Links 11/28/2023

Experience: I play piano for rescued elephants Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

A Sumatran rhino calf born in Indonesia adds to an endangered species of fewer than 50 animals Associated Press (furzy)

Honeybees Suffer Unnecessarily in Human-Made Hives, Study Finds Science Alert (David L) :-(

Why Navajo is the world’s hardest language to learn BigThink (David L)

30 Useful Principles (Autumn 2023) Gurwinder (Dr. Kevin). Note the peanut allergy theory is not well accepted (see and

What If Money Expired? Nomea


Structural brain changes detected in novel long COVID imaging study New Atlas (furzy)


Plastics pose broad health risks for babies, report reveals The New Lede

Connecticut Plan to Ban Gasoline Cars Faces Resistance OilPrice. We have said the bank by 2035 won’t happen (like the earlier, much more limited early 1990s CA + a group of Northeast state EV mandate) because it can’t get done… in would require government funding of infrastructure + oversight/additional mandates which are nowhere to be seen (and there are open questions about the materials requirements of the needed battery capacity).

Hydrogen Bomb Doomberg. Important, even just the non-paywalled portion.

The T-shirt chewing enzyme ready to tackle plastic waste BBC (David L)

What happened to the Great Lakes offshore wind boom? Grist


A new wave of Chinese elites is flocking to Japan Japan Times (Phil D)

How China is tearing down Islam Financial Times. BC: “Amazingly well presented multi-media article.”

US threatening to hollow out Asia’s chips industry Asia Times (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Germany launches fresh raids against ‘Citizens of the Reich’ RT (Micael T)


Gaza Is Falling Into ‘Absolute Chaos,’ Aid Groups Say Wall Street Journal. Lead story.

Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza extended two days; 11 more hostages freed Reuters

Minimum of two months imprisonment for ‘illegal’ Palestinian workers Mondoweiss (guurst)

Qatar is the go-to mediator in the Mideast war. Its unprecedented Tel Aviv trip saved a shaky truce Associated Press (Kevin W)

* * *

* * *

Three-quarters of Palestinians Support Hamas’ Attack on October 7, Says New Poll. Why? Haaretz (furzy). The condescending tone of this article is a sign of the considerable diminution of Haaretz as it is more and more falling in with the party line. Contrast with the article below.

The Hamas Attack and Israel’s War in Gaza Council for Global Cooperation (Chuck L). Important. See related tweet:

Please forgive the aside, but I am fond of this observation by Bartov in a 2001 New Republic book review describing how Bulgaria became the lone Nazi state that refused to turn its Jews over to the Germans for extermination:

But the lesson is not quite so simple or so edifying. For we also learn from such instances that the difference between virtue and vice is far less radical than we would like to believe. Sometimes the most effective kind of goodness – I mean the practical kind, the kind that can actually save lives and not merely alleviate the consciences of the protagonists – is carried out by those who have already compromised themselves with evil, those who are members of the very organizations that set the ball rolling towards the abyss. Hence a strange and frustrating contraction: that absolute goodness is often absolutely ineffective, while compromised, splintered, and ambiguous goodness, one that is touched and stained by evil, is the only kind that may set limits to mass murder. And while absolute evil is indeed defined by its consistent one-dimensionality, this more mundane sort of wickedness, the most prevalent sort, contains within it also seeds of goodness that may be stimulated and encouraged by the example of the few dwellers of these nether regions who have come to recognize their own moral potential. As the great cosmological myth of the Kabbalah has it, the shreds of light that remain from the original divine universe may be collected only from the spheres of evil in which they now reside.

* * *

A Big-Money Operation Purged Critics of Israel From the Democratic Party Intercept

If Europe Could Do It, So Can the Middle East Project Syndicate. UserFriendly: “The most liberal galaxy britain thing I have ever read.”

New Not-So-Cold War

Deadly storm cuts power to nearly 2m people in Russia, Ukraine Agence France-Presse (furzy). As Dima at Military Summary would say, “That’s a lot.”

‘Give me my bones’: Ukrainian families fight for truth about missing soldiers openDemocracy. An admission against interest. openDemocracy is ferociously pro Ukraine.

Europe Is Written Off. Andrei Martyanov (guurst)


Imran Khan’s former adviser suffers acid attack in UK BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Secret White House Warrantless Surveillance Program Bruce Schneier


Biden Administration to Overhaul Welfare Following ProPublica Reporting ProPublica

Migrants flood East Village block for shot to get back into NYC shelters: ‘a humanitarian crisis’ New York Post

The next Census could radically undercount disabled Americans STAT (Dr. Kevin)


The Case That Could Destroy the Government Atlantic (David L)

GOP Clown Car

GOP Suffering ‘Revenue Problem’ as Donations Slowly Dry Up Sputnik (Kevin W)

Rudy Giuliani Is So Broke His Accountants Are Suing Him New Republic (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

The Wall Street Journal Perpetuates the Ridiculous Sideline Cash Myth Michael Shedlock


AIs can trick each other into doing things they aren’t supposed to New Scientist (Dr. Kevin). Train AIs on sets that include human deception…and what do you expect?

The Bezzle

Tesla launched its own car insurance. These drivers say it’s a lemon. Reuters (Micael T)

Is the Self-Driving Taxi Revolution Slowing Down? OilPrice. An outcome sorely to be wished.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine claims Australia doesn’t exist TechSpot. Paul R: “I knew Australia was a hoax all along.”

Three-year Life at Sea cruise is canceled; company acknowledges it has no ship ABC 7 (Kevin W)

Guillotine Watch

Fire Protection Malfunction Coats Private Jets In Foam Simple Flying. Micael T: “A nice idea for every class conscious airport safety worker out there.”

‘We will coup whoever we want!’: the unbearable hubris of Musk and the billionaire tech bros Guardian (Kevin W)

Royal profits on dead citizens’ money a ‘remnant of feudal Britain’ – mayor RT (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

AHA Urges CMS to Correct Medicare Advantage Plan 2024 Rule Violations Angry Bear

What sort of conspiracy against the people of this country is going on? Richard Murphy. It’s called rentierism.

Antidote du jour. tiebie66: “Suzi in a playful mood.”

