Links 11/8/2023

Killer whales sink yacht after 45-minute attack, Polish tour company says CBS

Orcas Are Learning Terrifying New Behaviors Scientific American

Fed’s Barr Sees Stability Risk in Private Crypto Stablecoins Bloomberg

When Is It a Depression & Not a Rolling Sectoral Readjustment Rotation? Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality

Claudia Sahm: ‘We do not need a recession, but we may get one’ FT

Ignorance or Lies? The single worst economic scare-mongering bullshit ever encountered. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell, #Monetary Sovereignty

This is a Wonderful Market for Dollar Cost Averaging A Wealth of Common Sense


‘Hot mess’ as Earth heads for warmest year on record in 2023 FT

McKinsey & Company pushes fossil fuel interests as advisor to UN climate talks, whistleblowers say France24


Study suggests mass vaccination programs cut COVID cases in Japan 65% Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

‘Endemic’ SARS-CoV-2 and the death of public health John Snow Project (Sub-Boreal).

Pulse oximeters’ inaccuracies in darker-skinned people require urgent action, AGs tell FDA STAT


‘Oceans are hugely complex’: modelling marine microbes is key to climate forecasts Nature

European Disunion

Israel’s nuclear option remark raises ‘huge number of questions’: Russia Al Jazeera

Media Stories On Ukraine Point To War’s End Tipp Insight

The Fight Between Cataphiles and Underground Police in the Paris Catacombs Atlas Obscura

Course Correction? New Left Review

Terror and the Secondary Trauma of Social Media RAND


America’s Real China Problem Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson, Project Syndicate

China and Ecological Security: The seeds of conflict, or the roots of détente? The Center for Climate & Security

China flags readiness to work with US ‘at all levels’ ahead of Apec summit South China Morning Post

US, China hold ‘constructive’ arms control talks Channel News Asia

With Two Wars Raging, China Tests America in Asia Foreign Policy


Myanmar rebels capture provincial town as anti-junta offensive widens Channel News Asia

New Not-So-Cold War

‘Strategic objectives not achieved’: Has Ukraine’s counteroffensive failed? BBC

If the West cannot win this war, then what war can it win? – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Ukrainska Pravda. Good question!

America’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan Did Not Spur Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Foreign Affairs

Cooperation and Long Persuasion: A New American Foreign Policy and Russia Approach for the 21st Century Gordon Hahn, Russian and Eurasian Politics

Another Interview With Dominique De Villepin On The Conflict In Palestine (As Translated By Arnaud Bertrand) Moon of Alabama

Putin-Loving Bigots Must Stop Whining About Defense Spending and the Economy (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, Racket News

Marching Toward a Night of the Long Knives in Ukraine Simplicius the Thinker


Military briefing: the battle for Gaza City FT

900,000 Palestinians still in Gaza City, northern Strip: Interior Ministry Anadolu Agency. That’s a lot.

* * *

US, Israel to open second front in Lebanon Indian Punchline. Alternatively:

Netanyahu says Israel will have ‘overall security responsibility’ in Gaza after war Guardian

US says does not support Israeli ‘reoccupation’ of Gaza after war Al Jazeera

* * *

Tourism to Israel sees 76% decline in October since war on Gaza Anadolu Agency

Israel’s Wartime Economy Can’t Hold Up Forever Foreign Policy

* * *

Biden’s outreach to US Arabs, Muslims ‘falling flat’ amid Israel-Gaza war Al Jazeera

US diplomats write internal memo criticizing administration’s Israel policy Anadolu Agency

Jewish New Yorkers occupy Statue of Liberty to demand Israel-Gaza ceasefire Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

House votes to censure Rashida Tlaib over anti-Israel comments FOX

Supply Chain

Ship technology and human questions Hellenic Shipping News

Republican Funhouse

Inside Peter Thiel’s powerful Silicon Valley network which started with a student paper Fortune

Spook Country

Lawmakers Say FBI Can Keep Its Prized Surveillance Tool, but It’ll Need a Warrant Gizmodo

Digital Watch

What caused Optus’s nationwide outage, and how long was it down for? Here’s what we know ABC Australia

Sports Desk

Maxwell 201* brings home the Australian miracle and a place in the World Cup semi-final ESPN

Exclusive: Alleged fake matches plague cricket in France France24

The Scandal That Never Happened ProPublica

Class Warfare

The Workers Who Make Your Clothes Want Higher Pay. Who Should Pony Up? WSJ

Campus labor activism spreads to undergrads Marketplace

Nature retracts controversial superconductivity paper by embattled physicist Nature

These Moons Are Dark and Frozen. So How Can They Have Oceans? Quanta

Inside the Frat-Boy Crime Ring That Swept the South Vanity Fair

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. The Rev Kev

    “House votes to censure Rashida Tlaib over anti-Israel comments”

    Rashida Tlaib should get up and tell Congress that when she was elected as the Representative for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District back in 2018, that like ever other member she took an Oath of Office that said this-

    ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.’

    And that nowhere in that oath is there a part where she also swears allegiance to the State of Israel. That she is an America and her first priority will always be her fellow Americans, especially those in Michigan – and not any foreign country. Should be interesting if that hit the airwaves or the net.

    1. jackiebass63

      I just read an article that explains what censuring does. It is a nothing punishment intended to make the public think something is being done.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw that too and thought that it is yet another case of performative theater. It’s not like they could be concentrating on more important matters like, oh I don’t know, the economy perhaps? Probably AIPAC goosed them up to do this.

        1. JBird4049

          True, but they did chose to do this to a woman who was doing as her oath of office, duty and responsibilities, personal beliefs, and arguable general morality dictated, while ignoring their oaths of office, duties, responsibilities, and general morality. I will leave aside their beliefs, unless it to greed being above all. At best, they are shown to be amoral sheep, which is good for her.

      2. GramSci

        The act of censuring can sway ‘democratic’ elections, especially if it is carefully exercised by multinational corporations like the Spanish Inquisition.

      3. Jeff V

        A British Court Martial has the ability to sentence an offender to a Reprimand, or even a Severe Reprimand. I wonder how much time is spent deciding which of the two imaginary punishments is most appropriate.

        (They can, of course, also issue sentences up to and including life imprisonment – seems like firing squads are off the menu.)

      1. Young

        I just imagined Tlaib is donning a burqa, with a yellow star and Mast’s picture in Israeli uniform attached to the chest.

    2. Pat

      That would be lovely, especially since I have no doubt a significant portion of the House believes she is not a “real American”. To have their own oath and what it is supposed to mean thrown back at them would be a sublime moment of cognitive dissonance. Not that I really expect them to get it.

      1. Nikkikat

        They also have the evangelical death cult of end times people that believe that the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem will bring back Jesus to transport them to heaven and the Jews and non believers will be “left behind” to battle with Satan. I have to laugh at this nonsense, but these people are seriously delusional.

