Links 12/12/2023

Your humble blogger is sick! Only miserably sick (Niagara-imitating runny nose and lotta sneezing) not dangerously sick. Sneezing means almost certainly not Covid (per Mayo). It’s good that is pretty clear because the OTC Covid tests here suck. They require far more in user prep and therefore manual dexterity than I possess, unlike the old US tests. I am also pretty sure how I got it, from sitting not that close to someone in a very well ventilated room (open to a deck) and then outdoors at a bit of a distance….So now think I need to turn down a holiday dinner invite. :-(

Woman Enters MRI Machine With a Gun, Gets Shot in Butt Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

10 fun facts as Halley’s Comet makes its big comeback Big Think (Micael T)

Gigantic Wave in Pacific Ocean Was Most Extreme ‘Rogue Wave’ on Record ScienceAlert. Kevin W: “Key line – ‘For centuries, rogue waves were considered nothing but nautical folklore.'”

What colour do you see? aeon. I thought about this hard as a 4 or 5 year old! How could I be sure what was called blue actually looked like what I perceived to be blue?

Space station astronauts solve the mystery of a missing tomato NPR (David L)


Repeated mRNA vaccines supercharge immune response against COVID-19, study finds News Medical Life Sciences. IM Doc:

I always have a skeptical eye when the conclusions of a paper are so drastically different than what I am seeing in front of my face. I have not seen or heard from a truly unvaxxed patient now for months. Not a word. There are estimated to be 15% in my county and 50% in the surrounding areas. I should be hearing or seeing them. Nothing.

There are several possibilities for this. A) they are not getting sick b) they are getting sick but not bad enough to call or getting sick and not even aware of it or c) they are avoiding the health care system – not likely because they come in for everything else. I have spoken with multiple docs in all areas around me. It is the same story. I have now had conversations with the naturopaths and chiropractors in the area – where the vaxx resisters are more likely to go. They too are seeing nothing. Again, the vaxx resisters are more inclined to be seen there and Nothing. The busiest naturopath in town is a very good friend. His practice is loaded with unvaxxed patients as he advised no one to get them very early on. “I have not seen an unvaxxed Covid case since March”.

In stark contrast, the patients who are the sickest with Covid are those who are multiply vaxxed. Over and over again. I just spent all night with a fairly sick Covid patient otherwise healthy except for CAD and HTN, 59 years old, vaxxed times 7. To my knowledge, there has not been an unvaxxed admission since mid September. Thankfully, the admissions have been very light lately.

I am seeing what I am seeing. I must take every piece of data into account. I must also take into account that I am in an Uber healthy community, widely dispersed, with virtually zero homeless or inner city problems. That may be having an effect, although I would have thought by now I would have seen at least a few unvaxxed patients.

I am concerned with studies like this seems to be, that humoral lab values may be assuring, but do not help a whole lot clinically. This is not just a problem with Covid. This is universal in medicine. We focus more on labs rather than clinical data. Labs are much cleaner and easier to collect. At this point in time, we should be focusing on studies with firm clinical endpoints and not humoral factors. Infection cases seeking medical care? Hospital admits? Deaths? It is the same problem as focusing on cholesterol levels for CAD, done for 30 years since the advent of statins, instead of focusing on actual endpoints like stents, and hospital stays and death.


COP28 climate talks into extra time with no deal in sight DW

Tiny Electric Vehicles Pack a Bigger Climate Punch Than Cars New York Times (David L)

COP28 draft agreement omits plan to phase out fossil fuels, angering Pacific leaders ABC (Kevin W)

Big oil agrees to slash methane emissions Economist (David L)


Raimondo Vows ‘Strongest Possible’ Action on Huawei’s Chip Breakthrough Bloomberg. The hubris, it burns. The subtext is China couldn’t possibly have developed this chip on its own.

Fed should stress test US banks for China war risk, House panel says Financial Times

US next-gen tactical missile ready to point at China Asia Times

Please click through and read the tweetstorm if you are interested in China’s economy. Pettis pointed out years ago that the way China “solved” its early 200s banking crisis was through massive financial repression, as in seriously negative interest rates. No wonder Chinese households were so eager to pile into real estate:

Myanmar overtakes Afghanistan as top opium producer BBC

Old Blighty

UK Tories plotting Boris Johnson comeback – Daily Mail RT (Kevin W)


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 66: Israel attacks ambulances, medics in Gaza; people across the world join strike for Palestine Mondoweiss (guurst)

Death and Destruction in Gaza John Mearsheimer. Important. Also suitable for circulating.

Israel’s genocide in Gaza has Biden’s green light Aaron Mate

Parading non-fighters as fighters is a big tell of underperformance:

‘The Hunger War Has Started’ Daniel Larison

UN ‘very concerned’ about report Israel used US-supplied white phosphorus in Lebanon Anadolu Agency

Italy, France, Germany call for ad hoc EU sanctions on Hamas Reuters. Good luck with that.

New Not-So-Cold War

THE NEO-NAZI WEBSITE “MYROTVORETS” IS A TOOL OF THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT FOR BLACKMAIL, KIDNAPPING OF CHILDREN AND VIOLENCE AGAINST POLITICIANS IN WESTERN COUNTRIES Foundation to Battle Injustice (Micael T). These guys are real thugs. In 2016 got some bread crumbs pointing to Joel Harding being a moving force behind PropOrNot…but not enough to post on it.

Ukrainian general: the Russians are advancing along the entire line of confrontation Gilbert Doctorow (guurst)

Ukraine SitRep: Krynky – Zelenski’s Rose Tinted Media Strategy – New Orders From DC Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Ukraine’s demographic drain puts its post-war recovery at risk ElPais (Kevin W)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy warns US halt in Ukraine aid would bolster dictatorships Financial Times (Kevin W)

Strategic Reflections From Moscow, Alastair Crooke (Chuck L). Note Crooke said similar things on his latest Judge Napolitano talk.

Global Economy May Lose Up to 7% of GDP Due to Fragmentation Over Ukraine Conflict – IMF Sputnik. Notice the refusal to finger sanctions on Russia. Sanctions were imposed Feb 22, 2022, before Russia sent troops in Ukraine on Feb. 24, and before the March 2 UN resolution that the IMF uses as eyewash.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

QR Codes Can Hide Risky Links, F.T.C. Warns New York Times (Dr. Kevin). HAHHA! I assumed from the outset that QR codes could be vectors for malware and/or spying and NEVER NEVER used them.

Meta defies FBI opposition to encryption, brings E2EE to Facebook, Messenger ars technica (David L). Headlines like this frustrate me. Implies the FBI has the authority to intervene.


The Taliban in Afghanistan are banning drugs – and that’s a bad thing, seriously! Eastern Angle

Afghanistan fiasco -collapse of state building 20 years project Modern Diplomacy (Micael T)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Gaza and Ukraine: How the US Risks Losing the Global South (Kevin W). “Risks losing”?

Air Force disciplines 15 service members over Discord leaks The Hill

Yan Xuetong says telling truth from falsehood is top priority for students of international relations Pekingnology (Chuck L)

Thursday 14: Meeting Between Venezuelan and Guyanese Presidents Telesur. Micael T cites:

”Experience has taught humanity that it is mature, wise, and preferable for leaders of nations which are in conflict, to speak to each other calmly, respectfully, and with patience, in order to avoid an escalation into threats or the use of force.” he highlighted


What Will Happen in the Second Trump Term? Peter Van Buren, American Conservative

Special counsel goes directly to Supreme Court to resolve whether Trump has immunity from prosecution CNN (furzy). Hard to see why the Supremes won’t require Smith to hew to process and go to appeals court first. Smith’s politically-driven timetable is his problem, not the Supreme Court’s.

Pay Attention to What You See: Donald Trump Is Losing His Marbles New Republic (furzy)

With his empire at stake, Trump has spent $2.5 million on expert testimony in his fraud trial ABC (furzy). That’s not an unusual #.


US House to vote on Biden impeachment inquiry on December 13 TASS


Women fighting for their lives in the US Your Local Epidemiologist (Dr. Kevin). High maternal mortality rates are a sign of social decay. As your humble blogger warned, we are going in the direction of Russia in the 1990s, except the US is doing it to itself.

Texas Supreme Court rules against woman who sought abortion hours after she says she’ll travel out of state NBC (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

Meta’s oversight board ramps up scrutiny on violent content in Israel-Hamas war Ctech. BC: Bottom line: War coverage should limited to discussions and images about buildings and equipment. If coverage of death and suffering of human beings is allowed, it could give war a bad name.

FOIA Exclusive: Did Pharma Companies Help Plan “Virality Project” Censorship Program? Matt Taibbi

How Rich Alumni Ousted Penn’s President Liz Magill Wall Street Journal. Confirming that tony universities are hedge funds with educational subsidiaries. Harvard (so far) is sticking with theirs.


EU Act Cheat Sheet Olivier Patel

Stolen Checks Are for Sale Online. We Called Some of the Victims New York Times. My bank has been telling me all sorts of scare stories to get me to use its absolutely awful ACH system. Have to construct a database to do anything, when I send perhaps 15 checks a year. Screw that.

The rise of the middlemen: Why are traders gobbling up LNG in a moribund market? Energy Flux (Micael T)

The Bezzle

Tesla says California’s Autopilot action violates its free speech rights The Register

Class Warfare

Self-Repair Manifesto iFixit (Randy K)

CBS News poll finds Americans feel inflation’s impact on living standards, opportunities CBS

Revealed: The areas of England with highest cancer death risk as major study shows how patients living in poorest parts of country are 70% more likely to die… so how does YOUR region fare? Daily Mail

Antidote du jour (CV). Oh, do I know that look:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Sorry to hear that you are feeling crook right now. Now might be a very good time to take some well deserved R & R time and curl up with that good book that you have always been meaning to read. If what you say about those OTC Covid tests is true across the board there, then it might be a good idea to get one of your friends to mail you out a couple more reliable OTC Covid tests so that you do not get caught short if you get yourself exposed to Covid down the track. Hope that you get better soon.

    1. Bsn

      Yes, Yves, hope you get well soon. CHicken soup, Ivermectin, sleep and relax …. etc.
      In fact, many of our friends/students are sick, if that’s any consolation. Dr. John Campbell is sick too. Saw his podcast the other day here:
      Funny (more ironic than humorous) that in his show, about 10 minutes, he describes, day by day how his illness progressed. I think he’s really sucking up to Utube because he says he wasn’t sure he had it until his sense of smell went wonky, after 5 days. His tests said he didn’t have it (how many articles have we read showing the inaccuracy of the tests????) so he didn’t think so. My favorite part is he never mentions Ivermectin. After 3 years, and gillions of studies showing it’s effectiveness, no mention? I thought that was odd so I read through about 50 Utube comments. Not a word, at least not the word “Ivermectin”. We seem to have become jaded and accept the propaganda and censorship.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I think the Thai tests are actually MORE reliable if you are better than being a lab tech than me. You need to get test fluid into a tube (why did they not ship them with the test fluid IN the tube???), get your spit in the tube, then put THREE drops on a test kit strip. No way could I do three drops, the entire contents of the tube would wind up on the test strip with my clumsy hands.

      Sadly getting anything remotely medical shipped into Thailand is a total headache. I merely bought a specialized skin product (literally only 3 places in the world sell it, no idea why such limited uptake, it is really good) from Oz for nearly 20 years when I was in the US, but Oz place was sold and they don’t ship internationally any more. Not that that matters much. The other 2 places that sell it are in Malaysia, one does ship. Got hit with 30% customs duties and it was already not cheap. Can’t ship in lots of stuff like retinol either.