And a bonus (guurst):

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. DJG, Reality Czar

    On-the-ground report:
    On foot in Via Nizza, just across from the Stazione Porta Nuova, here in the Undisclosed Region. What do I encounter at the store that sells products from central and eastern Europe?

    Slava Ukraini
    Heroes of Ukraine


    [Is that you, Victoria Nuland? Or are the ironies of history getting too ironic?]

    Only ten euro, for a large box, garnished with camouflage pattern.

    [After all my years in publishing, I already knew that the marketing department was made up of knuckleheads. Now I am seeing marketing at its most depraved and useless.]

    Well, at least, the store still carries the buckwheat from Lithuania that I like to use.

    1. BillS

      Hi DJG,
      Here in Tiziano’s Region, Ukraine disappeared some time ago. Many local businesses had (have) connections to Russia that date from Soviet times and they have felt the bite of the sanctions regime. Let’s just say that Schlein and her party are not much liked here. You occasionally see a “Pace” rainbow flag but UKR flags were never a thing and, thankfully, you don’t have many of these displays. The locals generally have no liking for virtue signaling BS. The UKR refugees that are in the neighborhood keep to themselves and are very quiet.

      Why buy buckwheat from Lithuania when grano saraceno from Valtellina is pretty damn tasty? ;-) Pizzoccheri anyone?

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        BillS: Indeed. I am not seeing Ukrainian flags much here in Torino. As you write, many Italians have long-standing ties to Russia and the Soviet Union. Italians who were communists didn’t always buy Russian policy (that’s for sure), but there was a certain respect, just as the Russians showed a certain respect toward the wayward PCI. I am currently reading Rossana Rossanda’s memoir, Ragazza del Secolo Scorso, which goes into this interplay.

        Poor half-American and much Americanized Elly Schlein. When Giuseppe Conte has to drag her to rallies and make her take the left position, there is a problem. And can I ever vote M5S? Maddai.

        Luckily, I also follow Nicola Fratoianni and Sinistra Italiana.

        As to grano saraceno: Grandfather G was from Lithuania, deepest darkest foresty Lithuania. So I have a family tradition. And you remind me of my friend Paola, who also thinks that I should be more patriotic when it comes to buckwheat…

        1. BillS

          Wow! Thanks for the book recommendation – need to add it to the reading pile for this winter.

          Sinistra Italiana says lots of interesting things, but it is very unlikely that they can break the political stranglehold of the Luca Zaia faction of the Lega on the region any time soon. We are all looking forward to the devastation that the 2026 Winter Olympics will bring to our beloved Dolomites – concrete everywhere and billions spent on facilities that will soon be abandoned while Lega and Lega adjacent apparatchiks make big bank. I won’t even touch the political situation at the national level.

          I would never suggest going against family tradition! In fact, I was introduced to buckwheat by my sister-in-law in the aforementioned pizzoccheri form. ;-)

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Microsoft’s Bing search engine claims Australia doesn’t exist”

    ‘…everything about the country was made up, pictures were faked, and anyone who claimed to be from there was really a secret government agent.’

    Strewth! I’ve been uncovered. So much for the easy life in a Virginian McMansion. Time to get in contact with my handler I guess and there will be a lot of questions raised on the Flat Earth Society forum tonight.

    1. Wukchumni

      …and along those lines of disappearing South Pacific things other than Amelia Earhart & the Lucky Country

      Guam will Capsize and Tip Over into the ocean Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga)

      To even things out, when I was in high school, one of the rooms had a large Mercator type map of the world on the wall with 2 New Zealands, one on the far left and one on the far right.

  3. Amfortas the Hippie

    re: propublica instigating changes to welfare.

    i realise that i am by now hypercynical about such things…but i’ll believe it when i see it…and see what other kinds of flaming hoops places like texas put in place to undo whatever good this might manage to accomplish.
    my youngest had type b influenza last week…went to the local clinic(which to their credit are still doing the parking lot exams for respiratory things).
    turns out, his medicaid had expired.
    i read everything medicaid sends me(still in wife’s name, in spite of my (limited) efforts*)…nothing explicit about having to re-apply.
    so i was surprised, and am $200 in the hole.
    the thing is…i taught myself to read latin and ancient greek…but cant seem to navigate the various poor people stuff…and yet i know a whole lot of near illiterate people who navigate it just fine.
    so i’ll be talking with the clinic’s traveling “Navigator” next week about how to re-apply for medicaid for my boy.
    we should be a shoe-in, of course, since i am disabled and “making” $1100 per month from a teacher’s pension.
    but this is Texas!…where punishing the poor is a core function of state government.
    (with much federal help, it turns out).
    my experiences so far…like the almost 7 year slog to get a hip…leave me a little less than sanguine.

    *- here, at least, it is near impossible to get someone on the phone…”jess call 211!”…and spend all day going round and round, and on hold, and getting hung up on….
    i will be extremely circumspect about anything but medicaid for youngest: tanf, foodstamps, whatever…i dont trust all that with a hole in the head…again, given my experience.
    of course, i expect the navigator to try to insist that i sign up for everything.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about the troubles that you are experiencing not only with your son but that medicaid deal as well. Perhaps it might be time so spend some time at the local feed store sounding out people’s experiences with signing up to medicaid, especially in reference to that Navigator that you mentioned. It’s not supposed to be this way and you know that it can be done much simpler. At least you are doing this now before some bright spark gets the idea to use AI in the sign-up process to see how that works out. Good luck.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      My sister works/[worked?–she will probably retire in a few weeks] at a Public Assistance office in Upstate New York. One of her co-workers, who was responsible for Medicaid applications, started stuffed applications into one of her desk drawers. When someone checked, there were applications in that drawer going back to August. The lack of staff at that office, and lack training for the staff that can be hired, given the low pay for the work combined with horrible management staff, maintains a level of incompetence and low morale that keeps everyone snippy and abusive of clients and other staff members. Shortly, the few remaining older experienced staff like my sister will join her in retirement. This is the situation in the liberal, high tax, well-funded, and corrupt state of New York. I cannot imagine the situation in Texas.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        retirement/payroll/insurance woman at the ISD(friend of wife’s, very helpful) told me to not even bother trying for SS survivor bennies…wasnt gonna happen because wife last had a SS job so long ago that the credits, or whatever, no longer counted.
        and i seem to remember somthing about it being an either/or choice…either SS or Teacher Retirement, but dont quote me on that.
        there’s even a few schools that make $ from temp hires that, somehow, make one eligible for SS.
        i never learned the details…but Brownwood ISD was one of them….relatives who were retiring teachers would come stay with us for 3 months for that very purpose.
        (about 70 miles to my north).
        some special dispensation that is above my paygrade.
        wife worked at the school for 26 years…as an “aide”, then got put through college through an aide to teacher program(filled with flaming hoops,of course), then maybe 15+ years as an actual teacher.
        i was given a choice….lump sum of around $80k, $350/month for the rest of my life, or 5 years of $1200/month.
        all and sundry advocated for the $350/month…because by the time i died, i would have gotten a lot more out of the system.
        this never made sense to me, lol.
        because i’d be broker than i am even now.
        but i’d “win” in the end.
        i chose the 1200/mo option…because at least id have income while im finishing up th infrastructure.

