Links 11/25/2023

World’s largest animal rediscovered in Seychelles after being wiped out by hunting Metro (furzy)

The Most Powerful Cosmic Ray Since the Oh-My-God Particle Puzzles Scientists Nature

The sordid lessons of Kinderläden Unherd (Userfriendly)

Mysterious respiratory illness sickens dogs NPR (David L)

The Rolling Stones — with an average age of 78 — are hitting the road again in 2024 with a 16-city tour. It’s sponsored by AARP (seriously) Axios (Dr. Kevin). Better living through chemistry!


A new radical approach needed for Long COVID research ME Association (Seamus O)


New beginning or dismal end for the Belt and Road? Asia Times

How China Lost Europe The Diplomat

EU-China Summit: the trust deficit threatening trade and diplomacy South China Morning Post

China Supplies Data To WHO About Clusters of Respiratory Illness Guardian

No New Pathogen, WHO’s Line, Why China?: What We Know About the ‘Unknown Pneumonia’ Outbreak The Wire


Why COP28 Could Be the Most Contentious in Years Foreign Policy. Would be good news. Means some countries finally getting serious.

‘You can walk around in a T-shirt’: how Norway brought heat pumps in from the cold Guardian (Kevin W)

Avocados have destroyed my country — and It’s the United States’ fault Washington Post (furzy)

Deaths From Coal Pollution Have Dropped, But Emissions May be Twice as Deadly New York Times

European Disuion

The tension simmering beneath the Dublin riots The Spectator

Geert Wilders faces early setback in Dutch coalition talks Financial Times (Kevin W)

‘It Snowballed:’ How a Knife Attack in Dublin Led to a Riot New York Times. I hate to point this out, but nowhere does the story say the rumor was untrue, that that the attacker was not an immigrant. Ditto Sky News (Dublin riots: Everything we know about the knife attack and police clashes) when it merely says that attack was stand-alone and not part of terrorist activity. Now it is correct that people should not rampage before someone has at least been charged. But the insinuation is that the rumors were false, as opposed to vigilantes should not try to usurp due process. After all, we in the US think it’s perfectly OK to destroy the careers of people merely accused of sexual misconduct, as opposed to waiting for the courts to do their work.

‘F**k the EU’: Nuland’s decade-old Maidan quip has never been more true RT

The election of Milei and the breakdown of Peronism and bourgeois democracy in Argentina WSWS


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 49: Four-day truce begins in Gaza after a night of heavy bombardment Mondoweiss

Dramatic hostage deal doesn’t erase Israeli view: War only on pause Christian Science Monitor

The hostages’ families should have been jailed to shut them up, says former US citizen who was an Israeli spy Business Insider (Li)

‘We are overwhelmed’: southern Gaza’s exhausted doctors forced to leave children to die Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Israel in diplomatic dispute with Spain and Belgium over Gaza bombardment Financial Times

No Ceasefire in the Propaganda War Craig Murray

As Israel pounds Gaza, BBC journalists accuse broadcaster of bias Aljazeera

Joe Biden Moves to Lift Nearly Every Restriction on Israel’s Access to U.S. Weapons Stockpile Intercept

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine war: Kyiv hit by biggest drone attack since war began BBC

Bad history makes for bad policy on Ukraine Responsible Statecraft

Trudeau blames ‘MAGA influence’ for stirring debate on Ukraine Politico (Kevin W)

Germany to supply Ukraine with IRIS-T systems in $1.4 billion package Defense News

Versus: US, Germany trying to nudge Ukraine to negotiating table — Bild TASS

Zelensky flags new military conscription drive RT

Finland warns Russia it is prepared to shut all border points over migrant pressure Financial Times

PERSONAL UPDATE: THE BLESSINGS & BATTLES OF LIFE IN RUSSIA Hal Freeman. More personal than some of his other posts, but still interesting.


‘Pipe down’: Biden allies step up calls for Dems to rally around president The Hill

Biden advises supporters on how to argue with their families RT, Kevin W: “Link at

Police State Watch

Derek Chauvin’s fight to live after brutal prison stabbing: George Floyd’s killer cop needed ‘lifesaving measures’ in medium-security jail – to which he had been transferred for his own safety Daily Mail


India Seeks To Regulate Deepfakes Techcrunch

Putin Says West Cannot Have AI Monopoly So Russia Must Up Its Game Reuters

ChatGPT Generates Fake Data Set To Support Scientific Hypothesis Nature

Existing homeowners with 3% mortgages remain frozen in place, as sales fall to a new 28 year low Angry Bear

Economists May Have Been Flying Blind All Along Bloomberg (furzy)

NVIDIA sued for stealing trade secrets after screensharing blunder showed rival company’s code EndGadget (Kevin W)

Office Landlords Can’t Get a Loan Anymore Wall Street Journal

The Bezzle

ECB Chief Lagarde Admits Her Son Lost Crypto Cash Reuters

Elon Musk says the Tesla Cybertruck will be bulletproof. That remains to be seen. Business Insider

Class Warfare

Swedish union blocks Tesla components as dispute intensifies Reuters (Kevin W)

Why Long-Term Care Insurance Falls Short for So Many KFF Health News

Antidote du jour. Looks like he thinks he didn’t get his share of turkey:

A bonus antidote (Chuck L):

Yet another bonus:

And a third (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. ambrit

      The “authorities” drop an imprisoned copper into the general population only when they want him, or her, dead.
      As long as he lives, Chauvin is an embarrassment to “The System.” Next up, the Epstein treatment.

        1. ambrit

          Well, more along the lines of poor Derek becoming a Chauvin statistic.
          [The ‘General Prison Population’ is not a defensible position.]

    2. Omicron

      Isn’t that what happened to Whitey Bulger (not an ex-cop, to be sure, but a gang leader who had accumulated a lot of enemies)? Moved to a prison in (I think), WV, dropped into general pop, and dead in something like 36 hours. Aged 85 or so, IIRC. No respect for the elderly….

      1. Tom Stone

        Don’t be so dismissive of John “Whitey” Bulger, he was of immense help to the careers of several high ranking FBI agents and I’m sure that Devon Archer misses his Uncle’s advice daily…as he awaits sentencing for defrauding an Indian tribe.

        1. Omicron

          Uh, I believe it was “James,” but you’re quite right that he did considerable service for his gummint, and that was doubtless a factor in his speedy demise.

      2. TimmyB

        Burger was a rat for the FBI, which is why he was allowed to continue committing crimes, including murder.

    3. Tom Stone

      I wonder if any of our talented songsters could do something with “Land of the Fee and Home of the Grave” given America’s progress toward becoming a free market paradise.

    4. MT_Wild

      Given the circumstances, a quick shiv to the liver or kidney might have been his easiest way out.

      This may have been considered a “tender mercy” by our overlords and not a punishment.

    5. Matthew G. Saroff

      It is premature to determine who the aggressor is here. In fact the wounds observed could have been a consequence of meth use.

      After all, Chauvin is a convicted murderer with a decades long history of violence.

      I’ll wait for the tox screen.

  1. thoughtful person

    Mycoplasma, reportedly connected to both the illness in dogs in usa and the outbreaks of pneumonia ( mostly children? ) in China.

    My guess is this is likely post covid infections but just speculating.

    1. Reify99

      Do you have a link for the mycoplasma in dogs?
      If true, that’s big IMO.

      Size-wise, mycoplasma tend to be in between bacteria and viruses. TB, leprosy, legionnaires are all mycoplasma. All are tenacious.

      There is great variety:
      They have adapted to attack viruses, bacteria. Sticking to TB, there is monkey TB, avian cellulare, (birds), even whale TB.

      They’re slow growing.
      Six months after treatment ended, the state sent me a follow up report that a culture that they had had for a year, grew out an avian/monkey TB variant.

      TPTB are slowly admitting that TB is airborne. (I knew there was a reason I was wearing that N95.) In the early 2000’s it was estimated that 20% of the planet’s population had latent, (carrier), illness or active disease.

