Links 2/1/2024

How do otters protect salt marshes from erosion? Shellfishly Nature

Woman tossing trash falls into dumpster, survives getting compacted in garbage truck AP. Good news!

Column: A judge voids Musk’s huge Tesla pay package as dishonest, and hoo boy, is he steamed LA Times

Tesla shareholders will vote on moving incorporation to Texas, says Elon Musk FT

Fed to increase staff members, tighten restrictions on access Anadolu Agency

At the Money: Forecasting Recessions (interview) Claudia Sahm, The Big Picture


John Podesta to succeed John Kerry as top U.S. climate diplomat WaPo

At Mann’s Defamation Trial, Defendants Are Doubling Down on Climate Denial DeSmogBlog

The struggle to meet rising demand for nuclear power FT

Guardrails Aren’t Designed To Work On Giant EVs: Study Jalopnik. A weakness in the “guardrails” trope.


How does the nasal cavity’s immune system combat SARS-CoV-2? News Medical

While COVID-19 surges, California guts mitigation efforts in schools Prism Reports

Breathing room: Why parents and experts are calling for a clean-air revolution in schools TVO Today. Canada.

10 success stories of government action in the United States Brookings Institution. In a bitter irony, the lessons of #2 (“Anti-smoking campaigns”) and #3 (“Air pollution reduction”) aren’t being applied to aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2; not for this pandemic, at least.


Weakened China won’t overtake US economy ‘until 2080′ The Telegraph

Dry bulk watches Evergrande liquidation after 16.5% drop in real estate investment Hellenic Shipping News

China merges hundreds of rural banks amid looming financial crisis Bloomberg

China employment pressure ‘worsening’ this year in absence of solutions to shore up jobs South China Morning Post

* * *

Chartbook Carbon Notes 10: In China, clean energy is now THE driver of overall economic growth. Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Chinese leaders hint at increased focus on politics and Communist Party discipline for coming year South China Morning Post


Myanmar military extends state of emergency, vows to ‘crush’ opposition Al Jazeera

Commentary: Beijing hedges its bets in Myanmar Channel News Asia


A Library In The Forest Madras Courier


Blinken admits UNRWA allegations yet to be ‘born out’ as backlash over Gaza aid cut rises The New Arab

Abolish the U.N.’s Palestinian Refugee Agency Bret Stephens, NYT

* * *

SITREP 1/31/24: Secret Back-Channel Talks Spur Hopes on Iran De-escalation + Zelensky-Zaluzhny Showdown Simplicius the Thinker(s)

Scoop: State Department reviewing options for possible recognition of Palestinian state Axios. Commentary:

‘Swarming’ the US in West Asia, until it folds MK Bhadrakumar, The Cradle

* * *

The Risks in Attacking the Houthis in Yemen The New Yorker

Is the Red Sea effect on container shipping being overblown? Hellenic Shipping News

* * *

How war destroyed Gaza’s neighbourhoods – visual investigation Guardian. Image:

Rubble from Bone London Review of Books

European Disunion

Europe’s angry farmers fuel backlash against EU ahead of elections Reuters

Fun thread:

Dear Old Blighty

Tears, anger and an apology: Nicola Sturgeon at the Covid inquiry Holyrood

New Not-So-Cold War

Differing views on mobilisation: Washington Post explains why Zelenskyy might dismiss Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Ukrainska Pravda

ICJ rejects most of Ukraine’s ‘terrorism’ case against Russia Al Jazeera

Russia and Ukraine exchange hundreds of war prisoners France24

South of the Border

CITGO: A Multi-billion Dollar Heist? Venezuelanalysis

IMF board authorises $4.7 billion for Argentina after Milei’s reforms France24

Biden Administration

A Cynical Deal in Congress May Yet Save Ukraine Bloomberg

House passes $78 billion tax bill in bipartisan vote The Hill

The Bezzle

Moral Bankruptcy Maureen Tkacik, Prospect

Binance Code and Internal Passwords Exposed on GitHub for Months 404 Media

Private Schools, Public Money: School Leaders Are Pushing Parents to Exploit Voucher Programs ProPublica

Spook Country

Spycraft and Statecraft William Burns, Foreign Affairs

Digital Watch

Erik Brynjolfsson: ‘This could be the best decade in history — or the worst’ FT. Worth reading in full.

It’s true, LLMs are better than people – at creating convincing misinformation The Register

* * *

FBI confirms it issued remote kill command to blow out Volt Typhoon’s botnet The Register. The deck: “Remotely disinfects Cisco and Netgear routers to block Chinese critters.” Hmm.


Report: At least 8,500 schools in US at risk of measles outbreaks Scripps News

The Forgotten Lessons Of Infectious Disease Control Nate Bear, ¡Do Not Panic!

Intestinal microbiota programming of alveolar macrophages influences severity of respiratory viral infection Cell. Mouse study. From the Abstract: “These findings uncover complex interactions that mechanistically link the intestinal microbiota with [alveolar macrophages (AMs)] functionality and [respiratory virus infections (RVIs)] severity.”

Our Famously Free Press

The Garrison Project wants to bridge the gap between national and local criminal justice reporting The Nieman Lab


‘I would absolutely not fly a Max airplane’: Ex-Boeing manager raises alarm on jets returning to service LA Times

Zeitgeist Watch

Chicken Littles Are Ruining America David Brooks, The Atlantic

Guillotine Watch

In the Shadow of Silicon Valley Rebecca Solnit, London Review of Books. Well worth a read.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The retconning of George Floyd Radley Balko, The Watch

Class Warfare

NS Delivers 12-Month Progress Report on East Palestine Efforts Railway Age

How to Build an Origami Computer Quanta

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Almost Grown by Chuck Berry)

    “She’s so real inside my phone!”

    Chicks never talked to me in school
    I wasn’t hip I wasn’t cool
    I’ve never known a woman’s touch
    OpenAI is now my crutch
    I betcha think I’m livin’ alone . . .
    My girlfriend lives inside my phone!

    I call her Trixie she calls me Bob
    Sex in the men’s room down at the job
    I tossed all my tapes for the VCR
    Trixie’s better — better by far
    I’m not an incel livin’ alone . . .
    My girlfriend lives inside my phone!

    (musical interlude)

    It’s great to be friends with a genuine girl
    If you haven’t tried it give it a whirl
    I’m in control of a real romance
    Not like the girls who won’t gimme a chance
    I can’t make it out here on my own . . .
    My girlfriend lives inside my phone!

    (Chuck and his guitar)

    I’m lonely and lost when my battery’s down
    Bought some headphones now so we paint the town
    Trixie ‘n me just havin’ a ball
    All alone at the disco dancin’ and all
    You probably think I’m livin’ alone . . .
    My girlfriend lives inside my phone!

    1. Sardonia

      And when you turn off your phone she stops talking!

      That feature alone could’ve extended a few of my real-life relationships…. :)

    2. ChrisFromGA

      I think this is a bigger problem than is being mis-underestimated, to quote our brilliant former president “W.” No breeding means no next generation.

      Western birthrates are already at deathbed levels. It’s only going to get worse.

      1. Wukchumni

        …strike up the band!

        Love and AI marriage, love and AI marriage
        Go together like a breeding miscarriage
        This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one with the other

        Love and AI marriage, love and AI marriage
        It’s technology you can’t disparage
        Ask the local Silicon Valley gentry and they will say it’s elementary

        Try, try, try to separate them, it’s an illusion
        Try, try, try and you only come to this conclusion

        Love and AI marriage, love and AI marriage
        Go together like a breeding miscarriage
        Mankind was told by Mother Nature you can’t have one
        You can’t have none
        You can’t have one with the other

        Love and Marriage, performed by Frank Sinatra

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Whenever I think of that song, I think of Al Bundy in “Married with Children.”

          And of course, Christina Applegate.

  2. Terry Flynn

    Re squashed in dumpster. Wasn’t that part of the plot of Superman 3?

    If so, I hope the lady is making a lot more money than the makers of that total piece of garbage movie (ahem).

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Blinken admits UNRWA allegations yet to be ‘born out’ as backlash over Gaza aid cut rises’

    One thing that this war has established is that you can be guaranteed that the Israelis will lie their faces off in order to justify what they are doing. Whether it be bs charges that Hamas murdered dozens of babies or there was mass rape committed on those hostages or even how a calendar list is actually a list of Hamas militants. That is why it is hard to believe any Israeli statement these days.

    But it does not excuse all those collective western countries accepting this latest packet of secret, unsubstantiated allegations and using it to impose a starvation blocked on helpless civilians in order to kill thousands more. That is not on the Israelis. That is solely on those collective western countries, including mine. This must be more of those western values that I keep on hearing about. And it was all coordinated to come on top of that Hague judgement which makes it sound both petty and vicious at the same time.

    1. Pat

      Israel, and the US, has been lying for years. If there is any bright spot in all this it is that their credibility is in tatters. And there is growing pushback.
      It is less than a week and Blinken has had to not only blink but start walking it back. There is no forward on it, only more retreat. Mind you I won’t be satisfied until Austin and the military have to come up with a reason they were blind to the genocide, but Blinken is a start.

      1. Carolinian

        “A land without people” = lie…perhaps the biggest of them all.

        And I agree that the endless fibs are getting old and tattered and losing their effect.

    2. Alice X

      My annotations, from the piece:

      US Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield echoed Blinken’s comments [moi: that UNRWA is important, but what the heck, we cut off the funding anyway, for reasons, and we got our poodles to do the same], saying “UNRWA has provided essential humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and UNRWA is the only organisation on the ground that has the capacity to continue to provide that assistance”.

      “We shouldn’t let this information (allegations) [moi: fabrications], these facts [moi: damn lies] undermine the efforts that UNRWA is making to provide lifesaving assistance,” she added. [moi: But what the heck, we just did.]

      These people are such sleazeballs, how stupid do they think we are?

      1. nippersdad

        Speaking of sleazeballs, the judge in California dismissed the case against Biden and Blinken. Clearly he did not have the courage of his ICJ counterparts.

        “There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the Court. This is one of those cases. The Court is bound by precedent and the division of our coordinate branches of government to abstain from exercising jurisdiction in this matter,” White wrote in his ruling.

    3. Feral Finster

      Of course Israel lies, Israel has lied, Israel will continue to lie. Constantly. It doesn’t matter, as long as the people who make the decisions believe or pretend to believe or even if they simply take the decisions they would take if they believed the lies.

      So what does anyone propose to do about it? Sociopaths are indifferent to questions of hypocrisy, as long as they wield power.

  4. Benny Profane

    Madrid was a surprisingly boring city to visit, but the Prado and the food saved it for me. Cheap direct flights from JFK, and high speed train hub.

    1. Wukchumni

      We were in Madrid once upon a time for new years @ Puerta del Sol, and the tradition is to have 12 grapes and a bottle of bubbly on hand, with said grapes eaten for each month of the year.

      Enterprising Asian sellers of the ’13 pack’ combed the audience early on while you could still get around, but by say 11:30, nobody was going anywhere, stacked like so many upright sardines.

      …good times

    2. Janie

      Rick Steves ranked the Prado as the best museum in Europe. We spent an entire day there (c. 1998) seeing the permanent collection plus a special Goya exhibition. Also, Madrid has the museum with the Guernica. Thanks for the link; it’s great.