        the next thing is to learn in january if my measly pension is enough to qualify for EITC one last time before youngest ages out.
        we’ve counted on EITC for 21 years…paid for our house with it, etc.

        1. Mikel

          Some of the same suprises received by a friend of my mother’s in Texas. She’s a breast cancer survivor who wouldn’t be able to retire right now if she hadn’t worked in other states and also outside of the school system in TX during her career.

        2. curlydan

          For people with kids who qualify for EITC (earned income tax credit), the EITC is their biggest check of the year. I hope you qualify.

          When the Child Tax Credit was fully refundable (tax year 2021), it also helped pull a lot of people out of poverty, but then the Manchin man decided he didn’t like the poors, so away it went.

        3. howard

          my wife and I both have small but somewhat decent monthly checks from both SS and the state of Texas. That’s because we each worked approximately half our lives for the state and half our lives in private enterprise. That plus each of us has a part-time side job. So 6 income streams in retirement almost equals what we were making in our primes.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      one does not speak of such things in the feedstore,lol.

      as for the surly public employee problem….that was my experience with SSI. “Local” SS office, 100 miles away, in a city i had no other business in.
      out of the 3 caseworkers, the one in the middle was both competent and compassionate…and female. other 2 were men, and full bore default assumption that i was a crook and after free money.
      this navigator works for the spanish corp that owns all the clinics and dialysis and such for a few hundred miles from here west.
      the one my wife dealt with was wonderful…i dont know what happened to her, but i hope this one is at least close to that good.

      this deal with youngest being kicked off is likely due to the ending of the covid special dispensation…which is not a texas goptea thing, but a biden(new fdr!) thing.
      aside from the war and rapine and fondling of billionaires, this right here is the reason i hate my country.
      it simply doesnt hafta be this way.

      and, to be clear…othr than healthcare, i’m better set up to live rather well in poverty than most folks.
      i dont need their dern EBT.
      and thats because wife and i long ago accepted that id likely never have a real job again, and began the rollout of autarky out here.

  4. William Beyer

    Regarding “HO, HO, SLEEPY JOE” from Ray McGovern, here’s my own contribution, to the tune of the Beatles’ Rocky Raccoon:

    Joey the Goon

    Now somewhere in the black halls of Capitol District
    There lived an old man named Genocide Joe,
    And one day his owners went off razing Palestine,
    Caught old Joey’s keen eye; Joey sorta liked that
    Said “Bibi, baby, you’re my boy,”
    So one day flew Air Force One,
    And booked him a room in the Tel Aviv gloom,

    Joey the Goon, checked into his room
    Only to find Bibi’s Bible,
    Joey had come, to sell him some gunz,
    To kill Hamas kiddies, his rivals,

    The Bible, it seems, was missing some reams,
    So Bibi just quoted 1st Samuel,
    “Go strike Amalek, kill man, woman, child,
    Kill infant, ox, sheep, donkey, camel,”

    Let B. Nazi-Yahoo, exemplar of dog-doo,
    Check out the New-T in Galatians,
    Gal 6:7-8 show, “You reap what you sow,”
    Good lesson for foreign relations,

    Then Joey weighed in, just reeking of sin,
    Said, “Bibi-boy, no ramifications,”

    Now Genocide Joe, kept searching for dough,
    Leaved in the pages of Bibles,
    And Bibi cashed out, leaving no doubt,
    He’ll help with old Joey’s revival, ahhh,
    Oh yeah, yeah

    Boom-boom, bomby do d’do boom-boom
    Ba-Boom, bomby do d’do boom-boom
    Boom, bomby do d’do boom-boom
    So long, bye-bye, kiddos!

    1. dave -- just dave

      Very apt. For an excellent live rendition of the original, see the Dutch tribute band The Analogues.

      Over Thanksgiving, chatting with some inside-the-[Capital]-beltway PMC longterm acquaintances, I was struck that one was completely disgusted with Biden’s minimizing of Gaza casualties – he said he would never vote for him again, while admitting that, as Maryland residents, we do NOT live in a swing state. Revulsion at genocide is yet another reason why replacing Biden would be advantageous for the Democrats. But it is hard to make predictions, especially about the future.

    2. John Zelnicker

      Thank you for your contribution to the NC Songbook.

      Just for reference, Netanyahu and the Israelis are misusing the quote about the Amaleks.
      The context that is so often ignored is that the command came from Samuel, not the Lord, in his attempt to make Saul the King of Israel. It was a strategy that failed as the Lord was not pleased and Saul did not become king.

  5. zagonostra

    >Musk backs Israeli assault on Gaza

    “There’s no choice,” Musk replied, adding, “You need to pair firmness and taking out the terrorists and those intent on murder, and at the same time help those that remain, which is what happened in Germany and Japan.”

    So I guess Dresden, Hiroshima/Nagasaki were equivalent to Israel’s modern military raining down bombs and killing at last count >16K people, a people that have no military.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Obviously Israel wants Musk to totally censor all signs of support for Palestinians as well as Palestinian voices like Zuckerburg does on Facebook and Instagram.

