Links 1/6/2024

Pig N’ Fords: Model T drivers carry pigs while racing in Tillamook Oregonian, YouTube (furzy)

Deep Beneath Earth’s Surface, Clues to Life’s Origins Quanta (David L)

Navajo Nation Objects To Landing Human Remains On Moon, Prompting Last-Minute White House Meeting CNN

This weird physical trait makes liberals vote for Trump and republicans for Biden ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

Fat positivity is a fantasy Unherd

Construction of Reality: Who You Feel With Ian Welsh (Micael T). What about those who have no tribe? Or if you believe in Myers Briggs, are not “feeling” people?

Justice vs. Vengeance — Is There a Difference? Living Philosophy (Micael T).. The Greeks definitely thought there was. Look at how Athena rein in their scope of authority per myth and as commemorated in various plays, notably Euripedes’ The Furies.

Here’s Why Multitasking Gets Trickier And Even Dangerous as We Age ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

The abolition of paper and the pompous rule of the present Branko Milanovic. The effort to eliminate paper records is over the top reckless. What happens in a collapse scenario when chips become scarce? No one will know anything. The loss of information and related productive know-how will dwarf that of the Dark Ages.

Finally, we know why pee is yellow Live Science (Dr. Kevin)


Hydroxychloroquine could have caused 17,000 deaths during COVID, study finds Politico (Kevin W)


Free rain barrel program helps Duluth residents get involved in flood prevention Yale Climate Connections

Extreme winter cold grips Russia RT (Kevin W)

Ice cover in North America’s Great Lakes hits lowest level for 50 years Financial Times. My brother in Escanaba mentioned this. No icebreaker in March this year?

Subsidence risk on the U.S. East Coast EurekaAlert (Chuck L)

Consumer Reports Finds ‘Widespread’ Presence of Plastics In Food Reuters


Tit-for-tat wargames rumble and churn South China Sea Asia Times

China’s electric vehicle dominance presents a challenge to the west Financial Times

‘Revolutionary’ design: Chinese scientists invent the most powerful detonation engine for hypersonic flight South China Morning Post (Chuck L)


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 91: As hunger and cold take their toll in Gaza, all eyes turn to Lebanon Mondoweiss

Palestine SitRep: Lebanese Resistance Causes Enemy Losses – Is Ready To Fight Off Attacks Moon of Alabama (Kevin W). We get a shout out.

* * *

About 4% of Gaza’s population dead, missing, injured: Rights monitor Anadolu Agency

Inside Israel’s torture camp for Gaza detainees +972 (guurst)

Israel PM’s wife Sara Netanyahu accuses Gaza hostage families of ‘helping Hamas’ New Arab (Kevin W)

* * *

The dialectics of nationalism Yasha Levine (Dr. Kevin)

* * *

Qatar’s Balancing Act in Gaza Foreign Affairs (BC). See subhead: “Doha Will Have to Cut Ties With Hamas—but First It Can Broker a Hostage Deal With Israel.” Like we can tell the #1 or #2 LNG producer, depending on the year, what to do.

Ex-Pentagon Analyst: Mideast Crisis May Spiral Out of Control After Beirut and Kerman Blasts Sputnik

* * *

Shipping stocks jump as freight costs soar amid Red Sea tensions Yahoo! Finance (Kevin W)

Red Sea Attacks Leave Tankers With Choice: Accept the Risks or Lose Money New York Times (Kevin W). Alexander Mercouris discussed reports that the US is planning to attack the Houthis. Good luck with that.

New Not-So-Cold War

God save you, Chiba! Marat Khairullin

Under the Radar: Major CIA Revelations Expose Secret Agreements and Boundaries in Ukraine Simplicius the Thinker

Ukraine’s German Armour Getting Stuck in the Winter Mud: T-80 Tanks with Turbine Engines Praised For Much Greater Mobility Military Watch

Ukraine De Facto Became NATO’s Testing Ground for Digital Warfare Against Russia – Moscow Sputnik (Micael T)

EU Commissioner wants restrictions on Ukrainian exports RT (Kevin W)


Iraqis: Don’t use our country as a ‘proxy battleground’ Responsible Statecraft

How Iran Perceives Turkey’s Rise in the South Caucasus Global Affairs (Micael T)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Alaska Airlines grounds 737 Max 9 planes after window blows out mid-air BBC and Boeing Wants FAA To Exempt MAX 7 From Safety Rules To Get It in the Air Seattle Times


Former Guard Official Says Army Retaliated for His Account of Jan. 6 Delay New York Times (Kevin W)


US Supreme Court to hear Trump appeal of Colorado ballot disqualification Reuters


Roadworthy in ’24? The man supposed to stop Donald Trump is an unpopular 81-year-old Economist

Nice save, Jill! First lady rushed to embrace zoned-out Biden, 81, after he finished speech, then went into trance-like state on-stage Daily Mail. #2 story.

House prepares contempt of Congress resolution for Hunter Biden The Hill

FBI Goes After Citizen for Requesting Raffensperger Investigation in Georgia UndercoverDC (furzy)

GOP Clown Car

Kevin W says the replies were “brutal”:

Democrats en déshabillé

Complaint alleges Dean Phillips’ presidential campaign illegally coordinated with super PAC StarTribune


New York To Sue Bus Companies … For Busing People Jonathan Turley


Wayne LaPierre announces resignation as leader of the NRA days ahead of civil trial CNN (Kevin W)

As gun violence increases, active shooter defense industry booms CBS. Paul R: “The free market provideth.”

G18 Desert Eagle Military Series M1911 Pistol Gun Model Bricks Building Blocks Toys for Children Boy Kids Gifts AliExpress. Userfriendly: “What could possibly go wrong here? ”

December jobs report caps another year of strong job growth Economic Policy Institute

Initial claims: the return of “almost nobody is getting laid off” Angry Bear

US Moves Closer To Filing Sweeping Antitrust Case Against Apple New York Times


What the AI copyright fights are truly about: Human labor versus endless machines The Register

Class Warfare

Places ravaged by opioids are giving Republicans the upper hand Economist (Dr. Kevin)

F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada New York Times (furzy)

Natural Asset Companies latest in land schemes Tri-State Livestock News (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Potted Pussy Willow, of sorts.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    It seems that Jonathan the tortoise is quite the celebrity. It is thought that he hatched around the year 1832 and he was brought to Saint Helena from the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean in 1882, along with three other tortoises that were all about 50 years of age. Probably find that he will still be going, slow and steady, long after we are all long gone. To give the flavour of how old he is, here is the Wikipedia page for 1832 to show what was going on in this era when he was hatched-

    And Jonathan the tortoise’s motto? ‘There can be only one!’

    1. Terry Flynn


      To give the flavour of how old he is…

      is quite an unfortunate choice of words for those fans of QI who know about big Tortoises and know THAT episode:

      The episode of QI (scroll to 1:30) which is both funny and so horribly horribly terrible and makes me so glad he wasn’t born in the Galapagos.

  2. digi_owl

    I do wonder if there is more to the tank story than simply the different engine.

    I wish there was a way to get proper data on say belt widths, as i suspect the Russian one is wider as they were designed with mud in mind. By comparison the German Leopards were designed for defensive fighting along the Fulda Gap etc.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Abrams does not seem to have been designed to deal with this mud as well. The Ukrainian tank crews have been complaining that the filters are so low on it, that they constantly clog with mud necessitating them stopping the tank, getting out of it and cleaning those filters before they can be on their way again. All the while hoping that a Russian Lancet does not find them first. Helluva way to fight a war.

      1. i just don't like the gravy

        Man, I can’t imagine the frustration you feel when you’re blown up because your dumb tank’s filter got clogged.

        I am thankful that I don’t have to drive a beater in a war zone.

      2. Polar Socialist

        T-80 takes air from the top of the engine deck, while Abrams pulls it behind the tank I believe. T-80 also has 28 (or so) cyclone filters, so in principle they can’t get clogged easily and the dust collectors are easy to clean. On the down side, they can only remove 97% of the particles, which is why on every start the T-80 engine aims a “pneumatic hammer” (compressed air, basically) on the rotor blades while on low revolutions, so the ensuing harmonic vibrations shake any accumulated particles loose and they are blown out the engine harmlessly. This procedure takes about 2.5 seconds.

    2. Aurelien

      It’s essentially weight, and (there’s a technical term for it I can’t remember) the ground pressure under the tracks. Traditionally, Soviet tanks were lighter and intended for offence rather than defence. The Soviet system of echeloning meant that the first wave of tanks was disposable, so they could be optimised for speed and mobility at the expense of protection and thus weight. (Tank design is a tug-of-war between firepower, mobility and protection.) The West, fielding many fewer tanks, and expecting to fight a defensive war in a region with lots of prepared roads, went for heavier and better protected vehicles. Now that effectively the same designs are fighting a different war, the limitations of heavy tanks are becoming obvious in terms of mobility, and terrain they were never intended to fight in. Of course if they were super-well protected that might be less of a problem, but the Russians appear to have that one covered as well.

      1. hk

        Soviet tanks have generally been absurdly small, too, which keeps the weight down at the expense of crew comfort/efficiency and upgradability.

      2. Polar Socialist

        I think the technical term is ground pressure :-)

        Actually, when it was time to talk about the next generation of heavy tanks in Soviet Union, the anti-tank missiles were just being approved for service. And especially Mr. Khrushchev was enthusiastic supporter of missile warfare – to the extend that he wanted to get rid of not just heavy tanks but tank cannons, too. Thus the first versions of future T-64 had only missiles in their turret.

        Besides the havoc this episode caused in the Soviet tank industry (allowing an Uralian train wagon manufacturer with a tiny design bureau becoming one of the biggest tank producers of all times), it underlined the overall thinking in Soviet Union behind focusing on the medium main battle tanks. The assumption was that the missiles would dominate on the battle field, especially anti-tank missiles mounted on combat helicopters.

        So, it followed logically that the tanks should be as small as possible and as mobile as possible. As it has turned out in Ukraine, the Soviet tanks have equal or better protection to western tanks while they are smaller. And this is mostly due to the autoloader and, as hk puts it, sacrificing some crew comfort. By definition a smaller tank needs less armor for same protection level, and it’s thus lighter. So it can do with a smaller engine and lighter suspension.

        Now, getting back to the ground pressure, T-72 is relatively light but has wide tracks, so it’s ground pressure is about 80% of the ground pressure a soldier. Abrams has about the same as a standing soldier. So, in principle T-72 can pass over ground that people will sink into.

        The other factors of tank’s mobility are the weight/power ratio and to some extent the gear ratios. For example, T-72 has been taunted in the west for having really, really slow reverse, so it’s shoot and scoot capability is somewhat limited compared to it’s western opponents. On the other hand, when on reverse, T-72 has so much torque available it can easily pull two stuck T-72s out of the mud. Almost as if was a design choice allowed by T-72 being a foot lower and very oblique on top, so in principle a lot less to scoot, anyway.

        I believe there’s a video available in the internet about a Russian T-80 tank named “Aljosha” demonstrating how a small, agile tank is used in defense. The crew was well awarded, and a T-80 production line is reopening as soon as Kaluga Engines can produce the new GTD-1500 gas turbine engines.

        1. LifelongLib

          Total no military experience amateur here, but I’ve read gas turbine engines in (U.S.) tanks were widely considered to be a mistake (high fuel consumption, unreliable compared to diesel). Is this wrong or no longer true?

          1. Polar Socialist

            Well, in the fifties gas turbines performed brilliantly in helicopters, so the allure of a lot of power in a small, light package is kind of easy to understand. High fuel consumption even when idling was considered a price worth of all the advantages.

            But, as the engineers were quick to find out, helicopters and tanks operate in completely different environments. So, Abrams’ engine development started in 1964 and T-80’s in 1967 – it took over a decade to get them right.

            In general, the gas turbine engine is actually slightly more reliable than a diesel engine – but it can’t take as much abuse or neglect. One must remember that these engines have to constantly accelerate a steel behemoth of 45 to 70 tons, so their lifetime is still measured in hundreds of hours whether they’re gas turbines or diesels. Which is why in many modern tanks, even in T-80, the whole power pack is one assembly, that is “easy” to replace quickly.

            In other words, the pros and cons are still the same as they were in the 1960’s. It could be that the understanding of the modern war and it’s requirements has changed sine then, though. That said, Russia has announced (re)starting modernization of T-80 with new, more powerful engine soon. Hard to say honestly if it’ because of how it has performed in SMO or because tapping into the mothballed hulks is the fastest way to arm the new armies and divisions they’re forming. Maybe both.

            1. rowlf

              Do the T-80s use an auxiliary power unit to minimize engine idling and power the tank when the tank is not needing to be moved?

              1. Polar Socialist

                Originally only the commander vehicles, but apparently all the latest T-80BVM variants have a GTA-18A multi-fuel (diesel, gasoline, kerosene) starter motor that also doubles as an auxiliary 18 kWh generator when the need be.

                1. rowlf

                  Oh, that’s clever.

                  I always liked turbine engines on aircraft as pre-heating piston engines in the wintertime so they can be started sucks. I could see a turbine tank engine having a wintertime advantage compared to keeping a large diesel engine ready to start.

          2. Micat

            I recently watched a video by col Douglas McGeegor a tank commander during desert storm. He said that those turbine engines anyway used about as much fuel idling vs full power. Which was a large disadvantage in his mind unless there was massive support such as fuel trucks all over the place. Which they did then.

    3. eg

      In any event, under the relative transparency of current ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) tanks, much like large naval vessels and complex airframes increasingly appear to be little more than expensive targets for relatively cheap missiles and drones.

  3. zagonostra

    >Roadworthy in ’24? The man supposed to stop Donald Trump is an unpopular 81-year-old Economist

    The framing evident in the article’s title is emblematic of how distorted the ruling elite’s view of this country’s political health is. As if being physical fit is at the root of the rot, as if the Trump is the problem. If that were only but the case things wouldn’t look so gloomy. The main deficit of our political leaders, and the political class they represent, is not in whether their age makes them unfit, it’s their moral character. They lack virtue. Their appetites are in disproportion with their reason and will. They are disjointed. They lack character. Their vices have gotten the better of them, and it doesn’t speak well for the citizens who somehow have not the ability to coalesce and right the course of this declining republic. The experiment of an American people guided by self-government is at the point of failure, if it hasn’t already failed.

    1. Synoia

      We all know that there was no Mud in the 1914 (Tanks invented by Royal Navy) and 1939 wars. Leading one to presume that there was no precedent in allowing for Tanks to be designed for duties in muddy climes. /sarcasm.

    2. Val

      Watching the Bushies in horror, I had figured out the country was effectively over in late 2006, having suspicions since mid-Clinton. ‘Over’ in the sense that it wasn’t anything it was pretending to be. Not being all that clever, the thing had to be well and truly over long before I was aware. Structurally, best guess coincides with Roosevelt’s exit and the codifying in ’47 and ’63. Propaganda, genocide and the accidents of history have taken our open-air mental hospital as far as can be reasonably expected. Zagonostra is incisive in a way the French guy lamenting the decline of the protestant work ethic is not. Like Zarathustra lamenting the cattle raiders, we’ve been here before. The good news is that attempts at civilization have been sustained elsewhere.

      1. JTMcPhee

        My bit of studies in history finally led to a sense that “America” never was what the shibboleths said it was. Really hit home after I was stupid enough to enlist in the Imperial Army to go fight the Commies over there so we wouldn’t have to fight them over here. And now it turns out that there’s not much difference between the Empire and the worst of the Soviet Union.

