Links 1/29/2024

Rare white penguin spotted at scientific base in Antarctica NY Post. I suppose the spots made it visible?

The financial system needs more capital and less complexity FT. Why not less of both?

A Famed Analyst’s Final Forecast Is the Fall of the U.S. Economy New York Times. “[T]he people making the goods elsewhere are getting greater and greater control of the means of production [(!)] and therefore greater and greater control of the world economy and therefore greater and greater control of money.”


Activists splatter ‘Mona Lisa’ with soup in Louvre Museum in Paris ABC

Truth Actually Lapham’s Quarterly. The deck: “A tour through a century of climate-change documentaries.”


Negligence by experts in the early response to COVID-19 British Medical Journal. If negligence it be; it still goes on–

Updated WHO COVID prevention guidance may endanger rather than protect, some experts say Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. At best, utterly blinkered and moronic, like HICPAC:

“The guidelines suggest using symptoms to screen people,” [Raina Macintyre said via email. “This is seen in health guidelines in many countries—emphasis on symptoms (‘wear a mask if you feel unwell’), when we know a substantial proportion of transmission is asymptomatic, which is a major rationale for universal masking in high-transmission settings.”

Similarly, David Michaels, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist and professor at George Washington University School of Public Health and a former administrator at the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said the guidelines don’t directly address the modes of COVID-19 transmission.

“I was very disappointed,” he told CIDRAP News, referring to the WHO’s adherence to what he calls “droplet dogma,'” or the misguided belief that SARS-CoV-2 spreads mainly through droplets rather than aerosols. “It hasn’t fully recognized the concept that this novel coronavirus is airborne.

Nor does the document fully recognize that N95 respirators offer better protection against the virus than medical, or surgical, masks.

Looks like John Conly is still embedded….

For elite footballers, the effects of covid-19 linger for months The Economist


Chinese developer Evergrande ordered to be wound up by Hong Kong court FT. A story about Evergrande that dropped from sight.


COVID-19 cases in Japan increase for the ninth consecutive week Asahi Shimbun

‘It’s not an Oedipus complex’: why Japan’s ‘silver porn’ market is booming Guardian


Narendra Modi is celebrating his scary vision for India’s future Vox. The temple in question.


3 US service members killed, many injured in attack on Al-Tanf military base Anadolu Agency. The deck: “US says attack happened within borders of Jordan, while Jordan says it was on Al-Tanf base in Syria.” Trump tried to get rid of Al-Tanf, but failed. Today, Trump blames Biden, Iraqi resistance group claims responsibility. Iran’s denial. GOP calls for retaliation. Biden vows response at time ‘of our choosing.’ Meanwhile, KC-135s heading eastward:

What Comes Next After Three Americans Were Killed In A Drone Attack In Jordan? The Drive

Violence spirals as Iran’s proxies kill American soldiers The Economist. The deck: “In an election year Joe Biden is under fierce pressure to retaliate.” Commentary:

Yeah. Can’t the spooks have some intern make a yarn diagram?

SITREP 1/28/24: US Troops Suffer Fatalities in Strikes as Escalation Grows Simplicius The Thinker(s)

* * *

Pelosi demonstrating fealty (1):

Pelosi demonstrating fealty (2):

* * *

Kafka at the International Court of Justice The Tablet. Case for the defense. But see Francis Boyle:

* * *

Details Emerge on U.N. Workers Accused of Aiding Hamas Raid NYT. The deck: “Israeli officials have presented evidence they say ties workers at a Palestinian aid agency in Gaza to violence during the Hamas-led attack on Israel.” Israeli officals? Say no more! Commentary:

Interview on Iran’s Press TV discussing the brouhaha over several UNRWA employees’ involvement in the Hamas attacks of 7 October Gilbert Doctorow

* * *

Iran launches three satellites amid rising tensions with Western powers Al Jazeera

New York Times Puts “Daily” Episode on Ice Amid Internal Firestorm over Hamas Sexual Violence Article The Intercept

Biden administration discussing slowing some weaponry deliveries to Israel to pressure Netanyahu NBC. Maybe if we sent him a sternly worded letter?

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

Where Is Hamas Getting Its Weapons? Increasingly, From Israel. NYT. Unexploded ordnance (!).

Has International Law Survived, or Has the Western Political Class Killed It? Craig Murray. Murray comments:

The Lucky Country

Deadliest six months on Australian roads since 2010 leaves industry demanding answers Guardian. ‘Tis a mystery!

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

Dear Old Blighty

Britain says it has no plans for conscription, after top general says the UK may need a citizen army AP

European Disunion

Brussels threatens to hit Hungary’s economy if Viktor Orbán vetoes Ukraine aid FT

Hungary far-right would lay claim to neighbouring region if Ukraine loses war Reuters. Trans-Carpathia.

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine war latest: Kyiv would win faster if allowed to hit deep inside Russia with Western weapons, Navy commander says Kyiv Independent

Ukraine’s Zelensky warns of World War 3 risk as he seeks Western support against Russia South China Morning Post

* * *

Amidst Preparations for Long Ukraine War, Peace May Come Quickly Tony Kevin, Pearls & Irritations. “Peace, when it comes, may come quickly. Meanwhile, expect both sides to continue to talk big publicly of their being ready for a long war. In Russia’s case, it is true.” Big if true (author bio). Worth a read.

Ukraine’s hopes for victory over Russia are slipping away WaPo

Bertie Wooster in Murmansk London Review of Books. The Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War of 1918-20.


