Links 1/28/2024

Whichever way the issue is looked at, to suggest that markets are rational is wrong Funding the Future

Welcome to 2034: What the world could look like in ten years, according to nearly 300 experts Atlantic Council

Endurance The Rational Walk. Ernest Shackleton. “I recently read the book after listening to Episode #144 of Founders Podcast.”

Why strip malls are having a revival WBBM


How to enforce climate agreements with trade measures Business Standard. India.

Solar is a market for (financial) lemons Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. Doctorow makes the interesting point that (paraphrasing) Hayek’s “impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market” is uncomfortably similar to a paperclip maximizer.

Switchgrass: An Old Grass Gets a New Use JSTOR


CDC HICPAC back to drawing board; FDA public comment period: flawed pulse oximeters; The buzzwords of “immunity” this or that Chloe Humbert, Teams Human

* * *

My Patients Used to Be Gung-Ho About the Covid Vaccine. What Changed? NYT (RK). This is New York, where they had the freezer trucks in 2020….

113,000 adverse effects of immunization recorded PhilStar. Philippines.

* * *

Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a university classroom based on real human close contact behaviors Science of The Total Environment. Beijing. From the Abstract: “Due to high-population density, frequent close contact, possible poor ventilation, university classrooms are vulnerable for transmission of respiratory infectious diseases. Close contact and long-range airborne are possibly main routes for SARS-CoV-2 transmission…. The relative contributions of short-range airborne and long-range airborne transmission were 40.5 % and 59.5 %, respectively, and the mucous deposition was basically negligible. When all students are wearing N95 respirators, the infection risk could be reduced by 96 %, the relative contribution of long-range airborne transmission increases to 95.6 %. When the fresh air per capita in the classroom is 24 m3/h/person, the virus exposure could be decreased by 81.1 % compared to the real situation with 1.02 m3/h/person. In a classroom with an occupancy rate of 50 %, after optimized arrangement of student distribution, the infection risk could be decreased by 62 %.”

Predicting COVID-19 cases across a large university campus using complementary built environment and wastewater surveillance approaches (preprint) medRxiv. Floor swabs! From the Abstract: “Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on floors and viral RNA levels found in wastewater were strongly associated with the incidence of COVID-19 cases on a university campus. These data suggest a potential role for institutional built environment sampling, used together with wastewater surveillance, for predicting COVID-19 cases at both campus-wide and building level scales.”

* * *

America’s Favorite Superpreader™ wants to see your smile:

Happy [cough] happy joy joy [cough cough]….

* * *

‘Tis a mystery!

Alarming 30-fold rise in measles in Europe – WHO Global Center for Health Security

Cases of ‘100 day cough’ in London double in a fortnight Metro

Why do some people feel tired all the time? BBC


China, US say talks in Bangkok ‘candid, substantive’ Channel News Asia. I guess that’s a notch down from “full and frank exchange of views”?

China Is Trying to Have It Both Ways in the Middle East Isaac Kardon and Jennifer Kavanagh, NYT. Both from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Rather than acting like the global leader it purports to be, China has made no appreciable move to shoulder the costs or risks of ensuring security in the Red Sea.” Never interrupt your enemy when they’re making a mistake…. Commentary:

Canon aims to ship low-cost ‘stamp’ machine this year to disrupt chipmaking FT

The Koreas

Shipping and geopolitical risk: Don’t forget about Korean Peninsula Freight Waves

Gender polarization:



India pivots away from Russian arms, but will retain strong ties: Analysis Channel News Asia


Israel’s Day of Reckoning John J. Mearsheimer, John’s Substack. Shot:


* * *

Houthis say they are keen on peace, encourage ‘adjustments’ in Washington’s position Anadolu Agency

Shipping fallout from Red Sea crisis spreads to product tankers Hellenic Shipping News

Dockers stop ZIM boxship from berthing in Melbourne Container News. Trade Unionists for Palestine.

* * *

Top former Israeli national security officials, business leaders demand ‘immediate removal’ of Netanyahu FOX

US, Iraq begin formal talks on winding down US-led military coalition Al Jazeera

Growing number of apps help automate pro-Israel activism online WaPo

European Disunion

French farmers vow to continue protests despite government concessions France24

New Not-So-Cold War

Exhausted by War, Ukraine’s Frontline Troops Seek ‘Bit of Rest’ Kyiv Post

‘The enemy is amassing’: Ukrainian army officials give unvarnished account of the battlefield CNN

* * *

How the war in Ukraine could wear Russia down in the end WaPo. Cope?

The Myths That Warp How America Sees Russia—and Vice Versa Foreign Affairs

Is Congress Really Going to Abandon Ukraine Now? Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic

Two Key Steps for Ukraine Win, Avoiding Afghanistan II: US Defense Adviser Newsweek

* * *

Ukraine can regain control of its skies in 2024 – Foreign Minister Ukrainska Pravda

Amid War With Russia, Ukraine Uncovers $40 Million Fraud In Weapons Procurement NDTV

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Russia, the West and the ‘World Majority’ Russia Matters

Russia has long sold arms to Iran. Now Iran is returning the favor. Christian Science Monitor

Russia projects confidence as it pursues alliances to undermine West WaPo

South of the Border

Wake up North America! The flood of Chinese investment is real Mexico News Daily


E. Jean Carroll’s legal fight against Trump: 10 key moments The Hill. Not a fan of Hansen — whatever the Democrats are, they’re not “left wing” –but he highlights the key role that New York State’s “The Adult Survivors Act” played; it looks suspiciously like a bill of attainder:

Hansen also includes Carroll’s funder, Silicon Valley squillionaire Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), which The Hill, oddly, omits. Trump will appeal.

‘Disturbing’ Collusion Between Biden White House and Trump Prosecutors Declassified with Julie Kelly

Trump lawyers to use ‘conflict of interest’ between judge, Carroll’s attorney in appeal of $83.3M jury verdict: ‘Insane’ NY Post

* * *

Key Network of G.O.P. Megadonors to Meet With Trump and Haley Camps NYT

Trump Is Not the Cause of the Chaos RealClearPolitics. Case for the defense.

The world must start to prepare for Trump 2.0 FT

Every great nation had great walls Jesse Waters, FOX. Just like every great man has sphincter control!

* * *

Playbook: Biden crosses the border line Politico

‘War criminal’: Arab Americans rebuff Biden campaign outreach over Gaza Al Jazeera. So long Michigan?

* * *

RFK Jr. signals he’s open to running as Libertarian in 2024 The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

Inside the collapsing U.S. political-media-industrial-complex Semafor. Well worth a read.


How Boeing’s troubles are upsetting the balance of power in aviation FT

Digital Watch

Fakes, forgeries and the meaning of meaning in our post-truth era FT

White House Urges Action After ‘Alarming’ Taylor Swift Deepfakes Bloomberg


Why Some of Our Clothes Are Over 200 Million Years Old Atmos

Zeitgeist Watch

How much truth about your daily struggle is too much for elderly mom? Carolyn Hax, WaPo. I’m stan for Carolyn Hax; she’s humane.

Realignment and Legitmacy

The UMC Lost A Quarter of Its Churches — Most In the South The Roys Report. United Methodists

Class Warfare

Marx or Jefferson? New Left Review. Du Bois.

The Top 20 Landowners In America, According To A New Report Forbes

Why Walmart pays its truck drivers 6 figures Freight Waves

This ‘Junk’ DNA Makes Up 8% Of the Human Genome. It’s Absolutely Crucial to Our Lives. Popular Mechanics. Mouse study. Original.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    melody borrowed from Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan)

    When we wandered through the grasslands many thousand years ago
    We could see the living dreamland we could see it like Van Gogh
    Oh the music of the stars! We danced and laughed!
    Mother is our shepherd and she knows her craft!
    We had the old religion the one that you already know

    Oh yeah

    Heyyy! Heyyy!

    Things you hide in the Smithsonian they were sacred in our time
    You will say life was draconian but we watch the world rhyme, yes we do
    We meet Her when the world goes oh so still
    Holy is the moment it’s holy still
    We had the old religion your heart can still feel its pull

    Oh yeah

    (musical interlude)

    To see Her as she is that’s a sight you can’t refuse
    Every soul She is provoking and you can’t tell who She’ll choose
    Then you walk around bemused
    She is in and of the odd lines of your Thoreau
    Vincent caught Her in a painting but has he though?
    This is the old religion the one that is stirring your soul

    Oh yeah

    Oh yeah

    Heyyy! Heyyy!

      1. ambrit

        I had a comment earlier right here that has disappeared. The gist of it was that Antifa’s reference to “things” hidden in the basement rooms of the Smithsonian is to the point. The Smithsonian has a reputation for making ‘inconvenient’ objects dug up that “question” the “Official Narrative” that America was ‘full of wastelands and “howling savages” that had to be “conquered and civilized” disappear.
        The line; “Things you hide in the Smithsonian they were sacred in our time.” is accurate, for many reasons.
        Got to do some chores, so, Rant Truncated. Stay safe all.

        1. bassmule

          I got a crow in my head, he’s black and loud
          Try to keep him caged but he’s so damn proud
          He’s one mean bitch, but that’s alright
          He gets me through the rough stuff under the streetlight
          Now virtue is it’s own reward, no kiddin’
          Got some honest dollars baby, where are they hidden?
          Sometimes I feel like a tired old whore,
          Shake my ass and scream, not so much anymore.
          Don’t wanna be there when the wheels come off.
          The truth will set you free but piss you off.
          Don’t wanna be there when the wheels come off.

          When the wheels come off.

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Middle East Eye
    The following 𝐬𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 have suspended Unrwa funding based on Israeli claims that 12 of the agency’s 30,000 employees took part in Hamas attacks:

    🇺🇸 US
    🇨🇦 Canada
    🇬🇧 UK
    🇫🇮 Finland
    🇦🇺 Australia
    🇮🇹 Italy
    🇳🇱 Netherlands’

    You can add in Germany and Switzerland to those countries trying to enforce a starvation blockade of the people in Gaza. I am livid that my country is one of them. We use to be better than this.

    1. Alice X

      From the ICJ order

      (4) By sixteen votes to one,

      The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip;

      IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judges ad hoc Barak, Moseneke;
      AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde;

      And so the countries listed take the lead in NOT providing that assistance.

    2. Verifyfirst

      There is an accusation that 12 Israeli government employees committed atrocities in Gaza. The US and other countries are suspending any further aid to Israel, with immediate effect. (NOT)

    3. marku52

      Pretty clear this was gamed out and timed to knock the ICJ judgement off the front page. Or page 42, in the case of the Times

    4. Lena

      The suspension of Unrwa funding by the above listed countries came on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Saturday, Jan. 27th). What a sadistically twisted irony that is.

      Nothing says “Never Again” like furthering the mass starvation of Palestinians during Israel’s ongoing genocide, right? My god, make it stop.

      Another NC commenter wrote that no atrocity in his lifetime has so emotionally devastated him (I am paraphrasing) as the genocide of Palestinians we are now witnessing. I agree. I am physically sickened by it and appalled by my country’s ‘ironclad’ backing of this pure evil.

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    I truly wonder if we are going into another moral panic about the “gender divide” based on chart junk. The question posed and the display of data by the Financial Times, as picked up in the T.K. of AAK twiXt, are horrible.

    First, the statement: “What women really want is a family and children, although they like to work, too.” What is one to agree or disagree with? If one agrees, does that mean family+work? If one disagrees, does it mean that one believes women just want to work?

    Further, how was the question phrased in the original Korean? Just as ineptly?

    What is being tested by the question? It appears to me that the statement is a two-fer, which are notoriously messy on statistical questionnaires. There should have been two statements: Women prefer family and children. Women should have a career in the workforce. Agree/Disagree.

    Further, why are the data presented as a bar chart? And why are the numbers so low? Among the elders, we are seeing agreement of 5 and 8 percent. Does that mean 95 percent disagreement with the statement?

    Not even among the 18-29 group does a majority agree.

    Then, natch, T.K. interprets the data to mean agreement with progressive politics, a societal divide, and Korean men as protofascists.

    Sheesh. I guess the cure is to send all young Koreans to see “Barbie.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        It is not just South Korea-

        ‘China’s top ten highest grossing films for 2023 included zero Hollywood blockbusters, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, marking just the second time in three decades of screening American movies for Chinese audiences that not one US offering cracked the list.