      1. cyclist

        The Prado is great. Tip: get the Paseo del Arte which give you admission to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum for about 32 euros, all three worthy of a visit. The Prado had a long line of people waiting to buy tickets and the pass also allows one to avoid the line (this was in pre-Covid days). Try a tapas crawl on Calle Cava Baja. The nice thing about Madrid being ‘boring’ is that it is large and just doesn’t feel like a show being put on for tourists.

  5. voislav

    That David Brooks piece sure is something. Boils down to if people would stop being so negative and pessimistic everything would be much better. Look how positive Obama was and how great things were back then. Mmember Obama, back when there was no Trump, no climate change, no wars?

    1. bobert

      That platter of drivel should have trigger warnings between each paragraph. Home ownership is up, huh Dave? Do they actually own those homes or are they just mired in a mortgage they are struggling to pay off? Unemployment down? Are those dead end jobs, sometimes two at a time, to barely make ends meet? He charitably mentions the onrushing climate catastrophe as a “problem” but fails to integrate the psychological effects of such a world historical disaster into his critique of Chicken Littles. He makes no real connections between the “culture of negativity” he blames for it all and the actual state of the world other than to chide those who aren’t buying into the notion that things are looking up.

      But it’s more than bad faith argumentation, vacuous reasoning, and liberal moralizing. Brooks is a “progress p!mp” of the order of Pinker, DeGrasse Tyson, and NoahOpinion. Mercenary bright-siders who could find the positives in a brain cancer diagnosis as long as it furthers their fairy castle view of reality.

      And, of course, the Hamilton reference. Maybe we all just need to go see Hamilton a few times. Yeah, that’ll get my student loans paid off.

    1. The Rev Kev

      This is part of a desperate attempt to keep Project Ukraine going and so that country does not collapse. It is amazing to see how many EU countries are watching their economies are being wrecked by the effect of the sanctions that they launched and yet even at this late stage, their only thought is saving Zelensky and his gang. Nothing else matters, nothing. I really think that they are horrified at the thought of if this war ends and that all those hundreds of billions and all that military gear went for nothing. What do they do then? How can all that self-inflicted damage be repaired. They literally bet the house on a clown puppet comedian and now snake eyes are coming up. The blowback is going to be enormous. One minor example. Because France was so obsessed with the Ukraine, they let themselves be pushed out of more and more African nations and will never be allowed to go back again.

      1. JohnA

        Motorways around France are being blocked by farmers. Not that you would know as this is kept out of the news by western media gatekeepers.

        1. You're soaking in it!

          It does seem more broad based than that. While the French farmers are well known for their shouts of “Non!” when their interests are undermined, you now have tractor protests in Italy, Germany, Belgium as well as a lot of people in the Netherlands angry about proposed “reforms”. I thought the Ag payments were always a big part of the glue that holds the EU together.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Nice timing, Spring not that far off. Wonder who’ll plant the fields and what tractors they’ll use if Macron cracks down like Trudeau on truckers? You can use troops for harvest but planting isn’t that simple.

        2. turtle

          I pretty much only watch France 24 and occasionally Al Jazeera in terms of TV news, and France 24 has been covering the farmers blockages of the roads on a daily basis, often as their very top news item.

          I can’t speak for US news outlets as I lost faith in anything they had to say, years ago. Completely useless and unreliable.

          Oh, France 24 and Al Jazeera also have the benefit of being free to watch live online. Free 24 hour world news coverage and actually informative documentaries and other shows. You can get them both on YouTube and on their own apps on mobile, Roku streaming boxes, etc. I haven’t paid for cable or satellite TV (another losing proposition) in several years as well.

      2. Trees&Trunks

        “all those hundreds of billions and all that military gear went for nothing. What do they do then? How can all that self-inflicted damage be repaired”

        I think it is even worse than it went to nothing. Given the fierce demand to continue sending money, I bet my jamon sérrano on the money going back to them as kickbacks. Was it Duran who said that there will pop up a lot of Ukrainian and European football club owners soon? Leyen has a proven trackrecord of deeply corrupted practices. Most likely why she was chosen for where she is now.

        If there would be any justice, they would Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, or even better, organize a public seppuku. The last option wouldn’t happen since these people have no honour, no shame.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        At this point, the economic fallout is baked in through elections regardless of changes. Losing Ukraine will remove their last bludgeon against domestic opposition. Now they have Palestine, so events are simply out of control for neoliberals.

        Neocolonialism may make more sense for the neoliberals in government over Ukraine but not if they lose. Either the supportive population will wake up or assume they are Russian agents if they lose.

      4. JTMcPhee

        Wonder what hail-Mary legislation the Congress is going to pull out of its a$$, to keep the conveyor belt of MTM Bucks flowing to the MICIMAC and the Bidenrat Pipeline in Ukronazia?

        We know it’s going to happen… good money does not exist any more, but what remains can still be thrown after all the trillions that have flown before.

      5. spud

        one has to wonder how are the free traders going to defend the Seelow heights this time? at least after brexit, the people of the U.k.(if they can hold it together in one piece)have only one layer of oligarch servants to get rid of. in the free trade zone the E.U, there is layer after layer to try to get rid of. so it might come down to the heights again.

    2. ilsm

      If the propaganda about Putin wanting to strut on the Champs and the Arc like Hitler in June 1940 is real, the EU should be spending several times that kind of funding on shells and artillery systems, as well as drones….. for their own defense.

      I do not see anyone in the EU acting as done in 1938.

      So, project Ukraine is expensive death of a thousand cuts on Putin and Ukraine soldiers, as if the weapons sought for Ukraine were not attrition in the budget starve EU war establishment.

      I suspect Putin and staff are looking forward to learning more about how to defeat western systems.

      There is a better than even chance that this ‘forward defense’ is a scam.

    3. Feral Finster

      Of course, and the seizure of Russian assets is baked in the cake.

      Stop kidding yourselves, people, the West is nowhere near doubling down, and if they have to run roughshod over what remains of democracy, civil liberties, national sovereignty, etc. in the service of Empire, then they will do so without a moment’s hesitation.

      The Russian leadership also needs to stop kidding themselves. The West hates them and fears them, the West will never let them join the club. The West will gladly turn itself into a dystopia before giving up power, so the only way Russia will win in Ukraine is by taking this war seriously as an existential threat, which it is.

      1. Trees&Trunks

        Funny that you should talk about European democracy because that is one condition for the aid.
        ““A precondition for supporting Ukraine within the framework of the fund will be compliance with democratic mechanisms, including the rule of law, respect for human rights and minority rights,”

        Given the predatory elite ready to kill the population, the level of corruption and the vassal mindset in both EU & UKR, Ukraine just need to provide the right IBAN and BIC and off the money go, then

        ” It is clarified that the provision of funds will also be related to compliance with the financial interests of the EU, control of corruption and possible financial irregularities.

        This is standup comedy stuff. In von der Leyen and EU-speak “control of corruption” means making sure that the right persons get the right sum.

        1. Feral Finster

          Yup. “Democracy” is whatever the people in charge want it to be at the moment. Anything else is “tyranny”.

        1. Feral Finster

          True as far as it goes, but this will do nothing to change facts on the ground.

          Clever wordgames, tightly reasoned legal arguments and moral consistency all are impotent in the face of power.

    4. R.S.

      As far as I can see, it’s a bit more nuanced.

      For the period 2024-2027, the sum of the overall resources made available from the Facility will not exceed EUR 50 billion, of which:

      i) EUR 33 billion in the form of loans guaranteed by extending until 2027 the existing Union budget guarantee, over and above the ceilings, for financial assistance to Ukraine available until the end of 2027.

      ii) EUR 17 billion in the form of non-repayable support, under a new thematic instrument the Ukraine Reserve, set up over and above the ceilings of the MFF 2021-27. Potential revenues could be generated under the relevant Union legal acts, concerning the use of extraordinary revenues held by private entities stemming directly from the immobilised Central Bank of Russia assets.

      So, it’s 50 bln for 4 years, of which 33 bln are actually loans, and 17 bln should come from appropriated Russian assets when the legal mechanism appears (I gather, it’s as good as done).

      1. Trees&Trunks

        I am not sure that Ukraine is and will be known for its ability to pay back loans. That part seems to be money putz weg! And spefically to bank accounts of the EU elites.

        1. Acacia

          Sounds like the Ukraine has already been sold off, because the loans will of course never be paid and eventually Shylock will demand his pound of flesh, except it will be in the form of public infrastructure and vast areas of land that haven’t been spoiled by war.

  6. Hastalavictoria

    re The Guardian

    I came late to the discussion yesterday,tried to contribute,but being 1 fingered and incapable of linking etc. I failed miserably .

    A Guardian reader since 1974, I believe that it’s finest days are long,long behind and sadly I reached Upton Sinclair’s conclusion about the press 10 years ago.

    A few (old ) observations

    For example in the 70’s, James Cameron and Pilger great journalists, were weekly regulars.No equals exist today.

    In the 90’s, Frank Keating – A true west countryman — very strong,in both cricket and rugby.

    Neville Cardus who wrote about cricket and classical music, when it was called The Manchester Guardian in the 1930/40s, surpasses them all.Generally considered the greatest UK cricket writer ever

    Hugh Mcllvanney – The Observer and later for the Sunday Times on both boxing and football.He could also reach very high levels.

    The best of Cardus for me is equivalent to American’s like Red Smith and Ring Lardner.Lardner, I believe, mixed a lot with
    Hemingway, Woolf, and Fitzgerald.

    The old Guardian journalists I described are still well worth reading now.

    Someone mentioned Polly Toynbee, her illustrious ancestor was much loved and rightly lauded in Labour and academic circles, but basically Polly has been writing the same sort of article since the 1980’s.

    All breathless optimism, I think she even believes that Starmer may change.Polly, incidentally, was,intimately involved with the ‘Gang of 4’ split from Labour in the 1980’s when the ill fated SDP was formed.I believe she was a candidate for MP.I think Thatcher would still have edged that election even without the split.

    The old saw ~”When someone shows you what they are believe them” is a useful tool to look at many things, and not only Polly, above but The Guardian itself:

    Here are a couple of my favourites but I could pick many.

    It used Assange then sold him down the river.Craig Murray -very close to Assange- has mentioned this many times in his works.

    Luke Harding, The Guardian journalist responsible for using and abusing Assange,as we all know, has been amply rewarded.Since the Ukraine war he has been the Guardian’s main military/ political correspondent on the front page everyday.

    For a comprehensive overview of the Guardian I would recommend Declassified UK, – excellent scholarship here.

    Mark Curtis,wrote an very detailed article and one well referenced.Well worth reading.I suggest to anyone you read this if nothing else.The article title is below.

    Like Billionaire-controlled media,The Guardian misinforms it’s readers on the UK’s role in the world. – Mark Curtis.

    MediaLens – another excellent source.

    MediaLens publish very few articles but always very detailed, very precise.Also an excellent couple of books flaying both the BBC and the Guardian.Chomsky is a great admirer of theirs.

    We can also take snap samples ourselves.
    Barely a day goes by in which the word “Holocaust”is not used as you scroll down to flip through the Guardian headers . Captured completely here.Try it

    I do try to keep up to date with the the UK left and The Sqwakbox is one site worth spending literally a minute.