        1. Theodore

          Amazing how the masses of conservatives mock and belittle the triggering of the Woke, demand free speech and discount the MSM when it comes to social issues, yet they eat up the MSM Israeli news reports and like a dog returning to its vomit, chuck it up for others, then trot back to lap it up again. Regurgitate and repeat.

          “JIVE” = Jewish Identity Victimization Enterprise

          Got in a violent argument with a hopefully not ex friend who is Jewish. He claimed the usual about terrorists hiding in hospitals, therefore OK to bomb etc.

          Asked him “OK, you’re one of a million Gazans. You can’t fish, leave Gaza, there’s no work unless you become a traveling peon in Israel, no privacy, little food or clean water for your entire life…what would you do? Who would you identify with and who would you fight? The PLO, or Israel’s created alternative, Hamas?

          Wonder why the Americans, like him, who think its great to import refugees from all over the Third World, don’t support Palestinian migrants coming here?

          Amazing what asking questions in a calm rational manner can elicit from dogmatic people.

          1. Yves Smith

            Conservatives and nearly all liberals back Israel full bore and will trust information sources that support their views. You seem to forget they watch the MSM for sports and weather. It’s not as if they don’t consume them. So this does not support your dogma point as strongly as your anecdote, which is the sort of thing those who question Zionism get.

            1. JBird4049

              It is true that people will favor that information that supports their already formed views. What of it? It is the responsibility of a responsible adult to not just verify it, but to seek different sources, and not just the familiar, comfortable ones.

              What is worse is that finding such information regarding Palestinians generally, and Gaza in particular, is easy to do. The massacre of thousands of unarmed, peaceful protestors several years ago by Israeli snipers who focused on the crippled, medics, and reporters was widely reported and easy to find online. The bombing of entire neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches, often without warning is also easy to verify. The casualty counts from these actions are reported by the MSM. However, does one need such verification to know that many people, most often of the unarmed and children have died?

              I can easily understand and accept someone being a Zionist. I support vigilance against antisemitism, that perennial evil. Hamas is a terrorist organization, which has done great evil. What of all of it? There is the concept of proportionality. Just when is enough, enough, and just who is being racist, here?

              If someone will not make even the small efforts needed to find what has been done to the Gazans, their position against the Gazans deserves no respect; blaming the mainstream media is more an excuse than a reason for such ignorance. I will not follow such people to the perdition that they have created for us all, ostensibly for our democracy and safety, without complaining about it.

              1. Yves Smith

                See the latest Norman Finkelstein video responding to Bernie Sanders making a similar critique of Hamas. The record before October 7 is not anywhere near as cut and dried as pervasive accounts would have you believe: He’s a very slow speaker so you can listen on 1.5 or even 1.75x. And it takes a while for him to get to the key information.

                1. jrkrideau

                  I had only heard Norman Finkelstein’s name two o tree days ago. A very impressive speaker and some damning remarks. Thank you for bring him to my attention.

              2. lambert strether

                W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939:

                I and the public know
                What all schoolchildren learn,
                Those to whom evil is done
                Do evil in return.

                And so it goes….

                1. JBird4049

                  As Upton Sinclair said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

                  I think too many people are using viewpoints, not because a job depends on it, but as one would lifeboat and not because they might be true. A man changing his mind might feel like he would fall out of that boat and drown.

          2. ChrisFromGA

            I had a much friendlier discussion with a friend of mine about the prospects for Ukraine and the war ending just like Afghanistan, i.e. with shameful scenes of locals hanging onto US helicopters or maybe C130s as they takeoff from Kiev.

            It was clear that the effects of the MSM repeating propaganda have had their effect. In my friend’s opinion, the Russians were on the verge of falling apart, with poor morale, no good weapons, and a generally 4th rate army that would collapse any day now.

            He also repeated the meme that Putin was “crazy” and a mad dictator. When I tried to point out that Putin, being trained as a lawyer, was more of a risk-averse fellow, I got mainly blank stares.

            I chose to be gentle and not poke him too much with suggested alternative media sites like Mercouris or this site. I figure that the truth will come out, eventually.

            1. ambrit

              “I figure that the truth will come out, eventually.”
              The problem with the above is that the “truth” may come out a long time after it could have been of any use to rational people.
              As Bernays et. al. have proven, a Lie is powerful in relation to how much it is amplified. Thus, “Truth Tellers” have a double duty to perform. They not only have to broadcast the “truth,” but they often also have to demolish the “lies” promulgated by their adversaries. (Telling the “truth” does not automatically erase the “lies.”) The latter is twice as difficult as the former, so, “truth tellers” have a three times as difficult job to perform.

            2. hk

              In 1945, the Red Army smashed the Wehrmacht, but the German general staff (at least the ones who surrendered to the West) wrote the history of the Eastern Front that the West subscribed to for half a century. Even today, otherwise sensible people like Andrew Bacevich still buy into a version of that myth. Truth can take a very long time to come out, if it ever does.

        2. R.S.

          As an Old-Worlder, I genuinely had no idea how widespread and normalized this stuff is. Jeezus will grab you by the collar and pull up to His celestial fully automated luxury communism? Really?

          I mean once or twice I’ve run into some fringe groups obsessed with the end times, always looking for the Signs and Antichrist to come. But this whole Rapture thing seems to be so distinctly American that it was completely out of my amateurish way of thinking about the Middle East.

          1. jrkrideau

            See “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History” by Kurt Anderson. I live just north of most of the USA and my mother was from there. I had no idea about the crazier cults.

            BTW, apparently the Israelis now have three (or more) red heifers so if they can be sacrificed on the Al Aqsa Mosque plateau, all is good for the building of the new temple.

            A fantasy–horror writer could not sell this idea to a publisher.

        3. Anonymous 2

          I believe one variant of the narrative is that all Jews must convert to the Church of England. You could not make it up.

          1. jrkrideau

            I think it is just convert to Christianity. Of course some C of E people may hold that the C of E is the only true Christianity.

            I have heard one Canadian evangelical explain that the Catholic Church was not really Christian.

      1. flora

        With the Ukr laundromat more or less shut down and the FTX fix shut down now, every campaign dollar counts. “Now, more than ever…” (for those who remember the old Nixon campaign ad. heh)

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Mao more than ever, as the old Avakian-ites used to say…

          They were seriously annoying, but it’s a great slogan, all the same.

      2. ChrisFromGA

        Cynthia McKinney has really grown on me. I wish that she were still in Congress.

        The truth bombs she drops are quite impressive.

        1. KLG


          Her father was also known to drop truth bombs. I had forgotten his role in the Sydney Marcus mayoral campaign against Andrew Young, which really put him on the outs in Atlanta.

    3. flora

      Well, there’s her re-election campaign talking point in her home district right there. / ;)

      (Anybody else notice the more T gets charged with stuff the more his poll numbers rise (or B’s number fall) ? / ;)

    4. EGrise

      “Your Boos Mean Nothing, I’ve Seen What Makes You Cheer”

      She should wear that censure like a badge of honor.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the McKinsey link, what a surprise.