        Hollywood power brokers and film experts increasingly acknowledge that China can no longer be counted upon to financially bail out American superhero sequels, big-budget action fodder, and other costly productions that barely broke even on US ticket sales alone, according to the Times.’

        Turns out that people want to watch their own films talking about their own lives rather than what Hollywood wants to push. Who knew?

        1. Acacia

          Yep, and Barbie earned even less in Japan than South Korea (each having a similar number of screens).

          Note that South Korea also has a screen quota to limit the number of foreign films coming into theaters, which is part of the reason why the domestic film industry has done so well.

          1. Mikel

            I’m sure the “Barbenheimer” meme and promotion didn’t thrill the Japanese about “Barbie.”
            It probably made them consider the movie in a different light.

        2. Carolinian

          More from your link

          With that no longer a guarantee, studio executives reportedly decided over the last year that budgets for franchise sequels must be slashed dramatically.

          Devoutly to be wished? One might argue that the internationalization of H’wood’s target audience has a lot to do with the endless shoot em ups and wisecracking super heroes in leotards. Action is all.

        3. Kouros

          Full River Red, the first on the list, is in fact very good and well played and full of twists and turns, with a lot of intrigue and double play. However, the message is clear: “we are not going to give up Taiwan, ever.” One of the best “patriotic” movies I have ever seen.

      2. Carolinian

        From your link

        “Star Wars didn’t do well in South Korea either because it’s not part of our culture,” says Moon So-Young, a Seoul-based journalist who has authored several books on culture and art. “We didn’t play with Barbie when we were growing up. We are familiar with Lego but not Barbie. Kids here these days don’t play with Barbie either. So there is no real fan base for Barbie in Korea.”

        Min Yong-joon, a Seoul-based film critic and author, agrees, adding that the film’s culturally specific humor may not have translated either.

        “The humor related to Ken dressed in western outfits dreaming of imaginary horses in the real world just did not translate here,” he says. “The film had a very particular American context. The kitsch references also didn’t seem to communicate well.”

        All of which seems pretty obvious if you decline to view everything through a DEI lens. I’d add in that the movie itself is rather fuzzy when it comes to what it is all about. The mixture of an extended SNL skit premise with belief straining claims that the Mattel corporation is all about feminism makes for a confusing package IMO. Without a doubt what really sold the movie was Barbie nostalgia combined with killer art direction (Gerwig is very good at this as seen in Little Women). The world loves our kitsch–our cultural assertions maybe not so much.

        1. hk

          I suspect that there is a real socioeconomic bases for some of these numbers (although I’m personally extremely curious where they really come from, question wording etc, myself, which get intentionally mangled very often.) The younger people in South Korea face serious lack of social and economic opportunities: good jobs, offering long term stability and security, are scarce. Deteriorating cultural norms has eroded the security that previously existed in families. “Exam hell” culture remains. This has, in some sense, struck young men more than women, in part because military service throws, even if the duration has been massively cut (to the point that the brass talk about how conscripts cannot be made into decent soldiers while they are in uniform), it’s still coming up at a critical time in their lives, in terms of education and employment. Finally, traditionally “male” jobs, in manufacturing etc, are disappearing–although it’s not clear if they are going to young people anyways. There are tons of old folk on temp contracts in those jobs, not young people (because of employment laws? My understanding is that that is what took place in Europe.). While the problems facing young women are considerable, these seem to feel them less. I remember reading polling numbers, not viewed through Western stereotype (which, I’ve seen, are ironically frequently employed by people like AAK when it suits them), there’s a big “optimism gap” among young Koreans between men and women. (Although my recollection, again, is that women are pretty pessimistic in absolute terms also–just much less than men.)

          But many of these are not exactly unique to SK but international phenomena. AAK is probably right thinking that SK is a leading indicator of sorts because, for some reason, these flare up there first. (I’m personally puzzled by why this should be the case: Koreans seem to have somewhat of an extreme “grass is greener somewhere else” syndrome. Numberswise, Korea is actually doing relatively well compared to its peers, if I am remembering right, on what people seem to think they are doing badly… But the numbers also do show massive populations of unhappy and stressed out people.)

      3. Don

        I’m not sold on the idea that ‘Barbie’ bombing signifies anything about societal views. Don’t know if you watched it, but my spouse and I, on separate flights, tried but failed to get past 5 minutes. Maybe it gets better, but we will never know.

        1. Acacia

          Not saying you should give it another go, but if you take a peek at the BoxOfficeMojo revenue numbers for Barbie vs. other films, there are some big differences across world markets.

    1. Anon

      I watched Barbie in both Spanish and English and think it’s down to translation. Most of what made the movie entertaining, the jokes and such, was untranslateable both because the dialogue is full of idioms and also because it requires some awareness of u.s. culture: discussions about feminism and specifically the early 2000s critique of Barbie, nostalgia abt having played with/having disliked Barbie when young, and both male and female stereotypes specific to u.s. dating culture, etc. If you didn’t grow up around these things, you probably won’t even understand it, let alone like it. The Spanish translation couldn’t keep up with the nuances and was pretty boring even with all the musical numbers (which were also badly translated). Now, English and Spanish at least share an alphabet, I dunno how you would even begin with a Chinese or Japanese translation.

      1. c_heale

        It’s like all those Hollywood children’s movies and animations that contain jokes aimed at adults. If I go to watch a children’s movie with my nephews or nieces, I don’t want to see any adult ‘humour’ (which is usually unfunny in the extreme), or references to other movies; I wanna see something made for children and nothing else. There is no need to try to entertain me, I’m there for my nephews or nieces. Their happiness is my happiness.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “This ‘Junk’ DNA Makes Up 8% Of the Human Genome. It’s Absolutely Crucial to Our Lives.”

    Years ago there was lots of talk about ‘junk’ DNA. I would not be surprised to learn that a few people were wondering if it could be edited out to make the human genome ‘more efficient.’ Bit dubious about the term ‘junk’ as what it really meant was that we did not know what it is there for. Turns out some of it is a redundant backup defence mechanism among other functions. Colour me surprised.

    1. Mikel

      “Junk DNA” or “dark matter in neurology”

      I look at it in musical terms. The rests are part of the score or song too.

    2. kurtismayfield

      Just because it did not code for a gene when it was discovered doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it being there.

  5. Benny Profane

    “No mention in today’s Times of the International Court of Justice ruling on Gaza till page 42.”

    But not too far down the front page of the web version this morning, an article all about how E. Jean Carroll is already trying to figure out how to spend her fictional 83 million Trump dollars for “good” in the world, accompanied by a well posed picture of her in a new hair style and the latest fashion. I guess her “reputation” is right back on track.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that on the news that the jury awarded her triple what her council was asking for. Sounds legit. Trump reckons that he still can’t remember this women from a quarter of a century ago.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I’ve been thinking how nice it will be if the Left ever regains control and we get to go back 25 years to redress past wrongs. We can’t undo the wars but there is no statute of limitations on war crimes.

        At a minimum we could imprison hundreds if not thousands of past senior USG decision makers and generals. Maybe even hang some hanging judges…

        1. Oh

          Possible candidates would be Truman (Hiroshima, Nagasaki), Bush (Afghanisthan), and Cheney and Obama (continuing drone killings and wars).

      2. griffen

        It’s the best New York City lawfare that money can buy, apparently. On appeal I’d suggest that the largesse of the headline amount comes down, based on the informative tweet that was also linked above.

        Working out what the tweet advised, makes it all appear decidedly convenient and only possible with the passing of a new state regulation. The statute of limitations be damned, I guess.

    2. eg

      The Globe and Mail is generally acknowledged to be Canada’s “serious” broadsheet, especially in what passes for the Canadian business community — the Toronto Star being too parochial (and red tinged), the National Post a Conrad Black vanity project, and the Toronto Sun a tabloid.

      Yesterday the Globe featured a gigantic, full page front cover article entitled “FREEFALL: thirty years after the end of apartheid, the promise of South Africa is at risk from state failures.”

      Setting aside for the moment the very grim problems facing that tragic polity in that most benighted of continents, doesn’t the timing of this article strike anyone as, um, curious?

      It’s almost as if some other timely and newsworthy item involving South Africa just occurred on Friday. What was it again? “Tis a mystery, surely!

      Oh well, guess I’ll just settle down to read all about South Africa’s failures, then … 🙄

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        The BBC and Bloomberg are at it, too. The BBC was at it before the rulings. It’s not the first time.

        It was interesting to observe how the BBC reported the SA pleas. Only the lawyers of African origin were shown. They were immediately contradicted or doubted by the white BBC reporters.

  6. C Rogersen Hart

    Filling in as an accompanist at a United Methodist church this morning. Now I have to re-think the show tunes I was planning for the offertory…

  7. jackiebss63

    During the first wave of COVID I got my shots and altered my behavior by avoiding high risk situations. As far as I know I didn’t get COVID. Even though restrictions were lifted I didn’t change my behavior.I believe this is probably why I didn’t get COVID.I decided I will continue with my altered behavior but I also decided to not get anymore COVID shots.Time will tell if I made a good decision.In terms of how COVID mutates and infects, I think it is similar to the common cold.I’m a retired teacher. When teaching I got a cols every fall. Since I retired I haven’t had a cold or the flu. If it is possible people need to avoid high risk situations to stay healthy.

    1. Acacia

      Not sure when you retired from teaching, but you’re probably a lot safer not working in a classroom like before.

      Insofar as most schools and colleges aren’t doing much of anything to measure and improve air quality in classrooms, impose mask mandates, etc., unless you measure CO2 yourself and drag your own DIY C-R boxes into the classroom IMHO it very possibly qualifies as a “high risk situation”.

      1. Sub-Boreal

        I was able to look up the full-text version of the Chinese study of COVID transmission in a university classroom, and it was fascinating to see the intricate detail with which the investigators considered the multitude of factors affecting transmission. Since it’s definitely not my field, I recognize that I may be easy to impress.

        The article became available as a pre-proof yesterday, and coincidentally, this was just a couple of days after I made my first visit to a university classroom since retiring from teaching in early September. Keeping up my old habits, I wore my N95, and discreetly tucked my Aranet 4 CO2 sensor up against the wall of the lecture theatre next to where I was sitting near the rear. (The room capacity was a bit smaller than for the one in the Chinese study, and it was about half-full.)

        I was there for an evening film showing (~ 90 mins), and I glanced occasionally – and nervously – at the readings, which rose steadily from the 700s ppm to almost 2500 ppm! I decided not to stick around for the discussion period.

        During the last ~ 2 years of my employment, I did similar monitoring of my workspaces, and never had a reading over 1500 ppm, with usual values being well below 1000 ppm. So something was obviously off!

        Later that evening, I emailed the institution’s facilities director with this data, and by mid-morning the next day I heard back. It turned out that something in the ventilation controller software had been turned off so that there was no air changing in any of the large lecture theatres during evening hours!

        BTW, only about 10% of the audience was wearing any kind of mask.

        1. Acacia

          Thanks for these numbers. I am also trying to get the full text of that article.

          As mentioned in a comment below, I’m curious especially about the smaller-sized room that you mention, and whether the method and findings in the Chinese study could apply.

          I’ve also been testing various spaces with an Aranet 4 monitor, and have found that CO2 levels can rise to unsafe levels very easily. I haven’t tested any classroom spaces, but I have tested some public movie theaters and found the numbers tend to be in the 800~1200 ppm range (not great but somewhat better than I expected).

          My impression is that many schools, colleges, and universities just have so many different classrooms, buildings, etc. (imagine a typical college campus, with a wide variety of different spaces, old and new), that perhaps the admins just balk at the idea of even monitoring and then assessing all the different spaces.

          USian schools, in particular, are now extremely worried about litigation, Title IX, etc., and while it seems like this could be reason for them to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, the opposite may equally be the case.

          E.g., I am not at all surprised about your account of the HVAC system for the venue you attended being discombobulated. This just seems like par for the course now. The admins are either in denial or they “know” it’s an issue but they don’t want to open a can of worms.

        2. Cassandra

          I imagine they are trying to keep utility bills down, and therefore minimize outside air that must be heated after the usual scheduled lectures. Priorities.

