Links 9/14/2023

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Daisy had other plans Radley Balko, The Watch

Once-abandoned dogs are now trained to sniff out environmental clues WaPo

Beetle grows ‘termite’ on back to steal food Science

In Antitrust Trial, Former Google Employee Details History of Search Deals NYT. Anti-trust mavens in their element:


Earth outside ‘safe operating zone’ for humans in crucial areas, scientists find FT

How trees influence cloud formation Paul Scherrer Institut


When The Water Runs Brown, Start Your Own Water Company.  The Brockovich Report

Ohio Injection Wells Suspended Over ‘Imminent Danger’ to Drinking Water Inside Climate News


Novavax dealt setback as FDA, CDC approve Moderna, Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines Washington Business Journal

The CDC has approved updated XBB-strain COVID boosters for all Americans ages 6 months and older. They’re expected to hit clinics later this week Fortune

Should I get a COVID-19 booster? Science


Commentary: What’s going on with China’s surprise military shake-up? Channel News Asia

Beijing outlines ‘interconnected living’ plan for Taiwan and Fujian South China Morning Post

Billionaire Divorces Spur Crackdown by China’s Market Regulator Bloomberg

The ‘Global South’ is a pernicious term that needs to be retired FT

Rush for rare earth minerals in Southeast Asia compounding dangers for region’s environmental defenders: Report Channel News Asia


Myanmar Junta Attempts Charm Offensive in Ethnic States The Irrawaddy

Myanmar junta orders all workers abroad to remit 25% Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse).

Dear Old Blighty

The plot to smash the Conservative party FT

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian warships hit in attack on Crimean navy yard NBC

Russian air strike hits Ukrainian port infrastructure on Danube Reuters

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“”Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles”” Shows the Transformations of Life in Ukraine The New Yorker. The lead: “During the Maidan uprising, which began in 2013, when Ukrainian protests led to the overthrow of the Kremlin-backed President….” Note liberal normalization of fascism.

The Times on bomb disposal experts near Robotyne: They clear passages through minefields on their knees Ukrainska Pravda

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Von der Leyen invokes ‘call of history’ as she backs EU membership for Ukraine Politico but EU commissioner filmed knitting during von der Leyen’s speech Anadolu Agency

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Will the West Abandon Ukraine? Foreign Affairs. The deck: “Kyiv Must Prepare for a Possible Change of Heart in America and Europe.”

Putin Doesn’t Think US Foreign Policy Will Change If Trump Is Re-Elected (And He’s Probably Right) Caitlin Johnstone

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Ukraine sues Western arms dealers who’ve failed to deliver promised military equipment NY Post

Now is the time for businesses to look at Ukraine The Atlantic Council

Futures of the World’s Largest F-16 Operators: Why These Six Fleets All Field Close to 200 Falcons Military Watch

Pratt Engine Flaw to Idle Hundreds of A320 Planes for Years Bloomberg (Glen).

South of the Border

The highlights from AMLO’s trip to Colombia and Chile Mexico News Daily

Trials begin in Brazil for pro-Bolsonaro rioters who stormed capital Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

The House Budget chair says the GOP won’t touch Social Security or Medicare in their forthcoming budget Politico


Too Much of Not A Lot Aurelien, Trying to Understand the World

Spook Country

Pentagon-Funded Study Warns Dementia Among U.S. Officials Poses National Security Threat The Intercept. Any mention of neurological damage from Covid? ***crickets*** (ha ha).

Our Famously Free Press

USA Today is now hiring a Beyoncé reporter after posting a Taylor Swift job Bloomberg

Jill Duggar Tells Her Side of the Story Vanity Fair

Digital Watch

Tech Bigwigs Zuckerberg, Musk, Altman and Others Hold Private Meeting With Congress on Regulating AI SFist

Elon Musk warns of ‘civilizational risk’ posed by AI in meeting with tech CEOs and senators NBC. Commentary:

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Brandon Hunter useless at 42 MSN. Hilariously bad AI emission.

The A.V. Club’s AI-Generated Articles Are Copying Directly From IMDb Futurism

The Bezzle

CEO out at embattled Binance US Banking Dive

Credit card debt collection Bits About Money

The Final Frontier

Scientists Say You’re Looking for Alien Civilizations All Wrong Wired

Scientists unveil pair of ‘mummified alien’ corpses to Mexico Congress ABC7. I’ve never understood why “aliens” have bilateral symmetry but wev.


A Doctrine in Name Only — Strengthening Prohibitions against the Corporate Practice of Medicine NEJM

B.C.’s health-care crisis: First look at massive markups by ‘parasitic’ staffing industry CTV

Zeitgeist Watch

Parents Keep Missing Daughter’s Cage Exactly How She Left It When She Escaped The Onion

Groves of Academe

How Columbia Ignored Women, Undermined Prosecutors and Protected a Predator For More Than 20 Years Pro Publica

Imperial Collapse Watch

The September 11 Legacy of Forever Wars, the Patriot Act, and Loss of Legal Rights Black Agenda Report

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Peter Faneuil: Boston benefactor, merchant, slave trader The Boston Globe

Class Warfare

UAW prepares to strike at Detroit Three automakers, rejects new offers Reuters

UAW Workers Explain Why They’re Ready to Strike The Real News

‘Abandoned by the Democratic Party’: Behind the UAW’s frustrations with Biden Politico

Starbucks Workers Back a Strike The Tyee. Canada.

In Search of Lost Time Harpers

2023 Fall Foliage Map & Nationwide Peak Leaf Forecast Smoky Mountains

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. WhoaMolly

        Re: tip jar
        I’ve been one of the first to ante up for years. This year I find myself putting off sending my regular NC contribution.

        It’s not NC content, that’s still great.