      I have a friend who has a stomach product she gets from abroad she really depends on. Took her 5 trips to a spot way north of town (= long drive) to get sent all over the place and told only bit by bit what paper she needed to present (including a local doctor Rx which she was able to get).

      1. Old Jake

        The accuracy of the lateral flow tests available in the US is not all that great. ~29% false negatives is what Lambert has posted, if I recall correctly. Meaning you need to use something like three or four to have any reasonable expectation of catching a live case (even one showing positive is valid that you’re infested). So I’m not big on them, I go to a pharmacy or my PCP and have a lab do the work with their far more sensitive and accurate test. Of course, I can afford it.

      2. Offtrail


        Years ago I saw the best get-well card from England.

        On the front was a Rasputin looking character dangling a pocket watch on a chain. The caption was “You’re feeling better, you’re feeling better, you’re feeling better . . .”.

        On the inside was “Now, for God’s sake, will you please stop vomiting?”.

        There, don’t you feel better already?



      3. catchymango

        Hope you feel better and are back on your feet soon! if you don’t mind me asking, what is the skin product called?

  2. flora

    So, the House is getting ready to vote on whether or not to impeach B, and Special Council Smith decides to go to the Supremes for an ask to prosecute T. That step follows a by now long pattern of the Dems ramping up charges against T when bad news is coming out about B. That step is so predictable it could be a weathervane. Must keep bad news about B out of the MSM news. Must keep bad news about T in the MSM news. / ;)

    Sorry you’re under the weather. There’s a heavy head cold going around now. Take it easy for a week or so. Hope you’re better soon.

    1. Nikkikat

      Yes, this is the pattern. Every time the brain dead B gets more bad news, another charge gets
      Nailed to the bad orange man. If not him then it’s the Putin’s fault. Lol Jake Sullivan is such a loser.

    2. Feral Finster

      Of course it’s predictable, although, to be fair, several Team D prosecutors promised to imprison Trump on any pretext available and are now setting out to do so.

      So what does anyone propose to do about it?

  3. Local to Oakland

    I hope you feel better soon Yves.

    On the Smith request for certiori, the filing references previous cases where this type of relief was granted, including US v Nixon.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Repeated mRNA vaccines supercharge immune response against COVID-19, study finds”

    Thanks IM Doc for that well written comment attached to that article. Those sort of articles are the ones picked up by the CDC to show that the best thing that people can do is boost, boost, boost which is then repeated by the White House. It makes it look like the White House and the CDC are doing something but they aren’t really and if anything goes wrong, then it is all on those people that listened to them. Personally I am a fan of empirical type studies and your comment counts as one.

    Of course for those working in or near a rural area, one must always be aware if the Farmer Pain Scale if those patients fail to turn up at a clinic- (2:01 mins)

    1. flora

      The mRNA shots seem to be doing something to the immune system per the lab results. Questions is: how is that something working in the complex real world, not just in the lab?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That is basically the point IM Doc makes.

        The Texas v. Pfizer filing. IIRC, had a brief bit, from the FDA, questioning if antibody levels post vax were a valid measure of protection.

        1. ilsm

          Moderna contracted for DARPA in 2013 [for I suppose an mRNA inoculation] in the Pandemic Prevention Platform (PPP) project.

          The object was to send soldiers into a bio-threat environment with “armed” antibodies associated with the pathogens in the enemy bio-weapons.

          The attorneys for the plaintiff should get all records from that contract (and PPP) and why DARPA did not send the idea into product development.

        2. Greg

          Iiirc, the Texas vs Pfizer filing (thanks for posting that) had a section where it talked about the discounting of covid infections in the 41 days prior to 7-days-after-second-dose.

          In that section, it mentioned that they discounted these infections because there was a known immune system weakening for a month after the first shot, reportedly in about a third of trial recipients. If that “third” is selected based on background genetic or environmental conditions specific to the patient, rather than pure chance, then the next jab would hit them again.

          It would make sense to me if repeating that effect in one month out of every six extended the weakening period, which is roughly what IM Doc’s 7x vax patient would have done.

      2. ilsm

        ‘Lab’ tests are to prove theory, often done in “controlled” environment. In product testing these test are called design test. Not relatable directly to real world bc “controls”.

        Ph III tests are similar to what we called operational test put the “product” (not the “clean” design) into simulated/real world systemic usage.

        Very likely labs show good but in “system” product fails.

        Problem with covid vax salesperson: they failed to test for safety, so they exclaim their detractors’ work does not prove the vaxxes unsafe.

        Proving a product infused in humans safe is a much different test than proving it not unsafe.

        I have been using various natural detoxes since my two moderna jabs.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        The covid “vaccine” was “experimental.” (So is this program for endless boostering, as far as I know.)

        This is how “experiments” work–you just never know if the results will be good or bad–which is why people should be really, really careful about signing up to be a lab rat, especially for money hungry psychopaths like big pharma.

        1. Jason Boxman

          That was my concern, but I knew early on that the public health policy would be “vax or die”, so I took the shots. I haven’t had any since then, when it was clear what I’d gotten was non-sterilizing, and there’d probably be boosters forever in the future. Hard pass.

          And then the study just recently came out showing 25% of people make a rogue protein instead due to the hack done to the modified RNA so the body doesn’t immediately attack it as foreign, oh boy!

          To say this is the largest experiment on humanity in history is an understatement. If I didn’t know better, I’d myself be completely anti-vax at this point. Biden’s mandate of this non-sterilizing shot before doing a 180 after the courts stepped in, is without a doubt a deadly blow to true vaccination campaigns.

          ’tis a bleak future, to be sure.

        2. playon

          My personal experience runs totally contrary to that article and echoes what IM Doc had to say. I was vaccinated twice with Pfizer and had a Moderna booster. 40 days after the booster, I got COVID for the first time and I have not been functioning at 100% since, I can no longer tolerate vigorous exercise and any stress at all can be harmful.

          Needless to say at this point I am sorry that I got these shots. I should add that I considered myself healthy (was in my late 60s when COVID hit), rode my bike often and we eat very well, cook at home 95% of the time etc.

      4. Skip Intro

        Exactly. If they are measuring antibody response, they don’t distinguish an effective response from the mistaken or counterproductive response expected from cases of ‘imprinting’, where the response triggered is only effective against an earlier variant.

      5. Carolinian

        A giant medical experiment being foisted onto the public? What could go wrong?

        Thanks to NC for these IMDoc reports.

        1. marku52

          Since excess mortality has moved up in every country where we have data, instead of down, after vax intro, we have the best data point you could have (dead people).

          And the answer is, it doesn’t work.

      6. skippy

        Unvaxxed marsupial …

        My situation with work and lifestyle allowed me to put off or reject having – any – inoculations, whilst getting better information [thanks the NC brain trust] and watch how things went in the wild. Just the switcheroo from the initial well worn public health policy to the completely bonkers “return to normalcy” marketing agenda was enough to set off heaps of tripwires.

        The whole thing just seems so, as is want these days, rolled out like – Code – and then the consumer[tm], not so much in this case as it was practically force on populations via mandates and huge psychological social pressure [imagine if the amount of monies spent were used for public data collection/studies] seeking a very short term outcome – seemingly all negative outcomes could then be attributed to individual choices or circumstances.

        The best bit for me is viewing it from per se a Veblen perspective = all absentee investor driven with a side of elites have more access to services which preclude them from serious outcomes even if they get covid. On that note it reminds me of the 80s Calif social badge of having survived a period of too much Cocaine fun whilst others lost everything in their lives … survival of the fittest.

        The positive aspect for me is it – encouraged me – all ready fit from work, too completely get stuck into healthy living. Zero processed stuff, no sugar, workout 2/3 times a day 7 days a week on top of work, receiving 6-in-1 Power Rack with Smith and Cable Machine this week.

        So at 62 my very fit 27 year old son puts me in the 1% for my age, chest definition, ribs, 6pack, veins, and skin appearance = most put me at early 50s. It really is the only thing “one” can do in the face of all this shiteshow … off to workout with my two dogs as spotters …

        PS sigh at watching everyone else get covid 2/3 times a year and be like its just the new norm and one just has to accept it …

        1. Lambert Strether

          > PS sigh at watching everyone else get covid 2/3 times a year and be like its just the new norm and one just has to accept it …

          I would say “Darwin Awards for everyone!” which is true but puts far to much responsibility on the shoulders of citizens. In fact, the “new norm” is a terrible, terrible tragedy (except we seemingly never get to the last act…).

          1. skippy

            The much maligned Darwin, especially since Spencer put “his words” through a heraldic lamarckian filter to please funders at the time. So it has a bit of a ring to it now as they are driving the bus as it were. So considering the origins of the original anti vaxxers its going to be a hoot when the chickens come home to roost on their little darlings …. AIDs 2.0 effect …

            Ex after her stroke is just over the 3rd time of covid and has other health issues, 11 years younger at that. Eldest son 27 and his girlfriend copped it over a month ago and both had persistent coughs for over a month, she still does here and there. He works for state gov and works from home 3 days and 2 in the office in the CBD. All of them vaxxed a few times since the beginning – ugh …

        2. mago

          There was and probably still is a Boulder Colorado naturopath named Charles Cropley who used to place ads in the local weekly with a picture featuring his 62 year old physique from waist up and some header about look at me and follow me and you can be like me. Something like that.
          First image that came to mind reading Skippy’s comment.

          1. skippy

            Not hard, 30 min in the comfort of ones lounge room, add on stuff whilst kicking back on leather chase every 15 min or so, leg lift stuff. Get some Creatine, Carnitine, and Shred Protein Powder, eat well.

    2. i just dont like the gravy

      What does this mean for people who have been vaxxed but not a boatload of times? Maybe 3 or 4. Asking for a friend :)

      1. IM Doc

        I will say to you exactly what I have been saying to all of my patients since the beginning. Do not allow fear and panic to rule your life – it causes you to make very bad decisions.

        The most important word is perspective. I have been doing this for more than 3 decades. When I was a young doctor, I was signing 6-8 death certificates daily of mostly very young AIDS patients who were dying. This went on for years. This was not repeated in my practice during COVID. I have had less than 10 deaths since the beginning. Am I minimizing this? Absolutely not – but I have seen things much worse in my life. I guess part of being old is having a whole lifetime to look back on and rationally evaluate what is in front of you.

        2nd perspective – every single winter of my career is a flu season. 2 or 3 of those years have been pandemic level issues as a new strain has been introduced. This often rivaled in the hospital anything that was happening with COVID – it was just not nearly as long a time. But with regard to vaccines, there are some flu years when almost every single patient is vaxxed, there are some when it is mainly unvaxxed, and there are many in between. There are some virus families – coronaviruses and influenza among them – that are just not going to be too much affected by humoral vaccination. There are others like measles that most definitely are. Those are the facts. Unfortunately, this has been very poorly explained if at all to the general public.

        It is clear that vaccine status with COVID is not a very helpful indicator of who is going to get “really” sick. This may not have been the case earlier on – but it seems to be now. There may even be negative efficacy going on. It sure seems that way to me – but we need to have real data on this and that does not seem to be a priority.

        At this point, those who are getting really ill – and this is happening very infrequently compared to earlier – remain in the same basic groups I have been discussing since the very beginning. Those who are unfit, overweight, uncontrolled medical issues such as diabetes, seriously ill from other issues, those who drink heavily, smoke heavily, and those who are stressed out all the time.