    2. Kevin Smith MD

      I’ve had 9 Covid shots so far, my wife’s had 8. No big deal.

      We’ve been wearing N-95s when we are out shopping, theatre, etc. Got them in every garment etc so they are always handy. Buy them in boxes of 20-50 [we each have our fave].

      Swab out our noses twice a day, every day with 1% ivermectin cream on a Q-tip x ~4 years. Quick and easy. [Ivermectin kills Covid nicely, the reason it does not work systemically for Covid is that you can’t safely get a high enough blood level.] Is sold as Soolantra in USA, Rosivir in Canada [for rosacea]. My drug plan covers it.

      So far, not even a hint of Covid.

      We can keep going like this for decades if we have to.

      1. Martin Oline

        Thank you for sharing the trade names of Ivermactin. News to me even if it has been covered before by others.

        1. IM Doc

          Please note

          Soolantra is a cream for rosacea. This is most definitely NOT an oral preparation for ivermectin for parasites or anything. Ivermectin is so long out of patent that through this whole past four years we could never even one time find the Brand name stromectol. Stromectol is indeed a 3 mg pill – I have just not seen it in years. I doubt that it is still made.

          PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RECONSTITUTE SOOLANTRA INTO AN ORAL PREP. That is never a good idea. And of course, that is assuming you make it home without a stroke from price shock first. It is ridiculously expensive.

      2. Lena

        Two of my daily preventative measures:

        1) Always wear a good quality well-fitting mask when going out or when others come into the home.

        2) Use a warm salt water rinse to gargle and clean nasal passages (I use a Q-tip for that) every morning and evening. Just mix a small amount of regular salt (I use iodized) into warm water to make a daily rinse. It is a quick, inexpensive, readily available DIY formula. It is safe, but if too much salt is added, it could irritate, so go easy.

        I have read that salt water gargles and nasal rinses are also effective for easing COVID symptoms and preventing hospitalizations if you do get sick.

        My late grandfather, an ‘old school’ physician, was a great believer in salt water gargles for preventing colds and soothing sore throats and toothaches. Everything old is new again.

    3. Verifyfirst

      In New South Wales, Australia, teachers now file as many Workers Comp claims as construction workers, apparently.

      As far as being similar to a common cold, it is in some respects, but more importantly, it isn’t:

      I have switched to Novavax shots, here in the US, after four initial Pfizer over three years, I waited a year after the last Pfizer and got a Novavax about three months ago. Planning to look into whether I should try to get a second Novavax in another month or so, or wait until next fall. I’m almost 65, not immuno-compromised as far as I know. Lol.

  8. .human

    Whichever way the issue is looked at, to suggest that markets are rational is wrong.

    All one has to do is look at the influence of advertising to recognize the irrationality of markets.

    1. Mikel

      The article missed a fourth possible reason for the literal fairy tale narratives (“goldilocks,” “Santa Klaus rally”, etc):

      It could be like late into the evening at a club party and the DJ announces: “Last call for alcohol.”

    2. digi_owl

      Rationality is oversold. Thinking rationally is energetically expensive. And “instincts” have first priority on all sensory inputs anyways, as seen when we react to a sudden sound or certain shapes before having rationally processed what that sound or shape is.

      Or look at martial arts, or even army training. It is all about building up autonomous responses. Why it is so crazy to use soldiers as “police”, as they have been trained to shoot at anything vaguely human once in the field.

  9. diptherio

    My mom’s a big UMCer, and the church splitting has really been tough on her emotionally, as well as creating some really sticky practical situations about what to do with United Methodist Women, a national group that does a lot of charity work in the third world. Figuring out what to do about that group has been kinda hairy, from the sounds of it.

  10. Acacia

    Re: Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a university classroom

    Can’t access the full article but from the illustration I’d say that’s more like a university “lecture hall”.

    Would be curious to see what happens to the infection numbers with a typical seminar room for 20-30 students.

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Myths That Warp How America Sees Russia—and Vice Versa Foreign Affairs

    What a bunch of sophistry that was. A small sample –

    “Even after the Cold War ended, according to the Russian myth, the United States kept seducing others with false rhetoric, including Russia’s neighbors—countries such as Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states. In this telling, U.S. allies operate more as instruments of American power than as independent states. Where governments resisted—in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Serbia, and Syria, as well as in Ukraine before the 2014 Maidan uprising—regime change has been the American preference. Hegemony by invitation, hegemony at the barrel of gun: the means may vary, but the end is never in question.

    Moscow has paid a high price forholding on to this myth.”

    And on and on it goes, detailing actual US actions and claiming Russia has completely misunderstood all the US freedom bombs over the decades. Doesn’t seem like Russia has created any myths here and has a pretty strong grasp of the actual geopolitical situation and NATO aggression led by the US.

    Or am I mything something?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Well, you may have mythed the FT story that used painting forgeries and deepfake tech to “expose” Russia’s duplicity in all matters Putin. Really wasn’t expecting that story to go where it did, then veer back into the original topic so that cynical churls like me who sometimes jump to the end would miss the grotesque agitprop insertion.

      The Blob is working overtime to insert some deep memes into their deepfake stories. In truth, I have never once associated deepfakes with Russia. They are far too adept with the truth to have to rely on such dodgy practices.

    2. Michael

      Had the same thoughts. Quit reading after a few paragraphs. For ex:

      U.S. President Abraham Lincoln described Russia as a place “where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

      Perhaps the full quote explains it better:

      In the fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate, Abraham Lincoln contrasted “our national Democracy” with the tyranny of “emperors and monarchies in Russia” stifling free political speech.2 A few years earlier, Lincoln similarly commented to his friend Joshua Speed, “When the Know-Nothings get control … I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”3 Yet, Tsar Alexander II emancipated millions of Russian serfs almost two years before Lincoln publicly announced the Emancipation Proclamation. Alexander II had signed the Emancipation Manifesto on 19 February [O.S.], 1861, but delayed announcing it until 5 March [O.S.], 1861, “Forgiveness Sunday,” in the hope that the start of Lent would heighten the peasants’ gratitude.4

        1. scott s.

          “The Union could rest easy that its coastal waters were safe, which helped the North to prevail in the Civil War. It’s easily imaginable that without the Russian Navy, both the strategic ports of New York and San Francisco could have been attacked and severely damaged, which in turn would be a major blow to the Union war effort and morale.”

          Seems a bit imaginative. Though after CSS Virginia sortied from Gosport there was some panic but I think navalists weren’t that impressed. If the fears about Virginia were realized, the Russian ships wouldn’t have been anything but targets. As far as San Francisco, that seems a bit of a stretch.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I don’t think that those Russian ships were to deter Confederate ships so much as to send a message to Britain and France that the Union had their protection.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Yes, I was surprised to see them use that quote. He did say it and he certainly wasn’t a fan of our autocracy, but the comment was somewhat positive – and if anything aligned with the modern Russian myth of the US as cited in the article, that America operates lawlessly behind the cover of hypocrisy and a false reverence for rules.

        It is a myth, by the way, so long as we keep in mind that a myth can be substantially in keeping with reality. I would say that a myth is a popular, simplified, “narrativised” perception, important insofar as it can influence our decisions. Myths can be more or less factual, however. I would say that our myth of the US makes American foreign policy seem more powerful, effective and consistent than it is, but directionally I’d say it is substantially correct, and moreso than that article is willing to credit. On the other hand, the author is right to note that 1) the elites of other countries have minds of their own, whether or not they use them well, and 2) that Russian domestic politics aren’t those of monolithic unity under Putin’s leadership.

        And interesting article, thank you. It is a curious feature of the Russian Empire’s nominally absolute monarchy that many of its monarchs (including Catherine II and Nicholas I) sincerely loathed serfdom, but were too afraid of the consequences of abolishing it (there was a very credible fear of an aristocratic coup – remember how Catherine II came to power in the first place – and also of chaos in the countryside). Alexander II had his limits and faults, but he does deserve credit for finally going through with this despite his own considerable apprehension (IIRC he made preparations to flee the country and spent the eve of the abolition at his sister’s residence, so as not to be caught by a palace coup).

        1. hk

          There is a certain myth about “autocracy” generally in the West, especially US, IMHO, which is based on a peculiar “legalistic myopia.”

          The idea is that the autocrats are completely unconstrained and can do whatever they like because there’s no legal limits to their power. This comes from the view, IMHO, that if you can justify it legally, you can do anything you like and it is sufficient to stop something by merely putting up legal barriers. Political and other “good sense” get discounted as long as there’s no law against X. (and this is the basis of “lawfare” that PMC in the US in particular love.) People who have a historical perspective (and, perhaps, a justified bias against legalistic thinking) have cautioned against it: (IIRC) AJP Taylor (known to make a quip or two about limits of legalistic thinking generally in making sense of history) felt that Russian leaders are always more realistic in their political calculations because they always faced threats of palace coups and assassinations, which, because of their inherent illegal and thus conspiratorial nature, could not be easily detected and thwarted. That the “law” is generally obeyed and respected in the West, at least domestically, has made people blind to why it has come to be generally respected and obeyed in the first place and why that cannot be taken for granted in other contexts, I tend to think.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            I do get that impression, yes. For better or worse we really do not have the same regard for the “rule of law”. Putin and Medvedev are probably the most legalistically-minded leaders we’ve ever had, owing to their respective backgrounds – but Putin of course had much stronger roots in the security apparatus, which is likelier to err on the side of professional paranoia rather than strict adherence to legality. Kerensky and Lenin were also lawyers, but the former prided himself on being a great orator and the latter was primarily a professional revolutionary.

            There is also a contrast between the Emperors (I do mean specifically the rulers from Peter the Great onwards) and most European monarchs. With a few notable exceptions, the latter did not really face palace coups against themselves, I think. Peter both centralised de facto power a lot more than his predecessors and created an effective Praetorian Guard (the Guard regiments). As a result, after his death, coups became fairly endemic as various elite groups struggling to fill the vacuum of power and claim new privileges in an overhauled state found a perfect tool for this task. Serfdom went from very bad to much worse (i.e. slavery in all but in name) over the course of the 18th and early 19th century, while the old and new aristocracy was in position to intimidate the monarchy. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

            1. hk

              WRT lack of palace coups in Western Europe, that is true! It’s not to say that kings and dynasties were not overthrown, but they were usually done “legalistically.” I can’t imagine anyone other than Western Europeans overthrowing kings and putting them on trial–yet that is what happened to Charles I. (I’m discounting Louis XVI because, by then, the entire notion of monarchy was already being questioned–although my understanding is that that was hardly a universal view even among Revolutionaries, thus the long debate about what Louis XVI should be charged with…)

          2. vao

            It just came to my mind that “autocracy” and “autocrats” seem to be replacements for “despotism” and “despots”.

            And looking at Google Trends, “autocracy” seems to be somewhat preferred to “despotism”, whereas “despot” is used markedly more frequently than “autocrat”. At this stage, I cannot say whether these observations are in any way significant, nor can I figure out an interpretation for them.

            1. LifelongLib

              They seem to me to be interchangeable. Whenever the U.S. has a beef with another country, it’s always because of one guy and never because there might actually be, you know, conflicting interests.

              1. digi_owl

                Because often either that one guy is not on their payroll, or has reneged on an old agreement. Prime example may be Saddam Hussein that got a lot of US backing while going after Iran. But once he instead went after Kuwait, he became a villain and target.

                1. LifelongLib

                  IIRC Saddam wanted control of Kuwait’s oil, to give Iraq more leverage on setting oil prices in OPEC, something that was in Iraq’s interest but not ours. And he thought he had a green light from the U.S. This may have been a misunderstanding (by one or the other or both) or possibly a trap. But it wasn’t just one guy’s crazy idea.

                  1. digi_owl

                    I seem to recall there was also the issue of access to the gulf, as Iraq only has a thin sliver between Iran and Kuwait. With Kuwait under Iraqi control, it would mean Iraq had access spanning from SA to Iran.

            2. Daniil Adamov

              Autocracy in a Russian context has the benefit of being the official term used under the monarchy – “samoderzhets” was simply Russian for “autokrator”, the monarchy is still often referred to as “samoderzhaviye”.

    3. Carolinian

      We’re the good guys nuff said. Those who disagree are evil, perhaps an Axis of Evil. There always has to be a not so subtle Hitler reference.