      1. playon

        Hmm. I suppose that is the reason for the epic non-engagement I get when posting about Israel & Palesine on Faceborg.

    2. JohnA

      Maybe Musk thinks the Palestinians should be given half of Germany as their new country in recompense for the land lost due to how Germany behaved towards Jewish populations last century. Then gradually the Palestinians can take over the rest of Germany and squeeze the locals into bantustans when not genociding them.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      How do you train a mouthy billionaire with a little bit of a rep as a “defender” of “free speech?”

      Call him an “anti-semite” loudly and often, get a few of your corporate friends to make a big deal about restricting their advertising on the “business” he recently grossly overpaid for, and then say, “Heel.”

      1. mrsyk

        Pretty much how it seems to work. I’m hoping Musk surprises to the upside on this one. Not out of the question.

  6. Stephen V

    Regarding expiring money:
    The OUAT story about “first there was barter…” is just that, a story. Dealt with brilliantly by Graeber (The Myth of Barter). There was never a place nor a time where an economy ran on barter. A long story short “money began” in the bookkeeping (which preceded writing!) In Mesopotamia.
    And Aristotle’s unease was not with Commerce itself but rather with the unnatural growth of money: e.g interest. A long & interesting history here. Islamic banking, as I understand it, still holds this view.
    In the final analysis, money dies–no mandate needed. Witness collapsing bubbles and sad to say, never-ending wars. Wastage.
    Instead of funding young people’s access to land, we have Gill Bates buying it up. We need to broaden our view of interest to include the buying and selling of Rights (of ownership in Stock,
    CDO’s, real estate, etc.) which give Capital its illusory immortality.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It is an interesting idea and would accelerate the velocity of money in a system but there is one thing that I do not understand. How is savings suppose to fit into such an economy? If you were saving for a car much less a home, you could never do it as between the money expiring and regular inflation, you could never save enough. Such big ticket items would have to be done under a sort of pay down scheme much like a mortgage and there would be no way of being able to do it cheaper by paying cash and avoiding high interest rates. And as it stands, most Americans would be struggling with an unexpected $400 bill. How would you have cash reserves to meet such eventualities if your savings are expiring? This all sounds like a backdoor method of renting everything to make expiring money work which works just fine – in a rentier society that is.

      1. Stephen V

        I would say ‘savings’ is a little bit of a misnomer. I know it says “cash in bank” on your balance sheet but you have, in bookkeeping terms made a loan to the bank. I know it sounds flippant, but why not a loan to the local bakery instead? If wages were true, not treated as “costs of production” all would be negotiable. If rent was based on what I could afford rather than “what the market can bear” it would be a different world. Different but possible!

    2. Wukchumni

      The OUAT story about “first there was barter…” is just that, a story. Dealt with brilliantly by Graeber (The Myth of Barter). There was never a place nor a time where an economy ran on barter. A long story short “money began” in the bookkeeping (which preceded writing!) In Mesopotamia.

      I don’t buy that as most everywhere had money, be it Yap Stones, Wampum, or African Kissi Money or what have you, collectors termed it ‘odd & curious money’ and there was literally hundreds of different kinds, none resembling coins for the most part and of course it had to be scarce, it wasn’t as if you could use pine cones as money despite their fungible attraction all being of more or less the same dimensions.

      Barter was common here among the nearly 60 Yokut sub-tribes, everybody had something the other tribe desired, with the common currency being shells, if the tribes couldn’t agree on a this for that transaction-their value increasing the further they were away from the ocean.

      1. eg

        Note that the barter occurs between tribes, not within them — see Graeber’s work for much detail about debt relations within tribal groups, all of which emerge before money, since they deal with mutual obligations before the emergence of any kind of property, much less commerce of any kind.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Barter doesn’t use currency, not even shells. That’s why Graeber claims that the idea that people bartered before currency was developed is a myth. First was debt, not barter.

        I believe it’s also Graeber who explains how wampum worked. From childhood we hear the story of how settlers acquired Manhattan for $24 of beads, and the moral was always supposed to be that the natives greatly undervalued the land and got a raw deal for themselves. Graeber explains that the wampum, whose beads may have been “worth” $24.00 to somebody at some point, was not valued for the beads themselves. It was a symbol, much like our own paper currency, and to the holder of the wampum it meant “You now owe me bigly”. The sale of Manhattan was not a barter of land for beads, but a purchase in which the settlers incurred a large debt meant to be repaid.

    3. Mikel

      That means people expire when their jobs expire.
      This isn’t an economic system interested in providing jobs that don’t expire.
      The eatablishment would really have loads more workers hanging out on street corners with “work for bread crumbs” signs.
      And with neoliberals in charge (nowhere near dispatched) if there was some kind of monthly stipend there would be enough strings and mandates attached to make peple want to hang themselves.

    4. eg

      Yes, that old “double coincidence of wants” chestnut is as infuriatingly ahistorical as it is difficult to stamp out of the public discourse about money.

      Across all times and places, money (like weights and measures) have been state projects — NOT some naturally occurring phenomena as imagined in the thought experiments of Enlightenment political economists and subsequently weaponized in the propaganda of the neoclassical economic orthodoxy. As Stephen rightly points out bookkeeping and accounting (ledgers) came first — as he notes even before writing and ages before coinage. This is confirmed by the archeological record as outlined in Michael Hudson’s work beginning in 1994 with the International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near East Economies at Harvard’s Peabody Museum — material David Graeber must surely have been familiar with when he wrote Debt: The First 5000 Years

      As for the premise of an expiry date for money (one that I happen to believe has merit associated as it is conceptually with debt cancellations) the current method of implementing this (albeit rarely acknowledged forthrightly) is via inflation — at least one reason why central banks treat deflation as anathema.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          Yes, that chat was awesome. It was featured here as a post over the weekend, complete with transcript.

  7. Will

    re Covid in Canada

    A report by Statistics Canada (StatsCan) on deaths in 2022 is making an appearance in local newspapers:

    I believe this is the original report from StatsCan:

    Some of the lowlights:

    1. Life expectancy fell for the third year in a row
    2. Almost 20,000 died of Covid in 2022, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic
    3. Covid became the 3rd leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer

    (Up here, we usually take US numbers and divide by 10 as a rough estimate of the equivalent Canadian number. So working backwards, we experienced the equivalent of almost 200,000 American Covid deaths in 2022.)