        As I have been saying from the beginning – it is just as important to control these risk factors as doing all you can to minimize exposure. Breathe deep outside – get out in the sun – lose weight. Put down the cigarettes and alcohol. De stress yourself. If you are diabetic, double down on your efforts. Do everything you can to un-stress your life. I know it is hard. But it is doable – my practice is full of patients who have made amazing efforts to get healthy this past 3 years. Get into your PCP to get a physical. And if you are in a situation with a serious chronic medical problem that is not readily treatable, really double down on your efforts to avoid exposure.

        1. Lexx

          ‘uncontrolled medical issues such as diabetes’

          The key word there being ‘uncontrolled’… you would agree that metformin may offer some protection? Those already on metformin seemed to have better outcomes. I’ve been wondering if physicians as a professional body agree on what ‘controlled’ means.

          I’m trying to plug into my perspective the idea, which seems logical, that our individual organs may have more finite lifespans, spans shorter than the body as a whole, due to genetic prepossessions carried through the family tree. The corporate definition of food and diet almost inevitably speeding up their demise.

          From generation to generation in my family that would be auto-immune diseases, allergies, diabetes, addiction, obesity, kidney disease, and heart disease. To my uneducated mind, these seem to form a pattern I can’t quite divine. Everyone here can probably see clusters in their families, but I think it’s going to boil down to our individual genetic profiles, our family trees being a generalization that doesn’t necessarily apply to the newest generation or the one after that.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            IM Doc is not here to give medical advice to individuals not in his care. Diabetes can be controlled by diet and exercise and I would hazard he recommends that as a first line of defense. Ketogenic diets and vegan diets are both reported to lower blood sugar levels.

            1. flora

              Thanks, Yves. I’m not a medico, merely a layman reading in the medico world. Even so, I do know there’s an unbridgeable difference between Type I (juvenile, aka ‘born with’) and Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes.

              If sugar intake in both instances is an issue for med requirements then there is that. I don’t know.

              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                yes. type 2 is reversible.
                i helped wife do just that, almost 20 years ago…by dramatic dietary changes, and getting her out walking(then she became a tennis coach(PT).
                of course, that period of uncontrolled Type 2(before i noticed the signs and made the connection) likely contributed to the colon cancer, years later(the “species” of cancer involved really likes sugar, it turns out).

                as for the broader issue…the mRNA vax platform…i happened accross that idea when trolling through pubmed for potential cancer solutions that the docs may have missed.
                as ive said…prolly many times…if it had worked, it would have revolutionised medicine.
                but it didnt work…rather, it induced a bunch of weird autoimmune disorders, like lupus and CFS.
                i was doing this reading in fall of 2018.
                so when the hype began about mRNA vax to the rescue, i was skeptical, at best.
                i tried rummaging around for info on whether they had overcome the autoimmune problem…but couldnt find anything.
                we were well into the cancer emergency, by then…plus covid chaos all around…add the 2…covid and cancer, and we both elected to get the moderna…youngest got the pfizer(only one approved for his age)…and i got the one moderna booster…for wife’s sake, and in spite of my misgivings.
                youngest never got a booster, because there was enough anecdata to make me very suspicious of that one, especially.
                i will not be taking any mRNA vaccines in the future.
                give me good, old fashioned killed virus vax….and that are already out of the various experimental phases, ffs.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Asked my PCP for script for ivermectin in late 2022. He scoffed and said CDC standard of care precluded resorting to “horse paste.” Had my annual physical recently, just a lick and a dab, maybe 8 minutes, “labs look okay” (nothing but lipid panel and BMP, so what does that tell him,) asked if he had seen that metformin might be protective, he said “Show me the RCT and CDC advice — and you don’t have diabetes, so no.” His only input when I did get the disease from my wife on her return from Italy was “Here’s a script for paxlovid — some people are nervous about it, your choice as to whether to take it.”

            He can’t get office nurses or front-desk people to stay, not sure what he pays as a sole practitioner who as far as I know has not been bought by VC yet. Says they show up for a couple of days or a week or two, and then just never come back. So time with patient is cut even further as he has to chart the nursing info and juggle the codes and stuff. My wife likes him, he signs death certificates so I guess given the likely impossibility of finding an IM Doc-quality practitioner, I’ll stay the course.

            1. Dessa

              Incidentally, do younhave the ivermectin link? This site is the first site I’ve visited outside of right-wing pubs that’s had people recommending ivermectin, and I want to give it another look.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                To be clear, I am not sure it helps, but it is very cheap and has fewer side effects than aspirin. It is one of the best tolerated drugs that exists. So why not????

    3. ChrisFromGA

      The title of that article reads more like clickbait than a scientific publication.

      A scientific publication is normally more reserved, with caution and shortcomings of the author’s approach usually highlighted.

      Thanks to IMDoc as well, your observations are much appreciated.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Thanks. So the study itself, and the piece with the Page Six headline are two separate things, that’s good to point out.

          The study itself is written as I would expect a scientific paper to be written, without the hype-language.

    4. Alice X

      Un-vaxxed here, very careful out and about and yet to contract covid, as far as I know, (knock on wood, taps head…).

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Unvaxxed heavy cannabis user here, also still COVID free. I was giving partial credit to booze but I quit drinking and remained COVID-free so now I’m crediting my unworthy survival to smoking before shopping and abstinence from medical care.

        I haven’t just skinnerboxed myself, I am doing my own science stuff with me as guinea pig (they used to call this experimentation which is just like doing experiments imo). In retirement it is my life’s goal to prove that cannabis cures something. I don’t care what. I was hoping for psoriasis but would settle for curing COVID.

    5. KLG

      This paper is 34 pages long including supplementary material. I read it last night but had only an hour to spend on it so I undoubtedly missed some of the message. I am not an immunologist but I understand most of the words. Very dense but seemingly very complete. A remarkable amount of work by 28 authors. Their final paragraph (emphasis added):

      Our study has several limitations. We studied heterologous exposure only in the context of infection before vaccination. The order of serial antigen exposure may differentially shape the TCR repertoire. Our study was not structured to detect associations of TCR clonotypes with functional profiles or with COVID-19 severity. Because our participants were infected early in the pandemic and were generally older (median age = 60.6 years), our findings may not directly translate to younger individuals. Another limitation is the inability to infer directly whether E01–E03 expanded clonotypes that were below the limit of detection at all time points before vaccination came from either very rare TM or naive T cell populations. However, we showed that both doses of mRNA vaccination can expand low-abundance CD8+ T cell clonotypes that were undetectable after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Synthesis of serial bulk TCRβ with single-cell TCRαβ sequencing provides insights into the spectrum of mRNA vaccine potency across doses and a tool to efficiently focus research attention on antigen-specific TCRs for detailed assignment of epitope specificity. Further research is required to determine how the phenotype, durability and distribution of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells elicited by hybrid exposure compare to responses elicited by infection or vaccination alone.

      So: This applies to older people (N = 54, 28 females/26 males, wide range in age of 31-74 years) who got infected after vaccination. As I understand it, there was no correlation of immune profiles with a clinically relevant outcome as in taking into account severity of disease.

      As Yves notes here following IM Doc, immune responses as measured separately from the effectiveness of the immune response in preventing or lessening the course of disease may be a clinically irrelevant proxy for vaccine efficacy. IIRC the very first paper on the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine in the New England Journal of Medicine used antibody response as measured in the lab as evidence of vaccine efficacy in the population. These can be direct correlates but this is not obligatory. It is not uncommon for a robust antibody response as measured in the lab to have very little clinical efficacy.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Plunging in well out of my depth here, but doesn’t the difference in the CD8 T-cells suggest an explanation for what IM Doc is observing?

        Specifically, perhaps relative to those in the vaccinated population, the unvaccinated are exhibiting a blunted (decompensated?) response to Covid, resulting in less severe acute illness?

    6. Jason Boxman

      So what I don’t understand then is this: Does nothing clinically significant happen to these unvaccinated individuals? Very confusing. We know people early the Pandemic, long before these modified-RNA shots, did get infected and did get long-COVID, indeed still have it.

      So I don’t know what the takeaway is, except that getting continual booster shots seems to be leading to worse outcomes for those that receive them? Or does this mean that SARS2 is actually not a big deal? Or just that people without the shots don’t experience the same kind of immune response, even though they’re getting sub-clinical damage just the same?

      More questions than answers present themselves from this. In the meantime I’ll continue to avoid infection as much as possible.

    7. Screwball

      I will once again thank IM Doc for all he has shared on this very site. But it does make me furious. I was in a position to get the vax early due to age and as a teacher. Due to some personal things I decided not to get it, and I thought I might lose my teaching job because I didn’t. As it turned out they didn’t mandate us.

      Once I started following this site for COVID news (best on the web IMO) and the comments from IM Doc I was glad I decided not to take these shots. But it wasn’t fun.

      We became the scapegoats and about half the population wished us starved, locked up, or dead – all over experimental shots we were lied to about. Joe Biden called it the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and mandated the vax to whoever he could get away with mandating it to. He then told us if we were vaccinated we could remove our masks – which was really nothing but putting a bullseye on our back, so we could be further condemned, shamed, and ridiculed.

      Thanks for that Joe, and all those who wished us dead. I won’t forget, especially at the ballot box.

      No fan of Orange Hitler, but FJB, the horse he rode in on, and the man that sent him.

  5. Adam1

    iFixIt Manifesto…

    First off I love it! Second… “We have the right to available, reasonably priced service parts” We bought a GE microwave several years back and the metallic door handle coating started to come off. It’s a simple item to replace, but the cost to buy this plastic handle was a few bucks short of what we paid for the whole microwave new! Needless to say we’ve just learned to live with it.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I’m a big fan of iFixit’s tools and guides, and have the sticker of the hand holding the wrench on my car’s rear window — people ask about it, and I tell them. In the rural farm area I’m in, there are many who repair things out of economic necessity — new is not an option.

      While Ifixit is a commercial enterprise, is the national lobbying group for right to repair.

      1. Carolinian

        I work on my car and just about anything else I think I can fix but it’s about me. I do it because I enjoy it and like mechanical things. On a practical level–if your time is worth money–then it probably does make more sense to throw away and buy another when consumer goods like electronics are constantly becoming cheaper. Over Black Friday Walmart was selling a 43 inch TV for $100. The right to repair people focus on iPhones because they cost hundreds but a fifty dollar Chinese smartphone can perform most of the same functions. Now that car repairs are so expensive it does make sense to do it yourself if you can pull it off, and same goes for appliances and home repairs. Other items?

        So here’s suggesting there needs to be a reasonable right to repair. Easy things like replaceable smartphone batteries, yes. Highly technical repairs not so much, and the government should concentrate more on cracking down on defective products that may need repair. Planned obsolescence for resource intensive products like cars and appliances should especially be discouraged and repair info that doesn’t violate trade secrets should be available to the public.

        1. Bsn

          I’m keeping an eye on any tricks to help reduce or eliminate the tracking and surveillance of our family by our (freaking) car! I’ll add the iFixit link to my research. Once again, thanks NC!

        2. Mike Mc

          Just spent about $250 to repair a 20 year old Kenmore dryer. Mocked by a friend who insisted I should replace not repair… but we live in rural south Colorado so not a simple task. Plus dropping a $1,000 on a new dryer – that may or may not last 20 years! – not in our budget and against our general principles anyway.