      Of course since we beefed up our public health during the former pandemic we’re more than ready for this. /s

      1. Tom Stone

        Oh, please, this is clearly a Russian Plot!
        Like flouridated water.
        Every one knows how dangerous Fouride is to human health, blaming Covid, which we have been assured by PROMINENT EXPERTS is no worse than the ‘flu is clearly a Conspiracy Theory propagated by Putin.
        That would be Donald J Putin, to be clear.

      2. S.D., M.D.

        TB, which still kills hundreds of thousands per year, and leprosy are Mycobacteria, tenacious absolutely but very different from Mycoplasma, which do hover very close to the edge of “life”.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I’m learning more about infectious disease this past 4 years than I have in my entire life. Fun times!

      3. kareninca

        “A respiratory illness and corresponding bacterial infection affecting the canine community at the San Diego Humane Society is so severe that the shelter has halted the intake of dogs after three of their animals died, officials said.

        The dogs are being attacked by a one-two punch of Streptococcus Equi subspecies zooepidemicus, which is also known as Strep zoo, and the bacterial infection Mycoplasma, according to SDHS, which said the pair acting in combination “have led to more severe disease than what the shelter might see with just one of these pathogens.””

  2. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘Pipe down’: Biden allies step up calls for Dems to rally around president”

    Is this an example of the sunk-cost fallacy? The Dems are betting everything on Biden and don’t want any challengers to him for next year. I think that it is to late now in any case to stand up any serious challengers so it’s Biden or Bust. But he won’t be so much running for the Presidency as shuffling. What should have happened was that they could have been grooming several candidates over the past three years to replace both him and Kamala but it never happened so not only will it be a Biden-Harris ticket for 2024, because of his age it stands to reason that the US may have a Kamala Harris Madame Presidency before 2028. For Biden, he has a foul evil temper in private and goes on shouting rants so will he pop a fuse one day? This puts me in mind of one of the last Roman emperors who also had an evil, choleric temper and one day while shouting and screaming at a Germanic delegation, dropped down dead. Awkward. The same could happen with Biden.

    1. ambrit

      “…last Roman Emperors…” you say?
      That would, by association, make Biden one of the last American Emperors.

        1. ambrit

          Who ever could have guessed back in the Go Go Years that ‘Food Taster’ would become a booming career path for the Enabling Class.

    2. Daryl

      > I think that it is to late now in any case to stand up any serious challengers so it’s Biden or Bust.

      Wonder if that is part of the strategy though. Makes it easier for him to retire and “spend time with his family” at the last minute so they can shove in some other candidate without subjecting them to anything resembling scrutiny or democracy.

      1. timbers

        Maybe the the Dems are just too busy booking their year end insider stock trades to think about replacing Biden. Maybe they will focus their 80+ yr old minds after New Year.

      2. Pat

        Well at least until the general election. And despite ‘anyone but Trump’ and Democrats love affair with a good ad campaign, veracity not required, the candidate of choice is going to have a very big job trying to beat the other guy.
        (Especially if it is either Newsom or Clinton, both have significant personal negatives that won’t help offset the Biden economy and a wars that your kid might have to fight for average voters.)

        IOW, I think the Democrats keep digging in that hole they cannot get out of..

        1. mrsyk

          (Adjusts chin strap to tin foil hat) I’ve been getting the feeling that the team blue doesn’t really care who’s on the ticket, it doesn’t matter, the contest won’t be won on popularity, victory will be decided by which team is able to “massage” the results in enough “swing” states to take the prize.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Team Blue courtiers care about donors propping up their brands and not much else. When Hillary was seen as inevitable and willing to take a bribe, the money flowed. Trump still won, so they worked to create the idea Trump was an aberration, but if he wins, donors are going to panic. Tom Daschle is selling advice, but he is really selling access to a team blue president. Carville, Neera types. If they can’t sell access, what do they have? They can’t all become Harvard fellows.

            1. mrsyk

              Indeed. By Election 2016 Hillary, via the Clinton Foundation, had an established record of accepting oodles of cash for access to the MIC market. This election cycle has a somewhat different feel(ha ha spellcheck wanted “fee”). Access for cash is on the table, but who’s going to be at the head of the table? To me, the lack of strategy in the face of the undeniable unpopularity of their candidate is emitting a strong signal that the strategy has defaulted to curing the results.

                1. JBird4049

                  What the “Establishment” is doing is the same old, same old without any effort to change it excepting to supercharge what is being done; any ideas or abilities that does not treat the present as if it was the same as the past is ignored, discarded, or even actively, deliberately blocked.

                  Yes, we can say that they are evil, or cruel, or greedy, or whatever, but I say that the various factions have locked themselves into whatever path they have previously chosen, and they cannot or will not change.

                  Metaphorically, I look at it like a car full of crooks making off with their loot. They can see the fallen bridge ahead of them, but instead of the driver turning into the ditch, hitting the brakes or a fence, even driving into a building, the driver hits the gas instead. Maybe they all agree with the driver, or people are fighting over the steering, hiding under the dash, or they are all wasted on booze or high on cocaine, or both, but the results are the same.

                  For now, the Democrats and the Republicans have effectively no back bench. Biden is falling apart faster than planned (I assume his medications from the campaign are losing their effectiveness.) Harris is just not suitable. My governor Gavin the Hair Newsom, the Ultra Blue Plastic Man, is being prepped as a possible replacement for Biden. There isn’t any other Democratic replacement. Aside from that twit, Ron DeSantis from Florida, who looks to me to be a Republican flavor of Newsom, it’s the King in Orange from NYC.

                  I do not know anywhere what I should of political conventions, nor of how presidential candidates were chosen pre 1976. I suspect that the parties would have been able to chose another candidate to replace someone like Biden. However, both parties have stripped their whole system, much as an investor owed business is stripped. Anything deem superfluous to immediate profit (or the very next election) is fired, destroyed, or sold. Congress has done much the same to the federal bureaucracy, including its own staff.

                  And I guess, I would find much the same in Europe as well.

                  1. LifelongLib

                    I don’t see any evidence that presidential primaries deliver a better quality of candidate than the old smoke-filled rooms did. It’s often been noted that many measures intended to make political processes more open and democratic really just give special interests more tools to manipulate the system. My sense is that presidential primaries are among them. At least the old machine politicians actually worried about what their constituents would think. I don’t know who the current bunch worry about.

                    1. flora

                      The new smoke filled room hides inside the electronic voting machines. Like Dr. Who’s Tardis phonebooth, which looked small and harmless on the outside while on the inside it was vast and contained multitudes. / ;)

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            The uniparty doesn’t care what color jersey the winner wears, as long as it owns him or her lock, stock and barrel.

            Despite all the happy talk about biden’s “reelection,” the uniparty knows he’s a goner, and no amount of “massage” is going to convince the country that he actually pulled it off.

            Now it’s all about his opponent, and all the buzz and polls are being fixed around the next iteration of obama, nikki haley. Just like him, she, in all her minority cred glory, was raised up from nothingness and given a taste of the good life by the boeing board and speaker’s bureaus.

            And just like him, I have no doubt, she has accepted the assignment to keep the gravy train going in return for a future road paved with gold.

            1. Carolinian

              Obama is Einstein compared to Nikki Haley. It’s hard to overstate how lame the woman is both as politician and our once governor. Biden would honestly probably be the lesser evil.

              And she has a few shady skeletons in the closet to further dim her chances.

              Give Obama credit for being an effective spokesmodel who kept the ball in the air for a few more years. He does at least have some skills.

            2. JBird4049

              >>>The uniparty doesn’t care what color jersey the winner wears, as long as it owns him or her lock, stock and barrel.

              About that, a government’s power, the ruling elites’ power, depends on their subjects’ acceptance. Part of that acceptance is following the forms, whatever they might be, of changing the leadership.