    In 2008, the European Commission hired McKinsey to advise on bank bail-outs and banking reform and act as auditor for the restructuring of bailed out banks.

    It emerged at one well connected Belgian bank that McKinsey’s pension fund was also invested in the firm and peers and using insider information. The bank’s management complained to the European Commission, but nothing was done. It was felt that the Commission and its employees could not afford to alienate such an influential firm.

    McKinsey’s former head of financial institutions, Charles Roxburgh (Mr Karen Pierce, British ambassador to the US), was hired by the UK Treasury around then and eventually retired as the number two bureaucrat at the ministry of finance.

    Not long after Roxburgh’s arrival, McKinsey’s James Kelly (Mr Laura von Kuenssberg) was hired to advise on austerity and, ahem, public sector reform, including the sale of the UK’s forests, at the nearby PM’s / Cabinet Office. Not long after, Mrs James Kelly (nee Laura von Kuenssberg and Tory party member) returned to the BBC from ITV as political editor.

    These scandals and the above web are just a glimpse of the rot.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you, Colonel. Your mention of the name Laura von Kuenssberg go me intrigued so checked out her Wikipedia entry which is quite revealing-

      With her family background, she probably had a path cleared for her most of her life like was done with Cressida Dick. And her year spent studying at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. is totally not suspicious at all. :)

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        I’m glad your interest was sparked and you thought of Cressida Dick, one of Cameron’s associates and a descendant of the founders of what became Barclays Bank.

        There’s a lot of it about.

  3. Wukchumni

    Lady Ivanka, fire at your feet
    Wonder how you’ll manage to avoid the heat
    Who defends the numbers in the real estate fraud trail event
    Did you think that evaluation was Heaven-sent?

    Wednesday morning arrives in the court case
    Donald Junior blaming others & playing dumb
    Daddy’s child Eric has learned to tie his bootlace
    See how they run

    Lady Ivanka, baby of the beast
    Wonder how you manage to say the least?

    Pa-pa-pa-pa, pa-pa-pa-pa-pa
    Pa-pa-pa-pa, pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa
    Pa-pa-pa-pa, pa-pa-pa-pa-pa
    See how they run

    Lady Ivanka applying herself on the stand
    Looking like a raccoon
    Makeup stories to defend the brand

    Tuesday afternoon was never ending
    Wednesday morning school week exemption didn’t come
    As if Daddy needed defending
    See how they run

    Lady Ivanka, looking at a civil trial defeat
    Wonder how you’ll manage to avoid the heat

    Lady Madonna, by the Beatles

  4. Jabura Basaidai

    just wondering what happened to the link associated with
    “175. Paper Prepared in the Office of Economic Research, Central Intelligence Agency”

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      there was brief summary but no link in this morning’s email – third heading down – 08 Nov 2023 03:31 AM EST – but no link preceding the summary – tried googling with info in summary it without success – ???

  5. GramSci

    Re. Monetary Sovereignity

    Thanks for this bold, bald statement:

    «Despite concerns about “debt monetization” (aka “money printing’) causing inflation, this never has happened to any nation in world history. All inflations have been caused by shortages of crucial goods and services, most often oil and food

    Counterexamples? Anyone? Libertarians?

    1. Wukchumni

      There was no shortage of oil & food or services when hyperinflation hit Israel in the mid 1980’s…

      By 1984 inflation was reaching an annual rate close to 450% and projected to reach over 1000% by the end of the following year. The economic crisis created feelings of anxiety, confusion, and lack of trust in the government among the Israeli citizens.

      It was not until the implementation of this wider-scale stabilization plan, which brought together all the main players in the Israeli economy at the time (the government, labor unions, and the central bank) that inflation was successfully brought to under 20% in less than two years. Some of its main points included:

      Curbing the Bank of Israel’s ability to print money to cover government deficits.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I know someone who worked at a university in Israel during that period. He said that inflation was not a real problem for him, because every two weeks his salary went up. He also said Israel was a socialist country then, which is why their salaries automatically went up, to neutralise the real inflation threat, financial ruin.

        Anyone who saw Italy during the lira phase (another socialist country of sorts) knows that inflation is really only a problem for whomever is not politically powerful enough to neutralise its effects on themselves.

        1. Wukchumni

          So he was aces, aside from any savings becoming a moot point, other than that.

          Italy was good for a long 50,000 Lira lunch w/vino and you felt rich blowing that much, but it was nothing compared to Turkey circa 2002 when a taxi ride from the airport to Istanbul was 25,000,000 Lira.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not a finance guy obviously but something struck me here. Suppose that there is ‘X’ amount of money in circulation that is used to buy those crucial goods and services. Then the Feds spend the past decade and a half making the printing machines go BRRRR increasing the amount of money available out of sight, right? So if you have all that extra money chasing the same amount of crucial goods and services, would that not lead to a shortage which would result in inflation which we are seeing at the moment?

      1. Samuel Conner

        I am not familiar enough with the case studies to propound a general principle, but one can imagine that money printing could be a government response to shortages of real goods.

        Governments purchase goods and services in order to operate, and when these are in short supply, prices rise as government and non-government purchasers compete for the limited supply. The rising cost of the goods and services purchased by the Government stresses its budget; tax increases may be more politically costly than new money creation. Since non-government purchasers cannot create money while the government can, new money creation is a way for the government to provision itself during periods of scarcity of real goods and services.

        Regarding hyper-inflation, this item argues that this is generically the result of bone-headed Central Bank policy in lending freely at high negative real interest rate.

        1. Wukchumni

          Regarding hyper-inflation, this item argues that this is generically the result of bone-headed Central Bank policy in lending freely at high negative real interest rate.

          Very prescient article from 2012…

          In the past before the money got all digitalized & such hyperinflation needed a host, and when I did physical retail foreign exchange* in LA in the 1980’s & 90’s, I had seats on the 50 yard line in watching one after another country hyperinflate that decade, their currency worthless.

          You could buy 100 note brand new bundles of the latest country d’jour to crap out for $8 to $15 on the collector market, and unusual ones such as Israel and Poland, along with the usual suspects in Africa, South America & Asia.

          * One day I get a call from somebody with quite a bit in both Irish Punts & Japanese Yen and they want a quote which strikes me as odd-that much in disparate currencies, so I give them a competitive number and 30 minutes later a crew member from the original Star Trek tv series comes through the door, and that was their personal take from Star Trek conventions in both of those countries.

        2. Mikel

          The item you linked to didn’t mention owing debts in a foreign demoninated currency. (If I phrased that correctly).
          That seems to be the major factor in the the most often mentioned examples of hyper-inflation.

          1. Yves Smith

            Cases of true hyperinflation, as opposed to high inflation and/or currency crises, are the result of a fairly sudden and large loss of productive capacity. We are going to see a new case study in Ukraine.

        3. vao

          one can imagine that money printing could be a government response to shortages of real goods.

