polarized hair trigger reactionary society like here in the US enable it. The Trump investigations/fishing expeditions speak of this. The wholesale opposition clean-outs in Ukraine do as well.

  4. BillS

    In “Untranslatable phrases”, they gave short shrift to the many great German difficult-to-translate expressions like “Schadenfreude”, “Gemütlichkeit – and my all time favorite – “Backpfeifengesicht”.

    Italians also have many great expressions. For example, our elites always have “la puzza sotto il naso”, and a great big “faccia tosta” and they continually “rompono le palle” when they “raccontano balle”.

    1. Terry Flynn

      I find it hard to think of British English words that convey as complex concepts as those mentioned; instead, we are good at having a multitude of slang words that are frequently highly region-specific. (A cob is a bread roll round here; in parts of the North-West it is something that is NSFW).

      The only word that I think comes close to the definition of untranslatable phrases is one that is very well known and used round here (East Midlands) and which The Full Monty used (if Wikipedia is right – too long since I saw the film for me to remember): nesh. It is a pity it is increasingly “simply” used as a synonym for cold when it was never used in such a simple way when I was a kid.

      1. TimH

        Part of British humour is regional slang… think of the Goodies’ Ecky Thump, or Eric Idle unable to pronounce the letter C. How the latter script passed the censors at the time still flabbers my ghasts.

        1. Old Sarum

          Get the Berkshire Hunt to de-flabber your ghast, It has nothing to do now that fox-hunting is on the nose.


          ps It’s euphemisms all the way down (I bet the police would be called if someone decided to take a rest in a restroom. [I’m looking at you John])

      2. Mark Gisleson

        “Cob” is not a dirty word in Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin (I am a native speaker of Iowa-English, semi-fluent in MN-English and I can read-write WI-English). Even in farm country you can use “cob” in a sentence without middle schoolers giggling.

        Cobs are, however, associated with countless bathroom jokes which is what I think you’re alluding to. My first home literally came with one sink and an outhouse. I grew up on a road that’s still gravel. I have never met anyone who used a cob in such a manner.

        Absent a curry comb, I can easily envision using cobs to clean short-haired animals like cattle and pigs but humans simply are nowhere near that tough. It’s always been a joke, a classic example of ‘rough’ humor.

        TMI, I know.

        1. Steven A

          I am a native of NW Iowa also fluent in that dialect, as well as NE-English and I have a smattering of SD-English. I only heard third hand accounts of cobs being used for personal hygeine, but then I grew up in town.

          I do recall, however, the Sears catalogue being used for that purpose.

      3. Revenant

        I don’t think these words or phrases are impossible to translate. Half of them are rather mutable and translate differently depending on context and half of them are rather precise and do not map neatly onto an English equivalent. But the point of translation is to try!

        I think we have a lot of information dense words in English but, typically, most of them are about class or social position. Try to find one or two word approximants of the following in French or Spanish:
        – “redbrick” (of a University or its alumni)
        – “chippy” (of a person)
        – “bluestocking” (ditto)
        – “jolly hockeysticks” (of a person / a type)
        – “county set” (ditto)
        – “rugger bugger” (of a person, on thin fanny pack ice here, god forbid the rugger bugger smokes fags!)
        – “not cricket” (of a behaviour)
        – “character-building” (of an experience, see also “bracing”)
        – “fast” (of a person’s or social group’s character)
        – “sound” (ditto)
        – “church” vs “chapel” (through a mirror in French, given the social position of the Huguenots)
        – “too clever by half”
        – “cosmopolitan”
        – “underwhelming” (and a whole lot more nautically inspired talk, from hanging your hook to being three sheets to the wind)

      1. R.S.

        Eine Backe is a cheek. I’ve had no idea what it has to do with pfeifen tho, so I had to look it up. Seems it started either as a play on Ohrfeige (which comes from fegen, not from Feigen), feige-feife, or some obscure local word. TIL.

        1. Schopsi

          A Backpfeife (just as an “Ohrfeige”, they are indeed equivalent terms) is a slap to the face and a Backpfeifengesicht is “a face you can’t help wanting to slap (or punch)”.

          Obviously you won’t say someone has a “Backpfeifengesicht” about someone you like.

    2. britzklieg

      “Ausbildungslocher” – hole in one’s education, lacunae

      and my favorite, if ribald, Italian toast: “Acqua pura, vino fresco, cazzo duro, fica stretta”

    3. digi_owl

      As best i can tell, they are full able to be translated. But their literal meaning and cultural meaning are detached. Thus translating the literal do not translate the cultural. Never mind that English is the only Germanic language that do not use compound words.

      All this reminds me of a much ballyhooed Star Trek TNG episode where these aliens communicate completely in allegory. Supposedly this makes them impossible to communicate with, yet nobody stops to ask how their children learn these allegories in the first place.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ahh – ‘Sokath, his eyes uncovered.’ Children pick up their cues rapidly from their parents through context. They can make use of words in their own speech, even though they may not know the exact meaning of a word or phrase that they use. As an example, a child may have heard and now use the f word but without understanding what it means. But it is an interesting concept of a culture- (1:25 mins)

        1. hk

          There is something I always wondered: how the modern Vietnamese can communicate without most people knowing Chu Han (Chinese characters adapted to Vietnamese, from which a lot of Vietnamese vocabulary comes from), after Vietnam decided to go with Latin script.

          The thing is that, even if you don’t know the “actual” context of a word, you know how it sounds and what context it shows up. In some ways, it’s more troubling for foreigners from other parts of the former written Chinese cultural sphere, but not really for the Vietnamese who are immersed in their own cultural contexts all the time (as an example, I was amused to learn that “Tet” in Vietnamese is actually Vietnamese rendition of Chinese character meaning “holiday” or “festival,” so that every “traditional” holiday (and a few others) is actually a “Tet.” So the lunar new year is Tet Nguyen Dan. The Western new year is Tet Duong Lich. The mid-Autumn festival is Tet Trung Thu. But Chu Han has different word ordering from, say, Chinese, where the “Day” comes at the end of the word in Chinese, so Zhong Qiu Jie, or, to use Vietnamese equivalent, Trung Thu Tet. Lunar new year is harder to make out because the Vietnamese name is based on what in modern Korea (I don’t know about China) is a very obscure expression, meaning the “Origin” or the “Foundation ” in addition to a different ordering and different pronunciations. I suppose none of these would bug Vietnamese much:. Tet Nguyen Dan is lunar new year and all that and only foreigners would wonder why Seol is Won Dan Jeol, eh, Jeol Won Dan, in Vietnam, or vice versa (although, Vietnamese watching K Drama might nowadays….)