              Most Americans already know that the country and the federal government is increasingly corrupt. Part of keeping “the Mandate of Heaven” in the United States means having the establishment following those rituals, however perfunctory. The failure of doing so, such as installing Kamal Harris, Gavin Newsom, or Mike Johnson without a national election or even without open primaries, and a convention would strip that acceptance, that mandate, away. Probably fatally.
              It is a fear of mine that, even if Donald Trump wins both the popular and electoral votes, they will find a way to prevent his ascension.

              No, whatever faction wins the 2024 presidential election best have some damn good and convincing theater. If they do not, it is likely to get both smokey and kinetic by the summer of 2025. Just saying that someone is the president and making stern speeches while having some guns and batons waved around will not be enough. Not this time.

          3. BlueMoose

            I’ve been thinking since last year that there will not be an election in 2024. The blob will announce that due to the vitriol and incoherent MAGA rhetoric it is just too dangerous to conduct normal voting. They are concerned about citizen safety (right?). The election will be postponed until the Clinton Foundation can get all the deplorables through at least the first level of the newly announced ‘Public Civics’ course where they will learn how to vote for the right candidate.

            1. flora

              The announcement at the national level could affect the pres race, all other races are state races. I doubt all the states would cede their authority in the matter of state races. / imo

            2. mrsyk

              Heh heh, a “postponement” would create an extended period of furious fundraising. This alone gives your idea merit.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          Newsome has an “ick factor” but Clinton elicits rage and hatred wherever she goes. She would inspire a far huger Trump vote than Newsome would.

          In my purely intuitive feeling.

      3. The Rev Kev

        I got an idea. How about the Dems nominate the Cuomo brothers – with Andy to be the Prez and Chris to be Vice Prez. Both have got the advantage that they were born in the second half of the 20th century and to a lot of Dems, this would be seen as a good idea. Yeah, I can see it now…

          1. Expat2uruguay

            So does that eliminate a Gavin Newsom and Kamila Harris administration? Google says they’re both from the State of California. That means the vice president has to be someone other than Ms Harris.

            1. Expat2uruguay

              We would have to see where exactly the Constitution says that. Using Google, the only thing I found was the 12th amendment which says this:

              “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves;…”

              if I understand it correctly that simply means that the electors from the state of California could not vote for both a president and vice president that are also from the state of California, right?

            2. GC54

              But maybe, being more fundamental, quantum mechanics trumps the Constitution? Then those two can be from the same state because they are clearly identical bosons.

            3. steppenwolf fetchit

              Or Ms. Harris can suddenly become a “resident of convenience” of some other state if their is still time enough.

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        The piece makes it clear they have no strategy. This is messaging for donors to keep the spigot open. They loaded up on Biden when they thought he would win easily, hence his previous fundraising numbers, but Biden besides the state of the economy, most voters aren’t Bill Gates, has Lebensarum in Ukraine and genocide in Gaza. Regardless of a donors views on Biden’s foreign policy, they can’t deny the numbers, and Biden has nothing but screaming about loyalty.

        The Biden backers are just rocking back and forth in the corner going just give us two more Friedman units.

      5. jefemt

        I often think of Figure Skating championships as an analogy to the Democrat party system.
        We slid for a couple minutes at the Thanksgiving table… our 30 plus year old kids have decided not to vote. They feel no one in either party has a whiff of sense about the world, the future, or the interests of younger generations- who are both present and future stakeholders.
        The 65 year old friend who has never voted–he is more cynical than me about grift, corruption, and disconnect between the electorate and those governing- he has steadfastly withheld license and consent…has been cajoled into registering and ‘voting against’ by his wife, a former Public Interest volunteer and lobbyist. Topsy-turvy-turkey tryptofentanyl turkey tribute tribal tribulations!

        I think folks assuming ‘voting against’, the “anyone but Trump”, and Biden B A U is a huge risk, smacking of patronizing unearned smugness.
        I for one would never vote for Trump, and I suspect he will loose by a wider margin in popular than both 2016 and 2020. I hope we do not once again come to another hair’s breadth electoral college decision….
        I cannot abide yet one more year of ‘voting against’.
        I wonder what is happening in the wings, and what is yet to come.
        RFK Jr may grab a few votes. I think Stein, West, Williamson will grab fewer. But divided as the US is, these votes at the margin may make a difference.
        Manchin/ Romney has been bandied about— I believe they would clean house. Not that either pleases me, from soup to nuts, but Americans are exhausted by the radical right bellicose belligerence, and the adrift neocon ‘novel’ Democrat.
        That Trump and Biden are somehow the only two allowed in, presented —vying for the Gold in the Grand Master Senior Olympics Men’s Figure skating is disheartening, to say the least.
        How many will sit it out- withhold license and consent?
        How many will vote, neither for Trump nor Biden, but in doing so hand it over to one or the other (assuming both T and B make the final 2024 ticket in all 50 states)
        Needless to say, 2024 will be a very long, interesting year as far as the Presidential spot on the ticket goes!

        1. Pat

          The pickup of new former non voters is not going to make up the difference for the loss of those newly minted former voters. Even at your dinner table, Biden and the Democrats lost voters. The thin electoral college vote margin of decision is probably baked in at this point. .

          Oh, and Manchin/Romney have to get ballot access. If they do well in states where they get it, depending on what those states are, it will either throw the election to the other mainstream candidate OR even throw it to the House. They are not going to be the third party candidates that get the actual prize. And not for nothing, I don’t think Mitt would ever play second fiddle to Joe. His ego would never allow it. If he does and by some miracle they win, there should be a huge surge in bets for how long it takes Joe to croak, small plane may be out but helicopter accident or mysterious heart attack isn’t out of the question.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          Will your 30 plus year old kids still find something worth voting about at the state or regional or local levels? If so, they could do their voting there and leave the national/federal lines blank.

    3. Samuel Conner

      LBJ dropped out of the ’68 election at the end of March 1968. That seems impossibly late by present standards. Maybe ways could be found.

      If JRB were to drop out due to bad war news, it would be a remarkable illustration of the “history often rhymes” concept.

      1. Samuel Conner

        The RF military does not make decisions based on political considerations (or, at least, not the kind of political considerations that seem important to the people in charge of UAF), but I have the impression that historical military symbolism carries some weight. It is tempting to wonder whether their leaders might consider it appealing to launch their war-ending offensive next January 30, the 56th anniversary of the beginning of the great Tet Offensive, that shattered US illusions about its war in Vietnam.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The humiliation of the US is a consideration as its a necessity for an end to the conflict. The US can’t remain in Ukraine except as an embarrassing annex of Poland.

          I figure the Kremlin’s major concern is who might be negotiating for Ukraine. I doubt it can be Zelensky, so they can’t force him to the table now. They need him to be removed. This is probably why Zelensky is touting how he avoided assassination attempts along side Hillary. He knows the peace feelers are being told Zelensky can’t be part of a deal.

          Gaza is another part. I suspect the Russians will limit attacks on sites they would have hit earlier, putting off an offensive.

        2. Kilgore Trout

          While it might be sweet justice for the Neocon empire to be served with a Tet-style offensive by Russia, Putin’s inherent caution in conducting the SMO argues against that. Ever since the Cuban missile crisis, the rule has been to never humiliate a nuclear-armed rival. The US did that to Russia in the 90’s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and got away with it. But if Russia advances rapidly in Ukraine–as it almost surely could–taking Odessa and Black Sea access away from Ukraine (as seems likely eventually), the shock to the US political system might be enough to prompt direct involvement, rather than the slow disengagement now happening. The US mainstream media and foreign policy in 1968 were many things, but brain-dead they weren’t. Today? Jake Tapper ain’t no Walter Cronkite.

          1. jrkrideau

            I cannot remember which blogger suggested the idea but they suggested that Russia is going fairly easy in assaulting Ukraine at the moment as it does not want to further destabilize a fragile Washington. You and they may have hit it.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        LBJ dropped out late and we got Nixon.

        I would take dead Nixon over Trump or Biden but first we have to brick up all the doors and windows to Henry Kissinger’s bedroom.

        1. Lefty Godot

          The Mayor Daley sponsored police riot in Chicago had something to do with why we got Nixon. What city is the Democratic Convention supposed to be held in next year?