        This morning I tried to figure out why I’m dragging my feet… and what comes up is a trip to a burger place yesterday. My grandson had his first cross-country meet, so we took him to his favorite dinner afterwards at a burger place he likes. A burger and fries cost $11.95. When drinks and tips were included the tab for the parents, grandparents, and two grandkids came to nearly $85! Two years ago I’m guessing that same tab would have been $40-ish. I’m noticing the same thing in the grocery store. A small bag of groceries now routinely runs near $100.

        I’m guessing *real* inflation over the past 2 years is about 70-90%. My social security went up 8%. Thus, I suspect, the foot dragging.

        Anyway, I’ll be sending NC a small bag of groceries worth donation later today.

        Thanks for all the good work you do at NC!

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Still waiting to learn if I made in any unearned income from the farm this year but in lieu of a tip I do have to say that I noticed the lack of black type then noticed that the links were so well worded no further commentary was necessary.

            Whether that was the result of extra time, more effort or timely inspiration — thank you!

        1. russell1200

          I found if you respond to the email (going to Pay Pal), you don’t get any way to note that you are doing so as part of a matching pledge.

    1. Glen

      It looks like a potentially contaminated metal powder was used to make engine parts, and this same issue may impact all the other major engine manufacturers:

      CFM LEAP and GEnx also affected by powder metal contamination

      (Sorry, I could not find a non-login required link), here’s what’s called the hype AI summary:

      GE Aerospace and CFM, alongside Pratt & Whitney, are facing issues of powder metal contamination, necessitating the replacement of engine parts. Noteworthy is the impact on both CFM LEAP and GEnx engines due to this contamination problem.

      The CFM LEAP series engines are used in the A320neo, 737 MAX, and C919. The GEnx are used on larger wide body airplanes.

      Safran (CFM LEAP) is reporting a similar problem which was detected and fixed (don’t know if it’s related):

      Safran chief reveals previous CFM engine issue with contaminated powder metal

      These parts are used in the hot section of the turbine in the engine – think very high temperatures, and then spin the thing at high RPMs. Any cracking can go from barely detectable to flying apart, and complete engine failure.

      Right now probably all of the major manufacturers are going back through records, and data to see if they are impacted. The problem is “captured” but it’s going to take a lot of time and work to fix.

  1. timbers

    Russian air strike hits Ukrainian port infrastructure on Danube Reuters

    Putin may soon need to do better than this token hit on already damaged port infrastructure, in retaliation of US and NATO attacks on Crimea. And the Russian diplomatic Demarche to UK…what can one say about that?

    Dima at Military Summary says Musk has agreed to turn over control of parts of StarLink regarding Crimea to the Pentagon. After all, US and NATO know they have been granted immunity and need not fear Russia…they can do almost anything.

    US is obcessed about getting Sevastopol as a military port. If she can’t have, she will destroy it if she can. That plus radioactive soil in Donbas.

    1. ilsm

      You do not kill ships in port…. they are too easy to refit!

      While expending cruise missiles for limited value targets is not creatng the sufficency to get Crimea away from Russia.

        1. ilsm

          Read the futures of most of the US Navy ship damaged on 7Dec1941.

          Presume Russian navy damage control is a thing.

    2. Lex

      I don’t disagree that Putin likely needs stronger tactical retaliation in Ukraine. But I don’t think that stops US/UK behavior with these escalations necessarily. IMO, the point of these strikes is to prompt a Russian retaliation.

      That said, in a wider context Putin did respond. Bringing Kim in from the cold crosses the brightest red line DC has. And note the US response has been sputtering about if the red line gets crossed some more DC will be even more angry. Russia of course has the power to end UN sanctions against the DPRK with a simple veto. When it starts sending all the grain and agricultural inputs the DPRK needs as humanitarian cargo it will have effectively ended the sanctions regime anyway.

      Yves is correct that Putin wouldn’t do this without Xi on side. So I have to conclude that this is a planned escalation against the US and one that severely impacts global US strategy. Kim realistically threatens at least most of the US positions in the Pacific and any potential conflict in Korea would essentially require all of the US military’s capability.

  2. griffen

    Which of the following would be more appreciable interesting? Daily reporter on the beat of all things for the Queen B Beyonce, or daily reporter on the beat for all things a Swiftie must know about Taylor Swift? I have a certain affinity for Taylor Swift, but not a music devoted follower. Shares a birth month but alas the years are separated by 17 years.

    They could probably hire half a dozen interns, working for peanuts to do those jobs. It’s like being an ESPN beat reporter on Tom Brady. News alert! TB12 has just departed the facilities, apparently he has completed his business this morning. Analysis of the results will be available in 24 hours, answering all your questions. What is in Terrific Tom’s poop?!?

    1. Wukchumni

      We were car camping at the beach last month and I asked my sister and really good friend, ‘ok, have you ever heard a Taylor Swift song before?’, and they sheepishly swiveled their heads to and fro, as in no. I too was a virgin and blushed a little when pressed by them into admitting I knew nothing, nothing.

      We listened to a few songs, and yeah whatevs, I think the appeal is largely that she’s a hottie compared to other singers. but what do I know having listened to a whole 3 songs of hers.

      1. ChiGal

        ditto, just signed up for spotify which has every album i ever owned on it so with all the hoopla I decided to sample a few of her tracks.

        absolutely nothing there

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Ditto Beyonce, Madonna, Miley Cyrus or just about any present day top act.

          The people in charge are culturally bland, have no clue what’s good and are easily fooled by flashy mediocrity. Sorry, this is my ongoing rant. In a world with The Handsome Family, The Chatham Singers, William Tyler, The Dead South, etc. there’s really no excuse for this other than “the folks in charge just don’t care.”

          Not a believer in old music being best, but when you listen to Taylor Swift compare her to some of the folks we lost this year in country: Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis, Naomi Judd, C.W. McCall, Mickey Gilley, Ronnie Hawkins and all the folks whose names most of don’t know even though we still hum the songs they wrote.

          Not dissing Taylor Swift, btw. She’s doing the best she can given the industry she’s in. Kinda reminds me of Bernie in some ways . . .