          YouTube videos are a great boon for us shade tree mechanics; the parts vendor I used has how to videos embedded in their site.

          So old I used to repair ink jet and laser printers while still a computer tech. Being able to fix fairly ordinary stuff (happy to leave plumbing/electrical/auto to the pros) used to be common. I suspect it’s becoming more so once again.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            i spent a good bit of time researching and then applying that research to our washin machine.
            stopped doing a complete spin.
            ran out of patience, but next step is sticking a jumper wire to bypass the lid switch(because we’re not dumb enough to reach into a vortex of wet clothes)
            if that doesnt do it, i’ll have reached the limits of my abilities with such things.
            and will call the repair guy from the ancient mom and pop place we got it from.
            they’re reasonable, in my experience…but it’ll hafta wait till thursday so as to be closer to eldest’s payday(ive spent my pension for the month,lol).
            told the boys to go easy on the dirty laundry, for now…youngest changes clothes 5 times a day, it seems.
            when wife and i bought this one, we tried to get a dumb one…but this is apparently as dumb as they make em any more(i want a simple on/off switch, dammit…i dont need the singing or all the different permutations…just turn the thing on…i cant use my mom’s at all. its apparently smarter(tm) than i am)

            1. eg

              I went with an old fashioned toploader a couple of years ago after my notorious Maytag Neptune frontloader failed (bearings rendering the repair cost prohibitive). The toploaders are far less complex — therefore less to go wrong. Mind you, their spin cycle isn’t quite as fast, so clothes come out wetter than from the frontloaders. They also use more water, if that’s an issue.

              The Maytag Neptune dryer on the other hand is still soldiering on after at least 23 years …

          2. Norge

            I’m not particularly handy mechanically but in the 90s I successfully repaired both our clothes washer and our dryer. And I changed our cars’ oil, filters and spark plugs and gapped the plugs. Oh, and maintained all of our faucets and toilet tanks. I’m not bragging, as I said I’m not particularly handy, it was just easy to do and product manuals were vastly superior to current ones.

  6. flora

    Musing about AI recently, I was thinking about the computer run high-frequency stock trading progam, where different trading houses competing against each other for profits had the equivalent of AI vs AI in computer trading, leading at one time to the infamous flash-crash. Just imagine AI vs AI in all sorts of key things in life, not just in stock market trading. A glorious future awaits us… for some definition of ‘glorious’. / ;)

    1. mrsyk

      I’ve heard that AI is rather useful for trouble shooting code, this from a biostatistics maven. I’ve also seen it used (in higher academia) to create word salad masterpieces in response to make-work document requests from admin (think “strategic planning”, ugh). There are bright spots!

      1. flora

        No doubt AI can be the right tool for some jobs. The problem lies in the tech bros mesmerizing* pols and others into believing AI is the right tool for ALL jobs, jobs like word salad creation as you say. / ;)

        * I use the term ‘mesmerizing’ deliberately. See also Franz Mesmer.

        1. mrsyk

          Oh yeah, and the pols are prime targets who, being of the administrative nature, loves them some word salad.

    2. Michael

      I regularly see a $40 stock trade with 4 decimal place price, ie $40.2568
      Is that really necessary to provide liquidity as claimed?
      Or constant 1 share trades back and forth across a penny of price difference.

      Same with spoofing orders. Gives “It’s gone” a new meaning.

    3. Wukchumni

      You got me thinking in a MAD magazine vein of cartoons with…

      AI vs AI, a black one and a white one, please.

  7. Mikel

    Re: rogue wave

    “In November of 2020, a freak wave came out of the blue, lifting a lonesome buoy off the coast of British Columbia 17.6 meters high (58 feet).

    The four-story wall of water was finally confirmed in February 2022 as the most extreme rogue wave ever recorded at the time…”

    Then, about one paragraph later:

    “….For centuries, rogue waves were considered nothing but nautical folklore. It wasn’t until 1995 that myth became fact. On the first day of the new year, a nearly 26-meter-high wave (85 feet) suddenly struck an oil-drilling platform roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the coast of Norway…”

    The event in 1995 appears documented. It was a bigger wave and with more effect than lifting a buoy.
    Strangely written opening.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I sometimes wonder if standard science is fit for purpose. After centuries of ships recording rogue waves – both in log books and in personal testimony – it was only near the beginning of the 21st century that they had to admit that ‘Well shoot, they’re real after all. Who knew?’ I have mentioned in comments previously how people reporting ball lightning were also regarded as lairs or just confused people. Come to think of it, we see the same exact thing with the present Pandemic where people reporting Long Covid were at first disbelieved or told to ‘suck it up, buttercup.’ So yeah, maybe science is actually more broken than we think.

      1. digi_owl

        Science relies on whittling down measurements until they can’t find any reason for them being false. This because there have been so many astonishing claims over the centuries that has been found to be either overstated or downright hoaxes.

        Also, poking at some of the articles shows that early dismissals happened while scientists were still using linear model. But more and more one find that the world is non-linear (chaos theory etc). Trying to get economists to embrace non-linear modeling has been Steve Keen’s life work for example.

    2. Milton

      The BC was more extreme in that it’s height was more than 3X the wave height average for the particular site at a particular period of time. The wave off of Norway was roughly 2X. So while much larger, the Norway rouge was not as extreme.

      1. digi_owl

        The platform result may be from being partially shielded from the open Atlantic by the north of Scotland.

  8. Donald

    Some people in that Megatron Twitter thread claim there is no Israeli journalist named Ariel Shimon. That ought to be easy to check by Hebrew speakers, but I have no way of knowing.

    1. Donald

      On a different point, where Israelis claim 10-15 percent of the people they arrested are “ affiliated” with Hamas, since Hamas was effectively the government that could mean any random civil servant. I doubt they were catching too many fighters with their sweeps.

        1. Martin Oline

          I was reading something the other day that made me think of old Sam but I wasn’t sure he was the source. The something was how President Gerald Ford asked Congress for $722 million to shore up South Vietnam. Two weeks later, on April 29, 1975, the North Vietnamese moved into Saigon.
          One can wish that history might rhyme and we see the fall of Kiev by the New Year.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Pay Attention to What You See: Donald Trump Is Losing His Marbles”

    Trump always was a few planes short of an air force but we all know that. And he never changes. After four years in the White House he was the exact same person that went in as. But Trump does has this remarkable ability to make a lot of people to lose their marbles to the point that a syndrome was named after this effect – TDS. And noted commentator Michael Tomasky appears to be one of them when you read his words. With his article, I think that he is hoping that the Republicans themselves will get rid of Trump for the Democrats as Orange Man Bad or something. But the candidates that the Republicans have been pushing forward appear to be all second raters who would stand no chance in an open debate with Trump. So I am pretty sure that it will be Trump next year.

    1. Benny Profane

      At least there was no mention of Russia Russia Russia…Putin in this same old same old. But, no mention of the voter, either, at least half of them needed to enable the dangerous dictator to take power. Haven’t any of the TDS victims actually sat and thought why so many are willing to vote for the Orange Clown? And are making this whole Rep. primary process a silly charade when polled? ( What the hell is Chris Christie doing on my TV set?) There has been no serious reflection on the Dem and media side after 2016, but anybody who has tried has been censored from public view. I mean, they really think that we’re all supposed to be excited by the Chips Act. And here we go again.
      But the real kicker is the fund raising plea at the end. Give us 25 bucks, so we can afford the good wine at dinner tonight. Trump is money to these people, and I’ll bet most want him back for four years of prosperity.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        In addition to normalizing Russo-phobia as part of our our glorious proxy campaign in Ukraine, Russiagate was also about insuring there was no honest reflection about 2016, and maintaining control of the Democratic Party. The official #McResistance is far more threatened by a (2016 vintage) Bernie Sanders than by Trump, who is a fundraising gold mine for them, and lets them strut their moral plumage in satisfying, if politically cringe-worthy, ways.

      2. playon

        “why so many are willing to vote for the Orange Clown”

        According to my hard-core Democrat friends, anyone who votes for Trump is automatically a racist, a fascist, an ignorant Jesus freak, a lover of Putin etc or all of the above. It doesn’t register with the PMC that perhaps people voted as a protest against Hillary or that working people have been getting the shaft since Bill Clinton was prez.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I monitor TNR from time to time (to see where the wind is blowing) and Tomasky is one of their chief hacks. His stories are propaganda pieces from the DNC as is most of the content of TNR which, during my youth, was a stalwart and very smart leftie mag that was, early on, critical of Vietnam War. I don’t even bother to read anything in it these days.

    3. Carolinian

      Thanks, and exactly. One should point out that all the worst things Trump did like Abraham accords and Venezuela are things that people like Tomasky probably approve of. Meanwhile the good things like accommodation with Putin or North Korea were subverted by people like Tomasky. He’s the un-Tomasky?

      I stopped reading New Republic years ago–maybe about the same time they were pumping The Bell Curve. I like Walter Kirn but the fact that he once worked for them gives me pause….

      In a sane world someone like Trump shouldn’t be president but we don’t live in that world. Maybe his second term would be good? At least the press wouldn’t constantly be covering up his mistakes like they do for Biden.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I don’t think a second Trump term would be good. It might be a price worth paying in order to punish the Democrats for grave disappointment. That is something to think about and ponder upon over the nearly-year still remaining between now and election time.

        But I am not going to tell myself that a Trump second term would be “good”.

    4. wendigo

      Trump is the same person today as he was in 80’s when he claimed he had a major crude find on a lot in Manhattan.

      You would have to have TDS to think he has changed significantly.

      1. Oh

        With any of these a$$#les running fro President you’d better expect more war, more surveillance, more tax cuts for the rich, more privatization of public agencies, looting of the US treasures, etc.etc. and you won’t be disappointed. The system is completely controlled by the rich.

  10. vao

    High maternal mortality rates are a sign of social decay. As your humble blogger warned, we are going in the direction of Russia in the 1990s, except the US is doing it to itself.

    In 1976, demographer/historian/anthropologist Emmanuel Todd published the book that would propel him to a leading position in French sociological research: La chute finale — essai sur la décomposition de la sphère soviétique.