    I chose it for this article because it has recently published a video of Starmer – P.M 2B . – and studying body language can be fun.

    The Sqwakbox puts out very few articles and a few seconds glance is all it takes to see any changes.

    The Sqwakbox offers:

    Pro-Corbyn, not particularly well written, too Liverpool focused,can be strident but covers many issues main press do not cover but gives you a good overall snapshot

    Very,very good on Labour Party bigwigs peccadilloes.often big ones not published elsewhere.

    Shadowy payments from American Healthcare companies to Labour Shadow bench etc.figure I think now around 85k,
    quite frequently
    Labour NEC- often features.

    Excellent on local Labour issues,for example, many,many local councillors in the UK have resigned, especially Muslims – and fought and won as Independents.Labour, appear very worried about losing this ‘ natural vote.
    I see today Starmer is ‘ reaching out’ to them

    Palestine,BDS,Trade Union.and ongoing protests against tighter restrictions to demonstrate/strike.The years long party purge continues with issues like Palestine not allowed to be discussed in local meeting

    Very often, wonderful, small snippets e.g,
    Reported very recently that a 20 years longstanding ,female,UK bank customer, attempting to make a donation of £5 to UNRWA this week had her account blocked.

    Never sued.They aways offer reply which is never taken up.Do not bother with their comments they are awful.

    Quite often they obtain excellent videos..

    Certainly understand,after seeing the Starmer one, why, via the assistant/ Colonel conversation Starmer, is all for needing a ‘muscular defence policy’

    Another video,well worth a glance, with Angela Rayner and another Shadow Minister being confronted the relative of a Gaza victim.

    I cycle Sqwakbox once a day in/out in less than a minute

    I also cannot remember whether it is this web site, or another, that did a picture and article about one J. Epstein and Mandelson shopping together in New York. Mandy,I am sure will climb out of Starmer’s woodwork.

    Herbert Morrison was a powerful Labour potentate in the 1930/40s.He supported British neutrality in the Spanish Civil War and stymied the left. He was also the arch political enemy of the Labour creator of the NHS ~ Left winger, Nye Bevan.Thank Christ the real left won ‘that one!

    Morrison, as you know, was Mandy’s grandfather. We all know Mandy’s best quotes, He was ; ‘ Happy with the filthy rich’ and later ,’He spent ‘ Everyday trying to get rid of Corbyn. While taking backhanders

    Like grandfather like grandson.Well almost.Another rematch,Mandy v Corbyn.

    The common themes running through this article just like they run through the Blackpool rock cliche – nepotism and class.

    I hope the above helps.

    Longevity has some advantages.I have had the opportunity to read a lot of books and newspapers.

    I also started early.I attended a good grammar school but like many youngsters preferred sport,music and an interest – a very unsuccessful one – in the opposite sex

    Reading was/is my passion and pleasure and I exhausted the contents of my local library.

    My passion cost me dearly.Six library tickets per member was the alloted amount.So great my passion to read often I would take eight.Thus effectively ‘stealing’ though I always returned every book.The library reported me to the school.My plea fell on deaf ears and the cane fell on me.

    Punishment in exchange for pleasure and knowledge – At my age I think I’d say “Please Sir beat me again” There are so many books to read.

    But please not the Guardian!

    The Guardian is the problem.

    At the end of the second world war guess who the Guardian recommended you vote for?

    The bloody Liberal Party!

    Sorry to be trenchant here but bubbles need to be burst sometimes.

    I would just like to quote here from Wikipedia
    which is even worse re the 1951 election.

    “Post War.

    The paper’s then editor,A P Wadsworth, loathed Labour’s left-wing champion Aneurin Bevin,who had made a reference to getting rid of “Tory Vermin” in a speech” and the “hate gospellers of his entourage” that it encouraged readers to vote Conservative in the in the 1951 general election and remove Clem Atlee’s government.The newspaper opposed the creation of the NHS as it feared the state provision of healthcare would ” eliminate selective elimination’ and lead to an increase in congeniality,deformed and feckless people

    See what I mean by being the problem?
    Quite Teutonic almost?

    If Mr Wadsworth returns soon he may get his wish.

    These people have not changed and they hunt in a pack.

    They terrify me as they did Upton Sinclair. His quote: about them still rings true.

    ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on’

    I hope NC readers do not regard me as a hate gospeller – and apologies for any typos and bad grammar.


    I could have written about J . Prescott. I have a connection to him. Also I knew Derek Gladwin. He was the chap that headed Jim Callahan’s electoral campaign.Yes the one that Jim lost to Thatcher

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that comment. Should have added Simon Tisdall as the sort of hilariously bad writer that the Guardian uses these days. For me, the old Guardian died when Guardian editors destroyed Snowden hard drives while GCHQ technicians watched on. It was all theater but the Guardian did it nyway-

      I’m sure that they all went out together after it was done to get a drink at the local pub.

    2. John Beech

      I touch The Guardian website daily, as I do The Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Express and maybe once or twice a week, the Beebs. Why left, right, plus gossip? Basically, it’s because I like perspective. Honestly? I yearn for what in America we refer to as balls and strikes, meaning serving it straight up and leaving the opinion to be formed by the reader. But that’s likely never to return (if we ever really had it), especially as it’s the tofu-munching wokerati are who are in charge. Little do they realize, or likely care, that I have enough experience to sniff out their slant before a 20-something has finished serving it up (and similarly, have discounted their entire piece for merely trying to influence me, just as quickly – and sometimes not even bothering to finish). Sigh.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s not so much that they lie to us in newspapers that gets me. It is that the lies are so childish and so easily disproven. They must have literally no respect for their readers and in some articles it is almost like they are mocking us from their privileged perch by what they write. And the TV news is even worse. What an age we live in. We have returned to Yellow journalism once more but this time it is digitized-

        1. John k

          Maybe it’s that readership is down so far the remainder are older folks that take it all as dogma.
          Polls seem to show very few now find msm trustworthy.

    3. Terry Flynn

      Well said. I have very strong views about the 1951 election. Although there have been some changes in the law regarding suffrage since then, arguably all 1945 onwards elections in the UK can be described as “modern, pretty-much-universal-suffrage”. Attlee was a true Gentleman in the positive way – he didn’t want to wheel sick/old MPs into the House of Commons for votes after getting such a slender majority in 1950. The final collapse of the Liberal Party gifted Churchill the 1951 election (via electioneering that really should have been looked into) that Attlee felt obliged to call.

      Whilst getting 40+% of the ENTIRE eligible voting population is something modern governments/presidents can only dream of, it happened a couple of times in the 1950s when people felt they should exercise their democratic right. The 1951 election saw the largest percentage of eligible voters in the modern political era to ever support a party. And that party lost, due to First-Past-The-Post. Rationing was rapidly being eliminated in the 1950s so whoever was in power was effectively gifted more election victories, given the “you’ve never had it so good” effect (coined by MacMillain I believe).

      People invested in alternate histories often claim that “single changes” don’t actually change the course of a society. I firmly believe that had the popular vote in 1951 been respected (showing the largest win ever for any party – in this case Labour) then UK history would be very different. The Guardian’s role in this is new to me and just makes me more angry.

    4. KLG

      Yes, thank you. I read the paper version of the Grauniad (an English postdoc used the name in the 1970s; it is not clear that they ever actually misspelled the name?) a few days late in the Science Library as an undergraduate. And the Times and Torygraph. The library of a research university is still one of the wonders of the world. Enjoyed them all, as I did the last time we were in London. Something civilized about a newspaper every morning, and the loss of such is a big part of the uncivil character of the US these days.

      But I must add George Monbiot to the List of the Useless who grace the current Guardian. He has become a real piece of work these days.

      1. JohnA

        The nickname Grauniad, came about due to the notorious number of typographic errors the Guardian usually contained, back in the days of hot metal printing.

        Maybe still does in the electronic age. I rarely read that rag in great detail these days.

      2. Skk

        I remember Private Eye , the satirical mag and mighty organ of Lord Gnome, coining the word Grauniad in the 70s. Word histories dot net agrees with me.

    5. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      I began to read it and the Observer, then not owned by the Guardian, around the same time, and remember the great journalists you mentioned.

      There were also Richard Baerlein for the racing, a socialist like more than you can imagine in racing, Hugh McIlvanney, the Keegans, Matthew Engel and another Matthew whose name escapes me.

      The Observer always felt like the sister paper and had Donald Trelford and Alan Watkins.

      Toynbee, Malcolm Dean and one other stood for the SDP in 1983.

      Apart from the 1960s – 2010, say the move from Manchester in 1959 to the heir to Blair coalition, the paper has always been classical liberal. Its founders were mill owners and worried about a rival working class newspaper. The paper supported the south in the war between the states and gunned for Nasser in 1956.

      1. Alex Cox

        The Grauniad also sacked Steve Bell and Martin Rowson, the two best political cartoonists they ever had ..

    6. Daniil Adamov

      The Guardian, historically, was a left-ish Liberal (Radical) newspaper. Hardly surprising that they would continue to cling to Liberals, or sometimes support Conservatives over Old Labour. As for “selective elimination”, that is an interesting note. However, eugenics was a popular idea all over the political spectrum since Darwin’s time (IIRC he was also quite concerned about advances in medicine letting the unfit get away with their unfitness). William Beveridge of the Beveridge Report fame was big on eugenics as well, though it doesn’t seem like he opposed the NHS.

      Anyway, my point is that the Guardian’s political position has been fairly consistent overall – a centre-left establishment newspaper, generally “respectable”, occasionally critical in ultimately safe ways, certainly not above allying with other establishment groups. According to Craig Murray, whom I am mostly inclined to trust about such things, it has been coopted by the British security state in recent years. That seems plausible and a change for the worse – but maybe not such a drastic change.

      1. Terry Flynn

        My contempt for supposedly anti-establishment media was most crystallised when Private Eye gave something of a platform to Andrew Wakefield re MMR. The editor (Ian Hislop) retains star status on the BBC “satirical” show “Have I Got News for You”.

        HIGNFY ran a self congratulatory one off edition to celebrate Boris Johnson’s downfall. Those of us with long memories vividly remember that a lot of Johnson’s rise to power was enabled by his frequent appearances on HIGNFY as a guest. Hislop and his “other team captain” (Paul Merton) have no shame.

        We Brits know they “ran the show” and made all editorial decisions right back to almost day 1 when they got the then quizmaster/host Angus Deayton fired. His misdeeds would in 2024 barely raise an eyebrow (and make Boris look saintly) but those two self-appointed guardians of British standards wanted him out. I refuse to buy Private Eye now. When older sister pointed out potential issues with Byline Times I asked why I would pay for something that simply reinforced everything I heard in my personal social media echo chamber? I have NC and other sources to help me spot BS. But I’m not paying for material that is BS to its core. And hence we return to the Guardian.

  7. Mikel

    “The Risks in Attacking the Houthis in Yemen” The New Yorker

    If the attacks by the Houthis are driven by the war on the Palestinians, there soon won’t be anything left of Palestine at this rate:

    If they can’t stop the destruction of the Palestinians with their actions (assuming that is their only goal), that would render them more ineffective than any counterattack.