      BTW C.J. Hopkins had his case dismissed in Germany and has been cleared of being a Nazi. Next step will be for the Germans to admit that Russia isn’t actually still run by Stalin. The 21st century has the 20th century on the brain.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I’m pretty sure that was the article’s point about America’s own myth? Despite its flaws, it did recognise that the usual American understanding of Russia is pretty delusional in its own right.

        1. Carolinian

          Now somebody tell the NYT and WaPo. Also tell my neighbors flying those Ukrainian flags (still a few).

          It’s a narrative world and we just live in it. Every good story needs an antagonist. The inscrutable East makes a good candidate be they Russians or the Yellow Peril.

    4. TomDority

      Maybe the only thing your missing is that the USA military business, the political business, and the Media business all need a boogie man, a red herring, an reason to charge into the defense of democracy, to protect we citizens who don’t have the vision the MIC etc have – us deplorables, us folks distrusted by the political class etc

      1. digi_owl

        Also having an external enemy to fear and hate distracts the public from the nation’s internal problems. Effectively USA may well be culturally narcissistic.

        1. LifelongLib

          I think most people in the U.S. are basically insular, even isolationist. “Syria wants to build a pipeline to get more control over natural gas” doesn’t have them lining up at the recruiting stations. “Assad is gassing his own people” gets some attention. Unless a nation having a policy the U.S. doesn’t like is portrayed as almost demonic hardly anyone cares.

    5. EMC

      In general, Russian citizens are highly educated and very well informed about global events, far better than in the US. They also do NOT have a reflexive hatred of US citizens imprinted in their limbic systems. Recall the spasm of hatred and cancellation of all forms of Russian culture that rippled through even your most “peaceful” friends in February 2022.

      As I read this article, my mind went to the older generation of Russian citizens, those who lived through not just the economic free fall of the 90s, but the inexorable economic and social decline of the 80s – and what they must see looking at us now. Doors and wheels falling off planes, people living in cars and under overpasses, widespread opioid addiction, etc. It’s NOT a mirror image, and does not have the same causes, but I suspect has a note of familiarity to it.

      1. digi_owl

        Heck, USians do that even against supposed allies when they disagree with US policy. Freedom fries, anyone?

    6. Burritonomics

      No, I came away with the same conclusion. That article is a howler. I couldn’t even get through; made it about halfway.

  12. Bugs

    Hoo boy that Atlantic Council experts predictions on 2034 is some kind of delusional USA PMC masterpiece. Highly recommend having a look at it!

    One thing that did sort of surprise was the slight willingness to wager that the USA might just break up or slip into civil war.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Lots and lots of hopium in that article with a heavy dose of wishful thinking. But then I remind myself that it is the Atlantic Council here aka Neocon Central.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        yeah, wow.
        at least they mentioned that some(in Latin America, notably) expect USA to break up/fail as a state.
        i didnt expect those folks to include such thoughts.

        and i cant read the FP’s latest copium offering, but i think i can prolly hum it, by now.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          and add anne applebaum, cowering under a desk in poland:
          “The moment the Ukrainians start to lose, all of that will change.”

          its good to take a periodic wander through those environs…just to keep abreast of what those folks are thinking about.

          1. griffen

            Yeah that piece by Applebaum was a hoot. “She is within reach of Russian missiles, situated in Warsaw….” Lots of pearl clutching, what if Russia Wins and Ukraine is not a Glorious Victory for the West. I’d hate to see Putin declared a victor but what are we really accomplishing after nearly two years…victory doesn’t seem that likely.

            Then I again, I only read such a website on a light stomach. Frequent columns by none other than David Frum, speechwriter for George W, are among those at the Atlantic. Vomit worthy.

            1. FlyoverBoy

              Worth mentioning that The Atlantic, in the great Silicon Valley tradition of the Bezos WaPo DC Daily Shopper, is owned by none other than Apple heiress Laurene Powell Jobs.

            2. Amfortas the Hippie

              the question remains, for me…and from a feral academic perspective…: does Anne believe what she writes?

              since we cant currently vote any of these people away from power/off the island…we may as well study them, no?
              i know full well what people like her tell us they think….but what does she talk about in bed on sunday morning with her polish senator(or whateverthehell) husband?
              are the two personas related?
              do the 2 facades share some commonality?
              in a nut, is she smoking the stash?
              or does she know different…esoteric knowledge, after all, is right there in the PMC wheelhouse/Id.

            3. c_heale

              I think Applebaum should be aware that the US is in reach of Russian nuclear missiles and has been for a long time. Or did nobody tell here yet?

    2. jefemt

      First, from The Scowcroft-branded institute. Imagine that!

      I was struck by NO respondents from Asia, far east. Probably not even asked…
      but yes, the whole thing was pretty darned shocking, to the point of amusing. And these folks make and influence policy

    3. gk

      They are lucky that they wrote this after Oct 7. Otherwise, they would have ignored Palestine, as in Sullivan’s masterpiece. Nothing about the Houthis – I guess they don’t think they are too important.

      They also predict an independent sovereign Palestinian date, but weren’t asked how they will get rid of the Israeli settlements.

      They have most confidence in the IMF….

      1. hk

        If they create a “Palestinian” state, but the only people still there are Jewish settlers, does that count as a “two state” solution?

    4. Maxwell Johnston

      60% of the participants were USA citizens (and 17% from Europe), so it’s a very USA-centric view of the near future. Pretty pessimistic, actually. Quite a contrast to the Gavekal article from last month (describing growing trade links between emerging markets), which I’ll re-post here in case any of you want to compare and contrast:

      Interesting that the participants hold the IMF in such high esteem! In the 80% or so of humanity that lives outside Borrell’s Garden, I think the IMF is generally either despised or ignored.

      Sitting here in the Moscow countryside, I had to turn on my VPN (magically transforming myself into an EU internet user) in order to access the Atlantic Council website. Gotta look out for those pesky Russian hackers! The anti-RU paranoia seems to have no limits.

      I don’t think the 21st century is going to be terribly kind to the USA and its overseas satraps.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Huh? I could access it just fine without VPN from Yekaterinburg. I guess that’s how the breakup begins, then? :P

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          To paraphrase William Gibson: the breakup of the world wide web is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.

          Most of my VPN usage here in Moscow involves accessing western sites that are afraid of RU IP addresses, as opposed to the RU internet regulator blocking western sites that might be disseminating politically incorrect views (or spicy adult videos). But it’s very random and impossible to predict what’s going to be blocked, and by whom. RU blocks BBC News and Deutsche Welle, but CNN is just dandy. Go figure. The Italian tax service (the beloved Agenzia delle Entrate) has no problem with my logging on from a RU IP address, but the Tuscany regional government website is terrified so I have to use a VPN. And when I’m in Tuscany, I can pay our Moscow gas bills online from an Italian IP address, but to pay the electric bill at our apartment I must use a VPN that teleports me back to RU. And the Italians allow me to watch Russia Today in Russian, but to watch it in English I must switch on my RU VPN. It’s all just a stupid pointless waste of everyone’s time. Kafka couldn’t make this nonsense up, and the fracturing is probably just getting started. Sigh.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            It is bizarre, yes. I’ve been noticing that Twitter/X embeds on this site have started showing up for me again recently. However, actually going to Twitter/X still seems to require VPN.

            I’ve also heard from relatives that Arestovich’s YouTube channel requires VPN, even though the rest of YouTube doesn’t (first I’ve heard of fracturing within a site). But it works for me without VPN.

          2. digi_owl

            Lately i have wondered more and more how long before every nation enact a national firewall that makes it only possible to access the rest of the net via approved gateways that are strictly monitored. This hearkening back to making international calls.

        2. hk

          Maybe they were just blocking access from Sverdlovsk, without realizing what has transpired since 1990? :P

      2. gk

        Hey, here in Italy I can access RT from my living room but not from my bedroom. They are different computers, so there must be a difference in the configuration. It works fine in my office.

    5. Daniil Adamov

      There are some glimmers of sanity – such as the article acknowledging that so far Putin’s power remains pretty much unshaken if not outright strengthened by last year’s events, or a narrow majority of those experts NOT thinking Ukraine will get back to pre-2022 borders. A much larger majority (almost 89%) evidently doesn’t expect it to take back Crimea by 2034 (in which case, when would it do that?). It’s heartening to see. Otherwise, yes, it is about what I would expect them to say.

    6. Es s Ce tera

      And no list of the experts polled, all details of the study hidden, not accessible. No mention of why they are so-called experts. And 60% of the so-called experts are American, that much they’ll admit, but do they think that might perhaps lead to bias? Naw. And right out of the gate the so-called experts are convinced Russia will destabilize without Putin.

      On that question I am actually more optimistic about Russia’s stability than I am about American or, indeed, any other Western country. The reason being that, from what I can see, Putin seems to have created a very good political template which has become normalized in Russia.

      There’s a format of brutal honesty, leaders are candid, forthright, and more about the deeds than the words: 1) Here is the list of things we promised, 2) of those, here is what we accomplished, 3) of those we didn’t accomplish, here’s why not, 4) here is our plan moving forward (another list). And accomplishements are easily verified, easily confirmed. There is remarkable transparency about this which is completely missing from Western politics. It’s government by to-do lists.

      And stated plans are lists of reasonably actionable and achievable items. Whereas Western politicans promise all sorts of crazy shit they can’t possibly deliver on. There’s a weird grounded reasonableness in Russian expectations.

      Nor is there an aspect of leaders being leaders by virtue of magical powers, Russian leaders don’t have auras, are just ordinary people like everyone else, aren’t convinced that they’re particularly special. They seem like reluctant leaders, their platforms state their reasons they’re doing the thing they’re doing.

      Russian leaders have principles, stick to their principles. Their platform outlines their ideal societal model because they actually truly believe it to be the ideal. Can anyone tell us what the Democrats and Republicans even believe about an ideal society? Or (UK) Labour vs Conservative? Or (Canada) Liberal vs Conservative? Or any of the weird amalgams that make up political coalitions in the so-called Western democracies?

      And in any case, whatever they promise or believe, Western politicians have this weird tendency to do a complete 180 on their own platform promises, which means they’re not people of principle. It’s become the norm, the expectation, and the masses just passively accept it as a given. Whereas in Russia it seems if you don’t do what you said you’d do, per your own list, you’ve lost credibility.

      And witness how Putin interacts with Zyuganov, the Communist party leader, there’s no animosity, no sense of the other guy is the enemy and if elected it’ll be the downfall of Russia. No, the political parties seem to respect each other, agree to disagree, there’s almost a sense that none of the parties is more or less valid, all are equally valid.

      And who can forget these hour long interviews Putin gives where he actually gives good and intelligent answers to questions put to him, admits to limitations and mistakes where applicable, etc. As has been often mentioned, there’s no Western leader even capable of that. And in particular, his responses don’t seem to have that carefully prepared “canned” quality, aren’t full of sound bites.

      I could go on and on…but I seriously do wish that Western politics looked to Russia as an example. It seems more like a recipe for stability.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        “Government by To-Do List”

        after paying attention to what Putin actually says since 07(other russian bigwigs more recently), i agree with your assessment.
        we dont have anyone comparable in the usa.
        reptiles and parrots, instead…and call them “statesmen”.
        i was just over at mom’s…briefly…for sh*t on a shingle.
        her msm sunday shows are on…and its all about how wonderful biden is, how terrible trump is, and how utterly evil putin/russians is/are.
        just an all around amen corner.
        i kept my mouth shut.

      2. LifelongLib

        The U.S. is a special case though. Under our system of government power is pretty diffuse; it’s hard to tell who’s really responsible for anything. At least supposedly in a parliamentary system there’s a direct line of responsibility from policy to the Prime Minister to their party to the voters who elected them. In the U.S. that doesn’t exist.

    7. bobert

      I enjoyed the bit about COVID having ended. This means they haven’t factored in the millions of disabled people it will produce over the years. 300 “experts” missed that choice bit.

  13. Wukchumni

    Great mission to Utah for the Dartful Codgers-skied a week at 6 different resorts, with a couple days @ Deer Valley where you slide down steep embankments with perhaps billionaires-not that you’d know as with layers of warm clothes and a helmet & goggles on, everybody tends to look like Jeff Goldblum in the remake of The Fly.