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’ve always seen it as a sign of typical Vietnamese (and Korean) pragmatism that they ditched Chinese characters as fast as they could. The Japanese, in their own uniquely stubborn way, took their writing system up to 11, just because. Why have one alphabet when you can mix and match together 5 different ones in an apparently entirely haphazard manner?

            Most Vietnamese that I know are pretty surprised when you point out how many Vietnamese words are of Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) origin – similarly with Japanese. But I’m not really sure its of relevance to understanding their written language, any more than the number of French or Latin loanwords in English really has much cultural significance, or for that matter, the vast number of French loan words in Vietnamese or English in Japanese.

            On the point about Tet, its kind of interesting that a Vietnamese born friend of mine living here in Dublin was outraged when the local council here put up banners on lamposts marking Lunar New Year in mandarin. ‘They can’t even get the animal right’ she said (its the year of the cat, not rabbit, for Vietnamese). I tried to persuade her to write in to complain, just for some trolling fun. Maybe next year.

            1. digi_owl

              Heh, that seem to be how japan does it in all things. Just look at how they mix Shinto, Buddhisms and Christianity.

            2. hk

              I don’t know if Koreans quite did ditch Chinese as completely as the Vietnamese did. Chinese characters are still taught fairly extensively and knowing them helps placing a lot of Korean vocabulary in context, even if it is not “almost required” as in Japanese. What surprised me about Chu Han when I was trying to figure it out was how different it is from classical Chinese: Vietnamese really did go far creating their own distinct version of “Chinese” writing system and, tbh, I think the modern Vietnamese lose a lot of their heritage when they ditch what only looks superficially “Chinese.” (This was the argument by many Korean scholars at various times when the South Korean government proposed to eliminate use of “Chinese”: that Hanja is not Chinese, but adaptation of Chinese characters to fit Korean context and thus part of “Korean” culture. True, but Hanja is pretty close to old Chinese, far more than Vietnamese Chu Han).

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I’d never really thought about it that way, but I’m sure you are right that there is something lost when a writing system is ‘simplified’. I’ve heard Taiwanese insist that their mandarin is superior because they didn’t adapt the more simplified modern writing system.

                In Ireland the old Irish script was dropped from official Irish to make life easier for students, but I do think a lot was lost as the older script was far more beautiful. I doubt it helped anyone learn the language.

            3. in between work

              There is a very practical reason for why Japan stayed with kanji. The language has a very poor inventory of sounds and represents very poorly or not at all the differences between different Sino-Japanese words. Korean is quite rich in this regard and easily has different sounding words, or syllable sequences, for different Sino-Koreans terms, with the differences easily recognizable by sound only without Chinese characters. A luxury Japanese does not have except in the context of everyday speech with its simpler vocabulary, emphasis, and clear context of use. Here is an example.


              Going from words in their character form to pronunciations from Mandarin to Cantonese to Korean to Nara period Japanese to Tokugawa period Japanese, we have over 40 Chinese words with Korean nearly matching them in sound-differentiation while late pre-modern Japanese only has one word, or syllable sequence, matching them. Quite a stunning contrast.

              This is not because Korean is any more closely related to Chinese then is Japanese. It’s an agglutinative language like Native American languages are and its specific grammar shows similarities to Altaic and Dravidian languages while being nearly identical to Japanese in its basics. It’s just that its sound inventory is large and the Japanese one is not. Technical Japanese writing, heavily dependent on Sino-Japanese, much of it actually of native coinage (more on that below), will not get off the ground without kanji.

              About Japanese being surprised at Chinese origin of words, I find that surprising given the omni-presence of kanji in Japanese. It might be genuine surprise – and I myself have been surprised that some Korean words have Chinese character origins – or it might be some kind of nationalism. I’ve had arguments with fellow Koreans about how deep was the penetration of Confucianism in Korean culture and whether Korea belongs in the Sinic cultural sphere. Conversely I’ve had arguments with Chinese who would subsume Korean cultural items to the status of mere copies of Chinese ones. Just saying there is a lot of pigheaded nationalistic narcissisms, and a refusal to admit contributions, out there from all directions.

              Another might be that they viewed the words as having been coined by Japan and were too polite to say so. One of the wonders of civilizational history is that the Japanese just grafted an entire civilization onto their own and produced oceans of vocabulary using kanji to express modern Western ideas within a matter of decades. Both Korea and China are heavily reliant on these terms for modern life. The Chinese version of the name “People’s Republic of China” uses these Japanese Sino-Japanese terms for the exception of the term “China”. Think of all the technical or fancy words in English with ultimately Latin roots, but not directly coming from Latin but via French from the days of the Norman Conquest and onward. Probably most of the technical terms used in East Asia with Chinese character roots in science, business, politics, and other fields are actually of Japanese coinage.

              1. SocalJimObjects

                IMHO, the Japanese just pretend to be surprised at Chinese origin of words. My Japanese teacher has always been upfront that Kanji came from China, and Japanese leaders when speaking to their Chinese counterparts would often acknowledge the huge cultural debt they owe to the Chinese.

                I agree that there’s been contributions from all around, but at the same time I think it’s undeniable that Chinese characters are the Lingua Franca of East Asia. Yes Koreans use mostly Hangeul, but from what I know, people working in the legal industry, like lawyers will need to possess an above average level of Hanja.

                1. in between work

                  Correction –
                  “and I myself have been surprised that some Korean words have Chinese character origins” should be “… some indigenous sounding Korean words have Chinese …”

                  I was about to emphatically agree with you on the usage of hanja in the legal profession. But checking an online Korean encyclopedia, it seems I was just about to act out my age.


                  Google translate is quite awkward here, but the gist comes out that Korea is ever more moving away from hanja use. Even in legal textbooks and statements of the law.