    (Not promoting such destruction, but it is another way of looking at it)

      1. Mikel

        Then it’s about their own survival or scramble for relevancy and not about the Palestinians’ survival.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Remember how the Nazis steamrolled their way through so many countries and thought that it was all over? That is, until the resistance got organized. Were those resistance fighters doing it for their own survival or a scramble for relevancy? In any war, the winner is usually who can last the longest and those Yemen fighters are tough and are not folding. And they are not about to sit back and watch an active genocide but are doing their part to fight back. Meanwhile, our leaders in the west are actively taking part in this genocide by shipping weapons and trying to starve all those civilians out. So in my book, that means that those fighters in Yemen are much more moral than we in the west are. Never had that on my 2024 bingo card.

          1. Wukchumni

            One advantage the Houthis have over us, is they got to see all of our weaponry being used against them, and obviously it wasn’t up to snuff when utilized by the Saudis, why should it be any different in our er, capable hands?

          2. Mikel

            The Houthis began the engagement with the stated purpose of stopping the destruction of Palestinians. That hasn’t stopped.

          3. Mikel

            It’s increasingly looking like they can’t save the Palestinians anymore than the USA can secure shipping lanes.

            1. ChrisFromGA


              Diesel prices heading higher due to Red Sea shipping shutdown.

              This will take several months to feedback into the larger economy through price hikes, as just about everything that isn’t shipped by air is sent by truck, or locomotives, and hence diesel is needed.

              More cost-push inflationary pressures. More reason for the Dread Pirate Powell to hold off on rate cuts. The braindead zombies buying equities aren’t paying attention.

              1. Mikel

                With neither side able to achieve their goals, it *should* be a recipe for talks.
                But there I go with wishful thinking.

                1. ChrisFromGA

                  Read Simplicius’ piece, in the links, if you haven’t already. It looks like the Biden mis-administration capitulated, they probably realize that any escalation at this point risks a huge disaster, spikes in energy costs, more inflation, and choked global supply lines.

                  The Houthis have escalation dominance, with the threat of cutting the underseas cable.

                  However, how this helps the Gazans is unclear. Bibi is a vicious thug who will keep pushing until he is threatened with something a lot tougher than slapping some laughable sanctions on West Bank settlers, who have no intention of ever traveling to the US:


                2. Snailslime

                  When the genocide in Gaza can’t be stopped in time, as it almost certainly can’t, Israel can still be punished for it’s crimes.

                  When the Palestinians can’t be saved it becomes about avenging them and arguably much more important still isolating and neutralizing Israel as a future threat to everyone in the reason and beyond.

                  After all it’s not like Israel will feel any safer, become more peaceful or less of a threat to it’s neighbours if it successfully manages to conclude it’s genocide in Gaza and possibly the West Bank.

                  If anything Israel will only grow more paranoid once it annihilated the Palestinians.

                  There will continue to be extremely strong reasons to want to massive longterm damage to it’s economy and destabilising/discrediting it’s society and political system contribute to that.

                  And that is something that the Houthies definitely can contribute to in important ways.

                  I’m pretty sure the Houthies entered this fight knowing full well that their attempt to save the people of Gaza might well fail.

                  But there will be other “Palestinians” threatened by the same fate as long as Israel isn’t stopped or forced to Change it’s tune and that is a worthy endeavor even if it is a project that takes a long time (not that I think it will necessarily take THAT long).

        2. Daniil Adamov

          Or they do want to intervene somehow and don’t see any better options. This does apply pressure on Israel… just nowhere near enough to actually stop what it is doing. However, what else can they do?

          Mind you, I think your options sound more likely. We don’t know, though.

    1. Polar Socialist

      There are still 99,4% of the Palestinians and 96% of the “Palestine” left. But maybe you’re right, better no try anything if you can’t be sure it works and it works right now.

      Just like the police should not try to prevent/solve any crimes, if they can’t prevent/solve all crime.

      I honestly don’t understand what you would want them to do that might work better?

      1. Milla

        Yeah, the despair is coming from people who don’t appear to recognize the presence of Palestinians in the West Bank, 1948 Palestinians, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and the diaspora. Making Israel an economic basket case and an international pariah is important for preventing further encroachments on these populations. Not to mention even Gazans are currently 5 percent death and serious injuries. They’re far from being finished especially if sufficient aid can go through.

  8. russell1200

    Rebecca Solnit talks about Cruise driverless cars. But they aren’t driverless. GM has admitted that they have remote drivers helping them all the time. In the incident she notes, it is probably a human that messed up (because the robot would have been even more clueless) and likely didn’t have a cameras pointing underneath the car to see the poor lady.

    The Corry Doctorow piece you posted includes Cruise in its list of AI scam examples.

    1. Lee

      Eye contact often accompanied with a wave to grant or be given right of way by fellow drivers and pedestrians is an essential, every day practice where I live. These typically friendly mutual acknowledgments and signaling are survival tactics that I doubt any machine can replicate. Machines are not social beings.

        1. JP

          Back in the late 60’s when visiting Montreal, I realized driving could easily be a contact sport. At that time I never saw a car without a dent. Back in southern CA, when the freeways were stop and go and some entitled idiot would pass on the right in the shoulder and then cut in front of me, I would tap their bumper. This always elicited an excited reaction because in CA drivers were certain that,no matter what they did, you couldn’t touch them. I had people actually get out of their car and jump up and down and threaten to sue me.

          I quit doing it when a guy that looked a lot like a pro line backer unfolded out of a Jaguar and was intent on doing me bodily harm. I was able to pull around him and escape before he could get back in his car.

          1. Wukchumni

            I knew this jeweler in the SFV who related that he used to slightly crash his VW Bug into vehicles with hawt chicks in LA in the 60’s in order to possibly take it from there.

            A certain kind of desperation there, dontcha think?

        2. .human

          Driving is a social function that integrates community supplied maintenance and infrastructure to the mobility of the.public. Anathema and ignored by TPTB.

      1. Wukchumni

        My ongoing nightmare of AI cars is largely driven by the movies ‘Duel’ & ‘Maximum Overdrive’, and I realize they were both fantasy (you never see the truck driver terrorizing Dennis Weaver in Duel, so i’m guessing its an early form of AI) but better a less than pleasant fantasy, than the real thing.

            1. Bike Coalition Member

              After getting in a wreck and injured, caused by a driverless car that didn’t give me my right of way at a stop sign, whenever I bike next to a one now, I gouge the side of it with a big nail.

              When sitting in traffic, with no passengers to incovenience, nail under a tire, or a quartz rock to scratch the windows.

              Smash, trash and wreck these menaces before they become acceptable. And no, I don’t care about the cameras, since nothing short of shooting someone in front of a cop gets you arrested in Oakland or San Francisco.

      2. t

        My understanding is that Tesla is camera-based “because that is humans drive, with their eyes.” The reason is likely that sensors and whatnot are complex and expensive, but I wouldn’t put it past Musk to be so dumb that he’s unaware the rest of us have ears and a sense of balance and all the rest.

        1. Revenant

          Musk refuses to pay for Lidar (laser-based scanning of surroundings) and relies on cameras. Everybody else says this is unable to support any meaningful steps towards autonomy….

  9. Mikel

    “Russia and Ukraine exchange hundreds of war prisoners” France24

    I was just saying last night, the end of the war with Ukraine won’t be the end of conflict for Russia. That won’t end until major parts of Europe can think of Russia as an ally. And it goes deeper than USA influence. Until then, the next proxy or insurgency awaits them.

  10. Mikel

    “Weakened China won’t overtake US economy ‘until 2080′ The Telegraph

    If China chooses the road of hyper-financialization of everything, they circle the drain with the USA.

    1. SeventyTwoTrillion

      What a deeply silly headline. Indeed, China won’t overtake the US economy in the future – because it has already surpassed it in every way that truly matters. Perhaps we could send some our best economists over to teach the Chinese how to best carry out massive financial crashes, mortgage scams, and converting their economy into a landlord rentier hellscape. I doubt they’d pay us much mind, though.

  11. timbers

    “Column: A judge voids Musk’s huge Tesla pay package as dishonest, and hoo boy, is he steamed” **** So, judges can void sacred private cintracts…but can’t stop blatantly unconstitutional pink misting or illegal wars? Color me CONFUSED.

    1. John Beech

      Remains to be seen if the contract is truly voided, or if another court prevails. Doubt Musk goes down without taking all the cuts at the ball he is allocated.

      However, in his defense, without Elon Musk walking this planet, do we have rockets taking off every 3-4 days of the week? Do we have electric cars achieving critical mass, much less one so popular as the Model 3, which is vying to become the top seller in California? And pending remains Neuralink and X, both and i’m not writing either off despite the barrels of negative press.

      After all, even the great Babe Ruth swung and missed most of the time. SpaceX alone much less Tesla, and prospective other greats grant him entry to the hall of fame alongside Henry Ford, AG Bell, Edison, and Carnegie. I’m in watch and see mode but inclined to cut him some slack – maybe a lot as living on the space coast means we see his efforts lighting up the eastern skies several times a month. I remain as charged when I happen upon an evening launch as I did as a child on the infrequent Saturn launches.

      1. t

        Those Space X contracts don’t have to go to Musk. And we’d be better off if they went to a higher bidder.

        Per driver mile, aren’t his cars the most dangerous by far? And isn’t that impressive with giant trucks plowing down pedestrians.

        1. John Beech

          I know folks can sniff at his achievements *but* I also believe my greater point stands; before Musk, where were we? No hopes of actual reusable launch vehicles on anything like the SpaceX schedule. By this meaning, the US Government’s best effort (with mind-blowing sums of money) resulted in a mirage because reusing actually meant many months long efforts (and a total rebuild) such that the Shuttle, as it actually turned out, over the course of 30 years launched just 135 missions.

          Meanwhile, for context, Musk and company launched 96 missions just in 2023 *and* are accelerating the launch schedule and with the addition of the new rocket will eclipse that record maybe as soon as this year! Makes 135 launches in 30 years seem like the Wright Brothers versus Boeing.

          As for EVs, folks forget GM leased the neat EV1 from 1996-2003 and ‘owners’ loved them so much they resisted turning them in at the end of the lease. But from there? There have been *many* dabbling in them, Renault most notably, but nobody stuck with it other than Musk. And now, with the Model 3 he is getting rewarded big time.

          Proof to me the judge is wrong in her assessment and that he *is* worth the $56B compensation package is no corporation on this planet, with all the built-in advantages that go with being long-established did anythign but throw in the towel while he persisted. Even Ford is cutting back on Lightning production. Yet they called him a fool. Laughed at him. Nobody is laughing, now.

          So we’re back to where I posited to start off, before Musk, nobody dreamed big and actually made things happen. Feet of clay upon occasion? Surely, *but* recall Henry Ford was a Nazi sympathizer and believer in eugenics and if we go poking around, I doubt many (any?) historical figures attain the present day’s wokester stamp of approval.

          Today, it seems popular to tear down those who achieve things. Me? I suspect it’s because I am of an age to remember what it was like before Musk. Gives me a spot of perspective.

          Added to which, and I mean this respectfully, but I’d rather share a meal with him than with Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or any other politico. Ditto the Zuckerberg, or any other titan of industry (or finance) I can name off the top of my head. Even the Pope!

          Go so far as to predict it would be a blast! Certainly for me, and with hopes he wouldn’t be moved to tears of laughter for my modest business accomplishments. Honestly? Can think of no better person than the embodiment of D.D. Harriman from Heinlein’s Future History, he who ramrodded the first private venture landing of a man on the Moon!