          I think there was also some kind of promise (by Nixon’s cronies) of a much better deal offered to the North Vietnamese if they would not sign up for peace with the USA before the Democratic administration could be turned out. The usual treason that Republican presidential candidates seem to go for while loudly thumping their chests in public about how patriotic they are.

    4. irenic

      It seems almost certain that there is no way Biden will be the Democratic candidate for President but the party “leaders” are continuing with the charade of Biden as candidate so that the primaries will be over and they can choose the candidate themselves.

      But this is the 21st century and the Democratic Party, even as late as this summer, certainly can organize a nationwide primary on short notice. Can’t they?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Elon Musk says the Tesla Cybertruck will be bulletproof. That remains to be seen.”

    If Musk is making these trucks to be bullet-proof by using a combination of armour glass and 3mm steel sheeting, does that mean that it will be much more difficult to pull out the driver and any passengers in case of an accident? Will those Cybertrucks be using batteries that can be prone to immense burning when on fire? That sounds like an evil combination to me if so.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Will those Cybertrucks be using batteries that can be prone to immense burning when on fire?

      In a word, yes, for the simply reason that all EV batteries are capable of feeding intense (and exceptionally difficult to extinguish) fires. This can happen even if the EV battery is made of fire-retardant materials, as the fire may be located immediately adjacent to the battery. If the battery keeps pouring electrical energy into the fire, it won’t go out. Not even if it’s completely smothered with foam or water.

      Battery fires are essentially electrical fires where you can’t cut the power. They scare the crap out of me, and I don’t like the idea of having so much potentially inextinguishable energy in my car. And I’ll never put such a system in my home. Any fire involving the battery would pretty much ensure that you’d lose the whole house.

      1. i just don't like the gravy

        Excellent analysis. The lithium craze will lead to a lot of charcoal briquette PMCs.

        Would you expect alternative battery chemistries to have the same problem? I am not an EE/physicist

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Would you expect alternative battery chemistries to have the same problem?

          Unfortunately, yes. Pretty much any large battery can feed energy into an electrical fault to make things worse. But it’s worth noting that the severity can vary with battery chemistry and topology. And unfortunately, faster-charging batteries will be worse than slower-charging batteries.

          Batteries that can be charged very quickly (like Toyota’s new solid state lithium batteries) have a very low internal resistance. This is good from a charging standpoint, but bad when there’s a short. The maximum “short-circuit current available” (SCCA) is very high with such a battery and can result in terribly destructive short-circuit events.

          Batteries that must be charged more slowly (like deep-cycle lead-acid batteries) will have a higher internal resistance that limits available short-circuit current. As a result, they’re safer in short-circuit scenarios, but more limited in operational and charging scenarios.

          Alas, life is full of trade-offs.

      2. ISL

        My Ford F150 hybrid caught fire while I was driving on the freeway, one of my employees who was following called me about smoke. Fortunately, we got out while the electricity still worked (doors opened). It was about 4 minutes (240 seconds) from the call until the cabin was engulfed in flames.

        Fire dept. showed up at about six minutes (it was all video-d on my employee’s dash cam). My new Ford F150 hybrid (need it as a generator for work) now has a 20 lb. fire extinguisher and a small hammer in each door pocket. So far, no smoke.

  4. timbers

    Not So Cold War

    Per Dima it’s been pretty bad for Ukraine lately. Also Dima outlined an account of the peace agreement Putin and Zelensky came to, before it fell apart. It makes Zelensky look like an eff-up. But, it’s a not so good look for Putin, either. Not possible to know exactly what would have happened had it been implemented, but no doubt in my mind had the West allowed it to happen, they would have done so ONLY in the context to make matters worse for Russia later. And…does it still need saying?…The West would have simple ignored the agreement when it suited them.

    So despite all the blood spilled, my estimation is that The West did Putin a favor by killing the agreement against Putin’s worse judgement.

    1. albrt

      Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, I think Vladimir Putin is significantly less bloodthirsty than recent U.S. leaders, and is more willing to compromise to avoid starting wars especially in his own back yard.

      1. timbers

        I agree, and that irrational desire to create a peace agreement with the not agreement capable West is what led Putin to commit the catastrophic blunder in 2014 of preventing Donbass from winning it’s war against the Ukraine army and instead seeking peace which allowed the West to militarize Ukraine, forcing the devastation we are seeing now.

        Had Putin been allowed to enact his peace offer to Zelensky, things might have been even worse then they now.

    2. Feral Finster

      Russia has consistently underestimated the sociopathy of Western leadership and been too quick to declare victory.

      I suspect that the Russian leadership doesn’t want to admit the truth to themselves.

      1. jrkrideau

        I think even Putin is coming around to realizing the level of sociopathy.

        Putin and his advisors seem to have correctly gauged Kiev’s reaction to the “SMO”. The Ankara negotiations seem to support this.

        What Moscow completely missed was the insane level of hatred and animosity from NATO and its citizens. To be honest, I can not think of informed commentator who anticipated this.

        Certainly I, as a casual albeit relatively long-term observer, was totally shocked. We were suddenly seeing pathological hatred.

        1. Feral Finster

          That Russia offered Kiev a “Humanitarian pause” to the fighting while negotiations were ongoing should tell you otherwise.

          Meanwhile, the West ignores red line after Russian red line.

      2. timbers

        Putin attacking Ukraine only to propose Misk 3? Gag me with a spoon. IMO Putin stlii has not learned. Russia may prosecute the SMO successfully…but NOT because of Putin please Russia don’t let Putin “negotiate”.

      3. JBird4049

        >>>I suspect that the Russian leadership doesn’t want to admit the truth to themselves.

        I do not want to accept just how childishly bananas and vitriolic my country’s government has become from the municipal or local level to state, and finally federal. I am old enough to remember how government used to function from government services to natural disasters to the original Cold War. The process of ignoring those memories so that I change my perceptions to match current reality has been both painful and disorientating. It is made harder because the façade is still there, the forms or rituals are performed, but it is painful theater. Today’s actors are nothing like the players of decades ago.

        I think the Russians with Putin and the Chinese under Xi have been going through the same process or at least something similar. Just how does one deal with irrational, incompetent people who can destroy the world for no good, rational reason anyone but them can see? Or at least not easily see?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Zelensky flags new military conscription drive”

    ‘The West has been pushing Zelensky to expand the conscription age to men aged 17-70 and mobilize more women, Russian intelligence said earlier this week. Kiev has neither confirmed nor denied these claims.’

    There have been more and more reports of women on the front line and one gathering of new soldiers that I saw looked like a congregation of Walmart door greeters- (1:08 mins)

    1. Feral Finster

      As long as these old codgers can catch Russian munitions, nobody in Kiev, much less Washington cares.

    2. LifelongLib

      I once had a conversation with a U.S. Army sergeant who said he was retiring because he couldn’t keep up with the kids anymore. IIRC he was in his early 40s. I’ve read other things that suggest 40-ish is about the limit for an infantryman. I don’t know what all those older people will be doing, but it seems like it shouldn’t be infantry-type stuff.

  6. Stephen V

    Interesting book review by A. Bertrand about our favorite hegemon:
    Fernandes makes a very different case, … His point is that there’s something unique about US geopolitics, and that of Western colonial states before it, in that they have these extremely aggressive characteristics – the impulse to subjugate and pillage others – that actually often harm their security rather than safeguard it. And he explains this with the undue power the moneyed class has over the state in those systems of government. Which is hard to deny if one looks at things historically: for instance it is the East India Company that initiated the colonization and pillage of India, not the British state that only came afterwards to essentially pacify growing rebellion in India so as to perpetuate the ongoing pillage. Or take a more recent example: the war in Iraq. It makes very little sense… [snip]

  7. Alan Roxdale

    I hate to point this out, but nowhere does the story say the rumor was untrue, that that the attacker was not an immigrant.