          This seems to be the case in historical cases of hyperinflation:
          1) sudden loss of productive capacity causing severe shortages,
          2) resulting in massive price increases,
          3) leading the state to try to compensate by raising wages, pensions, or subsidizing certain segments of the population,
          4) all of which ends up accelerating (2) through (4) into an hyper-inflationary spiral, till productive capacity is restored and the printing of money abates.

          This is exactly what happened in the famed 1923 hyperinflation in Germany — the loss of productive capacity being the occupation of the Ruhr by the French and Belgians.

          Other countries experiencing a sudden loss of productive capacity with attendant hyperinflation were Hungary (loss of Czech industry after the Austro-Hungarian empire disappeared), Austria (loss of Czech industry and Hungarian agriculture), Russia (newly independent countries formerly in the Russian empire, and losses of territories during WWI and the civil war), Poland (dislocation of industrial links to former Austria/Germany/Russia).

          Yugoslavia in the 1990s (dislocation of the entire industrial network of the SFRY), Zimbabwe (sudden expropriation of agricultural holdings given to cronies who let them inactive) are further examples.

      2. eg

        Ugh. That is some vulgar Monetarism right there. “The Feds” don’t control the money supply — in fact, they abandoned attempts to do so 30 years ago. The bulk of “money” in circulation is commercial bank credits because their loans create deposits.

    3. Louis Fyne

      All inflations have been caused by shortages of crucial goods and services, most often oil and food.»….

      caused by juiced demand from increased money supply…see every mercantilist Asian tiger economy. Look at the VND or KRW long-term

      PS, I am pro-MMT….but only in discrete, limited, highly narrow circumstances.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > but only in discrete, limited, highly narrow circumstances.

        MMT is descriptively valid in all circumstances; it’s not a theory so much as an accurate description of how modern government finances work. The description includes the constraints on public fiscal policy; inflation is a fundamental constraint.

        The term “MMT” is often conflated with “aggressive spending policy”, probably because MMT clarifies the extent to which such policies are feasible and opponents of such policies (self-described “fiscal responsibility” advocates) would prefer that this not be clarified.

        In reality, US elites already in practice have an MMT-informed understanding of US government finances. This can be seen in the near universal lack of concern about the impact of military spending on the Federal fiscal balance. The opposition to policies that would deploy the public finances in the pursuit of the public interest is, IMO, rooted not in a commitment to fiscal responsibility so much as in opposition to the pursuit of public interests.

        US is definitely a special case, since there is a large “sink”, of willing savers outside its borders, for newly created money (and Treasury debt instruments).

        For me, the real eye-opener when I first became acquainted with MMT (via Randall Wray’s “MMT Primer”) was the direction of causality of the US Federal deficit. Customarily, this is thought to be controlled by Federal spending/taxing decisions. But there is a persuasive case to be made that the deficit is determined more by the spending/savings decisions of the non-government sectors (the domestic private sector and the rest-of-world that trades with US). I think this is discussed in posts 4 and 5 of Prof. Wray’s Primer, though I think it is touched on in others, too.

        1. eg

          Yup. As to your last paragraph, providing the world’s reserve currency requires running immense deficits as an accounting identity.

          1. Samuel Conner

            Yes. US has a large deficit with the “rest of world”. Within US, this deficit is apportioned between the government and non-government sectors. As the non-government sector cannot create money, it prefers to be in balance or surplus; the USG is obliged to be in deficit.

            30+ years ago when I was young and naive and still in school, a B-school/finance major told me that the US federal deficit was basically always about the same number as the trade deficit. I didn’t understand why this should be, and he had only a hand-waving explanation. The National Accounts Identity would have immediately cleared things up (US private sector is generally in balance, so USG deficit has to match the external world’s surplus), but evidently he had not been paying attention in that class.

            I never forgot that conversation, but it was not until about 2 decades later, when reading Randall Wray’s MMT Primer, that I finally encountered the explanation.

            This is something that is quite basic, but I think that practically no-one knows of it.

            Our elites probably understand this, but they are not letting on, less they lose the rhetorical power of their “fiscal responsibility” smoke-screen justification for austerity policies.

    4. ilsm

      Just a coincidence that supply chain driven inflation happened just after the fed printed 5 trillion green backs so people who hiding from a virus could spend.

      Milton Friedman on inflation as a monetary event is not wrong because his thoughts are buried.

      The reverse repo is down to less than $1.1 trillion for several days now.

      1. LY

        It’s not a coincidence. Covid-19 shut down supple chains (computer chips), and severely (and continues to) impacted the labor force. It also shifted spending from restaurants and tourism to supermarkets, toilet paper and home improvement.

        The government payments reduced poverty, paid for healthcare, propped up corporations, etc.
        For Friedman and his acolytes, reducing poverty and paying for healthcare are unacceptable, so…

        Continued inflation are from labor force COVID impacts, weather (bad harvests), war, and corporate pricing power. Austerity and continued interest hikes don’t solve any of those problems, but does help put labor in its place and continue the concentration of wealth.

      2. eg

        Friedman’s monetarism is a dead letter in academic economics and shambles on only in zombie form among think tanks and in the minds of ill-informed policymakers. He’s precisely the sort of figure that Keynes had in mind when he wrote, “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

    5. Random

      It’s complicated.
      As the previous poster mentioned it can happen such as in Israel, but it rarely happens on its own.
      Depends on where the newly created money is spent, if it creates new production, if it can be used to buy foreign goods, etc.
      The US for example can (or maybe could, not sure at this point) create large amounts of money without causing inflation because the money created will go all over the world instead of being spent on products in the US.
      Money is a tool, but everyone has different theories of how it actually works.

    6. LY

      Brazil? Don’t know much about the details, though getting inflation under control consisted of the psychological(?) ploy of introducing a new currency in parallel.

      To fully leverage MMT, most countries are going to need capital controls (see South America, Argentina). Also, if the monetarily sovereign country is a small economy, and has significant imports, that’s a problem. The US doesn’t have that problem because the major trade partners are running trade surpluses as a matter of policy.

      1. Wukchumni

        Most all of the South American countries had hyperinflation and after a nasty bout of it, they’d come up with a brand new named currency and then it would go the way of a Dodo thanks to hyperinflation, and then they’d come up with another name for a currency.

        Brazil was typical, they went from Cruzeiro to Cruzado to Cruzado Nova to Real over a few decades, each of the currencies hyperinflating to bupkis.

    7. PlutoniumKun

      I think a lot depends on your definition of inflation. One persons high inflation is another persons norm.

      The textbook case of inflation being caused by monetary expansion was the general inflation in late medieval Europe caused by the influx of gold and silver from the Americas.

      There have also been plenty of short term inflations caused primarily by devaluations. There is of course a chicken and egg issue here in that something caused the devaluation, and the devaluation will cause materials shortages as imports suddenly get more expensive. So in most cases sudden inflations are linked to devaluations which in turn are linked to subsequent shortages of materials or final products. But its certainly true to say that most monetary expansions haven’t caused much more than a blip in inflation without some other process kicking in.