          1. Albe Vado

            He doesn’t have any achievements beyond swooping in and buying up companies that other people founded. On top of that the only company he owns that isn’t essentially a scam is SpaceX, which is 1. merely a glorified contractor that has been siphoning government money to play catch up to decades old soviet rocket tech while pursuing a gimmick (landable and reusable rockets) that every other player abandoned years ago because it’s actually stupid, and 2. run by a woman he hired, not Musk himself. One of the most frustrating aspects of Musk is the degree to which people buy into the lie that he’s an engineer who knows anything about ‘his’ products. He isn’t. He has a degree in physics, and that’s it. He has developed literally zero aspects of any of ‘his’ products.

            You’ve really got to get off the great man of history delusion.

      2. urdsama

        I think I spotted the flaw in your analysis.

        “Negative press”

        Instead, look at the multitude of people who have critically analyzed these projects and come away unimpressed.

        A good starting point would be YouTuber Thunderfoot.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “SITREP 1/31/24: Secret Back-Channel Talks Spur Hopes on Iran De-escalation + Zelensky-Zaluzhny Showdown”

    ‘It was reported, that the U.S. offered through the Swiss embassy to Iran, to strike one of their sites but Iran should not retaliate. This would allow the US to save face. Looks like it was REJECTED:’

    Damn sure that the same exact thing happened under Trump but it does not matter. I’ve got an idea. Iran and the US can make a deal here and it goes like this. Iran will allow the US to blow up some bog-house in rural Iran so Biden can save face in an election year. In return, Iran gets to bomb one of the abandoned neighbourhoods of Detroit and can claim a win. If Biden is lucky, nobody in Detroit will even notice the difference. So win-win?

    1. Nikkikat

      Please look at garland Nixon YouTube. He predicted exactly this outcome. The day before yesterday. He said they know that Iran can shut down straight of Hormuz. They can’t destroy world economy. They also can’t showcase how badly equipped US really is in this situation Iran can eat our lunch.

  13. GramSci

    Don’t miss Moral Bankruptcy. Today’s must read, IMHO. More banality of empire, but awesomely brazen.

    1. Ken Murphy

      Agreed. IANAL, however I have extensive (but weird) legal experience in my background, mainly from my years in banking and finance, and have actually read Hammurabi’s Code and Justinian’s works on the Roman Code.

      Perhaps it is time to revisit the concept of corporations and their standing in human society.

      Folks forget that the concept of incorporation is a -courtesy- extended by a community to a collective effort that allows for greater financial and material resources to be brought to bear to realize projects that will be of benefit to the community.

      The fundamental purpose of courts is to settle disputes between human individuals. Companies are given access to the courts through the process of incorporation, or taking on a “body”, so that they can be part of the dispute resolution process, which can be beneficial to the community. However, there is nothing sacrosanct about a corporation (unlike a human being), and when its courtesies are abused, they can and should be revoked, if for no other reason than to “encourager les autres”.

      By the same token, human individuals make these decisions in the companies, and the community has every right to hold the individuals accountable for their acts. Perhaps it is time it started doing so.

      1. heresy101

        The Nine Lackeys of the One Percent determined that corporations are “people” and have the rights of “people” under the Constitution in the late 1800’s.
        But corporations have no rights since they are not “people” but a rich persons legal construct. We need an Amendment to the Constitution that clearly says they are not “people” and have no rights except what are given to them by the government. They couldn’t participate or fund elections, which would be a good start to moving to a real democracy in this country.

  14. Wukchumni

    ‘I would absolutely not fly a Max airplane’: Ex-Boeing manager raises alarm on jets returning to service LA Times

    In the early morning rain
    With a ticket in my hand
    With an achin’ in my heart
    And a plane not in demand

    I’m a long way from home
    And I miss my loved ones so
    In the early morning rain
    With no place to go

    Out on runway number nine
    Big 737 Max 9 set to go
    But I’m stuck here in the terminal
    Where the cold beer flows

    Now, the liquor tasted good
    And the women all were fast
    Well, there she goes my friend
    Well, she’s rollin’ down at last

    Hear the mighty engines roar
    See the silver bird on high
    She’s away and westward bound
    Far above the cloud, she’ll fly

    Where the mornin’ rain don’t fall
    And the sun always shines
    She’ll be flyin’ o’er my home
    In about three hours time

    This accountant driven jet has got me down
    It’s no earthly good to me
    ‘Cause I’m stuck here on the ground
    As cold and drunk as I can be

    You shouldn’t board this jet plane
    Perhaps instead a freight train
    So, I’d best be on the way
    In the early morning rain

    You shouldn’t board this jet plane
    Perhaps instead a freight train
    So, I’d best be on the way
    In the early morning rain

    Early Morning Rain, by Gordon Lightfoot

  15. timbers

    Climate – John Podesta to succeed John Kerry as top U.S. climate diplomat —— So only old rich white males over 70 who use private jets get to be the Climate Tzar? Isnt that like appointing the Clinton’s to head an agency of ridding fraud and corruption in govt? Why not appoint a 20-ish with no hope of owning a home? Or a homeless person who can use their socioeconomic status as moral compass to guide how much carbon humans can use for their lifestyle?

    1. Cassandra

      John Podesta was one of the authors of the DNC Pied Piper strategy that gifted the world with President Trump. He also was a major contributor to Russiagate. He is probably one of the consultants most responsible for Team Blue funding over the last couple of decades, so it is only logical that he should be rewarded with a nice title to go with the $$$$.

      1. Big River Bandido

        John Podesta was Herself’s brilliant campaign manager. The one who posted his email password — *assword or something close to it — on the whiteboard in the campaign work room so that all the interns could access it at any time.

            1. Felix_47

              The CIA or FBI I do not know which but they apparently do not want to release the records and investigation of what they have. That tells you quite a lot.

              1. Procopius

                As far as I know, the CIA is prohibited by its charter (lol) from operating within the continental United States. It should be the FBI which doesn’t want to release their investigation, but maybe something changed in The Patriot Act that I didn’t pay attention to.

  16. CA

    China overtook the European Union economy in 2012 and the US economy in 2014. By 2022, China was 26.3% larger in GDP than the EU, and 20.8% larger than the US. In 2023, China grew far faster than the EU and US:,532,534,546,111,&s=PPPGDP,&sy=2000&ey=2022&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

    October 15, 2023

    Gross Domestic Product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP)
    valuation for China, European Union, India and United States,


    China ( 15,586)
    European Union ( 15,434)
    India ( 6,153)
    United States ( 16,254)


    China ( 17,687)
    European Union ( 16,442)
    India ( 6,781)
    United States ( 17,551)


    China ( 30,762)
    European Union ( 24,357)
    India ( 11,901)
    United States ( 25,463)

    1. GramSci

      Thanks for this. About time somebody blew the whistle on the MSM China pile-on. Who better than IMF staff?

      1. CA

        Thank you in turn.

        The matter is serious indeed, a concerted Western effort to prevent Chinese technological advance and undermine growth. This was formally begun in April 2011, with the Wolf Amendment as an effort to limit Chinese space exploration. The results were a Chinese space station, an advanced GPS and associated satellite network, exploration of the far side of the Moon, Mars and a Sun space observatory, advanced ground observatories and on and on…

        In April 2011, the 112th United States Congress banned NASA from engaging in bilateral agreements and coordination with China:

  17. timbers

    European Disunion …. The Duran guys analysed an FT article claiming the EU has a plan to destroy the Hungarian economy to make her people suffer, as a tool to engineer regime change. Hope Hungary has an EU exit plan because it doesn’t look like staying in the EU to weld influence is looking like a good option. Of course, the EU probably also has a plan to blickaid Hungary if she does leave.

    1. Skip Intro

      I read that Hungary maintains its own currency. If true, it sounds like some major contingency plans are ready for ‘Hexit’. Most likely Hungary will lie on the Russian side of the new iron curtain, once it gets its bit of the soon-to-be former Ukraine back, so sanctions from the collapsing EU will not have much power.

      1. Wukchumni

        During Communism the Iron Curtain bloc of various national currencies had one value of exchange within the country and much lesser rate of exchange in the west. You could buy Czech Koruna banknotes in Austria for about 40% of the official exchange rate, and the same thing with USSR Rubles et al, with only one exception, and I never really figured out why but Hungarian Forints had a reasonable exchange rate in the west compared to the rest of the currencies. It was wider than say a transaction between French and Swiss Francs or other western countries, but nothing like the rest of the basket case currencies of Communism.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hungary traditionally had the most accessible economy for Western businesses and local market economies (goulash communism), and by extension, it was the entry point for the limited business done between East/West. The “Communist” Party elite needed to keep the Moscow GUM stocked. Import from Hungary not France. Then there was tourism too.

          To a certain extent, they actually implemented the demands of the 56 uprising. But there were different levels of Soviet control of the bloc states. Unlike say, Poland and the glorified city-states in the Baltics, Hungary was way more intertwined with central Europe, the Balkans, and Anatolia.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve told this tale before, and my mom and dad were quite the travelers and he’d been tried in absentia for the crime of leaving his country, and only felt like the smoke had cleared in 1973 as far as going back, and he wasn’t a trader, but more of the consummate back room guy at one of the bigger LA stock firms in the 60’s and part of a national chain of them. He was all about arbitrage…

            So the story my mom told, was they were in Austria and the official rate was 12 Koruna to the $, and he inquires at a few banks in Vienna and can get 30 for a buck, oh happy day!

            So he buys $500 worth-a sizable bankroll i’d imagine, and they make it to his sister’s place in Prague, and after a joyous reunion, my dad tells his sister about the DIY remittance and produces the lucre and my aunt has an absolute shit-fit when she sees it, explaining to my dad how she could very much get arrested and taken away if somebody found out!

            Stridently, she demanded said bankroll of money be hidden away in my mom’s vagina, that’s how afraid she was, to give you an idea of the fear-common among the populace, and my aunt was a doctor.

            …Mom declined the offer

            The upshot to it?

            Aside from lead crystal (not my taste, yuck) there was nothing to spend it on, even at very favorable exchange rates. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was 100-1, my mom said.

            1. ilpalazzo

              That’s what was great about former commie bloc – having all the money wouldn’t necessarily got one very far.

              At my parents house that they built in the early eighties (beekeeper and primary school teacher), there are stairs made from inch thick oak timber. My father said this was the only thing they had in the local depot at that time.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                Yeah, access was much more important. For relatively little people like us, “knowing a guy who travels abroad and could smuggle back jeans” or “knowing a guy in fishing who can misplace a big jar of caviar”. For bigger people, access to decision-makers and appointments. And special stores of course! Money is mostly useless if you don’t have access to where you can spend it.

                1. Wukchumni

                  My mom told me she was constantly chased almost like a celebrity, by Czechs in want of her $’s to go spend them @ Tusex store that only took hard currency.

                  She reckoned it was almost the national sport, clandestine forex trading.

    2. Feral Finster

      Considering the amount of EU Structural Adjustment money Hungary receives, not to mention current EU member status allows Hungary to outsource its unemployment to Europe, Hungary has no real choice.

      And of course, there is the self-image as “europeans” that is so critical for the puppet class in central europe.