                  You’re still right that legal professionals will have a better knowledge of hanja than average. In fact, better than other educated people.

                  As for “contributions” I was being vague. No objection that China had been the great centrifugal force from which much of East Asian culture derived or took inspiration from. I should’ve said “origins and contributions”.

                  As things are Japanese don’t like to own up to their debts from the peninsula and the continent, Chinese are loud about being the originators or teachers of it all, and Koreans play the first game towards China while playing the second towards Japan. This is admittedly an exaggeration; Koreans will admit to a general idea of Chinese influence with nods to particulars like hanja and Confucianism – as long as they are not set upon by aggressive Chinese nationalists – and are actually quite willing these days to acknowledge Japanese originality. But there’s also some truth to it. It’s a mess that accounts for a lot of mutual animosity and I wish everyone could be more gracious and objective.

                  The first link I put up above isn’t working. Here’s the link to the image alone.

                  One thing about Sino-Koreans words. I don’t want to exaggerate Korean’s capacity to avoid homophones. Especially, when one gets into arcane subjects one finds quite a bit of terminology that can be confusing because they have the same sounds of everyday Sino-Korean words that one wouldn’t think about looking up the Chinese character base for. And there are the commonly used homophones that avoid problems because the contexts for their being spoken are usually different. Just that the situation is much less burdened by the need for hanja knowledge than the kanji equivalent for Japanese.

                  Koreans are now in nearly the same situation of English speakers who need a minimum education of Greek and Latin roots, if at all, to be sensitive to the nuances of the language. Japanese are in the situation of a speaker of some hypothetical European language where a fairly deep dive into Greek and Latin roots is needed for fluency. And even this rough analogy doesn’t do justice to the complexity of its writing system – or four to however you count it several systems.

                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    Thanks, this is really interesting.

                    I must admit (as a complete amateur in this subject) that I’ve always been skeptical about claims that Chinese characters are essential for Japanese – other languages with relatively limited phonemes (such as Arabic) do fine with phonetic alphabets. And of course a lot of early Japanese literature, especially female authored, was in kana only.

                    But its unquestionable that Chinese characters add a lot to the richness of written Japanese. Even with something as simple as the title of manga/anime it can convey much beyond a simple translation. Mind you, I once had a long conversation with two Japanese friends trying to explain why the English word ‘slayer’ works so well as a translation of Kimetsu no yaiba. They thought it was a reference to a well known metal band.

                  2. SocalJimObjects

                    Thanks for this. I can only speak to my experiences as someone who took up Japanese after learning Chinese as a third language, and no, English is not my native tongue. Now I have never attended a formal Chinese or Japanese school, but one think I do know is that no study of Chinese characters is complete without the understanding of radicals, and the later are taught in both China and Japan. Now those won’t help you with Hiragana and Katakana, but I think the Japanese has a pretty good grasp on the fundamentals of Kanji.

                    This part is just my general observation. Without globalization, I think it’s very easy for most Japanese to think that Kanji was just a Japanese invention, but for a nation that’s quite exposed to the outside world through the Internet, television, and travel among other things, it takes almost an unbelievable amount of consensual hallucination to convince oneself that no those characters you are seeing in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, China etc are TOTALLY different from Kanji.

    4. DJG, Reality Czar

      BillS: I will raise your phrases a couple of levels of piquancy, if I may:

      Faccia tosta = Faccia da culo
      [Try explaining either of them to an American, although there is Ignazio La Russa to show as example]

      Rompere le palle
      Rompere le cabbasisi
      [Camilleri at his most inventive]

      Raccontare balle
      Dire cazzate
      [supposedly spicy, but used so often I expect to hear it from nonne]

      [not piquant–timeless, instead]

      The immortal:
      Spirito di patate

      I was complimented on Ferragosto: Sei un pezzo di pane. Try explaining that one.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          Rev Kev:
          Although the expression seems already to have existed in the Sicilian language. He brought it into the dialect of Sicilian spoken in his mythical Vigàta.

          1. Bart Hansen

            After reading Elena Ferrante’s quartet I was still ignorant about what exactly was Neapolitan ‘dialect’, as in “she had changed into dialect”.

            I take it is different from, for example, cockney rhyming slang or pig latin.

      1. BillS

        I love it! Thanks DJG.

        Then there is the whole dialect world (my wife’s first language)! Two of my faves.

        “Ai mat e padron, i a sempre razon” – The crazy one and the boss are always right.
        “La boca non è straca se non la sa da vaca” – Your mouth isn’t tired until it tastes like cow (cheese at the end of a meal).

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I could not get a link to some musical accompaniment to post, but for those interested, try searching for the following on youtube – Φωτεινή Δαμαλάκη – Στα Αρxiδια Μου

    5. Aurelien

      I thought it was a disappointing article: most of the words aren’t “untranslatable” at all, they just have a larger cultural significance which is difficult to reflect in translation. “Ganbatte!” from “Ganbaru” just means persevere, or “keep at it” or just “try hard” and reflects the Japanese view of the ultimate superiority of spirit over material factors. But it’s also a term of praise: a “ganbariko” is a child who tries very hard to succeed.

      There’s nothing untranslatable about “jusqu’au bout” either, and I’m not sure it expresses anything fundamental about the French. There are also cases where the expression means the opposite of what it seems to mean, so “pas terrible” literally means “not terrible” but it’s actually a disguised form of criticism. In a typical French use of the negative as the positive, it really means “not actually terrible, but actually not that great either.” It’s always used dismissively. And of course there are words that can be translated but mean nothing when they are. “Chouette”, which literally means a little owl, is one such. In everyday French it means “great”, “nice” “cool” or whatever. I don’t know why and I’ve never met anyone who does. Not to mention the famously untranslatable word “truc”, which means …well, I suppose “thingy” or “whatsit” or almost anything depending on the context.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Aurelien: Yep, including the Italian expression “fare una bella figura” was a tad too expected–and it translates readily as “cutting a fine figure.” It isn’t an expression I hear or see in periodicals in the Chocolate City.

        Besides, the Italian word “disinvoltura,” doing something effortlessly, making it look easy, is more elegant and less striving.