    Looked up ski in-ski out chalets on the slopes and they range from around $5 million to $18 million, with 3 for sale in the higher priced category.

    The weird thing is said chalets never seem to be occupied all that much, it kinda reminds me of Chaco Canyon-a place to congregate, but not live there continually.

    1. jefemt

      Wuk, and anyone who skis or gets to / lives near any sort of resort community… simply must see teevee— it’s a half hour parody from Colorado Public Television. Unbelievably funny, IMHO. Features Wade Davis, world class ethno -botanist…

      I last skied at Pig Sty, two years ago with my college buddy. Ticket would have been 208, a mutual friend who grooms comped me a ticket. Broke out the Rossi Strato 102’s with Marker M4 explodomats— I am a vintage antiquity walking anachronism.
      I was astounded how far up the hill the houses went, how many there were, and how many were mothballed… decks un-shoveled, shuttered and dark And we have folks living in cars and campers all over around here.

      I think it will likely be the last time I ride a chairlift. I was disgusted and disheartened. Humans are not sustainable.

      Do little, with less. Haw haw haw haw

      1. Wukchumni

        That was so funny, thanks!

        The faux ‘natural rock’ facing on our rental duplex far from the slopes in Heber City, invokes the look of Chaco Canyon almost perfectly-not that they were trying for it, methinks.

      2. petal

        That was great, thanks! A family member is high up in ski resort development out there and I don’t know how the housing expansion can continue in that area, especially with the water scarcity.

        1. jefemt

          Yep. The Upper Gallatin is out of surface and ground-water: over-claimed in a warming droughty world. Some call it a Closed Basin. Such Limited Imaginations!
          Local developers, and the aider/abettors, local Town Fathers and Realtors ™, think we should simply steal water from down-stream-states and pump it up-valley.
          Local tax dollars apparently recently paid for just such a study.
          I for one am tired of subsidizing development that is ruining this area.
          It’s reverse socialism– share costs, and privatize profits.

    2. dday

      I always thought that Pueblo Bonito was the No Tell Motel of the 1200’s. I’m still working out what Casa Rinconada was for, probably some kind of live auction house.

  14. Tom Stone

    I wonder how many US enlisted Men and Women don’t know that re enlistment bonuses haven’t been paid, some for years.
    And how many swabbies on board the supercarriers don’t know about Kinzhal missiles?
    The number of Military families that depend on food stamps is quite large due to inflation, and quite a few of those families were among those that benefitted from the child tax credit.
    They are, and have been treated like toilet paper, used once for something shitty and then discarded.

    I’ve also been thinking about what constitutes a “High Crime” in regard to Impeachment, if bypassing congress in order to enable Genocide doesn’t qualify, what does?

    1. undercurrent

      Genocide is okay as long as both parties agree that the right group in being ‘genocided.’ In fact, it seems to me that the 5 Eyes, along with our two psycopathic parties, always seem to be in agreement on whose turn is up. Must be something in their DNA. What a sick group.

    2. MRLost

      How many of you youngsters in NC-land remember chanting, “Hey, hey – LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?” Supposedly effective in getting his attention and encouraging him to withdraw from the ’68 election.
      May I propose a new chant, “Genocide Joe has got to go.” Imagine the multitudes chanting that at Genocide Joe’s next campaign event. Might work.

      1. LawnDart

        Add “Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Genocide Joe has got to go!

        I like it.

        And just in case Neocon Haley becomes a contender, perhaps the NC songwriters can have something prepared based off of Prince’s “Darling Nikki”?

        Just a thought.

      2. digi_owl

        The only reason that chant happened in the first place was because college students risked getting drafted if they dropped out.

        It will not happen today because there is no draft, and the recruiters target the “deplorables” first and foremost (if you see some grandkid of a congress critter in uniform, expect them to have some cushy desk job on a base back home).

      3. Tom Stone

        I first joined that chant in 1967…
        Marches, phone banking, canvassing door to door, envelope stuffing, donating $ and while I felt better about my self all it did was get me on a list…cue Gilbert and Sullivan.

    1. digi_owl

      Supposedly a problem with this method is that those stamps wear out over time.

      And the expense of making computer chips is making that original mask/stamp, and why lithography is so common as there is no wear on the mask once made.

  15. CA

    January 28, 2024

    Black Pastors Pressure Biden to Call for a Cease-Fire in Gaza
    Black congregants’ dismay at President Biden’s posture on the war could imperil his re-election bid.
    By Maya King

    As the Israel-Hamas war enters its fourth month, a coalition of Black faith leaders is pressuring the Biden administration to push for a cease-fire — a campaign spurred in part by their parishioners, who are increasingly distressed by the suffering of Palestinians and critical of the president’s response to it.

    More than 1,000 Black pastors representing hundreds of thousands of congregants nationwide have issued the demand. In sit-down meetings with White House officials, and through open letters and advertisements, ministers have made a moral case for President Biden and his administration to press Israel to stop its offensive operations in Gaza, which have killed thousands of civilians. They are also calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas and an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank…

    1. pjay

      I’m sure Kamala Harris and Hakeem Jefferies are on it!

      Biden should listen; all the Christian Zionists who fully support Israeli genocide will vote for Trump anyway.

      Where do the United Methodists stand on this issue? I mean this as a (semi-) legitimate question.

      1. CA

        Where do the United Methodists stand on this issue?

        [ Church and Temple stances on these moral matters should be considered highly important, but the issues are fearsome to take institutional or individual positions on and I have no sense of what may be happening beyond the New York Times article on Black pastors. The legacy of Martin Luther King obviously is especially important in Black religious communities, but where else? ]

    1. pjay

      He also posted this the same day. It is very good. If this Taibbi piece has already been cited then my apologies. But it deserves to be circulated widely. Not that it will convince many TDSers, but for those who have retained some capacity for critical thought it provides an excellent overview of the reasons many of us believe that Trump is not the greatest threat to what’s left of our “democracy”.

    2. spud

      when fascism came to america, its was sold as free trade spreads democracy, and eradicates poverty.

      1993 was the year america ceased to have any kind of democracy.

  16. zagonostra

    >Whichever way the issue is looked at, to suggest that markets are rational is wrong – Funding the Future

    …markets are acting entirely irrationally. They are dismissing the evidence of chaos all around them. There is likely to be an even stronger element of truth to that.

    Implicit is that lede is that the markets in the past have been “rational.” They never have been. No matter the software and technological advances made, the market is a human artifact and so are the tools designed to understand it.

    But it’s not only the markets, it’s the political system. The blood that powers the U.S. economic system is that of an empire. Conversations that proceed without acknowledging that are invariably bound to obscure the truth. It is the function of the official “press” to create the environment where that obscurity almost seems obvious, just outside the scope of any pubic discussions.

    This reminded me of an essay by Jose Orgega y Gasset in a little book called “Man and Crisis” where he says:

    Today we tend to take these words problem, solution, in an intellectual sense, or rather in a scientific sense, as if problem meant only a scientific problem, and solution merely a scientific solution…As a matter of fact, we live on science, that is on our faith in science…a belief to which one subscribes just as one may subscribe to a religious belief.

      1. Yves Smith

        Southfront is dodgy. I see the video of military equipment on trains on Twitter, not sourced to Southfront, but that does not mean it is current or in Texas. We have seen a ton of fake or misattributed videos in Ukraine. Similarly see: This is in more current tweets despite lack of confirmation. Others saying not from Texas, for instance:

        DailyMail is very good at this sort of reporting and I see nothing there yet.

        1. flora

          Thanks. Great care needs to be taken on reporting this border situation since it’s becoming a key 2024 issue and therefore ripe for politically motivated reporting mishandling the issue, imo.

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          yeah. many of the alt news aggregators are pretty bad about that…troop movements within the us.
          turn out to be vids from years ago nat guard exercises or something.

          however, i have seen a noticeable uptick in military helicopters heading south and east, viewed from my place.
          very few headed north or west.

          and…US highway 87 is a lil less than a mile away…its a fema secondary route.
          during the…what…9 month buildup to invading iraq, we’d see and hear military convoys heading south, (to avoid the interstates;;coming from ft hood, presumably, but diverting to the west…since the interstates/fema primaries all run thru austin—i avoid austin traffic, too)…miles and miles of humvees and big camo trucks with troops and tanks and artillery and whatnot.
          and this repeated ad nauseum.
          there’s been zero such activity on 87 in years.

          i’ll certainly let y’all know if that changes.

          during that time, also, we witnessed convoys of those warthog gunships(that fly in circles) and lots and lots of c-130’s, and even c-5’s…altho the latter hang around san antonio, so dont pass over us very much.
          now…just lots of helicopters…pavelows, apaches, kiowas and the double rotor kind.
          all heading east or south.

          i have heard what can only be b-52’s…a couple of times in the last year…but you cant see those unless theyre right overhead.
          couldnt tell where they were heading.

          1. Jen G.

            I’m always late in the day to catching up on the reading here, but I just wanted to say I like the cut of your jib and enjoy reading your posts. I didn’t know you lived near Austin? My husband and I are transplants from Massachusetts and we’ve lived here since 2006 because he works for Austin Community College. We lived in Austin till 2011, now in Elgin, just east of it.

            You seem like you’ve got your finger on the pulse on things. The possibility of a larger conflict between the Biden administration and Texas worries me a bit.

          2. digi_owl

            “warthog gunships(that fly in circles)”

            You may be thinking of the AC-130, a C-130 with the cargo hold filled with artillery pieces. Used to go by Specter, but the latest variant seems to be referred to as Ghostrider.

            Warthog would be the A-10, with the crazy rotary gun sticking out of its nose.

  17. Will

    Apologies if linked previously, but America may, contrary to popular opinion, be agreement capable. The US announced approval of F-16 deal with Turkey after it agreed to Sweden joining NATO.

    Not sure if it’s normal when reporting on these sorts of arrangements but the main message from the article is that the arms sale was contingent on Turkey’s approval of Sweden.

    Next in line for a payoff – Hungary:

    Turkey’s green light of Swedish Nato membership leaves Hungary as the last holdout in an accession process that Sweden and Finland began in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

    Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán on Tuesday invited his Swedish counterpart to Budapest to discuss the bid, although hints emerged of strains between the two countries.

    I’m guessing unblocking of EU transfers.

      1. Will

        Yes, but the story says US officials are expecting approval. Also has statements from electeds such as this:

        The powerful chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Democrat Ben Cardin, said Friday he would permit the F-16 sale to Turkey.

      2. digi_owl

        Ding. I seem to recall a long list of “signed agreements” that are sitting in some drawer eternally waiting for Congressional ratification that will never happen.

  18. flora

    This article about the downfall of Boeing is a picture of neoliberalism in a nutshell. From RT.

    “It is possible to see Boeing’s merger with McDonnell as simply an unfortunate mistake, and the rise of the likes of Harry Stonecipher as simply an instance in which the wrong person found his way to the top; and the outsourcing and cost-cutting as simply a misbegotten strategy. But this would miss the wider trends at work in the American corporate landscape at the time. Boeing was hardly alone on this path

    The intellectual underpinning for this change in approach came from economist Milton Friedman’s Chicago School, whose theory that executives had a “fiduciary duty” to maximize shareholder returns fell on fertile ground. A company, Friedman argued, has no social responsibility to the public or society; its only responsibility is to its shareholders. The idea that a company essentially exists to maximize value for shareholders has become so engrained in the fabric of our thinking that we are scarcely aware that it was ever any other way.”

    1. Carolinian

      Boeing was hardly alone

      Perhaps a lot of the change has to do with lack of competition. The Boeing story up in Links says Boeing will persist despite all the criticism because Airbus alone can’t turn out enough airplanes and the tech learning curve to make airliners is very steep.

      Whereas the era of Boeing as an engineering rather than financial company saw lots of competition.

    2. Charger01

      Don’t forget, it was Jack Welsh who made the “stacked” employee practice popular and cutting staff to boost share price/acquiring and flipping subsidiaries the ultimate sign of success.

      1. flora

        Yep. Infamous rank-and-remove Welsh.