    3. johnnyme

      My (admittedly limited and outsider) understanding of Hungarian politics gives Orban’s party (Fidesz) a solid lock on power so even if they manage to oust Orban, they most likely won’t be able to oust Fidesz. I’m not sure if/how much things have changed from 2011:

      In a free and fair election last spring in Hungary, the center-right political party, Fidesz, got 53% of the vote. This translated into 68% of the seats in the parliament under Hungary’s current disproportionate election law. With this supermajority, Fidesz won the power to change the constitution. They have used this power in the most extreme way at every turn, amending the constitution ten times in their first year in office and then enacting a wholly new constitution that will take effect on January 1, 2012.

      This constitutional activity has transformed the legal landscape to remove checks on the power of the government and put virtually all power into the hands of the current governing party for the foreseeable future.

      The new election law specifies the precise boundaries of the new electoral districts that will send representatives to the parliament. But the new districts are drawn in such a way that no other party on the political horizon besides Fidesz is likely to win elections. A respected Hungarian think tank ran the numbers from the last three elections using the new district boundaries. Fidesz would have won all three elections, including the two they actually lost.

      The new constitution makes huge swaths of public policy changeable only by a two-thirds vote of any subsequent parliament. From here on, all tax and fiscal policy must be decided by a two-thirds supermajority. Even the precise boundaries of electoral districts cannot be changed by simple majority vote, but only by a two-third supermajority. If a new government gets a mere majority, policies instituted during the Fidesz government cannot be changed.

  18. TomDority

    House passes $78 billion tax bill in bipartisan vote – The Hill
    “Unfortunately, as happens in this town, this legislation comes with provisions that, frankly, the people I represent are tired of,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said on the House floor Wednesday.
    “And it’s provisions that would continue to expand the welfare state, as ‘The Wall Street Journal’ editorialized about, by expanding the child tax credit in ways that will continue to fund people directly through refundable credits which we find to be problematic, and we think undermines the kind of economic activity and incentive to work and incentive to, you know, produce value that we think is critically important for economic growth,” he added.
    A little obvious clarity is needed – such as “the people I represent” =financial corporations
    “provisions that would continue to expand the welfare state” = for the poor 80%
    ‘we think undermines the kind of economic activity/to, you know, produce value that we think is critically important for economic growth,” “We think” = Asset price inflation with out actually doing work to enrich a small group of predatory capitalists who are the world largest Welfare recipients in all American History by screwing the little guy is “critically important for economic growth”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Guardrails Aren’t Designed To Work On Giant EVs: Study’

    If those guardrails are ripped to pieces by those heavy EVs, then what about pedestrians?

    1. Wukchumni

      Easily fixed by having a robot walk your walk for you, and in concert with its Confederate in the car, there’s virtually no chance of being run over by an algorithm or a Nash Metropolitan.

      1. Skip Intro

        Pedestrians need to learn ‘defensive walking’, which mostly requires hitting the cars with an RPG while they’re still over 50 meters away.

    2. Enter Laughing

      If the metal guardrails and concrete barricades system isn’t designed to handle vehicles heavier than 5,000 pounds, then the problem is far bigger than EVs. What about a pickup truck and trailer combo that weighs 25,000 to 30,000 pounds? Or a greyhound bus that can weigh 48,000 pounds? Or a loaded semi that weighs 80,000 pounds? Seems like it’s a big safety issue that pre-dates EVs by decades.

      1. cfraenkel

        Presumably, a loaded semi is being driven by a trained driver, who has a much more stringent licensing requirement. And driving around with a heavy trailer is a mind altering experience… you *know* that weight is back there! I suspect in the traffic engineer’s calculations, the numbers of unskilled, distracted drivers plays affects the odds more than the vehicle weight. The change is now the unskilled, distracted drivers are also driving around in tanks.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      My brain went straight to comedy skit mode with a driving dad boasting to the family about how their Club Cab Model Electro-Bulgemobile is invulnerable to collisions with cars, trucks and even snowplows just as they blow through a massively reinforced guardrail on a treacherous mountain road.

      Also would work as a Wile E. Coyote style cartoon with the car playing the role of the anvil.

    4. flora

      Imagine the fire if those guardrails rip open the lithium battery pack. The bigger the battery the bigger the fire.

  20. Mikel

    Looking at some of the top of the page headlines on Bloomberg this morning:
    “A $560 Billion Property Warning Hits Banks From NY to Tokyo”
    “Deutsche Bank Warns of Potential US Property Losses”
    “US Property Losses Trigger 20% Drop in Japanese Bank Aozora”

    I can’t help but think that this is nothing the marketwatchers didn’t know about before the Fed talk yesterday.

    1. Wukchumni

      I don’t own any commercial real estate-no high rise office buildings for me, no sireeee Bob. You’d assume the losers would get bailed out as per how it goes with the other too big to fail types since the turn of the century, but what if they actually have to get pummeled?

      And despite higher interest rates-there’s a bit of a stasis in good old single family homes. Sellers can’t sell and buyers can’t afford to buy, and yet they’ve kept the price of a 1963 3/2 in a somewhat non-gang area @ a million bucks in most of SoCal.

      You’d need to be able to pay $5,000 a month for 30 years to afford something in not so tony Reseda in the SFV, where homes are cheap @ $760k.

      1. flora

        The utuber iAllegedlyDan in California has been pointing out this real estate economic unhappiness for some time. Apparently, a big new hotel/casino in Las Vegas handed the keys back to the bank. Wells Fargo is laying off, BoA is laying off, even Amazon, eBay, and Levi Strauss are laying off workers.

        It wasn’t that long ago Yellen was saying she saw no problems paying for Ukr war and propping up bank failures like Silicon Valley Bank. Times change. The state of the real economy becomes too obvious to ignore. I see the Fed as a lagging indicator. / ymmv.

  21. CA

    “Low blows against civilians are part of China’s plan…”

    Evidently a return to the Cold War or even a worse is a US political objective:

    January 31, 2024

    China Is Targeting U.S. Infrastructure and Could ‘Wreak Chaos,’ F.B.I. Says
    In testimony before Congress, Christopher A. Wray, the agency’s director, said Beijing was preparing to sow chaos if disputes with the United States flared into conflict.
    By Glenn Thrush and Adam Goldman

    Christopher A. Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, warned on Wednesday that China was ramping up an extensive hacking operation geared at taking down the United States’ power grid, oil pipelines and water systems in the event of a conflict over Taiwan.

    Mr. Wray, appearing before a House subcommittee on China, offered an alarming assessment of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts. Its intent is to sow confusion, sap the United States’ will to fight and hamper the American military from deploying resources if the dispute over Taiwan, a major flashpoint between the two superpowers, escalates into a war, he added.

    Before his testimony, F.B.I. and Justice Department officials revealed that last month, they had obtained a court order that authorized them to gain access to servers infiltrated by Volt Typhoon, a Beijing-directed hacking network that has targeted a range of critical infrastructure systems, often by infiltrating small businesses, contractors or local government networks.

    “China’s hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities, if or when China decides the time has come to strike,” said Mr. Wray, who pressed the committee to increase funding for the bureau.

    “Low blows against civilians are part of China’s plan,” he added…

    1. Feral Finster

      When we do it, it’s called “smart warfare” or something equally catchy.

      When they do it, it’s a “low blow”.

      1. CA

        The director of the FBI is making prejudiced accusations against an entire people. Officials really should be able to understand what prejudice amounts to after all these many, many years. However, fostering prejudice is obviously the point of the comments. This reflects just the official comments made leading to the long, long lasting Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

  22. Alice X

    Federal judge dismisses case seeking to force US to pressure Israel to stop bombing Gaza

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A U.S. district judge in California dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that sought to force the Biden administration to do all it could to make Israel stop bombing Gaza.

    U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said he didn’t have jurisdiction over the matter, but he still offered harsh criticism of the administration and said Israel’s actions may amount to genocide.…

    Who you gonna call? Congress? The Hague? The ghost-busters?

    1. CA

      February 1, 2024

      Israel’s Controlled Demolitions Are Razing Neighborhoods in Gaza
      By Leanne Abraham, Bora Erden, Nader Ibrahim, Elena Shao and Haley Willis

      A resort hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. A multistory courthouse built in 2018. Dozens of homes, obliterated in seconds, with the pull of a trigger.

      The damage caused by Israel’s aerial offensive in Gaza has been well documented. But Israeli ground forces have also carried out a wave of controlled explosions that has drastically changed the landscape in recent months.

      At least 33 controlled demolitions have destroyed hundreds of buildings — including mosques, schools and entire sections of residential neighborhoods — since November, a New York Times analysis of Israeli military footage, social media videos and satellite imagery shows…

    2. Feral Finster

      Astute observers may note that representative “democracy” as it is currently practiced, is primarily an exercise in passing the buck on responsibility, or whack-a-mole, if you prefer. The representatives claim to answer to the people, but the people cannot readily be consulted and are easily manipulated by the same folks who claim to be their servants.

      As often as not, the people who really run things (e.g. Robert Moses) never run for office, and they may not have any formal role in the government at all.

      This is just how they like it.

    3. nippersdad

      That was the first thing I saw this morning. Really repulsive and a clear breach of his duty, he now needs to worry that he is on the list as well.

      1. Feral Finster

        What list? The judge can sleep soundly, as long as his rulings please People Of Influence And Authority.

        Expecting the law to save us is foolish beyond measure.

        1. nippersdad

          I am not quite there yet, and it would appear from a close reading of what the judge ruled that he isn’t either. A federal judge claiming he has no jurisdiction over federal or Constitutional law due to a mere policy of recent vintage needs to be watching his back. The imperial presidency was never as popular as they like to believe, and Biden’s overreach may well cause a reaction that would put it in the cross hairs of a populist campaign.

          When the suits come up at the ICJ about complicity, given their support for SA’s case, you can rest assured that there is a list that judge will be on the front page of as exemplary of why such an international court is necessary for when states fail in their obligations over treaties like the Genocide Convention.

          1. Feral Finster

            What does popularity have to do with any of it? The judge’s job is to please people of influence and authority, not public opinion. Public opinion, to the extent it matters at all, is easily managed.

            And why would the judge care what the ICJ does or doesn’t rule, since they never will be able to enforce their rulings with respect to decisions that the United States doesn’t like?

  23. Dissident Dreamer

    Rubble from bone – LRB

    One might wonder what the response would be if the arguments deemed good enough to justify the attack on Gaza were inverted. Suppose national newspapers were to argue that because the government of Israel has ordered hideous atrocities, as it certainly has, Israeli officials should be killed at any cost, and if Tel Aviv must be destroyed to achieve this then so be it. If the bars of Rehavia must be turned into rubble, too bad – besides, look how close they are to the presidency on HaNasi Street. Has the Israeli state ‘diverted funds’ to the building of underground bunkers for its leadership? Is carpet bombing justified on grounds that the government and the political parties that constitute it are ‘integrated into Israeli society’? Arguments as absurd as these acquire respectability in the service of killing Palestinians.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      The Hardcore 4 Gaza Initiative just released A HOMELAND DENIED: A Compilation for the Palestinian Liberation, a massive compilation of 121 bands tagged as extreme.metal, metal, metalcore, punk, grindcore, hardcore.punk, metallic.hardcore, post.metal, and screamo.