    By analysing a variety of economic, demographic, and social indicators, he concluded that the USSR was in a process of inexorable deliquescence. Amongst the evidence was the rising infant mortality rate, and the extremely high rate of suicides. These rates are also high and rising in the USA, while life expectancy is diminishing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m afraid that such things are going to have to be tolerated by most people in order for America to produce their very first trillionaire. /sarc

    2. ambrit

      The post Empire end state is what interests me. The old Soviet Union was a conglomeration of previously existing coherent cultures and statelets. The Tsarist Cavalry helped the ‘settlers’ move out into the realms of the Tatars, Kazhaks, Buryats, etc. However, in general, those preceding peoples persevered and continued in existence as groups to be dealt with by the central government. America, on the other hand, waged a fairly successful war of extermination against it’s own, relatively weaker and less coherent ‘native tribes.’
      So, I am not at all certain that America would fall apart into separate, self ruling polities as the old Soviet Union did post 1990. Being a denizen of the North American Deep South, I am not even sure if “The South” could resurrect the old Confederacy, given the chance.
      I am at present thinking that America will deconstruct a little along the lines of the 1930’s Great Depression. Endemic civil unrest coupled with systemic poverty and deprivation are the perfect mediums for the growth of a New Robber Baron Era. Unless and until the ruling Oligarchs are co-opted or “removed from play,” one of Vlad Vladimir Putin’s greatest accomplishments in present day Russia, America will lurch along like a caricature of a zombi.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        aye. thats what interests me, as well…what comes after the Fall is obvious to just about everyone?
        we talked about this a lot at LATOC.
        ended up in more or less consensus with the prediction of “Old Horseman”, that the Fedgov would pull in to megacity centers and the connecting interstates…essentially abandoning the hinterlands…except for raids for resources, cannon fodder and slaves.
        meanwhile, balkinisation and warlordism for the hinterlands…perhaps instigated by the rump central power a la….well, just about everywhere we’ve sown the wind:chaos and fomenting division.
        history rhymes….and i know that i am most familiar with the Post-Roman period…so thats what comes to mind, for me.
        especially the abandonment of Britannia.
        (much of which we only know about via arthurian legend,lol)
        ergo, all of the above has influenced my planning…cultivating mutual aid with nearest neighbors, building out the How-To section of my Library, etc.
        but it really does take a village…and one cannot have such a doomer village unless folks at least consider that “Normal” aint coming back.
        that has been the biggest obstacle to truly getting my area ready.
        the most doomerist folks out here are of the bible thumping variety….and they have much different expectations than i do,lol…to say the least.
        second most doomerist folks…with much overlap with the thumpers…are the libertarian mountain man fantasists…who’s Preps are confined to prayer, and hoarding beans bullets and bandaids.
        the main issue with both of these cohorts is that they’re hyperindividualist…and are exceedingly reluctant to ally with anyone who doesnt agree with them on every jot and tittle.
        for instance…i like to ramble on about Cuba’s Special Period, when their switch to Organic Ag/Hort engendered a global shortage of mules(!).
        but one cannot admire a Commie country, because that means one is all on board with every jot and tittle of said commie country’s agenda…

        1. JBird4049

          Historically, the United States was effectively a conglomeration of semi-independent, partial autarkic, states even after the centralization caused by the American Civil War with its own power centers, elites, food production, and industrial centers. Even the South had some independent locally controlled industries and New England had much of its food produced locally.

          The country was tightly bound, but loosely connected, series of regions and statelets created not only by history, but also by local preferences. Not anymore as that seems to be a goal of elites because, if nothing else, centralization concurrent with the creation of economic dead zones is great for economic pillaging.

          IF we are really lucky, the United States will devolve, hopefully by deliberate efforts, back into that more healthy condition.

        2. Boomheist

          I think we are going to see individual states become very different, maybe blocs of states, as for example Washington-Oregon-Califirnia or Louisiana Alabama Mississippi Arkansas, with really different cultural rules and norms in a remarkably short time. I also think we are going to enter the time of Great Families, billionaires and trillionaires figuring out how to somehow capture some of these states or regions such that we have essentially tribal kingdoms ruling regions as well. Not sure in all this how the Federal system will continue to oversee and run things, I mean, the military, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, international relations will remain national, I am thinking, but all of this will suddenly have a faded, worsening overwash…..

          I think, worldwide, we will fall into huge areal blocs based on areas ability to self-supply, become autarkic, as for example Russia and neighboring former members of the Soviet Union, which will have energy, an educated population, land for growing food. I think Europe and China will struggle, Europe for lack of energy and land, China for lack of energy and proper land to grow food. I think the US and Canada, and maybe even Mexico, will become another such bloc, with energy land for food, an educated population (unless the Christian nationalists manage to destroy public education in the next decade….

      2. hk

        I think it goes back to a point often raised (hopefully, I’m not misrepresenting) the view by Aurelien: US is, fundamentally, grounded on individualism, while Russia is built on tribalism. Some of the stories about how natives were “exterminated” is a bit exaggerated since, even fairly early on (e.g. 1860s) we did have an Iroquois general in the Union Army (Eli Parker), for example (yes, there are many things one could say about how this characterization is wrong–more on this below), as much as there were Georgian, Armenian, Azeri, and Kalmyk generals in the imperial Russian Army. But we would not have Iroquois serving as “Iroquois.” When Parker offered to raise a regiment of Iroquois volunteers for the Union Army, he was rebuffed. However, the same people did not make (too much) trouble when Parker obtained commission as an individual through back channels. So, even in the ideal form, when members of minority tribes are given equal standing as the dominant group members, they do so only as “individuals” and not as representatives of their tribes. (In the Western “multiculturalism,” their tribal affiliation “counts” only as part of their individual “merits,” i.e. if individual X is allegedly a member of tribe A, the tribe is part of X, not the other way around.) On the other hand, in old world societies, even in ethnically homogeneous ones, tribal ties mattered (and still matter) and often weighed more than the individual–and in diverse societies like Russia and China, maintaining tribal ties helped integrate minorities into the mainstream, by having whole tribes “mainstreamed.” (Again, not saying that this is working out perfectly–tribes in China like the Hui and the Koreans (despite the fact that the latter remain concentrated in the lands whose ownership was contested by a unified Korean kingdom a couple of centuries ago) are very integrated into Chinese mainstream while retaining their tribal identities, although others, especially the Uighur, remain restive still).

        So, put differently, the Old World sees “multiculturalism” in ideal form as ultimately based on “groups.” The West (especially the US) can only see it as individual phenomenon. But the latter ultimately perverts “culture”: a culture is whatever “I” decide it is, except that runs into all manner of paradoxes (why can’t Rachel Dolezal, years ago, be a black person because she says so?) since cultural/tribal identities are ultimately a collective phenomenon. Not sure if one is “better” than the other, but not something that we can ignore safely if we were to take these seriously.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I’m not sure that is true. Another theory for the (by US standards) lesser emphasis on individualism is the repeated invasions of Russia, particularly the traumatizing losses in WWII. Russians are willing to sacrifice some personal autonomy for security and defense. Another is communism. GM (who grew up in a Warsaw Pact state) says 95% of the people lived better under communism, it was the 5%, that included bureaucrats that would travel to the West or meet people who came to see them from the West, and could see how much better similarly educated/positioned people lived materially, who resented their relative standing, withdrew support, and/or pushed for changes without having a great theory as to how to get to the desired goals.

      3. Daniil Adamov

        “The Tsarist Cavalry helped the ‘settlers’ move out into the realms of the Tatars, Kazhaks, Buryats, etc.”

        To make it more interesting, “the Tsarist Cavalry” included both many of the “settlers” (Cossacks) and many of the native groups in question (like many of the Tatars, but also Bashkirs and others). Overall pre-Petrine Russia was much closer to a traditional Asian land empire than the European colonial ones. It was interested in establishing sovereignty and collecting tributes, not in exterminating those who would pay those tributes. I think that made a difference, despite all the abuses that occurred. Then under the Emperors, and more so under the Soviets, we began aping Western colonial policies with disastrous results, though you are correct that some groups made it out comparatively well. (Yukaghirs, though, have been repeatedly driven near extinction – first by diseases and alcohol in the late Empire, and then by the Bolshevik Civil War policy of shooting random villagers in retaliation for bandit/partisan activities in their vicinity.)

        1. hk

          History of the Kalmyks has always fascinated me, personally, both on their “Chinese” side and the Russian side.

        2. Polar Socialist

          I don’t know how well the early chronicles have been known during the different phases of Russian history, but I do find it somewhat fascinating that in the 12th and 13th centuries the very birth of Russia was depicted as a “multicultural” endeavor.

          It makes it’s more difficult (but naturally not impossible) to be an ethno-nationalist when the legends and myths of that nation itself are more or less contrary to the idea.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            I also don’t know that off the top of my head. But there was also the readily observable reality that many of the “service class people” from the earliest days of Muscovy were not Russian and integrated on more or less equal terms. That included the nobility (up to the highest tier of princes, who could be descended from Rurik, Gediminas or Genghis Khan). There was little ethno-nationalism to speak of until the 18th century (I’d say it started as a conscious tendency then, chiefly as an intellectual reaction against the “Germans” at the court). Discrimination was based overwhelmingly on religious denomination, but those who converted were treated as more or less equals, and those who didn’t were largely left alone.

      4. Oh

        I’m not sure that Putin has removed all the oligarchs. Note that there are jewish oligarchs who are controlling his foreign policy. However, I must say that he has most olgarchs under control.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, I believe Putin has still been able to maintain his deal where oligarchs can have their money and businesses and rich men’s toys but they are to stay out of politics.

      5. digi_owl

        Most of the lands that were shed at that time was land that had only been added between WW1 and WW2. One outlier is perhaps Ukraine, as it was stitched together over decades (Crimea, having been under Russia since the Tsars was added by decree in the 1950s).

    3. flora

      Paul Kennedy’s 1987 book The Rise and Fall of Great Powers was widely read at the time. In the 1989, Francis Fukuyama wrote a counterpoint essay – The End of History which he turned into a book in 1992. Neoliberalism was still rising in the US and Fukuyama’s book became the celebrated confirmation of the rightness of neoliberalism. Kennedy’s book was consigned to “old think” by the neoliberals. Fukuyama’s thesis as described in the words of a reviewer:

      “His argument was that the unfolding of history had revealed – albeit in fits and starts – the ideal form of political organisation: liberal democratic states tied to market economies. (Or to put it in Churchillian language, the least-worst form.) ”

      As it turns out, (as most of us could see even back then), Kennedy’s book and thesis has turned out more durable and accurate, imo. Kennedy’s book described the fall’s social, financial, and political relations from the high to the low citizens in the empires he covers. The end of the USSR is something with which we’re familiar. The fall seems to follow a general pattern. And here we are.

      1. JBird4049

        After Francis Fukuyama got righly whacked by both by the public and history because of his book The End of History, rather than hide or double-down on his ideas, he wrote two books, The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Social Decay. IIRC, he said he wrote them to figure out what went wrong with his earlier ideas. I enjoyed reading them, and his willingness to rethink his ideas makes him more creditable to me, aside from the accuracy of his thinking. Too few people are willing to own their mistakes and then try to correct them.

    4. Daniil Adamov

      We certainly did have problems in later Soviet years. They got much worse in the 90s. However, I would maintain that both in the late Soviet years and in the 90s, we also did it to ourselves. Yeltsin wasn’t an American, and neither were most of his advisors. Certain Americans did give him quite a few “helpful” pushes, but I believe Gaidar and Chubais would have managed something similar on their own.

  11. vao

    QR Codes Can Hide Risky Links, F.T.C. Warns

    I am a bit baffled.

    The usage of QR-codes became established once camera-phones took up, some 20 years ago, and spread rapidly in countries like South Korea.

    At that time, there were already warnings about fake ads with QR-codes that would for instance redirect to nefarious www-sites. There were also some basic principles regarding their utilization (QR printed in the box of a merchandise: ok, since it is really difficult and costly to fake; but if the QR-code is on a sticker pasted on the box: do not try it).

    The FTC is just now waking up? Don’t they have people or consultants who keep informed on recent technological trends and their pitfalls?

    1. NN Cassandra

      QR code is just way of reading data with camera instead of typing them by hand. Using QR is equivalent of clicking on link (if the data it contains is link). So I’m not even sure what is FTC or anyone else supposed to do about this.

        1. Bsn

          Yes, and the QR code can be disabled by putting a couple spots on the code grid using a a black marker (pen/sharpie, etc.).

        2. NN Cassandra

          If the data is general web link, QR reader (at least these I know) will let you inspect it before launching browser.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            If you have to go through 2 steps (checking it first), then why use them??? I never use them and don’t feel any loss. Frankly, I’d be happier if I could stick to Justine Haupt’s 4G dumphone, but here I do need to use an app to call cabs. Not enough street hails.