        And Woodrow Wilson — now THERE’s a real American model for you. Democracy never was, in America, never will be, but the trope has some kind of miraculous staying power. Hec, it now appears Jerkin’ Joe the dementia marionette is building his entire campaign for resurrection around “protecting Democracy.” Burning it in order to save it, or something. Wonder what the tipping point will be when enough people here see the disconnect and just stop being played? I believer there’s more than one firearm in circulation for every man, woman and child in the US, and plenty of ammo. Will the Axis of Resistance end up including lots of red-blooded Americans with Gadsden flags on their pickups? Or has whatever has been done to us so sapped our precious bodily fluids that there ain’t any way “back to the future?”

        I know it isn’t roses and lollipops in the Russian Federation the Middle Kingdom or whatever will shake out in the Brave New Multipolar World, humans still have too much of a plague species flavor about them. But hope springs eternal, doesn’t it? It’s why people connect with places like NC, knowing full well that “our” despots and their minions track our every keystroke and movement…

    3. Ray Anderson

      The lack of moral character on the part of Biden and the establishment Democrats was put into sharp relief by their zealous support of Israel’s genocide.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Alaska Airlines grounds 737 Max 9 planes after section blows out mid-air”

    Though not an aeronautical engineer myself, I am pretty certain that that is not suppose to happen to an aircraft in mid-flight. A factory deactivated emergency exit blew out and it was lucky that nobody was sitting there. The most concerning thing is that this was – being a Boeing 737 Max 9 – only a new plane. Back in ’88, Aloha Airlines Flight 243 lost a major section of its roof but this was a 19 year-old plane that suffered fatigue cracking over the years. One person died on that flight while the passengers experienced flying in a plane with half the roof missing. This 737 Max could not have been older than what, seven years old at the most so I doubt that fatigue was a factor. In fact, it had been in service for less than two months at the time of the accident and had only been delivered back in October. Unfortunately with the FAA’s actions the past few years I do not think that there is confidence that a real answer will be found as to the background as to why this happened. But the Boeing 737 seems to be a cursed plane.

    1. digi_owl

      As i came to understand back when the two MAXs crashed from runaway auto-trim, FAA has been forced to outsource much of the certification work to the manufacturers themselves in the name of “efficiency”.

      And it is the new MAX, a 737 in name only, that is cursed. And much of that curse comes from Boeing management trying to game the system in order to make their planes more tempting to airlines over say Airbus.

      Basic thing is that Airbus managed to produce, in parallel with he bloated A380, a twin engine workhorse with the range to cross oceans. Something the aging 737 is unable to do.

      1. Bill Malcolm

        @ digi_owl

        Air Canada operates 737 MAX service from Halifax Nova Scotia to Heathrow London. Westjet flies Halifax to Gatwick.

        That is across the Atlantic Ocean, at least it was last time I looked out my window. And my friend and his wife have accomplished this amazing feat twice in the last 15 months. Because, yes, the aircraft makes a direct flight back against headwinds as well.

        Here’s more explanation:

        1. digi_owl

          Yes, the MAX can do that. That is why it was made. Older 737 can’t.

          but in order to do so, they had to fit far larger engines than the original had.

          And in order to do so without making the landing gear absurdly tall to provide ground clearance, the engines were moved further forward.

          That in turn makes the MAX behave unlike any other 737, as the center of gravity is shifted ahead of the wings and thus have a inherent “desire” to life the nose.

          So in order to pass this new plane off as just another 737, and thus not require pilots to having to go through costly certification on it, Boeing added a always on trim program to the autopilot.

          This is the program that failed spectacularly at least twice, causing fatal crashes because the pilots were caught off guard.

          That is why i say the MAX is a 737 in name only. It should really have been sold under a different name entirely. But then airlines may well have considered the Airbus alternative, because the pilots would need to be re-certified either way.

          So passengers and crews died because Boeing tried to game the system for profit.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Your last two paragraphs are so sadly correct. The 737 MAX should have been classed as a new airplane from the get-go. It is much closer in dimensions to the 757 but (as noted so many times by sites such as NC) it got shoehorned into the 737 class, even though the new engines effectively made it a new plane. All so as to avoid costs of training pilots.

            Whilst it is tempting to jump to conclusions about carbon composites instead of aluminium etc (which was largely why that sub collapsed when engaging in Titanic pron), Airbus with a much slower incremental approach has largely (but not unequivocally) managed the switch. Boeing has had continual very public stories of its cost-cutting. Whilst this problem is not the same as the 2 “big” crashes, they are all symptomatic of a design philosophy that focuses on finance, not engineering.

            My former Aussie colleagues used to crow “If it ain’t Boeing I ain’t going”. They don’t anymore.

          2. scott s.

            We had plenty of 738NG/739NG flying into Hawaii. Last year was my first time coming in on SWA 738MAX.

      2. Anthony Provene

        Remember Nimarata Randhawa sits on the Board of Directors of Boeing.

        USA MAX! USA MAX!

    2. upstater

      Its worse than you think RK. OMAAT reported:

      The Air Current reports that the exact jet involved in this incident had some pressurization issues the previous day. On January 4, 2024, the same exact jet apparently had a pressurization warning light appear during taxi-in following a flight. The airline then decided to remove the jet from ETOPS operations (meaning the airplane couldn’t fly overwater), in line with the company’s maintenance rules. The same light appeared again later the same day while inflight.

      That sure suggests that there was some indication of there being an issue with this aircraft, and that’s not great. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but it sounds like the plane should have been fully taken out of service, and not just prevented from flying across bodies of water. Hopefully this is just an isolated incident that can be linked to a specific cause, because the 737 MAX sure doesn’t need any more issues…

      Pressurization warnings? Simple, don’t fly over water. Greed is a many splendored thing.

      1. GC54

        But “your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device in the event of a water landing”, so what’s the problem?

    3. jefemt

      Reminiscent to me of streamlining and accelerating approval of certain ‘vaccines’
      Public-private partnerships… regulatory capture.
      Bankruptcy of morality.. when do we declare? Which Chapter? Is it a seven-year wait?

    4. Glen

      The FAA has grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, and will issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) detailing the required inspections:

      FAA Statement on Temporary Grounding of Certain Boeing 737 MAX 9 Aircraft

      The inspections are part of the normal C level heavy maintenance check so some 737 MAX 9 aircraft which have just had that maintenance are already cleared for flying:

      FAA Orders Temporary Grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 Fleet

      This is a very new aircraft. This type of door plug has been in use since the 737-900ER which has been flying passengers since 2006, and I’m not aware of any other incidents like this.

  5. digi_owl

    Ah yes, the protestant work ethic. Such a glorious shorthand for all whip no carrot.

    I suspect more that the slow rot of the post-war concessions between capital and labor in order to forestall a full on communist takeover, brought about by the same globalist offshoring that has hollowed out the US industrial capacity in particular, is a cause.

    It could for a time be staved off by cheap consumer credit, but now even that is maxed out.

    Frankly the supposed work ethic is nothing more than farm life brought into the factory. On a farm one live and die by one’s own work. For a time that same mentality could be applied to factory work, as the workers were newly displaced farmers. But over time, much like during the aristocratic era, the workers realized that they held all the real power if they just collaborated and coordinated. Thus the rise of unions.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar


      Are you referring to the interview with Emmanuel Todd? Because in the original French, there are even more misunderstandings on the part of Todd. I’ll comment in more detail below.

      Indeed: What everyone needs is a good dose of Calvinism. The Beatitudes are making people weak-kneed. Sacre bleu.

    2. Arkady Bogdanov

      Yes, that one really threw me as well. In my 50 years, I have found the most devout protestants to be some of the most immoral people in this society. Protestantism in particular, and religion in general in this society have been turned into cults to support capitalism and cruelty toward the poor. It seems almost none of these people actually cracked open the book they claim to follow. As to the lack of religion being a problem, in my experience, the professed atheists tended to be the most moral and morally consistent people I have ever met, and that is why I chose to join their ranks (and my wife stated this as her reason as well, before she met me). Granted perhaps we are biased, but we are constantly astounded at the cruelty, selfishness, and general lack of foresight regarding how their actions will blow back into their faces that is constantly on display among the religious at all levels of society in the United States, whether it is in their personal lives, work, or their support for foreign and domestic government policies. There are a small number of people that devoutly follow the teachings of Christ, but these are exceedingly rare. I see religion in the US, at least in it’s perverted form, as being a major driver for our problems. My wife and I have had discussions on this, and we blame it on the big “get out of jail free” card that exists within Christianity- The fact that people are told to accept that they are sinners- ie that they are naturally evil and that it is natural to commit evil acts, but that you are still a good person because you ask Jesus for forgiveness when you do commit evil, and then everything is copacetic. I find that ideal to be disgusting, personally. So yes, I heartily disagreed with point #2 in that tweet. I think it could not be more wrong.

        1. NYMutza

          I had gone to Catholic schools through high school, but I guess the brainwashing is fading after all these years. Until I read your comment I had completely forgotten “plenary indulgences”. Thanks for getting me back on the right track. I will talk to the bishop tomorrow.

      1. Aurelien

        I don’t think this has anything to do with morality. Certain sects of Christianity, including but not limited to, Calvinist Protestantism, developed the concept of “calling” (“vocation”) which went well beyond the traditional notion of religious calling to a type of sanctification of everyday life, where everything that you did, if done properly, was a holy act. As the English poet George Herbert put it:

        “Who sweeps a room as for thy laws
        makes that and the action fine.”

        This developed in time to the idea that, no matter how humble your position in society, no matter how little education you had, doing your job to the best of your ability was pleasing to God. (Max Weber tried to tie this to the rise of capitalism, though in fact he got the argument the wrong way round.) This has analogues in other societies, of course, notably in some Buddhist sects, but also in such unexpected places as the men and women in the Soviet factories in the Second World War who worked themselves to death for the war effort. What Todd appears to be complaining about (and I haven’t read his book yet) is the end of this fundamentally serious approach to life, and its replacement in the West by the Age of Me: what I can get from society and other people, and how quickly I can make money without contributing anything to society.

        We went through a version of this on the economic front a generation ago, with Japanese cars and electronics, which were designed and built by people who actually cared about things like quality and reliability, and so destroyed entire industries in the West that just existed to make a quick profit for the shareholders. Such has been the precipitous descent into an adolescent political culture, that our society now cannot survive the challenge from any society which actually takes life seriously, and not just as a game where you accumulate the most points from others with the least effort.

        1. i just don't like the gravy

          Could you list the Buddhist sects you feel parallel this approach (i.e. the sanctity of a vocation taken seriously)? I’d like to read more.


          our society now cannot survive the challenge from any society which actually takes life seriously, and not just as a game where you accumulate the most points from others with the least effort

          Well put!

          1. El Slobbo

            Right livelihood is one of the factors of the noble eightfold path. Parts of Aṅguttara Nikāya (4:62, 5:41, 8:54) talk about acquiring wealth legally, peacefully, honestly, and in ways that do not entail harm to others, for right livelihood.

            And Aṅguttara Nikāya 5:177 specifically lists livelihoods to be avoided.

            Some sects may emphasize right livelihood over other factors, but the concept itself is quite fundamental.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I would not put Buddhism on a pedestal. High sos here see the destitute as deserving their fate. It’s obviously their karma to suffer on the streets and the high sos’ to have nice things. It’s a pretty pervasive attitude here.

            1. sbarrkum

              destitute as deserving their fate. It’s obviously their karma

              Refuting the erroneous view that “whatsoever fortune or misfortune experienced is all due to some previous action”, the Buddha said:

              “So, then, according to this view, owing to previous action men will become murderers, thieves, unchaste, liars, slanderers, covetous, malicious and perverts. Thus, for those who fall back on the former deeds as the essential reason, there is neither the desire to do, nor effort to do, nor necessity to do this deed, or abstain from this deed.”

              It was this important text, which states the belief that all physical circumstances and mental attitudes spring solely from past Karma that Buddha contradicted.


              1. Adam Eran

                This is the Christian debate of “salvation” (by works or by grace). The major orthodox religions say works are important, but crediting them with some salvatory deserving is a bridge too far. The undeserving profit and lose all the time.

                A disciple asked Jesus why bad men prosper. His answer: “They have their reward.”

        2. jsn

          I remember how enraged I was in the early 80s in school arguing with College Republicans and Business Majors about the game-ification of life: they insisted life was a game and the spoils went to the winner; I argued that life was serious collective business where we all depended on one another and their cheap wins would dismantle everything they depended on.

          I lost the argument both locally then and there, and generally to the Neoliberal tsunami that permanently raised the level of BS through which all political/economic discourse had to subsequently swim.

          Here we are.

          1. Adam Eran

            Thus, once again validating Brandolini’s law: It takes orders of magnitude more energy to debunk the BS than to create it in the first place.

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          Tawney related Protestantism to the rise of Capitalism in his book “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism”. I have not read Max Weber — but I recall my professor characterizing Weber’s explanation for the rise of Capitalism in the West to its development of efficient ‘bureaucracy’, whatever Weber meant by bureaucracy. As I think of it now, Tawney’s ideas relate strangely to the outcomes of the English Civil War. After the dust settled the Protestant round heads kicked off the Industrial Revolution. Many of the first colonists in America came from Protestant sects cast out of England and Europe — Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. What I am suggesting is that the idea of Protestantism as a key factor in the rise of Capitalism may be a case of using correlation to infer causality, which can be a fraught basis for argument.

          This tweet suggests Emmanuel Todd agrees with the idea that Protestantism lead to the rise of Capitalism so that the fall of belief in Protestantism would contribute to the fall of Capitalism and the West. The Protestant concept of a Calling tied with the idea that worldly success gave some indication of God’s favor lead to the idea that the successful were likely among the Select. This idea does provide some room for justifying/rationalizing some very non-Christian features of Capitalism.

          However — I believe the multi-decade rise of Neoliberalism provides a better explanation for the decline of the West. Neoliberalism is the religion of our Age.

          1. zach

            I remember learning about some prominent South American politician from the Age of Revolutions describing how what was really needed to get the party started down south was some of that “German” and “English” work ethic that the North Americans (USians and Canadians) had in such abundance. No mention of Protestantism being a root cause, to my recollection.

            Point being, smart people get distracted by shiny objects too.

            Had I kept my papers from that class, I’d share his name – I don’t think it was Bolivar but could’ve been.

        4. Kouros

          It might have nothing to do with religion but how the polities were functioning and organizing, including businesses and finance. And the Dutch and then the English broke new paths, with constitutional monarchies, companies with shareholders, and limited responsibility, and their “national banks”…

          Why to look for “immaterial” explanations, when very powerful real arguments are at hand?

        5. eg

          What you describe looks more to me like the concept of “the dignity of work” rather than “the Protestant work ethic.”

          But certainly yes to your description of the atomized Age of Me which displaced it.

      2. kareninca

        The Christians I know do devoutly follow the teachings of Christ. I do make a point of avoiding people who don’t follow those teachings (whatever they call themselves), so that does affect what I see.

        To my great relief my church did manage to provide all of the homeless shelter meals this month, with some help from two other churches. Every year the county tells us that they won’t need the church shelter anymore, and then the next year comes and the need is even greater. Unfortunately the small churches are dying out. There are a couple of giant evangelical ones nearby and they have been very helpful and generous; I suppose when my church dies I’ll end up joining one of those. As long as they are sheltering and providing meals to homeless people that will be enough for me, I don’t care about their doctrines.