A vote for Trump is a vote for chaos Noah Smith, Noahpinion

Our Famously Free Press

I Am Going to Miss Pitchfork, but That’s Only Half the Problem Ezra Klein, NYT

Why We Need Public Journalism Boston Review


Epidemiology has a causality problem Adam Kucharski, Understanding the unseen

Toward the eradication of medical diagnostic errors Eric Topol, Ground Truths

More (And More) Meat: How Doctors Treated Diabetes Before Insulin Therapy Literary Hub

The Bezzle

$40 billion worth of crypto crime enabled by stablecoins since 2022 Ars Technica


The border’s political value is crushing talks on policy The Hill

A city of 710,000 struggles to cope with 40,000 migrant arrivals NBC. Denver (but the headline figure isn’t supported in the story).

House Republicans release impeachment articles against Mayorkas amid push to remove him over the border ABC

Digital Watch

X blocks searches of Taylor Swift to combat explicit deepfakes The Hill. And when the “deepfake” is in fact real? Hunter Biden’s laptop all over again.

Zeitgeist Watch

Icon of the Seas: World’s largest cruise ship sets sail Sky News. I didn’t know they made Petri dishes that big.

Sports Desk

England secure one of greatest Test wins as Tom Hartley spins out India with seven wickets Sky Sports

Second Test as it happened: Windies claim first win on Australian soil in 27 years Sydney Morning Herald. “Windies” = West Indies:

Musical interlude:

Supply Chain

New Lithium Discoveries Can Secure America’s Clean Energy Future The National Interest

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s Strategy of Ambiguity Is Ending Now Foreign Policy. Hmm. I’m not sure many outside The Blob view our foreign policy as “ambiguous,” especially not the objects of our imperial attention.

Software troubles delay F-35 fighter jet deliveries … again The Register

Class Warfare

Trader Joe’s Attorney Argues National Labor Relations Board Is ‘Unconstitutional’ HuffPo

Skeletons in the Closet Air Mail. The deck: “The culture wars have come for Skull and Bones, Yale’s most prestigious—and mysterious—secret society.”

Austin experimented with giving people $1,000 a month. They spent the no-strings-attached cash mostly on housing, a study found. Business Insider

Scientists have found a new kind of magnetic material The Economist

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

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 Strawberry Fields Forever by the Beatles)

    Watch Israelis dance in the streets and fields
    In homes that they steal
    The scene is unreal
    We see them sing and jump about
    Contrary to human justice

    Living apartheid with eyes closed
    Ignore the suffering you see
    Have no regard for anyone like a vulgar lout
    That’s how Israelis like to be

    Can’t they hear themselves?
    Are they blinded to what it reveals?
    A murderous feel
    That isn’t hard to figure out:
    Killing small children brings pleasure!

    Chopping down every olive tree
    The whole world thinks that’s pretty low
    It’s petty theft Israelis claim as divine right
    It’s so pathetic it’s just sad

    Can’t they hear themselves?
    Are they blinded to what it reveals?
    A murderous feel
    That isn’t hard to figure out:
    Killing small children brings pleasure!

    Public dancing in joyous glee
    Their hearts aglow with a fever dream
    You’d think they’d know genocide is bad but they get it wrong
    Death to the goyim, not me!

    Can’t they hear themselves?
    Are they blinded to what it reveals?
    A murderous feel
    That isn’t hard to figure out:
    Killing small children brings pleasure!

    Killing small children brings pleasure!

    Killing small children brings pleasure!

    1. Kouros

      Chapter 4

      1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

      2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

      3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

      4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

      5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

      6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

      7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

      8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

      9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.

      10 For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.

      11 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.

      12 And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:

      13 About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

      14 On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

      15 And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

      16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

      17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

      18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

      19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

      20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

      21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

      22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

      23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

      24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

      1. Antifa

        Mumbo jumbo mumbo jumbo mumble jumble
        Living the Bronze Age law of the jungle
        A king in each country piling up stones
        Survivors who wail over fields of bones
        Nothing new by the days of King James
        And still we play at these Might Is Right games

  2. zagonostra

    Rare white penguin spotted at scientific base in Antarctica -NY Post

    Maybe it’s a black swan in disguise portending a cataclysmic event on the horizon.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Hungary far-right would lay claim to neighbouring region if Ukraine loses war”

    Not just the far right I bet but I would be assuming that a lot of Hungarians are thinking along the same lines. After all, the Hungarian-Ukrainians are treated the same way as Russian-Ukrainians. Their language and culture are being suppressed by thugs from the Zelensky regime while their young men are sent to the front to fight the Russians while Ukrainians in areas like Galicia and Kiev are relatively more secure from the draft. Even several years ago Hungary issues Hungarian passports to those people in Carpathia to help them. But wait, there’s more.

    ‘Meanwhile, Romania’s Antena 3 CNN TV channel reported that Claudiu Tarziu, a lawmaker from the right-wing Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) party, had recently also called for the annexation of part of Ukraine.

    “We are at a crossroads… We will not be truly sovereign until we reintegrate the Romanian state within its natural borders,” he reportedly stated.

    “Northern Bucovina cannot be forgotten! Southern Bessarabia cannot be forgotten… everything that was and is of the Romanian nation must return to the borders of the same state,” the politician allegedly asserted, referring to the Ukrainian region and to Moldova.’

    When asked about these regions going back to countries like Poland, Hungary and Romania, the Russians indicated that as far as they are concerned they don’t care.

    1. Benny Profane

      I’ve been wondering if Russia has been perversely complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Ukraine of people that the Nazi regime have no love for, like Hungarians and Russian speakers. As you say, these poor souls are being sent into the meat grinder while the “true Ukrainians” remain in Kiev and the west. Maybe this is why Zelensky and his buddies insist on prolonging this lost cause. I think we’ll find out after the dust settles and the historians report.