            1. Mark Gisleson

              Truly never expected to see a Diamanda Galas link in the comments at NC but until now I never knew she’d done American TV. Made me look: six albums plus two concert recordings none of which were easy to sort into my usual listening folders (hmm, Darkƒ, Darkerƒ or realDarkƒ? ; )

          1. scott s.

            Don’t know anything about the biz, but I don’t see any money made from selling “records” and not sure how much you get from streaming, so seems like the real money is in the performance, which obviously is at least as much visual as aural.

          2. juno mas

            Beyonce has real talent. Taylor is mostly a tall blonde.

            If you were to hear Beyonce at a small venue singing without a microphone, you would see the vocal talent. Taylor, not so much.

            In the big stadium venues the sound is enhanced and the ability to move with the music is essential. Beyonce can dance. Taylor, not so much.

            They both played Sofi Stadium shows recently. LATimes music critic gave the crown to Beyonce.

            Me, I’m not a fan of the current sound/music production of Pop Music. I like acoustic (live) Jazz; and Jazzy Big Band sounds with real big horns (trumpets).

            Just this morning I sat in with the local community college kids and the rhythm and energy was a blast.

    2. Mikel

      Isn’t Gannet the same chain that wants algorithms to spew dim-witted word salads about local news, the thing that gives people a sense of community?
      Yet, they are going all out for this?

  3. furnace

    “The ‘Global South’ is a pernicious term that needs to be retired: Arbitrarily dividing a complex world into simple blocs creates polarisation and retards progress”

    Why is it that whenever countries not in the West try to find common ground, it’s immediately dismissed as counter-productive nonsense? While yes, I do understand that Alan Beattie has a point in saying that not all Global South countries have the same interests, and that some of them aren’t even in the geographic south (oh, the horror!), isn’t that the whole point of the moniker? Having a shorthand that supersedes immediate national interests, because all these countries have a common problem, which also has a geographic name: the West. So no, I don’t think the term will be retired any time soon.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read this Russian official saying that it should not be called the Global South anymore but the Global Majority and I think that he is right. If you use the Ukraine war as a sort of touchstone, about forty countries have gone all in supplying equipment, ammo, arms etc. and about thirty of them are in NATO. But the other one hundred and fifty countries want nothing to do with this war and are staying out of it in spite of the constant harassment by some of those forty countries. I suspect that this Alan Beattie is seriously unhappy about this development which is why he is intent on putting down any suggestions of any other groupings apart from the allowed ones.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not a chance. We are part of the Five Eyes and the government has been sending boatloads of military gear to the Ukraine while building bases for nuclear weapons here in Oz. We were starting to integrate with Asia a long time ago but the present political establishment wants nothing more than to be part of the Anglo-Saxon Alliance and lord it over every other country in the region.

            1. ambrit

              Well done Grasshopper! A Meta pun.
              Incorporates elements of Strip Clubbing, Nascar, and Alt-Arctica.
              We all know what gateway the original ‘Five Eyes,’ (Cerebrus,) guarded. So, there really are alien portals hidden down in Neuschwabenland? Talk about a “defensible position!”

        2. V

          These days we’re more like the 52nd state (or maybe Puerto Rico).

          We did have a Prime Minister once who thought we should stand on our own two feet in the world, but he got regime changed (not fatally) in 1975. CIA job, prolly…

  4. bassmule

    Re: Too Much Of Not A Lot: There was a story that ran here a while back (don’t know how to search for something so specific) about running for Congress and then keeping the job: You get elected because you look like you might do something. Once elected, you don’t do anything, because if you actually did something, there would be somebody who didn’t like it, and would raise money to defeat you at re-election time. This, as best I can tell, is the Democrat playbook; the reason they’re always “fighting for you” and losing.

    1. flora

      tsk. IF the pols solved the problems they promise to solve then we wouldn’t need them anymore. Right? “Always fighting for…” Think Roe v Wade for example. 50 years to codify the ruling but codifying the ruling would eliminate it as a campaign issue. Plus, they create new problems they then campaign on solving. Self-licking ice cream cone. / ;)

      It reminds me of this 2018 headline:

      Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’

      Is everything based on the subscription model now: cars, tractors, software, medicine, politics? / heh

      1. Neutrino

        The Goldman Gaffe.
        Can they further monetize that as an NFT or something?
        Or update with another NPC component?

      2. chuck roast

        Thanks for the GS research report. The primary postulate underlying the two rules of Neoliberal Economic Theory.

    2. hunkerdown

      They’re “fighting for” because futile performance is what leisure classes are supposed to do. Have you read Veblen’s theory of the leisure class? It puts all this vulgar moral economism out of its misery.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Futures of the World’s Largest F-16 Operators: Why These Six Fleets All Field Close to 200 Falcons”

    The strange thing about this article was a photo showing hundreds of F-16s in Boneyard Storage. So why was Biden demanding that NATO countries send their F-16s to the Ukraine and not grabbing a coupla dozen from storage in the US instead. By the time those Ukrainian pilots would be fully trained to fly F-16s – figure two or three years – those planes would have been overhauled and ready to go.

    1. Acacia

      Perhaps because “send your F-16s to Ukraine!” is another way of saying “you haven’t been buying enough shiny new fighter planes from the most bad*ss military factory in da world!”…?

    2. digi_owl

      Those boneyards are like car scrapyards, many of the planes there will be stripped for parts to maintain others. Many of the ones pictures could be just an empty shell, with all the electronics etc already removed.

    3. scott s.

      F-16 has had many upgrades over the years, currently F-16C single seat and F-16D two seat, all with various Block upgrades. I assume the capabilities wanted for Ukraine restrict the choice to certain current variants.