        1. LifelongLib

          FWIW, I have a number of Catholic friends who both individually and through their church have done what they can to help the homeless. But at the same time they get very uncomfortable when someone tries to discuss political or economic changes that might prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. My take is that at the time Christianity was forming its core values of charity etc, there wasn’t much you could do systemically about (say) poverty and illness. Today there is, but many churches and their members are reluctant to take that next step.

          1. kareninca

            Is it possible that your Catholic friends do favor systemic politic and economic changes that they think would reduce homelessness, but that their ideas of what those would be are very different from yours, and they don’t want to debate the topic in order to preserve the friendship or some other reason? I have seen that, though of course it might not be what is going on with your friends,

          2. JTMcPhee

            The Man himself is reported to have said, “The poor you will have always with you…” so never mind about fixing the machinery that leads to impoverishment, ritgh?

        2. Adam Eran

          It was one of Satan’s great victories to make “Christianity” all about persecuting the gays and forbidding abortions. The politicization was complete when former abortion advocate Jerry Falwell became an abortion opponent.

          This conclusion is somehow drawn from a Bible that advises compassion thousands of times, with a few obscure passages that even address the wedge issues.

          Rev. William Barber calls it “theological malpractice.”

      3. alfia

        I agree with the second point, at least when it comes to the UK. The churches in the UK are standing empty for most of the time. A considerable amount of churches are falling into disrepair, getting abandoned, transformed into apartments, houses, pubs, offices, etc. In the meantime Russia has gone in completely opposite direction: the churches, mosques are getting restored, new churches are getting built at enormous speed. The West has become godless whilst Russia went into religious overdrive.

    3. i just don't like the gravy

      Yeah that Frenchman is full of crap. Oh no we no longer have Protestantism to make our boys tough and girls principled! Heaven forbid!

      The naval gazing rot and ahistorical analysis in contemporary “philosophy” should be embarrassing. I can’t believe people fall for that word salad.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Yeah that Frenchman is full of crap.

        I think that this is a small bit of oversimplification. A society that is based on old school Protestantism, not the modern Prosperity Gospel atrocity, is not going to be the Post Modern, facts are not real, money is god, society that we have today. Restated, I do not think that the differences of a functional, highly competent, and very religious society of the 19th century and the social, economic, and governmental wasteland of today that has Elmer Gantry as its role model is happenstance.

    4. John k

      Imo the shift (beginning under Clinton?) to markets/short-term profits and bribery of self-serving pols adequately explains our accelerating slide. Maybe very similar issues were at work with rome’s far slower fall… I will say a new thought for me is that maybe the reserve currency may have masked or enabled a myriad of weaknesses.

  6. Steve H.

    > Justice vs. Vengeance — Is There a Difference? Living Philosophy

    >> The judicial system has the final word. If one side is unhappy they will either have to work within the power of the justice system — with appeals and retrials or they can take the law into their own hands and in turn face the vengeance of the justice system.

    A simple counter:

    “More generally, most observers agree that the primary reason so many Americans are unrepresented in court is that even people of moderate means simply cannot afford a lawyer.”

    Rakoff, back when Fabius went Marxist.

    1. digi_owl

      The basic problem of applying Marx to the present day is that back then the PMC “middle” class was barely taking shape. He himself referring to a vague petite bourgeoisie made up of small time merchants etc.

      In the present it has become very similar in behavior to the feudal retinue, flaunting the power of the loaned title and position their lord’s livery badge (corporate logo) provides.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Um, no. Marx’s considerable journalistic work focused on factory labor. He spent a lot of time in Manchester, then the heart of the British textile industry.

        1. Synoia

          Also, Marx was buried in Highate Cemetery in London. My brother in Law, a Tory, is buried to his right.

          Both of which are incidental.

      2. Steve H.

        > The basic problem of applying Marx to the present day is that back then the PMC “middle” class was barely taking shape.

        I find Pandit et al to have good explanatory value.

        >> the number of feasible classes as a function of the skew in power, σ, and the original group size, N(0).

        >> Intriguingly, at lower σ we expect to find more classes. Among human groups, σ may be lower when power is more or less uniformly distributed as a result of fighting weapons that do not require specific skill or training. The number of feasible classes (m) implicitly depends on the number of individuals in the upper class: fewer members in the upper class leads to a potentially smaller number of middle classes.

        In this article, income skews correlate to the power skew. Inequality over the Past Century indicates that income inequality bottomed out by the 1980’s, started spiking up in the 1990’s, and is now at the highest level since at least 1916.

        This indicates the number of middle classes is decreasing in the 21st century, inverse to the increased concentration of wealth in the upper class. 1977 is the year ‘The Professional-Managerial Class’ was first reified into an object. But it’s only since 2016 that The Professional Managerial Class (PMC) attained class consciousness. That’s when a price of a home in a city hit a million bucks, and (imho) the young PMC figured out they’ll always be renters.

      1. cousinAdam

        “Vengeance is Mine sayeth the Lord” IOW, off-limits to us apprentice Creators (macrocosm/microcosm)

        1. John

          And vengeance leads to re-vengeance and so on and so forth while justice is presumed blind while the so-called “justice system” … a surpassingly stupid appellation … barters and threatens for deals that are neither revenge nor justice. Were we, collectively, to not treat others like s—, and that would include all who work for others, there would be no need for vengeance nor for what passes for justice.
          That would be the “Golden Rule” in all its many statements.

          Another thought, karma is quite real. Give a thought before taking revenge.

          1. hk

            I used to have a terrible reply to the Gandhi saying about “eye for eye”: why do you think Justice is blind?

    2. juliania

      Thanks for mentioning the Greeks – I think the Oresteia trilogy of Aeschylus is the paramount sequence of plays culminating in the Furies being transformed with the help of Athena from ladies pursuing vengeance into the Eumenides in the final play.

      I have just finished rereading a very different take on Justice in Plato’s ‘The Republic’ – which should really be referred to as ‘The Politeia’, (a more people-friendly take than the Latin ‘public things’ in my view.) Plato goes right to the heart of the matter, his definition being ‘Justice is minding one’s own business’ – in a well ordered city or state, that is. Ah that we had such, but the key is in ourselves, it would seem. [ is a thought-provoking source]

  7. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    This is wonderfully ironic: a joint team of Chinese and American scientists “create world’s first graphene semiconductor in feat that could transform computer chips”: *

    After all the US efforts to a) prevent China access to the latest semiconductor tech and b) prevent scientific collaboration between the US and China (the “China initiative”, etc.)… how immensely ironic would it be if the future of semiconductor tech was developed by a collaboration between Chinese and American scientists

    * Chinese-US team creates first graphene semiconductor in likely computing leap

    8:44 PM · Jan 5, 2024

  8. CA

    January 6, 2024

    Silicon rival: Researchers create world’s first functional graphene semiconductor

    Researchers from China and the U.S. have jointly developed the world’s first functional semiconductor made from graphene, paving the way for smaller, faster and more efficient electronic products.

    Semiconductors are materials that conduct electricity under certain conditions, which are the basic components of electronic devices.

    They “are essential to allow all computers to function,” Sarah Haigh, professor of materials at the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, UK, told Deutsche Welle (DW).

    Semiconductors “allow us to create tiny switches which can be turned on and off to allow the flow of electricity. It is this electricity flowing through electrical circuits that allows computers to perform calculations,” said Haigh.

    Currently, almost all modern electronics rely on silicon-based semiconductors. While electronic devices are becoming smaller with faster processing speeds, silicon-based semiconductors are approaching the limits of their physical capabilities. New research directions include quantum chips and carbon-based ones.

    Graphene, which is a single sheet of carbon atoms held together by the strongest bonds known, features toughness, flexibility, lightness and high resistance.

    However, a long-standing problem preventing its use in electronics is that graphene does not have a “band gap,” which is a crucial electronic property that allows semiconductors to switch on and off.

    A team of researchers from Tianjin University in China and Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S. has now made a breakthrough in turning graphene into a semiconductor.

    Their study * was published in Nature on Wednesday…


    1. Benny Profane

      This is what happens when a bloated and way overpriced American higher ed industry has to recruit students who are the children of the Chinese 1%, and then tell them they have to go home, no jobs or a life for them here.

      1. John

        China is a “this” … No it is really a “that.” We must terrify the people. We must spend and spend and spend to fatten the MIC … although I prefer Ray McGovern’s version MICIMATT … Congress must huff and puff. Lindsey Graham must call down his thunder upon them. There will be carefully publicized brave gestures. What have we then? We have words. We have Public Relations which when you rearrange the letters yields, crap built on lies.

        Seems actually thinking, experimenting, engineering, building something of excellent quality is cast aside as unnecessary. Back in the 1920s Knute Rockne, the Notre Dame football coach had a backfield called the “Four Horsemen.” They were getting pretty proud of themselves. Rockne is supposed to have pulled the first string line, the Seven Mules, out of the game sending in the second string. The Horsemen got knocked around. They called time out and asked him to send the starters back in. He said they should show the other team their newspaper clippings.

        The US might stop showing China and Russia its “newspaper clippings” and face reality.

    2. NYMutza

      Huawei may already be turning out prototypes using graphene. Imagine the consternation of the US national security state when they find out.

  9. Alice X

    >Construction of Reality: Who You Feel With

    Not a long or deep piece, but food for thought.

    Identity is, to paraphrase Lois McMaster Bujold talking about love, “when they are cut, I bleed.”

    I don’t identify with any religion, but when I see Gazan children maimed and bleeding, I bleed. I would feel the same with Israeli children but there hasn’t been many of them.

  10. Socal Rhino

    Branko Milanovic’s comments call to mind A Canticle for Leibowitz.

    I wonder if some enterprising preppers are stockpiling paper documents somewhere in Utah or Idaho.

    1. Benny Profane

      The Mormons, who convert the dead, have transitioned from keeping paper genealogy records in a giant mountain cave near SLC (you drive by it on the way to skiing in Big Cottonwood) to sites like

    2. The Rev Kev

      That is not a bad thought that. We are one Carrington Event from losing our entire society as our electronics get toasted. Come to think of it, people should think then about stockpiling pallet-loads of reams of blank paper, I kid you not, if this happens. And pencils too. Can you imagine what it would be like trying to build back society but without paper? I’m not sure it can be done. If you try to list your resources for example to know where you stand, what are you going to do? Scratch that list out on some dirt? In such a society you may find that you will be trading for paper – and by the sheet rather than by the ream-

      1. Wukchumni

        We have had an X solar flare already in 2023, which was the same kind as the Carrington Event, but not quite as strong.

        In the USA, every last gun would perform perfectly, as there are no electric gats.

        We could find out who the best Annie Oakley or Ned Bunting is, until everybody runs outta ammo.

      2. doug

        I have two old analog multi meters packed away carefully. And a few technical books. Not that it will matter, but makes me feel a bit better.

        1. Wukchumni

          Every year more or less, acorns from Live Oaks & Blue Oaks drop and carpet the ground. Animals eat some of them, but largely they simply decay into the soil, unwanted.

          It was 2/3rds of the diet of the Wukchumni for a few thousand years, and I’d have to make do-please pass me the acorn gruel.

        1. Wukchumni

          I viewed petroglyphs in Death Valley NP this past week that were perhaps a few thousand years old and very legible, in picture language form.

          They could be easily replicated and updated for our time, all you need is a Southwestern rock wall with desert varnish on it, and using a battery powered Dremel tool kit that would set you back $60.

          The panel i’m thinking of doing is a transportation epoch, with horse drawn vehicles, and then railroads, streetcars, cars, planes, jets, and finally rockets.

          Another one along the same lines would be boats through history.

          Might be the only historical written record of how we got around, after one of us pushes the button down.

    3. CA

      March 27, 1960

      Incubator of the New Civilization;
      By Martin Levin

      By Walter M. Miller Jr.

      IN this ingenious fantasy, Walter M. Miller Jr. diagrams mankind’s future in terms of its past. Assuming that there will have been something left on the beach with which to start the whole shooting match all over again, Mr. Miller picks up the thread of civilization in a facsimile of the early Middle Ages, after some 600 neo-Dark Age years following an atomic cataclysm…

    4. jsn

      I know some very wealthy preppers who are printing things like methods for making soap, iodine, etc. along with all kinds of maintenance manuals etc. on synthetic paper that won’t decay.

      So, memory loss will be generalized when the power goes out with specific reservoirs of information in random locations with random socio-political affiliations.

    5. Kouros

      The Seven Eves survivors in the deep mines took extra care in the amount and quality of paper they got down with them, to last for millenia…

  11. mzza

    There’s a lot of interesting ideas in “Justice vs. Vengeance — Is There a Difference?” as the author tries to establish a relation between levels of incarceration as a measure of a society’s ‘Justice to vengeance’ quotient, in particular looking at the treatment toward criminals and recidivism, and even support for the death penalty. However the article — while making comparisons on the individual level to a State’s Justice system (within Britain or the US vs. Norway), and even social moments like the Black Panthers responding against the State’s definition of Justice/vengeance — leaves out any mention of a society’s corresponding level of militarism.

    Let’s call it the relationship between intra-State and extra-State violence.

    I think any investigation of a society’s relationship between justice and vengeance needs to include its approach toward violence outside its borders (both military and economic) as both these State-level behaviors drive some of the most effective propaganda citizens experience at all ages, including the Marvel franchise mentioned by the authors. It’s a too common error, I find, to assume “societies” (or communities or ‘tribes’) exist on the interpersonal and localized level but stop at the border. How can anyone honestly examine the US approach to incarceration for example, without bringing social and historical realities of State-driven economic and colonial forces into consideration?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      So what to make of the fact that Russia’s prison population was about 1 million when Putin took office, and is now only about 300,000?

      1. mrsyk

        Introducing a confounder here, I’m curious how many Russian prisoners exchanged military service for amnesty. Not much on this from a cursory internet search.

        1. hk

          Can’t find the numbers at the moment, but the sharp decline in Russian prison population took place years before the current conflict.

          1. CA


            The incarceration rate in 2018 was 416 per 100,000 people. There were 947 total institutions that operated under the FSIN in 2015 with a total capacity that could reach 812,804. Only 79% of this capacity was in use that year. Notably, from 2000 to 2020, the prison population has dropped substantially by 536,476.


            August 4, 2014

            Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Russia and Germany, 2000-2022

            (Indexed to 2000)


                The United States is far worse than Russia. The American prison population rate is 531 as of 2021, which is a decrease from the high of 755 per 100,000 in 2008.

            1. CA

              Notice the increase in Russian economic growth relative to Germany from 2000 on, which to me reflects and contributed to Russian social stability. This seems to have gone largely unnoticed in the West:


              August 4, 2014

              Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Russia and Germany, 2000-2022

              (Percent change)

        2. GF


          The USA should offer prisoners the same option as Russia. A win-win for the military and many the prisoners. Bad for the prison industrial complex though unless the military pays the prisons for the loss of income.

          1. Polar Socialist

            You know, prisons could lease the inmates for the highest bidding PMC (or service branch).

            They could even sell the TV rights for the Inmate Entry Drafts!

          2. mrsyk

            The idea seems to have merit at first glance.
            Edit: Thinking about CA’s prisoner firefighters. I have mixed feelings.

