Links 11/19/2023

The Naturalist and the Wonderful, Lovable, So Good, Very Bold Jay Hakai

Desert birds lay larger eggs when they have more helpers (press release) University of Exeter


New research suggests plants might be able to absorb more CO2 from human activities than previously expected (press release) Trinity College Dublin (original).

The world’s 280 million electric bikes and mopeds are cutting demand for oil far more than electric cars The Conversation

Two books that could help save the planet Astronomy


Combining genomic data and infection estimates to characterize the complex dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants in the United States (preprint) medRxiv. Handy chart:

The current list of infections of increased risk due to Covid infection Anthony Leonardi, Easy Chair

The burden of post-acute COVID-19 symptoms in a multinational network cohort analysis Nature. From the Discussion: “We found high proportions of post-acute COVID-19 symptoms for ≥90 days, i.e. after almost 22.5% of infections in Spain and 21% in the UK. At the population level, waves of post-acute COVID-19 symptoms followed each wave of community transmission in the study period, affecting predominantly young adults. However, the proportion of people infected with COVID-19 who went on to develop post-acute COVID-19 symptoms declined over time.”

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The Oral-Vascular-Pulmonary Infection Route: a Pathogenic Mechanism Linking Oral Health Status to Acute and Post-Acute COVID-19 Current Oral Health Reports. From the Summary: “Acute lung disease, coagulation abnormalities, systemic vascular phenomena, and the persistence of viral elements implicate the subgingival biofilm as a source of repeated viraemia via the ulcerated sulcular or periodontal pocket lining epithelium.”

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PROFILE: UCSF’s Vinay Prasad Pandemic Accountability Index


Cheap yuan catapults China to second-biggest trade funding currency Reuters

China’s US Treasury holdings hit 14-year low Business Standard

China Isn’t Shifting Away From the Dollar or Dollar Bonds Brad Setser, Council on Foreign Relations. From October, still germane.

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No serious effort to reset US-China relations at San Francisco summit India Punchline. Check the readouts.

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Chinese policy banks shut out green energy despite President Xi Jinping’s 2021 pledge to developing countries, study says South China Morning Post

China is king of these critical metals. The battle over their supply has ensnared Southeast Asia Channel News Asia

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Xi Jinping warns top officials to contain political risks to avoid China’s economy, society being hit by ‘butterfly effect’ South China Morning Post


India’s New Middle East Strategy Takes Shape Foreign Policy


The Horn of Africa: The Perils of Ethnic Politics and Military Brinkmanship Internationalist 360°


Israel and Hamas reach tentative U.S.-brokered deal to pause conflict, free dozens of hostages WaPo. Maybe. As of this writing, nothing at AP or in the Times.

Biden orders top aides to prepare reprimands for violent Israeli settlers in West Bank Politico. Strongly worded letters? Really?

The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas Joe Biden, WaPo

Saudis play the China card:

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Hamas had not planned to attack music festival, Israeli report says Al Jazeera. More:

Israel told Palestinians to evacuate to southern Gaza — and stepped up attacks there NPR

When you’ve lost CNN:

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Turkish Foreign minister warns of escalating nuclear arms race with Israel’s continued possession Anadolu Agency

Apartheid South Africa reached a tipping point, Israel will, too Al Jazeera

New Not-So-Cold War

Urging Ukraine To Sue For Peace Moon of Alabama

Hungarian Prime Minister calls for “mistake” of opening EU membership talks with Ukraine to be “corrected” Ukrainska Pravda

Poland truck protests leave Ukrainian drivers stranded BBC

A Second Twenty Years’ Crisis? Phenomenal World. History of IR (International Relations).

The Supremes

6 things to know about the Supreme Court’s new ethics code Politico

Chief Justice John Roberts’s Guide to the New Supreme Court Ethics Code McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Capitol Seizure

Speaker Johnson says he will release all non-sensitive January 6 footage in move to please far right CNN. Surely the footage should have been released to its owners — the public — long ago? What’s “far right” about that? Anyhow:

Wisconsin Senate approves amendment blocking church closures during public state of emergencies CBS


How a flood of congressional retirements is rocking the 2024 elections Politico


OpenAI board in discussions with Sam Altman to return as CEO The Verge. “A power struggle between the research and product sides of the company, the sources say.” If OpenAI is a typical Silicon Valley company, no doubt the revolting staffers have their stock options top-of-mind.

More on Sam Altman’s Ouster From OpenAI Daring Fireball. OpenAI’s corporate structure:

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AI, AMR, and Data Ownership: Blessed Are the Data Generators Mike the Mad Biologist. “If LLMs were actually as valuable as everyone claims, then it would be worthwhile to pay authors.”

‘Please regulate AI:’ Artists push for U.S. copyright reforms but tech industry says not so fast Chicago Tribune

ChatGPT Quickly Authored 100 Blogs Full of Healthcare Disinformation MedPage Today

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Companies pulling ads from X: Disney, Apple, IBM and more Axios. Musk reacts:

If your case depends on a platform… But then there are Musk’s tweets–

Tesla Investors Call for Elon Musk to Be Suspended, Apple Pulls Ads on X Gizmodo. This is the exchange:

The weather forecast may show AI storms ahead FT. Weather forecasting no longer a public good?

The Bezzle

The stones left unturned in the Sam Bankman-Fried trial Molly White, Citation Needed. Many. Rather like Epstein.

Police State Watch

Police accountability is key to making Philly safer Editorial Board, Philadelphia Inquirer

B-a-a-a-d Banks

Banks’ deposit insurance tab grows as calls for FDIC chief’s ouster persist Banking Dive

Our Famously Free Press

Recognizing fake news now a required subject in California schools JPR

Zeitgeist Watch

Sam Bankman-Fried and the moral abyss of the market Red Flag. On effective altruism.

Thanksgiving Pre-Game Festivities

A good question:

Imperial Collapse Watch

RAND: What The U.S. Navy Really Needs, By Dr. Scott Savitz Naval News. Robot boats.

Class Warfare

Ford and Stellantis workers join those at GM in approving contract settlement that ended UAW strikes AP

UPS and Autoworkers Are Inspiring a Wave of Worker Militancy. Who’s Next? In These Times

What today’s working class wants from political leaders Brookings Institution. Centrists gotta centrist.

“Do Your Job.” How the Railroad Industry Intimidates Employees Into Putting Speed Before Safety ProPublica

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation The Marginalian

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. mrsyk

    I wonder if Joe Biden knows he stayed up all night putting together that opus of an opinion piece for WaPo.

    1. Ignacio

      The leader of the ga-ga Gang is tired,
      and his eyes are growing old
      but the blood runs through all Ukraine and Gaza.
      and the sorrow in all of us.
      This is the bloody legacy,
      to the leader of the Gang

      (Borrow melody from: Dan Fogelberg’s Leader of the Band)

    2. griffen

      With apologies to fans of the recently ( a few years back ) departed Tom Petty…”well I won’t back down, won’t be turned around…and I’ll keep these ‘MAGA voters’ from dragging the US of A down…”

      Poor old Joe. Someone get that man a bowl of ice cream.

  2. Ignacio

    RE: The world’s 280 million electric bikes and mopeds are cutting demand for oil far more than electric cars The Conversation.

    I think this is important. E-bikes and other EV small vehicles have much potential to reduce CO2 emissions that has been overlooked as this article states. It is IMO a typical mistake of the free-market types to leave this in the hands of companies and the individual will. In Madrid or Seville there are municipality-owned E-bikes that can be used by anyone and these are not enough promoted. In Madrid the service was limited to the central ring but it is now expanding to the outskirts: having 20 companies offering the same does not make any sense and previous attempts by private companies have failed miserably.

    1. Milton

      Now if there were only a way that e-powered conveyances could be transformed into Human-powered bikes, and such. But alas, that technology seems to be decades into the future.

      1. jefemt

        Just yesterday, I was pedaling up the long incline from the local disc golf course back home, looked over my shoulder for a lane change, saw a cyclist but no vehicles coming my way. I ASSUMED the bike was pedaling up the same hill, absolutely no possibility of him reaching me for my lane shift, so I started to ease over to the turning lane.
        It was like driving on the autobahn in europe.. the bike- an e-bike, was on my tail in the time I had started to shift lanes, he did NOT run me over, but did little to slow, and swerved around me, with– in his mind, elan, in my mind, idiocy.
        Anyway, I did ruminate on the mined metals and such for his battery, from where/ how, wondered why we can’t use food calories to get around our towns, and the impacts / consequences of our choices.
        I hand rake leaves, shovel snow by hand, I ride my bike, I walk, and I have no gym membership.
        Electric or polluting two-cycle leaf blowers: really?!?
        Choices have consequences, and we reap what we sow.
        I just pray and hope we have a policy position change and that the government will supply Extra Strength Fentanyl ™ to any citizen requesting it, before I can no longer shovel.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hear, here.

          Somehow you still have to walk your walk, no set of electric powered fancy pants, shorts or leggings is gonna work on this caper, and with the risk of running into anything powered being zero for yours truly, safe.

          One day as my mom was slowly passing away this summer, I watched the traffic on Whittier Blvd in front of her assisted living place, and unlit e-bikes @ night were kind of making their own lane where in theory a bike-lane would be, going nearly as fast as cars and what good would a helmet do you when the inevitable crash comes @ 30 mph against a cager?

            1. Wukchumni

              I sing the body electric, and yes i’m early in a sexagenarian saga, but still dream of my circa 1972 Schwinn Sting-Ray with a banana seat, slick back tire, sissy bar & monkey bars largely completing the ensemble…


            2. synoia

              I ride a bike, 10 miles a dat
              3 to 7 times a week
              I have no car or truck
              I am 75/5
              I was 265 lb well before Covid
              L am 219 lb
              At 17 I was 170 lb

              Bike lanes are not pervasive enough
              Ciutout the inference that one must be young to benefit from biking,

        2. juno mas

          E-bikes, like any powered motive vehicle, are both a benefit and a bane to travel in the US. They are best for short trips in the city; they reduce congestion and pollution and are less expensive than the typical car.

          Now the bane: in my locale they are mostly used by kids (8-17 y.o.) who never pedal them (will they ever develop strong legs and lungs?). The bikes are regularly surreptitiously upgraded from 36v batteries to 48v and a consequent greater top speed. Kids with no experience riding in traffic at 30 mph with autos is dangerous to both. (As jefemt noted many of the e-bikes have limited night visibility.)

          A parent on an e-bike toting a child or two with poor fitting helmets should stop virtue signalling and get real: a bicycle of any kind on a road shared with cars is a most dangerous activity and a distracted driver impact with your bike is likely to leave you or your kids dismembered or dead. (BTDT.)

          Most folks I see, young and old, riding e-bikes have neither the experience, awareness, or coordination to ride them safely. Speed kills.

        3. JCC

          At 70, I’m more than happy to rake leaves and shovel snow manually, but a few years ago I converted my Giant hybrid bike to a crank assisted electric motor. It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in years.