      1. digi_owl

        I seem to recall Russia keep trying to get the soldiers on the front to surrender.

        But if they do they risk having their positions shelled from the Ukrainian side.

        We have also seen examples of Ukraine shelling POW camps and such on the Russian side, never mind the recent shooting down of a Russian plane loaded with Ukrainian POWs heading for an exchange with Ukraine.

        The real puzzler is that there has not been a general uprising in the east as more and more recruitment drives happen. But maybe people decided to best keep their heads down after the Azovs left marked corpses in the streets.

  4. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    Agent Orange, which previously had been deployed as a defoeiant in the political jungle until it fell out of use, was bemg considered once again under the auspices of the arsenal of demobracy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wanna know a funny story? The Israelis have been using white phosphorus in Gaza and Lebanon while denying it, in spite of photos and videos showing precisely that. It seems that Hezbollah lobbed two white phosphorus bombs from mortars into Israel and now the Israelis are in a tizzy and asking if Hezbollah are allowed to even do that.

          1. ambrit

            I wonder what the “Daily Phos”, that shining beacon of rightthink will say on the subject? (We all know what the ‘WaPhos’ will opine. The “Official Narrative.”)

      1. ilsm

        Willy pete! no US/Israeli depot should be low on it!

        Cluster munitions (also banned by moralized theorists of civilized mass murder), how come US and Israel have millions and millions of high dud rat bomblets to shoot or lend?

        Banned tools of slaughter, not banned!

        Rules based order and all!

      2. gk

        In an earlier life, I still remember an instructor in basic training showing us pictures of the different grenades (we weren’t important enough to play with the real things). He seemed to be proud of the fact that they had phosphorus grenades, even though they violated the Geneva convention.

        This was the most moral army in the world, which makes you wonder what the others were like.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          On my still functional iPod Mini, it’s on a playlist with Marley (Natty Dread) and Tosh (Mystic Man)!

    1. griffen

      Yes incredibly interesting, worth reading as you rightly suggest. I will have to circle back to this one later in the day….TPS reports need to get filed and all ( ha ha ).

      I would add I reached the point of the article, where the image of President Biden was included from when he gave his fiery speech circa September 2022 before the midterm elections and the proclaimed “Our Democracy !” Ugh, vomit worthy. That image and speech just ultimatum of sorts against “MAGA” and Republicans in broad terms, unless my recall is failing.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      they lose me when they keep insisting that woke, etc are “leftist”…and that the Davos overlords are definitely plotting to bring about global socialism.
      we’ll never arrive at an actionable counternarrative thataway.

      1. LawnDart

        The article is a convoluted mess of buzzwords, boogymen, and name-dropping BSery. I forced myself through the thing trying to find something, some take-away of value or merit, but failed in this.

        When both sides of the asile are pushing totalitarianism, at best, this is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.

        1. digi_owl

          In essence they have embraced the Thatcherite TINA on economics, while talking past each other on cultural issues.

      2. flora

        I always try to see what they’re saying from their point of view, and why they might see things that way. It took me a while to understand why the center-right kept referring to the liberals as ‘the left’ (they are not) and liberals as commies. They’re looking at different markers than liberals generally look at, imo. That doesn’t make them wrong, necessarily. I’m interested in why they make those claims and what underlying factors might be things we have in common. For ridiculous simplification: a right eye and a left eye for better perception of the three-dimensional world.

        1. flora

          Much shorter: as long as people on the broadly considered so-called right think totalitarianism can only come from the broadly considered so-called left, and the reverse that the so-called left thinks totalitarianism can only come from the so-called right then the uniparty wins. / my 2 cents.

              1. flora

                Here’s a thought experiment. The Davos crowd want digital IDs and Central Bank Digital Currencies, aka total control of the citizenry. I see it as a power grab by the oligarchs for a neo-aristocracy or neo-feudalism. (“It’s 2030 and you will own nothing.”)

                I can imagine many people looking at the same Davos wish list and thinking it’s a neo-Stalinist power grab for total control. (The MSM press doesn’t help by calling farmers in danger of losing their land and livelihoods ‘rar right.’)

  5. zagonostra

    The worst twitter suppression I have ever seen.

    Not to worry, Twitter/X is a private company, it’s not like the government is throttling free speech or anything nefarious like that. Yeah, since the printing press was invented those in power have and will continue to censor free speech, they just learned how to end run the 1st Amendment by putting the platforms into private/controlled and trusted(compromised) hands.

  6. Bill Malcolm

    Read the Links and articles on Boeing and the attack on the US base in Jordan on the Syrian border. Let me see. Ah yes. Complete chaos everywhere in the world, and about to get even worse.

    Now why won’t the world just settle down and obey the edicts of the US neocon leadership? The way they should if they had any sense. All these “Iran-backed” groups from Houthis to Islamic Resistance to Hamas to Hezbollah plus Russia, currently losing heavily in Ukraine, need to cease and desist AT ONCE. Or suffer the wrath of the mighty US Armed Forces and get a severe beating they won’t soon forget! /sarc

    1. Wukchumni

      I had a dream (well, a nightmare really) that Joey’s team had decided upon this slogan for him to get reelected:

      ‘Four More Wars!’

    2. Offtrail

      Yes, all references towards the Houthis, Iraqi militias, and Hezbollah are now prefaced with “Iran-backed”.

      If Egyptian broadcasters said “American-backed Israel” every time they mentioned Israeli attacks in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, would you get the feeling that Egypt was trying to inculcate a certain attitude towards the US?

      We are so heavily propagandized, and don’t even realize it.