  6. Jabura Basaidai

    thank you for the first link – Daisy had other plans – even before going through the links and waiting for the comments to aggregate about the monsters stalking this world it’s nice to be reminded of the love of our pets, if we have one – cannot conceive of living without a pooch-pal and only wish i had the room to include a feline – as Roscoe gnaws a bone and the birds come to the feeders, will now wade into maelstrom exhibited in the links and the balance provided by the commentariat – recently had a friend cease to communicate and when he finally responded after numerous texts, and an email then a voice mail – he finally texted and said we could probably “repair” our friendship – all the result of calling the Husk just another grifter like Drumpf – guess he doesn’t exactly understand friendship –

  7. Jabura Basaidai

    man…i must be on speed-dial to moderation with everything i write without exception – y’all are going to give me a complex – oh well, the price we pay and don’t take it personally………i think…….who knows why the gods of moderation hover over you –

        1. ambrit

          Just consider it a part of the job. I get put in m— all of the time. Complaining is useless and often counterproductive.
          As I have remarked before; one needs a thick skin to comment on the internets.
          As a secondary consequence, dealing with m— prompts one to refine one’s commenting methodology and style. So, as Phyl once remarked to me, struggling with m… and slime comments is an electronic Darwinism at work.
          My favourite response to slime comment is: “What doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you.”
          Stay safe and enjoy the ride.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just never take it personal like as it happens all the time and is just black box software. The human mods have the hard task of looking at a comment and seeing if there really is a problem with it or not which takes a little time.

    2. Randy

      I’ll give an example of really irritating moderation. The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel posted an article about the decommissioning of the Littoral Combat Ship, USS Milwaukee.

      I commented saying Problica had a better, more in-depth article about the ships. In my comment I stated US Navy sailors called them “Little Crappy Ships”, which I got from the ProPublica article. My commenting privileges got suspended, apparently for using the word “crappy”.

      A few hours later MJS posted the ProPublica article with the word “Crappy” in the headline. Grrrrrrr!

  8. notabanker

    CNBC buries the lede: Musk: “We’ve created regulatory agencies before”

    They always tell you what they are doing.

  9. Wukchumni

    Scientists unveil pair of ‘mummified alien’ corpses to Mexico Congress ABC7. I’ve never understood why “aliens” have bilateral symmetry but wev.

    I was abducted by aliens who took me to their space, chips y salsa served on saucer.

  10. ilsm

    Military Watch: F-16

    GAO said USAF has over 900 total F-16, maybe the writers dismiss USAF reserve and national guard F-16’s. GAO also report F-16 has not met readiness for 11 years in their 2023 audit of the US tactical aircraft dilemma!

    That said the F-16 was cheap in early years because one engine and very simple, basically an AIM 9 carrier with a token gun. The simple no longer applies!

    To enhance F-16 a scaled version of newest F-35 fire control radar is being fitted which will increase support burden, but allow firing latest air to air missiles.

    Reliable early on if one discounts engine failures, which precipitated getting the GE rival to Pratt and Whitney up and running. Today F-16 readiness remains troubled by shortages of spare engines, as well as other add ons which reduce affordability and increase support burden.

    That said F-35 is worse, it has too many supportability deficiencies for the operational tests to get started.

    F-22 too expensive to fly more than 180, F-35 a system that cannot be tested.

    While adversary air defenses are moving ahead of 6th generation “threats”.

    EU donations to Ukraine depend on replacement with F-35 which is not dependable.

      1. ilsm

        IIRC the donors, Netherlands for sure are getting F-35, I do not know if the buyers follow USA’ GAO or DoD DOT&E on F-35 “issues”.

  11. Mikel

    Anybody else hoping the bans on caste discrimination in states like California spurs people to take action about the Ivy League caste system?

    1. ambrit

      Yes we hope, but Obama put the final nail in the coffin of “Hope.”
      The PMCs will argue that the “Far East ‘Caste’ System” is a relic of an “unenlightened” past, while the Ivy League ‘Caste’ System is a natural outcome of the beneficent effects of “Meritocracy” in the Neoliberal World State.
      Symbol manipulators gotta manipulate.

  12. marcel

    Re: The Final Frontier
    Suppose I have a spaceship with a ‘perfect engine’ transforming mass in 100% of energy (according to E=mc²). I can then accelerate at 1g which maintains Earth’s gravity for half the traject, and slow down the same way until arrival.
    Under such a hypothesis, travel to the next star (~4 light-years) takes a bit less than 3 years (and yes, top speed is a large multiple of the speed of light).
    But I’d need 4 pounds of mass to burn for each pound of mass of my spaceship, which is impossible, fuel weight must be a fraction of total weight, not a multiple.
    So interstellar travel is a rational impossibility, and we should not waste time on non-existing aliens.

    1. The Rev Kev

      What if you used a Bussard Collector in front of your ship to collect interstellar gas and dust to convert into fuel? The faster you went, the more you would scoop up.

      1. ambrit

        The main problem with a Bussard Ram Scoop would be radiation levels. Figure out that problem and you are half way there.
        Alas, I fear that Marcel has not factored in the “Ever Approaching, Never Reaching” nature of Einsteinian Space travel. As you approach the speed of light, you generate some wanky space time effects, but, can never reach or pass the speed of light while within Einsteinian Space. Thus, Wormhole theory comes into it’s own.
        No matter what, absent some major discovery in physics, (or even metaphysics,) travel to the nearer stars is going to be like the early Days of Sail. Trip times will be measured in years, perhaps decades. Plus, the crew will have to carry their own biosphere along with them since there will be no guarantee that there will be habitable ecologies available at the destinations.

        1. marcel

          I disregarded it, as I mentioned top speed is a multiple of the speed of light. Also, I have my doubts on the hypothesis of photons being everywhere simultaneously (at the speed of light, time ceases to exist, and, by definition, a photon is anywhere and everywhere at the same time, much like a Deity).

          The point to remember is that interstellar travel requires an impossible amount of energy to get anywhere in a reasonable timeframe, or an impossible amount of time to get anywhere with a reasonable amount of energy.

    2. digi_owl

      No matter where we humans travel, we seem to build the equivalent of petrol stations.