    That’s because it wasn’t a rumor. The attacker’s identity was released by police within a few hours. The riots and looting started some hours later, apparently organized in dial-a-mob fashion.

    The connection between the attack (still unexplained), and the riots (actually more understood) is tenuous. There have apparently been growing “far right”/”anti-social” gangs in Dublin’s inner city for some years now. Some would point fingers at UK “EDL” style groups taking root, but it is worth pointing out that a few years ago Dublin went through a fairly nasty drug gang war and I think the connection to home-grown drug gangs is more likely. Also the social backdrop to this is an abandoned inner city working class in an increasingly lucrative locations for redevelopment in a country where property development more resembles the plot of a crime noir novel more than a business deal.

    At an operational level, this is the type of flash mob/riot we’ve now seen in a few countries now. Though these require some “asset” building up front, which someone has obviously been doing for some time. Not quite out of sight either.

    1. CanCyn

      The attacker’s identity was released by police within a few hours. You got a link for that? All I’m seeing from a quick search is “50 year old man”

  8. LawnDart

    The anti-Gaza, but Class Warfare:

    Precious water: As more of the world thirsts, luxury water becoming fashionable among the elite

    This “fine water” is drawn from volcanic rock in Hawaii, from icebergs that have fallen from melting glaciers in Norway, or from droplets of morning mist in Tasmania.

    Connoisseurs, some who study to become water sommeliers, insist this trend isn’t about snobbishness. They appreciate the purest of the pure.

    Without its opulent packaging, the average consumer might fail to taste the difference in these waters. Even sommeliers say it can take months of practice to determine the subtleties.

    $100.00 a bottle…

    1. i just don't like the gravy

      Reading that makes me wish I had the nuclear football.

      The rich and wealthy have become pathetic. How do people talk about being a water sommelier with a straight face?

    2. redleg

      I’m working on a water supply project in Hawaii right now and looking at the water quality parameters, the water is fine but not exceptionally great. Chloride is high enough that your coffee maker will make salty coffee if you don’t clean it frequently. There’s only so much freshwater on an island in the middle of the ocean, so i see this as stealing. I think that’s the appeal- i have something of limited supply that you can’t have ego trip. I hope their water is drawn from the edge of the freshwater near a major harbor where the contamination is especially enhanced, not the basal aquifer where Hawaiians get theirs.

      1. Mikel

        “I think that’s the appeal- i have something of limited supply that you can’t have ego trip.”

        You have just described mindset that defines an entire global economic order that will manufacture scarcity if it has to.
        You see the price tag they can then throw on the product or service.

  9. Sibiriak

    Bad history makes for bad policy on Ukraine

    Ironically, that article takes as fact the dubious claim that “Russia’s acceptance of mass casualties and use of “human wave” attacks where they lose three or more soldiers for every Ukrainian casualty. ” has been critical to Russian military successes.

    The only support provided for that claim is a link to CNN article quoting (former) Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar and Gen. Mark Milley.

    CNN at least includes the caveat : “death tolls for both Russian and Ukrainian service members are difficult to pin down, and CNN cannot independently verify either side’s reported death toll.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gave up reading it only a few paragraphs in because it was indulging in magical thinking. Russian mass casualties? Last I heard it was a ten to one ration in Russia’s favour. This article is only playing into stereotypes and is not to be taken seriously.

      1. Harold

        I knew this article was way off because a while ago I treated myself to a paid subscription to no-commercials YouTube (you only live once) and found myself listening to a lot of fascinating lectures on WW2 by modern, up-to-date US military historians (many given at US military colleges), which, among other things, debunked the myth of human wave attacks as the source of Soviet victory. Larry Johnson also points to this takedown by Andrei Martyanov:

  10. The Rev Kev

    “The hostages’ families should have been jailed to shut them up, says former US citizen who was an Israeli spy”

    Spoiler alert – it’s noted traitor Jonathan Pollard who crawled out from under the rock he was hiding under to suggest putting into prison fellow Israelis. Pollard seems to be another one of these Israelis who prefer to see those hostages dead for whatever reason. Would you believe that he once referred to the Biden administration as “Amalek” while calling the U.S State Department and the United Nations enemies of Israel? Maybe Netanyahu should offer him a position in the Knesset.

    1. Buzz Meeks

      Fifth Columnist Chuck Schumer wanted a full pardon for Pollard because “ he has suffered enough”. Not making this up.
      I was near Schumer several years ago when he showed up at a Western New York farmers market. The stench of treason just rolled off of him.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Michael Tracey
    In 1988, it was estimated that each member of the Israeli military received subsidization from the US at about $9,750 per year
    In 1988, the annual amount of Social Security payments dispensed to the most destitute elderly and disabled Americans was $4,248’

    On a related note, Caitlin Johnstone was pointing this out-

    ‘It’s probably worth noting at this point in history that the total number of children killed in Gaza has just surpassed the number of children the International Criminal Court indicted Russian president Vladimir Putin for relocating out of a war zone.’

    So where is the ICC?

  12. Lexx

    ‘The tension simmering beneath the Dublin riots’

    What I wanted to know was which shops were looted and for what goods?

    We attended the Senior Center’s annual Artisan sale yesterday; it’s one of the best sales of the year. I’m in the habit of walking through and inspecting the wares of every booth and then circling back to buy what I most liked and wanted. The vendors seemed genuinely surprised then when I picked an item up and indicated I wanted to purchase the item. It had been an opening day for them full of looky-loos, so they double-checked, ‘You want to buy that?!’ You could hear the relief in their voices. They had already done the math of what they needed to sell just to clear their costs, especially the booth space. Customers were socializing, keeping their wallets put away and stuffing free popcorn into their mouths like they were starving and it was their last meal… it was eleven in the morning. I would hear the woman running the popcorn popper and bagging it up in little bags, ‘Be patient! I’m going as fast as I can!’ They practically snatched the bags out of her hands like they were afraid they weren’t going to get their fair share.’

    The attendees weren’t the homeless. Everyone looked well fed or at least not like they’d missed too many meals, nor were poorly clothed for what was a very cold and snowy morning in northern Colorado. They had homes and food and presumably their health. But there’s an anxiety in the propaganda of precarity (?) that’s setting the community’s teeth on edge. I was listening to two women talk and one said, ‘I’m looking for gifts for other people. It’s always like that, I never buy anything for myself.’ The other one nodded, both martyrs to their love and generosity as evidenced by their constant self-sacrifice (and public good-natured complaining). ‘Woe is me, all I do is take care of others, keeping nothing for myself except this crappy bag of free popcorn and I just can’t fill the emptiness fast enough… sigh.’

    I imagine Dublin is much the same, the sense in this season of gluttony and generosity, that the ‘good times’ could end at any moment, for one reason or another.

  13. Tom Stone

    The Assholiness displayed by the Likudniks is impressive, you can find batshit Baptists, insane Imams and Hindu Priests ranting on You tube but the Israeli’s take the cake.
    I was admittedly surprised at first because I did not think those Hindu priests could be outdone in their utter sincerity and forthrightness as they expounded on God Swill.
    It was the beautiful voices of those Israeli Children singing “The Friendship Song of 2023” that brought back childhood memories and impressed me the most.
    Memories of being stoned, attacked with knives, my Christmas presents stolen and the happy laugh little Stevie gave when he tripped me while I was carrying a load of flower pots.
    I remember that laugh whenever I see the 4 inch scar on the inside of my right wrist, it was the first time I saw an artery exposed to the open air.

  14. Mikel

    “How China Lost Europe” The Diplomat

    The recurring complaint by Europe that China doesn’t take their security concerns about Russia seriously enough has me rolling my eyes and tired just like the Chinese.
    NATO and oil and gas companies are having the existential crisis about Russia and are spreading it like a communicable disease.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      The author of that piece of propaganda got off on the wrong foot with the title of the piece. He might have headed in the right direction if he titled it ” How Europe lost China.”

      1. jrkrideau

        That was my first thought.