          Knee problems that had started to kick in after a long ride ocurr far less frequently now, and those morning rides to work that take about 20 to 25 minutes, and against the 30mph Mojave Desert headwinds that kick up in the afternoon still take 20 to 25 minutes… instead of close to an hour in the lowest gears.

          I have been a regular bike rider my entire life and I want to continue. Using the lowest pedal assist setting means I still get some decent work/exercise in while not experiencing a swollen knee the next day. And, after adding a decent rack on the back, I find myself using it more often for short grocery runs and other errands.

          And, rarely, for the thrill of it I’ll throw it into Level 5 Assist just to see what it feels like to do a “steep downhill run” at 25 to 30 mph like I did when young and stupid.

          After about 1 block of that, long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and a bike helmet no longer feel good enough. So it’s back to Level 1 assist for the flats, and Level 2 assist for the uphills. Can’t beat it.

    2. Kevin Smith

      We need data comparing injury/death rates per million passenger km using ebikes vs motorbikes and cars, before we can calculate the true cost comparisons.

      1. Grumpy Engineeer

        I would assume that injury and death rates associated with e-bike accidents would be comparable to that seen with ICE-powered motorbikes. The basic physics of slides and collisions would remain the same regardless of the power train found within.

        This definitely points to a lot more vehicular deaths if e-bikes are adopted broadly. To quote the US Department of Transportation (, emphasis mine:

        Per vehicle miles traveled in 2020, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.

        This might drop somewhat if e-bikes were adopted nearly universally (as there would be fewer cars to collide with), but it still bodes poorly for highway safety.

        1. mrsyk

          I suspect motorcycle fatalities to have a higher rate than e-bikes due to their ability to travel at significantly faster speeds.

          1. Ignacio

            In Amsterdam, Netherlands, according to this site these are the numbers for 2017 when a spike on bike fatalities was noted:

            Bike fatalities: 206
            Car fatalities: 201
            Pedestrian: 58
            Motorcycle: 51
            Scooter: 41
            Mobility Scooter: 25

            The data should be pondered by total usage. Bikes are very much used in Amsterdam and mortality data are not fixtures: it depends on too many factors and if this is the main worry measures to reduce it can be taken.

            I regret to say I am seeing a lot of TINA attitude towards any solution (always partial and imperfect solutions admittedly) on offer to climate change. This is IMO more negative than climate change denial.

            1. southern appalachian

              This is good, I agree.

              As to others, would be nice if people rode non electric bikes but what I’ve observed is that it’s not a choice between an ebike or bike, it’s between an ebike or car.

              And it doesn’t need to be all or nothing, some percentage of people – small in the US- will bike all the time. If more people rode a few times that would make a big difference. I think a majority of automobile trips in the US are about 2 miles/ 3 km, so on nice days in May or October why not an ebike?

              There are difficulties with the weight, some users get them due to physical limitations and it’s the getting on and off and stopping that present the most difficulty. Ebikes can be heavy and unwieldy. Step thru frames are useful in that case.

              The infrastructure in the US is optimized for automobiles and at the same time it’s sort of terrible, generally. People driving get enraged to the point of trying to kill each other, it’s so frustrating.

              Lots of research out there- riding once in a while is fine, e-bikes are fun, I live in the mountains it’s nice for people to get an ebike. I ride a bicycle most of the time but a have cargo ebike. It’s great, glad to have it.

              Back to your point, the finding fault because some solution doesn’t work in all cases all the time is unfortunately a common tactic.

        2. heresy101

          Yesterday, when my barber and I were talking about my two EVs, he sadly mentioned that his niece and husband in a small town in Vietnam were killed a few days ago on their electric scooter. There are many scooters and motorcycles and their helmets didn’t protect them because the trucks drive at crazy speeds in rural areas.

          Electric bikes and motorcycles are important but carry a greater risk of death from crazy car drivers and automated driverless cars and Cruise cabs.

          1. playon

            It’s also very common in SE Asia to see entire families on scooters or small motorbikes, and often no one is wearing a helmet.

            We’ve been considering getting e-bikes as we are in our 70s and it’s hilly around here, but haven’t made the decision yet. I’d be more than happy pedaling around on my regular bike but three bouts of COVID has taken its toll on my stamina.

          2. flora

            As both a motorist and a bicyclist I can only comment that EVs should make some sort of electronic driven motoring sound, for safety reasons, like the backup ding-ding signal on trucks, except sounding like a regular car motor’s engine. Many bicyclist and motorists, I imagine, use sound as an alert to what’s around them. As a bicyclist I certainly do. I’ve almost been flattened by EVs that make no sound when approaching from the rear. To me, they’re more dangerous than regular cars or trucks. Their silence is a danger.

            I’m sorry for your Barber’s loss.

              1. flora

                No. Not at all. That sounds nothing like an approaching usual vehicle, like a car or a truck. No help at all for bicyclists attendant to surrounding sounds. Sorry.

                1. juno mas

                  The maintenance workers at our waterfront (1200- slip Harbor) have (non-street) electric work vehicles that do just that. They never move over 20 mph, but the ‘put-put-put’ sound made when moving alerts you when they approach from the rear. At highway speed, tire noise gives an EV away.

    3. Trees&Trunks

      I have a super idea: ordinary bikes, not e-bikes. You know those kind of bikes driven muscle power that have served us well since about 1885? You know, you don’t have to waste a lot of oil and toxic chemicals for the full production and supply and waste management chain for batteries. Also, you may lose weight and improve your fitness.
      If I were a Western military planner I would demand the ban of everything e. No army needs fat people with poor fitness. No society needs fat people with poor fitness.

      1. Ignacio

        As a matter of fact, instead of e-bike I use my own non electric bike very frequently to commute so I am not a user of such e-bikes. But let me tell you 99% of the people won’t do that in cities that have slopes like Madrid. Most do not want to enter their workplace with sweat in their clothes.

      2. Janie

        Re, no army needs fat people with poor fitness. True, so maybe that will be the solution to our warmongering tendencies. We can combine lack of fitness with poor technical abilities by encouraging students, particularly at the service academies, to major in liberal arts rather than math and physics.

      3. Adam Eran

        The downside of regular bikes: range limitation
        The downside of e-bikes: charge limitation

        As a frequent e-bike user (in the past) I can commute 15 miles (uphill!) rather than my regular bikes’ five miles. Another downside of e-bikes: when you fall, or a pickup swerves into the bike lane without signaling, it gives you serious road rash…much more than a regular bike.

        Different tools for different jobs…

    4. upstater

      I have a hard the seeing how ebikes and scooters will lead to massive CO2 reductions in places like the US, Australia or Canada. The cities and suburban sprawl have been built around the automobile for a century now. Locally we average 3m of snow and plenty of rain; while the rustbelt and northern tier of the US get less snow, climate is non-conducive for cycling or ebikes. Then we have the issue of safety… note the smiling helmet-less riders in some photos. The scooter or ebike “sharing” outfits don’t provide helmets. Plus the riders often use sidewalks meant for pedestrians. There are few physically separated bike paths so ebike users ride on sidewalks instead.

      When I read in Perth 2/3 of car trips are 2km or less I thought what is wrong with walking??? Especially in such a benign climate.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For what it is worth, if you are talking about Perth in Australia I can assure you that it can get very hot there, especially in summer. It would be like saying that in Arizona, 2/3 of car trips are 2km or less so what is wrong with walking?

        But if you are talking about Perth in Scotland – where I am assured that it can get cold and rainy – , that brings up another issue. Mopeds and e-bikes sound good but what about when it rains? Family shopping trips using one would hardly be possible as would taking young children to school. You don’t need a big truck but you do need a small runaround.

        Things like mopeds and e-bikes have their places but I can’t but help but equate it with people that ride motorcycles. And at one stage in my life I realized that all the people that I knew that rode motorcycles – except for my brother-in-law, tended to have a limp. Just one of those things I guess.

          1. Lexx

            I knew which kind it was even before I clicked on it. Husband looooooves those and would approve of seeing many more of them on the roads. Then he started to fill me in on how much resistance from the Ginormous Vehicle Manufacturers there has been to importing them in the U.S..

            Kill all the lobbyists… and the congress critters who love them.

            1. RobertC

              Husband wants an Arcimoto – Ultra Efficient Electric Vehicles

              The one wheel forward 3-wheeler format is inherently unstable. BRP’s Can-Am Spyder two wheel forward with it’s Vehicle Stability System has proven to provide near automotive-level stability.

              I knew about Arcimoto before but owning a Spyder didn’t follow the company’s product line. I just discovered they have an outlet a few miles away in downtown San Diego. Headed there now … on my Spyder of course. I’ll report back on safety, stability, etc systems.

              1. juno mas

                Yes, these types of vehicles are allowed in my town on roads with speed limits of 35 mph, or less. They are more visible and safer than e-bikes. They have real brake lights, running lights, a short stopping distance, seat belts and a roll-bar. And you have to have acquired skill/registration to drive them. And your not likely to park them obstructing a pedestrian sidewalk.

                1. RobertC

                  You are referring to a NEV/LSV (neighborhood electric vehicle/low speed vehicle) which has, as you pointed out, restricted road access (I have one, a Polaris GEM4). Most are quite expensive, especially for useful features like doors. They do not require a motorcycle license endorsement.

                  The Arcimoto is not restricted on road access. Some states (eg, CO) require a motorcycle license endorsement.

              2. RobertC

                Sadly the Arcimoto outlet was closed at 1pm on a sunny San Diego Sunday. From the looks I suspect it’s closed a lot. So I sent an e-mail asking when they are open.

                Did some research. Most of the safety features are in the design vice electronics. A very positive one is the height of the upper frame rail — about the same as a CRV so car-like conspicuity. Their website has a configurator to explore with.

          2. Janie

            Those tiny utility vehicles are used in Alpine towns by work crews, especially in Switzerland. They are great. They would not be safe on major arteries, though.

        1. upstater

          I lived in Tucson for 8 years and am very familiar with 105F “dry heat” at mid day. One can walk or ride a bicycle at a slow pace just fine. The main problem is dealing with cars. My point was in the US and Canada everything is designed around the automobile. It is most unfriendly to pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, ebikes, etc, etc. I’m sure Arizona Slim would concur; it seems like she may not have a car.

          1. hk

            Fatal accidents involving bicyclists and cars were frighteningly common when I lived in Tucson about 15 years ago and San Diego about 20. I suspect things aren’t too different now?

        2. Eclair

          Seattle, as I have mentioned before, is awash in Teslas. Tech bros (and sisters) riding about, advertising that they have enough money to save the Planet. (In denial as to where all the lithium is coming from.)
          Now, we are seeing enormous Rivians roaming the streets: 8,500 pounds of luscious green, Planet-saving truck and SUV, to move one human to the grocery store and back. Who in their right minds would pit a moped or tiny 3-wheeled car against one of these behemoths? Because no one thinks: yeah, maybe we should banning these big, resource-sucking vehicles from city streets.