        1. Bsn

          Yes, so many examples. In Italian, “madonna” is not only madonna (mother of Jesus). And my favorite French expression is les cons sont partout. Getting a bit racy, but also funny – and true dat.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        in local spanish/texmex:”chingaderra”…meaning “that damned thing”/”thingamajig”.
        wife’s Familia laughs every time this guero cabron uses it.

      3. Bugs

        I particularly like jusqu’àu bout when it becomes a noun to describe a radical true believer of something as a “jusqu’àu boutiste”.

      4. PlutoniumKun

        A lot of ‘untranslatable’ words are simply words which require descriptive terms in other languages. For whatever reason, some languages have lots of single or compound words to describe things (German, Japanese), while other languages prefer fewer words, with more phrases (English).

        For some reason lost in the mists of time, Irish political parties love choosing names which are essentially untranslatable. Sinn Fein literally means ‘us’, but perhaps should be translated more to ‘together towards autarky’ or something like that. Fine Gael is a play on old Irish descriptive terms for family relationships – ‘Fine’ is a sort of prefix for related family circles based on shared ancestors, while ‘Gael’ means the Irish, so it sort of translates to ‘the big related family of all the Irish’. Fianna Fail is even more obscure, as it mixes the old term for a mythical Irish band who defended the shores of Ireland (Fianna) with an archaic word meaning something like ‘destiny’, maybe closer to the Japanese/Chinese ‘Ki/chi’., so it can be translated as ‘the ancient warriors defending the spirit and destiny of the nation’.

        There is something to be said for just calling yourself ‘Labour’ or ‘Conservative’.

        1. Mangelwurtzel

          Translations courtesy of my taciturn father, a Meath man:
          Sinn Fein: Ourselves Alone
          Fianna Fail: Soldiers of Destiny

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Those are the most common translations you hear, but they don’t really convey the original intention. The first sounds kind of sulky in English and the latter downright fascist.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          That was fascinating, PK. But I think the Irish names for political parties have some flair and romance to them.

          American names are nothing special. The Democratic Party is anything but these days. Did it ever live up to its name? Maybe in Andy Jackson’s day, but not since. People may love FDR, but he didn’t become a nominee the first time because he led some insurgent group over the Establishment. That would be true only of McGovern, and he was made an example by the reactionary mayors like Daley, the union bosses like Meany and Hoffa, and the governors like Hearns.


          the ancient warriors defending the spirit and destiny of the nation

          at least lays down a noble sounding model and aspiration. The Round Table and all that.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Translations can be a very hot topic in Ireland, especially with public signage.

            I grew up near an area called Fairview, the name of which derived from a English speaker mangling the Irish word for, I think, a ‘field of cows’. It was then back translated by some civil servant as ‘fionn radhairc’ on signage, which badly translates to something like ‘pure and clear viewpoint’.

            The biggest park in Dublin is called the Phoenix Park, which has a Phoenix statue in the middle, but the name actually comes from a mis-hearing of the Irish ‘fionn uisce’, which means ‘bright water’, which is appropriate as its full of springs in wet weather.

            1. JohnA

              Similarly in Wales.
              There was a sign that read in English:
              No entry for heavy goods vehicle.
              Residential site only.

              The local council sent a request to its translation agency for a Welsh version by email and got the following reply, which they dutifully added to the road sign.

              “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated”.

      5. digi_owl

        Their dutch example is a bit amusing, as you find a Swedish term that come close. And that is also often referred to as being “impossible to translate”.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Nigerien authorities cut off electricity, water to French Embassy: Reports”

    Since the Niger authorities told the French Ambassador to get out of the country and the deadline has passed, it should make no difference if he was gone. But that Ambassador is not budging so by cutting off water, food and power, it is only a matter of time till that Ambassador scoots out to that French base. And they are on a countdown as well. The west might be inclined to bluster over the expulsion of that Ambassador but they don’t have a good rep as far as Ambassadors are concerned. This article goes into it a bit-

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Assuming Biden doesn’t start airlifting supplies into Niamey, you’re probably right. I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine an Ambassador-class human being engaging in fasting as a means of political protest.

      Still, no matter how short the water and food supplies, does anyone doubt that the French Embassy would have a fully stocked wine cellar? This is already begging to be made into a sitcom.

  6. britzklieg

    “very potent” my Aunt Fanny, Erich. If they are so damn potent why is the virus utterly uncontained, continuing to mutate, spread and to sicken and kill people. I call BS on his ever present “concern” while continuing to shill for a vaccine which has mostly failed.

    1. Verifyfirst

      I can’t evaluate the existing vaccines (his name is Eric, btw–is “Erich” supposed to be some sort of Nazi implication? Eric Topol). However, I give him props for being the only “establishment guy” willing to criticize the Biden Covid response.

      1. britzklieg

        No the “h” was a mistake, but thanks for your concern. And I give him no credit for pretending the vaccine is “potent” – everything else is just noise.

    1. Verifyfirst

      From Professor Deborah Lupton on X:

      Now, there’s the rub:

      “Public health officials, if they want to see a majority of adults get these annual vaccines, they’re going to have to make the case to the American public that Covid isn’t over and it still poses a risk to them.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        On the other hand, the Democrats want to pretend that the Pandemic is over so that it will not be raised as an issue during next year’s Presidential elections. But to tell you the truth, I do not know if an annual vaccine is even possible with a Coronavirus. Certainly not this one.

        1. Verifyfirst

          I think a near-sterilizing, broad spectrum nasal spray vaccine is eminently doable, and we would already have it if Trump’s Operation Warp Speed had not been discontinued (tens of billions of upfront dollars, and guaranteed sales at guaranteed prices, and government guaranteed zero liability seems to have been very attractive to pharma….).

          But after having destroyed their credibility re: vaccine efficacy–remember “You can’t get Covid if you’re immunized” and the like, AND having declared Covid over, it seems it will be a very hard sell to get anyone to get any vaccine, Covid or otherwise.

          1. maipenrai

            Except there is no evidence at all for your assertion. We have never been able to do this successfully.

          2. Kouros

            In February 2020 I watched an interview on RT with the director of the Gamaleya institute, who said that a completely sterilizing vaccine with covide, sars, and that family is not doable.