  7. Meg Tom

    Re: House Republicans release impeachment articles against Mayorkas amid push to remove him over the border …

    I’m curious as to why they’re targeting Mayorkas, rather than Biden. Isn’t the president ultimately responsible for defending our borders?

  8. bassmule

    Noah Smith: “Finally, Trump was responsible for Operation Warp Speed, which was arguably the most impressive feat of U.S. innovation in my lifetime.” For a vaccine that worked for a little while and then didn’t?

    “Against omicron variants, however, the vaccines haven’t fared as well and are much worse at preventing infection or mild disease. The shots are still good at preventing hospitalization or death, though, particularly if someone stays up-to-date on vaccination.”
    How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines? [Factcheck]

    1. griffen

      Must be a comparatively short life thus far for Noah. Couldn’t resist….\ sarc

      DARPA and the launch of the internet, and eventually as well the proliferation of GPS and cell phone technology are all arguably the best technological advances during my lifetime. Much of the tech either developed within or based on funds handed out from the government, to my recall. The name of that fund or program is escaping me at this moment.

      FWIW…the chaos is already here in 2024 and Americans are “knee deep in the hoopla…sinking in our fight…” Added, many government institutions and agencies were generally not in step or aligned at all with the first Trump administration. Difficult to see that change, that’s just my view.

  9. furnace

    New York Times. “[T]he people making the goods elsewhere are getting greater and greater control of the means of production [(!)] and therefore greater and greater control of the world economy and therefore greater and greater control of money.”

    The bearded one shows up as always whenever material reality refuses to conform to the phantasies and delusions of economists. Color me surprised. When stuff really matters and there is no fat to cut, people end up flocking to explanations which at least take into account that the world, y’know, exists.

    1. Neutrino

      NAFTA, Ross Perot’s giant sucking sound, was a political move (yay, North America, take that EU, China please play nice, Wal-Mart keep those donations coming) that contained economic moves that escaped the drafters. Their limited scope of understanding set in motion ruinous actions that destroyed the social fabric of so many towns, and real live humans continue to suffer.

    2. Mikel

      That was a main reason for the outsourcing: to prevent the people making the goods from gaining greater control over the means of production and therefore etc., etc…
      These are the children of Wile E. Coyote.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Icon of the Seas: World’s largest cruise ship sets sail”

    The average capacity of a cruise ship is around 3,000 passengers and some of the largest ones is 6,000 passengers. This ship will have 10,000 passengers and crew aboard. In case something happens to that ship – the front may fall off for example – has there ever been an instance of trying to evacuate 10,000 people at sea. Possibly in high seas or a storm? While trying to provide medical care for any injured? The sinking of the Costa Concordia does not fill one with confidence and they were only trying to evacuate 4,200 people directly on a coastline.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Pretty sure the Houthis are taking notes.

      Royal Carribean recently announced all voyages near the Red Sea are canceled. Good risk management, RCL.

  11. Wukchumni

    A Famed Analyst’s Final Forecast Is the Fall of the U.S. Economy New York Times.

    Coming from old money (not that kind) I have perhaps an insider’s perspective on what used to constitute do re mi, and the lessons it taught me didn’t cost anything other than time, and those societies which willingly debauched their currency always came out the other side not looking anything like they used to, it took time typically to get over the end of financial time as they knew it.

    Our fiat era really got going after WW1 when the players were well and truly broke from having wasted their wealth on war, and its also the start of hyperinflation in Austria & Hungary, followed by the Weimar epoch in Germany. There have been about 100 instances of it since, and considering it only existed heretofore in currency form thanks to revolution (Assignats during the French Revolution, Continental Currency during the American Revolution, CSA $’s in the 2nd American Revolution) we really turned a corner entering full acceptance of money backed by nothing, with predictable results.

    If you could claim a good thing about the process, hyperinflation was in essence a latter-day jubilee in that debts denominated in a currency that became worthless, also made collecting them worthless. Some episodes lasted a year, others currently are going on 40 years worth of futility in South America with no end in sight.

    A good thing about the process was that it took time for things to truly fall apart financially.

    Hyperinflation has previously always needed a host, in ancient times coins weren’t made more plentiful, they were simply made out of base metal instead. Currency was different in that vast quantities were issued in higher and higher denominations.

    Very few things in the USA aren’t predicated on money, and in lieu of a slow death by debauching our currency via hyperinflation, it strikes me that the end will be rather sudden instead, as there is no mechanism for hyperinflation that I can see happening-for there is no host, everything is in the ether of our imagination.

    1. Mikel

      Seems like when countries have to borrow big from another country is when the real acceleration starts.

      1. JBird4049

        The really bad examples of hyperinflation as happened in Weimar Germany and in Zimbabwe occur people were buying goods in one country with inflated currency from another. The Germans paid their war reparations in paper money, which the allies, especially the French, used to buy goods from the Germans, flooding the market. Too much money chasing too few goods. In Zimbabwe’s case, they did not have enough to export to pay for the goods that they needed to import. Print the money.

          1. eg

            Um, you probably need to read Michael Hudson’s explanation of the weaponization of WWI war debts — Super Imperialism is a good place to start, though I think The Destiny of Civilization may also include a shorter version.

            1. skippy

              Monetarism and hyperinflation always reminds me of the “The Salmon Mousse” finger pointing in the movie Meaning of Life skit …

              Sorta like saying the door plugs on a Boeing did it, nothing to do with humans extracting rents and hollowing out a company over years …. BUT THE DOOR PLUGS – !!!!!