          1. cnchal

            I have only seen pictures of Rivians and every time I think to myself, it must be tough to have a telephone pole shoved up it’s butt.

      2. Carla

        Being retired, I have the time, freedom, and circumstances to live where I can access many goods and services on foot, and I know how fortunate I am in every respect! Within a mile, two public libraries, two small grocery stores, a really great independent bookstore, quite a few restaurants for take-out and patio dining, a movie theatre, a LIVE theatre, several small shops with neat items to give as gifts…

        All that said, if I were grocery shopping for a family with young children in tow, it would be a different story, even in this very walkable neighborhood. And this retiree still ventures out in the car once a week or more to a “real” supermarket and specialty stores to satisfy all sorts of admittedly first-world needs.

        1. Adam Eran

          The US stopped building this way in the 1950s…except for the New Urbanists. Pedestrian-friendly mixed use can cut vehicle miles traveled 1/3 – 2/3 compared to sprawl.

          Transit- and neighborhood commerce-friendly neighborhoods need at least 11 dwelling units per acre to be viable without subsidy. 10 is duplexes. 20 is two-story apartments. Naturally NIMBYs characterize this as awful…but it’s what works.

      3. Socal Rhino

        One place I see an impact: the morning lineup of large SUVs carrying kids to school has largely been replaced by e-bikes, split between bike lanes and sidewalks. I’ve adjusted my dog walking times to avoid them.

      4. Es s Cetera

        I’m in Canada and my ride to work (when I was riding) was 13km to and from, daily. A very beautiful and scenic ride too. I was a year-round rider too, riding through all weather conditions. And it took me only 15 minutes longer than it would have if I drove. For that reason, I don’t think distance and weather should (necessarily) be a factor. In certain cities like NYC, Toronto both transit and driving are greater impediments, traffic being so bad and roads being so poorly designed, so it rather depends on the locale.

    5. Lexx

      A few thoughts occur… we’ve been talking about this for years and still haven’t made a move. Maybe this is the year. Most of our trips are in fact short distances. The problem is cargo, occasionally the weather, and storage. If we could be bothered to leave the house to go fetch something and bring it back, it’s probably larger than a moped’s capacity. Yes, I’ve seen what they manage to haul on a bike or scooter in other countries. Hats off… that will not be us though. We don’t have that much time left and would rather not spend it living with the consequences of some serious road rashes. These are not the pretty years… I just want some dignity now… and the cartilage in my nose, all my teeth, unbroken bones. Helmets have limits and so do we.

      ~ Every time I drive up 287 of late I find myself suddenly behind a driver*, a late middle-age/ elderly short female driver, and she’s all over the road. Her ‘lane’ is the right lane, the bike lane, the shoulder and may be a bit of the left lane as well, everywhere all at once and you’re left to figure out how best to get the hell past her safely… that’s a ‘you’ problem. I mentioned this phenomenon to Husband, who said he was seeing the same thing, so it’s not just me. We, the deeply car-centric citizens of the U.S., will have to learn to take the safety of those in the bike lanes even more seriously than we seem to perceive those completely encased in metal with airbags.

      *On Tuesday I got out from behind one such driver only to find I was behind yet another, and thinking ‘[explitives] Are they related?!!!’ Okay, I’m not proud of it… but FFS!f

      1. Socal Rhino

        I witness this on local arterial roads too. At the slightest curve, maybe a quarter of the vehicles drift into the bike lane or shoulder.

      2. Janie

        Lexx, houses in my little neighborhood are decades old, and half of them are owned by original buyers. It’s 1.5 miles (with a hill) to stores, the bus runs once an hour on the adjacent main road and takes one transfer to get to downtown and a second transfer to get anywhere else, like the medical centers. Everybody drives, including one who is exactly as you describe.

    6. elissa3

      The greatly varying environments should determine which green solutions are best. In a densely populated, bike friendly city, traditional or e-bikes work well. ‘Bike friendly’ means a relatively level terrain, dedicated lanes, and large no-auto zones. In the country, where we live, or in the suburbs, the ideal solution would be for a household to have a very small, inexpensive, rechargeable e-car that could be plugged in at night in one’s garage. Well over 90% of trips needing a vehicle are for something like 30 miles or less (too lazy right now to confirm the exact numbers). If large and financially secure enough, a household could also maintain a “good” car for the occasional longer trips, or those with multiple family members. Wolf Richter is fairly adamant that Americans will not go for these mini e-cars, but with the current astronomical prices of ordinary new cars, perhaps there is now an opening for mini e-cars. A manufacturer’s low profit margin might be able to be made up with volume. The mandatory safety requirements may be an issue.

    7. ChrisRUEcon

      I was excited to recently discover that in France, the Citroën Ami (“Friend”) is a small electric car that is wonderfully classified as “a four wheel bike” because it only has an 8HP engine. Because of this classification, someone as young as fourteen can drive it on certain roads. I think this is potentially the perfect kind of little “run about” that’s far more useful than “tech bro scooter sprawl”. Here’s a cool video about it:

      Citroën Ami: The Adorable Non-Car For Kids (via YouTube)

  3. Wukchumni

    Pictures at an Exhibition, Jan 6th dept:

    One thing about law enforcement in the USA, it skews pretty right politically…

    None of the cops in the video seem to have their game faces on as the entirely far right political spectrum passes by, a couple of them are engaged in a conversation between themselves-kinda oblivious to any risk-as if there isn’t any.

    The old saying was ‘a photo is worth a thousand words’.

    In this case for many spending time in the all-bar motel, a video is worth 1,000 days. or more.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They should compare those videos with ones showing regular Capitol Hill Tours and see how similar they are. I bet that a lot of the people that were there on January 6th and are facing years in prison could have their lawyers review those videos with their timestamps and show that they were just walking through the place and none of the Capital Police were trying to hinder or stop them. A composite video of where and when they were in that building if you will. The footage would be all there.

      And since when the hell did Liz Cheney get a say in what videos got released? That woman has got some ‘splainin’ to do. Who made her the Boss of the Republicans?

      1. Wukchumni

        My Kevin (since ’07) gave Tucker Carlson & Fox News 41,000 hours of footage of the Jan 6th festivities in March in his abbreviated stint as Speaker, and how did Tucker & Fox manage to not find this footage, being the good ferrets they are?

        House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources tell me.

        Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks.

        1. marym

          Two other conservative journalists also got the tapes in May. Tucker released video of the shaman guy not rioting. One of the others released video of Pelosi with her daughter filming her. That was it as far as I recall.

          Also: Defendants and their lawyers have had access to the tapes.

          “On Tuesday [2/28/2023], McCarthy contended that January 6 defendants were able to access security footage of the attack before he was speaker and when former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the chamber.”

          ‘Prosecutors emphasized that defendants and their lawyers have had access to an enormous trove of evidence for nearly two years — more then 4.9 million files totaling nearly 7.4 terabytes of information. Those files include “over 30,000 files that include body-worn and hand-held camera footage from five law enforcement agencies and surveillance-camera footage from three law enforcement agencies.”

          Defense teams have complained that the overwhelming amount of material has been impossible to comb through…The Justice Department noted that it has built tools intended to help defendants and their lawyers pinpoint relevant footage by camera angle and time of day.”

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Carlson showed a lot of footage like this but he didn’t have full access and I’d bet dollars to donuts that McCarthy didn’t have full access.

          Democrats are engaged in bareknuckle behind the scenes obstruction of justice. They rigged the 1/6 Committee, hid massive amounts of exculpatory evidence and now we have witnesses coming out talking about busloads of fake protesters being ushered into the “insurrection” zone.

          This was a Reichstaged riot. Obviously planned in advance and pulled off with the cooperation of law enforcement, judges and the media.

          1. Screwball

            Never watch much Carlson, but his interview with the head of the Capital police was quite revealing as well. Depending on how much one wants to believe, for the obligatory caveat.

            Some people should have some ‘splainin to do over that.

            Tucker interview YouTube

            1. The Rev Kev

              Just listening to that interview now. Amazing stuff in it and I should have guessed that Miley was in that mix.

              1. skippy

                Did you see …

                Tarik Johnson
                I know everyone is excited about the video footage being released but we shouldn’t take our foot off the gas. You still need to see the separation agreement Pittman negotiated with Manger and all the NDAs USCP employees were forced to sign under Pittman and Manger to conceal the dereliction and malfeasance in the preparation for what occurred on J6 when the intelligence was there. My tweets don’t go far anymore as I released too much information here on X so I had to be muted. Additionally, it’s looking more and more likely I won’t be allowed to testify before Congress as my testimony would be DAMNING so someone else will have to pick up the baton. God bless.

                Tarik K Johnson
                Former Lieutenant US Capitol Police


                Removing the Rose Coloured glasses might better describe as opening the Blackout Blinds[tm] …..

          1. Neutrino

            Crowd-sourcing, or crowd-reviewing, works for the watching. Expect some boredom but some revelations, too. After all, people spend hours watching TikTok and other videos so they have time on their hands.

          2. griffen

            That amounts to 10 college football games on a given Saturday, painstaking and stalling (if not galling) officialdom reviews by our striped brethren maintaining rule and order. Let’s see this Defensive Lineman sneezed on the offense’s Quarterback…First down !

            And if you are truly a lucky one, you get all sorts of banal advertisements by A. companies you didn’t know actually exist and B. items you never really needed before and still do not need. All that being said, a Saturday of college football pigskin does offer riveting moments of did he just catch the pass or is that “ready for next level” quarterback more hyped hyperbole than substance.

            1. griffen

              Drats, I missed out on that crucial qualifier…41K hours is much, much more than the mere 41 hours in total to observe 10 college football games. Switched over to decaf a bit soon it seems.

              I have failed miserably. But it’s not a Monday…so a Sunday nap might fix the issue!

              1. mrsyk

                I think you are clairvoyant. Half-year games are the stuff of NCAA officialdom wet-dreams. (Please don’t visualize that)

      2. Wukchumni


        Now I understand the draconian sentences laid down, such as about 4 years for smoking a doobie!

        They had nothing… and they knew it, all they had was the power of persuasion of the proles & cons vis a vis the terms of engagement~

        1. Pat

          Not Liz, but the more I have watched the fallout from the farce that was the election of 2020 and its aftermath, the more I think that there are some out there manipulating things and they stepped into overdrive once Trump wasn’t given the bashing the electorate was supposed to give him. They have figured out that too much of the public doesn’t buy the garbage they are selling and things were going to get worse. Not only was the Covid going to get swept under the rug for the sake of the 10%’s economy, the advances that were made against poverty were going to be trashed. They needed inflation to be unleashed because wages were being forced up. They needed everyone in their place. Trump not accepting loss was a gift. And while I do think January 6 was inorganic, it wasn’t because of Trump. I kept telling people that I watched too much of it live and it wasn’t an insurrection. That the lack of DC police and the National Guard didn’t make sense. But the impeachment, the January 6 committee and the subsequent prosecutions just kept insisting it was a deadly assault.
          This was always intended to keep Trump off the ballot. Lawfare was to drain his coffers and tie up his time (plus it fed the desired revenge). But January 6 was about twisting up the 14th amendment if he was the front runner. Most of those convicted would have been given much smaller indictments and sentences if they didn’t need to sell Insurrection. Think the trespassing indictments we saw early on, before prosecutions were big footed. Evidence was suppressed or deliberately ignored from the beginning.