        2. flora

          None of these “follow on” new C vaccines are required to do testing and trials before release. There is no safety or efficacy data on them.
          From last August, 2022.

          FDA expected to authorize new Covid boosters without data from tests in people
          The lack of human data means officials likely won’t know how much better the new shots are — if at all — until the fall booster campaign is well underway.

      2. outside observer

        I just don’t understand the logic of allowing unmitigated transmission and then asking people to vaccinate for something they just got. That recent infection will most likely be closer to what’s coming next than a perpetually outdated vaccine. Or possibly worse, vaccinating concurrently with an infection as schools are back in session. What am I missing? Is the target audience the small fraction of people who have so far avoided any infection?

      3. ilsm

        Make the case that the spike protein the vaccine causes (just as tthe virus) your cells to make is a toxin you volunteer for and so is not as damaging as the similar toxin you might get w/o the vaccine.

    2. mrsyk

      Thanks Amateur Socialist. The conference in Vermont is “Middlebury College’s renowned Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference”. Here is the preceding post from the Vermont Political Observer. This bit caught my eye.

      At first, according to Eichorn, there were daily email updates on the number of cases. That practice ended after conference leaders had “conversations with Middlebury’s trusted medical advisors,” according to a message sent to attendees. The counsel from those advisors was to “turn the emphasis away from reporting the number of the cases, which health departments stopped counting awhile ago, focusing instead on hospitalizations which provide a better estimate of how COVID-19 is impacting the community.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        That is just trying to ‘manage’ the problem away. What comes next? Not reporting hospitalizations as an estimate of the impact of Covid and only reporting deaths?

  7. Daniil Adamov

    “City on the hill” is an untranslateable American phrase?!

    Granted, I did not expect much better from that article, but that must be quite the shock to all the people who translated the Bible over the centuries.

    1. t

      I’ve run across an awful lot of people who really enjoy being word nerds, but who are tragically stuck seeing everything in black and white.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There’s an old expression that if you see everything in black and white, then you are not using gray matter.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Classical Hebrew did not distinguish between formal and informal second person prounouns.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I had run across the Soros connection earlier. It’s a big question where his money has been coming from. I think he’s the American version of Milei, and some of the billionaires like that.

    2. pjay

      Yeah, I’m old enough to remember when “millionaires” had to buy politicians. Today’s *billionaires* don’t even need the middle man any more, they just run for office.

      I did like his debate response to Nikki Haley, though, in an exchange over Ukraine: “I wish you well on your future career on the boards of Lockheed and Raytheon,”

      Haley’s one of those old-time politicos that have to be bought. Cut out the middle-man! We can’t have “disintermediation” in our health care system, but I guess we can in our politics.

      On Haley (not that it really matters anymore):

      1. Carolinian

        She’s the loosest of loose cannons–thinks Putin even killed the Russian UN ambassador. The Adelsons had her in their pocket and maybe still do although Sheldon shuffled off. Putting Haley at the UN was one of Trump’s very worst decisions and she wasn’t even a supporter of his. Her foreign policy credentials consist of having Indian immigrant parents and being in said pockets of various foreign special pleaders. Naturally the MSM for awhile were taking her seriously.

        Sounds like she was really in the race for the bucks since even a dark horse worth a few million if there’s any chance they might wind up with all the power.

        1. Raymond Sim

          I recall reading that she’s such an inveterate liar her political staff had trouble figuring out what they/she were trying to do.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “How the U.S. sees Ukraine’s push: No stalemate, but no breakthrough”

    Here is a list – unconfirmed – of Ukrainian formations throw into battle to take the village of Rabotino over the past coupla months-

    I would imagine that they are doing this under extreme pressure from the Biden White House who are demanding a breakthrough in order to save their hides politically. Tough luck if you are a Ukrainian trooper. As for the Russians, they could swap a kilometer of ground for the destruction of a Ukrainian brigade and when the Ukrainians are spent, send in a battalion to take all that ground back again. The Battle of Rabotino is like a smaller version of Bakhmut but the Biden White House needs a win.

    1. Ignacio

      But, but, Bachmut was “political” while Rabotino is “strategic”, so the latest are valuable carn… losses!

    2. ilsm

      At the bulge in Dec1944 the Allie’s held the “shoulders.

      Are the Ukraine’s pushing the shoulders or are they inviting flank attacks and fires.

  9. antidlc

    ” Mandy Cohen already makes my skin crawl, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

    I cringed when Leana Wen supported her and mentioned Cohen’s ties to Zients:
    Biden’s new CDC director is the right person to lead the agency

    One other significant attribute Cohen brings is her close ties to White House officials, most notably Biden’s chief of staff, Jeffrey Zients. Such connections might raise eyebrows of observers who believe the CDC should be an independent entity, divorced from political leadership. But these critics should look to covid-19 as an example of how public health officials need to consider more than just science when making complex policy decisions.
    Biden plans to pick physician Mandy Cohen to lead CDC

    Cohen, a Yale- and Harvard-trained internal medicine physician and public health expert who is now a health-care executive, worked closely with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and other senior Biden officials during the Obama administration.

    1. Jason Boxman

      But these critics should look to covid-19 as an example of how public health officials need to consider more than just science when making complex policy decisions.

      Then it isn’t really public health, is it? The point of a public health agency must be to advocate strongly for the best possible health of the public; economic costs shouldn’t factor into that. We’re in a twilight zone where the only relevant consideration is economic. Kind of defeats the entire purpose of public health; Why even have a CDC? To give a veneer of legitimacy to stochastic eugenics by way of brand fumes?

    2. Judith

      I know nothing about this blog and cannot vouch for it, but the information about Mandy Cohen’s professional experience is interesting.

      Prior to the appointment as our DHHS Secretary, Dr. Cohen was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief of Staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Prior to acting as the COO of CMS, she was Principal Deputy Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at CMS where she oversaw the Health Insurance Marketplace and private insurance market regulation. Prior to her work at CCIIO, she served as a Senior Advisor to the Administrator coordinating Affordable Care Act implementation activities.

      Did she ever practice medicine?

      Prior to acting as Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Dr. Cohen was the Director of Stakeholder Engagement for the CMS Innovation Center, where she investigated new payment and care delivery models.