      2. mzza

        I’d hesitate to even speculate on the mechanics of that drop as I know next to nothing about Russia’s criminal Justice system, or the specific policy changes that might precipitate such a drop (good or bad). Though—as I’ve seen referenced on NC many times—any comparison between the US as an imperial military power with military bases across the globe and military presence in nearly every country, and the much-less dispersed Russia, the drop in prison population might support my comment. As a US citizen my understanding of the relationship of attitudes here toward criminality, the death penalty, and rehabilitation track too closely to US “cops of the world” interventionism to be left out of any discussion of a citizenry’s proposed Justice vs Vengence quotient as a social driver. I just think there’s a common reluctance to examine the role of the Nation State in shaping the psyche toward violence. Supporting a type of internationalism without borders used to be a common argument among the likes of the IWW. Personally I’d like to hear more of that now when evaluating structural violence like prisons, or State violence like the genocide in Gaza. And a bit less pushing it back on the individual.

      3. The Splinter

        At 356 incarcerated per 100k, Russia has the second highest incarceration rate behind Turkey’s 357 per 100k. Conclusion: six more years of Putin’s mediocre Chekist nonsense inspires more Russians to drink themselves to death on the eve of being incarcerated for domestic violence? Putin’s gay panic laws should put Russia back on top.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Making Shit Up is a violation of our written site Policies and a fast track to being blacklisted.

          This is only a partial list of countries with a higher incarceration rate than Russia, per 100K:

          Turkmenistan 576

          American Samoa 538

          Cuba 510

          United States 505

          Panama 478

          Thailand 411

          Bahamas 409

          Uruguay 408

          Brazil 389

          Turkey 374

          Belarus 345

          Russia 304

          Costa Rica 301

          So Russia is just above a top expat destination, the so-called Switzerland of Central America, Costa Rica, and WAY WAY below that of the US and many other countries.

          Take your blatant fabrications elsewhere.

          1. skippy

            Since the Drunk Russian has been deployed I should mention drinking culture in Costa Rica is truly epic … So there goes the economic tropes and totalitarian memes …

          2. Bugs

            That Cuba number seemed excessively high. Something has radically gone wrong since I visited some Cuban prisons for research two decades ago, when they had some very progressive programs to reintegrate convicts back into their communities with minimal time in actual incarceration. I looked at the source for those numbers and it came from the Interior Ministry so gawd knows what happened. Maybe drug offenses? I’d be very interested if anyone here closely follows Cuban news.

          3. Jeff W

            I’d say it’s an out-of-context statistic, deliberate or not.

            This Euronews article, from August, 2021, citing a “Council of Europe [Coe] report,” says the identical thing as the commenter:

            Turkey and Russia are the two countries with the highest incarceration rates, according to a new report by the Council of Europe.

            The countries have 357 and 356 inmates per 100,000 people, respectively.

            The discrepancy between the rankings in that report and those of Statistica (aside from the fact that the the statistics in the CoE report are from three years earlier) seems to be that the CoE report takes into account only “the 47 members of the Council of Europe.” (This page, apparently part of the official CoE site, lists 46 members but that’s a mystery for another day.)

            The sentences in the Euronews article quoted above omit the context also—you have to surmise it from a description of the CoE report later in the piece. So it seems that, in 2020, out of the 40-some-odd members of the CoE, Turkey and Russia were the two countries with the highest incarceration rates, at least according to a CoE report.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Sorry, not buying it. The commentor made his OWN declaration and did not cite a source. He stated it as a global comparison.

              By making the statement solely based on his own purported authority, and as a DIRECT and demonstrably false challenge to me (which I had to waste time to show) he owns it and has been banned as a result. I have zero tolerance for readers who lie to undermine the credibility of authors on this site.

      4. Es s Ce tera

        I found this paper on Russian system of prisoner pardons/amnesties from 2002:

        “III. Pardons, Amnesties, and Russian Penal Policy
        Overcrowding in Russian jails and the awful conditions in prisons cast a long but
        thin shadow over Russian criminal justice policy. The Russian government, like the
        Soviet Union before it, has regulated prison population growth mainly by declaring
        periodic amnesties. Between 1997 and 2000, the legislature announced three, the last of
        which triggered the release of approximately 50,000 defendants from pre-trial detention
        centers and another 150,000 from prisons. But even this massive release did not solve the
        problem of prison overcrowding. The perceived insolubility of the incarceration problem put pressure on other agencies—courts and the pardon commission, for example—to
        accommodate these concerns in their own decisions.”

        And it appears Putin’s contribution was to decentralize this:

        “IV. Putin’s Pardon Policy
        New Bodies and Procedures for Pardon
        Putin’s December 2001 decree replaced the Presidential Commission with
        regional commissions located administratively under the provincial governors. The
        commissions are supposed to be non-governmental and staffed principally by prominent
        members of the public.12 Their role is consultative: they are to review applications and
        make “recommendations” to the governor, who then may forward them to the President
        for consideration.13 Decisions to pardon, as well as the deliberations and
        recommendations of the regional commissions, are to be made public.
        The regional commissions have only recently been established in all of Russia’s
        89 regions. There have been no national reports of their pardon practices, but it appears
        that in those regions where commissions have met, the rate of recommendation for
        release is quite low.”

        The piece goes on to give reasons to believe Russian pardons and amnesties are in low numbers, but I’m thinking it’s from 2002 so maybe someone needs to revisit the numbers. Putin’s implementation of regional/local amnesty councils, combined with the limited Russian capacity for prisoners, could neatly explain how we get from 1 million to 300k prisoners. And think how this might contribute to cultural perceptions of crime, is there simply more foregiveness because there’s no place to put prisoners?

        Likewise, the Americans, culturally, are always happy to add to prison capacity and have always been happy to criminalize everything and everyone, so more reluctance to forgive.

        I also tend to think the Russians, being Orthodox, are closer to earlier Christ-like notions of forgiveness than the Americans, who are a product of a Christianity very, very far removed from early Christianity.

        By the way, the author of the Living Philosophy piece seems unaware of the historical contexts of the various books of the bible, seems to expect a coherent whole or unified system. I’m not sure they realize there are multiple authors and sources, and even single books have been re-written by multiple authors. And that at the time of Jesus this Christianity concept was a work in progress, didn’t become settled until much, much later. That our modern notion of Christianity comes mainly from Paul and has hardly any resemblance to Jesus’ actual ministry and teachings. They also seem ignorant of Jesus’ contributions as a revolutionary, revolting against then existing ideas and systems of justice via the Sadducees, Pharisees and Roman Law, all visibly corrupt, obvious failures, resulting in mass starvation and dispossession, hence the popularity of Jesus. And the Pharisees and Saducees (precursors to modern Judaism) themselves going against earlier notions of justice, and in general of things like….say…the contribution of Hammurabi’s Code of Laws to the concept of justice. Or even of the evolution of the concept of sin from the concept of debt. But then, it’s just a blog, I guess it obviously didn’t intend to go very deep…but I have to say Nietzsche, the starting point of the piece, had a better understanding of the historical evolutions of religion.

  12. SteveD

    Thank you for the link on the “Natural Asset Companies”. An appalling idea which will doubtless create numerous negative unintended consequences, I submitted comments.

    1. Susan the other

      Maybe not. It’s hard to predict what will happen with NACs because. If there are financial returns from trading NACs it creates as big a threat to Nature as any other form of profit driven capitalism, so there would be more money created looking for new returns. If, however, the “returns” are restricted to reinvestments only in another NAC it could create a way of investing capital that is almost altruistic and would build a good defense against the kind of natural pillage we have now. Plus NACs could be the perfect repository for all our current absurd profits, serving to prevent those profits, like sharks in bloody waters, from making the next obscene kill. And given enough time the benefits to the environment would have, could have, huge benefits. It could conceivably create an entire new investment category not based on financial gain but on repair and maintenance of an infinite variety. And etc.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Subsidence risk on the U.S. East Coast”

    Not the only region to face this problem. After the massive weight of the ice retreated at the end of the last ice age, the north of the UK is tilting up with that weight gone while the south of the country is tilting down – into the sea. During the next century parts of Scotland could rise up to 10cm which would counter the effects of rising seas. The south, however is tilting into the sea and parts of Cornwall for example will be lost in the coming decades-

    1. Revenant

      There is an east-west tilt in the UK for independent geological reasons as well, so Cornwall will be fine. The West is Rising! And very little of Cornwall is at sea level, the steep cliffs are famous.

      Say goodbye to East Anglia, in large parts at or below sea level, and hullo once more to the North Sea…..

  14. Thomas F Dority

    “The effort to eliminate paper records is over the top reckless”
    The abolition of paper and the pompous rule of the present Branko Milanovic.
    To add to this is AI can be sent on a mission to change what has been digitally recorded so that history can be changed – just my guess.
    Also, Microsoft is saying that I need upgrade my system which requires a faster and more bit and byte capable chip set – also forces info onto the cloud…… seems like a great way to boost sales like the time microsoft made an older version of word not migrateable to the new release.
    So now all knowledge acquired in the past, present and future is malleable and platform dependent – a lot more extinct able than paper or tree carvings
    Next they will be telling me that genocides never happened, slave owners were just fair people, Global warming is just a hoax, the economy is great and, critical thinking and education are just a waste of time…let someone else take care of that

    1. jabura Basaidai

      TFD – absolutely keep a paper trail – something my Dad taught me – i require all billing in paper and pay by check, never auto pay…never-never-never – without an in-hand record your recourse in a challenge is smoke in the wind – and all those billings relentlessly point out the “ease” and “safety” of letting them access your bank account or credit card as well as “saving the trees” – nope – and elections should all be paper and hand counted –

    2. Boomheist

      There was a time, most of human history, actually, when everything a culture knew and understood was held in the brains of those alive, passed down through stories and myths and lessons. Everything – what was safe to eat, how to find materials to make weapons and clothing, how animals behaved, family history. Imagine all the knowledge a young mind had to absorb between birth and, say, the age of 15 or 16 when they were essentially adults. Then, less than 5000 years ago, writing was invented, a way to store information and data outside the individual’s mind. With writing, so long as the material being written on could be retained (and in proper dry storage such materials, whether skins or paper, could be retained hundreds of years, even thousands, Dead Sea scrolls, for example) vast amounts of history and information could be held outside the mind, in libraries, retrieved by readers for study. Then, less than 60-70 years ago, the miracle of digital storage was invented, and it was first possible to store all that information on hard drives in computers and then, in the last 15 years, in the “cloud”, removing the data from individual control on one’s own computer to a third party control and maintenance, somewhere at a vast server farm. And along with that came the ability, now rising with AI and smarter and smarter phones, to simply ask that cloud a question and have the could and digital system give the answer….

      So we have gone from a species whereby our minds had to learn everything to a species where we have built technology such that our minds need to learn nothing beyond asking a question. I think the skulls of ancient humans, 30,000 years in the past, had larger brain cases than skulls today. This is the case for Neanderthal peoples, I know, but maybe for Homo Sapiens as well. Maybe those larger brain cases were so the brain could learn and understand all it needed to in order to survive. Now, in this era, because of digitization and the cloud, there is no longer a need for the brain to train itself to understand and store critical information, only ask the cloud. If you believe in evolutionary biology and the idea that pressure and use drives form and function, it is only logical to believe that because the need for the brain to learn everything is much reduced these days, the size of said brain will reduce as well.
      We are, in a word, becoming stupider, without even knowing it.

      1. zagonostra

        Your comments remind me Plato’s Phaedrus, where he introduces the invention of writing by the Egyptian god Thoth where it is not seen as a net positive. Also brings to mind Giordano Bruno and his “Art of Memory” that he developed to a degree we can’t really comprehend in the age of digital devices.

        Here, O king, is a branch of learning that will make the people of Egypt wiser and improve their memories. My discovery provides a recipe for memory and wisdom. But the king answered and said ‘O man full of arts, the god-man Toth, to one it is given to create the things of art, and to another to judge what measure of harm and of profit they have for those that shall employ them.’

        1. jabura Basaidai

          and then there’s Julian Jaynes proposition/theory that when stripped down says that the act of having to record and objectify were the seminal moments of the origin of consciousness – prior to that the bicameral mind sent hallucinatory ‘orders’ to the other half of the brain – not sure i agree but have read Jaynes’s book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” a couple of times, second time after reading “A Brief History of Humankind” by Harari – tempted a third time after reading Graeber’s “The Dawn of Everything” – unfortunately Jaynes died before following up with a second book on the subject – all in all an interesting subject –

      2. Michaelmas

        Boomheist: … ancient humans, 30,000 years in the past, had larger brain cases than skulls today. This is the case for Neanderthal peoples, I know, but maybe for Homo Sapiens as well.

        Correct. Average IQ of a Cro Magnon homo sap was higher and human brains have physically shrunk an average two-hundred cubic centimeters in the last 10,000 years. Putting that in context, if we shrank another two-hundred, we’d have the IQ of genus Homo, who lived back two million years ago in the Pleistocene and preceded Homo heidelbergensis, who in turn preceded Homo neanderthalis and modern Homo sap.

        This is known among anthropologists.

        John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”

        “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.

        “That was true for 2 million years of our evolution,” Hawks says. “But there has been a reversal.”

        Now put smaller human brains together with these further facts ….

        “We humans exhibit a number of biological characteristics that are more typical of pets than of wild animals … we share with our pets and farm animals … characteristics… (of) what we now call a domestication syndrome…..
        Four of them stand out compared to our ancestors: a shorter face; smaller teeth; reduced sex differences …; and, finally, a smaller brain … In fact, the evolution of humans is naturally characterized by a continuous increase in brain size. But it turns out this trend has reversed in the last 30,000 years.”

        from “‘Those Who Obeyed the Rules Were Favored by Evolution’” in Der Spiegel.

        The link is from Der Speigel and provides a typically Teutonic conformist, phony answer: “Those Who Obeyed the Rules Were Favored by Evolution.” FFS!?!

        Ignore that and ask yourself honestly: if we humans indeed display all the telltale marks of domesticated pet animals, whose ‘companion animal’ are we?

        The answer is blazingly obvious given that through all previous human evolution brain sizes increased till precisely when we hit the sedentarist revolution approx. 10,000 yeara sgo —

        — and then that process immediately goes into reverse.

        Note, too, that Paleolithic humans were taller, healthier, lived longer as hunter-gather nomads, and worked far less. Conversely, permanent settlement and agriculture were seriously detrimental for Neolithic humans, as the Wiki notes ….

        The nutritional standards of the growing Neolithic populations were inferior to that of hunter-gatherers … the transition to cereal-based diets caused a reduction in life expectancy and stature, an increase in infant mortality and infectious diseases, the development of chronic, inflammatory or degenerative diseases (such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases) and multiple nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin deficiencies, iron deficiency anemia and mineral disorders affecting bones (such as osteoporosis and rickets) and teeth.[93][94][95] Average height went down from 5’10” (178 cm) for men and 5’6″ (168 cm) for women to 5’5″ (165 cm) and 5’1″ (155 cm), respectively, and it took until the twentieth century for average human height to come back to the pre-Neolithic Revolution levels.

        So if the vast mass of human beings didn’t benefit from the Neolithic Revolution, what were the befits and to whom did they accrue?

        The benefits were, firstly, granaries with surpluses of food and, secondly, the greater numbers of human individuals that permanent settlement and agriculture enabled a community/tribe to deploy both for purposes of labor in the fields and for warmaking, with the conquest of other tribes providing further surpluses of food, land, slaves, women, etcetera.

        To whom did both these types of surpluses brought about by the Neolithic revolution accrue?

        To the psychopath-ruler class that emerged at that time, and to a lesser extent to its subsidiary priest and warrior castes.

        So that’s whose domesticated ‘companion animal’ we are. The psychopaths’.

        Why the decrease in average human intelligence? Individuals who resisted the conditions and beliefs imposed by their communities’ elites got killed or forced out — either way, were culled from the breeding pool. Conversely, other individuals, who’d never survive in a state of nature as hunter-gatherers, got their food handed to them because they were willing to do the stupidest jobs and create surpluses for elites, and they survived and bred.