      I would have put a warning upfront about the lyrics but in almost all cases you really have to listen hard to make them out. Imo, most of them seem to be quite angry with Israel. Totally not suitable for work or some college campuses.

    2. pjay

      This is another article worth circulating widely. Stevenson has a knack for conveying the magnitude and horrors of this atrocity very effectively through a style that appears to be an objective recitation of numerous facts. But the outrage smoldering just below the surface emerges as the facts build into the Big Picture. He actually understates the role of the Israeli military in the Oct. 7 deaths of Israeli civilians, but other than that this is an excellent summary description of genocide. In a just world anyone still supporting Israel’s actions in Gaza would be forced to read this and respond to each observation.

  24. jsn

    FT on AI: “All of us, on average, have wages that are many times higher than they were in the 1800s because technology has mostly augmented our ability to do different tasks.”

    Because thousands of workers sacrificed themselves across multiple continents to fight for those wages.

    1. CA

      “All of us, on average, have wages that are many times higher than they were in the 1800s because technology…”

      And yet, over the last 50 years average real earnings of ordinary American employees have increased less than 1%:

      January 15, 2018

      Real Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees, 1973-2023

      (Indexed to 1973)

      1. jsn

        Right, “because technology” and labors willingness to fight and die so their kids have a better world forced Capital to share the minimum quality of life they could get away with sharing for the minimum of time they could get away with sharing it.

        1. Azman

          And now we have 7 Million plus new desperate peons allowed into the country who are willing to and more than already undercutting any wage gains allowed post pandemic.

          Oh, and the workers you advocate for, if they can’t speak Spanish, they don’t get hired in most retail or service jobs throughout the country.

      2. skippy

        Since wages and productivity diverged in the mid 70s, NAIRU via anti market forces creates structural un/under employment, C-suit became remunerated in equity price front run by Milton’s Share Holder Value meme/trope and the investor class rewarded share price with every mass lay off and wages crammed down, all followed by hollowing out Mfg and shipping it overseas for a quick bump, short list thingy …

        So as Talking Heads pondered *** how did we get here – ????*** =

  25. Joe Renter

    I have never thought this country would go to such a low moral ground than what we are witnessing in Gaza. Totally gut wrenching. I will make every effort to be an expat once my elderly Mom passes.

    1. Feral Finster

      Does not surprise me in the slightest.

      We are The Evil Empire, and have been for a long time now.

  26. Wukchumni

    John Podesta to succeed John Kerry as top U.S. climate diplomat WaPo

    At Mann’s Defamation Trial, Defendants Are Doubling Down on Climate Denial DeSmogBlog

    Nice coupling of stories, a politician who knows nothing about climate change is taking charge in one tale, while those who know nothing about climate change are using that as a defense.

  27. Ranger Rick

    It’s been a long-running CT that Biden et al. were enraged by Elon for [various corporate shenanigans involving SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter], and are now pulling out all the stops to interfere with Musk’s businesses. They probably won’t go as far as Obama having the IRS audit people he didn’t like, but it’s still an option. What state was Biden a representative for again? Delaware? What a coincidence.

    1. pjay

      – “They probably won’t go as far as Obama having the IRS audit people he didn’t like, but it’s still an option…”

      You don’t think they would go this far? Apparently you have not been watching the long-running game show “Get Trump,” airing nightly on every mainstream network!

      Like Trump, “Elon Musk” is now a gigantic meme used to virtue-signal which team we are on. Just as Trump is the Brave Hero and political Savior to his MAGA followers and Satan/Hitler to his enemies, Elon has become Genius Libertarian Entrepreneur Free-Speech Hero to the Right and Dangerous Corrupt Dictator/Disinformer Capitalist to his enemies. Each of these depictions is absurd, with idiots on all sides. But the idea that the Establishment would sabotage the financial interests of what it views as a powerful enemy is anything but a “CT.”

  28. Benny Profane

    So I’m watching PBS Newshour last night, and it seems that they’ve given Judy Woodruff a nice semi retirement job as a modern Charles Kuralt (sic?) roaming America, you know, trying to help us all understand our differences. There’s even a graphic of an open highway to make it seem as though she’s driving cross country in the Prius, listening to, as Obama would call them, folk. Well, who does she interview for five minutes? Friggin David Frum! Doesn’t he live right down the street from her? Certainly in the same bubble. Btw, just listen to that guy. I thought Friedman was full of it, but Frum can fill a segment with nothing. Good lord.

    1. pjay

      Perhaps Judy should drive a little further down the highway and interview some of those “folks” with pitchforks that Obama so helpfully warned us about. I believe he also admitted once that “we tortured some folks.” Maybe Judy could look some of them up, too. Probably already planned for future episodes.

  29. Carolinian

    Re LA Times/Boeing–Brian Potter explains how the airliner building business has always been somewhat unstable and high risk. It’s not just Boeing.

    The cost of developing a new commercial aircraft can be a significant fraction of, if not greater than, the entire value of the company. The $186 million Boeing spent developing its first jet airliner in 1952, the 707, was $36 million more than the company was worth. When Boeing began development of the 747 in 1965, the company was valued at $375 million, less than a third of what it spent on the 747’s development. Most other programs aren’t quite so lopsided, but still represent enormous risk. The Boeing 777 cost an estimated $12-14 billion to develop at a time when Boeing was worth in the neighborhood of $30 billion. And when Airbus launched the A380 program, it budgeted $10.7 billion, half the value of the company (and much less than was ultimately spent). Aircraft manufacturers are frequently betting the company when they decide to develop a new jet model.[…]

    This creates a few difficulties for aircraft manufacturers. For one, it makes learning curves very important. As discussed previously, learning curves are the phenomenon that production costs (or some related measure such as labor hours) tend to fall by a constant percentage for every cumulative doubling of production volume: going from 10 to 20 units produced yields the same percentage cost decrease as going from 10,000 to 20,000.

    High-volume products spend most of their time on a relatively “flat” portion of the learning curve, where doublings are farther and farther apart. If you’ve produced 1,000,000 of something, whether you make another 500 or 5,000 will make almost no difference in learning curve terms. But if you’ve only made 50 of something, making another 500 makes a huge difference in the level of cost reduction that can be achieved. Thus, if you only plan to sell a few hundred of something, a relatively small number of sales will have a large impact on how efficiently you’re producing and how profitable you are.

    More here

    Potter points out how individual airplanes often succeed because their competitors version has failed or mistimed the changing market (now increasingly about fuel efficiency). All of these pressures are why we are now down to only two main suppliers of non commuter jets to the airlines and the resultant lack of competition and demand for high output likely have a lot to do with Boeing’s missteps and misbehavior. It’ just a hard business to get right.

    1. ilsm

      The B707 was a knock off of the KC135, which was funded by U.S. DoD.

      It cost Boeing to widen the fuselage to get 6 seats per row, larger wing surface area, and newer engines than KC 135.

      Parameters driven by the Douglas 4 engine entry.

      DoD’s E3,E6,and E8 are B707 based aircraft. KC 135 out of production.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      It’s a tough business indeed, which is why we’re stuck with Airbus and Boeing (unless the Chinese and/or Russians can come up with a commercially viable alternative). Thanks for the interesting link.

      Way back in 1982, John Newhouse published a book called “The Sporty Game”. It is a classic. He describes in detail the 1970s battle between the Big 3 manufacturers (Boeing, Lockheed, McD) over the new widebody jets (747, L1011, DC10) and the simultaneous wrangling over the engines for these jets. It’s an amazingly prescient book and well worth a read, if you can find it (out of print):

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      1. Carolinian

        Michael Crichton had thoughts in the fictional Airframe from 1996. It was supposedly inspired by the Lockheed and Douglas problems.

  30. ron paul rEVOLution

    from “How does the nasal cavity’s immune system combat SARS-CoV-2? News Medical”

    >The outbreak is caused by SARS‑CoV‑2, a remarkably virulent distant cousin of the common flu and bird flu (H1N1).

    Huh? I didn’t think they had any relation.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      forget the distraction about the disease cousins and mix up some providone to spray in your nose –
      Results: All concentrations of nasal antiseptics and oral rinse antiseptics evaluated completely inactivated the SARS-CoV-2.
      supposedly lasts a few hours –

      wish Ron Paul was a choice, always appreciated his foreign policy perspective – prescient –

  31. Carolinian

    Interesting Simplicius

    Victoria Nuland made it “clear” that US will not be withdrawing from Syria—but it’s difficult to know on whose behalf, precisely, she’s speaking:

    One gets the impression that her deepstate clan inside the government is so powerful that she’s sometimes given uncommon license to make opinionated declarations which have no actual statutory backing, but may later be rescinded simply because no one dares to gainsay her at the time, and she’s given more of a free hand to ‘interpret’ official policy at whim.

    Given these developments, we could potentially read Israel’s recent saber-rattling toward Lebanon/Hezbollah as being a sort of wishful signal toward the US—perhaps even a threat which is meant to say: “Do not dare back down against Iran now or we will embroil you in something far larger and force your hand.”

    So this is a counter theory to the Alastair Crooke premise–Israel must save face at all costs–talked about here the other day. To wit: when it comes to Lebanon they are bluffing.

    Guess we will soon see who is right. One hopes our entire foreign policy isn’t wired to Vicky Nuland’s scheming brain.

    1. Feral Finster

      “One gets the impression that her deepstate clan inside the government is so powerful that she’s sometimes given uncommon license to make opinionated declarations which have no actual statutory backing, but may later be rescinded simply because no one dares to gainsay her at the time, and she’s given more of a free hand to ‘interpret’ official policy at whim.”

      Keep in mind that Congress has largely abdicated any role in foreign policy, except to cheerlead for more wars and military spending to keep their sponsors happy. With the president basically non compos mentis, the Nulands and Blinkens are our foreign policy.

    2. SeventyTwoTrillion

      Blinken will be in Israel on the 3rd and will be out on the 5th according to Israeli media, so I reckon by this time next week, we’ll have a much better idea of where things are headed.

      Whether he’s there to inaugurate an Israeli attack on Lebanon, or to explicitly warn them against it – who can truly say.

      1. John k

        For quite some time every hot thing we’ve done revealed our limitations and weakened us. Maybe the military has detected the trend, they seem reluctant to launch against Iran, maybe that’s true re hezbollah, too… seems the carriers didn’t want to be too close.
        It seems logical to me that nations such as Jordan might be wondering if they’re on the side of history, particularly if Iraq manages to eject us bases. Must be a bummer when people realize the emperor is naked.

        1. Offtrail

          The Jordanian Hashemite dynasty does not have deep roots. It originated in Saudi Arabia, and was installed in Jordan by the British. The royal family are all educated in the West, and some were actually Westerners. The monarchy is absolutely committed to the US.

          The people, OTOH, are of majority Palestinian background. Fewer than 10% approve of the treaty with Israel.

          Adding to Jordan’s predicament, the military is entirely equipped with Western arms. The sellers carefully calibrated the arsenal to not be a match for Israel.

          An extremely uncomfortable situation. When elephants fight the grass gets trampled. Jordan is just hoping to stay out from underfoot.

  32. Willow

    > SITREP 1/31/24: Secret Back-Channel Talks Spur Hopes on Iran De-escalation

    Question is whether de-escalation genuine or just playing for time? We will know if Ford gets redeployed back to Mediterranean.