      Dr. Cohen received her Bachelor’s degree in policy analysis and management from Cornell University, 2000. She obtained her Master’s degree in health administration from Harvard University School of Public Health, 2004, and her Medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, 2005.

      She started as a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2005 through 2008, then was deputy director for comprehensive women’s health services at the Department of Veterans Affairs from July 2008 through July 2009. From 2009 through 2011, she was executive director of the Doctors for America, a group that promoted the idea that any federal health reform proposal ought to include a government-run “public option” health insurance program for the uninsured.

      1. antidlc

        Thanks, Judith.

        How could she get a Master’s degree in health administration from Harvard University School of Public Health in 2004, and her Medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 2005?

        1. Paradan

          Yeah this is not making a lot of sense. 1 year of med school? Wonder if there’s any record of her residency.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn: ‘For half an hour, that was it – I thought we had won independence'”

    Something tells me that actual Independence is one car that the Scottish government does not want to catch up with. It is like abortion and the Democrats in America, Something that you are always fighting, fighting for but never actually doing as you can use that cause to get donations in and muster electoral support. But from what I have seen of Scottish political corruption (sorry guys) over the past few years, it may be better for the Scottish people that they do not achieve Independence under the present political cohort.

    1. paul

      There is no question that independence will ever be pursued, let alone achieved with this lot. Hepburn (and his mrs) are typical nuSNP, they like the lifestyle and lanyards, the land not so much.

      The real danger is how much damage they can be directed to do meantime.

  11. Lexx

    ‘How the kleptocrats and oligarchs hunt civil society groups to the ends of the Earth’

    ‘Both case studies shed light on the network of brilliant, driven enablers and procurers without whom the world’s greatest monsters would falter. It’s a rare window on a secretive world, one that is poorly understood even by its inhabitants. As Michael Mechanic wrote in Jackpot, his 2021 book on vast, intergenerational fortunes, the winners of the lucky orifice lottery often lack any real understanding of how The Money is structured, grown and protected:’

    I’ve been saying this for years… kleptocrats don’t exist in a vacuum, they need multiple teams of international help, the focused efforts of millionaire wannabes all working toward the goal of making the klepto richer, in exchange for a piece of the pie.

    There aren’t many ways in which kleptocrats are vulnerable precisely because they can’t do it all alone… the fact they’re mortal housed in human skin and can be killed, their families (wives and children), and enablers. If we want to stop billionaires, knowing exactly who and what they are, we have to knock the supports out from under them… but we don’t want to. It’s not a failure to identify and understand the problem. There doesn’t seem to be any will to solve it. If there is, Cory, then I’d like to read that book.

    LOL… what writer/publisher would risk their lives?! Because lives would be the price.

    1. LifelongLib

      From what I’ve read millionaires in old New York would study law and banking so they could look after their fortunes without being totally dependent on the hired help. I guess nowadays that’s too much trouble?

  12. Alice X

    My power was out for over two days so apologies if the two documents released late last week were noted previously. Despite the headline there were only two documents released. I was in Chile in 1971 and it was known on the street then that the CIA was passing out money to get the military to do something, they took the money but didn’t do much. Well, until the economy was made to scream, as was Nixon’s plan.

    From Jake Johnson at Common Dreams

    Under Pressure From Progressives, US Declassifies Documents Related to Chile Coup

  13. Craig H.

    How Wealthy UFO Fans Helped Fuel Fringe Beliefs

    Volume 5 of Jacques Vallee Forbidden Science is now available. It has everything. Bigelow, the tic tac, the so-called UFO Leak of the Century, the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Program, &c. He is very pessimistic regarding the current field of study of the phenomenon. Much skimming required but it is by far the best single background on these idiotic news and television reports that I have seen.

    1. pjay

      I can’t get a handle on Vallee. He claims to be suspicious of government psyops yet he has worked with SRI, Harold Putoff, Bigelow, and all those shady government guys throughout his career (or careers — he has many hats.). I haven’t kept up with his views in recent years; what is his take on the latest “disclosures”?

  14. fred

    Oh, I see you found Risks. Good for you! I’m thinking you’ve been reading it for a while, but this is the first reference I’ve seen. It needs a wider audience so good on ya’

    PGN’s puns are nothing short of irremarkable.

  15. Lex

    The transmission cables in Hawaii were uninsulated because transmission wires are never insulated. Lower voltage distribution lines are insulated, but it’s a matter of voltage. High voltage is never insulated because it generates heat in the wires and insulation isn’t a good heat conductor (getting rid of the heat). If you’re looking at electric lines, you may see some on the poles that are insulated and some that are not. Depends on how the system is stepping down voltage and where.

  16. Carolinian

    SC under gunz

    A student living on the same street mistakenly tries to open someone’s door and they killed him.

    Meanwhile in my small city there is a lax attitude toward gun toting by the local dim bulb sheriff. In one incident a black guy and a white guy got into a traffic dispute. Then at a stoplight shortly down the road the black driver allegedly showed a gun through the window and the white driver shot and killed him, then left the scene although later turning himself in. No charges filed.

    In my own neighborhood a woman entered her unoccupied house, found a homeless person living there and shot him but not fatally. A new national survey put us toward the bottom of the 20 cities with most per capita likelihood of violent crime–many of them also small Southern cities. Undoubtedly poverty pockets–black and white–have a lot to do with this. But the ubiquity of guns isn’t helping.

    1. LifelongLib

      Several decades ago I was in my apartment when the (locked) doorknob started rattling. I looked out the window next to the door and my upstairs neighbor was standing there, seemingly a little sloshed. I knocked on the window and pointed to the floor above. He smiled and left, apologizing to me later.

      I can imagine guns protecting people in certain situations, but it seems like more often they just escalate things or lead you to do something irretrievably bad. So far I’m glad I’ve never owned one.

  17. Petter

    Democracy in Niger.
    Last I checked there was a large majority supporting the coup.
    Democracy in Niger hasn’t given the the population diddly squat.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Democracy that allows religious minorities to elect national leaders is a lot like copyright protection for writers that results in corporations owing creative works.