        1. jabura Basaidai

          WOW! thank you for that info – at least for me it helps explain a lot – checking out Hawks website and The Great Courses appear to be very interesting as well as the book , “Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story” which i will add to my library – thanks again for your insightful post

        2. hk

          This is fascinating: Richard Steckel, econ historian at Ohio State who studied stature of various historical peoples of North America, found that, relative to their contemporaries, the Plains tribes in late 19th century were among the tallest and healthiest people ever (we have very good data on their biometrics because, apparently, as they were sent to reservations, detailed measurements were taken and recorded.). This does not seem to be an accident: Jared Diamond has often pointed out how hunter gatherers were healthier and smarter than farmers–and horse riding nomads are supreme hunter gatherers.

      3. eg

        I appreciate the logic here, but evolutionary responses to the cultural environment for a species as numerous as ours will be s-l-ow …

    3. flora

      Oh yeah. Isn’t that what the entirely privately owned and run, digital, MERS mortgage system in the US was designed for, to replace traceable paper records at the county recorder’s office? And we all know how well that worked out. Oh, how it worked out. (“Oh, how you can get stucco” – Groucho Marx) It generated or helped generate the subprime loan mortgage disaster, aka the great financial crisis of 2008-2009, and no verified paperwork leading of course to rocket-docket foreclosures. What could go wrong? / oy vey

      an aside: signing important documents in blue (not black) wet-ink isn’t a bad idea. / my 2 cents

      1. vao

        signing important documents in blue (not black) wet-ink isn’t a bad idea.

        Would you mind explaining why exactly?

        1. flora

          Blue ink on a black and white laser printer will show up as all black and white. Thus, a black and white laser printer copy is not an original. It’s a small thing. Ya never know when a small thing will make a big difference when challenge original documents authenticity. / ;)

          1. rowlf

            During the late unpleasantness where nobody knew who had possession of an actual deed, some county clerk spanked some bank officials in court by having a long time practice in her county of using only blue ink for signatures.

            Hubba-duh hubba-duh indeed.

              1. flora

                Or, language correctly instead of current US slang language usage, I have great respect for the county clerk who knew both their job and the business requirements of recording property title deeds correctly by law . / ;)

          2. flora

            To be precise: A black and white copy of a document you signed in blue ink is obviously not the original or a good copy of same.

            The difference between an original signature on an original document and a copy of same can make a world of difference when/if a legal push comes to shove.

      2. jabura Basaidai

        as a real estate broker it has always been the rule to sign in blue ink – at least with the title folks i’ve worked with for over 20 years – but good tip to pass along flora

    4. SocalJimObjects

      There’s benefits to not keeping everything on paper too. If the US Armed Forces were to lose their electronic only Minuteman Manual, the only people crying would be the neocons, while everybody else would breath a sigh of relief. Also some societies would be impacted more than others, in many third world countries, a lot of knowledge are passed on mainly verbally and in the case of an advanced country like Japan through apprenticeship which is common in the areas of carpentry, steel work, and cooking. Since countries like America have outsourced a ton of stuff to other countries, having how to do X on paper does not mean you can take advantage of the knowledge.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The problem fat people have is:

      1. It takes hardly any calories to maintain fat, unlike say muscle

      2. The popular advice about how to lose weight and keep it off is all wrong (I say this as a formerly fat person)

      3. American portion sizes are way too big unless you are a very big man, so if you merely want to avoid getting fat, you need to leave food behind at restaurants. Most people are too image conscious to ask for a doggie bag and take extra food home.

      1. Benny Profane

        Big problem is cookies. Damn cookies. They are a constant the whole month of December. Everywhere.

        Oh, and, driving up to a window, using zero physical exertion, and ordering more than your daily caloric needs for lunch. That’s a big one. And most people are heading for a chair in a cube or at home with that salty, sugary, chemically saturated garbage.
        And football. Many people spend Sundays, or maybe the whole weekend, eating delivered junk and washing it down with sugar water or beer, even if it’s a beautiful, fall, 65 degree day outside.

        1. Enter Laughing

          I just swore off cookies after making a batch from scratch that reminded me of what goes into them. 2 cups of sugar is LOT of f***ing sugar! Ugh.

          1. JBird4049

            It is not saying much, but homemade desserts tend to have less sugar or sweetening than store bought. You can also use something other than straight white sugar, or even worse, the abomination called high fructose corn syrup.

        2. Randy

          Not just cookies, baked desserts in general. Many dessert bakery items also have shortening as a main ingredient along with sugar. We were looking at calories in our shortcake recipe(for strawberries) and decided it should be called shortening cake.

          I’m getting hungry talking about it.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Lard is the answer ;)

            Took a cooking class several years ago where the rather thin chef taught us the benefits of cooking with real fat. FAT, he told us, is an acronym for Flavor And Taste!

      2. Randy

        If you want to avoid being fat it is a good idea to avoid restaurants. Restaurants provide the three food groups, fat, sugar and salt, the basis of an unhealthy food pyramid.

        1. Revenant

          Provided you eat the right fats and sugars, this is not a bad diet. Fat, sugar and salt are not in themselves ultra-processed foods. Sugar requires the most processing but even then it is just recrystallisation or honey gathering.

          Just don’t eat complex carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup or vegetable oils, hydrogenated or not, other than olive oil.

        2. Don

          I think that when most Americans say “restaurants” they really mean crappy, fast food adjacent joints. In many other parts of the world (and in many ethnic communities in the US) you can maintain perfectly healthy diets eating exclusively in restaurants. It’s not a restaurant problem, it’s a cultural problem.

      3. Ken Murphy

        Don’t hate me because I’m skinny.

        As a life-long single individual, I’ve had to learn to feed my nutritional needs while trying to minimize food wastage. Cooking for one tends to be quite wasteful. So I do a mix of frozen dinners, fast food, restaurants, and the occasional home-cooked stuff that I know I’ll eat over several days, like jambalaya. Plus the random multi-vitamin (never been big on pill-popping, so it has never been regular). I tend to let my cravings guide my food choices. I assume that my body is looking for some kind of nutrient in that craved food. Sometimes I can put away a ridiculous amount of food, but I’m okay with leaving a plate half uneaten. I eat until I’m full (or my body tells me yeah, nah, not this), and then I stop.

        That being said, I do have a hyperactive metabolism. This has kept my physique slender despite years of trying to put on weight. As I said, I eat as much of whatever I want. I never eschew dessert. I also never did the gym thing; why run in place when I can be out rollerblading in Central or Riverside or Prospect Park? Why ride a bike in place when I could be out bike riding the trails of Fort Worth out to Mansfield Dam? Why sit in place lifting weights when I can get a perfectly good workout helping a friend move or cleaning up a park? So I don’t have any of the flab that develops when one stops creating unneeded musculature. Huge blood vessels though, so what muscles I do have are quite well fed. (Once a hematologist asked if she could try tapping a vein with her eyes closed). Makes donating blood a snap, and I fill that bag quick. AB+, FWIW, yet another mutation I have to deal with.

        So despite my best efforts, and countless large milkshakes, I still have the same waist size I had in high school, and my 6’4.5” frame remains quite slender. Think Abe Lincoln tall-n-skinny (and just as unhandsome). There are clearly a whole host of factors at play, but I do still wonder about this obsession with diets and exercise and trying to be something specific instead of just being what we are. Can we be born with genetic programming that makes us not “normal” (and just what exactly is normal and why is it defined that way?), or even inherently “unhealthy”? Sure, exhibit A right here. Does epigenetics play a role in the outcomes we see in people? Yeah, probably. Does our current technological physical infrastructure contribute to folks not being in the environment they’re supposed to be in (I.e. fresh air and nature)? Most likely.

        But in the end, we all make choices in these things, and it’s no more my role to determine how other people should be than it is for anyone else to tell me how to try to put on some weight, or if I even should. I guess what I’m trying to say is just listen to your body. It’ll tell you when it’s needing some nutrient or other (my example is Gatorade; if I can taste the minerals, then I do in fact need it. If it tastes like sugar water, then I’m just wasting my money). It’ll tell you when it wants to go exercise, maybe a round of frisbee golf. Go be out in nature, like you’re supposed to be, and maybe help clean up a bit whilst out there. Don’t do fads. Don’t do cults of personality selling fads. Don’t do what everyone else is doing (because they must be right, right?), do what you enjoy doing, who cares what other people think.

    2. Lefty Godot

      I strongly recommend Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken. What society needs is not to accommodate people with morbid obesity, but to stop accommodating (and rewarding) corporations that knowingly design and aggressively market “foodlike substances” that are “hyperpalatable” (great first taste, little or no chewing required, poor nutritive value so leaving one not feeling full after eating) and filled with industrial chemicals with pooly understood but likely unhealthy effects on the microbiome and digestive tract. Making food addictive so people almost can’t help themselves from ingesting way too many calories is another consequence of the free market in action. The author of this book very carefully debunks all the other explanations for the “obesity epidemic” (such as fat intake, sugar intake, lack of physical activity, lack of will power, etc.), and shows how the attempts to promote them as issues of “lifestyle” or individual responsibility are almost always funded by the ultra-processed food industry when you investigate the studies and their authors. Heavily footnoted so you can check all the references.

      1. Benny Profane

        I would like to hear about how lack of physical activity is debunked. Seems kind of obvious to me it’s a serious problem. Take New Yorkers, for instance, who are generally more healthy than most Americans because they walk a lot. I felt it myself after I got a job out in the burbs after almost 35 years of working and playing in Manhattan. I went from walking at least a few miles a day from bus and train stations to work, and just strolling around for fun, to driving to a cube on work days, and driving to shopping and fun if not working. Even regular gym visits and a few thousand miles on a bike every year couldn’t fix that easily.

        1. Lefty Godot

          The short answer is by comparing metabolic rates in sedentary workers and hunter-gatherer populations. And finding little difference. Not saying going crazy physically active won’t lead to some weight loss (if you don’t also go crazy satisfying your hunger in reaction), but the normal activity of cultures we consider physically active doesn’t really lead to calories being burned any faster, due to homeostatic mechanisms in the whole body system. He has more details on this in the book, and probably explains it better than my attempt.

          So seeing the word “lifestyle” prominently mentioned in any article about health and nutrition is usually a tell that you’re being propagandized by the food industry.

      2. elissa3

        Way back when I was a 17 year old, I was fascinated by a magazine in our school library called “Food Engineering”. Even then–over 50 years ago–there were very sophisticated techniques and formulas designed for what? Making food that would sell. Add to this the well-studied and executed layout design of supermarkets, and you get a populace that is (mostly) unwittingly herded into an environment that favors obesity.

    3. Pat

      Somewhat in concert with the second item in Yves response is that it is very lucrative “helping” fat people. Drug companies, doctors, weight loss companies and even gyms* have a reason to keep people from maintaining a healthy weight. They might be fine with you achieving it, but they need people to regain the weight so they are needed again. Fat is profitable.

      *there are exceptions among this, they all have people who truly wish to help, except probably for pharmaceutical companies. But the industries’ themselves have every reason to desire recidivism.

    4. Feral Finster

      I lost weight like a fiend when I lived in Ukraine, and I ate big meals and drank beer whenever I felt like it.

      I think part of it was less processed food, no high fructose corn syrup, and walking everywhere all played a role.

      1. John

        Other than ice cream, which I eat sparingly, I avoid processed foods and I cook for myself. I do spend time in a place called a Bakery and Kitchen where I buy my baguettes, drink coffee and eat croissants. I eat the occasional cookie … most have too much sugar. None of this has anything to do with weight and everything to do with preference.

    5. someguy

      The entire discussion here is bizarre; start with a few data points, like >90% of fat people fail to reliably drop weight, no one dies of “being fat”, and the correlations with death are only strong with fairly extreme weights (it takes a BMI of around 40 to be as dangerous as one below 20, but also people stumble in to a BMI that high, there are usually a pile of other medical conditions overlapping).

      We’re getting more obese, sure, but also the definitions of obese have shifted to make more people obese, and that isn’t being controlled for when people report the “dramatic increase”.

      There is no shortage of stigma towards fatness, either. Fat people know they’re fat! They do not want to be fat! And there doesn’t appear to be a clear path for them to not be fat! But of course, it’s not really a concern for their health (eg. having diabetes is much more dangerous for your health than being fat), it’s about people thinking fat people are icky and dressing up the argument as a “health concern”.

      And if we think it’s a serious problem, what exactly are we doing other than shaming people? Any effort to build cities where it’s safe to walk/bike, offer subsidies for healthy food, eliminate food deserts? lol no. Personal responsibility only, please.

    6. Anon

      Also, (and you won’t notice this unless you’ve spent a significant time living outside of the U.S.), the ingredients you can buy in your avg grocery store lack nutrients and are mostly water. I’m not talking abt the ultraprocessed food, I’m talking abt the vegetables and the meat. The first time I visited my relatives in the U.S. I was surprised at how tasteless everything was. Most of the fruit was huge and lacking in flavor, the meat had to be marinated for hours before it tasted like something, and the vegetables literally lost whatever mass they had if you tried to cook them. Even the lettuce lacked flavor. Unless you’re shopping organic at Whole Foods nothing tastes like it should. My aunt was a pretty good cook, and I watched her make breakfast and dinner: she did everything she was supposed to, used salt and spices and whatever, and still the food tasted kinda bland. If I had made the same dish at home, following the same steps, I would’ve ended up with a flavorful dish. Here in the U.S. it just came out like a watered down version of the original.
      Some things also tasted too much like fertilizer or had a chemical tang that I couldn’t identify.

      Another thing that surprised me were those Walmart in poor areas that had no fresh food section: everything was canned, frozen or in a box. Most of the food was also ultraprocessed monstrosities that had little to do with actual “food.” So, for example, instead of frozen peas, or carrots, you’d find microwave ready food with flavor profiles only a chemist could dream up. It was terrifying, like something out of a dystopian movie. There were no other stores for miles around, so everyone in the immediate vicinity who couldn’t afford the gas to go elsewhere was forced to consume this trash or starve.

      These are both systemic issues that aren’t easy to solve individually unless you have money, so I get why americans tend to be on the heavy side. I would be too if I had to eat like you do.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Iraqis: Don’t use our country as a ‘proxy battleground’ ”

    The US has some 2,500 troops in that country but they are not making many friends. They are doing air strikes in Iraq but without telling the Iraqis what is about to happen. The Iraq Parliament voted for the US to leave but they were ignored. Of course there are any number of groups who have decided to take pot shots on the US bases and the casualty count is mounting. That is why I found it bizarre to read this week that the US is now demanding that the Iraq army protect them – from other Iraqis. How many of those soldiers and officers grew up under the Occupation and have resentful memories of them?

    1. CA

      January 1, 2024

      China’s CNPC replaces U.S. oil giant as lead contractor for Iraq’s West Qurna 1 oilfield

      BAGHDAD — China’s leading oil and gas producer, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), officially took over from U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil as the lead contractor for Iraq’s West Qurna 1 oilfield on Monday.

      The handover ceremony was held in Iraq’s southern province of Basra with the attendance of Iraqi officials, Chinese diplomats, and representatives of CNPC, Basra Oil Company, ExxonMobil, and so on.

      Congratulating CNPC’s new partnership, Bassim Mohammed Khudair, Iraqi deputy oil minister for extraction affairs, told Xinhua that he had full confidence in CNPC’s manpower, strategy and vision, and believed that the project will be completed within the stipulated time….