      During the age of sails, the Royal Navy turned a small volcanic island in the south Atlantic into a massive fruit garden, to allow their ships to stock up and thus extend range.

      Later the harbors got massive coal depots.

      Do wonder if we end up dotting Lagrange points with fuel depots.

    3. Synoia

      But I’d need 4 pounds of mass to burn for each pound of mass of my spaceship, which is impossible, fuel weight must be a fraction of total weight, not a multiple.

      Hmm, can one posit a set of refilling stations on the path?

    4. cfraenkel

      Since you’re hypothesizing FTL travel, why not go whole hog and hypothesize imaginary engine efficiencies once you get past speed of light? Or magic pixie dust? Your hypothetical case is itself a “rational impossibility”, so what exactly does it show? Sure, this current ‘aliens’ fad is almost certainly a silly season distraction campaign, but arguing against it with made up ‘facts’ isn’t doing anyone any good.

    5. Revenant

      I don’t follow this calculation, many steps are missing.

      I should look up a textbook or fo some proper maths but as a thought experiment, assume speed is limited to the speed of light and assume also perfect conversion of (1) mass to energy and (2) this energy into speed. Logically a craft of mass M travelling at c has a kinetic energy of… Mc^2. And therefore the fuel mass required to liberate this energy is also M and the craft’s starting mass needs to be 2M.

      I could be wrong but, if I am not, I don’t think the rate at which this energy is injected into the craft with final mass M affects the amount of fuel mass required. Obviously it affects the speed / acceleration profile. And losses will increase M required.

      1. marcel

        Your assumptions are different, but yield a similar result. The reasoning is incomplete however. One would need M as the mass of the craft and M as the mass of the fuel to get to the speed of light, and another M to brake and reduce the speed to zero, so 3M.
        But again, the amount of fuel must be a fraction of the total mass, not a multiple.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The plot to smash the Conservative party”

    At this stage of the game, the plot would be to just step aside and let them keep on doing what they are doing as they seem determined to destroy their brand. Not that Labour is any better under Starmer.

    1. Anonymous 2

      The real danger is that after an unsuccessful Labour term starting in 2024 and maybe ending in 2028/9, the Tories are then returned to power on an even more right wing agenda than they are currently pursuing. Given that they have already introduced restrictions on the right to vote and the right to protest and are introducing further restrictions on the right to strike, it is very worrying to think what they would come up with next time around. At present the drive is to take the UK back to the 1930s (largely achieved) so perhaps taking it back to 1910 will be the next step. Restrict voting rights to property owners only? Perhaps too obvious? Remove the UK from Human Rights legislation? Lock up political opponents? Abolishing the BBC and further undermining the NHS would probably be in the mix.

      Given that Labour are likely to inherit an awful mess in 2024 or 2025, the above scenario is all too possible. A slide to what would effectively be a fascist state is definitely on the cards.

      1. Ignacio

        That is a sombre picture of what to expect to come through, though probably very realistic given what we are seeing now. Latest Aurelien’s (Too Much of Not A Lot) explaining how the political class turned into a nomenklature descending in loop mode to new lows goes in the same direction. Not a UK exclusive development though running there at cruise speed.

        Problem is that little can be done except sitting and watching in stupor.

      2. Revenant

        Labour would happily all of the above in 2024 to please their masters, who are the same as the Tories’. Don’t kid yourself that changing the dummies in the shop window changes what you’re being sold.

        Actually, the Tory party still had greater diversity of policy within it than the Labour party, now the Blairites are back.

        I might hold my nose and vote Tory except I refuse to show ID to vote so I shall vote for neither. I have also dropped off the electoral roll.

  14. Bill Malcolm

    Poor old AureliEn. Mispelling his name as Aurelian is an NC trademark.

    I read the linked essay, and found it superior in every way to the comments, which I personally found argumentative and unhelpful. Americans don’t get Aurelien’s line because it applies more to parliamentary governments than the American system — there unelected elite-schooled goofballs of the type Aurelien mentions as becoming leaders in Europe, stick around for decades “serving” as secretaries of cabinet posts , often in Repug then Dem administrations. Same deal in the end.

    I was mesmerized by Aurelien’s description of how political leaders are selected these days in Europe. If Aurelien had picked the Conservative Party of Canada as the basis for how people who have only existed their entire worklife in nothing jobs as interns, gofers on political staff, rah rah cheerers who never held a real job in their life yet became leader, he would have been 100% dead on. Four in a row of complete boiled-brain nitwits, all but the penultimate guy. He tried too hard to be real and was not well supported by the party finks — the exception that proves the rule. So they booted him, then got a real doozie of a cunning little weasel elected as leader who promises everything, and lookit, he now polls huge. People are so stupid they apparently believe his guff that a Con is “for the little guy”, but really it’s because they hate Trudeau — the ultimate dilettante. To me, most of Trudeau’s ethics gaffes were caused by his now separated wife. Christmas on the Aga Khan’s private island, dressing up in fake Indian garb for Trudeau’s visit to Modi in India, and the WE charity scandal. She was interested only in her interests and led the duffer JT by his nose.

    1. Sub-Boreal

      I suspect that you’re right about Sophie’s role. Now that he’s baching it, he can get together with his pals: Global progressive leaders join Trudeau at Montreal summit to discuss threats to democracy, human rights. [Paywalled, so here’s the text.]

      Tony Blair and British Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer are among a group of global figures set to attend a summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal this weekend, in what is being seen as a show of strength of the centre left.

      Among the issues to be discussed at the 2023 Global Progress Action Summit, which will also be attended by former prime ministers Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Sanna Marin of Finland and Magdalena Andersson of Sweden, are the rise of the right around the world and threats to democracy and human rights, including women’s rights.

      The invitation-only summit this Saturday is the biggest gathering of left-leaning leaders in 15 years, said organizer Canada 2020, a think tank.