  18. Aurelien

    If you’ve been following the Niger saga, you might be interested in this analysis by an African scholar of why some states in the region have repeatedly fallen victim to coups over the last sixty years and others haven’t, and what the Sahel states can learn from the lessons of Ghana. I’m not sure I’d agree with all of it, but it’s written by an African and is thus concerned with local and regional dynamics and the policies of the AU and ECOWAS, rather than being obsessed with the supposed influence of TLAs from around the world.

    I think the junta has made a silly mistake cutting off electricity to the Embassy: it may play well on TV and inflame the base support of the coup, but it’s a violation of the Vienna Convention rules, implicitly, and probably explicitly. Any state has a right to expel a diplomat, but no state has a right to attack an Embassy directly. This will rebound badly against them in private, whatever local states may publicly say.

    1. Paradan

      It’s just a mini-sanction. In fact it’s far more humane then the Nation-wide sanctions we’re doing all over the world. It even directly effects the main target of the sanction, unlike ours. Is it only worth it if hundreds of thousands of babies die?

    2. Lee

      “Any state has a right to expel a diplomat, but no state has a right to attack an Embassy directly.”

      So how does a country enforce it’s order to depart when the ambassador becomes a squatter? Here in California it is a big legal no-no to cut off a tenant’s utilities, but we’re a long way from Niger.

    3. Aurelien

      France, like all the other EU states I know of, does not recognise the junta as being the legitimate government of the country. This has been routine with military coups in Africa for a long time. The ambassador was accredited to the previous government, and not the current regime. For the ambassador to leave would therefore imply approval of the coup, which would leave France at odds with EU states, ECOWAS and the African Union, which is quite a list. He’s going to be the meat in the sandwich, for a while at least.

      I’ve noticed a curious fascination with the junta in some unexpected areas: I suppose it’s a feature of the militarisation of the Left, seen most obviously in Ukraine at the moment. But even if you think military governments are a good idea, this is a stupid act because it now opens the door, by precedent, to any other nation to behave in the same way. When Ukraine cuts off the electricity to the Indian Embassy this winter to force them to make a pro-Ukrainian statement, it will be too late to complain.

      1. Revenant

        I think the convention protects the embassies (the concept of diplomatic representation, not the building, which is a chancellery) of countries when they are in transit. Otherwise nobody could safely take up their post, whether their credentials are ultimately received or not.

        The chancellery is protected and cannot be denied service (“Article 25 of the Vienna Convention, the receiving State shall afford full facilities for the performance of the functions of the mission.”).

        The whole process of diplomatic relations runs by mutual consent. The sending State has a duty to recall the person who is persona non grata. If it is not done within a reasonable time, the receiving State can refuse to recognise them as a part of the mission.

        I think squatting in the chancellery is a distinctly grey area if you are persona non grata because you are not fulfilling any official diplomatic function. If you are not recognised as part of the mission, you ceased to be a diplomatic agent and your inviolability ceases. France is playing with fire here, too, in not upholding the norm and withdrawing the ambassador. Especially in the light of the article about not interfering in the internal affairs of the receiving State!

        You are of course to be assisted in leaving at the earliest opportunity by the receiving State! :-)

      2. The Rev Kev

        Lots of stuff happening with Ambassadors these days that are not suppose to happen. Like western Ambassadors giving Venezuela’s Juan Greedo what amounted to a full escort a coupla years ago in public. That is NOT the job of an Ambassador. Or an Embassy running the militant wing of an opposition out of their building. Again, NOT the job of an Embassy. And if a government demands that an Ambassador leaves much less a foreign military contingent, then they are supposes to go. There is I believe no part in international conventions where an Ambassador can just blow that away and defy the host government because the rules based order says that he can.

    4. ChrisPacific

      It’s an interesting portrait of how to achieve a (relatively) stable democracy from an unstable beginning. It’s all about trust, which requires results (Lambert’s beloved concrete material benefits) which take time. In the end those in charge have to value the system enough that they’re willing to preserve it even at the cost of giving up power, which they will eventually have to do in an electoral system. That requires a track record and investment on the part of everyone concerned.

      It appears it also requires an ability to see shades of grey. Rawlins was obviously a pretty nasty piece of work in a lot of ways, but he also seems to have been a shrewd politician and was willing (or capable of being pushed) to do a lot of good along with the bad.

  19. Mo

    Regarding picture of Robotyne in Ukraine: I think what the author doesn’t want to reveal in a broader shot is how tiny the village is. And that it is complete rubble.

    I find this youtube channel good for reporting on most recent fighting: @militarysummary.

    All these villages are small and long ago abandoned. I believe they are valuable just for their concrete strongholds. I suppose they are close to road intersections as well. And of course propaganda purposes.

    1. Bsn

      Yes, Dima’s Military Summary is quite good. He takes chances off and on and speculates, but when he’s wrong he admits it – a worthy quality. And yes, Robotyne was a village of about 400 people and is not on any major thoroughfare. Quite an unimportant spot on the map. Though the Russians are fighting hard an effectively slowing the Ukrainians to a crawl, soon they can sneak in the bak door creating a nearly inescapable cauldron. Sad but true.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Robotyne is so small a village, that the picture is actually easy to “geolocate”, there’s only one intersection like the one in the picture – and it’s on the northern part of the village, and the troops in the picture seem to walking north, away from the village.

      It’s been Russian tactics for a few weeks now to withdraw from the southern end when Ukrainians attack (and yesterday’s attack was big one of 80 vehicles) and then let the artillery and air force bomb them to smithereens. When the Ukrainians eventually have to evacuate the village, the Russians re-enter.

      The actual first defensive line is about a mile south of Robotyne, in Novoprokopivka, which is higher than Robotyne. Russians are still in the possession of all heights around Robotyne, making it possible for them to leave and enter the village almost at will.

  20. Tom Stone

    I was in Sebastopol on Saturday and noticed that the Main Street was lined with flags, US and Ukraine flags, alternating.
    To celebrate Ukraine’s Independence Day and of course to demonstrate once again that Sebastopol knows how to signal virtue!

    1. CarlH

      I apologize for my ignorance, but isn’t Sebastopol Russian territory? Are they still loyal to Ukraine? I was of the impression that Crimea was largely Russian culturally?