    Interestingly, the rate of Covid deaths increased everywhere in Canada last year except in the prairies, which elicits a very loud “hmmmm”. I wonder if there was an increase in death “with” Covid.

    Finally, while poking around the StatsCan website looking for the original report, I found this dashboard for deaths and excess mortality:

    Another lagging indicator; the current year has provisional data up to July. Nevertheless, big “yikes!” for the weekly death count chart, which overlays the time series for the past 10 years. The excess mortality chart is no less alarming.

    1. CanCyn

      Thanks for this Will. Ground report from Kingston ON area. Seeing a very slight uptick in masking. I hear a lot of hoarse coughing when I am out and about. I go to a small exercise class a couple of times a week. I mask, the only one. There is an elementary school teacher in the class. She missed a couple of sessions, home sick with a ‘cold’.

      1. paddlingwithoutboats

        Two cents from Victorua BC: I work at the major hospital on Vancouver’s south island system. I’ve always been the only one asking patients and coworkers and staff to wear a mask, to pull it over their nose and on and on.

        The system went back to mask requesting a little while ago. This am on coming into work a woman next to me was clearly staff, no mask and sniveled for the thirty feet that she paralleled me. I said; you might want to put on a mask “since you’re sniveling so much”. Her reply is typical of the over entitled here; “it’s mone if your business”. My retort was that she was polluting the air with whatever germs she had and air is a pubic thing shared so it is my business. I wear an N99 and have forever. Can’t wait to get out.

    2. Yeti

      Here in BC I’ve been asking my MLA, Dr. Henry, Minister Dix why our all cause death rate is up 15% in 2022. Our numbers were at 880/100k which was confirmed to me in an email from BCCDC. Their response was that drug overdoses, ongoing Covid-19 deaths and also they brought up the 2021 heat dome as being primary causes of excess deaths. After removing these causes from their own numbers there are still 7 excess deaths per day over the 2015-19 average. DKS data has very good data on excess deaths in Canada and links to same issue in UK,
      Here is top causes of death in BC,
      Covid-19 now ranked 9th.
      Still waiting for someone to respond to my concerns.

    3. Some Guy

      It is infuriating. What topic could be more important for a national statistical agency to really dig into and explain in detail, but StatsCan doesn’t even really try and the media doesn’t call them on it or do any digging of its own.

      I mean, ‘ill-defined causes of mortality’ went from 3,000 in 2019 to 16,000 in 2022 (5th highest cateogry now, just behind Covid) – maybe they could dig into that a little??

      FYI – dividing by 10 for US/Canada is out of date, because the population of Canada is growing so much faster than the US, now you need to divide by 8.5, trending towards 8.

  8. ChrisRUEcon

    #Noema #ExpiringMoney

    Thanks for this article! I have wondered about something along these lines to prevent capital hoarding. I’m surprised the article didn’t lean harder on the idea of negative interest rates, which I believe ultimately achieves the desired goal. It’s even more fun if you think of applying this to international finance as well (use it or lose it). I don’t think a unilateral application makes sense, and as with all things money, being able to regulate across different types of instruments would be difficult. Great read!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not a fan of negative interest rates myself as that can only work when an economy is working well. If the economy goes south, then it is people that suffer the most. Several years ago I saw a press conference by two UK bureaucrats saying that they had lowered interest rates so low, that it would force people to go out and spend their money ‘for the good of the economy’ before it lost too much value. They were insufferably smug about it in fact. Well as it turned out, the Brits knew that there were more bad times coming so they ended up saving harder than ever to weather the coming storm. Negative interest rates are only good for governments as it is another tool that they think that they have to ‘control’ the economy. For everybody else it would be a nightmare.

  9. Wukchumni

    What If Money Expired? Nomea
    The only currency i’m aware of that had an expiration date was from Zimbabwe about 15 years ago, and I think it was more of a joke, as the denomination had reached a fever pitch with the Z$100 Trillion banknote being the ne plus ultra of amount, wow!

    Money of course does expire via the latter-day version of a biblical jubilee, where all debts in a given country’s money are made essentially moot via hyperinflation.

    The 4 early currencies oft encountered (never saw any of that circa 1,000 AD Chinese currency, as if paper would last…) when I was a pesky little teenager frequenting coin shops & coin shows were all pretty reasonable and there were ample amounts always available, Continental Currency notes from the 1780’s were around $10 on up, Assignats from the French Revolution in the 1790’s were around $2 on up, ‘Broken Banknotes’ from the 1840’s to 50’s were $2 on up, and Confederate banknotes were $3 on up in price.

    The only 1 of them not hyperinflated was Broken Banknotes, which was more of a confidence game, think of it as physical cryptocurrency.

    I traveled heaps to Europe in the 80’s & 90’s, and the old country was a people watcher’s dream-particularly in railroad stations with all the coming & going, and being the merry prankster i’d always load up on the country d’jour whose currency had expired @ coin show from a currency dealer, and as digital money didn’t mean didily I’d always have a choice of around a dozen bundles of different duds to distribute in my appointed rounds.

    A bundle of 100 brand new consecutively numbered banknotes ran around $8 to $15, the value based largely on how interesting the design was, and I preferred high value failures such as 10,000 Zlotys or 1,000 Astral banknotes, as i’d always have time to kill in railway stations, why not watch us in action?

    Hardly anybody would stoop down and pick up a wrapper from a 100 Grand bar, but money is magnetic and i’d clandestinely leave it for those seeking the treasure and then watch the proceedings as an innocent bystander, well maybe not that innocent.

    The reactions ran the gamut from elation to abject subjugation, sometimes my marks would pick up the note and look around to make sure nobody saw them making off with their find, other times they’d almost jump for joy, we’re fun to watch.

    Coming full circle, Zimbabwe was the last country to physically hyperinflate, and now that actual currency is a thing of the past largely, how does money expire these days?