          I wish I didn’t distrust our bureaucracy so much, but they just keep proving my that they are capable of the worst I can imagine from them.

          1. Laura in So Cal

            The MSM and Democratic legislators seemed to start using the word “insurrection” immediately which is the word used in the 14th amendment. Not exactly a commonly used word that rolls off the tongue.

            Makes you think, right?

          2. michael99

            Another striking aspect of this is that it led to prominent right wing activists getting convicted and sent to jail for years.

            Five Proud Boys including chairman Enrique Tarrio were convicted of seditious conspiracy as were two Oath Keepers including founder Stewart Rhodes, and their sentences ranged from 12 to 22 years. January 6 ended up being a golden opportunity for the feds to get these guys behind bars, and to send a message.

            As I understand it the FBI had these groups under heavy surveillance, and had insiders acting as informants, so they had to have known a lot about their plans for that day. Maybe they did, and had reasons for letting it unfold as it did.

            Wikipedia link on January 6 criminal proceedings.

      3. Local to Oakland

        The reddit community r/capitolconsequences has links to public records and lists of most if not all of the cases. The sympathies of that group of people don’t align with yours but the data is available there.

        I have seen many complaints from commenters there about people sentenced to probation only. The legal system doesn’t work evenly as each prosecutor and judge is different, but look at the data for yourself.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Hmmm. I’ve been to plenty of demonstrations, and believe-you-me, we weren’t invited into public buildings for a look-see. When I was at the demonstration against the NATO meeting in Chicago, during the Glorious Era of Rahm, the police kettled many of the demonstrators and beat them up. (Of course, we had some Swarthy-Americans among us…)

      So, from the twiXt: “Jan 6 defendants have long argued that the initial entrants were peaceably escorted into the building by Capitol Police, and therefore had no reasonable expectation that their conduct was unlawful”

      Even though the demonstrators had been outside cavorting with a widely photographed gallows and noose:

      Heck, I may not have the buffalo hat and deep décolletage to gain entry to the Capitol, but in spite of my limitations, I am highly suspicious. Who was giving the orders about crowd control?

      1. The Rev Kev

        The same guy who at one point ordered the crowd control barriers to be swung back by those cops so that the protestors could head into the building. If they were trying to kettle those protestors in the Capital Building, then Mission Accomplished.

        1. Es s Cetera

          I’ve been to marches where, as they wound through a city, the cops controlled the route by simply having stronger lines where they didn’t want the march to go and weaker lines where they did. Protesters would think they were exploiting weakness breaking through a line where, in fact, they were being controlled.

          That’s what I was seeing in the Jan 6th footage.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “Funny” you should mention gallows and nooses.

        While the sacred, delicate necks of the likes of pence, pelosi and aoc were never in any real danger except in their own hysterical minds, not so much for one MAGA, election-denying “domestic terrorist:”

        Newly released footage of Matthew Perna (seen in red sweatshirt) shows Matthew walking calmly in the Capitol shooting video.

        Matthew pled guilty to initial charges, believing he may face 6-12 months in prison.

        Only after pleading guilty did the DOJ inform Matthew that they would seek a TERRORISM enhancement to his sentencing, which would raise his sentence to a potential 9 years in federal prison.

        4 days after receiving news that the DOJ would push for this sentencing enhancement, Matthew went into his garage, put a rope around his neck, and hung himself.

        The wheels of american “justice” continue to turn, unflinchingly disciplining those citizens who incorrectly claim constitutional rights they do not have, to keep us all free. god bless america.

    3. jefemt

      If we take 44,000 hours of tape:
      24 hrs in a day, x 365 days, that’s 8, 760 hours- for one viewer.
      57 channels and nothing’s on. McKibben’s ‘Age of Missing Information’ …
      Tucker Carlson was proffered much of it- he’d rather be fly-fishing in Maine or Montana…
      I can’t unsee what my eyes saw on CSPAN and elsewhere that day.
      Remember, too, Pareto: 80/20… They Say ™ 20% of Colonists actively participated in the Revolution— therefore 80% did not.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “India’s New Middle East Strategy Takes Shape”

    ‘New Delhi is slowly moving away from nonalignment and into the U.S.-led security ecosystem while maintaining relationships with old allies.’

    Modi does it again. India has had a nonalignment policy which has served it well for many, many decades. So Modi come up with the brilliant idea to burn their nonalignment policy down to the ground and stick his nose into the Middle east. And then he makes clear that he will align with the country that is most actively hated and despised in this region at the moment – Israel – but that he will also be serving the interests of America in doing so. And at the moment America is the second most hated and despised country in this region for protecting Israel and giving them the weapons to kill even more Gazans with. That is some real 11th dimensional thinking that Modi is showing here.

    1. Michaelmas

      Rev Kev: That is some real 11th dimensional thinking that Modi is showing here.

      There’s this thing called history. Modi and a large number of Hindus don’t like Muslims wherever they find them. And not because — as current revisionist pseudo-leftist commentary is trying to have it — they’ve been misled in a divide-and-conquer move by the British and the imperial West.

      Very simply, the Muslim invasion and colonial conquest of India was arguably the greatest atrocity in human history, with Muslim SOP being to create mountains of decapitated heads to terrorize the enslaved remaining populations. Here are a couple of current instances of non-Muslim Indian accounts of that conquest to give you the flavor of how many Indians think about Muslims —

      So one can presume Modi and a large number of Hindus approve of what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and consider it worthwhile to set aside a merely expedient “nonalignment policy which has served (India) well for many, many decades” so as to pursue the greater good (as they see it) of suppressing Muslims.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        As I recall, the early Islamic conquerors of India were noticeably more brutal than their recent predecessors throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This is sometimes attributed to Indians not being “people of the book”, but more religiously and culturally dissonant polytheists. Of course, that was early on – afterwards, centuries of Muslim rule over many parts of India provided examples of both remarkable tolerance and fanatical brutality. But modern Hindu nationalists tend to focus on the worst parts of their common history, and have done so with gusto. Modi, of course, is the highest-ranking Hindu nationalist today. His and his supporters’ attitude towards Palestine is therefore completely unsurprising. How much this means for broader geopolitics is not clear to me.

        1. mrsyk

          But modern Hindu nationalists tend to focus on the worst parts of their common history, This. The never ending cycle of violence feeds off it. Spain (Catalan amnesty reaction), Armenia and Azerbaijan, etc, etc, all fueled by that same tendency.

        2. Tom Stone

          Israel may be displaying a greater degree of Assholiness than India does at the moment, but the competition is intense.

      2. Darthbobber

        This interpretation of the more than half-century of conquests by various Muslim rulers is itself highly controversial and contested.

        But it lends itself well to Hindutva’s own revisionist project.

      3. Roger

        This would be like Arabs celebrating the slaughter of South American Christians because of the Crusades! The viewpoint is utterly ridiculous, the Palestinian people had nothing to do with the Muslim takeover of India. Also, many of the current Muslims in India are ex-low caste Hindus who became Muslim to escape the caste system.

        Such scapegoating of modern populations by religion simply divides when the real problem in India is its deeply corrupt ruling class, who are happy to fund the likes of Modi while they continue to plunder the nation.

        1. Morincotto

          Sorry, but THAT is some industrial strength revisionism right there, and very recent to boot.

          Modi is low caste, as are almost all of India’s political and economic elites, public officials and the vast, overwhelming majority of the ardent supporters of the BJP.

          Caste doesn’t equate to class, not today and often not in previous centuries either.

          There are plenty of high casters living in abject poverty and there always were plenty of wealthy low casters, with caste not necessarily saying much about economic standing or wealth.

          The whole Idea that the lower castes we’re somehow always economically poor is completely untrue.

          They weren’t anything resembling slaves either.

          India’s capitalist exploiters and money sharks, who do more to oppress and exploit India’s poor today than say, pretty much all the Brahmins or Kshatriyas (the later being the guys who actually we’re mostly in charge during the middle ages, not the former), are almost to a man members of the shudra caste, the lowest and by far largest of the four main castes, as is Narendra Modi together with his sponsors and rich buddies.

          Of course, there are hundreds of subcastes within the larger shudra caste (developed throughout history and not say, based on any actual Hindu scriptures), and that is actually where most of the caste discrimination happens.

          If you are actually suppressed because of caste, it’s almost certainly coming from the Guys immediately above you in the pecking Order.

          But the majority of oppression and exploitation in India these days has only tangentially to do with caste, if at all.

          The idea that Muslims ever cared about caste or that they did Not themselves uphold it IS a flat Out lie.

          EVERYONE upheld and still upholds the caste system.

          Muslims did and do.

          Christians did and do.

          Buddhists did and do (they even took the caste system with them to other parts of Asia where it had been previously unknown).

          Jainas did and do.

          And of course Sikhs did and do.

          It was only in the 20th century that first some leftist reformers and then some lying Christian missionaries followed by some lying Muslims, lying Buddhists and finally some lying Sikhs all dishonesty started to Claim that they we’re opposed to the caste system and Just as Eurasia has ALWAYS been at war with Eastasia, so they now Had suddenly been ALWAYS opposed it.

          Only Hindus are somehow NOT allowed to oppose it (or so say the olden time stalinist, Muslim, Christian, Ambedkarite “Buddhist” and Sikh lying opportunists, despite various Hindu sects and religious reform movements probably having a better track-record of actually doing so than ALL of the above).

          The Hindu holocaust perpetrated by Muslim conquerors is of course indeed a very real Thing, and the Muslims did nothing to ” liberate” those smelly, benighted, heathen Hindus from that aweful, evil caste system of their’s (the idea that Islam ever stood for some sort of social equality that is absent from and unknown throughout the Muslim world is an utterly grotesque joke anyway).

          Aside from having gobbled up a lot of propaganda on those points, you are of course still very much right about plenty of other things, like Modi and his goverment being corrupt, cynical (and rather incompetent) scum selling their constituents (of all castes) out to their oligarch buddies, and on the all important point of none of the above changing a damn thing about the fact that the Palestinians have nothing to do with the (very real) historical grievances of Hindus (of all castes) against their former Muslim Overlords, that they do not deserve to be genocided (not for the historic crimes of Muslims in a completely different country and not for any other reasons), that a policy based on revenge for such historical grievances IS counterproductive and that Hindus (say it with me: regardless of caste, and any implication that Modi and his policies are supported only or even primarily by upper castes IS nonsense, though of course as is so often the case a lot of poor Hindus are voting against their own, economic interests) are supporting Israel’s genocide in the here and now, often with a sort of ghoulish glee over Muslims’ (that share nothing but the religion with Hindus’ historic oppressors) suffering and dying is wrong and morally abhorrent as well as a bad look for India that is costing it a lot of moral standing and good will throughout the Global South.