      1. Wukchumni

        Eggs got up to around $5 a dozen-now back down to $2 a dozen, while the price of a cooked rotisserie chicken has gone up as well, with no price decrease that i’ve seen.

      2. vao

        The textbook case of inflation being caused by monetary expansion was the general inflation in late medieval Europe caused by the influx of gold and silver from the Americas.

        Except that this “textbook case” does not correspond to historical facts — if we set aside the fact that the Medieval period was over by 1453 (old style) or 1492 (new style), before the conquest of America.

        Famous French historian Fernand Braudel (in his works about the Mediterranean) analyzed the evolution of prices in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. He relied upon very long-term data series taken from the accounting records of religious charitable institutions/hospices who catered to the poor or sick — hence spending their money on very basic goods — and that operated continuously for hundreds of years.

        The result: a sustained inflationary trend started 75-100 years before the Spaniards and Portuguese conquered American lands rich in silver and gold. Before that, prices, while quite erratic (a good year resulted in prices of food, fibres, leather, etc, going down, a bad year in prices shooting up), were stable on the long term. This is not a statistical artifact: he also investigated the data originating from similar Muslim charitable institutions in the Ottoman empire, and a sustained inflationary trend started there a bit later, but still approximately 40 years (iirc) before precious metals started flowing from Mexico and Peru.

        I do not remember the explanation for the phenomenon.

          1. vao

            Multiple factors were at play. The influx of silver and gold from America started around 1520 (conquest of Mexico), increased after the protracted conquest of the Inca empire (starting 1532), and was well-established in 1550.

            Those dates match the evolution of prices in Spain. However, in regions such as Alsace, a significantly stronger inflation started earlier. In more remote regions such as Poland and Germany, the inflationary trend started around 1470.

            The demographic increase following the black plague of the mid 14th century is one explanation. Especially in Central Europe, it forced people to put marginal land into use, which, being less productive, led to higher foodstuff prices.

            Throughout Europe and the Ottoman empire, a significant factor explaining inflation was the increasing economic activity and trading (especially Italy, the Netherlands, France, the Levant) from the early Renaissance onwards. There was not enough silver to sustain economic growth, and the “solution” was a general and substantial debasement of money starting in the 15th century — which continued till the end of the 16th century, even as precious metals from America were flowing in.

            These are the two elements I can remember, but there were others (I think imports from China sucking silver out of Europe and the Ottoman empire was another).

  6. kramshaw

    > Terror and the Secondary Trauma of Social Media RAND

    I am far from alone in my exposure to this extreme content. And while it may seem like being an active, informed citizen requires such immersion in raw imagery, I am also a social psychologist and should know better….
    The proliferation of traumatizing social media content is, make no mistake, a deliberate choice….
    Mitigating [the] impact [of traumatic events] on global mental health might require some combination of regulations, “healthy” social networks, or personal behavior change.

    It certainly requires making hard choices

    Cross file under big brother?

    I appreciated how the image and links in the article are all related to Israeli losses–as if to imply that images of “worthy” victims would also be suppressed alongside the “unworthies.”

    An associate recently shared that, when trying to explain what was happening in Gaza to her six year old, the latter replied something to the effect of “how do you even know those pictures [of dead Palestinian children] are real,” in some ways a savvy observation but that reflected a willingness to maintain ignorance. I’m not sure if RAND + a six year old = zeitgeist but I’m left with a very queasy feeling.

    1. playon

      Seems about right for this moment in time.

      Several years ago I was playing with a band at a wedding reception gig. Before the guests arrived we were checking the sound system and warming up, and I noticed this young kid watching us. After awhile he comes up to me and says “You’re not really playing that!” — he was utterly convinced. A few songs into our set I saw him checking us out and it dawning on him that we were actually playing live… it was a thing I’ll remember.

  7. pjay

    – ‘Course Correction?’ – New Left Review

    This article just reinforces my admiration for Wagenknecht, and my hope for her political success despite all the obstacles noted in the piece. I couldn’t help but notice this passage, which sounded so familiar:

    “Yet despite her broad popularity, in the Berlin Republic [Wagenknecht] is often regarded as a controversial figure, notably within the shrunken ranks of her former party. For her critical interventions – on the war in Ukraine and NATO’s part in it, on the contradictions of the government’s Covid policy, and on immigration, as well as on the ‘left-liberal’ politics of a self-satisfied Bildungsbürgertum – she has been denounced as a Putin sympathizer, a conspiracy theorist, an anti-immigrant populist and a treacherous ‘diagonalist’ blending left and right.”

    This is the usual type of “denunciation” by the pseudo-left of any authentic anti-imperialist voice in the US. Yet it struck me that over here this is usually only directed at journalists, since I can think of NO US politician on the left who holds such views, none at all. The decline of our electoral politics, never as advanced as those of Germany, is even further along.

  8. Louis Fyne

    Military briefing: the battle for Gaza City FT….

    No way to know it one is getting an accurate feel as all the video from the fighting is coming from one side…..

    that said, from the footage that I’ve seen no way that the IDF will even get a Pyrrhic victory.

    IDF either literally genocides Gaza (and the Mideast blows up as Hezbollah and Iraq activates and draws in the US) or IDF retreats from unceasing Hamas firefights.

    PS, agree to disagree w/MacGregor, Turkey is not entering the fray. It doesn’t need to and has no logistics capability to. Turkey can’t even bomb Tel Aviv if it wanted to.

    Incrediblly bad take by Macgregor, amongst a series of recent bad takes. in my opinion

    1. begob

      Turkiye has its Russian s-400 systems (which America cheekily suggested they send to Ukraine), so I guess if Pakistan’s nuclear warheads find a place in his armoury we could see Erdogan play quite the game of chicken with Israel.

      As for Lebanon, Ritter says Nasrallah has to go for it in his speech on Friday or ‘lose face’. Berletic says Hezbollah can afford to wait it out while continuing ‘defensive’ operations on the border.

    2. ilsm

      Turkey could throw the USAF F-16’s out of Adana (Incirlik AB)! A long flight from the black Sea and any NATO interest.

      See if the USN carriers are ‘safe’ with ground based air cover only from Cyprus, if the Turks there allow it.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I’d agree – I haven’t seen MacGregors evidence, but as you say, Turkey has neither the motive nor military logistics to seriously challenge Israel militarily. The most they could do is send shipments of weapons to Gaza, but even that would be extremely difficult unless the Egyptians helped out, and they won’t. The one thing they could do is threaten Israels off-shore gas fields, but that would be a huge escalation.

    4. hk

      McGregor has shown peculiar tendency to expect aggressive and quick military moves by other countries when the political basis is lacking. I’d chalk that up to his “American bias,” albeit manifesting in a different direction.