            1. NN Cassandra

              You point your camera at image, if it recognizes it, it will show little bubble with text of the destination site name like You can tap on that bubble and it will launch browser, or you can tap on “more” button at it will show you the full URL, then you can decide with second tap if you really want to open it, copy it, etc., or do nothing.

              People use them because otherwise they would need to read and type tens or more likely hundredths of chars by hand without single mistake, which is especially impractical on mobiles.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I understand how it works. I have never had a single case where I found it necessary or desirable to use one. I don’t use the browser on my phone. I use my phone to make calls and get cabs and take pictures (and even then rarely). Period. I don’t even like the summoning cabs part, I wish I could avoid it. The smaller my data footprint, the better.

                And I don’t see how you can be sure you are not getting false negatives when you ask to see what the QR code says as in there is more there than what you are being told.

            2. playon

              You now need an app to call cabs in Chiang Mai? Aren’t the tuk-tuks and little pickup trucks still around?

  12. ChrisFromGA

    I can’t help but observe that Ukraine’s’ demographic disaster is a problem in search of a solution to benefit the likes of Blackrock, Germany, and other EU countries with too much immigration.

    Simply resettle unwanted ME immigrants in rump Ukraine, and get a pool of cheap labor (indentured servants) for Blackrock to do things like cleanup cluster bombs and land mines; if a few get dismembered, oh well, they did it for Larry Fink’s next yacht.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is not even remotely what BlackRock does. It manages very large funds of stocks and bonds. It is not at all in the business of the real economy.

      And separately this is really REALLY hard, see the failure all over the EU to handle immigrants at all well when they have extant infrastructure and functioning economies and governments.

  13. Sibiriak

    Afghanistan fiasco -collapse of state building 20 years project

    This paragraph is a real doozy! (And I’m not talking about grammar and spelling.)

    Ukraine’s President Zelensky stands as a sharp contract demonstrated leadership facing much stronger adversary 6 months after and still holding. Very different case but the role of individual leadership at the moment of critical test for nation worth studying farther. Zelensky’s famous phrase “I need ammo and not a ride” and staying in Kiev while many were predicted the fall in few days. And in contrast Ashraf Ghani with all the predictions that Kabul can defend itself for at least a year, running away and his escape unleashed the collapse of the card house overnight.

    1. NN Cassandra

      It’s also nonsense. Western governments gave Zelensky money & ammo because they wanted to, now when they changed their minds (admittedly in part because they ran into the real world problem of not having much ammo any more), the flow is stopping and he can’t do anything outside of angry posturing. Almost as if it never really was about his leadership or acting skills.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Zelensky never even said ‘I need ammo and not a ride.’ That was something that came out of the White House.

  14. hemeantwell

    Hope you feel better soon, Yves.

    The Crooke piece is another example of the failure to consider the affirmation of “Russian” values from a class conflict perspective. It seems that every writer who usefully challenges NATO-think feels obliged to assert the right of Russians to nationalistic beliefs. Ya know, they gotta mobilize and so even if they sound pretty chauvinist that’s, well, par for the course when you’re rallying around the flag. But when they, as Crooke does, boil this down to a reversal of Europhile tendencies as exhibited by PMCish types in major Russian cities, they fail to appreciate that the history of the appropriation of Europe-associated ideas isn’t limited to what Peter the Great fancied but also includes the Russian left’s appropriation of socialist thought. From this angle European ideas = ideas that disrupt a “unity of the Russian people” by inappropriately trying to revise wealth and power differentials. To put this in purely cultural terms, as Crooke does when he talks about townies feeling they are neither fish nor fowl, ignores a variety of other animals, including black cats and other lefty avatars.

    We often see criticism of MSM coverage of the Ukraine war that rightfully emphasizes how correspondents don’t bother to get out into the towns. With respect to a sensitivity to class conflict, something very similar is going on with the higher profile NATO critics like Crooke, Doctorow and others who cannot bring themselves to comment on this suppressive aspect of the ongoing religio-nationalist reformation. Doctorow’s good at getting out of St. Petersburg and checking out food prices, but I haven’t seen him say anything about how the funds to purchase food are distributed, and how people in the boonies feel about that.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      My impression, as confirmed by people like Mark Ames who lived in Russia for what, a decade, as well as Scott Ritter, is that the “modernist” European oriented Russian middle class was only 10-20% of the citizenry. A big enough bloc for Putin to worry about, particularly since they wielded a bit more clout due to their weight in the economy. Ritter said the sanctions were the best thing the West ever could have done for Putin. Many of these people were professionals with strong business connections in Europe. Some left (and many soon found Europe quickly turned hostile toward them), the others realized when they saw the persistent demonization of all things Russian (athletes, music, literature, singers) that the EU and by extension, the liberal West was not much their friend.

      And I think the PMC in Russia was not what you think it was. Some were employees of foreign operations in Russia, like senior staff or with professional services firms catering to foreign/cross border business. Some would be purely domestic. I do not think this group had class consciousness (Lambert argues our PMC didn’t until 2016). However, there was a smaller Russian intelligensia, concentrated in Moscow, that was Putin-opposing.

      Crooke is also discussing why the US and EU really hate Russia, they see it as challenging what amount to PMC values that aren’t even necessarily well accepted at home. Putin has been talking up Russian culture etc in the face of the super aggressive Western cancellation efforts. Those values do not need to be anywhere as deeply held as Putin’s speeches indicate to still threaten the Western view of its very different identity project as some sort of manifest destiny.

      But Russians are famously very deeply steeped in their own history…..and if the issue is what has happened to what amounts to the Russian PMC and its intelligensia, you don’t need to go further than St. Petersburg and Moscow to have a pretty good idea.

      1. Mikel

        “Putin has been talking up Russian culture etc in the face of the super aggressive Western cancellation efforts…”

        So many leaders riding the gender identity culture war wave.
        Putin has a good grasp of the cause of many problems, but sometimes his ideas about solutions remind me that he’s still a politician.

      2. albrt

        The Russia Post link yesterday was a very interesting perspective from a PMC-ish young person talking about the old-school neighborhood where his parents live. Thanks for that.

        1. Sibiriak

          It was a vicious caricature of Russian deplorables, I grant you that. Quite befitting of the Russia.Post.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            I maintain it was remarkably non-vicious and thoughtful by Russian Liberal standards, but that might not be saying much.

            1. hk

              Yes. It sounded remarkably familiar: reminiscent of my friends who come from various “uncouth” backgrounds in US–the South, certain parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and various immigrant communities, etc. Some hated where they came from viciously. Others rejected the past with more sympathetic kind of contempt, but still unmistakable contempt.

          2. Feral Finster

            I would echo Daniil and say that the piece was the latest in a long line of gripe letters about Russia written by liberal intellectuals. The tradition dates at least to the time of Pushkin.

            It’s like the “Iowa safari” pieces written every four years by US political journalists, and in both cases, an attempt at virtue signaling and condescending class signaling, not to mention a job application for the local office of some NGO from a “nice” country.

          3. Maxwell Johnston

            The writer’s viewpoint seems typical for someone of his class. I assume he long ago escaped his parents’ provincial town for the greener pastures of Moscow/St Pete, or possibly even the west. Note that Russia Post is published by George Washington U (in DC), and the Russian site from which the article is taken is run by RFE/RL. Not exactly independent journalism!

            I asked offspring number one (a native Russian speaker) how best to translate “deplorables”. I would say ‘bydlo’ (быдло: literally ‘cattle’ but colloquially more like ‘riffraff’ or ‘redneck’), but she said that’s too strong a word (very very pejorative) and suggests either ‘otbrosi’ (отбросы = scum, dregs) or ‘sbrod’ (сброд = rabble, vermin). Personally I would avoid using any of these words in polite company, but then again I’m not Hillary. I’ll defer to other native speakers for a better translation.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              “Bydlo” is a long-standing favourite of various liberal celebrities (recognised as pejorative, but that just makes it better for the edgy style some of them choose). “Otbrosi” and “sbrod” are more politically neutral and vague. “Deplorables” has no precise translation. A popular online dictionary suggests, hilariously, “unworthy people”, which I suppose is near the intended meaning but loses something. A more literal translation might be “uzhasniye”, “the Horrible Ones”, but that just sounds ridiculous (which would be bad in case we think the original didn’t…). If pressed I’d probably go with “bydlo” since it currently retains the connotations of elite disdain for people who don’t think or live or vote right.

          4. Darthbobber

            And if you go to the site the article was reposted from, you’ll see the radio liberty icon as part of its logo.

      3. ilsm

        John Barkley Rosser, Harrisburg Va, now deceased, used to run econospeak was married to a Russian woman whose family had gone crosswise with Stalin.

        He represented, to me, a unique anti Russian, view maybe what we see in the upper middle class Europhiles. My interaction with JBR indicate a rather irrational hatred of most of “Russia”.

        He did tout the “little green men myth, when most of the separatists in Donbas were locals!

        And Russia violating Helsinki while the Minsk accords were being thoroughly violated.

    2. Carolinian

      As a regular reader I think Crooke seems to agree with Putin that reinventing the social wheel has gone too far in the West and led to bizarre thinking outside the box (or lack thereof) by the Biden people and the R2P people. All of which is say that foreign policy should not be about Pussy Riot or LGBT. That European “garden” is full of weeds.

      Without a doubt Putin has his ruthless side and we shouldn’t forget that. But these days the fading hegemon is the “empire of chaos.”

      1. Feral Finster

        “Without a doubt Putin has his ruthless side and we shouldn’t forget that.”

        If Putin did not have a ruthless side, he would quickly be sidelined or dead, and Russia left as pickings for western interests.

        I have a lot more sympathy for those under threat than for those doing the threatening.

    3. Sibiriak

      hemeantwell: “… the Russian left’s appropriation of socialist thought.

      Which contemporary Russian leftists do you have in mind? It’s been shocking and sad for me to see Boris Kagarlitsky, for example, whose books and articles I have appreciated in the past, lose his mind so completely with Putin Derangement Syndrome that he’s resorted to sputtering out baseless Western talking points like Putin is dying of cancer and so on.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Western talking points about Russia are sometimes indistinguishable from intelligentsia kitchen talk. Are you sure he gets it from the West?

        1. Sibiriak

          ln late 2022 all kinds of Putin-has-cancer stories started appearing across Western media.

          (NYT April 26, 2023: Documents Reflect Persistent, if Unfounded, Speculation on Putin’s Health — Leaked materials include unsubstantiated intelligence about a Ukrainian politician’s claim that the Russian leader is undergoing chemotherapy. )

          Around the same time there was an onslaught of stories about Putin isolating himself in an underground bunker.

          Shortly thereafter, in several English language interviews, Kagarlitsky began repeating the exact same anti-Putin talking points.

          I have no idea whether he picked them up directly from Western media, from “intelligentsia kitchen talk”, or both. The fact remains he latched on to them and repeated them uncritically.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            That’s fair. I just think that we had PDS for much longer than the West did (since when he came to power for some, since when he started to deviate from the True Path of Liberal Policy around 2004 for more).