    1. Susan the other

      Making money another commodity. Back to barter, maybe it would force an intermediate form of money that extended the shelf life, or put it in the deep freeze. Everything is a commodity. Comsumption itself is a commodity whether by abundance or scarcity incentives. People are the most prized commodity because we are an intermediate step between a store of value (if properly cared for) and a ravenous driver of inflation or some insane rampage of barn burning. Not to even mention our mindless herd-like qualities. But how do you get rid of a store of value when you are relentlessly promoting rainy days? And how to commodify cooperation without devaluing it. And etc. Nevermind.

      1. Wukchumni

        The closest thing to money seems to be religion, both faith based with no accountability until you’re gone in the latter, and not so much with the former in terms of dogmatists pushing buttons on the QWERTY, its an all you can spend saga, allowing proles to get the chance to perform their part… do it for your country!

        1. allis

          An interesting thought experiment is figuring out the similarities and differences between money and religion. A start: In the Middle Ages many discussed the nature of God, but never asked, “Is God?” Today many discuss the nature of money, but never ask, Is money?”

        2. eg

          Well since the first ledgers were kept in Bronze Age Mesopotamian temples, you’re onto something here with the connection between religion, debt (obligation) and money.

          In German the word for debt is the same as guilt/sin.

  10. .Tom

    For a while I’ve been unable to read threads on Twitter. I was never very skilled with that web site but in the past I could manage to navigate a thread, i.e. multiple tweets sequenced by one author as replies. But now I cannot see any replies to tweets linked from NC. I tried a few different browsers.

    Is this a change on Twitter? Or can I learn a new skill to see replies/threads?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that was a change that Musk did to Twitter a few months ago so that it would force people to sign up for Twitter to see all the exchanges and threads.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          yes. thats my understanding.
          i got an account for that reason alone.
          i never post anything,or “follow” anyone, and its tied to fake email and under an alias.
          nsa, of course, already knows what i had for breakfast…but i dont get a bunch of ads everywhere else on the web because of where i go on twitx.
          i suppose itll eventually turn out like faceborg, but its ok, for now.
          and like Lambert, i dig that i can curate.

          also…been awandering around a bit…looking at people’s “homepages” if they say something intresting on a thread.
          especially good looking wimmens, of course.
          thre’s apparently a whole lot of actual lefties out there, although i have yet to locate one close to central texas.

          ive considered engaging a few times, but bit my tongue, as it were…i remember too well the toxicity that FB became, what with the randian libertardians seeking out soshulizt to bother, and ammosexuals threatening to find me, as well as all the Kill Them All “Liberals” trolling for victims….all that sent me too close to comfort into a pit of misanthropy…and what was the point?

    2. hardscrabble

      bearing in mind I know nothing… for threads I always switch the server in the url from to and can usually read the whole thread. nitter also comes up much faster for me than twitter.

      1. t

        YMMV. I think Musk also wants to reduce the load and not shoew anything to non-users. Initially, after he took over, I could always read as much as I wanted without hitting a login prompt. Changed about the time we learned he was behind on bills. But he may also think that log in lock makes X look sexy and exciting. WTFDIK.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Lara Friedman tweet linking to: (What in the holy hell is “Ynet?)

    Apparently TPTB in israel have decided that american college students who oppose Palestinian genocide need to be “persuaded” to “think right,” and the famously accommodating american “justice” system will be leveraged in that effort.

    Legal Axis: Taking legal action outside the law against activities and organizations that pose a threat to Jewish and Israeli students on campuses, such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Israel will hold discussions with elements from the U.S. Department of Justice to map out legal tools that can be used to deal with factors that pose a threat on campuses and prevent activity that endangers the security of Jewish and Israeli students. Collaboration with the initiative of Jewish organizations and the center at Brandeis University to provide legal assistance to Jewish students, filing lawsuits against universities and against the perpetrators of antisemitism themselves.

    So, no messin’ around with Russan bot generated cat videos on facebook. These israelis are goin’ straight for the jugular.

    I’d be watching my back and avoiding crowds if I was a jewish / israeli student on one of these campuses, in case the zionists in israel get impatient and decide to move things along by goin’ all USS Liberty on ’em. Stranger things have happened.

    1. Carolinian

      Shorter them–Gaza holocaust denial good and indeed mandatory. Nazi Holocaust denial bad and might get you arrested in France.

      Mandatory viewing for everyone: Sophie Scholl, a German film about the student who was guillotined by the Nazis for passing out leaflets telling the truth about Stalingrad. Here we just guillotine their future careers, or at least that’s the intention. Personally I think these power plays will backfire. It’s one thing to push around our pusillanimous politicians. Trying to lawfare the American public for the benefit of a foreign country may shock even the media.

    2. Bsn

      Yes, a Jewish/Israeli student should watch their back. Meanwhile, a Palestinian student should watch the sky.

  12. Wukchumni

    Three-year Life at Sea cruise is canceled; company acknowledges it has no ship ABC 7
    …isn’t this essentially the plot of Gilligan’s Island?

    1. Pat

      I’m not sure I would have thought the sequel to Gilligan’s Island would be Stranded in Istanbul but hey why not.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      For some, it may be even worse than just having sold their house and now having nowhere to live. I suspect some of them had also factored in paying no income taxes by virtue of being a tax resident nowhere…..

  13. ChrisFromGA

    Sing to the melody of “Greased Lighnin’” from the movie “Grease”

    Well this cats compramatic!
    He’s kleptocratic!
    He’s graft-o-matic!
    Well it’s greased AIPACman!

    We’ll get some overhead grifters and four barrel squads, oh yeah
    (Keep talking, woah, keep talking)
    A judicial branch cut off and chrome plated rods, oh yeah
    (I’ll bag the money, I’ll kill to get the money)
    With a defense bill on the floor, they’ll be waitin’ at the door
    You know that it ain’t joke, we’ll be gettin’ lots of votes, greased AIPAC

    Go greased AIPAC, you’re burning down the K-Street mile !
    Greased AIPAC, grease those palms, AIPAC!
    (Go) Go, greased lightnin’, you’ve got the senate on speed dial
    Greased AIPAC, go greased AIPAC

    It was supreme, Hill chicks’ll scream
    For greased AIPAC

    We’ll get some modified stooges
    And some ethnic cleanse fans oh yeah
    A Bipartisan sellout and a cease fire retarder, oh yeah
    Grease palms, man, go greased AIPAC!
    With new boosters (ah), plates and shocks, I can get off my rocks (ah)
    You know I ain’t just bragging
    She’s a real slaughter wagon
    Greased AIPAC

    Go greased AIPAC you’re greasing palms all over town
    Go greased AIPAC you’re compramats are world-reknown
    You are supreme, Hill chicks’ll scream!
    For greased AIPAC!