      Progressive leaders such as Mr. Starmer, whose party is leading the Conservatives in polls in Britain after a series of scandals and the resignation of Tory prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, plan to use the event to exchange ideas for tackling the rising cost of living and shortages of affordable housing, but also to discuss ways to counter the resurgence of right-wing ideologies and parties.

      Mr. Trudeau is trailing Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre in polls, with the gap widening in recent weeks. In April, Ms. Marin lost her bid for re-election to Petteri Orpo and his National Coalition Party. Last year, Ms. Andersson resigned as prime minister after her centre-left bloc was narrowly defeated by a centre-right coalition in an election in which immigration was a key issue.

      Mr. Blair, who delivered a landslide victory for the Labour Party in 1997 and served as prime minister until 2007, will speak at an “in conversation” event titled “The Future of Government: Connecting Modern Politics with an Era of Innovation.”

      Tyler Meredith, a senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, said the summit – with so many serving and former prime ministers – will be a show of strength of progressive leaders, but also a chance to exchange ideas that work.

      “This seems to be a bigger gathering of progressives than I have seen happening in the past,” he said. “It is useful that progressives have an opportunity to come together to talk and share lessons about what is working at a time of high anxiety and inflation.”

      In addition to Mr. Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, the summit will be attended by Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway’s Labour Prime Minister; Mark Carney, a former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England; Ben Rhodes, a former U.S. deputy national security adviser; David Miliband, a former British foreign secretary and president of the International Rescue Committee; and Frans Timmermans, the leader of the PvdA-Green coalition of the Netherlands and a former foreign minister and European Commission vice-president.

      Braeden Caley, the executive director of Canada 2020, which is co-hosting the event with the Center for American Progress Action, said it will “help shape a positive vision for a decisive decade ahead.”

      1. digi_owl

        I really wish these impostors would at least have the grace to rename the parties they have co-opted on behalf of the monied class.

    2. bwilli123

      In China they seem to have chosen to cultivate Engineers as their political leadership class, rather than Lawyers. Might there be some practical benefit to this?
      A demonstrated skill at concrete (sic) achievement, rather than merely having the gift of the gab, for example.

      1. John k

        Engineers can certainly have wacky ideas, but those I knew when I was working were not as likely to believe in fantasies as present day pols. Granted, I did know a nuclear engineer trained to characterize spent nuclear fuel that believed the world is about 6,000 years old, can’t remember if he thought the universe was older.

  15. MaryLand

    From the University of Cambridge:

    The off-patent drug that could protect us from future COVID-19 variants

    “a molecule known as FXR, which is present in large amounts in these bile duct organoids, directly regulates the viral ‘doorway’ ACE2, effectively opening and closing it. They went on to show that ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), an off-patent drug used to treat a form of liver disease known as primary biliary cholangitis, ‘turns down’ FXR and closes the ACE2 doorway.”


    Drug used to get rid of gallstones and after bariatric surgery

  16. Carla

    Thanks for the fall foliage prediction map! We often have spectacular color here in NE Ohio, so come on over and see, everybody.

  17. outside observer

    Pentagon-Funded Study Warns Dementia Among U.S. Officials Poses National Security Threat
    Remind me what the nuclear launch codes were again? Perhaps a silver lining for humanity.

  18. djrichard

    US Has $89 Billion Monthly Budget Surplus on Student-Loan Ruling

    Budget deficit going down due to students repaying their loans. Austerity begins.

    Good analysis overall in the article. It explains too why the deficit has been increasing since last fiscal year. See for reference. The article points to the following being the reason for the delta compared to last fiscal year: less transfers from Fed Reserve, higher interest rates on debt. Normally I would say increasing deficits are stimulative, but these types of effects obviously aren’t stimulative. Not that I’m advocating shrinking the deficit – that would be an insane thing to do. Just points to how much of a swing is coming from student debt payments being turned back on.

  19. BeliTsari

    If we can’t get Novavax, can’t risk mRNA due to VITT & get a 5th-7th-9th acute case from CDC’s sneeringly brainwashed MASKLESS mouth-breathers in HEALTH care or from ‘asymptomatic’ vector kids; can our survivors sue?

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      no reason given for Novavax – first time around it was supposedly manufacturing processes – mRNA just wants a jump out of the gate – after reading the Pfizer contract exposed in yesterday’s link why would anyone get poked with that poison – oh well, have a supply of surgical N95 masks that fit tight to the face – when at Costco or Whole Paycheck about 10-15% are masked – actually been wondering if this could be a beneficial winnowing of the population – c’est la vie

      1. BeliTsari

        It would’ve been funny; but lots had FAR worse experiences, yet had NO way to get the first Novavax booster. I’d NO side-effects & no additional acute infections. Figured, we’d have no mucosal or sterelizing vaccine. But, nobody’s ALLOWED to pose the obvious question: Who’s paid, how much to limit mRNA damaged victims to Pfizer & Moderna after kids are exposed as “asymptomatic” vectors; as masking’s basically non-existent & CDC’s PASC damaged victims are intentionally re-re-reinfected.

      2. Art_DogCT

        I’m impressed you saw so many masked. I was at our local supermarket, a Stop & Shop as it happens. I was really happy that I’d happened to arrive during a slow part of a slow day, tempered more than a bit by finding only myself masked among the customers, and only one staff member. (KN95 and better quality procedure mask, respectively.) CT has been showing up deep red on the Walgreens map lately, headlines have been reporting increased C19 hospitalizations and a significant outbreak in the state’s prisons. School just started last week. What could possibly go wrong?

        (Musical interlude)

        C19 has been managed effectively as a eugenics program winnowing the ‘vulnerable’. I don’t think our owners and masters realized that launching their maximum infection without mitigation policy would result in ongoing, massive waves of disability, and which affects many who prior to C19 were anything like ‘vulnerable’. The historical parallel that comes to mind is the lead poisoning experienced in the later (?) Roman Empire from household wares, and especially from using lead as a ‘sweetening’ additive to wine. The effects of lead poisoning on mental development and reproductive success are known now, and because the elite were the major consumers of wine and pewter wares, some historians have suggested this may be a factor in the decline among the elites in sustaining family lines and maintaining elite competencies.