  9. Wukchumni

    Jewish New Yorkers occupy Statue of Liberty to demand Israel-Gaza ceasefire Al Jazeera

    Give me your American Jews tired of Zionism
    Gaza’s huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of Israel’s teeming shore

  10. timbers

    Marching Toward a Night of the Long Knives in Ukraine Simplicius the Thinker

    This internal intrigue – an ominous sign for Ukraine prospects – probably won’t penetrate to the public, but might be noticed by Washington Republicans and further stiffen resistance to additional funding as in throwing good money after bad.

  11. Jabura Basaidai

    love reading these occurrences every time they pop up – Orcas sinking a yachts off the coast of Morocco or the Straits of Gilbralter – just love it – but other behaviors of Orcas upon other ocean critters described in the Scientific American article and read elsewhere causes pause and makes me wonder if this is all the result of behaviors of our species resulting in changes in their environment causing interference in their usual behaviors observed in the past, or is this aggressive and mortal behavior natural – seem to note that the aggressive behavior toward boats is only happening in the Straits of Gibralter and the more gruesome behaviors upon other ocean species happens in the northern Pacific – just wondering –

    1. nycTerrierist

      agreed – something wondrous here – intelligent life – methinks these creatures perceive a threat to
      their environment and link them to the encroaching vessels –
      hail to our marine mammal comrades

  12. BillK

    Re: If the West cannot win this war, then what war can it win?

    Given the West’s presumed superior war technology, I am wondering if the military industrial complex has adopted the same theory as big pharma.
    Big pharma realised that there is little profit in curing a disease. What big profits needs is continuous treatments and medications (preferably expensive). So big pharma stopped curing disease.
    Similarly, the military industry realised that what their big profits require is continuous wars, not actually winning wars. Expensive weapons and munitions in a never-ending supply system that are used up and require re-supply.
    “Nothing personal – it’s just business”. :(

    1. ilsm

      The military industrial complex makes great profit sustaining peace time operations and training.

      They fumble their way through design overruns and use the budget supposed to develop maintenance tasks for redoing design mistakes. Why they have cost plus contracts!

      The pentagon then signs up to contractor logistics support (CLS), because they spent the money for spares, support equipment, tests and repair task description on overruns.

      The result is good return on redoing design by skimming off repairs in the field. A growing part of the operating and support (O&S) budget is contracted out!

      And the contractors will go to war with the stuff?

      Are the donors of the F-16’s to Ukraine paying for the CLS in Ukraine?

        1. ilsm

          IIRC Prof Krugman thought enriching Lockheed by developing defenses against UFOs could be a way to stimulate the economy…..

          I may mix that up with hiring two crews, one to dig holes the second to fill them in.

          I may be old….

          I never read past a Krugman headline these days

      1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

        Knew an ITV* turret mechanic in Germany who was ETSing (getting out of the Army) and going straight into a contracting job doing the exact same work for hugely more pay and benefits. And this was back in the 80s. So “contracting out” is nothing particularly new.

        *Improved TOW Vehicle. A brilliant vehicle designed by someone(s) with zero actual military experience…but it was fun to make Japanese Anime Giant Robot noises while activating and playing with the turret.

    2. Lexx

      My preferred word for ‘continuous treatments and medications’ is “management”. “Chronic disease” is the bread and butter of the medical industry, not just Big Pharma. I think a patient’s best bet is private primary care, with a physician and staff who take “prevention” seriously. And when I say ‘private’, I mean one who does not take insurance and does not have a corporate overlord. It’s all out-of-pocket. Frankly, I’m not sure it doesn’t end up being less expensive and more satisfying.

      Medicine isn’t interested in winning ‘the war’, but allusions to that effect will be filling our mailboxes right about now. It’s charities season.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “China flags readiness to work with US ‘at all levels’ ahead of Apec summit”

    Those cunning buggers. They did it again. They came out with this statement saying that they are willing to work with the US at all levels which makes them look good. And then all they have to do is sit back and wait. Biden being Biden and hating Xi, he will renege on any agreements that he will make with China. Like many times in the past, he will say one thing to their faces and a coupla days later his admin will do the total opposite and put on yet more sanctions on China. After a while China can turn to the Global Majority and say that they tried but Biden’s America is simply incapable of making any agreements – which again, makes them look good.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And legalize cannabis with a good home grow provision! Will I be able to move things outside?


      1. Carla

        You go, HMP! I was bummed that Cleveland Issue 38 for the Peoples’ Budget (participatory budgeting) was defeated by a coalition of — you guessed it — “Democrats” !!!

      2. Screwball

        Yes, for sure, but there is some research to be done. How many can we grow, and where can we grow it? IOW, what are the rules? Since it is now legal in Ohio (is it, or does it go into effect at a later date?) can we order seeds from Amsterdam, ship them here, and plant them? I don’t know these answers, but I will be looking them up.

        Not all are happy though. For those of us on the West side of the state, traveling to Michigan was an every few month road trip. 75 North into Michigan, hit exit 11 at Monroe, and there are bunches of pot shops waiting to take your money. Parking lots so full a grocery store would be proud, most of which were Ohio plates.

        Those places are now toast, or whenever Ohio gets their shops in place. Which might be worth watching. Legal pot won on about 56 to 44 vote. Those 44 will be the ones to vote against pot sales in their county or city if that’s applicable. It happened around here over the medical pot stores.

        From looking at the county maps, the large cites got this and Issue 1 passed. Rural country is much closer to 50/50 or less.

    2. zagonostra

      No issue has the women I know more energized and willing to be swayed to vote than abortion rights. Not, genocide in Gaza, Ukraine, broken promise after broken promises by the Democrats year-after-year, nothing. The world could be on the brink of nuclear anhelation, but they will go out there and vote against anyone who is abridging women’s right to an abortion.

      Anytime I suggest that those in political power know the power of this issue and use it to manipulate voters, I’m shut down quick and hard.

      1. John k

        It was ok to once say dems coulda passed roe at any of the multi times they held house/senate/pres but didn’t because it’s such a great campaign issue… but not allowed to repeat same. Or this am to suggest it’s more a states rights issue after Ohio, given Biden can’t (and imo wouldn’t anyway) do anything nationally.
        Granted tho, it does get women to the polls, and is Biden’s forlorn hope. But given the genocide, I can see dem women voting on that issue and then either voting trump or not voting for pres at all.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “America’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan Did Not Spur Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine”

    Foreign Affairs is refusing to look at the obvious. America got out of Afghanistan in order to clear the decks for Project Ukraine. The establishment was making billions out of Project Afghanistan but the real money to be had was with taking down Russia as there you are talking about tens if not hundreds of trillions of dollars long term. So they put themselves in hock and took out IOUs knowing that there was a guaranteed big payout coming – only there wasn’t. Project Ukraine has proved a bust. And pretty soon all those IOUs will come due.