    2. vao

      I remember that Deng Xiaoping made a well-publicized official visit to Iran in 1978, at a time when the streets all major Iranian cities were choked by enormous demonstrations vociferously hostile to the shah.

      So while one can wonder about the diplomatic calculations of the Indian government, perhaps it is just like China right after Mao: Modi and his followers are provincial politicians, with ideological and religious blinkers, not world-wise in any way. Clumsy when attempting to “read” geo-political trends, they therefore “bet” on the (declining and overstretched) superpower USA and on the technologically so proficient and muslim-averse (but popularly reviled) Israel, thinking that these are good partners to counterbalance China and Russia.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        The US may be declining and overstretched, but I don’t think it is going to stop being a major player any time soon. If anything, the Americans’ real and increasing difficulties might make them seem like a better partner against China, since India would have more leverage over the US than it would otherwise.

        1. vao

          A major player, certainly, but whether it can be a major player worldwide, as was its policy thus far, is increasingly doubtful. The risk is that the USA ends up thrashing in strategic paralysis (active everwhere, decisively so nowhere) — in which case, what is the point of whatever leverage India might have on the USA?

        2. rudi from butte

          For what? What does the US have to offer the world? Expensive, mediocre and obsolete weapons? Fracking? Slow trains that don’t stay on the tracks? Crappy healthcare? Reality TV? etc, etc….

          1. Not Qualified to Comment

            Offer the world? Very little. Offer politicians with influence? Lots and lots of bits of green paper.

          2. Feral Finster

            A lot of soft power. Like it or not, people around the world watch American movies, use iPhones, seek approval of American cultural institutions, see a NASDAQ or NYSE listing as the gold standard in probity, jockey their offspring to get admissions letters from American universities.

            1. juno mas

              But that is attractive mostly to elites of other countries. While American college and university seek high-tuition foreign students to pay the bills, those students need to speak English (passably) to get a student visa. I’m on a college campus alot and the culture shock is real.

  5. Ignacio

    RE: Hungarian Prime Minister calls for “mistake” of opening EU membership talks with Ukraine to be “corrected” Ukrainska Pravda.

    The sooner Ukrainians realise vdL’s lunacy is not in their favour the better.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hungary gets a lot of stick because of their stance towards the Ukraine and saying that they can’t be allowed into the EU but there are a lot of countries that agree with them but are too afraid to come out and say so. Look at the article in today’s Links called “Poland truck protests leave Ukrainian drivers stranded” for example. Those Polish truck drivers know that the Ukrainian truck drivers could easily send them into bankruptcy and they had a glimpse of this future when the EU lifted all entry restrictions on Ukrainian truck drivers so now they are blocking the border against them. Note that this is just one small industry but there would be probably hundreds of others that would be in the same boat, especially farmers. But I guess Ursula wants the Ukraine in the EU so that she will have a personal win that will look good on her resume, no matter if it does wreck the EU.

      1. JohnA

        I often drive along the autoroute in the south of France between Barcelone and Montpellier. The vast majority of heavy goods vehicles on the road there have east European plates – Romanian, Polish, Latvian, Estonian etc. I expect they have all outcompeted west European hauliers thanks to lower wages and other less good terms of employment for drivers. If Ukrainian hauliers get to work in the EU, I suspect they will be even cheaper than their EU neighbours as the Poles are now discovering.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Ignacio: The Ukrainians aren’t likely to harsh their high about Ursula van der Leyen.

      It is going to have to come from people who still think that the European Union is salvageable. If it is salvageable. If “salvage” is even the correct word for the wreckage of a project hijacked by neoliberals into collective market worship.

      As I say, I’m all for the Ukrainians making an application, but first there’s that matter of letting in Albania. Giorgia Meloni is all of a sudden all gung-ho, so why not the rest?

      1. Ignacio

        Ask Ukrainians, particularly Ukrainian soldiers what they think about vdL’s past assertions that Russia is in tatters. That should be enough.

  6. Verifyfirst

    Apparently pro-Ceasefire in Gaza demonstrators took over the California Democratic Convention and shut down the speakers, including dear Adam. That would be a very welcome signal to the glitterati that run that organization! I have noticed in general there is very little coverage of the protests all over the US, and the globe, even on sites like NC. 100 demonstrators broke into the Administration building at University of Michigan on Friday, for instance, 40 were “arrested” (ticketed).

    I do think “no fly zone” over Gaza would have been a better goal, and more attainable. It would have highlighted the absurdity of unopposed unrelenting bombing of a defenseless civilian population, without requiring a ceasefire. There is very little pretense that the bombing does anything but destroy civilian infrastructure, so it is far less defensible in the context of a “war”. And of course Biden could enforce a no fly zone anytime he wanted to.

    1. jax

      That relentless bombing harkens back to the 1948 Nabka; only then the IDF used bulldozers to wipe Arab villages off the map. I suspect the ‘border’ between Israel and Gaza is about to be built out by the rapture-ready settlers. The bombs are just clearing the way.

  7. griffen

    Railroad industry article, perhaps a must read for a Sunday. Delays are bad, speed is good and profit is the rule of thumb.

    Will this delay or withholding these set of cars cost money? Then do nothing. Will this tree that promises to fall in our path delay a schedule or, gasp, cost money? Then do nothing. Railroads are run like the fictional Weyland corporation from the Alien film series, it’s a shocker. You do whatever the hell they tell you to do.

    1. upstater

      The industry played fast and loose with safety when I worker there in the late 70s and 80s. Surely PSR has made it even more bad, worser yet. Terminal dwell time was a big performance measure then; local management thought nothing of sending out trains with known defective cars and locomotives, completely unconcerned if it broke down just outside of yard limits.

      Union Pacific has been particularly notorious with its PSR implementation. So bad that the usually timid FRA did an unannounced inspection in Bailey Yard in North Platte NE. To make their point, the inspection took place in the departure yard where trains are supposedly ready to go:

      Regulators Blast Union Pacific for Running Unsafe Trains

      The letter, signed by Federal Railroad Administration head Amit Bose, came after the agency inspected the company’s East Departure Yard in North Platte, Nebraska, this summer and found that more than 70% of the train engines had safety defects, as did 20% of the cars — defect ratios twice the national average. Conditions didn’t improve when inspectors returned and found locomotives with defects still in use. “We haven’t been able to get to them yet,” a Union Pacific director said, according to the letter.

      Railroads tout their safety records… but 30+ years ago it was largely an individual carload business to individual customers. As such, cars had to be switched and handled far more. Today it is a unit train and intermodal container business with far less handling. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there are more forseeable incidents (not “accidents”) per the opportunity space today versus 30+ years ago.

    2. rowlf

      Remember the Peacekeeper railway car ICBM system from the 1980s?

      When necessary, the trains could be dispersed onto the nation’s rail network, making it extremely difficult for an enemy to target and destroy them. Development of the rail garrison deployment system was terminated in 1991 as Cold War tensions eased.

  8. flora

    re: Wash your hands?

    I’m reading the 2004 book Overdosed America recommend by an NC commentator. Public Health in the US isn’t what it used to be. This para about US public health programs in earlier times stands out:

    “The myth of excellence [in US medicine] is also sustained by the assumption that advances in medical care are responsible for most of the gains in health and longevity realized in the United States in the twentieth century. I admit that was dubious when I first read that this was not the case. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Since 1900, the average lifespan of persons in the United States has lengthened by greater than 30 years; 25 years of this gain are attributable to advances in public health.” These include improvements such as sanitation, clean food and water, decent housing, good nutrition, higher standards of living, and widespread vaccinations.”

    Now in the US lifespans are starting to fall, partly from despair and substance abuse, but also from the collapse of public health, imo. How’s the water in Flint, Michigan. Has it been cleaned up yet after all these years? Are most cities’ water systems as clean as they were 30 years ago. Are the living standards for most people as good as they were 30 years ago wrt income, nutrition and housing? Since maybe 2010 Public Health is no longer the focus of the CDC, imo. Does ‘public health emergency’ register on the nightly news for more than a few days, unless pharma can make money from the emergency? Maybe that has something to do with falling lifespans in the US.

    1. flora

      adding: public health used to be one of govt’s priorities and expenditures. Now? Grover Norquist was famous – or infamous for saying,

      “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

      Grover succeeded. Lifespans are falling. That’s a heck of a coincidence.

    2. flora

      adding: Wash your hands is a very important reminder when preparing food. After handling the raw turkey or chicken to prepare it for cooking and putting it in the oven, then wash your hands before handling any other food you’re preparing, especially fresh salad ingredients or veggie tray items. Wash your hands is very important. Does that mean it stops air born viruses. No. It does mean it can stop bad intestinal illness caused by improperly prepared food like poultry. That’s important, too.

      You can harangue the CDC for not talking about the importance of ventilation or corsi boxes, but do not harangue them for reminding people to wash their hands, especially since every year people get food poisoning at Thanksgiving meals.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Those were my thoughts exactly. I don’t understand this antagonism between handwashing and air purification. Both are essential to “healthy” living.

        Is “public health” to be reduced, forever more, to being only about the fact that covid is airborne?

        1. Acacia

          Washing hands is your responsibility.

          Air quality is the responsibility of the institution, the management, and the team in charge of its physical plant.

          See what we did there? ;)

      2. mrsyk

        I agree. Hand-washing is common sense and is good public heath advice. The destruction of this construct should not be the cost of advocating acknowledgement of aerosol contagion and the remedies for such.

        1. Pat

          Add me to the list on not wanting that. That ad did not specify Covid, it was very general. And about an event heavy on food preparation. I also want to throw in that big group dinners often have people not involved in the preparation touching the food during preparation and plating. Those Grabbing tastes, should also wash their hands.

          I would like ads about clean air and ventilation, but this one also provides an important message under the circumstances.

    3. Lexx

      I would have thought our increased lifespans had more to do with education generally, resulting not so much in wokeness as awareness, but then I was born in ’57 and the daughter of teachers. Education was a path out for the lower classes. The water that floated so many boats, but not equally.

      “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The stain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’ -Isaac Asimov

      I probably pulled that quote from someone’s comment here and sits atop a stack of index cards I keep next to me on the desk. ‘Nothing has changed, Mr. Asimov, and the ignorance seems to be getting worse.’
      But that has more to do with propaganda, doesn’t it? We can only act on what we think we know, and we may know diddly-do which is always seen in hindsight. Education, at least the one I received at a liberal arts college, was supposed to give me the tools to discern fiction from fact. Sometimes it works, mostly when I think I smell horse puckey I start asking questions. Sometimes they’re good questions that lead to clearer more focused questions, but rarely answers. Personally, I think we should let go of any notions of finding The Truth about much of anything and ask questions like precocious toddlers, who in their way are often original thinkers. We need some new ideas.