        1. Art_DogCT

          This video was quite a dive into nostalgia for me. I worked for Leonard Bernstein for the last five years of his life, in which time I saw a good deal of Adolph Green, and I remember Jerry Hadley and Kurt Ollmann from several tours/concerts during that period, including this event. This was recorded on December 18, 1989 in London. He had been diagnosed with cancer of the lung mesothelioma month or two before this concert. A few days shy of ten months later he was dead. He was a remarkable man, and for a variety of reasons a profound influence on my life since 1985. Arguably well before, thanks to the Young People’s Concerts that were a fixture of my childhood. (When I found out that the “Admin Asst/Secy” job I’d applied for was a position as a personal assistant to Bernstein, I was a bit surprised that he was still living. In my childhood memory he was an old guy, a grown-up, and the intervening years hadn’t corrected that misjudgment.)

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            you were very fortunate – i grew up with a reel-to-reel recording of Bernstein conducting the NY Philharmonic in Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris – i would put it on in the basement and conduct it myself – since it was my Dad’s tape i could play it loud – that music is seared into every cell – back in the late 50’s and early 60’s when there would be actual cultural events on the tube i recall watching him perform on TV and tried to imitate every move – a stunning musician and creative artist – thanks for the interlude –

            1. Art_DogCT

              Please, Good Gentleperson, have another!


              This is part of a recording of the 1988 Proms. I wasn’t on that trip, but ‘To What You Said’ was part of the1985 July 4th concert in D.C. I’d been thrown in the deep end not three weeks after starting the job when I had to fill in for a colleague who normally would have been there as his musical assistant. I was told it was a possibility down the line; I think we were all taken by surprise that said line was so short. (My real job was the care and feeding of the Maestro when not on tour, and otherwise managing his household.)

              ‘To What You Said’ takes its lyrics from Walt Whitman, and marked the most unambiguously gay-themed of all of Bernstein’s compositions. For someone in his position in 1975-1977 this was not without risks. Some Bernstein critics/scholars consider ‘Songfest” his best work. Not sure I agree, but I love the Whitman poem. It was written circa 1877 when he was 73.

              To what you said, passionately clasping my hand, this is my answer:
              Though you have strayed hither, for my sake, you can never belong to me
              Nor I to you
              Behold the customary loves and friendships the cold guards
              I am that rough and simple person
              I am he who kisses his comrade lightly on the lips at parting
              And l am one who is kissed in return
              I introduce that new American salute
              Behold love choked, correct, polite, always suspicious
              Behold the received models of the parlors —
              What are they to mе?
              What to these young men that travеl with me?

              Hail the Ancestor! Honor to his Name! What is remembered, lives.

              1. Jabura Basaidai

                have a book of Whitman’s works – will take another look – he writes from a time when electricity didn’t distract – uniquely American – pulled it from my shelf and the bookmark was at “Song of Myself” – there is only one West Side Story, the 1961 version – was 13 when it hit the big screen, saw it 3X – Songfest is new for me and will have to listen again – thank you –

    2. playon

      Very interesting how Novavax just can’t catch a break. I guess you need to go to Cuba or wherever to get a protein-based vaccine.

  20. Amfortas the Hippie

    been busy and thus doing drive by newsgathering…so i dont know how i landed on this:

    at first i thought it was some SNL-esque parody of woke reductio ad absurdam…but no,lol…it’s real.
    “first, they came for Gonzalo Lira…”

    i’ll hafta check and see if the handful of elderly PMC wannabes that i keep in boxes approve….I’ll bet a quarter(that i found in the dryer) that they see nothing at all wrong with hunting dissenters down.

    makes me remember…about December 2021-or january 2022…second to last hospital that Wife was in: sudden influx of Ukrainian nurses…surly, tattoos galore…very little English…this was at one of the Catholic hospitals in San Antonio.
    every other nurse in the place was Ukrainian…when a week before, all was normal.
    then the SMO began.
    still dont know what they were doing there, of all places.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the twtr link. Am I the only one who gets a shiver of the old Bela Lugosi movie of Dracula while watching this? Seriously, this is some creepy stuff. When they show you who they are….

  21. maipenrai

    “the shots can powerfully reduce cases of mild illness and, in some cases, prevent transmission altogether.”

    Evidence free statement. The minute you see someone saying that you know not to trust the author

  22. AndrewJ

    Question for the commentariat, apropos of the very first link: as a dog owner, am I unusual in not feeling love from my dog? He’s a four-year-old rescue I’ve had for two and a half years, well tempered, loves meeting strangers. He’s my companion, sure; my shadow. He makes being in the world alone easier, I show him as much of the world as I can and let him be curious and explore. But he doesn’t have a choice of whether or not he’s my dog or not. Doesn’t love mean the ability to leave, and choosing not to? Bonding a companion animal to you with regular feeding and a lack of agency doesn’t feel like the “unconditional love” people go on about.
    But maybe it is I or my pup or both that are broken. I do question my own ability to be loved regularly.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      AJ – thank you for giving your pooch a forever home – do you keep your pooch under lock and key 24/7 or could he take off if you weren’t watching? – if he’s sticking around it ain’t just for the food – “…a four-year-old rescue I’ve had for two and a half years, well tempered, loves meeting strangers. He’s my companion, sure; my shadow. He makes being in the world alone easier, I show him as much of the world as I can and let him be curious and explore….” you refute your own question with those statements – you are as much his companion as he is yours, a cooperative relationship that is not transactional – neither you nor your pup are broken and living with questions is part of life – have asked the same question myself but never obsess about it for too long or it becomes navel gazing – my Dad was adamant about pointing out there is always somebody worse off than me, and he was correct – have found volunteering an excellent way to meet folks and feel beneficial – i volunteer with a local food rescue operation – good luck AJ and give your pal a scratch from me –

    2. flora

      In the broadest general terms, if you see your dog as a pal you’re doing fine. Of course you’d feed a pal, give a pal a home if you could, etc. Don’t sweat it. / my 2 cents

      1. flora

        adding more than anyone cares to know: the dog/human bond goes back thousands of years when dogs were domesticated for work; for hunting, guarding, shepherding, pulling, vermin eradication (rat terriers are ferocious rat killers on farms, but are often adopted by people who don’t understand the rat terriers’ need for work of some kind and are shocked to find the housebound dog tears up their pillows when they’re out), etc. It’s only in the last 100-150 years that dogs have come to be regarded by us people as something other than work animals. This is important to know, I think. When NC posted a wonderful story about a German Shepard that saved a woman’s life and then its owners put the dog in a shelter as being “too much trouble” it was clear the dog needed to work and its owner had no idea about the need of many dogs to work in some way.