        When Europe’s BFF is prowling the South China Sea and selling arms to Taiwan, China may be a bit hesitant to get close.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Saw this bit in that article which is delusional-

      ‘The main driver of European alienation has been China’s puzzling failure to appreciate the existential character of the Ukraine issue in European mindsets, almost two years into the conflict.’

      This publication is ironically called The Diplomat. They should know that a country cannot set the conditions for a ceasefire or negotiations if it takes part with one side. Look at the US with Israel in Gaza as an example of that. The US has no standing in that region with anyone because they did. So if China does not take sides with a country on the other side of the planet, it may very well be that any negotiations to the end of the war in the Ukraine may be held in China itself. They certainly won’t be held in the US or most other Western Collective countries. Well, maybe except for Hungary that is. Or maybe even Serbia.

  15. Jason Boxman

    You can’t make this up:

    The monthly payment on a new mortgage has DOUBLED since January 2021.

    In 2021, the median new mortgage payment was ~$1,500/month.

    It’s now at a record $3,000/month and still rising as mortgage rates hit 8%.

    This is exactly why a record ~35% of all transactions are now done with cash.

    Taking on a mortgage has simply become too difficult for many Americans.

    Housing affordability is a crisis.

    1. Lee

      Plus, here in California we have the effects of proposition 13. Property taxes on recently purchased homes near me, and equivalent to the current market value of mine (insanely high in my opinion), are about triple what I pay. And as far as I’m concerned, I’m paying too much. If taxes are the price of civilization, I don’t feel I’m getting my money’s worth.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Paying for a house with cash is not something most folks can pull off, particularly those under 50 or not tech squillionaires.

      So what’s keeping the prices high is likely low transaction volume, plus stored up wealth from 15 years of ZIRP policies jacking up Mr. Market like a meth addict.

    3. neutrino23

      We bought a home back when Reagan was president. Inflation was really high then. The variable interest rate was something like 14%. I get it that 6 or 7% is high compared to recent rates, but I find it hard to get worked up about it.

      1. ambrit

        Yeah, but also factor in the insanely high prices today. Back then, a house would go for, say, for the sake of argument, $50,000 USD. The higher interest rate wasn’t a deal breaker for many. Today, said house, in California for instance, will go for ten times the price. Even with a lower rate of interest, the numbers would be numbing.
        Goofy but fun:
        According to the above, the median American house in 1980 cost $47,200 USD. Today, the median price is $199,200 USD. [Figures from Zillow. {Take with short ton of salt.}]
        CPI Inflation advances:
        As any barely functional person will agree, it’s all “Fun With Numbers.”

  16. Lexx

    Based on this morning news stories and because I’m out of touch with prison euphemisms… what’s a “mackerel”? And how do you trade it for a haircut? ;-)

    1. Wukchumni

      The original battle grounds for the War On Cash used to use cigarettes as currency-but then they banned smoking, but thankfully wholly mackerel has filled the void nicely.

      I still harbor painful nostril injuries from enduring the odor of mackerel on a stick @ Obtoberfest in Munich, which they sell not far from the amusement rides outside, the whole idea is to make you hurl.

      Me, i’d make Underwood Deviled Ham the yard stick, it’s pre-masticated, and comes gift wrapped (the only canned potted meat so honored) which makes the perfect item for the under 5 mackerels Xmas exchange, just add a festive bow and you’re good to go.

      1. Lexx

        I like sardines for breakfast once a week; I’m fond of smoked oysters too. In prison though I would have guessed that Spam would be the most versatile potted meat. Maybe Viennese weenies.

  17. ex-PFC Chuck

    Watching the video of the podcast with Steve Keen and Michael Hudson that was posted here this morning was an awesome way to spend two hours on a weekend morning. Wide ranging and highly informative, but not very optimistic for the future to put it mildly.

    1. .Tom

      Having listened to that, assuming you understood most of it, which is likely, you are now better qualified than 99% of professional economists.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Why comment here instead of commenting below the post?

      Not very optimistic for the future? I am afraid the post was far more optimistic than I believe the future deserves. Humankind must too soon pass through a narrow and difficult crucible. Economics may not have much play in that passage.

  18. Tom Stone

    It strikes me that Israel is incurring a lot of expenses while doing God’s Will and that it will be some time before the oil and gas payments start showing up.
    God helps those who help themselves and killing ALL of the Palestinians seems wasteful, the logistical difficulties involved in selling organs that would otherwise go to waste seem unsurmountable, but there should be a good market for the prettier and more talented children.
    Disney might find the next Miley Cyrus, the K Pop industry a new superstar and the more traditional Catholics ( Especially the Jesuits) could easily handle thousands of young Castratos in their choirs.
    It would be a Win/Win in the finest traditions of Western Civilization.

    1. Feral Finster

      Don’t kid yourself, Biden’s proposed aid to Israel is but a small fraction of withe next package for Ukraine.

      Did not Biden himself say that a man’s budget shows his true priorities?

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        It costs much more to supply old men fighting the well-trained, well-armed, well-emplaced Russians than it costs to kill unarmed helpless civilians. That greatly complicates efforts to derate expenditures to obtain relative priority measures of Biden’s budget for Israel relative to that for Ukraine. In any case, both expenditures promise to yield immeasurable negative consequences for the u.s. in the future.

  19. Wukchumni

    Existing homeowners with 3% mortgages remain frozen in place, as sales fall to a new 28 year low Angry Bear

    True confessions of the 472,487,973rd richest person in the world, dept:

    I owe most of it to having the foresight of being born to parents in a developed country and cashing in on a truss fund during the housing bubble part 1, pretty much.

    We sold our garage mahal in 2005 for almost double what we paid in 2001, the realtor had made up rate sheets that said something like all you needed was 30 years of monthly $8,600 payments, and I thought to myself…yikes!

    And this was way before housing bubble part deux, where secondary markets such as Boise went nutso too.

    Could it be the worldwide housing bubble which really centered on English speaking countries, is about to crater?

    The devil in the debt details in Canada & the Antipodes is variable rate mortgages that greatly increase monthly payments, Ouch!

    All 3 countries largely outperformed the rest of the world, with plucky little NZ being perhaps the most overvalued market of all.

    Just about every home that came on the market here in Tiny Town the last decade resulted in a bidding war by AirBnB’ers if the abode was in decent condition and needed minimum work to rent out.

    There is currently 294 homes out a total of 1,217 that are STR’s here, and although Visalia last week enacted very strict rules on STR’s, nothing has been done yet regarding Three Rivers, but you can see how larger cities are getting draconian on them.

    There are already a few STR types who have put their rentals on the market, which isn’t cooperating on account of a buyers strike.

    Visalia has a strict new set of short-term rental rules on the books that put the city’s AirBnB landlords on an intentionally short leash. Failure to follow the new regulations – which include a mandatory city-issued license to operate – could result in fines, removal of temporary tenants and even loss of the right to host short-term renters.

    Changes to the city’s zoning ordinances place tighter-than-normal controls over parking, noise, trash and other perceived nuisances generated by the latest amateur property-management fad. Created at the request of the city council and approved by its unanimous vote, the new zoning codes are a bid to protect the “sanctity” of the city’s neighborhoods.

  20. Tom Stone

    A friend of mine who was an early member of SDS, a Communist and an Atheist explained the difference between Baptist Preachers and Catholic Priests to me years ago.
    Catholic Priests only rape little boys.
    There is no more horrific form of Government than a Theocracy and Organized Religion has justified the most Heinous crimes Humans are capable of.
    Which says nothing about the character of any individual, whatever their Faith.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Putin Says West Cannot Have AI Monopoly So Russia Must Up Its Game

    In our world of 13th dimensional chess, maybe that’s the goal all along; we can defeat Russia and China by goading them into adopting a technology that will enshitify their countries and then they’ll adopt American-style neoliberal capitalism^Hfreedom!

    1. BlueMoose

      I tend to believe it is just the opposite. Pretend there is an AI Cold War and then just sit back and watch as the West goes all in. If you thought phone/voice recognition trees were bad, just wait.