  9. pjay

    – ‘Apartheid South Africa reached a tipping point, Israel will, too’ – Al Jazeera

    What worries me is a key difference between these two examples. From it’s founding, defense of the Jewish State of Israel has been intertwined with religious belief and prophecy. In the early days this was sometimes a propaganda strategy by secular realists. But I think the “tipping point” in Israel has moved in the wrong direction, to the extent that the true believers now have critical mass. In the US – certainly the “essential nation” for Israel’s continued existence (thanks for keeping this phrase alive Joe) – popular support comes mainly from Christian Zionists, who are also motivated by religious belief and prophecy. I think the neocon supporters of Israel reflect more of a Straussian will to power, but they are few in number and depend on the religious zealots to provide cover for the Greater Israel Project.

    I guess what I am saying is that I see less of a window for reason to triumph in the case of Israel. Perhaps world opinion will become overwhelming before disaster occurs. I hope so.

    1. pjay

      I should add that in my opinion disaster has most certainly already occurred for the Palestinian people. I’m referring to the possibility that this genocidal conflict will blow up into an even larger regional conflagration.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s sad, but these warnings are for the Israelis. Israel is very dependent on the Suez and the Red Sea for its trade. The Houthis may have grabbed the wrong ship today, but the ability to hit Israeli trade is just too easy.

        Yes, this point was somewhat meant for the realists in Israel who didn’t live in an imaginary fantasy land cooked up by Tim LaHaye to take steps to avoid what is occurring. The genocide might be prevented, but besides the collapse of Indias dreamed trade route, every smaller business deal done with Israeli companies is now being done under the cloud of hey they just did a genocide. In the end, Cairo and Ankara matter more than the tourist trap cooked up by Saint Helena. We can talk about gas fields, but it’s a tourist trap. Knocking over Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria were important to Israel because ultimately they will serve as alternatives. My mom worked for Boeing in the eastern Mediterranean decades ago, but she said Boeing made everyone go to Tel Aviv for a short time because the engineers hated it there. Beirut was where they wanted to be. Jordan had not exiled the Palestinian refugees yet. All these countries know what happens when you take in refugees you aren’t ready to take in. I’m sure US diplomatic staffs are getting told this and reminded this is dick and jane stuff. Requests to support the Israeli ethnic cleansing are being meant with “are you stupid? My god, you are so stupid we can’t even have rationale conversations.”

        1. ambrit

          “..we can’t even have rationale conversations.”
          Uh, with this lot, that is the point. ‘They’ don’t want “rational conversations,” ‘they’ want total compliance.

    2. Roger

      I think that the US elite is now waking up to this and fear that they cannot stop the genocidal crowd behaviour of the Israeli Zionists, continuously ramped up by the extremists in Netanyahu’s government. The comprador Israeli government is no longer acting as a comprador, but as an independent genocidal entity which sees the final window for the “cleansing” of Israel closing.

      Hence the increasingly critical coverage from the liberal media such as CNN. Somewhat of a parallel with Zelensky, the US is becoming more focused on changing the leadership to gain one that will follow directions better. The US wants a two-state solution or the ongoing hope of such, of course with a comprador Palestinian leadership dominated by Israel, to keep the lid on the Middle East.

      The Israeli’s are exposing the true reality of the Israeli state and the vast majority of its Jewish population to the world, including the populations of the golden billion.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        The US could stop Israel misbehaving tomorrow by cutting off their allowance so this isnt about that.

        Rather, this CNN coverage might be about something most pertinent to the PMC right now ,and that is that Biden is re-elected next year.

        In which case this is CNN’s first foray into the campaign to associate Trump with the Israeli genocide and ethnic cleansing, because they are both “far,far,far right”

        The saying “In the race of life, always back self-interest; at least you know it’s trying” springs to mind here.
        This is purely a domestic play.

    3. Es s Cetera

      Sadly, I’m not sure I’m convinced the Israelis will reach this tipping point. It seems to me there are significant differences in the mindsets and contexts. In South Africa the Whites had an in-built superiority bias, whereas the Israelis, by virtue of coming to this as the historical inferiors and castaways in every society, think of the world as a White apartheid state and they’re the Black people in it.

      The Zionists, when they began the project, were living in a different world where there was no obvious way around anti-semitic bias than to establish race supremacy, like everyone else had done, and the world has since shifted goalposts, is now struggling to overcome racism, has rejected supremacy, while the Zionists don’t appear to have realized this, making that tipping point even less likely.

  10. ChrisFromGA

    Just a quick point on Setser’s thesis that China is using offshore custodians to “hide” its treasury holdings.

    For such a scheme to work, in other words, truly be effective should the psychos at State want to seize them in a future conflict, there would need to be plausible deniability at least, and probably something more like a truly anonymous way to hold them.

    Who thinks the Belgians would not supplicate themselves in a crisis and let the US government seize those?

    China is not stupid, so I am skeptical. For a custodial scheme to be truly sanctions-proof, the individual CUSIPs of each bond must not be traceable back to a Chinese buyer. Using a trustee or custodian to buy treasuries is only as trustworthy as the individual who is the custodian. As long as they operate inside the reach of the US legal system, the trustor would be screwed in a situation where “the long arm of US law” reaches across borders.

    1. Objective Ace

      Does China even care if the its treasury holdings are seized? They were purchased to keep the yuan cheap so China could increase its exports and manufacturing base. I doubt China ever really expected to get paid back. The more likely scenario is the US prints money and pays them back in devalued dollars, but either way — they’ve already served their purpose.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Objective Ace – Yes, China does care about it’s Treasuries being seized. That’s one reason they are reducing their holdings. I’m sure China expects to be paid just as they have been all along when each security matures.

        However, those Treasuries were purchased, not necessarily for currency manipulation, but because of all the excess dollars they have from their enormous trade balance from exports to the US. They have to do something with those dollars and they are limited in what kind of US-based assets they are allowed to purchase. Despite the risk of seizure Treasuries are still the most secure, liquid investments out there.

        Since I know very little about forex, I’d welcome an explanation of how buying Treasuries keeps the yuan cheap. I’m not doubting you, I just want to understand.

        1. Objective Ace

          Here’s a thorough explanation of at least the theory of how it all works:

          I agree that China would certainly suffer if its treasuries were seized, however, I think there’s an arguement that the US would be making itself so much worse off (probably the nail in the coffin for the USD as the world’s reserve currency) that China would actually be fine taking the financial blow

      2. ChrisFromGA

        I would think so, but it may depend on whether the owners are individuals or the Chinese central bank (does China have a central bank analogous to the Fed or ECB? I think I just exposed a gap in my knowledge.)

        Individual Chinese businesses would certainly be harmed if the US seized their treasury bonds and refused to pay principal and interest.

    2. Revenant

      I don’t think either party imagines it is hidden.

      The US freezing Chinese assets would blow up international finance and the TLA’s know everything and the European’s are unreliable puppets. There is no hope that hiding CUSIPS in Luxembourg will prevent US double dealing. Only mutually assured economic destruction does that.

      I think the offshore money is there for the usual reasons of internal secrecy and tax evasion between Chinese entities. It’s an internal thing. My assumption is private sector ownership is included but even if it is just state bodies, that leaves a lot in a Communist country – Banks, other SOEs, local governments etc.

      Remember, a lot of Chinese dollar wealth was obtained in Cayman selling contractual rights to variable economic interest entities to gullible Americans who thought they were investing in an IPO. It has to be stashed somewhere.

      This is similar but different to Apple’s offshore billions, all sitting in Nevada in US accounts beneficially owned by the non-US resident tentacles of Apple.

    3. skippy

      Interesting if verified …

      Eric Yeung 👍🚀🌕
      I just had dinner with a mainland China economist who is “in the know” with the “higher powers” in China. This is what he told me:

      Since the FED started aggressively hiking rates, China has commenced a program where it lends US Dollars to Global South countries (who lack US dollars) but demanding Yuan/RMB as payment for those loans. 🔥🔥🔥

      The collateral are mining, costal ports and energy rights in those Global South Countries.

      This information has not yet been made public.

      I will report more once I find out more from this guy.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Hamas had not planned to attack music festival, Israeli report says”

    I will note two things about this Al Jazeerra article. The first is where they say this-

    ‘The police investigation also found that an Israeli military helicopter opened fire on the assailants but also hit some people attending the festival. No further details were provided, Haaretz reported.’

    What actually happened was that at least one Israeli military helicopter emptied their weapons load killing everything in sight, landed and was re-armed, then took off and did it a second time and then did it for a third time. I saw one burned-out car with two totally burned corpses in the front so of course without a DNA sample, you could not tell who was an Israeli and who was a Palestinian. You seriously have to as yourself how many people at that music festival were killed by Hamas soldiers and how many were killed by their fellow Israelis. I doubt that there will ever be an inquiry though.

    The second is the location of that music festival. If I was in America and somebody asked me if I wanted to go to a music festival I would be inclined to say yes. But if I asked where it was being held and they said something like ‘Oh, just outside the Louisiana State Penitentiary. You know, the ‘Alcatraz of the South’. They say that it is is the largest maximum-security prison in the whole of America.’ At that point I would be like ‘Yeah, nah!’

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        absolutely not enough said –

        Israel Air Force archives of the radio transmissions made prior, during and after the attack –

        “The Day Israel Attacked America”, by British filmmaker Richard Belfield embedded here –

    1. Janie

      Ever since Oct 7 I have wondered if the siting of the festival was meant as a taunt but have not seen any commentary to that effect.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      RK i’m beginning to wonder after reading that the festival was allowed an extra day by the army if this whole thing was not a failure of security but was a set-up all along with knowledge by Israeli security of where and when the attack was going to take place which would provide an ideal situation for the slaughter of Palestinians and annihilation of Gaza – early on there were Israeli’s subjected to Hamas’s attack that identified the IDF as killing their own – this whole thing wreaks – but what do i know –

  12. DJG, Reality Czar.

    Molly White, The stones left unturned in FTX

    Corrupt, corrupt, and more corrupt.

    Fascinating article with many good explanations, insightful questions (of whom to indict), and plenty of details.

    I wonder if she’s too merciful or if I am getting too flinty: Having read in her article about the parents’ involvement (Fried and Bankman), I say indict them. Any trees producing a thoroughly corrupt apple should get a kick or two.

    Also, indicting the parents would put the brakes on more Stanford (and other Ivy and near-Ivy like U Chicago) profs and staff who are using their positions to cash in instead of teaching. Obviously, the expression “nip it in the bud” is out of date, but nip it.

    But that’s just me, Mister Flinty.

  13. Lex

    The link on CO2 uptake is interesting and I guess no surprise that model complexity when integrating something as complex as photosynthesis would make a huge difference. (Fun fact: we split the atom before we figured out how photosynthesis works.)