    2. Bill Malcolm

      And Iraq repeated yesterday Jan 5, its request for “Coalition” forces to leave its territory:

      It’s in English.

      That’s the trouble with the US. Once they’ve invaded or been invited in to some benighted country, like doggy smell in the car, they rarely go away. Nope, they hang round unwanted like a very bad smell. Afghanistan was obviously too hot for them to handle and thus the exception, and had been milked for all it was worth by US military contractors billing the inexhaustible reserves of US taxpayers. But give ’em any half-hearted grief and the US hangs around forever as they do in Iraq and Syria.

      Trump boasted of stealing Syrian oil and his order, cannot remember if he said that before or after he ordered the Pentagon to get out of Syria, but that order was disobeyed. Plus, of course, he crowed about killing Soleimani. So scratch Syria and Iran off Trump’s love list — electing that twit is as bad for the world as Biden is. “He didn’t start any wars,” say his apologists. Well, it wasn’t for any lack of bluster.

      But now look at Orstralia. (Or dear little Finland joining NATO and adding 15 US bases) Not only did AUKUS persuade your brilliant pols to ditch the French submarine deal, in “granting” you the finest US nuclear sub tech for seven times the price twenty years down the road, they got two big bases for themselves. Darwin is Yankeeland now, and Brisbane or nearby is where they have other unloading port facilities. That’s where an Abrams tank fell / slid off a flatbed and crushed five cars at a T-junction last year. They’ve come to save poor Australia from the Chinese commie hordes, so Aussies can sleep contentedly at night. Isn’t that the story?

      McGregor cannot see why the US has so many forward bases around the world — regards them as obvious places to target and attack, thus full of last mid century thinking. From two days ago:

      I pay scant attention to most of the non-MSM pundits these days. But MacGregor is sane if obviously right wing — couldn’t care less if he is pro-America. My other choice is Garland Nixon on Youtube, and he’s as real lefty as I am — a social democrat. Napolitano and most of his chums are libertarians, but he does occasionally get decent guests. Besides the occasional Mercouris and Crooke, cannot be bothered much with the rest of them, to be frank. A year ago, I felt differently, but the constant drone since doesn’t much interest me. I want a bigger picture than these folks give — mired in day-to-day commentary where they allow current events to shape their constantly incorrect forecasts, few ever seem to be able to step back and assess the situation overall. That’s what I crave — a higher leve analysis, not mere sitreps that are always changing. Simplicius is a weapons sytems freak, and opines guff the rest of the time with no unique insights. Ritter is the odd man out, sometimes good, mostly off on a rant, but addressed 25,000 Chechnyan troops with Kadyrov yesterday, which is different. Thats on Youtube, and he spoke in Russian. So, he’s trying. Something or other.

      To me, the world situation is totally dire.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Happy Twelfth Night. We have been through the twelve days, when the veil between the two worlds is thinner than ever, at least for a time.

      I hope you take time to do your tarot cards during this moment. It was an interesting portrait for me…

      1. Lena

        Thank you for the reminder to do a tarot reading today. I feel the cards I drew were meant for others as well as myself so I will share them.

        Past: The Star Reversed (despair, hopelessness, illness)
        Present: 7 of Cups Reversed (overwhelmed by fear)
        Future: The Sun (happiness, joy, success, vitality)

        Happy Twelfth Night to all.

    2. ThirtyOne

      An amusing fortune related post I saw on Reddit:

      A true story about fortune cookies. They look Chinese. They sound… Chinese. But they’re actually an American invention. Which is why they’re hollow, full of lies, and leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  16. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Arnaud Bertand and his “interesting interview” with Emmanuel Todd.

    The underlying French is worth your while, because Todd doesn’t acquit himself well. To wit, “I use the date of gay marriage as a sign of the passage from the zombie stage to the zero stage.”

    The man is obsessed with a withering kind of Calvinism (is there any other kind?) that is now tormenting the Netherlands and Germany, as they slide into insignificance. I guess that the Beatitudes, which contradict Calvinist thinking, are not worth bothering with.

    The idea that people in other parts of Europe have no work ethic also is plainly absurd. But Todd, in his hidey-hole in Paris, probably can’t be bothered to venture as south as Lyon.

    Also, ye old “gayfolk are destroying Western civilization”? Sheesh. Tell that to Plato, or to Epaminondas, or Julius Caesar, or Camille Paglia, or to Stephen Fry.

    But then there’s the embarrassing question about how blacks and Jews are overrepresented in Biden’s cabinet. What Biden truly needs is some more Calvinist Protestants.

    I’m hesitant to solicit Todd’s views of the Dreyfus Affair, which seems still to be unresolved for him. Ahhh, yes, Dreyfus must have been a nefarious influence.

    Yet I do agree with his diagnosis of the culture of nihilism and death, which has much more to do with consumerism and globalism and greed. Those who read Italian can find articles by Donatella di Cesare, an Italian Jewish philosopher and scholar of Arendt. She manages to point to the central problem–the culture of violence, exploitation, and death–without blaming fellow Jews and gayfolk.

    You gotta love the French. All of those self-assured prejudices–and such good food.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      RE: the work ethic

      When asking in Greece when one might expect a particular good or service to be produced, I grew rather fond of the frequent reply, “αύριο”, or “tomorrow”, often said by the merchant in between sips of the local spirits while seated in a taverna from which there weren’t planning on moving any time soon.

      Much prefer life in the slow lane myself, when I can get it. As for the work ethic, save it for the mad dogs and Englishmen.

    2. Susan the other

      Protestant ethics notwithstanding, we really have been caught in a trap of our own greed. When AB quotes ET as saying, “I think it’s the ability to produce dollars at zero cost that prevents the restarting of American industry” it rings true not because we’ve all become profligate twits but because it’s so hard to change the financial mechanics of capitalism. Like we were discussing a few days ago, the thing that keeps Powell and Yellen up at night isn’t inflation. It’s the nightmare of deflation. So they feed the beast. Precluding the emergence of a saner steady state ecological economy. We are talking stranded assets here, right? Which is why Natural Asset Companies sound like a good idea to me. If we set the ground rules correctly. And etc.

      1. skippy

        Its the distribution vectors – too sacred cows and elite rice bowls – that really tells the story … decades of consolidation/monopolies [Island gigantism] in the name of efficiencies[tm] and profit[!!!!!] tells no lies has put a lot of eggs in one basket … as it were …

        If you are not in one of these mobs its random scraps under the masters table life for you and yours ….

    3. eg

      I was more struck than anything by the interviewer who insisted (despite what I took to be Todd’s irritation) on steering the conversation toward some “right vs wrong” dimension when the subject was a decline in capacity. This sort of childish need to be justified is no substitute for analysis, and I see it constantly. It seems to me to be a symptom itself of a wider malaise.

  17. Irrational

    Re. multi-tasking: The author seems to say old people slow down if multi-tasking while walking. Has he ever seriously studied phone zombies? I doubt there is any correlation with age.

  18. pjay

    – ‘This weird physical trait makes liberals vote for Trump and republicans for Biden’ – ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

    So there are “authoritarian nervous systems” in addition to “authoritarian personalities”? Good to know. I guess I have been paying way too much attention to the massive cultural and ideological mechanisms that I thought shaped beliefs and polarized the tribes. Instead, we should just start testing kids early for “tolerance” and weed out the bad ones. Thanks again, Science!

  19. hk

    The Simplicius’ post me wonder if he/she really is a sort of CIA asset (which, iirc, is something Yves mused about in the past also). On the one hand, the overall premise is reasonable, up to a point. On the other hand, the argument depends on some dubious assumptions.

    First, you can far easily maintain a handshake agreement as long as the final outcome is uncertain and seemingly far away. Even if Bill Burns and the more level-headed elements in USG would prefer to lose Ukraine and face the consequences even in face of likely Russian victory in not too distant future (not necessarily a given), there will be many others who would think otherwise and opt to escalate even at the risk of the conflict going out of control. Yes, the article mentions the Ukrainian regime as the key actor interested in this, as well as, up to a point, UK and other NATO states. But this coalition has to be larger than that: it would encompass significant chunks of USG as well–certainly, “hardline neocons,” but also even many of the “moderate neocons” if they see Ukraine collapsing too noisily too soon. In fact, I suspect that we have seen one important recent institutional change that shows this: the installation of a US general and his staff as the official liaison in Kiev. If, previously, as Simplicius claims, CIA sought to monopolize the liaison between US and Ukraine, that seems like a bigger change than I had thought.

    I don’t know how plausible this notion is, but the article strikes me as something that Burns et al would argue: we need to stick to the handshake agreement and not let the situation get out of hand, just as the changing military and political circumstances makes it unsustainable as the coalitions in the US shift.

    1. Carolinian

      Pretty sure it’s a he and he doesn’t dwell on the big nuclear reason why the US would want a limited proxy conflict.

    2. Aurelien

      What he is trying to express – not very clearly in my view – is that there are unstated but very real background rules in this conflict, as there are in international politics as a whole. This is often difficult for USians to understand, because they see the world through a simplistic (sic) Realist lens, as a place of anarchic collisions between nations, and brute force as the only tool. But in fact the international system only functions at all because of numerous unspoken but very real agreements to which pretty much all nations subscribe. Moreover, there are understandings even between avowed enemies about how far to go, and what is acceptable. There is a mutual recognition by the US and Iran at the moment that there is no virtue in direct conflict over Gaza for example. This doesn’t have to be negotiated or formalised, and at the most may be just messages of reassurance passed through intermediaries.

      So from the beginning it’s been obvious that neither Russia nor the US thinks a nuclear war is an acceptable end to the Ukraine crisis, or that their different objectives are worth the serious risk of one. This would be a point of view shared widely in Europe. But again, it’s not a question of meetings, votes, or persuasion: it’s an existential judgement on both sides, arrived at independently. Needless to say, in the snake-pit that is Washington, you will find dissenters on everything, but in practice I don’t think the fruitcake fringe is that powerful. In reality, and whatever the bluster of certain extremists, the actual prospect of a nuclear confrontation (as opposed to just sounding tough by talking about one) will calm a lot of people down very fast. A lot of people in Washington are about to receive a thorough soaking with icy-cold water. And a message that that is, indeed, US policy, would come better from the CIA, because passing messages like that is one thing that intelligence services do.

      1. Carolinian

        Or another way of looking at it is that our tottering empire is going to insist on having its wars no matter what. One argument the atomic scientists made to justify themselves was that nuclear weapons would make war obsolete. But here we have, in effect, a war between the two greatest nuclear powers thereby putting the kibosh on that theory. However perhaps nukes did make “total war” obsolete? Let us hope and somebody tell Zelensky.

      2. Darthbobber

        Well, he’s using the Newsweek article as his point of departure, and his set of facts is basically theirs.

        The thing about informal background rules, though, is that they are constantly shifting, subject to change with no notice, and liable to inadvertent or deliberate misunderstanding by one party or another.

        Many things have been done in recent years that would have fallen outside of the previously assumed background rules, often at the initiative of the United States.

        I would say that our present trajectory is in the direction of increasing chaos in the international arena.

      3. hk

        I’d like to think so, that the “Bill Burns” crowd (whether fairly attributed or not) commands a lot influence in Washington and keep the “handshake” in place at least in Washington. But the actual events don’t inspire confidence: the threat of a nuclear Armageddon works both ways: people think that they can stop escalating just a step before things fall apart completely, often by underestimating how willing the other side is to press the button (necessarily the big red one). In fact, that is sort of exactly how SMO happened: the willingness of the Russians to settle the Ukrainian problem by military force was unexpected as the West kept escalating. The “Burns gang” may be more cautious, but their colleagues, even if they fear the general nuclear war, may be more willing to take the risk and are certainly still in the game.

      4. kemerd

        I also find the piece not convincing: rules apply if the stakes are not existential.

        But Ukrainian conflict is a very high stakes game especially for Russia and therefore US attempt to take Ukraine was already a move that crossed a lot of red lines. Declaration of regime change goal in Russia makes the point even public.

        The stakes for the US is also very high even though some in the US might not acknowledge: a clear Russian victory would likely weaken/demolish the US control of Europe and accelerate the fall of US empire; given its social structure fall of empire would probably also mean the fall of the US as a state, even a total anarchy.

        In such an environment, no rules apply other than trying to control the pace of escalation which would become more and more difficult as losses accumulate.

        The economist article could be an attempt to arrest the uncontrolled acceleration which might indeed be caused by lunatics in Kiev. But, it certainly does not mean US would not have crossed unwritten rules if the things have been developing differently.

        1. hk

          What this reminded me of: during the Boer Wars, the Kaiser offered to fight a “gentleman’s war” over South Africa in which Germans would send troops to help the Boers without anything else in the German-British relationship affected, with the fight confined only to South Africa. The British basically laughed this idea off, since South Africa was considered critical to the maintenance of their empire while the Kaiser was just trying to score PR points with the German public. Furthermore, this deepened the British distrust of the Kaiser in particular and Germany in general. (I’m summarizing what I remember from AJP Taylor’s account). It is not inconceivable that Russians tacitly agreed to lay off some things (and they apparently wanted to limit the damage to civilians in general anyways), not to mention they gambled that they could win with a hand tied behind their back. So, if the Kaiser was allowed to send German soldiers to help out the Boers in 1902(?) and they are about to be crushed, would he have accepted that humiliating outcome without trying to pull some other dirty trick outside the “gentleman’s agreement” to save face?

      5. Kouros

        One suspects that acts like blowing up NS1&2 would not represent red lines…

        My impression is that US is just trying to first and foremost save the skin of its operatives in Ukraine… and ultimately that is the only “leverage” Russia has when it comes to US not crossing red lines. If Ukrianian minds could be occupied by US controllers, then all the bets would be off…

    3. pjay

      I was also puzzled by this Simplicius offering. I remember the original Newsweek article well. I commented at the time that it seemed like an obvious CIA “CYA” piece to me. William Arkin, the author, has very good intelligence contacts that tend to reflect more “realist” positions than the usual media propaganda. In this he is somewhat similar to Seymour Hersh. But like Hersh, his information is only as good as his sources. And this Newsweek article struck me at the time as rather ridiculous in its contradictory arguments. Clearly it was intended to promote the idea that the “adults in the room” are working to prevent a direct confrontation with Russia. But who are these “adults”? Why, we are told, its the *CIA and the Biden administration*! So, who is in charge of the Ukraine operation? Why, as the article makes crystal clear, it’s the *CIA and the Biden administration*! The article goes on and on about the CIA being in charge, about many of its activities, about the role of the regular military being restricted, about regular back-channel contacts with the Russians, etc. So what’s the problem? Well, apparently, for all their resources and control, the CIA can’t penetrate the “minds” of Putin or Zelinsky. And apparently they can’t control the “rogue” elements – whether Zelinsky or others – who are breaking the “unwritten rules” by blowing stuff up like the Kerch bridge, Russian civilians — or the Nord Stream pipeline.

      So as usual, the CIA, despite its *central* role emphasized in the article, is also apparently just an innocent bystander. It’s just trying to do its job responsibly, which – based on the article itself – is *maximizing Ukraine’s war effort without starting WWIII*. Who knew that things could get out of control like this?

      In my view, that Newsweek article was, again, just a typical “cover your ass and blame someone else” CIA PR effort of the type that *always* appears after a CIA fiasco. It’s *always* the regular military, the President, “rogue” elements among our “allies,” etc., who screw things up. The CIA “adults in the room” are always just doing their jobs! And in building on this old article now, it sure sounds like Simplicius contributing to this effort.