  14. t

    Peanut allergies arent the only sketchy entry in that list.

    Black Lives Matter’s demonization of police led police to roll back activities in black communities

    Really? That’s what happened? I thought making it very clear that police violence is out of control and we need accountability and public safety caused the police and local governments to further demonize and punish the poors.

    1. CanCyn

      I commented elsewhere but agree that one is an eye roll … when was policing ever good in poor black communities?

      1. caucus99percenter

        When local groups like the Black Panthers were filling the vacuum, doing the job neglected by city-hall machine politicians and the police?

      2. JBird4049

        >>>I commented elsewhere but agree that one is an eye roll … when was policing ever good in poor black communities?

        From what I can see, it is getting worse, with being poor the main trait, and being black supercharging the abuse. It seems to be a common tactic by police departments to either reduce or effectively end policing in the city, town, or neighborhood has any real reforms, freezing or reducing funding, even just serious protests. As a group, American police seem to want to have no complaints from the community, supervision by the government, and as much funding as they desire, or else they will do silent strikes, while still getting paid.

        It is interesting how police usually with the collusion of the local government, will over-police and underserve poor communities often usually using abusive, violent, even illegal, but often ineffective crime fighting methods; the police have become the money collecting via fines, fees, and asset forfeitures. They become the private arm of governmental officials, real estate developers, and local businesses: suppression of dissent, indirect taxation, and force gentrification. Some of the methods used are illegal, but much of the tactics are perfectly legal, with the main one being of selective enforcement of the various laws and codes, which are good at harassing troublesome activists or driving people out of areas developers want to develop.

        The more corrupt the use of the police become, the less likely they are to solve crimes like robbery, rape, and murder. From some of what I have read, the statistics by both the government and the police department also become increasingly suspect. Rape becomes assault or is just ignored, assault becomes just a fight, murder becomes suicide. It can also go the other way with misdemeanors becoming felonies.

        Now, I do not think a majority of the police departments and governments, do all this, but when one or both use such corrupt methods, it is devastating to the whole neighborhood, city, or county, sometimes even reaching to the middle class. Some racist law enforcement is bad enough, but when murder and rape, plus enforcement of the various laws become tools of the establishment for financial gain and social control, it can get really evil. This is in addition to the tendency in almost any police department’s gang, drug, and gun units or task forces to become very violent and corrupt. It is not axiomatic, but it feels that way.

        Honestly, this last is justing going by my gut, but the greater the wealth and income disparity becomes in California, the more corruption there is, the more uneven enforcement of the law becomes, the less effective the government in anything at all levels, including town, county, and state, becomes. Everything I have just written becomes more common and entrenched in the state.

        I rarely am in the red areas of the state, but it also seems just as bad, if not worse, as the blue areas like the entire metropolitans of San Francisco and Los Angeles. California being a one party government at the state level does not help either. It is all performative unless it is about getting money legally or illegally. That last bit they are quite effective with it all feeling like the stereotypical banana republic or third world-global south country’s political economy. The whole system is rigged towards stealing money, not in actual governance, nor in preparing for any disasters, which the whole northwest is prone to: droughts, floods, fires, and earthquakes.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Sy Marcus Herve Traore
    🛑 Burkina Faso 🇧🇫 – News from the frontline, the battle of Djibo, November 27th, 2023. ‘

    Of course there are all sorts of question that this battle brings up. So several columns of mobile light infantry mercs reinforced by white mercs hit Djibo from different directions. But those Burkina Faso soldiers stood their ground while artillery, aircraft and helicopter unloaded all sorts of ordinance on the attackers. I think without a doubt that it was the French that organized this and were some of the white mercs spotted. But who else? American? British? Ukrainian? Don’t laugh at that last one as they have been in gunfights with Wagner troops in this part of the world. Come to think of it, did Wagner play a part in helping defend that town? Whatever the case, those Burkina Faso soldiers can stand proud over this battle. The strategy of this attack resembles that for the Ukrainian offensive a few months ago. Launch a coupla attacks against the enemy and they will run. Not a great plan.

  16. CanCyn

    30 Principles- enjoyed this, thanks for posting.
    Hearty yes to the one about measures becoming goals. Never a good idea, in my working life as a librarian, I was often the dissenting voice about adopting metrics for anything and everything we did in libraryland. The bean counters always want higher and higher scores.

    Disagree with comparison of cynicism to stupidity. There are degrees of cynicism and both it and initial skepticism are useful tools in my critical thinking kit.

    As for peanut allergies, yeah avoidance has made it worse but an anaphylactic reaction can mean death, how do we undo the damage? I have a friend who tamed a wasp bite allergy by using gradual exposure under a doctor’s supervision. Not sure if this works for peanuts.

    1. Wukchumni

      ~take me out at the ballgame~

      Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack. I don’t care if I never get back…

      Both goober laden goods-a suicide squeeze note, of sorts.

      1. CanCyn

        Thanks for this. The world of food allergies is a crazy one. I have a friend who developed a severe cat allergy as an adult – (worst the allergist had ever seen when she was tested. She has been VSA twice after cat exposures). Just recently she has suddenly developed a fin fish allergy. Had a haddock dinner, like she has 100s of times in her life and by bedtime she was covered in red rash and hives. No anaphylactix thank goodness. The fin fish allergy is a bad one. So strange.

  17. Neutrino

    Pro Publica welfare – somewhere Good ‘Ol HW Bush was looking up and softly singing:

    999 points of light on the wall
    999 points of light
    You take one down…

  18. flora

    Lots of good links. Thanks.

    general question: Why is anti-Zionism equated with anti-sem by the Lobby? (rhetorical question)

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      wasnt it Reagan who said that the eleventh commandment is “thou shalt not criticize Israel”?

      it is my experience that those who can brook no criticism, need to be criticized the most.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There was another saying that said that if you wanted to know who really had power, note which groups that you are not allowed to criticize or make fun of.