      2. hemeantwell

        Sorry to get back to this so tardily, things came up.
        Christ, I know what you mean about Kagarlitsky. How he got from the lucidity of his Square Wheels of the early 90s to this…. I can only guess that some Russian lefties have become so discouraged they are resorting to hopium instead of analysis. I’ve just started reading Ilya Budraitskis’ Dissident Among Dissidents. He seems to have kept his head on straight, though I find myself distracted by his overly detailed accounts of loony, culturally narcissistic reactionary thinking — e.g. Ivan Ilyin’s work from the early 20th c — that might be shaping current elite views. Budraitski’s ideas on WITBD are unclear, though I can appreciate that he may not believe he can write freely.

        In my comment I was thinking of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party at the end of the 19th c on in. Lars Lih (Rediscovering Lenin) has shown in detail just how much respect all factions of the RSDLP extended to the German Social Democrats, seeing them as providing a model for both theoretical and organizational work. As part of this they (Lenin, Trotsky, Martov) criticized — I think it can be put this way — political tendencies that believed a revolutionary dynamic could more or less spontaneously develop out of either peasant traditions or visceral (syndicalist) industrial worker responses to working conditions. As Lih goes to great lengths to demonstrate, this wasn’t the “vanguard party” strategy as commonly conceived. Indeed, Lenin was very optimistic about the development of revolutionary class consciousness and believed that the RSDLP would only have to engage in tweaking already existing impulses, e.g. showing that organizing workers had to have a political dimension, since getting rudimentary free speech rights would help with organizing. Lenin was, in fact, distrustful of party models that gave too much importance to intellectuals, and insisted on the inclusion of rank and file elements in the party to keep the fire hot.

        To get back to the main point, the current Russian leadership would like to portray the Soviet period as an alien imposition. As we’ve seen across the globe, the sledgehammer in the toolkit of ideological reaction is to threateningly huff and puff about “outsiders” bringing divisive ideas into a polity, we were all happily together until They showed up. My criticism of Crooke was that he winds up blurring who and what were the Theys in a long history of anti-Europhilic sentiments. In the 19th c, anti-Europhilic sentiment could ideologically unite aristocratic factions, Russian Orthodoxy, and narodnik peasants against a modernizing Russian elite and their industrialist economic “base.” Certainly some of that is retained in the current denigration of trade ties with the west. But the Russian elite is also struggling to do away with relatively egalitarian, guaranteed work, and safety net-affirming principles of social organization that the Soviets established. They may be able to strike a kind of balance between cutbacks in those terms and the benefits that would flow from state-directed reindustrialization. But how will that be understood at a mass level? As some kind of affirmation of a Russian soul, or part of a gradual return of social provisions that once existed during the Soviet period?

    4. Kouros

      Nah, the West has been rejecting for some time its own values and culture. And Russians and others, are not rejecting that, why throw the baby with the water?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “UN ‘very concerned’ about report Israel used US-supplied white phosphorus in Lebanon”

    Israel really seems determined to work their way down the Geneva Checklist. Hezbollah gets a hit on a coupla Israeli soldiers so using their doctrine, they take it out on civilians instead and bombard them. And not for the first time, they use ‘Willy Pete’ to do so. They really may want to rethink this because for all we know, Hezbollah may have the same sort of munitions as well. Or it may be that the extremists are using these chemical weapons hoping that Hezbollah may give a disproportionate response which would enable Israel to launch a major attack.

    1. John k

      Imo there are other reasons why israel is not yet launching attacks north. They’ve never needed justification.

  16. flora

    re: Myrotvorets article.

    As if to prove Juncker’s hesitations about Ukr joining the EU correct, there is this bit:

    According to the Foundation to Battle Injustice, received from former SBU employee Georgiy F. and verified by Mikhail G., the administration and curators of “Myrotvorets” are currently preparing an assassination attempt on Jean-Claude Juncker, a prominent Luxembourg and European politician who previously served as President of the European Commission. In early October 2023, the politician criticized the idea of Ukraine joining the European Union, citing the extreme level of corruption in the country.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well at least the Ukrainians did take Henry Kissinger off the Kill, errrr, Myrotvorets List. True, they waited until he died first but it’s the thought that counts.

      Is the Myrotvorets List still hosted by NATO servers? I think that people like Jimmy Dore and Aaron Maté are on that list which is kinda rank considering their taxes help pay for it.

  17. Lexx

    ‘Revealed: The areas of England with highest cancer death risk as major study shows how patients living in poorest parts of country are 70% more likely to die… so how does YOUR region fare?’

    This falls in line with last week’s article on prematurely aging organs and the suggestion that we (and the poor in particular) are doing this to ourselves. It’s meant to wag a finger at the NHS (‘if only they’d been diagnosed and treated sooner, they’d have had another 6 months of life’), but comes off as an admonishment of lifestyle choices. Not directly, more a ‘here are some dots, you connect them and see where it leads you’ piece of writing.

    One can only suppose that such cancer rates are not found much in the wealthier parts of the U.K.? Like lamb’s blood painted across the lintel, nothing wards off cancer like having lots of money in the bank… and private health care.

    1. digi_owl

      Lifestyle choices may depend on access to the likes of transportation, and cost of goods.

      Not easy living healthy in a food desert without personal transportation and storage space.

      1. Lexx

        A pet’s love is conditional… kibble is one of those conditions. Hunting may be supplemental, a luxury.

        We had a barn kitty I’m pretty sure preferred anything she could catch, but winter is a lean time and she’d accept a warm bed and walls, and whatever we plopped in the bowl if necessary… and we were so grateful when she allowed us to care for her, like supplicants whose prayers have been answered.

  18. GramSci

    Re: The Taliban in Afghanistan are banning drugs – and that’s a bad thing, seriously!

    A good, brief sitrep on Afghanistan – much better than the misfocused irony of the title.

  19. DJG, Reality Czar

    Mearsheimer on death and destruction in Gaza and the Israeli armed forces and government as perpetrators of murder.

    Yes, it is important. Mearsheimer is outlining what stance one should take. (Much as Mearsheimer has, with some flaws, taken the U.S. government to task for the proxy war being managed by Vicki Nuland for Joe Biden in Ukraine.)

    Final paragraph: “As I watch this catastrophe for the Palestinians unfold, I am left with one simple question for Israel’s leaders, their American defenders, and the Biden administration: have you no decency?”

    To show you how much our moral capacities have been diminished by years of sloppy politics, melodramatic panics, and the dulling effect of neoliberalism and a culture of greed, I am going to point out the original question, as placed by Joseph Welch:

    Note how pointed it was (and should still be):

    The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch’s attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s career: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

    Cruelty and recklessness. Time to resurrect those ideas in relation to the MonoParty.

    Quote is from the U.S. Senate’s own web site:

    1. The Rev Kev

      If we are going to be honest, I think that we have to acknowledge that the whole, complete, entire elite class and their enablers do not have any shame. None. They will tell the most outrageous lies like Russiagate and when it fizzles out, will move onto the next lie. The vaccines are perfectly safe. Putin is a monster that wants to take over Europe. The pandemic is over. The economy has never been better. Freedom of Speech requires censorship. Please pretend the genocide that you are watching is not a genocide at all. These people have no shame much less any sense of decency.

      1. Feral Finster

        For the sociopaths running the West, “decency” is contemptible weakness.

        There is The Will To Power, and there is only The Will To Power. Behind the smiling mask lies a vacuum.

      2. vao

        the whole, complete, entire elite class and their enablers do not have any shame. None.

        But they can be humiliated…

    2. Alice X

      My question would have been to Welch and the establishment, what took you so long? For them, McCarthy served his purpose advancing the Red Scare, but finally he was no longer useful.

      The outrage in Palestine has been going on for a very, very long time, even before Welch spoke those words to McCarthy. What has taken us so long?

    3. Kouros

      In bureaucratic heavy states, with an education and culture that skirts ethics, amorality, cowardice reign supreme. There are no deaths caused by falling on one’s sword. Shame and shaming is done only on Putin apologists. Piers Morgan keep bashing people’s heads with his question: “Is Hamas a terrorist organization?”. I would conceede it is only if he conceedes that Israel is a terrorist/apartheid state. And if they are both terrorists, why we support one to the detriment of roughly 2 million people that are civilians?

    4. Es s Ce tera

      Justin Podur has been exploring this question (what stance should one take) from another angle, that we must condemn Zionism and the Israel project, precisely because Zionism is and has been rabidly anti-semitic.

      For example Herzl himself believed Jews were socially, culturally, religiously and genetically inferior, and his whole Zionist project was his version of a final solution. He wasn’t so much helping Jews as solving a problem for anti-semites. One of his proposals was to convert Jews to Christianity.

      But, importantly, the early Zionists were assassinating Jews who opposed Zionism. Perhaps important to bear in mind as this unfolds now, but also speaks to the disdain they have for Jews. I believe we’re witnessing this same now and Zionism will inevitably need to be confronted, we need to do a deeper dive into the historical origins of this movement, it’s become our moral responsibility to understand it.

      1. Kouros

        “the early Zionists were assassinating Jews who opposed Zionism.”

        It looks to me that the Hannibal Doctrine allows the killing of Jews that are in a way by standers and could somewhat benefit the Palestinian cause and hinder the Zionist agenda in any way, shape or form…

    5. Glen

      I think the American elites are naive in their understanding of the long term consequences of America’s response to the 9/11 attack. What we did as a response was almost exactly what the attackers wanted us to do. We are still living the consequences of that stupidity.

      But for Israel to respond to their “9/11” attack in this manner is a very, very serious mistake. America launched it’s war of retribution at what in hindsight may be the high water mark of American empire, and because of that high perch, has been able to fend off much of the blow back from it’s error. Israel has no such high position to start from, and is almost totally dependent on America’s backing. America has just demonstrated in Ukraine that America’s support has limits and is fickle.

      But this is no longer the same world that W could treat as America’s sandbox, and every pseudo-imperial action taken by Biden as if this is still the unipolar world of the late 90’s further accelerates the collapse of America’s influence and power. And Israel may very well find the limits of America’s support as the constraints imposed by a multipolar world that American elites keep choosing to ignore.

      1. c_heale

        I think what the USA has lost since 9/11 and with the sanctions against Russia, and stealing Afghanistan’s money is trust.

        Trust is not regained easily.

        This means the USA can expect every single interaction it undertakes with foreign countries to be increasingly focused on a completely transactional basis, with other countries increasingly expecting goods or money or whatever else upfront and once given, to be kept out of US control. Long term relationships will become non-existent. If the US was an autarky, this might be fine, but since the US uses a disproportionate amount of world resources per head of population, the USA will see its standard of living fall further and further.

        The Western part of the EU and UK is further down this path than the USA, since they are much more dependent on external imports than the USA, and have an even more deranged foreign policy, and have no military force to back them up.

        At some point, I am expecting a realist US President to abandon the EU and deal directly with the rest of the world.

        I’m sorry this is a little incoherent.

  20. pjay

    – ‘What Will Happen in the Second Trump Term?’ – Peter Van Buren, American Conservative

    From the article:

    “To start, Trump will certainly not repeat a mistake from term 1.0: He will quickly fill his political appointee positions with allies. This is what every new president does, but Trump was roundly criticized in term 1.0 for not filling the ranks fast enough and thus somehow endangering America. Probably never expecting to win, and not being a lifetime politician, Trump took office without a folder of thousands of resumes from party loyalists and think tank exiles looking for work….”