    2. zach

      I had a thought a few months ago that because of how intertwined USD is in international business one possible out for the US gov’t once the wheels are really slingin mud is to essentially stake the creation of the the BRICS currency by converting any dollar holdings into whatever “they” come up with, thereby separating the federal gov’t from any dollar debt, lending credibility (in a roundabout way) to the upstart currency, and not completely nuking the system of international trade.

      I’m not an economist, monetary theorist, or any kind businessy type person, not a particularly fleshed out idea, a lot of dominoes would have to fall and “we” would be relying on the good faith of the nations “we’ve” desperately been trying to piss off the last 200 years of our existence, but hey… So crazy it just might work…

  12. Sutter Cane

    I am personally not going to miss Pitchfork. When they made the switch to all poptimism, all the time, it was the NC short definition of neoliberalism as applied to music. “Because markets, Beyonce is clearly the best. To other, less profitable musicians – go die.”

  13. Carolinian

    Re wacky Nan–clearly Trump was right that she and Nikki (who has said similar) are practically the same person. Fortunately at least one of them seems to be headed for the exits. And for both we can agree with Blumenthal:

    We don’t need the FBI to tell us she’s a vehicle for malign foreign influence

    And if that’s true then why wouldn’t Nancy and Nikki assume everyone else, and especially the ones they don’t like (Trump, genocide opponents), are under Russian influence. To a hammer everything looks like a nail and to a shill everything looks like a payoff.

    Unfortunately Trump himself isn’t immune from the shill category but seems at least somewhat more in touch with reality since he has a business brand to protect. And if his only role is to disrupt the looney elite consensus then that’s good too. When they start praising Trump is when we’ll really have to worry.

    1. Neutrino

      Kabuki degenerates into Bad Cabaret. The players have been in their greasepaint and wigs for so long that they forgot to consider life out of character or their bubbles. Their Methodish Acting productions should’ve closed the first night. Okay, enough running that theme off the stage.

    2. Feral Finster

      Pelosi knows that her allegations are so much horse manure. It doesn’t matter, as long as long as the accusations can be used to to silence dissent.

      Cynical? Sure, but it doesn’t matter, as long as it gets the desired results.

      Finster First Law readeth thusly: “No matter how cynical you think you are, the people who run things are way more cynical than that.”

      1. barefoot charley

        Or as Lily Tomlin said long ago, “I try to be cynical, but it’s so hard to keep up.”

  14. Jason Boxman

    With sleep fleeting, as it often is, I pondered viral persistence. It’s actually quite common, and SARS2 is certainly not an outlier in this. This is covered in detail in Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Chapter 46. Persistent Viral Infections. (From 1996.) For example:

    Adenoviruses (AdV) typically cause acute disease of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts of human beings. The high incidence of adenovirus infections in organ transplant (kidney, bone marrow) recipients and AIDS patients suggests that these infections most probably represent reactivation of a latent adenovirus infection. For example, AdV can persist latently for years in adenoids and tonsils and often are shed in the feces for many months after the initial infection.

    The apparently lack of viral clearing in SARS2, based on growing evidence, is another disturbing aspect of this neglected Pandemic. What might the long term consequences of this be?

    The bill always come due.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Second Test as it happened: Windies claim first win on Australian soil in 27 years”

    Good to hear that the “Windies” are back in form. Many years ago they were a holy terror and played an aggressive style of play. Our boys had to play hard to beat them when they could. And I am here to say that back then the Windies were just as popular as the Aussie cricket team. People looked forward to them coming to Oz to play cricket and everybody knew the names of their top players. They were very much admired.

    1. Wukchumni

      I arrived in Auckland for my first visit to NZ a few days after the underarm bowl in 1981, and cricket may or may not be more boring than baseball, but what they have in common is Caribbean players tend to be really good at both pursuits, wonder why?

      Underarm vs NZ.greg & trevor chappell

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Max Blumenthal
    Here’s Nancy Pelosi seated beside Zionist billionaire Haim Saban declaring that if the Capitol “crumbled to the ground,” Congress would still fork weapons over to Israel ‘

    Her accomplice in crime Chuck Schumer once said that so long as two bricks are standing together in America, that they would support Israel. So strange for these leaders to declare that they are more loyal to Israel then their own country. For a long time now I thought of the whole thing as a money-washing operation. The US gives Israel a coupla billion each year from the Federal budget. Israel then clips out a fraction of this to send back to the US to not only fund AIPAC but favoured politicians like Nancy and Chuck. Then people like Nancy and Chuck use those ‘donations’ to get themselves re-elected while pocketing the difference for themselves. Just follow the money.

    1. Carolinian

      Saban’s other transgression is as the maker of bad movies–not just the long ago Power Rangers but also the more recent Saban studio brand which consists of cheaply made low budg films shot on TV style video with perhaps an over the hill star to sell the lame doings. I haven’t seen very many of these lately at my library so the plague may have receded due to assaults by the antibodies of good taste.

      1. digi_owl

        I was wonder if it as the same Saban. Sad really, as i grew up enjoying many of the cartoons he, along with Shuki Levy, was responsible for the music on.

    2. Screwball

      Nancy takes that money and plays the market. From what I read, she’s pretty good too. Another little perk congress never fixed – imagine that!

      Nancy has to be one of the most despicable people on planet earth. Yet, here she is, multi-millionaire, Speaker of the House (what, twice), gets her ass kissed everywhere she goes, and revered by her adoring fans. WTF?

  17. Mikel

    “Amidst Preparations for Long Ukraine War, Peace May Come Quickly” Tony Kevin, Pearls & Irritations

    I’m still wondering if Russia is in any rush to finalize any negotiations with the current configuration of “The Blob.”