    2. cfraenkel

      because calling someone an anti-Semite works (see Corbyn), while calling someone an anti-Zionist is considered a compliment.

    3. Glen

      As to your question – because it’s worked before?

      I’m wondering what’s changed in America and in Israel because it’s not working anymore.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thai is like another world phonetically for me…

        What makes Navajo radio interesting is the mix of Navajo & English, as some words must not translate well.

      2. britzklieg

        sounds like the “o” is more of a shadow vowel resulting from the exploded “p” and that there is an accented “aw” shadow that results from rolling the “r” before the “d” with no shadow vowel after the “d” as is common in english.

        the phonetics suggest “poord(uh)” but hearing it, it sounds more like “p(uh)rawed” with the final “d” sounding more like a soft “t.”

      3. R.S.

        I hear something like /pɾo:ɾ̥/. Unaspirated p, short thrill, and long o followed by a devoiced flap or something like that. Apparently they also have tones, but I’m just bad at picking them.

    1. Robert Gray

      > Why Navajo is the world’s hardest language to learn BigThink (David L)

      Clickbait (and fallacious) headline. No language is inherently any more difficult to learn than any other language. The proof is that all ‘normal’ children in a ‘normal’ environment achieve full mastery of whatever language they hear around them, in a comparatively short time. (Stating the fact is simple; explaining that fact is rather more complicated. Child language acquisition is one of the thorniest areas of psychological linguistics.) What makes some languages more difficult to learn than others for adults (specifically, anyone past puberty) is the degree to which the new language differs from the learner’s own native language.

  19. QuantumSoma

    On the topic of money, I have to recommend Graeber’s history of Debt, for those that haven’t read it yet. It dispenses with a lot of the myths of the topic (including the ones regurgitated by the link on “expiring money”).

  20. Mikel

    “Three-quarters of Palestinians Support Hamas’ Attack on October 7, Says New Poll. Why?” Haaretz

    I don’t even have to look at the sample size…but let me look…
    “….AWRAD’s sample was about half the size of robust Palestinian surveys, just 668 respondents, including 277 in Gaza, which lies in ruin with about one million people displaced, placing major obstacles on sampling. But with such strong trends, “flawed polling” is an easy way out. The only thing left to do is to try and understand…”

    “Flawed polling” is not an easy way out. LOL.

    I defy them to go back a month or so from now and re-poll the very same people. I think whether they’re alive, dead, or missing would say alot about the poll.

  21. juno mas

    RE: Elephants and Classical piano

    An acoustic piano, where the sounds vibrate off the wood, seems to communicate better with the animals.

    I have both, acoustic and digital, and humans (me) react the same way. The sound vibration from a grand piano vs. an upright (shown in the video) is a distinctively different experience. A digital piano needs a large sound system to create similar sound waves. However, the digital piano is more portable and always in tune.

  22. Tom Stone

    I’ve been looking at what’s happening in China and Alberta and it’s clear that the same mysterious outbreak of respiratory illnesses will be arriving in a lot of the USA before Christmas.
    I’m not sure how this can be blamed on RUSSIA!!! or that horrible orange Man, but the spin will be amusing.
    The dead kids, not so much.
    Maybe if they offered to let Brandon design the new Girl Scout Summer uniforms in return for resigning….

    1. Wukchumni

      It took awhile, but the Spanish Flu ended up killing perfectly healthy young adults aged 25-35, I remember reading…

      That has been the discriminating factor in my opinion, as until now it killed those mostly over 65, I know of 1 person under 65 that died of Covid in a 6 degrees of separation total of perhaps a thousand people I know or know of vis a vis family & friends, a tiny number.

  23. Mikel

    “If Europe Could Do It, So Can the Middle East” Project Syndicate. UserFriendly: “The most liberal galaxy britain thing I have ever read.”

    I read it and feel like I’ve been Rickrolled…

  24. Willow

    Will Israel’s response to the Turkish flotilla trying reach Palestinian ‘land’, Gaza, provide a precedence for China over Taiwan? If Israel blockades the flotilla with deadly force with US support then this provides a precedent for China to blockade the Taiwan Strait in a similar manner. Its all about optics & narrative.

  25. The Rev Kev

    ‘Please forgive the aside, but I am fond of this observation by Bartov in a 2001 New Republic book review describing how Bulgaria became the lone Nazi state that refused to turn its Jews over to the Germans for extermination’

    There is another nation that protected its people and that was Danmark. When they heard that the Nazis were getting ready to round up all Jews in that country, they undertook a secret operation to evacuate them to neutral Sweden by sea and it is recorded that they managed to evacuate 7,220 of 7,800 of them in a sort of Dunkirk operation. The Nazis were only able to round up about 464 of them and sent them to Theresienstadt concentration camp but even then the Danish government was on their case and were constantly visiting them until by the end of the war most of them were rescued. In the entire country of Denmark only about 100 of them were lost to the Nazis-

  26. Dr. John Carpenter

    If ever there was a pop star who didn’t actually exist, I’d have no trouble believing it was Taylor Swift.

  27. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Honeybees Suffer Unnecessarily…”
    I think this paper on the insufficiency of the existing honeybee hive box design points to a broader and very important domain of research for the future. In addition to the many forgotten practices Humankind discovered in the past how many of the solutions and supposed discoveries of today need to be re-examined. There seem to be a lot of discoveries and designs from the last two centuries that are based on faulty reasoning, and assumptions and bias, rather than science. I think this is especially true of our supposed understanding of animals and plants — little things like how bees really keep warm, or learning that fish and as this link suggests at its tail — that bees feel pain. I believe we will need to enlist as many of the fellow creatures we live with as allies in the future. I believe we will need a much better understanding of plants and the details of their lives.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      After reading about the elephant’s that enjoy piano music, I should add to my comment above: I believe Humankind has greatly underestimated the capabilities and intelligence of other animals.

Comments are closed.