        A couple more para’s from the above article:

        “Bloated and increasingly uncompetitive American companies needed a way forward – and that way forward can most succinctly be summed up as a switch in resource-allocation strategies from value creation to value extraction. Whereas the highly vertically integrated American companies of old practiced a ‘retain-and-reinvest’ approach, the new regime was one of ‘downsize-and-distribute,’ to use a phrase coined by economist William Lazonick.

        This can be described, depending on one’s point of view, as either maximizing the value of the company or asset-stripping it for the benefit of executives and shareholders – with a corresponding hemorrhaging of the workforce.”

        1. flora

          Thank you for the spelling correction. You’re right. I remember some people back then referring to him as Jack “grape jelly.”

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      After a stretch of heavy winnings, the time comes to cash in your chips. I believe an analog of that time occupies the efforts of the Imperial Elites. It just takes a little longer and entails a little more complexity to cash out Imperial winnings.

  19. MaryLand

    Endurance is indeed a book hard to put down. What they had to endure was incredible. Highly recommend this short but riveting account taken directly from Shackelton’s diaries of their voyage to Antarctica.

    1. Eclair

      There is also a documentary film, “The Endurance,” which I watched a number of years ago.

      A few years before viewing that, we had taken our grandchildren to the Museum of Natural History in NYC, and thoroughly enjoyed an exhibit on the very different polar expeditions undertaken by the British Scott and the Norwegian Amundsen. The latter, of course, was successful, due in most part to Amundsen’s learning the lessons of polar travel and life from the indigenous inhabitants. He used dog sleds, hunted and ate seal (and fed it to the dogs) and dressed in the loose-fitting furs and hides that the native peoples had perfected over centuries. And, being Norwegian, his men were accomplished skiers and could keep up with the dog teams hauling the supply sleds.
      Scott insisted on using ponies, wearing wool, and eating an English diet, among other mistakes.

      Shackleton seems to have had the same ‘we’re English and know better than the uncivilized natives’ cast of mind. The film, which btw is exhausting, in my estimation, was a long catalog of mistakes, errors of judgement, and just plain arrogance that led to an escalating series of disasters, that Shackleton just blundered on through, along with his unfortunate crew. Earning him a place in the pantheon of British heroes who won, and lost, an Empire and whose arrogance and conviction that they bore ‘the white man’s burden,’ is still wreaking havoc in the so-called ‘Middle East.’

      1. digi_owl

        It also was not Amundsen’s first visit to the area. He was also first mate on a Belgian expedition that got stuck in the ice and had to spend far longer than they were prepared for.

        At some point him and the ship doctor had to assume command, everyone else was either going mad or coming down with scurvy.

        Supposedly they even lost one crew member by simply having him up and wander of into the dark of the polar winter.

    2. Cat Burglar

      See also the book by Shackleton”s skipper, Frank Worsley: Shackleton’s Boat Journey. It covers the end of the ordeal, crossing the sea from Elephant Island to South Georgia Island in the 20-foot boat, and the mountaineering crossing of South Georgia Island. Navigation was dependent on keeping their one chronometer dry and operating, taking sightings on the sun despite constant overcast, and peeling apart the dissolving pages of their nautical manual — to arrive spot-on at South Georgia Island in a gigantic storm. Worsley tells you how they did it. A demonstration of will and skill, with no room for error.

  20. Screwball

    From the “can things get more insane file” Nancy Pelosi says “hold my beer.” This is from an Aaron Mate Tweet, which apparently aired this morning.


    Watch Nancy Pelosi claim that protestors opposing Israel’s genocide in Gaza are spreading “Putin’s message,” and that she wants them investigated for possibly being on Russia’s payroll.

    Stop! Just stop with the BS. I can’t get through the clip (CNN with Dana Bash) and I want to scream. I’m guessing Bash never questions this. Why would she?

    These people are nothing but a bunch of sick repulsive despicable $%$#s.

    1. CA

      Watch Nancy Pelosi claim that protestors opposing Israel’s genocide in Gaza are spreading “Putin’s message,” and that she wants them investigated for possibly being on Russia’s payroll:

      [ What a thoroughly disreputable, anti-democratic stance for a person who was for years third-in-line for the Presidency. Imagine failing to understand that such a stance will undermine how democracy is understood. ]

      1. Screwball

        It is truly amazing. It boggles my mind that this kind of “crap” continues to be spewed on TV. Yet, a week or so ago, Rachel Maddow explained they couldn’t show Donald Trumps Iowa speech (or whatever it was) because he lies. But this is OK, and no push back whatsoever from the useless paid talking head Bash. Come on people!

        I’m just so tired and worn out by this stuff. America has to be the most propagandized country on earth – but we know that. My PMC friends lives revolve around talking about how dumb and stupid Trumpe voters are, but will be repeating this quote of Nancy’s by the end of today.

        I know, turn off the TV, get off the internet – you can’t change anything, and don’t let this stuff bother you. I get that, but this kind of stuff just jerks my chains.

        My 110 lb West Virginia hillbilly mom would kick my ever living ass for lying (she would be 115 today), so I was brought up to tell the truth and not tolerate lying. I would love to see mom in that room with Pelosi – it wouldn’t be pretty. Mom was granny Clampett on steroids.

        I guess I’m just too old. *spit*

        1. Tom Stone

          Palestinians aren’t Semites, because reasons, which is also why they are Human Animals rather than Human fungi, Human Minerals or Human Vegetables.
          So calling this mass murder genocide is antisemitic, because donors.
          Rachel Maddow explained it with her usual clarity “RUSSIA!!!”.

          On that “Human Vegetable” category, Brandon holds the copyright.

          1. Screwball

            I know a guy who calls them Hamasholes. I would like to hit him in the mouth. From the same breed who wished fellow American’s drop dead for not getting vaxxed. Nice people.

            1. undercurrent

              You’d only get in trouble. I suggest using two of the finer words in popular English, putting the first (used as a verb), in front of the second (used as a pronoun, and subject.) Two fine, even excellent words, when paired with a withering voice, can produce a surprising sense of satisfaction. I suppose you know what these two words are. Much better than sticks and stones.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      So, From today’s Aljazeera link on Muslim voters in Michigan:

      “Biden is telling Israel, ‘Here is the money; here’s ammunition; here’s the political power; here’s whatever you need, go and kill.’ That is a war criminal. That’s how we see it,” Siblani said he told the campaign manager.

      Baydoun, the [Wayne] county commissioner, rejected both arguments. “We will not forget. This is a genocide,” he said. “We can no longer accept the lesser of two evils.”

      And from CA’s link ( above on Black pastors in Georgia:

      Still, six Black faith leaders who spoke with The New York Times said they or their colleagues had considered rescinding invitations to Democratic politicians hoping to speak during their Sunday services, or withholding public support for Mr. Biden’s re-election until his administration committed to a cease-fire.

      …Asked whether the war in the Middle East could threaten Mr. Biden’s chances in November, the Rev. Jamal Bryant, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Ga., said, “I think Biden threatens his own success.”

      Both pelosi and her lame Putin puppet mantra are well past their use-or-freeze-by dates. Nobody but bash and maddow is listening, so I really hope she keeps it up until November. No one deserves to go down in a blaze of irrelevance more than she.

      We’ll have to stay tuned to see if james clyburn, legendary wrangler of all things black church related, will be able to manage this sticky, vote-blue-no-matter-who situation with more aplomb.

      1. Screwball

        No one deserves to go down in a blaze of irrelevance more than she.

        I respectfully disagree – the entire democratic party needs to be pummeled in the next election. They have all been pushing this crap (along with other crap) for 7 years while doing jack squat for us.

        As an example, maybe a small thing, but it means something to me and many other retirees on fixed income. The Affordable Connectivity Program which gives us $30 bucks a month off our internet bill. It was passed during COVID.

        Last week I got a notice from my provider it will expire in April – write my congressmen and tell them to renew it. Right, like they give one good $hit.

        We can spend BILLIONS on bombs and war (Lindsey Graham calling to bomb Iran today – imagine that), not knowing where millions go, but let’s screw over our seniors/retirees, homeless, veterans, and children.

        These people are worthless beyond words. I have them, but I can’t post them here. *spit*

      2. rowlf

        The story says Arab Americans in Michigan, which makes more sense since some families are Christian.

        I always thought the Palestinians would benefit from pointing out the mix of religions in their population.

        1. Screwball

          I know a guy who lives in Dearborn MI. He complains about the Muslim’s who protested in area. He says they are brainwashed by the news and don’t know anything.

      3. Lena

        There are other ‘swing states’ besides Michigan that have sizable Arab and Muslim populations. Among them are Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia and Arizona. They each have a smaller percentage than Michigan but in a close race it could cost Biden the election. Even if Genocide Joe makes a sudden change in his support for Israel, the Arab and Muslim American communities will not likely forget come November.

        1. Acacia

          Heh, I wonder if Biden will get booted from the ballot in any of those states.

          There have been noises from the GOP about this in Texas, Missouri, Florida, and especially Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

          According to Newsweek, “Aaron Bernstine of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Cory McGarr of the Arizona House of Representatives and Charlice Byrd of the Georgia House of Representatives wrote in a statement that Biden is “100% not eligible to run for political office,” according to Democrats’ interpretation of the law.”

          This election is looking more and more like some kind of deranged dark ride, à la “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” replete with “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” and the visit to Hell lol

    3. digi_owl

      It seems like Pelosi is part of the “feminist” wing of the Dems, where everything since the disaster that was HRCs presidential attempt can be attributed to the dirty manspreader Putin…

  21. Mikel

    “India pivots away from Russian arms, but will retain strong ties” Analysis Channel News Asia

    Isn’t that the way some countries play both sides of the fence? They keep a foot in the USA’s good graces by purchasing arms to have some influence and as sort of a tribute to the empire thru the MIC.
    One has to wonder if the quality and need are the top priorities with the purchasea.

    1. IMOR

      Correct. See for example the F-16s to Turkey elsewhere on this page today. That plus giving no further guff on Turkey’s role as Black Sea gatekeeper, and allowing joint e
      naval exercises with unfavored (by U.S.) nations, was apparently enough for the NATO admission vote. Riling up Kurds in both Iraq and Syria directions means we’ll be piecing Erdogan off again soon. Then they’ll buy more Russian AD and repeat cycle.

    2. digi_owl

      India has been playing this game for a long long time.

      Any time they want some new energy project started, they start publicly pondering a natgas pipeline from Iran. And predictably they will get a counter-proposal from USA for say a nuclear power plant on the cheap if they drop said pipeline plan.

      Quite likely why even with population to rival China, they have never taken of as an industrial hub in the same way.

  22. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Protestors stop a container ship docking in Melbourne? Dammit! We’re gonna have to bomb Australia now!

  23. Will

    A happy story to share. Repair Cafes! Did not know this was a thing but apparently it’s global. Volunteers getting together to help others fix or learn how to fix household items seems a worthy endeavour.

    Nice little video of the Toronto chapter here. (Non/improper masking is distressing but perfect being enemy of the good etc.)

    1. digi_owl

      As more and more products use ICs for even the dumbest of things, such events will become less and less useful.

      One of my early work experiences were doing odd tasks at a local appliance store that also offered repair services. One thing is did repeatedly was unpack the thick repair manuals they received and file them away according to brand and model.

      Then again this was back when a TV was still mostly analog transistors and magnets, and came with a complete schema inside the case. That said, repairing a CRT is no joke. That tube can hold a lethal charge!

      1. flora

        You are correct about the electronic discharge dangers of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TVs and the early CRT computer monitors. However, there are so many older, electronic products that do not present such a danger and for which a simple repair can keep in service. Lamps, radios, toasters, toaster ovens, irons, etc. None of these items present an electronic coil, static discharge danger that a CRT presents. In the more recent category of electronics there’s nothing holding an electronic coil static discharge danger as far as I know.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe some digital devices include components that require digital devices for their control only. Simple or simplified controls can be build using analog or more standard digital devices — consider a washing machine.

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah i pondered including an anecdote about my parents old washing machine that kept going for some 30+ years.

          It was basically electro-mechanical, with the wash programs encoded as contact points on disks being spun by an electric motor. This in turn enabled and disabled the various pumps and motors that did the actual washing.

          Did need a manual step of moving the wet clothes over to a separate centrifuge.

          In the end it got retired when the housing for said centrifuge rusted through.