    1. S.D., M.D.

      Project Afghanistan was always all about opium poppies, as were numerous wars in Southeast Asia(the spice must flow through our pockets). Dirt cheap manufactured fentanyl wiped out the CIA’s cut and it was a race to the exits the minute the big guy stopped getting his 10%.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      You are 100% correct in that assessment. It had nothing to do with Russia, and everything to do with keeping US defense contractor C-suiters in megayachts.

      People who write stuff like this –

      “Compelling information now suggests that Putin probably decided to invade Ukraine sometime between late April and early June 2021.”

      – are just ignorant and deluded clowns. If anyone wants to know what Putin is thinking, there is no need to get out the tea leaves and crystal ball to speculate. I have a pretty good idea what the Russians think from reading their many, many public statements and listening to their lengthy press conferences. This isn’t hard.

      1. John k

        Friends are quite convinced putin wants to keep going until they reach the Atlantic, none have listened or read his speeches or q&a. When he limits oblasts to Russian speaking ones I bet they will say Russia is exhausted and had to stop, next phase coming soon so we better get ready, maybe put nukes in baltics or something.

  15. Jason Boxman

    Having gotten all the men killed in Ukraine that couldn’t leave the country, it is women’s turn:

    With so much hinging on refilling the ranks, efforts are underway to draw more Ukrainian women into the army. Volunteer groups offering all-female training, like the one near Kyiv, are supporting the effort.

    About 43,000 women now serve in the Ukrainian military, according to the ministry of defense, an increase of about 40 percent since 2021, the year before Russia’s full-scale invasion. The proportional increase is less than the male fighting force, which has more than tripled over the same period.

    The Ukrainian Army’s outreach to women is a step toward equality, to be sure, but one that also reflects the tremendous toll the war has exacted.

    (bold mine) (This being the Times, gotta shout out to equality in opportunities for death)

    ‘If Not Me, Who?’: As Ukraine Seeks Troops, Women Prepare for the Call

  16. Carolinian

    Thanks for the MOA, but the problem with this interview and the previous MOA had highlighted is that they are merely stating the obvious to any person of reason and that is not who we are dealing with. Today up in comments the question arises “what does America get from its support of Israel” and the answer is nothing. But if the question is “what does America’s ruling class get” then the answer is a “a lot” because such support is pushing the US ever to the right to the point that alleged liberal Bernie Sanders says “destroy Hamas, no ceasefire.” I’d suggest this is a big reason the antiwar movement collapsed because Jewish people played a huge role in the Vietnam opposition and they’ve been unwilling, by and large, to do the same re Israel/Palestine.

    Perhaps that is now changing as Israel under Netanyahu is itself becoming ever more radical right and more an albatross to our establishment than shield. Things wear out including ideas. The knee jerk support for the ME colony is looking increasingly frayed–although somebody needs to tell its often geriatric hard core elite supporters the truth.

    1. John k

      Imo it was the draft that powered the Jewish and other protestors. No draft = no protest… but this genocide can’t be hidden, not least because msm seems to have found a war it doesn’t like. Maybe Sadaam needed to get out videos showing thousands of dead kids, seems he thought it better to say he was winning.
      Seems Biden had no idea genocide would be a bad look. When you elect a warmonger…

    2. Judith

      Patrick Lawrence today on why the US supports Israel:

      “I refer again to the unnamed officials who admit that the Israelis’ Gaza campaign has nothing to do with self-defense. In the same way, American policy toward Israel has nothing to do with protecting Israeli people, “honest brokering,” or any such notion. It has to do with maintaining the imperium’s presence in West Asia—this the objective since at least the 1967 war. In my read we can count this the first, second, third and only priority of the policy cliques in Washington. This is why it is fine that the post–1967 leadership in Tel Aviv has turned Israel into a garrison state just as Harold Lasswell memorably defined this in 1941. The Israelis are “specialists in violence,” precisely as Lasswell used this term. It is what the U.S. wants them to be. “

  17. The Rev Kev

    “What caused Optus’s nationwide outage, and how long was it down for? Here’s what we know”

    Ten out of twenty five million people were effected by this outage. I wonder if the government tries to bring in digital currency if this episode will be remembered. The goods are still there, the services are still available, the power grid is running fine and everything is working. It’s just that you won’t be able to buy anything and none of those businesses will be able to sell you anything either. So how many days have to pass before the food in people’s homes run out and the food riots break out, especially when they can see shelf after shelf of food just sitting in those closed up supermarkets? The police you say? Guess what? Police and their families also have to eat. This would all make a fantastic film but the only problems is that the powers that be will never, ever, ever allow it to be made.

    1. NN Cassandra

      It’s funny. I remember back then during the withdrawal one of the hawks talking points was it’s what Putin wants, we should stay to show him. Imagine if US stayed, which would inevitably spark full scale war with Taliban, and six month later Putin went to Ukraine. One starts to wonder if these people really secretly don’t work for Putin and try to make things easy for him as much as possible. In this case, they failed.

    2. digi_owl

      One of the benefits of living at smaller place is that when there was a national outage of payment terminals recently, the village store allowed the locals to write up what they were taking if they didn’t have cash or were set up with alternate means to transfer payment.

      That said, some years back one mobile operator was down for most of a day because a routine upgrade on a core server ended up being less than routine. And it got exasperated by being right before an extended weekend, so everyone was trying to message and call to coordinate supplies and getting their “cabins” ready.

    1. zagonostra

      I used to watch and enjoy JD on a regular basis, but ever since he brought on Kurt Metzger, I can’t stand watching the show. Most of the topics that are covered I’ve already come across in other places, Jimmy could add his fervent take on them, but with Kurt always interrupting and interjecting puerile comedic points it’s not worth it any more (I do however like when Pasta fills in for him).

      1. Ranger Rick

        Happened here after the Marshall Fire. Insurers took note: everybody’s premiums went up after agents assessed everyone’s property at its current value.

  18. Acacia

    Re: Study suggests mass vaccination programs cut COVID cases in Japan 65%

    The title is misleading. Dig down a bit and the authors explain that they couldn’t obtain complete vaccination history for a large group, especially after the Omicron surge in early 2022, so they gave up trying that and only focused on Tokyo and ignored the rest of Japan. They also only used confirmed cases, without explaining what “confirmed” means in Japan, e.g., many municipalities had privately-operated testing centers, but since they weren’t “official” the results were not being counted. Of course, home antigen tests are not “officially” counted either. Meanwhile, the time delay to determine cause of death ranges from two to five months.

    Subsequently, from May 2023, the Japanese government downgraded SARS 2 from a Class 2 to a Class 5 infectious disease, i.e., SARS 2 was not longer classified the same as SARS, and most of the govt. pandemic measures were scrapped. Mask guidance was dropped, and “personal risk assessment” became the new policy. Henceforth, schools only required students to stay at home for a day after symptoms disappeared, students would not be notified if a teacher or classmate tested positive for SARS, and testing was no longer covered by the govt., i.e., for a PCR test, you would have to pay for it.