  33. ultrapope

    “Erik Brynjolfsson: ‘This could be the best decade in history — or the worst’ FT”

    This is an absolutely insane interview. I am to believe that LLMs are going to lead to massive gains in productivity because… a study that showed a short term 14% productivity gain in call centers? Oh and we can work towards a future where AI won’t do back things if we simply make sure AI won’t do bad things. But we can’t always predict that AI will do bad things, so AI will most likely do bad things.

  34. nippersdad

    Hard to believe that the Bill Burns who wrote the spycraft and statecraft sewage for Foreign Affairs was the same person who wrote Nyet means Nyet. If our government could do everything with the same efficiency that they bleed out the integrity of those who work for it the US would be a paradise to live in.

  35. Wukchumni

    Take the war highway to the end of the might
    End of the might, end of the might
    Take a journey to a few minutes before midnight
    End of the might, end of the might

    Realms of bliss, realms of light
    Some are borne to sweet delight
    Some are borne to sweet delight
    Some are borne to the endless might
    End of the might, end of the might
    End of the might, end of the might

    Realms of bliss, realms of light
    Some are Krupp’d to sweet delight
    Some are Krupp’d to sweet delight
    Some are Krupp’d to the endless might
    End of the might, end of the might
    End of the might, end of the might

    End of the Night, by the Doors

  36. Del Mar

    The struggle to meet rising demand for nuclear power FT

    California governor Gavin Newsom is the nuclear power industries golden boy.
    His administration has done everything possible to ban gas appliances, force all cars to be electric, has crippled the rooftop solar industry with his five PUC appointees slashing net metering paybacks by 95%–for equity you see–since BIPOCGLBT+ can’t afford to install solar.

    And he has allowed PG&E to continue to run the two reactors at Diablo Canyon, sitting atop a series of intersecting earthquake faults, to continue running for decades beyond their useful and safe life.

  37. Tommy S

    While that Solnit article is good on the surface, and well written as usual, she also does the usual by writing out the California democrats. A party, except for district supes, or community level dems in other cities, that has subsidized and encouraged gentrification and speculation in real estate since Feinstein was mayor, the time line both of us have lived here. She knows that. 80% of the so called housing and homeless state budget is mostly subsidies to landlords and for shelters. You gotta did real deep into it, to find any actual off market housing building. Solnit never gives agency to the wreckage of what the Democratic Party has done on affordable housing and health care. It’s always the republicans or the tech people. As she has said multiple times over the past year on FB, “democracy can be too complicated, and it’s messy, and most people don’t understand all the good the Biden administration is doing”. regarding climate change. I’m not making that up.

    1. Feral Finster

      Keeping in mind that Team D is the political manifestation of the PMC class consciousness, for goodthink liberals, The Party can never fail..The Party only can be failed.

  38. Michael Hudson

    My Chinese group tells an entirely different story about Evergrand that appears in the US press. They say that China’s banks have made a disastrous commitment to take responsibility for Evergrand’s debts. this threatens to drag down many banks there.
    There is talk of China creating the money to pay all creditors. If that really is true, buying Evergrande debt at pennies on the dollar will be a winning bet.
    The bet is on China’s conversion to neoliberal assumptions – not exactly Marxist socialism.
    The alternative is to let these banks go bankrupt, but to insure middle-class depositors, and reopen the banks the next day — something like Sheila Bair would have like to see happen to Citibank in 2008-9.
    Or else to simply insist that banks are not liable — China’s version of the “rule of law” instead of real legal principles.
    I’m only reporting what I’m being told by professors there.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I hate to fall back on cultural tropes, but I’ve always feared that the Chinese would follow the Japanese lead and try to ‘bury’ the debts within the banking system rather than confront them directly and either monetise them in a fair way or liquidate them in the way you describe. I think the temptation may be to try to grow their way out of the problem – something which worked 12 years ago in China, but I doubt they’ll succeed this time. The world just isn’t big enough to import the enormous amount of productive capacity China is building right now.

      My insights into this are purely anecdotal and not a particularly representative sample, but I have never heard as much pessimism from my Chinese friends now about China’s future.

    2. CA

      “China’s banks have made a disastrous commitment to take responsibility for Evergrande’s debts. this threatens to drag down many banks there.

      There is talk of China creating the money to pay all creditors. If that really is true, buying Evergrande debt at pennies on the dollar will be a winning bet.

      The bet is on China’s conversion to neoliberal assumptions – not exactly Marxist socialism…”

      Forgive me for offering a differing view, but Chinese policy makers collectively are responsible and really do know stuff.  Debt responsibility is well-shared now, and easily handled institutionally.  Ample stable-value real assets are owned institutionally.  Families have ample savings.  The housing market has generally stabilized.  The broad economy is growing well, and can easily be stimulated.

      China is not and will not become a financially speculative neoliberal economy, but is rather a markedly successful socialist economy with decidedly Chinese characteristics.

      Chinese policy makers who set the stage for an advanced space exploration program after being prevented from any work with NASA, who engineered an advanced ship-building program that produces more than half of international tonnage, with order backlogs of more than 5 years, who engineered a revolution in vehicle production, who provided for advanced solar, wind, hydro, nuclear programs, know stuff.

    3. CA

      Brad DeLong has been waiting for and warning of a China collapse since 1980. I can admire persistence, but really…

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, United States, India, Japan and Germany, 1977-2022

      (Percent change)

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, United States, India, Japan and Germany, 1977-2022

      (Indexed to 1977)

      1. skippy

        Its so simple bloke … China has the largest internal market in the world, had the luxury of watching the West for decades before casting off the ideological leash, did post WWII Japan on its own terms with out the West dictating flow of funds, and never ever ever again wants to experience the Western effect ever again …

        For some in the West this is a huge drama after dictating so much post WWII for personal benefit.

    4. skippy

      Guys half the problem is the wonky econometrics used to navigate all this and ignore all of history … I mean economics was and still should be only natural history and political theory and not some arbitrary post late 1800s misapplication of Newtonian maths and physics to divine reality …. its just so Temple Grandin …

      Ping me when main stream economics has a better grip on the human condition or how social networks effect was is and what is acceptable for debate … I mean Bayesian rules … barf …

    5. lambert strether

      > The bet is on China’s conversion to neoliberal assumptions – not exactly Marxist socialism

      IMNSHO, a winning bet. Xi slaughtering a million and rising Chinese citizens — mostly, statistically, working class — by junking Zero Covid after (I speculate here) pressure from Shanghai oligarchs and whinging Western journos enraged at being deprived of their lattés — would argue in favor of giving consideration to the idea that Xi and the CCP leadership are neither Marxist nor socialist, let alone Communist, but fully committed participants in the neoliberal consensus of global capitalist elites, albeit “with Chinese characteristics.” This would have obvious ramifications for the nature and direction of nascent institutions like BRICS. Yes, a million deaths are a tragedy, not just a statistic, and tragic not only at the human, mortal level.

        1. ambrit

          And yet, with just a little help from the German General Staff, Lenin was given his main chance and ‘removed’ the Russian Imperial clique.
          An Austrian corporal, winner of the Iron Cross in WW-1 no less, was backed by American business interests in his Weimar Germany political struggles. He did indeed combat Communism, only not for them and their interests.
          Beware the “True Believers” of any and all sorts.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d take a different view of it to ‘conversion to neoliberal’ assumptions. I don’t think that ‘neoliberalism’ as we understand it in the West is all that relevant to viewing Chinese policy making (but a brutal economically libertarian approach to free markets is very much a Chinese cultural thing).

        My amateur Chinese watcher take on it is that China is suffering from the long hangover of Marx’s refusal to bother describing how a Communist system would work, beyond ‘once the workers take control everything will be hunky dory’. China initially followed Soviet doctrine, but then having fallen out with it, and largely failed with its particular variations (Great Leap Forward, etc), then simply followed the pragmatic paths of Japan, Taiwan, ROK, etc., or just looking at what worked for rapid development, and doing that – i.e. the focus on importing and capturing foreign capital, export led growth, internal financial repression, etc. But just as those countries discovered that this only works up until you hit developed country status (or before), you have to work out how to change things. Some, like Taiwan and ROK specifically followed US and European models (more mixed economy, more dominance of private banks, etc). China is now at the point of trying to work out the next step.

        There is a vast literature on Xi, but it does seem to me that he is quite straightforward – in political terms he is utterly dedicated to the dominance of the Party in the life of China and will stomp on any opposition, including oligarchs and foreign capitalists. He sees Party dominance (expressed as ‘harmony’) as central to China’s long term success. But in terms of policy, he is a pragmatist, but this pragmatism is shaped by the existing economic structures and Chinese cultural norms (which tends to abhor ‘free handouts’ and emphasises that debtors should cough up in the end). This is why, I think he will reject a more straightforwardly traditionalist capitalist approach of liquidating the debts and moving on. But neither I think are they likely to strongly consider what you might call a more thoughtful left wing approach (i.e. MMT, or a more social democratic approach to trying to deal with the debts in an open and equitable matter). The temptation will be to do something similar to what Japan did, which is more or less pretend the debts are payable and sink them deeply within the banking system, and hope that economic growth makes them irrelevant in the long term. Implicitly, this means they will be borne mostly by regular people who are not insiders to the system (i.e., they will pay through decaying home values and very low interest rates, and probable deflation).

        I’m not sure whether you can term this neoliberal or ortholiberal or Marxist or whatever – its just what is likely IMO to happen.

        As for Covid – for all the squawking by Shanghai and Beijing westernised liberals about Covid, I’m not sure that was the key reason it was dropped – I don’t think most Chinese pay much attention to them. I suspect that they’d just lost control and decided to make the best of it. My guess is that there was a lot of pressure building up from the bottom up on issues like local government pain (through lack of revenue), pressure from the export industry, to worries about regional stability that led to the demise of zero covid. I also think that while the Chinese public health authorities had a better handle on the nature of covid than the West (they could hardly be worse), I think they had their own priors and misunderstandings that led to a lot of wasted effort and unecessarry brutality when it came to implementing policy on the ground.

      2. CA

        “– slaughtering a million and rising Chinese citizens — mostly, statistically, working class — by junking Zero Covid…”

        Please, forgive a difference. I am sorry to have come on the comment, but am morally compelled to respond.

        The comment was offered with no evidence, and is apparently meant to morally condemn an entire people, and as such is sadly unfortunate. Respect for an entire people, which is surely due for a thoroughly moral, thoroughly benign, 5,000 year old civilization of 1.4 billion, should be necessary.

        1. CA

          “The bet is on China’s conversion to neoliberal assumptions – not exactly Marxist socialism…”

          China can define its own social-political-economic structure just as it wishes, and respect would have the Chinese definition accepted. China is indeed socialist with Chinese characteristics, and what that means exactly is continually being described all through China.

  39. Sub-Boreal


    So I guess I need to revise my 2024 trope bingo card to include: “smart guardrails”. Bound to happen eventually.

    1. cfraenkel

      Much more worrying than breaking yet another record – the growth from year to year looks to be getting larger.

  40. Mikel

    “Europe’s angry farmers fuel backlash against EU ahead of elections” Reuters

    Reports now saying water cannons and rubber bullets are being fired at protesters.

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