    The question this kind of predictive modeling raises for me is which plants? I don’t doubt flora’s ability to adapt to much higher CO2 concentrations but I do wonder whether those that will adapt best are the same ones we know, more so whether they will be plants that are productive for human usage. And what sort of geographic variability will be in effect. CO2 uptake is a pretty complex subsystem within photosynthesis and heavily dependent on transpiration and vapor pressure deficit. I’m heartened by science working towards accounting for the complexity, even though I suspect the predictive quality will be shaky because predicting the variables that form inputs for the system will be difficult.

    1. GramSci

      From the paper’s turgid conclusions (parapharsing): ‘Let’s hurry up and get to +2°C so the plants can start to save us’, down to what I see as the big-Ag dominated Advisory Board of the sponsoring Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, I think I spy greenwash.

      The evidence begins with the paper’s opening premise:

      «that most TBMs [Terrestrial biosphere models] underestimate the increase in GPP [Gross primary productivity (GPP) … of land carbon uptake] over the last decades.»

      Really? Can the authors find even a trace of a significant increase in GPP [planet-saving photosynthesis] in current climate data, e.g., ???

  14. The Rev Kev

    “No serious effort to reset US-China relations at San Francisco summit’

    The boys at The Duran were suggesting that Biden wanted to put a lid on their problems with China as they had far too much to deal with in the Ukraine and the Middle East. And when those problems were sorted, then they would devote their full attention to China which the Chinese would already know. In the end, little of substance was agreed on but I think that this was the moment that summarized this US-China meeting-

    1. Trees&Trunks

      I wonder if this Blinken-fool feels or thinks.
      If so, what happens when he cringes there. It is hilarious to see though

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Beyond “America, eff yeah” and “there’s profit to be had,” there is no foreign policy beyond various cabals trying to turn the overly militarized to their own personal advantage.

      I think they know China relations are a problem, but the decay in US society especially State is real (just look at the nutters after Warren Christopher). Kerry is the only one I don’t consider to be outrageously evil and stupid. Instead of addressing issues, they working through “how to win friends and influence people.” Biden just is undisciplined enough he took the mask off too early. They believe corporate self help nonsense is better than treating people with genuine respect.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      The joke’s on anyone who expected anything “of substance” to come out of this “summit.”

      Apparently the Chinese understand the concept of lame duck status far better than americans do and biden is lamer than most, with the possible exception of reagan, who at least had the good grace not to put his mental infirmities on public display for all the world to see pretending he’s running a country.

      america got all it was ever going to get out of a biden “summit”–san francisco got cleaned up for a few days. god only knows where they stashed the mess or how soon they’ll put it back where it was.

    4. Glen

      Xi knows he’s got to meet with the Meat Puppet (and get the “standard” insults), but later on he meets with the American oligarchs to discuss policy:

      Xi’s dinner message for Elon Musk, Tim Cook and Ray Dalio: China ‘will not fight a cold war or a hot war with anyone’

      In general, this means China is going to keep doing what it’s doing, and you can keep piling more billions onto your giant piles of money. It’s wrecking your country, but China has already warned you about that:

      As Inflation Soars China Trolls US for Disparity Between the 1 Percent and Rest of America

      “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” – Sun Tzu

    5. Feral Finster

      Even if Biden wanted to mend relations with China, even the most tentative attempts to do so will cause Team R to howl about how Biden is a tool of Beijing.

      This is silly to the point of being absurd, but Team D spent four years hyperventilating and hurling similar accusations at Trump.

  15. Lex

    I don’t know who wrote Biden’s op-ed for him, but it makes clear that new realities have not penetrated the thinking of imperial apparatchiks.

    “The United States is the essential nation. We rally allies and partners to stand up to aggressors and make progress toward a brighter, more peaceful future. The world looks to us to solve the problems of our time. That is the duty of leadership, and America will lead. For if we walk away from the challenges of today, the risk of conflict could spread, and the costs to address them will only rise. We will not let that happen.”

    Does the world actually look to the US to solve the problems of our times? I would suggest that the world is (relatively) quickly turning away from that mode of thinking because the US has no track record of solving the problems of our times and it’s getting worse. Biden concentrates wholly on Ukraine and Gaza where in the reality that exists outside of Joe Biden’s imagination the US has only made these problems of our times much, much worse.

    Future historians will appreciate how metaphorically apt Biden and his presidency will be for historical narrative creation. Who better represents an aging empire, slowly losing its grip while it convinces itself that it is stronger than ever than a president who both embodies the state of the empire physically but actually believes the myths and propaganda. Of course that’s what makes Biden and the whole crop of current leadership on both sides of the aisle so dangerous.

    What I would give for reason and even cynicism where the propaganda is for the rubes rather than the decision makers. We might stand a chance.

      1. Benny Profane

        I saw some YouTube clips of Nixon being interviewed by Ted Koppel post presidency, and, damn, it was almost unsettling to hear a politician talk about international relations so intellegently. Lord, we have sunk so low.

          1. juno mas

            I do believe Ted was swept into the “embedded” in Iraq. Only later did he admit that his “journalism” fell short.

            It was Walter Cronkite who called ‘BS’ on General Westmoreland in Vietnam on live TV. (And that’s the way it is.)

    1. Eclair

      “Future historians will appreciate how metaphorically apt Biden and his presidency will be for historical narrative creation.” Thank you, Lex.

      Biden is an old man with old, outmoded ideas. He still believes in, as Mearsheimer calls it, a crusader nation, riding in with the cavalry to bring Democracy and The Rule of Law to the benighted natives. A perfect metaphor, as you say, for today’s USA.

      And Trump? That man embodies the worst of capitalism’s greed and stupidity. Another metaphor, perhaps.

      The other Republicans? From Nikki Haley to Ron DeSantis? Enough to give reasonable people nightmares of the future.

      1. CarlH

        While I agree completely with everything you wrote, the last two paragraphs could just as easily be said of Biden and the other democrats.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The weather forecast may show AI storms ahead”

    I would be very lurky about handing over weather prediction to an AI without knowing what data is imported into its data set. The reason I say this was something that happened back in ’87. You had the flight of the Voyager – the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. Along their trip they paid close attention to the weather as it could damage their aircraft if not bring it down. At one point over the US an experienced weather man called bs on the predicted weather for where Voyager was supposed to fly through. He said that he knew the area well and that prediction made no sense. A few phone calls sorted it out. The US National Weather Service was replacing experienced weather people with computers because progress! So when the computer looked at this region. it massaged the data to even it out for a smoother prediction – but which entirely ignored local weather system. Something to think about-

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I think that’s a good point.

      I’m also wary because having worked with NWP models way back early in my career, the notion of replacing them with AI trained by a limited dataset of past climate data strikes me as hubris begging for a nemesis.

      The nemesis being the fact that the climate is changing, and such a system might fail in a catastrophic fashion when presented with new atmospheric conditions that were not present in the sample.

      As opposed to a physics-based model that at least has the ability to predict given proper inputs.

      Perhaps in the future we can file AI-based weather predictions under “The Bezzle?”

  17. antidlc
    Physicians’ Refusal to Wear Masks to Protect Vulnerable Patients—An Ethical Dilemma for the Medical Profession

    On May 11, 2023, the US federal government put an end to the COVID-19–related public health emergency. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer recommends routine universal masking in most health care settings. Many clinicians and staff at hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes around the country have stopped regularly wearing masks. A conflict might arise when patients who are immunocompromised or have other risk factors that increase their susceptibility to COVID-19 complications seek health care and encounter an unmasked clinician. Individuals who have such conditions are considered disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Those disabled patients nowadays must embark on a “personal crusade for public health”1 to have their needs met.

    In theory, the solution to the problem should be simple: patients who wear masks to protect themselves, as recommended by the CDC, can ask the staff and clinicians to wear a mask as well when seeing them, and the clinicians would oblige given the efficacy masks have shown in reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses.2 However, disabled patients report physicians and other clinical staff having refused to wear a mask when caring for them.3,4 Although it is hard to know how prevalent this phenomenon is, what recourse do patients have? How should health care systems approach clinicians and staff who refuse to mask when treating a disabled patient?

  18. outside observer

    Thank you to the commenter (don’t know how to search for it) a few days ago who linked to the musician Ren. Don’t think I’ve heard a musician questioning the money system before as he does in his Money Game songs. Good stuff and raw talent in this young man.

  19. Lexx

    ‘The Naturalist and the Wonderful, Lovable, So Good, Very Bold Jay’

    We have several pairs of nesting bluejays in the neighborhood every summer. They don’t like grackles and neither do we, so I think of the jays as allies. Their raucous and aggressive in defense of their young and their ‘airspace’. I’m happy to fuel their activities, they aren’t greedy or destructive. They grab a snack and move on. If I can hear them rumbling with some intruder in the backyard, it’s like a sentry calling out ‘I got this!’

    1. jonboinAR

      Our bluejays here in the mid-south are quite shy. They stay mostly high in the oak trees which grow fairly tall. The scrub jays I was used to in southern California and the Bay Area had much different temperaments regarding being near humans. They didn’t mind coming quite close. They spent a lot of time on the edges of house roofs, the small trees in yards, not shy at all about venturing on to the ground in a yard. Sporadically one would decide to be almost “tame”. I remember one in particular when I was working as a trim carpenter. On one particular job site we all ate lunch out at our trucks sitting on the tailgates. This crazy bird would hop around right at our feet picking at the bits of food we threw down to it. I remember one or two others about like that. I never saw a scrub jay quite as tame (or rather nearly as tame. That’s crazy!) as those canada jays described, but they’d, just occasionally or sporadically, get pretty darned tame. Anyone else from those areas experience that?

  20. Allan

    That twitter that Musk replied to. Have read it and reread it. Is there a misspelled word in it?

    “……those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country….”

    Should “That” be “they”, referring to minorities flooding the U.S. and Europe?

    Or, is he referring to minorities flooding Israel?

    1. djrichard

      I give Elon points for not being shy to weigh in on topics. But if you’re going to take the risk, do it on something where we can parse what you went to the mat for. Otherwise the other side gets to control the narrative and they’re having a field day with this one

            1. ambrit

              Hmmm…. I can see some hagiography along the lines of a clone of Edgar Reichs Burroughs.
              “Elon and the Uncanny Valley of Gold.”
              “Elon the AIman.”
              “Elon and the Moons of Mars.”

  21. Societal Illusions

    “ChatGPT Quickly Authored 100 Blogs Full of Healthcare Disinformation MedPage Today”

    Whan the raw data used to reach conclusions becomes corrupted, and wrong conclusions can be “proven” – then where does that keave those who wish to be informed but 1) have limited time and 2) limited direct expertise? Being smart and following along isnt the same as diagnosing data for its accuracy and completeness.

    Is this an opportunity for creating significant penalties to such misdeeds? Is there a legislative remedy for this? Could data scientists be rewarded for finding such corruption and courts be established to hear these types of cases? Its not about mis-information but actual data manipulation and corruption, which creates a chain of evidence which should be able to be proved.