    1. ilsm

      Sun Tzu said “no prince prospers from long war”.

      The Russian calculation may be “NATO is bleeding worse than us”.

      Long war can be a strategy, especially since NATO suffers corruption and mismanagement.

      While NATO is shown not to be agreement abiding. No trust!

      1. Mikel

        There have been discussion and articles to the effect that negotiations for Russia mean negotiations with the USA – considered the head of the snake.

        1. digi_owl

          Basically this. Kremlin sees Z as a US puppet. In particular after he pulled out of a near finalized ceasefire after a personal visit from Boris Johnson. likely as a messenger for Biden. Putin wants in writing what Gorbachev got verbally from Bush the older, and that USA later reneged.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “‘It’s not an Oedipus complex’: why Japan’s ‘silver pron’ market is booming”

    ‘Over the course of her seven-year career, she has performed opposite men more than three decades her junior, while her oldest co-star – her on-screen husband – was about 70.’

    Not unknown this in other places this liking for older women. Pronhub reported back in 2020 that fans of mature pron were searching “granny” in Tennessee but nearby South Carolina preferred “grandma” and Ohio liked “cougar” pron.

  19. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    Another “success”…

    US sanctions on Chinese chips were originally met with widespread expectations that it’d kill the Chinese chip industry.

    One year and a half later we’re told that “Western nations need a plan for when China floods the chip market”…

    Western nations need a plan for when China floods the chip market

    7:22 PM · Jan 28, 2024

    1. Screwball

      The more I see how our leaders run our world, the more I am convinced they couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the directions were on the bottom.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think it was Arnaud Bertrand’s twitter feed, but someone posted in response, maybe Bertrand, that the racism that motivates the US to bomb poor countries also leads the US to underestimate much more powerful countries such as China, Russia, and Iran.

        Our leaders couldn’t conceive Beijing could pull this off because they aren’t any different than ante-bellum plantation owners, drunk on their own propaganda.

        1. CA

          China just passed 4 million domestic invention patents, of which more than 40% are high-value, but only a short while ago prominent academics were telling students that the Chinese could not be technologically innovative. Of course, Joseph Needham of Cambridge had long before started writing what are now 27 volumes on Chinese historical scientific accomplishments.

          Needham’s work is monumental; how then could the work have been turned away from?

          June 20, 1971

          Joseph Needham, the Real Thing
          By Richard Boston

          April 18, 1982

          The China The West Knew Nothing About
          By Jonathan Spence

    2. CA

      High level theory, research and development publication shows 3 of the top 5 science publishing institutions to be Chinese, 7 of the top 10 to be Chinese and 11 of the top 20 institutions:

      The Nature Index

      1 September 2022 – 31 August 2023 *

      Rank Institution ( Count) ( Share)

      1 Chinese Academy of Sciences ( 7436) ( 2224)
      2 Harvard University ( 3673) ( 1123)
      3 Max Planck Society ( 2621) ( 655)
      4 University of Science and Technology of China ( 1853) ( 638)
      5 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences ( 3161) ( 634)

      6 French National Centre for Scientific Research ( 4440) ( 617)
      7 Nanjing University ( 1431) ( 599)
      8 Peking University ( 2226) ( 587)
      9 Tsinghua University ( 1827) ( 580)
      10 Zhejiang University ( 1449) ( 549)

      * Annual Tables highlight the most prolific institutions and countries in high-quality research publishing for the year

  20. Mikel

    “I Am Going to Miss Pitchfork, but That’s Only Half the Problem” Ezra Klein, NYT

    Aesthetic critiques are difficult to do in the world of access journalism on steroids.

  21. Lambert Strether Post author

    Phillip Pilkington seems unhappy with the FT story on Hungary:

    1. Feral Finster

      To me, all that is beside the point. Brussels will not tolerate dissent and has the policy levers to enforce compliance.

  22. Wukchumni

    Activists splatter ‘Mona Lisa’ with soup in Louvre Museum in Paris ABC

    Wouldn’t that increase the worth if you splattered it with a can of Campbell’s soup, in a Warhol way?

    1. ambrit

      What would the obverse be? Splattering Warhol canvases with ambergris?
      What all true believers want to know is; was it Non GMO Organic soup? Anything else is just sloppy protesting.

    2. Randall Flagg

      I really wish those activists would quit wasting time and energy in attempting to deface great works of art and instead start trashing the storefronts of banks, the cars of the executives, government offices and officials, etc. You’re just creating a needless headache and pissing the average person off. Have some backbone, take a cue from the Farmers spraying manure at Government offices across Europe… Use your imagination.

      1. ForFawkesSakes

        This is a form of dissent which is considerably more difficult to criminalize than trucker’s convoys or BDS movements.

        And where we’re headed, we aren’t going to much benefit from these artworks much longer anyhow.

        1. juno mas

          It’s not about criminalization. It’s about being effective with your demonstration/protest/message. Pussy Riot’s guerilla gig in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral explained what, exactly?

  23. IMOR

    The “essential political momentum for the United States to nearshore its critical mineral supply and decrease its reliance on China, Russia, and other competitors” mentioned in the lithium article from the National Interest, just as it is with regard to oil and gas, is the momentum to trample Native and fragile sites, blowing off environmental and any other considerations, so that Ken and Karen need make no significant changes. The two locations happily cited by the author speak all you need to know.
    And I’ll be surprised if the mining and processing of lithium ends up any ‘cleaner’ than the median level of mining anything else.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Ukraine war latest: Kyiv would win faster if allowed to hit deep inside Russia with Western weapons, Navy commander says

    Pretty sure that should read as “Kyiv would be turned into a parking lot faster” if… Or maybe “Zelensky would find his head on a platter faster” if….