    I can’t speak for others, but I’ll go with the assessment of “‘Endemic’ SARS-CoV-2 and the death of public health” from the John Snow Project, or “The Pandemic Isn’t Over” by Lizwhatsherface, a.k.a., Normalcy Fugitive. These articles give a far more persuasive take on where we’re at now.

    1. Ignacio

      The picture changed a lot with Omicron. Thereafter the efficacy of the vaccines almost certainly dropped like a stone though this was largely and wilfully ignored and accompanied with those policy changes you mention so it is impossible to find good data on vaccine efficacy. Only neutralizing antibody levels. Your own personal immunologist side of the brain has to evaluate incoming data.

      1. Carla

        Oh, THAT side of my brain. I forgot I had an immunologist side of my brain. Or maybe nobody ever told my brain that.

        Ignacio, I love your comments!

  19. Louis Fyne

    ….US, Israel to open second front in Lebanon Indian Punchline. Alternatively:….

    The US doesn’t have the logistics to even fight a war that lasts longer than 20 days right now.

    Sending every available US asset (see that sub) into theMideast right now is akin to a male songbird that puffs himself up to scare rivals.

    it’s all “fake it ’til you make it” Cross fingers that an off-ramp is found—the US is writing rhetorical checks that it cannot cash

  20. IMOR

    “Inside the Frat-Boy Crime Ring That Swept the South”
    Yes, I remember the Katrina emergency program ripoffs quite well!
    And their earlier, slightly more widespread, S&L shenanigans.

  21. Mark Gisleson

    Pro Publica’s story on the 5th Circut had my blood pressure boiling but I didn’t blow up until I got to the end and learned that Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it was all OK.

    It’s not OK. It will never be OK until crooked state judges are sent to federal prisons.

  22. Wukchumni

    Note to self: always try and bite a croc’s eyelid if threatened.

    Mr Deveraux said his ordeal began after he stopped at a billabong (lake) while he was travelling to build fencing near the Finniss River last month.

    He paused by the lake after noticing fish swimming in the middle of its retreating waters. After he stepped away again, the crocodile “latched” onto his right foot, shaking him like a “rag doll” and pulling him into the water.

    Mr Deveraux told ABC he first tried kicking the crocodile in the ribs with his other foot – before biting the reptile back.

    “I was in such an awkward position… but by accident my teeth caught his eyelid. It was pretty thick, like holding onto leather, but I jerked back on his eyelid and he let go.

  23. Camelotkidd

    Man, the article on the death of public health is a must read and confirms all of Lambert’s reporting on the sociopaths that have mismanaged the pandemic.
    Here’s a taste–“Political will is in short supply because powerful economic and corporate interests have been pushing policymakers to let the virus spread largely unchecked through the population since the very beginning of the pandemic. The reasons are simple. First, NPIs hurt general economic activity, even if only in the short term, resulting in losses on balance sheets. Second, large-scale containment efforts of the kind we only saw briefly in the first few months of the pandemic require substantial governmental support for all the people who need to pause their economic activity for the duration of effort. Such an effort also requires large-scale financial investment in, for example, contact tracing and mass testing infrastructure and providing high-quality masks. In an era dominated by laissez-faire economic dogma, this level of state investment and organization would have set too many unacceptable precedents, so in many jurisdictions it was fiercely resisted, regardless of the consequences for humanity and the economy.

    None of these social and economic predicaments have been resolved. The unofficial alliance between big business and dangerous pathogens that was forged in early 2020 has emerged victorious and greatly strengthened from its battle against public health, and is poised to steamroll whatever meager opposition remains for the remainder of this, and future pandemics.”

    1. JBird4049

      The insane part is that doing quarantines, encouraging masking and ventilation, funding medical treatments, even cures, and giving economic support to the general population especially from the start would have not only saved the economy, reduce the long term costs to businesses, and improved economic growth, but American business interests especially in finance, are only interested in quarterly results. That not doing what should have been done was detrimental to future economic results was apparently unimportant.

  24. Pat

    I just find it interesting that ad Optus problems were hitting Australia, here in the US we had a major glitch in the system that handles direct deposit in the US. I don’t know of a major bank in the US that missed out on the fun. In case you missed it here is one article about it from CNN

    Yet we are supposed to be utterly dependent on electronica and electronic processing of all transactions… not sure if everybody is realizing that it is just the start of problems. So much can affect these things and most on a wider scale than if it wasn’t all bits and bytes.

  25. Ignacio

    Question: Might I provide here a link directed mainly for EU readers that might be interested in an Online Conference called “The Pathway To Circularity” – cbviously on recycling? Disclaimer: it is not in my economic professional interest though though am personally trying to drag as many as possible to the event.

  26. Ignacio

    RE: Course Correction? New Left Review

    Thanks a lot for this link. I hadn’t for a long time enjoyed a reading, apart from articles here at NC, and others like Aurelien’s substack, like in this article. Starting with the “extreme centrist” qualifier in the beginning that made me laugh a bit, and following with a political profile of Sahra Wagenknecht much more interesting than the BS I had seen before at an “extreme centrist” outfit like El PAIS.

    Very telling it is that according to the article a significant portion of AfD supporters automatically went to support BSW, the newly created party, showing that many in Germany are just looking forward for left alternatives to the “extreme centrist” core. She departs from the traditional let’s say “academic left” for something politically more practical. Will be following her with interest.

    Feedback from German readers would be very much appreciated.

    1. GC54

      Greenwald interviewed her on his System Update a few months ago, interesting politician at first glance.

    2. caucus99percenter

      The AfD is currently polling as the most popular party in all five eastern German states, and recently scored a new record high for a western German state, over 18%, in Hesse. The establishment is alarmed. For years now, it has put a thumb on the scale against the AfD and disparaged it at every opportunity. Nothing has worked. They are becoming desperate. So I suspect the plan is this:

      At some point before the three state elections in 2024, they will ban or severely hobble the AfD on some pretext. This will make a lot of already-disillusioned people politically homeless again. The establishment hopes Sahra Wagenknecht’s new party can “soak up” these voters, co-opting them back into the narrow spectrum of opinion the establishment allows. I expect the media have already been given their marching orders. Namely, play up BSW as the new, fashionable avenue for protest.

  27. Laura in So Cal

    On oximeters:

    In my experience with my Mom, nail polish seriously impacts oximeter readings as well with the “gel” varieties being the worst. Over the last year of my Mom’s life, we left one finger unpainted to use for the oximeter. Her Alzheimers made her an unreliable reporter so when she sick in any way, we used the oximeter, thermometer, wrist blood pressure cuff a lot.

  28. Irrational

    Re. Nature retracts controversial superconductivity paper:
    It seems room temperature superconductivity joins cold fusion (Fleischmann & Pons in 1989) in the annals of science hoaxes. I was still at school and we called BS in physics class.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Nothing to do with the fact that a lot of Israel’s oil passes through Turkiya by any chance? Just Netanyahu being completely altruistic because he is such a great humanitarian. :)

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