        1. CarlH

          How unbelievably stupid of me! I live only about 50 miles from Sebastopol, CA and for some reason first thought of Crimea. It is humbling to be set straight about something in my backyard from someone so far away. Thanks!

          1. The Rev Kev

            Easy mistake that as I fell for it myself the first few times. By the time this war is over I would not be surprised to hear that they want to rename California’s Russian River. Maybe call it Freedom River or something. :)

  21. Jeff W

    “Is It Real or Imagined? Here’s How Your Brain Tells the Difference”

    The original article appeared in Quanta in May.

    The article says at the outset that “[b]rain scan studies have repeatedly found that seeing something and imagining it evoke highly similar patterns of neural activity,” that is, consistent with the behaviorist view that behavior like imagining is, in effect, “seeing in the absence of the stimulus seen.”*

    But the article doesn’t address (weirdly or maybe not) the pretty obvious difference that seeing a stimulus that is present involves the retina and the optic nerve and all that while seeing a stimulus that is absent (e.g., imagining) does not, so maybe there’s some feedback mechanism there.

    Also: Quanta had a piece, “How the Brain Distinguishes Memories From Perceptions” in December of last year (which was linked to in the Links back in January), which addresses something similar from a memory angle.

    *If the behaviorist view is right and imagining is seeing in the absence of a stimulus, then why are some people, those with aphantasia, unable to visualize? But that’s a different topic.

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, my apprehension against this as well.

      Never mind that brain imaging do not track actual nerves but blood flood as a proxy for nerve activity.

      Anyways, the image we think we see and the image the eyes see are two different things.

      What we think we see is a composite made as the eyes flitter about and change focus constantly.

      Another indication that there is subconscious pre-processing happening are things like phobias, where we react to something vaguely spider or snake shaped for example before we are consciously aware of the object being present.

      So all in all it may well come down to the brain being “aware” that the input stages of the visual pipeline is not active.

  22. Jason Boxman

    From Amid the New Normal of COVID, There’s an Old Normal Too

    Low income families have also struggled for basic protection. Nearly half of adults with the lowest incomes in the state — that is, those whose income was from 0%-99% of the federal poverty level — said they did not have one of the masks that provides the greatest protection against the spread of the virus: N95, KN95 or KF94. Sixty-one percent of all those who did not have such masks said it was because they were too expensive.

    Never forget, Biden let all the American N95 manufacturers that stepped up to save lives in the early days of the Pandemic to go out of business; It took forever for them to get approvals for their wares, and no one in power thought to force hospital GPOs to buy domestic, nor purchase these to distribution to the vulnerable and minorities, those that liberal Democrats claim to cherish so much. Clearly, Newsom doesn’t care much either, and clearly would make an excellent liberal Democrat president to succeed Biden!

  23. John Beech

    If Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube are going to censor someone, then they’re welcome to do it using their own internet pipes. However, the mere fact they build their business on public infrastructure makes them liable to uphold 1st amendment rights. My view.

    1. hunkerdown

      Private property doesn’t stop and start when you want it to, Beech. The Internet is all private infrastructure since Clinton sold it all off. Internet standards are public domain and free for all to use, which is the main reason people use them.

  24. Amfortas the Hippie

    regarding the Crazy Sheriff’s Association:
    this didnt begin in 2020…or 2016,lol.
    Sheriff Mack emerged from under his bridge in at least the mid-90’s…sort of took up the cross that the Posse Commitatus had been forced to abandon by the side of the road(after Ruby Ridge, Waco, Bo Gritz, and our own “Republic of Texas”(near to where i sit,lol))
    back then, he was really careful in his rhetoric…an attempt to distance himself from the by then reputationally damaged.
    my sheriff is not a member, at least openly…but there’ve been 2 out here who were.
    one was really vocal about it(while he was running the meth trade, it turns out–not in the news, anywhere, i might add—he’s bigtime involved in a drug task force, somewhere west of here, last i heard)
    deputies…and 2 sheriffs…ive spoken to about this over the years (these guys all knew me as Not a Criminal, and as something of a local guru regarding the Bill of Rights…teaching 4th amendment to my waitstaff, for instance(one reason they tend not to frell with me,lol(touch wood)))…all of them were in tacit, if not overt support. this is due to the media they consumed(most of these conversations were before faceborg, etc)…Rush Limburgh, etc
    and…to put a bow on it…when i’d explain how weed became illegal…beginning in the ’30’s…and asked, why do y’all enforce that unjust set of laws?…hmmm…haww…shuffling of feet…and when pressed, because its a gateway drug….and we don want no heroin junkies round here.
    a meth problem is just fine, i guess.

  25. Joe Well

    Re: 22 people colonizing Mars

    We need to say over and over again what an incredibly stupid proposition it is sending humans to other planets, let alone to live permanently. I love Star Trek but they lied to us.

    >>Though Mars was quite Earth-like in its first few hundred million years, it is not at all Earth like now. Earth remains by far the most habitable place in our solar system. The most inhospitable places on Earth, such as Antarctica, even in the depths of winter, and at the centre of the continent, are far more habitable than anywhere else in our solar system. Space colonies and the poles of the Moon, are both more easily habitable than Mars, and more easy to make self sufficient.

    >> It makes much more sense to colonize Canada, or Siberia, or the Inner Hebrides of Scotland (where I live) or the Arizona or Sahara deserts, or indeed the sea bed, than Mars. (Wow, Brits colonizing Canada, that is some extreme science fiction.)

    I would add that even after the worst extinction events in Earth’s history, much life obviously did survive or else we wouldn’t be here, and with our technology, hundreds of thousands of humans (out of 8 billion) should survive to perpetuate the species in the desolate wasteland that remained–a lot more than could ever be sent into space.

  26. JBird4049

    >>>and when pressed, because its a gateway drug….and we don want no heroin junkies round here.
    a meth problem is just fine, i guess.

    They support banning coffee, tea, sugar, booze, and cigarettes then?

  27. some guy

    ” Should we trust Vivek?” . . .

    This video makes it sound as if Vivek is the Republicans’ experiment at seeing if they can create a Republican version of Obama. And ” Obama 2.0″ if one will.

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