      1. Skip Intro

        The NewsWeak article implied three separate times that NordStream was blown up by Ukraine and it surprised the CIA . Just repeating that story as fact might justify the piece, and its remaining limited hangout.

        That is partly why the CIA is also keen to distance itself from anything that suggests a direct attack on Russia and any role in actual combat—something Kyiv has repeatedly done, from the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline and the Kerch Strait bridge to drone and special operations attacks across the border.

        The sentence is not particularly coherent, but means the CIA wants to distance itself from Nordstream and other attacks, while implying that Ukraine was behind them with the ambiguous em-dash interjection.


        Washington has quietly expressed its displeasure to the Zelensky government with regard to the Nord Stream attack last September, but that act of sabotage was followed by other strikes, including the recent drone attack on the Kremlin itself. Those have raised questions over one of the CIA’s main intelligence responsibilities—knowing enough of what the Ukrainians are planning to both influence them and to adhere to their secret agreement with Moscow.

        ‘Washington’ may have expressed displeasure that one of the lines wasn’t destroyed. This is the CYA, is the CIA actually admitting/claiming that they didn’t know about the US operation Hersh detailed? Maybe they’re mending fences with allies.


        Then came the attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines on September 26. Although not in Russia, they were majority-owned by Russian state gas firm Gazprom. Again, Ukraine denied involvement despite the suspicions of the CIA. We have “nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and have no information about…sabotage groups,” Zelensky’s top aide said, calling any speculation to the contrary “amusing conspiracy theories.”

        The attack came passively, like autumn, Ukraine denied it despite the CIA’s suspicions. No agency just innuendo.

      2. Lefty Godot

        I would be surprised if there weren’t a number of competing factions in the CIA and in the overall intelligence (and intelligence-adjacent) agencies. They must each have their favorite reporters to leak things to when they want their own positions to get a favorable public airing. It’s probably easy for insiders to guess who is doing the leaking and for what purpose. Some of them may have semi-formal understandings with their Russian counterparts, but not everyone on their own side may be willing to honor those understandings if it becomes inconvenient.

        Biden said that Nord Stream would never be allowed to function and then it was sabotaged. The parsimonious explanation is that someone lower in the chain of command following his orders did the deed. The subsequent attempts to deflect blame on Amateurs From Ukraine are just providing a limited retreat from the “Russia did it themselves!” propaganda that came out immediately afterwords. So the Ukraine Blame stories were to give people with a few brain cells who might have reconsidered the first ridiculous Russia Blame stories a way to stand down from that absurdity and feel wiser than the other deplorables who never think beyond whatever the first headline claims. Clearly many people’s belief systems never go beyond the first headlines (“Beheaded babies!” “Mass rape!” Etc.), which validates the tactic of lying early and often that we frequently see from the usual suspects.

      3. Willow

        Given its Newsweek, if you change CIA to DIA it makes more sense. DIA more likely to have reliable Russian military back channels and adhere to ‘rules of engagement’. Giving CIA a ‘win’ keeps everyone happy while maintaining their cover.

        1. Karl

          Such is the house of mirrors we’re in that I do wonder if errant reflections come back to confuse our own leaders. Part of the fog of war is the fog we are creating — to say nothing of the fog that other nations’ intelligence agencies are creating, including Russia’s. I was intrigued by assertions in the article about how deeply Russian intelligence has penetrated E Europe and even Ukraine.

    4. zach

      Could be. I chalk it up to pressure to post. Quality of content has been slipping lately with the more-or-less static battlefronts where he/she/they made his/her/their bones.

      Short on fact and analysis, long on conjecture, a critique leveled by Ms. Smith in the past.

  20. Screwball

    Nice save, Jill! First lady rushed to embrace zoned-out Biden, 81, after he finished speech, then went into trance-like state on-stage Daily Mail. #2 story.

    Jill should get some kind of an award, I’m just not sure what kind. I don’t think they give awards for elder abuse, but I digress…

    About that speech, here is a transcript from the AP; Transcript: Biden’s first campaign speech of the 2024 election year

    With a hashtag, DementiaHitler was trending on Twitter (X) so that’s a good gauge on how some read it, while others thought is was the greatest speech ever, which was re-tweeted by the infamous Alexander Vindman, one of the PMC hero’s.

    I read the speech so you didn’t have to, and did a little counting and did a word cloud. 3,984 words. Trump mentioned 44 times. Democracy 28. America 53. Election 22. Freedom (which Biden said is on the ballot) 14. January (January 6th) 13.

    Other than some history mixed in, it was all about Trump, the Jan 6 insurrection, saving democracy, and scare mongering. For example, this passage which we have already heard, but I suspect will be the playbook until November;

    With former aides, Trump plans to invoke the Insurrectionist Act, Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy, he’s not allowed to do it in ordinary circumstances, allow him to deploy U.S. military forces on the streets of America.

    He said it.

    He calls those who opposed, oppose him vermin.

    He talks about the blood of America’s is being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.

    He proudly posts on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign. Quote, revenge, quote, power, and quote, dictatorship.

    There’s no confusion about who Trump is, what he intends do.


    But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom, we’ll lose the power of we, the people, to shape our destiny.

    If you doubt me, look around the world.

    Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world.

    Look at the authoritarian leaders and dictators Trump says he admires. He out loud says he admires.

    I won’t go through them all. It would take too long.

    Look, remember how he first, how he refers to what he calls love letter exchanges between he and the dictator of North Korea?

    Those women and men out there in the audience who’s ever fought for an American military. Did you ever believe you’d hear a president say something like that?

    His admiration for Putin?

    Bold mine. Extra points for getting Putin in the speech.

    So there you have it America – vote for Biden or Trump takes over America with the help of the US military. Scared $hitless yet? My PMC friends sure are. This will be the most important election in HISTORY!!!!!!! Vote Blue to save democracy and save us from the Red Hat army and Orange Hitler.

    Shakes head. Trump vs. Biden. But here we are. The bench you ask? There ain’t one. The barrel is deep, but all the apples are rotten, void of any hope (and we tried hope – how’d that turn out). Welcome to FUBAR. Might as well just sit back and watch the $hit show unfold.

    1. griffen

      Navigating these coming months headed in the primaries and the national election, whoo boy better have that popcorn and cold beverages on the reorder button. It is likely to be a previously unannounced entry to the Fast and Furious film series.

      Coming in November 2024, the Fast XI. “These old timers just don’t know the words retire or back down! Watch as two men enter and hopefully one leaves upright. It’s MAGA-mayhem, and Democracy is on the table!” At this point Vin Diesel might offer a better alternate choice. I suggest those in the military might have a word of who Biden has termed our bravest people. Hint, it wasn’t them and it’s on tape what he said.

    2. digi_owl

      What is the quip again, behind every successful man is a shocked woman?

      Years back someone claimed the tradition US power couple had him acting as the face, shaking hands and giving speeches, while she was the one acting as agent and manager, keeping the calendar and setting up the meetings.

      I guess the latest wave of feminism have the ladies dispensing with the man and stepping up to the microphone themselves.

    3. Randy

      Excellent summary of our upcoming election and future of USA, USA(!).

      As time passes my apolitical blues get worse. I plan on sitting back for the first time in my life.

      Nice comment.

    4. Carolinian

      Let the nightmare begin. Of course Trump’s own rhetoric is not exactly restrained but Biden has already made clear through the choices of his Justice Department that almost any action or accusation will be made to justify his cling to power. This in turn fuels Trump’s own “paranoid style” of politics but Trump is just a blowhard whereas Genocide Joe is genuinely scary because the Blob has his back.

      Looking good for Kennedy?

      1. jabura Basaidai

        may be looking better for RFK Jr, but he has to get on the ballot in all the states – and until his full-throated, excuse making justification of the genocide in Gaza and unequivocal, blind support of Israel confirmed in a Breaking Points interview, was kinda in his corner but there is no way to support someone supporting Israel – i had only knew about his environmental work – Cornell West has the same problem of getting on all the ballots, but i hope he makes it – i even hope Kennedy gets on all the ballots even though would never vote for him – and TDS seems to have infected those who feel compelled to vote for The Husk – all is forgiven The Husk because of TDS – The Husk, in his feeble teleprompter mind, has no intentions of going gentle into that good night as he squints and rages against the dying of the light(in his mind) – please forgive me Dylan Thomas, i’ll take a slug of cognac as penance for this sin – oh please let there be debates – extemporaneous speaking isn’t The Husk’s strong point, it requires critical thought, God save the queen on the railroad across the Pacific –

    5. petal

      Re Biden’s issues on stage at Valley Forge: after seeing him up close in 2019 and being shocked by his condition and the symptoms displayed, I cannot imagine just how bad it must be at this point, and how much is truly being hidden. What is really going on behind the scenes-across the board? Will we ever find out?

      Also had an ancestor winter at Valley Forge in 1777, so I’m kind of disgusted by Biden’s event. Nothing is sacred.

      1. jabura Basaidai

        thank you petal – it will get much worse and increasingly difficult to conceal – anyone with a medical background would be concerned with his posture, the way he haltingly walks and moves in general – constant squinting – sense of disorientation that creeps into his demeanor – just physically, anyone with older relatives his age would see the signs that something is wrong and needs care – this is without going into the continual gaffes when speaking, indicating the mental decline – keep waiting for him to have his “McConnell Moment” of freezing in public and i think that’s what Jill saw happening – how they will be able to keep him on a leash and project confidence this election year will be more than just a challenge but an endeavor of sisyphian proportion – i predict we will not see any debates, Drumpf would shred The Husk – it will certainly be interesting this election cycle –

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          How much worse can it get?

          Did you watch the video at the Daily Mail link showing dr. jill leading him off the stage like they were making a bee line to the emergency room at the memory care center?

          They’re gonna have to find some longer lasting drugs or shorten up the speeches so he can at least get behind the curtain before he crashes…

          1. JBird4049

            I am thinking of Diane Feinstein. I loathe President Biden, and I didn’t like Senator Feinstein much, but this is all elder abuse, which nobody deserves meaning Jill Biden is not much of a wife.

            1. Screwball

              That’s a great point, and I didn’t want to pile on her too much – but jeez Louise – how much is enough? How can she let him continue? It makes me wonder about her marbles as well.

              Yet, there are people out there who think he’s fine, and anyone questioning his health gets screamed at – are you a doctor? No, and at this point I don’t think I need to be. And by the way – what the Sam hell are you watching? It’s incredible how people stick up for the stiff.

              Does anyone in power not thing other countries and leaders are not thinking the same thing we are? I can only imagine what they are thinking, and it’s kind of scary.

        2. petal

          jabura, he was having McConnell freezing moments in public when I saw him at the town hall event (45 minutes long) in August 2019. He was displaying all of those symptoms back then that you mention. I walked out shocked and terrified. Things have to be a heck of a lot worse at this point as it’s been 3.5 years. His skin looked like translucent tissue paper as well.

          1. jabura Basaidai

            it is bizarre and it’s scary petal that you have had first hand observation which took place 4 years ago – in my distant past i was on a path to become a PT and had to do volunteer work as a prereq to apply – did 2 years of volunteer work in a PT section of a local hospital – The Husk reminds me of someone trying to recover from a severe heart attack or stroke – and yes, even in vids i’ve watched, his skin is another point of age – it truly is elder abuse – and like B Profane, wonder what drugs they have him on – The Husk’s campaign is going to be a Kabuki show in a Potemkin Village held in Plato’s Cave –

            1. Pat

              Just under four years ago they got to put him in a basement and campaign from there. His own administration has made that impossible, he is going to have to travel, appear live in public and still make at least a token appearance of being a working President.
              They cannot begin to keep him juiced enough to make this work.

              And I am sorry, but Jill Biden being willing to abuse her elderly spouse so he can remain President is not as shocking as it should be. And not just because she has been with the perverse piece of garbage for all these years. She has enough in her own history to indicate ethically challenged is her base position.

      2. Carolinian

        He was there fighting for democracy like George Washington.

        Joe’s version though insists on only one candidate.

        1. petal

          Heh good point, Carolinian. Hadn’t thought of it that way-has much changed? Like the VF winter encampment: starvation/food insecurity, rampant disease, cold, lack of clothing, shoes, shelter & clean water, and gobs of hopelessness.

    6. Benny Profane

      How anybody can think Trump can somehow become a tyrant with the military at his side is beyond me. He insulted leadership many times. The McCain doesn’t deserve respect because he was a prisoner, the mocking of the gold star parents, the avoidance of service in his history (at least Hitler made corporal). Remember when he insulted the CIA members when he addressed them soon after inauguration? You need them, too. They’ll shoot him on one of his gold toilets and put a real lackey in, like Hailey.

    7. Feral Finster

      Trotting out Biden on stage, like a sad old dog about to go on his last vet trip, is basically elder abuse

  21. Brian Wilder

    First they make the job b.s. work and then they give the b.s. generation to AI.

    If the objective is the generation of b.s., why shouldn’t it be automated? The answer would be that then output would expand.

    The problem is not a choice between humans and machines doing the work; the problem is that so much “work” is simply not worth doing. No one should be tasked with doing it. Doing it at all is a waste.

  22. griffen

    Pity poor Hunter, the focus of those mean Rethuglicans in Congress who just do not see or adhere to the one truism of politics in DC. Joe Biden is great, America is back and the American people have no business to know if whether quite possibly…there is a string attached to those LLC and shell company diagrams that somehow might lead to “whomever” the Big Guy really is. ( Sarc )

    We all know the Big Guy is usually just a token nod to the good Lord ( or one’s personal deity that survives in the above clouds ) for blessing the Quarterback or the star NBA player. You know, guys in the NBA like a Lebron or a Giannis don’t grow on trees so perhaps being nearly 7 foot tall one should give thanks to the Almighty ! Or the star Quarterback who grew to become 6 ft 4 and a stout 245 with a cannon attached as his right arm.

    I also see now the Trump family is finding themselves in the crosshairs. Let’s all follow the money, yes indeed, for both sides of the pitiful aisles in Congress. Politics just ain’t beanbag, or so the saying goes.

  23. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update

    Hells bells, wha happened?

    I leave the numismatrix and Bitcoin is $34k, and upon my return to polite society it’s almost $44k, not that I’m complaining in regards to my ground floor acquisition @ the Coinstar terminal in the Winco supermarket, i’ve now recouped over $3 on my original investment @ the $56k level, although still down a buck.

  24. flora

    File under Soap Opera. / ;)

    Bill Ackman demanded Havard remove Gay for reasons, followed by accusations that Gay was a serial plagiarist in her academic work. Gay resigned her admin position and keeps her prof position.

    Now plagiarism charges are made against Ackman’s wife, a tenured professor at MIT until 2020 when she left after marrying Ackman.

    Bill Ackman’s wife is accused of plagiarizing part of her dissertation

    Now Ackman fires back at MIT.

    Bill Ackman says he’ll review all MIT professors for plagiarism

    Sounds like an academic “Game of Thrones”. Time to get out the popcorn. / ;)

    1. The Rev Kev

      But wait. It gets better-

      ‘Wyatt Reed
      After he led the charge to have Harvard’s president fired over “plagiarism,” Bill Ackman’s wife was just exposed as a serial plagiarist.

      Instead of denying it, Ackman is suggesting that *Wikipedia plagiarized his wife* and that the reporters who broke the story are antisemitic🤦🏻‍♂️’

  25. New_Okie

    Construction of Reality: Who You Feel With Ian Welsh (Micael T). What about those who have no tribe? Or if you believe in Myers Briggs, are not “feeling” people?