    “This time, Trump seems more prepared. Every president has some 4,000 appointed positions to fill. Every president fills these with loyalists, party hacks, or, in the case of jobs like ambassadorships, wealthy donors. Anticipating term 2.0, the Heritage Foundation has been compiling and vetting some 20,000 resumes. The chosen should come through that process enthusiastic to carry out the peoples’ will, and are unlikely to form the core of a Deep State “resistance” as happened during term 1.0.”

    Ok. Could anyone please give me some reassuring examples, or ANY example, of who these “allies” might be that represent actual “resistance”? I cannot come up with anyone, Let alone 4000. Also, could anyone give me ANY reason to feel good about the personnel and policy recommendations of the *Heritage Foundation*? They are not in any sense a “resistance” organization in regards to the “Deep State,” just the more right-wing faction of that Establishment. They will certainly “resist” any actually *beneficial* social policies inacted by Democrats, but the idea that they would dial back the massive National Security complex is laughable. I thought Van Buren was more sober and realistic than this.

  21. Benny Profane

    How Rich Alumni Ousted Penn’s President Liz Magill Wall Street Journal. “confirming that tony universities are hedge funds with educational subsidiaries. Harvard (so far) is sticking with theirs.”

    Let’s not rule out the football culture at Penn which keeps these donors rallying around each other and communicating. Football at that level is really expensive.
    Harvard and Yale not so much.

  22. Mabel

    –Stolen Checks Are for Sale Online.–

    “Thieves wash name off check” that is why one should always use a black Sharpie to write the payee’s name. They make them with a finer tip. Always carry your own pen if going to fill out a check at remote location. If only have a broader tip Sharpie, the rest of check can be written in ball point.

    This is why cash is King, where you can hand it over for services or items.
    Yesterday we found all our stocking stuffers and Christmas presents in an unusual location. Our local thrift store. Totally unique, well made items. Between that and epicurean food, no need to set foot into a Target or other big box (community coffin)store.

    1. jrkrideau

      People still write cheques? I am not sure but I think the last time I wrote one was ~20 years ago. I do use a paper bank draft sometimes but more to maintain a physical presence in my bank than any need.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Checks provide a clear record of who was paid. The electronic notations my bank provides do not. More work to substantiate payees with electronic payments. Admittedly I use credit cards when possible because credit cards provide the buyer with better rights.

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How Rich Alumni Ousted Penn’s President Liz Magill Wall Street Journal.

    Hmmm… First time didn’t work for me so couldn’t read. But I’d imagine a simple summary would be the age old adage, “Money talks and bullshit walks,” and magill was nothing if not lily-livered bullshit.

    As for harvard’s claudine gay, there’s trouble a brewin’ since she’s now being accused of plagiarism, something apparently no one noticed when she was appointed a few months ago. In gay’s case, a different adage seems appropriate–“Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

    That woke slope keeps gettin’ slipperier and slipperier.

  24. Benny Profane

    From the link in the Moon of Alabama Zelensky roses colored glasses piece, or an and Zelensky meet and greet:

    Orban: So, no more olive green for state affairs. Black is your new color?

    Z: Yes, does it not look good on me? My wife picked it out. Says it shows I’ve been working out. She said black is perfect for the end game, whatever that means. Silly woman.

    Orban: Maybe you’ll get some more respect when you ask for help if you have a suit tailored. Just sayin’.

    Z: So, maybe, EU and NATO if I do that?

    Orban: Eh, good luck with that. But, if you ever get there in one piece, never wear black in Florida, ok, Z? Ciao.

  25. Mikel

    All of these articles about how NATO should admit defeat. For crying out loud, the Ukraine BS won’t be over until the checks stop clearing.

  26. Alice X

    Caitlin Johnstone: I Will Not Look Away

    It’s a paltry offering, really. Almost nothing. But it’s all I’ve got to offer: this simple, sacred vow to honor the victims by refusing to look away from what’s being inflicted upon them.


    No matter how much human suffering I see by keeping my gaze on Gaza, I will not look away.

    No matter how many nightmares I have, I will not look away.

    No matter how many tears I shed, I will not look away.

    I will not look away either.

  27. flora

    Lots of good links today. Thanks.

    For some reason, I see the Mearshimer, Crooke, Taibbi, and Myvotrovets links as comprising a set.

  28. Harmon

    “Americans feel inflation’s impact on living standards, opportunities”

    The 100% appointed by Newsom Public Utilities Commission is about to extort yet another rate hike out of captive Californians. Newsom’s main job is keeping PG&E stock values high and in turn they shovel money at his wife’s “non-profit” which makes socioligical movies that all California school districts have to buy with taxpayer money.

    “PG&E customers face a fresh round of increases in monthly bills — yet again — because the utility seeks to win regulatory approval of early collections even before a key rate case is decided.

    “PG&E has been linked to a string of disasters, including a lethal gas explosion that destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood and a string of destructive — and in some cases deadly — wildfires across Northern California.

    In 2016, a federal jury found PG&E guilty of crimes the utility committed before and after the San Bruno explosion. In 2020, PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 separate counts of involuntary manslaughter and admitted that the company’s equipment started the 2018 Camp Fire that torched the town of Paradise.”

  29. Wukchumni

    I’m not sure if PETA* held any sway, but a most unusual thing happened this summer in Tiny Town in that the yearly invasion of ants that happens to everybody here, didn’t occur. I’ve been comparing notes with friends and everybody had the same thing not happen.

    There were 3 different kinds, a little pissant and a couple other larger species that frankly you got used to as it was the same old story every last summer.

    We’re talking about counter vigilance indoors, a spilled small amount of Dr. Pepper on the counter would have a line of 156 ants coming and going with the largess, you had to extra careful with any kind of food item for about 4 months, and then they’d go away, not to be seen again until the next June.

    Was the winter of record in the southern Sierra for the past 125 years the reason for them being raptured?

    Obligatory E.O. Wilson quote:

    We have stone age emotions, medieval institutions and god-like technology.

    *People for the ethical treatment of ants

    1. Wukchumni

      Bonus E.O. Wilson quote:

      If we were to vanish today, the land environment would return to the fertile balance that existed before the human population explosion. Only a dozen or so species, among which are the crab louse and a mite that lives in the oil glands of our foreheads, depend on us entirely. But if ants were to disappear, tens of thousands of other plant and animal species would perish also, simplifying and weakening land ecosystems almost everywhere.

  30. David B Harrison

    In response to Yves’ illness.When I had covid (Oct.-Nov. 2020). It started with constant sneezing, extremely runny nose, and headache. I describe the trauma to my nasal passages(and throat) as like they were strip mined. I had a low fever for 15 days and no taste or smell for 21 days. No fatigue, no nose bleed (only capillary bleeding), no dry cough, and my lungs were unaffected. It hits everyone differently.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please see the Mayo link. Sneezing is an outlier and my tissues are not raw. No fever, and no problems smelling.

      A friend who was with me got sick on the same timetable I failed to add although the space was ventilated, the host had a fan blowing on her, then us, which meant her cooties were blowing at us; friend is in her late 70s and got a very bad non-Covid bug 2 years ago while in Europe in a 63 degree apt when acclimated to here with no a/c, eventually turned into pneumonia, so now sees MD early. MD who ran a bunch of tests and found no Covid.

  31. Jason Boxman

    While CPI inflation is at 3.1%, inflation is much higher in many basic necessities:

    1. Car Insurance Inflation: 19.2%
    2. Transportation Inflation: 10.1%
    3. Car Repair Inflation: 8.5%
    4. Rent Inflation: 6.9%
    5. Homeowner Inflation: 6.7%
    6. Food Away From Home Inflation: 5.3%
    7. Electricity Inflation: 3.4%

    Used car and truck prices increased +1.6% in November, the first monthly increase since May 2023.

    It’s also worth noting that we do NOT have deflation, we have disinflation.

    While the rate of inflation is DOWN, prices are still RISING.

  32. Feral Finster


    Of course the Ukrainian regime are thugs from top to bottom, and at the same time, puppets directed from Langley.

    What does anyone propose to do about it?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Of course the Ukrainian regime are thugs from top to bottom, and at the same time, puppets directed from Langley.

      I don’t like the puppet metaphor. All the players have relative autonomy, though of course some have more autonomy than others.

      Thugs, now….

  33. Wukchumni

    10 fun facts as Halley’s Comet makes its big comeback Big Think

    Expectations are that the annual Geminid meteor shower happening tomorrow night and the night after, might be really spectacular thanks to the Moon not being there.

    Space voyeurs are expecting 2 shooting stars a minute @ peak.

  34. lyman alpha blob

    re: The Taliban in Afghanistan are banning drugs

    From the article –

    “The BBC report goes on to say the Taliban, which has regained control of the country is rounding up addicts and placing them in 45-day rehabilitation camps. The camps may, as BBC suggests, be squalid and the conditions may not lead to rehabilitation but at least the Taliban, on a very limited budget, is attempting to do something about a serious problem.”

    Wouldn’t be proper for the BBC to let an opportunity go by to disparage the governments of countries who have recently handed the UK’s handler its own ass. As the article notes, they are at least trying, and likely with very limited resources. Not a fan of religious fundamentalists of any stripe, but this action at least is a positive.

    In contrast, I remember an old 60 Minutes program on Burma’s drug trade (before it was renamed Myanmar, so a while ago) which was at the time run by the military. Workers were there to grow the heroin for export, not to use it themselves. Those who were caught getting high on the military’s supply were put in a sealed dirt hole about two feet in diameter and six feet or so deep for 48 hours to think things over.

    Heroin use is ugly. It destroys people. Only a country actively supporting a genocide could think less heroin in circulation was a bad thing.

  35. Wukchumni

    Woman Enters MRI Machine With a Gun, Gets Shot in Butt Gizmodo
    There has been a remarkable rise in the amount of guns confiscated at American airports going through the metal detector, and why in the world would you ever bring one to your MRI appointment?

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) intercepted 3,251 firearms at airport security checkpoints during the first half of 2023, which ended June 30. The total represents an average 18 firearms per day at TSA checkpoints of which more than 92% were loaded.

    1. Offtrail

      Well, Hamas famously left guns tucked around an MRI in Al Shifa hospital. She may have seen that story and thought it was OK.

  36. Don

    They ask if you are carrying when you are going in for an MRI in the States? In the Great White North, the concerns are about piercings and jewelry where they might not be expected.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      I think we also ask about piercings, jewelry and etc. as well as the “carrying”. Also any relevant metal installations inside the body if they are magnetic-responsive.

  37. steppenwolf fetchit

    In that article ” The Taliban in Afghanistan are banning drugs” etc. . . . I saw this sentence . . . ” The USA blames China for producing Fentanyl, a legitimately prescribed drug but which their doctors have historically over-prescribed.” And wondered why the author would write something so subtly and cleverly incorrect. Because actually the USA blamed China for producing pre-Fentanyl precursors and shipping them to the Mexican Cartels to turn into Fentanyl to adulterate heroin and other opiates with. The customers ( addicts) buying those opiates were looking for the opiate in question. They were not seeking to buy the Fentanyl mixed into the opiate and they often did not even realize the Fentanyl was mixed in, leading to rising deaths from Fentanyl overdoses in particular.

    I think I read recently that the ChinaGov may have stated it will work with the USGov to reduce these pre-Fentanyl precursors going to Mexico so as to reduce the amount of Fentanyl available to the Cartels to adulterate their officially-not-Fentanyl opiates with. I hope that is so. And still I wonder why the author of this article took the trouble to write something so cleverly and subtly incorrect. I wonder just what bad faith agenda the author is slyly trying to advance with that tricky sentence.

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