    Do they really think that if they lob a few missiles into Moscow, Russia will just go belly up? I’d say these people have lose all sense of reality, except plenty of people seem to believe this nonsensical propaganda, so they keep spewing it.

    What I’d like to know is do they even bother talking to actual anonymous government officials anymore, or do they just have AI write this crap now?

  25. Hastalavictoria

    There seems a possibility that all those dozens of American bases /forts – might be surrounded in hostile territory.

    Nothing charges.A replay of all those Western movies we consumed in the UK in the fifties and sixties could be on the cards,except this time the attacking hostiles may win.

    It feels like we may be watching a new movie’m

    1. begob

      British daytime TV is full of old Westerns – including whooping Injun rape ‘n pillage material. And of course plenty of B&W WWII movies and Nazi-obsession stuff.

    2. ilsm

      I recall a movie with Victor McLaghlin, Lost Patrol, likely set not far from Tower 22

      Is it still Versailles?

  26. Feral Finster

    “Ukraine war latest: Kyiv would win faster if allowed to hit deep inside Russia with Western weapons, Navy commander says Kyiv Independent”

    Since the West has ignored red line after Russian red line, there’s no cost to the West for not continuing to escalate.

    We often hear that Russia has “escalation dominance” but its ever always only the West that escalates while Russia is loathe to do so.

  27. Katniss Everdeen

    From today’s link at The Hill on the border’s “political value”:

    Under current immigration and naturalization laws, it is impossible for migrants arriving at the border today to vote in the next federal election, and a majority of those migrants are likely not eligible for any form of permanent residency in the United States, much less for naturalization.

    And from the nbc “news” link on illegals overwhelming Denver:

    The Biden administration has asked Congress for $1.4 billion in grants to local governments and nonprofits for temporary food, shelter and other services for recently arrived migrants…

    So this “immigrant” invasion is a little bit like ukraine–a pointless rathole into which billions of dollars can be thrown, and from which some unknown somebodies somewhere are making big bank. (I’d imagine it’ll make “gdp” look good though.)

    In other “news,” today is opening day of the 2024 tax season. Pay up, serfs. israel, ukraine, and the growing number of temporary wards of the state are in need of some serious cash.

    1. JBird4049

      That 1.4 billion dollars would pay for the housing of about fifty thousand Americans for a year using back of the envelope calculations.

    2. flora

      The cartels are making bank. Clayton Morris on Redacted with the Muckraker Rubin brothers, two journalists who made the entire trek from Equador in a migrant group talking about what they saw. utube. ~20 minutes. The MSM pretty much ignores this and then discounts these independent reports as biased or unreliable.

      They’re EXPOSING the entire U.S. invasion from start to finish | Redacted with Clayton Morris

  28. Alice X

    >Details Emerge on U.N. Workers Accused of Aiding Hamas Raid NYT

    Except the details, it seems to me, have not emerged. In a related story linked therein, the NYT does get around to the ICJ ruling of last Friday, but I never found it on the front page online, which is all there is, online. Maybe I missed it.

  29. Albe Vado

    >Kafka at the International Court of Justice

    I’ll be honest, I only had the patience to skim this piece, but I think I got the gist of it. The court case is an outrage, an exercise in international hatred of Jews, Hamas are the real criminals, blah blah blah.

    But what fascinates me is how I think at this point I could fairly describe all those kinds of claims as ‘the usual’. Caitlin Johnstone tweeted out a few months ago about how Israel has permanently lost the argument, and I can’t disagree. The moral and intellectual vaccuity of Zionists is staggering. Whatever genuinely defensible position they may have once had is in complete freefall.

    Israel has now killed upwards of thirty times (the official toll is 26,000 right now, but remember the health care system collapsed over two months ago and this is explicitly an undercount) more people than were killed in the October 7th attack (even if we except that all those were killed by Hamas, which we know isn’t the case). Add in 70,000 injured, that Gaza essentially has no ability to treat anymore between the blockade and the deliberate targeting of healthcare facilities and workers, and the likely vastly larger number who will die of starvation and preventable diseases.

    Anyone who can pretend there’s any kind of proportionality or equivalency going on here…I recently saw a reddit post (I occasionally check in on popular boards there to see what ostensibly mainstream discourse is like, because I hate myself, apparently) where someone literally made the argument that because Hamas killed more people in one day than Israel has so far, that Hamas are the real genocidaires. The systemic actions don’t matter, nor does the vastly greater total death toll agaonst Palestinians. Only the daily body count. It’s amazing to see the dehumanization so explicit. Israeli lives literally matter more than those of Palestinians. This also manifests in the obsession with the hostages. Israel is killing more people a day than there are hostages left (and occasionally some of those hostages themselves get inadvertently killed by Israel as well), but apparently this is justified, somehow.

    1. Albe Vado

      I’ll add, and should have included it in the original comment, that if anything is Kafkaesque, in the sense of being surreal and absurd, surely it’s the claim that killing 30,000 people in response to 1200 being killed can remotely be justified. Or in bombing everything in sight as part of a supposed strategy to get hostages back, consequently periodically killing some of those same hostages. It’s all just so obscene, as well as absurd.

  30. s

    >Bertie Wooster in Murmansk London Review of Books. The Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War of 1918-20.

    Thanks for that link. Very interesting. I get frustrated that most US-based history of WWI is strictly western-front focused. The other theaters get almost zero mention (though I admit i keep saying I’m going to, but haven’t read “Guns of August” which might be better in this respect). I’ve been interested in the US Army involvement in the Russia civil war partly due to living next door to Schofield Barracks, long time home of the 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds” who got that nickname from their deployment to Vladivostok. But mostly I’ve seen more tactical histories without the geo-political context (USA participation was sort of a “coalition of the willing force” but with the Brits calling the shots).