    A quibble with the framing: Thinking people do feel, it is just more unconscious according to the Jungian system, on which Myers Briggs is based. Thus each axis in Myers Briggs–the thinking/feeling one being the pertinent one in this case–measures the degree to which each quality is conscious vs unconscious. That is, an intellectual is seen to have a strongly unconscious feeling capacity. They will unconsciously be influenced by their feelings, and the lack of conscious control or interface with the feelings is thought to make them more, not less, powerful.

    But I agree with the article: Thinking also plays a role in the formation of identity. To be honest I’m having a difficult time separating the two in this regard…

    1. zagonostra

      I wonder if Tucker poked into Bret and Eric Weinstein’s family lineage, especially his father, Les Weinstein. There are some strange connections in his family background which Whitney Webb I think alluded to in one of her articles. But then Tucker probably doesn’t want you to know his family lineage and the connections between his father, Voice of America, President Regan, and the CIA.

      1. flora

        Does family lineage itself automatically taint a descendant’s point of view? This is an important question, imo. Judge the thing and the person as it is and as they are for yourself, with your own eyes, imo. Either yea or nay. (And humorously of course, does a family descendant’s disreputable actions automatically taint the family’s reputable ancestors? It’s an American sort of question, I guess.)

        It’s fine to take all things in to account. I wouldn’t say ignore important variables. But they are variables. / ;)

        1. zagonstra

          Good question which I’ve struggled to answer in my own mind, especially with respect to Max Blumenthal. His reporting is superb, and with Aaron Mate, his Grayzone is a constant feeding ground for me. But when you look at his father, and his father’s ties to Clintons and what they did in Libya it makes you wonder. At the very least, I’d love to be a fly on the wall during Thanksgiving day dinners.

          1. flora

            Thanks. I remember those saying I should absolutely ignore, discount, and even despise whatever Arnold Schwarzenegger was saying. He was then then running for gov of California and winning against Gray Davis during a recall election, on the basis that his German father was a so-and-so. I didn’t give a rap about his German father’s ideas. America is the land of new starts, America is the land of starting over, if nothing else. At least that’s the great promise. What was Arnold himself saying and promoting? I did agreed with some things Arnold said but disagreed with more things he said. Consulting his family history would have seemed somehow a sort of unAmerican, aristocratic ( by blood decent ideology claim) idea to me. The US is the original “thing for yourself” political country, I hope. I’m pretty sure Ah-nold and all other US pols can and should stand or fall on their own merits. / my 2 cents

              1. flora

                er… “Furmen descending the Missouri.” Not furment. Oh typos. / ha (The very last thing I need is a new Windows keyboard with a new key and keystroke. / ha )

        2. flora

          adding: really wish I could remember where I saw a comment saying the US Civil War was about Northern industrialists striking against Southern states over free labor. Maybe. But northern industrialism was in its economic infancy then. That idea was of course one thread. The greater thread, imo, was that the US/UK (British Empire) War of 1812 (thru 1815) was only roughly 35 years earlier from 1860. The UK still aimed to reclaim its rebelious colonies in the Americas, imo, and supported the South for its own reasons in the Civil War. I imagine the UK thought re-establishing important beachheads in the Southern break away states would make its military march on the Northern states that much easier. Lincoln’s determination to hold the Union together was very about keeping the UK out of monetary control of the Southern states, imo.

          Variables. People disregard so many unremarked variables leading up to the US Civil War. / my 2 cents.

          1. flora

            adding: The question of slavery – yes. The question of the then South’s out sized “slave power” in the US Congress – yes. The UK promoting the South’s break away claiming the UK would support financially the South’s cotton trade (then the richest part of the US economy) – yes.

            But also, the question of the UK supporting the South’s break away on the one hand only to to insert itself’s hoped for back into its “colonial” North American holdings on the other hand should the South succeed in breaking away. / who knows.

  26. Wukchumni

    Finally, we know why pee is yellow Live Science (Dr. Kevin)
    The Romans used urine to clean clothes back in the day~

    1. Carolinian

      During the Civil War genteel Southern belles would dump their urine into pits to make saltpeter for gunpowder. The Yankees just bought theirs from Dupont.

  27. Tom Stone

    According to the local fishwrap “Troy Henry age 18” blew away his Mama’s 34 year old boyfriend with a machine pistol, a Glock with a “Glock Switch” which are apparently still being sold on Ebay for $12.95 with free shipping.
    18 year olds cannot legally possess a handgun and full auto’s are illegal for anyone but LEO to possess in California…
    If you believe that ordinary Americans shouldn’t have Gunz, how do you propose to get rid of the more than 500,000,000 guns floating around the country?
    That’s a serious question, how do you do it when a random 18 year old can buy a machine gun on the street?

      1. hk

        Something that I wondered about often. Just enforcing existing laws seriously should reduce gun violence a lot. If we are not really enforcing existing laws, what’s point of passing new laws that, theoretically, are increasingly more restrictive?

        1. JBird4049

          Actually, I think having competent, law abiding government that actually followed the Constitution as well a functioning economy, healthcare, and a dismantled security state would be necessary to get people to give up their guns. As it is, we have politicians using Gunz as a cultural signifier (for or against, it doesn’t matter) and to stir up the true believers in a collapsing country.

  28. ChrisFromGA

    Happy 12th day of Christmas, fellow commenters.

    On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Congress gave to Zee …

    No more money, no more money, no more money, (repeat, 8x) and a boatload of austerity

    1. flora

      What? Not…

      Five golden rings,
      Four calling doves,
      Three french hens,
      Two turtle doves,
      And a partridge in a pear tree.

  29. Jason Boxman

    How degenerate is this? Microsoft is game-ifying its search. I have 20 “rewards” points apparently:

    Welcome to Microsoft Rewards
    Congrats! You’ve already earned 20 points just from searching with Bing.

    Select a goal and get +50 points

    How horrid.

    I can redeem for a $1.25 Amazon gift card! Micropayments for the win!

    Now I’m gonna Bing so hard, all day long.

    1. MaryLand

      Brave (and others) default to Bing. I wonder if Microsoft will be able to lure their users to pure Bing-O.

    2. flora

      Microsoft Green Stamps? That’s sort of hilarious. A very old sales pitch idea now for the digital world. It worked then. It’ll probably work now. Just don’t tell me MS is full of “new, innovative ideas”. / ;)

  30. zach

    “Finally, we know why pee is yellow – Live Science”

    Thank God, Allah, YHWH, Buddha, Krishna, and all the others at the back i’m forgetting.

    Next on the tuhdew list – figuring out what the Pyramids were aggshully built for…

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Kurt Mendelssohn wrote a book called The Riddle Of The Pyramids. It was fun to read and had lots of technical details and history of the development of pyramids from pyramid to pyramid to pyramid. His basic thesis was that the Pharaohs and ruling elites of Egypt generally launched the pyramid building project as basically a state-building project, a nation-building project and a long-term social unification focus.

      Link to the book itself . . .

  31. Pat

    Interesting. Reading the comments on Greenwald’s tweet (once you get past his other parts) are largely supportive. Reading the comments on Favreau’s tweet is diving into a sea of ridicule and disdain.
    Apparently no active Biden supporters read either Greenwald or Favreau’s social media.
    Make of it what you will.

    1. Screwball

      My PMC friends dumped Greenwald (and Taibbi) long ago. They think they are all on the Kremlin payroll. Really, they actually believe that. Their echo chamber is really tight and small.

      NYT, WaPo, MSNBC, NPR, CNN, Axios, Atlantic, Bulwark podcast, Bill Kristol, Lincoln Project, Max Boot, David Brook (or is it Brock), or anyone that says bad things about Orange Hitler and the Red Hats. Everything else is fake news and not allowed to be processed by their super human craniums.

      If you bother to question them, they will be quick to tell you how stupid and out of touch you are, then call you a Trumper. If only the rest of us had their superior knowledge and virtue.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I firmly believe liberal Democrats are functionally stupid. So much for the reality-based community. These people believe hard, and never ask why. I can’t imagine the mental contortions required to maintain such a perverse, fact free worldview.

        1. Screwball

          They firmly believe we are the dumbasses. I don’t get it either. But they sure are entertaining. I just ran across this Tweet from the Kamala word salad machine on Twitter (I won’t link the Tweet but paste the language);

          Happening Now: I am back in South Carolina to deliver a speech about the full-on assault on hard-fought, hard-won freedoms that we are witnessing across our nation.

          Whatever that means…but our liberal friends will slobber all over that statement like the good little soldiers they are. Amazing!

  32. jabura Basaidai

    yep TS, tis a tragedy with Troy but wadayagonnado – true it’s a serious question and one to be repeatedly asked, but that genie is so way, far away from the lamp and ain’t never going back…..and that is a sad but true fact – and our wonderful nation is so unique in the pervasive presence of gunz – all other nations have serious laws and restrictions to owning a firearm – Oz is the gold standard, maybe soon to be ‘was’ – first the Strathfield massacre in Sydney in 1991 then the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 was enough for Australians to ban semi auto rifles and shotguns, but the gun lobby in Oz is working hard to undo it – here in the Gunzo USA we can’t go a month without some loose cannon going on the rampage – the sad fact is that there is no solution, the curse has been cast, our destiny in this regard sealed – throw me some optimism, somebody, that ain’t just virtue signaling –

  33. Jason Boxman

    This seems interesting, from the bits about money guy:

    The story of VaccinateCA

    Nobody had a plan to get vaccines out of freezers and into Americans’ arms–except VaccinateCA. Its CEO tells the story of how a small team brought order to a chaotic rollout.

    1. pjay

      Thanks for posting this! The content will be familiar to NC readers, but it is a very comprehensive summary of our entire corrupt system that is well-worth reading.

  34. Susan the other

    Thanks for Simplicius’s analysis of the crisis in Ukraine. More like an existential crisis for the West, or maybe a covert cure for it.

  35. Willow

    >Under the Radar: Major CIA Revelations Expose Secret Agreements and Boundaries in Ukraine

    Strange how a ‘rogue’ Ukraine has access to plenty of Storm Shadow missiles to hit Crimea and Czech weapons to hit Belgrod. More likely a problem with a rogue UK. This piece may serve as a historical marker to disassociate US from further UK provocations. UK is even more obsessed than US Neocons in dragging US into a war with Russia. With Poland coming to its senses, what scary rabbit will the UK pull out of the hat now? That necessitates US ‘publicly’ acknowledging compliance with the ‘rules of the game’?

  36. kareninca

    I have a friend who has no tribe. I call her a friend although I have known her for about ten years and we have had a total of about fifteen conversations. She is even more solitary than I am. Until her recent illness, I knew nothing about her past, her education, her family, whether she has ever been employed or married or had kids; really nothing about her. I still know almost nothing. Except that she was rear ended by another driver, didn’t like the settlement, and decided to sue the insurance company for more, on her own without a lawyer. At the time that that happened, I pleaded with her not to do this, but she did, and the insurance company countersued, and she went from having some money to being destitute.

    She is 72 years old. About three months ago she started vomiting and it didn’t stop. She ended up in the hospital; a lot of tests were done, it was concluded she had liver cancer had to have it acted on within a couple of months or she had no hope. Then she was dumped in rehab, then rehab dumped her at her apartment, and another person and I met her at her apartment and we had to call 911 since she literally could not move and so could not be brought inside (not to mention that there was no care at home for her, and she hoards books so there was no space to get through).

    So she is a solitary person. It turns out that she has three friends; one who is very old and in another state, one who is local and devoted and loyal but he is literally crazy, and me. And no relatives. I don’t know why she chose me. But I am not a lot of use because I can’t visit her during this covid surge; I have a 99 year old at home. She has already caught covid in her latest rehab facility. I keep sending her masks and Xlear and the rehab facility keeps losing them.. She has already been dropped from her bed to the floor face first in the rehab facility (fortunately she is okay). The liver cancer diagnosis disappeared; now she has heart failure (a bad valve). Actually I think she may have long covid; it would explain why she simply can’t move, but the tests are all coming back okay. She has longstanding mental problems (and has a doctorate in psychology), and so will not tell the three of us any of the medical info; we get bits and pieces that the medical people mention in unguarded moments or in her presence when she doesn’t actively object.

    I understand that the linked article was about mental tribes. But reading it made me wonder how many people have a tribe that isn’t just a construct. That is, the kind of tribe that matters when things go wrong. I wish this friend had a tribe. Three people is not enough. I wonder when this current rehab facility will dump her.

    1. flora

      Oh no. This is gut-wrenching. Even before I got to your text that “she is a solitary person” I read your description that she is a solitary, and there are far more solitaries in our world and life than are dreampt of in your philosophy”, as Shakespeare did not quite say, imo. The very few solitaries I know seem to think their purpose in life is important and also nothing I would understand rationally. Are they wrong? I cannot

      1. flora

        If your friend chose you within her moral universe then you are deeply honored by her with no expectation from her that you do anything. It’s a gift without expectations. imo. Hard as may be to accept that idea.

        1. Joe Renter

          Nicely said Flora. I have been thinking about tribes too. I left mine behind to reunite with an old girlfriend from 40 plus years ago. It didn’t work out. But I am in a warmer, dryer climate. Decisions need to be made. Go back to the tribe in a expensive area, leave the country, or stay and try to make a new tribe. As I get older I enjoy more of my own company. We all have tribes on the other side of the physical life, which is a consolation, thank goodness.

    2. anahuna

      Your account of your friend’s determination to pursue a doomed lawsuit calls to mind a number of times when I have watched helplessly as a friend/dear one headed blindly into what seemed and ultimately was a kind of willed destruction. Impelled by a mysterious necessity. I have come to see it as something different from mere heedlessness. It’s as if they are being driven or called by something unfathomable to me. There are many psychological labels to paste on this phenomenon, but they only trivialize the reality of it.

      Finally, sometimes there is nothing to do except, lovingly, to stand aside and respect the creation of a painful destiny.

      1. kareninca

        It was awful to watch. I tried to explain that judges hate that sort of thing, and that insurance companies can hire lawyers, and that there can be countersuits. But she was seeking what she deemed to be justice, spending months in law libraries, coming up with legal theories. As you say, it was like a “willed destruction, impelled by a mysterious necessity.”

  37. antidlc

    Chris Cuomo series on long covid.

    Christopher C. Cuomo
    I have been struggling with a cold for over a month – is hard to bounce back from illnesses more now due to “long covid” – have you experienced it? Dr. Li answered many questions I had tonight and we’re going to be doing this as a series, because I know a lot of you have reached out with your own experiences.

    Video at the link.

  38. steppenwolf fetchit

    ” Extreme winter cold grips Russia” sounds like a herniated polar vortex. Meanwhile, the Great Lakes midwest in North America has had unusually warm weather.

    If/when extreme cold grips the Great Lakes midwest region, I wonder if extreme warmth will be gripping Russia and/or Siberia and/or Greenland-Scandinavia at the same time to counterbalance it?

    1. flora

      Wait ’til next week. Cold weather, seasonably cold weather moving into the Midwest and Great Lakes region. It’s January, kiddo.

  39. skippy

    I need a NC hug … Elon Musk just liked my X comment “See movie THX 1138 dude … you’re promoting it …” … and retweeted it …

  40. Joe Renter

    Hug coming your way at this late hour. Though I don’t know the context of the exchange to the X man.

  41. Karl

    Sometimes it takes me a long time to scroll through the NC comments and give them the quality attention they deserve. Today is one of those days, and such days are not unusual!

    Congratulations NC for an amazingly bright, well informed and articulate community! Also for your compassion for one-another.

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