  22. antidlc

    I guess I should be worried…

    Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH
    Seeing reports of spike in “unexplained pneumonia” among kids in China

    No one knows for sure what is driving it but given what we do know

    Likely a combo of common stuff: RSV, Flu, COVID, mycoplasma

    Expect we’ll get more info soon

    But based on what we know, am I worried?


  23. Ann

    “A new radical approach to long covid” ????

    To stop research on it because it’s the same thing as ME/CFS and we don’t have any answers to that?

    This article has been out for awhile and the ME/CFS community that includes other post-viral syndromes is angry enough to get out of bed and grab the pitchforks.

    “Phillips and Williams’s proposal, then, essentially duplicates the paradigm under which the research efforts for diseases like ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, and PTLDS have functioned for decades; i.e., it will provide them with minimal funding guaranteed not to produce definitive results – or the interest of drug companies. Instead of shedding new light on these long-neglected diseases, their proposal will thrust them back further into the darkness; i.e. the so-called “invisible diseases” would become ever more invisible.”

    “The inescapable result given the poor treatment options available is a kind of long-term hospice care-like situation for millions of formerly productive Americans. With inconvenient diseases like long COVID, ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, PTLDS, and others out of the way, researchers can focus on other diseases.”

    and presumably take the public’s attention off of anything related to Covid.

  24. Maxwell Johnston

    The Blessings & Battles Of Life In Russia —

    Thanks for posting; I always enjoy reading this guy’s articles.

    One small clarification: he says that Russia has been cut off from SWIFT, but that’s not entirely true. Only some Russian banks have been cut off. Many are still connected, notably the ‘western’ ones like Unicredit and OTP and Raiffeisen (where I have accounts in euros and rubles). I am still able to send money from my Italian bank to my Russian account at Raiffeisen, though I cannot do this online. I must visit my local branch (fortunately they know me and understand my personal situation) and sign a few papers confirming the usual AML/KYC self-certification that I’m not financing terrorism or laundering money etc (and these forms are not specific to Russia, they are standard for all the countries deemed by Borrell’s Garden to be bad actors: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela were a few of the many other nations I saw listed on the forms). So it’s do-able.

    Of course I refer to euro currency transfers. Forget about trying to wire USD to Russia. I don’t think any bank in Europe will do this anymore, not even the Swissies.

  25. Jason Boxman

    From Swedish union blocks Tesla components as dispute intensifies

    F Metall, Sweden’s biggest manufacturing union, is locked in a fight with Tesla to get a collective bargaining agreement for its 130 mechanics in Sweden. Metall put the mechanics on strike on Oct. 27, refusing to service Tesla’s cars.

    Since then, the mechanics have been joined by members of other unions such as postal workers, dockworkers, cleaners and others who refuse to work with Tesla or its products.

    Saikkala said the union was prepared to ramp up the conflict if Tesla refused to sign.

    Unfortunately in the US, Taft-Hartley makes this kind of concerted action illegal.

    1. Tom Stone

      Taft Hartley was one of the first baby steps in getting the USA back on track after the disastrous years under Roosevelt, which saw the proles gain too much influence.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Of course, Democrats could have repealed or amended Taft-Hartley anytime since 1947 that they happened to have control of both houses of Congress …

    1. Vandemonian

      A fascinating story.

      Endemic goiter has also been a problem in Tasmania. The cause is the same as in Switzerland: iodine stripped soil in an ancient glaciated landscape. The first attempt at mitigation was the same: iodised salt, with monthly iodine tablets handed out every Friday afternoon to school children, tipped into the lid of a half-gallon jar. (If you were friends with the iodine monitor you could sneak two.) Then dairy farmers started using a povidone-iodine disinfectant on cows’ teats during milking. There was enough residual iodine in the milk to counteract the deficiency, and the previous supplementation was discontinued.

      Then, early this century, the iodine disinfectant fell out of favour, and was replaced by chlorhexidine. Cases of goiter started to show up again. What to do? The obvious solution was to mandate the addition of iodine to a common foodstuff; bread was chosen as the target. However, the bakers and hot bread shops were not keen. Bread is marketed as a wholesome, unadulterated product, and ‘contaminating’ it with iodine might affect sales. Happily, an acceptable compromise was reached. If the bakers guaranteed to add iodine to all their products without telling anyone, then the state government would hold back on making it a legislated requirement.

      This approach seems to be working. I don’t eat bread myself, but include an occasional kelp tablet in my vitamin supplement routine.

  26. Wukchumni

    On the first hostage exchange of Gaza, Hamas gave to thee:

    One Filipino, 10 Thais & 13 Israelis, but no Pakistani.

  27. Tom Stone

    No one should be surprised at how Craven and Depraved American Political “Leadership” has become.
    Politicians are addicted to power and like any full blown addict they will do whatever it takes to get their fix.
    There isn’t enough Coke, enough Booze or enough Power and if the price of your drug is the death of a Million Palestinian Children it’s a price our “Leaders” will pay happily and without a second thought.

  28. XXYY

    Ukraine war: Kyiv hit by biggest drone attack since war began BBC

    From this:

    Officials said more than 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones were fired at the capital – all but one were shot down.

    With Russia’s dwindling missile stocks, Shahed drones are seen as a cheap alternative. They are slower than ballistic missiles and have a distinctive wingspan.

    If this is true, probably 150 of Kyiv’s scarce air defense missiles were used up attacking these “cheap”, “slow” incoming drones which Russia manufactures in vast quantities.

    I need hardly say it’s a standard tactic to exhaust the missile defense before the real attack comes!

    1. ThirtyOne

      Or, as one Telegram wag tells it:
      “74 terrorist drones were successfully intercepted by Ukrainian infrastructure”.

    2. Lordloveaduck

      The BBC is apparently still under the widespread illusion, created by the gout-ridden gin and tonic swilling ex-army major ret’d residents of gentlemen’s smoking clubs who pontificate nonsense for Fleet Street for 100 quid an article, that Russia has run out of missiles for the 20th straight month in a row. Somehow, despite continuous attacks on Ukraine to the contrary likelihood, and this week’s announcement that an Iskander model is now available for international sale, the Russians apparently have surplus to their requirements:

      Link comes up in English, btw.

      And of course, BBC cannot distinguish between “Iranian-designed” and “Iranian-made”.
      Russian Geranium-2s, an updated version of the Iranian Shahed-136 drone are being churned out by the Russians themselves, of course. This is known to all but the militaries of NATO and the retired old-regimental-tie codswallop expounders employed to opine MSM nonsense for TPTB.

      In response to criticism, the BBC said in a press release, “If Colonel V C.d’Elboux Fotheringham-Smythe, DSO and Bar (Ret’d), decorated for rounding up errant traitorous sheep on the moors in the Falklands War, says the Russians live in log cabins and tin sheds and slowly fashion third rate weaponry with cheap Chinese handtools purchased from Halfords, who are we to argue? We are not experts.”

    3. Daniil Adamov

      Interesting that those stocks have never stopped “dwindling” since the start of the operation. I wonder how much more “dwindling capacity” they have.

  29. digi_owl

    Whenever i see Frankfurt school and Marxism mentioned together my instinct is to dismiss the whole text. Best i can tell, the only thing linking the two is that the former lifted Marx’s take on Hegelian dialectics and scraped off any materialism.

    Yet this spurious link is what lies at the root of the “cultural Marxism!!!” accusation from the extreme right, like some reheated red scare.

    And all this ends up benefiting the neolibs, as any leftist critique of the neolib mess gets dismissed at right wing hate speech.

    1. Kouros

      I was socialized in a communist country in a big Kindergarten complex. I think the trick here was that it wasn’t German…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks! I went there and I think I spotted a Christmas present I want for myself [although I would gladly share].