      3. flora

        CRTs, aka Cathode Ray Tubes, aka old big tube TVs or old big tube computer monitors, are a category all their own. They had dangerous high electronic discharge coil capacitors and RGB color “guns”. Different things all together from simple electronics. I don’t see any old CRTs being repaired at these sites. (for good reasons.)

        1. flora

          adding: here’s an old photo of a Philips CRT monitor. Touching the smaller, narrower electronic part of the back of the tube by hand or with a metal tool could knock one across the room, or worse, when the static charge held in the coil discharged into you. It could happen even if the tube had been idle and offline for several years. You did not want that electronic discharge to happen into your body. Repeat last line. Repeat last line again.

        2. spud

          i used to adjust color monitors to blow up the screen, that means top to bottom, side to side, no borders. did this with the monitor on, with a very very long thin screwdriver heavily insulated.

          not for the faint of heart.

          1. Acacia

            Indeed. Long ago, I had a job that involved adjusting CRT monitors like that.

            One time, the screwdriver came too close to the HV lead attached to the side of the CRT (from the flyback transformer), and I saw a bolt of lightening erupt right through the insulation on the wire, into the screwdriver, and through my hand and arm — it found a “ground”.

            The electricity made my arm involuntarily fly upward over my head, the screwdriver flew. I felt it go through the side of my body (this is why you never use your left hand for this trick)… and I never tried that again except using a plastic screwdriver.

  24. ISL

    Russia, the West and the ‘World Majority’ Russia Matters.

    Skimmed – not worth reading. Somehow its all about messaging, as “the West has far more to offer economically than Russia” (ignoring Russia+China).

    Wow, what does the West make other than Hollywood movies, financialized derivatives, overpriced ineffective military shite, and debt (I expect Japan and S. Korea to join the globalized majority at some point with no regrets)?

  25. Amfortas the Hippie

    another fella who gets it, sans hysteria and hyperbole:

    aswith teh Tiaibbi bit that Carolinian(i think) posted somewhere^^^, this outcome has been perfectly obvious to some of us…more or less…for a long time.
    i’ve been banging many of these same drums since at least 93.
    and if i could see a lot of this coming, as night follows day…while living in my truck and hiding from the law, and well before the web….why couldn’t the “best and the brightest”?
    an inherent aversion to Koolaide?
    or, on the contrary,an ingrained maslowian need to cuddle into a herd?

    Wife admitted, sort of late in the game, that while she always started by rolling her eyes at my wild hair on fire prophecies…she always ended up saying “dammit, joe…”.
    she would have had a fieled day with the year and a half since she passed.
    but it aint like the trajectories were esoteric,lol….i mean…sending our physical plant to china, bc our betters didnt want to pay americans?
    and now china has built a middle class, etc and is outpacing us on so many measures?
    yeah…real hard to suss out from the entrails, that one.
    similaly with encircling russia, iran and china…and otherwise garrisoning the globe to make it safe for transnational corporate rapine and plunder…weaponising imf/WB/Biss, etc….and replacing actual productivity(making things) with shenanigans(CDO’s, and other exotic casino things)….yeah…real hard to contemplate where it all ends up,lol.
    makes me want to paraphrase the epicurean trilemma, or something…but i’d hafta break out the tequila, first…and its way too early for that.

    1. Kouros

      This one made my chuckle:

      “At the same time, three new political classes have developed, gaining great influence. The first is the human resources class, a product of the Civil Rights Act which enforces regime ideology on all formal organizations over a certain size (15-100 workers depending on circumstances).”

      Lately I was interviewed by HR because I was reported annonyously by some colleagues that I questioned the use of gender instead of sex in a particular survey designed to help modernize a hospital and because I questioned the use of “birthing parent” instead of “mother” in our provincial Vital Statistics reporting, where I suggested that maybe we shouldn’t go without some thinking and debating. Perversely I asked if we will continue to report on type of delivery and continue to use “vaginal delivery” as a category… But then I was creating an “unsafe” work environment…

      Nevermind, the chuckle was due to the fact I remembered Mike Duncan “revolutions” podcast and his recounting of Stalin’s comming to power. He was the head of personnel in the Soviet Union, and I think he said that “personnel is politics”

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Woke is counterinsurgency doctrine applied to home.
        divide and continue the hegemony.

        first usarmy manual on counterinsurgency i read was from mid70’s….picked it up accidentally at the big surplus store in downtown galveston in late 80’s.(BoBo’s, or something)
        and there it was,lol….what they were bringing home even then.
        every issue ive seen since(mostly online, and before the enshittification) has only made it clearer.
        “we” have been the real enemy for a long time.
        so feed us shit and keep us in the dark for as long as possible.

        and once you see it, you see it everywhere.
        stoke divisions, anywhere they occur.

        sports, junior high to pro…is an unstudied aspect of this.

        my town is still mad at a town up the road about a game that happened 30 years ago,lol.
        and visaversa.
        rivalry, over chasing a ball.
        i perpetuity
        havent played them but twice in those decades, as uil things change(like a thunderstorm, or a holy mountain…these folks accept those quasigoobermeht edicts!)

    2. Frank

      Nemets is fantastic, I have the great pleasure of knowing him personally. He’s perhaps one of the most erudite people I’ve ever met.

  26. CA

    A terrific short essay:

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    This New York Times article * is mind-blowing and illustrates the insane extent to which America has escaped reality.

    They literally blame China – of all countries – for the Middle East crisis, writing that “the deteriorating security situation in the Middle East shows how ineffectual Mr. Xi’s promotion of peace and tranquillity has been, and it’s coming back to bite China.”

    When everyone who lives in the real world understands that the root of the current issue is OBVIOUSLY Israel’s decades-long occupation and progressive annexation of Palestinian land, with full US backing. And the detonator of the crisis was the Biden administration’s efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia by sidestepping the Palestinian issue. The Palestinians were effectively put in a position where – in the words of Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet – they felt “alone and abandoned” and as a result “chose the Samson option” because “they felt that they had nothing to lose and this was the only way for them to show to the world ‘you will not be able to create stability in this region if you will bypass Palestinians.’ ”

    China did undertake its own normalization efforts – between Iran and Saudi Arabia – and this occurred without a hitch, entirely peacefully, and has held since. So much so that both countries just joined the BRICS together. So the fact is: China did improve peace and stability in the region substantially – reconciling the two historic enemies of the region was no mean feat – whilst America managed to trigger YET ANOTHER major war in the Middle East, creating untold human suffering and dramatic region-wide repercussions as we can see with Yemen. The contrast between both countries’ respective impact on the region just couldn’t be starker.


    10:31 PM · Jan 27, 2024

    1. hk

      Interesting that US says this happened in Jordan, but Jordan says it was in Syria. I’m inclined to believe the latter.

  27. hk

    This op ed is several years old, but I think this still applies to the current events around Taiwan. I’m curious what the commentors here think about this.

    The op ed is from retired Cardinal Zen, former Bishop of Hong Kong and one time refugee from the mainland, and seems to reflect the kind of skepticism about China (he writes about the PRC govt, but appears to embody the broader skepticism about the modern Chinese state and society that PRC has built since 1949) that’s common among, say, China-skeptics in Taiwan. I wish there was a reply from a Chinese Bishop who is in good standing vis a vis both the Chinese state and the Vatican (or maybe there is one and I don’t know of one?)

    1. CA

      October 24, 2018

      The Pope Doesn’t Understand China
      By Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun

      HONG KONG — Last month the Vatican announced that it had come to a provisional agreement with the government of China over the appointment of Catholic bishops. Supporters of the deal say that it finally brings unity after longstanding division — between an underground Church loyal to the pope and an official church approved by the Chinese authorities — and that with it, the Chinese government has for the first time recognized the authority of the pope. In fact, the deal is a major step toward the annihilation of the real Church in China.

      I know the Church in China, I know the Communists and I know the Holy See. I’m a Chinese from Shanghai. I lived many years in the mainland and many years in Hong Kong. I taught in seminaries throughout China — in Shanghai, Xian, Beijing, Wuhan, Shenyang — between 1989 and 1996…

      1. Morincotto

        The chinese government certainly never under any circumstances should “recognize the authority of the pope”.

        Neither should anyone else, but that’s a different topic.

    2. CA

      The matter is simple. China is a 5,000 year old civilization, a secular, multicultural society and not ever about to be Catholic or Muslim or Buddhist. That a local religious leader in China, might be evangelical and have ideas of subverting the historical state is implicitly threatening to secular tradition and would as such be taken as impermissible no matter the particular government.

      Writing “I know the Communists,” is meant to be antagonistic and is discrediting for any would-be religious leader in China. What is necessary is knowing and respecting a 5,000 year old benign social secular heritage.

      1. Morincotto


        There are plenty of catholic countries already, the world doesn’t need one more.

        Same with muslim countries.

        China is incredible valuable precisely because it embodies a different perspective, or rather a wealth of them.

        It being reduced to being catholic or otherwise christian or muslim or whatever would constitute an immeasurable, tragic loss for the world, same as with all other remaining non abrahamized civilisations.

        1. CA

          “China is incredible valuable precisely because it embodies a different perspective, or rather a wealth of them…”

          Reminding me of this story, which is especially relevant on this 60th anniversary of relations established between France and China:

          ShanghaiPanda @thinking_panda

          President Xi told a story to President Macron:

          Chinese ancient musicians Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi’s friendship was strengthened by music. Boya played a piece of music that only Ziqi could understand, demonstrating that true friendship requires mutual understanding and appreciation.

          11:56 AM · Apr 7, 2023

          This story implies that… In international politics, mutual understanding and appreciation are key to building strong relationships between nations… by valuing and respecting each other’s differences, nations can find common ground and work together towards common goals.

          Despite having different political systems, ideologies and histories, both China & France are major powers with significant geopolitical and economic influence.

          Both countries should seek common ground while respecting differences; together maintain peace and prosperity for both nations.

  28. Jason Boxman

    From My Patients Used to Be Gung-Ho About the Covid Vaccine. What Changed?

    We can start with, I’ve never heard of a vaccine in my life that has people on shot number 8, and counting; maybe we can dispense with the lies, from the starting gun, eh?

    So I clear the deck, push myself away from the computer, make full eye contact, and begin again. “Tell me what’s on your mind,” I might start with, or, “What makes you feel differently about the Covid vaccine versus the flu shot?” I try to step into the gray zone of their responses and explore those awkward feelings.

    This is mind bending:

    When they say, “I’ve had enough Covid vaccinations already,” I’ll probe where the sense of “enough” comes from. I might ask, “Do you ever feel this way about your diabetes medicines or your mammograms?” We’ll explore how they come to conclusions about which treatments they accept, and try to separate out vague discomfort from specific concerns.

    What vaccination campaign requires shots in perpetuity? And diabetes drugs are just that, drugs, no relationship with vaccination. And mammograms are a diagnostic test. Talk about an apples to starship comparison.

    They are much more willing to engage in a conversation about the realities of the Covid vaccine and how it compares to the flu vaccine, or how it compares to getting the Covid infection.

    Flu shot ain’t a vaccine, either.

    1. sleeplessintokyo

      You Beat me to it! Where to even begin with this?
      All i can say is with questions like that, no wonder her patients wont open up with her. I would walk away thinking my doctor is in need of psychiatric help.

    2. IM Doc

      FYI –

      This author, Dr. Ofri, was at one time rather prominent at medical conferences etc. She was big into what I would call “slice of life” medical story type books and articles. Some of her stuff was very well thought out. Some of it was absolutely kooksville. But that seems to be the kind of writer the NYT likes to employ these days.

      I am not in a place where I can find the exact moment in time, but she wrote an extraordinarily inflammatory article about her colleagues a few years ago, especially the younger ones. Many of her points were very valid. However, I have literally seen her nowhere until this article today. The backlash was so severe. You can say all kinds of crazy things about many topics in medicine. Raise your voice about the culture and work ethic in our universities and medical schools and it is “good night, Lucille.”

      The reaction and commentary to that article a few years ago was literally for the ages. It was at the time a demonstration to me about cancel culture. I agreed with some of her points. However, it was unorthodox to say the least. And the “cancelling” behavior directed her way actually was one of the inputs for me to get out of academic medicine and the big city for good. It was that one moment in time that finally cemented in my soul that we no longer were able to discuss our differences of opinion rationally. Rather, we were going to do our best to re-create The Cultural Revolution. I got as far away as I could. I could not have made a better decision.