    So much of our data problems seems to be linked to will, not technology or ability. Fast-tracking cases to speed justice and appropriately penalizing the offenders will allow for more trust. Is the alternative that nothing will be believed?

  22. .Tom

    MoA’s analysis of where things are going in Kiev is that when the USA stops the money, and apparently Penny Pritzker has warned them to expect that, then, given that UA will need subsidy or face hyperinflation, the senior bureaucrats will find it easy to take RF’s offer. But given that the war in UA is between USA/NATO and RF, how is what Ukrainian officials will accept sufficient for RF?

    1. Synoia

      What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.

      And we have entangled a pile of entangled webs to unravel, driven by a monstrous set of professionals creating new entanglements as their full time work.

    2. Louis Fyne

      given the bizarro-world devolution of our timeline….here’s a prediction:

      even more Ukrainians will leave Kyiv for the for the EU, Canada.

      Kyiv will open its doors for any Israeli who wants to leave the Kibbutz

  23. antidlc
    WA public hospitals strengthen mask-wearing requirements in response to surging COVID cases

    Surging COVID cases in Western Australia has seen the first public health measures introduced since the state’s COVID-19 ‘state of emergency’ declaration was dropped.

    From Monday, all staff and patients in high-risk hospital clinical areas must wear masks.

    WA Premier Roger Cook said the decision was made after a noticeable increase in COVID-19 cases in the community.

    What a stupid, stupid timeline.

  24. Jason Boxman

    The Invisible War in Ukraine Being Fought Over Radio Waves (NY Times via

    A battle is raging in Ukraine in the invisible realm of electromagnetic waves, with radio signals being used to overwhelm communication links to drones and troops, locate targets and trick guided weapons. Known as electronic warfare, the tactics have turned into a cat-and-mouse game between Russia and Ukraine, quietly driving momentum swings in the 21-month old conflict and forcing engineers to adapt.

    I’ve read here somewhere that America’s electronic systems are wide-open, having never fought a peer nation in modern times. The Russians would have a field day. I wonder if anyone in DC is even paying attention? Reminds me of when the Iranians captured a US drone by faking GPS or some such. (Iran’s Alleged Drone Hack: Tough, but Possible)

  25. Ghost in the Machine

    The current list of infections of increased risk due to Covid infection Anthony Leonardi, Easy Chair

    I always imagined that the big population reducing pathogen would be something like an easily transmissible airborne Ebola or Black Death with 50% fatality rate. But that was a lack of imagination. Everything would have changed in response to that. We would have masks, ventilation, filters, and social changes.

    A disease with a time delay on most of the fatalities is much more ‘effective.’ When realization sets in, it is too late. If this turns out as bad as some suggest, it will be a weird social environment. How would everyone behave if it was common knowledge that everyone’s life expectancy was 20 years shorter? That may be an extreme guess but interesting thought experiment.

  26. Jason Boxman

    More on the misfortune of getting older in America:

    Assisted-living centers have become an appealing retirement option for hundreds of thousands of boomers who can no longer live independently, promising a cheerful alternative to the institutional feel of a nursing home.

    But their cost is so crushingly high that most Americans can’t afford them.

    These highly profitable facilities often charge $5,000 a month or more and then layer on extra fees at every step. Residents’ bills and price lists from a dozen facilities offer a glimpse of the charges: $12 for a blood pressure check; $50 per injection (more for insulin); $93 a month to order medications from a pharmacy not used by the facility; $315 a month for daily help with an inhaler.

    Extra Fees Drive Assisted-Living Profits (NY Times via

    1. Eclair

      Well, with any luck, aging Boomers (and younger cohorts) reading this, will be so scared that they will off themselves with drink and drugs, before they need elder care, thereby saving the Government millions in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security costs. Win-win.

      1. ambrit

        Take a more, er, ‘robust’ and ‘confrontational’ attitude regarding this subject. Let a lot of those ‘pre-approved’ for the Extra Strength Fentanyl (TM) “take arms against a sea of investors and managers, and by opposing, end them.”
        Sometimes, gentility is a self defeating strategy.

      2. Jason Boxman

        In this case, many of these facilities, owned by private equity, headquartered outside the United States, are for private-pay patients. Once they’ve been dutifully drained of funds, then they’re evicted and sent off to Medicaid nursing home land, which seems to be on balance quite fatal. The kinds of abuses that happen in those facilities might be less common in these, where tenants are still relatively high functioning, but not so much that they can’t be junk fee’d into destitution and discarded.

    2. Polar Socialist

      For some time I’ve wondered why nurses don’t start retirement co-ops – they sure would be able to retain competitive prices while also having enough staff with pride in taking actual care of people.

      Has the industry managed to create enough red tape to keep anyone without a legion of lawyers out of business or what’s keeping the good people from competing the evil people?

  27. McWatt

    Bikes and e-bikes. I think they are important too. Much like most car drivers, bikes and e-bikes obey no laws.

    They never stop at stop signs, they rarely stop at red lights. Typically they are riding listening to headphones so they hear no potential problems. They pretend they are regular vehicles and change lanes without looking. Many times I have seen bikes where the rider has headphones on, is texting on their cell phones while riding no handed in traffic with parked cars on their right.

    No one is obeing the old adage taught to us in school that if you haven’t looked into the car drivers eyes he doesn’t see you. And frequently you can’t because of the cars tinted windows, illegal in most states and never enforced.

    Having lost a cousin to an e-bike accident I am sympathetic to both sides. However, both bikes and e-bikes need to be licensed after going to safety school. My two cents.

  28. Tom Stone

    It’s not surprising that “Healthcare” officials are concentrating on handwashing, after all it worked for Pontius Pilate.

  29. Wukchumni

    How do we lose in the Ukraine war and act as if it ain’t nothin’, similar to the rest of our losses since the turn of the century (the first couple of months in Iraq War part deux qualifies as a win, so we’re 1-5 going into the playoffs) when the American public has stridently shown no opinion one way or the other, nobody cares do they?

  30. Amfortas the Hippie

    2 things in my wandering around that i think need their own post(just a suggestion,lol):

    the latter at least begins to answer the former, imo…although i find myself rather too scatterbrained these days to do it any justice(for an unemployable crippled weirdo, i keep pretty dern busy!*)
    in spite of…or due to…the apparent emerging consensus that we’re an empire in decline, i reckon some consideration must be given to what comes next.
    …and what we, on the ground…in all our diverse circumstances…can do to contribute to shaping that next.

    (*’too much work, not enough body’—and my boys are far too busy.
    in the last week, ive been: an invalid, a hewer of wood, a framing carpenter, a farmer, a chef, a handyman/honeydoer for mom(sigh),a housewife, plumber, electrician, a ‘pair of ragged claws’=>a drunk…and again a hewer of wood….oh…and a veterinarian.)

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      that was the idea.

      but during the panic phase of covid, my cousin and his teenage boy moved in there and essentially threw one room into another…then son moved into another room, and piled what was in there on the cousin pile…and then it became storage for various furniture and things that’ll go in the cabin…sigh.
      as for the cabin…elctrical is slated for february…but i’ll prolly tile the part of the bottom floor where the woodstove will go so we can go on and move that hunk of iron in(currently wrapped in saran wrap on back porch)
      once electrical is done, i can blow insulation and tack up the “subwalls”…that the pretty stuff will go on later.
      then the floors…and then eldest can move the hellin there with all the furniture he’s been collecting.
      got a barnraisin scheduled for real this time(i defined the term) on xmas break for covering the big greenhouse…told everybody to not fill it up, cuz all i want for xmas is the means of production.
      i’ll piddle around on the rest of that for the next year.
      currently,i’m ready to deck the roof of the bar extension.
      one plyboard done in a day is better than no plboard done, and so on.
      ad astra incrementis.

      maybe next winter i can start in rehabilitating the Library.
      (got all the lumber for that double tarped under the porch at the cabin)
      (winter, because the rattlers are docile then—things full of holes)

      says on the lintel of the yellow gate into the library cloister/bar yard, “thus do i give up the spear”.

  31. Raymond Sim

    I see that ownership of the vessel the Houthis seized in the Red Sea appears to be largely in the hands of one Abraham Ungar. Googling him I found that he seems to have been involved in Mossad efforts to restrict Iranian trade. Richard Silverstein’s ‘Tikun Olam’ had a story on it back in 2015.

    It hadn’t occured to me that Iran might be in a position to directly sanction oligarchs.

    1. Louis Fyne

      interesting. first that I have read of this…

      congrats, you out-scooped Twitter.

      Surprised that info hasn’t circled Twitter 7 times by now

      1. Raymond Sim

        Odd isn’t it? All credit to Silverstein. I believe I merely searched “Abraham Ungar Richard Silverstein”

  32. Jason Boxman

    The Saturday night show was postponed because of the extreme temperatures, Ms. Swift said in an Instagram post hours before the concert was supposed to begin at an open-air soccer stadium. “The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow performers and crew has to and always will come first,” she said.

    Except for C…C…COVID. In that instance, let them get sick!

    After Eras Tour Triumphs, Taylor Swift Finds Trouble in Brazil

  33. Jason Boxman

    A 30-Year Trap: The Problem With America’s Weird Mortgages (NY Times via

    Mr. Campbell argues that there are ways the system could be reformed, starting with encouraging more buyers to choose adjustable-rate mortgages. Higher interest rates are doing that, but very slowly: The share of buyers taking the adjustable option has edged up to about 10 percent, from 2.5 percent in late 2021.

    Other critics have suggested more extensive changes. Mr. Pinto has proposed a new type of mortgage with shorter durations, variable interest rates and minimal down payments — a structure that he argues would improve both affordability and financial stability.

    Choosing an adjustable rate is insane if you have any other option.

    Makes the claim that home ownership lags in the United States relative to other countries, but at least in 2011 for OECD countries, that didn’t seem to be the case. (p. 212)

  34. Jason Boxman

    News from the world of dark patterns. I’m looking at Experian, because identity theft, to freeze my report. And it gives me the opportunity to “upgrade” my membership. It shows as an easy $0 for my order summary, before the login finishes, and I’m landed at my account page.

    Try Experian CreditWorks℠ Premium for 7 days for free, then pay just $24.99 each month†. You may cancel anytime if not satisfied.

    There’s a big Pay with G-Pay, ready to go, big black button. Or the less prominent button under, to “No, Keep My Current Membership”

    I think if we started to cut off CEO fingers for this kind of behavior; not always, just a coin flip, we’d get different behavior. Incentives, right? I mean, without risk, there’s no reward, after all.

  35. Matthew G. Saroff

    An interesting video from a bit over 3 months ago.

    Short version, Sam Altman was pushing “WorldCoin” cryptocurrency and an iris scanning “Orb” technology that would likely prove a privacy nightmare, which was closely adjacent to OpenAI, and looks questionable:

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