    1. anahuna

      I am currently reading Jacob Mikanowski’s Goodbye, Eastern Europe and had just, about halfway through, happened on his account of the American and British involvement on the side of the Whites. (There are some particularly nasty, though not surprising, quotes from Churchill.)

      It’s an astonishing book, by the way, starting with the transforming feats of pagan imagination. It proceeds by combining an overall view of that changing world with many seductive and delightful particularities. Not so delightful as the multi-cultural empires begin to break down and whole groups are brutalized and crushed in conflicts we have read so much about before. Here, his gift for sensory re-creation becomes almost unbearable. Impossible to read his description of the Warsaw ghetto and not see Gaza everywhere.

    2. Patrick Morrison

      There may be better sources for the topic, but I found the discussion of WW1 in the East in ‘A Peace to End All Peace’, David Fromkin, to be interesting.

  31. Willow

    > KC-135s heading eastward
    U.S. Air Force KC-135 Aerial-Refueling Tankers shepparding the new F35 & F15 squadrons for Israel?

      1. Randall Flagg

        And if the airfield runways are shot full of craters how are those airborne jets supposed to land? Unless they are just turning tail and flying back to Europe?

        And yes, scary times indeed.

      2. juno mas

        How long does it take to refuel a fighter jet in mid-air? How many fighter jets can a KC-135 refuel? How many hours can a fighter pilot stay combat alert?

        Seems to me that sinking the naval carrier groups in the vicinity will do more damage than attempting to suppress fighter attack.

    1. NYT_Memes

      Aerial Refueling Tankers for Israel? To do what? They really need aerial refueling to strafe Gaza. /s
      No genius required to solve the mystery for this need. => Iran

      OK – everyone here probably knows that, but I just had to say it.

  32. John Beech

    Punishment by the system is meant to deter instead of enact retribution, or vengeance, which is what most think it’s for. Every judge and prosecutor on the planet will inform you punishment is *not* meant as retribution.

    Taking them at their word, and presuming this is correct (that it’s only meant to deter), then I submit to the conversation . . . the punishment for vandalizing irreplaceable works like da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is wholly inadequate, else they would find another way to attract attention.

    Me? I hope they get jail *and* in a sufficient quantity of time, *and* that it’s publicized widely, and thus *hopefully*, other individuals will be deterred from doing this kind of thing ever again!

    If they want to glue their hands to the roadways I disagree but fine, but damaging art? Nope, totally against this form of protest.

    1. tawal

      When I saw it at the Louvre in 1983, it was behind bullet proof glass. I don’t think you could actually get soup on it.

    2. Albe Vado

      Punishment by the system is meant to deter instead of enact retribution, or vengeance, which is what most think it’s for. Every judge and prosecutor on the planet will inform you punishment is *not* meant as retribution.

      This seems like a blanket statement that is ignoring a philosophical debate within legal circles that is as old as law itself.

      Also there’s a lot of evidence that deterrence simply doesn’t work; most crimes are acts of passion with no forethought put into them. And people who do carefully premeditate do so knowing the risk they’re running, and calculate it’s worth the chance, so deterrence isn’t working there either.

    3. Lefty Godot

      Gluing themselves to roadways and trying to deface art are both idiotic tactics. What is going on in these people’s heads? The Weathermen may have been moronic in blowing janitors (and themselves) up, but at least the tactic of blowing things up has had a proven track record of creating fear, uncertainty and doubt in the highly privileged classes. It’s just a matter of choosing the right targets, to maximize the effect (which the Weather Underground was notoriously bad at). The IRA and various anarchist groups were a bit more effective.

  33. sbarrkum


    I am 65 and have had severe Diabetes since age 58 or so.
    Recent fix.

    For about 6 weeks now have been taking Legium Guli (called guli here). After I got the batteries for the diabetes machine and tested it out.

    I have dinner around 6:30 and then hit bed.
    Three days in a row, my fasting sugar levels were around 85-90 mg/dL.
    Yesterday night (29th Dec) I had my normal night meal of Kekulu rice and veggie curry.
    Took only one metformin (normally two) and one gliclazide .
    Morning fasting sugar 104 mg/dL

    A couple of days ago (Jan 24th) had half a rice packet at about 7pm
    No diabetes meds, metformin or glicazide
    Next morning fasting sugar 125 mg/dL

    Legium is local (Thanamalwila) weed mixed with sugar/jaggery. LKR 250-300 for one guli. It is used in Ayurveda for various ailments. Just the Guli before going to bed.

    Barbara tells me legally available nearby in NYC.
    She calls it Gummy Bears (a kind of sweet). Online is called Weed/Marijuana gummies.
    The difference is that they use pure THC to infuse into the gummy.
    She plans to try it for a) sleep b) arthritis relief

  34. Savita

    Australian here. Regarding the link about Australia bringing in conscription to deal with the inevitable war.
    The source of that article is That site, despite its very official name, in terms of quality is really very much en par with the Daily Mail. It’s stuffed full of click bait. Said piece about conscription solely relied on some yahoo from a university.

    1. Yves Smith

      Given the state of the Western press, I would not cast such strong aspersions on First, the NYT often runs stories so thinly sourced that if you read in carefully, the various anonymous officials cited could be one guy. Second, Daily Mail has very good science reporting and are similarly top notch on disasters (the Maui and California Camp fires).

      And I have lived in Oz.

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