  30. Mikel

    “The tension simmering beneath the Dublin riots” The Spectator

    “…These tensions are undoubtedly intertwined with the Republic’s unprecedented housing crisis. There has been a record amount of homeless in recent year’s…”

    I hadn’t heard about the homeless problem in Ireland. That’s the Republic’s best kept secret since the identity of this person detained for this stabbing incident.
    It’s 11/25 now and still now nothing but articles funneling people into right vs left hysterics and camps (duopolies everywhere it seems and lots of elections coming up) and not delving into the raving madness caused by rentierism or “financial capitalism.”

  31. Tommy S

    That Wash. Post op ed about avocados really rubbed me the wrong way. usually it’s something I thought I would agree with. As we knew in 94 and after, Nafta was about corporate agriculture, big Finance, and the Mexican gov’t signed on, with negating article 27 of the constitution. First place, avocados are nowhere near as thirsty as he makes out. They can be grown ok in even semi arid areas like Bay Area with weekly watering. We are not talking alfalfa, cotton, almond trees in the desert, nor cattle. It is a fact, that California and Florida could easily grow ALL the avocados we eat. But instead of suggesting sustainable agriculture across N. America, where there is more water available, he just wants bans, sanctions. Cuz bad people there. It’s like the person has no awareness of finance capitalism and cross border monopolies. That his own state, is demanding this export.

    1. Wukchumni

      I grew up a few miles from where the Hass avocado originated in 1926, and my worldview was being literally surrounded by avocado trees, they were everywhere…

      And then they were nowhere, guacamole doesn’t pay property taxes~

      One of the early condo developments in the 70’s was called ‘Avocado Ridge’, you know how it goes, always name it after something you got rid of.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      I see your comment just now after having written my own. ( Sometimes I skip ahead like that).

      Does the article-writer want US sanctions against the Mexican avocados, especially the avocados from his state? If so, how would such bans or sanctions be legal under NAFTA or New NAFTA or whatever it is called these days?

      It seems to me the only cure for this problem and all other problems like it is the abolition and repeal of all traces of every single iteration of NAFTA, and the three countries setting themselves and eachother legally free to impose as much strict and rigid protectionism for their own national agricultures as may be needed to force “sustainable agriculture” into existence.

      1. Wukchumni

        They used to grow an awful lot of avocados in Fallbrook and adjacent areas down by San Diego, and it wasn’t NAFTA that did em’ in, but the price of water got raised so much, the growers all mostly gave up.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          If foreign avocados were banned from entering America, then the avocado-growers in Fallbrook and San Diego could charge enough for their avocados to pay for the water and stay in business.

          Unless other parts of California and Florida could grow avocados with water-costs lower enough than Fallbrook and the San Diego area that those other parts of California and Florida could do in the little avocado zones you mention all by themselves.

  32. steppenwolf fetchit

    ” Avocados have destroyed my country — and its the United States’ Fault” . . .

    Since I am too low-energy to get around the WaPo paywall, I haven’t read the article. But approaching from the side, I see a link which claims the article is titled . . . ” Avocados have destroyed my country — but America can help”.

    Has this article been run under two different headlines?

    I am going to guess that the article will say that NAFTA opened up America to avocado shipment from Mexico to America which led to mass bulk quantity growing of avocados in Mexico, and the effects are therefor America’s fault.

    If that is what the article is saying, I would say that the fault is 1/3rd America’s, 1/3rd Canada’s and 1/3rd Mexico’s; because Salinas de Gortari of Mexico and Mulroney of Canada were equal co-conspirators with Reagan in the plot to create NAFTA and impose it on the North American continent.

  33. Mikel
    Yanis Varoufakis on Israel-Gaza: ‘We Europeans have created this’ | UpFront

    There’s a section in the interview where they talk about Holocaust guilt being a factor in the blinders on support of everything Israel.
    They discuss something like how far does the support have to go salve the guilt.
    Since they seem to be psychoanalyzing the situation, I have to wonder if the more Israel acts toward the Palestinians like the vilest anti-semite acts toward Jewish people, the less guilty those who are affected by and connected to past atrocities have to feel. Maybe on a subconscious level for some, maybe on a more conscious level for others. They watch Israel become what they say they say should be condemned.

  34. steppenwolf fetchit

    From ” How China Lost Europe” . . . ” In November, China denounced the EU’s key measure to accelerate its green transition, a carbon tax on products imported from jurisdictions with lower standards, as “a new trade barrier” and a form of “naked protectionism.” ”

    Well, if all the Forcey FreeTrade Agreements were cancelled and all the Forcey FreeTrade organizations like WTO were abolished, then EUrope would be legally free to impose all the “new trade barriers” and “naked protectionism” it liked. Perhaps Economic Survivalist parties will arise in Europe and get elected to overwhelming power over their national governments and then they can impose whatever “free trade barriers” they feel like imposing.

    Make Naked Protectionism Legal Again.

    1. Mikel

      I’d like for any articles discussing “protectionism” to have more clarity about who exactly is each party concerned with “protecting.”

  35. The Rev Kev

    “US, Germany trying to nudge Ukraine to negotiating table — Bild ”

    This is just the US and Germany trying to ditch any responsibility by pretending that it is all up to Zelensky. But not only has Zelensky refused to talk to Russia, I believe that they stuck a bit in their Constitution to make it illegal to do so. But Plan B for the US and Germany is brilliant. They want to declare a frozen conflict and call it a Minsk 3. Yeah, I’m sure that the Russians will totally go for that one.

    1. digi_owl

      The one entity missing in all this is UK, from where BJ traveled to meet Z and tell him to drop any and all peace negotiations.

      Almost as if the one thing UK had done for centuries is seed chaos across Europe, and the world.

  36. Mikel

    “Elon Musk says the Tesla Cybertruck will be bulletproof. That remains to be seen.” Business Insider

    So what? The tires are the biggest target on that poor man’s batmobile.

  37. Jason Boxman

    At Meta, Millions of Underage Users Were an ‘Open Secret,’ States Say (NY Times via

    Meta has received more than 1.1 million reports of users under the age of 13 on its Instagram platform since early 2019 yet it “disabled only a fraction” of those accounts, according to a newly unsealed legal complaint against the company brought by the attorneys general of 33 states.

    Gotta destroy those brains young!

    The unsealed filing said that Meta “continually failed” to make effective age-checking systems a priority and instead used approaches that enabled users under 13 to lie about their age to set up Instagram accounts. It also accused Meta executives of publicly stating in congressional testimony that the company’s age-checking process was effective and that the company removed underage accounts when it learned of them — even as the executives knew there were millions of underage users on Instagram.

    In a functional country, these executives would be jailed for contempt of Congress. Full stop.

    1. jrkrideau

      Well as someone who is not from the USA, I’d suggest abolishing Congress and then going after those executives.

  38. Screwball

    Recently some readers were talking about the Whitney Webb book; One nation under blackmail.

    I remember her writings back when Epstein was in the news. I read all of her Mint Press stuff, and watched her interviews via alt-media for lack of a better word.

    So first, thanks to those who brought it up (I searched and couldn’t find the conversation) because I wanted to read it, but had forgot. I have started. I like it already. What a dot connector she is.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Webb half beats you to death with documentation for everything she reports yet is invisible to the mainstream media.

      1. Screwball

        Agree, and I find her style fascinating. I consider her a reporter, digging into a subject and asking the question; where is this going to take me? She does beat you over the head with sources, but I have no issue with that.

        She provides an enormous amount of “data” for lack of a better word, while weaving them all together to tell the story. I can vision a giant white board on her wall, or, I wonder if she is good with Microsoft Access (gumshoes should like that I would think).

        The mainstream media…Yea, that’s not gonna happen, and probably a good thing. She would be presented as a nut, then ganged up on, shouted down, and sent on her way while the news robots tell us we should thank them for exposing crazy people like her. They could probably even work Russia into it.

  39. The Rev Kev

    ‘Torsten Bell
    This is absolutely staggering: wages are now set to remain below their 2008 level until 2028. That’s a totally unprecedented TWO lost decades of pay growth’

    Wages have stagnated since the 70s so this is only one slice of that picture. So make that at least FIVE decades of pay growth lost. Prices though for things like health, education, real estate, etc. are another matter altogether.

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