        So, long story short, I’m pals with most of my coworkers, but I don’t feel love for them. Respect, admiration, friendship, enjoyment, yes. But they’re work pals, not the loves of my life. / ;)

          1. flora

            I had a wonderful German Shepard – bred to shepherd and guard – when I lived in a town with a large yard. Wonderful animal. I spent many hours training, socializing and giving him work to do. All the neighbors knew him and liked him. He would stop the grade school kids walking home from school by standing on the sidewalk with a stick in his mouth, wagging his tail. They would laugh and pick up the stick and throw it for him to fetch, which he would do and then drop it one more time. repeat. Then he’d stand off the sidewalk and let the kids pass. It was quite a game. Before that I had a wonderful spaniel bred to hunt and flush birds when I lived in the country. But not now, because I’m not sure I can still give the required attention a working dog takes.

            1. Jabura Basaidai

              had a 125lb shepherd, Conan, from his birth because his mom, Sasha, was our pet too – lived in the country and spent a lot of time training him – quite the shedder – he’s buried on acreage where i built a post and beam home decades ago – then only had cats for a while when living in the city; MomCat, Koucer, Harry and Grizz – then back in the countryside came Sam the rescue schnoodle who didn’t shed and liked to play with Grizz – Harry, my daughter’s cat, was with us too but he just walked away and never came back one day, he was pretty old but it surprised me – Sam is buried out back with Grizz – miss them both and say hi every day – now my pal is Roscoe who was supposed to be a schnoodle but is definitely more a schnauzer – also a mini and doesn’t shed – barkaholic and lickaholic – my daughter has a big goofball bernadoodle named Leif – girlfriend’s daughter has a PhD in animal psychology(not sure the official title) focused on dogs – her pooch is a leader dog reject named Sadie, a real sweetie – doggies have been part of my life since a grade-school punk – they do require a responsibility – bet you get another pal –

    3. Randy

      Face it. You are stuck with each other.

      You have the ability to leave, he doesn’t. When you are a dog you don’t think about leaving. It just doesn’t cross his mind. They imprint on their owner and it doesn’t take long.

      As an exercise take him to the Humane Society and go through the paperwork to surrender him. Then when you open the door to leave make sure you look at him. He will be watching you with that look on his face. It will say, “Why are you leaving me here?! What did I do wrong?!

      Don’t go through with it!

      When you adopted him you made a vow to give him a forever home. Please don’t break your promise. Whether you think you have the ability to be loved or not, have no doubt, HE LOVES YOU!

      1. AndrewJ

        Don’t worry, adopting him was a vow I intend to keep. His post-adoption anxiety took a year and a half to wear off – it was a very long time for that doggy smile that’s a sign of stress to go away, for his mouth to relax. He’s a wonderful dog and a good companion. I could never put him through the trauma of losing his human. He’s stuck with me, I’m stuck with him, but I wouldn’t change that at all.

    4. kareninca

      “But he doesn’t have a choice of whether or not he’s my dog or not. Doesn’t love mean the ability to leave, and choosing not to? Bonding a companion animal to you with regular feeding and a lack of agency doesn’t feel like the “unconditional love” people go on about.:

      You are attributing “human think” to a doggie. Love of one’s doggie, and doggie’s love of you, is biochemical. Just relax and look in his eyes and feel happy that you have him and that he has you. If you don’t feel it, that is okay, too, since you are both doing as much as you can.

  23. Desert Dog

    That was an interesting article about time. I have been trying to figure out what the heck is going on with my time keepers. I had a bedside clock that would slowly gain time and it was frustrating so I tossed it in the garbage and bought another one. This one too gains time, about two minutes a day. Anyone had a cure for this?

  24. ChrisPacific

    Quote from Putin in the Caitlin Johnstone article. I find him very funny sometimes.

    Mr. [Donald] Trump (ex-president and Republican Party candidate — TASS) says he will solve acute problems, including the Ukrainian crisis, in a few days, this can only please.

    It’s that kind of dry humor that has been lost in US political discourse, if it was ever there to begin with.

  25. Jorge

    About that national security dementia study- this is a more general problem. The National Security State has been hiring people in ever greater numbers since 1945, so obviously the original cohort is now dead and there is an ever-increasing cohort of very old retired spooks. There are a lot of stories about these people blabbing secrets they swore to take to the grave. One great story was “Grandpa was a businessman who did business in Europe but never learned the languages, but then one Thanksgiving he started chatting with us in French and German”- he wrote reports for the CIA about what he saw and heard.

    I suspect that government-sponsored nursing homes are the only answer, somewhat like The Village in “The Prisoner”.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Too Much of Not A Lot”

    A great essay this though I would point out more on how a lot of these leaders never had to run for election but were just appointed. Like a lot of recent British Prime Ministers or even the EU’s Ursula van der Leyen

    1. cosmiccretin

      “…or even the EU’s Ursula van der Leyen”.

      And as I understood it she owed her elevation to arm-twisting and due to the fact that Merkel wanted rid of her after her stellar (not) achievements as Defence Minister, from the effects of which the Bundeswehr has yet to recover.

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