    3. Pat

      She wouldn’t like me. I had no problem explaining to my new doctor why I would not be doing either the flu shot or Covid shot. And the first point was that neither was a vaccine. All while wearing an 3M Aura. (I only saw one other person masked.)
      I will say that we did find a point of agreement that the nasal vaccines being tested and used elsewhere look promising.

    1. Jason Boxman

      It’s weird, China having also self immolated on COVID, that we hear no further concern trolling from the NY Times about China on it. I often wonder what kind of damage it’s causing there. Or when the bill finally comes due.

      In other news, back in 2010 or whatever, Pillars of the Earth became a mini series. Reviews looked decent might check that out.

      I still have shows suggested here from two years ago to watch.

  29. karma fubar

    I wanted to post observations on a particularly odd situation that occurred yesterday. I was driving about 90 mins to visit family. I like to listen to Alexander Mercouris’s daily new update for this drive, as the times normally line up pretty well. I listen via youtube on my phone to aux input in the vehicle; I prefer bitchute over youtube whenever possible, but it does not play nicely with my comparatively ancient iPhone. Was listening to the Friday program, which turned out to be much shorter than normal. Youtube being youtube, it picked the next video for me and started playing it after a brief commercial break. Was driving on the freeway, so I didn’t want to be messing with my phone, and let the next program begin without looking at the screen.

    I immediately recognized the second program as being the voice of Douglass MacGregor. The program was covering events from the end of last week. I have listened to him a bunch in the past, and am quite familiar with his voice, mannerisms, vocabulary and content. But very quickly into this program something seemed decidedly odd. The giveaway was the amount of mispronunciations that were made. There were a lot. He had at least three different pronunciations for “Hamas”. He pronounced the word “sever” as in “to sever ties with” as “see-ver”. Those are the best ones I can remember, but again, there were a lot of them. Having listened to him pretty regularly in the past, particularly in the early phases of the Ukraine war, I came to the conclusion that this was not him, but was an AI clone that had been trained on his voice. He has a lot on youtube, so the training content is all there, free for the taking.

    When I finally parked, I was able to look at my phone screen. The channel that this was coming from was listed as “World_Info” and had about 3k subscribers. I did not recognize this as one of his main channels or affiliates (such as Judge Napolitano). The video was also quite odd – it contained a still image in the background, and a little talking head of MacGregor in the bottom left, but the talking head was a repeating 5 second clip of him talking, and clearly was not lip-synced to the audio. The whole presentation screamed low effort rip-off.

    I did not hear any blatant falsehoods in the presentation, nor did it say anything significantly outside the realm of what I believe MacGregor would say. But having just seen the news that AI had spoofed Biden’s voice to issue a fake call to not vote in the primary, I could not shake the idea that this was yet another AI spoof. My guess is that this was just a cheap and easy money grab attempting to siphon off youtube ad revenue. But it could also be a trial run at something darker. The voice quality was very good (I am good with recognizing voices), and the biggest flaw in the execution was the many, many pronunciation errors, but those are correctable and addressable in future versions. It could be a subversive way to deal with unwanted voices – instead of silencing them outright you can have them convincingly say whatever you want, diluting or corrupting there message to the point that they are no longer a credible or reliable voice.

  30. JBird4049

    >>>The Hill. Not a fan of Hansen — whatever the Democrats are, they’re not “left wing” –but he highlights the key role that New York State’s “The Adult Survivors Act” played; it looks suspiciously like a bill of attainder:

    Warning that I know almost nothing about bills of attainder, it looks to me that going by the letter of the law, it is kosher, but the spirit of the law has been shot in the head. Moreover, what is to stop any future party from doing this on anyone for any reason? This is another of those norms that were norms because the cost of it not being so was so great. But since it was an obstacle, it was gotten rid of.

    Anyone with just a bit of wisdom and foresight can see that this method will used as payback or revenge by someone who is not a neoliberal Democrat in the future now that it has has been used. IIRC, one of the reasons Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army was because of the lawsuits, really lawfare, against him being prepared in Rome by the opposition.

    This is just another example of our elites being astute and effective in maintaining power in the short term, but still being moronic fools for the long term.

    To paraphrase what Amfortas said earlier today, if he can see what is and will happen, why can’t they?

    Speaking for myself again, I think that they are not just morons and fools, but angry children who will destroy as much as possible out of spite or temper tantrum as they are shoved out the door.

  31. juno mas

    The Myths that Warp…

    You gotta hand it to the authors of this piece. Using Myth as a rhetorical tool to demonize Russia and excuse the US for its interminable wars (large and small) since the end of WWII is quite cute.

    While Russia has been explaining its security needs for decades the US has been subverting nations as part of the mythical “Rules based Order” for what seems like forever.

  32. Cat Burglar

    Reading the report about Biden losing the Arab-American vote in Michigan — and likely all Michigan’s electoral votes in the election — and considering what a constraint his support for Israel is on advance of US strategic interests, I ask myself, “Biden is willing to take it all on, just because he feels loyal to Israel?” Loyalty? A cynical operator like him? I have no evidence of it in this case, but when a skilled politician’s behavior runs profoundly against their self interest, I begin to wonder if somebody has something on them that keeps them in line. Something just doesn’t smell right.

      1. Cat Burglar

        To lose Michigan might be to lose reelection, so whatever he is getting in exchange must be of supreme value to him. My guess is that being the senator from MBNA all those years likely has taken care of any monetary needs, and lots and lots of money can be tracked, which is why I wonder what else the price may be. If he is as feeble as some reports have it, it might be that it is his retainers that are receiving the sweeteners, and not the Chief. It might not be money — I am reading the coverage with a search image for anything that looks like an exchange.

  33. watermelonpunch

    Thanks for the link!
    And wow, those of us with medical ptsd need a content warning on the CDC Director’s twitter feed at this point. Good gravy, what on earth is wrong with them. I saw someone had translated something from another country that was sent to the people warning about the dangers of covid and how to avoid it, etc, and contrasted it against Mandy Cohen’s “let’s party” public messaging.
    Gotta keep b’ing and complainin to the White House contact page until they are pressured to lean on them some more. Because this is ridiculous.

    I suspect a big part of the CDC sending the hicpac crap back was due to several state/local groups staging letter campaigns to senators and the white house to complain about HICPAC’s FACA violation, based on Lambert Strether’s pointing that out, and then the subsequent complaint letter sent by WHN.
    Thanks Lambert!

  34. Jason Boxman

    Genocide Nancy?

    Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and the former House speaker, on Sunday called for the F.B.I. to investigate protesters demanding a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, suggesting without evidence that some activists may have ties to Russia and President Vladimir V. Putin.

    The without evidence is priceless from the Times that has pushed Russiagate for eight whatever years now.

    There really is no objective truth.

    1. Cat Burglar

      “Our Democracy” at work.

      They are getting a little too open about their methods, so this may fall into the “worse than a crime, a mistake” category. I bet she can expect a sit-in at her offices now. She might have to walk this one back.

    2. Cassandra

      The weird thing is that Mitt Romney was roundly mocked by Team Blue in 2012 for saying that Russia was the biggest threat to the USA. “Hey, Mitt, the 50’s called, they want their foreign policy back.” And here we are twelve years later on the brink of WWIII, with Team Blue baying in full Joe McCarthy mode. They don’t even try to pretend any more, and the true believers just nod along…

  35. skippy

    This is just too precious … Your going to love this Kev …. I only bring you the good stuff mate …

    Australia must consider bringing back conscription as ‘all-out war’ with Russia looms, expert says

    Australia must consider reintroducing conscription to boost its troop numbers in the face of a looming “all-out war” with Russia, an expert says.
    Frank Chung

    “Rapidly rising global tensions in eastern Europe and the Middle East threaten to “drag Australia into an orbit of an open confrontation”, Dr Alexey Muraviev, Associate Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies at Curtin University, said.

    He added it may be “time for Australia to consider another uncomfortable subject — the return of national service”.”

    “Last year, top-secret war-gaming exercises conducted for the Albanese government’s defence review concluded Australia would be “f***ed” if China established a military base in a nearby Pacific nation such as the Solomon Islands.

    “The question of the ADF’s size came to the fore during Australia’s contingencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which required considerable commitments supported by regular rotations of personnel,” Dr Muraviev wrote.”

    Won’t link it, but

    So who is this Dr Alexey Muraviev bloke that opines so strongly, Oh he’s a Lowy Institute boffin and Associate Prof at Curtin University. He was also a non-residential fellow at Sea Power Centre Australia, Royal Australian Navy, and inaugural scholar-in residence, Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

    Alexey has published widely in the field of national security, strategic, and defence studies and is frequently interviewed by national and international media.

    Bloke does seem likes to gab on a bit … eh …

    So what’s this Lowy Institute think[not] independent[tm] tank you ask … wellie …

    “The institute has been described as “neoliberal”,[1] “centre-right” leaning[2] and “reactionary”.[3] It states that its research and analysis aim to be non-partisan, and its programme of conferences, seminars and other events are designed to inform and deepen the debate about international policy in Australia and to help shape the broader international discussion of these issues.[4]”

    Based in Sydney, the Lowy Institute was founded in 2003 by Slovakian-born, Australian-Israeli billionaire businessman Sir Frank Lowy.[2] Lowy, a veteran of the 1947–1949 Palestine war,[2] and close associate of two former Israeli prime ministers,[2] emigrated to Australia and founded Westfield Corporation, a global shopping centre company; he retains a key role in various shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand.[5][6] – snip

    The institute receives funds from the Australian government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Defence, and the Department of Home Affairs. Companies which provide funding include BHP, Capital Group, Rio Tinto, and Rothschild & Co.[7]

    In 2003, Lowy endowed the institute with a donation sufficient to fund the first eight years of its operation.[2] His family continues to play a key role in the institute, with at least four “Lowy”-named people on the Board of Directors.

    The institute has also been funded by donations from the investment management firm, Manikay Partners; from a global accounting and professional services firm: Ernst & Young; and from a former Australian diplomat and cabinet secretary, Michael Thawley (with his wife Deborah).[2]

    The institute registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, in 2012, as the “Lowy Institute For International Policy”, and by 2019 was reporting over $12 million in revenues (including over $2 million from government), and over $9 million in expenses.[8] – snip

    Just the wiki page will have you day drinking in no time …

    But yeah Kev, as you would know, and some of our other Oz readers that the idea of conscription down under in the prime age bracket is just not going to happen – full stop. Firstly Albo is a bit singed from the failed referendum on indigenous voice, copping it from the LNP sorts for having the gall to steal from the rich and give to the poor with the 3rd phase of the tax cuts, hurump, hurump, and then all this wacky weather all over the country monkey hammering everything and everyone … Whilst bullet head Dutton can’t remember which decade he’s in and how its playing out with the electorate …

    But wait there is more [said in best old days shop hawker with mike and small speaker out front of shop] … Not many may know that the whole Westfield Corporation shopping center thingy was a huge tax haven operation. I mean old NC Richard Smith level financial flow of funds stuff.

    Anywho … Good luck with that down here as the none of the age cohorts would have a bar of it, mom and dad too. Military is not worshiped, decades of adventurism and bent people coming back only to be tossed on the heap will do that … not to mention covid is the new game of tigger down under … how many times and how often have these kids had it … oops …

    Back to living the life aquatic …

    1. skippy

      “Rapidly rising global tensions in eastern Europe and the Middle East threaten to “drag Australia into an orbit of an open confrontation”

      We[Royal] are all being ****dragged**** into open confrontation with Russia, no mention of the endless antics by the West post the fall of the Berlin Wall to subjugate it for extraction, completely whipsaw its population with neoliberal economic reforms regardless how it effected is lower classes and installing oligarchs to run the nation with a fig left democracy for the unwashed to cling too, now the whole Ukraine shiteshow = is this a live community theater rendition of the old movie ‘Stripes’ –

      Did I mention the sanctions that are imploding the EU and UK economies … but yeah dragged …

      1. skippy

        Did you see Boris latest recruitment drive video… right out of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ Major Darling comedy skit …

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